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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

And then...

Let’s review yesterday’s list:
  • …finishing a short story. I wanted to be done with it today so Teresa could crit it before I sent it off, but I didn’t know she’s busy through New Year’s… So technically I have a little leeway, although I shouldn’t really allow myself any, as the story’s due 12/31. Update: About 500 words to go, and by the gods it’ll be done tonight so Ken can eyeball it.
  • …going to our Shire’s Twelfth Night party tonight. We made the coleslaw last night, so we’re good to go there, at least.
  • …hosting overnight guests tonight.
  • …having a writing meeting with a friend tomorrow. (I’ll finish the story then, absolutely.) Update: Writing date was fabulous, story’s almost done, considering doing this on a regular basis!
  • …cleaning the entire frakking house. Ken will do most of this since I can’t do a lot because of my back. But still. I’ll be rushing about, tidying and whatnot. Update: Um. We took a nap this afternoon…
  • …buying food and prepping the house and food for our party.
  • …meeting with my trainer for another gym session. Update: That’s tomorrow.
  • …going to a friend’s NYE party (need to make guacamole for that; avocados are ripening on the windowsill as I type). Update: Ditto.
  • …going on a bike ride on New Year’s morning, culminating with various riders following us home to kick off our New Year’s Day open house. Update: Forthcoming as well.
  • …hanging out with friends, doing some kumihimo, and making chili and rice and corn bread during the open house. Update: Don't feel like making cornbread, so there.
  • …finishing two one library book and return both by 1/2/08.

To elaborate on some of that…

Twelfth Night was quite fun. There was a metric ton of food ranging from ricotta and spinach pie to egg rolls to several meat dishes (astonishingly, though, nobody brought a roasted chicken from the grocery store!) and rice dishes and baklava and… Oof. A bunch of us sang carols—the hall is quite nice and echoey—and there was a bit of gift exchange and whatnot.

Afterwards, Cat and Mel were crashing with us, and Morgana and Brian and Sabas also came over. We sipped drinks and laughed and did handwork, and I told the story of Umberhilde and the story of getting drunk on what amounted to cheap cooking sherry for my birthday in Britain in 1987 (Mel cried, she laughed so hard). Then Cat wanted to see the bizarre and hilarious interview with Kate Bush about being a vegetarian, so I had to find that tape. Kate is an inhumanly brilliant artist, but in this particular interview she comes across as a brainless airhead. It doesn’t help that the interviewer is utterly useless herself.

Samples:

Interviewer (slowly stirring a bowl of nuts and seeds): “This looks like an assortment of nuts.”
Kate: “Yes, nuts and sunflower seeds.”
Interviewer: “How do you eat it?”
Cat & I: buh?

Interviewer: “This looks like a fruit salad.”
Kate: “Yes.”
Interviewer: “What’s in it?”
Cat & I (shouting at TV): “Fruit, you idiot!”

Then we watched “Hamsters of Rock,” Ken’s computer graphic final project from 1988, which has to be experienced to be truly understood. By this time, we all had tears streaming down our faces.

Cat and Mel left early this morning, although they had to swing back to pick up something they’d forgotten. I once again woke way too early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I thought my writing date would be a bust, but once fortified with a caffé mocha and some exuberant chatting about projects, I was away and typing contentedly. Since we have several LARA members in the area, I’m thinking this might work well as regular thing, maybe twice a month or so.

I picked up some groceries and came home to find Ken had scrubbed the kitchen, removing the last vestiges of the ants. We had lunch, and then everything started to move verrrrrry sloooooowwwwly. Eventually I gave up and staggered back to bed, where Ken joined me. I read until my eyelids drooped, and then I actually lost consciousness a couple of times for a few moments. But then I had to go to the bathroom, and all hope of napping was gone. I tossed and turned for a while longer before I finally admitted defeat and went downstairs with my book to make popcorn.

I can highly recommend Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert (Iuliana, I think you’ll particularly like it), and will be seeking out more of her work.

Now Ken’s off to get our water bottles filled and pick up the one item I forgot at the store (ground turkey) as well as a take-and-bake pizza, so I’m going to toddle downstairs and make salad and work on the story until he returns.

---

Currently Reading: Wizards anthology (about to start)
Lately Listened To: cats purring
Recently Watched: Hamsters of Rock!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mrf

Mrf. After several days of pleasant productivity, I’m dragging today. I’m just not sleeping well anymore—as soon as something wakes me in the morning, just a little bit, it’s almost impossible for me to get back to sleep. Or I’m possibly coming down with something; right now, it’s hard to tell the difference.

But I can’t be sick! I have so much to do! Such as…
  • …finishing a short story. I wanted to be done with it today so Teresa could crit it before I sent it off, but I didn’t know she’s busy through New Year’s… So technically I have a little leeway, although I shouldn’t really allow myself any, as the story’s due 12/31.
  • …going to our Shire’s Twelfth Night party tonight. We made the coleslaw last night, so we’re good to go there, at least.
  • …hosting overnight guests tonight.
  • …having a writing meeting with a friend tomorrow. (I’ll finish the story then, absolutely.)
  • …cleaning the entire frakking house. Ken will do most of this since I can’t do a lot because of my back. But still. I’ll be rushing about, tidying and whatnot.
  • …buying food and prepping the house and food for our party.
  • …meeting with my trainer for another gym session.
  • …going to a friend’s NYE party (need to make guacamole for that; avocados are ripening on the windowsill as I type).
  • …going on a bike ride on New Year’s morning, culminating with various riders following us home to kick off our New Year’s Day open house.
  • …hanging out with friends, doing some kumihimo, and making chili and rice and corn bread during the open house.
  • …finishing two library books and return them by 1/2/08.

Yeah. That’s all. So no actual time to be sick in there, y’know? If I’m sick, only the last thing on the list is likely to get accomplished….

Wish me luck!

---

Currently Reading: Season of the Witch, Natasha Mostert
Lately Listened To: Ken bustling about
Recently Watched: Alias

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Card-a-plethora

A good day so far. After saying farewell to Matt, we pottered about the house for a bit. There’s beef stroganoff in the crockpot, the dishes are done, the guest sheets are in the dryer, and I’ve paid some bills. Ken’s going to go for a bike ride to check out a route for a New Year’s morning ride he’s organizing, and I’m going to hammer away at a short story and maybe also the novel, and walk to the post office and the music shop.

Our holiday cards have finally arrived—again. Apple has managed to screw up the order three times, I’m sad to say… First, they sent us only 50, which meant we were missing 40. To rectify that, they said they’d reorder the missing 40 for free and refund the money for the original 40. Neither of those things happened. So I complained again, and they said they’d send 40 more and refund the rest of it, so in essence it would all be free. They did refund the money…and I just received 90 more cards.

So, seriously. If you want a card, and aren’t on our mailing list, please let me know. I have no idea what to do with 50 extra cards except wallpaper a bathroom!

<>-<>-<>

No errands today—my legs and butt are really stiff and achy from an intense session with the trainer yesterday. Instead, I took a long, hot bath with epsom salts and British bubble bath. :-) Got some work done on the short story, too, and the stroganoff was stellar (if I do say so myself).

---

Currently Reading: Season of the Witch, Natasha Mostert
Lately Listened To: holiday playlist
Recently Watched: Hex, various home and garden shows

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Unboxed

Is everyone having a good Boxing Day?

We’ve spent it being highly productive. We’ve scrubbed the kitchen (we had an ant invasion recently and most of our food and dishes have been on the dining room table…), done several loads of laundry, tidied up. Ken hung our new tapestry and fixed a gate latch. I worked out with my trainer. An out-of-state friend will be staying the night, and we’re going out to dinner with Morgana and Brian and Brian’s parents.

Our Christmas Eve was a quiet one, wrapping presents for others and opening our presents (since we spend Christmas Day on the road visiting various family) and soaking in the hot tub. Before all that, though, we went for a wander through the famed lights of the Historic District with Morgana and Brian and Brian’s sister Jeanne. Morgana suggested we carol, and whipped out song books, and we were very well received. People took pictures of us (why? we weren’t dressed up.) and gave us candy canes and applauded madly. Christmas cheer abounded.

Christmas Day was long! We got up early and scooted down to Santa Ana to have brunch and present-opening with Ken’s brother and sister-in-law and mom and the sister-in-law’s parents and brothers, and, of course Ken’s three nephews. I had three Bloody Marys and put together an elaborate Spongebob Squarepants Lego set for the kids. The thing had about a million little parts, too. I so rock.

