Writing Year in Review, Resolutions, and Happy 2011!

Happy New Year! Welcome 2011!

Had a wonderful Christmas with the in-laws. We managed to miss the worst of the weather driving up to Illinois. Plenty of snow up north, but the skies held off on dumping it down while we were actually on the road. Heard Atlanta had its first white Christmas on record. Just as glad to have missed that traffic chaos.

And celebrated my birthday with the hubby by seeing Tangled—sweet and funny, but I liked How to Train Your Dragon better.

Received a slew of fabulous prezzies, including quite a few accessories for my Droid: a 32GB microSD card+USB reader, a spare battery+charger, and a desktop dock. And the hubby also got me an iconnect wireless data station and a terabyte external drive. Finally I have space (I’ve been scrounging for space on my laptop, constantly getting those “running out of drive space” warnings, for the last…ever) and it’s all wireless. So very shiny. The hubby also got me a new laptop battery, so my poor lil VAIO can now survive without having to be tethered to an outlet. My ultraportable laptop is mobile again!

Yeah, it was a chock-filled-with-tech sort of Christmas. We are geek.

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‘Course I didn’t get any writing done over the holidays. I’ve got one short story deadline rushing up headlong and hoping to get Demon Queller revised and in shape before Georgia’s 2011 legislative session starts. Urk.

Feels like I’m perpetually racing to catch up and running in slow motion…oh, wait, it’s ’cause I am. You’d think I’d be used to it by now and would quit marveling and just put my head down and do it. And yet…

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Back in Atlanta, Spanish Sale of “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest”

Back in Atlanta after visiting the in-laws in Illinois. There’s a dead zone smack dab in the middle of Kentucky where I can get cell reception but no GPS or data connectivity, either 3G or 1X, on my Droid. Weird. I thought data and GPS rode on the cell signal, so I was rather baffled to find that I had full cell service but nothing else. My Droid found it confusing too and rebooted itself a couple times until I told it to quit already.

Didn’t get nearly as much done over the holiday as I’d hoped, of course, but in what might be a first, I did manage to get some writing done. Being able to take out my phone—and not have to boot my laptop—to write a paragraph here or there, really ups the convenience factor. Droid win.

Managed 1Kish new words on the editing pass/massive rewrite of “Rampion.” I’d say I’m in the final stretch, but I sort of feel I’ve been there for so long that I’ve lost touch with the meaning of that term.

And sold Spanish language reprint of “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” to Cuásar, slated for their special edition issue #50. Spanish is another new language that my work will appear in—making it the fourth for this story and my seventh overall. Coolio.

Dragons: And the Stars Anthology and How to Train

Thanks for all the anniversary congrats! fosteronfilm and I saw How to Train Your Dragon, which I giggled and squeed at and generally greatly enjoyed, and tried out a new (for us) Thai restaurant, Rama 5, which has a very nice red curry. I also tried, again, to teach Matthew how to use chopsticks, but I think we may be filing that endeavor into the same oubliette of fail as “teaching Matthew how to drive a stick shift.”

Also received my contrib. copy of The Dragon and the Stars, due out next week (May 4). It is “the first anthology of science fiction and fantasy written by ethnic Chinese living outside of China who make their homes in places as varied as Canada, the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. 18 original stories meld the rich cultural heritage of China with the new traditions of the authors’ homes.” Shiny goodness. For more information, check out the anthology’s Facebook page.

F is for Father, Phone, and Flum

Been pretty hammered at work this week; the legislative session is in full swing. But I was holding up a-ok—recuperating from Hobkin’s recent medical crisis and dealing with our pinched finances and all (to make the hefty vet bill even heftier, the powers that be have mandated three more furlough days for us, sigh)—until yesterday, when Matthew got a phone call from a friend of my stepmother’s.

“Stepmother?” I sez to him. “I don’t have a stepmother.” And then I dredged up a distant memory and recalled that, oh yeah, my dad remarried when I was in high school.

To ‘splain that: this information was not at the forefront of my mind because I have not seen or spoken to my father in twenty years. My last communication from him was something like eight years ago when he sent me an incoherent letter complaining that my mom was having the government dock his social security benefits for back child support and wanting me to do something about it.

Now, this is the man who took off when I was three and on our occasional father-daughter visits during my childhood did his very best to assure me that I simply wasn’t good enough at…anything and that my sole purpose in existing was to take care of him when he got old, while also asserting that the Chinese were the superior people and every other race was patently inferior. On the infrequent occasions that he’s tried to contact me since I became an adult, his communications have all been clumsy attempts to manipulate me into doing something for him, usually involving money.

