Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rosemary vs. the Bagel

So, I confess, I'm a little bit of a klutz. Not a big one. Just a little one. Bumps. Bruises. Embarrassing things. I once closed my hair in the car door. But because I know this about myself, I'm usually extra careful when I do things like drive and employ sharp objects.

But not yesterday. I hadn't had coffee yet when I went to slice a bagel for my brunch and end up slicing my finger instead. My thought process went something like this:

That didn't feel like cutting into bread.

Dammit, that was my finger. I hate it when I do that.

Wow, look how far that knife went in.

Whoa. That's a lot of blood. Look at how that's gaping...

My goodness. I think I'd better sit down.

I think I'm not going to make it to a chair.


. . .

Whoa. This tile is really cold.

So, anyway. Mom kicked into nurse mode, and got me on my feet, and we headed to the Doc in the Box. Funny thing. Here was the conversation:

Me: (filling out form) It's not that bad, really. I would have just Superglued it, but I was afraid I
would pass out again.

Them: (snatching pen from my hand) AGAIN??

Me: Well, there was blood. And I hadn't eaten, or had any coffee yet.

Them: We can't see you if you fainted. You have to go to the ER.

Me: Seriously? It's like, an inch long and maybe a half an inch-- Whoa, dizzy.

Them: Hasta La Vista, baby.

Which is where I ended up. On one hand, they mocked me mightily--but on the other hand I was an easy case. The biggest concern was making sure I didn't keel over again. Dermabond for my finger, a tetnus booster, and I was on my way.

Today, typing is a little slow, since I have to do it with 9 fingers. As long as I keep it up, it's only a little throbby. Bad enough to be a pain, literally and figuratively. But not dire. What REALLY hurts is the arm where I got the shot. Ugh.

Thanks to everyone on twitter and here who sent hopes I was okay. :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ballet Babble... with Tutus!

As you'll be hearing soon--a lot--my protagonist in The Splendor Falls is a ballerina. I've been collecting interesting ballet stuff that comes across my stream of consciousness. Thought I'd share this article from The Guardian about tutus... Making them, storing them, and wearing them.

And here are some very awesome pictures from the San Francisco Ballet. Somehow I ended up with a ballerina from there following me (I think it was a robo-add, because it happened about 30-seconds after I mentioned "Superstars of Dance"--she was the Russian solo representative. That's actually her in the photo below.) But the cool part is, the tweets usually lead to cool pictures sometimes right when I need a little inspiration. (As in, great scott, Sylvie must be really limber. :)) (Below image is copyright Kurt Rogers/The Chronicle. The link above has more.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Marking History

I worked SO late trying to get the last of these edits done, that it was actually EARLY by the time I went to bed. I set my alarm to get up for the festivities, but still ended up with my Mom shouting up the stairs: "Hey! You're missing history!"

I got down in time for Biden's oath, so I got to hear that AMAZING piece of music from Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Anthony McGill & Gabriela Montero all together. (Dear money-changers in the temple: I don't want to buy a tee-shirt or commemorative plate, but if you put that on iTunes, *that* is one piece of history I will be happy to shell out money for.)

The shots of the mall were amazing, and I sniffled all the way through everything. Amazing speech. So serious, so hopeful. Mom remembered coming to America during the civil rights movement, and how incredible this was. I was struck by how strong and hopeful but also sober and powerful the speech was. (And ballsy--he came very close to my favorite Ben Franklin quote: "Those who sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither liberty, nor safety.')

Now the work begins. Some people in the crowd were saying "King's dream has come true" and even in the glow of this moment, I know we can never stop striving for that dream, every day, each one of us.

God bless America. We were founded on idealistic principles that are worth striving for. We're not perfect, we're flawed as hell, but for the first time in a long time, I feel that we're trying to be better, and live up to the things that make us great.

(I now return you to your regularly scheduled snark and cynicism.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tiara of the Day

I want to say something profound about Martin Luther King Day, or the inauguration tomorrow, and all my profundity is used up.

But on the subject of doing good for someone, check this out. Meg Cabot's last "Princess Diaries" book brings the series to a close and to commemorate it, Cabot has organized an auction of celebrity designed tiaras. The proceeds go to the NY Public Library's teen programs.

Some are gorgeous, some are quirky. My favorite is the one designed by Cabot herself. It's just lovely on its own, even without the fitting connection to the books.

