Thursday, December 29, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. A barbershop owner opened up his shop to people in Buffalo stranded or without heat during the storm.  
2. Two cats were saved after an apartment fire in DC.  
3. This column pointed out something about corporations these days, in light of the Southwest Airlines scheduling system failures - the outsourcing of public interface for companies to folks that are often low paid, and certainly not the decision makers, is intentional.  The corporate decision makers are shielded from talking to the heartbroken people impacted by the effects of their decisions.  And the hope is that you will yell at the gate agent, the customer service agent, and then move on, having vented.  So people yelling at customer service agents is bad, but it is in some ways a feature and not a bug.  (To be clear, I am not in favor of yelling at customer service, I work in customer service.) Anyway, read this post.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Years and Things

I really hate setting standards I don't consistently meet, so the pressure to pick a word, or set some sort of goal or resolution as we all tack a new number onto the end of the year has always bugged me a little. It is of course very much an if it works for you, I am pleased for you, situation. 
One of the things I sort of love is that while many of us across the world have decided to agree to change the number at the end of the year at the same time, there's not agreement on when the new year really starts. There are Academic Years, Fiscal Years, and various cultural new year celebrations that occur from about August to April. And likely there's more that I just haven't happened on to yet. 
Which honestly, how cool is that. If the changing of the year helps provide a clear before and after market for a change you wish to make, there's nearly always one around the corner. 
And goodness knows, I am absolutely planning to spend the first week in January crunching the numbers on last year's reading, and take a look at all my Storygraph charts. 
So, I hope food, drink, and warmth are in your weekly forecast, along with whatever other plans you may have to mark the changing of the numbers. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I confess, I have two friends who used to write things to do columns, so I may have been a little more aware of this.  But figuring out what to do, which briefly got easier with the rise of the internet and social media, is now super hard.  This post dives into some of the work involved.  
2. If you are a city dweller who will gather with less citified relatives in the upcoming weeks, feel free to reference this handy dandy statistic about city dwellers living longer. (If you are a non-city dweller, I of course wish you a long life.  A lot of statistics about life, are really about access to hospitals and healthcare, which yes, everyone, city or not, should have access too.)  
3. As someone who lives near one of the streets that is now just a very nice pedestrian/cyclist way, this look at streets that ended up being great outdoor spaces that were not car-centric, has been interesting.  

Monday, December 19, 2022


My apartment gets a lot of morning sun this time of year. I sometimes feel like a plant, sitting on my couch, letting the sun light and warm me each day. My cat often places herself just so, half in half out of the sun, as if making sure she gets the exact right amount of sunshine.
This time of year in the Northern hemisphere, we are often moving around more in darkness. It can be hard to remember the sun is still there. But soon, we will begin moving in the other direction, gaining a few more minutes of sunshine each day. 
The lights folks put up and out, that we all reflexively turn on all provide brightness and light, but sunshine still feels a little different. 
Of course the seasons shift, and the instinct to hole up, sleep and eat a little more, to be cozy, is for the most part good. Seasons exist, and they can remind us that there are changes, shifts in the rhythms of the planet, and that wishing to make changes in our own activity can make sense. Most flowers bloom for only part of the year. Hibernation, resting, or just reaching out to loved ones, are all things that can help us become the people who are ready to face the next year or the next season. 
And it can be a nice reminder that just as the waves of the ocean shift back, that eventually the sun will hang out with our hemisphere a little more too. 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1.  These photos of the changes to the Dead Sea are heartbreaking. 
2. This story about the Kapemahu stones being retold thanks to an animated short (and also a picture book) is important. 
3.  And a local teen discovered the assignment he did for art class was chosen to be the Vice President's holiday card.  

Monday, December 12, 2022

Adaptability vs. Arranger

So, before I get into this, I'm referring to Clifton Strengths, which are one way of looking at your skills and abilities. I find them super useful, but obviously YMMV.
So I am high (as in top ten) Adaptability and Arranger. So, as you may suspect, I am good at pivoting, and good at organizing or arranging stuff. These skills can work great together, and can sometimes clash. 
Sometimes when a plan changes, it's not that I can't change or pivot, it's that I need to have a moment of sadness, for that plan that was. Because we can't just go to Y instead of X, we also have to factor in all these other things that had all previously been aligned. 
But it's one of those things, where sometimes I have to remind myself and others that like it's cool. In like three minutes I'll have built a new vision. But I just need a moment to be sad about the one that was.
It's a time where they may be more or less plans in your life, and lots and lots of people to factor into these plans, and so there can be a lot of pivoting and accommodating.  Taking a breath doesn't mean you hate the new plan and everything is terrible, it may just mean you need a little time to readjust.   

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Trishop Hersey, aka the Nap Minister talks about her work process
2. I am very biased, but I love this story about the egg fights
3. In a story light on details but still intriguing, a cat was in someone's luggage.  

Monday, December 05, 2022

7 Things About COVID

So, I got COVID. Not over this past week, but I benefited greatly from experiences others shared, so I wanted to pass that along. Obviously my experience is my individual experience. 
1. Right now, between DC and the federal government, I have a good stash of free to me rapid tests. As an allergy sufferer who is sniffly about 9 months out of the year, I've been rapid testing regularly. I did not think I felt sicker the day I tested positive, so it was good that I tested so I could shift my behavior. 
2. I have been spacing out unmasked interactions, and trying to stick to outside ones at that, so I had one person to notify. It does help that my day job is 100% telecommute.
3. I had received the latest bivalent booster about three weeks before. So I was at peak antibodies.
4. I have been masking with a KN95 pretty much everywhere that is not my apartment, and not me eating outside with vaccinated friends. I probably do not always have the best seal, but the masking I'm sure helped reduce the amount of virus I was exposed to.
5. I have, during the pandemic shifted to buying groceries in larger quantities, so that I had enough food to stay inside while I isolated. 
6. I was also able to access the anti-virals. 
7. And having tests on hand meant I could retest after I finished the anti-virals and retest again several days later in case of rebound. 
Still would have preferred never catching it. And of course, now I really don't want it again. And I went and got my flu shot and pneumonia shot, so that hopefully I'm covered for most respiratory viruses. But the pandemic isn't over, especially not here in the US. 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. It's no surprise I'm a big fan of NaNo. This post takes a look at some well documented shady practices of one of this year's sponsors is concerning. It appears NaNo is taking a look, but this post goes into a little more detail, and references Writer Beware, which is always a great place to check. 
2. DC set  romance novels! Also, full disclosure, I do know Thien-Kim Lam as both a fellow writer and a fellow romance reader. 
3. And someone has rated the DC accuracy in video games

Monday, November 28, 2022

Today is

Today is Hawaiian Independence Day.  It's a day that like some other so-called independence days commemorates a particularly odd, if politically important at the time moment in Hawaiian history.  And well, Hawai'i is also not currently independent, so there's that too. 

