Friday, September 30, 2011

I don't need a reward. Really.

Something's messed up when as a reward for finishing my Weredeer edits, I am allowing myself an evening to do revisions on Misfits. Of course, I had so much to do before I even turned on my computer this evening that I won't actually have time to open the Misfits file.

I have to address the Blood and Ashes edits this week, and this weekend I promised someone I'd read and critique their YA novel. So really, I shouldn't be slacking off with any darn revisions anyway. Yeah.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

There. Was that so hard?

I am amused to see on Duotrope that as of today, Apex started sending out responses to writers who've been waiting even longer than I have. I like to think that Cat Valente (is she still editor for Apex?) happened upon my yesterday's post, was consumed with guilt for leaving poor me hanging so long--or perhaps was filled with fury that I called her out publicly--and went into her files to reject me. Ha! You still didn't get mine! Mine's the one with vampires in it, which is why I knew full well going in that it would be rejected, and now a year later I'm still waaaaiting.

But I kid Ms. Valente.

I am happy to report that I have FINISHED THE DAMN WEREDEER EDITS. I sent the file off to my editor, who is way more patient with me than I am with, oh, you know, magazine editors who don't respond as soon as I think they should. I hereby swear most solemnly that I will never again be late with edits.

I guess I should get to work on those edits for Blood and Ashes, huh?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tap tap tap

I haven't written many short stories in the last few years, I've managed to unload almost all of my older stories, novellas, and novels, and this summer has been crazy anyway so I haven't been keeping track of things as closely as I used to. But seriously, where are my responses? My Duotrope pending reports are all red.

I don't mean Angry Robot, which can keep Bell-Men as long as they damn well like--I enjoy the taste of hope, even if it isn't very filling. I mostly mean Apex, which has now had an entire year to decide whether they want to buy my 2,000 word short story (eleven months if you go by the shortlisting date). I also mean the other, less significant markets that have had various of my short fiction for months past their stated return times.

I don't bother to send status check emails for short fiction. If I don't hear back within a reasonable amount of time from a market--and I'm very generous about what's reasonable--I just figure I'll never hear and start sending the story somewhere else. That's why I have more than four listings on Duotrope, as it happens. Simsubbing, my friends, simsubbing.

But dammit if the markets I've simsubbed to are also not replying. I want to tap my email and say, "Hello? Is this thing on?"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Will Not Complain

Okay, I will not complain about anything in this post. Nothing, not even the fact that my new tube of apricot facial scrub vanished before I was even able to use it once.


*more crickets*

Um, I loved Stacey Kade's book The Ghost and the Goth so much that I rushed out and bought the sequel, Queen of the Dead, and I can't wait to start reading it.


Friday, September 23, 2011

How I Spent My Day Off

I have a weird work schedule that involves Saturdays and evenings and getting most Thursdays off. Yesterday was a Thursday, and I was off work, which in the olden days meant I could have caught up on my writing/reading/editing/painting my bathroom bilious pink. But right now things are still in crazy mode.

Rather than claim I'm too busy to do any editing, I'll just list the things I did yesterday, from the time I got up to the time I fell into bed with a throbbing left thumb.

