All Wrapped Up

The holidays are upon us, and even though we’re mostly giving out Mason jars of salsa or apple butter (made by my husband–I am NOT a cook-y wife) to a lot of people, there are still some presents that needed wrapping, which is usually my job.

I did a shit job this year. Lol

In my defense, I was pretty achy last night. Long day at work, and my back was having none of my shenanigans. Still, I got about a dozen presents wrapped, more or less, so that’s an accomplishment of sorts.

My project of making little gift bags for all the apple butter and salsa flopped, mainly because the apple-butter-jar-sized bags I was making ended up being too small for the Mason jars my husband is going to end up using, and I never got around to even making a mockup of the salsa-jar-sized bags. Oh well. So much for contributing to the gift-making this year.

There’s still lots to do to keep me occupied though–I just have to find the motivation to do it. I wasted time on bags (since the ones I made were too small, I have four that aren’t even finished yet), and I still have many many sewing projects to get done in a rapidly-shrinking time frame.

Persian garb. Embroidery. More embroidery. Hemming. All that combined with work and visiting family and SCA twelfth night parties and work and …. sheesh!

I’ll get it done. I have a terrible procrastination problem, especially when I’m achy like I have been lately, but I also tend to pick up the pace in the crunch and eventually get all the things done.

Speaking of that pesky work thing, though….I gotta go get ready!

‘Tis the Season for Last-Minute Purchases

It’s the 18th of December. Even for Amazon purchases, time is ticking down to buy those last-minute gifts for your friends and loved ones.

Have no fear, though! Abnormal is still available for pre-Christmas shipping (for Prime members)! Don’t believe me? Check it out…

What’s that? It’s also on sale?!?! Well, can’t beat that. And with December 20th delivery, it give you a few days to dig that wrapping paper out of the back of your closet/garage/attic, dust off the Scotch tape, and get to wrapping. Hell, if you’re speedy about it, you might get it wrapped, boxed, and shipped in time. Oh, unless you want to use Amazon’s gift wrapping service and have it shipped, wrapped all nice and pretty, directly to your book-loving recipient. That’s available too.

Am I being a little pushy? Maybe–but an author’s gotta do what an author’s gotta do. Besides, searching my own name on Amazon gives me something to do when I can’t sleep at night. In the morning. Whatever.

Think it over, though. You’ve got a couple of days, but time’s only ticking down. At least as far as I know, from a subjective viewpoint time is rather linear. I think we all know what time is from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint.

A big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. 😉

Merry Christmas to you all! I’ll be popping in of course, on a semi-daily basis, but I wanted to let you know that you’ve still got time to buy Abnormal for that special someone. 🙂

Right of passage

Well, it’s happening. Can’t stop Mother Nature, but I sure wish She’d given me some kind of warning.

So here’s what happened:

The work day started like normal. I opened the exam rooms and worked up a couple of patients. I got hot, as I tend to do when I start work.

Problem is, I couldn’t cool down. Like, sheen of sweat, trouble breathing, full-blown panic hot.

I think I just experienced my first hot flash. And my brain (at the time) switched into freakout mode because it didn’t know what the fuck was going on.

I’m okay now. I hyperventilated a bit, cried a bit, and finally got my temperature regulated… just in time for the doctor to crank up the heat in the office.

I’m a tad young for it, but now that it’s over I’m not surprised. It was bound to happen eventually. I just wish it hadn’t happened while I was at work. I got too much to do for that kind of mess to be going on.

Does this mean I can blame any wild mood swings on menopause? Because that I might be able to handle.

Taking over

Today marks my first time doing an author takeover for a Facebook book-release event. I was a little apprehensive about what kind of content to post to get the attendees revved up about my new friend’s book, but then I started reading a copy and, wouldn’t ya know, she’s got a character named Eli, too! I thought it was so funny that I immediately came up with a game/contest to run during my hour of “screen time”: Who Said It: Eli or Eli?

I’ve still got Abnormal bookmarks left over from Tucson Comic Con, as well as a few copies of Abnormal, so I’ll give away a few bookmarks and a signed copy of the book for those who participate. It was fun searching the two books for quotes that could potentially have come from either Eli. 

My time for the takeover isn’t for a few hours still, but I have my posts scheduled and a lot of stuff to do around the house, so I don’t mind the wait. I will have to set a timer so I can interact and live-post in between scheduled posts…I’m likely to get caught up in laundry or cleaning or sewing and forget! Lol

I have that kind of wound-up, keyed-up, pent-up feeling right now…like I need to do something totally unnecessary. I want to sew something new; I might do that. I kinda need new fingerless gloves for keeping the ol’ hands warm (yet still giving me that all-important phone access). They might come in hand-y at Estrella, too, even though they’re not period. They’ll work when I’m out of garb and still freezing. 😉

Yeah, I think I’ll do that. Or make a bag/purse of some sort. Or…or…or…

Hmm…maybe I’m a tad manic…

Update and downgrade

Well, WordPress updated. And it sucked. And then I updated the update. And it sucks less, but it still sucks.

