3. Other Things Authoring Book reviews Media Consumption Writing Life

What’s up in my world

There’s a long list.
  • Getting all my book covers updated so I can order more copies of my books for summer cons.
  • Looking into adding Ingramspark for paperback distribution & ordering.
  • Eyeballing the need to redo interior graphics because see above. (also because I think one of the files might be corrupted or I screed up page breaks somewhere)
  • Finalizing plans for Indy Pop Con & Printers Row (I won’t be there, but my books will, thanks to awesome, awesome friends.)
  • Working on character card graphics. second-guessing myself over whether I should bother with getting those printed because who cares?
  • Waffling over doing pins with the Unity logo and/or the Poz hazard symbol. (see above)
  • Deciding whether to do more patches or not bother yet. (I still have lots)
  • Trying not to worry about not doing ebook promotion on social media. Freaking out about the total lack of sales lately.
  • Hammering away at a blurb for Sharp Edge of Yesterday.
  • cleaning up old graphics & book drafts on my hard drive. So. Many. Obsolete. Files.
  • Revising, revising, revising! Sharp Edge is getting shinier by the day. My nerves are getting more frayed by the day as I run low on TIME.

<deep breath> It will all work out. I know. I’m just…revving really hard on the inside, even when I seem perfectly calm from the outside.


I am in “read low-brain-power things to recharge” mode.  I have now re-read all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s fantasy works, and am working my way through Anne Bishops Others series. The more I re-read Bujold, the more I am awed by how effortlessly she unfolds the stories and interweaves world-building description with description/plot action.  The books really hold up over time & through multiple re-reads. Anne Bishop…weeeell, now. I am in a mood where plot structure quirks and iffy gender role presentations are irking me bigtime, but I still love the concept, characters, and overarching story of this series.

Movie Viewing:

AQUAMAN aka “Underwater Thor.” Good fun. Okay, not really GOOD, but totally fun.

CAPTAIN MARVEL. I am so totally in love with this movie. SORTA SPOILER ALERT? Vaguespoilering, anyway. Tons of fighty fights but no Huge Climactic Boss Battle, a woman protagonist who is unabashedly kickass because she wants to be, not because angsty or tragic or conflicted or Cuz A Man Helped, and oh, wow, the sub-plot with the gas-lighting and all that foggy, gray moral ground.  <happy sigh>

Television Viewing:

VICTORIA ON MASTERPIECE. I waited until it was all done to watch it through. This show is…problematic.  So much celebration and happy-ending-making and literal whitewashing of historically horrible events, decisions, and people. The progressive, enlightened attitudes of mant characters are pure fiction,  and the subtext of “see, they weren’t such bad people, they did X and Y and that was GOOD?”  is far from subtle.

But. Oh, but-but-but. The costumes and characters and the writing come together to make a fluffy fantasy narrative that is a delight to my eyes and brain, and so I enjoy it.

THAT ONE TORNADO SHOW ON THE WEATHER CHANNEL. Yes, they have like, umpteen storm shows, but the only one I can stand is the one that’s basically a minute-by-minute documentary of the specific tornado, with as much rasw footage as they can scoop together from eyewitnesses.

I tried to watch some of the others, but they were…painful reality TV, with worse talking heads who say nothing and information diced up so fine and fed out so slowly it HURT. Cannot Watch. Maybe if I had the flu.

And that’s about it.

I mean, there’s lots of other things, sure, between garden, and family, and playing with my Instant Pot but nothing for blog yet, and this post has run on long enough.

Until later!

