Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm Melting

The weatherman lied to me yesterday. We didn't get our promised cold snap of only 104 degrees. Instead, it hit 107. Now they're saying it will only hit 104 today, but I'm not ready to believe them yet. The good news is that this weekend we may get thunderstorms and highs only in the upper 90s. I'd better make sure I have plenty of firewood to deal with the sudden burst of cold.

The heat is really getting to my brain. I keep having this urge to stand on the sidewalk in front of my house and do my imitation of the Wicked Witch of the West: "I'm meeeelllllltinnnng!" It's so hot that I don't want to drink hot tea except for my morning cup (and me not wanting hot tea is one of the signs of impending apocalypse). Thank goodness for Dr Pepper! Otherwise I wouldn't get my recommended daily caffeine intake for optimum book production. I am finding ways to cope. I've got my patio umbrella angled to shade one of my living room windows to help keep the house cooler. Then I brought in my old Roman shade from the garage. I had it from my first apartment, where I had a huge window facing due west that made summer afternoons utterly miserable. Blocking even a little sun helped a lot then. Now I have a huge window facing east, and the shade fit perfectly, so I put it up. It's still bright enough to read in the living room in the daytime without a light, but I think it cuts the heat a little bit, and since I get my sun in the morning, blocking the light in the morning helps keep the house cooler all day. This is the time of year when I tend to get seasonal affective disorder because it's too hot to go out in daylight, which amounts to not seeing much daylight. Winter days may be shorter, but I can usually at least go for a walk in the afternoon.

How long until October? Hmm, I know someone who lives in Iceland. Might be time for a visit. Or I could drop in on the relatives in Norway.

I'm closing in on the end of the book, only about two and a half chapters to go, unless the book surprises me (again) by being longer. I don't think that will happen because I've got the rest pretty well mapped out. Today I should be writing the big, climactic action scene -- the big finish. That is, if I can get my sluggish brain to cooperate.

Fortunately, the book I'm reading now isn't tempting me not to write (I'll deal with it in a later post). That wasn't the case Monday, when I was reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. It was such a beautiful book, and I couldn't bring myself to put it down. Then when I was through reading it, I couldn't make myself write for a while because I felt like such a hack in comparison. I couldn't imagine ever writing something so lovely. It was also one of the most romantic love stories I've ever read, probably because it was allowed to grow organically. My main problem with the romance genre is that there are all these externally imposed rules on how a love story is supposed to progress. One of them is that there has to be some kind of strong, instant attraction. The couple may hate each other, but they're still drawn to each other even if they hate being drawn to each other. They also have to immediately notice each other as sexual beings, right from the start. Yeah, I guess that does happen, and it can be fun to read about, but it's such a shame that the genre pretty much rules out other ways a relationship might develop. In this book, the couple barely notice each other as male and female when they meet. They're both entirely focused on other things. It's only gradually, as they share adventures, do simple acts of kindness for each other, come to each other's rescue and really get to know each other along the way, that their feelings start to develop, so that when they do fall in love, it's incredibly sweet and satisfying. This book is now out in mass market paperback, but it looks like a nice trade paperback edition will be published in August, and I think I'll buy that one because it's definitely a keeper. I imagine it will be one of my "comfort food" books that I read when I need something to make me feel good. It's the kind of book you close with a wistful sigh when you're through reading it.

I just checked the long-range forecast for Atlanta, where I'll be next week, and they're looking at highs in the 80s! Now I'm excited.

And a quick reminder that I'll be part of a group booksigning this coming Saturday at the Barnes & Noble near Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville, Texas. Last I heard (and I need to double check), it will be from 2 to 4. Even if you already have my books and don't care about an autograph, feel free to come be my designated nerd to give me someone to talk to about interesting stuff so we can lure unsuspecting store patrons into our web.

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