7:00am Wake up, luxuriating in sleeping late for a change
7:05 up, dressed, more or less presentable
7:10 Help Mom with her shower. She is insufferably chipper at this time of the morning.
7:30 Make breakfast for Mom. While she eats, I update my website. I forget to make myself breakfast.
8:00-9:00 Laundry laundry laundry, how do we use so many towels in a 24-hour span? Also, put away clean dishes from the dishwasher* and make a manful attempt to unpack some of the boxes in my closet.
9:00-10:30 Go to old house we've moved out of so I can clean the upstairs. Take a huge bag of trash to the dump. Forget to stop by a fast food place for breakfast.
10:30 Take Mom into neighboring town so she can look at a walker with a seat. She chooses a cool wine-red one that looks like it was a 10-speed in a former life. She is so pleased with it that we decide to go on into Oak Ridge, City of Assholes, to go shopping before her doctor's appointment.
11:00am-1:30pm Shopping with Mom, which is exhausting even though at least now I don't have to struggle with her old wheelchair. I buy a book, a valance for my bathroom (purple! with daisies!), a bedskirt, and a lamp. Mom buys a pair of sunglasses that make her look surprisingly dangerous. I also eat lunch, none too soon.
2:00-3:00 Mom's doctor's appointment. We are both relieved when it's over. Drive home from Knoxville.
3:30 Mom didn't eat much lunch, so I make her mac&cheese. I'm not hungry yet.
4:00-7:15 Mow the old lawn for the last time, drag brush out to the corner for pick-up, and pack my car with the lawnmower, garden hose, and recycle bin, which I take back to our new house. Mom is worn out and watching TV in a half-asleep stupor. She's hungry again. I'm starving.
7:15-7:30 shower shower shower, I really am disgusting
7:30 Mom eats leftover mac&cheese. I attempt to eat leftover mac&cheese, but since it's made the only way she will eat it (overcooked until the noodles are mushy), I only manage a few bites. I drink a Coke and eat some yogurt instead.
7:45 Put my new bedskirt on the bed, a more difficult prospect than it seems at first since I'm fussy and have to get it completely even, which entails taking the mattress off so I can arrange the bedskirt properly on the box springs. I am insane. Install new lamp, unpack another box from my closet.
8:15 My aunt stops by to admire Mom's new walker. When she leaves, I make sure Mom has her evening meds and get her settled in bed. I promise her (since she's worried that I'm tired) I will go right to bed myself.
8:30 Pop two Tylenol. Hang valance in bathroom, which involves having to hammer in a couple of nails while standing on a rickety chair. I am not good at hammering and whang my thumb. Mom hears hammering (and cussing) and comes to admire valance. It is awesome in its purple daisyness.
9:00 Mom back in bed. I turn on my laptop to check my email. I have received a fresh set of edits, which means I now have two novel edits to finish. Email back and forth with the editor a few times about rewriting a scene.
9:20 Realize I forgot to iron clothes for work tomorrow. Set my alarm for twenty minutes earlier than usual.
9:30 Lie in bed. Can't sleep. My feet hurt. My thumb hurts. I ache all over. I'm hungry. The Tylenol have not helped appreciably.
11:30 Get up to admire bathroom curtain. Realize I am actually sleepy. Go back to bed. Next thing I know, my alarm is going off.

Now, normally I don't have to clean or do yardwork in a house where we no longer live, and we're getting close to being finished unpacking, so hopefully soon things will settle down and I can get some writing done. But as you can see, it's a tiny bit busy around here right now. I am frantic to address these edits, and even more frantic to do some revisions to Misfits. Maybe I should just get up and edit when I can't sleep.

*I love having a dishwasher! OMG!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nice emails

It's weird, but except for a little cluster of agent rejections (four or five of them that for some reason all came on the same day), I got almost no writing-related emails all summer after Mom's stroke. That's good, since a rejection from, say, Angry Robot, would have hurt all out of proportion what with the other stress I was under at the time. But it still kind of made me feel like I had stopped existing as an author.

But a few weeks ago I got a good email. I've been meaning to post about it but haven't had the time. My steampunk Goldielocks novella has been accepted by Musa Publishing, a new publisher launching on October 1! It'll be released in 2012 through the Urania speculative fiction imprint as an ebook.

Still haven't heard from Angry Robot. Still haven't heard from Apex.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exhaustion and bliss

We've moved to our new house. We've moved! And for the first time since Mom's stroke on June 23, I will sleep in my very own bed tonight, on my very own sheets, with my very own pillow, and all my belongings around me. Yes, most of my belongings are in boxes or crammed into the closet for sorting later, and I can't find a blanket anywhere in this whole house, but I don't care.

