Opportunities abound!

I have a whole bunch of exciting news! Hold on to your hats.

First.

I’ve been going to an anthology-writing workshop on the Oregon Coast for many years. First called the Denise Little workshop (because Denise was the editor buying for DAW Books anthologies) where we wrote one fantasy story ahead of time and one overnight at the workshop, it’s now grown into a seven-anthology workshop with seven editors, and we write six stories ahead of time—one a week for six weeks, on a variety of themes and genres.

I’ve attended ten of these. I sold one story at the third workshop, and then

again at the sixth. This year, I sold all six of my stories.

For next year, I have been invited to be an editor!

I’m gobsmacked, delighted, a little scared, and a lot excited. I continue to cycle through these emotions every time I think about this.

My Year of Trust is part of the reason I said yes. I trust that Dean and Kris wouldn’t have asked me if they didn’t think I could do it, and I trust in my abilities and experience.

But still…holy moly!

(For more about the workshops, both on the coast and online, that WMG Publishing offers, click the links. As of this writing, there are two spots open in the Anthology Workshop.)

Second.

Speaking of the Anthology Workshop, one of the editors that past few years has been Mark LeFebvre, Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo Books and a published author in his own right. This year, he requested we do an Uncollected Anthology podcast for the Kobo website: an interview with me and some of the other ladies of UA: Leah Cutter, Annie Reed, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Leslie Walker, and Phaedra Weldon.

Obviously I think this podcast is worth listening to, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s freaking hilarious. It was recorded after a week of intense workshop sessions, and we were punchy. When I listened to it, I laughed out loud (and I was taking a walk at the time, so passers-by probably thought I was crazy), because I’d forgotten half the stuff we talked about.

So, highly recommended. It’s less than an hour long, and it’s really fun.

Third.

In which a colleague says nice things about me.

The “Fantasy in the City” bundle she speaks of is another exciting upcoming opportunity for me. A bundle is a group of short stories, or novels, or nonfiction, or even other electronic stuff, bundled together for one low price. It’s an opportunity for fans of one author to get a taste of other similar authors’ works.

In this case, it’s a bundle of twenty urban fantasy short stories. It’ll include my story “Living With the Past,” which is a Nikki Ashburne story set in my Ghosted series—and stories by phenomenal authors such as Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Leslie Claire Walker, Anthea Sharp, and Lisa Silverthorne, among others (I’ll post the full list when I know all the names).

This is my first bundle so I’m chuffed!

The bundle will go live Monday, June 20. I’ll have lots more information before then. It’s gonna be a blast.

Fourth.

There is no fourth. Three is enough for my writerly heart to handle!

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Writing Retreat

[It’s Thursday of my second week of this retreat; I leave Sunday afternoon. I wrote this post the day I arrived…and forgot to upload it!]

I’m on the Oregon Coast for two weeks, in a cozy apartment overlooking the lake.

IMG_1396

 

IMG_1398

See that view? Does not suck.

I’m cat-sitting for a friend.

IMG_1399

See this cat? Adorable. She chirrups and purrs like a maniac. She immediately tried to figure out how gullible I am when it comes to feeding her. (She’s on a strict feeding schedule.) She chirrups and peeps, and has one of the loudest purrs I’ve ever heard—it’s a hair-trigger purr, too.

I’m basically having a writing retreat, although I do have some day-job work to do as well. No other responsibilities but writing, work, getting some exercise (it’s about a mile to the beach), and eating and sleeping. I hope to get a lot of reading done, too. I may or may not watch any TV; if I do, I’ll stream something on Netflix. (I don’t think the DVR at home will explode while I’m away…)

The theme of the retreat is Clear the Decks. I’d hoped to have the decks cleared before I came and thus could focus on a novel, but the universe had other ideas for me. So I’m here to finish up a bunch of stuff so that when I get home, I can focus on a couple of novellas and the next novel in my queue. Whatever that is…

[So far, so good. I’ll post a post-retreat summary once I’m home…and hopefully remember to upload it in a reasonable amount of time!]

