Thursday, October 30, 2008


Tomorrow, we honor those who have passed before us.

Tomorrow, we disguise ourselves or wear our clothing inside out so that things that might be up to mischief won't recognize us.  

Tomorrow at 11:59pm I'll be waiting for the clock to click over to midnight.

Tomorrow I have to get up early to make my kids' hair green.

Tomorrow we might put a small dent in the huge amount of food set for consumption.  Plus we're also having pizza.

Tomorrow, unexpected visitors will be made welcome.

Tomorrow is one day closer to a beloved coming home.

Tomorrow I'll clean, and paint, and think about what it would be like facing imprisonment.

Tomorrow.  All tomorrow.  Today, I look at the clock and smile, and relax as I realize I have time, real time ... before tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Closer ... closer ... closer ...

Nanowrimo is almost here.  It's definitely not too late to sign up and give it a try.  People from all walks of life and capabilities do this.  There's a whole bunch of stuff dedicated just to young writers.  People who are disabled, who are in chronic pain, who are elderly, who have two jobs and are struggling to get by, people like me who have a lot of flexibility and control over their schedules, people who have written for years, people who have never written anything longer than a grocery list since they'd left school do this.  So can you.  

One year (I didn't make my goal that year) my office flooded and I worked on my novel laying on my belly with my keyboard in front of me and the monitor just behind it, on carpet, amid a horrendous mess of wet and damp stuff that I had to spend a lot of time sorting through between writing bouts.  That year my hurdles got the better of me, but I don't regret trying.  In fact, if I'd done just a wee more writing more consistently earlier in the month, I may have made it despite the impromptu arrival of a shallow pond in my workspace.  I don't beat myself up about it, or consider myself a failure as a writer.  Nor should anyone who can devote full time to writing in November and doesn't get past five thousand words.  Nanowrimo isn't about failing.  It's about stretching, achieving, reaching.  You know, exercise.  Keeping the body and mind healthy, whether it's by learning something new, or for established writers, playing with the writing/production rhythm and benefitting from the unique social energy that comes with Nanowrimo.

It's not about whether or not you may be able to succeed, or how much is working against you, or how little time you have, or technological issues.  It's discovering what you can do, not what you can't do.  It's how far you can get, not how far you couldn't get.  It's testing your limits, surprising yourself, exercising your brain and your creativity, and connecting with people who share the same fascination you do with the process of writing.  Two more days plus 45 minutes, I'll be there.  I hope to see you there too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Reposted from the INK blog.

I got my first payment check yesterday for words I've written.  It's an amazing feeling.  So many years of practice, workshops, flattening my butt on at least a half dozen different computer chairs.  Novels, shorts, stories long since lost or abandoned, hundreds of thousands of words of fantasy that will never see the light of day because I needed that million words of crap before I could begin to make real progress.  Learning to connect with a reader.  Learning to find a balance between my internal editor and my dreams.  Learning to educate myself, because so much of the education of a writer happens either entirely from the inside or by deliberately, through an act of will and trust, separating the ego from the written word long enough to accept a professional opinion.  Learning who trust and when, especially myself (and when not to trust myself.)

The kewlest part of all this?  It's a beginning.  A long road to travel to begin, but that's the nature of this, and many other crafts.

Autumnal cleaning

I'm doing my annual fall cleanup inside the house.  For various reasons, and probably some I haven't considered, I'm taking the autumn cleaning much further than usual.  Maybe it's from watching too many Jane Austen and other period pieces.  Rather than make me wish for a house full of staff that looks after the upkeep, I've recognized that A. I have a lot less square footage to take care of, B. I have a lot fewer people to take care of, C. I don't have to polish lots of silver  D. I have lots of modern conveniences like vacuum cleaners, indoor plumbing, microfiber dusting cloths and swiffer for the really ugly accumulations of dust, and E. no one in my household is nobility that generates work but doesn't have to actually do work.

