Posts Tagged ‘Italy’
We just returned from a fantastic extended weekend trip up to the mountains, to Bolzano, near the Austrian border. It’s very different from the Tuscan hill towns we’re now accustomed to – lots of German food, lots of German words, and most significantly, mountains! Mountains everywhere. It was absolutely gorgeous. We took a day trip up to the mountain town of Siusi and then a cable car up into the Dolomites where my California babies saw snow for the first time, and made actual snowballs!
Taking the weekend off meant a lot of catch up work, and falling a little behind on my final edits of the next book, but I’m gettting caught up. Working on novels takes on an interesting cadence – you have to keep moving or you lose sight of all the strings. But sometimes I miss short stories, so I was happy when the latest issue of Zahir Tales came online – http://www.zahirtales.com/onate_beta.html Check out my story – Onate beta.
I finally feel like I’m making some good progress on my writing. We’ve had some time off this week and did a little traveling – to Sienna, which was gorgeous, then to San Gimignano, which was even more so. Now I’m doing some crunching away at the story, trying to whip it into shape. Have to go back to work on Monday, so I’m trying to get as much as possible done over the weekend. We’re still hoping to head out to the Dolomites before we leave here.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Italy for seven weeks now! I have been so busy with teaching that I haven’t been doing a whole lot of writing, but I think I’m starting to turn a corner. I’ve been carving out some time during the work week to finesse American Caliphate, my most significant current project. I have to have it in ship shape to turn into my publisher by the end of May. And that’s a little scary! Not that it’s in bad shape, but because it’s epic and long, and at just over 100,000 words, it’s 15,000 words longer than the publisher wants. So I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching as to what back stories can go, and what characters can become less vivid. And I was nervous about doing this, but the strange thing is that every cut I make is a cut I want to make. I feel like I’m honing this into something finer. I have to admit that this is a bit scary, because where does it end? If I keep going, I’ll either have a hell of a short story, or a truly wonderful sentence!
Four weeks into our new life, and things are pretty great! My dad is here visiting, and we spent the day up in Firesole visiting the old monastic cells of the Fransiscan missionary order. Those monks really didn’t have a whole lot of space! Will thought it was a haunted house and didn’t want to spend too much time there.
I was thinking that this would be a great week to get some writing done, but I’m not as grounded here as I am at home. At home I can always just sink into my writing time. Here it’s a bit of an effort, probably because we don’t have a lot of baselines yet. But I have to get moving on it. This is my week to get a whole lot of writing done. Just check back next week and you’ll see. I have a book to finish!
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here three weeks now, and harder to believe that we’re just getting into a groove. I’ve learned a great deal about Italian playgrounds, Italian toystores, and Italian ice cream. I’m hoping at some point soon to learn a bit about art and history as well. Keeping to a writing schedule is more difficult here than at home. Everything is so much more fluid, and work is actually a lot harder – different preps, different class lengths, different tests, etc. But I’m starting to get back on track. I’m working on the third/fourth draft, depending on how you look at it, of American Caliphate, an archaeological mystery that takes place in coastal Peru, where I spent some time working on excavations.
I’m also thinking about Henry Grave’s next adventures. Mediterranean Grave is picking up a little steam, but I still need lightning to strike to blow it into the next level of public awareness. A little help came this week from the good folks at The Sacramento News & Review, one of the finest papers in the land. Check out their review: http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/bibliolatry/blogs/post?oid=1922550