Food and knitting is all I think about.

Eating healthy and exercising is hard, guys. Just wanted you to know. Because you didn’t. Obviously. It’s absolutely a secret.

This is my current knitting project (one of three…*cough*). Because I have to count the stitches, it’s progressing a bit more slowly than I’d like. (Not at all because I’m working on three projects.) I imagine it’s going to be for the baby’s first birthday rather than when he’s born. Oops. I still think it’s coming along well, and I even screwed up the stitches and was able to fix the count so I’m back on track!

But seriously, it’s hard to count stitches and read subtitles at the same time. My brain just can’t do it anymore.

The “focus on one writing project at a time” thing is going fairly well. I’ve even been trying to sneak in a half hour or hour of writing in the morning some days during the week so my writing days aren’t limited to two. It won’t happen all the time, but I’m making better progress this month on my word count than I was! Every 500 words counts, right?

I’m going to go absolutely not think about cooking another grilled cheese sandwich…

Not going to think about food at all.

Nope.

Well, least there’s corn on the cob?

This week has been very up and down.

Up: I ordered my friend’s birthday present early enough that it might arrive on time.
Down: I spent Sunday at a family reunion, which in itself isn’t bad, but not how I want to spend the whole day (most of it in a car).
Up: I hit my editing goal and I think I added some good emotion development to a scene.
Down: I didn’t have time to write much last weekend.
Up: My meals have been very yummy. Summer corn on the cob. Mmm.
Down: I got kind of a downer email at work and I’m obsessing on it.
Up: I got to eat KFC on Sunday.
Down: My diet didn’t do well this weekend >.<
Up: I had a really good ride on Sunday and an OK one today
Down: I may not be able to move tomorrow 😀

We’ve been having temperatures in the 80s, but with the storms that moved in last night and today, our high today was barely in the 60s. And it was windy. And slippery from the rain. So we went on a trail ride (the ring wasn’t a mess), me on the quarter horse I’m working with and a young woman on a crazy Arabian (the one I rode on Monday). She’s a better (and more calm/confident) rider. But the winds were high, the horses were spooky, and we rode for two hours when I was expecting one. Nothing bad happened, but it was more tense than I usually like. But it was gorgeous out. Shining sun and not too hot, to say the least. I’m just glad I was on the saner horse.

This is the long-haired barn cat we have at the barn. Yes, a long-haired barn cat. I swear he’s not as pissy as the picture seems to imply. He actually hides in the hayloft most of the time to avoid the dogs. His name’s Alexander and he’s a sweetheart. (You’re getting a picture of him because I didn’t take any on the ride :p)

On Writing and What’s Next

I was talking to a writer friend and ze mentioned that ze only writes one story at a time and needs to finish that story before starting any others, and that keeps zir from having a string of unfinished stories.

I thought that sounded like a good–great–idea, so I started making a list of all the stories I’m working on. It’s, uh, a long list. I mean, I always had a spreadsheet (that should have been a sign), but I have a lot of stories started and never finished. So now I’m making a list. And I will go down that list as best I can. Obviously I’m going to have to work out some kinks from the system, because I have some stories I more recently started that may need to be finished before my big Scruples project, but we’ll see.

After the current thing I’m rewriting (for something else not related), I plan on moving on to my rehabilitating rockstar OR my super queer shifters. I’m going to poke and whichever one reacts is going to get priority.

But first I need to finish my mini-project, and also work on revisions for my fantasy bear shift novella.

While knitting a Spider Man blanket for my friends’ future baby. Because I didn’t have a knitting project on hand and my friend is having a baby and I’ve made blankets for all the other babies in my life, so I felt bad.

And then I did a search for geeky knitted things and found this (which was within my skill level…I hope) and couldn’t resist.

Hopefully it turns out okay. Or the baby immediately vomits on it and it can be burned and I don’t have to worry.

Here’s to multitasking!

