Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I've finally finished knitting the blanket I started in August. Had a moment of panic when I took it out of the washer and discovered three places where my yarn joins had broken, but with the help of a crochet hook and some safety pins, I got it back in one piece. The yarn is marvelously soft, though it pilled a bit in the dryer. I'll just warn whoever gets it in the gift exchange that too much washing will result in the need for a sweater shaver.

And now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rrrr! Brains!

Sigh. I'm editing down the Sex Scene that Wouldn't Die. Its graphic intensity rivals the heaviest slash, and, well, it's TEN PAGES LONG. (Remember this one? Plot plot plot plot, TEN PAGES OF....) Alas, in order to fit with the rest of the book, the most, er, shameless bits need to be taken down a notch.

Yes, this sucks. Big time.

At least I decided against cutting the whole thing. For now. Le sigh.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


It's been a great day. Apart from a 30-minute workout kicking my ass, I felt pretty normal today (rare for a methotrexate day). The only real downer is that I have to go to bed in a minute because I feel good. Sleep will keep me feeling that way. And I was so looking forward to staying up with my latest NetFlix haul. Sigh.

A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, btw. OMFG, Ralph Fiennes and Siddig El Fadil. Yum.

Fannish encroachment

In a 145K-word book, is it too much to have two (possibly three) subtle fannish references? One is unintentional, one is deliberate, and the maybe is deliberate and comparatively very, very obscure. (I can't remember if it got cut or not. Don't think so, though.)

Bah. Who knows? I'll poke Colleen next read and see what she thinks.

The temp today has dropped from nearly 60F to below freezing. I'm really, really glad I decided to take my car into the shop in mid-afternoon rather than evening or, worse, tomorrow morning. Eek. Nothing wrong, AFAIK--just lube, oil, and filter, a tire check, a squeaky belt, and a possible blown fuse. My poor car. There's so much crap in it, including a pimp hat and a random Halloween cloak of indeterminate origin.

Back to writing. I'm about edited out for the evening, but I've got through a LOT in the past 48 hours, including a scene that needed to be reconstructed from the ground up.

**looks out the window** I fear this is a night for Postum and ramen. Mmm, ramen.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Less crap.

Seems the trans isn't completely shot. However, it's blown a gasket somewhere in the middle, and the whole thing will have to be removed in order to do a $1 repair. You have no idea how annoying this is. Better than the alternative, though.

Still, if his car ever leaks fluid again and it takes him six weeks to care, I'm tying him naked to the side of our chimney. In February.

Well, crap.

The Import's car's AC needs a new compressor, and now the transmission's shot.

There goes Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Retail Hell

Getting up to work retail on Black Friday is much, much easier after you've had good, long snuggles with three separate cats. Apparently, the "black" part indicates one of the kitties.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's amazing what a new purple bra can do for your self image.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Website Stuff and Things

In order to put off cleaning the kitchen (hey, I'm doing laundry, at least), I've made some actual updates to my website. I still need to seriously update the links page--adding all of my fellow Colleen clients, unless anyone objects--but I've got my Works to Date updated, as well as some bio info. Most of the bio info is about the cats, because the cats are, obviously, the most important thing in my life. (Baby's asleep by my chair. I don't want to wake and enrage her by saying anything else.)

In other news, I've washed every dirty towel in the house, thrown some blankets in the washer, and completely ignored the train wreck in the kitchen sink. Given that I just took my mtx (methotrexate) dose last night, I think I'm doin' pretty darn well.

In sewing machine news, I'm trying to decide between an amazing sewing-only machine, or a fairly bare-bones sewing-and-embroidery machine. The first comes with a walking foot (yes, this is a big deal), but the second is an embroidery machine. Machine embroidery is crack. I want a high-end sew-emb machine, but that'll have to wait until I've sold some novels.

Which reminds me, I need to get my butt in gear. Editing, ho!

Ohhhhh. =)

I just had a long, kisses-packed snuggle with my Precious Baby Angel. =) Stinky kitten kisses are the best!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Actual Word Count

I'm almost 2,700 words into a re-write of a novella. I'm paring it down to novelette length. This doesn't sound like much, but it's the most new writing I've felt up to in months.

Ending now. In the zone, and I'm not very pleasant to be around right now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Open Letters to the Most Important Person In My Life

Dear Self,

Eight. Thirteen. See the difference? Please note that someone who is the latter should not act like the former. Now go back, re-work about six chapters, and fix this thing.

But go easy, mmkay? It is Tuesday, after all.

No real love, but a bit of lenience,



Dear Self,

It's Tuesday. You know what that means. No running out to get yarn (never mind your pile of knitting waiting to be finished--on deadline, I might add). You need to eat some breakfast, but go easy. The last thing you need is to play Vomit Cannon in the living room. Crowley is much better at it, and he's cute enough to get away with it. (Especially when you're in the middle of saying, "How did they ever fit so much handsome into one cat?" Seriously, where is a video camera when you need one?)

You know full well you're exhausted. Now go and rest. Keep the yoga and the eating to a minimum, since you're feeling urpy again. And please, stop laughing so hard you cry. Cat puke isn't that hilarious (okay, it is), but remember, you're the one who gets to clean it up.



Sunday, November 02, 2008

Looking up.

I managed to play Wii Fit for the first time in more than three weeks tonight. I'm exhausted for it, but it's not the hideous, crippling, agonised exhaustion I've had lately. I'm not even sore, though that could be due to the 100mg of Ultram I necked back earlier. I need to take another 100mg before bed so I can manage at work tomorrow. Still, improvement is improvement. Huzzah for methotrexate!

This tune may change tomorrow night, mind. I ramp up to full maintenance dose, and may spend Election Day hugging a bucket. It won't be nearly enough to keep me away from my polling place, but I suspect my watch party will involve pizza, OJ punch, and MSNBC. (OJ punch is just orange juice--sometimes with pineapple and/or mango--mixed with Sprite and a dash of Rose's lime juice. It's nummy, and downright healthy if you use Sprite Zero.)

Going to finish reading a chapter on LLTD, then get some sleep.

Also? Finished the last three eps of the most recent series of Doctor Who. OMG so, so good. I was very nearly crying by the end. If a mysterious blue box ever lands in front of my house, well, expect these posts to get a lot more interesting.

Friday, October 31, 2008

You alllll hate me.

Tonight, I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that good genes, a strict skin care regiment, and an awesome costume will let you successfully trick-or-treat at age 31. I will repeat this experiment next year, and each year after that, in order to conduct a fully scientific study. (Of course, the ability to be mistaken for a teenager helps.)

If you didn't hate me enough, gas in my area is down to $1.959 a gallon. Yes, I can fill my car for around $25.00. Grovel before me, mere mortals. My fuel is relatively reasonably priced!

Off to shower now. Eyeliner was NOT meant to be used as lipstick OR eyebrow pencil, and it needs to come off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's the Great Omen, Charlie Brown!

When the frost is on the punkin
And the comet fills the sky
And the Great Pumpkin Empire rises
Then you and I will die.

This has been running through my head all frickin' day. I think it's a sign that not only is Halloween near, but I haven't remotely reached my fill of horror movies. While I'm sure Charles Schultz would have a coronary at the idea of the Great Pumpkin rising to signal the end of the world, it makes perfect sense to me. Seriously, has anyone ever checked Linus for birthmarks? He's a weird little kid at the best of times. There's no telling what he's really up to.

Must get back to editing. I'm under orders to take my time so I don't work myself to death (literally), but I want to get through the stuff that works so I can meander along with everything that doesn't.

The medication seems to be doing something. Not a lot yet, and it'll take another few weeks to really work, but I ran errands today and don't feel ready to die. I've put all my bras in the washer to ensure that I don't leave the house again, but I'm still human. This is definitely a good thing. Now if the mould spore would just die forever....

Off to work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My short story, "In The Flesh," has been published at a brand-new webzine, Drops of Crimson. Go read, then email Jenn (the editor) to let her know how awesome a job she did. The site looks great, and I'm frothing to get to read all the stories.

Go! Now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dose #2

I feel urpy. :(

So totally going to bed. Possibly with a bucket. Doesn't help that the side effects kicked in properly today. I spent most of the day afraid to eat for fear of reverse seconds.

Word to the wise: avoid lupus at all costs.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Chemotherapy, I has it but I don't think I wants it. Pls be sending David Tennant in an apron and nary else.

(Don't panic, it's lupus chemo, not cancer chemo. Is it too much to hope for the "less common and/or rare" side effect of weight loss?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I feel like butt, but the weather is perfectly cold and rainy, and I'm snuggling a stinky kitty. =)

So my tastes are weird. Shut up. :P

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Still Alive

I'm still alive. Been busy with work and writing and knitting and lupus, though, and I just haven't had much time for the Intarweb. I've got a bunch of emails to get back to (sorry, Ingrid and Linda!), so with luck I'll get to do that later in the week. I'm in the middle of a lupus flare, though, so I may just sleep until Wednesday.

Must go and eat something. I slept until almost noon, slept again from 4:00 to 8:00, and will probably pass out again within the hour. Lupus really is an annoying condition. Between pain and exhaustion, it's hard to want to do anything right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Day of Work

Sweet Elvis, I need to take up sewing again. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Curse my hyper-creative kinesthetic ways!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I. Need. This shirt. XXL. For indeed, the message is apt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Re-Entering the Workforce 101

So starting Tuesday, I shall be gainfully employed. This is going to sound dorky to most of you and OMFG amazing to a few, but I'm going to be working in a sewing machine store. An AWESOME sewing machine store. I spent more than an hour playing with one on Friday, and IT SEWS SIDEWAYS. IT SEWS ON A DIAGONAL. I WANT ONE!

No, this will not eat into writing or knitting time. However, I may have to take up sewing again at some point. I haven't really done it since we moved into an apartment too small and cluttered to really spread out any fabric. Now that we're in a house, though....

On the plus side, the toys at work are too expensive to randomly bring one home. Mmm, toys. Waaaaant....

Anyone got a thousand dollars spare I can have?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Potential Booty?

Arr, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, mateys. That mean I be havin' a job interview as bonny as a bottle o' rum fresh from Barbados. What be a pirate to do?

Arr. A conundrum this be.

One more thing.

All of you USian types are registered to vote, aren't you? We're getting awfully close to the deadline before November 4.

