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Jan 17, 2017:

I Know I Said This Before....

I know I've said I'm trying to get it back together here—about 9 months ago, actually. Life has been one upheaval after another, including but not limited to caring for a toddler, my laptop being reset back to factory condition with a ton of losses as a result (thank God for Dropbox!), schedule changes, and a whole bunch of other things. Seems every time I thought I was going to get my feet under me, something else kicked me back a few steps.

And there's no guarantee at this point that the upheavals are done.

Thing is, I've got to get back to working around them. If I were published by a traditional company, I'd be floundering and at risk of losing it. There's just got to be a way to keep going despite life deciding that there's no such thing as routine or time or anything remotely manageable. I'm on track for the worst annual word count since I started tracking my annual counts, and I'm not sure at this point there's any way to salvage that. All I can do now is move forward and get back to it.

Life Stuff


Getting Back To It

2016 was a year, and I'm soooo glad it's over. Things are looking scary for 2017, but I still have writing stuff that doesn't change regardless of how the year goes. Last year sucked in that regard too: word count was abysmal, submissions dropped off until towards the end of the year, and so on. Taking care of a baby just sucks up the time you think you have. Well, grandbaby is back in the care of his mother (lots of reasons I'm not going to go into here), which means I need to get back to all the things.

Currently I'm working on a new series in Alden with CHOSEN, book 1 in the Uncrowned trilogy, and trying to sort out the plot of a new trilogy in the CHARMS world. SHADES OF GREY takes place on the opposite coast, but I'm having trouble sorting out the plot. Finally went back to the basics of my plot building, dumped my old outline attempt, and am trying to do a sketch outline to sort out the ending. Hoping the restart helps. I had similar issues with ASSASSIN'S and CHARMS, each for different reasons. ASSASSIN'S was a learning novel: I had trouble finding my way through to get to an ending. CHARMS actually needed a whole different plot entirely, as well as some other tinkering. I've kept the old idea and am hoping to work it into the series, but it just wasn't a good place to start Randi's story. Heck, even Randi, the main character, changed a lot from the original idea. Most of the story for SHADES works, I'm just having trouble tying it up at the end, which is something in the middle of the story itself that's not working.

TIRS is currently in the hands of alpha readers, and there's no rush on it unless CHOSEN gets picked up (and even then, not that big of a rush).

At the end of last year, I sent out both CHARMS and ASSASSIN'S to a bunch of agents looking for fantasy. So far, no bites, but still poking around. A check of the agents that I needed to wait on yesterday showed none of them were open yet, as were none of my top picks for small presses. What I need to start getting out again is my shorts. And along those lines, I probably should come up with some fresh short work. Shorts aren't my natural length, and not something I'm overly thrilled with working on, but I can do them, and with everything I have already published at least once (with a few exceptions), it's time to dive in again. I have some short story ideas I've been ignoring that I can dig up. But we'll see how that goes.

So, I've got plans and just need to put my nose to the grindstone. Heck, I had plans last year, but there was a lot of time issues. With the baby care now reduced to babysitting when mama works and reducing my workout time a bit, I've got a little extra time to actually get things done.

With all that in mind, my writing and reading goals this year are:
» 500 words a day (up from 250)
» finish CHOSEN draft, possibly to a third revision
» get SHADES replotted, outlined, and possibly to a 0 draft
» read 45 books
» get TIRS to submission ready (only if CHOSEN gets picked up)

Them's some decent goals. Now to accomplish some of that. ;)

Annual Goals, Heroes of Ehlarayn, In Progress, Journeys, Life Stuff, Novels, Shades of Reyn, Short Stories, Uncrowned


And We're Back

After brief downtime, is back up, which means it's time for some kind of long overdue update. Honestly, should be able to stay on top of things, but I'm struggling just to get the writing done. A lot of that is the ADHD. I don't transition between activities well, and as much as I need "controlled" distractions (I can hyper focus, it just doesn't happen often), they often spiral out of control and the next thing I know, an hour or more of time that could be spent doing updates or writing is gone.

Another reason for the struggle is all the time I no longer have. I used to be bedridden. Makes it pretty easy to find time for words and sites if you physically can't do housework or cook or anything. Now I do both of those plus exercise, and they are a huge chunk of the time I've lost. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather be healthy and on my feet, but at least half my lost time, if not more, is from those things.

I am working on it though. I am slowly developing a habit of getting words in on my primary novel before I do dishes. Of all the writing based things I do, from crits at Dreaming In Ink to revisions, getting my own fresh words down is the most important at the moment.

And I really need to get this timing thing under control: we're adding a baby into the house in February. We'll be raising our grandson as my youngest is in no way ready to be a mom. It's been a few years since I had to mom an infant, but as I recall, they take up A LOT of time. We're looking forward to it, but it's going to be one more challenge in the mix.

Goals are supposed to help with focus and getting things done, usually. Somehow, last year's goals just fell apart for me. But using them as an idea of where my limits are and knowing that things are about to get a bit more crazy in the house helped me edit and determine this year's goals in such a way that I hope they're more doable.

At the top of my 2016 list: be mindful. Be present in all things. The challenge is to manage the multi-tasking I need to do to keep moving while still being present in what I'm doing, especially since project transitions are difficult for me. I've only been working on this for about a week and a half, and it's hard. I manage it some of the times, but I have more times when I realize I have no idea what just happened or is going on. I actually don't mind this so much when writing—it means I'm drawn into the story and the work. That's a good thing. But when it happens at other times, it can be pretty frustrating. I have to take a deep breath and remind myself this is a new thing, and new things take time to do even remotely well.

