lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Feb. 21st, 2012 11:35 am)

After a four-day weekend, sending the kids back to school means I miss them all over again, plus the house is too quiet. Except for the cat demanding to be held–and I realized, while holding her this morning, that I was swaying back and forth, patting her absently as she was hitched up on my shoulder, just like I would soothe and dandle a baby. (And I wonder why my animals are all so weird.) Miss B, after a few days of not running, was pretty much ready to explode out the gate when I took her on a nice easy three-miler yesterday, and today she had mad thoughts of chasing squirrels, and seagulls, and cars, and basically anything that twitched. Including long grass and windblown branches.

Fun times.

Plus, I dropped my gum when I went to throw it away, and every animal in the house dove for it. I don’t know what the hell they’d do with it, but they were Determined. Plus, they wanted my sweaty socks and my workout brassiere. I just don’t even know.

So here I am staring at the new Bannon & Clare book. My wordcount goal for today is 2K–not a lot, but enough to prime the pump and get me back into things. There’s a lot of interesting stuff coming down the pike, but nothing I can officially announce yet. (It just kills me to have to sit on some of it, but I am threatened with Dire Consequences if I open my big pie-hole.) I feel incredibly lazy because my wordcount dropped to around 200 a day, most of that tightening and toning other things; before the weekend it was revisions on the first book in the new YA series and some poking and prodding on the zombie-killing cowboy story. Which is, incidentally, in Bannon & Clare’s universe.

Perhaps I have said too much. *evil grin*

I have part of a new SquirrelTerror entry drafted…but it mentions Sweet Tuxedo and Cranky Duck Cat, and I can’t look at it without feeling the sick thump of grief all over again. So that’s going to have to wait. I am sure I will have other Tales of the Backyard, especially in a few months. Big changes afoot here at Casa Saintcrow!

The rain is invisibly fingering the roof, the animals have settled in their respective favourite sleeping spots, and I am about to go use my brand-new Machine Of GREAT CAFFEINATION. I swear, the thing is just like a best friend–warms up quickly, always willing to lend an ear, and dispenses sweet sweet go-juice. I could sing its praises all day, but I’d also have to talk about its belching, and a certain dog’s fear of its noise, and the howling song that has become traditional when the coffee grinder starts up. That story has got to wait, because I’m still giggling every time I think of it, and I need to concentrate to be able to tell it properly.

So, yeah. First day back at work. Quiet house. Lots of work-avoidance going on. Lots of starting up from my chair thinking it’s too quiet, what are they into now? Lots of wandering around the house looking at things that need cleaning, sighing, and dropping back into my chair and staring at a blank page that needs word-monkey juice spread on it.

It’s nice to be back.

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I’m a winter writer. Endless gray, rainy days suit me very well. I like to sit and stare out the window, watching the sky weep, my brain tuned to that expectant humming that the next sentence will bring itself out of.

Maybe this is why I have, whenever I could in my adult life, built time into each day for dreaming, and insisted that the Prince and Princess have unstructured time each day. I’m of the opinion that it’s those moments of blankness that helps young (and older) brains catch up with themselves, and is also a necessary component of the creative process–the “creative pause.”

When you’re rushing to a solution, your mind will jump to the easiest and most familiar path. But when you allow yourself to just look out the window for 10 minutes – and ponder – your brain will start working in a more creative way. It will grasp ideas from unexpected places. It’s this very sort of unconscious creativity that leads to great thinking. When you’re driving or showering, you’re letting your mind wander because you don’t have to focus on anything in particular. If you do carve out some time for unobstructed thinking, be sure to free yourself from any specific intent. (Scott Belsky)

Part of why I prize that humming in my head so highly is because I’ve lived with people who have an absolute instinct for knowing when one’s brain is approaching that cycle, and for some reason they want to disrupt it in any way possible. (WHY they do this is a whole ‘nother ball of blog post wax. Let’s carry on.) Of course, it could be that I am picky and hard to live with. (Who isn’t?) But I’ve since become grateful for that harsh everyday annoyance. It was invaluable training in getting the creative pause in anyhow, triggering the blank expectant humming at a moment’s notice, slipping myself into that interstitial space within an eyeblink. It takes practice, but it can be done–and often, I surface knowing What Comes Next in a story.

My point (you knew I had one, right?) is that your faculties might do their best work with a little bit of white noise. Not too much–then you just drool all over your keyboard, and this, while not incredibly expensive if one buys cheap keyboards, is still annoying and embarrassing. But finding a way to fit even five minutes of just sitting and thinking, or sitting and staring (not at the television, Christ, throw that thing out the window or at least only use it for films) into your day can reap you rewards all out of proportion, especially when it comes to any creative endeavor. And getting into the habit of protecting that time will help you develop the skills necessary to protect your writing time, tooth and nail, against all comers. Which is exponentially more important…

…but that’s another blog post.

