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A new killer webcast from a familiar face

Hey, all! If you follow this blog regularly, you may have heard of the new webcast I’m planning with fellow author Angelique Jordonna called Muses and Murderers Webcast. We’re looking for guests for our upcoming show, slated to start at the end of August or early September (we’re working full-time in addition to the writing and show-running, so we’ve still gotta figure out schedules lol), and Muses and Murderers has a blog site up and semi-running. (See previous parenthetical about work lol) The email address for Muses and Murderers–yes, we’ve got one of those, too–is musesandmurderers@mail.com and yes, I get notifications on those emails, so send us your info if you want to appear!

The show is looking to be a lot of fun, with authors, actors, producers, and cosplayers. A diverse group for sure, but all with one thing in common: Stories. (Yes, even cosplayers have stories to share.) And, as with all stories, one must at times kill one’s darlings, and thus you have our show name.

More info will be forthcoming once we get more details hammered down. We’re looking to record first, edit, then air on IGTV (Instagram TV), with the links to appear here and on the Muses and Murderers blog after. We’ll be posting requests for questions to ask the guests prior to each episode, and I think we’re looking to air weekly. Questions? Email the above address for Muses and Murderers.

Time to head for the dreaded day job! See y’all soon!

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Of life and laptops

Life. It’s tough sometimes. You get crazy days at work, hard choices at home, and sometimes even sleep throws you a curve ball.

Take the above laptop image. I try to be as careful as possible with my laptop. I’m gentle with it when I open and close it, I don’t drop it off the couch, I watch the case like a hawk when I’ve got it out away from home–and yet, the casing of the laptop has cracked to the point of requiring tape intervention measures to keep it together.

It’s kinda like life, I guess. You do whatever you can to make sure life’s going well, but still things crack and fall apart and then what do you do? Well, just like with the laptop, you grab something to hold it together and then pray it works.

I wonder what would be the painter’s tape of life in this metaphor… Possibly the meds I take for the bipolar disorder? Who knows. Regardless, when I look at this poor, sad little laptop all I can think is “Yeah, life’s just like that.”

The tape’s only been there a day, but it’s holding its own so far. When the tape gives out, I guess I’ll have to get, well, more tape. Is that a good thing to do in life though? Keep putting more “tape” on the hinge to keep yourself from coming, well, unhinged? That’s probably where the metaphor ends–or does it?

I mean, if push comes to shove I can always order a new laptop casing–or a new laptop–but I can’t order a new life. That’s not really feasible with today’s technology. Maybe in a couple decades when we are able to sync our thoughts with AI or robotics or something. For now, though, we get what we get and that’s it. No do-overs. No shiny new casings. One life. So get the tape while it still works and tape that sucker together, because you’re not getting a new cover any time soon.

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#books #publishing Abnormal Critique Education escape the light Learning Novel Time Writing

Revising my point of view on revisions

With my edits back and me back home, my early-morning, pre-work writing/revising time is back on track.

Except “back” is a word I shouldn’t be using, according to these edits. It’s “staging.” Except when it’s not.

Yeah. It’s like that. You see, “was” is not always passive–except when it is. So don’t use “was” in the passive form of the verb. But when it’s active it’s okay? I think that’s how it goes.

The first round of edits is always frustrating for me, because things like “back” and “was” are highlighted regardless of use or context, so I find myself second-guessing on whether the use of these words is correct or if it’s “wrong.” I either go overboard rewording my manuscript in strange ways to avoid the use of these highlighted words and phrases or I go underboard by skipping the highlights as erroneous. Neither is a great way to go about it, but I have to get things done somehow.

I might make use of my publisher’s offer for a consultation, but I don’t know if I’m getting it finally or if I’m getting fed up with it. On the one hand, if I’m getting it that means I used the highlighted words correctly in the first place, but if not that means I’m skipping over a lot of work that I’ll just have to go back and do in the future.

I get that you want to avoid using “had” when there are other options, but what if that’s the word you wanted??

So much to do…I’ll get it done, but I’m concerned that I’m not getting it done “right.” Or am I?

Who knows. I suppose once I get done (I’m only about six chapters in on my revisions) I’ll go back and see how much of what is still “wrong.” If I seem to be lacking in the amount of actual revising I did, I guess it’s consult time. If not, maybe I’m okay. I wish there was an easy way to tell if you’re getting better or not. As it is, I see all these words so neatly color-coded for my review and I start to doubt.

Oh, wait…”neatly” is an adverb. So scratch that. Those are bad. But I guess, according to the color codes, “now” and “then” are considered adverbs. Google confirms this. (Give me a break, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve taken a course on grammar.) So…what if I meant “now,” though? Do I still cut it? Because cutting it in some places is fine, but in others it changes the meaning or emphasis of what I was saying. Ugh.