I occasionally joke about the thing with similar book titles (Prom Dates/Nights From Hell), and the weird synchronicity that Maggie Quinn's high school shares the name of the titular school of Cabot's Avalon High. The title thing happens because books are named long before they come out. And the high school's name... Well, it's the name of Maggie's town. It's the only similarity, so it never crossed my mind. Of course, the irony is, I when I finally did read Avalon High (well after Prom Dates had been turned in), I discovered AH might be my favorite of Cabot's books.

Anyway. I had a point to this post. Oh, yeah. Between this auction, and "Mia's" romance novel (proceeds go to charity), and the promotion she does for Greenpeace and other causes on her website, I think Cabot is pretty darn cool. Her heroines are smart and self-reliant (like Maggie) and I think it's awesome that an author with so many impressionable young readers (and not so young readers) sets not just a fictional good example, but a personal one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Domestic Territorialism

I am simply not cut out for co-habitation.

The way Chez C-M is set up, Mom has her "Mother-In-Law" suite at one side of downstairs. Mr. RCM's lair is upstairs, in our... almost an apartment, to be honest. If the wet bar was well stocked, he would never have to come downstairs. I'm between the two, because my office is downstairs, which really means I have no private space. My office used to be in a room sort of tucked away, but I gave it up to Mom for a sewing room when she retired/disabilitated. Now I'm right in the front of the house, right off the living room.

On one hand, the 'public' areas of the house are 'mine' and usually I get dibs on the big screen TV. On the other... they're the public areas of the house. I clean up the kitchen, people come and mess it up. I'm downstairs so I can hear Mom if she needs me... but on the other hand, I hear Mom even when she doesn't need me.

And she hears me. The thing is, sometimes you just need to be in a bad moon for a few minutes. Maybe it's PMS, or a scene isn't going well, or someone said something mean about your book on the Internet, or your husband hasn't called a plumber* to fix YOUR bathroom, which isn't really yours, because it's technically the guest bath, and everyone uses it, even though you don't use theirs, MOM. Uh... what was I saying?

Anyway. I'm moody, but the nice thing is, I get over it fast. I stomp around, I clean the kitchen, I feel better. Mom doesn't get this. My bad moods make HER feel guilty/depressed/anxious (have I mentioned I get 99.9% of my neuroses very honestly?) only she doesn't bounce back from them like I do. So now I'm fine, and she's fretting that living with me is making me grumpy/cranky.**

So now would not be the time to mention that her laundry determent is making my eyes water and my nose itch. *sigh* I get that some people like their clothes to smell pretty. But why put so much perfume in the products that if fumigates the whole house? WHY? Curse you TIDE Mountain Fresh Spring Lavender. And curse you, super-sniffer nose. Why must you make my life more difficult.

Maybe she would feel better if I told her that Mr. RCM bought a soap for HIS bathroom that makes me nauseous. (Note that "his" bathroom is our master bathroom, and I bought soap for it, but he didn't like it and bought his own. So... see what I mean about territory?)

Would a closing zinger about scent marking be too obvious?

Anyway. Mom, if you read this... I'm just territorial and grumpy in general. Comes with the super-sniffer, I guess. Love you, love Mr. RCM (to whom, if YOU read this, I will say, the old soap is in the cabinet under the sink if you want to go back to it. Just saying. Oh, and I called a plumber***, so... problem solved.)

*Mr. RCM cannot spend money without doing a full cost/benefit analysis. He wanted to get multiple recommendations for a plumber and, I don't know, make a spread sheet or something, but he's been slammed at work. I feel it's important to point that out... Because I love him, and because it's not like MY dialing finger is broken, but mostly because his mother reads this blog.

**The point of this post, Mom, is that living with ANYONE makes me grumpy sometimes.

***Should I tell him I just pointed randomly to a number in the phone book? Would that be needlessly cruel to tease him?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Plumber's Helper

I came into the downstairs bathroom (i.e., MY bathroom) on Saturday to see that "replace the flapper valve" in the running toilet (5 minutes project) had somehow turned into my husband trying to contort himself between the cabinet and the throne to see how difficult it would be to take off the tank to replace the... other part, that I'm not going to look up. Suffice to say, a more complicated part.

Now I've fixed a lot of toilets over the years. This was an unofficial part of my job description at the theatre where I worked. Teach kids. Direct plays. Fix cranky toilets. At the ranch I laid pipe and fixed stock tank valves and pulled the pump out of our well (many many many times...) tinkered with it and put it back in. I'm not a stranger to plumbing.

But one of the benefits of our stage in life (which is not that old, actually, just more suburban and sedentary) is that we may not be able to contort into weird positions anymore, but we can afford to pay someone to do it for us.

