lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 Today, (more like this evening at this point) I hope to get a new Tate bit posted on Wattpad, but I had to work today from 9 to 1 at Maplewood library.  It was really busy thanks to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  Normally, Maplewood is my favorite library because the people are so awesome and they have the best ever graphic novel collection in Ramsey county, I swear.

In other writing related news, Rachel and I are also trying to see if we can build more of an audience for our School for Wayward Demons project by x-posting that at Wattpad too.  So, if you find it easier to read an comment on things over there, you should feel free to check it out:  (Also, if you want to, you can follow us on Tumblr, too:

If you're still following along at the website, the newest chapter is up "Bad Magic Puppies."

Meanwhile, Mason and I are recovering from our sledding excitement.  His face looks like he was attacked by Wolverine, and I keep finding new "old lady" bruises all over my body. You know what I mean by that, right? It's like those ones where you're, like, 'what? where'd this come from... oh, right.' accompanied by general stiffness, despite liberal application of aspirin.  Ah well.  'Twas fun.  
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I have a lot to announce today. As usual, I have updated my work-in-progress on Wattpad. In this installment, the werewolves are getting restless and the demons discuss fate vs. freewill.

A number of people have been curious about how Wattpad has been working for me. I have to say that it's gotten better. At first, I have to admit to being disappointed by the number of people reading. I'd had higher hopes that Tate's name would draw a bigger initial crowd. But, now that I'm fairly established (this is my 24th installment, which means there's AT LEAST 24,000 words up--I believe there's probably closer to 30,000 or 35,000 because my first few installments ran longer that a thousand words,) I'm pleased with the number of hits I'm getting. People seem to be slowly continuing to find me, too. I've been keeping up better on FB and Twitter and Tate's blog, so I think that's helped when people go looking.

At any rate, I still think that it's not a perfect model. I wish you didn't have to log-in to leave comments or kudos, and I wish more people were willing to critique me, like my colleagues do on AO3 with my fan work. That being said, Wattpad works really well for me and my needs, however. As I've said, what I need most of all is a reason to keep putting words on the page, and Wattpad is making me do it weekly. And I'm getting just enough feedback to make the whole thing seem worthwhile.

So, that's Wattpad...

My other big announcement today is that my friend Rachel and I are launching a website/serial novel WITH ILLUSTRATIONS by artists Mandie Brasington and Alexis Cooke. The main site is here: and you can read the first installment here:

So... this is another grand experiment. If you go to the website, you can see that you can follow us on Facebook and Tumblr. We've also put up a tip jar.... something I've never tried before.  We're also going to be going on a fairly aggressive publishing schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays--though Saturday may be bonus content like more art or a podcast of the previous chapters.  

The story is going to follow four characters, an ensemble cast.  Rachel and I wrote a lot of the chapters together, but ostensibly we've divided the characters between us.  She had Theo, a thief and a shapeshifter, pictured above with some of the forms she can transform into.  She's also got Kitty, a half-demon with mommy issues.  I'm writing Gabe, a lost soul who can see things other people can't...

And Erin, a very special demon-spawn who has had an insanely awful life....

Anyway, it's been a very interesting process to work not only with a collaborative writer, but also with artists.  

Generally, though, the site is new and probably has some bugs yet.  So, if you go there and you see a problem or just have general comments or complaints, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.  I'd like to make this experience as pleasant and intuitive as possible.  

Okay, that's the general news!  Have a great Tuesday!

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I have posted part 11 of UNJUST CAUSE, Tate's serialized, work-in-progress novel for your entertainment on WattPad:

This one is titled, "Jazz Dance of Justice." In it, Alex attempts to get a message from the Dead (and rather wishes they could be clearer when making the effort to come back from Beyond.)


That took me longer than usual because I'm starting to get ready to head off for our honeymoon next week. I have many errands to do. Many, many. And I should warn you that since we're going to be up in the Boundary Waters internet access will be limited. You're going to hear from me even less than usual. (Sorry!) Though I should be able to get a few things out since the Lodge has wifi, and so I'm hoping to be able to continue to post this... though I think Mason and I will be skipping out Podcast next week, since that takes up a lot of bandwidth.

Anyway, I should go off to the post office and pet store now.

See you!
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Hey, guess what? I got my author's copies of the spiffy new mass-market paperback edition of TALL, DARK & DEAD. They look VERY cool. I've actually long been a fan of mmpbs (as the cool kids call them) because I've always seen myself as a paperback writer, as it were. Low-brow, entertaining. That's me.

But what this means, too, is that the paperback version is coming out soon. Run and order your copies! If you're a long time fan of my science fiction and have never ventured over to the dark side that Tate represents, I will say that I think Tall, Dark & Dead, though sexy and romantic, might appeal. It's one of my favorite Tate books, the other two being Dead if I Do and the not-yet-released Precinct 13. Go ahead, give it a try, I won't tell anyone you're reading a romance novel, and, honestly, with all the vampires and werewolves and such, you won't even notice! (You can skim the sexy bits, I won't mind in the least!)

In other news, I am absolutely JAZZED about a new book proposal that I'm putting finishing touches on. [ profile] naomikritzer sat down with me on Wednesday and helped me "file the serial numbers off" Bleach to get me thinking about something original I could write that hits all the things I love about that show. We ended up with something that I'm calling, for the moment, Samurai High (as in High School, Mason always wants me to add.) It really doesn't involve samurais at the moment, but that was such a fun play on words I had to use it as a working title. There are, however, high school boys, sword-play, and magic. Also key to the story will be class (as in socio-economic), honor, and justice. I'm hoping to sell it to my agent as hitting that same market as all the Percy Jackson/Lightning Thief books... sort of just out of Middle Grade heading into Teen YA for young men/boys/women-and-girls-like-me-that-dig-that-stuff.

