Sleep is for the dead

Muchly sleep deprived. Got to bed late and was awakened frequently and prematurely by a restless skunk. Ended up getting up at 5:30ish, so I decided to just come into work early. I noticed that it’s much quieter on the MARTA at 7:45 than it is at 8:15. The train’s still as full, but that half hour difference seems to render everyone dazed and blinking.


Writing Stuff

Urg. I’m so behind on Tangent work. I’m the furthest behind I’ve ever been. The reviews-to-be-published are piling up, but I’ve been making such good wordage progress that I didn’t want to stop writing. Meep.

- Payment from Realms of Fantasy for “The Devil and Mrs. Comstock’s Snickerdoodles” (slated for their Feb. ’07 issue).
- Payment from GrendelSong for “Shim Chung the Lotus Queen” (in their premiere issue).
- squirrel-monkey suggested to darinbradley that he tender me an invite to submit something for the Farrago’s Wainscot (farragoblog) project. He did, and I did, and F’sW will be reprinting “The Life and Times of Penguin.” Shiny!
- 13-day alas-o-gram from GVG of F&SF.

New Words/Editing:
- About a paragraph’s worth of words on the Pseudopod rewrite request, several editing passes, and it’s lobbed back for editorial judgment.
- 700 words on the collaboration story I’m writing with mtrimm1. Debating whether I want to finish the scene or bat it back.
- 1200 words on the Japanese fantasy, now tentatively titled “Hannya-Shin-Kyo: The Stillness Between Thoughts.” Tamed my snarling plot bunny and getting close to the home stretch.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,783 / 6,000

Procrastination bug, must stomp

For most of today, I languished in a haze of under-motivated lethargy–randomly surfing, hopping from one editorial task to another without completing anything, and prodding various WiPs halfheartedly. That hasn’t happened in QUITE a while. I haven’t had the luxury of being able to drag my feet or putter about sighing “I don’t feel like doing this” in so long, I feel guilty, like I’ve done something wrong.

It’s not that my plate is free of hamsters or anything–on the contrary, my “Things to Do” list continues to threaten to overflow the page–but rather there are now a manageable number of the buggers swarming over it, resulting in a less panicked, frantic, and frenzied me. While most certainly a good thing, it’s also made me wonder if I need the impetus of a Damoclesian sword to keep up my level of productivity.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it and can allow myself the occasional day of wallowing in profligate indolence. Meh.

But tomorrow, I really need to get back to work . . .


Writing Stuff

New Words:
- 600 on the Japanese fantasy. Still no title, dammit.

- Payment from Writing-World for next month’s Writing for Young Readers column. Zounds, that was speedy. Me likie.


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.


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

- 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.

Mysterious file transpirings

Patrick and yukinooruoni came over last night to hang out and gab. And yukinooruoni brought me a prezzie: a bottle of dessert wine! I’m thinking I might open it this weekend. Or maybe I’ll save it for a special occasion.

In the course of our chatting, I discovered that there are still apparently a number of Daily Dragon articles floating around somewhere, unedited and unpublished. I thought I’d consolidated all the data onto my personal USB flash drive in the big clean-off-the-computers activity that Monday, but apparently there are still files on the other flash drive that need to be extracted. Oops.


Writing Stuff

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I seem to have lost all the progress I made on the as-yet-untitled Japanese fantasy story yesterday. When I opened up the file this morning, it had reverted back to how it was at the end of Tuesday.

Mystifying and irksome that. I’m not egregiously put out–no hair rending or shrieks of outrage at the cosmos–because yesterday was mostly about research. The primary changes I made consisted of a few hundred words of tightening edits and a bit of scene fleshing out, all fairly straightforward to replicate without overmuch brain strain, not to mention all my research notes were intact. I’d be needing a padded cell right about now if I’d laid down thousands of new words, so it could’ve been much worse.

Still, I’m a bit flummoxed. My best guess is that I didn’t save my file before shutting down for the day, except that’s just not like me. I hit SAVE with almost compulsive regularity–conditioned as I’ve been by a randomly powering down laptop and other fun-and-exciting hardware adventures. And I thought Word did automatic saves at regular intervals anyway? Plus, wouldn’t Word have asked me if I’d wanted to save my changes if I’d closed the file without saving?

