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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

-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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Trending Down

Another goal hit in my keto life journey! I’m proud to say that I’m under 250 lbs now, which is something I feared I’d never reach again.

I’m far from “done” with the keto lifestyle. On the contrary, I feel so good about the weight that I’ve already lost that I’m planning on continuing indefinitely–not only for fear of backsliding, but also because I actually don’t mind the low-carb life. Can’t eat any of the snacks in the break room? Okay. I’ll bring my own snacks. Not much on the menu at a fast food joint or restaurant? Fine. I’ll pick what I can eat and just not eat the carb-y stuff.

For the official count, here’s my weight loss numbers for the last 30 days, 60 days, and overall since I started:

I’ve been doing a keto diet for about 2 1/2 months now. Almost 40 lbs in 2 1/2 months! I’m so happy.

I’ll plateau eventually. Probably a few times. But for now, I’m enjoying the steady decline in weight. My clothes fit better–sometimes too big now–and I feel better overall.

Speaking of feeling better, today I see my podiatrist to see if my foot has finally healed enough to get this stupid boot off. It’s been 8 weeks today, and I’m 1000% done with the boot. It’s heavy, it’s awkward, it makes my gait weird, and my other foot is getting painful from my favoring the foot with the boot. All that, plus I can’t drive. I miss running errands on lunch or being able to take myself to work. It’s the little things in life, man.

I haven’t had the boot off for much of anything besides showering and changing clothes. Because I wake up earlier than my husband and the boot has a ton of Velcro on it, I just sleep with it on to keep from waking him every time I get up in the night. Since this is a re-break of a bone that tends to re-break once initially broken, I’m trying to be a good patient and stick to my restrictions.

If all looks good on the x-ray this afternoon, I might be able to ditch the boot and just “take it easy” for however long the doctor determines I need to do so. I have a sinking feeling that he’s going to tell me “no sword fighting,” which will be a disappointment for sure. I’m eager to get back to rapier practice and relearn all that I’ve forgotten and recondition myself to holding the sword for long periods of time and sparring with friends, but all that might have to wait if the doctor says it might jeopardize my foot.

I really don’t want another 8 weeks of boot life.

Maybe later today I’ll call and schedule the DEXA scan I was supposed to get months ago. Hard to figure out a time to do it when I can’t drive myself to it! This needing a ride everywhere stinks.

Other news in the health front: I accidentally skipped a month of my biologic injection, but I got it yesterday so that’s on board. Hopefully my doc isn’t too mad at my slipup when I see her in a couple of weeks. (And hopefully I can drive myself to that appointment.) I was out of my Adderall for a couple of weeks while the pharmacy had issues with their shipments, but I’m happy to say that I have that again as well. My mental health is, well…

…Yeah. That. I hate my job. It’s getting to me. I mean, it’s the same thing day in, day out, five days a week. Sure, there’s the occasional half day or holiday, but lately I’m getting called in to either switch which half I’m working or to work the whole day on the half days (usually at the last possible minute), and the doctor has a couple days a month off, which makes the work load on his off days easier because there aren’t any patients, but yeah…that’s not enough. I don’t know what else I would do, though.

I’ve worked in healthcare for the better part of 19 years (9 years in a hospital setting, and close to 9 years where I’m at, with a brief period of joblessness and retail when I moved to Arizona), so I’m not quite sure what other marketable skills I might have. I mean, I’m quasi-bilingual, so there’s that, and here in AZ speaking Spanish is always a bonus, but my Spanish is limited. My grammar is terrible, and as far as conversational Spanish goes I can muddle through most of it, but I know sometimes I’m using the wrong word or wrong verb form. Medical Spanish? I’m almost completely fluent there. I can snag a chief complaint or medical history no problem. But if I want to do something different, something non-medical, I don’t know if my Spanish is up to par for other professions.

I have a degree that’s non-medical–a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice Administration–but that’s 13 years old now, and I have done absolutely nothing with it since I graduated. Well, I got it framed and hung it up. That’s about it.

