when cats look

Muddling round with a story that initially made it to an end but needed rounding off and fleshing out and just plain old sense made out of some passages… I still haven’t settled on a title yet but I have settled on an intro/blurb:

Fly west of Siren’s Gate, angle a little north at the Sundae Isles, turn further north at the break of rock marring the ocean’s corduroy crumpling like some mammoth marine creature petrified as it breached and with a little luck you’ll find Whetstone. Thoroughly independent partly due to size and isolation, mostly out of mind-set, the island city-state currently has a dilemma.

And a solution…

They advertise.

 

 

 

Hmmm, intriguing, yes or no? There’s a shapeshifter, the ghost of cocktail parties, a super chic administrator and a excellently bland security agent, rather a lot of symbolism to prove all those years in classrooms wasn’t entirely wasted and a hint of an unrequited love. Or there will be all that, once I’ve finished muddling.

crocodile tock

Despite my deep aversion to ticking clocks a la Captain Hook, I now have a Napoleonic hat style antique clock atop a bookshelf. It doesn’t go – all the mechanism is in a bag inside the clock – but it looks the part. What part? Ahhh. There is a clock in the library of Scarlet’s house, a strange clock becoming stranger all the time, and time is what I’ve secured myself in which to wrangle Book 2 into hopefully publishable material. Of course that’s going to involve cutting about a third of the manuscript but it’s that third which will be saved for Book the Third where I think the clock will really come into its own… along with all those other timey motifs I spotted along the way.

I just have to open the manuscript before many more minutes tick past…

No excuse for delaying now that I have the clock…

changeable

Tweeting while tipsy: hmmm, not my brightest move! That terrible temptation resulted in a pact with Her Randomness, Alex, to re-read one of our favourite YA books, one neither of us have read since we were young adults … an increasingly scary long time ago. And did so at opposite ends of the country which for some reason always surprises me. But there it was:

During March 2013 read and comment upon Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover, ISBN 041652270X, originally published in 1984.

Why? Apart from the tipsiness? Because we’d loved the book and didn’t want to brave a re-read in case the lustre had dulled, the shine diminished, the magic evaporated. I’d even rescued a copy from op shop obscurity a couple of years ago and left it sitting on a shelf untouched. A top shelf, mind you. But alright. The pact was made. I just had to stop la-la-la-ing the March days away. When I succumbed to the psychic vibes Alex was sending late in the month and finally flipped to the first page, read the first sentence, I knew it was going to be okay.

I just didn’t know it was going to be better.

Yes, better. The language is wonderful. I don’t read many YA novels or hang out with the age-group so I forget that sentence structure, word choices, images, are adult. They may be simplified slightly for the ‘young’ aspect of ‘young adult’ but I’m at home here wandering around in a world darker than I probably appreciated at the time. There’s urban sprawl, species habitat loss, late child support payments, divorce, rape, exams, and all the tiny daily stains of darkness like running late, and bad hair and lost shoes lending layers to an ordinary suburban setting, making it a place where a baby-soul sucking demon would quite naturally lair.

As would witches. Now I could wax lyrical over Sorry. I suspect, that rather like the kingfisher he borrows from the future and Laura calls a present from tomorrow, he’s a link in the ladder leading to Ramses Emerson, Rupert Carsington et al. He does the quotes, the drama, the air of disinterest and the obscure compliments so well, plus he reads romances. And I quite like what he – or Mahy through him – says about women being imaginary creatures, though if I think about that too long it becomes a warning against peer pressure, the constant search for identity, blah blah,  and this commentary could lurch rustily into essay territory. Let’s stay well away from there. I’d much rather babble about what stuck with me the most after I sighed at the last line: Everyone needs to find the place where they feel strong, sexy, powerful. For Sorry, that’s his room, a physical space. But the space Laura finds is in her own head and that is infinitely better.

There! I did it! After years of dithering followed by days of la-la-la-ing I have re-read The Changeover and commented upon it, not reviewed as I am writer (when I remember) and loathe giving away too much plot even when they’re not mine.

So now I need to track down the other Mahy novel, the one with the boy named after an astronomer, Tycho something I think, who stands on a book to kiss the girl, and the book is the book of the universe, no, Catalogue of the Universe, aha! Amazingly the State Library has a copy. Even more amazingly, I’m 2nd on the reservation list. And that is enormously reassuring.

ps. while looking for a link to a Mahy bibliography, found out there was a 13-part TV Maddigan’s Fantasia series screened in Aus in 2005 – missed that, drat!

whoo hoo

Good to know my inner Cranky Old Lady is never far from the surface and even better to know that she gives way to the inner Scifantisist (because I don’t have an inner Geek) at the turn of a head! Princes Square in Launceston is a beautiful park: oaks, fountain, hydrangeas, statue of an anaethetist, all overseen by that gothic beauty Chalmers Church, but this morning it looked a bit tawdry due to chalked hopscatch and general scribbles. Oh, my inner Crank was grumbling and grrr-ing away quite happily until… neither of us could make out the word from our angle/speed. We had to slow down, skew around a few degrees, squint-

BADWOL

Squint some more, adjust the spacing and-

BAD WOLF

Aha!

A Dr Who reference! Made my day.

 

swoop of claws

A fellow Authoress came to visit yesterday, through the gate and up the hill and round the corner, then down into the little gulley before another hill… and while we were snacking on lemon tart, she said she thought she saw the silhouette of a griffin flying across the road as she drove. Wings, outstretched claws, beak and a swooping shadow: I know there are sneaky currawongs and glossy crows loitering in the peppermints; I’ve also spotted a feral black cat. And I know this place is magic. What if this magic place has produced a griffinish beastie? That would be fantastic, in many senses of the word.

stuck not

Of course I’m not stuck with only 1.5 chapters to go (really!) on WH2: Come to Heel … because the sticky note collection is going to save me!

For instance, one bright yellow square is part of the playlist. Dionne and Kirsty and Dragon and JoCo and Heart and Cyndi. If I turn the list up loud, step into dancing shoes, ignore all the books I could be reading in the sun and then start reading my book-in-progress … well, hopefully I’ll find all the narrative threads I dropped two weeks ago. According to another sticky note, that’s called ‘getting some perspective.’

go forth

Apparently, Wolf Hollow the series is going fourth, as in a Book 4. That’s one way to sort-of solve the dilemma of having too much stuff I like in Bk 2 which requires cutting out to attain a manageable reading length. It’s kind of liberating. Until I realise I’ll have to figure out a title and that extra 100 000 words… deep breathe! Don’t think about that. Or possible needing a new foe to face at the end of Come To Heel if I need to wrangle the timeline a bit.