Over and out.

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So, I’m developing a girlcrush on Sarah Rees Brennan, for her Gothic Tuesdays. This week’s winner was Collie Wilkins’s Woman in White. (Project Gutenburg can hook you up too.)

LAURA: I’m going to tell Sir Percy Cruelpants that I will marry him, but I love another, so he won’t want to marry me.
MARIAN: Well, he will if he doesn’t give a crap about your feelings, though?
LAURA: Nonsense, I’m sure this will work out awesome. Sir Percy Blackheart, I love someone else and I don’t wanna marry you. Still want to marry me?
SIR PERCY RIDICULOUSLY EVIL: Still rich?
LAURA: Yes.
SIR PERCY THE PERFIDIOUS: Then yes.
LAURA: … That did not go the way it did in my head. (Sarah Rees Brennan)

The whole thing is pure gold. You should also look at her Jane Eyre one.

Also, here’s a free documentary on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy Murakami’s work–frex, I read his latest, 1Q84, in a few long gulps. (No, LONG gulps. Nearly a thousand pages, OMG.) Seriously, you don’t read Murakami for linear coherence just like you don’t watch a David Lynch film for it. They’re both harvesters of subconscious gas-bubbles. (Also, really fricking weird, and not too good with the portrayal of teenage girls, meh.)

And the Heart Attack Grill has its first moment of truth in advertising.

In other news, the first book of the new YA series is back with the editor for another revision pass. And the second Bannon & Clare book, The Red Plague Affair, is heating up inside my skull. Rest is overrated, don’t you think? Plus there’s martial arts for the kids, a four-year-old I’m watching for a few days, and a dog who thinks the Roomba is a demonspawn predator I need protecting from.

So…off I go. Be careful out there, Gothic Lady Sleuths!

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2012 11:27 am)

It’s a bright sunny day, and this morning’s run took me past puddles that had frozen into swords of lace, fallen branches–the wind has been sweeping vigorously, Nature’s broom–and pine needles, fat squirrels bustling about. (Shouldn’t they be hibernating? You’d think they would be.) A flock of seagulls and crows (not Bartholomew’s crew, a totally different set) watched me and Miss B pound past, calmly side-eying the dog who would have loved to chase them, if I’d just have unclipped the leash.

One of the things I love best about running is that it drains away all fear, frustration, anxiety, it leaves only calm in its wake. Even though last night was restless in the extreme, I still feel refreshed. Of course, that could be the jolt of caffeine I took down this morning (oh, you guys, the new machine is beautiful, and I swear to God I can feel the espresso hitting my bloodstream) and the true test will come at about 3pm this afternoon when the Valley of the Nap arrives.

In the meantime, all the agony is run off and I’m left calm and reflective. Like a nice still pond–albeit one who has to figure out how to tweak a duel and a couple sieges and stuff some more double-dealing into this book. The revisions proceed apace, and while I don’t particularly like Tristan d’Arcenne, I am getting to the point where I hate him a little less. Which is all good.

See you ’round the bend…

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So I’ve finally stopped hacking like Chekhov and popping Mucinex as if I’m Burroughs popping hash. Which is a relief, because if I added one more simile to that terrible chest cold, I’d've exploded from sheer reference.

Good morning! We made it into 2012. (Insert obligatory Ancient Mayan Prophecy joke here.) Once again I survived the holidays, a feat made easier by the avoidance of vast tracts of People Who Stress Me Out. Oh, and by the application of said vast tracts of time to hanging out with the kids and the dog. Best therapy around.

I suppose it’s time for the yearly list of Goals Instead Of Resolutions. I like “goals” much better; it sounds achievable and more active than “resolutions.” I can “resolve” just about anything, and escape actual implementation. (Committees and office work taught me that.) Goals, though, somewhat demand to be broken into small achievable bits, then hammered relentlessly until dead and tossed into the pile of “Done!”

This perhaps says a lot about my personality.

I have a very short list of goals for 2012. Here it is:

* Continue my habit of reading one poem per day
* Find a new historical era to research for fun
* Learn to say “It makes me tired,” and move on
* Make all my deadlines for contracted books
* Attend at least one Krav Maga class
* Keep running and climbing
* Get that zombie cowboy trunk novel into reasonable first-draft shape
* Work on the second Steelflower book (Shh! You didn’t hear this one…)
* Be as decent as I can every day, all day
* Accept that the cat will try to sleep on my hands while I am typing, and get over it

There it is. That’s it. I can’t figure out whether I’m being realistic or lazy. I like to think keeping the goals small and pretty-much-achievable saves me from a death-spiral of guilt and self-recrimination down the road. I mean, because adding another death spiral to my life has been done so many times. It’s getting boring.

