Distracted by reality

I’ve got some dedicated reading to do for Rhetoric Askew, but for some reason I can’t focus on it.
It could be that I have a touch of real-life interfering with my concentration. You see, I have an interview later today for a promotion at work. There are pros and cons to the job, but I think I can do it, and really it’s the only opportunity for advancement that is open to me right now. I can’t move up in the surgical department because I can’t physically do the scrub assist job (I tried; my back said no), and there’s not really anywhere else to go. I’m not without competition for this job, so I have to take that into consideration and not get my hopes 100% up. But I’ve gotten encouragement from coworkers, and I’m confident that, if chosen, I can do the thing.
That confidence doesn’t stop me from obsessing over it, though.
I can’t even focus on this post. I have about a million possible scenarios running through my head. Lol
Wish me luck!

Being #ABNORMAL is not a crime

Abnormal is rapidly approaching release, and I want to know: What makes you #ABNORMAL?
There are tons of “abnormalities” in life that are criminalized, penalized, or ostracized in society. Transsexualism, LGBTQIA “lifestyle,” being overweight, underweight, tall, short, rich, poor, too ugly, too pretty even. What about you makes you “abnormal” by today’s society? What have you had to deal with due to your “abnormality”?
Let me know. In a comment, a tweet, an Instagram post–let me know what makes you #ABNORMAL. Hashtag #WhatMakesMeAbnormal and #ABNORMAL, and let’s get a conversation going. I want to know what you’ve gone through. I want to know your trials and tribulations due to not being the impossible “normal.”
I want to get “normal” thrown out the window–or maybe redefined. I want us all to be proud of our “abnormalities,” not shamed by them. I want to create a new normal, one that includes all of humanity–no matter what they look like, act like, talk like, whatever.

Arts and Sciences revisited

So… I haven’t really gone into extensive detail on my experience last week at our local Baronial Arts and Sciences competition. I won’t. It’s done, and I’m done. Not with Arts and Sciences in general, but with the subject of last week. That’s done. This week, however, went well, and even though I didn’t win anything personally (the household I entered with won for Household Champion) I learned a lot from the experience.
I got stern but helpful critique, and I had a much better time than last week. I think I might have made one judge feel bad about herself when I told her I have only been embroidering since December. I got the Look of Death from her, as if she was thinking “I spent X amount of time learning this shit and this bitch has been doing it for like 8 months and she’s sitting here all smug with her A&S entry….” Oops. Good thing I didn’t mention anything about being self taught from Pinterest tutorials.
My research paper got picked the fuck apart… which I have to admit, I deserved. I kinda crammed for that one for the most part. I mean, I did some of the reading ahead of time… and most of it as I was writing the paper. Oops again. But hey, now I know how to improve on my cramming, and I will have a much improved paper for Kingdom.
I’ll also have a better embroidery project. I have to get some more materials for it (and find the original piece I started), but it’s going to be more refined and more period in style than my little cup cover sampler. I might have another piece to judge if I can come up with documentation for both the embroidery and the item that will be embroidered. I think I can do that, but I’ll have to check.
Arts and Sciences will continue to be in my future in the SCA. I won’t let one bad experience ruin the arts for me.

Covering all the bases

It’s gotten to that time in the publishing process: meeting with the cover designer and discussing concepts.
It’s tough as an artist to let someone else take the wheel when it comes to designing the cover for my book. I hand-painted the cover for WHISPERS OF DEATH and then scanned and tweaked it in Photoshop myself. Did all the formatting for the Createspace printing and the Kindle cover. Did the same thing for Kamikaze Butterflies (only that one was all digital). I even made my own “covers” for the ebook/Kindle only stories and compilations. But now? Now I have to put my labor of love into someone else’s hands.
Not that I’m having problems…. the crew at Rhetoric Askew is great, and they listen to their authors. I don’t just get whatever cover they want; I get to have input and convey my opinions. It’s cool, but yeah, I guess I’m more of a control freak than I realized.
Time is ticking towards the release date. So. Damn. Close. I can’t tell you how close yet, but it’s soon.
Getting published before 40 when I just started writing novels a few years ago is a pretty exciting thing. I hope that Book 2 and the subsequent books in the series are just as good as Abnormal is going to be.
Don’t worry. You’ll get to see it in due time. 😉

