1. Shirley Jump features me and my banana spooge at her blog.
2. The other dog discovered the evil, stinky substance and she also rolled in it. I've rubbed them both with reams of paper towels and doggy de-stink gunk and have banned all unaccompanied trips out back.
3. I'm celebrating writing "the end" on a story by taking the morning off. I was going to exercise but finished Going Postal by Pratchett instead. Oh, how my love for him grows and grows**. It's greater than the stench in this room, even.
______ ** as does my butt, again. Better get back on that treadmill.
I missed Thursday and I have a Thirteen, even! Sandy will wait until next week.
Okay the moment I've been waiting for is here. Not the contest yet. THIS MOMENT. Those books better be available on this side of the world, that's all I'm saying. YAY BRONWYN!!!
And now we find out who won Knight's Challenge..... .... .... .... .... Isn't trying for suspense with little dots lame? But what can a blogger do? .... ... ... Ugh, the dog seems to have rolled in something disgusting. eww, eww he stinks.
.... ... THE winner is... ... ... .... 2 ... ... who is 2? ... CHERIE J!!!
As soon as I can figure out how to upload the damn pictures, you'll see a glorious batch o' flowers. I mean, wow. Roses and more roses and some kind of gorgeous purple orchid-thingy.
Two of my sisters sent me flowers for my birthday and they take up most of the dining room table (the flowers, not sisters, who aren't here, unfortunately). Last time I had this many bouquets I'd given birth.
Speaking of which, it's the boy's birthday too. Boy1 = best present I ever got, hardest to unwrap.
He's not getting flowers. I got him computer games and cold, hard cash--very cold. I wrapped the money around a batch of lime popsicles, his faves.
What else is happening? Doug's birthday, too. He's running a contest over there. What is it with bloggers and contests? No don't answer because . . .
Comment below and in a couple of days I'll pick a winner. Really, even if you don't want the book, you ought to comment because think of how pathetic it'll look if no one says anything and it's my birthday and all (pathos: always a good way to give away books and build a career).
______ **The reviews of Knight's Challenge are in! a measley 61 from Mrs. Giggles but jmc liked it.
I got expert advice back on a story and it's...it's expert. Really good stuff. I can see that the ideas are RIGHT for what I've got so far, sort of.
The trouble is, I can see that, but I can't see me writing it.
I'm not going to ever be popular because no matter what I write 1. the action part is missing once the story starts up or 2. it comes out of nowhere.
One of my stories starts with two people, running hiding running and frightened for their lives and then melts into people having misunderstandings or--here's a big, horrible moment--catching the wrong train. And to me, it fits. They were bound to get on the wrong damn train and then worry about little shit for a while after all that big worry. To anyone else, it's . . . huh?
Oh, whine, whine, whine, Rothwell. Get over it and write the damn book with the plot that fits the characters and the set up. Unfortunately? For my current book, analyzed neatly by the expert, the set up is intense. The story chugs along and suddenly the plot, isn't any more. She suggests that maaaaaaaaybeeeeeee I should stay out of the drawing room once I've been in the insane asylum.
Now I'm thinking I mix the two.
I have another story where everyone's getting along fine and yikes--a guy shows up with a gun. He had to show up, he is supposed to show up, but I'm the only one who thinks so. Everyone who's rejected the story, nicely, says, great stuff, fun stuff, but what the hell's going on with the kidnapping and the gun?
I LIKE things like that. Hint, hint and then POW. No hints, no fair, but .... how much hinting do you need?
Okay, now I'm just getting defensive.
Here's the real SBD lesson: There is nothing more useless than writers saying "yeah, but" to the people who've looked at their stories. "Yeah, but" doesn't mean squat. Intentions schmintentions. No one gives a crap about those.
Ms Ruby, I'll call you but I swear to God, I can't talk any more. Not another word. Shhhhhhhh....And listening is right out, as well.
They are tampering with the mails again. They are opening packages, ripping corners on envelopes, returning items to me without contents. Okay, so they did it twice in the last month. Strikes you as like a lot, too, eh?
