Friday, February 06, 2009

Quick news

No, it's not a new software program, but news.

I just received word that I am included in the third annual Mountain of Writers showcase hosted by the Pikes Peak Library District here in Colorado Springs. The event is usually held in April, but this year it is scheduled for March 28th.

I'm excited and have already contacted two of my publishers to make sure I have plenty of books for the event. It's an all-day event so I will make sure to have lots of ink for my new fountain pen. My section of the table will be filled with lots of books (at least six different titles) and I should have the cover and some goodies to give away for the novel coming out in July.

When I have more information, I'll post it here and on my other blogs, along with information on interviews and podcasts. I hope to have the book trailer ready by then as well. At least I know where my stimulus and refund checks will be spent this year -- and it's all tax deductible.

That is all. Disperse.

Vampires, lycans and a dose of salts

Watching movies about vampires and lycans (werewolves) just before going to sleep is perhaps not the best idea if you're planning to have sweet dreams. My dreams ended up being complex and dark and full of underworld creatures, of which I was one. Watching movies about underworld creatures before going to sleep does, however, have it's plus side -- lots of fodder for creative writing with a paranormal twist, especially when relationships between creatures and humans are involved. I may end up writing paranormal stories after all, without giving up my more human-based subjects, of course.

Needless to say, my dreams were dark, but not too dark, last night. They were so interesting I didn't want to wake up and ended up offering natal day greetings and wishes to the wrong person. Sorry about that, Wild Heart. I was so excited about the latest Torchwood news that I ended up completely off target. I meant to wish Lady Celia a very happy natal day. Oops.

And then my favorite expatriate journalist friend sent me the news that Shift Happens and it's not that far away, well within reach for most of us, especially with the viral growth of technology these days. As one of my best friends knows, the shift happens fast, especially when you're looking in the right direction.

Everything is in upheaval these days, even the climate. Snow kicking the east coast in the hind quarters and the quixotic weather imps playing havoc here in the Rocky Mountains. Even with the sky my favorite color of Colorado blue, I can feel the cold and winter seeping back to blast my weekend to ice and snow, not that I'm complaining, but it would be nice to have a more reliable season of mists and fruitlessness. I feel out of sorts and off kilter, not overtly so, but just enough to tell I'm a hair off center. Oh, well, I have plenty of work to keep my fingers busy and writing to keep my mind busy, so I shall not fret. This too will pass.

Now where are those salts?

That is all. Disperse.

There's nothing like fear

How about a little fear to start your day -- or end it? Then here's what you need.

Our planet has a temperature. It's very sick. We have to do everything we can. For instance, would [it] be ridiculous for, you know, me, the president, to take Air Force one out on its maiden flight, to take a 747 jumbo jet from Washington D.C. for an out-and-back excursion to the House Democratic caucus retreat at the Kings Mill Resort and Spa in Williamsburg, Virginia, where the 747 is parked? It would be crazy to take a 157-mile trip in a 747 jumbo jet when you've got teleconferencing there in the White House, because the Earth has a temperature and that's why America may not ever recover if we don't act now and pass $2 billion for renewable energy research or $2 billion for clean coal power plants in Illinois or $6.2 billion for a weatherization assistance program which basically is weatherstrips for underneath your door!

It just keeps getting better and better this change you can believe in.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What's your sin?

One of the questions to help break through writer's block today was: Which of the seven deadly sins—sloth, greed, lust, gluttony, anger, envy, and pride—are you most likely to commit? It didn't take me long to answer this one, but it took a bit of thought and a few words.

Lust, although I don't think of a healthy and active sex drive (mine is very healthy)as lust, unless you count vivid sexual dreams about the man in my life or finding him hard to resist when I see him. I haven't wallowed in a day of unbridled and unabated sex for a good long while. Who has the time? I guess that means I don't really cross into the lust territory, except maybe in my dreams.

Okay, the pile of laundry on the floor here in the bedroom could be considered slothful, but that's only because it's time to do the laundry, so sloth isn't one of the sins I commit. I just don't have a laundry hamper. My mother is still holding it hostage and I can't afford to replace it, not when there is good to buy and utilities and rent to pay. That would be wasteful.

Greed is definitely not one of my vices. Anyone who visits here would see that. I own one pair of 800-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets for my queen size bed. They're luxuriously soft and when I wash them I put them back on the bed, so no greed there. I'm not greedy when it comes to food or books or clothes or anything. I have a half loaf of bread I baked last week that will be turned into bread crumbs in the food processor and it's not even top of the line. No, greed is not one of my vices.

Although I can be a glutton for punishment, as evidenced by my continued "discussions" with Mom, I'm not a glutton, especially when I'm in the zone and writing and forget to eat for hours on end. I do not then gobble everything in sight to make up the deficit. Further proof is how I treat the luscious and wonderful cheesecakes I bake once in a while. I do not eat the whole thing (I'd be dead by now if that was the case) and I do share with friends and neighbors. I enjoy sharing food I've made. Nope, not gluttony.

Now I do on occasion get angry, but it's not a constant thing and I don't pull people out of their cars at stop lights and beat them to a bloody pulp. People who irritate me or hurt me usually get treated one of two ways. I either explode (if the trespass is sufficiently blatant), which takes a few minutes, then I calm down and deal rationally with the trespasser, or I brush them off and ignore them. When pests don't go away and keep stalking me or nudging me, I keep ignoring them or tell them I'm done. They eventually get the message.