A friend of mine has been encouraging me to look at the possibility of working on post as a contractor or some other type of government position, but I’m leery of that. When I first found out I was moving here, I spent months ahead of time applying at various positions on a government website, and I never heard back from any of them. I even revamped my resume based on some redacted resumes my dad showed me from hires he’d done as a DOD employee. So I had my Resume Wizard one from Word that failed, and my Based on a Successfully Hired Government Employee resume that also failed. I just don’t know if I can handle the stress of trying to find a job while maintaining my stressful job.

If I was better at marketing–if my book was selling enough to be profitable–I’d hold a sliver of hope that I could make money doing that. It’s not, though, and I’m not, so that’s out. No, writing is a second profession for me, not my primary source of income, and I doubt it ever will be. I can dream, but…yeah.

I’ve gotta get moving on that marketing stuff, speaking of which. I’m part of a group of authors who are making a run on the USA Today Bestseller’s list with a box set of stories, and my newest WIP is geared towards that. I’ve got a lot of work to do with that, though, because I need to get followers and do some heavy marketing as well. Can’t get to the bestseller list without working for it.

It seems like a lot: the boot, the existential employment crisis, the writing, the marketing…Can I do it all?

I don’t know, but I know one thing: Something’s gotta give. I don’t know how soon, but it’s gotta happen. Whether it’s freedom from the boot and freedom to do my normal activities, or a new job, or a surge in sales, something has to happen to change things. And I know, I have to change to make some of these things happen. I just have to be brave enough to try.

Countdown to Freedom?

It’s been four weeks today since I was sentenced to the boot for the Jones fracture on my right foot, and it’s been four weeks of hell–waiting for rides everywhere, not being able to help my husband with the driving when we travel, lugging around three extra pounds of boot everywhere I go. To say that I’m sick of the damn thing would be an understatement. Today, however, I see the podiatrist again for a follow up and another x-ray, and, theoretically, I have only two weeks left of bootness.

I still haven’t gotten the bone scan done, but then again, I can’t fucking drive myself to the doctor to pick up the order, and I can’t drive myself to the radiology department in town to get the scan done. I’m totally reliant on other people to get around. In the words of Gollum, “We hates it!” Maybe once the boot is off I can get around enough to take care of the scan myself and, hopefully, get some answers as to why my foot keeps breaking.

In other news, as of Monday I was down 27.2 pounds from my initial weigh-in of 287.4 pounds. I’ve been doing the keto diet for about a month and a half, and for two thirds of that time I haven’t been able to exercise the way I’d like, mostly because of the boot. Still, even with less mobility and less exercise, I’m feeling better, my clothes fit better, and I’m not craving carbs like I thought I would. Do I miss them? Sure. Do I sometimes wish there were keto-friendly snacks more readily available at work? Sure. Have I broken down and gorged on candy and bread? Nope. I’ve been a good girl. And, after the next two weeks have passed, maybe I can go back to exercising–and to rapier practice!

That’s right, my diet is going so well that I think I might be able to fit into my chain shirt again, which means more stabbing! I am so out of practice that I may have to start from the beginning, in a way, because I’ve probably forgotten a lot of the fundamentals, but my health and my confidence are up enough that I feel like I’ll be able to once again enjoy the only sport I’ve ever been remotely decent at!

Oh, yeah! Back to “fighting trim”–or at least trim enough to fight! Lol

I know my good friend and rapier teacher will be glad to hear that. I feel like I’ve disappointed her by quitting practice for, what, a year now? Or close to it. It’s amazing what a difference 27.2 pounds can make to one’s confidence, even though I’m far from my goal weight. Ideally, I’d like to be back down to the 150-170 range, which I know is a long time off. Realistically, I’m probably going to be content with getting down below 200.

