December 2, 2008 • No Comments
Okay, so this weekend was The Great Holiday Shopping Adventure, Part Two. That went pretty much as one would imagine.
The more interesting bit was rattling around the north part of the peninsula with my resident expert on the library system. I’m planning to write a book proposal that involves a library, so I wanted to get the mechanics of their daily chores right. I thought I’d start by looking at a bunch of branches and, yup, they’re all a little bit different. They all have their own “feel.” The staff members were very gracious. Being shepherded by one of their own helped, I’m sure, but just the same they let me poke around the back and ask dumb questions and stuff. Much appreciated.
It was a beautifully foggy day. The atmosphere prompted us to talk about some of the supposedly haunted places in town. I say supposedly because I’ve never checked into most of them … I’m always a bit cautious about what’s been inflated for the sake of the tourist brochures.
I do believe in hauntings—though what they are, exactly, I won’t venture to say beyond “energy that once in a while seems to want to interact”. As an old town in and around a lot of water, we seem to get more than our fair share of spooky. Truth be told, though, after a while it’s just part of the landscape. If you look for stuff, you’ll find it, but most of the time it’s easily ignored, kind of like sparrows or squirrels.
November 27, 2008 • 2 Comments
I had an enormously sad day yesterday.
Mr. H., the tabby who thought he was James Dean, was sent to join his brother in the great kitty playground in the sky.
I was one of his “moms” for five years, from kittenhood to his prime. He went on to other adventures, but always allowed my adoration with good grace. He was one of those chunky cats who tried all the Siamese acrobatics and ended up crashing around like a little striped bulldozer, ornaments scattering in his wake. He liked chewing buttons, hiding under scatter rugs and never met a piece of kibble he didn’t like. More a good-time boy than a scholar, he was always affectionate and ready to play.
I was sorry to see his passing, but it was as good and loving as humans could make it. It’s a hard call to know when enough is enough, and I was grateful that this time the decision was not mine to make. He could have gone on, but there was a lot of discomfort. I think a final, quiet afternoon nap was the right choice.
Cats deal with these occasions better than people. They do what they have to do and move on. We did the best we could to honour his contribution to our happiness, with single malt and a viewing of the Fellowship of the Ring.
Miss ya, little guy.
November 23, 2008 • No Comments
So, while I had my head buried in a manuscript, the world of commerce evidently marched along to the Christmas season. This little trick of the calendar struck me over the head as I emerged from my cave, blinking at the bright, tinselly world like a grumpy grizzly.
How did the year fast-forward like this?
Anyway, spent the weekend wading the rapids of rampant consumerism. Went to a craft fair. Went to a few malls. Got a few things off the shopping list as well as mundane tasks like buying a new watch band. I’m not caught up, but at least I’m less far behind!
November 21, 2008 • 1 Comment
The initial production on the sequel to RAVENOUS is complete. That is, the author has proposed, and now the editor will dispose. There bound to be some changes. There always are.
I’m sad, because I really enjoyed spending time with my characters, particularly my sarcastic hero. It’s an emotional wrench when the manuscript leaves. Of course, it’s going to come back forty thousand times until I’m heartily sick of it but, for now, I feel all empty nesty and woebegone.
The book is (at least in this point of time) called SCORCHED. As both my editor and I like the title, I’m hoping it stays.
Tonight I’m going out for dinner. Tomorrow—I have to look at the list that starts “when the book is done …”
November 11, 2008 • No Comments
I’ve been quiet lately, but in a good cause. It’s deadline time! Yup, the initial round of manuscript fun for book two is happening right now. The rush to the finish line. The pile of candy wrappers. The endless cups of coffee. The thousand-yard stare at the flickering screen. No more “I’ll fix it later” because the later is now.
Yeah, we’ll get to the finish line on time. It’s never pretty, but it’s a necessary part of the process.
October 28, 2008 • No Comments
There is a recent trend with men in chimneys. Not long ago, I wrote about a would-be spy stuck in the ducting of an art museum. Now here’s a naked guy wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in England.
Is this a trend? Has the myth of chimney-borne happiness impacted an entire generation of cat burglars? Is there some deep-seated need to act out the Santa psychodrama (in the buff!) in the midst of their nefarious crimes?
I just hope all Santa’s elves received counseling.
October 21, 2008 • No Comments
I thought this was just too cool. After dancing with wolves, we can now swim with tigers ….
October 17, 2008 • No Comments
This week brought early Hallowe’en presents from the universe. RAVENOUS has cover quotes! It’s impossible to describe how much this is valued by an author, especially one like me who is launching a debut. Let it be known that these fine ladies have bestowed an act of kindness–and they’re darned fine writers, too!
A multilayered plot, a fascinating take on paranormal creatures living among us, plus a sexy vampire, a sassy witch and a mystery for them to solve. . . RAVENOUS leaves me hungry for more!
– Jessica Anderson, author of The Final Prophecy series
Sexy, suspenseful fun. Ashwood really knows how to tell a story.
– NYT best-selling author Kelley Armstrong
October 12, 2008 • No Comments
Sometimes when you go a-surfing for interesting tidbits, you find things better left unfound. I stumbled across a short article from last March that relates an incident covered by both London’s Evening Standard and Daily Telegraph.
An older gentleman was living alone in his nice house in Australia. His relatives wanted that nice house and pressured him to move into a seniors’ home. So, he found the plans for a suicide contraption on the Internet that involved power tools and a .22 semi-automatic pistol. He set it up in the driveway, and he killed himself.
Yikes. The account is very bare-bones, but it seems to me that if this 81 year-old was with it enough to log on, find the plans for this thing, and assemble it, he wasn’t exactly on his last legs. Let’s just say the relatives (going by what the article says) don’t come off well at all.
I’m sure some people will leap up and say “instructions for suicide machines shouldn’t be on the Internet!”, but that is missing the point. The point is, we can rarely fix families (oh, if only there were handy-dandy diagrams for that!), but it would have been nice if there was enough of a community wherever this guy was to turn to for support.
I guess it’s a reminder to go be nice to our neighbors. After all, I’m told there are plans for thermo-nuclear devices on the Web, too.
September 30, 2008 • No Comments
It’s hard to describe my emotions when the FedEx man shows up with …. Page proofs! This is the manuscript with its hair done and its makeup on, all the copyedits included and the type set as it will appear in the book. It’s the author’s last chance for proofreading, very minor edits, and any afterthoughts before the critter is printed.
What I feel is a kind of mix of “cool!” and “ugh, you again” with a bit of “egad, what have they done this time?” The biggest challenge is reading through the thing and paying attention to what’s printed on the page. After editing the book so many times, I’m not sure my brain isn’t supplying what it thinks it should see rather than what’s really there. I try and give it to someone who hasn’t seen it before to double check my work.
On the up side, I had a moment of, “hey, this is darned good stuff!” as I ploughed through the pages. In book form, the pacing is more obvious. I’m witty! I’m action-filled! I have great romance scenes! I have good monsters!
Unfortunately, I also have a fair number of typos. Yep, there’re still a few loose ends sticking out, but not for long.