Autumn again

October 12, 2021

It’s that time of year, the annual Colorado ritual of bracing for the first real freeze and battening down the hatches.

It’s the time of year to review, reassess, look at the what the year has been so far, and look at what lies ahead. Fourth quarter is upon us. I’m okay. I’m trying to take things slow and not beat myself up, but time seems to be accelerating around me, inspiring just a bit of panic.

Breathe deep. It’s gonna be okay.

What I’m doing:

My niece’s Halloween costume went into the mail today, and that’s a big accomplishment. She picked something relatively simple this year, thank goodness. Pics when I have them.

A reminder that two new Cormac and Amelia novellas, FATAL STORM and CHARMED WATERS, will be out in a couple months. Click here to find preorder links. These will also be available on Apple Books and in audiobook versions.

And I feel like it’s about time for a new short story. Is it time for a new short story? Heck yeah! This week, Beneath Ceaseless Skies is publishing my story “The Burning Girl.” For those of you who were at the Alternate History panel at MileHi Con, this is the “Norman Conquest but with superheroes” story I was talking about. It’s a little more complicated than that. But, well, you’ll just have to read it…

And that’s what’s going on in my world.

MileHi Con this week!

September 28, 2021

MileHi Con is this week! This is going to be my first local/Colorado in-person event since…well, the last MileHi Con in 2019.

It’s gonna be weird. It’s going to be just fine, but, you know. I’m taking some extra care trying to get everything in order, and reminding myself it’s at a different hotel. Doing some mindful prep to make sure this goes well.

Also, remember my sudden realization that after 25 years I know exactly how to make this Nomi Sunrider cosplay?

I did it. She’s done, all ready to go, and I’ll be wearing her when I judge the masquerade on Saturday. I cannot wait to get some good pictures to show you.

Another thing about knowing how to do a costume like this is that it isn’t just my skills that have developed: I also have a whole bunch of friends and contacts who’ve also developed their skills. I reached out for help with a couple of pieces. My brother, the professional scenic designer and builder I might add, made a custom original lightsaber hilt for me, and it’s amazing. My friend Wendy, the professional jeweler and metalsmith, made a custom cloak clasp for me. Also amazing. (Check out her “Cake or Death” rune ring!)

Argh you guys I’m so lucky! And excited!

A few days ago I read some of my journal entries from January and February 2020, when covid was still something happening on the other side of the world, a news story third or fourth down on the roster. A bit surreal. I was doing my usual start of the year pep talks and goal setting. I started a big redecorating mission. That was gonna be the year, guys. Big things were happening, I could just feel it.

Welp, you know what they say about the light at the end of the tunnel being a train….

I still think I’ve been incredibly lucky, even with all the loss and derailed plans. And yet, my assessment of the last year and a half, and how well I have — or maybe haven’t — been doing keeps changing. Some days I think I’m fine, and some days I feel as full of rage as I ever have in my life, utterly broken with it. Some days I feel like I’m existing in the new normal and old normal simultaneously, and that’s just weird. Yay, I’m going to a convention next week! And I will be masked and won’t eat out or drink in the bar, and…yeah.

This past weekend I overhauled my kitchen to get rid of clutter, reclaim counter space, and make better use of shelves and storage, and that felt fantastic. Like something got unstuck, and maybe I need to get back to that big redecorating mission.

Which is a reminder, and one of those lessons I seem to need to learn over and over again: these things are a process. I’ve overhauled my kitchen but it’s going to be an ongoing process to keep it that way. It’s okay that my feelings about the last year or so keep changing. There’s really nothing static about nature. Just keep swimming.

almost autumn

September 10, 2021

The talk in my neck of the woods is all about how, while it’s still really hot during the day, the mornings have turned cool, and the leaves are starting to go yellow. That first taste of autumn is here. Over the last few weeks of birding, I’ve noticed that the red-wing blackbirds and grackles are gone, migrated. So are the warblers. But the mergansers and buffleheads will probably be showing up soon.

I’m not an autumn fangirl like some people, but I think I’m looking forward to it this year. This summer was frantic and fraught. All those things we said we were going to cram into this summer because we missed out on them last year… and it was okay. It was all okay.

But this year, I think I’m looking forward to that shift, that transition, that happens when the temperature drops. It’s time to catch my breath.

My next event is MileHi Con, happening a bit early this year, October 1-3. This’ll be quite a bit different than Marcon for me, because it’s local, familiar, because I know so many people. But it’s at a new hotel, in the post-pandemic world, so it will also be different. I’m expecting some pretty profound culture shock.