Maybe the weight loss will take some of the stress off of my foot. Maybe it will boost my physical confidence and make it so I don’t get out of breath putting on socks. Maybe I’ll be able to exercise again and lose even more. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It’s all a waiting game, really, until this boot comes off and I find out what kind of activities I can partake in. Hopefully–fingers crossed!–I will be cleared for light rapier fighting. Maybe just practice for now, then work my way back to tournament fighting. I miss it now. Before, I was so depressed over my weight I didn’t want to fight. Now? Now I want to get back in there. I mean, the shirt fits. It would be a shame not to put it to use. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Exercising might be tricky. I often am not out of work at a decent time to go to the gym where my friends work out and join them. However, now that I’m losing a decent amount of weight (and once the boot is off and I can drive again), I might make the effort to go out there and, yes, exercise in public. Where people can watch me. It’s a little intimidating to think about, but less intimidating than it was 27.2 pounds ago.

My advice if you’re trying to lose weight? Well, I have a couple of things. One: keep your mind open. If I hadn’t given keto a try, I might still be 287.4 and gaining. I’m not saying keto’s the only answer, but for me it’s working. If one thing doesn’t work after, oh, a month or two, try something else. Just try. Two: keep going. Don’t stop trying. Don’t give up. Take your health into your own hands and be strong about it. Three: Don’t be ashamed to tell people what you’re doing. If you hide in shame, you won’t get the support system that you need to motivate you. I’ve had coworkers and friends who never would speak about my weight before come up to me and tell me how much better I look, how I look more slender, how my clothes fit different. I know that they wouldn’t be mentioning it if they didn’t know I was trying to lose weight, but all the same it feels good. It gives me that boost of confidence I need to reassure me that I’ve made the right decision and that I’ll be okay. It may take a while, but I’ll be okay.

Two more weeks. Two more weeks, and then I’ll be free.

Missed opportunities.. but not really

Today marked a big day in my SCA life, and it made me think about my personal life as well.

Today marked the day when I knew I’d never be a Defender of the White Scarf. Not that I was thinking I would be one, but I thought I might eventually have a chance. If I practiced hard enough, if I worked hard enough, y’know?

Then I got to thinking about why I stopped practicing. Why I stopped trying. Why I don’t really try to do much of anything physical anymore. And then it hit me: I’ve gotten too big. Really big. Uncomfortably big. Like, sometimes I wonder if it’s going to kill me big.

I need to do something about it.

I need to stop when I get hungry and decide if I’m really all that hungry. I need to try to get more active. And, much as I hate the idea, I might need to talk seriously with a doctor about gastric surgery. Like, dead serious.

At five feet ten inches, I am almost three hundred pounds. I might be that by now–I’m afraid to get on a scale right now. I don’t want to know. I think I’ll break down in tears if I find out.

Something has to change, though. This can’t keep getting worse.

I’m tired of being the fattest person in the room. I’m tired of not being able to breathe when I try to put on my shoes or something. I’m tired of being hungry all the time. I’m tired of seeing myself in the mirror and wanting to puke. I’m tired of seeing myself tagged in photos online and trying not to cry at how I look.

I don’t know if today’s the day that things will change. I don’t know if I’ll ever crawl out of the hole I’ve gotten myself into. It’s gotta change sometime, though, if I’m going to survive. If I’m going to accomplish the things I want to do. I need to do an about-face, and I need to do it fast.

If I’m going to get things done.

If I want to survive.

Rusted blade, broken heart

It’s my own fault, I suppose. I stopped practicing and fighting rapier because depression got the better of me, and now the rapier community in my Kingdom has all but forgotten me.

My husband gave up on rapier long before I did. He quit bringing his gear long before I did. But I’m a nonentity, a no one, so while he gets people asking him what gives, I get silence (save for a few steadfast friends who always ask where I’m at).

I don’t know. Maybe I’m not approachable. Maybe I hide off to the side too often, and people assume it’s where I want to be. Maybe they don’t know how much it hurts to think that almost no one cares if I’m out there or not.

