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Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Diamond City Magic Book 3 snippet

This is the opening. It has spoilers. Don’t read it if you haven’t read book two, or do, if you don’t care about spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015
Sasquan recap

I’m digging in to my recap, but I have no idea how far I’ll get. So here I go.

We left on Weds. Devon Monk and I and our friend Dejsha went to the Amtrak station to catch a bus to Portland. All was good. It was about 98 outside, but the bus trip was only an hour or so and then we’d be on the train to Spokane. But then the AC on the bus wasn’t working. So we sat in a sauna. A bathroom smelling sauna. It was a relief to get off. Actually it felt cool. So that was an amusing to the journey.

We loaded up on the train pretty quick and got underway. The seats had lots of room. We didn’t board til about 4 in the evening, and we were getting in about 12:15 a.m. It was a fun ride. When we arrived, the fabulous Char and Randy MacKay came and picked us up and hauled us to the hotel.

Okay, the hotel. It was new. Like only open a month. Everything was WHITE and futuristic looking. Dejsha named the regal elevator voice Duchess. Which she was. We reach our room, and it’s lovely. The shower is an entire room by itself. It’s full of mirrors (eek!) and the beds are super comfy. There was also a red wingback recliner type chair with a footstool. It was a Dr. Evil chair.

We got to sleep about 1:30 a.m. then jumped out of bed around 8. We got down to breakfast around 9. By this time I’d realized I’d forgotten my fitbit charge cable, and the heroic Tracy Erickson lent me one, bringing it to breakfast, where we discovered we both like the same chai, prepared the same way, but I like mine extra hot. Anyhow, thanks to him, I was able to charge my fitbit. Whoohoo! After breakfast, we went to get registered, and then wandered a little bit before I had my signing.

My signing was lovely. People came! I signed books and lots of other stuff, and even though my books weren’t in the book room at all (I think my name was left off the list that went to the dealers), I still had stuff to sign. I met up with Minerva Zimmerman and we wandered the dealer room. I admired much, but did not buy. That came later.

I also met up with Chrysoula Tsavaelas and Rachel who’s last name is simply vanishing from my brain. At this point, I’m failing to recall the rest for that night. In fact, I’m terrible with many things. Skipping ahead . . .

I know I ate lunch and dinner, and I know I saw many friends. I hung out in the bar for a bit in possibly the most uncomfortable chairs ever, and then sacked out.

Friday was my super long day. I had my reading, the writer’s workshop, and a writers round robin. I had great attendance on the reading. I read from Grasping Rainbows, the story I wrote for the Weird Wild West anthology. It was quite well received, which made me very happy. I love this story. The workshop was fun and though one participant wasn’t there, we managed to cover a lot of ground and I hope we were helpful to the writers. We were David Levine and Madeline Robins. Our moderator, Jim Doherty, was absolutely awesome. The only terrible thing was that smoke from the wild fires moved in about halfway through. A huge gust of wind blew open the glass doors of the room and a choking cloud of smoke moved in.

The smoke was seriously bad that day. I can’t begin to tell you. It filled the convention center halls and ballrooms with a thick haze. I’m lucky in that I don’t have asthma or allergies, but some were really struggling. The round robin was a lot of fun and though I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, it really was a fun and hopefully useful event.

Went to the Book View Cafe party that night. It was the only party I attended. I’m not a big fan of crushes and the parties tend to be so crowded. Oh, had dinner with Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Devon, and Dejsha. The food was awesome. At the party, I got to meet a lot of people in person I hadn’t met before, including Nancy Jane Moore, Chaz Brenchley, and Cynthia Felice. Plus I got to hang out with other friends, like Laura Anne Gilman, and admire the cover of her upcoming book, Silver on the Road.

I came back to the room and crashed. No, that’s not true, we hung out and talked and giggled and then crashed.

Saturday was the noir panel with John Pitts, Katherine Addison (aka Sarah Monette) and Richard Kadry. It went really well. After I spent a couple hours with Leah Cutter learning InDesign. Well, starting to learn it, anyhow. Also got to spend some time with her new husband, Blaze Ward, who is funny and charming.

I didn’t plan to do the Hugos, but ended up watching it on livestream. I was surprised about a couple of things, but thought the show was fun and campy. Sunday, I was on a future sex panel with Brenda Carre, Rob Carlos, S. A. Bolich, and Kaja and Phil Foglio, with Char MacKay moderating. I can’t tell you want we talked about. What happens at Spocon stays in Spocon. But I will offer this: Tantric Telepathic Tribble Dishwasher sex.

