Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hotel Coffee

Please note the date stamp on this entry, because I want to assure you—I did not mistakenly create it while trying to schedule the posting.

Hello again from Calgary. You all remember Calgary—WFC 2008 and my first panel. Well, the Calgary airport and I are becoming quite well acquainted this year. For my American friends, let me explain what the weather has been like in my homeland this year. It's the first time since 1971 that Canada has had an across the country white Christmas.

The snow in Vegas? Nothing at all compared to here. The BC coast and Vancouver Island—which don't get snow—are about to break records for the most snow in a single month. Again, for my American friends, it doesn't snow on the BC Coast or Vancouver Island. It rains. Pathetically—like Seattle. Victoria has the most snow in Canada at the moment. Vancouver is a city of like 3 million in its metro area that owns 3 snowplows. Understandably, it's been a wee bit difficulty to get around the province, because our biggest airport has all but shut down several times. On the plus side, they say it's going to help them prepare for the 2010 Olympic traffic.

While I'd like to sound clever and say I booked my flight path connection through Calgary because I wanted to get on a plane, I scheduled my ticket in November and was really only thinking that Vancouver is normally a nightmare to transfer through during the holidays and customs agents in Calgary are much more pleasant.

Um... yes. So guess who didn't make her connection in Calgary because the plane couldn't land in Kamloops? While you're at it, guess who should have known that because the plane last year from Kamloops to Calgary was delayed an hour leaving Calgary?

The great news is: I definitely missed my connection because the plane then sat on the tarmac in Calgary for 15 minutes waiting to get close enough to let us off, so Air Canada gave me a hotel voucher. Had we not, and I'd just failed to clear customs and run the length of the airport in 15 minutes, they wouldn't have been able to do anything. They're not offering vouchers for those put out because of weather delays and cancellations.

This why I was up at 4 AM, because I have a flight at 8 AM, so I have to be in a cab with another passenger at 5:30 AM. I realize that to most of us, these all sound like made up times. Actually, I was up at 4 AM because people were unhappily speaking in the hallway at 3:48 AM. But it's ok, they were doing me a favor. They knew I should blog about this experience and that the wake up call wasn't going to come until 5:05 AM, so I'm grateful they got me up.

As clear indication I am not meant to function at this time of "morning," let me share a little tale of how the hotel coffee machine nearly defeated me. Now, my time at Starbucks has made me familiar with these "drip machines" that people who drink a lot of coffee are so fond of having. I know coffee needs grounds, a filter, water and a machine. I'm usually clever enough to work out where to put the first three ingredients in the machine to make it happily create that magical elixir.

At 4:12 AM, I am searching the cupboards in the little kitchenette for the filters. It had not occurred to me, who has seen those little foil prepacks in nearly every hotel room in North America she's been in, that I just need to open one and put it in the basket of the machine. I conclude this only after not finding any filters.

Something else that concern me? What is this "whitener?" I find in the little packages. Is it like this "creamer" my parents are so fond of that contains no true dairy content and is thus either suffering an identity crisis or just plain lying to them? The ingredients tell me this "whitener" is mostly sugar, so I assume I can ingest it and it's not been mistakenly placed in a cup instead of Japanese skin care product. Although, I'm still a little worried, because I am rather white enough already, thank you very much.

For some reason in addition to these three packs of whitener (why are there three?!) I have also put two packs of sugar, because let's be honest—even at 4:30 in the morning, I don't want to taste Nabob coffee.

Oh yes, expert traveler me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Whatever holiday you celebrate around this time of year, may it be festive. May you also find time to pause and be grateful for the wonderful things in your life—be it something as simple as a day off work or your family gathered around the table to accomplishing your list of goals for this year or creating more for the next.

A gift for you:

Fictional Separation Anxiety

Books don’t have a shelf life
not the great ones.
They tap into a timeless truth,
the human condition,
always relevant.

Please write one of those books.
Not one that attempts to cash in
on a trend,
a fickle market,
an agent’s subjective taste.

A book that needs to be written
reflects its author’s love
in the minds of its readers.

It creates a connection
between people who are
and people who never will be.

