Thursday, September 30, 2010

Letting Go

When you're a series writer, the two words you never want to see are The End. Although like any novelist you finish every series book you write, by the time you type the last paragraph of one story you're already thinking ahead and planning the next. Until you reach the finale, the last book in the series, and you know there won't be anymore. Then you spend a lot of time second-guessing yourself (Maybe I could do a Next Generation series?) or sulking (it's not fair. I never got the chance to write Book X, Y or Z.)

You may get the writer version of series separation anxiety. You ask yourself Was it really worth it? a couple thousand times. You probably spend a few hours digging through old boxes of series memorabilia: the letter from the Big Name who thought your first novel was dazzling and gave you The Blurb to End All Blurbs; the first glowing fan letter; the dried flower you saved from the big bouquet your spouse brought to your first booksigning, that non-hatchet review published in the glossy publishing trade (then you re-read the hatchet jobs that promised your series would tank by book three, and yeah, you glance at your ten-novel series and smirk a little.)

At some point during this resentful, teary-eyed self-pity fest, you know you have to begin the process that will allow you to let go and move on. Because if you don't you will never write anything else, or you'll quit Publishing, or you'll spend the rest of your years doing something else while trying to forget what was or wallowing in tragic seclusion over what might have been and blaming everyone but yourself for it.

I've ended enough novel series now that I feel like I should know every inch of this particular emotional rollercoaster. I ought to; I've already built and ridden it six times (it seems weirdly appropriate that StarDoc would be the seventh series I've ended or had to end.) I'm fortunate in that I have other, ongoing series to write and keep me productive, and a couple of new prospects that are starting to look pretty solid. It still hurts to let go, but it's the only way to move forward.

In the end, nothing should get between you and the writing. Not even the writing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Aside from the market and agent listings in the back pages, the October issue of The Writer was pretty much another waste of dime. Short version: Vampires are over, zombies are the next big thing; craft way-cool characters with only 4, count 'em, 4 steps; self-publishing's all right for nonfic or niche; bitching over the worth of writer blogs; plus the usual roundup of successful Names to tantalize us with their success. Right. Thank you.

My issues with this issue: Vampires have been over for what, two, three years now? And zombies, well, if you're the author of a how-to on writing zombies, sure, you'd want them to be the next big thing (I want genetically-enhanced superhumans to be the next big thing; should I write an article saying they are?) And apparently there is zombie erotica out there, and I need that phrase soldered out of my brain, immediately. Seriously, I say write whatever makes your readers happy, but if reanimated rotting corpses getting it on truly are the next big thing, then PBW is going back to ghost writing. Or maybe ghosts will be the next big thing. Somebody, go check with Jennifer Crusie, see what she thinks.

Know what? I'm tired of the next big thing. I say let's figure out what the next little thing is going to be. Or the next weird thing. Or the thing that has no buzzword. That would make a cool opening pitch line, wouldn't it? "Enclosed please find my proposal for The Vampire Brotherhood vs. The Promiscuous Zombie Chicks, which I believe will be the next thing. What that thing is, I can't really say. It's a closely-guarded secret. You understand."

But I digress.

I regret to say that in my experience (which is fairly extensive) it generally takes more than four steps to create a decent character. I've never counted but I think it takes somewhere around 4,967 steps. Maybe 4,968. On a good day. And sure, there is promo and platform and fanbasing in blogging, and of course, there are a gazillion blogs and there is no money in blogging. Evidently there is money in writing generic articles about the pros and cons of writer blogs, but I'll guess the market is glutted now.

Naturally I could be wrong, but then again, I just do this for a living. I do know that when I find myself arguing out loud with the articles I'm reading, it usually means I must stop renewing the subscription (or, in this case, quit picking it up from the newstand.)

