To Sleep, Perchance

One of those odd nights -- does anyone else have these?  No, Sarah, just you -- where I felt I slept too deeply and woke up as though I were at the bottom of a deep dark well, holding myself so resolutely "in" that my shoulders hurt from the strain.  No idea what these nights are all about.  Not going to give my head to anyone for shrinking, but I do hate them...

So, I've told you all I'm trying to finish the book, even as I try to do laundry, all before the fateful, fast approaching date to head South and East.  The question is... what novel I'm trying to finish.

Well, those of you who visit the diner know.  It takes place somewhere around 300 or so years after DST.  Things have changed.  For one space colonization has happened.  There are probably around 60 human worlds.  (How did the population expand that much.  Well, they have bio-wombs, but there are other reasons, though nothing you'll hear of until Doc Les Johnson and I have time to finish a proposal we started mulling at ConStellation last year. -- wink.)  Meanwhile Earth has become sort of a globular Belgium (at least in Belgium's dreams) from which the human worlds are run.  So, why don't the other worlds -- many of which are explicit "states" of an entity called Human Worlds, the others are colonies, and some are trying very hard to be free worlds.  Others frankly, no one wants -- kick free.  Well, because Earth has an iron clad grip on the means of transport.  Or at least on the men trained to make the transport work.

Anyway -- it's complex. Perhaps too complex.  To make things better, I'm stuck with an inadvertent unreliable narrator.  Inadvertent how?  Well, she doesn't know what she doesn't know.  And a counterpoint character who is slipperier than a heel and who had me fooled for a great part of this.  So...

In case you wonder, yes, indeed, I DO still have some hair.  Things fell in place beautifully about two days ago, but I'm trying to connect all the bits I have, before I forget all the twisty linky parts.

A French Polished Murder

*HOW did I forget to give you guys a taste of this? It came out in April. A French Polished Murder, by Elise Hyatt. Yeah, it's me, of course.*

A French Polished Murder

The Fast And the Electrically Furious
We were thirty years old – and, in his case, a couple of months -- when I came to the sad conclusion that I would have to murder my friend Benedict Colm.
This was as sad as it was necessary, but there was no getting from the fact as my son, Enoch – whom I called E in an attempt to save him therapy bills as he got older – came speeding into the living room, atop Ben’s Christmas gift to him.
The gift was an electric toy motorcycle with a top speed of ten miles per hour, an acceleration that might seem impossible for a small boy in a home that was less than seventy feet in either direction, but which E managed, quite often.
I heard the horn blare a moment before E came riding in and, with the practice born of two weeks of terror, dove behind the sofa, while Ben, who stood square in the middle of the living room, his arms crossed on his chest, became an impromptu traffic circle.
E sped around him once, twice, then headed the other way, at an increased velocity.
“What do you mean you’ll have to kill me?” Ben asked, obtusely, looking at me. “And what are you doing behind the sofa?” Collapse )

Mama said there'd be days like this

So the novel I've been working on -- The Brave and The Free seems to be the working title. No, I don't know why reversed -- and which is, metaphorically speaking, all in pieces on the garage floor, possibly mixed with a clock's innards, finally became clear last night. All of a sudden I knew which pieces went in, which pieces got chucked and which pieces were disguised as something else, and therefore will need a big reveal to make the reader understand them as well as a couple chapters of foreshadowing on the way there.

So... woke up at six thirty am today. Went on long walk while thinking. Came back energized and eager to write. Was reminded fifteen year old needs clothes for vacation. Cue in the shopping experience now even more fun with sullen teen. (His fault for having a massive growth spurt the last month.)

Right now I should be cleaning and taking the new bookcases to the attic. (What, don't you buy bookcases everytime you go out? Why, I thought it was the law!) Only I am desperately trying to get some writing in, before the grand, glowing vision fades.

Oh, and by the way, the bed is still unmade and I have approximately three thousand loads of laundry to do. Wheee!

Going Bump In The Night

So I wake up in the middle of the night, with something akin to the sound of a sailing ship under stress in a high gale. "creak, creak, creak."

I get up and realize it's Havey cat -- who weighs approximately three tons, give or take a hundred pounds -- who, for reasons inexplicable, has decided to promenade himself across the printer and other equipment at the other end of our bedroom.

Remove Havey cat. Explain inadvisability of this, while he looks at me with his confused little eyes. Pet him a bit. Go back to bed. Start sort of falling asleep...


Remove Havey from printer. Scold him in whisper so as not to wake up husband, go back to bed.


Havey has jumped in a single leap (imagine a big, heavy white pillow taking flight) five feet up to the back of my research chair, which is now being subjected to downward pressure, for which it wasn't designed, and which must approach that under which coal turns to diamond.

At that point I realize that Miranda-cat, who normally sleeps with #2 son is watching this interestedly from top of research desk. This puts it in perspective. What I'm watching is not casual cat nuttery but, somehow, a battle in the bizarre war between the two white cats in the house: Havey and D'Artagnan. (No, don't ask why. They both are convinced There Can be Only One. Perhaps they each think the other is a rogue clone.) Miranda, who rules the house with an iron paw, is clearly the referree.

Try to defuse the situation by grabbing D'Artagnan -- who is the least hygienically challenged of the white cats -- and take him to bed with me. He curls up at my feet. Miranda, uninterested, leaves the room. Ahhhhh. Sleep at last.

