Monday, March 31, 2008

In which our heroine encounters a stormcrow

A guy stopped me in the grocery store today just as I picked up one of those Chef Boyardee pizza kits. I only picked it up to look at the calorie count, which I knew would make me put it back. Before I could remember that my oven also burns everything it touches, I was distracted by learning that I'd gone to high school with the guy.

First he asked if he remembered me from somewhere, so I went through the litany of relationships in a tiny town (starting with "I'm Elizabeth Jones's granddaughter"). Then we established I was a high school chum of sorts, whereupon he said, "You look good. Are you married?" From there he proceeded to tell me about every single person from our high school, teachers and students alike, who had died in the last two decades. Every one. In a curiously affectless manner, let me add. With details such as "she was eating lunch and she dropped dead." I didn't know anyone he mentioned, although I did keep saying, "He sounds familiar, but I don't think I knew him." Then he asked me where I go to church. *shudder* I told him I live two doors down from our old elementary school librarian, which I thought might lighten the mood. He didn't react, but it apparently jogged his memory because he came up with another name--someone I knew!--who is alive but "drinking himself to death."

I only extricated myself from this odd conversation by saying, "I gotta go, my dog's waiting for me" and loping away. Otherwise I feel certain I would still be standing there in the dry goods aisle, listening to the recital of death and self-destruction, because my earlier, subtler attempts to end the conversation didn't work. Apparently in addition to everyone from my high school dying and drinking, at least one of us has skidded down the slope to "overmedicated."

I bought the pizza kit. The next to last thing I wanted to do tonight was make pizza from a box. The last thing I wanted to do tonight was contemplate mortality.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I won't change for you, editor

I got a story back (FINALLY) this morning, and I did a little tinkering with it and it's ready to send out again. It's a strange little quirky thing, not quite fantasy, not quite SF, and too long for the flash fiction markets. And because I have so many freaking stories out right now, the list of markets I can sub this one to is even narrower. So I've been looking at small online zines I've never really considered before.

And here's the deal. I, the author, will rewrite to suit no matter how freaking STUPID I think your suggestion is. I am not proud. I will go so far as to change the entire meaning of the story if you think it's necessary. And I will adapt my formatting to suit your weird-ass submission requirements--UNLESS you want me to put my paragraphs into block form, without indentions and with two hard returns between paragraphs. This, I will not do. There is some shit I will not eat.

Dare I say, it's only the clueless noobs that ask for that format. I saw one market that claimed it was standard formatting for online submissions, which is news to me. Look, I know it's not all that hard to do in Word, if you know what you're doing, but my laptop is Linux-based and Open Office (at least my version of it) will not let me search and replace by formatting. I am not going to manually go through and delete tab indents and put in hard returns just because you, editor, are too farking lazy (or incompetent) to reformat the four stories you epub a year. Not for five bucks or half a cent a word.

No, this is not directed at any one market. It's directed to all of you and you know who you are.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Acute lack of sleep

I was already running a sleep deficit when I went to bed last night, but I figured I could sleep late this morning. HA HA HA. I forgot I had plans to go shopping and then to a movie with my mom, and that we wanted to leave no later than 9:30. So staying up until 1am to finish writing that scene was a mistake.

I am zombie lady. I am zonked. I am other words beginning with Z. My dog got me up this morning at 7:45 after also getting me up two or three times during the night to go out (he has kidney disease and can't help that, though). I'm a morning person, so if you get me up when it's light out--say, you are a big dog who can't wait any longer for breakfast--I'm up. I can't get back to sleep.

So I'm zombified. Even watching the movie "21," which was moderately entertaining and fairly suspenseful, didn't wake me up. And eating too much bland, overpriced Chinese food from the (crappy) Stir Fry Cafe this evening made things worse. I had planned to do some writing this evening, but no. I think I had better go to bed early, by which I mean, you know, now.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I has it.

Two rejections today, one of them from the editor who was holding my story for an undetermined length of time. That story is not my favorite and it's very old, so I think it's time to retire it anyway. The other rejection was the next-to-last print submission I sent before I moved, so I was relieved that I even received it.

