I Thought the Showers Were Supposed to Be in April

Howdy, squiders. When it rains, it pours, eh?

Had a remediation company out today finally. The drywall is still wet, and while we don’t have the official estimate yet, the guy thought it would be like $12,000 to fix everything. So that’s fun.

She said sarcastically.

Also I’m sick. I developed a cough last Thursday, which has been getting steadily worse since then, so yesterday I went to the doctor. I guess they have a flu test now? It’s like a COVID test, a swab up your nose.

Anyway I came back positive for the flu.

Not awesome.

I haven’t really slept since Thursday night because I keep coughing myself awake, which is also not awesome. I generally sleep pretty well so this ongoing insomnia is new and disconcerting to me. But apparently there is medication you can take to help with the flu, so I am on it now.

Being sick as an adult, and especially a parent, is the not fun. When the small, mobile ones are sick, they get the special “sick TV” in their room and get to hang out on screens all day. I have to “do my responsibilities” and whatnot.

That being said, I did take today off work today (after going in yesterday, which was probably not the best idea, but I thought I just had a cold that had morphed into bronchitis–a fairly common thing when I was younger–and also knew there was a bunch to be done that only I was going to do) and have had most of the day to myself.

It is weird!

The medication, which, like many medications, has a warning about operating heavy machinery and, unlike many medications, has actually turned my brain into cotton. So far I’ve only texted the wrong person once, but it’s probably just best that I don’t try to do anything that requires any thinking.

When I have a day to myself, my instinct is always to catch up on projects that have fallen a bit behind, but today I’ve actually managed to rest. I read 75% of and finished We Have Always Been Here by Lena Nguyen, which is scifi…well, not horror, but horror-adjacent. I really enjoyed it. Five stars. Riveting. I’d probably say the same thing even if I was thinking clearly.

Anyway, things continue to suck in this corner of the world. I hope yours is better!


Not Dead, Just Drowning

Hey, squiders, just wanted to give you a heads up. I didn’t mean to go all radio silence on you.

Our basement flooded overnight last Thursday night. (Our best guess is that the sump pump, which was already elderly, just gave up. Or that it got behind and, once the water hit other electronics, tripped the outlet and then it gave up.) We had over a third of our yearly rainfall in 48 hours which, as you can imagine, went poorly. Especially because we’re borderline a desert.

Anyway, Thursday night when we went to bed the basement was dry, and Friday morning when I got up early to do a medical test, there was three inches of standing water across the entire basement.

Our basement is partially finished, and while we’ve always had a bit of an issue figuring out what to do with it, we had begun converting the finished part to a kids’ hangout area. So, unfortunately, we had a fair amount of stuff on the floor. We’d recently moved all our movies and video games down but had yet to put them back on the shelves they go on. We had two retro gaming systems out that the small, mobile ones had been using. My mom had just given me several watercolor books that I was looking forward to going through.

Friday was spent desperately trying to dry the basement out. We managed to get the sump pump going again, which dried out the unfinished portion decently fast, but every water remediation company in a 50-mile radius had a 4-day waiting list, and every equipment rental place in a 150-mile radius was also out of water remediation equipment. You couldn’t even buy anything.

Because, it turns out, everyone’s basements flooded.

I mean, no, not everyone. Definitely an exaggeration. But a LOT of people’s. And since we live in a place where it doesn’t really rain (see: desert) we don’t have the infrastructure in place to deal with massive flooding.

After checking four different stores I finally managed to secure a RugDoctor, with the idea that we would suck the water out of the carpet. Friends, we sucked so much water out of the carpet, and yet it did not seem to actually be getting any drier. Late Friday night we came to the very sad realization that the carpet could not be saved. Not only was it not drying out (and we couldn’t get anyone to help us), but it was full of dirty water and was going to be near impossible to ever get clean again.

So Saturday we spent the day tearing out the carpet. Waterlogged carpets and pads are very heavy, so I actually reinjured my back a bit, right after I’d finally gotten it feeling pretty good. That took most of the day, though we had to duck out for a few hours to go to a dance recital for the smaller, mobile one.

When we came back from that, we discovered that the sump pump had well and truly died. We could get it to run for five minutes at a time before it would give up yet again, and we had to let it cool down for 45 minutes before it would start up again. We had a small fountain pump from a landscaping project that we put down in the sump well, but it really only was powerful enough to keep the water from overflowing again.

