Rock Possibilities

I saw this little fellow again while on walkies with Very Excited Dogs yesterday. The painted rocks move around the neighborhood in odd patterns; I half suspect someone knows I’m keeping an eye on them and moves them just to say hello. Or, you know, the rocks are moving of their own accord.

Of course the real reason is that the people who paint them are trading them, and people who like them are moving them around like goods in an economy. But I wouldn’t be much of a writer if I didn’t consider the other possibilities.

And, of course, there’s the fact that this particular stone seems to be following me. While I’m not sure about the “stay positive” message–unfounded optimism tends to give me the hives, not to mention the willies–I can get behind the “laugh” bit.

I’m waiting for everything to reach the pitch of absurdity that makes me break down in helpless laughter. That’s generally when I know I’m going to be all right. It’s taking a while, though–there’s nothing laughable about current national events, and indeed there rarely is. Rather, I start laughing at the absurdity of my own personal life.

Sooner or later I’ll get there, I’ll hear that peculiar internal snap, and the giggles will flood free. It’ll feel like lancing a boil, a painful relief, and I’ll know I’m going to be okay.

It might even be the next time I see this damn painted rock, so I suppose I’d best get out the door with the dogs soon. Whoever daubed it knew what they were doing.

And, since this is a Friday, I’m curious. Do you get the giggles when you snap too, dear Reader? What happens when you reach the end of your rope and fetch up against the knot? When do you know you’re going to be okay again? Tell me.

I’m all ears. And, apparently, amusement.

Spring’s Lady

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My writing partner had a blood lily that made a whole new bulb, so she gave me the new one. Since then it’s died back every midwinter and returns every spring.

I was feeling rather down last week (really, weren’t we all) until I noticed a tiny green nubbin. Which meant it was time to make sure the potting soil was good, and also time to bend over the pot nightly and whisper encouragement. Things like you’re going to grow so well this year and I’m so happy to see you and would you like to hear a story about a small green thing just like you?

Somehow, despite all the flowering outside, spring never feels really real until this lady returns. Now here she is, ready for another season.

May we all be as quietly resilient.

Soundtrack Monday: Chrysalis Heart

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There were a lot of songs on the Incorruptible playlist. (I am now hearing Pete Puma say “a whoooooole lotta lumps.”) But pride of place for that particular book has got to be taken by Delerium’s Chrysalis Heart.

I listen to a lot of Delerium while writing. Sometimes it’s just background, but other times a song will slide through my ears and pierce the throbbing heart of a story, and this was one of those times. I had Michael Gabon first, of course, Jenna had to hang back and see if she could trust me before she’d consent to let a few scenes be told from her point of view.

Reliably, though, I could pop some Delerium on, wait for this particular track, and Jenna would come creeping softly like a stray cat from her hiding place. Patience was rewarded, for once–give her time, Michael kept saying, but dammit, I had a book to write.

In any case, I’m trying to shoehorn another Legion book in this year’s schedule. There’s a certain sassy EMT who knows to keep her mouth shut when strange things happen, and I think a certain Decurion’s going to stumble across her. Those two just need to marinate a little longer before I can find their through-line, I think.

In the meantime, enjoy the tunes.

Giveaway, and Other Monday

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Good morning, chickadees! It was a long weekend, and one I’m not quite sure I made it through intact. But I did get to settle on the couch with a book on contesting orthodoxy in the medieval and early modern era, so there’s that.

And we have a new giveaway! This month it’s for two signed, personalized Strange Angels/Betrayals bind-ups, copies of which I have signed I can count on one hand. It’s also out of print, which makes it even more rare. There will be two winners, and of course, newsletter subscribers got first crack at it. But now you, too, can enter–and multiple times to up your chances, too. It is worldwide, but media mail–I can’t afford quicker postage, so it will take a wee bit for your book to get to you.

It’s been warmer than usual for the past couple days, which the dogs have liked. At least, Boxnoggin, being a slick-coated fellow, has liked it; Miss B doesn’t mind since she’s got her lovely undercoat to keep her warm or cool as the situation demands.

It’s a holiday, so I’m moving rather slowly. Said dogs need their walkies, and I should probably stretch out a bit and get ready for a week that will be full of yet more revision madness. I’m prepping Season Two of HOOD for eventual publication, and I have a couple new tools to do it with. This time around I’m going to try proofing in PDF instead of on paper, which I’m sure will be a barrel of fun for all involved. I have the iPad, the pencil, and the app for doing it; I’m hoping it will be enough like paper that I can actually see the errors.

