Category Archive: misc

You won’t keep the law with a broken word

First, because inquiring minds want to know – a cat update. Yesterday I took her to the vet for a checkup and blood work, and to see about getting something to soothe her in the evening; because ain’t nobody happy (least of all the kitty) when on a bad night, she’s up every 45 minutes crying and confused.

The lab work won’t be back for another couple of days, but it turns out that she’s down fully half a pound since Thanksgiving, and she’s showing signs of thyroid problems. Maybe. Frankly, that’s what we’re hoping for – because thyroid issues are fairly easy to manage, even in the long term. If her thyroid isn’t the problem, then there’s really no telling. It could be anything.

None of this is a great surprise. She’s an elderly cat, after all, but obviously we want to keep her happy and healthy for as long as possible.

So for starters, we have a special collar for her that’s chock full of pheromones to help keep her chill. I was dubious about this, as we’ve tried the Feliway plug-ins before to zero response – but the vet said that in her experience, the collars were more effective.

In fact, the kitty didn’t make a peep on the way home from the office, so that was a miracle in itself; and today I haven’t heard a single note of her usual caterwauling-around-the-house. The collar is definitely doing something – but it’s not enough to keep her quiet at night, not by itself.

Last night she got me up twice, and on three other occasions the husband and I were simply too despairing to respond to her howls, so we let her cry it out … and after a few minutes, she stopped. This phenomenon hasn’t occurred in over a year,* so hooray for that – but it still meant five full rounds of being jolted awake by a screaming cat between midnight and 7:00 a.m. So…yeah. An improvement, but an insufficient one.

Tonight we add our new weapon in the cat-sleep arsenal: kitty Valium. We’ll start her on a quarter dose,** and see how it goes.

(That’s my arm she’s hugging and my hand she’s using for a pillow, in the photo above. She was lying on the heated blanket and snoring her head off – demonstrating her capacity for forgiveness, since I was the big fat jerk who toted her off to the doc to get poked with needles.)

* * *

Here’s today’s progress on my southern noir about a woman whose memories and identity erode, only to reveal hints of another person entirely: a detective who vanished on the day she was born in 1959; now with BONUS moonshiners and revenuers, small-town governments with big-time crooks in office, cops both corrupt and courageous, and one hell of a paranormal twist:

    Project: Shouting Distance
    Deadline: March 1, 2015
    New words written: 2100
    Present total word count: 3515

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Met a nurse for coffee; took up smoking; second-guessed a lot of things.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; laundry; cleaned house yesterday; also went to the post office yesterday; went to Walgreens yesterday; also took the cat to the vet yesterday – thus the delay in word metrics.

    Other: I am way behind on my metrics goals. Ugh. In my defense, I am also so far behind on sleep that I might not catch up until spring … and that’s IF the kitty Valium works.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 11,814


* The vet asked if we had tried ignoring her, to make sure she wasn’t just trying to get a reaction from us – and woo boy howdy, did we try that. We tried it for months. Unchecked by human intervention, the kitty would yowl for upwards of an hour or more before exhausting herself … only to start again as soon as she’d recovered, a few minutes later.
** She’s sometimes a bit sensitive to meds. We’ll start low, and work our way up as needed.

There’s something here from somewhere else

Starting a new project is hard, but hey, that’s how I earn my living … so today I began drafting up sample content for a book called Shouting Distance. I promised myself that I’d have (at least) two partials/proposals worth selling before spring, and Brimstone went off to the agent and editor last week; so now it’s time to tackle the next thing in the queue.

Therefore, here’s today’s progress on my southern noir about a woman whose memories and identity erode, only to reveal hints of another person entirely: a detective who vanished on the day she was born in 1959; now with BONUS moonshiners and revenuers, small-town governments with big-time crooks in office, cops both corrupt and courageous, and one hell of a paranormal twist:

    Project: Shouting Distance
    Deadline: March 1, 2015
    New words written: 1415
    Present total word count: 1415

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: The first page is always the hardest, and frankly, I’m surprised I got as far as I did.

    Addendum: I did indeed re-tool the proposal for this yesterday (as vowed) and I’m happy with the results, but I won’t be able to wrap it up for querying purposes until I have the sample content nailed down. (Because the end result often varies – sometimes wildly – from one’s initial projections.)

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; housework; yet more business emails/texts/etc. for good things I’m not allowed to talk about yet; sent husband to grocery store for sodas; not much else, due to the struggle getting started on this one.

    Cat-Related Other: The sock balls, the water gun, Operation: KittySquish … all of these things have ultimately failed. Today the husband and I surrendered and called the vet, who told us the kitty is almost due for her checkup anyway – so we’re bringing her in tomorrow. Upon this visit, they’ll run blood screenings and so forth to make sure she’s not having any medical problems (just crazy old cat problems) and then explore anti-anxiety meds and/or sedatives. We’re at our wits’ end, and we have to do something.

