Thursday, September 19, 2013

MOVING HOUSE

This blog is moving! Don't worry, from now on, you can read all about the trials and travails of writing, cat wrangling, and trying not to catch myself on fire while baking pies at www.alexandra-duncan.com

On the way to home

Friday, September 6, 2013

ARCs

Today, I got home from work and found a box on our dining room table. A box that contained. . .

ARCs!

Here is a list of the five best thing about my ARCs.

1) They smell like REAL BOOKS!!! I spent several minutes with my nose in the box just smelling them, like a weirdo. 

2) They have a release date on the spine.

3) I can touch them and hold them in my hands.

4) They are beautiful.

5) I can start planning an ARC giveaway.

More to come!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

RELEASE DATE!

Things are getting real. I have an official release date for Salvage - April 1, 2014! And you know what that means . . .  GIF PARTY TIME!!!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

CHOPPING DOWN THE TREE OF LOVE

I know I haven't posted anything in a while, but we're going to ignore that and skip right to the part of this post where I tell you about how today I tried to chop down a tree to distract myself from the horrible stomach virus/food poisoning* thing that is happening to my stomach.

Our house stands on an unusually heavily-wooded lot, which is awesome, because we get to spot all kinds of bird and squirrel antics and make funny voices for them while they run around doing stereotypical squirrel things like being terrified or carrying nuts in their mouths. What is not so awesome is that every time I look up at the majestic oak trees towering above our house, I become convinced that a freak hurricane will blow through and use them to crush us in our beds. Lavender bushes are much safer. A lavender bush never killed anyone.

I have enough of a sense of self-preservation to know that I can't try to chop down the giant oak trees all over our yard. I'm aware that my fear of being crushed to death by a falling tree isn't entirely rational, and I genuinely love being surrounded by their natural beauty. But that didn't mean I couldn't do something about the two to three-year-old saplings our home's former owners - a sweet, middle-aged lesbian couple who, during the real estate closing, joined the chorus of strangers asking Jeremy and me why we don't have kids yet - inexplicably planted within three feet of each other, the fence, and several other well-established trees in our front yard. Every time I looked at those saplings, they baffled me. Why did the former owners plant them so close together? There was no way they could both thrive in those conditions, and they were only going to end up damaging the house and fence as their root structures spread. I chalked it up to ill-advised tree enthusiasm, which I have been guilty of myself.

So, this afternoon, I needed a distraction from the feeling that I had swallowed a live snake made of lead, and I decided that digging up one of the two saplings would be preferable to dwelling on my intestinal woes. I got the shovel and started trying to unearth the tree's already-impressive root structure. After several minutes of hitting roots as big around as my arm, I decided it might make more sense to chop down the tree. I retrieved the axe - which I think is actually meant for splitting logs, not chopping down baby trees - from the wood pile and discovered several things.

1) Chopping down a tree is hard, even if it's a relatively young tree, because you have to hit the trunk with the axe in the same place over and over again. This is even harder when you're paranoid about chopping off your toes. And when your axe isn't the right kind of axe. Let's just say Anne Boleyn should be glad not to have had me as her executioner.

2) I feel some bizarre form of liberal guilt over chopping down trees, even if it's for the long-term good of all the neighboring trees and the house and fence. I blame this on my second-grade teacher reading The Lorax to our class.

3) Physical labor and gastrointestinal distress are not a good combination.

3) Chopping down a tree may look like an excellent way to reduce stress, but not if your internal monologue goes something like, Dammit, ANOTHER frickin' root! What the hell? This tree isn't going anywhere! The roots are all tangled up together. What the hell is wrong with the people who planted these things? Didn't they think about how the trees would grow and their root systems would intertwine, and maybe even the trees would grow into each other and become one tree as they got older?

And that's when it occurred to me that I live in Grand Hippie Central and the former residents might have been trying to do exactly that - plant the two trees close together so that their roots would intermingle and they would fuse together into one larger tree in a touching statement about love and commitment and family.

And then I felt really, really guilty. Not only about the half chopped-down tree, but about being such a dick about the trees being close together during my internal monologue, when all the while they were a beautiful metaphor flying miles over my head.

But not guilty enough that I didn't take Jeremy up on his offer to finish chopping down the tree. I'm all about some beautiful metaphors, but I'm also about not having structural damage to our house.

*I really don't know which it is. There's been a stomach virus going around at work, but then again, I ate something that involved "chipotle mayo" for Sunday brunch.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

DYSTOPIAN AUGUST INTERVIEW

Author and blogger Lenore Appelhans has an interview with me up on her blog, Presenting Lenore, as part of her wonderful Dystopian August series. I'm a few days late posting this link because of the general chaos that has descended over my life during the last two weeks, but I was so excited and honored to take part.

I got the chance to talk about SALVAGE, so if you want to be tortured by small bits of information about the book, please go read the interview. Lenore gave me some great questions, including my favorite, "What fictional character from another book would your character choose as his/her best friend and why?" and the one I most dreaded, "If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?" This is one of those questions I've occasionally seen asked of other authors in interviews, and every time I hear it, my brain scrambles around like a headless chicken, trying to remember what music is and whether or not I like it. I can't help it. This question momentarily lobotomizes me. But I'm glad Lenore asked it, because she made me face my fear, and I think I came up with a relatively coherent answer.

In addition to interviews with other authors of upcoming books, Lenore also has book reviews and giveaways. If you're a lover of dystopian fiction and you're looking for your next book fix, check out Lenore's blog all month long.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

HONESTY

I have a vlog post up about making time for writing and life over on the Friday the Thirteeners blog. We're playing Truth or Dare over there, and this week I took a Truth. It has me thinking about honesty, so today I've decided to lay it all out there.

I've had some really wonderful things happen lately - my husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last Monday, part of my advance arrived, my husband found a full-time job, and The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2012, edited by Rich Horton, comes out today.

Year's Best includes my novella "Rampion," about love, tragedy, and witchcraft during the fall of the Umayyad caliphate in 11th century Spain. I'm thrilled to have my writing in such good company. Two of my literary idols, Kelly Link and Margo Lanagan, also have stories in the anthology, as well as my friend Theodora Goss.

At the same time, we've had car trouble, student loan trouble, and a slew of relatives visiting all summer long. On top of that, my grandmother is very ill. All of these things have culminated in me missing work and writing time, and coming down with a nasty cold. I would love to simply celebrate all of the good things happening, but I'm feeling a little "like butter scraped over too much bread."

I think I could shrug all of these other things off, if it weren't for my grandmother's sickness. Though she's receiving palliative care now, she's been in pain and declining health for a long time. And while I'm not depressed or anything so serious, it is hard to celebrate these other things while this is happening to her.

I sometimes feel bad posting unhappy items on this blog, as if I'm burdening any readers with my own morose thoughts. It also feels as if I'm being ungrateful by complaining when so many good things are happening to me. And believe me, I'm happy about these good things in my life, but I'd be lying if I omitted the bad.

And now I'm going to go eat some chicken soup and knock myself out with cold medicine. Things always look better in the morning.