Going Gets Tough

I’ve been blogging for a long while now. There are dry periods, where I have nothing much to say except for the minutiae of daily life–how the book-sausage gets made, what the dogs have done now, how publishing is changing. Oh, and the weather. Of course the weather is a constant concern.

I partly blame reading military history; weather is always the third general upon the field, and one who can’t be ignored. Today the rain has washed away everything except a few sheltered snow holdouts. The streets are awash, the roof kissed over and over by falling drops. The dogs aren’t going to like our outing, at least not when the initial oh boy we’re outside WITH MUM wears off.

That takes about ninety seconds in a downpour. They must love me a lot.

This morning I woke up with Jack T. Colton from Romancing the Stone yelling “Oh, man, the Doobie Brothers broke up!” Which meant I had to go listen to What a Fool Believes and then onto a Twitter rant about how much I love that damn movie and how it’s probably responsible for my current career.1

Now you know who to blame, I guess? When the going gets tough

Copyedits continue apace. I spent some serious time yesterday looking into Ingram Spark and mass-market paperback trim sizes. If I get the whole PDF cover template thing done, the first experiment is Steelflower in mass-market size.

It’s a great time to be self-publishing, IF one knows what one’s doing. If one doesn’t, the options available might boggle one into inaction or worse, signing away one’s rights without proper compensation. Or one might think that because of a crying fit brought on by frustration (I fucking hate PDF cover templates, let me sing you a whole song about how I hate them) the entire thing isn’t worth doing, and toss it all out the door.

Yes, I was tempted yesterday. But today’s a whole new day, I’ve got my spark back and the heat set to the wick. Today is for more copyedits, and when I can’t do that anymore because my head will explode if I look at one more comma placement question, I might put together a soundtrack for HOOD and poke a bit more at cover templates.

But for right now, it’s raining and the dogs need a walk. See you around, chickadees.

Read ’em and weep. I always do.

Flood Watch

The Keepers

The snow is worn away by waves of rain, and yesterday I went looking through my old notes for avatar. I left Michael crucified in midair, and maybe he’s hung there enough. I really never liked him, but maybe I was a wee bit vengeful…

…nah, probably not. Maybe he needs to stay there a bit longer.

Anyway, I’ve got to get out and move. The snow was nice, but I’ve got to run, and Sir Boxnoggin needs his edges worn off. Today is all copyedits all the time the instant I settle to real work, and that’s going to quite make my mood. Of course I have to make a few changes to the map of a fictional country, and that will quite make my mood as well.

The dogs don’t care that it’s raining–yet. They care only that they haven’t been run and I managed to get my hair into a ponytail, which means WALKIES ARE ALMOST UPON US. I suppose nothing is really harmed by running them in the rain; it’ll just make the house smell like wet dog.

…just as I typed that, my phone beeped. There’s a flood watch–all the snow, now all the rain washing it away. Great.

Well, the water will only rise from here. Might as well get out while it’s still a trickle instead of a flood. That way when I come home, everyone can dry off, warm up, and be glad to be inside for the rest of the day.

And I’ll leave Constantius hanging for some while longer. I have to edge up onto this book, which means thinking about its habits and feeding while I’m neck-deep in six other projects, including Dolls. That one’s going to be fun.

Every once in a while, thinking about my own mortality, I say I can’t die yet, I have edits to finish. It’s my own personal wall against misfortune; I cannot be killed until I have finished my work, and plenty is left undone. I know, realistically, it doesn’t matter–Death does not play favorites, nor does she care for unfinished business–but it makes me feel better and more productive during the time I have, so I aim to continue.

Off we go into curtains of rain. Boxnoggin will be ecstatic for roughly the first four minutes, before it penetrates his thick skull that we’re not going back inside to shake off anytime soon. Miss B, of course, will only care about getting done so we can go inside to shake off. This is the great division between them, and instructive to watch.

Happy Monday, hoopy froods. May your toad-swallowing for the day be performed quickly, cleanly, and with a minimum of fuss, as I hope my own will be.

*laces shoes, nods, and takes off into the rain*

Chilly Days

I prefer the cold. Summer means sweat, sweat means rashes no matter how careful one is, and who needs that? Winter is my time, despite dry-cracking skin and the persistent shivers.

Even so, it was a bit ridiculous this morning. I had to leave the warm nest of the bed and engage on another shivery day, and I would have loved to roll out of the covers and into some proper layers, but Sir Boxnoggin decided he would be Helpful and Aid Me in My Dressing. The way he chose to do this, of course, was by…sitting on everything I reached for.

I love this dog. His idea of help, though, often treads the edge of “no help at all, thanks.”

