marthawells: (Naptime)
It's a cool morning (so far) and I can hear squirrels thumping around up on the roof. It's been a slow weekend, though I'm hoping to get some work done today. I've been mostly tinkering with a new cleaner design for my web site and experimenting with Wordpress.

I've been having some odd, somewhat depressing dreams. On Friday I dreamed that I found Spike, (my dog that died of cancer three years ago), running in a field and took him back home. And then I called my mother, who passed away several years ago, to tell her about it. And then yesterday I dreamed I was trying to get back from somewhere, walking in the dark, carrying Harry, my cat who died last month. I'm more than ready for something more cheerful.

Something neat coming up:

If you haven't seen this already, it'll be on PBS Masterpiece Mystery in October: Sherlock I absolutely loved it.

Neat stuff to look at:

This was very cool, from WebUrbanist: Star Wars Invades Dubai in Digital Art Series

Old article with some really beautiful photos: Wonders of the Chinese Landscape

Airships and Tentacles art series by Myke Amend.

Publishing links:

From Help! I Need a Publisher!: In Which I Meet a Delusional Wannabe
Just don't expect anyone to read it if it's not good enough. And you are not the first or last person to tell me that your book came as a gift from above. To be honest, that's what it often feels like when an idea hits a writer. It's called inspiration. It should be followed almost immediately by a lot of perspiration.

From Amanda Craig: Should I Have Heard of You?
The question, “Should I have heard of you?” is one every author dreads. When Hilary Mantel won the Booker Prize last year, she said in her speech that now, at last, she could answer, “Yes”. Few are so fortunate. “Maybe if you read literary fiction”, is one answer; “maybe if you read newspapers,” is another; “maybe if you read at all” is a third.
marthawells: (Atlantis II)
Thanks very much to everybody for their comments on my posts about Harry. :) It really did make me feel better.

I feel kind of sick today (probably allergy-related), so I suspect I won't get much done.

Progress on the third The Cloud Roads book, which still needs a title:

32337 / 120000 words. 27% done!


[profile] planetalyx has posted an interview on life and writing with Connie Willis:
Even worse than the rejection slips (and I don’t care what anyone says, it’s impossible not to take them personally), was the disapproval of friends and extended family (my immediate family has always been great) and their feeling that I was wasting my time and should get a “real” job. Best of all was the conversation that went like this:

“And what do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Oh. Have you ever sold anything?”

I finally got so sick of having to say “no” (and of worrying about not contributing anything financially–one of our neighbors actually said, “How does your husband feel about your mooching off him like that?”)...
marthawells: (Default)
I put an ETA on the previous post, but I wanted to talk about it a little more. We had to have Harry put to sleep. The bad spot we thought was a tooth abscess was actually a tumor. He must have had it for a while, as it had gone up all through his jaw, though he didn't show any sign of it. He ate yesterday, and was bugging me to feed him this morning before I took him to the vet. It was pretty impossible to remove, and the kidney disease, arthritis, his age (19 years and ten months) made all the other options more cruel than anything else.

I'd been prepared for this for a while, since he started the kidney failure last year. I was afraid we would have to put him to sleep, since he was an incredibly physically tough cat, and would not go down easy. Before the kidney problem and the arthritis, he had never been sick.

Before he lost weight this past year, he was twenty pounds of solid muscle, and once opened a feral cat carrier at the vet's office. (It was a substitute vet who couldn't handle him.) He loved me, but I still had to wear a leather jacket and fencing gloves to get him into his carrier. He wasn't so gentle with people he didn't love. He hated his vet and everyone who worked there, despite having known them since he was a kitten. He was very strong, unbelievably fast. We used to joke that he was a Bengal in a tuxedo cat's body, but because of his body type and behavior, I do think there was something-not-domesticated in his genetics. He's sent experienced vet assistants running out of the room in tears. His favorite trick was to face away from them and then turn like lightning. Once when he was being boarded, he knew one of the youngest assistants was terrified of him. He pretended to ignore her, until she started to set a bowl of food in his cage. Then he whipped around and slapped the bowl, scattering the food across the room.

In our old apartment, he used to run down the hall, jump up to the top of the bedroom door, hang upside down by all fours from the doorframe and hiss at us. He used to walk around the house at night and howl like a banshee. We had to warn people who stayed the night with us that the house was not haunted and nobody was being murdered in the living room, it was just the cat.

I found him when he was an abandoned kitten, stuck in a tree in a rare December icestorm. I pulled a muscle climbing the tree to get him. For nineteen years and ten months, every night I was home, he slept on me.

All our other animals loved him (possibly this was the animal version of Stockholm Syndrome). He never injured our other cats, though he clearly wanted to at times. When Tasha was a kitten, he scared the crap out of me by picking her up by the neck and throwing her down on the bed, but apparently he was just making a point. Spike, our dog who died of cancer in 2008, thought Harry was his friend and licked him in the face occasionally, even though Harry sometimes chased Spike around the house. (I think Spike thought they were playing.) I knew it wouldn't be long now, but I didn't expect it to be today.

That was Harry.

marthawells: (Teyla)
Well, it turned out not to be a tooth abscess, it was a tumor. We had to have Harry put to sleep. He was 19 years and ten months old.

My weekend with cats: in short, Harry had to go to the vet with a tooth abscess and Tasha got out of the house for a while. this got long )
Anyway, I've had enough cat-related excitement for the weekend, so hoprefully Harry's minor surgery won't have any problems.

