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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New story!


Ack! Almost forgot to remind everyone that my story "Santa Claus is Comin'" is up at Circlet Press today!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fairy Tale Lust


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Wow...it's beautiful!

And check out this magical TOC:

Foreword by Angela Knight
Introduction: Once Upon a Time…
The Obedient Wife by Delilah Devlin
How the Little Mermaid Got Her Tail Back by Andrea Dale
Ducking by Craig Sorensen
Three Times by Justine Elyot
Ellie and the Shoemaker by Louisa Harte
The Pub Owner’s Daughter by Alegra Verde
Sleep Tight by Janine Ashbless
Her Hair is a Net, Woven by Shanna Germain
Mind Your Peas and Qs by Allison Wonderland
In the Dark Woods by Kristina Wright
Gildi and the Unwieldy, Ineffectual Committee of Bears by Jeremy Edwards
Frosted Glass by Aurelia T. Evans
Gingerbread Man by Carol Hassler
All In a Day’s Work by Saskia Walker
Big Bad Wolf (An Excerpt) by Alana Noël Voth
The Kiss by Michelle Augello-Page
The Return by Charlotte Stein
The Stone Room by A.D.R. Forte

I'm humbled to be in this group of authors and I can't wait to read all the stories!

Merry


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blessed Solstice





Wishing everyone warmth, peace, and health on this longest night of the year. I am so grateful the light is returning..


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The most wonderful…


…you thought I was going to say “most wonderful time of the year,” but I sing that song at Halloween. Christmas is a close second, but it’s still not where I was going.

Nope. The most wonderful husband in the world, and I have him.

I’ve gone back and forth about how much I want to say here. As I said in October, my dad’s cancer is terminal. Since then, the local medical community has essentially failed my mother as she’s tried to keep him comfortable and safe at home. He went back in the hospital with the beginnings of pneumonia, had a dose of chemo (to ease his pain), and is now back home. But there’s still not enough help and support while he’s there.

Ken left early this morning for upstate NY, for no other reason than to take care of my father and my overwhelmed mother. We’d been back and forth about who was going to go when—we knew we were going back over or near the holidays, and that one of my sisters would be there between Xmas and New Year’s. We thought we’d tag team, maybe with me going out first, or both of us and me staying longer. In the end, it worked best for him to go out now, and me to fly out Xmas Day (I’m getting in about an hour after my sister does, and he can pick us both us). He was going to fly back when she did, but we had to use every scrap of frequent flier miles we had to swing this, so we’re both flying home a week later. That’s three weeks for him, two for me. We left for the airport at 5:30 a.m. and he arrived at 11 p.m.—18 hours later.

To take care of my parents.

Yeah. He’s awesome. Awesomest. Don’t you dare argue with me about this.

~ ~ ~

Oh, and his talk went smashingly. He so rocks.

Wherever you go, there you are


I have a gmail account that I don’t use much except to set up Google Alerts for my various pseudonyms. This is largely to catch pirate sites that are illegally publishing my work, but it also occasionally catches reviews I’ve missed or a mention on someone’s blog. Today, I clicked through to find that the reference to me (as Dayle A. Dermatis) was in a description of The Trouble With Heroes on a library website. I have no idea where the Brazoria County Library System is (although Brazoria is a pretty cool name for a county), but I’m utterly chuffed by the fact that they’re carrying The Trouble With Heroes!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Best best best!


Wowsa! The inestimable Violet Blue just released her “Best Sex Books 2009” list, and I have stories in three of the anthologies!

(Note: The above link is to SF Gate, the online version of The San Francisco Chronicle, so it’s safe for work in terms of no nudity, etc.. But this is still a list of fiction and nonfiction about sex.)

1. Playing With Fire: Taboo Erotica

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And a big "rock on!" shout out to the fabulous editors who saw fit to buy my stories: Alison Tyler, DL King, and Rachel Kramer Bussel!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sheer cussedness


Today, despite my emotional/psychological state, I managed to (a) finish and mail the requested short story I started yesterday and (b) wrote and mailed a very short (500 words) story for a contest. Granted, these things took me nearly all day to write, but the bottom line is that I was stubborn and finished the bastards.

Tomorrow I’m going to focus on submissions (one or two stories that need to go back out, as well as some novel subs), minor tweaking of an older story, and the gazillion other things on my plate. (Yes, I know I owe you an e-mail. And you, too. And you…)

Meanwhile, from an earlier entry I never got around to posting:

Sale! Fantasy story “The Devil Went Down to the Sunset Strip” to the anthology Retro Spec: Tales of Fantasy and Nostalgia. I haven't sold a lot of spec fic stories recently so this is especially exciting! The story’s about a hair metal groupie who saves her favorite band.

[They] were four talented guys. (They really were. I wasn’t just some starry-eyed groupie; I knew decent music and I knew stage presence.) Talented, yes, and awfully pretty, all of them.

And every last one of them was dumber than a post.

Hee.

Meanwhile, check out Circlet Press’s annual erotic advent! Every day, they’re posting a new short erotic SFF story—but the catch is each story is up for one day only (posted at about 1 a.m. Eastern).

My own story will be up on Christmas Eve, but I encourage you all to check them out every day! A great way to start or end your day this month. :-)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ken's IBR talk


4:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 12th, 2009

BMW Motorcycles of Ventura County
830 Tourmaline Drive
Newbury Park CA 91320

The Iron Butt Association is a loose-knit group of riders dedicated to safe long-distance motorcycling. Entry into the club is obtained by documenting long-distance riding challenges, such as 1,000 miles in under 24 hours. Every two years the IBA hosts their premier event, the Iron Butt Rally. Billed as "11,000 miles in 11 days," this Rally tests the mettle of selected riders by sending them all across the US and Canada on a giant two-wheeled scavenger hunt. In fact, more people have gone into space than have completed an Iron Butt Rally.

Ken Meese has been riding ever since he snuck his parents' 125cc bike out of the garage as a teenager. He has logged several hundred thousand miles on BMWs and has ridden in Asia, Europe, and North America. Ken has ridden numerous Long Distance Rallies and Iron Butt certificate rides that have covered nearly every US state and most Canadian Provinces. 2009 was his first Iron Butt Rally, but definitely not his last.

This evening will be full of road tales, travails, and triumphs as Ken shares his experiences of competing in the ultimate motorcycle endurance Rally. In addition, Ken's Rally-prepped bike will be on hand so you can see just what it takes to survive on a BMW for 11 days and 11,000 miles.




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh, is THAT what it is!


On my way home from the LARA meeting and book signing on Sunday, I was thinking about various projects, just letting them run around in my head. I’d like to have Ghosted ready for the Novel Workshop in February (provided I can swing the cost…eep), so it’s next on my plate in terms of big projects. I’m still unsure/unclear about some areas, so what I have to do (among other things) is lay all the scenes out on the table and let my subconscious figure out what goes where. So there I was I driving (singing loudly along with Rick Springfield’s Venus in Overdrive), and loosely pondering all this along with the concerns and fears that I wasn’t figuring it all out and I didn’t know what the hell a particular plot point had to do with anything when suddenly I realized it wasn’t just a clue, it was a parallel mystery/subplot that the protagonist had to solve in order to solve her bigger problem as well as her emotional arc.

Holy crap, dudes. My subconscious has been waiting a damn long time for me to figure that out.

So that was pretty nifty.

Then I got home and I was pondering the short story I need to write next. Fantasy, nostalgia about anywhere from the 1920s to the 1980s. I’d like to keep it to about 1K, so a new story in my WWII/Thirteen Treasures of Britain universe would take too much set up. We’ve been watching Penelope Spheeris’s Decline of Western Civilization II… Another “Duh!” moment. Early 80s, hair metal, the Sunset Strip, a groupie who saves her band from selling their souls to the Devil…

Just finished writing it. :-)

Now, on to brainstorming the next couple stories, so I can get them off my plate and get back to work on Ghosted!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blurry, but it's all I've got!

From today's reading: Eden Bradley and Andrea Dale!


Friday, November 13, 2009

More reviews to blow my little mind.


I am…stunned at the latest crop of reviews that are coming in. (Thank you, Google Alerts!)

