July Stuff (and a bit of early August)

Writing: 7627 words — 2 pts. [sigh]
Editing: 41,093 words — 8 pts.
Submissions: 5 pts.
TOTAL: 15 pts.

Still want more writing, although what I did was all in the last two weeks, after I had enough focus to get back to it. If I could do twice that next month, I’d be pretty happy. [crossed fingers]

And I just want to note that it’s pretty darned annoying to go over a WIP for like the fourth time and still be finding typos and glitches and WTF bits. [headdesk] I think they spawn on their own when I’m not looking.

Edging over into August stuff, I had my first root canal yesterday (Tuesday) and… it wasn’t too bad. The doctor doing them is a root canal specialist; it’s all he does, so it makes sense he’d be good at it. I spent most of the next twenty-four hours unconscious, which I did with the deep cleanings too; I’m blaming that on the drugs. Yay drugs!

My book A Hidden Magic is one of the Books of the Month over on the Goodreads M/M Romance group this month. It’s basically an excuse for the group to read and discuss. You have to be a member of M/M Romance to join in, but if you’re able I hope you’ll come chat.

Also, today is my birthday, yay! I’m forty-eight, which is a pretty cool number — even four times over. 😀

Angie

June Stuff

I’m taking June as my month off for the Koala Challenge, because I did squat last month. :/ I did a bit of writing, and submitted a few stories, but all around it was kind of a blah month, and then the end was sucked up in other things.

I’ve been watching my blood pressure, and it looks like it’s definitely gone up. No clue why; I’ve been heavier than I am now with a normal BP, but I suppose age and such are piling on. My doctor gave me some medication for that. At the same visit, she gave me another medication for my edema; it was the same one I was taking before that didn’t do anything, but this time we’re trying twice the dosage.

I haven’t actually been swelling up anymore since I got that under control — meaning since I started spending twenty-two hours per day with my feet elevated — but I want to get off my laptop and back to my desktop full time. I want a mouse. I want my desk with all the stuff on it. I want my computer room, with its books and software and such. The laptop works, in a hands-on-keyboard sort of way, but with just a TV tray to put Stuff on, there’s no way I can keep all the things I need around me on a daily basis there. Plus I really want a mouse. So, back to the meds, to see if I can get back to the desktop at least half of the time.

That was a Thursday. I started taking the new meds Friday morning. Saturday Jim and I went downtown to a concert — Carmina Burana, or most of it anyway, and the music was great. This was the second time I’ve seen it performed live, and the guy who sings the Swan Song solo always hams it up royally, which is a great giggle. The chorus was awesome, and the other two soloists, and the Seattle symphony is excellent. Unfortunately we were in a box with the front barrier way too close to the front of the seats. My bad knee doesn’t like being forcibly bent for very long. I was encroaching into my husband’s leg room next to me (of which he was wonderfully tolerant) but it wasn’t enough. The next morning my bad knee was much worse; I had a hard time just getting around. In a three-story townhouse where there’s often at least one flight of stairs between me and what I need, this is an issue. :/

Then the next day, I started having stomach trouble. It was like I had a big rock in my belly, and I had some rough times over the next few days. By Thursday night, I felt bad enough that I called the advice nurse on our insurance plan. She said that both the medications I’d started taking recently had side effects like this, so apparently I was getting it from both sides. [headdesk] She suggested I call my doctor’s office even though it was closed, because they probably had someone taking after-hours calls. I did, and got a nurse, who passed my info on to the physician on call, who wasn’t my doctor and wasn’t there on site, and — after the nurse relayed a message to me — was reluctant to actually say anything to someone else’s patient (then why do they have this service? [headdesk again]) but he said I should discontinue the first of the two meds and see my regular doctor. I stopped taking the one pill the next morning as advised; I have an appointment to see my regular doctor on Thursday anyway, so unless I get worse I’ll just keep that one.

It’s been three days that I’ve been off this one pill, and I now feel like I only have a medium-size rock in my stomach. [wry smile] My doctor gave me some nausea pills back when, and I’ve been going through them like crazy, but whatever works, right? Hopefully my doctor can find something to sub out for the other med that won’t twist my guts.

