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.

Posted in Personal Life, research, signal boosting | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Personal Life, plain silliness | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Nature, Personal Life, publication | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Sting Operations?

Another week has managed to creep by without my noticing it except in the number of times I sleep and the number of words I’ve written–or not written. Since Monday of this week, every time I sit down to write, something unexpected interrupts. Yesterday, it was the “Attack of the Wasps.”

waspsYes, wasps. Paper wasps are all over the sides and eaves of our house, looking for good places to build more nests. I really don’t like poisons, but I can’t have these aggressive things (and yes, these are aggressive) so close to where I and the dog walk and garden. They don’t much like visitors, and they make that quite clear. So I’ve sprayed their chosen abodes with wasp spray, and they go make more, a few feet or so away. sigh.

I sprayed again yesterday, then went out the front door to take the dog on his walk. I opened the door, and in flew the biggest, baddest paper wasp! Before I could slam the door, it flew right at me and into the front room. I sprang away, pulling the dog with me. Then I went for the flyswatter to dispatch the beast.

Unfortunately, poor Dasher apparently has had some trauma with flyswatters (and rolled newspapers), because swatting things makes him run and hide, and cower, then look hang-dog and conciliatory when I track him down afterwards. (I really, really hate my dog cowering from me.)  So after killing the wasp, I spent long minutes praising him, petting him, consoling him that I’ll never, ever swat him. Only bad bugs.

Then I spent time looking up exactly what kind of wasps these are, and I came across this video. OK, panic time. Now I’m freaking out every time I see a wasp. Gah! I think it’s time for a wasp-related dark fantasy or horror story, don’t you? But I’m not sure I could do much worse than that video…//shudders//

In better news, yesterday I did get a number of short stories edited and submitted before the whole wasp incident ate my day and sanity (well, what little sanity I have ;-) ). So I’m back up to “more than 6″ submissions out at once. Hurray!

And in the best news, today I actually wrote more than expected, with no nasty interruption derailing the process. I finished out that scene and chapter, and feel really good about the whole thing just now. Super hurray!

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Dasher’s Birthday

DashDay15

Yesterday we celebrated Dasher’s birthday. He’s now unofficially (since we have no idea of his actual birth date) one year old, and no longer a puppy. Don’t tell him that, though. He still acts crazy and playful as the day we brought him home.

How did we celebrate? With a ball at the field and plenty of water to cool off with, a canine cupcake, a long walk with both his people, and lots and lots of playing. He slept really, really well–both in the afternoon and all night long! :-)

Today it’s back to the same old routine–morning walk, then Mary writes while Dasher bounces a toy into her leg until she tosses it.  Uh-huh, so conducive to writing–NOT! Eventually he gives up and naps, and I get some actual words on the page. I’m writing on the novel, and editing up a couple short stories, bouncing between one project and another as my brain hits various walls. So far, it’s working.

Last week I wrote out the final steps of the outline for my novel. You know, those last few bits, how that confrontation will play out, exactly, and the final acts as well. How does the novel say “goodbye” to the reader, what is the final scene, the last line, the last glimpse. It felt strange to write that, even in “outline” form. It was a combination of wonderful, liberating, and unsettling. As much as I’ve groused about this becoming the novel that will not end, I can see the ending clearly, and I’m…feeling a little nostalgic about it. Ye-eah, how crazy is that?

Friday I got to help a fellow VP 17er play with her novel, trouble-shooting the outline in a couple areas to find plausible ways through the plot. It was a whole lotta fun to throw trouble at someone else’s characters, to make it as hard as possible for them, and to make journeying through the plot believable without being too easy, or without other ripple-effect changes swaying it off-course. It also opened my eyes to how to do that to my own, dear characters–pretend they’re not mine and have at it!

Which is another reason that, if you haven’t already, you should be considering applying to Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop.  The most-reduced applications are through March 31st, but you can apply until the June 15th deadline, for this fall’s weeklong workshop.

That’s about all the news here. Writing is happening. Stay warm if you’re in the snowy northlands. Why not write a story set in the tropics to warm up?

Posted in Personal Life, Viable Paradise, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Writer’s Desk, 2/16

Since my mind is a blank, I’ll show you my desk.

