As the sun rises on 2020, it’s time to set goals

A new year approaches: 2020, the year of the double crit, and it’s time to set some goals and make some plans. ­čÖé

My primary, short-term goals are more of a “to-do” list than actual goals. I have things piled up from this year that will need to be taken care of before I can take on new things. Here’s my list of “things that are left over from 2019 that I have to finish before the end of February 2020“:

-Write, edit, polish, submit short story to the anthology I’ve joined

-Complete the two Kingdom scrolls I’ve been assigned to do (SCA project)

-Finish my Valkyrie hood so I can fight in it at Estrella (SCA project)

-Full construction and embroidery on a commissioned Viking hood, hopefully before Estrella (SCA project)

-Full construction and embroidery on a Hedeby bag for my husband (SCA project)

-Embroidery commission for some friends (SCA project)

^^ These are things that have to be done. I have set a firm deadline for them, so I’ve gotta follow through.

Then there are some less-deadliney things. These are more the goals/plans that I’m making for the upcoming year:

-FINISH FIRST DRAFT ON BOOK 3

-Book 2 revisions/marketing/promotion (after back from beta readers–this will have a deadline because, well, publishing lol)

-Two current novellas-in-progress

-Potentially three more novellas (a trilogy)

-Teach more SCA arts classes

-Learn more SCA/medieval arts

-Get back into rapier fighting (now that I’ve lost enough weight that I feel comfortable fighting again–when I’m off restrictions, that is)

-Recertification for work

-Take better care of my mental health (and start asserting myself in those times where I normally back down and give in)

-Read more books

-Continue to build my social media presence as an author and build my brand

-Do more SCA (and mundane) sewing/embroidery/arts for myself and my husband

-Continue with my keto diet and weight loss, adding exercise as tolerated (once I’m off restrictions from my podiatrist)

-Work more with my co-author on our horror novel to get the first draft of that finished and in the editing process

This is by no means a comprehensive list, because, frankly, I haven’t thought about it that much yet. I’ve got so many things in the first list to get finished that I haven’t activated my “2020 vision.” Lol

But wait! 2020 isn’t just the start of a new year–it’s the start of a new decade. So, then, I’ve got 10 years’ worth of goals to devise. Let’s see what I can come up with here:

-Complete the 5-book ABNORMAL series and start on the ABNORMAL LINEAGE spin-off series

-Continue to take advantage of writing opportunities to participate in box sets/anthologies and grow as an author

-Expand body of written works to include more genres/standalones/etc

-Find an effective way to save money for attending conventions/book signings as an author–and then attend more signings and conventions ­čśë

-Strive to achieve Laurelhood before 2030 (which is, oddly enough, both within my ability to achieve and totally beyond my control haha)

-Work on overcoming (or at least adapting to) my social anxiety to where I can function better at social events, like conventions or SCA events

-Continue building an author network

-Learn more about generating graphics for book covers, book marketing, and other things

-Maintain the weight I’ve lost, get to a healthy weight, and try to find an exercise plan that works for my lifestyle

-Learn how to pattern more complex clothing (Viking I can do, but that’s too easy–I want to learn the concepts behind patterning that get me from measurements to finished garment without necessarily needing a manufactured pattern)

-Accept my grey hairs wholeheartedly

-Find a better balance between work/home/SCA/writing that encompasses all the things I need to do as well as all the things I want to do as well as omitting the things I don’t want to do lol

-Take more vacations

-Make my health a higher priority, in as much as it comes to calling out when I’m sick and not trying to “soldier on,” taking time off when it’s physically or mentally needed, and recognizing when I’m taking on too many projects for my mind and body to handle

It’s a tall order, but these are my goals for the next two months, the next year, and the next ten years. Note that I’m calling them “goals” instead of “resolutions.” I make the distinction because I’m not “resolving” to change things, but rather setting what I hope are realistic goals that will improve my writing career, further my SCA learning/experience, and keep me mentally sound through it all.

2020 is just another year, but at the same time it’s not. As long as I make an effort to do the things I want to do in the coming year/decade, 2020 is whatever I make of it. ­čÖé

Extended Sentence

Went to the podiatrist yesterday. Got new x-rays taken.

It was not the best of news.