Here's another for "Devouring Heart" in The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica:

"'Devouring Heart' is the only lesbian tale in the book and Andrea Dale presents a heartbreaking tale of love and how far a lover will go to keep a partner. There is a good use of metaphor between the title and the relationship and this is one of the few tales that ends sadly, yet I have a tender place for this as one of my favorites for evoking that aching sense of love and love lost."

And this about "If the Shoe Fits..." in The Trouble With Heroes:

"And Dayle A. Dermatis’s 'If the Shoe Fits' is a funny (and rather ingenious) semi-modern twist on Cinderella, in which we find out why that shoe was really so important to everyone."

Thank you, kind reviewers. You're making a bad week much, much better!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Lesbian Romance 2010

When We Almost Met • Evan Mora
Coming Out Party • Anna Meadows
The Only Girl I Want • Sommer Marsden
Five • Cheyenne Blue
The Outside Edge • Sacchi Green
You Are a Full Moon Without Clouds • Pamela Smiley
Firsts • Hannah Quinn
Soaked • Erin O’Riordan
I Never Thought of Love • Jacqueline Applebee
Girls and Their Cars • Renée Strider
Hard to Hate Her • Kris Adams
Queens Up • Andrea Dale
Reclamation • Nell Stark and Trinity Tam
The Letting Go • Shannon Dargue
The Last Dance • Dalia Craig
All In • Radclyffe

Monday, November 09, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sometimes reviews can make me cry

"Singling out individual stories in this collection is hard because each of them is effective in its own way. However, one especially memorable story for me is the one lesbian story in this collection: “Devouring Heart” by Andrea Dale. In this heartbreaking tale, the good intentions of both vampire and mortal can’t make up for the communication gap between them. This relationship makes a valid-enough metaphor for real-life relationships in an incestuous lesbian community, and the story seems true to its literary roots."

The story is in The Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica.

The full review of the anthology can be found here. (At the same place is a review of Playing With Fire: Taboo Erotica, which doesn't specifically mention my story but is nonetheless lovely and positive.)

Now, where can I find reviewer Jean Roberta so I can kiss her on the mouth?

Monday, November 02, 2009



Dear Journal, how badly I have forsaken you! I have been so seduced by the immediacy of Twitter, the faux friendliness of Facebook, by the ease at which I can update those things from my iPhone. You have languished here, neglected—but never truly unloved, dear Journal. I can never quit you.

For those of you who haven’t been following the 140-character soundbytes…

I can’t thank my sister enough for flying out to NY just after I left; if she hadn’t, I was either going to stay, or my mother was going to forcibly toss me onto my plane home, in which case I still would have come to Florida, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself. My sister being there to help out meant I could turn off my brain for a few days and, in the words of a wise musician, just be.

Styx concerts are, in fact, one of the few times when I really can shut off my brain and just be, just experience, just exist in the moment and the music. When they stop touring, I’ll be in the market for a good therapist…

Anyway. In the past five days, this is what I’ve been up to:
  • Flew to Florida to spend time with the incredible Helen and her beau Dave.
  • Finished my CES story and turned it in.
  • Sold a story.
  • Went to Styx/REO Speedwagon/Nightranger concert #1. (Actually, that’s reverse order of how the bands went on!) JY had two backstage passes for Helen and Dave, but since Styx’s tour manager knows us (and it wasn’t a busy night, I suppose), he let us tag along. Got to chat with JY, Lawrence, and Todd. All three said they hadn’t really planned to dress up for Halloween, but Helen and I did tell Lawrence that if we were going to, he had to, too.
  • Sold another story.
  • Went to concert #2 dressed as a Ren Faire wench with my boobs up under my chin. Received appreciative looks from pretty much every member of every band. Lawrence threw me his water bottle. Dave Amato of REO tossed a pick into my cleavage when I wasn’t looking. (Great shot, but it bounced off and I had to fish it out from under the woven metal floor of the barrier. Being a tool user, I chewed a piece of gum and pulled it out that way. Meanwhile, Helen was giving him a thumbs-up.) For her part, Helen threw on a Hawaiian print dress and lei, and at a party store I found her a flashing flamingo pin and flamingo deely boppers. The deely boppers were also a huge hit with the bands. Ken went the Jedi route.
  • Made some edits on the CES story and sent it back.
  • Started a new story.
  • Realized I couldn’t bring the water bottle home intact and was forced to drink said water. Last time I did that, I got the worst cold of my life. Here’s hoping that won’t happen again. Plus I do have several other pristine bottles from Lawrence for cloning purposes.
  • Laughed so hard with Helen we couldn’t breathe.
  • Was reminded time and again how incredible (and patient, and adorable, and smart) my husband is.
Now, after a long day of travel (and still discombobulated from this damnable time change), I’m home safe and sleepy, so I’m going to get a little more work done, watch something silly on TV, and pass out early. I’ve got a busy week of writing (not to mention a hair appt, a Shire meeting, and Coronation/Queen’s Champion) ahead of me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peep Show trailer


Here's a trailer for the recently released Peep Show: Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, which contains my story "Now You See Her" (a companion story to "Come to My Window," which is in Where the Girls Are: Urban Lesbian Erotica, although "Now You See Her" is het). Both stories are set in Montréal.

The video probably isn't safe for work unless you have a really understanding boss. Still, there's no direct nudity, and the excerpts aren't graphic. Enjoy!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Heading home


I fly home from upstate NY this evening, arriving after midnight in CA. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in at least a week and a half, so by the gods, I’m sleeping in tomorrow. (Just try and wake me!)

My father is better, although his cancer isn’t curable. He’s getting stronger every day—everyone's amazed at how much he's able to do already. (He had a partial hip replacement the day after I got here, because the day I flew out they finally figured out he had a broken hip. That he'd been walking on for possibly up to a week. Which says a lot about my dad's right there.) He's also never lost his sense of humor. I’ve been writing down all his funny quips. More than once my mom and I laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe.

I can’t thank everyone individually, so I’ll have to do what little I can here:

Thank you. Thank you all for the notes and texts and voice messages, and for the thoughts and candles and prayers and energy. I felt them, and they helped more than you can imagine. I have the most amazing friends in the world!

I’m not going to discuss specifics/details here, but if anyone would like more info about what’s been going on, I’ll send a private e-mail.

(I would also like to credit the ZooBorns and Daily Kitten blogs for giving me warm fuzzy breaks the few times I’ve been able to snag some Internet access.)

Otherwise, it’s moving forward with researching hospitals and possibly clinical trials (if anyone has specific knowledge or info about osteosarcoma, please let me know). One of my sisters is flying here on Wednesday, and my other sister is exploring when it’s best for her to visit.

Meanwhile…

I got the first part of my latest CES assignment done here, and the customer was very happy with it. I’m a bit behind on my personal schedule for finishing the main story, but here’s hoping the person in front of me on tonight’s flight doesn’t put the seat back and I can hammer out a couple thousand words. It’s not due ‘til the end of the month, but we’re flying to Florida on Thursday, and I’d like to have it off my plate by then.

I’m feeling strangely energized about work, even in my exhaustion and stress. Part of it, I suspect, is that it’s an escape. Part, too, is the reminder that life is fleeting and fragile, and we have to grab it with both hands and fling ourselves into it. Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead. We have a limited amount of time in this plane (of existence, not a particular flight, that is), so we might as well make the most of it.

The somewhat languishing Out of the Frying Pan revisions will come next, then some short stories and probably some article pitches that I’ve been meaning to do. I’m pondering some sort of NaNoWriMo challenge of my own in November; it doesn’t make sense to start a new novel right now, and I have a lot of smaller projects to do: stories to write, article pitches to write, novel submissions (more for Waking the Witch, starting the ones for Seasoned With Danger, writing the first few chapters of one or two more novels that I have pitches for and getting those circulating), a novella submission, maybe writing some novellas. Okay, maybe “writing some novellas” will get pushed into December. And probably the new novel chapters. ::gg::

We’ll see. We fly home from Florida on November 2. We have SCA events pretty much every weekend, plus Ken’s giving a presentation on his Iron Butt ride at the local BMW dealership in Newbury Park. Plus Thanksgiving. Plus my niece is coming to visit so she can see a show in Hollywood, and my sister and my other niece might be coming with her. All of which would be totally groovy.

