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Just sayin'...

When I say I'm not going to be able to keep up in here, it's probably not what you think. I used to make it my business to come in here at least once or twice a day and make sure I commented on everyone's journal posts. My contention has always been that if I want people to be active on MY page, I have to be active on others. I haven't been able to do that lately. I have been reading but not replying so much. That's about to get even less, but I'll still be lurking. I miss doing Monday Updates, Words on a Wednesday, Friday Word Count, but I barely have the spare time and brainspace to do my monthly Heroines of Fantasy post. Lurking and quick posts are going to have to sustain me for the time being.

Two things--Eric spoke yesterday! Real words! He's breathing on his own and they're weaning him off the trach. I called and his wife held the phone to his ear. He coughed! And he nodded! That's about all the response I can hope for right now, but I do believe he understood I am someone who loves him, someone he depends upon. That makes me squiggle with joy.

The other thing--I got a lesson this morning. Remember when I fell out my back door and injured my shoulder, then fell down my steps and injured my knee and other shoulder? Yeah, still not healed. Why? Because I keep reinjuring them doing stupid things like jerking my poor shoulder grabbing for falling objects. Today, I started trying to catch something that fell over the side of the balcony railing. As that shock went up my arm, I let it go.

I let it go.

My body is teaching me a lesson with this--I have to learn to let it go. I was very good at that, once upon a time. Recent events have made me forget, and now my body is schooling me. Sometimes, you just have to let it go. And I am.

Tumble-bumble, pell-mell*

I hate losing touch in here, but I can't keep up. It's either spend time catching up on and keeping up with LJ, or writing. I gotta go with writing. And I have so much to tell you! But no time in which to do it. Hopefully, I'll be able to pop in from time to time.

I will be editor-in-chief for Hadley Rille Books for the foreseeable future. It wouldn't be quite so difficult if I could ask Eric questions; but though he is improving, it's going to be a long time before he's able to really work with me, so it's a lot of hunting and pecking and hoping I don't find out I was supposed to do something by getting warning notices and such.

Thank goodness I have friends working with me. Whew!

I shall be a ghost among you for a while, I fear. I hope I'm not forgotten while I'm gone, and I hope at least some of you are still here when I can finally come home. I always said I'd go down with the LJ ship before I'd fade away, but life intrudes. My energies have to focus elsewhere. For now--peace!

*The Pokey Little Puppy

That story I mentioned on Wednesday...

As many of you know, I attended the Viable Paradise workshop back in 2007--an experience that changed my life. That isn't what this post is about (though they are accepting applications for 2014 so GO! APPLY! You will not be sorry.) This post is about Audibles, and how and why I got all three of my books in production so quickly.

It's all about Dave Thompson.

I met Dave at VPX, and we've been really good friends ever since. I adore him, and make no apologies for it. When Frankie D and I went out to California for World Fantasy a couple years ago, one of the big reasons for the trip was to see Dave and his family. He was one of the first people I told when Hadley Rille Books offered to publish Finder. He beta-read Beyond the Gate way before it became the svelte novel published last November. As one of the voices behind Podcastle he blurbed Finder pre-publication. And ever since then, he's been after Eric to let him do the audio-book for it.

It was one of those things that kept getting put on the back-burner. Eric (and I) are so busy with HRB, it makes everything NON-essential almost impossible to get done. Last November, when things started lightening up a little bit, I asked him if he minded if I resurrected the audiobook thing with Dave.

Damn, did things happen fast! We put Finder up on ACX (the Audibles production site) so he could audition officially (it all goes through ACX) and before he did, I got six auditions! But I wanted Dave, and so we asked these actors if they'd be interested in auditioning for other books on our list. We got some amazing talent, and they were quite enthusiastic about working with our novels. Keep in mind, these actors are working for a share of the royalties; they do this for love, and for the hope of a little cash reward. If they didn't think it was worth their time, they'd simply decline auditioning. So far, that hasn't happened.

There were two auditions I could not get out of my head--Brittany's and Benjamin's. I knew I wanted a male voice for A Time Never Lived, and a female voice for Beyond the Gate, but at the time, Dave was contemplating doing them all for me--a chance I could NOT give up if he were willing. Dave gets actual money for his voice-over work--the kind of money out of small press range. He was doing this for ME, because he loves me as much as I love him. In the end, we decided he'd just do Finder.

