Quiet Again

Some tidbits for your consideration:

* Dina James’s new book is out! Dina is my Evil #1 over at the ELEW, and a lovely person.

* A call to action against a serial plagiarist.

* Topeka, Kansas, is looking to decriminalize domestic violence. To, erm, save money. (If I halt to comment on this, there will be a whole day’s worth of ranting. I’ll just skip it, and you can fill in your own.)

The kids are at school, the houseguests are gone, my street is empty, and I can hear the ticking of the cat clocks on my wall. Archibald Clare has a man in knee-deep Londinium sewer water, and has a mouthful of blood besides. I can feel the rest of the book calling me. Plague pits, sorcery, potential zombies, and a mad art professor beckon, and the hunt is afoot again.

I’m swamped.

See you guys around…

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Input and Output

It’s another edition of Random Things Lili Thinks About, For She Does Not Have An Idea Worthy Of A Long Blog Post.

* Why the hell is Glitch so addictive? You’d think a game where you squeeze chickens, nibble and pet pigs, and make gardens would be boring. Instead, I can’t stay away. It gives me a glow of accomplishment. Man, I’m boring.

* Boring isn’t so bad. I’ve had enough excitement in my life that I can stand a LOT of boring. Like, until I croak. Because boring is safe, boring is predictable, and boring does not lead to bleeding, screaming, or pain. Well, at least, not my kind of boring. I’m pretty sure there’s tortuous boredom out there that will make one scream and bleed. I am happy to avoid that.

* On the other hand, I am rarely bored. Apparently I am easily amused, and can amuse myself for long periods of time. This is not a bad thing.

* When I run, music often plays in my head. I don’t use my IPod unless I’m on the treadmill; it’s just too much of a hazard. My brain, however, apparently requires music, so it gives me a selection of hits. This morning it was Phantom of the Opera (in particular, Prima Donna and Notes; God, I love Minnie Driver even though the singing in that version is…meh, I mean, really, Gerard, did you have bad dental work? The lisp, my man, it’s gotta go) and, of all things, AC/DC’s Back in Black. (Which happens to be Graves’s theme music near the end of the Strange Angels; he starts out with Chris Isaak’s Let Me Down Easy and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.) I’m pleased to report Andrew Lloyd Webber and AC/DC go together rather well while I’m running in the dark.

* Oh, look, a Sekrit Hideout has been discovered. The story possibilities are endless.

* I’m told (hi, TP!) I must have a very sharp sense of smell, because of how I write. I don’t think I do, but I do think I pay a great deal of attention to olfactory input. I am constantly aware of the smellscape around me. (When one has kids, it’s always best, don’t you think?) If I come down with a cold and a stuffed nose, I feel half-blind. There’s also the funny things I call “misfires” or “auras”–that’s when my brain doesn’t know quite how to handle the input it’s getting, so it gives me a smell/sound/taste/sight that cannot possibly be. Usually this shocks me into paying attention to something I wouldn’t normally have taken a second look at; it seems to mostly be a way for my subconscious to warn me of possible danger. Most of the synesthesia I suffer is of this sort. (The rest of it seems to be excess energy in my neurons just slopping around.)

* I can finally listen to music with words again. Recently, finishing three zero drafts basically at once, I had retreated into classical and ambient music. Lyrics just scraped the inside of my head raw and irritated me right between the shoulderblades. Thankfully, the sensitivity retreated as it always does. It’s funny, when I’m writing something dire I want bright pop music, when I’m writing something mannered and precise and historical I want punk or hard rock, when I’m writing romance I want angry music. It’s as if the aural stim needs to be a balance to the weight on a certain set of creative muscles.

* I might–might, mind you–be reaching the end of my reading on the Eastern Front of WWII. If this is so I’m going to have to find another historical oddity to stripmine, since my tastes in fiction have also retreated like bruised anemones . I’m beginning to be unable to read in the genre I’m writing, or at least, not comfortably. It’s hard to read for joy anymore, I’m so used to revision-reading. The nonfiction gives my brain a chance to spool down. Plus, it’s a relief to read something I won’t ever write about, almost (dare I say it) restful. Since rest is always in short supply, it’s nice to find a few moments of it here and there.

Eh. I, I, I, me, me, me. Booooor-ing. I’d write the next chapter of the Squirrel!Terror saga, but all my focus is taken up with revising. Eh.

Over and out.

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Strawberry Autumn

This morning’s run was wonderful. I felt like I had little wings on my feet. Every once in a while, everything clicks and a good run comes along. It’s like a perfect day of writing. It keeps you coming back for more and enduring the days when it feels like peeling one’s own skin off in strips.

I am full of pleasant thoughts today. You’ve been warned.

However, the predawn was incredibly foggy, which made me think of Stephen King’s Strawberry Spring. Which led me to thinking about Springheel Jack. Along with plague pits, you can tell I’m working on the next Bannon & Clare. (Their first adventure, The Iron Wyrm Affair, is in revision now.)

