Back to the Grind

Well, my musical is over. We closed on Sunday. It was generally a good experience (there were some logistical issues not directly related to the show that I shall not bore you with) and the show went well and was well received.

And I did learn my sign language “solo”–in case you were wondering–and only sort of messed it up one night but not bad enough that I think anyone other than me would have noticed.

And now the whole thing’s over. (Aside from the fact that I keep singing the songs because they’re literally all I’ve listened to in weeks and now are eternally stuck in my head.) And yet…I don’t miss it.

When I used to do theater back in high school, the closing of a show was the worst. We’d have an overnight cast party, and everyone would stagger off, back to normality, and it was terrible. I was also so bereft when yet another show ended, when I didn’t have rehearsal to look forward to, when it was weeks before we’d start the next one.

And I thought I’d feel that again. It’s like finishing a novel draft. You put so much into something, and then, suddenly, it’s gone, and all that energy has nowhere to go, and for a while it feels like you have no purpose anymore.

But I don’t feel that. I don’t feel that at all. I had a good time, sure, and I put a lot of time and effort into …

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The Night Forest

The Night Forest

by Kit Campbell

 

She looked through the window though there was nothing to see on the other side; the depths of night hid what lay within her view.

She could sense him behind her, close enough to touch, but not.

“What is it you see out there?” That weird tightness to his voice that had been present lately.

“Nothing,” she said. “I see nothing.”

“Then why do you look?”

She shook her head and turned to look at him, this man who would one day be her husband, though now he drew subtly away from her. Why did she look, when she knew the small window and the black of night would show her nothing?

“It is past midnight,” she said instead. “Why are you not abed?”

“While you wander the halls, so shall I.” A light remark, one that could have been sweet, had she not seen the tension in his shoulders, had he not held himself so far away from her. He was watching her, like she might turn at any moment.

Turn into what, she had not decided.

~*~*~*~*~

The first change had been her difficulty sleeping. She’d taken to wandering the halls at night, though all slept except the guards on the walls. Still, despite her nightly excursions, she was not tired, not drained. But then, when she did sleep, the dream had come.

She was somewhere deep and dark, with trees towering overhead. She could …

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Out of my Comfort Zone

Back when I was in high school, I loved participating in theater at my school. This seems like a weird fit because a) I am an introvert and b) I hate being the center of attention, but there you are anyway. I did 11 out of 12 plays my school did while I was there, 4 as tech, 7 as an actor, 2 as student director, and 1 where I actually set up all the tech cues, the order of the play (it was a bunch of skits), scene changes, etc., because our director/teacher was busy with something else at the time. I also spent two years in our children’s theater program (which counted as English and I hated English) (yes, I know how ironic that is coming from someone who writes/edits for a living) and sang in two different choirs.

In college, I originally went in planning to double major in theater and engineering, but after I ran into some unfair biases my freshman year (I got a lower grade than I deserved due to not being a theater major–actually verified against other classmates who were theater majors), I dropped that idea. (Also, engineering is hard and sometimes you’re up at 4 am in the computer lab writing a report about ants on a hotplate.)

And that was that. There’s not a lot of theater opportunities as an adult if you don’t have college experience or a degree. And what few opportunities there are, there’s a lot of competition …

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Stop and Listen to the Music

Last Thursday my husband and I went to a Sonata Arctica concert. We’d snagged tickets on Black Friday ($12–and only $18 even with the ridiculous ticket fees) and so we made the fairly last minute decision to go.

And, oh, it was glorious. Small, intimate venue, music so loud I couldn’t hear properly for approximately 12 hours afterwards, a small crowd of music lovers who braved the below freezing temperatures to come hang out in a tiny venue without proper parking…

But it was really the music that made it great. Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band, and they were touring with Leaves’ Eyes (multi-national symphonic metal band) and Omnium Gatherum (Finnish death metal band).

(My husband: Is all music in Finland metal?
Me: Probably.)

(For those people who are like “There’s genres of metal music?” here is a description of the various ones.)

Omnium is not really my taste, so we missed the beginning of their set, but there was a point during Leaves’ Eyes’ set where I came back into my self and realized–that probably for the first time in a long time–that all my stress had fallen off, that I was content, that all the things that I worry about day in and day out had, for at least the moment, disappeared.

As you can imagine, it was quite freeing.

Symphonic metal is my favorite music genre, and I’ve found it to be very useful writing music as well, especially when I’m doing …

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To Rule the Stars

To Rule the Stars cover

Kindle versionSmashwords EditionPrint Edition

Meet the princesses.

A trained diplomat, kidnapped by an alien race desperate for justice, and its dashing leader…

A political pawn, on her way to meet her betrothed, who stops in the asteroid belt to answer a call for help, and finds a princess both beautiful and brave…

A captive raised to believe that the greatest evil is magic, when it—and the handsome ship’s engineer who wields it—are the one thing that might save her…

Here are their stories.

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Just Keep Swimming

When Siri reminded me that it was my turn to blog today, my immediate thought was, Awww, I don’t want to do that!

I, like many people, am not in a good place today, and the thought of pulling out something reasonable just seems like too much. I make it a point to not be political on the Internet, so today has been hard, and I’d actually told myself I was just going to not touch the Internet at all.

But alas, responsibility, so here we are.