Later that night, our train was delayed and we didn’t get out until 4 a.m. And home Weds.

Okay, some highlights. Getting to have lunch with John Pitts and his wife Kathy and daughter Emily. Huge fun. I fangirled all over P.C. Hodgell. She is awesome, and I was a dork. I met Elizabeth Bear, who is lovely and fun. I was happy to get a chance to see so many friends: Carol Berg, Juliana Hinckley, Justin Barba and his father who is awesomely talented, Laurey Patten (so not enough time and I missed your jewelry), Jean Carlos (more time next time), Debbie Lentz, The Miscon Crew, Clay Cooper, meeting Brenda Clough, Kate Elliot, Michelle Sagara, and Aliette Bodard in person. I also grabbed a few minutes with Patty and Mike Briggs. I managed to catch up with some other people, but I’m doing a lot of name dropping. Mostly the key is that I managed to have a fabulous time because I got to see my tribe. And a special shout out to Theresa and Jordan. It was so fabulous to see you.

Another highlight–getting to meet some dedicated fans. You are awesome. You made my weekend.

 

 

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015
Heading off to Sasquan

Yep, I’m off to Worldcon in a couple of hours. This is my schedule, should you want to find me. Please do! I’m looking forward to it, though I’ve been pretty much in panic mode for the past couple of days. Still am. I way overpacked because I don’t have a clue what I want to wear. We’re taking a train. I may get some writing or reading time on board.

I found a facebook group all about rockhounding. I can’t tell you how time-sucking that can be. Next weekend we’re going to go to Glass Butte to hunt obsidian. That’s going to be fun. Apparently it’s quite plentiful.

I am hoping to actually take some pictures this time at Worldcon. I am so bad about doing that. I always forget.

This is sad because it’s true. It‘s funny, but oh, so painful.

And this is the corpse flower that is currently blooming in Denver. You can watch the live cam and I have been. It’s pretty cool to watch.

And this amuses me. How does one describe the damage to the insurance company?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
The updatery

It looks like Boy of Size may be getting through this latest set back. I hope so. We’re bracing for the beginning of school. He’s looking forward to it, but even though it’s going to be good stress, it will be stress. So we’re working on our strategies.

On the exercise side, I’ve now gone 23 days straight of exercise. So I hit and exceeded my 21 day plan. I am still not sure that I want to let myself take a break at all. Mostly because I’m afraid of stopping. I haven’t really lost weight. I’m not sure why. But I know that the fall I took on my bike was less of an issue because of exercise and more flexibility. Also I’m feeling more capable and healthy.

We may get rain tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The goldfish may be dying. I think it’s sick. I”m going tomorrow to try to get stuff to help it. Hoping it’s enough and in time.

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Busy busy.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Conversation with the boy of size

About to go bike riding (driving to where we’re biking):

Me: kids, we’re about to go. Use the bathroom.

both kids: don’t have to go

Me: try anyhow. There might not be a bathroom.

Boy of Size: *rolls eyes* If I have to go, I’ll just pee on a tree.

Me: I hate boys.

On the ride, I ended up wiping out on my back. Had a great time otherwise. Came away slightly bloody. The bruises will be the real problem.

Have you been into the bra section of a store lately? The boobs are prefilled. In fact a lot of camis have that going on. Makes me feel like there are ghost girls hanging on the hangars. That when you get a bra, you get a ghost. Take her home. Who is she? What does she want? What if you get several bras? Will the ghosts get a long?

Monday, August 10th, 2015
Book Review: Finding It by Leah Marie Brown

Book received from NetGalley

When I first got Finding It , I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. The cover and description said Chicklit in the traditional form, and I thought it would be a fun, light romance.

From the back of the book:

Anything can happen in a year! Unemployed, homeless, and left at the altar, Vivia Perpetua Grant could see her future as a flannel pajama wearing spinster—or worse, a bag lady shuffling around Golden Gate Park. But for a girl obsessed with rock music, Chinese take-out, and the color pink, misfortune is another word for opportunity. Vivia has found her niche as an international travel writer and the long-distance lover of Jean-Luc de Caumont, an über-hot French literature professor and competitive cyclist.

Still, even with so much going right, Vivia can’t help but wonder if something isn’t missing. The long distance thing is taking its toll on a girl who didn’t have that many tokens to begin with. And fate seems to be tempting her at every turn, first with a hunky Scottish helicopter pilot, and then with a British celebrity bad boy…Will Vivia continue to keep it real or will she discover some old habits die hard?

