Serials and Recovery

Finished the top-to-bottom revise of Hell’s Acre late Saturday evening, so I’m in recovery again. (How many is that this year? I’ve lost count.) It wasn’t until the second third of Rook’s Rose (the second season) that I started feeling good about the duology, which is…instructive. Swimming against the tide of pandemic and other stuff–this serial officially began way back in June 2021, can you believe it–means I just had to trust that the work and the characters were doing what they needed to, since I was entirely occupied with the problem of Not Drowning.

Trusting the work has never led me wrong before, and it didn’t this time either. I’ve figured out where the persistent, nagging feeling of “there’s a hole in this book” came from, too.

I wanted to do something sort of video game-y. Right in the middle of Rook’s Rose I realized that Avery is the most traditional “player character” in the books. He’s the dude with the shadowy past, the dude with the Hellion training, and he even gets a wrist-crossbow, literally “leveling up” near the end of the “game”. But he’s not the protagonist. The story belongs to the character who changes the most, and that’s Gemma–who would be an NPC love interest in a regular ol’ video game. Plus, at the end neither of them gets the…

…whoops, almost gave away a spoiler there. But anyway, that was the persistent sense of “somethin’ ain’t right in this book” I kept feeling. I hadn’t realized just what the Muse was interested in doing. Now, naturally, I’m slapping myself on the forehead and going, “Of course, of bloody course.” She’s just as interested in subverting tropes and expectations as I am. (That’s a lie. She’s way more invested in it than I could ever hope to be.)

So, I’m relieved to say I will be putting these books out for wider publication. A lot will depend on what my agent says; they may snag some publisher interest. But if not, it’s into the self-pub pipeline they go. It’s good to have that decision made; Christ knows it’s been waffling around in my head for about a year.

All of this means I go straight into writing the next serial–which subscribers, both of the patron and newsletter variety, have already heard about. The official announcement will happen sometime in June, right here on the blog and on social media as well. So my working time for the foreseeable future will be spent between Shiny New Serial and Gamble, the third in the Ghost Squad series. The latter’s gonna be a lot of fun, since it’s the medic of the team (Tax) and a wedding planner, in Vegas for the demolition man’s wedding. I’ve been aching to write something contemporary since I’ve been head-down in epic and alt-historical fantasy for a while now; the last contemporary thing I did was Sons of Ymre #2–which is in line edits, I think, and should be out sometime later this year too.

I’ve even got the unedited ebook of Rook’s Rose cut for subscribers, though it won’t drop until somewhere around June 1. It’s been a long strange ride with this serial, and while I’ve loved it I’m also glad it’s over–there’s a weird sense of almost-mourning, too, because writing it was so bound up in the crisis-feeling of getting through one more day. Some ropes hurt one’s hands even as they save one’s life, and while one doesn’t want to complain one can still wince a bit. Having to make the subscription drop each week, come hell high water or whatever-the-fuck in the news cycle, was good practice.

So it’s a recovery Monday. I have some administrivia to do, perhaps a Soundtrack Monday post to write–because I do love doing those–and a little bit of gardening planned while it’s a reasonable temperature outside. That’s on top of Boxnoggin’s walkies and running my own weary corpse, albeit both will probably occur at a far slower pace than usual. I’ve almost absorbed the last of the coffee, so it’s probably time to bid you a civil adieu and get started.

See you around.

Rip Van Rodent and (Not Tony) Hawk, the Final Battle

So there I was, being dragged a pee-soaked dog, my hand nearly broken because the leash was wrapped around it twice, staggering southward towards what was certainly a tragedy but would only become even weirder if I got involved.

At least I wasn’t shoeless (yet), which is how these things most often end up.

However, my quandary paled in comparison to Rip Van Rodent’s. The lazy little arboreal menace was not sleepy now, no sir. In fact, I would wager he was WIDE AWAKE, for finding oneself under a hawk’s claws upon a sunny summer afternoon will light a fire beneath even the most unrepentantly indolent critter. I still wasn’t sure if I was screaming or if the squirrel was, but one thing was for sure–Boxnoggin had found both his sea legs (so to speak) and his voice.

For the dog was making more than enough noise to cover both that horrified shrieking (honestly, I cannot tell if it was me or Rip, even after a few days’ worth of thinking about things) and the sound of buffeting wings as Not-Tony Hawk attempted to get what he thought was an easy, slothful snack off the ground.

Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was the sudden sonic assault. In any case, Rip Van Rodent’s pride had gone before a helluva fall, and he appeared both panicked and grimly determined. I still don’t know how he avoided being murdered on the first stoop or carried skyward; I can only think a flinch of the sort prey creatures often perform is responsible for the former and sheer dumb good luck for the latter.

I want to take a moment here to fully soak in the situation. There’s a hawk just going about its hawklike business, grabbing something from the corner deli. There’s a usually torpid squirrel whose hubris had been fed to gargantuan proportions, learning that eluding sixty-plus pounds of canine strapped to a resisting human is altogether not the same thing as dealing with a hungry, well-practiced bird of prey. Coming from the northern end of the yard, at the end of a leash and straining every muscle, is said sixty-plus pounds, urine-dripping, drooling, and emitting Hound of the Baskerville howls to boot. And finally, there’s your humble narrator, holding onto the leash for dear life and attempting to dig her heels in somewhere near the Venerable Fir.

The thing that flashed through my head was, I kid you not, I am going to have to think of something once Boxnoggin gets to that bird.

And then, my beloveds, there was a literal bolt from the blue.

Longtime readers (especially on Mastodon) will remember The Jerry Situation during a particular hot, smokey summer evening, in which there was a downed crow in our backyard, I thought I was hallucinating big-band music, and I wished for full protective hockey gear despite the weather. Carl (the reigning crow matriarch) and Sandra (the young juvenile male sticking around to help her with the young ones) often accompany Box and me on morning walkies if we get out the door in time, gravely escorting us to the edge of their murder’s territory–and occasionally taunting the dog, because they’re corvids and that’s good clean fun.

Poor Jerry is…well, he’s kind of special, for a crow. There are always a few family members around to help keep him out of trouble, and he had more than the usual difficulties getting back to flying while his tail was…Christ, whatever had happened to it, I certainly don’t know. (He’s no Bartholomew of the Legion Corvidae, 501st, Neo’s Fist, that’s for sure.) Jerry’s tail is no longer fucked-up, but he still has the pale patch on his side. Which was, at the particular moment I’m telling you about now, very nearly a streak upon the air as he plummeted from heaven.

Backup, in other words, had arrived.

Crows don’t like hawks–though they do not hate them nearly as much as they do owls, which is a whole ‘nother story–and if you remember, they had been setting up a racket warning all and sundry one was in the neighborhood as Box and I sashayed outside. Apparently Not-Tony Hawk’s presence was known unto Carl, Sandra, and the gang, but Jerry was first on the scene. And boy howdy, but that particular corvid makes up for his rather dim intelligence by pure enthusiasm.

“OH NO,” I screamed, and I am 100% certain that particular yell was mine, because it pierced Boxnoggin’s baying and made recognizable words. Plus it was exactly what I was thinking–if Jerry got injured again I was going to have to set up another crow condo in the backyard and deal with Carl and Sandra (not to mention the others) getting snitty with me while I nursed the poor little weirdo back to some variety of health. This fresh fear acted as a tonic, I surmise, because I finally got my heels dug in, my center of gravity dropped, and hauled on the leash like a demented Ahab getting a grip upon a certain white whale.

The leash snapped taut. Boxnoggin was yanked to an unceremonious halt with an ulp! noise that might’ve been funny under other circumstances. At the same moment, Jerry–yes, Jerry the simple, Jerry the weirdo, Jerry of “FUCK YOU JERRY!” fame–began absolutely beating the shit out of Not-Tony Hawk.

We’ve all seen that point in a movie where the plucky underdog starts dancing around, peppering their big, lumbering opponent with mighty blows, right? It was like that. I swear to the gods, if there hadn’t been so much noise (including my own yowls of despair) we might have heard boss music. Because Jerry was kung-fu fighting, his kicks were goddamn fast as lightening–and you know it was, while not exactly a little bit frightening, certainly thought-provoking.

In short, Jerry spanked that hawk. They tumbled into a bank of lemon balm, and as they did a few more bolts descended from the blue, blue sky. There was Carl, sleek and buxom; there was Sandra, who is no longer as lean as he once was and had a businesslike gleam in his eye that day. A couple others–Nasty and Simone, I haven’t had time to tell you lot about them–put in an appearance, and what had started out for Not-Tony as a trip to the corner store ended up with a five-on-one in the lemon balm alley.