My very unofficial historical context is that Hawai'i had established itself as a monarchy, but because it was strategically located for all those folks who were sending ships to Asia, there were folks who wanted to be able to guarantee they could stop there and do all the things they wanted (which tended to included let all the sailors off the boat for a sex break, but I digress). Anyhoodle, in the way of people who think land should be owned by the most important person who wants it, some folks had shown up and declared Hawai'i theirs a time of two.  So, King Kamehameha III said, okay folks, how about we sign a document that we all agree that Hawai'i is independent.  And Great Britain and France agreed, and it was signed on November 28th.  The US had said they totes would agree, they just had to like, send the treaty to Congress, and like would absolutely go do that.  Several other countries also agreed to acknowledge that Hawai'i was yep, it's own country, no plans to poach that here. 

It's not really a spoiler to tell you that worked for about fifty years, and then a bunch of pineapple and other businessman decided, it really would better benefit their purpose if Hawai'i was part of the US, so they just overthrew the government, imprisoned the Queen, and called the US, and were like, so we took it for you, you're welcome. 

And the US government hemmed and hawed, because of course they did not just take other countries, not like real ones, that they had like had dinner with.  The US investigated the overthrow, and concluded that is was indeed not nice to take over other people's governments.  The "new" government made a new constitution, and then turned the independence Day into Hawaiian Thanksgiving basically.  (Redoing the holidays does not seem like a high priority in your brand new super legitimate, what no, we did no steal this country government, until you realize that they were very concerned that all the people who had not agreed to this new government, might rally, and use the day to try to take it back.) 

Funnily enough, there was an attempt on January 6th. 

Anyway, the US elected a new President, who apparently cared a little less about how territory got acquired, and so, the "new" government resumed negotiations for annexation, and well, as you know Hawai'i is now part of the US. 

And after that, Hawai'i began celebrating American Thanksgiving, ie a moving target, and the day fell into history. 

Some folks want to bring it back, as a reminder that Hawai'i is part of the stolen land that the entire US is made up of.  There is of course precedent for the US essentially giving territory back, like they did with the Philippines.  The revelation that O'ahu's water is currently being poisoned with military jet fuel has added to that. 

But, like a lot of independence days, it's kind of odd.  It was a treaty signing day.  Hawai'i wasn't really more or less free, though certainly two large political powers agreeing to not encroach seemed likely to buy Hawai'i some time. 

But Hawai'i isn't free now.  And turning the day into a day of drinking and fireworks doesn't really seem like it will bring more visibility to the issue.  Goodness knows, I don't think bringing Cinco de Mayo into wider notice has helped more people understand much more nuance about Mexican international relations.  

So, today is that day.  I am a person who enjoys looking into the histories of holidays, both grave and silly. And so here we are. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story of a tow truck driver and what going out to help hurricane damaged cars can look like was interesting. 
2. NPR's Books We Love is here, and contains some great books.  
3. And while I have not yet seen "Wakanda Forever", I am intrigued by this local artist's furniture that is apparently featured in the movie. 

Monday, November 21, 2022


I am trying to focus on the things I have, and not the rest.  I have a pretty good life.  But I was listening to the Nerdette podcast last week, and the health expert was talking about how when she was diagnosed with a chronic illness she kept trying to get back to the life she had before.  And her doctor said, you can't.  You can't go back, you can only create a life where you have a chronic illness.  And she compared this to our pandemic situation.  We can't go back to how life was before.  
Just like I can't go back to a life before the internet.  (I also don't want to overall).  Life as we know it has fundamentally changed.  Ignoring that just makes us unhappy.  And also possibly sick.  
So, I could list things I am happy for, like friends, family, books, cats, food, science, and so on.  But mostly I am grateful to continue to be.  I am grateful to be.  I am grateful to get to face challenges whether it's reply to all email chains, or folks destroying a useful app I enjoyed, or our country's obsession with guns, I am still here, and I get to figure out how to forge a life with the tools I have, and for that I am grateful.  I am grateful that you are here to, wherever and whenever you are reading this.  

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This delightful (I say having only heard of her, but I still feel certain) human who danced with the Obamas in the White House, and spent years advocating for kids, passed away at 113. What a wonderful legacy.  
2. If you are going to be somewhere in the next week or so that either involves travelling where you can read and/or you needing a good reason to sit and stare at an ereader or phone for a bit, may I recommend the latest HEA for TransKids bundle - it's got Beverly Jenkins, Cat Sebastian, and a bunch of other delights.  
3. And so-called rogue art filling potholes is sort of a fascinating thing, making potholes a bit beautiful.  

Monday, November 14, 2022

One Million Words

I crossed over a million words written during NaNo this past week. Now a few times, especially during Camp in April or July, I was really editing, so they weren't always new words. 
And some of those projects are still sitting on my hard drive where they will stay. And some of them I still have hopes or even solid plans for. 
One million words over quite a few years is sort of an odd milestone. I know folks who write that in a year. And I know folks who do not. Who are still working on that first story idea. 
All methods work if they work for you. And I like writing enough that sometimes getting that story down in draft form and then going, huh, interesting, maybe that will grow up to be a story someday, maybe not is enough. And other times I'm like, yep, that one I know just how to fix. 
Some writers are very good at pre-planning, polishing mid draft, and all that so their first done draft has really been gone over multiple times already.
I've always been a messy first draft, let's just see what happens writer. So sometimes I write a whole story and then think, that might not need to go anywhere that's not my hard drive. 
I'm okay with that, and often there are pieces and nuggets in there that I can steal and use for something else. 
Also, there's a difference between writing and publishing. And sometimes I know that the timing or market isn't right for a story, no matter how much I love it. And I can be patient and wait for those conditions to change. 
But a million words. It's a milestone. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Rebecca Nagle is always thoughtful about issues affecting native Americans, and her piece on this latest challenge to ICWA is thorough.  
2. Am I always going to share stories about fun food pop-ups in DC even though it only makes some of you hungry?  Yes.  Sorry not sorry.  Also Chinese Street Market shows up at my farmer's market, and yum.  
3.  Also, spoiler, apparently the latest Drink Master is from DC too.  

Monday, November 07, 2022

75 Percent

Not too long ago, an actor said their goal was to give about 75 percent. They later clarified that some of the remaining percent was sleep, family, other things in their life.
But I keep thinking about 75 percent. Because I know I grew up being told that 75 percent was a C, it meant I knew some stuff but not enough, and should work harder. 
And yet in practice, trying to be an A+ human, and A+ friend, an A+ sibling, an A+ employee, it's just not possible. Trying to be good more often than you are not on multiple axes is actually a lot. 
Some had found a quote that was attributed to Idina Menzel where she said she wanted to hit all her notes perfectly each night, but that the best performances came when you focused on the moment, and listened to your fellow cast members and even the audience. And so, hitting most of the notes, like 75 percent, and focusing more on reacting to what was happening made for better performances. 
Look, have I ever reached back out to someone and been like, so actually that was wrong, here's better info? Yes? Did I hate it? Yes. Was I trying to do my best, and acknowledging that I can't always do that? Also yes. 
Life isn't really a test. We have sayings about giving 110% which is not even how percents work. So 75% seems like not enough. But if 3/4 times I reached out to a friend for help and they showed up, that's an amazing friend. That's enough. 