In one month, two bizarro mail episodes seems almost worth a call. The cranky lady bellowing about "we pay taxes and all those postal increases and why is there always a line at that post office and when will you get some decent veggie stamps back in" kind of call. I don't make them actually. I kvetch here instead.
I would accuse my postal delivery guy of hijinks** but he doesn't seem curious enough to even read a postcard, much less play pranks. He's the sort who's counting down the days until he can collect a pension. Judging by his youthful appearance, I think it'll be more than a decade, poor man.
________ **that is such a good word. The i, j, i combo is nearly perfect visually for the jumpy around feel of the meaning. Then there's the codgeresque aspect. Yay!
I wrote an entry at passionate pen today. It's a standard sort of I'm a Convert to Rrrromance article.
I thought of the subject because the block party is coming along this weekend and I expect (I hope) that the English prof will be there with her dip and kids. No "the dip" isn't code for her husband--they're separated.
Block party has a Summer of Love theme, which is just silly if you ask me, which the organizers didn't or maybe they did and I lost the form.
that's why I haven't been around. Aya's still here and has been doing more flash-pitcher-thangs. Now I want one of those little drawing things for the internet. Those are fun.
Today's Quiz (updated because I like Doug's definitition). CYMBALTA is: 1. a small island off the coast of Greece known for its olives and its anise flavored liqueur. Once a hot tourist spot, it fell out of favor after a group of radical communo-fascist separatists bombed a beach-side hotel.
2. A dance resembling the tango that was briefly popular in the early 1920s. It fell out of favor in part because Amiee Semple McPherson** refused to characterize it as either "wicked" or "heathen."
3. An antidepressant.
4. The plural of cymbal, a musical instrument for folks with no talent.
**interesting quote: "Whether you like it or not, you're an actress." - Charlie Chaplin to Aimee Semple McPherson
Boy2 is walking around imitating a New Zealander who spends fair chunk of tv air-time imitating David Bowie. ch-ch-ch-chaaaanges. The American/Kiwi/British accent is spot on. and Flight of the Conchords is so hawt, babee.
Boy2 has now discovered that the series is available on our "on demand" channel (four more months of the cable special deal and that thing's so out of here.) He's memorizing songs from it. He's hanging around youtube, watching "Hiphopopotomus vs. Rhymenoceros," stage version and the special street video. Also "Frodo, Don't Wear That Ring."
We went to see Stardust the other day--that's not the confession. (Good movie because all of us liked it. A tough crowd to please.)
The confession has to do with the sin of spending more than two minutes of my life pondering Larry Craig's case.
Once again, in a public toilet I scootched around trying to see how difficult it would be to reach my foot into the next stall. It was really tough, by the way. Of course Bowtie Cinemas (Formerly Hoyt Cinemas, formerly Crown Cinemas) might have larger stalls, but this isn't the first public bathroom in which I've attempted to adopt a wide stance.
C'mon, admit it, you do things like that sometimes, too. Don't you? Maybe?
The only real question is which scene are are we truly witnessing: 1. The gerbil wheel action of the brain of someone lying in bed at 2 am trying to fix a manuscript? 2. standard feedback session with an agent or editor...such as Linda? ( "or something like that." She did send it--and she pointed out that's her motto.)
a shark, a squid, a pebble...
yes I know it's another link. Sue me for not providing enough original content why don't you?
Alexis and the other TEB person I checked with, Portia Da Costa, both enjoy working with the company a lot.
It's kind of fun to see books for sale in other currencies. I bought a book there, just to make sure (okay, just to read it. Yay Sam Winston! It's a short, fun book) Their webpage was beautifully easy to use and the process smooth going. The store portion didn't mind that I wanted to play in dollars. I guess that's paypal's domain, but still easy, easy, easy.
I finally figured out if you're an author who might hook up with an ebook company, the most important advice for you, young lady: Make sure it's simple to buy the damn books! Ebooks are usually such impulse buys--mine are, anyway. Anyway, if the site is hard to figure out or the sale doesn't go through simply and quickly, a potential buyer is going to say screw it and move on.
