So the Archives Don't Work...

...and the links haven't been put in. Well, I wanted to use this thing and that's what I'm going to do. I'll probably work on it more tonight when I have time (and a decent program), but that's enough for now. Work to do and stuff to write.
Caro | 12:48 PM

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

Looks like I finally got the skin pretty much the way I want it. Now, there are still some things to fix (the links, etc.), but I like the way it's holding up. I'm getting away from really ornate things, looking for elegance and streamline. Art Deco as opposed to Art Nouveau. Now all I need to do is update my main webpage and I'll be happy.

On the front of all things Buffy (What? You couldn't guess?), looks like I'm going to heading down to Tower Records tomorrow to see if I can get a copy of "Once More With Feeling" signed by the infamous Joss Whedon. I have no idea if it's going to be a riot or a stroll-in or if we'll bother to stay. We'll go down and see.

Off to finish adding stuff to the template and maybe even get some work and writing done.

Caro | 11:44 AM


I am wasting more time...

...updating the template for this stupid thing, but I'm determined to get it to work.
Caro | 3:53 PM


Hopefully, the new skin took.
Caro | 5:22 PM

Well, let's look at two months since the last update. Busy, busy time and I'm trying to sort out some things in my life, so this will probably become less a blog about fanfic and more a blog to serve as an on-line journal.

Happy news? Buffy's new season starts tomorrow, for which I am eternally jazzed. I've been a huge spoilerwhore and eagerly got up to read Leoff's Wildfeed this morning. It's going to be good!

I originally had a huge whine about the Ducks board and the delusional nature of rabid B/A shippers, but I realized there's no use complaining about it. They don't live in the real world, can't see anything beyond the perfect "image." They won't listen to reason, and facts don't seem to enter into the equation. It's all about "twu wuv." Y'know, the stuff that lives on in fairytales and you never have to actually work at anything, stuff just glides along perfectly? Dismiss, forget about them and their pap.

On to better things. Updating the website as best I can, which is going to be fun this evening because I'm going to get it up, now that I've realized my color scheme.

Tonight me head is buzzing. Tomorrow will bring better things, though.

Caro | 12:33 PM


A month. It's taken a bloody month for me to get back to this blog. There are moments when I wonder why I'm still doing it, but I know that if I delete it, I'll immediately want it again. Save myself the trouble, just try to keep updating whenever.

I do think I'll change the skin, though. I'm getting a little burned out on that look, want something better. Besides, I'm procrastinating on my lastest fic. Yes, we are up to Episode Eleven of my Magic Box series, which wasn't supposed to be a series in the first place and then was supposed to be only eight pieces.

I'm thinking it's going to be at least twenty. Maybe more.


Caro | 1:15 PM


I was going to update my works in progress, but Blogger isn't letting me into my template. Searching is now up and I'm working on Discoveries, the next stroy in the Magic Box series. Also, I'm not certain where I'm going with the Letters series, so Brief Note may never happen.

So many fics. So little time.

Caro | 4:01 PM

Saturday was an incredibly productive day, with lots of fic feedback sent out and a good chunk of the new story written. Today, I'm jazzed because the offer is official and unless I've done something so hideously stupid that they don't want me around, I'll be a full-time associate come the 22nd.

So jazzed. I'm thinking of writing a "Buffy gets a job" fic in celebration, but may hold off until the paperwork is signed. Still, I'm jazzed.

Caro | 3:56 PM


It's amazing! It's a Saturday and I'm actually updating my blog. Well, I'm pretty much spending most of today at the computer since my husband's taping a Stargate SG-1 marathon on Showtime. Don't blame him, but I'm just not in the mood to watch at the moment. Instead, I'm bouncing back and forth between my e-mail, the web and the new story I'm writing. At some point, I do need to get Searching up on the web, but right now I want to keep writing.

If I want to do that, why am I blogging? Because I'm trying to think of the right way for Buffy to handle the frontal assault of the nerds, and this is a momentary distraction. Wait, I think I got it. Later.

Caro | 2:53 PM


Accidentally dumped my first posting, but I'll live. It's Friday and the office is real quiet today -- as soon as I get the work done I need to get done, I'm out of here. (Speaking of which, I should stop playing on the web and do it, but that's another story.)

Manuscripts are both gone to NYC and I've gotten one set of scores back. Need to go looking for certificates this weekend so I can get this all set up and finished. We'll go by Papyrus; that should have something unique looking I can use. I may put some color on it, depending on the paper. Also, I'm going to start packing the manuscripts up for return and the first batch is going out tomorrow. Have to do letters to go with them tonight and finish up my e-mail to other people about the contest.

I'm no longer scared about looking at my main e-mail address and I feel I can take responsibility for not doing many of the things I should have done. It's been a long road to get here and I've learned some valuable lessons. I need to change routines, need to start doing my morning planning again. There are going to be two sessions of that -- one at home where I plan what I need done for myself and ten minutes at work where I figure out what needs to happen that day. Time to get the Franklin updated and going again. Funny, it seems like forever since I've used it and I really need to update the address pages this weekend. Need to order the Circa phone book as well, so we can have that for the house.

Searching is finished and starting to receive reviews. I'm getting some very positive feedback from people and it's more healing than one could possibly imagine. I'm also learning that I won't please everyone and I don't need to try to. I need to write my story and that's the most important thing. This is both healing and learning. I'm growing more and more confident about my story telling ability and I'm starting to think that I might actually have a chance to make this work. I'm ready to start with Discoveries the next story in the series, and I'm hoping that will go fairly fast so we can move on to the meat of the situation.

Back to work now so I can get the hell out of here.

Caro | 10:19 AM


Sing praise and hallelujah! I've gotten the last judge I need and can get the last three manuscripts off to NY to be judged. I owe two very special ladies some gifts because of their generosity and kindness. I've been starting to feel a bit like Blanche DuBois in the last few weeks, desperately relying on the kindness of strangers. Not fun at all. Sometimes we must, but I've been doing it a little too often this year.

Tonight, no matter how much I wish to go and play in my version of the Buffyverse, I need to get things together to get the Royal Ascot stuff out of the house. I want this all done and gone by Saturday afternoon, which will be just fine with me. I've screwed up and the time has come to take my lumps. Life didn't go like I expected and I pulled the covers over my head. If it had not been for the kindness of some wonderful people, I would have screwed this not just for myself, but for many others. Time to take my medicine.

Enough of beating myself over the head. I need to get moving and get on with it. Over the next few weeks I'll be spending a great deal of time on my e-mail apologizing for what I've done, but I can stop being afraid of what I'll find. Time for me to pull back seriously (for real this time) and re-trench. My own house needs to be in order, no matter how trite a phrase that can be.

Still feeling relatively good, no downturn on the fire I talked about Friday. It's time to get on with my life; I've been treading water too long. New job, new projects -- all of this is of the good, but it only will be if I manage to focus myself. More journaling is needed, some of it having to do with fic, some not. I need to get my turmoil out, need to feel better about myself. To be honest, I haven't felt very good and its affected all aspects of my life. No fun, let's not do that again.

There will be changes and that is always scary, but I can go with it. I love my life and I love my husband. I love my writing and all of that is worth fighting for. I've been losing the war because I haven't been showing up. Time to stop.

Tomorrow is July 4. I don't have to go to work and Friday will be pretty quiet. I have four days to concentrate of getting myself together, to seeing to my needs and working through some of the junk. It won't solve everything, but it will help a whole helluva a lot. What I'm looking for is grounding, something I've been lacking. Tomorrow is Independence Day. Time for some freedom.

For any who are interested, the next Magic Box story should be done by this evening.

Caro | 10:09 AM


Not surprisingly, I didn't get to my blog this weekend. I did, however, get a bunch of writing done and started working out an idea for the "Cleveland Vampire" which is my own spin on the Jossverse. This is stuff that I might actually be able to sell, which would be welcome.

Still have much of that fired up feeling I had Friday, which is good because it means it lasted over the weekend. Perhaps it's getting to the end of the commitments, perhaps it's the job situation, I don't know. I do know that I want to keep on this path because it's positive.

So here's to positive on Monday. What a concept.

Caro | 10:28 AM


Managed to get at least one judge for the bloody contest, so that's half my work done. Have to send it off via FedEx today (and have to write a letter to her to cover things). Still need to get the second judge, but we'll get there and it will get done. Of that I'm sure of now.

That's a load off my mind and I'm looking forward to having the contest done. Files will start going out tomorrow, dropped into the mail with the required extra postage. My living is going to get cleaned up this weekend because I need to start sewing and I need a place to work. That means catboxes, stuff piled on tables, all of that has to get out. Need to take measurements and draw a new sloper because I'm sure I'm not the same size. I've already got fabric and I'm going to order more at some point this weekend, but the point is to get the wardrobe upgraded as quickly as I can. If I really am going to be an FTE at my work, a number of things needs to change to make me more of an asset.

I feel fired up today -- perhaps it's because things are actually happening. I am moving forward at last -- the last four years have been beneficial, but I was starting to get into a holding pattern and I need to be shaken out of it. It's happening now, which is good. I want to write, I want to get my place cleaned up, I want to move forward. Baby steps. I need to remind myself of that, but it's very tempting to feel like taking leaps. Don't want to go too fast or two slow; with one I'll get bored and not finished, while the other will burn me out and I won't finish. Let's move forward at a nice steady pace and things will be better.

On the fic front, Searching is moving forward and I feel confident enough to actually post a bit of it here. Enjoy.

As long as he needed to be there to open the shop, Spike didn't see any reason why he should change his morning ritual just because Giles was back in town. Besides, the workout cleared his head, made a good start for the day. The hot shower afterwards didn't hurt either.

Still, mindful that there were likely more than a few things Giles would want to discuss before the shop opened at ten, he did take care to watch the time and make certain he was finished and dressed well before the watcher could be reasonably expected. Opening prep was speedily dispatched and Spike settled comfortably at the research table with his morning cuppa when Giles arrived at a quarter to nine. "I usually didn't open the grates until just before opening."

"Easier to do when I don't have to worry about the sun burning me. Do it at the same time I sweep down the sidewalk."

Giles seemed a bit surprised and more than a little pleased. "You do the sidewalk every morning?"

Spike put his mug down and looked up from the book he'd been perusing. "I'm not supposed to? I just remembered seeing shopkeepers do it and assumed…"

"No, no. No problem." Giles cut him off with a wave. "It's just that I could never get Anya to see the value in it. I do adore her, but if she doesn't see an immediate return on investment, she often doesn't understand why it's necessary. That you would do it…thank you."

The morning was getting off to a good start and Spike felt himself relax some. "There's hot water on if you want it, and I made sure to clean out a mug."

Giles, box of tea tucked under his arm, headed for the hot water and Spike took advantage of the silence to read a few more pages, not closing the book until Giles joined him at the table. "*Origins and Legends of the Vampire Slayer.* Any particular reason you're reading that?"

Spike shrugged. "Just trying to get a handle on our girl, see if I can figure out what makes her tick." He drained the last of his cocoa and started for the back to rinse the mug.

"Does this have to do with what you said yesterday about Buffy coming back wrong?"

He stopped, wondering exactly how to answer the question. "Two separate things, mate. One is learning where Slayers come from, why they are the way they are. I've been interested in that for over a century, for which you can thank dear old Angel. Didn't know they existed until he told me."

Sensing it would be some time before he got a chance to finish the task he'd started on, Spike put his mug on the coffee supply and turned toward Giles. "As for the other, it's not a question of 'if'; it's a question of how."

To all outward appearances, Giles was calm. The suit he wore was neatly pressed, tie coordinating elegantly with his shirt. His shoulders looked relaxed beneath the tailored jacket, but Spike could sense the heart move a little faster, a slight shift in his scent with changing emotions. "What makes you so certain?"

"Don't pretend you don't have doubts that wake you in the middle of the night." Spike moved back to the table, resting his hands on the smooth surface as he leaned forward. "You have a pretty good idea what type of dark magic the witch used to bring Buffy back and you know that it's all too easy to bollix it up. You know it, I know it and Red knows that we know. That's why we were cut out. Now, those that done it don't want to admit something's gone wrong and we're left to pick up the pieces."

He was pushing harder than he had wanted, but Spike needed Giles to understand how serious things were. Since Tara had told him about her discoveries regarding the resurrection spell, his mind had turned constantly to the difficulties represented by them and they kept coming back to the same thing. He needed an ally, though, someone who knew the magic, who could help him uncover the truth. First, however, he had to avoid getting staked.

"You don't know for certain whatever's wrong is the result of a spell," Giles said softly. "For the symptoms Buffy's displaying, it could well be a post-traumatic stress reaction, a need to reconnect with the world."

Again, a slight shift in the heart rate, scent. Spike could feel his hunting skills go into full swing, using what he'd been taught so long ago to judge which way Giles might jump. "But she's not connecting." He kept his voice soft, matching Giles' tone. "Buffy does her best, but it's not working. And I *am* certain, as certain as I can possibly be."

Giles did not respond but looked at him expectantly. Caution and wariness as was expected, but he could see the glimmer of doubt in the watcher's eye, the tiniest hint he wanted something that could prove or disprove his fears. And Spike could give it to him.

Carefully, he straightened, checking to make certain there were no wooden implements at hand. "My chip doesn't work on Buffy anymore. Works just fine on everyone else, but doesn't work on her."

Caro | 10:26 AM


Well, only two days between posting this time. I'm emotionally doing much better than I was previously. They are going to make me a job offer and I am going to accept, so life is good. I'm getting the writing contest taken care of, so that will be settled by this weekend. Need to get things back out and out of my house, which is what I'm going to work on doing tonight.

As for the writing itself, it's taken an interesting turn. I had an idea for a ficlet, which grew into a series of ficlets, which has now turned into a long story (but may be cut down some). However, I suddenly had the idea for the backstory and it's something I want to write -- and I mean really want to write. It's a romance novel, a classic one, told in flashbacks and present day, multiple viewpoints and all the things I'm not supposed to do in my straight fiction writing. I also think it's a good story that might one day get turned into a legit novel, so I'm going for it. I'm not going to tell my husband about this one for some time because he won't like it and he most especially won't like the idea of me spending time -- make that wasting time, from his POV -- on this. I don't think it's wasting time because I'm learning from what I write and I'm turning out more stuff on a steady basis. The other writing is coming and the fact that I'm starting to think in those terms is a good sign.

Caro | 9:56 AM


Another twelve days since I've updated, which I'm not happy with. I'm trying not to beat on myself, however, because there is so much I need to do and so much that is going on.

First and foremost on my mind at the moment is the job situation. They've been dangling a carrot in front of me for some time now that they would convert me to FTE and all sorts of good stuff. In fact, this is the third time that such a carrot has been dangled. I'm starting to feel hideously frustrated with the idea that they might possibly cut me loose on Friday and figure I'll come trotting back like a good girl.

There are times I'm too good, too eager to "get along" for my own good. That's always been one of my problems -- the willingness to say "sure, I'll do it" when I really shouldn't, when it's not good for me. What's ripping me up at this moment is that the carrot this time is a really good opportunity and I don't want to lose that.

What's ripping me even more at this moment is that I have totally and completely fucked the writing contest I'm coordinating. I will never be able to show my face with this group again, I'm afraid. It's all my fault and I'm really sorry for it, but there's nothing I can do. Well, I can get on the phone and try to round someone up, but that's the best I can do. I'm going to calm down and call another victim in a few minutes. There's got to be someone I can sucker into this.

I am so screwed. I should have given this contest up months ago, but I just pushed it away. Live and learn and I will have to deal with my mistakes.

On the writing front, I finished the next story in the Magic Box series -- what was formerly called Confessional is now called Business Matters. The next piece will be called Searching and is already under way.

Caro | 10:35 AM


I'm updating this thing today, damn it -- even if it kills me.

I've been aching to get back to this blog, get my thoughts down and haven't been able to. In fact, the last few weeks have been terribly frustrating because I've felt my focus fragment almost completely. I went into hide mode again, which is a Bad Thing. Now, however, I feel like I might actually make it, might actually come out of the dark.

I don't know why I went into the dark in the first place. I think part of it was because my heart just wasn't in it anymore. That's a bad thing. I was doing fine, seemed to be riding high, then all of a sudden around Thanksgiving I crashed. Well, the fact I was likely going to be unemployed at the beginning of January probably worried me a lot, but there were other things. I really hate my in-laws and the seasonal period is beginning to become a trial to me. That's something I need to do something about, and something that has to be done fast. We're almost halfway through the year and I can't afford to go into that type of spiral once we hit the November/December mayhem. I need to be kind to myself, keep myself writing because the writing is part of what keeps me going.

