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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, January 23 2016

January 2016 – Round Robin Blog Hop topic - What are one (or two) writing projects you want to accomplish this year? What will be any obstacles you might encounter?

The first part of this month’s topic is harder to answer than the second because I have far more than one or two projects I want to accomplish. Should I tell you about the idea that’s been hibernating in my brain for some years waiting for me to get around to writing it? Or should I discuss the book written long ago that I absolutely love the idea of, but know it needs a lot of work that I’d like to revisit. Or a new novella to go with my series? Or the final edits for book 4 in my Tide’s Way series? Or a short story here and there? I want to accomplish ALL of these.

But since everyone loves a man in a kilt, I think I’ll share a little about The Piper, which is the story that’s been waiting patiently for me to write. Years ago when I was doing research for a different story I spent several days in a College library, comfortably ensconced at one of their big old oak desks with a pile of books around me. I was sitting there thinking how awesome it would be if I could read an old journal written by a man in the time period and place I was researching. From that random thought came the premise for my story.

         

The story is of an author who for one reason or another sets out to write a book about a legend, and in the process falls in love with a man from a bygone era. The Piper was a soldier with a Scottish regiment who bravely played the bagpipes to hearten his comrades, putting himself in harm’s way with no thought to his own safety. I know my ending, but I’m going to keep that a secret so once it’s written, perhaps you’ll want to buy it. A few days ago, my brainstorming group, the Sandy Scribblers, came together for our monthly meeting and I shared the bare bones and random ideas I’d mulled over for years. Lots of great new possibilities were explored, possible endings, possible reasons for the book this author was writing, intertwined relationships and totems, and how to pull off a love-affair that spanned more than a hundred years. So, now I’m really excited to write this story.

     

I will get the edits for Book 4 in the Tide’s Way done and I might complete the novella for that series. I know I’ll write more short stories which I offer my readers for free, either on Amazon and B&N or on my own website. But the biggest monkey wrenches in my writing plans are things that take me away from my library (my study) for weeks at a time. Even though my laptop goes with me, family comes first and not a lot of serious work gets done. I’ve already traveled twice this winter and in less than two weeks I fly north again to welcome my fifteenth grandchild. A mere month later I will again be in the air, this time to attend the confirmation of another grandchild and about 7 weeks after that yet another granddaughter is having her first holy communion. All important events Grammy must attend. There will also be another christening. (Thank heavens my grandson won’t graduate from college until 2017.) And that’s just this spring. Who knows what summer and fall will bring.

                       

The reason these interruptions are truly obstacles is that as an author, I write best when I am totally emotionally connected with my characters and the events in their lives. Being with family divides that emotional connection and makes it harder to get my head back in the game when I get back to my writing. I often have to go back and re-read all or some of what I’ve already written to get myself immersed again and the muse starts cooking. Maybe if I were a plotter it would be different. I’d have a detailed outline I could follow and just pick up where I left off. But I’m a pantser and I write character driven stories, which means being IN my characters’ heads and hearts, living the events with them.

Same is true for me while writing a book.

Check out these other authors – see what they have planned for 2016.

Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.com/2016/01/23/writers-to-do-list-for-the-new-year/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Bm
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Hollie Glover http://www.hollieglover.co.uk
Helena Fairfax  http://helenafairfax.com/2016/01/23/setting-goals-my-writing-projects-for-2016-and-some-advice-required/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/      

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 12 2016

On a mild winter day with the sun warm on my shoulders, I often think back to the first day I saw my little bungalow. I’d been searching for a place to rent for a few months while I went house hunting for a permanent home here in northeast Florida. On the third day one agency I'd stopped at sent me to check out two really likely places at Crescent Beach, but while I thought through the pros and cons of each, I continued on, driving south over the bridge taking me from Anastasia Island to Summerhaven.

If you blink going through Summerhaven, you’ll find yourself going over the next bridge onto Rattlesnake Island – it’s that small. With the ocean on my left, I turned onto old A1A. Most of the homes were small and old, weathered and nestled into the dunes as if they’d been there forever. A few surfers were catching rides on the long curling waves that broke on Summerhaven’s shore, but the neighborhood itself was quiet and empty in the early afternoon in the middle of the week in December. On the corner of the only road that runs east and west on this small piece of land were two small bungalows with a rental sign.

