A new cover, an outpatient surgery, and a lump

All things I’ve had to deal with since we last spoke. First of all, I turned in my draft for Coils on time! High fives all around. Look for that one late next year. For November and NaNoWriMo, I’m getting a jump start on the sequel to Paladins of the Storm Lord (due out in May) called Widows of the Sun-Moon. Take a peek at the covers!
Paladins of the Storm Lord 300 DPIWidows Of the Sun-Moon 300 DPI

Though I conceived of these stories a long time ago, this will be their first time in print. I hope you’re as excited as I am to take a journey into outer space!

As for the surgery, I had my first lithotripsy this past week. It’s a treatment to break up kidney stones, which I have in both kidneys, lucky me. It went very well, though, and I have my next one in December. Fingers crossed that I’ll be free of the little bastards after that.

Blurry, because there's too much to do to sit still

Blurry, because there’s too much to do to sit still

And for the lump, it wasn’t mine but Polly’s. She had a mass removed from her back that’s been sent off for analysis. The vet described it as not looking like cancer, but still looking “weird.” Only the best from this dog. Here she is with Daisy. You can just see the scar on her back. And now that I’ve got her attention for this pic, she keeps snuffling my hands as I try to type. Well, I did invite her to pay attention.

Anyone else racking up the health visits at the end of the year?

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A bit of this and that

We’re enjoying unseasonably warm weather down here in Austin, so I’m writing with all the windows open today. To those of you buried under snow around the world, I’m sorry. I’ll think warm thoughts for you.

I’ve been absent off social media lately because my joint pain has been pretty bad. The diagnosis is still up in the air. I had an MRI on Monday with my already painful joints contorted unnaturally for half an hour. I call it the Tube of Death now (patent pending). Hopefully, they’ll be able to tell me something. A friend suggested I cut some gluten from my diet because that helped her. I’ve read some medical sites on the subject, and none of them agree, though most took the attitude of, “Might help, might not.” As long as I continue to get the nutrients I need, it might help. And cutting some carbs is always a good idea (at least for me because I lurve them so). I ‘ll keep you posted on how it goes. (I’m not looking for specific diet sites or meal plans right now, just so you know. I know some people are very passionate about this, but I don’t want to debate, either ^_^.)

I’m hip deep in two different projects right now. More details as they become available.

And just because, here’s a pic of two of my lovely animals:

Roxie

Roxie

Daisy

Daisy

What’s everyone else up to?

Moved!

And boy are my arms tired. Literally. Carrying boxes is not fun.

Besides unpacking and moving furniture, I’ve been working on my new book and getting ready for the release of The Fiend Queen in January. In case you missed it, I was also a guest on Queer Romance Month.

Update on Polly: Some of you may remember that my dog hurt her tail a few weeks ago. Well, we ended up having to get it cropped because the damage was too great. I’ll go into a little more detail because it’s so bizarre, but first:

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING STORY IS KIND OF DISGUSTING, SO IF YOU’RE BOTHERED BY MEDICAL STUFF, SKIP AHEAD TO THE ***

So, Polly keep reopening the wound in her tail because she’s a happy girl, and she banged it into everything, and our house was beginning to look like a crime scene. So, we had the wound sealed , but she still managed to reopen it a little , so every morning we’d check on her, see if she needed a bandage that day. One morning, we find her licking her tail, think it must be hurting her, and bend down for a better look.

And find bone.

She wasn’t in pain, wasn’t bleeding. The last two inches or so of her tail had died, and she had…gotten rid of it the best way she knew how.

So we took her in for surgery, and they removed all the remaining dead tissue, and sewed her up, and she feels much better, even if she lost a bit of length.

Oh, the horrors. I panicked a little at first, I’ll admit, but once we found out she was okay, we did crack quite a few jokes. When the vet asked us to keep a cone of shame on her for the next few days after her surgery, we asked, “Because she’s got a taste for herself now?” We’ve thrown around, “Waste not, want not,” and joked to our older dog that she better move a little faster these days. Auto-cannibal dog hasn’t minded our jokes because she gets petting and a treat. I have to keep wondering, though, what she’s thinking about when she’s eating those treats, if in her secret heart, she thinks, “I don’t want to brag, but I am DELICIOUS.”

Without treats, I will surely perish

Without treats, I will surely perish

***********

TL;DR, dog is fine now.

Back to writing for me! Who’s with me? Who’s busy with Fall projects and pet drama?