Most importantly, I need to have fun with the writing. I lost that fun at some point and I'm only now regaining it. The thoughts are definitely turning as to which way I want to go, and I'm trying to find my way. The good part is that I'm looking again, something which I hadn't been doing for some time. I can tell when that happens because I start to shy away from strength in my writing, retreat into my shell. Confessional has been stalled because I realized that was happening, that Giles and Spike were being too nice to each other. I got through their confrontation very nicely, but what comes after it needs to be re-done because that's got the same feel -- the characters are holding back. I'm not talking about characters holding back as a story point; I'm talking about me shying away from writing emotion. You want example? Read my previous entry (June 1) and the piece I posted from Confessional. Now read what's below:

Spike's head jerked up, a sudden flare of anger turning blue eyes darker. "You really want to know? I got tired of hearing Harris and Red self-righteously flap their mouths about things they don't know a damn thing about and snapped."

"They were here when it happened?" Giles wasn't surprised there had been a confrontation; things between Xander and Spike had seen a cease-fire during the summer, but the hostilities had begun to escalate once more after Buffy's return, neither side behaving particularly well. "Was this when you decided to 'disinvite' him?"

"No, that was…" Spike stopped, let his head drop back and took a deep breath, releasing it in a sigh, none of which seemed to do anything for the tension in his body. "Bloody hell, you'll hear it anyway. Probably better me than Xander."

It took only a second for the pieces to fall into place. "You finally convinced Buffy to sleep with you."

Spike blinked. "Well, I was going to actually try to avoid that part, but, yeah. Always knew you were quick on the uptake."

"And Xander has, not surprisingly, taken exception." With an effort, Giles managed to keep his tone calm, though the idea of staking suddenly seemed very attractive.

"Got it in one," Spike said with a faint hint of his usual sneer. "Red as well. They've both been worrying at her, trying to convince her it was a bad thing. Don't seem to give a damn what she thinks or what might make her happy."

"And *is* Buffy happy?" Giles didn't bother to hide his annoyance. He could already see that this discussion would end badly; the best he could hope would be to pay Spike off and tell him to stay the hell out of the shop. Pity. Spike had actually been useful for once.

He'd expected a smirk; what he got was a glower. "Do I look like Buffy's happy?"

"You shouldn't be surprised if she's having second thoughts now that it's public." Giles replaced his glasses and stuffed the handkerchief back in his pocket. "I must say that I don't approve of the liaison and if Buffy asks my opinion, I shall tell her so."

"And doesn't the moral high ground sound lovely, Rupert." With a look of disgust, Spike dropped the papers he held, not bothering to notice that several them fluttered to the floor as he stalked from behind the counter. "The irony of this is that the girl and I were quits before they found out. Didn't seem to matter to them."

"You've known Xander for what, almost five years now? Are you surprised he'd be angry at you over this?"

"I'd be surprised if he wasn't. Should have taken a bite out of the whelp when Angel gave me the opportunity. I can live with them hating me; it's nothing I haven't dealt with before. What I won't have is Red and Harris hounding Buffy about what's gone on, worrying her and making her feel something less than she is."

Spike had begun to pace, putting Giles in mind of a panther in a cage; if one got too close or careless, he was still dangerous. "The girl needs is support and she's getting precious little from her so-called friends. What I hear from Dawn…what I've heard from *Buffy*…Tara's doing what she can, but you know havin' those nearest and dearest rake her over the coals is bringing her down."

There was a proprietary air to his words: *I don't like them messing with my woman.* "If Buffy has ended it, then it is hardly your concern," was Giles' instinctive reply.

Several months away from the Hellmouth and Giles had forgotten how quickly vampires could move. One moment Spike was almost on the other side of the shop; the next, he was in Giles' face. "You expect me to act like Angelus or Captain Cardboard and go running when things get messy? I love her, Watcher. Deny it all you want, but doesn't change the truth of it and I'm not going to abandon her like every other man in her life."

Spike backed away, but the accusation was still there in his eyes. Giles had left, too. "You give a damn about her, don't go judging her or telling her you don't approve. She's confused and frightened as hell. No matter what Tara says, whatever Red did to bring her back, something went wrong."

His words echoed Giles' own thoughts and fears regarding Buffy's return, fears he'd come to believe no one else shared. Before he could speak, however, ask Spike what led him to this conclusion, the bell over the shop door reappeared, signaling Tara's return. She got only few steps in before she stopped, taking in the scene with wary eyes. "Everything alright?"

This is the same scene, just re-written. I think you can see the difference. I've done some rewriting on what follows, but I need the mood to be tenser. Everyone should be tense here; things are getting close to the breaking point. There are odd moments of calm, but we're coming up on more action.

So, having said that, I'm off to work on it, as well as some stuff for Bad Boy.

Caro | 10:59 AM


Feeling a bit fuzzy this morning, although I did manage to get a decent night's sleep. I've been putzing on the computer for about three hours and have managed to get neither e-mail nor writing done. Not happy with myself for that. Mind is going fuzzy too often of late and I haven't been concentrating like I should. Have to wonder sometimes if there's something else wrong that I'm not identifying.

Could be seasonal depression. I actually don't like the spring here in So Cal very much. It's hot then wet, and I feel a bit cranky because I never actually have time to enjoy it; I'm always winding up for something. Right now, the only thing I have is that damn contest -- for which I have not gotten a final round judge, I might add -- and then I'm free. No conventions, conferences or anything of that nature. I can write, sew and focus on my life.

I have to wonder if sometimes the stuff I get myself involved in is a way of avoiding my life. It's not the way I want it, although there are some damn good parts of it. Need to get myself back on an even keel, possibly sneak off early to bed tonight with my hub -- after all, it's not like we have responsibilities at church tomorrow, so we can happily sleep in if we want. That would be nice, and something I want to do on a more regular basis.

With it being summer, it should be much easier to avoid the temptation that is the television. All the Buffy episodes they're going to re-run that I want to watch I have on VCD, so it's not like I'm tied to actually watching the episodes on UPN. Maybe when we get later in the summer, when we'll start seeing ads for the new stuff. Of course, that's some of the most unpleasant episodes of the season, so that's not a particularly engaging pastime. Mostly, I want to get away from the TV so I can stake my claim to the computer in the evenings, throw my husband off and tell him he can't play games in the evening, I need to write. He has it all day; he needs to respect my space and time.

Problem is, he's not particularly happy at this point about the fact I'm writing mostly fan fic. He thinks I should be concentrating on "real" writing, doing things that might actually get published. It's hard to tell him that I feel burned out and hurt about the "real" writing and that the fic is helping me recapture the fun and joy of the writing. I'm getting ideas, like I've said and there's another idea that popped up today. Non-fic (although I had another one of those, too), but another romantic comedy. Tentative title is Sweet Dreams and the heroine keeps having daydreams. Not erotic fantasies (though she has those as well) but dreams of being anywhere but the boring job and the (perceived) boring life she's in. Naturally, we end up having a hero who comes along and helps her to realize that life is only as boring as you make it.

Words to live by. My life isn't boring; it's a lot of things, but boring it ain't. In fact, there are times I would live for a little boring -- things running smoothly and pleasantly with no great happenings. Gotta think of what the problem is for the book, and then I think I have a viable idea.

In the meantime, more of Confessional. The big question now is whether or not I will finish the story before I run out of things to post.

Giles slid his glasses back on as Spike's head jerked up. "You really want to know? I got tired of hearing Harris and Red self-righteously flap their mouths about things they don't know a damn thing about and snapped."

"So they were in here?" He shouldn't be surprised there was a confrontation; things between Xander and Spike had seen a cease-fire during the summer, but the hostilities had begun to escalate once more after Buffy's return, neither side behaving particularly well. "Was this when you decided to 'disinvite' him?"

"No, that was…" Spike stopped, let his head drop back and took a deep breath, releasing it in a sigh. "Bloody hell, you'll hear it anyway. Probably better me than Xander."

It took only a second for the pieces to fall into place. "You finally convinced Buffy to sleep with you."

Spike blinked. "Well, I was going to actually try to avoid that part, but, yeah. Always knew you were quick on the uptake."

"And Xander has, not surprisingly, taken exception."

"Got it in one. Red as well. They've both been worrying at her, trying to convince her it was a bad thing." Spike shook his head. "Don't seem to give a damn what she thinks or what might make her happy."

"And *is* Buffy happy?"

Giles expected a smirk. What he got was a glower. "Do I look like Buffy's happy?"

"You shouldn't be surprised if she's having second thoughts now that it's public. I must say that I don't approve of the liaison and if Buffy asks my opinion, I shall tell her so."

"And doesn't the moral high ground sound lovely, Rupert." Spike finally abandoned his position behind the counter, a defensive note creeping into his voice. "The irony of this is that the girl and I were quits before they found out. In fact, that's part of the reason it got out; Harris overheard us arguing."

"Arguing about her breaking up with you?" Giles felt that was a fair assumption; he couldn't see Spike willingly letting Buffy go once he had her. He'd proved far too single-minded for that.

Now Spike offered the slight, ironic smirk. "Actually, I was telling her that since she'd dumped me, she didn't have the right to object to other women buying me drinks. It was at the Chamber of Commerce mixer."

Giles tried to digest this information. The situation with Buffy and Spike was clearly more complicated than he'd first thought, though, if he'd been thinking at all, that should have been obvious. Angel, Riley, now Spike -- none of Buffy's affairs of the heart were simple. Removing his glasses, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I think Buffy and I need to have a long talk."

"What the girl needs is support; she's getting none from her friends." Spike began to pace, tracing a circuit between the counter and the research table. "One expects Harris to be an ass, but you'd think Red would be a little more supportive. Didn't bring her back to sleep with me, my arse."

"Didn't…Spike, will you stop pacing and talk to me? Sit down." Giles took a chair himself. "Did Willow actually say that?"

Spike stopped pacing, but he didn't sit, instead gripping the back of a chair with hands that showed white at the knuckles. "According to Dawn, at least. Haven't seen either Red or the Whelp since that night. Buffy hasn't gone into great detail, but she's made it clear they're being difficult. Talk to her, Giles. Let her know you're there for her. She talks to Tara, but…"

He broke off, staring at some distant point. "Knowing she has your support would mean a lot. She's hiding from her friends because she can't trust them right now. Tell her she was right to break it off, whatever, but don't judge the fact she did it. It's not what she needs."

There was something in Spike's voice that unsettled Giles more than he wanted to admit. That he, a watcher, was having a conversation with a vampire over the break-up of said vampire's relationship with the slayer was unsettling enough, but to hear the mix of sadness and concern went against everything he had read or been taught to believe. "I'll talk to her," was all he could find to say.

Caro | 11:08 AM


It's been a week. It's been a helluva week. Lots of writing done, but lots of procrastinating done due, in large part, to looming unemployment. Well, the unemployment ain't looming at the moment (at least for another couple of weeks), so that should help some. Also, the contest I'm coordinating will be done soon and I'll be able to let that go, concentrate on my own work.

My own work. I'm looking forward to that. Not just the fic, but the other stuff. I had another idea today, which I'm trying to put together. Part of me desperately wants to write a romantic comedy about a vegetarian vampire and a slayer and how they get together. Lots of jokes about political correctness and protesting to save the whales. Of course, the fact that he eats animal blood would put a bit of a kibosh on that. However, he could be a lovely AIDS activist because that has been hurting his people. Very silly and I know it will never get done. Why? Who would buy it?

I managed to finish Scene in a Mall and got it posted up (yay, me!). Reaction seems to be good on that. I have a few people who really give me some good feedback when they comment on my fic, focus on nuances and things like that. My writing is starting to come along, and I'm feeling more and more confident. Funny thing is, I think I'm going to end up with way too many blogs, one for each book in progress, but I don't really mind. I need to start pulling off the archives for this site, just in case something ever happens to it. The idea is to burn it to disc eventually, keep a record of what I did and what I was thinking at the time.

Someday, I'll look back at this and it will be interesting to see where my mind was at this time. I'm in transition; have been for some time, but I can feel it. I took a few wrong turns, but I'm starting back on the path. I need to focus on me, not helping others in a big, organized, volunteer sort of way. Not what I need at all. I need to do my thing and stick to it. That's going to be fan fic for a while as well as the novel writing, while I work on my craft and practice my web skills. At some point, I'll probably be changing my blog again, maybe putting the blog code in a frame so I can update everything else from the computer at home without having to cut and paste. Although, it certainly is easy to update here - especially since I'm leaning more toward the CSS type of page.

Almost time to go home, and I'm grateful for it. Need to clear my mind tonight, do some stuff for myself. That may be reading, but it may also be some writing. I desperately want to make some real progress on my stories, get things moving along. I've already decided not to answer a fic challenge, no matter how tempting it might be because it would require some real time and effort. Instead, I want to get Confessional done, as well as The Conversation so I can move on. Also, Scene in a Mall suggested a sequel which I might try to work on -- a little heavier on the sex than my stuff is, but I have been thinking that I need to write some just to work on an area I desperately need work in.

More Confessional:

Main Street Sunnydale enjoyed a fair amount of foot traffic on Sunday afternoon, but Giles had long ago decided he needed at least one day without the shop being open and Anya had continued the tradition. With the store closed, Giles was able to examine the papers spread out on the round research table in peace, Tara seated across him to answer questions. Spike was present as well, but he proved restless, pacing like a caged animal and busying himself with packing slips and mail orders.

"You've done quite well," Giles said as he sifted through the sales reports. "I think even Anya would be pleased. I must confess I was a bit surprised when I discovered the two of you were minding the store, but I think she made the right decision."

"Spike's responsible for most of it," Tara said. "He's the one who's here most of the time."

"Don't sell yourself short, Glinda," Spike called from the counter. "You're the one who's kept me from killing idiots like the Mandy-bot."


Tara smiled. "I'm afraid Spike isn't terribly fond of Mandy from the Chamber of Commerce."

Yet another forcibly expunged Sunnydale moment. Pink suit, blonde hair, insanely perky attitude...Giles adjusted his glasses on nose. "Quite an appropriate description, I must say. Shame you stopped him."

"Oh, the bird give you trouble too?"

"The general irritating sort. I see you got rid of several of the fertility idols."

"The gallery manager has been sending customers over here. Seems they haven't been doing much in the way of tribal carvings since Joyce passed."

The conversation continued much in the same vein. There were a few items to cluck over, but those were minor trifles on the balance sheet. Then Giles encountered an invoice. "Sunnydale Glass? What did we need them in for?"

Tara's glance over to the counter was impossible to miss, as was Spike's sudden deep interest in the piece of paper he was holding. Frowning, Giles read the invoice more closely. "Counter glass. Why did we need to replace the counter glass?"

"There…was an accident," Tara said. "Nothing serious…"

"When something's broken in this shop, it's usually quite serious. What was it? A demon? Some evil Buffy was fighting?"

"Buffy wasn't anywhere near it." Spike's voice sounded tight.

"It was just an accident, Giles. We got it cleaned up right away."

Giles didn't respond, focused on Spike. He was shifting papers from one stack to the other, looking anywhere but where Giles was sitting. "What sort of accident?"

Spike finally looked up. "I tossed a bloody book through it, alright? I'm evil. You can take it out of whatever you're going to pay me."

"It was a bad day," Tara offered. She kept glancing at Spike, concern evident on her face. There was more here than met the eye, but Tara wasn't the type to betray a trust and getting Spike to talk was going to be difficult.

Tapping the pages, Giles pondered his options. He could just let it go, make Spike pay for the work as he had offered. That Spike had offered to cover the cost with no prompting or coercion was unsettling in and of itself.

Unsure of which way to proceed, he decided some tea would be in order to help the cognitive processes. Making his way to the small tables where the supplies were kept, he noted with interest the jar of instant coffee and tin of cocoa and the decided lack of tea bags. Another item caught his attention, however. "Why do we have these?" he asked, holding up the bag of mini-marshmallows.

"Those are mine," Spike admitted. "I happen to like them in my cocoa."

The idea of William the Bloody, Scourge of Europe and Slayer of Slayers having cocoa, much less having little marshmallows with it was too much. "Tara, would you be a dear and fetch me some tea from the Expresso Pump? The Ceylon, if possible."