That's what's been eating my brain lately. Also, tonight, I will be back at kuk sool wan for a "Topics" class (where we focus on one thing) about... cartwheeling. I actually really like to cartwheel, but... I'm not consistantly good at it, nor can I really deviate from the standard form. I was pretty excited about this class because, for a long while, Mason and I were the only ones signed up for it. That's like getting a private lesson from Sa Bum Nim (the head instructor) for the low, low price of five dollars a piece. Sadly, a few more people have signed up, so now it's just a regular class.... although, last time I checked, there were still only four or five of us. :-)

Today, too, I have to get a few errands done which I have ignored while letting my various obsessions hold sway. I have to hit the pet store at some point and maybe buy myself a pair of new shoes. I did manage to get back to the fabric store, so I have my "Red Pineapple" tee-shirt, and I think I will also make one that just says "Renji Abarai" on the back, so I have have lots of shirts to wear under my kuk sool uniform that will make me invincible. Because I'm sure that's how that works. Right?
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I see that I haven't updated since before Christmas. Yikes! Shame on me.

Let's see... perhaps I will try to work backwards to recount all the goings-on at chez Morehouse-Rounds. The New Year was quite lovely. We broke with a long-standing tradition of an early night and snoring before the ball dropped and actually decided to be down right social on New Year's Eve. Our friends, [ profile] seanmmurphy and his wife, invited us out for a candle lit walk at Snelling State Park. Unfortunately, we were having a no-good-rotten day from almost the start. Shawn woke up with a killer migraine and Mason woke up... a teenager. (He was amazingly whiny, sullen, and angry about nothing and everything all at once.) Even though Shawn was feeling better by evening, I wasn't sure I wanted to inflict Mason's mood on the Murphy-Carlson's so, I volunteered to hike in the woods sans the rest of my family.

It was actually very lovely. If my family was more energetic and athletic, I would try to make it a family tradition of our own. There was no snow, of course (the storm blew in just as we were headed back to the car), but the park volunteers had lit the trail with lovely ice and plastic bucket candles. We walked and talked about mainstream fiction vs. science fiction and people we knew and our genetic/ethnic backgrounds and all sorts of things that one rambles on about with good friends. We had such a lovely time that Sean's wife offered to bring the wine and cheese over to Shawn and Mason, rather than having me have to fetch them over to the Murphys'.

When I called Shawn, the overall mood in the household had improved dramatically, so it was a go. We had munchies (added to by the things in our fridge, and I am please to report we could even offer a few fancy cheeses ourselves,) and sparkling juice for the majority of us, and bit of wine for those that wanted. We talked until nearly midnight, when the Murphys decided to head home and we rushed upstairs to watch Dick Clark and the ball.

The day had turned around quite nicely. I should say too, that in an effort to try to have a happier day, we had gone book shopping earlier. Uncle Hugos needed more copies of the AngeLINK books and so I brought what I had, and we made a nice trade. Mason got a ton of those punny MYTH books by Robert Lynn Asprin (I LOVED those when I was a tween,) and I even walked out with a book or two for myself. Then, since it was the one day when the shops were still open for a while, we zipped back to St. Paul with the plan of hitting Kowalski's for last minute food supplies before the holiday wasteland. We drove past our other favorite bookstore: Sixth Chamber, and we decided to drop Shawn and Mason off for a look-through and I went and fetched the milk and eggs and other sundries. When I came back to retreive them, they were just ready to walk out. I asked Shawn if she'd remembered to try out the secret password. On Facebook, Sixth Chamber had a deal that the first five people to walk in and say "hedgehog" would get a gift certificate. Shawn said she hadn't, so I marched up to the counter and said, "hedgehog!"

I won.

I was the very last person to offer the secret password. I got a t-shirt, a Japanese eraser (kitty!), and a 20% off coupon.

Then I came home and discovered a royalty check in the mail from Penguin for Tall, Dark & Dead (the book that continues to sell, sell, sell!)

So, I'd say that New Year's Eve was pretty auspicious. Money and fabulous prizes galore!

Speaking of TD&D, one of the things I did over the holiday was read the page proofs for the mass-market paperback edition. They sent it as a .pdf, and so I mailed it to Shawn's fancy new Kindle Fire, and spent a day reading my book on the Kindle. I found several typos, much to my surprise. But, the good news is that they'll be corrected in the paperback version. The other thing that was kind of awesome about that is that I discovered that one of my best selling books is also one of my quirkiest.

I don't know if you noticed, but Garnet is kind of a slut. There is a LOT of sex in that book, and sexiness. Sebastian is also surprisingly dark, and Parrish is... a total hustler, like literally, in that book. It's kind of amazing... and Garnet's friends are odd, a lot like my real friends, and the interactions in that books are very *me*.

Thus, one of the things that re-reading that has done for me is made me a bit more confident about my quirkiness as a writer. You see, in most cases, I have no idea if my personal brand of weirdness was a plus or a minus to sales. The AngeLINK books, which are very *me*, are all out of print.

This "failure" has caused me to believe that maybe I had no idea how to write to a popular market. But, TD&D is going to mass-market. It's the only book I've had that's changing format like that. As a trade-size book, it's well into its sixth or seventh printing. I've easily made as much money in royalties from that book as they paid me in an advance, probably twice as much... if not more.

My point is, I can now say, with confidence, that my quirkiness is _not_ a detriment to sales. IN FACT, a person could make a pretty strong case that... maybe, just MAYBE I know what I'm doing.

Well, we probably shouldn't go THAT far. But, at least, it seems to be true that a book that has a lot of my extra special weirdness smeared all over it isn't automatically headed for the remainder pile.

This was kind of an epiphany... during the Epiphany and everything.

Meanwhile, yesterday was our traditional day to take down all the Christmas decorations. You might not expect this of a couple of pagans, but we kind of go all out for Solstice/Yule/Christmas. There is tinsle! Bells! And all the other things that the Grinch absolutely detests. So, that was kind of the main event for the day. We hauled the tree out for recycling, put everything away into boxes... and, because it was the last REAL day of vacation, all this was interspersed with lightsaber battles.

