Triple cover reveal

You know what I have for you today? A triple cover reveal. Ta-dah!

Let’s drool over the wonderful artwork, shall we?

First up, we have Stitch:

Isn’t that lovely? This anthology releases from Dreamspinner April 21 and should be available for preorder very soon. It contains four novellas with a Frankenstein/created man theme. Mine is about a golem in 17th century Europe.

In May, my newest novel will come out:

That beautiful cover is by the incomparable Paul Richmond. Motel. Pool. takes place in 1950s Hollywood and modern Arizona and Las Vegas. There’s a ghost, a strange curse, and a sort of noir feel throughout. I’m really excited about it and I think you’ll like it.
And finally:

Mended is the Dreamspinner summer Daily Dose. You can buy the whole package or each story individually. The stories have hurt/comfort themes (yum!). Mine is called “The Border” and is a parable of sorts. It’ll come out in June.

Eccentric crafting (somewhat NSFW). And a little giveaway.

We can be a bit eccentric in my household. For example, I came home from work the other day when the weather was wet and (for California) chilly. This is what I found when I walked in the door:


I was just pleased they weren’t fighting.

And last night, when the younger kid and I went out for ice cream, this was the flavor we chose:

Yes, it was at least that purple in person. It was ube-flavored, and it was very tasty.

So I used to knit a lot. I haven’t had time for it lately. I wish I could knit and write at the same time. But back when I did knit, I occasionally created eccentric things. I knitted a uterus for a friend who was having a hysterectomy. That was fun. First I had to buy the yarn, and when the local yarn store lady helpfully asked what I was looking for, I told her uterus-pink yarn. Later I had to mail the womb to my friend. She lives in Canada, which means I had to fill out a customs form. I spent a good 5 minutes standing there in the post office, trying to decide what to write on the form that wouldn’t freak out Canadian customs authorities (I finally decided on “yarn”).

I also created a pattern to knit bags with a secret message. Hmm. Solresol would make an interesting plot point in a story, wouldn’t it?

But perhaps the most eccentric thing I knitted was this:

That’s Joey Ramone on the right, and the idea and pattern aren’t mine. They’re from this book. But I’m a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and I especially love Spike, so I decided to knit a Spike too. What’s so odd about a knitted vampire? you ask. Well, I wrote a lot of Spike slash fanfic, so I decided my knitted Spike needed to be anatomically correct. And that led to a search for a pattern for his, um, spike. Which I didn’t find, and I had to wing it:

I ended up knitting several extra cock-and-balls, which I made into keychains and the like. Which I can’t use myself, at least until the girls are older. I am willing to give one of these away to a lucky (?) commenter. It’s on a cell phone charm loop. You could use it as a keychain, necklace, earring… why, the phallic possibilities are endless!

To enter, comment below and include your email address. Tell me something eccentric you’ve done or made lately. I’ll randomly choose the winner at noon Pacific time on April 5.

Celebrate with me

Today is my birthday. To celebrate becoming, er, more vintage, I’m running off to San Francisco for the weekend with my husband. We are abandoning the children. We are going to eat Vietnamese and Japanese food and walk up and down hills. And maybe I’ll make some more progress on my story for the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s annual event. Yay!

I think you all should celebrate with me. Leave me a comment below about something that made you smile lately. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday, March 25, at 8pm Pacific time to receive an electronic copy of either Pligrimage or–in case you want to practice your Spanish–Sin Palabras.

Sin Palabras ya a la venta

I took Spanish in grades 7 through 9. I would have continued but the woman who taught Spanish at the high school was una bruja–possibly the worst teacher I ever had. So I switched to French.

If people speak slowly in Spanish, I can generally get the gist of what they’re talking about. But I live in a county where 40% of the people speak Spanish, and I’ve been known to travel to Mexico and Spain, so I’d really like to improve my ability with the language.

And now I hsve the chance! Because my novella Speechless is now available in a Spanish translation. You can purchase Sin Palabras from Dreamspinner or Amazon. And whether you’re fluent or want to brush up, now’s your chance to practice with Travis and Drew.

And! It’s on sale at Dreamspinner for 25% off (along with the rest of the store) through March 20.

An Excerpt:
No recordaba exactamente cuándo había visto al hombre por primera vez. Cuando se arrastraba de vuelta a casa después de su trabajo como operario de maquinaria especializada, Travis solía mantener la mirada en sus agotados pies, observando cómo medían a pasos su recorrido a través del sureste de Portland. Levantaba la mirada sólo lo justo para no chocar con otros peatones o para evitar ser atropellado al cruzar una calle. Pero un día —tal vez un viernes, cuando había algo más de ligereza en sus pasos— levantó la mirada lo suficiente como para ver al hombre sentado en los peldaños de una casa, rasgueando una guitarra quedamente.

En algún momento, Travis se percató de que el hombre estaba ahí prácticamente cada día. A veces tocando la guitarra —jamás cantando— y a veces, simplemente se sentaba allí, mirando a la gente pasar, su atractivo rostro libre de emociones. Era algo mayor que Travis, probablemente entorno a los treinta y cinco. Suficientemente mayor como para que se le hubieran formado arruguitas en las comisuras de los ojos. Travis se había fijado en ello después de una serie de miradas furtivas, y lo encontraba atractivo.

I promise I’m not whining

First off, this is not a complaint. I feel tremendously fortunate to have found publishers willing to publish my stories and readers willing to read them. And I actually really enjoy the editing process. I learn a lot from it, and it’s truly gratifying to see my prose polished up all shiny. I even enjoy the discussions about em-dashes versus semicolons, the to comma or not to comma debate, the debates about whether asshat should be one word or two. But, as my teenager would say, OMG! Until a few years ago I never realized how much time editing takes.

In my fantasies, the writing process works like this:

1.       Get brilliant idea

2.       Effortlessly write thousands of words every day until story is complete

3.       Submit

4.       Immediately get informed that story is most wonderful thing ever, and get offered contract

5.       Celebrate

6.       Sign contract

7.       Book is published

8.       Watch book reach top of bestseller lists

9.       Grant rights for movie starring some combination of Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Chris Hemsworth

10.   Meet actors, who insist on chatting at length with author about their characters

11.    Win Pulitzer Prize

Yeah, well, here’s the reality:

1.       Get brilliant idea

2.       Struggle to write while also working day job, dealing with family, doing research, and occasionally having no idea what words to type next

3.       Give self pep talks

4.       Revise

5.       Work with beta editor(s) to get input and to improve prose

6.       Revise

7.       Repeat step 5

8.       Revise

9.       Write brief summary (ugh!) and synopsis (ugh! Ugh!)

10.   Submit

11.   Wait many weeks

12.   Get offered contract

13.   Celebrate

14.   Sign contract

15.   Wait many weeks

16.   Round 1 edits

17.   Round 2 edits

18.   Edit blurb

19.   Fill out questionnaire about cover design

20.   Galley proofs

21.   Look over cover design

22.   Wait

23.   Begin marketing book

24.   Book is published

25.   Continue marketing book

26.   Fail to receive phone call from Johnny Depp

You’ll notice there’s a bit of a discrepancy between these two lists.

Not only that, but if an author is at all prolific she probably has several projects going at once, each in a different stage. Right now, I have one story at step 1 (and that one has a deadline), a novella in step 5 (also with deadline), a novel in step 11, a novella in step 15, a short story in step 17, a novel and a novella waiting for step 20, and a novella in step 23. (I keep track with an Excel spreadsheet.)

Again, I’m not complaining. I mean, wow! A few years ago getting even a single story published seemed like a distant dream. And I am hugely appreciative of all the people who support me in my efforts, who partner with me to make my stories as good as they can be.

But this process can be a little exhausting. Or energizing. Depends on how you deal with deadlines and to-do lists. Fortunately, aside from brief moments of despair and anguish, I do well with a busy agenda. It may be a juggling act, so I’ll aspire to be an octopus. And I’ve certainly gained a greater appreciation for all the time and work that has gone into creating other authors’ works. That book I read in a single day took months and months—maybe even years—of hard effort.

So I’ll keep plugging along. My story ideas list is 12 single-spaced pages long and growing.

And Johnny? I’m waiting for your call.

Portland, Oregon food recs

Portland, Oregon is one of my favorite cities. I grew up there and although I haven’t lived there for a very long time, I still visit once or twice yearly. My family still lives there. A bunch of people I know are going to Portland for various reasons in March and April, so I’ve been soliciting restaurant recommendations. The list is below–I’ve focused mostly on places in and near downtown. If you have someplace to add, please comment!

(Oh, and my Bones series takes place in and near Portland. Ery Phillips is the star of the third book and he lives somewhere near SE Belmont.)

Casual dining downtown:

Deschutes Brewery: Well-prepared, relatively unassuming food & great beer.
Lardo: Super-duper sandwiches, great beer.
Grassa: Handmade pasta.
The food carts at 10th & Washington: Wide selection of nice, cheap food. I like the Scotsman who makes fish & chips.
Shigezo: Cool Japanese place.
Boxer Ramen: Fantastic ramen place. Cash only, boooo.
Little Big Burger: Really nice burgers, amaaaazing truffle fries.
Casual dining elsewhere:
Podnah’s is really good for brunch and for meat. Leans more toward Texas than NC style ‘cue, though.

Nice dinner downtown:

Mucca: Super Italian place.
Higgins: Classic French place. Great beer list, fantastic charcuterie plate.
Picnic House: Hip modern French/American place we loved.
Clyde Common, Park Kitchen: Similar. We liked Picnic House more than these, but barely.
Nice dinner elsewhere:
Woodsman Tavern & OX are both really great on the east side.
Screen Door and Tasty & Alder are both also great for dinner, and sort of borderline between casual and nice.   
Other things to eat & drink:
The Hair of the Dog brewery is in town; it’s very good & has a great taproom to sit in.
Stumptown Coffee does a great tasty session every afternoon at 3 at their “Annex” location in the inner east side.


Map of Portland food carts:

    A few recs of my own: