If I don’t update with something, I probably won’t until post-baby, and who knows what’s that’s going to be like (aside from everything I’ve read and been told…). So here I am, with a few paragraphs. 38 weeks tomorrow, and J was full term (technically) last week, so I’ve been waiting impatiently, doing whatever I can to encourage her that now is the time for her to take action. Yesterday, I even mowed both the front and the back lawn. And … nothing.

Two weeks ago, my Chicago girls all came down and threw me a beautiful shower.


I took so many more pictures, but they’re all at home on my other computer, so this will have to suffice for now.


Let’s see. I’ve been on a cloth diapering kick – who knew one can obsess about that? But it’s completely possible, and how absolutely FUN it’s been. I think there’s going to be a lot of trial and error once J is born, and figuring out what works for us and for her (since apparently, it really depends on how skinny/chunky the baby’s legs are), but I’m very, very excited about it, and I’m pretty sure we’re relatively prepared for whatever she hands us. The nursery/still my office is put together apart from a few shelves John is going to put up, the car seat needs to go in, we need a baby thermometer, and other than that, we’re just waiting on her.

We saw Prometheus over the weekend. By the time we did, I’d read enough WTF reviews from friends that made me slightly skeptical, but then one wise woman suggested that what you get out of the movie is what you bring to it, that the responsibility lies with you and how much you decide to enjoy it. So I went into it hoping desperately it would help me fix “Sarscon 8,” written just before Clarion last summer and still suffering from some structure issues, and I think it may have done that, or at least inspired me to give it another shot. It’s a stunning movie, visually, with a few scenes that are just excellent – enough so that I didn’t care about the plot devices or lack of character development or some of the campy alien shots. I mean, compared to the hot mess of John Carter with its 100% cliche dialogue, and then Cowboys and Aliens from last summer? This trumped both of those so much. So that’s my stance.

Hopefully, by my next entry, there will be a baby in the crib, I’ll be fighting lack of sleep instead of the nausea that’s persisted (and come back with a vengeance in the last 2 weeks) over these nine months, and my body will slowly be becoming my own again – that’s been the hardest part of this. I suppose, from a rational point of view, I didn’t really think pregnancy would be awesome, but I honestly never expected it to be this difficult.

Here’s to the next stage!


So in all the tax madness and third trimester (!!!) exhaustion that’s almost as bad as the first trimester, I’ve neglected the blog, and haven’t worked on Harvester the book nearly as much as I’d intended. But that will change, and soon, since April 15 (or rather, the 17th, which is this year’s tax deadline) is nigh!

However, I have not neglected my gardening. The roses framing the shed in the back yard, which we’ve determined are peace roses, are absolutely stunning, with multiple colors from cream to yellow to blush-pink, and I think even some brighter pink, given the new buds yesterday morning. I’m just relieved they’re not too crippled by the fungus which was trying to take over … my dad assured me that’s perfectly normal, and happens all the time, but it’s a first for me, and I was spraying like a fiend. I’ve also put four more hydrangea bushes next to the three already in the back, and we still need to plant the shade flowers, like the lily of the valley bulbs, and stone up the edges.

But the front garden is taking off nicely, including the rose bushes we planted last fall. You can just barely see the corner of the new fence John built in the first front yard picture; this weekend we’re going to stain it and carve out 3 more feet of garden for the day-lily bulbs, which I need to get in the ground asap. I even tried some vegetables in containers, which wasn’t as easy as I thought, although the beans are coming up, as is the Swiss chard. (Nellie or Buddy knocked the container of peppers across the porch, so that’s that for those.)

This weekend, some much needed writing time; I want to clean up “Grotto of the Helpless,” the Clarion week 4 story, but every time I open it I feel like I’m avoiding Harvester the book. So we’ll see what happens.

Also had my 7-month appointment this week! Hard to believe I’ve been pregnant (and sick) for over half a year; at least there’s an end in sight, and Baby J shifts enough, uncomfortably, to remind me nearly all the time she’s there. This baby-carrying thing is truly the most bizarre experience of my life.

