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Archive for June, 2012

 

I have been DYING to announce this!  My story “Murder for Beginners” was accepted for John Skipp’s Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane.  Isn’t that fantastic?  You know what is even cooler?  This TOC.  Check it!

Jim Shepard
Edgar Allen Poe
Joan Aiken
Richard Connell
Ray Bradbury
Robert Bloch
Ed Kurtz
Laura Lee Bahr
William Gay
Thomas Harris
Jack Ketchum
Joe R. Lansdale
Mercedes M. Yardley
Steve Rasnic Tem
Lawerence Block
David J. Schow
Neil Gaiman
Leah Mann
Kevin L. Donihe
Leslianne Wilder
Bentley Little
Adam-Troy Castro
John Gorumba
Violet Lavoit
Christopher Coake
John Boden
Scott Bradley and Peter Giglio
Cody Goodfellow
Weston Ochse
Amelia Beamer
Elizabeth Massie
Nick Mamatas
Simon McCaffery
Mehitobel Wilson
Brian Hodge
Robert Devereaux
Kathe Koja

I die a thousand joyful deaths.  Hooray!

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Oh my dear friends! I have been away from home for two weeks. TWO WEEKS. It was awesome, and pictures are to come. But last night I was lightening my book collection (my hometown library is getting a new horror section, hooray!) and I found my yearbooks.  What a delight!  I was surprised at how much I had forgotten.  But here are two (grainy) pictures that I found.

This was me in a play. Told you I was blonde. And apparently angry.

And this is a picture of Cyborg Superman that my friend drew and gave me as I graduated.  It’s incredible.

I would LOVE to see what everybody looked like in school.  Do you have any pictures to share?  It’ll be like an online slumber party!

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You know how you get together with your buddies, or your church group, or your motorcycle gang, or whoever, and you make clothes/dolls/blankets/kits for sick kids in hospitals?

Yeah, I do those things.  And I have received these things.  Because hospitals and I, we’re like THIS, yo.  I know pretty much know where every Coke machine is in every hospital from here to Poughkeepsie. (Except that I don’t know where Poughkeepsie is.  Oh, thank you, Internet! It apparently has a flash flood warning at the moment.  Be safe, Poughkeepsie!)

I want to thank everybody who takes the time to do such awesome service projects.  We recently received a handmade blanket from a group of women back east.  It made it all the way to Vegas.  I emailed them to thank them, but I want to show you the darling little thing here.  It doesn’t take much to do something for somebody else, but it can really make a difference.  Let’s pay it forward!

*UPDATE*

I just received a reply to my thank you letter, and the building where these blankets were kept was lost in the fires.  They also lost the memory book of thank you letters that people have sent in.  They’re starting over completely from scratch, but the amazing thing is that they are indeed starting over.

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It’s been a year today since our little girls were born.  Today we celebrated Lilia’s birthday (yay!) and I also fiercely missed Seija and Daisy.  But it was a wonderful day filled with happiness.  Yesterday I picked up the girls’ headstone, and isn’t it beautiful?  I think it’s sweet and cheery.  It’s sitting in the back of my vehicle, ready to be put in. We’ll do that later this week.

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

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It’s easy to weary of the traditional fae in literature.  They’re gorgeous, ephemeral little things with delicate wings.  While such ethereality can be charming in small doses, I would prefer fae with more bite.  A little more teeth.  And a lot more rock and roll.

Then Red Tash’s Troll or Derby came blowing through the doors and my prayers were answered.  Enter Roller Deb, a normal (?) girl with a fierce love for skating.  We’re introduced to 15-year-old Deb when she’s trying to rush into a flaming trailer to save her drugged-out beauty pageant sister.  If this scenario doesn’t give you a taste of the delightful quirk that you’ll find in Troll or Derby, I don’t know what does.  Deb is picked on by her white trash mother and her redneck jock schoolmates.  The only place she truly belongs is on the rink. We meet skating coaches with tusks, a troll who smells of sunshine, and fae doing roller derby.

That’s right.  Fairies on skates.  They’re not doing cute little figure eights in dreamy skirts, either.  They’re tearing up the track in a roller derby bout that makes the blood run cold.  Oh, and blood?   Lots of it.  Wings rip off, limbs go flying, and heads literally roll.