As you can imagine, you also could not buy a sump pump anywhere in a gazillion-mile radius. We ended up buying one off of Amazon, but it wouldn’t arrive until Sunday night. So Saturday afternoon, night (we woke up a few times overnight to check on the status of the basement), and Sunday day, we had to keep checking and occasionally running the sump pump to keep things contained.

Sunday afternoon we got the new sump pump and replaced it.

And all this time, it has kept raining, on and off.

Work this week has been crazy–I’ve put in six hours of overtime, four today alone–which is not helping.

I still have not gotten a remediation company to come look at the basement (are the walls growing mold? Possibly!) or a plumber to come look at our utility room drain, which is apparently completely clogged and was no help whatsoever. The floors are mostly dry? A week later? But they’re not all dry.

We tried to save the movies/video games by laying them out for a week upstairs/in the garage, but apparently they smell like mildew now so that bodes ill.

Long story short (too late), the basement is a huge problem, and one that continues to have further complications. And that is why I have not been around.

Wish us luck, squiders. We’re going to need it.

Today’s Post is Delayed Due to Tornado Warnings

Oof. The weather today has been something, squiders. We almost never get tornado warnings here–the mountains tend to disrupt the weather systems that make them. In fact, I can’t actually remember having to shelter in place for one ever, though we did do tornado drills as a kid.

(I had to bring the dog into the basement, and she’s never been down there before. She was not a fan.)

Anyway, nothing got done during the tornado warning because the basement isn’t the best place to work, I was anxious about family members and where they were (the small, mobile ones weren’t released from school until an hour after they were supposed to be because of the tornado warning), and because I just couldn’t focus.


So, what’s up?

My 1000 words a day goal on Book 1 is being very spotty. Oh well. On we blindly stumble.

What else is happening?

Let’s see, I told you guys about the big deal review for Hidden Worlds already.

I sold a short story this week, so that’s also exciting for me! It’s a British publication which doesn’t really mean anything except I don’t think I’ve sold to one before.

Due to the larger, mobile one’s battery incident on Friday I’ve learned there’s a national battery ingestion hotline.

Eurovision is happening this week, and I love Eurovision, so I’m super excited. Not sure who I’m hoping to win.

My mother moved closer yesterday, so hopefully I’m going to get to see her more.

Otherwise, May is just being May, and no one is really surprised.

Sorry for the disjointed entry, squiders. I didn’t want you guys to think I’d forgotten you. See you probably Friday, with more coherency. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Still Pondering SkillShare

Happy Friday, squiders. I hope May is going well so far!

I went in to SkillShare this morning to check my stats, and God, is it depressing. You can see exactly where 1) they changed the payments rules and 2) they took down some of my classes because of “lack of engagement” (including one that had 100 people currently enrolled).

Very depressing. I worked hard on those.

(Sorry. I started this post yesterday then got derailed when somebody ate a battery and had to be taken to the ER.)

(He’s fine and has hopefully learned a life lesson.)

(Nothing really prepares you for parenting.)

They continue their antics, though, because I got an email a few weeks ago saying they were going to stop accepting classes in some areas (writing was not one of them) and then actively start removing classes as well. I can understand that they’re trying to rebrand just for creative classes, but it’s kind of a crap move still, especially if people were making decent money from their classes that they’re going to lose.

I still am not sure what to do. I think what I’m going to try in the short term is re-uploading the classes that were taken down, and see if I can better maintain my “engagement” (though, like I said last time we talked about this, you can’t make people post or review, so who knows) and get my income back up near where it was.

And I guess what I should do long term is research other teaching platforms, though I am not looking forward to re-recording sections of classes that call out SkillShare specifically.

(I have thought more about just hosting them on my own site, but it does lose the discoverability aspect that a platform provides, and probably isn’t worth it to me in the long run.)

Any thoughts on online classes, squiders? Do you prefer to take a class on a platform, and if so, which ones are you most fond of?

Onto May

You know what was interesting, squiders–after the note last week about how Nano 2011 went, I went back through the archives to see what I’d actually done, and, well, I hardly talked about it at all.

Seriously, like two sentences in the last blog post of the month to note that I’d had a 100K goal and that I’d not made it.

The rest of the posts were Nano tips and general cheerleading, which reminds me that I used to spend a lot more time on “professional” posts back when I started and very little time on what I was working on or personal posts.

I asked from time to time, if people prefer a certain type of post over another, but I’ve found that people don’t tend to respond, so you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit, as they say in the preschools these days.