I stood, jaw hanging and Boxnoggin still straining at the end of the leash, watching this display with wonder. In short order Not-Tony decided a bag of Rip Van crisps and a forty weren’t worth it, used his wings and claws to good effect, and managed to get some air. Once he was able to clear the fence (buzzing the clematis on the way, I really should trim that shit) he could get a little more height, and he vanished along the side of the house, pursued with great enthusiasm (in Jerry’s case), deadly efficiency (in Carl and Sandra’s), and bright-eyed interest (in Nasty and Simone’s).

Yes, yes, I hear you. What about Rip Van Rodent? I’m getting to that, keep your collective hats on, jeez.

So sudden was the air strike that Rip was just as stunned as Your Humble Narrator. Yes, the squirrel was still alive. No, he did not appear wounded, though at that distance I could not tell. But, my friends and (digital) neighbors, here’s the kicker.

The damn squirrel was luckier than he had any right to be, and maybe he knew it. In any case, the danger had retreated for the moment, and instinct had him in her merciless grip. What does a squirrel do in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or simply unappetizing situation? That’s right.

He runs for the nearest tree. Which just happened to be the Venerable Fir.

Which I was standing right next to.

And which, in order to reach, he had to run past a slavering, barking Boxnoggin driven into an ecstasy of excitement by the last few seconds–not even minutes, for it takes far longer to tell you the tale than it did to happen.

Rip Van Rodent was, in fact, hearty and hale enough–or simply adrenaline-soaked enough–to stagger-bolt straight under my poor piss-soaked dog on his way to the Venerable. Upon later reflection I realized he didn’t want to run for the fir near the compost heap, which was the direction the battle’s frontline had audibly moved in. Nor did he want to run for the lilacs, because there were boulders, garden boxes, a giant rosemary, and a statue of Kuan Yin in the way.

No, now that I think about it, the Venerable was the only choice. And if he had to run under a urine-splattered beast to get there, it was a price Rip Van Rodent was willing to pay.

Anyway, he darted under Boxnoggin, zoomed past me so close I near felt the wind of his passing, and scrabbled up the trunk with lightning speed. For once, the little bastard didn’t look sleepy at all.

What did Box think of this, you might ask? Well, he performed a stiff-legged jump like a cat finding a snake or cucumber on the kitchen floor, nearly colliding with me. I staggered back, my ankle turned on a hummock, and I saved myself from a pratfall only by dint of cussing like a sailor finding out shore leave’s canceled.

My beloveds, I painted the air blue with Language Unbecoming, and to top it all off, one of my untied sneakers was left behind. So I ended up half-shoeless but definitely screaming, which is entirely–but entirely–par for the course.

The rest of the afternoon was relatively quiet. Boxnoggin got a session with the hose to clean off his little accident, which he enjoyed–he hates baths but will chase a sprinkler-stream or a hose-blast all damn day and half the night if you’ll let him–and his harness is none the worse for wear. The corvids are back on guard duty; for the time being, I will still be yelling the traditional “fuck you, Jerry” every time I see that little weirdo, but it will be in a highly affectionate tone henceforth, like greeting an old drinking buddy with a hearty hey you, motherfucker!

And no, I have not seen Not-Tony Hawk again. The only remaining evidence of his trip to the corner is a single feather left upon the backyard grass.

There were others, but those got stolen by different backyard denizens.

But really, what of Rip Van Rodent, I hear you ask somewhat anxiously? Oh, don’t fear for him, gentle Readers. I think he’s okay–I’ve glimpsed him upon the back fence, attending to squirrel business. I suppose it’s too much to hope that he was chastened by the entire experience, though, because he’s back to taunting Boxnoggin…

…but that’s (say it with me) a whole ‘nother blog post.

The End

…until some-damn-thing else happens…

Rip Van Rodent vs (Not Tony) Hawk, Part II

So I let out a “JESUS CHRIST” Graham Chapman would have been proud of, which was lost in other noise.

I’d seen a hawk stoop before, naturally, but usually from a safe distance. Though there’s a lot of drama packed between the fences, our backyard is relatively small; I was unprepared for the sound of a feathered predator going about its business. There was a snap of wing-braking, a puff of feathers–you know how when the Twilight movies first came out we were making jokes about FURSPLOSION? It was kind of like that, only without shredded clothes flying everywhere.

It was, as I said, a hawk–probably the very one hanging around lately, playing with our crows and no doubt looking to expand some territory since the hunting ground along the highway has been torn up for expansion. It looked huge, puffy, dangerous, extremely intent on business…

And very, very hungry.

