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Calico Contentment

ImageIt’s been a long time since I’ve written about Calico or horses.  How about a Cali post?

 

Every time I’ve gone to the barn, it’s been a day to celebrate.  Not just because she’s a fabulous horse, but for the crazy weather. Calico is a fan of weather.  Well, maybe not rain, but everything else – and every change is something for her to kick her heels up to – quite literally.

 

S.A. Bolich has been doing a fabulous blog on horses for writers, and I’ve had several writer-specific entries on horses.  While this entry isn’t specifically for educational, it definitely gives some insight to equine thought.

 

When I’m not riding Calico, we do ground work, and I always start ground work – and often any riding session with anyone but me – with a free lunge. (The horse is in an enclosed area, but not tethered by any lead; the human makes them move with either a lunge whip or a long lead and their body posture.)  My posture is relaxed and all I do is flick my wrists to wave her away from me.  She usually dances off and shakes out a bunch of bucks and hops, breaks into a gallop, does a rollback (like a rear but in motion to change directions) to turn around, hops and does a few laps.  When I see her relax into her usual easy trot, I make her turn around – a good way to get a horse’s attention.  From there, we do laps at different speeds with a lot of direction changes (because horses get bored going in the same direction; who wouldn’t?).  After that, we work on turning and stretching and standing and, occasionally, tricks – like target practice.  In general, we just have a bunch of fun while getting our exercise in.

 

Calico is always particularly happy when we can do this in the outdoor ring.

 

Now, we live in New England, so weather isn’t always accommodating, but so long as it’s not raining or downright treacherous or at night (my biggest problem – and a winter problem), we go outside.

 

Last time I was there, we had fresh snow, so Calico was really “feeling her oats.”  Lots of zooming around and tossing her heels, and my isn’t it fun to do a sliding stop!  (You know that cartoon trope where the character stops so quickly they continue to skid forward and leave marks? Yeah, that’s about it – it’s actually a reining maneuver in the Western show circuit.)

 

Today, it was in the 40s.  All the snow on the ground was melted and we had about a quarter inch of grass-clinging mud above the frozen ground. The sliding stop was ESPECIALLY fun.  She dug all sorts of lines in the outdoor pen, turning diagonally to maximize her sliding space.  In fact, she was so pleased with her accomplishment, that during the actual exercise part, when I put out a pole for her to walk over (like an obstacle… it’s a pole, flat on the ground, but horses think it’s the Horse Eating Pole of Doom! and try to avoid it) she went further down the arena.  I thought she was trying to avoid the Pole of Doom! by getting out of reach, so I moved to head her off – noooo! I hardly started heading in that direction when she decided to take about four steps of a superfast canter and make a sliding stop that ended less than a quarter of an inch from the Pole of Doom!  Her tail was up, her neck was arched (a proud posture – yes, horses do like to show off!) and she looked at me ‘cos, “Mom, wasn’t that just awesome?!”

 

I assured her of her awesomeness with a positive compliment, a moment of relaxed posture and breaking eye contact for a moment, then looked back and wiggled the lead rope just a little to make her go forward. 

 

She looked down at the pole, then at me, cocked her head, “Oh, you still want me to do this?”

 

Hand and rope flick again. Eye contact.

 

She sighed, tossed her head, and delicately stepped over it before picking back up her trot.

 

Yeah, horses have personalities.  And they like having fun as much as any of us.  Haven’t you ever done a running slide on a patch of ice or fresh waxed floor, then was all “Yeah, that was most excellent!” when you avoided falling flat on your bum?  (Horses fall on their bums, too, I’ve seen it… and some do hurt themselves while playing.)

 

Speaking of hurting themselves, because of the slippery mud, we didn’t spend too long outside and I didn’t let her get too rambunctious – it isn’t terribly hard for a horse to pull a ligament or twist an ankle – just like a person can.  Even when they’re just fooling around.

 

Hope you enjoyed the little Calico fun – and maybe, if you’re a writer, you got some ideas about how your equines can show some believable personality.

Newsie, News, News, News!!

