Story promotion: “Mary In the Looking Glass” is out today!

Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good is available for sale today!  If you didn’t get in on the Kickstarter, you can pick up a copy here, and here, or check here for more options!

My story in this anthology is “Mary In the Looking Glass,” and if you’re thinking that sounds familiar, you’re right.

I think most girls go through the super-creepy stage–I know I did, and my son came home from elementary school for about three years running with stories about his female friends who were, they claimed, possessed or haunted or casting spells or what have you.  And that’s when you first hear about Bloody Mary in the mirror.  I never had quite enough nerve to chant her name three times, whether in front of the mirror or not.  The idea of seeing something moving in the mirror–behind me, off in the corner, in the shadows–was extremely enticing but also terrifying.

“Mary In the Looking Glass” is about the enticement.  It’s a love story (so many romances from me!).  It’s also about looking for the reality at the center of things, of asking yourself what you can really know about anyone.

(If you knew me back in junior high, this is the story you all knew I’d write someday.  Forget the steampunk and the science fiction; this is exactly where 6th grade Laura’s authorial ambitions were leading.)

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All my thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

The husband and I watched this series in a mad dash to finish before he left for a week to Tennessee, and we have been talking about it and texting each other links since, like, last Thursday night.

As we all may know at this point, I have a serious love for things that are ambitious but flawed. It, the novel. The Dark Tower series. A couple of Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Glee. The Netflix Hill House is definitely on that list.

To boil it down: it was super-cool; go watch it if you haven’t already. But it’s not perfect, and that’s okay–they really went for a vision and they hit most of it.

So, below the cut (assuming I can figure out how to do a cut, as I’m doing this on my iPad) … SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE.

Continue reading “All my thoughts on ‘The Haunting of Hill House’”

Randomnicity (mostly ranting edition)

First off, Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good is up for pre-order at Amazon.

I’m in this!  And it comes out November 20th!


In other parts of life …

We’re planning to sell our house, now that my mother-in-law is living with us, and to that end we are fixing some stuff up, per our realtor’s advice.

First, all 23957349687967 of our books went into storage.  Yeah, okay, I have an iPad, whatever.  This really opened up the living room–it’s huge, now, without the book cases taking up an entire wall.

Next came paint.

Way back when we built our house, we chose a paint color that was, in theory, a reddish brown.  In fact, it was pink.  Not bubblegum pink or anything, but certainly not any shade of brown.  We weren’t exactly thrilled, but whatever.  We dubbed the place The Little Pink House and went on.

Now we’ve had it painted a light gray.  I actually like it, but the first day I came home from work after it was done, I had to sit in the driveway and stare at it for a few minutes due to cognitive dissonance.  I live in The Little Pink House.  But it’s gray.  But it’s supposed to be Pink?  But look!  Gray!

Yeah, I’m a weirdo.

Shortly after we built our house, we painted the inside of it.  I wasn’t working at the time, so I painted all the bedrooms (chalkboard green, medium gray, PURPLE).  My Dad helped us paint the living room (maroon and cream), and the husband and I painted the kitchen (bright yellow).  We loved it.  When the kid came along, he loved it.  But, you know, not everyone is us, and potential buyers want a blank slate, and so we hired some painters to paint the house interior antique white.  They spent two days and did a really good job.

The rooms look much bigger.  They’re brighter.  Turn on a light and whammo, it’s showtime!

hate it.

When I come home, I want a den.  A cave.  A hobbit-hole, if you will.  I want a refuge from the world and the demon fireball in the sky; I want to curl up with my books in my bed and feel cozy to just this side of claustrophobia.  I don’t want “light” or “airy.”  I want “dark” and “protective.”  Blankets, books, and a dark colored bedroom.

(I also don’t want to paint a goddamned house again, so when we buy something else and the entire place is antique beige, I am going to have a civil war of laziness vs. my desire for a chalkboard green bedroom.)

(That said, the child has requested we paint his new room purple, so I’m screwed anyway and might as well buy some green paint, too.)


Oh, and Google is discontinuing Inbox, which I use all the time, and I am Not Pleased because I like bundling.  I like being able to create my own bundles for email.  The thing ain’t perfect (no matter how many times I tell it Joe Hill’s newsletter is a Newsletter, it still sorts them into Promos), but it worked really well for my purposes, and now I’m going to spend 6 months finding an alternative app and learning to use it.

Ugh.

So far Airmail looks relatively promising, but I’m going to try Spark once they sort out the bug that’s keeping me from adding my gmail account.


If you are reading this from the Carolinas, I hope you’re safe and unscathed.

How to Be a Good Beta Reader

I see a lot of writing advice, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any beta-ing advice.  So I thought I’d write down my tips for being a good first reader/critiquer/beta reader.  Obviously your mileage may vary on this, as with any advice, but these are the things I try to do when I’m critiquing, and they’re the things I appreciate from a critique.