So my story in the collection is about hot infertility lurve. We did the infertility thing for five years and from what I can recall (it was a long, long time ago) an infertile woman can end up feeling about as sexy as someone with a hangover and stomach flu and maybe yeast infection. Sex = procreation just doesn't cut it as hawt, especially when it's not working right.
So it's a story about an infertile woman--and yes, she really can't have babies. (Nothing worse than a story about infertility that ends with her oops! getting pregnant after all! Someone suggested that ending and I growled and snorted like I was still back in those infertility days, even though my own experience was oops! I got pregnant after all! and then again! and later on, again!)
It's about her rediscovering her mojo after she's resolved the issue. Not a typical Summer Devon. It's pretty shallow and not just because it's short: because it's smut, dammit--though definitely not the usual sort of smut, which is why it fits ebooks best. No idea when it'll be out, but there we go. Two sort of sales in one week (the other was a resale sort of thing).
Other news: Aya's staying with us. We always like that. She's going to deal with the outrageous numbers of tomatillos that took over our garden.
1. I live in Forks, Washington. If you’ve read Twilight, you might think we’re surrounded by vampires and werewolves. This is totally fictional. And the fact that I write about vampires and werewolves is totally coincidence. (But Bigfoot is real and living in the Hoh rain forest!)
2. Okay, so now you know where I get my ideas. No movie theaters, no bookstores, no cable TV, just me and my wild imagination and a whole lot of rainy days.
a teeny picture of charli
3. "Earth Girls Aren’t Easy," my latest Ellora’s Cave novella, was based on a real event. A meteor lit up the skies over Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula in the summer of 04 and afterwards our military neighbor got up and went to work in the middle of the night. I said, “What if that was an alien space-ship crashlanding in Puget Sound?” All the authorities swore it was a meteor, but really, look what they say about Area 51.
4. I have two beautiful daughters. The four year old is learning to read. The two year old loves to say, “Story! Story!” and sit in my lap with a book.
5. My husband and I had a photography studio when we first married. This led to my first blog, a serial mystery about a couple running a photography studio, a dead client, and a mysterious package delivered posthumously. I dropped the serial due to pregnancy, new baby, and general life confusion, but got back to writing after Child #1 arrived and sold my first novel in 2004.
6. In 2004, I overshot my goal of making my first sale and made, um, four sales. After my third sale to Ellora’s Cave, I relaxed a little and quit thinking somebody was going to realize they’d made a mistake. Although I still return contracts fast, before anybody can think too hard about plot points like aliens crash-landing in Puget Sound.
7. We have two cats. Not on purpose. They just showed up. Muse and Trey apparently felt called to come and sit on my desk and get cat hair in my keyboard and they take their calling very seriously.
8. Kate and I are in an anthology together! Coming in Jan. 2009 from Pocket. Kate claims it was written by her alter-ego Summer Devon, but we all know the truth.
9. I write for Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, St. Martin’s Press, and now apparently I can add Pocket to that list. I love Pocket, they’ve published many of my favorite authors.
10. I do not have any Bosnian socks. I feel the lack.
11. I drink a lot of coffee. Coffee lowers your risk of adult-onset diabetes among other things, so I say forget the guilt and brew up another pot!
12. My next release is "I Was An Alien’s Love Slave" in the Ellora’s Cavemen Seasons of Seduction III anthology, in print and ebook Sept. 23. This is connected to Earth Girls Aren’t Easy although both stories stand alone. Thank you, meteors falling in Puget Sound!
13. I cannot wait for Kate to sell a new historical. A HOT historical that she lets Summer co-write.
13a. Yo, it's about Charli, not Kate. Charlene will actually be in two of the Ellora's Cave/Pocket anthologies. I can't find the letter announcing the anthologies, so she'll have to tell us when. There is more about her at her bio page,which is pretty fun reading. Iambic pentameter printer repair instructions? Should have gone for it, dude.
