Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Irons in the fire right now.

Photo by Maria Tyutina from Pexels
Dear Reader,

As it may have been apparent, I'm having some difficulty keeping up with my writing at the moment.
The vision issues are clearing up, thank gods, but I'm buried under things like parent-teacher conferences, school meetings, and the other stuff that goes with being a stay at home mom. My Beloved has been helping out and he is amazing for it. (Seriously, marriages that work as a team and focus on communication are the coolest thing. 10/10 Would completely recommend!)

Aside from the important responsible adult things that I have been doing with my husband's help, I have been doing a lot of journal writing for my therapy stuff. It's gotten hairy but it has also given me some ideas for how to work around some problems in my fiction writing. Thus, I am revisiting some manuscript ideas and trying to make them better. This includes the serial stories that I have been working on here. I shut down a secondary blog that I had going discussing mental health stuff because I have too much on my plate right now to do that. Also, a big amount of that work is going into my mental health journal writing.

I'm still in the process of retrieving data from my LiveJournal account. If I were confident that I could just shut it down and start typing up old book reviews from my notebooks, I would completely do that. The problem is I have reviews that I typed up on LiveJournal that I don't have paper copies of. And I can't remember which ones I have paper copies of and which ones I don't. My reading journal notebook is really full. Not quite time to switch to a new notebook, but in a few months that will likely be the case.

In other news, I am about to start looking for new books to read. If you have any suggestions, please post a link in the comments below. Also, if you are looking for something to read, check out Liam Burke's Moments Before. He writes psychological horror really well. I also really enjoy the quick pace the plot moves and his delightful take on plot twists. Spoiler: The diner is probably one of the best parts of the eBook. Seriously, he does an awesome job setting the scene and navigating it with how the action unfurls. You can almost see yourself sitting in a booth there.

I am still working on location description posts. I'm having some difficulty finding the right way to draw maps. Still doing some research into how to get that right, because the old map just doesn't work now. Halthor's journey will be continuing next week. The trek of Lady Al-Uzza into the north of the Dacian empire will be updated on the second week of May.

Ebooks are in the works. I'll be going through for the eBooks because they're going to be less expensive for you that way. More information about that tomorrow. ♥

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Craft of Writing: Typos are OK!

Dear Reader,

It is a scary thing to write something big. And big is a matter of perspective. For some people, it is cranking out a novel. For other people, it is a short paragraph that is supposed to introduce them to a prospective employer. In either case, there is a lot of emotions going behind that work. There is going to be a great deal of pressure to make it look perfect. One problem with that is you can't hit perfect on your first try.

I've been blogging for a little over ten years now on this platform. (I have multiple blogs, if you want links I'll post them to you as requested.) Just typing this post, I have made multiple typos and I edit as I go along. Perfection is not the goal. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking that your work has to be perfect. The goal is progress. Your first draft is just that, a draft. Editing and rewriting is what polishes that first draft into the best it can be. Don't panic if your first draft looks rough. Just take the time to polish it up a bit and you'll find that it really is a gem after a little love and care.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Flora et Fauna: Real World Sketch

Dear Reader,

I can't see well enough to work on sketches right now. Or should I say, I can probably do stick figures but not much better. I'm wearing my glasses and a pair of cheapie readers on top of them right now to see across the room. My eyesight is supposed to improve over the next few months as my medications muscle control over my blood sugar. I'm currently typing this with the font super huge for me. For you, it will look like it usually does. All because of the stupid diabetes diagnosis at the beginning of the month. (I'm a tad resentful and angry about this. I'll work through it by killing of bad guy characters or something later. Until then, I'm going to just be a bit surly around the edges, mostly because I'm hangry.)

Attached is a sketch that I did on a day in September when it still felt like summer. If you're out my neck of the woods, there's a charming little park at the north end of Conesus Lake. It's called Vitale Park. The gardens there are cute. One of them has this water feature with a fish sculpture that rotates when the wind blows on it. As in, each fish moves freely. It's pretty cool. The water feature garden is in memory of someone's deceased child. On the windward side of the water feature, there is an assortment of ornamental grasses. I haven't any idea what any of them are called. 