Continue reading “How to Be a Good Beta Reader”

Last week, we went to the pet store to get some fish. Due to an unfortunate tank-cleaning mishap, we lost a couple of fish, and once the appropriate mourning period had passed, we decided to get some catfish.

The pet store lady was busy trying to talk a guy out of buying goldfish for his small tank, so we had some time to watch the fish. There was another woman there with her little boy, who could not have been more than two. He was very into any fish that had any red markings. He dug red fish. And he was not shy about telling me or Z about the cool red fish.

The clerk finally convinced the guy he wanted something smaller for his tank, and while he considered his options, she came over to ask us what we were looking for. We showed her the fish we were interested in, and she went off to get a net.

Z and Scott and I began discussing the vagaries of catfish, the need for algae pellets … and I noticed that there was a small hand resting next to my knee. The hand on the leg thing was a familiar sensation, so it took me a minute to realize that it’s actually been about six or seven years since I’ve had a child of the size that would allow for that.

I glanced down to see our little red-fish friend. I assumed that he just didn’t realize the lady he was touching wasn’t his mom, and I didn’t want to scare the little guy, so I smiled and said, “Hey, buddy …”

And he looked up, grabbed my hand, and pulled me back over to the farthest fish tank on the wall, to show me the super cool all-red fish contained within.

His mom was very apologetic. “He’s very friendly,” she said.

I told her it was fine. It was fine. He was a cute kid, and it’s been a long time since a tiny boy has pulled me over to show me something super cool!

***

So I’m letting my hair grow out to its natural color. Which is … I dunno, dark blonde or brown? It’s been forever since I saw it. BUT. It is also a whole lot of gray.

I got my first gray hair at 19. I always swore that when all of it went, I’d quit dying it. Just go natural. This year, I felt that it was finally gray enough to at least let it come in and see how I liked it. So far, so good; we’ll see how it progresses.

And I read this article in Time this week about the body positivity movement, and how it apparently has a gap–GenX women aren’t really represented in it. Although the author mentions that it sort of ramps back up when women are 70 or so? And I’m pretty sure that means there’s a portion of Boomer women being left out, too? One way or the other, though, my cohort is more or less being forgotten on the “love and accept yourself for who you are” train (we’re GenX; we’re used to it), apparently.

I have back and forth feelings on this. Like, does being 45 mean that I can’t look at a younger woman in a body positivity IG post and feel inspired? That seems stupid. On the other hand, aging and the body changes it brings is wack. But in other ways aging is kind of amazing, and I’d love to see a changing conversation around that. I know a lot of women who are afraid to get old. Turning 30, then 40, then 50 are times of mourning. I do it, too–staring down 45 was uncomfortable as hell; part of that was OH MY GOD I AM OLD. I HAVE EXACTLY NOTHING TOGETHER. (Part of it was I have not accomplished enough! I am a failure! But that is a different, if related, topic.).

But but but. I don’t think I want to be 25 again, or even 35. I’ve worked hard to get what little bit of together I am. The ways in which I like myself have quite a lot to do with how old I am–I’ve got a certain amount of perspective, and that comes from experience and, you know, therapy. :)

Anyway. I posted a photo of my graying hair on Facebook. I just said the gray was coming in–it didn’t actually occur to me to say I’m growing it out purposely. And people commented that I looked great even with gray hair, or that it was silver, not gray.

Look, I feel very lucky to be surrounded by women who reinforce how gorgeous I am, because we all need that. But I couldn’t help but consider how different the comments were when I posted, say, a selfie with a new dye job. I’m sure this was due in part to my not specifying that the gray hair is deliberate, but still: the assumption was that it’s not. That’s not a call-out, just an observation; I’m not entirely sure if this is a problem– maybe it’s a solution in progress. We’re at this point of women supporting and complimenting each other despite the aging or our not-perfect bodies; maybe now we’ll move to a new phase of … celebration of them? Good-natured and fond exasperation with them? I dunno.

Back from hiatus

So, first thing: The Kickstarter for Broad Knowledge and Sharp and Sugar Tooth funded!  Thank you to everyone who backed these books; I’m super excited to be a part of this, and I honestly can’t wait to read both of these.

In other news, I have been Not Around Here because real life got hectic again–we have moved my mother-in-law and her dog in with us, and so the entire family has been engulfed in purging, cleaning, house-selling, house-preparing, moving, and now the preparations to get our current house sold and our now-bigger gang moved have begun.

There will be painting.  And a new sink.  There is already dog hair, but that’s made up for by the occasional dog-head leaning on my leg to ask for scritches.  She’s pretty cute.

Anyway, that’s a big change, but it seems to be going well.  Fortunately, the husband and I have always gotten along with our respective in-laws.  Not so fortunately, my mother and mother-in-law also get along with one another, and, god help us, seem willing to team up into some sort of child-spoiling grandma fusion–I went shopping with them for clothes for us and they came home with two toys and a bunch of free Harry Potter merch from Target for the boy.

And so, that’s where I’ve been.