And now it’s time for me to suit up and take Miss B for a run. She has been expressing, in several long-suffering sighs and small whines, her need for some damn action instead of just sitting around typing. Silly puppy.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 31st, 2011 06:06 pm)

So, 2011. You’re headed out, no time for a chat? That’s okay. *points at chair* Sit down, this won’t take long.

You think that’s a request? It’s not. Sit down.

Thanks.

You were better than 2010 by a long shot, but that’s not really a compliment, is it. 2010 sucked so hard for me, you were the year of recovery. So, measuring by that benchmark, pretty much anything you did would have been okay. I’m not denigrating your ability to suck less than the previous year, not by a long shot. No way. I’m just saying, that’s not doing you justice.

In the wider world, there were earthquakes and tsunamis and wars and insurrections. There were widespread protests, and they look like they’ll continue. I’d say it’s about damn time, and I only hope the Occupy movement gets bigger and more widespread. So, thanks for that. I guess. But the earthquakes etc.? Not so much. Well, you can’t help that, can you? Nope. You’re just the year, doing your job.

In my own tiny corner of the rock called Terra, well. You sucked way, way less than 2010, and I did a lot of healing. I started the year finally-divorced and ended up actually contemplating going out to coffee with a person or two. I also made my peace with the fact that I’m never going to hear an apology from certain people, and that’s just the way it is. I found out that surviving the years of survival is in some ways the hardest task, and that yes, time does heal broken things. That sort of knowledge is a spiral–you always keep coming back to it, in deeper and deeper layers. Like ogres.

I also found out I can eat lasagna again, under certain circumstances. That I can nod and smile when some of my former abusers say, “I miss you…” Well, of course you do. But you miss the idea of me more than the actual me. Which isn’t really missing me at all…so I can put aside the guilt I feel. It is not my fault you miss what you thought I was instead of what I actually am. Which is a human being with actual rights, thoughts, dignity, and my own reasons for keeping those secrets you’re so terrified I may tell. (Go ahead and be terrified. If it keeps you away from my door, so be it.)

But, 2011, you were all in all not so bad. You taught me how to be reasonably happy again, 2011. You weren’t optimal, but then again, I wasn’t at my best either. We’re about even. You did what you could, and so did I. I think we can call this one a success on both sides, even if neither of us ended up where we wanted to be. Thanks for the time and the opportunity. You were very patient when I was in a hurry, and pulled me along when I really wanted to be still and stagnate. All in all, we did pretty well together, considering. I finished a few books, I had some laughs. I put in another year of raising two of the most beautiful human beings on the planet, and they managed to teach me a lot inside your (completely arbitrary, but that’s another blog post) boundaries. So, thank you for that.

I see you fidgeting and eying the door. You’re tired, and rightly so. You’ve been a hell of a year. Feels like you’re just as eager to be gone as I am to see the new turn of the wheel. Still, we’ve got a few hours here in this corner of the world. Have a drink, and relax for a little bit. I make no demands on you–you can totes hurry out the door and slam it if you want. That’s okay. But it might be so much nicer if we just hang out here, you and I, just a writer and her year, and give each other a weary smile and say, “We made it.”

Yeah. We made it, both of us.

*lifts glass*

Good for us.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 22nd, 2011 11:10 am)

Well, I finished the zombies-and-cowboy trunk novel last night. At least the zero draft. It weighs in at 65K, which is a little large for a zero draft, and means it’ll be closer to 80 after I revise it into a reasonable first draft. That’s not going to happen for a while, though, since I’m going right back to proof pages for Bannon & Clare (due the first week of 2012, I weep for my sleep schedule) and another round of revision on the new YA (after the first of the year) plus the drop-dead date for starting the zero draft of the next Bannon & Clare is New Year’s Day. Begin the year as you mean to go on, I guess.

So last night, sweating and excited, I typed finis at the end of DAMNATION. There’s a sheriff with a hidden past, a schoolmarm with a secret, a gold claim, and zombies. Lots of zombies, and some bonus vampire action. I need to go back and layer in a lot of stuff now that I know the shape of the finished work, and it may be a crappy trunk novel nobody will ever buy, but at least it is no longer a crappy unfinished trunk novel nobody will ever buy. Plus, it features a death by skillet and the immortal line “He ain’t gettin any fresher.” Also, horses, and a group of “frails”–saloon whores–who want to learn to read and figure so they can open their own fancy houses OR stop being cheated by the saloon manager.

