Japanese fantasy at zero draft. Finally.

Hmm. I’ve had a couple spam comments in my blog in the last couple weeks. They’re the first spam I’ve had here in LJ-land. Wonder if the spammers are getting better at circumnavigating the anti-spam protocols LJ has in place or if the anti-spam protocols went through some “upgrade” that fubarred them.

Anyhoo, on Sunday, I hung out with and assisted terracinque and donovanj99 while they conducted a photoshoot thingy. We roamed the Decatur square area whereupon I was charmed by much of the flora and architecture: the old courthouse, a lovely church, a brick alley (the one next to Eddie’s Attic) with wrought iron banisters and copper downspouts, and sweeping magnolia trees. I snapped several pix of terracinque with my point-and-shoot Nikon CoolPix and here are a few of my favs:

clickie to see more:

Columbus Day

I get tomorrow off! I haven’t had Columbus Day off since I was in school. My new job continues to rock my eyeballs. And how’s this for sweet, sweet icing? The Representatives and Senators left on Friday at 2:30, so us Legislative Counsel folks got to too. Half day, woot!

   


Writing Stuff

basletum interviewed me for SpecMusicMuse. Shiny!

Published:
- My October Writing for Young Readers column: “Hi/Lo Books: Writing for Reluctant Readers” is now up at Writing-World.

New Words:
- 500 on the Japanese fantasy, and I’ve come upon a plot snag. Pondering, pondering.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,560 / 6,000
(59.3%)

Received:
- Contract from Faeries for French reprint of “Of Two Minds in Lanais.”
- Contract from Helix.
- Contrib. copy of Grendel Song. Yay!

Netherworld and Apex raffle

fosteronfilm and I went to the opening night of the Netherworld Haunted House yesterday with Patrick and Christie. It was way cool! Okay, I’m a huge wimp when it comes to horror, and I had some major trepidation about going. But it was hella fun!

We went to all three “haunts,” doing the evil clown one (“Dr. Bile’s Freak Pit and Museum of Oddities“) first. That was my least favorite ’cause it was just a smidgen too dark, lightwise, but it was chock full of gibbering evil clowns. You just can’t go wrong with evil clowns. Although my favorite part might have been watching the group behind us. At the end, there’s a chainsaw-wielding scary that lunges out and chases you from the premises, and one of those guys had apparently seen one too many slasher flicks. When Scary-chainsaw Guy came after him, he bolted out the door, launched himself over the stairwell, and tumbled down the embankment, before getting to his feet and pelting off. Goodness. I’m surprised he didn’t hurt himself. Also, he left his female companion in his dust. Mmmf.

Next up was “Cursed,” a more traditional haunt with undead bugaboos, cemetery decor, smoke effects, and shambling ghouls throughout. It was gorgeous! Some of the animatronics were mind-bogglingly impressive: huge, gargoyle-type creatures gesturing and snarling overhead, demonesque monsters flailing and writhing. Wow. I actually wished there’d been fewer monsters lunging out at me so I could just enjoy the spectacle of it without having my heart leaping into my throat at regular intervals. But y’know, gotta keep the adrenalin surging.

And last was “Shock-o-Rama,” a psychedelic, 3D haunt full of fluorescent paint black light effects and twisted/macabre scenes to admire (I especially liked the twisted fairy tales gallery and the dominatrix Snow White with her sub Dwarfs) and a maze of mirrors–the kind you actually get lost in while scary monsters perch in the center stock-still, only to lunge out at you when you turn your back on them.

Tons o’scary fun, and I highly recommend it as a great way to start off the Halloween season.

   


Writing Stuff

Mary Robinette Kowal put together a raffle to help save Apex Digest. Inspired! I donated a signed copy of my chapbook, Inspirations End/Still My Beating Heart, to the cause, as well as my editing services. I’ll edit/critique a story (up to 8k) to the winner. And there’s tons of other great stuff, like autographed books by Brian Keene, Kevin J. Anderson, and Sherrilyn Kenyon; subscriptions to magazines including Dark Discoveries, Shimmer, and Clarkesworld Magazine; original artwork; and sexy outgoing phone messages by voice actor (and Shimmer editor) Mary Robinette Kowal. Go buy a raffle ticket, yo! Only one dollar each, amazing schtuff to be won!

