Gonna make this brief, because I want to get back to writing. A couple days ago, I had a telephone story conference with my agent, Don Maass, about Blackheart Man, my novel-in-progress. We'd originally planned to do so in person over the course of a few days, but that didn't work out. So Skype it was. Don is one of the best book and writing doctors I know. In the course of a two-hour conversation, he helped me get at the heart of what Blackheart Man is about, diagnosed my writing practice and its strengths and challenges, and suggested a few practical strategies for knitting the story elements together and keeping the goal of each chapter top of mind as I write. I've spent the past couple of days making notes and replotting the novel. A lot is coming clear. I've had a bunch of insights about how to use scenes and plot points that were originally random. I've had ideas for new scenes, and I know why I want them. I can feel the story knitting together like a fractured bone, healing. So exciting! For the first time in a long time, my fingers are twitching to get at the story, rather than my having to force myself through reluctance and lack of volition. My brain chemistry may still make the going tough, but for now, I'm exhilarated. I have to run a few quick errands now -- you know, the usual daily round of self-maintenance stuff -- and then I'll be back to working on my novel. Can't wait.