We miss them after the last page,
our friends from lands so foreign
only words can take us to them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Traditions

Ok, I admit it. I sort of failed to observe the Solstice other than to go "hey, it's the Solstice... and I'm just going to lay down for what remains of the daylight hours now. Ok. Zzzzzzz." Mostly because I was observing my personal holiday tradition of catching a cold the week before Christmas. Good news, it's a minor one—and despite the annoying tickle in my throat and general lethargy, I'm good. Enough to make it through my shift today.

SHARDS cleared 40K over the past week. It was Renee Sweet's birthday yesterday, which she celebrated by sending her CPs a manuscript to read. Thanks, Renee! (She has puppy pictures, go look.)

But I have a Solstice present for all of you. Delicious chocolate-dipped gingersnaps... completely fat free and made with love!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Less than a week to Christmas, and Rachel Vincent's asking on her blog about decorating. Rather than reply in the comments... I will show you, Rachel.


In other news, Steve continues to prove a worthwhile addition to the house. Totally. Sexy. Foam.

Since I know these ones have been received, here are three of the surprise bookmarks. (I've got another four waiting in the wings.)

(Faythe-inspired for Rachel Vincent.)

(Prometheus inspired for KT Coope.)

(Ethanael-inspired for Renee Sweet.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Art YOU Are open mic

The inaugural The Art YOU Are open mic night went very well. I think there was 20–25 people there, and a few others that trickled through because the gallery remained open during the event. Some great poetry was shared, two people showed off their vocal skills, and we were all treated a black light show as one of the artists had accidentally discovered that her work glowed in the dark.

I read the first scene of The Tarot Cafe Novel: The Wild Hunt—and I'm very grateful to everyone for their attention and support. Couldn't have asked for a nicer place to warm-up to public readings.

Things I learned:

1) Water on hand.

2) Next time, try to look up from the page.

The next open mic night will be sometime in January, and all creative types in the area are welcome to attend. Even if you don't want to participate, we appreciate the support. Please help Christina and Megan create an artist community. Don't forget we have a facebook group now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Review for The Tarot Cafe Novel

As I contemplate my answers for the interviews I'm doing for The Tarot Cafe Novel: The Wild Hunt, I paused to seek out a link to one of the interviewer's previous reviews—Katie Trattner has reviewed the comic series—and I find that there's already a review floating around the net for the novel.

Now, this—aside from the people I've been in contact with to do reviews/interviews/events—will likely be the only one I'm going to read. While I value the feedback, if you really want to tell me, you can do the legwork to find me. I'm halfway through the rough draft for SHARDS, so I've got my head buried in the Nevada Desert sand again.

Well, that and I need to actually reread the novel when I get my author copies, because I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I seem to recall spending most of the revisions thinking "that is sooo over the top. I bet they ask me to tone it down. Wait, they didn't. Wow."

Thank you to the Otaku Bookshelf and you may read Katherine Dacey and Ken Haley's review here. It states: "I’m pleased to report that her adaptation is entertaining and true to the spirit of Sang-Sun Park’s manhwa, yet accessible to readers unfamiliar with the original series."

It also says: "The Tarot CafĂ© is one of the best “novelizations” of a manga to be published in the US. Rooney pulls off the difficult trick of writing for fans and newcomers alike, demonstrating her knowledge of the original story while expanding its universe to include new characters. Her work functions both as an effective companion to the manhwa and a stand-alone YA novel, and should be a hit with teens who love supernatural soap operas."

Wow. That's almost as good as the header having Mokona in goggles! I love Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle and goggles. Or I love TRC because of the goggles... Did I mention the sand in my teeth?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As of late, Canada's forgotten it's not officially winter until the 21st and has become ridiculously cold. As in the limb-numbing, lung-stabbing, breath-stealing, snow-covered kind of cold I associate with the dead of January—or Edmonton on New Year's Eve.

Oh, I exaggerate. The current temperature would be consider balmy by Edmontonians. (God love them, they're a hardy lot.)

From the Christmas party, I bring you pointers:

1) No, you don't know the words to Genie in a Bottle. Even if you do, don't try to sing it. The beat changes will throw you.

2) It's not a real party until someone butchers Girls Just Want to Have Fun.

3) The reason the aforementioned song gets butchered is we all forget about those two lines in the chorus that are off the high end of most people's vocal ranges.