The small birds have found the finch feeder; it seems to be the only type of seed the squirrels won’t steal, probably because they have the sunflower-seed holder to pillage pretty much at will. They’re stocking up for the snow supposedly coming down the pike. There is much singing, twittering, hopping, and expressions both of delight and of menace. (“STAY AWAY FROM MY SEEDS, PHIL, OR I SWEAR I WILL END YOU.”)

Miss B, of course, as an Elderly Gentlecanine, prefers to spend very chilly days sprawled on her Fancy Dog Bed in my office, conveniently located near the heater. Some days she will even nudge me with her snout and sigh until I get the idea and turn said heater on. Boxnoggin is on the loveseat in the living room, snuggling into several knitted lap robes and watching the street with much interest. The next time a car (or, God forbid, a person walking dogs) appears, he will ALERT THE WHOLE HOUSE AT HIGH VOLUME BORK BORK BORK.

In all of this I have to work, and also have to get French toast shopping (milk, bread, eggs, in case we’re snowed in) done today before the forecasted precipitation breaks and you can’t pay me to step outside. Plus there’s copyedits to turn around by the fifteenth.

Seven. Hundred. Fifty. Pages. Of copyedits. 8.5”X11” pages, too, not book pages. Gods have mercy upon me, for publishing has none.

…and there goes Boxnoggin, screaming that someone is upon his street and I am required to come witness whatever has his dog-knickers in a twist, not to mention tuck him back into all the lap robes when he is soothed. See you around, folks.

A Dusting to Halt

This is the amount of snow it takes to close down school for the day. Mostly because the buses have to get out before dawn and the roads were ice-coated; who needs parents breathing down their nape because a bus went a little wonky? Of course, there are lots of transplants screaming “this ain’t snow, why, back home we have to dig our way out of the garage on the regular,” as if the Pacific Northwest is somehow the same as Minnesota. *eyeroll*

It’s supposed to be subzero tonight, which means the road will be another icy hellscape early tomorrow. But for today, we have a lot of hot cocoa, a lot of reading, and a lot of chunky sweaters and lap-blankets, not to mention dogs who have suddenly rediscovered humans have body heat too.

Poor Boxnoggin; this appears to be the first time he’s seen this White Coat of Death on everything, and he keeps giving me looks like Mum, make this stop, why are you doing this? He picks up each paw EXTRA high and gives it a shake when he’s forced to walk outside, and outright refuses to get near the gate because that means walkies and walkies mean OMG COLD ON MY WIDDLE FEETSIES.

Miss B, of course, is built for all weathers, but she’s old now, and quite content to stay inside where it’s warm and soft. Just because she can doesn’t mean she will wander outside more than the bare necessary. Currently she has moved from behind my chair to the Big Spacious Fancy Dogge Bedde near the heater, and is likely to remain there for as long as possible.

I wish you warmth and relaxation today, my friends. Sadly, I cannot take a day off, for my office is just down the hall from my bedroom, and going into work does not require anything more dangerous than tripping over a few dog toys and my own pre-caffeinated feet. There’s a short story to revise and the initial go-through on CEs for The Maiden’s Blade to cross off my list today. No rest for the weary or the wicked, but if I get those things done I might settle on the couch with tea and both dogs, and just watch the hill freeze solid.

Over and out.

Planning Indispensable

This morning was a mad scramble to get everything done, since the Princess has come down with a stomach bug. I got a run in, thank goodness, and so far I’m holding steady. Traditionally I’m the last to get the heaves; sometimes I simply refuse to get ill until everyone else is over the sickness.

I just…I need to be left alone while I vomit, really. I hate throwing up, and if I have to do it, it’s best to just give me some damn space.

I wanted to get some serious writing in The Poison Prince done today, but there’s also HOOD to think of, and last night I got the setup for the lightsaber duel all settled–it involved Tuckerizing a couple people. I am a little in awe of how many folks want to die messily in one of my books. Maybe it’s a rite of passage? There’s subscription stuff to get out the door, yakisoba to prepare for tonight assuming nobody is violently emptying their digestive tract in different directions, a pair of headphones to charge (I think I need another way of shutting out the world while I write) and and and…

…I’m going to have to make a list, or nothing will get done. I mean, I have a list, but it’s one I made last night and events are moving somewhat quickly. No plan survives contact with the enemy, but planning is indispensable, and all that. I suppose another day of letting the duel scene gestate won’t be so bad. Generally the longer something like that cooks the easier it is to get a reasonable zero draft, but I want to be done with this little love-fest between Robb and Giz1 so I can write the landspeeder race.

