The snow missed us, and I don’t care!

We missed all the snow in Michigan, and I haven’t heard one complaint. It was fun, though, watching millions of people become snowbound and have to deal with the crap we get quite often. I’m figuring it’s going to be about two days before they start complaining about it. (wink) I’m impressed with how much better it went with a travel ban. I have a feeling they will be putting them in place more often with lesser storms.

I have to laugh, though, because on Friday, before it hit, I made Tim watch THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. Now, it’s all you see on TV.

So it was football and knitting most of the weekend for me as I pretended we were getting all that snow, because even though I’m glad it missed us, there’s something nice about being snowbound when you’re warm and well fed. I had just finished a project, so after realizing I had no winter-themed tea cozies apart from a candy-cane striped one, I designed this one of a winter-bare tree. This is entirely my design from top to bottom, and I absolutely love how it came out. If I made another, the only thing I’d change would be making the bottom a true rib instead of a checkerboard rib.

TreeCozy

This is using a new 100% Merano wool from Australia. I can’t say I like it. It doesn’t felt well, which is why I bought it, so now I’m trying to find new ways to use it. It also twists horribly, and though the air is dry due to low humidity, it is unusually static prone.  It came in a large variety of colors, though, so I’ll deal with it. Once I got it into a ball, it was easier to work with.

I’m on a campaign to use up some of the material in my yarn closet, so next, I’m making a dragon out of a skein of green silk I picked up somewhere cheap. If you’re looking for the instructions on my dragon, you can find them at the website. Please be kind if you try to follow my instructions. The dragon is my own design from the tip of her nose to her tail, and writing things down so others can duplicate my efforts is not my strong point. I’m not charging anything for my pattern, but it you want to thank me, pass along one of my books to a friend to get them hooked. :-)

Firelizard

Amazing things can happen when “I desperately want” meet “I don’t know how,” so give it a try. I wanted a fire lizard so badly when I was 14, and now, I have a faire of them. (laugh)

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Something very much right

A few years ago while on tour, I was given the chance to take a tour of the Google offices in Minneapolis, I think. (The city started with a M. Beyond that, it’s a blur.) The intent had been to chat with their reader group, but it fell apart to lunch at their legendary spread, and then because of a miscommunication, cupcakes in their lunchroom.

It was all very nice, and I enjoyed the tour as the young, late 20 something showed me around their various themed areas, proud of the fact that there was food available everywhere within a few paces of everyone’s desk. There were foozeball tables, and a slide to get from level to level, a place to do yoga, or just be alone. One section you could bring your dog in, and another had subdued lighting with leaf shadows on the floor. If you wanted, you could take your laptop to a brightly lit area that was set up like a living room to do your work in. It was all very nice, and as we went along, the woman seemed to be getting more and more frustrated that I wasn’t falling over myself with “ooh!” “Nice!” “I wish I had that!” Because, ah, apart from the foozeball table and slide, I did. I took for granted that my dogs were going to be a silent company, or that I had fresh caffeine steps away, or if I needed to step out for a moment into a garden to distract my mind so it would work better, that I could.

I think it’s great there’s a place you can go to work and be in an environment that you can work efficiently in, where they know creativity is born in various stimuli, not forced out like toothpaste by four walls and the latest software. But I’ve got one thing that they don’t. At least no one showed me.

My music is cranked this morning, shaking the windows as I sit at my desk. It won’t be quaking long, but the pounding of another crafter’s message into my psyche is singularly the best way to free the shackles. Always has been, way back to the communal fire, the storyteller’s stage.

And then it goes quiet apart from the soft scratch and click as brain-noise turns to text.

Perhaps Google should put in a music room. . . .

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Cold office, fast fingers

My office was cold this morning, down to 65 F which is cooler than I like to let my plants get. But it’s sunny, and it will be near 80 in my office come afternoon when the sun comes in and is trapped. I’ve got my newest fixation, Bob Moses, circling on my ipod. It’s an ancient thing, (the ipod) with 30gigs of memory. Yes, 30. And though I have to keep it plugged in because the battery is old, (I’m guessing ten plus years?) it still friggin’ works and holds, well, ten years of music. Tim found a place that might be able to give me a new battery if it’s not soldered in. I’m debating if I should let it out of my sight to try to fix it. It’s working as it is and I’d hate to chance losing what I’ve got.

But Bob Moses.

Mmmm. After hearing their “Tearing Me Up” on Chill, I bought the album. I don’t buy a lot of music, so when I do, they’ve clearly struck a chord of connection. No surprise I found like three or four tracks on Days Gone By that align very well with what I’m working on right now, and that feels good. It’s been awhile since I’ve found that. It’s sort of like being at a party and falling in love at first sight from across the room, breathless and a little “You too?”

So work. Yeah. I work whether I like it or not, whether the words flow or have to be pick-axed out–and so there is progress and movement whether I feel good about it or not. Stuff goes from brain to fingers, to printer, to cabinet, or Tim suffers. There’s too much in my fire-proof cabinet right now, and it’s distressing. The cabinet is sort of like the repository of my brain, easing the blockage in my head as ideas and thoughts coalesce and become real, a pause on the way to the shelf where I can let go of it and breathe. Otherwise, things sort of get block up in my head. Constipation of thought if you will. Usually things move out of the cabinet on their own, but right now, I’m feeling as if it needs to be sucked out by a big vac truck driven by a man in a plaid shirt named Buddy.