Mostly what I have in my room is books. I was excited because I finally have all three of my bookcases in my room at once--before, one of the big bookcases was downstairs with Mom's books in it. Finally I would have room for every one of my books! But when I unpacked the 15 or 16 boxes of books and crammed them willy-nilly into the shelves...they only just fit. Dammit. I still need more shelves.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh, editing, how I despise you

I meant to work on my Weredeer edits this weekend, but we're closing on the new house Thursday so the weekend was filled with last-minute packing and cleaning and perusing of paint swatch cards. Also, it rained a lot today and Mom wanted to drive around in the rain. Until we move, she's lamentably divorced from the full effects of weather. She's the kind of person who sleeps with her bedroom window propped open a little no matter how cold or hot it is out, and who sleeps with her head as close to the window as possible (in our old house, she actually slept with her head at the foot of the bed for just that reason). Now we're staying with my aunt and uncle, and the windows in her room don't open and are too well insulated for her to even hear the rain.

I'm about a third through the edits. They take soooooo looooong and I have to cooooncentrate on them, dammit. And I've recharged from writing Misfits this summer and I think I'm ready to write again rather than edit. My attention veers from finishing Adventures in Zoology to finishing the major rewrite of The Trickster Society to finishing the tail-end of Bloodhound. My interest in editing anything is at an all-time low. Yet, edit I must.

Also, I'm way behind in my reading. Why are there so few hours in the day?

Part of the problem is that I'm back at work now, which I hate. I mean, I hate having to work anyway, and I hate having to leave Mom during the day (although she's doing much better and her main problem is boredom), but I also hate that there are certain things I can't do while I'm at work. Like editing.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Home again

I haven't updated or tweeted since I left for DragonCon because it turned out that the Westin Peachtree does not have free wifi access for guests. I wasn't able to check my email for days! Not that I had any emails when I got back, but it's the principle of the thing.

Anyway, I did have a little journal with me, so I kept a running account of my days. And here it is, unedited, so if something doesn't make any sense that's why.

Sept. 2, 6pm
Fuck no, I'm not paying $15 a day for wifi access, not when the hotel room is almost $200 a night and valet parking is $26. Last time I was in Atlanta I stayed at a piece of shit motel in Marietta for $85 a night and wifi was free. It sucked, but it was free.

I have given blood. It hurt. I gave blood to kill an hour before the 5:30 pm panels, and it took so long I missed them and now have another hour to kill before 7pm. I am hungry and have no internet access. This is dreadful.

I plan to steal all the hotel room's little soaps. No free wifi my ass.

Sept. 2, 8:25pm
I just attended the wrong panel. Like, a a million percent wrong. I got in the wrong line and instead of seeing Ghost Hunters, I learned all about a new Xbox shooter game called, um, Gears of War 3, I think. Apparently many people are enthusiastic. The guy running it was kind of funny, at least. I did not get a T-shirt.

I've now made it to a panel on writing deadlines one I'd intended to attend. Whether it will be as dull as I suspect remains to be seen. I do expect it to make me feel guilty about not working on the Weredeer edits that are so, so very overdue.

Peanut M&Ms have more protein than this granola bar I don't want to eat.

Sept. 2, 11:45pm
In the bath. I am fighting an inexplicable desire to put my clothes back on and go out to get drunk. Or find a tattoo parlor. Or both.

I saw Kevin and met his wife Felicity, who seems very nice. Kevin introduced me to several people whose names I have (predictably) not retained even after I just saw them 15 minutes ago. They were also quite pleasant people. We all attended a Skeptic Track panel on Vampires and Ghosts that was interesting and fun, then walked back to the hotel via skybridges.

Sky bridges.

I am so tired my eyes feel dry and I keep blinking. Every so often I think, "I should take my contacts out." I am not wearing contacts.

I am looking forward to sleeping in a grown-up sized bed for the first time since Mom went into the hospital in June. I hope she's doing okay. I hope she had a good supper and wasn't too bored or worried while I was gone.

Oh, great, now I'm crying. Good thing I'm not drunk.

The deadlines panel was interesting. I even ASKED A QUESTION about scheduling when it's edits and not new writing, and all five panelists said edits can only really be dealt with by dropping everything else to focus on them. So I will get on that as soon as I can, which feels like it will be never.

