Monday, June 25, 2012


Today I went to my new home library, which is a convenient one mile from our  new house. It's adorable--there's a cute park with a duck pond attached to the library--but best of all, the entire basement is a children's library. The books there are separated out into genres and ages in a way that I think it is really accessible. My daughter hasn't really learned how to browse for books yet, and I think this library gives that perfect quiet coziness that you need to really dig through the shelves.

How's the adult section? I don't know. I got sucked into the mid-grade fantasy section and didn't come up until my daughter was ready to check out! I love all genres of books, but mid-grade fantasy is what made me fall in love with reading, and I still love it best of all. I'm finally going to start reading Garth Nix's Keys to Kingdom series--I've never seen book one on the shelf before, and I've been forgetting to put it on hold.

Three cheers for the new library!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ghost Collies

I don't believe in ghosts. I mean, not in any rational way--I can't think of any logical, substantiated reason to believe in them. But I still get weirded out sometimes, and our house has been acting a little spooky lately. First, the toaster began growling and screaming. Then the radio, which doesn't even have working speakers, turned on at full volume and could not be turned off except by unplugging it. And today a light blew out, but when I returned from the coffee shop, it was turned on and fully operational.

None of this would really be that weird except it began the day we met our realtor.

That's right--we've never had any strange electrical phenomena happen during the six years of our tenancy at this duplex, not until we decided to bid the place adieu. The strangeness of the experience compounds all the feelings I have about moving to make me feel more melancholic and nostalgic about the move. It's easy to look at these strange occurrences and say "Hey! Even the house doesn't want us to move!"

Luckily, I spent yesterday painting at our new house. Despite being all alone, I kept feeling something bump into my leg, the way a dog or a cat will bump its head against your leg to get your attention and say hi. I can't help but think of the two beautiful collies that once lived in the house. Are their spirits letting me know that I'm welcome in their house?

I know there are no real ghost dogs in my new house, although there is certainly plenty of dog hair and a phantom dog aroma rising up out of the thirty-year-old carpet. I also know that light bulbs have troubles in their lives and old appliances are sometimes just weird. I am hoping that there are no serious electrical problems that are going to burn down the duplex any time too soon, since I still have all my stuff in it!

Yep, I know all of this stuff. But the part of me that still gets scared at movies or cry during the sad parts of books--the part of me that makes and loves stories--that part of me wants to go play with the ghost dogs.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Skeletons in the trunk

The other day I was walking downtown and had a sudden insight about a character. Ah-ha! I thought. That's how Winston finds out about that guy! I have insights about characters all the time, but what was special about this insight was the fact that I'm not actually working on that project right now--I put it aside about a year ago. That is to say, I put the files and notes aside. Apparently my brain has continued working on that novel while I wasn't paying any attention.

Today on Alexandra Sokoloff's blog, she talks about how a successful writer has had ideas simmering away their entire lives, and how those ideas boil down until they're needed. Some story ideas might go back to early childhood. Some might only be a few years old. Some ideas or images are so meaningful to a writer that they can inform multiple works!

I don't know when I'll get back to that project about Winston, but it's good to know that I know a bit more about him for the day I do!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Thank you, Ray Bradbury

I really wanted to meet Ray Bradbury. To say that he was an inspiration is putting it mildly--Dandelion Wine changed my entire relationship with words when I read it at age eleven, and I've lived in awe of Mr. Bradbury ever since then.

This is a silly song, but I know it will be going through my head all day.

He was the greatest sci-fi writer in history. I know he will live on in my heart forever.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Strawberries & angel food cake

This weekend I was reminded just how wonderful the simple things can taste. While hanging out with my fantastic siblings, my sister served store-bought angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. And you know, I've probably eaten that combination at least two hundred times in my life, but it just tastes so delicious and summery that it fills me with happiness!

On a similar note, last week I read Snuff, by Terry Pratchett (which I think just won a Wodehouse award for best comic novel from the UK). I've read so many Terry Pratchett books that I can't even keep them straight, but they are always enjoyable, and this one was no exception. In fact, it was remarkable! I highly recommend it. It's classic Terry Pratchett with a hint of humanism. I think it might be a new favorite.

I think that summer is a great time to enjoy simple, classic favorites. It's the time when you break out the blue jeans and white tee-shirt. When you set aside the latest style of shoes to put on your flip-flops. It's the time to pick up books by your favorite authors, drink an IPA, and just hang out.

Any great summer plans or favorite summer treats awaiting you?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Short leads

Last year I helped out at the Orycon Writers Workshop, filling in for Mary Kowal (gulp! Talk about filling big shoes!) for her short story critiques. The other professional in the session was Claude Lalumiere, anthologist and short story writer extraordinaire.

It was wonderful to just sit back and let him work his magic. While Claude and I both had insights into plot and character issues, what stuck with me was his advice on beginnings. Both pieces we read in the workshop had interesting openings, but Claude recommending paring them down quite significantly. I could see his logic and I've been using it a lot on stories of mine. Many of my beginnings have had evocative, intriguing openings ... that hold back the action of the piece

Today, my story "Barnstormers" goes up at Ideomancer. It originally began with the protagonist readying herself to fly in an airshow, and it was packed with gorgeous language and delightful imagery. I loved it! But I realized that lovely beginning was a page that kept us away from the trouble lying at the heart of the story, so I chopped it off.

Now, I'm pretty sure there's nothing as lovely in the story as the bit I cut off, but the piece is now lean and muscular--which, as any Daniel Craig fan will agree, is gorgeous in its own right.

Also, speaking of lovelies, I just received a scrumptious-looking short story collection from the extremely gentlemanly J.R. Hamantaschen: You Shall Never Know Security. The cover, I think you'll agree, is creey & pretty!