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Uncollected Anthology, Issue 8: Out of the Woods

BugWhat a great lineup we have this time! Not only do we have as our guest author the phenomenal writer Ron Collins, but former guest author Rebecca Senese has joined the team as a full-time member, so we have a new story from her, too!

Our theme this quarter is Out of the Woods. Urban fantasy normally takes place in cities, but what happens when the city encroaches on the forest, or vice versa…when creatures come out of the forest or we humans go in…?

“Tendrils, Twining”

Widowed Penny ponders selling the beautiful Victorian home she and her late husband shared. After all, the yardwork is more than she can handle…this spring, it looks as though the forest is encroaching.

Surely it’s an illusion.

But what if it isn’t?

And when myth and magic collide with urban development, who will win and who will lose…and who will get caught in the crossfire?

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | iBooks

 

The other incredibly fabulous authors—go check out their stories!

“Primitive Area,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch

By the time Sara finds herself in the middle of the Idaho Primitive Area, she knows she made a huge mistake. Her decision clouded by the blush of new love, she agrees to accompany Travis on a weeklong hike. Sara, the city girl, in the woods, camping. And just when she thinks things can’t possibly get worse, she discovers just how wrong they can turn—but in ways she never expected. Magical ways…

“Rusch’s short fiction is golden.”
—Kansas City Star

“Paulaleena,” Leah Cutter

Pauli, the most recent of the Paulaleena fairies, must creep out of the woods and renew the pact with the human mayor of the nearby city.

The pact that keeps the world safe from the Dark Ones.

The pact forged by blood.

When this human mayor insists on seeing the Dark Ones herself, they both get more than they bargained for.

“Lights! Camera! Action?” Annie Reed

Private detectives Diz and Dee have worked for some pretty odd clients. Leprechauns. Fairies. The occasional Greek God.

Even Dee’s mother.

But their newest client could be the oddest yet.

Horror movie director Morte (as in death; he had it legally changed) can’t find the star of his latest B-movie flick, currently filming in the woods outside Moretown Bay. The guy’s a method actor who needs to “live the part,” and he occasionally takes off to do a little research. Only this time he’s playing a werewolf, and the full moon is right around the corner.

Hollywood invades the offices of D & D Investigations in this latest addition to the Diz & Dee mystery series.

“The Reveal Within,” by Rebecca M. Senese

Marnie waited too long to sign up for a painting course and ends up in a wood carving class. What the heck does she know about carving wood? She manages to make it through the first session without gouging her arm but has to drop the class. Her learning to carve? No way. But something in the wood calls to her, urging her to reveal…what? Marnie wants nothing to do with the class but the wood has ideas of its own.

“Peculiar Magic, ”Leslie Claire Walker

Death. Resurrection. Hope.

Beth died at seventeen, helping to save the world. Her boss, Malek—the serpent from the Garden of Eden in human form—brought her back.

She hasn’t been the same since. She can’t recall the details of her death. The missing memory haunts her.

When the supernatural creature who killed her hunts her down once again, Beth must face the mystery of her death head-on. If she can’t solve the puzzle of her hidden memory, she may lose something infinitely more valuable than her life.

If you enjoy mystical YA urban fantasy with an apocalyptic twist, you’ll love “Peculiar Magic.”

“Peculiar Magic” is a stand-alone story set in THE FAERY CHRONICLES series. For more FAERY CHRONICLES magic, visit leslieclairewalker.com.

Guest Author

“The Bridge to Fae Realm,” Ron Collins

Jonathan Hale is a delivery guy by day, and an underground music critic by night. He’s on his own and just getting his life back together when he runs across Micaela Alandari. She’s a kick-ass fae woman with an interesting bloodline that includes a half-brother mired in a losing war effort on the fae side of the tracks.

While Jon’s worried about keeping his job, Micaela’s got bigger problems for him to deal with. If he can’t get his act together, it could mean the end of civilization on both sides of the Bridge to Fae Realm.

Want More?

We do have a website and a newsletter, for the sole purpose of telling you when the next batch of stories is available. Check them out!