Puts this housekeeping thing all into perspective.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Readings to go to at OryCon

Sometimes I worry that attending readings will fall so far out of fashion that people will stop going.  And that's a real shame, because some of the times I've felt the most entertained, and intrigued, and involved have been when I've been listening to an author read his or her work or a musician performing an original piece.  I don't need a bunch of people with me to get that experience--small is okay.  But if I'm alone in the room with the author, although I get the treat of discussing the passage with that author afterward (and sometimes sharing a drink at the bar later on) it's unlikely that the author will feel motivated to set up a reading the following year, facing a single person or zero turnout.  And if this happens across the board, programming will stop programming readings (though this is less likely--famous authors always will draw audiences to their readings, and cons are usually willing to grant even total unknowns their half hour and a room to read in.)  
I'm not big on promoting something that simply doesn't interest people anymore.  If it's no longer of value, then alas, it must fade.  But I do think that maybe people just don't know what they're missing.
And so, even though it's self-serving because I'm part of this group, I invite everyone to come to the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading at OryCon.  I also want to encourage folks who come to the convention to make time for readings, and not only the big, well-known authors or authors personally known to them.  Try picking an author you don't know.  Look through the bios and see who piques your interest.  Maybe it's their pic, or the titles of things they've written, their day job, or the voice in the short bio that catches your interest.  Maybe it's just that there's a bit of rare free time and a half hour in a room with someone reading to you sounds just barely better than taking a nap after an exhausting morning, or hanging out until the bar opens, or perusing the dealer's room for the third time.  I should warn you, though.  Live performances can become addicting, as anyone who gets drawn into theatrical performances or live musical events can tell you.  At least most readings, including those at OryCon, are free.  If you can't make it to OryCon, check out your local library or bookstores.  You'd be amazed at how many readings happen out there every day.  It's worth it.  Just step out of routine for a bit, and listen.

Official Announcement

Beneath Ceaseless Skies (probably no surprise for those of you who are reading between the lines) will be publishing "Thistles and Barley" by Kamila Z. Miller sometime in the future.  I'll let all y'all know when the issue comes out.  In the meantime, they have a new issue online.  
In the forums you'll find news about upcoming stories and their authors in the Official BCS News and Announcements: Submissions Status section.  It's a fun way to get a sneak peek at who you might see in print in the next few months.  Keep a lookout for your favorite authors.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Grudge vs. The Ring

We picked up a whole bunch of horror movies discounted for Halloween.  I'm not a big fan of horror, but I like a well-made suspense.  I even watched The Others in the theater.  One of the few movies that's actually made me jump.  It still makes me jump about 50% of the time.  It's not the best horror movie I've seen, but it's up there.
Anyway, the boy and the girl are seeing these for the first time.  It's fun watching their fresh, no-preconceptions reactions to the movies.  We've been rating them, which is scarier than which, and two have floated to the top.  The Grudge, and The Ring.  (I want to get Ringu also so they can compare.)

So of course we came up with The Grudge vs. The Ring (though I doubt we're the first.)

Scenario:  Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar) finds out about the tape.  She takes it to the grudge house, plugs in the tape, sets it to play, and runs.
Curious, the ghost woman of the house comes over, sits down, and watches.  After she watches the images (largely baffled rather than creeped out,) the phone rings.  She walks over and answers.  One eye is showing.  
"Seven days," the voice on the phone says.
"Uhhhhhhhh" she replies.

And mayhem ensues.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The root slips

I have this image of a root in my head.  I'm climbing it to get up a steep cliff, and though it's been tough the last few hand over hands have been easy. Suddenly, though, the root gives way and though I stop, I've lost a couple of feet.

Fixing itineraries for OryCon 30's programming is the reason the root slipped back.  I'll get back into writing and blogging soon.