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. For those of you who twitter, I'm sure it has not gone unnoticed, that despite prior declarations, I have not tweeted much less.  It has become an exercise in fascination, where the minimal protections Twitter offers have noticeably degraded, and drive more folks away, and yet I am still there.  This piece about the ways that social media facilitate and then trap us as they become the primary means of communication was interesting, and offers a solution that doesn't fully exist yet.  
2. I enjoyed this interview with Molly Smith about her tenure at Arena Stage and her one last directing choice.  
3. This piece about a man who tracks digital ghosts was interesting.  

Monday, October 31, 2022

7 Things About NaNo

May I tell you a secret? I started my NaNo early. I have a bigger goal, and I decided that I was going to give myself some cushion. I can write ridiculous amounts of words in 30 days, but I can also, not. I realize ridiculous is in the eye of the beholder here.
So with that in mind, here we go.
1. I'm a big believer in learning about your process. Writing fast might be it. Writing slow might be it. You learn by trying. 
2. I'm also a fan of learning what really makes it hard for you. Too much noise, stress, music yes, music no, and so on. You won't always have ideal circumstances. But knowing which days you are better off saying, nope, it really won't be today, I'm going to make notes for tomorrow and move on. 
3. Whatever your plans are for these words, knowing your pace is great information that will serve you well. That pace may not average to 1667 words a day. You may discover tracking makes you batty. If so, you just have to do it once. Every story is a little different so your pace won't always translate but having something based in reality helps. 
4. Our capitalist society really makes go go go production very valued. Writing the most words means just that, that you wrote the most words. I find viewing this a production experiment helpful. For me I have also discovered there are some paces that are too fast. And that at a certain point for me, a slower pace just means the draft takes longer. 
5. Also, my other little trick, on days I have a really good day, I don't put all the words on the NaNo site. I hold a few back. And then when I have a slow day, I sprinkle a few extra in. I know! Lying to the calculator! Except it's not really lying. I have written all those words. 
6. One thing I hope we have learned in these pandemic times, is to be gentle. Be careful of the parts of your body you use or tighten more when in a writing sprint. 
7. Also on the be kind to your body front remember to take time to do something that is not the day job, and not NaNo. Being with real life people counts as research. Or just going outside and observing the trees. I promise. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this interview about hotel managing being like art really interesting.  
2. I was sad to hear of the passing of DC's legendary hat lady.  What a wonderful legacy. 
3. I actually started following Sami Schalk because of her cat, but hey, she is also a disability scholar, and her book about Black Disability politics, which she talks about in this piece, looks fascinating. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Cat Food

I know I always worry, when I read cat stories, that it is a precursor to the cat being deceased, so let me start by saying, my cat is alive. (Knock wood!)
Anyway, a little background.  When I adopted my cat from the shelter, I asked for the food they had been feeding her, and then got some of that, figuring we could explore other options later.  
She was a kitten, so we were doing dry food, and wet food at night.  At some point Kayla stopped eating the wet food.  Like there was excitement and interest when I served it, but it would be uneaten, so I stopped serving it.  
When time came to change to adult food, I bought adult food in the same brand.
This remained uneaten for two days.  At that point, I went to the store, and examined the adult food - this particular brand helpfully puts the shapes on the bag - found an adult brand that was the same shape as kitten, also bought a bag of kitten, and served it.  The adult food was deemed acceptable.  
I did decide at this point that my cat had been poisoned in a former life.  
Over the years, every once in a while, Kayla would get excited when I did something like pop open a can of chickpeas, and I would go buy one can of wet food to see if things had changed.  She would sniff it and then not eat it.  
Well, this year at the vet checkup, they recommended wet food.  Older cats are more likely to need hydration, so I understood why it was being recommended, but explained that she had been resistant to eating it.  They offered me a thing to sprinkle on the food.  
So, I procured a few kinds of wet food.  I served one - when it got sniffed but not eaten, I sprinkled on the stuff, and it did get eaten.  
Well, the good news is that Kayla will now eat wet food without the extra topping.  She has decided on the one type (available in four flavors) that she will consume.  Of particular note, if the word healthy, weight, or hairball appear anywhere on there she is not interested.  
Also, Kayla and I have negotiated what time wet food occurs.  Some days she has expressed concerns that I might not recall. 
But apparently old(er) cats can learn to accept new things.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This article on Black Southern food takes a look at how folks whose connection to what is often called soul food had been limited to holiday meals, and creates a gap between the larger food tradition, and perpetuates the myth that it is unhealthy. 
2. I appreciated this interview with four unhoused folks in DC, especially as one of them I used to see regularly in my neighborhood and I was pleased to see things had improved a bit for her.  (Content note: Mentions of assault, sexual assualt, and police harassment.)
3. This advice question and answer about navigating the mixed race experience, is wonderful.  

Monday, October 17, 2022

Let's Talk Closed Captioning

So, closed captioning has been in the news a bit. Let's talk about it as it pertains to theater. 
Live theater is awesome. I recognize in these days of just about every patron arriving at the theater with a recording device - because all our phones are recording devices now - it's kind of wild. Add in a pandemic, and now actors are risking their lungs to share shows with us. So yes, it is a reasonable concern that actors have, that some audience member is recording the show, and has plans to sell that recording and cut into their profit margin. Even before the pandemic theater had a money problem. Live theater is expensive to make, and many people have way cheaper ways to spend their time. Yes, live theater is also unrepeatable magic. But gosh I've left shows mad, annoyed, confused, and I do think that tension is part of the experience but not everyone does or can at that price point. 
It's why I love regional theater.
And I also wish we made better plans to incorporate cast albums, love captured, and streaming, so that a good option was available to folks who can't travel, or can't risk that someone in the audience tonight removed their mask to cough. 
So I get why actors get annoyed when they see patrons on their phones. It's annoying to be doing almost anything for someone who is ignoring you. Someone who is planning to cut your profits also sucks.
But I have been in theaters where the program directed me to an app for closed captioning. My current phone also has a native live captioning app. These days Tiktoks, and YouTube videos have cations more often than not. I watch almost all TV with captions because I really hate the TV being loud so I can hear it over the phone. 
So many of us are used to seeing these options, why not live theater too. 
And so in a recent incident an actor in a musical reprimanded an audience member for recording the show, but the audience member was using captioning. The audience member was using a device provided by the venue, but I'm sure staring past the theater lights these things all look the same. 
Look, I have been stuck next to talkers, audience members who think the show requires live play by play, people who ask for line repeats from their neighbor, and an actually ringing phone. It is annoying. It is not the magical live experience I wish for when I go to the theater. So I get why it's fun to watch actors reprimand an audience member for things we may have thought in our head.
But someone once said, anytime someone does something annoying, stop and wonder if it could be disability. I can only hope that captioning devices might mean less, "What did he just say?" I always wonder if that phone call might actually be urgent. And the person with their phone out might be using a captioning device, or just taking notes for their review.
Similar to those constant pictures of teenagers on their phones in museums, when those very museums are peppered with QR codes, encouraging you to look up additional information, sometimes the device in their hand is actually proof they are paying attention. And so maybe, reprimanding them is not the move, even if it feels satisfying in the moment. 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Tarana Burke reflects on the progress and her own expectations for the #MeToo movement since the Kavanaugh hearings.
2. This article is a little niche, but it speaks to the issues authors, and anyone researching book sales have just trying to get a straight (or even cheap) answer to how many books have sold.  
3. Well, there was some scandal in Fat Bear week, but transparency in voting data has triumphed.  And of course, the bears are really all winners in getting ready for winter. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022


