~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Sunday, December 31, 2006

What I did on my Christmas vacation

Words Written: erm…
Writing Stats: it’s the holidays—the NY publishing world has shut down
Exercise: hiking through the winter woods

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

  • scanned 551 family photos complete with detailed spreadsheet*
  • taught my youngest niece how to weave (her gift from us was a lap loom)
  • ate more sweets than I have in the past six months (thanks a lot, Mom)
  • perfected the “one shot of tequila for the pot, one shot of tequila for me” art of cooking chili (and the chili was awesome, I might add)
  • watched deer munching on corn in the yard of my parents’ Adirondack cabin
  • took a bucketload of pictures with my new fantastic camera (uploads to come)
  • remembered all the reasons why my family shouldn’t be in together in enclosed spaces for long lengths of time, which were overshadowed by all the wonderful reasons to spend Christmas together

*The project is far from done, but believe me, that took all the time we had, especially considering I kept having to tie people down to chairs so they wouldn’t wander off when I was trying to get them to identify people in pictures. One of my parents’ wedding photos lists a string of people that includes “two unidentified children who apparently crashed the party.”

<>-<>-<>

We’re in Washington-Dulles, waiting to board our flight. It’s overbooked, so they offered free hotel, food, and round-trip ticket to anyone willing to wait ‘til tomorrow. We decided to do it, but because Ken is a Premier Member, they counter-offered with first class on this flight. It’s a longish flight, and this would mean not only comfort, but free champagne for New Year’s Eve. So I said “Go for it,” and free champagne it will be. Happy New Year!

Aaaand now we’re somewhere over the Midwest. The flight attendants announced when it was midnight on the East Coast and when we over Chicago. Multiple celebrations! I’ve had a Bloody Mary, but no champagne yet. Maybe when we hit the West Coast.

We just watched most of Minority Report, but Ken’s computer crapped out right near the end, and because it turned itself off, we can’t eject the disk to watch on my computer. Pretty stupid movie overall—there are plot holes and logic problems I could drive a spaceship through—but I still wanted to see the final outcome.

Augh! They’re out of champagne! I shall have a glass of chardonnay (still free!) and pretend there are bubbles.

Hope you’re all ringing in the New Year in wonderful ways! (Tell me about them!)

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Currently Reading: The Sacrifice: Book One of the Fey, Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lately Listened To: the airplane engine
Recently Watched: Minority Report

Monday, December 25, 2006

Me, I want a hula hoop

Words Written: “Party Favor,” 1671; Out of the Frying Pan, ~300
Writing Stats: it’s the holidays—the NY publishing world has shut down
Exercise: briskly walking through airports yet again

Happy Christmas and Blessed Yule, everyone! We’re on a flight from Chicago to Albany, NY, where we will collect my sister Debi (currently on her way from Atlanta to Albany) and drive a few hours’ north into the mountains and join the rest of my family. We got less than 4 hours’ sleep last night, so we’re kinda punchy…

We made sure we had two Netflix DVDs in hand for the trip, and watched My Super Ex-Girlfriend on the first flight. It was better than I expected, largely due to the presence of Eddie Izzard.

We opened a present each for the Solstice, and I squeed with excitement when I discovered that Ken found me a copy of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Stained Black—an audiotape package of several of her horror stories! I’m a completist when it comes to Kris and Dean (except for their millions of media tie-in books—I pick them up when I find them used, but I know there are things out under pseudonyms I’m not privy to…), and I’ve had this on my list to find for years. He even found a sealed copy! But I’m not a collector in that sense, and I want to hear it…once I get my hands on a cassette player, since we don’t own one anymore. And I’ll have Kris sign it next time I’m up there. Beam. Meanwhile, I had Ken open Blackmore’s Night’s holiday CD, Winter Carols, so we could burn it and have it on my iPod to play while we’re in NY. (I found mini-speakers for the iPod, so we’ll have holiday music at the cabin.)

We then decided to open one gift a night until Xmas Eve, when we’d open the rest. The next night’s giftie was a pair of passport covers—and another discussion about where we want to go on our Big Trip this year. (Which reminds me: top priority in January is to get my passport renewed. I’ve had the paperwork and checks sitting here since mid-November; I just have to get my cute ass to the library.)

(I’ll ramble more about potential travel later. We have lots of places we want to go, including Britain, Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, Machu Picchu, Venice…)

Ken opened another Neil Peart book, this one about riding his BMW bike between concerts. (Neil’s the drummer for Rush, considered one of the best drummers ever.) He’s really been into motorcycle travelogues over the past few years (Ken, I mean) so I’m on a quest to find more.

I don’t remember what I opened when after that, so now you’re just going to get it in the order I think of things.

Melusine sent her annual handmade ornament, this time purple and silver cross-stitch. So pretty! And she surprised me with a handmade purple-and-silver embroidered and beaded pouch/purse! I took pictures of both and will post them when I get home.

I got a pretty handmade bracelet from Tina, who sent it over with Ken when he saw her in October. I’m not sure if it’s officially a Yule gift, because he said he forgot to give it to me until now.

One of the rare items of Styx memorabilia out there is the Crystal Ball paperweight. (CB being their 1976 album.) I’ve longed for one, and Ken has spent years trying to find me one. I guess I never fully realized the efforts he’s been putting into it. He says he has people all over the country keeping their eyes out for one. Anyway, because he still hadn’t managed to get his hands on one, he broke down and made me one. That’s right. He made me a snowglobe with the CB album cover (front and back) inside. Is that not the coolest and sweetest thing ever? I love it more than if it was the actual paperweight.

He also gave me one of those little wooden kids’ toys; kind of a puppet on a base, and when you press up on the bottom of the base, the figure collapses. Well, this one is standing on his head. See, Lawrence has taken to doing a headstand at the end of each concert. Sheri took a great photo of this in Vegas and put it online with the caption “Cirque de Gowan”! and when I saw this toy, I looked at Ken and that’s what he said. At which point I collapsed in hysterical laughter. We’re going to paint a little towel under his head, and the phrase “Cirque de Gowan” on the side. I will show it to Lawrence, but he can’t have it. Mine!

He also got me Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things, which wasn’t even on my wish list yet! Ooh!

And we got new cameras! We were planning to anyway, and Xmas was a good excuse (plus it was a surprise for me to open). His camera was beat up from falling off the bike, and my camera (which we got because we were always fighting over who got to use the joint one, which then became his) was just too slow. Slow to take the picture, and really slow to “reboot” afterwards. These are little slim Casios, and they’re so fast! (Ken said he finally quit researching cameras, walked into a shop, and just told the saleswoman what features were important.) And he managed to get them in two different colors, so we won’t mix them up. Mine is a silver that shades towards lavender (how appropriate) and his shades more towards champagne. I played with mine in the airport a little—it can take black-and-white and sepia-toned pictures! Giggle madly.

Teresa gave me Moving Breath’s first CD, which was on my wish list because I pretty much wore out the cassette because I loved the album so much, and now we don’t have a cassette player. (Ken looked at the CD and said, “Right, that’s what you listened to when you got your tattoo.”) She also got me a book, and I’m blanking on what it’s called, but it looks very interesting.

Let’s see, I also got Ken another Neil Peart book (about riding his bicycle through Africa) and the newest Blackmore’s Night CD, The Village Lanterne.

I think we’ve started our descent, so I should wrap this up. Rainy and 36 degrees in Albany. I’ve got my fingers crossed for snow at the cabin… I hope you’re all have a lovely day. I don’t know when I’ll be able to post this; Ken and I will try to pop over to an Internet café in Lake Placid once or twice.

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Currently Reading: The Sacrifice: Book One of the Fey, Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lately Listened To: Christmas music! Whee!
Recently Watched: My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Bringing Back the Light" online!


Looking for a sexy and heartwarming read to get you in the holiday spirit? Then head on over to Fishnet and read the Sophie Mouette story "Bringing Back the Light".

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 18, 2006

California dreamin' on such a winter's day

Words Written: damned if I know
Writing Stats: see below
Exercise: dancing to Alice Cooper, walking briskly through airports

Sale! “From Bitter to Sweet,” a funky little artsy erotic piece I wrote years ago, has been accepted for the Got a Minute anthology. Ah, that feels good.

And, another interview! The lovely and talented Vera Nazarian interviewed me as part of her Author Stop Tour series. (Check out the other interviews, too—she’s lined up an impressive set of excellent writers!)

<>-<>-<>

We’re in the Phoenix airport, soon to fly to LA, have dinner at The Encounter (that funky restaurant in the middle of LAX, that looks like one of John Christopher’s Tripods or something) with Tani before heading home. We’ve been visiting the fabulous Helen, which included going to the annual Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding benefit show. Six hours of music and comedy! The highlight (for us, anyway) was Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades together again. They’ve got a CD of 60s and 70s covers coming out next year, so three of their four songs were from that, including “California Dreamin’” for which they had an all-star backup chorus (Stephen Stills, Don Felder, etc.). Wow. Those boys have the most amazing harmonies…

Anyway, we managed to get into second row pit seats for their performance, and we wandered up to stand against the stage for Alice Cooper’s performance (with his original band, save the deceased member) and the finale. When that ended, Tommy came along the edge of the stage shaking attendees hands. When he got to us, his face lit up in recognition and appreciation at our presence. “Hi girls!” he said. Hee. Girls. So we chatted with him for a few moments, and I got him to pose with Santa for a great picture (Helen took the actual photo, above). Because nothing puts you in the holiday spirit like watching Santa rock out.