Tasha (that's a stuffed mouse)

Harry and Bella, in one of his rare moments of not hating all the other cats and people in the world.
marthawells: (Default)
[profile] occamsnailfile asked: If you've written two short stories, is it okay to submit both to the same publisher or should you wait a while? How about to two different publishers, one story each?

No, you shouldn't submit both stories to one publication at once. It's really better to just submit one story, wait until you get an acceptance or rejection, and then submit the next. And it's completely acceptable to submit a different story to a different publication. Magazines don't ask for exclusive rights to your body of work, they're only interested in their rights to the single story they just bought.

And it is really better to submit to different publications. If someone reads a story they like in one online magazine, they may search on the author's name and find other stories in different online magazines, which is good for both the author and the magazines.

Important thing you should not do: never submit the same story to two different magazines. With print magazines, often by the time they send you the acceptance and the check, the story has already been scheduled and may even have been sent off to be copyedited or illustrated or even typeset. If you sell it to another magazine in the meantime, it's going to seriously inconvenience and permanently annoy one of the magazines. I don't know how tight the schedule is for online magazines, but I suspect it would cause similar problems and similar permanent annoyance with you.

Also, always check the magazines guidelines as to what kind of stories they're looking for, the length, type of story, etc, and make sure your story fits those guidelines. The guidelines are sometimes very specific. And sometimes the guidelines will have notes on what they specifically don't want to see any more. Like one magazine may be overbought on zombies and never wants to see another zombie story again, and if you send one you're just going to be wasting your time, when a different magazine may be looking for stories for their all zombie issue.

Still taking writing questions here, about publishing or writing in general or my writing.


I had a scare yesterday with our cat, Harry. He's about twenty years old now, and has kidney disease and arthritis, but is still getting around and doing pretty much whatever he wants. Yesterday he was sitting up behind my head on some pillows while I was working, and I started to notice that he was making some odd breathing sounds, like a little wheezing and gurgling in the throat. (I realized later that since our dog Spike died of throat cancer, I've been extra alert to how the other animals' breathing sounds.) He also wasn't sleeping like he usually does in the morning, and one of the other cats, Bella, was awake and sitting with him. (Bella is the only cat I've ever seen give a crap about how the other cats feel.) So I called the vet, got told I could bring him in and drop him off, and did that. He was actually weak enough that they were able to take him out of the cage and examine him, then he abruptly got tired of it and tried to kill all of them by eating their faces, which is his normal vet behavior. It turned out he did have a fever and the beginning of an upper respiratory infection. He got an antibiotic shot and I got him back home in the afternoon, where he slept like a very relaxed stuffed animal for the rest of the day. He seems better today, so that's a relief.

cat photos )
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
Since about the time Spike died, our cat Bella became the-cat-who-lives-upstairs and refuses to come downstairs for any reason. We tried carrying her down there, feeding her down there, moving the litterbox down there (that really, really didn't work). It got worse when we got Tasha, who was kind of an angry kitten and immediately started to push Bella around, and took the opportunity to seize control of the downstairs. (Except for Harry. Harry's territory has no bounds. But he doesn't care if other animals are in it as long as they don't do anything that forces him to notice that they exist.)

The one benefit of the failed break-in at the next door neighbors' house was that, while looking for my glasses and phone in the dark and trying to wake [personal profile] morfin up, I apparently spoke to him in the voice of the Exorcist and that convinced Bella that she might want to leave the upstairs for a while. While we were sitting in the dining room watching the cops search the neighborhood, we realized she was down there with us. Yesterday I carried her back down to the bay window and she actually stayed there for most of the afternoon with Tasha. She's down there now.

Bella and Tasha


And here's a bonus rosebush. It grew from a cutting that was probably less than six inches long:

This is after I pruned it.

here's a couple of pictures of Harry and Spike )
marthawells: (Wheel of the Infinite)
Our internet is working now, but Verizon called and said their test of the line shows something wrong, so they're sending a technician out. He'll arrive sometime between 8 and 5. This is why we got rid of the cable. That's fine, Verizon, I have to go to the grocery store and the pharmacy, but I'll just sit here waiting on your convenience. Maybe this time a miracle will happen and you'll fix the thing that's caused our intermittent connection problems for well over a year.

One problem is that the techs who fix the phone lines and Verizon Online are two separate outfits, and Verizon Online doesn't see any reason to listen to anything the techs say or treat them any better than they treat the customers.

Also, Harry, our twenty year old cat who has kidney disease and arthritis, has been getting steadily worse. I've basically been giving him hospice care, but despite the pain medication I can tell he feels pretty bad. He's still eating, drinking, etc, but he's also doing things like walking a circuit of the house for a good part of the night. Often this circuit includes walking over me, knocking things off the dresser, and randomly deciding to try to kill one of the other cats, which can keep me awake most of the night. At his best, Harry was twenty pounds of pure muscle, and even with his weight loss he's still very strong and very fast. On the day he was diagnosed with kidney disease, I had dropped him off at the vet's for the day, and came back in the afternoon to find out he had been let out of his carrier at one point and they couldn't get him back in. He had seized control of one of the vet's two consulting rooms and was sitting in a corner of it, with a circle of chairs around him marking the minimum safe distance to approach. (When he was younger, one of his vets found out the hard way that Harry could force open a feral cat grabber.)

Anyway, it is somewhat easier with an animal that's dying after a long comfortable life. Our dog Spike died of cancer when he was barely middle-aged, and that was much harder to accept. It's still stressful, but I've had Harry since he was a kitten and at least he's had a good long run.


[personal profile] threeringedmoon posted: A visualization of the scientific evidence for various health supplements

And here's a virtual tour of the steampunk house.


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