I know, I haven’t been here much. I haven’t been anywhere much. I owe people email, I have a pile of bills to pay. I allow myself two hours a day to do something that isn’t working on book six, but otherwise I have imposed hermit-status on myself.

That means I stare at book six, open on my screen, and I’m not allowed to look at anything else.

It’s working. Slowly, but it is working.

What I really need is Sister Maria Therese, who could instill in me the absolute need to stay on task. With just a glance. I could report to her classroom every morning at eight, and you had better know that I’d be putting out ten thousand words a day.

On other fronts: I have news. There’s a pub date for Pajama Girls: February 14, 2008. Yes, that’s Valentine’s Day. The date may change, but probably not. I should be seeing the first cover art in the next couple weeks. I am looking forward to it, because my editor’s impulse (which I share) was that the hardcover edition needed a visual approach that was more modern and edgy. So no more magnolias and mansions on the cover.

I am very proud of Tied to the Tracks, but if I had anything to do over… okay, two things:

I’d lobby harder for a different kind of cover art;
I’d leave Lydia Montgomery out of the book altogether.

You’re wondering why I’d dump Lydia. Here’s the reason: My intention was to have Lydia work her way up to a leading role. You saw her very briefly in TTTT, long enough to learn something about her personality and goals at age eighteen. In Pajama Girls there was (at one time) a whole storyline that involved Lydia. A minor storyline, but one that provided a contrast to the other two (major) storylines.

Except Pajama Girls was way over wordcount, and I had to make some cuts. Lydia’s storyline was the obvious victim. I’m not happy about this, particularly because it means that there’s no real reason to have given Lydia such a crucial spot in TTTT.

What I’m thinking at this point is that after Pajama Girls comes out, and when time permits /cough/ I’ll pull together all the Lydia bits into a short story that I’ll make available here at no cost. That will make me feel better, even if nobody reads it. But I’m hoping people will.

Now I’ve used twenty minutes of my two hours, and I really do have to pay those bills.