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Books.

Books have always been the joy of my life. When I was young, I could lose myself in the worlds of fantasy when the real world was too much to bear. The people who wrote those amazing stories had to be otherworldly creatures, I thought, much too brilliant to walk among us ordinary mortals. My parents took me to the library nearly every Saturday, where I loaded up on books for the coming week. I grew up on Marguerite Henry and Alexander Key. I solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Happy Hollisters. I explored the mysteries of the world with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne and scared myself to bits with H P Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. Now that I'm old, that love of books hasn't diminished. I became a writer because I wanted to do for other readers what my favorites had always done for me. There's something thrilling about holding a stack of library books or a bagful of new books from the store, knowing that adventures await me with the turn of a page.
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Today's moment of happy is something I started doing when my son was young. Anyone who has kids knows that a few minutes of quiet solitude is an extraordinary gift, and that's what I'm talking about today. I love to get up early (I'm talking just past sunrise early) on a weekend morning, and drink a cup of coffee while everyone else is asleep. I don't work, or read, or watch TV. I just drink my coffee and breathe and enjoy the peace. Any day I can begin like that always turns out to be just a little nicer than it might have been.
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Catchy and somewhat bizarre tunes that I can't sing at work for fear of anyone looking sideways at me but that stay in my head for days, whether or not I know any of the words. For example, The Complete History of the Soviet Union Arranged to the Melody of Tetris or Still Alive sung by precious little evil children.
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"The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson"

I had a heavy disappointment a few days ago, one I'm still trying to get over. Crying's only good for so long before my eyes are red and puffy and my mascara is running (not to mention it's complicated to do in public.) Torturing myself over what I might have done wrong results in my sadness lasting even longer than it naturally would have, and blaming others is unfair to them and to myself. I've decided to post something that makes me happy, every day. I'll manage to help myself move on, or give someone else a smile when they need it. Either of those would be fine with me.

Today, my happy-as-kings thought is the wind before a thunderstorm. It's warm, and strong, and a little bit threatening. Not enough to be scary, just enough to be exhilarating. The sky becomes yellow with the burgeoning clouds, and the thunder echoes in the distance. The trees across the street toss and bounce, and look for all the world like a green ocean crashing on a beach I can't see. It's thrilling and peaceful all in the same moment.
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Several of the books I wanted showed up at the library today. As a result I now have

Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence
The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle
Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht
Feed by Mira Grant.

Which of these books should I start tonight?
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Tonight I've been working on my book of short stories that I plan to release before too much long as an e-book, so these lines are more piratical in nature. Well, sort of.

"Good morning, captain."
The voice from behind her sent shudders running down her back.  Delicious shudders that distracted her from the day’s chores, and drew her mind in a completely inappropriate direction.  She didn't turn, for fear he'd notice the smile that played at her mouth, threatening to split her face into a grin.
 "Morning, McAvery."
 He was such an infuriating man. Beautiful, of course, but sneaky as a demon behind that pretty covering.
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Post your work in progress, page 77 or page 7, lines 7-14, no cheating.

Yeah, okay, I can play, too. This is from my current WIP, There Was A Crooked Man:

“Casse-moi,” he growled. “I should have been gone by now.” He poked his fingers against his belly, trying to determine how badly he'd been hurt. He'd been shot before, enough times to know how it should feel if the wound was healing. The skin was tight, but no pain. Half a day wasn't long enough for a normal man to have healed this fast. He hadn't been a normal man in fifteen years, but the strangeness about himself struck him as odd, even now.
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So my official panel schedule for ConCarolinas is up - I hope I'll see aome of you there!

Friday 05:00 pm Kidnapping Your Muse - Part One
What to do when your muse has left you and the words will not flow.
Panelists: David B. Coe, Crymsyn Hart, Misty Massey, Allen Wold, Faith Hunter, A.J. Hartley

Friday 07:00 pm The Rise of the Heroine
Girls rule the book world! A look at the best (and worst) female protagonists, past and present.
Panelists: Diana Bastine, William Hatfield, Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, Eliza Gayle, Betty Cross

Friday 08:00 pm Bad Boys, Bad Boys
Why we love our rogues and anti-heroes. Parental guidance suggested.
Panelists:Jim S Bernheimer, William Hatfield, Faith Hunter, Dahlia Rose, James R. Tuck, Kalayna Price, Misty Massey

Saturday 09:00 am The Next Step
So, you've finished your book or story....what now?
Panelists: Misty Massey, Terry W Ervin II, Edmund R. Schubert, Stephen Weese, Gray Rinehart, John G. Hartness, David B. Coe

Saturday 07:00 pm Killing Friends and Enemies
How best to 'dispose' of characters that are no longer necessary to your plot.
Panelists: Rachel A. Aaron, Jim S Bernheimer, Misty Massey, Carrie Ryan, James R. Tuck, J. F. Lewis

Sunday 10:00 am Ask the Author
Have a question for one of our authors? Now's your chance to get those answers in this open Q&A session.
Panelists: Stephen Zimmer, David Drake, Carrie Ryan, Tony Sarrecchia, Edmund R. Schubert, Angie Smibert, Allen Wold, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley

Sunday 01:00 pm Do Your Research!
The best ways to research your work so you avoid any inconsistancies and anachronisms.
Panelists: David B. Coe, Faith Hunter, Robert James Luedke, Jack McDevitt, Stella Price, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley
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Today's SFSignal Mind Meld asked for the perfect genre crossovers - go take a look and see what we came up with!!
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If you're looking for something glittery and thrilling to do on Sunday, May 6, let me suggest you buy your tickets for the MidEast Dance by Yasmine Belly Oasis show! The event features the various dance ensembles and troupes of Yasmine's school, showcasing many different styles that have evolved from the Middle East as well as the vast influences of surrounding cultures and the Western World. Tickets are only $10 for adults. We'd love to see you there!
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I really do not love books written in second person, present tense. This afternoon, feeling the desire to read for a little while, I picked up a book I'd checked out from the library, only to discover it was second person present tense. Yep, it was all "You open the door. You press the elevator button." and on and on. It's like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure without the freedom to choose anything.
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Shenanigans have been achieved. It was a great weekend, but sleepy Misty is sleepy.
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Countdown to Stellarcon...

Shenanigans have been planned, and the arrangements for them are underway.

Mine is an evil laugh.
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I received my StellarCon schedule - yay! My panels look pretty cool. Take a look and see what you think!

Friday 4:00
Origins of Modern Fantasy
A discussion of early fantasy literature from some of the brightest minds working within the genre today.

Saturday
9:00
The Worlds of Richard Dean Anderson
From MacGyver to Stargate SG-1, Richard Dean Anderson has spent decades within genre television. Fans share their favorite moments from their favorite shows.

2:00
The Role of the Publisher in Today’s Market
With writers now able to bring their works to print themselves, are publishers still need? Authors and publishers discuss e-publishing, small-press publishing, and the large publishing houses.

4:00
The Heroine's Journey
Does the Heroine's Journey differ in some way from that of the Hero? An examination of the heroine's role in genre fiction.

Okay, yeah, the Richard Dean Anderson one is...unusual. My son had a moment of fan jealousy when he thought RDA would actually be there, and frankly, that would have been awesome. But hey, it's given me a good excuse to watch episodes of Stargate again. You know, as homework.
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A little news about my friends...

"Colin has become a master of three of the five magics, and has gifted the human, Dwarren, and Alvritshai races with magical protective Trees. But the power of the dark spirits is spreading despite this. Can Colin unite the races against this menace and prevent their enemy from complete control of the land's magic?" Benjamin Tate's latest, Leaves of Flame, is available now! If your local store doesn't have it, ask them to get you a copy right away, because this is one you don't want to miss.

You've got a chance to win a copy for yourself, too. Go to his Livejournal and check out the Word of Mouth contest!

And my friends Faith Hunter and Christina Stiles have launched a Kickstarter project to fund their Rogue Mage RPG. A little bit of money will go a long, long way toward helping them out, and if you're an RPG player, this is definitely a game you'll want to check out.
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In 2012, madkestrel resolves to...
Be nicer to varkat.
Admit my true feelings to difrancis.
Connect with my inner blackbeard.
Find a new wine.
Tell my family about phil davies.
Cut down on my whiskey.






Get your own New Year's Resolutions:


I hardly think cutting down on my whiskey will help anyone. Especially if I intend to connect with my inner Blackbeard...
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[Klah] is generally served hot, possibly with milk and/or sweetening, sometimes with a splash of a warming liquor. It is brewed from the bark of a native tree. The flavor is something like cinnamony chocolate, with a touch of hazelnut and coffee. It can be drunk cold, but the preferred taste is warm. Klah contains a mild stimulant like caffeine and is used as the morning drink.

--The Dragonlover's Guide To Pern, Second Edition, by Jody Lynn with Anne McCaffrey)

Several of us are raising a cup of klah to Anne tonight. If you'd also like to, here's a recipe.

Directions:

2 tablespoons sweet ground chocolate
1/2 cup dark cocoa (same as Dutch cocoa)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dark instant coffee, ground to a powder (you can substitute a shot of regular coffee if necessary)
1 pinch nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together.
Use 2 to 4 tsp per cup of boiling water.
Mix well.
The klah should be thick, much like hot cocoa.
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When I was a teenager, I saw myself as plain and clumsy and definitely not someone anyone might ever want to hang around with. Often friendships surprised me, because deep in my heart I couldn't believe anyone really wanted to be there. I found much of my solace in books, and the dragons of Pern taught me that while my body might be earthbound, my imagination could soar.

The author of those amazing books, Anne McCaffrey, passed away suddenly yesterday. Please join me in raising a glass to her memory. Thank you, Anne. You did more for me than you'll ever know.
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I stopped by Target today after work, and while in line to checkout, I listened to the cashier having a conversation with another worker about getting together during the holidays. The topic quickly moved to Target's plan to schedule all its employees to come in at 11 pm on Thanksgiving night, in order to prep for Black Friday at midnight. I loaded my bags in my cart, finished paying, and then said, "If it makes you feel any better, I know for sure I will not be here that day. I never leave the house on Black Friday."

The cashier came out from behind her register and hugged me.
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I was honored to be a guest on The Genre Traveller podcast, so if you want something entertaining to listen to while the world is ending tomorrow, please click on over to the site and spend a half-hour with us!

http://www.thegenretraveler.com/fantasy/podcast-episode-56-pirates-dragons-and-belly-dancing/

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