You guys reading any writing advice 'zines out there lately that aren't leaving your eyes blinking in disbelief?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As October will be arriving on Friday, this week I'm going to start gearing up to (unofficially) join in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, which takes place every year for the entire month of November. During this annual novel-a-thon, writers all over the world will attempt to complete a book (to win, it must be 50,000 words in length). It's storytelling without a net, a deadline without mercy, and very real practice at what it takes to be a pro.

It's also more fun than you can imagine, because other than the target wordcount there are no rules. You just write a novel -- any novel you want -- exactly the way you want to write it.

I always have a couple of stories percolating in the back of my brain, so my first step is to create a dream list of ideas. Right now the ideas that are clamoring the loudest for some attention involve:

Valori, Ethan and Nathan (you'll meet them in January when Frostfire hits the shelves)
Kyan and Melanie from Twilight Fall
Lucan and Samantha (will they ever leave me alone? Probably not.)
Alex Davidov from Omega Games
Kari and Connor from After Midnight
Rainer and Farlae from Evermore

The list will probably get longer. It always does.

Last year I wrote something I'd never tried, an experimental genre fusion novel that I later finished and is at this moment making the rounds in NY. The departure from my usual work was a little scary at first, but once I hit my stride with the story the energy that came out of it was amazing. I couldn't wait to get to the keyboard every day -- and that was something at the time that I needed to recapture; that wild, get-out-of-my-way kind of writing.

NaNoWriMo isn't about getting published (or staying published), it's about us, what we do, and a whole month to celebrate it. Don't get me wrong, it's hard work, but with the right mindset it can also be a month-long party at the keyboard. All you have to do is dive in and start storytelling.

So tell me, how many of you are going to NaNo this year? Are you planning on doing anything new, different, or unusual with your November novel? Let us know in comments.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quirk Ten

Ten Things to Give Your Characters More Character

Birthday: Unless circumstances prevent it, decide on a date of birth for your character. Research his or her respective astrological sign, any famous people born on or historic events that occurred on the same day, and incorporate into your characterization some aspects that fit well and appeal to you. Create one event that is significant to the character that happened on one of their birthdays.

Collection: Almost everyone in real life collects something, so why not choose a collectible item tailored to your character's personality? Or give your character a hobby that creates a collection of handmade items. Decide how your character feels about their collection, how the collection reflects an aspect of their personality, and work it into the story accordingly.

Fan Items: This is a sub-class of the collectible, only something that is definitely from the realm of RL fandom. For modern novels, think about big fandom trends (Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, etc.) If you're writing a story set in a historic period, check out what forms of fandom there were in that time. A character who wears a Frak Me T-shirt makes a certain statement about themselves as well as their love for Battlestar Galactica. So does a character who collects death masks of famous Victorian poets.

Habit: Characters who have habits often reveal through them interesting personality quirks. These can be simple rituals, superstitions or largely unconscious repetitive behaviors, such as always checking all the doors and windows before going to bed, avoiding walking under a ladder or tapping a foot when they're feeling impatient. Think about your character's daily routine, and see where a habit might logically form.

Journal: I don't know many girls who didn't keep a diary when they were teens, and certainly plenty of adults of both genders keep personal journals. Characters who aren't the writer type often chronicle their lives in other ways, such as with home videos, photo albums or saved letters.

Library: I love books where I get to see what a character likes to read. You don't have to set up an in-house library, either; maybe toss a couple paperbacks on the nightstand. Who and what your character reads always says a lot about them to your reader, especially if they've read the same books.

Lucky Charm: Not every character is superstitious enough to hook a rabbit's foot on their key ring, but most of us have little good luck charms (I carry a pair of engraved stones in my pocket, and have another pair in my car.) A lucky charm can be a habit or ritual as well as a physical object.

Music: What sort of music does your character listen to? Do they hum along with the radio while driving, or sing in the shower? If you choose a type of music for your character that you don't listen to personally, check out some albums, read up on what fans of the music have to say about it, and create a musical persona based on your research.

