Category Archives: Drama Box

And In Other News

If you missed it last week, my big news is that Subterranean Press has picked up Perfunctory Affection, (no publication date yet. Rest assured it will be awhile.) But I’ve been doing more than typing the last month. I’ve got about three knitting projects going, and I should have character Jacob from NEXT DOOR to show you in a few days. I spent all last week designing the pattern for his suit coat, and I finally have something I like enough to put it on him. The one I designed for Trent a few years ago just isn’t cutting it anymore. (This picture is Trent, Rachel, and Ivy. Ivy’s jacket is actually mink yarn I got on sale. Fits her.)

But what I’m most proud of right now is my shrimp net.  McGyvering at its best, it’s part syphoning tube, part fish net, and a little bit of aquarium sealant. Tim just sat back and smiled when I would blow into the house, grab something, and say, “I’ll buy you a new one,” before vanishing back into my office.

What you see here is actually my second version, the first being more of a collapsing net affair, but this one is a lot less disruptive in the tank, which was what I was going for. It’s got about a 80% efficiency if the shrimp is reasonably accessible, which you know is utterly fantastic if you’ve ever tried to catch one of these little guys. It should help immeasurably in my blue shrimp breeding hobby.

I’m going to use my downtime this week to make a slightly smaller version that will work better with smaller shrimp and vegetation-thick tanks.

 

 

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It only looks as if I’ve been on vacation

Okay, it’s been more than a few weeks since I’ve announced anything or posted pictures beyond my hobbies of knitting characters, and breeding shrimp. Not to mention the 20 yards of mulch in my driveway. You might even think I’ve been on vacation with those snapshots of palm trees and bike paths, and I will admit that that refilling the imagination well has figured into it. With no book coming out since, uh, yeah . . . it seems like somewhat of a dry spell, but believe me, work has been crossing my desk between the yarn patterns and McGyvering a better shrimp net. (More on that later. I finally have a new one I can’t wait to show off.)

Not to mention that those who know me well know I can keep a good secret. Heck, I’ve had long-time friendships that were known only to me. But at long last, I have a smidgen of book news to share.

Remember me talking about Meg a while back? Yep, my tireless and dogged agent Jennifer Jackson found a home for her, and PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION has been picked up by Subterranean Press. Meg’s story is a really odd length, about 40,000 words shy of what I’d call a full novel, but way beyond novella size, and because I was reluctant to pad it with fluff just to get it there, and — if everyone was honest – because it didn’t have Rachel in it, it was hard to place.

So there it is. PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION, sometime next year, and because it’s coming out through Subterranean Press, it will be a little pricy compared to what you might expect, and very, very worth it with heavy paper, beautiful detailing, and all the bells and whistles. (It will be in e-book as well.)

Meg deserves it. Her story is a little uneasy, a little queazy, and echoes in my head like thunder between mountains, soft and almost unheard in warning.

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Color Blind

Lookie, Lookie! Kim’s got a cookie!

To round out your Hollows library, or help get a friend hooked, The Undead Pool and The Witch With No Name are both on sale at Amazon for your Kindle. There are also a ton of other great titles included in this promotion, so check them out.

Click to shop

And as B&N doesn’t like to be left out, here are their links for the Nook.

The Undead Pool

Witch with No Name

I will admit the sale attention feels pretty good this morning, the emotion of which filtered down into breakfast, following me into the bathroom when I brushed my teeth, and so, for the first time in a while, I actually looked in the mirror–leading me to think I must have been color blind this morning when I got dressed.

Absolutely nothing matches. Tan shorts, long-sleeved shirt, (because it’s cold this morning,) black chemise (because it’s going to be hot this afternoon,) white socks and orange plastic flip flops. Mmmm. It’s the last two that disturb me the most. Perhaps I have taken this a shade too far.

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In the gap, between the two trapeze

Those who know me well, know I relish preparing for things. I’m the Queen of Delayed Gratification, which goes nicely with the job I have of working for a year on something, get two weeks on the road sharing it with the world, then back to work on the next thing.

