Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Samhain and Halloween

Happy Halloween and a blessed Samhain from Samhain the cat, the rest of the furball gang, and me!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

More Trick than Treat

Here in Upstate New York, Mother Nature seems to be taking the "trick" in "trick or treat" a little too literally...

I was hoping for BOO! Not boo hoo... And it is just getting started.

Hope you're all warm and safe.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Root Canals and Rejections: Keeping it all in perspective

This has been kind of a tough week in some ways. I had a root canal on Tuesday. (To be more accurate--the re-root canal of a previous root canal...which does not, as it turns out, make the current one any less painful. Owie.) I got an email from my agent today, forwarding a rejection of my foodie romance. (Again, owie.) It freaking snowed. In October. And they're threatening a major dump of 3-7 inches on Saturday. You know, one day before our biggest ritual of the year, for Samhain. Although it's weather prediction, so they could easily be wrong. I'm voting for that, personally.

And, of course, I'm dealing with the usual life-is-overwhelming-me-because-I-have-more-to-do-than-I-have-time-and-energy-to-do-it stuff. (None of you know what THAT'S like, do you? Snort.)

Regardless of all that, I'm actually feeling pretty good. Well, except for my tooth. (OWIE.) You see, I learned a long time ago that much of life has to do with perspective. You often can't change your circumstances, but you can change how you look at them. For instance, there's this:

I had a root canal. It hurts like hell. I got a rejection. Ditto. Snow. Argh.


I have access to dentistry, and friends who are willing to drive me the hour in either direction and be supportive after I get tortured. Er, I mean, worked on. And I have an agent to send me rejections :-) I'm actively working on my writing career. And the snow was pretty. (It was, actually.) And will probably kill the ragweed. YAY.

You see? It's all in how you look at it.

Besides which, my kid is here visiting from San Jose (whoo hoo!) and people have been saying lots of lovely things on my blog. I just had a nice chat on the phone with my parents.

Not a bad week after all. I hope yours was pretty good too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Twenty Thousand Views

I'm a bit flabbergast. Flabbergasted? Er...flabberstruck. Never mind--I'm just stunned and amazed.

My humble little blog about writing and witches and books and whatevertheheckisgoingonhereusuallytodowithcats has hit the 20,000 views mark.

20,000 times someone (maybe you) has come here to see what I had to say. Okay, a few of them may have been looking for someone else. Or something not to do with writing or witches or cats or reading or cooking or any of the other random things I talk about here. But still, I have to think that most of those 20,000 views were on purpose. And mostly not my mother. *waves to mom*

That's just...well...kinda heartwarming.

So I wanted to say "thank you" to everyone who has been one (or more) of those 20,000. Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting. Thanks for not pointing and laughing where I can see you...

It really means a lot.

So I'm thinking I should do something to celebrate. 20,000 things, really, but I don't have that much stuff to give away. So how about y'all tell me in the comments why you come here (Magic the Cat says it's all about her, but I don't think so). And I'll pick a random commenter on Sunday and he or she can have the book of mine of his/her choice. Even international folks. And if the winner doesn't want one of my books, he/she/it can pick one of the duplicates I have of friends' books.

So, what brings you here? And what brings you back? Inquiring minds want to know. LOTS of them, apparently.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where I'll be tomorrow (Albany, NY)

If you're going to be in Albany, NY tomorrow (Friday, October 21st), come see me at the 2011 LASTFA Writer's Workshop. I'm driving up with author pal Nancy Holzner at the crack of dawn, and will be taking part in workshops and author panels all day.

Hope to see you there! More info below...

Northeastern U.S.A.
Since March 1980
Latham-Albany-Schenectady-Troy Science Fiction Association, Inc.

2011 LASTSFA Writers Workshop

Participants Registered
David Hartwell from TOR (Guest of Honor)David will only be attending the Thursday Reception where he will be interviewed by Chuck Rothman. Come to the reception for a chance to network and ask your questions.
the Wombat
Cat Johnson
Ryk Spoor
Debi Chowdhury (Chairman)
Nancy Holzner
Stella Price (Programming)
Chuck Rothman
Deborah Blake
Erinn Phinney
Ron Drummond

2011 Writers Workshop Flier
2011 Writers Workshop Schedule

Best Western Sovereign Hotel - Albany1228 Western AvenueAlbany, NY 12203 (518) 489-2981 (518) 489-2981
Map and Directions

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Great Reviews! Doing the Happy Author Dance

Nothing makes an author happier than a shiny new positive review of one of her books. Today, I got two! EVERYDAY WITCH A TO Z SPELLBOOK was reviewed by two different people at the fabulous Facing North site--and both of them loved it, despite not being "spellbook" fans.

*does happy author dance*

Check them out, then if you want, come back here and tell me if any of what they said resonates with you.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Six for Llewellyn--The Vision Meeting

As some of you know, I finished my sixth book for Llewellyn a few months ago, and sent it off to my lovely acquisitions editor, Elysia Gallo (who would be one of my favorite people in the world even if she wasn't my acquisitions editor). The book was tentitively titled "50 Rituals for the Everyday Witch," and was the third book in the "Everyday Witch" series, which already includes Everyday Witch A to Z and Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook.

Today they held the Visions Meeting for the book. Here is how Elysia described these meetings on Facebook:

"Vision is the meeting where we read a whole manuscript by unsuspecting authors,tear it apart, put it back together again, and send the author pages upon pages of annoying, nit-picking notes. "

Sadly, that's not much of an exaggeration! But what she doesn't mention is that all these changes usually result in a much better book--that's the point of the whole thing. And at least this time I only got SIX pages of notes. When I was working on book two, the first Everyday Witch A to Z, I got ELEVEN pages. (Book 1, Circle, Coven & Grove, got no changes at all, beyond a few grammatical things, lulling me in to a false sense of security.) I believe there might have been crying. Also whining, pouting, and possibly threats to quit writing forever. Then I made the requested changes, and the finished book was much better. This was actually a defining moment for me as an author. I learned something about the process, and about sometimes needing to let go of my original vision of a book. In fact, it was after that whole thing that I wrote the following haiku for Elysia (yes, we write each other haiku on occasion--what, you don't write haiku for your editor?):

Here is what I know
When an author is in doubt
Editor is right

Does this mean the editor is always right? Not at all. And sometimes, as an author, you have to stick to your guns if there is something that you believe shouldn't be changed. On the other hand, I can't stress too much the importance of having an open mind

That's why they call it Vision.

By the way--in today's Vision Meeting, they cut 12 of the 50 rituals. Something tells me I need to come up with a new title...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wolf Mountain or What I did with my Sunday when I was supposed to be working

Yesterday was Sunday, and as usual, I had a huge list of things I needed to do around here, including finishing the dismantling of the garden, putting a second coat of paint on the stairs inside while it is still warm enough to have the windows open, making jewelry, and of course, writing.

Instead, I ran off to play hookey with my friend Ellen. She called me up in the morning and invited me to go about an hour and 20 minutes away to the Wolf Mountain Nature Center in Smyrna, NY. They were having a festival there, their yearly fundraiser, with shows featuring the wolves...

Their two arctic foxes...

And Native American drumming and dancing....

Besides which, it was one of the last of the glorious days--78 degrees out, the sun was shining, the trees were turning all sorts of lovely colors--and the male protagonist of my current WIP is a Native American named Wolf. could I not go?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Six Years Ago Today: Robin & George

On this day six years ago, I officiated at the wedding of two of my favorite people: Robin and George Wright. Performing that particular ceremony was an honor and a joy, because they were good friends, a lovely couple and very much in love. Six years, two children, and many changes later, they still are. And I still hold the memories of this day among my most precious. Happy anniversary, Robin and George! I'm so glad to be a part of this enduring love story. You make me believe in magic.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Day Job: Happy Anniversary to The Artisans' Guild

Most authors will tell you that their dream is to be a full time writer. And I would certainly like that, in a perfect world. On the other hand, I am lucky enough to like my "day job" a lot, so I don't mind working at it until I become a rich and famous uber-successful author. Or find that sugar daddy I've been looking for... (not).

