Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The past few days have been a whirlwind. My sister-in-law and her two children are visiting and we've been to Carkeek Park, the zoo, and the Childrens' Museum. It's been great seeing them, but I am not used to so much play-time and Auntie Me is exhausted. :) Although Auntie Me will also jump at any excuse to hang out with Komodo Dragons at the zoo and play on fake stages beneath Seattle Center's Armory... Today there might even be pizza!

Soon I will be back and writing again, but until then enjoy the silence.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Deadline Days

Hello! Today is one of those deadline days where all the things I've let creep up on me finally have to be dealt with. Chiana, the gray cat, is at the vet being sedated for a teeth cleaning. I am cleaning the house for guests, or will be soon, and I have a podcast to record. I should also write a story by the end of the month for another workshop I'd like to attend, but that will be a stretch goal.

Deadline days are stressful but they mean I'm much more efficient and motivated. I like them--though I'm pretty sure Chiana doesn't.

It's been a good writing week. On Tuesday I sent out several submissions I'd been sitting on, and as of yesterday I've sent out five submissions this week. For this year that puts me at about 15 rejections, 22 submissions, and 5 publications.

Can't complain about that. Well, not too much. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Class with Connie Willis and James Patrick Kelly

I spent Saturday at the Locus Awards and Friday and Sunday taking a class at the Hugo House taught by James Patrick Kelly and Connie Willis. There were fifteen of us in the class--all female students except one, which I found interesting.

On Friday, Jim taught "Uncomplicating Plot" for five hours and on Sunday, Connie taught about "Building Characters" for seven hours. Friday evening we had the chance to hear both authors read their work.

Attending this class was a really fantastic experience. I took 16 pages of notes on my computer, mostly single-spaced, that I'll be going through for a good long time. My head is full of information and tips I need to absorb.

I've spent the last year and a half learning how to write a story. I've taken classes, read books, and written a lot. But in the last month or so I feel like I'm ready to write/rewrite a story in a more structured, calculating way. I want to hang all the events off of a theme. I want to maximize the scenes for dramatic possibility. I want everything to be important and consistent. --Okay, these are things I've always wanted, but I'm just starting to attempt them methodically and with purpose. The way is finally starting to gel.

Along those lines I've been working on a short story for about a month. I've spent hours and hours trying to make sure the characters have motivations and that logical things happen, and it's still a little flat, I think, but I can tell that it's the first story where I'm trying to use all the tools I've learned consciously.

Heck, a reader might just see a story that's still broken, but I can see the improvement in myself for once and that's heartening.

After another week of rejections, it's nice to have these small ephiphanies.

I feel like I should add that I'm not dismissing the work I've already had published--I'm proud of all of it. It's just that I want to be better and this is how that happens.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wonderful Things with King Tut

Canopic Lid at the King Tut Exhibit, Pacific Science Center, Seattle, June 5, 2012

On June 5, I went to the King Tut Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center and absolutely loved it. As a kid I worshipped all things ancient Egyptian--pharoahs, pyramids, tombs, art, mythology. I loved reading about Howard Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb and seeing wonderful things. One of my favorite school reports involved me tracing Tut's golden mask on the cover for extra credit.

So I was thrilled to be able to see some of these treasures close to home. In addition to admission, I splurged for the Harrison Ford narrated audio guide, and the IMAX movie about secrets of the mummies. It was all fantastic. If I had any complaints, I'd say crowd control was a little sloppy--posted signs weren't clear about entrance times, but that's really just a small thing in the grand scheme.

If you'd like some visuals, I've posted a few photos of the exhibit at my photoblog. As long as you don't use flash, photos are allowed--so I just cranked up my ISO to 2500 or so and snapped away.

Since the last time I updated here, Jer and I have been doing a lot of yard work. Exciting, I know. We also booked a vacation for later in the year. We plan to spend some time in Salou, Spain and Madeira, Portugal. I'm pretty excited about that, although nervous about some of the tight connections. But then I worry too much.

I'm editing a horror story I need to send out in the next few days so I better stop procrastinating and do the work. Happy Flag Day.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

A Story Included, A Lawn Mowed, A Convention Registered

I'm happy to share my story, "Taking the Wind," was included in a list of 134+ favorite stories, you can see here. Lots of great work listed and I'm honored to be included.

Yesterday I mowed the lawn and ripped out a bunch of ivy and weeds. When we moved into this house three years ago I thought gardening was cute. Now I'd be okay if the lawn didn't grown quite so fast, you know? We ordered a cordless Black & Decker Edger and Hedge Trimmer to help and I'm looking forward to getting those batteries fully charged and operating. My edges are a mess.

I also need to get rid of the dead potted plants on the deck. Maybe that will be my next project if I don't get distracted. Part of me assumed that once I owned a house I would be instantly good at all this homeowner stuff. Not so much. But I am dynamite at not having to move every three years like we used to every time the rent increased.

If you haven't seen yet, registration for the Bram Stokers Awards Weekend 2013 (incorporating the World Horror Convention) are now on sale at It'll take place June 13-16, 2013, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. And I just realized I've had drinks in the Carousel Bar there and it was fantastic. The barstools and counter slowly rotate around the center bartending area, until you're not sure if it's the strong drinks or the atmosphere that is making you dizzy. Magical!

Between the location and the announced guests of honor, I am super excited for next year's event.