Monday, October 31, 2011

Kiss the Cats Goodbye

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year.

Personally, I'm convinced I'm deranged. (yeah, I know, I was deranged before... shut up.)

I'm also in the middle of buying a house, moving out of the apartment I've lived in for 8 years, celebrating my best friend's 40th birthday, prepping for a vacation in Orlando in the beginning of December, dunno what my plans are for Thanksgiving yet, and dealing with another friend's failing marriage.

Not that real life ever stops happening.

And I probably won't get time to write on the weekends, so I'm looking at 2,300 words per weekday.


Deranged. You heard it here first.

I've decided to go ahead with Blood Sight, after another dear friend helped me with my outline. I know, I know, NaNo is about vomiting onto the page with no plan, but fuck it, I'd like a better shot at finishing. I want to write this novel, it's been percolating for a few years now and if nothing else, I want Marcus out of my head. My head is a really crowded place.

(Completely aside, I seem to have finally mastered only putting one space at the end of a sentence. Yay learning curve.)

I may not write much here, while I'm working, so if you don't see me, I haven't died yet.

Meanwhile: Steamlust is available for your Kindle or Nook. And Shifting Steam is now available on Kindle and also as a trade paperback. Lustfully Ever After is available for pre-order on Amazon, too, although there's not yet a pretty cover, and will be out in May.

See you on the flipside!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Release

So, Shifting Steam came out today. Right now you can buy it direct from the publisher in an ebook format.

The really bad thing is, I was so wrapped up in my "other stuff" that I COMPLETELY forgot about this. Holy shit! AURGH! What's happening to me? I've gotten so blase about being a published writer? No, no, I'm doing the second most stressful thing on the planet: buying a short-sale house. (the most stressful thing being "get a divorce with kids involved." That's not on my to-do list, however.)

We put in an offer on a really great place on Monday, it's only Wednesday and the seller has accepted our offer. Now we just need to wait for the bank. From what I understand, the seller has gotten a lawyer involved because the last offer they had was withdrawn because the bank couldn't get its collective head out of its ass in order to accept (or deny) the offer. Our Realtor (a very nice lady, Renate Alvarez, who, by the way, has the coolest accent ever and I adore her!) gives me to understand that once a lawyer is involved on behalf of the seller, the bank is often much more receptive to actually doing their paperwork. I envision the lawyer walking in, his official briefcase under his arm, and the bank manager screaming like a 1940's housewife when she spots a mouse. "Oh, no! A lawyer! Please, I'll sign anything, just go away!"

So.... we'll see what happens. We're in the "wait and see" period.


But, in the meanwhile, go buy my book. (If you want a print copy, I understand that the print copies will be available later, but I don't know when that is. Yet.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blah blah fabulous new shoes blah

Just so you know where the title comes from... this is one of my daughter's favorite books. And one of our favorite books to read to her.

There's a bunch of suggestions as to what the child is grumpy about... did you get up on the wrong side of the bed? Did you stub your toe?

And our favorite; did you have to go over to some adults' house where everything was weird and fragile and you couldn't touch anything and the adults all sat around talking about BORING stuff?

In the background picture, you see a bunch of adult torsos and legs (for some reason, kids in stories never seem to look UP) and conversation bubbles which say things like "blah blah furnace filter blah" "blah kidney stones blah blah" "blah blah fabulous new shoes BLAH."

My husband and I have used that phrase "blah blah fabulous new shoes BLAH!" for several years now, usually meaning "we talked about something that was dull" to describe parties, office problems, neighbor problems... For example: "Well, the UBC had a meeting to discuss the CAR and the ISP issue, blah blah fabulous new shoes blah." (No, as a note, I don't understand any of that, either. Something I think the husband doesn't actually understand any of it either, and neither does anyone else, they're just all involved in a massive game of blind man's bluff.)

Which is basically my long-winded way of saying there's not really a theme to today's entry, I'm just babbling. Blah blah furnace filter blah!