I did not get to writing last weekend, as expected, but I have made some progress thus far this week. I finished the paper edit on Chapter 2 (I’d gotten less far than I’d remembered) and started the rewrite, which is going quite well and is feeling very good, so huzzah.

Which leads me onto the general goal for the month, which is making decent progress on the rewrite/revision of Book 1. Ideally I’d like to do at least 1000 a day, which is much easier on a rewrite when we’re just changing bits and hopefully not writing a ton of completely new material, but the month is conspiring against me.

It’s what, the third? And I’ve sick children, work drama, parental obligations, and volunteer obligations already, plus a whole bunch of extra errands that keep popping up. So fingers crossed that all that goes off somewhere else.

(Not terribly optimistic–May is traditionally an awful month, working wise, because school gets out and someone has a birthday, and there’s a ton of school and scout stuff as everyone tries to stuff everything in before summer hits.)

Aside from the ongoing revision, I’ll no doubt have some edits on the novella that need to be done before the parts start going live, and I should probably read over it (I ended up sending it in without re-reading it or self-editing, so, uh, whoops? I guess it’s fine though, the reader really liked it) and decide where I’m going to do breaks, and how many sections it’ll end up being. Four or five, probably?

But anyway.

It’s gotten warm in the last week, and today it was already too warm, so summer is definitely on the way. Alas.

See you guys later this week!

April, Week 4

Good uh…afternoon, squiders! Happy second-to-last day of April! (Except not really because it means May is right around the corner, which means birthdays and school ending, and having to figure out summer break, and…)

So, how have things gone since I finished my novella on Tuesday?

Well, they haven’t.

I should know this by now. If I am single-flowing a project (whether purposefully or due to time constraints) I almost always take a few days break at the end. Sometimes longer, depending on the length of the project that’s just been finished.

Hell, for Nano 2011 (probably talked about here on the blog at the time) I had grand plans of doing 100K. I had 50K left on one project (which was probably Book 1, now that I think about it) and then I had a second project lined up and ready to go. The first half of the month went great! I think I hit The End on Day 11 or something.

But then instead of moving into the second project for the rest of the month, I just…gave up.

Not my finest hour.

I’ve found that if I’m actively working on multiple projects (like I was SUPPOSED to be) then this doesn’t happen. It counteracts the “I’m done with a project, now what do I do with myself” feeling that tends to hit (as well as the “I’ve finished something and now may rest on my laurels” feeling) since you can just adjust your focus to the other stuff.

All this to say that I haven’t really done much since finishing my novella.

I did email some friends to see if someone would beta, and yesterday I re-read Chapter 1 (eesh) and went back over my notes. A lot of yesterday was also spent going back over stuff I’ve been putting off–emails that needed responding to, webinars that have been sitting open, smaller tasks that I’ve been putting off. I still have a few of those to do, which I might get to here after this.

But I do have to accept at this point that even if I work on Chapter 2 today (unlikely, it’s hard to get things done on the weekends unless I get up early because everyone has stuff to do–today was children’s dinner theater rehearsal and a fencing tournament, plus there’s yardwork and we’re going to go see a play tonight, and now all of a sudden we have dinner plans with the cousins–and I’m unlikely to get up early because I like my sleep) and tomorrow (also unlikely, see above but with different things) there’s no way I’m getting the 9.7K I need to hit 25K.

And, you know, that’s okay. I did write an entire novella this month! That’s not too shabby. AND I got a 5-star review on Hidden Worlds from Reader’s Favorite, which is a pretty big deal. I’ve got to put that up on its various pages. Something more for the To Do list.

Every little bit helps, after all, and it’s no good beating yourself up over things you didn’t get done. Undue stress and all that jazz.

Anyway, see you in May, squider!

April, Week 3

Hey ho, squiders! Sorry for the radio silence last week. I don’t really have a good excuse except that I was (as always) trying to do too much at the same time.

I know we’re a little late for Week 3, but let’s talk about it anyway.

I finished up the novella that was half of my goals for Camp Nano today. It’s about 15.3K, so a little over, but more or less what I was going for. I’m going to give it a few days to sit, and then I’ll read back over it, make any necessary changes, and send it over to the TDP people.

Wednesday and Thursday last week were a little rough. I always get a little sloggy at the dark moment because sometimes it’s depressing to write about people at their lowest point, so I didn’t make my words for those days. But I persevered, and now the draft is done! And I think it’s pretty good, just from my initial feelings, so I’ll have to see if that holds up when I read back over it.

