Here I am

Apr. 5th, 2017 12:38 pm
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Well, I'll be! The big switch over has worked!
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I'm hoping to get a reverse mortgage to pay for Howard's continuing care.  This means sprucing up the old place to get a good appraisal, and of course to get the house safe for the winter.  At the moment a handyman is busy caulking some of the windows that needed it.  I'm hoping he's solved the Mystery Leak into the kitchen, which is directly below these windows.  He'll also put in a second safety rail on one set of interior stairs so that Howard can use both hands to steady himself as he goes up and down.  Howard is not walking well these days.

If we do get a good reverse mortgage, then I can put some of the money into further work on the house.  It's our one big physical assest, though my mass of copyrights do have some value, I suppose.  In our culture, intellectual property has been so systematically denigrated that I doubt if they're worth much.
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VJ had to switch his day off to Saturday this week.  Howard did not have a good day, without even the football to watch.  The main problem is that H. has started seeing people who aren't really there.  Pushy people, who keep wanting him to do things like come join them in some vaguely described place outside. My job then becomes convincing him that he can't go out alone, and that I'm too tired to come with him -- which often enough is true, by half-way through the day. At times, like today, he becomes angry and announces that he's "going home."  I then have to convince him that he's already home, in the house we've lived in for almost 19 years now.

Needless to say, I got nothing else accomplished today.  I have a long list of things I should be doing, important things like getting our new will together and doing what I need to do to get the equity out of our house.  Oh yes, and writing . . . I do have a career in here somewhere.

The good news, though, is I have a brand-new website,, with pictures and everything. Take a look if you'd like.
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Sundays are the caregiver's day off. He tends to spend most of them in church. Can't argue with that.  After he leaves, I have sole care of Howard, which is generally okay, though there are always Moments.  At the best, the day is boring. At the worst, it's filled with grief.  Normally it tends toward that "not all that bad" mark on the inner meter.

The worst part about caring for someone you love who has this disease is remembering what they used to be like. At this stage, anyway, the physical work is no heavier than caring for someone with the flu.  On Sunday this time of year there is football on TV, which distracts him for hours at a time. He'll also nap, or sit and look at art books while listening to music.  We have dinner, and at moments we can joke and laugh. He has a few flashes of clarity. At times friends come over for a few hours and break the day up.

But oh my gods, all of you! Seeing what has happened to someone who was once witty, incredibly talented, full of quiet life -- that hurts. He now has trouble using a fork. Like a toddler has trouble. Think about that for a minute.  The very worst thing -- he still knows what is happening to him.  It's the hurting for him, not whatever I may feel, that really hurts.

Other days of the week offer long hours of work and distraction. Not Sundays.
aberwyn: (justice)
I haven't posted here in a while, I know.  It's not that I've been busy, exactly, more like struggling to learn how to handle large financial decisions that I've never had to make before.  As you all probably know, my husband of 40-some years, Howard, has slipped into full Alheimer's dementia after doing his best to fight against it for 5 long years. Last year I tried to take care of him by myself and ended up feeling deranged, mostly because of sleep deprivation.  Howard usually wakes up and gets up several times in the night. He gets dressed or partly so and tries to out for a "walk", usually at 3 a.m. (Recently he tried this wearing only a cowboy hat, his underwear, and a pair of Fry boots.)

This year we found, after 5 false starts, a very good full time caregiver.  VJ now lives with us, and I have gotten my mind back. The problem, of course, is continuing to pay for his services, which are considerable and worth every penny.  I have savings, but my, do they shrink fast with medical bills of this size! My only option is extracting equity from our crumbling tract house.  The good news: we live in neighborhood that has become oddly desirable, right next to San Francisco, a short trip to Silicon Valley. It has an excellent primary school, too.  Prices for these post WWII homes have gone way up.  The bad news: ours needs repairs, and They Who Give Reverse Mortgages may not like that.