…Yeah, I had fun.

I am also thinking of getting bids for help in putting some of the SquirrelTerror saga into, say, a nice thin trade paperback. It would need editing and copyediting, and perhaps an index, and I’m sure I would want to add some footnotes. And a map. So editing, CE, and formatting/design. I’m not sure if it would be viable; I’d probably spend more on the editor than I’d ever make on the damn thing, but it would please me. At the moment, it’s just a thought.

I have further decided I’m not going to run until next Monday. I’m told that every once in a while you have to stop beating on the flesh and give it a slight rest so you can shock it more effectively when you restart. I am sure my body will appreciate this, though the rest of me will be cranky.

And that is all the news that is fit for something, I guess, or at least all the news I can give right now. Next year promises to be very exciting. Maybe another trunk novel will fall out of my head?

*shakes Magic 8 Ball*

Ask again later? What kind of crap is that?

Over and out!

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Nov. 18th, 2011 12:10 pm)

I am munching on crackers, Brie, and grapes. This means, according to the tortoiseshell cat, that I am the New Best Friend and my lap is meant to be purred upon. You’d think cats wouldn’t want Brie–I mean, it’s fermented, right? It can’t smell good to them. I am mystified. Also, I am a little annoyed at how the cat seems to think I’m loading the cracker with Brie for her. She even tries batting at it as it’s on its way to my waiting mouth. This does not end well–she gets put on the floor, as gently as possible, and springs back into my lap the instant my hands are occupied with the food again.

I suspect we will not reach a detente, but neither will we war openly.

Five miles run this morning, at about 9:39 per mile. Another personal best, fueled by the adrenaline I’m burning off from last night. Since the flu episode and adding the fact that the weather has turned positively filthy, I’ve bagged the 5AM runs for a while. I miss Phred the Coyote and the stillness of that early morning, but nearly spraining an ankle because I can’t see what’s living at the bottom of a puddle in the dark Taught Me A Lesson. (Do NOT ask. You don’t want to know. Trust me.) For once, I am choosing discretion over valor. Or something.

The leaves have mostly turned, all at once. The crisp nights have given them fantastic shades of red and orange and yellow. This is the best year for leaves easily in the last decade, or maybe I’m just seeing them afresh. Things do seem a lot brighter this year than they have for a while.

I am not upset at the weather, though. People who move to the Pacific Northwest and bitch about the rain are like…people who move to LA and complain about heat and gridlock, or New York and noise. I happen to love the rain. When it taps on a roof and I’m warm and dry inside, there are few things better. The luxury of running in the rain, getting physically pretty miserable, then coming in and drying off is pretty intense. Winter also tends to be my most productive period as a writer. I guess maybe it’s that there’s not much else to do but hole up and tell stories when it gets gray? Plus, it’s harder to guilt me into leaving my house in wintertime. I really am quite happy as a hermit, thankyouverymuch. I’m not quite a Henry-Chinaski-class lover of solitude, but it’s pretty close.

It’s taken me a long time to write this, between stuffing my face and fending off a very vocal and indignant tortie who wants some damn Brie, nao plz! I have the shades all drawn, and the door locked, and the house to myself while the kids are at school. The current revision–a fresh new YA–is calling my name. It needs a scene between a princess and a huntsman in a fairy housekeeper’s kitchen. Also, it needs more gunfire.

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day.

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The downside of a highly productive weekend is that Monday comes and one is exhausted, washed-out, and moaning softly while staring at the pile of accumulated work on one’s desk. On the upside, I got everything done, including laundry and the successful hunting, acquiring, and dragging back to the lair of Halloween costumes for the Little Prince and Princess. I did not even have to beat anyone over the head with a plastic gothic tchochke, because we were at the costume store before church ended on Sunday morning.

After church lets out, the crowds turn mean. You don’t believe me? Hang out in the grocery store down my street about 11:30-11:45 next Sunday. I triple-dog-dare you. You couldn’t pay me to be there, no thanks. I like my appendages all attached.

ANYWAY. Errands were run, costumes and a few decorations were acquired, the kids helped me clean up the yard and fill the bird feeders, kitchen and loos and laundry all addressed in their respective fashions, and winter thoroughly prepared for. So this morning, despite a hard run in the first real frosty-type conditions of the fall, I am blinking and feeling very much like I’ve been run over. I suspect another jolt of caffeine is in order before I can think about the copyedits, the revisions, the new wordcount I should produce on both the side project and the next book due…

…crap, my brain just froze. Like a rabbit sensing a coyote’s hungry attention. The problem, I have decided, is in choosing what beast to leap on and slay first.

*rolls up sleeves, grabs harpoon*

Here, little tiny copyedits! Come on over here! I’m waiting for you!

