Constant Calculus

happy Yesterday was warm and damp while I was running. I arrived home feeling rather like moss was about to erupt all over me. Fortunately, a hot shower and dry clothes cured that, and I am already seeing the benefits of settling back into the base-building part of my training. Well, that and the almost-gallon of water I’m drinking daily. I’d forgotten what being fully hydrated felt like.

The Princess is determined to grow catnip in her room. I am unconvinced of the wisdom of this plan, but have supplied the necessary instruments for her to embark. She might learn what potting soil on her sheets feels like, if the Mad Tortie has one of her Moments.

I had also forgotten what it felt like to be out from under the mod queue. The sheer volume of nastiness arriving on a daily basis was insidious–I hadn’t thought it was affecting me so badly, but now that I don’t have to deal with it I’m experiencing a sudden flush of energy. (The kitchen floor has never been cleaner, the garden has never been neater, and my God, I will wash those kitchen cabinets soon or there will be TROUBLE.) “Don’t feed the trolls” didn’t work. (It never does, really.) What worked was closing comments down and putting the contact form up–now the IPs are logged and I can set filters to automatically archive evidence of nastiness I don’t have to see unless I make a conscious decision to check. Oddly, once the autoreplies of “Your IP address has been logged and your communications retained as evidence” go out, things get much more civil.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not have this constant calculus of “where is the next harassment going to come from” going on inside my head. Men do not seem to understand the energy drain of being aware and ready to fend off threats. I saw an ad for an otherwise very cool company that does meditation support, showing a man meditating on a park bench. They didn’t seem to realize that as a female, I can’t afford to do shit like that, and very likely wouldn’t be allowed to just sit in a public place without several people (all male) assuming that their need to invade the space of a total stranger trumps my desire (and, really, perfect right) to sit quietly. Or even walk down the street.

I’m lucky, in that I don’t have to leave the house that much, but that’s no goddamn solution. Being naturally extremely introverted, going out is a double whammy of men assuming I need them to offer their opinions on me and the toll crowds and public spaces naturally take on introverts.

In any case, I’ve reclaimed a large chunk of my energy, and as a result, there is bread dough and soft-pretzel dough rising next to my office heater. There’s projects I am suddenly full steam ahead on, and a feeling of liberation doing marvelous things for the rest of my life.

And, I swear by the gods, I will get those cabinets cleaned.

Over and out.

photo by: huntz

Simple, Not Easy

come n say 'hello' to my new friend It’s a cold morning. I did glance up and see the entire east sky a rather disconcerting shade of pink behind the cedars, a sight so arresting I watched until the color bled away. It didn’t take long–Aurora is a vibrant goddess, but she moves very quickly. By the time she’s gone and Sol has fully risen–and in winter, he fills my office with his morning glow for a brief fifteen minutes before going about the rest of his business–I am settled and chipping words out of my cranium, one at a time.

Of course, the temptation to get up and start wandering the house, or to sit and stare or surf the glorious interwebs, is stronger on some days. Today’s one of them. I have a serious case of the “I don’t fucking want to”s. Even this post–the words you’re reading this moment–are a form of procrastination. At least with a blog I feel like I have to write at least something on a semi-regular basis, and it often serves as sort of a throat-clearing for the day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my advice to people who “want to be writers.” I say “do it every day, then. No day is so busy that you don’t have ten minutes to write. Writers write, writers write daily.” This is usually met by howls of indignation–how dare you tell me when to write, how dare you imply I’m not a writer if I don’t write every day! I mostly just shrug at that point, because, well, it’s time to get back to work. I realize there are professionals who don’t write “every day,” but you weren’t asking them for advice, you were asking me, and I say, write every fucking day.

Now, many people will take that for an answer and go think about it, but there’s always those charming individuals who start howling afresh. “But what if I’ve been in/on a car accident/earthquake/hospital/alien starship examining table, huh? WHAT THEN?” Well, then you’ve got some great fucking material. That upheaval in your normal life is going to affect a lot of stuff. Writing is part of a writer’s normal daily life; if your daily life is all fucked up by catastrophe, fine, get that settled and go back to writing.

“BUT WHAT IF MY LIFE NEVER GETS SETTLED?” Then you need to rethink things, honey, but that’s not my problem. You asked me about being a writer. There are people who live on crisis, there are even people who adrenaline-junkie thrive on it. (I should know, I was one.) If your crises are constant, maybe look at what need of yours is getting fulfilled by that constant emotional upheaval–and start writing that shit down.

Usually, once my questioner has gotten themselves worked up to the point of “what if my life never gets settled?” I disengage. At that point, it’s not about writing, it’s about my questioner wanting me to validate them on some emotional level I don’t have the energy to coddle anyone but my kids or occasionally very close friends through, and they’ve picked writing as a subject in order to get their indignation addiction fed or some sort of emotional tea-and-cookies session. I am considering a change in my behavior here, to disengage at least one step earlier, at the “what if I’ve been abducted by aliens” point.

