Maybe We Had Weather

Sunday, the snow started and was predicted to turn to ice later in the day. That’s not a forecast we want to hear in these parts because the power can go out at the mere mention of that three-letter word. So just in case I can’t complete and upload the post I was writing on Sunday, I’ve preloaded this additional tidbit from Death Out of Time.

So far, all the snippets have focused on “our” time. But here’s a clip from a new scene from Landry’s point of view. Again, this is the first draft.

A bell sounded from the Control Room.

“Incoming signal,” Gwinnett called out. “It’s Hopkins’s device.”

“Initiating rift sequence,” Valerie said, her hands running over the controls. “On the launch pad, Landry.”

Landry jumped into position. “Ready.”

“Power levels holding in the safe range,” Gwinnett said. “No significant fluctuations.”

“Estimated time to rift formation—fifteen seconds,” Valerie said.

“Incoming signal is steady. They’re not sending prime numbers again.”

“Ten seconds to rift.”

The air around Landry began to distort, as if a light fog was developing around him.

“All systems green,” Gwinnett said.

“Five seconds. Landry, do you need an abort?”

Valerie’s words and form were blurring in the rift. “No,” he said, his own voice wavering to his ears.

“We’ll bring you home in two hours. Safe rifting.”

And then he was in the cold and dark between times.

I hope this piques your curiosity about the story!

How’s the weather behaving in your area?

64 thoughts on “Maybe We Had Weather

  1. We made it through Sunday’s weather okay, but I still didn’t finish the planned post…. More snow should be arriving in the next half-hour, so winter is still in control around here.

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  2. Best of luck on your weather! We’ll be watching, hope you have no power issues! We in Memphis managed to dodge the bullet on a big event but the marathon was cancelled. It was best, the city needed to focus on the safety of citizens and the marathon would use too many resources.

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    • It looks like we lucked out — the snow is done, and we only got about an additional 2 inches. Now we’ll just have to deal with colder than average temperatures for awhile. I’m thinking this winter isn’t off to a very mild start! It can be disappointing when the forecast leads to cancellations and then nothing significant happens. But like you, I think it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep people safe. Now, if only I could send the snow to areas where it’s really welcome!

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    • It was, indeed! Much as I’m not fond of snow, I really don’t like freezing rain, which usually makes conditions far more dangerous and unpleasant. At least today’s snow wasn’t as much as predicted!

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  3. I definitely sense the sci-fi in the scene. Lots of techie talk and great details to set the scene for time travel. What was the century again?
    Frigid weather here in Chicago. Wind chills below zero this morning, 4 inches of snow predicted for overnight. *sigh* here we go…

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    • Landry’s from the 24th century, which, in this book, may or may not be what people might predict. That’s part of the fun I’m having with this story. 😉 We’re due for a cold snap, too, for at least another week. Although, that only means 20s and low 30s out here. So you folks back in the Midwest might disagree with my definition of “cold”! Maybe January will be mild? Please?

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      • From your other post, I got the sense Landry was from *the past.* This development makes it just as interesting, of course, because it’s always fun to see out-of-time folks adjust and react to what is considered “present day” in a story…but I had to kick myself after reading this one! 😀

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        • Yes! When I used that particular scene, I wondered if readers would make that assumption about Landry. 🙂 Of course, I don’t want to give too much away, but the 24th century in this story probably has some cultural views that aren’t necessarily what we would predict. I think my archaeological and anthropological background have a strong influence in this book. 😀

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  4. My curiosity is definitely piqued!
    It looks very cold where you are. The weather here is very varied – from freezing cold with bitter winds to warm(ish) sunny days with blue skies!

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    • Good, the scene is having the desired effect! It is definitely cold here. At least the snow has stopped, and we only had a couple of inches. But it’s a chilly 34F (barely above freezing), which is below normal for this time of year. We’re supposed to get even colder for a few days this next week, which won’t be fun at all. I would really like some of your warmish, sunny days—we can get them, too, around here. And they’d be very welcome to stay!

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  5. Ooh, definite interest-piqueing excerpt! I’m still waiting for snow over here! We had quite a big storm with a tidal surge at the end of last week, one of the biggest warnings was for just a few miles away from us, and my kids’ schools closed for the day as a precaution. There was some flooding in the area, but I think it’s all ok again now. Other than that, it’s been chilly but mostly not bitter.

