Happy Halloween to you, too

Here is what it's like to have the stomach flu with three small children:

1) You wake up with a fever, nausea, and body aches and think 'wow, I have to trick or treat like this'
2) Your husband tells you he's going to take a shower and you think, 'I should tell him not to lock the door,' but it's a fleeting thought.
3) You realize you need the bathroom and FAST and it is, of course, locked.
4) You bang on the door and threaten your husband with anything you can think of, but he's so used to your four year old beating on the door that he doesn't even turn off the shower.
5) You find another bathroom, and FAST.
6) You crawl back into bed and announce you'll be staying there for a while.
7) A little mystery man tackles you saying, "Mama, mama, mama" every so often.
8) The same little mystery man opens the blinds, letting the sun shine directly on your head. Of course Seattle has sun as this particular moment. It will later rain relentlessly for trick or treating.
9) Your four year old comes in, hands you a bra, tennis shoes, and your husband's jeans and tells you it's time to get up.
10) You think about giving up on life entirely, which is hilarious, because the kids are still gonna want food and you can't live with yourself if you don't vacuum every day and you really are still driving for the field trip to the planetarium on Monday.
11) The mystery man comes in and turns on the radio on your clock radio to Sugarland singing It Happens and you think you will make this your theme song for the day.

Judging a book by it's cover

First of all, I'd like to say that I caught nothing on fire today, including myself. From here on out that's my benchmark for it being a good day. I'll say nothing of the sinus infection that makes me wish I could detach my head in favor of a newer model. At least my head's not on fire.

But the real subject of the post is cover art. Someone in some comment trail once upon a time said something like "No one actually buys a book because of the cover, do they?" Um, yes. I do. All the time. The latest book in my Amazon cart:
Dani Noir, by Nova Ren Suma. It's MG, but not a voice that my 8 year old is ready for, so this is all for me. And when I turned to the first page and saw "What Would Rita Hayworth Do?" I was completely sold.

Other books I've picked up based on cover art:
Shamus in The Green Room

Folly du Jour

I'm sensing a theme here with lamplight...


I set fire to my sleeve today while making scrambled eggs. Do I really need to say anymore about today?


No flying frogs here, but it's quite a Tuesday.

I will write in list form, as I am unable to form complete sentences today. Fortunately for my book, I'm in revision mode.

1) Mystery Man was up with a fever at 4am
2) DH is travelling on business - or so he says, how does anyone really know anymore?
3) Despite being up at 4, I closed my eyes long enough to sleep till 7:15, half an hour past when the alarm was set, because Mystery Man changed the radio station to static
5) I told Red I'd get her PE shoes ready and she said, "Mom, I don't have PE on Tuesday." My response - "It's only Tuesday?"
6) As we were heading out the door I heard a crunch, and Mystery Man held up a little door stopper hinge thing cracked in half. Great, I love going to hardware stores at 8 in the morning.
7) We got out the door in record time, and drove to school even faster, but it was not quite fast enough
8) Red said, "Hey, on the bright side, I had no idea you could drive to school this fast. Let's do the same thing tomorrow, but set our alarms earlier?" Who raised that kid, because she's turning out great - though I'm a little wigged out by the role reversal at 8 years old.
9) Found a door stopper hinge thing, but only after I plugged Lowe's into my Nav. It's 0.3 miles from my house, but apparently I block it out.
10) Did I mention Betty Boop was wearing a flowered shirt, pink sweater tights with pink polka dots, denim short shorts (because I said tights did NOT count as pants) that couldn't stay snapped over the seater tights and blue fuzzy crocs on the wrong feet. As my mother pointed out, she's basically a walking (jumping) Christopher Guest movie.
11) Finally got my coffee, but in my hurry to get home pulled out of the drive through before they gave me Mystery Man's chocolate milk. He let me know this was a problem after about a block. Return trip required.

It's now 4:30, and time for another round of coffee to make it through part two of my day.

High Tech Food

My DH is out of town on business. I am keeping a stiff upper lip - except for when I nearly cried just because he called from the van on the way to have dinner in Astoria - but no, no, I'm doing fine. (And no, he didn't say he'd say hello to my favorite tap dancer, can you believe it?)

However, I really did cry when I remembered that today is Hula day. Two kids were sniffling, and it's already a major undertaking to keep Mystery Man happy for over an hour while the girls swish their hips. Today, I made the call - no dance.

Many tears were shed, till I said, "How about I bake you cake instead." Instant happiness! Yes, I occasionally do bribe them. I knew I had a gluten free cake mix somewhere that I thought I lost but found the other day. I dug it out - hooray! So, I checked the directions and they said something like this:

1) Empty contents of pouch into container
2) Add 20 ccs of water (minor panic attack, till I saw they'd included a little cup - I didn't know people used cc's outside of the ER)
3) Shake for 30 seconds
4) Microwave 1 minute

The end.

