Mar 26

Things you really don’t want to hear from your kid: #351

“Mommy, can you help me finish cutting my hair?”

Fortunately, she asked for this help after cutting just one chunk off, otherwise she’d have ended up with a chin-length bob. Yeesh. I briefly debated attempting to even it out and fix it myself, but then decided I would probably only make it worse. So, she’s going to school today with uneven hair and I’ll take her to her “usual” hairdresser this afternoon. (So much for this afternoon’s writing time! Good thing my daughter is cute.)

Needless to say, we had a long conversation about how you never ever cut your own hair.


Mar 25

Paradigm shift

I’m going through an odd shift in my entire way of looking at things. I’ve been in the I want to be a writer/I’m working hard to be a writer/I want to get published mode for so long, that now that my mode has abruptly shifted to I am a writer and I’m going to be published by people with checkbooks I find myself having to adjust my entire way of thinking. Now I can seriously consider hiring a part-time babysitter to pick my daughter up from daycare—which would buy me another 45 of writing time without cutting too drastically into quality time with her. Now I don’t feel quite so insane for starting my day at 4:30am to take care of exercise/house cleaning/laundry so that I have free time later in the day. Now my husband and I can have a serious and thoughtful talk about time vs. money and make plans for when it might be prudent to adjust my work hours to give me more time for writing.

I know, I know, I’ve heard, “Don’t quit your day job!” ad nauseum, but there comes a point where time is a far more valuable commodity than money. I’d rather cut back financially then cut out time with my family.

Mar 21

And more awesome news!

My very excellent pal, Daniel Abraham, has made the Hugo Ballot for Best Novelette! Rock On!

And, Codex cohort Mary Robinette Kowal is on the final ballot for the John W. Campbell award for best new science fiction writer!

This has been a really terrific week!

Mar 21

Yeah, still pretty jazzed

Huge thanks to everyone who has posted congrats (and also to those of you who didn’t post it and who merely thought it, and even to those who gnashed their teeth in envy and shook their fist at the skies and shouted, “Why her and not me? Why her books and not mine?! WHY?!” because, you know, I’ve totally been there and I get it. Seriously.)

My to do list has suddenly changed for the next few months. A few days ago I was making great progress toward my goal of having the thriller draft finished up by the end of April, but now I have an honest-to-frickin-god deadline imposed by someone other than me to finish up the second book in the demon series. Backed up with the threat of money. How cool is that!! And the other cool thing is that book 2 is 90% done already! (Actually my first deadline is for the revisions to Book1, but until I get my editorial letter I’m going to jam on the sequel for a while.)

I’m also still trying to come up with a decent ‘name’ for the series. I’ve tried out The Demon Chronicles, but that really doesn’t capture the police-procedural aspect of it. Must. Ponder.

So, for those of you wondering about the books, here is the summary of Mark of the Demon that I put in my query letter to my agent:

Kara Gillian is a homicide detective with the rare ability to summon demons–a talent that becomes unexpectedly crucial to her investigation of a series of murders in the small town of Gallardo, Louisiana. Kara soon realizes that the killer is also a summoner, one who is seeking to gather enough arcane potential to summon and bind a Demonic Lord in order to gain nearly unlimited power. However, Kara has her own unexpected and intimate encounter with this Demonic Lord, and is–not so willingly–marked as the Lord’s own. With the aid of an FBI agent who might be more than he seems, Kara must stop the killer and keep the Demonic Lord from being summoned, all while defying the same Lord’s demands that she call him to this sphere–an act that would make the phrase, “Hell on Earth,” seem tame

I also need to do some major updating/improving of my website, though I did carve time out this morning to change my “Projects” page to show that MOTD had sold.

Yeah, I’m still swimming happily in the utter coolness of it all.

Mar 20

The emotional anatomy of an offer

Since my agent had begun submitting my novel many moons ago (thought it felt like many years!) I had plenty of time to run through imaginary scenarios, everything from how I would react if/when my agent called with an offer, to how I would react if/when my agent called to tell me that he’d made a colossal mistake in offering me representation and had been under the impression that I was actually an expert in Japanese business etiquette.

In the first scenario I imagined that I would react with a heady dose of pleased excitement… but let me back up a moment. Shortly after the book went out on submission, I programmed my agent’s phone number into my cell phone, and made sure to give it a very distinctive ring tone so that I would perhaps have a few seconds to collect my thoughts and the like. Anyway, back to the pleased excitement. I imagined that I would have the expected measures of exultation and pride, that I would ask my agent cogent and professional questions about the offer, and then after concluding the conversation I might then share the news with my coworkers, but would more likely wait until a deal was completed, just to be safe.

