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Smokey says hello. photo by Corrina Lawson

Smokey says hello. photo by Corrina Lawson

Good morning!

A special Saturday edition of my updates, geared to the New England Romance Writers of America conference that I’m attending.

First, a link to the Blogging Isn’t Dead workshop presentation myself, Rhonda Lane, and Anna Bowling gave this morning at the conference. If you’re checking in after the workshop, thank you so much for coming!

Second, if you are checking in after the workshop, you might note that my personal blogging is rather sparse. That’s because most of my posts are up at GeekMom.Com and B&N SF/F.

And my personal note. We’ve added to our cat family. This little feral kitten is named Callie. She was only 2.8 pounds when we were able to capture her and she’s added considerable weight. She loves the food and warmth. She’s less wild about the dog and people petting her. Because she was a feral, the cuddling will take time. She’s camera shy but adorable.

photo by Corrina Lawson

photo by Corrina Lawson

 

 

Hot Cinnamon Spice

Hot Cinnamon Spice

This is a much delayed post.

As those of you who have been following me on Facebook know, my youngest son (17) has been seriously ill with a superbug GI infection that sent him into ICU for eight days and hospitalized him for over a month. He’s home now and all signs point to a full recovery.

But during that time, I feel behind on many things: writing, blogging, and reworking my website. And, of course, tea.

2017-01-30 07.08.05I drank a lot of Harney & Son’s Hot Cinnamon Spice tea while my son was in the hospital, as it was available at the hospital’s Au Bon Pan. I loved it. Between that and several tins of Harney & Son’s holiday tea that I bought on clearance at B&N, I just might have to allow it’s as good as any loose tea. (And quite a deal: $2 per tin of thirty bags each. We New Englanders love a bargain.)

I did manage to run away to Boston for a day to the PAX East gaming convention with the oldest son. As you can see, we weren’t alone:

The exhibition floor at PAX East. photo by Corrina Lawson

The exhibition floor at PAX East. photo by Corrina Lawson

I also reviewed several books, all of which I enjoyed, for B&N’s SF/F blog in February. I knew they must be good if they held my attention in the hospital. And I wrote about PAX East, mostly about laptops, and did my weekly comics reviews at GeekDad.com with Ray Goldfield.

What I didn’t do is figure out my publishing plan. My publishing, Samhain, has shut down, which means you can no longer buy my books. That will change in the coming months as I shift to self-publishing but that plan was naturally on hold while my son was so ill. See longer note on my books’ page.

But…forward now! Nothing but good times ahead.

 

 

 

photo-oct-04-9-32-10-amOne of these days, I must take a road trip to the Tea Guys headquarters over in Massachusetts. Until then, the Big Y supermarkets are carrying some of their best blends, including this new chai.

The ingredients list:

a blend of black teas, cinnamon, ginger, crystallized ginger, cardamom, cloves, flavors, peppercorn, star anise, and vanilla. 

What I can tell you is that it smells awesome (too bad we don’t have computer smell-o-vision) and tastes equally good.

In writing, the revisions on my various projects are going well, to the point where I may be able to start something brand new in November. Whether that will be work on putting together a self-publishing plan, writing a new novel, or maybe writing a screenplay or comics, I’m not certain as yet. We’ll see how the month shakes out.

As for this week, I’m off to New York Comic Con on Friday. Just for the day but it should be awesome, as I have a couple of DC Comics creator interviews set up and a list of people to stalk, er, find in Artist’s Alley.

 

 

sf-giveaway-lawson

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. To celebrate the end of summer, I’ve teamed up with more than 35 fantastic science fiction authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to 1 lucky winner!You can win my novel, Curse of the Brimstone Contract, plus books from authors like Brenda Hiatt and Anna Hackett!

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: bit.ly/fall-sci-fi

.Good luck, and enjoy!

loose tea

Our choices from Mystic’s lovely tea shop. Photo by Corrina Lawson

I spent Monday at Mystic Aquarium with the twins (17), mostly watching the Beluga whales swim around and say “hello” to the visitors. Ever since I read Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey, which teaches exactly how intelligent dolphins and their relatives are and then proceeds to tells how humanity slaughters and mistreats them, I’ve ambivalent at my joy in seeing the Belugas.

But Mystic’s Belugas were brought in as needing rescue, and they have one large tank all to themselves, and they’re only taught behaviors so the aquarium staff can monitor their health. All that helps.

The Belugas definitely seem to notice people, as the male sometimes stops at the underwater viewing area and looks directly at his visitors, the watched becoming the watcher.  He also once tapped the glass where I’d set my hand. I moved the hand and he tapped it again. Numerous times, I’ve also heard him vocalize to the crowd. I wish I knew what he was saying.

We also had time to watch the penguins, see various types of fish, including the always interesting rays, and attend the sea lion show. The show has evolved over the years from sea lions doing tricks to an educational-format where the tricks are used to teach people about sea lions.

