Monday, July 28, 2008


I think we've finally hit on a way to accomplish homeschool and my writing at the same time. Up to now, the problem has been that the kids don't accomplish much when I'm not standing over them, and they get distracted on their computers at home with all their fun internet activities, etc. But I've recently found that if we leave the house and go to the library, we get a lot more done. With the laptop, I can actually write while the kids are doing schoolwork, and since they can only have two hours on the library computers, at least the older one is moving faster on her work. The younger one will get there too, I think, as soon as she gets used to the idea of "work" time vs anything time. And the library has lots of little desks about the right height for a laptop, plus plenty of outlets for plugging in--so I should be able to be a little more productive too. I'm working on the new Brenna book while I'm waiting for crits to come in on the last Oantra book.

This weekend I found out that Idaho has a group of...hmm...ghost trackers, for want of a better term. Check them out at their website. In September, they're doing a seminar on ghost hunting, and I've already decided that this comes under the heading of necessary research for the Brenna books. Sounds like it'll be a blast, and there might even be a ghost hunt in the offing. Nothing like field research, huh?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flightless in Seattle

This morning, I was supposed to fly home from Seattle to Boise. I say supposed to because I missed my flight. My late-checked bag--the reason I didn't make the flight--actually got onto the plane and arrived home before me. Obviously, the next time I travel, I will make sure to allow two whole hours at the airport before departure.

I'm not an anxious flyer. I am an anxious pre-flyer. What that means is that I'm not scared to get on the dang plane and fly, I'm just scared that I'll miss my flight and get stranded somewhere. Or...I was scared of that. I'm not anymore. I missed a flight just this morning, and yet both I and my bags made it home just fine. The bag was on the flight I missed, and I was on the following flight four hours later. One swipe of the credit card and I was confirmed for a new flight. Silly me...I knew that if you missed one airplane, you'd eventually be able to catch another one. But the details of what you do when this happens were what made me anxious. "Help, I'm stranded! Whatever shall I do?" (Let me explain here that I'm not that helpless, but I hadn't flown anywhere since before 9-11, and I've only flown once before by myself--a direct flight from Boise to Spokane clear back in the very early 90's. Now I have a much better idea of what to do, of course.) But literally, I was ready to collapse when I found that my plane had left without me. I must have looked like some kind of wreck, and I know I felt like one. I need a private jet, so it can't leave without me when I'm late!

Now that the hypothetical disaster has happened, I'm not so worried about it. I wouldn't like it to happen again, but...I can handle it if it does. Where was my personal assistant when I needed her? Oh, yeah, that would be me. I am so fired.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Okay, I'm blogging from the hotel after the awards banquet. While it was fun being a finalist and this is the farthest I've gotten in any contest, I did not make the top three. I don't know in which of the eight spots I placed exactly--only the first three are made known. But it doesn't really matter. It would have been great to hit one of the top spots, but as they kept telling all us finalists, this was a really tough contest, so just to be a finalist at all was a great achievement. PNWA is an old, prestigious conference, so I hope simply being one of the finalists for my category will give me a credit that potential publishers will find worthy of note.

As it happens, I was sitting in the hotel bar last night when an author in my genre invited me to join him and his two friends at his table. About halfway through the conversation, he suddenly revealed that the lady to my left was an editor--for my genre, or at least a related genre. You have to be careful at these conferences! You never know when you might be talking to an editor incognito while she's drinking a mojito. It was at least as good as the private party the winners are now having with the agents and editors. The universe has its ways of giving us what we need, as long as we're willing to keep making the effort. Plus, today I met at least four urban fantasy authors, I say. As long as I make the contacts, it doesn't really matter whether I take home a fancy certificate.

I'm going to keep telling myself that for the rest of the evening...while I'm drinking champagne with one of my fellow non-winning finalists.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Contest

Okay, I think I've waited long enough now for the results to be in, and can safely reveal what's been going on with a certain writing contest I entered in February. I've entered the opening of the Brenna book, From the Ninth Wave, in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association contest. They got something like 28 pages including the synopsis. I hadn't entered a contest in years because I always lost, and I'd never even made it to finalist. It's hard when you're writing fantasy and your novel is up against all the thrillers and mysteries in a general "adult genre novel" category.