I'm always amused as the calendar shifts, and then we will invariably see complaints that the weather has not observed proper protocol. (This year in the DC area, it changed to cool very quickly and without the normal step down.) 
Of course seasons exist, and even taking out the northern vs. southern hemisphere of it all, lots of folks live places that get cool sooner or later than the specific dates on the calendar. There's a reason year round schooling in the US is more popular in warmer climates where there would never be nine months of the year you could expect people to be indoors without AC, while many cooler areas try to fit schooling in in the months that are less warm. 
But if the weather near you feels like fall or not, we as humans like to see orderly progressions.  The possibly by Mark Twain quote about weather has been attributed to almost every state in the nation. Because over a hundred years ago they felt the weather was unpredictable and yet modern humans dedicate whole TV channels to tracking and organizing the weather, only to be disappointed when it doesn't adhere to our expectations. 
But maybe the weather is on to something. The weather is going to produce heat and cold, wind, and rain, based on all the various conditions and such that often humans have created or contributed to. 
It's not tied to last year's production standards, it's working with the conditions it has now. And while I would hope that as humans we could work on being less destructive than some weather events, there's something to be said for working within the environment you have now. And not trying to live up to conditions that no longer exist.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. If you are thinking about doing NaNo this year, lovely human Irette Y. Patterson has some tips and resources, pls on of my fave short stories of hers.  (I originally met Patterson at a NaNo write in.)  
2. I found that a sheer numerical rating often doesn't tell me much, so found Tom Sietsma's choice to ditch them going forward really interesting.  
3.  And we all know I love a they found they were dating the same man so ditched him and hung out together story so much that I wrote one.  Sure I had a specific inspiration, but here is yet another real life one.  

Monday, October 03, 2022


My mother at one point told us we could each pick a vegetable that we never had to eat. I initially picked peas (sorry, peas, I love you now) and then revised it to lima beans. My other didn't stop making these vegetables, or even serving them, but the idea was anything that was not our most hated veggie, we had to make a good faith attempt to eat. 
I remember being at my grandparents house and some something or other had me feeling cranky and treated unjustly in the way six year olds often feel. My grandmother told me she was going to make a delicious vegetable that my mother didn't like.
I knew enough to know that learning important data like my mother had a most hated vegetable was very important.
Looking back now, I can see that my grandmother was having fun, that teasing your children by offering their grandchildren tidbits must have been a joy. And that it was a win-win for me. I would either like the vegetable (it was cauliflower, and I did like it) and make my grandmother pleased, or dislike it, and have this dislike to share with my mother. 
I roasted up some cauliflower this weekend and thought about how I think of this story almost every time I make cauliflower.
Food and memories get tangled together so often in such fascinating ways. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is not local to me, but shows they incubated have made their way to DC, so I am familiar with some of their work.  Apparently the push to do wide ranging interpretations of Shakespeare and showcases of other work have not always been appreciated by some of the older theatergoers.  
2. This is still early speculation, but it looks like with COVID, pushing back quickly, a strategy that works with some other recoveries, may not be the right choice with COVID.
3. You may have heard that Lizzo, who was in town for a concert, stopped by the Library of Congress and checked out a few flutes, even bringing one to her DC arena concert for a bit. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Paper Books and an Epilogue!

Paper ie like books you can hold in your hands are available for both Bored by the Billionaire and Clear as Ice.  I appreciate everyone's patience on the Bored by the Billionaire print version, it took longer than I expected to resolve.  
Here's info about each book and a Bookshop link.  

Bored By the Billionaire - A City Entanglements Novella -  Lulu Williams is bored with dating billionaires. She has just ditched the latest and is on a late night train back to DC when she encounters a handsome stranger. They get kicked out of the quiet car together and agree to go from the train to a hotel room to explore this sexual tension. Lulu figures Aiden will be the perfect palate cleanser. He wasn't supposed to also be an interesting guy who doesn't treat her purse mogul life as a cute hobby, who takes her to museums, and eats fried food from a bag. And he especially wasn't supposed to be a billionaire.
Available at etailers here:

And in print:

Clear as Ice - A City Entanglements Novella -  Sienna is no stranger to social media. When she unwittingly starts something claiming there are no Asian Americans in hockey, and then discovers there is one on her hometown team, she knows it's up to her to make amends. And given her new no dating this year rule, she won't have any trouble keeping things professional. Al is used to people acting like he's the first or only Asian American in hockey. As the Domes' season moves towards the playoffs, he knows how to keep focused just on hockey. Even as Sienna turns out to be more than he expected in so many ways.

Scenes from this were originally posted on my blog for #HockeyFiction. Now the whole story will be available.
Available at etailers here: And in print:

And the bonus epilogue has gone out to newsletter subscribers!  The post is tagged subscriber only, so won't be visible to non-subscribers, but will be available to new subscribers who sign up.  

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Levels Do Not Exist

There's a piece of writing advice, that I find similar to "write every day" kind of annoying.  Because yes, when I write (or edit) every day, each day is so much easier.  I jump write back into the story and go.  But life does not always allow for that.  But I said I was here to talk about another piece of advice.  
That advice is, find some writing partners at the same level as you and work together and all of you will be successful.
So here's a thing.  I understand where this advice comes from.  Having writer friends who will understand what specific publishing things are is a great idea.  There is a temptation sometimes for newbie writers to go hunt down the most successful writer person in their location and be like hi, we should be writer buds.  
And so, that can happen. (Usually not like that though.  Please don't just knock on doors, or cold email or DM random people.)  
But the thing a lot of people skim over, because it doesn't make as cute a narrative, is the following things.  
Let's say newbie writer you attends a writer event, you find 9 other newbie writers and the ten of you decide to form a writer collective of sorts.  It's fab, you all share pages, stories, talk about next steps.  It's super great.  
And then, one of the folks in the group just stops responding.  Various members will reach out but they just don't say anything. 
Another member will immediately get a request from an agent.  The group will be incredibly supportive.  
And then another member will get a request from an agent, and it feels like this is it, obviously this group is blessed.  
A third person will get a request and sign immediately.  They will get put under a tight deadline and they are no longer able to finish reading anyone else's pages because they have to do a huge revision for their agent.  
Everyone will understand.  
A fourth person will win a contest and get connected with an agent and publisher.  They get a pub date.  
There will be discussions of splitting the group into two parts.  It was too large anyway.  Someone will suggest that the four who do or almost have an agent should form their own group.  
And so the five remaining will determine to meet up without those folks.  But now there's one person writing fantasy and four people writing contemporary, so the fantasy person will leave.  
One of the contemporary folks will disappear and someone will hear a rumor that the other group let them join.  
Now in my I swear it's fictional example, the three remain may also get published.  And at least one of those pre-pubbed folks is gonna go on submission and not get a deal.  And one of them will hate publishing so much they quit.  
My point is not don't find writer friends and/or writer partners.  Do it.  It's really helpful.  But one of the things that people don't tell you is - for reasons of illness, bigotry, and/or general life requirements, a lot of people leave publishing. It it true of many industries.  My day job, there are a ton of people who were there my first day, are not there today.  
Some of this is perseverance.  Some of this is stubbornness.  Some of this is luck.  But when people tell you, I formed a group of similarly serious writers and we all got published, it's not that it isn't true.  It's that the people currently in their group are the ones who made it.  So it's sort of self selecting. 
If you look at any debut class of authors, about 4 years out - some of them have stopped publishing, some have changed genres and/or age categories, and some are super strong.  And three of them are probably great friends and all talk about having such good friends.  
I say this not to be depressing.  Because the core of the advice is great.  Find writing friends with similar goals.  Work together on those goals.  But if your group doesn't end up being magic, just like a lot of the rest of publishing, keep going.  

