What a Wild Spring! (pic heavy)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! We’re a little over a week into summer, and I’ve barely posted any updates this year. I was silent for pretty much all of spring, with the giant exception of my publishing news, so I wanted to catch you up real quick.

Spring started with the birth of my niece, who I absolutely adore:

Sophie3

Hubs and I spent a week visiting her, her extremely tired parents, and Mt. Vernon, where we made a new friend:

MtV
It was a windy day!

And for two months everything went back to normal. I read/listened to a bunch of books: The Vicious Deep series by Zoraida Cordova (I’d already read this series, but re-read it this spring), A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (I liked it until the ending, which was just disappointing for me), Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja (TWICE! I listened to the audiobook and it was so hilarious and I started it over and listened again!), The Paper Magician triology by Charlie Holmburg (Emery <3), The Seafarer’s Kiss by my agent-sister Julia Ember (f/f Little Mermaid/Vikings!), Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (which quickly became my FAVORITE BOOK EVER! It’s so beautifully written and feminist af), Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor, When Dimple Met Rishi by one of my real-life BFFs Sandhya Menon (the most adorable meet-cute you’ll ever read <3), The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (if you haven’t heard of this one, well I just can’t help you), and Our Dark Duet also by V.E. Schwab (that last chapter, guys, oof).

Now I’m listening to Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley (sequel to The Rook, which I enjoyed), reading The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes in paperback, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor in ebook. Why yes, I do read multiple things at the same time.

For much of the spring I was also working on editing StO into a YA, but that’s no longer necessary because Reuts bought it as an adult book! I actually found out about it the day before I left for NYC, and you can read all about that here. If you haven’t already, you can add SPEAK THE OCEAN to your Goodreads TBR list!

And the next day I left for NYC! It was overwhelming and awesome and I can’t wait to go back! We saw The Colbert Report and Waitress (with Sara Bareilles <3), ate at Delmonicos, Lupa, Russ and Daughters, and this amazing, tiny, Trini place called Trinidad Golden Palace (it was actually my favorite food of the whole trip!). We also wandered around the city and met up with one of my CPs, Natasha Razi!

Right before the trip I dyed my hair bright magenta with blonde streaks. I wanted to look like my mermaid Erie (she’s on the Home page, if you’re curious)

And last but not least, my mom got her new kidney! I’m going to see her in July, and my niece will be there too, so I’m sure I’ll be back with another photo-heavy post 🙂 Until then it’s time to finish editing Fie Eoin before I get my StO edit letter! MY FIRST OFFICIAL EDIT LETTER FROM AN EDITOR!

excited
Me being super excited on the subway after WAITRESS!

You Can Add SPEAK THE OCEAN to Goodreads!

Hello again, Aledan Merfolk! It’s a big week around here (if you missed yesterday’s post, StO is going to be PUBLISHED!), and shortly after the announcement yesterday, a Goodreads Librarian made a page for Speak the Ocean! Which means you can add it to your TBR and it’ll email you when it’s published!

Check it out here: SPEAK THE OCEAN

Speak the Ocean is going to be PUBLISHED!

Happy Wednesday, Aledan MERFOLK! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I haven’t updated because I haven’t been able to talk about the most exciting thing: SPEAK THE OCEAN is going to be published by Reuts!

fireworks

Haven’t heard of SPEAK THE OCEAN yet? Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:

Mermaids and Margaritas for everyone!

I actually found out the day before we left for our NYC trip (I know I still haven’t posted pictures from the trip…I’ve been kind of overwhelmed). I finished my work a couple hours early, went to the bathroom, and BAM! A text from my agent asking me to call him. That’s right, friends, I found out I was going to be published in the bathroom (this is why I didn’t call you immediately, Eric) ^_^

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind, but I spoke with my editor and signed the contract on Monday!

Signing

Why yes, that is a MERPONY t-shirt that says “I couldn’t get anymore magical if I tried.”

I’ll have more details later, like publication dates and whatnot, so make sure you follow the blog, my Facebook Page, or Twitter to keep up to date!

I’m an Auntie!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated you, and if you follow me on Twitter you know why. There’s been a lot going on, but I’m here today to tell you about the best of it:

Meet my niece, Sophie!

Sophie3

I have never been a baby person, but I AM IN LOVE <3 We spent last weekend with her, and the only time I put her down was when Hubs begged to hold her instead (he is also in love).

Here, have some more pictures:

We also spent some time with college friends, toured the Smithsonians, and hung out with the animals at Mount Vernon, but tiny Sophie was by far the best part of the weekend and I miss her so much already <3

Now that we’re home, I’m back on the editing train! It’s been a month since I’ve done any really good writing stuff (I’ve mostly been reading in preparation for editing), so it’s nice to be back on the horse pony (dolphin?) 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans. I’m going to spend mine Skyping with my sister and niece!

