an expert at fictions

Trust me, dear reader, I’m only kidnapping you. My motive is ransom, pure and simple, so you can rest easy about any ideas you might have of torture or murder. The rope and duct tape are precautions only and will be shortly removed. Let me also take this chance to assure you that it’s nothing personal. I’ve researched the [INSERT FAMILY NAME]s extensively, and based on their business practices and general fondness for their children, I am confident of a successful ransom. On the outlying chance that your family refuses to pay out, don’t worry. It’s only a temporary matter. It will all be over soon enough.

Writing prompt: “Trust me, I’m only kidnapping you, dear reader.”

Last weekend I attended a workshop on literary fiction in genre writing by Cat Rambo at Norwescon. It felt like one of my college writing workshops, with an atmosphere of sheer love of writing.

Sometimes I get too stuck in my head. I forget how refreshing it is to be around other writers.

Which reminds me, I have a goal this year of committing to a writing group. I’d say it’s about time I do that.


the moon in the bottom of the well

There’s nothing quite like reading three or four books in a row that are so entrancing that you devour them without pause in as many days. Each one is a thick, sweet wine whose taste you never grow tired of, and when you reach the end of one book you surface for a single gulp of fresh air before you dive right on into the next. You could drink this in forever. It’s a thirst you never knew you had being slaked. It’s all your hunger being sated, over and over again.

The books this time:

  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • The Shadowed Sun by NK Jemisin
  • Annihalation by James VanderMeer

And there would be The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear in there as well, but I have meetings tomorrow that I technically have to be awake for.

headspace is full of dust and old clothes

All I ever wanted growing up was a room of my own. Like Virginia Woolf, I fantasized about some sunny, airy bunker that would be mine and no one else’s. It would be a haven against unwanted influences, a grotto of creativity. In my mind, I arranged and rearranged the furniture of this hypothetical oasis endlessly. The desk would go against the far wall, right beneath the windows for maximum lightly, or angled off on a diagonal if I wanted to make room for a cushioned window seat. Sometimes I had a drafting table as well, side holders crammed with paints and brushes for whenever the artistic mood struck. Dramatic, haunting paintings–not prints–hung on the walls, their unrelieving intensity broken up by framed poetry calligraphs on parchment. And of course, the books: piles and piles and shelves and shelves of everything I loved, learned through, and shamelessly stole from.

The room’s location varied as often as its design. At first I tended towards castle turrets reachable by winding staircase only, or secret rooms concealed behind hinged bookcases. After I moved north, my priorities shifted to windows and lots of sunshine. And if it came with a lake view or was up in a treehouse in the middle of forest, all the better. At times I thought that all I needed was a room like any I’d ever imagined throughout my life, a place I could retreat to and shut out the rest of the world, and I would want nothing else.

Last year, we bought a house. Two bedrooms for one couple. I claimed the second bedroom as my own and declared that no one would set foot in it without my express invitation. Furthermore, when I shut the door, I was not to be disturbed under any circumstance whatsoever. You could shove pizza under the door to keep me alive, but don’t you dare try to turn that doorknob.

I got my desk, my bookshelves, my windows. I arranged and rearranged furniture. And then, somehow, I never went in. Papers collected in haphazard piles on the floor. The PC I inherited from an ex-boyfriend sat in a corner and pined for lack of use. Only the books remain clean, though they leave tracks in the dust whenever I move them on the shelves. I can’t even remember the last time I sat down in my office chair. Instead, more often than not I find myself at the kitchen table with my laptop, the clutter of shoes and backpacks and airplane-sized snacks everywhere and my fiance cooking or watching TV on the couch, a space as crowded with his as with mine and not a single painting in sight, and I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing.

all part of your average, everyday torture


ENTRY: #050517

We just had a group-wide call to check out a specific functionality two weeks before a major release. I was the first person to uncover and write up a major release-blocking bug on it. And now the email thread is going, “Oh, shi…”

That, for me, is the best part about testing: watching things implode and gleefully knowing I was the one who caused it.

It’s a very specialized sort of sadism I practice.

nanowrimo, bitches


Yep, that’s right.

For the first time ever, I finished Nanowrimo. Whoo!

And I’m still sleeping off the caffeine abuse and sleep deprivation that fueled me over the victory line. Seriously, the only other time I mainlined coffee so much was that one time I was working full time, editing two novels, and doing about two hours’ work of additional freelance editing work on top of that every night. For eight weeks straight.

I would not recommend it.

But I made it! And the feeling of accomplishment is so, so sweet. :D


Title: Bloodline
Genre: Fantasy
Official word count: 50,073
Summary: A reclusive nobleman’s son arrives at court and sets off an act of treason that threatens to plunge the city into a bloodbath of vengeance and destruction.
Next steps: Finish writing it! Just because I made the word count doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near done.

home sweet home

I think about my parents’ house and marvel at the sheer empty size of it. After my sister and I moved out, it was just the two of them, and without the extraneous bodies around they condensed down to a spare set of basics: living room, bedroom, kitchen.

My parents bought it to be a modern improvement over the oh-so-eighties narrowness of their previous home. This one was open. Rooms melted into one another without distinction. It was the first brand new house they’d ever owned. My mother filled it with potted plants and rosewood dining tables, marble counter tops and framed family photographs. The more she bought, the hollower it felt.

In my parents’ house there were four rooms that required four separate sets of couches, one for each member of the family, though it was never phrased quite that way. Echoing spaces meant to give off a warm, inviting atmosphere always managed to feel chilly. As our parents worked late into the evenings and made the hour-long commutes in and out of downtown, my sister and I made blanket nests in our respective rooms and propped our latest book up on a pillow.

I wonder at the fact that I never noticed it growing up, that it never fazed me, how so few people could need so much space that they spent so little time in.