Posts Tagged ‘updates’

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.

Into December

Man, this once a week schedule is just not doing it for me. I may have to go back to twice a week for my own sanity, or just take a break til 2022. I shall ponder.

Nano went, well. We’ve talked about that. I ended with about 31000 words (I spent the 29th writing 2.5K on my serial story over at TDP instead of doing Nano, which went so much better. Man, no one is kidding when they talk about sloggy middles.) which is fine. I mean, not great, it never feels good to not reach a goal you set for yourself, but I think it’s 31K of solid words.

My plan here is to read back through the story (I normally have to do that sometime in Act 2 Part 2 anyway, because it helps me keep the entire structure of the story in my head as I map out the end of the story) and then get back to it. I’d like to say that I’m going to finish it this month, but I know how December goes.

Ah, December. Some years I get so anxious about setting up and getting into work for the next year that the month gets lost. I don’t feel that this year. Maybe because it’s still early in the month, but mostly I’m just concerned with trying to finish things up.

Got a lot to do otherwise, of course. Presents to buy/wrap, plans to make, movies to watch. There’s non-writing projects that need doing. All that jazz.

And re-evaluation to be done. These last two years have not gone well, from a creative standpoint. Things that were working before health issues and the pandemic messed everything up are obviously no longer working. I need to sit and think about my goals and how to best achieve them. Focus things down a bit, probably.

Also, I lost my grandmother last week, and that’s throwing everything off. I need to spend some time on that as well.

Anyway, as the year winds down, I hope you are doing well and that you’re in a good frame of mind. I’ll (hopefully) see you next week.

Characters, Characters, and Not a Drop to Drink

We continue working through the dreaded middle of the changeling story. And it goes okay! Not amazingly, not like the words are pouring out of my fingers, but not where I’m staring at the screen wondering what I’m doing with my life and where I’ve gone wrong.

I spent some time yesterday drawing the main characters for the book, Ivy and Birch. (Everyone gets nature-related names, cuz Faeries.) Ivy’s on her third name and Birch is on his second, but I think this batch will stick. Anyway, I drew them because I feel like they’re kind of weirdly nebulous, personality wise.

Which is annoying and frustrating. Character is normally my strong point. The other characters in the book are fine! There’s Iris, Ivy’s twin, who is foul-mouthed and slightly selfish and vain and an absolute joy to write. Even minor characters are good. It’s just my two mains which feel…off.

I don’t know that drawing them has helped anything. (The drawing, like how the writing goes, is okay! Not bad–except for Birch’s arm, which I tried three times to fix and then gave up on–but not amazing.)

I did more character work up front than normal for this story too, which makes it even more frustrating. If you recall, I’m using a story-writing course I bought forever ago, How to Think Sideways by Holly Lisle, as I work on this novel. (Or, well, I’m working on this novel because I’m taking this course. Something.) So there was one class that was about character motivations and whatnot, so I can tell you all the tragic backstory that has led the characters to being the people they are today, as well as their values, but that’s not helping anything.

And maybe they’re not even bad! Maybe they’re fine and I’m just stuck in the doldrums of Act 2, and once everything is on fire everything will be fine.

I guess I add it to my list of things to fix in revision (if it turns out to be an actual problem and not just me second-guessing everything).

I also find myself wanting to get on to the revision, which I can’t do because I need the draft to be done first, and also is just kind of weird. I burned out on revision–that’s why I switched over to writing new work, cuz I spent like, five years straight revising things.

Maybe revision sounds comforting though. Writing itself is sometimes like stumbling through the woods at night without a flashlight, but revision has a path and a light and normally gets to someplace safe and warm at the end.

Eh, who knows? Not me! You’d think by now I’d have some semblence of an idea–this is my 10th first draft (only counting stories that were finished in the end)–but apparently each time you still have to stumble through the woods.

Is it fall yet? I would very much like it to be fall. How are you doing, squiders? Been up to anything fun? Any cool projects you’ve been working on?

Still Scatterbrained

So, I see that I forgot to blog the second time last week. Good job, me. Very adult, much responsibility, or something.

I finished my systems test class, which was very interesting, and somewhat encouraging, since a lot of the test I was doing before is essentially the same, though less software focused (though there was still a lot of software). I think I’ll look more into the idea, perhaps after Christmas.

Also, my SkillShare membership ran out, so I’m out of illustration classes there. I did manage to squeeze in a short drawing one the first week of the month, so hooray. I have some art books that my mother gave me, so I think I’ll work through those before I worry about more online courses.