A “Short” Update of Writing and Reading and Yoga

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! This is going to be a quick update, because I’ve got a cold that’s turning my brain fuzzy, but I wanted to let you know that I finished STORY FIX and figured out how to fix the Kaye parts of Fie Eoin! I know who her antagonist is (it’s not who you’d guess), and I’ve started rewriting her half of the book with this in mind (which is also aging her voice up, which was desperately needed).

Of course then this cold hit and fuzzed up my brain, AND my agent-sister Erica Cameron had a book birthday on Tuesday, so I’ve put aside FE for a moment to read ISLAND OF EXILES. This book is so beautiful. Every chapter has artwork in the heading, and the glossary has artwork, and the cover is simply gorgeous! The writing’s good too 😉

IslandChapOne
Look how beautiful that is!

Instead of listening to an audiobook lately, I’ve been getting ready for bed with the Sleep With Me podcast (based on the recommendation of another agent-sister, Bassey). I really like the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, because Hubs and I have been re-watching the show for the past year and a half (usually only one or two episodes a week, which is why it’s taking so long).

I’m happy to say that last week I did yoga four times! I wanted to keep that up this week, but if I did downward-facing-dog right now three pounds of snot would run onto my mat, so I’m going to wait until this cold is done to pick that back up. Yoga with Adriene has a 30-day yoga primer that starts with an Ease Into It session and gets progressively more difficult. I really like the instructor, and needed to start out with something easier, so I’m enjoying these sessions a lot.

This quick updated ended up being a little longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to stop here and go buy some more cold medicine. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and I’ll see you soon!

Science Tuesday: January 2017

Happy Tuesday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a Science Tuesday, but since I’m focusing on science activism this year, I thought it was time to start it up again. I’m posting tons of science news from the past month, so get ready to have your mind blown by awesomeness.

Incubation times for some dinosaur eggs stretched into months

Second type of dark matter may have once existed in early universe

NASA may house astronauts on Mars in advanced igloos

Geologist may have found fossil of ancient reptile

Scientists seek answers about Earth’s earliest years

A look at how connectomes work

Gut membrane reclassified as organ

Off switch devised for CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system

Ancient cross etched near older menorah carving in Israel cave

Songbirds experiencing mating woes as urban development grows

Ocean ecosystems detailed in new 3D map

Tiny worm species starts life as a “swimming head”

