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Fruit of the Vine
Here There Be Goblins

Date: 2015-11-23 15:24
Subject: About OryCon
Security: Public

I just made a Facebook post that is SO LONG, it might as well be a blog post. So I thought I’d post it here too. :-) Without further ado:

TL:DR: That was a complicated weekend.

Long version: I’m seeing everyone’s OryCon posts, what a good time they had, how successful a con it was, how glad they were to see everyone, etc. And I’m so happy to hear that–honest, I am. I love cons too, and usually have a really great time, even if they are intensely over-social experiences from which I have to recover afterwards. :-)

It was a difficult con for me. And for Mark, too. While we did see a lot of people and had some good social (and business) connections, mostly we just both found ourselves wishing we hadn’t done it.

The biggest problem was the dealer’s table–well, the dealer’s room in general, I think. You know, the musty, unwelcoming space in the sub-basement, far off the beaten track from the rest of the con, where at least one of us had to sit all day, every day. A number of folks came by and visited us there, which was very kind. But, other than our programming, we were pretty much there all the time, missing all the usual bar-con and other casual social/business interaction that is my favorite part of a con.

Which would have been okay if we’d sold a lot. But, frankly, this con was a financial disaster for us. Our gross sales just about covered our meals and parking. Which doesn’t take into account the costs of the matting, backing board, bags, paper, ink, etc. of the products we sold, or the time spent putting it all together, or–crazy concept I know!–the time and effort the artist put into making the art. Or the three solid days we took off from actual, in-house paying work to go sit at that table. Or the several prints we donated to the very worthy charity auction the next booth was running, or the several other prints we donated as swag for the hard-working volunteers. Or the cost of the table and the registration to begin with. And then of course we bought a few things from other dealers, like you do. We would have been much, much better off financially just staying home and working all weekend. Our OryCon table did poorly last year, but not nearly as poorly as it did this year. We will certainly not be running a table at OryCon next year–if we attend at all.

I honestly don’t know if tables make sense for us at all any more. Mark used to make thousands of dollars a weekend, even at the small cons. Probably if we want to do this at all, we would need to look at bigger cons, comic-cons–but those cost thousands of dollars just to register for a table. I’m not at all sure we can take that risk.

So that was the biggest thing…but not all the things. Of course I was disappointed to not win the Endeavour, but that’s the way it goes, and that was really fine; I’ve been enjoying calling myself an Endeavour Loser, and I’m certainly going to put the plaque up in my office. :-) I was actually more disappointed that not a soul turned up at my reading. I passed many friends in the hall on my way there, and told them about it (and I had posted it here, and it was in the schedule)–but, yes, I know there are a lot of things going on at a con, and readings don’t generally get a lot of attendance.

And so I posted about the reading–and honestly, you guys! The outpouring of love, empathy, support, connection, sympathy–which is still coming in–I feel so, so lucky to have you people, my friends, reaching out like that. That made a HUGE difference for me, and I so, so appreciate that.

Yet it also only makes me wonder about cons in general. What are they for–for me, right now? Clearly not for reaching people with my work–or with Mark’s work, despite his very lovely, very generous award. And stuck in the musty sub-basement of the Marriott, this con at least was not even for reaching people for conversation and connection, beyond the few of you who made the journey down to see us. I get SO MUCH more connection online, as all your comments made so clear. Rushing out to Beaverton for Authorfest was not for connecting with anyone either, beyond my immediate table-mates; particularly since we had to rush back to Portland the moment it was over to break down the dealer’s table, then wait in the queue for hours for the privilege of bringing our car down the ramp for loading. (Which we did not do; Mark carried everything up through the hotel in those absurd elevators.)

I mean, I don’t know. We did have some good, useful, constructive, and fun conversations with folks. We both picked up some definite and some potential future work–good, interesting, exciting work. We got out there in the public eye (sort of) (I guess). Lots of people saw Mark’s new work, and praised it–and he did win that nice ribbon. :-) As a result of a couple of the conversations, a new project is ambushing my brain–which is super exciting and I must clear all my decks so I can work on it!

I’m not prepared to say OryCon was a total waste of time…but, I am sure happy it is done. And we will be doing a number of things differently next year, and questioning signing up for tables in general, for all the cons we go to.

What do you all think? Do you go to sci fi cons to buy art and books in the dealer’s room, or is that a thing of the past? We were not the only dealers to find the room slow and quiet; in fact, only a few of the dealers said they did well at all. Costuming/clothing sells well, as do toys. Other than that…would you all rather just buy your genre-related stuff online? Is the market just flooded? Is everyone poor?

Well, enough pondering. Back to work.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-10-05 10:35
Subject: Writing Writing Writing!
Security: Public

Yesterday I finished my second pass of the Great Queen & Tower Rewrite of 2015, getting all the way to the new ending I wrote on the last pass. I found myself thinking, Oh, yes, this is good! So that’s encouraging.

