Writers Have A Lot To Say

Blogs By Linda

Celtic Portal Receptor and the Silence of the Hands
Where does time go while we are living life? Seems like only a day ago, I thought that I was ready to turn in a finished manuscript. Big sigh here. Over a year later, I can finally smell the ink on the paper. In between typing, editing, reworking, arguing with my editor,  and more rounds of rewrites and edits, there is finally a finished book in the pipeline.  Somewhere in those months that seem like a single breath now, I gave in to my gypsy shoes that were in overdrive - two weeks in Ireland (not long enough), a week with friends in England, a cruise to Alaska, and the general demands of family, work and getting a house ready to sell. Events come along like floods, sweeping through your life and demanding your time. There is only so much attention in one body . . . Mine has been overscheduled for months. Now I am refocusing and reworking the demand schedule. In those many months, my typing hands have been busy with other tasks. It has been hard to wrap my thoughts around the next book when I keep working to finish the edits on this book. I keep telling myself that I will get there. In the meantime, while painting walls, deck rails and doing yard work, my busy mind has completed the outlines for five other novels that have nothing to do with this series. I see no silence of the hands in my future. For all my friends who have been waiting, thank you for your patience and support. I will soon hold the author proof in my hands. Celtic Portal Receptor will be available in February 2015.

Return to Ireland - Day 1  (well, part of Day 1)

     The pre-blog for the first five days of my trip will be posted on my website celticportal.com. We first flew to England to visit lifelong friends for five very nice days before heading across the Irish Sea.   

     Looking out the window of my Aer Lingus flight,  the verdant green plots of fields covered the landscape as far as the eye could see. I sighed, a combination of thoughts. Our landing gear would drop into place and the wheels would soon touch land. I would be standing on the ground of the country I had not returned to in over 25 years. Where does time go? It doesn't seem possible that I haven't returned until now.  The sky was a brilliant shade of blue dotted with a few fluffy clouds. As I would come to say on every sunshine-filled day during my trip, the luck must have decided to travel with me, aided by my angels and a few faerie folk.   

     Taxiing into place, we nestled between the tail fins of other Aer Lingus planes that decorated the airport, welcoming beacons of green. I was anxious to get out of the airport and get moving....so much to see, so much to do.There would be no kissing the tarmac when I deplaned. One hallway led to another...immigrations, baggage, customs.  No sense in kissing the dirty floor where hundreds of feet had trod. I would wait for those wide open grassy spaces. It seemed to be the more sanitary idea until I realized that the grassy spaces without sheep shit were few and far between. Seriously, there must be some way to turn those little black beady turds into jewelry or something and make some tourist trinkets that no one could live without. Someone is doing it with bog peat. There's more fiber in the poop so it might be a more workable material. Where are those recycle fanatics when you need them?

     More hallways leading to the garage and outside to wait for the rental car bus. My impatient gypsy shoes were put into a holding pattern while waiting in a long line to get the car, behind not one, but two people who didn't have the car reservation they wanted and who were righteously indignant and personally insulted at the very outrageously priced rental car insurance. Arguing with the rental agents isn't going to win you any bonus points. It merely irritates them and you end up signing on the line that you will pay anyway or you don't walk out the door with the car keys. When you are finally out the door, you can hear one of them saying politely, "next please" while probably hoping that the next person isn't going to be so difficult. My shoes weren't happy. 

     "This isn't fun," they complained petulantly. "We're not in Ireland until we touch the dirt, " they added in a whiny voice. 

     The rental agent didn't hear them. Thank goodness or I might have had to move the back of the line.Keys and maps finally in hand, the trunk magically opened (probably one of those gleeful wee folk hiding inside who was anxious to make the acquaintance with my gypsy shoes). We loaded the luggage in our little diesel Seat (a made in Spain version of a VW Passat). 

     I could hear the Boyne Valley calling my name. I started peeling off the layers of clothing, unseasonably warm everyone outside was saying. I smiled to myself, secretly thinking that I brought the weather with me. It would become my mantra in the subsequent two weeks of unbelievably sunny days.After a breathtaking ride through the narrow streets of Swords just when school was letting out and kids were filling the streets and sidewalks, we managed to find the most narrow two-way road on the map north toward Slane. You might wonder if you know the area or look at a map, why we were meandering through Swords instead of finding the best road towards our destination.

