Session ’07 Day 21

Happy belated Valentine’s Day to everyone. Yesterday was . . . insane at work. Got slammed with one rush bill after another, and when I had a chance to look up and catch my breath, most of the day was over.


I did manage to get home in time to have dinner with husband and skunk. First time this week. And I saw sunlight this morning, again first time this week.

Had problems sleeping last night even though I was dog tired. I’d shut my eyes, but they’d pop open again, and my mind wouldn’t quit churning. It wasn’t churning on anything, it just kept flitting from one disjointed thought to another. Finally, Hobkin came trundling up and crawled under the covers to snuggle, and then I could finally fall asleep. There’s a very soothing and soporific effect to hugging his soft, warm fuzziness. Not so great when I’m trying to get work done, but most welcome when I’m fighting insomnia. Skunk sleep aid. Yup.

I can’t seem to stop editing. When I close my eyes, I see words scrolling along my eyelids. Legalese words. And while I had the urge to fix egregious typos and insert missing serial commas before, now my compulsion has gone into overdrive.

While taking my shoes off in the mudroom yesterday, my eyes fell upon the bleach bottle: “Kroger’s Ultra Regular Bleach.” I was twitching to get out my red pen and draw a transpose line between “Ultra” and “Regular” to make it “Kroger’s Regular Ultra Bleach.”

fosteronfilm rightly mocked me.

But yes, I do continue to love working here, even in the midst and madness of session. Yesterday, we editors all came in to find little Valentine’s Day gift bags on our desks from one of the attorneys. Mine had in it a flashlight/LED pointer combo pen, one of those magnetic desk sculpture thingies, a purple mechanical pencil with squishy grip, and a four-color ballpoint pen along with a card. Another attorney came by with chocolate, and one of the secretaries/computer operators brought me a candy bar along with the rush job she handed me. And finally, there were two cakes to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Session Midpoint–a tradition here. Working in this kind of environment makes even the most grueling days a little easier, it do.

The rest of this week promises to be more laid back. The legislators will be gone for most of today for the Charlie Norwood funeral, and then they’re adjourned until next Tuesday.

Maybe I can get some other editing and *gasp* writing work done.


Writing Stuff

– A 260+ day “no” from Farthing which is actually a 100-or-so-day “no.”

I’d gotten a note from the editor back in September letting me know this story was in her final consideration pile, and she’d get back to me in a week or so. After not hearing anything for a couple months, I queried, and upon receiving no response a couple months after that, I queried again. And finally, I queried one last time earlier this week. But this time, I used a different email address, wondering if previous communications–coming or going–were getting lost in an Internet black hole.

And yes, they were. I received a perplexed (but polite) email to my new address from the editor letting me know she’d sent a note several times now, both way back as a follow-up and in response to my queries.

Gah! I thought my email troubles had been resolved. Apparently not.

The editor was most patient and understanding about my repeated queries, a consummate professional. And I’m so glad that I was never tempted to get miffed or surly with her in my queries either. Definitely validates my conviction that a courteous demeanor and tone is both the mark of a professional and prudent.

Still something of a bummer that the story languished for so long only to be rejected. Poor lil story.

Overtime meep.

The Georgia General Assembly reconvened yesterday. And yes indeedy, the workload ramped up. My hours so far this week:

Sunday – 11:45AM to 6PM
Monday – 8:30AM to 10PM
Tuesday – Came in early to finish up the bill I was editing until 10 last night so: 7:00AM to ?

Matthew came and drove me home from work last night. While I’m sure I would’ve been fine on MARTA, I just wanted to get home as soon as possible so I could get to sleep, and the fastest way (without the rush hour traffic and all) was sans train. But we had a bit of confusion with the meet-up. He got to the capitol okay, but then while I was wandering around the first floor at the security entrance, my co-workers had let him in and they were wandering with him in our office on the third floor/mezzanine, looking for me. Whoops! But with the aid of a helpful, late-night security guy, we managed to hook up. Finally.

Think today’ll be a 30mg Adderall day. This is muchly reminiscent of Dragon*Con and editing the Daily Dragon while suffering from insufficient sleep and weird food. I can do this . . . for two and a half more months.