Published:
- Part 1 of my article, “Writing Multicultural Fiction for Children,” is now up at Writing-World.

Fear the Gods of Transportation

I think the gods of transportation were miffed yesterday.

In the morning, during rush hour, a woman managed to shut down northbound lanes on I-85 and southbound lanes on I-75 when she threatened to jump off an overpass bridge. Also, a cable came loose inside the southbound MARTA tunnel. yukinooruoni‘s train ran over the thing resulting in big sparkage, and I can only assume major slowdowns. In the evening, I noticed that all the electronic notifications (the scrolling marquees that tell you how long until the next train, etc.) were off when I was awaiting a northbound train, and when I got on my train, the onboard television was off with a message warning of an imminent hard drive failure. And then, to cap it off, my train stopped, and the operator announced that there’d been a “medical emergency” at the Civic Center station (I’ve scanned the AJC headlines this morning but haven’t seen any further details). My train was taken out of service, and were instructed to get out and wait for the northbound train coming along on the opposite track.

Of course, that train was jam-packed, standing-room-only.

People were taking the delay and inconvenience with generally good humor. I amused myself by watching my fellow passengers and their seemingly-instinctive body positionings as they attempted not to invade each others’ personal space despite being crammed together. There were a lot of people standing back-to-back in the aisles (personal space boundaries are much smaller behind than in front) and angled so they wouldn’t be pointing directly at any of the people in the seats. And everyone had that blank, unfocused expression people get when they’re desperately trying not to look at anyone or make eye contact.

Also, I saw (and experienced) “sitters guilt,” survivors guilt’s baby cousin twice removed. It’s when someone gets off, and you take their seat, but feel guilty that everyone else still has to strap-hang. Despite being the closest person to the seat, I felt like I’d done something wrong when I plunked myself down. It wasn’t like anyone was glaring at me for taking it, or that there was anyone more in need of it, but I still felt guilty. And I noticed a similar uncomfortable expression of guilt cross the young man’s face who took the next empty seat across from me.

Brains are weird, and watching people on the MARTA is fascinating.

REMINDER: Please subscribe to Apex Digest! Apex needs to bring in 200 new subscriptions or it’ll be forced to close. (More details.)

   


Writing Stuff

The online GrendelSong launch party has commenced! Put on your virtual party hats and head on over:

Published:
- The podcast of “Returning My Sister’s Face” is now up at Pseudopod! It’s read by Stephen Eley who did a fabu job and handled all the Japanese words speckling the tale with amazing aplomb. Go listen, yo!

Pull-my-brain-out-and-replace-it-with-a-plush-bear-PLEASE

While I love the changing seasons, and I really love autumn, I think the incoming (outgoing?) pressure front is doing bad things to everyone at Chez Foster.

Yesterday, I had a pull-my-brain-out-and-replace-it-with-a-plush-bear-PLEASE magnitude headache, so I took a couple Extra Strength Excedrin to quell it. Alas, that did not succeed in alleviating the pain, but it did make me nauseated. Then, due to MARTA-related vagaries, I missed my normal connecting train (the operator forgot to open the doors on the right side of the train, stranding those of us clustered there until the train made “moving on now” sounds and we all bounded out of the left side. Subsequently, I scampered to the northbound platform just in time to see my train pulling out . . .) and had to wait for the next one. By the time the train arrived and I’d reached the North Springs station, I had gotten progressively more ill until I was thoroughly motion sick. Riding the MARTA doesn’t trigger inner ear distress in me usually, so I’m thinking it must’ve been the queasy from the pills compounded by it.

Driving home, it was only through a phenomenal feat of will (and fear since I didn’t see how I could avoid being plowed into by rush hour traffic if I had to stop) that I was not violently sick. I slunk into our house, hoping to find much comfort and pampering, only to discover that fosteronfilm was also suffering from a headache. To his credit, he did indeed do his very best to comfort and pamper me, but, well, nursemaid abilities are limited when the caregiver is also in pain.

