Dec 11

Holy weather anomaly, Batman!

I woke up at my usual 5:30 a.m., went out to get the paper, scowled at the sleet, and retreated back inside, grumpy about the cruddy weather. At about 6:30 a.m. my husband said, “It’s snowing.” To which I replied, “It’s not snow. It’s sleet.” Because, after all, this is south Louisiana. It snows here rarely, if ever, and I didn’t think it was cold enough for actual snow.

“No,” he replied patiently (and a touch smugly. “It’s snowing. Come see.”

I looked outside and said, “Holy s**t, it’s snowing!”

This wasn’t just some spastic flurries. This was honest-to-god snow. Within about ten minutes it was starting to accumulate. By the time I took Anna down to the bus stop there was enough on the ground to make a foot-high snow man.

By 11a.m. there was about four inches on the ground and everyone had come outside at some point to take pictures of their houses covered in snow. “We’re all such southern dorks!” we all agreed cheerfully. We also all agreed that this was the most snow we’d ever seen here.

By 1 p.m. the snow had stopped, and by about 3 p.m. the sun had come out and everyone was merrily playing in the snow.

The hardest part, though, was convincing Anna that, even though it had snowed, it was not, in fact, Christmas already!

Dec 10

Cold and wet day

Today was a yucky chilly day, and it only got colder and rainier as the day progressed. In other words, a perfect day to not budge from the house! Actually, I only left the house twice today–once to walk Anna to the bus stop, and then a few hours later to the end of the driveway to get the mail. Jack and I had planned to go get a Christmas tree this afternoon, but by the time he got home the weather had progressed to seriously disgusting and I made the executive decision to postpone tree-buying until Friday since I had no desire to stand out in cold rain trying to tie a tree onto the top of my car. I can be smart that way, sometimes.

Dec 9

Feeling less bleh

I’m still feeling not-fantastic, though that’s a few steps up from how I felt on Sunday. I think that if I can just get decent sleep tonight I should be all right.

Since I’ve been feeling fairly bleh, I haven’t been doing much that could be considered exciting. On the plus side, I’ve been getting a fair amount of writing and book-related work done. I’m about a third of the way through Director (very tentative title for the mystery/thriller,) and I now have thunderemerald’s comments on the still-rough Blood of the Demon. I’m going to do my best to not drop what I’m doing on Director to start playing with revisions on Blood, since I really want to finish the draft of Director by the end of January.

There’ve been a lot of shakeups in publishing in the last few weeks, as well as forecasts of doom and gloom, sky is falling, death of the midlist, etc. I won’t say that I’m not worried about my own future, especially since my career as a writer is in the extreme fledgling state. But I figure the best thing I can do for my career right now is write write write.


Dec 8

The difference

My usual procedure for bathroom cleaning usually involves details such as wiping down the counters, cleaning the toilet–making certain to wipe down the lid and seat and bowl with some sort of bleachy-type stuff, scrubbing out the sink, cleaning soap scum off of the shower doors, scrubbing the bathtub and grout, wiping down the shower walls, mopping floors…

My husband’s usual procedure for cleaning the bathroom involves dropping a little blue thingy into the toilet tank.

Dec 7


Tired Tired Tired. Feel like Blech. I’m coming down with some sort of crud, I wore myself out yesterday cleaning my house, and today I spent nearly four hours in a ridiculously over-airconditioned Superdome watching the Saints game. I was miserably cold, and I was even wearing a sweatshirt. :( If all goes well this evening, I’m going to take a few million miligrams of vitamin C and go to bed early.

Dec 6

From Santa to MMA

Good grief. Only the second day of Holidailies, and I nearly forgot to make a post!

Busy day today that started out early with getting the Kid ready to go to “Breakfast with Santa” at her school. Funny thing though: She had a Christmas party at her karate school last night, and “Santa” showed up to hand out presents. This morning, I went to wake her up and told her that she was going to have breakfast with Santa Claus. She looked at me and shrugged and said, “Mom. I just saw him last night!”

I couldn’t really say, “Yeah, but this is a different Santa!”

After that it was my turn to go to the karate school for a “submission grappling” class. It was my first time trying this class out, and I’d expected it (possibly naively) to be a class in judo/jujitsu/hapkido-style grappling. Instead it felt far more like a class for people wanting to compete in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) tournaments. (There was even some conversation about some recent fights. I had no frickin’ idea who they were talking about!) The first fifteen minutes of the class was some fairly intense calisthenics, followed by about half an hour of boxing-style punching drills. It wasn’t until the last fifteen-twenty minutes of class that we started working on a couple of grappling moves. Don’t get me wrong–it was an intense workout, and the instructor definitely knew what he was doing, but I’d really been hoping for a lot more grappling/wrestling and a lot less boxing-type stuff. (I have zero interest in ever competing.) I also had to restrain myself from laughing out loud when one of the other students told me that he had no intention of going to the ground in any fight he got into. I wanted to say, “Dude, have you ever been in a real fight??” Every fight I’ve ever been in (and yes, I was a cop for long enough to get into quite a few) has ended up on the ground. ::rolls eyes::

However, it’s quite possible that I just misunderstood the focus of the class. I know next to nothing about ultimate fighting, or MMA competitions, so, for all I know, “submission grappling” is an insider term that means “the kind of fighting and grappling used in those sort of competitions.” But I’ll give the class a few more tries. It’s definitely a good workout, even though it didn’t focus very much on the areas where I feel the rustiest. (Unfortunately, it’s really darn tough to practice joint locks, throws, and grappling by yourself! :P) I guess at some point I’m just going to have to find someone willing to be a warm body so that I can work on getting my Hapkido proficiency back to where it needs to be.