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

“Dyrnwyn’s Fire” now available

New fantasy short story available!

“Dyrnwyn’s Fire”

Hitler seeks the magical Thirteen Treasures of Britain. Vivian, immortal lover of Merlin, faces the task of waking him from his bespelled slumber to guard the treasures—even though seeing him again breaks her heart.

According to legend, the sword Dyrnwyn, one the of the Treasures, blazes with fire when drawn. A weapon? A test of worthiness? Or an opportunity for Vivian to rid her heart of this cursed love once and for all?

“Dyrnwyn’s Fire” originally appeared in the collection Written on the Coast.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this story, it’s available in ebook format from these fine establishments:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | iBooks

And if you enjoyed this story, check out the other stories in Written on the Coast!

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

So. Many. Words.

If you had told me, back when I was a child, that I would one day have too much to read, I wouldn’t have laughed at you, both because I was shy and because I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend your words. (“Roboto, your words have no meaning. You are in error.”) I might have stared at you as if you’d grown a second head, though.

When I was a kid, there were never enough books. We didn’t live close enough to either town to go to the library frequently. During school, I was allowed to check out more than the maximum number of books, because the librarian knew I’d bring them all back, all read at least once. And my family wasn’t the book-buying kind, so my library fit on two small shelves. I reread books a lot. I got to the point where I could read my favorite Nancy Drew, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, in 20 minutes. As in, while eating a snack. (Liverwurst and Muenster on Ritz crackers, mostly likely.)

In high school, I bought whatever books I could with my limited funds, and then my best friend—who lived in Virginia—and I would mail books to each other. The cost of a shoebox of paperbacks sent Media Rate was equivalent to what? the cost of one paperback?

Now, let’s face it, with the plethora of ebooks available, not to mention the library, and Powells, and freebies from conferences, and so forth, I have scads of things to read. (I keep going to the library instead of reading the piles of books all over the apartment. Sheez.)

But the problem is, right now, I have things to read that have deadlines.

  1. I have stories to read for the upcoming Anthology Workshop. I’m halfway through (I’ve read three of six anthology submissions’ worth of stories). That still leaves about 125 stories. I don’t have to read each one all the way through: we’re supposed to read like an editor would, so if I fade out, I just note where I faded out and move on to the next. Unfortunately (fortunately?), given the level of professionalism, most stories don’t let me out. (Which makes choosing 55,000 words for each anthology as I would put it together a real PITA.) Really good stories. Really hard choices. Deadline: Feb 26. I could read the final anthologies’ stories while I’m at the workshop, but let’s face it, I’ll be too busy hanging with a slew of amazing writer-friends and also trying to get a a few words in on my own projects each day.
  2. I have novels to read for the upcoming Romance Workshop. I can’t go into detail, but the first novel on the list is one I do not like. Even if we’ve read things on the list before, we’re supposed to read them again. I do not want to read it again. I realized last night that I was delaying going to bed because I did not want to read the novel. Aaaargh. Also, one of the later novels is really, really long, so I can’t dawdle on this. Deadline: April 15.
  3. I’m going through Love, in Stitches, Teresa’s and my latest coauthored effort, in creative mode, fixing notes we’ve left for ourselves, writing new scenes, etc. It’s mostly reading. Deadline: I’d like to have it finished this week, although I’m not as far along as I’d like. IN part because of these other things I have to read.
  4. I’m doing a developmental edit for a Lucky Bat Books client. This is, you guessed it, 99% reading (and 1% taking notes/leaving comments). Deadline: not fixed, but soon-ish. As in, I should be working on this every day.

Am I complaining? Not…not really. Not about the reading. Other than the novel I do not like one iota, dammit, it’s all really good stuff. As long as I remember why I’m reading what I’m reading (am I reading in creative mode? as a developmental editor? as an anthology editor? as a copyeditor? Who am I right now? ::cue existential angst::), I’m golden.

I think it’s just the deadlines I hate…they’re stressing me out, man.

February means story releases!

Let’s start the month off with a bang!

