Fighting the Fade

Fighting the Fade

Getting reacquainted with characters you haven’t seen in a while can be rather, well, demoralizing.

Case in point: Sabella and Conyer from my West Africa novel.

After spending the majority of last year working on The Sun and the Sand Cat, a reasonable person would think that getting back in sync with the good doctor and the special agent would be a breeze.

Big, demoralizing wrong.

Oh, I remember the details.

Her backstory is still crystal clear in the old noggin.

His work travails are still carved cleanly in my memory.


Sabella’s cadence of talk and thought has faded into a warm hum I have to struggle to hear.

The sun has bleached Conyer’s intensity into something unrecognizable.

Recapturing the tone of the novel (3/4 of the way done, remember) is like trying to catch fireflies in a bright noon sky.

Yep, demoralizing.


And I am a sucker for a good challenge!

Until tomorrow…


The Seafaring Coward

The Seafaring Coward

Ok, change of plans.

*the crowd snickers*

Alright, admittedly my plan-making as of late has left a lot to be desired.  The thought has been there. The desire has been keen, but the execution has been, well, rather crappy.

For two days I’ve been all set to put some hurt on the Six Brothers synopsis. I’ve been raring to go on bullying that darn chapter outline into two pages of coherency.

Well, best laid plans of mice and men and all that jazz.

Yesterday, after floundering quite embarrassingly on the Six Brothers for more hours than I wish to recall, I retreated to a known entity: the third book in “The Lion and the Steed” series.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Go ahead and say it.

“soccer mom in the second row yells helpfully, “Coward!”*

Spot on, ma’am. Thank you.

I didn’t linger too long on it, however. So it wasn’t as much a case of hiding in familiar romantic smut as a case of re-gathering my authorly wits in welcoming territory.

*the snickers return*

Like I said, I didn’t stay with book three the entire work day. I actually took a dip in The Sun and the Sand Cat for several hours and it is in these modern day West African waters I have decided to sail for a while.

With only another 10 to 15k to go on the agented romance, I need to get it done.

Hence, change of plans.

So, if anybody is looking for me today please check the gold mines of Guinea. Me and my authorly wits will be hanging out there for a while…

At least, that’s the plan.

Until tomorrow…


Do Not Answer That Door

Do Not Answer That Door

I had a bit of an unexpected visitor yesterday.  My 16th novel apparently did not appreciate being tucked away in the “Done!” closet and dropped by for crumpets yesterday afternoon.

Yes, I did say crumpets.

Frank (my specter of imminent failure) and his loud-mouthed parrot, Lola, shouldered their way in the front door alongside Pound’s copy edits.

I was not pleased.

Bits and pieces of my Six Brothers’ project had been meticulously strewn out over the couch, the floor, the tables all primed and ready for the attention the Revolutionary War mainstream romance so richly deserves.

Twenty-one chapters, ten (more or less) major characters and a trunk load of notes were tacked on walls, hung from ceiling fans, and, in one rather ugly case, harnessed to my dog’s back all ripe for Chloe’s talented hands…

*Frank chunks a crumpet at my head and whines, “Geez, get on with it, will ya?”*

To put it shortly…

Pound’s edits showed up about week earlier than I had expected.

The edits were well-done and handled quickly and professionally.

Bits and pieces of Six Brothers were then collected and packed back up for another day.

I sighed.

My dog sighed.

Frank and Lola did a little jig… my manic self-doubt thrives on copy edit days.

So, today I will try again to turn my attention back to the Six Brothers… as soon as I shove the freezer up against the front door.

Until tomorrow…


The Blanketing Skirmish

The Blanketing Skirmish

Blanket trailing behind me, hair mussed to the point of hilarity, I drag myself downstairs and plop down on the couch.

My laptop scowls at me from across the room.

I scowl back.

My dog grrrs.

With the early morning air sizzling and snapping with intensity, the confrontation between writer and computer lingers for long, stress-filled minutes.

Neither party blinks.

Time lumbers by.