Are you kidding me? And it was delicious! I did pull out the mixer for some cream cheese icing, because we all know the cake is only an excuse for icing.

My mind was blown, and I just had to share with my blog buddies. Now I just have the problem of trying to feed dinner to three kids who ate cake at 4. But, it's not the worst problem to have.

If you want some sci fi food - the web site's here.

Yep, she's my kid

A work in progress, from Red:

The first line: "It all started when my sister went crazy."
Which is sort of like beginning with the protagonist waking up, in our house, but we'll let it slide.

Revisions - Take 2

So, I've finished round 1 of revisions, which is basically when I reread everything to figure out what's wrong - like where I need to move material around, cut material, add material, that sort of thing.

Then I made a little document map (scribbled, on notebook paper) about what I need to fix.

Now the hard part - fixing it. I'm supposed to be done by Halloween. Ha. I've got about 4 chapters to add and 2 to rework - it could be done, but depends entirely on how well the children sleep and my emotional involvement with So You Think You Can Dance - which is currently low. So, that's a good thing. Yay for silver linings.

After this is round 3 for line edits of everything, then beta readers, then round 4, then hopefully querying by January. And I do, truly, love querying, so it's a great way to beat the post-Christmas blues.

Let's hope all the good dancers get cut soon so I can focus.

PS Public Service Announcement. Don't google images for "revision" - surgeries have revisions too, apparently...

My souvenier needs a name!

I've been calling him Steampunk Teddy, but his initials are clearly F and N, judging by the buttons in his leather helmet.

Frederick Niggenbottom? Franklin Nosbert? I need a good steampunky name!

The Con was interesting. Not exactly what I expected and they had planned for 500, but had 1200 show up - which bodes well for those of us wanting to write steampunk. I was really happy to have Fun Aunt along to help me with Red and Mystery Man. At the last minute I couldn't handle leaving him, so he got to come. Betty Boop didn't exactly miss out, since Daddy took her to coffee, then Claire's for some jewelry, then Astro Boy, then lunch, and finally ice cream. Poor thing. I'd like a date like that!

Although, DH did say (Astro Boy spoilers ahead) that he may have chosen a different movie if he knew it was about a little boy who died in the first 10 minutes, then the dad made a replacement robot boy with all the memories of the old boy - but who was of course, different. Then rejects the robot boy because he isn't his real boy, and the robot boy can't figure out why daddy doesn't love him. Are you kidding me? Why do we do this to kids? But Boop seemed to mostly focus on the fact that he had guns in his rear end. So, I guess she's fine. ;)

But, getting back to important things here - please help me name my bear!

And if you have any questions about Steamcon, I'm happy to answer.

So what do I think of the top 20

Yes, I've finally seen the whole green mile episode of So You Think You Can Dance.

Initial thoughts:

1) Eleanore had my favorite female solo - glad she made it
2) I really hope I never have to hear high pitched crying girl talk in her high pitched crying voice again. So she either needs to never hit bottom three, or never speak if she does
3) But that's nothing compared to the girl who acts like she's at a junior high slumber party. Really, really, we cut Natalie last season but this girl gets through?
4) Husband and wife team - um, I don't want to ever hear him ask her if his dancing turns her on ever ever again. That was so atrocious I couldn't even punctuate the last sentence.
5) I'm happy that Bianca didn't get cut again. That was painful in season 5 but...
6) THREE TAPPERS! And none of them are Ryan? And last season we couldn't put through both brothers but this season we have a married couple and THREE tappers?
7) The silver lining would be if Ryan gets to choreograph the inevitable tap trios and duos we will be seeing. This would be a minor consolation prize for me, but at this point, I'll take it. SYTYCD seems to still be showing lots of clips of him, so somebody there likes him... as well they should.
8) New format - Monday is a special show where we see them all dance in lots of different partnerings with no elimination. Huzzah! I always hated losing someone on opening night.
9) But, Nigel retains even more control because there will be no voting for top 20 night and top 18 night - judges pick the bottom. I can live with that, since I'm not going to be in agony every week for a Kasprzak.
10) I will be rooting for Legacy (despite his being called Legacy), but I'm not over Ryan.
11) Mia. Buzz cut. Really? And she's leaving for I suspect SYTYCD Canada. I'd love to know that whole story.

Steampunk Fabulosity

I thought I'd share some of my favorite sites for steampunk research, in honor of Steam-Con, which is coming right up!

First up: The Steampunk Home, which has such fabulous images as these:

Talk about inspiring. This is artwork done by Tom Kidd, who has a whole steampunk world called Genomo on his web site.

Next up, Adventures in Steampunk This blog is written from the POV of an airship captain, and links to lots of fun steampunk images, like this:

The photo is by Tristan Savatier and is taken during the burning man festival, which sounds either cool or creepy, I can't really tell, yet.

And finally, for those of you with burning questions of a steampunk nature, we have Brass Goggles - steampunk forum.

