Inside my head in the new year

First life update of the new year…for whatever extra that’s worth. This edition is a real grab bag of random tidbits.

The latest in random thoughts & searches:

  • How long is a giraffe’s neck? (1.8m, if you were wondering.)
  • Capybaras in Japan why?
  • Breyer black horse white mane
  • alpacas compare llamas
  • biochemistry neurotransmitters

Recent doings:

Reading

  • Blackfish City by Sam J Miller. Epic amazing wonderfulness. Bleak, beautiful, but brimming with hope.
  • a variety of romance re-reads. Fluffy and forgiving of my inability to focus on ANYthing.

Viewing

  • The Lord of the Rings extended editions & the Hobbit (yes, again…)
  • All of Game of Thrones including the animated history prequel.
  • WestWorld season 2. And then, because I needed a long, cleansing bubble bath for the inside of my brain…
  • Wreck-It Ralph and season 3 of The Good Place. Ahhhh, much better.
  • Crazy Rich Asians arrived at the library, so I watched that too. SO GOOD!!!

Kitchening

lotsa cookies. Lotsa soups n casseroles. Many breads. Because winter = great excuse to use the oven as much as possible.

Acronyms which resulted in long, meandering internet click-journeys from site to site to site : ASMR, BDS, PEDD, ILOH, TNVR, HGH.  None of them are related to each other, and none of the official definitions come from Urban Dictionary, so it’s safe to satisfy your initial curiosity if it’s been piqued.

Have a random cat pic:

(edit to add pic that didn’t ADD the first time)

dsc_0059

Flashback to Scootercat’s third Christmas.

And a bit of the WIP because it makes me smile. It might be the new first line for Sharp Edge. I’ll post the other possibility in the next update. (I have two scenes that are equally suitable as openings, haven’t decided which to use.)

Nothing made Valerie Wade more nervous than meeting someone else’s eyes for the first time. Would her vision reveal inner beauty or hidden monstrosity? She saw essential truths as well as externals, and that made every introduction an exercise in courage.

Until next time!

Inside my head, bleak events looming

First, the bleak. In this holiday season, this time of lights, celebrations, and laughter, darker things are closing in–real things not story things– hard, sad family things which are not mine to share in detail.

TL;DR edition: There is nothing good or easy about death’s slow approach. It sucks harder when it’s happening long-distance but not so distant travel would physically impossible or financially crippling. It sucks worst because death watches are not right for everyone, but some people think everyone should be there. (Apologies, that TL;DR was a little TL itself.)

The longer rant: Being present for a loved one’s last days  or moments is NOT necessarily the right thing. For many it is a crucial solace and a way to offer and receive support in grief. But it IS NOT RIGHT FOR EVERYONE, and there’s a cruel side to the accepted wisdom that it is. There is no special magic to “being there.” Pushing someone to drop everything to go to the bedside of a dying relative is a huge mistake.

Everyone’s relationship is unique. Not everyone needs to see a sib or parent or aunt or cousin or grandparent right up to the end of their life. Not in this modern age which often includes a long, blurred twilight of medical intervention. Not if the experience is going to color every memory and deliver deep, bloody damage to fragile hard-won, precariously-balanced mental health.

And that’s all I’m going to say about it now.  I am stressed and distracted and feeling very much the fierce-protector-beast at the moment.

The rest of the things:

  •  Reading: I have snagged up a TON of new SFF titles for my kindle through holiday sales & giveaways. But I’m reading the fluffiest of fluffy romances because I need hapily-ever-afters very much right now.
  • Viewing: I watched all the Lord of the Rings extended editions last week,  then checked out the Hobbit trilogy from the library, and then proceeded through the Lord Of the Rings again afterwards. On blu-ray. For those interested, yes, there is are noticeable differences in picture quality  & sound quality both.

    Christmas hibernation viewing has now proceeded to a from-the-beginning review of Game of Thrones, because Santa & Spouseman picked up the 7th season and we want to catch up. I am skipping all the scenes with Theon after he gets captured by the Boltons.

  • A new category: Submissions:  I have a short story I’m sending out to real, actual magazines. One rejection down, many more to come, I’m sure.  I’m waiting until after the New Year to send it out again, though.

And here’s the latest in searches:

  • Game of Thrones Wiki (lots of character searches, because I’m not up to bonding with characters who are going to die horribly.
  • Balsam Hill Christmas Trees (they had a sale. I HAD TO HAVE ONE It’s beautiful.)

Random cat pic: Scooter in his new Scooter Hut:IMG_5202

No no-context WIP snippet this time. I’m not getting a lot of writing done. The house is cleanish, Spouseman & I have clean clothes, there is fresh food & drink to be had, and I am stress-baking like wildfire. These are victories enough for me. I refuse to judge myself too harshly for not creating more.

And that’s all the all there is for now.

Meanwhile, the checklist

I know it’s been a while, but I HAVE BEEN DOING STUFF, I SWEAR. Since my last update, it feels like I’ve done nothing but sleep, re-read fluffy comfort romances, and putter around doing nothing, but in reality I:

  1. Worked with one of my talented cover artists (HI, RACHEL!) to put together a new cover on my holiday SF Romance novella Joining In the Round. (Pic at the bottom of the post)
  2. Organized all our DVDs into genres and put them in binders alphabetical by title.  All of them. HUndreds and HUNDREDS of movies. I gave up and bought spindles for NCIS & Game of Thrones. It was more space-efficient.
  3. Made multiple batches of multiple cookie doughs for Christmas & baked some blueberry cobbler.
  4. Enjoyed a long adventure day downtown with Spouseman
  5. went to Gumbo Fiction Salon & read the last segment of my sparkly short story aloud. HAd a great time hanging with friends & hearing great readings.
  6. finished the verb tense changes on said story, fixed some plot inconsistencies, polished the wording down  below 7500 words, and formatted the story for submission. That last part is HELLISH, because putting a manuscript into Courier font and replacing italics with underlining renders it unreadable. I do not exaggerate. It might as well be Sanskrit or cuneiform to me.
  7. Found a willing proofer to read the story in its formatted condition. He spotted the last few typos (mostly missing words) that I can never catch and confirm that it all still makes sense. SO IT’S DONE. It goes to Clarkesworld for rejection consideration ASAP. I’ll keep the world posted on its adventure travels after that.
  8. Got rid of a bunch of old, expired & unusable junk. No, really. I cleaned out kitchen cabinets, desk drawers, a shelf in the linen closet, and the stand freezer. Among other things. It was highly satisfying to let go of waste that took up useful space.
  9. Put up all the holiday decorations, including a new tree from a vendor my Dad suggested. It came pre-lit with candy sprinkle-colored LED lights, and it’s gorgeous.  All three main rooms of the house are festive now. Makes me want people to come over and just hang out doing whatever.
  10. I haven’t done much writing other than The Short Story I Took Forever To Finish, but hey. At least I was working on writing? Yeah, I am going to be kind to myself about that. So there.

So anyway,  it was an eventful week.  When the sun is up for less than 8 hours, though. time slips away FAST no matter what I’m working on. So I don’t feel the progress.

Anyway. Here’s one picture of Scooter being cute and one of the shiny new novella cover.

IMG_4908
snoozing kitty
Joining Round websized 72
Happy-making new book cover

Yes, it’s a holiday romance. Sorta. It’s definitely a holiday warm & fuzzy story about found family and love of many kinds. You can buy it by clicking here: mybook.to/JoiningRound