And here are the other goals for the year:

Personal/Health :: lose 20 pounds
· 12.5k steps/day
· cut out my late night snack (10 days in, I'm managing about half the time)
· plan/shop for/prepare 4 vegetarian dinners/week

Writing :: read 45 books
· 350 words/day (100 more than what I aimed for in 2015)
· finish Tirs
· Chosen to v3
· replot Shades

Web/Etc :: updates twice a month to whysper, journeys, and at least 1 general update to alden/month
· a new layout for alden

I also have one personal relationship goal and plan to be more aware of some of our spending to I can manage the money better than I have in recent months.

I'm having some opening year hiccups (having to transition to a new email address to avoid downtime in the future, having a stone bruise that's been limiting my mobility, and a few other small things), but I think most of these, while challenging, are reachable. We'll see if I have to make any adjustments once baby boy is here. These are more focused than last year (especially in the writing area: 3 books instead of 4 or 5 on the to do list), take into account what I accomplished last year, and try to be more aware of current circumstances (for example, the weight loss is now subject to the menopausal struggle, which, yes, is very real). I may not hit all the marks, but I have high expectations for this year. It's about time to have a good one (the last two have been difficult, and that's being kind).

And, really, the only way you fail is if you don't try. Trying and missing the mark is just a learning experience.

I'll have to do a project and publication update in another post. I'm dipping my toes into short story submissions again (I do this intermittently because what else am I going to do with all those stories?), Chosen is off to markets and agent, sequels are being written and new book ideas are being poked at, there's an upcoming publication, and more. All stuff that deserves its own entry.

Besides, write about all of it now, what will I write about next?

I have high hopes for this year. It's having a rocky start, but hopefully it'll get better from here. Hope you and yours have an excellent year as well. Challenge yourself! Try and learn. Do at least that much, and it'll be a good year indeed.

Annual Goals, Changes & Challenges, Goals & Progress, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Personal Insights


Melt Downs & More

It's been awhile. The laptop melted down then there were site access issues. Even with access to, I couldn't seem to get the motivation to update here. Having two sites inaccessible made it easy to ignore all of them and focus on loads of other things that needed my attention. Now that access has been restored, I'm working on getting back on track all over the place.

I had almost a month of no writing because trying to write or edit on the phone? Yea, no. For one, my phone's keyboard is slightly off, so just getting the right words is a challenge. Can't flip through pages as easily, so editing is a nightmare. So, yea, no. By the time the new laptop arrived, I was going just a bit crazy. I always do when I can't write.

Since the arrival of the new lappy, I've been struggling a bit with the schedule. You'd think I'd have that down by now, but, yea, again, no. It's getting a little better, and I know what's up with why I seem to have less time than I used to (I didn't use to exercise or do housework, and those both suck a significant amount of time out of my day; on the other hand, all the browsing around and Tumblring and that? That's all on me).

And I've had to re-evaluate my projects, dump a few, go back to work on a few, and so on. I don't know why I have to keep reminding myself that 3 projects at once is stretching it, more than 3 is too much.

So, the current books in progress...

Crown of Tirs :: second in The Shunned series. With Charms making the rounds of small presses and getting full requests, and Tirs needing ground up rebuilding, it seemed a good idea to make this book a priority. This book is in the earliest phases of my building process.

Chosen :: this is my "for fun" book at the moment. It's the book I've put off until I felt "good enough" to write it. Translation: until I've managed to actually FINISH a book and figure out what works for me as a writer. With two under my belt, it was time, and the book is now in the early drafting stage. However, this book led to a revamp of another book...

Assassin's Choice :: The language needs to be reworked and brought "down" a little. It worked well for an epic high fantasy, but Chosen has characters in it that don't quite fit that particular concept. Plus I have at least one scene that needs a total rewrite. So this one is in revisions, but it is the lowest priority among the books since it'll more likely end up being self-published.

And that's pretty much where I'm at with my projects. There are two others that were started but are now currently on the back burner.

Got to say, the one thing I like about not being published yet is the freedom to work on whatever. I still want to be published, but it's just nice to be able to putter around a bit, especially when life goes a bit crazy. Or when you lose your routine and have to get back to it again.

Thankfully, things seem to be settling back to normal again. Words are happening, and I am again reminding myself "words first".

I do have updates I need to make to Alden and intend to get to them soonish. One of those things will not be a new layout. As much as the site probably needs a new look, it's just not in the cards this year.

I will also be at Dragon Con this year. I'm not an official guest, seeing as being unpublished tends to disqualify me for that particular honor (and running an online workshop for a dozen years doesn't balance that particular problem out), but I'm just glad to be going since it was looking like this was going to be one of those "we can't afford it" years. This year will also be the first year for my son. He's only going for one day, but it should be fun to see how he reacts.

And that's about it, I think. Not as much baking going on right now, the weight loss is still at a plateau, but the toning/muscle building seems to be progressing, and much of the rest is pretty much the same. Working to get back on track with the writing and the web sites. Need to start reading the books I picked up on self-publishing to be ready for that.

And so it goes. Doing the daily grind, still working on the dreams.

I'm just glad to be back.

Life Stuff


When A Vacation Isn't A Vacation

My recent disappearance wasn't deliberate. My laptop started dying towards the end of last year, and the husband and I agreed to spend a chunk of the tax return on a new one (I am so fortunate to have a husband who supports my writing even though it's not a money maker yet). We filed in January. My middle daughter filed after we did and received her return before we heard anything. Then we got a letter: we'd been randomly chosen for review. In addition to a number of other things that this screwed us on (our cats got sick and we even lost one, for example), we had to hope the laptop would make it until the return came in.

It didn't. It tanked March 25th.

The return finally came in last week, I ordered the new laptop, and I've spent the last couple of days getting it set up.