ImageJanuary is more than half over!  I’m doing stuff with Deadlines!

 

First, this is the LAST WEEK for anyone to sign up to take the fabulous New England Horror Writers Workshop at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester, MA! 

 

Kristi Petersen Schoonover, TJ May, and I are running an all-day workshop covering the craft of writing, editing, and business for writers – including a critique of the first 2000 words of your manuscript!  The workshop is only $30 – and we’re giving a $5 discount to members of the Worcester Writers Collaborative, New England Horror Writers, Broad Universe and Worcester college students. Sign up three ways:

 

Paypal & email pattyatannies@gmail.com

Stop into Annie’s Book Stop at 65 James Street in Worcester

Call Annie’s at 508-796-5614

 

We’re planning on having a fabulous time!

 

xx

 

In yet another event, visit Tatnuck Bookseller on 18 Lyman Street, Westborough, MA for the Worcester Writers Collaborative Author Explosion (Not Literally!) on Sunday January, 29th! 

 

Eighteen local authors (including me!) will be reading and signing and generally having a lot of fun.

 

Come join us!

 

xx

 

Arisia was fabulous!!  UnCONventional did wonderfully in its debut, and Our Fearless SPH Leader, Kate Kaynak, was happy to go home many boxes lighter than she came. 

 

The party was a blast – and it was so good to meet so many of our contributors!

 

We had CAKE!!  (That’s me & Kate holding it in the pic, surrounded by our valiant team of editors and contributors!)

 

The Broad Universe table was also well visited with many sales, and we had a great showing on many fun panels.  For a more comprehensive review, check out these blogs by my buddies, Justine Graykin, Kendra Saunders, and David Sklar.

 

xx

 

Bad-Ass Faeries 2 also had another great review!  And they especially liked “Party Crashers” by Christy & me. J

 

xx

 

And, um… I have a pile o’ papers that needs minimal attention before I go to bed…

 

Hope to see you at an event!

I was not savvy…

I was not savvy or awake enough to join many of my compatriots in the censorship blackout protest regarding SOPA/PIPA. What I have heard scares me, but I confess to a certain level of ignorance – to much to say anything useful here.

 

So, let me link you to people & resources who do know more than me so you can read what I read and make your own decision to contact your senators and congress representatives.

 

I did.

 

John Scalzi:

 

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/01/18/on-sopapipa-for-the-people-who-arent-blacked-out/

 

Nicole, who organizes the Worcester Bloggers meet-ups:

 

http://nicolecommawoo.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/sopapipa/

 

Wikipedia:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Learn_more

 

Electronic Frontier Foundation:

 

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/how-pipa-and-sopa-violate-white-house-principles-supporting-free-speech

 

Please, research this topic and educate yourself.  What rights are you willing to give up, and what will you fight for?

Fire with Friends

This past Monday, my friend Val came over and shared my annual fire ritual with me. 

 

It was good to share it with someone new.  She added another energy, and we added a few more parts to suit our needs for 2012… I’d organized my papers and things ahead of time, she needed to get rid of a particular artifact. 

 

After that, she interviewed me on faerie rules. 🙂

 

All in all, it was a lovely, magical night.

 

And I am tired.  So here’s a cute picture of Val and Loki.

 Image

May your 2012 catch fire in a good way!

A Resolution to… Party & Promote!

ImageOk, so, I didn’t finish writing up all my goals in a coherent post. However, I’ve got a convention this weekend!

 

I love Arisia, and I love being part of this convention, so if aren’t already registered, consider doing so.  It’s a fabulous time!

 

And, for if/when you are there, here’s how you can stalk me!

 

First, check the Broad Universe table in the Dealer’s Room.  Find out about our awesome organization, get nifty Broad merch, hang with Broads, become a Broad… and patronize Broads who’ll have their books around! (Because, you know, you totally need more books!  Aside from Sunday, where I’ll barely manage to be there for opening and then be panel-hopping and putting on a show for the rest of the day (just look at my schedule below!), there’s a good chance you’ll find me at the table – or someone there can find me for you. 

