Monday, December 15, 2014

Minion Monday

And I even have the hat to prove it!


(See? also, yes, I made those)

I know it's been rather sparse in the blog post category around here, and for that I am sorry! The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are busy busy and I'm trying to finish up crochet projects and get them in the mail in time for them to get where they're going before Christmas! Not sure it'll happen, but I'm trying. I need to make a mail run today, and I'll have another by Wednesday (hopefully) to go to my parents' -- I've got a ton of scarves made for various people, and I just need to finish a hairpin lace one for my mom & a tiny stuffed kitten for my brother (I'm coloring it the same as his cat, Julius, whose sweet life is winding to a close), and I'm tossing in a scarf for my dad because I don't know what else to do for him. But I haven't even started the kitten yet, and hairpin lace is quickly becoming the bane of my existence. I have almost 3 strips of the lace finished, but the pattern I'm using calls for four, which may not actually happen -- I may just quit at 3 & start the assembly.

Anyway, it's also the time of year for HOLIDAY STORIES! Yay! I have scraped together enough for a couple of new ones from some of my all-time favorite authors (Amy Lane is a name that springs to mind) but I'm also looking forward to rereading some older favorites from previous years, and watching Christmas movies, too, of course. 

My top holiday movies list includes White Christmas, Hogfather, and Little Women. For books, there's a lot longer list, but I think one of my favorites is Amy Lane's If I Must, and of course I'm a HUGE fan of Cherie's Christmas Rum Balls!

What are some of your favorite holiday things? Anything at all -- movies, books, share a picture of a favorite ornament or holiday moment. We'd love to see & celebrate! I'll start things off with something I love -- my little Nativity set my mom got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's pure white porcelain designed to look like origami, and I think it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ooops...

I am SO BAD, y'all! I forget to write up my own blogs, and I've been forgetting to nag Cherie about hers...

But I did make Cherie a scarf that turned out even nicer than I expected it to, so... (I mean. So nice. Even though I don't wear scarves, I want one just like it for me.)

SO, still crocheting forty-three million things, figured out what was going wrong with the afghan I'm making (and had to redo from scratch about 14 flowers for it), and I've been reading. And re-reading. And helping my youngest with another school project.

Anyway, Christmas is coming up (& Thanksgiving for us here in the US, first) -- talk to us about your holiday plans!

Monday, October 20, 2014

No GRL for this Minion...

I'm torn between really sad that I wasn't able to attend GRL this year, and happy because overall I had a good weekend.
just a random little book thing for you.

Of course, I would have been all torn up about stuff if I'd been at GRL -- my favorite favorite band was playing at City Winery Chicago Friday night, and there was HOCKEY Saturday (but then, I wouldn't have been able to afford a hockey game, most likely, and I would have needed a Hockey Buddy so DH wouldn't freak at the idea of me being all alone on the mean streets of Chicago, so I guess it worked out after all...) but doing those would have required me to miss at least a part of a couple of evening things at GRL itself, so...

I *did*, as I said, have a pretty good weekend, though. Friday I volunteered at my boys' school, shelving books in the Media Center (although really, why they can't just call it a library still I do not understand) and discovering old favorites that I want to reread. Later that day my parents got back for the night before heading back home on Saturday. Saturday I helped DH fix his Jeep (it's been out of commission for a week b/c he was having problems with a couple of parts) and then spent the rest of the day herding the kids outside because the weather was perfect -- sunny and in the mid-70s. Sunday, DH went out hunting, which is not my favorite thing, but we've now got a HUGE amount of wild hog to fill our freezer. It tastes just like store-bought, and at current meat prices... Plus DH wants to try his hand at making sausage, which I'm all in favor of. I wonder if we can figure out Italian style sausage; I love to use that in various recipes...

Anyway, all y'all who went to GRL, if you're going to write up a recap, with pictures and whatnot, I'd love to see & read all about it! Leave me links! Let me know who you loved to meet, what was your favorite part, and what you drank at the parties! Was it everything you hoped for? Better? Stranger?

And most importantly...

Did you miss me?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Minion in turmoil

So I think I may have accidentally skipped a Minion Monday blog. And possibly a Fabulous (Fantastic? I can never remember) Friday or two, as well.

I know, I know, it's always hectic in Minion-ville and everywhere else for that matter. I have no excuse. It just seems like the crazy comes in cycles.




Anyway, this week: I have ALMOST finished the star afghan I've been working on since March (or was it February? It's been so long I've lost track). I just have a couple of rows of edging to do. I'm not even sure how many; I decided on a gentle ruffle which requires several rows of consistent increases, so I guess I'll pretty much go till I run out of the navy blue yarn & quit wherever that happens to be.

Also, I used the star pattern from the centers of the afghan squares as a jumping-off point for a really pretty infinity scarf for a friend who's a fan of the Dallas Stars (yes, hockey) -- their colors are green & white, so there are 24 green stars, joined and edged in white. Because of the way I had to offset the stars to join them, the scarf, laid flat, has this lovely sort of undulation to it. But it looks sort of ruffly when it's on, which is kind of cool. I went for a lacy feel when I decided on the edging; not sure if I pulled it off exactly, but it's pretty enough that I wish I wore scarves (& all my kids are wanting their own preferred-color versions of it).

Oh, and I started the next this-is-gonna-take-forEVER afghan this week -- it's an actual pattern, from a magazine, inspired by a wildflower garden. I'm going to have to take some liberties as the recipient requested a queen-sized afghan & this pattern is for a 54" x 60" blanket, but we'll figure it out. And I have some lovely soft charcoal-colored yarn for a scarf for a very dear friend (and ex-boyfriend) who just moved to Denver. So, lots to keep me busy for the next little while. (In fact, here is a link to my Flickr album where I'm posting pics of my crochet projects, both in-progress and as they're finished. If you want you can even explore my other pics; I think everything's pretty well labelled.)

