Saturday, June 28, 2014

John and I made a deal. He directs traffic (kids) and cooks, and I write. Since I have very little energy from the lingering monster cold and I'm going stir crazy, this was the best solution. I need to work to escape.

Highlights of the last 2 wks were cold, rain, oldest swiping a pillar with the van door (nobody hurt, but needs body work). Oh, and Gabby made pretty pictures. This is her eggplant witch. She's doing a veggie series for a calendar and she's getting good with computer art. Despite her exponential progress, I'm getting nagged to "put that kid in art classes", as if that's the only way to learn.

Dude, I'm a self-taught, professional author. I do my own website, blog, printed books, ebooks and covers. I don't do code, but I could learn it if I were interested. There are tutorials on YouTube, on the web and in there are books. We have the art supplies and computer programs to let my gifted kid learn whatever she likes, without a teacher telling her how it must be done. Where would I be if I thought I needed an English degree to write?

She's fifteen. At this point, I'm more interested in figuring out how to help her market her work than I am in driving to art classes. If she'd like that when she's older, more power to her. I know she'll do great no matter what she chooses, and I'll back her up until her belly caves in.

Honestly, if more artists took business classes, they'd be better off. Art is business, and if they don't learn the basics of money management, dealing with clients and contracts, they really will be starving artists. Talent is great, but there's a lot more to it than making pretty pictures.

Snippet: All I want is a hot fire and a toddy.

“All I want is a hot fire and a toddy,” her father said wearily as Fiona lead them to a hired coach. The coachman was quick to help her with the luggage and settle her parents, but he had to mind his horses, too, so she had to make several trips to the ferry. At least the sailors helped her with the final crates.
Finally she climbed into the carriage with Barghest, noting that her parents were snuggled under a carriage blanket. Well, that was something, but unfortunately she was about to deliver bad news. She’d been dreading it as she’d watched for the ferry, unable to fly with the coachman waiting. “I know I flew out yesterday to secure a room, Mère, Père. I’m sorry to say that as of tonight, I’ve failed. It seems there’s ‘no room at the inn’. I spent last night in a cave.” Since she was stone at night, she’d been quite comfortable, but she needed to underscore the gravity of the situation.
“But we had reservations!” Her mother protested. She was clearly exhausted and frozen from her ordeal, and the odor of wet dog filling the carriage probably wasn’t helping. She nudged Barghest, but he insisted on leaning on her skirt, coating it with hair.
“It seems that every last inn, attic and barn is rented,” Fiona said grimly. “No amount of money will get us a room for the night. However, I found an abandoned cottage and left a fire burning. You’ll be able to change into dry clothes and have some hot tea and stew before the mail coach leaves.”
“The mail coach!” her mother protested. The well-guarded mail couch traveled at night, which was good for Fiona. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop for the comfort of travelers and often changed horses.
“Good thinking,” her father said gruffly. “We’ve already delayed a week as it is; I hope his Lordship got your letter so he knows we’re still coming. If we’re going to be uncomfortable, we might as well sleep in the coach.”
“Thank you. It’s a long way to London, and there’s bound to be an room for rent somewhere along the way. We’ll get you warm and comfortable soon, Mère.” The situation was bizarre and smacked of the same ill luck that that followed them lately. First the bakery had caught fire, then their landlord kicked them out of the home they’d rented for twenty years. When she’d finally tracked down the family Mrs. Black had told her about, they’d been more than ready to shake the dust of Italy from their heels, but they’d been delayed a week while they’d settled their affairs. She didn’t know what she’d find at Griffin House, hadn’t told Lord Griffin the extent of their troubles, but she was a determined gargoyle. Their situation would improve soon.

She would make it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sick as a dog

Been sick as a dog all week with the worst cold I've had in a while. Hopefully it's about done with me. I'm so close to finishing GITA, but I have to get better first. If I'm really lucky, I may have the energy to type tomorrow.

Much as they're driving me crazy, my teens have been very helpful in keeping the house running, and John cooked steak last night. Thank God for loved ones.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Snippet: “Biggest bloody dog I ever saw."

