Apr 30

Today’s moment of utter coolness

From Publisher’s Marketplace:

Diana Rowland’s MARK OF THE DEMON, about cops, demons, and a homicide detective whose supernatural powers get her caught between them, to Anne Groell at Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal, by Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World).

Apr 28

I seldom have the time to post daily entries lately, so instead my loyal readers (both of you) will get to read a long rambling post consisting of all of the various topics that I’ve meant to blog about over the past week or so. I know. You’re excited. Try to contain your glee.


The spawn of my loins turned 4 this past Saturday. In traditional ritual celebration of the event, I chose to torture myself by inviting several spawn of other people’s loins to our house in order to enjoy a house full of over-sugared and over-stimulated spawn. Fortunately, said self-torture lasted only a couple of hours. My spawn enjoyed herself tremendously, all of the various spawn enjoyed the enormous blow-up jumpy thing we’d rented, and the parents of the spawn were all pleased that the event did not last overly long.

(Jack and I have now attended enough children’s parties that we’ve learned that one of the tricks to surviving that sort of thing is to NOT wait until the kids are tired/overstimulated/oversugared to do the cake/presents stuff. We started at 2, did cake/presents at 3, and by 4 the parents were gratefully bundling their bundles of joy off to their homes.)

In other equally exciting news, I’ve been having a great deal of trouble keeping up with my running lately thanks to an extremely persistent case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I’ve been through all the “home remedy” options (i.e. stretching, icing, anti-inflammatories, insoles,) and thought I had it conquered—especially when I had my forced 3-week layoff from running thanks to my gallbladder issue. But it came right back with a vengeance the first time I ran again. So, in the spirit of taking it to the next level, I bought higher-quality orthotic insoles, and I’m laying off the running again until I can go across the lake to the specialty running-shoe store where I can get professionally fitted for shoes. (Yes, seeing a doctor will be the next step, but I want to see someone who actually specializes in sports medicine so I won’t get the, “Stop running, wear insoles, ice your feet,” line. Yeah, been there. Now do something for me I can’t do for myself.)

And I’ve discovered something odd about myself. I actually like running. Oh, I know, what I call running would be heartily sneered at by purists. I mean, my pace is slightly over 11 minutes/mile fer cryin’ out loud and my weekly distance almost never tops twenty miles. But I try and go out at least three times a week, I don’t stop to walk, and I keep moving for 4-5 miles (and if my feet would ever frickin’ heal up I’d like to increase that distance considerably.) But on days when I run first thing in the morning, I feel good and really charged up for the rest of the day. It also gives me about 45 minutes of brain-clearing time which has proven to be valuable when I’m stuck with something in my writing. And, I’ve started to notice that those times when I lay off of the running either due to laziness or injury, my mood suffers a noticeable downturn (and the size of my ass suffers a significant upturn!)

So, as a stopgap measure, I bought a bicycle yesterday. It’s nothing fancy—just a mid-range bike for riding around the neighborhood. I bought two headlights (since I do my exercise long before sunrise) and a semi-fancy odometer/speedometer thingy, and this morning I strapped on my helmet and biked a measly 4 miles. And I learned a few things:

1) I haven’t done any serious (or even semi-serious) bike riding for about twenty years or so, and even though it comes back to you pretty quickly, I still nearly wiped out when I attempted to signal a turn with my left hand. Never let it be said that I am coordinated.

2) When it’s really dark, I can’t see the semi-fancy odometer/speedometer thingy which renders it pretty useless.

3) I’m probably going to need to do about triple the distance of my runs to get the same effect as far as caloric burn goes.

4) I really really need to learn how to shift.

Apr 22

He sighed softly, then slowly looked at me and nodded quietly. I shook my head.

I haven’t received my official revision letter yet from my editor for Mark of the Demon, but I’ve been working my way through the manuscript, focusing on some of the plot issues she mentioned when we spoke on the phone. This is the first time I’ve read through the manuscript since it went on submission last August, and oh-my-goodness am I ever seeing it in a new light! I don’t know if my writing has improved that much since then (though I have been writing a LOT,) or if the elapsed time is giving me new perspective, but let’s just say that I’ve been doing a unspeakably large number of line edits. I’d never quite realized just how deep my love of adverbs and “stage directions” ran. Out of curiosity I ran a search through the manuscript and found 172 instances where someone looked at someone or something, 99 sighs, 81 noddeds, 80 times that something was done softly, 69 times that it was done slowly, and 88 instances of someone shaking his/her head.

