Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
Our 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.
Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
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!!
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
This 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?
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
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!
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Hi, all and sundry! Yup, it’s been ridiculous how long ago I last posted an update. I’ve spent a great deal of time on Facebook & Twitter, but less time blogging. Shall I blame the state of the world or just the state of moi? Probably a little of both.
I’ve finished recording the 4th book in the Blood Lines series, Blood Heat and in celebration, the wonderful folks over at Audible.com have given us 5 free copies of the audiobook to give away to interested reader/listeners.
A free audiobook??? How do I get that, you ask.
Simple, it only takes a couple of steps to enter the random drawing no later than midnight, 4 July, 2013 (Eastern Daylight Time/GMT -4):
1. Comment here on my blog or my LiveJournal post or Facebook with a new or new-to-you favorite book, story, tv show, movie, gadget, etc. Tell me why you love it and why I should check it out/try it.
2. Spread the word – Tweet, post the link to this giveaway on Facebook, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, any social media and make sure to @ mention me or give me the URL in your comment.
On Friday, July 5, I’ll randomly (via random.org) pick the names of the winners.
Winners will receive a redemption code for 1 copy of Blood Heat, the audiobook via Audible.com. You must provide me with your email address so I can send you the redemption information.
In other news, life continues to crawl along. More on that later.
If you have any questions about the giveaway, please feel free to comment or email me!
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
I’m still trying to process the events of yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Too much like 9/11 for my psyche, which immediately scrambled to “oh, fuck” and “OMG, OMG, OMG.”
- Part of me wants to bury myself in a small hole and not know.
- Part of me wants to dive deep into news stories, blog posts, commentary and wallow in the facts & reactions.
- Part of me (the more-or-less stable piece) has pulled back into “normal world” mode and, though not avoiding, is not enmeshed in all-Boston-all-the-time.
Not sure which is the healthiest or sanest, but in the practical words of Laura Anne Gilman yesterday:
Reminder: if you’re feeling echoes of past Bad Stuff, reading the news out of Boston, it’s ok to look away. You’re not letting anyone down.
She’s right. Just because I don’t look at the photos or videos from the site, I’m not a bad person. Neither are you.
I’ll focus on work today and just being alive.
Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Originally appeared at the Lipstick Chronicles blog as a guest post
I love the Internet. I mean, really. As in I love it ALOT. I can chat with people in New Zealand just as easily as I do with folks in the next office. I can read articles aboutThor’s Hammer or peruse newly released World War II era color photographs. I can indulge my easily distracted brain with pretty much anything I want. I can share pictures of my cat, my trip, my book signings, my silliness. Google is my friend and my blog buddies can be my closest confidants. There is no answer that I can’t uncover** and Wikipedia is of teh awesome liek woah.
The Internet has brought me amazing friendships, love, laughter, joy. Though in the last few years, it’s brought me the absolute and utter amusement of the mangling of the English language—by native speakers. At first, I was beyond incensed, ready to wield the flaming sword of the righteous (is there a patron saint or angel of grammar?).
I’m a writer, damn it, and a total grammar nerd. I mean, I subscribe to the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style
, for fun! The topmost item on my ongoing wish list is a subscription to the OED online
. With all these amazing resources, how can people be so ignorant of the rules of grammar
? Honestly! When the proper usage can be found with a simple search? When in-depth discussions of the Oxford comma
take up megapixels of my screen? It’s ridiculous!
One day, the answer to my rage occurred to me. Ridiculous became the default keyword in these situations. Instead of getting angry, I could chose to be the other “a” word: amused.
I’ve gone from wanting to tear my hair out at its gray roots to chuckling over the umpteenth example of homonym abuse and misuse. I don’t worry about folks’ education or lack thereof. Now, I just wonder at the (sometimes) insanity I see and rest easy in mind that I can take the high road. For every correct phrase, there’s another just as heartfelt, but absurdedly worded or spelled. It’s become a fun pastime and frankly, I can read posts and comments without my brain exploding. So much nicer that way. So much less stress.
I no longer cringe when I see tips on how to loose weight or that ice cream is the best desert. Characters peaking around the door don’t raise my peek, nor do they rein on my parade, but I sometimes still have to reign in my comments. Via a tech loop I belong to, I’m often asked to go sightsee a Web site, but I always make sure my responses and feedback are thoughtful rather then mean. I know that this isn’t a conspiracy against my friends and I, but a reel, true and well-meaning group of concerned citizens who just want to be herd.
Yes, I still sigh in vein, but I know that I can’t fix this. Some days, I do have to put the breaks on my initial urge to correct, to teach, to educate. I know it would just be a time waist. So I hold back my instinct in a vice-like grip and chuckle. After all, this is the Intarwebs. I try to not let it effect my blood pressure. I’ll bear this burden. I’ll except this homonym abuse. Instead, I’ll continue to rack my brain for better ways of using words in my own books to avoid typo’s. I suggest you all do the same, in loo of loosing your cool.
I’d love for you all to share you’re own pain…***
‘S’alright? ‘S’all right.
* Seen on a blog post reply
** Even if it’s wrong
*** I reserve the right to lose it over egregious apostrophe abuse
Monday, February 4th, 2013
Those of you who know me, know my never-ending quest for decluttering – a.k.a., a constant battle between my love of clean lines and simple living vs. my collector/accumulator side.
One of the websites that has been extremely helpful is Unclutterer.
Today’s tip is a list of practical steps for uncluttering your junk drawer (or, if you’re like me, several drawers).
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Chuck Wendig is one of those authors who I admire because of his plain-speaking and the fact that he utterly gets it…where the value of “it” being what being a writer entails. No fluffy, la-di-da existential claptrap, just pure hard facts are the reasons I will always keep reading his blog.
Recently, he posted a great list: 25 Hard Truths About Writing and Publishing. If you haven’t already read it, do so now.
He doesn’t pull any punches and he’s absolutely right, especially point #3: They may like your book…and still not buy it.
Publishing is a strange, yet wonderful industry.
Writing for publication is definitely not for the weak.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
I really, really love Lifehacker. From tech tips to practical at-home ideas, not a day goes by without me bookmarking some cool idea.
Today’s home tip: Remove tape residue with duct tape.
What’s your favorite home tip?