Monday, May 30, 2011


I'm actually getting to write in the middle of these renovations, which is a pleasant surprise. I suppose it's because we've hit a snag in our progress. The ceiling is almost painted (hubby working on the high peak right now, actually), and this weekend would've been perfect timing to strip the white paint off the stone fireplace (stone fireplace that is almost as long as the entire living room, by the way), but machinery is machinery and it breaks or malfunctions or ... or ... or. So the present state of living room is:

- Gorgeous ceiling, check
- Ladders galore, check
- Paint supplies strewn everywhere, check
- Bare concrete floor, check
- Fireplace stones that are still as white as ever, check (by the way, what idiot paints natural stone in an attempt to hide it?)
- Walls that are still sage green, check
- Furniture still piled into dining room, check (makes for a great maze for three curious cats)
- White concrete dust on all surfaces, check (I've cleaned my kitchen surfaces at least, so they are usable again)

The only positives of all this are (1) I no longer have to climb onto very tall ladders with a paint brush in one hand and a bowl of paint in the other, (2) I'm getting to type revisions on the novel, and (3) I appear to have adjusted to the chaos and am no longer suffering from anxiety at having my house in shambles.

I have only to remind myself that I still have a house that is intact (see post below). So its state is irrelevant. Also, if I become too frustrated with the snail's pace and the topsy-turvy condition of my living space, I can always go punch away at my new punching bag. It's pink. It came with pink kickboxing gloves and pink handwraps. Whacked around on it for about five minutes earlier today, and I feel marvelous. Every girl needs one. :D


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Deadly Skies

We were surrounded again yesterday. The last two days have kept us on our toes, no mistake. The air has been so soupy and unstable that in between white clouds, the sky was just a different shade of white. My sister came down with her two kids so she and I could paint the ceiling, and she told me we had better keep an eye on the weather because conditions were even more ripe for storms than they were the day before. The residents of Joplin, Missouri, can attest to how deadly Monday's storms were. Well into our task we decided to check the weather, and storms were already firing up in the western part of the state, near where my parents live. We painted a bit more, then decided to interrupt the kids' movie and check the weather station. We were glued for the next five or so hours as tornadoes ripped through the landscapes we knew so well. The first tornado grew to a beast a full half-mile wide. (first picture). At one point, it looked like the entire storm cloud was sitting on the ground, spinning. We could tell when the tornado passed directly north of our house because the wind suddenly gusted past, sucking up into the storm. Yes, I had gathered pillows, flashlights, etc and chunked them into the closet, in case we had to duck, but the storms missed us by many miles ... this time.

Three separate storms grew into a solid line, and shortly after, tornadoes spawned in the town where I attended college and swept by to our southeast. While that one was still on the ground and beelining it for OKC, yet another popped down south of OKC. (middle picture) The news chopper was able to film amazing video of the Goldsby tornado that left us drop-jawed. Zooming in, they were able to show houses being pulled apart, trees stripped from the ground, and a deep ditch being dug through red fields. At one point the base of the tornado was earth-red with flashes of white as roof tin spun around and around.

Massive tornado, northwest of my house, early in the day.

That evening, tornado southeast of my house, near Goldsby, OK. The tornado was weakening at this point but still ripping through farms and houses.

The results. Trees stripped bare. Hmmm ... and, yes, that car has been impaled Vlad-style on the tree. The car was being stored in a garage "to protect it from hail," said the news anchor. Irony. Guess where the garage is now. Dramatic as this picture is, it avoids the human story. The death toll is rising today; one little girl still hasn't been found.

Here I am renovating my house and so many are suddenly homeless today.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"A Mournful Rustling" Accepted!

Oh, my gosh, I can't believe it! I was sure this story was bound for a rejection, simply b/c nothing I've ever written for a specific venue has in the end been accepted by that venue. A first time for everything, I guess.

So, the details:
My short story "A Mournful Rustling" will appear in
Dead Robots' Society's anthology Explorers: Beyond the Horizon. I have no idea when, but it will be released sometime this year. I hope.

The cool thing about this is that the original deadline for submissions was December 31, so I made sure I had that story revised and submitted by then. Then the editors decided they didn't have enough submissions that they liked, so they extended the deadline to June 1. Ack! Rush around, then have to wait six more months just to receive a rejection? Gee, thanks. But, lo, and behold. I'm having a crappy day, check my email, and there's an acceptance lurking in there. *smack* I can't believe it.

A huge thanks to the members of LegendFire who critiqued this one for me. You're necessary.