Tara was not a stupid woman She knew what he was about; he could see it in the way she stood and the way she caught herself before throwing one more look at the counter. Things had changed while he was gone. Before, Spike had never shown any signs of closeness to Tara; now she was acting like a mother hen toward a chick. Perhaps it was merely her maternal nature, but that hadn't come out over the summer when Spike had been radiating pain at anyone who came within viewing distance. Perhaps it was working in close proximity to one another, though that wouldn't account for the mutual admiration society he'd seen while they were discussing their handling of the shop.

Despite her protective air, she left them alone, shutting the shop door firmly behind her. "I think you and I need to talk," Giles said.

"I said I was sorry for the glass. Let my temper get the better of me. It's not like you haven't seen me break things before."

Everything about the scene screamed wrongness. Spike had always faced his accusers, thrown up a wall of sarcasm and withering remarks. He'd walked into situations he'd known were hostile and brazenly tried to manipulate things his way. He did not hide behind shuffling paperwork, head down and shoulders hunched. "I'm more interested in why your temper got the better of you."

Spike didn't look up. "It's over, done. Doesn't matter why."

Giles *had* seen this behavior before, he realized. Only once, but it had not been an occasion he was likely to forget: the night they'd buried Buffy. Spike had drawn inward with his grief, not even rising to the bait when Angel (who'd driven up from LA) had demanded, "What is *he* doing here?" When they had gathered in the living room on Revello Drive afterwards to talk and offer each other what comfort they had to give, Spike had retreated to the back porch and sat on the steps until sunrise, when Dawn had coaxed him inside.

With a sigh, Giles removed his glasses and rubbed at them with his handkerchief. "I'm still somewhat fatigued from jet lag, so this is probably not as diplomatic as it should be, but since it was my bloody counter that was broken, I bloody well have the right to know why."

Caro | 1:19 PM


Back in the office and typing this between work and other things. I started out this day feeling pretty much out of it because I knew there was a possibility (a big possibility that my contract would end on Friday. Given money and other things, that was a pretty depressing through, especially since it meant my last week would be a short check. However, things might work out for the best at this point. It looks like they want to keep me on and just have to find a way to do so. This is happy news, especially since keeping me on may be longer than just six weeks or three months, which is how the thing has been working lately. A good six months or more of steady employment will make me happy. What's more, it'll make my savings account happy. If I stay on, I can get the kick-ass computer I want, even with the hospital bills. Better, I can pay the hospital bills (insurance not covering everything). We'll get stuff worked out and it will be alright. Maybe Fred and I will even get to do the vacation at Disneyland for our fifth anniversary that we want to do.

As for the rest, the fic is keeping me going, getting the writing muscles exercised. I said it was five stories yesterday? Now it's six, although the new one is a short stand alone inspired by a fic challenge. Scenes From a Mall is pure B/S fluff, although it's not as light as I had thought I would write. I want tender and sentimental without going too overboard, and this is definitely it. With luck, I'll be finished with it before the end of the day and get back to either Confessional or The Conversation.

Caro | 1:31 PM


Memorial day and I'm sitting here at the keyboard typing away. I have got to get my office cleaned out because I really don't feel comfortable here. There's junk underfoot, and no place for me to just relax. I need to relax in here because this is my work area, this is where I create. Lots of good stuff to do here, but I just don't want to sit among junk.

I need to work in the living room as well. My contract likely ends Friday (although that's no definite yet), and I'm going to need work clothes. Going back to my old contract managed to avoid that possibility for a while, but it's a necessity now. Things are falling apart and I need to have clothes to wear to work. Of course, this means time and effort spent away from the computer writing, but since I've been wasting a bunch of time on e-mail (which I should not be doing), time away from the computer might be a productive thing.

I need to be more productive with my time on the computer -- I've got five, count 'em, five fics I'm working on, not to mention the new contemporary romance. If I'm going to write, I need to spend less time on e-mail. So much to do, so little time to do it in, so much time a-wasting. My head feels clearer after working on the blog, though, so it's clear I need to keep this up. Habits are starting to change; the writing is becoming a part of breathing again. Need to keep with that. Right now, I'm going to post, call a friend about a barbeque this afternoon and go get breakfast.

Here's a bit more from Confessional:

Giles frowned, not at all encouraged by the news. "It's something, I suppose, and that she willingly decided to seek help before more damage was done."

The sideways look Spike shot him was unsettling. "You haven't heard, then? No one bothered to write? Call you?"

Giles shook his head as the vampire muttered, "Bloody idiots," and began patting at his pockets for a cigarette. "Seems that Tara moving out removed the last of the controls on Willow. Don't know all the details -- not being privy to the inner circle and all -- but she ended up at a magic pusher, guy name of Rack. Bad news. Customers think they're getting all sorts of power, but he's really using them to feed himself. Rips open all sorts of conduits that should be handled gently or not opened at all."

"And you know about this exactly how?"

Spike abandoned his tobacco quest, hands returning to pockets. "Learned about him when I first came to Sunnydale. Uncovered every power source I could trying to figure out how to cure Drusilla. Anyhow, Red gets strung out on what Rack's pulling through her and has to go back for another fix. Only this time she has Dawn in tow. Leaves the girl sitting in the waiting room while she plays for hours. When Red does come out, it's late and her little venture has had the side effect of conjuring up a nasty demon who follows them, looking for a tasty nibble.

The warning light began to flash and there was a grinding as the conveyor groaned to life. Without sparing a glance at the luggage that was beginning to slide down the chute, Spike continued his tale. "Fortunately, Buffy had gotten worried about them having gone missing for so long and we were out looking for her. Caught up with them as Red crashed the car she'd stolen to help them escape -- which she was driving by magic, by the way -- and the demon decides Dawn would be a tasty snack. Buffy starts to take down the demon, but the thing goes up in flames. That was Red's doing and you could see the power crackling off her hands even after. That yours?"

Giles nodded as the garment bag came into view and Spike leaned to grab it with deceptive ease before continuing. "Niblet had a broken arm and I ended up taking her to emergency while Buffy dealt with our addict. Since then, Red's been going cold turkey, drinking water and seeing her support group. Doesn't come into the shop unchaperoned and the few times she has on my watch, you better believe I keep an eye on what she's browsing through. Haven't seen her for nearly two weeks, not since I gave Harris his disinvite."

There was a hint of a grin, the first Giles had seen since he'd walked off the place. "Disinvite?"

"Yeah. Told him he wasn't welcome in the shop while I was there. Reached a point where I'd had enough of his yap."

Another sign things were not going well, but Giles figured Xander was a subject no to get caught up in. Snagging another of his bags, he asked instead, "How is Buffy? And Dawn, of course."

If he hadn't been watching Spike's face, he might not have noticed the tensing of the jaw muscles. "Doing as well as can be expected. I'm convinced there's something wrong with the spell Red used to bring her back, but some seem to think otherwise. Working in a dreadful burger place to keep body and soul together. Body's holding on, but the soul seems to be losing the battle. Any more?" he asked, gesturing at the two bags they'd already pulled off the conveyor sitting alongside Giles' carryon.

"One more. Considering I have no idea how long I'll be here, I thought it best to be prepared. A burger place, you say?"

"Doublemeat Palace. Know you're familiar with it; I remember seeing the wrappers in your trash."

That Spike was familiar with some of his habits was a fact Giles had forcibly purged from his mind some time ago. Unfortunately, he'd been unable to do the same with the Doublemeat Combo. "She couldn't find something else?"

"My point exactly. You talk to the girl; maybe she'll listen to you."

The last bag came by and was retrieved. Between the two of them, it was a simple matter to carry the four bags out to the airport's parking structure, lit by orange lights that made Giles look dead and Spike deader. They also threw Spike's face into sharp contrast highlighting cheekbones and lines of stress Giles had not noticed before. He considered asking when Spike had last fed, but decided that was information he did not need to know or that Spike would give willingly. Instead, he turned the conversation to inconsequentials until they reached the car. As expected, it was Spike's old DeSoto waiting for them, looking as disreputable as ever. "Have you ever considered trading up?"

"What? And give up a classic? I'll have you know the old girl's still got plenty of life in her. Made it to Brazil and back a couple of times, which is more than I can say for that old Citreon you used to drive."

"It was a perfectly serviceable vehicle, I'll have you know."

Spike grinned. "Try saying that in Fyarl; it sounds even funnier. Besides, I noticed what a 'serviceable' vehicle you trade up to: red, shiny, shaped like a…"

Giles shut his ears to the rest of the sentence. Another memory he'd tried to forcibly expunge: the cocky blonde dressed in an absurd brown suit grinning at him, Giles thinking the boy was his son. He settled onto the broad front seat, his luggage stowed in the back. The interior was surprisingly clean, the carpet even showing signs of having been vacuumed at some point in recent memory.

His surprise must have shown on his face. "I give Dawn and some of her friends a ride from time to time. Wouldn't do for Social Services to find her consorting with beer bottles, now would it?" Spike said as the engine roared to life, spewing lord-knew-what pollutants into the air. "Probably should excavate the trunk some day; haven't done it years."

"Surprised you haven't, especially if you're taking Dawn about. Teenage girls seem to have a great many, ah, things they carry. The room might be helpful."

"Only if I could store a few of them in there. Especially that Janice character. Her mum seems nice enough, but I'm not sure the girl's a good influence on Dawn."

The words sounded more than faintly parental and Giles found no response as they passed through the parking structure gate after paying the fee. "'Sides," Spike continued, "I think most of it's Dru's junk anyway. Don't know if those are memories I want to dredge up."

It was the second time he'd mentioned Drusilla's name since Giles' arrival, both times casually, both times sounding if there were memories he was trying to put in his proper perspective. It was a bit strange to hear; as his interest in Buffy had grown, Spike had become a bit reticent in mentioning his past, most likely due to his connection with Angel, although even Spike seemed to understand mentioning the old girlfriend in front of the potential new girlfriend was Not a Good Idea. Of course, that understanding had come only after Spike had learned chaining up the old girlfriend and the potential new girlfriend came very firmly under the heading of Bad Idea.

As they moved onto the highway towards downtown Sunnydale, Spike shoved a tape in, ending the need for conversation. Giles relaxed as the sounds of the Velvet Underground filled the car; one memory he hadn't forcibly rid himself of was the discovery that he and Spike shared some similar tastes in music and an evening passed in companionable silence drinking beer and going through old albums.

The trip to the Hilton Sunnydale was relatively quick and the valet relatively slow to approach the DeSoto. When the man finally gathered up the courage, Spike was already out of the car and loading Giles' bags from the back seat onto the sidewalk. "Just dropping off."

The bellhop moved more quickly, likely in an effort to get the old heap away from the hotel as soon as possible so it would stop bringing down the property values. "So, tomorrow at one?" Giles asked as the bags were trundled into the lobby. "It won't be a problem with your sleep?"

"Giles, my sleep schedule went to hell months ago. One is fine with Tara, she'll meet us there."

With that, Spike slid back behind the wheel and roared away. Giles paused on the sidewalk for a moment, watching the tail lights disappear. On the surface, he'd appeared normal enough -- as normal as one might expect for a chipped vampire -- but there'd been something just a little bit 'off'. It wasn't until he was safely ensconced in his room that Giles realized what was missing: the swagger.

Caro | 10:19 AM


So, another long break, but real life has been a bitch this week. I don't have time to blog at work and time seems to slip away from me in the morning and evenings. I am writing, even if I seem to be having a bit of trouble at the moment. The important thing is that for at least six weeks I have written something every day. For me, that's a major accomplishment after the fits and starts I've been doing for the last five years.

Ugh, don't want to think about how long that spell has been going on. This goes into the professional writing stuff -- I can't stick to it. There are times when I don't want ot stick with the fics, but since I've got people hounding me for them, it becomes much more difficult not to post. The feedback there is also instantaneous, so that's something that keeps me going. Right now, I'm going back to work on the current fic.

Caro | 6:22 PM


Actually didn't update all weekend, which is a bit of a surprise to me. Kept thinking about it, but didn't do it. Did, however, get a good amount of writing done, both for fan fic and for the new story idea (See A Work in Progress for the novel stuff). Reactions III had been posted, taking us through the main soap opera part of the set up. Buffy and Spike are definitely broken up at the end of this, but Spike now seems to understand that she's scared out of her mind, so there's that to contend with.

Giles is back in the next piece, tentatively called Confessional because that's what's happening, but there is also some action forward, getting the thing started up with the Troika. I want to focus more on action than soap opera here, getting them out of the mess that they're in.

I also see where the end of this series is coming after reading the wildfeed this morning. I don't want to do a season 7, just finish up this stuff. I figure that the following plotlines need to be taken up and finished:

1) The Legion of Dim
2) Halfrek/William
3) Warren's knowledge of Spike's chip
4) Willow's parents (where the hell are they?)
5) Tara
6) Anya and Xander
7) The Slayer Origins
8) Buffy and Spike
9) What happens to Willow
10) Buffy's work situation
11) Social Services and Dawn
12) What happened with the resurrection spell? (I don't buy a molecular suntan)
13) Joyce's Gallery

That's thirteen plot points to deal with without starting up any new ones. This series is going to go on for a while, but this does give it a definite ending point. Buffy and Spike's relationship is going to be tied into the Slayer origins because that would be fun. Xander needs to deal with his family issues. We need to deal with settle the money situation. (I think Anya will suggest running a self-defense class out of the back.)

I could let the series continue on ad infinitum, but I do want to deal with the character of Spike as they portray him next season, and this will give me a chance to do the Watcher stories. There will be stand-alone fics -- the Ripper fic and the Angel/Spike fic. Should be an interesting summer.

Here's the start of Confessional for any who might be interested:

Sunnydale might be on a Hellmouth, but Giles was convinced the Sunnydale Municipal Airport was Hell itself. On the walls painted a dull institutional color were cheery posters reminding you there were many places more fun and exciting than where you were at the present. The baggage claim was a further distance from any gate than Giles would have thought possible for such a small airport and to clinch matters, there was a vampire waiting for him in the passenger lounge. "Tara's not with you?"

"And hello to you, too, Rupert." Spike indicated the direction they were to take for the long trek to the baggage claim. "She thought about it, but Red wanted to have dinner and since they're trying to work things out…"

Spike lapsed into silence, but there seemed no further explanation necessary. Tara and Willow were both young; that they might find one another's company more enjoyable than Giles' was no surprise. Not that Giles should expect a hero's welcome on his return, anyway. He'd fairly snuck out of town the last time (even if he thought a hasty exit would be the least painful for all involved) and it had truly been his own uneasiness at the possibility of getting trapped if he returned even for a festive occasion that kept him from Xander and Anya's wedding.

But Xander had left Anya at the altar, Anya had disappeared and Giles' presence had been required, even if only for the mundane reason of seeing to the business of the shop. This was why he was standing at the infernal baggage claim with Spike on a Saturday evening.

A thousand questions burned through his brain, but he had no idea where to start. That Willow and Tara were attempting to repair their relationship after Willow's rather spectacular fall on her face with the forgetting spell was welcome news and was likely as good a place to start as any. "How is Willow, ah, doing with the magic?"

One booted foot resting on the edge of the baggage carousel, Spike shrugged. "Reasonably well, I suppose. Found herself some support group called 'Spellcasters Anonymous' of all things. Serenity prayer and the like, I suppose. Reckon most of that little group would probably run screaming if they knew some of the things Red's done."

Caro | 10:28 AM


And I'm pleased to announce that Reactions III was finished this evening. This was a difficult piece because it deals with anger and confrontation, which I frankly feel that I don't write very well. I'm relatively pleased by how it came out. If you've been reading the bits and pieces I've posted here, hop over to Missives From the Hellmouth to see how the whole thing turns out.

Even if I don't get visitors from the blog, I'm getting plenty from other places. Funny, but it seems like I'm getting more and more visitors every day. I get about 20+ a day -- the lowest I've had all week was 19 on Tuesday. Now, I'm not in the search engines, but word is getting out. I'm getting a lot comments on the stories as well.

So, we've gotten through the soap opera part of the setup. Giles is back in the next part and the action really starts to move forward. That will have less soap opera (although B/S remains a major thread) and we'll move into more action.

Caro | 10:46 PM

All I can say is that I am soooooooo glad it's Friday. I've had a throbbing headache since yesterday, and it's showing no sign of going away. That means I'm probably going to be pretty spaced this weekend. Great. Just when I have a bunch of things I need/want to do.

One that that will happen is that the entries will get out of the house. The call for judges has gone out, people are responding, and I'm going to get these things done if I have to beat my head against the wall to do it. I've decided that Monday I will make the phone calls to NYC to the potential final judges. This will make certain everything is fine and we can get the judging done. Once that's done, I'm out of running contests or anything for a group for a while. I need to focus on myself, not on the larger picture for a while. I need to work on my writing and I need to focus on getting my work done for the fan fic and potential books. I need to explore and stick to that portion.

I need to find balance in my life again.

I've been spiraling out of control for some time, due to a whole variety of things, most of which have to do with self esteem issues. I got caught up in the "gee, if I work really hard for this group, I'll actually have respect from them and be important." Bzzzzt! Thank you for playing. Turns out that what most groups are looking for is a workhorse, someone to carry the burden. Now, I don't mind doing some work for a group, but most of the time when I've gotten suckered in, I end up being one of those "reliable" people who take on everything. Then, when it gets too much and I say no, there's resentment because I'm not being there.

So that's what the lesson is here. I need to find balance in my life. I need to focus on what's important. I need to decide what's the most important. That I think I probably know the answer to -- my husband and my writing. The next problem is going to be finding a balance in my writing. As I said earlier this week, I'm at a point where I'm almost feeling possessed by the writing. It's consuming most of my thoughts, my time. What I'm not doing is writing stuff I can sell at this point. It's all fan fic and that is great for getting ego boo (which one shouldn't discount), but it doesn't bring money into the coffers. At this point, I'm not thinking I'll make a living from it (although that would be nice), but I would like my writing to pay for some bills and make our lives a little easier, get us into a positive balance on the savings side. It will probably come, but it feels slow right now and the fact that I'm not writing anything but fan fic reinforces that feeling.

On the plus side, I'm rediscovering the joy of writing and what's it like to just go for the gusto. I've been writing with the eye on selling for so long that I just lost sight of the fun. I'm trying to get the fun back now, and it looks like it's working. I'm actually making entries in A Work In Progress, and it will look much better by this weekend. I'm dealing with things I need to learn how to do in the fan fic, working with both anger and action, not pulling back from the raw emotion but letting it out. If I want to truly succeed in my writing, I need to be willing to open up and let myself not worry about pulling back. I need to not be afraid to pour my heart into what my characters are saying. It's getting easier, but its still hard. Look at how long the writing of The Mixer and the Reactions stories have taken. The main reason is because I'm dealing with some fairly raw stuff here. I'm dealing with sex, pain, anger and those are things I'm not necessarily comfortable writing about. However, if I don't have my characters experience that, they are nothing but paper cutouts I move about. They are nothing and have no life. I want them to have life -- hence the work at getting these people into a whole mess of trouble.

Funny, but I've come to realize the Xander storyline is looming larger than I originally intended. Part of it, I think, is because it will relate directly to Buffy and Spike, but also because it is a parallel. Buffy needs to see how her actions can come back to haunt her and this is one way. Xander will be broken at the end of this, looking for a way to rebuild. Poor boy is going to go into therapy -- not for the monsters he's faced on the Hellmouth, but for the monsters he faces in himself and his own family. Xander will rebuild, but it will take a while.

Head still throbbing, but I'm ready to head back to work. For those who are paying attention (all two of you), here's the next bit of Reactions III:

Just as he had that first time, he threw the initial punch. As expected, she blocked it easily and blocked the next several blows as well. This was just the warm up, testing the edges of each other's defenses. Once upon a time, they might have gone for killing blows immediately, but they knew each other too well to think either would be so easily taken.

With the shop closed and the front door locked, there was nothing to distract them from their game and they threw the whole of their attention into it. The moves began to come faster, the blows a little closer to landing. Buffy kicked and Spike dodged, not getting caught as he did yesterday. He tried to catch her foot and missed, rolling as she moved for him again. On his feet, he lunged and she narrowly avoided contact. "I'm getting rusty?" he taunted as they circled one another. "Almost had you that time."

"'Almost' doesn't count," she countered. "You know that as well as I do."

He grinned. "Let me have enough 'almosts' and I might get lucky. Don't stick your elbow out, you'll get more force behind your blows."

Buffy rewarded him with a look, but tucked the elbow closer to her body as they started again. Still, she wasn't quite on her game and he was almost contacting far too many times. It wasn't that she was holding back; some part of her mind simply wasn't engaged. With him, it might mean she came out the loser in this particular round; on patrol it could mean she wound up dead.

Since no one was entitled to kill this particular slayer except him, Spike started looking for a specific opening. Time to remind her creatures of the night could be dangerous, even if it was before nine in the morning.

It took nearly a minute to find just what he was looking for. When he spotted it, he lunged, grabbed her shoulders…

…and ended up getting hurled against the brick wall. Hard. Lifting his head from the floor, he found Buffy standing in the room, one hand pressed to the left side of her neck. *You bit me!*

He grinned. "Told you not to stick your elbow out."


She was working up a full head of steam and he would probably get pummeled for his pains. "I used blunt teeth and didn't even break the skin. You left me the opening and I went for it."

Buffy looked at her hand as he got to his feet. It was clean. She looked back at him, her eyes narrowing. "You're going to pay for that."

With that, she launched and they were at it again. There was more ferocity this time and he had no doubt her full attention was devoted to the effort. Good. He needed the workout.

More punching, more kicking, a few truly spectacular lunges and rolls. *She has to be running on adrenaline,* he thought. *How long have we been going at this?* Buffy was sweating, breathing heavy, but she wasn't slowing down.

Then he saw the glint in her eye and knew she was enjoying their match as much as he was. Not bothering to fight back a wolfish grin, he sent her sailing toward the pommel horse and watched as she used the horse to put her back in a fighting position instead of merely crashing into it. *That's my girl. Baby wants to play.*

All good things must come to an end, though, and their game did when both miscalculated in a lunge, sending them sprawling to the mat. Both lay on their backs, panting. "Maybe we should call it a draw," he suggested.

"I can go with that," she managed between breaths. "I don't think I've worked that hard since…"

She didn't finished, but Spike could think of several times when he'd seen her as exhausted as she appeared now. All of them involved her being naked. Not wanting to destroy the mood, he chose not to say anything. Besides, that would have taken energy.

"I should shower," Buffy said at last.

"I should see what time it its," Spike countered. Neither moved.

Finally, Buffy slowly rolled onto her side, propping herself up on one elbow. "That was a good workout. We should do it again."

"Fine, but not during store hours. Couldn't handle that. Can we skip the throwing against the wall part as well?"

"Only if you don't try to bite me again."

Caro | 10:22 AM


Well, it's definitely a day. Headache, things crashing down. At the same time, some good things. I'm being reminded why I'm a writer. I'm starting to get things done, and I'm starting to do work. This is good. This is something I can live with. Hospital bills have begun arriving, which is a horrific prospect. However, we'll get through it. It might cause some hardships and re-arrangements, but we'll get through it. I had my wallow last night. Now, I need to get off my butt.

Getting off the butt means taking the responsibility for the contest I'm coordinating. All entries need to be out this weekend, no exception. Tomorrow I must work on getting two final round judges. Once that's done, I can rest easier. I need to send an e-mail to the contest coordinators list, try to get some judges for non-traditional. I'll e-mail members to get judges for traditional. That's the best idea.

Reactions III continues apace. Have gotten Spike and Buffy hot, heavy and interrupted. I think I'm going to be very happy with this one when it's done and it will serve as a good setup for the rest of the "season." Also good is Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide, my Harmony fic. These are making me happy these days, making the writing flow. It's also making ideas flow for the new romantic comedy, but that's another blog.

More Reactions:

By eight-fifteen, Spike had completed everything he needed for the shop to be ready to open at ten. At eight-twenty, he was doing his best to look like he wasn't waiting anxiously. *We're just going to work out,* he told himself. *It'll be good for both of us. Haven't had a good match myself in don't know how long. Gotta keep in shape.*

At eight-thirty-five, she knocked on the door. The Buffy he let in didn't have the smile he'd seen yesterday. "What's wrong?" he asked automatically.

She shook her head. "Nothing. Everything. Just…yesterday wasn't stellar."

He didn't reply, just locked the door, hoping the silence would encourage her to continue. "I found out yesterday that I need to have another home visit from Social Services and they are going to want to interview Willow since she's living there. They're apparently going to want to talk to you and Tara because Dawn's working here."

"Just let us know when and we'll make sure Tara's the one on deck. She'll make a good impression." He reached out and snagged the gym bag from her shoulder. She'd come already dressed in her workout clothes, so he just stowed it by the counter.

"Which would be fine, except you're the one who's here most days when she comes in, so they want to make to talk to you. Well, they didn't say you in particular, but Mrs. Buckelew said she wanted to talk to Dawn's primary supervisor when she came in to make certain she was coming straight from school, wasn't being late or anything like that. That means you."

"Lovely. Tell you what; I'll hide the duster and pull William the Grad Student out of the closet. Big Bad won't be anywhere in sight. That should make them happy."

He saw a hint of a smile for the first time since she'd come in. "Complete with glasses?"

"Just like I was at Christmas." His studious, academic look had fooled Hank Summers into thinking "William" was an acceptable boyfriend for his eldest; no reason why it should work now.

The smile grew just a bit bigger. "Thank you. You don't know how much…thanks. They'll probably be calling to set things up."

They were in the training room now and she was stripping off her sweatshirt to reveal the tank top beneath. "At least that's one thing I don't have to worry about now. I'm a little concerned about Willow might say; she gets flustered and might blurt something out. At least they don't have to talk to Xander. I *know* he wouldn't mean to, but he's so angry, it'd be too easy for him to say something dreadful."

Spike watched as she warmed up, letting the conversation flow over him. She was on the outs with her friends and had once again come running to him. Did she even realize it? They hadn't spoken this easily in months. Rather, she hadn't spoken and he hadn't had the chance to listen. It was tempting to let in go on, pretend for a little while that all was good between them, but he wasn't at all certain he could do that.

"Then Xander drops by to see Willow and just *happens* to have this guy from work in tow. They head off into the kitchen, leaving me with this very obvious potential date in the living room making small talk. So not fun."

No, he definitely couldn't pretend. "Yeah, 'cause Xander knows exactly what kind of guy is perfect for you," Spike ground out. "After all, look at what a success Richard was."

She turned sharply, annoyance flaring in her eyes. Then, realization seemed to set in and her expression softened, almost crumpled in upon itself. "Sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up. It's just…there was a time when you were the easiest person in the world to talk to."

It was an admission he'd never expected her to make, and it hit him like a thunderbolt. "I've always been here for that, luv," he said softly.

Buffy didn't answer, turning back to her stretches. This all felt awkward, the walls that had disappeared for a moment slammed back into place. They were too aware of each other and what was unsaid. After all, the arsenal of their battles had always included words, even when other weapons weren't used.

Warm-up finished, she faced him again. Yesterday, she'd seemed eager to do this; now the hooded expression was back in her eyes, the same one that had worried him for months. Maybe he could fix that. Deliberately putting a bit of a swagger in his step, he moved toward her, remembering the first time they'd faced each other. *As a personal favor from me to you, I'll make it quick. It won't hurt a bit.*

As he drew closer, he saw a bit of life come back into her expression, the subtle shift of muscles under her skin. *No, Spike. It's gonna hurt a lot.*

Well, slayers were supposed to be prophetic sometimes.

Caro | 4:07 PM


Another morning, another entry. I'm starting to feel itchy if I don't get these done each day. I've been journaling almost a month solid now, and it's funny to look back and see that I've even made time to do it on the weekends and when the rest of my life is going to hell.

Last time I tried a blog, it died after two entries. I don't think I'll have that problem with this one. This is becoming too cathartic for me at a point where I feel, in some ways, like I'm balancing on a knife edge. I've got a major contest that's about to go falling down boom, and it's primarily because I couldn't cope. That's a hard admission for me to make, but it's time I made it and time I faced up to the responsibility that it needs to be fixed. Don't know how I'm going to do it, but I will.

On the other front, the writing itself is becoming all consuming. A lot of it is the Buffy and Spike stuff, but I'm looking so hard at what else I want to do. My god, I've gotten an idea for a romantic comedy. A contemporary romantic comedy. Do you know how long it's been since I've even remotely considered doing something like that? I've had ideas, but they've all fallen apart. Now, I'm looking at the possibility of doing Bad Boy as a serious project, with a follow-up book where the two secondary characters get their shot at happiness. Sure, a lot of it is based on what I'm doing for Spuffiness, but I can give them the happy ending I don't think they'll actually get in the series.

Having said that, I should note that I am still a shipper and while the ship may have sprung a few leaks, it's still very much afloat. As someone pointed out, it's not like the Anakin/Amidala ship where you know he will turn evil and she will die unhappy or the Clark/Lana ship from Smallville where you know that for all his youthful interest, Lana will never truly have his heart and Lex will not be his friend. These are ships that can break your heart. I know, because back in the days of ST:TNG, I was very much a Tasha/Data shipper (even if we didn't use the word then. First, there was the "never happened" which annoyed so many people (especially since an undercurrent kept being played) and then Denise Crosby left the series. Way back, in the late '70s (boy, am I showing my age), I was in favor of the Starbuck/Athena ship rather than the Starbuck/Cassieopia ship for Battlestar Galactica. Believe me, that one wasn't particularly popular with my friends.

So, I know how much heartbreak a ship can bring a fan. I feel some pity for the Buffy/Angel shippers, because they had theirs ripped out from under them. However, I also feel there needs to be a point where you let it go. The actress who played Athena left the show and it was clear they weren't going to go with that ship. Same with Data/Tasha. If I'd held onto the ship, I don't think I would have been able to watch the rest of the series with any type of enthusiasm. Now, I lost my enthusiasm somewhere around Season Five, but that's because the overall quality of the show was suffering, not because of a particular ship.

This has wandered a little, but the point is that I write ship. I write ship because I believe in romance and I like to think we can have happy endings. I have two ways I'd like to have Buffy end. One would be for Buffy and Spike, having admitted their feelings, working toward or being a couple, diving into battle together against the forces of darkness, side by side. The other would be for the Hellmouth to be closed permanently, the rest of the Scoobies to be settled and Buffy and Spike hitting the road together to do more slaying. I want to see them side by side at the end because the girl deserves some happiness and she hasn't had much. Does this mean hearts and flowers? Nope. Those two will always fight, always match wits and they're going to have some nasty battles. There are internal and external forces that will seek to drive them apart. I firmly believe Spike will go before Buffy because whatever gets her is likely going to have to go through him first. At this point, it can be a great passion that writes across the heavens because of the fiery nature of the characters. Will they show this? I have no idea.

In a romance, especially a romantic comedy, there's much that one can do that you couldn't do on TV. The romance isn't quite as fiery (this is, after all, two mortals, not a slayer and a vampire), but there is still passion and fury. But they can talk sense to each other and work out their problems to live a committed life together. For this book, I can already see the first scene where they come together. It starts in the alley behind Spike's shop (yeah, yeah, the names will be changed) during a rainstorm. When they lock lips, they're stumbling around, against walls, etc. He barely gets the keys in the lock of the back door. Their clothes are half off by the time they get inside. They wind up naked on the floor of the shop, not minding that they're cold and wet, just consumed by what's happening. It'll be a helluva scene to write.

I'm practicing now. There's going to be elements of Reactions III in that, and sex is something I haven't been comfortable writing. Well, this is a pretty damn good place to start.

Here's the latest I've been working on. Possibly some smut tomorrow:

wasn't such a good idea after all."

He was able to pause for a moment. "Idea was fine; timing was just bad."

"Pooh. I was hoping for a good workout. Now I need to head off to the good old Doublemet."

He was given another Buffy smile, though this one was not as bright as when she arrived. Spike was more than content to bathe in it, as well as the fact they'd actually spoken civilly. It was the little things that kept him going.

He watched as she climbed the two steps to the front of the shop, paused, turned around and came back. "How early are you here in the morning?"

"Pretty early."

"If I came by after I get Dawn off to school, like eight-thirty or so, maybe we could do a few rounds then? It would be really helpful. I haven't had a good work out in I don't know how long." There was just a hint of begging in her voice, a bit of pleading with the eyes.

Part of Spike knew sparring with Buffy while no one else was around was probably the last thing he needed to do, but she was asking nicely and he was a sucker. "I'll see you then."

The smile grew a bit brighter and she waved as she headed out of the shop. He'd been right; while the secret of their relationship coming to light had caused problems, it was clear it had also lifted a burden from her shoulders. He could see it in her smile, in her step, in the way they'd been able to actually talk to each other as they hadn't for months. Tomorrow, they'd work out and he'd do his best to play it cool, not move too quickly.

He was halfway through ringing up a transaction when a thought hit him. Had they just made a *date*?

Caro | 10:08 AM


Believe it or not, Harmony Kendall rides again.