Then we headed homewards because Ken’s dad’s wife’s son and his wife (ya’ll following that?) live in Moorpark. We had dinner there, exchanged more presents, and I drank a lot of water. :-) Oh, on the way there, Ken drove so I could call my parents and my sisters.

After that we came home, collapsed in the hot tub, and crashed early…

<>-<>-<>

It was a musical sort of holiday this year. Ken gave me Annie Lennox’s Bare and the first Garbage CD, and my sister gave me The Essential Simon & Garfunkel and Ken the latest Queensrÿche, Take Cover (a covers album, including their versions of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar and a classical Italian piece. Awesome!). (Unfortunately, I’d also bought the latter for Ken, because my sister hadn’t reserved it on his wish list, so I didn’t know it was coming.) My other present for Ken—a book on the Italian Renaissance that he saw at Great Western War—takes 4 weeks to deliver, and his other present is still in progress. I felt kinda lame….

My parents gave me a pair of cat earrings and for both of us, our annual ornament (a butterfly this year) and three little houses from a series. We have some David Winter ones, but I think these are another series. One’s a log cabin, which made me a bit homesick, and the other are English cottages. We definitely need to build a shelf for this collection, as they’re taking over the mantle…

Ken’s mom gave us a shower head filter (Oxnard’s water is crappy and probably why my hair always feels so dry) and gave me an herb kit (one of those fabulous pots with all the openings on the sides for the herbs to grow out of). Ken’s brother and sister-and-law gave us tea, cookies, and Various Things That Smell Good. Ken’s dad and wife gave us both slippers (although they have to exchange mine because they mis-guessed the size of my big ol’ feet) and a calendar for Ken.

Christine and I gave each other the same present (see below)! I howled when I opened mine! My trainer gave me some face cream and massage oil (I didn’t expect a present from her—how sweet!). As previously mentioned, Teresa adopted a tiger in my name and Ken’s mom got us a subscription to Vegetarian Times. Hm. I hope I’m not forgetting anything!

We gave Ken’s brother et al a machine that makes slushies and snow cones as well as frozen margaritas and whatnot—fun for the whole family! We gave Ken’s mom a variety of little gifties, including a Frank Lloyd Wright bookmark and a little gift book on quilts. We’re giving his dad a digital picture frame (the one we bought kinda sucks, so we’re returning it and getting another one). I got many of my writerly friends the Writing Muse Fairy. We’ll take my parents out to dinner when we visit in the spring.

What did you all give and get?

---

Currently Reading: Season of the Witch, Natasha Mostert
Lately Listened To: Garbage, Queensrÿche
Recently Watched: Hex, various home and garden shows

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all, and to all...

In lieu of actual content, I'll leave you this day with my favorite verse of Christmas song, which I adored as a child. (This explains much about me.) I'd completely forgotten about it until we went carolling last night.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breaths a life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb...


Bwahaha!

Merry Christmas, all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hot stories for chilly nights

What is it about the holiday season that inspires romance? Bookstore shelves are always filled with Christmas-themed love stories. Maybe it’s because the holidays are a time for family and loved ones, a time to gather close against the darkness, to share food and gifts and laughter.

I was actually surprised to realize how many winter-themed stories I’ve written. Here are a few that are currently available, if you’re in the mood for something spicy with your eggnog:

“The Queen of Christmas” is the lead story in the new anthology Naughty or Nice. This one was a blast to write, with inspirations from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra house video, the TV show Home Improvement, Martha Stewart, and one of the holiday displays on Christmas Tree Lane (aka the local historic district, a block from our house).

The online magazine Fishnet published the Sophie Mouette story “Bringing Back the Light” last year, and it’s been reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Lesbian Erotica.

You can read “On the Twelfth Day” in He’s On Top.

“Mrs. Claus and the Naughty Elf” appeared in The MILF Anthology, which has a great cover and some fantastic stories!

One of my favorite all-time stories of mine, “Frozen,” is currently enjoying its second reprinting, this time in Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica. It first appeared in Dyke the Halls and was also reprinted in Best Lesbian Erotica 2005.

Teresa and I (as Sophie) also have the novella “Hidden Treasure” in a forthcoming anthology that we’re really excited about (we haven’t received the contract, so I can’t really say any more yet!).

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Welcome to the light

Happy Solstice! The days will start getting longer now; the dark will be pushed back. And not a moment too soon, I say.

I used to prefer night to day (and darkening autumn days to any other time of the year), and in many ways, I still do. But being unable to drive at night now makes me feel unsettled somehow. In the winter, I have to plan my days carefully so I’m not out and about when twilight descends. There are more hours, it seems, when I’m unable to leave the house unless I’m walking somewhere. (Yes, I could get up earlier, but where’s the fun in that?) It all adds to the sense of winter being a time of hibernation, but alas, in our modern world there isn’t time for that.

Speaking of time, it’s been racing by so fast that I can’t believe I haven’t posted any journal entries. Problem is, I write up bits of entries each day, but never seem to have the time to put them together into anything cohesive…and then days have gone by and attempts at cohesivity (hey, if it’s not a word, it should be) seem daunting. So, here are a bunch of random things from the past couple of weeks, roughly in order of when they happened.

<>-<>-<>

Another busy weekend. Saturday included errands and picture-hanging and lord knows what else. Yesterday we (Morgana, Thomasina, Ken, and I) went down to Orange County and met up with Ken’s mom. We browsed the antique shops, had tea at the Victorian Manor, drooled over many fabulous houses on the French Park Home Tour, got hugs from our friends who own one of the houses on the tour as well as all the docents in their house who were also friends of ours, and moaned in delight over Cuban food at Versailles on the way home.

In other news:

We are in possession of a new DVD player. The second-cheapest one at Circuit City, and it’s actually dual-region so we can watch both NTSC and PAL DVDs without even having to change the code. Hot damn!

My hair is again purple, a bit lighter this time.

We’ve pretty much finished the Great Sewing Room Purge and Organization Project. I need to do little things, like make labels for the bins, and put together the swatch notebook properly, and Ken needs to take the main sewing machine in for a cleaning and overhaul. Unfortunately, we had to move everything we were getting rid of (SCA-wise, that is; most the mundane stuff has gone off to the Salvation Army except for a few items to sell on eBay) back into the sewing room in order to clean out the living room and dining room for Yule decorating. Also unfortunately, I want to dive in to fifteen different projects simultaneously…

Aaaand, Ken got the hot tub working again! It may be temporary; the thing is old and was used when we bought it, but for now, it’s a blessing! I hope we can sit in it on Christmas Eve, because I remember when we did in Wales, the snow gently falling and eventually soaking our hair, before we ran back into the house and decided that because it was after midnight, it was officially Christmas, and so we opened all of our presents before going to bed…

A nice surprise package in the mail: A German edition of Sex on the Move (which makes it Liebesreisen, apparently). Oddly, two stories were deleted from this version, including my solo one, “On Tour.” Our Sophie story, “The Brinks Job” (“Der Brinks-Job”) remains, however. It’s always fun to see a translated version of my work!

Meanwhile, stories come in and stories go out. E-mail submissions are so wonderful and easy, but the rejections come back faster, too!

The library continues to be a maddeningly seductive place. I don’t know why I’m suddenly all about checking out books when I have over a hundred in my TBR bookcase, but there you have it. Maybe it’s just because I want to vary my reading more, so mysteries by favorite authors (Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton) have been extra-tempting.

So, remember when Ken had that infection in his knee? He needed bigger Band Aids, so I unearthed the ones we bought in Dresden, Germany, on our three-week Alps motorcycle trip. German Band Aids are one big square, and you cut the strips to the size you need (which was unhelpful given that we had no scissors with us at the time). We were amused to see they had an expiration date, because how can Band Aids expire? Ken soon found out: The sticky stuff adhered itself to his knee. I mean, to the point that he ripped out hair trying to remove the Band Aid. He ended up having to shave part of his knee to get that goo off!

That was the funny part. The unfunny part was that shortly thereafter, when the infection was cleared up, little infections dotted up around the original area. We went back to the doctor, and apparently he’d made some tiny nicks when he shaved, and the infection had trotted over into those little wounds and set up camp. So he’s on antibiotics again.

Since we sat at the doctor’s so long, we went out to lunch that day, and by dinner time, Ken realized he had food poisoning. Poor guy! But, by midnight that night he was ravenous and eating a frozen pizza, so he obviously suffered no lingering ill effects. While he was feeling awful, though, he didn’t want to watch anything new, so he requested the Buffy musical episode (because we listen to the soundtrack a lot) and then Love, Actually, which is my favorite holiday movie.