Pet: Unless your character has allergies or is living under circumstances that don't allow pet ownership, incorporating a pet into the story helps the reader know more about your character through their need or desire for animal companionship. It's also fun to decide if your character is a dog, cat or other type pet owner and then give them a companion with their own personality quirks.

Vehicle: What sort of car does your character drive, and why? Are they sporty, sedanish or truck-minded? Did they settle for what they could afford, or save up to get the car they really wanted? What is your character's attitude toward their vehicle? What's in the back seat, the trunk, the glove compartment? For extra realism (if possible) see if you can arrange to borrow or test-drive the same vehicle your character owns, or get some insight from someone who has a RL version of it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Follow the White Rabbit

Benjamin Lacombe's Il Etait Une Fois (Once Upon A Time) is one of the most visually gorgeous book videos I've ever seen (video link swiped from The Presurfer, which also just turned ten years old. Happy Anniversary, Gerard.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010


My list of ideas of things to do for fun this fall has gotten a lot longer, thanks to all the great plans you guys shared. You can also count me in for NaNoWriMo in November; taking part last year and blogging about it was a blast.

We dusted off the magic hat tonight, and the winners of the Forecast: Early Frostfire giveaway are:

Kris S., who is planning to: "Learn to knit or crochet better, focus on more time just for me and planning a garden for spring." (Thank you for reminding me, I need to start planning next year's garden.)

Jamie, who despite having a chilly spring in Oz is planning to listen to audiobooks while take some long walks on the beach. (I've never tried that; will have to give it a go next time we hit the sands.)

Renee, who loves making all the great foods of fall: "Nothing better than making a pot roast, pumpkin soup, pie, cookies, hot chocolate...okay I'm just getting fat typing this." (No, no, the typing burns off the imaginary calories, lol.)

Donna, who is waiting for the weather to cool down enough to "clean out our back storage area, not air conditioned." (Donna is making me eye one of my messy closets now. I love to organize.)

Nicole, who is going to try to "make it down to Disneyland with my bf in time to catch the Halloween Time festivities" as well as work on a theatrical production and join in NaNoWriMo. (I want to know what Nicole eats for breakfast.)

Hello Jack, who will be moving and "can't wait to find a new place and make it my own...also, more cooking, being with loved ones, and more reading." (Food, family and fresh books -- you can't go wrong with that combo.)

Stephanie Shaver, who will be planning her wedding (what lovely news, too -- congrats, Stephanie)

Leslee, whose fall plan is to "hang out with my kids as much as possible without electronics involved" (Amen, lady. Any time you can unplug the youngsters is a great time.)

Margaret Fisk, who is hoping to get a friend to visit and might pick up her guitar again (I'm jealous; I always wanted to learn to play an instrument, but I'm tone-deaf . . . *sigh*.)

Sherry, who has started scrapbooking and going to scrapbooking events with family members. (Last fall I started a photo e-book for my daughter's high school band to put together all the shots I took of their performances and competitions. Lots of fun; must get back to work on that.)

Winners, when you have a chance, please send your full name and ship-to address to so I can get these books out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

Friday, September 24, 2010 Apologizes

It's been almost a month since a reader informed me that had begun scamming their users into paying to download the e-books I've provided for free for the last ten years. Much uproar followed.

If you missed the debacle, it was pretty short-lived on this end. I don't associate with scammers, so I yanked all my e-books off and deleted my account. I also went through my entire blog archive to mark every single post where I've mentioned with a link to my post about the scam. Then I paid for a file storage account with Google Docs to temporarily host my library while I explore other options. Took me about a week to get it all done -- and that's all I did.

News of people getting ripped off by an online publisher tends to go viral, and so my post started making the rounds. I understand that responded to it indirectly by soft-selling their scam on the Huffington Post. GalleyCat evidently also defended them. Disclaimer: I've not read the posts. I was not interested in's excuses for ripping off readers. I was done with them.