And it's a good thing I have plenty to keep me busy; DH has to do the Reserve thing for an ENTIRE MONTH starting around the 24th of October. So things will be crazy and more than a little tense for a bit. Luckily crochet is kind of meditative for me, so I suspect I will get a LOT done.

On the Cherie-and-reading front, I have been assured that, come January, I will be kept Very Busy Indeed with lots of fun little chores, and I can't wait! I'll need something to do between hockey games! ;) Right now I'm catching up on several things that I have had TBRed fro a long time, because I was going through one of those reading slumps where just nothing seems to work out. You know what I mean. And it was kind of a bummer because it was a lot of stuff I was really excited about -- enough to preorder, which I usually don't do because it throws me off and I forget & sometimes re-buy elsewhere, and not all the pubs actually send you a reminder email when your preorder is ready for download. But as my wishlists are all subtitled "Where Good Intentions Go To Die," I try to preorder anything I'm really super excited about just so it doesn't get lost in the teeming nothingness of Wishlist Hell...



One of those books was Fever Pitch, #2 in Heidi Cullinan's Love Lessons series, and OMG. OMG SO GOOD. I just loved every word of it. I am currently re-reading Love Lessons, just so I can go back and re-read Fever Pitch all over again. And then after I do that, I have to start Amy Lane's Beneath the Stain b/c I finally caved (I was going to wait until it was all done & then buy it as a single novel instead of the serial version, but it turns out I'm not so great at the whole waiting thing). So, now I have six installments of that to read, and I think the seventh is the last one? So I have a week for that.

After that, who knows? My TBR is still ridiculous, so there's no shortage of stuff to choose from, and I probably have a couple more preorders still out there waiting.  And I'm eager to find out what's going to come to me next from Cherie -- your guess is as good as mine!

(P.S. -- If you're going to be at GRL: Currently I'm signed up but don't yet have plane tickets. Some hitches have occurred, specifically things like DH's hospitalization last month and his upcoming Reserve training, which mean that I may not be able to attend. Final decision will be made by Wednesday. Whether I'm there or not, look for Cherie! Give her extra hugs for me!)

Monday, September 22, 2014

ooops...

I forgot it was my week to blog over here. I kind of spent the weekend ignoring my computer completely. I'm trying to wean my family off the electrical umbilicals BEFORE the boys get their school issue iPads.

And I'm thinking about getting one for myself, soonish. Before GRL.

Anyway, many things to do and it's getting late, because 48-ish hours without touching even my phone? Yeah, there's TONS of wading I'm going to have to do online.

Read things! Be happy!


Friday, September 12, 2014

Fantabulous Friday!

I guess it's my week for the fun stuff, huh?

I'm getting all excited for hockey season -- rookie tournaments, training camps, preseason games, then in about 27 days (but who's counting?!) the regular season! Woohoo!

I admit I'd love it if I lived somewhere closer to a place where I could actually *watch* hockey on the regular without having to pay for NHL channels/website access, but hey! & I'd really really love to be able to watch women's hockey... *sigh*

So for today, here's a comic about a gay boy from GA who used to be a figure skater but is now a hockey player at the NCAA level -- the link is for the start of the "official" comic, but the extra material makes the world so much richer & more immersive (but even at that, the "official" comic can serve as sort of a hockey primer if you're not really sure what's going on).

So please, enjoy Bitty, Jack, Shitty, Ransom, Holster, and the rest of the Samwell Hockey Team. :D

Check, Please!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minion is tired...

(Just a little humor to get us started)

So it's been a long couple of weeks -- the people I *know* who read this already know about last weekend and what a mess it was. The good news is: My life goes back to normal today! Well, normal-ish, anyway. I mean, my AC is still broken, my car is making some funny noises, and we can't afford to fix either of those situations, BUT. The kids are all in school, no one is sick or in the hospital, and the rest should be fixable by next week, so. We're good.

On the other hand, I think my kindle has bit the dust: I've been charging it, and... well, you know how they have this little light on the bottom next to the place where you plug the cord in, & the light is orange when it's charging & green when it's fully charged? Well, the light is green. But the screen is just showing a big empty battery & won't budge from that. Which, I mean... I don't exactly *mind*; it's not like I really USE my Kindle that much. I just don't like it, for whatever reason. I'm not really sure I can explain all the reasons, but it just doesn't work for me. I much prefer my Sony (which, sadly, is probably pretty close to being D-E-D dead also, but since they've stopped *making* them I need to find somewhere where I can play with a variety of toys & see if I can find one I like. I tried a nook last time I was at B&N & it didn't quite work for me somehow. I am picky, I know.)

Anyhoo...the primary reason I own two reading devices is that one is mine-all-mine and the other is a combination of I-hate-Amazon's-DRM-but-love-the-freebies, I don't want to buy my sons their own ereaders for at least a couple more years yet but it's convenient to have a couple of ereaders with appropriate books on for when we're stuck waiting somewhere & they run out of things to do, and... well, there are a couple of other reasons. Like, I want to read something *right now* & the pub will email it to my kindle so I don't have to go through the rigmarole of finding cords & hooking up the sony to the laptop & downloading & blah-di-blah. Instant gratification. It's a Thing.

On another, but vaguely related, note:

I've found that several books that I've enjoyed over the last several years are being re-edited and re-released. I'm...not entirely sure how I feel about this, honestly. They seem to vary from "a few minor typos & continuity errors fixed" up to "completely revamped, with 20,000 new words!" and almost all with a new publisher (& sometimes the old publisher is simply not in existence anymore, which means if something happens & I want to redownload, I'm outta luck). But I'm in this position of trying to decide whether it's worth spending my meager book allowance on, essentially, rebuying a book I already own. Many times it comes down to "Did I love this book enough that I'm going to search it out so that I can read it again?" Of course, part of the problem is that when I see a title by an author I love, if it's a re-release, I immediately check to see if I already have the original version. When I do, I want to read it, RIGHT NOW PLEASE, but I also need to decide first if I'm going to want to repurchase & read the newer version -- if I *do* then I probably shouldn't re-read just yet.

