Monday, March 18, 2019

Book Questions

So it looks like the publication date for my book will be NOVEMBER 3, 2019. 

Having a date makes it feel so much more real.

I'll post more when I know more, but right now I'm in the midst of talking to the editor about last-minute tidying up of the manuscript, possible cover ideas, and fun things like that.

Not sure how much I can disclose here at this point, but if you have any questions about the story, the process of getting it published, or anything else, please feel free. I'm still hopping up and down in a somewhat undignified fashion, tripping over cats, and being able to share more about this might calm me down a little bit.

Or not.

Probably not.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Home Sweet Home

See under the peak
and across?
March 1st was ours first anniversary in the house. It's been a very fast year, yet in some ways it feels like we've been here forever.

Apparently we have now been here long enough for the house to throw a significant repair at us, and I'm going to deal with it before it gets worse. It's probably going to be a shared job with our next-door neighbor, because it's to do with the chimney between our two houses, and the stucco that covers it.

About a week ago, I noticed some wet marks on the stucco high up on the chimney. It had rained a day or two before, so I didn't think too much about it, but the next day, it still looked damp. And there was an area of wetness under the peak of the roof, where the chimney joins the house. It looked the same on his side, so whatever it was, we both had it.


December 2017
I called a contractor I'd used before, who found a mystery leak from our bathroom window (entry point) to our kitchen window (exit point), figuring that he could diagnose the problem even if it wasn't something that he could fix. He came tonight, and yes, he saw the problem right off, and no, it's not in his wheelhouse. We need a proper mason/stucco guy to handle it.

The problem is two-fold -- the silicone caulk connecting the flashing to the chimney has deteriorated and has wide gaps in it, and there are large cracks in the stucco itself, both on the chimney above the roof and for about 3 feet below the roof level. His suspicion is that water has gotten down behind the stucco because of the flashing and then frozen and cracked the stucco, which then will let in more water because of the cracks.

Unhappy stucco
It's going to involve all new stucco for the top several feet of the chimney, at least that's what we think at this point. Which could be worse.

At least there's no water actively coming into the house at this point, and I will do anything to stave that off. If there's anything the old house in West Philly taught me, it's that water is evil, and it goes where it wants.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Roundup

Snowing today, so I'm wishing for spring
I found out last Friday that my three-day-per-week job was coming to an end. Someone retired recently and they decided to rearrange and combine jobs so that they would only have full-time employees. Unless I wanted full-time? I did not. Full time = overtime, and I most certainly did not want that.

So here I am. Gainfully unemployed at the moment, but I'm okay with it. I have other offices where I've temped regularly, and I'll reach out soon. Right now, I'm enjoying the luxury of being home for a few weeks.

Resting, you know. By starting to prepare for spring craft show season, by finishing some house projects that have been lingering (can you believe it's been a year since we moved?), by writing every day.

I'm waiting on notes from the publisher regarding their suggested edits to my book. Then I get to go through the manuscript and see if I agree with their suggestions, make the changes (if I agree) and defend my choices (if I do not). From the discussion I had with the editor, it doesn't sound like there will be much, but that remains to be seen. Also, one person's definition of "much" is another person's "how dare you say my child is ugly?" So, we'll see.

One of the things that I really like about this publishing co-op is that I have veto power over the cover design. Because there are some awful covers out there, and I'd prefer mine not be one of them. They commission a batch of designs, present them to me, and I can say if I like any of them, and if not, I can at least say what parts of them I liked, and then they do another round of designs. Hoping for good things.

Cats are in flux. When we lose one, it always seems that it takes a while for the rest to discover the new world order, even if it's exactly the same. Annie has been a bit of a bully to Harriet lately, and Nicky, for some strange reason, is being nice to me. I'll take it.

Currently working on a new writing project set during the Great Depression, because it's an era that has always intrigued me. Not a lot to show for it yet, but these things take time. Hopefully not as long a time as the previous one, which could be going to college if it was a person.

If you have any questions about the book project or the process it took for me to (finally) find a publisher, let me know!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Nap time

What time is it?

Nap time.

It's strange, they never slept there together when Katie was alive. The one change in behavior I'm seeing is that everyone is getting along.

Also, when we leave in the morning, I haven't had to use my usual farewell -- "We'll be back. Don't break anything, don't set anything on fire."

These three don't look like they have the combined motivation to do any of that.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A little news


Not sure what else there is to say here. I wish I had video of the happy dance I've been doing around my living room ever since I got the official news.

I'll talk more about what's going on soon, including snippets from my upcoming novel, but for now -- I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

And then there were 3

Katie. Katydid. TaterTot. Tayto. KitKat.

I've been expecting to lose Annie for so long, this one came as a surprise. I wondered how Katie would manage, losing her sparring partner. Apparently she managed it by going first.

Quite unexpectedly, too - as far as we could tell, she was as healthy as she'd always been, until she suddenly wasn't. Which, as things go, is probably the best way to go about it. She didn't linger, and I doubt she knew what was going on.

The last few weeks, Katie had been looking a little stringy. Seeing that she was 17, I didn't find that unusual, since people tend either to gain or lose weight as they age. In all other respects, she was herself.

She'd always been a big drinker, so her water intake didn't seem unusual. But Thursday, I picked her up and she suddenly seemed abruptly lighter, in a way that didn't feel right. I got a vet appointment for her, trying the vet here in town, and he ran basic blood and urine tests on her, and gave her a round of IV fluids because she was dehydrated.

At that point, I was pretty sure that it was either hyperthyroidism (which Lily had) or diabetes (Max and Cosmo). I was hoping for thyroid, because my diabetic cats have had really bad luck. Cosmo was never able to be regulated, and he went into a coma. Max took to insulin okay, but he developed a lot of other associated problems, including asthma, and died about 6 months after his diagnosis.

The vet called about an hour later with her test results. Diabetes. I thought about it. I called Mario. I talked to Katie, and soaked her calico fur, but I knew what we were going to do. 

Yesterday morning, she made another trip to the vet. They gave her treats and spray cheese before giving her a shot, and she was so busy snacking she didn't realize what happened. As deaths go, it was pretty good.

I could have let her linger, tried to stabilize her blood sugar, and keep her on twice-daily insulin for the rest of her life, however long that would have been. But I didn't think that was right for her. She'd never been sick a day in her life - she'd never even been back to the vet since she was spayed in 2002 - and I didn't want to end her life treating her like a pincushion.

I let her leave the party while she was still enjoying herself. And since she was the official greeter, dinner guest, and all-around pain in the ass, the house is going to be much quieter.

Friday, February 1, 2019

55 and up

A little corner of my writing space
Somehow or other, Thursday was my 55th birthday. I have no idea how that happened. I think that every year, but 55? Really? That puts me in a whole new age category, the dreaded "55 and up."

There is some news, though. Nothing definite yet, but an offer of a publishing contract from a small publishing co-op. It's worth thinking about. Even if I had literary agents clamoring for my book, and even if they sold it right out of the gate (which wouldn't be likely), it wouldn't be published for at least a year.

I'm thinking it over, and a lawyer friend is reviewing the contract. I'll know more soon.