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Jan. 1st, 2011


And a Happy New Year!!

I don't usually do a looking back at the year post, but this was a change year for me, at least in the realm of writing and it's sort of nice to mark that in some way.

With, say, a post.

Non-writing stuff first: The dogs and I were generally healthy this year.  Work was generally okay (particularly in the 'I have a job' sense).  I made no major purchases, though in spite of that I managed to spend quite a lot of money.  Hmm.

Writing: This is the year I signed with an agent and sold three novels.  WHEE!  In the way of the publishing world, the first novel will probably not be out until winter 2012. But, yeah, plenty to do between now and then.  I have a great agent and a terrific editor.  I like what I'm writing and am actually happy to work in this world with these characters across three books.

I wish I were a faster writer and a better plotter.  Selling the novels and being home the last week and a half has made me long to write full-time which is something I haven't really thought about for a long time.  I don't think it's altogether a bad thing, wanting something more.  As long as I also remember to enjoy things as they are.  And I am.  Because I sold THREE NOVELS THIS YEAR.  And that rocks :)

For next year;

  • Write more
  • Walk and exercise more
  • Have fun with dogs
  • Eat more pastries

Dec. 24th, 2010


Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone has a fun or at least interesting Christmas.

We have lots and lots of snow.  Lots.  Of snow.  But no wind and it's warm (which means above 20 by Iowa standards) so it's probably the nicest snow we've had in a long, long time. 

Even if I will have to shovel again tomorrow.

Here for your holiday entertainment--some gratuitous dog pictures:



Billie and Blue wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Dec. 11th, 2010


A Thing or Two

1. io9 mentions my book sale over here.

2. I talked to another college class about writing.  Harry Potter books were the big read in this group, plus Nicholas Sparks and Faulkner (hey, I just report).  I have found almost no YA readers (or at least none willing to admit it) which surprises me.  The fact that there are guns in my stories continues to fascinate some people.  I think said people fear they might otherwise be considered stories about girls (but there are shotguns!  so it's okay!)

3. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but Blue was the German Pinscher Club Tracking Dog of the Year last year.  He has a certificate and everything.

4. We have a blizzard warning today and the temperature is supposed to drop 50 degrees, but I have already walked dogs so I have no reason (I hope) to go outside again. I will write and read books and maybe do my Christmas cards.

5. Related to number 4 above, apparently Des Moines, IA is one of the 25 coldest cities in the US (my fellow Iowans, have no fear, you are also on there.  However, Ohio--you are not even on the list).

Dec. 8th, 2010


And Now for Something Completely Different...

But super-classy all the same...

Blue - face front 9-10

Blue can pee for at least two minutes straight (trust me, I've counted), but he can't do this:

(from winter, 2006):
The other morning I took John Henry for a walk and for reasons not really pertinent to this story we ended up going north instead of south as we usually do. On the next block north three of my neighbors have a fairly elaborate Christmas light display--it's really kind of nice, not so much lights in trees but more things that light up (wire trees and penguins and polar bears).

So, anyway, it's 5:30 in the morning and none of the Christmas lights are on and at the first house John Henry stops and starts peeing on one of those little wire Christmas trees with lights. And as he pees the lights on this Christmas tree start to light up. And the more he pees the brighter they get. No other lights in this yard are on. Only the lights on the tree John Henry is peeing on. I'm afraid to pull him away because I'm thinking--holy crap if it's not electrocuting him now maybe it will if I yank him out of there. So I just keep staring and the lights keep lighting and he gradually stops peeing and the lights go out again.

John Henry (1995-2007):

John henry

Yup, that's my best Christmas story.

Dec. 7th, 2010


Book Deal!!!

I've been sort of sitting on this for awhile:

I have sold my novel WIDE OPEN plus two sequels to Tor.

You've seen excerpts if you've been reading here, but basically it's  about a young woman who has come back to western South Dakota from Afghanistan for her sister's funeral and has just ten days to find out what happened to her sister and why with the help of her sister's ghost and a young deputy sheriff.

Needless to say, I'm really, really pleased :)
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Nov. 27th, 2010


That Writing Thing

I haven't posted anything from the work in progress lately.  And because I'm lazy and, yet, want to post something, this is what you get.

How is the work in progress going, you might well ask?  

Well, I've started a new draft and it's going pretty well.  I think this might be it (I always think this).  I'm at about 18K right now and moving along reasonably quickly since I can reuse lots from the first couple of drafts.  I have a (tentative) title: DEEP DOWN (book 1 as you may or may not recall is: WIDE OPEN)

snippet cut so no one has to read it...Collapse )

Nov. 23rd, 2010


And in other news....