4) Never let on that you're frightened by something, because I'll remember it so I can use that to defeat you if you turn Anti-Spiral on us.

Tomorrow night is The Art We Are's The Art YOU Are night, aka open mic at the Gallery. I'll be participating by reading the beginning scene of The Tarot Cafe Novel, which requires no exposure to the comic for enjoyment.

The artistic quota of the week has been met by doing FRAGILE ETERNITY graphics for wickedlovely.com. This has resulted in butterflies on the brain. Here, have a wee preview:

Ohh, and there cookies that will need baking this weekend. Yum yum.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seven things on a Thursday

Blog cleaning is not the same as house cleaning because no actual cleaning happens. It's more a metaphorical clearing of space as various items that should be addressed or mentioned are sent on their way.

Wow, I realize the blog disappeared for a while. Weekly updates aren't really good enough, are they?

1) I have made several wonderful bookmarks, but I don't want to spoil anyone's holiday surprise, so I'll wait until I know they've been received to post the images. Any of you Californians interested in the beaded holiday ornaments? I can endeavor to bring a few with me.

2) There's a holiday party for work on Saturday. I know, it's fascinating. We're going to play this game where you steal presents. It sounds exciting and vaguely kaitou-ish. I will probably take a bookmark or a bracelet. Cookie swap is the following weekend, so it's time to bake those cinnamon-snaps.

3) The Art We Are has an open mic night called The Art YOU Are on December 17th at 7 pm—$3 at the door. Swing by #201 322 Victoria Street and let Christina know you're coming.

4) I am obsessively listening to the Gurren Lagann opening theme and happily ever after.

5) SHARDS draft will surpass 40,000 words this week.

6) I bought an espresso machine to help me develop my skillz at home. It's semi-automatic, which really means I have to grind the beans myself and switch out the portafilter each time. I, however, mastered the steam wand's lesser pressure and am getting sexy foam. The machine's name is Steve. Feel free to leave "lulz" in the comments if you understand why.

7) I have made a startling discovery—my dog is Batman. Behold the ever-vigilant Dog Knight!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We have a cover!

Isn't it beautiful? (No, I'm not certain either why Pamela's hair is red—unless she's filling in the necessary redheaded character in everything I write.)

Amazon.com tells me that a paperback version of The Tarot Cafe Novel volume 1: The Wild Hunt will be released on January 6th, 2009. It appears Canadian release date is going to be January 20th, 2009 (according to Amazon.ca.)

So pre-order here (US) and here (Canada.)

There are a few online events planned to celebrate the release—including something special in the works with The Book Smugglers for the week of the 13th and a giveaway that agency sister Rachel Vincent and I have organized for the week of the 19th. I've also been in contact with a buyer from McNally Robinson since World Fantasy, but I don't have the full details yet.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Coming up for Air

Oh, December. Christmas shopping to do. Jewelry to make. Packages and cards to worry about getting mailed in time. Holiday parties to attend. Vacations preparations to complete.

And in all this... SHARDS found its footing in one of those glorious aha! moments late on the weekend. While I surpassed 30,000 words on December 1st, there's little time to pause and celebrate as I have another 30,000 to write this month.

25,000 words is where all the interweaving of all the threads starts to become apparent—30,000–40,000 is where the story starts to write itself. The momentum is there, and around 50,000 words the plots screaming down toward the resolution, so it's all I can do to keep up.

More importantly, where I am now the book is going forward. Becoming its own story and not just a continuation of events from the first book. It's digging deeper, it's telling me more about the world and the characters, which allows the Great Mystery to play a more significant role in the series arc. There needs to be a difference between who Runa and Valen are in book one and who they are in book six. Knowing that allows me to better create the plot obstacles that will force them to grown and learn so they can reach that potential.

There isn't a difference in adult versus young adult, per say, with my projects. It's a difference in what each series is about and wants to accomplish. The YA has a much faster pace, a grander scale, and there's a lot of flash and shine to it. The adult book has a quieter approach, more intimate and there's a conscious dedication to the beauty of the words that create that intimacy.

I choose words differently for the books, because they need to speak in a way that uses my voice for their purpose. Manuscripts are like people, they have individual reasons and desires that motivate them. It doesn't mean they aren't united in greater ideals—just that they're able to contribute in their way to the support of those ideals.