Since I'm now being regarded as the one who blew the whistle on them, however, it's only fair that I post a link to's public apology for their greed. Here's the gist: they have not shut down the scam, but they've provided some ways for their authors to opt-out of it, and they are very sorry we misunderstood their intentions.

I'm not buying it. If daily operations actually have gotten too expensive for (this was the excuse they gave me when I e-mailed them about why they were using my content in their scam), they should have come to me and asked me to pay for the space I was using. I'd have been happy to pay them a reasonable annual fee for hosting my little online library. I now pay Google Docs $5.00 a year for 20 gb of file storage space; I pay Photobucket $40.00 a year to host my online photo archive. But instead, they chose to violate my copyright and non-profit distribution notice in my e-books to rip off readers for something I have always given away for free. They are very sorry about it, though.

And now I am done with


Yesterday I went to BAM, my favorite readerhood, and took some considerable me-time to amble through the aisles and soak up all the good vibes. It's like being in a library, a church and a candy shop at the same time; I tiptoe and meditate and drool a little. On this trip I probably spent as much time watching people shop as I did browsing; force of habit from my bookseller days.

In bookstores, there seem to be two types of shoppers: those who can't wait to leave, and those who never want to. I can actually pick out parents looking for Cliff Notes or homework assignment books for their kid; they leave an almost visible wake of high annoyance behind them. Mall bookstores have become the waiting rooms of husbands who need to kill some time and noticed the wall of magazine racks, random weary elderly folks who couldn't find an empty bench out in the mall common areas, and resentful teens whose mothers wouldn't let them get that really cool piercing at the kiosk of self-mutilation.

You don't really notice the people who actually want to be in the bookstore because they're usually on the move, prowling the shelves and circling the remainder tables while they look for hidden treasures and quick bargains (the 75% off remainder bins like this one get shuffled through regularly.) Unlike the gotta-get-outta-here customers, they make a grand tour, starting at the front co-op realm of bestsellers and working their way back through every aisle. When they reach the spot with their favorite form of fiction, they will stand for as long as thirty minutes in one spot while examining spines, studying covers and reading back copy before shuffling down to the next chunk of the author surname alphabet.

Genre readers at my BAM seem to have interesting common habits. All romance readers seem to read copy first; every time I go into that aisle I see a woman standing and reading the back of books. They are the friendliest/most talkative readers, too. SF/F buffs like to stand and skim the first couple chapters in their book of choice, and they ignore everyone who comes near them. They seem to be the surliest; if you need to reach in front of them to get a book and ask them to move they take it like a personal affront. Mystery readers are usually the oldest shelf browsers (and the biggest complainers to store staff); Manga readers are some of the youngest, and because they're the poorest, usually plop down on the aisle floor to read the whole book versus buying it. I've yet to see a teenager browsing in the YA section (lots of middle-aged ladies haunt it, though.)

Any writers in the store are usually in the cafe letting their foamy lattes go flat while they scowl at their netbooks and laptops and scribble down notes in untidy spiral bound notebooks. Most of them are there to be seen, not to write, and I tend to think of them as performance writers. If you want to really mess with them, walk behind them, pause, and glance over their shoulder at whatever they're typing. Then raise your eyebrows, smile, and move on fast (or you may end up spending the next two hours listening to a rambling description of some over-complicated Starship Troopers/Naomi Novik knockoff complete with orcs and dragons.)

I'm loyal to my local BAM for a couple of reasons: they almost always have the latest releases I want (today I went to see if they had Alison Kent's Icing on the Cake, her first reality-based romance, and sure enough, it was on the shelf.) I found another novel I wanted to read but that I didn't think was supposed to be out yet, thought I had the wrong date in my head, and took it up front. As soon as the bookseller running the register scanned it, she apologized and said that it shouldn't have been shelved, she couldn't sell it to me, but offered to hold it for me until October 1st. Lay-down date enforced! Right in front of my eyes! I felt like kissing her, but settled for a smile and an "okay."