In the meantime, I couldn't even write. I had all my files in Dropbox and was able to download them to my phone, but any actual writing had to be done by hand. Apparently I can't write that way anymore. I tried, but my process just doesn't work that way. And the tiny screen on the phone made perusing the internet difficult for me. So I ended up with a month of not writing and sans the internets.

It drove. Me. Cray cray. Not being able to socialize with my friends online was bad enough (and no, I don't get out of the house much, so that's pretty much my socialization), not being able to write? I was out of my mind. Add in the weather that was triggering headaches and my SAD, and, yea, this was no fun. It was no fun that progressively got less fun as the time went on. I have enough trouble taking time off from some of my online activities for a week. A month was torture. And when I take time off for a week, at least then I can usually write.

I turn into one really cranky dragon when I can't write. I think I was getting close to being someone no one could live with towards the end there.

Let's put it this way: I hate revising. Tonight I revised a chapter and felt relief.

Glad to be back.

And considering picking up a second machine next tax time just in case....

Life Stuff


In Progress Updates & Other Things

I'm trying to get some editing off my plate, which is hard when the work being edited is...a whole lot less than ready than it should be. I can't say much, but I can say this: don't go to an editor and get your novel "fixed up" before you submit. Agents, publishers, and editors need to see what YOU are capable of, and most of them really don't like bait and switch. Be honest with who you are as a writer. It will make for a much better working relationship.

Summer has ended for us. Kiddo is in his last year at his school's work program. I'm hoping I can now get caught up on things and be more present here, but the operative word there is hope. Kiddo doesn't take up much time, but somehow he does at the same time. Pretty sure the same principle applies when hubs is home and somehow things don't get done. Time gets sucked into a black hole. I also usually end up having no idea what I did manage to do. This could become a problem when kiddo is out of his program completely, but I've got a few months before I need to worry about that.

So, the plan right now is to get these two novels I'm currently editing back to the publisher as quickly as possible, to drop my editing down to the one author who has requested me and limit taking on any others after this. Once all that is done, I can start moving more time into the cupcake sales we're planning to do at a local farmer's market. Since we're planning that for this fall (October at the latest), there will be overlap. One novel needs another go round and the other needs at least two. Neither will be completely off my plate before the end of the year, I'm pretty sure. This is slow, even for me, and I suspect that's why the publisher hasn't sent any others my way, but at this point, that's going to make the cupcake thing easier so it's a good thing.

Still out on the submissions-go-round: Assassin's Choice is now hitting small presses and Blood Charms is still being queried with agents. Charms has gotten fairly positive feedback,so as far as I can tell, it's not broken, it's just proving a harder sell than expected. No one who has commented has disliked it or mentioned anything negative, but there's signs the UF trend is on the downward slope. Still, the input on Charms has been good, so it might have an easier time in the small press markets than A.C. if it gets that far.

I'll be at Dragon Con this year. At least that's the plan. Not a guest, so not on any panels, but I'll be about. Really looking forward to it.

Current works in progress:

Tirs :: second Randi Kayde book Trying to get this one polished, then Randi will be set aside until Charms gets an agent or sells. Am having to rework the latter third of the book, but it's coming along.

Phoenix R :: first book in the Phoenix House series. Set in the same world as A.C. (Alden) but generations earlier. Will finish the first go through on revisions then probably set it aside for a bit.

Chosen :: first in the Uncrowned trilogy. Also set in Alden but generations after A.C. This is the book I've been waiting to write until I felt capable of tackling it. It's been a project on ignore for some time, and now it won't be ignored anymore.

Once P.R., I'll probably attempt to pick up Shades, which is in the same world as Randi's books but on the opposite coast and with a different character. It's mostly outline, just needs some back end work.

Coming out soon:

"Promises" :: due to come out in the October anthology, Wrapped In Red: Thirteen Tales of Vampiric Horror by Sekhmet Press.

Haven't worked on or subbed too many shorts of late—they're too much work for the payback and became pointless when Duotrope went to pay. Just don't have the funds to sink $60 into a service that won't pay for itself yet. I understand why they went pay, I just can't afford to. I should be subbing more now that there's The Grinder.

And that's pretty much it. Need to shuffle a few more things off my to do list, then hopefully I can focus more on the writing. And the cupcakes, since they may indeed become a thing for us. I don't mind too much, but having to test new flavors and having them hang out a the house is wrecking havoc on my diet a bit.

One more thing to work on.

In Progress, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Novels, Published, Work & Writing



It has been a long and eventful year. Make that a couple of years. Un and under employment, two moves, losing a pet, family moving in...and back out again, two graduations, my husband changing jobs twice then going from one two to to three jobs at one time. And that's just what I can remember. I started all that with a pretty decent writing routine, but all the changes between locations and the time I have available and in schedules have pretty much battered those routines to death. And now I find myself almost in the same place I was a few years after I finally started taking my writing seriously: struggling to get the words down, struggling to get into routine again, and feeling myself flounder.

Change is the one constant in life. To be successful in any endeavor, we must be able to adapt to change. In a way, a regular job with a boss and a steady paycheck can anchor us and help us weather the other changes in our lives. Writers who don't have that constant have to find a way to navigate change while maintaining their commitment to their craft, and it can be very easy to end up where I am now.

So, for me, it's time to rebuild. I need a new routine that takes into account my domestic goddess duties, which are more time consuming since I no longer have children in the house to help, and my part time editing job while at the same time making sure I make time for and do my writing. I'm also spending more time working out so I can lose over 100 pounds. It's a lot to work in, but these are my priorities, and everything else I choose to do has to be taken on in light of these things. A lot of evaluation going on in my life right now. It's been haphazard in recent months as my schedules and routines have fallen apart and my environment has changed, but now, as life becomes less volatile, it's time for me to determine what I'm doing in a more deliberate way.