I don’t think Boxnoggin knew quite what to do at that point. His head cocked but his front paw–lifted in order to make him a very handsome statue, it must be said–remained aloft. The explosion of flapping continued, wing-snaps very loud despite the fact that birds are hollow-boned and lighter than anything of corresponding size. By the sheer racket being made, it doesn’t seem Not-Tony Hawk (such I christened them in the heat of the moment, for sometimes a name just appears unto us word-miners) knew they were supposed to be light and thus, logically and relatively quiet.

There was a scream. I’m not sure if it was Rip Van Rodent, because heaven knows he had reason, or Yours Truly, because I don’t know if a squirrel can produce that kind of sound. I don’t remember screaming past my original horrified expostulation, but that’s no indication.

All right. So let’s hit pause on the screen here, and take a look at what’s going on.

That blur of brown, white, and gleaming beak is Not-Tony, a surprisingly large hawk engaged upon lifting up a hubris-laden snack from the grass. The smear of brown and fluffy tail is Rip Van Rodent, who might have avoided the claws through sheer luck but is probably not going to have such beneficence from Fortuna much longer. In the northern half of the yard amid the garden boxes there’s me, with my mouth hanging open–either yodeling like King Arthur faced with a Vorpal Bunny or just plain letting out a horrified, wordless cry. And that black and white inkblot is my poor, dear, dumb dog, caught mid-vibration as he’s about to erupt into motion.

Okay. Unpause.

Boxnoggin did not know what the hell. Of course, he never knows what the hell, but the dim intimation that perhaps he should take some manner of action had worked its way between the two (count ’em) neurons he has firing at any given point inside that thick, surprisingly capacious skull. (They rattle like dried peas in there.) For Box, “taking action” consists of a relatively limited set of options.

Boxnoggin’s Options

Go Blind

There was no window to yell out of and no other dog in sight; since those are generally prerequisites for yapping, #1 was right out. He had unloaded himself of solid effluvia at the regular time that morning, leaving him with (so to speak) no pylons to deploy, so option #3 was out as well. There was no time to go blind, so #4 could not happen just yet. Which meant he was left with peeing (option #2) or the final and most attractive prospect (Mambo #5), chasing whatever had drawn his attention.

And, multitasker that he is, the dog tried to do both at once.

That’s right. Sixty-plus pounds of lovable furry dumbass lost control of his bladder and at the very same moment decided he was gonna get a piece of whatever action was occurring in the southern half of the yard. But he had forgotten one crucial detail.

That’s right. His front paw was still up.

So my dog peed himself, tripped at the same time, and landed flat on his face while someone (either Rip Van or me) was still mid-yell. Not-Tony Hawk paid no attention, for slow-lumbering earthbound giants are, to Family Accipitridae, largely irrelevant unless they leave behind something to feast upon. Boxnoggin scrabbled, splattering pee in every direction, and finally got his paws coordinated. He dug in and took off like a freshly untethered jet engine while I was still staring at the hawk, and the leash snapped taut.

I had the leash wrapped twice around my hand, but that was clearly not enough. Bones crunched together, I staggered, and the thought that maybe I should tie the damn dog to my waist like I do every day for walkies went through my head, tiptoeing through the quiet of shock. It hurt like a sonofabitch, but only later.

Because now I had a pee-soaked dog (almost) unloosed upon the unsuspecting world, Not-Tony was using their wings to buffet and daze their prey, and Rip Van?

Well, the squirrel wasn’t quite dead.


To be continued

Rip Van Rodent vs (Not Tony) Hawk, Part I

All I know is that this squirrel is luckier than even my own ridiculous self.

…maybe I should back up.

Picture it, Sicily, 1920–no, no, wait, I’m not a Golden Girl. (Yet.) The time was just a few days ago, location the Kingdom of Backyard, the temperature scorching–last night’s thunderstorms broke the heat wave, but we’re still looking at 85F+ days. On that bright sunny fry-an-egg noon, Yours Truly was desperate to get back inside and take shelter in relative coolth, having just closed the windows and turned the air conditioning on.

True to form, that particular bit of climate engineering constituted a Change in Boxnoggin’s ever-humble opinion, and since Any Change Is Bad, he had to make his nervous displeasure known. Consequently we had to go outside and look for a spot august enough to receive the fruits of his bladder. Though only one or two spots are so deserving in our small kingdom, still he must investigate every corner, because who can tell when a certain bit of grass or sensitive plant I’d really like not to be killed suddenly requires a baptism? He is a creature of Maximum Inconvenience, our dear Box, and takes his responsibilities in that area extremely serious-like.

