Computer woes lead to virtual vacation–join me!

My work computer is  over 6 years old and barely functional. It takes me two or three times as long as it should to do even simple tasks, and you can forget fancy stuff like, say reading pdf files. I talked the powers that be into ordering me a new one because–who knew??–professors nowadays need computers that work. Computer was ordered and arrived on campus in late April. Since then it’s been sitting in our OIT, waiting to be set up. Gathering dust. Late last Friday I received an email informing me that they’d finally got the computer ready. Yay, right? Except they still haven’t installed it or transferred the files from my old one. Today I emailed them to ask when???? And I received an email back, informing me that my work order status has been upgraded to “high.” Wow–after only 3 1/2 months.

So instead of being bitter, I’m going to pretend I’m vacationing. You can pretend too. Here are some photos to help.

 This is the town of Hum, in Istria (Croatia). It claims to be the world’s smallest town. It’s famous for Glagolitic script. Hum is adorable, and it’s over 900 years old.

 This is the view from a lovely cafe in Motovun, also in Istria. If you watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, he was at this cafe this year. I was there first. *g* Istria was long a part of Italy and still looks and feels pretty Italian. In the forest you see in the valley, locals truffle hunt with dogs.

 Motovun is also adorable. It looks like a tiny bit of Venice plucked from Italy and plonked onto the top of a hill. You can walk around the city wall for views like this. The house in the foreground is where Mario Andretti grew up.

 This star is from the Croatian walk of fame in Opatija (hint: in Croatian, the j is pronounced like a y). Opatijia is on the Adriatic, and it was used as a resort town for Austrian nobility during the 19th century. It’s still a nice resort town, although with fewer Habsburgs nowadays.

 This is in Opatija. The umbrellas are a bargain, too–less than $4. The machine was sold out, which was unfortunate because it started pouring while we were there.

 But we could still find a covered cafe (cafes are very important to Croatian life), where we could watch this little drama. The Mercedes is illegally parked and the city bus full of people can’t make the turn. You can see the bus driver stomping angrily back to his bus. A cop arrived, took pictures, and went away. Finally, maybe 10 minutes later, the car owner showed up to move his car. Nobody on the bus rioted.


Dreamspinner sale! Time to stock up on Kim Fielding titles!

 We reached 5000 likes on Facebook and therefore all of you get a 20% discount on one purchase! The purchase can be as big or small as you wish and the coupon is valid for one purchase per customer during one year: FB5000.

Coming soon

Dog days of August? Here’s a heads-up on some things I have brewing soon:

  • On Aug 11 from 11-4 Pacific Time, I’ll be hosting a chat on Dreamspinner Press’s Facebook account. Friend DSP now and you can join in. I’ll have a giveaway and I’ll ask and answer questions.
  • On Aug 13, DSP’s anthology Animal Magnetism is released. It contains a short story by yours truly, entitled “Care and Rehabilitation.”
  • I’m participating in Alix Bekins’ blog launch party. A whole slew of authors are playing, each contributing a daily addition to an ongoing story. My day is Aug 14, but you can start reading now, here.
  • On Aug 18, a bunch of DSP authors will be chatting on the Yahoo group Literary Nymphs Chat. You can join the group now to play then:


Last year I had the amazing opportunity to live in Croatia with my older daughter for 5 months. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance. We lived in Zagreb and traveled as much as possible. Some of my travels helped inspire a novel that I recently submitted to a publisher.

But today I wanted to share one of my favorite cities in the world, Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. It’s located in Dalmatia, way down near the southern tip of Croatia. It has a really interesting history–as the free republic of Ragusa, it was one of the first places to recognize the USA as a country back in 1776. You can feel a strong Venetian influence there, although the locals claim that their  tower with a couple of metal guys banging a bell is older than the one in Piazza San Marco.

Dubrovnik’s recent history is tragic, as the city was under seige for 7 months during the war that tore apart Yugoslavia. Civilians were killed and much of the beautiful walled city was damaged by artillery. When we were there, a local man told what it was like during the seige to have to carry water and supplies up and down the steep terrain, especially for the city’s elderly inhabitants.

Fortunately, the damage was repaired, and Dubrovnik is now a vibrant place. It’s full of well-fed feral cats, cafes, breathtaking views, and, sometimes, cruise ship tourists. You can walk around the top of the entire city wall. It’s where parts of the second season of Game of Thrones were filmed. The food is excellent and the locals very friendly.

I took something like 200 photos during my 2 days in Dubrovnik. Here’s a sampling. You can click on them to see them larger. If you want more (mwah-hah-hah) just comment and let me know.

The old city, as seen from the hill behind it. Even when you’re standing there, this looks photoshopped.

 Stradun, the city’s main street. Spike travels with me and often ends up in my photos.
 That’s Fort Lovrijenac, as seen from the city walls.

 See those people on the rocks outside the city wall? They’re actually at my favorite cafe-bar in the world, Buza. (There are actually two Buzas in Dubrovnik.) You can sit there forever with the wall on one side and the Adriatic on the other, and just watch the ships sail by.

 Ships like this one, which happened to come around the corner just as I was taking this picture.

 My daughter looks pretty happy to be there, doesn’t she?

 Our apartment was halfway up this stairway. I love how green things grow in every nook and cranny.

“I’m boooored!”

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s August. That means temps around 100F here in the boring part of California, and it means chauffeuring children and supervising playdates and finding ways to pry the children off electronic gadgets. And it means that on a daily basis I hear the familiar whine:

“I’m boooooored!”

Lately it occurred to me that I literally can’t remember the last time I was  bored. It’s not only that my life keeps me pretty busy: work, writing, family, travel. Even with a schedule like that, there’s downtime of a sort, like the 1400 round trip miles I recently drove (kids were plugged in to iThings the whole way), or like the hour or so spent yesterday at the audiologist with the younger kid. But I use those bits of time wisely. I nearly always have a book or Kindle on me, or in a pinch my phone with the Kindle app, so sometimes I can catch a little reading. On long car rides I often listen to audio books.

But even when I don’t have access to books, I’m not bored because my mind is full of my writing. I can spend contented hours writing dialog in my head, scheming my way out of whatever plot pitfalls I’ve written myself into, and creating ideas for new stories. I guess wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, I have my muse to entertain me, and that’s a wonderful thing, a precious gift.

Helps make up for the fact that my muse is a mean, heartless bitch who doesn’t listen to a word I say.

While they’re doing this, I’m sitting in the shade and thinking about a Good Bones sequel.