I’m a little grumpy where our holiday cards are concerned. They were fabulously easy to design in iPhoto and then order via Apple, and they arrived super-fast…but then I discovered almost half were missing (I’m guessing a second box never arrived). So I pinged customer service, and got a swift response back saying they were refunding the amount I didn’t receive, and if I wanted to reorder, to do so. I did, noting that I was reordering only the amount I didn’t receive, and they responded, saying no problem, plus I could keep the refund as a goodwill gesture on their part. Spiffy, thought I.

That was on the 14th. Still haven’t seen my new order, nor is it listed in my account. I’ve written again, but haven’t heard back yet… So, despite the fact that I was organized reasonably early, almost half the cards will be late. ::scowl:: (If you haven’t received a card yet, not being in the first wave means nothing. Labels were slapped on randomly.)

I didn’t mean to leave this on a down note. Um. ::thinks madly for something chipper to say::

Um, we finished watching season three of Veronica Mars, and I’m grumpy that it’s been cancelled because it was one of the better shows on TV, but now we’re going to start Alias, so that should be fun. Plus we’re still working our way through season two of Hex, which was a much better show when I was on drugs for my back. I mean, it’s still awesomely atmospheric and such a refreshing change from the bog-standard vampire shows, but sweet lord and lady, they must’ve overspent on the special effects and not been able to afford a continuity editor!

Congratulations if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this long and rambly post. I’ll do my best to keep up from now on!

---

Currently Reading: Sight Unseen, Samantha Graves
Lately Listened To: holiday playlist
Recently Watched: Hex, Doctor Who (we’re watching all the Captain Jack episodes because Ken hadn’t seen them, and I also made him watch “Blink” because it’s the Best. Episode. Ever. Scared me even more the second time around, too!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another present?

Did someone get me a subscription to Vegetarian Times? I got an issue today (my name's spelled wrong, though) and their website says someone bought me a gift subscription in November. Seeing as I'm neither vegetarian nor a cook, I'm baffled! Appreciative, absolutely, but also baffled!

Edited to add: It was my mother-in-law! She 'fessed up! She thought I'd like the recipes, and she's right--there's already a yummy penne pasta one I think I need to try...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What a fantastic present!

OoooOOOOOOooooh! Teresa adopted a tiger in my name! What an incredibly awesome Yule gift!

For info on adopting wild animals (which is on my wish list!), check out the World Wildlife Fund.

Teresa rocks!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Getting a move-on

FYI, I've been playing with Picasa Web and I quite like it, so I'm going to be moving my photos over there. (Slowly.) For now, hop on over and check out Christmas 2006 in the North Country!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Violet Blue's "Sex Books That Don't Suck"

Holy...!! Violet Blue just posted her 2007 list of "Sex Books That Don't Suck" (warning: siteis NSFW) and Cat Scratch Fever is one of only two novels listed!

I may pass out at any moment...

I went to look at the list because the inimitable Alison Tyler noted that several books she edited this year were on the list, and I wanted to see how many I'm in. Of the 10 anthologies listed, I have stories in 6, either solo or with Teresa, which is also blowing me away.

I...I...I guess I won't give up this writer gig after all and go be a plumber instead...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Join us for a cocktail!


How can it be Monday already? But to make your week go a little smoother, over at Lust Bites, we're having a cocktail party! Please come and join us! We're tippling and, as the alcohol continues to flow, sharing our darkest secrets. Pour yourself a virtual drink of your choice (and share the recipe with us) and please don't stand in the corner and be shy!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday 13: Thirteen Favorite Holiday Songs

1. All I Want, Styx

2. All I Want For Christmas, uh, the kid from Love Actually (I really need that soundtrack!)

3. The Chipmunks Christmas Song, The Chipmunks (stuck in your head yet? hate me yet?)

4. December Will Be Magic Again, Kate Bush

5. Dickens’ Dublin, Loreena McKennitt

6. Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Band Aid

7. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Loreena McKennitt

8. I Believe in Father Christmas, Greg Lake

9. Mid Winter’s Night, Blackmore’s Night

10. Ring Out, Solstice Bells, Jethro Tull

11. Ring the Bells, Styx

12. The Twelve Days of Christmas, Bob & Doug McKenzie (and a beer…in a tree!)

13. Wizards in Winter, Trans-Siberian Orchestra (it inspired my story “The Queen of Christmas” in Naughty or Nice!)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This is what it looks like

In lieu of actual content…my projects.


Three of the four encampment walls, detail painting drying. They need grommets and ironing (to set the paint), and will be turned in at the Shire meeting tomorrow night. The humongous pile of stuff on the dining room table? All purged from the sewing room and waiting to be sorted: Salvation Army, SCA garage sale, eBay, and stuff for raffles/gifts/etc.




Bins of fabric being organized in the sewing room.


And my novel, patiently waiting for me to stop phaffing about with crafty bits and organizational frenzy and get back to it. Which I shall do now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Busy couple of days there. Not that I remember much of Monday already, other than a chiropractic appointment and a walk to the post office with Ken to mail all our overseas Yule presents. (Yes, you may resent me now, if you must.)

Today we threw ingredients for coq au vin into the crockpot, and then I toddled off to the gym for the first of 12 sessions with my trainer. She kicked my butt, and it felt great. I really want to end the year feeling like I’ve made serious progress where my health is concerned. Anyway, came home, showered, and Ken and I went through aaaaaalllll our posters and unframed artwork (the stuff that we’re keeping, anyway. We purged a lot of it on Sunday, and a few more things today.) and measured it, so as we find cool frames and whatnot we’ll be set to go. Morgana has a mat cutter, so we’ll be able to do a lot of the framing ourselves. We also did a quick grocery shopping to replenish some staples we’d run out of. (At one point in the store, Ken asked what was left on the list and I said “Pickles, pastrami, and fish. Sounds like I’m pregnant!” Hee. I ended the day (up ‘til now) with a great massage (she also beat me up, and it hurt so good), and dinner and Heroes with my beloved.

Tomorrow there will be the chiropractor and a trip to the shelter to check if a friend’s cat is there, and then much more sewing room organization—measuring each piece of fabric we’re keeping, stapling a swatch into a notebook with a description of it, and sorting it into bins.

<>-<>-<>


I brainstormed my next two short stories today, for Paper Blossoms, Sharpened Steel and Kama Sutra, the latter with able assistance from Teresa, because it’s sort of backstory to the novel we’re writing next (the short story will be about the heroine’s mother, the goddess Budhi Pallien, and our heroine’s conception, so I wanted to make sure Teresa was cool with the concept so I didn’t mess up something in the novel-to-come).

But I also have to get back into High Spirits and really crank on it. I want my trophy, dammit! To that end, I’ve stepped back and looked at my career goals and made some revisions. I did this two years ago, and it was time to do it again.

Basically, it’s like this: I’d been fighting and fighting with an anthology story, and finally I stepped back and realized that even if I finished it (that would be finishing the third attempt at a beginning), what I’d make for my time was pitiful. My hourly rate would be something like a buck fifty. And that just makes no sense. A couple of years ago I said “No more submitting to places that pay less than $X,” and now I’m again saying that, but I’m raising $X. I may occasionally submit if I know/like the editor—it’s not a rule set in stone—but the bottom line is, novels are my bread and butter. Stories sales are little gifts, as well as major warm fuzzies, but they can’t keep taking away from the novels.

So, the stories I brainstormed today fall into the new pay category. There are two more on the list that don’t fall into the category, but I like the editor, so I may try for them if I feel like I have the time. If not, no problem.

<>-<>-<>


So our DVD player, which we bought for like £100 in Tesco’s (UK supermarket) with the idea that we’d use it for a year in Wales and then buy a better one when we moved back here, and has mostly worked since? Died. Taking a Hex disk with it (although I suspect we can rip it open to retrieve the disk.) It would die during the WGA strike… We’re currently debating whether to buy another cheap one to get us through, or to step up the research on multiregion DVD recorders and buy ourselves a joint Yule present. I’m currently voting for the former, as it will be much faster and the Netflix DVDs on the coffee table won’t look so forlorn…

---

Currently Reading: Melancholy Baby, Robert B. Parker—I finished it in less than a day, whoosh! I’ll probably read another Jenny Crusie next.
Lately Listened To: RWA session while working out
Recently Watched: Heroes

They say it's our birthday


Over at Lust Bites, we're having a Scavenger Hunt to celebrate our first birthday! Each Lustie has offered up scrumptious prizes--what better way to kick off your holiday season than with gifts?!

