Monthly Archives: November 2003

NaNo 2003, Day 30

Final word count of Balsamic Moon: 50,215

I thank the Goddess that tomorrow is December.

Freaky Coincidence Number One: I typed the final three words of my novel to the loud, triumphant, sweeping final bar of Howard Shore’s Fellowship of the Ring score. There’s nothing like the soundtrack to your life displaying excellent timing.

Freaky Coincidence Number Two: November 30th just so happens to be the ancient Roman festival of Hecate of the Crossroads. Synchronicity, nothing.

This novel will just have to be dedicated to Hecate, something along the lines of:

To Hecate
Without whom none of this would have happened.

NaNo 2003, Day 29

Current word count of Balsamic Moon: 48,114

Slog. Slog. The prose isn’t as bad as anticipated, but it’s still uphill all the way to 50K.

See Autumn fit in five minutes of typing here and there in between teaching, preparing for new classes she has never taught before, working for the US publisher, working for local freelance projects, all with looming deadlines.

See Autumn misplace her glasses so that computer work takes twice the toll.

Sigh. There’s a NaNo sticker circulating about that proclaims I’ll sleep in December. That describes my life rather appropriately at the moment.

Oh yes, this just in (well, not really, but I forgot to blog it yesterday): in Friday’s mail I received my counter-signed contract and a rather flimsy printed cheque, the appearance of which belies its value both financial and psychological. And of course, because it’s in US dollars, I can’t simply deposit it through a bank machine; I’ll have to take the car on Monday and head out to Pointe-Claire to deposit it in person with a teller at my bank branch.

So voila: I am a Professional Editor. Eep.

I am a tired professional editor with no idea where her glasses are. To bed with me.

NaNo 2003, Day 27

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

Not dead. Busy.

I just spent a couple of days visiting my parents in Ontario, and now I’m back. Go figure; I’m gone two working days and get ten messages from people who are irritated that I didn’t tell them I was going out of town, the majority from acquaintances with whom I speak on average once every couple of weeks or so. Only one or two messages were vital.


I managed to crack out 4K of novel while away, and yet still, still passing Emily eludes me. I note down where she is, I write past that point, return to the update page in triumph, and she’s been writing in the meantime as well and has augmented her count by something newly challenging. If I had the time I could finish this damned thing in a day and be done, but it seems that this year I’ll be typing right down to the line, 23:59:59 on November 30. I’m going to grit my teeth and bash out dreadful prose on Friday until I have to teach at 6.00 pm. And I mean dreadful prose: unfinished sentences, run-on sentences which will have to be severely rewritten, that sort of thing. My first drafts are usually sharp, but with four days to do around 9K I have a sneaky suspicion that the deadline and I are going to get to know one another intimately.

I aim for 2.5K every time I sit down to write, but I can’t sit down every day, and that has severely handicapped me this year. I get the bulk of my writing down on Mondays and Tuesdays, as they constitute my weekend at the moment. It looks like Friday morning and afternoon will be my last major swing at the word count. Saturday night I have to prepare for a three-hour class which will be taught on Sunday afternoon, so I’m assuming that I won’t be able to write. If I get something done, that’s a bonus, but I’m not counting on it; I’ve never taught this class before, and I have to build it from scratch. I can usually squeeze in 1K or so on a Sunday morning. Today before I head downtown I have to finish editing seventy pages of publisher stuff, so that’s out. In fact, that’s what I ought to be doing right now.

So bye. I’ll see you in December.

Current word count of Balsamic Moon: 40,580

NaNo 2003, Day 19

Ugh. Very unwell today. Fighting nausea, and I can’t seem to stand up straight.

I played duelling laptops with Ceri again yesterday, and I’m very glad we did. For one thing, writing was like pulling teeth, and I’d likely have given it up if she hadn’t been here. And for another, I gave her Chapter Four (entitled Death to Fluffy Bunnies) and I heard her laugh throughout it. This is the feedback every writer needs when s/he has hit a wall and is convinced that their prose is flat and the story uninteresting. t! calls this A Fan. When there’s someone who’s excited about your writing, and that person is not you, suddenly there’s more purpose to your writing life.

The obstacle I hit yesterday was a direct result of deviating merrily from the rough outline I created in the first week of November. Hey, things were flowing, so why interrupt them? You interrupt them and get them somewhat back on track because otherwise, you end up sending the story down an increasingly narrowing canyon until you end up in a dead end with your protagonist staring blankly at a stone wall somewhere around 25K.

So I dug out the outline, and by trying to explain the problem aloud to Ceri I saw all the ways to make it better. Sometimes, you just need a friendly ear, and someone who writes too and who will give you feedback on how not bad the words are that you’ve already put down.

And when I woke up after my unscheduled hour-and-a-half sick sort of nap this afternoon, I bashed out another 2K and leapfrogged Emily Horner again. Ha. (Actually, I thought I had done it yesterday as well, but when I logged on to the NaNo site to update my word count, she’d beaten me to it, damn her, so I had to do it all over again…) Emily is the other person keeping me writing this year. I’m so disillusioned with my story at the moment that I’m reduced to checking word counts and saying, “If I write just 1,673 more words, I’ll pass Emily again”, which is hardly the way to approach a creative project, but it keeps me at my laptop.

Current word count of Balsamic Moon: 30, 162


Not dead. Busy.

Honest. Majorly successful concert on Saturday night, teaching, writing reviews for a deadline, working with authors for another deadline, writing a novel for a deadline, descending to the Underworld with some good friends for a very special occasion; my agenda is just chock-full.

You all might get a detailed update, but maybe not.


Coincidence? You Decide

Those of my readers who have read my NaNo 2003 excerpt know that my novel poses the question, “What would you do if a goddess from classical antiquity showed up in your living room?”

The particular goddess in question is Hekate; or, if you prefer the Latinized version of her name, Hecate. (Yes, it’s a hard ‘k’ sound; the Greeks, like the Celts, didn’t have a soft ‘c’ sound. Which means that when I have discussions about Circe, and I pronounce it ‘Kir-kay’ no one knows who I’m talking about, and I have to swallow a sigh and politely say ‘Sir-say’, which makes my spine crawl.)

Anywhats. Revenons a nos moutons.

Those in the know are also aware that through an aural misunderstanding at a pre-November coffee meeting, the idea of the Psychic Ferret arose for as a gag challenge for Montreal NaNo participants. The ferret belongs to a family of mammals which includes otters, badgers, weasels, and so forth.

So when I ran across this little tidbit tonight, I just had to share. It’s too perfect.


I have heard that the land-marten was once a human being. It has also reached my hearing that Gale was her name then; that she was a dealer in spells and a sorceress (Pharmakis); that she was extremely incontinent, and that she was afflicted with abnormal sexual desires. Nor has it escaped my notice that the anger of the goddess Hekate transformed it into this evil creature. May the goddess be gracious to me: fables and their telling I leave to others. – Aelian On Animals 15.11

[Also told as:]


The Moirai were aggrieved […] and took away the womanly parts of Galinthias since, being but a mortal, she had deceived the gods [by tricking them into allowing the birth of Herakles which they were preventing]. They turned her into a deceitful weasel, making her live in crannies and gave her a grotesque way of mating. She is mounted through the ears and gives birth by bringing forth her young through the throat.

Hekate felt sorry for this transformation of her appearance and appointed her a sacred servant of herself. – Antoninus Liberalis 29

So Hekate had a weasel as a servant. Or a servant who became a weasel.

Coincidence, or a Divine someone-is-trying-to-tell-me-something? You decide!