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. First there was a typhoon in Alaska, and the Alaska Community Foundation is collecting donations for those affected. 
Also Hurricane Fiona affected Puerto Rico (among others, I'm sure more will be known as things dry). Someone compiled this list of organizations that are helping
and Haymarket Books is doing a buy one, they'll buy a book for an incarcerated person this week.  .  
2. I was pointed to this post by author Nathan Burgoine which raises some interesting questions about people who want to read romance where day to day realities are not present.  He also reiterates a thing I try, which is I try to be specific about things I disliked or liked but know to be a problem, because it may or may not bother you, or it may be just what you want.  
3. A reporter attempted to recreate the day in "Ferris Bueller's Day off" and documented it

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

"Heathers: The Musical"

Content note: Onstage murder by gun, onstage suicide attempt, onstage hanging, suicidal ideation, mass murder attempt, sexual harassment, bullying, fatphobia, homophobia, toxic masculinity, toxic parenting, swearing.
So here's the thing. I have seen the "Heathers" movie. It was weird and problematic and yet, somewhat compelling at the time. 
"Heathers" calls out a lot of problematic things, but also engages in almost every one of those things. Would it be possible to create a non-problematic musical based on this source material? Probably.
But this musical is not really interested in that. There are more people of color in this musical, and there are songs. That's about it for deep changes. 
For those unaware, there are three Heathers who are part of the popular crew, and Veronica who is tired of being bullied decides to show off her forgery skills to get in with the Heathers. Except being a friend of the Heathers kind of sucks. Spurred on by hot new kid JD, Veronica tries to change things but things spiral out of control. 
I have to imagine if you've never seen the movie, the musical feels a.little discombobulating. Some musicals you listen to the cast album and assume a lot happened between the songs. Not so here. They move quickly from life sucks, being a friend of Heather, this sucks, let's have sex, oh she's dead, and so on. 
To be fair, this show is trading on the stereotypes of high school, it's not really interested in subtleties. 
Now did I watch the whole thing? Absolutely. Do I Iove that there's a weird song about brain freeze? I do. 
And in some ways it's unfair to ask a black comedy to do more than shine a light on the ridiculous things. 
The pro shot was filmed before a live audience, though they are muted except at the end of each song, and, well, during one specific audience interaction. 
Currently available on the Roku Channel, in the US and Canada.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Banned Books Week

I used to post about banned books every year, and felt I might have run out of words on it. But in light of unprecedented pushes to censor, challenge, and remove books from various public places over the last year, from libraries, to schools, to bookstores, here I am again.
I am all for thinking critically about the books we choose to consume. I even think books that a factually wrong probably don't need to be readily available. But that's not what's happening. As the books available and read by kids provide access to stories about a wider array of people, a small but vocal group of people are trying to make access to these stories hard. 
Rudine Sims Bishop talked about books being windows, mirrors, and doors, and these folks are trying to limit the number of doors, make the mirrors only mirrors for some people. 
And it sucks. It sucks for teacher, librarians, and booksellers who are already underpaid, underfunded, and busy. 
It sucks for authors who wrote those books (see also underpaid, busy, etc). 
And it sucks for kids. Limiting kid's access to books won't prevent them from becoming who they are, but it may teach them that reading is boring, and/or books are only about one kind of person. 
I was lucky enough at my big age to go to a school where the required reading included authors of color, and non-Christian protagonists. Nothing makes me sadder than talking to kids about the books they are reading and discovering some of them are still getting the exact same or even a more limited required reading list. Some books are classics for sure, but there are so many books, and the idea that they aren't encouraged to read anything from this millennium is not only sad, it's a disservice to them. 
Also, all the arguments are crap. Yeah, I said it. I had to read Shakespeare plays. (Not a complaint!) Which means I read about sex, murder, war, and non-consensual drugging, to name a few things. No one seems to think that's harmful. So how is reading about a kid wanting to star in the school play harmful? (It is not harmful. Also, I am referencing the delightful Melissa here.) And yes Melissa is also about a character finding ways to express to folks their gender identity. But that comes up in Shakespeare too. And again, I notice Shakespeare is not on the top of the challenges list and Melissa is. 
Am I suggesting Shakespeare is bad? Nope. Just that the arguments are flimsy. And look, I did a buddy read with my brother one summer when he had summer reading and told him I super hated the book he had to read. Hated. But we read it and talked about it. 
Any parent who wants to instill values like, don't murder the king when he comes to visit, in their kid, absolutely should. (That's a Shakespeare reference by the way.) But banning books because they reflect people you want to pretend don't exist, is crap. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I was sad to hear of the passing of Henry Fuhrmann, and sad that it was his passing that brought to my attention the work he had done to push for better more inclusive language use.  
2. There were some rule changes in the US Open this year, it will be interesting to see how this does or doesn't change things going forward.
3. As a writer I do think the book industry is fascinating, if not "Project Runway" TV worthy, but folks do try, and with the latest making attempts, Writer Beware has a round up of some prior attempts.   To be clear, there are some delightful book people involved in this latest attempt, I just think the process of writing is hard to document.  Unless you are going for a montage of: writer goes to get snacks, writer has plot problem so takes nap, writer types furiously but the screen reveals a video game on their screen.  

Monday, September 12, 2022

Breaks, Snacks, and Other Things

I have been watching the tennis and one of the things the players are great at, is resting. Between each game they sit, they grab drinks and snacks, they change clothes, and they rest. 
I read a study a while back that breaks are often most effective just before you hit peak productivity. The idea being that resting and/or fueling up before you get to your best streak, gets you a better streak.
Now I realize not all jobs allow you to be like, oh I think now is the best time for me to break. But it's easy to be like if I stay here and keep going, I'll stay in the zone. To treat getting up for a snack or a bathroom break as distractions, instead of things that support your body and mind and help you continue on. 
But as the Tony award winning Broadway show said, take a break. Okay, I realize posting this on a Monday is a little mean, but plan your break today, if it isn't time for it yet.  

