Tag Archives: Wisp

Animal photos — dog, cat and other

Trixie study something. It may have been Wisp.Wisp, enthusiastically biting into the dogs’ stuffed raccoon toy. Apparently it’s just right for her to get the urge to prey upon it.And then the slugs that like to hang out in Wisp’s empty bowls on the porch after dark.#SFWApro.

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Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

“We really like your story” followed by “but …”

So my latest rejection, for No One Can Slay Her, said a lot of nice things about the atmosphere, the magic, the characters, some of the 1950s period detail. But … there was a lot they didn’t like (though happily they didn’t find any flaws in the mystery plot, something I’d worried about). Mostly matters of taste — the details they disliked I think work for the story — but it still added up to a no.

Which is fair enough; actually more than fair, because taking the time to write a detailed critique is quite generous of them (I know the editor. They have a lot of demands on their time). But still it’s frustrating, like one I got a couple of months ago for The Schloss and the Switchblade (really liked the story but no room for it in the upcoming issues). Even when they like my work, there’s a but. And no sale.

Of course, pretty much every story I’ve ever written has gone through at least a half-dozen markets, often much more, before someone accepts it. Sometimes after rewriting based on feedback. Sometimes with no changes. So I’m not discouraged. On the other hand, pretty much every story I’ve ever written has gone through at least a half-dozen markets, even though the eventual acceptance means it’s good enough to get published. Why, oh why can’t I find the right market earlier?

It’s particularly frustrating this year where my only sales have been reprints. I’m seriously considering that when I finish with Questionable Minds and Undead Sexist Cliches I just take everything that isn’t sold and put them into a short story book with some of my published works. As I do a lot of historical fantasy, I could call it Magic and History — okay, I should call it something better than that but you get the idea. We have No One Can Slay Her from the 1950s, Glory That Was and Impossible Things Before Breakfast from the 1970s, Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates in the 1980s, plus published work from the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s, early 21st century and one from the 1600s.

The downside is that my self-published books don’t make me much money. The best sales have come from when I visited cons and handsold them and god knows when I’ll get to do that again. Short fiction is hardly a lucrative field but the money from magazine/anthology sales is usually better than self-publishing them. Then again, it’s also a great deal of time researching markets, submitting, researching and submitting again … at least I’d be done with that and the stories would be published, available for reading.

Well it’ll be a while before my current projects are done, so I’ll see how I feel by then. And until that point, I’ll keep submitting.

And I’ll close with a photo of Wisp sitting on top of the heated cat-house we bought for her, somewhat blurred by sunlight on the back window.



Filed under Personal, Short Stories, Writing

Pets and other animals

Other animals like the bird who showed up on our corner lot to check out some recent roadkill. He dragged a squished squirrel into our yard and snacked on it. Regrettably the photo doesn’t show quite how awesome he looked IRL.

Next Wisp. This week she not only came and sat beside me on the couch, she went to sleep with her head tucked slightly under my leg. I think she likes me.Then there’s the puppers. Plushie went to a rehab place to check out his knee problems. They say it’s not his knee as much as a problem with his groin muscles and recommended various steps we could take. Some of them we’ve seen used before, such as a laser treatment of the injured area. Others were more dubious about such as “dry needling” — it would be a lot of pricking and leave Plushie very sore and he doesn’t cope well with that sort of thing. So probably not. Whatever we decide on will be pricey, but look at that face — he’s totally worth it.

So is Trixie, who’s going in this afternoon to see if rehab could benefit her any (she still has a slight weakness in her legs). Regrettably they couldn’t take both dogs at once as it’s an intensive process.

#SFWApro. Images are mine.

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Filed under The Dog Ate My Homework

Wisp in repose

So Wisp is now comfortable sleeping next to me on the couch while I work, at least some of the time.

She is not, however, comfortable with my exercise routine. Tuesday, I decided to complete my morning exercises while Wisp was eating breakfast, and she stopped and stared. Even when I did ones that didn’t jar the floor like the jumping jacks do, the unexpected behavior made her very uneasy so she went to the door and waited to be let out. A challenge, as she’s going to have to get used to our antics to be comfortable as an inside or inside/outside cat.Now that she’s eating a lot of breakfast inside, I realize she stalks it. Crouches down and skulks over from being petted as if the food was going to get up and run if it saw her. It’s most amusing.