There's a new rumor out that Harmony will be appearing in one of the last two episodes of this season's Buffy as Spike's spirit guide on his quest. While it is currently only listed as speculation, speculation is often what makes for the best fan fic. The vision of Harmony being anyone's spiritual guide, much less Spike's, is hysteria inducing. I don't usually like to write fic based on spoilers, but this one was just two funny to pass up -- especially since the ending came to me in a flash this morning.

With the addition of the Harmony story, I now have four things in the works: Reactions III, Harmony, the Ripper story (still untitled), and the new book idea. This is going to get real interesting real quick.

Here's the next bit from Reactions III:

She looked at the ax, then at Spike. "Do you have some time?"


"Time. I mean, it's not like there are streams of customers in today. Maybe we could go a few rounds."

He felt his palms itch at the prospect as the prickling started in the back of his brain. "I think I can spare a few minutes," he said in what he hoped was a calm voice. "Do we really need weapons for this?"

A pause and then she smiled as she recognized the words. The ax was laid aside and both readied themselves. The first blows were feints, testing, warming up. Only once had they ever sparred where one wasn't trying to kill the other or it wasn't their own personal form of foreplay. *Even in that alley it was foreplay. At least for me.*

The memory of the night he'd told of the other slayers distracted his mind the tiniest fraction, enough for her to slip past his defenses. "Ow! Why do you always go for the nose?"

"Easy target." She danced just out of reach. "Aren't getting rusty, are you?"

My, she was in a good mood all of a sudden. Spike wondered what had happened to change her mood. Another feint, then a block, followed by a kick in quick succession. He repositioned himself to make another attack when he heard the shop bell ring. As his eyes flitted toward the door, she hooked a foot behind his ankle and brought him down hard onto a mat. "It's no fun if you don't pay attention."

"Paying attention to the bloody bell," he complained as he got to his feet. "I'll be back."

Not one but two customers had entered, soon followed by a third. It wasn't busy, but there quickly proved a constant enough stream that Spike was unable to pull away. He briefly caught a glimpse of Buffy in the doorway, then heard the sound of the punching bag a few minutes later. She must have realized he wasn't going to be able to come back. Giles had had Anya to watch the front while he helped her train, but then the fact that Anya wasn't available was the reason Spike was here, wasn't it?

Caro | 11:09 AM


I remembered one of the things I love about writing this afternoon. I was working on Reactions III (instead of working on what I should be doing) and suddenly things started falling together. I want it to show how the revelation of their relationship has affected the two of them in their interaction with each other when no one's around. At first it was going to take place all in one time and space, but then it hit me that it would much better to break things out over two days. They don't just stumble into the situation, they put themselves there. Now, this is going to end up somewhat nastier than I originally intended because they're going to have some rather brutal words and its going to get physical -- Not Seeing Red physical, but within a believable context physical.

These are two people who are passionately attracted to each other. Fighting is not just a form of foreplay for them; it's a bloody aphrodisiac. That sparring could turn into groping, which could nearly turn into sex is almost a given -- and they put themselves into the situation. Buffy does it because she isn't thinking on a conscious level and Spike because he's trying to prove to himself that he has control, that he won't come crawling to her, begging for sex. The result is explosive.

I think the issue here is trust. Buffy has to trust Spike enough to be good and she has to trust herself to make the right decisions even if they're not popular. When Spike's chip goes out, she doesn't know and he doesn't know; there should be a beginning of a groping toward a common ground, but there should be definite reluctance on Spike's part. Then, when it's discovered the chip doesn't work, there's the question of can she trust him and can he trust her to trust him. That's going to be the key here.

That's over the long haul, though. Right now, I need to work on getting them hot and sweaty.

Only a few customers drifted in and out after he unlocked at ten. There were plenty of passerby's, but not many seemed interested in the Magic Box. At ten-thirty, Spike was wondering if this was going to be an "I'm so bored, I'm thinking of gnawing my arm off" day. With luck, he could hold out until two when Tara was supposed to arrive.

At ten-forty-five, the bell over the door jingled as Buffy walked in.

They hadn't seen each other for almost a week, not since she'd caught him and Tara at the Expresso Pump last Wednesday. She hadn't been in the shop while he'd been there for a month. He didn't want to think about the last time they'd actually been alone.

She came down the steps, but hesitated before going further. "Um…hi."

"Hi." *That's right. Channel William like a stupid git.* His eyes slid to the gym bag over her shoulder. "Going to do some training?"

"Well, you said it was okay and…" She trailed off, chewing on her lower lip. "I haven't been keeping it up like I should."

"You're the Slayer. Don't need an excuse, pet. Told you: you're welcome here any time. Giles would want you to be." He didn't trust himself to say *he* wanted her there.

She didn't say thanks, but gave him a smile that made his knees feel a bit weak. It wasn't glowing or sunshiny, but it was a genuine Buffy smile and it'd been a long time since he'd seen one of those. She looked tired, but he actually saw some life in her eyes and wondered if maybe she was finally finding her way. Giles would be a better judge, having been away awhile and Spike hoped the next phone call wouldn't be another delay.

She headed into the back, leaving him to wonder if he'd returned everything to its place when he'd finished that morning. He thought he had; he was certain at least he'd cleaned up after his shower.

A few customers came in and he found himself actually diverted by work. Once the small transactions were done, though, he found himself alone again with nothing to do but stare at the door to the training room. He should go through some packing slips, but he'd planned to do that in the afternoon with Tara. He should dust, but that would leave Dawn with nothing to do when she came in. There was some research he was considering, but he didn't particularly want Buffy to see it. So he stared.

"Spike, could you help me find something?"

She had changed from street clothes into a white tank top and sweats, hair pulled back into a ponytail. It was growing out, he noted with a smile; she must have realized the short bob didn't suit her. "Anything in particular, luv?"

The words came out far more suggestive than he'd actually intended and Spike wondered why his voice sounded so deep. Sub-conscious was working overtime, busy painting its own picture of the woman before him.

She'd caught the note in his voice; he could tell by the frown on her face. "I was looking for the ax; it seems to have gone missing."

So not the transition he had wanted. He also realized he *had* forgotten to put something back. "It's, uh, right here."

A bit sheepishly, he retrieved the ax from the wall behind the counter where he'd left it leaning. "I was using it this morning."

She took it from him, her hands carefully avoiding his. "What? You had a packing crate you couldn't open?"

The words were said with a light voice and a hint of a smile and Spike found himself following her into the training room. "Actually, if you must know, I was doing a few passes with it before the store opened, working out."`

"You were using my equipment?"

"I didn't think you mind. Besides, you said you haven't been using it much."

This brought a sigh. "I miss Giles. Since he left, I haven't really had anyone to train with."

"I thought Harris was always willing to be beat up on."

She shrugged. "He was busy with the wedding and then…"

Buffy was still for a moment, then swung the axe experimentally. "I don't think me using Xander as a punching bag is a particularly good idea at the moment."

The axe made him nervous. Clearly things weren't all smiles and cherubs in Buffyland. Not surprising. Spike didn't think for one moment Willow or Xander had finished with their say, or that any of it was positive.

Caro | 4:00 PM

Monday morning irritation is not finding software that you know you have and want to load onto your machine. Grrrr. I know I burned it. I know I labeled it. I just can't find the idiot thing!

Have decided to set up a new blog to handle the other writing. This one will be a sub-blog on this site, separate folder and everything else and probably won't be updated anywhere near as much as this page. Still, it's a sign that I'm raring to write again, and I'm glad of that. It's felt like a long, dark winter where the writing is concerned, but I'm starting to come back now. Don't know how long it will take or what form, but I'm feeling the urge again.

Maybe it will be a good morning after all.

Caro | 6:43 AM


Achingly tired and planning on going to bed after I'm done with this. I have, however, survived Mother's Day for another year without too much angst, which is a major accomplishment around here. Not to vent too much, but I have a real antipathy for my mother-in-law, the likes of which are either the makings of a sitcom or the profile of a familial axe-murderer. As you can guess, I don't like her.

Updated the website, which is starting to become very easy these days. Checked my numbers and it looks like I'm getting at least 20 visits a day. Now, that might not seem like a terribly large amount, but it's better than the idea of one or two. I'm glad I sprung for the subscriber version of the site meter; the reports are very interesting. Most of my visitors are on the east coast, followed by the west, with a smattering throughout the rest of the world. I'm on a fan fic recommendation list in New Zealand, and I'll be on a ring as soon as I get my act together to add the code. Missives from the Hellmouth has really become the growing little baby and I find I'm quite proud of it. This site doesn't get anywhere near the traffic, but that may be toward the good. This is, after all, my rambling page and I might become more self-conscious if I thought lots of people were reading it.

I have thought further about the novel I was positing. At this point, I'll probably set up another blog on this site with links to track the progress of it and possibly the new Regency I want to write. That way, I'll have some kind of record of my thoughts, fears and frustrations. Also, It'll be terribly interesting to see what it looks like when I look back in several months.

Months. I am thinking ahead. At this point, I'm almost hitting the one month range for Missive Musings and I've started to feel dependent on post something each day. This is good; it means the muscles are being worked on each day, that I'm in the habit of writing again. I've written something fic each day for almost the last month as well, even if it's only a few lines. This is progress. The fan fic is allowing me to slip back into writing as part of my every day life without setting impossible goals.

Eyes growing heavy. I'm really tired and am going to head off to bed. I've started Reactions III and here's the first short bit. Another thing I like; by sharing a bit of the fic each day, I'm writing something on it each day.

It had become a set routine. Just as the sun began to creep over the horizon, Spike let himself into the shop. In the early morning quiet, he took advantage of the training room Giles had so carefully created for Buffy, using the exercise to clear his head. After an invigorating bout in the shower Giles had also thoughtfully included, he felt ready to face the day. Well, as ready as he was going to be.

Plugging in the electric kettle, Spike wished for the thousandth time it was gin he was about to pour instead of water. For once, he'd abstained from alcohol as everything came crashing down around him, deciding his wits were more important than dulling the pain. He'd seen no sign of Xander since the fiasco at The Bronze a week ago, but there was no doubt in his mind the man would come looking for him, stake in hand. Spike had violated the Whelp's previous Buffy and for that the vampire would have to pay. At least, that was how he figured Xander's mind worked, if it worked at all.

So, no drinking; just exercise and losing himself in the day-to-day activities of the shop. He'd settled into a rhythm. Work out, heat the water, make a quick check of the outside in case anything needed to be tended to before the sun got too high or too many people were about. Check e-mail from the website for potential orders. Have a cup of blood. Open at ten. Dawn would be in shortly after three. Tara's schedule varied depending on her classes. See to the mail orders. Fed Ex. UPS. Be grateful Tara had taken over the planning for the mixer in three weeks. Head out through the tunnels around five or stay in the basement with orders and inventory until closing; either way, he wasn't around the few times the Scoobies showed up.

Was this how Angel occupied his days with his detective business? The thought was almost enough to send Spike for the bottle of Jack Daniels stashed by someone in a small compartment under the counter. He resisted, settling for dolloping an extra spoonful of cocoa mix into his cup.

Caro | 10:48 PM


Got Reactions II posted to Tabula Rasa and Spike's Salvation. Now I have fic to comment on and letters to answer regarding mine. Also, need to get started on Reactions III and work on getting the "Ripper" story up and running. Lots of stuff. The writing is good. Despite the events of the show, I feel the ship is good, and I'm confident. Even if Joss Whedon crashes and burns (which I doubt he'll do), I've gotten a lot of good out of all of this. That's enough to make me happy.
Caro | 7:03 PM


Sing praise and hallelujah. I just finished Reactions II. Nothing was settled in this story, but there is a lot of good angst. Buffy's realizing some things that are not right, but she doesn't have a clue where to turn to next.

Giles will be returning soon; the time of his arrival is mentioned in Reactions III, which I'm probably going to start on tonight. This is another tricky one, because the idea is that Spike and Buffy are going to almost go another round, but what happens is the fences get knocked down very hard. This is my answer to the bathroom scene in Seeing Red. Only, I don't want Spike leaving town yet, but I want him and Buffy cooled off for a considerable amount of time. This is going to do it, put the wedge between them.

It's also going to make Giles very unhappy when he arrives, and will lead to some interesting things with the relationships between those three. One thing is for sure: Spike needs to go on a journey of self-discovery before he can reunite with Buffy.

Caro | 5:08 PM

Well, the new template didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but better than I probably had a right to expect. Doing this has proved to be an unexpected boon; I didn't think I'd actually post an entry almost every day, but here I am. We're almost to the month point, and I have to admit it's rather gratifying to see the number of posts grow.

Whether anyone else is reading these, I've discovered that in some senses I no longer care. This is journal is for me, and that's the main reason I'm doing it. It's a place for me to flex my muscles and get warmed up before I start moving in the morning. It's a place to express my frustration with the world and other things. It's a place for me to breathe -- and I desperately need that sometimes. It's also a place where I can "see" what parts of the story are starting to look like before I finish them, which is a good thing. It gives me a chance to step back and reconsider. Going forward, I'll probably be posting bits and pieces of my latest book here, working notes and all that.

Off to work, so more of Reactions II. This is more of the Buffy/Dawn conversation, but I'm still tackling the Buffy/Willow/Xander bit, which is proving more difficult than I thought. Don't want to come off too nasty, but don't want to be too soft. I want Willow and Xander to walk away with some simmering resentment, but not a screaming match. I want just enough peace that Denial!Buffy thinks things will be okay. Hmm. I just got an idea...

She nearly sprinted up the stairs, not giving them time to say more. Pausing only to make sure they weren't following, Buffy knocked at Dawn's door. "Go away," came the immediate response.

Buffy opened the door a crack. "It's me. Can I come in?"

She took Dawn's silence for assent and headed inside. Her sister was sprawled on her bed, school books scattered across the surface. "I'm doing my homework," she said sulkily as Buffy found a chair not draped with teenage stuff.

"Good, but I didn't come up here to talk to you about that. I wanted to talk to you about Spike. Well, me and Spike."

Dawn stared at her for a long moment, then turned her head to glance significantly at the door. Buffy was pretty certain she didn't hear anyone lingering outside, but if Dawn was uncomfortable, they weren't going to have the talk they needed to. "Want to go outside?" she asked.

Didn't take more than a second for the girl to be off the bed and down the stairs, making a sharp left into the dining room, through the kitchen and out the back door. As Buffy followed in her wake, Willow made a move to join them, but stopped at Buffy's look.

Dawn was waiting near the bench at the back of the yard, shifting her weight from one foot to another. Buffy moved slowly, reluctance helping to stay her feet. "Ummm…" she said by way of an opening.

Dawn tapped her foot.

Buffy sat, sliding her hands down the tops of her leg toward her knee.

Dawn shifted again, waiting.

"This isn't easy," Buffy began at last.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

No, this wasn't going to be an easy conversation. "It's…it's complicated."

"I'm hearing that a lot. What I'm not hearing is why the guy who was good enough to take care of me during the summer isn't coming around any more or why now he's an evil, disgusting thing, but everyone still runs to him when they need his help."

Buffy winced. Dawn had just summed up the situation pretty accurately. "I didn't mean to hurt him."

"If you didn't, you were the only one. Xander's been talking all evening about what they should do about him." Dawn came and knelt in front of her sister. "You're not going to let him do that, are you?"

Big brown eyes were looking up at her, framed by long straight hair. Unable to suppress a smile, she reached out to brush the strands back. "No one's going to stake Spike. It's not like he's hurt anyone."

Dawn looked relieved by this news, sitting back on her heels. "Why didn't you tell me?" she asked again.

*Good question. Because I was scared? Ashamed? Terrified?* "I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. I tried to break it off several times, but I never seemed to be able to." Buffy swallowed. "I don't love him, Dawn. I couldn't…"

"All afraid he'll go evil on you and hurt everyone?" Dawn sighed. "He's not Angel, Buffy."

For the first time, Buffy realized Dawn had never seen Spike when she and he had fought. She'd never seen him lunge for Buffy's neck in game face, fangs bared and ready to add a third slayer to his collection. In fact, Buffy couldn't think of a single occasion where Dawn had seen Spike in game face. "No, he's not. Spike's pure vampire, Dawn, with nothing but that chip in his head restraining him. I mean, I know he's never shown that side to you…"

Dawn's brows drew together. "What do you mean? Like all 'grrr' and fangy? Of course he has."

This was disturbing news. "He has? When?"