I've decided to spend some of the savings on a financial advisor, because I am way out of my depth.  I know that there are a LOT of questionable mortgage offers out there.  The reputable large banks no longer offer reverse mortgages ever since Elizabeth Warren pushed through consumer protectons -- which tells us how dangerous banks can be.  So I've hired someone who knows the field.  I'm still horribly anxious of course.  But I persevere.

If you've ignored financial things because your spouse or parents or whoever handle them for you, take me for an Awful Warning in the Victorian sense.  Learn!  Study what they're doing!  Don't end up like me!
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    One of the panels I participated in at Westercon was "Shakespeare in SF". You can doubtless guess that I was on it because I edited WEIRD TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE some years ago.  At any rate, the discussion drifted hither and yon, as panels will, and ended up talking about the move to excise Shakespeare’s plays from high school curricula because they "aren't relevant to today's teen." The panel's attitude can be summed up as "tough, keep them! They’re there to learn new things, not be reinforced in what they already know.” And just how is “Romeo and Juliet” not of interest to teenagers?
   To the argument, “the plays  are too hard for the poor kiddies to read,” we answered, “If kids are only fed pablum, they’ll never learn to digest meat.”
  However, a teacher in the Los Angeles area pointed out that many students come from non-Western cultures, and that these cultures are generally left out of the curricula. She made a valid point that schools should include the great works of these cultures, too, in literature courses. I completely agree – but why take Shakespeare out? Cut back, maybe, on the number of plays because of time concerns, but everyone being educated in a Western culture school needs to know the man existed, and why he’s ranked so highly. The students also need to know about the great theatrical traditions of other cultures, Japan and its Kabuki, for just one example.
Besides, Shakespeare and the other Dead White Males of the Western canon are relevant to everyone on the planet who has ever come up smack against Western colonialism and White racism. Does the phrase, “know thine enemy” mean nothing any more? Knowing your enemy is the best way to protect yourself against him, her, or it. I am quite serious. Do you wonder how the British could have arrogantly set out to rule the world? Read John of Gaunt’s speech, and you will see the heart of British Exceptionialism.
  Consider how Othello is treated. Racism has deep roots. The plays display casual anti-semitism – Shylock was considered a comic character, remember, by Shakespeare. The brutishness of Caliban and his witch mother show the Elizabethan attitude toward the native peoples of their conquests better than any later mumbling about the white man’s burden.
  Relevance so often depends on where you look. Teachers who guide their non-Western students through the Western canon will find plenty of material that will speak to their students. Their Western-culture students just might find their eyes opened a little farther, too.
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This one, alas, is not free. "Love Undying", a Nola short story, will be the featured fiction in the April issue of the online Urban Fantasy magazine.
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A Leaf in the Wind
 Katharine Kerr
copyright Katharine Kerr, 2014

           I saw the case first on the local news websites. "Prominent Bay Area Developer found dead!" the headline ran, above a picture of Albert Harlander from the files: bald, chubby, smiling, little pig eyes gleaming with corruption. My dad had worked in construction for years in San Francisco, and we all knew that if Harlander could save a buck by cheating his illegal immigrant labor, or using sub-grade materials and slapdash construction methods, he would. Among the  permit and oversight departments at various city halls, he wasn't known as "Baksheesh Bert" for nothing. The news article stank of murder with its vague hints about mysterious circumstances and unexplained details, but it lacked concrete information.
Read more... )


Aug. 13th, 2014 05:08 pm
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I'll be doing a signing and reading at Borderland Books in San Francisco, CA, on Saturday, August 23rd, '14, ie this year. That's at 3pm to 4.30.

I'll be reading from SORCERER'S FEUD, though if my voice holds out I might read a little of the new Deverry book.
aberwyn: (justice)
SORCERER'S FEUD will be out in ebook on August 12 at, both EPUB and MOBI.
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Sorcerer's Feud is out now in trade paper -- POD from Amazon and doubtless other online venues. The ebook will be available on August 12th.

aberwyn: (justice)
Eh, I'll survive, most likely. I'm trying to make coherent plans to deal with the various problems Howard's illness has presented me. And maybe write a little, because, y'know, that's how I make our living.
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The new PC

Jun. 19th, 2014 12:01 pm
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I'm a lousy photographer, but this will give you some idea. It's the big all-in-one in the middle. The lit up components are the old PC. I'm still figuring out how to get stuff from one to the other, but Steve has offered to help, bless him! A true Deverry fan! I'm sincerely touched by all his help.

