The Emerald City and Me

Well, we made it. We closed on our Seattle house literally the evening before we left the Chattanooga house – and it only happened then because a dedicated notary came out to our place after hours and helped us file all the paperwork. First thing the next morning, we hit the road.

It was a six-day drive back to the West Coast. We took two cars, and we each took two animals – I drove with Greyson in the back seat, and Quinnie in the front seat. (Both secured, yes.) My husband brought the eldercat and Lucy in a similar configuration. Using a AAA travel agent, we booked all our hotel rooms in advance – making sure that we could bring our furry family members along without any difficulty. All but two of those nights were screwed up by the aforementioned travel agent; but when all was said and done, nobody had to sleep in the car and everything was fine.

My husband and I each traveled with a small suitcase. For the animals, we packed the largest suitcase we own – and at first we could barely close it, for it contained pre-measured meals for all four of them, plus bowls, medicine (for all four), fluids kit (for the eldercat), cannibis oil treats for the canine nervous nellies, flea/tick preventatives, and five disposable litter boxes stacked together. And I guess now I know how to manage a good “bug-out bag” for the whole family, so there’s that.

Eventually we arrived at a house I’ve named “Rockford Place” – a late mid-century modern with an angular seventies vibe and a massive fireplace surrounded by natural stone. There’s also an enormous backyard that’s mostly rocks and trees, terraformed into paths and a nice landing area.

Besides, I like James Garner. So yeah, it’s called Rockford Place.

The house is really rather neat – lots of cool angles and funky architectural features (without going overboard, I mean.) But the bathrooms are an embarrassment, and when we got here, the kitchen was stocked with appliances that only halfway worked. We’ve decided to live with the bathrooms for now, but the kitchen…well. We scraped up the money to replace the appliances, which turned into a massive shit-show courtesy of HomeDepot.com… but that’s another story. Frankly, I’m so fed up with the experience that I’m not likely to relate it here. Suffice it to say, don’t buy appliances from HomeDepot.com. Home Depot’s own employees (at a local store) told me the in-house joke is that online orders are “job security” because one way or another, they’re fucked up literally 100% of the time.

Anyway, we do have working appliances now. Thank God.

We also have a new veterinarian, which is good because the eldercat ran out of fluids, Lucy came down with (what seemed like) a UTI, and Quinnie has had a couple bad bouts of diarrhea – one bad enough that I took her to the kitty ER. Still not sure what’s wrong with her, but she’s wrapping up another round of medication at present, and she seems to be 100% fine and dandy. Cats, man.

All four of the critters really seem to like the new house. The cats love the stairs, and the dogs love the yard – which is fenced all the way around to the front patio, so they can really get a good loop of “chase” going on. Both dog-fatties have even lost a little weight, which is good.

As a side note: If you’re mostly following me (on any platform) because of the household animal population – or if you’d like to, going forward – you can catch me on Twitter or (more recently) Instagram. Twitter is sometimes LadyRage, but often pet pictures. Instagram is almost exclusively pet pictures. In case this matters.

Hm. What else?

I guess you might also be reading this because I write books. By way of What’s Up Next, I can offer the following:

  • In December, a new installment in the Wild Cards franchise hits the streets – including a story from yours truly. The book is called Mississippi Roll, and my contribution is a somewhat wacky romp called “Death on the Water” that features my (now retired) Fort Freak cop Leo and his new wife, Wanda, on board a haunted riverboat. They share the stage with a trio of ghost hunters who, um, are entirely fictitious and not all mocking re: any given TV show that my husband and I might jokingly call “Brost hunters.” Ahem.

  • Speaking of Wild Cards – I’ve just handed in a draft of my next piece, but I can’t tell you about that yet. If all goes according to plan, it will be inserted into one of the old volumes, as part of a future re-release. But that’s another year or two down the pike, I assume.

  • Production is finally getting underway on my next young adult project for Scholastic – a book called The Agony House. We don’t have a pub date yet; things have been delayed on this one, largely because my original editor left the house for another job (which happens, such is life). But my new editor is on the case, and I should have more information on that for you before terribly long. The Agony House is not related to I Am Princess X, but it *does* feature a comic/illustrated element in a similar fashion. More details to come!

And that’s all the writing news that’s fit to type, for the moment. To be honest, writing updates are probably going to be few and far between for a bit, as I’m taking a little breathing room this year – breathing room that will give me time to get some work done on the house, and take on a day job, perhaps. I could use a steadier paycheck for a bit, and some room for my brain to cool off a bit.

