Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Change? Not a fan.

I am so not a fan of change.  I don't appreciate having to do things differently - especially just because someone else said I had to.  Oh, sure, some change is good.  I like that we're able to use computers instead of typewriters and that more people survive surgery because of the technological advancements.  Stuff like that is awesome. 

Nope, I'm talking about the little changes that are forced on us by other people because... Well, I'm not exactly sure why.  Like the constant upgrades to computer software.  Dudes, that shit was working AWESOME until you decided it needed tweaking - and now it's broke.  (I'm looking at you Microsoft and Facebook and Gmail.)

I also like change when it's something I've decided to change.  And in the way I'VE decided to change it.  Like a haircut.  I change my hairstyles every time I get my hair cut.  (Which can be as many as 4 times a year or as few as 2.)  But I get to decide what I want my hair to look like.  Right?  Yeah, not so much.  More often than not, I end up with the hair dresser's concept of what my hair ought to look like.  So instead of edgy, I look like this:

mixed with this:

(Not that I don't love Dorothy, but I had that hairstyle when I was twelve, and I took a lot of teasing because of it.)

My change?  My choice. 

Don't even get me started on the health insurance changes that are currently being forced upon me.  (Got the letter Saturday... still pissed...)  I could rant for pages, but I won't.

It's not that I can't change.  Hell, last year I moved to entirely unfamiliar state and that went well.  (Because it was something we CHOSE to do.)  But like New Coke, changing things for the sake of changing things usually just sucks.

What about you?  What do think of change? 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Update - Weeks 17

Sorry I missed last week.  I blame Easter. 

Anyway, here's what's going on in my life...

I figured out that I may have gotten on the totally WRONG track with the Djinn books.  Book two should actually be like book four and what I'm currently writing then should probably be book five.  Hell, it's even possible that Book One should be later in the series.  Maybe I should've spent some time building a world - letting people see what Jo really does for a living - instead of jumping in and with this conspiracy thing which leads directly to my current Djinn 2 and thus, Djinn3.

Other than that, I've been working with the Hubs on some home improvement projects, or what we like to call 'PHASE 2'.  We got the electrical done.  Then before Easter, the insulation was delivered, so Hubs has been working on that (because I can't climb ladders).  We also got about 7 yards of pea gravel delivered, so I started clearing the area under the deck of weeds and flattening the whole thing out.  Once that's done, I've got the rest of the perimeter of the house to clean up.  Then I can start hauling pebbles (with Hubs, if the insulation is done and he hasn't started the plumbing project yet). 

It's tiring work, but hey, I realized when I went in for my yearly doctor's visit, that I actually feel WAY better than I did at this time last year.  So, that's a win.

I've also been reading a ton.  So, I guess it's a good thing I finally got an eye exam.  And reading glasses.  Getting older blows.

So, what's going on in your world lately? 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Deep Thoughts and Lone Turkeys

Riffing off Silver James once again (that woman says so many things that make me think... damn her).  This  morning she had a post about fear, which prompted this comment from me...

I don’t know if I’d exactly call it fear of rejection that keeps me from querying at this point. It’s more like fear of the same ol’ crap. Send the query out, get rejected, revise the query, send it out, more rejection, revise the book, revise the query, sent it out… and so on so on so forth until I say ‘screw this’ and work on another book. Except I’ve gotten to the point of wondering ‘why write another book that’s going to just dance the same dance’. Ya know what I mean, jellybean? It’s like a sick writerly version of Groundhog Day. :endrant:

I don't know exactly what set me off, but there it is.

Lemme tell ya a short story to help shed some light on the subject...

We have a boatload of turkeys hanging out nearby.  Sometimes they come in huge rafters (what a group of turkeys is called) and sometimes just a few at a time.  But there's always this one hen who comes by herself.  We've been calling her the Lone Turkey.

And then I saw a FAQ on some wildlife website that actually referenced the Lone Turkey.  Seems every once in a while a hen separates from the rafter - and not just to sit her nest.  This can happen for one of two reasons: 1) either she's a young hen who's been driven out by the older birds OR 2) she's an older turkey who leaves for her own reasons.  I think our Lone Turkey (LT) is the latter.  And I think her reasons are she's just sick and tired of the flock.  She's got plenty of food, she's fully capable of defending herself, and if defending isn't a good idea, she can fly or run away. 

