Ironic that my last blog post was about seeing clearly (or not, as the case may be) as I’m several days post-op now and my vision remains an absolute mess. Not sure if it’s the anesthesia or the anti-nausea patch the docs used to try to keep me from puking when I woke up (side note: it didn’t help. At all.) but at the moment my eyesight is oddly blurry, with or without glasses.
It definitely makes it difficult to do anything I might normally do after surgery – e.g. read – as I can’t actually focus on words particularly well. Hopefully it will wear off soon and I’ll be back to whatever is normal for me.
Surgery-wise, it was the simple removal of an ovary with an endometriosis cyst that was torsioned up, I guess and a general endometrial scrape, though that turned out to be not as bad as we thought. That being said, I’ve only got this one lone ovary left – hopefully it will last a while before it finally gives up or also has to be removed.
Otherwise, there’s some more random health garbage on my end that I don’t particularly feel like talking about and some additional…awfulness. I’m not going to mention the details about it as it isn’t my news to share – the only reason I bring it up is that it is very difficult to wrap my head around. If I seem a bit more “off” or distant than usual, that is probably why, so don’t take it personally if I’m not as responsive as usual on social media or whatever.
I’ve been distracting myself with a couple of online classes on introspection and mediation and meta-woowoo about reclaiming one’s voice and whatnot. (Plus some added-bonus fun in the vein of utilizing that which serves me best and tossing out the rest – from an emotional standpoint. Controlling what I can control and letting go what I can’t, etc.) They’ve been fairly helpful, so if you’re interested – I can highly recommend Sharon Blackie’s Voices of the Wells workshop and The DragonTree’s Sacred Expansion.
Aside from all that, the last few months have been a whirlwind of chaos. The good news is that I turned A Symphony of Starlight into my editor a few weeks ago – I’m waiting on feedback and once I have that I’ll start looking at an actual publication date and Amazon pre-orders and all that nonsense. (Assuming I don’t have to rewrite the entire thing – knowing me, it’s entirely possible.) I should have some cover art some time next month as well, I believe, so that’s exciting. ALSO I WILL NEED BETA READERS WHO REALLY KNOW THE ABBY SINCLAIR SERIES. Please hit me up in the comments if you are interested. Can’t promise everyone will be chosen, but I’d like to throw out the opportunity here.
I finally had to put Old Man Jake down – at 21 he had lived the best life, but I knew that week he was not looking particularly well and when he started staggering around with that odd little meow, I knew there wasn’t anything else I could do for him except let him go. So I did and he passed in my arms and that’s really it. I don’t regret doing it, but I regret having to do it, if that makes any sense.
We ripped up the basement after he was gone and we’re in the process of redoing it – paint, new carpet and the like since the unfortunate side-effect of owning geriatric cats is that they aren’t always particularly good about litter boxes and I think Jake had basically given up trying. We’re mostly done now – carpet will be in tomorrow and then we can reclaim the rest of the space into something usable. (I have a lot of *things* to hang up, mostly involving Cowboy Bebop.)
Yes, I am aware of the live action version being made. No, I’m not sure what to make of it. I’d *like* for it to be good, but the problem with taking such an iconic bit of media is that the heart of such things rarely survives the transition from one to the other. At least, not without transforming into something else. (Usually for the worse, but maybe we’ll be lucky?) Plus, I am not sure why we need a live action. The anime is pretty much perfection just the way it is, but eh. No one asks me anyway. (I’ll post pics of the basement when it’s all done though, so stay tuned!)
Three other things I’ve managed to accomplish in all this craziness:
Finished this monster of a cross-stitch and got it all framed up and ready to go. I don’t normally get my stuff professionally framed but I thought this one was worth it.
I’ve got the perfect spot for it in a beach-themed bathroom with the same sorts of blue tiles…
I was on a podcast – in fact more than just a simple Q&A type thing, the host, Jason LaVelle went and read a bit of Magpie’s Song – so if you’ve been on the fence about giving the story a chance, you can check it out there and see if it floats your boat. (Also check out the rest of his other podcasts – he’s had some really great authors on and it’s good stuff.)
