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Friday, September 26th, 2014
Where’s the rubber ducky?

I’m hip deep in shit creek and no rubber duckies in sight. Book’s due soon, and I’m not done. I’m trying to make doneness, but progress is slower than I want. Also, a few days ago, the z, x,c, and v keys on my desktop keyboard ceased to work. I used a Kinesis keyboard. I called the company, and they are sending me a replacement part, and hopefully it arrives asap. But that means writing on my laptop and for whatever reason, that undercuts my creativity. Plus I’ve been having some weird sick stuff happening this week. Possibly as a result of stress, possibly as a result of not sleeping nearly enough, possibly as a result of total panic, or maybe I’m really coming down with something. My guess is the last one is unlikely.

So in an effort to procrastinate while still feeling productive, I’ve started a patchwork afghan. Which is to say, I’ve learned the patch pattern and am working them up. I started a couple days ago. It will take me a long time to complete the project. In the meantime, I realized I have got to start making stuff to get rid of some of my yarn horde. (Some of which was given to me by my mom, so it’s not *all* my fault.) The idiocy is that I saw a skein of cool yarn at the store, bought it, and came up with the patchwork idea for the afghan because I couldn’t think of anything else to make with it. Unfortunately, It’s not a good match with most of my yarn horde. I found one yarn that I can use with it, but may have to, ulp, buy more. This was not the plan.

More people should use shawls. I make this lovely and soft shawl (which a friend taught me to make–thanks Melissa M.!). Here’s the pattern. Only I make it in supersoft, jewel-toned yarns. I wonder who I could make some for? Hmmm. I also make afghans. I guess I could make one of those. I made a bunch to give away for Xmas a few years back. I sometimes make fingerless gloves and I learned a slouch hat last year. These things are nice to work on while watching TV or driving (as a passenger–I know you were wondering). I used to work on them at faculty senate meetings so I wouldn’t kill anyone, and so the meetings would have some sort of redeeming value. It’s not like we got anything accomplished otherwise.

Booklist likes Trace of Magic!

And here’s the usual please please please spread the word on Trace of Magic, post reviews, and otherwise blather about me as much as you’re willing!

All right, back to making fictional words. Oh, here’s a snippet, just because (and no context for you!):

“She’s the empath, correct?” Touray asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Should I assume you know everything about me? What deoderant I wear? The results of my last PAP smear?”

He smiled slowly, his eyes hooded. “I think it’s a safe enough assumption.”

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Author idiocy

Most writers know better than to read reviews. Good, bad, or indifferent, they just aren’t healthy for the writerly condition. It is a condition. A kind of mental disease, I sometimes think. Good reviews are wonderful and they stroke the ego for about two seconds, but then you start thinking–what if this next work can’t be as good? What if I fail? What if everyone pans it after setting such high expectations? There’s actually a long litany of how a good review can turn bad on a writer, but you get the point. Then the indifferent review is just as bad, because you think, mediocre? They gave me a mediocre meh! I thought it was so much better than that!! What if everything I write is meh and I don’t even know it? What if I’m one big pile of undifferentiated beige? And then there’s the bad reviews. These are always far more believable than the good reviews, because, writer–>mentally diseased with writerly neurosis. So you get a bad one, and it kicks you in the stomach because it confirms everything you suspected all along: you suck as a writer, your book is shit, and here are all the many ways that it sucks. Probably worst of all, it teaches you to distrust all your beta readers, your agent, and your editor, because obviously these people lied to you about your work. See? Writerly condition–>mental disease. I can say that right now, even as I’m lost in bad review wallowing land.

I shouldn’t read reviews. I mean, to some extent it’s my job to collect up those reviews and pass them along to the agent and editor and keep clips for promotional purposes, but at the same time, it’s idiotic because my writerly mental disease flares up whenever I read one. If I’m in the middle of tricky writing or slogging through a bout of “I suck as a writer” (more normal than not) then reading the reviews just makes things that much worse.