I contacted Benjamin and Brittany, who auditioned for ATNL and BTG, and lo! Two more audiobooks were born! Because of Dave's busy schedule, Finder can't be ready until the end of August, and thus, it wouldn't make sense to put up A Time Never Lived until then. But Beyond the Gate can come before or after the other two, so we're launching that one at the end of March or beginning of April. I am so excited. I can't wait to share at least some of it with you! I think there will be previews available, but I've not gotten that far yet.


Hadley Rille Books continues on its path

As I write this, Eric is still in the hospital, mostly sedated to control his blood pressure. He does wake when the sedation is lightened, but because the BP spikes, they don't let him stay awake long. We are still in a wait-and-see scenario, but so far, so good. Small steps, but encouraging ones. Because he got such good and immediate care, the doctors are feeling fairly optimistic about his recovery.

Hadle Rille Books is still working at a mostly normal clip. There are some things that must be put on hold, but Karin Gastreich, Kim Vandervort, Julia Dvorin, Heather McDougal and I are getting things cleaned up, done, and moving what we can along. One of those things moving right along is the audiobooks that were in the process of being created.

We've contracts signed for The Song and the Sorceress (Kim Vandervort,) Eolyn (Karin Rita Gastreich,) Beyond the Gate (me!) The Poets of Pevana (Mark Nelson,) Finder, and A Time Never Lived (me again!) There are also pending auditions that I won't mention until contracts are signed. All in all, pretty exciting!

Alors, since I now have contracts and due dates and samples and all that fun stuff, I can announce the following:
Brittany Morgan Williams will narrate Beyond the Gate, due out at the end of March.
Dave Thompson (of Podcastle fame) will narrate Finder, due out at the end of August.
Benjamin Isaac Armstrong will narrate A Time Never Lived, due out at the end of August as well.

(Not sure these links are going to work for you.)

I got my first fifteen minutes from Brittany last weekend (it's part of the process) and, wow...it's just so cool to LISTEN to your story, interpreted by an actress who chose YOUR book out of the countless books up on Audibles to work on. These actors aren't simply voice-over artists, but voice-over-artists who also love books. It is a truly spectacular combination, and it makes all the difference in the experience.

You might be wondering why all three of my books are in production; well, there is a reason for that. I'll save it for the next post. :)


GrandWilliam is so big!

Sweet little boy GrandWilliam! (That's grandpa asleep next to him.)

And Gioia!

Eric and ACX

Update on Eric--the docs say he is going to wake within the next couple days either by will or by force. We hope by will, and by force, we hope it means something other than a cattle prod.

I have conquered ACX! That's Audibles. Got access. Got it figured out. Onward, ho!

It is amazing how adrenaline can exhaust a body. I've done nothing but sorting and arranging and such for HRB and figure out our ACX stuff all day and I'm BEAT!

Love, friendship, and my continued absence

There is no change in Eric's condition. Still, we wait. His vital signs are good, there doesn't seem to be any paralysis, but he closed his eyes last week and has not yet opened them again.

That leaves me in charge of Hadley Rille Books. With no passwords, access codes, or anything that would make it possible for me to actually do much of anything. I'm working my way around and through it, but it's a big job. Thankfully, I have Karin Gastreich and Kim Vandervort at the helm with me. With them, and the rest of the HRB family, we'll do what we can to keep things going until Eric is once again able to do so; and until then, I'm going to be rather scarce.

But you know I can't stay away. :)

Up on Heroines of Fantasy today, Karin leaves a beautiful post about love and friendship. If you head over, grab a tissue, just in case.

I got my first library book

It's a copy from Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR. Magic is being absorbed.

On chronic pain and motorcycles

You see my brace and feel bad for me. You see my scars and wince. You see my little-stick-leg and wonder how it holds up a body so big. I'm tall. I'm built. I'm handsome and smart and charming. I go to school. I hardly limp. I talk to you and play my ukelele, keep up in my classes. I shine. I outshine you all and you don't even mind, because I help you understand things you've been having trouble with, and I do it with a smile. I've made mistakes some will not let me forget; others marvel at my strength.

No one knows my reality.

