Sunday, September 29, 2013

ALAS . . . .

Complete system failure.

What is:  three words you don't want to hear about your computer.

Particularly when you have a book deadline and it's been going well.  And you have a novella you just started that was, also, going remarkably well.  And you have photos you took (although, fortunately, they were on the website, so not lost).

Didn't lose the whole book.  BUT lost one of the best fight scenes I've ever written (unless they can save the machine, which I am doubting).

Lost the start of the novella. 

YES I back up.  But I haven't for a couple of days--mostly because life was being particularly lifish, of which the system crash is yet another example.

I will not be going to Fencon AGAIN this year.  I have to get caught back up on the book and I have to spend the money on a new computer. (Assuming they don't replace it since it was under warranty.  And in the meantime, I am working on my ancient behemoth that I held onto even though it doesn't run very well any more.  [More limps along, walking with a cane actually.])

But it could have been worse.  MUCH worse.  SO, I will count my blessings and move on. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a wannabe writer desperate to get published and hungry to have the tools to do the research I needed to do to make a great product (mysteries mostly back then, some fantasy too.) There was a series of books I lusted after called the "Howdunit" series from Writer's Digest.  I didn't believe in myself enough to convince myself back then to shell out the money I couldn't afford to buy them.  But OH I wanted those babies.

WELL, I am now a professional writer, a NOVELIST.  (WOOT!!)  I still have to do lots of research.  (Lot of it is help from friends.  Some on the internet.)  But you know what.  I still read books for research.  And a panel by a friend who is a #1 NYT author reminded me of those books.

I went online.  I FOUND THEM -- WOOT WOOT WOOT.  I ordered a bunch and am SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!

I know it's geeky.  I DON'T CARE!  I will have the tools I need to look up poisons, and crime scenes and common guns.  RIGHT IN MY LIBRARY!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Wrote the following e-mail to my mom to explain why I didn't call this weekend.

First -- 100+ degree heat and the power goes out for the whole city mid-afternoon on Saturday.  Also most cell service.  I had a quarter tank of gas which is not QUITE enough to get to another city in either direction.  With no a/c and no fans it was pretty miserable.
When it was still off Sunday morning I went down to the fire station to see if they had an ETA for when it would be back up.  He had no idea.  But he did have one bar of cell service.  So I tried my phone and WOO HOO!  I could call out.  Called a friend from a city a couple of towns over and asked if she could bring me 10 bags of ice and a can of gas if I paid for it all. (Fortunately I had money.)  She was glad to help.  Good thing I called early -- by the time she got to the store she got the last of the ice.  I wasn't the only one who had the idea.
MEANWHILE since it looked like I might have to go a full day without power I decided to fix the screens on my house.  So I got out my trusty tools and step stool and went to start with the bathroom window.  I had to trim back the tree limbs first, then I set up the stool and climbed up -- only to have the stool topple over with me on it.  OW.  REALLY OW.  FORTUNATELY I wasn't seriously hurt (twisted my ankle, a couple of bruises, wounded pride), went inside and iced the ankle.  Realized I wasn't wearing my glasses.  Went BACK outside with Tonya (who'd arrived by then with the ice) to look for said glasses wearing my prescription sunglasses. 
I had landed on my glasses. 
They were not destroyed, but were bent, and when I tried to straighten them -- they broke.
Tonya's husband said he thought he could fix them, so I sent them home with her to him.
Put ice in the fridge, the freezer, and around the house (and around my ankle) and things were cool enough to let me sleep.  (I really needed that nap.) 
Around 4:30 the power came back on.  Called Tonya.  Micah had fixed the glasses.  Checked the fridge.  Stuff in the fridge was pretty much ruined.  1/3 of the meat in the freezer thawed.  The rest stayed frozen solid.  If I cook it today I should be okay.
Went and filled up the vehicle with gas and went to get my glasses from Tonya so I'd be able to wear them at work.  (Working in sunglasses did not seem like a great idea.) Then went to the grocery store in the next town where they hadn't lost power to get all the groceries that had been ruined.
I finally got home late last night and fell into bed.
I never thought I'd hear myself saying this, but . . .
I'm fine.  (Sore, stiff, frustrated and aggravated at having spent a LOT of money I hadn't planned on, but) FINE.