See you ’round.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 18th, 2011 02:35 pm)

There’s this scene in the first Tomb Raider movie, where Lara Croft’s geeky genius robot-building sidekick Bryce is rudely awakened. “What’s that smell?” he asks, and Angelina Jolie almost, almost rolls her eyes.

“Five AM,” she says. “Let’s go.”

Read the rest of this entry » )

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2011 10:43 am)

Some tidbits for your consideration:

* Dina James’s new book is out! Dina is my Evil #1 over at the ELEW, and a lovely person.

* A call to action against a serial plagiarist.

* Topeka, Kansas, is looking to decriminalize domestic violence. To, erm, save money. (If I halt to comment on this, there will be a whole day’s worth of ranting. I’ll just skip it, and you can fill in your own.)

The kids are at school, the houseguests are gone, my street is empty, and I can hear the ticking of the cat clocks on my wall. Archibald Clare has a man in knee-deep Londinium sewer water, and has a mouthful of blood besides. I can feel the rest of the book calling me. Plague pits, sorcery, potential zombies, and a mad art professor beckon, and the hunt is afoot again.

I’m swamped.

See you guys around…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 4th, 2011 09:26 am)

It’s another edition of Random Things Lili Thinks About, For She Does Not Have An Idea Worthy Of A Long Blog Post.

* Why the hell is Glitch so addictive? You’d think a game where you squeeze chickens, nibble and pet pigs, and make gardens would be boring. Instead, I can’t stay away. It gives me a glow of accomplishment. Man, I’m boring.

* Boring isn’t so bad. I’ve had enough excitement in my life that I can stand a LOT of boring. Like, until I croak. Because boring is safe, boring is predictable, and boring does not lead to bleeding, screaming, or pain. Well, at least, not my kind of boring. I’m pretty sure there’s tortuous boredom out there that will make one scream and bleed. I am happy to avoid that.

* On the other hand, I am rarely bored. Apparently I am easily amused, and can amuse myself for long periods of time. This is not a bad thing.

* When I run, music often plays in my head. I don’t use my IPod unless I’m on the treadmill; it’s just too much of a hazard. My brain, however, apparently requires music, so it gives me a selection of hits. This morning it was Phantom of the Opera (in particular, Prima Donna and Notes; God, I love Minnie Driver even though the singing in that version is…meh, I mean, really, Gerard, did you have bad dental work? The lisp, my man, it’s gotta go) and, of all things, AC/DC’s Back in Black. (Which happens to be Graves’s theme music near the end of the Strange Angels; he starts out with Chris Isaak’s Let Me Down Easy and AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.) I’m pleased to report Andrew Lloyd Webber and AC/DC go together rather well while I’m running in the dark.

* Oh, look, a Sekrit Hideout has been discovered. The story possibilities are endless.

* I’m told (hi, TP!) I must have a very sharp sense of smell, because of how I write. I don’t think I do, but I do think I pay a great deal of attention to olfactory input. I am constantly aware of the smellscape around me. (When one has kids, it’s always best, don’t you think?) If I come down with a cold and a stuffed nose, I feel half-blind. There’s also the funny things I call “misfires” or “auras”–that’s when my brain doesn’t know quite how to handle the input it’s getting, so it gives me a smell/sound/taste/sight that cannot possibly be. Usually this shocks me into paying attention to something I wouldn’t normally have taken a second look at; it seems to mostly be a way for my subconscious to warn me of possible danger. Most of the synesthesia I suffer is of this sort. (The rest of it seems to be excess energy in my neurons just slopping around.)

* I can finally listen to music with words again. Recently, finishing three zero drafts basically at once, I had retreated into classical and ambient music. Lyrics just scraped the inside of my head raw and irritated me right between the shoulderblades. Thankfully, the sensitivity retreated as it always does. It’s funny, when I’m writing something dire I want bright pop music, when I’m writing something mannered and precise and historical I want punk or hard rock, when I’m writing romance I want angry music. It’s as if the aural stim needs to be a balance to the weight on a certain set of creative muscles.

* I might–might, mind you–be reaching the end of my reading on the Eastern Front of WWII. If this is so I’m going to have to find another historical oddity to stripmine, since my tastes in fiction have also retreated like bruised anemones . I’m beginning to be unable to read in the genre I’m writing, or at least, not comfortably. It’s hard to read for joy anymore, I’m so used to revision-reading. The nonfiction gives my brain a chance to spool down. Plus, it’s a relief to read something I won’t ever write about, almost (dare I say it) restful. Since rest is always in short supply, it’s nice to find a few moments of it here and there.