Some habits got broken over the last year, especially my night time writing/revising habits. It's time to reclaim them. Other habits are new and finding space for them has been challenging. The good news is that we are finally in a better place and focusing on survival is no longer eating up all my resources. Transitioning into a new schedule has been a little harder than I expected, but the foundation is there just waiting for me to grab hold again.

Hopefully, as I get myself back together as a writer, there will be more going on here at Alden. Journeys is going to transition into my being my writer blog (hopefully with more interesting content than my LJ ever had, though a few of those posts may end up coming over here as well since I'm leaving LJ as a blogging platform). There are a lot of updates that need to be made here at Alden, including the layout (since the all green has been here a few years now), and being around here more should help. It won't happen instantaneously—rebuilding takes time and there's a lot of bad habits and laziness to clear out now—but it will happen. Just don't mind the dust between now and then.

Changes & Challenges, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Personal Insights


And Then There's Life

It's been busy in a lot of ways, but not necessarily with the writing. I had a nasty tooth problem that took 2 months to resolve because of lack of funds (large tax returns are so nice), then I got sick. I managed some sporadic writing, but it's hard to think, much less write, when you're in pain. All I wanted to do, pretty much, was sleep. Everything I was doing at the time got derailed.

And now the husband is employed. This is a good thing. It's been nearly 6 months, and even with our older girls helping out, it's been scary on the financial front.

However, if things were in upheaval over the last few weeks over my health issues, it's really going to get crazy now. Hubs works nights now, which means I'm back on dinner detail. Haven't done that in awhile. His current term in school is out in a few weeks, then he has a whole new schedule for next term and our oldest will be going in with him for her classes...and needing rides on the days that he doesn't go in. Some time in May (with the floods and snow days, the question is now when in May), the kids are out of school. They go back in August and I'll probably have to give youngest rides to and from her school since it'll be parental choice rather than a problem school that lets her stay there and the van they have this semester will more than likely no longer be available because of budget cuts.

Writing is about to become a challenge. A very big challenge. Especially since there won't be much opportunity to adjust to each new schedule change before it changes again. Up early and driving on and off all day can really mess with my writing, but I'm going to have to figure out a way to work around it.

As for Charms, it's moving along quite nicely. I have some things I still need to sort out world building wise, and I had to make some cuts in the draft because of timeline issues. Otherwise, it's going well and I'm enjoying it. I just hit 33k last night and expect the building draft to clock in at about 50-60k and the rough to finish up at about 70-80k. I've not been working on much else, not even my shorts, but with everything that's been going on, the focus has been a good thing.

I've also had 2 shorts accepted as reprints. I turned one down because the changes the editor wanted would have made it a totally different story. The other, "Presence", should be in a summer issue of Golden Visions. I'll list more info when I have it. A third short is on the short list for another market and I should hear in May whether it makes it. I'm still not stressing the short stuff in terms of sending it out, but I am trying to submit something every month.

And that's pretty much what's been going on since January. I swear, one of these days I'll manage to update on a more regular basis here. Of course, with all the changes coming up, it may not be until next year, but I'm trying! ;)

Life Stuff, Published, The Shunned


Not As Busy, Still Going

The house has fallen through. This is upsetting on so many different levels, but it also means that I have A LOT less stress and a bit more time to focus on my writing. There's still fallout to deal with: getting youngest into a better school than her home school, cleaning up the financial mess left behind, recovering or adjusting routines that were disrupted and now either need to get back on track or will need to be readjusted to things like youngest's change in schools, and so on and so forth...oh! And unpacking. We had started packing and the house has kind of...fallen apart in the craziness, so, yea, will be cleaning up, de-fleaing, and unpacking again. Not particularly thrilled with how things turned out, but I saw what was coming and got my grieving done before the final ax came down, so I'm angry at what happened (and how), but ready to move forward with what we need to do.

The good news is that I kept up on my Assassin's Choice revisions. I'm halfway through v6 and should have it finished and ready for beta readers by December. At least that's my hope. I've been so focused on A.C. that my other projects have been pretty much set aside for the time being. I might be able to pick them up with less on my mind and less to do, but I'm not going to worry about it if I don't. A.C. deserves to be done; I've been working on it for far too long and it's just time to get it off the plate and maybe out the door.

Why would I hang onto it after it's done? My main concern is the chance of a multi-book contract. I don't see my Alden books taking 2 years or less from start to finish, and most have indicated that 2 years is generally the time expected between books in a series. So I need to get the second book to the point that A.C. is at now before I run A.C. itself around. There may be a day when an Alden book will take 2 years or less, it's just not today. ;)

As for the other novels in process: Blood Charms is ready for me to start the building draft (which is the draft before the rough draft: a lot of information is supposed to go into the building draft, but I'm not sure that's what will happen here), and Phoenix Rising is about ready for the rough. I've not been working on any shorts, and haven't been submitting much either. This is one of those things I knew to drop since the house stress was already making me crazy. Submitting shorts is already a frustrating process, so I really didn't need that on top of the house stuff. I probably won't get back to submissions until the new year. The current focus is A.C., Charms, and Phoenix. Once A.C. is finished, I'll be moving on to book 2 in the trilogy, Quest for Ehlarayn, which is already stripped back and ready for me to get back to work on.

In other news, the husband is in culinary school and very happy. Unfortunately, he also lost his job, which is actually only bad because of the lack of a paycheck. The job itself was making him miserable and being run in an unethical manner. We plan to report and sue, it's just taking us time to get it all figured out...and to find a lawyer. In the meantime, he's looking for work in the industry. He's not done a resume snow storm as of yet since midterms are a big concern for him right now, but he's started putting a few out, and the school will be holding a career fair especially for its culinary students next week, I believe. We're looking forward to it. In the meantime, we're looking a little on our as well.

