Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Richard III Continued

As we continue waiting for DNA testing confirmation of the identity of the skeleton in the carpark - another skeleton was found as well.  A woman.  Nobody is postulating this one might instead be the reviled king ...

A tomb has also been under contention - if these bones are the king's, they're going to be so popular.  and it's Leicester Cathedral for the win, y'all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Monk - A Romance

The habit of dipping into Project Gutenberg might seem to some a dry one - so many people have a tendency to think public domain books, being old, must be dusty.

Somehow or other - I think it may have been a few months back after a discussion of 19th century literature online, in which Louisa May Alcott's darker works came up, I found myself bumping around Wikipedia (this is not a pastime for which I feel the currently-vogue requisite shame to indulge; though I know Wiki drives some people to seething snobbery, I rather enjoy its brevity, and have MANY times found its links and resources to be extremely useful), and found something or other about a 1790 novel called The Monk.

Having finished it a few days ago, I'm still doing a bit of gobsmacked blinking.  And not just because it revealed to me the shocker that my generation didn't invent sex, perversion, rape, nor even naughty priests.  No, the thing that strikes me most about this Guignol of sensationalistic plot and pretty stunningly explicit voyeurism is its psychology.

The female characters are, of course, by and large ignored except as vessels to catch and, indeed, runneth over with The Male Gaze.  Toward the end we see a nice bit of exception to this, where a passage is dedicated entirely to a woman's plight - but, of course, even 222 years ago, only in a plight is a female character of interest.  So we have The Woman In Peril to go with that Gaze business - but feminist diatribe is not the point of this post.  The thing was written by a twenty year old man in 1790:  of COURSE he was interested in fantasizing about girls.

Looking, though, at the minds of the men in The Monk, the acuteness of the author's observation is deep and seriously considered.  Flashy as this thing gets - and it gets astoundingly sensational - when the author delves into the mind, the result is very persuasive.  This is exceptionally so in the case of the title character, Ambrosio, whom it's no spoiler really to reveal as the villain of the piece.

What rings truest, and most frightening, in these passages - the thoughts of, the reactions of, this monk - is the combination of perfect self-awareness and utter heedlessness.  Ambrosio moves from a position of purity by default - he is sinless because he has been hermetically sealed off from "The World" - the source of temptations - into willful debauchery at top speed.  The voluptuousness both of his seduction AND of his guilt are starkly, clearly delineated.  His awareness of his guilt never flags, never interferes with his desire, even as the remainder of religion in his faith still fights to squeeze through loopholes and avoid reckoning and punishment.

In the world of 2012, of course, these things read with almost excessive identifiability.  This was my reading at a time when Sandusky was found guilty of his crimes, and the political undertones in a novel condemning, not faith, but many aspects (not, oddly enough perhaps, all) of the Catholic religion might have unsubtle resonance for many of us reading today.  Even a scene of almost-justice become street riot contains such modernity it's sickeningly recognizable.

Reading The Monk was a moment's lark turned into a bit of exploration, some admitted prurience, and finally a page-turning quest to see what this author would do next.  I have to say, I'd recommend it to anyone looking for their next open-minded read.  But be warned - the view inside the mind of a determined rapist doesn't lack for giddy shock.


Yesterday, cleaning house, I went to tuck a photo into a book.

The picture is one of my dad, receiving from the rest of us a massive box of books - the set by Will an Ariel Durant, on the history of the world.  Even today, it's a good set, and dad had this odd idea, oh, must've been twelve years ago now - he wanted to read these books.  When you're diagnosed with a terminal disease, back-of-the-mind books you've wanted, and BMW Z3 convertibles, have a way of moving forward.
The photo shows him, box on lap, one book in hand, glasses on, a wide smile of surprised pleasure welling up from him.  He'd never imagined his little girl would go on a website her college creative writing professor had told her about, Bibliofind, and find a set in good condition, and that the family would order them for him.

He made it about to the Renaissance, if I recall.  Not a poor showing given something less than two years' reading and a stack of books so thick a standard Hammermill paper box scarcely contained the whole.

When I opened the book to tuck the photo back in (it was the blessed only disarrangement suffered in a bit of a bashing by the puppy), inside the cover were some sheets of yellow tablet paper.  Paging through them, they turned out to be blank.