A heart attack I did NOT need

I just saw what appeared to be a ms page on my printer. A few days ago, I finally submitted a story that I've been struggling with for over two years. It's been written in whole twice, edited, revamped, and finally got down to a (hopefully) finished product of 14,700 words. The whole thing is 65 pages long.

You have not experienced heart-stopping horror until you think you left out the last page.

Fortunately, it turned out to be this year's holiday fruitcake recipe printed on the back of one of my old unused printouts--of a completely different story. It's all too strong of an illustration of what this week has been like. At least this bit turned out for the best.

Now I'm going to go play with my Wii and hope I get a new couch (and some other, slightly more mysterious and potentially horrible things) today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm calling you "Stinky"

Crowley, aka Gorbacat (no, seriously, he looks like Gorbachev), has a few disconcerting habits and a particular affinity for stench. His breath stinks, his butt used to reek like a dead alligator in a cesspool, and he likes to share his stink. When he has a bath, not only do the soggy slurping sounds echo through the room, but the stench follows. How he isn't a walking blob of stink is beyond me.

Anyhow, he's discovered a new source of stink: Daddy's shoes. The Import will get home from work and take his shoes off. Half a second later, Crowley's hunched over them and has his face in one to the neck. I'm not stupid enough to actually want to smell Daddy's feet (especially since he can never find where I put the socks), but if Crowley likes it, they've got to be pretty ripe. I pity the beauty tech who someday gives him a pedicure.

Is it just my cats, or are everyone else's cats crazy? (I can't even go to the bathroom without Baby deciding she's got a captive audience and all the pettins she can take.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Joy of Sleep

So last night I dreamt (horribly) that Barack Obama only got 3,000 votes nationwide in the general election. No idea where it came from, but now I'm afraid to go to bed. ("Can't sleep. Neo-cons will eat me. Can't sleep. Neo-cons will eat me.") I'm going to try and wear myself out on the Wii Fit, then take some pain killers.

Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for sleep through breakfast.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Um, wow.

Realms of Fantasy just bought my short story, "Nell and the Devil."

Holy crap. I totally expected Shawna to pass on it, but, eek. This story is significant for a couple of reasons:
  1. It's the first fairy tale I've ever sold, and one of the purest pieces of fantasy I've ever written.
  2. It's my third professional short story sale, which means I'm very close to (finally) qualifying for Active SFWA membership, and equally close to the end of my Writers of the Future eligibility period.
I'm a little stunned right now. Also, I'm thoughtful, and this sale kind of makes me want to just pull in the old belt and see if we can just live on the Import's salary for a while. I had a horrific job interview today (for reasons I won't go into), so this kinda makes me think I should just try to go the writing-and Etsy route for a while. I'm crafty. I make cool stuff. Hmm.

Needless to say, I have much to think about now, and a .doc file to send off!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

No more knitting, no more writing....

We installed our Wii Fit tonight. (Its purchase pre-dates the tally on the car trouble, btw.) I've done 40 minutes of exercise this evening, and I'm trying to decide if I want more. Nine minutes of that was jogging in place. It doesn't sound like much, but that's pretty good for an out-of-shape arthritic. :)

ETA, 20 minutes later: OMFG MY LEGS! AAAAUUUUGGGHHHH!!! *goes to find the Epsom salts*

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Gettin' itchy to finish the book. For the first time in about five or six years, I'm fairly relaxed and have enough room to breathe. (House is still a mess, but c'est la vie.) It feels weird to have time to keep myself sane and (relatively) healthy. I need bone-crushing work!

Tonight is my monthly knitting and drinking night. Woo! I shall have a Harvey Wallbanger, and at IHOP, I'm getting pancakes. Strawberry, of course.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Everybody Loves Hypno-Toad!

Apparently, Kaitlyn Maher on America's Got Talent is the Hypno-Toad.

I, fortunately, am immune to child cute. (But if she were a kitty, it'd all be over.)

Public Service Announcement

Getting gauge on double knitting is a royal pain in the....

Also? Taking the car to the shop at 7:30 in the morning after approximately three hours' sleep is almost hallucinatory. WHEE!

I'm goin' back to bed.

ETA: Sleep ain't happening. Sigh. No word on the car, yet, either, which means it's REALLY screwed. The only real plus side to the day is that I've started knitting my blanket, and the yarn I'm using is amazing. My allergies say it's wool, but my fingers say it's a cotton blend. Mmm, cotton.

ETA2: Part of the A/C compressor is shot. However, we'll have to replace the whole thing because the part in question isn't sold separately, and the whole process will cost the better part of a grand. Oh, yay. Time to invoke the mystical power of the in-laws.

Did I mention that part of the electrical system on my car is shot? Blood pressure... rising....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

*falls over*

Finished's knitting Mom's present. Now I just have to block it, then fold it up with some cedar balls until December. The biggest potential problem is that I have to borrow Mom and Dad's floor to wet block the thing, else it'll turn into a cat bed-slash-scratching post. (Baby adores wool.) I might just be able to order her to stay out of her guest bedroom for a day or so.

Next step: a checkerboard, double-knitted, lap-sized blanket. I am NOT making anything larger than that. For one, I don't have the yarn. Mostly, though, OMFG, just NO!

Seriously, I just need to take a break from gift stuff and make something for myself. It'll probably be a hat and scarf, but that's fine. I found some gorgeous German needlepoint designs from 1597 a couple of days ago, and most of them are just begging to be turned into knitwear. I wonder if I could design a princess-seamed or empire-waisted sweater with a colour-stranded stomacher? Hmm. *note to self: cut back on What Not To Wear*

Friday, August 29, 2008


There's an Obama rally in Tulsa tomorrow morning. However, it's way, WAY north of me, and will be outside. If not for the promise of sunlight, I'd be there. (Even if The Man Himself comes to Oklahoma, I may have to bow out for the sake of sunlight. Or, y'know, it would be worth spending three days in bed for that chance. We shall see.)

Hmm. Should probably locate the Tulsa County Democratic HQ so I can put in a few volunteer hours. If nothing else, it'll net me an invitation to the watch party come November. Woo, watch party! Always a good time to be had.


I. Heart. Barack. Obama. SO much. I have never seen a public figure half in his league as a speaker, a thinker, or a man of the people.

Also? His kids are adorable, and Michelle is crazy smart and hot.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I just found out about Del Martin. Poor Phyllis. Anyone worth marrying twice is priceless.

Different Editing

Since I can only go so long without trying to hurt my own brain, I'm paring down a novelette so I can try to sell it to Asimov's. (And, hey, I just checked my "do market research" file, and I've got a short that hasn't gone to WotF yet! This thing's gettin' polished for next quarter!) I've got about 200 words of novelette to go before it's within guidelines. The story is pretty solid, but I can't help thinking it could be a little tighter. It still needs most of its 15K words, because the storyline is fairly complex, but I'm going to sit down, condense the story into a paragraph, and start again from there.

Oh, regarding my sex scene post from a couple of weeks ago, thanks for the feedback, guys. :) I think that I'll leave it in for now. My big concern is that it kinda sticks out after so many revisions. Right now, the book goes, "Plot, plot, plot, plot, plot, plot, TEN PAGES OF SCORCHINGLY HOT PORN, plot...." I may have to tone things down, but I'll see what Colleen says. At the very least, I know it'll have to be shorter. (And, yes, it gives some character and relationship development--hoo, boy, does that relationship develop--but I don't think it gives ten pages worth.)

Knitting goes apace. Nearly finished with Mom's present. With luck, I'll finish the main body tonight, so I can get to work on the detailing. After that, we move into blanket territory. I think I'm going to be lazy and just knit the whole thing in one piece, with blocks of intarsia rather than separate blocks. (That makes sense to knitters, I promise.) I hate finishing, so that really is the cheater's method in my mind. This way, I'll just knit, block, and throw on a single crochet edging. Boom, blanket.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Colleen, my extraordinary (and persuasive) agent, has made another post on word counts. She's getting more and more queries with high word counts again, and, well, that's REALLY, REALLY BAD. I posted this in the comments field, but I'm putting it here, too, because you NEED TO KEEP THIS IN MIND. (The all caps are there for a reason, folks. Pay attention.)

People, KEEP your LENGTH DOWN. I'm condensing THREE HUNDRED FREAKING THOUSAND words into 120K. That's FORTY PERCENT of the original length. Sixty percent GONE. DO NOT PULL THIS SORT OF STUNT. If your book is even good enough to consider at that length, it will be chopped to pieces just to make it marketable. You will learn a great deal from that sort of edit, including the meaning of pain.

Seriously, take it from someone who's learned all of this the hard way. KEEP YOUR BOOKS SHORT. (This goes for books shorter than 300K, too, btw. Anything over 120K for an adult novel is begging for surgery, and anything over about 90K for an upper-grade YA gets the same treatment.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Last night, I had a horrible nightmare that I went to I Can Has Cheezburger and all of its sister sites and posted, "FIRST!!!" on every new picture. Now I feel filthy.

I can has breakfast? Good breakfast? I think today might finally warrant that IHOP trip.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'll get to comments when I can, guys, sorry. I went office-type clothes shopping last night (my Clearance Fu is incredible), and realised this morning that I spent about five hours under bare fluorescent bulbs. This wouldn't be a problem, but now I have a butterfly rash, and I think my kidneys are bleeding. Ow. Much ow.

On the plus side, I've been ordered to put down the editing. This is from someone with actual authority, btw (as opposed to the Import). Hence, I'm gonna go and try to finish my Mom's SAGGD present.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


*breaks down in incoherent sobs*curls up on the floor*becomes a cat bed*

Monday, August 18, 2008

The S-Word

I've got a particular, um, steamy scene that I'd like to retain as fully as possible. However, nothing that actually happens in the midst of the scene is, well, critical to the plot, apart from the fact that it does happen. Do I keep it, or do I edit it to bare bones? As it stands, it's good. It's probably one of the more evocative love scenes I've ever written. However, there are more important things to deal with, such as, oh, I dunno, THE PLOT.

What do I do? Anyone? Bueller? Should I retain it for now? It's going to hurt if I have to remove this one.

Must run. Have an appointment across town in half an hour. Thank Elvis for highways.