I read a review this morning. It slammed Trace of Magic, big time. So now I’m wallowing and trying to scrape my ego back together in order to be able to write. I want to make a declaration  that I will avoid reviews until at least the WIP is finished. If I do so declare, I’m not sure my willpower will aid my resolve. But . . . I need to try. So I declare that I WILL NOT look at any reviews at least until Edge of Dreams (Tracer #2’s working title) is turned in. And hopefully I won’t after that, either. It ain’t healthy.

Reaching the end of another school week. Boy has done pretty well overall, and the girlie has begun band. Both seem happy, which makes me happy. Well, except I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a whole nother kettle of insomniac worms. And yes, I did just split another into two words.

I am working on getting Path of Honor back out at least as an ebook. Hopefully in the next month or so.

And now, to go get on the job. Oh, finished reading a cowboy romance by Kathleen Eagle called The Last True Cowboy. Wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, because yanno, no sf or fantasy elements, and not a regency, and no mystery . . . Basically not my usual story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was as much about the family relationships between a Grandmother, mother, and two daughters, as it was anything else. It was set in Wyoming on a ranch, which really brought memories back for me of growing up. The details were right and vivid. I’d recommend it.

And the theme music for today’s blog, as it seems appropriate:

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Friday and yay for that!

Boy made it through the whole week of school. Some sickness, but he has been decently cheery and he’s so welcomed by his teachers. Hopefully he’s making friends again. Girlie, in the meantime, has decided to play the clarinet in band. She also liked the oboe and the flute, but decided against them.

We’ve had lovely weather this week, and yet I’ve had horrible sleep. I’m not sure if I’m staying awake, or not sleeping deeply, or just tossing and turning and not sleeping well. I wake up exhausted. I’ve tried short naps, but can’t fall asleep. I’ve been out walking, not a lot of help. I did end up waking up soaked in sweat last night. Makes me wonder if I’m a little under the weather, though who knows. The annoying thing is that it slows my thinking for writing.

Speaking of writing, Trace of Magic has his #89 on the Kindle romance fantasy book list. Yay! I’m here to remind you again that I’d love a review anywhere if you’d be willing. Spreading the word for me would be fabulous.

And to encourage you, a snippet from the next Book:

“We are not done with this conversation,” he said. It sounded like he’d pushed the words through clenched teeth.
I laced my fingers through his as he wriggled his right arm under me and pulled me tight against his chest.

“Yeah, we are,” I said.

“Not a chance, Riley. We’re having it out.”

I smiled as I felt myself sinking into sleep. I yawned hard, my jaw cracking. It took all the effort I could muster to have the last word. “I know,” I said, loosening my fingers from his and patting his hand. “But when you find out the rest of the story, you’ll be far too pissed to come back to this.” Whatever this was. I wasn’t entirely clear.

Friday, September 5th, 2014
First Friday of September

The boy’s birthday is tomorrow. I have wrapped things. Probably going to be buying a cake, mostly because I’ve no time to bake. That could change. We’ll see.

Boy and girl have also successfully gone to three days of school. For girlie, not a surprise. For boy, a milestone. He’s managing his illness as best he can and he’s been really chipper and upbeat when he comes home. He’s going to have to see about testing out of his math class. It’s advanced math, but last year he swooshed past it. He’s going to get bored if not. Girlie is making friends and she likes her teacher. She’s been a giggly thing all week.

I have been attempting to get into a work routine. I haven’t done as well as I wanted, but then I haven’t been sleeping and that does seem to take a toll. Today I cut out of work to go to a farmer’s market with my mom and get this dragon by Jessica Douglas framed. Mine is a copy, not the original. One day I hope to get one of her original dragons. She’s a phenomenal artist. (I also have a print of her Crap Fairy, which I love).

Trace of Magic continues to wander a bit in the wild. I’m hoping people are enjoying.

And finally, I’ll close with this: All About the Bass, by Meghan Trainor, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots. Even though I love the song, I love it more with The Roots and Jimmy.


 

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
Contest right now!

Today only! Come on over to Bitten by Books and hang out with me, ask questions, and maybe Win money! Contest is all day today, September 3.