It’s easy to assume the worst, but we don’t know what’s coming in the days ahead. Worrying about it is unproductive. We just have to trust ourselves to do what is right when the time comes, and hope that others do as well.

(I mean, that might be a bad hope, seeing the situation we find ourselves in, but what else can you do?)

My coping mechanism for the day is just to keep busy. There’s a ton of things I need to work on, not least of which is finishing up the final touches on To Rule the Stars, which will be out next Tuesday the 15th. If you haven’t seen our awesome cover, take a look at Siri’s post from last week.

I’ve also got to do the business end of the aftermath of our weekend at MileHiCon. Alas, taxes and whatnot. I probably should also do some related networking, decide on our plans for next year, and look at …

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We’re Going to MileHiCon!

Howdy, Turtleduck friends! It’s my birthday! ::twirls around a little flag::

But beyond that, I’m pleased to announce that if you are in the Colorado or generally Colorado area, you can come and see me at MileHiCon the last weekend of October. I shall be there with the full complement of Turtleduck titles, including new ones such as City of Hope and Ruin, and I will also have bookmarks for our anthology coming out mid-November, which is titled To Rule the Stars.

(It’s awesome.)

I’m excited for the convention! I learned a lot at the first one we did two years ago, and I’ve got some new displays and stuff that I’m itching to try out. Plus it’s always fun to network with other authors and publishers and see all the neat stuff that goes on at the con.

(Here’s a funny story, though. If you buy a three-day pass in advance, it’s $44, but there’s a $3 service fee. If you wait until the door, it’s only $46. Someone did not think this through.)

I put in my name to be put on panels if there’s a need, so there’s a chance that I could do some of that. That will be a new–and nervewracking–experience. Still, I’ve seen some really terrible panelists at various times (ones who had no clue about the topic at hand, or who were too busy revisiting things with their friends to bother to pay attention), so I will probably not be the worst.

Ah, …

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Too Many Awesome Things To Do

Well, friends, if you’re interested in the continuing saga of my sewing project, I have cut out two pieces of my shirt. That was a few weeks ago. I was hoping to at least be able to report that I’d cut all pieces out, or, even more optimistically, had at least gotten the sewing machine out, but alas.

In fact, I keep coming up with new awesome and fun things I want to do, but…I’ve come to a realization. I’ve been spreading myself too thin. Too many projects, too many things to do. This is a bad habit of mine, especially recently. I think it comes down to having less time in which to do things these days. Back when I was young and beautiful, I could meander home from work, get in a couple hours of something fun, throw together something for dinner, and then spend a couple more hours doing something fun.

And weekends! Glorious weekends!

But now I have responsibilities and weird work schedules and work that has to be done at home around everything else, and if I get 15 minutes of project time a day it’s a good day, at least right now. And I get frustrated and try to stuff more in to catch up, and then I get more frustrated because yet more things aren’t getting done.

It’s a vicious cycle, my friends. I am grumpy and stressed, and that’s no way to live.

Do you have this problem too? Constant stress and …

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So, How About That Plan From Last Month?

Last month I regaled you lot with my sewing plans. (And I realized I never linked you to my sewing Pinterest board, which is here, and which you can see is still getting healthy usage.) And I said I’d check back this month and let you know if I’d actually gotten on the actual sewing part of this madness.

The answer is no! But it’s more complicated than me just being lazy (or actually working on writing things, like I was supposed to, though I did do that).

I picked out two patterns to do. I cut out the pieces (which was harder than necessary because said patterns are in books and you cannot cut up library books). And then I hit the problem.

The average American woman is 5’4″. I believe they make patterns for people who are 5’7″. I am 6’1”. So I cut out my patterns and then remembered that I can’t just use a pattern, I have to modify a pattern. I have to lengthen it in the right spots (such as, say, arm holes) and move darts and all sorts of wizardry. Actually, in the past, it’s been easier to take men’s patterns and make the shoulders narrower than mess with women’s patterns, but it’s been five years and I forgot.

(The last clothing I sewed, five years ago, was a brocade vest and spats for a steampunk costume. I made the vest without a pattern, and luckily spats are not picky on sizing.)

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A Constant Companion (Fractured World Short)

A Constant Companion

by Kit Campbell

“…as long as you’re living under my roof,” Jael was saying, but Briony tuned him out, choosing instead to glare at the table. Her hands sat on its uneven surface, curled so tightly in on themselves that she could feel her nails digging into her palms.

Behind her, she could hear the laughs of her brother’s small children as his wife told them a story. Their youngest, Brin, would be a year soon, and had taken to copying everything her older brother and sister did, much to the amusement of all involved.

Jael should be in there parenting them. He didn’t need to be parenting her. He wasn’t her father. Just because Mother—

Briony shook her head to clear it of the thought.

“Are you listening to me, Bree?”

“It’s not really your roof, is it?” Briony leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest and staring sullenly at the fireplace. It was a silly argument—she didn’t fault Jael and his family for moving back in, not after… and it was nice to not have to sleep in an empty house. But that didn’t mean he had to act like he owned the place. It was as much hers as his.

Jael groaned and pressed his fingers to his temples. He’d started growing a beard, probably trying to look older. “Bree, for the love of the Old Ones, we’ve been over this. Mother asked me to look after you until …

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