Stephanie Burgis
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Happy Days
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Alas, our broadband connection is still broken. (Bring on the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth!) Last Thursday, there was a massive lightning storm just overhead, and ever since, our broadband modem hasn't been able to find a dial tone. We still don't know if it was the line itself that was damaged or if the modem is the thing at fault...and, since we're relying on British Telecom's technical support, we probably won't know for a while yet. I've spent far too many hours on the phone with them already! Meanwhile, the only way to get online is to dial in with a pay-by-the-minute British Library connection, so I'm doing it as sparingly as possible. (And suffering major withdrawal symptoms, needless to say...)

But regardless, these are happy days. Patrick's sold two (!) stories to pro mags in the last six days--one to Strange Horizons and one, today, to Realms of Fantasy! Best of all (from my perspective), the story he sold to Realms, "Uncle Vernon's Lie", was a birthday present to me last year when I turned twenty-seven. (My Christmas present the year before was his story Five Things of Beauty, which sold to Strange Horizons and is going to be reprinted in the anthology Best of Strange Horizons 2003. I love these presents!) Needless to say, I'm feeling incredibly proud right now. :)

And I was very pleased yesterday to sell my story "Wish You Were Here" to the New Zealand magazine Simulacrum! This is my quirkiest story so far, written after a family trip to Wales, and I'm so glad I finally found the right home for it. It should be coming out in May.

Meanwhile, we had a lovely weekend getaway down to Bristol, from Saturday through Monday. It was warm and lovely down South, and we walked along the moors in bright sunlight, watching skylarks and buzzards overhead, egrets on the fields, a pair of swans in the stream, and a hare bouncing across the grass. We also went to my favorite coffeeshop in England, the oddly-named "Boston Tea Party", in downtown Bristol! When we got back to Leeds on Monday evening, it had even warmed up a bit here to welcome us back home.

Yesterday I had a working date at Borders/Starbucks with a friend and finished the fourth draft (gasp) of Masks & Shadows. This was a major re-drafting, and it'll need another polish, but--oof! I need a bit of time off first! Maybe in a few weeks I'll be able to look back at it with a semi-fresh perspective. Patrick and I have agreed to take a mini-vacation from writing for the next week to clear our brains a bit. We're sleeping in (until 7:30, that is), and only committing to writing one line a day, just to keep our hands in, until next Wednesday. It feels a little shocking and, well, wrong!, but, y'know, vacations can be a good thing. And sleep can be, too.

Alas, no vacation from thesis-writing. This is my most-frantic week as far as that's concerned, with another chapter due on Tuesday. Type type type type--!

Wish me luck. :)

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