And while you’re at it, I’m at The Quillery talking about the magic in Trace of Magic. Please come by and say hello. She has a review, also. A very nice one. She finishes with: Bottom Line: Trace of Magic is a wonderful start to the Diamond City Magic series and Riley Hollis is one of new favorite Urban Fantasy heroines.

Waiting to see you!

 

 

Monday, September 1st, 2014
Contest  and Trace of Magic!

Bitten By Books is hosting me this Wednesday for a question and answer session and a contest. You can go now to start grabbing extra entries. You could win Amazon bucks!  Tell a friend!

Monday, September 1st, 2014
On laboring on labor day

The family seems to be developing a cold. I have not been immune. Stuffy head, scratchy throat, and worst of all, stuffy ears. Blech.

I slept poorly last night. Here’s the issue. We have an air-bed. Each side had two air sections–one for lumbar, the other supporting legs and torso. Mine has been going flat for awhile now. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. In an effort to figure out where the issue is, we’ve done a couple of different tests. The first one, we switched the air hoses on the mattresses to that mine were on the man’s, and his were on mine. Over the course of a couple weeks, I still was going flat. So–obviously it’s the bladder, right? So we take the bladder out and fill it up. Then the man lays on it and it stayed totally full. So now we have no idea where the issue is.  The problem is mostly in the lumbar area. And the man says that air seems to be filling up in his side. Is the problem inside the pump? Is it somehow in one of the valves in the bed? Uncertain. Not sure how to figure that out.

Got up this morning and felt like I’d been run over. All the same, labor must be done, right? So we had breakfast and I dug into weeding. Got nowhere near done, but filled up a five gallon bucked twice until it got too hot. Then came in and folded three loads of laundry and cleaned the bedroom. now to do more laundry. I also want to get some writing done. And classroom stuff.

I’m making a “honey-do” list. But really it’s not honey-do so much as crap we have to get done and we aren’t keeping track of so we never get around to doing it. List. Hopefully we’ll still get some more done today. Like finally hanging up some wind chimes. We have three sets that we’ve been meaning to hang for awhile.

We had a fish die. I think the sucker fish attacked it. Not sure why. It’s really huge. I’m wondering if I should try to give it away and get a smaller one. I do love that fish though. But I’m noticing it seems to be attaching the other gold fish too. They are looking sad in some ways. Pretty soon we may have nothing left but a sucker fish. A really big one. He’s about six or eight inches long.

I now have seven reviews on Amazon for Trace of Magic. I need more. And on other sites. Here’s the thing–the more reviews an author gets, good bad or indifferent–the more they get promoted on Amazon. So please, if you are feeling love or irritation, please post reviews. It’s a huge help.

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Book Birthday!!

Trace of Magic made it’s way into the wild today. I totally couldn’t scrape together a coherent thought. Could not write. I’m doing that thing where I stand in the middle of the room and go one way, then another, then another, and then start flapping my arms in curious spasticity as I spin in circles making sounds that aren’t quite human.

Instead of writing, I went to a “downsizing” sale. So a glorified garage sale. They had rocks. I like rocks. They had the prettiest cathedral amethyst geode I’d ever seen. Deep, deep purple. It was about 4.5 feet tall and about 18 inches wide at the bottom. No exaggeration. They wanted 7,000 for it. I drooled on it, but forced myself away. What I did end up getting was a piece of brilliant green obsidian, a Holly Blue agate, a piece of something green and cool with a lot of druzy quartz worked into it, and a piece of petrified wood with a wonderful knot and also two places where druzy crystals had worked into it. So basically I got a haul.

I then did some web surfing and tried to focus and did not succeed. I talked on the phone a bit, entertained children, did a little shopping, and took the girlie swimming. So basically, I dithered and flithered and got nothing done. Tomorrow I’ll do some stuff with my mom. It will be fun. Not word-productive, but fun.

I did get a great review on Amazon of Trace of Magic! This is very exciting. I need all the reviews I can get–good, bad, or indifferent. But I’m always pleased–more like ecstatic–when readers connect with a book. That sounds like a no duh! sort of statement, but the whole reason a writer writes is to entertain and hope the reader loves the book as much as you do. So I’m delighted. Hopefully many more happy reviews will follow.

