Home again home again

Back from Illinois. Exhausted and drained, both psychologically and physically. I broke down multiple times at both the wake and funeral, but mostly held it together. I had the foresight to bring lotso Kleenex.

Seeing my DiL all preserved and made-up for the first time at the wake was the worst. It didn’t look like the man I remembered at all up close–too plastic and smooth–but from a little distance, he did, and a couple times, I caught myself thinking, “I hope DiL’s not feeling left out. He’s all off by himself and no one’s talking to him.” And then, of course, I’d have to deal with another bout of teary-eyes when I realized that I didn’t have to worry about him feeling excluded and that it didn’t matter that no one was chit-chatting with him because he couldn’t hear them, would never have another conversation with his friends and family ever again.

Been trying to take it easy, trying to ease back into things. But there’s tons of work to catch up with that has already waited a week.

And, after all, life goes on.

   


Writing Stuff

Received a lovely review at Novelspot for my Inspirations End/Still My Beating Heart chapbook:

“Eugie Foster’s vampire stories have everything a good vampire story needs to have . . . The author is a great story-teller, who pays attention to details, creates great characters, and uses a highly enjoyable style. Her choice of words and her use of language gives a very special flavour to these writings, which makes it hard to put this book down. For those who enjoy vampire fiction, this book is highly recommended. ”
–Ilona Hegedus

Published:
- My August Writing for Young Readers column, “Writing for Tweens.”

Received:
- 57-days to a reprint sale (+ contract) of “Second Daughter” to Her Circle Ezine. It’s slated for their fall issue. Their contract is odd, a bit too vague and Spartan for my preference, lacking even the bare-bones, standard legalese that I’m accustomed to. But it’s for a reprint and they’re not asking for anything weird. Eh, as long as they pay me . . .
- Email + contract from Stephen Eley confirming that the Pseudopod editors loved and want “Returning My Sister’s Face.” Their contract, of course, is completely in order.
- Status update from Mech Muse that their Summer issue (with the audio reprint of “The Storyteller’s Wife” in it) will be going up Aug. 21.
- 272-days to an “after careful consideration we have decided to decline” on a story held for the second round of reading at IGMS. Fooie.
- 3-days to a “not what we’re looking for at this time” with personal (and a bit contradictory) feedback. One editor liked my prose, the other found it too florid, but it was the ending that didn’t sell them. Alas.

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!

Home Again Home Again

We’re back in Georgia after another grueling drive, and happy to be home. Hobkin’s pleased too; he spent last night cuddled up with me, and spent the first hour or so after I carried him in running around the house cheek-rubbing all the baseboard corners, re-establishing his territory (when we re-paint the interior some time in the dim and hazy future, it’s going to be a dark color) and making sure nothing had changed in his absence.

Thank you to everyone who dropped a comment with well-wishes and thoughts over this last week. Apologies that I haven’t responded individually to y’all. But you can be sure that your outpourings of concern and support were greatly appreciated.

DiL is still in the hospital but getting stronger daily. He’s eating on his own, and I believe they’ve started him on physical therapy. Still stubborn as all get out and clamoring to go home. They’ve also installed the pacemaker, a complication-free surgery. Unfortunately, the tests came back that they ran after his last fever spike and he’s got a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, which they didn’t know before they put in the pacemaker. He’s now quarantined within ICU and people have to wear face masks when visiting him. Both fosteronfilm and MiL banned me from seeing him–over my squawked protests–once the results came in, all jumpy about my stupid compromised immune system. Grumpf. Bunch of worrywarts. You’d think with an overactive immune system I’d be less susceptible to infections instead of more. Stupid lupus.

I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye before we left. I’d be very distressed about that, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to see him again sans infection, when he’s back home.

   


Writing Stuff

Didn’t get nearly as much work done as I’d hoped last week. Not really a surprise, considering, but I’m now stretching myself full out in an effort to catch-up. My hamsters have embarked upon a breeding program while I was up north, the irksome things, and none of the new hamster-spawn appear to be aerodynamic.