 

Besides that, if I can manage to get a ride, I plan on being at the Memorial Service for Badger on Friday.  Badger was a great supporter of the New England area Broads, and an all round wonderful person.  Her passing is a great loss to the SFF community.

 

As for the Official Schedule (verbage borrowed from Arisia site):

 

Friday

 

5:30, Adams

Gender Limitations in SF/F

 

Often, strong female characters are portrayed in such a way that seem to be a rejection not just of traditional gender roles but of all things feminine. Similarly, male characters that take on what are regarded as traditional female roles are viewed as emasculated figures incapable of pro-active action. Where are the strong warrior women that can also be compassionate or the house-husbands that have a role beyond being the punchline of a joke?

 

I’m Moderating!  With Super-Cool Friends!

 

 

Saturday

 

11:30, Quincy

Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading

 

Broad Universe is an international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Come hear samples from the works of several members of the Broad Universe organization.

 

There’s a bunch of us, I’m emcee-ing. 🙂  There will be chocolate.  Come!

 

1:00 PM, Paine

How to Design a Fun Role Playing Adventure

 

You need to come up with a roleplaying adventure for your friends, quickly! But nothing’s coming to mind. What to do? Our panel of experience gamemasters will share tips and tricks to come up with fun, challenging, and interesting adventures for your friends that will keep them coming back for more.

 

… It appears I’m the chick-in-residence at this panel. Cue evil laughter!!!

 

5:30, Galleria

Autograph?!

 

I’m at an autograph session with James MacDonald and Steve Sawicki!  Um… please come so I don’t feel like a loser with no one at my signing?  I ❤ you!

 

 

Sunday: Day of Insanity

 

11:30 AM, Quincy

UnCONventional Reading

 

UnCONventional is an [AWESOME!] anthology of sci-fi and fantasy stories set in cons that are a cover-up for something paranormal [‘cos, that’s the truth, y’know!]. Come hear [FANTABULOUS] samples from it by several of the contributing authors. [Brackets mine.]

 

Just be there!  I bribe you with chocolate and coffee!!!

 

 

2:30, Harbor Ballroom III

Tea With Special Guests

 

Squee! I’m a “Special Guest!”  But there’s, you know, ton of other awesome people, including all the guests of honor (the Foglios! Esther Friesner!)  and a few other fabulous friends of mine.  It’s a special thingamajig, so get the ticket and enjoy a lovely tea! 

 

 

4:00, Paine

Writing as a Business

 

You’ve got your manuscripts and cover letters ready, and you’re sending out submissions. How do you market yourself? Should you hire an agent, and how do you work with them? What are the rights that can be attached to a short story or novel for the author? When do rights revert back to the author? Is self-publishing a viable option, and what are the pros and cons of doing it? Where do you go for help and advice?

 

I’m Moderating, again – with another group of Super-Cool Friends!

 

 

5:30, Douglas

Food Communicating Culture in Literature

 

How do writers communicate things about their cultures and characters via the food they use? What can you discern about cultures based on if they get their food in pill form or if they are vegetarian/vegan, omnivores, or carnivores? How does the anatomy and physiology of your aliens or magical creatures dictate their food requirements? What about the terrain? Does the diversity of food culture–and what it communicates–on Earth get shown in literature?

 

I’m a-moderating again, with new people who have excellent reasons to be on this panel.  You gotta come check it out!

 

 

8PM, TBA

PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!!! 

 

Spencer Hill Press and Broad Universe co-host a kick-arse party celebrating the release of UnCONventional – and the all-round awesomeness of our writers.  There will be lots of lovely food and CAKE! and caffeinated beverages and who knows what else.  Make sure we’re on your party list!

 

… I may get some sleep in there, and then…

 

Monday

 

… I have Monday off!  I can sleep!  And go to panels!  And pack up the table! 🙂 

 

Hehehehe!

 

Hopefully I’ve excited you about going to Arisia.  I look forward to seeing you there!!