My knee’s been getting a bit better too, slowly. Looking back at what was going on, I’m not sure what happened with that. At first I thought it was two hours of cramping it up, but this seems excessive; it’s been over a week now, and usually it only takes a few hours max to get over that kind of issue. Both of my new meds are diuretics; I’m wondering whether the knee problem is actually an issue with too much liquid getting sucked out of the pads between the joint bones? Or maybe a combination? Too many variables at once — my inner scientist is Not Pleased. 😛

In other news, there’ve been explosions going off around our house all week. The spousal unit exercised his Google Fu and found that the Indian reservations can sell fireworks legally. I think that’s cool; I grew up with home fireworks and have missed them in recent years. Unfortunately, someone was selling sticks of dynamite — whole, half and quarter — as home fireworks. O_O Umm, yeah, that’s a bit too much even for me. It sounds like some of the folks in the neighborhood think it’s an awesome idea, though. [wince] Hopefully that part of it at least will die down after tomorrow. Umm, later today.

Other than that, not much going on. Although I’ve figured out that in Seattle, summer is the season when it only rains half the day. 😛 Not that I’ve been out in it much, but it’s weird hearing frequent rain on the windows in June. And July. [blinkblink]

Have a great Fourth everyone, whether it’s a holiday for you or not. 😀

Angie

May Stuff

Zoned on this earlier in the month. [duck]

6 Submissions = 6pts
7820 words written = 2pts (Arrgh!)
TOTAL = 8 points

Koala 8

Bother, I missed Approved for the first time this year, and by 180 freaking words! At least the amount I missed another point by was in the triple digits this month. 😛

Still not happy with my writing totals, but I have a couple of stories I’m fairly close to finishing, around attempts to flog Paul and Rory back to work.

Jim and I only travel a few times a year, but two of them were in May this year — the cruise early in the month, and BayCon at the end. I spent a few hours very early Memorial Day morning in an ER in San Jose (or maybe Santa Clara, I honestly wasn’t paying that much attention), having gotten sick again about 2.5 days after the flight down there. This has been happening pretty much every time we fly somewhere for almost a year now, and I’ve been coming up with all sorts of theories about what might be going on, none of which have suggested solutions. The ER doctor watched me staying rock-still while he talked to me and examined me, holding on to the bed rails and keeping my head perfectly still. I’d been sick since about 3am and moving makes nausea worse, even just turning my head. I told him about the travel thing, and he thinks it’s the pressure changes in flying, that something is going squirrely in my inner ear during descent, and 2-3 days later it goes sproing! and I get a nasty case of positional vertigo, with massive nausea. I got some good drugs in my IV and was fine in the cab on the way back to the hotel. He gave me a prescription for what turned out to be generic bonine.

This is pretty awesome. If he’s right about what the problem is, and if the bonine works, then I’m basically cured. We’re going to WorldCon in Reno in August, and I’ll take the bonine for five days or so after the flight out. If I don’t get sick, then I’ll be celebrating; bonine is cheap and OTC, so if that works then the problem is fixed, yay. Keeping a set of virtual fingers crossed for that one.

I can’t believe it’s June! It’s still cold up in Seattle! 🙁

Angie, still in sweatpants

Cruising

Hello from the Pacific coast, somewhere between San Francisco and Astoria, Oregon. It’s a sea day, so we’re just sort of cruising along here without much to do. It’s actually my favorite kind of day at sea; I like being on the ship, moreso than going ashore most of the time.

We’ve had some weather so far; it’s a good thing Jim and I are both good sailors. Note that when a British captain comes over the loudspeaker to say that you’re heading into “a bit of a breeze,” it’s time to tie yourself to your bunk. 🙂 That was the night we were approaching San Francisco. It was rough last night too, although not quite so much.

Our first stop was Santa Barbara. Jim got off there and just walked around for a while, but there’s not much to see near the dock. All the places interesting to tourists are some ways away, a bus or cab ride, and he didn’t feel like doing either. I stayed aboard and read a book and was happy just hanging out.

