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I Wish I Was In Charge At The IRS.

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If I was, they would not have frigging Swan Lake as their hold music. And it’s never just the whole thing playing all the way through or anything like that. It’s just the part where the prince sees the swans all dancing around on the lake. It’s Tchaikovsky, and it’s terrible.

It’s like a special kind of hell, actually. “Congratulations, you not only get to pay taxes, you also get to listen to wildly repetitive and mindlessly overblown orchestrations!

Next quarter, I’m going to tape a little note to my tax payment that says, “Please use this money to get new hold music, KTHNXBYE.”

So, imagine your own special kind of hell for me. What is the worst thing you could imagine listening to over hold music?

A Rambling Entry, But With A Prize At The End!

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Okay, so last week I found out I had a weird inflammation in my chest due to also having pneumonia. That was terrible. But the medicine they put me on is worse than having pneumonia and a chest infection. It kind of sucked.

So, I got behind in my work. And my housework, especially. And now, my house is looking a hot mess and I have a party I’m hosting on Saturday. I guess the theme of the party has shifted from “Halloween” to “Party Like You Live In A Condemned Building.”

However, being sick has had one pay off. Lots of time to take the Wii internet browser for a spin and use the internet on my totally awesome giant plasma screen. And what did I browse for, besides Dresden Files fan fiction in which Harry and Bob get it on, you ask? I looked for movie news. Namely, Sweeney Todd news.

If you have never heard of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the magnum opus of one Sir Stephen Sondheim (he was knighted in absentia by me, ruler of my own country of Jenopia), then I weep a frenzy of weeps for you, dear reader. It’s simply the best musical ever. EVER.

The very basic plot is that Benjamin Barker, a barber transported to prison in Australia for a crime he didn’t commit, returns to find that– through the machinations of the evil judge who sentenced him– his wife has poisoned herself and his daughter has been raised as the Judge’s own child. He sets about getting revenge, which ultimately entails killing unwitting customers who come in for a shave and then letting his neighbor cook them into pies.

And they’re making it into a movie.

Starring Johnny Depp.

And Helena Bonham Carter.

And Alan Rickman.

And Anthony Stewart Head.

If that wasn’t enough, it’s directed by TIM BURTON.

TIM BURTON. IS DIRECTING. A MOVIE VERSION. OF SWEENEY TODD. BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM.

The amount of cool in this one movie alone will probably be enough that– and I don’t want to alarm anyone here, but I just thought you should be warned– the universe is going to implode under the sheer, gravitational force of that much awesome.

Two trailers have been released, and I’m going to give them over to you to brighten your day, the way slit throats and cannibalism always brightens mine.

Puzzle Madness…

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Hi, my name is Jenny, and I have puzzle madness.
(hi, Jenny)

Seriously, though, I’ve been puzzle sober for like, a while now, with one tiny relapse a few months ago. I didn’t finish that puzzle, though. I put it away before the madness could take hold.

Right now, I’m way over deadline on revisions for book four. I maybe have mentioned that. It is demanding so much of my time that my house looks like one you’d see on one of those shows where the cops come in and rescue a hundred and twelve cats because the filth just might kill them if they stayed a moment longer. I’m surviving, basically, on a diet of candy and Diet Coke, though my family is fairing better with bologna sandwiches and canned soups. But what am I doing in my precious and scarce moments of free time during the day?

Working on a thousand piece puzzle.

Another Thing Colleen Said…

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“Blog every day! Or don’t blog at all!”

And I thought, “Well, that’s good advice.”

Only, what if, like today, I don’t have much to say?

I suppose I can just throw a little something up here, so when archaeologists find this blog in the future, they’ll say, “Here was someone who was a consistent blogger. We can tell from the carbon dating of these entries that she started off a bit shaky, but she really did pull it together eventually.”