So it’s another jolt of coffee, praying my stomach doesn’t decide to reject the offering, and list-making. Then it’s going down the list, bit by bit and one by one, and remembering not to kick myself if I somehow don’t get everything done while juggling a nauseous child and another child who may end up that way at the drop of a hat. I’m also chilled today; I haven’t been warm since the dogs nosed me out of bed–giving me an almost-split lip in the process, I might add.

Boxnoggin is VERY EXCITED when he hears me beginning to stir in the morning, and that excitement requires FLYING LEAPS onto the bed, back off again, then onto the bed once more, rinse and repeat.

At least Robin Hood only had crapping in the woods and a wicked sheriff to deal with. He got off easy, the jerk. Maybe I can make my Robin lose a hand…

*wanders away muttering nasty things about her characters*

Breach, Gasp, Dive

So not only did the garbage disposal explode (relax, it’s fine, there will be no plumbers called today) and the Moka pot decide to cough the instant I lifted the lid (again, relax, I was standing far back and the stovetop is used to worse) but the dogs are entirely too energetic (an entire weekend off means they are incapable of relaxation until we run) and I decided, in a fit of pique, to wash my sheets this morning. (There were, alas, a number of squeaky toys dismembered upon my bed in the recent past.) So of course there were also many Canine Attempts to Help, of the sort that are Amusing but No Real Help At All.

I’ve two cover questionnaires to fill out, since I took the weekend entirely off, and a full day’s writing as well as Latin and piano practice. Dinner must be thought of too, but I’m already worn out, and having to wait for yet another phone update before we go running is rasping the dogs’ nerves as well as my own.

All that aside, though, I feel way better than I did before the weekend. I was plunged into a despair, the world on fire and no help in sight. I am still pessimistic about the survival of humanity as a whole (who could fail to be, at this point?) but my determination to do the best I can with what time I have left remains unshaken, and that’s the important thing.

Even if it’s not, I’m going to treat it as such. Of course it’s all hopeless, but it’s important to fight anyway. Just keep swimming, and all that.

So I’ve breached the surface of despair and taken a deep breath. It’s good to get some air after all the darkness. Friar Tuck and Prince John are on a space flagship, Maid Marian’s getting ready for a speeder race, and I’ve a couple of assassination-happy princes maneuvering for political advantage. As soon as coffee settles, the dogs need a good medium-length run, and I could do with some endorphins. I’ve taken all the Roadtrip Z books from KDP to Draft2Digital, so that’s done1, and I’ll think about if I want to do the same with the other self-published stuff that isn’t so recent.

May you likewise find a breath of deep relief today, dear Readers. Over and out.

Only Tuesday

My eyes are watering furiously. It’s probably leftover from the fry bread experiment last night–I found a recipe and went all in. I’m thinking I want to do it in shortening instead of canola oil next time, and further thinking I want to work a little something into the dough to make it a teensy bit less stiff. Not a lot, because that’s how you get the pockets, but a little bit.

The Princess, not to be outdone, went to work on this marshmallow recipe after dinner. So, this morning there’s the smell of frying and a whole pan of springy, fluffy marshmallows. I’m not sure what it means, other than the fact that the Princess is coming into her own as a candy maker. She’s going to Willy Wonka the world, I can just tell.

She never used to like working with meat or high-temperature sugar cooking, but flour is a gateway drug and now she’s in it to win it. I’m surprised she isn’t chocolate-dipping the marshmallows. Half of them are going to go to a friend’s house, which is good, and if there are any left on Sunday I’ll be having a giant mug of hot chocolate STUFFED with homemade mallows.

All in all, things are pretty quiet here despite my deepening cough and the dogs’ insistence that running around screaming constitutes exercise. I could take them for a run, but I’m not sure my ankle would hold up. On the other hand, Sir Boxnoggin will be getting a bath today, and that will tire him out more than any amount of running and yapping.

I’m on my second jolt of coffee and thinking about another scene between Friar Tuck and Prince John today. I’m also hoping that when I go back to HOOD yesterday’s efforts will not be in vain. I mean, I’ll probably have to throw out half of it, but that’s better than having to throw out the whole thing, right?

Right?

Anyway, that’s the news that’s fit to print. This upcoming weekend is for more Lightning Bound (I kind of want to do a big banquet scene again) and for a hot date with Caesar’s Gallic War, because my Latin is rusting and I need to get back with it. Unfortunately it’s only Tuesday, so Latin, the witch and the storm god, and homemade marshmallows have to wait.

It’ll just make the indulgence sweeter when I get to it. Or so adulthood tells me.

I hope that’s not a lie. Over and out.