Eh. I, I, I, me, me, me. Booooor-ing. I’d write the next chapter of the Squirrel!Terror saga, but all my focus is taken up with revising. Eh.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Sep. 28th, 2011 08:29 am)

This morning’s run was wonderful. I felt like I had little wings on my feet. Every once in a while, everything clicks and a good run comes along. It’s like a perfect day of writing. It keeps you coming back for more and enduring the days when it feels like peeling one’s own skin off in strips.

I am full of pleasant thoughts today. You’ve been warned.

However, the predawn was incredibly foggy, which made me think of Stephen King’s Strawberry Spring. Which led me to thinking about Springheel Jack. Along with plague pits, you can tell I’m working on the next Bannon & Clare. (Their first adventure, The Iron Wyrm Affair, is in revision now.)

I was planning what I’d do if Springheel Jack suddenly appeared in the fog, and perhaps that gave me some extra speed. “Be prepared” is not just a Boy Scout motto.

Let’s see, what else? I’m glad you guys are enjoying the Squirrel!Terror serial. When Neo recovered, things got incredibly interesting, but I am not going to write that for a little while. Here, instead you can have a peek at the first chapter of Reckoning, which is due out soon. I am excited and sad all at once–excited to share the culmination of Dru’s story, and sad to say goodbye to her.

I’m incredibly interested in and excited about Glitch right now. It’s sort of like Animal Crossing for grownups. (Although Animal Crossing is nice too.) It’s like WoW without killing, which can be a relief. (Sometimes, though, I just want to get a glass of wine and murder some pixels.) I like the idea of a game where you water plants, pet animals, build and cook things, and basically learn to be cooperative. It balances out my antisocial tendencies. *snort*

I’m very boring right now. I had some unpleasant news that knocked the wind out of me not too long ago; my writing partner, who is always full of good advice, has been reminding me to plan for what I’m frightened of instead of just thrashing about in fear. The planning certainly seems a more productive use of one’s time, plus it provides an feeling of control. That feeling may be illusory, but it certainly helps. So I’m retreating into my shell for a wee bit, a process that is probably helped by the fact that a nice cool autumn is setting in and spending time curled up in the house is not only soothing but pleasant. I tend to be a winter writer, anyway–my most productive seasons are the ones with filthy weather.

Ach, I’m nattering on. It’s Wednesday. I seem to have lost the knack of Wednesdays.

Over and out.

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This morning, five miles. Along the way there were several sprinklers (Miss B likes to avoid those, energetically, whenever possible), five dogs (four off-leash, when will they learn, it’s a leash LAW, not a guideline or suggestion, for the safety of the pets unlucky enough to have YOU as a goddamn owner), a multiplicity of squirrels we were going too quickly to chase (though Miss B tried, gamely), several bunnies (pets escaped and gone feral, long story, cute and fluffy until you see the TEETH), the hawk in the park crouched over something bloody before it took wing, carrying the unfortunate rag of bone and meat and breakfast, late-summer heatstressed leaves falling and crunching underfoot.

The season is turning. You can smell it–the mornings are crisper, without the asphalt-and-dust scent of high summer. It’s not harvest season yet, but everything’s preparing, and the nights are turning cooler. The sky is not the endless blue of summer. It is paling, still infinite, but it has the washed-and-dried-outside quality of late summer, after the worst heat but before the rains sweep in. Things are ripening, yawning, enjoying the slow afternoons.

I come home to a Little Prince who has grounded himself from the Wii for two days because his legs hurt–when he plays, he jumps up and down from sheer excitement, and he’s sore this morning. “I better take a break,” he informs me solemnly over his cereal, and I try not to smile as I nod and seriously agree, and compliment him for being so mature and responsible. And the Princess, buried under her covers until late, comes blinking out into the morning light and informs me a scene in the fanfic she’s working on has broken loose; as soon as she has breakfast she’s going to dive into it. Their days are long and timeless in summer. When school starts at the end of the month I’m going to miss them–they’ll miss me too, but they’re excited to go back to their friends.

The house is quiet. Miss B is tranquil–the first three miles are to calm her down, the last two are to wear her out. The sneezing cat doesn’t protest when I dose her with antibiotics, though it must taste nasty. She takes the eyedropper gracefully, and there are pets and praise for everyone afterward.

I open the fridge to get the cream for my morning coffee. Stuck, fluttering, on the fridge are cards someone sent me during the dark difficult time not so long ago. You’ll feel better soon, one says, and the other, Keep going. The world needs your light. For a moment, I am arrested by the thought that little by little, things did get better. I put my head down and just went one step at a time, and now I can look back and see the hole I climbed out of. The edges are raw, but not bleeding. I am on the other side. I never have to endure that particular hell again. (I like to make an entirely new set of fuckups each time, thank you very much.)