You already know about “Rhapsody in Blue,” my urban fantasy—with a twist of romance—as part of the Uncollected Anthology project.

clowns coverI’m also chuffed to announce my story, “Queen and Fool,” in Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix. Now, coulrophobia is a fear of clowns, so be warned, this anthology of flash fiction about clowns is…disturbing. And when I say “disturbing,” I mean that in the best possible way.

Interesting fact: I wrote this entire story on a plane. I can’t remember where or when (I could dig back into my journal and suss it out, but I have other stuff to do, like, you know, writing the next story/novel), but I remember writing it and thinking “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. If anyone’s looking over my shoulder, well, it’s their own damn fault.”

Thankfully, the editors were open to that weirdness.

I hope you are, too.

Buy Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Buy “Rhapsody in Blue”:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | iBooks

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Uncollected Anthology, Issue 7: Happily Ever Afters

BugI love stories and books that mash several of my favorite genres together…which means I love urban fantasy that speaks to my mushy romantic self. This issue of Uncollected Anthology, Happily Ever Afters, satisfies my cravings very well!

What happens when magic and romance collide? Any number of things…but they can only be, in the end, wonderful…happily ever after.

We are delighted to have USA Today bestselling fantasy author Anthea Sharp as our guest author this quarter. Anthea’s work is just amazing, as is her fiddle playing and her infectious smile. Her story will tug at your heartstrings.

All the stories are listed below—happy reading!

“Rhapsody in Blue

Rhapsody cover 2x3Liza feels psychic vibrations from used clothing—which serves her well in her job as a Hollywood costumer. A stunning midnight-blue 1920s flapper dress tells her Shawn is The One, but in her experience, most actors are cads…and even the nice guys will break your heart in their quest for fame and fortune.

Therein lies the question: Run away screaming? Or trust the dress and go with the dress…and her heart?

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | iBooks

The other incredibly fabulous authors—go check out their stories!

“After the Wedding,” Kristine Kathryn Rusch

When Keisha married Ruben, she planned the perfect wedding—and the perfect wedding cake. But when an uninvited guest ruins the reception, it unravels not only Keisha and Ruben’s perfect day, but everything about their relationship.

Keisha’s mother always said Keisha led a cursed life, but she never believed in magic. So, when an unexpected event brings Keisha and Ruben back together again, Keisha must make a choice: hold on to her beliefs or place her trust in Ruben once and for all.

“Rusch is a great storyteller.”
—RT Book Reviews

“Lost Stars,” Leah Cutter

Wilson’s house is infested by pesky stars that dive-bomb him when he’s cooking or trying to relax.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. Possibly it’s only one star. And kinda friendly, at that.

But it keeps coming at him. Disrupting his orderly life. Distracting him while he’s cooking.

He just has to deal with it. Make it behave.

He never considers the possibility that maybe it’s a sign…

Set in the same world as “The Midnight Gardner.”

Guest Author

“Guinevere’s Guest,” Anthea Sharp

Guinevere Gaunt (Gwen to her friends) is one of the last humans to carry the blood of the old bards. Half-trained and barely making a living playing the Celtic harp, she can’t afford to turn down her latest wedding gig, even though it means returning to the Fae Realm. It doesn’t hurt that the hot elf lord offering her the job also promises to be her personal guard. Unfortunately for both of them, old enemies lurk in the shadows, and the upcoming fae wedding is the perfect place to set a trap…

—USA Today Bestselling Author of fantasy & romance

Final Info

As a reminder, we do have a website and a newsletter, for the sole purpose of telling you when the next batch of stories is available. Check them out!

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Reasons why you should come to my booksigning

Reasons why you should come to my booksigning in Salem tomorrow.

