Friday, August 30, 2013

Feline Friday: The "What's With the Weird-Looking Cat?" Version

If you were around earlier this week, you already know that I have taken in a new lodger--my step-daughter's Mali Uromastyx lizard (who in theory will eventually be going out to California to live with her, if we can figure out how to get it there).

Initially, I put Babylon's large terrarium on the counter downstairs between the living room and the dining room. There were a couple of problems with this arrangement. First of all, the counter is fairly high, which meant that every time I needed to get into the case (to add food, remove food, clean up waste, etc.) I had to stand on a chair. But also, there was this:

To say that my Feline Overlords were unhappy with this new, funny-looking cat would be a minor understatement. There was, at one point, hissing on both sides of the glass. Yes, they probably would have adjusted eventually and just learned to ignore him like they ignore me. (And Babylon has been living with cats, but apparently they aren't quite this interested in him.) And Angus, the little chicken, would have eventually stopped freaking out.

Still, it seemed both easier and kinder to everyone involved to move him upstairs to the "Crafts/Crap" room, which I was already in the process of clearing out and neatening. So for the record, I now officially have one "Cat Room" (technically the guest room/library, but really the room where Angus and Samhain stay when they're not downstairs with the rest of us) and one "Lizard Room." I think I may need a bigger house.

So--anyone out there have weird pets, weird rooms, or even weird(er) cats? Or know how to ship a lizard?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Addition to the House: Say Hello to Babylon

As most of you know, I have a number of ...let's call them roommates, it sounds so much better than Feline Overlords..that share the house with me. A couple-five roommates, to be specific.

Today, we got an addition to the household. You may notice that he does not exactly blend in with the rest.

Meet Babylon. Babylon is a Mali Uromastyx, otherwise known as a lizard. In fact, you could say he is my grand-lizard, since he belongs to my step-daughter Jennifer. (Sure, technically you might want to call him my step-grand-lizard, but that would just be silly.) When Jenn moved out of town a few years ago, she left Babylon in the custody of her mom, Jo. But Jo has to move and can't take him with her, and nobody else wanted to hang on to a really large lizard in a 4 ft. vivarium (that's a fancy word for a large glass tank with a lizard in it) for an indefinite period of here we are.
Currently, Babylon and his home are sitting on the counter between my dining room/office and my living room. We'll see how that works out. I have a spot cleared for him upstairs if the giant tank is too much in the way, of if for some reason the cats freak out about it. And Jenn is looking into how on earth one transports a lizard from upstate NY to San Jose, California.

In the meanwhile, welcome to Summer Solstice House, Babylon. As they said in Oliver, "Consider yourself at 'ome. Consider yourself one of the family." Try not to eat the postman.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Feline Friday: The Boy Cat Version

I have five cats, as most of you know. I talk a lot about Magic the Cat (Queen of the Universe), but I have been *ahem* forcibly reminded that it would be a good idea to occasionally focus on some of the other members of the household

Psst...Mystic, you can get off my foot now!

Magic's brother Mystic is huge. Not fat, just a really, really large cat. Most people who see him do a double-take, which is always kind of amusing. When they were kittens, he and Magic were the same size, but Mystic had humongous paws. I should have known.

Magic and her mom weigh about 11 lbs, which is pretty normal for your average cat. Mystic is just under 17 lbs. His shoulders are about two inches higher.

Here he is with his pal Angus. I'm pretty sure they're saying something like, "Boy cats rule, girl cats drool."

Here's Mystic, resting up after a long day of eating, napping, and chasing his sister. It's hard work, being a giant cat.

And just for fun here's an amusing little .gif that my friend Skye sent me yesterday :-)
It's called "Why cats don't do yoga." Tee hee.
This is exactly what happens when I try to do yoga!

Happy Friday! Anyone have fun plans for this weekend? (I'm just working on revisions, gardening, cleaning, and helping a friend clean. And making some jewelry, hopefully.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Single Witch's Survival Guide

No, that isn't the name of my autobiography :-)

 Dance Cover

In fact, it is a new book by one of my favorite authors, Mindy Klasky. You probably won't be surprised to discover that some of my best-loved novels feature fictional witches--Mindy's Jane Madison books are at the top of that list. A number of years ago, I read the first three in the series about a librarian who accidentally stumbles upon a secret cache of magic books and inherits them, along with her quirky part man-part cat familiar Neko and the sexiest Warder ever (too bad he is grumpy, elusive, and determined to stop her from using magic).

I followed Jane's adventures in Girl's Guide to Witchcraft, Sorcery and the Single Girl, and Magic and the Modern Girl,which came out about five years ago. Then, much to my dismay, Mindy decided that Jane's story was finished, and moved on to other things (all of which were wonderful, but still, I LOVED this story!).

Thankfully, Mindy listened to me and the thousands of other readers who demanded more Jane Madison, and has started a whole new series featuring the next set of adventures in my favorite witch's life. (Hint: she tries to start a school for doesn't go well.) The great thing about these books is that you don't have to have read the first bunch to read these--although I guarantee that after you read this one, you will want to go get the others.