I've had some cool experiences at this BAM, too. During one visit I got into a discussion on Harlequin novels with a lifelong reader who knew who Margaret Rome was and had the same set of handblown lavender subscription bonus wineglasses I'd collected back in the eighties. Blew my mind. My favorite thing to do still is hand-sell to a talkative browser, or walk up to a confused-looking shopper and ask them what they're looking for, and then find that book. Sometimes all I have to go on is what they think the title was (inevitably wrong) and they're always a little stunned when I find it for them.

There's only one bookstore in my area that I've been steering clear of, and it's one of these giant warehouse clearance monstrosity that sets up temporary shop to get rid of overstock remainders. The first and only time I went to the one near me I saw this mess. The weekend sale they had going let you buy any book under the roof for two bucks, and there were big art books and scholarly tomes that retailed for $50.00 + or more new. They had empty shelves all around the store, but instead of shelving the books the help left them piled in the shipping boxes. Any that had fallen on the floor were just left there to get stepped on and soiled by indifferent feet. It killed me to see books being treated this way.

One bookstore memory that has stayed with me for years was crossing paths with a lovely older romance author in a Chicago Borders. She was wearing a gorgeous suit, but I recognized her at once because she's one of those rare authors who actually looks exactly like her bio pic. I thought she might be there for a signing or an event, but while I watched from a safe distance she picked up a couple of books to buy and then faced out her novels. Some of her books were on one of the lowest shelves, and she was wearing a skirt so it should have been awkward, but no, she did this graceful genuflection that spoke of years of practice. I didn't bother her, but seeing her there by herself, just quietly performing one of the more mundane of authorial tasks, made my heart melt (perhaps because I was there for the same reason.)

I keep hearing people say book stores are an endangered species, and it worries me. I realized how much it hurts to lose a readerhood; last year one of my favorite mall haunts closed and became a home decor shop. We don't have all that many book stores in my area to begin with, and to see them close one that I'd shopped at so often, where I'd made friends with the staff and talked books with so many other readers, made me feel a little betrayed and lost. And I still can't walk past the idiot shop that replaced it without feeling a pang of grief and an intense desire to go in there and kick over some overpriced lamps.

Online shopping is convenient, and will probably shut down a lot more of the brick-and-mortar stores, but it's largely sterile and disconnected. E-readers, while even more convenient, also eliminate the fun of those bargain book hunts and hidden treasure novels quests. Getting out there and visiting your favorite readerhood takes time, but there is nothing to equal the experience. I love my BAM, and shop mostly there, but this fall I'm going to make a point to visit all of the other bookstores in my area to spread the love around. I really don't want to see stores end up becoming remainder maulers who just toss books into huge cardboard bins and leave them to be picked over by the price vultures. Books merit better treatment than dollar store items.

Now it's your turn: what's your favorite readerhood like? How often are you getting out to shop for books versus ordering online? Which do you enjoy more? Let us know in comments.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

App Goes PBW

Probably the most popular bit of humor I've ever written on PBW were the two posts that became The Devil's Publishing Dictionary, my homage to Ambrose Bierce and the industry. I still get e-mail about it, and tonight one request ended up turning it into this:

Brian Sawyer has taken the DPD and used the content to create an Android app, which looks very cool. Brian is also looking for folks who own Android phones to help him beta test it, so if you're interested, click on the link to go to his blog and download the app.

I don't use cell phones, but I'm going to forward it to my college kid (he understands all this stuff, plus I gave him a Droid as his HS graduation gift.) Now I wonder if this will finally make me seem a little more hip than the Amish . . .

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forecast: Early Frostfire

Fall has arrived here at Casa PBW, and while I love summer best I can't say I'm sorry to see this one go (aside from my woes, if it didn't rain, the humidity left me feeling distinctly soggy.) Now the dogs and I are practically wallowing in the lovely cool mornings on the porch. Just the other day I had to put on my heavy fuzzy socks because my feet were cold, which they haven't been since like April.