Life is never going to be “settled,” for you or me or anyone else. You’re never going to “feel like it.” I never do either, despite writing being a deep psychological (almost physical) need, as well as the means by which I feed my dependents and my book habit. It’s a daily struggle. I enlist habit and discipline as allies to get that need (and my mortgage payment) met. It is extremely simple, but never easy.

There, throat-clearing done. Now that I’ve given myself this stern reminder as well, I have to go back to Cal and Trinity, and get him shot and her arrested. It certainly helps that I enjoy my job on days like this.

Over and out.

photo by: linh.ngan

As It Deserves

Locked I hadn’t realized what a drag on my daily energy level wading through the mod queue was. This morning, as I remarked to the Selkie, I feel like I’m firing on all cylinders again. It’s amazing how many people misconstrue politeness, silence, or reticence as weakness.

The sun is out, though it’s a trifle chilly. Not a deep freeze, just what my grandfather would have called a “frost on the punkin morning.” I sent off a clutch of emails I owed to varying people as I was absorbing coffee, and now am struck with the thought that perhaps some of them were not quite grammatical. Oh well. This bothers me, in that it may be perceived as impoliteness.

I have mad thoughts of embarking on a grand experiment–a month, or three months, or even (if I get really, really ambitious) a year of following Amy Vanderbilt’s etiquette rules. (Except the horrid ones, like the homophobic bits the linked article points out.) I am a naturally rather formal person anyway–at least, to strangers. I can engage in great doses of informality, when appropriate, but by and large I won’t call you by your first name until given clear permission, I will hold doors, I will say please, thank you, and beg your pardon, and it’s an effort to say “nice to meet you” instead of “how do you do.” (Nobody says “how do you do” anymore. This is a fact I mourn daily.)

*looks over previous paragraph* I am parenthetical today too, it seems.

Miss B is heavily engaged in her post-run coma, possibly internally cataloguing all the delicious and varied smells she gorged on while we ran. I shall leave her to it and get cleaned up, throw on my I can kill you with my brain T-shirt, and begin the day’s work. The current book is about super-secret agents infected with a super-secret virus, and I am having a delirious amount of fun with it. More on that later, when I’m allowed to announce…certain things.

Come along then, Readers. Let’s kick Tuesday in the pants as it deserves.

Winter Light

morning sun

Due to the kids being in school and the shortness of winter days, I get sunlight through the office window after I’ve already been writing for a little bit–that is, if it isn’t cloudy. Those mornings are particularly golden. There’s a quality to winter light that makes writing a little easier, in some ways.

It’s about time for me to go looking for another glass apple, too.

COVER REVEAL: Trailer Park Fae

So, remember the Gallow story I was beating my head against not so long ago? Revisions are done, proofs turned back in, and Trailer Park Fae now has a cover!

Trailer Park Fae

Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that’s the way he likes it. He’s left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae – by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer’s Court is breaking loose.

Be afraid, for Unwinter is riding…

Also, I put up a short (ten-minute or so) recording of me reading the first scene on Patreon, for my lovely patrons–if you become one, you can listen too! Of course, Odd Trundles was moaning at the door, since I locked him out of the office. So the reading is really with bonus Trundles, but I’m not sure that’s an inducement to pledge or not. *snork* Now that the new year is here, I’ll be putting up more sneak peeks and fun things up–even a vlog, if a certain goal is reached. We’ll see.

Anyway, between TPF coming out in June and KIN coming out in March, things are going to be busy around here. Plus there’s revisions, as always, and even more exciting news I can’t share just yet. Stay tuned…

ETA: For those curious, the cover artist is Dan dos Santos.

Back From the Brink

Broken Time Well. I’m back. I hope your holidays, of whatever stripe, were fabulous. Mine were very quiet, just the way I like them. I got a lot of work done–one of the things about publishing is that just before all the salaried (editors etc.) go off on vacation, there’s a massive push to get things out to “freelancers”–authors, copyeditors, and the like. Which means one ends up doing a ton of work while everyone else is celebrating. Fine by me, really. I’ve mentioned before how every “holiday,” growing up, was so inordinately stressful that I am allergic to the very thought of gatherings at certain points of the year, including my own blessed natal day.

Anyway. Revisions were sent back, more revisions were done, and I’m currently in the middle of updating and revising the Society series for re-release. Note that they’re not re-released yet! I have every hope for new covers, though.

Also, someone sent me a very nice gift–a Wheel of the Year clock. So far, the sender has not identified him/herself, and there was no card/indication on the packaging. Please, if you sent it, drop me a line so I may thank you?

Who sent me?

Who sent me?

Later today I’ll be vlogging (or recording) a reading of one of my books for my Patreon patrons. I just have to figure out which book I want to start with…