Before the (Holiday) Plunge

Blogging will be kind of spotty between now and the New Year, my friends. I’m…tired.

In any case, it’s Christmas Adam (we call it that because it comes before Christmas Eve, har de har har, old joke, STILL FUNNY) and I’m taking a deep breath before one of the most stressful events of the year–and that’s saying something, given how 2020 and 2021 have both turned out.

There’s a lot to be grateful for, but I just want some rest. If I could sleep until January 1, I would not mind a single bit; for one thing, it seems like a great way to make a dent in ever-mounting pandemic exhaustion.

Alas, it’s not an option, either biologically (having to get up to wee rather destroys the plan, no matter how tight-knit said plan is otherwise) or practically (the kids, not to mention the dogs, would be Quite Unnerved). So we struggle on, boats against the current and all that.

I hope you have a lovely holiday, beloveds. I hope it is full of good things to eat, low to no stress, and all the things you want but nothing you don’t. I may be about before the year turns over, or I might not. I suppose I’m saying “don’t expect much”, and if that isn’t a bumper sticker for the past couple years, I don’t know what is.

See you around.

Consumable Affection

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Oh, fudge.

The Princess has made her first batch of fudge for the season. This year she’s experimenting with darker chocolate–the current batch is made with 70%, and I think we could stand to go a little further–and she will also, because she loves her mother, attempt part of a batch with walnuts.

Well, she knows she’s technically capable, but she’s a purist, and considers my yen for walnuts in fudge to be just short of unholy. Kind of like raisins in challah, which I am in total agreement with her about.

She does several challah loaves with raisins each year around the holidays for her bestie, though, who adores such things. We call it “the Loaf of Sin”, because it makes us all laugh like loons. Of such things are affections made and expressed.

Have a lovely weekend, dear ones.

Cactus, On Time

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Right on time.

A whole lotta food was cooked and consumed yesterday (all the piiiiie, my gods) and the Christmas cactus from the old bookstore (the plant that survived the massive fire) is blooming again. I’ve a bit of work to do today, mostly stuff interrupted by the holiday, and then the weekend can start.

I’m looking forward to it.

Don’t forget Harmony is on sale for $3.99 across ebook platforms, and there’s my Books and Subscription pages if you’re looking to do a little Black Friday shopping. (There. That’s my Black Friday marketing done. Hallelujah.)

I hope you had a pleasant Thursday, my friends, and are anticipating an even more pleasant weekend. See you Monday.

Attempting Recovery, Again

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I finished the zero draft of Ghost Squad #2 (Klemp’s book) this past weekend, and stick a fork in me, I’m done. My wrists are hashed, my brain is liquid–the last day’s push to get the book out settled at 10.7k wordcount, which is a bit excessive even for me–and my back aches, but at least the zero is done and I won’t have to write it ever again.

Revise it, sure. Take it through copyedits and proofs, yeah. But I won’t ever have to produce this particular zero ever again, and the thought makes me feel like singing.

Consequently I’m taking today off. Well, as much as I ever take a day off. Thursday looms large this week; there’s going to be a lot of food and I should start prepping now. Plus I didn’t get regular household chores done this past weekend because I was busy with Klemp and Beck’s story, not to mention setting up Book 3, which is Tax’s. (You guys are gonna love him.)

So today will be all about watching documentaries, cleaning, preparing for Thursday’s feast, and adding to the list of last-minute items needing to be acquired tomorrow. I won’t be leaving the house for a while after Tuesday’s planned trip, because Black Friday looms and I’m not about to deal with that ruckus during a pandemic, no sir.

I’d write more, but my hands ache. So I’ll simply bid you a civil adieu for the day, my beloveds, and go attempt recovery. It always takes three times as long as one thinks it will, and is dreadfully uncomfortable to boot. I had planned to get some damn revisions in this month too; I suppose there’s still time.

Just not today. In fact, once the dogs are walked, my sole overarching desire will be to go back to bed, and everything I attempt recovery-wise will only be marking time until I can crawl back into that warm safety.

See you around, beloveds.

Covers and Schedules, Oh My

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Oh look, The Bloody Throne has a cover! Whew. I’m still waiting for the author’s copies, which will mean the series is all the way done instead of just mostly done, but it’s very nice to reach each semi-final milestone.

Winter–such as it is in the Pacific Northwest–has arrived. The first line of real, lovely storms moved in, dumping rain and stripping plenty of leaves. The clinging remainders are brightly colored, as a rule; there are bits of wet flame everywhere. The dogs are extremely glad for the heated mattress topper1 on my bed; Miss B’s old bones and Boxnoggin’s slick coat mean they both enjoy the heat on “their” side.

Yes, they have a whole side of the bed. In the first place, I’m a sucker. In the second place, they’ll alert me of hijinks and intruders, and that’s part of their job.

They work hard, the fuzzy little brats.

I spent the weekend with kitchen chemistry. My candymaking is improving by leaps and bounds, mostly due to having the proper tools. It’s been a real journey of, “Oh, this is why they recommend using one of these! Who knew?”

I did not work on the NaNoWriMo book more than lightly. Ghost Squad #2 (Klemp’s book, for those playing along at home) is moving right along. It’s about time for the first real danger, which I think will be cut brake lines.

I just have to figure out what in hell the cutter of said brake lines is bloody well thinking. They’re utterly convinced of the rightness of this course of action, while I’m mystified. They’ll tell me in a bit, I’m sure, I just have to trust the Muse knows what the hell she’s doing when she insists on something like this.

Never been wrong yet, but there’s always a first time.