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece about Serena William's career pivot is a reflection on career pivots and retirement.  
2. Anne Helen Peterson does a great job of contextualizing the difference in college loan experience that has occurred in just a few short decades.  
3. Julia Roberts echoes what many lovers of romance and rom-coms have been saying, which is that it seems easy, and people devalue the effort.  And also that she's hoping we have more.  

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Imagined Futures

When I first moved into a place that was smaller than the prior place I had lived in, I talked to a few friends about how I expected to live there for a year a two and then would probably move somewhere bigger. So I was going to do a post move cull, having of course done a pre-move cull, but not too much, because when I lived in the next place, I would need that stuff. 
And the first few folks I said this too agreed. And the third looked at me and said, oh I think that's dangerous thinking. 
And I sat with that. So first, I should be clear I have not since moved into a larger place. Is that still on my someday list? Yup. But between job changes and other life changes, it is not currently my highest priority. 
But it's very easy to hang on to things, fancy outfits for when you get invited to an awards ceremony, a kitchen appliance for when you have more time to make that thing. I have a craft box from a craft subscription service that has gone out of business now, but every time I open it I am sure that very soon, but not today, I am going to make that thing. 
And it's very easy to hang on to these imagined future days, days with more money, more time, more space. And look, dreams are good, and I am not saying give up your dreams. 
But sometimes, the things you hang onto, like this craft box, are also looming like a specter. It's taking up physical and mental space I could be dedicating to things I will actually do in the next year. 
And so maybe, it needs to go. 

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Thrilled for both readers and booksellers in Virginia that the case about selling books has been dismissed.  
2. This story on what is a dumpling, is a fascinating look into the variety of wrapped food.  
3. I know and adore many of the people in this story about the robust romance book lover scene in the DC area, so of course I love this story.  Like Parker said, I can remember when you had to go to a chain to get anything with reliable smoochies, I am so pleased at the change.  
Also, you may have heard that the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi has reached a new point.  This post has some organizations helping residents.  

Monday, August 29, 2022

Done is What's Important

I made a list.

I made a list before I went to run errands Saturday, and then I did what I often do, which is go to the stores, not check the list, get home, unpack, relax, and then inevitably realize the thing I forgot to buy because I didn't check the list.

Now sure, I should probably learn to check the list. 

Or accept that the joy of living in a city, in walkable distance of a number of stores, is that, I can and did just get the thing the next day. 

Because yes, process improvement is good, but also there are no grades for optimizing your shopping, and basically, I had planned to take a walk outside and listen to an audiobook anyway, so adding walking in the direction of a store wasn't a big shift. 

I don't usually consider myself a perfectionist, but I will sometimes find myself berating myself for not doing things efficiently and yes, efficiency is great. But here, the only one inconvenienced - if we could even call it that - was me. I still went for a walk. I still listened to my audiobook. And I got two more things purchased that I needed. The end result was fine. So who cares? 

One could argue, this many words later, that clearly I do. But part of what I've been trying to remind myself, is that sometimes optimization and efficiency can just take a break already. Done is what's important. And it got done.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. This story of talking pop culture between math questions via fax with his dad in the 1990's is fascinating. 2. An airline put together an all Black female crew - down to the maintenance techs, in honor of Bessie Coleman. 3. There's surfing happening in Hawai'i this week around the annual waterfest, and there are dog surfers, or surfurs, as this conversation suggests.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

New Release - 7 Things About Clear as Ice

1. Sibling relationships are fascinating, and Sienna was so much fun when I wrote Repeated Burn, that I knew she would need her own story.   
2. I talk about this in the acknowledgments too, but yes, I did start teasing a hockey story and then discover my sports superstitions meant I couldn't work on it in season, and so it has been a longer wait than I planned, I appreciate the patience of readers who have now waited a bit for this. Even though obviously this is a fictional hockey league that should have no bearing on any pro sports things happening.  
Also, because some excerpts were posted to my blog, and I wanted to make sure people knew that, Bookbub and I are currently in negotiations about whether this is a new release.  There are lots of words that I never posted, but I understand that Bookbub wishes to be cautious   
3. Raven and Marcus show up here from Repeated Burn, and there are some references to Maya, Lulu's coworker from Bored by the Billionaire.
4. I wish I could tell you that I planned to write a very slow burn to follow the speedy hookup, catch feelings later story depicted in Bored by the Billionaire.  Oh wait, let's absolutely say I planned that as intentional contrast.  (I promise there is some burn at the end.)  But it turns out that the life of a pro-athlete is really busy.  Who knew?  (Everyone.  I know.) 
5. I always end up having to research things for stories, for this one I learned more about hockey (there are things I wondered about as a fan but didn't need to know), volleyball, goalies styles, injuries, and travel.  
6. This story was written during a pandemic but exists outside of it.  Or before it.  Also, there will be an epilogue posted next month to the newsletter for folks who want to see a little more of Marcus, Raven, Lulu, Aiden, Sienna, and Al.  
7. And here's the cover copy: 
Sienna is no stranger to social media.  When she unwittingly starts something claiming there are no Asian Americans in hockey, and then discovers there is one on her hometown team, she knows it's up to her to make amends.  And given her new no dating this year rule, she won't have any trouble keeping things professional.
Al is used to people acting like he's the first or only Asian American in hockey. As the Domes' season moves towards the playoffs, he knows how to keep focused just on hockey.  Even as Sienna turns out to be more than he expected in so many ways.  
Available at multiple etailers: 
Print books are in progress.  

Monday, August 22, 2022

Bookstore Romance Day

I watched quite a few of the Bookstore Romance Day panels this past weekend (after an early morning stop at the bookstore) and then somewhat coincidentally gathered with some other romance peeps for brunch, which is to say, I listened and chatted about romance books a lot this weekend. Also my TBR got even bigger even though several of the panels I attended I had read a book by everyone on the panel. Wild.
For all of the things we need to fix in the world and therefore also in publishing, there are some great books, some books that made people happy, made them hungry, made them curious, and/or made them feel cozy. Books are so great. Stories are so great.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Substack is well - doing stuff again.  This time letting go an editor who edited a piece that criticized Substack.  Which is interesting, given Substack's people are allowed to write terrible things on our platform because no one is forced to read anything they don't want to stance.   
2. This excerpt from The Grieving Brain is great, because it gets right to why grieving is such an odd process, it's relearning the world. 
3, How a cat drawing helped these two people fall in love. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Joy is Resistance*

Authors I know and adore have had their books banned, challenged, and issued warning labels. 
I've spoken before about how of course every book is not for every reader, and yes I agree that there are books that contain harmful ideas that should not go unchallenged. (The ideas that is.) 
I want people to be able to find books about people like them and people not like them. I have read books this year that made me furious, but I assume someone else found something great in them.
Certainly books that contain bad facts are not necessary to make widely available, just like one assumes kids today have a more recent science book than I did, because we keep learning new things. 
I read Akwaeke Emezi's Bitter this weekend, and it's story about a teen who has spent so much of her life just trying to survive and recognizing that this imperfect world is going to need so much work to fix and couldn't she just stay in her room, was just what I needed after a wild news week that included an author and a man who founded a group to protect authors being attacked on stage. Emezi did an interview with We Need Diverse Books about Bitter, that I found interesting.  
*The title is referencing Ralph Henry Reese's quoting poet Toi Dericotte in the Guardian article. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Excited to learn DC has a new bookstore, focusing on queer books.  
2. One of the things that fascinated me when I watched "Being Serena" was watching her talk with her coach about how weight fluctuations happen when you're breastfeeding and him being like, well, maybe you stop. And thinking how little information we have about returning to sports as a top tier athlete.  Serena Williams has made tennis better.  I hope the various things she has planned for a post tennis life, are as fulfilling as she wishes. 
3. I had heard about RAGBRAI from friends, and the pie stops, but this piece about the multi-day bike trip is lovely. 