The third Great Rewrite Pass is already underway; that’s the pass where Mark reads a scene or two aloud to me, interrupting himself constantly to point out how terrible it is how to tweak it just a bit to make it even more spectacular. That pass is a little under halfway finished.

I’m about to begin another pass this morning–Pass Four? Pass Three-Prime? I have no idea at this point. This is the pass where I collapse the beginning sufficiently to get to the OH YES THIS SCENE, THIS ONE, IT IS AN AMAZING SCENE far sooner. And then continue on through the manuscript, adjusting all the things that will need fixing because of said collapse.

Oh and adding in all the tweaks based on the stuff we’re figuring out about the world, the characters, and all that, going forward.

When I am done with this, I will be ready to send it out to some “first” readers! (If we count Mark as Reader Zero.)

This book is SO different from the fluffy, overwritten 250,000-word manuscript that came out when I first sat down to write about a witch named Callie all those years ago. And yet the bones are still there. What the book is “about”–agency, independence, coming in to one’s own as a woman in this world, questions about love and connection–those are all still part of this story. But I hope it is on its way to becoming a lot more coherent now. (And, of course, entertaining, exciting, enjoyable–hey, one can hope!)

So that’s basically what I’ve been up to lately. Well, along with freelance work, gardening, house guests, and doing all the Domestic Engineer stuff while Mark works 70-80 hours a week on Thimbleweed Park… :-)
And it’s so nice to have a lovely place to write.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-08-15 13:05
Subject: Sasquan Ho!
Security: Public

We are packing and printing and making ready to travel to Spokane on Tuesday for WorldCon AKA Sasquan!

And we have programming. I’m going to put both Mark’s and mine on here, because he hasn’t blogged in three years. (See? There’s even more occasional bloggers than me.)

Note: we are NOT having a dealer’s table after all. But he is showing some lovely things in the art show, including something you haven’t seen before, and things you thought you’d never see again…. :-)

Our Program Items:

2:30 – Shannon reading, 303B (CC)

2:00 – Mark panel, “What Makes an Effective Cover Image?”, 302AB (CC)
4:00 – Mark kaffeeklatche, 202A-KK2 (CC)
7:00 – Chesley Awards/Art Reception

10:00 – Mark reading, 304 (CC)
11:00 – Mark panel, “Certainly Not For the Money: Why We Write Short Fiction,” Bays 111A (CC)
4:00 – Shannon kaffeeklatche, 202B-KK3 (CC)
Evening – Book View Cafe party

2:00 – Mark autographing session, Hall B (CC)
5:00 – Mark art demo, 401C

1:00 – Shannon panel, “Young Adults in Adult Fiction,” Bays 111C (CC)

Hope to see you all there!

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-08-02 19:24
Subject: Occasional
Security: Public

Hmm, I am so behind on blogging that every additional day that goes by without my having blogged gets me even further behind, and with more to write when I actually do blog, so the task becomes more daunting, so I don’t blog, and….you get the idea.

I guess the thing to do is to sit down and write when I feel moved to. Like now. And not worry about getting it all caught up. I mean, I won’t remember it all anyway, and you’ve probably all heard all my news on Facebook already anyway.

A question: how many of you reading here also are Facebook friends with me? And of those, how many look at Facebook with any regularity? :-) Because I do actually post things there with some frequency.

Dahling Dahlias
Like pictures of dahlias

It’s not that I don’t have the time or focus for longer-form writing (though, yes, life is busy, when is it not?). I think it may actually be because the Queen & Tower rewrite is going so well. I don’t manage to work on it every single day, but I work on it most days, for good chunks of time at a sitting–two hours or more. That’s what I am doing with the nice long uninterrupted spans of writing time, instead of blogging. And the small bits of in-between time, those are good for garden pictures, and food pictures, the other stuff that Facebook is for.

Anyway, that’s my working theory now. Another theory might be that nobody reads this blog, so why bother updating it? Comments disproving this theory would be welcome.

So! It’s been (it is still being) an eventful summer. I believe I made mention of our project to retrofit the toolshed into an office for me? Well, it’s done now, and OH MY GOD IT IS AMAZING YOU GUYS. I love it to pieces, just absolutely it is the best thing.
Office Before Clutter
A picture I took before I filled it up with my clutter

And let’s see, what else? A veritable deluge of house guests. Lots and lots and lots and LOTS of VERY hot weather. Lots of gardening (which means lots of watering–see VERY HOT WEATHER). Lots of writing. Mark is working very hard on Thimbleweed Park (the link currently points to a podcast interview with him, I haven’t listened to it yet!). He is also working hard on something that is very cool, and is secret, but is only going to be secret for another week, so I will tell you about it then. (Or maybe I will tell Facebook about it then and blog about it two months later. Heh.)

