All About You (Krissie)

That’s me, all clean and shiny after a shower. That light on my face is electric. I’m wearing my Belle Books “Rise and Shine, Buttercup, no one else’s gonna write that book” and drinking mango peach seltzer (the best ever) and eating a Kashi peanut butter breakfast bar (my go to – 140 calories and I order them from Amazon). Weight’s still off – now I have to dip down lower, but summer is a good time for that.

It is raining. It rained every day last week. It rained every day the week before. It’s supposed to rain to at least Thursday. Maybe snow in the higher elevations tonight, and I’m in the higher elevations. So it’s cold, and dark, and wet. If I ever move to the Pacific Northwest it’s gonna feel like the tropics.

I’m in the midst of taking my 3/4 of a book and ripping it apart, tossing things right and left, twisting stuff like a pretzel, creating a new villain, turning the old one into a complicit but not evil person. (and that just sent me off into a political diatribe which I then cut, and putting it in another post so people can avoid it. I understand the need to avoid politics).

Jenny’s process and mine are so different I can’t imagine how we ever managed to collaborate on two books (and I love those books. Go figure). I assume all of you read Argh. The first time I met Jenny, face to face, she did a little talk about her process (she was writing Harlequin Temptations at the time) and my eyes bugged out and my mouth dropped open and I said “you do that for every book?” in tones of horror.

I’m a natural born writer. I know it, and Jenny says so too. Stories come to me, framework and worm (okay, what the hell is worm?  It’s auto-correct, but I have no idea what I had originally said.  I don’t think it was work)  are usually instinctive. Most of the time I just write it and it works. (That doesn’t mean it works for you – matters of taste are a different thing entirely. As Jo Beverley used to say, you can’t expect everyone to love your books. You just have to find the ones who will.)

But every now and then I get a book that just doesn’t get itself together, for whatever reasons. And then I have to pull a Jenny on it, ripping it apart, turning the damned thing into a (choke) outline, printing it up, slashing and cutting and killing all my darlings. Well, not all of them – then it wouldn’t be any fun.

So that’s what I’m doing – surgery on a book that be glorious in the end. In between stenciling doll furniture and making clothes and talking to my fabulous grandchildren via FaceTime and really enjoying my birthday and loving my husband and not worrying as much about my children cause I can’t fix them and ….

So, what’s on your agenda?


Update:  It’s 37 degrees at 2:11 pm.  I had to put on one of Jenny’s warm shawls.  Brrr.  In other news, I’m finally learning all of Le Marseillaise.

All About You (Krissie)

Godmorgen min børn. My dansk goes apace, though I’m running into software problems. My favorite software (Nemo) won’t reset on my new iPad Air, and with over a thousand words I’m not about to start from the begynnelse. However, it looks as if I was just about at the end of the programs – there were only a few words and phrases left – so it’s time to upgrade anyway. Man, I love learning the language. Because I mostly do it at night in bed, and because Richie and I are practically attached at the hip, he’s learning a lot too, so we’re always speaking to each other in dansk.
But I digress. I spent intensive time last week redoing BANISH MISFORTUNE, my first RITA-winning book, and, I discovered, one of my very best ones. I usually update the books – make it an unspecified present time though it would change things too much if I added computers and cell phones – but at the last minute I decided to keep this in the time it was written. It’s too perfect a microcosm of my life back then, filtered through fiction. It’s also painful and really really good.
The reason I’m so surprised about it is that it was part of a failed effort by Harlequin and it sold 5k books, a really tiny amount. No one read it, it was never reprinted, and I had only vague memories of it. It’s hit me like a sledgehammer, and I’m going to talk about it more over at my website blog. I’ll post a link here when I do.
In the meantime, I revised the book, wrote a little on Emma and Brandon (but Banish was due on the 10th). I did some sewing, bought some interesting stuff, including my new iPad (the old was ancient with a cracked screen and 12gb – the new one has 128 gb.) Hence the software problem.
And oh my God I saw Beauty and the Beast and I am aux anges! That’s a regency term for those who don’t know it, meaning I’m with the angels, i.e. in heaven. Have to see it again, preferably in 3d. Didn’t get swimming, mud season has arrived, we had another fucking snow storm, we closed on our refinancing. A crazy week.

But this week we get Goddess Time! Lani and her two daughters are meeting me down at Crusie’s (they’re all pagans, despite that fact that Crusie and I can both recite the Apostolic Creed from memory) so they don’t care if it’s Easter, and I’m flexible. I missed Palm Sunday (overslept) and apparently the Breitchsneiders brought their miniature donkeys to church!