Mason, I should warn you, is a dark sider. Which forces me, the Slytherin, to play the good Jedi. Mason, too, likes to make up the various Darths that he portrays. Yesterday, each Darth had the added power of the elements, a sort of Elemental Force power, so there was Darth Terrus (Earth) and Darth Inferno (Fire) among others. Probably the toughest guy was the one with water power because a touch of his lightsaber froze me with ice. In the Masonverse, too, the good guys do NOT automatically triumph, either. So, I died a lot.

Let's hope that old idea that how you spend New Year's Day is how you spend the rest of the year isn't true, or I'm going to be run through with a lot of lightsabers.
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Today has turned into a very weird day for me. I knew we were meeting with an energy audit guy from Xcel, but I didn't count on how much I've gotten used to my morning routine of internet, coffee, etc. It's already 3:12 pm, and I'm only just now done checking my usual things. I feel completely out of whack.

On a more positive note, our 100 year old house is leaky, but not nearly so much as I'd have thought. Probably the biggest thing facing us is the fact that we NEED to get insulation in the attic floor. Because of our big roofing job, we now have vents in the roof, which are basically big holes for heat to escape (which is in fact why they were installed, but, well, this sort of thing works much better on a modern house in the winter.) But, the guy who came out was actually VERY good at reading us. He could tell from our conversation what we would entertain and what we would not.

I'm afraid I'm very adamant that air is a fine insulation for a house that was built 100 years ago. Despite what our energy auditor attempted to imply, people who constructed houses in 1912 did know how to insulate with the technology they had, and they did KNOW that houses built in Minnesota needed to stay warm in the winter.

However, I would definiately entertain the idea that now that roofers poked holes in our roof, the situation in the attic has changed.

Of course, the auditor tried to sell us an Xcel plan to fix all this, but he also offered other options and told us about a lot of little things we could easily do ourselves to help keep the house warmer and the gas prices down for the winter.

So, for $30, I think we got a good deal, honestly. We now know what we should be considering/saving up for, etc.

In other good news, my second Tate book has been finally officially accepted, so money should be coming shortly for that. Also, my editor sent along cover art, which I like well enough. I only have a .pdf of it right now, so I can't share it yet. I'd suggested a theatre mask be involved to hide part of Ana's face, but they decided not to go with that. Instead, they hide part of her face with her hair. It works okay, but it makes a little less visual sense to me. I'll let y'all decide when I post it. However, they're going with the same model, and the same font, and same basic style, so you know, it could be worse as we say here in Minnesota. She's a very striking woman, and she's looking straight out at us again, so it's very clean, visually.

I finally finished reading an illustrated novel called RAGGEDY CHAN by Camille Picott, Illustrated by Joey Manfre, which I'll be reviewing shortly for my ODDyssey gig (general note: thumbs up!). As part of that, I also recieved a book called IMMACULATE DECEPTION by Scott B. Pruden. You can perhaps see from the title why I thought it might be a good fit. I'm going to try to read it over the Thanksgiving break, since I won't be able to write much with Mason home any way. [ profile] naomikritzer also loaned me her daughter's copy of THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND by Jonathan Stroud, because I pretty much trust Naomi to know what I like in YA after several successful recommendations.

Other than that, my birthday is Thursday. I'll be 43. I already got my present, which is a year's membership to kuk sool wan, which I expect to enjoy twice a week. (Last night was once again made of awesome. I will not only be Captain America by 45, I expect to be Kung Fu Panda by 44!)

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This morning I came in to an email from the fine folks that included me (or, rather, Tate,) in the anthology MANY BLOODY RETURNS. They were passin on the image of the cover art for the British edition of the book. It's not really much to look at, but it got me thinking. I haven't gone looking for my German editions of Tate's second, third, and fourth Garnet books. Well, I found them, and they're right cute. Check 'em out:

This one is what Dead Sexy became. I can't remember how it translates any more, but if you want a German edition of it, you can order it on Amazon's German site here. It came out in May of this year. Romancing the Dead, meanwhile, became Vampir Sein Ist Alles, which just came out (August):

...if you'd like to get that one, you can order it here:

And, for the final German cover, here's Biss in Alle Ewigkeit aka Dead If I Do...

Again, if you're my folks (or anyone else who might like to obsessively collect my German editions), you can pre-order that one here: It comes out in November 2010.

In other news, I've been busy. I just answered a set of interview questions for a nonfiction book about vampire writers, and talked to a young student in Poland who is doing her masters (?) thesis on Archangel Protocol and, it seems, Marxism. Actually, I think the thesis has more to do with religion, but I did get asked a bit about how I felt about Marx's bit about religion as the "opiate of the masses." Also, I sent back a contract/agreement for the anthology MAKING WAVES which will include a reprint of my short story "Indigo Bunting." All proceeds for MAKING WAVES will go to a charity to aid victims (animal and human) of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Also, I got the cover art for NORTHERN LIGHTS another anthology a story of mine will appear in. NORTHERN LIGHTS is a collection of Minnesota authors, and my original short story "Bright, Bright City Lights" will appear in that. "Bright, Bright City Lights" was my attempt to deal with the death of senator Wellstone through fiction... and magic. It's a very weird story for me because the bad guy is actually Bobby Sands, hero of the struggle for Irish freedom.

Meanwhile, Mason and I are trucking along through DEATHLY HALLOWS. We're on chapter 30, "The Sacking of Severus Snape." I cried like a fool when Dobby died, and I actually found him kind of annoying in the story. I have to give Ms. Rowlings credit. That woman can write grief (and particularly funerals.) Even Shawn, who has really only been following along in snippets and through the movies, shed big tears.