The last Dragon*Con all-staff meeting is this weekend, which heralds the start of in earnest Daily Dragon prep. I’ve also been officially approved as a guest again this year. Right now, I’m scheduled to be on bevlovesbooks‘s panels “The Power of the Old Stories: Mythology and Folklore in YA” and “So, You Want to Write a Kid’s Book?” for her YA Lit track. I believe jackzodiac is hoping to put together a panel for Writers for Relief, and I’m anticipating that Ann Crispin will want me to reprise my guest lecture for her Beginning Writers Workshop. Another chock-full schedule. Much fun, but also loads of public speaking anxiety.

I saw that my other Escape Pod story, “The Life and Times of Penguin,” was also nominated for a Parsec Award. That’s both of them! Squee! Crossing my fingers that at least one of them makes the short list.

And Escape Pod now has an LJ: escapepodcast. EP was a lifesaver during the drive to and from Illinois. During David D. Levine’s “Tk’tk’tk”, I totally lost track of the miles and got swept away to an alien world . . . that was also somewhat Asiatic in feel. Very nice.

Received:
- Payment for my 2-part Multicultural Writing article from Writing-world.com.
- Contrib. copy of Apex Digest Best of 2005. Shiny!
- My taped-shut-but-empty SASE from Realms of Fantasy for “The Devil and Mrs. Comstock’s Snickerdoodles.” Erm. I expected it to contain my contract, and now I’m stressing that the contract was lost en route. Have dropped a note to Shawna to alleviate my anxiety.
- 46-day “thanks but no” from Forgotten Worlds. Bummer. But less of one now that I’ve learned that FW doesn’t include a contrib. copy with their payment. While I’d rather get money over a contrib. copy, I sort of expect both.

New Words/Editing:
- 1200 on a freelance gig. Got 300 to go and I can send this one off. This was a longish assignment.
- After 29-crits from Critters.org for “Black Swan, White Swan,” I did several editing passes and stuck a fork in. Fly, little swan story; find a good home and make me proud!
- Put together the outline for my first writers-world.com column article. Right now, the plan is to call the column: “Eugie Foster – Writing for Young Readers.” It’s not flashy or exciting, just plain jane straightforward. But I think that’s best. Plus, I couldn’t think of anything cute.

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.

This Week Better than Last

So we went to Washington Mutual and opened an account. The folks there were very personable and helpful. As it turns out, there is a fee for depositing a foreign check with them, but the manager waived it, and he said as long it wasn’t too frequent, he’d waive the wire transfer fee for future foreign payments. Very nice. Going to start transferring all our account stuff from SunTrust, rah.

Got the replacement warranty faucet part from Moen. It wasn’t what we expected. fosteronfilm and I were taken aback to discover it was neither the handle nor the whole faucet unit they sent, but a piece of metal and some attachment thingies. After some head scratching and much instruction poring, we realized they’d sent us the hardware piece that connects the handle to the unit, the actual bit that had broken. Huh.

Matthew applied screwdriver and much grunting to the faucet and succeeded in re-attaching the handle. Except, um, the hot and cold run backwards. It’s an oops that currently has us debating whether we should try to fix it or simply get used to right being hot and left being cold, but I’m very pleased to once again have a kitchen sink that delivers water.

   


Writing Stuff

The dry spell I was complaining about ended in a big, gushy flood of sales. Woot!

Received:
- 89-day SALE of “The Devil and Mrs. Comstock’s Snickerdoodles” to Realms of Fantasy. Woohoo!! I was beginning to wonder if my sales to RoF last year were a fluke. *happy dancing!*
- 23-day SALE of “The Dragon’s Breath Seed” to Reflection’s Edge. Thanks to squirrel_monkey for getting me to submit to these fine folks!
- 7-day SALE of my 2 part article “Multicultural Writing” to Writing-World.com. Also, the editor has invited me to do a regular monthly article on children’s fiction. Of course I said yes. It’s slated to begin in August. I’m casting around for what to title it . . .

