Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Writer's Digest Interview Online!

I didn't know this was possible, but apparently, the February issue of Writer's Digest is now online for preview. That includes the article they did about me. Yay! Go here: http://writersdigest.coverleaf.com/writersdigest/200902/?pg=22 And hey - do you see Jamie Ford over there on the opposite page? I'm DYING to read his debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I've finally heard from all the contest winners, and am waiting on some extra special VOHGs that should arrive tomorrow before I send them out. Other than that? I am baking cookies and wrapping presents. Hope you all have a smashing holiday, whatever you celebrate, and you don't eat too much.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We have a WINNER!

And the winner of the ARC of The Dust of 100 Dogs and some VOHGs is: Eclectic Obsessions Our two Honorable Mentions, for a care package of VOHG**s are: Paradox and Melody/Is Me! Is PENGUIN! There were so many great entries to choose from for those Honorable Mentions, I can't begin to count the hairs we pulled out trying to find our favorites. I only wish I could give out 20 care packages of VOHGs! (Made me thrilled that I had to pull from a hat for the big prize, because I would have given up trying to choose a #1 entry. Great writing, all!) Thank you SO MUCH to all who entered and a special thank you to Killer Yapp - our canine celebrity, and my old friends - Matt, Beth, Penny & Silky, and my writing buds who entered. Your support is awesome and really appreciated! I'm stuck in ice today, so I will get to the PO on Monday to post these out. If losing this contest made you feel sad (or any other emotions) please feel free to express your feelings in TEN WORDS ONLY in the comment area. You just might win a care package of weird and bizarre booty for it. (Hold on. Is this another contest?) **VOHG = Very Odd Holiday Gift

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Dust of 100 Dogs Meets Reviewer X

Remember I was talking yesterday about Reviewer X's made-of-awesome Girl Week? Well, today was my turn and it was worth the wait. Steph finally reviewed The Dust of 100 Dogs, and from what I can tell, she liked it. As cool as it is that she liked the book (and that's really really cool) I think it's even cooler that she let me write a guest blog about feminism for Girl Week. Now - only 4.5 hours left of the contest. Winners announced tomorrow (as long as I have electricity - we're experiencing ice.) Good luck to you all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Girl Week Causes Contest Extension

That's right. You have one extra day to enter the Merry Life & a Short One Contest, thanks to Reviewer X's awesome and made-of-amazing Girl Week. Have you been over to read any of the cool guest blogs yet? You need to go. You need to read them. Next time I read one of those misguided articles about YA being all shallow and easy and cute and vapid, I will look back on Girl Week and smile. Shallow? Easy? Uh - think again. And so - contest entrants - add 24 hours to your clocks! Contest to win the D100D ARC and some VOHGs ends DECEMBER 19th at MIDNIGHT EST. Winner announced on Saturday! Now go read some awesome posts about feminism, women's rights and strong YA heroines.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Fits

I found this today over at Finding Wonderland: The Writing YA Blog and it fits my new novel, Ignore Vera Dietz, really really well. Wanted to share because I'm like that. Also - You have to check out the Reviewer X blog this week. She's doing a whole week on women's rights and other girl-related issues. It's AWESOME!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Busy Week Ends Well - Party Time!

I am writing this blog half to spite Brian Farrey, who is a way better blogger than I am, and half to share a general update from King headquarters. But first, let me thank you all for participating in the Merry Life and a Short One Contest! So far we have 57 entries and that, people, just plain ROCKS. How awesome are you? Dump trucks of awesome. Like BIG frickin dump trucks. So - yeah - here's my week in a nutshell: Last Saturday I went up to Moravian Book Shop and I saw/met Laurie Halse Anderson, who was exactly as awesome as I suspected she would be. (See above dump truck.) I have since finished CHAINS which I recommend highly because it was brilliant. (I also recommend her picture book Independent Dames, which my daughter has read DAILY since Sunday when I gave it to her.) After that, I had my first snow-drive of the season, which is always a fun thing. Wednesday, I arrived to my mailbox to find the February 2009 issue of Writer's Digest, and - uh - I'm in it. That was a surreal experience, to say the least! I knew something was coming, but I had no idea it was coming so soon! I have to give a shout out to Jordan Rosenfeld who wrote a really great article about D100D and my journey. And today, I finished writing IGNORE VERA DIETZ which is more of a relief than anything, because this year got pretty hectic and it felt like that book was never going to get written. So, now? I'm wearing my tiara and going to have a little me-party. If you haven't entered the Merry Life and a Short One Contest yet, you've still got a whole week to do it. Go on! Give us your best 10 words! And HUGE thanks to everyone who's participated or linked Dog Fact #9 on your blogs and sent MySpace bulletins and any other get-the-word-out things. I appreciate your support more than I can say!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Merry Life and a Short One -- A Contest

