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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.

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Trace of Magic Snippet

I finally FINALLY finished my revision of Trace of Magic and sent it back to my editor. I really like it and hope that I’m right. Anyhow, in honor of finishing, here’s a snippet for you.

 

A week later, I walked into the Diamond City Diner a little after two in the afternoon. I’d spent the night before following a carpet cleaner who was stealing supplies from his boss. I’d slept a few hours after tracking him to his storage unit, then turned in my report and collected my fee. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and I was starving.

Patti glared at me when I walked in. “You look like shit.”

I had not grounds to argue. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last week. Nancy Jane and her mother had been rescued alive. I should have been over the moon. Instead I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. I spent hours reinforcing my nulls and I’d taken to carrying my gun everywhere I went, along with the Chinese baton I hid in my sleeve. I usually kept one or the other on me, but tended to leave them behind when I went shopping or to going to visit my family. Not any more.

“Thanks. I spent hours on this look.” I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, with my usual uniform of jeans, hiking boots, a long sleeved shirt, a heavy jacket, a hat, and gloves.

“It’s cold out there. Got anything to eat?” I asked, unzipping my coat and stuffing my gloves and hat into a pocket before hanging it on a hook fastened to the bench of my usual booth. A snow storm had moved in, the first of several to come, all piled up like cars stuck on an LA freeway. By the time they were done with Diamond City, we’d be buried.

“Hold your horses, Laraby.” Patti glared at the dentist who was waving a check at her. “I’ll be there in a second.” She grabbed a clean coffee cup off the counter and set it down in front of me and filled it. “I’ll get you something to eat.”

Ten minutes later she returned carrying a white oval plate mounded with an omelet, hashbrowns, pancakes, and a half dozen slices of bacon. I didn’t want an omelet, but Patti tended to get me what she thought I needed, not what I wanted. It was loaded with vegetables and cheese. Tasty, but not the burger and fries I was craving. Arguing wasn’t going to do me any good. I’d eat what I was given and try to look happy about it.

“Give me a few minutes,” she said. “We should slow down soon and I’ll join you. People are trying to get home before the weather gets too heavy.”

I glanced through the front window. Snow was falling in a thick curtain of fat flakes. Already the ground was white. I was willing to be there’d be an inch or two on the ground by the time I finished eating. Giving lie to her promise, the door jingled and half a dozen people came in, stomping their feet and dusting the snow off their clothing.

Patti zipped off to help them. I cleared my plate and immediately wanted a nap. I considered heading upstairs. Patti kept a room for me in her apartment. I spent two or three nights a week at the diner, sometimes more, depending on the jobs I had. Right now I didn’t have anything lined up. I was planning to hit the grocery store and go home and hole up until the storms blew themselves out.

I took my dishes to the bus tub, waving at Ben, Patti’s partner in the diner, through the kitchen window. I grabbed a pot of coffee and topped off my cup before sliding back into my seat. I didn’t bother looking up with the bell on the door rang again. I was checking the weather radar on my phone.

A shape loomed over me suddenly and Clay Price slid into the seat opposite me. My mouth dropped open. As far as I knew, he’d never even set foot in the diner before.

“What do you want?”

He slid my coffee out of my hand and took a sip, then eyed it in surprise. “That’s good,” he said.

“Not to mention it’s mine,” I said, eyeing him balefully.

He set the cup down, then ran his fingers through his hair. He was he carefully controlled type, so his gesture startled me. I examined him. He didn’t look any better than I did. His eyes were sunken and grooves cut deeply around him nose and mouth.

“You know, if you’re hungry, there are other tables. Empty tables,” I pointed out.

He sipped my coffee again. “But you’re not sitting at the other tables.”

A frisson of foreboding rippled through me. I shivered. It had nothing to do with cold. “You came looking for me?”

“I knew you were a smart woman.”

“Why?

He pulled a manila file from inside his leather jacket and set it on the table. “I want you to do a trace for me.”

