Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

My life in 8 words: Organized chaos, by preference. Exhausting, but never boring

calling on the group mind...
citron presse
Anyone in the Seattle/Portland area know of a reputable bear-repair shop? My beloved Teddy, who has been Adventuring with me for 40+ years now, has finally lost his grip (the cloth pads of his paws have all worn out), and he deserves the very best care…

Reason #toodamnmany why writers drink...
madness toll
Original opening line of Book 2: "They’d left nothing alive.“

After an entire day of word-wrangling, the new opening line:

"Isobel had been riding for three days, two to her destination and then a turnaround, when she found the bodies."

Yeah, that works. But dogdamn it, it took me HOURS and BRAIN BLOOD (and at least one walk around the neighborhood) to get the opening pages to finally do what I wanted them to do.

On the plus side, it should get easier today.



Except we had a local market fail: they have semi-sweet chocolate-covered graham crackers, but no dark chocolate-covered graham crackers. How am I supposed to work under these conditions?!

Monday Monday'd.
Today was my first of two days "on shift" at the tasting room. We had a visitor when we opened, and then a group just before close. In-between, I dealt with a woman who thought she'd left her credit card there (she called back later to say she'd found it), worked on my personal tasting notes for our wines (because being able to talk about the wines honestly, and not rely on someone else's notes, is important), and had various story-breakthroughs and working on responding to sundry emails.

(part of this gig is the ability to do other things when it's dead, so long as the space is properly maintained. Bless this gig.)

But tonight I am the sort of brain-tired and body-tired that is good, and am a lump at one with the sofa. And if the group of 20-somethings having what sounds like The Most Obnoxious Hipster Birthday Party in their building's backyard would remember to use their "not broadcasting to the entire neighborhood" voices (and stop chanting stupid camp-bus songs), I might even be in a good mood....

(as is it, the urge to start lobbing cat-poo at them from the balcony is rising..)

Research RoadTrip 2015
madness toll
I spent much of the weekend making plans for the research trip for the current WiP (Book 2 of The Devil’s West.). If nothing else, by the end of this series, I will know my country a hell of a lot better via boots-on-the-ground…

(we’ll be driving from Washington State to Wyoming via Idaho and Montana, adding to last year’s Missouri-to-Colorado trip across Kansas.)

If anyone out there happens to live between Spokane (WA) and Cody (WY) and would enjoy a drive-by of road-tripping writers, sing out! *g*

And meanwhile, a reminder that you can pre-order the first book, SILVER ON THE ROAD, to get ready.... *g*

That was the weekend that was...something?
brain.  hurts.
Spent some time this evening trying to remember what exactly I did all weekend. Which was harder than it should have been, not because I didn't do anything but because it was all in small bites here and there, necessary bits and pieces that didn't add up to a single whole.

I worked on the WiP, wrote an entry for an upcoming Mind Meld, and got halfway through my on-line MAST course, and prepped for next month's research trip, and paid bills, went to a plant sale and did grocery shopping, and watched another episode of Daredevil, and worked on a fic piece, and cooked, and cleaned, talked to people about Future Things, and switched out more of my warm weather wardrobe from storage, and -

Nope, still doesn't seem like a lot. Probably because progress on the second pass of the WiP is going so slowly. Here's hoping this week sees more steam pushing my wheels...

Another in a series of meals that probably shouldn’t have worked but were yummy.
1. Make arborio rice with ¼ of the water replaced by (boxed) butternut soup.

2. Add sweet curry powder, onion powder, and garlic powder to the rice as it cooks.

Eat half for breakfast (shut up it’s a perfectly good breakfast) and set aside a cup (or more) in the fridge.

3. Within a day or two, season halibut (or another firm white fish) filet with the same spices, then cook in frying pan over low heat. When fish is no longer translucent, add the rice to the pan, add some minced red bell pepper, break up the fillet, and cover until the pepper starts to sweat and soften and the rice is warm.

Serve. Works surprisingly well with a soft red wine (take that, white-with-fish purists!)
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Today I got a reader email....
That has left me more than a little verklempt.

That sort of thing isn't why I write - I write to tell a story, and hopefully insert a few long-acting shards of thinking-cooties into people's brains and hearts, but I never expect to get feedback on what those shards can do.

So yeah, all the stress and crap of this week?  Totally washed away, right now.

What She Read, 2015
citron presse
9. UNTITLED, client manuscript
8. UNTITLED, client manuscript
7. DOWN TO AGINCOURT (Books 1-3), Sepirs
6. DEJA DEAD, Kathy Reichs
5. UNTITLED, client manuscript
3. UNTITLED, client manuscript
2. TAINTED WATERS, Leah Cutter (beta-read)
1. FOXGLOVE SUMMER, Ben Aaronovitch

Clawing our way into the work week...
meerkat coffee
Oh hey, Monday. A Monday I actually have to think about the fact that it' a Monday! This "days of the work week" thing is going to take some getting re-used to...