Study compares mortality rate in adults born to mothers with, without diabetes

Distant dwarf galaxy source of recurring radio bursts, researchers say

Bizarre asteroids focus of 2 new NASA missions

Purple rocks on Mars linked to mineral

Ancient shark-like creature related to mysterious modern chimaeras

Researchers show how carbon atoms can break 4-bond rule

Mediterranean diet may stave off brain shrinkage

1.7% of patients become long-term opioid users, study finds

Huge quantity of black holes seen in X-ray image taken by space observatory

Ancient, rare berry fossil found in Patagonia

Scientists use high-tech techniques to reconstruct face of ancient man

Massive iceberg close to breaking off from Antarctic ice shelf

Infants’ early introduction to peanuts could prevent allergies later

Device allows safer insertion of softer nanoelectrodes into brain

Study finds no link between inadequate vitamin D in infancy, food allergy

Stars on track to collide in about 5 years

Strong, light structures created with graphene

Great Barrier Reef’s past holds lessons for today

Pathogen that caused Irish potato famine started in South America

Hagfishes’ loose skin can protect them from shark bites

Microbes linked to endometrial cancer, could help screen for disease

Several objects hit Earth, creating moon from moonlets

Hubble looking at interstellar clouds with eye toward future missions

New negatively charged hydrogen clusters created in lab

Higher levels of shellfish toxin seen when ocean temperatures rise

Silicon may be among elements found in Earth’s core

Study associates prenatal antacid intake, increased asthma risk

Comets detected flying toward star in the Beta Pictoris Moving Group

Exoplanet may be causing shadow in disk surrounding star

Wounds may one day be stitched with artificial spider silk

Wings of huge ancient goose built for fighting, not flying

Physical components needed for speech may have evolved earlier than thought

Strange digestive tract keeps leggy sea spider’s blood circulating

Stem-cell procedure restores vision in blind mice

Pain-signaling protein also triggers relief

Childhood secondhand smoke exposure may increase miscarriage risk

Protein found in bacteria can act like a prion

Predatory behavior triggered in mice when brains stimulated by laser light

World’s tightest knot created by chemists in UK

Mysterious Planet Nine may have come from another solar system

Study reveals moon is 4.51 billion years old

Atari game system gets the best of neuroscientists

Consumed planet, not aliens, caused star’s strange dimming

Harvester ants soften large seeds by letting them germinate

Researchers examine how earwax works

Number of ring-tailed lemurs in wild drops 95% since 2000

Geologists uncover details about supercontinents

Japanese spacecraft spots massive gravity wave over Venus

Oxygen levels briefly high enough to support complex life 2.3B years ago

Formerly mated leopard shark now produces offspring asexually

Researchers identify genes behind false thumbs on giant, red pandas

Common leopards heading higher in Tibetan mountains

Compound can block old blood’s aging effects in brain

Researchers examine efficacy of wearables to predict diseases

Babies learn language very early

Machine learning algorithm can predict quantum computer’s state

More countries to release bacteria-infected mosquitoes to fight dengue, Zika

Vampire bats widen their menu to include human blood

Turtle-shaped sunspot seen in ALMA radio telescope images

Cirrhosis risk higher for hospital patients with alcohol problems

Saturn moon Daphnis seen making waves in A ring

Curiosity’s latest Mars rock find likely a meteorite

It looks like 2016 has edged out 2015 as world’s warmest year

60% of primate species could soon be extinct

Traffic noise raises tree frogs’ stress levels

Mexico’s Colima volcano eruption recorded by webcam

3D-printed model helps researchers understand ancient portable sundial

Observing sun’s position helps ants navigate

Researchers developing polio vaccine that contains no live virus

Stronghold located in Scotland is from Dark Ages

Cell-like chemically active droplets may contain clues about origins of life

New Horizons on way to study Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69

Humans may have spurred extinction of Australia’s ancient megafauna

Caterpillar with leafy covering seen moving through Peruvian Amazon

Sedentary lifestyle may make cells age faster

Remains of ancient wolf-sized otter found in China

Solar system’s past uncovered in rare shards of early meteorites

Fear of death eased following out-of-body experience via VR

Masked hypertension may elevate heart disease risk

Hormone injections may help with sexual arousal

US cervical cancer mortality rates are underestimated

Researchers create bacteria with 2 additional letters in genetic code

Personality traits linked to brain wrinkles

Plasma accelerator may be key to studying information loss in black holes

Clusters of dwarf galaxies discovered

Cats likely have episodic memory

EPA told to stop new grants, contracts

Rats grow mouse pancreases in lab

Head ornamentation linked to larger dinosaurs

Evidence of plate tectonics seen on Charon

Measurement of kilogram to be redefined in 2018

Chimera embryos developed in sows for 28 days

Hydrogen transformed into metal under extremely high pressures

Interest growing for pro-science march in D.C.