<>-<>-<>

Home now. The Encounter is a truly trippy restaurant. 60’s space theme—I kept expecting to see The Jetsons. I took a bunch of pictures with the camera on my phone, so if I ever figure out how to download pictures from my phone… The food was pricey, but excellent—I had duck, and will spend the next week eating no fat to compensate.

A busy-ish week ahead. Most of the presents are bought, wrapped, and mailed, but a few are still pending in each category. We need to get our various ducks in their rows (and if they don't stay there, we will eat them) before we leave for the holidays in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. That means finishing a story, editing two stories, reading all work submissions to date, dealing with various Styxfest stuff, and finishing all the shopping and wrapping, along with chiropractic appointments, exercise, a visit from the cleaning lady, and gods know what else. So I should probably stop rambling here and get to some of it!

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Currently Reading: Paloma, Kristine Kathryn Rusch; Wings to the Kingdom, Cherie Priest
Lately Listened To: 6 hours of music and comedy at the Alice Cooper Christmas Pudding benefit
Recently Watched: One With Everything: Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra DVD

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ummm...

Could the person who set up a syndicated feed for this journal in LJ please e-mail me privately? Thanks!

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Little Night Music on amazon!

A Little Night Music has been listed on amazon.com!

And remember, if you want a taste of the novel well before its July 2007 release date, pick up a copy of Sex and Music. The Sarah Dale story "Are You Ready for Me?" is a hot scene from the novel!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Did you miss me?

Words Written: yeah, ha, no…
Writing Stats: Rejection from Aberrant Dreams for “Matchmaker”
Exercise: not likely when it sounds like I’m hacking up a lung

Back from Vegas. Note to self: Always stay at the hotel where the band is. It makes for many amusing run-ins and conversations. Corollary note to self: Never, ever, leave hotel room without makeup on. Ever.

<>-<>-<>

The picture above is of a ceramic jar Ken bought me at the Calico Ghost Town (pictures of the town will be uploaded later). It’s purple, and it has a spiral on it, and he simply decided it must be mine.

But here’s my question: What should I store in it? (It’s about 2 inches high without the top and 3 inches in diameter, BTW.) I’m looking for any and all suggestions. Really, post your responses in the comments. I’ll think up some suitable way to reward anyone who give me an idea I actually use!

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Currently Reading: Jade Tiger, Jenn Reese
Lately Listened To: mostly Styx, and lots of it live; also Queensrÿche (long concert!), Marillion, and Coverdale/Page
Recently Watched: CSI: NY, Bones

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And three we've never even heard of

Words Written: “The Witch of Venice,” 1500 words; edited two stories
Writing Stats: Got three stories in the mail, despite the cold, since they all had an 11/30 or 12/1 deadline and I’ll be away then. Go me!
Exercise: yeah, right. [sniffle, kaff]

I forgot to mention in the last entry that I’d come down with a cold, as has Ken (poor thing, his is on the heels of a bad cold he had a couple weeks ago). Up until a couple of days ago, it was just some minor throat stuff and general weariness, so between Nyquil and Dayquil, I wasn’t really slowed down too much.

Then I tempted fate, and before I turned off the light one night, I commented to Ken that it was nice these colds weren’t really bad.

What woke me up the next morning was the pain in my throat when I swallowed.

So I’ve been in a complete fog, exhausted (despite the Nyquil-drugged sleep of the damned) and braindead, and now the nasal spray isn’t really working anymore, so I can’t breathe. Blah. This thing better clear up before the Styx concert on Friday night, or I’m likely to fall over in the middle of the show. (Ideally it will clear up before the Queensryche show Thursday night…)

But let’s talk about the good, happy things:

  • Ken fixed the DVR.
  • We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family.
  • I have the new Loreena McKennitt album! The one from B&N with the bonus track!
  • Ken brought me matzo ball soup from Roxsbury Deli.
  • I get to work at home.
  • We’re off to Vegas tomorrow to visit Julie and Jim and to see Queensryche and Styx (twice!).
  • We made really good curry last night.
  • I’m writing again, despite the lurgy.
  • I’ve mostly cleared out my e-mail In Box, and I’m caught up on work stuff.

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Currently Reading: Jade Tiger, Jenn Reese
Lately Listened To: An Ancient Muse, Loreena McKennitt
Recently Watched: Medium, Lost

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Book signing


I will be doing a book signing at Borders Books in Tempe (Phoenix), Arizona, on December 16th, starting at 2 p.m.

Please spread the word, and join me if you're in the area!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Everything, all the time

Words Written: editing, actually
Writing Stats: Came home to three rejections (one because the magazine is folding) and copy edits for one story. Also declined a novella contract because the publisher was unwilling to negotiate certain crucial terms.
Exercise: dancin’, baybee!

Whoops! Wrote the first few paragraphs of this a few days ago, then forgot to post it…

Home from Baltimore and NYC! Woo!

It was a great trip! Oh, fraught with the usual mayhem and cat-herding of 2-4 women (depending on the time and place) by our Heaux Security Guard (that would be Ken), but it involved two fabulous Styx shows, getting backstage briefly to give JY his birthday present and cards, an extremely brief exchange with Lawrence, way too much food (crab dip! wine! seared ahi!), and an abundance of laughter. The discovery that people in Brooklyn can be exceptionally nice. One 3 a.m. hotel evacuation due to someone’s inability to microwave popcorn (not anybody in our party, I hasten to note).

We picked up the new DVD from KC (the band’s merchandise guy) and watched it on the flight home. We’d seen pieces of it while waiting in line for the shows (someone brought a portable DVD player) and I joked that I’m visible enough that I could be my own drinking game. Having watched the whole thing more carefully, I’m amending that to only when I’m visible from the front. If you include all the shots of the back of my head, you’d be drunk by the end of the first song! (It helps that I’m the tallest of everyone in the row, so I stand out.)

Seeing it again reminded me just how amazing that particular concert was. How enthusiastic and energetic the kids in the orchestra and chorus were. How electric it all was. How amazing the music sounds when done by a full orchestra. I miss my French horn, dammit, and suddenly I’m wanting to take piano lessons again….

In other news…

Ken fixed the TV (which involved unplugging it for a few minutes and then plugging it back in…go figure), but now the DVR is acting wonky and has to be rebooted repeatedly. So we’re trying to watch as much stuff as we can, and dump some things down to tape, so we can exchange it on Monday.

We had Thanksgiving with Ken’s dad and his wife, and wife’s son and family. We’re having a second Thanksgiving here tomorrow, with Ken’s mom and some local friends. I’m looking forward to hanging out, eating good food, and relaxing with everyone.

Although I’m behind on writing and editing work, so I’ll be busy in the morning before everyone arrives! I’m going to try and make the Sunday writing-fest at Lulu’s Beehive again, too. Ken has to go to Long Beach, so I figured he could drop me there and I could work with Jenn et al. for a few hours before he swung by to pick me up. I have a couple of anthology stories to pound out before the end of the month, and since we’re leaving Wednesday for Vegas, my personal deadline is earlier! I think it comes down to one story a day, so I really have to get cracking….

We saw The Illusionist tonight with Morgana and Brian, and Ken’s mom. Fantastic movie! Edward Norton was excellent, and Rufus Sewell was amazingly and unexpectedly creepy. Now, of course, we have to see The Prestige. Because one movie about Victorian stage magicians is never enough.

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Currently Reading: something by David Baldacci
Lately Listened To: One With Everything, Styx
Recently Watched: gobs of stuff

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Help?

Any readers out there in the Bay Area? I want to buy a present for my sister that's sold only locally there. Please let me know if you can help--thanks!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh, the guilt!

Words Written: um, nothing today
Writing Stats: Sale! “College Reunion” will appear in C is for Co-Eds. Request for revision for a Wicked Words story. Collated snippets of scenes from Cat Scratch Fever for an erotica contest in a UK magazine.
Exercise: walking

So, one of the journallers I read started a thread on guilty pleasures, and as much as I hate me!me!s, this seemed less of a me!me! and more of a fun thing to ramble about.

I define a guilty pleasure as something I feel a vaguely guilty or embarrassed about liking, or feel I have to defend. Styx, for example, is not a guilty pleasure. Styx kicks ass from here to next Tuesday. This is not for debate.