False Alarm

Okay, so not moving. I was amazed when things were going so quickly for getting our new house. Turns out, my disbelief was justified. Being pre-approved for a loan does not a loan make.

So we’re not going anywhere.

In further sucktastic news, Polly, our big lab, hurt her tail this morning.

Polly.

Polly.

Those of you with big dogs will know that tail injuries are pretty common for the over-excited dog. But a cut on the end of a tail leads to Dexter-like levels of blood spray. Our porch looks like a crime scene. I see a trip to the store in my future to secure a cleaner harsh enough to get blood off stone. We researched on the internet how to get a bandage to stay on a dog’s tail, but all we found were very unhelpful suggestions that would have required us to go to a hardware store. Here’s my simpler solution: apply bandage, then slip a clean sock over the dog’s tail. Secure with tape and hope the dog lays still long enough to let herself heal. We’ve had to reapply the sock once already.

In more badass news, my struggle with viral arthritis appears to be under control. The meds I’m on are working well, and the doctor thinks I might be able to stop them soon.

Also in the badass category, I’ve got the final edits for The Fiend Queen and am powering through them, so you’ll have a pretty sweet book in January. Check my 3-D graphic, courtesy of Maria Zannini:

 

Sweeet

Sweeet

Also also badass, here is my FenCon schedule! All the places you can find me at FenCon XI, September 26ht-28th:

Saturday 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Trinity I – IV
Female Protagonists and their evolving role in Literature

Description: It’s been a long time since the pulps used women as simple plot devices. Strong female leads make for great books, and we explore some of the best and worst examples of female protagonists in fantasy and science fiction.

Panelists:
C. Dean Andersson, Paul Black, Lillian Stewart Carl, Stoney Compton, Selina Rosen, Barbara Ann Wright, J. Kathleen Cheney *

Saturday 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM Pin Oak
Pimp My Monster

Description: Let’s trick out our undead, partially deceased, shapeshifters, and other things of nightmares for the 21st century. How to put a fresh twist on these festering creatures from the past.

Panelists:
Aaron de Orive, Christopher Fulbright, Angeline Hawkes, Craig Wolf, Barbara Ann Wright, Steven E. Wedel *

Sunday 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Pin Oak
Why Should You Join A Professional Organization?

Description: Professional organizations have much to offer, but are they for everyone? Or like Groucho Marx, would you rather not belong to a club that would have you as a member?

Panelists:
Lou Antonelli, Cathy Clamp, Amy Sisson, Barbara Ann Wright, Peri Charlifu *

Sunday 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Addison Lecture Hall
When Will it Ever End?

Description: How long is too long? When should a series hang it up, or is there no limit to the number of books an author can or should write in a specific setting? Which well-known series have done an excellent job of holding our attention across multiple books, and which have jumped the proverbial shark?

Panelists:
Eric Flint, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Rob Rogers, Shanna Swendson, Barbara Ann Wright, Linda L. Donahue *

Hope to see some of you there!

I like to pretend it’s not a regular occurence

But I often don’t have anything to blog about! Still hard at work, still out hustling A Kingdom Lost. I can tell you again where to find me at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival.

Saturday, May 17
1 PM
WHEN GENRES COLLIDE: THE PROS AND CONS OF QUEER CATEGORY LABELS
A label like “gay writer” or “LGBT fiction” can be both a blessing and a curse — vital in promoting our work and reaching a core LGBT readership, but also classifying and possibly confining us by our sexuality. Genres and sub-genres like lesbian romance, gay men’s mystery, and LGBT horror can further narrow how our fiction is publicly presented and perceived. In a time of increasing assimilation, audience fragmentation, and expanding publishing formats, are these labels helpful or harmful? Do they damage a queer author trying to tap a broader reader base? Are these niche categories outdated, or more important than ever to our literary survival? And what are the options?
Panelists: Rob Byrnes, Michael Thomas Ford, S. Chris Shirley, and Barbara Ann Wright.
Moderator: John Morgan Wilson.
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Salon B

Sunday, May 18
11:30 AM
SAINTS AND SINNERS READING SERIES: WRITERS READ
Festival authors debut their latest works in our annual reading series. Expect to be entertained, engaged and thrilled by the written word read out loud by authors Mary A. Celeste, Kevin Klehr, Jeff Mann, Ron J. Suresha, Shawn Syms, Jerry Wheeler, and Barbara Ann Wright.
Sponsored by The John Burton Harter Charitable Trust.
Hotel Monteleone, Cabildo Room

I’m looking forward to it in a big way! I’m also looking forward to my birthday, which is on the 19th. I love birthdays…

On a personal note, does anyone have a pet that is losing/has lost their sight? My oldest dog has diabetes, and her cataracts are now so bad she runs into things. It’s really bumming her out. We’re helping all we can to guide her around, but I know she’s kind of depressed no matter how many times we cuddle her. Our vet said she would get used to it and use her other senses to compensate, and she’s doing that a little, but it breaks my heart every time she runs into a wall. Does anyone have any tips?