A Much-Deserved Weekend

So after an amazing book release, a whirlwind blog tour, and a long trip to Vegas (which I was totally going to do a write-up of and then…didn’t and now it’s too late;), I had a very nice, relaxing weekend.

First off, I spent Saturday morning writing. It’s a short story that may not amount to anything, but I’m playing around. I’m having fun. It’s been a little while, so yehaw 🙂

Then I got on my little goober of a pony and went on a trail ride. The weather was perfect, the ground was perfect, the company was perfect (a 15-year-old boy, D, was riding his horse with me), and it was just relaxing. D is still recovering from a concussion, and his horse P is a beauty and a sweetheart. Despite the fact my pony is roughly 14 inches shorter, they are a good pair for an easy ride.

The dogs didn’t come with us, but it gives you an idea of how short my pony is.

After that I went home, went shopping, and then relaxed in front of the TV to watch Hotel Transylvania, which had cute moments, but didn’t really blow me away. And I was a little disgruntled about the fact that they raise the point that humans likely still wouldn’t be able to accept monsters, then they had humans TOTALLY accepting monsters. I wish humans would “accept monsters” but because it was a point that was raised earlier and specifically said the opposite, I felt like the movie lied to the audience something fierce. Still, Jonathan, who I sort of hated at first, really grew on me, which I appreciated. And I may have felt a terrible kinship with Dracula.

Sunday started with more writing, then I went to my brother’s house to hang out. His one son broke his foot (involving a pin and a cast), and when you’re not even 5, that’s a huge deal. (It’s a pretty big deal anyway, but the little man isn’t even 5!) It was a blast playing Old Maid, building Marble Run, and then playing “Guess what marble I have in my hand.” (For…hours. I swear. HOURS.* He was having so much fun.) They also glopped a ton of icing on top of cupcakes….because decorating skills are unique among 4-year-olds. Still, the double chocolate fudge cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles were delicious.

Then I headed into town to go to the Welcome to Night Vale: Ghost Stories tour that was stopping by. Visited with friends, grabbed a bite to eat (mei fun, always a winner), then headed to the show. Bought two shirts. BECAUSE NIGHT VALE.

Also, if you’ve been following me long, you realize that I AM A HUGE SCAREDY CAT. So I was a little…tentative going into something called “ghost stories.” But I survived. I love their live shows, which have so much more personality than even their podcast episodes do. Plus the cast can sort of interact with the audience, and there’s lots of body language that gets to be seen. Fantastic.

A long drive home and a late night out means Monday came too soon, but I had a much needed relaxing weekend.

And next weekend is my tattoo! I’m nerv-cited.

*May not have actually been hours.

Breaking news: I’m excited

Spring is here (that’s why it’s snowing, right?), and that means it’s Horse Season for me. Right now my main task is grooming ponies to help them shed out their winter coats (and considering how fuzzy some of the ponies get, this can be intense!). I wish I’d taken pictures of the barn floor after I groomed my old retired pony. I could have built a dog out of the amount of hair left. (And I mean a german shepherd, not a miniature poodle.)

But my favorite pony is ready to go! One of the kids who uses him for her 4-H project has been riding him on and off all winter, and since we both started riding again in March, he’s in good shape and not nearly as fuzzy as the others.

I can’t quite tell if he’s happy to be back to work or not.

This summer I also have the opportunity to exercise a friend’s mare. I’m not wild about mares, or quarter horses, so this will be an adventure, but it will be nice to have a consistent mount (who is sane and not a pony!). The nice thing is that I still won’t have to feel guilty if I don’t get a chance to get out as often as I should, since I’m a secondary rider 🙂

There’s also an 18-hh Warmblood (that’s 6 feet tall at the whithers) that might need ridden, and if the owner works the kinks out, I may ride him too. Of course, at 5’3, I’m going to look like a pimple. I’ll share pictures if that happens.

If you missed it, Second Skin is now available to order/download at Riptide’s website! It’ll be available at all other vendors on Monday 🙂 So if you just can’t wait, you know where to go.

Also, if you want to follow my blog tour, here’s a list of the stops I’ll be making.

