Stephanie Burgis
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Here's why we should pay more attention to Maya:

Two nights ago, Maya suddenly got really excited. She started darting around the living room, her nose quivering with the intensity of her sniffing. She finally found the end of the scent trail, in our couch. (Under our couch? Inside it? Who knows? Not us.) She's a very quiet dog, so even though she was excited, she didn't bark or whine. She just pointed herself at the back of the couch, vibrating with interest, and refused to leave until one of us finally picked her up and carried her upstairs for bedtime. Patrick & I both laughed about it. Funny Maya, thinking she's a great huntress in our living room...wonder what kind of bug it was that she was chasing?

Last night, when we sat down on the couch to watch a movie, there was a weird smell in the air. Patrick had just done a big vacuum of the living room, so we told ourselves maybe it was just a burned-dust smell from the vacuuming. Neither of us felt very certain about that.

By this morning, the smell emanating from the couch was unmistakable: mouse pee. Yuck, yuck, yuck! We still haven't figured out where exactly it happened - somewhere inside the couch, maybe? We're going to have to do the biggest scrubbing job ever, with great hope but not much faith, because man, that smell is strong. We'll start putting out the humane mouse trap in the living room tonight, filled with treats as delectable as possible. And from now on, we'll pay a lot more attention to Maya's huntress instincts, instead of laughing at them!

As some consolation, though (for the smell AND for the horrid job ahead of us), I've found a lot of great writing links lately. First of all, I love the new writing site that Laini Taylor's set up: Not For Robots. She's putting up essays about various different aspects of writing, and I especially like her essay "Methods to My Madness", which is about ways to get re-excited about a half-finished project when you've run out of steam.

Also, there's a really good-looking new British online magazine: Serendipity, which describes itself as a mixture of magical realism and light fantasy. The first issue is up now, with stories by lots of good writers (Catherynne Valennte, Jeffrey Ford, and Charles Dickens, among others). Next month, they'll be reprinting Patrick's story "Uncle Vernon's Lie", so, y'know, they would have my whole-hearted approval regardless, but luckily, it does genuinely look like a really interesting new magazine, and one that I'll enjoy reading regularly.

And on a similar note, I got ridiculously excited this morning when I saw that Tim Pratt had posted a tentative cover image for Flytrap 8 (which will include my story "It's All About the Shoes"). I'm really happy to be publishing in Flytrap again, and in a totally geeky way, I was (and am!) absolutely thrilled to see my name on the cover of this one. My first post-Clarion sale, back in 2004, was my flash fiction story "Hide-and-Seek", which was published in Flytrap 2; publishing with them again in Flytrap 8 feels a bit like coming home. Tim says this issue should be coming out in time for World Fantasy in October. I can't wait!

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