Saturday, July 13, 2013



It was a wonderful trip with my friend Pam.  Went to Treasure Island, Florida where it was MUCH cooler than where I'm currently living.  It rained every day, but between showers I spent time shopping, on the beach, and eating at wonderful restaurants.  I also took lots of pictures, met with my (brilliant) agent to discuss my career, and did research that will appear in a future Celia Graves book that I am now writing.  I am rested, refreshed, and ready to rock.


This is a shot of Lucienne and I.  Typical for me, my hair is everywhere!  But HEY, note the pirate ship! lol

Sunday, May 05, 2013


1 - Turned in the Fae book.  Hope it is OK.  Fear it is terrible.  Will wait for edits and find out.
2 - Am taking a couple of days off before start the next Celia book during which I will clean house and visit me mum.
3 - Bought 2 copies (one for me, one for my son) of the published version of Neil Gaiman's MAKE GOOD ART speech.  It is SO worth it.
4 - Wrote an e-mail to Charlaine Harris because she deserves better treatment than she is getting. (IN MY NOT SO HUMBLE OPINION).
5 - Reading new stuff.  It's pretty good.
6 - Watched Iron Man 3 and loved it.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Guten Morgen

Okay, priority for today.  Go online and find out how to block all comments here since I am very nearly only getting disgusting spam.  (As opposed to actual comments or entertaining spam.)

Another priority is to work on the edits the beta readers have produced.


So far they all like it!  WOOT!

I mostly rested this weekend.  Did a little housework, volunteered a little bit at the library, but mostly rested. I needed it.

Volunteering at the library was fun!  I surprised myself.

My mom was a school librarian (she traveled from grade school to grade school in the district working in the various libraries.)  My aunt was the AV librarian at the middle school library.  I grew up in libraries and love them.  And, to this day, if I see a set of encyclopedias (although written encyclopedias are practically an extinct breed thanks to the internet) I have to put them in order.  HAVE to.  It's a compulsion.

I am volunteering at the local library to get experience.  Although, oddly, all my childhood experience came back to me and I was able to walk right back into it.  I am getting experience because I am hoping to get a day job with one of the Denver area library systems when I move back. It is a good job, and a job I could love.  And while the plan may not work--it's a good plan, and it makes me happy.

Then again, books make me happy.  Go figure.

Think I'm a writer much?



Sunday, April 07, 2013

It is the weekend.

It is the weekend.  I have a million things to do.  I wrote yesterday -- until I was just producing crap and not actually creating anything.  I will look tomorrow to see if I can fix what I may have broken by trying to push to hard and too fast.

The things to do around the house are not going anywhere.  I am pooped.  So I am resting on the Sabbath and figuring that it'll get done somehow, sometime.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thinking through sludge

Woke up in the middle of the night so congested I could barely breathe, so I took a decongestant.  Had a hard time sleeping after, and now I feel like I'm thinking through sludge.  Yes, I took the non-drowsy stuff (I have to go to the day job later.)  But I still feel like crap. I take for granted being clear headed.

Mom is doing better.  She's moved from the hospital to rehab.  Hopefully she won't have to be in there too long and can come home soon.  I'll probably try to go out for a visit soon after she gets home in case she needs some help--I'll have to arrange it with my sister so we take turns.  Tim (my brother) has been doing a wonderful job, but I think that once she's out of daily care he might be able to use (a) some help; and (b) the rest.

Writing is going slowly.  (See above paragraph about sludge and crazy crisis with Mom).  But it is going well, and I am glad.  Got all the stuff for the Intergalactic Bar and Grille in the mail, and have picked out the prizes, so that is coming along nicely too.  Sorry I won't be able to make RT.  But there you go.  Life is sometimes like that.

Have to go to the store, so I'll sign off.



Thursday, March 21, 2013


Okay, spent a little time removing obscene and advertising comments.  It took a bit to learn it--but so worth it.  :)

OH YEAH, the individual website is:  Go, look, enjoy.

It may be a few days between posts.  Stuff is going on in my personal life.  My mom is in the hospital.  (Prayers appreciated.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Aiming fior the future.

I was talking to a friend the other evening.  We were talking about past mistakes.  I told him one of the things I believe -- that you should only look back long enough to learn the lesson.  Otherwise, looking back at mistakes just makes you bitter.  It's done.  It's over.  You can't change it.  Learn from it and move on.

The future may not be promised.  We only KNOW we have the present.  Still, best to enjoy the present and USE the time to aim at the future you want.  You may not make it, but you have a better chance than if you didn't take aim and take the present actions to get you there.