But for guilty pleasures, I submit to you…

  • When nobody is around (including Ken), I sing to the cats. (I talk to them, too, but doesn’t everybody?) So, yeah, I sing. Obvious songs like “Smelly Cat,” but I also essentially filk to them. “Tiny Kittens” to the tune of “Tiny Bubbles.” Etc.
  • Office supplies. I really have to be good and restrain myself, because I have more Post-It notes already than I could use in a lifetime. But like Pavlov’s Bimbo, I salivate at the sight of an Office Depot truck. I’ve been known to follow them…
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. If it wouldn’t eventually kill me, I’d probably live on it.
  • Streets of Fire. It’s not just the Jim Steinman music. I don’t know what it is. It’s a rock-n-roll fantasy, okay?!
  • Charmed. Especially the season with the entirely unabashed “what excuse can we come up with to put them in a silly skimpy set of outfits” theme. Oh, I miss this show. I miss Holly Marie Combs’ cute nose most of all. Jenny Crusie has a wonderful essay about the show here.
  • Abba. 'Nuff said.
  • US magazine and Google Entertainment News and Sky News Showbiz. It’s that whole pop culture trivia thing. I especially love Us’ column about where stars were spotted, and trying to figure out if I’ve been there, and whether I’d’ve recognized the celebrity in question. You can take the girl out of the small upstate NY podunk town, but you can’t make her stop being just the tiniest bit astonished that she lives near celebrities. I can’t explain it. I just accept it.
  • Bring It On. I’m not so sure I feel guilty about this. Yes, I love it because it’s Eliza Dushku in a skimpy cheerleading outfit (and Kirsten Dunst in a skimpy cheerleading outfit). But it’s surprisingly more intelligent and witty than you’d expect from a cheerleading movie. So.
  • Goth girls. Blue-black hair, pale skin, lots of eyeliner, (hopefully) ripped fishnets. Yum.
  • Night of the Lepus. Giant killer bunnies. Made to look big by putting the camera thisclose! and filming rabbits hopping through model sets. Oh, the cheesy glory. I swoon just thinking about it.
  • Chess, the musical. American or British version, who cares. Stuck in the 80s, utterly goopy and over-the-top, and I will sing it at the top of my lungs on my deathbed if I can. If I can’t, I might as well be dead already.

So, what are your guilty pleasures? Spill the beans! ‘Fess up!

<>-<>-<>

In other news, Ken’s home!

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Currently Reading: The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
Lately Listened To: tappity tappity tappity…
Recently Watched: kinda hard with no TV… :-(

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bzzzz


Words Written: “The Queen of Christmas”: 907 words
Writing Stats: fighting with contracts
Exercise: erm…

I went to the Valley for the LARA (Los Angeles RWA) meeting today, and thence to an Internet café called Lulu’s Beehive, where Christine and Jenn and I flipped open our Mac laptops (each a different size and kind) and wrote and gabbed about writing and ate and drank caffeinated things. Jenn posted a picture on her website. I got more words done on an erotic Christmas story (private antho call), although I didn’t get ahead on DFL. Still, it was good and productive, and so wonderful to hang out with other writers and bask in the shared creative energy. (The only people I saw in the place the entire time we were there were people with laptops. I felt so…Hollywood.)

I had to leave a little early, though, to make sure I was home in time for a conference chat with the rest of the Styxfest staff. Happily, Jenn is planning this at a regular occurrence, and I’m going to attend whenever I can!

<>-<>-<>

Augh! Our TV died! Not that I need to watch TV every second, but I do like to curl up with something each evening, or while I’m eating lunch—and the DVR’s going to fill up before we can get the TV fixed. Nor can I watch any of the Netflix stuff on tap. Yargh!

<>-<>-<>

Busy week ahead. Tomorrow, chiro appt and a bunch of little errands. Tuesday, dentist appt (bleah). Wednesday, hopefully Ken will arrive home. Thursday, take a red-eye (yuck) to Baltimore. Along with the usual writing, work, and so forth. But no TV-watching, apparently. Mrph.

<>-<>-<>

The picture above is the one I meant to post with the last entry, and managed to forget. It just seemed so apropos. Not only a wonderful Edward Gorey picture for the holidays, but it captured how I’ve been feeling lately—all these people wanting words from me, and me trying to get everything done and flee before they can snatch me down. I mean, I love writing, and I actually like editing (for the most part)—just not all at once!

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Currently Reading: The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner
Lately Listened To: Blowfish podcasts
Recently Watched: Jim Henson’s Storytellers: Greek Myths

Friday, November 10, 2006

Hell and rainbows

Words Written: “The Queen of Christmas”: 700 words
Writing Stats: oh, lots!
Exercise: taking down Halloween decorations

Sorry, pets—didn’t mean to go dark on you. Things got crazy for a while, and then they got draggy, and I’m still trying to find the balance between the two.

So, when we last saw our heroine, she was on her way back from the Book-in-a-Week retreat in Oregon, having added 20K to Designed for Love and crossed over the middle hump of the book. However, since just before she left for Oregon, an agent had requested the first 50 pages of another manuscript, Waking the Witch. The rest of that manuscript needed another strong pass through, so she set aside the last two weeks of Oregon to do just that.

(Okay, abandoning third person now.) I checked e-mail before I got on the plane home; nothing major there. When I got home, I went straight to the chiropractor’s and then picked up some grocery necessities. Then I checked e-mail again. And found a message from the agent’s assistant, saying that the agent wanted to read the full manuscript.

That’s why I promptly disappeared for a week. Not only that, but I had an extra editing job for ABC-CLIO (an absolutely hellish project) due ASAP. I got the e-mail Monday night, and on the following Sunday, I went Halloween shopping with Morgana and Thomasina—and realized that, other than chiro appts and more grocery shopping, it was the first time I’d left the house since Monday. Egads.

I got the manuscript off to the agent (of course), and now am trying not to think about it. It’s not her top priority; she’ll get to it when she’s cleared her desk of work for her actual clients. But I did dream about it two nights ago, which was a little disturbing. I woke up hoping it would be prescient, but no luck so far.

In other writing news, I…

  • Sent all returned stories and followed up on all languishing stories.
  • Sold, with Teresa, “Bringing Back the Light” to Fishnet
  • Made another (potentially very exciting!) sale, but I’m not ready to report it until I have more contract info.
  • Received comp copy of Deathgrip: Exit Laughing, in which my story “Hell’s Belles” appears. I’m particularly fond of this story. It’s all about the nightmare of primadonna debutantes. And it’s funny.
  • Received payment for Sophie’s story “Rhythm Like a Heartbeat,” to appear in Best Women’s Erotica 2007.
  • Received contracts for “Just Be,” to appear in Iridescence, and “Always a Bridesmaid,” to appear in Tough Girls 2.

Also, between the flurry of new stories and sales this summer, and my back problems this spring, I got very, very behind on my filing. Today I finally (finally!) made sure every story had a file folder (total was 15. I hang my head in shame.) and all paperwork was filed in them. Next step, which will take some time, will be to go through each folder and make sure there’s a clean printout of the story as well as copies of all correspondence (submission cover letter, rejection/acceptance letter, etc.). That’s going to have to go back to the beginning—I’ve been abysmal at printing out cover letters.

<>-<>-<>

Reason #672,439 why I love my husband: “Yes, go to Baltimore and NYC for the Styx shows in mid-November. Hey, they sound like fun. In fact, I want to come! too. But why are we flying out a day early and not going to the Atlantic City show, too?” My husband the instigator. We are not, in fact, going to get off a red-eye flight, drive three hours to Atlantic City and sit in line for a GA show, and then drive back to the hotel in Baltimore. I’m sure I will regret this decision, but I imagine that if we actually tried to do that, I’d regret it even more. Or at least my back would. But, yeah, more Styx in just over a week! Plus I’ll get to see my friend Donna in Baltimore and my friend Brandy in NYC!

The NYC show is actually the release party for Styx’s new DVD, One With Everything: Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. I had the great fortune of attending that amazing, one-of-a-kind show, and was blown away by the enthusiasm of the kids as well as by how breathtaking the music sounded backed by a full orchestra and chorus.

Oh, yeah, and I’ve seen a couple clips from the DVD. Dudes. I’m on a Styx DVD. And I'm tall.

<>-<>-<>

I forgot to mention the rainbow we saw on our way back from the Oregon Coast last month. An incredible, perfect rainbow, with a full arch. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one that touched the ground on both ends. It was huge, too. That’s one of the things I love about being on the bike: feeling like a part of things. In a car, it’s like watching TV; there’s glass, a barrier between you and the world. Even with the window open, you’re separated somehow, inside the ride. That day, I could taste the rain in the air, and felt like I could reach out and touch that delicate arch—but knew that if I did, it would shatter like a soap bubble.

<>-<>-<>

So, obviously, we hosted the Halloween party this year. It was small, despite the fact that I talked it up months in advance and changed the date to accommodate one group of people. I now also have a list of people to stop inviting to parties, because they don’t RSVP. Ever. And I’m sick of it. The party was fun, though, and I looked around at one point and decided that all the cool kids were there, the ones I really wanted to hang out with. Hope you enjoyed the pictures… (Did you? Hello? Anyone out there?)

Ken was, as evident from said pictures, home for the party. He flew in Friday evening, and we went straight to Pancho’s to see Day After Daze. We were supposed to go to the Saturday night show, too, but another drive to Manhattan Beach and back sounded exhausting. We needed time to curl up and be alone together…so we did. :-)

He then flew to Wales for a few days, for work stuff. He wasn’t there long enough to justify me coming along; I would’ve spent pretty much the whole time in hotel rooms. But he did get to visit our friends Ed & Marian, and Tina/Tanya/Mark. Whirlwind visits. We’re tentatively planning a trip to the UK in April to follow Styx around, but I confess I’m waffling. No, wait, stop gasping in shock and hear me out! They’re opening for Deep Purple, who I don’t care about seeing, and I just found out there may be a second opening band. Which means Styx will be onstage for what? half an hour? Not sure it’s worth waiting in GA lines for that. So we’re discussing other options, including other countries, for a big trip next year. Along with annual CCR, which will be in Missouri. (Near our friends Hope and Bob! Although I confess my first reaction when I heard the announcement of where it would be was, “Hey, wasn’t a Trixie Belden book set there?”)