I also like this chunk of the calendar because for the next five weeks it's almost deadline-, birthday- and holiday-free. That gives me a nice oasis of time to splurge on things I normally have to ration, like getting more creative with my blogging, cruising book stores for as long as I like, trying new recipes, experimenting with art projects and test-driving writing ideas.

Kate Meyers has a good article titled The Power of Play in the October issue of Cooking Light magazine that gave me a nudge in this direction, too; she discusses the importance of making time to do things other than work, worry and wear yourself out. We get so caught up in the business of life that we rarely if ever allow ourselves to play, and yet that's usually what we need most to dispel stress, avoid burnout, and pull ourselves out of the pits.

My publisher kindly sent me some ARCs for my next book, and I think a great way to kick off my online fall festivities is to give some away here. So what are you guys planning to do this fall that is something fun or just for you? Let us know in comments (or if you're still looking for your oasis, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, September 24, 2010. I'll draw ten names at random from everyone who participates, and send the winners a signed ARC of Frostfire, my new Kyndred novel (which will not be hitting the shelves until January 2011.) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3 Nonfic Books

Read: Journal Bliss ~ Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric by Violette, softcover

Why I picked it up: I've had my inner eccentric on a tight leash for a while, and it needs some exercise. Also the book is very colorful and almost entirely hand-written, which I found encouraging and charming.

What I liked: When she says bliss, she means it -- this is without a doubt the happiest book I've ever read. There's so much positive energy coming off every page I think it reversed my magnetic field. It's also a lot of fun, packed with interesting ideas and suggestions, and not like any other how-to I've ever read. The author even made me laugh with the only depressing prompt (how would you spend your last day on Earth?) by writing Don't forget to put on a clean pair of underwear on her own list. I also liked that the author only uses one name; it's a terrific trademark, and I'll never think of the word violet again without remembering this book.

What I didn't like: It was hard to find anything I didn't like about this book. It's pretty basic in some places, but I really didn't mind the beginner stuff. For a well-rounded how-to, your content really should be suitable for all ages and skill levels. This is a book for everyone.

Reading: Journal Revolution ~ Rise Up and Create by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino, softcover

Why I picked it up: I read their book The Visual Chronicles a couple years ago and enjoyed it.

What I like: The book includes lots of popular techniques that are explained well using photo examples and text.

What I don't like: Journal Bliss is a tough act for anyone to follow, but the contrast between this book and Violette's seems pretty stark. The writing prompts and suggestions so far don't appear to be revolutionary or even especially original (or maybe I read too much into the title, or it gets better.) In the first chapters the authors are giving me the impression that truth in art journaling is ugly, distressed and/or unfinished, and imply that those who do otherwise are doing it wrong. I don't agree; if perfect pink pretty journals covered with sparkles and rainbows make you happy, I say go for it.

Will Read: How to Make Books ~ Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book by Esther K. Smith, hardcover

Why I picked it up: My coptic stitch is a little rusty, and I wanted to check out some new book-making techniques.

What I think I will like: The emphasis on craftsmanship, innovation and different levels of difficulty (seems to have a nice range on the latter.) I do want to teach my daughter coptic stitching, and from the section devoted to that I think it's a great teaching aid. I flipped through the pages and there are some really interesting and new-to-me book making ideas, as well as some facts about bookmaking like the origins of chapbooks that I didn't know.

What I think I won't like: Already I don't like the cover; it's basically a printed book board with a wraparound fiber tape spine (yellow, no less.) The cover made me think twice about buying it; fortunately I looked through the pages and was sold on them. I'm sure the cover theme was chosen to give the book a handmade look, but it's not attractive and it doesn't match the lovely pages inside at all. I think even the beautiful blue typo end papers would have served as a better cover.

