Archive for the 'Life' Category



Monday, March 31st, 2008
Goodbye cube farm! Fare thee well…

First off, here are some pictures from the book signing I did Saturday with Debby Giusti and Marjorie Liu.

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Here is Debby, Anya, and Marjorie.

Anya & the wonderful bookstoredeb of The Bookstore in Radcliff, KY.

Laurak was there! So was Rhonda! I forgot to have pictures taken with them yet again, though. I fail at photos.

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Goodbye cube farm! Fare thee well…

So, yep, I quit my day job. There are some who would advise me against such a move, I know. Yet, I’ve done it. I’m out. After twelve years of breathing the allergen-laden air of my office building, I finally gave my notice.

I am OUT of there. Hoo, boy. Oh yeah. Freedom!

As of next week I will trade my life of paper pushing for one of full-time writing and stay-at-home momming. And although I just cried freedom, it’s a little scary too. For many years I worked full time, only going part time a couple years ago when my writing income began to be enough to pick up the slack of a loss of twenty hours a week. I went part time to have more time to write and also in anticipation of motherhood.

I liked being part time because it allowed me a foot in steadier waters while giving me time for other things. Writing is anything but predictable work. Most writers don’t make enough to support themselves and need to keep their day jobs, or they need to keep day jobs because they don’t have a spouse who can support them. I do have a spouse to support me, but in my case I just never wanted him to do it. I wanted to bring in enough income to support myself as if I were not married. So I kept my day job long after I could have quit. It took me a long, long time to pry my fingers off it even though a part of me really did want to leave. Those closest to me watched me seesaw back and forth between TO QUIT! or NOT TO QUIT! Yes, that was the question.

A perfect storm of events finally pried my strong grip off the job. A combination of wanting to spend more time with my daughter, events within the company, and my writing career taking off a bit (yay!). But I will miss the days it got me out of the house. I’ll miss doing something in which I can see immediate, practical results. I’ll miss some of the people in my office. I’ll even miss some of the work. But there are lots of things I won’t miss, too. So….

Goodbye long commute! Goodbye nasty grounds in the coffee! Goodbye small gray square of a cubicle. Goodbye bland carpet-covered walls. Goodbye uncomfortable office chair. Goodbye air duct right over my head that had me in sweaters at the height of July.

Goodbye! Goodbye!

Thursday, March 6th, 2008
Tez Miller’s cat loves Witch Fire!

Either that or he finds it sedating. 😉

This is Manny. He lives in Australia. See Manny sleep. This is Witch Fire. See Witch Fire near Manny.

You can see other books with Manny here on her blog. My cats, (all eight of them), approve. Three purrs up for Manny the sleeping, book-reading cat.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
I want to ban Valentine’s Day

I know. That’s totally “un-romance author” of me, isn’t it? Romance and love are supposed to be what we eat and drink to stay alive. According to some publications we’re supposed to have uber-frilly bedrooms, walk around in a silky come-hither pegnoirs and wear those high-heeled slippers with the feathery fluff on top. (See? I don’t even know what they’re called.)

Well, friends, I am a romance author and I have two words for you — pajama pants. I love my pajama pants. Combined with the perfect old, washed-many-times sweater and some big, fluffy socks, they make the perfect writing outfit to wear all day. Glamour? Zee glamour has left the building. Actually, it was never in the building.

My bedroom is designed for comfort — not romance. It’s designed for my husband and I to get a good night’s sleep, snoring among the five cats also sharing the bed. Did I mention the German Shepherd/Husky mix on the doggie bed in the corner?

But other than having people presume that because I’m a romance author I know of all things romantic and Valentine Dayish, I don’t like V Day because, well, have you ever met a day more perfectly designed to make singletons feel like crap? Or a day better set up to throw a spotlight on the shortcomings of some relationships?

And pity the poor guy who merely forgets the flowers.

Then there are the people who say something along the lines of, “Oh, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. That’s just a made up holiday created by the greeting card company.” Pish. Posh. *dismissive wave of hand* Some of them really mean it and I believe them. (A few of them.) The rest are all saying that while glancing out the corner of their eye in hopes of getting a Valentine from someone.

Ugh. Valentine’s Day should be renamed Insecurity Day.

Then there are couples like my friends who plan out what they’re going to do for months beforehand, carefully choosing the perfect gift to give their sweetie. They genuinely love seeing their beloved’s eyes light up at the object of their desire being pulled from a red box and wrapped in red tissue paper. They go out to dinner, celebrate their relationship, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over candlelight and glasses of champagne. The day after Valentine’s Day, they start planning for the next one.

Me? How do I feel about Valentine’s Day? We don’t celebrate it. (But if my husband forgets the flowers, his ass is grass.)

How do you feel about V Day? Are you a fan or a detractor?

Thursday, January 17th, 2008
Tagged!

Lauren Dane tagged me for this meme.

Seven Random Facts About Me:

1. Winter is my favorite season. I prefer cold to heat and I enjoy snow very much. Although I also love the ocean and prefer the beach for vacations (even though I don’t tan and get heat rash like WOW. I was made for the northern places.)

2. I’m a little bit of a wine snob. I really only drink reds and I prefer they come from the Cote du Rhone.

3. That’s the only kind of snob I am. I am very friendly and easy to get along with, though I do tend to be very shy and introverted. Normally people have to be persistent in order to make friends with me. Once I do make a real friend, however, I tend to keep them as close friends for a very, very long time. (I still have friends from the second grade)

4. I have an incredibly soft spot for cats. I’m horribly allergic to them (and have asthma), and have been begged by my doctors to not keep any, but I love them enough to put up with the health complications. We have eight, all but one are rescues. They’re worth it to me.

5. My favorite poet is Charles Simic. He rocks the Casbah.

6. I am a Zen Buddhist in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a daily effort for me to stay on that path. Some days I do better than others, but I’m always trying.

7. I lived in the south of France for six months after I graduated high school (see wine snob). Years later I met and married a French-speaking Belgian man. I do also speak French (I wouldn’t say fluently, but I get along all right) and I translate French as part of my day job (which, yes, I still have).

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008
Accents

I grew up in Minnesota and moved to Kentucky when I was 18. I’ve been in Kentucky now for, well, more years than I would like to say. 😉 The accents in these two places are pretty different. When I moved down here I had a hella Minnesotan accent. Now I have a bit of a Kentucky drawl to my words. But mostly I fall somewhere in between the two accents, saying some words (like ‘bag,’ for example) Minnesotan-style and other words (like ‘hi’ and ‘bye’) Kentuckian. If I’m talking to a Minnesotan, my accent will become more like theirs. If I’m talking to a countryish Kentuckian (the accents around and in Louisville aren’t that thick), I speak more like them.

I’m a little bit of an accent chameleon, I guess.

But sometimes I run into people here that show me that I’ve never truly grown a good ear for the Kentucky accent. Here’s a little case in point.

Last night on my way home from the day job, I stopped at a small country store to buy some pet food. I live in horse country and this was a horse/farm type of place. They were moving stuff around or moving in or out, or I don’t know what. In any case, the store was in disarray. I asked the man where the specific cat food I wanted was and he says (much to my surprise)….

“It’s over there sitting on that slab of semen.” He jerks his head toward a pile of horse blankets and other things and goes back to his box.

I stand, head cocked to the side, blinking. Semen? There’s semen here? Wait…there’s a whole SLAB of SEMEN??!!

“Uhm?” I start to say, eyebrows raising. “Where’s the s–s–slab?”

He turned to me and points at the pile of horse blankets again. “Over there.”

I walked around and find a slab of CEMENT upon which rest the cans of cat food I seek.

Oh.

Cement, not semen. I am relieved. The guy had pronounced cement like SEE-meant, only he’d dropped the ‘t’ or I hadn’t heard it because he’d already been turning back around to his box.

I say sa-MEANT, he says SEE-ment.

Yeah.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

We came back from Belgium, but then I got sick. Yuck. Strep throat. There are a few tendrils of euw still clinging to me, but mostly the sickness is gone. My daughter got sick too (but with just a cold, luckily).

Belgium was great. We spent the holidays with my husband’s family. Every time I go to Europe I’m struck by how different the culture really is. One thing in particular I was struck by on this trip was how the grocery stores in Belgium have gone “no bag”. You either have to bring your own bags, or you have to buy their bags to sack your stuff. I thought it was cool as hell. I’ve tried to use my own sacks many times, but I always revert to forgetfulness and laziness at some point. If store provided bags weren’t an option AT ALL, I would be forced into the behavior.

Since I don’t foresee that happening in the U.S. for a long time, I’m going to start to try and bring my own bags again. We’ll see how long I can keep it up. It’s one of those things I always mean to do, yet never quite am able to succeed at. Like giving up coffee in the morning in favor of tea. Or walking on the treadmill more. Or eating more broccoli. Uhm, well, anyway. But I really am going to try once more to bring my own bags.

Also, in some some grocery stores in Belgium, they also have this coolio electronic scanner thing. You scan each item as it goes into the cart and then just hand the device to the cashier at the counter. No offloading of all the groceries onto the moving carpet thingie. There’s some sort of safe guard, though, to protect against stealing. If the safe guard is tripped, you have to offload. I have since discovered they have this in the U.S. too, but I haven’t seen it anywhere yet.

Only a couple more months until Witch Blood releases!! EIYEEE!

Now I’m off to get some writing done.

Friday, December 7th, 2007
Friday Morning & A Contest

I’m running a blogwarming contest over on Maverick Authors until the first of the year. You can win books from Lauren Dane, Megan Hart and me. Go on over to the entry titled Blogwarming Contest and enter! It’s super easy. All you have to do is talk about books.

It’s early on Friday morning and I’m up having some coffee and worrying about my husband driving on icy country roads. My daughter’s occupational therapist will arrive in a couple hours and I need to clean my house! It’s a mess. See, right now, I have Book Brain. Like I wrote about in a previous blog post, it’s when the novel takes over and I can’t really think straight anymore. Cleaning? Bwahaha! Ain’t happening when I have Book Brain.

What’s good about having Book Brain right now is that I’m entering the middle section of Witch Heart. The middle is always the hardest part of the book for me to write. I have my strategies to get through it, and I usually revise the hell out of it before I write the end. But, still, the Dreaded Middle. Ugh. However, the pacing of this book is so that entering the middle isn’t that bad. So Book Brain right now is a very good thing. Hopefully it will carry me over the hump of the middle and start me down the slope toward the conclusion.

Last night I wrote about 2k on Witch Heart. That’s actually pretty good for me in one sitting. I also wrote 2k on a sooper seekrit story I don’t want to say anything about. So, 4k for the whole day. Not bad.

This morning I’m itching to get started on Witch Heart again. I have all kinds of things to write and I can’t wait. But, life, you know. She gets in the way.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
Sweet Taters!

My husband actually salivates when he asks me to make this every year. I can’t take credit. It’s straight from a recipe I found a long time ago. With so much butter, it’s got to be good.

3 cups mashed yams
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup melted butter, divided
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Combine yams, sugar, eggs, 1/4 cup butter, milk and vanilla; beat well. Spread mixture in casserole. Combine 1/2 cup butter, flour, brown sugar and nuts; sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.