Oh. My. God.

I can only take heart in the fact that at least now I am aware of such things and will be far more careful about avoiding them in the future. And, that the title of this entry does not actually appear anywhere in the manuscript.

But for now I need to go buy some more red pens.

Apr 10

Soon I will be able to see through walls

I woke up last Saturday feeling kinda puny, with a bit of an achy stomach and discomfort radiating through to my back as the day progressed. The usual antacid-type remedies did nothing to help, and by the evening I was in actual pain. I tried sleeping in bed, but couldn’t find a comfortable position and ended up retreating out to the recliner, where I still couldn’t get comfortable but at least I wasn’t waking my husband up with my tossing and (at this point) my whimpering. I tried to tough it out throughout the night (fairly positive that it wasn’t my appendix due to the location of the pain), but somewhere around 5am I woke Jack up and told I needed to go to the ER.

We bundled a sleepy Anna up into the car and headed to the ER. Jack called his son who met us up there and took Anna back to his house, which made life much easier. I was eventually taken to a room, gave about five vials of blood to the lab gods, was given an IV, some anti-nausea meds (though I wasn’t really nauseated), a PPI injection and some other drugs which really didn’t do a whole lot to ease the pain. Unfortunately there had been a serious motor vehicle accident around the time I came in, so I wasn’t exactly a top priority. A doctor came in and prodded me for a few seconds and informed me that since all of my blood tests had come back perfectly clean I was suffering from “gastritis.” (Translated: “You have a tummy ache and you’re a big weenie and you’re wasting my time.” Though at least it was delivered in a very nice manner.) Finally a nurse came in, and when she asked me what my pain level was on a 1 to 10 scale, I informed her that my pain was about a 7. (I swear, I’m really not a weenie!) She finally brought me in this obnoxious concoction of Maalox and lidocaine and god only knows what else. It was nasty, but it did finally knock the pain down a couple of notches. I was then informed that I would need to see my own doctor or a gastroenterologist if I wanted any more tests run, and was kindly released.

Still felt like crap for the next couple of days, but at least the major pain seemed to be over. Tuesday I went back to work, and took advantage of the benefit of working for a doctor–i.e. asked for an appointment, and after mentioning the trip to the ER was in a room five minutes later. Doc listened to my symptoms, prodded me and stated that he was fairly certain that it was my gallbladder**, and I’d probably passed a stone (and he might have muttered darkly about the ER not doing an ultrasound.) He ordered an ultrasound for me, but it came up clean, so the next step was a HIDA scan.

That was this morning’s adventure. I’d never had this sort of scan before, and after doing the usual google search on the procedure, I felt fairly familiar with what was ahead of me.

Google didn’t do it justice. The first step in the procedure involves being injected with a radioactive dye. Simple thing, except that they bring it out in this large lead pipe-like container. (I couldn’t help but think that if this was a proper science fiction movie, the lead container would be chrome-plated and would have some glowing blue and green lights, and would open with a soft hiss. Instead it’s just an ugly drab yellow pipe like a frickin’ pipe-bomb. Plus, the hypodermic needle itself was very small, and the amount of stuff injected didn’t seem enough to warrant the big lead pipe.) I then got to lie on a very narrow padded bench and a big x-ray thingy whirred into place over my gut.

This is when it got dangerous, and where google failed to warn me. For the next hour I was x-rayed, about once a minute. The position of the machine was such that it was impossible to do anything (like read) for the hour, and I nearly died of boredom. Seriously. It was touch and go.

Eventually the hour was up, and I was given a glass of milk and told to wait 40 minutes, which was very welcome because a) I was starving since this procedure was one of those no-food-after-midnight things, and b) the guy gave me chocolate milke after I asked him nicely and informed him that white milk is the nastiest substance on earth (he agreed) and c) this portion of the waiting was in the waiting room where I was able to read to pass the time. Finally the milk had traveled far enough through my digestive system and I was brought back in for more scanning, but this only took a few minutes and I was subsequently released.

And now, after being injected with a radioactive substance and being repeatedly bombarded with more radiation, I am eagerly awaiting my new mutant superpowers. I just hope it’s something cool. Like telekinesis, or invulnerability. With my luck I’ll get something lame, like the ability to see dirty dishes from three rooms away.

**The last time I had an “attack” of stomach pain, my sister insisted that it was my gallbladder, so she was very pleased to hear that another doctor agreed with her assessment. “I TOLD you it was your gallbladder! I told you so!”