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Thursday, January 5th, 2012
Every year there are awards for published works.
If you’re eligible to nominate/vote, here’s a list of what I had published in 2011 and are/might be eligible for various awards.
- A Scent of Death, San Diego Noir, June 2011, Akashic Books, edited by Maryelizabeth Hart
If you read/liked, please consider nominating/voting.
Saturday, December 31st, 2011
I’ve done the farewell 2011, hello 2012 already. This is not that post. Today, I want to talk about moving ahead and paying it forward.
Despite the craziness of 2011, I’m still a lucky beyotch. I have advantages. I am privileged. I am educated. I have fabulous family and friends. I have many outlets for my creativity.
For others, that’s not always the case.
There’s a lot of hurting in our shared world today, from blasted economies, to natural disasters, to the freak show that is the Republican race for presidential candidacy and lots in between. I can’t fix these things, no matter how much I want to. I want people to have the chance at happiness, to not have to know where their next meal is coming from, to be able to get a job and support themselves. I want each and every person on this earth to know that s/he is worthwhile and that they are awesome and special. I want everyone who wants to be creative to be able to express that creativity.
I may not be poor, but I’m not rich, nor am I a supreme being. I can’t make the above happen for everyone in every way.
Frustrating? Yes, of course. But that doesn’t mean I can sit back in my comfy chair and simply bemoan the facts or be all emo.
Thanks to the Intarwebz, social media and the power of others (e.g., friends who pimp out their favorite worthy causes), I can always find ways to give my .02.
In 2011, I:
They’re not all charities. Heck, I don’t even get to deduct my charitable donations, as I can’t itemize on my tax return. That’s not important. Being able to do this little bit, to lend a helping hand for something creative, something that can truly assist others reach their potential? That’s what matters. Even though my budget is tight, I can pay it forward.
It’s not all monetary, either.
Sometimes, it’s something small, such as listening to a friend or offering to read a fellow author’s short story. Making an introduction to someone else who can help, sending an email. Little gestures add up.
I’m far from saintly. I’m just me: someone who wants to do something to better the world I live in.
What can you do in 2012 to make a difference?
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Boy, 2011 was a heck of a roller coaster year
…did that all happen?
Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
I had this awesome blog post planned for today. All about why I write and suchlike.
Only, yesterday was busy at the workplace, then when I finally got home after a miserable (though short) commute in a ridiculous storm, I ended up just doing a little TV watching and tried to go to bed early.
Operative word? Tried.
The insomnia fairy, may she rot in the deepest level of all the hells, paid an extra special visit to me last night and would not leave.
I tried all the tricks:
- calm music
- getting up and reading in my recliner
- pretending to sleep
- etc. etc. ad nauseum
Around 2:30 a.m., I knew it was futile, so I got up for good, went to the recliner and “window shopped” online.
I did buy some cute socks and finally ordered a pair of jeans (which I’d been meaning to do), but otherwise, I curbed any sudden, unreasonable impulse to purchase. Kudos to me.
Went back to bed around 4:30 and nodded off for a wee bit, just in time for the alarm to go off at 6:30.
At least today is my Friday (in regards to my regular job). Tomorrow, I can sleep in and start my at-home work whenever I want to. It’ll be another recording day, as I’m plugging along on the audio narration for Blood Bargain. Hoping to get that done and uploaded by the end of the month.
Don’t forget, my eBook: Collected Works from an Unrepentant Writer is still only .99! The price is going to go up at the end of the week! Find out how to buy.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
We do this every year: the obligatory Thanksgiving Day gratitude post. It’s a thing, like taking out the winter clothing in October or rotating your car tires. A habit, expected of most bloggers.
Only, it’s not a burden. Not a chore. It’s something I look forward to because for this day, this post, I can consolidate and coalesce all my positive energy and toss it out to the world.
Today and every day I am thankful for:
- My awesome, amazing, wonderful family (blood & chosen): parents, sis, stepbro, BIL, sort-of-SIL, niece, uncles, aunts, cousins, sisters and cousins -of-the-heart. You know who you are. You all are my sanity and my strength.
- My friends & fans: Without you, my life would be totally different and far less shiny. I love it when you send me emails (and some of you guys have even sent paper letters!). Knowing that you are out there and enjoying what I produce makes my heart sing.
- The Intarwebs/modern technology: I’ve been playing online since the early days of dial up BBSs and making connections with people ever since. I’m humbled and awed to know folks on all but 1 continent, some of you, I’ve even met in meatspace. I’m of the opinion that if more people spend time with folks from other cultures, other countries, we’d have a whole lot less strife in the world.
