Visit from a friend 

Pleasant break from routine this week — my friend Bonnie’s in town for a few days. I haven’t seen her since Boskone last year, although we do chat online more days than not. (Apologies for the blurry photo.)

Bonnie

One of the things we did was to finish up a jigsaw puzzle. (Yes, it’s the same image as the journal I posted about. When my daughter and I saw it at the store, she said I had to get it.)

completed jigsaw puzzle

Still did practical things, though — finished copyediting a civil engineering article, did some work on the (soon to be unveiled) Nebula websites, mailed off all the tax returns (including business tax returns that aren’t due until beginning of May), and took my daughter to her Girl Scouts meeting.

Lots to be grateful for here, from Bonnie’s visit to taxes done. What are you grateful for this week?

A good start to the week

Since last summer, we’ve been having a mostly weekly D&D game with friends. I mentioned back in April that I ran a one-shot Numenera adventure for the group. This summer’s been more off than on, between our vacation, summer school, and their vacation (Pennsic*, which they just got back from), so we haven’t been progressing much on the adventure.

On the other hand, that means the last couple of times we’ve gotten together, we’ve played other games that we have, like Zombie Dice (theirs — I still need to buy some), We Didn’t Playtest This at All (and We Didn’t Playtest This Either), RoboRally, Boss Monster, and Exploding Kittens. (No, really, it’s fun, even if you like cats.) This, in fact, is what we did yesterday evening.

So I’m grateful for fun games, good friends, and especially friends who want to get together and spend time playing even after they’ve just gotten back into town.

What are you grateful for this week?

Finished!

Sent off the latest index just before 1 this afternoon. Now I have a break before the next proofreading job comes in next week. I’m grateful for the break and grateful for the work. Later this week, I’ll send off some more marketing e-mails to try to line up work heading into the fall.

I’m also grateful that I’m figuring out a schedule that seems to be working to get writing, editing, and paying work done. Is the writing as fast as I would like? Well, no, but I still remember starting out and thinking silly things like, “If I type 50 words a minute, an hour of writing should net me 3,000 words, so on days when I don’t have work to do, I should be able to get 15 to 20,000 words written.” . . . I said it was silly, but that’s pretty much my benchmark for “as fast as I would like,” so I’ve come to terms with the knowledge it’s never really going to get there. Which means I’m grateful for the progress without actually having high expectations.

And I’m grateful for friends and maybe actually starting to create a real friendship after more than 7 years of living here. And for chocolate-covered coffee beans (which helped me finish that index!).

I’m also going to be really grateful for sleep tonight.

Lots to be grateful for. What about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Connected

I cheerfully tell people I’m an introvert. I love working at home, without having to deal with people face to face or be pleasant to dozens of people on a regular basis. (This is also part of why the thought of doing panels fills me with trepidation, but we covered that topic already.)

However . . . Continue reading

F is for family, friends, freelancing, and fiction

I had an epiphany this morning at 5:00, but I can’t use “epiphany” because E was yesterday. I suppose I could have used “F is for five o’clock,” but the time isn’t as important as the content. I was awakened by the girl fussing (she got herself back to sleep), and I started to complain to myself that I was just barely going to fall back asleep before it would be time to get up and get the kids ready, then start on my day — same old, same old. That’s when it hit me — I chose this life.

Okay, that may be obvious to others. Epiphanies do tend to be personal, after all. Still, I’m going to explore what I mean.

I chose marriage and children. I chose work that I could do anywhere we lived because I didn’t have to look for a new employer. I chose to start telling the stories in my soul. And, if it comes right down to it, I choose to do our taxes because I’m a bit of a control freak.

Every part of the day before me is a direct consequence of something I chose, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m married to a wonderful man whom I love, we have incredible kids, and my work allows me to be who I am.

There are downsides — the only family here is the one my husband and I have made; our closest relatives are several states away. I don’t have any close friends where we live, though certainly part of that is that I’m not good at reaching out. With the Internet, though, I’m in touch with friends and family that I haven’t seen in decades, and I’ve made several excellent new friends through on-line communities (especially Forward Motion).

This is my life, and I’m grateful for it.

Coming up in December

snowy treeThis week — tomorrow, in fact — my drabble “Heartbeat” will be e-mailed out by Daily Science Fiction. A week later, it’ll go up on their Website. If you haven’t subscribed to their e-mails yet, why on Earth not?

Deadlines approaching:
Bewere the Night, edited by Ekaterina Skedia, has a December 31st deadline, but she urges earlier submission if possible.

Quarterly deadline for Writers of the Future contest is also December 31st. My friend D. M. Bonanno recently became a semifinalist. Who’s next?

Legacy of Wolves review

This review is a few years late in coming. I bought Legacy of Wolves, by Marsheila Rockwell, when it first came out, and I promised her I’d give it a review. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note I first met her on-line when we were both contestants in Wizard of the Coast’s Maiden of Pain contest, and I have since beta-read another novel for her. I like her, and I like her writing. Do yourself a favor, and check some of it out — short stories or poems, or this book.

I am trying to keep this as free from spoilers as I can.

The back cover copy:

Grisly murders shake the small city of Aruldusk. Both the Church and the Crown send in agents to investigate. But when the body count continues to rise, these rival factions will have to learn to work together to track down the killers — even if it means hunting a killer in the highest reaches of power.

Legacy of Wolves was the third book released in the Inquisitives series, set in the Eberron campaign setting. The title makes it reasonably clear even before reading any of the book that something related to wolves is involved with the murders, and that impression is borne out in the prologue. Indeed, thinking that a werewolf is responsible by that point isn’t that far a stretch.

The story is well plotted, and the characters are clear. The setting is easier to follow if you have some familiarity with Eberron, but if you’re not too worried about specifics like tracking the dates, there’s enough detail in the book itself to keep you oriented.

At heart, this book is a mystery, and my one disappointment with the book was with one of the clues to the murderer’s identity. It felt so obvious to me that I hoped all the way through the book that it was instead a red herring, and in fact one of the characters close to the person indicated would turn out to be guilty. Alas, I was disappointed. However, from a story point of view the clue had to be present; if it had been withheld, readers would have felt justifiably angry at the author for hiding the information. Marsheila chose the right path, I think, and it’s hard to see how it could have been handled otherwise.

When this book came out, I had read every book set in Eberron that had been published so far (including Keith Baker’s, and he’s the one who created the setting). This is my favorite. I highly recommend Legacy of Wolves.

And look for her second book set in Eberron, to be released in 2011!