It's not like buying yet another copy of Redwall (because between my kids & myself, we've reduced two copies at least to fluttering loose out-of-order pages) or Good Omens (because I lend it out & never get it back, or DH loaned it on his last deployment & lost track of who had it, or I just like to throw a copy in periodically when we donate stuff to care packages going overseas).

I do kind of have something particularly Cherie-related that I'm dying to re-read but can't because it's hopefully going to be seeing new life soonish with a new publisher but I can't remember if that is public knowledge yet or not...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday's Mayhem and Foolishness: A Labor of Love for Labor Day

So...before I take off on my Labor of Love tangent...do you know why Labor day exists? Believe it or not there actually is a reason. I found a cute little explanation of the whys and wherefores of Labor Day right here. Check it out if you want to know why we celebrate the day in September instead of May, and how Grover Cleveland and the Haymarket Riots played a part in influencing our end of summer bash. It's kind of nice to know why we get that first Monday in September off.

Alright, not that that's taken care of... where the heck have I been?
Erm...

I had a fairly serious operation back in April, and by the time I'd recovered enough that I should have been back writing up a storm I had instead fallen and wacked the hell out of my noggin.

Yeah, the old grey mare she ain't what she used to be.
Seriously.

I already suffer from TBI or traumatic brain injury... and this blow to my head sent all the symptoms that had started to fade right back into full effect. So I'm ridiculously forgetful--pretty sure I dropped the ball on a bunch of stuff this summer, but I cannot for the life of me recall what exactly I forgot.

I have to make lists for everything.
Like going to get a cup of coffee from my own kitchen.
One day I tried for almost two hours to get a cup of coffee. I kept forgetting what I was doing every time I got half-way down the hall from living room to kitchen. It would be really funny except I've been letting folks down. Appointments forgotten, blogs not written, stories written out of order. Sheesh.

Thankfully, I've found a willing sacrifice--erm minion/personal assistant willing to work for peanuts and another minion/organizer/keeper of my brain. Between the three of us and my wonderful editor Val I'm hoping to get back on track in the month of September. This past week's trial run has gone pretty well. Except for the stuff I forgot to tell my minders to remind me of.

*facepalm*

Eh, it's a work in progress. Writing is like breathing to me, and far from laborious usually. I have high hopes that with some more rest and time my dodgy brain will start to tick over reasonably again, allowing me to get back to writing at a faster than snail-zone pace.

I'll keep you posted.
This has been Cherie Noel, live from the front lines of my battered brain.

Take care babies. Guard your noggins. Having a battered brain is a bit of crap, so seriously, keep your brains from bouncing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Deep Thoughts (Ish)

Oh, you lucky people, you get a completely random wander through the cobwebby corners of my mind!

I was driving to the Dept of Driver Services (known in most other US States as the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles) to drop off some paperwork for my DH because they're only open Tues-Fri and those are the days he has to work, so...anyway.

I was driving, as one does, and I was thinking about the other errands I had to run (PO for stamps, grocery store for milk) and when I had run out of those I just let my mind wander randomly through things, again, as one does. And it's kind of a mishmash in there -- I tend to click on random links via Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, and I accidentally follow a number of fandoms via Tumblr (srsly. I do not watch Teen Wolf, Supernatural, or Leverage, but they make up about 65% minimum of the non-hockey stuff I see on Tumblr. I don't mind; I'm interested enough to care what happens to the characters but not interested enough to actually watch the shows). And then "I Won't Say I'm in Love," the song from Disney's Hercules, came on my iPod, and a couple of things kind of started slotting together and...

Welp.

Like I said, it's cobwebby and a bit weird in here, and someone else somewhere else has probably said the same things better than my sleep-deprived brain, but...

There are certain things that seem to happen with an almost predictable regularity within the community of romance readers -- someone getting bent out of shape over less-than-stellar reviews, for instance. One of the ones that I notice the most in a direct way is when someone somewhere gets a Holier-than-thou over readers of romance, proceeds to make sweeping statements about us and the authors we love, and generally turns it into the butt of an unspecified but unnecessary number of jokes.

And then I thought about Hercules, and any number of other movies, Disney and otherwise, that really didn't need to have romance in them, and would in fact have been just as good, if not better, had they not taken that direction at all. Does Hercules really need to have a crush on Megara (or her back at him) in order for him to feel like what happened to her was wrong, and she deserves better? Nope, not really... And how many other movies can that apply to? Does Ariel really *have* to marry Eric in order to experience life as a human? Does it all have to be about Twu Wuv?

Is it really fair of us to spoon-feed this idea of romance to children from a young age, then turn around and tell them they're stupid for believing it? We saturate our kids with media presenting certain images of life and behavior and basically tell them "This is what you should be striving for" and then turn around and tell them that those things are wrong or bad or dangerous or stupid. And it's really hard, unless you're a super-fundamentalist who avoids the entire outside world, to *not* expose your kids to some level of this. And even talking frankly and openly about it can only help so much -- if they're getting one thing from you and something different from every single other direction in their lives outside of you, is it going to be enough?

And yet we continue to read and love and champion romance, because in the end, it's about all kinds of love, and humanity is made up of all the different kinds of  love we can gather to ourselves.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Fantabulous Friday

I put up a few of these on FB earlier this week (after stumbling across them on Tumblr) so... hope you enjoy them as much as I do:

Shakespearean Insults Delivered by Cats:


 





I'm sure there are plenty more on the internet; happy hunting!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Minion Monday and... I don't know.

I am Minion, hear me mrowr...