If you’re waiting on something for me, expect to wait a little longer.


Writing Stuff

– “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” in the Feb. ’07 issue of Cricket. And it’s the opening story! Woot! I had just enough time before falling comatose last night to beam delightedly at the illustrations. Shiny.

– After a mail snafu, payment, at last, from Her Circle eZine for “Second Daughter.” For some reason, the first time the editor tried mailing me payment, the USPS couldn’t find my house and sent the letter (w/check) back undeliverable. WTF? So I asked her to mail it to me at my work address this time, and it arrived yesterday.
– 88-day personal pass with invite to submit again to The Edge of Propinquity.

Pan’s Labyrinth, skunk hiccups, session ’07

terracinque and I managed to get off work early enough to catch the advance screening of Pan’s Labyrinth with fosteronfilm on Wednesday. I’ve never been to the Midtown Art before. It’s a very nice theater, although I think I like the Tara–where we saw Miss Potter–better. Had a chance to gab with sfeley, who was also there to catch Pan’s Labyrinth, while the hubby was off buying popcorn, and chatted briefly with lord_darkseid while waiting for terracinque to park.

The movie was gorgeous. Words like “lush” and “evocative” spill off the tongue when describing the cinematography. It was also gritty and dark, the non-fantasy parts particularly, but the fantasy elements were also darker than the typical treatment given to such subject matter by Hollywood. While I quite enjoyed the fantasy part–the faun and the Pale Man as well as the flitting EFX fairies were phenomenal–the real world brutality left me wide-eyed and in need of a fuzzy animal to squeeze. Honestly, I felt somewhat traumatized by movie’s end; my ability to handle gore and squick is pretty unimpressive, and there was much violence. Fortunately, we’ve got a very squeezable fuzzy animal at home, so it’s all good.

On the fuzzy animal front, Hobkin’s been getting the hiccups a lot recently. It’s rather dramatic when a critter as small as he is gets the hiccups. His whole body jounces with each one. Wish I knew what was causing them and if there was something we could do to decrease their frequency. Right now, all we can do is hold and pet him while he hics. At least they don’t seem to trouble him all that much. Probably distresses me more than him.

Session is going great, so far. I’ve even gotten a couple kudos from the attorneys and secretaries on my work, which makes me inordinantly warm-and-glowy. It has been busy, and I’ve had to stay late every night since it began, but I continue not to feel unduly stressed or overwhelmed. ‘Course the General Assembly has been out of session this last week as it hammers out the budget; I fully expect the scary-busy-stress to ramp up next week.

I continue to stay off the java. I’m drinking tons of tea, but I’ve only had one mug of coffee since session began. The coffee monkey is still hovering about, waiting in the wings, but at least it’s not on my shoulder anymore.


Writing Stuff

– Note from mroctober listing the tentative ToC for Magic in the Mirrorstone, the anthology slated for a spring ’08 release from Mirrorstone Books. My story, “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy,” will be sharing a ToC with an amazing bunch of authors including Beth Bernobich (beth_bernobich), Holly Black (blackholly), Cassandra Clare (cassandraclare), Gregory Frost (frostokovich), Jim C. Hines (jimhines), Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lawrence M. Schoen (klingonguy), E. Sedia (squirrel_monkey), and Janni Lee Simner (janni). *Squee!*
– Email from oldcharliebrown letting me know that the Weird Tales editors are passing on a submission (RT: 80-days), but also that he read and liked the story. Alas, it’s too long for Fantasy Magazine, but I’m pleased regardless to have Sean’s thumbs up on it.
– 9-day pleasant pass from Murky Depths with an invite to submit again.

Legislative Session. Eek. And free advance screening tix to Pan’s Labyrinth

For all you Atlanta locals: fosteronfilm is giving away advance screening tickets to Pan’s Labyrinth for next Wednesday (the 17th). Check out his website for details.