I also have to reserve a significant amount of time today for revisions on The Black God’s Heart. I’m getting to the point where I distrust both projects, revising or in the process of creation, which is normal at their respective parts of the process but hardly comfortable, especially when I’m staring at the NaNo book and muttering, “why the fuck did I think I could do this, who the fuck do I think I am, everyone is going to hate this book, YOU MIGHT AS WELL STOP WRITING NOW, LILI.”

Plus ça change, and all that. Plus there’s the pressure of other deadlines looming. My ability to distinguish between “deadline RIGHT NOW” and “deadline a little later” is all caddywumpus, despite all the scheduling software I use to keep on track. (I like Cushion.) I thought I could also work on Jake’s book (Sons of Ymre #2) at the same time, but instead of being able to juggle four projects at once I’m down to two slots during the day when I can give my full attention to things.

I’m torn between “lo, how the mighty have fallen” and “this goddamn pandemic, we could have been past this by now if YOU PEOPLE2 would just cooperate.” Neither are particularly comfortable.

At least there’s some rain. Most mornings are nice and grey, just the way I like them. Boxnoggin is definitely not pleased by that, but he loves the occasional blaze in the fireplace, cuddles on the couch, and (of course) the heated mattress topper, which sometimes I turn on during the day for his napping pleasure.

There are good things in this season, even for a summer dog.

My scheduling app informs me that it’s time to swill the rest of this coffee and get the canines walked. We’re a bit early this morning, because there’s a lot to do. I suppose I should get started.

Let’s hope our respective Mondays behave, my dearests. If not, I’ve got that ashwood Louisville Slugger ready.

It’s nice to have a plan.

Goodbye, September

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Yesterday the full canine complement of Chez Saintcrow was washed, dried, and flea-treated, the grocer’s and pet store were visited for supplies, linens and towels were washed as well, a great deal of other housework was done, and the copyedits on Sons of Ymre #1 were finished. There’s a few final global changes to fold in on the very last, but those are tiny and it’s ready to be sent off and turned into proofs.

And I am so fatigued I had difficulty sleeping. Apparently I’m in the stage of burnout (yes, by now I’m sure it’s not The Plague™) where I’m too wound up for proper rest and just have to push for pure exhaustion to grant me some surcease. If I play my cards right and do the proper kind of work in the proper proportion today, that might happen this evening.

I’m hopeful.

I also received an amusingly nasty missive yesterday, telling me to “shut up about politics and just write [stories]”. I am baffled how the letter writer thinks any of my work is divorced from politics, since I happen to be a human being, and have no intention of hiding my thoughts on the state of the world. Honestly, the things some people will say, thinking the internet grants them anonymity. (Spoiler: IT DOESN’T.) I had to laugh at the absurdity.

On a brighter note, as a treat and reward for finishing CEs, I got myself a subscription to the Criterion Channel, which I’ve been eyeing for some time and saving pennies out of the budget for. I’ve loved their Kurosawa and Kieslowski collections, and am looking forward to diving into the rest of their offerings. After I finish prepping this week’s subscription drop, I might settle with a plate of brownies, plus some cold milk, and watch something black-and-white. (Probably an Ingmar Bergman.)

Hopefully it will be soothing enough that I can crawl into bed early and do something more than just toss and turn. Come tomorrow (October approacheth, good heavens, where on earth did September go? Pandemic time is an elastic rollercoaster) I have to turn all my engines–such as they are, straining and whining–to the proofs of the final Hostage to Empire book. Maybe after that’s marked up and sent back I can take a slightly longer break. (Spoiler: Probably not.)

Miss B and Boxnoggin are no longer damp, but both are a bit perturbed at smelling like shampoo instead of their usual doggy selves. It must be a bit like vanishing; heaven knows when I can’t smell the world due to nasal drip I feel somewhat adrift. They’ll be back to their usual healthy aroma in no time, though, and today’s walkies will no doubt help with that. I’m seriously dragging, but they have kindly allowed me to consume a double jolt of coffee without insisting to be taken around the block posthaste, for which I am utterly grateful. I think they can sense my exhaustion.

I also have an idea for yet another romance novel, which I should stick in a fresh Scrivener doc and set aside to marinate just in case. My romance editor likes suspense, and this one’s a dilly. The brain never stops, even when trembling on the edge of deep burnout. I suppose I’m just not built to rest.

At least there’s lovely grey cloud-cover today and the prospect of rain later. If I had to deal with summer temps and the associated ills I might well turn into a puddle and save all the pearl-clutchers trouble by expiring from pure heatstroke.

And with that, my tongue firmly in cheek and my temper thoroughly reined by sheer tiredness, I shall embark upon prepping brownie supplies and walking very clean (and disgruntled) canines. September and the week are almost over, and my very favorite month approaches.

See you around, beloveds.

Heat, Exceeding Savory

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The first of the season’s blackberries have arrived in our demesnes. We’d need a bit of rain–even a drizzle–to make them sweet and plump, but that’s not going to happen so they will be exceedingly savory for the time being. Especially with the heat wave.

Still, they’re good for the birds, and vines growing in swampy places will get enough moisture to make them perfect. Said swampy places are buried in thickets and protected by thorns, so the wildlife will get the best–but honestly, with what we’ve done to the planet, the fauna deserve the berries more than humans.

The dogs are eager for walkies, and my coffee is almost done. Sadly, neither avocado is ripe, which means my toast will not bear mushed green deliciousness, alas. Somehow, though, I shall carry on.

It is a Friday, after all. Happy weekend, beloveds. We’re almost there.