Favonian Thursday

A frenzy of revision has ended with Sons of Ymre #2 heading off to the editor, just in time for proof pages on something else to land. Publishing is always a game of festina lente, and not in the way Augustus originally meant it, either. I always thought Marcus Aurelius would have been a better one to coin that aphorism; certainly I think he’d use it in the modern military sense.

Anyway, Jake’s story has reached its final fighting form, and even copyedits won’t change much more than a tentacle or two. I also did some outlining on the next serial–not very much, because I’m more a pantser than a plotter and this particular story needs room and time to breathe. Still, I wanted a little more scaffolding before I set it aside to marinate and turned to the two last revises I have scheduled–Riversinger and Minnowsharp needs its polish before it goes to the editor, and so do both seasons of Hell’s Acre. They’re all exhausting in different ways, and I’m still not sure the latter will see wide publication.

But that’s a problem for another day.

We’re having a most favonian week, as Nabokov would say. Today it’s going to hit 78F, according to the weatherfolk, which is just a smidge too warm for my taste but ah well. It will mean we can have all the windows open, and I’ve pre-gamed by getting that done before coffee. My office window is currently standing wide, and I can already hear a bee-hum. Pretty sure one or two of the little sods are going to hitch a ride on me today–which is fine, as long as they don’t try to climb into my ear. I dislike that; it never ends well for either of us.

I’m glad to finally have Jake’s story off the docket. Now it’s only line edits, CEs, and proofs for that particular book, and afterward that duology can be laid to rest. My editor had fond hopes for an additional book dealing with one of the Fathers, probably Robert–who was, let’s face it, a good dude, though I like Miklos in the second book better–but I can’t see how I’d do that without fast-forwarding at least a decade in that world. It’s best to just leave it as it lays, as my grandfather would say, and move on to a different brand of paranormal romance. I’ll have to dredge through the compost heap and see what looks juicy green, because when it comes to writing romances I have no intention of stopping. I like having those little bits of light between playing in other genres.

Boxnoggin is thrilled by the sunny weather. Well, thrilled is kind of a strong term. He loves that his tender toesies aren’t getting damp except in the more low-lying parts of the park, and once he adjusts to having the windows open he’ll enjoy whatever news the wind brings to his cute little snoot. But open windows mean otherwise muffled sounds are entering the house loud and clear, and he’s not a big fan of that.

In fact, his dumb, very loud ass alerts to every single stray noise, and will until he accepts this as the new normal. This happens yearly; fortunately, since his memory is gloriously short, it won’t take long for him to settle in. Even if we return to cooler spring weather after this, one window or another will be ajar until some point in the fall–or until there’s a summer scorch involving wildfires, in which case we’ll close everything up, turn on the AC, and hope.

I’m not thinking about that right now, either. I’ve managed to clear a lot of work in the past few weeks, and am looking at more feverish activity until the Spring’s Arcana release. Speaking of that, there’s a Goodreads giveaway for that book, and you can sign up to attend the virtual launch party, too. I’m going to be hyperventilating and nervous until a few days after said release, so that’ll be fun. (Check out the last few April sales, too, if you’re in the mood for reading material.)

Speaking of, I’d best get some brekkie and out the door. A morning run before the heat builds will help purge some of the nervousness and return me to whatever zen can be found. You’d think after seventy-plus books or so, I’d be used to release-day nerves. But I’m not, I’m not.

Anyway, I have a whole lot of work to do and the urge to listen to John Denver–the original Rocky Mountain High video makes me giggle fondly, and I have no trouble admitting as much. (Especially the “chased by a bear” editing.) Thursday’s well underway and the coffee’s down to dregs.

Off I go.

A Glut of Blossom

Blue bells, bluebells, as far as the eye can see…

We’re well past the turning point. Spring is gnawing winter’s bones; no doubt germinating is hungry work. The honeysuckle is growing again, the chestnuts smell like pipe tobacco when the afternoons warm up, cherry and plum blossoms are falling, the magnolias are shedding waxy petals, the hyacinths are in full vigor, the grass is growing again, so on, so forth. Every day brings new evidence that I’m not allowed to give up yet–surprising, as it is every year.

It’s only intermittently warm enough for bees; the weather nerds say that will change in the next few days. When it does, this bank of bluebells will be alive with subtle buzzing and several different species. Boxnoggin might try to catch one or two sky jalapeños, but while he is eminently equipped for the capture of, say, rabbits or unwary cats, he doesn’t have the depth perception necessary to grab a bumblebee. (He can’t even catch a toast crust on an easy arc, poor thing.) Which is all to the good for everyone involved, including Yours Truly.

I’ve a busy Friday–Reading with Lili, Friday Night Writes, and revisions–so I’d best get started sometime soon. But the coffee is hot, it’s not so chilly as it has been outside, and maybe I can take a deep breath or two before the ruckus begins. And maybe on walkies today we’ll meet a tiny new friend or two.