Now that that madness is done(-ish), it’s back to the revision. I had grand plans that I was going to work on both throughout the month, but I just haven’t had time. Mondays and Fridays I have off, so those are, in theory, the days where I would have time to do multiple projects, but I’ve been so busy on those days it hasn’t happened. Yesterday I didn’t get to write at all.

Dunno if we’re going to make much progress revision-wise–in theory, I’ve got to do 2K a day to make my camp goal, which is pushing it on a good day. I left off in the middle of the paper edit for Chapter 2, so I’ve got to finish that before I can start the writing portion. I might read back over Chapter 1 as well, which will let me check and see if it’s as awful as it felt, and let me remember what I was doing.

In theory, I’m up for the next critique with the new group I joined, so Chapter 1 needs to be ready (and maybe chapter two, got to figure out how long the pieces are supposed to be). But the initial time we agreed upon isn’t going to work, so I need to figure that out too.

Man, it just never stops, does it?

Anyway, I hope your April is going well. It’s been downpouring for the last ten hours or so, which is weird but nice, except I have to keep going out in it.

See you Thursday, fingers crossed!

April, Week 2

Good afternoon, squiders! It’s snowing here after being in the 80s all week. As it does.

We’re about halfway done with the month! I think, to be on track for my 25K goal, I should be at…oh, like 11.7K.

I’ve only written a few hundred words thus far today, so I’m at, like, 7.6K.

Not amazing. Not great. More than I’ve written in a hot minute, though, certainly.

Most of the words have been on the novella for TDP. I’ve got it outlined to be about 15K, so while I’m not quite as far as I had hoped, I am at least halfway-ish.

I ran into some issues the last few days with my outline.

It turns out I outlined this story in June of 2018. Good Lord! That’s almost five years ago. Anyway, I outlined it then and broke the outline back out last month to plan for this month. And I wasn’t wild about the outline. I think I told you guys this. Some of the later plot points were just…not good.

My choices were: 1) start writing and see if I could fix the story on the go, or 2) fix the outline before I started.

I chose 1, because I am eternally an optimist even though I know how I work.

So, lo and behold, to no one’s surprise, I had a rough time writing yesterday and realized I’d hit the point where the outline was no longer working.

But, also, that the outline method wasn’t quite working.

I have levels of outlining I do, based on estimated word count. Anything under 5K, I use a phase outlining method.

Past 5K, I switch to a 6-act outline.

For longer works, 30K+, I also use the 6-act outline, but I do arc work and tentpoles as well to help with pacing. Different stories and genres may require additional work past that.

So, based on several 7.5K-10K-ish stories I’ve written for, say, anthologies, I outlined this 15K story the same way.

This was apparently a mistake.

So I spent about an hour last night doing my arcs and tentpoles, and now I feel better about the whole thing. I didn’t actually touch the 6-act part even though I maybe should have because it’s still bad, but I’m hoping the tentpoles will let me ignore them.

Or, you know, in three days, we’re going to be back to outlining fixing.

Now, I don’t mind outline fixing. An outline, after all, is an active document whose sole purpose is to help you write your story, and it needs to change as necessary to help you succeed. I just probably should have done the work at the beginning.

Or maybe not! Maybe I needed to get into the story, expand the world and the characters, before I understood enough to make the outline work properly.

I’ve been invited to join a critique group that’s meeting this Sunday. I’d better figure out if I’m going or not, and look at the materials if so. It’s Sunday mornings, which is inconvenient, so I’m going to have to think long and hard about it.

See you guys next week, when I’ve hopefully caught up!

Passing on the Nerdy Torch

Squiders, if you’ve been with me at all, you know I am (unabashedly) a giant nerd. I went to my first Star Trek convention when I was 12. I cosplayed all through my 20s (and still sometimes). I occasionally hyperfixate which is very annoying because it makes it VERY hard to get anything else done.

When the small, mobile ones came along, I was like, ah, yes, my children, I shall teach you my ways. When the bigger, mobile one was small, we used to watch Doctor Who together (though we had to stop, because we reached a threshold where he was understanding enough of the show to get scared of some of it). I think we’ve watched Avatar: The Last Airbender all the way through three or four times. We’re working our way through all the (appropriate) Star Wars stuff.

And, now, finally, we’re getting into Star Trek.

