02 January, 2014

Hello, Library Card, let's be friends!

I'm usually good about bringing a book to work with me, or at least bringing something with me to keep myself occupied for my full hour of lunch. Today, I messed up, though, and forgot to bring anything with me. In my quest to find something to read, my coworker recommended I log onto our library's website and read one of the many thousand ebooks that are available. In fact, she told me I could read the next book in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series by borrowing it from the digital library.

Let me be honest -- the last time I used the public library was when I was still in high school, and this was eight years ago before ebooks got a foothold. I'd forgotten about the library, and I shouldn't've. The last time I used the library (when I first started Pratchett's books back in high school), was to check out Pratchett's books from a very limited selection -- i.e. Good Omens with Neil Gaiman, and Soul Music. My choices back then were very limited, very limited indeed.

But as I sat there listening to my coworker tell me that Pratchett's books were all in digital form, I realized the ol' days of waiting weeks for a book to be checked back in, to be shipped from one district to mine, were long gone.

I jumped on the library's page with every intent of downloading the next book, Interesting Times, to keep myself occupied, only to realize I'd forgotten my ID number. A brief search of the page advised me to call the library, so I did.

Sadly to discover that the library card I'd had since I was four years old was gone, deleted from their system. Apparently, and I didn't know this, but if you don't use your card within five years, it goes inactive. Well, geez, here I thought every time I checked out a book from my college library that it was counted since, hey, the two libraries were linked don'tcha know?

Except that wasn't the case, so I was forced to get a new card after I left work this evening. For all of the five minutes it took me, I came to realize how neglectful I'd been. I mean, that was my library card that I'd had since I was four years old, and now it was no more. My library card was my best friend growing up, and going off to college had separated us, and then job hunting had driven us apart even more. If only I'd checked out a book when I got back from college, I could've still had my card.

But now I've got a new friend -- he's kinda cute, kinda small, fits on a keychain if I like. I just gotta bit a responsible owner with him and make sure I feed him regularly, starting with the next book in the Discworld series.

Since I've got that part of my life sorted and made a new friend in the process, I think it's time to mention where I stand with Uncertain Heirs. Yes, after taking November to do NaNoWriMo and December to recover from NaNoWriMo, I'm finally back in the saddle and working on Chapter 8 of 12. I edited the first scene last night, and my intent is to finish editing the rest of the chapter tonight.

Okay, lemme be serious, I'll probably manage one scene tonight, and if that's the case, then I'm okay with that because progress is progress. A good book is like any piece of fine art. You can get the general shape on the first few passes, but you gotta take your time with the details or else it doesn't look right in the end. I have decided, though, that once I finish the third draft, I'm going back to chapters 1 and 2 and giving them the proper care they deserve. Once I have those fixed up, I'm going to do it -- I'm going to put together a letter and query me some agents.

It's a big step for me, and I can only hope that my letter can do the story enough justice to convince at least one agent to say, "Hello, Ash, let's be friends!" It'll be a win-win for the both of us, me hopes :)

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Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.