I was planning what I’d do if Springheel Jack suddenly appeared in the fog, and perhaps that gave me some extra speed. “Be prepared” is not just a Boy Scout motto.

Let’s see, what else? I’m glad you guys are enjoying the Squirrel!Terror serial. When Neo recovered, things got incredibly interesting, but I am not going to write that for a little while. Here, instead you can have a peek at the first chapter of Reckoning, which is due out soon. I am excited and sad all at once–excited to share the culmination of Dru’s story, and sad to say goodbye to her.

I’m incredibly interested in and excited about Glitch right now. It’s sort of like Animal Crossing for grownups. (Although Animal Crossing is nice too.) It’s like WoW without killing, which can be a relief. (Sometimes, though, I just want to get a glass of wine and murder some pixels.) I like the idea of a game where you water plants, pet animals, build and cook things, and basically learn to be cooperative. It balances out my antisocial tendencies. *snort*

I’m very boring right now. I had some unpleasant news that knocked the wind out of me not too long ago; my writing partner, who is always full of good advice, has been reminding me to plan for what I’m frightened of instead of just thrashing about in fear. The planning certainly seems a more productive use of one’s time, plus it provides an feeling of control. That feeling may be illusory, but it certainly helps. So I’m retreating into my shell for a wee bit, a process that is probably helped by the fact that a nice cool autumn is setting in and spending time curled up in the house is not only soothing but pleasant. I tend to be a winter writer, anyway–my most productive seasons are the ones with filthy weather.

Ach, I’m nattering on. It’s Wednesday. I seem to have lost the knack of Wednesdays.

Over and out.

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Raw, But Not Bleeding

This morning, five miles. Along the way there were several sprinklers (Miss B likes to avoid those, energetically, whenever possible), five dogs (four off-leash, when will they learn, it’s a leash LAW, not a guideline or suggestion, for the safety of the pets unlucky enough to have YOU as a goddamn owner), a multiplicity of squirrels we were going too quickly to chase (though Miss B tried, gamely), several bunnies (pets escaped and gone feral, long story, cute and fluffy until you see the TEETH), the hawk in the park crouched over something bloody before it took wing, carrying the unfortunate rag of bone and meat and breakfast, late-summer heatstressed leaves falling and crunching underfoot.

The season is turning. You can smell it–the mornings are crisper, without the asphalt-and-dust scent of high summer. It’s not harvest season yet, but everything’s preparing, and the nights are turning cooler. The sky is not the endless blue of summer. It is paling, still infinite, but it has the washed-and-dried-outside quality of late summer, after the worst heat but before the rains sweep in. Things are ripening, yawning, enjoying the slow afternoons.

I come home to a Little Prince who has grounded himself from the Wii for two days because his legs hurt–when he plays, he jumps up and down from sheer excitement, and he’s sore this morning. “I better take a break,” he informs me solemnly over his cereal, and I try not to smile as I nod and seriously agree, and compliment him for being so mature and responsible. And the Princess, buried under her covers until late, comes blinking out into the morning light and informs me a scene in the fanfic she’s working on has broken loose; as soon as she has breakfast she’s going to dive into it. Their days are long and timeless in summer. When school starts at the end of the month I’m going to miss them–they’ll miss me too, but they’re excited to go back to their friends.

The house is quiet. Miss B is tranquil–the first three miles are to calm her down, the last two are to wear her out. The sneezing cat doesn’t protest when I dose her with antibiotics, though it must taste nasty. She takes the eyedropper gracefully, and there are pets and praise for everyone afterward.

I open the fridge to get the cream for my morning coffee. Stuck, fluttering, on the fridge are cards someone sent me during the dark difficult time not so long ago. You’ll feel better soon, one says, and the other, Keep going. The world needs your light. For a moment, I am arrested by the thought that little by little, things did get better. I put my head down and just went one step at a time, and now I can look back and see the hole I climbed out of. The edges are raw, but not bleeding. I am on the other side. I never have to endure that particular hell again. (I like to make an entirely new set of fuckups each time, thank you very much.)

It’s a funny thing, to realize you don’t have to stare at your feet anymore. That the weight dragging all over you has lessened, that you can take a deep breath and look forward. That you have endured, and now you can begin to glance ahead. Shyly at first, carefully, in case there is a sudden tilt back toward the hole. Later, more confidently, settling the straps of your pack, your steps becoming long swinging strides instead of a spiritless trudge. There is light now, stray gleams strengthening through breaking clouds, the storm has spent itself. A little older, a little wiser around the eyes, scars to tell stories about instead of wounds to triage.

I begin to roll my eyes and see the funny parts now. I get my coffee, and I go back to work. There’s just one thing left, and that is to say…

…Thank you. Thank you very much.

Over and out.