And we went to California and got to meet the new nephew!
Bouncing Baby Boy

Yes, I am sitting on a yoga ball bouncing him. Otherwise he cried. He LOVES to be bounced.

Oh and Our Lady of the Islands is a finalist for the Endeavour Award. That’s a thing I should probably tell you about. :-) My first award nomination. Now I need to buy a pretty dress. Right???

Last weekend we drove northward and were workshop leaders at Cascade Writers, which was awesome and amazing and fun and productive, even if the hotel did have the fakiest fake orchids EVER.
Fakest Orchid

Since my office furniture (and clutter) is no longer in the dining room, it meant we had to (got to) go out and buy new, actual dining-room-appropriate furniture. We’re not quite finished with this, but we’ve gotten the major pieces. Including a lovely cabinet with a leaded glass door that had two broken panes (so it’s at a glass shop right now, being repaired) and hideous painted-over paper on the shelves and back, which I recovered with lovely wallpaper just the other day:
DR Cabinet Before

DR Cabinet After

Pay no attention to the odd brownish streak down the middle; that’s an artifact of the camera and the light, I guess. It’s really quite beautiful. And I can’t wait for the door to be ready…

My next non-work, non-writing project is to put in a drip irrigation system to take care of ALL the pots in the garden. It currently takes about an hour and a half to do all the watering by hand. Which strikes us both as a bit excessive….especially when it happens every day, because it’s been a hundred million billion degrees.

So I got a tutorial from my dad when we were in California, and I’ve gone to Home Despot and bought hoses and connectors and all that, then realized I’m short a few things; but mostly this hasn’t gotten done yet because a) it’ll take a LOT longer than an hour and a half to do, so every day I think Eh, I’ll just water, and tackle that big thing some other day; and b) it’s been a hundred million billion degrees, and I don’t wanna work outside in that for hours on end….

Today was a little cooler. Next week is supposed to be a little cooler. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get a drip system in, just in time for winter. :-)

So! That’s the general gist of things around here. And that’s certainly plenty of update for now, and anyway, this French 75 is nearly empty and it’s time to go make dinner.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-06-18 10:40
Subject: Lately
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:freelance, garden, home, mark, money, queen and tower, tiny office

Oh, the website/email troubles and woes I had, let me tell you. Down for hours at a time, day after day. NOT GOOD. DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD.

So my brilliant web designer has begun the process of moving me off of Bluehost and into having my website and email hosted by Google–less than half the price AND I can keep my same email address (because I own this domain), yay! The email is moved (and seems totally stable!), and the website will be moved soon. Whew.

Interestingly, I know of two other people, with email hosted by two separate other non-Google services, who have been having exactly the same troubles. If I were cynical, I might think that Don’t Be Evil is somehow behind it. Good thing I’m not cynical.

In other news…busy-ness has gone on around here! I had a glut of freelance work for so many months running, I don’t even know how many–I tried to look back on my spreadsheet and couldn’t find the last gap. Until now. I’ve been over a week with no proofreading/copy editing work. Which would be freaking me out, except for the fact that Mark suddenly has more work than he can handle, and it’s well paying work, which is a super nice change for him. :-)

So I am using the time to get caught up on All The Other Things. The rewrite of Queen & Tower is going very, very well. A lot of time has been spent in the garden (by both of us, as it happens, even though he really should be upstairs pushing pixels every day, all the time). Our wedding website domain is about to expire; I archived all the information I wanted to keep from there. I’ve taken care of a LOT of little chores and errands that got pushed aside, some for a very long time. I planned some upcoming travel. I’m getting caught up on my Per Aspera editing. We had several rounds of houseguests.

Oh and I am declaring my mirror project finished:
Mirror Project Done

That only took, what, four years? :-)

Next week, construction begins on my Tiny Office/She-Shed/[insert cute name of your choice here]. I already told Facebook about finding the perfect doors and windows at the ReBuilding Center for super cheap. The work should only take a week…and then I don’t have to work in the dining room any more! I’m so excited I cannot even tell you.

Then we get to shop for a breakfront/hutch thing to fill the space where this cluttered desk is. Good thing Mark is making money. :-)

I am sure there is more to report but that’s what I can think of for now….

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-06-04 09:12
Subject: Little Dog
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:dog, family, mark, sick

So here is the post with the less-good things that have happened over the last while…the biggest being the departure of my parents’ Little Dog, who headed off to the Great Hearth in the Sky, after being their faithful companion for fourteen years.

His name actually was Elmo, but I always called him Little Dog here, because, well, he was a little dog. And the sweetest thing ever.

You may remember the adventures of traveling with him.

Elmo Earflappy

The rest of the not-so-good has been just the ridiculous flurry of sickness! In fact, I didn’t make this post yesterday because I was felled by a stomach flu/food poisoning thing. NASTY. I’m sipping tea now and contemplating solid food. Just a little.

