Floofcuse (floofinition) – a stare animals employ to convey betrayal, suspicion, and disappointment that hovers around being angry and contemptuous.

In use: “Opening the bag of chips, he began eating them only to discover two cats and a dog walking into the room. Sitting down, the three held a  floofcuse on him that began wearing him down. With a sigh, he held out a handful of chips and said, “Do you guys want some?””

“Four On Kyrios”

I’m feeling breathless, worried, and giddy today. You probably suspect that it’s the smoky air because I’ve been complaining about the wildfire smoke so often in July and August. Well, you’d be wrong, suckah. We have good air today.

I’m breathless and giddy because I completed the first draft of Four On Kyrios today. The novel has officially made the transition from beta to first draft. At the same time, I received feedback from two friends who volunteered to read the beta version as a second pair of eyes. They’d finished reading the manuscript and offered their comments. Both were enthusiastic and are ready to read the next book in the series. That pleases me, but I’m worried because, as a writer, I’m unique among writers, and worry whether others who read what I wrote will describe it as gilded garbage.

That was decent sarcasm, wasn’t it?

Four On Kyrios is the first book of the Incomplete States series. It didn’t take me long to read, edit, and revise it. I attribute that speed to several points.

One, it was the third book in the series to be written. That advantage means that a great deal of thinking about the concept, plot, background, and setting was already completed.

Two, I edit and revise as I write. My organic writing process drives this pattern. Writing what’s already written helps me connect with the muses and continue discovering and telling the story. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I fix grammar, punctuation, pacing, and continuity issues when they’re discovered. (Are you surprised?)

Three, Four On Kyrios is the smallest of the four novels in the Incomplete States series. MS Word clocks it at ninety thousand words and three hundred seventy-five pages.

Four, of the four novels, it has the simplest plot and the fewest characters. Those factors keep it easy to read and edit.

As this is the first novel in a series of four, it’ll stay in first draft status while I read, edit, and revise the others.  The four books were written to tell one larger tale, so they’re interconnected. I came out of the editing and revising process with one page of notes. Some are reminders, a few are continuity questions, and the rest were issues. All of the issues except two were resolved. They’ll remain open until I complete the other three books.

Most of the changes in the novel were more about expanding some scenes to slow down and let the characters breathe. I’ve been reading a lot since I finished the beta draft of the four books. Reading others’ published novels impact my ‘sense’ of the book. To me, this is the instinct we develop as writers because we read. It’s a feel for what seems right and correct about something we’re reading. It’s about flow and story-telling.

Just for the record, I’ve read Lincoln in the Bardo, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Godless, The Midnight Line, Time’s Eye, and Diary in the past few weeks after finishing the first three books of the Dire Earth Cycle. I’m now reading The Pagan Lord and The Order of Time and searching for The Triggerman’s Dance. I think La Rose might be up next on my reading, though. The Order of Time is a fascinating book about time, physics, and quantum mechanics by Carlos Rovelli. I don’t agree with all of his points, but it’s fun thinking about them.

Now, on to the next novel in the Incomplete States series, Entangled LEREs. I’ll begin editing and revising it tomorrow. Right now, though, my stomach is posting orders for something to eat.

I think I shall comply.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

It’s warm here today (but with clear, smoke-free skies!), so how ’bout a little Coldplay.

“Trouble” has been streaming in me over the last several days. Thinking about the song, I think that it came out while I lived in Half Moon Bay, California. I’m surprised to realize that makes it eighteen years old. The suspicion that I’m wrong drives me to wikipedia.org where I find confirmation, yes, it came out in 2000. Holy guacamole, Batman! That time sure passed by fast.

Here it is, in case you need a reminder.

The Good-bye Dream

I’d been thinking about J on and off during the past week, a typical melange of, “How long has it been?” blended with “I wonder what he’s up to?”

Easy math answered how long, coughing up thirty-four years. I choked on a “wow” response as tangent thoughts about his children’s ages and lives bounced through. Thirty-four years since I’d heard or seen him, thirty-four years since I’d heard anything about him.

These thoughts boiled into my dreams, bringing a visit from him in a dream last night.

I was in a steel, glass, and concrete complex. Dust motes surfed wind currents as people walked along the corridor. Hot, I squinted against sunshine through the windows. I thought, it’s winter outside, but it’s so hot an stuffy in here. Then I paused, looking ahead at an intersection.

His back was to me but I knew it was him. “J,” I said, increasing my stride. As he turned, I caught up, but we didn’t close the distance.

Always a smiling person, even when pissed off, he was smiling and much, much younger in my dream than when I knew him. “Where you been?” I said.

With the smile hanging on his face, he said, “It’s okay, I’ve moved on.” Giving me a wave and a shit-eating grin, he walked on down the corridor, leaving me behind.

Awakening, I wondered what that was all about, and whether this was a signal that he’d died. I searched for him through social media this morning, but he has a common name. Not the first time I’ve search for him, but it was the same results.

Not surprising. He didn’t trust computers as they were emerging. He didn’t really trust society and the government. Buying and stashing gold and silver coins in a safety deposit box, he planned to buy a large plot of land after he retired.

We’d always had good times together, and we’d work well as a team. A few years older than me, a survivor of the Vietnam war (although served in Thailand), I wish him well, whatever he’s doing, and wherever he is.

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