And the session begineth. So far . . . on day three . . . it’s not that bad. It’s very hopping; I worked from noon ’til 6ish on Sunday and have stayed late every night this week (and expect to stay late every night until the session ends), but I haven’t felt overwhelmed or unduly stressed. Although I did make a blunder yesterday that required six bills to be re-done. The Georgia legislature has some spelling peculiarities, and I didn’t realize that we spell “statewide” with a hyphen: “state-wide.” And those six bills were all drafted using the same template I’d edited. Doh!

Won’t be forgetting that one anytime soon.

I got home last night just in time to get ready for bed, but it wasn’t that troubling. fosteronfilm was at an IMAGE salon, so he wasn’t home anyway. Although, poor Hobkin. He was a little anxious at the change in routine. I startled him when I came home–he’s not a brave beastie–and he bolted for the hutch. Unfortunately, he was in such a hurry, his aim was off. He bonked right into the hutch leg, missing the opening completely. Didn’t phase him, though. He bounced off and then scampered under it. Silly fuzzwit. I’m worried that one day he’ll concuss himself doing that.

Had some qualms about what the MARTA would be like late at night, both on the long waits front as well as the scariness one, but as it turns out, I haven’t had to wait longer than ten minutes for a nighttime train, and the stations are well lit and still pretty populated at the times I’ve been riding.


Writing Stuff

No writing accomplished. No surprise there.

– My January Writing for Young Readers column, “A Writer’s Resolution: I Will Submit.” (With thanks to n_decisive for the inspiration on the subject matter.)

– Personal pass plus invite to try again from Escape Pod on a reprint. Snartleblast.
– Contract from Aberrant Dreams for “Living With a Shoulder Monster.” Signed and sent back.
– Payment from Hub for “Wanting to Want.” And I’m delighted the American dollar is so weak against the pound right now. I got a very favorable exchange rate.

A good beginning to the week

I keep gushing about it, but I can’t help it. I absolutely lubs my job. The people here continue to rock my socks. Yesterday, one of the attorneys gave me a pile of Christmas prezzies. I came in to find a stack of wrapped packages and a card on my desk. I’m absolutely over-the-moon touched by the gesture.

My old day job had a select-a-gift setup where employees got a catalog wherein we could choose something for our holiday gift. While nice and appreciated, it was also sterile and sucked the charm and joy out of the gift tradition, replacing it with corporate efficiency.


Writing Stuff

The critiques are coming in for “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest etc.” And they’re mixed. While most critters enjoyed it, some folks found it confusing and would like more world explanation, one critter thought I was a tad too ham-fisted with my explaining parts, and then there were also the critters who totally got it: story, theme, and message. Urk. Rewrite pondering.

– The editor of OSC’s IGMS liked my rewrite and wants to publish “Beauty’s Folly.” Woot! It’s not slated for the January issue but the one after that, #5, due out in April/May of next year. But that’s all good ’cause he said he (probably) wants to use it as the cover story!
– Payment for my December Writing for Young Readers column, and also an unexpected surprise, a holiday bonus from the editor in the form of an Amazon gift certificate. *squee!*
– Also, an 89-day pass from the Holy Horrors anthology and a 123-day “we were holding this but . . . ” from Heliotrope.

– Couple editing passes on “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest etc.”

New job, yay!

So I started my new editor jobby at the shiny Capitol building on Wednesday. And I love it here! Not only do I get to see glenn5 every day, but this is just the coolest job EVAH.

Been timing the commute and getting it streamlined. Travel time takes me between 1hr 15min to 1hr 30min one way, which is the longest commute I’ve ever done–bumping my drive when I was in college from Bloomington to Champaign, IL down to second–but most of it is on the MARTA train, which makes all the difference. I can read, write, listen to music and podcasts, or sleep even. So far, the trek up and down the Capitol building steps has felt more arduous. (*pant* I’m so out of shape. *wheeze*)

glenn5 took me to lunch on my first day, and walking downtown reminded me of why we decided to move here in the first place when we were contemplating a relocate. I really love Atlanta, its energy and feel. Happy jobness.

However, my other hamsters have gotten a bit more unwieldy, as I’ve lost some productivity time due to transit et al. With Dragon*Con looming, I’m finding myself way stressed at how much I’ve got to do still for the Daily Dragon. And I’ve started getting emails from people clamoring about when we’re going to get the program schedule up. Meep.