Writing Life

Inside my head

  • It’s crock pot season! And slow-oven casserole season. And cookie-baking season. Happy, happy kitchen nesting time. There are more apples to process, too. I will need all the crunchy, dried bits of summer heaven and dollops of saucy heaven  I can get to brighten up meals in the dark, cold months ahead.
  • I HAVE EDITS BACK for Sharp Edge of Yesterday! This means I now have a doubled writing workload and two deadlines to chase, but somehow this makes me happier than happy. I know authors are supposed to agonize about edits, but I…don’t. In this case I agree without reservation about the things that need polishing. The how of some fixes will be tricky & take a lot of work. And I may leave flaws in. BUT. The end result will be a stronger story. So much stronger. I have much pondering to do first.
  • The latest in searches:
    • dead bolt types
    • adenovirus rhinovirus flu virus symptoms severity
    • corn a fruit, grain or vegetable (spoiler alert: yes to all)
  • I don’t like super-spicy foods, and I believe garbanzo beans are one of nature’s nastiest edibles. It’s a  So…of course chili flavored dry-roasted chickpeas are my favorite new discovery in snack foods. I would probably love the sea salt flavored ones too, but I haven’t found those in local stores yet.
  •  Media update!
    • The Commuter: Liam Neeson was in it, so I had to watch. I don’t regret watching, but, um. The plot was bent into a pretzel to work in the digital mobile world. Also it telegraphed everything. No, I didn’t “figure out the twists.” It’s just that the tropes were all binary choices that would be equally satisfying and familiar. Things could hinge on “old-friend betrayal” or “corrupt boss.” Other secondary characters might sacrifice themselves or be allies. Plus the central moral dilemma was never compelling. Brain candy
    •  American Gods. Yum. I had my doubts, given the dreamy source material, and it’s very much an adaptation, but I am adoring it. It feels true to the Gaiman book,  which is more than I expected. I love that book for (among other reasons) recognizing The House On The Rock as a portal to other realities.
  • Random cat pic: 

And that’s all the all there is for this time.

Writing Life

Inside my head

  • It’s pistachio season! Sure, they’re available all the year ’round, but for reasons related to obsolete seasonal supply chains, I will forever associate them with fall & winter holidays. Ditto smokehouse almonds (Mmm, yummy.) There’s no explaining why I like those two tree nuts but LOATHE walnuts, pecans and most other seed-derived things, but there it is. I am not a logical being.
  • Peanuts don’t count as nuts, by the way. 1, they’re legumes. Fancy peas. 2, I eat them mostly as fuel-food/meal replacements or in the childhood-comfort-memory  form of peanut butter toast.  I don’t see them as treats.
  • The latest in searches:
    • seashell geometry
    • rag content paper manufacturing
    • verses this land is your land
    • Vietnam hands bridge
  • I love the undo feature in Gmail.  So much love. No more stomach-dropping moment of horror accompanying thoughts of “DID I REMEMBER THE THING?” or “DID THAT GO TO THE RIGHT PERSON?” an instant after clicking “send.” Just click undo, check & double-check one last time, and resend. No mess, no fuss, immediate relief. (If you never have thoughts like those in all-caps above, I envy you. Phone cameras and patient pet sitters have also made my life infinitely less stressful. Stove knobs and door locks are among my many travel nemeses. )
  • Due to vision issues, it’s MUCH easier for me to read on-screen, especially a small screen with good contrast and no glare. (thank you Kindle Paperwhite, for FINALLY coming through with that technology.)  Due to me being able to read much faster than I can earn $$ for books, I am a devoted library patron. As a writer I am a huge supporter of library access because many book lovers are not made of money.

    SO. Two things are torquing me off right now: 1) Tor Book’s misguided decision to freeze library purchases of ebooks within the first 3 months of release, and 2) my library’s increasing reluctance to purchase science fiction or fantasy in any/all formats…not to mention treating science fiction as a genre but not including fantasy in it. (that’s been a WTAF issue for me for two decades now.)

  • Let me tell you my saga of attempting–at my health care provider’s recommendation–to get a flu shot from sources offering “free flu shots*” (the asterisk means”free if covered by your health insurance.”) Nah. It’s too long and annoying a saga. I’ll roll with, “administering health care via a splintered system of competing profit centers is a major societal FAIL.” Future generations will think us as crazy for supporting it as we consider the Romans who used lead pots for boiling down grape juice. HARUMMPH.
  •  Random cat pic:
  • I evidently grump about the exhausting task of dealing with humanity every two weeks, give or take. It’s a remarkably consistent cycle–I have a couple of years of data. (thanks, creepy FB) This bears further study. Why that time frame? What’s the unknown variable? Enquiring minds are always curious about these things.

And that’s all the all there is for this time.