I finally got paid for Golden Moment. I know, I know, it's terrible gauche to talk about money, but still... getting a check for the work. BIG DEAL! That's a thing off my list. I am now officially a paid writer. (I've had a few other things published in small literary magazines that I was "paid" in contributor's copies... some of which I never actually GOT, mind you...) So that was exciting. Now, admittedly, selling short stories is the writer's equivalent of working an internship. You're not really getting paid. Not really.

Given the amount of work I put into Golden Moment; probably 8-10 hours of actually writing, an hour or so reading edits and crits, another 3 hours making those changes... I'm making ish about minimum wage. Which wouldn't be terrible if I was doing 10-12 hours a WEEK, but those hours were spread out over a few months. Not to mention the several months of stalking my inbox, but technically speaking, that was my off-time.

Which is not a bad thing, mind. I'm just saying, no one is going to get rich writing short stories unless they are incredibly prolific and in high demand.

What publishing shorts is for is getting your name out there. Getting experience writing in your chosen genre. Hopefully getting some fans. Making sure the publishers know that you've done your time in the trenches. And that someone else has taken a risk on your work, so maybe they can, too.

Like I said, I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year. And I'm trying to decide what I want to work on. Right now, the two samples I posted (here and here) are the two things screaming loudest in my head to work on. Wormwood Trade a little louder than Blood Sight. I have almost a full head-worked outline for Wormwood Trade (if I can figure out how to show you my notes, I will, because some of it is pretty interesting from a technical perspective, but I don't have a scanner anymore, so... ) altho my characters are still a little hesitant to develop. I have characters for Blood Sight and a couple of key scenes that I want to hit, but no actual story-map.

Yes, I actually make story maps. I think that Hollywood does these too, where they sort of sketch up stick figures and write little dialogue bits next to them, or descriptions, and they move through the story LONG before the script is finalized, the parts are cast, or any of the special effects are developed. I thought it was a good idea, and I do the same thing. Altho I frequently write my scenes on post-it notes and move them around on the "map" as I work through the idea.

Which is to say right now Wormwood trade looks like this: girl and boy follow these GPS turn by turn instructions, which lead them from Point A to Point G and they go to B C D E and F in between. I just have no real idea who Girl and Boy are, as people. They may very well not go anywhere I want them to.

And Blood Sight looks more like this: Marcus and Rachel start here... somewhere they end up in Bad Guy's dungeon... and they have a friend, Raphael, who is an angel. There's a conspiracy and I think the head warlock is leading it? ...and I have no idea where they're going? Do we know where the fuck the hotel is? Why can't we get back on the interstate from Witchduck Road? We don't know where we're gooooooing... (this bad road trip memory brought to you by SciCon '92, VaBeach.)

I was also debating a bit, and writing a bit, about the werewolf urban supernatural romance (which would sequel Blood Sight) and while I did some research today about eliminating heat signatures and sniper rifles (I wonder if I'm on the FBI watch list yet...) I just couldn't seem to get the story flowing, thus you are not seeing it here...

So... my choices right now are:

Blood Sight: An urban supernatural romance. A very old vampire, Marcus, and a woman with the Sight, Rachel. There's a conspiracy to murder her because her abilities. She's not even aware of the extent of Power the Sight grants her. Not only does she get glimpses of the future, but she is also immune to most warlock and vampire abilities; since she Sees things As They Are, she's not vulnerable to the glamour that vampires and some other creatures use to hide themselves from mortals, beguile them, or otherwise harm them. Rachel has a twin brother, Noah, who's a warlock and may or may NOT be involved in the conspiracy to murder his own sister. (Don't ask me, I don't know!)


Wormwood Trade: Steampunk time-travel romance: The Wormwood Trade is a pirate operation; using forbidden technology they travel between parallel universes, each one similar to, but not exactly like, their own. They can move items and people from one dimension to another. For a price. When a noble loses his only child to war, he pays the exorbitant costs to have an almost mirror image of her taken from a universe where she did NOT die... but when the mirror is discovered by her fiancee, who knows she died six years ago, what will happen? Is she an acceptable substitute, or have the years they've been apart (for him) changed him too much? Can she love the man he is now, or will she continue to pine for the man he was before suffering so much grief and loss?