Proofing on something in my lap, with a pencil clutched firmly in hand, is vastly different than proofing on my desktop screen. Each way I see different errors; I’m pretty sure it engages vastly different parts of the brain. If this particular strategy works, trad publishers will be overjoyed at not having to send me paper proofs; if it doesn’t, well, at least I tried.

I suspect I’m going to say “at least I tried” a lot this year. There are worse fates.

And now it’s time for said walkies with said canines. They’ve been very patient, but Miss B has her nose on my knee, so I suspect her remaining patience is of short duration.

I suspect that will be a theme for this year as well. Looking forward to it. Happy Monday, my friends!

Leek Iteration

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I love potato-leek soup for many reasons, not least of which is this little science experiment. It’s close to magic, and every time I walk by the kitchen window, I am reminded of the deep, abiding fuck you inherent in all earthly life, clinging on the surface or in the crevices of an insignificant rock whirling through space in a backwater galaxy.

The kids are making “Leek 2.0” jokes. I haven’t told them about why leeks figure heavily in fertility magic, though. They can figure that one out on their own.

If you’re reading this, you’ve beaten tremendous odds already, and there will never be another you in all of eternity. Every once in a while, contemplating that–the uniqueness, the fragility, and the deep endless strength of life–makes me feel very small, very awed, and very unreasonably happy.

Not bad for a leek that also gave me soup.

Edging In With the Lake

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I’m edging back into piano practice again, and it feels good. Of course, every time I play this I expect to see a red-eyed Natalie Portman, but that’s a price one pays.

I want to finish this book of exercises and go back to doing Bach. Next year I’ve got to start working seriously on my Goldberg Variations Before I’m 50 bucket-list item, so it would be good to practice before then. And a session after dinner starts the evening most agreeably; it forces my brain into a different mode that makes it easier to not-work before bed.

Bonus bit: Long-time readers will know I put a Swan Lake reference in the Valentine series; it was super fun. I did have thoughts of doing a short story with a psion bounty hunter who also dances, but it died on the vine. Probably for the best, the last thing Danny needs in her life is to shoot someone in a tutu.

It’s almost the weekend, my dears, and the holidays are almost over. We can do this.

Over and out.

Sharing Good Things

The wind is up today, the Columbia Gorge inhaling for the deep dive into winter. There was stuff hitting the roof all night, but once the dogs are settled on my bed nothing fazes them.1

Of course, that could also have been because the wind chill manages to make the house a trifle chilly at night, so sleeping in a pile mitigates the shivers. I was actually a little too warm, what with flannel sheets and down comforter, not to mention two hairy little stoves to my left.

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I do have something awesome for you today, chickadees. My writing partner has a new story out, Voice of the Knife, which centers on woodpeckers, terror, and the legend of Jenny Greenteeth. I consider it one of the five perfect stories I’ve ever read, which is saying a lot. There’s not an ounce wasted in it, and the ending is simply marvelous. I highly recommend taking a gander, not only at it but at her other stuff. Especially Shots in the Dark.2

I am thrilled absolutely to the gills to be able to shout about Voice, since I love the story so much. I’m pretty sure my enthusiasm is both terrifying and amusing for said writing partner, but I don’t do halfway friendships. I am like an octopus on your face UNTIL WE BOTH DIE.

Uh, so to speak.

Anyway, it’s a windy day, the dogs need walking, and the Damage revision is going to be a knotty problem. Yesterday was a 1k net word gain, and I only got two chapters revised. I knew the zero was extremely lean, but this is kind of ridiculous. To be fair, I finished it under acid-test conditions, and I won’t let it out of my hands until it’s a respectable length.3

On the bright side, I got a lot of work done even though I had to leave the house for errands4, so I can look forward to being super productive today because I won’t be interrupted…

…that’s right, go ahead and laugh, I am tempting fate in the extreme. I will be interrupted, but whoever (or whatever) does so will have to deal with Very Direct Problem Solving so I can go back to revisions. I want this draft done and resting with my agent before NaNoWriMo.

But more about that later. For now, it’s time to walk the dogs–though B will have her nose in the air to read the wind the entire time, which will make her trip, and Lord van der Sploot will hop lively every time the invisible hand of moving air brushes his hind end. Fun times will be had by all. (Can you see me rolling my eyes? I’ll bet you can.)

Enjoy Tuesday, chickadees. It’s our only hope.