Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Ice Man Cometh--and boy does his timing suck!

Everyone who lives in the Midwest thinks their state is the one who coined the phrase, 'If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes 'cause it'll change.' But really, it's Iowa, folks. Trust me on this one. And it's never more true than at this time of year. You blink and you go from an Indian summer sweat to shivering in your thermals. And somehow, some way, Mother Nature seems to know when it would be most inconvenient or disruptive or generally most annoying to reach in her bag of weather tricks and conjur up a bit of atmospheric mischief. And she seems to be getting more extreme with each event. Hmmm. Maybe it's her way of getting back at us for global warming...?

Last week I got my revision request from my editor for my May, 2008, release FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS. You may remember the cover. I unveiled it here a few weeks back.

This was the third book I'd written. Since I've written seven--or is it eight--books since this one, there were 'issues' with the book that required significant rewrites. And, as every author knows, the time-frame for revisions is tight. Tummy tucker tight. As in two weeks tight. So, here I am--Christmas time and finals week in my college courses--and the early Christmas present from my editor arrives: a revision letter longer than my college term paper. And revisions must be 'in-house' within two weeks to guarantee ARCs and a Publishers Weekly review op. I slump in my chair. Pout. Email my agent and grumble. Pace the house. Kick the kids a couple times. (Just kidding. They kick back.) Then I sit myself down and give myself a pep talk. "You can do this, Kathy! Why, you're Bullet Hole Bacus, ex-state trooper, mother of multiples, educator of middle schoolers. Heck, you cuffed and stuffed people into squad cars for a living! You're fearless! A sixty-one item revision list? That's nothing. A piece of cake. You'll hardly even break a sweat.

So I email my agent that--barring a natural disaster--I'll make the revision delivery date. Come hell or high water. I imagine you can guess what happens next. One of those, if I was writing it in a book, no one would believe it scenarios. Your basic natural disaster, of course. And a mother of one, at that.

You may have heard of the 'ice event' that hit the plains states earlier this week, bringing with it falling trees, falling power lines, and massive loss of power. They say pictures paint a thousand words. I agree. Unfortunately, in this case, many of those words aren't appropriate for me to include here. Feast your eyes on Mother Nature's artistry:

These were taken from my back yard. The tree
is an apple tree that used to provide shade for my patio. Now it's sitting on my house. The ice-covered line below is a cable line and shows the general condition of my neighborhood. It's pretty much the same across the Midwest where the ice storm hit. In other words, it looks like a war zone. Limbs were cracking and falling to the ground around us. Everything was covered in ice an inch thick.

Now, the idea of a winter storm isn't all that unappealing if you can curl up indoors, warm and toasty, with a glass of hot cider and watch a DVD or read a good book. But when you have extensive revisions due--and trees are falling on your house--and suddenly the power goes off, well, you shift into panic mode. When you spy that three foot long icicle hanging so delicately from the side of the garage, all you can think about is breaking it off and hunting Mother Nature down and beating her over the head with it until it melts.
So, this is the view from my little slice of Heaven today. On the upside, we do have our power back on. The down side? I'll be burning the midnight oil to get these revisions in the mail.
Uh, did I mention that our Post Office is still without power and I'll have to skate to a nearby town to mail my revisions? Where the @#*! is Santa and his sleigh when you need them?
So, to all those folks out there slip-sliding away, I feel your pain. Hmmm. Maybe we should take a contract out on Mother Nature...
After all, we've got an A Number One Assassin right here at Killer Fiction. Sounds like a plan to me.
~Bullet Hole Bacus slip-sliding back into revision hell~


Christie Craig said...

Okay, Kathy,

First, thanks for the laugh. Second, you have my complete sympathy. And while I hate weather and nothing ticks me off more than Mother Nature getting her kicks out of watching us stumble around during her bad-weather bag of tricks, my sympathy doesn't stem from there.

It's the revision letter that has me aching for you. Yowzy. I should be getting my own letter from our editor in the next week or so.

Crime Scene Christie...holding my breath and feeling your pain.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

This would all look so much better through the bottom of that glass of cider that you mentioned!!!