No one knows what every step costs me, that I start each day on the blade of a knife. Despite my smile, my songs, my help, my scars should tell the story of the damage underneath. Behind every scar, more physical or emotional pain than you'll ever feel in your life, I hope. My little stick-leg isn't just muscle that's been left to atrophy; it's muscle that will never build up again, because the nerves that make them fire are dead. And though they're dead, they cause such pain. Burning. Itching. Imagine it. Imagine having the worst itch of your life and being unable to scratch it. Now imagine it on fire and not a thing on earth can put it out. No one knows what I have to do every day to keep that fiery itch at bay. I'm twenty-four, and I can't get out of bed in the morning, throw my clothes on and dash out the door. I have a whole repetoire of medical shit I have to do before I can even get out of bed.

No one knows the crushing anxiety that comes from all this. No one gets that train barrelling down on me is real. To me. Take this to keep the train from coming. Take that to counter the drowsiness. Take this to keep your thoughts from racing so you can sleep at night, just to start another day of all this. And I do it with a smile. It's dangerous for me to smile, because it betrays that reality. It makes people think I'm really not that hurt. That I'm maniuplating. That I'm a baby.

Suck it up, they tell me. You're tough. You're strong. Pain is pain. You got to push through it. I pity you, I say. I pity the fact that you can't see far enough beyond yourself to get me, to even try.

No one knows because they don't want to. I've tried to tell them. They don't want to hear. They cannot fathom living such a life, and how anyone can deal with it. So even if they're sympathetic, they forget ten minutes later when I'm struggling to keep up without limping, when I'm falling behind yet again, when every step is an agony. They forget because it's too painful to acknowledge, and the human brain prefers to block out that sort of thing.

I've been on the other side. I know this is how it is and life is always going to be, but it's worth it. My experiences have taught me that. I can't even ask you to understand, because you won't. You can't. What I do ask is that you don't judge me by your standards. Don't tell me to suck it up, be tough. You've absolutely no idea how far above your standards of strength I am, and just how tough I have to be just to get out of bed in the morning. If I ask for help, even if it's "Can you get me a glass of water," don't roll your eyes at me and tell me to get it myself. If I ask, it's because I'm at my limit, and I just can't do any more. What I ask is that you stop telling me to get rid of my motorcycle. I know it can be dangerous. I know I can get hurt. That's the way of the world. I was working out with friends in my high school gym when this thing happened to me. Where was the danger there? And look at the hurt it caused.

My bike is my freedom. It's me and the road and the wind. It's hiking trails I thought I'd spend my life trekking. It's freedom to go and go and not worry about the gas. Not worry about keeping up. My bike keeps up for me. It's all the adventures I dreamed of having, even if I never dreamed them this way. Can you truly ask me to give that up when I've already had to give up so much? Can you dare?

My son didn't write this. I did. He thinks no one understands except for others who suffer chronic pain and are always being accused of faking. I might not know the pain he feels in actuality, but I'm his mom. I know him. He's the strongest person I know. He will accomplish great things in his life, and most will never know the half of his greatness, because they'll never truly understand just how hard it was.


Meme! I haven't done one in ages

There is a meme going around, and I asked to play along. The brilliant and beautiful cmcmck has given me the letter T to prompt my answers.

Something I hate: Tequila. I'm not a drinker anyway, but Tequila tastes like soap and rubbing alcohol. Yuck.

Something I love: The Tango. Watching it danced brilliantly is a joy of life everyone should have.

Somewhere I have been: Tortola, a little island in the Caribbean where I floated in the warm, gently lapping sea for hours without ever feeling the need to touch land again. If I hadn't had to pee, I might still be there now. ;)

Somewhere I would like to go: Turkey, even if my letter WASN'T T. Seeing the Haggia Sophia is one of my life goals.

Someone I know: Tom Bowers, my brother-in-law from my first marriage, who just completed and is recovering from successful treatment for cancer. I love him with all my heart.

Best film: Time Bandits! It was awful, but it's just one of those movies from my crazed teen years that I cannot help loving.

If you would like a letter, hit me up! And feel free to answer here or on your own page.

Old Library Books

Every once in a while, I go on Amazon to check on my books. I once found that they'd priced the hardcovers of Finder at $3.52. !! That's less than half of what I can get them for from the printer. I tried to buy all three they had in stock, but they would only let me buy one. Foiled! Still, I check every now and again.

Usually, when one of my books is on the second-hand market, they're not actually second-hand. How do I know? Because the cost is only slightly lower (and sometimes significantly higher) than what Amazon sells them for, and the seller has a note saying it will take 10-14 days for delivery. That means they're buying directly from the printer. Booksellers can actually do that. Finder has been out a while. There are a few available second-hand. Yeserday, I noticed a few hardcover, ex-library copies of Finder for sale.

