And Now for that Good News…

Remember back a few posts, when I mentioned I had good news I was eager to share? Now I can tell you: I have sold my first reprint! “Amma’s Wishes,” which was published last year in Sword & Sorceress 29, will become a podcast at PodCastle!

Have you heard of the writer’s career bingo sheet? I stole this from another writer (with her permission, of course) because it’s such an awesome idea. Basically, there are only so many things you can control about writing. Having goals to get published at a certain market, or to make so many sales per year, or whatever, are completely out of my control. I can only control the fact that I write.

Nonetheless, certain events and sales are still markers of a sort, milestones of success on a long, hard road, and should be celebrated. It helps keep my chin up when things go slow: “See? You’ve gotten all those accomplishments. You can do this,” I tell myself. So, the bingo card. You take a spreadsheet page (or a sheet of paper) and divide it into squares. In each square goes something your heart goes pit-a-pat over the thought of: selling to a favorite market or editor, an award nomination, so many new sales in a year, whatever. When you achieve that milestone, you change the background from white to whatever shiny, happy color you like.

Back to this sale. It is very much a big deal, since it fills in TWO bingo squares for me–both Reprint, and a sale to one of the ‘Pods (PodCastle, EscapePod, PseudoPod). And it becomes my first two-fer, which isn’t a square, but maybe it should have been??

I don’t know the date of publication yet, but you can be sure I’ll let you know. I hope you’ll give it a listen.

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Back at Home

I was away for a week due to a death in the family. It wasn’t unexpected, but it came far too soon, and far too fast for those of us left behind. I’ll admit to being in a daze yet. I will greatly miss my brother-in-law. He was a good man, and his laugh was infectious.

While it’s so good to get together with far-flung family members and catch up with them, why does it seem to take a funeral to get together with the extended clan? My brother-in-law would have enjoyed the gathering we held in his honor. His absence was noticeable (duh! but still, I kept expecting to hear his voice, his laugh), and he was missed.

Rest in peace, Chuck.

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Writer’s Desk, 4/7

Caution: Writer in Action. Motion may be Slow. Please Expect Delays.

Out the window: In an oak branch, a female cardinal wrestles with a puff of Spanish moss, presumably for her nest. Warm and humid air flows in the open window, and sunlight does a dance with shadows of enormous white and gray clouds lumbering overhead. It may rain later, but it might go around us; either way, the afternoon feels heavy and the air sodden with the promise. Behind me, the dog is sprawled on the cool tile floor instead of the softer but warmer dog bed or rug.

On the desktop: A mug of water, already drained once today. My glasses case, open because my glasses keep getting smudged and smeary. And a list of the final scenes of the novel, slowly but surely getting marked off as I complete them. Only 5 are left!

Today’s Work-in-Progess: Obviously, the novel. I can nearly taste the ending, it’s so close. (Do you hear me humming in anticipation?)

After I finish today’s planned words, I am free to ‘play.’ I am planning a series of novella-length stories, and have the first one planned and roughly outlined. I need/want to finish the plan and outline of the second, and then begin and finish the third, before I start writing. More anticipatory humming…

And Another Couple of Things:  There’s news that I would absolutely love to share with you, but I can’t. I’m sorry. I promise that, as soon as it’s finalized, I will absolutely let you know. Until then, know that the words are trying to leak out around my tightly-pressed lips as I struggle to hold them in.

Also, Dasher is learning to swim. Right now, he swims rather like a rock. Fortunately, he is part boxer, and thus is stubborn and determined to “beat” the water, so he keeps coming back for more instead of running away. Now he can “swim” with me holding his harness up so his head doesn’t sink under the surface. This is considered good physical therapy for him, post-surgery. (Shhh, don’t tell him it’s good for him.) It’s good for me, too, as it makes me laugh and clap encouragement at the happy, soggy dog.

Here’s hoping your day brings such unexpected pleasures your way, too.

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Tidbits from Home

Dasher the dog had his 10-day suture check-up, and the surgeon is pleased with the results  so far. Which means that neither the dog nor I are dead, or maimed, from those days. This is certainly worth celebrating! Also, he’s off the painkillers whose side-effects included “seizures.” Since his development of seizures messed up the first surgery, and the second had to wait until the anti-seizure meds took full effect, repeating this painkiller for a week meant that no, I did not much sleep at night, waiting to hear the sounds of my dog seizing in his crate. (*shivers!* It’s a terrible thing!)  All in all, time for a mini-celebration, I think! Fortunately, the weather agrees, and Dasher is lying in the lanai, sunbathing and blissing out, while I type away in the shade here at the table. A pretty fair celebration, to my mind. :-)

In totally unrelated news, a Carolina wren has made a nest in the hanging basket spider plant on my front porch. I discovered this when I went to water the plant and something tiny rushed out,  scaring the tar outta me. Once I realized it was a bird, I climbed on a chair and peered inside the pot. The nest is woven over with a roof, and four tiny eggs rest inside. Now I need to figure out how to water the plant while not harming the eggs/babies, or peeving mama too much. (hint: suggestions welcome!)

At the farmers’ markets, the seasons are slowly changing. The lettuces are thinning, slowing down. The strawberries, which burst out early this year (or so I’m told), are still going strong, and the tomatoes are starting to appear. Even the varieties of oranges are changing, as the late-maturing ones replace those that ripened early and are now gone.

