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For the time being...

So... if it looks like I've abandoned this journal, in a manner of speaking I have, and I feel badly about this. I haven't had much impetus to post here. In between RP tags and writing professional fic, I haven't given this platform or this journal much thought. I haven't completely abandoned journaling or journal-keeping though: I've started writing down a running narrative of each day in a dead tree journal. I'm returning to my roots in journaling, scribbling in notebooks and bound books. It feels weirdly freeing, writing in such a private format. No one will likely see it unless I let them or leave it to them. In a time when people wittingly or unwittingly share so much of their private lives on the public forum of the Internet, it feels revolutionary and liberating - for me at least - to keep a private, carbon-based journal. I will maintain an online presence, though: I have my Author's Page on GoodReads, where I still post the odd writer's blog entry and the odd book review from time to time, and I still have a presence on Twitter and Facebook. It's just a matter of creating parameter that work for me.

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Easter 2016



Bit of a rough Easter: we three went to Mass at Mary Immaculate this morning: found out when we got their that a friend of ours passed away last Sunday/Palm Sunday. She died in her husband's arms, in the bell tower entrance of the church, just as they were walking in for Sunday Mass. We usually go to that Mass (the 10.30 a.m. Latin Mass), but we didn't last week since I had a weird chest thing/24 hour bug/tickly cough going on and we ended up going to Mass at St. Joseph's in Lowell. The pair of them are/were just about honorary grandparents to me and her husband is almost a second father to my dad, since he's about the same age, also served in World War II, European Theatre, like my grandfather, so while he certainly can't take that place, he sure does a good job filling some of the space left by my grandfather. So, this loss is very like losing a family member, especially for my dad. It happened a bit suddenly: she wasn't in the best of health and was scheduled to have but she's (was? Verbs are hard right now) a tough little gal, and they didn't expect it to happen so suddenly. But, as a lot of people including Paul are saying, she couldn't have passed in a better place, since the two of them were active in the parish, also Father H., our pastor was right there to give her Last Rites.

It gets interesting, though: this guy whom nobody had ever seen before at the church called 911 on his cellphone, then stayed with Pete (my honorary grandfather - not his real name though) while they were waiting for the ambulance. Even sat with him at Mass while the ambulance took her to a nearby hospital (their son went with the ambulance), and this gets weird. Nobody saw the guy sitting with Paul except for members of their family and some close friends. So we're wondering if the guy with the cellphone was an angel, perhaps an angel of death.

Quiet day otherwise: we three watched "The Greatest Story Ever Told" on one of the movie channels our TV antenna picks up (maybe not the best screen treatment of the life of Christ, but one of the best known). Went to Cracker Barrel for our ham dinner in the evening. I also had their crustless coconut creme pie for dessert - yum!

I've more to write about, as I've badly neglected this journal, due to life and writing getting so busy that I've had a hard time rubbing the brain cells together to spark an entry here, but I will post more in the days to come, life permitting.

First Library Event as an Author

More extended quiet: I've been hard at work on yet another new story, this time for an anthology of stories set in Salem. Oddly enough, this comes at around the time of the start of the Salem Witch Trials, though my story is set in the modern age and dealing with odd things in the old burying ground behind the Peabody Essex Museum. It's given me a devil of a time, but I think it will come out whole, if I keep plugging at it.

Also got caught up in work at the day job, and today in particular: I had a kid literally underfoot and I very nearly stepped on his torso in the process, but at the least, I realized his presence before I actually put my foot down. No idea why a kid decided to lay down right at my feet, but there I found him, his mother begging him to get up off the floor.

Finished reading a few books along the way: Edward Lee's "The Dunwich Romance" (a side-story in which Wilbur Whateley finds love and understanding from an outcast girl with no sense of smell), William Holloway's "The Immortal Body (The Singularity Cycle Book 1)" (a suspense novel in which a faith healer and a medium find their skills hijacked by eldritch forces), and Livia Llewellyn's"Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & other Horrors" (a small collection of tales ranging from steampunk to the apocalyptic and strange points in between).

Also, just ordered a hundred copies of "Lovecraft ME", preparatory to some future book events later this year, and one coming up: it's short notice (as usual, I've had a lot on my mind and thoughts kept escaping me), but I am making my first author appearance, at the Nesmith Library in Windham, NH as part of a Book and Author Festival. I may not have books to sell on the spot, but I will take orders for them and will ship them out signed and with a doodle or two to deck it out.

