I realize this is late in the day for the East Coast but, hey, I’m on West Coast time now! 🙂

Yes, among other things, there is great loose tea to be had in San Diego.

The cute young barista made me a proper iced tea chai latte at Skybound Coffee.

Menu from Skybound Coffee, photo by Corrina Lawson

Menu from Skybound Coffee, photo by Corrina Lawson

And, of course, you can order a chai latte at the Cat Cafe in San Diego, along with cat cuddles and the occasional indifferent sleeping cat.

San Diego would not have been complete with my friends, especially roomies Katy Cooper and Chris Merrill, my lovely and wise friend Robin LaFevers, and Maria and Chandra and Tara and Kathy Fawcett and, well, just everyone. I love the Romance Writers Conference. It’s the only one I know where hugging breaks out spontaneously.

Christine Merrill, Katy Cooper & Robin LaFevers. :)

Christine Merrill, Katy Cooper & Robin LaFevers. :)

To top it off, Kay Moore showed up on Sunday to play tour guide for us and took us to the Hotel Del Coranado for lunch. Spectacular views. Kay also play taxi for Chris and myself as we moved into the AirBnb on Sunday night from the RWA hotel.

Me at Hotel Del Coronado, where many famous Hollywood movies were filmed.

Me with my Jackie Oh! shades at Hotel Del Coronado, where many famous Hollywood movies were filmed.

Beachfront view of the Hotel Del Coronado's beach, from our brunch. :)

Beachfront view of the Hotel Del Coronado’s beach, from our brunch. :)

Chris has promptly dubbed the 1-bedroom (king-size bed), with living room and kitchen AirBnB as “the Dexter apartment” because it has bland white walls, and ceramic/concrete flooring that could be easily cleaned in case of spills, messes and, oh, murder. (Only writers would think of the latter, I suspect.)

Tomorrow, my Comic Con press events start with a twirl, as I will be one of the first to view the Wonder Woman movie props and costumes! 🙂

This bucket list trip is going well. Hope I didn’t just jinx it! 🙂

Team Machine t-shirt

Team Machine t-shirt via RedBubble

I will begin with the tea portion of our day. It says much about my love of tea that the booth I’m most looking forward to patronizing at the Connecticon Convention in July is tea booth so I can buy 8 oz. of their Vincent Van Gogh blend. It might be called Starry Night. I’ve wanted to order it for ages but lost the name of the company. ARGH. Hence, my anticipation.

I’ve also been researching tea for my trip to San Diego later in July. Thanks to the lovely PR person at the San Diego Board of Tourism, I’ve discovered that the San Diego Comic Art Gallery and Point Loma Tea shop are located just around the corner from each other. Thank you, universe.

In addition to Point Loma Tea, I’m told there is also Shakespeare’s Corner and the San Diego House in Old Town San Diego. Hmm…I may not need to bring as much loose tea as I thought.

Shakespeare's Tea Room in San Diego. Who wants to come for afternoon tea with me?

Shakespeare’s Corner tea in San Diego. Who wants to come for afternoon tea with me?

Meantime, as the t-shirt above can attest, I’ve gotten more obsessed with Person of Interest, even thought it’s been over a week now since the finale. I have rarely encountered a show that’s such a perfect blend of characters I adore and a concept that blows me away. Team Machine’s final confrontation with Team Samaritan had me at the edge of my seat and I’m not ashamed to say I cried it spots–both out of sorrow and joy. I’ve even conned my oldest son (20) into watching it. Fusco is his favorite. Of course he is!

Me, I’m a Shaw girl. And I didn’t even like her when she first showed up. Now she’s my favorite. Except for the Machine. I adore the bodiless sentient AI, who may be the most human of Team Machine. But, mostly, I loved them all.

I salute you, writers, actors, and those behind the scenes doing stuff like writing all those screen captions for the Machine and Samaritan. A job well done. But I want more. (Aside: Shoot–Root/Shaw– may be the best shipping name ever. )

As for my own writing, you can find what I’ve been blogging about here, under my personal tag Cory (my nickname), and the joint DC Reviews under Ray Goldfield’s name. My favorite? The interview with the author of geeky erotica. Geek girl gamers, unite!

Oh, did I mention I wrote over 10,000 words in a short erotic novella last week? The leads are Philip Drake and Del Sefton from Phoenix Legacy and it’s a m/m/f menage. (Obviously, there’s another lead but to tell you who it is would be spoilery.) Because I wasn’t quite done with Philip Drake nor was he quite done with me.