Some final thoughts: the current trends in journal how-tos are all about self-discovery through art, but I've noticed that more often than not the emphasis is on one's baggage and what I think of as the never-ending self-pity party: My Pain/Struggle or Who Did What Damage to Me or the ever-popular Why You'll All Be Sorry When I'm Dead approach.

I used to think this was a good thing, but now I've seen via personal experience how it can get out of hand. During my recent sabbatical I spent two solid weeks venting every day in a personal journal. By the time I reached the last blank page I was ticked off because I wasn't even halfway through my private bitchlist. I also didn't remember it being that long when I started, so I flipped back through the entries and read it from the beginning. I found myself kind of horrified to see how cancerous my negative emotions had become, feeding on my self-pity and growing bigger and uglier every day.

Maybe the best way to find balance in journaling is to not only explore your bitchlist, but also take a good look at your blessedlist (things that inspire or motivate you, celebrations of the beautiful moments in life, and thoughts on the gifts you've been given.)

When journaling you should also think about what you're leaving behind (don't automatically assume you'll be able to destroy your personal journals; you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.) What if your heirs decide to read them? Or worse, publish them? Are you okay with the world knowing what's on your bitchlist? Will the chronicle you create of your life be genuinely interesting and well-rounded, or simply read like a nonstop parade of lousy Post Secret submissions? And if someday one of your descendants who never got to meet you reads your journals, are they going to think Wow, I wish she was still alive so I could talk to her or God, what a whiny self-absorbed twit, glad she's gone?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Six and a Half Weeks

So you don't think I've been lounging around watching soap operas and eating bon bons for the past month and a half . . .

What I Did While I Was Unplugged

Outlined a new novel and wrote draft synopsis

House-trained Skye

Answered angry reader mail about Dream Called Time

Got depressed

Wrote another novel

Answered nice reader mail about Dream Called Time

Got more depressed

Went to hospital to visit sick family member

Got even more depressed

Revised another novel

Dealt with another family member's funeral


Worried my friends

Corrected another novel's proofs

Filled an entire hand-written journal with unhappy/unproductive thoughts

Moved my college kid to college

Cleaned the entire house top to bottom four times

Turned down invitations to write for three different anthologies

Missed my college kid

Moved most of the clutter on PBW's front page to other pages

Rescued hurt baby snake from road; buried it when it died of its injuries


Wondered if it's possible to drown depression in tears

Shipped four boxes of books to soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan

Stopped crying (ran out of Kleenex)

Spent a week dealing with Scribd's scam

Found a troll in my comments


Seriously thought about deleting the blog (twice)


Asked myself "What's the use?" about a thousand times

Despaired some more


Made four road trips, discovered how much I dislike driving through fog on the most dangerous part of the interstate

Painted six terrible watercolors

Hurt my foot while avoiding stepping on Skye (she's fine, I'm still limping)

Saw prototype cover art for the first book in my new trilogy (quite attractive)

Considered writing my very first writing manifesto


Remembered while quilting all the stupid writing manifestos I've read


Decided my first writing manifesto is "Sorry, no manifesto."


Got Skye all her shots

Answered 78 annoyed reader mails demanding to know the reason why my publisher has not converted the entire StarDoc series to electronic format, and when I'm going to make them do it


Moderated 172 comments, about 100 of which were SPAM

Seriously considered shutting down the blog and retiring from Publishing altogether to take unexpected/great job offer from old friend

Survived shopping with the other kid for school clothes, her practice driving my car, and the first day of tenth grade

Found out unexpected/great job offer requires relocation of household, politely turned down old friend

Went to two high school football games

Started writing new novel

Stopped despairing so much

Plugged back in for a couple hours here and there


Remembered why I do this


Started writing this list

Watched the last roses of summer bloom and

Missed you guys. A lot.

So what's up with you? Let me know in comments.