But Mark and I just keep handing a cold back and forth, it seems. We are both very tired of this! He’s coughing now, again; he has a call in to his doctor. Fingers crossed that we can get over all these bugs soonest!

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-06-02 22:15
Subject: Things Are Happening: The Good
Security: Public

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone this long between blog posts. Because: busy! Yes, I say that all the time. But this busy: it’s been kind of transcendently busy.

So here is an attempt at a catch-up post. Of Good Things Only. There are a few Less Good Things. Which belong in a separate post.

(Will I make that separate post tomorrow? Or in a month? Only the fates know!)

Big Good Thing The First: Mark, who has always been super, duper busy, is now–and has been for the last month or so–super, duper busy on several super, duper exciting projects that also pay a decent living wage. (I know! We’re astonished too. And delighted.) Until yesterday, all these new projects were Seekrit. But now, one has been announced!

When we first heard about the Thimbleweed Park project on Kickstarter, we immediately backed it. Mark has worked with Ron and Gary before, loves them both to pieces, and thought this was a fantastic idea. Turns out they were super, duper excited to bring Mark on board…and so that happened. He is now upstairs drawing fabulous pictures all the live-long day.

Big Good Thing The Second: It’s less exciting to tell, because I don’t talk much about my clients, because nobody wants to know how sausage is made and of course all writing emerges from every writer’s brain utterly flawless and in no need of copy editing or proofreading, but…my plate continues to be full, and I continue to also be astonished and delighted by the fact that I get paid to read books. (and maybe even make them a little better!)

Other Big Good Things, in No Particular Order:

-The weather has been delightful, leading us to steal probably too many hours from this glut of work to dabble in the garden.
Upper Deck PotsNFlowersSungolds Coming Along

-I’m getting a tiny office in a few weeks! (pics-in-progress to come, oh yes indeed.)

-My new nephew is home from the NICU and doing great.
Little Wizard

-I’m mastering new barbecue items practically daily.
BBQ Chicken
(chicken, for example.)

-I’m finding time to squeeze in work on Queen & Tower, and it’s going really well.

-Neal Stephenson came to Powell’s! I haven’t started Seveneves yet, but I am so excited to.

Chaz won a Lambda Award! And it’s such a good book. Well, all of Chaz’z books are Such Good. But this one! We have a poster of the cover art on our wall. You can totally judge this book by its cover.


I know there must be more wonderful things in the last month. But this is probably as much as anyone wants to read, and the fish are clearing their throats and looking significantly at their watches, so I should bring this to a close, and go feed them. And resolve, as ever, to be a more faithful blogger. Right. Exactly that.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-05-07 21:49
Subject: This Week's Project
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:audiobook, book view cafe, eel river, friends, mark, process, queen and tower

I told you yesterday that this week got interrupted by a thing: here is the thing.

So my “first” novel, meaning the first novel that got published, not the first novel I wrote (oh no), was an odd little thing called Eel River. A hippie horror novel, though I’m not a horror writer (and not even that much of a hippie either).

It was published by a small publisher in 2013, as an e-book only, and…didn’t really go anywhere. (Despite such gorgeous cover art!)
Eel River Cover

And…other things happened, and didn’t happen, and the long and the short of it is, I ended up with the rights back.

So I shall be republishing it this September, through Book View Cafe, in both e-book AND print, yay!

September, yes, plenty of time to get it ready.

Even though Excellent Friend Chaz (desperance, for you LJ folks) read it over and suggested a jillion little changes and several more substantive ones; and Mark read it and had similar thoughts. Very good thoughts, both of them! Yes I was looking forward to getting to this, after my Queen & Tower rewrite was done.

However! Book View, as of course you know, has a lovely arrangement with Audible, whereby all our books become Audible books. And Eel River has long been on the “next batch” list. And, of a sudden, “next batch” became “this batch,” with a side order of “due Monday”, and–the long and the short of it is that I had to produce a ready-to-go-to-press manuscript this week.

So I did.

I made all the little tweaks and polishes that Chaz suggested, and really delved into the deeper stuff, completely reconceiving the central conflict, clarifying a major character, and…making it a lot more creepy, I think. I’m actually really happy with it now.

It’s off to the formatter now (if I told you who she is, you’d just be jealous, and/or not believe me); I wrote an updated “Author’s Note For Revised Edition”; Mark produced the cover in all the different appropriate sizes; and…I think it’s a go!

Whew. Tomorrow: back to Queen & Tower edits. No really.

And in September, you’ll get to read it–in pixels AND on paper!

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-05-06 22:31
Subject: To Be Home
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:family, freelance, garden, home, mark, queen and tower, sick, travel

It’s good to be home again. Yes, we’ve been home for over a week; and yes, I haven’t told you anything about the rest of the Month On The Road Trip; but, yeah. Here we are.