The flip side of the coin is that I also love not having a plan, which gets me in trouble when it comes to attending cons. Don’t get me wrong. I love attending. I just don’t like to plan them because, you know, there will be people there and stuff. I can do it, but my little introverted soul has a hard time planning for it.

So I like to prepare. I like not having a solid plan. And lastly, I love small living within a large space. Having a job that lets me be something else every day of the year has kept me sane. (And they PAY me for it!) But the last few years have taken their toll and something broke, pulling back a curtain I never saw–I had been so intent on the “what’s supposed to happen.”

Which brings me to my current feeling of free flying, in the gap between the two trapeze.

If you’ve been following the blog closely, you will know that Tim and I have recently become RV’ers, first, to follow and see the eclipse, but hey, an RV is basically a land boat, and I fell back into old patterns I hadn’t realize I’d made, remembering skills I never knew I’d learned, and . . . yeah, it fills a need I’d forgotten existed.

There are plans made. Plans within plans that have fingers reaching into every aspect of our lives. We are ready to go. The Captain has gone over the star maps for the best places to alight. The Navigator (that’s me) is content to rely on the vagrant winds to dictate the path and can’t do her job until we are actually on the road. The Doc (that’s me again) has stocked the pharmacy for the one special-needs crew member (the dog.) The Head Chef, (me again) has filled the kitchen shelves, focusing on easy, fast, and limited ingredient dishes, building on know-how gained by past experience. The Entertainment Director (me and Tim) have assembled various audio and visual entertainment. And possibly most important, since this is a working ship after all, the office is prepped, amazing me with how little I need anymore to actually, you know, do my job now that everything is less paper and more electrons.

All we need now is the courage–the final push–and we will be gone, boldly going where everyone has gone before–but never seeing the things I’ll see. Least, not in the same way I see them.

With fingers cramped from decades of “this is the right way” I let go of one trapeze . . . and stretch across space for the next.

Watch this space . . .

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Nightmares

I have to laugh at myself and my infrequent nightmares. Tim and I were discussing it yesterday morning after he complained of having restless sleep. Seems the two Halloween movies we watched before going to bed stuck with him all night. Me? I slept like a contented baby. It’s the evenings that we watch the news before bed that leave me with nightmares.Oddly enough, those are the nights that Tim sleeps the best–so he says.

This morning, though, I was visited by a recurring nightmare that has plagued me on and off since high school. Chances are, you’ve had a version as well. It’s the “back-to-school-can’t-find-my-class nightmare” with the “didn’t-bring-my-book” chaser.

I used to have these every fall when classes started back up, but it’s been awhile. This time, I managed to get on my teacher’s bad side in less than ten minutes. High School English class. I still shudder. Not a happy time for me.

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Last first-paragraph invite for a while

I know I said I wanted to keep the sharing going for a few months, but my time has crunched in and I’m going to have to suspend it for a while. But this is a good thing! Most of you have caught on to what I’ve been trying to convey and you need some time to internalize it and make it second nature–and I need to focus on what just happened on my desk.

And then there is DragonCon, soaking up my time as well. (my schedule is here for all four days.)

So one last sharefest before I get too busy. Show me your first paragraphs of your next chapter utilizing everything we’ve been talking about for the last month. I’m terribly impressed with how you have all polished off that newbie shine and sound so very much more ready for an editor/publisher’s eye.

 

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I reached for the familiar, and just kept falling

We stood in the shade at the park, having gotten up early to make the thirty mile trek to totality. Two days of driving lay behind us–two days, and a year of anticipation, of solar glasses for Christmas, of plans and contingency plans depending upon where the skies would be the clearest, of clearing schedules, and maintaining a firm hold on flexibility–because I am a lover of the skies, my childhood rooted in the awe of the cosmos.

