Oct 18 2014

What’s up. Plus: Score!

Rosemary

What’s up: Day Job. Same old. Going to increase the hours in the weeks to come. I’m planning to keep it to three days a week through November, and then hit 32 in December.

Trying VERY HARD to keep writing despite the return to the Day Job, which has always been a difficult combination.   Day Job plus Writing equals Day Job Not Writing.  Fighting the math.  Trying Very Hard.

And I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, as mentioned before. If I can get the day before Thanksgiving off from the Day Job, I can do my tradtional escape-to-undisclosed-location and have a good block of time in which to write — as well as the typical NaNoWriMo deal of dropping everything else in one’s life that one possibly can, for the space of one month, and cranking out a novel-length work, start to finish.   The rules call for starting something new, not continuing a work you’ve already been doing.  So, yes, I will step away from Book 5 for one month, but fear not!  Because it will still be a Steerswoman book:  A parallel YA novel dealing with the Steerswomen’s Academy, taking place during the same time as Book 5.

I’m hoping that the drop-everything-else approach will clear my head, revitalize my subconscious, and help me keep  on track when I return to Book 5.    I have good reason to think it will.

Plus, of interest only to fans of Welcome to Night Vale:  Ha!  I managed to score tickets to their next live show in New York in January.   This was not easy.

The tickets went on sale noon Friday.  Thirty seconds after noon, the website was completely swamped, and it rolled over, put its paws in the air, and only displayed messages amounting to:  GO AWAY I DED NOW K THX BAI.

Sabine was at home that day, on the internet trying to get through, and declared that she’d keep it up for a half hour, and then stop because she had Things to Do!  And Why Weren’t They Prepared for This?  And They Should Know By Now!

I was at the Day Job, but slyly put up a browser window in the background and poked away at it when I could,   Eventually I realized that everyone in the universe was using the exact same link to get to the box office (provided by Night Vale,) — but the venue had its own separate previous existence, so there must be other ways to get to its box office…

And she scores!

The show they’ll do in January is the one called “The Librarian,” versions of which they’ve performed before in the States, and some version of which they are now playing in their first-ever European tour.  And I just now heard that Dublin, their first stop, gave them a standing ovation.

So, happy about that.

Also: currently visiting pals in New Hampshire.  So, must stop doing this at some point, in order to be social.  And possibly go kayaking.

Also also: still walking every day….

 

Wha --? There it is again!  Another sighting of that mysterious creature...

Wha –? There it is again! Another sighting of that mysterious creature…

 

 

 


Oct 12 2014

Them Ol’ Day Job Blues

Rosemary

Last week, on Monday and Tuesday I did lots of writing!  It was wonderful.   Best days in a long time!  Great to be back.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday:  Day Job.

Yeah, I know it’s necessary.  But wow – instant flip from euphoria to deep blue blues.

It’s a clerical/accounting job, and it involves exactly the opposite type of thinking from what is needed for the creative act.   So… kind of hard to take… But I got through it.  Sometimes you just have to hunker down, hang on, do what’s needed,  and get through.   A lesson I learned and applied under different circumstances this year.   Works for this, too.

Still… I do sort of feel like a deep-sea diver brought to the surface too fast.   Trying hard not to go boom.

Anyway, I have Monday and Tuesday again this week, so: more writing!

And on the up side, that post-radiation therapy fatigue is fading away.   Now, when I get tired, it’s usually clearly attributable to being way out of shape from ten months of almost zero activity.  Solution: Activity!  Still walking, and now adding some weights to my weekly routine.   I am cleared to go back to the gym.

More news about Writers Who Are Not Me:  Delia Sherman (fellow Genrette) has a new book coming out on November 1.  It’s a collection of her short stories: Young Woman in a Garden, for which I have already plunked down my hard-earned cash as a pre-order.  You could do that too!   You can get it directly from the publisher, Small Beer Press , or, as ever, through Amazon.   And you can actually read one of the stories, “Miss Carstairs and the Merman” for free,  right now,  online at  Fantasy Magazine, as part of their “Women Destroy Fantasy” special issue.

 

Okay, have to turn in early enough to get up early enough to use what I can of the non-day-job day, so…

More later.

 


Oct 2 2014

What, October?

Rosemary

Yow, it’s already October.

It’ll soon be too cold to work out in my woody nook, and I’ll have to bring in the table and chair.   That will be sad… it’s my favorite place to write!

 

The nook back in September

The nook back in September

 

I’m still only doing  three days a week at the Day Job, which is about as much as I can handle.   This month I’ll be increasing my hours, and eventually be back to full-time…

I still get pretty worn down, but that should let up soon.  Maintaining my daily walks when I can — observed, as usual, by the ever-assiduous unofficial neighborhood watch:

Either a new cat or a new neighbor with old cat.