Okay, now I really have to get some work done before my dad wakes up!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Change of plans


My father is very ill; I'm flying to NY tomorrow to help out my mom. I'll update when I can. If you need anything urgently, you can call me, or call Ken.

Any light/healing thoughts/energy/prayers you can send would be amazingly appreciated. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What passes for normal around here


I worked out today for the first time in…pretty close to forever. But there’s no sense dwelling on that, so let’s just say Yay! for working out. Because I get bored doing cardio, I tried to break things up a bit: 10 min warm-up on the cross-trainer (level), back and abs, 10 minutes CT (program 1), arms, 10 minutes CT (program 2). I didn’t want to overdo it right out of the gate, so I kept the weights and/or reps low.

My goal is to work out again tomorrow and Saturday, because Friday and Sunday are more heavily booked. Speaking of being booked, we’d intended to see the Eddie Izzard documentary in LA this afternoon and then go to the In the Flesh reading, but I looked at my schedule, laughed hollowly, and cancelled all those plans. I got to play the last two weekends, and now it’s time to buckle down again. Here’s what’s going on:

Writing
  • Tomorrow is the deadline for one fantasy/horror anthology and two erotica anthologies. For one of the erotica anthos, I’ve already submitted a story, but the editor said it might be too light for the overall tone of the book, so I’ve started another one. I should try to get that finished tonight. The other one is lower paying and I think my brain is already letting it go. I have an idea for the fantasy/horror story, and when I told Ken, he said “Ooh!” I just need to get my character sorted and toss her into the trouble.
  • I have a CES assignment due at the end of the month, but today the editor said the client wants a 1.5K prologue to the story, very soon. Groovy. That’s next on the list.
  • I have one OOTFP scene to finish and another to write, and then the partial goes back to Teresa.
  • Thankfully, I have no other end-of-month deadlines other than the CES story (already turned in the story for the antho that closes then), but I do have two in mid-Nov and one at the end of Nov.
Home Stuff
  • Need to put everything away from the War. All the laundry’s done and most of that’s already put away, thank goodness.
  • Grocery shopping. Meals are planned through the end of the week. Farmer’s Market tomorrow morning. Edited to add: Went grocery shopping tonight. Check.
  • Various other small things, like financial stuff. (Whoo, excitement.)
SCA
  • I’ve got to have The Oak Leaf finished before I leave for Florida on 10/29, and I need to do it in little chunks, otherwise my tendonitis flares up.
  • I’ve just got a little more beading left to do on one part of an Italian sleeve, and then I can assemble them. (The dress was finished in 1998 and then modified to fit me better earlier this year.) My goal is to wear it to Coronation the second week of Nov.
Fun Stuff
  • Herbal Guild tomorrow night, to make presentation and Yule gifts. I need to check my list to see whom I’ve already bought gifts for, then decide what to make.
  • Friday we have tickets (w/Morgana and Brian) to Spamalot in Orange County. We’ll head down early to skip traffic, and have dinner somewhere fun.
  • I’m part of a group book signing after the LARA meeting on Sunday, and after that Nanci and Lenny are having one of their amazing parties, with Paperback Hero and Forever Vinyl performing.
  • At the end of the month, two Styx shows in Florida! I get to see Helen again, yay! And then a group meet-up of Helen and Dave, Rik, Rowdy, Dean, and Ken and I!

Monday, October 05, 2009

The goodness again


(Picture from the concert, looking back at the masses of people...)

So I’m sitting at the departure gate, and a little boy in front of me—8 maybe? (I’m crap at judging ages)—spills a cup of water all over himself. I missed the actual spillage, just looked up to see the cup upside down on the ground and a rather morose expression on his face. Now, I have this thing about wasting unused napkins, and you never know when you’re going to need a napkin—like when you forget to pick up a couple when you buy your food and now you’ve got mayo on your face, or, like now, when you manage to fling your drink onto yourself. So I hauled out a handful and gave them to his dad. A moment later I heard the kid giggling with pure delight as his dad blotted his shirt from the inside (maybe it tickled?).

Then, as I was in line to board the plane, they called my name. Turns out I’d dropped my driver’s license. I boarded with a quiet sense of See, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Same kind of thing at the show yesterday. There was a teenage girl in a wheelchair, a big Styx fan, and it was the first time she was seeing them. There was space next to me, so her dad maneuvered her in there, and I helped block random drunken idiots. The drummer for Eddie Money made a point of giving a drumstick to a security guard to hand to her, which I thought was awesome. I basically used my “You guys love me” fu to get her stuff from the band: First Lawrence’s water bottle (which he apparently wanted me to pour on myself; guess I looked sweaty. Or he has a shower fetish. Let’s go with the latter.) and then a Polaroid (making it clear it was for her), then a pick from Ricky. Made me happy. Well, happier, because being at a Styx show is just shy of pure nirvana for me.

And quite frankly, I need all of this. September was an unequivocally craptastic month on every front. I wrote an entry about it but I think I’m not going to post it. Release and move on. I may end up talking about pieces here and there, as I try to work through some of it. (Like the conviction that I’m somehow a bad friend, because for the second, or possibly third, time this year we’ve not been invited to a party hosted by people I thought were pretty good friends.)

Onwards.

~ ~ ~

So I was waiting in LAX to fly to PHX two days ago, and I checked my daily Tarot reading via the iTarot app on my phone, and it said “The jig will be coming up.” How beautifully apropos!

~ ~ ~

Why do I only drink orange juice when I’m on a plane?

~ ~ ~

Now Animotion’s “Obsession” is stuck in my head. Why? REO’s “Don’t Let Him Go” was far preferable. (Although you can’t really be annoyed by lyrics like “My fantasy has turned to madness/And now my goodness has turned to badness.”)

~ ~ ~

So, I have one day at home (plus this evening) before we leave for Great Western War on Wednesday. Of course we haven’t even begun to pack, which is a stressor right now. (One of our three meals is cooked and frozen, and Ken was in charge of the second while I was gone, so that’s something.) Still, I’m looking forward to it. A friend is getting his Pelican (highest-level award for service, and he deserves it in spades) and there will be friends to see and hug and laugh with. On a more somber note, there’ll be a memorial for an amazing, incredible woman who died last week. She touched the lives of everyone, and she was taken far too young, and I’m struggling with feeling angry at the universe for it.

We have to come home halfway through the war (which is about two and a half hours away) to give the cats subcutaneous fluids (and I’m also going to have a chiro appt), but I’m grateful that Eostre no longer needs twice-daily subcu fluids.

~ ~ ~

Starting our descent into LAX. Must go!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The good catches up


This morning, on the way home from Arkansas, Ken found a woman’s purse in a restaurant. He went to the trouble of putting it in the mail to her.

This afternoon, Ken’s wallet fell off the bike as he drove away from a gas station. Someone turned it in to the police station. The money (about $80) was gone, but all credit cards, etc., were intact.

Obviously we don’t know if the person who turned it in is the same person who took the money, but if it was, I’m going to assume s/he really needed that cash, and I’m okay with that.

The good really does catch up.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What the—


I was tired all day today (yesterday, actually, given when I’m posting this). I didn’t get to bed as early as I should, and got up early to carpool to Collegium. I haven’t been sleeping well anyway, and I was tired enough today that if I turned my head too quickly, I got seriously dizzy.

(That said, Collegium was much fun, even if I only took two classes. Got lots of drive-by hugs, and I carpooled with nifty people.)

So I went to bed early. I was in there by 9 or 9:30, I think (yes, that’s extremely early for me), and read for a deliciously long time, which meant I turned off the light around 10:30. I did have a little trouble getting comfy, especially given the cats were being particularly loving and adorable and taking up much more of the bed than their share. (Yes, I’ll accommodate my spot in the bed for them. They purr.) But what I’m saying is, Sleep Good.

Until 12:30 a.m.

That’s when the doorbell rang. We still have the original doorbell to this house, and it’s loud. Really, really loud. It’s a shrieking buzzing sort of thing that startles me in the best of times when I’m expecting someone. Waking me from a sound sleep? Terrifying.