"While you were gone." Dawn's face took on that slightly uncomfortable look it always did when talking about the time Buffy had been dead. "He taught me how to stake a vampire. Not like he expected me to go out slaying or anything like that. He just wanted me to know how just in case. Anyway, he got a cardboard roll and made me practice on him until I could hit the heart pretty easily. Then he had me come at him and suddenly there it was."

Buffy remembered her first vampire. She'd had no idea what to expect and the sight of yellow eyes and fangs had nearly cost her life. "What happened?"

"I freaked." Dawn looked sheepish. "I just totally freaked out and dropped the tube I was using as a stake. He said that's why he did it, because some vampires rely on surprising their victim. He didn't want me to just freeze."

One more thing she hadn't known. One more thing she'd missed. "That was smart of him," Buffy admitted. "I'm glad he did it."

That brought a grin. "Cool. Xander was mad at him, said Spike shouldn't be scaring me like that. Spike just told him to bugger off."

Clearly Spike had been teaching Dawn more than just self-defense moves. Casting a glance toward the house, Buffy could see Willow and Xander moving about in the kitchen. It didn't look like they were trying to overhear, but she knew they were watching. "I don't know what else to tell you about this. What Spike and I…what we had is over and I don't think either one of us really wants to share the details."

Caro | 9:52 AM

New template this morning, one that I feel better about. Nicer, smoother, and I'm getting a better understanding of blogger codes. I'm probably going to go to Blogger pro just because I can get a better rate now than if I sign up later, and $35 ain't much. That, of course, means there will be more changes in the future for both this and Missives from the Hellmouth. Things will run smoother and look nicer. Now that I've got the color going on Musings, time to shift things on the main site.
Caro | 7:11 AM


Doing better, but still feeling tired. That's probably going to last for another week or so -- I really need to catch up on my sleep. Sleeping better with the husband home, but it's a long way to go. I'm worried a little about finances, about how long the job is going to last and all those things. I will get over it.

What I have managed to get through is the scene between Buffy and Dawn in the latest story. At last! It's been very difficult because there's so much Dawn wants to know and so little that Buffy wants to say. The conversation wanders a bit, but Dawn gets out of it what she needs to hear and Buffy doesn't have to say anywhere near what she thought she would. Now it's on to the confrontation with Xander and Willow where Buffy lays down the law. Once that's done, the story just needs to be wrapped up and I can start Reactions III.

The thing which really gets me is the number of people who are hitting my website -- I'm at the point I'm getting an average of 15 a day. Yesterday, there were 50 separate visits. Fifty! If I ever wanted a confirmation that writing is something I'm good at, this is it.

It's also something to think of going forward. I'm spending a lot of time writing fic. I have a lot of ideas for writing fic. How can I move forward with my writing that's supposed to be for my career? I don't know the answer, but the fact that I'm thinking about it, the fact that I'm starting to get niggling little story ideas is a good thing. Yes, there is definitely going to be some fic writing going on in my future. There's also going to be other writing, and I'm pleased about that. If taking this break is good for me, it hasn't been for naught.

I feel myself coming back to life. Contest judge requests are going out tonight, and we'll see what we get back. It's moving forward. This is good.

More from Reactions II:

With that she said goodnight, heading back onto the streets. As she checked the alleys, though, her thoughts kept turning to Tara's words. She didn't want to have another confrontation with her friends, but it was inevitable. Last night she'd run from it twice when things got hot, settling nothing. This was precisely why she hadn't wanted to tell them in the first place.

Something about that thought niggled at her brain, but she couldn't quite latch onto what. The more she worked at it, the more she realized her mind was far from the business at hand. After twenty minutes, Buffy gave up patrolling and turned her feet toward Revello Drive.

Xander's car was once more parked out front, causing her to hesitate before she continued up the walk. *Decide what I want. Stick to it. Stand up for it. Here goes another round of Buffy of the stompy foot.*

There were voices from the living room as she entered, murmuring, low enough she couldn't make out the words. She recognized them instantly, though, sounds that had become so familiar over the past six years. Firmly, she closed the front door and the murmuring stopped. "Buffy? Is that you?" came Willow's voice.

"Yeah. Gave up on patrol early tonight." She moved to stand in the doorway to the living room and discovered Xander and Willow standing. Willow looked nervous; Xander looked unhappy. "Where's Dawn?" she asked, trying to focus on what she wanted to do first.

"Upstairs. She was already home when I got here. Guess the Magic Box closed early today or something."

"I ran into Tara downtown. She said they decided they needed a little time off, opted not to stay open late."

"Well, Anya would have loved that." There was a world of hurt in Xander's tone, more than enough to cover her, Spike and Anya, with leftovers for the next week. She wasn't going to go there, wasn't going to get caught in that confrontation before she spoke to Dawn.

Without a word, she turned toward the stairs. "Buffy, we need to talk," came Willow's voice from behind her.

She paused, one hand resting on the smooth wood of the rail. "We do -- but I want to talk to Dawn first."

"Maybe we should talk first, present a united front." Willow was offering her best conciliatory tone, but it wasn't going to fly. Not this time.

Knowing she shouldn't, Buffy turned back. "This isn't about being united or being the Scoobies. This is about me talking to my sister about a secret I kept from her that's come out in the worst possible way. It's not something I necessarily want to do, but I can't put it off because she's already talked to Spike about it. And, no, he didn't go running to her trying to get on her good side. She's the one who brought the subject up to him."

They looked surprised, as well they should. "How did you…?" Xander asked.

"Because he happened to be with Tara when I ran into her. He told me so I'd be prepared." She could feel herself growing angry again, which was precisely what she didn't want to do. Taking a deep breath, she tried to center herself. "I'm going to talk to Dawn now. If you want, we can continue this when I'm done."

Caro | 3:44 PM


The infamous Seeing Red aired last night, and the reaction (at least on the groups I'm reading) is much milder than I anticipated. I think those who were deeply upset by this turn of events have already turned away and aren't contributing to the conversation.

The big controversy, of course, surrounds Spike and what is happening with him. I'm spoiled, so I have a good idea, but there's still a lot missing. I don't think the boy is down and out yet, though; for one thing, the character is far too popular for ME to just throw him away. Second, everything points toward something big. He's been the subject of too attention this season. They ain't gonna just throw it out the window.

At any rate, the last of the Watchers' Diaries entries was loaded last night, so that series is done for now. I am going to miss it, but I'm looking forward to moving onto the Ripper stories and broader Spike stories. Also, I actually got an idea for two romantic comedies (contemporary) this morning based on the Buffy characters.

We can start with Buffy, who's seeing Xander. He's the good steady guy and she's pretty certain he's the one -- after all, he's just what her mother ordered. His good friend is Willow, who's actually in love with him, but has pretty much given up at this point, cause he's been chasing everything else. Xander can't see beyond the fact that Buffy's the type of girl he's always wanted -- pretty, successful, cool and the fact that she actually seems to want him kinda blinds him to the fact she's not incredibly enthusiastic. Then the bad boy comes in and everything goes to hell from there.

Book I is the Buffy/Spike story, Book II Willow/Xander and I'd have to find something for Book III. Just thoughts -- we'll see what happens.

Right now, the main thing is working on getting Reactions II complete. Here's the latest bit:

Buffy's drink arrived, icy chocolate goodness seriously laced with coffee, guaranteed to keep her peppy and wired for patrol. Buffy drank, polishing off nearly half the cup in one gulp. "I wish you had come along last night. Maybe you could have talked some sense into them."

Tara's face saddened. "I tried. I told them they needed to give you space and you had some things to sort out. They didn't want to listen. Xander wanted to know why I was defending Spike." She looked down. "I told him it wouldn't be a good idea to stake Spike."

Would Xander still be thinking along those lines? "You and Spike seem to be getting pretty close."

That brought the light back to Tara's face. "I couldn't handle the shop without him. It's difficult enough with school and the hours I work now; if he wasn't there to help, I don't know what I'd do. I think he may actually be enjoying it, though he'd never admit it."

"Are you saying Spike's found his true calling in retail?"

"Sounds silly, doesn't it?" But he knows way more about demonology than I do, and he has a fairly good grasp on spell mechanics. It's clear he reads more than he lets on."

Another gulp and the last of Buffy's drink was gone, removing any excuse to linger. Still, she felt no urgency to get out of the chair. "What should I do?" she asked, hoping against hope that might have the answer.

"Decide what you want. Stick to it. Stand up for it." Tara reached out to rest a hand atop Buffy's. "Live."

Caro | 4:10 PM


Well, the husband is home and doing much better, so I'm happy. I really did miss him and I didn't sleep well while he was gone, so last night was the first night I managed to get things together and rest.

I have done a fair amount of writing in the time he's been in; in some ways, it's been my only companion. I finished Card Sharp for him yesterday, which he was happy about. That's going up on the site tonight, along with the next entry in the Watcher's Diaries series. That entry is the final one for the season, I think, unless I end up doing a follow-up with Giles. Don't know -- a lot will depend on how the season ends. I really want to keep this as close as possible to the series, because it's supposed to be a commentary. It'd be terribly easy to wander off into AU at this point.

The AU, on the other hand, is doing just fine. I'm having fun with the Magic Box and am definitely going to continue this through the summer or as long as I have fun. Reactions II is drawing to a close, then it's on to Reactions III. We've had Spike, then Buffy. Now we get them back together and see what happens. Then we speed into the discovery of the nerd lair, etc. It's fun.

Over the summer, I want to write the "Ripper" fic I've been thinking about -- rather, my interpretation of the Giles&Spikeverse. It should be fun, especially given the notes I've been working on so far. There's so much pain going on in the show right now; writing lighter fics is one way to keep oneself sane and it's helping my creative pathways flow.

Of course, having said that, I'm in the middle of great angst, though that should be done soon. One paper, I've gotten Buffy out of the coffee shop and back onto patrol. She's about to head home and talk with Dawn, where she will, unfortunately for her, encounter Willow and Xander.

"So there's some jealousy there on Xander's part," Tara said once the waitress took the order.

Buffy shrugged. "A lot of it's tied up in his feelings about Angel. He always resented the fact I chose a vampire over him."

"And Spike, being another vampire…"

"One who isn't at all repentant about who and what he is, like Angel was…is." When had she started thinking of him in the past tense?

"I think I'm beginning to see part of the problem." Tara picked up her cup as if to drink, then set it back down. "Buffy, how important is it that Willow and Xander approve of what you're doing?"

"They're my friends." Where had that come from?

"Are you going to stop doing something just because they don't approve?"

"Tara, if you're saying I stopped sleeping with Spike just because Willow and Xander…"

She shook her head. "No, sweetie. This is about more than just you and Spike. I know Will at least has some very definite ideas about what you should be doing and Xander acts like he does too. Sometimes those ideas are going to conflict with what you want. You're the only one who can decide what's best for you and Willow and Xander need to learn to accept that."

Caro | 12:22 PM


He's getting sprung! My husband just called to tell me that he's getting out of the hospital today, so I'm going to be frantic getting out of here and getting to the office. It's going to be a busy day, but I love it. He's coming home.
Caro | 7:06 AM


Sunday morning and it's far from lazy. My husband's not out of the woods yet, and not going to be out of the hospital until tomorrow at the earliest. The part that's scaring me is that we're now talking about Monday as "earliest." If he's let out Monday, that will be five days.

I'm scared at this point, scared about a lot of things. I'm scared about how his health is doing, how much the insurance is going to cover and what we're going to have to pay. I'm scared wondering if this is going to set a pattern for our remaining years together. I have this horrible feeling that one day I'm going to be standing in that ER or hospital, holding his hand while I watch him struggle for breath and finally lose the battle. That's the thought that haunts my dreams. He knows I have this fear and we never speak of it because that would make it real, make it something we have to deal with. Right now, we deal with his symptoms; we don't deal with the outcome.

So frustrating, but it's the way it is. This is having a huge effect on how my writing is going, but I can't help it. My writing is me, and that's where what good things I have come in my writing come from. So, right now I'm trying to deal with Denial!Buffy and finding it amazingly easy. She doesn't want to take that final leap and neither do I.

Journaling helps, but it's still a fear that's sitting on my chest. So what do I do? I try to write out the fear. I work on Reactions, I work on the Harmony story, I keep moving.

Here's a look at this morning's Denial!Buffy:

Spike started leave, but stopped, coming back partway. "Dawn asked me about us this afternoon," he said. "Wanted to know how long we'd been dating."

Buffy winced. No, she was not looking forward to talking to Dawn. "What did you tell her?" she asked, unable to keep a defensive note from creeping in.

"Not much. Some bare facts, that it was over and the details were personal, which is why I didn't want to tell her. She inferred some things, so there may be some questions you don't like. She heard the argument last night. Sat on the top of the stairs after she was sent off." He glanced down to the floor and back up again. "Wanted you to know 'fore you talked to her."

Why was he so kind? Was he thinking of her or of Dawn? Dawn, she decided. To think otherwise was to tread in dangerous territory. "Thanks. I need all the help I can dealing with this one. Not the kind of thing they tell you about in the Slayer handbook."

The small joke earned a smiled that quickly faded in the awkward silence following. For a moment, she thought he would speak, give her something to push against, but he simply departed. Only when she lost sight of him did Buffy let her legs relax enough to sit.

"He was telling me about the first time he saw you," Tara said.

Buffy shivered. "That must have been cheery."

"Actually, it was kind of romantic -- well, allowing for the fact he was trying to kill you. I've never heard the story before."

That shouldn't be surprising, Buffy supposed. For all he loved to talk, Spike had never been conversation guy with the Scoobies.

"How are you holding up? Sounds like things didn't get better after I left."

Where did she…Dawn, most likely. "That is a bit of an understatement."

"What were you thinking? It's not like you don't know what he is. It's not like he's got a soul."

She thought they would have gotten the message when she walked out of The Bronze after telling them the subject was no longer open for discussion. But, no, they had been waiting for her, emerging from Xander's car as she came up the front walk.

"Now, Xander, we weren't going to attack Buffy. We're trying to help." Willow had fallen back into high school mode, playing the peacemaker. "Remember, 'I' statements only."

It was another intervention, and she didn't feel like putting up with it. Turning on her heel, she headed up the steps to the front door. As she stepped across the threshold, Xander spoke up. "Here's an 'I' statement: I feel betrayed."

The knot that had been building in her stomach twisted. She wanted to turn and scream at him, remind him what they'd done to her by playing God and bringing her back. Let's match betrayal for betrayal.

But she was Good Buffy and Good Buffy didn't scream at her friends or want to rip them apart because they were so pleased with themselves while she hurt.

"Okay, so that's a little judgey. Buffy, we're just worried about you; you made some wrong choices and we want to help.

"Help with what?" Dawn stood in the doorway to the living room, arms crossed.

"I don't need help, Willow."

"Well, you're clearly confused, 'cause I know you wouldn't have gone doing something like this without telling your bestest friend if you weren't."

"Confused? Try 'insane,' Will. That's the only reason I can see for this."

"What are you guys talking about? Buffy, what's going on?"

'Buffy apparently has been having a little 'thing,'" Xander nearly spit out the word, "going with Spike.

"You…and Spike?"

She lifted her head to look at her younger sister. Dawn looked surprised, but a bit angry as well. "Is that why he won't come by any more?"

"Buffy? Still in the land of the living?"

Caro | 11:37 AM


Back to the keyboard after thoroughly crashing for the past couple of days. Husband is still in the hospital; seems he can't quite get over that last little hump, so they're keeping him. The asthma is much better, but he just can't come home yet.

So, I'm by myself, writing and just kinda hanging out. I don't want to go anywhere since I want to be by the phone in case he calls. I'm not going to actually relax for some time, I know. At least I've started eating again, which is a big plus. I'd gone off food completely Thursday and Friday, but I actually had appetite this morning, so this is good.

Have been continuing to work on Reactions II, which is going along fairly well, but it's gotten a bit sidetracked yesterday and today by two things. First was the next entry in the letters series. I broke down and actually watched Seeing Red, which I had sworn I wasn't going to do. Thing is, I was tired and lonely and wanted to get something off my chest by watching something else. I think the last five episodes will hold up very well once you can see them all together. Anyway, I watched the episode and began the next entry in the letters series. It's a painful one, as befits the state of things, but it'll be ready to go Tuesday evening and I'll post after the episode airs here on the west coast. That's it for the series after that, at least until next year.

Much more work has been done on the Harmony story my husband wants, which is called "Card Sharp." Since I'm running off to the hospital soon, I'll leave you with a taste:

It was the most beautiful thing she thought she had ever seen. The background was a soft floral pattern, a perfect setting for the name and title she had ordered, all done in flowing script: "Harmony Kendall, Master Vampire." As far as Harmony was concerned, the small line drawing of a unicorn in the upper right corner was the perfect touch.