Like I said before, my cardinal rule is not to be stupid. Taking a case working for Price—a cop and a Tyet enforcer–was the dictionary definition of stupid. Insane even. I didn’t even think before I said, “no.”

 

Saturday, December 21st, 2013
In which a book is completed

Trace of Magic is done and sent off to my editor and agent. I’m sure there will be comments and revisions to come, but for now, it’s a done book. Finally. I had it drafted weeks ago, but with all that’s been happening with the boy and getting my office painted, I was seriously slow on the revisions. I finished early this morning on the Solstice. Very auspicious.

Happy Solstice!!! I love this day. This is the rebirth of the year for me, when the days start getting longer and somewhere deep in the ground, roots are thinking green thoughts. Tonight is also the night the moon holds sway longest. I’m named for the moon goddess. She’s out hunting evil tonight and make sure that the white light shines over the world.

The boy continues on no better. The earliest appointment I’ve been able to get so far is January 21st. I hope to hell we can get in earlier than that.

And a snippet from Trace of Magic:

He looked back at us. Something moved across his expression as the overhead light faded slowly. He deliberately set his gun on the console. The threat was clear.

“One more thing. I want to know what you aren’t telling me. Right now.” But he looked at me, not at Taylor.

I didn’t blink. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I didn’t either. I mean, I was hiding everything I could from him. How was I supposed to know what exactly had set off his radar?

“The haunters.”

“Oh. Them.”

“Yeah, them.” He pointed at me. “If I’m going to help you, you can’t lie to me.”

“Who says you’re going to help me?” I tossed back, knowing full well I should just shut the fuck up before he put a bomb in my shoes.  Don’t get me wrong. I won’t pretend that I really cared that he’d killed the guys who were chasing us. After all, they shot at me. But Price had blown them up like they were as disposable as Kleenex. I knew I was, too.

“I did,” he snapped.

“You’re a Tyet man,” I accused, sudden anger getting the better of me.  Taylor clutched my hand warningly. I ignored her. “Now that you know there are haunters involved, your incentive for finding Josh disappears. Since someone in the Tyet is clearly behind his kidnapping, I’m betting you’ll probably jump in to help cover it up, or do whatever dirty work they need you to do. You know Josh cares about Taylor, I’m guessing the Tyet will want you to use her for leverage. You know the drill: cut her, make her hurt, make him talk. We’ll be lucky if anybody finds our bodies.”

Taylor gasped and I put my arm around her, my stomach clenching. I hadn’t meant to put it so baldly, but here we were in the back seat of an enforcer’s car with nowhere to go and a gun aimed at us. Mincing words seemed pointless. My chin jutted. “Am I wrong?”

His face worked and then he twisted around and slammed the car into gear. The wheels spun and the rear fishtailed as he jumped on the gas. I had no idea where he was taking us. But at the rate he was driving, we might be headed straight for hell.

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Doodads and updates and snippet

I forgot to mention that I finished Trace of Magic a couple days ago. Go me! I talk about ending it over at Magical Words today. Specifically about ending creep. I’m pretty happy with the book so far, but only because it’s done and I haven’t reread it to find out what needs to be revised. I’m in that lovely state of denial.

My friend Christy Keyes has suffered some significant  brain injuries this last year and she and her husband are struggling. If you can donate to her cause or spread the word or both, please do. I set up a gofundme site for her today. It’s here.

Have you ever noticed that family can drive you to a level of anger that no one else seems to be able to do? My son is a teenager and he’s behaving as such. Perfectly normal, but apparently I need to adjust better. And maybe go sit in the jacuzzi tub for awhile.

I did go to the chiropractor today. I feel better, but I’ll have to probably go back again. As long as I get better soon, I’ll be happy.