Jump to later that night, after dinner–which helped, but I was still feeling pretty blah–and I was crashed out on the couch, mostly asleep. I woke up to Hobkin snuggling under the blankets with me, and Matthew announcing that the lil guy had just sicked up his dinner.

Sigh.

Hobkin and I snuggled for a nap–and major snaps go to my loving hubby for cleaning up the mess all by himself–and then Hobkin wakes me up by leaping out of my arms and pelting to the kitchen. Sure ’nuff, he’s sick again. Although I remain immensely grateful that the fuzzy beast has the courtesy not to be sick on me, the couch, or the carpet.

I’m not sure if Hobkin was stressed from both me and Matthew being sick, or if he’s also getting hit by whatever’s affecting us. But at least he hasn’t sicked up since.

Today, I still have a headache. I think it’s sinus-related. The two Sudafed I took this morning took the edge off, but they were also the sum total of my traveling supply of Sudafed and have worn off. And even if I had more, I don’t know if I’d want to take it. My tummy continues to be unsettled, and I have a MARTA ride home yet to survive.

So yah, I feel like crap.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- My contrib. copy of the Thou Shalt Not anthology, published by Dark Cloud Press.
- Payment from Pseudopod for their forthcoming podcast of “Returning My Sister’s Face.”

A good mail day to offset the queasy health day.

MechMuse, iTunes, and Column, Oh My

   


Writing Stuff

Published:
- My September Writing for Young Readers column is now up: “An Interview with Deborah Vetter of the Cricket Magazine Group”.
- The audio reprint of “The Storyteller’s Wife” in the Fall ’06 issue of MechMuse is also now live. I’ve been especially excited about this one after I heard their Spring issue, which had great fiction and fantastic production values.

Unfortunately, while MechMuse‘s website is pretty and very professional-looking, I find it unintuitive and awkward to navigate. Even more unfortunate, they’ve changed their delivery method such that it requires iTunes to access their content. I’m not an iTunes user, so I had to download and install it, and then I spent some time wrestling with the iTunes podcast subscription setup–which again, the MechMuse website did not make transparent, unlike Escape Pod‘s, which I find much easier to use and get around in.

But after a plaintive email to the MechMuse folks, I’ve finally had a chance to listen to it (after struggling with iTunes so that it would convert the .M4A file it seems to want to default to into an .MP3 file) and it’s . . . not what I expected.

I think the cover image sums up my feelings. It’s a beautiful, professional illustration of an elven woman–I presume Nicnivin, Queen of Faerie, as per my story. But it’s not at all how I imagined or wrote her:
Her gleaming hair wreathed her in a froth of night. Wisps of moonlight shifted and roiled in soundless tides at her feet. Her gown was a gauze of mist that swathed her body from neck to ankle, fluctuating from sheer transparency to modest opacity.

and

Her eyes were black as jet, deep as midnight, and cold as stone.

The story itself is read by a male narrator, which took me aback. While I certainly don’t maintain that my stories require a female voice to perform them–on the contrary, I think a male one would suit a number of them–the main character in “The Storyteller’s Wife” is a woman, and when I wrote it, it was a very clear and very female voice that I heard in my head. Also, my story is presented in a rather somber, drammatic tone, which while I could see it being great for, say, War of the Worlds, strikes me as being overdone for “The Storyteller’s Wife.” And finally, the character of “Hobs” is depicted with an English accent; an Irish accent would have been more appropriate, but more, Hobs ends up sounding much more dignified than I think the character should.

Urg. I’m probably just too close to the story, but I have to admit being a bit disappointed with the end production.

Dragon*Con recovery

dude_the went winging back to the Midwest yesterday. Didn’t get a chance to hug him goodbye ‘cause he had to be at the airport before I got home from work. Pook. But he’ll be back for another visit in October. Hurray!