So apparently, if I complain enough in my blog about not getting responses, I get rejections. I wonder what would happen if I don't complain at all? Hmm. I suspect magical thinking.

Oh, and I got my contract today from Big Pulp. My story "Trompe L'Oeil" will appear on June 2, 2008. I like the stories I've read over there so far very much. "Trompe L'Oeil," of course, originally appeared in Staffs & Starships #1, so a big shout-out to them too.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

P&E charity anthology

I'm, you know, terminally behind the times, so I just now found out about the lawsuit that "publisher" PublishAmerica has started against Preditors & Editors. It's a laughable lawsuit, and P&E will absolutely win, but it's going to be an expensive fight. To that end, some folks are putting together a charity anthology to raise money for the cause. You can read the thread on the Absolute Write forums for more information. They're accepting subs until April 5.

I'm going to have to write something new for them, because all my stories are currently tied up with other editors at the moment. *grumbles* Seriously tied up--I have three emails from editors telling me they're holding my respective stories for further consideration: one should respond by May, another by June, and the third isn't sayin but she emailed me two months ago. And those are just the editors who've bothered to respond rather than just sitting on my submissions for months and months and months and months and months--

Oh, wait. I promised myself I wouldn't complain about this any more.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

There's an interesting interview with Nancy Fulda, the creator of, up on Bloggasm. I hope I do not need to remind you, dear reader, that I have stories available at AnthologyBuilder myself. I do really like the service. Not only do I have those stories available, but I've bought one anthology already and have discovered lots of great stories I wouldn't otherwise have read.

J.M. McDermott sent me an awesome prize for being the first to review his book Last Dragon on Amazon. I am now the proud owner of a Last Dragon button. I got all excited in the post office when I realized it had arrived. I'm such a fangirl. Anyway, I meant to review Last Dragon in the blog and forgot, so you'll have to make do with my Amazon review. I'm terrible at Amazon reviews, but I mean well. You definitely should buy the book and read it!

In other news, I totally smushed one of my cats in the door by accident this evening. I didn't even realize she was there when I closed the door, and it went thump on the cat instead of closing. So I had to coax her out from under a chair, where she had retreated with a shocked and betrayed expression on her face, and cuddle her and make sure nothing was broken. She's okay, but I feel terrible, especially since just last week I was walking into a room just as she was running out, and she ran into my foot and did the retreat-under-a-chair-looking-shocked-and-betrayed thing. Apparently she thought I'd kicked her on purpose. Angel, I swear it was an accident! You can sleep on the feather pillow tonight, and I won't complain if you decide to lie down on my arm while I'm typing!

Incidentally, if this post has no paragraphs, it's not my fault! It looks fine in preview!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Almost perfect isn't enough

I have absolutely nothing to blog about. I think this is because I have hardly written a word since last week. Blah blah blah, no excuse. I need to write.

I had a job interview this morning for an almost-perfect job. It's five minutes from my house, a very worthy nonprofit organization on a beautiful piece of land, friendly and intelligent people, would use both my degrees and much of my background and skills, and I would be working outside at least part of the time. Unfortunately, it's only a part-time job and it doesn't pay well. One or the other I could scrape by with--either FT and low pay or PT and high pay. But I can't afford to take a job that would pay me under $200 a week before taxes. If they offer me the job, I'll have to turn them down.

This has made me feel low. Even coming up with a rather clever idea for a story didn't cheer me up, particularly since I have a billion ideas--it's getting them on paper that's a chore at the moment.

I need a story acceptance to make me feel better. *hits refresh on email 10,000 times*

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Word count blues

I haven't mentioned this one in a while, so plug time! Strange Worlds of Lunacy: The Galaxy's Silliest Anthology is available for pre-order. I've got a story in the TOC, so of course I heartily recommend it!

I finished the story revisions I've been working on--although I do need to go over them again, as I'm sure there are rough spots and I bet I can cut some too. At the moment, though, it's 13,300 words. So not good. But at least it's done.

