Friday, April 27, 2012

Why We Must Save Big Cats in the Wild

This man, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, is the CEO of Panthera, and a hero.

In this 45 minute lecture he will make you understand not only why we must save big cats in the wild, but how. He will change your understanding of how conservation works.

‘The Future of Big Cats’ Lecture by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference from Panthera Cats on Vimeo.

If you're particularly interested in his Tigers Forever program, that starts around minute 29, but the whole lecture is well worth watching.

He talks about how it's not just our encroachment on nature that is destroying it - it's our lack of respect. But if we are to save ourselves as a species, we must respect others. Dr. Rabinwitz has some great ideas on how to start.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is it Okay to Write About That Person Who is Gone?

I'm thinking a lot about my dear friend Natalie today. She died in what was essentially a suicide back in February of 2005, and that loss still brings up a lot of emotions for me, as I can only imagine it does for her mother and sister and boyfriend. She was my best girl friend, a person I admired and loved. I still do. But suicide is awful for those left behind. I can't begin to imagine the pain she must have felt to do such a thing.

The photo above is of her with her beloved dog, Frances, a Chow Chow Natalie raised from a puppy who was the dearest, most fabulous dog you could ever hope to meet. Raising Frances brought out the best in Natalie, and there was a lot about her that was wonderful.

She was fascinating, brilliant, creative, hilarious. One of the few people I've met in my life whom I immediately thought: "I must be that person's friend." I was lucky enough that she felt the same way about me.

So now I'm thinking about using things I experienced while with Natalie in my writing. I'm still playing with the idea, but it also worries me. Natalie isn't "mine" to write about. She was her own person, with a family, and I can't help worrying I'll hurt them if I write something they recognize as being part of her.

But I learned a lot from Natalie. We had some hilarious, frustrating, nurturing, angry, loving adventures. I think she'd approve of me using some of those times together in my writing. As a creative person herself, she would understand. And she was, without fail, the most supportive person in the world when it came to my writing.

I'm still thinking about it. I wonder how other writers feel about doing this sort of thing. We often use our own emotions and experiences as jumping off places for our writing. But how much of that is good and is art, and how much is exploitation?

Sorry. A weighty blog post today. But it's also fun to share Natalie with the world. I don't want her forgotten. She was one of a kind.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The ARCs of Otherkin are Here!

I got a box of advance reader copies (ARCs) of my book today!  I picked them up at FedEx and opened the box right in my car using a key because I just. couldn't. wait. And - behold! The most beautiful sight I've ever seen! (You can tell I took this photo in my car. That's the inside of the passenger door of my beloved Accord.)

Advance reader copies are used for promotion before a book comes out. So despite my zombie-like urge to wander the streets blindly handing these out to everyone I meet, I have to use them for giveaways and reviews to supplement the publicity my publisher does.

They are uncorrected, unofficial, without the texture or cover copy of the final book - and they are  GORGEOUS.

I may take one to bed with me. Like a teddy bear. I can still give that one away right?

Keep an eye on this space for giveaways and contests!  Huzzah!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book 2 - Turned In!

I've been missing in action for the last couple of months due to the looming deadline - I had to turn Book 2 (the sequel to Otherkin) in to my editor by April 1.

Then in mid-March I got the flu. I got it bad. After about a week of fever and exhaustion, I made myself go in to work because I just couldn't believe I wasn't better yet.  But your body doesn't care if you think you're better, does it? I must have looked kind of gray, because most folks at work took one look at me and said  "Go home."

So I stayed home for another week! Fricking flu. Get your flu shots, cherubim. I don't like getting shots, myself, because my last tetanus/polio booster was so painful. But I hear the flu shots aren't nearly that bad, and it'd be worth it not to be stuck on your couch for two whole weeks.

I got relatively little writing done while I was sick. Writing takes energy, even if it's all in your brain. I did manage to finish up a short story I contributed to Two and Twenty Dark Tales (coming this October 16!), but Book 2 wasn't progressing as fast as it needed to.

Enter my fabulous agent and equally fabulous editor, who conspired to give me two extra weeks to hand the book in.

Those last two weeks I only really left my house to go to work and to buy groceries. The rest was a blur of computer screen, typing fingers, and a grumpy cat who wanted to be played with.

Speaking of the cat, along the way, she got a massive toothache and had to have five teeth removed. Poor kitty. She's so stoic, I had no idea she was in pain from tooth decay until it got really bad. Here's my sweet Lucy a couple of years ago. Note her pyramidal shape (we're still working on that), her fluffy blackness w/brown highlights, and how she has co-opted my pillow. Since our beloved older kitty Max died, we have  bonded all the more, even though she remains a bit of a feral cat at heart. I rescued her from the outdoors when she was about six months old.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cover Reveal! Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Over at The Story Siren you'll find the gorgeous cover of a fall release I'm proud to be part of - TWO AND TWENTY DARK TALES, an anthology of dark short stories inspired by Mother Goose rhymes.

It was a blast going through my favorite nursery rhymes (I still have the copy of Oxford Nursery Rhymes my parents gave me when I was three!), doing some research, and writing my own crazy twist on it. I'm really looking forward to reading the other stories to see how my fellow writers approached it.

The list of YA authors included is most impressive. I'm so excited to be in their company!  Head on over here to check it out and enter a contest to win swaggish goodies!