I'm never really sure what to write in here; blogging as Cherie's Minion is this weird cross between sort-of actually about ME and sort-of not really about me at all.

I'm so so JEALOUS of her, right now, though, because...well.

HOCKEY.

I have gotten really into hockey over the last couple of years -- it started during my DH's last deployment, when I was following his favorite team for him, keeping him updated on their standings and scores and whatnot, and it was just... wow. Somehow I got sucked in. And then I started watching interviews -- particularly post-game or off-day locker room interviews. And, ok, I'm shallow enough to admit that part of the appeal of those interviews is that the guys are young and in PRIME shape and many of them have ridiculously attractive faces. But also -- they are in PRIME shape & at the top of their game and just.... I don't know. I think it's kind of like watching big cats, you know? There's something primal and powerful and attractive about it all, like watching an apex predator take down its prey, or something.

Anyway. I *do* have a point and a connection here. I'll have to start by saying DH's team is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they hold a deep and special place in my heart and can never be moved (and I am devastated by some of the trades and firings and whatnot that happened this offseason but I'm trying to focus on some of the stuff that I've heard that make it sound like this could be a Good Thing, please Hockey Gods! and having faith that the changes will work out in the end). But then, I discovered Tumblr. I mean, I had been aware of Tumblr as A Thing before, but then I discovered the Tumblr Hockey Fans, who are just as ridiculous as I am and possibly moreso. And so I came to love more than just my Penguins.

Some of my new hockey loves are individual players, but I also have an unnatural love affair going with the Chicago Blackhawks -- a couple of their offseason trade left me with a bruised heart, too. There is a game on I think the Saturday night of GRL. I wanna go SO BAD you have no idea but will probably not just because money and also it's kind of anti-social to go to something like that and completely skip all the socializing bits and only do the business-y bits. Also I really really wish somehow someone could have managed to get some sort of You Can Play thing going at GRL & maybe get a couple of the players out there to be all supportive because that would have been AWESOME.

Anyway.

Hockey reason why I am insanely jealous of Cherie: Patrick Kane, #88 for the Blackhawks, is from Not Too Far from where she lives. And apparently he's keeping his offseason skills sharp by playing in the local rec leagues. Which would frankly just be icing on the hockey cake for me; like 98% of my jealousy is that she lives somewhere that actually has ice rinks, much less ones that are still going in summer. And she could, if she were so inclined, watch hockey, even baby baby hockey (OMG baby goalies are so freaking ADORABLE. Heck, all kids on skates & in hockey pads at age 5-ish are too cute! but the baby goalies! Melt me, every time) pretty much whenever. SO. I mean, here's me, loving hockey, and able to see, if I'm lucky, one, maybe two college hockey games at the little 4-school, 5 game tournament that happens mid-January every year at the Civic Center in Savannah.

Cherie has made some noises about maybe writing a hockey story one day, once the backlog has cleared out a little. I am therefore trying to start educating her and have a bookmark folder labeled "Hockey for Cherie!" which has as many links that are really mostly for me as it does links for her & I should probably find some way to make that accessible to her, huh, so she can browse it at her leisure?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Can we just all take a few minutes to be VERY PROUD of this young man?


This is Michael Sam, recent NHL draftee (to the Rams) and first professional football player to come out before retirement (even before playing professionally, even). He is accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPN awards ceremony.

I cried, and it looked like there were very few dry eyes in the audience.

VERY PROUD.

And I don't even *like* football.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Let's Talk About...

well, sex, actually...

I've been thinking a lot lately about this (talking about sex, not about actual sex, although, yeah, that, too...I'm only human!) because my daughter is reaching that age -- probably already *at* that age -- where kids are not only thinking about it, but doing it. Also I ran across a great, thoughtful, helpful post that I think I failed to bookmark at Captain Awkward which talked about this topic, specifically, ways and resources for a parent wanting to start a conversation about sex with his teenage daughter, and I followed all the links and wishlisted books, and when my kids get home from my parents' next month, the Girl-child and I are going to have a sit-down and I am *dreading* it like you would not believe.

Which, to me, feels like a major disconnect, because I read romance, and it's not like romance is a strictly G-rated, no-sex-before-marriage deal anymore, even if I *did* cut my romance eyeteeth on the likes of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Betty Neels, where a mere kiss was nearly scandalous.

And so, one of the things that struck me is that, even in the contemporary het romances I still occasionally read (I'm weak, I know...), they never ever talk about sex, really. Maybe a sentence or two about protection, but usually not even that (because, HELLO Secret Baby!). But there's a little -- or a lot -- more discussion in the less heterosexual books I read, particularly as they get more and more away from vanilla sex, and more importantly, unless there's a Big Misunderstanding centered around sex, they talk about it other places, too. Sometimes it's like a book review -- what worked, what didn't, what could be different next time. But there is, at some point in the book, almost always a discussion about the sex.

And the truth is, that's making it SO MUCH EASIER for me to screw together my courage and talk to my daughter -- and eventually, my sons -- about the whole thing.

SO thanks for that, authors!

Monday, June 16, 2014

I just wanna...



Honestly? I kinda want to go to the store and buy ALL THE GLITTERS and make a Glitter Chart.

I've been rereading all the Rescue Twinks stories (because...well... *reasons* *shifts cagily*) and now I just wanna play with glitter.

Sometimes, I think I'm really still like 6 when glitter was the highest honor you could bestow on that Mother's Day card or whatever...

Speaking of glitter crafts, we used to have this cat named Cottlestone who was the most *imperious* little thing ever. Anyway, when my sister was about 5, she was going through a glitter phase in her artwork, and she had these creations all over the front porch. They were still wet when Her Majesty the Cat decided to sit on one. When we pulled the paper away from her backside, she was glittering for a week...

Get the first book, The Counterfeit Claus, for free from All Romance or Smashwords!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday is for News...

