Monday, May 31, 2021

May Reading


I felt as though I had no time for reading in May, but I did manage to finish six books. Now to be fair, three of them were quite short, as in one-hour-or-less time investment. But sometimes short and sweet (or short and kickass, the in the case of Carol Danvers) is just what I need. 

I started with The Iceman Always Comes on Tuesday by James Masse. It was suggested to me by a friend who is also an audiobook enthusiast and I welcomed it. Quick, and heart-string pulling, with an old movie kind of feel about it, about a literally ice man (as in the guy who delivers ice to keep your icebox cold) and his quest for justice. Especially nice if you're a fan of underdog heroes. 

After that I dived into Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, the book my First Monday Classics Book Club will be discussing next Monday. At the beginning, I thought I was going to love it, but in the end, I was ambivalent. Some moments that shone and a lot that started to feel like a slog. The main character was, in the end, too passive for my liking. 

I picked up Rift by Nancy E. Dunne because she and I will be sharing a table at ConCarolinas here in a few days, and I like to know something about the work of authors I'm going to be working with. I really enjoyed her take on "what if the game is real" and will definitely be checking out more of her work in the future!

The short works helped keep me going during a tough month, with ENDLESS end-of-grade testing in the day job (we have to give each test 3 times this year because of restrictions in place for the pandemic).  The Sprite and the Gardener and The Reluctant Dragon both pleased me for their kindhearted sweetness. 

I revisted Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel recently for a panel discussion about the character, and re-reading Higher, Further, Faster, More put me in the mood for more of this character as written by DeConnick, so I bought myself volume 2: Stay Fly.  Really delighted me. Perfect for my mood. 

How about you? What did you read and love this month? I'd love to hear about it in the comments! 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Fifteen Years and We're Just Getting Started


A month or two ago, on the beach

So, it's been fifteen years since I married this guy. That seems at the same time, very reasonable and completely implausible. Time is a slippery beast, and I swear it feels like only a few days ago that we skipped down the stairs together at Duke Gardens. At the same time, they've been some very full years, and sometimes I can't believe it's only been fifteen years. 

15 years ago--look at those cute kids!

We got married in the middle of May, at a ceremony we invited fewer than twenty people to. The day was overcast and intermittently rainy, which could have been bad news for an outdoor event involving a white dress, but we were lucky and the sun came right right when we needed it to, bathing us in gorgeous light and keeping our friends and family dry. 

We've always been proof that timing is everything. 

When I met Sweetman, I was already engaged to someone else. He says he had an unrequited crush on me in the intervening years, but I suspect him of flattery and revisionist memory. What we did have though, was an ongoing friendship, the kind where we always made a point of seeing one another whenever we were in the same town. Over those years, I married and had a child and he dated, but had never settled down. 

Twelve years later, I got divorced, probably about four years later than I should have . . .we hadn't been right together in quite some time. I sent out that big group email like you do, letting anyone who might care know about the changes and where I would be living and all that *fun* (sarcasm) stuff. Sweetman was one of the friends I told. 

As luck would have it, he was also free. Timing is everything. 

I worried that I was going to ruin a friendship by jumping into a romance too soon. I didn't want my good friend to become my rebound guy.  He worried that he was taking advantage of me in an emotionally fragile moment. In the end, it worked out, and we still worry about each other to this day, but now we have a little more power to do something about it. 

So Happy Anniversary to me and Sweetman. We celebrated by taking a garden tour and having Thai for lunch, since our first official date included Thai food and flowers. I wore my Bride sneakers, the ones I commissioned for our wedding. He wore a pale blue Havana style shirt and a Panama hat, because he know I love how he looks in them. 

So, there we are fifteen years into this marriage. If the next fifteen go as fast, I'll be back tomorrow to tell you how dapper he looks with that new walking stick.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Return to the Public Part of My Writing Life

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.

If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine! Be sure to check out what they have to say, and visit other writers in the blog hop!

I'm heading to a convention the first weekend in June. That used to be something I did six to eight times a year, but 2020 and 2021 has seen event after event cancelled or altered to become a digital event. Undoubtedly, it was the right thing to do. Stuffing hundreds of geeky folk into meeting rooms in hotels for music, merriment, performance, and discussion during the pandemic would have been foolhardy and irresponsible. 

But I'm headed to a scaled-back ConCarolinas and I'm *so* excited to be easing back into the public part of a writing life. Participation in conventions has been one of the poles holding up this rickety circus tent I call a writing career. 

At conventions, I have readings, participated in panel discussions, hand-sold books, networked with publishers and other writers, and interacted with readers. All this sharing, helped build my name as an author, sold some books, built relationships, and kept me motivated when things were hard. 

Not having conventions has left a hole in my writing life. 

During the past year, I sought out some video and online activities, and some of them were great! A panel held over zoom takes away some of the limits on geography and let me work with people three time zones over from me, or even in other countries all together. People I might never have gotten to work with otherwise. (You can check out a lot of that work on ConTinual's YouTube channel or on my own). 

But there's a serendipity factor in live events that is hard to recreate virtually. I never just wandered through the halls and ended up in a great conversation because I was attracted by the laughter at a virtual event. Zoom meetings don't give you the chance to peek into other rooms and see what's going on. Damn, but I've missed that. 

Now that I'm immunized, I feel a lot safer about venturing into communal grounds again and I'm so happy that I'll be starting with ConCarolinas, a con that has always treated me kindly and made me feel welcome. 

How about you? Are you easing back into the world yet? What kinds of public events have you been missing lo these many months?