He’s coming home just before the Baltimore/NYC trip, and will be home for Thanksgiving. Not sure exactly what his schedule will be in December, but he’ll have a good chunk of time at home. We’re flying to upstate NY to visit my family for Xmas.

So. I think that’s gotten you mostly caught up on the last few weeks. Hope it was worth the wait.

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Currently Reading: The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint
Lately Listened To: Grimoire miaowing for attention
Recently Watched: Bones, Northern Exposure

Thursday, October 26, 2006

And more interviews!

Sarah and I, as Sarah Dale, were interviewed by Cheek Books here. Enjoy! Also, if you click on "News" on that website, you'll see a teaser for A Little Night Music!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Interviewed!


Kate Willoughby of the Los Angeles RWA posted a really fun interview with me here in her blog. (Thanks, Kim!)

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back to the world


Words Written: DFL 20K over the course of 6 days.
Writing Stats: a few acceptances and a few rejections. I’ll update soon.
Exercise: walking on the beach.

I’m back in Hillsboro at Ken’s apartment. Survived the BIAW at the beach. Mostly braindead, but in a good way. Just struggling to get my brain actively working on something other than writing-related stuff.

I fly home tomorrow, and will of course have a ton of stuff to catch up on, but I’ll try to post a summary of the week soon. I thought I’d keep a daily log, but… I’m still not sure why I didn’t. I had so much to say, about what I was learning about my process, and the house, and my fellow writers, but in the end, I kind of didn’t want to. As if it were almost too personal, too private. We’ll see how I feel in a few days.

Once I’m home, I have to dive in to the edits of the rest of Waking the Witch in case the agent wants to see the full manuscript. I need to have that done by the end of the month, since we’re leaving on the 30th or 31st for the UK. (Ken’s buying another machine for the company here, so of course we’re going. We’ll probably have a day or two for sightseeing/fun stuff. If anyone’s in the Newport area and wants to swing by and say hi, let me know!) Anyway, once WtW is done, I’ll get back to DFL. I’d like to finish it by the middle of November, do another pass through, and then get it out to first readers. But other things may change that plan—Teresa and I have a proposal with our Black Lace editor, for example.

Now, however, it’s time for chicken-garlic pizza, and then I have to transfer all my stuff from motorcycle bags to my suitcase…

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Currently Reading: something by Jenny Crusie, but the book’s not close at hand
Lately Listened To: Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Coasting

Words Written: “Behind the Masque,” ~1500
Writing Stats: Talking about writing!
Exercise: walking

So, here I am on the Oregon Coast. Ken and I rode out yesterday with Ernie & Pauline, and Jeff, the latter who let us borrow his K1200GT for the ride to Tillamook so we could try it out. (Ken’s thinking of it for his next bike.) Needs a better set and the passenger pegs readjusted for someone with, oh, legs (I’m a passenger, dammit, not a jockey!), but otherwise it’s pretty nice. Still considering. Anyway, we had lunch at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (cheese!), but didn’t have time for the tour because the other folks had places to be, and we were all going to ride to Newport together. Which we did, and then Ken and I split off and went to the Newport Aquarium.

Otters! Otters otters otters. One, who I believe was female, curled up against the glass and kept pressing her nose against the glass every time Ken looked at her. I’m sure if the glass hadn’t been there, she would have been trying to rub noses with him. Too adorable—I hope my photos come out. And there were moon jellies, and regular jellyfish smaller than my thumbnail, and an octopus, and purple starfish… The place was smaller than I expected, but no matter. There were otters!

We repaired to our hotel, whereupon Ken collapsed into a nearly two-hour nap. I napped a bit, checked e-mail, gazed at the gorgeous ocean view out our window. Now, while we were at the aquarium, I was looking at the salmon and insisting they should be pinky-orange on the outside, and Ken said, “Ooh, sushi for dinner?” But by the time we were ready for dinner, we were so hungry we hit the hotel restaurant, and ended up having a stellar meal. (Cajun garlic prawns and a glass of Chardonnay for me, salmon and zin for him.) Then it was back to the room for lounging and a loooong night’s sleep.

We got up here in time for the weekly writerly lunch, which was fun, and then we were able to get into our beach house. I chose the smallest room because it has the best view of the ocean. :-) That’s worth having to go downstairs for the bathroom. There are five of us; two people I’ve been in workshops with before and two I met for the first time today. All at different places in our careers, all with different projects to work on. Should be fun! We nipped out for food and supplies, ate dinner, and then sat around rambling about writing. The biggest distraction here won’t be TV (there are four in the house. Four!) or even the ocean, but the company.

But now it’s just about 11 p.m., and I’m going to work on a story collab with Teresa, then curl up in bed with the notes for DFL and refamliarize myself with the novel. Tomorrow, the fun really starts!

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Currently Reading: Mystic and Rider, Sharon Shinn
Lately Listened To: random Cyndi Lauper from iTunes

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, that's encouraging!

Words Written: “Behind the Masque,” ~500
Writing Stats: Received payments for “Subtle” (Secret Slaves) and “Busted” (Caught Looking)
Exercise: walking

About an hour and a half before I was set to walk out the door and catch my plane to Portland, I got an e-mail from the assistant to my top choice of agents, asking me to send the first 50 pp. of the manuscript for which I’d sent a query and synopsis almost two months ago! Stop the presses! So it’s printed and I’m slapping stamps on the envelope. Don’t want to wait almost a week and a half to send it…

So, yeah, off to Portland again. Ken left yesterday on the bike and will be there in a few hours; I arrive via plane a bit later. Tomorrow morning, we’re off to the coast for a mini-vacation (the Newport Aquarium and the Tillamook Cheese Factory, among other things!). Sunday afternoon we’ll meet with Kris & Dean and Chris & Steve and the other usual suspects for lunch, and then I’ll toddle off to a beach house with five other writers to embark on a Book-in-a-Week retreat. I’ll walk out of there next Sunday with a completed draft of Designed for Love, come hell or high water. (And, knowing the Oregon Coast, there’s a good chance of high water!)

That’s about it for news. Been catching up on writing and editing since Ken left. I’m mostly packed, except for a few things in the wash, and I need to change my shirt. I won’t have easy Internet access while I’m there—I’ll pop out to the charming Internet café once or twice to drink rose-flavored white tea and do a quick check of e-mail to make sure there are no emergencies, but I probably won’t have time to post here.

See you on the flip side!

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Currently Reading: Mystic and Rider, Sharon Shinn
Lately Listened To: random and various
Recently Watched: Dr Who, CSI

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Help!

In a particularly spectacular boneheaded maneuver, I managed to not record the first new Dr. Who episode, although I do have the second one. Since I was to watch them in order...does anyone local possibly still have a copy of "The Christmas Invasion" that I could borrow?

On another note, I managed to buy myself a second copy of Bring It On, the suprisingly funny cheerleader movie starring Kirsten Dunst and (more importantly) Eliza Dushku. (Mmmm, Eliza in a cheerleading outfit...) So, if anyone would like a DVD, I'd be happy to pass it on.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The most wonderful time of the year


Words Written: none recently
Writing Stats: see below
Exercise: yes, but I’m not sharing the details [eg]

Lots of random writing-related stuff going on; I figured it would be easier to list it here than cram it all in above:

  • Reviewed proof pages for “Make Me Come at the Ball Game,” to appear in Sex in Public.
  • Sent ALNM to our editor! Whew!
  • Two rejections and a sale: as Teresa noted, our Sophie story didn’t make the cut for Iridescence, although we each sold a solo story to that anthology; and I didn’t make it into another anthology, although I got word at the same time that I sold “College Reunion” to the C is for Co-Eds anthology! The editor is still reviewing submissions for D is for Dress-Up. (Yep, it’s probably going to be a full alphabet series.)
  • Catching up on languishing submissions and getting returned stories back in the mail.
  • Received comp copy of Caught Looking, in which the Sophie story “Busted” appears.

<>-<>-<>

Having a lovely time with Ken, of course, so not a lot of time to post here. Saturday we mostly pottered about and ran a few errands. In the evening, Morgana and Brian came over and we all watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean in preparation for seeing the second one again the following night (only Ken hadn’t seen the new one yet). Sunday, Ken’s mom came for a visit, and we ate lunch at Franky’s Place before wandering around the antique shops in downtown Ventura. Mom bought me a sandwich/cake tea server (not the common two- or three-tier kind, but one that’s hard to describe, and I can’t find a picture of it online! I’ll take a photo at some point.). We met up with M&B and had dinner at Applebee’s (which I thought I didn’t like, but they’ve redeemed themselves. Fresh mozzarella goes a long way to appeasing me.) before Mom headed home and we four went to the movies.