Finally:

I’m going to be at RT Booklovers Convention from Tuesday through Sunday this coming week, If you you’re going to be in Vegas and you want to say hi, just drop me a line! I’ll mostly be gofering for Riptide, but I have a fair amount of flexible time too. Let me know, and I hope to see you there.

7 Points of Interest

1. I’m not dead.

2. I’m adorable as a Powerpuff character.

3. March was crazy with editing all week and writing on weekends and then Easter snuck up on me. This is the first weekend I’ve had where I didn’t feel like a headless chicken.

4. JUST OVER A WEEK UNTIL SECOND SKIN RELEASES

5. The week of April 11 will see a lot of blog posts from me in the Second Skin tour, and I’ll try to forward them along so you don’t miss any.
6. If you’re going to be at RT this month, be sure to stop by and say hi! I’ll be there, wearing a Riptide tee! I’m the short one with the short brown hair.
7. Horseback riding season is starting up again and I really need to organize my life better in order to get anything/everything done. Could someone please loan me their Time Turner? Thank you.
Happy April!

A Rough Week

I vowed to myself not to mope and whine on the internet as much, but this week has made it tough. Mostly I’ve avoided the internet, because sometimes you just get hit.

Thursday night I got a bunch of feedback returned from my beta readers. Awesome, a few days early!

And then I opened it. The one wasn’t bad. She enjoyed the story, had suggestions for cultural things (which is why I wanted her to read it) and a few pointers. Not bad.

The two other readers “ran out of time” to finish the story. I realize that people have lives (I recently bailed on a beta, though I hadn’t even started). But when the two people tear into your story the most ‘ran out of time’, it feels very much like the dreaded DNF mark. But OK, that’s part of being a writer. After reading their notes, though, one of which pretty much said it needed a complete re-write, I felt…blasted. The deadline for the call I’m trying to hit is at the end of March. I’ve done edits after edits to this piece (growing it from 8.5K to 12K). And I just…wasn’t sure I had the energy to do everything they wanted.

Like, maybe this is a story that’s never meant to see the light of day. I tried something new, and it didn’t work. That happens. Maybe it’s time to let it die and move on. Or set it aside for long enough to really do a complete re-write.

I’m not sure I’ve come to a decision yet.

Heavy edits never make you feel great, and of course this tossed me into the “I am a shit writer who will amount to nothing” mood. But I watched the last five episodes of Tokyo Ghoul season 1 and coped.

Friday morning I got a text from one of my old coworkers, telling me to call her when I had a minute. I thought it was weird, but didn’t think much of it. And then I called. She wanted me to know that my old boss, who was in his fifties with a kid in college, had passed away the day before.

This man was nice, and funny, and just generally a great mentor. He and I were in the same writing group (which I joined when I left the company). He’d just had a birthday. It’s so unexpected and strange that I’m still just shocked. Our editorial team was tiny and a tight group, even as we went our different ways.

And then this morning, life has to go on. Which I know is cliche. And it’s not like my boss was a relative, but I did spend five days a week, eight hours a day, for eight years with him. So it’s weird and my joints feel out of place. And I keep thinking of his kids and his siblings and my heart goes out to them.

And yet life goes on. I have edits to do, and writing to do, and a birthday party I really don’t want to do.

And life goes on.

You are what you eat…

After vaguely making a connection between eating poorly (especially high-sodium foods, aka eating out) and my depression/anxiety at the beginning of the year…I’ve realized again that maybe I should eat more balanced, healthful meals. And try to start exercising again. Not that I’m eating too poorly this week (weekends are my bane), but I could use a little exercise. And maybe ease myself into instead of three days of hard-core exercise and then flop on my back bemoaning the world and getting old.

If you want to be health buddies (and you’re not my brother–because it’s just sinful that my older brother is in better shape than I am), let me know!

And you might be wondering why I’m bringing this up on my writer’s blog.

1. It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to. (I won’t break into song here, but I’m now humming that and I have no one to blame but myself.)