December is here and I promised a contest. I've been hunkered down for a while, writing and revising a new novel, and haven't had much time to think about the promotional things I should be doing for the release of The Dust of 100 Dogs. It's only TWO MONTHS away! To start, let me remind you, during these tough economic holiday times, that: A. Books are still relatively cheap. B. Shopping at your local independent bookstore is a pro-community act. Also, it is very unlikely you will get trampled or shot there. Or eaten by a shark, or attacked by flesh-eating robots. (If you don't have an independent bookstore nearby, many of them will take phone orders and ship. Some even have online buying options.) C. Books make a great gifts. D. Magazines and literary magazines are great gift ideas for the short fiction and poetry lovers in your life! If you buy some books as holiday gifts, go to this awesome blog and let them know. We're trying to buy 1,000,000 books! Add yours to the tally! (Pre-orders of D100D count!) NOW ON TO THE CONTEST... The Dust of 100 Dogs is about a bunch of stuff. But, I figure it's safe to say two of the main subjects are pirates and dogs. One thing pirates and dogs have in common is that their lives are generally merry and short, like the title of this post suggests. And so, after a considerable amount of obsessing, and taking into account that I *love* writing challenges, I have come up with a simple and fun set of contest rules. What do I win? An ARC (advance review copy) of The Dust of 100 Dogs and a bonus VOHG.** How do I enter? You have to write me ten words. No more, no less.
*Either a slice of pirate life in 10 words (Example: Cut off a man's ear and fed it to him.) *OR a slice of a dog life in 10 words. (Example: Chased cats, ate, pooped, fell asleep in a sun ray.) (Do feel free to deviate from these examples. Go nuts.)
Post your TEN WORD entry in the comment section along with a valid email address, and any bonus entry links (see next section). If you feel uncomfortable posting your email address, send it to my email address asking(at)as-king(dot)com and make sure you tell me which entry is yours! Only one ten word entry per person, I'm afraid...though if you have two and just can't decide, I say post them both! (But I'll only count one.) Can I get extra entries? Totally! Link this contest to your blog, send a bulletin or blog about it in Myspace, or write a note in Facebook, or any other thing you can think of to get the word out. (For Facebook & MySpace options you have to friend me first!) Post the links in your entry comment. You get one extra entry for each of them. PLEASE try to keep your entry contained in one comment, though I do understand if you have to add an additional comment if you blog/mention/link throughout the contest period. When does it end? The contest ends December 18th, 2008 at midnight (Eastern Time). ***Deadline Extended due to Girl Week*** Now ends December 19th at midnight EST. How many winners will there be? Just one. I've only got one ARC. But two honorable mentions - for the best two ten word entries - will get one of two extra D100D-related VOHGs.** Good luck, everyone! ** VOHG = Very Odd Holiday Gift

Friday, November 21, 2008

Winter Blog Blast Interview

I am so happy to be part of the Winter Blog Blast Tour! Leila Roy at Bookshelves of Doom has an awesome interview posted. Go see why this picture is so wrong. Also, yesterday, I blogged at Red Room about being an Evil Groundhog. Click here: Visit me in the Red Room And I just have to add this because I saw it today at Interactive Reader and have to share.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Look Familiar?

Hey wow! I just discovered (Like - a MONTH late) a cover look-alike blog about the cover of The Dust of 100 Dogs. Rather than post the image here and spoil the surprise, I'm sending you over to the original blog at Pop Culture Junkie. Groovy, eh? And stay tuned for another link this week. On Friday I will be over at Bookshelves of Doom as part of the Winter Blog Blast Tour. Full Schedule available at Chasing Ray.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Woo Hoo - Book Divas Review!

