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*

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*

Prospective Jacket

Both dogs are exhausted by roughhousing after breakfast. Which is fine by me, it’ll make walking them easier. It’s also chilly today, with a brisk wind, which Sir Boxnoggin does not enjoy. Miss B, thanks to her wonderful Aussie undercoat, is an all-weather dog, but Boxnoggin may need a jacket if it gets much colder.

I have deep philosophical objections to pet costumes, but a little pink plaid jacket to make Boxnoggin feel like a warm boy sounds delightful. I’ll have to take a handful of treats and measure him up.

He will probably try to eat the tape measure, but such is life with canines.

I spent a good seven hours hunched over revisions yesterday, which was at once a vacation–because my work days are generally about ten hours long–and a torment, because my back has decided it doesn’t like the super-fancy office chair at the moment. Time for pillows and other such things until my back decides once more I and the chair can be trusted.

I almost, almost got to the point where I need to shoehorn another scene in. I think the bastard prince needs to be on a caravan heading into the capital city of his country’s greatest enemy, and seeing the sheer size and scope of said city will have a few effects on him. He’s very much a “go big or go home” character, and it’ll be interesting if he decides to do the former in the series.

As it is, though, I just want this goddamn revision over. The book’s crept past 185K, and if one more person says “but it needs more politics!” I am going to scream like a Munch painting. Since a certain game of thrones has become popular, everyone wants to shoehorn similar things into every damn fantasy, losing sight of the fact that it’s characters people care about that drive the whole thing. Publishers are always looking to force the Last Big Thing into the Next Big Thing, whether it wills or no. Fighting that tendency is exhausting sometimes.

All the same, I love my job, and I’m sure when this book achieves its final fighting form I’ll be proud of it. I’m just tired right now, that’s all.

Which means it’s time to get out the door with the dogs. If we keep moving the wind won’t trouble us much. At least, that’s the plan.

Over and out.

Hope, Despair, Work

I attended the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s yearly Authorfest on Sunday right after Orycon, and got to see a lot of lovely people, from fellow authors to regular Authorfest readers. It was nice, and the drive out there and back settled some plot points inside my head.

Driving’s good for that. Tires on paving and the hum of the engine shake all sorts of things loose.

Now I’m back home with no event looming on the horizon, but I think Orycon con-crud hitchhiked on a bunch of people and found a congenial home in my sinuses. Hydration, ginger, and vitamin C are all called for.

Season One of HOOD proceeds apace for NaNo, and there’s revisions on The Maiden’s Blade to get done before the end of the month too. Plus, there’s Thanksgiving, which means I’ll throw a ham in the oven, make some mashed taters, and call it good. At least the Little Prince will be home from school and the Princess has some holiday time off work, so that’s nice.

I’m just…drained, and fighting off the crud is exhausting. It’s a good thing I only do the one event a year. Otherwise the loss of working time would be a bigger problem. Plus I’m recovering from the midterms. Hope is almost as exhausting as despair.

The cure for both is work, I guess. Which means it’s time to get out the door with the dogs, then come home and settle into a long day of revisions and grinding. If I do well, I may get to play hooky with the storm-king-and-witch book, which I’m using to make other projects jealous so they behave.

It’s a fine juggling act, and if I can just fight off this hitchhiking crud I might even pull it off.

Over and out.

Know This Song

I finished the zero of Incorruptible on Friday, and consequently have spent the last two days trying to avoid working. I’ve thrown myself into housecleaning that didn’t get done with a release and a zero finishing at the same time, and it was still almost physically painful to not-write.

I watched a lot of documentaries. I obsessively played a lot of Summoners War. I took the dogs on very long rambles, which means I have an interesting blister and Sir Boxnoggin is all but dancing in place wanting a proper run but not as energetic as he would be if we’d simply stayed home.

I should be feeling rested. I should be ready to tackle a fresh round of work–Atlanta Bound needs a revision once I prep the last chapters for the serial, the full Roadtrip Z box set news a top-to-bottom revise once I finish that, and concurrently there’s the Robin Hood in Space and the portal fantasy to decide about. I’m also hearing rumbles that the epic fantasy might be coming back to me with an edit letter, so I’m not short of things to do. I’m not even short of the order to do them in.

What I am short of is patience and focus. Two days of aggressively not-working only made me short-tempered and silly. I know that I always need more downtime than I think, I know that the irritation is just a phase and I’ll try to work, run up against a wall, take another day off to watch movies and cry thinking my career is over, and finally wake up the day after that ready to work and wondering why I started sobbing for no reason.

I suppose it’s good to know my own decompression process, but it never gets any bloody easier. The only question is one of degree.

Maybe I’ll start work on Dolls instead. Watch some Wong Kar-wei movies, always a joy and delight. Play yet more Summoners War. Run twice a day instead of once. Go to the grocer’s.