But the post-it note behind them wasn't.

"If I believe in God, I have difficulty.  If I believe in no God, I have more difficulties."  --Judah Nodiah.

Count on dad to include the credit.

Today I haven't gone to Church, but this was the top post on my Blogger dashboard.  It made me think - I'm so selfish.  I worry less about my seeing G-d than about G-d's seeing me.

Wikimedia curves

For more about the world-blind habit of curvatus en se human thinking - ponder the question, "Does a bear poop in the woods?" or its selfish corollary, the one about trees falling when no person is around to hear them ...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Pup (and Kit) Time

Today was the first normal (half-day) Friday since Penelope came home, and I was excited, looking forward to really getting to just relax with her.  It was on my mind to stop at the Mediterranean Bakery and bring home a weekend's worth of pita, hummus, couscous, and stuffed grape leaves (*drool*) - but I didn't count on today's being a holiday.  Darn!  But good for them for taking the day.

Coming home, I hear from my mom (from The Dog Whisperer) that one way to reduce some of the more florid symptoms of canine separation anxiety is to make the moment of \homecoming as neutral as possible.  This makes sense to me, so I've been trying to just shuttle her out the door to head off as much of the "YOU'RE HOME YAY" pee as possible.  Today I put her out, went upstairs, bonded with Gossamer a while (damn, that cat is unbelievably cute), got into some comfy clothes, and came outside to bond with Penelope a while (damn, that dog is unbelievably cute).

For a while, I sat fairly calmly while her wig-level subsided, then we got to be all huggy and affectionate, and that was so nice.  After a while, she needed a scratch and a lick, so she went in the grass and we just had (as my neighbor and I tend to call it when our dogs are done interacting) parallel play for a little while.

Penelope has given me reason to suspect she's not the Runaway Dog my late, beloved Sid-Oh-Knee was, and I decided to try an experiment.  In the wee hours of the morning, I'd taken her out for a pee, and she was a Very Good Girl off-leash - so today, after she was wrestling with the lead for a minute, I decided to let her free, and she was REALLY good.  Didn't even think about leaving the yard for a while - we had a great, violent game of frisbee-and-growling, which was so fun.  By the time she did want to wander, I discovered it's pretty easy to get her to come back.  And she got out just now, went for the front yard, and ... when I called her, she came to me.  Sure, it was like the third time.  But Siddy sure wouldn't have!  She used to buzz me for fun.  That girl could run.

So can Penny, to be sure.  *Grin*  But she runs back to me.

Bonding with her was really wonderful.  Quiet.  Lovable.  Growly and loud.  So reassuring, for us both I hope.  I think so.

She got treats when we came in, and this evening I've spent some time erecting her crate (she went right in it; I need to get her some new toys for in there, and probably more than one more blanket now!), discarding that sisal rug she and the cat have both expressed their anxieties on, mopping the floor in that room ... picking up the poop she left on the freshly mopped floor ...

G-d love a dog.  Bless her puppy-Basenji-butt.

I'm told that, indeed, crating DOES help to curb indoor elimination.  Certainly it will be good for my mail, and every cushion in the house!  For now, she's flumped down beside me, the laundry is churning, the floor is drying, and the windows are all open to air out the house (again ...).  Tomorrow, finally, a house-cleaning I can hope will not be reversed in less than a day by rampant doodoo and shredding-of-everything.  I might even get uppity, confident, and ambitious, and bring up The Big Rug from the basement.  The weather is cooling ...

Today my heart swelled with what a great blessing my animals are ... and such hope that I can ever hope to be as good as these two deserve.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Interview: Alec Shane

Today is the day!  I emailed the questions to literary agent Alec Shane of Writers House last night, and today I found a shiny new interview in my Inbox.  Everybody - please enjoy ...

DLM:  Before you became a literary agent, you spent some time in Hollywood as an assistant, a martial arts coach, a production assistant, and a stunt man.  What was the moment you decided to leave the West Coast - or did you decide to *come* to the East Coast?