I flexed my web-building fingers and rattled off a quick and simple site for my friend Sheryl Murakami (a fabulous choreographer and dancer, btw – so definitely check her out if you’re so inclined when you’re in LA or NYC…or in Japan, this week, it would seem.
And by fabulous, I mean, she’s won a VMA for choreography for Beyonce, so I’m rather touched that she asked me to do it and happy I was able to make it the way she wanted.
…and I think that’s about it for now. Which is probably more than enough, to be honest, so we’ll leave it at that.
Several days ago I did my normal morning routine, part of which usually includes a new set of daily contacts.
No biggie there, but in this case, I had recently ordered a box from my eye doc since I was running out. I grabbed a pair, sat down at my computer, tossed the lenses into my eyes and played a few hours of Assassins Creed: Odyssey.
Which is fine. Until I got up and realized I couldn’t see.
More to the point, I could see directly in front of me, but everything past a certain distance got immediately blurry, almost as though I wasn’t wearing lenses at all.
I found it a bit worrisome, though I have had a few times where I focused too long on tiny things and not had my eyes adjust correctly when I looked back up. But this was a little different.
I threw the lenses out and tried a new pair and same thing. Eventually, I figured out the eye doc had sent me a box with the wrong prescription. It didn’t affect my close up vision which is why I didn’t notice – the computer screen was just fine – but as soon as I tried to look at anything else, instant blur.
Easy enough to fix, of course, though really it feels like a bit of a metaphor for my entire life at the moment, particularly with this latest book. Or specifically with the latest Abby book. (I have a working title – it’s something like A Symphony of Starlight, though I’m not entirely sure I’m going to keep it. And hey, I’ve got a cover artist in the loop, so hopefully I will have something to show you all soon.)
I did finish up the draft last week – which is good in a lot of ways – I’ve always been a better rewriter than a writer and now I have something I can actually work with.
And there is a *lot* of work to be done before I can send this off to the editor (in early April).
But writing this book has been very much like wearing the wrong lenses – the small scenes, the up close/personal ones paragraphs have come together okay, but trying to look out beyond those scenes and it’s starting to feel like I’m not quite there. The main plot is standing in the clear, but all those details are *awfully* fuzzy.
Part of this is because I haven’t hung out with these characters for a while – I’m not sure I’ve caught their rhythm quite right. They’re old friends, I suppose – but there’s been a lot of radio silence on both sides, so to speak. Part of it is that my writing style has changed since I wrote that first book and I’m not sure I can go back to the way it was before, though I’m certainly going to try. Part of is is just the usual circus of juggling multiple story lines and trying to make sure it all ends to everyone’s satisfaction.
I suppose that’s actually the whole fuss of writing a story to being with, but for the moment it seems to be a little harder than I thought it would be.
Hopefully when I start editing for real this week (I’m “resting” my brain for a few days – good to let the story percolate a bit before I move into tweaking it) it will get a bit clearer.
(If only story telling was as easy as changing out contact lenses…!)
Baking and Blogging
Another year come and gone, I suppose. I wasn’t going to bake today and I wasn’t going to blog today, but here I am, doing both. So much for intentions.
I know everyone is doing a sort of end of year round up – and figured I might as well do one too – it’s been pretty crazy overall on a number of levels, but let’s see:
House Stuff – if you may recall last January we discovered mice had basically trashed our basement – this led to an enormous loss of personal property. Many items that couldn’t be replaced had to be thrown out – but I tried to look at it from a cathartic viewpoint. Chances are, most of that stuff was just lingering about – pieces from our past that we couldn’t quite manage to get rid of, or just random kid crap – or just…stuff we were too lazy to sort through. The mice sort of became the catalyst for a number of things. We borrowed some money to repair the damaged rooms and turned one of them into a photo studio. The rest of the basement, admittedly is in a sort of limbo – as Jake the cat turns 21 in a week and we’re basically waiting for him to cross the rainbow bridge before we replace the carpets down there.