I’m tired of Black Friday commercials. I won’t be shopping on Black Friday, either. Unless I run out chocolate, which is highly unlikely. I just made a batch of rolls with mashed potatoes in them. I didn’t mash the potatoes very well. Hope they turn out. Also didn’t use unsalted butter, and didn’t adjust the salt levels in the bread. It’s my first go round with this recipe. The dough was nice an elastic when I set it to rise the first time. Here’s hoping it all turns out. I plan to make cinnamon rolls later. I ground the wheat myself, so it makes for tastiness.

On Small Business Saturday, Devon Monk and I will be signing and possibly reading at Reader’s Guide Books in Salem, Oregon, from 11-1. So if anybody can make it, please do!

And a little snippet, with names redacted:

“I hurt you,” he said tonelessly.

“You didn’t mean to,” I said carefully. I couldn’t get a read on how he was feeling or what he was thinking.

“I could have killed you. I wanted to kill you.”

“You didn’t know it was me.”

He shook his head and looked down, anger and fear rippling across his tight expression. “I did.”

I could only stare. My stomach turned inside out. [redacted] made a growling noise and started forward. I thrust out my hand to stop him. “Why?” I could barely push the word out. I felt strangled.

“I wanted to be dead.”

“You thought I’d kill you?” I squeaked, incredulous.

“You should have killed me. I asked you to.”

Friday, November 22nd, 2013
writing endings and John Pitts

I finished a chapter today (the one I thought was the last chapter in this book) and promptly started the next last chapter. This ending is one that I’m discovering as I go. I’m feeling my way and it’s frustrating on the one hand because I don’t know where I’m going, and exciting on the other because when I know it’s going in the right direction, I can feel it. It’s a lot like walking through a maze with a blindfold on. I’m searching for the way by touch. I know when when I’m going in the right direction, even if I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I also know when I’m going in a wrong direction, almost immediately. It is frustrating that I don’t know what the ending is. I suppose I’ll know I’ve hit it when I get there. In this chapter. I’m sure of it. I think.

Went to listen to John (JA) Pitts read tonight. He’s awesome. Funny and sharp. You’ve got to read his books if you haven’t. Here’s a pic:

john

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
dogs and mountainsand a snippet

Corgis are the cutest dogs ever. Here are mine, being spoiled and cute.

dogs

And then there’s this picture of Mount Shasta, near Weed, featured in Crimson Wind. If you don’t know about that, why not?

shasta

The man smashed his hand and finger today. I had to watch while he drilled two holes in the nail to release pressure. He wouldn’t let me do it. He didn’t trust me. Thought I might drill to the bone. He’s right.

I’ve been making progress on the end of Trace of Magic. Here’s a snippet (it’s rough and hasn’t even been proofed, so be kind):

We loaded up into a one ton SUV near the entrance. Price and Touray took the front and Josh and I got into the back. None of us spoke. Price was seething and Touray was icy. Josh had lapsed into total silence. I pushed him into his seat, bending his arms and legs like a stiff doll and buckled his seatbelt, more to keep him from freaking out and attacking the rest of us than anything else.

I hobbled around to my side and slid into my seat. I shut the door with a long sigh.

“I’m taking you to Maya,” Touray said to his brother as he keyed the engine over.

“We need a dreamer for Josh,” Price said. “The sooner the better. He’s in worse shape than I am.”

“He can wait. I want you looked after.”

“Go to Cass first. You can travel to fetch Maya.”

“Can I? My magic doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.”

Touray glanced over his shoulder at me. I shivered at the greed and speculation in the look. Like he was shopping and had just found a Picasso in a thrift store. Not that he’d be caught dead in a thrift store. But you get the point.

Sometime in the fight I’d swallowed the quarter. It was fast reaching its limits. Between sucking up the null field and the magic in the mountain, it was nearly overloaded. I shrugged at Touray because I had no idea when it would run out and when he’d get his powers back. I could deactivate it, but that would take a lot of energy and at the moment, I was fried. They could sort out what they wanted to do. I was just along for the ride at this point.