Ringing, and repeated knocking. I’m trying to find clothes to throw on. I can’t even process. Ken’s safe in Arkansas, so it can’t be the police to tell me he’s been in an accident. Is it our tenant? Is her apartment/our garage on fire? There are no sirens (we’re only a few blocks away from the fire station). More ringing and knocking.

I finally get downstairs, get the porch light on, look out the window. I don’t see anybody. I cautiously open the door. Nobody on the porch, either.

Thankfully my neighbor—the one who speaks English—had just arrived home from work. She said there’d been a young girl at my door, on a cell phone, and then she took off down the street.

We stood outside talking for a few minutes as I willed my heart to stop pounding out of my chest. Other than that, the night was quiet. It’s taken me a couple hours to fully settle down.

So much for my early night and solid night’s sleep… But now I’m going to try again!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do be do be do be over


Another bad thing: There’s a big multicultural celebration going on in the park so (a) loud Spanish is reverberating down the street into my house and (b) there are stupid people parked all around my house.

Okay, other good things, too:
  • Morgana liked her birthday present (which I’m not going to describe because other people are getting similar ones for Yule).
  • I picked up a jar of Patak’s Jalfrezi Curry sauce at the British shop (our local shop doesn’t carry it).
  • Curled up and watched Must Love Dogs w/Ken whilst eating pizza and drinking wine. Movie was…scattered, but amusing enough. The best part was not having to think for a while!
  • Now going to snuggle in bed with a good book and the cats (and Ken, natch), and then dream of a better tomorrow!


Requesting a do-over


Can we have a do-over, please?

I woke Ken up at 7:30 this morning because I was snoring. I’ve been having some weird breathing issues ever since I thought I was coming down with a cold last month—even though I can breathe fine through my nose, I’ve been mouth breathing, my breath catches on the way out at times, and I get dry mouth, meaning I have to get up several times a night to (a) drink water and (b) pee. Frack.

We went back to the thrift shop and the chair I wanted to buy was gone. We did pick up a filing cabinet for the sewing room, but the chair was the special thing. Frack.

We were running late but were ready just in time to meet up with folks to caravan to Santa Monica for Morgana’s birthday tea. Except I had it firmly in my head that it was at The Tudor House, when it was actually at The King’s Head across the street. Frack.

Found out someone had misinterpreted something I’d said and passed on misinformation as if it had been verbatim from me. Frack.

On the way back up the coast, Ken and I had a disagreement. Frack.

When we got to the bike dealer to pick up his loaner bike, they weren’t actually open until 5:30 (we got there at 5:17). They’d closed at 5, and don’t reopen until Tuesday. Ken’s supposed to fly home from Colorado Tuesday after returning the bike there. Which means he’ll now have to change his flight, which will cost money. Frack.

Also on the way, my car starting making a weird noise and smell. Still drivable, and we had to get it back to the dealer for a few other minor things next week, but this is also an added expense plus I can’t drive it to the LARA meeting in Encino tomorrow morning. Frack and double frack.

Oh, and while we’re at it? Four friends at the Styx show in Vancouver last night—the one where we had the offer of front-row tickets but turned them down because we were paying for an ailing cat instead—failed to call me during the show.

On the plus side, tea was lovely, and it’s overcast and cooler today. I suppose now I should throw caution to the wind and go down to my study and try to write…

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dazed and confused


My brain seems to have gone walkabout, except for short stretches of time. Sigh. I blame this Mercury-going-retrograde thing, for want of a better victim.

Tuesday morning I took Eostre to the posh vet for a recheck. Her values were still up, and although she didn’t appear to be dehydrated, there was something else that showed up that normally does if a cat is dehydrated. So, now she’s on three medications—along with the first two (each once a day, although one of those is ¾ of a pill, so I have to give her a half and then a quarter), the third is three times a day. Worse, she’s now getting subcu fluids twice a day.

Grimoire handled the subcu fluids well. He loves sitting on people’s laps, so the lap time and scritchies often made him purr, even when the needle was in. Eostre, on the other hand, likes to be near you. Maybe touching you with one paw. No laps, no real cuddling. So it’s already A Bad Thing, and Then There is the Needle and the Fluids. She’s gotten a bit better, but there have been times when I’ve been reduced to tears afterwards. :-(

Anyway, Ken arrived home Tuesday afternoon, and there was much rejoicing. Morgana and Brian invited us over for dinner, and then we hung out at Textile Guild. Lots of people there, and it was great to just hang out with friends. I feel blessed by all of them.

What did we do Wednesday? I know in the afternoon we went up the hill to drop off the bike Ken borrowed at the dealer (he used the wheels and carried the final drive in case of his own failing during the rally) and pick up a new laptop charger for him. And since we were in Thousand Oaks, of course we had to have dinner at Cho Cho San. Mmmm, suuuushi!

Thursday we were very good and went to the local Farmer’s Market (two blocks away) and stocked up on yummy fresh things:
  • green grapes
  • small watermelon
  • cantaloupe
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • salad greens mix
  • green onions
  • little yellow tomatoes
  • Japanese cucumbers
  • corn on the cob
  • fresh tamales (two beef, two chicken, two Jack cheese-and-chili)—they were supper tonight along with the corn and some Spanish rice I whipped up. Nom!
We also went grocery shopping and have food for the next few days. We forgot to factor in that Ken will be leaving sometime Sunday to ride to Colorado to return that borrowed bike. Oops! Well, some of it will keep.

We were going to go to the movies that afternoon, but I was feeling all out of sorts because I wasn’t getting as much work done as I needed to, so I sat at my writing computer until my eyes bled (at least, that’s what it felt like). Mercury, retrograde, ptui.

I went thrifting with Morgana this afternoon, and lo, our thrifting fu was mighty! Actually, mine was okay, but hers was definitely mighty! I came away with a hat (to become a steampunk hat), a black lace scarf (for the veil of the hat), a couple pieces of antique linen, a couple of Halloween decorations, and some magazine boxes (to split with Morgana). I also found a fantastic wing chair for $10 that Ken and I plan to pick up tomorrow. And possible a filing cabinet for the sewing room. Need to double-check that.

Huh. I was ready to fall over at 8:30 tonight, and somehow it’s almost 11 now. WTF? ‘kay, I’m outta here. Tomorrow is Morgana’s birthday tea in Santa Monica, and it would behoove me to get up at a decent hour and get some writing done before we leave…

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

In the Flesh write-up


The write-up of last month's In the Flesh LA reading has been posted. There's even a picture of Sophie (well, kinda) and a couple of me as well. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Adventures in Spokane


I am such a dork! First I thought the restaurants at GEG were before the security checkpoint, so Ken came to the airport to have lunch with me before I flew out. Nope. We made do with a coffee kiosk that had sandwiches. I wasn’t hungry yet, so I just bought a mocha for now and a sandwich and water for later.

Water. Before the security checkpoint. Doi! Hard to believe I fly an average of once a month. It broke my heart to leave an unopened bottle behind, but what can I do? I firmly believe TSA is getting kickbacks from the bottled water companies for this ridiculousness.

~ ~ ~

Other than that, a wonderful weekend! I got to the hotel Thursday and met up with our friends Ernie and Pauline, who plied me with wine in the hotel bar before we went our separate ways. I checked Ken’s SPOT tracker and figured out when he’d be in, then set the alarm for 6. (Ugh.) The three of us were outside in our Team Meese shirts to see him swoop up to the finish/check-in at 6:59 a.m., squeaking in right before the penalty period started. Whoo! Ernie and I both got some good pictures that I’ll upload soon. Some riders arrived looking completely knackered and zombie-like, but Ken had a huge smile on his face.

After he went through his paperwork and got scored, he was ready for a nap, so I settled into the hotel atrium, caught up on e-mail as best I could (the wireless was slooooow), and got some work done. Then it was time for pre-banquet drinks, at which Ken was pulled into a room with nine other riders… So yeah, we knew going in that he’d made the top ten. Just didn’t know where yet.

Our friend Margaret also finished, despite losing two days (!) to a bike problem. She thought she was out, but then she got the bike fixed and she managed to finish. (You have to hit a minimum number of points to finish; it’s not enough to just hit the checkpoints. About 1/3 of the starting riders didn’t officially finish.)