Got my eye on you.  That’s right,  just keep moving…

 

I’m hoping I’m back up to speed by November, since I do want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year!   My first time, and it should be fun.  It’s part of a plan to combat the inevitable gloominess resulting from succumbing to the necessity of the Day Job.   (Health insurance, health insurance — now is not the time to switch carriers, nor pay for it entirely out of my own pocket.)

Hm… anybody else going to give NaNoWriMo a try this year?   Tell me in the comments!

Other news:  I’m behind in replying to some emails, so if you’ve been waiting for a response from me, this weekend could be the time!

More later…


Sep 24 2014

News about writers who are not me.

Rosemary

Remember me saying how much I enjoyed the audiobook of Ellen Kushner’s and Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings?  Here’s something cool: Audible has combined all three of the Riverside audiobooks –  Kushner’s Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, and Kushner & Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings — into one big omnibus audiobook called The Swords of Riverside.  

If you already have an Audible account, please notice you can get this omnibus for just one credit.   This is a fantastic bargain.  And if you don’t have an Audible account, they love to tempt you by offering you your first book free when you sign up, and that’s even more of a bargain.  And if you’re not interested in committing to a membership you can always buy the audiobook at the non-member price which is still a bargain, as you’re getting all three for the price of one audiobook.

It’s over 45 hours of pure immersion in the wonderful, mysterious city of Riverside and its denizens.  You can lose yourself in a whole other world for days on end!  If I didn’t already have all three audiobooks, I’d be doing this immediately.

(Please note: The Riverside books contain same-sex romance, so if that puts you off — then heck, why not try something else by Ellen and/or  Delia, like Ellen’s Thomas the Rhymer – sadly, only in print version and not audiobook — or the excellent audiobook of Delia’s YA novel, The Freedom Maze?)

Other news: Jo Walton’s The Just City is available for pre-order at Amazon — and likely also at your favorite non-Amazonian book-buying site, not to mention pre-ordering  from actual bookstores.  Release date is January, but that’s not as far away as it looks, trust me.  And I know she’s finished writing the sequel, The Philosopher Kings, so I can see there won’t be much of a wait between volumes.

I pre-ordered it in the Kindle version, so that when it comes out it will instantly show up on my Kindle.  I love pre-ordering.   I order, then basically forget about it, so it’s like buying a surprise present for myself.  I’m always surprised!

Other other news, being actually about me:  Still worn down, and hauling myself to three days a week of the Day Job.  My boss is deeply happy to have me back. Much has gotten tangled there which now I am laboriously untangling.

And I actually braved New Haven one day, and stopped off  at Hull’s Art Supply to buy a bunch of bookbinding supplies, since I suddenly realized that the supplies I had on hand were Not Right, Not Right At All, and that I wanted a new journal/workbook Immediately If Not Sooner, and that to accomplish this Steps Must Be Taken.  And so I took them.  (Quite soon I must make a trek to Boston to visit the Paper Source in Somerville MA.    Hull’s just doesn’t have the hand-marbled one-of-a-kind papers that the Paper Source carries, although it has everything else I need. )

Simple cover, classy innards.

Simple cover, classy innards.

I also treated myself to a late lunch at the Booktrader Cafe, where once in the misty depths of time, the Fabulous Genrettes used to meet.  The main room at Booktrader seems once to have been some sort of greenhouse or solarium, and so is entirely constructed of glass, including the roof, which fact I love beyond all reason.   I’m always happiest when I can see the sky.


Sep 17 2014

Briefly ….

Rosemary

Just a quick post to stay in touch. I’m still singin’ the radiation fatigue blues, and so haven’t blogged as much as I’d wanted.

Today I had an echocardiogram. Because I’m still on Herceptin infusions every three weeks, they keep a close watch on the state of my heart, as heart trouble is one of the possible (not likely, just possible) side effects. So, every three months they check on things.

Nerd that I am, I endeared myself to the echo tech by being fascinated with the whole process. It’s done with ultrasound (the same technique they use to look at fetuses and babies in the womb), and I was positioned so I could see the monitor.

I was able to look at my own heart in action! Pumping away like anything, valves a-flappin’. It seemed quite enthusiastic in its task. A sight cool beyond belief.

At one point the image was a perfect black-and-white version of the classic anatomy text cross-section, and I said, “Hey, isn’t that upside down?” The tech was impressed, and said that I was the first patient who recognized what they were seeing. But heck — that particular image could not have been clearer! Others were fuzzier, and at odd angles, but that one could not be missed by anyone with the slightest sense of their internal geography. Except for being upside down, due to the angle of the transducer.