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    • So good to hear, Vanessa! I would happily send you some snow if I could, but, alas, that is beyond my abilities. Tidal surges? I’m glad we don’t have to deal with those here in the foothills! But winter storms can bring coastal flooding to the low-lying areas on Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Those nor’easters are usually the worst of our winter storms. I’m hoping this will be like some past years, where early winter is actually the coldest and snowiest. Fingers are crossed!

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  6. Sounds like your weather is perfect for snuggling up to a good book…so hurry up and finish, lol. Someone posted a Continental US weather map with temps ranging from sub temps to freezing in most states with the only hold out being here in Florida which was warm enough to go for an afternoon swim.

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    • Alas, I’m not making as much progress as I would like this month. Work has gotten really busy, and when you combine that with the holidays, well, the word counts tend to fall. I’m hoping for better results in January! I know this cold and snow does happen this early out here, but I get spoiled by the milder weather we often have. Growing up in Illinois, I wouldn’t have thought anything of 34 degrees in December. Now in Maryland? That’s too cold!

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    • That’s so great to hear, SHBG! 😀 I’m really doing my best to make this the final version of the story and then be able to focus on polishing (rather than more major revisions) when I finish this draft. Fingers crossed!

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  7. It certainly does pique my interest. 🙂

    I thought of you this morning as I read USA Today and saw that the worst of the NE storm was centered around your area (well, at least where I think your area is). Up to 6 inches of snow throughout the day and starting around rush hour this morning. Hope you came out okay! (Isn’t it funny how bloggers we’ve never ‘met’ crop into our minds throughout the day? 🙂 )

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    • That’s reassuring to hear, Carrie. 🙂 Happily, the snow event was less than predicted. We only had a couple of inches fall today. And I’m glad of it. Some people, of course, are complaining that the government shut down for the day. But they’re likely the same people who would slam a decision to stay open where people were injured on the commute, especially when that’s when the snow was heaviest. Better safe than sorry when it comes to lives, I think.

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  8. My curiosity and interest is also piqued–definitely.
    We’re actually expecting snow here in Seattle–very rare for us. It’s been below freezing for over a week now and maybe the snow will fall this low (usually it stays in the mountains where we want it for skiing). I’ve had to thaw out hummingbird food and keep bird feeders full–the poor things were starving. Our hummers can usually make it through our mild winters here but the freeze takes away their natural food. We must be one of the few households feeding hummers because half a dozen of the little ones have been fighting over the two feeders.

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  9. It’s so good of you to keep those hummingbird feeders up and available! When we owned houses, we had a variety of feeders, and when winter storms hit, we knew the local birds must have been grateful that we kept them filled and accessible. But so many people don’t carry through when the weather turns bad. And yet that’s when the extra food and water is most needed.

    Ah, Seattle. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Washington State, including Seattle, and have also been there for professional meetings. Beautiful city and country, although, I don’t think I could take the gray winters and an active volcano for a neighbor. 😉 Still, that Pacific coastline is beautiful, even more so, I must admit, than our nearby Atlantic coast.

    Now, if I can just finish the new draft on my tentative schedule….

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  10. Yay – I love time traveling through books! I like your rifting term. That makes it sound even more fun. Love your last line too. The snow photo is fun especially with the additional wordpress snow going on, but it still doesn’t seem like you’ve got that much. 🙂 We’re getting buried right about now and I’m hoping against hope for a snow day tomorrow. It’s a little too slushy though so unfortunately the snow probably won’t stay long enough.

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    • Ah, that was an early photo from Sunday, when the snow had just started. We got 3.5 inches then, followed by freezing rain before it moved out. Today we had another 2 inches, which was a heck of a lot better than the 6 inches they predicted. 🙂 But next Saturday sounds like it could be another mess. And it’s supposed to be worse further north. I think I saw 12-15 inches for parts of New England. Winter can wrap up now! 😉

      Scenes like this were missing from the first version of the book. We’d hear about “rifting” but not really see it in action. And when I decided on this scene and drafted it, I was struck by how much it improved the story. I guess I’m learning, right? 🙂

      Stay warm and dry, and I hope you get that snow day!