AS:  My time on the West Coast was never a permanent move; I’ve just always been a big proponent of doing as much as you possibly can while you still have the opportunity to do so. Life is all about collecting experiences and having some great stories to tell your grandkids, and that’s mainly what my trip out West was about. When I felt my time in LA had run its course, I came back East, as this is where I’m from originally.

DLM:  Was it really their great-looking building that brought you to Writers House?

AS:  Pretty much. When I first started looking for a job in publishing, I didn’t know anything about the industry. I just kind of started researching based on some of my favorite books, and I eventually found my way to Writers House. It looked exactly how I would expect a literary agency to look, and combined with their wonderful client list and even more wonderful people, it was an easy decision. From the moment I first walked in the door, this is where I knew I wanted to be.

DLM:  It looks like your entire publishing career has been with Writers House, starting as an intern four years ago.  Would you give us a look at the arc you have had there, and what it takes to become an agent?

AS:  I have been very lucky to have Writers House as my first and only publishing job. Like pretty much everything in life, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time, and there just happened to be an assistant position available as I was completing my internship. I interviewed with Jodi Reamer, and I was offered the job. The rest is history, as they say. As for what it takes to become an agent – ask me that question again in about 30 years. I may possibly have an answer for you then.

DLM:  Now that you’re actively building your own list, what genres or topics do you most want to see?

AS:  I grew up on Stephen King, and so I’m a huge horror fan. I also love mysteries, thrillers, and all things sports. On the nonfiction side, I’m always reading interesting biographies or books that look at well-known historical events from a completely different angle. At the end of the day, though, as long as you can make me miss my subway stop or keep me up all night reading – or too scared to turn off the light - I’m yours.

DLM:  Are there stories or subjects you definitely do not want to represent?

AS:  “Definitely” is a strong word; like I said before, if I love the story, then I’m open to it. In general, though, I’m not much of a romance guy. I also don’t really like to read about people with problems that 99% of the world would absolutely kill to have.

DLM:  Aspiring authors have a morass of sometimes-contradictory advice and unwritten rules to navigate in creating queries - some agents insist on having a word count, for instance, while others hate seeing such administrivia.  In terms of content, are there any must-haves or deal-breaking elements to avoid for someone who would like to query you?

AS:  No real deal-breakers, no. But I would advise, for querying me and for your career in general, to know the difference between “breathe” and “breath.” That’s like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

DLM:  What advice or parting thoughts would you like to share with readers - not only aspiring authors, but lovers of literature, history and Trek nerds, or possibly even stunt men wannabes?

AS:  If you don’t love what you are doing, then you need to find something else to do. Life is way too short to be unhappy.

Fresh Canine Hell

The idea of adopting an adult dog not having panned out precisely, I've been learning the optimism of canine foster moms ("almost there" with housebreaking) and the brave, entirely new world of a dog with some anxiety issues.  As a kid, the dogs in our family were (a) outside and (b) perfectly trained.  "B" happens to have been a little cocker-poo named Lucy, and she got walked almost constantly.  Learning to go outside for "tee-tee" was a matter of pretty short order for that girl, and I got a lot of exercise squiring her around.  Cute puppies and fourteen-year-old girls make a good combination, house-training-wise.

I haven't been a 14-year-old girl in thirty years now.  And I'm not home as many hours, to walk my Penelope.  So every day when I come home, there is elimination somewhere.  I'd often see it on (or at least near) the puppy pads - but this week, that seems to be on the wane.  Today, indeed, I came home to find her newest obsession.

She shreds mail.  So far, the major piece of that of any importance (well, that I know about/can identify) is my bank statement.  But cleaning up after The ValPak Incident yesterday wasn't a stack of giggles.  She also goes for innocent pillows.  For most of this week, every pillow and loose cushion in the house has been in my bedroom.  This sets my teeth on edge; I may not be perpetually clean, but *tidiness* is a minimum value for me usually.

Today's special, though - was so special.  Pen shredded her puppy pads.  For anyone who doesn't know what these are, they're the training option of choice these days - think, big square mini-pad - an absorbent, plastic-backed guard for your floors or carpets.

The good news is, she had not USED them before gnawing them to flinders across house and home.

The bad news is - her crate is still poking around in Tennessee, based on eBay's tracking widget.