I leaned my head back against the headrest and closed my eyes. Mistake. I instantly became all too aware of my injuries. My entire body throbbed like Yosemite Sam’s thumb after Bugs Bunny wacks it with a hammer.  Fifty times the size it ought to be and pulsing like a pufferfish on crack.

Touray made a frustrated sound. “Fine. We’ll go to Cass. Where is she?”

“In a house on the top level.”

“Maya’s closer. I’ll travel for Cass. As soon as I can.”

I felt his eyes on me again.

“She won’t like that,” Price said.

His voice was a little louder. He’d turned his head to look at me, too. My fingers twitched and I clenched them together.

“Too damned bad,” Touray said. “I’m not wasting time driving in this mess if I don’t have to.”

They started talking about the attack the building and what they needed to do to head off their enemies and pretty quick I drifted off to sleep. No dreams, thank goodness. Apparently my mind needed to rest as much as my body.

I woke up awhile later. We were still driving—if you could call it that. We inched along. Snow whirled around us. The headlights showed nothing but a wall of white. I wondered how Touray was even staying on the road.

Maybe he’d drive over the edge of the caldera and solve all my problems in one quick fall.

“Finally,” Touray muttered. He started to glow around the edges and the rest of him thinned so I could see through him. He began to speed up, following some sort of path his magic opened up to him.

Sunday, October 20th, 2013
shelf happiness and a dilemma

Today we slept uber late and then I went to Costco where I spent a lot of time. Go figure. I saw someone come out with a bag of dog food. Just a bag of dog food. I think they did Costco wrong. Got home and we started working on screwing the shelves in. After that, I started unpacking books. Yes, I’ve rediscovered a bunch of books. I still have many boxes to open. But I’ve run into a problem, and that is all the books from my past life of research and academia. I have some amazing books from my research days, but I’m not likely to ever use them again. I don’t know that I would read them again, either. I don’t know what I want to do with them. Many of them I wrote in. They are probably only useful to grad students in literature or women’s studies.

The question now is, what do I do with them? Part of me wants to keep them, but realistically I won’t have room. But I’m back to what to do with them.

What the hardest thing to figure out is how many of the Victorian novels I want to keep. There’s always the library after all. Right now I’m putting aside all the books I don’t want to shelve. And I’m also making a box of books to get rid of. Make that two–so far.

And I still have no ending for my book. This is beginning to be troubling. I’ve never run into this problem before. If this keeps up, I’ll be painting my office this week instead. Which would be good, insomuch as I could then install the shelves in that room too, and put away more books!

In a fit of unhappiness over my inability to think of an ending,I crocheted my first hat last night. Took me a couple of hours and came out pretty well. It’s purple, and a slouch hat. I’d like to make a flower to go on it. It feels loose, so I don’t know how well I’ll be able to wear it. Daughter has put an order in for one of her own.

I’m already trying to figure out where I can put more shelves. I have not told my husband this. I don’t think he wants to know.

The weather has been absolutely lovely. The trees in our yard are lovely colors of red, orange, and yellow. One tree is absolutely maroon.

On a less happy note, my mother-in-law went into intensive care a few days ago. Tomorrow she’ll be moved to hospice care. I don’t know how much longer she has. It’s kind of a blessing, because she can’t remember her children or her husband and she feels lost and afraid. At the same time, my husband feels like he’s losing her for the second time and it’s really hard.

 

Friday, October 18th, 2013
The end is missing

I did a ton of work on Tracer this week. I am less than 15K from the end. But I have no idea where it’s going. I wonder if my lizard brain will reveal something soon. I hope so. I want to finish this draft next week.

Tomorrow I get my shelves!!!! Finally! We go get them in Portland and bring them home and hopefully install at least one bank of them on Sunday and then I can start *gasp* unpacking my books!!!