I discovered that it was much like imagining what an orgasm might feel like before ever experiencing an orgasm.

First off, the number that I had programmed for my agent was apparently for his direct extension, and when he called the number showed as what I’m guessing is the main line for the agency. So, not only did I not get my special ringtone alert, but I didn’t even recognize the number and stared at it for a couple of rings wondering where the heck a 212 area code was from. But I went ahead and answered it, and it was my agent, sounding like he was in very high spirits. He cut right to the chase and told me that he had an offer, from whom, and for how much.

At that point my brain turned into mush. He might have said something about giving my first born child to the Purple Frog God that lives beneath Manhattan for all I was aware. My carefully rehearsed cogent and professional questions went up in smoke, and I began to emit a high pitched squealing tone while drumming my feet in a staccato that was loud enough for all of my coworkers to pop out of their cubicles to see what the hell was wrong with me. My agent said some more stuff that I have zero recollection of, then concluded the call, no doubt wondering why his phone was making that strange high-pitched noise.

Upon hanging up, I threw the “don’t say anything to coworkers just yet” plan right out the window, and instead starting jumping up and down and screeching at the top of my lungs about books and offers and publishers. They offered congratulations, but I could see the fear in their eyes, the caution that one uses when dealing with the emotionally unstable.

I ran outside to call my husband, and after three tries at making myself understood I somehow managed to calm down enough to give him the details (or at least the ones I remembered.) After I hung up with him (or perhaps on him, I am still not very clear about that) I returned inside and informed my supervisor that I was going to be pretty useless the rest of the day and could I take a couple of hours of leave. She agreed quite readily, no doubt thinking that all in the office would be safer if I departed the premises.

I called the rest of my family, and then called the very close friends, and then called the not-so-close friends, and then started scrolling through the contacts in my phone to see who else I could call. I briefly debated calling the AT&T representative who had configured the DSL in our office last year, but finally decided that it would probably take too long to remind him just who the hell I was.

I may have accosted some strangers along the way too. Not too sure.

But, by the next day I had calmed down to sane(r) levels, and managed to write an email to my agent with various questions. He responded quickly with answers to my questions, but he started the email with “I got the deal up to [more money.] Are you okay with that?”

Um. Uh. Yeah. Yeah. Cool with that. Frosty Cool.

Around mid-afternoon I received the email telling me that it was all official. A few minutes later I received a call from my editor. Just to show how much of a fog my brain was still in, I still didn’t make the connection to 212 and New York, and was thus caught quite unawares by the call and managed to give a stellar impression of a babbling idiot. Yes, those first impressions are key, and I’m sure that she is even now wondering how to face the challenge of molding a socially-retarded lump into someone who can speak in complete sentences.

But now, nearly 48 hours after that first call, I think I have regained my lost IQ points and have managed to accept—for the most part—that it really happened. There’s still a tiny part of me that thinks that perhaps I’m in some inexplicable coma and am having a really fascinating extended dream. If such is the case, I hope that I will at least sleep long enough to see it hit the shelves.

And if I’m not in a coma? Well, then it’s just too cool for words.

Mar 18

Still pinching myself

It’s official. Bantam is buying the first two books in my demon detective series: Mark of the Demon and Blood of the Demon.


Mar 10

Lair pic

The lair in progress;

Mar 10

The Lair takes shape

I finally had the chance this weekend to start getting the Lair set up. I managed to get a fair amount of stuff up into it by virtue of the creaky and dangerous elevator (which I rode up once and then vowed to never do so again,) but more sizable items such as my desk and chair required a trip to the hardware store for a pulley. (I was hoping to buy a block and tackle, but damned if I can find a place that sells them locally.) Fortunately my desk is not heavy and the single pulley was sufficient. (I’ll hopefully get some pics up soon.)

So now I have a seriously cool writing space! This is an extra good thing since I started a new book a few days ago, something quite a bit different from my usual writing (and far more mainstream) but so far really cool and interesting and which definitely draws on my experiences in law enforcement. And to add to the coolness, I managed to put down almost 6k words over the weekend. Go me!

Mar 5

Running, TV, and the One Gamer to Rule Them All

It was frickin’ COLD this morning, as in low-thirties, and before any of you northern types roll your eyes, please remember that I live in the Deep South, and the reason that I live in the Deep South and endure the summers here is because I Hate Being Cold.

