Birthday favor – not for me, for my son!

My birthday is coming right up, on December 10. I don’t really ask for things for my birthday. Despite some of the social and financial issues we’ve had recently, Kay, Baz and I are doing okay and are mostly pretty happy.

However, I was hoping that some of you might consider, as a birthday favor to me, doing something nice for my son Bastian! He’s had a bit of a rough year – some of it I won’t get into, but we did pull him out of school a few months ago and are home schooling him (which he’s happy about). A lot of changes in his life recently have definitely stressed him out.

Baz has decided he wants to do a series of Advent videos this year. He’s seen Youtubers do it in recent years (like Hannah from the Yogscast, for example) and thinks it would be fun. He’s got the right sort of personality for it too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So if you’d be extremely kind and do me a BIG birthday favor… would you send Baz something to open in one of his Advent videos? It can be a short letter, or a small inexpensive gift – something to surprise him so he can have a genuine reaction on camera! It can be anonymous or he can mention you by name, whichever you prefer.

Advent starts on November 29 and runs for 25 days. If you’d like to send something or have questions, please email me at Thanks!

Promises, Promises

Well. I said I’d do it. So it’s done.

The Long Hidden Kickstarter surpassed $30,000, so as promised, I’ve had my hair dyed rainbow. Lucia Starkey (who has a story coming in a future CG Magazine issue) is experienced with hair dyeing and did the job.

It turned out pretty well, actually. Here’s some before, during and after pics to prove it’s really done:

This is how my hair looked before.

Shower cap while the bleach sets.

Kay thinks it’s pretty funny.

Apparently I had a Lucius Malfoy “thing” going…

Starting the dye.

Feels kind of weird. (I’m pretty sure this is the first time I ever dyed my hair.)

The results!

A good look from behind.

It actually looks pretty brilliant in a pony tail!

And there you have it.

Big thanks to Lucia for doing a great job, and to her and Kay for helping with the photos. I’m pretty pleased with the results, and look forward to the looks I’ll get when I go to the library and the bank tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve already gotten “Rainbow Dash” and “Rainbrow Brite’s horse” comments…

ETA: Anyone coming to WisCon next month? You’ll get to see the rainbow hair in person! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course, there’s one more part to fulfilling my promise. At some point, probably in May, I’m supposed to visit Anthony Cardno and appear in his video while he sings a Britney Spears song. This is a follow-up to A similar promise which Anthony fulfilled when he sang Justin Bieber:

So I’ll be talking with Anthony about dates and such. In the meantime? Please help me convince Anthony to dye his hair too, so we can do a Double Rainbow! ;P

I put my head on the line for Long Hidden

It started as a joke!

When Kay, Daniel, Rose and I were putting together the Long Hidden Kickstarter, I made the image for the project’s stretch goals: extra goals for after the initial goal was reached. And when I put the $50,000 goal (for an audiobook), I added – jokingly! – “Plus, Crossed Genres co-publisher Bart Leib will shave his head!”

A certain subset of our friends and followers – who love to rag on me, apparently – latched onto this and wouldn’t let it go. So I confirmed that yes, if we did somehow improbably reach $50k, I would shave my head.

$50k is out of reach – it was expected really. Only 3 Fiction Publishing projects have ever topped $50,000. So my head was safe – until last night when I opened my big mouth:

I was joking. But of course some people approved. And then Deirdre Murphy suggested an alternative:

So… I’m back on the hook. If Long Hidden does somehow reach reach $30k (as of now, $6039 to go in ~35 hours), I will either get a mohawk, or get my hair dyed in a rainbow. (ETA: It’s been pointed out that a mohawk would be insensitive appropriation, so it’ll be the rainbow hair option only!) The goal is a really good one: adding accompanying artwork to ALL ~30 STORIES in the anthology. In case you’ve never seen me, I have hair that reaches below my shoulder blades when in its normal ponytail (pic available on request, i suppose).

It’s a long shot that we’ll reach $30k. So I feel relatively safe. And if you prove me wrong… well I really do want to see Long Hidden add artwork, so I won’t complain. Much.

And yes, if it happens, there will be pictures of the process. Maybe video.

ETA: Definitely video – and a song! This is what we call escalation! Not long ago, author & friend Anthony Cardno promised that if a friend of his reached a (seemingly impossible) funding of their Kickstarter, Anthony would sing a Justin Bieber song. Well that goal was reached, and Anthony kept his promise:

So of course Crossed Genres had to ask:

After some hemming and hawing – and the observation that a bit of Britney was nothing compared to rainbow hair dye – Anthony gave in… on one condition. If Long Hidden reaches $30k he’ll sing a Britney song, IF I go and appear in the video with him. With my rainbow hair.

But he said I didn’t have to sing, just appear. Which is good. Because no one wants to hear me sing.

Big news on the home front! Literally!

So we’ve been keeping this under our hats for a while now, but we’re far enough along that we think we can mention it now and hopefully not jinx it.

Kay & I are buying a house. We’re moving not particularly far, staying in Massachusetts. While Baz will be switching schools, we’re still plenty close enough to arrange regular play dates for him with his friends โ€“ though knowing Baz, he’ll have a clutch of new friends in no time.

Before anyone asks, no, we didn’t suddenly come into a ton of money. =P We’re getting help from my mom for the down payment. And our monthly mortgage payments will be about $5-$15 less than what we’re currently paying in rent.

There are a lot of reasons we’re motivated to do this now, as opposed to in the recent past or the near future:

  • We got an excellent price on the home, and the rates are amazingly low right now.
  • Kay’s new job pays better and is more fulfilling and rewarding than her previous job, and seems secure. *KNOCK WOOD*
  • Our current place is kind of run-down, and it’s been like pulling teeth to get the landlord to address maintenance issues.
  • The new place is in a great location, close to transportation, all kinds of shopping, convenient to the library, etc.
  • There are a few good local schools, one of which has a bus that goes within a few blocks of the house.
  • It’s a terrific house, that both Kay and I immediately knew would be great for us. It’s significantly bigger than our current place, with 2 extra bedrooms and a large grassy backyard.

That last one is, I think, the biggest motivation for us. We’ve wanted more room for a long time, for one specific reason.

Kay and I have talked for years about adopting a second child. We’ve wanted a brother or sister for Baz and, of course, another kid for us to adore. =) But we’ve always known that we’d need at least another bedroom, and preferably more space in general, before we could do that. Now, in our new home, we can finally move on that and hopefully find some boy or girl to welcome into our family.

How far along are we? Well we’ve signed the Purchase & Sale Agreement, so we’re committed. If everything goes well, we hope to have it wrapped up before New Year’s. We’re in frantic “THIS CAN’T REALLY BE HAPPENING?!” unloading-junk-and-panic-packing mode.

So… yes. That’s our big news on the home front. Literally. Please cross your fingers for us that the whole thing actually goes through.

"Mere accumulation of observational data is not proof."