And my horror story is getting flabby. It's almost 3,000 words long, and I estimate I have another 2,000 words of plot to get down. But I do think I can trim a good thousand words off that one--I did a lot of revving up at the beginning, and all that can be cut. In general, I find I can almost always cut some from the beginning of a story. It's not always 100% clear where a story begins until I actually write it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

This story is completely out of control

I got up this morning and dressed for work and drove all the way into Knoxville and got out of my car and went up to the office doors--and they were locked, because the office was closed today. No one tells the temp anything. So I went to Starbucks and bought an overpriced hot chocolate, and wrote for about an hour before going home.

I'm working on the story that reached the semi-finals of the Writers of the Future contest this past fall. When I entered the contest, it was 10,100 words. After my excellent critique from K.D. Wentworth, I revised and added another 600 words. Then I sent it off, and I'm waiting to hear back--but this week I realized the story badly needs a chase scene in the middle. (Apparently the bulk of my revision thinking is done subconsciously, and I'm not being facetious.) Ordinarily I'd wait until the story came back to do another revision, but without that chase scene no one's going to buy it, so I've been working on that the last few days. Problem is, the story is now 13,000 words and I'm not even done.

13,000 words isn't technically even a short story anymore. It's more of a novelette, approaching novella range. And the longer it gets, the shorter the list of markets that will even look at it. And yet I absolutely do not see a way to cut even 1,000 words out of this behemoth. It needs all that room to develop, and there's stuff going on, and of course there's a chase scene now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I have nothing else to blog about, and really I should be working on finishing the story revisions I started on my lunch break, but I will now talk about names. A lot.

I love naming characters, but have to pick names in advance of the writing or I'll jam to a halt and stare at the screen while I try and come up with the right name. I use Laura Wattenberg's The Baby Name Wizard and Leslie Dunkling's Guinness Book of Names religiously--both sit by the computer, balanced on top of the dictionary and thesaurus, DWJones's The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and my small collection of books about handspinning. They don't fit on the regular bookshelves, that's why.

If I don't pick out names in advance, I'll sometimes put a placeholder symbol (usually an underscore, thus: _) and sometimes I'll just pick a name at random. Either can be easily search-and-replaced. It's dangerous to use a random name, though, because it tends to stick. That's why the story I'm revising now has a main character named Ellen. I hate the name Ellen. But there's no point in changing it now.

There's a delicate art to balancing the roster of character names in a particular work. Names that don't look alike can sound alike--Amy and Emma, for instance. Names that don't seem similar are, really, such as the two I've got in the horror story I'm chipping my way through: Brian is the main character and his friend is Chris. I'm going to have to change Chris's name, because it's too similar in feel to Brian. He'll probably become Kit instead. I had a Kit in the story I'm revising, but I realized yesterday that I use "kit" as a noun in the story too, so I've changed the name Kit to Kip.

The more names in a story, the more careful the writer has to be. In The Weredeer, for instance, I changed one character's name two or three times before I found one that didn't echo another character's name. Initially he was Dell, I believe, but three other characters had L sounds in their names; I changed him to Davis, but that looked similar to Clark, another character. I finally settled on Dascoli, which gave him a very different flavor anyway.

I kept the initial D for a reason. A reader who doesn't remember names very well may remember supporting characters by their initials. I try not to repeat initial letters or sounds for that reason. In White Rose, where I have tons of characters, I use the initials R, B, T, A, F, and M for Rose and her companions in the first section of the book (with the addition of an L and H for two minor characters from the first two chapters only). Later, when she meets up with another group, I use these additional letters: Th, K, S, G, B, D, E, N, and another M. The two M names are Makena and Maxwell, not likely to be confused, I hope.

I can talk about this all day, and almost have. I haven't even mentioned name lengths! Or how to hint at different cultures by using certain naming patterns! Or the importance of giving main characters easily-remembered names even if every other character ends up with a name like Fassilitillini im Comfalla Blint. That's an actual name in a book I don't think I'll ever finish, set 60 million years in the future; instead of humans there are two species of intelligent warm-blooded reptiles, so none of the names are familiar--except for the main character, of course, whose name is Drake.