As for the dogs, Plushie is recovering well. In fact, he’s reached the point where he thinks he’s fine and wants to run around and be a regular healthy dog again. We are restricting that, at least until his appointment next week. He doesn’t approve. Trixie’s itching and the corresponding self-chewing have resurfaced; apparently the shot she got in early August wore off and the dermaquin ain’t fixing the problem. We’ll take her in when Plushie gets his checkup and have them give her another anti-itch shot. In the meantime she’s stuck in the collar of shame. It’s the only way she won’t chew herself, which may have something to do with why she got an upset tummy Thursday — lord knows what she’s chewing off her feet.

The collars we use are stiffened fabric which works very well. It’s less jarring than the hard plastic ones when they bump into anything and the narrowed field of vision seems to calm them a lot. Still, I hope we can remove them soon.#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

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So, goals for August

Fifty percent accomplished. Persistently succumbing to doing just one more Leaf … or two … or three … did not do my writing goals any favors. And I overshot my budget again, due to a medical bill or two and paying for Wisp’s vet care.

On the plus side, we did get Wisp to the vet, which was a goal we really needed to achieve. Unhappy as she was, she doesn’t seem to have taken it amiss at all; Monday she showed up, came in for breakfast and then sat in my lap.That’s a definite win for August.


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Wisp is our babe behind bars!

Yep, we did it! We caught Wisp and took her to the vet on Wednesday for a complete medical checkup, plus getting her microchipped. She’s really ours now (okay, she has been for a while). Unsurprisingly she didn’t like it any more than these women — luckily Wisp isn’t packing heat.It was quite a busy week for vet visits. We took Plush and Trixie in for some booster shots on Saturday, forgetting to give them painkiller first. They were miserable the rest of the day and on into the next morning. Plus Trixie wouldn’t pee or poop for the vets and Plushie wouldn’t poop so I had to bring in samples during the week. At least I combined the Plush poop delivery with bringing in Wisp.

I really had my doubts we could get her to go into the pet carrier while either of us was close, even with food inside. But just like last year, she suddenly started being more comfortable with me standing around. This morning, I did my best to look uninterested and stare off into the distance while Wisp crept into the carrier, then I spun and closed the door (fortunately she tucked her tail inside when I did, or I’d have had to leave it open). Game over! She made the most pitiable mews of misery all the way there and back.

As they had to sedate her, we were supposed to keep her inside and safe for 24 hours while the drugs wore off. Wisp, however, was not keen on this. When we released her in the living room (dogs securely upstairs) she went over to the French doors and tried to get out.We bought her off for a while with food and with petting, but ultimately I thought she’d be less stressed outside, so I opened the door. She was much calmer than last year, when she bolted out of sight, and eventually settled into a shady spot under the deck stairs. I do hope she’ll be okay, but we let her out last year and it turned out fine.

So that’s done. Woot! Next up, working to get her comfortable with being inside for long stretches, even if we can’t make her a totally inside cat.

Oh, and the vet says she’s in great shape: no worms, parasites, fleas, etc, everything in good shape, so we’ve been doing a good job. I’m quite happy to hear that.

#SFWpro. All rights to poster image remain with current holder.


Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

Nature photography

I saw this the other day while walking Trixie. It amused me.Here’s the plant in our container garden, now at least six feet tall and blooming.

While I don’t have a photo, Wisp came into the house Monday and checked out the downstairs for the first time in months. As usual, as soon as she realized I was following her, she decided she wanted out again. Then next morning, during the rain from Isaias, she came in and got breakfast.Then TYG let Trixie come downstairs and I spent about thirty minutes petting both animals and making sure neither one went for the other. We had one quick squabble, no teeth or claws deployed on either side.Finally Trixie settled with me on the couch and Wisp took up residence on the pillow. Eventually she went out after the rain had died.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine.

