Phew. Things are finally calm and quiet around here again. Things have been so rushed and hectic and crazy for so long now that I’ve forgotten what free time feels like. I think it was long enough to break some bad habits, though, so now I’ve just got to train myself to use that free time to write. Right after I’m done catching up with you guys, who I still miss.

I’ve started reading over my first draft of Hero Factor, and it’s going to be quite a bit longer before it’s ready to start posting than I thought, not that there are more than maybe five of you who care. That’s actually a blessing, because I don’t feel the pressure that would otherwise make me insane and spur me into posting before it’s ready to be seen.

It’s not that it’s really that bad. The A plot, with Michael and the Fae, is actually hanging together quite well, I think, and if I do say so myself. But the B plot, with the Pooka and Claire, needs work. A LOT of work, so much that I considered just cutting them out altogether, but they’re too integral to the overall plot later on, so I guess I’ll suck it up and just rewrite the majority of their scenes. The good thing is, at least now I have a better idea of how they fit into the story as a whole.

I’m still having trouble grasping Claire, is part of the problem. Despite my attempts to make her Not Me, she’s still too close to (a slightly idealized) me for me to write her very well, if that makes any sense. I–like Robert Rodriguez, apparently (Husband’s been on a RR kick lately, and I’ve been subjected to a lot of his commentaries and behind the scenes features, which are actually pretty educational)–need to basically cast an actor for the part to really envision what the character is like, and Claire is the only one who’s still not cast. I’ve imagined a bunch of different actresses in my head in the course of writing her–Debra Messing, Lauren Graham, and Emma Caulfield, to name a few–and I think it’s resulted in giving her multiple personality disorder. I really need to just pick one and commit. Claire is smart and spunky and strong, yet a little vulnerable and insecure in her relationship with Michael, beautiful enough that a magical immortal being would fall in love with her, but her beauty’s got to be unconventional and low-key enough that she doesn’t feel like she measures up to all of the Hollywood bombshells that surround her. And now I’m just thinking in pixels. But if you’re still reading this, does anyone spring to mind? Consider this an imaginary open casting call.

In other news, I took down all of my Christmas decorations this weekend. It’s a little sad to see them go, but not as sad as still having Christmas decorations up in late January. Cleaning up pine needles was nothing less than a bitca, and I’m relieved to no longer have to police the animals from eating them (although I’m pretty sure Pete’s got a secret stash hidden somewhere).

I’m feeling motivated to do some experimentation with our decor, but a little nervous because Husband doesn’t tend to be quite as open-minded as I am when it comes to decorating. Still, now that the tree’s gone, the big, blank living room wall is starting to depress me. I’m getting tempted to try and talk him into spending part of our new home buyer’s tax credit on new living room furniture, despite the fact that we’ve got lots and lots of debt to pay. At the very least, though, we ought to be able to swing a new sewing machine that I can then use to sew curtains and slip covers and fabulously creative wall art. Right after I learn how to sew those things.

At any rate, I think I’m finally feeling recovered from the holidays and the end-of-year blahness and ennui. I hope you guys are, too. And now I shall go read my friends list and find out.