So I checked the list of stories that will be included in the next batch of Pocket Book/Ellora's Cave and didn't see Summer there. I was pretty excited though because Arianna Hart is in there YAY!! And Shannon Stacey!
But it turns out, I'm a goober, because a few minutes later, Charli sent a note saying glad to be in there with you.
I'm in! Futurelove, which hasn't been a big seller, but don't tell anyone, is going to be in print! And with Pocket Books, so we're talking big-gish time again.
AND it's with Shannon Stacey and Charli! How in hell I didn't notice my name with Shannon's, never mind. I'll go back and see if she's going to be in two collections. Charli is!
Okay back to the dancing and whooping!
I love Shannon Staceyand Charlene Teglia.[even if I can't spell her last name first time out] And now I get to be in a book with them? Not literally, but it feels pretty damn great. This is beyond awesome into...into....damn. The words, they are not there for me!
The !!!!! !!!! is working though. Yes!!!
updated: oh. Jeez. I went over to give Shan high fives and get her proper url and her latest post is about her father's death. Ummm. I'm so sorry, Shannon.
My new release is today! yay! It's short! It's got one of my favorite sort of heroes, a sarcastic loner. Talk about fantasy--forget the fact he's a dragon--his type is like those hyper-alpha dudes, not really the sort of mate one wants in the real world.
To celebrate the release, I'm going to do a chat at noveltalk.comtomorrow night. It's a relatively easy place to check in and use. Head down to the bottom of that front page if you want to sign in. You do, I hope.
No, I'm not to proud to beg--please, for the love of God, come over there so I don't end up all alone asking myself questions about how I get my ideas and telling myself I'm my own favorite writer and can I please have a free copy of a book. I want someone else to get the free copy.
More promo-->>I posted an excerpt over at the Samhain blog. There's also another excerpt up at the "buy this book" link at the top. Uh oh. The Sammy blog seems to have a glitch with the link. Damn. I've already bugged Angela once today.
It's raining and that's the first time I remember it raining on September 11 for about six years. We tend to get the same weather as NYC (only a couple of hours away) so I suppose it's raining there, too.
So next week a bunch of Dragon stories are coming out. One is mine.
I opened Nina Mamone's Hard to Guard by accident (I was supposed to find an excerpt from mine)....And then I forgot to close it. Whoa, that story is way, way hot. I say you should buy it and read it. It's just plain fun.
I have a quibble or two with the conflict, and I predict in the distant future the hero's protectiveness will drive the heroine to drink, but the premise and the fun, self indulgent dragons and the heat between the main characters made the quibbles go away.
Her writing was fresh, and her voice, oh jeebus, It's the Fresh New Voice thing. Damn.
I have to avoid opening any more of those stories because if they're even slightly as catch-and-hold-tight until the end as Mamone's I'll never get a life.
Kessler is the first writer I'm featuring whose work I haven't read (Hell's Belles is on order). I also haven't really interacted with her online. So why am I promoting this stranger with books I don't know? I like the book excerpts. I appreciated her style when she visits Doug's place, Bam's place, and maybe dearauthor and a couple of other spots. . . yes, she's a writer who promotes her work with panache, dammit. That's really hard to do, almost impossible for some of us.
Also a whole lot of people--whose writing and/or opinions I admire--are crazy about her books. In other words, she's an Up and Coming Writer, a Fresh New Voice**, etc, except we don't mind because she's apparently funny and pleasant and writes good books. Hot good books (it's so often the cute, innocent-looking ones who write teh excellent smut).
Jackie writes about Jackie:
1. “Jackie” is short for “Jacqueline.” I opted not to have my author name be “Jacqueline Kessler,” because whenever someone calls me by my full first name I automatically think I’m in trouble. (I blame my mother.)
2. Jackie is short, period. Five feet on a tall day. Back in the 1980s, I was at least three inches taller, thanks to Big Hair and Aqua Net.