Have I mentioned I’m so proud of Ken! ::beam::

After the banquet I hung out with Ernie and Pauline more while Ken had his picture taken and was congratulated a million times. We were both still exhausted, though, so it was still kind of an early night. Also, he had a 7:30 a.m. appt to be interviewed for the DVD.

I slept in a little longer, then met him and Ernie and Pauline for breakfast. They headed out after that, and Ken and I headed to the nearby Riverfront Park, a lovely large shaded green park along the river. (Hence its name.) This weekend was the big annual Pig Out in the Park frenzy, with about 60 food vendors, some merchants, carnival rides, etc.

We wandered through and found the gondola ride, which took us over the Spokane Falls and back (and gave us some smooching time :-) ). Then we left the park on the other side to visit the historic Davenport Hotel, built in 1914. The Hall of the Doges ballroom, inspired by the Doge’s Palace in Venice, was gorgeous! We had a great time wandering around and looking at all the historic photos, too.

Back in the park, we grabbed some food (soba noodles and fresh veggies for me, a slice of pizza for Ken, and chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick to share), then rode the historic Looff Carousel.

After that, we were wiped—plus it had gotten pretty hot—so after swinging back through the merchants so I could pick up a couple of holiday presents, we headed back to the hotel, changed into our suits, and hit the outdoor pool, which had a fun slide and a waterfall to plash under. We soaked in the indoor jacuzzi (where we ran into other IBR folks) before going back to the room and collapsing for a while. We’d toyed with going back into town and having fondue for dinner, but neither of us had the energy or inclination. So we hit the hotel restaurant, where he had fish and chips (and was a heathen because he put ketchup on them!) and I had an amazing pesto scampi ravioli to die for.

Back in the room, Ken fell asleep at 7:30 and was out for 12 hours. :-) I stayed up for awhile catching up on blogs and Twitter and Facebook, since I simply didn’t have the brain power to write. (I thought about it, though!) I still fell over pretty early (for me), though. It was nice to get a full night’s sleep—haven’t done that in a long time.

~ ~ ~

Is it wrong that I just correctly answered a history trivia question on the plane because of a Sting song?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Who can resist a Labor Day sale?


Phaze Books, which published some of the Coming Together anthologies I've contributed to, is having a sale this weekend. If nothing else, please consider buying one of the Coming Together volumes, as all the money goes to charity (a different charity for each book):

Coming Together: Against the Odds containing "Always a Bridesmaid" (benefits Autism Speaks)

Coming Together: At Last containing "Just Be" (benefits Amnesty International)

Also, my fabby coauthor Teresa Noelle Roberts has several novellas available at Phaze as well. So stock up during this great sale! Buy, buy, buy ::advertising voice echoes away::

Friday, September 04, 2009

Top Ten Podium Finish BooYEAH!


9th place 9th place 9th place That's what I'm talking about!

::shakin' the pompoms::

(You can congratulate him at ken.meese AT mac.com, or text him. It'll mean the world to him!)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Trying to keep up

IBR Update: This man is going to be the death of me.

Yesterday morning, he got a new back tire in Winnipeg (having already gone through the back tire he put on in Santa Ana on Sunday) and headed west through Canada. He was feeling great; he was ahead of schedule and felt like he had a strong route.

Around 5:30 p.m., I’d noticed on his tracking page that he hadn’t moved recently. He’d sort of been pinging around in the same area. I thought maybe he’d been to a bonus location and then gotten food or ran some errands. I figured once I finished whatever I was working on, I’d give him a call…but he called me. When I asked him how he was, he sounded resigned when he said “Not good.”

The bike was broken. He was pretty sure it was the drive shaft. (To which I replied, “So you don’t want me singing ‘You All Everybody’ anytime soon?”) The nearest dealer was back in Winnepeg. He was looking at buying a cheap bike to finish the rally, although it would mean he’d get only 50% of his total points for switching bikes partway through.

I was devastated. He sounded like he was handling it better than I was!

About four hours later, he called again. He’d ended up borrowing a bike from the friend of a guy who’d stopped to help him (renting it, really, for a fee, plus he was leaving his bike there) and had started back on his way. About 20 km out of town, however, he started second-guessing himself. Maybe it had to do with the shifter (I think), which had broken several times recently. (Don’t quote me on this; I don’t understand any of it!)

So he went back. One of the guys had tools in his truck. The bolted the shifter back on (or whatever), and Ken turned back around and headed out again.

He won’t be able to hit about 10,000 points worth of bonuses, but he’ll still make a solid finish and be able to claim 100% of his points.

I’m en route to Spokane now (LAX to SLC to GEG), but he probably won’t arrive until the wee hours. I don’t believe SLC has wireless access, so I expect I won’t be able to check his progress ‘til I get to the hotel.

Of course, I won’t be able to post this until then, either…

~ ~ ~

Written at LAX: Ha ha ha! They finished cleaning the first class cabin so they said those people could board. Of course other people rushed up there, and now they’re standing there looking like the goobers they are.

~ ~ ~

The plane has individual screens and there are even game options! I’m playing a trivia game. I’m currently winning. I guess well. :-) I also lied about my name. For the purposes of this flight, I’m Loreli (there wasn’t room for the final “e”).

~ ~ ~

Free wifi in SLC, FTW! And a plug. I’m very impressed with this airport. Which leads me to…

~ ~ ~

IBR Update: He’s heading south out of Edmonton, BC, which is about 11 hours from Spokane. So, yeah, wee hours.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a mystery


So, last night someone called me twice. Normally I don’t answer if the person’s not in my phone, but I was waiting around for Ken to finish changing the tires on his bike so I could head home (as I was taking the old tires with me). I didn’t really register where the number was from.

Both calls sounded like they were coming from concerts. It’s a silly ritual we have: if someone isn’t at a Styx show, someone there calls them, ideally during their favorite song. (It’s funny when I’m at a show on the East Coast and have to call a million people I normally go to shows with!) The first call was a little longer, but I still couldn’t quite make out the song. It got cut off, and a moment later the same person called again. I couldn’t make out that one, either, before it was cut off.

Then I noticed that it had been an Oxnard number. I don’t know anyone in Oxnard who might’ve gone to any shows, Styx or not. Reverse lookup only tells me that it was a cell phone.

Was it you? Did you call me? Where were you calling me from? ‘Fess up!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If it's Saturday, we must be in...?


IBR Update
: Well, crap. Both of Ken’s GPSs have crapped out. On one, the touch screen really wasn’t working already, but he used it as a backup/rerouting machine while the other had his main planned route with all the bonus locations he planned to hit. The latter one apparently went kablooey. So he bought a cheap one at Walmart. The upshot is that he’ll have to plan a route and stick to it, as opposed to making some changes/new decisions based on how things are progressing. Which, alas, is where he really shines.

~ ~ ~

The other day the clerk in Trader Joe’s asked me if I had any plans for the weekend. I stared at him blankly. What is this “weekend” you speak of? I work most days, taking days off when something specific is happening. The fact is, today is the first day all week that I have had things hard scheduled (other than Textile Guild on Tuesday night).

First I went to Elizabeth’s with a bunch of stuff for her to sell on eBay (I’ll be making garb for her son in exchange). Then I had a confab with Teresa. In a few minutes I’m off to the vet to pick up Eostre.

Then tomorrow is the IBR checkpoint in Santa Ana, and my only hope is that Ken arrives early enough that I can give him all his stuff (tires, food, etc.) and still get home before it gets dark. Originally I planned to stay the night at his mom’s if it got late, but it looks like I’ll need to be home to give Eostre subcu fluids…

Friday, August 28, 2009

(Oh, and I still have a zombie eye)


So, on Wednesday night, Eostre apparently decided that the several thousand dollars we’ve spent on Grimoire this year* made her feel left out, and she made clear her need to visit the ER vet. Thankfully Morgana was home and free so I didn’t have to navigate the streets at night (which I would have done if I’d had to, but the stress of driving when I’m blinded by the halos of oncoming headlights and street lights on top of the stress of having a sick cat is less than optimal).

