One day down, who knows how many more to go?

Well, I survived my first full day without the husband.  Last phone call from him placed him in Illinois, and he plans to stop tonight in Pikeville, TN to see his parents and finish the last of the trip tomorrow, making it to Jacksonville by late afternoon. 

Amazingly, the boy is still in one piece.  Getting him to sleep last night was a nightmare though.  Tried him first in our bed…he was too scared to sleep in our room.  Then HIS room was too scary, so I let our husky sleep with him.  That worked, until he decided his backside hurt from pooping.  Finally, he went to sleep around 10.  Then I get this weepy visit (just as I fell asleep) around midnight, saying his butt still hurts (quite cute, really).  I promise to get him prune juice in the morning, he curls up next to me in bed, and conks out.  Thankfully, he slept until 7:30.  It could have been worse.

I’m making a pumpkin pie for the boy (okay and me too), along with rarebit for dinner tonight.  Still all about the comfort foods.  Dunno how well it’ll turn out.  I haven’t made it in years, and the shrimp’s never had it at all.  Heart’s been flipping out almost non-stop for two days now, which is starting to scare me just a little.  I’m hoping it’s just stress and will calm down after I adjust to life sans my husband.  If not…this is going to be a ROUGH second and third trimester.  I know I feel better today than I did yesterday.

Writing
Well, the one contest I’ve entered with Dreams (probably the only one I will enter) posted results today.  Unsurprisingly, I did not final.  The first chapter’s been tweaked a lot since then, but I think there must just be a fundamental problem with it (and my writing in general).  Guess I’ll (hopefully) get a lil’ feedback so see where the problems are when I get my score sheets.  Not getting any nibbles from the queries either.  So, it’s probably good writing’s (more or less) on a hiatus.  Not that I’m getting any schoolwork done either though…Must…snap…back!

Hope everyone has a great Halloween.  Shall post pics of the boy as Ironman tomorrow!

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Status Update (life, pregnancy, writing)

Life
Well, I have to say the past week or so has been a whirlwind of activity.  My husband finally got the call that he’s been waiting for for a year: he’s being hired by Hewlett-Packard (first as a contractor, with intent to pick him up after about 6 months), and due to start November 1.  This is great news since he’s wanted to work for HP since he was 14.  However, the job requires he relocate to Jacksonville.  Not so great news since it means we’ll be split for a long time.

He got the email about the hiring last week, so the past week has been a major scramble.  We had to get our boy back in daycare.  Our original daycare is full, so we scrambled but I think we’ve got a great match with a licensed in-home daycare provider.  He starts on Monday, though I’ll drop him off for an hour on Friday so he can get to know the other kids ahead of time.  We had to find a place for him to live, which we think we’ve succeeded in.  We’ve found a potential place.  He’ll meet with her Sunday night and if the meeting goes well, he’ll move in Monday.  If not…well, I’ll just think positively and say it will go well.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for military wives and single mothers, but I have to say I am NOT looking forward to going through the next however long without him.  He’s taking the good car (the one with a reliable heater) and whatever he can fit in there.  I’m left in the snow state (Colorado), with an unreliably heated car, our little boy, the dog and cat…and pregnant.  YARGH!  This should be, um, interesting.

Pregnancy
As you can see by the ticker to the right, I am now officially in my second trimester.  Thank heavens!  The morning sickness that plagued me throughout has eased (now I usually have only one bout…most days, if that).  The extreme exhaustion has eased.  The bathroom trips in the middle of the night – not so much.  But I better get used to them.

Had an ultrasound last week.  They’re growing, but refused to cooperate and flip over so the doctors could do the scan they needed to do (checking some fluid at the back of their necks for markers regarding Downs Syndrome and a host of other stuff).  So we’ll have to do other testing here in a few weeks.  I was very pleased with my fluid consumption (67.6 oz water + a diet decaf coke & maybe a diet dew).  The nurse was not so thrilled.  She says I need to be getting upwards of 96 oz water/day.  Now I ask you – where exactly am I supposed to put food when the Shrimpettes are a bit bigger?  I get the need to stay hydrated, but really?! 

I’m trying to do everything I can to give my lil’ passengers a healthy start, but I’m feeling overwhelmed.  I’m either starving or not interested in food.  I’ve barely gained any weight thus far (thanks to m/s), and the doctor/nurses are saying it’s better to put a good part of it on NOW when I’ve got the room to eat, as opposed to later when the babies take up so much space, and now they want me to drink ever MORE water.  I try to drink the water as early as possible to minize middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, but I STILL end up getting up 2-3 times/night.  I just don’t get where all this stuff (food + gallons [it feels like] of water) is supposed to fit, esp. once the three of us hit the third trimester.