    Dog-Related Other: Greyson is starting to smell a bit, and he ate two rounds of mystery poop on his walk this morning before I could stop him. These two things may or may not be related. That’s all the news that’s fit to type. Sort of fit to type. Oh well.

    BONUS Other: You guys, I am so tired.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 9714


She could hear the highway breathing

I have returned from Michigan, and all is well! That’s the short summing up of events, anyway – as you would not BELIEVE how much stuff piles up when you’re out of the office for four days … even when two of those days are a weekend and one is a holiday. I don’t even, man. (But I apologize if the following comes off as rambling, unfocused, and rushed.)

The convention itself was a blast – as always – and I’m very grateful that I was able to attend. I get to see some of my favorite folks on earth at this event, no exaggeration and no lie. Many thanks to everyone who (a). made it possible, (b). made it awesome, and (c). the massive Venn diagram overlap between points (a) and (b).

I know, I know, that’s not much of a recap. But I don’t like doing recaps. I always forget someone or something and feel dumb about it as soon as I hit “post.” If you’d like a better idea about the mayhem and my cohorts, feel free to scroll down my twitter feed and enjoy the Dearborn adventures.

Besides the fact that I’m crap at recaps, this one is particularly short because I have been SUPER productive since my return. I didn’t have a choice; I owed a massive (hopefully pretty-much-the-last) round of edits on that YA project by close-of-business today, and it took me all morning/half the afternoon so far. Then it was a matter of fielding and sorting a whole bunch of back-and-forth with my agent re: some projects in the works, some questions about rights and so forth, [::redacted potential awesomeness::], and [::yet more redacted potential awesomeness, sorry::]. I’m also in the midst of making arrangements to visit a local school later this month so I can natter at some creative writing students; plus I had to finish unpacking and doing laundry, AND I needed to respond to several folks WRT convention appearances/project participation/etc. etc. etc.

You know, forcing that inbox back down to zero.

When I was “done” (as if one is ever “done” with such Sisyphean shenanigans) I sat down with my accordion folder of receipts, all the tax documents that have arrived so far, a year’s worth of utility (and other) bills, and a calculator – and got everything sorted for the nice CPA later next month (probably).

I might’ve opted to put that off for another week or two, since I’m still waiting on tax docs to land – but I am already accruing new receipts that need to be filed, and I need someplace to put them other than “floating loosely around my desk, where I’m likely to accidentally toss them.” Therefore, that handy-dandy folder needed to get cleared out for 2015’s influx of Stuff I Need To Keep Track Of For Uncle Sam.

So anyway, those particular ducks are all in a row.

In other news – since last I blogged, I wrapped up that draft of The Family Plot and sent it off to my marvelous editor at Tor; I wrapped up that sample content and/or expanded synopsis for the Cassadaga project – now rebranded Brimstone – and sent it off to my agent, who has since passed it along to my wonderful editor at Roc; and I have personally held in my hot little hands a brand spanking new copy of Jacaranda.


The real-life-hold-it-in-your-hands book won’t be available until the end of the month (as I understand it), but you can get the eBook RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT … for the low, low price of $4.99! Like so:

Of course, you can easily preorder the real deal through the usual locations, including its listing at the Subterranean Press website – where you can ALSO read a spoooooky little sample: Click right here to preorder and/or get a little taste.

Please allow me to remind you – Jacaranda is absolutely the last foray I plan to take in the Clockwork Century universe. It takes place about 20 years after Fiddlehead, this is true … but you’ll find out what happened to some of your favorite characters, and get one hella-creepy haunted hotel story, to boot.

Don’t forget, Publishers Weekly, Locus,, and Romantic Times all had very, very kind things to say about it. I mean, if you’re sitting on the fence or anything.

Right. So.

That’s all the news I’m able to share right this moment, though I do hope to be able to report some kickass information sometime in the immediate future. I don’t mean to be a tease, but I’m very excited – however, I have to wait for official approval, and that’s just life. At least when you’re in publishing.

As for me, I now need to go finish up the laundry and see about packing up some stuff to send to my sister (long story), then I’ll probably clean my room (because I am a grown-up) and maybe have a drink before catching up on some of the TV I missed while I was out partying with the ConFusion folks.

With any luck, I’ll be back here tomorrow with a new project and word metrics to show for it (I still have another partial and/or synopsis to pull together within the next month), but I will not yet make any promises. I’m trying to flesh this next one out before I get it underway, but I hate doing outlines/synopsis/proposals/and the like. This time, I’m going to do it anyway – and I’m going to do it right. And do it first. For a change.

And in closing: Kittygram.