"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Welcome to Katzenhaus Books, where we tell - the stories behind the history.
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

My Love-Hate Relationship with NaNoWriMo
Let's Take the Survey One Step Further
A Question about a New Book -- or Two
My Favorite March Column
Scammers and Trolls Are Alive and Well Today

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
Business plan
Busy-ness
butterflies
Career choices
cats
cemetery research
Census
challenges
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas Past
Civil War
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elevator speech
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
Fish
flood waters
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
grammar cops
gratitude
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
opening lines
outrage
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
Substitutes
Success
summer
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process

Archives

March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

daily drama

Finishing a Book Is Harder Than It Sounds

It was 97 degrees in Memphis today -- the best reason I can think of to spend the day writing. I started around 8:30, finished at 5:00, and proudly recorded over 2400 words for the day. But those words came at a cost. My first discovery was that in my diligent efforts to write every day of NaNoWriMo Summer Camp, I had inadvertently lost some people.  Friends? No, characters. It's easy to get tied up in a dramatic moment and concentrate on the main characters.

In this case, however, those main characters have seven children, and one can't just abandon seven children to take a trip or move a house. They either had to go along or find themselves in a situation where they were not being abandoned in the middle of a street. Some were easy. I sent 2 young men, ages 20 and 22, off to college. But others needed to be a part of the story.  i did a lot of re-writing and inserting there for a while.

The other discovery was that my estimate of needing just 22,000 words to reach the end of the book was pretty far from accurate.  My finished NaNoWriMo count is now 20,464, and I still have to move a household, establish a school, save a politician from a rabid mob bend to keeping him from making a campaign speech, create a new breed of horse, and take the whole bunch of characters out to one of my favorite spots in all of South Carolina for a lecture on what the Civil War and its aftermath has done to this family. That's not going to happen in less than 1600 words. I've now upped my project goal to 25,000 words, but I don't know if even that increase will be enough.

How will I know when it's done? When most of the problems are solved and all the questions have been answered, and all the characters are accounted for, one way or another. You may now start an office pool, if you like, to guess how many words I'll end up with.

In other news, just two brief reports:
 
(1) Toronto's dead raccoon has been given a decent cremation and Animal Control officers have been told to speed up their response times.

(2) The Memphis Monkey was caught, examined by a vet, pronounced healthy, and put back in his overnight house, while zoo keepers try to figure out how he escaped in the first place. As i listened to tonight's "60 Minutes" I was struck by the similarities to the story of an escaped Mexican drug cartel kingpin. But please note: Zimm the Macacque got out first!

Eleven Months and Counting!

There's a new hot water-maker in my house. It's one of those tankless jobs that only heats the water when you turn it on.  At first I was rather suspicious of the idea -- sounded like it would take a long time to get the hot water flowing. But it's amazingly fast, and I've noticed a significant drop on the utility bill, now that we're not paying for energy to keep 30 gallons of water hot when it's not needed.

So that's all good. It was installed around the first of August last year, so there's been plenty of time to work out all the kinks and problems, if there had been any. But there were no kinks and problems. Everything is fine.

Right? Nope! Enter the local Code Enforcer. The tank was installed by a plumber. The gas company had to install a new kind of meter. And the city had to sign off on the whole job to be sure we're not going to blow up the whole neighborhood. Installation of the non-tank took several hours. The gas company changed out the meter while I went to the grocery store and left the gas turned off.  And the city? Well, they still haven't signed off. It's been eleven months since they were notified that the job was ready for inspection.

The problem is not that they haven't showed up. The guy in charge has been here so many times that we're on a first -name basis. But he  always finds some little problem. Sometimes he comes without calling and leaves a notice on my door that I am "not in compliance" because the project has to be approved within 180 days. On other days, he fusses that there is an extra regulator lying on the floor of the attic. Is it a necessary part of the installation? No. Then why not pick it up? Because it doesn't belong to him. Then why not just leave it there? Because the plumber needs to come get it and give it back to the gas company. But the gas company says it's not theirs and they don't want it. The plumber sends a new guy out to get it, but he weighs 400 pounds and can't climb the flimsy little pull-down ladder that leads to the attic.

And so it goes. On and On and On. Today was visit # 17 in the process. This plumber said "Oh, yes, I know where that regulator goes. It needs to be installed." He had to go for parts, turn the gas off, install the regulator, get the gas turned back on, check the system -- another day's work, all while I'm trying to write. So now it's fixed? Well, that will be up to the Code Enforcer, who will have to schedule another visit to see if he likes it. It would have been easier to dig a well!