Tonight, we took a really good walk (she is training on her leash SUPER well, and very quickly).  In celebration, she came inside, harassed the cat a little, enjoyed a treat for being such a Good Girl - and pooped in my somewhat disused office.

She's been peeing in there rather a lot, too.

It's a good thing a 5' x 8' sisal rug is about $40.

*Le Sigh*

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today Was My Weekend ...

... and I had this idea I would use it to some sort of purpose - but, apart from thinking of interview questions and a little less than substantive blogging, I've actually relaxed and done close to nothing.  Woke up with a pretty acute headache, and had no real chores to manage or errands to run, so I've stayed close to home, taken care of the babies, and kept work to a minimum.  Perfect way to do it, if you don't really have a weekend at your disposal!

I'm not sending my query yet, because I think I want to get the interview questions off close to the same time as the partial, though under separate covers.  There *is* a nice stack of new queries to research, one out at the moment, and some previously-queried agents I want to re-research and maybe look back at my email archives to remember more clearly.  There were several in there I think it's worth hitting up again.

It's getting late, so time to shut down soon and go upstairs for bed.  The work week will be three and a half days, but fortunately the bosses are both doing conferences themselves for a portion of that.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping to be able to set my own priorities; after that, we'll see.  I'm sure there'll be fire drills to manage, though.  Here's hoping I'm ready!


Stay tuned for the interview with Alec Shane, agent with Writers House!  I'm working out my questions and hope to publish soon.


Every year, I get a little less frothy about MEETING AGENTS at the JRW conference, but every year it's easy to watch other attendees who are almost in awe just being in the presence of anyone they think might "make" them.  Everyone is so lovely, but the more I watch the more I see how deeply generous agents kind of have to be, in the quasi-magical world of publishing.  These people love to read in a pretty rare way - and the discipline it must require to parlay that into a career, in which some days must be spent enduring page after page after query after hope of hopeless writing, or writing at least mismatched to their catalogues, kind of floors me.  To love something enough to endure really bad writing on a not at all infrequent dosage schedule - to love it enough to encounter GOOD writing, and have to say no - to love it enough to immerse their whole lives in reading, to a proportion most of us don't even dream of indulging - that's a pretty massive saturation.

And they do this because they want to make dreams come true.  They want to sell, they want to advocate.

One of the things I find in common, among many of the agents I have met or just seen, is a kind of pained expansiveness.  These are people who have to make a living rejecting dreams - just so they can fulfill a few.  Saying no to excruciatingly formed personal memoirs, saying no to good writing when it's not the right time, or it's not the right fit, saying no to *people* they like, whose work just isn't quite ready.  Saying no just because this week yes has already been said to its limit.

There are poker faces and almost overly kind faces, but even if only for a moment, it's not unusual to see an agent express at least just a moment of the conflict this expedient requires.

Catacombs (Do Your Own Puns)

Oh to live in The Eternal City, where discovering history under your apartment is a bore.  So let the cats do the archeaology, and the foreign press get breathless and punny about it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Take the Con '12

This year, the Conference saw a lot of changes, and maintained some reassuring familiarity.  As to the latter, as David Sterry said, "This is the best organized conference in the United States!"  We all owe Kristi a massive debt of joyous gratitude.

The "bite" streak continues on my in-person pitches; every time I do one I get one level or another of request for query, partial, or full MSS.  This year I heard a lot of "wow, he is a tough one, his asking you for a partial is huge!" - but the fact is, I heard that a lot last year regarding the woman who requested my full ... and then never contacted me once she had it, either for a rejection or a deal.  Fine by me, she was a longer shot even than this agent, but still I find that unprofessional.  So I'm trying not to go wild with glee.

But then, this guy also agreed to let me interview him RIGHT HERE on my blog - and his preferences and profile as an agent are almost un-Google-able.  The agent is Alec Shane.  He's with Writers House, he's had a fascinating career of his own (easily Google-able!), he's slightly less terrifyingly young than some of the agents look to this old broad.

The main question he asked me during my pitch session was reassuring, though it unnerved me for a moment.  He asked me "how long have you been working on this" (a question I find so hard to deal with in the age of NaNoWriMo and ever-shorter news cycles and instant gratification).  I started A&V seven years ago - but Alec said, when I answered him honestly, "I don't think historical fiction that takes less than five years is really finished."

