Categories
Detours Writing Life

Look, walls n such! (an update)

A disclaimer: Spouseman & I are NOT doing this renovation ourselves.
This amazing work is being done by a wide array of highly-trained & fully licensed, bonded & insured professionals. We recommend every one of the companies involved so far, especially the Plan-Design-Build firm who’s wrangling them all for this project.

(Our home improvement skills begin with knowing where shut-offs & breakers are, kludging repairs via Duck tape, screws, & mending plates,  rough carpentry, and so on–with an occasional foray into “unplug it & plug it in again, flip the switches, check the connections, change the batteries.”)

First, the main hall, what you see when you come down the stairs. (Click on any pic in each collection to biggify them as a slideshow)

Here’s the gaming zone:

And some before & mid-project pics from areas that simply weren’t worth snapshots (or didn’t have enough light to photograph) before renovation began.

Midway through the estimated project schedule, we’re only 2 fixes & 2 installations away from having all major goals achieved.

Our main concern was getting the generational hodgepodge of electrical, plumbing, & HVAC systems modernized, redesigned efficiently & brought up to code. Only 1 minor electrical project & HVAC zone damping left. We also wanted a half-bath down there, a (more) level floor, and modern windows that would open. Leveling starts next week!

Then it’s all, “prime, trim, paint, install new fixtures, & make with the pretty.”

… A’course, this means I have to go shopping for a new washing machine & dryer soon. And maybe a new dishwasher. All were near the end/past of their typical operating life when we moved in, and we’d already budgeted their replacement.

Ugh. Am NOT looking forward to that.

I confess I am excited about the new laundry room. It’ll have a light switch, its own window, and all the mod cons.

These are the things that make daily life easier, and those make writing easier.

So many little big things.

For those wondering, my revisions & drafting progress slowed to glacial speeds last week. Wall installation was MUCH more distracting than demolition & roughing-in work. It was curiosity — I hadn’t ever seen plastering done. (Yes, I could go work elsewhere, but I LOVE seeing the progress. Hence the distraction.)

But. ANYway. I did get other things done, and this week should be much better. I have a second alpha reader waiting for Sharp Edge scenes now, & new readers always give my momentum a big push.

Until later!

 

Categories
Authoring Cons & Appearances Writing Life

There’s more to my life than the new house: there’s also Dragon Con!

This weekend I’m pausing all the moving-in work so I can go to Atlanta for Dragon Con. (Why did I buy  house right between my year’s two biggest conventions? That’s just how I roll, what can I say?)

Will you be at Dragon Con? Want to meet up? That would be awesome. Easiest way to find me: stop by one of the panels I’ll be on. Here’s a handy list.

FRIDAY:

 Gimme a Break
Time: 8:30 pm Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Best advice for breaking into fantasy & SF novel writing.
Panelists: Venessa Guinta(M), Scott Sigler, Tamsin L. Silver, Esther Friesner, J. Gregory Keyes, K. M. Herkes, John D. Ringo
(I am seriously the Minority Report in this group. But it should be great.) 

SATURDAY:

A Sense of Place: The Role of Setting in UF
Time: 11:30 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Often the location where the action takes place can be an integral aspect of the story. Our panel of authors will discuss the role setting plays in their work & how it affects the stories they tell.
Panelists: J.F. Lewis, Linda Robertson, E.J. Stevens, K. M. Herkes, Jennifer Morris(M), Melissa F Olson
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked, “Why Elgin, Illinois?” I’d have…some dollars. I’

The Isms: Looking at Classic Fantasy from the Viewpoint of Today
Time: 10:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Social consciousness changes, but books are forever. Something that was once progressive today may seem anything but. Are these works simply products of their time or true reflections of the person? Let’s not toss the dragonet out with the Hatching Sand and shells. *Trigger Warning*
Panelists: Ray Johnson (M), K. M. Herkes, Mike Massa, Dr. Charles E. Gannon
This…could be A-MAY-ZING. I’ve recently done some re-reading and re-watching of my classic faves, and wow…yeah. I am very much a fan of VERY problematic things. And that’s okay. Even good. Lots to discuss.

SUNDAY

Off the Record: Life beyond the Shelf – A Look at Publishing from the Other Side
Time: 5:30 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: What is the best way to approach a bookstore/library/track? What are these other people looking at and how best should you show that you are their answer? Time for an inside look at publishing from the other side of mirror. No recording, as this is Off the Record and Behind the Curtain.
Panelists: Tyra A Burton, Kathleen, Diane Aurand, Cisca Small(M), K. M. Herkes
Oooo, yeah, I have STORIES, from the bookselling years.

MONDAY

All the Subs
Time: 1:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Fantasy is filled with all kinds of stories, but sometimes a trend pops up that turns into a sub-genre. Supervise? Gamelit? LitRPG? Cozy? Noir? There are so many, & a few that don’t really fit in any…yet.
Panelists: L. Jagi Lamplighter, James A. Hunter, Aaron Crash, G. Scott Huggins, Cat Rambo(M), K. M. Herkes
Meep. I’m on a panel with Cat Rambo? MEEP. So exciting. Daunting, but exciting.
This panel topic is near and dear to my “organize-all-the-things” heart. I’m going to take deep breaths, sit up straight, and enjoy the heck out of it.’

I’m going to come home from this con with a TON of new reading material, I just know it.

Between panels, I’ll be hanging at The Bard’s Tower in the Vendor zone. With my books, yes. Want to buy a book or a patch or some pins? I can make that happen. Have I mentioned that I write books? Techno-thrillers, superpower fantasy. And science-fiction-knitting-romances. (And cozy ghost mystery paranormals, but you can’t buy those yet.)