Lessee, psychologically abusive bigot tries to use the fact that we share some DNA to manipulate me. Again. So, yeah, I ignored the letter and hadn’t heard from him since. But this whole being phoned out of the blue by a friend of my stepmother’s, and then subsequently by her, is all new. My first thought was: “Is my father dead? Dying? Really sick?”

But no. Seems not. Probably. More ‘splainy: there is a massive language barrier in play as neither my stepmother’s friend nor my stepmother speak English natively, and Matthew is, erm, not good with accents. And since I haven’t decided whether I want to speak to any of these people yet, all information is, by necessity, filtered through his limited understanding of their fractured English. But, according to him, Stepmother says that she called because she wanted me to get in contact with Dad because it’s Chinese New Year.


And with regard to the friend-of-stepmother thing, seems that friend works in some governmental place and so Stepmother asked him to track me down.

And again I say, WTF?

1. My father has my address. I know this, because he mailed a letter to me here.
2. I am plastered across the Internet. I’m a writer. I have a website. Google my name, there’s my website. Granted, when I married I changed my name, but I sent my dad an announcement when I got married, and also, if you Google my maiden name, it comes up with my address. And if you Google my address, it comes up with, tah dah, my website. I understand that folks of my parents’ generation may not be as Internet savvy as subsequent generations, but I’m really not hard to find.*
3. Why is Stepmother (and friend) trying to contact me instead of Dad?

So I am flummoxed. A lot. To the point that I couldn’t sleep last night. And I couldn’t figure out why this was bugging me so much until after much insomnia-induced rumination. I think I’m freaked out because for a moment, I seriously thought my dad was either dead or dying. And hell, he still might be—language barrier and all. And I honestly don’t know how I feel about the prospect, and it’s something I will eventually have to deal with. If I end up feeling upset, why will it distress me? If I don’t feel anything, will that bother me? Should I feel anything? Do I want to feel anything? Gah!

Thanks, Dad. What I really need right now is more stress because, y’know, I haven’t had enough of it lately.

* I thought about friends locking this post, but since the relatives in question couldn’t figure out how to email me via my website, I think it’s unlikely that they’ll discover my blog.

Creative Cleaning Strategies

My mom and step-dad are visiting us from China this weekend. A mad flurry of cleaning has ensued. I thought it wasn’t possible, but we do indeed have too many books. I’ve started stowing them under the couch and randomly shoving them into drawers.

We need to look into acquiring more shelving and bookcases. Desperately.

Parental visit on the horizon

My folks are coming to visit this week from China. They’re doing a coast-to-coast swing-by of the U.S., visiting my stepdad’s sons in California, spending several days in Pittsburg at the 2007 IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts–wherein my stepdad is being presented the “Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award”–and then spending a few days in Atlanta before heading to the Midwest and the East Coast.

The “Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award” is awarded to the “living scientist or engineer who has made significant contributions to the theory or practice of electrical contacts.” In addition to receiving the award, my stepdad’s presenting a paper on the effect of particle contamination on electrical contact failure. It’s a great honor and an impressive accomplishment, and I’m extremely proud of him.

I also find myself wondering, though, why is it I always get along better with or find it easier to establish a rapport with my male relatives? I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen my stepdad, and I feel like I’ve got more in common with him than I ever had with my mom, the woman I grew up with.

Meh. My familial relationships and my associated emotions thereof have always been, are, and will always be a messy, confounding mystery. I accept that.


Writing Stuff

– 124-day SALE to Interzone of my story “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast.” Woohoo!! Much happy dancing, ye verily. Not only have I been jonsing for a juicy sale, but I’ve also been longing to break into IZ for, like, ever.

This is a science-fantasy tale, my first foray into writing a dystopia piece, which I’d been wanting to do for a while.
– Contract from Shiny for “Close to Death.”
– Contract from Hub for “The Music Company.”

And catching up on R’s received during the chaotic period of Dragon*Con prep and recovery:
– 57-day form nope from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (a long shot, but it was for a cross-genre piece that I’m having a hard time figuring out where it fits: horror, dark fantasy, or crime).
– 39-day cordial pass from Ann VanderMeer of Weird Tales with invite to submit again.
– 133-day YFoP from Realms of Fantasy.

New Words/Editing:
– A slew of editing passes–lost count of how many–and a smattering of wordage on “Requiem Duet” over the weekend. Jabbed it tentatively with my fork and fired it off to mroctober.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it. I hit the point of going over that story so much that I couldn’t evaluate it anymore–y’know how if you stare at a word for too long, it just doesn’t look right, even if it is. Like that, but with the whole manuscript. Normally, if I hit that point in a story’s development, I step away from it for a week or so to get some perspective back, but I’ve been rather pokey on this one, and I didn’t want to hold things up any longer.

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

– My August Writing for Young Readers column, “Writing for Tweens.”

– 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.