Thursday, January 26, 2012

News and stuff!

News! Texas Gothic has been included on the 2012 ALA list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. I'm thrilled to be included with some of MY favorite books of the year!

Also, central Texas folks, get ready. I will be at Book People in Austin on February 10th at 7pm, where I will be on a panel with fellow "spine-tingling YA authors" Jordan Dane, P.J. Hoover, Mari Mancusi, Cynthia Leitich Smith and LA Weatherly. We'll dish on writing about scary stuff life vampires, ghosts, and falling in love.

Obviously, I'm back in the USA. Penny was so happy to see me when I got home. I fixed the line breaks on the posts from the cruise (now that I'm not paying tourist wi-fi rates) so if you want to read about the trip more or less as it unfolded, the first post is here.  

If you want the backstory on why I don't sound quite as excited about the cruise as you might think, you can start with this post, which you should bear in mind was written days before that terrible cruise ship wreck last weekend. (Which, incidentally, I did not even hear about until I was ON the Carnival Magic, due to conspiracy of my friends and family.) 

However, in the end, I had a really nice time. Some enforced downtime was probably really good for me. I read four Agatha Christie novels and a Barbara Michaels ghosty-mystery. I did not get kidnapped by Pirates or Cuban Revolutionaries. I didn't even get sunburned. 

I did, however, come home with a cold, which I am going to go nurse now with a cup of tea and the happy thought that the ALA thinks my book is good enough to include with some of MY favorites from 2011, including Beauty Queens, Enclave, and The False Princess. Congrats, my friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cruise, Day Whatever

(I have no idead why there are no line breaks in my posts. Possibly something in the way I'm copy/pasting them. I'll have to fix them when I get home. ETA: Fixed, all the way back to the first day.)

Short update tonight, just so Mom knows I'm okay and my friends don't up the stakes on the sci-fi disaster pool.

 Arrived in Montego Bay this morning, and I have to say, Jamaica may be one of the most beautiful tropical places I've ever seen.

 Went into town, saw some of the old parts of Montego Bay, walked down the hip strip where the shops are... Got offered a lot of things that weren't for sale in the shops. "Sorry, mon. I have too many control issues to indulge in mood altering substances."

 The people here really do seem to be very friendly. Everyone wants to offer you a deal (not even that kind of deal) but they're good natured if you refuse. I hear it's a little different in Kingston; this side of the island is resort-friendly.

 The only sad part of today was that the heat and sun touched off a migraine. I'm just not a heat and sun person. A few hours in a dark stateroom helped, but I'll definitely be calling it an early night.

 Tomorrow, all day at sea! All day lounging in the shade with a virgin colada and the 20 books on my Nook. (This is by far my favorite part of cruising. What? Nothing to do but lay around and read? Darn it!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cruise Day... 3?

I've given up on the tweet format, because it's a pain to count characters by hand. So here is the prose version:

Tonight's report is coming to you from the Lido Deck, where I'm sprawled in a deck chair watching Iron Man on the Jumbotron. It's like a drive movie. I hear there are night clubs in this ship. I wouldn't know. That's for grown ups. (There's also a casino, which I know because you have to go through it to get to the coffee bar.)

This morning we arrived at Grand Cayman, and I actually got off the ship. Which was an adventure, because there's not a cruise ship pier in George Town, so you have to take launches from the ship to shore. This was delayed, and delayed, and finally Mr. RCM and I got to shore about noon, after two and a half hours waiting for a launch.

 So not much time in George Town. Saw a lot of banks. Send post cards. Ate lunch. Headed back to get ahead of the line.

 So the day I actually do something, I don't really have much to tweet. It basically went: wait wait wait, rocky boat, walk walk walk, wait, rocky boat, nap. That's my Grand Cayman experience. (Beautiful place, though. The water is so blue! <--Obvious cliche is obvious. But true.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise Tweets Day 2

Day 2, right? It feels like longer than that. The theme of today's tweets is "overshare." Here are today's tweets: 

 8:00 am. Hello Cozumel. I've been to tourist Mexico before, and beaches have sand, so I'm staying on the ship today.