I also checked my temp file cache to see if I’d accidentally saved it there, as well as my other folders to see if I’d somehow managed to relocate it. Nope.


Did I unwittingly offend a computer diety yesterday?

I’m now back to where I was when I shut down yesterday, perhaps minus a scintillating line or two, or with a slightly-more-awkward sentence construction here and there, but those are minor editing issues.

I’m also compulsive about making backups, which all of my experience with these helpful but maddening technological gadgets is further reinforcing . . .

- Payment from Her Circle Ezine for their reprinting of “Second Daughter” pending a bit of PayPal-related awkwardness.

HCE paid me via debit card to my PayPal account, but it’s a Personal Account, and so it balked at accepting payment without being upgraded. I declined its repeated exhortations to upgrade (no, I don’t want PayPal taking a fee+percentage out of this and all future monies. Yes, I’M SURE, dammit!) and so had to refuse payment. Happily, an email to the editor explaining the situation resulted in a “we’ll send you a money order forthwith.” So it’s all good.

Adventures on MARTA

On the train home yesterday, there was a guy standing with his mountain bike, playing the flute. It was one of those wooden (bamboo?) instruments that creates an earthy, gentle sound. It was a lovely melody, a bit rambly and a lot sylvan. Created a somewhat surreal, almost eldritch ambiance to the ride. Interesting seeing the expressions on my fellow passengers’ faces: fascination, pleasure, curiosity, disinterest, and annoyance.

Transferring trains, I sat next to the door and witnessed a trio of angry boys jostling each other and shouting threats as they disembarked–obvious chest thumping overlaying an undercurrent of whine, rather than that simmer of true violence. They were young, and I was not at all worried about my safety, although I did have a few moments’ concern that their roughhousing would knock one of them into me, and therefore my laptop (unwarrented, as it turns out). When they exited, a jumble of reactions arose in their wake: laughter, rolled eyes at youthful exuberance, and a few quips at who would end up winning if the altercation did come to blows. A strange camaraderie of entertained commuters.

And this morning on the train, as I was working on the Japanese fantasy, I became aware of the passenger next to me peering furtively at my laptop screen from time to time, apparently curious to see what I was typing. It made me a bit self-conscious, which resulted in some rather clunky dialogue (that I’m going to have to either cut or clean up in my next editing pass), but it also amused me.

Lotso characters and setting inspiration on the train. A fringe benefit.


Writing Stuff

- Fan mail! I got an email from a creative writing college student who really liked the interview with Deborah Vetter I did for my September Writing for Young Readers column. She said I was a “true inspiration” and that I encouraged her to “make the most of every day and every writing opportunity.” *Squee!* That’s totally going to have me walking on clouds for a while.
- Payment from the fine folks of Aberrant Dreams for “Nobodies and Somebodies.” $$!

New Words:
- 400 on the Japanese fantasy. And I plotted out the storyline.

Three cheers for an even keel

Catching up on both sleep and work this weekend. I think I may actually be caught up on Tangent stuff, and I’ve published the remaining Dragon*Con articles I had to the Daily Dragon website.

Fewer hamsters, hurray!

Now I can get back to pumping out ye olde fiction. And editing schtuff for The Town Drunk before britzkrieg shows up on my doorstep with spork in hand . . .


Writing Stuff

I just learned that I received three Honorable
Mentions in the 19th Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (edited
by Ellen Datlow, Gavin J. Grant, and Kelly Link) for “The Bunny of Vengeance and Bear of Death” (in Fantasy Magazine #1), “The Tiger Fortune Princess” (in Paradox #7), and “Returning My Sister’s Face” (in Realms of Fantasy Feb ’05). Squeeing and happy dancing to commenceth.

- Payment from the wonderful Cricket Magazine folks for “The Tax Collector’s Cow” (in June’s Spider). Shiny.
- 3-day lightning fast “no GUD” from GUD. 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

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

- 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.

- Payment for my 2-part Multicultural Writing article from
- 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 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 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.

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

- 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!

- 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 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 . . .

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