It's been a while since I posted truly newsworthy news on a Tuesday, so I'm going to do a little back to the future type review for y'all, okay? Okay. First of all, I have to apologize to all of you sweet babies who take the time to read my blog, or come to check out what's going on with the books, etc, etc. I mentioned once that I've been ill this year--eh, pretty much since mid-December of last year actually. I was an icky-sicky sad sack who did more lying about in a dark room moaning than anything else.

*snorts*

No, really. Well, in April I decided that all that shize needed to come to a screechtastic halt so I could get on with my normal fabulosity. This required taking the old pat and turner mobile (my feet, attached to the rest of my person) in for an extensive tune up. 

Turns out there aren't really viable salvage parts for some of these older model chassis like mine.  Who'da thunk it? Fortunately, I lucked into a great mechanic--er, surgeon, who made it clear I didn't really need the part I was thinking was vital. Kinda like Kaylee did in Mal's flashback to how she joined the crew of the Serenity. Just after she and the prior ship's mechanic get... interrupted by Mal, she fixes Serenity by removing a malfunctioning part that was only gumming up the works. See what you can learn from Firefly? Sometimes you really don't need those extra parts. Especially not when though great and fully functional when you first got your 'ship', they stop working right around the same time the ship stops being all shiny and new. Then, due to poor design, substandard fuel, or what have you, that part gets all gumed up and all of the sudden, the whole damn ship is grounded. Then, until you can either replace the part (not bloody likely with this piece of antiquated gossa) or you can pull the broken part out, rewire and reconfigure around where it used to be, you can't get the whole she-bang sailing again... so, yeah. Long way around the barn to say that's what my doc did. Afterwards, the doc, the one inept nurse in the entire medical team that took care of me up at the VA and I had a convo that went a lot like this:

Bestern (part read by inept nurse): What did you do?
Mal (heh, I get to play Mal): She fixed it.
Kaylee (the genius mechanic--er, I mean surgeon): Well it wasn't really broke.
Mal (yep...never gets old to say, hey, I'm Mal) : How'd you learn how to do that, Miss?
Kaylee (and he was just as cute and earnest as Kaylee too) : Just do it, that's all.

Hold on to your britches. I'm getting to the newsy part. So, I was pretty much like a ship that's dead in the water til I had that surgery, and then it took nearly two months to get everything rewired as it were, and have all systems up and running. 
But,   *HERE'S THE NEWSY PART*  I was still running some systems in the background. And as a result, I can now say I've landed a contract for Tian's Hero with Wilde City Press. Now that is downright shiny. I hope you won't be offended if I don't hang about to celebrate with you all though. I've got something vital to attend to. No, really. 

For now, keep flying and stay shiny. 
Oh. 
And I'll see you in the world.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday's Mayhem and Foolishness: Getting Jiggy with the Real World

So today I had the most amazing breakfast with my best friend. She has this habit of dropping random, short and wise sayings into our conversations. Another friend of mine calls those sayings Bon Mots. I call them Liz-isms. Today's went like this:
Liz: ...no, I work a lot lately. I'm full time at the VA now.
Me: Mmmmm?
Liz: Yeah. Because, you know, the high school.
Me: Was that English? 'Cause I have zero idea what you just said.
Liz: *laughing* I'm full time. To pay for school for the boys. 
Me: Oh, shize. They're all going to private school this year.
Liz: Yep. *she pops the p at the end of the word with an awful lot of enthusiasm for a single mom of five who is sending all of her kids to private school*
Me: Um, okay. 
Liz: So the boys say to me, 'Ma, why you killin' your self? Can't you just chill. We don't need some snotty school if you gotta work so hard to put us there. 
Me: *just listening*
Liz: Yeah. So I say to them, yeah, I do gotta work that many hours. Because... not to put you in some high-brow school, but because I really believe this school will set you up so when you're done, you never have to work a day in your life. 
Me: *kinda stunned silence*
Liz: So the boys just looked at me, til the youngest one says... huh?... and I kinda smile at him. I say. I have been blessed to not work many days in my adult life. See, if you love what you do, then you're never going to work. You're just going to do that thing you love, you feel me?
Me: *stunned and awed* You're a fucking great mom. They got it, huh.
Liz: *kinda smiling* Yeah. Yeah, I think maybe they did.

I have the coolest friends, yes? And that thing she said? Is sooooooo going in one of my stories. Probably the one I'm working on right now. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday!

On the way back to GA via Pittsburgh & my parents' place in SW VA today, but first, a couple of random pictures from the last couple of days:

Baby ducklings in the river (we fed them some bread)


Somebody's dog swimming in the river


A church that sits just down the road from my in-laws' house


Horses. In the fog, At sunset (again, across the street from the in-laws')

More sorta sunset-y. If I had time, I'd see if I couldn't play with it & get the pink more vivid...

Setting aside the reason for the trip, it was a pretty good one...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursay Think Tank--A Letter on Piracy

Dear Readers and Fellow Authors,
I was recently shocked to be confronted with a viewpoint I honestly hadn’t even contemplated before. I tried to make sense of the words that to me seemed to be excusing ebook pirates for stealing my works and actually laying the onus of preventing piracy on me, the author. It seemed to say I was responsible for making my books more readily available *in all formats* around the world, or else the piracy was somehow my fault. To say that I was appalled would be putting it mildly. I want to respond, not to an individual, but to everyone who has taken part in piracy, either as an uploader or as a downloader, as well as to those who would argue for there being any legitimacy in doing so. Because there are other options.

This thing I do, this writing, is my career.  
I am not a hobbyist.

Writing is my job. I put in anywhere from 40-90 hours a week when my health permits, and I work weekends, holidays, long after sane folk have gone to sleep and long before they wake. It’s what I do. I love writing. I love creating new worlds, and honing my craft. I love it right down to my bones, but I still have a bottom line. I still have a family to support. I still have a kidlet who will be going to college in less than three years. Right. So, there I was, flabbergasted by this recitation of all the reasons people pirate when I was hit by the following epiphany and realized I have something to say to the people who pirate, and the people who would try to explain why it is ever an author’s fault when someone steals from them.