It’s a funny thing, to realize you don’t have to stare at your feet anymore. That the weight dragging all over you has lessened, that you can take a deep breath and look forward. That you have endured, and now you can begin to glance ahead. Shyly at first, carefully, in case there is a sudden tilt back toward the hole. Later, more confidently, settling the straps of your pack, your steps becoming long swinging strides instead of a spiritless trudge. There is light now, stray gleams strengthening through breaking clouds, the storm has spent itself. A little older, a little wiser around the eyes, scars to tell stories about instead of wounds to triage.

I begin to roll my eyes and see the funny parts now. I get my coffee, and I go back to work. There’s just one thing left, and that is to say…

…Thank you. Thank you very much.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

So, we returned from SpoCon late Sunday evening, exhausted but happy, clutching our gifts and swag, all three of us incredibly happy to be home again. Miss B. returned from my writing partner’s house about an hour after we got home. While we were convention-ing, Miss B was catching voles, rolling in grass, meeting alpacas and horses and chickens and generally having the run of a couple acres. I was actually half afraid that she wouldn’t want to come home. The cats, checked on every day by a friend or two, were aloof as usual. “Oh, you left? I didn’t notice…”

The kids are still talking about the hotel pool, and being able to watch all the television they wanted to. They attended a couple panels, liked the dealer’s room and the game room, and had fun spotting costumes. They weren’t too into panels–the siren call of the hotel room, with AC and the big wide television, was too strong to ignore.

Oh well.

As for me, I had a lovely time. Kudos must go to Chris Snell for organizing, and Kathy McCracken, who is a saint for ferrying three punch-drunk writers to her place of employment, ferrying us back, and going drinking with us as well. (Well, there was dinner involved, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.) The list of people I enjoyed muchly includes Erik Scott de Bie, who can out-deadpan me, Moira J. Moore (hey Moira, the Princess finished your book the night we got home, she loved it), Roxanne Skelly (keep going, even if you are in revision hell), upcoming writers Kaye T. and Esther J., the nice guy in Registration who figured out the badges for the Prince and Princess, Frances Pauli (who almost made me moderate again), and Courtney Brasil, who was a trouper, let me tell you. That panel didn’t let up until after MIDNIGHT. Plus, the young man who I used as an example during the Paranormal Paramours panel: you were a good sport, thank you.

I wanted to take a bunch of pictures, but I was going so fast trying to get to the next place I needed to be…that I forgot. Bad author, no cookie for me.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. The drive out there was pretty, even though coming into Spokane through the construction on I90 was an exercise in patience. The drive home was gorgeous, except for the Prince and Princess in the car for six hours growing heartily tired of each other. (They spent all of yesterday in their rooms, recuperating and catching up on alone-time.) I think I’ve about recovered–I was toast yesterday, couldn’t form a complete sentence to save my life.

Anyway. My big purchase in the dealer’s room was a pocket-watch that Bannon & Clare just had to have. I don’t even know how to wear a bloody pocket watch anymore, but it’s gorgeous and I love it. Thanks also to all the fans, both at the convention and at the Hastings signing, you were uniformly a pleasure to meet and chat with.

And that’s about it. I got up this morning, ran five miles, bouldered with my pal ZenEllen, and am settling into deadlines.

Whew. It’s good to be back.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Aug. 9th, 2011 10:30 am)

Why have I been so hard to find these days? Well, the new YA book I’m working on is eating my head. Plus, there’s two other books about to go into the pipe for revision. There’s the kids, of course. And the dog. (You don’t even want to know about the other strays.)

Plus, there’s the events I’m getting ready for.

I’ll be at SpoCon this upcoming weekend! You can find my schedule here. Plus, I’ll be signing at the Hastings in Spokane on Saturday, 3-6pm, along with Erik Scott de Bie and Moira Moore. (We have collectively promised not to get arrested.) Should be a ton of fun! I will, of course, be tweeting all I can. Because I’m Just That Way.

In short, if I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth, it’s because this is basically Hell Week for me. There’s getting ready for the convention, planning pet care and the drive out, wordcount every day, doctor’s appointments (don’t ask) and back-to-school stuff that all needs to happen before Thursday morning. The runrunrun of a con will probably be a relief.

See you in Spokane, or catch you on the flip side!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jul. 27th, 2011 10:27 am)

The Process Part II post about recovery is postponed until tomorrow. I was up all last night with a Little Prince whose stomach decided to paint everything in sight with half-digested blueberry waffle and bile. So…yeah. (You’re welcome for that mental image, by the way.) Today my tolerance for anything besides my little people is severely diminished, so it’s probably best I don’t post at length.

