Thursday, April 25, 2013

CANCELLED - Albuquerque book signing for Tango Sunday

I'm sad to announce that due to severe illness in Janet's immediate family, the May 1st book signing in Albuquerque has been CANCELLED. Please send good thoughts to Janet, her husband, and their family. 

I'm making my first trip to Albuquerque since we moved to Tucson over 2 1/2 years ago, and it's for a very good reason. I'm joining Janet K. Brennan at Bookworks to sign copies of Tango Sunday.

This will be fun! I enjoyed living in Albuquerque for over 7 years. I even made it the setting -- along with Chaco Canyon -- for my novel Struck. Now I'm excited to return for a very short visit next week, and I hope some of my Albuquerque friends will come out to Bookworks to say howdy. I'll be reading a segment from my short story, "Final Vision," which is my contribution to Janet Brennan's collection of "tales on the edge."

I've always had good feeling about being the guest author in this collection, and reading all the incredible stories in Tango Sunday made me even happier that I participated. The title Tango Sunday and the sub-title "tales on the edge" are both very appropriate. Each story in the collection dances boldly and gracefully along the border between everyday life and what's just beyond the edge. It's very fun to read!

The signing is at Bookworks in Albuquerque (4022 Rio Grande NW) at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May 1st. If you're local to Albuquerque, please come see us!

So there was no book signing, but Tango Sunday is definitely worth a look. It's different and fun. CLICK HERE to check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Standing Man -or- The Saga of My Sore Butt

I'm taking a stand against my office chair and becoming a standing man. I've been reading about standing desks for a couple years, waiting to see if it was a fad or a smart trend. In the meantime, my butt suffered from long hours in the chair, and I struggled from time to time with lower back pain. I tried a few things to alleviate the problem.
  • I tried standing and/or walking around regularly. I read that this was a smart practice for office workers, but I like my work habit of total immersion for long periods. Interrupting my creative flow for the sake of my butt and back wasn't a great fix for me. 
  • I tried taking my laptop to different places to work (couch, outside, kitchen counter,...), but I like working in my office. 
  • I bought a better chair with a better seat design. It didn't help, so I bought a fancy gel cushion for the better chair. My back side continued complaining. 
  • I bought a knee chair and switched back and forth from office chair to knee chair. That actually helped for some time, but I ultimately wheeled the knee chair into the closet because it was a bit awkward and my legs were stiff after getting up from it. 
  • I considered gaining 50 pounds or so, figuring some of that added mass would find its way to my admittedly bony butt, but it didn't seem like a healthy choice. Okay, I really didn't seriously think about that one. :)  
So that's the saga of my sore butt so far. Now on to the next chapter, becoming a standing man. Standing desks can be pricey, but I found a nice looking one online for a very reasonable cost. I assembled it and hung it on the wall yesterday, and I already like using it. It's easy to transition back and forth, especially while my body is getting used to all the standing. I pick up the laptop, turn 90 degrees, and sit at my regular desk. Here's a photo.

I love the gel mat I purchased in anticipation of this change. We have concrete floors, so I figured I'd need some cushioning for the sake of my feet and joints. I'll transition slowly, experiment with the length of time I spend at each desk, and make modifications as needed (I already know I want to add a little stool so I can prop one foot or the other on it from time to time), but I hope to report great success with my workplace addition. So far, I'm quite happy with things as they now stand. hehehe

Monday, April 15, 2013

The "North Patio"

On a completely non-horror, non-writer note, we're almost done transforming the north mess of our back yard into the new and vastly improved "North Patio." We dreamed about doing this because it was ugly and highly visible to us while enjoying the other, more pleasant parts of our yard. We know a good contractor (who I now deem a great contractor), explained what we wanted, and he made it happen in about 3 weeks. Then we got to work moving rocks, planting trees and shrubs and flowers, and generally sprucing up the yard. Now we're in very good shape and so is our back yard. For your viewing pleasure, some before/after pictures.

What we saw vs. what we now see standing by the pool

From wasted space to our new favorite spot to eat meals

Old vs. new view from the hot tub

What a difference!

Still some work to go to finish it off, but looking good

Our artistic addition: "The Face"