Thankfully we had a Nanowrimo prep meeting last night, so although it wasn't work on my existing novels it was work on a future novel, and that's just as good.  Another happy event--I was cleaning the upstairs and found the big stack of Masks critiques I'd misplaced sometime prior to the floor going in.  But having everything set to write isn't the same as writing.  I miss sitting in front of the computer to create.  I have the habit ingrained now of checking my email for crises.  Yet another good reason to throw myself completely into Nano this year.  Writing will take priority again, maybe not all at once, but by the end I'll be climbing that root up the cliff steady and strong.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Inspired by young voices

I haven't been posting much because I'm still swamped.  Yesterday afternoon was particularly hectic as I had to pick up the boy from school and I also went to a music concert at the high school to watch the girl perform.  It was a great evening.  I love concerts of all kinds.  Hearing students perform was a huge inspiration that wrapped back around to Masks.  It's a great reminder that getting the heck out of the house and out of my routine will generate more story ideas and deepen my writing.  I may have to buy a season pass.  Even if the girl isn't at a particular event, I think it would be a lot of fun, and all kinds of wonderful, to hear the budding musicians in our area perform.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: YMAA Publication Center (June 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
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  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
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  • Saturday, October 18, 2008

    This is not my beautiful house!

    I've got Talking Heads on the brain.  

    The downstairs has taken over my daily life, which is fine.  It's coming together nicely.  The boy has put the most work in, so his room is closest to being complete.  We ran into a hitch with one of the girl's shelving units--the holes weren't drilled correctly.  Right place, wrong size.  We'd just put together an identical unit the day before (but in a different color) so we knew we weren't just being creative with the destructions--er--instructions.  So I'm charging up the drill battery while I'm typing and will soon expand those holes so they're a snug fit to the dowels.  And yes, the dowels are the right size.  They fit correctly into the opposing holes.  It's all very aggravating, but of all the things that could have gone wrong, this is not a big deal.  And frankly, changing the size of the holes is far less intrusive than driving back to IKEA and getting a replacement, which may only lead to us bringing home another one with the same flaw.  It all relies on how long the person operating the drill for that batch was asleep at the wheel.

    I'm staying busy enough that it makes it challenging to get anything unrelated to the downstairs done.  That includes things like dishes, laundry, vacuuming, basic hygiene (sorry INKers if I was extra stinky at the meeting!) and writing.  But I did get a little flash done, and it got a wow response when I read it, so I'm eager to smooth it out and send it on its way.  I'll send it to my favorite flash fiction site first, Flash Fiction Online.  I like the editor's style, and I like what he publishes, so I'm hoping eventually something I write will mesh with what he publishes and then huzzah! I'll have arrived in flash fictiondom.  Or something like that.

    Speaking of great online magazines, check out Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  It's a visually beautiful online magazine, and this first issue features a story by my friend, writer extraordinaire and fellow Lucky Lab, David Levine.  Like Flash Fiction Online, there's a forum where you can discuss the stories, something I personally get a kick out of (when I have time!) because I can read about how other people perceived the story and compare notes as far as symbology and impact.

    In the good news arena, I had a short story accepted for publication.  I may have mentioned this earlier, but I never get tired of writing it so tough.  I'll announce which story and where as soon as I'm cleared to do that, probably about the time I learn what issue I'll be in.  It's in a SFWA qualifying market, so I'm hoping if I'm dedicated about sending out stories and keep plugging away at the craft, I'll eventually become a SFWA member and maybe get a little more attention for my novels.  I very much enjoy writing short stories when I get a story idea that fits into a tight corner, but I love writing novels.  I want to write lots and lots of books and get paid for them so that I can keep writing lots and lots of books without having to worry about whether we'll have to do something else for retirement if our retirement fund goes poof.  I'm willing to work at other jobs, but I'd rather focus on the written word full time.

    If there is such a thing as writing full time.  I'm starting to wonder.  The trouble with working at home is that you're working at home, and there are other things to do.  Fortunately there's not as much to do at home under normal circumstances.  Things will get back to normal soon.  Or else.

    Just in time for Nanowrimo, I suspect.  I have so much going on at the tail end of November I have to get done before OryCon30, which means I need to write about 3000 words a day.  Shouldn't be an issue,  but if I get behind it'll be much, much harder to recover.  Big changes, big goals, big accomplishments.  It's been a wild year.

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Not completely floored. Yet.

    The contractors left about ten minutes ago.  They put in a very good day and got a ton done.  The family room isn't completely finished, but it will be tomorrow, and then they'll start putting in trim.  