Today, more pottering and errands. Ken bought and installed shelves in the Shire shed; we’ll do the inventory before he leaves. We bought cool Halloween decorations, including a lighted arch and two fence-type pieces and a black feather wreath (I put black feather boa up the banister as garland). And I indulged in some Halloween socks, although really they’re just a purple and black design. I wandered through the store singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” because, let’s face it, Halloween is just way better than Christmas (except for the presents aspect). Oh, and because my writing files are spilling out of one file drawer, we bought a filing cabinet for SCA files (so it can go in the sewing/craft room), which will give me another drawer in the main cabinet. Which will allow me to file month’s worth of stuff that’s in a pile right now…

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Currently Reading: Mystic and Rider, Sharon Shinn
Lately Listened To: Celtic Twilight, Vol. I
Recently Watched: Supernatural, Heroes, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Friday, September 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Ken!


Happy birthday to my beloved Ken, who arrived home today for about a week's stay. We've gone out to lunch (BJ's Brewery, where I had a meatball-and-onion calzone and he had jambalaya) and we're going out to dinner tonight with friends. I've given him two of his presents: a book about the group Rush and a shirt that says "My wife writes romances. I benefit. Big time." that made him laugh and laugh. (I'd already bought and given him the new Queensryche CD so we could both start listening to it in preparation for the concert we're going to at the end of November. Which is kind of another present, even though we're both going.)

Feel free to send him birthday wishes at ken dot meese at mac dot com!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Song for the soul


Words Written: ALNM, more edits and more edits
Writing Stats: Sale (see below)! Alas, also a rejection from Realms of Fantasy for “Berengere.” Shawna included a nice handwritten note, though.
Exercise: walking around the Home Tour, stretching

Sale! “Just Be” has sold to Iridescence: Lovely Shades of Lesbian Erotica.

<>-<>-<>


Where has the week gone? Oh, yes, swallowed up by a mountain of stress. I’m not sure I’d entirely recovered from the last Portland trip by the time I jetted off to Virginia, so I’ve been feeling even farther behind. Add to that some extra work from the editing job (which is especially stressful for reasons I shan’t mention here so I don’t offend the author), and I haven’t had much chance to come up for air. Oh, I’ve been laying about and watching TV, but that’s only after my brain has turned to mush and my hip’s hurting something fierce (I’ve pulled out the sofa so I can lie down). I’ve also started icing my right forearm, as the copy editing has triggered my tendonitis.

The good news is that Sarah and I have gotten through all of the edits on ALNM! I have one scene to tweak (probably amounting to writing all of two sentences), and then I have to put the chapters into one file, run a spellcheck with UK spelling, and change all the double quotes to single quotes. Then it’s off to the charming Adam, a month and a half early! Just in time to get some anthology stories written before I run off to the Oregon Coast for a week’s intense work on DFL.

And more good news: Ken’s on his way home as I type this. He could arrive any time after 4 a.m., although it would make sense (to me, anyway) that he stop somewhere and sleep. Then again, he really wants to be home… Tomorrow’s his birthday, and we’ll be having dinner with friends at The Greek (Fantastic Greek food! Hot dancing girls! Yay!).

<>-<>-<>


So in Virginia I had my first-ever book signing. I’ve signed stock locally as well as in Portland, Seattle, and other stores in the Norfolk, VA, area, but this was wildly beyond all that.

We didn’t get a huge crowd, but I didn’t expect one; I’m an unknown author, not even local. Scott, Sarah’s husband, manages the store and arranged the deal, and he’d told his customers about me, though. Sarah was my first-ever buyer (Scott wouldn’t let her borrow or buy the book until then!), and her mom and dad, and their friends visiting from England, also bought books. My friends Kathy and Bob (whom I met in Hawaii 9 years ago) also dropped by; I’d already signed Kathy’s book when we’d had lunch earlier in the week, but they bought the two anthologies Scott had on hand at my table (Sex on the Move and Sex in the Kitchen). A guy and his daughter (I think) chatted with me about the business of publishing (she wrote historical fiction). And I absolutely have to give a huge shout-out to Tory from the games store in the mall, though. I was sitting there, flipping through a magazine, when this enthusiastic person bounded through the door exclaiming how thrilled she was that I was still there, and she’d shake my hand except she had a cold, and… I told her I had a cold, too, and firmly shook her hand. She was just the sweetest thing. I felt like I had a fan. She was just utterly thrilled to have me sign the book for her. Tory, hope you enjoy the book. You rock.

Scott said I outsold the last person they had in, who was a nationally known author. But most importantly, I had a blast.

<>-<>-<>


The Home Tour was a success. I didn’t get to tour all the homes because Morgana and Brian and Tomi and I went out for brunch first, and in the afternoon I was a docent at Morgana and Brian’s house. My back and hip were killing me by the end of that, so I went home and vegged. Although I had fun, in hindsight I shouldn’t schedule something like that right on the heels of a trip. And I’m still bummed that I didn’t get to see a couple of the houses or go on the downtown tour. Next year!

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Currently Reading: Fool Moon (Book Two of the Dresden Files), Jim Butcher
Lately Listened To: Celtic Twilight, Vol. 1, various
Recently Watched: CSI; Without a Trace; Eureka

(Photo by Barry Rodker. Thanks!)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

From the unshadowed 4th row


Words Written: ALNM, lots and lots of edits, snippets of new scenes
Writing Stats: nothing of note
Exercise: dancing at the show

ALNM is done! We started a new ritual, of having Fiona (Sarah’s 9-year-old daughter) type “The End”. Now, we’d had a full manuscript already, but our editor wanted some substantial changes, and by about halfway through we’d pretty much abandoned the old version. So it’s all new enough to call it a new ms., as far as we’re concerned. We’ve reviewed the first six chapters and they’re officially final; I’m going to do a run-through of the rest and send them to Sarah, and then we’ll have one or two phone confabs to work out any final questions. Then it’s off to Adam, in enough time for me to focus on getting the beginning of DFL back in my head so I can finish it at the BIAW retreat in Oregon next month. Hoo-rah.

The Foreigner/Styx concert was a blast. I hadn’t seen Foreigner live before, and they were a lot of fun. Their new lead singer has obviously studied Steven Tyler’s moves in depth. My new concert shirt went over very well; Sarah said that at the end, when the band was tossing pics and taking bows, the keyboardist nudged the lead singer and pointed at me, and the lead singer said something and nodded happily. And to think I was back in the fourth row.

More charmingly, Ricky recognized me in the fourth row, pointed at me, and waved enthusiastically! When we were able to move forward, he came to the edge of the stage (which was beyond where Lawrence’s keyboards were set up) and got my attention again. What a sweetie. Lawrence either gave his water bottle to me or the 16-year-old boy next to me (by that time we were against the stage), but I have longer arms and got it. So I turned and handed it to the boy’s dad, who gave it to the boy, who was incredulous and grateful. Hey, I’ve already got two; I believe in sharing the love. It was the kid’s first show, and he said he wants to go to more. Yay him! Yay his dad!

Okay, I got through chapters 7 through 12 on the plane, before Afalwen’s battery pretty much reached its limit and my brain was pretty much in the same place. I’m safely home now, and although it’s going to be crazy-busy again this week, chances are I’ll be able to update a little more often!

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Currently Reading: just finished Ghosts in the Snow, Tamara Siler Jones; about to start Fool Moon (Book One of the Dresden Files), Jim Butcher
Lately Listened To: …But You Can Call Me Larry, Gowan
Recently Watched: the little black letters across the white screen

Monday, September 18, 2006

Virginia is for lovers


Words Written: ALNM ~1500. There were edits in there so I didn’t pay close attention.
Writing Stats: Sales! One solo story and one Sophie story to Second Skins. The Sophie story is going to be expanded into a novel soon. :-)
Exercise: um…does video-watching count?


So I’m happily here in Virginia. The only thing I forgot this time was the power cord for Afalwen, and the replacement cost me a pretty penny—but it can live in the laptop case along with my other travel cords. (Why does everything I own seem to need charging now? Laptop, phone, Palm, iPod, wireless Bluetooth headset that doesn’t seem to work right anyway…)

Saturday evening I babysat Fiona while Sarah and Scott went out to dinner and a movie for their anniversary. Fiona requested Red Robin, so we ate there (got only a little lost, hee), and we rented Splash at her request. We also played a game and generally hung out. Fun.

Sunday was a BBQ at Sarah’s mom’s house, which was also fun and mellow thanks in part to the two bottles of Chardonnay I contributed to the cause.

Today we had lunch with Fiona at her school, after which Sarah dropped me of at a wi-fi café so I could catch up on e-mail and work stuff (she has only dial-up at home, and flakey dial-up at that). After that we hunkered down to get some work done on ALNM. Chapter 15 is done, Chapter 16 is pretty close. Probably two more chapters left, and then we’ll do a final pass through. Some of the earlier chapters need some trimming, and there are a few things we need to add in towards the beginning.

The only downside to this wild holiday of fun and writing is that I may be getting a cold. Could also be allergies, and it would be nice if it was only that. Mostly in my throat right now, but my eyes are a little tired/itchy, and it remains to be seen whether my sinuses are gearing up to be part of the festivities.