At first, I was a little sad to know they would no longer be in circulation, but it lasted only a moment before I realized the opportunity at hand. I bought all three copies. In a few days, I'll have them, and with them all the book-memories of those who read them.

It's kind of magical, and a little woo-hoo-froo-froo as my kids like to tease, but the booklovers reading this know that feeling of placing their hands on the covers and just absorbing. Every page has been turned before. Every line, read. The characters lived in someone else's brain, made them think and feel and keep turning pages. There is magic in that--a collective if separate experience. It is one of the reasons books will always be around. One cannot get that tactile, absorbable magic from an ereader.

I cannot wait to get these books, to hold them in my hands, to absorb that magic of my own words from someone else's experience. And after I've had them a while, I'm going to pick an address at random, and send the book out into the world with a note, like a message in a bottle,* in the hopes that someone will read it, write back to me, and pass the book along.

*Thank you, Francesca.

And on another note!

jennygordon is up on Heroines of Fantasy today!

She's starting a revolution, friends. Come help her. :)

Sadie Mae

She brings it to me, I wind it 'round her neck, and she makes no attempt to take it off as she wanders about the house. And when it falls off, she sometimes brings it to me again. (Although she will NOT look at me to take a pic!)

My little diva. Is it wrong to love a cat this much?


Ooops, I did it again...

Yesterday was not a good day, having spent a good portion of it putting out emotional fires of one kind or another. And, on top of that, I fell again. This time, down three stairs, straight onto my knee. Got myself good in the old Osgood-Schlatters!
(I am one of the rare-few who didn't outgrow it. If I ever meet you IRL, I'll show you my bumps.)

My sore shoulder from the last fall is still sore, and now a little worse. My knee is a bit swollen, the muscles in that leg took a hit. My lunch--the healthy salad I'd made for myself--ended up flung into the front door and all over the floor. I was by myself and on my own, because the cats are no help. So I picked myself up, cleaned up the mess, and made a bowl of ramen noodles; sometimes, comfort food is more important than healthy food.

My spaz statis is up several points this month. Go me.

In writing news, the fab statis is rising along with the spazier one. I discovered a key detail that has been eluding me. As always, it's a simple one, and one that has apparently been in the back of my brain all along--but it means incorporating it. I thought about going forward as if that detail was established, but too much of the HOW of my big climax is going to depend upon the way that thread is woven from the beginning. So that, combined with the character that truly needs to be dead before the story starts, but who has been forced in so she can play her part, means I go back to page one yet again, without a proper ending to speak of yet.

This has been a much different process for me, but I'm enjoying it. And that's all I'll say about that for now, because...


Two are contracted. One is in the process. Beyond the Gate is going to come out in May. Finder will release in September, and A Time Never Lived will either simultaneously release, or come out a month later. I am so excited about this!!! Once the last contract is signed, I can make a formal announcement with names and maybe even samples.

Happy Weekending All! Those in the path of the Polar Vortex (where the hell did THAT one come from??) stay warm!

For those not on Facebook

(This was too funny not to share.)

10:30 pm. A log home in snowy Connecticut. I am sitting in the recliner, watching DVRed episodes of Pawn Stars...
Frankie D: (vacuuming furiously with the shop vac)
me: What are you doing?
Frankie D: (shouting) I've been meaning to do this.
me: It's 10:30
Frankie D: (still shouting, still vacuuming) It'll only take a minute!
---ten minutes later, the shop vac turns off, sounding much like a tie fighter passing through--
me: (goes into the bedroom)
Frankie D: See how good it looks?
me: (looking at all the dust no longer on the walls and ceiling, but coating all the furniture dusted earlier, and the floor that is slippery with it) Why is everything so dusty?
Frankie D: (looks into the hose of the shop vac) I don't know...I'm sorry?

So before you go envying me a husband who will vacuum the crooks and crannies of our log house walls at 10:30 pm, behold!
An that was just the floor. Oh, Frankie D...

What's your line?

We all have favorite lines from our work, but can you pick one all-time fave? No, really--ONE line. No more. Here's mine; its from A Time Never Lived:

No wings crested these landbound creatures of mountain core and ice; they were big-boned instead of hollowed, bulky instead of sleek, beasts of
burden like household servants, and not the stuff of kings.

What's yours?

An update, and two exciting things

First--I'm sore, but I will mend. My flying leap from back slider to the ground will not do me in.