I'm gonna go pinch myself now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two Pens Better Than One? - Collaborative Writing

It's an interesting and risky concept, two creative (and egotistical?) people tossed together and expected to cooperate and come up with a story that halfway makes sense. At LegendFire we have an interesting contest going on, the first of its kind that we've ever hosted. People registered as either poets or fiction writers, then we were anonymously paired up by the contest hostess. Now my writing partner and I are supposed to invent the opening 200 words of a story and poetry has to be involved. I'm the poet, he's the fiction writer. He's in Australia, I'm in the US. The entry is due on Monday (Tuesday for him), and we have yet to work out a plot. Much less the poem to go with it.

I'm not freaking out yet, but this is going to be interesting.

So, I'm curious, what were the oddest or least comfortable circumstances that you had to write under?


Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm the Proud Owner of a Kindle!

Well, I officially crossed over today. It's happened at last. I now own an e-reader. It only happened because my husband's five-year anniversary for working at his present company rolled around and he got to choose his ... prize (which makes it about the most hard-won, expensive Kindle ever). None of the other options made much sense (a watch when he doesn't wear one, a briefcase when he carries a backpack, and so on), so he chose the Kindle. Though it's really his, he knows who will use it more. He's so sweet.

So now I am excited to be able to buy all the ebooks LegendFire members have written, as well as those by authors I've met at blogger and Goodreads and Smashwords. Reading them via PDF on my computer is no fun when I want to curl up in my chair and read. Now, the Kindle is not warm and fuzzy pages, but at least it's book-sized and portable. So we're good to go.

Seriously, the most expensive Kindle, ever. I had better appreciate it and get years of good use out of it. Now, where do I begin? ...


Also, in compliance with my new posting schedule, instead of updating the novel progress daily, I'm now updating weekly:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 12
Pages Cut: 6.5
New Scenes: 1 (4.5 pgs)
Bad Things that Happened: Ogres stink like roadkill that's been on a hot road in summer for many days.
Good Things that Happened: Alliances are forged. Well, that might be really bad for our heroes.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Five For the Fair

Friday was a big day. Some months ago we learned that a new set of friends enjoyed going to Renaissance Fairs, whereupon my husband and I admitted that we, too, attended when we could. So we made plans to load up together and drive to the local Ren Fair this month. Unfortunately, the house and yard projects started stacking up -- like they do most years when we plan on going to the fair. So we approached our friends and asked if they would rather help us save the pennies. They agreed, and so my husband and I hosted our own Ren Faire at our house. We didn't get to watch the falconry shows or the jousts, but we also missed the muddy, smelly bathrooms and the ill-fitting costumes that some women insist on wearing.

We did not miss out on the food. The point of the fair is the food, after all. We managed to find those enormous turkey legs, wrapped them in foil and baked them until the juices dripped. Aaaah... Chili cheese fries, bratwurst with sauerkraut steamed for hours in bacon grease completed the main feast. Then we changed out of o
ur hot and very uncomfortable costumes (amazing how they shrink as one eats), and hiked down to our creek, where we had a beach set up. Our friends have an adorable little girl named Piper. She worked up her courage and splashed in that creek for hours, ice cold though that water is. In the meantime, her parents and we broke out the bottle of chilled, spiced mead. Aaaah (again) ...

Then dessert started calling us. So we eventually returned to the house and made chocolate fried pies and funnel cakes piled with powdered sugar. Ah, gluttony!

Henna tattoos (yes, I love to give henna tattoos) and an evening by a fire pit finished off the day. Nothing went wrong. It was a perfect day. One of those rare memories that will warm the heart for a long time to come.

Other high points:
* Catching a tadpole and feeling its skin
* Piper's Kool-aid moustache
* Petting bunnies with long black ears
* My husband in a kilt
* Photographs to commemorate. Piper's mother happens to be a professional photographer who has an eye for capturing the moment:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My First Interview!

I'm pleased to announce that
Jeff Chapman of The Midnight Diner approached me this week and asked for an interview about "Mists of Blackfen Bog." I was astonished and thrilled. So, of course, I accepted. He sent me several thought-provoking questions that really struck at the heart of the story, and I loved getting to answer them. The interview is now posted on his blog, along with a review of the novella. Please hop on over and check it out, HERE.

Thank you, Jeff, for this amazing opportunity.

On the other hand, it's Cinco De Mayo and this is the first time I've posted this month! Part of my absence is purposeful. Last week, I came to the difficult conclusion that I've got to back away from the social media to get some writing done. Both my social life and my online life have picked up in tempo, which means the writing has suffered. And a dragon with a panic attack is not a good sight. So I've determined that Thursdays and possibly Mondays are my days to post in my blogs, and only on those weekdays do I get to drop by LegendFire as often as I want and cruise all the other blogs and websites that are of interest. All other weekdays are reserved for writing exclusively. Three out of seven days still sounds like too little time to devote to the novel project, but that's all I can promise myself. There's still a big stack of paper waiting to be touched. But the panic attack is over, and discipline is back on the table.