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Convention Madness, Recovery Edition

So, we returned from SpoCon late Sunday evening, exhausted but happy, clutching our gifts and swag, all three of us incredibly happy to be home again. Miss B. returned from my writing partner’s house about an hour after we got home. While we were convention-ing, Miss B was catching voles, rolling in grass, meeting alpacas and horses and chickens and generally having the run of a couple acres. I was actually half afraid that she wouldn’t want to come home. The cats, checked on every day by a friend or two, were aloof as usual. “Oh, you left? I didn’t notice…”

The kids are still talking about the hotel pool, and being able to watch all the television they wanted to. They attended a couple panels, liked the dealer’s room and the game room, and had fun spotting costumes. They weren’t too into panels–the siren call of the hotel room, with AC and the big wide television, was too strong to ignore.

Oh well.

As for me, I had a lovely time. Kudos must go to Chris Snell for organizing, and Kathy McCracken, who is a saint for ferrying three punch-drunk writers to her place of employment, ferrying us back, and going drinking with us as well. (Well, there was dinner involved, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.) The list of people I enjoyed muchly includes Erik Scott de Bie, who can out-deadpan me, Moira J. Moore (hey Moira, the Princess finished your book the night we got home, she loved it), Roxanne Skelly (keep going, even if you are in revision hell), upcoming writers Kaye T. and Esther J., the nice guy in Registration who figured out the badges for the Prince and Princess, Frances Pauli (who almost made me moderate again), and Courtney Brasil, who was a trouper, let me tell you. That panel didn’t let up until after MIDNIGHT. Plus, the young man who I used as an example during the Paranormal Paramours panel: you were a good sport, thank you.

I wanted to take a bunch of pictures, but I was going so fast trying to get to the next place I needed to be…that I forgot. Bad author, no cookie for me.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. The drive out there was pretty, even though coming into Spokane through the construction on I90 was an exercise in patience. The drive home was gorgeous, except for the Prince and Princess in the car for six hours growing heartily tired of each other. (They spent all of yesterday in their rooms, recuperating and catching up on alone-time.) I think I’ve about recovered–I was toast yesterday, couldn’t form a complete sentence to save my life.

Anyway. My big purchase in the dealer’s room was a pocket-watch that Bannon & Clare just had to have. I don’t even know how to wear a bloody pocket watch anymore, but it’s gorgeous and I love it. Thanks also to all the fans, both at the convention and at the Hastings signing, you were uniformly a pleasure to meet and chat with.

And that’s about it. I got up this morning, ran five miles, bouldered with my pal ZenEllen, and am settling into deadlines.

Whew. It’s good to be back.

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Ready For SpoCon?

Why have I been so hard to find these days? Well, the new YA book I’m working on is eating my head. Plus, there’s two other books about to go into the pipe for revision. There’s the kids, of course. And the dog. (You don’t even want to know about the other strays.)

Plus, there’s the events I’m getting ready for.

I’ll be at SpoCon this upcoming weekend! You can find my schedule here. Plus, I’ll be signing at the Hastings in Spokane on Saturday, 3-6pm, along with Erik Scott de Bie and Moira Moore. (We have collectively promised not to get arrested.) Should be a ton of fun! I will, of course, be tweeting all I can. Because I’m Just That Way.

In short, if I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth, it’s because this is basically Hell Week for me. There’s getting ready for the convention, planning pet care and the drive out, wordcount every day, doctor’s appointments (don’t ask) and back-to-school stuff that all needs to happen before Thursday morning. The runrunrun of a con will probably be a relief.

See you in Spokane, or catch you on the flip side!

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Announcements!

It is just way too bright and sunny today. And it’s a good thing I’m damn stubborn, or I would have quit after three miles today and not had that awesome endorphin-kick runner’s high. Not to mention the drift of honeysuckle, the cheerful “good morning”s from other runners–I content myself with a “Morning!” in return, because I can’t be cheerful while struggling to stay upright and moving. I would have also missed having the shaded park all to myself for a few glorious circuits. That was nice.

So, announcements!

* If you’ve ever wondered how Selene returned to Saint City, you can read the brand-new Selene and Nikolai story, Just Ask in the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance.

* Also upcoming is Reckoning, the final book in the Strange Angels series. The end of August will see a bindup of bboks one and two, Strange Angels and Betrayals with an all-new, lovely cover.

* November will also see the final Jill Kismet book, Angel Town.

* You can now buy all five of the Dante Valentine novels in one smoking-hot omnibus. (Personal demon not included, sorry.) Also, Graphic Audio has released parts one and two of Working For The Devil, I believe part 1 of Dead Man Rising is also available.

* I will be attending SpoCon in August. Not quite sure what my schedule will look like, but I’ll be there on panels etc. I will also be at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powells annual SF/F Authorfest in ?November?, more details on that as it gets closer.

* There’s an interview with me up over at the Gatekeeper’s Post.

* I can’t really talk about this yet, but it’s up on Amazon. Tempty tempty.

* A big “welcome home” shout-out to TP, back from the wilds of Europe. *evil wink*

…I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t even finished my coffee yet, so forgive me. Off I go to find a name that means “a hunter” for a wooden garden-boy. He wants Calhoun, but I’m not sure he should have it. He’s not the protagonist, so he doesn’t really get what he wants as far as names.

Damn characters. Over and out.

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