But it's late, and I have things to do before bed. So I'll now smack my hands away from the keyboard and post this mess without rereading it. Sorry!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kat Jaz, Reptiles of the Mind, and Babelfish

I don't know why, but this afternoon I got to thinking about my old zine, "Reptiles of the Mind," which I published monthly for four years because I was crazy and had too much free time back then. What can I say, it was the pre-internet 1990s. I used the pseudonym Kat Jaz--Jazz spelled with only one Z because my fridge magnet letters only came with one Z. Seriously, that was the whole reason why.

So I decided I'd Google "Kat Jaz." And while some zine stuff did come up, most of it was really old, naturally. I did find Zine Wiki, but unfortunately got the message that it's been hacked. If you can help, trot on over there and help.

Mostly what came up, though, was in a foreign language, where jaz seems to be a word often coupled with kat. So I went to Babelfish and typed Kat Jaz in, then realized I didn't know what language I was looking at. But I did learn that if you say "kat jaz" in Portuguese, you're saying "Kat Lies." Which is really similar to "Katy Lied," an excellent album and song by Steely Dan. And I really like that album (and song). It's all connected, man.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Full circle

My day started very pleasantly with an acceptance from Every Day Fiction. Then I went to my new temp job, which was weird because it's also my old temp job, from way back before I moved up to Pennsylvania, almost exactly two years ago now.

In fact, I am sitting in the exact same cubicle that I was sitting in, doing the exact same thing I was doing then, when I conceived the character Kristof who has appeared in "The King's Messenger" in Renard's Menagerie #5 (YES! I managed another plug!) and who is the main character in The Weredeer. This job is even the reason Kristof has that name--every time I typed the name Christopher into the data entry program at work, it ended up shortened to Christoph, which I found appealing.

So all day I've had the unsettled feeling that I would hear back one way or another about The Weredeer. Mundania Press has had it since they opened for subs on December 1 and I'm expecting to hear back from them pretty soon anyway. Today would be a poetic day to get a rejection (or acceptance, please please please), but Life Isn't Like Books. Still, there's five hours left in today.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Structure, ho!

My unexpected but on the whole pleasant vacation is at an end, as I'm starting another temp job tomorrow. I'm glad, because I need money coming in, but I do love having lots and lots and lots of free time.

But while I was off this past week, I didn't actually get much writing done. I revised Jack of All Trades and I wrote about 1,000 words on the poor neglected White Rose, and I wrote some more of that horror story that's not actually going very well--but that's it, and I had 10 days with almost nothing to do.

I am, on the other hand, more than one-third of the way through Exile I. Best. game. ever. I've only played it (and Exile II and III) about a jillion times, and I have a whole notebook full of maps and notes. Priorities!

Anyway, now that my writing time is about to be curtailed, I expect my writing output will increase. When I have free time, I waste it; when I don't have much free time, I use it to write. Writing needs structure, I guess, so even when I am (hopefully) one day able to quit my day job to write full time, I probably won't. Maybe.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I thought it was supposed to be all warm today. It's only like 55 degrees, windy and sunny, and since things are getting green and leafy out, and flowers are blooming, it looks like it should be a nice warm day. And I am farking freezing.

I don't have a bathtub in this house, which is about the size of a shed. I washed the dishes earlier to warm up my hands, but I've been playing Exile and I have mousehand now. I think I'll take a hot shower, put on my pajamas, and go to bed to write on my laptop. Bunny the laptop runs a little warm, which keeps my hands warm too. Good ole Bunny.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Finished revisions! and movie week

I finally finished the massive revisions to Jack of All Trades that I've been working on most of the week. I got it up to 60,000 words, too--still not long enough to send to most of the big publishers that take unsolicited submissions, but at least it's kinda sorta novel length now and not just a novella. I'm going to send it to Tor first, because why not? Aim high. They reject fast, at least, so I don't have to wait a year to hear from them.

Since I've been off work this week, I saw three movies at the theater, two DVDs with my mom, and watched a few more movies at home on DVD. I like movies. In the theater I saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day--which was sweet and fun, the Spiderwick Chronicles--which pretty much sucked, and Horton Hears a Who--which was gorgeously animated and surprisingly entertaining. On DVD I saw Meet the Robinsons, which I own but which Mom had never seen before (she liked it), and Michael Clayton, which Mom had seen but I hadn't (I liked it).