I find whenever we're reading a lot of Harry Potter, I devote a large part of my subconscious to the stories. Last night, once again, I dreamed I was Harry. This time I was chasing Voledmort through the London underground. There was one particularly memorable scene where Hermione and I were on one platform and Voledmort on the other (in my dreams, he was trying to dress as a Muggle, which, of course, the Dark Lord would never do. The image was particularly funny, too, because he still had red eyes and a snake-slit nose, and he'd just put on a stocking cap, ala Spock trying to hide his ears in some Old Trek episode.) Anyway, we were casting spells at each other across the trains. It was very weird, but kind of cool. I had three wands, and I kept trying to find a good one that would work against the Elder Wand. I woke up dodging the Avada Kedavra curse.

In an hour or so, I'm off to pick up Eleanor for our weekly writing get-together. I'm hoping to work on the synopsis for the 3rd vampire princess book, which I'm sad to say, I'm behind on... as in missed a deadline, which I almost never do. But I was hoping to hear from my editor about what she thought of #2, in case the ending needed to change. But I think, at this point, I should just go ahead.....
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Today is the official release day for Tate's book HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD. It is the last of the Garnet Lacey series. If you are at all a fan of Garnet (or Tate), please consider purchasing this book today or sometime within the next couple of weeks. I'd love Penguin to be impressed with the sales of this last book, if for no other reason than they might consider continuing to employ me.

Also, a reminder to my local LJ friends who may not be on Facebook, this weekend is my signing at Uncle Hugo's:

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, in my persona as Tate Hallaway, I will be signing HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, the last in the Garnet Lacey series, at Uncle Hugo's in Minneapolis starting at 1:00 pm. The Uncles are located at 2864 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407. You can call for directions or more information (612) 824-6347. If you are not able to attend, but would still like a signed copy of the book, you can find information on how to mail order on the bookstore's website:

If I get my act together and get over to Goodwill, I may ACTUALLY WEAR A DRESS to this event, as it is one of my last appearances as Tate (at least with this series.) Tate is, of course, still contracted for two more young adult books in the ALMOST series -- the first one is out this August (ALMOST TO DIE FOR) and I'm working on the second (ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN) which is due at Penguin July 15, and then there is one more contracted after that. So Tate has a job until 2011.

Tonight I need to write a couple of promotional blogs, which is, btw, something I absolutely dread. Also, I need to work on the WIP mentioned above. But, hey, it's work.

Oh, and if some of you are thinking "what about Lyda's projects" after reading all this blather about Tate, I'll tell you. Last I heard from those Mad Norwegians, RESURRECTION CODE will be coming out in December 2010. Just in time for Yule/Christmas/Channukah/Kwanzaa!

Also, just yesterday I found out that a story of mine, "Bright, Bright City Lights" has been accepted for inclusion in the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Anthology Project. "City Lights" is a story I wrote several years ago when I was yearning for a fantastical reason for Senator Paul Wellstone's untimely death. It's a story I *thought* I'd sold to Black Wisdom, but I never got a contract, payment, or any indication that the story appeared in print. I recently started putting that piggy back to market. (I'd gotten the yellow reject from Realms. That's the "you suck" one, right?) Anyway, I'm happy it found a home. I write so few short works that are successful, I'm glad when I can place one of them ANYwhere. (That sounds like a dis on the anthology project, but it's not. It's meant as a comment on my short story writing ability).

That's all I have right now in terms of news. I'm still trying to find my motiviation after the exhausting/fun of May Day weekend. I did buy my lawnmower and I spent a good portion of today getting some much needed lawn and housework done today, but no writing so far. The dishes are done. I guess that counts for something.
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I Knew this Panel was Trouble when it Walked into my Office

It seems like “noir” is being tacked on to just about every sub-category of the genre these days: fantasy-noir, science fiction-noir, vampire-noir, and so on. And even if it isn’t attached to the genre label, the word appears on book jackets and in reviews in droves. But what do we mean when we say something is “noir”? What are the touch-stones that make something noir: must noir be gritty, violent, dangerous, or require a mystery be solved? How do our genre versions of noir compare to the classic examples of the style? Is what we call “noir” truly “Noir”, or is it just a shadowed reflection and a surly mood?

With: Doug Hulick, mod.; Rebecca Marjesdatter, Lyda Morehouse


Villainry for Dummies

So one day you look around and realize that YOU are the bad guy and that twerp whose father you murdered a decade ago might turn out to be the hero. Now what? Tips on surviving beyond the last page of the book (or the credits of the movie) least through a couple of sequels

With Naomi Krizter, mod.; Kelly McCullough, Lyda Morehouse


Unraveling the Mystery: Big Bang Theory

Come talk about what you like and/or don’t like about the physicist sitcom Big Bang Theory.

With: Tony Artym, mod.; Eric M. Heideman, Kelly McCullough, Lyda Morehouse, Brian K. Perry


Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading

With Catherine Lundoff, Lyda Morehouse


If you come to MarsCON over the weekend, you will see me in the hallways or at least on these panels. I *thought* I had another one about hearting femme fatales, but that panel might have been moved/removed or I missed it in my recent search and I'll be there too.

In other news, I got some great shots of our snow fort before Mason collapsed it. Although I have to say that much of it had to be rebuilt. Seems that it's getting too warm for snow and our main wall collapsed in the heat over the weekend. Mason and I rebuilt a lot of it yesterday, and then he had a great time destroying it with a crochet mallet. Destructo-boy!

I will have the internet speed and technology to upload some of the pictures tomorrow. So, if you're interested, check back.

In Tate news, I don't know how official this is (so don't spread it around too much), but it seems that the Garnet Lacey books have been bought in-house to be reprinted by Berkley Sensation as mass-market paperbacks starting (tentatively) in December of 2011. Hooray! I have to say that I'm a huge fan of mass-market size, so I'm glad these books will get a chance to try out the smaller format. My editor isn't sure, but they *may* get a new cover make-over as well.