We got off in San Francisco and went to Yank Sing for dim sum for lunch. Awesome place, over in the old Post Office building. It’s not cheap, but the food is excellent. We tried some new things this time, including an ocean bass in a light honey sauce that was very yummy, and some small patties made with chicken and lotus root. I’d never had lotus root before; it doesn’t have much flavor but it added a slightly crunchy (vegetable-type crunchy) texture to the patty. And we had the ltitle dumplings filled with soup; that’s my favorite thing to get there, as much for the coolness of soup-filled dumplings as for the fact that they taste good. 🙂

After that, we wanted to go to the Cartoon Art Museum, up on Mission. We’d passed it on the way to the Museum of the African Diaspora back in September, and meant to get back there but never did, so yesterday seemed like a good day for it. So we walked and walked and commented on how it was farther than we’d remembered and walked some more, only to get there and find out it’s closed on Mondays. :/ Massive bummer.

One good thing about this ship — the Sapphire Princess — is that it’s new enough that they have wireless internet in the cabins. It’s great not to have to pack everything up and trek out to one of the public areas to find an internet signal. It’s not an incredibly fast connection, since satellite connections aren’t and the ship’s official traffic has priority, but it’s still cool to be able to sit here in my room and get online. Not that I’ve been doing it much, because it’s still expensive, and in fact I’m typing this offline; I’ll do a copy/paste to post it in a bit.

One bad thing is that my back loathes these mattresses. [sigh] I have a very fussy back, and I have this problem a lot, although that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I can sleep for a few hours, maybe three or four, then I wake up hurting, and it’s turn-doze-turn-doze-turn-doze, never comfortable again but trying to collect enough dozing periods to add up to a non-zombie state when I finally give up and get out of bed. Repeat about half a day later when I run out of gas. I’m probably going to collapse and sleep round the clock when we get home to our own bed.

Jim’s going to see a fort in Astoria tomorrow, and I’m staying on the ship again. The next stop after that is Seattle, which I can see whenever I want. 🙂 Jim’s planning to go on a tour of the Boeing factory, which is cool for him ’cause he’s massively into planes. Then we’ll be in Victoria, where we’re going to the Butchart Gardens, to look around and then have tea. We did the same exact tour a few years ago when we did our Alaska cruise, although that was in September. The garden (which was gorgeous enough that late in the season) should be pretty spectacular in May, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it. And the tea was very good last time too, once we found the right building. 🙂

After that is Vancouver on Saturday and we get off the ship; we’ll be taking a bus home.

I’m way behind on blogs and such, and probably will be until we get home. The combination of the cost and the slow connection makes it frustrating to do much on my blog list, so I’ll be back visiting folks next week. [wave]

Angie

March Stuff Plus

A little late, but just as well because it saves me from having to post an update.

Writing: 12,068 words = 5 pts
Submissions: 4 = 4 pts
TOTAL = 9 pts

Originally it was 5 submissions for 5 points, for a total of 10, but then I got that SASE back. [sigh] I’m assuming the rest of the package didn’t make it, so I re-sent the submission, but that’ll count for April. I have one fewer points for March, but I have an April point already, yay.

I’m not terribly happy with the writing total, either. I’ve certainly had months with fewer words written, but I did all of that by about halfway through March, and fully expected to hit at least 20K by the end of the month. I had some medical issues come up at that point, though, and they were pretty distracting. Still are, actually, although I think I’m over the hump now. Briefly, I have a pretty severe edema (that’s Doctorese for “swelling”) that started in my feet last summer and has progressed up my legs to just below the knee. In mid-February, I got this huge blister in one shin that I thought was caused by an overly enthusiastic space heater, but even after we got rid of the heater, I kept getting more blisters. After about three weeks of diuretics and four weeks of steroid cream, plus random foot-elevating and tight wrapping, the edema’s gone down a tiny bit (not nearly enough, though, and I need to get back with my doctor about turbo-charging the diuretic) and I haven’t gotten any new blisters in a few days. I still have open sores all over my legs at this point, but if the blisters stay away, the sores will eventually heal and I’ll have only the edema itself to deal with.