 9:00 am. Shaving my legs is SO much easier when the boat is docked.

 9:30 am.  I have my pick of shady lounge chairs! There is no line at the buffet line! Disembarkation is for wusses. 

 10:02 am. The View is on the jumbotron over the pool. 1st story = cruise ship wreck. This is like watching Airport '76 on the inflight movie.

 10:03 am. Ha! Someone changed the channel. Picturing the Cruise Director's mad scramble for the remote control.

 10:45 am Oh, here's Mother Nature, and she's brought a gift for me. My life is a Tampax commercial.

 10:47  am. Did I really just Tweet that, even if only in my head? What if only I think it's funny enough to balance out the TMI?

 The mid-day hypothetical tweets go like this:  Reading. Dozing. Eating. (repeat)

 5:59 pm. Miss Marple unmasked the murderer just in time for dinner.  Convenient. Also convenient that it was not a poisoner.

  9:40 pm. On our way to Grand Cayman, where I will attempt to actually get off the ship.

 *waving* Hi Mom! I'm still fine! No mutant shark attacks (yet)! Love, Me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cruise Tweets Day 1.5

Monday 11:45am Ooo. Half price mimosas before noon.

 12:30pm omg. I'm actually having a good time. Maybe it's the mimosa?

 2:15pm So. Sleepy. Maybe it's the mimosa? Or the Dramamine. Ooops. #badjudgement

 5:15pm Formal attire night. Mr. RCM is dressed in his tux. I suggest he pick up $$ as a strolling violinist. He says we're going to be late. (This was too long for a tweet.)

 5:18pm Spanx dance.

 9:00pm Skipped desert at dinner (see above re: Spanx). Remedying this oversight on Lido deck now. 

Tweets posted. Nook opened. Pajamas on. Tomorrow, Cozumel.

Pirate Blogging Day One

I caved. Bought a WiFi package. Watching all these programs on the shipboard TV about shopping in George Town and Montego Bay convinced me. Duty free designer sunglasses? $150.  Emotional connection to the rest of the world in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico? Priceless.

So here are the Tweets I would have sent over the last 18 hours if I weren't on International Data Rates.  

 1:15 pm Winding line to security. Winding line to check in. Winding ramp to boat. Did not realize I was walking to Cozumel.

 1:45 pm  Crowded elevator on a crowded cruise ship. Um. No. Goodbye worst nightmare. Hello stairs to the Lido Deck.

 2:00pm All the ceilings in this place are really low. :-(

 2:01pm Panic attack. Dammit.

 2:30pm Managed not to abandon ship. Of course, we haven't left port yet. Walking around the open decks is helping. Stupid adrenaline.

 3:45pm Safety briefing painless. Now there's just the lifeboat drill to get through, and I think I'll be okay. 

 4:15pm  How is it that on a ship with this many people, I keep running into the same annoying ones?

 5:00pm  Goodbye Galveston!

 6pm Dinner. I am so doped on Dramamine, I hope I can carry on a conversation.

 7:30pm  Dinner was delicious. Stuck to diet, except for desert. Creme brulee was probably not a wise way to fall of the wagon.

 8:45pm Yep. Not wise at all.

 9:30pm Doped on Dramamine and a 5 am start to my day. Going to bed. So. Very. Lame.

 Monday 1am  Creme brulee was SUCH a mistake after a month of nothing richer than the half-and-half in my coffee.

 8am Wrapped in bathrobe on the deck of my stateroom. Water, water everywhere and yummy coffee to drink.

 9am Still in bathrobe.

 10am Showered. Back in bathrobe. And now I'm going to post this blog and go knock around the ship. It's a big ship, I should go see some of it! 