This site looks like crap, and I’m too frustrated to get my husband’s help with it. Maybe this weekend he can help me.

Another downhill upgrade in my life is the new Planet Fitness in town. My friends (who I occasionally–less and less often since I moved farther outside of town–exercised with) are in love with the place. Me? I am having palpitations just thinking about going to a public gym to work out. I mean, at the park when we exercised I was pretty much the least physically fit of the group, but my husband was there with me, and my friends were supportive. Then, as time went on and it got colder outside, the location and days of the week changed, so I couldn’t make it to the workouts as often because of my work schedule. Gradually hubby got fed up with the exercise and stopped going. I tried to keep going when I could, but even with encouraging friends I felt like a literal fifth wheel. I mean, two couples supporting each other and working out together and then there was fat old me alone in the back, barely able to keep up with the things.

Fast forward to spring, when Estrella War got in the way of everything. I stopped going long enough to lose momentum and drive, and my workouts became more infrequent. The work schedule kept getting in the way. When I moved to the outskirts of town, that was basically the beginning of the end… and now? Now they’re going to a gym.

Why does the gym bother me so much more than the park? Partly it’s because I have a deep-seated fear of being made fun of. Everyone makes fun of the fat girl trying to exercise. I can’t get the image of skinny hipsters pointing and snickering out of my head. It happened at the park, but with my husband there I felt safe. I won’t have that safety net at the gym. I’ll be with friends, but I’ll be alone with friends. Only we won’t be alone. There will be other people working out, and in a few weeks it’s just going to get worse. New Year’s resolutions and all that.

I want to get in better shape, but I don’t know if I can follow my friends… and I feel even more like an idiot exercising by myself than I would at a gym. And by now, I’ve missed so many workout sessions that I’m further behind than I was when I started. I’m fatter and slower and more awkward. I look dumb trying to pretend I can ever get in shape again.

I can’t even afford to go to a dietitian or a gastric bypass surgeon. I’m just going to be fat and gross forever because I can’t get past this. And my friends are trying to encourage me, but I feel pressured. Like, heavily pressured. And it makes me balk even more.

I feel guilty not working out. I feel guilty eating poorly. I feel guilty for a lot of things. And I feel gross. Disgusting. I see that abdominal fold and I want to throw up. I see pictures of me taken by other people and I want to throw up. 

Too bad I’m not bulemic. Maybe then I’d at least lose some of this disgusting extra weight.

Full Plate, Table 7

I’ve done it to myself again. Gotten too many projects on my plate for the coming month or two. Sure, I’ll get them all done, but until then I have to start buckling down and prioritizing.

Projects pending (in no particular order):

1- I have to finish the embroidery for the Atenveldt royals. Of which I am less than a quarter of the way through. Deadline: about a month.

2- Persian garb for my husband and myself. Can probably step this up to get it done in time, with patterning help from a friend. Deadline: Jan 4.

3- Gift bags. These were a cute idea, but due to unforeseen circumstances no longer really truly needed. Deadline: eh, project’s scrapped at this point.

4- Embroidery for the Baroness of Tyr Ysgithir. Solid black boar about 5″ big. Deadline: Estrella War in February.

5- First official round of revisions on Escaping the Light. Giving myself a few days before diving back in. Deadline: no official deadline as of yet, but I don’t want to procrastinate too much on that.

6- Commission cross stitch for the “Boss Lady” at RhetAskew. Actually making some $$ off this one, but I’m not charging much. Deadline: none really given, and she knows I have some other projects going.

7- Non-Rus Viking garb pants for the hubs. He doesn’t dig the Rus style, so I have to find some magical time to get those done. Deadline: Probably Estrella War?

8- Finish the embroidery I started on hubby’s Viking hood that I made for him. More than halfway through with this one, but the royal embroidery took precedence (ha! SCA pun!). Deadline: Estrella I think. Hoping to crank it out as soon as I get Project 1 done.

9- Read an ARC of a sci-fi novel that I’m going to help promote. Need to know at least a few quotes from it for a game I’m going to do when I do the author takeover. Deadline: Oh yeah, this Saturday.

So yeah. I may have bitten off too big of a chunk. It wasn’t until I started putting the sewing projects on a spreadsheet to keep track that I realized what I’d gotten myself into! I can do it, though. I work better under pressure. Right? Yeah. Right.

Revisions revisited

I just can’t right now. I can’t look at Book 2 again. Not right now.

It’s not that it’s bad. It’s not. But I’ve read and reread and re-reread ad nauseum at this point, and I just don’t think I can read it yet again.