Yes, the bone is starting to heal. There’s calcifications forming and a “bridge” between the two parts where the bone is starting to knit.

But it’s not enough.

Remember how excited I was to possibly be out of this boot in two weeks? Well, he tacked on another two yesterday. Another whole month in this blasted thing.

I know I’ll survive it. I know I’ll be okay… Eventually. I’ll just also be constantly frustrated. And disappointed. And a little depressed.

************************The next day**************************

Yeah, so I was I guess a little tired, too–I kept dozing off while writing that! Lol Still hating the boot this morning, but I’m slightly less depressed about it. That mood will change as the day goes on, though. The longer I’m up walking on it, the heavier it gets, or at least it seems to. You wouldn’t think three pounds would be a terribly huge amount to carry around, but all those steps add up after a while.

This weekend has a forecast of grocery shopping, a small SCA event (no camping involved), and a lot of cleaning around the house. I had been hoping to get a new Skjoldhamn hood made for myself for Coronation, but the outlook isn’t great for it. With how busy we’ve been lately (and with, yes, the boot hampering my ability to do some things as well as I’d like), the house has gotten a bit cluttered. Not, like, dirty, just messy. A lot of “stuff” accumulated. Oh, and my husband’s birthday is Monday, with the dinner party for him after the SCA event tomorrow.

About my husband….This guys is amazing. Seriously. Like, he’s been 100% supportive with the change in diet since I’ve gone keto, even though he himself is not on the diet. He’s constantly trying to figure out new things for me to eat or new ways to cook to accommodate my new eating habits. He now looks at the carb counts on foods in the grocery store to see if I can have X food item or not. He helps me out when my boot becomes a burden, often taking over some of my household chores, and the poor guy has been driving me around everywhere whenever he can. Yeah, I have to get rides to and sometimes from work because his work schedule doesn’t allow him to drop me off, but he takes me to doctor’s appointments and any stores I need to go to and he damn near killed himself driving us to and from Great Western War because I couldn’t take over for any of the driving. No catnaps in the passenger seat, no real chance to rest except for the occasional stop for gas or bathroom breaks. And when the podiatrist gave me my “extended sentence” in the boot, he just shrugged it off and said he’d keep on driving if it meant I healed better and didn’t break myself again. Here are a couple photos of this incredible guy that stole my heart and puts up with my shit:

Y’know, I just realized I don’t have enough pictures of him. I have, like, eleventy million selfies, but not many of my husband. I’m so terrible.

Here’s a good one. The look on his face is because I was messing with the camera on my new phone, and he probably didn’t really want a photo taken at Burger King while he was waiting for his food. See? Puts up with my shit. Lol

He makes it all tolerable though. He makes it all worthwhile. He’s there, 100%, and that’s what matters in the end.

Yeah, I’ve got a month more of the boot. I’ve gotta beg for rides when he’s not available, and I lag behind when we’re out walking anywhere, but he always waits for me to catch up. He always comes to get me when I need it. He’s the reason I am able to do the things I do–his support and encouragement.

Love ya, baby. I promise to drive more when the boot’s off. And to try to learn to cook for myself, so some of the food load is off of you.

Stir crazy

It’s not even 24 hours since I got back from urgent care–hell, not even 12 hours–and I’m already going mad puttering around the house.

The first few hours were okay. I sat in the dark and coughed until my throat was raw. Then I coughed some more. I stayed up until my friend came to pick up the car to take to my husband in Tucson (he’d gotten a ride up there, and until the doc-in-the-box diagnosed me with the bronchitis I already knew I had, I was going to be his ride home), and then I slept for a few hours. Woke up at my usual nothing-in-the-morning, and surprisingly felt a lot better. Cough isn’t as prolific. Sinuses aren’t draining. I can breathe better. It’s amazing what a little antibiotic pill will do, given time to work.

Speaking of work, the next couple of months are going to suck. I’ve got to use all my PTO to fill up as much of the past two weeks as I can, so when Estrella War comes I won’t have as much available to use. It’s gonna be tight money-wise until I catch up from this mess. I missed two and a half days this week from sickness, and a full day from the holiday. Add in the fact that I had very few hours last week because of the holidays, and it equals a crap paycheck.