Life is about change.  Right now the book industry is in a state of flux.  There are huge opportunities, and HUGE pitfalls for the unwary.  Fair enough.  I think it's always been that way--but there are different traps (Still think it is wise to go to Predators and Editors if you're starting out.)

I went to the TED site the other day (I go frequently.  I'm trying to feed my mind.).  There was a short speech on the hidden opportunities/benefits trauma can bring to your life.  I've had me some trauma.  I can say that, if you let it, it can teach you things about yourself and others that will stick with you for a lifetime.

Among the things it taught me -- what was important.  When I was stuck in bed, THE important thing to me was connecting with my son, really talking to him, passing on the lessons and values I've learned, getting to know each other in a way that wasn't as superficial as it had been because I was having to work too damned hard just to survive and pay the bills.  That period changed our relationship from one that had been difficult, to a strong, positive one that I value more deeply than I can say.

Another -- laughter matters.  A lot.  If you can laugh, the problems suddenly seem more manageable.  They might not actually BE more manageable, but you feel better, so you can deal with them, and the consequences, fall out and crap. If you can laugh with someone, you bond and you're more likely to have an ally to attack the problems with you.  Besides, it just feels good.  It was in one of those periods that my son and I came up with our family "motto."

Shit happens.  Bring a shovel.

Not elegant, but it works.

I have made past mistakes.  Some of them small.  Some were huge.  But they're the past.  I've learned.  I'm aiming at the future I want.  It's not going to be an easy path.  I know that.  But it's the future I want, so I'm taking the actions that I think will get me there.  If I've got the wrong "map" I'll check coordinates and aim again.  And I will try to enjoy the process. Because while aiming at the future is important--just in case I have one; enjoying the present and making the most of it is more so--just in case I don't.  

Be well, be happy.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Alas, another weekend ends.

Okay, this weekend was a mixed bag -- but overall positive.  I didn't get everything done I wanted (I never do).  But I did accomplish a few things.  No writing though.  (BAD CIE!)  Broke my good glasses.  Put them back together, but didn't get them straight or something, because the focus was off.  Am using the back-up pair, which aren't as good and refuse to stay up where they belong.  UGH.

Did get the first individual newsletter out, a blog post done, photos printed for my mom and son out of the batch of publicity shots by Jamie Flanders (excellent -- they actually look like me, but on a GOOD day.  This is unusual when I get pictures taken.)  I changed the profile picture on Facebook, did a bit of housework and laundry, baked cookies, muffins and brownies.  (I bake to relax.  Froze them so that I wouldn't wind up eating too many).  Updated my individual website, applied for a bunch of jobs in the Denver metro area, and generally tried to accomplish things.

I am very sorry I won't get to go to RT.  Life has intervened.  It is always a very good time.  Weird that last year I had to cancel because my father was dying.  It doesn't seem like it could have been nearly a year already, but it has.  Funny that the days are slow but the months are flying by.

All right, enough rambling.  I have to get back to writing actual books.  Have fun folks!


Saturday, March 16, 2013


Hi Guys!

St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  I celebrated today by planting myself some shamrocks!  One of my friends had both white and purple ones.  Since I'd never seen them with purple flowers before I begged a bit from her.  They'll look lovely in the front yard once they recover from being transplanted.

Isn't the cover above gorgeous!  It's for the next Blood Singer book.  I'm THRILLED with it!  Very exciting stuff.

Also, I am now officially going to start dealing with individual newsletters and publicizing the individual website.  Kind of scary, but exciting too.

RT is coming up soon.  I will not be able to attend, but Cathy will be there!  We're taking part in the INTERGALACTIC BAR AND GRILLE.  It is a seriously fun party with lots of blinky stuff, glow in the dark stuff, prizes, and lots of fun.  I'm hoping you'll all go there and have a blast--say hi to everyone for me.  I'm going to ask you all to send me pictures of the party at so that I'll see what I'm missing.

I'm a bit behind on sending out prizes. (Yeah, yeah, I know you're SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say.)  But they're getting packed today and going out Monday.  So hang in there, and I really do apologize for the delay.

I am working on polishing up the first Fae novel THE EXILE for review by the beta readers.  I was going to get it to them sooner, but edits came in for Dance and I ran out of time.  SO, now I'm getting on track.