Pilgrimages may have spread leprosy to medieval England

Study unlinking memories in mice could lead to PTSD treatments

Avian influenza’s geographic reach, diversity of strains could signal danger

Unique amber-encased insect should have its own order, researchers say

Rise in drug-resistant bacteria seen in China

Time crystals that move without energy developed

Ancient, rare meteorites were common over 466 million years ago

What makes something meaningful examined in study using LSD

Newly discovered Amazon reef seen in pictures from Greenpeace

Children with autism may benefit from microbiota transfer therapy

Researchers develop new canine influenza vaccines

Methane spikes may have kept ancient Mars warm enough for liquid water

Rocks may be concealing life on Mars

Oxygen in moon soil may have been picked up from Earth’s magnetosphere

Tiny sea creature is humans’ oldest ancestor

Researchers aim to improve wine through biotechnology

~~~~~

If you want to receive the same daily science emails I do, you can sign up for the Sigma Xi SmartBrief here.

Baby Showers and Activism

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a long, draining week that started in a tiny plane and running from one side of Dulles airport to the other with all my bags in three minutes, and ended with my neck and rib going out in an excruciatingly painful manner (probably because of said plane and running). The neck and rib are back in place and I made the connecting flight, so everything’s good, but I’m exhausted and ready for a weekend at home filled with reading, writing, and animals (and possibly another trip to the theater to see Rogue One).

Last weekend I flew home to Michigan for my little sister’s baby shower. Her belly was so big, and I got to feel my niece kick! It was wonderful <3 I saw lots of friends and family for the first time in years (the last time I saw most of them was my sister’s wedding), and we had a wonderful time celebrating this new little nasty woman while other women around the world were marching. We also played Catan and went to see Hidden Figures, which was the best way I could think to spend the day of the inauguration.

Ah, the inauguration. All week (hell, since the election), I’ve been drowning in politics. Several folks posted this article: How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind, and one of the points was to chose the issues that are most important to you and focus on those, otherwise you’ll drown trying to focus on everything. So I’ve chosen my issues: women’s reproductive rights (I set up monthly donations to Planned Parenthood last year), and science, especially now that the EPA and other government agencies are under a gag order. I’ll RT other causes to bring awareness, and do what I can, but I’m focusing on the two things that are most important to me at the moment.

In reading news, I finished possibly the best overall series I’ve ever read with MORNING STAR by Pierce Brown. I really can’t say enough amazing things about this series, especially considering the political climate we’ve found ourselves in. I also caught up on the Gentleman Bastards series with THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES which was possibly my favorite of the series because Sabetha is such a great character.

Other than the audiobooks, I’ve been reading STORY FIX to fix my stories. And it’s working! I figured out what’s wrong with Kaye’s storyline in Fie Eoin, but I haven’t successfully figured out how to fix it yet. I’m going to try to write a query for her side of the story to see where I can strengthen it and see if that helps me figure out how. She needs more conflict, and to tie into the core story more, but I’m not quite yet sure how to get there and keep what I need to happen in. Either way, I highly recommend Story Fix if you’re floundering with your novel.

Keep working, keep fighting, and enjoy your weekend, Aledans!

Me and my “sisters” celebrating little Nugget <3

Welcome to the new(ish) Mermaids and Margaritas!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! At the end of last year I told you Mermaids and Margaritas was moving to a new site, and here we are (same address, but self-hosted). Everything looks pretty similar to what it used to be, and everything should be moved over, but you’ll notice the colors aren’t so glaring and there’s some beautiful Erie artwork by Diana Beebe in the sidebar now (you can see the whole picture on the Home page).

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Hubs and I had a very low-key but lots-of-food season. We played a lot of video games and watched a lot of movies and read a few books. Since THE HATE U GIVE (which you have to read), I’ve read THE PURLOINED POODLE (an IRON DRUID CHRONICLES short story, from the POV of Oberon the Irish Wolfhound), RED RISING by Pierce Brown, and it’s sequel GOLDEN SON (OMG THAT ENDING!), and a CP book that I loved but can’t tell you about yet. I dnf-ed WINTERSONG – I liked the first half okay, but the second half was too slow for me and I wasn’t that invested. I started TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard and THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab.

So, it’s 2017. Last year was both amazing (I signed with an agent!) and horrible (election and then Hubs lost his job for a month). I have to confess, I haven’t done a damn thing writing-wise since November. I did write a little Yule/Ocean fluff scene (I wrote it on Yule, set during Yule, because that’s how I roll), but I haven’t done any actual work. It’s time to hop back on that pony and take the reins, so I’m reading STORY FIX by Larry Brooks to make a plan to get Fie Eoin in shape.

Guess what else I’m getting in shape? ME. I know, everyone’s doing that in January, but it’s really really time to actually stick to it. So no drinking on weekdays, yoga at least twice a week, and I need to get to some cardio (now’s the time to do it – it’s cool enough to run outside right now. Come summer I’ll have to get a gym membership to run or do it at like 3am so I don’t die of heat stroke). Have I mentioned how much I hate running? But I have audiobooks now, so I’m hoping that’ll work better than music. They even make cleaning the bathroom not so bad.

And that’s the beginning to 2017. Newish website. Newish Me. But as always: working on Fie Eoin 😉 Have a wonderful beginning to your new year, Aledans, and I’ll see you back here on Sunday for a gorgeous custom pony!

A very happy Boudin. Just because.

Moving to a New Website!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! This is just a quick note to say that this site might start looking a little wonky over the next few weeks as I move to a self-hosted site from the current one. I’ve done it before with my vet’s website, but the hosting site and wordpress have moved some things around since then, so it’s taking me a little bit longer to figure it out 🙂 Please be patient, and when I return I’ll have a beautiful custom pony to start the new blog off right!

Custom Holiday Pony of the Day: Christmas Sweater!

Happy Monday, Aledan Merfolk! We’re still celebrating the holidays with a new holiday-themed custom pony every day! Some of them are Hasbro ponies that have been given the holiday treatment, while others are full-on customs for the holidays. Today’s pony is wearing a permanent Christmas sweater and I love it!

holidaysweaterholly
Christmas Sweater, by Jupiternwndrlnd

Doesn’t she look cozy? I love the pattern and the candy-cane hair!

Did you miss the other holiday-themed customs? Catch up here!

If you have a pony that you would like featured as a Custom of the Week, please email me: rebeccaenzor@gmail.com