That could be very cool.

I've NEVER had a book go from one size to another before, BTW. I know a lot of authors have hardbacks that then become paper, but not me. Until now, I've always stayed whatever I was original printed in.

Speaking of that, hold on to your copies of APOCALYPSE ARRAY. I just went through my inventory for taxes and there are exactly 5 left in the universe. After those go to Uncles, there will be no new copies in existance anywhere on earth. (Presumably, you'll still find them used on Amazon and through other used bookstore venues, but... no more fresh, unbroken spines!!)

I also got edits for my short story "Jawbone of an Ass" which is going to be printed in an anthology of Biblical Horror stories called SHE NAILED A STAKE THROUGH HIS HEAD by Dybbuk Press at some point in the near furutre. I'll keep you posted when that's available. It's one of my better short stories, if I do say so myself. I'm not really very good at shorter works, but this one came out very atmosphere, IMHO. Plus, while it doesn't take place in the AngeLINK universe, it is about God and religion, so it's got a signature flavor to it, as it were.

I'm also working on some proposals for Tate... my editor is passing down the pike the humorous chick-litty ones I wrote (including the "solid cow mutilation mystery," as Shawn called it). I guess Berkley Trade isn't doing as well with the funny stuff. They're going darker in their urban fantasy, which makes sense. I see a lot of that out there these days. Elizabeth and I were talking about that, in fact, when last I was at Uncles (which, btw, is still a great place to pick up your new copies of all my books.)

Anyway, I'm trying my hand at some darker ideas (though those funny ones aren't dead yet.) Wish me luck.

When Mason goes back to school next week, I'll be working on the young adult sequel of Tate's which is due in July.

Oh! And I forgot to tell you a funny story. When Mason and I were walking home after dropping mama off at GoodWill (we joked we're trading her in for a newer one), we got to the far corner of our block. I saw a pigeon on the ground that looked injured. I tried to pick it up. It was so disoriented that it actually smacked into my thigh. But it was well enough to get back in the air again, so I shrugged, and was turning to Mason to explain the rule "if you can't catch them, you have to leave 'em in the wild" when ZIP! Out of the clear, blue sky swoops a Cooper's hawk who slams into the pigeon and takes her down!! Munch, munch, gooble, munch, that pigeon became lunch! Mason and I stood there a moment with our mouths open, and then I said, "Well, that's nature in action, I guess."

"Yep," said Mason and we went off to play in the slushy ice puddles.
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Quick question: if I (as Tate Hallaway) write a novel where there's a hereditary group of Witches that ACTUALLY derive their power from, well, Hell, how angry do you think my fans will be?

But wait... see, here's the thing. I already laid idea this out in my young adult novel because I'm tired of traditional vampires and wanted them to be something else entirely. And, really, what it means is that I'm playing with angels again... or, at least, one variety of them. But, you know, I just got to this point in the novel during revisions when Elias (one of our bad boy love interests) explains where vampires come from, and, my editor made a comment in the margins where it's kind of clear that she gets what I'm saying but wonders if it's really what I'm saying... and I thought, "Huh, I wonder if the real question is *should* I say this?"
Well, I did. I guess the thing to do now is spin it.

In other news, I finished Jo Walton's HALF A CROWN (Tor). I was really worried about the ending yesterday when I was at about chapter 22, and I even harrassed [ profile] naomikritzer about it (because she's mentioned as a beta reader in the acknoweledgements) but, actually, things worked out WAY better than I feared. Jo Walton made *me* like the Queen of England, which is no small feat. I was made a little cranky by the fact that the only person to die isRead more... ). But I didn't cry. And no one actually Read more... ) The book is fantastic, despite my personal quibbles, so I highly recommend it. I've said this before, I think, but Jo Walton has a really amazing narrative voice in this series (I can't speak to her other books because I haven't read them). It's just a pleasure to READ, you know?

I'm off in few minutes to go stuff folders at Mason's school, my usual Thursday volunteering. Then, I hope to have time to run off to do some last minute holiday shopping before I have to turn around and pick him up again.

I still have this terrible cough. I wish I had real health insurance. I'd go to the doctor. That's another rant for another day, alas. I know people get worked up about this issue, but it seems pretty straight forward to me. I would like one of two things: afforable health insurance _or_ doctors that didn't cost so much. The thing that's keeping me away from the doctor right now is the fear that to rule out pnumonia, they'd order an x-ray. My insurance is what I call "collision." If I'm hit by the bus, it's worth having, but as it is, the deductable is so high we really can't afford to pay up to it, you know?

Enough of that. (Don't worry about Mason. He's covered by his mama. I can't be. You know, that other rant that involves gay marriage.)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
According to Mason, he spent yesterday's skating practice mostly just getting around on his knees. (Poor guy, though he sounds like me.)

I feel I can kind of relate. This week is crazy-busy. [ profile] naomikritzer read my book in about ten minutes, so I was over there yesterday to get critique. I just settled in to get that done by this weekend so Shawn will have a chance to proof it before it goes to the editor, when who should e-mail, but said-editor. Could she send along the revisions for HONEYMOON or would it break my stride with ALMOST?

Did I mention we're headed for Indiana on October 15 to spend a couple of days with Grandma?

Yet I always remind myself in times like these, that these are the problems I DREAMED of having for years. I really can't complain. I have work. Not only that, it's work I LOVE. It's work that I can do while at home, and, on days like today, take a two hour break to putter in the garden in the bright October sunshine.

In other news, the house is a complete mess. I can't seem to get out from under the dishes. AND I just found a well-over due library book of Mason's neatly shelved on his bookshelf, *and* another one that belongs to his school in the computer room on the floor. Ye gods. We have too many books in this house.

Oh, and the gerbils stink. They need a change of bedding. I should get up and do that, but, listen, there's a warm cat on my lap. Would you get up? No, I didn't think so.