Twelve years ago today, we opened the doors of The Artisans' Guild for the first time with 30 artists and not much idea of what the heck we were getting into. Which was probably a good thing, all things considered.

Co-founded by me and my friend Ellie Stromberg, a potter, the Guild is a not-for-profit shop that features the work of 50 local and regional artists and craftspeople. We've got pottery, glass, wood, fabric arts, candles, chocolate, soap, baskets...and of course, jewelry (including mine).

My official title is Executive Director, but basically I manage the place; juggling scheduling, doing paperwork and accounting, decorating the front windows every month, rearranging displays and generally keeping the shop running as smoothing as possible. It isn't always easy (managing 50 artists is a lot like trying to herd cats), but the variety and the challenges suit me. And I'm good at it, which never ceases to amaze me, since my educational background was in psychology, theater, and English Ed., with nary a business course to my name.

I don't get paid a lot, because I don't work full time and we're a not-for-profit, which means almost all the money goes directly back to the artists. But I enjoy it, and not being full time gives me the time to write on the side (and on the top and the bottom). Pretty close to a perfect world after all.

Happy anniversary, Artisans' Guild! And if you're in the Oneonta area Friday night, stop by from 5-8...we're having a party to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Report on Samhain (the cat, not the sabbat)

As many of you know, my little (6.6 lb) girl cat Samhain has been dealing with Chronic Renal Failure for a couple of years. She is only 6 or 7--an adopted stray, so we can't be sure of her exact age--so she is very young to be dealing with this illness.

She was doing quite well for the first year and a half, but then in March her test results took a drastic turn for the worse, and we went from doing subq fluids at home 3 x a week to doing them every day. Oh, the joy.

Samhain and her roommate Angus went to the vet today for their yearly rabies shots and exams, and her bloodwork. And I'm VERY happy to say that for the first time since March, it had actually improved. *insert happy dance here*

Don't get me wrong: it's still bad. She's still dying. She just isn't doing it as fast as we thought she was. And she clearly hasn't gotten the memo, since she is still eating well and acting as affectionate and feisty as ever. I won't tell her if you won't.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Good Day

Okay--not entirely good, since I am either fighting a little cold or dealing with the ragweed allergy attack from hell (or both), but some good stuff happened today:

1) I did the monthly redecoration of the shop's front windows with pal and Artisans' Guild co-founder Ellie Stromberg. When we first started the shop almost 12 years ago, we spent so much time together, when I called her house, her husband would say, "Ellie, it's your wife!" But we don't see as much of each other these days, and had a lot of fun giggling and playing as we did our best to make the shop "shiny."

2) Came home to find my biannual royalty report from Llewellyn. For those of you who don't know about such things, that's the report that tells me how many of each of my five books I sold during the last period (in this case Jan-June this year). The check for same won't arrive for another month (another good day), but the numbers were better than I expected, and the best news of all, I had sold through the advances for all five books--including the two that only came out last year. If you're not an author, take it from me...this is a GOOD thing.

I'm not going to get rich off of these books, or be able to quit my day job. But it is satisfying to know that people are enjoying my writing. (And did I mention there will be a check?)

3) I got to gab with my lovely critique partner Lisa DiDio on the phone for WAY too long this afternoon. We communicate pretty much every day, often multiple times, but usually be email. It was great to have author chat, girl chat, and more giggling.

So cold or no cold, it was a good day.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Only Two More Days!

Happy Saturday, all!

One last reminder: only two more days left to sign up for my upcoming online writing workshop, "Beyond Fangs: Creating New and Interesting Paranormal Characters."

Just in case all my blabbing about it here has slipped your mind :-)

I will have some interesting news to share soon...