OH BTW -- if you get the chance GO TO MYSTIC MERCHANT and buy something.  My friend Pat Elrod makes absolutely awesome stuff, and she has had some recent, unexpected vet bills for her cherished pet (the dog that previously belonged to Pat's deceased sister).  So see if you can help.  I think she's also doing something at indigogo.  goto: 

Let's see.  What I'm reading at the moment:

I'm doing a re-read of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  Just finished Small Favor which is one of my favorites.  I immediately went to the short story which comes after The Warrior from Mean Streets so that I could re-read the scene where Uriel talks to Harry in the church balcony.  Beautiful work.  Read it if you get the chance.

Okay--off to do the first official newsletter and update the website.  YIKES.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

On Being Enough

I read Neil Gaiman's blog.  I have been told that blogs are passe.  Perhaps they are.  If so, I am very sorry.  Because I find out things I need to know when people are honest in their posts--things that have nothing to do directly with me, but which have EVERYTHING to do with what I need to know.

One of my goals was to be in an anthology with Neil Gaiman.  I approached him about it because, at that time, we had the same agent.  Also because, frankly, if you don't ask, the other person can't say yes.  (Yes, they can't say no either, and there's a real danger of that, but I try to think positively about these things.  You see, I believe that if you don't try, you have already failed.  Mainly because you've robbed yourself of any opportunity of success.)

I bungled the request badly.  I came off like a deranged fan.  It is one of the risks of being a (hopefully not deranged--or at least not in that way) fan, and exceptionally socially inept.  Fortunately for me a happy circumstance, totally unplanned, happened and I ENDED UP IN AN ANTHOLOGY WITH NEIL GAIMAN.  The blasted thing didn't sell for squat, but it's beautiful, and it's hardback, and I keep it to remind me that I write because I write and not everything is about the money.

ANYWAY, I digress (I do that a lot. Thank my editor that you don't have to suffer through more of it in the books).  I was reading Neil Gaiman's blog and I saw where he posted Amanda Palmer's TED speech.  It was wonderful.  She is as brilliant as he is (which is saying something people) and brave and daring and many, many other good things, and I am happy that they found each other even though I don't know either of them personally (and probably never will thanks to having seriously bungled my above request so as to sound deranged in a really-seriously-not-good way.)  But I digress again.

The speech made me think--which most good TED items do.  It also almost made me cry. Why?

Because it unmasked the big fear.  The one I suppose most artists have--but that I have in spades.  It has a name.  It is called:

                                             NOT     GOOD   ENOUGH

It is the belief that whatever I have to offer isn't worthy, and that I'm not worthy to offer it, that I'm being horribly presumptuous to think that I can do this, that people will want to pay their hard earned money to visit with my imaginary friends and hear what I/they have to say. The fear is always there.  It is bad enough that the only way I was able to launch my career was by partnering with someone who didn't have it.  I've grown, and learned, and am now standing on my own.  But I will never cease being grateful for Cathy's standing up and saying "It's good.  Why don't I send it out for you?"  And doing it.

I was on Amazon the other day, trying to figure out if the new book was selling.  I shouldn't have gone.  I know better.  Yes, the book is selling.  But they have reviews.  And while some of the reviews are good, there are always those people who write nasty, scathing comments, comments that rip and scar.

It was the luck of the draw that the negative reviews were on top.  The ranking showed that the book isn't all that hated.  But the worst review was right there under the ranking and it was brutal.

THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY is a book well into an established series.  It is a pivot point.  Things are changing in the character's life.  But it comes long enough after the previous book that things have happened in the interim.  Important things emotionally--things that are discussed in flashback, but that are not an immediate part of the current adventure.  The important things are not online in real time because they had nothing to do with the immediate adventure. Writing it this way was a risk. Because the character's love life is important.  But the fact is, that the series is not a romance series.  There is romance in it.  But it is not the focus of the series.

I received a seriously nasty e-mail because of it.  A nasty e-mail that didn't have its facts completely straight, but was heartfelt, and from a reader who seriously cared about the characters and was furious with how they'd been handled.  I lost a reader.  And I got to read eviscerating reviews.

And it hurt.

In my head I heard:  NOT  GOOD  ENOUGH.

I know that not everybody is going to love everything I do.  I want to be true to the characters, and the action.  But what I consider true to them is based on how I see them--and I do not see them the same way as other people do.  Cathy has been involved in writing the series from the beginning, but she sees the characters very differently than I.  There are characters I love that she just doesn't, and characters she loves that I don't.  We see how the characters interact differently.  If someone that close to the series can have a completely different viewpoint, a reader obviously can.

