You have reached The Lima

Maria Lima aka, Maria Lima, TheMariaLima, etc.

I’m a writer,  reader and all-around fangrrl with feet firmly planted in the Other.

My Blood Lines series, an urban (?) fantasy set in the Texas Hill Country, is available wherever books are sold – in mass market paperback and eBook. All five books are now available as audiobooks via Audible.com.

But, wait, there’s more!

I’ve also written short stories and non-fiction essays for various collections. Find out about all my work at the My Work page.

I blog infrequently, but you can find me spewing words of dubious wisdom on:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn*

 

*for the record, I’m not on LinkedIn very much

Movie Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive movie poster Don’t expect sparkly vampires, nor action-packed bloodthirsty romanticized killers in Only Lovers Left  Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s most recent oeuvre. Instead, think languid, lush, and absolutely gorgeous–in the cinematic way, though Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston certainly fit the bill in many other ways.

Set in a brooding, decaying Detroit and a vibrant Tangier, this is the story of two immortals: their passions, their glories, and emotions. Hiddleston’s Adam is a deeply emo vampire musician, locked up in a crumbling mansion surrounded by all the music. He’s a rock-and-roll icon, known for being a hermit, yet incredibly popular. Adam has his modern-day Renfield, a groupie by the name of Ian who procures whatever Adam needs – mostly obscure musical instruments.

Swinton’s Eve lives on the other side of the world, immersed in literature, embracing the color and richness of her chosen city. Her best pal (and procurer of the good blood) is none other than Christopher Marlowe (played to perfection by John Hurt.) Though separated from her husband of many lifetimes, it takes only a phone call from Adam for Eve to wing her way via night flights to Detroit.

This is a quiet mood piece, pretty much the absolute antithesis of the other recent movie I saw (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), but it’s pace is utterly perfect. As I said to a colleague, it’s poetry, not prose, and on its face, a simple poem, but it’s very simplicity showcases the complex issues of immortality, of the decay of modern cities, of trust and love and hope. Only Lovers Left Alive promotional still

There’s no mystery to solve, no soul-clenching drama, just beauty, introspection and the glory of life – no matter how long life is. There is a very amusing bit when Eve’s younger “sister” Ava shows up, the vampire version of the annoying little sibling. Ava throws a few wrenches into Adam and Eve’s life and the resolution to this is all part of the overarching glory of survival.

Only Lovers Left Alive opens in very limited release in the US on April 11, 2014. Catch it if you can – it will probably only be out in art-house theatres, but it’s well worth the watch. If you miss it on screen, make sure to get the DVD or digital download when that’s available. Already I’m looking forward to a second viewing.

World Fantasy Con: I’m going, are you?

I used to go to a lot of conventions – at least 3 or 4 a year. It was great, even for this total introvert. I got to hang with friends, meet new friends & fans, and talk shop for two or three days.

Now, not so much. Between the fibro fatigue and budget issues, going to a con is a massive undertaking. Last year, I didn’t go to a one. This year, I’m going to World Fantasy Con. It’s a tight budget squeeze for the fee, but the location couldn’t be any better. It’s being held at the Hyatt directly across from my work building.

This means no hotel room to book, no parking fees to pay (I can park in my already paid for space at the office garage). So yeah, I managed to eke out the registration fee.

I’ll still have to budget out my time and build in rest periods, but knocking out the drain of travel time and the cost of a hotel room really made this a no-brainer.

I hope I’ll see a lot of you all there!

Losing time or gaining it?

I’ve often heard it said that as you get older, you begin to lost time, or at least, the perception of it. Three hours may seem like only one, days fly by and suddenly, it’s February when only last week, you were celebrating New Year’s. Clock

That does happen to me a lot, but I also get this weird opposite effect, where I think it’s later than it is…mostly on days.

For example, because of the weather last week, I had to reschedule an eye doc appointment. I had it on the calendar for today, but thought I remembered them saying the 28th. Today is only the 27th. So, I call them. Turns out, the appointment is actually for NEXT week, February 4.

In the same vein, I sent out an email to my cleaners yesterday, as my apartment building is conducting fire alarm testing during the mornings of Monday and Tuesday. Cleaners are scheduled for Tuesday, so I wanted to be sure this was okay with them (mostly because the alarms are really annoying, as they should be).

Well, I did it again. I looked up the email from the building and the tests are next week.

I can’t even.

Thank goodness I thought to check these things.

A New Year, A New Look

New Site!

So, it took longer than I expected…as many things do these days, but I finally revamped my site.

I’m using the WordPress 2013 theme, with some minor tweaks. I like it, because it’s responsive (e.g., will resize depending on which screensize you are viewing) and it’s simple and clean. Also, very easy to set up and use. I did love my old site design but it was getting a little ragged ’round the edges/dated.

One thing that is new here, is that I’ll no longer have comments open, mostly because what I got was spam, and very little interaction with real people. I’ll miss some of you, but definitely come find me on Facebook or Twitter. I tend to hang out more often on those two places because as part of my day job, I have to hang out on social media. Tough, huh? ;)

What I’ve Been Doing

The final audiobook of the Blood Lines series is done and up for sale at Audible.com and other places. Deciding to record my own audiobooks was a great idea, but definitely a lot harder in the execution of it. I should’ve known, as I did do some audio work back in the day, but I guess my brain thought digital would be easier.  Some parts, yes, but mostly, the process is still extremely time consuming.