Any opinions?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Wormwood Trade, a sample

Time travel is not possible. The experiments failed. No one could travel back in time and prevent untimely deaths.

And yet, Fletcher Kane's fiancee, who died during the French invasion of London, a battle called Blacknight, is returned to him through unexpected means. Cecily claims to have no memory of her death; she only remembers being out, shopping with her sister, when she was kidnapped, a few days before she supposedly was killed. Still nineteen years old, she is bound for delivery to her father, nearly six years later. Can she adapt to a new time? Can she melt the fortress of ice that Kane built around his heart after her own death?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blood Sight

I'm trying to decide what project I want to work on for NaNoWriMo. Here's the opening idea I have for Blood Sight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Heard the News Today, oh boy!

(I'm officially old. Making Beatles references. Nevermind, you all knew that already.)

Soooooo....I got the official word, after several months of Facebook stalking my editor; Garden Variety has been picked up for the Lustfully Ever After collection.

Which is pretty cool. Lustfully Ever After is sort of the sequel (if a collection of loosely related short stories can have a sequel) to the collection released last year, Fairy Tale Lust. I've told you the story of how I met Kristina, my editor, right? Well, part of that meeting involved my introducing her to Amy, the owner of my local coffee shop, so that she could do some book promoting locally. I finally met her face to face the night she did her reading and promotion of Fairy Tale Lust, and for me, that was the moment where we really clicked.

So, it just feels like a nice karmic balance for me that I should get a story into the sequel.

Also, I particularly like Garden Variety, despite all the weirdness surrounding it. (Writing it had its own little drama that I still don't want to talk about because it was weird.) Of the seven or so stories I've written to Spec this year, Garden Variety is my favorite, probably because it covers one of my own personal kinks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steamlust, Reviewing #1

Obviously, I got my copies of Steamlust a bit ago - not the contributor's copies I have been promised (I'm still stalking my mailbox for those) but when a friend told me Amazon had shipped her copy, I ordered two copies myself. They came in while I was out of town, which just seemed so annoying as to be perfectly in tune with the rest of my life. (Which is not to say my life is horrible, just.. well, my friend said it best. "Murphy is a God and I am his favorite priestess.")

Saturday morning, while I'm on the third of what would be 14 miles for the day, I get a text from a friend; "Hey, I got your book! Can I come over and get it signed?" I spent most of the walk feeling slightly martyred. I was missing my first published work for a charity event. If that's not dedication to the cause, I don't know what is.

I took a few days to read it over and I don't know what the etiquette is for reviewing a book that you're a contributor for; so I probably won't post these on Amazon or Goodreads (or if I do, I'll have to throw in the caveat that I'm in the collection!)

Iron Hard, Sylvia Day - One of the things I really love about steampunk is that it's just a bit on the dirty side. People can die, people are in pain, the characters just seem a little more mature. They all have real life experience. Unlike the Historicals that make up a lot of what I read, there's very few pollyannas. Most of the women aren't virgins, and then men aren't always revoltingly rich. Day's heroine, Annie, is still grieving for the love she lost five years ago in the war; it takes an old friend of her beloved to reawaken the spark of womanhood inside her. Further, the women in steampunk are a lot more independent, able to exist and accomplish without a man. The delicate clockwork lovebirds that make up one of the central devices in Day's story are crafted by the heroine.

Heart of the Daedelus, Saskia Walker - Another female inventor; this one doesn't actually get to create her design. Nina doesn't have the money and someone has stolen her plans. Unfortunately for her - and fortunately for us - Dominic Bartleby wants Nina so badly that he has her designs brought to life. An altogether fascinating little story; I particularly like the Daedelus itself.

Fog, Flight and Moonlight, Sacchi Green - This particular tale is one of my favorites; the airship descriptions are wonderful, the sex is steaming, and the characters spark off each other with a vividness that leaves the reader wondering what happens next. (besides, secret societies are among my favorite plot devices!)