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Busy Writing Other Things

And not much mind for writing journal entries, I regret to admit. Life got crazy busy with work, and then I got another head cold, after working during the stretch of below-zero wind chill weather we had just before St. Valentine's Day. I did manage to knock it out of my system, and I'm back to my self again, but... it annoys me that this keeps happening, even when I wash my hands, take vitamin C, try and get plenty of sleep and do everything I can to protect myself, yet I still keep getting sick, due to people sneezing on me. I wish I was kidding. I've taken to standing well back from people and instinctively holding my breath with they cough or sneeze.

Sorry for the rant: just a bit burned up from this, since it makes it hard for me to work on my writing. Though I did manage to get another story typed and sent out, and so am now waiting to hear back from three editors at three markets, including the latest, an anthology of faery tale sequels. I've posted about it and another work in progress at some length over here. Faery tales and the ReAnimator: quite a combination. I've also started tinkering with a longer short story dealing with a monster fight in the Maine Woods, in which a family boogeyman squares off against a wendigo, as if to say, "Go find yer own humans to terrorize: these are *my* humans!"

Also been doing a fair amount of reading since my last journal entry: I finished "Kushiel's Mercy", which is in my opinion, the best of the D'Angeline novels of all, so many twists (including Actual Magic in play), also the short story anthology "Dancing With Mr. Darcy", an all Jane Austen-inspired collection, edited by the keepers of Chawton House including Jane Austen's several times grand-niece; for a change of pace, "The Thief-Lord" by Cornelia Funke a somewhat modernized take on Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, set in Venice, Italy; also "Book of Shadows", a murder mystery with horror and slight urban magical realism elements, set in and around modern-day Boston and Salem; and Scott R. Jones's "Resonator" anthology, featuring short stories inspired by H.P.L.'s "From Beyond".

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Days of Work



Back to work, the past few days. Thursday in particular proved a very busy day: the possibility of a snowstorm had people scurrying into the store. A small part of me wondered if we'd have another situation like last Saturday, where the storm tracked south of us and we barely got a dusting of snow. This Friday brought the storm! I woke up to a few inches of fluffy wet snow and a few more fell during the time it took me to go to work and finish my shift. I'd come out of the back of the store from doing overstock, when I looked out the front windows, realizing the sky looked lighter, and sure enough, the clouds had broke just before sundown and the light of the sunset had coloured everything, the sky, the trees, the snow on the buildings and the ground. Just magical to look at.

Housework today, also taking down the last of the Christmas decorations: I took down the artificial tree in my room (yep, crazy old school Catholics drawing out the Christmas season till Candlemas), and that leaves the large Nativity scene on the living room mantlepiece to take down, which I need to do before Wednesday (Ash Wednesday).

Still picking away at my faery tale sequel: looks like it might have a tragic/somewhat downbeat ending (or several endings, some downbeat, some slightly more upbeat (this in a nod to my conflating the endings of two faery tales involving people turning into swans), but sometimes these stories do. Also looking ahead to some other anthologies: I've decided to send the "teenagers summoning a shoggoth" story to one anthology, which I might drop another since the story I had in mind for it just isn't gelling. Sometimes, you just have to let yourself say no to yourself when it comes to some anthologies.

Packages in the mail Thursday: a coffee table-sized illustrated biography of H.P. Lovecraft (I think I'd seen this edition among the bargain books at Barnes & Noble), also Scott Thomas's "Quill and Candle", a collection of ghostly historical tales set in New England; this one I'm tempted to hold off till autumn to read, but the temptation to read it now has started to nibble at me.

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Annual Physical, 2016

Headed out early this morning for my annual check-up at Lahey Clinic: So far, so good, though I'll have to wait on the results of the blood work. My doctor has given me the green light on getting an adjustable adapter to turn my standard desk into a standing desk, not for any specific reason, as my heart is good, my blood pressure is normal and my weigh is within a reasonable range for my height and build, but standing more would simply keep everything in harmony.

I did excellently whilst having blood drawn for the blood test: I even managed to joke a little: "I hope you guys don't have to test adrenaline levels..." which made the phelbotomist chuckle. After the exams and all, I walked to the Burlington Mall, poked around a bit, including going to Build-A-Bear, where I got myself a Zecora plushie. As I told the gent who stuffed her for me, "I was a good girl and didn't squeak when I got my blood work done, so I'm rewarding myself with a new Pony!" Build-A-Bear clerk-folks tend to have really sweet personalities, but this guy moreso. He giggled when I told him my intent and told me, "Awwww, that's a perfect present for a girl who had to have blood work done."