Also, the crows were setting up a racket. I didn’t pay much attention since Jerry wasn’t stuck in the fence and they weren’t dive-bombing me and the dog; I was too laser-focused on getting said canine’s bladder serviced without melting. So Box dragged me all over the northern half of the yard, sticking his nose everywhere with no real interest, only a desire to draw out the occasion as long as possible.

I might have missed the ensuing drama completely had the dog not stopped, head upflung and one paw lifted, the very illustration of a pointer. His tail perked, his ears nearly stood out from his head, and he stared at the (much sunnier) southron half of the yard, where the herbiage has gotten a little longer since I can’t be bothered to mow just yet. (We all know what tends to happen when I clip the herbiage.) I followed the line of his gaze, and took a firmer grip upon the leash.

For lo and behold, there upon the sward lingered Rip Van Rodent, busily ignoring the crows’ stadium-yells and the fact that just uphill there was a monkey and sixty-plus pounds of quick, determined, rat-hunting predator. No, Rip could not have cared less. He was busy burying something snackable, or excavating it, or fucking around with I-don’t-even-wanna-know. Tail high though his gaze was just as sleepy as ever, he moved with stately precision. He bounded over a clump of gooseweed, passed under a disintegrating patio table, and sashayed out into golden sunshine.

Now, I am of the opinion that Rip was feeling the squirrel version of hubris. After all, he was two points ahead of Boxnoggin and clearly the better player. The fact that I am holding Lord van der Sploot’s leash at any given moment while outside could even be seen as further insurance for squirrel victories–I am a civilian authority, if you will, restraining a general who wishes to drive upon the capital city of his foes. Rip Van Rodent was at the top of his game, on a hot streak and doubling his chips each time.

He might even have thought the crows were cheering him. They really were making an awful racket, and as I figured out what Box was looking at I took a moderately deep breath. I was about to remark, “oh, look, your little friend,” to Boxnoggin, possibly with an edge of gentle sarcasm and deep amusement. But what actually came out of my mouth was much different.

In fact, I let out a, “JESUS CHRIST” like King Arthur seeing the Vorpal Bunny take a bite out of Sir Bors. Because over the sleepy-eyed, highly confident squirrel loomed a growing shadow, and in that moment I figured out what the fuck the crows were yelling about.

It was a hawk.

To be continued…

A Few Welcome Clouds

I finished revisions late Saturday, scheduled them to go out, and spent the rest of the weekend in a haze of cleaning and attempting to recover. We’re having the first heatwave of the summer–yes, I know it’s not technically summer until next month, but when it’s 90F it’s summer enough for me, thanks. I am a pale mushroom with moss between her toes, and this sort of thing isn’t good for me.

In any case, the second epic fantasy is off to editor and agent. Now I just have to write the third, including a literal Ragnarok. The fun part will be the valkyries riding winged horses, the shieldmaid seeing them and going, “Oh, HELL YEAH, I NEED ONE.” I have everything set up for the crowning book, including the Ringmaker. Who has already been stirring the pot, though readers won’t realize it until said third book for lo, I am an evil writer.

Anyway, I wrote (and decorated) a whole new master to-do list as well. Oh, and last week’s Reading with Lili is up on YouTube–it’s about Charles Bukowski. The next thing upon it is a top-to-bottom revise of Hell’s Acre before the first season is sent to the agent. We’ll see what happens there. There’s also the next serial to get off the ground; I want at least six chapters in the can before I announce it.

I have the skeleton of the book, sure, but I want some flesh attached before I start singing its name.

The morning is not as bafflingly, awfully bright as yesterday’s, thank goodness. There’s a few welcome clouds and intimations of storming later, which would be welcome save for the wear and terror on poor Boxnoggin’s nerves. I also have to get out before the heat mounts so I don’t drop dead on the morning run.

And I should probably tell you guys about Boxnoggin, Rip Van Rodent, and the (Not Tony) Hawk because though I was not shoeless during that episode, I definitely screamed like a girl. (No surprise–I am, after all, a girl.) But that’s–say it with me–another blog post, and I don’t have time this fine dawning.