     "A sunny day and a mostly cloudless sky is not to be pushed aside for unnecessary stops," my shoes reminded me. 

     "Patience," I once more admonished them.

     I was not driving or I would have found warp speed on the gearshift and blasted to my destination far from the stone wall that was rushing past my side window, far too close for comfort. I was more than antsy to be walking around, away from any hint of a crowd or city type building. Truth be told, David was looking for a SIM card for our unlocked iPhone. Comes in handy when you need to find a place to stay and just for emergencies at home. After circling the downtown area twice and not finding the store, trapped in traffic, we gave up on that idea. It was the perfect day for photography and we had touched ground almost two hours ago. The electronic device needed to cool off and I would have been happy to drop it in the closest stream. On this subject, my husband and I were probably standing on opposite ends of the earth. For him, the cell phone is nothing short of a critically necessary appendage. For me, it is a sometimes useful tool, but for the most part, it is a despicable, intrusive demon, one that - tethers you to a world you sometimes need to leave aside, dehumanizes personal interaction and steals time from the person/people you are with.

     I looked out the window, wondering how long the sky would stay clear, imagining the storms that might be waiting for the moment when I would step out of the car to take a photo. That sigh thing worked its way up my throat. Squelching it and a few shrieks when the wall almost touched the door handle, I refolded the map, trying not to watch the road.Newgrange was calling loudly, the echoes of its pulses were humming in perfect rhythm with the car's engine. 

     "Soon," I whispered. 

     My shoes settled in for a brief nap.​

Let's Hear a Cheer for Diana Nyad! ​ Today, Diana Nyad made history - 110 miles in the open ocean without a shark cage, swimming from Cuba to Key West - nothing short of amazing no matter her age. It was even more amazing that she is sixty-four. Even in my 20's, I don't know if I could have done 10 miles, much less 100. 
​ The woman is nothing short of a phenomenal athlete. When interviewed, she said that she did it as a gesture of friendship and then said she needed to get out of the sun. I can't wait to hear from her again after she has had time to rest and recover.
 Coming ashore, she said she had 3 messages: 1) We should never, ever give up. 2) You're never too old to chase your dream. 3) It looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team effort. Having recently inked the final words in my manuscript Celtic Portal Receptor, she and my editor have inspired me not to rush to the press - although at the moment,  that is my 'feel good' desire. Skip the dull stuff and get to the exciting part -don't just dip my toes in the publishing waters, dive in headfirst. ​Instead, I am going the query route, talking to agents, looking at possible publishers, all the while knowing that if I cannot find the right combination, the right contract, the right conditions, I still have other options. My dream, just as with many authors, is to find that perfect package and to find commercial success with my books. The publishing waters are filled with sharks of a different kind, stinging jellyfish in the form of reviews, and rip currents in the marketing stream. I am not ready to give up on that dream just yet. Thank you Cindy and Diana for reminding me of that before I rushed off without testing the waters and enduring the elements.

Birthing Novels - Like Babies but Different Pains 
​ The  media seems to have feasted on the Kool-Aid that leads to mass obsession with intruding on the privacy of others. Really, could they not give a woman the privacy to go through labor without incessantly tailing her for weeks and filling pages of what should be news with speculation and rehashed articles. Her act of procreation is nothing that millions of other women round the world also accomplish. From experience, I can say that the first time is extremely painful and an emotional journey that is very private - not something you want to share with John Q. Public. Even those famous celebrity publicity mongers find that they want to bring their offspring into the world without the press being in the birthing room.  ​ All this talk of labor and delivery, of course leads me back to to the subject that I really wanted to write about. Today, my creative labor period is almost to term. I am meeting with my editor for lunch today to pick up the final changes and corrections to my manuscript Celtic Portal Receptor. Much more like giving birth to a baby elephant, it has taken longer than the development period of a human child. The mental pain with the first set of slices, dices, drafts and cuts was emotionally painful and psychologically traumatic. However, after working through the process, I am seeing a well-formed and healthy new novel emerging.Like most mothers, I am at the point of gestation where I am just ready to get on with it, no matter the outcome. It has become weighty and the wait is uncomfortable. I want to hold it in my hands. ​ ​I  wish Kate a safe delivery and a healthy baby, along with the privacy she may wish to enjoy her first child.And, I hope Celtic Portal Receptor has a speedy delivery and a healthy book launch with a long, long life.