Come on over and help us blow...out our candles!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

TGSRP&OP

Ken was been under the weather for most of this week—an infection in his knee, nothing serious, but it seems to have wiped him out. The problem with being madly in love is you want to spend gobs of time with the person with whom your mad love resides, so we have been lounging on the sofa watching hideous amounts of TV. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that when we got the first DVD of season 3 of Veronica Mars from Netflix, we watched all four episodes in one night.

Of course, our normal TV schedule is slowing down because of the strike (and may I note here that I keep wondering if I should get my ass down to Hollywood and march to show my support), so we’re mostly caught up on the stuff on the DVR. Which makes Netflix, and our DVD collection, A Very Good Thing indeed.

Except I’ve been cuddling with my wibbly honey instead of, oh, working, so I’ve gotten a bit behind. Not horribly, but a bit. His knee is now much better, and we’re back to our more productive routines.

<>-<>-<>


I’m liking my new writing keyboard very much, thank you. Once we sell some of our old Apple/Mac stuff (including the last incarnation of Alfalwen, which is just like this iBook G4 except it doesn’t have Bluetooth built in), I’m getting the same keyboard for upstairs. It’s so responsive. I like that in a ma—er, a keyboard!

<>-<>-<>


Damn LibraryThing! Now that I have a full number keypad again, I figured I should add in my writing books and reference books. Granted, in the process I did cull some books I don’t use anymore, but still. I used to have a life. (No, really, I did, I swear!)

<>-<>-<>


I’m back at the gym (three times this week), and feeling good about that. I’ve signed up for another six weeks of training, to get back in the game. With the recent traveling, I slacked off, not to mention that I ate like a horse…

<>-<>-<>


Rejections from Tales of Moreauvia for “Queen of Hearts, Hand of Fate” (their gls say they take time travel, but apparently they want far-past time travel) and from Clockwork Phoenix for “The Rising.” The latter will be off to Weird Tales shortly; the former, I need to figure out where to send next. It’s been to a fair number of markets already…

<>-<>-<>


We’ve had a very productive and satisfying weekend. Saturday a few folks came over and we painted canvas walls for the Kingdom. Each local group has been asked to do two walls with Caidan crescents and two walls of the local group’s heraldic device. Wilhelm, Ken, Brian, Morgana, and I all painted, and the walls are done except for a few touch-up spots. Go us! Then I made a vat of chili along with salad and corn flat (I didn’t have an 8x8 pan, so I used a 9x9 pan which created a flat sheet of cornbread), and Sean and Elyramere and Janet and Sean’s mom came over to join us, and a fabulous time was had by all. Dessert was about 15 different kinds of chocolate bars….

Today we started The Great Sewing Room Purge and Organization Project. See, when we moved here, we threw all the sewing room stuff into bins, and threw the bins into the sewing room along with everything else that didn’t have a place in the house. We’d mostly removed the non-sewing stuff, and I’d opened most of the boxes and sorted them, but the bins of fabric were disorganized and too heavy for me to move. Plus, we had a lot of fabric we knew we’d never use: stuff we bought before we knew better, projects we’d abandoned, items folks had given us, stuff that was good for newcomers when we hosted sewing nights but we were unlikely to use ourselves.

In other words, a big ol’ mess.

So today’s goal was to go through all the fabric and purge anything unusable (by us), including nice stuff that we wouldn’t ever honestly use (colors that didn’t suit us, etc.). We emptied five plastic tubs! Phew! We also pared down posters (for some reason, they were in a box of sewing stuff) and a few other things. Some will go to a big local SCA “take what you want and donate what you think it’s worth” party, some we’ll sell on eBay, some we’ll drop off at the Salvation Army. The dining room table is covered with all that.

Wednesday we’ll do the second pass, purging anything we’re still iffy about, organizing everything into bins by type of fabric, and cutting swatches and putting them in a book along with description and size/length of the fabric. I should probably tackle the art stuff in there somewhere, and we should do another pass through trim and buttons. Then we’ll be able to set up the sewing machines and actually start working again! I have gorgeous fabric for curtains for the living room and dining room…

Meanwhile, Ken has started upgrading all the computers to Leopard. He’s backing everything up and completely wiping each computer, then installing everything from disk. His laptop is done; the main computer is in progress (which means there’s part of a journal entry stuck on it for now) and Afalwen will be last.

---

Currently Reading: High Noon, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: holiday playlist!
Recently Watched: Hex, Torchwood

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday 13: Thirteen TV Shows I Watch

1. Battlestar Galactica

2. Blood Ties

3. Bones

4. CSI

5. Doctor Who

6. Ghost Hunters

7. Graham Norton

8. Heroes

9. Lost

10. Medium

11. Supernatural

12. Torchwood

13. Without a Trace


Your basic weird mix of SF/urban fantasy and mystery/crime.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Regarding...

I fixed the Palm keyboard! It needed an updated driver installed! I am da woman!

<>-<>-<>


Rejection from Aberrant Dreams for “What Price Beauty?”, in which they addressed me as “Mr. Dayle.” Sigh. The story’s off to the Terrible Beauty anthology, which means I’ve covered six of the 11 anthologies I want to hit by the end of the year. Five stories to go, one of which is already in progress.

Also a rejection from Abyss & Apex for “Testing the Waters” along with a note finally revealing that they have no record of my 11/06 submission of “A Father’s Blessing” (after 3 follow-up notes).

<>-<>-<>


I finally picked up more manuscript boxes and boxes up the various novel manuscripts and related items (rejection letters, proof pages, whatnot) that have been floating around my office. I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of boxes—after all, I wrote the damn novels—but somehow I am. (Okay, two have been trunked, two aren’t complete, and one needs a heavy rewrite, but still!)

Then I geeked out and bought a new keyboard for my laptop (writing computer) setup. Apple’s previous wireless keyboard just never felt right to me—the keys felt mushy, and I like my keys to make an obvious click when I hit them—so awhile ago I stopped using it and the iCurve. But that meant I tended to hunch forward to read the screen better, which was bugging my neck. The new wireless Apple keyboard doesn’t have the number pad on the right, and I use that a fair amount, so I got the plug-in one. We’ll see if the extra cord on my small writing desk bothers me or not. If it does, I’ll use that keyboard upstairs and get rid of the old one there. If it doesn’t bother me, I’m still probably going to get another Apple keyboard for upstairs. (WRT that keyboard, the company hasn’t updated the drivers for it in 5 years, so some of the extra keys don’t work, which makes me grumpy.)

That was a very geeky paragraph.

---

Currently Reading: The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman; No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty
Lately Listened To: nothing much
Recently Watched: Heroes, Bones

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tattoo you


Silly me! In the rush of getting home and Thanksgiving and whatnot, I completely forgot to mention that I have a post up at Lust Bites! It's all about tattoos and why they're sexy, with bonus! excerpts from some of my work.

Check it out, and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Naughty gobbles

We arrived home Wednesday night after a pleasant but uneventful trip (listened to the entirety of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys on CD, ate dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's, stopped on a deserted overlook to look at the stars). Yesterday morning consisted of unpacking and organizing and grocery shopping, and then in the afternoon we toddled over to Morgana and Brian’s for Thanksgiving dinner (12 of us altogether). Quite lovely. In deference to everyone’d food preferences, there were two kinds of mashed potatoes (including cheesy ones!), three kinds of stuffing and gravy, and the green bean casserole did not contain even a whiff of mushrooms (thanks!). Oh, and two pies and a cake and cookies. Sometime much later we waddled back and lazed in front of the TV…

Today has been all about work work work: four loads of laundry, a gazillion e-mails answered, mail opened, files filed, bills paid, one contract signed (for Yes, Ma’am), two stories submitted…you get the idea. But it feels good, you know? Productive. Satisfying.

<>-<>-<>


I was delighted to find comp copies of and payment for Naughty or Nice in the mail—mine is the lead story! Squee bouncity! And it’s chock-full of stories by other fabulous writers and friends, like Teresa and Shanna and Alison and Rachel. And it’s listed in the Playboy Gift Guide! How could you not put this on your holiday wish list? Or better yet, snap up a copy now to get you in the holiday spirit! (It’s working for me!)

---

Currently Reading: The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman; No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty
Lately Listened To: hm. The printer?
Recently Watched: CSI; Graham Norton

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday 13: Thirteen Things in my Purse

(beyond the obvious “wallet, tissues, etc.”)