Vancouver continued to be delightful. We walked a lot, and figured out the transit, and even figured out the driving-around. We figured out that sushi there is AMAZING and CHEAP. And we figured out that nothing else there is cheap. :-) We had some superb meals (and great visits) with Camille and Claude, and ate waaaayyyyy too much baklava one evening.

And then it was time to leave! We took the car ferry from Vancouver to Victoria Island–
BC ferry
and met another ferry along the way*

–and spent a few hours at the amazing Butchart Gardens. Which made us feel simultaneously inspired and inadequate about our own garden. :-)
Butchart Tulips

From there, another ferry to Port Angeles, across VERY choppy water…I was wondering if my stomach was going to stay put, and also if the cars would all be tumbled together when we got back to them. Fortunately, the answers to those questions were yes and no, respectively, though it was touch and go for a while–on both matters, I think.

Then a drive from Port Angeles to Port Townsend, and the RandyCon writer’s retreat–by which point Mark was feeling like the cold he’d had on Orcas Island was returning. So he went to bed…and stayed there the entire retreat. Literally. I brought him food, and there were people attending the retreat he never laid eyes on. :-(

By the time we finally got home to Portland, four days later, he was still so sick, I took him to the doctor the next morning. She diagnosed kind of an allergy-attack-out-of-control, plus a virus, and prescribed steroids. Which worked like MAGIC. He’s almost done with his course of them (tapering down–half a pill now), and has been feeling just great since about fifteen minutes after the first dose. Fingers crossed that his immune system picks up where the steroids leave off!

Other than that, since we got home–busy busy. Mark has several super-secret exciting and cool freelance jobs, which all arrived on the scene either moments before we left on the trip or during the trip; he’s been trying to shuffle them all, working ten-hour days, and we look forward to telling you about all of them all in good time. I have had the usual happy flurry of freelance work, and have been working hard on the rewrite of Queen & Tower (got lots of good work done at RandyCon); but then just this week was interrupted by something else, which I think I will tell you about in a subsequent post, because this is quite enough information for one long overdue blog post, I think!

Oh but let me not neglect to mention the garden.
The Purple Rose of Portland

We were surprised and pleased to find that all was not in entire shambles after being neglected for a month–an unexpectedly springlike month. Yes, there are lots of weeds, and pernicious vines, and all that; but actually, things were in pretty good shape.

Which doesn’t mean that we didn’t have to go out and buy a jillion new plants, and start putting them in the ground, and in pots. And I will also show you pictures of that later, when we are more done, and I have actually taken photos. :-)

Let’s see…oh, there is one more piece of major news: new nephew JJ was sprung from the neonatal ICU after 42 days of captivity (which is still pretty amazing, considering he arrived on the scene something like 60 days early). He’s home and doing great:
redwood home
And we are still looking forward to meeting him in July! If he isn’t off to college by then.

*And saw a pod of orcas! At last! But I didn’t get a photo, I was too busy looking at them.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-04-17 21:13
Subject: The Canadian Segment
Security: Public

Of the Month-of-Travel.

We arrived in Vancouver (or, rather, a suburb thereof) yesterday evening, after a delightful day of travel (after a somewhat rushed travel-prep). Somewhat rushed because we ended up going hiking on our last day on Orcas Island, instead of cleaning and packing, because the weather was spectacular, and we just don’t know when we’re going to get back to our beloved Orcas again. Some day, of course, but when?
Little Pottery House
Oh and we also went to Orcas Pottery.

Turtleback Hike
This would be a nice place to build a house…

The travel was delightful because…views like this:
MtBaker from Ferry

And no line at all at the border, though the border guard was a little curious about all the boxes in our car. “It looks like you’re moving.” Er, no, we’re just on the road for a month, sir. No really.

We found our house-trade-house easily enough (even though it was rush hour), and met our delightful house-trade partners, who fed us a delicious meal and made us feel at home in their amazing house.

Which has three front doors.
Three Front Doors

And gorgeous hand-painted windows, and many many stairs, and ceilings as tall as two people standing on each other’s heads, and so much wonderful.
House of Stairs Stained Glass

They are restoring the house, and are not done yet, so there are less-amazing elements (like the tiny galley kitchen)–
Galley Kitchen
–but even that works fine. We made ourselves a nice dinner this evening. I’m not complaining.

I just hope our nice trade-partners aren’t TOO disappointed with our house. :-)

We hope to see more of Vancouver proper in the coming days, though we both have lots of work to do. We took a nice errand-and-lunch walk today, before settling down to productivity all afternoon. We’ve contacted a few local friends and are setting up some social engagements. But mostly, I think this time is going to be about getting stuff done, and trying to get a little rest in the process. Much as I like innkeeping, I’m SO GLAD nobody has to get up tomorrow morning to make breakfast for anyone. Just sayin’.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-04-12 18:33
Subject: A Start
Security: Public

There’s no way to catch up. I might as well start, at least. :-)

It is the month-o-travel, more or less. We had Norwescon, which was a ton of fun–so many good people seen, an awesome release party for Julie’s Waking Up Naked in Strange Places, and lots of prints sold in the art show.