Do I put on too good of a show? Have I hidden the pain that well? So few people seem to acknowledge my existence beyond a smile and a nod. I get a rare hug from someone outside my circle. I don’t get invited to stuff (except tangientially, as an extension of my husband or friends), and I often wonder if I ever cross people’s minds when I’m not there.

The worst part is he doesn’t realize how much it hurts me when he goes on and on about it. About how so many people talk to him and chat with him and I’m over here like “Hey, I exist too. I’m a person. I’m a rapier fighter.”

Have I lost that part of my identity? Am I perhaps no longer a rapier fighter? If not, then what am I? I’m not an artist until my husband shows off my work. I’m not a leader, not a helper, not anything. I just float along on my husband’s coattails, clinging to the hope that one of his friends will think I’m worth talking to.

I think I need to go to bed now. I’m clearly not thinking right. I’m getting emotional over something silly. Maybe these people do give a shit. Maybe they just think I don’t need conversation or comraderie or anything other than a smile and a nod.

Take a deep breath. Again. Good.

That’s what the surgeon at work says when he listens to a patient’s lungs. I always find myself unconsciously deep breathing with the patient as the doctor says this, and even though it’s relaxing in a way, it’s not enough for the day I had yesterday.

It was busy. I mean, I did some standing around, but it was mostly when I was standing still during the lasers. Mostly I was hurrying back and forth from room to room to room, and though I managed to get a break I never felt rested or relieved. It didn’t help that the heater was on at 73 all day long, and when I first got to the office it was so hot in the exam rooms that I immediately started sweating. From there, it got worse. Between the movement, the heat being on, and the stress of one problem after another, I ended up damn near drenched by the end of the long day. Even though the temperature was in the 40s when I left, I cranked the A/C to half blast and left a window open as I drove home. It took about fifteen minutes to cool off.

But I’m trying. I’m trying to calm down, trying to take those two deep breaths when I need to. I’m trying not to stress about the things I can’t change, and I’m trying to be more assertive in the things I can. Yeah, I’m still going out of town this weekend. I didn’t really try to fight with my husband on that. But I did tell him that I need to slow down and that I’m feeling stressed. I can’t do anything much about the work stress, but I can at least try to minimize the home stress. I will cut down on the SCA activities. Sadly, that sometimes means cutting down on time spent with friends who also participate in SCA activities.

Once my laundry is done–any minute now, really–I’m going to finish getting dressed, go to the post office, and go visit with a friend. I need that so much right now; “me” time with someone I enjoy talking to. I haven’t spent much time with my local SCA friends lately because I’ve been trying to cut back wherever I can, and unfortunately the local events and get-togethers have suffered. By the time I’m done with work, or back in town from a weekend away, or whatever, I just don’t have it in me to go exercise with my friends or go to rapier practice. I quit going to the monthly populace meetings and the months Court Nights because A – I’m not an officer anymore, so I don’t have to go to the populace meetings and B – no awards or recognitions are ever given out at Court Nights, so what’s the point? It’s generally a regurgitation of the information from the populace meeting, which I can easily get from my husband. So, long story short, I don’t see my local friends too much. Feeling kinda guilty about that lately, so I need to see when I can find the time to hang out with them where it won’t add to my already-full plate.

That being said, the next two months–basically now through Estrella War–are still going to be hectic. I still need to reevaluate the events I’ve agreed to attend and see which I can stay home for. I’ll feel bad leaving my husband to attend on his own, but I have to take my health and well-being into consideration. The stress is affecting me adversely, so I need need need to do this. For me. For my sanity. For my physical health and mental health. All of it.

Slow burn

I’m trying. I really am.

I get up and go to work every weekday (unless the office is closed or–rarely–I request off for an appointment or something). I work a full week, sometimes into overtime, and I hardly ever call out or ask to go home early. I clock in on time, and I stay until my boss says I can go. If that means clocking out less than twelve hours before I have to clock in again, then that’s what I do. If it means working when I’m in pain, I do. If it means working through a panic attack, I do. I can’t afford not to.