I'm at the point where I'm convinced the book sucks, the edits suck, and the whole dang project should be scrapped. While I understand that this is a normal part of the process, it doesn't make things any easier. Also?
Dear Particular Character,

I love you. I love you dearly. However, please stop licking blood from your hands. I understand that blood gets you off like nothing else, but it's making me crave IHOP. No, really. IHOP pancakes with artificially flavoured strawberry syrup. Have you any idea how incredibly disturbing that is?

Now go back into your Special Character Cage and please--oh, Elvis, please--stop making me think of Sonic strawberry slushies. You know, the ones that taste like paradise but look like an especially bad and snowy accident.

Far, far too much love,

Rrr. Before I decide to make an IHOP run, I'm goin' to bed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Allergy attack. Twenty-four hour long headache, complete with asthma attack. Thought I was having a migraine. Friggin' exhausted. Editing done today: NIL.

I think everything's settled down now. Keeping fingers crossed. About the only thing I've come anywhere near succeeding in today is a possible decision about my holiday knitting.

I'm committed to two projects, one for my mom and one for my family. I'd like to knit scarves for all my nephews and nieces, save maybe the eldest, who's considered a grown-up now. (This isn't the one who might be deployed, btw; at 22, he's still just a baby IMO.) However, we're going to come down to a matter of time and sanity. Which means I have three options:
  1. Knit my nieces and nephews scarves, for a total of either six or seven. There needs to be a toy for the great-niece as well.
  2. Knit myself a sweater and just shop for the kids.
  3. Knit them all scarves, then knit myself a birthday sweater in January. If I do this, I'll have to work a 32-row or 32-stitch repeat into the pattern. If I could work in 2^5 instead, that would be AWESOME.
I'm leaning toward Option 3. Time, apparently, is not a factor. Nor is sanity. Sigh. Oh, well. Scarves can be easy, at least. When I don't get fancy-pants ideas in my head.

Tomorrow: housework, editing, trip to the store. Knitting in the evening. How is it that someone so wholly unemployed and non-parental can feel so overwhelmed with all there is to do?

Friday, August 15, 2008


My insomnia's back, my dad needs cataract surgery, and my nephew's reserve unit may be deployed to Afghanistan before the end of the year.

Screw today. I'm goin' back to bed.


It's time for me to buckle down on my Secular Atheist Gift-Giving Day (aka Christmas) presents. Yes, I know, it's August, as the Import frequently reminds me. However, I need to finish the rather elaborate gift for my mother, an even more elaborate gift for the family gift exchange, and at least one more scarf. In the midst of all that will be random projects intended for me, because I'm a selfish knitter, including a red-and-brown metallic shawl or stole, depending on the amount of yarn I've actually got. I suppose I could always get hold of a third colour if necessary--gold would be nice.

Keep in mind, I knit in order to relax. I love writing, but it gets so overwhelming that sometimes I just need a completely (or almost completely) unrelated creative venture to let me vent. One reason it works so well is because it's not purely creative. It's basically engineering. Hence, I get to use my math skills, my problem solving skills, and my design and construction skills, not to mention that I get to let my Inner Rainman run wild. Anyway, it takes forever to finish a novel, and even longer to sell one. Knitting is far more immediate. Hell, on Sunday morning I started an eight-foot-long scarf, and by Monday evening, it was finished. Don't look so impressed; I double stranded two fairly bulky novelty yarns and used size 11 needles. The whole thing was only 12 stitches wide.

I think I'm going to edit for a little while longer, then go and, I dunno, work on a sock. Or Mom's present, since I really do need to finish it so I can block the thing. She's had a rough year, including major spinal surgery, and she could use something nice and handmade. She's one of the few people I know who really, genuinely understands the work that goes into a handmade item, and who will appreciate it and treat it with care. That said, if she just folds it up and only takes it out for special occasions, I'm pulling it out of its box and making her wear it. ;) Knitting is to be used, not hidden. So sayeth the person whose favourite (cheap yarn) shawl is currently wadded on the floor, where one of the cats dragged it off to make a bed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jewish Graphic Novels

Today, I finally got to visit the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, for the Jewish Graphic Novel exhibit. It closes Sunday (and the museum is never open on Saturdays--Shabbat, don'chaknow), and I'm seriously considering going back that day to see it again. The exhibit covers the history of comic books and graphic novels from a Jewish perspective, and focuses specifically on several novels by Jewish authors and artists that pertain directly to Jewish history, culture, and religion. Will Eisner's work was featured heavily, of course, and I was unspeakably happy to see a whole panel on Magneto. The writer who really developed his character was Jewish, and it was his idea to make him a tragic hero as much as a supervillain. (Magneto is one of my favourite fictional characters simply because he is so complex.)

My happiest discoveries were three comic artists whose work I was previously unfamiliar with: Joann Sfar (The Rabbi's Cat), Steve Sheinkin (the Rabbi Harvey books), and J. T. Waldman (Megillat Esther). They have radically different styles of both art and storytelling, and their work ranges from enchanting (Sfar) to hilarious (Sheinkin) to breathtaking (Waldman). Megillat Esther in particular is intriguing because it retells the Book of Esther (ha'Megillat Esther) in graphic novel format. The artwork is beautiful, and Waldman did a wonderful job of not only bringing the characters to life, but of combining ancient Babylonian symbolism with Hebrew calligraphy.

If anyone in the Tulsa area is free Thursday, Friday, or Sunday, the exhibit is well worth the price of admission. The museum has two permanent exhibits as well. The Holocaust exhibit is subtle and chilling; it's jarring to realise that the enamelled tin cup on the other side of the glass belonged to someone in one of the camps, and several examples of American anti-Semitism are displayed at the beginning of the exhibit, demonstrating why the Nazis were able to get away with so much for so long. Upstairs, they have their general exhibit on Jewish history, which includes a lot of beautiful artwork, several very delicate Torah scrolls (with eeny, weeny writing, agh, my eyes), and some incredible examples of embroidered and quilted religious items, like challah cloths and a beautiful bar mitzvah outfit that had belonged to a boy in Poland.

Definitely worth the admission. If anyone is interested in travelling to Tulsa to see the museum, they'll have a new exhibit opening September 21: In A Different Light: The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak. I'm considering getting a membership so I can wander to the museum with a sketchbook every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Portrait of the Author

It's a well-known fact that I hate having my picture taken. I even tried to wheedle out of wedding photos at my own wedding. Hence, I have no author photo even remotely available.

I have turned to the South Park Studio for a chillingly accurate pictorial depiction of myself. Please note that, in Real Life, there is no possible way I could fit behind a single book, save maybe those gargantuan medieval tomes you see in museums. In any case, I now present to you the South Park version of moi.

There. Wasn't that exciting? I'm sure your lives are enriched beyond comprehension. (And, yes, this really does look eerily like me. It's possible to recognise me based on this picture.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ding, dong, the heat wave's dead...!

Our highs are currently in the 80s (Fahrenheit), with lows in the mid to upper 60s. This makes me happy; I can start taking my bike out at night again. In a few months, "night" will mean anytime after about 6:00. I'm not up to my 2-3 mile regular course yet, but I did over a mile tonight, with some fairly significant uphill climbs, and I didn't dismount once. Rather than pushing for speed, I pushed for stamina. Going slower helped a LOT.

That said, some lower humidity would help, too. I feel like I've been for a swim. *holds shirt away from chest* Yech.

Still plugging along with edits. Have also finished the novelty yarn scarf I started on Saturday, when I'd Harvey Wallbanged myself beyond taste. It actually looks really cool. It's also about eight feet long. Since it's stockinette stitch, it curls into a tube. Wearing it is like wearing a very warm python. A very warm, very tacky python. I fear that any snake with this particular colouration would very quickly fall prey to survival of the fittest.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Mario Scarf. An exceedingly ambitious knitter is knitting the entire first level of Super Mario Brothers. I think this is the geekiest, most awesome thing I've ever seen. To hell with (wonderful, amazing) Tom Baker scarves; this is the new face of nerd knitting!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I'm editing a scene to accommodate an excised subplot. It's intensely personal to the point of making me (and the main character) uncomfortable, and I'm trying to work out how to fully integrate it into the rest of the story. I suppose my wine and knitting session tonight should help somewhat.

And on that note, I need to brush my teeth and find some socks.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I think I've just figured out how to remove the majority of my remaining 42,000 words. I should know by now that when I stop working--come to a dead halt and start knitting and playing Bejeweled instead--that my brain is on percolate. Within fifteen minutes of pulling up my Word window, I had figured out how to remove a huge chunk of unnecessary information. There's one more major section to whittle down, but it shouldn't be too difficult. I'd like to work on the denoument a bit more, too, but that'll fall into place.

Ohh, I hope this is as effective as I think it'll be. One other subplot needs to be removed and a couple of scenes moved around to accommodate it, and then I just have to choose between two characters to see which one--well. That's a spoiler, that is.

Seriously, I feel like I'm playing with Lego. "Yeah, it looks cool on the box, but if I do this...."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yes, it worked! Not that it's actually working. Stupid technology. Stupid heatwave.

Just had a mental discussion with myself regarding one of my characters. "Hmm. He's an alcoholic. What about other drugs? Marijuana was available then--Wait, what am I saying? This guy's not laid-back enough to know what toking is. Thousand pound a day coke habit, though? Totally."

Ladies and gentlemen, the inside of my head after I've been watching reruns of House.


Will my useless connection work this time?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


1. At three in the morning, I had an epiphany as to how I could remove a good 20K words from LLTD. I remember how, and it includes moving a scene later in the book AND removing two unnecessary subplots that were, in previous incarnations, very necessary. However, I want to give Colleen a chance to give some input, because I could be completely and utterly wrong.

2. My DSL has been flaky for two weeks. This is seriously pissing me off. Note to self: get Windstream's number in one of my connection's lucid moments, call to complain. I know it's the heat, but some piece of their equipment is damaged--probably by the insane heat we're having--and it needs to be repaired.

Oy, vey.

The Import got back from Annapolis on Friday, and we've basically goofed off ever since. I really don't have that much of a goofing off tolerance these days, and I've napped as much as anything. That said, we've done anniversary stuff--it's tomorrow, but he has to work--and eaten out way too much. He has Guitar Hero and a Nintendo DS case he actually likes (and some more things on the way), and I have a lovely Lush box set and something else coming. Oh, and the A/C in his car died ten minutes into today's trip across town and back, and he said, "No, we'll be fine," when I asked about going back for my one.

