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

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!


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.

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

In other news…


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!


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!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pics from the Oregon Writers Network workshops

Photos from the workshops, as well as walks on the beach, can be found here. Enjoy!

Pics from In the Flesh LA

A couple of photos from my reading at In the Flesh LA can be found here, to supplement the ones at the blog.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Ken's big news!

I know, I teased you all with a mention of this, but truly, I’ve been too busy to do it justice, despite how excited for him and proud of him I am. :-)

As most of you probably know, Ken’s hobby is motorcycle rallies. These are essentially scavenger hunts on the motorcycle, ranging anywhere from 6 hours to 24 hours to multi-day things. The longest he’s done so far was a 7-day rally last year, which he would’ve won had the bike not broken down a few hours from the finish.

The last four rallies he ran, he’s won. This is unprecedented; nobody else has pulled that off before.

The Olympics of the sport, if you will, is called the Iron Butt Rally, or IBR. (Many of these are under the auspices of the Iron Butt Association. Yeah, I know, goofy name. Just work with me here, okay?) The IBR is run every two years, and it’s done by lottery—about 1000 riders sign up for the 100 available slots.

Did I mention it’s essentially 11,000 miles in 11 days? And that more people have gone into space than have run this rally (as of 2007)?

Anyway, Ken didn’t get picked for the 2009 rally. Then, at the end of last month, he won his fourth rally in a row, in Utah, and on his way to Oregon after that, he got a phone call.

He’s been invited to run this year’s IBR.

We waited until he got home from working in Oregon to discuss it fully; to contemplate at finances and schedules and all the other little issues and questions surrounding the decision. Still, I knew how badly he wanted to do it, and that the timing, despite being essentially last-minute, is pretty good: He doesn’t have a full-time job to juggle, and the bike’s pretty much set up in rally mode already. Financially, it’s not the wisest course of action at this moment in time, but you know what? Sometimes that can’t be the overriding factor.

My beloved’s running the IBR! Yay! *\o/*

I’ve got to check the exact dates, but it ends on Labor Day weekend in Spokane, WA, and it lasts 11 days, so that gives you a time frame. One of the checkpoints is in Santa Ana, so I’ll get to see him partway through! :-) And I’m definitely flying up for the awards banquet at the end. (Now we’re just trying to decide if it makes sense for us to finally do my Northwest Motorcycle Adventure birthday trip that was cruelly aborted three years ago when I ended up in the ER on my 40th birthday).

Anyway, he’s spent the time I’ve been away prepping for that, as well as finishing up some house stuff, updating his résumé (since the Oregon work is slowing down), and helping Brian and Morgana move Morgana’s mom into a new apartment, and…

I’ll no doubt be babbling about the IBR over the next month and a half (including updates while he’s on the rally), but if anyone has any questions about it, feel free to ask. Also, please send your congratulations and well wishes to him at ken.meese AT mac.com!

Enough about writing. Let's talk about reading!

Okay, so now that things have calmed down a little and I’m not in total writer brain, I can talk about other things that have happened recently! (“Recently” being an odd term for my head right now, because everything pre-Oregon seems like a loooong time ago.)

My reading at In the Flesh LA at Hustler Hollywood went very well! You can follow that link to a write-up about the evening, complete with pictures. Kim & Tom and Fran & Thom all came to support me, which was great. Thank you, guys! Because I’d practiced beforehand, I was only a little nervous, and although I bobbled a couple of times, everyone said it wasn’t obvious. I got laughs where I was supposed to, and none where I wasn’t supposed to, and that’s about the best that can happen, right?

(On the other hand, because I practiced ahead of time, I realized the story could very easily be the beginning of a novel. Because I need another bloody novel idea right now!)

The other readers read fun stuff, and our friend Tom won a goodie bag by being a good sport and reading some of another reader’s poetry. Yay Tom!

After that, Ken and I went to a hotel near the airport, since I was flying out early-ish the next day. It was nice to have a quiet evening after a day of running around packing and being a wee bit nervous about the reading.

Now, here’s the really fun part: Next month I’m part of a reading tour for three anthologies (of which I have stories in two, two solos as Andrea Dale and one coauthored with Teresa as Sophie Mouette). Guess where it’ll be held? At the regular In the Flesh LA night! I’ll send around a proper notice, but for now, you can mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 12, at 8 p.m.

Even more fun: Teresa will probably the phone-in reader!

I’m still trying to figure out which story of mine to read. The longer one has a great voice and would be more fun, but it’s too long, and I’m not sure if reading part of it will work. I need to try it out, see how it sounds. Hm, and maybe I should find out which of the three anthologies the other authors are reading from…

Here are the anthos I’m in:

Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures, “Queens Up” (as Andrea Dale)

Where the Girls Are, “Come to My Window” (as Andrea Dale) and “On Display" (as ½ of Sophie Mouette)

Over and begun

The workshops are over. (I’ll pause a minute to let that sink in…for me, at least.) I’m at our friends Lev & Gayle’s, heading to the airport in about an hour. They were kind enough to let me crash here last night. It worked out rather well, in fact; I arrived around suppertime, just after they’d arrived home from a weekend away, and since the friends Leslie was going to stay with weren’t going to arrive home ‘til late, she was able to join us for dinner.

(Of course, I’ll probably be posting this at the airport, because PDX has free wireless, but anyway.)

The second workshop was about Contracts and Copyright, and I got a headache hunched over the contracts we studied. It was unbelievably helpful, and yet we really only scratched the surface. I realized that contracts stress me out in part because I’m used to being able to read something and for the most part understand it—but I can read a contract clause and my eyes will have glazed over by the end and I’ll have no idea what it said. I won’t even have remembered the words. Of course, they stress everyone out, even attorneys who aren’t versed in intellectual property contracts.

I also learned that I’ve been misreading some contract language, which is illuminating as well. I’m looking forward to re-reading my previous contracts with a fresh eye.

Overall, it was an amazing time. I’m still exhausted, but somehow also refreshed, recharged, re-energized. I have new tools in my toolbox, ones that are going to change the way I work.

Leslie and I walked on the beach 7 out of the 10 days we were there, getting the loop down from about 50 to 40 minutes. Most days were cloudy, but yesterday was sunny and perfect. The water sparkled. The sand sparkled.

I already miss Leslie, miss the Oregon coast weather, miss Dean and Kris (whom I barely got to talk to) and all the other fabulous writers I’m privileged to call friends as well as colleagues.

All that said, I’m really, really glad to be going home. I miss Ken, I miss the cats, I miss my house and my bed and my DVR with fun stuff like Leverage and Torchwood waiting for me. Meg is coming to visit for a couple of days, and I have a much-needed massage and chiro appt in my very near future.

And I’m looking forward to the work I have on my plate. I’ve been reminded, though, that it’s not work. It’s fun. I can’t wait to see what happens!

~ ~ ~

At the airport now. I asked if they could switch me from an aisle to a window seat, and I scored an exit row! ::does happy dance::

Now to do a little work before boarding. See you on the flip side!


Currently Reading: Valley of Silence, Nora Roberts
Lately Listened To: The surf and the gulls and Dean talking and Leslie laughing
Recently Watched: Flight of the Conchords, episode 1, with Lev & Gayle & Gayle’s nephew. Too funny!