However, I used the overall cleaning momentum to start going through most of the other rooms in the house – we ended up painting the entire downstairs (with the exception of one room), hanging up a ton of pictures I’d bought over the years, and also painting the kitchen cabinets. This upcoming year, I’m hoping to finish painting the office (and reorganizing it as well). Should Jake move on, we’ll get the rest of the basement done, and with any luck replace all the floors on the main level (with new carpet or hardwood or both – each room has a damage, 20 odd years of kids, pets, leaking windows, etc – so it’s about time to replace it in some fashion.
Health Stuff – Lucy was finally diagnosed with AMPs and Allodynia, and had surgery to fix her crossing eyes. She’s had most of a year with weekly physical therapy, meditation, etc. Some things have worked, some things haven’t, but overall I’d say there’s been a big improvement. It’s not a cure, but if it allows her to find some relief and some coping mechanisms, then I’m satisfied.
For myself – it’s been a mixed bag – multiple ER visits with either terrible headaches or high blood pressure that appears to NOT be heart related at this point, the usual garbage with fibro slowly sucking the energy out of me, nonstop pain issues, sleep tests, and an endocrinologist who is stumped as to why I am not absorbing either Vitamin D or phosphorus. I’m on crazy amounts of supplements and yet I’m apparently just pissing it all way, quite literally. So that will be a new mystery to try to unravel in the upcoming year. (In the off hand chance that any of these crazy issues are being caused by anxiety or whatever, I have also recently starting seeing a therapist to try to dig into things – hopefully it will be helpful either way.)
Travel Stuff – I kept the con stuff light again this year – I only ended up attending World Fantasy Con in November. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll do any cons this upcoming year at all. Sort of depends on how things play out.
On the other hand – I did make it to Japan for a couple of weeks and it was easily the best time of my life. I would very much like to go back – but maybe for a month next time, though I’m not entirely sure how I’d be able to swing it with the family, but I suppose we’ll figure something out.
(I’ve been slacking on my Japanese lessons since I got back, and I really would like to get back to them – the holidays have sorta derailed me though.)
I never did blog about the trip, but I really should have – we saw an incredible amount of stuff and I got my otaku/weeaboo self on and dragged the entire family to Karatsu on a Yuuri on Ice pilgrimage, because really, why not?
(Next time I visit though it will NOT be in the middle of summer. I would like to enjoy sightseeing without all the crazy humidity.
This upcoming year, we’ve got a quick trip to NYC planned. (The kids haven’t been, and it’s not that far away and I think it’s worth taking them to see some landmarks.) Also, I’m hoping to go and visit Aimo in Malaysia over the summer as well (which will be just as hot as Japan, I realize, but it’s that or nothing, so of course I’ll go when I can.) This will partly be for business – which leads me to the next section….
Creative Stuff – Aimo and I sold the first volume of Fox & Willow! (so far, anyway). We didn’t officially announce it, but contracts have been signed and whatnot, so it is moving forward. We’ll talk about it more when it get closer to publication time – but it’s traditional publishing, so it will be a while. Part of the reason I’m going to visit her is to help scan in the 300 or so pages of traditionally drawn stuff – a lot of it is going to have be relettered and everything and it makes sense to try to fit in a visit AND work together.
Also, I published Magpie’s Fall – with Magpie’s Flight forthcoming sometime in 2019 (I hope). I’m about 75k into the rough draft, but I took a little break so I could write the next Abby Sinclair book! (No title yet, the draft is a hot mess, but I’ve already got my editor booked and a deadline, so I will be moving forward with that as best I can. I’ll throw more information out about that as soon as I know more. I really do need to get a title pinned down and some fancy cover art too. Whee!
Tales from the Lake 5 came out in November, which had a little horror short story I wrote as well about a child-eating mermaid, so you know, there’s also that.