The dermatologist I was referred to was incredibly busy, so on my first visit I saw his PA. Which is fine; I’ve seen plenty of PAs before and never had a complaint. This guy, though, wasn’t a great communicator. He forgot to mention a couple of key facts on that first visit — one, that the edema itself can cause blisters, there doesn’t have to be some underlying condition or disease to do it, and two, that the steroid cream was just for the itching and wasn’t meant to speed the actual healing of anything — which left me thinking the situation was a lot worse than it actually was. If anyone feels like looking up “bullous pemphigoid,” that’s what I thought I had for a while. It’s not as bad as cancer or something, but it’s pretty distracting. :/

I talked to the dermatologist himself for a few minutes on the second visit, and my third visit (yesterday) was solely with him, and he’s a much better communicator. He’s actually able to be thorough in his explanations — and he draws diagrams even, with labels and arrows — without coming across as condescending. Great skill, much appreciated. The fact that things are starting to clear up, at least on the blister-and-sore level, is also helpful; it’s easy to appreciate your doctor when you’re improving, whether it’s actually due to anything he did or not.

The edema has to go down further, though. I can’t wear any of my regular shoes, and can only get into my velcro-strap sandals if my feet are bare. Socks (basic crew socks, nothing thick) add just enough bulk that the straps won’t stay stuck. I missed an evening concert already because of a lack of available footwear, and Jim and I are going on a cruise in early May, and to a convention in late May, and I need to be able to wear shoes at least part of the time at (and on the way to and from) both events. A friend of mine who’s a pharmacist has told me that my current dosage of the diuretic is very tiny, so ramping that up to something effective shouldn’t be a problem.

Meanwhile, I need to keep my feet elevated as much as possible. That’s logistically difficult, given my habit of spending 90% of my waking time on the computer, but I think I have it worked out, mostly. We’ll see.

Angie

October Stuff and Cetera

I hope everyone had a great Halloween? This was our first Halloween in the new place, so we had no clue how many kids we’d get. There’s a school right next to our little group of buildings, though, and an apartment complex on the other side, so we figured we’d probably get quite a few.

None. Nada. Zip. Not a single kid rang our doorbell, and we had good candy, which the husband and I will just have to eat ourselves. [heavy, theatrical sigh] Seriously, though, that’s really sad. Trick-or-treating is one of the best rituals of childhood, and the idea that it might be dying out sucks massive quantities of swamp water. 🙁

Writing-wise, I actually did pretty well in October — 9 points in McKoala’s challenge, which is a great improvement over any of the last few months.

Writing 8250 — 3 pts.
Editing 17,102 — 3 pts
Synopsis — 1 pt
Submissions — 2 pts
TOTAL = 9 pts

Koala Challenge 9

One of the submissions was accepted, yay! And one of the stories accepted earlier was published on the 30th, also yay! 🙂

Most of the writing was in the last couple of days. I’ve been working on a fanfic novel that I started just over two years ago. I was originally thinking it’d be a long short story, or maybe a novelette, but it just kept growing. O_O Eventually, in early ’09, I just had to set it aside to get back to work on my commercial writing. My readers have been saintly in their patience, but I’ve felt this hanging over my head, and sort of cringed inside whenever I thought about it. I finally broke through a difficult scene toward the end, though, and from there it just flowed. Gotta love when that happens. [beam] I don’t usually mind half-done projects — I have more partial stories than I want to think about on my hard drive — but something I’ve started posting, that has readers waiting for the next chunk, is a different story. Finally getting it done feels like the classic huge weight fallen off my shoulders.

And… just in time for NaNo. 🙂 I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, after having skipped last year. If anyone else who’s NaNoing wants to buddy with me, I’m at AngiePen on the NaNo site. (Which is currently not responding — I’m sure Chris Baty is howling in pain over the demolition of his bandwidth, as happens every year at this time. [grin])

Speaking of which, I have an awesome NaNo icon I got from someone on LiveJournal. The credit was “Lesley.” I have no idea who Lesley is, but the person who gave it to me assured me it was okay to share, so feel free to grab it if you like it. 😀

Animated NaNo

Enjoy! And best of luck to everyone else NaNoing this month!

Angie

Literature Map

This is kind of fun. 🙂 It’s a map of writers, placed by who else readers who like them also like. So frex., if a lot of people like Lee Benoit AND Stephanie Vaughan AND Syd McGinley AND Jay Lygon, they’d all appear near each other in the map.

Unfortunately, the map doesn’t have a lot of m/m witers yet; obviously this is a hole that needs to be filled, right? You can go to this page and enter the names of writers you think should be on the map, in the “Suggest a new Writer” box at the top. You can also vote for or against the top ten almost-made-it writers in the list below. If you suggest someone who’s already been suggested, it counts as a vote for that writer. If you suggest someone who’s already on the map, it’ll just tell you so; that’s not a problem.