I guess the above paragraph says it all. I still need the consult. Grr. So much time waiting on these edits to get back, and now I have to push things back even further so I can get remedial up in here.

Don’t get me wrong–there’s a lot of good in this document. It just needs the same polishing that every manuscript needs before being published. A little spit and shine, as it were.

I suppose I’ve digressed long enough. Time to get back to it before I have to get ready for the day job.

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Mixed feelings

This weekend left me feeling strange….

I kinda feel like this….

I wanna scream… but in both a good way and a bad way.

I found the perfect yard of linen fabric for a super important, super secret embroidery project. The Fabric Wars event had barely started, and it only cost me a dollar, but it’s exactly what I was hoping to find. Now I can proceed with the next stage: actual embroidery. I’ve got both lots of time and no time to do it in, but I’m confident I can finish in time with no problem.

On the down side, I spent much of the weekend exhausted and in pain. Sleep was weird and uncomfortable, and my back is angry with me. Between the pain and the poor sleep, I couldn’t really focus on much of anything most of yesterday. I felt bad for everyone at the event because they had to be around me with the mood I was in. If you’re reading this and you were there, sorry. I should’ve put on a better face regardless of what I felt like.

My foot was hurting, too, and I’m starting to get worried. Intellectually I know that since it’s not broken from the last time I injured it, that means it’s a soft tissue injury… Which means I need to just take it easy and let it heal. My concern, though, is that I have no time in the next couple of weeks where I can take off early from work to go to the podiatrist. So the increased pain and limping around can’t be addressed yet. I’m sure I’ll be okay in the long run, but in the meantime I can’t, well, run.

I’m still debating on whether or not the good of finding the perfect fabric for what I need to do outweighs the bad of the pain in my back and foot.

Hopefully no surprises this week. My schedule should be decent, or rather should be semi-normal, and I will be back to work on the sequel to Abnormal in the mornings. Life should settle down a bit. I hope.

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It’s time for…me?

Perpetual embroidery project? Done.

Upcoming embroidery projects: Due September.

Arts exchange project: Plenty of time.

Arts and Sciences projects: Pretty much done. As done as they’re going to get for now.

I think….I think I get to do stuff I want to do now!

So what’s first on my list now that my list is more open? Revisions! That’s right, I have the first round of edits back from the publisher for my sequel, so that means I need to dive right on in. Time to fix the passive voice, cut the adverbs, and kill those darlings.

Speaking of killing darlings, the upcoming webcast is off to a great start even before we’ve actually started recording. Lol We’ve got authors, actors, and even a producer lined up for when we start production in a couple of months. I’m super excited for that project to pan out, even though it’ll be a little anxiety-inducing at first. My co-host started working on her end last night to book more guests, and I think at an episode a week we’re set for the first few months already! Muses and Murderers should be a lot of fun to do.

I’m looking forward to revising Escape the Light. Most authors hate revisions, and to be honest when you’re in the process it is tedious and annoying. How do I fix these issues and still keep the voice I was trying to convey? But the finished product, when it’s all said and done, is the goal, so best to power through the revisions and get them done ASAP so the book can shine.

Speaking of which, this will be a short post today as I have to get cracking. A lot to do this weekend, but if I bring my laptop with I should be able to get some revising done here and there.

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Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8….

Ah, doctors. Gotta love ’em. Especially when they decide to order the whole gamut of testing. Routine labs? Sure! Hormone levels? Why not! Sleep study? Let’s do it! Ultrasound? We’ll throw that one in there, too!

Meanwhile, in my head, I’m wondering when I’m going to get the time to do all this! Fasting labs are hard to get done in time before I have to be at work, so it’s gotta be a day/time when I can come in a little late. Ultrasounds take some finagling, too, and I have to contact a whole ‘nother doctor’s office to arrange the sleep study…which means another doctor’s appointment prior to the study, most likely.

Looks like my “work-free” birthday week is going to be chock-full of appointments. I hope my primary care doc doesn’t mind that I’m planning on putting these things off until then, but there just isn’t time. Oh, wait…He wants to see me back before then. Crap. Guess I’m calling the office at some point to notify them that I can’t get the time off to do the things for a little while.

That’s the worst thing about working at a doctor’s office: I’m working all the hours when these things need to be done. Can’t take a long lunch here because I’m covering for someone, can’t come in late here or here or anywhere because patients love checking in early, can’t leave early because who the hell knows when the patients will be done for the day?!? Ugh.

I’ll figure it out. It may take longer than the primary care doc has in mind, but I’ll get the things done…somehow.

