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Showing posts from August, 2016

Fall Deathmarch and/or Stalking Guide

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Each year, I swear I'm not going to do this to myself anymore. I keep swearing....

No Dragoncon for me this year, and at the moment, I do not have any Atlanta stops planned. If there seems to be sufficient interest, I may plan a bungee stop in the spring tour, but in the meantime, I hope my Atlanta fans have an awesome Dragoncon! Buy lots of books!

Sept. 9-11: Memphis, Tenn. on personal business, but am happy to meet with anyone for books or art! Deadline for ordering is Sept. 8.

Sept. 17-21: New Orleans, La. for the Excellence in Journalism conference, at which I am honored to represent the St. Louis Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as president and delegate. A reminder to the STLSPJ crew: if you have any opinions you wish to express on the issues we will debate at EIJ, please contact me in advance. I'll be traveling via Memphis in case anyone wants to meet up.

Sept. 25: Back home. Booked to moderate/host the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists…

Coffeehouse Review: The Abbey

This just goes to show that second chances are usually a good thing.

Waaaaaay back in the dim dark years of... um, 2011... I had a Groupon for The Abbey, a coffeehouse not far from the main office of Ye Olde Newspaper. It was not a pleasant experience. The space was okay but nothing exceptional, the food was okay (but nothing exceptional), and the server was positively growly. I didn't know if it was because I was paying with my Groupon (I tipped!) or if it was just a naturally growly place, but it put a bad taste in my mouth before I had the food.

I'd never been back. From time to time I'd be looking for a place to grab a nice lunch, maybe get a little writing done before work. I'd do a search on coffeehouses and The Abbey always popped up, but I'd remember that unpleasant server and say, "Nah."

This week I've been working in the main office on the night shift, but dropping Jim off at school meant I had two and a half hours to kill before my shift ea…

The Seven Challenge

Someone tagged me to post seven sentences from the seventh chapter of a work in progress. That left me with choosing the one in edits or the one I'm writing. So I decided to give you both. I also cheated and made it seven paragraphs, because reasons.

I'm also supposed to tag seven other writers, but I'm going to be recalcitrant and say if you want to do this, go ahead and do it! It's fun.


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From Chapter 7 of Yellow Roses:

Cat’s gaze roved over the carved-wood railings, the ornate Byzantine design of long-neglected walls and balconies. If she concentrated on that open-window image, she could see the colors and gilt flow over the sad remains of the theater and see the way it had been.
A shadowy figure stood on the balcony over stage right.
“There!” Cat pointed up at the balcony. As she spoke, the figure became clearer: the dark-haired woman she had seen in her mental window, the lovely woman in the high-necked blouse and a wide-waisted skirt. The woman stood alone in …

Snippets: One giant leap for sporekind

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This conversation began downstairs and meandered up to my office, which I affectionately call The Tower. The stairs are... kinda steep.

ME: This is the problem with my post-lunch coffee.
JIM: Where is your coffee cup?
ME: That's the problem. It's up in the office. So do I go all the way upstairs, get the cup, come back down, get coffee, then go back up again? That's a lot of work and I'm lazy.
JIM: I see.
ME: Or, I could just get a second cup and bring it up with me.
JIM: Or I can go up with you, get your cup and bring you coffee.
ME: You could, but you are not my personal servant.
JIM: Self-interest. Anything to keep you from collecting more and more cups up there.
ME: I do not!
JIM: You do too! You collect cups on your desk until they evolve and form civilizations.
ME: *giggling* That's not true!
JIM: It is! You've had some achieve spaceflight.
ME: I always destroy them before they reach the Pleistocene era.
JIM: Hon, I saw one launch a tiny little spacecraft…

Batches? Batches? We no need no stinking...

Due to a confluence of life and work, I will not be free any night between now and next Tuesday. Those of you who know our family's weird schedule know that we are rarely home at the same time anyway, which means I am often preparing food in the evening for Boy that Man eats at 2 a.m. and is my lunch the next day. So while we can skate by on cereal and peanut butter sandwiches for a day or two, a week and a half really doesn't fly unless we eat at restaurants way too much.

I've never tried to do the big batch of freezer meals before, so this seemed like a good time to experiment. I grabbed a few recipes that could be done in a few hours on Sunday afternoon - those Pinterest articles about doing 40 meals in eight hours seemed like a leeeeetle more than I wanted on my last free day.

This is what I did, in case anyone's thinking of trying it:

• I used simple disposable foil pans from Wal-mart. I could have gotten giant pasta pans at Sam's Club, but that seemed like an…

Senior Year

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I'm trying to figure out how the adorable, perpetually-grinning baby who sucked his two middle fingers when he was sleepy became a tall, dashing, occasionally bespectacled young man with a smartass mouth.

It started hitting me the day we registered him for his senior year of high school. When he was born in 1999, I did the math and figured out that he would graduate in the class of 2017. That seemed like a weird, faraway, science-fictiony year, something you might see as the footer in the opening sequence of some movie involving aliens and hovercraft. And yet it is upon us, faster than I ever dreamed possible.

I thought back to my own senior year in Tennessee. I remembered going for my senior portrait and not actually understanding what that was about, or why I had to wrap this blue velvet thing around my shoulders. I was a transplant from a private girls' school in Baltimore, and totally unprepared for all the senior-year hoopla. And yet it's still the best picture of me …

Love Your Spouse: Part Four

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A momentous change took place in the Donald-Smith-Gillentine Inc. corporate household recently. Sure, Jim and I have been living together since early 2012, married for 1.75 years and counting. But today, I changed the outgoing message on our house voicemail.

Oh, shut up. My color-coded, multi-categorical to-do list eventually gets done.

It came to my attention recently that the house phone's voicemail was full. That's probably because no one ever answers it or pays attention to it. So why do we have one? Let's face it: everybody wants a number for you, right? When you buy stuff at Walgreens and you can't find that silly keyring stub they gave you for the rewards program, you just need to put in your phone number. But you don't put in your cell, unless you're crazy. They'll text you into insanity.

So we have a landline to stave off the silliness. Also, in case of emergencies. Boy only got a cell phone about a year and a half ago, and I felt better knowing th…