I was grateful for that.  And for letting me reach out to you again - both with the partial and for an interview.

So much came out of the Conference, but if it's worth specifics on everything it'll have to wait for another day.  I am exhausted (and glad I took tomorrow off).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wiz(ard)om From My Ex

Quote of the day:

I'm so old, if this were the middle ages, I'd be a wizard.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Observation From X


X:  Cricket is cute and looks like there's some personality there, but Penelope definitely reminds me of Sid.  If that's a good thing, I think you have a winner right there... assuming Goss can deal with it!

D:  The pics mom got of P are way cuter even than the ones online, but that middle one of her really Sids me out.  I don’t know if it’s stupid of me to chase the similarities, but they *are* there and (though I really think not because of that per se) she was the first dog I had any actual feeling for.  The things I liked actually were the differences - instead of that groove down the middle of her skull, Penelope has a bit of a lump right there (hee).  Her ears are completely unlike Sid’s, but so funny and cute.  As I said at the stands “I don’t seem to adopt dogs, I adopt ears.”  And her coat is all one pretty color, no white, no spots - and the tail is SO different - super curly.  She’s a goofy looking kid, this puppy, but pretty cute.  And still pick-up-able, even.  Though that will NOT last long.  She’s not a scoop like the Goss man.

X:  I don't think there is anything wrong with seeing or wanting something of Sid in a new dog. If anything it probably just shows consistency in what you are looking for.
You do like the dogs that are a workout for you size-wise!

D:  Hee - Penelope was clearly a little bit of a tugger, but they always have collars rather than harnesses on at these events, and I swear ALL dogs tug when not wearing a harness it seems like.  Of course, Penelope isn’t big enough to have serious effect when she tugs me, but it was certainly familiar.  As was the “I’ma wrap myself around your ankles and calves three times!” maneuver ...  :)

X:  She (or a dog like her) a tugger, is what you need. I think you actually, on some level, liked Sid having the physical power to be difficult. Like the fact that she was strong but still loved you and needed you so much. “I scareda thunder Mom!”

D:  Hee.  I never thought about that, but there may be a certain personality there, yeah.  I got the call today from the rescue itself, the application apparently is fine.  I didn’t ask about how many people may have applied for either one of these dogs, but the foster moms for each one are supposed to call me.

First Night

Nope, not going to post about the (myth of) primae noctis.  It's more about the dog!  She is a good girl, was well behaved yesterday and adjusting nicely.  I folded up Siddy's super soft blanket under my nice big end table and she's nesting there in a sort of small substitute for her crate.

I haven't got a crate yet, but knowing she's been training in one, I tried to create as nice a substitute as I could last night.  I put the blanket and her toys and even the old ham bone (she's liking that a lot) in my small office room, put up the baby gate, an went up to bed.

Well, we're never doing THAT again.  She was just traumatized.  Hated it.  It was heartwrenching to hear, and I decided I couldn't do it.  I went to the basement and retrieved Sid's upstairs bed (a lightweight but large old ottoman - the one she died on actually), got a clean dog-towel for it, set it up, and brought her upstairs.  Instantly clear this was the way I should have gone in the first place.  She never even looked twice at my bed, never tried to get up with me.  Curled up and was peaceful the rest of the night.  A perfect, well-behaved, safe and happy angel.

Of course, some part of the trauma of her would-be pen last night might be separation anxiety, and I'm sensitive to that and hope to make sure she's okay.  And, I mean - TOMORROW begins her first day of my being gone for eleven hours or so.  Oiks.

But so far, apart from some posturing and growling from both of the four-legged parties, really so good.  They're going to get there, as soon as Penelope realizes the little mouse and bird toys aren't hers, and they're both more accustomed to this deal.  As it is, they're still largely quiet, and no physical spats at all.  So I'm grateful and lucky.

Later on, I will leave them alone at least for a little bit.  Still have to get groceries!  And we'll have some walkies and fun, little exploring just me and the Pennybaby.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


There's been some interest in what kind of mix Penelope is.  I'm beginning to think she might have some Basenji - her short coat, her short nose, her REALLY curly tail ...  She does bark, and seems to be fine with the cat, but some of her characteristics might be from say a strain of the Basenji line.

