G is for GSHW

What is the GSHW, you may ask. (I didn’t say you had to; I said you may.)

GSHW stands for Garden State Horror Writers, but it’s not exclusively a collection of horror writers. Historically, it started as a branch of the RWA, and it currently classifies itself as a multi-genre writers’ group, open to anyone who wants to write. Now, I don’t live in the Garden State, so why did I join?

Initially, I joined because my friend Ed is a member, and he kept urging me to come to meetings. I was impressed by the people they got in to talk to the group — Elizabeth Bear, John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Gregory Frost, and more. Tomorrow’s meeting will feature Jonathan Maberry.

It made sense to join a writers’ group because I would be exposed to new ideas, make new friends, and see facets of the industry that I won’t while sitting at my computer (no matter how many blogs I read). I don’t make it to all the meetings — less than half, in fact, with family and other commitments — but I enjoy the ones I get to, just as I enjoy hanging out and talking to people at the diner afterward. For the meetings I miss, there’s often a recording available so I can hear the talk (teasers available at the Website if you want to check them out), which is nice. Additionally, the Yahoo Group is full of supportive people talking about successes, trials, and what’s going on in the business.

I get a lot for my membership, even with as few meetings as I get to, and I really appreciate the GSHW. I encourage others to check them out, or find a writing group closer to home that may offer the same sorts of things.

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.

E is for . . .

Editing. (As in copyediting and proofreading, which I should be working on right now, instead of writing a post.)

English Breakfast tea. (Current beverage, decaf variety.)

Enough. (Although if we’re looking at the list of things I’m working on, I passed “enough” about ten items back. Or maybe fifteen.)

Evil muse. (She finally gave me the last line to go with a first line from a couple years ago, so now I have another story on my to-do list.)

Energy. (The running is really helping with that. I’m getting done with the runs and feeling positively exhilarated. Not necessarily wanting to sit down and set to work, but that’s a different issue, now isn’t it?)

Elephants. (At one point in elementary school, we had to create fictional restaurants for ourselves. Mine was “Erin’s Elephants,” and the restaurant was housed in a building shaped like an elephant, where the legs were elevators to get people and supplies up to the actual restaurant. Steaks were expensive, ice cream was cheap, and salads weren’t on the menu.)

Eggplants. (Which if you peel and cube it, then boil and mash it, makes an excellent thickener for all sorts of tomato-based sauces.)

Excuses. (None allowed.)

Empty. (As in my brain, when trying to pick a single topic for this post.)

D is for daffodil

Daffodils are my favorite flower. The second poem I ever wrote was about daffodils (the first was called “Clouds, hurl your spears,” and doesn’t bear thinking about), and although it’s not something I’m going to share here, I still remember every word of it.

single daffodil

Cheery, isn't it?

I loved the flowers we had at our wedding, but I did have some moments of sadness because it was too late in the year to include daffodils.

Now my mantra when gardening is “You can never have too many daffodils,” and I plant beds full of hundreds of bulbs. I love this time of year, as they start to bloom in waves across the yard.

C is for computer woes

Or at the very least, computer hassles.

Last night, I couldn’t get my computer to start. Pushed the power button — no light, no whirring, no lovely Mac “bong!” Tried resetting the PMU (power management unit), using a different power cord, reseating RAM cards and the battery. No dice. The power supply is dead.

Nearby, we have an Apple specialist store, Double-Click, a licensed service provider, and I figured I’d have better luck with them than the actual Mac store, since my Genius friend told me they wouldn’t check a Vintage Mac in for repairs. (Seven years? Vintage? *sigh*) They told me this morning that Apple won’t ship them replacement power units. However, it was a small matter for them to pop the hard drive and put it in an external case for me. Now it’s hooked up to one of the other computers in the household, letting me access all of my data and passwords. Yay!

The question is how long it’s feasible for me to work like this. I think the time table for upgrading my computer just got moved up.

Ah, well. At least they weren’t insurmountable woes.

B is for blueberries

Blueberries because my kids love them.

Earlier this week, I noticed that I still had some frozen pumpkin to use and decided I’d make pumpkin muffins (with chocolate chips — for the extra antioxidants, of course) today or tomorrow. While I was assembling them this morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I had frozen blueberries, too, so I added a cup of those (dusted with flour to ensure even mixing in the batter). The batter got tinted a rather odd green hue, but when they baked up, the muffins were a normal orange.

And the kids love them, which makes me happy.

A is for April, alphabet, and awesome

Happy April, everyone! Although I’ve enjoyed some of the lovely pranks I’ve seen around the Net, there are none here.

I made the last-minute decision to join the A to Z Challenge for blogging this month. I started this blog posting 3-4 times a week. Now, I’m down to 2-3 times, and some weeks, I don’t even manage that. So this is an effort to get myself used to posting more regularly.

And my big news — I sold my story “Matchmaker” to Clarkesworld Magazine, and it’s up now as part of their April issue. This is my first sale to a SFWA-qualifying market, and it makes me eligible to join SFWA as an Associate member. (I need 3 short-story sales or 1 novel sale to qualify as an Active member. This fall, when Daily Science Fiction will most likely get SFWA-qualifying status, I’ll be up to 2 stories. With any luck — and lots of persistence — I might get the third one before then.) However, I’m waiting until July to join because that’s when their fiscal year flips, and I’d really rather pay dues only once this year.

What’s new with you this month?