Today's high was in the range of 106°. That's a little over 40&deg: Celsius. This is considered normal where I'm from. I dream of the day when I can retire to either England or Minnesota.

Finally saw The Dark Knight today. OMFZ. Talk about a kick in the teeth, laid bare and put on a movie screen. Yes, Heath Ledger was amazing; his Joker was the embodiment of Death. The whole thing, though, was great. There was a moment about two-thirds of the way through when I went, "That's the whole thing?" But no, no, it wasn't, and, yeah. Fantastic. I know there's a thesis or fifty there. My personal favourite would be titled something like: "Batman and the Joker: The Psychological Interplay of Humanity's Drive for Meaning in the Face of Death." If anyone more educated than I would care to write it, please feel free.

Going to edit for a bit longer, then get some sleep. After a day of driving around in the heat, I need it. Note to self: get up early enough to take his car to the shop.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I want to go back to school.

Dr. John Huehnergard of the Harvard Semitic Studies Department is officially the coolest professor in North America.

That is all.

Useless? You decide.

I feel like I've accomplished absolutely nothing today. I know that's not the case, even if I still have to clean litter boxes and haul trash out tonight. So far, I've finished editing a short and gotten it ready for submission, done grocery shopping, bought a bunch of girly stuff (lip balm is my cosmetics boyfriend), worked on pronoun issues for two or three more chapters, and knitted the toe of a lace-and-cable sock. I know that a toe doesn't sound that impressive, but I'm using tiny yarn (about a third the size of that Red Heart stuff you get at Voldemart) and US 1.5 needles (about the same size as the yarn). My joints are KILLING me, but it'll be so worth it in the end. Mmm, socks.

All right, what haven't I done? Apart from the litter boxes. There's laundry, exercise, cleaning, lunch, dinner....


This is why I shouldn't be left on my own for long periods of time. Food becomes my bottom priority. Wonder if I've got time for a sammich?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I give up. When someone's gender (and species) is "angel," you can't call ilim sir or ma'am. (Yes, I'm practising. Shut up.) So what title do you use?

I'm being lazy and clinging to my copy of Lawrence of Arabia. Efendi it is.

(For the record, my three favourite movies ever are Lawrence of Arabia, Edward Scissorhands, and The Changeling. If you haven't seen them, I heartily recommend all three. Widescreen, HD. Especially for Lawrence.)

S'too early for this.

The pronouns have been revised AGAIN. Hopefully for the final time. The most difficult part is finding something that sounds and reads like a pronoun, while giving subtle visual hints as to which one it conjugates as. I finally have:

il (he, she, it)
ilim (him, her, it)
iliš (his, her/hers, its)
ilištum (himself/herself/itself)

As said before, š is pronounced sh. I'd write sh, but it doesn't correspond to anything in English. Even older forms, to the best of my knowledge, only used th (ð or þ) as a third person suffix, and, yes, they're pronounced differently. (Why, no, I really don't have anything better to do with my time than study dead languages for no constructive purpose. Why do you ask?)

All right, back to context conversion. I think this might work. It still hurts to do, but, hey. Might as well see how it goes.

Ohh, my poor lawn guy.

Last night, I passed out with the light on, my glasses crooked, and a romance novel on my chest (shut up, I'm experimenting). I was also wearing my latest attempt at liquid eyeliner.

This morning, my lawn guy stops by to get his check from Saturday, as he mowed while I was out. I haven't actually brushed my hair yet, so I answered in my "my cats walk all over me" nightshirt, hair everywhere, and my eyeliner smudged like Siouxsie Sioux. He just grinned, fortunately. I dread to imagine what went through his head.

It was just a romance novel! Honest! Blame the author! She's the one who had an entire room rocking with laughter at Conestoga.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Third-gender, third-person pronouns revisited

I have tentatively given into agent (and editorial) suggestion. After much experimentation, I have finally settled upon il - ilu - ilish - ilishtum, which conjugates in the same way as he - him - his -himself. You have no idea how much my teeth are grinding, but if it helps sell the book, so be it. Right now, I'm gripping my head, hoping with all my might that I don't lose half my readership in the first chapter.

Thank you, John Huehnergard. Without your in-depth and easily understood knowledge of a murderously complex dead language (which I happened to usurp for my nefarious purposes), I'd be hanging by my fingertips right now. As it stands, I've got at least one finger wedged into a fissure at the edge of the proverbial cliff.

Tonight definitely calls for a drink.

ETA: make that iliš. It's pronounced the same way as ilish, but is far less visually distracting IMO. Ah, special characters. How did I know it would eventually come to this?

I still want my beer.

ETA2: Aaaad now ilu is ilum. Will the madness never end???


On second look, this isn't the screwball comedy I'd intended. In fact, it's quite possibly the blackest comedy I've ever written. Still gonna submit it. It'll be a tough sale, but, hey, it's done. No sense in stuffing it straight into the trunk.

So. Yeah.

How the hell do I keep my mind off the Novel From Hell now?

Amazing what you can do with a little determination.

The rough draft of the comedy that's been languishing on my hard drive for months now is finally complete. It gets a little serious at the end, but that's okay. It suits the story. And it's still funny overall.

I'll give it a second read in the morning, after I take the trash out. For now, I'm goin' to bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Made of Daft

Dear self,

You have three weeks to rest your brain and work on some blunt comedy. You know perfectly well you've been comedy starved. So why is it that you insist on going, "Oooooooh, that'll help the plot!" regarding the Hellogy every thirty seconds? You've already written half a page of new dialogue AND advanced the Nefarious Plot (as well as the story's plot) a dozen times.

See that short story you've got up? Work on it. Also? Eat something, then get a shower so you can run to the library for ten minutes. You also need to fill in your bookstore application, because that would be the best job EVAR and you know you're good enough to get it.

Now put away the novel, and work on something else. All right? Good little addict.

More annoyance than love,


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unexpected Gifts

Today, Colleen (my lovely agent) asked me to send her my current edit on what is quickly becoming the Novel From Hell. She said it'll take her a few weeks to really go through it as thoroughly as it needs to be seen.

This afternoon, K. D. Wentworth gave me my annual, "You've come so close so many times, I always think, 'this quarter she's going to win', and you really need to keep entering," Writers of the Future lecture.

Despite the religious nature of a lot of my writing, I'm an atheist. I believe strongly in coincidence.

This one is too good to ignore.


Conestoga is over for another year. Much fun was had, no alcohol was drunk (ACK), and I got a lot of awesome information. I'm torn between working on a short story and taking a nap. Somehow, I suspect the nap will win; an hour of belly dancing is wonderfully fun and great for the joints, but I'm knackered. Also? Beading class was a blast. Must get some beading needles and make some bookmarks.

... time passes, Import calls....

Well, I'm completely tired now. Definitely going for that nap. Next year, Conestoga will be in April, so I shouldn't be quite so dead at the end. Some of us just aren't designed for 107° weather. That's Fahrenheit, not Celsius, thank Elvis.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day Two

Awesome panels. Con crud. Came home before I could barf and/or snot on someone's masquerade costume (which would be a tragedy, as we always get some awesome ones). Have taken some vitamin C, and will soon have a bath so I can enjoy tomorrow. I'm looking forward to several of tomorrow's panels. I've spent the last two days in the Fangs, Fur, and Fey room, so tomorrow I'm going to be a naughty writer and go to both the belly dance class AND the beadwork panel. Huzzah!

One of the best things about congoing is that it shows me that I'm not the only person going through the writing problems I have. It's normal to think that the book sucks two thirds of the way through, I'm not the first person to have to do overwhelming revisions, and plenty of other people refuse to show their sex scenes to their parents. The "Business of Writing" panel this afternoon was top notch, and pleasantly followed by the Sex Scenes panel. You can imagine the hilarity that ensued. Oh, and P. C. Cast's dad is made of humiliating awesome.

About ready to go the lazy vegetarian/bad vegan route and just boil some eggs for dinner. Mmm, forbidden eggs. I'm seriously a hair's breadth from saying "screw it" to veganism and just switch to mostly veganism. I've been eating cheese all weekend, anyway, via consuite nachos (delicious, but probably why I've got con crud).

Damn it. Now I want more nachos.

Friday, July 25, 2008


One day of Conestoga down, two to go. Today was pretty awesome, and included a fabulous belly dance show--performed by fairies. You had to be there, but it involved tequila. Damn, I love my local con.

I missed the Fangs, Fur, and Fey bar night, alas. I'm tired, and given how much I have to parcel out my energy these days, I felt it was more prudent to come home and rest. That said, I would have loved a few Sam Adams and a good chat. Must take my copy of Marie Brennan's Midnight Never Come tomorrow so I can get her to sign it. Also, my JBU Best-Of, so I can get one of my fellow best-of authors to sign it for me. *grin*

All right. I'm up in seven hours, and Sunday is going to be even harsher. I'm off to bed. Ohh, I'm going to regret wearing red velvet and heels tomorrow. I just know it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


On the last day of Tacitus's seven-day convalescence, Sophie pilfered his new pocket monkey....
Typos are AWESOME.

Oh, fu....

Kill me. Kill me now. I have annihilated 130-mumblety-K words, and I need to do a whole new revision to kill another 50K. Nnngh. *thumps head on desk more than is healthy*

Worse, I have a whole new plot element I have to foreshadow (a small one, thank Elvis), and I think I may need to reconstruct part of the ending.

Yeah. Yeah. We're gonna skip dinner and just get some sleep. Yes, I know it's 2:30 in the morning. It's dinnertime when I say it is, damn it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stupid Microsoft.

Dear Microshaft,

I'm damned close to installing Open Office and getting it over with. Word 2007 took some getting used to, but the one thing I CANNOT get used to is how damned long it takes to save a file, and HOW OFTEN THE SOFTWARE LOCKS UP FOR IT.

Srsly. I'm editing an 800-page document. I can't have your stupid software choking on it every minute. I'd say it's an issue of file size, but things are no better than they were when it was a 1200-page file. I don't even hold hope for it when I get it down to 500-600 pages. Because you suck. YOU SUCK HARD!

Please give me a free bugfix, kthxbye. Otherwise, my next novel will be written in Open Source.