At first, I found the book to be glib and really silly. It was a little too over the top for my taste. As in Sex in the City meets Friends meets Bridesmaids. It seemed to lack any real character depth. I kept reading and what was lovely was that the characters developed far more deeply. There was romance in the story, and silliness and glitz, but it’s really about a woman deciding who she wants to be, and what is important to her, and how to have relationships with other people. Specifically, how to have friendships.

Though there’s a lot of silly moments, and a lot of funny scenes, at the same time, Brown turns those scenes into deeper explorations of the characters and their choices. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s well worth my time.

I recommend this book. I give it 4/5 stars.

Sunday, August 9th, 2015
Bits and Pieces

The fam and I met up with Laura Anne Gilman today in Portland. We had a lovely brunch and I got to see some GISHWES pictures. It was terrific.

I’m so annoyed with the ongoing Hugos business. I know these awards are important, but at this point, I’d rather ignore them and just pretend they don’t exist. Maybe that’s because I have no dogs in the hunt and am likely never to have. My books don’t generate that kind of award interest. I might just be selfish. I also have to much to do to worry about that kind of stupidity.  I also think that people ought to be more civil and less shitty.

The book is not done, but getting closer. Still no title.

I have garnered several unhappy reviews on Amazon of late for Edge. Note to self–stop reading the damned reviews already.

We figured out how to get the plum jelly to set up. We pitted a bunch and put them in the freezer for later canning. I also have a bunch of peaches I picked up to peel and pit. I was cutting some up for dinner tonight and a pincer bug crawled out of the pit. I screamed. I admit it. Then I killed it. But one doesn’t expect bugs to craw out of the pit.

I finished two different books that I need to review. I liked them both, though they were quite different from each other. I get to start another tomorrow, as I’ll be doing dentist appointments with the kids. And later this week will be doc appointment with the boy. Appointments are reading time.

Last night we went to see a drive in movie. It was a double feature. People drove in with loveseats in the backs of their trucks. *boggles*  Anyhow, it was fun, but started later than I expected. We watched Inside Out, and we left before Antman, since it started at 11:30 and we had to be up early this a.m. It was fun, but the sound wasn’t great. You tune into a radio station. That’s great, but we were sitting outside and even though lots of people had their radios up, the sound wasn’t great. Next time, I think we’ll bring a portable radio to boost the sound. We hadn’t done this since before the kids were born, and it was huge fun. Kids sat in the front seat of the truck and thought that was massively cool.

We still want to go out and pick more blackberries, but I’m not sure that we will get back out. Which makes me sad.

The garden is growing well. At least the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and vines are. But the beans are questionable. Not sure they are going to produce. I need to make some banana bread and some peach/blueberry something in order to use those all up. Maybe a cobbler or a crisp or something.

I need to get some work done around the house this week. I need to seal the wood on the porch, and also get a bunch of weeding and other stuff done. But the book first. I think. I might get up stupid early Tuesday and work on the porch.

We took the bikes out last night for a short ride and it did not go well. For whatever reason, I overheated, almost like heat stroke. Except I wasn’t that hot and we didn’t do that much. I was well hydrated, so I don’t know. The man had the same problem.

That brings me to my exercise update. So like I said before, I wanted to do 21 days in a row. I have two days left to go and I’ll make it. Then I hope I’ll keep going without a break. That’s my hope. I’ve been really resistant the past few days, but I’m really going to try hard.

That said, I almost screwed up seriously the other day. It was late, I hadn’t exercised, and we had some errands to run. So I said I would walk a ways and the fam could pick me up on the way. We live on a hill. I walked down it. Now down seems like it ought to be great, but I was going faster and it was steepish, and put a lot of pressure on the tops of my feet and my ankles. Then I came to a big long hill and I huffed and puffed up it. By this time, my ankles were starting to lock up. I tried to stop and stretch, and I also drank from my water. Then I started on a long downhill again. By the time they caught up with me, I’d hit flat land, but my ankles and the tops of my feet and my calves really hurt. And they kept hurting. Today when I went walking, it took about a mile for my to just loosen up enough not to be in agony. I wasn’t walking very fast, either. I was just trying to move and to loosen up. By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty good. So I hope tomorrow I’m still feeling good.

We are working on getting my treadmill set up as a walking desk. I don’t know if that will work, but I’m hoping to just move a little more. I don’t know how much I”ll be able to write while doing it, but hopefully I can do things like reviews, or reading, or things like that, will be easy enough.

And now, it’s time to sleep, perchance to wake up and take children to the dentist.