The Undeciphered Heart, Christine d'Abo - What happens when people are remade from parts that can never wear out? As a person transitions from the natural to the cyborg? What does society do? Mandy finds out when her beloved sacrifices himself to save her from an assassin's bullet. From then on, he is dead to society; they can never be together, no matter how they feel. If they resume their relationship, his mechanical parts will be stripped away and he'll die for a second time... can they find a way... a brilliant, emotional piece.

Mr. Hartley's Infernal Device, Charlotte Stein - I'm going to stop here for today, since this piece is my absolute favorite in the book. Written in first person, present tense, we gain entrance into Mr. Hartley's house to view his latest invention. We see Hartley, painstakingly painted and described by the woman who has loved him from the moment she first saw him, and has been unable to bring herself to show it. Mr. Hartley's device gives Elsbeth Havers everything she's always wanted, but never knew. I love this story, I've read it a half-dozen times now. The first time I cried, sniffling into three or four kleenex to get through it. (Ok, I cried the second time, too.) Really, I don't think I can say enough just how evocative and lurid this story is.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shifting Steam

This morning I got the news that Shifting Steam - an anthology which will contain my longer short story, Shadow of Kenfig - will be released October 26th.

Here's the cover art.

Lovely, yes?

I'm looking forward to seeing what else is in the collection.

Genre: LGBT romance/erotica

Synopsis: The young lord, Seth Maitland, is infected by the gwren, turning him into a ravening monster during the full moon, or when overpowered by anger. Can he convince Dr. Poindexter Fizthugh to help him and possibly find a cure for his condition?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flash Fiction; The Further Adventures of...

A few weeks back I asked for some Flash Fiction prompts. I did several in one day, and then had some other life stuff happen. Continuing on with that theme, here's Lenora's request: tryst, petticoat, morose and bonded.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pain and Choices

What do you do when all your options suck?

I live with chronic pain. It's like a house guest who came over for a visit and just won't leave. Every morning, I wake up and I pause before getting out of bed. How bad will it be today? Will I stumble when my feet touch the floor because my leg has decided that, no, really, FUCK YOU, I'm not working today?

Understand, it's not crippling pain. I don't usually fall over anymore. Although sometimes I still do, generally after being in the car for several hours.

Over a decade ago, I was in a bad car accident; my gerbil rocket struck a full-sized conversion van. The airbag exploded in my face. My shoes were knocked off my feet so violently that the entire back of my heel was scraped off. My glasses flew into the back seat somewhere. The seat belt forces all the air out of my chest. Bruises flower from my shoulder all the way to my hip. The engine block came through the passenger compartment. I was trying desperately to brake; the force of the impact shattered my ankle in five places. And to cap it all off, my wrist is broken.

I like to tell people that I don't really remember the accident; that's partially true. What I remember isn't coherent. Disjointed flashes of panic, pain. I went into shock almost immediately. My couldn't find my glasses. I had endorsed checks in the passenger seat - it was the day after my birthday and I was on my way to the bank to deposit a few monetary gifts. The radio was still on. Someone was talking to me and I couldn't roll the window down. Why is the radio still playing? I was going to be late for work on the first day of a new job. Someone tries to drag me out of the car. My foot catches up under the mangled brake pedal. I scream. The radio is playing U2's Beautiful Day. It is, it is. The sky is blue and blameless. I can't see without my glasses. The man trying to drag me out of the car leaves to go tell the driver of the other vehicle that I wasn't wearing my glasses when the accident occurred. That's not what happened, I try to tell him. I can't stop crying. My car, oh my god, my car. And oh dear god, did I hurt someone? This was my fault; I remember from driver's ed. The colliding vehicle is always at fault. I don't have collision insurance. My fault. We're in so much trouble.

The EMT's arrive. They humor me. They find my glasses, my shoes, my birthday checks and make sure they're all with me before I'll let them take me out of the car. They cut the seat belt. I'm covered in a strange, odd-smelling white powder. This is from the airbag, they tell me. They're very nice. Reassuring. They won't let me look at my leg, though. This worries me. One of the EMT's covers it with a blanket. I'm not bleeding, I don't think. So maybe it's not torn off. I would know, wouldn't I?

