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End-of-the-year thinkings

Yup. It's time for that strange week-between-holidays, the solstice bright-and-dark time when you look back at what you did and didn't do (why are there always more regrets than satisfactions??), and wonder about what's coming. Mortality is becoming harder to deny. My mom spent Christmas in the hospital but will hopefully be home again by New Years. Another (2nd in the same week) snowstorm is due to begin this afternoon/evening. My head is stuffed up enough to cause vertigo; don't tell my doctor if I sneak some pseudophed, okay? And I have been thinking about those inevitable New Years Resolutions.

Do more: more writing, more hiking, more geocaching, more FUN. Get more organized. Declutter (which means scruffling out the old review copies and tickler files and notes for things I really don't ever intend to work on, out-dated research which has moved with me 3x time and still not been used, etc).

Christmas passed in a relaxed fashion yesterday. I did not do any caching, due to the headcold. Instead, I shoveled the 4" of snow from the previous night out of the driveway and took a walk around the neighborhood. We have been watching the Lord of the Rings film. I -still-have not seen all the way through to the end. I always fall sleep (or go to bed, which amounts to the same thing) about 1/2 way through the 2nd film (started the movie at 8pm may have something to do with this; the darned things are about 2.5-3hrs long, after all), and even earlier in the 3rd. Tonight/this afternoon hopefully I will make it through the third and then I can say I have done so. Not that this is a grand achievement or anything even close...

So. Moving on. Trying to do the morning pages, working on the book, struggling with the Tachyon PR. Thinking about the changes I need to make. Same as every year. Starting off in 2013, looking for the brightness and the hope of another fresh start (which, really, one could make any time; the calender just provides an easy metric)

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to one and all!
I'd been planning to say something half-way sentient. Something about writing, or maybe urchin's recent concert, or approaching holidays, but instead, this pretty much covers what's going on in my brain.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/fuck-everything-nation-reports,30743/?ref=auto
So....remember that thing wherein I said I would try to post on a rather more regular basis? Yeah, that thing. Still working on it.

wherewithall:

one story out; it's been rejected 4 times, 3 with "glowing" personal rejections. You know, the "just not quite right for us" type. So, as usual, I am still way outside the box when it comes to salebility, until I find "just the right" editor. Ha. Like that will happen with any paying market any time soon. I am told by friends that schmoozing at cons helps. Well, not unless I get a travel budget somehow. Anyhooo, one presses on, keeps scribbling, and that's pretty much all one can do, short of going to full focus on the "how to write a best seller" approach, I guess. And that's not going to happen any time soon

The Book-- yeah, the SF-y one; not the fantasy one, though I suppose right now fantasy is more saleable in general. I just get tired of it. So it's the SF-y one. With the desperate characters and the noir tone, and the damned colonized planet-station combo that's driving me a little crazy when it comes to backstory/cultural underpinnings, etc. I -could- just write my way through it, but I really do want a better idea of what's underneath and behind my characters so I can stretch them and really get the full nutritional value of the setting out of this. Anyhow, it's progressing all too slowly. But I haven't given up.

the Freelance work-- I stopped writing for the 0.40/word kids markets because they just pay too darned slowly. I really don't want to wait a year or more for my check --that's a year or more AFTER publication, not submission. Need to focus and get that moving along.

The PR work -- oh, I'm fine when it comes to emailing reviewers. Who wouldn't love talking to people about books?? But the setting up of interviews, etc....well, it sounds easy, doesn't it? But you're looking (virtually) at a person who will do anything to put off a simple phone call. Getting me to cold-email or call people and pitch an author interview is not my forte. Oh, is it not my forte.

I've also become a sort-of part-time teacher, since there is nothing for gifted kids at school (though really, it's better than it was when I was in school). Urchin is in middle school now--it started at 5th grade here--and given the rough transition we had last year, teachers are loathe to let him do a pull-out program, no matter how good his grades are, I guess. He's not paying attention all the time (because he already knows what they're covering, usually--which means when they -do- finally get to the New thing, he's not paying attention to the switch and misses it and runs (briefly) to catch up, and then goes back to reading the book inside his textbook. A proper catch-22, when it comes down to it. So enrichment is whatever I can dig up. Kahn Academy is good, though I'm having trouble getting him to move beyond the comfortable. He really really wants to work through ever darned lesson rather than skip anything: his brand of perfectionism at work. I've got to sit down and get him started with SCRATCH, which is a programming environment set up for kids by MIT. Lets kids "chunk" actions and objects together instead of actual code, to do animation, simulations, games, etc. Also, we could ALL use some more exercise....