2. If poor eating triggers my depression, and my depression usually leads to me not writing…then obviously I want to not be depressed!

3. Even if poor eating doesn’t trigger my depression, eating healthy isn’t going to hurt and trigger my depression (most likely). I mean, it’s not like I’m going to stop eating out. Just maybe not four days in a row.

4. I was having a really good time with my writing and editing and in a good mood and then ate out four days in a row and today I am verbally constipated. I realize it could be coincidence, but, again, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Hopefully my post next week will be more on topic and less whiny! (And…not three days late?)

Massages, peppermint fudge, and 1k

Despite the fact that it’s winter and I should have plenty of time to be getting things done, February has been raucous. Fighting depression, plus my usual busy-ness and my old back injury acting up, has kept me very occupied.

This morning, however, I wrote another 1k for my shifter story, so that felt good. And I got in contact with a potential beta reader (…and then later realized I haven’t put the final touches on the one sex scene, but THAT’S beside the point).

What I love about this story is that because it was born and killed so many times, I actually plotted everything out. And so while sometimes the blahs keep me from writing, when I do sit down to write, I at least know where I’m going. And so far things have been doing okay like that. They don’t always unfold quite the way I planned, but I’m not off-track (yet).

I spent the rest of the day getting a massage (because my old back injury was waking me up in the middle of the night in pain, boo-hiss) and making peppermint fudge.

Because my friends and I have started having themed gatherings. We don’t see each other often (we’re a motley crew and don’t live terrible close for frequent visiting and are all in very different parts of our lives). The first party started as a pumpkin spice party, because someone kept posting delicious pumpkin spice recipes and we ALL wanted the food. So we decided to each make something, get together, and gorge!…I mean hang out!

It was a blast, and so we made plans to do it again, and this time the theme was peppermint (which most people aren’t doing because there aren’t a ton of peppermint recipes and 99.9% are super sweet desserts). But I made peppermint fudge. My first attempt at fudge, and it’s not half bad. But it’s chocolate, so I think I’d have to work super hard to screw it up!

After my massage, I swung by the barn to visit my riding instructor/the horses (and to drop off some fudge). My instructor wasn’t there, so I just hung out with my main man, Hoover.

I love this pony so much. He did nothing but tear at the grass like a starving man and beg for treats…but he’s a horse, so I sort of expect that from him. I also suspect the kid who’s riding him his spoiling him. A little.

I grazed him and groomed him (and didn’t give him a treat, the little bugger…but mostly because I didn’t have any, because I’ll admit I spoil him a little bit myself). It was a gorgeous day (in the fifties!) and it was fantastic to get out of the house and down to the barn. Hopefully the weather keeps being this gorgeous (or at least NICE) and I can start wiggling in some pony time. Um, once the ring unfreezes and dries. Or else my pony is going to need ice skates/galoshes, depending.

Well, it’s time to head to my peppermint party. Hope you enjoy your evening!

Oh! I’m going to be doing a blog tour when Second Skin comes out, so if you have topics you want me to talk about, or questions you want me to answer, feel free to drop them in below.

AND the cover for Second Skin is revealed now. Go drool over it!

How things go…

As I watch the counter on Scruples remain the same in the sidebar, I struggle to not feel frustrated at my lack of writing.

But yes, Scruples is on hiatus as I write the shifter story, which I’ve done about 2-4K on since the beginning of the year. However…

Mostly this month has been focused on heavy edits for HtPD, which eats up a lot of time as I rework sentences, add details, and sometimes add entire scenes. And when I’m in editing mode, I’m not as great at being in writing mode. Something I need to work on. Yet HtPD has gotten an additional 1,000 words and I’m only just over the halfway point. So while my other stories may have briefly stalled, I at least have been busy.

But my ultimate goal is to read a book for work, read a book for pleasure, edit a book for pleasure, and write a book, and keep all the characters separate and in my head, keep all the facts straight, and remember who belongs in what story.

No pressure, right?