Talk about burying the lead: I finished the draft of what has become The Hidden Mage of Lotus Hall, book 2 in the steampunk detectives series starring Gregor Sherringford and Joan Krieger. It is the sequel to The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, which went all the way to #11 on Amazon’s steampunk bestseller list.

When will it be out? Well, that’s a tale in itself. Likely not before the fall but I’m working on a way for people to read it for free. We’ll see.

 

 

boston-attractions-tea-roomA public service announcement first:

Given the massacre in Orlando and the upcoming election with two polar opposite personalities, it’s a tense time in America. I will get political here on in this sense:

Vote.

I mean “vote” more for than the President. Look up your local elected officials, look who’s running in the elections in the state house, in the governor’s office, for Congress (House and Senate), and, heck, even check into municipal board elections and school board elections.

To paraphrase West Wing: History is made by those who show up.

One of the most effective tools of the current Republican Congress members is that they’ve been able to get people supporting them to come out and vote. I applaud them for that. I feel our democracy works best when more people exercise their right to vote. Your single vote may not matter in the Presidential election but it will matter in the local races for State House and State Senate. My current State Representative won by five votes in the last election.

Your vote matters.

If you supported Bernie and are disenchanted with the system, find a local candidate to work for, one that can affect local change. If you supported a Republican other than Trump, do the same. If you support one of the two big candidates for President, still find local elected officials. Learn about them. Cast an educated vote.

History is made by those who show up.

/end democracy soapbox rant.

So, back to Revolutionary Tea. Did you know there’s a Boston Tea Party Museum in South Boston, within easy walking distance of South Station?

You can pay to take the tour that includes a demonstration of the Boston Tea Party or you can do what I did and go out on the deck above the ships, pay less than $5 to drink an endless cup of fresh brewed tea (several flavors available) and sit out on the deck, listen to the presentation and look over Boston Harbor.

The Boston Tea Party Museum. You can see the deck above the ships in this photo.

The Boston Tea Party Museum. You can see the deck above the ships in this photo.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in the summer.

In other news, yes, I know it’s been a month since I posted. A busy month, complete with the end of school, several press trips to Six Flags to ride some of the new roller coasters, my weekly reviews of DC Comic’s complete lineup with Ray Goldfield, an interview with the creator of Legend of Wonder Woman, and my Same Geek Channel television awards. (Person of Interest won. I’m obsessed with that show right now.)

All my posts for GeekDad/GeekMom can always be found at my web page there. If you want to keep up with all the posts in the future, you could bookmark that page. I usually post a few times a week. One exception: the DC Reviews are under Ray Goldfield’s name.

Oh, and the twins turned seventeen last week. WHAT?? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

photo by Corrina Lawson

photo by Corrina Lawson

 

 

All four of the minions in one place. A rare event!

full-frontal-nerdity_large

I’ve missed a couple of weeks. We’ve had a family emergency, with my younger daughter in the hospital for treatment of a chronic condition. That ground everything to a halt and, when she finally came home, it meant a huge backlog of writing. The good news is that the daughter is getting better every day.

The time spent with her in the hospital also provided a writing epiphany, especially related to my favorite children’s author, Walter Farley. More on that below.

Walter Farley

My copy of The Black Stallion & the Girl, cover copyright Random House

To cope with all this, I resorted to tea. Strong tea. Wake you up, tea. I drank a special morning blend of black orange pekoe tea. Basic black teas can be the hardest tea to get right. Too strong and they’re harsh and nasty (hello, Lipton), too weak and it’s like drinking hot water with a hint of flavor. This blend is perfect for me, provided I use one of my extra large mugs, two teaspoons of the loose tea, and steep for four minutes. Perfect.

Onto Walter Farley and one of my favorite books as a child: The Black Stallion and the Girl.

When we fall in love with books as children, we fall hard, and those stories and the people who wrote them become beloved in a way that’s everlasting.

Sometimes when revisiting our favorite stories as adults, we can be disappointed. I still see what I loved in my favorites but, as an adult, Tarzan‘s pulp adventures contain racist implications are undeniable. Robert Heinlein’s fast-paced galactic adventures reveal skewed views on women and sex.

But sometimes authors and books exceed our childhood memories and that’s the case with Farley and The Black Stallion and the Girl. Even more, sometimes behind a beloved story is another story, a true story that’s tragic and beautiful.