1. one Tazo “Awake” teabag (because most restaurants have crappy tea, and I’m a tea snob)

2. a measuring tape (because I never know when I’m going to suddenly need to buy fabric)

3. one of my two flash drives, backed up regularly (in case the house is burgled or burned down in my absence)

4. Palm and keyboard (because I never know when I’ll want to work; also has a tip calculator and my Books to Buy lists. Yes, plural lists…)

5. notebook and pen (for quick notes)

6. lace-edged sticky notes in a faux-leather holder

7. a Lara bar for low blood sugar emergencies

8. extra pens (of course!)

9. one of my kumihimo disks, in case I get bored

10. small plastic envelope for paper lists, coupons, notes, etc.

11. business cards in green leather holder embossed with a Celtic tree

12. tin of Altoids

13. camera (because the world is an amazing place and I often want to capture a brief snippet)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cranial perversities

Rejection from Clockwork Phoenix for “Soulsearching.” Shot the story out to the “Traps” anthology. It’s a matter of interpretation whether it can be called dark fantasy—it’s fantasy, and it’s rather dark, but it isn’t horror. I think it fits the theme, though, so I’ll leave it to the editor to decide.

Still slogging away at the novel. My brain is perverse. I got back to the apartment after we had dinner with Lev & Gayle last night (a delightful evening, made so in part because we didn’t think we’d be able to organize it with Ken working nights, but we did, hurrah!) and my brain would just not settle down to work. When did it do so, causing me to type furiously to keep up? Approximately five minutes before he walked in the door. I continued while he got ready for bed, and then we started reading, and I had to get up once to add a pithy sentence I knew I’d forget if I left it ‘til morning. Yeargh.

But I also left myself notes on little things that are happening in this scene, so picking it back up is easier.

<>-<>-<>


We’ve stayed a couple extra days here because another unfinished work project of Ken’s finally burped through (i.e., the other guy working on the project, who has a full-time job and busy family life, suddenly had some free time). The good news is, they pretty much solved the problem! so we’ll be heading for home sometime today. Ken has to go in to work this morning, though, and he hasn’t actually started packing up his room yet, so it remains to be seen what time we’ll actually get on the road. Then again, it looks like he’ll have to come up for a few days in December, so we can always bring the car again and get last-minute stuff.

The “vacation” has been nice, but it’ll be good to get back home. We’ve got Thanksgiving plans with Morgana and Brian and I’m guessing Morgana’s mom and grandma and I believe Brian’s dad, and that should be fun and nummy (other than the fact we’re going to have to buy our contributions for dinner that morning). I don’t know if we’ll hook up with any of Ken’s family over the weekend. Other than that’ll, there will be the sorting of mail and the paying of bills and the catching up of TV shows and the scritching of kitties delighted that we’ve reappeared, and food shopping and good lord and lady do I need to get back to the gym.

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving? What are you foodie traditions for the big meal?

---

Currently Reading: The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman; No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty
Lately Listened To: Influence, Shaw Blades
Recently Watched: nothing recently!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Gods of Mizithra

Wait, it was just Friday, and now it’s…Sunday? How did that happen? The days are really blurring here, with Ken working extra hours now. We’re going to stay a couple more days because another project he’s been working on for at least a year now has sort of burped through, and hopefully he can finish it and get paid and then he’s all done. (He’s working with another contractor who has another fulltime job, hence the delays and need to work in the evenings.)

So yesterday we went to Powells, where they took fewer than half our books on credit but gave us more credit than I expected, so I was quite pleased. I bought mostly urban fantasy and paranormal romance this time around, as well as No Plot? No Problem!, a writing book by the guy who started NaNoWriMo. Even though I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo, I do try to write pretty fast, so I thought it would be useful.

Then we went to dinner with Ken’s roommate Thom and Thom’s fiancée, Dorothy, at The Old Spaghetti Factory. Oh my gods, they sell containers of mizithra cheese to take home! I was so brave. We need one of these in Ventura County. That, and a Hooters.

Today we attempted to tour The Pittock Mansion, but they neglected to say on their website that they’d be closed all this weekend so they could decorate for Christmas. WTF? Closing for weekend? Since it was raining rather heavily, we couldn’t go to the zoo or The Grotto, so we found a funky little place to have lunch and then came back to the apartment and toiled away at our respective computers until Ken had to go in to work. So I’m on my own tonight (well, Thom and the kitties are here), and expect to get lots of work done.

<>-<>-<>


Squee! Preliminary sale (awaiting publisher approval) of a fantasy story I wrote recently! I haven’t sold one of them in a while, so this is particularly sweet. I’ll announce full details when it’s all finalized. It was a fun story to write, and I could see future stories with the main character (she runs a ghost hunting business called Paranormal Manifestation Services. PMS, get it?).

---

Currently Reading: Touch the Dark, Karen Chance; No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty
Lately Listened To: Lullagoodbye, Taylor Mills
Recently Watched: Corpse Bride, Torchwood

Friday, November 16, 2007

Killing me softly with kind rejection

Bleargh. The last few days were crappy writing days. I did make a bunch of notes for my next Lust Bites article, and get caught up (mostly) on e-mail, so that’s something. After I went to bed Tuesday night, the characters and setting and background of another upcoming antho story unfolded before my eyes, so I thought I’d just dive into that one Wednesday.

Then, curses! Thwarted! I opened some antho guidelines to check wordcount requirements, and discovered the story I started really won’t fit the tone of the antho.

I stomped around a bit, then remembered a scene from an unfinished novel that might fit really, really well. Then I just had to figure out how to frame it.

Unfortunately, the first story doesn’t fit any of the calls for submissions I’m currently shooting for. I may just write it anyway, because it’s all right there in my head and I’d hate to waste it…

I’ve been reading a bunch, which is nice. Tuesday night we met Lev and Gayle for dinner and stuffed ourselves silly with sushi, and came back to their place and hot tubbed until we were all mellow. Wednesday night we went to a different McMenamin’s and had, amongst other things, marionberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream, and then we waddled back to the apartment and watched TV in a stupor.

Last night we met the not-shy-even-though-she-thinks-she-is Shanna Germain at the Swagat in Beaverton (less driving for her, and I think their shrimp biryani is better than the Hillsboro Swagath version), and we talked and laughed and ate for hours. It’s so much fun to hang out with other writers, especially funny, intelligent, gorgeous ones.

<>-<>-<>


I’ve added a post for Monday, 29 October, that somehow failed to get uploaded earlier. Enjoy!

<>-<>-<>


So Tuesday or Wednesday I got an e-mail that begins with “This is one of the moments in which I do not enjoy being an editor. After much consideration, [magazine] will not be using [story]…” And I thought, Holy crap, did they think it was that bad?!

But the e-mail went on to say they had no helpful comments, because it was “thoughtful” and “well-written” and “fantastic” and one of the characters was “tremendously well done,” among other things, and that it was only a matter of space, and they’d love to see something else from me in the future. One of the nicest rejections I’ve ever had.

This particular story either gets no comment, or positive comments, upon rejection. Its biggest detraction is that it’s 10,000 words long. And dammit, I’m running out of markets for it!

Also got a rejection yesterday from Clockwork Phoenix for “Queen of Hearts, Hand of Fate.” Shot it back out to Fantasy Magazine. Oddly enough, Clockwork Phoenix is where I’d just sent the aforementioned story after its lovely rejection….

<>-<>-<>


A word to the wise: If you’re going to see Beowulf on opening night (or even on opening weekend, I suspect), especially if you’re going to see it in IMAX 3D, get there early. Getting there last-minute will require you to sit in the fourth row, and that’s just too close. I’m still a little queasy (and not from the gore, which was pretty gooey).

Although Angelina Jolie… raowr!

---

Currently Reading: Anyone But You, Jennifer Crusie; Shrink Rap, Robert B. Parker (finished both of those yesterday); Touch the Dark, Karen Chance
Lately Listened To: Banba, Clannad
Recently Watched: Beowulf

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday 13: Thirteen Publications I’ve Had This Year

1. A Little Night Music, an erotic romance novel written as Sarah Dale (with Sarah Husch), to be published by Cheek Books (Virgin Books UK), June 2007 (my second novel.)

2. “Proof of Devotion,” Fabulous Whitby anthology, Shrew Press (UK) (the editors swear it’ll be out by the end of December!)