Speaking of pulling it together eventually, I’m still hard at work on book four in the Blood Ties series. Which is fun and great and all of that, but revisions are HARD. All through the last quarter of the book, someone is crying on every page. Now, don’t take that and go “Ooh, the last quarter of the book is sad! I bet Harry Potter dies in it,” because that’s not the case. People are crying for no particular reason sometimes. I think I was having some serious hormonal problems when I was writing that. It literally reads like every character in the book is six months pregnant: “I asked Nathan to pass the chips. He broke down, his back shaking with silent sobs as he handed the bowl to me.” Obviously, not that ridiculous, but it seems that way as I’m proof reading it. My editor actually wrote “NO MORE CRYING!!!!” on one page. I’m surprised she didn’t hang herself after reading this, because I’m getting close.

It always amazes me how much I don’t remember about a book that I’ve written just a few months ago. I’m reading through this and finding things and going, “Wow, that is awesome! I can’t believe I wrote that!” Or, alternately, “Wow, that is gross! I can’t believe I wrote that.”

Yes, you heard it here first, folks: Blood Ties Book Four: All Souls’ Night has some of the grossest descriptions I’ve ever written. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but toward the end of the book I almost made MYSELF sick when I read what I’d written.

Stephen King, watch out. I’m right on your ass in the gross out department over here.

Colleen Gleason Said To Mention Alan Rickman A Lot….

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Went to a wonderful GRRRWA meeting this weekend, where Colleen Gleason talked about self promotion and I realized that I’m such a horrible blogger. Apparently, I’m supposed to be doing this every day. Oh, and talking about Alan Rickman a lot, because people just seem to like the guy and they like it when you blog about him.

I can’t blame them. Alan Rickman is a pretty neat guy. And you know, I can’t figure out why, exactly. I mean, okay, being in movies must be responsible for a lot of that. Because I’m pretty sure if he was a librarian or a janitor or he ran a dry cleaning business, he wouldn’t be quite as captivating. Well, no, scratch the librarian part. Librarians are sexy.

Maybe the lure of Alan Rickman lies in the weird way he talks. He has an accent, but it’s not really clear what kind of an accent it is. Think about it… have you ever heard someone talk with exactly the kind of inflection and pronunciation he does? Yeah, he’s British, but I’ve never stumbled across anyone who actually talks like him. Even when I was in England. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing him of having a fake British accent like some people (*cough* Madonna! *cough*), but his is just truly bizarre. It’s like when Christopher Walken says he doesn’t talk funny, he just talks the way he does because he grew up in Queens and you’re like, “Um, no one I know from Queens sounds like you.”

Anyway, back to Alan Rickman: I don’t know what the heck it is about the guy, but people, women especially, just love him. I mean, seriously, Colleen had a picture of him in her presentation slide show and the whole room just went balls nuts. And really, it was just a picture of a middle aged guy with a squinty look that I guess is supposed to be smoldering. I don’t know.

I wish I had that kind of startling presence. Like someone could just show a picture of me and everyone would go “OMG OMG OMG I LURVE HER!!!!!11!!1!1 ELEVENTY-ONE!”

So, in conclusion: I will try to be a better blogger, I will try to be a better email pen pal to certain authors who have vis bulla enhanced super powers, and I will try to be more smoldering and squinty like Alan Rickman.

Also, if anyone understands the awesome power Rickman, can tell me what it is?

Even Livelier Blogging From RT 2007

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Okay, I have to say, and I mean this not in the way rock stars say it on stage at a concert or something like that, but Texas fans are the best fans. You guys were wonderful and made me feel so special and loved. This was probably my favorite book signing ever.

Now, allow me to be a completely freaky fan for a second. So far, on this wonderful, strange journey that is RT, I’ve collected tons of amazing autographs from authors who just should not ever talk to me because I’m way, way not worthy. I’ve picked up signed books from Rachel Caine, Vicki Petterson (who wrote that she’ll be in touch! Squee!), Keri Arthur (who gave me candy that makes me want to move to Australia), PC Cast, Gerry Bartlett, Lori G. Armstrong, Virginia OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I MET HER Henley, Raven Hart, Mary Janice Davidson, Jim Butcher and OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I MET HER AND ACTED LIKE A TOTAL GOOB Charlaine Harris.