Envy isn't a big sin for me either. I have micro-momentary wishes for something someone I know has, but my attention span for envy is pretty short. Ooh, I wish I had that book or sweater or whatever. Did you see this article on feminism in science fiction literature? See what I mean? Short attention span. While I would like to be successful or visit other places or eat once at a fancy restaurant, the idea of envying someone else's success is not my cup of tea. I would like to do as well, or better, but I don't want what everyone else has. It wouldn't give me time to go out and get what I really would like to have -- like the KitchenAid stand mixer with all the attachments.

I am proud of my accomplishments, of my friends and family and of my country most of the time, but I don't think that's a sin. I'm not too proud to let the dishwasher do my dishes or to take out the garbage by myself. I'm not too proud to make my own beds, do my own laundry or cook my own meals. I'm not too proud (most of the time) to let someone help me when I need it or so proud I believe that the first draft of anything I write is perfect. And I am definitely not to proud to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Been there. Done that. No, pride isn't one of my vices either, at least not as I understand it.

In the context of deadly sins, I really don't have any problems. I've brushed briefly past them, especially when there are pecans, walnuts and other kinds of nuts in the house (gluttony) and entertained thoughts of tracking someone down, ripping off their clothes and having my wicked way with them (lust), but I can't say I'm a hard core sinner of the seven deadly variety. I'm more the stick my nose in a book, work hard (although reluctantly since I am not paid enough to do what I love -- yet) and write for hours on end. Real hard core sin takes work and dedication and my calendar is already full.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Mom and I have had this running discussion about the meaning of friendship. She says that a friend will die for you and the only person who will die for you is your mother. Therefore, your mother is your only friend.

We discussed this again tonight. Since Dad died, Mom wants nothing more than to die. I understand that, but it makes her whole definition of a mother willingly dying for her children suspect. By her definition, she is no longer a friend to her children because if one of us was in danger of dying, she would gladly put herself in the way of the bullet or whatever death dealing instrument was coming at us to end her life. It's suicide and it's a sin, according to the way she believes, and it's also selfish. I don't think the definition of friendship includes being selfish.

Mom said no one would die for her and I said it depended on a couple of things, like whether or not I was incapacitated to the point that I have no quality of life. In that case, yeah, I'd die for her. It's selfish. It's assisted suicide. By her definition, it makes me her friend. Or not.

Despite her closed mind about many things, religion included, I do manage to get her to see things in a different light and from a different perspective sometimes. More often than not we end up arguing and I suddenly find that I have work to do or a burning need to go to the bathroom, take something off the stove or out of the oven or answer the door. I don't have call waiting (that's a post for another time) so I can't use that excuse. My views on that subject are very well known.

My definition of friendship is much less rigid and doesn't require anyone dying, especially me. A friend is someone who listens when you need to vent, tells you when you're off the track and out of your mind or just plain wrong, supports you when you need a shoulder or a helping hand, kicks you in the bum when you need it, and makes you laugh when you're being far too serious. They also show you their soft underbelly and make you feel safe enough to show yours. Friends have a secret language made up of snippets of inside jokes that no one would get but that will spark gales of laughter. Friends also don't fear getting angry and losing their temper because when their right mind returns their friend will still be there. Friends care about one another. Even though there are no vows for friends, a good friend is there for you for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death or the paths you travel together go in different directions. With really good friends, you pick up right where you left off no matter how many miles or years lie between.

I doubt there are any of my friends who are so sick of life or in so much pain that they'd offer their lives for mine, but in a dangerous situation you just never know. I don't need someone to die for me to know they're a friend. I know every time they make me laugh.

"And you got to talk to me."

What she said.

This one is for you, Lynn.

The Virtue of Being Moderate

The Virtue of Being Moderate

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blessed Imbolc

For me, this is the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox, a celebration of the end of the long winter sleep. For Catholics, it's Candelmas and for Celts the Feast of St. Brigid. A time of light and new beginnings. It's also the birthday of my oldest best friend, Connie, who is 54 today.

For the rest of the country, it's Groundhog Day when Punxsutawney Phil creeps out of his hole to check for his shadow. If he sees his shadow, he leaps back into his hole to sleep for another six weeks while the snow flies and winter keeps its icy grip on the world.

However you choose to celebrate this day, may your life be blessed and your hearts light and happy as you look toward the rising sun and lift your face to the sky to feel the first soft, warm caress of the coming spring on your cheek. It's a brand new day.

Monday morning

I woke to false dawn, the sky paling to blue. Now the sun creeps higher, but I'm facing away from it and can only see the world take on gold. A streamer of wispy white, its edges barely discernible from the aquamarine sky, drifts slowly past on the morning wind. Everything else is gold.

The weathered palisade fence around the back yard next door surrounds the rusted Ts of an old clothesline no one uses, the wires between broken strands of rusted wire dangling and silent. Backs and sides of buildings on either side of the alley droop and sidle next to each other as though worn and weary from holding the line while the scratching claws of a lone tree arch above the gilded roofs. It's a lonely sight, these empty-eyed buildings, dark and blind, covered in layers of dust standing in idle silence in a world where nothing moves except the wispy streamer of white across the brightening blue sky now gone from the narrow view outside this window.

Even the streets are empty. There is no sound but the mechanical creaking whir of the furnace and the rush of tepid air across my shoulders. And all the rest is silence.