Writing Life

Inside my head

  • I always forget how acidic apples are, because they taste so sweet. Then I try to unlock my phone right after processing a bunch of apples (where “a bunch” translates as a couple of pecks) The phone’s biometric sensor just laughs at me and says, “NOPE. Not today. Those fingertips have no recognizable fingerprints.”
  • The latest in random searches:
    •  complementary colors guide
    • tectonic geology united states
    • 19th century men’s hairstyles american
    • cumin related plant poisonous
  • Nothing drains my emotional energy like the many emails and other semi-official communications I’ve sent lately. I can interact with humanity. Or I can be quiet-minded and creative. Attempting both in a short time frame like a single day is as hard as pushing straight from top to bottom gear on an old 10-speed bike. It takes focus, timing, and a lot of effort, and there’s always a big risk of complete derailment.
  • Can’t throw in the towel on the whole writing gig now, I just ordered new business cards. (this tidbit is filed under “Staving off the grumpies brought on by two full months of zero sales or reads online.”)
    Yes, ZERO. *sigh* But I can’t give up because I have business cards & stickers, plus stories to tell, new characters to create and existing ones to cherish–all the stuff I think is terrifically exciting and awesome. Even if no one else does.
  • Spouseman insisted I buy a big cherry pie when the little one I usually get was out of stock at the pie place. Cherry pie makes an excellent breakfast food, with and without bacon. Just in case anyone was wondering. Plus now I have an extra pie plate.
  •   Random cat pic:
  • I saw a hawk yesterday. She looked raggedy and frazzled and annoyed as hell —  because she was being chased by sparrows. Yes, sparrows. A whole flock of angry little brown birds chased a hawk into hiding under a squirrel nest.  I was torn. I mean, I love raptors, but I had to root for the mob of brave, wee, cheeping fluffballs taking on a predator bigger than all of them combined.

And that’s all the all there is for this time.

Writing Life

Inside my head this week

  • Been watching this year’s baby squirrels indiscriminately sample EVERYTHING in my yard. It’s their first seasonal Stock Up For Winter Festival of Foods, and they are relentlessly optimistic. One has nibbled the same hot pepper five times today, as if she can’t quite believe that it will taste nasty every single time. One of her siblings (or cousins, who knows?) can smell the tasty food scraps in the organics can, but they’re too deep to reach. So she relieves her frustration by nibbling on the lid. (No, she isn’t trying to gnaw her way in. She peeks inside, twitches her tail, then closes the lid and bites it before running off to investigate my tomato plants. Again.)
  • The latest in weird searches:
    • Puppet glossary
    • instinctive versus instinctual
    • 19th century ball sports
    • mauve etymology
  • Gumbo Fiction Salon was a special edition this month: celebrating Mary Shelley & 200 years of Frankenstein. Spouseman took the day off, and my author friend Toni Johnson came downtown for this one too, so it was a Super-duper Big Author Adventure. We had food and fun, and at the open mic I read a bit more from my veterinarian short story that I will send off to a magazine someday.  Extra-big plus: Toni and I had a Work Day together and I actually got words made too. Major Win.
  • I passed 50,000 words in Ghost Town this week! Celebrate with me, I’m doing a happy chair-dance. It’s officially a novel, and well over halfway done.
  • I am getting tired of my elbows and forearms hurting. I know what’s wrong and am doing all the things to treat it, but tendonitis and nerve entrapment take MONTHS to heal at best with joints like mine. Also I keep accidentally re-aggravating the tendons and pinching the nerves, which slows down the healing process. Yes, yes, I know better. But have you ever tried going through a whole day not rotating your wrists? Not easy.
  •  It smells like autumn at last. Fallen leaves, drying herbs, petrichlor, and frost. Ahhhh, happy nose. It’s pretty for the eyes, too. The sky is never so blue as it is after a drenching autumn rainstorm passes, and the sunlight never more golden than when it filters through the just-turned leaves of a big gnarly locust tree.
    (I adore fall, can you tell?)
  • Books, stickers, and new business cards ordered in time to have them on-hand for for the laid-back local Windy Con next month. GOOD TIMES AHEAD. Right? Right? Hmm. Need to make a date with my seamstress to get my Fancy Coat taken in to fit properly. (Hi, Cheryl! Let’s get together this week, eh?)
  •  My idea of an exciting Sunday: brain-free viewing on the television, a peck of apples set up to peel & prep, hot cider in my mug, and fresh popcorn with LOTS of salt in a big bowl next to me.


That’s all the all there is for now.