I got a T-shirt for giving blood. It saved me $30 to buy a con T-shirt. I will probably wear it tomorrow because I feel boring without a costume or a T-shirt with words on it.

Very few hot men in kilts this year, which is disappointing. I saw a freakishly good Snape on the way back to the hotel tonight. Like, he actually did not look like he was wearing a costume. Don't know how to describe the difference between "this is a costume" and "these are my clothes." Also I liked his hair, which was likewise not costume hair. But mostly he just looked kind of tired, which nailed it.

Tomorrow morning I hope to spend some time in Starbucks before the parade, enjoying the free wifi OH RIGHT. Enjoying writing more in this book, which is free, and drinking a vanilla bean frapuccino, which is $5 off if I decline maid service tomorrow, which I will because A) I am not a slob and B) there are two beds.

Sept. 3, 8:45 am
Vanilla bean acquired. I woke up with a headache and haggish bags under my eyes, which is just not fair sine I didn't go out drinking last night. I put on too much makeup to compensate.

Kevin and I have left each other one voicemail so far this morning. At least I know they're up.

This cheese danish is tasteless except for the cheese part, which tastes like sugar. Starbucks does not understand food.

Sept. 3, 11:20 am
The parade was fun even though it was hot and crowded and my feet hurt and I couldn't see very well. The steampunk X-Men were my favorites. Overheard: "The Netherworld people are scary. They're actors so they're even scarier than usual. They're scary without costumes." It feels good to sit down for a few minutes. I may get lunch somewhere after this, maybe something to go so I can take it back to my hotel room and check my email NO I GUESS NOT. Kevin said he thinks there's a cafe or someplace with free wifi around here, but even if I could remember what he'd told me it was called, I'd never be able to find it. Maybe I'll go to that Pratchett panel at 1pm instead of lunch. Or maybe I'll just pick a panel at random and see what it's about.

On the other hand, I really, really want a piece of pizza and an ice cold Coke.

Sept. 3, 1:10 pm
I am full of adequate burrito and Coke. The line for pizza was too long. I have found a corner on the floor just behind a pillar in the skywalk area between the mall food court and the Marriott. I can watch people as they stream pass and no one bothers me or (so far) trips over me.

The Women in SF/F panel was good but left me irritated. It was all about how to fit in, ultimately, and a lot of that seemed to boil down to "things you can do to keep men from bothering you or how to manipulate them." Also, dress nice because you're a professional. I'm all for professionalism but if I can't stand or fall by my writing alone--no trappings, not even a flask of scotch--I don't want in. Most readers do not give a tiny little rat-sized shit if I wear a costume or a nice outfit to cons, or even if I attend cons. I think a lot of writers take themselves way too seriously.

You know what would have been great with this burrito? A beer. I don't even drink beer. I've been possessed by an alcoholic, an ineffective one since I'm drinking Coke.

Kevin said he didn't get in overnight until about 4am. It must be nice to be an extravert. He knows everyone.

I hope Mom's okay.

Sept. 3, 2:25pm
I have spent money. I got my nephew a gift at the dealer's room, so that's one Xmas present sorted. I also found myself a purple necklace of plastic dice, a la Mardi Gras beads, to use as a lanyard for my badge.

Now I made it just in time to an Archetypes in YA lit panel. It's surprisingly full, this room.

Now that I have spent some of my cash, I am burning to spend more. Good thing I plan to attend panels until I fall down from exhaustion today.

They give out prizes in this panel, apparently. Maybe that's why it's so full. I would like another T-shirt, but I never win things.

The next panel I want to attend is also in this room. Good thing, since it was very hard to find. Of course, I find everywhere hard to find.

Sept. 3, 3:40pm
I won a book! Fancy that. The Lightning Thief, which I've never read.

I now have a pretzel and a Coke. What was I thinking? I'm not hungry. And it cost $5, which is just crazy. And an hour ago I was actually feeling a little sick from that gigantic burrito.