Tash does a fantastic job of turning every otherworldly stereotype on their head. Deb lives in a world of Skater Boi Leprechauns and fairy glamour. Tash’s writing is also smart and funny.  I nearly choked on my Coke when I reached the line describing an Amish buggy colliding with a bunch of school kids on a hayride.  She said, “Blood and flannel and black hats were everywhere.” I nearly felt guilty laughing.

This book has it all.  Prophecies.  Destinies.  Royalty, trust, revenge. Sex, drugs,  and rock and roll are doused in humor and lit ablaze with quirky snark.   I blew through this book incredibly fast because I couldn’t put it down.  If you want a solid, fun read, then pick up Red Tash’s Troll or Derby. 

 

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We all have those days when we’re charged with creative energy.  We’re atomic bombs of energy, split nuclear atoms of joy!  These are the days that we call off dinner with friends because we’re writing. We stay up in the middle of the night. We blow through three chapters, call ourselves geniuses, and then drop into bed.

Then there are the other days.  I’m not talking about days where we’re merely distracted or disinterested.  I’m talking about the darker, deeper days when we’re ill.  Or nail-bitingly anxious.  Or depressed.  Taking a day off or two is no big problem, but those days could easily turn into weeks or even months.  And if you’re trying to forge ahead with your dreams, two months of no writing is going to catch up with you.  You’ll see your momentum backslide.  Worse than that, you’ll hear that nasty, negative little voice that says you aren’t good enough. You don’t take your craft seriously enough, you don’t work hard enough.  Your hair isn’t shiny enough (or is that just my negative little voice?) and your commitments are building up on you, becoming more than you can manage.  If you’re sick/depressed/stressed/otherwise incapacitated, this buildup is the last thing that you need.  The more stress, the more negativity. The more negativity, the less get-up-and-go you’ll find in yourself.  And a writer without get-up-and-go is a stalled, unhappy writer.

Yeah, I’m there.  I’m frustrated that I don’t have the energy to work as hard and as efficiently as I used to.  But throwing my arms helplessly in the air only made things worse.  Instead, I have devised a plan using my trusty timer.

15 minutes a day on a project.  That’s all.

If I want to do more than that, great.  If I get inspired, even better! If I do 15 minutes on a few different projects, I’ll laud myself as a goddess.  But 15 minutes is my minimum.  It’s short enough that I’m not overwhelmed by it, but long enough that I can get to work on something.  Getting started is the hardest part for me, and once I’m going, I’m usually going for longer than my 15.   But if I plan for 15 minutes, and give myself a mental high-five when I complete it, then life goes a lot smoother.

Do you have any motivational tricks techniques that you use to keep yourself working even when you don’t feel like it?

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Went to a super baby sale today.  It was insane.  Spent two hours in line.  Sure, I made a killing on children’s clothes, but it took all of my willpower not to knock everybody down and eat them.  Cuz, well, I was hungry.  And the line was loooooong.

Here it was outside:

And then it snaked around inside.

Never again, says I! Or maybe. I dunno.  They had super adorable ruffle bottoms for babies.  I’m easily bought.

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Familiar with Ryan?  Search for “Shock Totem Drinking Game” and you’ll learn everything you need to know. He critiqued an old story of mine that was apparently so boring that he needed to jazz it up.

“What are you?” indeed.

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See these glasses?  Once upon a time, back when the world was young and Da Man and I were newly married, he was a member of Sigma Chi.  We went to the formal and got these awesome glasses.  A few weeks ago, they were filled with Coke Zero as my Angry Ginger friend and I celebrated AN OFFER FOR MY FIRST NOVEL!  I can’t tell you how excited I was! It came out of the blue.  It was flattering.  It was thrilling.

It wasn’t right.  After discussing the decision with my agent (who rocks), we decided that ultimately we didn’t feel that this deal was for us.  So we wished the company well (darling, charming company!) and passed.

I’m happy to have the offer, of course. It was extremely validating.  I’m also happy to have an agent who has my best interests at heart and is savvy about the industry.  (I mean, I was looking at the percentages and thinking, “Is this a good offer?  A bad offer? What are allthesenumbersohmygosh!”  I had no clue what a standard offer is.) But most of all, I’m proud of myself for having the confidence to say, “You know, I think I’ll wait on this.  Thank you so much, though!”  It’s tough not to take the offer because it WAS AN OFFER, YAY!  But I made the right decision to pass on it, and it feels fantastic to have no regrets.

Now back to those glasses.  You know how much Coke those suckers hold?  A LOT.

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