My mom sees practically every movie released except for most animation; I see most animation and drag her along to the really good stuff. I've almost convinced her that she HAS TO SEE KUNG FU PANDA! It comes out this June. I can't wait!

Donate for Terry Pratchett

Boing Boing contains all that is good and true in the internets, or at least much that is interesting. This morning I found a link to the Zombie Apocalypse blog (why does everyone else have such cool blog titles and mine sucks? Hmm, I think that's my fault), which is encouraging everyone to donate to Alzheimer's research in order to match a donation Pratchett made himself.

Go here to donate. I just did--just 1 pound (why does my keyboard not have the pound sign?)--which is about $2. Even I can afford that, and I'm out of a job right now.

I'm wondering when the funny fantasy anthologies are going to start coming out in honor of Pratchett, with proceeds going to Alzheimer's research. I want to buy them.

Friday, March 14, 2008

the cake is a lie

Seeing as how tomorrow is L. Ron Hubbard's birthday (observed), and there was talk last month of Anonymous protesting the Church of Scientology again, I went out onto the big wide web to see what's going on.

BoingBoing has an interesting post about a possible CoS lash-out against Anonymous, although from the comments it's equally possible that Anonymous posted it themselves to whip up interest in tomorrow's protests. Clever, if so. One commenter pointed out that Wikipedia entry of the day is that South Park episode that rags on Scientology. Fun is being had.

And here's the Wikipedia page for the whole Anonymous vs. Scientology dance.

I love the internets. Except I'm not getting any freaking writing done.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hmm, another novella?

Remember, months and months and months ago, when I was all excited about the mystery/urban fantasy I was planning? And nothing ever came of it? I've been thinking about it on and off, and today I realized it was perfect for Samhain's humorous paranormal romance "Tickle My Fancy" novella anthology.

How's that for a specific market?

Of course, I have to drop the mystery part--which is fine, since while I like reading mysteries, I'm not really convinced I can write them. And I have to punch the romance elements way up--which is also fine, because I'm already drooling over the love interest. And I have to give it sort of a plot beyond just the typical girl meets boy thing. But I think it'll be fun to write, and hopefully fun to read, and best of all, it only has to be 18-20,000 words.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Leave my eee alone

As you may know, I have an Asus eee PC, an adorable and remarkably tiny laptop that I got last November when they first came out. I love it, and since it only weighs two pounds I drag it around with me everywhere. This sometimes causes problems.

My temp job ended last Friday, so I'm semi-unemployed at the moment until I pick up another job. I took advantage of the time off today to go to Panera (which I hate, but it's close) to write. I was typing away, finally getting some words down, when everyone in the WHOLE FREAKING PLACE decided to come comment on my laptop and ask the usual questions. I finally gave up and left.

I feel like I should get some cards printed up to give out, something like: "It's an Asus eee PC. It's a real computer. It runs Linux, has excellent wifi capability, has no moving parts, and only weighs about two pounds. I highly recommend it. I bought mine from but you can probably get yours at Best Buy. They come in pastel colors now as well as black or white. Mine cost $400 but they have cheaper and more expensive models available now. If you have any other questions, please visit the official website at I am trying to work." I don't think it'd help, but if Asus wants to give me a commission I'll damn well try it.

Anyway, I came home and decided to finish the revisions to Jack of All Trades. That means I need to introduce a new character, who needs his own chapter. Then I need to partially rewrite the next-to-last chapter and do some other minor adjustments. Then I think this puppy will be done, and hopefully I'll have nudged it up to a novel wordcount too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

14 stories and waiting, waiting

Time for another bout of complaining that editors take too freaking long to get back to me. I've now got 14 different stories out to 14 different markets (technically, 15--one of those is simsubbed, ahem). That's a first for me, since until recently I had never even written that many stories, much less had them all out at once.

Anyway, some of them have been waiting since last fall and I'm getting fed up. *drums fingers* Come on, guys, figure it out! I want email!

The only solution is to write more stories, and more stories, and more stories, until I have so many out that I have to get rejections all the time. And since I get grouchy when I get a rejection, I'll be grouchy all the time too. Which means I'll sort of be in the same mood as I am now, actually.

Monday, March 10, 2008

son of I heart books

I went to the local used book store today to try and find a copy of Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey--because I've only read it 1,000,000 times and I'd like to reread it--but they didn't have one. I found a copy of Another Fine Myth instead, by Robert Aspirin. I was all into the Myth books when I was in high school but haven't thought about them in years. Same with McCaffrey's Pern books, for that matter. (And I got to where I couldn't stand McCaffrey, although I will still read that one particular trilogy.)

I also got my nephew a nice hardback copy of one of the newer Redwall books. He's about to turn eleven and is reading those things like eating. Last year it was the Hank the Cowdog books. I tried to read Redwall last year and couldn't gag my way through all the adjectives and adverbs, but at least he's reading.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I heart books

It didn't snow today after all--well, it snowed, but the snow just melted into the drought-stricken soil, I guess--so I drove into Knoxville for the big library book sale. I thought it started at eight, but either I wrote the time down wrong or they delayed it an hour due to the weather, because it actually opened at nine. So I wasn't late despite sleeping till 7:30!

I only bought one bag of books, which cost me $3, but I got a lot in that one bag. In addition to a Ruth Rendell hardback I got for Mom, and three paperbacks I picked up on the way out to turn in for trade credit at the local used book store, I got:

paperbacks of McCaffrey's Dragonsong and Dragonsinger (I looked for Dragondrums but couldn't find it)
two Agatha Christie paperbacks (Hickory Dickory Dock and The Mirror Crack'd)
one Sayers paperback I didn't already have (Have His Carcase)
a wonderful book about teaching poetry to children, called Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? by Kenneth Koch--trade paperback
trade paperbacks of Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There and The Mother Tongue (the latter of which I swear I already have a copy of, but I can't find it so maybe not)
a library edition of City of Bones by Martha Wells--I keep saying I don't like that book, but I keep wanting to reread it, so I guess I do actually like it
some horse books--Jessie Haas's Keeping Barney and Margaret Pitcairn Strachan's Mystery of Blue Barn Stables, both library hardbacks
hardback of Barbara Paul's The Apostrophe Thief
hardback of Daniel Pinkwater's The Education of Robert Nifkin
hardback of Harry and the Sea Serpent by Gahan Wilson, The Haunting by Margaret Mahy, and The Twilight of Magic by Hugh Lofting, all because they looked interesting
hardback of Dorp Dead by Julia Cunningham because I remembered my brother reading it in junior high and I never read it myself, although I meant to
trade paperback of Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian, just in case I like it
paperback I think I've read before, Sarah the Dragon Lady by Martha Bennett Stiles

Yeah. I got all those into one single plastic grocery bag. I am good.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thunder! Lightning!

We're supposed to get snow overnight--one to two inches, which in the Tennessee valley in March is a lot of snow. But right now, I keep seeing lightning and hearing thunder! So maybe we'll just get a good thunderstorm and some rain instead of snow, which is fine by me. Tomorrow morning is the last day of the Knoxville Public Library's book sale, which I was planning to attend (except for last year, when I was living in Pennsylvania, I haven't missed the sale in over a decade).

I think I'll go to bed and watch "Forensic Files" and listen to the thunder, and hopefully I'll get started writing the story I worked out last night. The story is one I hope will work for the Harvest Hill anthology. I have to get into that anthology, or die trying, because its theme is scary Halloween events in the fictitious town of Harvest Hill in East Tennessee. Where I LIVE.

Problem is, I don't ordinarily write horror. I think my story idea is a good one--I know I scared myself silly with it last night, which has made me grouchy and low all day, because between working the plot out and staring fearfully into the dark, I didn't get much sleep last night. Now I just need to write the damn thing.

Oh, wow, RAIN! Lots of it! Hmm, sounds like it might even be hail. I'll go check.

It's either little hail or big sleet. Either way, the wind is blowing ferociously and the rain is beating down and there's thunder and lightning, and I'm back to thinking about my scary story. I'm going to bed. To hide.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Trivia for the day: The word snarky is not a modern term! I know because I found it in an E. Nesbit book I reread last month, but I can't remember which one. It was either The Railway Children or The Enchanted Castle, though, and those books were published about a hundred years ago now.

Don't say I never taught you nothin.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

RIP Gary Gygax

The creator of Dungeons & Dragons died yesterday. I couldn't believe it. Surely he was about 35, and always had been and always would be, right? He couldn't have died.

I learned to play D&D way back in the mists of time, so far back that I actually don't remember when I learned. I know I was already familiar with the game when I joined the D&D club at Robertsville Junior High. That's where I first felt comfortable in my teen years, among people who were smart like me and a little reclusive like me and who all read the same books as me. I had a crush on a boy named Chris and was good friends with a girl named Paige, although I don't remember the other members. I learned that there were D&D-like games that weren't D&D, like the post-apocalyptic one Chris liked. I can't remember what it was called, but he invited me into his particular gaming group to play it and let me have one of his old characters, a mutated lion. I carried that folded-up character sheet in my jeans pocket until it literally fell apart.

I still have my dice bag. Every single person I know who's ever played D&D, even if they haven't played for decades, still has some of the dice. I bet Gary Gygax had an awesome dice collection. I hope they bury it with him, like treasure.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Forgive me, editor, for I have sinned

I just simsubbed a story. For no reason other than I found a market that seems like a much better fit. And I didn't tell the editor it's a simsub, either.

I should be beaten with a copy of Web-10 and thrown to a roomful of rabid slushreaders.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Read Me at Byzarium!

I just went to the Byzarium site to see if the new issue was up, and it is, and I'm in it! I had no idea my story would be in this issue, but I'm thrilled to see it there! So you can hop on over there to read my SF story "Silent Skies."

I updated my website and streamlined it just a bit. Now the stories that are available online are at the top so anyone who's interested in sampling my stuff can find it right away. The site still needs a lot of work (by, you know, someone who knows what they're doing), but at least all the links are current.

I got no writing done at all over lunch, on White Rose or anything else. But I made a lot of phone calls and read over the story I finished last night. I think it's about ready to go. I probably need to tweak it just a little more, I dunno.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

No love for White Rose

I just realized I haven't even opened my White Rose document since Feb. 25. I was working on the revision to Jack of All Trades, then got sidetracked with the story I've been working on all weekend--and I've been sidetracked off that story by revising another story that I just got a reject on.

That revision is done and the story sent off again, and now I'm going to damn well dig in and finish the other story. Tomorrow I'm going back to White Rose. Jack of All Trades can wait a little longer.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kate ventures out into the big wide world

For the first time since I moved back to Tennessee, I had a social engagement today. I went to my old handspinning guild, the Tennessee Valley Handspinners, with my spinning wheel (a mahogany-finished Kromski Symphony, which I lerrrv). I had missed the group so much, but I was worried they'd all forgotten me. Not so!

I paid my $10 yearly dues and bought 4 oz of handdyed (turquoise) wool roving from Barb for $6, which pretty much wiped me out for the day. While I spun up about half the roving, I talked to my old friends Lori and Charlotte and Nancy and Sue and to new members I hadn't yet met.

I remember at one point I was concentrating on my spinning and listening to the talk around the room. To my right Nancy and Patty were discussing Nancy's recent knitting cruise--and neither of them found it odd that when talking about the cruise, there was no mention of swimming or scenery or luxurious spa-type stuff or food; instead, Nancy was telling Patty about a fiendishly difficult skirt pattern they all tried to master while on ship. And to my left, Lori and Carmen were talking about learning to play the harp (handspinners are a clever and talented lot). I heard Barb talking about her sheep nearby, and someone else talking about the Samoyed puppy she was getting. Everywhere I looked, people were busy with their hands: knitting, crocheting, spinning on drop spindles, and of course spinning on wheels, which turned deceptively slowly as the spinners treadled, but if you looked at the bobbins they were flying along. And I thought, damn, why did I ever leave this?

I'm glad to be home in East Tennessee. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.