Happy Vernal Equinox!

fresh snow in the yard

Greeting spring appropriately in Pennsylvania.

Unlike most of the continent, the East Coast had a cold and snowy winter. It seems to want to do the same for spring.

And yes, the children are being dismissed from school early today. I got them off to school, then ran my errands so I could get home and do some actual work before they get back.

In other news, I’ve been rather neglecting real content for the blog here, doing my gratitude posts on Monday and my serial posts on Tuesday, but rarely doing much else. So I’m going to try starting a few things going, on a rotation:

  • The “You ask, I answer” went fairly well last year, but I only received a handful of questions. If people have more questions (anything from “How do you decide what to make for dinner?” to “What genre are you least likely to write and why?”), drop them in the comments, e-mail me, or send me a message via the Contact page.
  • I’d like to get back to the “Defining the genres” posts that I used to do, and there are still a few from the last time I asked for suggestions that I need to write up. But if you’re curious about something, let me know.
  • Off and on through my life, I’ve dabbled at learning new languages. Spent a summer learning basic Japanese (including the kana) in college because of this boy at the fast food place where I worked. No, I remember none of it. I’ve also tried to learn Irish from a book, picked up some German with my husband (then fiancé) because he needed to pass a foreign-language test for his doctorate, and took a semester of Hebrew in grad school (I remember some of the letters and a few words). I suppose an alternate version of me might have become a linguist and actually become fluent in multiple languages. I’m not that person, but I do have a little list of languages I’d like to learn, starting with Italian*, and I’ll talk about that here on the blog.

So that’s what’s on tap for me as the seasons turn once again. What’s new or renewed in your life?

*I have some previous experience of Italian because I used to help my mom with her flash cards, and I have sufficient grounding in French that picking up another Romance language shouldn’t be terribly difficult, even at my age. (They say it’s easier to learn new languages when younger.) My first line of learning is going to be using the Mango languages app, which the local library provides free access to. Expect my first post on this new adventure to go up next week.

P.S. I posted yesterday on the Sara Penhallow blog about my latest knitting project, a scarf for my daughter.

Remember, remember

Just a quick note: as I mentioned a month ago, I’m starting a newsletter. The first issue comes out this coming Monday, so this is a good time to sign up if you haven’t yet:

Subscribe now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:

You ask, I answer, part five

Back in part two, I mentioned that I’d just written a review for a writing book. The review’s available online, so you’re welcome to check that out: Book Review: Writing Novels That Sell by Jack Bickham

Today, I’m going to talk a little about quilting because Nicki asked. Quilting is one of those things that I always thought I should know how to do. My first encounter with quilting was when I was still in single digits; my parents were working on one. My dad made this square wooden block that they were using as a template, and there were stacks of squares sitting on the ironing board (I think that’s where I saw them). As far as I know, the quilt was never pieced together, which is a shame. Continue reading

What do you want to know?

It occurred to me once again today that I’m much better at responding to requests for information than in coming up with topics wholesale. Recently, people have asked in other venues for recommendations on urban fantasy, on empires in science fiction and fantasy, and on mystery/fantasy hybrids — and in each case, I not only gave recommendations off the top of my head, but also more occurred to me later.

I’m the same way with links. Lots of people provide lists of links on their blogs, possibly along with a description of why a reader might find it interesting. I find it easier to send links individually to friends and family, based on what I know their specific interests are. (I do post links to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Sometimes they get a response; often they do not.)

So I’m instituting reader requests. What would you like to see or know more about? Research I’m doing for stories? Music I’m listening to (lately, the Giuseppe Verdi Essentials station on iTunes Radio)? What I’m actively working on? What I’m reading? The fine points of catfish olfaction?

Tell me what you’d like me to answer, and I’ll see about getting responses written up.

(I’m also thinking about getting back to describing the subgenres, and maybe even doing some more Q&A posts.)

On book reviews

I have, from time to time, put book reviews here — sometimes, things I read, loved, and had to share; sometimes friends’ books (lots of overlap with that first group here); and sometimes, books I’ve agreed to review for whatever reason. If you look in the sidebar, you’ll see my GoodReads widget — I post even more reviews there. I’ve recently signed up with NetGalley, and I will undoubtedly be posting some reviews of books from there as well.

I’m aiming for one review a week. I hope you enjoy them.

No A to Z for me

I’ve quite happily participated in the A-to-Z Challenge the past two years, but this year, I’m giving it a miss. I had a topic all picked out, but I haven’t had the time or energy to write the posts up ahead of time — and I imagine I won’t have a whole lot more of either this month.

So for those of you participating, enjoy! And those of you who are not, you still might want to check it out. It’s a great way to find new blogs that interest you.

Stacking up the blocks

I wasn’t sure at first that I had something to say about writer’s block. I’ve always got something to work on, and I tend to follow Asimov’s advice — if I get stuck on one project, just shift to another. On the other hand, anyone who’s looked at my blog over the past couple of months knows that I haven’t been writing as much here. I’ve been poking at my brain to figure out why. Continue reading

No Friday Flash today

Sorry; I didn’t get one written, although Chuck Wendig had some lovely location-based prompts posted last week. It’s been a week of not getting much done, despite having a lot to do. Some weeks are like that, and Monday I’ll be back up on the productivity wagon.

Meanwhile, I have news about some upcoming things in September for you to look forward to: September 10th, I’m participating in the What’s Your Chocolate? blog hop.
And September 13th marks the second anniversary of my blog, so I’m planning a giveaway to celebrate.

Have a good weekend, everybody!