Happy New Year 2012 – Part 1

ImageYes, it’s that wonderful time of year again!  Time to evaluate my 2011 goals and move forward with my 2012 plans.

 

I remember reading in one of the many articles I perused over 2011 that publicly setting goals actually hinders one’s ability to get them done.  The psychology behind that is that the act of setting goals makes one feel “accomplished,” and therefore slows or stops progress; we need a certain amount of stress to push us to go beyond just setting goals.

 

I’m ambivalent about that because every year that I’ve done this exercise, I’ve improved my business life as a writer.  On the other hand, I didn’t meet a lot of the goals I set last January.

 

On the other, other hand (because I write spec fic and I can have more than two hands, damnit), a whole lot of opportunities and major changes redirected me…

 

See, I had this nice line of goals and steps set up, and then wooooo, that path took a 45 degree angle or something–starting not long after I even made said goals!—and while some of those steps and goals still fit on that line, a lot did not.

 

The Changes

 

Big Change 1: Spencer Hill Press

 

It started with being invited to co-edit this wonderful anthology for which I’ve been carrying around bookmarks and the first contributor copy around like my firstborn child.  Which it kinda is, being the first book with my name on the cover.  That, and it’s made of teh awesomesauce of awesome.  (Go pre-order it now!)  It evolved into perusing the slush pile and adopting a manuscript or two to love and edit… which I need to ask Kate about the protocol for pre-publication gushing.

 

Big Change 2: Presidency!

 

Of Broad Universe.  Because, y’know, just running events and stuff wasn’t enough.  I WANT THE WORLD!  FOR WOMEN!  WHO WRITE ALL SORTS OF WONDERFUL SPECULATIVE FICTION!  Ahem.  Yes.  I’m always very dignified about my responsibilities.  You totes should join our quest for world domination!

 

Big Change 3:  Calico Silver!

 

Ok, I claimed this last year, too, but I’VE NOW HAD A HORSE FOR OVER A FULL YEAR AND WE DID AWESOME STUFF TOGETHER!

 

Big Change 4: Concrete, Solidity on H-of-A’s Deployment

 

Which I can only talk about a little for various reasons.  But it’s big for both of us.

 

The Accomplishments

 

In planning for these posts, because they are always more than posts for me, I read back over last year’s posts.  (Mind you, I really am evaluating myself and planning as I write this.  I’m a writer; I think best in writing.)  I admitted last year that I wasn’t satisfied how I was tracking certain progress.  As I’ve learned more, a lot of what I was tracking is really useless info.

 

Here is just some of the highlights:

 

Starting with previously mentioned…

 

 

What all else I did…

 

  • Edited and updated another StraighterLine course
  • Finished complete second draft of Kelpie and sent to Beta readers
  • Published “Kali’s Promise” in Epitaphs, the New England Horror Writers anthology
  • Published “To Me You are Holy” in the Eye on Life: Poetry Locksmith
  • Had “Fixed” accepted into Corrupts Absolutely? (due out March 2012)
  • Had “The Unicorn & the Old Woman” accepted into Sauced anthology (due out 2012)
  • Submitted 22 fiction/poetry pieces to various markets, agents, publishers (3 fewer than last year, but higher acceptance rate!)
  • Guest of Awesome at Pi-Con
  • Presented panels at Arisia, Conbust, Wiscon, Pi-Con, Dragon*Con, and Anthocon

 

And my usuals…

 

 

There ya’ have it. A highlighted list of 2011. Feel free to compare it to my goal-setting post and weigh it yourself, but really, I’m proud of it, and that’s what matters.  Next post will be the goal setting, itself.

Too busy to blog…

Yes!  It’s a New Year!

 Yes!  I’m doing a New Year’s Plan set of posts.

 Just not today.

 Why?

 Image

 Image

Because Scott’s getting on a plane to the other side of the globe in less than 9 hours.

 

And that’s what he and our living room look like right now.

 

Though – one New Year’s Resolution will be my return to 3 blogs a week, so there will be one Wednesday sometime.  Where I’ll share my New Year’s Planning.

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