Well, maybe not the last bit. Having to leave the house and be pleasant in public will be like pouring lemon juice on a mass of paper cuts. But in any case, I know this song, I’ve heard it before, and in a little while I’ll be all right again. At least finishing *mumblemumble* books and going through however-many releases means I know I’ll survive this. I have every other single time before.

The suspicion is still painful, but again, I know this song. I’ll hum along, and wait for it to end.

Over and out.

Finally October

Saturday I attended the Taste of Style with a friend, and while that was nice, I woke up Sunday morning with my head full of snot and my entire body aching. The first (let’s hope it’s the last) cold of the season has arrived, and certainly wasn’t helped by my silly (but entirely adult) decision to have a drink with early dinner and a couple glasses of gallery-opening-quality wine. 

Apparently I am not allowed to drink at all, according to my body, and murder causes paperwork, so I’m going to have to find a different way of coping with the current political situation.

Being physically miserable kind of put a dent in the housework I wanted to do yesterday, but nobody’s going to die if I don’t dust. I got the dogs brushed, the upstairs hoovered, and the my laundry was already done, so I called it a win and spent most of the day staring vaguely into the distance while fumbling for a box of tissues.

The good kind, with lotion. Don’t ever skimp on your kids, your books, your asswipe, or your nosewipe, my friends. If I’ve learned anything from adulthood, it’s that. 

Today is the drop-dead date for starting Steelflower in Snow revisions.1 I’m thinking that will be released late October or early December, since November is set aside for a completely different book.2

I’ve also been playing around with placeholder covers, like for Incorruptible.

Of course everyone I showed versions to said my name needs to be bigger, but that feels like hubris. And don’t worry, this book isn’t out yet. I may even do it as a serial, I haven’t decided yet.

In any case, I have some cold medication to swallow and the dogs to wear out. Since I couldn’t run or ramble yesterday, they are both fidgety as fuck, needing something or another to bleed off that excess energy. I won’t be able to move very quickly, but at least sniffing all sorts fo interesting new smells will keep them occupied and give them something to process when they collapse for a nap.

Nap. That sounds good. But I’ve miles to go before I sleep, even for a bare twenty minutes.

All right, Monday. We’re not going to hurt each other, right?

Right?

Old Decrepit Me

Last week the stomach flu tore through our household like a hot knife through the solidified fat of your choice. I’m still a little weak-kneed, but I have an easy run scheduled for today and both B and I need the work. She was up and down with me the entire time; the only difference between a toddler and a dog watching you puke is that the dog wants to get their nose in the loo bowl.

It’s kind of exotic, the kids being old enough to want to puke on their own. Neither of them wanted me in the loo with them while they heaved. I mean, I don’t blame them, I hate vomiting more than just about anything else, but it’s kind of strange when your kids don’t want you to hold their hair, rub their back, and make soothing sounds. I contented myself with washing sheets, running bowls, and reassurance. Thank goodness we got sick round-robin instead of all at once; the Princess brought home a megaton of saltines and I had some PediaLyte stashed, and we had quite a few “get your own dinner” nights. All three of us sitting glassy-eyed at the table, staring at bowls holding minuscule portions of something bland, and every once in a while laughing because none of us could finish a damn portion.

Anyway, we’re all much better now. The kids, still young, chewy, and bendy, bounced back much more quickly than old, decrepit me. *sigh*

So today it’s that gentle run, with a few walking stops to make Miss B work at heel and distance, and a regular day’s work–revising a chapter of Atlanta Bound from zero to first draft status, then wordcount on The Maiden’s Blade. I’ve finally gotten to the part where I can do the kidnapping, so most of the run today will be thinking about that and putting the pieces together inside my head. Several breaks for water and stretching will have to result, too, because heaving (go figure) fucks up your back and being unable to stretch without retching is Not Fun. Even my intercostals ache, and my abdominals haven’t had this much of a workout since my dancing days.

Also, tomorrow is release day for Afterwar. Which, I’m sure, is a component of the leftover nausea. Release days are always high-stress, and this particular book had so. much. go. wrong. with the publishing process. I’m amazed the printers didn’t blow up and sink into a swamp, I’m still waiting for Yet Another Piece of Bad News and unsettled when none arrives.

On the bright side, the new dishwasher works wonders, and I was able to make rice noodles last night. I was stirring said noodles in a pot when I realized I wasn’t dreading cleanup and I was actually, finally, cooking again. So much of my identity is bound up in motherhood and feeding the kids, I feel somewhat at sea when I’m not performing that function daily.

And this morning a squirrel fell out of a fir tree, through an apple tree, and just narrowly escaped a wandering Siamese cat. The laurel bush the squirrel eventually took shelter in is suspiciously quiet, though the Siamese ran away with a bottle-brush tail. I suspect things are about to get very interesting in the New Kingdom of Backyard…