What’s up?

As regular readers know, I recently returned from a trip abroad (to Spain).  It was a wild ride, full of plenty of highlights, a few lows, and no small amount of ineffably delicious food and drink.  I’ll try to get some reviews, photos, and thoughts online soon.  In the meantime, I shall just say that Spain remains one of my favorite places to visit and the trip was relaxing and restorative enough to send me home with a major yen to get back to work on my writing projects.  So, mission accomplished.

Being a traveling fool, I’m actually heading out again on Friday.  This time?  A trip to Seattle to visit family.  I’ll be spending time with my little nieces, helping my mom with a tour she’s hosting in her amazing garden, going camping at Mount Rainier (if the weather holds), and doing a little research for my current novel project, which takes places in the Pacific NW.

Between now and then, I plan to write like a maniac.  I’ve got a new short story — the first I’ve written in some time, actually — that I’d like to put finishing touches on and send out, plus forward motion on the Urban Fantasy novel I’m drafting.  I owe a few crits, too.  So that’s on this week’s agenda as well.  Reader feedback on ABSENT has been trickling in, so by the time I return from Seattle, I hope to take some time to sit down and sort it all out, make a plan, and start revising.

Then, if I’m not sick of traveling, I’ll head up to Boston for Readercon.

That’s my forecast for late June/early July.  What does the next month hold for you?

Bits and bobs

Marshaling my thoughts this week has been akin to herding cats.  This is partly due to my efforts to escape from my aforementioned liminal state.  There are lots of ways out of that maze and all of them are varying degrees of shiny.  So, in herky-jerky, bits-and-bobs fashion, here’s a smattering of all things Miranda this week:

1. I wrote a new short story!  It’s my first effort at a short in nearly a year.  I think it’s pretty darn good.  It features hedge fund douchbags, 16th century Venetian courtesans, and fireflies.

2. Grading is my ongoing albatross.  I try to work through the pile of papers and exams and they seem to mate and multiply.  I try to ignore them and they press oppressive fingers of guilt on my heart.  I try to burn them and they erupt in a wild bonfire of…wait, no, sorry…that last one is just a fantasy.  Seriously, though, I should be done today. Finally.

3. I fell off the wagon with my dieting and exercise while traveling for Paradise Lost, but I’m back on the horse (or, more accurately, the elliptical machine) again.  I’ve shed 4lbs so far–and all without going to extreme measures–which means I’m almost halfway to my goal.  I’m sure our upcoming trip to Spain (during which I will eat my weight in Jamon Iberico) won’t erase all my progress.  No, of course it won’t.

4. Here’s a bit of shiny that’s been distracting me from my work lately:  ever heard of tilt-shift photography?  I hadn’t either till I visited Ana Silva’s blog and saw her post on Ben Thomas’ work.  Basically, he works magic to make his photographic subjects (mainly cities/urban landscapes) appear as miniatures.  Mind-bendingly cool.

5. Another cool link: Abandoned ships stranded in the desert from iO9.  Very Mad Max, if you ask me.

6. What else?  Oh, yeah…those novels I’m writing.  Sigh.  Progress on my latest novel is a little stop and start.  I’ve gotten the first three chapters revised and have taken about 1400 attempts at starting the 4th.  I’ve got it outlined.  I know what needs to happen, but it just isn’t working on the page.  Should I chalk this up to the limits of outlining or to my paralyzing fear of actually writing this thing and screwing it up?

Since most of my writing blocks tend to resolve themselves while I exercise, I think I’ll head off to the gym.

Please share your own bits and bobs for the week in the comments!