I’ve been in fifth gear for the last few years, and I’m looking forward to just…doing production work on the Wild Cards projects, and The Agony House, and another adult horror project from Tor called The Toll (pub date TBD). So it’s not like I’m quitting the industry and flouncing into darkness or anything. I’m just giving myself a break. Kind of.

More news as it develops.

Okay folks, that’s all I can think of, at the moment – but I *will* try to update more regularly over here, now that we’re more or less settled in. (We’ve been here about two months.) So as always, thanks for reading, and thanks for visiting this page. One way or another, I’ll see you around…

Leaving Rosebury

There’s a long way to explain, and a short way to explain. I’ll start with the latter: We have sold our house, and are making preparations to move back to Seattle.

To flesh the matter out a bit further, let us just say that it’s been a while coming. The reasons are many and varied – but largely due to my husband’s job, which has been flying him back and forth to/from the West Coast multiple times a month…at great company expense and everyone’s general exhaustion for the last couple of years. This, combined with a surprise offer on our home that we frankly could not refuse, plus a few other fiddly things that don’t bear a dry retelling, have led us to conclude that we should make Seattle our home again.

We are in the process of purchasing a house out there, a little ways from the city but in a very good location (close to main arteries, nice quiet neighborhood, etc.). If everything goes according to plan, we will close on this new house on the 8th of next month.

Of course, things are not quite going to plan. There is a last-minute hiccup that has us sitting on pins and needles, because as of July 20th, we are officially homeless if this falls through. (Though in case of worst scenario, we will head to my dad’s place in Kentucky until things are sorted out.) Never mind the fact that we must figure out how to pack up our existing household, and how to drive two 90-pound dogs and a couple of cats to the new digs. (No, we will not fly them. We have our reasons.)

Anyway, we’re working on that, and I’m not asking for advice or suggestions.

The move will be difficult in any number of ways; but in the end, this is the right decision for us. Our Tennessee house has been purchased by a lovely woman with a deep appreciation for the historic neighborhood – and this little home, in particular. Honestly, she’s exactly what the place needs next: someone with a lot of money who can finish the last big projects that we haven’t been able to afford. I am proud of the work we’ve done on this house, and it’s been a privilege to be part of its conservation – but it’s time for us to move on.

Next up, something completely different: a killer mid-century modern that’s been beautifully redone. It’s a smidge smaller than our Tennessee home, but it has a two-car garage and some amazing outdoor spaces to make up the difference. (A bigass deck! And a massive fenced patio!)

I mean, that’s what’s next if everything works out. If not, Jesus. I don’t even know. One way or another, we’re out of our present digs by the middle of next month.

So if I’ve been distant and quiet on the internet, and if I’m frazzled and tired in person, well, now you know. This has been hanging over our heads for the last few months and the situation is coming to a head. It’s taking everything I’ve got to keep from having a nervous breakdown, so kindly forgive me.

Right. Well. Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll try to keep the world updated on how things go. Tennessee, you’ve been good to me. Washington, here we come again…

Dark Cities: Out Today!

About a year or so ago, a good friend and all-around Great Guy Christopher Golden asked if I’d participate in an anthology he was working up – Dark Cities. At first, I hesitated. I was eyeballs deep in other work, and I don’t often do short stories anymore. I’ve never felt that they were really my strong suit, and I produce them sparingly.

But he caught me at a moment. You see, shortly before his summons, a truly appalling family secret had come to blazing light – and I was trying to find a good way of processing it. I wanted to say something about it, but couldn’t imagine what, or how, or what it would help if I did so. Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. But saying nothing was driving me crazy.

I won’t spell out what happened, but if you read Dark Cities and find your way to my contribution there, you’ll figure it out closely enough. I could write off the matter lightly by telling you to imagine that some portion of my family is made up of hillbillies from the “Florida Man” files of internet hilarity – so what can you do? – and that wouldn’t be far from the truth; but the facts are frankly too awful to joke about, so I won’t.

Instead, I’ll say that I found myself genuinely grateful for the opportunity to write “Good Night Prison Kings.” The horror of the form gave me room to discuss the horror of the facts, and Chris was cool enough to let me run with what’s probably the darkest thing I’ve ever produced. (Or if not the darkest, certainly one of the most personal.)

At any rate, you can pick up Dark Cities now, online and wherever books are sold. I hope you’ll take a chance on it. Let me know what you think, if you do.