Dec 5


First day of Holidailies!

As both of my loyal readers know, I tend to be a sporadic blogger. I’ve been doing this online journaling thing since long before it was known as “blogging.” My first post was back in 1997, on a plain html text page. Most of my entries back then were focused on my then-fledgling attempts to Be A Writer, but by the next year I’d learned how to create a more aesthetically pleasing website, and began posting entries about my personal life as well. From 1998 to 2002, I posted fairly regular entries on everything from Clarion West, my divorce, my experiences as a police officer, the death of my father, and meeting my now-husband. I fell off of the blogging radar for a short time during my pregnancy (which I’m still kicking myself over!) and then picked it back up again in 2004 after my daughter was born. Since then I’ve gone through phases where I post several times a week, and others where I’m lucky to get a single post a month.

But through most of that time, I’ve participated in Holidailies. (I’m fairly certain I missed 2003.) I like the fact that I usually pick up a few new readers–because, after all, blogging really is something of an ego-trip–and I also like that I usually find new blogs to follow through the Holidailies site. But, as a writer, I enjoy the challenge of putting together something vaguely interesting every day for a month. As a fiction writer, I usually write every day, but that’s a different sort of challenge. A day’s work may end up being a few thousand words on the screen, but it’s seldom a cohesive work that can stand on its own.

Anyway, enough about my blogging philosophy. It’s traditional to give an introduction on the first day of Holidailies, but if you go to my Bio page, that pretty much covers the high points. But, the short form is: I worked in a casino for about six years, then left that to become a cop (loved it!) During my law enforcement career I worked in patrol, investigations, computer forensics, and crime scene. After seven years, and for a variety of reasons (about which I still have conflicting thoughts at times,) I left law enforcement to work for the Coroner’s Office. There I worked as a forensic photographer, morgue assistant, and general computer-help person.

I’ve been writing pretty much all of my life, but I started actually trying to get published a little over ten years ago. I wrote a couple of books, wrote a bunch of short stories, went to Clarion West, wrote some more, got bummed out and burned out and stopped trying to get published, wrote very little for the next several years but in the meantime managed to collect scads of Life Experience, started writing again, entered the Writers of the Future contest and won First place on my first try, attended the workshop and realized that I really did love writing and that I wanted to be a professional writer, wrote another book, shopped it around, and found an awesome agent who later sold it and a sequel to Bantam.

At this point my husband and I did some talking and made some decisions, and about a month later I gave notice at my job with the coroner (which, frankly, I was more than ready to leave anyway because it had degenerated into Major Suck.) So, I am now a full-time writer! My first book, Mark of the Demon, is coming out June 23, 2009 from Bantam, and a sequel, Blood of the Demon, is scheduled for February 2010. I’m hoping to have more Demon books after those two, but that will depend on how sales of Mark of the Demon go. I’m also currently deep in the throes of writing a crime thriller, which I’m hoping to have finished up and ready to give to my agent early next spring.

I think that about covers it for now. Check back tomorrow for more happy funtime blogginess!

Dec 3


I signed up for Holidailies again this year. This is a blogging challenge where you pledge to post an entry every day in December. Astute readers will no doubt note that today is the 3rd of December and there were no posts for December 1st or 2nd, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, organizers had to push it back a few days, so this year it runs from Dec 5th through Jan 6th. So there.

I’ve participated every year since it started back in 2000, except for one year… I think. (I have this feeling that I missed a year somewhere in there, but I can’t remember for sure.) Anyway, last year I was terrible and missed five or six days. But, last year was a horrible year in a lot of little ways, and the end of the year especially so with the nightmare we were going through involving selling and buying houses. The only shining point in 2007 was landing my fabulous agent. A fantastic shining point, to be sure, but a fairly solitary one.

But this year has been far far better! 2008–though it got off to an exceedingly rocky start which included being somewhat homeless for a couple of days–has turned out to be pretty darn awesome. Not only did my wonderful agent get me a two-book deal with a great publisher and a terrific editor, but I was able to: quit my job (which had started out so well a year and half earlier and had then degenerated into a miserable mind-numbing soul-sucking grind,) get my gorgeous new house and new office into shape, spend more time with my family, exercise more, take cooking classes, play with my daughter more, get back into martial arts, and generally be a much happier person.

I’d like to finish the year off on a nice, strong note, so I’m setting a few goals for the rest of this month.

1) Exercise: Weight train four days a week. Do cardio at least three days a week. Go to martial arts twice a week, with the exception of holiday or family-related conflicts. (I’m not going to set a weight-loss goal, even though I would dearly love to shed some more pounds. I’ve decided that it’s more sensible and more productive to set behavior-modification goals instead of end-result goals.)

2) Put down at least 10K words a week on my crime thriller. This should be extremely doable with my current schedule, especially since I’m a pretty fast writer anyway. This is the novel that I was working on back in March when my agent called to tell me that Mark of the Demon had sold to Bantam. Needless to say, I put the thriller aside and went back to work on the Demon books. Now that the draft of Book2 is done, I want to pick this one back up. I already have about 25K words written, plus a pretty comprehensive outline, PLUS about five chapters that I’d dictated onto my digital recorder back when I was still commuting to the old job, so I’m hoping that I can get something close to a finished draft by the end of the year.

3) Keep my kitchen clean. (Without killing any family members!)

4) Enjoy Christmas. (Not as easy as it sounds. I hated Christmas for so long that I’m having to break old grinchy habits.)

And, of course:

5) Don’t miss any days of blogging for the Holidailies challenge.

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