Blue's brother, JuJu*, got Best of Breed at the German Pinscher club's first independent specialty.  He topped it off the next day by taking Best of Breed and a Group1**

So, YAY, JuJu.

Also, this is the cutest damn dog picture ever (you should go look at it now because it's just a link to a home page; there's no direct link to the picture and it could change at any time.

*Or as he is more formally known GCH CH Nevars Jules.

**Which means, he was the number 1 dog in the Working Group that day.  This is a Very Big Deal.
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Too Young or Too Old

A few months ago, there was a discussion on a mailing list I'm on about the age at which people published their first novels.  Almost all of them were younger than I am. 

Not two weeks later, there was a discussion on another mailing list I'm on about the age of people who track*.  Almost all of them were older than I am. 

We spend a lot of time thinking age matters, that we're too old or too young.  And in particular that we are SO awesome because we accomplished something at seventeen or eighteen or twenty-five (which we are, actually, but not necessarily MORE awesome).  People who accomplish things when they're older feel like they ought to apologize--well, I was busy...somehow, doing...something. 

But, you know, getting old isn't a disease.  It's a fact.  Every seventeen and eighteen and twenty-five year-old, if they're lucky, is inevitably going to be fifty and sixty and seventy.  You're not too old to write.  You're not too old to publish.  You're not too old to track.  Or run marathons.  Or hike the Grand Canyon.  Other factors might prevent you: health or inclination or resources.  But it won't be because you're too old.

*If you don't know (and, really, you haven't been reading here if you don't) tracking is an outdoor sport with dogs, conducted in all kinds of weather across all kinds of terrain.

Nov. 9th, 2010


Catching up

1. We are having a beautiful fall in Iowa.  Beautiful.  Seventy degrees.  Sunny every day.  I'm sure we'll be sorry for it later.

2. Took the dogs tracking last weekend and they were both awesome.  I had laid Blue's track across a parking lot and then between two buildings.  He nailed the track across the parking lot, which is really, really hard to do (it was a bit windy, warm, and the track was three hours old).  Between the buildings, I crossed in front of a stairway going down and when he reached it he went down the staircase, but then turned around and came right back up.  He had a weird time with his plastic article (also between the buildings).  He was off the track, came right back to the article and then acted like he couldn't find it.  He finished up well, though.  Billie was also awesome on her track, but whereas Blue will pull me if he knows he's right, Billie always thinks I might know something she doesn't know.  I have to be very careful to go with her and yet not let her get too far off the track.  This is particularly important as she's entered in a TDX test this coming weekend.  She is more than capable of doing the track, if I am smart enough to go with her.

3. I went to my first WFC two weekends ago and had a great time.  As I am wont to do at professional conferences at my day job as well, I didn't actually attend much programming.  The hotel had an awesomely situated bar, however, that everyone passed through to get to the conference.  It was so easy to find people (although even with that there were some people--I'm looking at you, shunn --I never saw all weekend).  Without giving a list of names, I'll say that I saw lots of people I wanted to see and had some great dinners, thanks to paulmelko .  One of the highlights (and there were several) was meeting Sheila Williams, who said really unbelievably nice things about my writing, which, who doesn't want to hear that.  

4. Friday I have another appointment to get the clicking noise in my car fixed.  This will be the third attempt.  So far they've replaced the turn signal box and another unnamed part and checked all the wiring.  It doesn't seem to actually affect anything important, but it is annoying.  I asked the service guy how many parts there could possibly be in the steering column (where it is clearly coming from).  More than you would think, he said.

Oct. 23rd, 2010


Reach Out and Read...with Dogs!

I have to tell you what Bilile and I did today because it was so much fun!

We were invited to participate in a promotion for Reach Out and Read at the local Border's bookstore this morning.  I hadn't heard of this program before, but what a great program!  The doctors who participate give books to kids when they come in for their regular checkups from the time they're babies until they're five years old.

Billie and some other dogs were invited because they're Therapy dogs and Therapy Dogs International has a program for children to read to dogs.  So the kids got to pet dogs and sit down and read books to them and the parents and others got to hear about the program and also to buy books to donate to the program.

There were lots of little kids, who were delightful and a number of older kids, as well as adults who just liked dogs.  All in all a fun day.  Sadly, I was not smart enough to take any pictures.

Billie was not particularly enamored of the book-reading, but she quite liked having her belly rubbed and toddlers poking at her.
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