Richie’s making me coffee (I like Sumatran) and I gotta get to work. So this week, I drive down to Jenny’s, listening to new books (the new Lisa Kleypas is phenomenal), we’ll go to the eye doctors and the vet, Lani will arrive, I’ll try to talk them into going to Beauty and the Beast and most likely fail, and we will have a lovely time.

So, what’s on your agenda, my children? Anything fabulous?

All About Sisterhood (Krissie)

Photo on 1-23-17 at 8.35 AM Hard to believe I’d be feeling good three days after … god, I don’t even want to say it. By now you must know Jenny’s and my politics, and nowadays it has a more immediate impact on our lives (I avoid using impact as a verb). So while this isn’t going to become a political platform, opinions are going to come up, and I’m afraid opinions on our current president are strong. So if you’re of a differing opinion just skip my opinions on the flaming orange cheet-0 president.
march1 Saturday was so good it made up for a lot of bad. I didn’t march, I rolled, which given the slush and the crowd was damned tricky. I was pushed by an award-winning fiber artist, Judy Dales. I’ll put one of her quilts at the bottom of this but the photo doesn’t do it justice. Her work is amazing.
Anyway, we all rode in a rented school bus driven by Sherral, Bobbi arranged it, I sat with BJ, Big Tim went and grabbed me a hat, Betsy looked out for me, Erika sat behind us. I gotta remember I do have friends here, even if I don’t often see them. I wish I could see them more, but their lives center around what’s called The Walking Women, we they all walk three times a week and then get together for muffins at each others’ houses. They’re a powerful force, and obviously I can’t participate.
Last time I did an actual, organized march through a downtown was all the way back after MLK was murdered. We walked through the center of downtown Newark, which was a pretty funky place. Since then I’ve been on demonstrations (tear gas in Washington), sit-ins (arrest in NYC for blocking a draft board – I even went to the Tombs!), vigils (the Iraq war) and I’m not that active politically (though I’ve been sending money this year). the times they are a-changing, though, and I gotta get vigilant. Problem is, I can’t very well write my congressmen. I mean, what would I accomplish by writing Bernie or Pat Leahy to tell them what I think of the president’s actions? They’re already on point.
Anyway, a glorious day, a reminder that we’re all bonded (on a personal level as well as a political level). It was glorious.
So, this week.
I actually wrote three days last week, and I’m half done on Brandon and Emma. I did some sewing, and I’m off to Jo-ann’s to buy doll clothes patterns for $1 a piece (for my transgender American Girl Boy doll (they have a Dr. Who pattern!). Gotta write, gotta clean, gotta sew. Gotta call an SSI lawyer for Tim, gotta check on Daniel, got a life to live.
The weight has plateaued 25 pounds lower than my last stable weight, and it’s effortless (sugar doesn’t call to me, nor do fried things) so I’ll keep on with that. I’m rolling up my sleeves and digging in.
So what’s on your agenda? Anyone else march? How are people doing with their vision for the new year?
judymarch 2

Sexual Assault (Krissie)

Photo on 10-11-16 at 10.24 AM Obviously the news is full of stories and op-ed pieces about the way men assault, demean and belittle women. I tend to avoid politics here because they can be so divisive. Wise, intelligent people can believe the most amazing things, support really unconsionable people. I assume that anyone who’s going to read here doesn’t have a conservative bent, giving how wildly anarchistic Jenny and I happen to be (I shouldn’t speak for her, but needless to say we have no patience for bullshit). But that’s not what I’m writing about.
I’m writing about sexual assault. Continue reading

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 9-19-16 at 10.04 AM First off, you guys in the New York/NJ area – be safe.

2: You go, Rami Malek!

3. Did I mention I lost more weight? I’m at 227.2 which makes it a little more than 22.5 pounds. It’ll be 25 eventually – wahoo! I am losing weight slowly, but then, I’m not really trying. I’m just avoiding unhealthy stuff, pushing fiber and fruit, avoiding fats. I’ve lost my taste for a whole lot of stuff (sugar, crispy fried stuff) and when we get back from Tahoe I’ll start swimming again.

4. Sigh. Okay, we’re leaving for Tahoe tomorrow. My stomach is in a knot and I’m feeling worried and upset. I did go to an Al-Anon meeting Saturday, which was great. It’s tricky, because the issue is now more mental illness than substance abuse, but hey, I qualify at Al-Anon with my father and brother and sister. And Tim’s years as a druggy teen. I have to figure out balance. Good thoughts and prayers gratefully accepted.  And while I’m weepy, edgy and distressed I’m not depressed (gotta keep celebrating that fact).