3. I fell in love with my Loving Husband back when I was fifteen and he was sixteen. We were both members of a youth organization as teens, and years later we both became advisors for the same organization—and got reacquainted. Love at first sight...nine years later. 4. Loving Husband’s support for me and my writing knows no bounds. He even gallantly offered to accompany me to a strip club when I had to go for research purposes for HELL’S BELLES. (Isn’t he a sweetie? I even offered to buy him a lap dance. Strictly for research purposes, I swear! But he very graciously declined. So instead I paid a feature dancer $10 to chat with me about her job. Wait, am I sharing too much?)
5. I wrote HELL’S BELLES in two months. It was like I was possessed. No wonder I write about demons...
6. I gave up caffeine 17 days ago. Apparently, this is supposed to make me healthier. I’m waiting for all the health to kick in.
7. Speaking of me being short, when I was in sixth grade, I was a kindergarten monitor. One of the kindergarten kids was taller than me. Seriously.
8. When I was 12, I read Judy Blume’s WIFEY. (Come on, it was Judy Blume! ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET Judy Blume! Just because the back cover blurb mentioned that “Wifey is tired of chicken on Wednesdays and sex on Saturdays,” that doesn’t mean I should have had a clue the book was not intended for kids.) I think that scarred me for life. That’s why, should the YA urban fantasy novel I have on submission ever get sold, it would be published under my maiden name: Jackie Morse. I don’t want a twelve year old to go to a bookstore looking for the latest Jackie Kessler novel and accidentally pick up any of the HELL series.
9. Neil Gaiman is my god of writing. And I’m going to meet him at Fantasy Matters this November. (I’m terrified I’m going to vomit out of nerves. That’d go over real well. “Hi, I’m Jackie, I’m a huge fan, BARF!!!!! Oops. Sorry about the shoes...”)
10. I am secretly thrilled that my two sons—my Precious Little Tax Deductions—are into Justice League Unlimited. Gawd, I love watching those cartoons! Um, because a parent should be fully aware of what her children are watching. Right. (Sadly, this argument can be applied to the Power Rangers—from Mighty Morphing to Dino Thunder to SPD. Ack.)
11. I used to collect comic books, and I still have 8,000 of them. (Superhero comics. My grandmother tried to get me to read an Archie comic once. Once.) The number used to be 9,000, but thanks to a flood in my basement, I had to pitch a boatload of them. Alas...
12. No, it’s not my leg on the cover of HELL’S BELLES, and no, I didn’t work my way through college by stripping. But I am willing to lie about both.
13. Yes, I’m really giving away a 14-karat gold bracelet, an Apple iPod Nano and three Apple iPod Shuffles for my Hit the ROAD campaign. Yes, I’m seriously broke.
** If you are a writer who's been around for more than a couple of years or who goes to any writers' conferences, this phrase "Fresh New Voice" will make you break out in hives and/or truly vicious snark mode. This is true even if you've been labeled "FNV." It's just one of those things.
"Up and coming" isn't as bad because editors and agents don't use it as often in their talks about "What We're Looking For." When I hear "FNV," I look around the room to see who's turning red or biting their lips off to hold back the screams and who's still scribbling notes. This is how one can sort the veterans from the new writers.
Curriculum night tomorrow and Thursday! Back to school night next Monday! All parent mandatory meeting (whoops, forgot to write down where or for what) next Tuesday!
Go, go, go, go. And if I can't write because I'm wandering around, I should vacuum or something house-wifely. No, I'll write.
Ohhh hey, today's school absurdity:
During the morning assembly--parents more than welcome--the principal introduced a new face to Our Community, a dour, shaved-head safety specialist. As of this year every elementary school in this district has one. The S. Specialists sit at the entrance and sign in the visitors and parents (used to just be we'd go sign in with the secretaries) .
Why do we have them? Last spring a kid claimed he'd been approached by a man in the boys' bathroom of his elementary school. Panic! Fear! Meetings! The board or someone decided that we must have these safety specialists sitting in the entrances of the elementary schools--they already have them all over the high schools and middle schools.
Over the summer the kid admitted he'd made up the man in the bathroom.
