First up, the long-promised (threatened?) Maplecroft roundup!
And then there's THIS. Wherein the marvelous Mr. Wheaton is kind enough to chat about it in the Tabletop gag reel.






And here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2025
    Present total word count: 77,175



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Re-calibrated plans once more because things are basically beyond fucked up at this point, but they can't leave yet. (For actual reasons, not lame horror movie reasons.)

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; cleaned my bathroom; unclogged my tub; vacuumed the whole house (even the cobwebs in the corners, not that they won't be back next week); dusted/wiped down everything but the kitchen/husband's bathroom, as those are *his* responsibilities; returned yet another loose dog to his people - but this round was pretty painless.

    Other: Today's unexpected dog-guest was named "Tucker," and he was adorable. He showed up on the other side of our fence, trying to play with Greyson - who was all, "MOM, CAN MY FRIEND TUCKER COME IN HERE AND PLAY?" and I was like, "Sure, hang on." Tucker was towing a massive locking D-ring caribiner attached to a metal cable lead ... which he had chewed straight through in order to make his escape.

    Furthermore Fuzzy Other: He was wearing a harness with a handle, for easy catching - as well as a collar with a large name-tag. When I say "large" I mean this name-tag was big enough to hold his name, three phone numbers, and a street address. Something told me this was not Tucker's first time fleeing his yard for giggles.

    Resolution to Other: Long story short, Tucker's mom dashed over from work to collect him. In fact, he is a MASTER escape artist - but his family gets an "A" for effort. For real, I'm not judging; I'm just glad it wasn't (a). Rufus for the 9th time, or (b). some other pooch with no tags, running loose like a happy maniac. Dogs are wily, man. Shit happens. Be prepared.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 228,556


Dog friends





In other news, the kitty's lab-work came back this afternoon...and the news is good! There was no sign of anything untoward in the cyst's contents, and she gets a clean bill of health [:: throws confetti ::]





If I understood the vet correctly (and she talks really fast, so maybe, maybe not), it seemed to be a benign cyst on her endocrine duct(?). Not dangerous, and now that it's drained, it's likely to stay gone. Hey, better to know for certain than to wonder why your cat suddenly looks like she's smuggling M&Ms in her lower lip.

That's what I say.

And in closing...
....bonus dog friends!

Enjoy :)

Show me how you do that trick

Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2345
    Present total word count: 75,150



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Started at the attic with plans to work our way down; plans were derailed by a ghost that looks like a boy, but isn't; got chased downstairs by something awful; found a safe spot, sort of; made new plans.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to Walgreens re: a prescription; went to the bank; got lunch; did some writer business.

    Other: I don't know what the big deal about crying doves might be, but I tell you what, it's funny as hell when dogs sneeze.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 226,531


Speaking of dogs, mine is basically the handsomest thing ever.
True fact.


Pull the blinds and change their minds

Today you get an evening post - for the kitty had an afternoon vet appointment, somewhat on the fly. A few days ago, I realized she'd suddenly developed some kind of cyst on her lower lip/jaw...a rather big one, much larger than the little sebaceous skin tags she's been known to develop. I'm talking about the difference between a grain of uncooked rice, and an M&M.

I tried to be cool and patient, and temporarily let it go - thinking maybe it was a kitty-zit or a small injury that'd go away. But it wasn't going away.

Maybe I overreacted, maybe I didn't. But she's getting on in years*, and she's been my little buddy for well over a decade. I worry. So I took her in to the fabulous Dr. Toumayan at the Chattanooga Cat Clinic**, where she's been going since we arrived back in Tennessee. (It is a most excellent clinic, for what it's worth. Can't recommend it enough.)

Long story short...Dr. T. drained the cyst and sent the results off for lab work, and in doing so, she actually got rid of it. She said the fluid was all clear, and she's optimistic that this is no big deal. I'm going to go ahead and be optimistic, too.

At present, the little monster is curled up next to me on the new heated throw I've added to the couch. She does not seem particularly traumatized by her visit, and she's smug about her electric night-time cuddles.