No love AT ALL,


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Ahh, editing gratuitous sex scenes. I know that the whole thing's probably going to either be cut or trimmed to bare bones (heh, I said bone), but, damn it, I like writing porn. Let me have my moment.

Also? It's really farking hot.


This weekend, I learned that:
  • At least half my artistic temperament comes from my dad's family.
  • Trigger points are miserable things indeed. Ow. Ow.
  • I'm not the only weirdo in my family.
  • Nor am I the only one with Fibromyalgia. Genetic link, anyone?
  • Milk is tasty, but does yucky things. Pleh!
  • Good Indian food is worth any amount of pleh.
I'm glad to be back to editing, all told. I've got a huge stack of knitting to do now, which is a bit annoying, but it'll keep me busy for a long time. Going to edit myself blind this week, get some of the house cleaned up, and hope my back (ow, ow) has loosened up in time for Conestoga this weekend. If anyone's planning to go, look for the weirdo knitting the light blue shawl or the bizarre garter stitch scarf. The shawl might be a bit too complicated to take with me.

Getting back to editing now. Then, we load the dishwasher. UGH. Are men genetically incapable of doing housework before leaving town for two weeks? I came back to a nightmare, and that's not an exaggeration.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I know I haven't posted lately, but I've been working, honest. Getting a little frustrated again, but it'll resolve itself sooner or later.

Going to be away this weekend. I have a family reunion to go to in sunny southwestern Oklahoma. I'm gonna die. I know I'm gonna die. Still need to pack and sleep, too. Oh, well. Packing will take half an hour, tops, including the knitting bag and a couple of books. One of the worst parts will be the loss of WinAmp. My iPod got requisitioned when the Import's died, and was never returned when I got him a brand spankin' new Bluetooth mp3 player. D'oh. Well, I'll pack a few CDs and hope my parents (who are driving) like Shiny Toys Guns.

See you all on Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I found three whole chapters I'd made irrelevant, which means that TBFKaB1 has gone from 145K to 70.6K. I removed more than fifty percent of the damned thing. Hot dog!

I think I'm going to open TBFKAB2 and work out what needs to be rearranged first. I've got a few ideas. Mostly, though, I need some sleep. Assuming I can scrape a suitable spot from beneath either the very snorrific Import (I can hear him on the other side of the house) or a stunningly fat and spoiled cat. I'll probably make Aldous move from the couch. The poor Import has to be up at six, and he has a hard enough time getting to sleep without me making him budge up.

Yes. Rather proud of myself. There's a lot that still needs to be done, and I'll have to go back and patch some holes, but this is eminently doable.


The Book Formerly Known as Book One has dipped below 90K. I've still got a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm getting there. So far, I've cut more than 55K, with as much as 25K yet to be excised. Now to pare both it and TBFKaB2 down to 120K together, and we're set.

In other news, my ear infection is back. Seems it's levafloxacin resistant. This is a very, very bad thing. Seeing a specialist on Friday to see what needs to be done. I sense a microbial culture in my future.

Getting back to work, then trying to get some more sleep. I'm pretty much homebound until my appointment. With luck, I'll be able to con some get-well yarn out of someone.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Looking Up

I just had one of those little flashes of insight that mean that the task I've got before me is eminently doable. A royal pain in the ass, but doable. I've managed to condense some early events to the point that the Former Book One should be cut to maybe a third of its original size. The Former Book Two will be more difficult, but I should be able to retain the high points without losing the flavour of things.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to knit on my upcoming family reunion weekend. It'll have to be from my stash, and I really should get to work on Christmas stuff, but neither of those are really major problems. (Also, if anyone's got any non-Red Heart yarn out there you'd like to get rid of? I'm more than happy to give it a good home.)

I seem to have come up with a solution to my sunscreen problems, too: Desitin. Yes, the caulk-like stuff you smear on diaper rash. It's 40% zinc oxide, which is about the widest-spectrum sunblock available. The rest is pretty much fish oil and petroleum jelly. I haven't been in the sun to test it yet, but, damn, is my skin soft.

All right, back to work. With luck, I'll actually get to sleep before 6:00 this morning.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Dear Self,

When editing down, you should probably not end up expanding scenes from their original formats. Yes, it's now in a completely different context, but there are limits to keep in mind. No, really. You need to stop being so damn wordy. OTOH, you also need to reconsider exactly how much story can fit into three books.

So get back to work, and make this shorter, not longer.




For those of you playing at home, this is starting to get incredibly painful. My self-worth should not be wrapped up in a word count, but for now, it is. There's loads yet to come out, and I keep telling myself that, but... Rrrr! I think it's time to re-negotiate the ending point on this thing. I've still got to pack everything into three books rather than five, though, and the next two are even longer. Fortunately, one can be re-worked and the other can have whole chapters cut free. Still going to be living hell to get this all done.

Nope, nope, the ending on book two needs to remain the end to the condensed first book. It fully cements the main character into the thick of things and takes away any easy out he might have. Also, no more living on PB&J. That's a complete aside, but a necessary one, I fear.

A few more minutes of work, and then to bed.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Brokeback Kittehs

I am increasingly convinced that Crowley, my enormous white kitty, is gay. No, seriously. Last summer, I saw him trying to mate with another stray I call Bravery. Well, this summer it turns out that Bravery is a boy. Admittedly, it might have been a dominance issue, like he's had with Aldous, who does NOT appreciate being made someone's bitch.

But today, Crowley started bringing Aldous gifts. He'll sometimes pick up his toys and bring them to me while I'm knitting. Four times, he walked straight past me with a toy in his mouth, and set it in front of Aldous's kitty jungle gym. The Import just rolls his eyes at the whole concept, but I'm the writer, damn it. Let me have my active imagination.

Editing continues apace. In fact, I haven't even had a shower yet today. (TMI FTW!) It's kind of nice to go back and insert new scenes to accommodate the change in structure. It feels like revisiting a more innocent time in the series. Not that any time in the series was innocent. Backstory is my friend.

Aaaand that squeal means that Jack "Crowley" Twist is at it again. I'm gonna go spray down the cat. Poor Aldous.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I am not allowed to watch Robot Chicken anymore. I was just working on a very, very foreshadowy bit involving two characters who will eventually fall in love, and the first thing that went through my head: "This is me. This is Stalin. We're married."

Just trust me. FUNNIEST. THING. EVER.

Incentive Time

Dear Self,

You really, really need to get your ass in gear. It seems that the carrot method might be best, only, you can get carrots any time you want, being vegetarian and all. Hence, I am giving you this. Eleven balls Bronzed Olive, five Henna, or however many are required. You are getting a sweater of your own design when you finish cramming two books into one. If this requires saving pennies from the sidewalk, it will happen. You have your carrot.

Now get back to work. No, you cannot take time off for the What Not To Wear marathon. Editing first. Sweater second. Anyway, you're on a fun bit. And that sort of TV rots your brain.



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ah, crap.

My brilliant method of reducing word count has required the retooling of more character motivation than I can keep up with at one in the morning (or near enough). While there are distinct advantages that can be played on later, it's also a pain in the butt. Damn my brain! Like alcohol, it, too, is the answer to and source of all of life's problems.

Monday, June 30, 2008

And back to work.

The worst of my insomnia seems to have passed. In its last throes, I worked out a way to shear another 10-20K from my book, which will require a near-total rewrite (AGAIN). This is getting ridiculous. It's what needs to be done, though. Keep telling myself it'll help the story.

As the Import has the day off and is doing nothing more taxing than playing EverQuest, I'm going to see if he'll put the kettle on. This sort of work calls for rooibos in massive amounts.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The universe is going out of its way to make up for Neil's absence. The anthology clause was in my contract, but I thought it was just a formality. OMFG.

I think this calls for Vietnamese food. Must see if my parents are willing to shell out, as I just paid the mortgage.

Linky, in case anyone wants to buy a copy of The Best of Jim Baen's Universe II. I'll even sign it for you. (EEEEEE! I can walk into my local B&N and sign copies, and they won't kick me out!!!)
Neil was cancelled.

I'm going back to bed.


Are sedatives supposed to stop working? I managed six very spotty hours of sleep last night WITH medical intervention. We'll find out in an hour if it was enough!

Right now, my big worries are the rain, whether my bra is showing (considering changing my shirt), and making an idiot of myself. "You're Neil." "Yes, I am." "You're Neil!"

As an illustration, I direct you to this graph.

Must put on some pants now. I do, indeed, wish to continue fighting crime today.

Friday, June 27, 2008



Thanks to chemical intervention, I managed about 16 hours, and now I feel like myself. Still need a shower and to do the laundry, but I'm editing again. Editing goooood. (Also? I have mint tea. Mmmm.) Should probably eat something later to make up for the less-than-500 calories I've had a day for the whole dang week, but I don't see that being much of a problem. Need to eat my roasted beets, anyway. Normally, they'd be long gone by now.

All right, back to work. I want to have book one down to 50-55K before I begin compressing book two. Together, they need to be about 120K.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Starting day three....

In the last 72 hours, I've managed maybe--MAYBE--eight hours of shuteye. This insomnia hits every summer when the mould spore spikes, but it's not normally this bad. Going to try and get something for it tomorrow. I need this mess straightened out at least somewhat before Saturday, because I'm meeting NEIL FUCKING GAIMAN.

Not that "Fucking" is his middle name. According to Wikipedia, it's Richard (which, coincidentally, is my dad's name). But you get the point.

I've had my ticket since April. I'm in the third row for the screening of Beowulf, I have access to the early signing, and I'm going to the post-movie reception. (I splurged on my mad money portion of this year's tax return.) There is no effing way I'm missing this thing due to my immune system's eccentricities. If I have to down a bottle of sherry to knock myself out, well, it's probably a good thing I only buy the small bottles.

Due to the lack of sleep, editing is going very, very slowly because I don't trust my judgement right now. OTOH, knitting is going amazingly well, apart from the lace scarf I tried to start tonight, only for Crowley to jump into my lap and accidentally pull the needle loose. No big. He needed cuddles anyway. I did finish a Victorian-era shawl this evening. The Import thinks it's hideous (it's light grey, with medium grey edging), but I love it to death. My mom, alas, will very likely find a way to claim it for herself. I may have to make another one to fend her off. Keep in mind, the lace scarf is for her. I'm fairly sure any additional claims she lays are payback for the crap I gave her as a child.