My biggest problem is that the word count is suffering, and I need to bump it up–but I’ve looked at it in such detail for so long that I can’t see the bigger picture. I can’t see “here’s some telling that I can expand by showing instead” or “this dialogue can be beefed up” or “kill that adverb and make the sentence more descriptive in other ways, with stronger verbs and adjectives” etc. I’ve stared at the doc until my eyes damn near bled.

Perhaps I’ll give myself a few days “off” from revisions. Relax. Do some embroidery or whatever.

I made a cute little card holder today. That’s a thing I did to procrastinate.

See? It matches Abnormal. I had fabric left over from the bookmarks I made, so I used it to make a little mini-wallet for myself. Yeah, I got the top stitching too far in and had to seam rip, and yeah, you can see a bit where I zig-zagged sew-in interfacing instead of waiting until I could get stiffer fusible interfacing…it’s just for me, so it’s not like I’m trying to sell the thing. 😉

Yeah, I think a few days off from revisions are in order. Maybe with some “fresh” eyes I can see what needs to be done where.

I might actually outline Book 3 before I start. Well, re-start. I kinda had a chapter or two going, but I think I need to scrap that and start over. I don’t like where I began the story as far as timeline goes. Need to back it up a bit and not just skip ahead months and months to make it easier.

Now, it may sound like I’m putting the proverbial cart before the trilogy, but hear me out. Publishing is a process; it takes time. I can’t just wait for Book 2 to be released before I start on Book 3. I have to keep ’em rolling so long as there’s story to be told. My Facebook memories are reminding me that I had Book 2’s first draft started before I even had Abnormal submitted to the publisher, and I have to keep that going. Get Book 2 ready, but start Book 3 while Book 2 is in edits.

Book 4? It’s going to have to wait a while. I have a tentative title, but I need to have Book 3’s first draft finished before I am 100% certain where it’s going. Even though I might try planning Book 3 more than pantsing, the characters still take over from time to time and tell me I’m wrong.

They’re living the story, so I guess they know better than I do…..

All they want for Christmas is ABNORMAL

The holiday season is upon us, and whatever you celebrate, a great gift for those sci-fi/dystopian fan friends of yours is Abnormal, by yours truly!

Check it out! A simple, easy-to-remember link for Kindle…and the great thing is, if you want to gift a paperback copy for someone, Amazon has those, too! Available by December 13th for Prime members (as of this morning)…so think about that, too! And there aren’t a whole heckuva lot of AJ Mullicans on Amazon, so if you search AJ Mullican on there you’ll find me lickety split, and the paperback of Abnormal is there as well.

Abnormal makes a great gift for the sci-fi or dystopian fan in your life. It’s got action, drama, romance…all the things! 

This has been your holiday post for the week. 😉 Now to our regularly-scheduled postgramming.

I’ve almost finished the first run-through of revisions on Book 2, which means soon I’ll be moving along to the first round of final revisions before it heads back to the publisher for their standard line edit tear-apart. I think there won’t be as much for them to fix, because I learned a lot from the line edits for Abnormal. Fewer gerunds, fewer adverbs, etc.

Work is not making it easy to get the revisions done, though. I had to go to our satellite office last Wednesday, which was supposed to be half dedicated to me working on laser chart prep–can’t do that in the satellite office, especially not last-minute with no warning. That means today I have to go in early today to get today’s charts ready before today’s patients show up. Ugh.

I’ll get the revisions done, though. I’m not overly worried about it, just annoyed at hiccups in my “master plan.”

I had started on Book 3–a short start, but I’m glad I hadn’t gotten far. I don’t like the start I started with, so I have to restart my start once I have the revisions in at RhetAskew. I know the general direction Book 3 is going in, though, so it’s not too bad. Who knows–maybe I’ll actually, y’know, outline it beforehand. Or something. Lol


It’s raining in Arizona.

It happens from time to time. Mostly in the late summer and early fall, during monsoon season, but it happens.

I could be sleepy because of the dismal weather. It could be because I didn’t really sleep much last night. Or maybe that second cup of coffee I skipped. Regardless, I’ll be needing another dose of my Adderall if I’m going to survive work today.

This kind of weather actually excites some Arizonans, especially the lifers. Me? I hate it. The sky is dreary and dark, even though the sun should be up by now. The pitter patter of rain on the windshield as I wait in the parking lot drones, making me feel drowsy and sluggish. It’s altogether depressing.

It’s cold, too. Not bone-chilling by any means, and my cousins up north would laugh if they read this, but it’s still cold to me.

I am not looking forward to today. If the rain keeps up, I’ll probably dread tomorrow too.

I want to go home. Back to bed. Snuggle up under the covers and forget the world. I can’t, though. I need to make the money to pay the bills. Gotta keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. Heating and cooling and all that. Takes money–which requires work. Fucking vicious cycle.