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      • I hate to admit it but I guess that whole show don’t tell thing makes some sense. Thank you – I’ll be hoping for lots more snow! I guess 12-15 inches would be a lot. Then we might be able to stay in and just read and write. 🙂

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        • “Show don’t tell” has been the most difficult concept for me to grasp. And even though I might be getting the hang of it (just barely), I still think there are times when “tell” is the best way to move a section forward!

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  11. So curious as to what happens next. Thanks for sharing your writing. I have to start doing that too on my blog, but it does take courage. You got it! Thank you for inspiring me. Weather in the Vancouver area is not great either. A dusting of slushy snow on the roads. Problem is, it never gets as cold as in the rest of the country, and that creates havoc on the roads.

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  12. It is a bit nerve wracking to put these tidbits out here, especially since they truly are first drafts from my PerNoWriMo. And I hope readers know that they can be honest in their comments and let me know if something isn’t working to their ears.

    We didn’t get as much snow as predicted, which is fine with me. What we’ve had so far is plenty for the winter as far as I’m concerned! Drivers out here are bad enough when the weather’s fine. They’re a threat to life and limb when the snow falls. Hopefully we’ll all see some respite from the worst of the weather!

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  13. Very techo JM – I’m in for more! I just delivered 6 boxes of pizza up to school in a hail storm – it’s summer now here!! Melbourne. Weather. Anything can happen. Your scene is looking pretty bleak too 😦

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  14. Very techo JM! I’m in for more! I just delivered 6 pizzas up to school in a hail storm – it’s summer here now. Melbourne. Weather. Anything can happen. Your scene is looking fairly bleak too 😦

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    • So good to hear, Gemma! I just hope I can make all the scenes entertaining and do their jobs of moving the story forward. 🙂

      We’ve got sun today, but it’s cold enough that we’re not seeing much melting. And now there’s a chance for another bout of ice and snow on Saturday. I really hope we’re warm enough that it’ll be rain! And I hope your hail didn’t do any damage. It’s rare by us, but I grew up with it being fairly common in the summer back in the Midwest. Luckily not the baseball-sized stuff they can get in the Plains!

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  15. Woohoo, very exciting, JM. I get the sense that Landry is getting a bigger role in the story. I know you mentioned that to me, but based on the past couple of snippets his character feels more developed. Great job!

    We got a 1-2 punch from two different storms on Monday and Tuesday, but not severe enough to cancel school or take out the power. The trees are pretty; they look like they’re frosted with snow.

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    • Thanks, Kate. 🙂 I really hope to provide more insight into life in the 24th century through Landry’s actions, thoughts, and words. And I think that will help flesh him out and show his motivations as a character. We’ll see when this draft is done!

      From what I see of the weekend forecast, you might get hit with another punch of snow. I saw up to a foot in New England! If that happens, the trees might not be visible under all that snow!

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  16. Pique accomplished! I like the clipped nature of this tidbit, counting down the seconds. Did you actually count, or did you just estimate? (I ask because I tried to do this, too, in a recent firefight chapter, and the counting through action and dialogue was driving me a bit batty!)

    Hopefully, your three-letter-word did not cause any undue trouble or incidents. We had weather, too, but the fluffy stuff turned to slush within a day, and now, we’ve just got some lingering cold to deal with. It would make for a good reason to stay in and do some writing (if only I didn’t have to go to work). 😉

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    • Thanks, Mayumi. 🙂 I came up with the 15 seconds for the countdown and then tried to keep the descriptions and dialogue short to match by estimating the time needed for the dialogue. If it ends up striking betas as “not enough time,” I can always add a few seconds to the countdown. 😉 I have to admit, even though a rebuild is a huge amount of work—I am enjoying these new scenes. And I think they are an improvement, which is scary to think because I thought earlier scenes were good, too. But despite my nerves and doubt, I do have a better feeling about this version.

      It looks like the weather could be wild and woolly for us this upcoming weekend, too. We’re not getting much melting today, but at least there’s some. So much for the mild winter I saw in most predictions! I’ll have to hope that things moderate in January, which often happens. Stay warm and dry!

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  17. I also assumed Landry was from the past, so it’s made me even more intrigued about where the story is going. Love the writing – very sharp and believable. No snow for us – we had enormous tidal surges that flooded the coast last week, but it’s been quite mild for the past few days.