3. “The Queen of Xmas,” Naughty or Nice anthology (ISBN 978-1573442947), Cleis Press, October 28, 2007

4. “In Flight,” Best Lesbian Love Stories: Summer Flings anthology (ISBN 978-1593500351), Alyson Press, October 2007

5. “Undoing the Laces,” Hide and Seek anthology, (ISBN: 978-1573442916), Cleis Press, September 2007

6. “I Need a Man,” Crossdressing: Erotic Stories anthology (ISBN 978-1573442886), Cleis Press, August 28, 2007

7. “Just Be,” Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica anthology (ISBN 978-1593500047), Alyson Publications, June 2007

8. “When the Rancher Needs a Loan,” Cowboy Lover: Erotic Stories of the Wild West anthology (ISBN 978-1568583303), Thunder's Mouth Press, May 2007

9. “From Bitter to Sweet,” Got a Minute? Sixty Second Erotica anthology (ISBN1573442712), Cleis Press, March 2007

10. “College Reunion,” C is for Co-Eds anthology (ISBN 1573442658), Cleis Press, February 2007

11. “Working Late,” She's On Top anthology (ISBN 1573442690), Cleis Press, February 2007

12. “On the Twelfth Day,” He's On Top anthology (ISBN 1573442704), Cleis Press, February 2007

13. “Finding Perspective,” Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2007 anthology (ISBN 1555839703), Alyson Press, January 2007

Except for the first two, all are written as Andrea Dale. A Little Night Music is by Sophie Mouette and “Proof of Devotion” is by Dayle A. Dermatis.

This list doesn’t even inclue all the Sophie Mouette sales! You can find a complete list of my publications at my website.

Buy now!

Just a quick note to point out that Blowfish is having a 20% off all books sale. They sell a number of anthologies containing Andrea Dale or Sophie Mouette stories, including Alison Tyler's alphabet series, various Best...Erotica series (American, Lesbian, etc.), Caught Looking, Got a Minute... The list goes on. I've been a busy girl, as you can tell from my bibliography!

Already have the books? Remember, the holidays are coming, and books always make great stocking stuffers!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back with a vengeance

After a lovely couple of days, it’s time to get back to work—with a vengeance, since I’m currently behind. I thought I could hit at least my minimum word count while traveling, but there were a couple nights where I was too frakking exhausted to crack open the computer, even for 100 words.

My goals for this week, while I’m up in Oregon, are a minimum of 10K on High Spirits, two short stories, and one Lust Bites essay.

<>-<>-<>


My oldest friend—we met when we were in first grade—just became a grandmother.

Somebody pass me the smelling salts…

<>-<>-<>


Gah! Just had a minor meltdown when my Palm keyboard refused to work, but I think now the batteries are dead. Given that it’s been so long since I put the batteries in that I managed to forget that there were batteries, much less where the battery compartment was, I’d say it’s a strong likelihood.

<>-<>-<>


Blech. It’s taking me forever to get motivated today. Then I’ll write a little bit, and get distracted, and have to start all over again with the motivation. Phooey. Part of the problem is that I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen next, so I’m sort of dragging out the current scene. Which I suspect means I should type “and then they went out for pizza and came home and she went to bed,” and just pick the next scene and start writing it.

That sounds weird, doesn’t it? I feel like I’ve got all these little threads, so every so often I’ll brainstorm a bunch of scenes, but I don’t know where they go, because they don’t all lead directly from the main action. When I’m stuck, I just pick one and go for it, because if it doesn’t fit there, it’ll fit somewhere else. Or, in the end, there’s always the chance it doesn’t fit anywhere at all, but at least I’ll have been writing and it’ll spark more ideas.

<>-<>-<>


Oh, you know how much of a geek I am? I brought three big bags of books up here to trade it at Powells, that’s how much There are no good used bookstores in Ventura County (for mainstream fiction, anyway. Bart’s is fabulous beyond belief for rare and funky books, but not for paperback fiction.) and I figured the car would be mostly empty on the way up and maybe this way I can pick up a few more books because I’ll have a little credit.

<>-<>-<>


Eargh! New batteries didn’t fix the Palm keyboard! Wail!

<>-<>-<>


We went out to McMenamin’s for Ruby Ale, and shared a salad and chicken/pesto/garlic calzone, then swung by the funky local market and got, among other things, Green & Black’s ice cream, and that means pretty much all is right with the world.

---

Currently Reading: Welcome to Temptation, Jennifer Crusie
Lately Listened To: tappity tappity tappity
Recently Watched: How I Met Your Mother

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Not a fashion plate

Guess who go to go up on stage and sing backup for Shaw Blades again?

Guess who was wearing the exact same goddamn shirt as the last time this happened?

Go on. Guess.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things I’m Looking Forward to On My Upcoming Trip

1. Spending lots of time with Ken.

2. Shaw Blades, three shows!

3. Seeing all my Styxfan friends at the Shaw Blades shows.

4. Seeing the always-wonderful Lev & Gayle.

5. Seeing the effervescent Shanna Germaine.

6. The Pittock Mansion.

7. The Oregon Zoo.

8. The Cascade Raptor Center.

9. Getting lots of writing done while Ken’s at work.

10. Getting lots of reading done in between lots of writing.

11. The Grotto Sanctuary.

12. Powells! I suppose I should start making a triage list and budget…

13. Stuffing myself with gorgeous Indian food at Swagat.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Spooky love

The latest Black Lace Wicked Words collection, Love on the Dark Side, is now out in the US! This one contains one of Teresa's and my favorite stories, "Stranger to my Shores," which was one of the first ones we wrote together. The book is chock-full of other fabulous paranormal romance/erotic stories.

There's a review here at the Erotica Readers Association. Of "Stranger," the reviewer says,

"Marine biologist Maris' head is swimming when she gets just what she desires when a life-changing meeting with a sick merman requires her expertise, and love finds a way to survive, no matter what the penalty. 'Stranger to my Shores' by Sophie Mouette makes a splash with this sweet and tender romance where two very different people yearn to be together, against all odds."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Awarded!

OooOOOooh! My friend Angell has bestowed up on me the Wonder Woman Blogger award!

She says, "So, I'm awarding this Wonder Woman Blogger award to the following women who amaze me all the time: Dayle over at Enchantments, because she IS a wonder, she IS a woman, and when I grow up, I wanna be just like her."

I'm humbled and pleased and blushing furiously. Thank you, Angell!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Favorite Bands/Artists

1. Styx

2. Gowan (he counts, because I was a fan of him as a solo artist more than a decade before he joined Styx!)

3. The rest of the Styx-Related Products

4. Evanescence

5. Loreena McKennitt

6. Blackmore’s Night

7. Queensrÿche

8. Kate Bush

9. Annie Lennox

10. Marillion (both incarnations)/Fish

11. Led Zeppelin

12. Wagner

13. Runrig

(After the first three, the rest are in no specific order except the order in which I thought of them.)

My eyes just rolled into the back of my head

(which makes it unsurprisingly hard to type)

Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku, back on TV, together.

Articles here and here.

I weep with joy.

However, they cancelled all the Buffy Musical Singalongs, so I am also shattered. Info and link to a petition to reinstate them here.

This is too much emotional upheaval for one afternoon. I think I have to go lie down now.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Biscuits or death

Goals for This Week:

  • High Spirits: 1K/day minimum for the first few days, ramping up to 1.5K/day thereafter.
  • 1.5 to 2 short stories. I’ve barely started the first one, but I like where it’s going. Ideally I want to finish five new stories by the end of November, leaving four for December.
  • Tweak two stories that are currently out being critted and get them mailed off.

This week, shouldn’t be a problem. Next week…yeesh. Three Shaw/Blades shows, which will take us away for one night and involve a couple of very full days, culminating in jetting up to Oregon from the third show. So I’m really going to have to focus my time and energies, and stay organized.

Once we’re in OR, it’ll be a little easier because Ken will be working 9-5. Being away from home means I have fewer distractions, so maybe I can up my wordcount on those days to make up for the days that will no doubt see slippage.

<>-<>-<>


Morgana and I did some shopping today. First we went to Zoey’s Café, where we had incredible cheddar-broccoli soup, and I had a half toasted Brie sandwich and Caesar salad and she had a half grilled cheese sandwich and a Caesar salad. What was funny was when we were first perusing the menu, and I said, “I know what I’m having,” and she said, “the Brie sandwich?” Because I’m so predictable. What was also funny is that when the food was actually in front of us, we barely spoke. We just made happy eating noises. She did ask me how my sandwich was, and I growled “Numnumnum” and she giggled.