Oh, I do love me some science.  Here’s a cool little infographic that has some animation, showing one of the angles I saw on the monitor.

Meanwhile: back to the Day Job for Thursday and Friday.   I expect some serious power-napping when I get home…

 

 


Sep 12 2014

Zzzz.

Rosemary

Predictably, going back to the day job has worn me out big-time.  Even just two five-hour days last week — and I really did not recover by Wednesday this week, when I went back for what will be three five-hour days.

Well, everyone who knows about this stuff (doctors, nurses, other cancer survivors) all say that this is not at all surprising after radiation, and I really ought to expect to stay this tired for, oh, the next month or so…

But damn!  I’m really tired of being tired!  I’ve got stuff to do!

I’m writing at least a little most days, but progress is incremental at best, and occasionally those increments are actually negative, as I identify and then delete crap that has no reason to be in the story.  Well.   Removal of crap counts as progress to me.  The story will be better for it.

I’m also managing to keep walking everyday because, hell, it doesn’t take much mental acuity to put one foot in front of the other.  It’s something I can do no matter how otherwise useless I feel.   So, if all else fails, at least I’ve walked.

One thing about walking around the condo complex every night: the native life.   I have met every dog and dog-owner, seen every cat in every window,  passed all the smokers sitting on the front steps, and observed many, many toads.   The toads like the heat that lingers on the sidewalk.    I counted more than a dozen on one walk.

 

Cutest happy puppy ever.

Cutest happy puppy ever.

 

Truly beautiful cat, to whom I am a continual astonishment

Truly beautiful cat, to whom I am a continual astonishment

 

ranging from Jellybean-sized to english-muffin-sized

Ranging from jellybean-sized to english-muffin-sized

I’ll do a more coherent blog post over the weekend… I just didn’t want to stay away too long!

 

 


Sep 7 2014

Inching my way back into the Day Job

Rosemary

Yep, it’s that time.   Time to start going back to the Day Job.

Back when this whole cancer business started, I managed to stay on the job for the first two months, until the chemo side-effect got the better of me.

Coming out the other side, I’ll be doing about 15 hours a week at first, and we’ll see if I can work my way up to 32.   We have no particular time-line on this, and it’s going to take a while to build up my stamina.   My boss is fine with that.

I worked two days this week, five hours a day, and it pretty much knocked me flat.  But you know: radiation therapy is over, the burns are mostly healed, and need to work on getting stronger.  So, here I am, slowly clambering back into the workforce out there in Mundania.

The really depressing thing is that going back to the job reminds me that this was supposed to be the year I stepped away from it entirely!   I had it all planned out!  I was going to be writing full time!

Then: Boom.   Leaving the Day Job?  No longer an option.

And… here I am, back again.

Well.  As I often say, I’m still on the WIN side of the column.   Because: alive.

I’ll probably feel much better about dealing with this when I get my energy and strength back.   And my mental agility, as well.    Really looking forward to that part.

In aid of this, I’ve been walking almost every day, generally for an hour — and generally when the sun has gone down and this incredible humidity we’ve been having lets up a bit.

All I can say is: Thank goodness for iPods!   (Although, I broke down and got an iPhone, so all my iPod functions now reside on my phone, which is delightfully convenient.)  I generally listen to a bit of music, then some audiobook, then an episode of Welcome to Night Vale.  Although the last month or so, it’s been harder to focus on a good audiobook and harder to get myself moving (probably radiation fatigue), so I just listened to Night Vale for the whole time — it’s actually the only time I allow myself to listen to it.  Thus, my love of Night Vale kept me walking when my weary body and sometimes-fuzzy brain would prefer I just chilled out.

But alas, inevitably, I got to the point where I had heard each of the the fifty-plus available episodes multiple times, so I had to search for something else — and just as inevitably ended up with the Thrilling Adventure Hour.  They’re no comparison, of course, and  I’ll never love them as I love Welcome to Night Vale, but they’re quite jolly and diverting.   And there’s LOTS of back-episodes, as they’ve been doing the show for ten years.  I shouldn’t run out anytime soon.

So, at SOME point, all this walking is going to pay off.  Well, it’s probably paying off right now; I’d certainly be worse off if I hadn’t been doing it.

But meanwhile, yeah: Day Job.  I should be writing full time!  But, not yet.  Day Job.

Meanwhile, despite the heat, looks like Autumn is on its way.   The other day, I saw this:

turkey

Not too soon to plan your Thanksgiving Dinner.