So, it's going to take some time to get us back on our feet, especially with the job situation the way it is, but I'm ready to move forward and work on it. And to get back to a full schedule of writing.

In Progress, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Novels


Crazy Busy

I keep meaning to post here and keep getting distracted by other stuff. Even writing has fallen by the wayside of late because there's so much going on.

The good news is that A.C. v5 is done! I'm working on some changes I need to make, which will end up being v6, then it will go out to betas. The hope is that there won't need to be much done for v7, and I'll be able to start working up a query letter and the scary synopsis. If nothing else, I can say it's DONE and I actually FINISHED a novel.

Among the things keeping me busy:

» A freelance editing job. Took up 6 weeks, and then was aborted. I discussed the extensive story problems I had with the author, and he chose to put it on the back burner despite the fact that it had been accepted by a small press. It amazes me that people trust my judgment that why can't I apply it to my own work? ;)

» Buying a house. I can't believe how much WORK it is to buy a house. I knew it would be initially time consuming because you have to actually go look at houses. I didn't realize the time sink would continue all the way through until after the move...and we're not there yet. At this point, we're waiting for a check we need to help pay a few expenses and for a grant program to process our paperwork. After everything we've done, the hoops we've had to jump, I've told the husband I'm not doing it again unless we can buy outright. I think we've pretty much decided we're just going to stay put and never move again. lol

» Oldest's unemployment, which impacted the household finances in a big way even though she was out of work only for a couple of months. Of course, the house stuff has also turned the finances upside down, so it's been a bit of a mess.

» Getting the husband into culinary school. He starts in October! We're so excited for him! :)

» Dragon*Con this past weekend. I wimped out and only made it through half of Sunday—still have a lot of healing and strength building to do since the surgery.

This is all just the tip of what we've been dealing with. There's been changes in routines, eating habits, and all kinds of things going on. Most of it has been good, thank goodness, but there's been a few upsets.

Right now my biggest challenge is finding time to write in a day that's broken up into a dozen little pieces and often has other things going on that takes up what little pieces I have. Working on it, but it's definitely tough. About the only thing not suffering right now is Twitter, and that's just because it's so much easier to slap up a brief "here's what's going on" than to write a scene or chapter or blog post. Things should be less crazy once the house is finalized and we've moved.

Speaking of crazy busy, have another house related call to make and need to take oldest to work then go to the grocery store, so better get going.

But, yay! A.C. v5 is done!

Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Work & Writing


Life Takes Over

So, at the beginning of this month, I said my writing was stalled. Turns out it was a lot more than a stall and a lot more serious than we realized. I ended up having an emergency, minor surgery about a week ago. It wasn't really a big deal, but it did need to be done, and I've felt immensely better since. My energy levels are rising, my concentration is better, and, most importantly, the physical issues that were interfering with my life and my writing seem to have been taken care of. The problem now is getting back into the routine of things after being out of it for so long.

Getting back into my editing job hasn't been so hard. I suspect it goes back to being responsible to someone else and on an external deadline. Being behind by about 2 weeks has also eaten into the time I have to do my own writing. I usually reserve Fridays for my own work, but with the amount of work that needs to get done and soon, I've dropped that until I'm caught up. As for during the week, I spend the mornings working and the afternoons resting because I'm still recovering and want to make sure I get healthy as soon as possible. I want to work on my own stuff, I'm just too tired to.

I have done some tinkering with A.C., but not much. A.C. is my first priority, though, so hopefully as I get stronger, I'll get back into it and move along as well as I was before all this health stuff interfered. It's just nice to know the "stall" wasn't me being lazy, that there was a solution. The constant drag is gone. Now all I need to do is start building up some of those reserves I lost over the past few months.

It's scary how your physical state can have such a devastating affect on your writing.

Life & Writing, Life Stuff


Making Progress

Both in life and with my writing. Life right now is a bunch of annoying, but necessary doctor appointments. Taking care of a recurring female related problem and finally getting back on my heart medication. Just can't love being winded all the time. Kids are out of school, though youngest will be going to summer school in June. Husband is working. Things aren't better than they were before, but they aren't worse, so this is good.

I'm on ch. 23 of Assassin's Choice and almost 34k in on Phoenix Rising. Plus I picked up my Novel Plot Building book again and just started chapter 4. I'm actually sailing through A.C. at the moment. I'm still behind but managing a chapter a week (both v4 and v5 revisions), sometimes going into a second chapter. It looks like I'll finish 2 months after my self-imposed deadline, then I'll need to make the v6 revisions I have planned. Most of those shouldn't be too hard though—the big ones involve some character/race changes, but even they aren't that big. I expect the book to go out to beta readers by the end of the year. I'll take a break and early next year start thinking about the query letter, outline, and synopsis. NOT looking forward to that, actually. :P

The night owl schedule is definitely a big part of the productivity. When I do finally get out of bed, I'm usually quite ready to get to work rather than needing time to wake up and figure out my day. At night, I use my most creative part of my cycle to make progress in my revisions, which seems to be really helpful in keeping me going despite being at the most difficult part of the novel.

I've given up on shorts for the time being, maybe permanently. Shorts are a hard length for me, the market hunting frustrating and exhausting, and the pay not worth the time put into the process. Granted, I don't write to make a living...yet, but, at the same time, I'm not writing to put more money into trying to get published than I get out of it. I have a few credits, some of them in some pretty decent zines. For now, I'm content on that front and just want to focus on the books, which I'm more comfortable with anyway. It may be awhile before I get published again, but I'm okay with that.