When my daughter was in the hospital, she wanted to read and disappear in her books. I’d brought her my favorite Black Stallion books, including this one, so I picked it off the pile while she read something else. The words quickly merged with my memories of childhood, and I was eight years old again, thrilled that a girl could do everything that the hero of the story, Alec Ramsey, could do. Pam, the girl of the title, did what she loved to do, despite everyone telling her that she couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. She knew differently and her quiet confidence and her kindness won them over.

There are debates in the book over what women should and could do and here Walter Farley is on the right side of history, allowing Alec to be on Pam’s side and allowing that women could be whatever they wanted and that Pam had just as much a right to love horses and work with them as anyone else.

This book was written in 1971, even before Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs. Farley was ahead of his time and his story back then was an inspiration to me.

However, I also remembered a later book, The Black Stallion Legend, written in 1983, where Pam dies off-screen in a car crash in Europe and that sent Alec into a dream-like tailspin. It was an odd book, full of raw grief. I wasn’t ready for it, and I put the entire series aside for other books.

What I didn’t know then was that Pam was based on Walter Farley’s own daughter, Pam, who died at the age of 20 in 1968 in a car crash in Europe.

The Black Stallion and the Girl is a love letter from Farley to his daughter.

Pam in the book is kind and warm and smart and funny and determined. She’s human, of course, and not perfect, though Walter Farley can be forgiven if perhaps she’s a bit idealized. (Alec, too, is idealized, as is the case with many lead characters in children’s books.) At the end of the story, Pam leaves to pursue her dreams, promising to stay in touch with Alec.

The book ends with this tribute:

A soft breeze swept his face, and his eyes turned to the star-lit heavens. Whenever he wasn’t with her, her fingers would be the wind and the wind her fingers, and all space would be the smile of her.

I can’t imagine what it took for Farley to write those words, only three years after his daughter’s untimely death. I’m in awe of the gift that allowed him to share his daughter with the world and reach out to me, someone he would never know, and inspire me in turn.

Stories matter. And storytellers matter. I’m glad that Pam is still out there, immortal, and that her father left the world such a gift.

I don't have tea cups. I have mugs. This is one of my all-time favorites, one of a matched set.

I don’t have tea cups. I have mugs. This is one of my all-time favorites, one of a matched set.

Usually, I don’t buy tea at Teavana. One, because it’s overpriced. Two, because the flavors are weak. I suspect there’s more in their tea for scent purposes than for flavor purposes. (Meaning that it smells great but produces weak tea.)

But I did buy 11 ounces of Oprah Chai last week, despite the fact it’s labeled “Oprah Chai Tea.” (That’s like calling it “tea tea.”) Why? Because it was on clearance. The total price paid for that was $21, which means it was less than $2 an ounce. With my local tea store closed, it seemed like the time to try this flavor.

Verdict: it’s decent chai with a bite to it. Nothing to write home about but I’d buy it again for that price. I certainly wouldn’t have paid the original price of $83 for the 11 ounces, however.

Aside from trying tea, we also took a trip to the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut last week. It’s a small zoo outside of New Haven but has birds of prey, wolves, and several large cats. The teenage twins were fascinated by the wolves. I was impressed by the leopard and the tiger. Damn large paws on those kitty cats. The wolves shied away from the people. The cats seemed to be glaring at us.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. photo by Corrina Lawson

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. photo by Corrina Lawson

I’ve come down with a cold given to me by the youngest daughter and that’s put a crimp in my writing. (“Mom, you shouldn’t have stolen one of my fries or dipped it in my ketchup because I double dip!”) I would say that it’s just a cold but it didn’t seem like “just” anything when I almost coughed up a lung this weekend.

But I managed to get a few pieces done:

9 Feminist Comics Everyone Should Read at the B&N SF/F blog.

Same Geek Channel Special: Death and the Genre Show, written in response to the sudden plethora of deaths of female (particularly women of color) and LGBT characters on SF/F shows. Had I written it this week, I’d have added in ABC deciding to dump Kate Beckett from Castle. One would think Hollywood has something against women. /sarcasm.

A review of the fascinating book, Investigating Lois Lane, a history of the character.

And, as always, the weekly recaps of DC Comics with Ray Goldfield. It was a good week for women, particularly Black Canary and Wonder Women.

 

My daughter gave me this  extra-large mug.

My daughter’s gift. :)

A deep sigh here: my local tea shop is closing.

In response to that news, I’ve been laying in a large supply of loose tea, everything from licorice to German gingerbread to hot cinnamon spice (my current favorite) to chai to Earl Grey Creme to Toated Almond and, finally, Supreme Breakfast tea.

It’s back to mail order after all that is gone. The tea shop owner seems happy about the closing. She’s worked for over a decade to keep the shop afloat but now she wants a new adventure and she’s getting out before she goes under water. I can’t blame her for that.

On writing, I’ve taken a red pen to the plot of The Hidden Mage of Lotus Hall, as I had to reorder things to make sure I had that Moment of Impossible Choice at the climax. I’ve started back at the beginning and I wrote a new first chapter. Nothing new for me, as my original draft first chapters usually end up being chapter three. (In one memorable case, it ended up on page 100. That’s called starting the story in the middle. 🙂

To prove that writing isn’t always a solitary experience, I attended the Connecticut Romance Writers of America Spring Fling Reader’s Luncheon on Saturday as a sponsoring author. What a lovely, lovely time. Major props to the organizers and, oh, my, such fun to talk to librarians and book bloggers! I even spoke to my boss at the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog!

I'm the short one. :)

I’m the short one. :)

For blogging, I had a chance to experience part of Six Flags’ new generation of roller coasters plus virtual reality at a Six Flags New England Press Day. Let me tell you, this is COOL. I’m less enthused about this Fireball ride at Six Flags New England not because it doesn’t look fantastic but because I’m just not big at hanging upside down. 🙂 Spin me, twirl me, toss me around and about, even upside down, but don’t stop me upside down.

Six Flags Fireball

And, of course, my usual articles about DC comics, as Secret Six and Midnighter remain awesome.

Sandra Boynton mug

One of my oldest mugs, a gift. photo by Corrina Lawson

I believe this was one of the first presents my husband bought me. Yes, I’ve kept him. But this morning required a much larger dose of hot cinnamon tea to wake me up.

Why? Because on the agenda is taking the youngest minion (16) to the foot doctor for the fracture of a bone in her left foot. I thought it wasn’t too serious but took her to the doctor for X-rays, etc, doing the mom due-diligence. Unhappily, she did this on a Friday, so we just got the X-ray results on Monday and couldn’t get an appointment with a foot specialist until today.

This has put a serious crimp in my writing, though, yes, I’m slogging along still with The Dark Mage of Lotus Hall. I’ve stopping counting words and, instead, I’m counting what’s missing. The climax is almost set up, I need a new chapter at the beginning to set up the character arc best, and I need to make sure I nail the black moment. I like what I heard at my local RWA meeting two weeks ago about the dark moment from bestselling author Dee Davis:

“It’s the moment of impossible choice.”

A tall order. Let’s see if I can pull it off.

I’ve also been writing and blogging. Please check out the new joint GeekDad and GeekMom website at www.geekdad.com. All-new graphics! Readers must be pleased as the pageviews have been excellent.

Meanwhile, lots of articles this week:

The Epic Trolls of Gail Simone at B&N’s SF/F Blog.

We’re On The Record With These Journalists in Romance and The Flash’s Iris West Deserves Her Happily Ever After at Heroes and Heartbreakers. I’m a comic geek but even I was surprised at just how convoluted Iris’ history has been. The woman has more lives than a cat or Marvel’s Phoenix.

Back at my home base, GeekMom/GeekDad:

The New 52 Superman and Green Arrow: Missed Opportunities. Poor Clark and Ollie. The last few years of DC Comics haven’t been kind to them.

Romance is Worldbuilding, Even in Science Fiction, a great guest post by Elizabeth Bonesteel, the author of The Cold Between.

DC This Week: Legend of Wonder Woman Soars: This is the Wonder Woman book you need to be reading, everyone.

 

 

Logo copyright Linnea Sinclair, who started this Intergalactic Bar & Grille. I have a mug but it's bigger and more of a beer stein...

Logo copyright Linnea Sinclair, who started this Intergalactic Bar & Grille. I have a mug but it’s bigger and more of a beer stein…

Welcome to my weekly tea report. First, some, sad, sad news.

My local tea shop is closing. NOO!!! What have I done? I’ve stocked up with Chai and bought several other flavors and I’ll be heading back this weekend to make sure I lay in a supply that will last a year or so. So far, I have Earl Grey Creme, Toasted Almond, licorice, German chocolate, maple syrup tea, and an Engish breakfast. Obviously, I still need more.

I cannot have enough good loose tea.

Why? Because I absolutely cannot get through the day without a proper cup of tea. (Just like many people can’t get through the day without coffee.)

No trips to the beach this week and things are basically status quo with my publisher, Samhain Publishing, closing in a few months. Hopefully, news soon.