All right. I'm terminally awake, so I'm going to be productive. In other words, let's hear it for PBS, Nova, and DVR technology.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


There appears to be some good from my newly mega-restrictive diet. The wonderful pink linen skirt I bought a few weeks ago is hanging off my hips. Still stays up, so it still technically fits (writer fashion!), but I'm not sure how much longer it'll be before I have to consign it for something else. Or, y'know, rip the side seams, reduce the waistband, and keep it for another few months.

Must get back to editing.

Am reading the sequel to The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions. Literally read half of it last night, and will probably finish tonight. Elizabeth E. Wein is incredible, and I dearly need to get hold of The Mark of Solomon (both books).

Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin died.

Not funny. Not funny at ALL.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Go and congratulate Kelly on her sale! Go, Kelly! =)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Aspiring Writers,

When writing your first good novel, make sure to keep it as short as possible. I didn't. Now I'm learning the hard way how to completely restructure two long books to fit into one short one. I'll be finishing the sherry tonight and considering getting another bottle--cooking sherry, if necessary. Also? Figuring out how a girl in Victorian London would show her pr0n collection to a boy she's not remotely interested in is harder than it sounds.

I shall now return to editing, all the time fighting to ignore the suddenly clarion call of laundry. While the Import is ecstatic over my new interest in housework, it's not terribly mutual, and I'd like to hide under a rock until it passes.



Tuesday, June 17, 2008


*checks news*

*notes that neither California nor Massachusetts have slid into the ocean yet*

*waves little happy flag*

Carry on.

The World's Sexiest Pin-Up

Aldous Huxley, as seen in his audition shoot for Hot Transkitty. Or, y'know, having a bath after I've put the mattress pad back on the bed. A stripped bed is an Aldous magnet. (He had a life-threatening urinary blockage last year and had to have all his equipment amputated. Hence, my cat is transgender.)

I'll post pics of Baby and Crowley when I have some decent ones. Please forgive the slightly blurry quality. The Import is in Florida for a week, and he took the camera with him. I'm just lucky I found my phone before Aldous decided he was clean.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh, Zod in Krypton.

Wanted: one gas mask or one cork sized Cat's Butt.

I have no honest idea where Crowley keeps it. He reeks at both ends, but every once in a while, nations fall under onslaught of his gaseous emissions.

Yes, I know. I'm talking about cat farts. Believe me, where this cat is concerned, they're epic.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sweet Elvis!

This morning, I finished knitting a linen string bag (ie, a glorified fishing net) in the middle of Panera. Don't ask what I was doing awake at seven in the morning, much less in a Panera. Anyway. The bag didn't look all that big; it's only 160 stitches around, which isn't much for lace weight yarn, even if I doubled it and used proportionately ginormous needles (sz. 10.5, aka 6.5mm). So I took my new bag, along with my other two trusty sidekicks, to Whole Foods to pick up some soy-based goodness.

I kid you not, my string bag took about forty pounds of groceries and demanded more. There were no more, at least not in my bank account. I could fit a king-sized comforter in that thing if I wanted to. Its in the washer right now, losing both sizing and attitude, though I wouldn't lay money on the attitude. As much as I'd like another one, I'm a little afraid they would breed and engulf the world in the deceptive depths of a million little string bags.

We'll see what I want to do when I finish the other half-dozen projects I've got on the needles. *shifty look*

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Experimental sex change time. Back for breakfast.


This "editing" thing is going to take a few passes. At a point that should be no more than, say 40 pages in, I'm on 73. Rrr. This is incredibly frustrating, and eventually, I'm going to need some help. There's murdering your darlings, and then there's butchering them and burying their remains in concrete.

I've got a few ideas as to how to kill space, but it'll take a few polishes. This really sucks. Not enough for me to give up, but I'm seriously considering how much fun can be found in cleaning the litterbox.

In better news, cute baby lions are cute, and Crowley is stretched out in a very overcast sunbeam.

I'll be glad when next week gets here. The Import is off on business again Sunday, so I'll have a few days to just work. I love him to death, but our schedules are so different that it's hard to work around them sometimes.

Oh, this Saturday is WorldWide Knit in Public Day. If you're a knitter, crocheter, or other fibre crafter, either find a KiP on the website, or just take your hobby to the mall or park or other public place and work for a while. I'll be representin' at Woodward Park in Tulsa, OK, if anyone wants to turn up. Look for the obscene amounts of sun-protection gear.


I just took a break from editing to let my brain turn to mush over lion cubs. A zoo in Norway has set up a live feed of four cubs (little tinies) and their mother. The cubs are still unsteady, and one toppled on his side as he tried to make it to the pile o' sibs. Mama came over, and now it's time for dinner and a nap. They're. So. CUTE. They even knead mama's belly like a house-kitten.

I want to pet them. At the same time, I want to live, so I shall refrain.

Going to get a little more editing in tonight, then crash. At a point where I'm not entirely sure what to cut. I suppose it'll go away when it needs to.

(Oh, it strikes me that my review of The Winter Prince was a bit incoherent. It's an excellent and unusual retelling of the story of Mordred (Medraut in Welsh) and his place in Arthur's court. There's lots of resentment and quiet intelligence and background evil and sibling rivalry, and it's beautifully constructed and told. I'm a sucker for anything Mordred, and this is one of the better takes I've seen.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh, fu....

I've changed the first paragraph to conform with a major change to the tone of the book. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ohhh, this is going to be interesting.

Editing: A Great Deal, Though Not Exactly, Like Performing Open-Abdominal Surgery On Yourself. *flappy hands of horror*

Four thirty, and all's well.

Don't look at me like that. I fell asleep at 7:00. Naps are the great devourers of schedules.

As soon as I figure out what I'm going to do with one particular character, I'm going to set to the first major incisions on THotE. It needs some pretty serious surgery--we're talking multiple organ transplant serious. It would help if the plot bunnies for my Weird UF Idea would stop chewing my brain like fluffy zombies. At least I've got a good idea of what I'll work on next. Should make the English Import happy. He loves UF, though I'm not sure how he'll take to my particular flavour of Adventure and Magic in the Urban Jungle.

Basically, I'm putting off sleep mk. 2 as long as I can right now because as soon as I wake up, I have to murder my darlings. Long, slow, painful murder. Catharsis is healthy, but it's also gutting. (Note to self: must also buy cat food. And coat hangers. And NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN TIDYING THE CLOSET WHEN THERE IS MURDER TO COMMIT.)

There is a cat making pathetic noises at me, so I'm going to go and check the food bowl, then go to bed.

Oh, another book: I've just finished The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth E. Wein. OMG, I want more. I've already got the other two in the series on order from the library. I want to keep Medraut. As a friend, a pet, a roomie, tied to my bed, I just want to keep him. He needs love! Dearly glad I picked that one up. Thank the Aksum Empire that I found Wein.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Aside from the fact that it's 3:00 and I'm still in my pyjamas, I think I've just created another series. *cue groan* It's practically designing itself. I've got enough to write! Why, brain, why? And it's UF. Weird UF, but UF all the same.


You know that rule that says you can't die until your work is finished? Between writing and knitting, I think I've discovered the secret of immortality. If it weren't three in the afternoon, I'd need a drink.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My only political post until November


OMFG YES! Tonight, I don't even care about things like VP candidates or how dead my legs feel after almost three miles on the bike. MAH CANDIDATE, HE IS TEH CANDIDATE. WOOOOOO!!!! OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!

This has been so much more fun than the 2004 race. Much popcorn was eaten, many nails were bitten, and now the real race heats up.

All right. Now that I've crowed my political leanings to the whole world, I'm gettin' some work done, then goin' to bed.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Now you too can wear an abacus on your wrist! This is the coolest thing I've seen in ages. I want to make a three-stranded one so I can go into the hundreds. I wonder how much row spacers are going for these days?

Seriously, how cool would it be to have someone say, "Oh, what a pretty bracelet/necklace/whatever!" only for you to use it to calculate the cost of your shopping?

I am such a geek, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Holy crap, I really was offline too long! Go and congratulate Colleen on making her first sale as an agent! Also, congratulate Alan on selling his book!

Excuses for being offline

I got the first round of editorial notes, and I think I'm coming to terms pretty well with gutting the series to reassemble. (+++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR, REBOOT UNIVERSE +++) Part of me is doing its best impression of James Earl Jones in Revenge of the Sith, but the rest is ready to get on with it.

As for the other reasons I've been offline, a friend had a baby, who now requires a hand-knitted toy; my bathrooms are clean; I've been making revision notes; and I'm clearing out my yarn stash to determine what needs to be kept and what needs to be donated. I'm splitting the donate stack between the Mother Bear Project and my mum-in-law, who does crafts with the residents at an old folks' home. It's quite a sizeable stack. Sadly, even the "must keep" pile is nearly as large as I am.

Off to sort some more yarn. It helps me write, believe it or not. Now just to get my DVR, and....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Still Alive

There's not much going on right now, to be honest. I should have my editorial notes next week, which will help. I've mostly been dealing with lupus-or-whatever; it's affecting my fingers right now, which makes typing difficult. When I can finally get my hands on a digital voice recorder, things should improve--write now, transcribe later.

I've got a family reunion coming up in a couple of months. I suspect that being around a gaggle of second cousins I've never met, but who possibly all act exactly like every other member of my dad's family, will result in a few story ideas. Never mind that the reunion is taking place in a small town in southwest Oklahoma. I'm a little surprised we're not staging a raid on the state capitol to take back a piece of crocheted lace my grandmother made, and which is now a permanent fixture in the state gallery. Then, given that side of the family, half a dozen engineers and a case of beer will get together, and it'll probably deteriorate into madness.

Fortunately, I like madness.

The Import wants to go to Best Buy, so I'm going to point out restaurants on the way to see if I can get out of cooking. Can someone please give him a taste for Chinese food? I'm dying for a hit of eggplant and tofu in garlic sauce.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Yesterday, I biked two miles after a couple of weeks of not being able to go out at all. Tonight, I did just over half of one, but that's because Oklahoma in May is prone to lightning.


I'm gonna go and work on my wiki. And maybe have a drink. Or some Vicodin. Yeah, Vicodin. That's the ticket.

Flabby, shapeless muscles for the lose.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

This "work" thing is hard.