    I spent the past couple of days painting the trim. 
     Here it is, stacked all neatly along the side of the part of the room that isn't done yet.  It-Runs-In-Front-of-Me was shut in A's room for most of the work day, but toward the end we let her out so she could supervise.  She kept the contractors entertained by allowing them to entertain her.

    Dakota is taking a well-deserved rest after being moved about ten feet to complete the last stretch of flooring laid before calling it a day.  I'm taking a break too, but not for long.  There's too much to do, and I'm hoping to get some writing done tonight.

    I can't wait until it's all done!

    Monday, October 13, 2008


    We're not completely floored yet, but the kids' rooms have beautiful new flooring, sans base molding (that goes in on Thursday.)  Their rooms look remarkable.  The contractors start the family room tomorrow.  I'm prepared to be amazed.

    This however puts me in a tiny bit of a timing bind.  The contractor said that whatever I want for shelving, if it's in place then if I want he'll place the molding around it so that it can stand flush to the wall.  Yay!  I like this idea.  But I don't think I can reasonably get all the shelving at once, and even if I could, I couldn't buy it until Wednesday and I can only put so many shelves together in a day.  So I'm prioritizing.  The kids need something stable, functional and beautiful.  IKEA has the perfect stuff. I'll get that for them on Wednesday and then wait and see what my budget looks like later on in the month.

    In his ongoing efforts to save me money, my general contractor refused to give me a quote for built in bookcases.  He said yes, he could do that, but why not have him move the heating unit that is keeping me from having the bookshelves I want all alongside each other?  Much cheaper than customizing bookshelves.  

    I think this is a splendid idea.  Maybe at the same time I can have him move either the phone jack or the power cord so that they're closer together.  It's probably a code thing, but having them spread apart that far is driving me nuts, especially since the heater is between them.  I have to have my phone plugged in both to the phone jack and the power, which means one way or another I have a cord running either above or below the heating unit.  Yuck.  

    That whole section of wall is a mess, and just about any kind of new arrangement would be a huge improvement.  So yay to moving that stuff around, and yay to being able to buy prebuilt shelving that I can stand together!  It'll give me up to 90" to work with.  I can do a lot with that space with not very much money.

    And so the mighty project progresses apace.  Pics coming soon.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Look! The Cliffs of Insanity!

    Btw, as a little bit of trivia, the Cliffs of Moher starred as the Cliffs of Insanity in the movie The Princess Bride.  They were born in Ireland and continue to reside there today.  Maybe we'll get to visit them in the spring.

    And also btw, you may have noticed a lack of posting about the Caribbean.  That's because we're going to be walking on it, as in, it was either the Caribbean or laminate floors.  As lovely as the tropics are, laminate floors are forever (or at least as far as our lifespans are concerned.)  Maybe some other time we'll go.  In the meantime, tropical fruit season is winding up.  I have a fresh pineapple and coconut rum drink chilling in the fridge at the moment.  It'll be a lovely dessert after dinner tonight, and I can daydream about returning to the Caribbean someday with my feet up and snuggled under a fuzzy blanket.

    But that's all an aside.  What I really meant to mention is that I'm booked darned close to solid over OryCon.  Any illusions I had of relaxing have gone up in a poof of lavender smoke.  I asked for up to seven panels this weekend.  I ended up on twelve.  Yes, twelve.  My fault.  I was in the room when folks called over hey Kami, you're already booked up but there's this panel that could use one more person, or this panel is all men and we need a woman, or my eyes are bleeding do you think you could handle being on this panel?  I had no idea I'd said yes so many times.  But.  It will give me something to do in my copious spare time.

    As the week wears on I may beg off of some of those panels and replace my july (I'm much too much of a newbie to be an august) presence with that of someone even more deserving who isn't so overloaded.  Even if it means that the one panel will end up being all guys.  

    Or maybe I'll just try to scale the Cliffs of Insanity after all.  I've got very strong arms, and I'm not carrying three people.

    image from Wikipedia

    Saturday, October 11, 2008


    Here we are in the Executive suite.  I'm really tired, but programming stuff is happening and I even may have had something to do with some of the progress we've made.  I don't have time for an extensive post.  I just wanted a little note here to remind myself that I have purpose beyond being a typemonkey.