Heroes of Ehlarayn, In Progress, Life Stuff, Nonfiction (Books), Process & Craft


Yes, It's Been Awhile

I've actually had an amazing amount of personal stuff get in the way of my usual activities, some of it health related, some of it family related, and a whole lot of it disruptive. Things appear to be settling now, for the most part, and I've made a few changes to make my days easier for me. Not sure they will get me on this blog more than usual, but they are already helping with the writing aspect of things. Now we just need the weather to be cooperative...which is not likely to happen consistently any time soon. We need the water, don't get me wrong, so the rain is welcome. The tornadoes and lightning, however, really aren't as necessary as they seem to think they are. ;)

Of course, the biggest concern has been my health. I had to go back on my iron to combat anemia, and finally gave in and went to the doctor when the last 2 weeks proved to be far more difficult than they should have been. He's put me on medication as a stop gap measure (which is already working) and is having testing done to see what we can do to keep the issue under control in the future. A lot of this has to do with my weight, and a lot of it has to do with my age. I was taking tiny steps towards a healthier me when the newest wrinkle showed up. With the temporary measures already having a dramatic affect for the better, I'm already trying to get back into some of the habits that were helping me before. I may hold off on exercise for a bit, though, just to allow things to stabilize before I go adding something back into the mix.

One of the biggest changes I've made is to my schedule. I'm not sure why, but months after leaving my substitute teaching job, I was still on the working girl schedule: up early, awake all day, to bed around midnight. For most people, this works...except maybe the midnight thing. For ME, this is a nightmare. I hate mornings (I like to say I'm allergic to them) and have always done better with a night time schedule--meaning to bed at 3 AM (or later) and up at 10 or 11 AM. I don't even start to feel creative energy until 1 AM or later, so being in bed at midnight robs me of my most creative time. After talking with the husband about this, it was agreed that I should try to go back to my own schedule, with a small change: I still have to get up to get the kids off to school. I just go back to bed once they are on their buses and sleep until 11 or noon. The old work schedule rears its ugly head still, so the shift over is proving a bit more difficult than I thought it would be, but, as I said earlier, the positive results are already being seen. I've been working A LOT faster on A.C. than I was before starting to switch over. Nothing beats working within your own creative cycle.

The editing job has also gone through some changes. Our acquisitions editor resigned for personal reasons that had nothing to do with her love for us. She just didn't feel it was the right fit for her. As a result, my position as senior editor is now merged with acquisitions, and I've had to do some shuffling around with my responsibilities to get everything to fit. Fortunately, it's still quiet for us. It may not stay that way once we have our August launch and release. I'm looking forward to it, but we also still have a lot to do to get 3 of our 4 books ready on time (the 4th may or may not be ready, and we're okay with that).

In other news, my essay "When Tears Fall" has been reprinted in Voices of Autism, an autism anthology. I am VERY excited about this antho. It's already received at least one wonderful review:

The fifth entry in the Voices anthology project from the Healing Project, this work includes over 40 different stories and vignettes written by parents, teachers, and people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) that showcase how families and caregivers measure perseverance, understanding, and success. Many of the selections stand out, including an author’s account of her autistic son, a seventh grader’s perspective on her two siblings with autism, a memoir by an adult with autism who relied on a tire advertisement to get through tough times, and an account of the challenges of dating an adult with Asperger’s. The book’s real strengths are the adult-penned passages, which will give readers a better sense of what autism truly is. Taken individually, the stories show glimpses of the impact that autism has on individuals and those they love. Taken collectively, they paint a rich landscape that many will find familiar. Highly recommended for public libraries and academic libraries with disability collections.

-- ­Corey Seeman, Kresge Business Administration Library, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

I hope you will consider picking up a copy. Autism is probably one of the least understood but most prevalent disabilities in the world today. 1 out of 166 people are diagnosed with autism, and it affects everyone in the autistic's life. Probably the most frightening part of the disability is that those who have it look normal. It's not like so many disabilities where you can tell there's something different just by the person's appearance. When you combine this with the lack of knowledge about it, the result can be devastating for the family. I've been a target of the blame game, of being told I should get another opinion because it's probably not autism, of having to fight for everything that my son is supposed to get by law. The only thing that will help is education. The essays and stories in this book come from our personal experiences as family members of autistics and from those with autism. Nothing could inform better.

Changes & Challenges, Getting Healthy, Heroes of Ehlarayn, Life & Writing, Life Stuff, Personal Insights, Published


Work In Progress 2008

We had a wonderful holiday, but I'm glad it's over. My oldest daughter and her family came down on Christmas Eve and spent a few days with is, middle daughter was over for the day with her boyfriend (who left right after we ate), and the kids father was out for about a week or so. The gift pile was just scary, even taking into account there were a lot of people doing the giving and a couple of extra people receiving. Not much writing done in December at all--just too busy. The kids went back to school on January 3, and I've spent most of this last week trying to catch up on a few things. But now it's time to get back into the groove...or to find a groove to get back into. ;)

My first priority is A.C., which I want done and out to beta readers by November. It's a late date, but I have the current v4/v5 combined revision I'm doing to finish, then some major changes for one of the characters to make in a v6 revision. I'm keeping a to do list for v6 as I work through v4/v5. Most of it is nit picky things, but I'm changing the race of a character (dropping the previous race completely out of the Alden world) and that will require some larger changes. I suspect beta readers will find places where I missed things. ;)

I'm also working on Phoenix Rising. The notes draft is going pretty well, but is minus notes and I suspect has some redundancy. I'll finish it, print it, make notations of what needs to be fixed, and revise the notes draft before moving on to the building draft. I need to work on world building for it (and A.C. as well). I've also got Stolen Priest out for me to look at, but it's a pretty low priority for me right now.