The sun’ll come out… sometime. Meanwhile I will drag one foot in front of the other, plaster a smile on my face, and pretend that I want to be at work.

Fucking responsibility. Worst type of day for it.

Los Muertos

It’s been quite a while that I’ve written a story from a prompt here on this blog, so I think it’s high time I dusted off the ol’ cobwebs and gave it a go. I present to you: Los Muertos. Here’s the prompt…

I always had the worst hangovers the day I came back from the dead. The others had it easy; they’d crawl out of their shallow graves, stretch their atrophied arms, and stumble back to work. Me? I felt like I’d been hit by a freight train–again.

Don’t get me wrong. Coming back from the dead isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sure, once the living learned that death was temporary it became a little easier–they buried us in shallower graves, gave us regeneration healthcare plans, set up halfway living houses–but that doesn’t make it easy by any means. Every single one of us once-dead still has to dig our way out of the dirt, work the kinks out of the rigor, and find our way to safe passage.

It wasn’t always this way. Death used to be seen as permanent. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Anything else was seen as either a God-given miracle or a preternatural nightmare.

Then people started coming back en masse. Funerals became too costly to bury the dead quickly, and mortuaries were charging out the nose for expedited cremations. If you couldn’t afford to stay dead, eventually you came back. It takes longer for some than others, but sure as shit if you’re not interred in a timely fashion you’ll be back. The living considered us abominations, and re-kills were pretty common, along with decapitations and bonfires.

The Great Zombie Scare of 2057 finally proved the living wrong.

The backlog at the cemeteries had reached an all-time high by then, and a few people started to twitch. There was your stereotypical moaning and groaning and shambling, yeah–but what do you expect when you’ve been decaying for weeks? I feel kinda sorry for the embalmed back in those days. The practice has gone by the wayside, but they say the you never get the taste out of your mouth…not even several deaths later.

I guess I was never embalmed. The past is a bit fuzzy, though. Neural atrophy and decay and all. It leaves us a little, well, dumb. For a time, that is. I guess that’s why the “zombie” trope stuck around for so long…but c’mon, you try talking in complete sentences when your mind hasn’t regenerated yet, let alone your tongue.

But I digress. I’ve been alive again long enough this time to tell my tale somewhat coherently, so here goes nothing:

The first time I died, I was twenty-seven. That was pretty young to go in those days, but there were extenuating circumstances. Like that freight train I mentioned. You see, I was a little bit tipsy that night. Okay, I was hammered. And it was during the early days, when people didn’t realize that not everyone who was stumbling along in the dark wasn’t un-dead. The conductor decided it was safer to run me over than bother with the brakes.

Maybe that’s why I always feel hung over when I come back. Maybe, like the embalming fluid, that hangover never really goes away.

Dying isn’t as bad the second and third or so time around. By the fourth, you’re sick of it. I’ve died one hundred and fifty-three times now. This hangover can go suck it.

Today I have a job interview with the local Living-Impaired Financial Entity. LIFE centers get us un-dead work when no one else can. Let me tell you, it’s hard as hell to get a job without a right arm. Sure, you can say you’re left-handed until the cows come back from the dead, but unless you can use your remaining toes to make up for the lack of a second hand they really discriminate. I can still type, though. A little slower than a two-handed un-dead, sure, but well enough to find work.

I found an apartment the other day. The landlord was real nice, an un-dead guy himself, and he let me move in without a deposit. The un-dead don’t really need homes, per se, because we don’t need to eat or sleep, but it makes things seem more…normal, I guess. Just like the jobs, having a place to stay gives us a routine and a purpose. Get off the couch. Get dressed. Lock your door. Shamble down the road to the office. Clock in. Do your thing. Then shamble back home and get ready to do it all again in the morning. Un-death is so boring without a job to keep you going.

I gotta admit, I’m kind of nervous about today. It’s not like it’s my first job interview–I’ve lost count of those. But this one’s different. It’s for a living company. Yeah, I know, hard to get my hopes up when I have half a face and no right arm, but maybe–maybe I’ll get hired.

What’s the worst thing about un-death, you might ask? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s not the bits and pieces falling off. It’s not the looks you get from the living. It’s not even the hangovers. It’s the loneliness. You see, un-dead can’t procreate. Some of us can’t even–well, you know. Depending on your cause of death, you might not have the, er, equipment necessary for that kind of thing. So relationships are a bitch. What’s the point, right? Can’t start a family unless you want to adopt a bunch of un-dead kids. And kids are the worst. They never really grow up. They kind of just whine and cry for decades. Centuries eventually, I guess. Anyway, not many of us once-living have the patience for that.

Ooh, they’re calling me back now! Wish me luck. If I get this job, I’ll be able to start this un-life off on the right foot.

Well–if I still had a right foot.

The puns don’t get any better after the third or fourth time around, either.