Okay, rant for now over. 🙂

Writing
Well, despite my best attemp/intentions, ideas are definitely starting to develop for my next WIP.  And yes, it will (most likely) be about gargoyles and the mage-born.  Certainly started developing the backstory on how the gargoyles got to where they are from their origins, along with casting some of the mage-born families in a not-so-positive light.  I think I have my connection to Ares (just to keep it all swimming merrily along in the Blood Wars arc).  I’ve even got a tentative cameo role for my favorite lil’ sociopath, Jordan.  Just a cameo, since this book is NOT about the vampires.

Just a little taste of what I’ve got in mind, here are the primary players for the, as yet, untitled book.

Jessie (last name undetermined): The clan’s “human” member, though like all the “human” gargoyles, she is a magic-user (Earth and Air).  In each generation, each clan of gargoyles (thanks to that lovely curse that shifts them human in day and gargoyle at night) has one hatchling that comes out full-out human.  I have a tentative justification for this, but I won’t air it here.  Her particular clan has an ongoing agreement with a prominent North American mage-born family (most of whom are unaware the gargoyles even exist) to intermingle the bloodlines of the “human” gargoyle with the mage-born, because gargoyle blood strengthens the inherent mage-born power in any offspring.  She objected to being married off and fled her clan to make her own life.

Christian DuBois: Son of Maurice Dubois, brother of Ronnie Mansfield (from Rage and Dreams).  He’s the heir-apparent to Maurice, who holds the leadership of the North American Council of Mages.  Thus far, he’s been a sore disappointment to Maurice (a powerful elementalist), because Christian’s powers lie in telekenesis with minor strength in air elemental magic.  Instead of joining the Bureau or moving into the mage-born hierarchy as Maurice would have him, Christian went to law school and has his own practice, specializing in non-human needs/rights.  He is a tinkerer in his spare time and, rather than be boring and stereotypical, he uses an enchanted hockey stick (his own design) rather than a broom (very few mage-born or anyone else like this style of travel – he does it because it’s fun) or car to get around most of the time.

Given I do para-rom, obviously Jessie & Christian will get together, after I torture them for a few hundred pages.  I’ve got a few minor characters already starting to populate, but right now I’d still like them all to stay quiet.  It’s not working and I’m starting to itch to write something.  Even if it’s just a scene or two.  Unfortunately, writing ends up being like eating Pringles: I can’t stop after just one chip (scene).

Have a great week/week-end everyone.

Favorite Literary Vampires (2nd Part)

Yeah, posting later in the week/in under a week didn’t work so well for me.  However, since I last posted, I have another set of vampires (sort of) to add to the discussion, so perhaps it’s not all bad.

Charlaine Harris
Yup, until just this morning I hadn’t read ANY of the Sookie books, though I did get sucked in to the recently ended season of True Blood (which prompted my interest in the books).  I can’t say too much about the world Ms. Harris creates since I’ve only seen the first book, but I like the fact that her vampires recently “came out of the coffin” per Sookie’s expression.  They’re much more typical vampires (complete vulnerability to sunlight, vulnerable to silver/religious icons, etc) than many of the other vampires out there, which is refreshing.  I like that the vampires were going to some lengths to make themselves seem less “other” (i.e. their claim, BS that it is as is as confirmed late in the Dead Until Dark book, that vampirism is just an infectious disease).  Of course it also helped enormously, having seen True Blood, that I came in with some clue of how to picture these characters.  Definitely saw Skarsgaard as the mysterious Eric (although I say he’s too skinny), Bill (who came across much better looking in the books) and of course Sookie herself.

That aside, I’m not a big fan of the books thus far.  It could just be I dislike first person storytelling, but that doesn’t interfere in OTHER series’ I’ve read, so maybe I just am picky.

Kim Harrison
Her Hallows series is FANTASTIC.  In this world, ALL non-humans came out of the closet about 40 years ago, which I like a lot.  There are two sorts of vampires – living and dead.  As seen in the character of Ivy, Rachel Morgan’s best friend, living vamps are blessed with some of the speed and strength they’ll have after death, but they have their souls, can go into churches, and eat pretty much what they like.  In this world, vampirism IS caused by a virus which mutates the genes of a normal person while in the womb, although humans can be converted into living vampires, though they’re dependent in the end on someone actually bringing them fully across at death.  Born living vampires (like Ivy) don’t need any further help to convert.

The dead vampires are pretty spooky, though they can largely act like humans.  They have the traditional weaknesses (sunlight, etc.), BUT they also have some slightly different abilities, including the tendency (when they’re clustered at places like a nightclub) for all their pheremones to be able to overwhelm a normal (i.e. non-vamp) into something akin to drunkenness.  The dead vamps AREN’T human, and your appearance (age, etc) is your appearance in the second life.  Many who die at an older age buy witch charms to appear young and beautiful.  There’s even insurance that living vamps can buy to help fund their initial entry into the vampire life – but only if death doesn’t come through suicide (this is explained in Books 3 & 4 I believe when Rachel, a witch, goes to extraordinarily lengths to help a young living vamp, who’s very ill, go out with some semblence of dignity, yet not void his insurance contract).