Note the past tense on that "I'd never", though. Last year, they broke everything out into actual genres, which helped a lot. Because of that change, I decided to take a chance this year. The big news is this: I am a finalist in the PNWA Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre novel category!

Tomorrow I'm flying up to Seattle to attend the contest and see what happens. I'm one of eight finalists. The top three winners will be announced on Saturday evening.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thank You, Ms. Kane

Finally. Someone has articulated her feelings (which perfectly match my own feelings) about writing sex scenes--the reasons to do so, the how-to's, what sex scenes should accomplish, etc. And she's said it better than I've ever managed to,'s the link to her blog and those posts. Enjoy.

Friday, July 11, 2008


We went to see Hellboy 2 this afternoon. If anything, I liked it even better than the first one, not the least for the exploration of the fantasy beings. They used some of the same visual artistry as "Pan's Labyrinth," which made for a colorful and interesting depiction of the fae. They mangled the Celtic mythology quite a bit, but they made a visually stunning and exciting movie.

I will admit, I was disappointed in some of the outcome, but I liked that they at least began to explore some of the grey areas with regards to humans and their impact on the world. I can't really say a lot here without giving away major spoilers, but I can at least mention things that are in the movie blurbs and such. The idea behind this movie was: The fantastic (fae, otherworldly, elven, goblin, whatever) beings gave up control of this world long ago; what if they wanted it back? What, indeed?

There were things I liked very much about this movie, and things that made me shake my head. But as my crit partners are always telling me: this was someone else's story, not mine, and there's no rule that says people who play with the Celtic or other culture's mythos actually have to stick closely to it when they're using it as a jumping-off point for a story.

That said, however, I couldn't resist the compulsion to tell my kids some of the story of the relationships between the Sidhe and humans, as per Irish mythology. These are the hazards of being the children of a writer who likes to research the actual source material her stories are based on.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Retreat Weekend

The Moxie just had our annual retreat this past weekend. We didn't even go out of town, but instead booked ourselves into a suite at a local hotel.

We got off to a slow start, but had a lot of fun going out to lunch first and then painting pottery before checking into the hotel. We spent the afternoon working, then headed out to dinner. If we'd wanted to go even cheaper, we could have cooked in the suite; it had a tiny kitchen complete with pots and pans. But part of the fun of a retreat weekend is that it's a break, and to me, a break means not cooking. That night we worked and talked and ended up staying up extremely late. Nevertheless, we all blearily made our way to the breakfast buffet Sunday morning, where the hotel was actually serving (gasp!) real protein in the form of cheese omelets and sausage, instead of just a typical continental of 99% carbohydrates, 1% caffeine. Then it was off to the suite again to arrange for a late checkout and work until the last possible second before having to vacate the premises. From there, one of my crit partners went home, while I and the other partner went to our usual Moxie Java to work for another couple of hours before rolling off home.

One of my partners asked whether I'd actually accomplished more on the retreat than I would have at home. The answer is yes, although not by a huge margin. What was more important than vast amounts of progress on the prose was the camaraderie and the change of scene, which for me was like a mini vacation. I'd do it every three months if I could. And we're definitely going to have to do that pottery painting again. The only thing about the retreat that I'd change is that all three of us would have had comfy king-sized beds and no one would have slept on a sleeper sofa mattress, and we would have been able to go to the movies to ogle Robert Downey, Jr. I mean...a retreat weekend is all about inspiration, right? Nevertheless, what we did accomplish was great, although it ended far sooner than I would have liked. But then, I'm kind of die-hard that way.

I do get to go to PNWC in a week and a half, so I have more hotel vacation time ahead of me. It's all good.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Triad

I'm finished with the last book of the trilogy. I can hardly believe it, but it's true. I just wrote the denouement for Shifts of Perception, which means that except for revisions, I've just finished the last book of the Oantran Triad. I spent nine years of my life writing a trilogy that, to date, remains unpublished.

But I wrote it. That's the main thing. I wrote an epic fantasy trilogy. BOO-RAH!