Geocaching-- I haven't been out for a proper caching run in weeks. First the car died and needed v. expensive repairs, then everyone was sick, one after another, and now, well, now it's cold and I'm still caching alone. There are others I've met who are friendly enough, but they've all done everything in the area (this is not exactly a target-rich environment if you are diligent) so I'm on my own. Poor me!

Spouse-- run ragged with his job. Has been traveling 1-3 days pretty much every week this fall.

New toys-- a late birthday present: an MP3 player. Really, it's a Galaxy smartphone without the phone part. Who needs the phone anyway??((See me & phones, above). Give me WiFi and I can check my calendar, load books from my Kindle acct, check email, and look stuff up; without WiFi, I can still keep a proper to-do list, contacts DB, tickler files, story notes, read books, AND play music. It is truly a marvelous THING.

Todays' bind: urchin's glasses have fallen apart, again; the superglue is not super-enough. Time for an eye exam anyway, but still, his frames were just a year old! I MISS the Pearle Vision in Pittsford which, apparently, was so nice because it was a "franchise" instead of a "real" Pearle Vision. Which means it had 20x the selection of frames that the "real" one in nearby DeWitt has. Go figure. We have been going to PV because our AAA membership gives us a discount on frames and lenses (Insurance? Ha.) --unless I can find a suitable pair of frames this time, it will not be worth getting the prescription filled there, no matter the discount. Heck, Everyone's got discounts, right? So. We have a 6pm appt. We will be v. hungry afterwards!

Okay, enough blather
Excelsior! I say.

Apologies

Before we moved away from Rochester, a friend there convinced me to get an Facebook account to keep in touch, because "no one uses LiveJournal"-- which I know is patently NOT TRUE. But still, I have been a poor correspondent here.

re: Hurricane Sandy-- no problems here. Hope everyone else is safe, has power (or will have soon) and suffered minimal damage from the storm.

Urchin is home from school again. He missed school on Tuesday, then seemed to have the cough under control on Wednesday, but it was back this morning and triply fierce. Meds and tea w/ honey have got it nailed down again, finally. Fortunately he'd brought home the books he needed to do the homework he missed on Tuesday. I am prodding him to get things done between my own assignments.

Last night we were invited to trick-or-treat with school friends in one of the newer, posher neighborhoods nearby--Turns out it's full of GIANT proto-McMansions with those atruim-style entry ways, where you hike up the driveway and down the l-o-n-g landscaped walk to the spotlit front door.

Some gave out "real" size candy bars, not the minis. But -- none of the houses were memorable. The neighborhood felt sterile, like a false front movie set, without decorations. We didn't see a single fake tombstone or bed sheet "ghost" in a tree". They remembered to buy the candy, but they seem to have forgotten their holiday spirit. Urchin loved running around in a big gang (one vampire, one vampire hunter {urchin}, 2 Sherlock Holmes (!!), one mummy, 3 skeletons, one soldier-type), but we agreed it wasn't the warmest place to trick-or-treat.
Trees are slowly beginning to turn colors. I think we're supposed to be around 20% or so, which is ridiculous considering that it's October now.

After a dry, dry, summer, it has rained 2x/week every week since Sept started. This means that tunnel cache I wanted to do in Solvay? Right. I need some bigger boots.

Urchin has managed to forget whatever organization skills I forced into him last school year. We are slowly relearning everything. He's only been carrying a planner around to write his homework in for three yrs now. You think it might sink in that the procedure hasn't changed over the summer....

This Friday is our wedding anniversary. I just realized this today. See where my head is these days?

Monday things & Stuff

(Because I'm supposed to be getting this stupid story cleaned up and ready to go out-- but instead I'm being cowardly and, after 45 min of working on it, skipping out to go mess around over here...)