"In all honesty, The Dust of 100 Dogs can be summed up on one word: spectacular. I am not kidding when I say this novel blew my mind." To read the entire review, go HERE. (You can also find it HERE, at The Book Muncher Blog.) Yay! (And Thanks, Rachael! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!) Adding - check out this AWESOME poster by Shepard Fairey! (Thanks to Caroline Leavitt over at CarolineLeavittville for this!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ALAN's Picks

By complete fluke, I discovered last night that The Dust of 100 Dogs was reviewed for ALAN’s Picks: November 2008, at ALAN Online. I love ALAN, and think it's a great organization, and enjoy reading the printed review, as well as their interviews. Here's how they describe ALAN's Picks: “ALAN’s Picks” is a recurring post on ALAN Online featuring book reviews of the newest titles in Young Adult Literature. Reviews are compiled and posted monthly. Be sure to visit ALAN Online often to read more about the newest titles from the best authors in the business. And here's an outtake from the review by Ann A. Wolf: Ms. King has the reader hooked from the beginning and continues to pull one in as each chapter reveals more information about Emer’s life before and after she became a pirate. Parts are gory but pirate stories often contain violence and gore. So glad to know folks understand that real pirates were gory people in these days of pretty Disney pirates. It's one of the reasons I love to write about history. So often it's dressed up and served in history books without the reality check, and yet the reality check is the best part. (I'm reading CHAINS right now - talk about a reality check!) And a heartfelt thank you for those of you who were kind enough to say sweet things about my senior picture. I know for next time never to dare Lisa McMann.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Multiple Choice

A) It's been 21 years and I still can't come to terms with this picture. Who is that person? And what the hell is with the blouse? B) This is a picture of me during the most important summer of my life. C) This isn't really me. I chose a random picture from a yearbook I found in the library. D) All of the above. E) All of the above except C...and I guess D, now, too.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Help! I've been forced to use Shuffle!

I was tagged by Lenore of Presenting Lenore for this fun, nonsensical meme: 1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc on shuffle. 2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer. 3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS. 4. Put the artist after a dash following the song name. 5. Put any comments in brackets. 6. Tag some lucky people to spread the disease. I'd like to admit here that I have never, ever, since the invention of digital audio of any kind, used the shuffle button. I am a woman of order, Lenore! But for you, I will break my own rules and play. How would you describe yourself? Planet Caravan -- Black Sabbath (accurate! uncanny!) How do you feel today? Kids -- Jamiroquai (Again, accurate - okay - that's creepy.) What is your life’s purpose? Aftermath -- Tricky What is your motto? Numb -- Portishead What do you think about very often? Blue 7 -- Sonny Rollins What is your life story? Driving Wheel -- Al Green What do you want to be when you grow up? Wow -- Kate Bush What will you dance to at your wedding? Oh Lately it's so Quiet -- OK Go (I mean this in the nicest way - but I've been married nearly 17 years an isn't this funny??!!) (In reality, our wedding song was "Adore" by Prince - which might be significant to those who read the dedication in The Dust of 100 Dogs.) What will they play at your funeral? On a Plain -- Nirvana (Seriously. I didn't even know I have Nevermind on this machine!) What is your hobby/interest? Go on Now -- James Brown If you could do anything right now, what would it be? The Ocean -- Led Zeppelin (Again - this is getting weird.) What do you want most of all? Black Coffee in Bed -- Squeeze What is your greatest fear? They Won't Go When I Go -- Stevie Wonder (This is really weird, how these are fitting. Also, this is one of the greatest songs ever written.) What is your darkest secret? War Pigs -- Black Sabbath What is your favorite thing in the world? Karma Coma -- Massive Attack If you could have one wish, what would you wish for? Wandering Star -- Portishead What is your theme song? Crepsucle with Nellie -- Thelonious Monk The next time you hear this song (aside from now, that is), you must dance. Louder than a Bomb -- Public Enemy I tag: Lisa McMann -- because I just challenged her to show me her high school picture, and this acts as something that might make the original challenge look like lint. and Joanne Levy -- because I'm curious about what she's got in her iPod. Thanks for that, Lenore! It turns out playing really loud music down here in my underground hideaway really helps block out the 14-month-old screaming her head off upstairs!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Readers' Rants Review and Other Stuff