Monday - Went in to work for an early shift, rather quiet in the store, so in between orders (and afterwards whilst having lunch), I managed to get some work done on a new story, this time a faery tale sequel for an anthology looking for faery tale sequels. My mind somehow conflated the Irish tale of the Children of Lir with the Six Swans of the Brothers Grimm, and so I'm writing a cross-bred tale involving the youngest son and how he adapts to life with a swan's wing in place of one arm. Hopefully I'll have this done and typed by the beginning of next week: I've got four stories due in four weeks, so I'll need all the inspiration and impetus I can manage.

Sunday - Lovely, albeit unseasonable weather today, so my dad and I decided, after Mass, to head up to the North Shore, to Hamilton, in search of a World War II tank supposedly used by General Patton, who came from that area. Quite a sight, this drab olive green behemoth parked in a park, decommissioned and sealed up, now with kids and families climbing all over it. Also did a little antiquing at a few small shops in the area, though I found nothing that particularly got my fancy.

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One Very Long Week

Still working holiday season level amounts of hours, and it has gotten on my nerves more than a bit, and has also turned posting in this blog into One More Thing That I Need To Remember To Do, and which frequently doesn't happen since I try and keep my priorities in order and do the More Pressing Things Instead. Also, not a whole lot has happened, aside from working a lot and trying to fit housework around the work schedule. Somehow, I managed to finish a short-short story for a quarterly magazine which offers the first line of a story as a prompt, and said line has to serve as the first line of your work. Wrote a little piece involving one Special Agent Spenser Matheson, who started his life in headspace as an Expy of Milton Dammers from "The Frighteners" but is turning into a more nuanced character, even with a hint of reason amidst his madness; I suspect I have more than one or two stories in mind for this guy, if he'll let me tell them, secretive and paranoid little beggar that he seems. I should be editing that, instead of writing this entry, but sic semper cum the editing process: sometimes you get yourself sidetracked because the process can get so dry.

Also still rewatching the original X-Files, though I'm generally skipping over the mythology arc eps and sticking with the Monster of the Week ones. Personal quirk, and while I hate to sound like a carper, at times even I lose track of the mythology arc; I really think Chris Carter and his team wanted to tell an interesting continuing story in the mythology arc, I just think they needed to plan it out better or had a better idea of where they wanted it to end up (I support what G.R.R. Martin calls the gardening technique of writing, and I certainly fit that mode myself, though I also support judicious editing when you've finished the thing, or chapters of the thing, including going back to see where your tale has traveled, in the case of serialized works).

Also finished reading "Cassilda's Song": awesome collection, that rare instance when every story in a collection shines, as I elaborated over here

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Days starting to run together...

This unfortunately has turned into one of those weeks where the entry title turned into a annoying reality. Wednesday through Friday, I had work at the day job and the place got really busy, which meant the doors opening constantly and the cold air coming in. Also meant that I had to rework my housework schedule (laundry, including washing the new bed sheets, a full load in and of itself) around the work schedule, which turned into a lot of juggling and using up my spoons. Friday in particular, I burned through a lot of spoons, even before I got to work. At least I had one consolation when I got home that night: one of the local movie stations showed Jim Henson's "Labyrinth", in memory of David Bowie - farewell, Starman and Goblin King and Thin White Duke, but know that you loved and were loved in return. Finally got to share it with my folks: Mum in particular enjoyed it, giggling at the goblins and their antics. Might dig out my copy of the movie novelization, which I know I have somewhere on my shelves.

On Saturday, I found an explanation for the chronic shortness of spoons, aside from the metric ton of work: That Time of the Month hit me, leaving me chilly and curled up under my covers, reading books, among them "Cassilda's Song", a collection of King in Yellow stories written entirely by female authors and edited by Joe Pulver, also Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel's Justice", which I finally got back to reading. For some reason, perhaps because I read the first book in the series around this time of the year, I find myself returning to the Terre D'Ange and its environs when the real world turns to winter.

Today, still feel tired, but I managed to get the energy together to work on taking down the Christmas tree in the family room: a bit of a sad thing, but that means the angel tree can go up soon.

Also! with the imminent premiere of the X-Files revival (waiting for a kind person to upload the episode onto one of the various streaming sites I've made use of in order to watch currently airing things), I've decided to rewatch the original series, or at the least some random episodes that I particularly enjoyed. Should come in handy later this week, as I have pro!fic to type against a deadline at the start of next month. As always, wish me luck in getting published!

