Hibernation Alert

tabby cat peeking out from beneath a blue and white woven blanket

I’m indulging myself with a post on a topic I like to call, “Weird things about me it’s useful to know.” I’ve been clicking “follow” and “friend request” on social media quite a bit of late, so it might be relevant.

Today’s topic: seasonal hibernation.

From mid-November through mid-March-ish I become a sleepy, grumpy cat who lacks the strength needed to maintain a Public Face and handle Other People. I don’t actually sleep more, but I have to warn y’all, I do pull away from the everyday world.

A similar retreat predictably happens in early summer, so it isn’t a light-related thing. Nor is it a bad thing. It’s simply a cycle I’ve noticed. I have energy phases. Not ups & downs so much as shifts between outward-tolerance and inward focus.

This inward phase starts around Halloween, and I’m in full retreat-to-the-den mode now.

This is blog-worthy for two reasons.

1. Buffering.  I never want friends to feel neglected, but my emotional tank drains and freezes. Simple activities that come more easily during other months (never easily, let’s face it, I’m profoundly introverted and let’s not even mention the anxiety) take me ten times longer to accomplish and take ALL my energy.

I’m talking little things like reaching out and making phone calls or sending messages. Things like responding to emails, texts, or social media. Important, adulting, professional things. Necessary-to-modern life things. Yeah.

Conservation gets me through. I limit or put off outside obligations until the season turns and I come ’round face to the world again, about the time crocuses open to greet the returning sun. This allows me to devote my small energies to stuff like washing, dressing, creative projects and research. I do my best research in January. ADHD hyperfocus FTW.

Also I ramp up activities like baking (SO MUCH BAKING) blogging like this, decorating my space with sparkly brightnesss & color & coziness, and so on. Nesting, denning, hibernating things. Wrapped-up-in-me things.

Is it selfish of me to go dark in The Giving & Socializing Season? Yeah, I’ll cop to that, but self-care isn’t only a buzzword.  Gotta put on my oxygen mask if I’m to be any good to others…

…because the OTHER thing I’ve noticed is that if I fight this deep-rooted need for quiet downtime, if I pour energy into Pretending Normal and Performing Enjoyment through the gray of winter, an emotional crash-and-burn of epic proportions WILL follow.

NO THANK YOU.

Which brings us to the second reason I’m bothering writing about this:

2. Boundaries. Guilt trips do not motivate me, but every so often someone treats clearly-defined requests for space as a challenge to be overcome with shaming, or they interpret low enthusiasm for their <insert personal topic here> as a value judgment or a failure to care enough about them. Friendship bridges have burned over this.

I’m hoping this forthright admission now will prevent misconceptions later. So.  If you didn’t know this about me, now you do.

Important caveats:

A. My online presence may appear to contradict what I’m saying here. That’s not ideal, but that’s a professional obligation as well as a personal pleasure, so I ALWAYS scrape up new posts and (nearly always) manage to reply to direct contact. (NOT FB Messenger. Sorrynotsorry.)  I lean hard on memes, GIFS, and my habit of sharing random sock & lunch pics. (BECAUSE WHY NOT? I LIKE FUN SOX.)

B. Needing to be quiet and unsocial is NOT the same as wanting to be alone.  Even when I am a sleepy, grumpy cat, I love being around people doing things.  From a corner. Watching.

Having good friends in my Nice Quiet Space, hanging out doing their own Nice Quiet Things. (Or Nice Loud Things, as long as I don’t have to be loud too) is the absolute BEST. I mean, then I can feed people, and that energizes me. Super-best is when they invite themselves over so I don’t have to spend energy to reach out.

But I will invite as much as I can, and I will NEVER be hurt by declined invitations. I grok needing bubble time.  Second best is when I get invited to other spaces by people who make it explicitly clear it’s okay for me to lurk in corners and not stay long.

C. Communication is the most stressful part. I do a fairly good job of faking people skills, but it’s ALWAYS an exhausting job that requires constant mental processing and accessing memorized talking templates while monitoring a bunch of verbal and non-verbal feedback loops to assess efficacy. Example below:

 “Did I react appropriately to that exchange of information, why did they shake their head at what I said, what does that expression mean, they said a nice thing but the tone doesn’t match,  why is that posture vibe scraping my nerves, was that a rude comment, was I too loud, too abrupt, what does that smile mean in this situation…aaaggghhh!!!”

Yes, that is what conversations are like for me. Yes, every conversation. Even ones I enjoy with people I love. Multiple channels running all the time, and a lot of saved verbal scripts used. So I guess that’s a whole ‘nother Weird Karen Thing. Point is, it’s never an easy haul, and in the cold midwinter I don’t have the mental muscle to power through much of it.

ANYway.

That’s all there is for now. Next post will be about baking again. Or maybe about more weird stuff. Time will tell.

Happy hibernation, everyone.

tabby cat peeking out from beneath a blue and white woven blanket
Image by Melanie von Gunten from Pixabay

 

 

 

 

There’s more to my life than the new house: there’s also Dragon Con!

This weekend I’m pausing all the moving-in work so I can go to Atlanta for Dragon Con. (Why did I buy  house right between my year’s two biggest conventions? That’s just how I roll, what can I say?)

Will you be at Dragon Con? Want to meet up? That would be awesome. Easiest way to find me: stop by one of the panels I’ll be on. Here’s a handy list.

FRIDAY:

 Gimme a Break
Time: 8:30 pm Location: Embassy CD – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Best advice for breaking into fantasy & SF novel writing.
Panelists: Venessa Guinta(M), Scott Sigler, Tamsin L. Silver, Esther Friesner, J. Gregory Keyes, K. M. Herkes, John D. Ringo
(I am seriously the Minority Report in this group. But it should be great.) 