Some sort of emergency warning sounded during the last panel, but nothing came of it. It woke me up, though. The panel wasn't boring, but I am definitely flagging. I'm not used to so much activity these days; for two months plus I've been mostly sitting quietly with Mom or having small adventures with her, like going to Target or to a movie.

But I am enjoying myself enormously. It's a similar energy here to the start of a new fall semester, but without the stress.

I wonder if I could get a tattoo before I leave Atlanta.

Sept. 3, 7pm
This pen is running

Sept. 3, 9:35 pm
It feels much later than that. I ducked out of the 8:30pm panel I attended--it wasn't what I expected, since the SF/F lit track schedule was FUBARed this afternoon. I missed the What Women Want panel that was the one I really, really wanted to attend, because they moved it up unexpectedly.

So anyway, I ducked out of the 8:30 panel early, found my way back to the Westin and to my room, and dumped most of my stuff, and packed up my laptop so I wouldn't forget it tomorrow. I'd sweated most of my makeup off, not that it makes much difference, so I slapped some powder on and went downstairs to the lobby to sit and catch this account up. I have a bottle of water and some chocolate. No booze--because I don't really want to sit here by myself and drink, and anyway I've spent too much already.

I don't want to go up to bed. It's still pretty early, and once I go to bed DragonCon is over for me. I'm going home tomorrow morning early. Real life is intruding on my little vacation: Tuesday Mom has chemo, and Wednesday I have to return to work after my leave of absence. I'd much rather hold on to the last few hours of DragonCon instead.

I wonder if they sell nachos at the bar. I am more likely to find nachos than a tattoo parlor. I can't really go out and get a tattoo at home--well, I could but I wouldn't, but on an outing like this if I came back with a tattoo people would raise their eyebrows but not be too surprised.

Not that I really care. I just wouldn't do it under normal circumstances.

How did I get on the topic of tattoos?

You know, this hotel building is really unsettlingly large. It's round, and there are a bunch of truly enormous pillars that are probably holding up all those dozens and dozens of floors above.

There's not much going on in this hotel. I could go to the Marriott and look at costumes for a while, but there's nowhere to sit and I'm tired. I suspect it won't be long before I give up and go to bed.

Ordinarily I'd be online right now but, you know. I do forgive the Westin slightly for no free wifi because the beds are so, so comfortable and the soap I have stolen is green and shaped like a leaf.

I cannot tell if the group of Asian men in identical pilot uniforms over there are actually pilots or if they're costumed as pilots. One of the panelists earlier today said she ran into a baffled hotel guest from France at the zombie walk who asked her, "Is this some sort of ceremony?"

I think they're real pilots. They all have suitcases like they just arrived. I wonder what they make of the people in con garb.

Maybe they think all Americans dress like this every day.

I kind of wish we did.

Sept. 4, 9am
I woke to a white morning sky and decided just to leave although it was still early. When Kevin called I'd already been on the road for almost an hour, weeping gently and listening to Silly Wizard's "The Queen of Argyll" over and over. I decided I'd better stop for breakfast. The maudlin was too overwhelming without eggs and orange juice. And grits. I stopped at a Waffle House. I think I'm only about 30-45 minutes from Chattanooga.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready, set

I spent the day going going going. Not only did Mom have a doctor's appointment and her weekly labwork today, but I had to get ready for DragonCon. Getting ready, in my case, included washing the car, doing laundry, cleaning Mom's bathroom, getting all her pills set out for the time I'm gone so she'll know exactly what to take when, getting a haircut, grocery shopping, packing, getting directions to the hotel, and charging my phone. Yes, I did all that AND MORE. Tomorrow I just have to do more laundry, clean the kitchen, and take the trash out. I plan to leave for Atlanta around noon, maybe eleven.

Mom told me today, sternly, not to worry about her. Both her sisters and a brother-in-law are going to be around to keep an eye on her. Plus, of course, she's perfectly capable of doing most things herself.

So I'm going to do my best not to worry about her while I'm gone. I promised her! And then she said, "But please be careful and don't get into a wreck, or lose your car key, or get your purse stolen."

Mom, don't worry about me!