Stuck in the past, no time for the future

So with one Arts & Sciences competition behind me and another one looming this weekend, plus the interkingdom arts exchange project I’ve been working on, plus another period craft I plan on doing, plus the Kingdom A&S competition in the fall, I find myself with little time for mundane sewing. This poses a slight problem, because I have to completely remake my Dark Phoenix corset before Tucson Comic Con in November.
Yeah, November’s a ways away, and I’ve made corsets before with much more of a time crunch, but I want to do this right. I want to look nice for my “fans” (okay, for random congoers who happen to stop by my table) at the con, but the previous corset I made was entirely too big. This time I’m going to go strictly by the pattern and not try to alter it to make it bigger. A corset’s supposed to be tight anyway, right? Sure. That’s the excuse I’ll give myself when I’m muffintopping out of it. Good thing I made a shirt to wear under it.
I need to get a few new materials, too. I have the basic top fabrics, but even with some careful seam ripping I’ll need new canvas for the inner layers and some new bias binding. Oh yeah, and new grommets. Maybe new lacing. *Sigh* So there’s the money aspect I need to take into consideration.
I also have to find the time to make the corset in the midst of weekends of SCA events, gaming, birthday (less than 2 1/2 weeks to go ’til 39!), etc. Then there’s the book marketing that I’ll have to do, with potentially time taken away for interviews and in-store events, and the Advanced Read Copy of another book from my publisher that I need to read and comment on. And I applied for a promotion at work that will take up considerably more of my time than I’m currently spending on the clock. Guess I’m a glutton for punishment.
Once the corset is made, I need to try on all my costumes again to make sure everything still semi-fits. I’ve gained entirely too much weight in recent months, and I’d rather not have a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the con. That means I might potentially have to alter or remake other small pieces (but not another corset–if I have to do that I’ll probably cry lol) so I can comfortably sit at the con. Yay for skirts with elastic waistbands and Spandex pants! Lol
I’m trying to also factor in for potential embroidery commissions/requests in the interim. Right now, I just have the arts exchange project and the one craft project for myself, and one little bit of “tiny embroidery.” Basically, embroidering someone’s arms in miniature, so a max of 1.5 inches wide, maybe thinner.
The future is fast approaching, but I think if I buckle down and focus I can make it there with a corset to wear. I mean, how many times now have I had the Cosplay Con Crunch to deal with?
Yeah. I got this.

Lack of sleep has robbed me of my wit

No catchy title here. No play on words, no hidden meaning. I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up in time to get ready for my surgery shift this morning, so I only took a half of my trazodone pill. When did I wake up? About midnight. Yeah. I mean, I got some more sleep on the couch as I piddled around on the Internet, but overall I think I got four hours, maybe four and a half.
Oh, and I also forgot to take my pills before I left the house today. I managed to get them from the medicine cabinet and shove them in my purse just as my coworker arrived to give me a ride, but I didn’t have any water to take them with until we got to the office. Adderall still hasn’t kicked in, so I’m yawning so much my eyes are watering.
Otherwise, my last twenty four hours have been hectic. A long, busy work day, dropping stuff off at a friend’s house, going home to pick up my husband so we could go to a class on acid etching, then going home and crashing from pain and exhaustion. Because my coworker had to be in earlier than I normally do, I ended up back at the office less than twelve hours after I left.
Tonight doesn’t have anything scheduled to go out and do, but it’s getting to the point where I need to do laundry or else I will have no socks, underwear, or scrubs… all of which I will need for tomorrow morning.
I’m going to try increasing the trazodone this weekend to see if I get more solid sleep with a higher dose. I don’t know why none of the sleeping meds I try seem to last more than a few hours before I’m wide awake. Lately I’ve been able to get back to sleep on the couch after a couple of hours, but it’s not much help. I get things done (when my brain is functioning) like writing, sewing, editing, etc, but it’s not adding up to being worth how tired I am later on.
We’ll see how the higher trazodone dose works. See if it makes me too drowsy after only four hours of sleep or if it allows me to sleep for an extended period of time and wake up functional.
If not, I feel like I’m kinda at my wit’s end….
Oh hey, I managed to make a play on words after all! Maybe the Adderall is starting to kick in.


Today I “met” with the book cover designer officially for the first time and got to give him my thoughts on the cover of Abnormal. Every time something new happens in the process it revs up my excitement. So close, yet so far. I want to tell you all the release date, but I still have to keep mum. But soon. Soon.