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Animal tales

So late Sunday night, Plushie, for no discernible reason, jumped off the bed, whimpering in pain. We’ve no idea; could just be that one of his sore spots (he likes to chew himself) got bumped. But he decided the only security was to be found pressing up very close to his daddy. Which was sweet, but the position he picked (and wouldn’t budge from) left me in too awkward a position myself to sleep. After about fifteen minutes I gave up and went to sleep in the spare bedroom. Except I didn’t sleep: Monday was a long slog.

At lunch, I walked Plushie and Wisp started to come over and get a little petting. But then one of the children on our street came up to talk and Wisp froze. I could almost see her torn between the desire to rub up against me and the Stranger Danger posed by this seven year old. I made it up to her with some snuggling on the front steps later.

Then in the evening we had some guys show up to deliver some new bookcases. Somehow, Plushie got past the gate barring off the living room, then ran outside, triggering a very loud demand from TYG that I find him (one of the guys was unintentionally obstructing her from catching him). I rushed out and fortunately Plushie hadn’t gone further than the walkway, where he was begging for attention from one of the other dudes. I grabbed him up and carried him back inside before he could get any ideas about exploring or challenging the next bicycle rider to go by. Scary, but it turned out okay.

That’s life with pets. And it’s a good excuse to show these photos of a dead mole we found in the front yard, and what it looked like after it had decayed for a few days.

#SFWApro. Images are mine.

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Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework

I have a dream …

Quite a few of them this week, for whatever reason.

I dreamed I was making out with TYG and our downstairs alarm went off. The dream-alarm actually woke me up (I checked to confirm the house had not, in fact, been broken into).

I dreamed I was flirting with women at a con, and it was going very well. Then I became consumed by guilt at the thought of cheating and backed out of doing anything. Why does my subconscious throw attractive women at me and then tell me not to touch them?

I dreamed TYG was having to attend weekly Zoom meetings running 5-10 PM on Sunday evenings. I’m glad that one was imaginary.

I have nothing deep to say about any of these, so I’ll wrap up with a photo of me scratching Wisp.#SFWApro.

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Second month of writing while quarantined; how’d I do?

Decently. I met 58 percent of my goals which is better than the last two months (particularly March). Part of that’s because my goal list has dwindled — nothing that involves hanging out with people besides TYG, no plans to catch plays or go to museums, etc. Not even visiting the nearby coffee/tea shop, though I did order some tea from them (I’d like them to be there when this mess ends).

I do not see this changing any time soon. Durham’s stay-in-place order ends the 15th of this month, but TYG and I were social distancing before it became official and we’re still going to stick with it. This shit is scary; much as I’d like to see my friends other than on Zoom, it won’t be happening soon. When? I wish I knew.

The improvement in goal-meeting also reflects that I’m adapting. I’m getting exercise done, cooking regularly and managing to get work done despite a lot of extra dog care. And my Leaf work hasn’t started up again which meant I had a lot more time to work on my own stuff. Much as I enjoy that, I’d prefer to have steady income; next month I’ll be working on drumming up new clients, as a good freelancer should.

As I mentioned last week, I finished the latest drafts of Undead Sexist Cliches and Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I submitted four short stories, finished an untitled first draft, rewrote Laughter of the Dark and Glory That Was and finished Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates. I resumed work on proofing and correcting Questionable Minds, though I’m far from where I wanted to be (the extra work on the other two books had to come out of something).

The biggest obstacle to getting even more done is that Trixie’s injury requires a lot more time. A lot more watching to ensure she isn’t doing anything to hurt her leg. Walking her separately from Plushie — if I’m doing both morning walks or both lunch walks (or both of both) that adds up to quite a bit more time (same if TYG’s doing the work). So this month I’m assuming I’ll start work 8:30 AM, work for two hours, get four hours in the afternoon and make up the last hour of my day after dinner. Planning for that will make me less frustrated in the morning, I think, which should help me focus better.

For today’s visual entertainment here’s something Wisp (I assume) puked up on our front stoop. You can make out the eye of whatever she ate.#SFWApro.

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Filed under Impossible Takes a Little Longer, Personal, Short Stories, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book, Writing