  1. The book, Sparks, is an amazing anthology of Young Adult fiction by some phenomenal writers. I haven’t read all the stories yet, but the ones I have? They will blow you away.
  2. It’s not just my booksigning—four of the authors will be there. That’s a lot of bang for your buck (and signatures in your book)!
  3. Author signings are an exercise in humiliation (I have stories) (personal stories).* So your presence gives you two options: (a) lessen my humiliation or (b) stand in the corner and witness my humiliation and giggle. Your choice.
  4. The book is a limited edition pre-release available only at this signing! So you will get a collector’s item!
  5. Boooooks! So many books!
  6. Reading is sexy!
  7. There will be cookies.
  8. I will probably wear something more formal than a Styx T-shirt.
  9. I might even wear makeup.
  10. Support local bookstores! Wooh!
  11. Did I mention how wonderful and positive and empowering the stories in this book are?
  12. And that I’ll be signing with authors Leslie Claire Walker, Kim May, and Sharon Joss?
  13. Plus, cookies!

Reader’s Guide Bookstore
735 Edgewater St. NW, Salem
1-3 pm

*Like, the time the only person who talked to me was a homeless guy. Who was not interested in my book. Or the time I sold one whole book…to two people who were going to share it. (Don’t get me wrong: I’m very happy they bought my book and I’m very, very happy when someone reads my book by any means possible, including borrowing from a friend and libraries, because my ultimate goal is to share my work with others. It was just that this was a huge signing with hundreds of readers…) Or the time my books didn’t show up. (Okay, that wasn’t humiliating, just kinda sad.) Or…

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

A Very Overdue Post About the Holidays

We weren’t able to visit family for the holidays thanks to work schedules, so we decided to hunker down and enjoy some quality time with each other.

This post covers the day before Christmas through the day after, IIRC. I wrote it but never got around to cleaning it up and posting it! It’s now rather poignant given the Alan Rickman videos we watched…

We tagged Christmas Eve Day as our junk food and movie-watching day:

Movies (and other TV ephemera)

  • Trading Places
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (paused halfway through for nap reasons)
  • Moon (not a Christmas movie; just something we’d been saying we wanted to watch for ages)
  • a few episodes of The IT Crowd
  • The Great Santa Claus Switch (a 1970 musical Christmas special featuring The Muppets. With Art Carney, who I suspect was drunk during filming, as both Santa and the bad guy, Cosmo Scam. Also the first appearance of a Muppet who would later be named Gonzo [in the special, he was called Snarl and wasn’t an alien].)
  • a TED talk about happiness
  • various videos on YouTube, including Marillion’s “Carol of the Bells” and Texas’s “In Demand” (possibly the sexiest video ever because Alan Rickman is in it) and Alan Rickman making tea

Junk Food

  • hot dogs for lunch (organic grass-fed beef hot dogs on whole-wheat buns, broiled and topped with melted Havarti, sauerkraut [for me] and organic ketchup, because we are not heathens) (okay, yes we are. But still.)
  • crab dip (cream cheese and crab meat mixed and topped with a sauce of ketchup, horseradish, garlic powder, and lemon juice) on Triscuits*
  • party rye bread (party/appetizer rye bread squares topped with a mix of mayo, parmesan, and onions, broiled)*
  • homemade baked mozzarella sticks (I used this recipe, http://www.thegunnysack.com/baked-mozzarella-cheese-sticks-recipe/, except we were out of panko crumbs so we just used regular breadcrumbs, and I added some dried parsley. It was waaay too much flour and breadcrumbs, so we’ll probably halve those amounts next time.). Dudes, these were sooooo good—so much better than store-bought/frozen, and not all that hard to make. A keeper recipe. Noms.
  • jalapeño poppers (store bought, and a letdown compared to the other food).
  • subs for supper (except on cheesy rolls rather than hoagie rolls, at Ken’s request. However, I was too full and did not make one for myself. By that point, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to poop for days.)
  • ice cream (we are hooked on Talenti brand ice cream and I can’t conceive of even looking at another brand, it’s so good)
    *party food my mother made during my childhood.

Funny story aside #1. In high school, one New Year’s Eve my friends and I spent the night at Laura’s house; her parents went out to a party. (Attendees were Teri, Laura, and I; I’m not sure if this was the year Bridget was there, the year Patty was there, or if they were both there the same year. I’m not even sure how many years we did this. Honestly, I remember several New Year’s Eves in high school/college that I spent alone at home. I’d watch a cheesy 80s fantasy flick on video, watch the ball drop, then write my novel on our Apple IIe while listening to Styx on my boom box. Because babees, I knew how to party.)