SATURDAY:

A Sense of Place: The Role of Setting in UF
Time: 11:30 am Location: Chastain 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Often the location where the action takes place can be an integral aspect of the story. Our panel of authors will discuss the role setting plays in their work & how it affects the stories they tell.
Panelists: J.F. Lewis, Linda Robertson, E.J. Stevens, K. M. Herkes, Jennifer Morris(M), Melissa F Olson
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked, “Why Elgin, Illinois?” I’d have…some dollars. I’

The Isms: Looking at Classic Fantasy from the Viewpoint of Today
Time: 10:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Social consciousness changes, but books are forever. Something that was once progressive today may seem anything but. Are these works simply products of their time or true reflections of the person? Let’s not toss the dragonet out with the Hatching Sand and shells. *Trigger Warning*
Panelists: Ray Johnson (M), K. M. Herkes, Mike Massa, Dr. Charles E. Gannon
This…could be A-MAY-ZING. I’ve recently done some re-reading and re-watching of my classic faves, and wow…yeah. I am very much a fan of VERY problematic things. And that’s okay. Even good. Lots to discuss.

SUNDAY

Off the Record: Life beyond the Shelf – A Look at Publishing from the Other Side
Time: 5:30 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: What is the best way to approach a bookstore/library/track? What are these other people looking at and how best should you show that you are their answer? Time for an inside look at publishing from the other side of mirror. No recording, as this is Off the Record and Behind the Curtain.
Panelists: Tyra A Burton, Kathleen, Diane Aurand, Cisca Small(M), K. M. Herkes
Oooo, yeah, I have STORIES, from the bookselling years.

MONDAY

All the Subs
Time: 1:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Description: Fantasy is filled with all kinds of stories, but sometimes a trend pops up that turns into a sub-genre. Supervise? Gamelit? LitRPG? Cozy? Noir? There are so many, & a few that don’t really fit in any…yet.
Panelists: L. Jagi Lamplighter, James A. Hunter, Aaron Crash, G. Scott Huggins, Cat Rambo(M), K. M. Herkes
Meep. I’m on a panel with Cat Rambo? MEEP. So exciting. Daunting, but exciting.
This panel topic is near and dear to my “organize-all-the-things” heart. I’m going to take deep breaths, sit up straight, and enjoy the heck out of it.’

I’m going to come home from this con with a TON of new reading material, I just know it.

Between panels, I’ll be hanging at The Bard’s Tower in the Vendor zone. With my books, yes. Want to buy a book or a patch or some pins? I can make that happen. Have I mentioned that I write books? Techno-thrillers, superpower fantasy. And science-fiction-knitting-romances. (And cozy ghost mystery paranormals, but you can’t buy those yet.)

ANYway. I’ll try to stay engaged online while away, but no promises. It’s a busy, BUSY con. I don’t have FB messenger, but texts or Twitter DMs will find me. I’ll also be going to panels & other events, because that’s part of the fun, and the con goes on all day & night for 4 days, after all. The Palmetto Knights are on my must-see list, for sure, and multiple visits to Artist’s Alley, of course.

All righty. That covers the con. Time to color my hair, unearth the suitcase, and pack the con clothes.

And after Dragon Con? Well. Expect this blog to go quiet. If I have time to sit down with words between Labor Day and Halloween, there’s a book to finish revising and another to finish drafting, and the urge to bury myself in manuscripts is getting stronger by the day. So. That’s how it goes.

The latest in new shiny things.

Word for the day: colophon. Definition: “A publisher’s emblem or imprint, especially one on the title page or spine of a book.”  (h/t to dictionary.com)

On the spine or title page. OR? Nah. How’s about AND?

both.gif

The next print runs of my books will have a proper publisher’s colophon on their spines and title pages. It’s a small thing (literally, quite, quite small) but it gives me a great big happy. And since this world and my life are not over-supplied with happies at the moment, I want to spread what I have as widely as possible.

Why do I need another logo? I already have one, right?

Well, yes. And no.

The Dawnrigger dragon ship graphic is neato-keen, I love it to pieces, especially with the uniquely fanciful name font, but complex graphics aren’t paperback-friendly.  That’s why I commissioned a proper stamp-style emblem a few months ago. I think I posted a pic of it in its Original Artwork form because it is SUPER FAB, but…

…but ink & paper originals also do not play well with the finickier elements of print publication in the digital era.  Also, there are issues of legally registering the Dawnrigger Publishing name & symbol, and I had to research that, and so on, etc, blah, blah, blah.

All the Things took some time. Life, the universe, and a lot of factors conspired against getting the digital files, but I am pleased to say prettification is now in progress.

I’ve commissioned a friend who is an artist and a graphics professional on top of being a talented writer, to not only add the graphics, but to give my covers a nice refresh too.

That’s happening right now. THANK YOU RHIANNON! YOU ARE AWESOME AND TALENTED AND SOOOOOOO PATIENT.

And while I’m casting shouty-caps gratitude petals, I must a big thank you to ALL my cover artists and graphics designers, past & present, for all the cool & amazing things you have made for me. You know who you are. Please know you are valued & respected and adored and all.

As an aside, how is it I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many incredible, multi-talented people? It really is astonishing how many talented folk the world holds, and y’know, I really am grateful to know you all.

What’s that? Stop digressing and show you the new colophon? Oh, RIGHT! Here ya go:

dawnrigger_colo.export

That’s what’ll be on the spines & the title pages of my paperback books soon, along with the Dawnrigger Publishing logo. Don’t like it? Cool. The only person who ahas to love it is me, and I LURVE IT.

Can’t wait to see books with it. So excited.

Ooooh, I could get a stamp made, too. Hmm.

*wanders off to ponder the possibility of more shinies*

Until later, all!