Nine shorts are in various stages of being worked on: "A Single Parent In A Married Relationship" (essay), "Blood Whispers" (Vampire), "The Reckoning" (SF), "Gift of Writing" (Supernatural), "Magda" (??), "Iris" (SF), "Rebuilding After Rejection" (Article; being updated), "Promises" (Vampire), and "Fairy Dragon" (brand new Fantasy). Most of these are in various stages of being revised, although "Fairy Dragon" is so new the rough isn't finished. Several are a couple of years old, which is my problem with shorts--they aren't a priority for me. They'll eventually get done; I'm just not one to impose deadlines on them since they tend to get pushed aside more frequently for other things.

The only other project to worry about is fixing I tried to give it a start this morning, but there's a problem with the MT install, so I have to wait until the fella who handles the server gets back online to fix it for me. will take awhile to get back together anyway--most of the areas that have problems have to be restored page by page. That's a lot of pages to have to get back online.

Goals for 2008:
» 450,000 words
» Finish A.C. and get it out to whole book readers
» Finish Phoenix rough draft and revisions to v3
» at least 1 professional publication (no, I never learn)
» finish "Letters", "Single Parent", and "Blood Whispers"
» write 6 new shorts
» read 1 book a month

The only thing I'm worried about on that list is the 6 new shorts, but the rest should be quite manageable. :)

Goals & Progress, In Progress, Life Stuff, Novels, Short Stories


Still Busy

I started subbing again (got to make the rent somehow!), but only part time--meaning only 2 or 3 days a week. So far I haven't had to turn anyone down for my 2 (preferred) or 3 (if one of my fave teachers begs really hard) booked, but I'm sure that will change once the weather finally goes from sweltering to "Is it cold enough to snow yet? No? Could have fooled me!" This should start sometime in November, maybe earlier. I'm also going to try to limit the number of schools this year. I may have to make the rent, but I also need to keep what's left of my sanity.

This means I'm now trying to compress 2 full time jobs into 5 days. Not fun, but better than it was. Even the editing thing doesn't take up all the time needed for a long term position. My family actually gets to see me in the evenings. But it's still a busy time, and my own work is suffering a little because of it.

And I'm suffering a big case of avoidance on at least 2 things since they both need scenes added. I know. Bad, bad, bad author. I'm working on it. Sorta.

Also coming up this week: Dragon*Con. Yes, I plan to be there, as broke as we are. Mostly on the Writing Track, but there's a little Goth and a little Anime, among others, thrown in for good measure. this will also be the hub's first time at the Con, so I need to spend time with him keeping him from getting lost, spending money, you know...the usual things.

Now add on top of all this that my oldest is here with the grandbaby, and, yea, things are just a bit on the busy side. I am thinking about what I need to be doing, but it's usually too hot and humid (as the hottest part of the day tends to hit in the early evening then stay for awhile) to dig up any motivation for it. Hopefully it'll start cooling soon and the writing won't be so hard to get to even after working during the day.

Life Stuff, Work & Writing


Finding A Balance

The one thing I'm having trouble with right now is balancing my time between activities, a lot of which has to do with me stretching myself a little thin. I'm finally focused on only 2 novels (which may sound weird, but I was bouncing between 4 or 5 for awhile there), but there's a lot interfering with the writing.

For one, the kids are home. While they are older, having an autistic kid doesn't translate into a child who can occupy himself. I have to keep an eye on him, and especially watch for his stimming behaviors which we are trying to limit during the day. Right now that means more TV than I would like, but he's just not a go and play child. Fortunately, school starts in about 2 weeks, which will give me between 9 AM and 4:30 PM kid free. It's easier to work when I don't need to keep looking over and making sure my son is behaving appropriately.

Then there's the editing job. I'm trying to get a line edit job in addition to the position I currently hold, but the position I currently hold has just handed me 8 new projects. I'm not doing a full 8 hour day with it, but it still cuts into my time. No big except that it cuts into the best time of the day to get anything done.

Then there are the things I can't control: the weather, finances, and so on. Between muggy heat and storms, I spend more time off the computer than I should; and the finances and so on are just plain distracting. Stress isn't conducive to writing focus.

It bothers me that, 3 years after the move, I'm still trying to adjust to the climate, still struggling with a schedule, still fighting the financial crap that brought us out here to begin with. Some of it is trying to find a balance between everything that needs my attention. It's more than just priorities, it's figuring out what works time wise to get everything done. For some reason, it's proving harder out here than it was in Cali. Adding the job in the mix and the difference in the climate is making that tougher than I had expected.

I am trying to get through a chapter of A.C. every week, but I do miss every now and then. My shorts are getting shortchanged (no pun intended), my submissions are just starting to pile, and it all comes down to priorities and time.

I have more to say, but I have an editing test demanding my attention and my son is having a bad day.

Yea, balance. What's that? *sighs*

Life Stuff, Obstacles & Overcoming


What A Month

It's been quite a month, with computer meltdowns and other issues cropping up, plus working on an editing project, so time hasn't been what I had hoped. Fortunately, I managed to save all my writing in the computer mess, though I did lose quite a few other things. Not as much as I feared, but something important always manages to get lost or mucked up. In this case, I can't find the codes I need for a bit of software (non-writing related) and can't seem to get a response from the company at all. I even tried to repurchase. I'll wait until tomorrow to attempt to contact the company one more time. If that doesn't work, I'll need to hunt up some replacement software that still works on Win 98 and contact the place that I purchased the software through to see if I can get my money back. Most my other stuff is saved, but, for some unknown reason, my comp won't access the CDs. I suspect my CD burner is toast.