Monday, August 08, 2022

Epilogues, Teasers, and Ending

I was chatting with someone about bookish things, and we shared cliffhangers that had made us mad, endings that had made us quit series, and so on.  
A romance writer friend of mine had once said that for her the sweet spot in romance novels was to end right as you were assured okay, they love each other, they got this, but that readers wanted to live in that moment and she felt this was why epilogues were popular in romance.
Now of course, could you do one more chapter where they are just happy? Sure?  But I think some readers will worry.  So the framing of an epilogue says, look, no more shenanigans, here they are just happy.  Except that sometimes the epilogue also hints at what's come.  The roommate calls and confesses they are pregnant, unexpectedly married, in the hospital, just enough so you go oooh, what happened to roommate?
Now have I read books that did not do this?  Of course.  Am I mad at some of them even though, yes, if you promise me the amnesia will be resolved in book 3 I will grudgingly wait.  Sometimes.  And sometimes that hint was too much and the next book wasn't out yet and I quit.  
In some ways I think this is what Marvel has been trying with these post credits scenes.  Something that doesn't fit in the movie, but gives you a few more moments with the characters and a hint at what's to come. 
And of course season finales, particularly in the days when TV shows had a guaranteed next season, often tried this too.  Raising something that you could talk and speculate about for three months, but didn't make you so mad you quit.  I actually don't think I ever quit because of a season finale, although the cumulative realization that "Grey's Anatomy" was going to kill off everyone once a season grew to be too much for me.  
Kristine Rusch did a post earlier this year about the importance of endings, and one thing rewatching and even re-reading things has often shown me, is that many times, the parts I remember most are near the end.  Now sure I read that more recently, but like giant plot lines will be a surprise to me, but the ending, stuck in my mind forever.  

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1.  I went on a bit of a deep dive into the lawsuit about the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, but this post goes over the highlights of why singing songs for free on Tiktok and performing a live event where you charge money changes things.  It both is and is not about the money.  
2. Apparently this has been going on for a while, but Chuck E Cheese has a nom de kitchen if you will, that appears on delivery apps for people who may just want an Italian pizza of sorts. 
3. And speaking of older news resurfacing, here is the interview with the bartender from those wild bartending videos, where she demonstrated drinks making with no tools.  

Monday, August 01, 2022

Moments of Beauty

My friend and I had outdoor lunch plans on Saturday.  Those of you in the area will know that much of the week leading up to Saturday was either quite toasty, very humid, or raining.  There was little in between.  
I turned off the fan for a few hours at one point because I vacillate between enjoying the white noise of the fan and thinking that sometimes that fan seems very loud and I would like it to shush.  (The fan is not the problem here, I am aware.)  I made it just a few hours before I remembered that turning it off always meant it took much longer for things to get back to not feeling wilted because while it often feels like the fan is doing very little, it take more for it to get back to that point when it can't do it's thing.  
But I digress.  Saturday - the weather folks promised - would fall into that sweet spot, warm enough even for me, not rainy.  I put on sunscreen and bug spray, and decided to be bold and leave the rain gear at home.  And it was delightful.  I ate food someone else made delicious, I chatted with a friend, we people watched trying to figure out what kind of gathering was happening the next door over.  (It involved a tiara and presents.)
We went and got delightful drinks and sat outside in a slightly different location and chatted more.  The sky was gorgeously blue with clouds.  And we said goodbye and it was just a delight.  
May a beautiful day be in your future if Saturday, for whatever reason, wasn't one for you. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I'm seeing some misinformation about monkeypox out there on the interwebs.  Prep4All has an explainer with suggestions for government action you can reach out to electeds with, if you wish.  Note: There are some photos, you can scroll past and read the very good info if the photos are not what you need right now.  
1. This post about the similarities between kissing and fight scenes is delightful.  I confess. I tend to skim fight scenes because a lot of them are just about who's alive at the end, but good scenes, as the post notes, change the characters and therefore cannot be skimmed without losing something.  
3. Teen Vogue talked to Olivia Julianna about how a congressperson trying to dunk on her helped her raised funds for abortion, and how watching wrestling helped get her ready for this moment.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Heat Advisory

It was really hot here this weekend. Not unusual for July. And honestly not as hot as it can be, but, even for my heat loving self, it was hot enough. I had errands to run and outdoor dinner plans on Saturday. And then Sunday I woke up, showered, and promptly took a nap.
Someone had noted that cultures accustomed to heat often assumed longer breaks and even midday naps were part of the deal. 
Yes, of course, I live somewhere where seasons have always been part of the deal, so the housing is built with that in mind. I also snicker a bit to think of things, like back in the day, the dude that "founded" Silver Spring was looking for somewhere an easy horse ride from downtown DC, but a little cooler. 
One of the things that productivity culture will have you forgetting, is that rest is not a reward, it's survival. 
Staying cool and not dying, is sometimes enough multitasking. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. I am not much on the clock app these days, but enjoyed this interview with the stars of the "Retirement House" talking about their different journeys to being in this TikTok show.  
2. Jia Tolentino writes thoughtfully about the varied ways that abortion might be considered sacred
3. As I am close to several French Bulldog owners, this minor drama over a Frenchie meetup in New York amused me.  