Image:  Knoji.com

Home, Sweety Home

Pen is here.  Goss is following her, but not all that closely - and I do believe Penelope is afraid to (literally) cross her.  Not slavering in fear, but I sense a submission there to the previous pet.  Goss has hissed, and had his tail up, but his claws are not out when I pick him up and he's not struggling either.  They're actually pretty quiet in relation to each other.

Penelope's had a long day already; she fell asleep in the store while her tag was being laser engraved.  She got a little wetly excited going away from her handler and being in my car, but she's also already been a good girl in the yard, too.  She's listening to "sit" and "down" very nicely, and may understand "back" too.

I'm staying low key and paying attention to all and sundry so there are no more anxieties than the strange situation brings.  The house is silent but for keystrokes on the laptop.

Penelope's home.


The housecleaning is almost done, and it'll be time for a bath pretty soon!  In two hours, I'll be adopting Pen, and she'll be home tonight.  I've had a little "pre-wedding jitters" - worrying I won't be the best mom for her, soberness in the face of taking the commitment for a little sweetheart's life - but the light of day often cures the frets of wee-hours insomnia.

... and such light we have today.  It's the kind of day my dad always greeted with a deep intake of breath, and either the joyous description of "glorious!" or "dazzling."  Actually, glorious was probably more his word.  But *I* think it's pretty dazzling.  That lightly cool, clear, bright and beautiful October gorgeousness this region produces in the most special, verdant, rich and fire-limned way.

It is a fine day to bring home a new girl.


Ten years ago this month, I welcomed Siddy to this house, to my hearth, to *her* home.  She had a certain canine elegance; she was a beautiful, funny, deeply soft girl.  Penelope has such juvenile *cuteness* - such wonderful goofy ears, such a bouncy-jouncy tail.

But both of them have a "soulful" gaze - the number of people who've said that to me, in separate contexts, does strike me.   Everyone who knew her sees Siddy in Penelope's big brown eyes.

I miss my old baby girl.

I'm excited to fall in love with the new liddle-liddle pup.
Open letter to That One Commentor - I remember her, but haven't "seen" her in a long time.  We don't associate anymore so I won't publish your question.  But toss me your email, I've missed you m'dear!

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Wanna New Dog - One That Don't Make Me Sick

Yeah, dogs never do make me sick.  But I *have* (ugh) had Huey Lewis running through my head for a while.


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Secrets of the Viking Sword - I may not be up for useful, interesting, nor witty-in-my-own-mind commentary, but y'all know:  I am geeking.  Good show!

Like you didn't know - from PBS, of course!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Historical Replica: The Kingis Crown of Gold

The recreation of history seems to fascinate a lot of us; I know it gets my attention every time.  Today's special is Here is the article.  Here is the video, from The Guardian:

What Dreams May Come ...

I shared my dorky fantasy at Historical Fiction Online, and got this in response:

Originally Posted by DianeL  
My great fantasy as a writer is that my work will be the dusty book some kid picks up out of boredom when he's spending a summer at some horrid old great aunt's house with nothing to do. I know the dread condition of juvenile boredom has been electronically outlawed and (theoretically) obliterated by the implantation of gaming systems into every single child's hands 24/7 since the 1990s ... but all the better for *dreaming* ...  

Originally Posted by LoveHistory
The setting: post-apocalypse. The time: 2500 AD (or CE if you want to get PC). The scene: an attic in an Indiana farmhouse.
A young boy (or girl, doesn't matter which really) is rummaging through poly-carbon storage cubes in an attempt to find something to do. Numerous small rectangular devices which no longer work in a world sans-electricity have been discarded after use as target practice. At the bottom of one cube is a rectangle of paper and ink. An ancient amusement device of unknown origin. Flipping open the archaic cover flap, the child reads the following words: this book is a work of fiction. A book! Granny used to tell stories about these things, but he/she never believed they existed. Here is proof. Now to see what magical lure they used to hold, and test whether that value could still exist in the year 2500.