A.C. is up to ch5 in revisions. I showed the earlier chapters to an editor friend of mine and she gave me the thumbs up. So, the revisions are on track even if they're a bit on the slow side. They should speed up a little once I get past ch10, which is the last chapter with anything to salvage from my previous attempt at v4 and v5 revisions. My only concern is making sure the chapters after ch10 have the same tone and polish. There will be a 6th revision to make some very specific changes and to check for technical errors, then it will go out to beta readers. Once it's off to them, I'll look at Quest for Ehlarayn and rework it from either the outline or the narrative draft up.

Phoenix Rising is in the outline stage. I've sorted out 2 of the plot lines, beginning to end. The people in my writing group who are actually paying attention like the story so far. I've also reposted Stolen Priest to the group. The only thing really getting ignored is my short stories. I have a few new pieces that I need to work on, and a couple of older ones I really should revise, but I seem to go through these phases where I'm so focused on the novel work that anything else is just too much of an interference.

It really is rather surprising how much I have managed to finish all things considered. I had to reformat, our phone line was torched by lightning, I've been down at least one or two days a week with migraines, storms have kept me off-line for several days, the husband was in an accident -- he's fine but the car is not. And that's just the major stuff. Hopefully things will settle down now. I have more editing projects coming up, and I'm slowly working out a schedule that allows me time for my own writing. In a month, it will be easier since the kids will be in school (though the daughter and granddaughter will be here). Not sure when the weather will stop kicking me off-line as well, but hopefully that won't be too much after the kids are out of the house.

Flight of the Phoenix, Heroes of Ehlarayn, In Progress, Life Stuff, Novels


Days Off Mean Writing

The long term class is finally done; yesterday was my last day (thank goodness for that!). After most long term assignments, I usually take a bit of a break, so I have this weekend and most of next week to recouperate. this particular group of kids were pretty exhausting and frustrating, but there are a few i'll miss. Even so, I'm glad the drain on my physical and mental resources is over with and that I'll have time to do the things i like doing again.

Because I'm taking days off, I'll be doing quite a bit of writing this upcoming week. I've had a lot of fun with Randi Kayde and really want to get back into the novel with less time constraints. I also have several things that I really need to get some revisions done on -- the 3 new shorts from last year need to be made market ready. And a new story or two would be good as well.

Of course, the big problem will be getting back into the habit. Once I'm writing, I'm okay, it's just getting started that seems so hard. And when I've been away for awhile, even my usual routines don't always get me writing. It's a strange irony having something you love to do be so difficult to actually start.

Life Stuff



The holidays were okay for us. The food didn't quite come out as good as usual, but it was okay. I told hub that I really need to start writing down what I do when I make my game hens so I have an idea of what works. Maybe then I wouldn't have these off years.

Actually, I probably would anyway.

We miss the oldest -- ticket prices were to high for her to come out this year. And the kids' father could have had better timing (we told him none of this arriving on Christmas day again -- it throws everyone off). But, overall, it was a pretty good holiday. Of course, we have other plans over the next few days that will take up time, but the truly busy part of everything is over and done with.

Which gives me about a week to get some writing in before the whole work thing comes up again. Actually, maybe even longer since I'm only in my long term classroom for 3 days and I don't plan to take another long term any time soon. (Unless, of course, I get that ft/p position I've been trying for for 2 1/2 years now.)

Today I started with some Randi Kayde. Managed just over 1300 words. It was a bit on the slow going side, but it did feel good. Because I've been out of the habit for awhile, I also had to keep reminding myself to just write and worry about all the details later.

1300 words is pretty good after so long. I'll take it.

Life Stuff, The Shunned


Almost There

This week I work only Monday and Tuesday -- the rest of the week is Thanksgiving vacation. Then I just need to survive until December 15th or so (maybe the 20th). Then this job is over. I can take a break and breathe for a bit, refuse any new long term jobs for a bit, get back into what I love to do instead of what I must do.

And it will be so nice to be able to do that again.

Life Stuff, Obstacles & Overcoming


Poof Goes The Author

My recent disappearance this past week or so hasn't been deliberate. My comp is down for the count and being looked at by a friend at the school I'm working at, and it won't be back until later this week at the earliest.

It's been a rough week or so. No writing, too much stressing, even the phone was down for awhile there.

See, the local cable company was offering a very good price on cable internet and digital phone service. Being along the lines of a starving artist, we decidede that it might be prudent to check into the offer and give it a go. Others have said that cable internet is faster (not that I mind DSL, actually) and that they have had pretty good expierences with the company. So we decided to give it a shot -- internet and phone for half the price we were paying sounded pretty good to us.

Except it didn't work out that way. The phone would only work connected in one place, and even then, died within 2 hours. The internet worked for my computer, so tech tried to get his computer online, got it then my computer wouldn't get online. They initially said that they don't support Win98S.E. (!) then attempted to get the computer online. They never did manage to get me back online and also managed to screw up my machine in the process. Not even sure what they did, but I can now access programs, but opening directories is impossible. I already had a scan disk fault, although that wasn't interfering with anything, just when I had to hit the emergency button. A new tech came out over the weekend to take care of a "incomplete/fqaulty installation." He got the phone working . . . for about 2 hours again.

At this point, we said for get it. We called back our old phone company and got ourselves ransferred back. Machine is still down, but the internet will work as it needs to when I get it back. Phone is up and running again. And we even get bonus prizes -- money for the modem, money for coming back, and my old deposit should be on its way back as well.

In the meantime, my time online is sketchy at best. I use the husband's machine for short periods when home. The school's network doesn't allow LJ or a number of the other places I visit, so I may be online, but I'm not really around. Until I have ny nachine back and some more time, I'm not writing much either -- which is the most depressing part of this mess. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Life Stuff

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