I got the cover art for my last Garnet book. I'm waiting to see if it's okay to post it, but I'm going to warn you: they changed artists. And the font. The whole style really. You can tell me what you think when I get it up.

Yeah, and Gaylaxicon is this weekend, right?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Mason woke up this morning and instantly had diarrhea. Two minutes later: barf. A half hour later, when it was still going on, I got on-line and called him in sick via an e-mail to his teacher. Meanwhile, Shawn came down with a headache. She e-mailed in sick to work as well. I ended up having to e-mail Eleanor to cancel our writing date, which is pretty much the same as calling in sick, too.

I was starting to feel like a character in a murder mystery, except instead becoming corpses, everyone around me was getting terribly ill.

Mason, being the deeply resilent source of energy he is, was sick for several hours and then did a complete recovery complete with wanting to jump on the bed his mom was sleeping in and BEGGING me to take him to the library (which I did not do. No barfing on books. This is an important lesson I pass on from the day I barfed on an early Legion of Superheroes comicbook belonging to my cousin.)

Last night, at Wyrdsmiths, I brought along my computer (partly to check in on the last minute cancelations but also for the free wifi,) and discovered that my editor had sent along the cover art for Tate's young adult novel:

What do you think?

My editor thinks it pretty much "hits the market" (as in she thinks it's the sort of thing that is found on YA covers right now.) I think the cover model for "Anastasjia" is wicked hot. If the cover is supposed to be someone you wish you were, count me in.

Anyway, I should check in on my sickies. Have a great weekend!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
It's been a busy week, which explains my absence from the Interwebs you kids hang out on. It's also been kind of strange, but I'll explain.

First of all, may I have a moment of silence while I speak the benediction? "Gucci, Gucci, Garnet. You were a good series."

Yes, Garnet Lacey is no more. The book I finished this year, HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, will be coming out in May of '10 as scheduled. However, my editor turned down the proposals my agent and I sent for books 6, 7 and 8. As far as I know, all the previous books are still in print. I haven't heard that they're going to be remaindered right away or anything.

Yesterday was my day of mourning. I wailed and gnashed teeth. But it was a rather less dramatic affair than you might imagine because I *am* still contracted for three books in the new young adult series. And, as I told Shawn, we're not really _out_ anything, since, most years, I only write one book a year anyway. More to the point, Penguin was actually quite gracious. They told my agent that they're interested in possibly seeing a new series by my psuedonym. So it's not like they said, "And don't let the door hit you on the way out." In fact, quite the opposite. It's hard to be too depressed when this really does feel like an opportunity to propose something fun and fresh. My editor would like to see contemporary urban fantasy, but that's a mighty wide pool. I'm kind of excited to start pondering ideas. I think I've mentioned this before, but I actually really, really LOVE writing proposals. Most people dread the synopsis, but I rather embrace it. It's a funny thing.

And today Mason and I off to Hidden Falls with a friend from Crossroads. He and I have been neglecting our big explores, so I'm glad we have the excuse of company to get off our quickly expanding back sides. It's funny how easy it is to get wrapped up in doing stuff around the house even when the temperatures are so gorgeous. It doesn't help that a new Netflix "Loony Tunes" volume arrived, and Mason has been watching it on a steady loop since the little red envelope appeared yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday, I was also mourning the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy. Foolishly, I made an off-hand comment about Senator Kennedy and health care reform in my status bar on Facebook yesterday that exploded in a huge (for me) aguement among all my liberal friends and my one crazy Republican friend that I only friended because he was the game master of the AD&D game where I first met Shawn. Without him, there would be no Shawn and Lyda. Too bad he's on the wrong side about the public option in the health care reform debate.

I gave up on the book by Mike Resnick that I took out of the library. It was the third in the series and it didn't quite grab me, alas. I've learned that, with my mild dyslexia, if a book doesn't drag me into it instantly I usually can't sustain the energy it takes for me to finish a book. Unless I'm on vacation or other mitigating factors (like it's the last "new" book in the house, etc.) I like the idea of the series, though, and might see if the library has the first one. I remember enjoying other things that Resnick has written, and I'm still craving more, more, more in the reading department.

Tonight we pick up our next CSA box and it looks like another good one. There will be more corn and... (drum roll, please)... WATERMELON. I'm really excited. Plus, Shawn and I bought into a sunflower oil share and another bottle may be waiting for us! Yippee!

It's also Wyrdsmiths tonight and I can't wait! For various reasons (mostly trips up to the cabin), I've missed a couple of months worth of meetings. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again and get back to the habit of critique and production.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Once again I need to apologize for silence. My family and I went up to our friends’ cabin in Siren again last weekend, and, apparently, wore ourselves out completely. I think what happened was that we finally had some really amazing Minnesota summer weather on Friday. I think up in Siren it actually hit 90 F/ 32 C. Mason and I spent almost the entire day either on or in the water. We were back on Monday, but I actually spent much of the day napping (something I usually don’t allow myself to do because day time = writing time.) Then yesterday was spent sort of making up for all the things I didn’t do on Monday – calling people back, making plans, cancelling plans (sorry [ profile] swords_and_pens! sorry [ profile] jiawen!), etc.

Today, I finally feel like I'm back among the living.

And the week is already half over.


In good news, however, I did manage to get a lot of writing done on Tate's YA project yesterday. Because Mason was finally worn down, he spent much of Monday and Tuesday absorbed in various low-key activities like reading, video gaming, TVing, and LEGOs. (Though we now own the Falcon, he's decided to finish up Vader's Tie-Fighter first.)

Tate, alas, has had to restart the YA for the second time. Turns out I kind of suck when I attempt to write third person. I'd been hoping to stretch myself, you know, do something challenging, but Anne, my editor, finally just suggested I go back to first person and you know, "write a Garnet novel without the sex." It is to laugh. If only because [ profile] naomikritzer and Shawn told me to do that from the beginning. As Shawn says, "You don't mess with the cash cow. Just milk it!"