Keri Arthur
The primary love interest in the Riley Jensen series is a vampire, one of the older ones out there and the vampire hierarchy is all about age.  I didn’t get as strong a feel for how long the undead (and other non-humans) have been entrenched, but given there are numerous government agencies and everyone seems pretty open in this world, it’s been quite some time (unlike Harris’ Sookie books).  Her vampires have somewhat greater limitations than you might think (shapeshifting isn’t an automatic thing that comes with conversion, I got the feeling).  As they AGE, they grow (somewhat) more immune to sunlight, though you’re not going to have vamps walking down the street in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in her world, I wouldn’t think.

Conclusions
Quite a few different takes on vampires out there and I imagine there are any number of additional ones making their way through the editing/publishing process.  Some work better (for me) than others, and some I refuse to waste any more time on ::cough Sparkling Vampires my foot cough:: after reading the first book.

What about all of you?  Do you have a series/preference out there?

Favorite Literary Vampires (part 1)

One of the Yahoo groups I belong to featured a class on building a brand, even (or perhaps especially) for non-published authors.  One of the parts talked about what tags you use with your blogs, what you want associated with your name, and so forth.  And so, in that bent over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be tweaking the blog’s format a bit, try to have a bit more regular (and topical) posting, and try to either talk less about the upcoming Shrimpettes or found a new blog where I put all of that lovely self-absorbed information. 🙂 

So – today’s topic (maybe the next couple) will be on vampires in books, exploring the mythos of them.  I wanted to start off by discussing favored vampires in books.  Now I do not claim to be an expert or to have read every single vampire book out there, but I know what works for me.

“Traditional” Vampires
We all know the so-called ‘traditional’ vampires and their strengths/weaknesses.  Can’t tolerate sunlight, garlic, running water, don’t cast a reflection (because they have no soul, I believe is the explanation usually touted), and so forth.  And of course, they’re ageless.  They’re controlled by holy water, holy symbols (some say crosses, but others have expanded beyond that).  They’re killed by a stake through the heart and/or removing the head.  Some legends talk about stuffing the mouth full of garlic and burying the now-really-dead vampire face down.

Thankfully, the creative authors have expanded the boundaries what with the explosion of both paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Sherrilyn Kenyon
First off, disclaimer here, I absolutely adore almost every single book of hers I’ve ever read.  Surprisingly, Fantasy Lover (the first Dark-Hunter book) was not really in my “love” category.

I love her Dark-Hunters and Daimons.  Both are night walkers with fangs, but very different purposes in life.  The DH are brought to immortality thanks to Artemis (love the character), and watched over/protected (somewhat) by the uber-powerful Acheron.  They’ve got fangs and can’t really deal with daylight, but they also can chow down with the best of them on junk food or anything else that really interests them/appeals to them.

The Daimons came from a cursed race called the Apollites (this is pretty common knowledge, so no spoiler), who were the chosen race of the god Apollo many thousands of years ago.  After his consort/one of his children got killed, he cursed the entire race of people who’d sent the assassins.  Either they die painfully (one book goes VERY much into just how painful this death is…youch), over the course of 24 hours on their 27th birthday, or they learn to take souls and thus turn from being Apollite into a Daimon.  The Dark-Hunters exist to hunt the Daimons.  The Daimons…well, some of them are just trying to survive, others are quite happy with their murderous needs.

Neither of these two “vampire-like” races have problems (that I recall anyway) with holy water, crosses, etc.  They have reflections.  They’re immortal, but both have fangs, so they’re classified as vampires.  However, they are still (mostly) hidden from the human view and go to great lengths to keep their non-human nature a secret from the humans.

Next time
Because this post has already gone on too long, I shall continue it later.  Next up: Kim Harrison’s Hollows and Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen vampires.  Both ladies chose to create/share worlds where the non-humans are a part of society (whether entirely welcome or not).

When I move on to another non-human race, many of these series will be revisited b/c the wonderful ladies have built entire worlds populated with many different non-human races.

Baseball, Pregnancy…and Gargoyles?

First off: when will the Twins gain an immunity to their October Kryptonite (i.e. NY Sk…er…Bronx Ba…er, Bombers)?  Really, to get swept (again) is just absolutely ridiculous!  ERGH!  Second, I’m psyched about the Rays forcing Game 5 after being down 2 games when they traveled to Texas.  Third – GO BRAVES (they’re currently playing).