Not a bad way to end the week, all told. Off I go.

To-Dos and Wild What-Ifs

Rolled from the bed’s sweet flannel embrace, took the dog out, dealt with moderation reports, downloaded a couple print proofs, ran off another print interior (dear gods, Vellum is amazing), got confirmation from the accountant (let’s all heave a huge sigh of relief), and the coffee is still warm. Not hot, but warm is good enough, considering.

Yesterday was blustery and sunny in turns, which meant my sinuses were throbbing like a disco beat, complete with the flashing colors whenever I blinked. Disorienting, even if I can find a bit of amusement in it. Today will be a bit calmer. We’re really noticing the difference with the cedars gone; the house rattles under the east wind like it never has before. I don’t know if the laurels will grow enough to become a buffer, or if I should plant something else along the new (hallelujah) fence.

That’s a problem for another day. I have all of summer to think about it.

The only drawback to all this productivity is that no task I’ve accomplished so far is on today’s to-do list. I should probably change that and cross off a few things just to get the dopamine flowing. Nothing quite like drawing a heavy line through an item one’s already done; I highly recommend putting at least one thing already accomplished on any to-do list just to get the pump primed.

Today will be all about approving proofs, waiting for one last bit of paperwork to sign, and revisions. I can finally get serious about the Sons of Ymre #2 revise, so that will occupy me for a few days and subscribers might get to see an updated bit of that book. Plus I’ve got prep for the Spring’s Arcana release, including lots of deep breathing and bracing for the virtual launch. I’m growing increasingly nervous, as usual, and the only cure for that is enough work that I’ don’t think about it’m too busy to brood. The wild What-Ifs murmuring in my ear (what if the book sucks, what if everyone hates it, what if no publisher ever wants you again, what if, what if, what if…) can be reduced a dull roar if I’m distracted with keeping other chainsaws in the air.

I woke up with Charlie Puth’s Attention playing inside my head again–just the point where the beat drops, over and over again. Which isn’t bad, but I would like a change. Fortunately walkies and a run today will be full of other music, so there’s a chance. I think my brain just uses any leftover RAM to run music, so clearly the fix (if one is even needed) lies in giving it other things to play with. Keeping it occupied, just like any other toddler.

The trees are dancing like they do in springtime. It’s different than the cold, sleepy lashing of winter; I can only think the rising sap makes them move differently. The butterfly bush is greening, and the Japanese maples have started budding out. No sign from the dogwoods yet, but there’s time. The magnolias are beginning to shed waxy petals, a different snowfall.

And now the coffee is cold, too. I just drained the dregs, which means it’s time for brekkie and walkies. Boxnoggin is stirring, though he hasn’t trotted down the hall to get me moving yet. He’s not the type of herder Bailey was, but eventually he’ll show up to nose me for the door.

I’d best get moving.

Hissing on the Rollercoaster

Ah, Monday. We meet again.

I opened the bedroom drapes and was immediately forced to hiss and retreat from that bright yellow stuff. Shambled through Boxnoggin’s wake-up loo break and making coffee, and now I’m in my office, still blinking and hissing a bit because dear gods, it’s too much. I miss the cedars along the back protecting us from the daystar.

I had a different earworm yesterday, but today it’s the New Radicals crooning wake up, kids, we’ve got the dreamer’s disease. The video’s kind of fascinating, in a time capsule manner–and I can only imagine the weariness of the people who had to clean up afterward. Everyone wanted to be Michael Stipe back then, and the malls were dying but we didn’t quite believe it yet. How strange, how very strange.

At least the flood of sunlight means the glass stuff on my windowsill glows like jewels. It’s about time to get another piece, as soon as I have a victory to celebrate. Maybe finishing this revision will do it–if I actually do finish. I’m back in semi-doldrums despite objective proof (landing in the past few weeks no less) that I do finish things. Imposter syndrome never takes a day off, and I’m kind of in the same boat. It’s hard to keep moving forward under such uncertainty; I’ve been in crisis mode since ’16 and it’s not letting up anytime soon.

I’d really like things to just…calm the fuck down for a second. alas, such is not the world we live in.

I did get the monthly newsletter out this past weekend, along with the announcement of a virtual launch for Spring’s Arcana. We’ll see how that goes. I’m nervous enough about the release that I’ll be sideways that day anyway, so it might even be fun. There’s something to be said for the relaxation of, “welp, can’t stop it now, might as well enjoy the ride.” I call it the Rollercoaster Principle, and it’s the reason I find those particular carnival rides so relaxing. Once you’re strapped in and the machine’s moving, you’re in the hands of the gods. Nothing can alter your fate, you’re simply at the mercy of physics. Being irresistibly drawn along has a certain charm.

Though only sometimes.

Right then. I’d better get some gruel and strap Boxnoggin into his walking harness. The coffee’s still warm and has a little cardamom in it, though…so maybe I’ll just sit here for a moment, close my eyes, and bask in the deadly radiation showering down, filtered by the atmosphere and driving all life on earth.