My sinus infection knocked me back for a loop last week and I stalled on my work in progress. Partially because I had to look over the character arcs, now that I have 52,000 words, and partially because my brain was horrible mush.

But I did some writing. He’s my ode to Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day at Heroes and Heartbreakers, my final word on this second season of Marvel’s Agent Carter (please be renewed, please, please), an interviews with the creator of Federal Marshall and Monster Hunter Wynonna Earp, who is coming to Syfy television this month, and, of course, my thoughts on last week’s issues of DC Comics. (I make fun of Hal Jordan again.)

Also, if the photo of the mug and hat above intrigues you, by all means, go to Linnea Sinclair’s website and check out her books. I love them.

And I couldn’t resist this sunrise. May all your days start this beautifully.

Daytona Speedway, Daytona Beach

Serenity Now. Sunrise over Daytona Beach. Photo by Corrina Lawson

My daughter gave me this  extra-large mug.

My daughter gave me this extra-large mug. This week, I’ve put an extra shot of whiskey in it.

It’s been quite a couple of weeks. First, there was the awesome visit to the new motorsports stadium at Daytona International Speedway, which included a breakfast with the nieces and grand-nieces, then it was back to work writing all but the last 20,000 words of The Dark Mage of Lotus Hall.

Corrina Lawson, Daytona Speedway

Alas, this replica of a Sprint Cup car doesn’t have an engine. photo copyright Corrina Lawson

Then things kinda hit the fan.

My publisher, Samhain, announced that it would be closing.

The pertinent parts to readers: all my books are still up on all sites. SamhainPublishing.com itself, Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo. You can still buy them, though if you want a print copy, you may be out of luck there. They will be there for a little while longer, as Samhain doesn’t expect to close up shop for months yet.

What will happen next? The agent is handling getting my rights back and, damn, it feels good to have someone handling this for me. The head of Samhain Publishing sent out an email just yesterday, promising something hopeful coming and whether that means a cash infusion, takeover by a big publisher, or something more than that, I have no idea.

At this point, I want all my rights back, so I can choose the future of my stories but, who knows, by Friday, I might have changed my mind. In the meantime, those shots of whiskey in my tea at night have helped a great deal. 🙂 It helps that I have 3 unpublished manuscripts to sell.

Also changing is the status of my non-fiction career. GeekMom.com is merging with GeekDad.com to create the premiere Geek Parenting site on the web. We’ll be fully integrated into GeekDad’s post feed but for those wishing for a GeekMom only experience, there will be a way to get that.

Plus, spiffy new site design for EVERYONE. ::tosses confetti::

Oh, hey, did I mention I’m going to Comic Con International in San Diego this summer for the first time ever! My press application was approved. Bucket list item to be checked off.

In the meantime, enjoy the article I wrote about season 2 of Marvel’s Agent Carter and Wynonna Earp, the new television show coming from Syfy Channel that I’m stoked about.

mugs

My mom gave me this one. 🙂 photo by Corrina Lawson.

Good evening! Today’s tea is Assam Loose Leaf because I needed serious caffeine.I’m off Thursday-Monday to Daytona Beach for a press junket to tour the new Daytona Speedway facility and witness the Daytona 500 for the first time, so there was much preparation to accomplish.

Still, there was time for fun. The youngest boy and I headed to the local mall for his last day of a short winter school break and we feasted on Wetzel’s pretzel bites. (We have tried other brands and Wetzels are the best.)

We picked up a bargain book at Barnes & Noble for $9.98 about the worst decision in history. Hah! Perhaps it will be a positive influence on the boy? I also picked a few items up from Sears’ Land’s End clearance sale because their clothes are comfy and last a long time.

Of course, still writing. Passed 42,000 words on The Dark Mage of Lotus Hall. I lost a few words  as I revised from my original intent. I also had to ponder the wisdom of having too much happen at once and decided to spread it out just a bit. (Should I crash that flying car? Would that be too mean?) Anyway, that much murder and mayhem in the space of six hours was overboard, even for me. I must find some space for sexytimes!

Also, I seemed to have renamed the young daughter of the Duke from Beatrix/Trixie to Anne. Hmm….

In the meantime, enjoy the reviews of last week’s DC Comics, in which I gush about The Legend of Wonder Woman series and lament the return of the ultra-grim unhappy Batman, and my Agent Carter recap from last week.

Next week, I promise many photos of my trip to Daytona Beach and my view of the Daytona 500 race!

“Chrome-wheel fuel injected and steppin’ out over the line….”

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