Let’s see – loved the Hunger Games movie. I found it truly chilling and horrifying, almost more so than the book, frankly. Or maybe seeing that dystopian world come to life was what undid me. Sure, some things couldn’t be as fleshed out as in a book, and the end wrapped up quickly, but how else can adaptations work? Either way, I was pleased, although that’s not the right word for it; it was a very affecting movie for me.

Finished Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl, which is remarkable, but not so much for me. Right now, I think I need very, very strong elements of spec in my fiction, and those are more weak in that particular novel, however masterful Imp’s unwinding is (and it truly is). For now, Kiernan’s shorts hold the power over this reader.

And, courtesy of my friend Steve, something that nearly made me die this morning: Happy Easter!

Saying it like it is, this fine Monday morning.

John and I went to see the movie Real Steel on Saturday, and for me, it was the best movie I’ve seen yet this year. The robots just left me speechless – perhaps because I’ve been waiting to write a really good robot story. I planned to at Clarion, but never got to it, and its been burning in the back of my brain since…well, any time I glance at my bookshelf and see Tanith Lee’s Silver Metal Lover and Metallic Love, both of which I adore like nothing else. Oh, and let’s not forget Electric Forest. Just wow. The way Lee paints obsession, and the non-human humanity of metal flesh (and affinity for).

Soon. I’ve got to write that one soon.

Anyway, the movie was just fantastic. I know, another father-son redemption story, but the son was just so spunky (although the female lead drove me nuts – how many times did she REALLY need to say the main character’s name when talking to him? Writer’s fault, there. But … she just seemed to try too hard. Her character, anyway, and the romance felt contrived. Although by the end she seemed to feel more organic to the story – in a typical woman sidekick way.) And I was very, very glad they didn’t push the “this robot is different because he’s real! cliche.” That would have been so disappointing.

So yes, go see.

Next up: Breaking Bad.

Apparently, this show started in 2008, but I haven’t really heard of it (or anyone raving about it, for that matter) until my friend Brooke started tweeting her love for it. Needless to say, John and I are hooked. Fantastic writing, fantastic acting, and the drama is actually a little too much for me at times – I’m in a constant state of tension watching it, so I may need a little break from it soon. As soon as I find out what happens next. But there’s not another show on right now that’s grabbed me in the same way – Walking Dead season 2 premieres next week, and while I loved the first 3 or so episodes of season 1, it petered out fast, so I have my doubts with that (despite the fantastic preview, which makes me want to sit and write a zombie story NOW. Still appealing, despite the over-and-done-with of the craze). And no Game of Thrones until….next year? So that leaves us with … Family Guy. Not really the same thing.

Let’s see – Embassytown, by Mievelle. I couldn’t even get through the last thirty pages, and so I finally put it down. Not enough character for me – I need a seriously zoomed-in-on protagonist, and Avice (best name EVER) was never accessible. And now that I think about it, nor was the physical world. Too much…technical detail. I think I’m just not the best reader for it, although I did see its genius.

So I’ve brought with me today Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and VanderMeer’s Finch, the latter a reread, because I’m craving dystopia/post-apocolyptia, per the usual. And because I need novels right now, as I work through Harvester the book, and to soak in as much as I can in terms of chapter to chapter motion, larger themes, and drawing all of that together in a seamless (and coherent) fashion.

Yesterday, I outlined the entirety of the first book including the male protag – it felt good to get that done. A 90k book, give or take, which is a little overwhelming (despite the fact that my first 2 were over 120k, 120k disasters) given the content I want to make sure comes through. How does one (e.g. a person like me) actually, successfully, depict the end of civilization as Heloise knows it? Especially a civilization like the Resplendent City of Free Living?

Probably a paragraph at a time. An image at a time. A thread at a time. Patiently. (Which is not something I carry around in abundance.)