"They're perfect!" she squealed, her voice echoing through the Sunnydale Business District branch of Kinko's. She practically jumped up and down in excitement before she remembered that Master Vampires did not jump up and down. Composing herself, she adopted a haughty attitude. "They are quite acceptable."

She wondered why the clerk behind the counter looked so nervous and acted like he wanted to be anywhere but there.


It was the most hideous thing he had ever seen and that was saying something, given nearly a century and a quarter of living and who his companions had been for some of that period. Kitschy flower background made worse by the pathetic unicorn in the corner. The choice of typeface was revolting to all sense of design and who in their right mind would want to have a business card that said, "Harmony Kendall, Master Vampire."

Oh. Just wasn't his day, now was it?

Despite the small voice in his head that screamed for him to run for the hills before the horror that was Harm, Spike couldn't resist silently sauntering up behind her, then reaching out to pluck the card from her fingers. "You have got to be kidding."

She spun around at the sound of his voice, looking for all the world like she'd been caught doing something she shouldn't. "Spikey! I mean, Spike."

This was too delicious. She was trying to puff herself up again, be the Big Bad instead of the spoilt child who'd stomped her way out of his lair. Somehow, the memory of the crossbow bolt she'd embedded in his shoulder had faded with time. "What could you possibly be thinking, Harm? I mean, business cards? Evening, Charlie."

The clerk looked a little less nervous. "Hi, Spike. The fliers will be ready in a few minutes."


And here he was, criticizing her for business cards. "Fliers? Isn't that a little declassy?"

"It's 'declass' and I'll have you know this is legitimate business."

Harmony put her expert eye to work. Spike still sported the same peroxide blonde hair and what looked to be the same black jeans and fashion mistake work boots. He had added a different shirt, a dark paisley print on -- what else? -- black that might have been acceptable if she was in a forgiving mood. "What? Promoting a punk rock band?"

Caro | 12:47 PM


Well, this is going to be a lovely ramble this morning. As of this moment, I've been up since 5:30 AM Tuesday. You heard me. Tuesday.

My husband has asthma. He is one of that lucky minority that didn't have it as a child, but acquired it as an adult. This means that colds are serious things and bronchitis is a major cause for alarm. So, when his asthma kicks up nastily late last night, off we go to the ER.

Four and a half hours later, they decide to admit him.

By 8:30 AM, he's in a bed, hooked up to oxygen and getting antibiotics intravenously.

By 10:30 AM, I'm at my desk at work. A gal's gotta earn some money. I'm massively tired and surviving on caffeine and sugar. Not surprisingly, I'm not getting a hell of a lot done. Even writing has taken over an hour. I'm probably out of here by 3 PM. See Fred then go and crash big time, especially since I'll need to go get cat food at some point.

I actually got a tremendous amount of work done yesterday on Reactions II, even getting stuff written in the ER. There's some good stuff here; drama and angst that doesn’t swerve too far into melodrama. I think this chapter will work. The real test though will be the third part, where Buffy and Spike come together again, only to dissolve into arguments. That's going to be some serious stuff and heavier in sensuality.

Don't know when the story will get finished, though, because my husband asked me for a favor this morning. Of all the characters in the Buffyverse, he as a perverse fondness for Harmony Kendall – or as he refers to her, "Harmony Kendal, Master Vampire!" Don't know why, but likes her in a fun and kooky way. He conceived of the idea of Harmony passing out business cards. Silly, I'll go for it.

Since he's sick, I'm going to whip this one out so he'll have it to come home to – after I get some sleep.

A little bit more from Reactions II:

Shoving her hands into her coat pockets, Buffy turned her steps down the street. So, no Tara. That left checking the alleys and on to the cemeteries. She'd skip Sunnyrest tonight, she decided; no need to go anywhere near Spike's crypt. Then it'd be home to a mac and cheese dinner and the talk with Dawn. Oh, joy.

Her heart wasn't into the patrolling and she wondered if her limited funds would stretch to include a coffee drink from the Expresso Pump. It wouldn't solve world hunger or her problems, but it would give her five minutes of getting away from them. Well, maybe two if she bought a small drink, which she was pretty certain she could afford.

Just a slight change in course steered her toward sweet coffee goodness and the laughter of patrons that spilled onto the street. She was almost at the entrance when she spotted them, sitting at a table close to the front, talking and drinking as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Spike was sitting in that odd, lean-forward, shoulders slightly hunched way he had, one finger tracing the rim of his cup. He was speaking, a bit of a smile on his lips.

Tara was doing what she so often did: listening. From her expression it didn't seem to be a hardship. She appeared quite comfortable and Buffy had the sudden feeling she was intruding. She wasn't ready to deal with Spike anyway.

Before she could act on her firm intention to flee, Tara noticed her presence and waved. Spike tensed visibly as he turned in his seat to see who was behind him, shoulders relaxing only slightly as his eyes rested on her.

So not wanting this, but deciding saying hello would be less painful than the possibility of Spike heading after her if she bolted, Buffy put on her best fixed smile and made her way to the table. "Hi, Tara. I was going to drop by the shop, but I saw you guys had the closed sign up. Everything okay?"

Tara gave a small lift of her shoulders. "Spike and I decided to close up early, give ourselves a break. Don't worry; we sent Dawn home well before dark."

Buffy glanced down at Spike. He was staring into his cup, finger still tracing the rim. Tara could put a gloss on it if she want, but looking at him, she just knew they'd been discussing last night. "Hello, Spike," she said on impulse.

He looked up, a hint of surprise in his blue eyes. "Hello, Buffy." His voice was carefully neutral, holding back whatever he might be feeling.

It was a start. She'd actually said hello to him in front of someone else. True, it was Tara, who'd known about her…whatever with Spike for nearly two months, but it was something.

"Why don't you sit down?" Tara asked. "Was there something you needed from the shop?"

"Um…" Having succeeded in speaking civilly, she found herself freezing at sitting down at the same table, staring at the chair as if it might bite her.

Caro | 12:14 PM


Just finished the timeline for the Life in Sunnydale; in some ways, it's really scary. There are a total of twelve stories lightly outlined at this point, no resolution of Spike and Buffy to be seen, and it's not even set in stone. There's the slayer origins I want to do, need to have Clem show up at least once, deal with Halfrek some more. I've got the very basics down, with the later stuff subject to heavy revision. This is way more than I intended, but I'm going to enjoy this. Still, it's a little scary, and I'm thinking there's going to be a lot of tough work ahead.

I want to combine action with character work; I want Spike snarky, but I don't want him too domesticated. He needs to make some choices which will come back to haunt him. This could work really well, or it could fall flat on its face. And *none* of it will every see the light of day beyond my website and newsgroups.

Remind me again why I want to do this series?

Caro | 2:51 PM

Btw, the car got fixed. $730. Broken axle, shredded brake, leaking radiator. Ouch. Fortunately, our mechanic is the person who sold us the car and he's feeling pretty guilty about it at the moment, so we got a good deal and can even make the last half of the payment on Friday. That was kinda good news.

Caro | 9:09 AM

Lordy, lordy, lordy. I just looked at the digests for my professional writing group a few minutes ago and what I saw disgusted me. I'm suddenly very glad that I'm not going to conference this July. I don't want to get into this fight and I don't want to worry about all the mess. The organization is cracking and it's going to take a lot of people with it. As for myself, I need to get letters out today to potential judges -- gotta get these files out of the house. I'll pack them into packets tonight so they're ready to go and try to get the judging sheets done today or tomorrow. I want this contest over and now I'm wishing I hadn't agreed to do this. I'm not in a good place where my professional writing is supposed to be, and this chaos within the org isn't helping.

Fan fic is more fun, though a lot of angst about last night's episode and about next week's. I have confidence they'll survive. It's a long road, but all the signs point to Spike being Buffy's long haul guy -- her partner, lover and possibly even mentor. It's not going to be easy, though. Of course, I didn't think it would be easy when I started writing the Magic Box series and it won't be. Spike's on the start of a long journey -- the mystical portion is just a small part. The emotional portion will be much longer.

Not a long one this morning. I want to get some e-mails done and some disks pressed. I especially want to get the game I downloaded pressed for my husband because he's being a whiny baby this morning. I'll probably do the loading myself.

Really happy with the way Reactions II is coming along. Tara is a joy to write, but Buffy is proving nicely conflicted and she's just about to have to deal with Spike again. Here's a bit from just before that:

"Buffy, wakey wakey." There was a knocking on the other side of the door. Buffy ignored it, lying on her back and staring at the ceiling. She'd hardly slept, her mind churning.

"Buffy? Breakfast time." The knocking became more insistent. "I'm making pancakes."

"I'm not hungry." That was true. Her stomach was knotted and the thought of food repulsive.

"Chocolate chip pancakes."

Why did Willow think chocolate would make the world all better? Her mom was gone, her sister seemed perpetually angry at her no matter what attempts Buffy made, she was stuck in a dead-end job and she'd pushed away the one thing in her life that let her forget how much everything hurt for just a little while because that was what she should do. Problem was, her friends knew about him now and they'd made their feelings quite clear last night. How was chocolate going to fix that?

"Buffy? I thought we could talk. Y'know, before class and work?"

"I just want to be alone."

The knocking continued for another minute and the doorknob rattled before she heard the sound of feet retreating down the hall.

Caro | 7:07 AM


Turns out the mail system at work bounced the file for Reactions I. Twice. The message acted like it was a filter or something, but I re-sent the file first thing this morning and haven't gotten a bounce message yet. E-mail is a wonderful thing. When it works.

So, story got posted to Spike's Salvation and Tabula Rasa this morning and I'll get it up on my website tonight. Still playing with the look of the website, still trying to get things together. I haven't gotten everything exactly the way I want, and while I love the deep purple tone, it just don’t come up right on a bunch of monitors. I think that what I might do is go a deep blue-grey. I'll have to play with colors this evening after Buffy.

New Buffy! The first of five new episodes over the next month. This will get the juices flowing again, although I think they're flowing pretty well at the moment. I managed to get a page and a half hand-written on Reactions II last night, which works out to half a page typewritten once I get the cross-outs removed. Heavier stuff than I'm used to doing, although the Letters series has been awfully heavy at times. This is good, though. I don't feel like I'm merging into melodramatics here, but getting some good work done. There's a real book in all of this, I can feel it. A fantasy/horror novel about a vampire trying to start again. A vampire who's lost his human love due to something stupid like a drunk driver -- he's not going through the pain of "oh, she grew old and died while I'm still immortal"; he's going through the pain of having a loved one ripped away from him before her time. Spike in the Magic Box series is going to be the model, with Tara as his friend and companion. No love affair there and possibly even some regret on the vampire's part that she's gay, that the friendship can't go to another level. It's a story about living, ironically, not hiding from what you feel just because it hurts.

I think that's the theme of the Magic Box series, to have the characters actually move forward. Xander's going to go into therapy at some point, maybe he'll work out his issues with Anya. Giles will pop in and out, more for business reasons that for Buffy reasons (the fact that he doesn't totally trust Spike with the store is a large motivating factor). Anya will be Anya and perhaps end up in an on-again, off-again affair with Giles. Tara will start to find a direction in life separate from Willow. Willow, I'm not sure what we'll do with her yet, but it will have something to do with Giles and the resources of the Council. There will be problems from the Council (surprise, surprise). More origins of the slayers and of vampires. Settle Halfrek. Deal with the social service issues and the gallery. Lots of stuff and there may well be more than one book in it. We'll just have to see.

Caro | 11:11 AM

Well, last night was just peachy. My car definitely has to go in this morning to the mechanic and it's going to take a chunk out of the account. Something is terribly wrong under the chasis and I dread to think what it is. Then, to top it all off, I e-mail the finished file for "Reactions I" to myself with the firm intent of posting it, only to discover that it didn't arrive somehow. So, I'm sitting there last night frustrated and I can't upload. I'll have to do that today from work.

The fact is, I did finish the story and managed to do it in less than a week. That's good for me. What's even better is that the sequel, "Reactions II" is already started and moving along. This is probably going to be a little harder since I haven't written in Buffy's POV for a few months. Also, there will be more of the Xander/Willow reaction told in flashbacks. I want there to be a definite disconnect between what she's saying to Tara and what she's thinking/what happened. Buffy is not in a good place at the moment and she's feeling pretty upset and isolated herself. Funny, but Tara is proving kind of a link between them. Didn't plan on that happening.

What's after Reactions II? Probably leap ahead to the return of Giles and pump up the nerd trio actions some more. Then we have Anya's return, her vengeance and then the discovery of the cameras and move into the finales. Four, maybe five sections. The finale will be the hardest, determining how far I follow ME and how much I veer onto my own.

This is working into it's own series far beyond what I intended, but it's interesting. It's fun, too, and will keep me occupied for a while. Other than that, there's web work to do because I'm still not happy with my blog layout and want to create one on my own. Hey, I'm learning Dreamweaver much better because of this.

Going to go back to writing feedback which I so desperately should do (I've been bad), so I'll leave off with this small story bit from "Reaction II":

Buffy was grateful for sunset. Sunset meant patrol, which in turn mean a few hours of quiet. Except for the vampires, of course.

Right now, she wasn't particularly looking for vampires. The sun hadn't set that long ago and there were still streaks of color in the sky as she left the Doublemeat Palace behind. She decided to hit the main business district first, fan out to the alleys, then head for the cemetaries. Anyone who was going to rise would have done so by then.

The plan had the added advantage of taking her by the Magic Box. If luck was with her, Tara would still be there and they could talk. Buffy desperately felt the need of someone sane and rational to talk to.

Caro | 6:49 AM


Interesting morning in the world of fandom. UPN sent out the wildfeed for "Seeing Red," which is the episode of Buffy that's supposed to air next week, instead of Entropy, which is supposed to air tomorrow. For the unspoiled among you, I won't go into details. If, however, you're a spoiler whore like me, you might try Leoff Online, which produces reviews of the wildfeed.

This is May sweeps and there is some upsetting material, not surprisingly. They're really wrenching it out of us this year. There are people threatening to quit fandom, and at least one fic writer I respect has said she's going to stop writing Buffy fic.


I really hate times like this. I'm going to lose readers, though I hope I'll be finding some more. I've averaging 11 people to my site a day, nearly 100 in the week. Do want to check my guestbook, see if anyone's signed.

Short one today because it's afternoon and I'm trying to get more written between work before I head home. Do have a story quote, though, another one from the current story with Spike and Tara:

"She asked me to look into the spell Willow used to bring her back. She wanted to know what was wrong since you could…hurt her."

He wanted to know and he didn't want to know. Spike had told Xander Willow knew that if there was even a part of Buffy in what she brought back, she knew he wouldn't allow her to get rid of it if it all went wrong.

Tara took the decision from him, continuing her explanation. "She's just…shifted on a cellular level somehow, just enough that she doesn't register on your chip. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with her."

*You came back wrong.* Big bad vampires weren't supposed to feel remorse. Big bad vampires weren't supposed to feel like Class-A jerks, either. Spike felt both.

Caro | 4:31 PM


Ugh. It has been a completely shitty weekend. The estate sale we went to yesterday was a total bust and a waste of time. Too many family members intent on scoring points on the others and not at all interested in actually getting rid of the stuff they were trying to sell. Went out, didn't get anything except a nasty headache from the dust. Slept most of the afternoon. Then, had to get out of the house early for church this morning because my husband had to buy donuts for a church bake sale -- a bake sale which he was not supposed to have to work because we'd told them we were busy. Didn't matter; they expected him to do it any way. Assholes. So he's gone all morning, then I still have a headache, but we finally get out to do the one thing I wanted to do this weekend, which was get a new keyboard tray. Now we realize that in addition to having the radiator replaced, we're going to need to have the brakes done. Lovely. There goes our savings and this job only lasts four weeks to six weeks. Had to go out to borrow a drill from a friend, which I didn't want to have to do, but really had no other choice. Keyboard tray is up and I've gotten no writing done today. Plenty of plotting, though, as I think I have a good idea where we're going to the big finale.

As it's now appallingly late and I haven't had dinner, I'll sign off with a bit of a quote from an upcoming story:

Anya turned her back on Xander. "Spike, how much money do you have?"

"Well, I can get money, pet, but I don't see how..."

"I mean right now, in your pocket."

Not at all certain what she was up to, but having no desire to annoy a vengeance demon, Spike dug into his pockets. "Sixteen dollar and forty-three cents," he announced, "and a scratcher I haven't done yet."

