Friday, June 30, 2006

more good books

The benefit of being down in the back is the leisure time to read. Have to sit immoble for a while every day, and let's see whatever shall I do???

You'll see on my side bar that I adore Lindsey Davis's series set in 72AD Rome. Marcus Didius Falco is one of the most hysterical heroes I've ever met. This week I finished Last Act in Palmyra, which has Falco and Helena (a senator's stately daughter) traveling to Syria and solving the murder of a Roman playwright in a traveling troupe. Let's see, there's Petra, a giant python called Jason, and the possible precursor of Hamlet

Next finished Living Dead in Dallas, book two of Charlaine Harris's vamp series (I know, I'm way behind). Sookie goes to Dallas to look for a missing vampire and then solves the murder of a cook back home. The high point was Eric the Viking vampire turning up in a purple skin-tight tank top and Lycra multi-colored leggings. The mental picture just will not go away... It hurts my back to laugh!

Now I'm reading the first book of a trilogy that was written in 1953. I'd say I'm waayy behind on that series...

What's going on in my writing life? Writing. Writing. Writing. Got the covers for Mad Bad Duke which I will post after I scan them.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Tucson was lovely, and the ladies and gents at the new Tucson RWA chapter were welcoming and nice. They let me give my talks sitting down with a pillow at my back, and didn't fall asleep while I yakked. I love giving talks and teaching about writing and the publishing biz, so I probably go on longer than I should. But I want to be thorough and make sure everyone understands!

My husband went with me so we could do a weekend getaway to celebrate our anniversary. We stayed at the Arizona Inn, a historic inn built in the 1930s, one of those where all the Hollywood stars of the day stayed when escaping Hollywood (or while filming Westerns; many old Westerns were filmed in and around Tucson). Anyway, a wonderful retreat, and apparently good for my back.

The inn is tucked into a quiet neighborhood right in the middle of town--you'd never know there was a city around you once you're in the grounds. Nice room with a private patio and a gate that led to the street so I didn't have to walk far to the car. Lovely old-fashioned, manor-house atmosphere.

To continue the travelogue, we ate at my favorite sandwich shop, Beyond Bread, which nicely wasn't packed to the gills like usual (but it's summer, no one's in town). Also finally found Cafe Poca Cosa, one of the best Mexican restaurants on the planet. They let us in even though we didn't have reservations, but I think that's because we passed the test of actually finding the place. Tucked in a back street in downtown behind a parking garage, between two one-way streets, no sign on it, argh. A challenge but worth it.

There were so many things I wanted to try that we finally decided on the "let the chef pick" platter. She has good taste, I loved every bite. (It was tamale pie, shredded beef in tomatillo, and chicken with spanish peanut sauce. With fresh corn tortillas. My, my.)

Now back home, back on the diet, and getting back to work. :-)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I love Tucson

Tucson is a great city, not too big, not too small. Lots of cool things there like 4th Ave., indie bookstores, the folk instrument shop, Beyond Bread, saguaros, a real mountain with trees and snow (well, snow in winter), much less traffic than Phoenix, and when you want to get across town it's not a three-hour journey for which you need to pack a lunch.

This weekend, Tucson will also have me speaking at the local RWA chapter and signing books. Looking forward to it.

Hope my back cooperates. I am going armed with pillows, back brace, heating pad, medication, and a driver. Today was a milestone--I was able to put a load of laundry in the wash. Couldn't actually take it out of the wash, but it's a step forward. Oh, and went out myself to get the mail. Walked all the way to the end of the driveway and back, yep. Had to rest afterward, but you know, baby steps.

The worst thing about all this is that today is our anniversary! My husband and I have been married 21 years as of today. We've been through a lot together, ups and downs, bad times and good. I'd much rather be out to dinner with him than propped in a nest of pillows on the couch, but then again, we are together. I guess we can celebrate being in love and staying in love by holding hands and watching Monarch of the Glen as much as with a fancy meal. (Fancy meal later, when I get better :-).


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the saga continues

The saga of my back continues. Had x-rays and tests and detemined that it's muscular in nature. That's good because while it hurts like all get-out it will heal. If I take it easy. Good thing I love to read and write and listen to music, because that's pretty much all I can do. Can't sleep in a bed, can't walk for very long, housework is out (ok, that's not so bad!), and have to sit only in certain chairs or I blow it. I'm learning to baby myself so this gets better.

Finished a couple of good books lately, Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon. My editor recommended it, and I have to say it's the best fantasy I've read in a long time. It's set during the Napoleonic Wars, but dragons have always existed and now work with "aviators" to fight an arial war with Napoleon. That's the frame story, and the heart of the story is about Captain Laurence and his fantastic dragon. I'm looking forward to the next.









 Emma Holly's All U Can Eat. I love cozy mysteries, and this is one with eroticism on top of it. Humor and fun and murder and menage a trois. What more can you ask for? :-) And I loved the hero. What a sweet guy--tough small town cop whose been through bad times and falls in love with a woman he never thinks will be interested in him. And those guys from the garage... I was laughing my butt off. A quite enjoyable read.









OK, back to writing, resting the back, and listening to Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Monday, June 19, 2006

In with the new

The advantage of having a home office is that you get to choose your own chair (the disadvantage is--you have to pay for it, but oh well). You don't have to be stuck with the lumpy chair with uneven legs and stiff back that no one else wants.

This weekend I took the plunge for a back-friendly, la di da chair. Didn't get the built-in massagers, but you can't have everything (and I couldn't find that one in the store).

The reason for this expidition is that I strained my back--again. Third time in two months. Part of the problem is likely my chair, so I decided to get the best support I could find. My back is killing me--fortunately it feels the best when I'm sitting, so I can still write. And read. I'm doing gentle exercises for strength and stretching, and hopefully this will clear up soon.

Now to show what I've been sitting on...

You can see why I needed a change (LOL). Been putting it off, but pain was a good incentive.

Friday, June 09, 2006

ah ha...

I've had so much trouble lately getting in and posting, but perhaps blogger has resolved whatever was wrong (or my ISP has).

Catching up--I had a wonderful birthday on June 1, my husband bought me a dozen pinky orangy reddy roses (very pretty) and took me out to Convivo Bistro, my favorite restaurant. (If ever in Phoenix GO to this restaurant, on the corner of 16th Street and Glendale, behind the Walgreens. The chef is a genius, and he and his wife are so nice, too! Yes, you'll spend money, but yes, it's worth it.)

Still sifting through stuff from RT, and also must apologize for being very behind on reader email. I APPRECIATE AND READ EVERY SINGE EMAIL I GET, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO SEND ME LETTERS! Everyone has something kind to say, and I promise I will get through them and answer questions before...well before long. :-)

As usual I am working full steam, and realized today that since January I've turned in four books and a novella. And done revisions on three of them (the novella revisions were taken care of in a few sentences, so I can't count them as "revisions" really.) Not complaining, I love my job. If I'm not writing or editing something I've written, I don't know what to do with myself. Except...

My friend Nancy Freeman has started recording her Stardust County project, a "folk opera" about a werewolf and a rebellious young woman set in an alternative wild west. So the CD commences! Woo hoo!! I will be going to California in Oct. to record my tracks--I'm singing the part of the seen-it-all barmaid Daisy and playing flute on the score. My husband and his beautiful bass voice have a part too (he's one of the villains, moo ha ha).

Nancy writes kick-butt songs, I stand in awe. Let me put it this way, when I need to jump-start my muse, I play something of hers and my imagination starts spinning...