Chapter 2

“Here, Barghest! Who’s my sweet boy?” Fiona rubbed her dog’s ears, cooing. The massive gargoyle dog wiggled with joy, as if they’d been parted for weeks instead of a day. Built like a Rottweiler, but thicker through the body, the monstrous dog had enormous gargoyle feet with sharp talons, perfect for climbing rock. He rubbed against her, begging for a scratch between his stubby wings.
“Why are you wet?” Fiona obliged, wrinkling her nose at the scent of fishy, wet dog. “Heel, boy.” Fiona headed for the ferry ramp, surveying the soggy passengers with growing concern. It was overcast, but hadn’t rained in Dover. Maybe they’d encountered rain on the way from Calais?
“Biggest bloody dog I ever saw,” a sailor muttered, offloading baggage from the ramp. Fiona ignored him as she hurried to meet her parents. Her father was soaking wet, her mother shivering as they waited for a sailor to help them with their luggage. Human dwarfs, the couple had met and married in the carnival circuit before retiring to open a bakery. Unlike their adopted gargoyle daughter, they couldn’t disguise their appearance and were accustomed to open stares and speculation.
Fiona sent a chastising look at a subtly gawking gentleman and hugged her parents. “What happened?” She picked up a couple of heavy traveling cases, handing a valise to Barghest, who proudly trotted with the handle in his mouth. It might look odd, but her glamour was large for a human woman, and she was too impatient to worry about appearances. Her parents needed to get warm.
“It was awful,” her mother fretted. “We hit the most alarming storm; blew in out of nowhere! I thought we were all going to drown. There were people praying and crying, and even the sailors seemed terrified. I was never so glad to step foot on land.”
Fiona frowned. Could it have been storm hags? She’d suspected their recent troubles were deliberate attempts to kill them, but who would want that? Had she unwittingly offended a fae?

Artist daughter

Posted some info about my artist daughter here: I need to figure out the best way to help her make money, and it will probably involve setting up a website and paypal account for her. Other options include Shutterstock. Not sure I want a teenager on Deviant Art.

My husband, who is so generous he'd give away his shirt, thinks its cute that I'm already trying to set up my daughter's business future, but he also thinks it's smart.

Of course, the best way to ensure our present is for me to get to work, so I'm heading to my desk. I'll post a snippet soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Plagued by computer viruses this week, brought on by a kid trying to watch a cartoon online. I think the kid finally understands what I go through to scrub viruses, as they were there this time while I bitterly complained about the process for hours. It also wreaked our art program, which I finally fixed by downloading a trial version that repaired the program...somehow.

Meanwhile, we've established that Corel Painter Essentials 4 suits our needs for now. It's user friendly, not overly complicated and doesn't break the bank.

During the process, I downloaded and tried Gimp and found it a fair tool. I could see using it to make covers if I had to.

I also updated links and whatnot on my site, which ate another day. I think I needed the break anyway, since I was getting too emotional to over some of the books I've been reading, and there was a risk it would bleed into my work. There's a reason I stick to upbeat, romantic fiction; I really need the guaranteed HEA, because I get very emotional. I refuse to watch tear-jerkers for the same reason.

Might be time to go see another movie.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fire, Stone & Water available in print!

Buy Fire, Stone and Water, volume 1, at!
Volume 2 is available here:

You can also buy all my books directly from the CreateSpace store.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Urban foraging, odd Wiki searches

If you're interested in urban foraging, here's a great map:

I want to pick blackberries! What a great way to spend a sunny morning.

Finally found a way to link to iTunes for my books:

I need to update my site, but first I have to exercise...yes, it's worth it. No, I can't stall with another Wiki search on Ming dynasty court eunuchs. (You'd be shocked what you encounter while trying to find out if your character could find an egg roll in Victorian England. They existed at that time, but there was no China Town per se, just a bunch of poor Jews, Irish and foreigners near the docks, trying to make a living in the slums.)

Besides, I think it's working, and John will ask like I asked him to keep me accountable. Sigh. Must detach from coffee mug.