I’ll bring a costume or two. That’ll make me feel better.

travel

September 7, 2021

This past weekend was my first time on an airplane and at a convention in two years — and it went fine! I had a lot of anxiety the day before — did I even remember how to travel? Did you know you can check in for flights online?! But the flights all went smoothly, and I even managed plane changes in the Atlanta airport with less than an hour for layovers each time. Absolutely the smoothest layovers I’ve ever had at that freaking airport. Car park and pickup also went fine. Managed regular meals. So yeah, I guess I still got it.

There’s a strangeness to all of this — yes, everybody wear masks and keep your distance, and now we’re going to pack you in shoulder-to-shoulder on the plane, and here’s beverage service and everyone will now remove their masks to drink! I keep telling myself it’s a numbers game — reducing risk, reducing odds. Out in public, we’re never going to be 100% safe. So if we want to do this out in public thing, we have to mitigate to some degree. But it’s not perfect. Vaccines increase the odds in our favor.

Of course it would help if our vaccination numbers were higher. I’m isolating at home for a bit to make sure I didn’t bring anything back with me.

Marcon in Ohio was a good convention to come back to. Masks required, everyone was friendly and helpful. Small and cozy, no crowds or lines. I got a chance to chat with folks and also hang out with Tobias Buckell, a writer friend of mine from way back, and meet artist Sara Felix. Signed a lot of books and bookplates.

I admit, I felt a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Traveling still feels risky. But then I’ve been seeing pictures on social media of people going to packed stadiums and concerts where no one’s wearing masks and I suddenly feel a lot better about the risks I took. I’m not ready for big crowds yet, I don’t think.

Bubonicon!

August 18, 2021

I don’t think I had this on any of my schedules because I’m still really out of practice with this whole self-promotion thing, but I’m participating in Virtual Bubonicon this weekend. We’ll be doing some panels and other events on Facebook and YouTube on Friday and Saturday, so check it out!

And in just a couple of weeks is in-person Marcon.

I’ll get back into the swing of things at some point…maybe…

state of the desk

August 12, 2021

This week:

I went on a glorious hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Almost got above the wildfire haze, but not quite. But I got to work a little bit on my mini-project of sketching wildflowers. That’s right, I’m trying to learn drawing. At least a little.

I wrote a lot.

I hosted taco night for my friends and managed to dirty nearly every single dish in my kitchen, which always seems like either an epic cooking acomplishment or epic failure, I can never tell which.

My Nomi Sunrider cosplay is coming along nicely.

And I’m waiting. This part really sucks. I had one of my manic phases where I finished a bunch of stories and things and sent them all out at once and now I’m waiting to hear back.

And waiting.

Argh.

Nothing for it but to start on the next thing as a distraction.

MarCon – IN PERSON

August 5, 2021

Big step, y’all: I’ve got an in-person convention scheduled for September 3-5.

MarCon, near Columbus Ohio. This is the convention where I was scheduled to be Guest of Honor last spring. We’ve rolled that into September, so now I really get to be Guest of Honor!

Not gonna lie, it feels little like ripping off the band-aid. Getting there will be my first time on an airplane in almost two years, for my first in-person con in almost two years. I can do it, it’ll be fine. I spoke to an author friend who’s already done several small conventions this summer, and he said that they’ve been going well, people are being careful, and he’s felt good about it. So let’s do this.

I’m excited and also daunted. And yes, I’ll be wearing a mask. The con is requiring them, for which I’m grateful.

I’m also really looking forward to seeing people. I think I’m ready.

baby steps

July 16, 2021

This week, I’m reminded again that baby steps are important. Some is better than none.

15 minutes of yoga is better than no yoga.

“Weed the yard” is too big, but “weed just this section” is doable. (I haven’t weeded all summer. It’s a problem. So instead of “weed the yard” I’m now working on “spend half an hour weeding this section” and that seems to be the trick.)

500 crappy words written is better than no words.

So annoying that I seem to have to relearn this lesson every couple years or so.

state of the desk

July 5, 2021

I actually need to figure out the state of the desk and what I’m going to be working on for the rest of the year. Huh, weird.

I’ve just gave my agent the revision of the novel I started in March. That’s four months, from start to second draft. Not sure I’ve ever written a story this size that quickly.

In that time I didn’t work on much else — one short story, I think. Interesting to see what I can do if I just put my head down and go. I learned some things, writing this one.

Now to see if anyone likes it.

And maybe go for a walk to clear the mind.