If there weren't so many people around, I'm sure that the chickadees would love them as much as they love cattails. I'm fairly sure they were planted there to act as a windbreak to shelter the leeward side where the water feature is active and the plants there. I thought it was a charming scene to practice sketching with. So, I lucked out with a day of nice weather and went for a walk with my sketchbook and pencil. The above was the result. I apologize if it is difficult to view. If you click on it, it might be easier to see details.

Monday, April 9, 2018

What's going on? Where's Deb?

Hi everybody,

It's going to be a short post because of a couple things presently going on. First is that I have a stomach bug that has been just kicking my butt over the last few days. I'm not sure if it is a virus or if it is a side effect of the medication change that just happened last week.  Either way, I have learned not to trust a fart. It's been that kind of a couple of days. I thought it was done and then discovered I was wrong a few minutes ago. On the plus side, it did not require brown pants.

Second, my life has been tumult over the last several weeks. Depression and anxiety have been beating me like a rented mule. I found out on the Friday before Easter, of all days, that I have type 2 diabetes. My doctor is working with me and my family have been really supportive. It's been scary, as we're still at the figuring out how to treat it and how to get my blood sugar under control stage. I'm now having vision issues. This is making typing anything hard because everything is blurry even with my glasses on and set to a very large font.

So, long story short, life has resumed kicking my butt and I'm just trying to get through with my sanity intact.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Migraines suck.

Between an all day migraine and dealing with the emotional and mental fall out from multiple flashbacks last night, it's been hard to write. I really hadn't felt up to writing much of anything, to be honest, but I had to post something to let you all know I hadn't fallen off of the edge of the earth. Aside from that, happy spring, have a flower.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Today is what?

Ever have one of those weeks where your sense of time gets completely skewed? I spent much of today trying to remember what day it is. The migraine Wednesday night didn't help much, considering that it went into Thursday morning. I barely got any writing done in my morning pages. I'm still playing catch up with my journal writing for my health stuff. And yet, I feel optimistic about writing at the moment. I'm not sure if this optimistic outlook is because the seasonal depressive episode is finally going away or if it is because I had an ok day today.

My attempt to condense twenty years worth of notes down to one book is going slowly. This is to be expected. But, as I am looking at things that I wrote way back in 1997, I find myself feeling a sense of nostalgia and an echo of that starry eyed optimism that I was going to be an author. It makes me smile. I still have some of that flush of excitement over the whole writing process. It's just hard to make it work now.

The spirit is willing, the body a bit less so. If the brainmeats decide to cooperate a little more, I can get back to posting more often than once a week or so. In the meantime, however, here's a pic from the ancient and venerable first notebook. (Complete with misspelling and poorly done calligraphy.)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Craft of Writing: The struggle.

Movies especially love to portray writing as a romantic profession. We writers either languish dramatically as we wait for inspiration and the entire concept of the work to descend from the æther which we shall dutifully transcribe. Or we work in a manic frenzy, possibly under the influence of some intoxicant, prone to lash out at any who dare to disrupt us in our sacred duty to impart the thing that burns in our brains.

Writing is not some Victorian occupation done with quill and ink. It is, however, hard work. Crafting a sentence is not nearly as simple as some make it sound. Some days, the words refuse to fit together properly. Other days, technical glitches (like my 'h' key being sticky) can make working on any manner of writing a nightmare. ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK! AND MAKE BACK UPS OF YOUR BACK UPS!!1elventyone! *coughs* The hardest part of making writing work is doing the work of writing.

There are always distractions. There is always 'real life' getting in the way. Some of us have to schedule our writing time late at night because that is the only free time we get. Others of us wake up at an obscenely early hour just to get a few pages of writing done before the day gets started and we don't get a chance to sit down for longer than it takes to scarf down a cheeseburger until it's the end of the day and exhaustion sets in. It is tempting to say that this stuff isn't part of a 'real' writer's life.

If you write, then your life is just part of your writing. It may be inspiring it. It may be an obstacle, but you're a writer living a life. Our life experiences seep into our work. It's like a painter's particular brush technique showing up in their paintings. That technique may have developed because of limited space in their studio. Or a random fingerprint on the canvas as they had to move the work to better light.

If you're a writer, then writing is a part of your life. That is both the struggle and the key to winning the struggle.