On a really cool note, the man and I were driving home, and a great blue heron flew over us and landed on the top of a house. I stopped. I’ve never seen a blue heron perch that high before. I tried to take a picture, but it flew off before I could. It was like a blessing from Mother Nature on the day.

 

 

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Instead of ranting

I have things to rant on. Longmire is canceled, which pisses me off to no end. I hope someone else picks it up. The writing is too good, the acting too good, the show too damned good, to just let vanish. Also, I am irritated by something I happen to listen to today involving a Christian mother and grandmother condemning the son/grandson for being gay. It was an entirely recorded conversation of the event and let me just say– No. I won’t. So I’ll say this. Being gay isn’t a choice. I have more rantiness on the subject, but I don’t want my head to pop off. Also, on an unrelated note, science is. Deal with the facts.

Now, instead of ranting, I shall tell you what I bought today. I got an old butter churn of the turn-the-handle variety, and I got a typewriter. I’ve wanted one a long time. This has some cool bells and whistles. I’m not sure I know how it all works. I cleaned it up a little, but I need to do some more. It’s very dusty. But I really love it. I’ve wanted a cool old typewriter for a long time. I found it at an estate sale.

2014-08-28 11.19.44Tomorrow is the release of Trace of Magic. I’m nervous. And I really need some reviews in places, so again, let me plead for buying, reading, reviewing, shouting the news. You will have my undying gratitude. If you happen to be at DragonCon, check out the Bell Bridge books booth for print copies.

I’ve got a post and a tiny snippet on Literary Escapism today.

I leave you with an earworm. But with a purpose! First, thing get the BeeGees Nightfever in your head. Then change Nightfever to Light Saber. And then . . . come up with more words so someone can filk that baby. Let me start you off–

Gimme a light saber, light saber,

Obi wan can do it!

Swing that light saber, Light saber,

close your eyes and kill it!

 

now you. Go!

 

 

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
On the more disgusting side, and also happy news

I don’t brush my dogs’ teeth. Instead, I clean them by letting them chew on beef bones. This has never failed before.

*Cue last Saturday*

We were heading out to the state fair, so I decided it was a good time to give the doggies a bone. They could chew all day, and they’d have clean teeth when we got home. It was a good plan. Then . . .

I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. It was a miracle I didn’t step into poop. I came back to bed and for whatever reason, I turned on the light. And there, a gift lay on the floor. I cleaned it up. What else could I do?

Then the next morning, what should my husband encounter right in front of the door, but another gift? He cleaned it up. He leaves for work. (that was a 4:45 a.m.). I go downstairs to let the dogs out around eight and found yet another gift from sometime the night before. I know almost when and which dog.

It gets better.

The next night, I let the dogs out and left them out for a couple hours before bed. Apparently they decided they’d go chew on their bones and not do any other business. You see where this is going. Yep, the next morning there was not one, not two, not three, but FOUR pee spots right near the door. These had either occurred after my husband departed, or he got amazingly lucky getting out the door.

That afternoon, we deep-cleaned the carpet up and downstairs. Then the dogs spent last night in a corral in the kitchen. They will be there tonight, as well. They made no house gifts today.

Either I must a) brush the dogs’ teeth, or b) cook the bones? Something? Yeah.

But wait! It gets better!

My son gets in the shower on Sunday. We have a tankless waterheater. This means that he can stay in there for a year and the water won’t get cold. He used to take short showers. They’ve been gradually lengthening. This one was probably a 1/2 hour long. Periodically we’d been finding damp spots downstairs in the laundry room. We thought it had something to do with the washer. Nope. The upstairs tub/shower. As my son’s shower goes on, water drips out of the vent fan in the laundry room. Drip splat! Drip splat!

The plumber came today and changed out a cartridge in the faucet. He believes this will solve the problem. I am hoping.

Also, the good news! Trace of Magic releases in just two days!!! You can preorder the print version from Amazon right now.

BN and other outlets will follow shortly. I’ve got a post up on Magical Words this week about it and where some of the ideas came from.