And we seem to have a wasp’s nest nestled at our house’s foundation. I discovered it when I went out to retrieve the lawnmower after fosteronfilm got stung when he was mowing the lawn on Tuesday–at which point he hobbled in so I could give him an ice pack, Benadryl, and vasty gobs of sympathy and head petting. (I didn’t get stung. I’ve never been stung by a bee or wasp, largely, I suspect, because when I see them coming, I don’t freak or flail, but simply back away. ‘Course that means I have no idea whether I’m allergic or not.) Then, because he did not learn from his experience, he went back out yesterday to finish the lawn, and, yep, got stung again. So he’s banned from the yard until we get that taken care of. Can anyone recommend a good, inexpensive exterminator?


Writing Stuff

Haven’t gotten much in the way of new writing done, and for the first time ever, I’ve got stories languishing that I need to send out. Usually I rapid-fire them back into the marketplace when they get rejected, but I either haven’t had the time to do so, or I’m waiting for other subs to clear from markets before I can send them out. Glargh.

– 211-day very cordial, personal, and at times amusing rejection from the Until Somebody Loses an Eye anthology after making it to the final round of consideration. Snartleblast. A lot.
– 3-day “no GUD” from GUD.
– 27-day personal and congenial “sorry” from Pseudopod on a reprint with invite to submit again.
– Email from the MechMuse editor wanting to confirm how my name is pronounced so the voiceover person doing my intro bio thingum for “The Storyteller’s Wife” won’t get it wrong. He also said my story’s slated to be one of the first ones going up for their summer 2006 issue. Very excited. I love hearing my stories read aloud.

It’s official. I’m an Editor!

Squee! I got the job! I got the job! I’m going to be an Editor for the Office of the Legislative Counsel of the State of Georgia!

I’m gonna get paid to be a Grammar Nazi, with full health benefits and everything! And I’ll actually be doing something that I consider worthwhile, making legalese more accessible to lay people. Plus, I’ll be working with glenn5, who’s the wonderful-fabulous-awesome person who recommended me for the position in the first place!

Happy dancing in the streets!! I’ll be working in the beautiful Georgia State Capitol building. When I went in on Wednesday for the test/interview, I was ga-ga to wander around the place to soak in the ambiance. Rose marble! Sweeping staircases! Ancient, dark-wood furniture! Writerly inspiration galore!

I’m going to celebrate by buying a new pair of shoes.

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!

I like science and writing. Duh.

Attended the third of three mandatory unemployment workshops yesterday. The theme was “Occupational Choices” with a focus on identifying what sort of work and what sort of working environments you’re best suited for. They gave out a little test that asked you if you liked, disliked, or were ambivalent about 180 jobs/work activities, and based on your answers you got scored on six classifications: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. I scored high in “Investigative” (i.e. science and research) followed closely by “Artistic” (i.e. creative writing and editing), and then trailing a bit behind them, “Conventional” (i.e. programming and systems analysis). Well, duh. That was a complete waste of three hours.

On a much more worthwhile note, jim0052 is exploring the concept of found poetry–“the notion that poetry can often be found unconsciously lurking in people’s everyday prose”–which is pretty damn neat. Even spiffier, he made one of my recent LJ posts into a poem! Is that not the coolest?

Writing Stuff

Spent the evening laboriously reworking the obsession short story. Added the beginning scene, revamped the personality of the secondary character, and modified the ending, which brought back in the speculative element. Whew. Did pass after pass, and then, sick to death of it, I sent it out. Yep, I skipped the critique step and just lobbed it out the door. I suspect I will regret that in the not too distant future. At which point, I’ll toss it up to Critters. But the way I figured it, there’s still another week to go on this batch, and I’m hoping to have a folktale up for critique next, which means a good several weeks before I could get this story into the queue. May as well hurl it a someone during that time. Hmm, I might be getting a bit cavalier on the marketing front . . .

Next up, I can either finish the rewrite I’ve been poking at, or roll up my sleeves and get to work on the new folktale. Well, Muse, whatcha wanna do?

Club 100 For Writers