I think LT is tired of the same ol' day in day out, peck here, peck there, follow the flock and be duly impressed by the gobbling of Hans and Franz - so she quit the flock and now she does her own thing.  LT is her own hen.

Or to wrap this all together, she's pretty much said 'why bother with all this rafter crap when it's not getting me anywhere'.

Okay, so not a great analogy... but the turkey story amuses me.  Needless to say, this bears some deep thinking.  Am I not querying or writing because I'm sick of it all, or am I not working because I'm afraid (and bone-tired of rejection) and using the whole 'sick of the BS' thing as an excuse?  Only time and thought will tell.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

May your baskets be filled with candy, your ham be succulent, and your gardens be full of pretty flowers.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thank You for Your Review... Now About My Latest Release.

Recently I received a comment on one of my Goodreads reviews.  The author of the book I reviewed thanked me for loving her book and let me know the sequel was coming out soon.  She then invited me to follow a link for updates and information and some other such stuff that I no longer remember because I'm not that kind of reader.

Part of me - the writer part - thought this was a great marketing idea.  The other part - the reader part - was a little put off.  Okay, and a little embarrassed because despite the fact that I gave this book a glowing review that proved to me how much I really did love this book, I cannot remember reading it.  (Brain injured, remember?) 

The put off part?  I don't actually like people trying to sell me stuff - which is weird because a large portion of who I am actively engages in trying to sell other people stuff.  If I love something, I'm always try to get other people to try it so they'll love it, too.  (You ought to see my reviews for my new sheets and comforter.) 

Anyway, while I'm trying to fathom that little quirk about myself...  (Because the author didn't do anything wrong and she wasn't even ham-handed about it.  Her note was very nice and not pushy.)... Tell me how you deal with stuff like this.  If you're an author, do you send emails to the people who've reviewed your books informing them of subsequent books?  As a reader, how do you feel about receiving emails like this?

Because you know, if I ever do have books up for sale, it sounds like something I might try. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nobody Loves Me, Nobody Cares

Not really.  It's just something I say to myself when I don't get any email - especially when I'm expecting emails (like during query time).  And it's a phrase I was reminded of this morning when I read Kerry Schafer's post over at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers: Going to the Garden to Eat Worms.  It's all about negative self-talk and trust me when I tell you, I used to be the Queen of Negative Self Talk.

Oh my god, I was nasty to myself.  And Kerry's right - I would never EVER have said any of the things I told myself to another human being.  "You suck" "Stupid Bitch" "Fat cow" "No one will ever... love you, publish you, be your friend... pick one."  Yeah, I wouldn't even think of saying those things to someone else.  Never had a problem saying them to myself, though, which is the tragedy of it all.  For years, I was nicer to other people than I was to myself.

Lucky for me, I realized years ago what all that negative self talk was doing.  Or to borrow a line from Monty Python: "I got better."

Think about it, though...  Since we're in our own company 100% of our entire lives, we really should be nicer to ourselves.  In fact, we should be the nicest to ourselves.  And ya know what?  Being nicer to ourselves tends to lead to being nicer in general.  Plus, if you are nice to yourself, it's easier to take when other people aren't so nice to you.  Because, if you love yourself, then the opinions of other outside people really don't matter so much.

So, starting today, I want you all to be nicer to yourselves.

What are some of the nasty things you tell yourself?  And how can you change them into positive things to tell yourself?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right...

...and here I am, stuck in the middle*.  Or at least that's how I feel. 

Lemme back up a bit and esplain** some things.

First off, I'm generally a nice person who would like everyone to just get along (and if they can't, expects them to at least fake it).  Second, I get really uncomfortable when people fight - physically, verbally or internetally (not a word, but you get my drift).  Third, this general discomfort brings on a huge case of my favorite defense mechanism: Escape / Avoidance.

Backing up:
Recently there have been several dust-ups and hullaballoos circulating the internet in reference to science fiction writers (who's too traditional in the gender stereotypes, who's hosting whatever conference, blahdy-blahdy-blah).  I don't really give two hoots.  I don't care about the sides.  I don't care about the issues.  I just like to read books.  I just like to write books.  I don't really want to know who pissed in whose Wheaties or who made who cry or who's an ass and who's a whiner.  I just want to open the pages of a story and get lost inside.

As a writer, I really don't want to know or get involved.  Just typing this could get my agent-hunting ass in trouble.

But I'm actually writing this as a reader. 