Second--I got a FABULOUS new review for A Time Never Lived.
I am a huge fan of Ms. Defino’s book "Finder" and worried this follow-up book wouldn’t compare. Not a chance. This second epic tale is filled with excitement, wonder and tales of old. A journey that kept me wanting for more from the very first page. Characters were deep, complex people, making choices about love, life and friendship, easy characters to connect with as a reader. At the onset their expedition is to save their friends, but the story unfolds into a magical world, where they meet an assortment unique characters and learn about folklore specific to each place. By the time the trip ends, the author proves to us how--despite our differences around the world--at our core we are very much the same. If only the world we live in could be so accepting. A big Huzzah! to Ms. Defino for giving us this breathtaking adventure.

Eh? Eh? Pretty great, huh? Though A Time Never Lived got the best editorial review out of all three books, it gets the least love. It gladdens my heart to see it get some. Double huzzah!

Third, I finished my pronunciation keys for Finder, A Time Never Lived, and Beyond the Gate. Triple huzzah! Damn, I thought it was so awesome to create all those etymologically feasible words. By the end of the day yesterday, I wanted to poke my eye out with a pen. That might have been the pain talking...

Finally...you want to see the latest incarnation of Finder's new cover??? Note--Ethen looks like he's smiling, but he's not. When I blew it up bigger, it's obviously a grimace; however, Tom (the insanely talented Tom Vandenberg) is fixing it.
Behold, the glory!Collapse )

Zihariel looks fierce! Ethen looks just like the Ethen in my head. Note the look of disdainful sorrow of the woman in the cage-cart. It's obviously the desert, without ever showing a bit of sand or scrub.
It's not finished. Some of that is just blocked in. All the detail isn't there yet, but DAMN, I am happy with this.

My rank just went up...

Not my Amazon rank, my spaz rank. I have no idea how to check my Amazon rank and have no desire to know. Having my spaz rank go up was never a goal of mine, but alas, it has.

Heading down the back steps to feed the crows, I slipped and did a flying dive onto the back patio...and the grass...and the gravel that runs the perimeter of our house. It was a spectacular sight! I am certain it was. Ask the crows, they saw before they flew of, shrieking...or they might have been laughing. Yeah...that sounds like crows.

My knee is cut and a bit sore. My hip is, surprisingly, fine, but my shoulder--egads, my shoulder! Typing this is painful, because any move of my arm causes something in my shoulder to go "click-click" right along with the keyboard. I probably shouldn't be typing.
Over on Heroines of Fantasy today, Mark talks about writerly resolutions. I'm not a big 'resolution' sort of person, but I do have one--I have to stop being so hard on myself about writing time. It's just not the same as it was while writing Finder, or even A Time Never Lived. Between promotion-stuff and editing, all things HRB family and family, I just don't have the six hours a day to dedicate to actually writing. Like I said in a prior post--this is what it was all for! This is what I worked for. So my resolution this year is to enjoy it rather than bemoan it, even if it seems like my heading is whiny.

I thought today was the day I would get back to writing The Shadows One Walks. I finished up an edit on a book (an incredible, amazing, I-can't-wait-to-have-this-in-my-hands book!) so that once the holidays were over, I could snuggle in with Fraeda and Cal and the big climax of this book. BUT--what must I do this week? It's really horrible. No writer should have to suffer this. I must...


Yup, HRB is going Audible. I've already had a bunch of auditions come through for Finder, and we've chosen the one I've actually had my heart set on since publication (more on that story once the contract is signed!) There are several others who read for Finder that we want to have read ATNL and BTG, It's so exciting to HEAR my story. Completely different experience. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

And this is why I cannot be hard on myself for not writing. Sometimes, it's not "fun" stuff coming in between me and my story. And sometimes it is.

Thursday feels like Monday

With the holidays and my kids in and out of the house, my days have been a bit jumbled. Frankie D was home yesterday, so of course it feels like Monday instead of Thursday. The coming snowstorm will likely keep him home tomorrow, and thus I will have yet another Monday come Sunday, when it will feel like he's supposed to be going back to work.

Sigh--I confuse too easily for this!

I don't know what it is, but I just have a feeling about 2014. It just seems so...I don't know...POSITIVE! Good things are coming--a granddaughter, an audiobook or three--but it's more than that. I suppose we'll find out, eh?

Happy New Year, one and all!