To keep the story short: Her creatine levels were elevated, indicating possible kidney disease, so they’ve been giving her subcu fluids and antibiotics and whatnot. The ultrasound of her kidneys came back normal (normal to the point of looking better than the kidneys of a cat her age should even look, because she is a mutant, I tell you), which means if it is kidney disease, we’ve caught it at the very beginning. As of today, they’ve confirmed she also has a urinary tract infection, poor thing, so they’re sorting that out as well. Hopefully she’ll be able to come home tomorrow (her creatine and other levels are going down, but they’d like to get them all the way down).

I visited her today, and she was delighted to see me; wouldn’t purr but demanded scritchies until the air was clouded with white fur. She’s been on a hunger strike, but she ate a bit when I asked her to, so that was good. The vets were somewhat amused by how adorable she was, because apparently when I’m not there, she turns into the Tasmanian Devil and attempts to claw people’s faces off. She can be a bit…feisty. :-)

So, I’m hoping it’s just an infection and not Chronic Renal Failure, but even if it is CRF, most cats can live comfortably for years under proper supervision. Which would probably mean that now each cat would be on his/her own separate expensive special food, and they’ll have to be separated at meal times. What joy.

~ ~ ~

Tuesday I toddled off to Textile Guild and worked on a couple of peplos and hemmed a linen hankie to embroider. I’ve been struck with the desire to finish a bunch of little handwork projects in various stages of completion, and that was especially nice when I was recovering from the food poisoning. (Relatively simple fiddly things to do with my hands while watching hours of TV.)

~ ~ ~

Yesterday was full of errands, some for things to bring Ken at the checkpoint on Sunday. However, bleah, it’s too hot to run errands. In fact, the heat is making me want to do nothing more than flop on the sofa and read, which is a problem when I have things like, oh, deadlines to deal with. Sigh.

Speaking of deadlines, now I must get back to work.

~ ~ ~

IBR Update: The first checkpoint was in St. Charles, IL, on Wednesday, and at that point Ken was in the 38th position (out of 101 riders). His extra fuel cell’s gauge has been a little wonky, and yesterday he ran out of gas 1.5 miles from the town he was planning to get gas in. Another rider he knows actually went into town to get him gas. (They’re pretty much expected to stop for one another if there’s an emergency, so it’s especially wonderful that this guy took precious time out of his rally schedule to help Ken. Hail chivalry!)

In fact, Ken says one of the nicest things about the IBR is the camaraderie. There’s something about riding along some random highway, he says, and seeing one of the other competitors—there’s a connection there, you know? Very cool.

----
*A few months of thinking he had cancer, then a little while of exploring pancreatitis and parathyroid problems and whatnot, to then conclude that he just was going to produce too much calcium and we had to give him subcutaneous fluids every other day or so, until he finally spontaneously just got better. On his own. Bastard. (She says affectionately.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Too long to tweet


I keep thinking of things to update on Facebook and Twitter, but all of them are too long. Meanwhile, the journal languishes. If I only had a brain…

Okay, first the stuff that those of you not on Facebook and Twitter didn’t get.

Thursday night I decanted the herbal vinegars I made in July at our Herbal Guild meeting. One is a champagne vinegar infused with lemony things: lemon zest, lemon verbena, lemon thyme, that sort of thing. (I don’t have the recipes with me, and I know we were out of one ingredient but substituted another.) The other is a red wine vinegar infused with garlic, red peppers, cilantro, and I think green onions. That one is especially nice! Now I want to make Chinese food!

I also hung out with Morgana and saw their pictures from Faerieworlds. Sigh. I wish we could’ve gone, but at the same time, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the 100°+ temps.

I had the opportunity to hang out with Christine on Friday, and I couldn’t pass up that! We had lunch at Macaroni Grill, then worked at Barnes & Noble for a few hours. I did some research so I could finish up my proposal for Seasoned With Danger and got some work done on OOTFP.

That night our friend Lareej had an apartment-warming party; I got a ride with Morgana and Brian. Although her apartment is tiny, Lareej has amazing thrift-store fu as well as amazing decorating fu, and the place is lovely. She had masses of food, too (including a variety of cheeses she obtained after asking my advice, because lo, I am the Demigoddess of Cheese). Alas, we had to leave early, because we all had to get up early for Crown Tournament the next day. Lareej was riding with Ismay and Alexander (leaving at 5 a.m.), and I was originally going with them, but I ditched them to ride with Morgana and Thomasina (leaving at 7 a.m.). You can see why.

Crown was hot and muggy, but was worth the trip to be there when Alexander was invited to join the Order of the Pelican. We ended up ditching the event early because of the weather, though, and Alexander joined us for the ride home. We stopped at a dairy tourist trip that boasted a gazillion types of cheese as well as ice cream; in fact they had a few kinds of cheese (the sage cheddar was quite nice) and Dreyer’s ice cream, but the ice cream was worth it, really. We later stopped at Claim Jumper for dinner before heading home and collapsing.

Alas, it was not to be a good night for me. I ended up with a migraine (or at least a very bad headache; I can’t always tell the difference) and food poisoning. So I spent yesterday very quietly and gently watching movies and napping for the most part. My headache went away by early evening, but came back full force during the night. I went to the chiropractor today and she put me to rights; let’s just hope it was enough! She also worked on my middle back (which I strained during the yarking), commiserated with me over my demon eye (I burst blood vessels during the yarking), and helped me figure out the culprit of the food poisoning: the incredibly yummy salad from Macaroni Grill. Because, you see, it was spinach, and I’d tucked the leftovers in my computer bag while working with Christine at B&N, and then I’d taken it with me for lunch at Crown.

I’ve kept things pretty quiet today, but there was stuff I had to do, like clean the cat boxes and tidy the kitchen and whatnot, which has pretty much wiped me out. I’m planning an early night, perhaps after a nice hot bath. Maybe a little more TV and handwork projects (I’m in a finish-little-projects mode, which is nice.).

Well, it’s taken me several hours to write this, so I suppose I should post it and move on. But before I forget…

IBR Update: Ken just called (5 p.m.) to say he’s doing great and getting lots of points. :-) He’s in Florida, BTW. He has to be in Illinois on Wednesday…

---

Currently Reading: Flora Segunda, Ysabeau Wilce (just finished); The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney, Suzanne Harper (about to start)
Lately Listened To: Lullagoodbye, Taylor Mills
Recently Watched: Boston Legal; Hard to Hold

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And so it begins!


IBR update: Ken's plotted his route and is getting a good night's sleep before tomorrow's start. Lots of pictures of him here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I <3 my editor


Alison Tyler namechecks me in her blog: "And talk about Christmas in July. I mean, August. Whatever month it is, "The Queen of Christmas" by Andrea Dale gets me every fucking time." (Follow the link on her name to the blog entry in question, which includes an excerpt.)

[Warning: Her blog is utterly delectable, but NSFW. Unless you work in an incredibly nifty place.]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An open letter to the Universe


Dear Universe,

You have a sick sense of humor, getting me sick right before Ken leaves for three weeks.

But more importantly—no, pay attention here, I’m talking to you—if you get Ken sick while he’s on the rally, somebody will be in a world of hurt, and that world of hurt has your name on it.

I don’t know how I’m going to put you, Universe, in a world of hurt, but believe me, I’ll figure it out. I’m stubborn that way.

Thank you. That is all. Carry on.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oops, I'm doing it again...


So, last month I had an absolute blast reading my story “Fanning the Flames” at In the Flesh: LA in Hollywood. So much so, In fact, that I’m doing it again…

See, well before last month’s reading, I agreed to be part of a reading tour for three anthologies, two of which I have stories in (and Teresa and I have a Sophie story in one of them as well). They intially didn’t plan to have the Los Angeles stop at Hustler Hollywood, but it just ended up shaking out that way, including being on the In the Flesh night. I’ll be reading part of my story “Queens Up” from Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures.

To add to the fun, In the Flesh always has a phone-in reader, and this time it's going to be my very own co-author and dear friend Teresa, reading our Sophie Mouette story "On Display" from Where the Girls Are: Urban Lesbian Erotica!

Here’s the info:

When: Wednesday, August 12, 8 p.m.

Where: Hustler Hollywood, 8920 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 310-860-9009

What: In the Flesh: LA is the West coast version of the acclaimed In The Flesh reading series founded by Rachel Kramer Bussel, and “features the city's best journalists, authors, scriptwriters and more offering their torrid tales for your entertainment and titillation.”