Picture here )
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Which one do you guys like better?

Click to see )
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Today I finished a 6,300 word short story, set in Deverry, and including a tuckerization I owed a very patient reader from the Con or Bust auction 2 years ago. Or maybe it was three . . . Gads, life has gotten too complex! His character, Benoic, a silver dagger, will also appear in the new novel, which I'm going to return to working on tomorrow.

Eventually the story will appear somewhere where everyone can read it, but Ben deserves to gloat for a while after the long wait.

It felt good to finish a second piece of writing on the heels of finishing FEUD.

I also finished reading Chaz Brenchley's excellently creepy new novel, BEING SMALL. Must write him a blurb, as it's going to be published soon.
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So, I'm going back to work on the new Deverry novel and get that Kickstarter going, finally. I hope. What with all the irritations of Life in the Allegedly Golden Years, it's better that I don't get too optimistic.

Ages ago, during the Con or Bust auction, a Deverry fan donated on the promise of a tuckerization. If nothing else, I've got to get him something for his money. :-) I'm writing a short story to show how his character got to be a silver dagger, so he'll have something soon. At last.

This story will eventually be one of those added things on the Kickstarter, too, but Ben T. gets to have it all to himself for a while first.

On the long range plan, I've not forgotten Nola O'Grady, and it seems that there might be a third Runemaster book, too.
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I have finished two rounds of the revision on SORCERER'S FEUD. First, I got feedback from a beta reader and my writing group. Did those. Then I went through cleaning up, changing individual words, and trimming out unnecessary bits. Now to write the "historical note" and I will at last be done!

Blog Hop!

May. 5th, 2014 06:53 pm
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Welcome to the Writing Process Blog Hop! My thanks to Jennifer Stevenson, the author of the Hinky Chicago series, for inviting me! She's written other nifty Romance series, too. I just happen to particularly like the Hinky Chicago set.

1. At the moment I'm working the first new Deverry novel in some years, A TALENT FOR MAGIC, as well as finishing up the second "Runemaster" book, SORCERER'S FEUD.

2. My books tend to be eccentric compared to other genre books, particularly those books, like the "Runemaster" and the Nola O'Grady books, that fall into the Urban Fantasy sub-genre. I don't write about teenagers, for starters. My characters have family and friends that complicate the plots. And I've never set out to write a "fast fun read." I like to have some meat in a story for readers to chew on.

3. I have no idea why I write what I do. The genre chose me, not vice versa. When I sit down to write, what comes out tends to involves worlds that aren't like ours and characters who do things that would be impossible in real life.

4.My writing process can be rather strange, too. I'm what is called a "discovery writer", that is, when I start a book, I have no outline, no clear idea, even, of what the book will be like. All of my books start with characters talking to me. They only gradually reveal what they're up to. On top of that, I like to weave, that is, when I do get some inkling of what's going to happen later in the book, I jump ahead and write that part out before returning to the straight narrative line. By weaving back and forth, I eventually get a complete first draft that then requires a lot of revision to get into shape. Fortunately, I enjoy revising. I often go over the manuscript three or four times before I show it to an editor.

Next week on Blog Hop, check out these two fine writers:

JD Glass writes about science, myth, and the biggest magic of all: being human.
Kari Sperring is a British writer of fantasy and history, but she'd rather be a musketeer.
aberwyn: (justice)
Since my agent asked Tor to revert the ebook rights to SNARE, they have suddenly sent us email saying that they just about to release their edition! After all these years, too. Funny how fear of losing rights they hadn't bothered to use has galvanized them into action.
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