Even though I kind of feel a bit better now, I don’t want to risk making things worse by doing too much. There’s a lot of cleaning to do around the house, but I have to remind myself that I am still sick and I shouldn’t be overdoing things. Still, I’ll try to get the house straightened up as well as I can before my husband comes home.

I’d say that this is good for my writing, but I can’t focus very long at a time to be able to compose things. I’ve got a bit of attention deficit right now, whether brought on by the NyQuil or the sickness or who knows what. I’ll embroider for like twenty minutes, write for twenty or thirty, stare at the screen daydreaming for an hour, and repeat the cycle. Now I’m cruising Netflix in search of mindless fluff to watch. The first show I picked–Diabolo–was too full of cheese. I couldn’t finish even one episode, let alone binge a season. So I’m on to Coraline now. Never seen that one through to the end, and a movie’s easier on the attention span. Don’t have to remember what happened in the last episode.

I feel bad that I’m missing my husband’s second time being feast steward for an SCA event. I wanted to be there to support him, but I need this time at home to recoup.

Maybe later today I’ll have a story to give you. I might drudge up some prompt or other, either a stock photo or a Pinterest prompt to get the creative juices flowing.

Pan’s┬áLabyrinth! That’s the ticket. I can listen to the Spanish while I do other stuff and let the visuals seep into my subconscious. Then, when I’m in the proper mindset, I can drum up some new writing.

New year, wrong foot.

2019 has barely begun, and already it sucks. I mean, nobody I know has died, no huge catastrophes that I’m aware of, but I woke up this cold and snowy New Year’s Day with a sore throat. As the day wore on, it escalated to a full-blown cold. Coughing, difficulty breathing, and now that I’ve stopped going going going for the day my nose is starting to clog.

The timing sucks. Sure, I still was able to get the Persian pirihan and coat for my husband almost completely finished (the coat still needs the buttons and loops), but I’m suffering.

My plan of attack is to take all the meds I have in my arsenal to combat this, plus some soup and orange juice. Cough drops, generic cough syrup (day and night), and rest when I’m not working.

I really hope work doesn’t end up being an issue. We can’t afford for me to be sick now. Like, literally can’t afford it.

I’ll get over this, just like I always do. I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and be hoarse for a couple of weeks. That’s how this usually goes.

But next year, I’m taking zinc or something.

Goal!

It’s that time of year again–time to set the new year’s goals/”resolutions” and reflect on where the old year took me.

Let’s start with 2018. 2018 was a long, full year of firsts and new triumphs. I went to my first Estrella War, moved into my first house, published my first novel, submitted my first sequel…. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to rip my hair out, but overall it hasn’t been too bad.

What do I need to do for this year? Let’s take a look (in no particular order):

-Get Book 2 in the bag and on the shelves. Yeah, I’ve got the first draft submitted and the first round of revisions (in before the new year!), but, as I’ve learned, there’s so much more to getting a novel published than simply writing it. Lol

-Take it easy on the SCA events so I can have time for other projects–to include my writing. I’ve been overdoing it entirely too much, and I need to pull back and reevaluate where I’m going in the SCA and how fast I want to get there.

-Finish the draft for Book 3 and polish it for submission. This is kind of a given. I have to keep them rolling while I still have story to tell, and the further ahead I get the easier it will be to stay on top of the writing game.

-Remember to keep marketing Abnormal. I can’t stop just because the book’s been out a few months now.

-Start a collaboration project. Because yeah. I need more on my plate. Lol

-Get more organized at work and get ahead of that game as well. I’ve got charts piled up, and they won’t stop coming any time soon.

-Focus on health. I need to zero in on what I should prioritize health-wise to take care of myself. Walk more? Eat less? Sure, but what then? I’m the biggest I’ve ever been, and at this rate it’ll be hell to try to fit into all of my garb for this year’s Estrella War. As it is, I’ve got all of a month and a half to drop a few pounds and squeeze into the garb I have–or to alter the garb I have/make new garb. Either way, I’d better get on the ball.

-Be more assertive with my needs. I can’t keep trying to please other people. I have things I need to be physically and mentally sound, and setting those things to the side so other people aren’t disappointed won’t do me any good in the long run.

That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure I’ll come up with more. Right now, I’m trying to focus after a three-hour night’s sleep…and right now, my brain has fewer tabs functioning than my web browser.

