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One Guy Can’t Ruin It For Everybody

I have seen a couple of double rainbows in my life, during very important times in my life. It’s one of those signs I feel the universe gives me to remind me that it hasn’t lost track of me — I’m on the right path, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do with my life.

And then some dorky guy posted a three minute cheesegasm to YouTube that everyone made fun of and turned this beautiful majestic freak of nature into a joke. I’m not even going to link to it. If you haven’t seen it and want to find it, you will.

Double rainbows remain awesome and magical to me. Especially after coming back from an awesome and magical convention like Necon, to the awesome and magical place where I’m supposed to be.

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Necon 30

Pics are up — slightly out of order, but amusingly captioned.

Definitely a weekend to remember.

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It Takes One To Know One

As I’ve said before, I am merely *a* princess of this world, not *the only*princess. There are many of us out there. Some call ourselves such, some merely shine from the inside. But if you look deep down into a princess’s soul, mark her manners and her bearing. You’ll know the real gold from fool’s.

The Park Avenue Princess, Royal Reviewer of children’s books extraordinaire, has deigned to review this fellow princess’s newest release over on her blog. (AT the very least, click over to check out the look of her site — it’s very posh. I approve.)

I won’t give it away, but I’ll let you know that AlphaOops: H is for Halloween is given a FIVE tiara rating. Woohoo!

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This Just In

AlphaOops: H is for Halloween is scheduled to appear in the “Our Favorite Things” section in the October 2010 issue of Disney’s FamilyFun. Woohoo!

Now I just need to remember to get my hands on said issue. I’m interested to know exactly what that pesky Mouse and his polka-dot-wearing gal pal are saying about this princess behind her back. I mean, apart from me being one of their favorites. (Which I sort of already knew. )

Bonus points for anyone who a.) gets their hands on a copy, b.) posts a picture of it, or Q.) gets one for me!

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Well, That’s Done It

About a month or so ago, I accidentally clicked on the “Facebook Chat” icon, putting myself out there in the intarwebs available for interaction. Within about 15 seconds, I had 10 people open chats with me. Seven of them were from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time, all of whom I wanted to talk to. Three were folks that were total strangers trying to hit on me.

This–coupled with the fact that I’m edging dangerously close to 3000 friends on my Facebook page–forced the decision to cave and go ahead and make an official “Fan Page”.

For the most part, it’s not going to be much different from my personal page. I can post just as much on there as I do on my personal one, and probably will. And I’m not going to do a massive purging of folks from my personal page — I’ve made a lot of new friends there and I’m always up for making more.

Instead, I’m going to slowly edge people out the door if they:
1.) Post on my wall just to promote themselves
2.) Send me a creepy stalker email
3.) Initiate a chat with me with the sole purpose of telling me how beautiful I am. (Send me a Tweet about it. There’s nothing much to chat about beyond “thanks.”)

I’m also going to stop adding friends I don’t know, willy-nilly. You can send me a personal message — tell me you’re a D-H fan, or that we met at a con, or that you’re an aspiring writer/reviewer/editor. If I’d met you at a party you’d tell me something about yourself, wouldn’t you? I’d totally ask anyway.

I’m also not going to massively spam folks asking them to add my fan page. That’s silly. I’ll promote it on my personal site, and here on my blog, and you’re welcome to share the link. It will grow, in time, as all things do.Ultimately, this is just one more way I’m easier to find. You’re welcome. It’s nice to meet you.

Link to the fabulous (and as of 5 minutes ago completely bare — guess what I’ll be working on this afteroon?) Facebook Fan Page: HERE.

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The Affair of the Necklace

I recently met a few friends in Fuquay-Varina, NC (still one of the coolest town names ever) for the weekend.  That Saturday was Drew Williams’ signing at the Lazy Lion (where I scored a lovely signed copy of his new book The Corruptor…do you have your copy yet?)