I'm barely into getting my information wiki-ed, and I'm already realising how much work still needs to be done on THotE. I'll have my editorial notes by the end of the weekend--I'm both looking forward to the great event and dreading it. With luck, Yon Agent and I shan't have too much in the way of head-butting with regards to her thoughts, but there are a few things I wouldn't mind being forced to justify. I'd do it myself, tonight, but it's two in the morning and I'm beat.

And a cat just stole my part of the bed. Sigh.

I'm going to go and curl up on the couch. Easier than battling the cute. Why, oh, why did I ever think it was a good idea to adopt three fuzzbutts? (Oh, yeah. Because I'm a big marshmallow where cats are concerned. My IQ drops perceptibly in their presence.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Amazing new writing tool.

Via a comment posted on Fangs, Fur, & Fey, I got the idea to load up a desktop wiki to keep track of my writing universe(s). As it seemed like a fantastic idea, I downloaded and installed MoinMoin Desktop Edition.

I'm in love.

Still entering information, and it'll take ages to perfect, but it'll give my brain a handy crutch. I have a feeling I'll have to learn a little bit of programming (or at least Python) to make it do everything I want, but the interface is easy and very friendly, and the software is sleek. It's beautiful. I highly recommend it, and I'll be using it for other writing projects in future.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Still awaiting my editorial notes. Getting a bit frustrated. I'd like to have them by the end of the week so I can get into the thick of things. I essentially went cold turkey on novels, and it's really starting to wear on my nerves. Tonight, I wrote a two-page Unspoken Scene from book 1-2. It helped more than I expected, but at the same time Sam Vimes comes to mind: one drink is too many, and two aren't enough.

In other news, thanks to the price of, well, everything, I've decided to go low-tech and start cooking my own staples. With the help of my KitchenAid mixer, bread is phenomenally simple and fast to make. I usually bake two to four loaves a week because they're smaller than commercial loaves. It's all very economically sound; a five-pound bag of flour is cheaper than a loaf of bread. Lean dough--flour, yeast, salt, water--bakes up tasty and nutritious, and is exceedingly flexible. Mmm, kalamata olives.

Going to get to bed. Doctor's appointment in the morning. Time to see what the lupus-or-whatever is doing. I foresee bloodloss and much prodding.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


New layout. Yes? No?

Friday, May 02, 2008

She's Famous!

The Online Writing Workshop currently features an interview with my agent, Colleen Lindsay. Go! Read! Laugh! Cry! Eat popcorn!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


So I've probably got until next week before my editing notes arrive. Contrary to what my recent posts may indicate, I'm chomping at the bit to get the series beaten into shape. Tonight, I finally got 'round to watching Sweeney Todd, and I had a hard time concentrating because I kept comparing it to my own work--in very vague terms, mind. Keeping kosher isn't just a good idea in my series, it's the law, and selling Mrs. Lovett's Special Pies to an unsuspecting public would earn one a short rope and a long fall.

In the meantime, the English Import has a few days off work, so I'm going to spend some time with him. In other plans, I need to make another stab at the house, especially the kitchen and living room (and the laundry, ugh). Need to switch to my new computer, which has been sitting in the living room for over a week now 'cause I'm a moron. And I need to re-edit two stories I sent through the slush forum over at Baen's Bar. Good feedback on both, but one needs a little work and the other, quite expectedly, needs a metric buttload of revision. Ah, well. Even if I don't get it finished this week, I will later.

And the Import and I are totally going to see Iron Man on Friday because we're huge geeks. Hell, I worked in a comic shop for nearly two years. Wouldn't mind going back to it for a little while if there were one within a couple of miles of my house. Alas, as there isn't, I shall have to find other things to fill my time. Like, y'know, writing.

It's very late, and I'm reading S. M. Peters's Whitechapel Gods. I'd like to get another couple of chapters in tonight. I swear, this book was written just for me: steampunk microbiology (microgadgetry?), Victorian London, and odd and terrifying rulers. Just add angels, and it might as well be a part of my flesh and blood. (Note to self: find and re-read Cameron Rogers's The Music of Razors.)

I really ought to start keeping a list here of what I'm reading. For the record, I just finished Deborah LeBlanc's Morbid Curiosity. She's a really neat lady, incredibly nice, and has a writing and storytelling style similar to Richard Laymon (R.I.P.). An enjoyable, tense read. Dorchester really puts out some awesome stuff.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Victory is mine!

My kitchen is not only clean, but almost fully organised! Of course, this means that I'm still waiting for my editing notes, but if it takes a few more days, I'll have the whole house beaten into shape.

Must go in a minute. Meeting a friend for lunch. Knitting (and possibly baking) this weekend for another friend, who's sick. Now where did I put that quick-and-easy sock pattern?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Dude, my parents bought me a new bike! I was going to get my old one tuned up and re-tyred, but it turns out that I've grown since I was 12 and the frame was too small. I now have a 2007-model Serona Giant hybrid bike in maroon and grey. Nearly had one wipeout already, and I was chased up the street by a small dog. Don't care. I have a mode of transport that doesn't cost $3.19 a gallon and rising. It's efficient enough to take me to the grocery store, Walgreens, the convenience store, the bowling alley, the craft store, some clothing stores, an awesome bookstore where I'd like to work, a Sonic, and a bunch of other places.

Now I just need some stamina, a bike lock, and a suitable backpack to carry my shopping.

Let's hear it for cheap transportation!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Long story.

Must sleep now.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Dear Lane Bryant,

You win at SUCK. How dare you post a 30% off sale, then not include the Right Fit trousers that I can actually wear? You try buying jeans with a 38" waist and 52" hips. I'm a freak of nature and proud of it, but I'd also like to NOT have to spend full price every waking moment just to keep my damn trou from sliding down my butt. Send me a coupon or something, mmkay? One that will let me get clothes that fit.

Oh, and stock some black jeans, wouldya? Some of us never quite outgrew our goth periods.

No love right now,



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Still alive.

Still awaiting agent notes, so I've been working on short stories, knitting and crocheting, planning to sell some things on Etsy, and GETTING FABULOUSLY DRUNK ON LYRICA. No, seriously. My doctor doesn't want me spending the whole summer on steroids, so he gave me this stuff for neuropathic pain, and OMFG I WOKE UP DRUNK! My entire first day on the stuff, I couldn't get out of my chair because every time I tried... well, we almost needed a new TV, let's put it that way.

So now I'm on half the recommended starting dose. Apparently, I'm a great, big wuss.

Crowley is a very sweet cat, but he's also stinky and Machiavellian. He tried to show dominance by fouling the community water supply. Doing all I can to show that he's actually on the bottom rung--Baby's at the top--but he's very, er, independent. Also? Gorgeous. Think blue-eyed Turkish Van with class 9 piebald colouration. Not quite up to breed standards (we think he was dumped by a backyard breeder), but more than up to love-and-snuggles standards.

I'm ready to buy stock, however, in an enzymatic cleaner company. *holds nose*

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Cats are slowly adapting to each other, and I've almost stopped freaking out when Crowley, who looks like a ghost cat (seriously, he's that white), goes padding around in low light. Baby has almost forgiven Mommy, and I think I might get some snuggles tonight.

Blah. Still waiting on revision notes--getting impatient, here--so I've been knitting and crocheting. Have come up with a nifty way to make money on Etsy, too, so that might be an option for future. Hands are killing me. Talking to the rheumatologist about this on Monday.

Have edited and re-submitted a story I'm quite fond of. It's very Ray Bradbury-esque, though definitely written by me. Keeping my fingers crossed on the submission, as the market is kind of a long shot for SF this hard.

Sleep now.

And Charlton Heston is dead.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Remind me never to be between jobs again.

Yesterday, I was supposed to clean up the kitchen. Instead, I spent the whole day with my parents' fax machine, calling back and forth between my doctor's office and the state unemployment office. My doc's office sent everything they needed to in order to show that my old job was really, genuinely damaging me... and the state refused it because it bore a signature statement rather than a physical signature. *sigh* Fortunately, it's all straightened out now.

Today, as I am still awaiting revision notes (and twitching not to just use my own occasionally faulty judgement and dive straight in), I have to clean house. I also have to get a second litter box. Do I go to Waldemart and spend four bucks, or Southern Ag and spend seven? (We get HUGE litter boxes. Baby is 14 pounds, Aldous is 20, and Crowley's going to be comparable once we get him fattened up.) Eh, Southern Ag has the canned food Baby and Aldous like, so I might just go there. Support local business and all that good stuff.

On the job front, at the end of summer, the completely awesome bookstore a mile from my house will be hiring, and I think I've got a good chance of getting in at 20-30 hours a week, including weekends. I won't get to see the Import as much as I'd like, but the shop's hours are VERY reasonable, and I'd be happy working there, which is a huge improvement over what I'm coming from. Hence, unless something utterly amazing comes along, I think I'll just work on edits this summer, get the house whipped into shape, and recuperate from a very prolonged and stressful situation.

In short, I'm blogging when I should be vacuuming. Or something. Eh, I'll figure it out.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to Make Your Cats Hate You

So Crowley Kitty, our beautiful little piebald stray, is happy and warm (and drying off) in the garage, and this week will be going to the vet. He needs a checkup and shots and a good neutering, as well as a bath and maybe a shave, but once that's all done, we'll bring him home and keep him.

Note to self: must get second litter box.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Word of advice: when your arthritis is acting up enough to make you run for the good painkillers, you should probably not start knitting a sweater.

Still Alive

I'm waiting for revision notes from my agent. Once I've got them, I'll be able to sink my teeth into something. I hate this "between projects" sensation. I have to work on something at all times, else I get a little, er, twitchy. Normally, I would start something else, or go back to a just-started project. Right now, though, I don't actually know when I'll get any sort of response, so I'm reluctant to immerse myself in anything else, even a short story (though I've got a near-future SF comedy I might give another shot). THotE is so immense and overwhelming that it will chew me up and spit me out if I don't give it my full attention, and the revisions are going to be massive.

That said, it's been kinda nice to polish up the Infamous Novelette, which took two years to write. I'm normally much faster than that, but the story got very, er, complicated. Also, I got to curl up with Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things for a while last night, and I'm always up to spending some time reading Teh Neil.