Clearly, when I'm not editing, I'm trying to work in a little research. I'm experimenting with Evernote to keep all of my web site clippings in a neat little virtual notebook, and will let you know how that goes.

Now, off to edit until the Red one comes downstairs for rummy night!

A few things from Boop

While watching a kids' show where this dilemma was introduced:
Me: Boop, what would you choose, juggling or making smoothies?
Boop: Hmm, probably juggling smoothies

Betty Boop's favorite number: eighteen eleven and a half. It works for everything, like:
Are you done eating?
Yes! I already had eighteen eleven and a half bites!

Don't wake up the baby!
But he's been asleep so long - I haven't seen him in 18 11 1/2 hours!

While doing a dot to dot:

I am tired of this blue. I am going to use red - it will look like blood, is that alright.
Um, yes...
Good, I love blood.

Tomorrow, you'll hear from the Red One.

Now, back to my previously scheduled edits...

Yes, I'm doing revisions

I'm in full on revision mode right now, which means:

1) I've been staring at my teeny, tiny netbook screen willing my book to better.
2) I decided to print out the first 5 chapters and stared at them all last night willing them to be better.
3) I decided what they were missing was a binder, so I punched holes in them with a teeny, tiny hole punch that does 2 sheets of paper at a time.

Now I have holes in 60 sheets of paper at random places that don't even pretend to line up in a binder, a 4 year old who is obsessed with the little white circles that came out of the hole punch in a way reminiscent of pillow pets and pink poodles, a table covered with little white circles and papers with holes punched all over them.

And my book doesn't seem any better, strangely enough.

Could it be that I can't edit, watch Biggest Loser, and talk to my DH via google chat all at the same time?


And would someone please invent a hole puncher that mulches, or perhaps incinerates, the little white circles before they spill out to enthrall little girls who already struggle with impulse control?

A steampunk hole punch would definitely do that.

An order of events

These events transpired between 12:00 am and 6:00 am, Thursday morning:

1) I went to bed too late
2) Boop woke up with an unfortunate situation that involved me stripping the bed, and changing her clothes, and putting her to bed with her sister. Oh, the fun of being four years old.
3) Mystery Man woke up to see what the commotion was about.
4) Mystery Man would not lie down in his bed. Only with Mama.
5) Mystery Man kept kicking mama.
6) Mystery Man seemed to be asleep, but was taking up the whole bed
7) Mystery Mama had enough! She made up the Betty Boop's bed with new bedding, and laid down on the bottom bunk.
8) Mystery Man started to cry for Mama
9) The cries got fainter. But not in a good way.
10) Mystery Mama ran downstairs to find Mystery Man standing in the dark kitchen holding his blanket and crying.
11) DH remained asleep.
12) Mystery Mama scooped up her little man, returned him to the sleeping quarters of the house, and laid him down on the bottom bunk with her - thinking 2 to a bed was better than 3.
13) Mystery Man stood up on the bed and tried to climb to the top bunk shouting "Betty, Betty!" over and over.
14) Mystery Mama deposited him on her bed with her sleeping DH and cried.
15) DH said, "Go to bed, I'll keep him."
16) Mystery Mama went back to the girls' room, but heard lots of crying, for a long time.
17) Mystery Mama couldn't take it, and went back to her bedroom, arriving just in time to get thrown up on by Mystery Man.
18) Mystery Mama changed her clothes and did the best she could with the bed.
19) Time for Red to go to school.

And all this, on the night Ryan Kasprzak was eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance.

Unforseen consequences

So, the showers are being regrouted because the grout needs some help. Once discovered this meant no showering till the grout guys came to fix the grout. This means people over the age of 4 must now take a daily bath too, which take longer, which mean sometimes someone comes to the door while you are in the bath. Being a good mother, you of course instruct your children not to open the door. And they don't open the door. And the people do leave. And you feel pretty good about things.

You get pulled together, put the kids in the car and go get Starbucks, even, and wave at the guy in the lawn service van that must have knocked earlier to let you know he was here.

Then you return, and find this sign in the window.*

I'm so glad the 8 year old stayed home from school today.

* Sign says "Mom is in the bath. Sorry!"

I'm writing, really!

Sorry for the blog silence, guys. I'm so, so close to finishing Lamplight, I've been trying to really focus on that. I'm not done yet, but so close! I've got one or two more chapters to go - I always think I'm writing my final chapter, and it takes more than I think to really wrap it up. Then I've got a couple of things to weave in before I can type THE END in good faith.

Then I'm all about revisions, and being here for you fine people, my blog readers.

I've honestly been so focused I've hardly noticed the fall tv season kicking off. That's crazy talk!

I plan to have a few more updates this week, though. October is quite possibly my favorite month and it's beautiful here in Seattle. Boop is in rare form and if I ever get Mystery Man back into fighting shape, I'll have plenty of time to write while my editor brain is turned on.

Stay tuned!