We didn’t want to crowd Drew, so we browsed through the store a bit, like the hungry bibliophiles we are, and when the manager got sick of us we popped out to explore the quaint little burg that is Fuquay-Varina. We stopped in to Stick Boy Bread Company first and got some smoothies. I had a divine cookie called something like a Hootenany (it doesn’t appear to be listed on their website) with oatmeal and cranberries and pecans and fairy dust mixed in.

After that, Rhonda and Joe and I split off from the group and headed down the street to gawk through shop windows down Main Street. Enticed by a VERY enthusiastic dancing ice cream come, we sought respite from the heat in an indoor mall — not like a big-bucks-anchor-store mall, but one of those minimalls where you’d find booths of Antique dealers. Only these little independent shops dealt in custom birdhouses, vintage clothing, shoes, and some awesome jewelry. As cute as the dancing ice cream was, we were put off by the overly-zealous woman trying to hawk her apple cider, and shifted further into the bowels of the mall.

Joe pulled me back to one kiosk (that was far too close to the cider woman for my taste) to check out some jewelry he thought I’d like. I certainly liked the Victorian-dressed doll with wires for hands she was using as a necklace-display, and I coveted it. The woman behind the counter, who was in the middle of telling another woman how she hand-makes all her beads, stopped long enough to tell me where in town I might find something similar. I thanked her and let her continue on her spiel while I half-heartedly browsed. I wasn’t really trying to find anything, so I wasn’t really looking. I wasn’t really looking until I saw an old-fashioned key through a glass bead filled with roses at the same time a voice above me said, “Do you know what steampunk is?”

I looked up at the woman with a sparkle in my eye and said, “You are talking to the right person.” And then I started to examine–really, truly examine–the jewelry, and it took my breath away.

Marilyn–for the shopkeeper was indeed the artist herself–returned the sparkle and began to do that whole artist thing where you start explaining to someone what went into a piece, what elements you used, and what you were trying to achieve. We both got excited and a little carried away, and we probably drove Rhonda and Joe both nuts, but I didn’t care. Her designs were EXQUISITE. And regardless of whether or not she jumped on the Steampunk bandwagon, the movement is right up her alley. Marilyn has the Victorian sensibility to make her PERFECT for this kind of work.

http://www.perazabeads.com/Whats_New.htm She went on to tell me that she gives classes on how to make glass beads. This was one thing about Fuquay-Varina I adored: from coffee roasting to stained-glass work, almost every single store gives a class on SOMETHING. I wanted to stay for a week or two, just to take them all. I definitely took a card, and promised that I would check out Marilyn’s website. She has some glass bead tutorials there, and a myriad of other things to peek through and find. She also has an Etsy shop (though there are no Steampunk items currently for sale there) and a place at 1000 Markets (there is currently a Steampunk ring there for less than $40. You better snap it up before I do.)

The best way to see the Peraza Beads merchandise, of course, is to visit the shop in Fuquay-Varina, if you can. Tell Marilyn I said hello. And be sure to pick up a piece or three while her artwork is still affordable. I got the cross-and-rose necklace at the top, of course. I couldn’t resist the handmade chain, or the fact that the center stone of the cross was a garnet — my birthstone. And Marilyn’s…and Rhonda’s daughter. We’re all just a bunch of stinking Capricorns.

But boy do we make gorgeous art.

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Hypericon Schedule

It’s crazy…I have SO many things I’d like to post about, but my sister worked me like a Draft Horse when I was in Charleston last week, and now I’m in TN with a very short time in which to pack up my entire house…oddly enough, there may be more posts during Hypericon this weekend, when I am forced to sit down and BREATHE.

Speaking of Hypericon, here’s my schedule:

15-MINUTE READINGS: Friday 11:00pm

Saturday 10:30am:
BUILDING THE PERFECT BEAST
Authors discuss how to create the supernatural or man-made baddies for your work – monsters, ghosts, aliens, anything not quite the guy next door.