Meanwhile, have I reminded you recently that CLAWED, the 4th Gin & Tonic mystery, is coming out next month? I haven't? Well. Silly me...


CLAWED at Amazon

And CLAWED for all your indiebound needs (and so Maryelizabeth Hart​ doesn't puppy-eye me)

Or, you could just go to my website and make the click to your Store of Choice from there...
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The Plan Commences (for the usual fee, plus expenses)
citron presse
The Plan, as I've been calling it, has been several years in the making, and is comprised of several phases.

Phase 1: Move to the west coast.

Phase 2: Take over the wine industry.

Okay, so it's wee baby steps to taking over the wine industry. But I've been offered a part-time job helping run the wine-tasting room for Market Vineyard, a boutique winery, in Woodinville (about 20 miles northeast of Seattle).  And I officially started on Friday.

Basically, I'm representing the winery to folk who come in for tastings, answering questions and pouring samples, and doing the odd bit of Tourism Aid (suggesting other wineries and restaurants, etc).  Since I really like the wines I'm pouring, and I'm learning the local wineries and restaurants myself, this is under the heading of "work I enjoy and enjoy learning more."

No, I'm not giving up writing.  But the past few years I've been aware that I really missed being on the trade side of the wine industry as well as being a consumer.  And this way I get to bring people to wine (either as a new discovery or an old friend) in a much more convivial atmosphere than a wine store, and with fewer actual drunks than working in a bar.  :-)

And who knows, maybe another Lands Vin story will come out of it!

So if you happen to be in Woodinville, WA and don't have other plans...stop by!

(Phase 3 still has a while before rollout)

Spring has sprung! The grass has riz! I wonder where my bicycle is...
citron presse
So, yeah.

There's something slightly...mortifying about discovering that your beloved bike was...actually a smidge too large for you. But I will soon be the owner of an XS frame of a used-but-nicer-model bike, for only a little out-of-pocket, and hopefully a lot more use gotten out of it.

(Seattle: home of many hills...and lots of people biking a mile out of their way to avoid them. Wheeee...)

Also, the REI flagship store is somewhat of a modified religious experience, but I was apparently invisible to the staff there. Play it Again Sports down the street, on the other hand, were great....

Changing of the (Production) Guard…
editor kitteh

The CEM for SILVER ON THE ROAD has gone back to Mr. Monti​.

That means.... it's time to go back to Yet Untitled #2 for the second pass, wherein I take an ugly rough draft and turn it into something that doesn't make me cringe. Prepare for weeping, swearing, hand-waving, and occasional impassioned headdesking...



HBD, Boomer-cat!
winsome boomer
Today is Tax Day, which means that 1Q estimated taxes are also due.

Happy Wednesday, my fellow freelancers! (for heavy levels of sarcasm)

But today is also the birthday (observed) of our own CatofSize!

(fitting, considering how much money he's cost me over the years).

The Booomer, waking up from a nap.  If he outgrows that basket, we"re all in trouble...This is Boomer when he first came to live with me, at an estimated 10-14 months.  As I said at the time, it was a good thing he had a sweet nature, because that much muscle could do damage without even thinking about it...

And this is Boomer now.  As you can see, not much has changed...except he got LARGER.

... but still the loving cuddler who kept me going through some very bad years.

HBD, my sweet boy.

There is no such thing as a painless copyedit, only ones where you don't mind bleeding.
madness toll


Pending my secondary research backup getting back to me with feedback on the Latin, and with the knowledge that I'll need to go over it one more time to make sure certain capitalizations and usages are consistent throughout....

Copyedits for SILVER ON THE ROAD are deflagged and done. All 452 pages of 'em.

My brain may be a grey leaky mess at this point. Please don't ask me anything more complicated than "would you like some chocolate?"

However, I fond myself thinking "yeah, I done good here."  This is damned rare among hypercritical writer-types, where "well, it don't suck" is the much more common high praise: take note.

(of course, now the pressure to go back to the draft of #2 and make it EVEN BETTER may become paralyzing....)

watching without a claiming horse in the race
stop that
The one thing I will say about the Hugo kerfuffle is that it's becoming glaringly obvious who in our field is an asshole without couth or manners, and who is a decent human being with social skills.

And that there are a sampling of both all along the political-opinion spectrum (although more of the really uncouth behavior documented seems to come from the far right, which is why they also come across as being the most scared).

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