I’ll tell you what, though–the days go faster when I am so absorbed that I forget to eat and that heavy lump sitting in my cabinet waiting to be set free is forgotten.

ThisWay

Right now, Bob Moses is pushing my thoughts, coloring the moods of my characters. It’s time to save the world again. I can’t wait to get started.

 

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Day five

It’s day five in plotting, which is sort of misleading, as plotting a new book starts months before I actually print out my header onto blank pages and pick up that pencil. But it is the fifth day in my office focusing on it. I’m always surprised at how every book comes out the same, but they never progress in the same manner. Index cards are relatively new to me. I’ve used them on perhaps only five books, but I’ve found that multiple POVs require them, and I’m becoming fond of them now.

Pencil and paper though . . . they have been with me forever, along with the pattern of  two or three increasingly complex synopsis starting from three sentences, to about three pages. And then come the chapter outlines, a page apece. That’s what I’ll take with me to the computer. That’s what the mess is there on my desk as I take the bones of the cards and translate them into a fleshy, squishy, malleable outlines that still look like something.

Dayfive

Yesterday I hit a snag, and so reached for the cards to supplement my synopsis, creating and spreading that neat little pile of binder-clipped index cards you can see there across my sofa, laying them out into individual character paths before I scooped them up, one by one, in order of happening. I’m three quarters of the way through them now, and my desk is messy but my path is clear.  I figure I can push through the rest today, and let it sit next week while I brush through the Peri/Morgan mash up novelette before I turn it in.

My lady slipper orchid is on its second flower, but you can see a third, and perhaps fourth or even fifth hinting at coming out. I had no idea they were multiple bloomers in one season. Huh. I think I’ve had this plant for nearly a decade with hardly a flower, and look at it go now.

SecondBloomAmazing what can happen when you give a little water and sun.

 

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heads up price drop

Dead Witch WalkingIf you’re looking to round out your e library, Dead Witch Walking is 2.99 right now. Not sure how long this price will last, but I saw it there this morning. Trying to get your reading friend hooked on the Hollows? It’s cheap enough (and now easy enough) to gift it, even if they don’t have a nook or kindle. :-)

But my real news is that I’ve got a short story treat for you in my cabinet, resting a week until I turn it in at the end of this month. I’m not sure when this little gem is going to show, but how can you go wrong with Rachel and Jenks, eh? It felt good to be back in the Hollows, or at least looking over my shoulder in that direction. I’ll let you know how Gallery is going to use this when I know, but I can’t imagine it’s not going to show soon.

But until then, links to reduced-price Dead Witch Walking:

Amazon

Click to buy

 

Click to buy

Click to buy

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My newest best friend

My newest best friend. After two listens, I think I know why. It sounds like early Sting. Sound, lyrics, pacing, mood. Yep. Going to be a good day.

http://www.kcrw.com/music/shows/todays-top-tune/bob-moses-tearing-me-up

For more info on them http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/dance/6677638/bob-moses-days-gone-by-debut-interview

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‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows . . .

The short story “Angel’s Song” will be in the next newsletter to go out. You might have seen it last year, but re-gifting is next to recycling, eh? To sign up, just click: SignUp

But I can’t let today go by without partaking in another of my holiday traditions, so from all of us at the Harrison Household, to you. Merry Christmas!

 

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and up in the Hollows,
Solstice bonfires were burning, to toast the marshmallows.

The pixies were snug in their stump, even Jenks,
Who claimed he was tired, and needed some winks.

So I in my parka, and Ivy in her boots,
Were toasting the season, with thirty-year hooch.

When out in the street, there came such a crash,
I thought that it had to be ‘coons in our trash.

Away to the gate, I trudged through the snow,
While Ivy just said, “If it’s Kist, say hello.”

I lifted the latch, and peered to the street,
My face went quite cold.  We were in it thigh deep.

‘Twas a demon, who stood in the headlamps quite bright,
With his coat of green velvet, and his uncommon height.

His eyes, how they glittered, his teeth how they gnashed,
His voice, how he bellowed, his tongue, how it lashed.

The street wasn’t holy, so on Big Al came,
As he bellowed, and shouted, and called me by name.

“Morgan, you witch.  You’re a pain in my side.
“Get out of your church.  There’s no place to hide!”

Like hell’s fury unleashed, he strode to my door,
Where he hammered and cursed, like a cheap jilted whore.

But Ivy and I, we circled round back,
To stand in the street and prepare for attack.

“You loser,” I shouted.  “I’m waiting for you.”
And the demon, he spun, taking on a red hue.

Ivy stood ready, and I whispered, “Okay . . .
“If he wants to get rough, I’m ready to play.”

With nary a word, us two girls got to work,
Putting foot into gut, of the soul-sucking jerk.

I circled him quick, with a few words of Latin,
While Ivy distracted him with lots of good wackin’

“Get back!” I yelled out when my trap was complete,
And Ivy somersaulted right over the creep.

My circle sprang up, entrapping him surely,
Al fussed and he fumed, like a demonic fury.

The neighbors all cheered, and came out of their houses,
Where they’d watched the whole thing, like little house mouses.

So Ivy and I, we both bowed real low,
Then banished Big Al, in an overdone show.

But I heard Al exclaim, ‘ere he poofed from our sight
“You won this time witch, but I’ll get you one night!”

Kim Harrison
December 14th, 2005

Kim and Guy wish you and yours all the best of the holiday season and a glowing new year.

 

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