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Currently Reading: Storm Front (Book One of the Dresden Files), Jim Butcher
Lately Listened To: various radio
Recently Watched: videos!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Drunk on books


Words Written: Angelika new scene and edits on partial and synopsis. I didn’t keep track fo wordcount, alas.
Writing Stats: Received contract for the She’s On Top anthology. Was interviewed for next month’s LARA (Los Angeles RWA) newsletter.
Exercise: walking


Sale! “Always a Bridesmaid” will appear in the Tough Girls anthology. I have a real spot of affection for this story, and I’m chuffed that it’s finally sold.

<>-<>-<>


Best Word of the Day yet:

“There are peple who read too much, bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.” (H.L. Mencken’s Notebook 71, 1956.

<>-<>-<>


If anyone would like a copy of the notes I took at the OCCRWA meeting (where Anna Genoese of Tor spoke), please e-mail me and I’d be happy to send them along.

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Currently Reading: Seal Island, Kate Brallier
Lately Listened To: blowfish.com podcasts; Long Distance: The Best of Runrig, Runrig
Recently Watched: Bones

Monday, September 11, 2006

Katze-Kratzer-Fieber?!


We got word from our editor today that Cat Scratch Fever has been purchased for German publication! How cool is that?!

(I have no idea if the title will be the same as above--that's just a direct translation via babelfish.com.)

To do-be-do-be-do-be

Words Written: lalala
Writing Stats: Anna Genoese talk! Local romance writer contacts!

Exercise: hah


This is not a good time of year for Ken to be gone, oh no. Because this is the time of year when the Halloween stores open, and Morgana and I, not to put too fine a point on it, go absolutely apeshit insane.

Ahem.

So there is no one here to be the voice of reason and tell me I don’t need a spooky forest in the front yard.

<>-<>-<>


Friday’s stress continued into Saturday, when on my trip down south the main road I needed to take on the last leg of the trip was inexplicably closed halfway to where I needed to go. The detour dumped me into a residential area, which of course had wibbly streets and no clear exits. Meanwhile, the main street in question was in two counties and between pages in the Thomas Guide, so I was flipping between four or five pages to try to figure out an alternate route. I arrived late, but thankfully nothing had really started yet.

The stress was totally worth it. I met a bunch of lovely, warm, welcoming women, and Anna Genoese’s talk was awesome. Not so much her talk, but her critique of five query letters. I can see now why mine didn’t pass muster—and that’s invaluable information. Some of the attendees thought Anna’s crits were overly harsh, but having read her blog, I didn’t think so. Well, yes, they were harsh. But she sounded exactly like she does in her blog, so I wasn’t surprised. Plus, let’s face it, this is an endeavor where rejection is more common than acceptance, and if you can’t separate yourself from your work, you’re in the wrong job. She might have been harsh, but it didn’t affect me emotionally. I was there to learn. Funny, today I spent quite some time working through Miss Snark’s latest Crapometer, and she’s just as, if not more harsh. And I learned invaluable information from that, too.

The drive home was less eventful, although I did hit some traffic through LA. Overall, I guess it wasn’t as bad as Teresa’s trip to speak at the NH RWA—she got a flat tire. I think I got off easy by comparison. (Er…unintended pun…nevermind.)

So, other than reading Miss Snark today, I’ve been steadily churning through e-mail and my To Do list. I got almost everything done on the list for today, which rather amazes me. In part because I still feel like I’m far behind and haven’t gotten anything done. Silly brain, no wine. (Oh, who am I kidding? Of course there’s wine allowed!)

And in the words of Chris de Burgh, “Oh Lord, I'm tired, it's time to go to bed / Way after midnight, and the wine's gone to my head,” so off I should go. (Although, hm, I should put on my To Do list to add Chris de Burgh CDs to my wishlist, because I seem to be lacking some…)

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Currently Reading: Seal Island, Kate Brallier; Hunting Midnight, Emma Holly
Lately Listened To: it’s been kinda quiet around here…
Recently Watched: Eureka

Friday, September 08, 2006

Beware the insidious stress bunny

Words Written: lalala
Writing Stats: nothing to report.

Exercise: walking


And in the Small World Category, today Morgana and I went over to a neighbor’s house to be interviewed about the Hersterical Society, the neighborhood monthly get-together of women in and around the Historic District. Turns out the reporter is also an RWA member and writes erotic romance. She didn’t even know about the LA RWA group, though. I sense lunch sometime soon…

<>-<>-<>


I’m a total stress bunny right now. Despite the work I did while in Portland, I’ve come home to find myself behind on a lot of things. Plus there’s what should have been a simple project that has turned into a project-by-committee, with me in the middle trying to juggle stuff flying at me and somehow turn it around into a coherent product. All of this is throwing a spanner in the writing works, and I’m getting downright cranky from lack of writing. And, I’m getting up painfully early tomorrow to drive two hours to the Orange County RWA meeting, because Anna Genoese of Tor is speaking. I’m excited, but not looking forward to the lack of sleep, the early rise, or the drive. (I’m extremely nearsighted, and to correct my vision to close to 20/20 results in making things really small—which means I can’t read street signs until I’m practically under them. And I haven’t had time to beat the GPS software on my Palm into submission and make it function properly. Thankfully, the directions to the meeting are very simple.)

Then, next week will be busy with meetings and appointments and getting ready for my trip to Virginia, to see my best friend Sarah and go to a Styx concert and have my first book signing! So it all eventually will be good; it’s just getting to the goodness that’s stressful.

Somehow, that sounds like something that belongs on a bumper sticker.

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Currently Reading: Sanctuary, Nora Roberts; Hunting Midnight, Emma Holly
Lately Listened To: Legend soundtrack; Rob Roy soundtrack
Recently Watched: Bones

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Indulgences


Words Written: nothing yet
Writing Stats: Ah, Labor Day: Time for editors to clean out their slush piles. Came home from Seattle to find three rejections: “A Father’s Blessing” from Orson Scott Card’s Medicine Show, “Queen of Hearts, Hand of Fate” from Farthing, and “The Rising” from Abyss & Apex, which said “It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.” Which is better than a poke in the eye with a short stick.

Exercise: stretching


I’m en route home from Portland to Oxnard. It’s been a wonderful vacation, and I’m sorry to leave, as much as I miss the cats and the house (and need to pay bills and whatnot). I miss Ken more, though, already.

So, yes, a wonderful time. Oh, there were bad things, too—the airline losing my suitcase and then delivering it at 3 a.m., the three-day headache of doom, the late start to Seattle because the bike service took longer than expected, etc.—but I won’t focus on those.

So much good food and such good friends on this trip! We went out for Indian food (delectable shrimp biryani…) with Lev and Gayle, and spent a fantastic evening talking and laughing with them. We ate at a great Thai place near the apartment and at a Schlotzky’s Deli while the bike was being worked on. There’s little better in the world than eating a piled-high Reuben at a good deli while sitting with my beloved.

It utterly gladdened my heart to see Vicki-Marie again, and the Seattle trip was both relaxing and invigorating. She’s one of those people who make you feel smarter just for having talked to her—not that she teaches, but she brings out in you ideas and thoughts and opinions that you didn’t know you had, that you haven’t yet formed. Cecil, her friend with whom she was staying, was just charming. We ate many fine meals—Turkish/Mediterranean, Indian brunch, Italian (oh, gorgonzola-stuffed tortellini!)—and drank much fine wine and talked of period fence and Baroque music and Vicki-Marie’s thesis and the shapes of poetry and funnel witches and Marie Antoinette and… Sunday was the first day in as long as I can remember that I never really wondered what time it was. I checked the time once in the morning, when Ken and I decided to go for a walk before Cecil and Vicki-Marie got up and we wanted to let them know in a note what time we’d left, and Cecil mentioned in the evening the time to remind us we should rouse ourselves to go out to dinner.

We went to Pike’s Place Market, which wasn’t as grand as I’d expected, but was quite lovely, blooming with flowers and handmade gifts. I picked up a set of hand-blocked blank cards, and bought myself the perfect gift to celebrate the US release of Cat Scratch Fever. Actually, Ken insisted on buying it for me, saying it was more appropriate. It’s a pair of earrings, tiny handmade books no bigger than my thumbnail with handmade marbled purple covers. They can be made into memory books, if you can imagine something that small as such. I’ll shrink down tiny pictures of the CSF cover and our author photo to paste in, and write the date and other information on the delicate little pages. Just…perfect.

I signed stock at a Barnes & Noble in Seattle, and by the end of the conversation, the salesgirl said I’d given her hope to continue writing and submitting in the face of rejection. It brought tears to my eyes, and then again when Ken insisted on me showing him the signed books on the shelves, proudly displaying their “Autographed Copy” stickers, and insisted on taking my picture with them.

That’s all we had time for in Seattle. It was more of a spend-time-together visit than a sightseeing visit. But that’s okay. We’ll go back soon.

We rode back from Seattle through Ranier National Park and others: stately pines, cool meadows, twisty roads, deep shadows. Then we went to the nearest McMenamin’s, which may be my favorite. It used to be in a Victorian house, but now that houses only the pizza kitchen and they’ve built a restaurant behind it. We sat outside in the courtyard between the two, though, to enjoy the mellow evening. I indulged in their lovely Ruby Ale (which tastes of raspberries) and a chicken-pesto calzone.

