To hell with hesitation, to hell with reasons why

Well, it’s been almost exactly a month since I posted any word metrics. I don’t have much of an excuse – or rather, I have only the same old excuses as always – but that’s just how it goes. I’ve had a lot of balls up in the air, including the production edits for The Family Plot, some travel (Kentucky, if you’ll recall), and some medical stuff (which is now as sorted as it’s going to get). I also dedicated some time to house stuff and yard stuff. You know how it goes.


I also tried to give myself a little break, for all the good it did me. I’ve burned myself out pretty badly, but I can’t afford to do anything like a vacation; I still have two books to rewrite and send through production, one novel to finish for Tor this fall, and a novelette for one of the upcoming WILD CARDS books.

That last one’s due in July, so until rewrites for the two books land, that’s what’s on my plate. Gotta triage this shit.

Jesus, it’s already May.

* * *

Because people will inevitably ask – I do not have cancer of the nose-holes or anything. It turns out, I have a mild congenital defect that messes with the way my sinuses drain … and I also have a little bit of leftover damage from some surgery on the back of my mouth (20+ years ago). Through a convoluted conflagration of these events, an extra-bad allergy season is causing one of my sinuses to collect fluid – making it prone to the kind of infections that mess with the pressure in my right ear.

I don’t want any new surgery any time soon, but there’s not much else to be done about it. The most recent catastrophic infection has almost completely cleared up, so I’m on a new round of antihistamines and decongestants. It’s not perfect, but it’s okay.

At least it’s not cancer of the nose-holes.

* * *

The other day, I looked out the den window to see Greyson merrily snapping at some random flying things … and discovered that we had a swarm of bees the size of a human head hanging out in the hedges. I got the dog inside, did some googling, and found out that there’s a whole slew of folks you can call – folks who will be more than happy to come out and collect such a swarm.

“Nat the Bee Guy” called me back within a minute or two (I chose him for his nom de plume, yes); and within half an hour, he showed up with a bee box (or whatever they’re called) and standard bee-dude gear … but he was pleased to note that he wouldn’t need it. He declared the swarm calm and healthy, and didn’t bother with any of the sting-preventatives.

Nat has a small family farm north of the city. He keeps bees and fruit trees (among other things), and hey – free swarms are the best swarms! Or so I am told. I couldn’t believe he’d come out and take them away for free. He couldn’t believe that I was just giving him this awesome swarm of honeybees for free.

So everybody was happy. Especially the bees.

He left the box until just after dark, when all the bees were happily humming inside. Then he took it home to his farm. Good-bye, little bees! Live long and prosper.

And thanks a million to Nat the Bee Guy! You have someone like Nat somewhere near you, I bet – so please don’t take a can of bug spray to a swarm, just because it’s chilling in an inconvenient location. I spent ten seconds googling “chattanooga bee removal” and boom. Nat the Bee Guy, and about a dozen other folks who would be eager to collect and pamper any unwanted bees.

Just sayin’.

* * *

So here’s today’s progress on my wacky mystery romp that’s a little bit The Thin Man, with a splash of Haunted Honeymoon, and a dusting of Scared Stiff – featuring a pair of 60+ year old newlyweds who are playing Nick and Nora on a ghost-plagued riverboat:

    Project: “Black Water” (working title)
    Deadline: July 1, 2016
    New words written: 1207
    Present total word count: 1207

    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Was unceremoniously awakened with threats of burglars and demands for guns, then apologies from fervent ghost hunters with oddball beepy equipment and a very earnest sales pitch.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Missed the neighborhood jaunt with the dog this morning because I had a followup doctor appointment; came home and got to work, finishing up a loose outline for this one.

    Other: I don’t usually outline very much, but this is a mystery and a comedy in a very tight space – and I need to keep myself from wandering off course. I’ve set the target word count at 13,500 because I was given a range of “12,000-15,000 words.” So I’m splitting the difference, but anything in that ballpark will be fine.

    Dog Other: Greysongram. (Plus Luna!) I don’t know why he sometimes sits like a loaf cat. For dog reasons, I guess.

    Cat Other: The ladies are still doing well.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 95,014

I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen

Right, so…it’s been a bit since I posted, but I did warn you that it might go that way. In brief, as soon as I left town for ConGlomeration the edits for The Family Plot landed in my inbox – so that’s been eating up most of my attention since my return. Well, that, and unpacking/housekeeping/laundry/catching up on all the crap that’s piled up while I was out of town for nearly a week.

You know how it goes.

ConGlomeration was an easy event for me, because I got to stop at my dad and stepmom’s place both on the way there – and on the way back. Bookend highlights include party-time with the ‘rents and their Great Danes; highlights of the event itself included party-time with the Apex Magazine crew – notably editor (and old friend) Jason Sizemore, and author Maurice Broaddus, who is everything awesome that I always imagined he’d be – and then some … plus party-time with new friends Jenna Busch and her sister, Christy.

We um…we may have closed down the bar a couple of times.
Look, these things happen.