Otherwise, I’ve got another book I’ve started, but it doesn’t have deadline or anything – my hope is to get those other two books published this year and the new one to my agent and then I guess we’ll see how it goes from there. I’ve also got a couple of short stories planned, though no specific market to submit them too – sometimes the opportunities just show up when they show up and that is good enough.
Aside from writing, I also made a whole bunch of cross stitch projects for people – most of them were giveaways, which is always nice. I’ve got a few lined up for myself this year (and a couple of gifts planned as well – but this year the writing will come first.) The last one is still a WIP – and I’m also finishing up a secret one for a gift that I’ll post once it’s been given…
So…yeah. Busy year. Busy bee.
Hopefully this next year will be full of good things for all of you as well. ^_^
(Oh, and I’m doing the Spilling Ink podcast this weekend – I don’t know if it will be live or not, but I’ll post some links once it is available…)
Abby Sinclair Rides Again
(and I suppose you can take that however you like…there’s a small snippet at the end of the post…)
Or more to the point, I’m in the process of writing another Abby book. And while I did say I would do it for NaNo (and technically I am), I’m not exactly aiming for 50k in the month – it wouldn’t be enough anyway, so I’m just focusing on steady progress. I should have about 20-30k done by the end of the month and that’s not a bad start for a series I haven’t touched since 2012.
I’ve got an ambitious writing year lined up (for me, anyway) – I’m nearly finished with the draft for Magpie’s Flight, I’ve started Abby #4, and I’ve got a third, unrelated book started that I would also like to rough draft. (And probably at least 2 shorts, but we’ll see how that goes.)
I’ve been using a different writing strategy then I have in the past – namely I want multiple drafts to work on instead of writing and editing one at a time. I’ve also been writing in the early morning hours before work and it’s given me a really nice production boost. I no longer write on weekends, which gives me several days of unfettered access to whatever I want, guilt free. (Reading, anime, cleaning my house, whatever – from a balance perspective it has helped.)
But I will say it has taken me some time to get back into the groove of writing Abby and company. I reread the original series over the last few months – and while I found a few issues here or there, I could see where there needs to be a bit more to wrap things up, mostly involving the trio, and also Melanie’s unresolved violin/Nobu issues. Abby #4 will take place shortly after the end of A Trace of Moonlight, so you won’t lose too much in the transfer.
Still, I’m not the same person I was when I started writing those stories – and I’m not sure I’ll be able to recapture some of the goofiness of the past, though I’m certainly trying. To be honest, I’m just getting the skeleton of the story down – sexytiems (and there will be at least one pretty smutty scene that I know of) and snark will probably come with the second pass. I’m still a panster, after all and the only thing I vaguely know is where this story *should* end – but I honestly don’t know if it will happen the way I expect. But I never really do when I write these, so that’s part of the fun.
When will it be published? Eh. Probably some time in late 2019, probably ebook only. I’m hoping to have a working draft to send to my editor no later than March. I do want to finish up Magpie’s Flight first and hopefully the skeleton draft of the unnamed high fantasy, but we’ll see – a lot of it depends on my editor’s schedule and all that. Sometimes the best of intentions fall by the wayside of reality, but I will do my best.
Snippet. (very short – and it will most likely change – please excuse any typos and timeline inconsistencies and whatnot, it’s obviously not finished , ahem)
“…and then she rubbed her silky thighs over his chest, whickering softly. The End.” Phin’s hooves typed out the words in dainty fashion as he repeated the sentence aloud. “There now, first draft of The Girl of Horns and Bites is finished.”
I glanced up from my copy of Baby Bumps In The Night: Tips For the Preternaturally Pregnant with a sigh. “Sounds like a best seller. For Furries,” I muttered under my breath.
“Damn straight.” The unicorn adjusted his tiny spectacles and peered at the laptop screen. “And you know, I don’t think you even need that book you’re reading. After all, Ion was mortal at the time of conception, wasn’t he?”