I signed stock at Powell’s today, which was another huge thrill, because Powell’s is the bestest bookstore ever. I’d forgotten my camera, but took pictures with my phone. (I have no idea how to download them off the phone, but that’s a problem for another day.) There were several anthologies I have stories in face-out on the shelves, which was sort of…wondrous. Me. I have stories in all of those. Um, wow… I was good and bought only five books: The Blue Girl, Charles de Lint; To Serve and Submit, Susan Wright; Mystic and Rider, Sharon Shinn; Seal Island, Kate Brallier; and The Herb Bible. One YA, two SF/F, one paranormal romance, and one nonfiction. I’m not sure what that says. That I won’t be bored anytime soon, if nothing else.

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Currently Reading: Morrigan’s Cross, Nora Roberts; Hunting Midnight, Emma Holly
Lately Listened To: Secret Portal, Scott Huckabay
Recently Watched: Lost

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's in stores now!

Words Written: various work on short stories, ALNM, Angelika synopsis
Writing Stats: Received contract for “Finding Perspective,” to appear in Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2007. Received rejection from Tor for WtW proposal
Exercise: stretching, walking

So I went to Barnes & Noble today to find out about author signings and signed my first stock copies! Just holding the books in my hand… I know the book’s technically been out for months, and I have a stack of UK copies in the closet, but the US cover is so much prettier and somehow it feels more real. And watching the woman slap “Autographed Copy” stickers on the cover just made me feel all gushy inside. (The fact that I had developed an immediate crush on her, because she was cute and funny and articulate, had nothing to do with it, I swear.) So, local folks, go forth and buy! Please! If the store runs out, it looks really good if they have to order more because people are asking for it!

For local authors, they tend to do group signings, and the next one isn’t ‘til the spring, but she put my name on the list and we’ll see what happens.

Borders did not have any of the books in stock and their system showed that they weren’t ordering them, but I sweet-talked them into ordering five. They’ll be in by the time I’m back from Portland, and I’ll sign them then. I didn’t bother to ask them about an author signing.

I still need to check with an LA-based store, and also arrange a signing in Phoenix. My first actual signing will be in Virginia on 22 September, for anyone in that neck of the woods. Oh, and I plan to sign stock at Powells this week. :-)

This is beyond cool.

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Recent entry from my Forgotten English calendar: odditorium: A collection of curiosities. (Sample sentence: “Dayle’s brain is an odditorium.”)

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I added a new photo to the Faerieworlds set. Just having a little fun with the camera.

I also added two new photos to the Styx set and one to the Misc set, although all of these will show up first in the main page.

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Currently Reading: Sanctuary, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: The Celts and The Memory of Trees, Enya
Recently Watched: Northern Exposure, Labyrinth, The Purple Rose of Cairo

Friday, August 25, 2006

Seattle


I'm going up to Portland next week, and as part of the trip we're going to Seattle to visit our dear friend Vicki-Marie, who herself is visiting from Paris. I've never been to Seattle, and there are several things I definitely want to see during the trip—most notably the underground tour and the Science Fiction Museum.

I don't know how much time we'll have for sightseeing vs. spending time with Vicki-Marie (which is our first priority), but I'd very much like suggestions of fun things to do and see in Seattle, good restaurants, etc. I know we won't be able to do everything we want to, so I'd love any and all recommendations!

(The picture above is from a previous trip of ours. That's me, the BMW K12LT we had at the time, and a glacier in the Swiss Alps.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Flourishes

Words Written: “Sarita” 614
Writing Stats: Received contracts from Fabulous Whitby for “Proof of Devotion” and Sex in Public for “Make Me Come at the Ball Game”. Received comp copies of Tales of Travelrotica for Lesbians and The MILF Anthology. Both have very different, but very beautiful, covers. Rejections from Glimmer Train for “The Rising” and EscapePod for “The Sultan’s Sons” reprint, and return of “On Display” from Desire at Work because the antho has been cancelled.
Exercise: gym stuff, yoga, stretching, dancing

Whoops, didn’t mean to go so long without updating. Just…life going on, and little of it feels greatly newsworthy. Kind of like it’s summer, crops are growing…whereas autumn harvest will hopefully show the product.

The end of the week was fun, though! Thursday night I saw Dennis De Young (former lead singer of Styx) at the Canyon Club. I was loathe to go alone, but finally Teddie answered my e-mail and said she was going. For some reason, it didn’t even occur to me to ask Gillian if she was going (even though Ken swears we talked about it). Also, I’m sure I looked around online to see if Glen Burtnik (former bassist and guitarist for Styx at various times) was going to be there, and didn’t find info that he was. But he was! Alas, I didn’t bring my Styx shirt for him to sign—his is the only signature I don’t have, barring the two members who died before I started getting the shirt signed.

So we’re sitting there during the opening act (Mark Lennon of the band Venice, which opened for Styx in Germany in 2000…) when I register someone walking by in front of us. I turn to Teddie. “Was that Glen?” The two of us bolt out of our seats and head in that direction…to see him go into the men’s room. (What? Backstage has no men’s room? Dennis is hogging the backstage men’s room? Glen wanted to see if anybody would recognize him?)

When he came out, he came right over to talk to us (I think he recognized Teddie). She had a CD for him to sign, stuff to say…I had nuthin’. I babbled about being lame and not having anything for him to sign, and he just smiled and shook my hand. The worst (and funniest) part was, I had a barely controlled urge to hug him. I have no idea why. Possibly because I’d just hugged Gillian, Jenny, and Brett (Brent? Why can’t I ever remember his name?). Possibly because I’ve been hugged by several members of Styx, and Glen was familiar in the way that the rest of them are. Maybe just because he was cute and smiling and looked like he needed a hug. Luckily I was able to cross my arms and resist the urge. I’m sure I would’ve scared him to death.

I did buy one of his CDs (which I hadn’t even known existed) and after the show when he was on stage packing up his guitars, we got pictures with him and he signed my CD. So at least I got that. What a genuinely nice guy.

Oh, and I also bought a Sparky the Flying Dog shirt. If you understand that reference, I adore you beyond belief. (Tell me if you do!)

The show itself was fantastic. A little weird to hear Dennis again signing the songs I’ve been hearing Lawrence or JY sing for so long, but damn that man has an amazing voice. He might be a complete schmuck, but his talent is phenomenal.

This weekend I ran off to northern California for a conjugal visit with Ken and another Styx concert! Fran and I flew to Sacramento, rented a car, drove to Williams, and checked into Granzella’s Inn (the hotel affiliated with The Best Deli Ever!) before heading west into the mountains to the venue. The drive was gorgeous—I saw some of the most amazing specimens of California oaks I’ve ever seen, plus we drove by a pretty lake and it all made me a little homesick for the Adirondacks.

At the venue, we had dinner (I had an awesome lobster pasta dish) and Ken arrived and all was good. :-) The stage was thigh-high, the band was on fire (as always), and Lawrence cupped my cheek in his hand and I was all a-swoon. Plus I got a polaroid from him. Ken somehow ended up with a towel from JY and a drumstick from Todd (this is after joking as we walked in, that maybe my goal this year should be to get a towel from every band member, since I have Lawrence’s and Ricky’s already). After one particularly energetic song, Ricky mimed smoking motions at me. Why yes, thank you, I’m glad it was good for both of us! ;-)

Sadly, I had to fly back the next day, but I had all night to snuggle with my beloved. I’m going to go up and see him at the end of this month/beginning of next month (in part because our dear friend Vicki-Marie from Paris is in Seattle for a few weeks!), and we might be going to Britain at the end of next month…

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In writing news (because, yes, there is some in the midst of all of this!):

Sale! “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” won an honorable mention in the For the Girls Short Story Competition.

The new Black Lace Books website is up and running! You can read an interview with Teresa and I as Sophie, as well as a bio and other fun stuff.

Aaaand, Cat Scratch Fever got a lovely long review and 4/5 stars from Just Erotic Romance Reviews. A taste: "Sophie Mouette has a sizzling erotic romance with Cat Scratch Fever…. The twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing and I really liked the end, without a doubt…. Cat Scratch Fever is a very good erotic romance and I highly recommend this great read."

I’ve updated my website accordingly, including the judge’s nice comments about “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” Enjoy!

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Currently Reading: Sanctuary, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: Styx, baybee!
Recently Watched: CSI: Miami

Monday, August 14, 2006

Where there's a widget, there's a way


Words Written: DFL editing; “Breakfast in Bed” 733
Writing Stats: Nothing of note to report.
Exercise: stretching, yoga

Like many writers/obsessives, I tend to sit too long at the computer. This is, of course, murder on my messed-up back. Even if I watch the clock, I tend to think, “Oh, just five more minutes to answer this e-mail” or whatever, and another half hour goes by, and I haven’t even changed position, much less gotten up and stretched.