I caught glimpses of the Author Guest of Honor, but that was about it.
Throne detail
throne detail

At Norwescon, we also got the news about this year’s Hugo ballot. My thoughts about that are complex and confused. And not very articulate. So you won’t be hearing about them here, beyond the fact that something that should be happy…isn’t.

From the con, we were off to one overnight with some friends in Seattle, and then up to Orcas Island, where we are still: doing another substitute innkeeping stint. Much shorter this time–only ten days–but the island is even more gorgeous than ever. And we want to move here. Some how, some day….
West sound harbor

I enjoyed an author milestone today: a signing event with no sales. Okay, one sale, technically, right after the event ended, to a friend of ours. *sigh*

But in much, much better writing news, the acquisition of Per Aspera Press by Ragnarok Publication was finalized and announced! This is one of the things I mentioned a while back that I couldn’t tell you about yet. And now I can! I’m super excited about this. Working and publishing with Per Aspera has been amazing–and, at the same time, a bit overwhelming for us all. In partnering with Ragnarok, Jak and I will be able to keep doing all the parts of publishing that we’ve loved, while having a bigger, uber-capable team to support us and help bring all our books to the next level. Good news all around!

There was another thing in the works, that I still can’t tell you about yet–hopefully soon. And then another exciting secret appeared on the scene! So life stays interesting.

Later this week, we head up to Vancouver for a few days, while, not coincidentally, some nice Vancouverians go to stay in our house. I’ve never been to Vancouver before, believe it or not. Very much looking forward to that!

Oh and a certain little dude already knows how to smile:

So that’s a super-brief gloss of the last few weeks…more detail when I get a chance.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-03-27 18:57
Subject: In Non Nephew News
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:editing, exercise, freelance, friends, garden, home, mark, per aspera, process, queen and tower

Yes, there are other things besides New Nephew going on in my life. :-)

These last few weeks, I’ve been working very seriously on reorienting my schedule. I’ve got a lot of things on my plate, too much to ever get them all done. My method for dealing with all that has been to do the immediately-paying proofreading/copy editing work done first (which is, of course, a good priority to have); then the sort of editing work which will pay some day (like my work for Per Aspera); and then whatever exercise and errands and household chores and social obligations and book group reading and other random stuff happens; and then, after ALL that, to work on my writing.

I bet you can guess how well that’s gone for my writing.

Thing is, the writing really does need to get done. I’ve got contracted books; and, well, I really like writing, and I’m excited about these books! So excited that working on them gets…shoved to the bottom of the list, because it feels like an indulgence or something.

(Okay, not the VERY bottom of the list. That’s where “relaxing” goes. Hahaha.)

So, the schedule experiment is this: print out an hour-by-hour grid of the week. Write in the obligations, assigning them actual times. Put the writing FIRST (except for those early-gym days). Put paid-now work after that. Slot in chores/errands/whatnot around the edges of that. Actually plan leisure/weekend time. (We saw a few movies recently!)

Oddly, though implementation certainly hasn’t been perfect, a lot more is getting done, on all the fronts, organizing it this way. I don’t know how much time must have drifted away unaccounted for, previously–I mean, I waste time on the internet as much as anyone else–but I’m still doing that now. Yet somehow, scheduling that writing time in my alert, productive mornings: that makes it happen. I’m nearly 100 pages into my rewrite of Queen & Tower, and it’s a very deep, very thorough rewrite, which I’m happy with. Working regularly on it is keeping it in my mind better, too, which is absolutely a good thing.

There is still not a lot of blogging getting done. I didn’t actually assign a time for that in the master schedule–there weren’t any free slots. Amusingly, I’m finding the time to blog right now because the whole schedule went off the rails today–a simple-sounding task (“deal with insurance change-over”) took about three hours (and as many long phone calls), leaving us both mentally exhausted; then I went out to do a little yard work and spent three MORE hours; and, well, that’s the day, with no writing done.

So, well, I’ll write tomorrow, even though it’s the weekend. It’s important to stay flexible, I suppose. :-) And I’m writing with a friend on Sunday as well. The book will happen….sooner or later…


Speaking of the garden. So there was a crazy windstorm a week or two ago, which blew all our metal deck furniture off the deck and into the bushes, and blew down trees and knocked out power all over town (though not here, for once); but also blew down some of our ancient (and lovely) lilacs. RIGHT when they are just starting to bloom.
Fallen Lilac 1
Most of that one fell right onto our poor compost container, rendering it kind of inaccessible and useless…I’ve been wanting to move the compost anyway, it’s taking up valuable garden real estate.

Another tree fell on the fence separating our yard from the neighbor’s:
Fallen Lilac 2

So far she hasn’t complained about it. :-)

We will have to cut them up and get rid of them…but they are still blooming! They don’t even realize they’re dead yet. Silly lilacs.