I want to thank all my friends who turned out for last month’s reading—I can’t tell you how much it helped to look out and see familiar faces! I hope some of you can make it this month. (Yeah, I know it’s Hollywood in the middle of the work week—I wish I could do something about that!)

Further encouragement: there’s free underground parking on-site, complimentary snacks and desserts, and the chance to win a goodie bag of prizes! (My friend Tom won a goodie bag in July!) Hustler Hollywood is a clean, bright, inviting store with a café, lots of books and t-shirts, and a fantastic, fun, positive atmosphere.

If you have any questions about the reading, feel free to e-mail me at cyvarwydd@mac.com. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A summer Saturday


A good day so far. Leisurely awakening and nice hot shower, followed by breakfast and tea and hanging out with Meg (who spent the night) before she had to leave. Pottered around getting stuff done, eating lunch (leftover chicken from last night, nomnom), watching a bit of TV, washing dishes, that sort of thing. When Ken and Margaret (from Tasmania) got back from running bike errands, Margaret had a massage (because last night I raved about my massage goddess) and Ken and I walked to the Post Office and library (two books dropped off—Robert B. Parker’s Stranger in Paradise and de Lint’s Dingo—and one picked up—Flora Segunda). I flopped on the bed and read a couple of short stories and scritched the cats and enjoyed the cool breeze of the fan for a little while…

Now I’m settled in with a cup of tea in the study to work. I’ve brainstormed some questions for two nonfiction articles, and made a list of upcoming projects (in part because Ken asked on our walk, and in part because I get excited looking at all the fun things to do!). I’ve got a short story to finish and some research to do for Seasoned With Danger so I can get that proposal in the mail.

(After that, it’ll be back to Out of the Frying Pan. An editor has offered to look at it again if we make some changes, and Teresa and I agree that most of them will indeed make the book stronger. I also need to get more submissions out for Waking the Witch; a bunch are circulating, but I haven’t hit all the publishers I want to yet.)

And I understand Margaret’s taking us out for Thai tonight. Mmm, Thai!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sale to Harlequin Spice!


Oh my gods, I’m so excited I could just explode into a million bits of Styx confetti!

I’m going to be in a Harlequin Spice anthology! *\o/*

::cue dancing and possible explosions::

The ever-splendiferous Alison Tyler pinged me awhile back about a story of mine she remembered, “The Broken Fiddle,” which is set in Ireland and involves a legend and Irish fairies and music (as all good stories should). She wanted to include it in her anthology Alison’s Wonderland, and she just got word from Harlequin about the final Table of Contents:

The Red Shoes (Redux) by Nikki Magennis
Fool’s Gold by
Shanna Germain
The Three Billys by
Sommer Marsden
David by
Kristina Lloyd
Managers and Mermen by
Donna George Storey
The Clean-Shaven Type by N.T. Morley
The Midas F*ck by
Erica DeQuaya
Sleeping with Beauty by
Allison Wonderland
Unveiling His Muse by
Portia Da Costa
Always Break the Spines by Lana Fox
An Uphill Battle by Benjamin Eliot
Moonset by
A.D.R Forte
Mastering Their Dungeons by Bryn Haniver
A Taste for Treasure by T.C. Calligari
The Broken Fiddle by
Andrea Dale
The Cougar of Cobble Hill by
Sophia Valenti
Wolff’s Tavern by Bella Dean
Slutty Cinderella by
Jacqueline Applebee
Kiss It by
Saskia Walker
Let Down Your Libido by
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Dancing Shoes by
Tsaurah Litzky
Gold, On Snow by
Janine Ashbless
After the Happily Every After by
Heidi Champa
Cupid Has Signed Off by
Thomas S. Roche
The Walking Wheel by Georgia E. Jones
Rings on My Fingers by Alison Tyler
The Princess by
Elspeth Potter


It won’t be out ‘til July 2010, but I’m still doing cartwheels now! Maximum squee!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Set the night to music


We’ve been busy the past few days. For one thing, we’ve had a houseguest for two days: Margaret from Tasmania. She’s a friend of Ken’s via various bike lists. Margaret is, for all intents and purposes, riding around the world on a BMW. She’s done Africa and South America so far, as well as a fair amount of the US. She’s also running the Iron Butt Rally* this year, so Ken’s helping her with some modifications to her bike.

Except Ken flew to Colorado this morning… He’s picking up a friend’s bike and riding it back here to use for spare parts in case something breaks on his bike during the rally. He’ll be home tomorrow.

The drive was utterly gorgeous. On the way home, I even turned off the AC and opened the window to smell the ocean, because it’s been a perfect day temperature-wise. (Who cares if my hair went in all directions simultaneously?) The sun sparkled on the waves. Surfers played. I managed to keep my eyes on the road and not die from trying to watch the incredible view. I feel pretty damn lucky to live here!

(And I want to learn how to surf. I’ve wanted to ever since I visited my sister when she lived in Hawaii… That was 20 years ago. Ack.)

Anyway, Margaret is spending a couple days in San Diego and then she’ll be back, too.

I came home after swinging by a new grocery store (small, but had some interesting and tasty fresh items I’ve not seen elsewhere), then Melanie came over and gave me a great massage. I had to run out for one more errand, but since then I’ve been home…with a small headache I can’t seem to shake. Tough patooties, because I must get the bulk of a short story written tonight! I’ve started it, and I know generally what happens. It just took a slightly different tone than I expected, so we’ll see if it sticks with that or if I’ve taken a wee wrong turn.

Music. Must have music.

Tomorrow I have a chiropractic appointment and then lunch with my friend Janice, which will take place conveniently near the Post Office and library, since I have to hit both of those places. Later I’m meeting Ellenie at Barnes & Noble for writerly gabbing, research, and ideally some writing as well. And at some point Ken will return home.

Thursday we’ll probably hit the Farmer’s Market again, and then I have a hair appointment, followed by a phone confab with Teresa. (We were supposed to have one last week, but her day job has been crazy.) After that is the Shire meeting, and somewhere in there Margaret will re-appear. And I will get some writing in.

Right now, Friday looks pretty open…except that it will get filled with work, because of the craziness of the two days preceding it. Phew! We also have to re-commit to hitting the gym, so…

As for the weekend…who has time to look that far ahead? ;-)

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*IBR facts: More people have gone into space than completed the Iron Butt Rally. Also, more people have climbed Mount Everest than completed the Iron Butt Rally.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Of unbounded domesticity


We’ve been curiously domestic this past week, which I think is less of an anomaly and more of a case of us flipping over to get into our normal groove (which will, of course, change again mid-month when Ken leaves for the IBR).

We did a big meal-planning and food shopping early in the week, which resulted in some nummy home-cooked meals and/or big dinner salads. I also got hit with a craving for chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, which I never crave. (Chocolate-chip cookies, sure. Oatmeal? Not so much. I freely and cheerfully blame Karen Abrahamson, who brought homemade oatmeal cookies to the OWN workshops, and they were there for me in a time of weakness.). So we went back out one night to pick up the ingredients for those, and I made them last night.

Damn, but I make a fine batch of cookies when I get hit with the urge about every 2.5 years!

(Now I’m craving lemon bars. Hopefully, this too shall pass. After all, I have three tubs of chocolate chip/coconut/oatmeal cookie dough in the fridge now. Because what’s the point of actually baking four dozen cookies for two people? Then again, there’s this lemon tree outside, and lemon bars don’t last very long, and there is a Shire meeting next week…)

We also pootled down to the local Farmer’s Market (a jaunt of all of two block east) to pick up various fresh things, including some corn picked right that morning. We ate it one day later and oh my gods it was good. Om nom nom. Seriously.

Friday we took my car in to Bert, my fabulous Swedish car guy, to eyeball the new engine he put in recently. He then drove us to a movie theatre where we wiled away our time watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Minor car parts are now on order, and then we hit Trader Joe’s for some essentials before heading up to the BMW dealer, whereupon Ken collected his newly tuned-up bike and we headed home.