I’ll have pictures from the conference to post on the website after I return home that proves at least some of these wild claims.

I have to say, I tried to be cool. I tried. But I’ve been meeting and talking with so many people that are just amazing in my genre and in others, and I feel like Cinderella. You know, if Cinderella was chubby and constantly begging for candy from strangers.

The Live Blogging Doth Continue From RT 2007

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Having seen the awesome power of drunken writers and fans in large groups, I have to say this: People who go to this conference should be costumers for the movies. I’ve seen so many amazing costumes here, things I wouldn’t have even thought of for the themes. Granted, my imagination isn’t the broadest when it comes to things like “What would I wear to a medieval faery ball?” but just when I think I’m way, way too dressed up and should go back to the room and change, someone proves me very, very wrong. The Faery Ball costumes were amazing, the food was amazing, the program was a little hard to hear/see/experience with the over the excited voices, tinkling bells, and the veritable sea of wings, but it was an enjoyable evening over all.

This morning I have the daunting task of speaking on a panel with some of the best Urban Fantasy writers in the genre, and I am, naturally, very afraid that when it comes to my turn at the mic, I’ll say something that equates to “I like toast.” Because it has happened before, and I’ve found that personal history is likely to repeat. Over and over again.

It Must Feel Colder In Hell Today…

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…because I cleaned my office. It’s a miracle.

I tend to find that while I’m writing a book, my office is a nightmare of filth. I just finished writing book four and suddenly I was no longer blind to the seriously unsanitary conditions and precariously stacked empty diet coke cans teetering unsafely in the stagnant breeze.

Because I do not want to get Tetnus and also because I had nothing better to do, I cleaned up my office. It’s a banner day that comes about once a year, I think, so I’m going to celebrate with this post, which I will call:

Jenny’s Office: By The Numbers
(Distances are approximate. Void where prohibited.)

400 books of various genres and subjects
200 feet to Jenny’s doctor’s office from her office.
50 Disney trading pins
16 ugly unicorn statues, suncatchers, pictures and general bric-a-brac
14 decks of tarot cards
11 folios of sheet music
8 Bertrice Small novels
7 Earth, Wind and Fire albums
5 Musical instruments (trombone, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, Yamaha keyboard, bodhran)
4 quartz crystals
3 Little Apple Dolls
2 pictures of Herman Melville
1 crystal ball

Other assorted clutter includes various wigs and hats, a framed steak knife and a cross stitched sampler of my favorite phrase “Nevermind, I’ll do it myself” translated into Scots Gaelic.

How does this enviroment, when free from dirty dishes, empty cheetos bags and discarded black jelly beans, help me focus my scattered creative energy and funnel my ideas into one, cohesive fictional vision?

I have no idea.

In fact, I’m sure that if I was mauled by bears at a camp out and dragged off into the night, the family member assigned to sorting through my things and putting my affairs to order will probably give up half way through the job, shaking their head and saying, “It’s a good thing she died, because she was clearly insane.”

There was a point to this. Probably some Virgina Wolf-esque, room-of-one’s-own type thing.

My office is clean! Wheee!

How Can A Genius Like Me Be So Bad At Technology?

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I’m also bad at keeping up a blog. But that’s because I’m on a deadline, dangit.

I’m bad at technology. I cannot install Flash player on my computer for some reason. Oh, it says it is installed. It lies. Like a rug.

I also can’t navigate the murkey depths of amazon.com, either. I tried to make a comment on a review there (for my own book, which was probably not the best decision I’ve ever made, but I try to live with no regrets) and I ended up continually deleting the post, over and over again. I’d get nearly done and I’d hit the wrong thing and the delete the entire post.

I don’t understand it. How on earth can I function as an otherwise normal human, yet completely screw up something as simple as navigating a website?

In other news, I vow to be better at this whole “blog updating” thing. I don’t understand how people manage it, really.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who came out to my signings last week. I know some of you drove a long, long way. Don’t tax your engines, okay? I’m not that cool.