Winter is here!

Woke up Monday morning to find four inches of snow had fallen! The yard and street looked utterly magical and sparkly, as I headed out to work. My first day back since I took my mental health break from work, and it felt good to get back to the place. And I dove in at the deep end, as it were: everyone who'd likely gone north for the long weekend had come home and found their cupboards bare, and so they'd come shopping to restock. Good way to get back into the swing of things, and it felt good to be back. Likely sounds odd, but it's a good sign when you feel glad to get back: you've clearly gotten the rest that you needed!

Had a weird experience whilst having lunch at the neighborhood Dunkin Donuts: I'd just settled down to eat my sandwich, when something went *BOOM!* and the building shook. Since we had some strong winds yesterday, I thought perhaps we'd gotten hit by an especially strong gust, but as I looked out the window, I had a feeling something else had caused the commotion: no flying debris. Then the girl on the drive-through window called out, "Oh man, he hit the roof!" Turns out an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer departing after dropping off a delivery and had come too close to the building while pulling around it to make his exit. And then he bonked into it again. Very nerve-wracking.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to find a hole worn through the bottom sheet of my flannel sheets. I've had this set for several years - since I got the new mattress, and I'd gotten that before I'd started working at my current day job - and since I seem to have the flannel sheets on the bed longer than the regular sheets (about seven months of the year: welcome to chilly New England), they get more wear and tear. A bit sad, since I liked the pattern on these sheets, but I'll find a way to repurpose the top sheet, since it still has some mileage.

And so I braved the cold wind and took the bus in to the Wilmington TJ Max, since I figured they'd have nice sheets at a great price, and after a little poking around in the household stuff section, I found exactly the sheets I needed, on the clearance rack, a lovely set with a grey plaid pattern. Also found more Moleskine notebooks on the cheap, which will come in handy since I've got several stories in a row in mind, for several open markets.

Speaking of writing: I had a coupon at Panera Bread about to expire, plus I had some inspiration prickling in my head, so I popped in to have my lunch and do some writing. Got ninety-five percent of a Christmas horror story written, and it came out fairly whole, I just need to flesh out the beginning a bit and write a fake news item to cap it off at the end. I need to come up with a better title for it, but right now, it goes by the working title "Beware the Yule Cat!", since it deals with the Yule Cat of Iceland, a creature of lore who will eat you, if, on Christmas day, you did receive new clothes as a present. I tweaked this to a rich, exaggerated Paris Hilton-type celebutante nastily refusing to donate to a charity collecting clothes for the less fortunate, which causes her to fall afoul of the human-eating kitty. Since I'm still in the Christmas season, I still have some Christmas spirit inspiring me, and so I scribbled this one down (including some really tricky action writing at the end) between bites of my grilled cheese sandwich.

Library trip tonight, and I borrowed Felicia Day's autobiography/memoir, which looks really sweet, and a collection of Regency Christmas romance stories, which looks utterly delightful.

Return to antiquing



Two quietly busy days: Saturday, I finally felt up to doing to some housework about the place. Also went out to pick up a few groceries while getting my schedule for ye day job. Come to find out I got a huge amount of hours next week: no complaint here, as I find myself ready to go back to work. This week off did me some good, despite the cough I've been shaking off lately.

Today/Sunday - First time in a couple of months that my dad went antiquing, this time along the "Antiques Alley" between Epping and the outskirts of Concord, NH. Popped into a few small shops, mostly in converted barns and what looked like old general store spaces. One place had a whole slew of vinyl LPs - all for a dollar a piece - in the rear of the shop, which felt like a little piece of heaven: dug through some of the bins, found a few things, including a set of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck", also the two-disk collection of Kurt Weill songs "Berlin to Broadway", which I've had my out for after I had it out of one of the local libraries and it vanished when they culled the entire vinyl. Gotta say, Weill was one of the composers that helped inform my later teen years, for better or worse. The whole raffish decadence of his collaborations with Bertolt Brecht gave my conservative, somewhat sequestered self the jolt that it needed, and it helped me to start challenging my boundaries.

Snow falling tonight: I peeked out to find a coating of silver on the trees and the grass. Weather reports say we'll have a couple inches by morning, which I look forward to walking through on my way to work: first time to break out the snow boots I bought a couple of weeks back.

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