In other news, here are a couple of dogs who very badly need to have that leftover gravy poured over their kibble, thanks. If you could be so kind.

On the way home, I caught up on my missing Night Vale episodes and tried to keep my car from exploding – for the “service engine light” and some real funky noises started up as I was leaving the hotel. So to speak. I limped it back to Dad’s place and we ran the codes at Auto Zone; it looks like I’ve got a bad ignition coil (maybe) and some spark plug problems (probably) … but with a little fiddling, I made it home unscathed. Still the car needs servicing – not that I have the time to spare for it. (And my husband has even less time than I do. One way or another, though. We’ll get around to it.)

Anyway, everything in Tennessee was just as I’d left it.

Hm…what else?

Oh yeah, I also went and got that CT scan of my head, so we can maybe find out what the deal is with my sinuses and ears. Long story short, I have a lifetime of allergy and sinus problems, and for the last couple of months my right ear (and sometimes my left, too) is refusing to pop for days at a time. I run around sounding (to myself, when I talk) like I’m underwater – and it’s been driving me crazy. The cause could be any number of things, but a CT scan will narrow those causes down.

I don’t have the results yet, but I’ve got a followup scheduled with the ENT for early next month. So I guess I’ll get a better idea of what’s going on at that time. I hope.

I don’t have any pictures of my sinuses to share, and that’s just as well. Here. Have a shot of Greyson instead.

In other news, I will try to wrap up these edits before tomorrow night, and slide them onto my editor’s desk first thing Monday morning – and then I will get to work on my next project (a piece for one of the upcoming Wild Cards books). I still have that project, and the YA rewrites, and a finished draft of The Toll to cough up before autumn rolls around, and summer is never as long as you think it is … so I’d better get back to work.

So in closing … thanks for reading, everyone.
P.S: Dog party.

Updates, Predictions, and Whatnot

So spring has sprung, and I’ve been largely off the internet for a week or so. I needed a break after the death march of the Brimstone draft, and I’ve been playing catch-up on other writing and/or writing business miscellany…and beginning the seasonal yard work. I hired a little help to get things underway, and now the place is looking pretty keen: everything is mowed and trimmed; perennials have been tended to, and are growing in nicely; and annuals have been added in the usual pots and positions.

I swear, the yard went from dead-of-winter to full-on-spring in just a few days. It’s gorgeous, and I’m thrilled – and I’ll be even more thrilled in another few weeks(?) or so, when we finally get to install a new fence. Or so I cross my fingers.

At present, we have a four-foot ribbon of chain link that’s decades old, warped like crazy, and growing through one tree/two shrubs/one privet hedge/the remains of another privet hedge, long deceased. God, I wish I was kidding.

We overpaid on our taxes two years in a row and this year, we’re cashing in – thus the high hopes for six feet of wood in a semi-privacy perimeter. It won’t be cheap and it won’t be easy, but maybe we can finally swing it.

We intend to save one imperiled mulberry tree, but we need to take down an overgrown hackberry that’s menacing our neighbors and throwing black fungus/dust all over one corner of our yard. And the privets. Those have got to go. (Probably with the fence they’ve grown through – all in one weird bundle of wood, leaves, and twisted chain link.) So I say all that to say this: It will be a far more involved process than a mere fence-building. It’s more like removing an art installation that’s been sitting in a jungle for fifty years. Then building a fence.

I really do hope we can pull it off.

* * *

Hmm…what else, since last I posted?

Well, let’s see – I went and saw an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist because I’ve been having some trouble with my sinuses. It was a frustrating, tedious visit … but I could use the CAT scan, so I stuck it out for the sake of the referral. No word from them on the CAT appointment yet, but I assume word is coming.

Or maybe not. I didn’t leave that office with a great deal of faith in it, TBH.

* * *

I also went to lunch with my aunt and cousin, who were passing through town. After noshing, we went out for pedis. I chose a disco sparkle orange, then changed my mind a couple of days later. Now they’re grape-jelly purple.

Let the record reflect, I kept my promise to only post this picture – in which my aunt does not look like a serial killer … like she does in the other picture I took. Which I am absolutely not sharing here.

* * *

Dog party.

* * *

In other news, posting will continue to be light for a little bit – as I’m heading up to Kentucky on Wednesday. That’s right, I’m leaving the husband behind to care for the “kids” and driving up for ConGlomeration, in Louisville. (I’m stopping at my dad/stepmom’s place on the way there, and on the way back. Thus the Wednesday departure.)

I’m really looking forward to it! My very first sci-fi convention EVER was RiverCon in Louisville, back in … 1999, maybe? 2000? It’s been awhile. (And that event closed down a number of years ago, I believe.) So besides the convenient parental stopover, I’m wound up for the sheer nostalgia of it all.

But I won’t be on the internet much, except (no doubt) to post to Twitter as I’m able. So until I get back home next Monday, feel free to join me over there. Or don’t! Whatever makes you happy. I’m cool either way.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back on the wordcount hobbyhorse next week…