And here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2124
    Present total word count: 72,805



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Organized a plan of action from a day-job (salvage) standpoint; decided to lie to Dad; patched up a broken window, and did not see any ghosts while doing so. This time.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; fretted a lot about the cat; made a routine doctor's appointment for myself; took care of a little writer business.

    Other: Fingers crossed for clean lab-work for a little old kitty, eh?

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 224,186



* We adopted her in February of 2002; at that time, she'd been at the shelter for over a year - and she'd arrived there as an adult, so her exact age is a little iffy. The vet at the time guessed she was perhaps 3-4 years old. At any rate, she's at least 15 years old...more likely, a little older than that.

** Yes Greyson and Spainy have different vets. The cat clinic only treats cats, natch. And the marvelous Allison Gussack at Vet2Go comes to our house to take care of the pooch. I recommend both docs equally, for they are both 100% awesome.

Fate smiled and destiny laughed

Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1425
    Present total word count: 70,681



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Took a phone call; found a trunk; read some old letters with an interesting story hidden in the margins.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to lunch; went and got my hair did; applied to be a guest again at DragonCon again in 2015 - because hey, if they'll have me back...I'll go back! With bells on, baby.

    Other: The hair appointment ran a little longer than expected (no biggie) but that's partly why I'm posting a low(ish) word count for the day. Also, filling out the DragonCon guest application took longer than expected - because I had to update my bio, and account for all the stuff coming out between now and then. It's the little things that eat your day right out from under you, I swear.

    Hand-Flappy Other: You guys - I poked my head into Goodreads (as I do from time to time, to answer questions and such) ... and I saw that Felicia Day left me a kickass review for Maplecroft!!!! :: does a little dance :: Many, many thanks to her for taking the time :)

    Shameless Other: Speaking of Maplecroft - I will spare you a roundup of reviews FOR NOW but I was thinking, you know, Amazon.com reviews are awesome and it sure would be super-cool if someone could push me over the edge to 50. Or past that. I mean, if anyone were so inclined. [:: puppydog eyes ::]

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 222,062

Speaking of puppydog eyes...


Fame, Liquor, Love - give it to me slowly

Today I finished wrapping up revisions on an (unsold) YA project and its proposal/summary - a full day or two ahead of schedule. I'm honestly delighted with this project and I want to see it find a good home, so it's off to my agent for now, as per her request. It's about time. I've been sitting on it for entirely too long.

I had to get it off my plate sooner, rather than later...because my editorial letter for Chapelwood landed on Friday. I have until December 15th to turn around a clean draft on that one, and get it back to the editor. This shouldn't be a problem, but I need to clear my schedule of some of these secondary things. (Like the YA thing.)

I also have some reading to do, some notes to draw up, and some fiddly bits of the writing business to manage this week - but I want to nail down at least 10k on The Family Plot, too. I've got some decent momentum and I'd like to keep it rolling; so I'll wait until next week to begin the Chapelwood revisions.

That still gives me three weeks to clean it up, and the editor was pretty happy with the draft - so it shouldn't be too bad.

Anyway, this is the plan.

Today I didn't get much done in the way or word metrics, but then again, I didn't expect any (since I was working on that other thing). But hey, some is better than none.

So here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 1219
    Present total word count: 69,252



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Went to a cemetery and found some of what we were looking for, but not all of it; phoned home; had a morning beer.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: [Since last post] Neighborhood jaunts with dog; grocery shopping; Walgreens; went to the bank; did a bunch of laundry; cleaned house; started planning for Thanksgiving.

    Other: Monday night TV! Gotham and Sleepy Hollow and (if I'm not too tired to stay up for it) Castle! Mondays are not all bad.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 220,633

Puppygram.

With my little red party dress on

Friday is housework day, even for OCD people who spent half of yesterday cleaning out cabinets like a maniac. But it's just as well I got that head start, for the morning was interrupted by Greyson's trip to a new groomer. We had some...issues, with the previous folks; most obnoxiously, they had a bad habit of "losing" our appointments. We kept driving the poor dog all the way out there, only to find that the office had spaced on us. Yet again.

(In case you're new here, Greyson HATES riding in the car. It's the shaking, puking, and drooling kind of hate.)