We lingered in the shade because it was hot, the RV behind us, the dogs safe in their play yard. Twelve families consisting of three generations had rented the park shelter beside us and had gathered from three states. The couple parked behind us drove in from just thirty miles away. Dogs played and fretted at being left out. Kids practiced with their parents on how to use the glasses. People staked their claim on prime viewing with chairs and blankets. The internet vanished, and no one cared.

We waited, all there for a singular reason, our stories as varied as the license plates. People ventured from the shade to peer up at the sun for a few seconds with their glasses, then retreated. Pinhole viewers and special filters on binoculars were tried out and set aside. Kids got bored. The star geeks and casual viewers mingled and chatted. “Where did you come in from?” “We drove two hours.” We drove two days.” “Do you know where the bathrooms are?” “Do you have any connection at all?”

Finally a call went up. “There! The top right!”

We all looked up, every single one of us, and the word was “Wow.” A chunk of the sun was gone. Absolute black. Kids cried, wanting to see and having to wait. Tantrums, fussing, and then they got bored again, and retreated into the shade–because it was hot.

It grew quiet. More conversation. “I’ve never seen a total eclipse.” “Do you think it’s darker yet?” Late comers drove through, desperate for a place to park, making the rest of us smug. A quarter mile down, the ball field sprouted tents where organized viewing and experts kept kids busy. A quarter mile up, free-spirits gathered in an open, wild field to commune on a deeper level. But it was quiet in our little turn-around site in “the middle” where three generations of family, a local couple, and two dreamers with their dogs sat with their feet edging the light because the sun was too intense.

The orange crescent of the sun through the filtered glasses grew smaller, more pointy. The round shadow of the moon atop it grew larger. Kids whined about being hungry, dogs got underfoot and barked. Quick forays were made into the sun for a glimpse at progression. “This is what they’ll get in Detroit.” “This is how much I saw last time.” “How often are you taking a picture?”

But then . . . the ground began to look odd, as if seeing the world through a filter. The air took on a dark, almost transparent hue as the wavelengths reaching us shifted. A call went up. “Look at the hood of that car! You can see the crescent in the shadows of the leaves!” But in all honesty it took some imagination. Slowly, people filtered out of the shade, and with a shock, I realized that quite suddenly, it wasn’t hot anymore. After years of shunning the sun, I could stand under it and not feel its heat.

The crickets began to sing and the dogs lay down, bellies up to the sky to soak in what heat remained. The shadows of the leaves showed thousands of crescents, no imagination needed. Necks craned, we waited poised as the sliver of orange amber narrowed down, and down, and down . . . until it was almost gone . . .

Just before the light left, voice exploded from every throat, an unstoppable sound of exhilaration. It rose from our chests, joining those at the tents at the ball field, then gathered the shouts from the distant field before continuing to spill on across the nation as the sun . . . was suddenly gone.

Every glass and filter dropped. As one, we shouted as we stared up at a color of white we had never seen, wispy and etherial. A black nothing hung where the sun had been. My awareness expanded, and I reached, grasping for something I might know, falling, and falling, and falling, as if taking a breath that never stopped as I looked for common ground with every last past moment of my life . . . and failing.

For two minutes, we stood as one in a new state of existence, most quickly gaining a foothold, and yet I still fell within my mind, trying to absorb the cascading of otherness that suffused and filled me. The sound, the feel of the air, the lack of sensation on my skin.

And then . . . a tiny pinprick of the most pure light that ever existed, of ultimate clarity and definition, was suddenly there.

For an instant it hung at the edge of the black, and still I fell, trying to grasp it.

In another breath the glimpse into infinity was gone, washed out by the yellow wavelengths as the diamond ring took precedence and no longer could we stare as one at the sky.

 

It was done. My long fall ended as the comfortable existence of warm yellow light expanded amid the exuberant shouts and cheers that flowed from west to east, an unstoppable declaration of experience.

But I remember the instant of light of undefined purity and unexplainable clarity. And I wait. For what? I don’t know, but I wait.

Kim Harrison
August 21, 2017

 

 

 

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