It reminds me of the scene in COLD DAYS by Jim Butcher where Mab is talking to Harry, describing how she see's his relationship with Molly.  He's faced with a perspective that is both uniquely Mab(ish) and utterly foreign to his own--BUT IS VALID FROM HER POINT OF VIEW.

I am not going to quit writing.  I love it.  It is not just what I do, it is who I am.  I also need the money.  And there are other readers who didn't write reviews, or who wrote the good ones.  I will write for them.  I am sorry that I lost the reader, and that I made her so very angry, but I am going to continue. And I will be forced to make choices--some of which will probably offend and anger other readers.  It is part of the risk you take when you put art out there.  I am not a fan of Hieronymus Bosch.  His stuff creeps me out.  It's well done, but I don't want it hanging on my wall, or above my desk (which just amused the heck out of an employer of mine, who knew I was a former art major and had a signed, limited edition print).  I can admit it is brilliant and still not want one close.

I love books.  I have many favorite authors.  But I am more likely to read Charlaine Harris or Jim Butcher than I am Nathaniel Hawthorne or any of the classics.  I think that Neil Gaiman is brilliant, but I know I will never be able to write the kind of literature he does.  My head doesn't go there.  Sometimes I'm a little jealous about that.  I don't know if I will ever be as popular as any of my favorite authors.  I would like to be, but I don't know if I have "it."  The lightning strike combination of work, talent, character, and popular taste/timing that launches you from the trenches out into the stratosphere.  I want to believe it's possible.  I WANT to.  But I can't know.  Only time will tell.  Time, and hard work, and sticking with it.  Which means I have to ignore the critics, and ignore the voice in my head that is so brutal and critical.

Which is why I read the blogs of people like Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris.  Even if blogs are passe.  Because it encourages me, makes me believe that it may be possible.  And because, sometimes, I find a gem, like the Amanda Palmer interview--something that makes me think, and maybe makes me cry.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

And where have YOU been young lady!


Okay, I turned in the first edit pass on TO DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.  The changes weren't bad, but they were pervasive, and it took some time.  But it will be a better book because of them.

I'm taking tonight off, then back to the first book of the new series:  THE EXILE.  Now that I've had a little time to distance myself from it, I'm hoping to see what it needs more clearly.

Hope all has been well well y'all.



Friday, January 25, 2013

It Never Rains But it Pours

Okay, I'm getting over the flu.  Classic influenza.  BUMMER.  While I am down for the count, life has gotten BUSY.

1 - NEEEEEEEEED to do the polish on the Fae draft so I can get it to the beta readers.
2 - Received the edits for TO DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.
3 - Need to do all of the Blogs & Promo stuff for the release of ELDRITCH at the end of the month which (since I've lost most of a week) is coming up EVER SO rapidly.

And of course, since I've been unable to do anything productive around the house it's a pit that desperately needs attention.  And there's laundry, etc.


Life can be a pain in the patootie.

But you know what?

I'm glad.

Because if I wasn't having an active writing career (which is, after all, my dream) I wouldn't HAVE to polish a manuscript, or make edits, or do a blog tour or promo stuff.

I am so freaking lucky.

Sometimes I just have to remind myself of that.

Have a great day folks.


Saturday, January 19, 2013


The first draft of The Exile (Book 1 of the Fae) is done.  I am POOPED.  But I am very happy--and weirdly sad.  I had to kill some of my favorite characters in the battle.  It's very hard to lose a character that you truly care about.  But sometimes they have to sacrifice themselves for the good of the story.  I truly believe that if a noble person would do it in real life, and the character is a noble person, the character should do it.  I also believe that if there is no chance of loss in a book, there is no conflict.

But oh it is hard sometimes.  I don't sacrifice them easily or well, but I won't ever guarantee that a character is safe.

Starting Monday I will begin the polish--second pass.  It generally goes very quickly.  I should be able to send the draft to the beta readers at the end of the week.  Hope they read fast!  The deadline to the editor is 2/15.  Still, it's good to know that I'm actually running on schedule.

My author copies of THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY in the Blood Singer series came.  VERY cool to see another book come out.  I'm really looking forward to the launch.  It got delayed a little, so I've had some extra anticipation time.

Best to everyone.  Be well, be happy.


Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Okay guys,

This was going to be the release day for THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY

But it got moved.  It WILL be coming on the 29th.  SO LOOK FOR IT -- PREORDER IT.

You want it -- you know you do.  Come on, admit it your slavering for it.


Best always.