Frankly, I don't care why they pirate.

I care that they are stealing from me. One of the points made was that people are afraid to write to authors, that they consider them somehow too important to bother. Before I was an author I wrote to authors. Loads of them. The ones in this m/m genre especially were so kind about writing back.

I don’t think authors are special, not to be approached beings.

You don't know my story, I get that. Here is a quick and dirty version. You don't know about how serving my country led to me having two risky surgeries for spinal cord compression nor how I spent two years recuperating from them. You don't know that during that time when I wrote to those authors to thank them for the free books they'd posted during the first Goodreads m/m romance groups Christmas Stuff my Stocking Anthology, because that book literally saved me from a pretty bleak depression, many of those wonderful authors replied by sending me more free books. Those were real people, reaching out in real time to ease someone else’s way. You don't know that my car was repossessed during that time, or that my daughter and I nearly became homeless and only because my landlady let me pay what I could, when I could did we not end up living in shelters. You couldn't know that. You don't know that during that time we only ate by the grace of a local food pantry.

During that time I never resorted to stealing books.

I even had a friend make copies of ebooks that she tried to give me. I can’t tell you how much I longed for those books. But I waited until I could eke out three dollars here and five dollars there to buy them.

So honestly?

I don't care if someone is poor. There are millions of legit free books out there. I don't care if they don't have a credit card. Again, there are tons of free, LEGITIMATELY FREE books out there, some of which were written by me. Every single time a pirate steals a book of mine they are literally taking food out of my daughter's mouth, stealing away her college fund, and pushing me closer and closer to having to abandon writing altogether so that I can spend my time doing something to earn money that is not so easy to steal with impunity.

Listen up. Pirating has real effects on real people in the real world.

It’s pretty much the same thing as someone stealing into your house and taking from you, stealing your car, or taking money from your bank that was set aside to pay bills. You'd be angry, wouldn’t you? Especially if you’d worked hard to earn those things and even more so if the work was dear to your heart.

Again, writing isn't a hobby for me, it's my job.

Do you get that, person downloading that one free book? Or you, uploader who thinks you’re not hurting anyone real? Or even you, person who defends them tacitly?
Perhaps you're young still, or life hasn’t burdened you with responsibility for someone else’s care.
Perhaps you haven’t had to pay bills or purchase your own food.
Maybe it’s just a case of you thinking everyone who writes and isn’t a New York Times bestseller is just a hobbyist, and that stealing their books doesn’t really hurt them.
Maybe you truly believe that authors owe you free books. I actually heard someone say this to a table full of authors once. After dropping that bombshell, that person waxed poetic about how ebooks were overpriced, and how unfair it was to ask anyone to pay over—I don’t recall what the exact price named was. And this was for books of over 300 pages. Added to that was that no author or publisher should charge over—again I don’t recall the exact number, only that it was ludicrously low—for a book no matter the length. I can tell you that my first thought was that the person in that instance was in essence saying authors should not be paid a living wage.

Wouldn't you be angry?

Think about it this way… Would it be okay with you for someone to tell you that they were going to have you work for hours, days, or months and when payday came around finally, they said, “Well, your work has been devalued because someone found a way to steal the thing that you do.  It really isn't their fault, these pirates. They’re only doing it because what you've done/created is so awesome and it's hard to get where they are…”
Again, I don't care why people steal books. It's just wrong.
There aren't a lot of jobs I can do now. I can't lift over 20 lbs. I can't sit for long periods. Sometimes my legs swell horrendously and I can't stand either. So I write. But…if I can't provide for my kid and myself by writing? I will have to stop. Eh, I'm starting to repeat myself.
Another point about why people pirate was a question about books being available in enough formats. My books are available in all the formats. And more importantly, there are free apps out there for readers to convert their books to other formats if they want. Calibre is a good one. I post things on my web pages that people can read for free there. Or at least I used to. I don't anymore.

I won’t write free books anymore—I can’t

Why?
Because I don't have time. I have to write faster and faster so I can try to make some profit before my work gets stolen. Let me say again that I love writing. Otherwise I'd have given up after the first pirate episode. I’ve been asked how I came by the numbers I shared about how much pirating had cost me on one book? It was in excess of 25k.  Simple. I multiplied the number of downloads (after less than a week of the files being up on the pirate site) by the legit cost and then figured out what my contracted percent would have been. I only did that for a span of less than a week. My sales went from really good for a first publication to less than five books sold in the next quarter. And the book released at the end of a quarter, so it's reasonable to assume without the pirate site a lot more books would have sold.

For me, it’s exhausting, trying to explain my side of this.

I won't waste time or energy talking about this anymore. Thanks to some friends I’ve found a service, Muso, that will help me deal with take down notices with a minimum of fuss and time spent. Other than that, I’ll just do what I have to take care of my family. Sadly that means no more free stories. I just can’t justify the time when pirates steal so much of my profits.

Yes, any justification of pirating upsets and offends me.

No amount of telling me that I should feel bad for the pirates or understand them is going to change the cold, hard fact that they, everyone who uploads, and everyone who downloads stolen books is STEALING. When they are my books it hurts me right away. When they are someone else's it hurts when I lose that author’s future works.

When pirates *uploaders or downloaders* steal, it’s more than a single copy of a book.

