Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eight Pounds

Today, I finished up a short story called "Eight Pounds", a nasty bit of business about a pleasant night out at the pub that just sort of... curdles. It's dark and funny and not just a little violent -- or, at least, I hope it is. Y'all can be the judge of that once I find it a loving home.

So yeah. One more short out the door. Now on to finishing that novel...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Godspeed, Maggie

Growing up in the country, I've had my share of cats. (Only one dog, which I suppose places me solidly in the feline camp. Also once a duck. But I digress.) So when I say that in my entire life, I have never had a cat as bright, inquisitive, or downright peculiar as Magellan Niidas Holm proved to be, you'll understand I ain't just whistling Dixie.

Maggie died today of complications related to lymphoma. We tried, in her final hours, to make her as comfortable as we could, which is to say not nearly as comfortable as we would have liked. Such is the way of things, I suppose.

I'm not going to spend all day eulogizing a housecat on my blog, but I will say this: Maggie was a dear, sweet friend, and she will be missed. Godspeed, Maggie Niidas Holm.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to work (if not to normal).

Okay, stuff has settled down a bit around these parts, at least temporarily. Which means the return of two things that are vital to maintaining my precarious grasp on sanity.

Thing One: Reading.
Before Kat's medical woes, I'd just begun to dig into Stuart Neville's The Twelve, a book I'd been looking forward to reading for quite some time. Then all hell broke loose, and I couldn't give it the attention it deserved, so I set it aside in favor of some lighter fare (read: stuff I didn't care if I was only half-reading in hospital waiting-rooms). Now I'm back at it, and I've got to say, every damn page I find something new that blows me away. I'm trying to take my time and savor it, but believe me, it resists time-taking. It is just that freaking good. Oh, and on deck? A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield. Damn, am I spoiled. (Oh, and The Wheelman. Totally going to get to it, Josh, provided I'm not crushed to death by the weight of my TBR pile in the interim.)

Thing Two: Writing.
I'm not saying that the WIP's been at a total standstill of late, but thanks to loads of real-world craziness, progress has been slow. This weekend, though, that has begun to turn around. Oh, and I also managed to write a mess of notes for the sequel (book three of my Collector cycle, after Dead Harvest and The MS That Shall Not Be Named), as well as some ideas for a standalone I've been pondering for years. Holy hell, am I happy to be writing again -- really writing, not just staring at the screen and sweating blood. When it's going well (hell, when it's going at all), there's really nothing else I could ever imagine doing with my life. How many people can honestly say they know exactly what they want to be when they grow up?

Oh, and Bonus! Thing Three? Quite possibly tattoos. I'm just saying.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A heartfelt thanks

I think it's pretty clear these past few months have been a little rocky 'round the _holm household (which reminds me, I should really explain that whole _holm thing sometime, since I cribbed it for my blog title and all), and these past few days have been no exception. We've had crises big and small, and no shortage of excitement. (Really? A late-night trip to the animal ER and a busted dishwasher in one day? And on our anniversary no less? On some level, universe, you really must be joking.)

But this post ain't about wallowing in the bad. This post is an acknowledgment of the startling grace and goodwill Kat and I have been the grateful recipients of from those around us. From on-line friends who sent along well-wishes (I can't tell you how much we appreciated them), to offline ones like Anne and Josh, whose efforts to buoy our spirits hit their mark in a huge way (Anne: Kat cried; Josh: the only reason I've yet to read the Swierczynski is 'cause you got me so damned hooked on Huston, I've not been able to put him down.) Huge thanks also to our families, who've done their damndest to make things just a little easier on us. Believe me, it helped.

So yeah. Thank you all so much. The world may be determined to kick our asses, but that just makes me all the more grateful for those who're there to pick us up and dust us off so we're ready for the second round...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

What a year, what a year.

A few months ago, our cat Maggie began having trouble digesting her food. She threw up all the time, and if we could get the food to stay long enough, she'd wind up with the runs. In a matter of weeks, a muscular, agile, beautiful animal was reduced to nothing much but fur and bones.

We switched foods. No change. We called a vet, who recommended a different, prescription food. It seemed to help. She stopped getting sick. The diarrhea stopped, too. But for some odd reason, she never managed to put the weight back on.

As it turns out, that reason was a blood-orange-sized tumor in her intestine, which pressed on her bladder and kidneys, and robbed her body of nutrients. Said tumor is now on its way to be analyzed, and the smart money's on cancer. Right now, though, I don't care, because after a harrowing day waiting, Maggie is back home, grumpy and drugged out of her little kitty gourd. I have a feeling this weekend's gonna suck, but with luck, she'll be back on her feet in a couple of days. With a little more luck, she'll be around a good few years after that.

Katrina just came in to tell me Maggie just meowed. It's a testament to the suckage of this day that her cry of pain/confusion/despair has actually managed to cheer me some. See, on top of it all, Maggie had a pretty strong reaction to the anesthetic, and so we're supposed to keep close watch on her to make sure she actually comes out of it. I don't expect I'll sleep too much tonight, but so long as she makes it through, I'm pretty darn okay with that.

Mostly, I have a good life. A happy life. But the past year or so has me wondering just when the hell my luck is gonna change...

UPDATE: Two days out from surgery, and Maggie's mood and health are much improved. With luck, she'll be back to tormenting her sister in no time. Major thanks to Dr. Lyons and the staff at Falmouth Veterinary Hospital for taking such good care of her; here's hoping we don't see you all for quite a while...

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Bad Day For Sorry Now Available!

Sophie Littlefield is without a doubt one of the finest short story writers working today. She also happens to be one of my favorite people. So imagine my excitement at the chance to finally get a hold of her kick-ass debut novel!

How do I know it's so kick-ass? Easy.
1) Sophie wrote it.
2) Everybody and their mother says it is. (Click the link and scroll down to see what I mean.)

So go and get yourself a copy or twelve today. I know I'm gonna. And Sophie? I hope you find some time today to rock a happy dance.