I'm thinking that if I want to work on my third person skills, I may try to take some time after the YA is do to practice on a couple of short story ideas that have been banging around at the back of my skull ever since I started working on ALMOST (the YA.)

Since Mason is once again occupying himself, I should probably continue to take advantage of that and get started writing.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Yesterday, Mason had his kindergarten graduation celebration. It was really quite precious, as you can probably imagine. My little guy got to do the introduction and he totally stole the show -- although they couldn't find the microphone, so I'm not sure the folks in the back rows heard his most awesome performance, which is entirely too bad. My favorite part was his class (and the other kindergarten science class) singing "First Grade, Frist Grade" to the tune of "New York, New York."

Yesterday, in fact, was a damn fine perfect day. I made French bread in the morning and had a spontaneous visit by [ profile] seanmmurphy and a planned lunch date with Rachel Gold. They're both bright, interesting, and Scorpios --which just means we all share a similar, rather wicked outlook on life, IMHO. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool and refreshing. We sat in the backyard, while Deliah (our one outdoor cat, who is only allowed outside because she comes when I whistle, like a dog,) impressed us all with her unexpected, mad tree climbing skillz. (We got her down, no worries.)

Today started out much less awesome. It's still beautiful outside, but little things have gone awry including Mason telling me, rather rudely, this morning that my opinion about where Mama should start reading "The Hobbit" to both of us didn't count, a weird argument in the car with mama over my "attitude" (which was really a fight, IMHO, about perspective, because my attitude was FINE, thank you very much) and then an attempt to go to the gym that involved me walking in and immediately walking back out because my .mp3 player was at home. (I've tried working out sans music and I have to tell you, it's much, much more difficult.) And then there's new copy for the YA novel that's much less zippy, a lukewarm response to the first sixty pages from my editor, and just a general grumpy feeling that has since settled over me....


Yes, I would like some cheese with that. You know why? I still still have some AWESOME French bread here that would go nicely with w(h)ine and cheese.

How about you? How you doin'?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Tonight Tate/I have a gig in Red Wing, MN. In fact, in about three hours I'm going to pick up Shawn early from work so I can make the hour and a half drive down there in time for... well, honestly, I'm expecting "crickets." (Which is to say, the sound of an empty store.)

I actually hate these out of town gigs. They're almost always embarrassingly underattended and I always leave feeling like I've wasted a lot of time, gas, and energy. Yet, this particular signing was arranged for me by my hard-working publicist (which as I've noted before is a VERY unusual thing), so I didn't feel like I could turn her down. I just hope it doesn't suck too much.

Meanwhile, a girl couldn't ask for better weather. It's cool... chilly, even, like the springs of my youth, but the sun is shining brightly. As we like to say here in Minnesota, "Can't complain."

Thanks to a lot of stress at work Shawn fell asleep on the couch last night so I was able to finish up the last of Tate's proposal for the next three Garnet Lacey books. Shawn is going to read through the last of the three tonight (she's been over the first two already) and then they're off to my agent, and fingers crossed. I know you're probably all cursing Tate for screwing up my writing time as Lyda, but I've really come to love Tate's books. They're so much fun to write and that's such a wonderful experience. My science fiction is slower because it's harder. When you're in the future you have to re-invent the telephone everytime you want to place a call, but in contemporary romance all you got to do is somehow make it through the sex scenes without dying from embarassment. That's A LOT easier. And faster.

We're all headed up to a friend's cabin this weekend, and I'm bringing along my laptop. Hopefully, I can get some Mouse writing done so you guys won't have to wait forever for the next book. (I'm THIS close to wanting to re-start that book again, but I know that way lies folly.)

I still haven't seen the new TREK movie, but I'm ready now. On top of everything all you folks said, I read Barth Anderson's review over on Facebook and I think I truly believe that it doesn't suck now. (I've been very wary. My last experience with a prequel involved midi-clorians and I'm still wounded, okay?)

A single tetra survives. Yes, I think it's the same one that survived the last massive die-off. I'm planning on naming her Mary, as in Typhoid Mary. I'm also convinced that she will probably live forever and thwart the "if they all die, you can get a new tank" Shawn promise. In other, happier news, Joe is still alive. He's the FIRST twleve cent feeder/comet goldfish we ever bought... years ago. So, see, I'm not *just* a failure at fish-keeping.

Mason and I are planning to take a walk up to the library to enjoy the weather. I guess he and his mama have big "mischeivous" plans for tonight while I'm off in Red Wing entertaining crickets. He's going to stay up late and play video games (which is almost never allowed. He can stay up late, but ONLY if he's reading.)

Okay, well, that's all I know. Take care. See ya on Monday.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My brain hurts from trying to come up with new "Dead..." book titles. All I can say is thank God(dess) I have creative friends and partners. I put up a request for ideas help on Facebook and got great responses. Susan Harris came up with "Dead If I Do," and now I can thank my friend Bill Stitlter for "Dead Over Heels." And, of course, Mr. Sean M. Murphy for "Dead on Arousal," but I still need one more... any ideas out there?

In other non-Tate news, my life continues apace. Mason is off school for three weeks for Spring intersession. Luckily, he's currently obsessing on video games, so I can still get a bit of work done. It looks like today might be rainy, but otherwise we might go out into the garden to putz around and get everything ready. I'm currently in the waiting-for-the-check-to-arrive phase, and one of the many things I'd like to spend part of it on is flowers for the gardens. There is, as always, a big bare spot on the hill out front where something (hosta?) died over the winter. Huge sections of grass didn't coming in again... and this year my solution is weeds. I'm purposely planting agriculture grade clover. I figure between that and the creeping charlie, maybe I'll have "grass" that will survive deep shade and tough winters.

I got a date tonight to see "Wolverine," despite lukewarm reviews. Okay, I only read the one in "Entertainment Weekly," which actually complains of too much action. Is that possible in a Marvel film??? I guess I'll find out tonight.