 

Gosh,  I thought, right in the back yard!   I’d better get a photo of that!  No telling when I’ll get a chance like this again!

And then this:

 

I hear there’s a fox around, too, but I haven’t seen him.   I’m sure he’s got his sights on these characters….

Well, more later…  Switch now set to OFF.

 

PS: The latest episode of Welcome to Night Vale?  Wow.

I was wondering how they were going to handle the fact that the actor, Cecil Baldwin, was going to be away for the whole month of August, as part of the Neo-futurists acting troupe, performing their show Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.   How, I wondered, could they deal with the possibly limited availability of Cecil?

That’s how.  Brilliantly.


Aug 28 2014

Poll reports. Plus: Ow.

Rosemary

Poll results are in!

Actually, poll results are still slowly trickling in, but I have to call a halt at some point.

I had 77 responders, including comments here, on Facebook and  via Twitter.

Yes, this is not a good statistical sample.   But it’s what we’ve got.

It’s clear that most people who read my books don’t read the blog, or follow me in social media.   That’s fine!   Reading books is much more important than reading about writers.   And according to Amazon’s cool reporting features, I know that since December 24th when I first released it,   I’ve sold 2,618 copies of The Steerswoman alone just on Amazon (setting aside for the moment the sales of the other books — because they are the same readers who bought The Steerswoman). So… no complaints.

Here’s the breakdown:

19.48% Recommended by a friend : 15

19.48% Found in a bookstore (either randomly, or because you worked there): 15

12.99% Because of Jo Walton’s review: 10

10.39% Because of James Nicoll’s review: 8

10.39% Found in the library: 8

10.39% Found via some other website: 8

10.39% Found by searching specifically for feminist or non-stereotypical treatment of female characters: 8

3.9% Recommended by Amazon’s algorithm: 3

2.6% Random or uncategorizable: 2

So, let’s play a math game.  Let’s assume that this distribution holds across the board, and apply it to my Amazon numbers for The Steerswoman.

There’s no reason to assume the distribution would be the same!  (For example, people who were influenced by James and Jo are self-selected as people who are tapped in to the SF/F fandom grapevine, and go online regularly for news and reviews — whereas most people who purchase on Amazon probably don’t do that.) But let’s try it and see what comes up, out of curiosity.

19.48% Recommended by a friend: 510

19.48% Found in a bookstore (and then, we assume, subsequently bought in ebook form from Amazon): 510

12.99% Because of Jo Walton’s review: 340

10.39% Because of James Nicoll’s review: 272

10.39% Found in the library (and then, we assume, subsequently bought in ebook form from Amazon): 272

10.39% Found via some other website: 272

10.39% Found by searching specifically for feminist or non-stereotypical treatment of female characters: 272

3.9% Recommended by Amazon’s algorithm: 102

2.6% Random or uncategorizable: 68

Yeah, that was a mostly useless exercise.

Because the Amazon info is purely for ebook sales, and  the “bookstore” and “library” categories don’t directly translate to ebooks.  And I’m only using sales numbers from Amazon, because Smashwords alone is a  much smaller number, and the other retailer’s reports are delayed by months.

Hm.

My actual gut feeling is that, for sales on Amazon, the recommendation algorithm is responsible for a lot.    This is where people who read a lot of SF/F, but who don’t participate in fandom or follow the biz news, are likely to hear about me.   As in: If you like X, you’ll like The Steerswoman plus it’s only $2.99, what have you got to lose?  They click on the link, and see the many very positive reader reviews — and hey, worth a try, right?

After that, recommendations from friends, probably.

And for people who follow SF/F in general, I’m betting that James Nicoll and Jo Walton have a lot of clout.  Walton’s review was back in 2008, but people are still talking about it; and when James’ new reviews came out recently, it did look like my daily sales increased in response.

Well that was interesting.   To me, anyway!

In other news: Ow.

My radiation therapy ended on the 18th.  I had some side-effects, a lot of redness and discomfort, and was deeply grateful that it was no worse.  Considering how bad some other people had it, I got off comparatively easy, thought I!

However, as part of my final visit, the nurse reviewed a few things.  And at one point:

Nurse: And you realize that your side-effects will continue for a while.

Perky Chipper Me: Oh, yes, I’ve been told about that.  (Thinks: Been told that over and over.  But, no problem, I can put up with it, piece of cake!)

Nurse: Good. So, for the next ten days or so, things will get worse…

Slightly Less Perky Chipper Me: Wait, what?

Nurse: Oh, yes.  It’ll continue.