 P.S. I'm not answering my email, and probably won't comment much!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Upcoming Events, Should I Survive

This Saturday morning from 10am-noon, I'll be teaching a writing class at the Yellow Rose RWA chapter in Grapevine, TX. The class is called "Method Writing: Using the Actor's Toolkit to bring your prose to life."  Or something like that. The subtitle changes every time I type it. But it's basically about using acting skills to bring realistic emotion to your writing. (ETA: It's not focused on writing Romance specifically. It's a class any genre can use.)

Details about the meeting and location are on the chapter website. They welcome visitors, and according to the website, everyone goes out to lunch afterward so hey, if you ever wanted to go to lunch with me, this is your chance.

Maybe your last chance, since on SUNDAY I leave on the Killer Death Cruise (TM). Only last night that started to freak me out, so it's now called the Cruise of Potential Delights.

So, the deal is this. I have to go on a cruise. For free. Mr. RCM was awarded this from his company because he's that awesome at his job.  Well, I'm rather fond of Mr. RCM, so there didn't seem to be a good way to say, "Congratulations and have a good time" if I wanted him to remain fond of ME.

(Yes, Sally. I know it's a ridiculous problem to have. I ALSO could not find a tactful way to say, "Hey, Mr. RCM. This is my friend Sally. She's going with you in my place. I'm sure Mr. Sally won't mind.")

So how is this a problem? Well, I'm a pasty, sun-sensitive, motion-sick, neurotic, for one thing. (Okay, four things.)  And, oh yeah, I have panic attacks in... well, in a variety of situations, 90% of which will be manifested in a ship in the middle of the water with no way out which I am not steering or in any way in control of. Yeah. So that's a problem.

Just to amuse me, my friends have actually started a betting pool  of all the disasters that could happen while I'm sailing the Caribbean. Here are just some of the slots taken:

1. Zombie pirates. (A little obvious, I think.)
2. Mutant bipedal shark attack.
3. Migratory Killer Bee Swarm
4. Plague.
5. Iceburg.

That's the kind of friends I have. I'm so blessed, really. I'm going to miss them when those zombie pirates come for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Scalding Hot Blog Post. Really.

Do you ever do that thing where you’ve put off doing something for so long that you actually put of doing it because you’re embarrassed you’ve put if off for so long? 
That’s how I feel about this blog. I was going to write an end of the year post. Then I was going to write a beginning of the year post. And now it’s ten days into 2012. So instead of telling you why it took me so long to get my year started, I’ll tell you why it took me so long to get my morning started. 
Since I’ve been sleeping well for the first time in a LONG time, I’ve actually become... Okay, not a  morning person. But coherent and less likely to slice open my finger while cutting a bagel.  But thanks to a storm, and my dog having to go out (twice) in the middle of it, and drying her off, and drying ME off, I didn’t get much sleep. 
So I stumbled through my morning routine, sticking a gluten-free waffle in the toaster and pouring my cup of coffee. Only I slosh scalding coffee on my thumb, then tipped over the cup and suddenly there’s a coffee waterfall over the counter and onto the floor.  Then as I’m mopping it up with a kitchen towel, I stand up and brain myself on the open cabinet door. THEN, as I’m reeling from that, my mom comes in, sniffing, and asks, “Is something burning in the toaster?” 
After that start to my morning, I figured should think twice about driving or operating heavy machinery. So, finally, a blog post. 
It figures I would start this blog back up just days before I set off on The Killer Death Cruise*. Especially from the Cruise Ship, which charges $50 an hour for internet. At that rate, it would cost me $1 a Tweet. So there will actually be a reason for me to be incommunicado. 
Well, there’s always a reason. But a GOOD one, and not just lounging on my couch watching reruns of CSI: NY. 
Because I’m apparently 60 years old now. Going on cruises. Watching crime dramas. *sigh*  What’s next? Pajamas in the daytime? 
Oh. Hell. I already do that, too. 
*I am going on a cruise because Mr. RCM was awarded one as a bonus from his company. I’m claustrophobic, motion-sick, heat and sun intolerant, as well as Internet dependent.  More on this tomorrow.