My stars, there’s a lot going on.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Selene serial is drawing to a close. To those writing to me hoping I’ve “changed the ending”…um, I’m sorry, you must not know me very well. All I can say is no, I have not and will not change the ending. To do so would imply that I wasn’t certain of the ending when I wrote it, or that I did not give my very best to unflinchingly tell the story, neither of which are true. When I bring out the paper version (I am considering going paper-only for this particular one) it will include the Brother’s Keeper novella and the short story Just Ask. The latter is the story of Selene and Nikolai’s first reunion, and deals with her returning to Saint City, where she is during the Dante Valentine series.
Also, there’s a new short story by me in Fireside Magazine’s current issue. It mixes cyborgs, corporations, genetic engineering, and ambiguous choices. Plus, you know, blood-drinking. If Fireside is able to come back for a third year, there might be more stories set in that universe. (Hint, hint.) This year’s subscription also gives you a Chuck Wendig serial as well as other, stellar short stories and art. You can subscribe for a single issue or the whole year. Part of why I’m so happy with the Fireside endeavour is because they seek to pay their writers and artists a decent wage, which I am all over. More of that means more stories for you.
I’m considering not writing YA again, for a variety of reasons. We’ll see how that shakes out.
Piano lessons are going well. My teacher calls my blog “delightfully profane,” which is by far the best way of saying I have a dirty mouth that I’ve ever come across. Currently he’s torturing me with a Bach minuet. Well, that’s not quite true–I took in the Bach book (try saying that five times quickly) and said “when will I be ready for this?” and he said, “Well, no time like the present. Let’s begin.” Several hours of practice and one or two crying fits later (tears of pure frustration only serve to spur me on more stubbornly) I can now stumble through the first half, and am throwing myself doggedly at the second half. (If you’re reading this, sir, I shall have much to report at my next lesson.)
The funny thing about piano is that I can feel my brain cramping in interesting ways when I hit a plateau, or when I’m about to have one of those sudden leaps forward that come at the end of said plateau. My usual habit of throwing myself at something until it breaks–because I am sure as fuck not going to give up–serves me well here, and has no doubt provided my teacher with endless entertainment. (Like the time I came in, flopped down on the bench, fixed him with a glare and said “Tell me about chords.” Heh.)
The other thing I’ve been trying lately is washing my hair with different, erm, substances. (No, not cocaine and rocket fuel, dammit. I’m not THAT hardcore. Yet.) Baking soda and apple cider vinegar. And honey. Here’s a good primer on it, and an opposing viewpoint saying that it damages your hair. I’m not quite sure about the latter, because a weak buffered solution of baking soda seems like the last thing my hair will worry about on a daily basis. However, every head of hair is different, so if this ends up not working, I’ll switch to something else.
I first ran across this method here, and since I’m *mumblemumble* years away from forty and my hair and skin are changing commensurately, I decided to give it a try. I’m also occasionally trying a honey shampoo, on the theory that washing my hair with honey will either be the greatest thing ever or a mess we shall laugh nervously and change the subject over.
So far, my hair’s in “transition”–which means that since I’ve stopped using shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate and related compounds, the natural oils aren’t being stripped out daily, but the scalp hasn’t caught up yet. It’s still flooding my head with oil, which makes my hair very shiny, but also a little…weird. Eventually the oil production will drop dramatically, I’m told. I just let it air-dry, put it up in braids, and call it good. I tried a drop of sweet orange oil in with the vinegar, but that just made it feel ugh-greasy. And no, before you ask, my hair doesn’t smell like vinegar. It smells like clean hair, and like my perfume. Which is weird because I don’t ever put perfume on my hair, nor do I spray the damn stuff.
The honey shampoo has turned out to be really wonderful. With so much water, it doesn’t get sticky, and it leaves everything soft and shiny. I just got a couple of plastic squirt bottles from the health food store bulk-soap section, and a few minutes mixing in the kitchen gives me three-four days’ worth of hair stuff. I don’t like the idea of the honey shampoo coating the inside of my shower, so it’s more of a once-every-couple-weeks thing, and adding essential oil to it, even a drop, is just too oily for my hair. Done without any additives, both the baking-soda-vinegar and honey routines make my hair soft, tangle-free, and seems to be a lot easier on my ends than anything else I’ve tried.
If you want to give it a whirl, be warned: hard water may make these mixtures behave in weird ways, and massaging the baking soda mixture (just 1Tb to 1c water, adjust as necessary) into your scalp is key. You can’t just pour it on and hope it works, getting in there with your fingertips to massage your noggin is necessary. Plus, it feels really, really good. Scalp massage is one of my favourite things.
So…yeah, that’s the state of the Lili so far this year. Tomorrow we’ll be back to the regular Friday photo, and next week will see the end of the Chickenhead Crankyduck story (which began here.)
And now, off I go to check in with Archibald Clare in his jail cell…