Then it was time for downtown Mystic, an early dinner at Mystic Pizza (of course!) and a stroll to the shops, which includes a fabulous independent bookstore, Bank Square Books. My daughter found five books in a series that she’s been wanting to own, so we bought all of them.

The biggest find was the Spice and Tea shop. The 1,000 kinds of salt? (It seemed like that many…) Not interested. The tea? YES. They do mail orders, check out the web addy right on their packages.

As to the rest of my month? I’ve been busy writing a zillion blog posts, for Heroes & Heartbreakers, B&N SF/F and, of course, GeekMom and GeekDad.

The list:

My B&N SF/F author page. If you want, you can bookmark that to see my latest posts as they go up This month, it’s an interview with the creative team behind Monstress, one of this year’s best comics, an interview with Christopher Priest of Black Panther who’s now writing DC’s Deathstroke, and books I’d like to see turned into comics.

GeekMom/GeekDad: Again, the link will take you to all my articles. This month: the San Diego Zoo, my interviews with the cast of Wynonna Earp, a quick look at my encounter with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and what I believe would make the dream comic convention. Hint: it would look a ton like RWA National.

And, finally, a review I wrote of Chuck Wendig’s Invasive at Heroes & Heartbreakers, a review Wendig called his “favorite so far.” 🙂

Also, that erotica novella I’ve been working on? It’s about 17,000 words and only 1,000 from completion. It’s a menage S&M story, as the hero is Philip Drake from Phoenix Legacy, who still has some issues that he must overcome. (The research on this one was a trip and a half.)  In the end, it’s all about finding your family, whatever form that takes.

His name is Boogey and i wanted to bring him home with me. (Photo by Corrina Lawson)

His name is Boogey and i wanted to bring him home with me. (Photo by Corrina Lawson)

Cat Cafe

This guy was sleepy. (Photo by Corrina Lawson)

Cate Cafe San Diego

The King of the Cat Tree. He did not wish to be bothered, like many lions. 🙂 (photo by Corrina Lawson)

I’m home!

But not without 12 days of wonderful memories, of learning, of spending time with old and new friends, of the fabulous food of San Diego, and all those free drinks. (Note: When the public relations people want to woo the press at Comic Con, free booze is heavily involved.)

This visit to the Cat Cafe in San Diego came in between, on the Sunday that the national conference of the Romance Writers of America ended but before we moved into the “Dexter” house which would be our headquarters for Comic Con.

That Sunday was my first visit to a Cat Cafe and it was lovely. The first thing that was perfect is that their chai latte was suburb and at $3, cheaper than any of the local coffee/tea places. The second was the music piped into the cafe was a soothing balm for both cats and humans and just what I needed.

The cats, which are all adoptable through the Cafe’s partners, never had it so good with a room decorated to suit their needs. There was also a cat door to a backroom so they could scoot away from that annoying human interaction if desired. Of course, being cats, the bulk of them staked out their territory in that common room and, because it was mid-day, went to sleep.

Boogey, who liked ear scritches,was among two or three exceptions. (Had I not been on the other side of the county, Boogey might have come home with me.) The king of the place was the orange cat who took over the top of the cat tree and gave the side-eye (and sometimes an extended claw) to anyone who dared disturb his rest.

From there, Sunday was a whirlwind visit to the Horton Grand Hotel for brunch on their indoor patio, which also included bottomless mimosas with my fellow adventurer, Chris Merrill.  A trip to the Hotel Del Coronado with Chris and Kay Moore, who used to be a fellow moderator with me on the old cherry writing list, made the day extra special. I bought my husband new cufflinks at the Hotel, which said “Brave” and “True.”

And then we went to the Dexter AirBnB.

Chris deserves credit for that nickname, as she took one look around the place and its ceramic/cement flooring, its sparse decorations, its black and white design scheme, and pronounced it was one of those places where you could kill someone and clean it up easily. (We are writers. This is what we do. I’m sure the Dexter house will show up in a book of mine down the line.)

One complaint: the mugs were far too small for my required tea consumption in the morning. I had to pull out the travel mug given out at the Day of YA at RWA. (Thank you, Young Adult chapter of the RWA!)

We spent a lovely couple of days in quiet before our other two roommates arrived on Wednesday. Two things became clear in this quiet. One, I was so used to trying to cram all my work into just a couple of hours that when I had five or six hours available without interruption, it felt like the ultimate of luxuries. Two, I multi-task unconsciously. While I was making French Toast on Wednesday morning, I also emptied the dishwasher. Why? Because I’ve learned never to do just one thing in the kitchen or else nothing gets done. (The French Toast turned out wonderfully, Chris said. I thought so too.)

A Diana Prince drink from the Searsucker restaurant. It features hot pepper tequila. One of the few drinks I paid for. (Photo by Corrina Lawson.)

A Diana Prince drink from the Searsucker restaurant. It features hot pepper tequila. One of the few drinks I paid for. (Photo by Corrina Lawson.)

On Wednesday afternoon, Comic Con began! More on that next week.

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! 🙂

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!

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.

 

 

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