It’s been a heck of a while

Long time no post. Over a month, I think, since I’ve shared anything but book-focused or fluffy photo posts. I’m not even going to try to catch up on all The Other Things. Spring was a season of mostly lowlights with some big highs that were delightful but also made the dark parts feel darker. It’s a huge effort to share now, but I need to crawl out of my protective shell and  stretch my word muscles.

Here be the major doings.

Firstly, my much-loved and amazing mother-in-law died in February. Not a surprise, she was 95 and suffered a bad injury leading to a sharp decline before Christmas, but it was a hard blow all the same. She was a powerful, complicated, wonderful woman who told the worst best jokes and was a shining example of how good a human being can be.

Logistics put the memorial in April. Spouseman comes from a large family. Gathering together the three  children’s households + eight grandchild households, including assorted lifemates, 2 great-grand-children & other loved ones from all the round earth’s imagined corners = some heroic scheduling.

My sister-in-law is a goddess. That is all.  While still steeped in the first raw pain of grief, she organized a huge multi-family celebration of poignant joy with grace and strength.

It was a hard trip for Spouseman and me, but also a good one  filled with bright moments of laughter & hours of shared stories, with interludes of desolation and tears.

Secondly, a week after returning, late in the month, our Scootercat went overnight from being a dear, cranky cat with a failing digestive tract & horrible arthritis who  still enjoyed sunny naps, treats, and petting to a pain-wracked, incontinent old kitty who couldn’t walk more than a few steps and  had no more happy waking moments.

He was our very good boy, the bestest of the best, but he was ready to go. With help from friends w we found our way to a very good emergency vet who got us in after hours the day we realized it was past time to say good-bye. I couldn’t rest the next day until I cleaned the house from top to bottom, and while I did that and randomly leaked tears, I also struggled with guilt over being relieved that I wouldn’t have to clean up after random puddles & poops any more. Grief is weird.

Weeks later, I still glance at Scooter’s usual sit-spots whenever I pass them and feel that aching hole inside because there’s no one there.  All of his good, favorite beds and toys that a new kitty might like are set aside to await the day we’re ready to embrace another fuzzball or two. Or three.  It’s going to be a while before I’m ready. And even longer for Spouseman, I think.

Thirdly, on the professional front, I did Indy PopCon with Bard’s Tower, which was an interesting and entertaining con that took place on Pride Weekend, wherein the number of people in all kinds of cosplay boosted my hope for the future of humanity.  On the same weekend, good friends in Chicago took my books & bling to Printers Row LitFest, whereupon I learned people like book-bling even if they haven’t read the books. (Go, Mercury Battalion!) So…that was a grand good thing.

Same week, I found out a good and wonderful, talented friend was in the hospital, and another is facing the return of a deadly cancer. SO.  THERE’S THAT. Anger and helplessness just simmering away in the daily mix.

And lastly, we expect to be moving in a couple of months. I’ll post more about that shocking development when it’s all finalized.  The whole thing came together super-fast, but it should be perfect and delightful…once it’s a done deal. I have a deep, abiding fear of jinxing the whole thing by getting too talkative about it until All The Papers are signed.

It’s long overdue. It’s a thrill to consider having enough living space for a guest bed and a dining table and a cushy bean bag chair AND a Spouseman’s office plus mine. It’s also going to be All New and Unknown, and thus I am scared 24/7 right now.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I do NOT uproot well or enjoy environmental change. Yes, I do change my surroundings regularly, (okay, obsessively) but it’s a defensive strategy–if I don’t push that particular limit hard and often, I will calcify, emotionally, into a fragile barnacle who would shatter if pushed to move or change at all.

And I don’t want that. So I seek change stress, and I’m all in on this move. All the same, getting used to a new space is going to be uncomfortable, stressful, and terrifying even though it’s chosen and wanted.  There’s no getting around it. Gotta just push through.

So. That’s what’s happening in my world. We’re all caught up.

A lot of media has been consumed since the last Other Things post, but it was mostly brainless visual re-watches and comfort re-reading to offset the heavier topics trending in reality. I’ve also struggled against a blast of creative apathy that has yet to abate.

Next up in my life, preparing for Gen Con, plus a whole lot of panic over ohmygerdIhavetofinishthesefershlugginerrevisions for Sharp Edge of Yesterday, and also SOMEHOW finishing the last 25% of my cozy ghost mystery.

But that’s all for now.

 

 

 

 

New Doings

What’s going on with me? I’m SO glad you asked. It has been a while since I did one of these. (Before DragonCon, I think?) Busy month. Why a gargoyle for the pic? WHY NOT?

Books. I read books that weren’t historical romances! Books I enjoyed!  Contemporary Fantasy! Steampunk! Exclamation points! I have high fantasy and space opera on my TBR list, but don’t get too excited. It may not get reviewed for months. Okay, here goes;

Convergent Lines. Michelle Cori. Its tagline is A Tale of Gothic Horror, and it definitely has a great gothic feel, but  horror makes me think blood & jump-scares. This has a fantastical moodiness, with fae, humans, witchcraft,  loads of intricate world-building and history…and so much more. The narrative jumps between the protagonist’s past and present by chapters leading to a major plot development, and it has that “drop you in and let you roll along”  approach I adore. (but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.) Not sure if there’s an ebook version of this, so buy the paperback or make your library get it. The cover and the interior decorations are mind-blowingly pretty.