Dubious Me: Well, yes, continue … but, worse?  Even though we’re done now?  No more radiation?

Nurse:  It’s cumulative.  And delayed, like a sunburn.  You know how in the morning you don’t think you got that much sun?  But by the evening you’re going “Ouch, what did I do to myself?”  It’s like that.

Assimilating New Information Me: … Okay…. (Thinks: Yes, everyone said it would continue, but I assumed that “continue” meant persist.  Not continue to increase in severity.)… so, if my skin starts peeling and stuff –

Nurse: Oh, you’re already peeling, right there.

Adjusting to Situation Me:  Oh, yeah, look at that!

Nurse: So, that’s going to get worse.   And probably over here, too.

Fully Adjusted to the New Normal Me: Okay… so, what if [describes really gross situation, of which I will spare you the details and trust me, you'd thank me if you knew] happens?

Nurse: Well, yes, you’ll probably get some of that.

Plain Old Me:   Good to know.  So, what do we do?

At which point she provided me with more instructions, and some special gel-type wound dressings, and I thanked her, shook her hand, shook everyone’s hand, gave a few techs some hugs, and walked out the door, done with my radiation therapy.

Later: yep.  Ow. WOW ow.

It got worse pretty fast, and I’ll tell you, those hydrogel dressings are From Heaven.  Fortunately, I had no commitments, and did not even need to leave the house (a good thing because Ladies Foundational Garments were NOT an option).  I plied all my ointments, unguents and dressings, took a lot of Tylenol, and did not do much at all for the better part of a week.  I am now fully informed on all things having to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Much improved now, thanks.   As I say to medical personnel (whenever they jab me with something, and I automatically jump and make a noise): That wasn’t a complaint, that was just a report.

Because, you know: Still on the plus side of things, where the plus side is labeled: YOU GET TO LIVE.

So, basically… I’m fine!

Other other news: I want to talk about the Casting Call comments, but this post has become too long, so I’ll do it separately later…

Even more other news: Yes, I am working on Book 5.


Aug 23 2014

Quick informal poll

Rosemary

Just curious…  Where did you first hear about my books?

I’ve asked this question on Twitter, so if you answered it there, don’t feel you have to answer again… but if you did, and want to elaborate beyond Twitter’s character limit, feel free!

I’m just trying to get a sense of what is my most effective method of reaching new readers.  You were once a new reader, so you’ve got the scoop!

I’ve set the website so that you can answer with complete anonymity.  The reply form will ask you for your name and email, but you can leave those spaces blank, and your reply will get posted regardless.

Or you can make up an entirely new name!  My website will not judge you.

Just click below, where it says “# comments” or “Leave a reply”.


Aug 17 2014

They’re streaming the Hugo Ceremony

Rosemary

So I’ll be watching!  3PM Eastern time in the US; 8PM in the UK.  Go here for info on how to watch the ceremony.

Reports from the Worldcon front say that my contacts are having a great time both at the con and touring around the city.

Okay, I'm also thinking about Night Vale because: new episode yesterday!

I should not be surprised to see that this guy is at LonCon.  Everybody from Welcome to Night Vale is already in the UK, because they’re touring with a live show throughout Europe this Fall!

 

Looking for more pics to post, if anyone sends them my way.

And a special shout-out to the Oxford/Cambridge fans! (Do people still say “shout-out”?  Am I dating myself? Or just being charmingly retro?)

In other news: my clever marketing ploy seems to have worked — I got a big jump in Kindle sales — those being the sales that are easiest to track in real-time.  It looks like sales in other outlets are also up, although it’s hard to tell by how much until all the reports come in.

So… it’s all so very encouraging.

My radiation therapy ends on Monday, but they tell me that my side-effects should actually get worse for a week or so, since they’re a delayed effect, and trail the treatments.   I’ll just take it as easy as need be, whilst thinking deep thoughts about Book 5, which is my main focus at the moment.    As I said to Kay in the comment stream of the last post:

“I’ve got the house to myself for the rest of the month, and I won’t be going back to the dreaded DayJob until September. I feel pretty good, if I don’t try to do too many physical things in a day. I’m no longer worried about my prognosis, so I don’t feel like the Grim Reaper is breathing down my neck… So it’s a good time to clear out the mental cobwebs, and go through Book 5 and see how I can sort out all the stuff I wrote in bits and pieces at odd moments, and make it make sense.”

I’m trying to set things up so that I can write useful stuff even after I go back to the DayJob…  The key thing will be to sort out the structure.

Well.  Back to it.

More later, as they say.

 

The Dog Park will not harm you.

The Dog Park will not harm you.