Anyway. Laura’s house. Teenage girls. Parents gone. Liquor cabinet not locked. Crème de menthe is really good in hot chocolate is all I’m sayin’.

The next morning, the cat walked on the piano and everyone but me was hung over and groaned in agony. Me, I was hungry. So we crawled out of our sleeping bags and headed to the kitchen for breakfast. Everyone else ate cereal and complained that their Rice Cripsies were too loud. Me, not being fond of sweet things for breakfast (plus who was the evil bastard who created a ticking time bomb of food as a breakfast option?), well, I pulled out the leftover crab dip I’d brought for the previous night’s shenanigans. Because I was a lazy teenager, I’d just mixed all the ingredients together, which had created a pinkish-red blob of cream cheese with lumps in it.

Nobody else at the table thought this was a good idea. Shades of green appeared. I muahaha’d and hunched over my delicacy like Snoopy pretending to be a vulture. Mine, all mine!

Funny story aside #1a. Every single time I try to type “crab dip,” I type “crap dip.” This is not a commentary on the appetizer itself.

Funny story aside #1b. When I was little, I knew the word appetizer, and I knew the word my mother sometimes used for “appetizer,” which was pronounced “whore derves.” I also knew, from books I read, that there was a weirdly spelled word that meant appetizers, which in my mind was pronounced “horse d’overs.” I remember the day I figured out they were the same word, and it was magical. Choirs of angels, &tc.

Right. Where was I? Oh yes, holiday fun. Let’s move on to Christmas morning.

I ate crab dip for breakfast (see Funny story aside #1) and it was gooood, man. No regrets.

The theme for Christmas, at least for me, was booooooks! Bookity bookity books. My preciouses, let me hug them to my ample bosom and sing to thee. Ken looked at my wish list (the WishCentral.com version, not knowing that I’d recently moved much of it to Amazon, but thankfully the books were in both places) and then went to Powells. And somewhat to his chagrin, Powells had more of the books than expected. Although he says because most of them were used books and thus cheaper, he spent less than expected. So that’s good, right?

Funny story aside #2. Christmas tradition in our family was that on Christmas Day, we turned the TV to the Yule Log Channel and everyone was required to stay in the family room all day with the tree and the presents (except for my mom, who got to escape in order to cook supper). There was no retreating to one’s cozy bedroom to read one’s books in solitude, oh no.

This would have been acceptable if I got books for Christmas, but I almost never did. My mom likes to read a bit, but other than that, I was the weird outlier of a voracious reader. Once I started to transition out of childhood “gets toys for Christmas,” I was fucked. I was bored, and not interested in adult conversation (my sisters are seven and nine years older than me, so by this time, they were adults), and not able to get to my (small) stash of books in my room.

One year, I received, among other things, a couple of horse statues (I was horse mad as a child), a nonfiction book called Famous Horses and Their People (see, e.g., being horse mad), and a bell for my bike.

Once present-opening was done and the long dark teatime (without tea, even worse) of the soul of an afternoon commenced, I read my book.

As in, the whole book.

I possibly read it a second time. I sort of played with the horse statuettes, but they were two different kinds (one was sort of bronzeish and the other was plastic), and I knew they were really for display, and I had no other dolls or similar implements available to turn this into a full script.

So I proceeded to morosely ring my bike bell until my father roused from his nap in his recliner and took me out to the garage where he deftly affixed the bell to my bike.

We lived in upstate New York. It was below freezing in the garage. Even if I had the desire to shiver, teeth clattering, in the garage to continue ringing the bell and dreaming of summer, nobody else would have to put up with that incessant noise.

Smart man, my father.

I think the fact that I relayed this story more than once this December has something to do with the piles of books I received.

I should also note that I did not receive a bell for my bike. (For the bike I have yet to buy. Goals.)