As a reader, I want all the people involved on both sides of these things that you're making me really really not want to buy your books.  And since two of my favorite authors are on opposite sides of most of these things, you're really bumming me out. 

When I open your books, I want to get lost in the wonderful stories you invent.  Now, instead of getting lost, I have a running refrain in the back of my head that so and so is acting like a jerk and the other so and so is acting like a baby.  And the memories of all the wonderful things they've said about each other come bubbling up, RUINING my reading experience.

Which, if I remember correctly - you know, as the writer part of me - is exactly the opposite of what you're supposed to be going for. 

Maybe most readers aren't privy to this crap because they aren't also writers.  Maybe it's only a small percent of the populous who feel the same way.  Hell, maybe it's just me.  But for my sake, and the sake of others like me, knock it off.  Play nice.  Cuz right now, I feel like I'm in the middle of a custody battle and instead of choosing one side or the other, I'm saying "I don't want to be with either of you".

Which kinda sucks since you both having books coming out that I really would've like to read. 

And no, I'm not calling either of these people Jokers or Clowns... but if the song fits, play it.

*For those of you who don't get the reference, the post's title is from a 1972 song called "Stuck in the Middle".

** Channeling Inigo Montoya for a moment there.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Update - Week 15

I typed about 400 words into Djinn 3.  Then I read a book that used the same damn historical figure - albeit in a different way.  Haven't decided whether I'll rewrite the scene or proceed forward.

I planted two pots worth of tulips I bought at Walmart's Easter sale.  Judging from the tint on the edges of the petals, they'll be purple. 

I'm beginning to wonder why I paid for an entire month of when I've pretty much gone as far as I can go with the information I have.  :shrug:  I did find some interesting details, but the stuff I really want to know is still eluding me.  Translate that German stuff already!  Sheesh.

The electric work we were having done on the house should be finished today sometime.  Yay.  I'll get the bill then.  Boo.

The pest control dude never showed, never called, and didn't email.  At this point, he'd better have been sucked into an alternate dimension or something.  Unfortunately, he's the only one who advertises that he can eradicate ticks.  Hubs and I are looking into alternate methods.  (And yes, we know about diatomaceous earth and nematodes (the latter because my brother brought it up on FB) No, we won't be using guinea hens.)

Sorry I don't have a ton of positives this week.  But hey, the weather has been lovely, the birds are singing to beat the band, and we're happy.  What else can a gal ask for?

Oh, yeah, for the damn squirrel Mama to get her three babies out of my eaves already.  Winken and Blinken were out, but Nod?  He's a scaredy-rat.

And now all three of them are back inside with only Winken brave enough to jump off the roof into the tree.  (Not that I really blame Blinken.  He fell twice yesterday.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Paddling Around the Pond

My friend, Silver James, had an interesting post this morning with an analogy about a mother duck not waiting for her ducklings to get in a row before she sets off, and using said analogy as an encouragement to 'Be a duck. And just go!'  And as I was commenting, a thought occurred to me.  I'm can't just go.  Not that I'm waiting for my ducklings.  I could snap them into line if I really wanted to.

It's not that.

Part of it is that the pond is currently so comfortable.  I'm just paddling around, enjoying it.  So what if my ducklings are scattered hither and yon.  The water is warm.  The breeze is gentle.  There's food aplenty.

And besides, if you never leave the pond, you never have to worry about getting eaten by a fox.


It seems like every time I set a foot outside the pond, there's some hungry predator waiting to nibble my webbed-toes.  It's tiring.  And just so much easier to paddle around in circles.

Paddle paddle paddle.

I know if I never set out, I'll never accomplish anything and all my precious ducklings will wither away.  But I can't seem to want to venture forth.  To take that step onto the bank again.  To take the risks that leaving my pond will surely bring. 

So I paddle. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Update: Week 14 - Home Edition

Last week was all about home and hearth, folks.  And most of the big stuff, my husband did. 

Here the deal.  We bought this house a year ago, and ever since, we've been doing things to make it a home.  The first thing we had to do was secure the house against water.  You see, we live on the downslope of a hill.  Every time it rained, the water coming down the hill at us would cheerfully run right under the house.  (The people who built this place didn't bother sealing the foundation.) So, Hubs dug the foundation, slapped sealant on it, and then moved a shit-ton of retaining wall blocks into place.  Together we filled the new space with topsoil and gardening soil and potting soil to make gardens.

The crawl space is now dry.  Yay.