In my own garden, the lemon tree still clings to about a dozen growing, enlarging green fruits, and new blossoms are set to burst open into sweet-smelling delights soon. Tomatoes are growing tall and setting blossoms, while basil sprouts are still growing with extra care in a starting medium. My garden-bliss is waxing.

My writing is experiencing changes, as well. I’m close to the end of the first draft of “the novel that will not end.” Considering that this was meant to be a 90-day novel and, due to a great variety of reasons, turned into a year-long novel, this is a relief. It’s also, I continue to remind myself, not a failure. Most novels take time to write, especially as I had to fight my “short-story” tendencies. A novel is very different from a short story. Right now, I’m caught between the two, and it’s an uncomfortable place to be. Novels have always had my heart, but a good short story can resonate just as much as a longer work, and be so much faster to read (and, usually, to write).

And speaking of the novel, my characters are calling me to come, finish their story. They want to be out of the terrible place they’re in, and I want to free them from it, as well. For once, we’re in harmony. And the dog is drowsing.

Happy last day of March.

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Quick Update

I’ve been hopping here with Dasher’s recovery from a second patella surgery. Not fun; it’s a toss-up as to who will die first; me from worrying over the dog, or the dog when I kill him because he’s trying to do something stupid again. (Aargh! Good thing I think he’s cute!)

So, not much to say here. But I do want to draw your attention to this fundraiser for Earth & Sky.org. If you look over in my links, you’ll see Earth & Sky.org as one of the few that I link to. I get their daily email newsletter filled with fascinating things about our world and our universe. They’re currently hosting a one-month fundraiser. Yes, it’s already fully funded. They got there in one day(!!!), but I’m hoping they receive even more money, to expand and update even more. If you have some spare change, I hope you’ll join me in supporting them. And maybe spread the word to let their fundraiser grow.

Wish me patience. Dasher wants to play!!! (NO. You have to rest. Let the incision heal. Oh, please don’t whine. I’m sorry, pup…) Sigh.

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Sleeping Contortions

Just thought I’d share that my dog seems to enjoy sleeping in contortionist positions. Very odd, but he seems comfortable. Somehow.

sleepsweird1 sleepsweird2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, these weren’t “waking up stretches,” either. He stayed in these positions for quite awhile. That second one–it looks painful! Apparently not, but then again, he’s a dog; he enjoys licking his butt, too. ;-)

That’s all. Happy weekend.

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Payne’s Prairie on a Lively Day

My sister and brother-in-law visited recently, and my sister really wanted to see alligators. Off to Payne’s Prairie we went. It was sunny, in the low 80’s and climbing, and breezy, so I had hopes of seeing quite a few gators.

Going for a walk, gator style.

Going for a walk, gator style.

Postcard perfect!

Postcard perfect!

They did not fail us. We saw more gators at one time than I’d seen before, and they were very lively, leaping and splashing after…fishes? birds? frogs? Whatever, the air was filled with the shock of sudden splashes as gators darted after their prey. We saw gators cruising in the open waters, gators lurking in thick growth, gators next to other gators, and gators far from the crowds. One got up and went for went for a walk, showing off his long legs, even if at a distance (sorry the photos are grainy–camera phone).

 

As the afternoon wore on, some got lazier, sprawling in the sun on the banks. One decided to air out his teeth, posing just like a cheesy postcard image for us. Another alligator crept too close to us for comfort. He started eyeing us like dinner, and we beat a hasty retreat! He turned his head to follow us, and swam lazily in our direction, but thankfully didn’t climb the bank! It was startling to realize how quickly I went from “viewer” to “prey” without moving a step, and how my reactions changed just as swiftly.

Hmmm, do you taste good?

Hmmm, do you taste good?

 

 

We also managed to see two wild horses, many anhingas and moorhens, blue herons, egrets, and even a green heron. And, as we left, we spied a little bat hiding beside wasp tubes. Perfect! It was as if the wildlife were putting on a show for my sister’s visit.

bat

In writing news, I’m hoping to have good news to share with you soon. I can’t quite divulge it yet, but — fingers crossed — I will later this week or early next. Until then, stay warm!

 

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Sale News!

So, yeah. That got your attention, didn’t it? :-)

It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that my soft-SF flash story, “Blue Flame Burns the Hottest,” sold to Saturday Night Reader. (Warning: the site plays the sound of rain as soon as it loads. You may want to lower your volume or turn to mute if you’re in a public space.) It’s scheduled to appear on their site on Monday, May 25th, so I hope you’ll head over and check it out. Here on my blog, I’ll give a little extra tidbit about the story on publication day, so stay tuned.

In more good news, remember that wasp problem? Turns out, we may be in for a good solution to that, as well. It was pointed out that we’ve some gaps in our eaves that lead straight in to our attic (!!!–I know! This is insane!), and we are having them professionally filled with metal sheeting to exclude squirrels, etc, from clambering in and making their homes inside. And it turns out that one of these gaps is swarming with wasps. Which they are spraying to “subdue” before they seal up the gap. Presto–crazy wasp issue may be on the way to being solved! All because the extermination guy saw these gaps and suggested getting them filled. ^_^

And finally: it may be a touch quiet here for the next 10 or so days. My sister and her husband are coming to visit, and I’ll be busy being a human in the real world, and writing in the gaps. Which means that blogging and other online pursuits will take a back seat once more. When I return, I hope to have more fun things to share.

In the meantime, happy reading, and good writing!

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