Most weekends I end up doing SCA things; whether it’s an event, a household meeting, rapier practice, or crafting various things for SCA events, household meetings, or (rarely) something just for me.

I sleep when my body lets me. Sometimes it’s six hours, more often closer to four, maybe four and a half. I drink caffeine and take Adderall to make it through the above listed days without falling asleep sitting up…or standing up. Or while driving.

I do the laundry every week, sometimes multiple days a week. Sometimes I’m aching enough that I have difficulty picking up the clothes that end up on the floor instead of the hamper…. so I leave them. Sometimes I’m so worn out from all the other things that I leave the clean laundry in the dryer for a few days and just fluff it when I need something to wear. Sometimes I go to the effort of taking the laundry out of the dryer and putting it back in the hamper until I have the energy to put it away.

When I have time alone–usually in the wee hours, when sleep evades me–I write. Or edit. Or revise. Or embroider. Or sew. Or plan and execute social media marketing stuff for my writing.

There’s more, but right now I can’t think of exactly what.

I’m trying. I really am. But I am feeling more and more burned out lately. Just thinking about the things I have to do makes me exhausted and depressed. The things that I used to do for fun are now duties. Chores. Requirements. Necessities. There are deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines. Even the SCA events that used to get me all excited now fill me with dread. It’s not “yay! I get to do this thing!” It’s “well, I guess I have to do this thing.”ย 

I need some me time. Problem is, time is not something that I have available to give myself. It’s all filled with things. Work. SCA. Housework. Crafting.

I can only do so much. My body and my mind and my spirit are all stretched as far as they can go.

I need to think. Introspect. Look inside. Take all the pieces and see where they fit–and what ones shouldn’t even be in the puzzle. I need to prioritize and cut back where I can.ย 

Some people might feel like I’m pulling away, but it’s not trying to get away from them so much as trying to regroup.

I’m committed to several things for the next two months. I have to hold on at least that long. But after Estrella War?

I might not try as hard. I really might not.

Let the madness begin (again)

Though I kinda already knew they would, I’m ecstatic that RhetAskew Publishing has requested the full manuscript ofย Escaping the Light. ๐Ÿ™‚ I sent it in this morning, and though I–and they–know it needs a lot of work, I’m excited to get started on the next step in my publishing journey.

Books for Tucson Comic-Con have been ordered and one of the two business licenses I will need has been requested (still need to find an envelope to mail in the second one). Going to be selling the books and of course the bookmarks I’m making. I even found a cool new fabric at Wal-Mart of all places to make a bunch of sugar skull bookmarks. Yeah, the con is a couple days after Halloween, but hey, sugar skull sells. That’s a fact. I’m out of town this weekend, though, so there won’t be any production of bookmarks until I get home. I’ve got roughly 17-18 made (that aren’t set aside for gifts and the like), so I’ll really have to get hopping if I’m going to have enough for the whole weekend.

One bad thing about the con being only 13 days away? I started getting a cold sore on my upper lip yesterday. FML. I guess it’s the stress starting to get to me. Almost couldn’t have come at a worse time–because it can take 10 days or more for a cold sore to go away. I bought some OTC stuff to put on it a few times a day, so I’m hoping that helps shorten the healing time. I don’t want to be selling books in front of hundreds or thousands of people with a big-ass scab on my lip. (Okay, I don’t want to be working up patients with said scab on my lip, either.)

Today will be mostly spent at an SCA event, where I’ll get to do some rapier fighting in my chain mail shirt for the first time since I got it a couple of months ago. Time and my busy schedule haven’t allowed me to use it yet. The one day when I did have it on and ready to go it started storming right as practice was about to begin, and they’re real sticklers for not waving around long metal rods while there’s lightning nearby.

Also, it’s lightning,ย NOT “lightening.” One means bolts of electricity from the sky, one means to make lighter in color or tone. One is a noun, one is a verb. This has been a PSA.