But despite it being frickin’ cold, I managed to run three miles this morning, which is the farthest I’ve run in a while. I’d taken a bit of a hiatus from running/exercising/eating right/anything healthy at all during the combined crush of the holidays and the house-buying hell. As a result many of the pounds that I had shed prior to going to World Fantasy managed to find their way back onto my not-so-svelte frame. (Hence the reason I forced myself to go running at insanely-early o’clock in frickin’ cold temperatures.) One thing I really love about our new neighborhood is that it’s sprawling enough that it’s easy to map out a nice variety of running routes of varying distances. Plus, I don’t have to get in the car and drive anywhere to go run, which is what I had to do in our old subdivision. The only negative about this neighborhood is that there are no streetlights, so any light on the street comes from people’s porch lights which may or may not be on. And, since I run at insanely-early o’clock (when the stars are still out), I’m often placing a lot of faith in the quality of the roads. (I’ve considered running with some sort of light, but I can’t think of any method that wouldn’t be more trouble than it’s worth.)


I watched New Amsterdam last night. (Stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers.) I had high hopes for the show after seeing the previews, but I ended up being pretty disappointed. The basic concept is cool—homicide detective in New York who’s been around for several hundred years and can’t die—but the execution of that concept had some major flaws. I thought that the “finding the one true love” angle placed a big whopping limitation on the series as a whole. Okay, so he spends his time looking for this chick, and what happens when he finds her? He either starts aging, which would mean the end of the series, or he loses her again, which would bring the whole darn thing back to square one. But more importantly than that, I was severely disappointed in the police procedures, which were Heinously and Egregiously Inaccurate. Oh holy shit but can anyone else see the many problems with the whole business of allowing the suspect-in-custody to get away in order to “reveal the true killer?” Okay, so the gun wasn’t loaded, but what if he’d started beating the crap out of the guy? Or pushed him off of the balcony? (Which is what I thought was going to happen!) Plus, any sort of admission made by the “real killer” would never in a billion jillion years be admissable since it was pretty darn clearly under high duress. (Hello, gun pointed at my head!) By this time in the show I had a headache from all of my eye-rolling. Anyway, I guess what bugged me the most about it was the fact that it IS a good concept, and they could have done some seriously neat stuff with it, and instead they made it stupid. Bummer.


And, Gary Gygax has gone to the great gaming table in the sky. Thanks for giving us the chance to live so many adventures.

Mar 1

Movies I’ve seen and my opinions of same

We almost never get the chance to actually GO to a movie theater, but we’ve been doing more buying and renting (Yay, Netflix!) of movies lately.

Michael Clayton. I liked the movie because of the incredible character portrayals. Every single character in it was believable and flawed and I could even sympathize with the characters who were doing Bad Things. I could totally understand why they felt that they had to do these Bad Things. Also, there was definable growth and change in the characters and it was fascinating to see how the interaction between the characters brought about that change. The plot and story were… adequate, and there were several strings left hanging at the end with one big old McGuffin that I really wanted more explanation of. So, the movie overall isn’t utterly fantastic, but it’s still very much worth seeing for the experience of sinking into the lives and emotions of the characters.

In the Valley of Elah. One hell of an anti-war movie, and really chilling in its depiction of the impact of war on these young men and women who are thrust into that world. Charlize Theron continues to impress the heck out of me with her incredible versatility. Tommy Lee Jones is a powerful actor, but I can’t help but feel that his mannerisms and vocal inflections are exactly the same in every movie he does. The movie is slow in spots, and I found it a bit hard to believe that Jones’ character was sooooo good at figuring out details of the investigation, but it was still a powerful, albeit depressing, movie that will definitely leave you thinking about it for a while.

Stardust Loved it! Neil Gaiman. Nuff said.

Evan Almighty I actually saw this for the first time on the plane to WFC last year and really enjoyed it. It got panned by critics who were comparing it to Bruce Almighty, but I think that’s like comparing Apples to Oranges. Sure, it’s a “sequel” but the fell of it is completely different. Jim Carrey is so much more of a clown compared to Steve Carel’s comic stylings. Moreover, this movie had a really cool feel-good message that I found charming.

As usual, there are several movies currently in the theaters that I’d like to see, especially Juno, but we’ll have to score some babysitters first. One movie I doubt I’ll go see is Jumper, mostly because I read the original book many years and loved it, and it became one of my favorite books. But from what I’ve read about it online, apparently, the movie storyline has approximately zero resemblance to the original and that just breaks my heart. If either of my loyal readers have read the book and seen the movie, please let me know your opinion.