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Tear it all up!

    The contractors are showing up this morning.  Yay!

    I expect the house will be vile with dust.  

    I'm so looking forward to laminate floors downstairs.  But it won't happen without a price.  The cost of the project is just one piece.  The disaster that's our garage, my office, the bathroom and the laundry room where three large rooms of crap are crammed is another form of coin.  The dirt that will get stirred up is another.  And of course the pain in the butt that's cat herding, and having strangers in the house, and having this start the same day as programming hell, and on and on the list goes right through trying to put the downstairs back together again in a rational and much more enduring fashion.  What will we do with all the clutter that I'm determined will not come back in the house again?  Can we say lots of time of sorting through junk trying to figure out what goes to the dump, what gets donated and what will end up in a garage sale?  Brr.  We'll have to do it on a strict schedule or it'll end up like those boxes people end up with after a move that never do get opened before the next move.

    It'll be good.  But for now the house is all torn up, and they haven't even starting pulling carpet yet.

    Thursday, October 09, 2008


    Sometimes I worry about silly things, like do I have taste.  My tastes are skewed toward eras long past.  I know this.  And I've become amazingly shy about it.  I was all gung ho about posting a loveseat I found today that I love, and now I'm all Negative Self Talk Woman.

    People are going to be polite and then throw up on their keyboard.
    My husband is going to think it's the ugliest thing he's ever seen.
    So you love it, so what?  It's a design disaster.  I mean look at it.  Safer to go with the beige thing at IKEA that fits the nook to the inch.
    Pink fringe on the pillows?  Pink fringe?  C'mon, you're a rough and tumble kind of gal.  Knock back a shot of rum, skewer the nearest evil doer, write five thousand words and still have time to fix a prime rib for dinner.  You're not allowed to like pink fringe.  You shouldn't even be typing the words.

    And so on.  And it's vicious!  Seriously.  I love it and yet for fears of being judged and due to a healthy dose of self-depracation, I'm not allowing myself to love it without reservation.  I have to pick at it.  This thing that I adored when I first laid eyes on it, I'm now wondering if I can let it be seen in the house.

    So what should I let win?  My critical nature, or love at first sight?  I say, let love win and battle the evil naysayer that's taken up residence in my soul.  And yet, I wouldn't be where I am today as a writer if I embraced what flows from my heart without reservation.  The reservation gives me room to accept critiques, to allow for a lack of perfection and even allow for a complete lack of judgement.  I've made peace with myself in regard to hearing the words "what were you thinking?"

    So I dunno.  

    But I still love it, pink fringed pillows and all.  For me this is a love seat in more than one sense of the word.  Puke if you must.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    Editing, continued

    I got back earlier than usual from Fireside after a great dinner with some of the Fireside regulars.  As always the conversation was fun and intellectually stimulating (fun) and I learned stuff (fun.)  

    I'm doing another deep edit of Masks.  I think the polish is mostly there, but I need some more on-screen protagging and also some on-screen antagging.  I had a great discussion with Mr. Levine about this that helped focus my editing efforts.

    Hold on there Kami, whatever do you mean?

    It's a little known fact, but many readers prefer antagonists that actually antag.  My antagonists in the book are pretty shadowy and elusive and are part of a larger team of doers.  I can't definitively say evil doers because the characters are more complicated than that--I root for them almost as much as I root for the hero.  Anyway, like a business they variously go after the protagonist with salespeople, managers, administration-generated actions and even social pressure/misdirection and advertisements.  And when all else fails they send someone to get out the duct-taped roll of washers.  

    This made for a reactive dynamic with the hydra-antagonist that wasn't doing the plot much good.  And so I get to set up clearer targets, not by making them stupid, but by making the protagonist a little smarter than he appears right now.  

    I also get to remove what I've dubbed Cold Comfort Farm from the opening.  It has a purpose, but not enough purpose so away it goes.  Less word count is more, at least for me.  I tend to write big and pare down to where I should be.

    So Fireside was very productive, and a good time was had by all except for the characters, who would hate me if they knew I existed.