- Modern medicine & doctors: A special shout out to my eye doc, the brilliant Dr. Nicole Teser of the Eye Center in Alexandria. If it weren’t for her, I’d not have discovered I have a (very treatable) autoimmune disease. I am so grateful that medicine exists and that it works.
- My awesome workplace: I’ve been there 11 years now – longer than anywhere else. It’s another kind of family; a tight-knit group of really great co-workers and a boss who supports my writing. I’m truly blessed.
- Being in my 50s: It’s funny, I always wanted to be older, to be seen as wise, mature, whatever? I don’t know, exactly. But now that I’m in my fifties, I realize that this is where I wanted to be. Old enough to be more zen about life, and young enough to enjoy it. Sure, physically I can’t do as much, but I feel more settled, more me, if that makes sense. I can still be a little funky & fun, still embrace new things, but no longer feel the pressure to prove anything. This is truly a golden time.
My list could go on and on, as there are so very many things in my life I could enumerate. Let’s just say that I’m glad I am here. I’m glad you are all here and that however brief or fleeting, that getting to make contact with you all out there warms the cockles of my heart.
Happy Turkey Day to all my US peeps!! May the food be fabulous, the company sublime.
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
So, I’m back. It was 8 days of fun, frolic, food and fabulosity…with a side of OMG, exhaustion plus a dollop of whee!
If you’ve never been to New York City, the first word that comes to mind is “overwhelming”. People, buildings, lights, traffic, noise. It’s both awesome and inspiring. I’d been several times, but never for any extended period.
My goal for this trip was (as usual) multi-faceted:
Accomplished: all of the above.
Things I discovered about the city:
- It is not friendly to folks with mobility issues. Many of the shops, restaurants & other buildings had steps or full on stairs.
- There are cabs EVERYwhere–which is a good thing, because evidently, you can’t phone for a cab! Who knew?
- New Yorkers are as friendly as pretty much anybody anywhere. Most of the service & retail workers were downright awesome!
- OTOH, cab rides are just as wild & crazy as you think they might be. Traffic is INSANE!
- Great food is to be found everywhere.
Things I discovered about myself:
- I enjoy the heck out of NYC.
- I could so not live there.
- I LOVE Broadway shows (something I knew once upon a time, but my energy got renewed).
- I seem to prefer 3D art/artifacts than 2d (paintings). I spent more time in the Egyptian exhibit halls at the Met than anywhere else. Awesome antiquities, statuary, everyday life objects, etc.
- I need 1 day of rest during a full on 8 day vacation.
- I still really, really, really HATE crowds.
One of the most wonderful events was a surprise visit from Susan Griffith (co-author of the most excellent Vampire Empire series). Susan has been an online buddy for several years, but hasn’t ever been able to make our group gatherings. She & the rest of the gang kept the secret, so when Susan walked in on Saturday, I was gobsmacked & so very excited. She’s an awesome, lovely person and we had such fun author-bonding.
All in all, a wonderful, awesome, successful trip and as always, I am glad I went and am glad I’m home and back into my routine.
The Photo Gallery
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Normally, the day before a vacation trip, I cheerfully hum the old “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go” line from Leaving on a Jet Plane. I’m a Virgo. I tend to pre-pack and prepare DAYS ahead of time.
Only today, not so much.
I do have a packing list.
I do have stuff pulled out to pack.
But for some reason or another, I’ve not packed a single item. The red and black suitcase is sitting by its lonely self in the middle of the living area of my studio apartment, empty as cicada’s husk. There’s a pile of clothes on the seat of my exercise bike, a pair of shoes on the floor next to it, nestled amongst several balled up pairs of socks.
Last night, I had every intention of packing as soon as I finished eating my yummy Thai noodle salad from Trader Joe’s. Except, it totally didn’t happen. I sat in my comfy recliner, ate my noodles and before I knew it, I was snoozing. ::facepalm::
So, instead of dropping Kit off to board this evening after work, I scrambled this morning and hauled him over to the vet and hauled myself into the workplace, trying to avoid getting drenched in the downpour.
Tonight, when I get home, I will avoid sitting down for dinner until packing round #1 is done. Then, after dinner, I’ll double check the list and make sure I’ve got all the various electronic cables/power cords/etc. that I will need for an 8 day vacation in the Big Apple.
Tomorrow, the taxi comes at eleven and I’m boarding the 1:00 train to Metropark/Iselin, where my buddy Dina will pick me up for leg one of the trip.
On Sunday, Dina & I will drive into “The City” to meet up in the early a.m. with my sis & BIL for a day at New York Comic Con. That afternoon, the sister, BIL and I check into our rental apartment (one block from Times Square!) for the balance of the week.