New Words:
- 500 on the collab. piece I’m doing with mtrimm1. I hang my head in shame for how long I’ve sat on it, but at least I’ve finally got myself back in the game.

Lobbing dem hamsters . . .

Club 100 For Writers
      45

500/day
      55

Fun with medical people

No replacement faucet yet from Moen. Sigh. And on the bank front, we’re leaning toward switching to Washington Mutual.

Had a follow-up appointment with the nurse practitioner from hell on Monday. I was not looking forward to it, and had geared myself up to do everything I could to get my Adderall refilled and me out of there as fast as possible. But I think nurse-lady got the message that I considered her (cursory, spurious, and uninformed*) assessment to be bogglingly off-base. A couple days after my May appointment I dropped her a note letting her know that I was discontinuing the Celexa she’d bullied me into starting and why I didn’t feel the need to be on an antidepressant. I was cordial and non-confrontational. Honest!

I never got a reply and didn’t think about it beyond wondering whether she’d read it. But as soon I got through the door, nurse-lady does a little song-and-dance of “another practitioner departed, my workload increased, for future follow-ups you’ll need to see either doctor so-and-so or such-and-such” and hands over my Adderall refill prescription. Since she didn’t mention refilling the Celexa, I’m assuming she did indeed read my missive.

Man, she wanted me out of there quick-like. If I hadn’t asked her to repeat the doctors’ names, I wouldn’t have said a single word to her. Irony there. She babbled about her situation to me. But that suited me fine. I wasn’t exactly gagging to have a tête-à-tête with her.

And I’ve decided not to make a follow-up with a pdoc. I’ll check to see if either my GP or my Rheumatologist, whom I see on a regular basis to keep tabs on my Lupus/MCTD anyway, can refill my Adderall. I’d like not to have to shell out a co-pay just to have a pdoc scribble out a refill. It’s one thing if my emotional equilibrium is totally off kilter and I need the services of a mental health professional, but it’s not, and I don’t.

Also got a call from fosteronfilm‘s mom the other day. Dad-in-law’s back in the hospital, back on a respirator. He’s had another dangerous buildup of CO2 (isn’t there some preventative treatment for that?? They already know he’s unable to expel it on his own anymore . . .). They also have him on a dialysis machine. MiL wasn’t sure if she should approve the hospital’s request to hook him up to it. She didn’t know what it was and was worried that it constituted one of those unendurable, dignity-killing quality of life treatments that both she and DiL are adamant about not subjecting him to. After Matthew explained to her what a dialysis machine was for, she gave the hospital the go ahead. It concerns me that she doesn’t have a better grasp of DiL’s medical treatments. Why doesn’t the hospital make a better effort at informing her?

DiL is fully expected to recover from this latest hospital adventure, and we’re prepping for our trip north.


*What, me still incensed? Naaah.

   


Writing Stuff

“Souls of Living Wood” in Modern Magic got some nice comments from Elizabeth A. Allen in her Tangent review:
“Foster juggles the hilarious personalities of the obstreperous customers well with the genteel voice of the house in a story that’s surprisingly gentle”

New Words/Editing:
- 5K on the Swan Lake story (now titled “Black Swan, White Swan”) bringing it to zero draft. I foisted it upon fosteronfilm to first reader and did a pair of editing passes to get it to first draft. Loaded it to Critters.org this morning.

Such a relief and release to finish a fiction piece. This one was an experiment in present tense, a style I typically eschew as I think past is a better storytelling vehicle. Present is rarely done effectively and often has the undesirable effect of pulling the reader out instead of immersing them. But I thought this story, because of the rapid fire POV hops into my main character’s head, lended itself to present. I found myself writing all her internal dialogue in present–past tense threw the pacing off, lacking the off-balance quickness I was going for–so it made sense to have the rest of the story match. Curious to see how it’ll be received.