Daisy, my poor diabetic dog

Daisy, my poor diabetic dog

I love my job

I just Googled “What do mummies smell like?” while researching for Book 4.

Pro tip: they smell musty.

Not much else to relate this week. Just plugging away on Book 4 and trying not to think of all the traveling I’ll be doing this Fall. If you’re going to be in Dallas Oct 4-6, come see me at FenCon. Other than that, all my travel will be for vacation purposes, and boy will I need it.

Here’s Polly wearing a shirt:

Whatever, man. I'm well stocked with treats.

Whatever, man. I’m well stocked with treats.

Took a while to get that shot. Most of them turned out like this:

As long as there are belly scratches involved, she's cool.

As long as there are belly scratches involved, she’s cool.

What’s everyone’s week look like?

Nano? Done. ^_^

I hit 50K in 11 days this year. Even I hate me, just a little.

My physical therapist thinks my back pain is because a bulge on one of vertebral discs. Good news is that he thinks it can be corrected with some back exercises. Wish me luck. Agonizing, tiresome luck.

So, now that I’ve finished my sequel, I have to begin the editing process. This is also pretty tedious in the beginning, but it does let me use a shitload of pens and sparkly notebooks to get my thoughts and plot points in order. That’s always a cause for celebration. My current fave notebooks have “University of Style: Glitter” on them. You don’t know how much I want to go to the University of Style and major in Glitter with a minor in Sequins. I could go all the way to PhD.

My horde of cool pens (and cool pens ARE measured in hordes…or shitloads) are also good for drawing maps, something else I need to do to get my made-up fantasy world in order. I’m probably more excited to be using all my pens and markers than I should be. *happy sigh* Maybe I’ll even get out the construction paper, the artiest of the papers. Craft night at my house!

What are you working on? Does it involve hordes (or shitloads) of pens? Glitter? I want to know about all of it, especially the glitter. Marilou, do you ever work with sequined fabric? Someday, I’m going to make a sequined something for my lab, Polly, since she’s so goodhearted about wearing clothes. It will be the cutest thing ever.

Sing it with me, kids…

Nano ate my brain!

It’s day two of nano, and I am taking a break to tell you I’m at 11,837 words. I hope to break 15K by the time the day is over. That’s midnight over, not the end of daylight. No one’s that fast.

If you’re following me on twitter (and why aren’t you if you’re not?!?!!?) you know that I wrote to the point of pudding-brain yesterday. That’s why I’m blogging now and not later. If I waited until after I’d nano’ed some more, all you would see here would be the word “blanket” over and over or me droning on about how much I love corn.

Instead of that, I’m going to give you what you want…

…pictures of dogs. I’m a sucker for a gimmicky set of dog toys, so I bought this over the weekend:

 

Yep, that’s a Hillshire Farms-esque set of squeaky toys complete with plastic pear and cheese wedge, fuzzy cheesy ball, squeaky sausage, crunchy cashews (full of crinkly paper) and a plush jar of squeaky mustard. So…freakin…cute…

 

 

 

The dogs thought they were mighty tasty.

When we handed them out, all you could hear was muted squeaking. It reminded me of after the teacher handed out the crayons in first grade: complete silence for a few precious moments.

Daisy was in heaven.

Polly got her squeak on upside down.

She didn’t even notice when we set the plastic cheese on her belly.

Except when she tried to eat it a few moments later.

Because they are such big dogs, toys like this don’t last long and we had to pick them up after a little bit to save them. They’ll get destroyed soon enough, but I like to be there when they play with soft toys because they’ll actually eat them if left unsupervised.

Vet: “Do you see this large white spot on your dog’s x-ray, Mrs. Wright? We’re still trying to determine what–”

Me: *sigh* “It’s a squeaky pear.”

Vet: “That’ll be all your money to remove it, please.”

Yeah, supervised.

What’s goin on in the real world?