Creak, creak, creak.

Get up, half asleep, grab Havey-cat. Toss him out the door. Close the door. Get back to bed. Euclid and D'Artagnan sleeping respectively at Dan's and my feet. They're polite cats who ask to go out to use the box, so no problem, right?

Start drifting to sleep. Wake up to sound of almighty cat battle at my feet. "Wha?" Not only are the only two cats Euclid and D'Artagnan, but anyone capable of picking a fight with Euclid would be able to pick a fight with cheese. Euclid JUST doesn't fight back, unless it's his tail that he's fighting.

As eyes focus -- slowly -- realize that D. has decided this is his chance to have mom and dad all to himself and is biting Euclid till he screams.

Lean down confusedly and swat first lump. Bad luck, it's Euclid. Who immediately decides I've gone nuts and skeedadles to the door, where he begs me to let him out.

Deciding to make the best of a bad thing, grab D. under my arm, open door, and throw him out at the same time Euclid goes out.

Go back to bed. Ahhhhhhh. Repose at last...

Knock, knock, knock.

Half asleep brain thinks "Kid must be sick and need me."

"Yes, who is it?"

MEOOOOOOOOW OW OW. -- in demanding tones.

"Oh, go increase and multiply" (not that politely.) "Since when do you knock on doors. Leave me alone."

Knock, knock, knock. MEoooow ow! ow!

Put pillow over head and manage a semblance of sleep.

Free Ebook and Sample

*I've collected all my Elizabethan Era short stories into a short book called The Private Wound. The title story is an alternate history with Queen Elizabeth. The book also contains two mysteries and (I'm sorry!) a vampire story. About half of the stories are unpublished.  One way or another, it is rather Marlowe Infested. If you like these stories, consider taking a look at my book No Will But His, the story of Kathryn Howard.*

The ebook is available in various formats here:

Feel free to download, pass the links around and/or mug innocent passerbyes and make them read.

This is an excerpt from The Private Wound: 

Elizabeth was the last one to leave the choir, at the end of the line of grey sisters of the tertiary order of Saint Francis.
A thin young woman, her pale face looked out of the dark headdress, its perfect features seeming rather to belong to an ancient idol lovingly carved in ivory.
She lingered and dawdled, at the end of the line.

If pressed she might confess that she wanted nothing more than a respite from the company of the other nuns, like her cloistered prisoners of this inglorious convent. A respite from company and a moment alone..............

And from Juggling, another short story in the collection:

"Be it a crime, then? To be a juggler?" the young man in the fine lawn collar asked. His fashionable black velvet doublet -- close fitting, winged at the shoulders, tapering at the waist slashed through to show taffeta in a bright flame-color like a harlot’s stockings -- couldn’t have looked more out of place in this tavern, filled with rough-dealing men and the lowest grade of itinerant laborer that England had to offer during the reign of Good Queen Bess.

He seemed unaware of, or untroubled by the crowd that surrounded him, though they were out of their seats, their mugs of beer abandoned, their mouths distorted in menace, their hair matted, their clothes dirty and ragged, their hands big and calloused and half-tightened in menace.
Kit Marlowe knew well enough that had this crowd not had sport enough on their hands for this evening, they would have turned on him with like fury, because he was different, with his fine clothes, his scholarly manner, the courtly affectation of his gestures. Nor could he tell what drove him to this class of tavern, where cutpurses and their molls, beggars and their doxies gathered. Except maybe that very danger that they would turn on him. Except the pulse-pounding excitement of traipsing into the forbidden and walking into the yawning maw of fear.
Kit, you are an idiot, he told himself...

By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them

By Their Cats Thou Shalt Know Them

Mumble years ago, my husband and I were sitting in a comedy club in Charlotte NC when the poor visiting comedian decided to make a riff on common cats’ names versus common dogs’ names, or such. He started by saying that dogs were given manly names – I don’t remember the examples he gave – while cats got names... and here he made the mistake of pausing and asking who in the audience had cats. Our entire table raised their hands.

The comedian might still have saved himself, had he noticed that we looked a little... unusual... He didn’t. So he asks my husband his cat’s name. He said, “Petronius the Arbiter, cat from Hades.” Comedian said “uh” but, nothing daunted, proceeded on his – oh so very – unwise course. He points at me – clearly not taking the hint that we were married from our holding hands. Or perhaps he thought one of us had to be sane – and says, “And your cat’s name?” “I have two,” I said. “Random Numbers and Pixel Wallwalker.” You’d think by this point he would take a hint, but nothing doing. He points to a friend of ours at same table and says, “And yours?” “Crystal.” Another friend, “Yours?” “Myiuki,” he says. “It means Deep Snow and...” At which point the man lost it. “WHAT are you guys? Did you land from Planet Weirdo?”

All I can say is he could have done worse. He might have found a table full of writers. Recently while talking about cats to a friend, it occurred to me that writers have a strange and creative approach to naming their cats. (Some of them carry this as far as naming their kids, their cars, their home appliances and their dental floss. The least said about THOSE writers, the best.)

For instance, the Hoyt demesne is afflicted with a mix of variously named felines, ranging from our own characters to other people’s characters. Collapse )