Eventually, I fold.

My dog sighs at the limp noodle she’s got as her owner.

I write.

- -

And so here I am.

The writing of these posts have become almost second nature to me so that’s not why I’m dragging my butt this morning.  It’s the diving headfirst into a new project that’s got me more or less hesitant about greeting the work day.

The Six Brothers project (Revolutionary War mainstream romance) is impatiently awaiting its synopsis to emerge gloriously from its chapter outline (which, if you remember, is unbelievably complete and really, really good, in my unbiased opinion *lol*).

The Sun and the Sand Cat (contemporary, mainstream romance set in West Africa) continues to sit ¾ complete with my literary agent nudging me to get it done so we can finally pander the thing to the publishing houses.

The third and probably final installment of “The Lion and the Steed” series has just popped its head over the horizon. It and its October deadline is waving at me jauntily.

So, I must decide which novel gets my attention next, as in today, as in now.

I hate making these big decisions.


Anybody up for a game of Eenie-Meenie-Minie-Mo?

Until tomorrow…


The Idling Post


stockvault-orange-maro113862My last day of chilling has arrived.

Tomorrow my toes will be pulled out of the cool waters of “I don’t have to write and you can’t make me!” and placed firmly beside my nose back on the old grindstone…  (of course the contortions this move will require will be quite comical and potentially horrifically painful, so stay tuned for updates).

Hmm, now what other old saying can I mangle and mar this fine Sunday morning?

As you can see, my creativity continues to idle in neutral today.

I would turn it completely off but then I’d be leaving you kind folks high and dry. And that would simply be unacceptable.

So, excuse the puttering and sputtering of the engine today. What’s important here is that the ol’ girl is still running and providing you hardy souls with a post.

*man in the fourth row loudly complains “But this post is crap!”*

*Chloe nods*

*Chloe’s dog nods*

True. It is less than stellar…

*”Crap! Crap! Crap!” the crowd begins to chant*

*Chloe gulps*

*dog scrambles for the exit before rotting produce is thrown*

Alrighty-then. I think I will leave it there for today.

Until tomorrow, when the engine will be purring like a panther…


Where is My Cudgel


milkweedI’d like to take this opportunity to blame not only the lateness of this blog but also my frazzled, squiggling nerves on the… aphid.

The yellow aphid.

The vampirish hordes of yellow aphids on my milkweeds to be perfectly precise.

I have spent my morning trying to hose off, pick off, scrape off with both paintbrush and paper towel, and knock off with cudgel, mace and hammer the little sunny-colored beasts from my flowers.

I have succeeded for the most part, with my mother acting as both co-combatant and steely bastion to my “Are they on me? I can feel them. They’re in my hair!” freak-outs. (I don’t do bugs. At all.)

I survived however.

My mother survived, although a little worse for wear.

And the majority of the milkweed blossoms survived.

Unfortunately, as mentioned in my opening sentence, my nerves are fried.

I pity my poor dog.

She’s going to have a very, very long day of soothing all my rough (i.e. psychotic, idiotic, annoying as all hell) edges.

I will end today’s blog with the following sentence said in my best pissed-off piratical brogue… “Curse those blasted aphids!”

Until tomorrow…


P.S.  Apologies for this complete nonsense of a post. Sense, insight and non-bug subject matters will return tomorrow.

The Frolicking Hours


stockvault-daisy-meadow118146I’m feeling it.

Barefoot, hair down, I’m frolicking through a field of daisies, here.

Pound is off my shoulders, the bulk of work on book #16 is done as I wait for the edits, the cover and the release date.

Finally, a day with no “MUST WRITE”s has arrived!

Yep, I’m freaking frolicking with a big, crooked, goofy grin on my face and an incessant giggle to my voice… True, the neighbors are looking at me a bit strangely, but I don’t think any calls to the mental paddy wagon have been made just yet. *giggles incessantly*

I’ve got zero plans for my writing today.