Saturday 1:00pm
SECONDARY CHARACTERS
Protagonists and Antagonists would be bored and lonely if there weren’t others around to save or terrify. Writers discuss tips on preventing your work from being filled with cliches and cardboard cutouts.
SHERRILYN KENYON, ALETHEA KONTIS, SARA HARVEY, BRIAN J HATCHER, DAVID JACK BELL

SIGNING: Saturday @ 2:15pm

Saturday 6:00pm
THE TRUTH ABOUT ANTHOLOGIES
These writers and editors will discuss anthologies from both sides – how to put one together, how to find and submit to them, what editors are looking for and how they are different from magazines.
RAMSEY CAMPBELL, ALETHEA KONTIS, MICHAEL KNOST, JASON SIZEMORE

SIGNING Sunday @ 10:30am

I will also be showing art at the art show (woohoo!!!!), and for those of you curious about all those awesome hairsticks my sister and I painted last week, those will be on sale at the Apex Table.

See you soon!

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Mo*Con V: Kelli Strikes Back

(long story, but here’s the edited version):

Bob and Kelli and I drove down to Virginia, woke Joe up from his nap, threw our suitcases (and four boxes of the LAST RITES chapbook) into Joe’s car, and started on our 10-hour drive to Maurice’s house. On the way we drove through Flushing, Negro Mountain, a Pony Pull, and October. We arrived at Mo’s around 1am. There was Jack Daniel’s steak waiting on us. I love that man. (Maurice, I mean.)

Friday morning started the way it should…with Kelli, on the trampoline. We sat back with our Jamaican coffee and watched Maurice’s awesome wife Sally mow the front lawn in her Wonder Woman boots. We picked up Brian Keene from the airport, got all pretty, and met Jerry Gordon for some really awesome cajun food at Yats. No lie — I had “chili-cheese crawfish étouffée.” Have you been to the Broad Ripple Village section of Indianapolis? It’s a little bohemian. It reminded me a bit of my beloved East Nashville (though with too many bars & not enough cool little shops…and currently four feet less water…but I digress).

Kelli took a nap, the boyz played Magic, and Joe and I explored a bit around Broad Ripple. It was a nice little respite before Maurice started the show and we had chicken marsala (a now-staple and tradition of Mo*Con because it’s The Princess’s favorite). Open Mic Nite began last year as a poetry-reading homage to Linda Addison, and I swear it’s one of the best things we’ve ever implemented. It’s a great way to break the ice and introduce everyone to each other — the new blood and the old regime alike. To get a feel for the range of genres and talent, the senses of humor (you’ve all seen the performance of “Dracula’s Winkie” by now), and to kill Brian Keene…again…and again…and again. We met Wes Southard, remembered what a talented poet Lon Prater is, and made faces at Gary Braunbeck when he trampled like an elephant over his allotted 5 minute time slot.

Saturday started off with a bang once everyone got in and settled — Sara Larson brought the coffee filters and evolved from Maven to Goddess of the Kitchen. Kelli hopped up on stage with her I-wanna-have-sex shoes and announced exactly how she’d be running the show: she’d be picking the panel participants out of the audience, and in the absence of moderation she expected everyone else to ask questions, provide comments, and keep the conversation going. And you know what? They did. We did. And it was a beautiful thing. Of the three panels that day, I think Wrath James White was the only participant on all of them (way to be opinionated, Wrath). The blogging was informative, the spirituality was intriguing, and the sex was hilarious.

The art reception was ramped up this year — we had our own little wing of the church (which was unfortunately rather far from the festivities…but we had the wine). I got to chat with Steven C. Gilberts a little more, which is always a pleasure, and I was very impressed at Jim Leach’s wood block prints. Next year I’ve requested that there be a short — maybe even 15 minute — panel introducing all the displaying artists and giving them a little time to talk about their art, their inspiration, and their processes. Essentially, to have all the conversations I didn’t get to because I was too busy manning my table. I sold five pieces!! I’m super stoked about that. And, as promised, I’ll be putting a few up on Etsy in the next few days.