Death of 1000 bites

Monsoon season seems to be running a tad long this year in southern Arizona, as is evidenced by the hordes of mosquitoes that were in my tent the other night at an SCA event. Thank the Gods the event was just forty-five minutes from home, and thank the Gods that I’ve somehow managed to maintain my sanity despite the itching on over about 75% of my body.

It started with just a couple of bites. Okay, fine. No big deal.

Then I went to bed in our tent.

A couple of bites turned into half a dozen. Half a dozen turned into a dozen. I tried covering up with my sleeping bag but, as is common in early September in southern Arizona, it was too damn hot to cover up. So I’d put out a foot or an arm or my head to cool off a bit and almost immediately get attacked again.

This went on for a couple of hours before my husband returned to the tent from hanging with friends and declared he was taking me home for the night.

I didn’t complain. By that point, I had a good twenty mosquito bites spread out over most of my body.

Once home, a hot shower, Benadryl, and some hydrocortisone cream helped, but I still itched. At least I wasn’t getting fresh bites, though.

I can’t say the same about the second day of the event.

Despite wearing long pants and long sleeves, I somehow managed to receive another twenty-something bites the second day of the event. On my shoulders. Under my bra. Between my toes. On my fucking ass.ย 

I’m trying not to scratch; I really am. Sometimes, though, I find myself scratching without realizing when I started to.

My Benadryl supply is running short. I should probably take more now that I’m up, but I fear that with my luck I’d use the last dose and promptly get stung by a bee. That’s the way it works, right? Murphy and his stupid law.

Sadly, though there is a rapier tournament later today, I don’t think I’m going back to the final day of the event–75% might turn into 95%, especially if I’m all sweaty from fighting in the heat. Those little flying fuckers really love sweat.ย 

Oh well. Staying home means I can write or embroider or something. I have a project for His Majesty of Atenveldt that is nearing completion–well, the first part of the project is nearing completion. There is another piece I need to get from the artisan who is making the garment (my potential future Laurel), plus some pieces for Her Majesty that also need embroidery.

Speaking of which, I should probably get to finishing the second cuff while I’m thinking about it.

Just can’t be scratching my bites with the needle.

Back in action

The other day I started Book 3 of theย Abnormal series, and I’m stoked to get the story down.

Clare didn’t get to get much badassery done in Book 2, so I’m hoping to advance her character in different ways with Book 3. Sure, she had character development in Book 2, but I want her to be able to hold her own with the characters that have more physical Gifts, and I think I know just the way.

Now, the above isn’t necessarily what Clare looks like, but you get the idea. (Photo courtesy of Pixaby images, from the WordSwag app.) I want her to be badass, and not just mentally. Don’t get me wrong; she’ll still have faults. You gotta give your MCs faults or else they get boring. But yeah, a little more ass-kicking will do her some good.

First, though, I have to get her out of her current predicament. It’s not too hairy, nothing I can’t write my way out of, but I have to get through it before I can jump into stuff that happens later. I’m just not one of those writers who can jump ahead a few chapters or write the ending first. I have to go in order, at least with the first draft, and then if later drafts require it I can add chapters in between.

Book 2 is near-ready for alphas now. I just have a couple people who either need to A- readย Abnormal first or B- finish current projects. I probably won’t get Book 3 done before the alpha reads come back, but that’s okay. Book 2 is technically priority right now, but it’s at a point where I can’t look at it anymore or else I’ll go crazy. Well, crazier.ย 

I’m debating on cutting back on SCA-related events and projects here soon. I’ve just got so much to do with my writing, and I’m getting kind of burned out on SCA events. Not that I don’t love my SCAdian family, but I will need a break very shortly or else I’ll be a hot mess. Events every other weekend, or meetings, whatever, gets to be a lot of stuff. I’ll still go to rapier practice when my body’s not angry at me from the arthritis, but I think that taking it easy will be better in the long run. I jumped into the SCA with both feet, right into the deep end, and I am having trouble getting to the surface for air.

Well, back to Book 3. Clare’s in the middle of–well, spoilers. ๐Ÿ˜‰