We have Alias season 3 discs sitting here from Netflix, and now that we’re almost caught up with DVR stuff (less than one thing per night recording, I believe) we’ve been settling in to enjoy those.

And we’ve re-tidied the sewing room (Ken put up a new shelf while I was in Oregon, as well) so we can continue various projects there. Sweet. I did some mending while we acted like slugs and lounged in media room watching Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (movie version) and Being Human and Eureka.

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Currently Reading: Black Hills, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: Hallucination, Shaw/Blades
Recently Watched: see above

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nifty new writing contest


Hint Fiction:

"Tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2010, W.W. Norton will publish an anthology of Hint Fiction. What is Hint Fiction? It’s a story of 25 words or less that suggests a larger, more complex story. The thesis of the anthology is to prove that a story 25 words or less can have as much impact as a story 2,500 words or longer. The anthology will include between 100 and 150 stories. We want your best work."

Full guidelines can be found here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rock it, baby


Saturday I went to my 90th Styx show! Only 10 more until my new tattoo! Whoo!

I didn’t know until about 5:48 p.m. Friday night if I was even going, as I was waiting to hear from a friend about tickets (I hadn’t been able to get good ones when they went on sale). She came through, so the next day Ken and I were in the car headed north to Paso Robles. A fun show, but way too short (it was at the Mid-State Fair). My boys knew I was there. :-)

We set the iPod on random during the trip, which was highly amusing. Apparently there are many complaints about the random feature not being really random. (Ken actually said “They’re trying to make it more random,” which is a delightfully nonsensical statement.) So it kind of went Styx, Styx, Gowan, Styx, Gowan (from the same album), Marillion, Styx, Fish, Damn Yankees, Marillion, Robert Plant, Gowan, Marillion, Ultravox, Robert Plant (from the same album), Glen Burtnik, Guns n Roses, Glen Burtnik, Marillion, Fish, Styx. In other words, my iPod thinks it’s full of Styx and Styx-Related Product, and Marillion and Marillion-Related Product, with occasional other things. Which, given the amount of Brit pop and RWA sessions and folk/pagan/medieval music on it, is just wrong.

Sunday was mostly spent on house stuff. We moved a lot of books and magazines in our joint office, and Ken went through all his t-shirts and dresser drawers and purged greatly.

Today we did a massive grocery shopping so we have food for the next week or so (along with hitting the Farmer’s Market two blocks away come Thursday). And, um…yeah, I’ve been kind of lacking in the whole motivation thing, so not much else to report.

Except that we watched two eps of the Torchwood miniseries last night and three eps tonight, and thank goodness we had an ep of Big Bang Theory after that because Torchwood made me depressed and wanting to throw things at the TV. ::pout:: Stupid Torchwood. It didn’t help that I managed to read about a major spoiler not once, but twice beforehand. ::scowl::

In writerly news, today I received my comp copies of Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures, containing my story “Queens Up” (as Andrea Dale). It’s got a sexy saloon girl and a ranch lost in a poker game, and I had a blast writing it!

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Currently Reading: Black Hills, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: random, as interpreted by iPod software
Recently Watched: Torchwood: Children of Earth. Dammit.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How very Regency of us


Eleven years ago, Ken and I ran off to Gretna Green and eloped!

We celebrated today by going out to lunch at Fresh and Fabulous (sharing a panini of turkey, bleu cheese, and caramelized onions on seven-grain bread; French onion soup; and a Mediterranean salad), strolling on the beach, finally seeing Star Trek at the cheap theatre (kickass!), wandering around the antique stores in Ventura, and having chocolate cake and cheesecake at Zoey’s Café (we sat in the 1926 courtyard). Now we’re home, pootling about the computers for a few minutes before heading down to watch some TV and snuggle. Eventually supper will happen. We’re still full of cake. :-) There will no doubt be hot tubbing as well. And canoodling.

It’s just nice to actually have him home on our anniversary!

[Edited to add: Oops, forgot to post this before we wandered downstairs!]

~ ~ ~

The mail brings wonderful things. While I was away I received my comp copy of the charity anthology Coming Together: Against the Odds, which contains my story “Always a Bridesmaid.” Proceeds from the anthology will benefit Autism Speaks.

Today on my doorstep landed comp copies of Bottoms Up, containing my story “Stuffing the Ballot Box” (as Andrea Dale), as well as others by Donna George Storey, Alison Tyler, Teresa, Rachel Kramer Bussel (who also edited the anthology), and many more!

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Currently Reading: 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson
Lately Listened To: nothing lately
Recently Watched: Leverage (mmm, shirtless Christian Kane!), Warehouse 13

Need book recommendations


Can anyone recommend good and funny romantic suspense, a la Agnes & the Hitman (Crusie & Mayer)?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Crashing into the surf


My darling Meglet and her daughter Julian arrived late-ish Tuesday night, so we had only a little time to chat before we all crashed. My headache was mostly gone at that point, but it came back over night, which, yea verily, did sucketh mightily. Ken and I had chiro appts this morning and it turned out my occipital bones were two inches skewed. Yes, my head wasn’t on straight. My chiropractor was amazed I wasn’t walking around with my head obviously tilted.

I came home and iced it for about an hour as per her directions, and that helped as well. After that we piled into the car and went to Thousand Oaks for suuuuushi at Cho Cho San. By the time we were done there, my headache was finally gone. Healed by sushi! Hallelujah!

We stopped by the BMW dealer so Ken could talk to them about the work they’re doing on his bike in preparation for the IBR. Hung out there for a while debating whether we should go see the new Harry Potter movie, go to the beach, and/or watch Eddie Izzard DVDs (Meg and Julian hadn’t seen Circle or Sexie). The beach won the first vote, so we donned suits and headed all of 3.5 miles to the ocean.

We rarely go to the beach, for some absurd reason. We walk on the sand occasionally, stop to watch the sunset, had a picnic once or twice, but that’s about it. I really have no idea why. Okay, a few minor ideas: I get bored just lying there, and I’m hyper-aware of the dangers of skin cancer, so sitting out in the sun isn’t the type of thing I want to do. On the flip side, I grew up on a big lake and swam competitively in high school, and I’d grow fins if I could, I love being in water so much. And the ocean is right there.

So Ken and I ran out into the waves and I bodysurfed and laughed hysterically until my eyes hurt from the salt, at which point I went and plopped down next to Meg and we talked and talked while Ken and Julian dug a moat so deep they hit the water table. Seriously. Waist-deep hole for Julian.

After that we picked up frozen pizzas, ice cream, and some salad fixings (to go with what we already had in the house), came home and showered, and then had a picnic of sorts and watched Eddie for hours.

It was a Very Good Day.

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I woke up today with The Headache, Part2: Revenge of the Pain, although it was a poor sequel to the original. Advil, Drenamin, and caffeine chased it away. I also had a dentist appt, where I learned that one of my teeth has fractures in it and is probably dying. What joy. it doesn’t hurt yet, though (well, it does now that the dentist asked if it did, dammit, but that’s psychosomatic, right?), so I don’t have to worry about it yet.

Meg and Julian left while I was being poked with sharp metal objects, so the rest of today has been after-guest tidying (deflating the air bed, washing two sets of sheets and numerous towels, putting the sofa bed back upright, moving my office chair back into my office, etc., yadda yadda), a trip to the library (so Ken could apply for a new passport—his previous one had been with his laptop when that got stolen, and so I could load up on more books, as if my overstuffed bookcase of Books to Read isn’t about to topple over and smother me), and all that sort of things. Oh, and I moved some magazines onto new bookshelves as part of the main office re-arrangement of books &tc. Gah. Much magazine organization is in my future.

And, of course, there has been writing

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In other news…

TroubleHeroes

I got my page proofs today for “If the Shoe Fits,” which will appear in the DAW fantasy anthology The Trouble With Heroes. Squee! I’m so chuffed to have sold to this market! I received cover flats as well, and I see that it’s listed on Amazon with the cover, too—go forth and pre-order, for lo, it is an anthology full of fantastic stories by many amazing writers!

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Currently Reading: 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson, a YA about a girl whose artist aunt sends her on a scavenger-hunt-type quest around Europe. Highly recommended!
Lately Listened To: Meg’s laughter
Recently Watched: Warehouse 13. Has potential!