Oh, and one more thing about 2019–it’s gonna bring me the big 4-0! That’s right, I’ll be 40 this summer. Will I have a midlife crisis? Will I sail through? Who knows? The fun’s in finding out!

Here’s to making 2019 my bitch!

It’s all in the bag

Well, I’ve done it. For better or for worse, I’ve sent in the first round of revisions on my sequel novel.

Is it better? I think so–but then I’m a tad biased. Some scenes that I spent hours writing are gone, and new scenes are in their places. Some scenes are just plain new. But it flows, it reads well, it’s done…for now.

Now I wait on the edits.

Not sure which is worse: knowing that the book is in someone else’s hands, or the wait to see what they say. I’m not so cocky as to think that I learned all the lessons I needed to from the feedback and edits on Abnormal, but I know I learned a lot, and I’m hoping that means there’s less work for the poor publishers to do. Fingers crossed for a clean, tidy draft that they only have to make minor suggestions and adjustments to.

I’ve been working on SCA garb this weekend as well. I feel better having told my husband that I need to slow down on the activities, and this weekend has actually been quite nice. Would I rather have spent it at home? Yeah, but I’m making do. I got my Persian coat almost finished (my eyes went wonky with the button sewing, so I am taking a break from that until the dizziness passes), and it’s looking pretty sharp. Here it is (pre-buttons):

Screenshot taken from a video my husband took as I modeled the pirihan and coat. No, that fabric isn’t stamped; it was purchased from JoAnn’s just like that. On clearance. The last they had. It was barely enough for me to make the coat. Lol I was originally going to make longer coat sleeves, but I had to shorten them to make all the pattern pieces fit on the fabric I had.

I still need to make the pants, which will be a nice golden-yellow linen, my husband’s entire outfit to make, and, if there’s linen left over when I’m done with those, a sash or two for cinching the waist(s). I’m really,┬áreally hoping that our friend who has been helping us with patterning got the time to cut pattern pieces out for my husband’s garb. I don’t think I can do it on my own; when she made my pattern pieces she went so fast I didn’t retain everything she said. If push comes to shove, I can try to fudge it, but time is rapidly passing me by. I probably shouldn’t be typing this post right now, actually.

Once I have my coat finished (after finishing this post, of course), I’ll start on Book 3, I think. I know I kindasorta started it already, but I’m dissatisfied with the timing on the opening scenes. I need to start it closer to the end of Book 2, but not too close. So yeah, today is: coat, rest eyes (if need be), Book 3 opening scenes, and another party at the end of the day…probably a more crowded party than last night, but at least I know there’s an end to the partying in sight.

Post-Christmas funk

It happens. Christmas comes and goes and you’re left with a void that you don’t quite know what to do about. You may have to go back to work, or do chores, or return something that someone got you, but after that, what is there?

For me, I’m thankful that I have my sequel to work on. Sure, I’ve got other projects aplenty, but this morning, at oh-dark-thirty, I cranked out almost two thousand words… And that’s not taking into account the words I deleted. I was on a roll!

Of course right before I got to the good part, I had to leave for work. The office beckons, and I must answer. At least until, say, three o’clock or so. Then it’s off to the household twelfth night party. Tomorrow’s a full day of lasers, Friday through Sunday I’m off, and next week, aside from having New Year’s Day off, it’s back to life as usual.

So I’m excited over the progress in my next book, not so much over the working. And yes, I am aware that I have nearly two full Persian outfits to make and a set of cuffs to embroider and two hems and….

Ugh. Can another holiday be added in here?

Aww, who am I kidding? I need the money from the day job, need the sanity from the writing, and need the sewing projects for when the words fail me.

It’s all over when the fat man sings

So maybe it’s not “over” quite yet. I mean, it’s barely 2:00 PM. But the presents have been presented, the family ate breakfast with us, and all-in-all, aside from Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, Christmas is pretty much over. I haven’t even had a full day off from sewing and stuff–my husband just asked how far along I am on the Persian garb. I need to stop being so wicked; no rest, man, no rest at all.

I keep trying to tell myself that after Estrella things will calm down. I’ll have fewer sewing projects, I’ll be able to back away and take a break from SCA events, and I’ll have (theoretically) more time to write. That’s still two months away, though, and I have a crapton of things to do in those two months.