Monday, July 18, 2022

7 Things from WriteOnCon

[Disclaimer, I am on staff at WriteonCon.]
1. Everyone is really tired.  I say this not just because I spent a huge amount of non-sleep time reading, listening and watching stuff.  People in publishing have been talking about long hours and low pay for a long time.  It's true everywhere, not just in publishing, but adding in the paper shortage and supply chain means a lot of people are really tired.  It means everything is taking longer.  Books are getting delayed, and it means new clients and unsigned projects are sitting much longer.  
2. Cycles are short in publishing.  People are talking about this feels very 2010, not fresh enough for the current market, or well, this was back in 2015, so now things have changed.  Obviously the pandemic has created a clear dividing line, But things are hard, things will change, it just isn't always clear when and where the shift will happen.
3.  In some ways this is a continuation of the prior point, but there are people with books coming out this year, who entered publishing through a route that no longer exists.  It doesn't mean no new books or new authors are being acquired, but it's a clear example of how things shift, but the bookshelves don't always reflect that shift for another few seasons.    
4. There are no shortcuts. I mean sure, be ready and prepared to be a huge success.  But also be ready for that not to be. Or for people to call you an overnight success six books later.  
5 .  Listening to a lot of thoughts about writing is great.  The most important takeaway is always going to be - there are a lot of approaches.  Understanding why people suggest one, is often more important than immediately adopting it.  (Unless it viscerally sounds great.  Do those things.  But also, it means there isn't a formula but also that all the things you're doing are good.  
6. I default to the marathon example a lot, which is hilarious to my runner friends.  But everyone had to learn to write in school, and most everyone had to run around in gym class in school, but everyone assumes being a writer is easy and no one assumes you could just run a marathon tomorrow.  
7.  There are so many people who love books, love reading and readers, and are excited to find and share more stories.  My TBR grew three sizes.  

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Three Interesting Things (Plus)

The world got to me last week and while I remembered I needed to put together a post, it just never happened.  
1. This is hyper local, as they say, but local restaurant Bad Saint announced their closure this week.  The Washingtonian piece has been updated to include comment from one of the owners.  It includes the note that Bad Saint's tiny space, which made getting in so coveted for a while, also made it something that was tough to manage in an airborne pandemic. I look forward to whatever they do next.  After they rest. 
2. I understand that unusual immigration situations are no less worthy than run of the mill ones, but this story of a woman who had been living in the UK, but went to Jamaica in 2020 to get married, got stuck there, got pregnant, had hyperemisis gravidarum, so couldn't travel while pregnant, had her baby, and now is being told her baby isn't allowed in the UK, is just wild.  (She's allowed back. Just not her months old baby.)  Of course, I said it's wild, but yes, this is basically our system here too.  
3. This interview with the woman who won many of the categories in the County Fair is cute.   
4. This partially illustrated explainer about planning travel in a pandemic era, talks through some important considerations, like do you have the space and funds to isolate if you get sick. 
Also, over on the newsletter, the second quarter reading roundup happened.   

Monday, July 11, 2022

Tips for Virtual Conference Attendees

I'm working behind the scenes at WriteOnCon, so am incredibly biased towards that conference, but here's some things I find help make virtual attendance go well. I do live alone, which does help.
Things to do before:
Charge all the things. Even if your are planning to move no more than 2 inches from the outlet, during conference just do it. Don't forget any and all earbuds or headsets that need charging.
Plan food. Your choices may well be, much delivery. But plan ahead. Anything that's going to require timing, like throwing something in the oven or hit yes please on delivery, plan when. Consult the schedule. Plan for snacks, and drinks. 
Consult the schedule. Do any necessary time zone math. Figure out breaks, food, bio, etc. If it's a packed schedule, try to pick one block you might skip. You don't have to.
Is everything live? Are the live things being recorded?
Set up any browser caption plugins if they aren't already.  Even if your hearing is great, the choice to read but not listen may be useful.  

Day(s) of: Dive in. If the schedule is jam packed, remind yourself to move, even if it's just wiggling your shoulders. Have drinks and snacks nearby. 
Listen with the ear gear of your choice. The ear gear will let you stand or stretch or move just a little bit over for some sessions.  
Pay attention to your body. 
Turn on things like captioning so that if your ears object, you can maybe just watch for a session. 
Eat a food. 
Do one session oriented differently. Even if you are on the floor of a tiny coat closet, just shift over a bit. Move the chair, move yourself a little. Staring at the same distance is tiring. Changing it up, or even closing your eyes and listening for a bit can help. 
Stretch. Often. 
Drink things.  Often.  
Remember that there is no prize for attending and reading and listening to all the things the fastest.  And sometimes, even if you don't take that break, just spending few minutes thinking about some of the stuff is great.  
Also, have fun!  

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Recreating the Mood

I often try to prewrite the blog posts, or at least most of one so that I'm not doing it over breakfast before the rest of the day takes me away.  Sometimes I discard it, no longer feeling the mood I was in when I wrote it, or feeling that current events have meant something else might be called for.
And some days, I cannot find the pre-written post, and I wonder if I wrote it, or if it really was as great as it seems like in my head.  (Words I cannot find often seem better.) 
I watched and listened to "In the Heights" over the weekend.  While it is not set over July 4th, it involves summer heat and fireworks, so it seems appropriate.  I also watched a lot of tennis taking place in the UK.  
But in the song "Carnival del Barrio", an ensemble number, many of the characters are deciding between hope and despair.  Gentrification is happening to their neighborhood.  Change is coming and it's not great. The electricity is out with no word on when it will be back.  But, as several of the characters suggest they can wallow or dance.  (People in musicals always end up choosing dance.  Shocking, I know.)
Of course this sad/happy dichotomy, this dance don't dance, is a staple of musicals.  But it resonates because I think we have all been on both sides.  Some days it just seems like everything sucks and also is sweaty.  And some days you want to dance, even if only metaphorically,  
Change is happening.  Neither wallowing nor dancing will fix that.  But getting ready to face the change, to push for change, that we can do.  

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1.  This long piece addressed some of the work being done to broaden traditional publishing
2. I am not working in employer benefits these days, but it doesn't mean I wasn't curious about how employers could cover abortion - or any other medical procedure an employee needed to go out of state for, this piece addressed some of the logistics if you are benefits admin curious.  
3. Sometimes something that could be stunt. protest, or prank just captures attention, and this tale of a radio station that played a single song yesterday was fascinating.  

Monday, June 27, 2022

This Is Us

The book America, that the Daily Show under Jon Stewart put together had asterisks and footnotes. Because there are lots of times throughout US history that they say everyone should have something, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, free speech, and so on, but, by everyone they meant like rich white dudes, or dudes with property, not the people who had been declared property of course. Growing up and living in DC it becomes clear a little more easily the asterisks. 
Our local laws are regularly challenged by Congressional folks for funsies. We have been repeatedly denied access to Congressional representation, and yet, still required to pay federal taxes, a particular thing that is true nowhere else in the US. 
People try to attack our city because of those nationally elected folks, and yet they go home, and all the various surveillance set up to track them, tracks us. 
But it just means more work to be done. Just looking at Supreme Court precedents alone, we have had many terrible ones. There are ones I consider terrible still in place. And others that were later changed. It's sometimes exhausting to daunting to discover things, rights, even back on the to do list, when they seemed done. 
But well, history books show us that terrible decisions can get fixed. They just kind of skate over all the work. It's a lot of work. But the good news is there are a lot of us. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Over on the Newsletter

Hey folks, I know today is a day. 
In news that has very little to do with current events, the next scene in the "How May I Help You? story I am serializing went out to newsletter folks earlier today. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Three Interesting Things

1. Some local residents started a plant coop for folks interested in finding native plants.  
2. I am very very biased about this, but I enjoyed author Andie J. Christopher's post on how dating apps feel like a variation on diet culture
3. The ship that locals had been talking about for so long, it inspired "The Goonies" among other things, has been located