Good luck getting finished up on time. And just think how much happier your holidays will be when you're done!

Jana DeLeon said...

Wow! That does not look pretty. I hope your power stays on and your revisions are relatively quick and painless. :)

Estella said...

I think those pictures call for a glass of mulled wine or two.
Hope the revisions go ok for you.

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Christie, for the commiserations. Normally my revision requests are short and sweet but since this was an early book--it required more tweaking. I'm happy to report that I just finished up and I'm printing off the hard copy to deliver to the post office tomorrow.

And more good news. The sun is shining and temp is over freezing so the ice is melting. The down side of that is I'm still having branches fall. I'm working away in my office and hear a big bang and a large branch fell out front, narrowly missing the big window in the living room. Tomorrow I'll have to start cutting up branches and moving them to the curb.

Hope your revision letter is less traumatic than mine!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

That's the 'spirit', Jenyfer! Methinks I could use a wee drop of ale.

As far as deadlines go, I'll feel a whole lot better when I get caught up on my next book due March 1st! I'm woefully behind.

No rest for the weary...

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Jana! As we speak, the tree guys are taking my apple tree off to the chopper to become mulch and I'm killing more trees printing off my revisions.

Sniff, sniff.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Once these revisions are mailed off and the ice storm but a memory, I intend to celebrate for sure, Estella!

How do you spell RELIEF?

~Bullet Hole~

Angie Fox said...

I think you need to be using those icicles as drink stirrers for a congratulatory cocktail party. You've earned it!

Kathy Bacus said...

That does sound like a better use of the icicles, now that you mention it, Angie.

I am SO moving south when my kids are out of college...

~Bullet Hole~

Tori Lennox said...

Mother Nature is being really freaky and weird these days. She needs a good smackdown. I'll help you. *g*

Leslie Langtry said...

As an ex-pat Iowan - I've heard that phrase before. I think it's the unofficial state motto. We got hit too - but fortunately only about five limbs down. The ice is still on the trees though - what's up with that?

My sympathy on your revision letter. I always gag when I see mine. Good luck and hang in there!


Kathy Bacus said...

Thank goodness the sun came out here, Leslie, and the ice began to melt. You couldn't step outside without being pelted with showers of ice from power lines and trees though.

As far as revisions go, I've been spoiled up until now as most have been modest. Guess I was over due, huh?

BTW, there's snow in our weekend forecast. Grrrr!

~Bullet Hole~

Lucy said...

I thought it was a Texas saying. Oh well, I guess people all over claim it.

Anyway, hope the weather gets better soon and that the revisions (and other deadlines) go more smoothly.

Kathy Bacus said...

I think it's one of those 'universal' sayings, Lucy, and can be applied to a lot of different locales. Regardless, it fits Iowa to a 't'.

Thanks for the revision atta girls. I can use all the good vibes I can get.

BTW, I'm down to the last fifty pages to print off. Had to stop and change my ink cartridge.

Almost there!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Count me in, Tori. I'm thinking Mother Nature needs a good b**** slap,too!

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

Wow. I can't even imagine a Mother Nature that pissy. I think we had hail once here in Cali. Maybe. Or maybe I just saw that on an episode of the OC.

You have my deepest sympathies over the revision letter. I can only imagine how long mine would be if I tried to resurrect the train wreck that is my third book. Considering I'm starting on number 12 now, things have hopefully improved a lot since then. {{hugs}}}


Kathy Bacus said...

I'm back from shipping out hard-copy revisions!!! Whoo hoo! I'd like to scream, "Freedom!" but there's still the little matter of a 90,000 word manuscript due March 1st to consider.

Yeah, Gemma, normally I wouldn't have attempted to 'fix' a really early book, but dang if I didn't love this story. And I think over the years I'd rewritten/revised it a dozen times so it was very much improved from the first draft or so.

Now I just have to bite my nails until I hear back from my editor next week...


Melody said...

Yes, this ice storm was horrible. I am glad you got everything done. I know your town got it worse than mine. Of course, then we all lost our power yesterday but it was nothing compared to some towns. I can not wait for Spring.