ANYway. I’ll try to stay engaged online while away, but no promises. It’s a busy, BUSY con. I don’t have FB messenger, but texts or Twitter DMs will find me. I’ll also be going to panels & other events, because that’s part of the fun, and the con goes on all day & night for 4 days, after all. The Palmetto Knights are on my must-see list, for sure, and multiple visits to Artist’s Alley, of course.

All righty. That covers the con. Time to color my hair, unearth the suitcase, and pack the con clothes.

And after Dragon Con? Well. Expect this blog to go quiet. If I have time to sit down with words between Labor Day and Halloween, there’s a book to finish revising and another to finish drafting, and the urge to bury myself in manuscripts is getting stronger by the day. So. That’s how it goes.

Categories
Authoring Cons & Appearances Promotion

Gen Con 2019 post #2

So many good things happened today. I want to write about all of them, but I am bleary-eyed tired & sleepy & full of good food from Bazbeaux Pizza and cannot possibly process it all.

I am also full of contentment after the long, busy Gen Con Saturday experience, what with all the meeting & chatting & connecting & sharing. And new ideas are firing up, sparked by great conversations with new friends.

Thanks to all who stopped by my table to chat, from Greg, who let me show him all my “baby house’ pictures, to Very Vocal Viking Troy who swung by for a return visit (!) and brought his wonderful friend Chandra, who bought the big book bundle and let me give her the free pins that went with it. And special glittery internet hugs for Shell who wanted me to know exactly how much she loves my characters.

Cheers to Patricia the artist with gorgeous line drawings (whose card I still need to grab) for letting me moon over all her beautiful art, all hail my many, wonderful aisle-mates on Authors Avenue for making me feel welcome, and big gratitude to all the passers-by who let me babble excitedly at them about my wonderful fictional worlds.

AND HAVE I MENTIONED SHANNON EICHORN? My table mate, my rock of stability, my holder of ipads and issuer of gentle reminders to hydrate?

Yeah. This con would not have been a success without her staunch support. Just saying.

ANYway. I could go on and on, but there’s still Sunday to go, and it’s late, and I have ideas to ponder & dream on before tomorrow arrives.

Until later.

Categories
Authoring Cons & Appearances Promotion

Gen Con 2019 blog post #1

Preliminary verdict on how I feel about Authors Avenue: I’m loving it (The picture on this post isn’t Authors Ave, I just love the image of gamers taking over the stadium floor.)

ANYway. I digress of course.

I’m having an absolute blast at Gen Con. Wonderful, welcoming table neighbors, visits from friends & friends of friends, and even a reader who bought Rough Passages at a con earlier this year. They wanted me to know how much they enjoyed it.

Yes, I did a total happy dance.

Special shout outs to Maria Turner & Hans Cummings, who have been steadfastly supportive & patient with my noob questions since long before I got my table this year, and to Matt Press, whose luggage & displays got lost by the airlines for the first day & 1/2, but who still put together a great display & who has a free book on Kindle just for this weekend.

So. Anyway. I’ve passed out loads of “Love Is Positive” stickers & ribbons, gotten to talk about the Restoration world and the incredible characters in Rough Passages, and a lot of people signed up to get my free email story.

All that AND I’ve sent books off to new homes too!

So. Yeah. It’s all the happy.

I’ve been recharging by hibernating in the room for a long while after the dealer’s area closes, then walking out to get some food before crashing. My throat is sore from talking over crowd noise, but so far, still feeling healthy.

Time to rest up & brace for the Saturday crowds!

Big thanks to everyone who stopped by and hello to all the new readers! (And a few extra exclamation points, just to make sure I use them up!!!!)

Until later, all.

Categories
3. Other Things Authoring Cons & Appearances Teacup Posts Writing Life

Recharging the brain batteries

Got home last night LATE after meeting tons of new readers at the incredibly awesome first-ever Michigan Comic Con. I had a blast.

Gratitude shout-outs to Alexi & Erika at Bard’s Tower for inviting me, and additional HUGE thanks to the generous and talented Jody Lynn Nye, who offered me a ride and who always has been everything any writer could ask for in a professional mentor.

And now I am Absolutely Worn Out.

I’m slowly coming to terms with the need to give myself recovery time & space after road trips. The post-exhilaration crash is inevitable. Every time a con ends, I think, “Hey, cool, I’m not so exhausted this time. I’m fine! Yay, growth!”  Then I get home a few hours later with a sore throat, achy eyes, and a bad case of twitchy nerves…

Adrenaline lies, I tell ya. And the rebound is a major PITA. Every single damned time, it happens. After two years of cons, I finally have the self-care down to a single-day recharge. (barring emergencies, crises, or other disruptions.) Today’s edition so far:

  • a round of proper tea, caffeinated and strong. (my favorite loose leaf blend steeped sufficiently in a TEAPOT, Ah, bliss. )
  • a satisfying workaday breakfast (fruit & greek yogurt w/ crunchies & honey)
  • much lounging about the house, spoiling the cat and catching up on reading.
  • a bout of cathartic weed-yanking that delivered immediately gratifying results.
  • harvesting a batch of tomatoes & basil to go w/some aged gouda my wonderful Spouseman picked up for me as a welcome-home gift. Look at this deliciousness:

So. Good.

Being able to take a recovery day is no small blessing, and I appreciate how lucky I am to be in a position where I can do so. With no plans for the rainy afternoon–NONE–I can physically feel energy returning as the emotional surf settles.

I love travel, but returning to the nest is the best. Just ask the cat. He has opinions.

More blog…next week, probably? Or after Dragon Con, which is only 10 days away.

<gulp>

ONLY TEN DAYS ‘TIL DRAGON CON!