Then we went to the British shop so I could get more PG Tipps, because I was out and reduced to drinking Tazo “Awake” tea. A small packet of chocolate digestive biscuits leapt into my hand and insisted on coming home with me, too.

We pottered about in a used bookstore (not great) and whatnot, and then drove to the mall to see what Hot Topic had in the way of Halloween goodies. I tried on a Scottish schoolgirl skirt (okay, but not Must Have) and a potential concert top that didn’t fit at all. After a swing through Torrid (where I tried on two potential concert tops that didn’t bare nearly enough cleavage) we went to Victoria’s Secret because she needed a bra. To my delight, they have pushup bras in my size. Well, mostly my size. In the size of half of my chest. They didn’t quite fit, but soon.

After that, we were completely knackered, so we came home and had tea and digestive biscuits. Neither of us actually enjoy clothes shopping, although we enjoy finding ‘80s things and squealing with delight.

I then had about an hour to poke at various projects until Melanie showed up for my massage, and then I ate dinner (having failed to convince Melanie that we needed to go out to dinner) and talked to Ken and wrote and watched a bit of TV.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

All our yesterdays

Yesterday was like this:

Received comp copies of Hide and Seek. Shiny!

Realized, out of the blue, that after carefully designing, printing, folding, labeling, stamping, and mailing Samhain cards, that I forgot to sign the damn things.

Rain! It’s raining! Not a lot, though. Wish it would rain buckets and put out the fires.

Decided at 4:30 p.m. that I was depressed and didn’t want to go to the party without Ken, dammit, pout. Got over it.

Helped with party prep, enjoyed party immensely. All the pictures of me are on Morgana and Brian’s camera, though.

Today is like this:

Woke up at 7 a.m. with, well, the heaviest period (by far) I’ve had in 15 years. Me, amazed, “It’s like Carrie! Happy Halloween!” Decided to stay in bed, skip today’s party (which means I get to munch on a veggie platter for a week), and cocoon.

Dammit, why is it sunny? It should be overcast or, even better, raining.

Oooh. Bath. Mmm.

Cannot function. Attempt napping. I am the world’s worst napper. Before and after attempted nap (some sleep did, astonishingly, occur), read The House With the Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, which terrified me as a child. Not so terrifying now, but quite a wonderful book. Bonus: It’s illustrated by Edward Gorey. Must now acquire all John Bellairs’ books.

Mindless TV = good.

Work on RWA proposal. Start new anthology story. Answer e-mail. Not an entirely unproductive day.

Sleep now. Imperative.

---

Currently Reading: Blood Trail, Tanya Huff
Lately Listened To: zzzzz
Recently Watched: Ghost Hunters

Friday, October 26, 2007

Typety typety

Things are going well. For one thing, I have purple hair! Hee!

I’ve finished one story and sent it off for a crit. I’ve also hammered out a rough draft of the RWA proposal (they want an outline, a bio, and the handout, plus we’ve brainstormed an extensive outline of pretty much everything we need to cover). That’s off to Teresa for a review. Both of those are due at the end of the month.

Today I have these goals:
  • finish the story from hell and get it out for a crit (DONE!)
  • get back to work on High Spirits (er. crap.)
  • do a wee bit of research for a future story (DONE!)
  • brainstorm the next anthology story (DONE!)
  • finish the critique of Christine’s novel (done reading, need to write up comments)
  • write up some questions to ask about a project I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, because it’s still in the “that’s an interesting idea” stage (DONE!)
I’m guessing Sarah and I are going to table DFL for a while, so my goals for the rest of the year have changed slightly:
  • finish High Spirits by the end of November.
  • edit An Ever-Turning Wheel by the end of December.
  • write 11 anthology stories (subject to minor change—I may choose not to hit one or two of the anthos; I also wouldn’t be surprised if more cropped up).
In other writing-related news, rejection from Orson Scott Card’s Medicine Show for “Soulsearching.” [pout] It’s already back out to Clockwork Phoenix, so there.

<>-<>-<>

I went to the gym on Wednesday and worked upper body and back and some abs, and did 30 min on the elliptical. Go me! Yesterday I would’ve gone to the gym except I sat around waiting for four hours for the tree guy to come and look at the three eucalyptus trees that are growing back despite the fact that we paid them to grind the stumps. He didn’t appear, or call, and lo, I am grumpy.

Today I didn’t go to the gym because the cleaning lady was here for most of the day (she generally arrives before I leave for my chiro appt) and then I had a massage. A gooood and most painful massage. I did make some phone calls, but left messages, and paid bills, and ran a few quick errands. (The milk had gone bad. I couldn’t have my morning tea. I was devastated.)

Tomorrow I’d like to make it to the gym, but it seems unlikely unless I wake up really early. I have to go to Costco (ugh, on a Saturday—but Morgana requested a tub of mozzarella balls for the party), and I have writing to do, and I’m going to help Morgana with more party prep. I really hope I don’t need a new black thong for my outfit, because I seriously doubt I’ll have time to get one. Oh, crap, I think I need decorating wire, too. Nerts. Anyway, and then there will be party!

<>-<>-<>

So I’m sitting here working on the story from hell, and I realized I needed music. iTunes was already open, and when I clicked on it, I discovered the soundtrack for Chess was highlighted. The story from hell is also set in Eastern Europe. How weirdly appropriate!

Of course, this now means that I keep stopping to sing along at the top of my lungs and spin around in my chair. Not conducive to massive amounts of writing, I fear.

---

Currently Reading: Night Rising, Chris Marie Green
Lately Listened To: Chess soundtrack
Recently Watched: Without a Trace

The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs

...can be found here.

I laughed so hard, I almost snorted sushi up my nose.

Damn, I miss the 80s!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I Love About Halloween:


1. Rereading scary books, like The House With the Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, which terrified me as a kid.

2. Costumes! More excuses to dress up (and not have people look at you funny)!

3. The photography of Simon Marsden.

4. Decorating! Even though I’m not really doing any this year, I had a blast helping Morgana. A corollary to this is shopping for more decorations!

5. My Goth stuff doesn’t look out of place.

6. I’m not a big candy person, but I’m happy it’s an excuse for everyone who is, to pig out. And I have in fact been known to get absolutely bizarre under the influence of candy corn.

7. It’s a time to honor and remember those who have gone on before us. I often think of my grandparents, aunt and uncle, etc., but this is a chance to sit and reflect on what they’ve passed on to me.

8. As much as I get grumpy about the older kids who don’t bother with a real costume and just expect candy, I just adore seeing the little kids all dressed up and nearly speechless with excitement.

9. I get to tell the story of my worst Halloween ever, when my sister dressed me as a dice and I spent the entire night in fear of being dropped on my head. (Apologies to my mother, whom I blamed the costume on for years.)

10. I get to tell the story about how every year, I’d bite the white part off the top of a candy corn, hold it out in my palm, and say “Mom, I broke a tooth!”—and every single year she would believe me.

11. An excuse to watch Practical Magic, one of my favorite movies!

12. Releasing my inner purple:


13. It’s a time for analyzing the past year, looking ahead to the next, and celebrating the Turning of the Wheel. Happy New Year, everyone!

Press Release: Hide and Seek

In this sizzling collection from the editors of Caught Looking, these voyeurs and exhibitionists go all out in their quest for the perfect peep show.


Hide and Seek
Erotic Stories
Edited by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel

“I tend to think that all writers are exhibitionists of some sort, begging readers to feast their eyes on our most salacious output. We want people to watch us get naked as we explore our deepest fantasies, the kinds that make us blush and squirm and shift in our seats…But we writers are also voyeurs, constantly absorbing everything around us, our eyes zooming in on all the pertinent details, the little moments that make sex all the hotter for their simplicity. We notice the details, and we want you to know that we’re watching your every move.”
— from the introduction by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Get a front row seat for the steamiest live action with prolific erotica editors Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel as the men and women of Hide and Seek strip, tease, and make you beg for more! In Saskia Walker’s “Counting the Days,” an office worker flashes a window washer who can’t believe his good fortune. An adventurous couple performs in the back seat for their cab driver as they hurtle through midtown at 4 a.m. in “Operator 84” by Thomas S. Roche. Whether putting on a deliberate show for an eager audience or looking into the hidden lives of their neighbors, these characters want you to peek as much as you want to look.