The other Fabulous New Thing this year was a running live Funky Werepig show Greg Hall hosted in the middle of everything. As people wandered in and out of the art reception, Kelli dragged guests on stage to be questioned. I have to tell you, the more I know Greg Hall, the more I love him. Who doesn’t love a man who makes everyone laugh? And I’m still one of his son’s Top Three Girlfriends. I hope Greg’s on hand to do it again next year — it not only kept the energy of the day upbeat, but we now have it to look back on forever and ever and ever.

I gave a sneak-preview reading of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween to a very excited crowd, and then we took up two tables in a massive signing of Dark Faith. (I held up the line with all my glitter pens. And I so don’t care.) It was amazing to be part of something so big. This a very important book…and gorgeous to boot. (Do you have your copy yet? You need one. Use this link.)

But “carnivorous vulvasaurs” or not, somewhere in the middle of that last panel I hit a wall, the wall that demands I de-Princess immediately. But I was surrounded by dozens of people — I couldn’t just be “off.” It’s a convention — and not just ANY convention, it’s MY convention, the convention I reign over as royalty. “Off” is just not allowed. So I subtly removed my tiara and hoped no one would notice. It wasn’t 15 minutes before Jerry looked over at me and said, “You’re like Maurice with all his costume changes.” “What?” I asked him. “Weren’t you wearing something different a minute ago?” he said.

What a difference a tiara makes.

I went back to the hotel fully intending to change and return to Maurice’s house for Part Two of the festivities. Instead, I cried about my lack of focus and my sudden (and not a little scary) lack of convention stamina. So I wasn’t there for the buckets of Absinthe or the Black Hole Liquor Store — Kelli’s got those covered in her happy con report. But Joe reminded me of something very important: family. I’ve jokingly referred to Mo*Con as a “geek family reunion” before, but I needed to remember what that meant, exactly. Of the 75 people that attended Mo*Con this year, I’ve known most of them for four years. They made me their princess. I’ve slept on their couches and roomed with them at conventions. I’ve cried on their shoulders too, and escaped to their houses, and sought refuge in their basements. I’ve read to their children and talked to them about their divorces. I’ve got their numbers in my phone and–thanks to Twitter–I talk to them every single day. These are people who are going to notice when I’m upset or tired or frazzled — not because I’ve suddenly fallen “off”, but BECAUSE THEY LOVE ME. Because those are the kinds of things that people who love you notice. We call those people family. And I cried all over again, and there was no green fairy to wipe my tears.

Sunday morning I helped Chef Rob chop things for his Mediterranean/California salad while he prepared a garlic pasta dish and the most succulent Chateaubriand I have ever put in my mouth. (I’m telling you, it was a divine experience. NEVER miss Sunday brunch.) Goodbyes were lingering, as always, but they came with a contract for my story in the upcoming Nick Cave anthology from PS Publishing…so there was hope in the sadness. We drove home through a constant rainstorm–the fog made every town we passed seem as if it were on fire, and we had to pull over in West Virginia when we couldn’t see the road anymore. I had heard something from my friends about rain in Nashville too–but April always brought tornadoes and flash flooding so it was nothing I hadn’t heard before. (Or so I thought…but I digress. More on that tomorrow.) There were candy bars and red Doritoes and catnaps and white knuckles…and more goodbyes…and then it was four in the morning and we were back in PA and it was over.

We still can’t quite believe it’s over. I barely saw Maurice (he was a bigger whirlwind than ME, and that’s saying something), I didn’t get to say goodbye to Jason Sizemore or Geoffrey Girard, and I have that nagging feeling that I’ve left something behind. I suspect it might be family.

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Come On In, The Snow Is Fine!

It’s like swimming in the MOST REFRESHING POOL, EVER!

(click the snowy Princess for more fun pics!)

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Infamous Birthday Pictures

…and by that I mean that the birthday was infamous. Not the pictures. Or maybe they are. You decide.

Click here for the full album.

Anubis & The Princess

Mr. Ichi & Chuck Wood

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