Well, I had my attempt at the genetic testing that the high risk people do on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, per the doctor, not only do the twins have to be higher up, but they BOTH need to be in the right position at the same time (more or less) to get a look at the nuchal transparency (something about fluid or tissue behind the neck).  So, I get to go back in a couple of weeks to try again (at 13w2d).  The nice thing is right on the heels of that (at 15-16 weeks) I get the big anatomy scan which is when (hopefully) they’ll be able to tell me the genders.  They didn’t gripe too much about my (lack of) weight gain, just pressed again that it’s important to gain it (at least some of it) in the early portion because, with twins, it’s going to get hard to eat as the Shrimpettes get bigger and take up more room.

I got to meet the lovely Joelle Charbonneau this week when she came to the Denver area for a book signing.  She’s been an absolutely FABULOUS mentor-type person since I contacted her after she judged Blood Rage in a contest much earlier this year.  Check out her website by clicking here, or check out her book on Amazon.com by clicking here.  She’s as nice in-person as she is through email and I owe her tons for all her help on my synopsis, log-line, and query for Blood Dreams.  Again – Joelle is awesome!

Finally, the third topic listed on the entry title: Gargoyles.  How do I come up with Gargoyles?  I’m thinking, since I’m not seeming (thus far) to have much luck with my vampire books and garnering agent attention, to switch to another of the non-human races.  I can keep my basic world that I’ve established in Rage and Dreams, yet come up with an angle I haven’t heard too much about in books that are currently out there. 

When I mentioned it to my other half, his first words were, “You’re not going to base them off Gargoyles, are you,” meaning the Disney Afternoon series I loved (and still adore).  While the lovely Det. Maza and Goliath are certainly an inspiration, no.  No connection/copying/stealing from Gargoyles: the Series.  I’ve been hearing a lot from agents and publishers and editors that they’re sick of all the vampires and were-creatures that are in the pipeline/already out.  So…why not stick with paranormal, but just try a less popular breed?  So, after I write my capstone (ugh), I’m going to give it a shot.  Still haven’t given up on Blood Dreams, but better to move on.  As Joelle said, I’m not killing off my stories, I’m acquiring inventory!  Or so the hope goes.

What about you?  What sort of WIPs to you all have in the pipeline?

Querying and Life

Wow – it’s been more than two weeks since my last post.  So sorry about that, but I’ve been sort of…out of it.

Querying – not going so well.  Only the one previously mentioned request for the full (I should hear in the next couple days or so, based on the agent’s blog about her intentions for those she requested from).  Yesterday I had a major bad boo-boo.  I tweak my queries but usually start with an email I sent to another agent.  I’m VERY careful.  Usually.  I sent 3 queries.  I realized after the first two that while I’d certainly changed all references to the agent to be correct (commenting on submission requirements, name, etc.)…I hadn’t taken off the attachment that I’d sent along to another agent.  Ugh.  And naturally, those two were agents I was really interested in.  I resent, and apologized, but the damage is done and will probably result (at best) with auto-rejects.  At least the third went out clean.

On a happier note, I saw a cardiologist here in Denver on Friday and he too has not ruled out the possibility of a natural birth rather than C-Section.  Given my very successful pregnancy the first time around, he’s more concerned about my weight (for normal weight reasons, rather than heart reasons) than my heart giving problems during the pregnancy.  So…yay on that!  Still got my fingers crossed, though he’s doing an echo and getting my pacer checked next week.  Blech.

Next OB appointment is tomorrow and they’ll be doing some sort of genetic screening that apparently they do on mothers of multiples.  I’ll get to reassure myself that they’re both still in there and doing okay.  And, with any lucky, the Shrimpettes will have caught up to where they’re supposed to be and my due date will get moved back to April 19, rather than April 25.

The only thing about tomorrow I’m not looking forward to is stepping on the scale and NOT for the normal reasons.  I’ve been told to not maintain, much less lose weight, during this pregnancy and, per my lovely visit to the cardiologist last week, I know I’m down about 3 pounds.  Stupid stomach bug got me last week.  I still have limited appetite, I’m getting heart burn every time I eat now, and in general it stinks.  However, I did enjoy my carrot cake (made from scratch, fabulous flavor) that I made for my birthday on Saturday with absolutely no guilt about possibly gaining TOO much weight.  Heh.

And tonight, after work, I go maternity clothes shopping.  I can’t put it off any longer.  I think the twins have shifted because it’s now getting harden to fasten my pants and certainly doesn’t feel good sitting all day with my pants buttoned.  Ergh.  I was in my sixth month before I had to get my sole pair of pants & single bigger shirt that I got with my boy.  This…should be interesting, to see how pregnant I look by the end.

Have a great day!