Note: looking at the list of names to be voted on, most of them are (sort of) valid but have some problems with how they were entered. Sticking with full names, first-name-first, is probably best; using multiple formats of someone’s name just splits the votes.

From this page you can enter the name of a writer, and if they’re on the map, you’ll be shown that writer’s chunk of the map — their name, surrounded by the names of other writers “near” the first writer. So if you like the writer whose name you entered, you might also like the others, because a lot of readers like both. Different names are at different distances; I’m assuming nearer names are more likely to share a reader’s list with the central name.

This is fun to play with — it’s a great time sink. 🙂 There definitely need to be more m/m writers on the map, though, and other small-press and otherwise lesser-known writers. Come enter your favorites!

Angie

PS — thanks to Emily Veinglory for linking to this.

[EDIT: links, links, I do know how to do links. 😛 I originally posted this on a Yahoo mailing list where HTML links don’t work, and forgot to fix them for here. 😛 ]

May Stuff

I did more fresh writing in May than I did in April, but still not a significant amount. :/ The good news is I’ve done about half as much so far in June as I did in all of May, so that’s good if I can keep it up.

I did four story submissions, to various pro-paying markets. No sales yet on that end, but I got two excellent rejections — about the best kind of response one can get that doesn’t have a check attached. [rueful smile] Both editors said very nice things about the story they’d read, and that they were looking forward to seeing more from me. If I can’t have a check, I’ll take an invitation to submit again instead. 😀

I went through edits on the novel again — proofreader’s mark-ups this time. And actually I did it a third time when I got my contributor’s copy a couple of days before the book went up for sale. I figured I’d scan through the PDF to make sure there weren’t any obvious formatting errors, and even with the quick click-click-click on the scroll bar to page through, my eye lit on a couple of small editing mistakes that I, the editor and both proofers had all missed. [headdesk] Back to the top, read it through again more slowly, found a handful more. My gratitude to Shawn for incorporating my last-minute fixes and re-doing the variously formatted files before the page went live for sales. 🙂

I’m not claiming points for that last edit, though, ’cause that would’ve taken me up to 32 points for the month. In a challenge where the top scoring tier is 9 points and up, 32 is just showing off. :/ As it is I got 18.

Koala Challenge 9

Misc. Links

New animals discovered in Borneo, an economist’s analysis of digital content as a public good, a professor of digital media’s thoughts about avatars for characters of color in computer games, and a really hilarious journal post.

New Animals Discovered in Borneo — I think my favorite is the stick insect, like a walking stick only a bit over half a meter long, pictured walking up the side of a guy’s head. Oh, and props to the guy, too, for having guts. 🙂 The flame-colored snake is gorgeous, and the lungless frog makes me think about aliens for an SF story.

Why Content Is a Public Good — this is a guest post by Milena Popova on Charlie Stross’s blog. She talks about public and private goods, and rival and excludable goods, and the various combinations and how the market works (or doesn’t) to distribute or control the distribution of the various types. I’ve never seen the subject (primarily e-books and music, but also applies to movies and such) discussed from this point of view before. She starts at the beginning and explains the vocabulary for people who don’t have econ degrees. Definitely worth a read.

Chimerical Avatars and Other Identity Experiments from Prof. Fox Harrell — Prof. Harrell talks about avatars in computer games and the lack of variety available in avatar types, particularly for players of color who’d like their avatar to represent them as they are, particularly if they want a decent range of options beyond skin color. This is a familiar issue in gaming, but it also applies to books.

How often can a reader of color find a character who’s like them in mainstream genre fiction? Or a female reader in an adventure-oriented genre? Sure, we can appreciate and empathize with characters who aren’t like us, but white readers don’t have to do that very often, and never at all if they don’t want to. A series of characters who are all basically alike can give readers who are different the impression that this author or series or genre isn’t for them, and can give a writer who is different the impression that a genre doesn’t welcome their viewpoint. It benefits all of us to encourage a variety of character types in the media we consume, which (for those of us who are creators) means including a variety of character types in the media we create.