So now every elementary school has a real guy sitting at a desk for seven hours, ready to fight off the imaginary bad guys. I suppose it's a good idea, but still...at the moment we're cutting funding for schools in a big way.
I will go very far, farther than those hills, farther than the seas, close to the stars, to beg Christ the Lord to give back the soul I had of old, when I was a child, ripened with legends,with a feathered cap and a wooden sword.
--Federico Garcia Lorca
For regular parents of regular kids** there are a lot of common milestones that come as a surprise. We weren't told, for instance, that we'd have to go to school again. I was so glad to get out of those institutions and to some minor degree I'm there again, living each year three times over. Ugh.
In the fall, some of this Surprise! stuff makes me sad, and I'm not just talking about Back to School.
A more internal, private parental pain is rarely mentioned or mentioned in such a treacly manner I discounted it: A growing kid always leaves behind something, a part of himself, and we lose someone we know and love. The kid I know this year isn't the one from two years ago, and there are so many things I miss about that lost boy. I don't just mean the way they (all three boys) used to look at me with unclouded affection and -- by golly-- reverence. Though God knows I miss that one.
I also don't mean the little things--mispronounced words are cute. I'm talking about the deeper childhood things I used to think are myths created by adults who looked back with misty eyes. Turns out those aspects of children are true. Here are a couple: Unadulterated joy and being so in the moment the world doesn't exist. But the thing that I've seen gone from each kid and I most deeply mourn for them and for me -- the magic.
Magic was the way they not just played games with pretending, they could BE the game. It was real to them. I hadn't realized there was an actual moment that reality ended until I was there when BoyOne recognized the loss in himself. I was weeding out front and he was there with his brothers careening around being superheroes or something.
He looked bored and then suddenly he got really angry and stormed into the house. I found him in his room crying and after a lot of prodding on my part, he said "I can't do it. I miss it so much." After that moment, he usually refused to play those games unless he was "babysitting".
He still does D&D and Guild wars and whatnot. Loves that stuff. But there's no way he'll ever manage to BE there except when he's asleep and dreaming. And that is such a profound loss, I guess we can't even recall it in our own lives. Because I'm a parent, I saw it happening, and that particular sacrifice to growth can still make me cry.
Most of the time, it's easy to remind myself that an adult wandering around certain he's got magical powers is at a disadvantage in the world. *** And that if the boys looked at me with that sort of love now, we'd all have to go do counseling. Remembering those facts, plus the fact that I actually like how we interact now (I appreciate funny, snotty pre-teens and teenagers) is not as easy in the autumn. That's when what's gone is most vivid--the people who're dead and/or gone haunt me now, even the ones who're still perfectly happy and walking around.
* * * *
Hot ziggetty, I bet I'll be a barrel of laughs next year at this time. That's when BoyOne will be seventeen and starting college. As every parent on the planet (and in every musical) says when they catch sight of their grown, or nearly-grown, off-spring--How in hell did that happen so fast?
**in other words kids who're basically happy in families with nothing too outrageously nightmarish happening to distract everyone from regular, day-to-day life.
***And there is also the fact that little kids are so. . . childish. Tantrums. Diapers. Carseats and two hour long bedtime rituals. Watching them every moment they're awake so they don't succeed with one their endless attempts to kill themselves. Hmm. Just writing this paragraph has cheered me the hell up. Which is the silver lining? Having kids who can basically take care of most of their needs makes up for losing many of the lovely aspects, or having the magic and love helps balance such a labor-intensive package? Probably just yin-yang. Or maybe it's time for more coffee again.
* * * * *
BTW, it's actually pretty easy to get way, way out of this maudlin mood. All I need to do is remember someone like the mother I met back in Frederick. She had a trisomy-something baby girl born the same month as Boy3. I used to pump for the baby because she couldn't breastfeed.
I didn't really know them and we got together exactly once. By then my boy was crawling around and the other baby couldn't even hold up her head. The mother said, "I used to wish my babies would stay little forever so I could always hold them. Guess I got my wish." ergh.