Awesome.  (It's always a boy in my head, though.  Don't know why, I guess I'm just being gender egalitarian - or maybe it's because A&V itself is told from the male POV.)

Monkeys Making Parchment

By way of Sarah Peverly, and courtesy of PBS media - this was far too much fun not to share!  Monkeys, complete with gilded illumination detail:

Query Research

I had forgotten how much of querying consists of eliminating options.  Still no actual queries to add to my active spreadsheet!

Columbus Day

Ahhh, a long weekend actually feeling long.  Happy mini-vacation to me!

Friday I don't know what the heck I did, but Saturday was spent meeting dogs.  Dogs, wonderful dogs!  Mom came out with me, and we went to a farm first, where they breed and I believe compete labs.  Boy, purebred labs are HUGE.  Not for me, sadly, though a couple of these kids were total sweethearts to be sure.

Then the adoption stand where ten years ago this month I first met my beautiful, wonderful Siddy-La.  They had a LOT of dogs there, so many adorable animals of many shapes and sizes.  Sadly, EVERY one of them would be bad with cats.  Mom and I did spend a bit of time with one Eliza, who was a nice size, very very sweet indeed, and purty puppy eyes.  We talked with the woman volunteer, who said, no, probably not good with cats.  Then her husband came by, and he said, aw, not true.

Of course, he also said - when he saw a customer coming in the store with a muzzled dog who appeared to be less than happily socialized - "It takes forty-five cents to fix that!" and went on to explain to my mom about a forty-five cent shell and a three-fifty-seven magnum ...

TIP TO ANIMAL ADOPTION AND RESCUE FOUNDATION:  Please do not let this man come to any more of your events.  Hearing a man discuss SHOOTING A DOG at a DOG ADOPTION STAND perhaps undermines your mission.  And goes beyond seriously creepy.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, we took Eliza inside just to *see* how she might respond to a real live cat - and she was perhaps way too interested.  So.

The next adoption stand was out in mom's neck of the burg, and there we met Penelope.  Aww.  Some similarities to my Siddy - much younger than I meant to be looking at, but finishing up her house training, a body just like Lolly's, a way curlier tail, hilariously amazing funky ears, and a wompy lump in the middle of her head where Siddy had a deep groove down the middle.  Got along great with the other dogs, super with a little kid or two, and liked people - but given the likelihood of something else in common with Sid (a strong look of a husky mix), it seemed to me Gossamer might make her a deal breaker.

So we took her inside that store, too, to see how she would react to the cats.

And she had zero response at all.

At this point, I've put in applications for three dogs - two I haven't had the opportunity to meet just yet, but would like to set appointments to see, and Penelope.  One of the two unseen is also part of the same rescue group as Penelope, and I hope to hear from both rescue groups somewhat soon.

Yesterday, I cleaned, and had some of my favorite friends over, ate great pizza, laughed a lot, and just enjoyed.

Today ... ahh, today.  Query research, comfy clothes, a cozy kit, and whatever I want to do.  Rapture!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I Said Today

"I miss that man, but I admire him even more."

Lovely Musical Moment - DS9

This is just nice.  (From one of the stars' own blog.)

Ben Kane - On Spartacus' Final Battleground

... and when I title this post "Ben Kane - On Spartacus' Final Battleground" - he may literally be standing on it.  It's a great shot and a nice vid, but the points are pretty interesting.  This is what an author looks like, who loves their subject.  (Also - I feel really old looking at Ben.  Here I am all aged and only shilling my first novel!)

Monday, October 1, 2012


Gossy's voice has gotten bigger as he has, but he's not a very vocal little guy.  But today he was yerping away for a few minutes, playing in his new paper grocery bag in the kitchen.  "Yerrrrrrrrrr!"

He was purrboxing AND mee-ing at me just now, doing nothing more particular than being particularly my Gossa-monster.  And he made me laugh.

I'm grateful for this little boy.  So grateful he picked me out.

Apparently, this is the 1400th post on this blog.  Not one of exceptional moment, I guess.  But I couldn't add old ones in the timeline to make the "I finished my revisions" one 1400 - and even *I* am not quite that far gone with numerical significance.

Okay, yes I am.  So light a candle, and remember this moment.  Because I will probably forget it.