Still dazed from the convention, but a full night’s sleep has helped get a few more neurons firing. Although I seem to be coming down with some Con Crud, dangit. Usually that misses me. Guess I needed to get a little more alcohol in my system. I had all of two sips of “Peach Pie”–a very potent and very yummy alternative to the (in)famous Tech Ops “Pie”–and that wasn’t quite enough to sterlize my system. Alas. *cough cough snog*

We picked up Hobkin from his godmother’s, and the wee fuzzy beastie is glad to be home. He snuggled with me all last night, except for when he was demanding to be fed, of course. I noticed that his coat’s already growing in thick from its summer shed. He’s all soft and fluffy. And round. Very, very round. Hobkin appears to be packing on the weight a bit early this year, and his coat’s gotten lush pretty early too. Wonder if that means it’ll be an early winter? Skunk as barometer. Yep.

   


Writing Stuff

Much catching up to do. There was a slew of hardcopy review material for Tangent waiting for me on the doorstep after we got back from Dragon*Con, which I need to assign to reviewers and sling back out into the postal service thoroughfares. I’m way behind on The Town Drunk work (gah, I hope britzkrieg doesn’t hate me). And I got a rewrite suggestion from my agent on the novel–>picture book manuscript. I also need to finish the review I’m writing for the Jigsaw Nation anthology and write three stories for various anthologies that I’ve committed to before the end of the year. Urk.

Gotta get them hamsters back in the air, pronto!

Published:
- My reprint of “Second Daughter” is now up at Her Circle Ezine.
- My “Ten Myths About Writing for Kids” article is up at Writing-World.com. But hrm, September’s Writing for Young Readers column isn’t up yet. I wonder when in the month that’s slated for . . .
[Edit: It’s up, it’s up! “An Interview with Deborah Vetter of the Cricket Magazine Group”.]

Received:
Oof. I came home to a string of “no”s. Ouch ow owitch.
- 23-day “did make the final review but . . . “ from Apex Digest.
- 127-day kindly “no” from my editor at Cicada. Wah!
- 123-day “dear writer” from Black Warrior Review. Eh, that one was a long shot anyway.

In better news, I got a note from dsnight letting me know that he’s now got a tentative release date from DAW books for Heroes in Training: September 2007. Woo!

Speedy-fast writing update

My cup overfloweth with hamsters. Ergo, quick post.

Took the MARTA into town today to visit with glenn5 and to try to qualify for my dream editing job. I second-guessed myself into making the wrong call on three of the questions, which I just want to scream about now. I should’ve gone with my first knee-jerk instinct, dammit. Too anxious to blog about the details, but if I get this position, I shall be very, very happy. And if I stressed myself into bombing the qualifying test, I’m going to be very, very mad at myself. *twitch*

   


Writing Stuff

Published:
“Nobodies and Somebodies” is now up at Aberrant Dreams! Go read, yo!

Received:
- Payment from the fine Cricket folks for “The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake.”
- Ditto payment from Writing-World for my first column installment.
- 2 55-day rejections from Escape Pod with lotso personal bits to ease the wah.
- 2-hour sale (Nope, that wasn’t a typo. Two hours) to Escape Pod–or possibly its sister podcast, PseudoPod–of a reprint of “Returning My Sister’s Face.” I barely had time to log the submission before I got the acceptance back. Woohoo! Podcasty goodness!

Updates from Illinois

In Illinois now visiting the in-folks. The drive up was grueling and we had to pull over for a few hours in Kentucky to sleep. I’m exhausted, even on 20mg of Adderall, and my time sense is all whacked.

DiL is in the hospital on a respirator and heavily sedated. It’s more than a little surreal seeing him like that. He doesn’t look like the man I know, but rather like someone based on my DiL’s blueprint but the artisan wasn’t able to capture the nuances of personality and energy that make a person who they are.

We managed to talk to a pair of (second line) doctors yesterday. The primaries, of course, were off, it being the 4th holiday. But from what we were able to gather, the prognosis is more positive than MiL initially thought. They’re installing a pace maker in the next day or two, and expect him to recover from this current hospitalization. There’s some concern about the breathing tube, though. They’ve tried to remove it twice now, and he couldn’t breathe on his own after a short period of time. And they think his throat may have swollen due to the tube’s irritation, which of course makes it rather awkward trying to remove it again. But at least the machine’s on its lowest setting, and he is initiating each breath on his own.