Oh, and the whole weight/constant hunger thing? Yeah, I got the “well you’re on an awful lot of medications” speech. Basically, the PCP doesn’t seem to want to offer any suggestions on how to minimize hunger or what kind of exercise plan might be good for me or recommend a diet plan or anything. I’m on meds, so that’s it. I’m screwed. Fatness for life. Hopefully something will show up in this battery of testing that will provide a clue other than “you’re on a lot of meds, and they all can have side effects.”

In the meantime, I guess I’m going to have a hard look at what I’m eating. I’m trying to stick more to veggies and yogurt instead of ramen and mac’n’cheese. Doesn’t help the hunger, really, but maybe I can fool myself into thinking it’ll make a shit’s worth of difference.

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This can’t be me

This is me.

Sleep-deprived with yesterday’s makeup smeared under my lids, but not too bad, right?

This is also me.

More than 100 lbs overweight for my height, and feeling more and more lately like the weight is going to kill me.

How did I go from the skinny chick to the Blob? It’s easy to claim I don’t know how it happened, but that would be a lie. I grew up skinny, so I never learned proper eating habits. In my first years of college, I could easily down a bag of Oreos with some Cool Whip and not gain a pound. I could eat a whole can of frosting and still wear crop tops. 132 lbs on a “fat day.”

After starting a retail job my metabolism changed. I gained up to about 150 lbs. I was eating terrible foods from the food court rather than bringing a healthy lunch. For several years, I bounced up and down…165, 155, 170, 185, 165, 150…

This was me.

At 143 pounds at the time of the above photo–over 10 years ago–I had people asking me if I was eating enough. I had just started Ritalin after falling asleep while driving, and my body melted away the post-college pounds. I was actually drinking Ensure every day to keep the weight on.

But I still didn’t listen when my body started to expand again. I found out I was moving across-country, and I got worried about finding a new job, meeting new friends, starting life all over again.

It started small. Foot-long subs at the Subway next door to work instead of 6-inchers. A couple Swiss Cake Rolls from the gas station around the corner before work. Captain D’s. McDonald’s. Diet Dr. Peppers out the wazoo. Energy drinks. A good ol’ Southern “veggie tray” from the hospital cafeteria every other day. (Note: in Alabama, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese count as “veggies.”) I attributed my slow crawl back up to 150 to the stress of the impending move.

I moved to Arizona a month before the rest of my family so I could do in-person job hunting. Because our house wasn’t finished yet, I was living in an extended-stay motel. My food habits suffered. Sure, I bought the little weight-loss frozen dinners…and ate two or three at a time because one doesn’t do shit for your hunger. I also ate at fast food places a lot and ordered from the local Pizza Hut. Stuffed crust veggie pizza, no mushrooms. I didn’t realize how often I was ordering from Pizza Hut until one of the delivery people started recognizing me and greeting me like an old friend. Guess I was a good tipper.

By the time the house was done and I had access to a scale again, I was about 165-170. That’s around the time I started working retail again. Smaller mall, smaller food court, still crappy food aplenty. While working in retail, before I got my current job, I met my now-husband. Who likes to cook. Who LOVES potatoes.

Well, that was pretty much the end of that. Now that I had someone feeding me constantly, someone who didn’t care how big I was, I guess I gave up on trying to get serious about losing weight. 180. 195. 200+. Almost nine years later, I’m hovering just under 290.

It’s hard to get dressed, especially putting on shoes & socks. I get winded easily. I’m hot all the freaking time, and I don’t know if it’s from the weight or hormones or both. I can’t make cosplays for myself anymore because I’m way outside the upper limit of the commercial patterns. I don’t fit at some restaurants’ booths. My feet hurt all the time, and I can’t do the things I used to like to do. I have stretch marks over my entire belly in the shape of purple-blue flames, which may sound cool as a tattoo concept but not as nature’s cruel reminder of how fast I’ve gained. And it doesn’t help that I’m hungry all the time. Seriously–I get so hungry I feel nauseous.

My depression and anxiety are warring inside me, fighting against the logic of the situation. Depression says “What’s the point?” Anxiety says “I can’t go to a gym. They’ll stare. They’ll point and laugh.” Logic says “You will fucking DIE if you don’t lose weight.” The problem is, depression and anxiety are teaming up against logic, and fear has me so paralyzed that it’s no help whatsoever.

I really don’t have adequate words for all the ways my life went wrong to bring me to the weight I am today. I can’t blame anyone but myself, because I’m the one who keeps eating when I shouldn’t and what I shouldn’t and I just can’t stop myself. I know the easy answer: Diet, you moron! Sure, it’s all well and good to say that, but what diet out there won’t make me feel like I’m being deprived? I know, I know, pizza and cake and cookies and all that aren’t necessary foods. They’re very, very bad for me. But when I try to cut them out, I just feel like I’m missing out. I mean, the first half of my life I could eat whatever the fuck I wanted. Now? Now I’ve spent another half a lifetime shortening my lifespan.