She held out her hand and he laid the money and the scratcher in it. Anya counted it briefly, then smiled at him. "Congratulations, Spike. You're now the proud owner of my share of the Magic Box."

Caro | 10:01 PM


Saturday morning and I'm actually getting an entry up. Yay! Hopefully that means the journaling is starting to become a habit. Good. I need the daily exercise.

Storywise, everything is going swimmingly. I'm probably three-quarters of the way through "The Morning After", which has just gotten changed to "Reactions I". Buffy will be "Reactions II" and we'll move on from there.

The good news for future stories is that I've managed to figure out how to bring the nerds back into it. It's a bit spoilery for the show, but since the episode in question airs on Tuesday and I'm not using it in the same way, I'm nowhere near as worried about posting, assuming I get finished with it before the end of the weekend.

I think I will be. The writing is going very smoothly these days, something for which I'm grateful. There was a point over the winter that I considered just chucking everything. At this point, I realize that it's not a question of chucking it but a question of getting myself focused and deciding what I really want to write, shoving my passions into that.

For now, the muscles are starting to flex and that's the big thing. I'm writing every day -- that every day -- without having to make a big deal out of it. Whenever I've tried to do this before, it's always been a "oh, I have to set aside time for it, but I don't have time today, so I'll set aside time tomorrow. I have time today and that's what I'm doing. I'm working on getting myself together and in motion.

Short piece today because I'm trying to get myself moving. Suffice to say, I feel good.

Story quote for today, from "Reactions I":

Dawn looked a bit rebellious, but she went, leaving the two of them alone in the shop. Spike and Tara continued to clean in silence for a few minutes before she asked, "What did Xander say that set you off?"

"Wasn't Harris this time. It was Red. Apparently told Buffy she hadn't brought her back so she could sleep with me."

"Oh." A long, uncomfortable pause. "I'm sure she didn't mean…"

Spike just looked at her. Tara was rationalizing and they both knew it.

Caro | 8:40 PM


Thank God it's Friday. I'm ready for this week to end. I love being back at my old company, but I'd just managed to get out of the habit of being in an office for eight hours when they called me back. As a result, I'm feeling fairly tired and dragged out.

I'm feeling jazzed, though, as well. The latest in the letter series went over great, and I'm happily working away on the next piece in the Magic Box series. Spike is in the midst of telling Dawn his version of his relationship with Buffy; Buffy's conversation with her sister will come later. Know where this story is going and know how I'm going to work the nerds in to move the plot forward. After this is a Buffy section, where we find out what Buffy's going through with all of this. There'll be some B/S interaction there, but from her point of view. Need to work at making her somewhat sympathetic at this point because this is a shipper story.

Frankly, Spike's words to her are coming true. At this point, her friends aren't being supportive but driving her away, making demands and accusations. Spike is completely unacceptable to them; to Xander because it's all Angel all over again and to Willow because Buffy didn't tell her. I've come to realize Willow always was a bit of a control freak and in many ways she brought Buffy back from the dead because she wanted her special best friend the Slayer there so they could be cool together. At some point, we'll go into the actions of the summer, because there are things there that impact on this.

As I see it, for the first few weeks, everyone was in shock. Then they started patrolling. Spike probably was drinking heavily at the time and wasn't that much use. As time went on, though, Spike started coming out of his funk and focusing his rage on killing things. Willow might have been "The Boss of Us," but it was Spike who was filling the role of the Slayer. Willow pushed with her mojo, but she also became keenly aware there were patrols Spike did alone, managing to dust more than a few vampires and off some demons. Giles began including Spike in discussions and actually listening to his opinion on some things. With Giles talking about going back to England, Willow knew Spike would be their main muscle because they couldn't actually trust the Buffy Bot. Only if Buffy were back would Willow be able to retain her "special status." Buffy would realize Willow was special. Spike would try to run things.

Now Spike wasn't the only reason; Willow long had been researching this spell since almost immediately after Buffy's death. His rising prominence, however, gave her an impetus to move forward. This will come into play for the "season finale" of the Box stories.

The writing is good and steady at the moment. I'm doing polished stuff and I'm getting it out quickly. This is what I need to be doing at this time, flexing the muscles and getting back into practice. I feel better, even if there are still a few things to be done to get responsibility off my plate. Also, the office needs to be cleaned.

Here's a bit from the current story, where Spike is actually having to explain his relationship with Buffy to Dawn:

He could list a hundred reasons why Buffy should give her side of the story first. None of them would hold water with Dawn. Spike considered his words carefully. "You know how I feel about your sister. I love her and nothing's going to change that."

"But *something* changed. I mean, the two of you dating…"

"Unless Buffy used that word, I wouldn't call what we had 'dating.'"

She frowned, puzzling over his words. "Oh." Her eyes widened. *Oh.*"

Spike suddenly found himself very interested in the wood grain of the table, tracing the pattern with his finger.

Caro | 12:13 PM


The rant is complete! Sing praise and hallelujah! I don't think I've ever been quite so happy to get a piece up as I was this one. Up it goes on the website tonight, and then I can move on to the Magic Box stories. I'd like to continue the letter series, but I have this feeling the action's going to move very quickly from this point out, and there likely won't be time for letters to go back and forth. I'll have to come up with something, but we'll see.

At this point, I have completed 22 fics, totaling somewhere around the equivalent of 250-300 manuscript pages. All polished. This is in five months, which leads me to believe my problem isn't necessarily my speed. I can do the damn writing. Why am I so afraid of it?

Rejection most likely. I have this hideous fear whatever I write won't be good enough to go into a publisher, to be considered "real" work. There are so many times I feel like I'm playing at being a writer, but this is something that's in my soul. Need to get moving. Need to go forward.

My husband doesn't think the Spike/Buffy fan fic is moving forward, but it is. I'm seeing work get finished, I'm seeing it put out for public viewing and I'm getting feedback. This is of the good. This is actually of the great. I'm gaining more confidence and realize that in many ways I've surrounded myself with busywork connected to writing to avoid doing the writing itself.

Whoa. That was a heavy sentence. But then, that's what all these realizations are about, isn't it? I'm exploring, getting my stuff out there and seeing what I want to have done. I want to write the Magic Box stories. It's contemporary romance, a field I wanted to write in once but never could quite carry off. What's more, it can be contemporary romantic comedy or suspense. I'm playing with more sophisticated plots and that should come home to roost in my other writing.

The main point is that I'm writing. I'm not just journaling (which is something I've often done to avoid actual writing) but I'm writing almost every day. I feel the need to move ahead keep going. I want to figure out what happens next for Buffy and Spike in the series I've started. I want to know how the Legion of Dim is going to go after Buffy, and what Warren's figured out from the chip. I want to know about Halfrek and Spike. What's Xander going to say next? What's he going to do? When's Anya coming back. What about Giles? Willow? Tara? Will Dawn ever stop being a teenager?

These stories are involving me at the moment, and it's been a long time since I've been quite so involved in any of my work. That's what's so important about the writing and why I need to keep moving ahead, even if it's just in fan fic. I'll be happier for it.

Story quote for the day from the latest in the Magic Box series:

"How long have you been dating my sister?"

Dawn chose to deliver this inquiry at the edge of the steps leading down into the body of the shop. Spike looked up sharply, the number of crystals already counted out vanishing from his head. She was glaring at him, one hand cocked on her hip while the other held the strap of her dangling book bag.

Keenly aware several customers had turned to witness this event, he did his best to stay calm. "Can we discuss this later?"

She moved behind the counter with a sulky grace, dropping the bookbag with a thud. "Is this where you tell me that there are things I'm too young to know?"

"No, this is where I tell you I need to get this packed before FedEx gets here in twenty minutes."

Caro | 10:05 AM


Moved the blog to Tripod this morning because I want to personalize the format and layout. This is turning into a bigger project than I anticipated, but I think the skills I learn will be of use.

Yeah, right. I'm dragging my feet on the Angelus Rant by playing with this. TIme to go to lunch and possibly get this damn rant done.

Caro | 12:07 PM

Having gone back to work, my schedule is now blown all to hell. I did manage to get the mixer story finished and posted, and am currently working on the promised "Angelus: A Rant," which I must get finished today. I want that puppy done and out of here because everyone's panting for it. Then I can go back to the Magic Box stories, which is where my real interest lies at this moment.

I think part of my unhappiness with Angelus is because so many people do want it, and I have this horrible feeling that it's not going to be up to snuff. That's another thing I'm dealing with in the fan fic -- I'm learning to let go of my stories, get them up and out and get onto the next one. I haven't been able to do that in my professional writing; I get scared just before "the end" is typed and I won't let go. That's a hard truth to face, but there it is.

A big part of doing this stuff is to rediscover the joy in my writing. I don't really have that anymore. I want joy, and it's been missing for so long. It's all about polishing, plotting, planning your career. How does one write to sell and still keep that joy of just getting the words on the page? That's part of what I'm trying to rediscover. If the fan-fic will help, then that's what I'm going to do for a while. I am working toward my career goal of selling, but I'm getting the fire back instead of going through the motions.

Don't want to go into a big rant about how I may see some of myself in the heroine of BtVS, but there is a certain sympathy there for her, a fear of getting too close, of letting anyone inside to hurt you. I rush forward because that's what I feel I'm supposed to do, be Helpful!Girl, but then I realize I don't want to do it and I find that all my good intentions go for naught. I would like to get the contest off my plate and then I'm going to go into hiding for the rest of the year, be just a passive person, working on what interests me and not volunteering for a damn thing. It's the final wind-down that I need.

I need winding down, I need sorting out. That's why I'm doing this, to put all of these feelings out there where I can get myself together. It's sorta stretching myself naked on the altar of, well, I don't know. I feel these urges to join things, but I'm really trying to hold myself back. I don't want to over commit, I just want to write and feel the fire within myself, sort out my own head.

Funny, Julia Cameron says to write three pages non-stop every morning, yet I've often found that the handwriting of the stuff feels like it's not quite getting started, like it's sputtering on the page. What I need to do is get something that's portable, that I can type into. Perhaps I will go for an Alpha Soft -- I just need to see how much it is (or is that Alpha Smart). Anyway, I need to get something that's portable that I can have with me for lunch or in bed or on the couch so I can type away and be happy. I think faster than I type and I can truly get into the mode where I don't go back and rewrite what I'm trying to say -- just look at how I'm running on at the mouth here.

I need to set up my own template for a blog. I can host it off at another site, or maybe I'll move to a free site. No one know I'm there yet, so it's not difficult to make the move. I won't pay geocities because I don't care for them, but I will look into Tripod. Shouldn't be too bad.

Back to Angelus. Spike is in full rant mode, and I'm trying to get this to build to a reasonable conclusion:

We were, in fact, dysfunctional even for a vampire clan and I've at times thought the four of us might make a nice edition of Jerry Springer. Of course, we might end up by eating the audience, but no loss there.

Caro | 11:56 AM


Not the best night's sleep, but at least I'm up at a reasonable hour instead of crawling out of bed at 10 and not eating until one. Desperately trying to keep my schedule onto something stable, but it's been a bit hard.

Up and down this morning emotionally, which makes getting writing done pretty difficult. Trying to work through the fight in the alley for the end of the mixer story. I know what happens after the fight -- I just need to get through the fight itself.

Frustration, because I feel like I'm standing in place in so many ways. Need to move forward. Need to get working. Need to look after my own sanity. Of course, that's why I'm keeping this journal, isn't it? A nice little place to have my own insanity.

Still haven't started the work on getting story points together for Life in Sunnydale. Seem to spend a lot of my time staring at the television. Either that or doing e-mail as a way to avoid writing.

While I've been working on this, I've actually gone back and gotten almost all the way through the alley scene, fueled by the fact I got a call from my old office asking if I might be willing to come back. If the work crisis is over, I'm going to be very happy.

Caro | 11:16 AM


Doing better today in some ways, worse than others. I've come to realize my schedule has been completely thrown off by being off work and I'm sleeping later, going to bed later and eating on a really weird schedule. On the good side, I am starting to feel rested and am getting my act together to go and do things. More cleaning today since I really need to get space to do sewing (I desperately need clothes and I can make better clothes than I can afford to buy). What's more, a friend may be lending us and extra computer, so I need a place to put that.

Stories are coming along reasonably well. Need to get the Mixer finished and posted, and then do my "Angelus: A Rant" that I've promised everyone. I also need to sit down and figure out where the AU is going. There are some fun things to do there, but I have to decide on the major storylines. Hmm. Said that yesterday. Quell surprise; it's on my mind.

Need to hit the employment boards at some point. Right now, I probably really need to go get breakfast and get some cleaning done. It's almost one o'clock and I can feel the fact that I haven't eat yet. Like I said -- the schedule's off.

On the good front, I've figured out how to convert PAL to NTSC, only it's going to be a two-part process. I can manage that. Just need the computer to run overnight. On the bad news, I think I ran Primeval as a PAL file rather than a NTSC, so I probably need to re-do that one.

Enough moaning for the moment. Mail has come and I'm hungry. Later.

Caro | 12:48 PM


Taxes got done and mailed on Sunday, which is a good thing, because I don't think I would have particularly wanted to deal with them on Monday.

Monday was...Monday. My internet connect was down most of the day and I discovered I didn't get the job I'd interviewed for last week. As a result, I'm still at home, still unemployed, and I think we're just getting to the point where my husband and I are starting to get on each other's nerves. Worries about money and things I haven't done because of the depression are starting to wear on me, which is, in turn, affecting everything else. I'm going to try to get off my ass today and get moving, do some positive things besides just sit and stare at the computer.

By sitting and staring, I mean reading e-mail and surfing the net. I really should be writing, but the depression often affects that. The Buffy fiction helps immensely, a warm blanket I can wrap myself up in and feel safe, warmed and loved. What more does any writer want? Okay, fame, fortune, success and a place on the NYT bestseller list, but you ain't gonna get that writing BtVS fan fic. Hell, I ain't gonna get that writing the regular, saleable fiction I'm trying to write. Still, the fic is serving its purpose, keeping my fingers and my mind moving, and that will do a great deal to keep me happy -- or at least sane.

Of course, the realization that what was just a one-off story is about to turn into a full alternate universe version of the last half of S6 is not great either. I need to decide how far I want to go with this. At least through the end of the season and I need to decide how far I want to go. Major storylines I need to decide: Buffy/Spike, Anya/Xander, Willow/Tara, the Magic Box, Dawn and the Art Gallery. Ever notice ME completely forgot about Joyce's business? I'm gonna revive it as it has some things I'd like to do with it (smuggling magical artifacts for one).

Wanderings, wanderings. Just got Outlook open for the morning mail, so need to tend to that. Definitely need to write the people at work and let them know that I didn't get the job and that I'm still looking. Need to check some websites and get moving on the job thing.

Caro | 7:59 AM


Waiting to go out for the taxes. Okay, the template I chose was major ugly. New time-wasting project: redesign template. Since I'm working on a free site, it will be interesting to see how far I can go with doing this. Hmmm. Can I get some good art up?
Caro | 2:11 PM

Journaling. Another great way to waste time. However, I do find it refreshes the mind somewhat, so this is just as good a place to stash it as any. Refreshing my mind is something I need to be doing on a regular basis, especially since I'm trying to get back into a regular writing routine.

Oh, btw, if you're looking for "Missives from the Hellmouth," my Spike/Buffy fan-fic, I've moved it over to http://home.earthlink.net~spikewriter. The ads on Geocities are much easier to handle with a blog than with the frame set up that I'd designed for the site and Earthlink doesn't post ads (thank goodness).

So it's early Sunday afternoon and I'm killing time. I have several fics I really should be working on (there are vampires to stake), but I just finished doing the taxes and since we'll be going out soon to mail them, I don't want to get too heavy into anything. Still, when we get back, I'm going to start on the "Angelus: A Rant" that I've promised to people -- that should provide some amusement. Have to figure out what music to keep on the player while I'm working though; not quite sure what Spike would listen to while gleefully trashing his grandsire. Then I want to get through the second half of the chamber of commerce mixer story, get that done.

Why do people do fan fic? Because it's a fun way to get more of a show you enjoy. For me, it's a way to practice writing in a safe environment and have a good time. Instead of waiting months to see if I've been rejected or accepted by a publisher, I get almost instant gratification. I get to practice different techniques and play with some areas that I haven't been particularly good at. Writing "Buffy" fan fic is a safe haven; in the end, all it's doing is providing some fun for me and those who read it.

Caro | 1:46 PM

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