             

I looked back at the ocean so close on my left and the little house on the right. Wouldn’t this be a great place to stay? I called the number on the sign and was told that the houses were empty and one of them would be available for rent for the months I had in mind, but at the moment, there was no one who could come down to let me inside to check them out. So, I parked the car and got out to explore what I could see from the outside. After peeking in unshuttered windows and liking what I saw, I walked slowly back to the car, pausing in the middle of the deserted road to look back at the one I might stay in if I wished. In that moment, I knew this place was special.

Today was another of those winter days. Mild, sunny and quiet. In that winter seven years ago, I looked at many homes, some of them really appealing, and even made an offer for one of them. But nothing was quite as perfect as the bungalow by the sea and the longer I stayed here, the less I wanted to be anywhere else. I got lucky in the end. The previous owner sold me this little place my heart had fallen in love with, and I’ve been here ever since. The neighborhood is still a quiet little place off the beaten track and my neighbors are an eclectic mix of young and old, artist and business men and women, Florida born and transplants from colder climates. Moving here has been one of the best decisions of my life.

          

When I stand in that road and contemplate the bungalow I now call home, I get the same feeling of certainty I had that day more than seven years ago. My home is not the same salmon color it was that first time I saw it, but the feeling of home “here’s where I belong” is the same. I love the rare sunrises I am up in time for and the more frequent moonrises that enchant me with their romantic rivers of silver on the sea, and the stunning skies at sunset. Duff loves keeping his eye on his corner of the world and greeting anyone who walks by. We both love walking on the beach each day. And I am truly grateful for the serendipity that brought me here that very first day.

                                            

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 08:05 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, January 05 2016

It began before Christmas … the sore throat and cough that has hung on now for more than two weeks. I flew to Maryland for the holiday feeling just fine and on my second day there, without warning it hit me. I woke to an empty house and a big bowl of bananas that desperately needed to become banana bread, but I couldn’t find the loaf pans so I called my daughter at work to find out where she kept them. She answered the phone and I opened my mouth but all that came out was a squawk. She anxiously asked, “Are you okay, Mom?” I tried again and finally squeezed out my question. That was day one – laryngitis. Day two I could speak enough to carry on short, hoarse conversations, but singing my favorite hymns at church that night was a no-go. By Christmas Day the tickling began followed by a honking cough. This sequence of events is typical of a throat infection for me so I wasn’t worried, just frustrated by the timing.

                                      

Then came two nights in a row where I had to sleep sitting nearly straight up in a comfy chair to keep from coughing all night. But eventually even that began to ebb. When it was time to fly home, I headed to the drug store for a bag full of remedies that would keep me from getting caught up in that tickle – throat clearing – tickling more – honking cough routine. No need to infect or alarm all my fellow passengers. A second week passed. With this thing still not gone and my glands now swollen as well, I decided it was time to see the doctor.

The doctor shook his head sadly after examining me and said there was a particularly persistent throat infection going around, but that it was a virus and therefore nothing an antibiotic would do anything to cure. Not the news I wanted to hear. I can’t even pronounce his diagnosis, but he prescribed a cough medicine with codeine in it to quiet the cough and give my throat a chance to heal. So off I went to the drug store. Being a controlled substance (in this state at least) it was not a prescription he could call in or send electronically so I was going to have to wait.

                                

The pharmacy was busier than I've ever seen it before - Murphy at work, I'm sure. I waited. An hour then was told the insurance company hadn’t responded so they still hadn’t filled it yet. Frustrated and nearing the end of my patience, I called the customer care number on my insurance card. That “Care” is a joke. I got passed from one uncaring person to another before someone finally announced that it wasn’t covered because it was an over-the-counter drug. I informed her that it was most definitely NOT an over-the-counter med here in my state. I was passed to yet another person who told me that they don’t cover this medicine for the common cold. I gave her the diagnosis, spelling it out since I couldn’t pronounce it, and was now passed to yet another person who informed me that I needed pre-authorization. The doctor could call them and get it authorized and then they would cover it. Of course by now I’ve been waiting over two hours and it is five past five, meaning the doctor’s office has closed.

So here I am back to gargling with salt water, sucking on lozenges and drinking herbal tea touted to sooth the irritated throat. And feeling sorry for myself. It rained all day so I didn’t miss a walk on the beach, but I could have enjoyed a cozy day inside working on my book. So, it’s been one of those days.

          

Time to write in my gratitude book and get a change of attitude – what do you think?

                               

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida
    skye@skye-writer.com

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