Funny story aside #2a. Ken did, however, buy me this Minion on a stick that, when you press the button, sings in Minion language. It’s Stuart, by the way, holding his ukulele. Unlike my father would, Ken finds it utterly adorable when I press the button and giggle hysterically at the song.

Right. Back to the present.

Ken also found a used CD store nearby. Halloo, British version of the Chess soundtrack (among others…).

Plus tickets for indoor skydiving in a wind tunnel I’m so excited I can’t even! Eeeee! https://www.iflyworld.com/portland/

I got Ken, among other things, a contraption that stirs natural peanut butter, because the only reason he won’t eat natural peanut butter is because dealing with the oil separation is too much of a hassle for him.

Because I know how party, people.

Meanwhile, there were phone calls with various members of family, including my eldest niece who got to give everyone in the family the gift of the announcement that she’s pregnant with her second child.

Strangely, I am now a fan of the Yule Log Channel, or in this case, a free app on the Apple TV (there are paid versions, but I’m not sure how they can be better, except maybe they have music, which the 1970s/1980s Yule Log Channel played). It makes crackling fire noises, and that’s enough for me. And my idea of Christmas afternoon at home is curling up in front of whatever fire is available, even if it’s on a TV screen, and reading. Which we did.

Until it was time to shower and dress and go out to dinner with friends (Gayle, Trent, and Jeanne) at the Zeus Café, which is in the Crystal Hotel, a McMenamins property dating to 1911.

We had the best waiter ever. I finally figured out he reminded me of Peter Capaldi as Danny in Local Hero, one of my favorite movies and which solidified my love of Peter Capaldi back in 1986. Except he didn’t have the Scottish accent. Our waiter, I mean. He was efficient and smart and attentive and patient and funny. We tipped him well.

They were out of the goose (sadness!) so Ken had the salmon, which I’d considered, but instead I ordered off the bar menu and had a falafel burger, which was topped with feta tzatziki and a dash of Aardvark Hot Sauce, and it was stupendous, even if it wasn’t proper Christmas supper food.

The best part was hanging out with friends, and I’d insert a funny story here about Gayle wanting one of the enormous chandeliers and the long conversation we all had about how to obtain it (culminating in asking our wonderful waiter for it, but he explained that he’d already called dibs on it), but you kinda had to be there.

Also, the first cocktail on the bar menu really sneaks up on you. And apparently wipes your memory of what was in it (it was really good, though).

Eventually we came home (after dropping off one friend and hanging out for awhile) and determined that it was too late to watch White Christmas, so we watched the Doctor Who Christmas episode and then Ken fell over and I watched a Florence + the Machine concert that just happened to be on TV right then, and then I came into my office and wrote this before I forgot any of it.

I’ve still probably forgotten some of it.

But it was awesome.

Except for the part about not seeing family, or friends other than the friends we did see.

Ken’s off work for the week, but I have work I need to do tomorrow, and we have a few errands to run. But it’ll still be a quiet day, hopefully also with a minimum of Internet and a maximum of time together.

And reading. Because boy howdy, do I have a pile. (And Ken has a few, too.)

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.

Thoughts on competition and biology

Ken and I have Apple Watches now. I really only wanted a Fitbit, but thanks to Ken’s amazing company and their amazing holiday white elephant gift exchange, he snagged me a watch for Christmas. It does more than I need it to, but as I explore its functions I’m finding more and more groovy useful tools.

The watch’s fitness tracker shows you your progress in three areas: how many minutes of exercise you got (out of 30), how many calories you burned (you set the minimum), and how many times you stood and moved in twelve hours. At 10 minutes to the hour, if you’ve been sitting, it beeps and reminds you to stand up and move around.

It’s funny when Ken and I are watching TV or a movie, and my watch will buzz a second before his does, and then we’ll both stand up and shuffle around.

This works well for me because of my stubborn, competitive streak—there’s no way I’m going to let Ken beat me!

All of which means I’ve never been so jealous that men can pee standing up.

(Excuse me, gotta go…my watch just beeped…)

Want to chat about this post? Join me on Facebook or Twitter.