Which sounds kind of dirty when you say it that way. Huh.

ANyway. Mr. RCM was easily convinced to call a plumber. I hope this is not a decision I will regret, since I made this suggestion blithely forgetting all those jokes about how much plumbers charge. Think good thoughts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Synchronize Your Calendars, Folks...

I know that y'all are all going to plan your years around mine, but I'm going to some new and different cons this year (Well, a few) so I thought I'd post what I've got upcoming.

Book releases
March 10 -- Highway to Hell (Maggie Quinn, book 3--a.k.a Maggie and Lise vs. El Chupacabra.)
Booksigning: March 14 at the B&N in Hurst (More to come!)

September 8 -- The Splendor Falls (Ghosts, magic, romance... Y'all are going to love this one.)
AND Hell Week comes out in trade paperback. (So those of you who are cheap (like me) can get your copies.)
Booksigning: September 12 at the B&N in Hurst (There will be more, don't worry!)

SFF Cons
ConDFW in Dallas (February 20-22) -- I am not a guest or panelist... which means that you should look for me in the bar.

NorWesCon in Seattle (April 9-12). I'm so excited to get to see Seattle.

Conestoga in Tulsa (April 24-26).

SoonerCon in OK City (June 5-7). This will double the times that I've been to Oklahoma. (Not counting the time I went too far up 75 on my way to Sherman and accidentally crossed the Red River.)

ApolloCon in Houston (June 26-28).

FenCon... in Dallas (Addison, really) (September 18-20)

Writing Conferences and Classes

DFW Writer's Conference (May 1-3). Workshops, agent appointments, and bestselling thriller novelist as keynote speaker. This is going to be awesome. I'm not sure there's anything like it in North Texas.

More to be announced. :-)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Philosophical Moment of the Day

I'm not entirely sure this is me. At least, not all the time. Sometimes I'm too afraid of getting it (life, the universe, everything) wrong. But I do see things as one big adventure. So... I'd LIKE this to be me.

Your Word is "Fearless"

You see life as your one chance to experience everything, and you just go for it!

You believe the biggest risk is being afraid and missing out on something amazing.

Sometimes your fearlessness means you're daring. You enjoy risky activities.

And sometimes your fearlessness means you're courageous. You're brave enough to do the right thing, even when it's scary.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

An appropriate LOLcat.

I hate editing. I'm the world's worst about second guessing stuff. Grumble grumble grumble. I'm at the new drapes and a little paint stage, and I have to keep shouting down this voice that has decided I should really knock out a wall and add a second bathroom.

My friend Candy is off interviewing celebrities, and I'm cleaning up dog vomit and beating recalcitrant prose into submission. I have a great life. (Actually, I really would not trade it for anything.)

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

(P.S. I am not the cat in this picture. My id is the cat. So you know, I don't talk to my marvelous editor like that.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

The reset button

I was thinking about this (while I was at the gym for the first time in 6 weeks or so... me and every other person with a new year's resolution)... New Year's Resolutions aren't that big a deal when it seems like I'm ALWAYS resolving to be better about X, Y, or Z.

New season, new month, new WEEK. Heck sometimes it's a question of a new day. As in, starting today, I'm going to eat right/go to the gym/keep up with the housework... And the sad thing is, it's always the same stuff.

So, I was getting kind of down on myself. (I'm in a reflective, nostalgic mood, I guess, because it's the anniversary of my dad's death, plus all the turn over of the year stuff.) Why do I let myself backslide with the exercise thing, when I *know* it affects my health? Why do I eat those things? Why am I not more efficient with my writing? Why don't I write as many books as author X? Why don't I work harder at internet publicity? Blah blah blah.

Then I realized, there's no limit on chances to try harder. It's not like a video game, where you only get so many new lives. (Although, it would be kind of awesome if you could hit a save point where, if you do have to start over, you only lose so much ground.) Anyway. Sometimes I worry God is sitting up there with a great glowing clipboard of accountability, checking off attempts. "Oh, sorry, kiddo. That was your seven hundredth and fifty-second resolution to be less of a neurotic nut job. Now you just have to STAY that way. And don't even talk to me about the size of your butt. You've spent all your chips on that issue, and it is non-negotiable."

So, I just remind myself that it only SEEMS like everyone in the world has got their act more together than I do, and resolve not to be so hard on myself in the future. :-D

Best wishes in the new year. I hope you all resolve to make every day better than the one before.