Star Trek is my Very Favorite, as you know, and I’ve tried a few times over the years to watch it with the small, mobile ones with varying levels of success. The Animated Series went over rather well (probably because it is animated) and we’ve watched a few episodes here and there of the Original Series or Next Gen. But it wasn’t really sticking.

This is a bit devastating. Some of the earliest memories I have are of watching TOS with my parents. And when I was a bit older, we used to sit together every week and watch the new episodes of TNG, DS9, and Voyager as they came out.

(Though we only got a few seasons into Voyager before something got messed up with the station it was on–we got sound, but no picture. Very frustrating.)

With the newer Trek–Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks–none of them are family-friendly, so we couldn’t watch those with the kids.

Til now.

My spouse and I sat down a few months ago to watch the first episode of Strange New Worlds, and we came to the realization that here, finally, was a series we could watch as a family.

And, hey, this time around the kids were interested too!


We did hit a bit of a snag–Episode 9 is rated TV-14 whereas the rest of the season was TV-PG–and we haven’t managed to figure out why exactly it’s got the higher rating and whether or not it would be okay for upper elementary-aged people. (So if you know, let me know.)

So while we wait for me and/or my spouse to get our act together about Ep 9 (or just watch it), we decided to switch to Prodigy. This is an animated Trek series made specifically for kids through Nickelodeon.

And, squiders, I loved it. The small, mobile ones loved it. Programming for children can be very hit or miss for the whole family, but it was a unique take on the Trek universe with enough Easter eggs to appeal to long time fans.

But we’ve hit the end of Prodigy til season 2 comes out, and we’ve got the last two eps of Strange New Worlds.

We’re running out of Entertaining-For-the-Whole-Family scifi/fantasy shows on our streaming services. We did Amphibia and Owl House on Disney+, plus the Mysterious Benedict Society and are now in season 2 of The Secret of Sulphur Springs. Not necessarily seeing a lot else on that platform that’s appealing right now. And kids’ programming is kind of hit or miss on the other platforms–though we did watch some Scooby Doo through HBO Max (and the first episode of Velma, which was pretty dang awful).

(Paramount+ does have all the Nickelodeon stuff, so I suppose I could poke through there and see if there’s anything interesting. Mostly the small, mobile ones watch Spongebob on their own.)

ANYWAY, the spouse and I were talking about Voyager for some reason, and about how I’d never watched the whole series, and we realized…we could watch Voyager with the kids.

There’s a gazillion episodes so it would keep us busy for a while, if nothing else.

I brought up this idea with the small, mobile ones the evening, and the bigger, mobile one said, “Maybe we could watch Next Gen too.”

Oh, be still, my heart.

Thoughts on the newer Treks, squiders? (I admit I’m not wild about Picard–I’ve talked to you guys about that before–but I’ve also only watched the first season so far.) Know what happens in SNW EP 9 and can advise?

First Week of April Down!

Howdy, squiders! How’s April treating you? I’m actually feel pretty good about things!

As I talked about last week, I’m focusing on two projects this month with a goal of doing 25000 words between a novella that will be released serially and my ongoing Book 1 revision.

I’m not off to an amazing start–at 3K as of yesterday, and I’ve not written today (and it’s not looking like I’ll get there) so I am a bit behind for the month, but definitely catch-up-able, and seeing how I’ve only written three days total, I’m averaging about 1K a day, which is, well, more than I’ve done in a while.

It’s nice to just be writing again.

Thus far I’m focusing on the novella. Getting it done means I can get it edited, which means it can start to go live sooner. Plus it’s the smaller project, which means it’ll get done faster anyway.

I’m having a super good time with it, actually. It’s got horror elements, because that’s what I like these days, but it also has fantasy and romance elements which are just fun.

Do I feel a little bad about pushing Book 1 to the backburners for the beginning of the month? Well, yes, but it probably will be helpful to work on something else for a minute, to remind myself that I don’t suck and writing is not all frustration, and so I can come back to the edit more refreshed.

As for Taig, I haven’t really been using him, because I’m having so much fun with the story. I mean, I’m still putting him out, but I would be fine without him. Sometimes I just put him next to me where I can’t really see him.

I’m trying setting his different sides to projects. So the novella is on his angry side, and, in theory, when I work on Book 1 (hoping to do the novella in the morning, and the revision in the afternoon, starting tomorrow) I’ll flip him to happy.

Anyway, progress is happening and thus far it is good! Happy April, everyone!