Did I enjoy my Christmas morning? Sure. It was nice having the family over, everyone seemed to love their gifts, and breakfast was tasty. But now, it seems, I don’t know what to do with myself. I could write, sure, but that’s work. So is sewing. And embroidery. I wanted a day┬áoff…but it’s not gonna happen. I can see that now.

I’ve been doing a lot of whining as of late. I need to quit that…along with quitting junk food and overeating, and quitting volunteering for all┬áthe┬áthings, and quitting not going to exercise (though that one will perhaps be the toughest, because I hate exercising in public and the group of friends I work out with now goes to a public gym).

Maybe I can be lazy for another week and save the above paragraph for New Year’s resolutions. Have a big ol’ list of stuff that I’m going to quit or give up or start or start back up. Who knows. I kinda hate resolutions, too. I tend to not get them done if they’re anything associated with me losing weight or getting healthier. The writing ones? Yeah, I can do those. Cosplay goals? If I can lose the weight, I can usually manage. It’s kind of a matter of how hard I want it, or how hard Thing X is. If Thing X is writing, I got this. If Thing X is getting on a treadmill to have half the town watch my fat jiggle, well, Thing X might not be a resolution I’d keep.

What will 2019 bring me? It’ll bring me age 40, hopefully around the time Escaping┬áthe┬áLight hits shelves. That would be an awesome birthday present. Forty years old and a three-time published novelist, with two of them traditionally/indie published and one self-published. Yeah. A published sequel will be great for the midlife crisis. Maybe I can become a shut-in when I’m not at work and just churn out novels for the next, say, twenty to twenty-five years. Hit the Golden Years with a bunch of series and standalones.

It’s nice to dream, anyway…

‘Twas the night before Tuesday

Yeah, I know, that’s not how the line goes. But sometimes, even the day before Christmas, it’s hard to get into the spirit of the holiday.

Let me set a few things straight: I’m not Christian. So really, by “the spirit of the holiday” I mean “the spirit of giving gifts in appreciation of others.” December 25th is just a convenient, easy-to-remember day to give gifts that just happens to coincide with a day when a good portion of humanity is also giving gifts. Birthdays? Sure, I can give gifts on birthdays–if I can manage to remember them. Problem is, I tend to not remember. Facebook is about the only way I remember any birthdays, and that’s kinda cheating. Jesus’s birthday (let’s not argue the validity of the December birthdate just now) is a set date, a fixed point in time. The same every year, for everyone. Easy peasy.

I’ve got all the presents that need to be wrapped wrapped. Am I expecting much for myself? Not really–and that’s okay. It isn’t about what you get. I know people say that, but I mean it. I want to see my dad smile when he gets his gift; I want to see Mom smile. My sister, brother–I want people to be happy with what they get. What I get is inconsequential.

This is going to be a busy week–after Christmas comes a day of working on charts, then a Twelfth Night party with our household, then a full┬áday┬áof┬álasers, then a day off (whew!), then a weekend where I’m going to bow out of doing much of anything other than the craft projects that have backed up on me. I’ve got one and two-thirds Persian outfits to get done, a crapton of embroidery, and not a lot of time in which to get them finished. So I think I’m going to stay home for the majority of the Twelfth Night parties my husband has planned for us to go to. I just don’t have the time.

Speaking of which, I have a pirihan to finish.

Going on an adventure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

It’s was supposed to be just a three hour tour–er, I mean drive. I had gotten off work early, we left town right away… Easy peasy.

Except we didn’t calculate for some idiot running over the median into oncoming traffic on the interstate at about the halfway point. We didn’t calculate for the four fatalities, or for the Dept of Corrections van that got hit in the accident. We didn’t calculate for the interstate being backed up and shut down.

We followed the GPS instructions for getting around the tie-up for a little while, but then we tried our own route… and ended up getting turned in the other direction by the cops directing traffic.

By that point, our three hour drive had lasted four hours, and we weren’t even halfway there.

Thank the Gods for SCA friends with crash space.

Hopefully by now (more than twelve hours after the accident that blocked us occurred) the roads are more friendly. Hopefully we can get to my in-laws’ house and enjoy pre-Christmas with my husband’s family.

I don’t think I can handle another adventure like that.