I’ll miss those trees, but we knew this was coming. Another one fell down last winter. Several more got a horrid case of powder mold and had to be cut down severely. Fortunately, lilacs are very, VERY resilient…we probably couldn’t eliminate lilacs from our yard if we tried to. Which we won’t. Cause we love them.

Anyway, I managed to do three hours of yard work without even dealing with the lilacs…spring is here with a vengeance. Roses are blooming, ferns are sprouting, everything is leafing out and growing and thriving. Including the weeds, oh my god the weeds. We didn’t really have much of a winter. It’s…a little weird. It feels kind of like a missing step. Roses don’t bloom in March, in Oregon…right? Except now they do.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-03-24 21:24
Subject: Blue
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:awards, family, food, jj, mark, money, oloti, travel

I sort of don’t remember what that was I mentioned weeks ago, the exciting things that I couldn’t tell you about yet. Okay, I remember one of them, and I still can’t tell you about it (but hopefully soon!), but the most exciting thing that’s happened since then wasn’t actually supposed to happen for a few months. So I know it wasn’t that. :-)

Speaking of that exciting thing, it’s still all going well. Baby JJ is holding stable, not growing yet (apparently they aren’t expected to, not for a few weeks), but not shrinking much either. They are putting him under blue lights to make his skin more like what it should be.

blue light special

And my brother experienced his first diaper change!


And that’s really all there is to report from there, which is awesome. You want the Preemie News Channel to be devoid of drama, really you do.


It’s looking like it’ll be July before we meet the little guy in person. We’ve got a LOT of travel coming up, very soon, and all in the opposite direction from Nephew-Land. And we’ve also got a LOT of work that needs to be done, and a NOT LOT of money. So. We’ve been having very serious talks lately about time, and work, and money, and plans, and all that big stuff. Last year, though delightful (what with getting married and building a new deck and all), was pretty ruinous financially. We have some serious rebuilding to do. It’s going to take some time.

I’ve been contemplating making a more overtly financial post, and I still might. A few other writers are doing it, and I think it’s good, to get the information out there. Most writers aren’t rich. Far from it. Yes, I published a well-received book last year. Other than a half of a very, VERY modest advance (minus the agent’s 15%),* I’ve received nothing from that book yet–and won’t for at least another six months. That’s just how it works.

If the book gets nominated for an award? That would help, I think. World Fantasy Award nominations are now open, in case you were wondering, and Our Lady of the Islands is eligible. (I inquired. Non-living authors cannot be nominated; but the book, and me as co-author: we are eligible.)

Meanwhile…we’re holding it together. My freelance work continues steady. Mark has done a number of book covers, and has a few amazing potentialities in the works. Luckily, we’re both good cooks, and we have a Trader Joe’s within walking distance. Later this summer, delicious things to eat will grow right out there in the back yard. All of which is good, because according to this rubric, we are very much…not middle class.

*My take-home from that advance amounted to roughly a decent–not extravagant–dinner out at a good–not extraordinary–restaurant here in Portland, with wine.**

**Not that we actually went out for such a meal. We couldn’t afford it! The money went to bills, groceries, the ordinary stuff of life.***

***And I had to pay taxes on it, of course.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-03-22 10:27
Subject: Expect the Unexpected
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:family, jj

Erik & JJ

Much has happened since I last posted!

You may recall the anticipated arrival of my nephew…well, the little fellow was apparently tired of waiting around, and decided to show up two months early!

There was some warning, and my brother and sister-out-law had plenty of time to get to exactly the right hospital, with the right neonatal/preemie care infrastructure. Then the contractions slowed down, and then there were a few days of “Oh maybe it’s going to be a while longer,” “Wait, let’s monitor it a bit more,” “Perhaps you can go home,” and then, late Thursday night, “Oh maybe NOT.”

Julian"s face day 0
Julian Jade Page, born 2:08 a.m. March 20. 3 pounds, 3 ounces

Amazingly, for being so early, he is doing SUPER well. The first thing he did upon arrival was give a little cry–demonstrating that his lungs were up and running. He’s healthy, intact…just SMALL. He’ll probably have to live at the hospital till a lot closer to his original due date, just to grow to a healthy “take-home weight,” but, as you can see from the pictures, he’s not sequestered in an incubator–he gets lots of touch-time with his happy (and very surprised) parents.

I don’t know when his delighted Auntie will get to meet him in person. We had been planning to give him a month or so, and make a trip down to California in early July. Hahahaha plans, ya know. Always good for a laugh.

Welcome to the world, JJ!

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-03-11 17:22
Subject: Updatey
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor

Updated my website today! Put a few more pictures here and there. People like pictures. Right?