A Desperate Plan (Tales of the Automazombs) Toni Johnson et. al. Steampunk. Zombies. Need I say more? I really don’t. It’s a fun collection of shorter and longer stories that each stand alone but advance a larger plot. Some fine storytelling in a variety of styles. Great hints of reveals to come, but no sense of anything being left unfinished.  Ebook and regular book.

A lot of romance got consumed in the last month too, but nothing I would recommend. I must say I seriously wonder if authors who consider “purely masculine scent” to be attractive have ever actually smelled a live man. I’m someone who can find the scent of a sweaty guy appealing, but “masculine scent” still makes me think, “Ew.” Ya know, I think I’ll be moving on now.

Television: Daily Show & Samantha Bee over suppers, and the occasional sportsball game while I peel apples. That’s it.  A bunch of shows got boring or cancelled, others haven’t started. Zero interest in The Orville, not paying to watch commercials with ST:Discovery,  have to wait for DVD on Game of Thrones. I record Law & Order reruns because I know half of them by heart and specifically watch them so I can tune them out.

Movies: Finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Underwhelmed.  I mean, I enjoyed it, I can say, “okay, fun movie,”  but the whole Hollywood knee-jerk sequel philosophy of “take everything that was cool in the first one and evolve it” does not now and never has worked for me.  Plus I loathed the writing for Drax. Sure, expand our understanding of the character, but literal-minded to clueless is not a personality progression. Neither is there a line from single-minded to impulsively stupid. And Gamora was pretty much sidelined except for the OMG-SIBLING-HATRED thing. And then there’s the whole “why can’t heroes have two normal, living parents?” question…

…so, maybe I mostly didn’t like it. I  dunno. Nothing I’ve mentioned will stop me from watching it again a few times.

I watched Wonder Woman again to make sure the DVD worked. Yeah. That’s why.

The latest in re-viewing: disaster flicks.  2012, Day After Tomorrow, Dante’s Peak and San Andreas. Just because. Figured out another reason I love San Andreas: the male teen lead listens to the female teen lead who knows what she’s talking about. Multiple times.

In other news, autumn is apple time, which means day trips into the Wisconsin not-so-wilds in search of all the scrumptious yummies. I’ve already socked away the first of the year’s cider & saucein the big freezer, and the first fruits & cheeses of the season have made into tasty treats. The garden is an exuberant mess of drooping grasses and drying flowers, except for the asters, goldenrod & Joe Pye weed, which are in full glorious bloom.

That’s all for this report. Next post: all about the writing and authoring.

Edited to add a full-length pic of Grawlix the Gargoyle:

IMG_2612


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on this page here. 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

So…this might have happened.

 I went in for my seasonal haircut yesterday afternoon. It was time. Past time. I have conventions to attend this month. People to meet. Impressions to make.
Nothing says “mature 50-something professional writer” like a radioactive grape-colored buzz-cut. Right? Right?  I sure hope so…Here’s the result on center stage:
Version 2
Guess I need to update my Powerpuff Girl profile pic.
The gory hairstyling details are as follows: #8 guard on the clippers and sideburns shaved, hair process-bleached to yellow, Pravana brand violet for the final color. Visuals on the steps involved included below. for posterity. I might have taken more than my year’s allotment of selfies. Oh, well.

1. The chop.                  2. The villain ‘do.             3. The serious grape.

For the record, I neither cut nor color my own hair. I leave those tasks to trained professionals who have expensive, high-quality tools and all the best chemical toys, and I do not begrudge a single penny of the substantial fees I pay for the services. I find this one weird trick saves me the time and expense of buying products for DIY, screwing up in some dire fashion, and then hiring those trained professionals to fix the mess. Also, I am lazy, and I love having my hair shampooed. True confession.

Scooter is in love with the new ‘do. There’s something about the scent of the hair color that drives him bonkers. He sits behind me on the couch and fawns on my head when I try to watch television. Bonus feature: sleeping on my hair with it’s this short produces a kewpie-doll style with all the hair pointing up in tufts. Looks fab in purple.

You can see my hair in person at these places this month!

Worldcon/MidAmericaCon: August 17-21,  Kansas City. Look for me at the WorldFire Press booth. I’ll sell you some books that aren’t mine (but which I guarantee are incredible, hilarious, jaw-dropping, or otherwise fabulous.)

Dragoncon: Labor Day Weekend, Atlanta. I’ll be hanging around in the Armory, down deep in the basement of one of the con hotels. Surrounded by as many sharp pointy things and unloaded boom-sticks as the rooms will hold.


 PS: I know I seem all cheery and pleased with this (and I am, really, I am, but…)
BUT.
It is a Big and Startling change. That puts a dent in the credit rating of my confidence. I put on a super good front, but it’s a facade. All hollow underneath. Signs  & Stars of Approval go a long way towards making me less self-conscious and squirmy