We also noticed that the former people here didn't bother with gutter on the north side of the house, so we paid some nice folks to come gutter up the place.

The unfinished water heater room is now dry, too.

Then we noticed that our dry crawl space had new dampness.  Hubs' shower was leaking.  A couple small holes in his bathroom wall and a simple tightening of loose fittings later and...

The underside of our house is dry.  Super yay!

Oh, almost forget the vent pipe through the roof that wasn't flashed or sealed, so every time it rained, water ran through that.  Thank goodness Hubs isn't afraid of heights*.  We bought a gasket thingie and he scampered up there to get that taken care of.  (He's so handy.)

So, anyway, all of that is done.  What we're doing now is hitting the next phase of our to-do list.

- electric
- pests
- plumbing
- cosmetic stuff
- painting or stripping or sanding the orange off the outside of the house

Last week... bet you were wondering when I'd actually get to last week... we had an electrician drop by and do a total walk through.  Hubs pointed out all the things we've been concerned about.  The Electric Dude (E.D.) pointed out a few others.  They came to an agreement about what would get done and E.D. called back with a quote - which was actually less than Hubs had estimated.  E.D. will be here Monday and possibly Tuesday to do the work.  (Under budget and quick turnaround?  That's what I call service.)

We also scheduled service for taking care of the pests.  This Friday, a pest control dude... PCD... will be coming to give our home and yard a thorough spritzing.  Which is good because as I was typing about the water problems, what I believe was a German cockroach skittered down the curtain next to my desk and I damn near had a conniption.  Also, the ticks have arrived with the warmer weather.  Little bastards.  PCD will arrive and KILL THEM ALL.  Without harming us or our pets or the local fur and feathers crew, btw. (Plus, the Dude specializes in Brown Recluse spiders.  Which are all over this area.  :shudder:)

And lastly, I did something I've been meaning to do for a while now.  I scheduled eye appts for both of us.  I know we both need glasses.  This whole getting older thing blows.  My question is whether a regular optometrist can even work with me and my stupid damaged eye.  (the accident caused... ahem... 'Partial paralysis of the 4th nerve of the left eye'... which causes occasional double vision - like when my eyes are tired.  Like after a day of computing or reading.)  :shrug:

So, between all that and everything else?  Well, I signed up for a month of  Yeah, that, too.

Which led me to decide that I would be taking this month off writing.  (Which I wasn't doing so well at anyway, so no hugely hard decision there.) 

Of course, as soon as I said I wouldn't be writing in April, my muse went... "Hey, what if we do this and then that?!"  So I jotted some notes in a spiral bound notebook. 

Sorry for the long and winding post, but that's where I'm at right now - the long and winding. 

How are things in your world?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1st - No Foolin'

I'm not a fan of pranks.  Most of the time, the supposed jokes are neither practical nor funny.  If that makes me a humorless troll, so be it. 

No, April 1st means something else to me.  You see, ten years ago today I met my husband for the very first time face-to-face. 

If you haven't heard the story, we met through  One night in February 2004, I did a hard target search through Match and found Hubs' profile.  I wrote him.  He wrote back.  We burned up the email delivery system and then the phone lines.  Then he said he'd like to meet me.  Problematic since I lived in Utah and he lived in Colorado. 

He offered to send buy the plane tickets.  And I accepted.

Now, should you think I was being less than cautious*, I had already used my Google-foo to determine he was who he said he was.  Plus, I alerted a few friends to where I was going, who I was going to meet, how to get ahold of him should I disappear.  And we were meeting in a hugely public place - namely, the baggage claim of Denver International Airport.

Anyway, I rounded the turn into baggage claim and there he was - chatting with one of the DIA employees while he waited for me.  I would've known him anywhere - because, like, I had his picture memorized.  And yes, it probably was love at first sight.  I mean, I was already 99% in love with him anyway.  All I needed was the final piece of actually seeing him in person.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, yeah, April First isn't about fooling anyone about anything.  The only funny thing is that we were so anxious to meet that we didn't even realize the date's social significance until after the day was over.  And now we laugh about meeting on April Fools' Day because it never was a joke to either of us.

*Please, if you're traipsing into the unknown to meet someone you've only ever talked to online, be super cautious and remember it's okay to be paranoid.  I told Hubs exactly what I did to make sure he was who he said he was, and he agreed that was the best thing.  If your perspective mate has a problem with a few background checks beforehand, ask yourself what exactly they might be hiding before you put your life in their hands.  K?