 

Friday, July 31st, 2015
Nine days of pain

I’m out of shape. Way out of shape. I also have gained back a lot of the weight that I previously lost. I refuse to beat myself up about this. The main reason why it’s slipped so much is because of my son’s illness, my deadlines, and general life. I have been stress eating, even though I have also tried to eat healthy meals. I have not exercised regularly, though I have tried to keep moving as much as I can. Now that life is easing some, I’ve decided to get moving.

Toward that end, I decided that I would exercise for 21 days straight. Why 21? Well, no good reason. The main goal I was shooting for was that I didn’t want to stop. I know myself. I knew that this would make me sore. That I would go five or seven days and take a day off and then another, and then another. I wanted to go long enough that I would hopefully keep it up, even if I took a break. I wanted to just do it every day as a matter of course, and not fight myself.

So I started out. I returned to my old elliptical workout. That meant 33 minutes on the elliptical, and then stretching. Or walking about 2 miles. I also have been doing some weights, but not counting them as the exercise, mostly because I need the aerobic every day. Those have been my two choices for now. So I started. And I got sore. Especially my hips and feet. As the days passed, I kept wondering just how long it would be before I stopped hurting. And more days.

Well, the magic number is nine. I got up today and didn’t feel sore and stiff. When I did my elliptical today, I managed to go 40 minutes instead of 33. Anyhow, that’s 10 days down now. Eleven more to go. Except I’m hoping that I don’t take a break then. I’m hoping I just keep going and make it a regular part of every day. I don’t know that exercise will ever be something I enjoy, but I am hoping it becomes something that I at least will do without a lot of resistance.

I read this article about habits. It said something about how you first go through a honeymoon period, and then you go through a resistance period. Once you fight through resistance three or four times, then you will be in a place where you will keep going without having to fight too hard. If you stop, then you’ll likely have to fight resistance again and overcome it. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m at the point where I’m still resisting, but it isn’t as much of a struggle.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ve lost a couple of pounds and that I can see a difference in my body already, and in my stamina, and in strength when I do things. My energy is somewhat lagging, but then it’s freaking hot. So that may be an issue. I’ll report back in eleven more days. Now that I’ve got double digits, the idea of stopping before my 21 and having to start all over again is unpleasant. That’s a positive.

Friday, July 31st, 2015
parenting and writing

I need to write. Obviously. Book is pretty much due. I have many more words to go.

Went out this a.m. with the folks and the girlie. Get home. Tell the girlie she can watch a 1/2 hour of TV.

Girlie: But mom, I watched everything I DVRed.

Me. Okay, so then watch a show on Netflix in the spare bedroom.

Girlie: But mom, every time I watch there, I have to input the WiFi code.

Me: So input it. No big deal.

Girlie: But mom . . . *whining*

Me: *totally fed up and feeling deadline biting at my heels* Fine. No TV. Solves the whole problem.

Girlie: shrieking and wailing . . . No! No! I didn’t mean it!

Me: go away. I’m writing now (repeated with some frequency as the previous continues). Girlie stomps upstairs in her room above my office where more wailing and weeping commences. I turn on the music to drown out said noise.

Sigh. I’m sure there’s a more appropriate way of handling this.

Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Book Review: Needs a Little TLC, Ines Saint

I received the book from NetGalley.

Needs a Little TLC is a charming romance. I mean that in the best way. This is a contemporary romance, about Cassie and Sam. They were childhood sweethearts, but had a bitter breakup and Cassie left their small town. Now she’s returned as a realtor, wanting to market the thirty or so houses he’s been renovating. It’s a lucrative opportunity for both them, if they can work together.

One of the best things about this book is the down-to-earth reality of their lives. They each have scars, not just romantic, but from events in their pasts, and from difficult relationships with their parents. Both are genuine, nice people. I like that the difficulties of the romance were not manufactured out of irritating behaviors or convoluted problems. Both of them are not always easy to get along with, though neither is a jerk. It’s just that people aren’t always nice to one another.

The romance progresses naturally and they have to deal with figuring out who they are as adults, as well as who they were as children together. They are surrounded by friends and family who have known them for years, which both helps and hinders things. Both are driven by particular demons and in the end, they learn that asking for help and accepting help is not weakness.

I really appreciate that this book was not straightforward in some ways. This really was a journey for both leads, and both struggled. I like that Jake was not made of cardboard, and that Heather was not stereotyped. As a fan of HGTV and DYI, I also loved the house renovation stuff.

I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it. 4/5 stars