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New House

We've been in the new house 2 weeks now.

I spent the better part of 5 days working on an edit pass, so I lost some time, but at least at this point, the kitchen and my closet is shaping up.   We're hanging pictures today, and -most- of the workmen have come and gone.

(The previous owner left a lot of work undone. There were some pretty bad things in the inspection, plus some really inconvenient things...so in the last week I've had:

--gutters cleaned (they were disgusting!) and repaired (there were downspouts that had come off and the owner hadn't bothered to put them back up.)
--gutter guards put on (because this is a high tree level area)
--5 trees removed and stumps ground
--three ceiling fans replaced (one made a grinding sound and another had exposed wires)
--junction put in the range (the wires were just hanging there loose).
--two toilets replaced, water heater checked and a leak fixed, two showerheads replaced (she had weird filters on them), loose tub handle fixed, tank tightened, and a disattached drain plug set back in.
--sprinkler guys out to fix broken sprinklers
--security system guy out (first visit)
--water access trap in the front yard (which was filled with mud) cleaned out and a lid put on it
--exterminator for bugs
--exterminator for rodents (2 separate visits)

She gave us 3K to take care of repairs, but that won't cover all of this.  Also, we still have 3 fixtures that need replacement, but that won't be done until mid-November, and the security guy has to come to hook up/install the monitored smoke alarms.

I hope to complete car registration early this week and get my license, and then I'll be mostly done with home repairs.  Things are starting to get straightened out, but we've still got a long way to go in some of the rooms.

But the kitchen is now usable, at least...


While working around the house for the last week, I've been catching the first season of Sense8.

It started off slow, and then took off after a couple of episodes.  I do have to say that I wasn't sure of some of the main characters' names for a while. I remember thinking of Wolfgang as "Bogdan" until about episode 9.  I don't know why, as I haven't seen any other reviewers mention that, but that was the case for me....

Overall, I think I have a new favorite series.

I will warn people that there's a lot of sex and nudity in this one, and that may make them uncomfortable.  I completely understand why the sex is included, although it may take a while for some viewers to get that. And there's that scene in the symphony in ep 10 (?)  which I could have lived without. Yeah, I know why it's there, and you had to include all 8, but I think that for that one scene, they gave me too much detail.  And finally, there is violence, although certainly not anything near the level of the violence on a lot of other series.

So what did I think beyond that?  I'll put that behind the cut for spoilers:
Read more...Collapse )

Watching TV.

Yesterday I tried out a few new TV series, thinking I will watch them over the summer/fall.

Here's my verdict:
Killjoys, Ep 1...Nice. Pretty people, which isn't really my thing, decent sfx, story line looks episodic with some overarcing elements. Hmm. May watch some more of this, but don't feel 'compelled' to do so. Favorite Character? Old bounty hunter lady.

Dark Matter, Ep 1...Full of trope. Pretty people, again. However, the story line is working with memory and personality, which I find interesting enough to watch some more (after I finish edits, though.) Favorite Character? One.

Defiance, Ep 1-2...Nice. More realistic people assortment, which I appreciate. Story line isn't bad. I like the post-attempted-terraforming (although can it actually be called 'terra' forming if they're making it less like Terra?) story backdrop. Lots of potential. The randomness of the foreign language use is annoying me, though. If the white people (I don't know the name of their species) speak one language at home, then they should speak it at home -all the time-, not just when the subtitle writers feel like typing. Firefly did a much better job of having the foreign words fall naturally into conversation. Since this season is free on Amazon, I'll probably continue to watch it while on my dinner breaks. Favorite Character? Smart-mouthed doctor.


Surgical Menopause Update--TMI ahead

Today marks six months since my doctor sliced open my belly, removed a couple of pounds of stuff, and sewed me back up.  FWIW, I've healed well from the physical injury, although it wasn't fun there for a few weeks.  (Abdominal surgery is a great writer's tool, by the way. It allows the victim to, for a few days only, understand what it must feel like to be in chronic pain or eighty years old--your choice.)