If you like witches in fiction, and a touch of humor in your reading, you are going to love Single Witch's Survival Guide. Just tell Mindy I sent you :-)

Read the First Chapter Here

Buy the Book in Print or Eversion Here

See What Mindy has to Say about Writing the Book

Girl's Guide to Witchcraft on Amazon

Have you read any of Mindy's books? Did you love them as much as I did?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Registration Open for Crystals & Gemstones Class

This is it, folks...the last class on my witchcraft and writing loop. Sniffle. I may do one somewhere down the line, but for now, I'm giving them up to concentrate on my writing career.

So many of you requested the Crystals & Gemstones Magick class, I decided to go ahead and give that anyway. It will be next month, September 23rd-26th at the Workshop Blog -- the class is posted daily to an online Yahoo loop, and I pop in and out to answer questions and respond to comments. It isn't time zone sensitive, so you can take it no matter where you live. Go here to register Workshop Registration Page and you will be sent an invitation to the loop right before the class starts.

While you're registering for the crystals class (towards the bottom of the page), you might want to also register for Heather Long's final class, "Pre-Writing," which is a fabulous tool for authors. That class runs at the end of this month, from the 26th-30th. Heather helped me start and run the online loop (which would never have happened otherwise, since I am simply not that tech savvy), so I'd love to send her out with a big thank you from everyone who has taken classes there.

If you missed it, you can still take the ongoing year-long Sabbats class. All of the information from the Sabbats already posted is still available, and we will be adding new info for Mabon, Samhain, and Yule.

I hope to see you at my last class, but either way, stay tuned for bigger and better things here!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Feline Friday: Expect the Unexpected

Life is full of the unexpected. Most of my surprises lately have been of the "Damn--didn't expect THAT" variety (can anyone say "root canal"?). But any day now, I'm hoping for some good unexpected (or at least not guaranteed) news.

In the meanwhile, there is always this:

What unexpected things have happened to you lately?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weedy Wednesday: The Garden Explodes

No, I'm not setting off grenades in the garden :-) But you hit a certain point in the summer when some sections of your garden just seem to explode. It's pretty cool...

 That's the spaghetti squash bed, which is overflowing on the the tomatoes behind it (which you can't see) and the garden plot around it. Back and to the right you can see the soybeans.
 My little corn patch (which I thought wasn't going to make it this year, since winds knocked them over weeks ago, but thankfully they have mostly bounced back--on the other hand, they aren't tassling up much, so we'll see). Next to them are the tomato plants, which sadly, are NOT having an exploding kind of year.
This is one of my two golden delicious apple trees. I had them heavily trimmed back the last couple of years and they must have liked it, because they are absolutely covered with apples. They won't be ready to eat until early October, alas.

In other news, there has been an enthusiastic response to my question about whether or not people wanted the crystals & gemstone magick class, so we will definitely be doing that next month. I'll let you know when Heather gets the registration set up!

What is your favorite fresh fruit or veggie during the summer?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Crystals & Gemstone Magick Class

Back a ways, before Stuff Changed, I had plans to give a number of online witchcraft and writing classes, just as Heather and I did the last couple of years. The one that most people seemed the most excited about was the new, "Crystals & Gemstone Magick" class. As many of you know, after signing the book contract with Berkley earlier this year, I had to make the tough decision to give up the classes after this year--at least until I could figure out exactly how much time and energy was going to have to be devoted to my new obligations.

The only class still on the schedule for this year is that Crystals & Gemstone Magick workshop, which in theory will run for three days in September, the 23-25th. (And cost $15, like most of the others.)

What I need to know from y'all is if people are still interested in taking it. If enough folks are, I will happily give the class, but I don't want to take the time to write up an entirely new workshop if no one really cares.

SO....there is a simple "yes" or "no, thanks" poll posted at the top of the blog, which will be open for the next few days. Please let me know (and you can also comment if you have something to day) if you want to take this class. My last. (Sniffle.)


Thursday, August 1, 2013

THE END: And There Was Happy Dancing

Yesterday I typed two of my favorite words in the English Language...
THE END. The 2nd Baba Yaga book (tentatively titled The Baba Yaga's Sister) is done. Well, done for now, since this is just the polished first draft, and will go through a number of revisions before coming out in book form late next year. But still, DONE.
Insert the happy dance of your choice here :-)

This book has been interesting to write, since it is an odd combination of a series novel with completely new characters and settings, but the same basic world set-up. It actually got off to a slow-ish start, as I was trying to find my way, but apparently then it Ate My Brain, because when I looked at my whiteboard, where I track my daily word count [I'll put up a picture later, when I have more time] I discovered that somehow--don't ask me how, I have no idea--I wrote 65,432 words in July. Yoinks! The one time I did NANOWRIMO, where you are supposed to write 50,000 words in a month, I barely made it through, and swore never to attempt it again. So, well, there's that.

[Honestly, I think that part of it is that I was in so much pain from my dental stuff, I literally wrote to put myself in a different world. I am not, however, suggesting using dental torture as a writing too.]

Mind you, I'm assuming that my writing that fast means that there will probably be more editing down the road than usual. I do a polish on the previous day's writing before I start each new day, so my so-called first draft is really quite neat.But I'm sure I  missed things in the rush.

The book has now gone off to Elaine, my agent, and a couple of first readers, who will all very kindly tell me what's wrong with it, so I can make it all shiny before sending it off to my editor at Berkley.

Of course, I now get to go back and do the edits I got from Leis at Berkley for the first BABA book. But still...