I tried using a kitchen timer, but its ticking was too distracting. So finally I went searching for a widget for my Dashboard. (It’s a Mac thing—instead of putting widgets on your desktop and cluttering it up, you put them in your Dashboard, which you can access by keyboard or mouse click, and it comes up superimposed over whatever else is on your screen.) I found a great timer widget (with a lovely chime to tell me it’s time to move), a project widget that allows me to calculate total time on various projects (writing, work, e-mail/web stuff, etc.), and even one that counts down (4 days and 21 hours ‘til my next Styx concert!). Oh, and one that gives you the lyrics of whatever song is playing on iTunes.

My point is, the timer has been amazing for me. Several times I’ve not wanted to write, and I’ve told myself, just 15 minutes. The first time, I wrote over 500 words. That blew me away. I’ve always thought that at speed, I wrote 1000 words/hour. This means if I could keep the momentum, I could double that. Hot damn!

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Today was full of little annoyances. My chiro appt was good, but then I thought something was wrong with the car, and I couldn’t get hold of Ken to determine if it was a “yeah, you should have that checked sometime” problem or a “don’t even try to drive, call a tow truck” problem. I drove home and was then effectively housebound. I finally talked to him and decided to take it in, but then I took the chance of popping out the grocery store for one thing I needed to make tacos tonight, and I realized the noise is the same one that we’ve had for a while—some doohicky related to the air conditioner, which isn’t anything crucial and we’ll get fixed eventually. So that’s all good.

I’m also having a problem with my alternate e-mail account, the person I e-mailed about transferring our Dragon*Con memberships was downright rude to me (and the other person I e-mailed has been really busy and hasn’t written back—so I may end up eating the cost of the memberships, which royally sucks), and BBC America chopped the second season of Hex in half and doesn’t seem to be showing the “third season.”

But I’m okay. I went through the grumpycrankydistraught stage, and now I’m fine. I got some good writing done tonight, finishing up a languishing partial story that I realized would be perfect for an anthology that’s due tomorrow. I’ve printed out what I’ve done so far on DFL so I can refresh my memory of what I’ve done, make notes on what comes next, and see where to insert the new scenes I’ve recently written. Progress is always A Good Thing.

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Currently Reading: Widdershins, Charles de Lint
Lately Listened To: not much
Recently Watched: Hex, CSI: Miami

Sunday, August 13, 2006

...and so on


Words Written: DFL 674; “Face Reality” 373
Writing Stats: Received a note that the Fabulous Whitby contracts are finally being sent out, hurrah! Mailed WtW proposal to an editor and an agent.
Exercise: walking, stretching, yoga

Not a whole lot to report. I just feel like it’s been way too long since I’ve posted! I’ve been working and watching TV and trying to buy Styx tickets and talking on the phone to Ken—you know, the usual minutae of life.

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Two more nifty Forgotten English words:

“Nake: To make naked (1300s–1500s). Nakedize: to go naked.”

“Cook, slut, & butler: A common expression applied to a person who does all the turns of workd in a house (1825).” This was the word for July 28, which is the Feast Eve of St. Martha, “a patroness of housewives who, according to legend, subdued a dragon by dousing it with holy water while doing housework.” Proving once again that women are the ultimate multi-taskers.

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Currently Reading: Widdershins, Charles de Lint
Lately Listened To:
Recently Watched: Without a Trace, Eureka, Monk

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Progressions


Words Written: ALNM 927
Writing Stats: Received payment from Escape Pod for the forthcoming podcast of “What Dragons Prefer.” Received payment from two of the three anthology stories mentioned in the last post (odd). Two sales, one rejection (see below). Submitted three stories and one novel proposal. Followed up on six overdue stories.
Exercise: stretching, yoga

Two sales! Remember those stories that I (and Teresa and I) wrote in less than a day last week? Sold both of ‘em. Mine will be under a pseudonym because I already have another story in the anthology.

And, alas, a rejection. Although the Sophie story “Busted” made it to the finals of Best Lesbian Erotica 2007, it didn’t make the final cut. But, we did sell it to another anthology as well, so that takes some of the sting out of it.

The complete “four cups” review of Cat Scratch Fever is now up at CoffeeTimesRomance. Check it out!

And, Lovesromancesandmore.com says "Cat Scratch Fever is an erotic romance that starts with a bang and keeps pumping and grinding until the end.... The plot was intriguing and filled with enough sex to keep readers panting."

Deep breath. The Waking the Witch proposal goes out to an editor and an agent tomorrow. I’m still not sure it’s ready, but there’s a point where I had to stop staring at it. And stop re-reading the critiques. I still have a nagging fear that the problem is that there’s something not clear in the synopsis or the early chapters, because several critiques have seemed to involve a misunderstanding of some of the facts. But, if I can get a look from people on the strength of the writing, it’s a step further. The rest of the book needs a strong pass, but I have a couple other things to deal with first (ALNM and DFL, primarily). And I’m sure if an agent or editor asks for the full book, the panic of a deadline will force me to do all the revisions in a couple days so I can fire it right off.

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I howled over Star Trek inspirational posters. I am such a geek.

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I had a fabulous lunch with the fabulous Jenn today. She works in Thousand Oaks, so we met at Roma Deli (mmmm, Roma Deli!). It was one of those great conversations where you’re both tumbling over the words because you have so much to talk about. I hope it’s the first of many lunches with her.

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Currently Reading: Widdershins, Charles de Lint
Lately Listened To: Mighty Rearranger, Robert Plant; Celtic Music Live From Mountain Stage
Recently Watched: Lost, Without a Trace, Eureka

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Coolest. Job. Ever.


Words Written: DFL ~1000
Writing Stats: Promo stuff for Virgin re: ALNM. Phone confab with Sarah re: next chapters of ALNM. Story submissions.
Exercise: let’s wait ‘til after my chiro appt tomorrow…

Our lovely editor at Virgin Books has accepted the Sophie Mouette story “Make Me Come at the Ball Game” for the Sex…in Public anthology! Hoo-rah! My solo story for the same anthology is still under consideration. Alas, he finally confirmed that the one I wrote for an earlier anthology didn’t make the cut. Ah well. It’ll get back out in the mail soon.

This whole DFL-writing-fest never really happened in Oregon, I fear. Wednesday I had to focus on some major work stuff, and by the time I was done with that, my back was hurting something fierce. This desk setup is about as unergonomic as it gets, and I have to take some responsibility for not getting up and stretching regularly, too. That night was Ken and Thom’s apartment-warming party, and I didn’t want to be flat on my back and/or drugged for it, so I ended up lying down and reading after working (and pouting a little, because I really wanted to write—should’ve brought my Laptop Laidback, I guess!).

Thursday I worked on a bunch of promo stuff for ALNM. Friday I wrote over 1K on DFL on the plane, which was nice. Got a whole scene in the antagonist’s pov. He’s got issues. Nicely messed up. He’ll work well. And I was really glad to move ahead on that book.

I came home to find comp copies of three anthologies I’m in! Very cool. Comp copies are one of those things that remind me I’m a Real Writer. Not that I forget I’m a Real Writer. More along the lines of I can clutch them to my chest and say “I have stories in these! I wrote those stories! I have the coolest job ever!”

Yesterday was our local Shire’s Pirate Tourney, and it was once again a kick-ass event. The current King and Queen adore our Shire and adore the event, and they said we were the best Shire in the Kingdom (but sssh, don’t tell anybody!). They gave out lots of much-deserving awards, including Court Baronetcies to Morgana and Alexander and Harp Argents (for leatherworking) to Iuliana and William (the folks who did my big pirate box birthday surprise). It really was such a pleasant day. I won a pirate t-shirt in a contest/code-breaking game, and had a wonderful time talking to so many of my friends.

Today we were supposed to take less than 2 hours to move the stuff from the old Shire shed to the new one in our backyard, and inventory everything. Instead, Ken discovered the floor wobbled and needed to be shored up, so he spent hours on that. We inventoried half the stuff, and after we get shelves, we’ll finish up. But. Sheez. I’ve been methodically checking things off my To Do list and working through e-mail and whatnot. Oh, and I picked up some groceries, threw in a load of laundry, picked up Chinese for dinner, watched another ep of Lost with Ken, ordered plane tickets to Virginia, and, um…I can’t remember it all, but I’m pretty tired!

I had a phone confab with Sarah on Sunday re: another promo thing as well as the last couple chapters of ALNM. My hope is to get the draft done soon; then we’ll set it aside for about a month and do the revision (or at least a big chunk of it) when I visit her in September. That’ll still get it out more than a month before the deadline, and that is A Very Good Thing. I’m having one of those Too Many Novels! Not Enough Time! attacks right now. Whee! It’s kinda fun, in a manic sort of way. :-)

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In other news, I’m rather stunned to discover that Steve and Jonathan Martian from The Muppet Show are actually named Bob and Joe. Where did I get “Steve” and “Jonathan” from? They’re commonly referred to as The Yip-Yip Aliens or The Yip-Yips, and my personal favorite sketch can be viewed here. Because no day is really complete without a bit of the Muppets.

Bob and Joe. Huh. Who knew?

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Apple has finally released the wireless Mighty Mouse, and I’ve ordered mine, and it should be here next week, and there is much rejoicing! Finally!

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Currently Reading: Widdershins, Charles de Lint
Lately Listened To: Twilight, Woodland; sampler, Gaia Consort
Recently Watched: Lost