When we first went to see him, he was less sedated. His eyes opened when we came in, although it was obvious he was still really out of it. But when I asked him to squeeze my hand, he did. I’m very glad there’s an amnesiaic effect with these meds he’s on. This isn’t an experience he needs to remember.

MiL doesn’t know what to do with the fractured communication situation. Obviously, DiL can’t speak with the tube down his throat, and he’s too weak to write. So when he’s awake, he can only shake his head or flail his hands, and she’s not really able to anticipate what questions to ask to best suit a shake/nod/flail answer. I tried to teach him a little sign language–just a bob of his fist for “yes” and an ASL “N” for “no” but I don’t think he was awake enough for it. Maybe I’ll try again when he’s less sedated. I’d like to teach them both the ASL alphabet, so he can spell out rudimentary words and express some basic thoughts, but fosteronfilm thinks it’ll be futile. And considering that MiL just recently learned how to pump her own gas, and always goes to the same gas station because that’s the one she knows how to do, I’m afraid he might be right.

We brought Modern Magic and fosteronfilm read “Souls of Living Wood” to DiL, which he seemed to find soothing. Then again, they’d just upped his med dose.

Also got to meet some more of the Foster-side family: a couple of fosteronfilm‘s first cousins. Matthew has a big ole Catholic family-horde, and there’s a lot of people and names who I’ve either met once in the midst of a big event (funeral or wedding) or never met, and it’s hard to wrap my mind around who’s who without a solid face and one-on-one to anchor it all in. So I very much liked getting a chance to get to know these cousins and hearing about how they all played and ran amok as kids. Made me go “awww.”

Y’know, it’s somehow easier talking to family, even brand-new, never-met-before fmaily. It’s weird, since these are essentially strangers, but I felt more comfortable and at ease around them than some people I’ve hung with umpteen times. And his cousin, Mary, is a speech pathologist who works with autistic kids. How cool is that??

Good people. I’d like to stay in touch with them.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
- 2100 on a freelance gig. Trying to keep working while up here, but it’s a bit . . . distracting.

Published:
- “The Dragon’s Breath Seed” is now up at Reflection’s Edge. Go read, yo.

Received:
- Payment for “The Dragon’s Breath Seed.”
- Royalty payment for “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” from the Best of Apex 2005 chapbook, as well as payment for “It’s Only Springtime When She’s Gone” at Apex Online. Shiny.

Storm season brings cooling relief

The beginning of hurricane season has resulted in some lovely weather here. Hobkin has been miserable from the recent heat–flopping on the hardwood floor in the kitchen and looking like an overheated, fuzzy mop. . . with a tail. And I’ve been driven out of the library, which is upstairs and so gets rather sweltering. But now it’s cool and dark. Ahh.

I hope Alberto doesn’t get big and scary, but the respite he’s bringing from sultry ick is appreciated.

Although I’m concerned that the rain might not come in time to save our wild blackberry crop.

   


Writing Stuff

The fine folks of Mobicon invited me to be a guest next year. I’m thrilled to betsy, but with finances being so tight, I asked them if they could help me out on the room and board front. I hope we can work something out. jackzodiac raves about them, and I’ve been dying to experience it.

New Words:
- A load of research and 500 words on part 2 of the article for writing-world.com.

Published:
- My article “When the Guidelines Say ’7-12′: The Ages and Stages of Children’s Literature” at Writing-world.com.

Received:
- Rewrite request from my agent on my picture book adaptation.
- Request from the client for the job I put a bid down on for my bio and a writing sample. So at least I’m still in the running.
- Note from Baen’s Universe on a story they’re holding for consideration. Apparently they’re overbought and have established a buying and submissions freeze until October. I’m free to withdraw and submit elsewhere (and resub to them when they reopen) or let it ride, with a warning that a response might be a long while coming. Argh! That story has already been languishing there since March.

Club 100 For Writers
      32

500/day
      42


Geographic spread of my readers.