“Sure.” I continued to sift through the pages, choosing not to linger over the chapter titled ‘What to Do When Your Baby Decides to Eat its Way Out.’ Blanching, I shut the book with a snap. “But I might not have been. After all, I was carrying some of his incubus powers then.”
Phineas paused, his mouth open for a moment and then he nodded. “Fair enough. Still a bit early though. You’re not even really showing.”
And I supposed that was sort of true. Maybe not to the outside world, but inside, things were definitely changing. I was just rounding that third month of what all the baby books indicated was the end of morning sickness and the beginning of something called the Golden Trimester or some such bullshit.
Nothing golden about it from what I could see. Just a never ending run of tightening clothes and sore boobs. And as of now, the morning sickness was less a morning thing and more of a whenever I stepped in the kitchen thing. I couldn’t even look at the enchanted fridge without dry heaving.
To be fair, it had done a good job at trying to produce foods to soothe my tattered stomach, but crackers not withstanding, the not being able to eat bacon thing was breaking my heart.
“I don’t think I’m looking for information about giving birth so much as I am about my living situation,” I said finally, stretching out my legs. “It’s not like Talivar is shy about sending elvish midwives to knock at my door every couple of weeks.”
And the Faerie prince wasn’t.
King, I correct myself. King of the Unseelie Court, even. The fact that I was technically still married to him meant that my unborn was potentially the heir to his throne, a thought that was beyond frightening.
And not that I hadn’t tried to get out of the marriage before – the handfasting was only supposed to last the traditional year and a day, and I’d gone into it with that understanding. But getting pregnant during that time sealed the deal, so to speak.
No take-backs when it came to Faerie nuptials, I guess.
The fact that the baby’s father was an incubus just cluttered things up even further. “Mmmph. Somehow I doubt there’s a chapter called ‘What To Do When Your Baby Daddy Is A Sex Demon, But Your Husband Is Faerie Royalty. Oh, And You Love Both of Them.’” I snorted. “Maybe I should write it.”
“Maybe you should,” Ion purred in agreement from the bedroom, his ridiculously handsome face peering around the doorway.
He ducked easily when I lobbed the book at him, snagging the tome from its haphazard route toward his head and placing it on the coffee table beside the phone. I gestured rudely. “This is all your fault, you know.”
“Oh, I seem to recall you were pretty heavily involved at the time.” He pursed his mouth as though remembering. “Besides I hear the second trimester is when a woman’s sex drive increases. I’m looking forward to…eating well.”
Well, there you go.
Incidentally, I’m going to need a title – so I’ll take suggestions down below if you have any to offer.
Otherwise, have a good holiday if you celebrate Thanksgiving and safe travels.
Long time no blog and all that, as per my usual, but to be fair I did have some real life issues over the last couple of months that took priority, including the unexpected passing my uncle, the start of the school year for the kids, etc etc.
It’s always something.
That being said, I’m super happy to announce I’ve got a short story in the new Tales From the Lake anthology!
(Out Friday, link down below!)
It’s my first real foray into writing horror, though it may be less horror and more disturbing melancholia, but in either case I’m super proud of it.
So please check it out if you’re so inclined! (Especially if you’re into twisted mermaid tales). My particular story is titled A Dream Most Ancient and Alone, and it’s about a lake mermaid with a penchant for eating children, who forms a tenuous friendship with an abused girl trying to escape her past.
(Print should be available shortly)
Oh, and tomorrow I’ll be heading up to Baltimore for World Fantasy Con. I’m not planning on doing any panels or readings, so it’s strictly to hang out and relax and NaNo (and given the week I’m having, it’s exactly what I need.) I will be there for the book signing, however – and I will have some OOP Abby Sinclair books! (And both Magpie books as well – those should be in the indie-pub sales room, assuming all the paperwork went through in time. Not entirely sure really – the email with the information ended up in my spam filter so I may have missed the cut off, but I’ll have them with me either way and can sell them directly through my Square.)