For those of you who are checking out reviews for The Dust of 100 Dogs here's a new one. Readers' Rants Blog My favorite line? "This is a completely original, crazy story that will suck you in and hold onto you." I do want to warn those, though, who might read into the 'fantasy' label some folks are putting on the book, that this book isn't fantasy. There isn't any 'magic.' Sure, there's one little curse and a whole lot of reincarnation, but a lot of humans on the planet (like a billion, at least) actually believe in reincarnation - and I'm one of them. Oh - and have you checked out Lisa McMann's Freaking Huge Contest-O-Thanks yet? Go to her News Page and check it out. Some SERIOUSLY groovy prizes!

Monday, October 20, 2008

*Jen Robinson Digs Me!*

(The feeling is mutual.)

The Dust of 100 Dogs Meets Jen Robinson's Book Page. "The Dust of 100 Dogs is complex and dark (though with flashes of humor). But it's also unique and rewarding, written with a distinct voice, and featuring two very strong-willed female characters... It is not to be missed." Read the whole thing HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Como es tu trabajo?

Since I took the week off from work, I want to know how everyone else is doing out there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Video Games Did Not Rot This Brain

Remember how worried everyone was when video games first came out? Remember the headlines? VIDEO GAMES WILL ROT YOUR CHILD'S BRAIN! This just in: video games made me what I am today, and I'm a happy, well-adjusted creative person with an awesome job. The Author's Video Game History My first video game was Ultima II on an Apple 2+ with a green monitor. It was 1980. I was ten years old. Before that, I had played Pong and Atari's Space Invaders and Asteroids and PacMan, but I was never a fan of TV-console or arcade action games. My sister liked those. I liked sitting in front of a computer, and I liked role playing games (RPGs). I liked saving my game on a disk and having inventories of stuff and keeping track of money earned and lost, and clues. I loved clues. Between the ages of 11 and 14, I spent a lot of time trying to solve Ultima II, and killing stick figure orcs, and searching the cloth map I had tacked to the wall above the computer to find the answers to the riddles posed. This was problem solving at its best. Make no mistake - my room was cleaned (READ: lots of clothing stuffed under my bed) and my chores were done, and my homework was finished. For me, video games came after learning basic human responsibilities. Up until the time we got the Apple 2+, my best friend and I played in her stream and caught crayfish, or climbed trees and built tree houses. I read books into the night, concealed in my closet with the light on, long after the rest of my family was asleep. And I was always an imaginative child, excelled in school, read above my grade level, and had an insatiable interest in math. But then....I got my first RPG. We played for hours on end. We'd cramp ourselves into my basement on sunny days and play for marathon overnight sessions during the summer, in order to raise our magic points so we could cast new spells. We'd get our asses kicked by bands of roving thieves and have to start over where we last saved, until we finally figured out how to win. You get the picture. We were hooked. I remember dreaming in green stick figures. This did me way more good than harm. For those ready to pounce on the fact that I've admitted to a healthy outdoor crayfish-catching existence pre-Ultima II, let me say this: most other teenage kids in the early 1980s were watching TV all day. More specifically, MTV. So, as far as I can see, as a girl growing up during a time of slutty-is-good-because-it's-what-ZZ-Top-likes-in-their-videos, I was lucky to avoid the more socially acceptable road. Yes, that made me weird. Whatever. I didn't care. Once I got home from school, I'd be back in Ultima II, and there were orcs to kill. Better still, playing RPGs made me want to make RPGs. I'd gone to computer camp (Yes. Geek. I know.) and knew how to program. I built my first game when I was 13. It started as a tablet full of flow charts and sketches and lines of code. It was very basic, and the graphics were horrible, but it told a story, required players to solve riddles, and rewarded those who got to the end with some of the lamest green fireworks the world has ever seen. But it was mine. Before I made it, it didn't exist. This feeling is what brought me here - to my present day life as a writer at 38. It's what took me to art school, and what took me to the farm in Ireland where, before I planted them, those potatoes didn't exist, and before I hatched them, those chickens didn't exist, either. Let's call it a creative complex - the love of making new things. But to take it one step further - could I have lived self-sufficiently on that farm, or forged my way into a writing career without those well-honed problem solving skills? Who gets credit for those? My parents. My teachers. My RPGs. Seriously. I'm not just saying this. It's true. At times, I have been addicted to RPGs. Most notably in 1997, when I was addicted to Daggerfall. I'm not kidding when I tell you that we played that game for four months straight. We did. It's how we got through our first winter on the farm. We had no central heat, no TV, a limited amount of food, and we'd just bought our first 'real' computer - a 486 PC with 8 whole megs of RAM. We bundled ourselves into my little office with an oil-filled electric heater, and played non-stop. The game was mind-blowing. I loved it. I loved it so much I eventually had to stop playing it. At the time, I was writing my third novel and we only had one computer. So, it's safe to say I - uh - wasn't writing my third novel. When the internet came along, and I eventually got connected by something other than Irish dial-up, which was slower than my five-year-old takes to put on her sneakers, I went to see some (really amazing) internet-based RPGs. And then I ran screaming. No way was I getting anywhere near this stuff. I was writing my seventh novel, was close to finding an agent, and was not going to let anything distract me. But in a way, it was sad. I am a child of video games. Some of the RPGs out there right now are what I daydreamed about in 1980. I was MADE to play these games. But there are times to play and times not to play**. Up until last night, it was not time to play. **Though I'm not saying being a serious writer and game playing are mutually exclusive. It was a video game that inspired a (very important) portion of my novel The Dust of 100 Dogs. What Happened Last Night When I saw Cynthia Leitich Smith was going to be appearing at the American Library Association's main stage in Second Life, I figured it was about time I checked out this Second Life thing. I'd heard about it. I'd even heard about authors who were using it as promotion, but I knew I was susceptible to RPG addiction, and also, since I last played games, my life has changed quite a bit (READ: two kids, real writing career & other life responsibilities.) But I decided I'd join, and have a look at the event, because I love Cynthia's blog and her reviews, and I was curious how an author could have an event in Second Life. Because I am a child of RPGs, I caught on to the interface rather quickly, and I showed up for the event at 8PM EDT to find a crowd of about ten people, who were really friendly and obviously, interested in the same sort of stuff I was. (Remember, this was an author event at the ALA main stage!) Mostly, these were very cool librarians. Cynthia put on a great presentation for about 40 minutes (no different really, than a regular talk in First Life) and then opened a Q&A time for 20 minutes, where we introduced ourselves and asked a few questions about Tantalize, and the upcoming books in the series. After the talk, the organizers stuck around and broke down the set and when I complained that I was a total noob and hated the lame suit my character was wearing, I was given a comfy pair of faded jeans and a READ BANNED BOOKS t-shirt. So maybe what I'm about to say makes me a complete geek, but LAST NIGHT WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS EVER. Okay, so I'm easy to impress. I'm still wowed by the internet (which is a far cry from the Apple 2+ modem, which is the size of a small dog and pretty useless.) Seriously. A cyber author event? Sign me up. It was so awesome, I can't wait to do one myself. And I dreamed in Second Life last night. Does this mean I might get addicted? Probably not. Does it mean I might rot what's left of my middle-aged brain? Maybe. Does it mean that I might - oh no - say it ain't so - waste some time? Yes. It does. So far, wasting a little time playing video games has done nothing but good things for me. Anyway, I work too hard and pressure myself too much. It's about time I had some fun.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bookshelves of Doom Review