They steal authors’ motivation. They steal money from families, they steal children’s futures. They steal books that the authors will never write, because they’ve had to take some soul killing job they hate in order to support themselves and their families. They steal the free reads that authors would have written to give back to their fans, to raise monies for charity, to kick off a new series.
If you love an author’s works? Only read what you can buy of theirs. Ask your local library to acquire a copy of the book. Write to the author. We’re people. There’s not a struggle out there that one of us hasn’t gone through. And seriously, as a group we’ve got some huge fucking hearts. If you’re in a country where you can’t safely buy our books, we’ll probably post something for you online. If buying the ebooks is difficult because of where you live, tell us. We’ll probably find a way to make it easier for you to buy them there. But don’t give yourself the bullshit answer that it’s okay to steal.

Tell it Like it Is Dammit
At least be honest, and say, yep, I’m a thief, and I don’t care. You don’t get to say you’re “sticking it to the man”. That’s crap. You’re taking food from people who may well be poorer than you. That’s the truth. And that’s all I have to say on the matter.


Cherie Noel

Monday, May 19, 2014

taking a (short) sabbatical

I know it's Minion Monday, and honestly I kind of have some stuff on my mind that's pretty cool, but...sorry, guys. Not this Monday.

See, I'm in PA. We drove 16 long hours (give or take several stops) up here from GA with the three kids in hopes that the hubby would have a chance to  say goodbye to his mom. She's been having a lot of health issues and she's  no longer responding to treatment, so...it's time. It's currently that murky midnight time between late-late Sunday and the wee smas of Monday morning. I have the kids in bed in the hospitality house & DH is at the hospital.

This place does not have WiFi so I'm typing this on my phone. It's the kids' last week of school, so they're missing that. And...well, it's just kind of a mess. So until next time... just hug your loved ones tight, ok?

*blows kisses*

Saturday, May 17, 2014

HAHAT 2014: Writing what I want to be. Being what I want to see.

Be sure to leave a comment  below, as one lucky winner (drawn by random name out of the sorting cup method) will win a $10 gift card to their choice of B&N, Amazon, or ARe, (these are booksellers), and a print edition of  the Lost and Found anthology. LEAVE ME A WAY TO CONTACT YOU OR THE PRIZE GOES TO THE NEXT NAME MY KIDLET DRAWS OUT...
Have fun on the hop. Visit places you'd normally not go. Approach strange things (to you) with an eager mind, ready to learn about someone else's reality. That's how homophobia and transphobia really end. When we all *see* one another.

Also, don't forget to check out the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia page.
To write you look deep inside, to write well you just look around…

Two dear friends of mine, Randy and Brent, wrote those lyrics. I don’t know at this point which one actually penned the lines that still resonate in my soul. I repeat those words to myself often as I write the stories I now write more frequently than the songs I too penned when we all played in smoky little rooms in San Francisco. I still love music, but lately I’ve found a deeper love.
What's that, you ask?
M/M romance. 
See, I adore writing about people of any ilk falling in love, and I especially like to write stories where I can take all the things that are wrong in the world and fix them. There are a lot of odds stacked against those who fit in to the alphabet soup of LGBT-QUILTBAG. I don't even know what everyone of those letters stands for. Eh, mostly because I've forgotten due to a brain injury, but that's another story. For now let's focus on the fact that people fall all over the spectrum of sexuality and gender, and there is no ought to should be that really means anything. 
Look around. You'll see it. And just as quickly you'll see someone who is scared of people being different than them, and chooses to express that in hate. It gives me instant high blood pressure. Cause hey, those people getting hassled? Their my friends. My loved ones. Sometimes it's me. But I have a mighty weapon at my disposal. A pen. 
Yeah, it’s pretty damn therapeutic to take someone who was a complete shit to me in real life, put them in my shoes after they, as the character have been so nasty that you, the reader are ready to write them off. And then I make magic. I let them grow, let them transcend the squashed ugliness of their hate and fear… and they become beautiful.
Pretty Pollyanna of me, I know.
But I have my reasons.
I’d love to live, and have my daughter live in a world where that was commonplace. Where people so routinely got over their prejudices, their small mindedness and fear that we would only find it strange to meet a person who was unable or unwilling to do so. Hell yes, sign me up for that world.
Oh, I get that I can change me, and perhaps be a positive influence on a little piece of the planet, right? Yeah. So I try. I put in the hours. I walk the walk. Sometimes I get burned—sometimes we all get burned. That’s just the way this messy world works. But in my writing, both the published books and the works in progress?
Marriage Equality is already nationally recognized.
People look to the quality of a person’s character rather than the gender of their significant other.   
Men and women are equal. Different, yes, but equal in stature as far as what they can achieve in the world.
Children are loved for who they are, not who their parents think they should be.
And oh, best of all, love flourishes.

The world is hard, and dirty, and mean sometimes. But it’s also full of kindnesses, and acts of love. When I started writing I thought all my characters came from, I dunno, the ether, or some magical recess of my own psyche. But then, just like in Randy and Brent’s song, I started to realize the best characters, the one’s I loved like real people, the stories that shook me right down to my soul, were the ones that came from writing what I saw around me, but letting things come to the most positive conclusions.  
Now I like to look around, tease out the best in people, the best in the way they love and care for friends, family, and strangers. I write that into being on a grander scale than I see in everyday life, because if I can imaging it, couldn’t someone else live it one day? Maybe if I dream it hard enough one day the world can be what I want.
What, you may ask, do I want?
I want a country, indeed a whole world where any parent, when confronted with a child who is baffled and upset because their insides don’t match their outsides would never question what to do. Where the immediate response would be all about making that child comfortable. And perhaps, one day a world where inside/outside didn’t matter, because we wouldn’t be hung up on what either one was supposed to mean. I want a world where there is neither fear nor shame in being other than straight, a world where acceptance is the norm, and the shape of one’s character is the only measure taken of a person.

For now, as we struggle and toil toward that goal, as we blog to raise awareness and march to show solidarity, I’ll keep writing, pointing my words and characters toward those days. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday: First Post-Op Mayhem & Foolishness

As some of you may or may not know, this past Monday I had surgery. It was a biggie. Three days in the hospital, took out my uterus and one ovary, I have more stitches than a doggone crazy quilt kind of surgery.