I am a few chapters in on revisions on Book 2, but I stopped for the A&S crunch and can’t remember what I was going to say next. Lol
Book 3 is tickling the back of my mind, but I have to tell it to wait its turn. If I dive into that now, I’ll squirrel and never make any progress.
Next on my list of things to do is get home from rapier fighting, shower, and eat. Then I need to use the feedback I got from my A&S judges to improve my research paper a bit. I won’t discuss the actual competition here. I won with both my entries, but my overall experience with the event was… let’s just say… disappointing. We’ll go with that. Hopefully next week in our neighboring Barony it will be better.

An art and a science

Well, today’s the day! My first Arts and Sciences competition for the SCA. Despite all the nerves and anxiety about finishing my papers, they were both finished and printed last night. (They actually were “finished” earlier, but I forgot to put “Novice” on them so I had to reprint. Lol)
I’m feeling good about the paper on tattoos in history, the embroidery documentation not so much. I got a lot of very good but very vague advice on what was expected of me as far as documentation goes, but I followed the who/what/when/where/how/etc that I’m supposed to include, so we’ll see how I do.
Dressed in my Italian Renaissance today, because why not be fancy? (Also, hubby wanted to wear our Italian Ren outfits.) I don’t wear it often because my persona is Viking, but I gotta say, it makes my bewbs look good. Lol
I also did up my eyes real purdy for today. They’re going to be burning like hell by the end of the day between the dry eye, makeup, and contacts, but fuck it. I wanted to look good.
I’m going to try to get some embroidery done while I sit with my projects and talk to judges and onlookers, but my stupid self lost track of where my wash-away stabilizer is at the moment, so I have to try to get some from someone else, because I’ll be at the competition all day pretty much. No time to run to JoAnn’s for more.
Tomorrow I discuss book cover concepts with Rhetoric Askew’s cover designer. 🙂 Super excited to get that process going. Things are coming together!
Book 2 is moving along as well. Not at my ideal word count yet, but I’m only three and a half chapters in as far as revisions go. Ideas for Book 3 are swirling around in the background, but I need to slow my roll and do things right. Evernote the important parts, and get Book 2 polished for submission first. Well, polished and edited for Betas. Then revised and edited and polished for submission.
Soon we leave for A&S. Wish me luck!

Zeroed in

I have a little over 48 hours to get a research paper finished (I need six pages–with pictures–and so far have one and a half) and an arts project documented (again, six pages with pictures) before our Barony’s Arts and Sciences competition.
I am currently staring at the computer screen like a dumbass, totally unable to focus on much of anything, let alone a coherent paper.
Oh, and in that 48 hours I have a 12 hour shift, an 8+ hour shift (taking my time down to 28 hours), some sleep (we’ll say now 18-20 hours–minimum sleep), 2 days’ worth of commuting (~16-18 hours), getting ready for those shifts (down to ~15-17 hours), and grocery shopping. Possibly other things, because 15-17 hours seems like a lot of time, but with the fact that I have zero focus right now I doubt I’ll actually get 15-17 functional hours of writing in.
How can I write for hours at a time when it comes to a story, but when it comes to the research writing I get bupkiss? It’s not that the material I’m writing about is boring–it’s not–but I just can’t get my brain to stop squirreling. Is that a shiny object? Did that thing over there just move? What’s River doing? Ooh, I need to eat. Okay, now I’ve eaten, now I can concentr–hey, so-and-so’s online. Maybe they’ll have advice on how to focus. Yeah. It’s like that.
have to finish this stuff before Saturday. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have procrastinated, but that’s my nature and I usually do well in a crunch-time situation. This, though, has me halted. And handwriting it isn’t getting me anywhere, so I have to have my laptop and type it up. There goes using break time to work on it.
Maybe after work today I’ll be able to focus. I gotta get something done. This is driving me crazy. I don’t think I ever had this much trouble writing a research paper in school, and aside from the one I did on themes in comic books in high school all the papers I did in school had way more boring subject material than what I’m working on right now.
The books I read to do the research are mocking me right now. Staring at me with their judgmental book eyes, telling me what better writers their authors are. As if those authors were working with the kind of deadline that I am.
I’ll get this done. I just have to keep telling myself that. And maybe, just maybe, I will. If I can just focus.

Trailing ahead

Abnormal is getting even closer to publication, and today the book trailer went live on Rhetoric Askew!!!
Click the link. You know you want to. Scroll down to the neurons. See ’em? Yeah, click play. Now watch. Bad. Ass.
I’m super stoked. Today is a good day. I have decided. Who cares what happens after this? Well, okay, I should care–but I’m just jacked up on book trailer giddiness.
Now I gotta get ready for the day job.
But hey–one day closer to release!