There will be food, fun and on Wednesday, 3rd row seats to the matinee of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying!
At some point, we’re visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art – mostly because both my sister and I were enamoured of the wonderful E.L. Konigsburg book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler.
Then 2 more days of food & fun and on Saturday, we return to our respective homes.
I’m looking forward to the adventure.
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
I posted a couple of weeks ago about my scheduled bronchoscopy. Today, I got the diagnosis: I definitely have sarcoidosis.
It’s an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation within the body. I credit my fabulous eye doctor, Dr. Nicole Teser over at the Eye Center for suspecting something more systemic than just an eye inflammation and for not giving up after my former primary care doc never followed up with me post some blood tests that indicated that this might be the case.
A lot of you know that over the past several years, I’ve been experiencing a definite lack of energy, fatigue, a lot of sinus issues, problems breathing. Well, guess what, common symptoms include:
- fatigue unchanged by sleep
- lack of energy
- aches and pains
- dry eyes
- shortness of breath
- a dry hacking cough
All of which I’ve had, in one form or another, for quite some time.
The great news is that sarcoidosis is utterly treatable. Doc’s started me on low dose inhaled steroid and I go back in 4 weeks to check in to see how that’s working.
Thanks again for all of your good wishes online and off. I feel so relieved to know what’s wrong. I can’t wait to start feeling better!
Monday, October 3rd, 2011
I confess. I hate, hate, hate summer. All that sun, surf, heat–it’s enough to drive me indoors for good. Not for me the swimming, boating, outdoorsy activities that have hordes of the rest of you pining for Memorial Day weekend.
Kind of weird considering I was born on an island. Would I have been more of a beach bunny had we remained there? Maybe. Maybe not.
All I know is that my own particular chemical makeup yearns for cool weather, the crunch of fallen leaves, the evocative scent of wood smoke from a fireplace. I pine for the sharp autumn air, the gorgeous promise of sweater weather, honeycrisp apples and hot tea (though I will admit to a fondness for summer fruits).
How did an island-born, Florida & Texas raised gal get to be a lover of autumn?
I will lay a huge portion of the credit down to reading Trixie Belden as an impressionable 10-year-old. Trixie was so awesome! Thirteen and going on adventures in the wilds of White Plains, NY. They rode horses and had this thing called “Indian Summer” (a term which I promptly looked up, but confused the heck out of me). I fell in love with this world (even more so than Nancy Drew, who, at her advanced age of 18 seemed so out of reach).
I wanted to be a Bob-White and have adventures, too. I wanted to go to White Plains (so exotic!), learn to ride English style, and eventually, I wanted to live at Crabapple Farm, have brothers and a best friend like Honey Wheeler.
Eventually, I learned to ride a horse (Western, not English). I visited my late father’s ranch (in Mexico) and never have made it to White Plains…though I’ve been several places in New York state.
Instead of living Trixie’s adventures, I write my own–and set them in the Texas Hill Country, which, in retrospect, became my version of Trixie’s world–a small town, semi-isolated from the hustle & bustle of the “real” world, populated by a close-knit group of friends and family. Yup. I got the pattern, and I owe it to Trixie and her friends.
Readers, what book(s) or stories influenced you someway in real life?
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
So tomorrow (Friday) morning at 11, I’m scheduled for a bronchoscopy. Thanks to weirdness in my lungs and the fact that they basically work like crap (results of pulmonary function test), I get to experience a camera being shoved down my throat and into my lungs plus bonus!biopsy.
No, the I most likely do not have lung cancer. The educated guesses from both my rheumatologist & lung specialist is sarcoidosis–which answers a lot of the annoying things I’ve had wrong for several years, including iritis, sinusitis, trouble breathing and a host of fun effects. /sarcasm. (Trust me to get some weird ass disease!)
I’ve never had a chronic illness and this freaks me out a bit. I’ve already had to curtail some activity because of decreased lung function. Turns out, I wasn’t breathless and wheezing from overdoing or just being fat–my lungs really, really don’t work properly because there’s a blockage. Lung doc put me on an albuterol inhaler for a couple of weeks as during the pulmonary function test, I was given albuterol (I felt like someone in a medical TV show, sitting there with the little breathing apparatus!) and after the meds, my lungs opened up. Go figure.
So tomorrow, in order to rule out cancer and other stuff and to confirm the initial suspicion, I go to the Virginia Hospital Center, get dosed with Rohypnol (or whatever drug they are currently using for the so-called “twilight anesthesia“…I just hope there are no sparkly vampires!) and a doctor will shove a camera into my lungs, look around, and take a snippet of tissue.
I am just glad I have really good health insurance.