Once I get to the hospital, my memories are even more scatter-shot. There have been nine other car accidents in the last 45 minutes. I'm put on a wheeled cot and left in the hallway. Eventually someone comes around to see if I know how to get in touch with my family. I tell them that the husband works at Gateway, and his supervisor is LaDreena. They go away again. I'm in the hall for a long time. The accident happened around two in the afternoon. It might be four-thirty before they take me in for X-rays.

I remember the X-ray technician. She was calm and gentle and grateful. Grateful? Apparently I'm the first patient she's had to deal with all day that hasn't cursed at her or been belligerent. I know she's not trying to hurt me, even though she is hurting me. I hurt. I cry, but I don't scream. She takes a lot of pictures and I thank her for her care. She pats me on the shoulder very gently. That hurts, too. She nods and thanks me for being a good patient, and wishes me luck.

Do I need luck? Didn't I already have some of that? Wasn't it all bad?

Finally I get a small cubical. A nurse comes by and gives me a shot. I promptly vomit. How lovely.

I argue with the nurse about my dress. It's my favorite dress and I don't want it cut off my body. The entire thing buttons down the front, can't we just unbutton it? I lose the green blouse that goes under it, but they spare my dress. I wonder what I'm going to wear home from the hospital. What the HELL was in that shot? I feel sleepy, and so I rest for a while. No one will tell me what happened. No one will tell me how bad my leg is. I know it must be bad. They set up a blue medical screen so I can't look.

At some point, my husband arrives. They told him I was complaining of slight ankle pain. He looks at my leg and his mouth goes gray. He stops looking, comes up, holds my hand, and talks about nothing important. I try to listen anyway.

A cop comes into the room. He looks angry. I'm terrified. I've hurt someone. My car is wrecked. Someone else's car is wrecked. I'm in so much trouble. Oh god. The pain recedes a bit under the wave of my fear.

"I've come for your statement," he barks. I don't know at the time, but he's just come from talking to the other party in the accident. They've been yelling and cursing at him.

"Can I ask a question?" I try to become one with the bed.


"Was anyone else hurt? I didn't - I couldn't see. Did I hurt someone else? Is everyone okay?" My voice breaks several times and I feel that tense prickle in my eyes and nose that means I'm close to tears.

The cop's entire demeanor changes. Somehow, he appears to shrink about three inches, rounding his shoulders a bit, and presenting me with a much less hostile persona.

"This wasn't your fault," he said. I almost get the feeling that he'd have patted my hand if it wouldn't have been entirely unprofessional. "Everyone else is fine. One woman has a slight sprain. You couldn't have avoided the accident; the driver made an illegal left-hand turn across four lanes of traffic."

Relief comes, and with it, more pain. Annoying, that. I wish they'd do something about this pain; this is a hospital isn't it? (I didn't know it at the time, but they already had. That shot that made me throw up? It was morphine.)

Reassured that I have not doomed the Husband and I to life in a cardboard box while we tried to pay someone else's medical bills and that there's a whole box of guilt that I don't need to pick up, I give my statement. I've read that statement in the years since. He wrote down what I said verbatim. While it's all technically true, and mostly follows an accurate timeline, it rambles and is inelegant. I like to think better of myself than that; but apparently morphine and extreme pain renders one a little less than well-spoken.

There's a long, not-quite blank period; a doctor comes in. They're going to set my leg. He doesn't bullshit me about it. "This will hurt," he says, "and quite a lot. We'll get you doped up first." The nurse comes in, gives me another shot. I used to hate needles and whine about them. I offer my arm gratefully. The doctor comes in again, looks at me, asks me how I am. "Better," I say. "Get her some more drugs, she's still coherent."

Oh. Goodie.

Eventually there's this gray mist over my eyes. I can still think - I think - but I don't actually talk anymore. For me, this is never a good sign.

It still hurts. I didn't know there was enough room in my brain for that much pain.

After, I remember hearing some big, forty-something construction worker whining about getting blood drawn. I feel superior. And annoyed.