Matthew liked it well enough, although I think he would’ve said anything to get me not to play “Ave Maria” one more time. I assembled a playlist soundtrack/mix for this story–I was quite put out to discover that we don’t have Tchaikovsky’s complete Swan Lake suite on CD–which I ran on repeat while I was writing to keep me grounded in the mood. I gate out auditory input extremely readily, so didn’t notice how many times it looped. But he can’t disregard sound like I can.

The mix is 45 minutes long. I estimate it played somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 times in just the last few days.

Poor Matthew.

Received:
- Payment for my last freelance gig and specs for my next.

Club 100 For Writers
      44

500/day
      54

Kitchen Sink Mishap and Adventures in Banking

This week has been less than sterling. Little things and big things have conspired to irritate and infuriate.

On the little, irritating things side, the lever on the kitchen faucet broke, as in snap-holding-a-piece-in-your-hand broke. fosteronfilm was turning on the water and then . . . he wasn’t.

Fortunately, this didn’t result in a panic-inducing geyser, or even a distressing dribble, for that matter. Still, it’s awkward doing anything in the kitchen without a ready water supply. After Matthew peered at the underside of the sink for a while and determined it was out of his DIY league, we phoned several plumbers and got a vastly diverse range of estimates from “I dunno how much it’d be; we’ll have to send someone out to look” (for what ought to be a basic installation) to “prolly around $175″ to “$250 not including parts.”

Grumbling, we went to Home Depot to pick out a new faucet ensemble, and while there, I noticed that they do installations.

“How much?” we asked.

“$90,” they sez.

Still painful, but far less so. And while boggling at the wide range of faucet options available and their correspondingly wide range of prices, I mused aloud to the hubby: “I don’t understand why there’s such a huge price difference; what makes this $250 faucet better than this $69 one?” A helpful assistant person in an orange apron replied, “It’s all about the name brand and the finish. But they’ve all got lifetime warranties, so just pick one you like that fits your sink.”

Not only sage advice, but it made my brain ping. “They’ve all got lifetime warranties?” I queried, eying the Moen faucets.

“Yup, these brands always do.”

So we went home, sans faucet. I looked up the model of our broken Moen, emailed the company a “Lifetime Warranty?” note, and they got back to us the next day with a “sending you a new piece, expect delivery in 5-7 business days.” Wow! We didn’t have to mail them the broken faucet or anything. I’m not sure what exactly they’re sending us. A new handle will not be useful, as the connection is snapped through, but if they’re sending a new faucet, then we’re all good*. I am optimistic.

On the big thing, making-Eugie-livid front, trying to deposit my check from Faeries was every bit the wacky fun I’d anticipated, so much so that I still have the check.

Went to my local SunTrust branch, handed my check to the teller, and asked what the conversion rate was and if there was a fee for depositing it. After squinting at my weird money-paper with the funny words and asking what a “euro” was**, the teller looked up the conversion on her computer (bad but not unexpected), then said it would cost me a flat $25 fee to deposit it. I squawked. She called for backup, and subsequently revised the fee to $10. I asked for documentation, as the fee structure I have from both the website and the handout they gave me detailing the features and fees of my account list no such fee, and I want to know what I’m paying so I can go price compare at other banks. She referred me to their financial services rep.

Off I went to powwow with the financial services rep. This woman was equally clueless so phoned her supervisor for advice. She then said $60 and handed over a printout (hot off her laserjet), and circled a section under “Research Services” called “International Collections.” I explained that this wasn’t “research,” nor was it a “collection.” Unless they’re using new and different definitions, in banking and finance, a “collection” is when a creditor tries to recover a past-due payment, and “research” involves hunting down information that is not readily available.

She insisted she was correct.

Then Matthew pointed out that above it was a $20 fee listing for “domestic collections,” and if what she was saying was true, then it would cost everyone $20 anytime they wanted to deposit a domestic check, which was patently ridiculous.

Nevertheless, she stuck by her bogus claim.

Realizing there was no one there who knew squat and they were making it up as they went along, I retrieved my check and we went home.