That being said, there was a weekend. I got out for two quick caches not far from home. Not in very pleasant surroundings: weedy, briary, beer party spots along Limestone Creek, where I got stabbed by thorns and rained on--not that I mind the rain in warm weather. And it was windy, so the bugs had no way to get a grip.

Soccer and a sort of track thing have started for the urchin. He doesn't really know the positions, and needs to get up to speed in other ways as well, but he's trying and that's the good of it, no matter what.

Okay, enough messing around. Back to that damn story which seems to be on the edge of being publishable with the right editor, but STILL doesn't quite seem to work. I hate when that happens.

In other news

I bought myself a CD version of the original Star Wars soundtrack (the music of the FIRST film, which Hollywood and GL have taken to calling #4; but frankly, let's just pretend that official {and officially awful} films #1,2,and 3 never happened, okay?) as a birthday present.

This, because I no longer have a turntable so I can't play the 2 LP album I got for my birthday lo these many years ago. The album I STILL have--and maybe I will buy a turntable again someday. I hear you can get them with USB ports to upload music to the PC. Hmmm....

Otherwise, I will someday have to get an MP3 player, because I can't afford any Maynard Ferguson CDs, and I am seriously dying to hear him again... "Give it One" has been a low level earwurm for at least 3 wks now. The really, really fast, rip-it-up-and-sprint-all-out-for-it version. And no, thin pc sound over YouTube stills does not cut it.

Saturday is Star Wars day, Amazon promises. I am looking forward to it.

THANK YOU!

Thanks so much for the cards and birthday wishes and your continuous & wonderful & supportive friendship!

You always know what to say when I need a thorough crit,


when I'm wobbling on a pertinent detail,



or when I'm dealing with yet another rejection letter--



So I'm sending you virtual cup-book-cakes--feel free to imagine your favorite title on top!




Love to you all, and Keep WRITING!!
Today we think about pens--- and pen reviewers.

Pink? Purple? Skinny? Aren't those cheap little stick pens already too skinny? (Says the person who uses those foam pencil holder thingees for the occasional stick pen as well as pencils)

Hey, Bic-- here's the finish on my current favorite pen (though the picture shows the ft pen version; I have a ball pt.): a Conklin "Crescent".



And my favorite Pelikan, a M400 fountain pen in "honey":



And my favorite roller ball, the "Homer Rain" from Acme:



You see any pink or purple there?

Didn't think so.

I think I'm suddenly obsessed with pens online because my birthday is coming up. It's a big one. And I haven't bought a new pen since....well, a while. So maybe it's time to start looking around for one.

Tags:

Just dusting....

So I dug out an old trunk story and it actually sold someplace: Sword and Sorcery Magazine , a tiny little online mag. Considering the story ("Corbane's Wish") had been Everywhere, long ago, and actually had been accepted twice (MZB, and then an MZB planned anthology, each of which went belly-up before payment or publication), it's nice to see that something I excavated from the heap is still saleble, after a fashion. I'm counting this as an egoboo. Story should be up within the next few days.

Upper 80s all week this week. Nasty at times. We could really use some rain, and I could really use some time with people out of the house. Spouse last-minute (like, Monday 7/2?) told me he was taking Thurs and Friday off. Whee. Of course I was already scheduled out the whazoo with work, and more piled down today. I think I'm slated for about 8 reviews this month, so far. Ugh.

But then spouse came down with a sore throat, almost-laryngitis, and a cold. I seem to have a milder form of it. So we haven't gone anywhere anyway.

Have I said how much I love my box fan?

Actually, the house has central air (everywhere but one bathroom upstairs where the vent seems to be blocked-must get that checked out!) but we are rightfully still very cheap and keeping the temp around 74 indoors. Still, heavenly compared to what it could be.

Writing continues. I am muddled about a peripheral character who may or may not be integral to a plot twist later on. I guess I should just leave him alone and let the back-brain do its work and see what happens with him.

I would really love a nice thunderstorm right now, to break the heat. No real rain since before school ended (at least 3 wks).

BTW, Happy Higgs Day to the hard-working folks at CERN. (Remember, keep the beer bottles and brie away from the beam line.) Symmetry ho!

Stay cool, people.

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