See you tomorrow!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jul. 22nd, 2011 10:39 am)

It is just way too bright and sunny today. And it’s a good thing I’m damn stubborn, or I would have quit after three miles today and not had that awesome endorphin-kick runner’s high. Not to mention the drift of honeysuckle, the cheerful “good morning”s from other runners–I content myself with a “Morning!” in return, because I can’t be cheerful while struggling to stay upright and moving. I would have also missed having the shaded park all to myself for a few glorious circuits. That was nice.

So, announcements!

* If you’ve ever wondered how Selene returned to Saint City, you can read the brand-new Selene and Nikolai story, Just Ask in the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance.

* Also upcoming is Reckoning, the final book in the Strange Angels series. The end of August will see a bindup of bboks one and two, Strange Angels and Betrayals with an all-new, lovely cover.

* November will also see the final Jill Kismet book, Angel Town.

* You can now buy all five of the Dante Valentine novels in one smoking-hot omnibus. (Personal demon not included, sorry.) Also, Graphic Audio has released parts one and two of Working For The Devil, I believe part 1 of Dead Man Rising is also available.

* I will be attending SpoCon in August. Not quite sure what my schedule will look like, but I’ll be there on panels etc. I will also be at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powells annual SF/F Authorfest in ?November?, more details on that as it gets closer.

* There’s an interview with me up over at the Gatekeeper’s Post.

* I can’t really talk about this yet, but it’s up on Amazon. Tempty tempty.

* A big “welcome home” shout-out to TP, back from the wilds of Europe. *evil wink*

…I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t even finished my coffee yet, so forgive me. Off I go to find a name that means “a hunter” for a wooden garden-boy. He wants Calhoun, but I’m not sure he should have it. He’s not the protagonist, so he doesn’t really get what he wants as far as names.

Damn characters. Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Yesterday I was out of commission for a variety of reasons. Today I’m back on the horse while recovering–well, sort of. Sort of back on the horse, not sort of recovering. Recovery is going just fine.

Argh. I can already tell stringing words together is going to be fun today.

I’m at that stage with a new series–too far into the first book to back out, not far enough along that I can see that I have a chance at finishing it–where every single word I put down seems wrong. The world the characters inhabit is opening up, slowly but surely, and everything I wrote up until I felt the first click in the lock of the story seems dead wrong. It’s not, it will just need tweaking. The biggest danger now is going back and getting caught in the death spiral of reworking the beginning so many times one doesn’t finish the rest of the damn book. Which I frankly can’t afford.

I know the solution is just to push through, that this is a part of the process, that I go through this every time, that it will get better as I gain momentum. Unfortunately, all the calm soothing self-talk in the world will not make the feeling of panic any smaller. The only thing that will help is lowering my head and diving right through. Maybe I’m a freak, I don’t know. I just know that the process does not grow any easier. It grows more tolerable with experience, but not easier.

There might be a lesson in that. *sigh* Maybe it builds character or something. When I build enough character, maybe I won’t feel like tearing my hair out and weeping when I start a new series. Won’t that be nice.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 21st, 2011 09:02 am)

Three miles on the track with Miss B. this morning. There were a couple other dogs, so of course she went mad. She wants to be friendly sooooo badly, but her manners are atrocious. We’re working on it.

Also, my darling 40-pound dog tried to kill me this morning. The track is at the local middle school, and they were testing and repairing the sprinklers for summer. When some of the sprinklers turned on near us, she headed for the safest place around–right between my feet. While I was running. I didn’t break anything, but it was damn close. I haven’t made an amazing leap like that since…well, ballet, really, or my last barfight. Of course, since the leash is wrapped around my waist, she came with me. it was an interesting fifteen seconds or so.

Also in the Cat and Dog Follies this morning: Tuxedo Kitty is in another bolt-and-bounce phase, which means Miss B. views him as a magical food-producing machine she can’t get too close to, but must watch carefully in case the jackpot occurs.The kibble isn’t even chewed when he horks it up–just moistened a bit. Miss B. thinks this is a glorious snack. Tuxedo Kitty goes right back to the bowl after every hork. It’s a Circle of Life I just don’t need to be involved in. Though I have found that catnip spray will disrupt Tuxedo Kitty from staggering back to the bowl.

You read that right. I got my cat high to stop his binge-and-purge. Hey, whatever works.

Also, I found out that Miss B. will never starve. Not as long as the squirrels keep burying peanuts in the backyard. It’s like she’s a peanut-hunting machine. The squirrels are less amused than I am.

Time to load up on choco donettes and head back into the wilds of the copyedits. Submerging in 3…2…1…

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

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