See you around…

Free Shenanigans

Imagine the possibilities…

Me: “You want this? I’ll drag it home if you do.”
Daughter: “What on earth would we do with it?”
Me: “Train grapevines over? Or the hop vine? Hang the bones of our enemies inside? Teach Boxnoggin to climb?”
Daughter: “OMG imagine if he learned to climb. The shenanigans.”
Me: “He’s all shenanigan anyway.”
Daughter: “I think we can let this one pass.”
Me: “Just as well. I’d have to carry it like a hat, Box can’t drag it.”
Daughter: “…walk away, Mum. Just walk away.”

I love how she doesn’t quibble at hanging the bones of our enemies inside, Blair Witch windchime style, but teaching the dog to climb is a Step Too Far. Of course, if it’s still there this morning I may have to nab it anyway, because that will be a sign it’s meant to come home with me, right? RIGHT?

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Preference, Edged Laughter

The backyard crows–Carl and Sandra, with occasional visits from poor Jerry and a few more kin–have been very vocal the past few days, mostly because there’s a hawk in the vicinity. I’ve seen their acrobatics as they attempt to drive the other predator off; both the hawk’s wings have a bright spot in the middle. I’m sure it dives for the feral rabbits who have been working their way up from the river over the past decade. The widening of the freeway has gotten rid of vast banks of blackberry tangle where the bunnies used to hide, which just accelerates the process. The hawk will find good hunting at the school field, not to mention one or two parks with open grass, but why pass up other chances?

Except the crows are having none of this business. Which I wouldn’t mind letting them sort out on their own, except for the corvids’ uneasiness spilling over into constant alerts and warnings when Boxnoggin and I are out. I know they like to torment the dog, partly because he’s always willing to play and partly because he’s in-harness whenever he’s outside now, but this is a little ridiculous. Even Jerry gets in on the ruckus, which isn’t usual at all; I think he still remembers getting caught in the fence. Maybe they’re even attempting to warn me to stay inside, as if the hawk represents a danger to me or to sixty-odd pounds of fuzzy destruction on a leash.

Revisions on Riversinger and Minnowsharp continue apace. I made it through the sack of the elvish city last night after dinner, but had to stop because I suspected I was becoming ineffective. For a zero draft, speed near the end may not be essential but is, according to my experience, a given; rare is the zero that I have not finished in a breathless scrabble. But in revision, especially near the finish line, more haste makes less progress. I need to take care, even if I am itching to have this done.

Fortunately I have found I like this book, and think it serves its purpose well. It’s frustrating to be the only one in the room who believes in the work, and swimming against others’ dismissiveness or dislike makes the whole process much harder than it has to be. It’s also hard to keep my frustrations under decorous wrap. Bitching to one’s writing partner only goes so far, and I’m beginning to sound like a broken record.

Ah well. One book left after this one is put to bed, I can endure. I’ve done harder things in publishing.

I should do some more memes on Canva. ‘Tis marvelous therapeutic, especially if I get swear-y. There’s just something about stringing a necklace of blue words I find wonderfully life-affirming.

I bounced off a Norman Mailer book recently, and am considering doing the next Reading with Lili on Bukowski as a type of protest. Because if I’m going to read a deeply problematic and misogynistic writer’s work, dammit, I should at least have some fun with the deal, and since Bukowski hated himself so much more than anyone else–including women–it grants his work a deeply mordant hilarity. Mailer on the other hand is deadly serious, the type of obscenely self-satisfied honker who has you cornered at a frat party and isn’t even a funny drunk.

I prefer the laughter, however edged.

Besides, I can just hear the fanboi cries of outrage, how dare someone with ovaries speak about ol’ Hank Chinaski like that! The thought makes me near-snort with glee. I really shouldn’t, it’s not nice to taunt…but one must take one’s fun where one can, in this benighted world.

Boxnoggin’s snores from his early-morning nap have paused. Next will come the jingle of his collar as he stretches luxuriously, then a small thump as he hops off my bed and the familiar noise of him padding down the hall. It is Time for Mum’s Breakfast, according to his internal chrono, and after that comes preparation for walkies. There are things to sniff, crows to bark at, and attempts to crap in oncoming traffic for him to accomplish; he’s busy, busy dog. After that I haul my weary corpse through a run while I cogitate on the last plot problem this book needs solved (Past Me, the bitch, left it for revision), and settle to a day of getting the subscription drop out and the rest of this book handled until it’s fit for the next stage in its parturition.

Off I go.