It’s all just a bigger rollercoaster, if one zooms out far enough philosophically. And with that (terrifying, I suppose) thought, I’d best get started.

Art or Prank

Can’t decide if it was accidental or on purpose, either.

Boxnoggin wasn’t perplexed by the appearance of a giant rootball on a water fountain, because it was well above nose-height for him. I, however, stood and stared for a few moments, trying to imagine the chain of events leading up to…this. The problem wasn’t a lack of possibilities, quite the opposite. There’s a variety of ways this giant chunk of roots and dirt could arrive in this situation, and all are through no fault of its own.

The absurdity only makes a burl more blameless.

It’s been rather an odd week, hasn’t it? I’m still not sure they didn’t fish some kind of small rodent out of a hadron collider, provoking the timeline to start healing itself. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. I plan on a really cool Reading with Lili today, and of course there’s the Friday Night Writes to round everything out. And if all goes well I just might finish a zero draft (or two!) soon.

Weirdness levels noted, fingers crossed, and all that. We’re almost to the weekend, my beloveds. Let’s finish as well as we can.

Rain-Wet Yellow

Bright spring visitor.

Just as Boxnoggin and I were approaching this small clump of bright flowers, a hummingbird zoomed up, thought about having a snack, saw us, visibly wondered if it should fight, forgot what it was doing, and zipped away.

I stood flabbergasted, having thought it far too cold for such a sighting. (Boxnoggin was more than willing to fight, though somewhat confused at the size of his prospective opponent.) But I guess the birds know best–I haven’t seen a single bee yet, even on the few sunny days where the temperature hits 60F.

Awful cheerful to see jonquils and primroses and cherry blossoms and hyacinth buds. Winter is my favorite season, but this is nice too. The mud feels different and the rain is still piercing, yes–but cold with a promise instead of a sting. I’ve tried my hardest to eradicate all my hope–I hate getting kicked in the teeth time and again, I’d rather expect nothing–but it’s a weed, and this is its season.

Ah well. To all things their due time.

Se you next week, my beloveds.

Coffee, Easy Enough

It’s a very damp Monday; the time change is sucker-punching me. I love it in fall–who doesn’t enjoy an extra hour of sleep?–but in spring…ugh, ugh, ugh. Good thing it’s raining. My soul expands with every drop hitting the roof, let alone sodden earth and gleaming pavement. Gutters are busy, storm drains full of rushing, and if there’s any of winter’s doldrums left they’re about to be dissolved and washed free. (Oh, and the latest Reading with Lili is up on YouTube for your enjoyment.)

There are some good things about springing-forward, I suppose. It’s an invitation to shake things up, reorient a bit. My office is cleaner than it’s been in a while–I haven’t done a cleaning purge in quite some time, and once one is past the initial “argh, do I really have to do this” phase and the “dear gods, it’s messier than it was when I started, what the hell” bit, everything starts to come together and one can breathe again. All the extra space is lovely.

Of course, I probably have to get the garage rearranged at some point in the next few months too. You can imagine my sardonic tone while typing “that’ll be fun, won’t it.”

Boxnoggin likes the having-dinner-early part of time change, but he is extremely reluctant for the get-out-of-bed bit. The water pouring from the sky during the first loo session of the day didn’t help; the poor fellow regards me as an inscrutable goddess in charge of every item, no matter how mundane, and dear heavens he does not see the point of me making it rain.

I could tell him I’m not responsible, but he wouldn’t believe me and in any case, to him plenty of my actions are so powerful and incomprehensible that any explanation will only stress him out further even if I could express it over the species divide. So he simply trusts that I have my reasons for making it cold and wet, and I make sure he gets toweled off and fed as the situation requires.

He even gets a dab of bacon grease in his bowl this morning, which should soothe the sting.

I’m aiming for calm these days. I had a whole blog post planned about that particular life lesson, but instead I’ve been nattering about the weather and the dog. Ah well, there’s always tomorrow–I’ve got to get some breakfast down for both of us, get the washing machine going, and start the week. I’m trying a few schedule changes to bolster the changes I want to make. The most difficult part is getting over the initial hill to make a habit stick. I can’t decide if small habits or large ones are easier to start or maintain. There seems to be a complex sliding scale of difficulty in the whole affair, which I suppose is part of being mortal.

It’s not a bad state, despite being extremely friable and frustrating. There are a few pleasures to be had.

One of those is the coffee I’m about to finish. At least the morning jolt is one habit I can keep, and it doesn’t take much brainpower to get through making it. This doesn’t mean there haven’t been notable instances of difficulty, naturally. But all in all, coffee’s easy enough.

It’s everything else that’s gonna kick my ass today. But at least I’ve got a fighting chance, and I’m up early enough to grab the beast’s tail.

Let’s just hope we get along…