*I promise  not to get any more graphically descriptive than that.*

In fact, the surgery was a bit bigger than my surgeon and I had anticipated. We did the whole worst case scenario, if this then this song and dance before I went under the anesthesia. We were kinda sorta planning on having to do an abdominal incision, but figured we could get away with the bikini line type one like they give most cesarean section patients these days... Yeah, no. Everything was so wack-a-doodle it needed to be an up and down incision... oh darn. There I go with the descriptors.

*sorry*

So, that was the mayhem part, okay? The foolishness? Was that until the surgeon and his PA took out the four large grapefruit sized fibroids (only one of which I realized I had) I didn't realize how much pain I was in each and every day.

Pain can creep up on us, ease in millimeter by millimeter, and then before you know it you're acclimating, growing accustomed to never feeling quite as well as you should...

And that?

Is pure foolishness. I'm sore from the surgery, sure. I'm frustrated with the slowness of my steps, all the things I can't do right now... but I am immensely grateful to my surgeon, PA, and the OR staff who cared for me.

Thanks guys, for getting me back on the path to fully optimized health.

I'll be back at it in a jiffy, kicking *character* ass and taking *creating* names. Get ready. Strap yourselves in, babies. As soon as I finish healing up a bit I'm gonna do something I'd almost forgotten how to do. I'm pushing the red button and putting the afterburners on.

Heh.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Newsday

I have a lot of news to share today, so let's get right to it, shall we?

Okay, first of all, I got the rights back to all my stories from Silver Publishing. What this means is that all those stories are currently seeking new homes. Which is fine, because they can definitely find them. I don't want any of you to worry though, if you were planning on buying one of the stories or wanted to get the next in the series... the great news, now that I have the rights back, is that I'll be continuing the Akanti series asap, as well as the series I'm co-writing with Vicktor Alexander, The Tonawanda Faery Tales. Sooooo, win/win.

I'm up to my ears in writing and editing this week, so my posts will be brief. Don't worry. I'm hard at work creating some delicious stories for you.

Next week I'm having fairly major surgery, so I may not be around on the interwebs for a week or three. We'll see how I feel. :)

Okay, that's it for now. My lovely and talented minion, Tracy, will keep you posted when I can't.

Muah!
Have a super day, babies.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Autism Blog Hop: Ch-ch-ch-changes




Topic: Difficulties with transition can lead to social isolation, mental health problems & continued dependence on parents Parents of young people with autism have described transition to adulthood like falling off a cliff-edge.

Point of interest... there is a prize/giveaway here. Just comment in the comments section about how this may or may not apply to your life, and if you know someone with autism. Or think you might. At the end of the month I'll pick one lucky winner to receive their choice of one book from my backlist, and another to receive a ten dollar gift card to either Amazon, or ARe.







Well. Imagine it like this. You go to help out a friend. She’s gotten mandated at work and won’t be home in time to get her kids ready for the bus. Not a big deal as you share a house. But one of her kids, a sweet little guy whom you secretly like best, freaks out when you try to help him put his tennis shoes on. Not a tantrum, there’s no I wanna get my way bull. No. His beautiful brown eyes are straining wide open, his breaths coming in gasps. He’s rocking in place and won’t answer when you try to ask what’s wrong. His twin is dressed, shoes on, waiting eagerly at the door for the big yellow bus to take him away to school.

Not this little guy. He’s keening low in his throat, and when you touch his arm to pat him the way that always soothes your daughter, he sort of shrieks and crawls into an impossibly small space under the end table.

What happened?

You offered him the right shoe first. They were the Nike’s and he only wears the Converse to school. You didn’t sing the cleanup song while you were putting the breakfast dishes in the sink, or maybe it’s just that he’s never practiced doing these things with you instead of his mom. He’s got ASD *autism spectrum disorder*, and you’ve just knocked him down the emotional equivalent of a steep flight of stairs.

Transition is hard for everyone on some levels, but for kids and adults with autism it can be debilitating. We all get that it would be wrong to ask a blind person to traverse a city block by themselves without preparing them first… well, imagine that the autistic person is blind too, but instead of being physically blind they suffer from a very specific type of emotional blindness. Asking them to make changes, big or small without adequate preparation—and the amount and type required will differ from person to person—is akin to tossing a blind person who has never been taught to use a guide dog or a cane out of your car at a random intersection in a foreign city and expecting them to be fine. The very thought is incomprehensible. It should be just as incomprehensible to fail to give those who deal daily with the challenges of ASD adequate preparation for changes.

You may work with, teach, go to school with, or even be the parent of someone with ASD. Educating yourself about ways to make your interactions easier for the person with ASD will benefit you both in the short and long term. Especially important for teachers, parents, and mentors is making sure you give yourself and your ASD child time enough to make the transition to adulthood as seamlessly as possible.

Here are some resources you can utilize to educate yourself and get started on your journey to successfully navigating the challenges you face:


http://www.autism.org.uk/living-with-autism/understanding-behaviour/change-preparing-a-person-with-an-autism-spectrum-disorder-for-change.aspx


http://www.autismconsortium.org/families/transitioning-to-adulthood

For a wealth of related blogs on Autism go to the website of the incomparable Rj Scott!

AUTISM AWARENESS BLOG HOP: hosted by Rj Scott

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fabulous Friday

Songs & videos that make me happy:


The Friendship Song by Carbon Leaf from the soundtrack for Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey (actually, kind of a cute movie & chock full of CL songs).



Mairi's Wedding by the High Kings -- not my favorite version of the song; I have a higher-energy version I like better, but still, a good song & the voices of these guys make up for it.


 Tell Me Ma by Gaelic Storm


ALB is a lovely lovely lady with some great stuff to say!

What makes you happy today?