Anything I didn’t cover? Oh, I’ve started a blood elf mage in WoW – their ability to one-shot others is just too brutal/impressive not to. And since I have leveling gear, it should go fast. And, I’ve been wanting to play some Bioshock and Borderlands again. Perhaps because I have been thinking about my first Clarion short, “North like a Star,” and wanting desperately to revise it – the Borderlands world, the raw violence of it, bears comparison to Bellis’ world.

Pumpkin. Pumpkin everything. I also have that on the brain. There’s a fantastic new grocery store here, with beautiful organic produce, so I bought quite a bit of it and hope to cook it all this week – lovely chards & greens & mushrooms & leeks and so much more…perhaps tonight the Veggie Potpie Stew from Appetite for Reduction, after a run. It’s 70 degrees today! Maybe we’ll get a real fall here.

Happy Monday!

>Back when I was putting up chapters of Stone Lake on OWW, I had reader after reader bring up Ilse’s motivations, or rather, lack thereof. I knew it, too, but thought I’d fixed it. Not even close. At this point, the structure is so terribly off that it’s embarrassing. It’s still a great story, with great characters, but a fellow Fragment is pulling it apart and showing me how Ilse and Conn and Stone come across, which is entirely different than my original intentions. No wonder it didn’t work. Hindsight, like always.

Which is why you’ve got to get people (who have some sort of positive influence on your writing) to read your shit for you, or its not going to sell. That’s what I’m reminded of in the Lightspeed slush every day.

As if that weren’t enough, European Gio and I are changing around Rotullo’s life, in our first story together that we wrote last year – almost exactly a year ago. We’ve come to the conclusion that even with 10k words, it’s possible to have too much going on, too many personal goals that must be followed through, and no matter how good of a job you might do on having those goals met, the number of experiences must be proportional, as well as the actual word length, the climax, and a bazillion other things. So, we’re going to back to the original roots of the story, and keeping in mind our original submission site. We’ll see how it works.


John and I have been working our way through Nip/Tuck from the beginning. I only started watching the end of Season 2 with Malia, so I’d missed quite a bit – turns out there was some actual quality writing there, aside from the unbelievable amount of trashy drama that fills in the more narrow of plot points. It’s a reality show on speed. Everything happens these men. Anyway, Netflix was doing updates last night, so we found the movie Jumper on the television, which was one of the most baffling watches. Baffling, because I don’t understand how it even got made.

I had no problem with his jumping, with his robbing banks, etc. But to pass off the Paladin/Jumper war as something ancient, predestined, etc, was just silly – you can’t throw that in and expect us to believe it. The problem is that I don’t know how they could fix it. It could be done, well, although I’m not sure how or why.

That wasn’t really what bothered me – it was everything else. (Except for Hayden Christenson’s acting – he was rather decent. He made hardly any any sullen faces, nor did he moan and groan about his fate and the unfair Jedi. It was refreshing.) Rachel Bilson’s acting, on the other hand, was static and ridiculous (which surprised me, because she was the most adorable thing ever on The O.C.). I’m the first one to suspend believe, but really, who drinks a beer while they’re on their shift at Houlihan’s? That’s what I thought. Although that speaks to the director more than her, but she did her part, with the sappy hellos, instead of the ‘I thought you were dead’ necessities.

There are plenty of other things. No girl is going to go out with a guy who says he’s her friend from junior high, it’s 8 years later, and he’s supposed to be dead. Next, she’s not going to just up and fly with him to Rome. And then, they’re not going to just go have sex in the hotel room.

Maybe the real question is why we kept watching it. But honestly, it was such a great idea that I was surprised it was done so poorly. The romance was just chucked into the story – that’s when it all started going downhill – and the ‘my mother is a Paladin’ was even more tossed in.

Tonight, I think we’ll just stick to playing more Halo: Reach.