Because of the particular surgery I had, I was plunged from normal (according to my blood tests) levels of estrogen to pretty much none. Full menopause sudden onset.

I had hoped that I would be able to deal with the side effects of that, so I told my doctor I would try going without hormone replacement therapy. However, the side effects were too annoying for me to put up with when I knew that I could eliminate them, for the most part.  I am using the word annoying there, because as far as symptoms go, mine weren't terrible.

Cut below to spare the TMI.

Cut to spare the TMICollapse )


Cover Reveal: Dreaming Death (Feb 2016)

As I've been given permission by my editor, I can now show you -all- of my pretty cover, not just a snippet like I did a couple of weeks ago.

So without further ado:


In the Novels of the Golden City, J. Kathleen Cheney created a “mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) realm where magic, history, and intrigue combine. Now, she presents a new world ruled by psychic talents and fatal magic...

Shironne Anjir's status as a sensitive is both a gift and a curse. Her augmented senses allow her to discover and feel things others can’t, but her talents come with a price: a constant assault of emotions and sensations has left her blind. Determined to use her abilities as best she can, Shironne works tirelessly as an investigator for the Larossan army.

A member of the royal family's guard, Mikael Lee also possesses an overwhelming power—he dreams of the deaths of others, sometimes in vivid, shocking detail, and sometimes in cryptic fragments and half-remembered images.

But then a killer brings a reign of terror to the city, snuffing out his victims with an arcane and deadly blood magic. Only Shironne can sense and interpret Mikael’s dim, dark dreams of the murders. And what they find together will lead them into a nightmare...


Once again, I have to say that the art department at Ace/Roc does an amazing job! Thanks, guys!!!!

Also, my editor, Jessica Wade, worked hard to get the cover to capture the feel of the story. She asked for pictures and ran ideas past me, which was really amazing. I would -never- have thought to do this kind of cover, which is why I rely so heavily on them for this. It turned out beautiful, and I LOVE it.  Thank you so much, Jessica, for getting it right!

And the book is available for preorder on Amazon, although not the other retailers so far.  It will be coming out in February, and everyone will need a book to cuddle up with then...so it won't hurt you to preorder now.  (And I'd really like that, as well.)

Also, it's blue!


ETA: If you'd like to read an earlier story about Shironne, hop over to my Free Fiction page and find "Touching the Dead".

Some thoughts on aging...

Different people age differently.

What's my main issue with aging?  My eyes.

But not really.

I'm naturally near-sighted, but have worn contacts since I was 15. I hate glasses. I will not have Lasix because my prescription keeps changing. That would be throwing money away.

My current contact lenses are adjusted for distance, forcing me to wear reading glasses after I've been working for a while.  By the time evening rolls around, my eyes are tired enough that I can't read small print or see fine detail without 1.75 glasses.

So it's not completely an aging issue. It's also a prescription choice.

But here's one of the things that most younger people don't think about (unless they have vision issues.):

I cannot do a mani-pedi.

When I'm in my shower (no contacts) I can hold up my hands and see my fingernails clearly, but  I cannot see detail on my feet (and really can't hold them as close to my face as I can my hands.)  This also has ramifications for leg-shaving, by the way.

Once I'm out of the shower and put in my contact lenses, I can see my feet well enough, but can no longer see detail on my fingernails.  So once my contact lenses are in, my nail polish won't stay inside the lines.

What's my point?

Well, remember that aunt who had that funny hair growing out of her chin? Or the old uncle who had dirt under his fingernails. Or the cousin with funky feet?

They may not be able to see those issues (and may not be able/willing to pay someone to do it). Don't point it out, just cut them some slack.

And if you're writing older characters, remember that some of the older ones should have vision issues.