I should probably get up and work on things soon. I've got a couple of errands to run today, and it'll be nice not to be in the post office during a busy period. Also, Baby is curled up in the corner with her pretty tabby head on top of her one butterscotch rear paw. AWWWWWW! That's Mommy's beautiful fluffy girl! =) I'll get pictures of the cats one of these days. There may be two, there may be three. It all depends on how the Crowley Kitty adoption works out.

Okay, off to take a shower, in three, two, one....

*curls up with a book, 'cause it's a dark and stormy day*

Monday, March 24, 2008


Finished my synopsis, and now I need to give Yon Agent a chance to read it and come up with some suggestions. This is harder than you'd think, especially since I'm not supposed to get into any major new projects. (We're havin' words about that at some point, Colleen. :P) Since finishing the synopsis, I've revised a 70-something page novelette, submitted it for feedback in my Secret Hidey-Hole, aaaand realised that a story I wanted to submit to Glimmer Train is already on submission at Intergalactic Medicine Show. It's got some language issues that really can't be changed (historical context), so I doubt Edmund will take it. Was worth a shot, though.

At this rate, I'm going to have to clean house. Or call around to find someone to mow my lawn this summer. Or clean house. Would help if Staples would get here with my shiny new bookcases. I've been up for hours, and no sign of them yet. I hope. There's a chance I dozed off and slept through it. Dreamt I heard some knocking. I'd better check that.

Wanted: bookcases, and a new project that won't get me in trouble. Please send suggestions and office furnishings to....

Sunday, March 23, 2008


My synopsis was supposed to be, oh, twelve pages? Less, if possible?

I got the series summed up in twenty-three.


Anyone got a scalpel I can borrow? Or a machete? Flamethrower's good.

*gets back to work*

Friday, March 21, 2008


Dear books,

I know I asked you to start sucking again, but you didn't have to take me so thoroughly at my word. Sigh.

Times like this, I look forward to butchering you.

Still too much love,



In other news, on Monday, I shall have two new bookcases in my office. Time to de-clutter the whole house, I think. Lemme catch up on tidying, and I'll get my friend K to come over and do her Magical Ebay Thing to everything I own.

Speaking of which, another chapter or so, and I need to get to cleaning for the day. Yay. Still, not as bad as it could be. I kinda like this hausfrau thing, at least as long as 4/5ths of the day goes to writing, editing, and the tearing of hair and garments.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


My office is CLEAN! WHEE!

Next step: two of THESE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Dear books,

Yes, you sucked in the beginning, but you got better very quickly. Could you please start sucking again so I can find something not absolutely critical to the damn plot?

Too much love,


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Arthur Clarke isn't supposed to die. =(

Monday, March 17, 2008


Been working on the series synopsis all day. Oh, sweet Elvis. Apparently, my greatest weakness is writing huge, overblown scenes that go on and on and on and on and on only so I can make one tiny point. GAH!

*gets out the red pen*

ETA: I swear, I do a better job of writing synopses when I'm tired and lazy. I'm too tired to fill in all the details, hence I only get the high points. Maybe I should start doing this when I'm dead tired as a matter of course.

Meh. Need sleep soon. Busy day tomorrow. I wanna stay home and write!

Superstition vs. Relief

You know, I'm not superstitious. ("Ceramic atheist" is a better way to put it.) However, I'm not sure whether to take the little things that have happened since I quit my hated day job as signs that I did the right thing (universe rewarding me level), signs that I did the right thing (purely reasonable level), or just the product of a lot of hard work and the general cycle of the publishing industry. I'm strongly leaning toward #3 with a dash of #2, but #1 is whimsical enough to make me grin.

The breakdown is that, an hour after I got home from my last day, my lovely agent gave me a sound kick in the butt that will make THotE about ten times stronger that it already is. I've had a lively and pleasurable tizzy of a time working out some practical and etymological problems related to the series, and I can't remember the last time I had a chance to do that. And this morning, I got an email stating that a story I wrote and adore has made it to an EiC's desk. :)

I was doing well twenty minutes ago, and now I'm realising that, for the first time in longer than I care to remember, I'm happy. Properly happy. That's not something to be snubbed.

Back to writing!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The pronoun thing again

Quick post while my hair dye sets. Forgive any typos. I can't see a damned thing without my glasses.

TMy issue with the whole pronoun thing isn't an artistic one; it's a commercial one. These books are a commercial venture, first nd foremost. THat's hard for me to say. My formal training is in Fine Art. I spent eight years training to be a portraitist. Art is my calling, my nature, and in many ways my life. However, publishing isn't an art; it's a business.

A few years ago, my dad sat me down when I was in one of my teenage socialist ranty phases. He told me a story about his office (he'd just retired from his job as an engineer) and a training class one of the managers had given a batch of new engineers.

"What is the purpose of our business?" the manager said.

Every single engineer in the room said, "To provide electricity."

"No," said the manager. "Our purpose is to make money. We do that by providing a service."

That's stuck with me. Writing is my business now. I provide a service in order to make money. Certain things are expected of thta service, and one is readability. I fear that adding a new pronoun that wil be used frequently will make my service more desirable to a very, very small audience and will drive away a large one.

In the movie Bend It Like Beckham, there was originally a major plot line in which Jess and Jules were going to end up in a lesbian relationship. It was a fantastic idea, and I was disappointed when I learned that it had been cut. (Among other things, OMFG, Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley snogging!) However, enough subtext remained to give the suggestion that there was more going on than a simple love triangle, and the tension made it a stronger movie. At the same time, the addition of a heterosexual love interest made the movie accessible to a wider audience. It's a shame that it had to be done; there are too few lesbian relationships portrayed in a positive light in mass media. But I understand why it was done, and that change to the plot took the movie from a possible cult classic to an international smash.

It's all about business. It's also all about gradual introduction of concepts in order to acclimate an overall audience to new ideas. Besides, I'm of the general opinion that THotE is revolutionary in enough areas--especially the inclusion of a fully formed and intimidating parliamentary government in a fantasy context--that pushing for everything will damage the story on whole.

Does this make sense to anyone but me? I know it seems like an awful lot of fuss over one pronoun, but I've seldom seen it done well, and then usually in SF. Hell, even Heinlein never really got deeply into this territory, and he hit on every other possible aspect of fluid gender and sexuality, up to and including a species that matured from one sex to another. If a master like Bob shied away, I'm not sure I'm a strong enough writer yet to pull it off effectively.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Screw it.

Dear characters,

You're hermaphroditic. However, you're causing trouble with your pronouns. Ya know what? You can choose your own gender identities. You in the big floofy dress, you can be called "she." You, the pregnant one in the suit? You're "he." You with the massive drinking problem and unstoppable ambition? You can clean my kitchen in a Speedo.

We cool?




Now to see if Yon Agent is cool.

Query Theory

I've been wracking my brains for about 13 hours now (including six hours of sleep) on a pronoun. Not just any pronoun, mind. Oh, no. This is a non-English, gender-angel, third person singular pronoun. I think I've got it worked out. I just need to let it simmer. And possibly go out for sushi later today.

Anyway. To let my brain relax a little, I'm going to put my Query Theory into a form usable to anyone other than me. This theory and a lot of work--a lot of work--got me an agent and has resulted in partial requests from editors, so I know it's good.


A query fits on one typed page. That's 8.5x11 or A4, standard margins, single spaced, carriage returns between paragraphs rather than indentations, 12pt. font. No, 11pt. won't cut it. I typically use Times New Roman, though anything from Arial to Garamond to whatever is readable will work. Now, twelve lines will automatically go to things like date, agent's name and address, and salutation. In fact, your query will begin:



Dear Agent's Name,

That's one line for date, one blank, five for address information, three blank, salutation, and one more blank line following that. THIS LOOKS PROFESSIONAL. DO NOT BALK AT THE BLANK SPACE. Blank space goes back to a time when paper was expensive and respect was shown by wasting it. Your potential agent or editor deserves respect, so waste your bloody inexpensive paper.

Now, I've seen many ways of going into the bulk of things. Some people recommend a personal introduction, and this works sometimes. In fact, if the agent or editor specifically requested a query, say at a writers' convention, then you always want to start with a brief introduction. For general use, I prefer going straight to the hook. Agent Query has a good article on hooks here.

The thing to remember here, though, is that a hook is a punch to the gut. You want in and out as quickly as possible. Fifty words, tops. "Scarlett O'Hara, a ruthless Southern Belle, loses everything in the Civil War and vows to regain wealth, love, and power--at the cost of her own humanity." Gone With the Wind, 28 words. I've written it in as few as 17. If you need practise, take someone else's famous work and break it down as far as it can go.

Your next paragraph will be your mini-synopsis. This needs to be 150 words, tops, though I broke that rule: mine was 160 and broken into two paragraphs. One was the book condensed, and the next was the series description. If you're selling a series, say so. Supertitle, number of books, genre, overall theme. Boom, 30 words. Up to 35 if your titles are reeeeally long, like mine.

"When antebellum Georgia is plunged into war, Scarlett O'Hara joins her fellow Confederates to stand against the hated Yankees. A spoiled and demanding girl, the war turns Scarlett into a scheming and ruthless woman--determined to take revenge for her family's downfall, and steal Ashley Wilkes, her cousin's devoted husband, for herself. However, she--and her steely ways--catch the eye of Rhett Butler, a rogue from Charleston. To further her gains and Ashley's jealousy, Scarlett becomes Mrs. Rhett Butler, only for her own ambitions to imperil everything she has fought to gain. Gone With the Wind is an epic tale of struggle, love, and the lengths to which people will go to come out on top, and the consequences of forgetting one's fellow man."

That? Was 125 words. In my eyes, it's a pretty functional breakdown of the story. That should be your second paragraph and, for a stand-alone book, your final word on the story itself.

Your next paragraph will be your biography. "My name is Margaret Mitchell. My work has appeared in/through.... Gone With the Wind is complete at eleventy billion words. A partial is available on request."

Always, always thank the agent/editor for his/her/er time. "Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you." Skip one line, and close with, "Yours truly."

After that, type your name, give four carriage returns (three blank lines), and give your address, email address, and phone number. Two lines for address within the US (usually), one for email, phone number always goes last unless otherwise specified. Sign your name in the blank space under your name.

And that's my query theory. Discuss amongst yourselves, I'm goin' to the library.