I Has a Sweet Potato by Littera-Abactor on LJ — I’m pretty sure I haven’t linked this here before, but it’s hilarious so even if I have, there’s no harm done. 😀

Dog: I am starving.
Me: Actually, no. You aren’t starving. You get two very good meals a day. And treats. And Best Beloved fed you extra food while I was gone.
Dog: STARVING.
Me: I saw you get fed not four hours ago! You are not starving.
Dog: Pity me, a sad and tragic creature, for I can barely walk, I am so starving. WOE.
Me: I am now ignoring you.
Dog: STARVING.
Dog: Did you hear me? I am starving.
Dog: Are you seriously ignoring me? Fine.

[There is a pause, during which the dog exits the room in a pointed manner.]

[From the kitchen, there comes a noise like someone is eating a baseball bat.]

Me, yelling: What the hell are you doing?
Me: *makes haste for the kitchen and finds dog there*
Dog: *picks up entire raw sweet potato, which is what was causing the baseball bat noise, and flees for the bedroom*
Me: *chases dog, retrieves most of sweet potato, less the portion which has disappeared into dog’s gullet*
Dog: See? STARVING.
Me: …That can’t be good for you. It’s a RAW SWEET POTATO.
Dog: I had to do it. I haven’t been fed. Ever.
Me: You realize you aren’t normal. Normal dogs don’t steal raw sweet potatoes.
Dog, sadly: I was badly brought up.
Me: Yes. Yes, you were.
Dog: By people who starved me.
Me: Oh, no. I am not doing this again.
Me: *exits the room, bearing sweet potato*

There’s more. Definitely more. 😀 Click through and read the whole thing.

Oh, and I got an acceptance on a story called “Unfinished Business,” which is a sequel to A Hidden Magic, yay! 😀 It’s short and funny and is basically erotica, picking up on something a couple of supporting characters were doing about two-thirds of the way through the book. It’s scheduled for release on 26 June, just a month after HM, which is great timing.

Angie

Housekeeping, Bad Writer Behavior, and Bigotry

Just a few things in passing. First, I updated (after a couple of years of neglect, I think) my Blogger bloglist on the sidebar, so folks who are interested in what other people read now have an updated list of which blogs and cetera I’m subscribed to. If yours is there and I spelled your name wrong or something, please nudge me and I’ll fix it.

Second, it seems there hasn’t yet been enough negative, condemnatory publicity about authors who pitch fits on the internet, whining about critical commentary and getting all defensive about bad reviews on Amazon, so Rob Thurman is giving us more material. I think she’s a great sport for sacrificing her professional reputation to give us an excellent negative example. Let’s all give her a hand, shall we? Thanks to Writtenwyrdd for linking to this.

And third, I’m sure everyone’s heard about Constance McMillen, the high school student in Mississippi who wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom only to have the school cancel the event rather than let a couple of lesbians show up holding hands or something. Wow, overreacting much? The case went to court and the judge decided that the school was in the wrong, but (if I’m remembering correctly) refrained from ordering the school to hold the prom anyway because at the time there was a private prom being organized by parents and it was understood that Constance and her girlfriend would be welcome there. Well, someone decided that their town hadn’t gotten enough bad press (maybe that’s where Rob Thurman lives?) so Constance and her girlfriend, along with a few other students, were given time/place information for… a fake prom. No, seriously. They showed up at a country club to find seven people there, plus the principal and some teachers from their high school acting as chaperones, not that there was much to chaperone.

Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. “They had the time of their lives,” McMillen says. “That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”

The more I hear from this young woman, the more I like her. Unfortunately she lives in an area with more than its fair share of folks who indulge in master-level gluteal haberdashery. I mean, seriously, did they hold a meeting of the Cool People and decide which students were the unclean undesirables who’d be shunted to the fake event? I can just imagine their delight in realizing that by coming up with a plan to shuffle the lesbians off to the fake dance, they could do it to those other weird, uncool kids too! Score! :/

I’m sure Constance is counting the days until graduation. I hope she has a wonderful time in college and has an awesome life, because she absolutely deserves it for the way she’s handled this whole outrageous situation with grace and dignity. And I hope the people — students and parents and school staff alike — who participated in turning what should’ve been a simple, fun prom into an ever-growing mound of hate and bigotry all get what they deserve as well.

Angie