Once home, I called my bank’s customer (dis)service line, and, after summoning a supervisor for assistance, the phone rep. declared “10% of the amount of the check” to deposit my French check.

That brought the total number of different fee amounts quoted to me for depositing my check to four. Spurious much? And there was no one else higher up to talk to.

So I contacted the Better Business Bureau and lodged a complaint.

Can anyone recommend a new bank?


*Well, except for installation.
**Geez, you’d think I was asking them to explain string theory. It’s a simple international transaction. I want to deposit a foreign check. A bank ought to be able to handle that, and a bank’s employees should at least be familiar with what the standard currency in Europe is.

   


Writing Stuff

I’m having a dry spell in the sales department (wah!), so feeling disheartened and needy, I did a vanity search. One of my hits was the Institute of Children’s Literature!

Deborah Vetter, my Cricket and Cicada editor, is an instructor there, and in her bio, I’m listed as one of the “distinguished writers” she’s worked with, along with Nancy Springer and Aaron Shepard. Me! A distinguished writer! *squee!*

So yeah. That helped.

New Words/Editing:
- 600 on the Swan Lake story.
- 600 on an article for Writing-World.com. Several editing passes and sent off. Waiting is.
- 1500 on the freelance gig.

Received:
- Payment and contrib. copies from Paradox for “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon.” Huzzah!

Club 100 For Writers
      40

500/day
      50

Inverted Skunk and Touring Paleontologist

It is sometimes difficult to figure which end of a skunk is up.

The other night I went to retrieve Hobkin for purposes of cuddling. In the shadows under the hutch and me without corrective eye wear, I had a moment’s confusion, unsure which end of the snoozing fur lump truncated in a nose and which a tail. Making what I thought was an accurate determination, I bundled Hobkin in my arms and carted him off.

fosteronfilm came in, and I squinted and commented offhandedly: “Wasn’t sure which end of Hobkin was which.”

Since I am myopic unto blind without my glasses, I couldn’t see his expression, but the tone of his voice was expressive. He replied, “Still haven’t worked it out, I see.”

Seems I was lugging a groggy and very perplexed skunk around head down. Of course, I righted him as soon as I realized, but he was miffed and wide awake by that time (usually I can carry him from the hutch to the chaise without waking him, and he just nestles in my arms). He glared at me and rightly decided he didn’t want to snuggle with the crazy lady; he scampered back to the hutch in a huff.

Oops.

On the non-upside down skunk front, our friend, Chris-from-Tennessee, came a’visiting over the weekend. He’s a Biology professor specializing in Ichthyological paleontology, and he’s conducting a summer seminar in Mexico. He drove to Chez Foster a couple days before his flight from Hartsfield-Jackson so we could hang out and catch up. It was a nice diversion from nose-to-the-keyboard, and he’s got a toddler daughter who I love hearing about. Chris’s wife is from China, and she speaks Mandarin to their daughter while he speaks English to her. I’m fascinated by the linguistic progress of an emergent bilingual child.

   


Writing Stuff

Been mulling my recent lack of fiction progress. The hamsters have been most troublesome even though I’ve slung away some of the bitier ones. And it occurred to me, as in bolt-out-of-the-blue smack-me-in-the face occurred to me, that I’ve been undermining the intrinsic motivation of my writing by pairing it too closely with financial reward.

There’s heaps of psychological studies that show how both creativity and interest decline whenever something once done for the pure joy of it is set on a reward schedule. As soon as gain becomes the driving purpose behind creative expression, enjoyment evaporates, and art becomes work–to the detriment of art and artist.

While I am indeed a working writer, struggling to pay the bills and all, there’s got to be a way to achieve a balance here. Yes, they’re linked in reality, but I need to isolate the money-making from the creative part on an emotional level. Already, I’m finding myself thinking along the lines of “these 300 words of website content that I’m ghostwriting will get me such-and-such amount, while I’ll be lucky if these 300 words of fiction–more grueling and draining to produce–will get me a fraction of that if I’m lucky.” And so I’m ending up cranking out the money-words and neglecting my fiction.

