A Safe, Warm House

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Yesterday was an emotional day. One of my roommates received some devastating news. I’m still bruised myself. So we all stayed inside of our safe, warm house yesterday, leaving only to get more Coke Zeros, snacks, and dinner.

friends

Do you know what it feels like to be loved? To have people who genuinely care for you gathered around? It feels wonderful.

feast

We ate catfish and gumbo and soft-shelled crab. We cried a bit, laughed a lot, and talked late into the night. We sat down and had a write-in together. It was so lovely. It was so healing.

Today is a new day.

I’m in New Orleans, wearing a red dress.

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Monarchs and the Mississippi

Mississippi

We flew out at 6 am today, which means that we were driving to the airport at 4:30. The phrase “Don’t talk to me until Texas” was thrown around a couple of times. Neither Mason, Matt, nor I are fabulous morning people.

I bought at Diet Coke for $3.50 in the Houston airport. I nearly wept.

The house in New Orleans is beautiful. Most of the group is staying at the Monteleone hotel in the French quarter, which is gorgeous. It’s also $150 a night. We rented a charming house a mile away for much, much less. Wood floors. Writing nooks. AIR CONDITIONING. I’m working the registration table twice tomorrow, as well as going to a KaffeeKlatsch with Bruce Boston. I’m excited to do that, but I’d also love to curl up and sleep the day away, waking up to write. Sometimes I love noise and people. It distracts me. But sometimes I need to hide. Right now a little hiding would be ideal.

The best part of today? We walked through the French Quarter, right up to the Mississippi river. Near the banks, I saw a Monarch Butterfly. Perhaps you know of my fondness for them. They’re very important to me. They remind me of childhood and hope and struggle. Few things are as significant.

It’s the first Monarch I’ve seen of the season. Big and bright and beautiful. I actually cried, “A Monarch!” and ran after it, like I was a little girl. Then my friends and I went and put our feet in the water of the Mississippi. We watched the boats go by until the sun went down. I didn’t want to move. It was peace.

I saw a few friendly faces and will see more tomorrow. My mind is close to home, tonight. I talked to my son on the phone and he’s excited for me to come home. My daughter told me the bunny was in the back yard today, even though I wasn’t there. I told her that animals come to play with her, too.

World Horror Con, Grief, and White Rabbits

Vegas bunny

I’m leaving for World Horror Con in New Orleans, tomorrow. I’m going with part of my writer’s group and I’ve been hopeful about it for quite a while. It’s my first World Horror. And in NOLA! Woo!  On the other hand, I’ve been exceptionally sad for the last few months and I don’t know if I have the internal fortitude that I need. I want to be with people who love me, not strangers.

It’s my daughter’s second birthday, and I’ll miss it. Miss the party, miss the snuggles and celebration. And I’ll miss having somebody to cry with. For those of you who don’t know, I was carrying triplets and we lost two. Daisy before birth, and Seija after. It has been two years since I watched one of my little girls die. I’ve been dreading this anniversary with everything I have.

Grief is a funny thing. Some days we manage quite beautifully, and others…I thought it would be easier by now. That life would be easier. It isn’t. There are good days and bad days. But everybody expects a few months of grief and then complete healing, including me.  And life doesn’t stop to let you grieve, either. I’ve been walking around with a gigantic Fragile: Handle With Care sticker for a while, but there are still bumps and bruises that just come along. That’s life, yes? 🙂  We all know it. We all live it.

Vegas bunny

I live in Las Vegas, in the middle of the city. Three days ago, a white bunny appeared on my front lawn. It was the most breathtaking, magical thing. A thing of true beauty. White and sweet and somewhere that she completely shouldn’t be.  I saw her twice that day. Later that night, while folding laundry and watching true crime (as I am wont to do) a white bunny factored into the crime case. That was three white bunnies in one day.

I can’t tell you what that meant to me. It seemed like an omen of hope. Of good things. It filled my heart.

I saw her again, yesterday. Twice.

She’s here again today. That’s three days of hopeful white bunnies.

white rabbit

I’m very divided on what I think. I couldn’t tell you if I believe in signs or not. I’ll say no, then secretly think yes. I’ll say yes, and secretly think no. I’m a Pisces. It comes with the territory. 😛

But this? I choose to think yes. That Omen (which is what I named her) showed up to give me hope. The joy that she gave my children was indescribable. Mom! A bunny! At our house! I think it’s magic!

I’m ready to reboot. Head out to this conference and focus on writing for a while. Friends. Enjoy the city. Become inspired. Saturday, their birthday, the day I’m most afraid of, is full from top to bottom. I’m reading from Beautiful Sorrows. Doing a panel. Going to a Kaffeeklatsch with Ellen Datlow. Running pitches for two hours. Going to the Bram Stoker Awards banquet. And I’m wearing a really darling little dress that I bought because it just looked so happy.  I’ll try my hardest to make it A Day of Happy. If you’re there, won’t you join me?

Sign Up for the The Bram Stoker Weekend and WHC Pitch Session

Why? Because you want to pitch your stuff. And you won’t be able to sign up at the convention. You have to do so now.

The Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend and World Horror Convention are combined this year in New Orleans. Pitches to several publishers and one agent will be held on Saturday, June 15. The editors and agent are:

Alec Shane – Agent, Writers House
Blood Bound Books – Geoff Hyatt
Cycatrix Press – Jason V Brock
Dark Regions Press – RJ Cavender
Hydra, Random House – Sarah Peed
JournalStone – Chris C. Payne
Nightscape Press – Mark Scioneaux
Samhain Publishing – Don D’Auria
Tor – Liz Gorinski

To secure your slot, email RJ Cavender at rjc@editorialdepartment.com with your top three pitch choices. In the subject of your email, please write Pitch Sessions – (Author’s Last Name).

All authors will be signed up for two pitch sessions, available on a first come, first serve basis.

Not sure what each publisher and agent are looking for? There’s a website where they straight up tell you. Read it. See if you have anything that fits. Then sign up, and don’t be nervous.

There will be a dark-haired Shock Totem girl in stilettos who will be helping out. Taking you to your pitch session, letting you know when your time is almost up. Straightening your collar and letting you know if there’s lipstick on your teeth. Join me! It will be fun!

But sign up ASAP. Slots are limited and they started filling up immediately.