I bought some cocoanut oil to use on my furniture. I have some that needs some serious refreshing. I tried it out today and wow. That stuff works. I rubbed it on kind of like a paste and then after awhile, I rubbed it off, then took a cloth and did a polish. It really did a heck of a job. Apparently you can eat the stuff too. I hate cocoanut. I wonder if I’ll actually be willing to try it.

okay, off to ponder the ending . . .

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Trace of Magic snippet

I don’t have much to share today, except that my shelves are finally in and we’ll get them this weekend, and hopefully install them too! (there’s more work to them than just setting them in the house and loading them up, sadly)

So in celebration of shelves, a snippet for you:

 

“I’ll take care of her,” Touray said after a slight hesitation. “I promise.”

My heart stopped beating as Price considered. Then he nodded. He grabbed his jacket off the table, glass sprinkling to the floor, then jogged down to the white doors and left. He never once looked at me.

Touray faced me. He scanned me up and down like I was defective. I wanted to squirm, but the bottom of the cage was too full of glass. I’d already cut my feet. I didn’t dare make them worse, not that I was going to need them. I doubted I’d get a chance to go anywhere before I died. He had told Price he would take care of me, but I’d watched enough movies to know that probably meant he was going to kill me.

I heard pops! and canisters thudded down through the empty windows. I was blinded by strobe flashes. An acrid smell washed through the space. Almost instantly my nose began to itch and my eyes began to water.

“Cover your nose and mouth,” Touray ordered, pulling off his shirt and tying it over the lower half of his face. I did the same, the turleneck fighting me all the way. I was now in a cage, shirtless and wearing only a bra, with blood trickling down my neck and back and smearing the floor under my feet.

Saturday, October 12th, 2013
ch ch ch changes

In the year that we lived apart (the man and the rest of us), my son developed Xbox skills that he didn’t have before and so now the man and boy are whomping on each other in hockey and the man has to work hard to win. They are bonding. And my son says things that are not so young anymore. More teenagerish. Maybe because he is one now. Sigh. They are so cute together though.

We managed to decorate some walls today and clean a bit in the garage. So positive changes there. I bought paint a week ago for my office and made no progress whatsoever in prepping it for painting. I’m going to be working on that. I envision a lot of taping in my near future. It will certainly make the painting less difficult as well as more likely to come out well. I have a LOT of trim in that room and the ceiling will remain white. I was going to go green, but decided I wasn’t daring enough so I’m going purple.

We got a pikachu costume for girlie today. Boy doesn’t want to dress up. Went to a Halloween store and wanted to look at the creepy decorations, but girlie was creeped out and wanted to Leave. That. Section. Now.

We also worked on our furnace. Specifically our filters. They are super crappy and they need a better framework to hold them in. So we’re thinking about best methods to construct said framework. We also need to call someone to service it before we want to run it.

The man did not work overtime today for the first time in weeks. So nice. Tomorrow we are going to a corn maze. Can’t wait. Never been. Have I mentioned this before? Am I completely annoying you all by telling you yet again how much I want to go to a corn maze?

Been reading a book that’s meh. It’s supposed to be good. It’s got all the right elements. Mystery, crime, ghosts, murder. But I’m not into the characters at all and so while I want to keep reading to see who the bad guy turns out to be, I kinda want to just skip to the end.

I’ve done some poking and prodding at Trace of Magic this weekend. Added some words and have been trying to sort out what happens next. Wish I knew. Hopefully it will come to me because the book is coming to its climax and I should know what that is. Funny thing is that I have the final scene in my head. It’s denoument, but predicated on a certain event happening. The question is, how does that event come about? There are still a whole lot of possibilities. There are also some threads that need to be dealt with. Like why were those guys really trying to kill the main characters earlier? and what are those things? and who kidnapped *character* and where is he and can they rescue him? And exactly what’s the real agenda of *other character*?

I should probably figure out those things like, oh, soonish, since I plan to be done with the book in two weeks. That will require writing the words down that end the book. Which will require knowing what happens. Or so I’m assuming. I could be wrong.



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