I also started a new class, called Story and Narrative Development for Video Games. It’s part of a video game development specialty offered through CalArts on Coursera. The first class, Intro to Game Development, I took a few years ago. Eventually I’d like to get through the whole specialty. I don’t really foresee myself making video games, but I’ve always thought it could be fun to write one. Plus there are some definite parallels between video games and novels and, as we are all sick of me saying, my goal for the year is education.

Other than that, I’ve been working on my next SkillShare class, which will be about genre–what it is, how it’s determined, stuff along those lines. I originally thought it’d be a quick class, but it’s turned out to be fairly massive. I’m almost done making the slides, though, so hopefully next week I will be able to start recording the lessons.

And then the changeling story carries on. I’m at about 45K, and hope to be about 55K by the end of the month. I’m still a little behind where I wanted to be, but I don’t really have the means or opportunity to do anything about that at the moment.

And I’m caught up on my prompt exercises, and I’m mostly done with a short story for Turtleduck Press that will go up next month. So writing’s happening, hooray!

I’m sorry again for being inconsistent here at the blog. I’m going to try to get back to twice a week, Tues/Thurs (obviously will be Wed/Fri this week, whoops), in the near future. If you guys have any feedback about what you’d like to see–craft posts, project updates, art projects, etc.–please let me know!

See you–and I mean it this time–on Friday!

Cosplay Update

Ahahaha, so I realized I briefly mentioned working on a cosplay a few weeks ago without actually talking about the costume at all. Good job, me.

Anyway, I’m doing Crowley from Good Omens, and have even roped a friend into being Aziraphale for me. (I didn’t have to rope very hard.) Hopefully it goes better than the last time I cosplayed with a friend.

(I’m not making any more costumes last minute, I tell you what. Sewing the trim on in between people when working registration at the con. Bah!)

(Also not doing much sewing at all on this one, honestly, so.)

(Also also if you have not seen the miniseries and have access to it, I recommend it. Otherwise, there is also the book, which I am re-reading, which is very similar except they’ve expanded some of the character/emotional arcs for the miniseries.)

(I am also reading Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. It is a lot of Pratchett all at once.)

I am doing a female version of Crowley for a number of reasons, which include:

  • Aziraphale and Crowley are canonically genderless beings
  • Crowley at least twice in the miniseries presents as female
  • I haven’t cosplayed a male character (or “crossplayed” as it’s called when you cosplay a character of the opposite gender) in a decade and who even knows where all the supplies for that went
  • Also I have procreated since then so they probably don’t fit anyway (and they are uncomfortable)
  • Trying to stuff long hair into a short wig sucks
  • I want to

I made myself a plan. (I sketched this in about five minutes, so, you know.)

(And it scanned crooked. Sorry.)

All in all, it goes well! Except for the boots. We’ll get there. I’ve ordered the contacts (there’s literally one place on the entire Internet where you can buy prescription FX contacts that look at all right, so we’ll see how that goes). I have the glasses, but I need to modify them. My mom found me some snake earrings (though I also have star earrings and I realized those would work too) though I haven’t gotten them from her yet.

I’ve been looking at tutorials for tattoos, so this morning I went to get supplies at my local drug store. (I’m not a big make-up person–I’m just not good at it. There are cosplayers out there who can do amazing things to their faces with make-up, but I am not one of them. And even in every day life, I rarely go beyond mascara and lip gloss, so… Anyway I don’t own any make-up brushes or sealing powder or whatever else was on the list of supplies.) I found a tattoo marker while there, and the reviews on the Internet for it were promising (a couple even compared it to the methods I’d been looking at), so now I have just that. Have to test it out too.

(Not on my face, though.)

The boots continue to be problematic. In the miniseries, David Tennant wears black ankle boots with a snakeskin pattern on them. Now, I am taking some liberties with the general costume, so I don’t feel like I need to get anything exact. That being said, black boots in snakeskin prints are a bit rare, and I don’t necessarily want to spend a ton of money on costume shoes.

An alternate is to just get black ankle boots. I need a pair anyway. Decisions, decisions. Too many shoes in the world.

Anyway! Costume goes. I’ve got about a month and a half to get it ready, so I’m not too concerned. Slow and steady and what have you.

What are you up to, squiders?

Pondering Pen Names and Horror

Hi squiders! It’s stupid hot here and I am getting nothing done except watching ghost stories on YouTube.

(I love ghost stories. As long as it is day time.)

If you guys have been around for a while, you know that I am…confused about the idea of pen names. I mean, not what they are or anything, but whether they’re worth using, and when you might use one if they are.

I think I might have finally figured out a decent use for one.

(Though I am still waffly on the subject.)