About the editors:

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL is a prolific writer, editor, journalist, and blogger. She hosts the In the Flesh Erotic Reading Series, wrote the popular Lusty Lady Column for The Village Voice, and most recently edited Sex and Candy: Sugar Erotica, He’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission, She’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission and Crossdressing: Erotic Stories. Visit her at www.rachelkramerbussel.com.

Called a “literary siren” by Good Vibrations, ALISON TYLER is naughty and she knows it. She is the author of more that twenty erotic novels (including Rumours and Tiffany Twisted) and the editor of more than thirty-five erotic anthologies- most notably A Is for Amour, Luscious, and Best Bondage Erotica as well as Pretty Things Press’ Down and Dirty series. Visit www.alisontyler.com for more tempting revelations.

Hide and Seek Edited by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel November 2007
$14.95 Trade paper ISBN 978-1-57344-291-6 200pp 5.5 x 8
Contact: Kara Wuest Cleis Press (415) 575-4700 kwuest@cleispress.com www.cleispress.com

Visit www.cleispress.com to subscribe to the NEW Cleis Press Newsletter!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ego, you go, we all go

I’m about 2K into a new story that I’m having so much fun with. The narrator’s voice just came right to me, which is always a joy. I like her. I may have to use her again. The funniest thing about the story is that every so often I think, “…and then I have to write a sex scene,” at which point I remember that this isn’t for an erotica anthology. Heh. It’s been awhile!

I received my comp copies of Best Lesbian Love Stories: Summer Flings, which contains my story “In Flight.” It was inspired by the day-long falconry course I took in Wales. I did not meet the woman in the story there, though. Then again, I don’t have an ex-girlfriend who screwed me over and left me bitter and untrusting, either! Anyway, the cover is very pretty.

Unfortunately, my ego shelf (the bookshelf with all my publications) is full! This is a huge exciting milestone, yes, but it also means I have to rearrange all the books in the rest of the shelves (or shove the mystery books down at the bottom of the romance bookcase, which would be easier…). In the process, I can start cataloguing all the fiction at Librarything. Ack! Noooo!

(This project is reminding me how many books I have to read. Beyond the ones in the TBR bookcase. The nonfiction ones. Meep.)

What this house lacks is a comfy sofa on which to curl up (or sprawl) and read. Our living room furniture fits the style of the house (although we want more of a Victorian look in there rather than a Craftsman look. But the furniture was cheap and we found it at a time when we needed it.), and the media room sofa is incredibly comfy to sleep on but not as comfy to sit on. But we need a certain type of sleeper sofa in there to fit the space. We found a possible replacement in a catalogue, but I’m loathe to order large furniture without getting to test it first.

I didn’t go to dance class tonight, because of the Santa Anas and the ash in the air. Just running a few errands this morning resulted in nasty stuff under my contacts, so I really wasn’t up to walking 0.7 miles each way. (I did pop over to Morgana and Brian’s to spend some quality time with Patches, who misses Her People, though.) Poop.

More stats: 14 days of 100 for 100 (my highest count was 41, but then we went to CCR and I was distracted…), but only 4 days of 500 for 50. That one’s harder to maintain. If I have a slow day, I can squeeze out my 100 words, but 500 takes more brain power. Then again, it’s my job to squeeze out words. Most days I do a lot more than 500, mind you…

Other stats from earlier this week that I forgot to post: Novella (“Hidden Treasure,” which isn’t a great title, but it’s all we could come up with) is off to first readers. Monday night I wrote up notes on the new story and got started on it, and last night I wrote over 1K on it. I’ll finish it up today. I’ve also updated my MySpace friends list (over 160 friends! I feel so popular!) and signed and enveloped two books that people won as prizes. Oh, and received and reviewed proofs for “Proof of Devotion,” which will appear in the forthcoming Fabulous Whitby anthology.

A couple of rejections, and two acceptances from the marvelous Alison Tyler for two different flash fiction anthos (pending publisher approval).

Okay, according to my list thus far, I have 11 stories to write for anthologies by the end of the year. One or two may be iffy (i.e., does the theme really speak to me?) but we’ll call that the goal for now. Two stories are in progress. I’d like to get the ones due by the end of November done by the end of October, which will leave six stories due by middle or end of December.

Anybody who tells you that you don’t need math to be a writer, laugh in their face. Just don’t tell ‘em I sent you.

---

Currently Reading: Night Rising, Chris Marie Green
Lately Listened To: Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need a Hero” is stuck in my head! Ack!
Recently Watched: CSI: Miami

Bedamned

Damn you, LibraryThing! [shakes fist]

(And drat you, Morgana! I blame you.)

(I remember when I had a life.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Enflamed

Weird day. There are terrible fires in Malibu (update: and many other places), and we have fierce awful winds (50-60 mph) that have been raging since last night. As a result, by midday the sky was orange-grey and dark as early evening, the sun gleaming weirdly red through the haze. The upstairs office window isn’t sealed well (termite damage on a house almost 100 years old) and there’s ash on my desk. Apparently the back door isn’t sealed well, either, because there’s ash all over the dryer. The house smells like smoke, and I’ve had a low-grade headache and gritty eyes all day, killing my concentration. Worse, there are people in Malibu who’ve lost their homes. Pepperdine University is threatened.

I huddled inside and critted a friend’s novel and watched a little TV and started work on a new short story and took a bath.

Ken got home from a rally this weekend, slept, and turned around to head north for two weeks’ worth of work, another reason why I’m out of sorts. He’ll be back for the Shaw Blades shows in November, then has to go up for one more week; I may go with him if time and schedules and finances permit.

---

Currently Reading: Night Rising, Chris Marie Green
Lately Listened To: Mother Earth, Within Temptation
Recently Watched: Graham Norton

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reviewage

The lovely (I say that because, even though I've never met her, she wrote the following review!) Lauren Dane posted a review of A Little Night Music on her LJ blog, and kindly gave me permission to repost it here:

---

I had this one in my TBR pile for a while. I’ve really enjoyed Cheek’s contemporaries and this book kept that streak going.

Hannah kisses her idol, rock star Nate when she’s a clumsy 17 year old but after she runs off in horror, she vows she’ll bed him one day.

So lo and behold, nine years later she’s a bigshot PR specialst handling celebrities who need a comeback and Nate has gone from the heights of success to rock bottom and is trying to make his way back.

Of course they have great chemistry from go and an intense physical relationship starts on the sly but the media can’t be far behind and Hannah feels she’ll have to choose between her job and the man she’s come to love.

I think Dale (who also writes under a few other names in several genres, all quite ably) takes a cliche and gives it life in this story.

This isn’t a young girl’s crush and an old has been - in Hannah and Nate, we’ve got two interesting and complicated people who have to really figure out who they are and what is truly important.

The sex is very well done (Dale also writes erotica with another pen name) and I came away really entertained. This is a truly well written erotic romance. I highly recommend it!

---

Thank you, kind Lauren!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Signage

The signing today went well. It would have been nicer if more of my friends showed up, but the important thing is, wonderful friends did show up! Aran! Julie the Styx fan! Christine! (Okay, Christine’s also a LARA member, but she’s my friend first and more importantly.) Matt/Monica/Holly from the Queensrÿche concert! I also sold a fair number to fellow LARA members. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to buy everyone else’s books….

I did buy Eden Bradley’s The Dark Garden (and we were fangirls: “I want to buy your book!” “I want to buy your book!” “Will you autograph it for me?” “Yes!” Etc. I also splurged on two urban fantasies (not authors who were present), since that’s what I’m working on right now (er, one of the things I’m working on): Thunderbird Falls (CE Murphy) and Night Rising (Chris Marie Green). I failed to find Martha Stewart’s Halloween magazine issue. I should’ve bought it when I saw it a few weeks ago. They already had the Thanksgiving issue on the stands. Feh, I say. Feh.

Someone provided each of us with a ceramic jar filled with little chocolates. My jar has a redheaded witch on it! How entirely appropriate! It also has spiders on it, which I’m going to try to repaint to make them look more like bats.

Teresa and I finished the rough draft of the novella today! Still need to smooth things out, then send it to a first reader, but it’s done!

Goals for Next Week:

Kind of hard to determine until I hear from Sarah about where she’s at with Designed for Love. I’m hoping she has the first chapter written and ready. Barring that, I have two stories to write and I need to finish the basic outline for the RWA workshop. Any extra time not taken up by DFL will be for HS.

I also need to get caught up on e-mail, and have a number of fiddly life-stuff-type things to do.

---

Currently Reading: Ill Met by Moonlight, Sarah Hoyt
Lately Listened To: Diva, Annie Lennox
Recently Watched: Torchwood