Out the window: Strong breezes rattle the lady palm, making it sound like soft rainfall. Further off, dangling Spanish moss sways and dances from the oaks’ limbs. Earlier it was partly sunny, but now it’s mostly clouds, in preparation for tomorrow’s (very welcome) rains. As yet, it’s warm (about 70), but cooling quickly. Which is making me sad.

On the desktop: A sprawl of papers and maps and notes. A written list of blog topics to write about, should the brain go numb for too long.  A cup of Japanese green tea, and the remains of a gluten-free apple cinnamon  toaster pastry (cinnamon-mmmmmm!). Beside the desk, the dog is curled into his bed, sleeping snugly.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: First, a bit on the novel. I need to finish off this scene, and segue into the next. As the tension ramps up, I’m finding there’s less I can do in a single sitting. I have to get up, move around, release some adrenaline in some way, before I come back and try it again. (Or, in some cases, get distracted by something that absolutely needs to be done at this very moment or the world will end–AKA, cat vacuuming.)

Then I want to edit a short story written last month. It isn’t working as it reads now, and I think I know why–but I want to be sure before I chop and hack it up. This may be a slower edit than I’d like. Heh. What else is new?

And Another Thing:  There’s a new feature over at Fantasy Scroll Magazine. A podcast! The first episode is “The City Dreams of Bird-Men” by Emily B. Cataneo, and is read by Rachel Aronov. I think it’s well done, and well narrated. What say you?

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Writing Update, February 2015

It’s been awhile since I’ve been posting here regularly. The dog’s health and other family matters, along with my own writing, have been great distractions from this place. I hope that I’m safe in saying I’m back to more regular blogging here. Cross your fingers for me on this?

While I haven’t been here, I have been busy. In five weeks I’ve managed to write six supposedly-flash stories. “Supposedly” because, while I shoe-horned them into 750 words or less (as the contest required), my feedback was regularly that the stories “need more words.” Proof of two things: my utter distraction, and my struggle to write good, solid flash fiction. (If you write flash well and easily, I admire and slightly envy you!)

These stories will be edited and lengthened in the coming weeks, and with luck will be making submission rounds shortly thereafter. That, too, will be a good thing. My current submissions have fallen to an embarrassingly low number. I needed to restock that well.

I have not been writing on the novel. I know, I know! But let me assure you that I’m back at it now, and it feels really, really good to be there again. While the new dog was having surgery and seizures and such, the novel became too much for my sleep-deprived brain to deal with. Ergo, flash fiction writing. Fast, fun and quick writing–all things my brain craved.

In addition, I’ve been spending more time both outdoors, doing piddly bits of gardening as the weather allows, and in the kitchen. Dasher the dog enjoys being around me when I’m doing either. In the garden, he can chew pine bark mulch and chase tiny lizards into hiding. In the kitchen, as food is prepared he dreams and hopes for bits to come his way, and it sometimes does. We’ve discovered that he thinks ice cubes are like gifts from the gods, all crunchy and cool and fantastically fun. Um, okay–really cheap treats. Also, I’ve started dehydrating sweet potatoes slices and storing them in the freezer, and he thinks these are even better than ice cubes, if perhaps eaten quicker. At farm market prices, these are a great bargain, too.

Just after the new year, I purchased one of those small foam pads for kitchen use. This one is just large enough for a person to stand on, and is intended for those at a standing desk. Well, my kitchen has a raised bar, just the right height. With this padding my feet from the hard tile-over-concrete floor, I now have a “standing desk” in my kitchen that disappears in a flash. Except…the dog likes the pad, too, and tries to curl onto it around my feet. Sigh. Don’t even try coming back after a bathroom break–he’ll have taken it over. Then I clean up and go back to the “sitting desk” in the other room. Ah, well. I did want canine companionship; I’m getting it in spades! (And–really–loving it.)

Wait, what was that sound? Ah, it’s the novel, calling me. Whispering a sweet, come-hither song into my ear. I’m off now, into another world. One day, I hope I can share it with you. Until then, happy reading, and happy writing.

Posted in Magic of the Everyday, Personal Life, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments