Nov 18 2014

NaNoWriMo no-show woe


When last we left our plucky heroine, she was valiantly attempting to push on with NaNoWriMo after losing time to moving in to a new office, setting up said office, increasing her Day Job hours, and getting hit with the coldish/flu-ish virus that is making the rounds, having figured that after a week of sniffing coughing and hacking, that thing should be on its way out.

Surprise!  It decided to get worse instead.  What fun.  Oh, for the virus, not me, that is.

Nyquil and Dayquil basically had no effect any more, and just yesterday I dragged myself over to the walk-in center and got told by the nice young doctor that it looked exactly like what everyone else in the waiting room had, but was hitting me harder and sticking with me longer.  Possibly because I was still on chemo, and had recieved a dose just a week ago, a few days after the virus first hit me.

He gave me Tylenol with codeine.   So’s I could actually get some sleep, the lack of which, in my opinion, was just exacerbating the whole situation.

And I did sleep, hooray!  The first dose, oddly, had zero effect, but the second, this morning, let me get a good six hours of snooze.

Result: my brain is now working again.  That’s nice.  I missed it!  My brain is my favorite thing.

Other result: I can now do math!  And,  oh, look!  It’s now November 18, and I’ve written about 5,000 words of my NaNoWriMo project, leaving 45,000 to do in the next 13 days.  That would be 3,462 words a day.


In theory that is possible.   I have at various times in my life achieved over 3,000 words in a day.  But not every day for a sustained period.

Of course, there’s no particular reason why I should limit myself to the NaNoWriMo one-month time frame.   I can go over as much as I need, just not as a participant in the NaNoWriMo cultural phenomenon.  No big deal, right?

Well, true.   But I signed up for NaNoWriMo for actual reasons…

1.  After ten months of grinding through the whole cancer-treatment experience, during which I mananged only to write in small fits and spurts,  I wanted to do something that would knock me out of the artistic doldrums,  kick out the jambs, shake things up, realign everything.   I’d hoped that the total-immersion ethic of NaNoWriMo would be just the thing!  I’ve seen it work for other people.

2.  I’ve always been most productive in an all-out mode.  Every time I’ve finished a book, it was when I’d quit my day job.  But I can’t quit this day job (not yet).  As a participant in NaNo, you’re expected to put everything else in your life on hold (or as close to that as is possible), for the space of just one month.  It seemed that doing only the Day Job and my NaNoWriMo novel would be as close to doing only the novel as could be achieved at this point in my life, and it was worth trying for the space of that one month.

3.  The month of November this year is the only month in which it’s possible for me to do that.   Because: a) I should be getting back more of my strength every day, with the main cancer treatment over, so energy level up!; b) I won’t yet be working full-time at the Day Job, so less drag on whatever emotional and physical energy I do possess; c) I’m doing my usual thing of taking the entire Thanksgiving week off from the Day Job, and effectively withdrawing from the entire universe, and focusing on writing (time off that’s only possible because the Day Job provides us two paid days off that week).  By sheer coincidence the one time I can do all that is the same month as NaNoWriMo.

4.  I’ve heard and seen that NaNoWriMo can be fun!  Let’s have some fun, please? That would be nice.

So.  13 days of NaNo left, almost no way to hit the 50K mark, so what do I do?

I think I’m going to go for the fun bit.

I’m going to do as much total immersion as is feasable (without shorting myself on sleep, exercise and healthy food), while achieving as much fun as possible.

Immersing myself in imaginary worlds is lots o’ fun for me.

So.  That’s the plan.

Nov 13 2014

She’s up!


I now have internet access at my office!  (My own, non-day job office, that is.)  Seems okay so far.

I’m using the FreedomPop service, which allows you to not have a contract.   The router gets its signal  via 4G rather than through any dedicated phone or cable line.

I wanted a no-contract option, since it’s possible that this office won’t work at all, and I didn’t want to commit to a year’s worth of internet to get a decent deal.

I can’t yet officially endorse it, as I’ve only been using it for an hour or so.   I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, still feeling blah, but I’m trying to hit NaNoWriMo a little harder, regardless.

In other news: the freakin’ freight elevator is out of order again!  I need to get some more furniture in here, and it’s two flights up.

Nov 11 2014

Say hello to my little friends, Nyquil and Dayquil


Knocked flat by what is either a really bad cold, the flu, or one of my very rare allergy attacks which I only get when I do something that essentially has me practically bathing in dust, which hey!  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing between moving stuff out of my basement and bedroom and into an office in a very old building!  What a coincidence.

I really don’t have much in the way of allergies, but if you hit me hard enough with stuff, I’ll eventually crack.

The doc thinks it’s not the flu, but notes that there is something “going around.”   I was a little worried about being in the chemotherapy suite among people who might have compromised immune systems; but they just put me at the far end, and requested that I not cough on anyone.  It was slow, anyway, with just a few fellow travelers, so it wasn’t hard to stay to myself.

I did, however, sleep during chemo, which I rarely do.   I’m famous for spending chemo time with my tablet or laptop or Kindle… Instead, I just tried not to snore too much, and shambled home afterwards.

I feel cheated!  I’m supposed to be NaNoWriMo-ing up a storm!

Well, at least I’m refreshing my acquaintance with the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series.  The first three seasons are free to Amazon Prime members for online streaming.   If you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out.  It is delightful in so many ways.

Not to be confused with the Last Airbender live-action movie, which, if you saw it, you should now hit yourself on the head with a hammer repeatedly until you forget.  And then watch the series.

Must go sleep now, with a goodnight kiss from Nyquil…


Nov 7 2014

No internet at the office


New office! A lot remains to be done, of course… at the moment the biggest lack is the Internet. I won’t get service until sometime next week.

Of course, I am SO behind on NaNoWriMo… too much of last week was eaten up with signing things, packing things, having burly men move objects from one location to another, and regular Day Job duties. I still get tired, but I’m so much improved. My office being on the third floor with no elevator should help me get a little exercise.

Meanwhile, for a bit of inspiration, BoingBoing has a short post by Welcome to Night Vale’s co-creator Jeffrey Cranor, wherein he reveals the secret to success in the arts.

Must stop now — I’m blogging from the Day Job, which is not exactly forbidden,  but possibly only because it hasn’t occurred to them that anyone might be doing it. They’re rather 20th-century around here…


Oct 29 2014

It’s everywhere (pretty much)!


Just a clarification:  The ebooks of the Steerswoman series are available from lots of outlets, not just Amazon and Smashwords.

There’s Barnes & Noble (for Nooks)…

And Kobo…

And iBooks (I can’t create a live link for that — you need an iPad or Mac or iPod or iPhone to even access the iBooks store — but if you head over there and search, you’ll find the books)…

And Baker & Taylor Blio, and Scribd, and Flipkart, and — well basically, if you have an ebook distributor you use regularly, just check to see if the books are there.  Chances are, they will be.

Oct 29 2014

Joshua A.C. Newman’s review of the Steerswoman Series


Joshua A.C. Newman just posted a really lovely review of the series – and includes an excellent steerswoman-like sketch of a Demon.  You should pop over and take a look.

Joshua is a book designer, independent publisher, artist, and writer.  A very busy gentleman, apparently, and I’m pleased he took the time out to post his thoughts, as they are especially perceptive!

(A minor correction — he says that the Kindle ebooks of the series have DRM – they don’t.)

(In case that’s a deal-breaker for you…)

(Must rush off to Day Job now…)

(Really  Must.  Right now.)



Oct 26 2014



Okay, it is just possible that I might have miscalculated and possibly taken on more than I can handle…

I got an office!  An off-site, not-in-my-bedroom workspace just for writing, and the business of writing, and graphic arts related to writing, and lounging about researching and reading, which is of course always related to writing.

Oh, and the hand-binding of blank books, which is just a hobby, but for which there is very little space at home.

So, of course, this space now needs to be set up.   With bookcases, and a desk and a file cabinet, and other storage, and this tall table I use as a drafting table, and I do need a new drafting board and stool… And a comfy chair to sit in, with a side-table for my pot of tea, and teacup and all.

I possess most of these things, fortunately.  Like the bookcases, and computer equipment  currently deployed in my current workspace.  As for the other items, many of them are shoved up against the wall in the basement and have to be pulled out, sorted through, cleaned, etc.  I even have a little knee-high fridge so the half-and -half for my coffee doesn’t go bad, not to mention sandwiches and cans of soda.

And once that stuff is elsewhere, my bedroom can become more like an actual bedroom!  With an easily accessible closet!  And a setup that encourages reading and relaxing, playing guitar and such.

So the big sorting-through-of-stuff is in progress.  Unloading bookcases, figuring which books stay, which go.  (I don’t need all my science books, but I like them.  They make a place homey.  And I should leave most of the fiction, but some are especially inspiring!  And some I haven’t read yet!)

The lease starts November 1, so I’ve got just a handful of days to get all the stuff sorted out, and find some local guy with a van to move it.   (I would normally do that myself, but I just don’t have all my stamina back yet.)

Sure, I can do all that in a week, right?  Organize everything, buy some new stuff, completely set up an office, completely reconfigure a bedroom into a bedroom — piece of cake.

Yeah, not quite.  By Friday I was already suffering from serious brain-fry.

Revised plan: get the big pieces ready to be moved: bookcases, boxes of books, table for a desk, drafting table, little fridge.   Storage for supplies.   Then hire the guys, move it all in, and get that one room set up as well as possible with what will be on hand.

And then drop everything else.   Let the bedroom remain partly-assembled  and probably chaotic, because, remember what else happens on November 1?

That’s right.  NaNoWriMo.  Signed up for that thing, didn’t I?  Yep.

I will still be only three days a week at the Day Job, but the hours will increase significantly in November.  I might have enough energy to continue improving the office and/or the bedroom while still cranking out the wordage — or the extra hours of Day Job might make me extra-tired.

Although I’d love to have everything perfect as I go into the intensiveness of the NaNoWriMo experience, I don’t need it to be perfect.  I just need it to exist!   And be habitable.

I’ll sort the rest  out in December.

Anybody else doing NaNoWriNo?

Oct 18 2014

What’s up. Plus: Score!


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


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?


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…