    Fireside, At Last!

    After whiffling (not my term) out the last few times, I finally made it in to Fireside for a write in.  I even have witnesses, though they may not swear to it.

    Sometimes I write with more focus when I'm away from my office because I have no distractions.  Well, I can chat about writing and stuff with fellow writers, but I'm still thinking, working, as opposed to petting cats or fretting about dishes.

    More later.

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Programming Pre-Hell games

    So I was all feeling proud of myself for putting out one of my personal fires for programming when I decided to deal with another situation.  It's only 2:30 am, I reasoned.  I can do another half hour of work and knock off one of my last chores before programming hell.  Piece of cake.

    So I opened up the database, and blinked.  And stared.  And realized that it was not to be at 2:30 am.  In fact, it might not be to be until Monday.  Granted, Monday is when I figured I'd get my data together, but since I'd planned on getting my data via the database on Monday, and it's not there, I will now have to get my data another way.  It will probably involve chocolate shipped to certain addresses and possibly some groveling and hopefully by Monday these things will have paid off and I will have actual useful data on Monday.

    I know.  These non-specific whining posts are so dull.  I'm too tired to care.  And I'm annoyed.  But glad.  Glad I caught this before Monday, because if I caught this on Monday, I'm not sure when I'd get my data.  Later than I want it, later than other departments need it.  So staying up late to finish this stuff paid off.  I'm now aware of a problem that I didn't know was a problem.

    On the other hand, I have a problem.  Poopyhead software.

    Saturday, October 04, 2008

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    Get the lead out

    Or in this case, iron.  I'm going back to having a personal trainer, at least for a while, and today is my first day.  My favorite of his credentials?  No, it's not his training certifications.  He has a degree in medieval studies.  Maybe he can fill me in on obscure medieval technologies (they weren't working with stone knives and bear skins during the so-called Dark Ages after all!) while I do my reps.  And I'll have homework, which means I'll probably have to get another one of those balance ball thingies.  We had one, but it exploded.  I'm not sure how, so don't ask!

    Anyway, a combo of aerobics, weight training and nifty balance exercises should get me back on track and hopefully fend off things like high blood pressure, which apparently I'm potentially vulnerable to thanks to the treatment of icky girl stuff.  But hey, I'd rather have a slightly elevated blood pressure (I'm starting with a very low baseline) than go back to dealing with the original problem.  If I can just hang onto this treatment until I'm menopausal, I'll be a very happy camper.

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    Amazon sales

    I think this is a new high for Rory's book, although I don't check often enough to say for certain.  Sometimes rankings bounce up and down without me ever being the wiser.  Anyway, I think it's exciting!

    Product Details

    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    Birthday musings

    To me, language and music are aspects of the same thing, and they work like each other in my head.  Lately my kids have picked up something from school, a "hoo-ah hoo-ah" thingy that comes into places when they're thinking, especially organizing their thoughts, and I've picked it up from them just like a phrase from a song.  

    Some birds and whales pick up things like that.  The hardwiring is primitive if birds can do it.  But the expansion and exploitation of that hardwiring is taken to its extreme in human beings.  We're good at reading each others' emotions, better than we realize and sometimes we ignore that sense in favor of logic or denial or the other kinds of self-talk we employ.  I think many if not most animals are just as good at that as we are, but without language talking them out of or into trouble.  So it's both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on how it's used.  There are truths to be found and shared, but also lies, including ones we tell ourselves.

    Language is a great tool, but it's more than that.  When I first started reading about string theory is resonated with me (pun intended) and it made me think about how integral vibration, pattern, and expression are to me.  Whether it's vocalized or read or felt on the skin, energy is communication, communication is language, and language is energy.  That's why I feel strongly that mathematics are also language, and music, and the wind.  I think that makes me crazy, but maybe in a good way.  

    That's my birthday musing for today/this year.  Oddly (she said, employing her software version of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) the word musing isn't related to music or to the inspirational muse.  SOED6: [ORIGIN Old French & Modern French muser †meditate, waste time, perh. ult. from Medieval Latin musum muzzle.] 

    Which means I'd better get back to work.