They send me home. I'll see a bone specialist the next day. At least one surgery. Probably more than one. The Husband is angry, but I don't know why. A friend comes to pick us up. His car only has 2 doors and that's awkward. Getting into the house is a nightmare. I think I throw up again at some point, or maybe I only want to.

I don't sleep.

I feel like I will never sleep again.

I keep hearing the crunch of vehicles. See the brown side of the van I struck filling up my windshield. Every time I relax, I jerk away from these images, these sounds. Jerking away hurts. My wrist hurts and the entire thing is purple from my palm to my elbow. The ER tells me it's not broken. Sure as hell feels broken.

I don't remember how we got to the bone doctor's office. He orders more X-rays. I'm right. My wrist is broken. He looks at the film of my leg. From behind me, where I can't see. What is this, a vast conspiracy? He pulls out a cell phone and makes a call.

"I need an operating theater," he says. "Yes, I'll hold."

The Husband stares at him. Doctors don't wait on hold, they let people call them back. The doctor agrees to do an extra surgery, to bring his own team, and for them to do clean up if the hospital can get him in right away. The doctor hangs up his cell and snarls at the Husband, "She should have been in surgery last night."

"I know."

The doctor gives me some pills for pain. I take them. Everything goes away.

I must have gone to the hospital at some point, but I can't remember. I don't remember being prepped for surgery, although that must have happened too.

I remember a long bout of hallucinating as I came out of the anesthetic. I kept asking to talk to a fictional character; a role-playing character that belonged to a friend of mine. Finally, some form of coherency returned. My throat hurt. I found out later this was because I'd reacted badly to the anesthetic and had to be intubated.

"There's a good chance you may never walk again," the doctor said without preamble. His bedside manner sucks. "At the very best, you'll walk with assistance. And you'll probably be in pain for the rest of your life."

To condense the rest of the story; I did walk again. I don't use a cane.

But I am in pain.

Every. Single. Day.

I have a plate in my leg, several pegs holding it in place, and an anabolic screw right through the middle of the joint. Yes, I set off metal detectors. No, I still don't know what these things look like. Through the whole process, no one would ever let me look at a single x-ray. I didn't even know that the back of my heel had been scraped off until I got stitches out and saw the big black scab, the size of a tennis ball.

It's not bad pain, not all the time. I recognize that. The next time you slam your thumb in a drawer, after you finish cussing and jumping around, wait a few minutes. It'll throb and ache for a while, and eventually it stops. Take note of how you feel, after the sharp, immediate agony fades, but before it goes back to normal. That's how I feel most of the time.

It doesn't prevent me from walking, although sometimes it does make stairs a challenge. Particularly going down stairs, which requires my ankle to flex further than it wants. I regained 95% of my mobility in that joint. But that's 5% that just doesn't anymore. I literally can NOT run. I've tried. I can manage it, if I have to, but I'll have really bad pain that will last for days afterward.

Storms and weather changes make it worse.

Cold is bad. Jumping is right out. I can't catch myself. Impact jolts so bad that I fall.

I'm on pain management medication. Which makes me loopy. Sometimes it makes me vomit. I don't like to take it.

I come from a family with addiction problems. I'm frightened of my medication. I usually tell people when I've had to take a pill because I act... weird when I'm on them. Last winter, the pain was particularly bad and I was popping several pills a week. A friend accused me of being a druggie.

I've been scared of the pills since that happened. I resist taking them, even when I know I should.

The rest of my life.

I didn't understand at the time.

I wish I didn't understand it now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Ok, I think everyone in the writing world knows about NaNoWriMo. I love saying that. Hate typing it, but I love saying it. NaNoWriMo. Just sort of falls off the tongue after being rolled around in your mouth like an everlasting gobstopper. With a trail of multicolored saliva following it. Ok, unattractive mental image. Sorry.

If you don't, go look it up.