I’m just going to open the gate to my imagination stables and see what comes thundering out. (Apparently, the first thing out of the gate is a really poor metaphor.)

Meanwhile, my fifteen pounds of four-legged taskmaster has collapsed on the couch and is currently chasing bunnies in her sleep.

Frank (the specter of my imminent failure) and Lola (his saucy, mimicking parrot) have gone out for the day. I’d like to imagine them fishing for piranhas in a really leaky boat but I never get that lucky.

Oh well.

Even though I know Frank and Lola will be back soon, I’m living it up with the bunnies in the daisies today!… as long as the lady next door doesn’t call the cops on me.

Until tomorrow…

An incessantly giggling Chloe

The Frayed Pencil

The Frayed Pencil

*grunts as another heavy box is dropped to the closet floor and shoved to the back*

*moves out of the way as another mouthful of papers, complete with slobber, is delivered, complete with disdain, to the closeted stack*

Yep, Pound is done and is currently being relegated to the “Sold and Completed and Get the F**k Out of My Head” corner of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good book. It worked out really well although completely different than planned.


I really wish if characters are so determined to mix things up so late in the writing game that they’d send a note or something.

Just a little heads-up saying “Hey lady, we’re thinking about doing things a little different up in here. Hold on to your hat and your dog, it’s going to be one heck of a bumpy ride!” would be nice. Considerate, even.  

Oh, well.

My dog and my hat made it just fine, although both are little frayed around the edges at the moment.

I’ve still got the sell copy to write today but I hardly need a truckload of notes for that. So, it’s off to the closet with Pound!

*ducks as the dog chunks a wet and toothy notebook in my and the backroom’s direction*

I think I’m not the only one in this house ready to put Brevyn and Sam away for a bit. (Book Three of “The Lion and the Steed” series can wait a couple of weeks before getting revved up into actual words.)

Right now, I’m struggling just putting this blog together.

I think I sprained my brain.

Can’t wait to see what kind of sell copy I come up with for Pound in this condition… Perhaps a simple “Please read me” would suffice?


My dog is eyeing the stack of pencils on my desk.

Apparently they have the Pound smell about them.

 I’d really rather not suffer any impalement issues this morning, so I better go before she figures out what nifty projectiles they make.

Until tomorrow…


A Yawning Hope

A Yawning Hope

Apologies for the later than normal posting of this daily blog.

As some of you just might be aware of (as if I don’t yap about it incessantly), the deadline for my 16th novel (Pound) was last night.

At 9:30 pm, the official “The End” was typed. The formatting I left to do until this morning so I would be working with a brain not completely numb with exhaustion.

It more or less worked (I hope). Anyhow, Pound is now sitting at the publishing house all wrapped up in pretty formatting bows (again, I hope…  brain’s still working at around 45% so who knows what kind of freaky things I might have accidentally done to the poor manuscript.)

So, with the mind ticker still fluttering below the fifty yard line (yeah, yeah, I know; a terrible mix of metaphors/similis/thingies there; again, apologies) I am cutting this posting very short and tagging it a real yawner, but it’s the best I can do today.

Please, please, return tomorrow when I promise something if not brilliant at least better (more hoping, there).

Now, go and have a great day… and try not to think of your blogger too poorly.

Until tomorrow…


Apropos Pounding

Apropos Pounding

Last day.

Pound is due midnight tonight.

I will not panic.

I will not panic.

Ok, I’m already panicking.


I will not panic dramatically.

I will not return to the fetal position while wishing really hard for a nice, dark, safe womb to hide in.

I will not pound my head incessantly into the wall, despite how apropos that would be (the title of the book is Pound so… well, you get it).

I will not let my dog finish the book, even though at this point I’m sure she can write a heck of a lot better than me.

I will not simply turn the manuscript in as-is with a smiley face and a “Sorry” attached.

I will not run away to Fiji…. probably… at least not today.

*breathes deeply in through the nose, out through the mouth*

Alright, it’s time to do this.

Chloe Stowe book #16 is going down!

Until tomorrow…