We’re meeting with lots of people.  I’m feeling really pulled in a lot of directions, and I have to perform triage.  I think first I have to take care of me because, like the example of people on a plane needing oxygen, if I don’t get mine first I’ll pass out before I can help anyone else.  Second, I deal with the sickest.  Third, I deal with the troubled.

I didn’t cause it, I can’t change it, and I can’t cure it. Not for anyone.

I’m try to embed a video because it’s gorgeous, but I’m a Massive Fail, but here’s the link.  I’ve always had a weakness for scantily clad leaping male ballet dancers, so I leave you on a cheery note. Oooh, hey it looked like it worked after all.  Enjoy!


After that delicious treat, tell me what’s on your agenda?

All About You (Krissie)

Photo on 8-29-16 at 8.53 AM O bla di, o bla da life goes on.Tim is talking to Peruvian Princesses and finding spiritual meaning in the MTV awards. But he seems to be relatively stabilized.
And you guys were absolute lifesavers! You gave us both hope with your stories of people living with mental illness, and when we called NAMI they were incredibly helpful. It no longer seems desperately hopeless. Part of it is the shift from thinking our son is a hot-tempered, difficult asshole (whom we loved dearly but is really hard to be around) to accepting the fact that he’s more disabled than we thought (he has severe learning disabilities as well). It also seems pretty clear that these issues are hereditary, and the more we think about it the more we realize that we gave both our kids a really good life. We modeled the best marriage in the world, we showered them with love, and if we were a little lax on discipline I think the kids wouldn’t have have done well under a disciplinarian. They don’t have behavior problems. They go deeper than that.

So we’re shifting into the new reality, getting ready to go out there and stabilize things with getting him the services he needs. We’re planning to book flights out around the 10th of September, which would mean we could be here when the grandchildren come for a few days and when Richie’s niece is here with her children (Richie’s niece = good, Richie’s nephew = not so much).
But if things escalate we can always get a flight the next day for $500 each, which is expensive but not the end of the world.
We need money, so I’m making an effort to work on the e-book reprints (and we’re doing some of my very favorite oldies). I’m making a lot of progress on the house (I once again had twenty seven baskets of stuff in my bedroom but I separated out the linens (almost filling Tim’s room with them) and the containers mainly have my clothes in them, which is much more manageable. I’m also not eating much, which is nice, so I think the weight is probably still coming off. Saturday was an amazingly beautiful day.
So, life goes on. We’ll keep research stuff this week, I’ll work on books and and the house. I’ll try to stay calm and positive.

What’s on your agenda?

All About … (Krissie)

Photo on 8-22-16 at 9.42 AMWhat’s it like to have a disabled child? I should know – Tim had severe learning disabilities and then pretty bad drug abuse problems, so bad he had to go to alternative schools for troubled youth. Except now he’s an adult and he’s … mentally ill. Last weekend he was in jail after hearing voices telling him some men on the beach were abusing their kid. (They punched him out, he went to the emergency room, refused to leave, and that’s why he got busted). He’s still hearing voices.
I know people with grown schizophrenic children, children who are unable to live on their own, and the parents manage a productive, happy life. I know this isn’t the end of the world. But when I told Richie that things were escalating he went into a dark slump of despair. And he refuses to have Tim in the house even as a temporary measure while we’re finding him some kind of intensive care. We have to go out there, we have to figure things out, and right now I’m overwhelmed.
Clinical depression is a funny thing (moi). Right now I’m weepy, upset, anxious, worried. But I’m not depressed. Maybe I will be after the crisis is over, but I don’t think so. The kind of depression I have seems pretty clinical, and I get through awful times (like the year my sister died and Richie had a heart attack) without falling into a dark hole.
Anyway, I’m spending the morning looking up mental health resources in California and here (though I don’t think we can bring him home unless we have a place for him to go into). And I might be a little distracted for a while. I’ve been enjoying myself, doing the Great Fabric Beatdown, which I’ll talk about later, and our new bathroom is almost done. My grandchildren are coming up the first of the month for a few days. Richie’s sister and her daughter and two babies are coming up the first of the month. I think that goes out the window this year, but I can fly down and visit with the grandkids later in the fall.

so. Put on my big girl panties (now slightly smaller since I’ve lost close to 20 pounds) and deal. Any advice would be much appreciated.

But tell me what’s going on with you. If it’s tough times I can commiserate, if it’s good times I can rejoice with you. Sometimes life is just hard.