But how? Hrm. I need to implement a new reward structure, I think. So here’s what I came up with: From now on, fiction writing is no longer “work.” It is the reward for making progress on my freelance gigs, which are “work.” If I finish a reasonable daily quota of “work” I’m free to indulge my muse.

Well, the theory sounds good. ‘Course the true test is whether my restructuring results in any fiction productivity gains. Will revisit this as needed.

Man, when I unearthed my repressed psychologist, she went amok. Beware berserk psychology researcher . . .

New Words:
- 600 on the freelance gig.
- 1K on the resuscitated Swan Lake story. Hurray, fiction!

Received:
- Check from Faeries for “Returning My Sister’s Face.” In Euros. I anticipate wacky fun when I go to deposit it. I wonder how much my bank will try to shaft me for. Oh well, it can’t possibly be worse than their foreign wire transfer fee.

Club 100 For Writers
      36

500/day
      46

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
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Geographic spread of my readers.

HB1359, blurbage, and looking for a Locus

Brain overflowing with health insurance laws, rules, and regulations. Ugh.

Of note, Georgia is one of the dozen or so states that does not have a high risk healthcare pool, although there’s currently a bill awaiting a vote in the Senate Rules Committee, HB1359 – Georgia Assignment Pool Underwriting Authority, to pass such a plan. Apparently, some businesses and organizations like the Georgia Retail Association, UPS, and BellSouth are working to oppose it because it would impact large businesses, who would be required to help subsidize it.

Feh.

We did determine that our current HMO is willing to keep covering us under a “conversion” healthcare plan after my COBRA expires. Although I’m still unclear as to whether this conversion policy would be a group plan–a group of “1″–or an individual one, and I dearly want to transition to another a group plan if at all possible. However, there would be no prescription drug provisions, which is problematic since both fosteronfilm and I are on long-term prescription meds, and the monthly premium would increase by a third again from what we’re already paying for COBRA, which is egregiously expensive as is.

Oof. Well, it’s a start.

   


Writing Stuff

On his blog, fellow Phobos Award-winner James Maxey had really nice things to say about “Souls of Living Wood” in the Modern Magic anthology (of which we’re TOC-mates).

Happy blurbage:
“wow, this was a terrific story . . . It’s ideas like this that draw me to science fiction and fantasy . . . Even better, Eugie takes this original idea and builds a terrific, moving story around it. Sometimes, great ideas get stuck in stories that don’t live up to their promise, but Eugie follows through with lovely writing, a captivating plot, and strong performances from the other characters in the story, all of whom come to life with an amazing economy of words.”

Also saw that Rich Horton reviewed the spring issue of Oceans of the Mind in the May issue of Locus. (I really need to subscribe to Locus, dammit.) Anyone out there have a copy it? I’m dying to know if Rich said anything about my story, “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps.”

Editing:
- Editing passes and final polish completed on the freelance gig. Product sent off, and I await payment.

Received:
- Payment from Dragonfly Spirit for “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky.” Yay!
- 34-day “Dear Writer” from Orchid. But I have to admit that their form letter is pretty upbeat. They encourage writers to keep at it, informing us that the average story is rejected 25 or more times before being accepted (which, according to that figure, puts me way above the bell curve, averaging 13), and that both C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury were rejected more than 800 times before making their first sale.

This was for a story I wrote after reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut, and my style was heavily influenced thereof. It’s a surreal, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, quasi-literary, experimental piece with genre overtones. I’ve gotten mixed responses from genre pubs who typically like the style and voice, but think the narrative’s too unfocused. So now I’m trying literary markets, since I’ve found them to be concerned far more about style and care less about narrative cohesion. But I have an inkling that the genre elements might be touch-of-deathie for them. Foo.

I’m getting major “I need a sale!” twitches. It’s been almost a month since my last one.

Club 100 For Writers
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