I want to go back to being the skinny girl. I want to lose this weight that makes me feel awkward and gross and terrible. I just don’t know how to do it.

Next Monday I see my primary care doc. It’s not for the weight specifically, but I think I’ll ask him about it. See what I can do. Dietitian? Gastric bypass? I’m willing to try, I guess. I mean, I know I need to try. But I just don’t know if I can make myself do the thing I know I need to do.

I’ve given up on rapier fighting for now. I’m too damn fat. I can’t move right, and whenever I see photos of myself fighting at events I want to cry. Hell, whenever I see myself in photos that I didn’t take myself (with a little camera angle and forced perspective to make myself look thinner), I want to cry. When I look down and can’t see my feet, I want to cry.

I’m so tired of crying. So tired of being overweight and unhealthy. So tired of living like this.

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Something brewing

Something wicked(ly fun) this way comes.

I can’t give details yet, but if plans go, well, according to plan, there will be a new project in my life that looks to be really fun. I’ll have to get over my social anxiety and woman up, but I’m excited for the prospect.

I won’t go into it much more, because I’m superstitious about some things and this is one of them. So I’ll say that I’m hopeful and looking forward to it.

More later when I have more definitive info!

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#design Celebrity Marketing Promotion Social Media

Branded

Neat shades, huh? I got a HUGE discount on them, and all I have to do is pimp the product. How did I get to be a brand ambassador for http://www.noranyc.com? Well, it all started with a simple selfie….

It was a good hair day. Brows on point, skin behaving (for once)…so I posted on Instagram. Later that day, I had a comment on the photo offering to make me a brand ambassador for NoraNYC sunglasses.

I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. I mean, that stuff doesn’t happen in real life, right? So I checked into it. Read the contract they offered. Screenshotted the contract and showed a friend with a degree in marketing.

Y’all–it’s a thing. A real thing.

Now, while I got a discount on my sunglasses, I didn’t get them for free. This isn’t some something-for-nothing deal. But the shades are nice, they look cool, and they’re great in the Arizona sun. Bonus to the whole thing: I can give my friends, family, and followers a discount, too. (Check out my home page for the coupon code.)

I guess this means I have to order more contacts, huh? Lol I mean, I can’t exactly drive in these shades without contacts, and my glasses underneath the sunglasses would just look silly. 😉 I think I can handle that, though. Contacts aren’t too bad, especially since my dry eyes are more under control. And the optometrist at work tweaked my Rx so I can wear my contacts more often and not need those granny readers as much for up close stuff. Win-win.

So, in closing, NoraNYC sunglasses are pretty awesome. I get to feel like a big-shot celeb in them, and I get to share the wealth by sharing my coupon code.

What’s next? I don’t know. I want to see how well this works out first. Apparently brand ambassadorship is a thing now, what with social media being the “in” thing. But seriously, go to my home page, check out the coupon code on the image, and go to NoraNYC to get some sweet shades!

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Intellect

I’m not an intellectual. I know a little bit about a bunch of things, but I don’t know much about much of anything.

I’m smart enough, sure, but I’m not an intellectual. I don’t seek out knowledge. I don’t read much anymore, not like I used to. I don’t care much for researching things, even if they interest me.

I wonder what happened. I used to read all the time. Fiction, nonfiction…I loved it. Now? Now I think about reading all the books I have piled up, and I just can’t. I can’t make myself do the thing that used to engulf my time. Is engulf the right word? I’m not even intellectual enough to know anymore.

It amazes me when I go to SCA events and people know SO MUCH about the past. Any subject, really. They can rattle off dates and names and eras and cultures and on and on and on, and I’m sitting there like, How do you retain all of that?!? How do you absorb that knowledge and maintain the database and still function?

I used to be like that. When it came to forensics and serial killers, I was a wealth of knowledge. I knew so much, once upon a time…

Sometimes I wonder…is it my medicine? Is it just a general loss of interest? What happened?

I know we go through phases in life. Our interests change, our primary motivators shift gears, and our minds find new things to entertain them. Is that what happened to me?

Who knows. Maybe it’s that simple. Maybe my mind isn’t engaged by learning new facts anymore. Maybe it’s the learning of new activities that my brain craves. The facts about those activities? Meh. I SHOULD try to make myself learn them, too. If I want to be a Laurel some day, I’ll need to force myself to learn the details about the period arts that I do. The facts. The research.

But becoming a Laurel takes a long time. I only just started on the path, so maybe my brain will switch gears again soon.