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    • Some of the things I find fascinating about culture are how aspects of it seem to swing like a pendulum through time while others can remain unchanged. And this story allows me to write about those ideas and apply some of my anthropological and archaeological background to them. I hope I’ll do it in a way that holds readers’ attention and interest through the entire story. Those tidal surges must be something to see—from a safe distance. I’ve never lived close enough to an ocean to experience them. I think I’m more of a dry land sort of girl!

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  18. I’m so late to this,JM and I hope you are surviving the cold! It must feel very Christmasy though. I love the “rift” thing. So imaginative and I can’t wait to hear where it is Landry gets to.

    It is 60 and raining where I am and it’s supposed to be 70 next week! I hope you and yours are staying warm.

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    • Hi, Brigitte, good to see you! I know I keep saying this, but I think I’m on the right track this time with the story. Time (and betas!) will tell, though. 😉

      I’m really hoping we’re done with snow, sleet, and freezing rain for a while, like for another year! Sometimes when we have earlier bad weather like this, the rest of it is mild. That’s what I’m hoping for this time around, too. Enjoy your mild weather! 🙂

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  19. Interest piqued? Check
    Snow? Check!
    Freezing and Cold? Check and Check
    Great sci-fi book about time rifting? Can’t wait to say Check to that one JM 🙂

    This scene is great! I was totally into it – loved the fast dialogue and description. And in reading through your comments – I love to hear you say “I have to admit, even though a rebuild is a huge amount of work—I am enjoying these new scenes. And I think they are an improvement, which is scary to think because I thought earlier scenes were good, too. But despite my nerves and doubt, I do have a better feeling about this version.” That is great news!

    Keep it up – you seem to be on a roll! Have a great weekend. I’ll be out there shoveling soon so we can get out there. We still have Christmas shopping to do!

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    • Thanks so much, Arlene! 🙂 I’ve got my fingers crossed that work will settle down a bit after the New Year so I can spend more quality time writing this rebuild. I know there’s existing time I should more effectively, but I also believe we occasionally need to be “less productive” so we can recharge our energy and creativity. Maybe the busy holidays are a good time for that. Yeah, I’m going with that! 🙂

      I can’t remember seeing anyone extending the concept of a “rift in time” to verb form, but I suspect someone out there has done it. Still, I don’t think it’s too common a term…. But, even if it’s not original, there’s only so many ways to describe a concept, right? 🙂

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  20. Our weather has been bad too! We got an ice storm, then a snow storm last week. This weekend 8 inches of snow +icing on top Saturday. We may have a very white Christmas. Too bad it derailed my December plans to go into the city.

    Intriguing snippet. I like how you are handling the time travel. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Kourtney. 🙂 I hope readers will find this to be a different—and interesting—take on time travel. Especially if I can finish this first story and then continue with a series of at least a few books. I’m hoping once the holidays are past that I’ll get back into my November groove.

      Enough of the winter weather already, right? Missing out on a trip to the city doesn’t sound fun!

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  21. Oh, Brrrrr. Hope it’s warmed up some. We’re in between fronts and may hit 70 shortly…which sounds great except all the wide weather swings wrecks plants who are totally confuse and my sinuses suffer during each transition.
    People were upset things shut down due to possible weather? They do that everywhere – why should DC be any different…oh, government workers don’t matter. Odd. It’s always great when they forecast severe flooding, school don’t open, then it’s sunny all day. Not always good at predicting weather.
    Can’t wait to read your updated story – sounds cool
    WP is really quirky right now…very hard to leave comments…wonder what “amazing new thing” they are getting ready to give us…

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    • It’s still been cold, but we could hit upper 60s and even 70 down in DC, too, this weekend. I’m not a big fan of the big swings, either—I get some tough sinus pressure and headaches from them. It probably keeps the pansy growers in business, though.

      It seems to me that the forecasts are wrong more frequently than they used to be. I’ve heard there were some satellites that went down and weren’t all replaced, but I also wonder if the changing climate is making the old models obsolete….

      I’ve noticed ta huge slow down in keyboard response on comments. I know it’s happening on my blog and others with the snow feature. If it keeps up, I’ll have to consider turning it off.

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