I write a wide spectrum of stuff, from science fiction to fantasy satire to romance (of a speculative bent, of course) to children’s, and I’ve never quite seen a good place to break things up. Is fantasy mystery far enough away from urban fantasy to deliver a break? Children’s stuff vs. adult stuff? (And where does the YA stuff then go in that break?)

(I’m still pondering about the children’s/adult split. Oh well.)

But I’ve been working on a lot of horror lately, specifically science fiction horror, and it came to me the other day that maybe THAT should be the split. Horror vs. everything else.

People either like horror or they don’t, and it might make sense to have a pen name where horror people know they’re getting horror and not anything else I come up with. I mean, there’s some leeway between fantasy and urban fantasy and science fiction, especially if you tend toward a common core, and readers are probably fairly happy to ride along that spectrum. But a horror reader may not like to read urban fantasy (or vice versa, honestly).

The question then becomes…is this worth a pen name? And if it is, what do I do with the other horror things that have been published under my normal name? (My very first sale was a ghost story, and there was that Lovecraftian anthology from last year, and…) Can I republish them under my new name? Is that a logistical nightmare?

Once again, everything is clear as mud. Any thoughts, squiders?

If you have any final thoughts on the nonfiction covers, please let me know! My hope is to have the first nonfiction book released by the 20th. It’s mostly done, so I just need to finalize everything and get it up.

And the Landsquid book is also going well–I should be ready to start querying by the end of next week at the very latest.

See you next week!

Nonfiction Books and a Green Mars Update

Hi, squiders! How are you doing? My washing machine is leaking out the bottom and I’m trying to figure out if I need a new one, but it’s kind of a two-person job (one to tilt the washing machine, one to look under it) so I will have to wait until I have another adult to solve that one.

I know we’ve had a lot of media updates lately, but I wanted to let you know that I am working on the nonfiction books. I’ve re-ordered them for release based on the steps of the writing process, so they’re looking like this now:

  1. Finding Writing Ideas
  2. Common Writing Problems and Fixes
  3. Outlining
  4. Writing Consistently
  5. Writing Around Life
  6. Working on Multiple Projects at Once
  7. Submission and Publication

I wrote 6 first, as part of a training course I was taking at the time (kind of wondering if I should go back through the training course real quick), so I’m using that as the format for the other books. Plus, you know, the rest of the books are mostly a collection of blog posts at the moment.

So I’ve started working on the Writing Ideas book, adding in new material and streamlining the posts so they’re not repetitive, make sense, etc. I planned a workbook to go with that one (and also the multiple projects book) so I need to work on that as well.

Any thoughts on the publication order, squiders? I can’t decide whether Outlining should go before Common Writing Problems. Also, if you’d like to beta any of the books, let me know.

Also, I know we were supposed to discuss Green Mars as part of our Mars Trilogy readalong, like two weeks ago–or was it longer?–and I haven’t mentioned it recently, but I am working on it. It’s just slow going. The viewpoints are a little denser than the first book, which makes sense in context, but requires me to pay closer attention when reading.

Also I got eaten by Gemina. (If you’re not reading the Illuminae series and like science fiction + weird typography, you’re missing out.)

So, anyway! Green Mars is still coming, the nonfiction books are making good progress, and I’m feeling pretty good about how February is going in general, even with the sinus surgery.

I hope you guys are feeling pretty good too.

A Landsquid-y September

There’s been a distinct lack of landsquid on the blog lately, so here’s a landsquid on a laptop.



I am very pleased to see the end of September here. It’s been a pretty draining month, aside from Iceland at the very beginning. But it’s almost over! Hooray!

Here’s what’s ahead for October:

  • I’m doing a Christmas concert/play thing. It’s called “Christmas on Broadway” and is a collection of Christmas-related songs from Broadway musicals. I botched my audition again so I don’t need to do anything hard.
  • I’m also taking a drawing class! I’m super excited even though it is not cheap. Hopefully it is fun and I learn neat things.
  • I took a writing break for September to re-evaluate my goals and what I want to be working on, which I think has been beneficial. I’m going to go back to my rewrite, but I’m going to intersperse it with other things so I don’t feel like I’m trapped by it. Plus taking a break on it has made me excited to get back to work on it.
  • Here on the blog, we’ll start sticking in some nonfiction posts, topic to be determined.

That’s the general plan. As always, if you’d like more of a certain blog feature (library book reviews, landsquid stories or drawings, nonfiction post, genre musings) let me know!

Also I watched the first episode of the new Star Trek series, and I have Feelings, so maybe we’ll talk about that as well.

See you in October, squiders!