>John surprised me with this a few days ago –

– which we’d talked about, but hadn’t yet committed to. I’d wanted one to read Lightspeed slush on, and stay more updated on all the online (genre) fiction I can, and this was one way I thought I could do better at it. We’d agreed awhile back to think about it, because they’re just far too much money. Plus, first edition/version/whatever that’s called. Model? Generation, that’s what it is. First generation. Any kinks would be worked in the second.

But a few days ago, I woke up to the sweetest note on my desk, which led to another note on the bookshelf, which led to one in the kitchen and then one behind the television, along with a gift-wrapped box and my very own Ipad. I can’t stop playing with it. It’s way better than my phone.

We saw the new Resident Evil movie today in the theater – in 3d, naturally, and even on the Imax screen. I liked that they didn’t overdo it; that every single effect wasn’t in your face. (As of right now, the best 3d I’ve seen yet was Beowulf, back when it was used less frequently.) And Milla Jovavich is just so kickass that it was a blast, despite the fact that nothing was logical. I remember how frightened I was in the first two, which I watched back at 1350 N. Kedzie on a night when Malia was gone, and I was so convinced that scary things were going to jump out at me after I went to bed. The third one was mostly fun, too – nothing like a good post-apocalyptic/zombie thriller in the deserts of Nevada. But this one…there was no longer any Alice fighting the evil Umbrella corporation for no reason – there was Alice fighting a single dude from the Umbrella corporation for no reason, which just didn’t have the same appeal. He must have been a guy from the other movies, although I didn’t recognize him (it’s been awhile – I was hoping some cable channel would play them all pre-release of this movie, but that was a no-go), and they just didn’t have any heroine/villain chemistry. Plus, a little bit of explanation – even some bs – would have gone a long way in justifying why every single new bad guy had sucking tentacle things shooting out of his mouth. Evolution, fine. But come on – at least pretend for us. And there was this scary giant guy, too, but nope, no one in the movie questioned him at all. And there was only one.


Or maybe it’s a good thing that the creators didn’t bother pretending to explain things – that’s not what it was about, anyway. And while I didn’t appreciate the Matrix moves everyone seemed to suddenly have – the freshness of these movies was lost when Alice suddenly got special powers from the T-virus – her slow motion scenes were pretty neat (an obscene amount of footage shot in slow motion – a lot of dodging bullets for all). She makes some great faces in her fight scenes.

>To take one, go to the liquor store, hit the whisky (not the American whiskeys) aisle and find a bottle of Laphroaig. It’s my newest favorite beverage ever, recommended highly by Scottish friend Graeme (also bought a bottle of Talisker on his list, but we haven’t tried it yet). G, you’re right, it is peaty. I felt like I was licking the soil of Scotland on the first sip, and the next and the next – smoke and fog and wet leaves and earth, with the haunting sound of bagpipes in the background (and beautiful scenes from Braveheart, since that’s all my very American mind could pull together at that moment). Our little Oklahoma City duplex had disappeared, and I was sitting in some Scottish cottage, overlooking moors or bogs or peaty swamps. And the aftertaste – I swear I tasted peanut butter, although John thought I was crazy.

It’s the real stuff, this whisky with no ‘e’. The second glass, we did it the right way, with only a little cool water (instead of two ice cubes like our American brews), and it was a different beverage altogether. Even more flavorful. Now we can save up for the really old stuff – I think the bottle that I purchased was only aged ten years.

Thanks again, Graeme.

And to completely change the subject, we watched Aliens tonight – in my opinion, one of the best SF movies I’ve ever seen, and it was made in 1986. What I most appreciated was the lack of excessive explanation about anything. There was no need to show and tell what was happening – Cameron just showed it, especially at the end by having Sigourney Weaver back carefully out of the room with the eggs, point the flame gun up in the air and show the aliens that she could burn their eggs, and they retreated. We never once had to hear her inner or outer narrative; the audience was assumed to have brains, and the ability to put two and two together, and it was absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen a decent number of movies in the last year and 99.9% of them were so saturated with dialogue and sound that the experience was negatively overstimulating, no matter what the genre.

And now I have the creepy shrill alien screams in my head.