So at any rate, we've been bathing him here at home with a garden hose over the summer - and if I can catch Greyson in just the right mood, he'll let me trim his nails and foot-fluff. But it's gotten too cold to wash him that way and quite frankly, he was starting to smell. Likewise, his nails were getting craggy, and his foot-fluff was just awful. It looked like he was wearing feather doilies on all fours.

But not anymore! We took him to the nice folks at the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute. I think it went well! It's a much smaller, calmer, more intimate operation than the last place, and when we arrived to pick him up, we didn't have to go cajole him out of a cage while he shook and whimpered. Instead, he was hanging out behind a baby gate at the front desk, playing happily with a puppy.

The operation uses all eco-friendly products and no cage-dryers. Greyson smells awesome and he's so soft, he almost feels fake.

Verdict: Two thumbs up for CHAI! My one wee regret is that I was a crappy tipper. I didn't mean to be; I just flaked and did bad, stupid math. But I'll make it up to them next time. Of COURSE there will be a next time. The price was right, the dog looks awesome, and he didn't come home to have a nervous breakdown.

Just look at them tidy feet!





In other news, the Scholastic online preview is live - and I Am Princess X is a Teen Feature! Click that link to see a whole collection of sneak-peaks, for picture books, grpahic novels, middle grade, and teen readers.

If you'd rather cut to the chase and to hear my editor Cheryl explain the sheer awesomeness of my YA debut next summer...the you can click this link instead and bop forward to the 4:48 mark.

Giggity :)

And finally, lest the kitty feel left out ... here's a shot of one fluffy cat who does not give a crap that she's blocking the warm air vent, and it was 25 degrees this morning. Because she is a tiny, adorable monster. That's why.


These words no longer have a hunger

I am a loser with no new word metrics to post, because the last couple of days kind of got away from me. Yesterday I ran a crap-ton of errands and then got stuck at a doctor's office for a couple of hours (long story, no big deal, referral to an allergist - in a nutshell) ... and by the time I got home, the whole afternoon was basically shot.

As for today, it's my husband's birthday.

I made a cake, and it turned out ugly but tasty, as is pretty typical for my culinary productions. We went to lunch at our favorite Mexican place and stuffed ourselves silly; then I had to make a few phone calls and conduct Important Business (kind of), and then my OCD sent me down a rabbit-hole.

Which is to say, I tried to put away something in the kitchen, and I was annoyed to discover that the cabinet I required was stuffed to the gills. So I started pulling things out in an effort to better Tetris the contents of that cabinet - whereupon I realized that we owned spices and sugar and stuff that expired years ago.

When I was finished, I had (a). shelf space freed up, (b). half a trash bag of expired dry goods but that's okay - tomorrow's trash day, and (c). a burning need to clean out the fridge. And then (d). my bathroom cabinet. (It's a built-in jobbie that's very deep and tall, and it collects things I don't need, and should probably throw away.)

Anyway, now it's about 5:00 and all I want is a drink some quality time with the TV.

BUT.

I didn't want to leave you hanging, and I wanted to share the following - a picture that one of my editors posted over on Twitter. Ladies, gents, and the otherwise affiliated ... I give you ... ARCs for my Young Adult debut, I Am Princess X.




[:: does a little jig ::]

In Cheryl's words, you're looking at a "YA-girl-friendship-w/-comics-cyberthriller out 5/26." That's a pretty good nutshell, and therefore I am happy to steal it. So next June, guys. Next June.

[:: happydances ::]
Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2480
    Present total word count: 68,033



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Slept poorly; did some internet research via phone while everyone else slept nicely; went for breakfast; took a detour on the way back to the house.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went back to Walgreens because I forgot something yesterday; had to do a bunch of email business; got distracted by other things, and there are yet more distractions on deck this afternoon.

    Other: This isn't last week's run of 4k+ metrics, but anything over 2k is a wild success in my book, so to hell with it. I have a bunch of things interfering with word counts this week, including a doctor's appointment tomorrow, the husband's birthday on Thursday, and a dog-grooming appointment on Friday. But I'll do the best I can.

    Revisions on Other Project Other: Only got through another 15 pages last night. I'll try to do better this evening.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 219,414

Puppygram.

There is a light to all this darkness

Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 2225
    Present total word count: 65,553



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Got inside a locked room with ghostly help; received a strongly worded message; found someone's old medical records, which were very enlightening.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; went to Walgreens; went grocery shopping; went to liquor store; went to post office; did a couple loads of laundry.

    Other: These are the first new metrics since Thursday, alas - and I wish they were fatter than this, but I got a late start this morning, and the day filled up with other stuff.

    Revisions on Other Project Other: At my agent's request/suggestion, I'm revising Ninja Planet for future submission. I'm about halfway finished, which is partly why I didn't get any new words composed on The Family Plot this weekend.

    Giveaway Other: The Maplecroft winner has been picked! The book was mailed off today! Thanks so much to everyone for entering, of course - and to those of you who've already read it/reviewed it/passed it around...a thousand thanks to you all.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 216,934

Kittygram.

Everybody knows the scene is dead

Good afternoon, everyone! Let's kick off this post with a Maplecroft roundup - because I've shown great self-restraint, and I haven't done one in like, a week. Ahem:


    Maplecroft at Kirkus Reviews - I'm pretty chuffed by this one, since Kirkus tends not to be super impressed with anything of mine :) "Maplecroft is at its most basic level really fun. I love the imagery of its evil creatures, the idea of Lizzie Borden going around with an axe destroying soul-sucking things because she wants to protect her town and her sister. And I loved her romantic relationship with Nance....Maplecroft is also really good at depicting the slow, all-encompassing horror of the events surrounding and immediately following the Borden crimes in a cool mixture of horror, mystery and female characters’ badassery."

    Maplecroft at the Fiction Reboot - "I’ve never been a devotee of the ‘true crime’ genre, so I’ll admit right now that I’m no expert on the Borden story; I’m probably more familiar with the jokes made about it in The Man Who Came to Dinner. But I’ll give you the bottom line on this post right now: if you’re a fan of horror, if you’re a fan of Mythos horror, and you haven’t gotten to Maplecroft yet, do so. Library, bookstore, friend’s copy, whatever."

    Maplecroft at VampChix - "It feels so Lovecraftian, and yet, it is not just a re-hashing of his ideas. It pulls from his themes, and as you follow the characters in their own discoveries, the sense of horror builds and builds. It has such a familiar feel- the blending of science and myth, the ancient evil waiting to be re-awakened... this is stuff I know and love. And yet, this is also something entirely new and refreshing."

    Maplecroft at The Road So Far - I'm not gonna lie - I have NO IDEA what this review says, as I don't read this particular language. But I am assured that it's quite good, and the 4.5/5.0 star rating suggests I have not been mislead.

    Maplecroft giveaway at The Nocturnal Library - Don't forget this giveaway! You still have six days to enter!


And, of course - the obligatory shilling for ratings. So if any of these very kind readers/reviewers have piqued your interest, well then, allow me to make it that much easier for you to pick up a copy for yourself:





Here's today's progress on my modern gothic ghost story about a salvage crew trapped in a doomed southern mansion - now with a crunchy murder ballad center and Bonus! clandestine cemetery where the stones don't match the bodies (and were never meant to). As inspired by a (semi)true local legend:

    Project: The Family Plot
    Deadline: January 15, 2015
    New words written: 4222 (BAM)
    Present total word count: 63,328



    Things accomplished in fiction: Got everyone on board with the new plan, using threats and bribery and logic; discovered a new room with a ghost in it; drank a bunch; did not do anything stupid like a horror movie cliche; couldn't get a lick of sleep.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; important emails; paid some bills; made a doctor's appointment (no big deal); honestly, that's about it.

    Other: Pulled out another 4k+ today, which is awesome - because I probably won't hit that number tomorrow. Tomorrow is Clean the Whole Damn House day. But I'll still do my best to produce something respectable.

    Giveaway Other: All right you non-tweeters - you still have until noon on Friday to enter to win a signed copy of Maplecroft! Click here for details!

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 214,709

Puppygram.