Anyway, I hope you all are well. I have more (positive!) fish news, but I'll save that for another day. Also, if anyone out there wants to win a copy of Tate's latest, you can check out an interview I'm giving tomorrow at Bitten By Books.

See ya on the flipside!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
We were supposed to be on our way to Indiana right now to visit Mason's grandmother, but, alas, Mason woke up this morning feeling poorly. He complained of a side ache and after we'd gotten the car packed and started to strap him into his booster seat, he barfed.

With everything going on in the Universe right now, we went back inside and immediately called the doctor and scheduled a same-day appointment. Fifteen minutes later, with a bucket in hand, we were at our clinic. The doctor suspects it's just a regular old stomach bug that should pass, though, given Mason's medical history, we also took a urine sample to test for any urinary tract infections (he has a bum kidney that he's had since before birth; it was detected in ultrasound.) We thought we might still go on the road, but two feet from the doctor's office Mason started puking again. Even though the car is parked outside packed to the gills, we're at home now for the day. We called grandma to break the bad news and told her that , if he feels well enough, the plan is to take off first thing tomorrow morning.

For myself, I'm a bit bummed if only because is a PERFECT day for car travel. It's sunny but on the chilly-side (50s?) Anyway, it's the sort of day you can still wear your sweatshirt comfortably in the car and not get overheated.

Ah well.

On the flip side, I have a ton of stuff that needs doing on-line and elsewhere. Every year Penguin USA assigns me a publicist, and every year I dutifully inform her (I have yet to have a male publicist,) about my signings and about any reviews that Google Alerts catches about the newest release. Usually, that's the sum of our entire interaction. Some years, even, I send all sorts of information that then disappears into a galactic black-hole. For some reason (the economy?) this year, my publicist is not only responding to my various e-mails, but she's also out hunting up work for me. I scrambled last night to finish a blog for the Romance Book Club and spent part of this morning finishing another for the / First Sales blog. I've been sent interview questions galore from a number of othe blogs and have been coordinating all sorts of contests and giveaways. It's cool, but kind of crazy too.

Plus, my agent wants me to put together three more book proposals for Tate's adult series. I wrote one already, though I'm not very pleased with it. Or rather, I wrote it about two days before I saw "Cupid" on TV, and realized that I probably no longer could get away with having Eros show up in *my* novel.... luckily, as it happened, while I was finishing up the revisions for HONEYMOON (which I'm hoping will be renamed "DEAD and MARRIED"), I noticed a few plot threads that could easily be sewn into a whole new book.... I thought since we're home today, I might work on those.

So the beautiful sunny day is hardly wasted. I just wish poor Mason felt better.
lydamorehouse: (shark)
Alas too late for the majority of the tetra, but the answer is: NEVER mess with PH.

You remember when my first mysterious tetra death happened, and then her/his lover jumped out of the tank to his/her doom (and to the great interest to the cats)? Well, at that point, I checked all the various chemical levels in the tank (PH, KH [hardness], NH2, NH3, etc.) I THOUGHT that that water was too alkaline... so I messed with it.

When I talked to the guy at the fish store, I confessed to all this, but he didn't think that should cause a mold. So I didn't change it. Though I did buy a PH up and a PH down kit, because my instincts told me to. Oh, how I wish I'd just listened to those inner voices....

Because only one little (and I do mean LITTLE) guy was left, I nearly broke down the entire tank. I removed the driftwood, the plastic leaves, almost everything. Then I took out about eighty percent of the water. Putting in the water softener pillow, I did a very slow water change (remembering how badly the others reacted to the shock of the cold, hard water.)

Then I thought... I need to change the PH back to whatever it was because no one died when it was at 7.8. So I did.

Guess what?

Spots are gone. Fish is still swimming.

All alone.

But alive. That's good.

Oh, and in other news, I finished Tate's book on time for deadline last night at 1:30 am. I just finished printing it out and am taking it to the post office in about two minutes. One book down, two more to go!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Hey, good news for Tate:

My agent just informed me that the German publisher VGS publishers want the first four books (_Tall, Dark & Dead_, _Dead Sexy_, _Romancing the Dead_ and _Dead if I Do_) for a paperback original publication under their imprint LYX. Of course, I don't really know anything about this publisher, but it's all a yay as far as I'm concerned.

I have to tell you, my psuedonym is a serious money maker (foregin sales are especially nice because I don't have to do anything except sign the contract and take the euros.) I don't think I can regret having "sold out."

Tate's other big foregin sale was, of course, to the UK, which is just strange. They translated my books into... English (although, as far as I can tell they really didn't do much other than change the double quotation marks to singles.) Her short story "Fire and Ice and Linguine for Two" appeared in _Many Bloody Returns_ which has been translated into German and Polish, but I didn't get a cut of the advance for those sales... though I think it may now be obvious that they helped build a market for me in Germany.

This is the cool part of being a writer, IMHO.

Meanwhile, I must get back to Tate's latest which is kind of kicking my butt. I've been working on the revisions [ profile] seanmmurphy served up last week, and I'm now on the part where I'd originally written "and things work out somehow" and we all rush to the end, THE END. He gave me a really great idea that involves a Troll, three billy goats gruff, and a bridge (seriously), and now all I have to do is get it all written by Thursday when I hope to convince [ profile] naomikritzer to reading the next draft.

The weekend was nice; thanks for asking. We were supposed to go to the SPCO concert on Saturday, but collectively none of us was up for it. Shawn wanted to nap. Mason wanted to play video games. I wanted to write. So we all stayed home. On Sunday, I'd been hoping to coax everyone out to pagan kids and kin at the UU Fellowship at Mount Curve, but it snowed. We all just looked at the white sludge falling from the sky and crawled back in bed. So, really, I did a whole lot of bupkis this weekend.

It was very enjoyable.

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