I have done NaNoWriMo successfully (well, finished a project, wrote the 50,000 words, etc) once; that Draft Zero crock of steaming crap was so bad I didn't even show it to anyone. And then my hard drive crashed in January and I lost it anyway. Talking about the Bad Novel later with a friend, I got an insight into my hero - I could never quite figure out why he liked the heroine, although he insisted that he did. With my friend's comments, I was able to get a handle on him, figure her - the character, not my friend - out, and I rewrote the whole thing. Since I didn't have the draft to work from, this was a complete revision. And that was a much better story. Took me about five months to write. Marked Man, as I ended up titling it, is now in secondary revisions that I hope to complete by the end of the year.

I've tried a few times since then to do NaNoWriMo and sometimes I go for a week or so, and sometimes I don't even get started!

Well, I'm going to try AGAIN this year. I have several novel-ish projects percolating on back burners. (How is it that my kitchen has 2 back burners and 2 FRONT burners and my brain has 1 front burner and 5,000,000 back burners?) I have a series of urban supernatural romances; Blood Sight, Moon Shadow, Bad Intentions, and Death Magic. I have a steampunk romance, The Wormwood Trade. I have a zombie novel; Zom and the art of Undead Maintenance. I'll pick one and run with it.

Which brings me to the title of this blog entry.


NAtional PLan yoUR NOvel MOnth.

I know, NaNoWriMo isn't supposed to be about planning. It's supposed to be about bashing your head in and hoping something useful leaks out.

Well, you know, NaNo is a like an RPG. And the first rule of an RPG is "If you don't like the rules, change 'em."

So, for the rest of October, in between looking for houses, promoting Steamlust, celebrating the fact that I've managed to not kill my child by neglect or accident for 8 whole years, and other crazy shit on my schedule, I'm going to outline and think about what I'm going to write for NaNo.

And I know this is probably a stupid question, but I would LIKE some opinions anyway; what would YOU like to see?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding Yourself Somewhere Else

I've always mocked (gently, of course) my friends who have gone "looking for themselves."

Usually they have a pretty good reason for packing their crap and getting away from their various overbearing families, so I'm all in support of that. But finding yourself? How the hell do you LOSE yourself? I mean, here I am. All the time. This is me. I'm not lost.

Except that sometimes, you are.

Way back when, I lived in a town that I hated. I hated everything about the town, I didn't have any friends that I could relate to. I had a good job, and we were making all the ends meet, bills were getting paid and we had lots of extra money to get those things we need and many things that we wanted as well.

It was a good life. Except I hated it. With every fiber in my body, I wanted to be Somewhere Else. ANYWHERE else.

I was discussing this with someone I worked with and he looked at me and said, "Is it really Town that you hate, or will you be packing up your unhappy and taking it with you?"

Sometimes your environment can create clutter. The people who you see on a regular basis influence how you act, what you say, what you wear. The places you go - or can go - decide what your options are. Prevailing attitudes can color your mood - a liberal in a highly conservative work environment can get to feeling hostile, or put upon, or persecuted - or for that matter, an atheist in a highly religious area can start feeling very alone. But it's hard to tell, sometimes, whether those moods and attitudes are coming from within, or from without. Would I still feel alone in a new town where I still had no friends, but I didn't feel this wave of hostility every time I saw a "Only Man + Woman = Family" bumper sticker?

In order to figure out what's truly yours, sometimes you need to get away from all those things that aren't you. Family. Friends. Job. Television. Just be alone.

Where do you go, when you've got no familiar place to go? What do you do when you're the only one who has to be happy with that decision? Do you, for example, only hang out in the coffee shop because you feel like you should, or when you move to a new town, do you seek one out until you find someplace with a palatable espresso?

(As it turns out, it was Town that I hated. We moved. Our financial situation took a nasty downturn from the job switch, and I never did find good full time cubical hive work again... despite that, I was happier. And I still am.)

I'm talking about this because things are about to change for me. Big change.

We're getting a house.

For eight years, I've lived in a tiny apartment with no privacy. I write my stories in the same room with the television, and try to balance my life around two people that I can't help running into (sometimes literally) with every waking moment.

Sure, they're still going to be there. But I will have an office. And it will not be in the same room with the television.

The question is; what parts of me will I pack up and bring along...

And what am I going to leave behind?