I'm now back home, having safely survived Christmas. We had a fairly traditional Christmas at our house, with presents in the morning, a ham for lunch and Firefly/Serenity viewing in the evening. I will point out that it was my dad who put Serenity in the DVD player. I was not pushing viewing choices. I even had plenty of alternatives. We've watched Firefly-related stuff every Christmas or Christmas Eve since 2002, to the point that Jayne seems to be more a part of our family holiday than the Grinch. It just goes to show that genetics do run true and there's a reason I turned out the way I did. :-) I got pretty much what I asked for, giftwise, but my parents still got in a few surprises. I know I'm going to have to schedule a Star Wars marathon someday, as I got the DVDs of the original movies. I'm looking forward to watching with the commentary that includes Carrie Fisher. That's bound to be some quality comedy and snark. I also got some pretty pajamas, some snuggly pajamas and some soft, fuzzy house slippers that aren't obviously slippers so I don't feel like a slacker housewife when I answer the doorbell while wearing house slippers in the middle of the afternoon.
It appears that Amazon has scooped me. They got an electronic version of the semi-final cover for Damsel Under Stress before I did. I say semi-final because there's one thing that I'm still arguing about that I hope I can get changed.
The book is currently available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. I'm sure if you have a favorite independent bookseller, they'd be willing to place a pre-order for you (there's no one-stop easy link for that).
Or, if you want an advance copy, you could participate in the Non-Conformists Writing Month in January! Here's how it works: On or around January 1, you can post your goal in the comments or e-mail me at email@example.com (please put "Writing Goal" in the subject line so I can sort it). Because we're non-conformists, you can set your own goal, but it should be something that's approximately equivalent to writing a 50,000-word novel. You can complete a book you've started, do a major rewrite on a book, write a book from scratch, write something longer than that, write a screenplay, or write something somewhat shorter if it's a project that requires intense research or documentation. Those who reach their goals by February 1 will be entered into a drawing for prizes, including some advance copies of Damsel Under Stress (these are bound galleys, so aren't exactly the final book and don't have the real cover, so you may still want to get the final one when it comes out). There will be other book prizes provided by Ballantine Books, as well. I don't know how many we'll end up giving out. I guess it depends on what they have handy.
You will need to post your progress at the end of the month to be eligible for the prize drawing. Posting updates along the way is optional. It may help to have accountability and support, or you may just want to plug away in private. I'll post some of my hints and tips about writing throughout the month. I think my project for the month will be revisions on book 4, although I'd wanted to take a stab at writing book 5 (maybe I'll start it, depending on how extensive these revisions turn out to be). Spread the word to any writer or aspiring writer friends you know who may be interested. They don't even need to read my books to play. We can all be insane together!
Now I need to get to work, as I need to write a set of radio scripts today, then finish watching my tapes of this season's House so I can write an essay due next Tuesday, and then I have to go over the page proofs on Damsel and finish writing a proposal for book 5. Eeep. And to think, I had this week scheduled as "holiday" time. I guess I'll start next year with comp time already saved up.