The Dust of 100 Dogs got its first review today over at Bookshelves of Doom. CHECK IT OUT. I think you'll be hearing more on Leila's question about whether or not the book is technically YA. In a genre that's getting harder and harder to box, I'm sure there will be a few people weighing in on this topic. (Me included.) My new editor at Flux, Brian Farrey, starts the discussion at the Flux Blog today. In other news, I saw my friend Karen Dionne's book, FREEZING POINT for sale at my grocery store today! Yay Karen! And Andrew - are you out there? Remember when we first talked about DUST and you told me I should read Octavian Nothing? Just stopped at my library and got it. I'm taking some time off. Haven't been able to write with all the political distractions and self-applied pressure. I want to hang out with my kids, too. So I'm doing what any sensible book lover would do. Wrapping myself in a blanket of great literature for a fortnight and stocking the junk food.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quick Update - Construction

I finally got myself up to see Stephanie at Moravian Book Shop on Tuesday and let me just say - I am the luckiest book fiend around. I have three awesome indies within a ninety minute drive. Some people say: A NINETY MINUTE DRIVE? ARE YOU NUTS? No. I'm not nuts. I'm picky. I like to support communities. I like to have conversations with my booksellers. I like to talk books and ask for recommendations.** And Stephanie gave me a great one! The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante looks awesome and I can't wait to read it! Of course, I can't read it yet. My to-do list is stupid long. Today, I go back to final copyedits on The Dust of 100 Dogs, and then I still have to get this next book finished and to my made-of-awesome agent. Until then, this blog is still under construction. But hey! Did you see the finished site for the book? Didn't Mike do an AMAZING job? SEE IT HERE. Oh! And don't forget to go to your local indie and buy these great books! LAMENT by Maggie Stiefvater and FREEZING POINT by Karen Dionne! Amy ** - This is not to say bigger corporate-owned bookstore employees don't give good recommendations. They do. I get great hints from a Borders bookseller I've known most of my life all the time. But when I stop into those bigger stores, it's pretty apparent that they are not there to chat with customers. And that's okay, too. I just prefer the human angle. I'm soft like that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Presenting Lenore ROCKS.

Check out this blog. What a great idea - talking about upcoming books! And how cool to be Lenore's pick! Thanks Lenore! You rock mightily! (Thanks for the link, X)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Carla, I did all sorts of stuff to keep you off my back for October, because I have to finish this book in October. First, Mike over at KTF did a really amazing job on the website for The Dust of 100 Dogs. We're in the final tweak stages, but you're welcome to drop by and have a look. Check it out. I FINALLY went to Clinton Book Shop and met Rob and Harvey, who are very much made of awesome. The shop is great and I look forward to a signing there one day. And wow - Clinton is such a gorgeous town. I can't wait to take the family. But I have to find a way to avoid 78 through PA. Dag. That is some bad road. I then went down to The Chester County Book and Music Company in West Chester. I have to say, anyone in the area who hasn't been to CCBMC has got to go. It is one of the largest bookstores I've ever been in. It's got a killer art section that I have to physically avoid or else I'd spend all of my money, not to mention an enormous selection of everything else you could possibly need. Next week, Moravian Bookshop to meet Stephanie, send the rest of my galleys, and start pricing bookmarks at night. See? I'm not a slacker Carla. I promise. I am getting out and meeting really cool people and thinking about life beyond my very messy, very unorganized desk. Will someone PLEASE remind me to get to the library TOMORROW. An Abundance of Catherines is due back and I need to renew it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Galleys Arrive

Dear Carla, My galleys arrived today. And they are AWESOME. Here's proof.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Under Construction. Seriously.

Yes, I know this blog is listed on my blogger profile, and I see I'm already getting some visitors. And I dig that. But please know that this is a blog under construction. It will be a few months before I allow Carla to push me into all these great plans she has. I really have to finish this new book before I come around here - ahem - regularly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Here's My List

There are priorities. 1. Finish the book I'm writing. (That's mine.) 2. Talk to Mike about DUST website. (Carla.) 3. Get mailing list page on A.S King website. (Carla.) 4. Design and order secret swag. (Carla again. Though it's a fun one, so I'm into it.)

It's About Time

This blog is the brainchild of my evil friend, Carla. Carla is determined to get me in promotional shape, starting with a mailing list page on my website, which I have NO IDEA how to do. She plans to make me blog - ahem - regularly. She plans to make me presentable. Not as much mumbling or fiddling with my hair. There's only 155 days left. I have a few things to do before then.