Also, I got back into editing Queen & Tower this morning, after a week-plus of travel and other distractions. I managed to find my way back into the story, incorporate Mark’s latest round of feedback, and then write three whole new paragraphs. Win!*

A few exciting things are afoot, that I can’t tell you about yet. Soon!

Mark’s brother flew in for a three-day visit today. Both Ferraris are napping right now. It appears to be a family trait.

Speaking of photos: here’s a few from last week.
City from Sausalito
San Francisco, as seen from Sausalito

FogCon table
Part of our dealer’s room table at FogCon


*I accidentally typed “Wine!” not “Win!”. Almost left it. Think I’ll just get a glass instead.

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-03-09 22:42
Subject: There and Back Again
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:awards, california, cons, family, friends, home, mark, oloti, travel
We're back!

From California, that is: a weeklong visit-fest, culminating in FogCon. Many wonderful things were done--friends and family seen, meals eaten, wine drunk--and now we are even more behind on All The Things.

We spent every night (except for the two nights of FogCon) in a different city. Often the computer didn't even get unpacked...certainly email was not kept up with. Nor blogging nor Facebook. Such is the way of the travel.

I may have more coherent things to tell you after a better night's sleep--and certainly there are photos in my phone, I know there are--but for now, all I have to say is: home!

Oh, I lie. I have one more thing to say: Hugo nomination period ends tomorrow!! Have you nommed? I did. And may I unsubtly remind you: Our Lady of the Islands, co-written with Jay Lake, published by Per Aspera Press, named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014, is eligible in the novel category. Ahem.
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Date: 2015-02-25 22:01
Subject: Excited Auntie-To-Be Is Excited
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:baby, facebook, family, freelance, friends, nephew, sleep, travel, weather

This just in: rare and precious photos of my Nephew Under Construction! (And his parents.)


Pensive Mother-To-Be:

There’s a baby in there!

I am sooooo excited about this. The little guy arrives at the end of May. Yay!


In other news: not much other news. Workity work. The weather has become a little more winter-like, though not much more: a few drops of rain. We’re struggling to get ready for another convention-and-visiting-folks trip, too soon. I slept wretchedly last night, and unfriended someone on Facebook this morning. Those two items are not necessarily unrelated. (Yes, I am Too Nice. It’s a problem, sometimes.) I hope to sleep better tonight….

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-02-23 20:43
Subject: Monday Again
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Music:Pink Floyd
Tags:freelance, garden, home, mark, technology, weather

Monday started with my email being down, for hours, no explanation, no time estimate for it being fixed. And who-knows-how-many messages bounced back to their senders–I only know about the folks who wrote me on my gmail account (which I dislike and rarely use) to tell me their initial messages bounced.

Meh! Makes me look OH SO VERY PROFESSIONAL, when my Serious Business Email bounces.

The day improved from there. The weather! Jeez, the weather. It’s kind of scary. Warm, sunny, nearly 60 degrees. Mark and I took a long erranding-walk, observing everyone’s gardens bursting into bloom. Including our own:
Crocuses Crocuses and Daffodils


And then we came home and worked worked worked worked worked.


Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-02-20 21:48
Subject: It Is Apparently The Week Of Wall Signing
Security: Public
Location:Witchnest Manor
Tags:books, friends, reading

Because lo, Randy cometh-ed to town, and signeth-ed the wall he did.

Randy Signs Wall

And he also read at Beaverton, and instructed on paper-airplane-making.

Randy"s Airplane

And much fun was had! I do look forward to reading his book, it sounds like a hoot. (I have it here on this giant pile of newly-acquired to-be-read books….heh.)

This morning he left, winging southward; and we went back to work, ever workward.

And also I slept horribly last night, which is probably why I’m even sillier than usual.

Or maybe it’s the French 75. Yum, yum. :-)

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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Date: 2015-02-18 22:52
Subject: Signed the Wall
Security: Public

We put Editor/Publisher Jak on a plane tonight; it was a marvelous visit with him, we are sad to see him go! A week was too short, especially since we were away for part of it.

But–he’ll be back at Norwescon time, so that’s okay, at least.

While he was here, we took a trek downtown and went to the Big Powell’s, where I signed the Genre Wall of Distinction!
Signing Powells Wall 1
With Editor/Publisher Jak sitting proudly by.
Signing Powell Wall 2

And then we bought lots of books with the 10% discount they give wall-signing authors. :-)

After that, we stopped by the library, where we found that they had a copy of Our Lady in their NEW BOOKS section.
OLOTI at Library


Then we hit the food carts, like you do. Each of us went to a different cart, of course. Jak was particularly interested in things you cannot get in Mexico (where he lives). Mark got dumplings, and I got this delicious Chinese-street-crepe-thing-of-deliciousness. Yum!


And speaking of Powell’s, tomorrow our friend Randy comes to town, and will read from his new novel in Beaverton. If you’re local, come join us!

Originally published at Shannon Page. You can comment here or there.

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my journal
November 2015