Friday Catch-up + Tiny Snippet

I've rearranged my office finally, but since I haven't hung any of my art yet, I don't have any pictures.

Despite the clean office, I'm taking a couple of hours to work in the bagel cafe, since it's raining.  Rain is Alwyn's favorite weather, so he's constantly pestering me to go outside.  By pestering I mean barking. Loudly and near-continually.  :;sighs::

So I've come to the cafe to do a quick blog post and get to work.

I'm currently working on The Sins of the Fathers, the sequel  to Dreaming Death. Unfortunately, when Shironne goes down to live in the Fortress, she can't describe it for the reader. She's blind, so it's a real challenge for me to describe the place.

Tiny snippet:

So she allowed Tabita to lead her out into that first vast area--the commons. According to Mikael, the Fortress was very bland, with gray walls, gray floors, and glowing ceilings that provided the light within its depths. The walls held no paintings or tapestries, no wallpaper. There were, in a few places, geometric designs painted in shades of gray that were meant to give the unruly minds of children something to think about. It was commonplace to Mikael, nothing worth noticing.

To Shironne it was different, a place where breezes blew oddly clean air about. Where the walls sang to themselves, air and water moving through them like a human's veins. Legend claimed that the Fortress was alive, and she believed it.

Various and Sundry

Once again, I haven't been around much here.  I've been working on proposals, which my agent finally OKayed yesterday.  I hate writing proposals with a passion, and I'm under far less stress now that I'm done with them.  (Seriously, this process takes me months.)
I'm supposed to be working on The Sins of the Fathers, the sequel to Dreaming Death, until the DD edits come in (expected near the end of the month.)  Because it was partially written, I already have down almost 90K.  I'll actually end up cutting more than I keep, I suspect.

Also, it's kinda scary to be writing this, since there's no contract out there.  In other words, I may not sell this one to Penguin, If they don't bite (meaning if my sales of previous books aren't good enough), then I won't be able to sell it to anyone else since Penguin holds the rights to DD.  That's they way contracts tend to work.  So I'm working on something that I may sell, or I may end up self publishing farther down the line.  Ah, well.
I'm stuck at home today since a workman showed up here unexpectedly.  They actually called and set up a time to come last Monday...but then no one showed.  After making inquiries, I found out that they didn't even have the materials in the warehouse, and so the manager didn't even know why someone had called to set the appointment.  Quite annoying.  He told me that they actually expected the merch in on Friday, and that someone would call to set up an appt then.  No one ever called, so I assumed that the merch didn't arrive.

Today as I was leaving the house to go to the bagel cafe to work, I spotted a truck pulling into my neighborhood.  I waited, and it stopped in front of my house.  It was the gutter guy.

No one had called to warn me. No email or text.  They were just lucky I hadn't left a minute or two earlier.

The Hugos.  Don't want to talk about it. Trying not to read any more about it. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Friday Fill-in-the-Blank:

When I'm reading, I'm most likely to skip/skim _____________________.

The countdown has officially begun...

...to the release of Book 3, The Shores of Spain on July 7.

And I know it's official because yesterday afternoon, I got my ARCs.

So that makes it official official.

The Mass Market paperback of The Seat of Magic also comes out the same day, and eventually I hope in the UK and Europe.  I know that's when the MM of The Golden City hit foreign shelves...a couple of weeks after the US release.

That means 4 months until the series is closed out.

Because of the double book drop, I'm beginning to send out bookmarks to people willing to drop them on swag tables at various cons, or put a few in their library. 10982493_10206248018222403_2845584311878409762_n

So if you're heading to a cool con in the next 3 months and are willing to put out a few, let me know and I can mail some to you.

And I'm working on Book 5 right now, tentatively named The Sins of the Fathers. There are already about 300 pages written, but since one story facet was edited out of Dreaming Death, that will actually drop that down to about 200, giving me some wiggle room to get the book wrapped up.

So the next 4 months will be full of crazy....scary crazy.

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