I’ve been doing a lot of resting – mostly because with fibromyalgia, fatigue is very common and I find that I must break up tasks into smaller bits to get things done. I spend a lot of non-day job time at home, in my recliner, reading or watching shows/movies. My brain REALLY wants to be doing/moving/going, but my body, not so much. It’s really hard for me, who was once (and not long ago) in the middle of many volunteer groups, social (in-person) groups, etc, to really grok that I can’t do that anymore. I’m learning, though.

Right now, I’m experiencing winter, in all its glory. I’m very ready for spring.

What’s Next?

I don’t really know. I’ve got tons of great story ideas whirling about in my head, but my energy levels are far too low. I’m not giving up writing, only taking a hiatus until I can marshal more energy.

I plan to be at World Fantasy Con in DC this fall. It’s being held at the hotel directly across from my workplace, so yeah, I’ll totally be there. Just waiting for some money to come in so I can pay the reg fee.

Hope you’ve all had a happy holiday season and are heading for a fabulous 2014!

 

Ouch, owie and eep, I have too much crap

rolling cart of stuff for junk swapOur office does a quarterly(ish) junk swap, where staffers can bring things they’d like to get rid of – be it books, clothes, gadgets, etc. The basic rule is bring stuff that is still usable, take stuff if you want, even if you didn’t bring stuff. At the end of the day, anything not claimed by someone else gets packed up and donated to our local Goodwill.

Slowly, I’ve been going through some of the final tote bins, books and piles o’clothes at home and bringing them in for the various swaps. It’s been a not-so-easy task, thanks to the fibromyalgia, but last night, I got motivated (I think it was the caffeine) and I loaded up a grocery roller cart* full to the brim with books, clothes and bags. Lots and lots of bags.

Some of the bags came from conferences. Some were purses or backpacks I’d bought over the years. I’d been leery of opening the tote bin o’bags, simply because I knew it would be tough for me to part with some of them. The nostalgia! The utter usefulness of some of them!

I was ruthless.

In went the awesome bag from Left Coast Crime in Monterey, CA more than a decade ago. In went the nifty blue bag from Lone Star Con. In went the black leather backpack/purse that I hadn’t actually seen in at least a dozen years.

After a couple of hours and a Tramadol, I was done. The rolling cart was full.

This morning, I rolled it down the hall, into the elevator and out through the lobby, somehow managing to get through the building’s foyer without help. Unpacked the cart into the back of Phil-the-car, then repacked it when I arrived at work.

The swap starts this afternoon at  3 p.m. – Normally, I’d be a little anxious…do I really want to donate X item? Maybe I’ll keep it for a little bit longer.

Not today, though. I’m relieved–happy that more stuff is going to find good homes and perhaps even delight someone else.

Is my changed attitude because I’m getting older/wiser? Is it just the semi-annual burst of “OMG, I need to declutter?”

I don’t know.

All I can say is that I’m taking advantage of that urge and going forward.

Years ago, I could fit everything I owned into one small truck. I don’t know that I’ll get back to that point again, nor would I want to, but hanging on to stuff just because I can is silly and makes no sense.

Maybe I am growing up…just shy of my 55th birthday.

 

 

* the cart stands about 3.5 feet tall at the handle and is nearly 2 feet wide.

Ask You Anything…

black question mark inside black circle A common blog post/meme/whatever is the “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) – either over at Reddit or a blogger’s own site. My online pal, Chuck Wendig, in celebration of the release of his new YA dystopian novel, Under the Empyrean Sky, did an AMA on July 30.

Instead of you all asking me questions, I figured I’d turn the tabs and ask you, with my own answers interspersed:

  • What’s a book you’ve read recently that blew you away and why?
    • I recently finished reading Jim Hines’ Libriomancer and could not put it down. The wonderful trope of using the written word (literally) as magic was fresh and fun. He is also a master at crafting interesting characters.
  • What TV show surprised you this season or last?
    • Orphan Black (SyFy) and Orange Is the New Black (Netflix Originals). I mainlined them both, binge watching like a crack addict with money to burn. Strong writing, wonderful women characters and fantastic acting. Now I’m jonesing for next season!
  • What movie surprised you?
    • Pacific Rim – I went on a whim and to accompany a friend, figuring it would be a silly, fun romp. Turns out, it’s more than that. Quite good, despite some story holes and really good characters, plus Idris Elba!
  • Tell me something you’ve been wanting to share.
    • I’m crap at resp0nding to fan email. I beg pardon and your patience if I’ve not responded to you quickly.

That’s all for now, folks! I’m enjoying an oddly cool end-of-July and working on job stuff plus starting recording for the final Blood Lines audiobook, Blood Sacrifice.

Although I blog infrequently, I’m most often found nattering on Facebook. Happy almost August!!

 

Ceci n’est pas un plume

short pencil stubThis is not a pen. Esto no es una pluma.

I love languages. Words in any tongue fascinate me. Why is the word “pen” plume in French, pluma in Spanish, but the equivalent English word isn’t at all related? In Welsh, it’s “pen”, just as in English. See? Fascinating.

One of the best resource pages online for languages is Open Culture’s Free Language courses. Yes, FREE. The list links to 46 different language course pages from Arabic to Yiddish. Pretty nifty, huh?

This is one of the reasons I love the Internets.

What free resources for language have you found online?

Happy July & audiobook giveaway

Happy July, all!!

Hard to believe half the year’s already in the past. How’d it sneak by, anyway?

The weather around here has basically been sunny with a side of thundershowers for the past umpty days. I could use with a little relief, though none seems to be in sight. Sucks for those who are planning outside getaways for this weekend. Me, I’m planning a decadent 4 days of lounging about. Best kind of mini staycation there is.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

Don’t forget, the audiobook giveaway is still on through Thursday, July 4! Tell your friends!