It’s Going to Be Crazy for a While

Well, on the employment news…

I have a new job. It pays more per hour than I’ve earned at any other job I’ve had before. It has full benefits. And I start the first week in March.

The commute is going to be painful, because it’s either an hour/ninety-minute drive with gas at almost $5 a gallon or a 90–120-minute public transit ride to the new office. The biggest issue is that there are no easy ways to get to the office with public transport, so I’m stuck having half-hour or so stops between one location to another.

(Seriously…if we’ve got a “commuter train” running here, we really need to have it running at a twenty-minute schedule from 6AM-9AM and 4PM-6PM, not thirty minutes. I could probably do better if the trains weren’t so far apart. And, using old train tracks is nice and cheap, but…

(Did I also forget to mention that the trains don’t have WiFi? Complaints have already been made.)

It also means that I’ll be doing my five-days-a-week at the gym is either going to be late before I get home and have dinner or on the weekends. And I have discovered that I might not like the gym, but I like wearing 42 pants and I’m ambitious enough to try and get down to 40 pants.

This means that my writing schedule has just gotten really, really sloppy.


Blog posts are going to be catch-as-catch can, but I am definitely going to talk about some of the ideas that I’ve had…

  • How to sell illustrated stories (i.e. comic books) to people and maybe, just maybe save the Western comic book industry by stealing from Japanese manga. Mercilessly.
    (Hint-get it out of the comic bookstores. Get comics in as many places as possible, as easy as possible to buy, tell good stories, and sell the high-end stuff to collectors.)
  • More Imperial starships! I’m probably going to talk about the Chapar Khaneh-class message packet/commando transport, the Alaska-class battlecruiser, the Francis Drake-class fast battleship, and the Tarawa-class marine transport next.
    A navy just isn’t warships, despite rumors to the contrary. It’s the message ships that can also haul small cargos as needed. It’s the transports, it’s the Scout Service ships, it’s the whole infrastructure that helps to ensure that those Imperial warships are where they need to be.
  • I might also be talking about some of the Imperial organizations, like the Imperial Marine Corps or the Scout Service. Or the insanity that the Imperial Throne and the Archons. Maybe even the Imperial Legions (who guard the Imperial family and also serve as “you’ve just made the wrong person angry” force of the Emperor).
  • More “behind the scenes” things on writing.

On writing? I’m writing a short story for the Fantastic Schools series, and it’s going to be a story about Sister Justina just after the end of The Winter Solist and somewhat inside of A Solist in Rome.

An Ethical Succubus has been delayed, but hopefully not for long.

Other projects are delayed, but hopefully not for too long.

There will be more good news, fingers and toes crossed.

Writing Notes for February 7th

My writing issues have been just…well, issues for a while. Between job hunting and being an at-home caregiver and getting back into good shape again (I’ve lost 15 pounds over the last two months, so that’s something)…the writing is not quite at the bottom of the queue. But, you can see the end of the queue from there.

And, I’m having to thank (honorary) Great Aunt Sarah for reminding me that for independent writers (like I think most of us are), we’re all that we’ve got and we should try to help each other out as much as we can. 

So, for any of my fellow indie writers that need someone to give their work a look-over…it won’t be formal editing, it’ll be high-level assessment at best. But if you want me to take a look, I’ll give it a good look.

Personal life?

What personal life?

Valentine’s Day has always been one of the worst holidays for me, because every year…outside of family, it feels like there isn’t anyone out there that cares for me as me. I’ve been told that this is a common writer’s dilemma-stuck inside our heads far too often, so very hard to get out-but you look at other people being happy and it’s hard for you to see the things that are good and proper in your life.

It doesn’t help that the last couple of times I’ve reached out with some of the thoughts in my head, you could hear “Invasion of the Body Snatchersscreeching in alarm from people…

On the subject of writing…

  • The Winter Solstice-This has been coming along rather well. The last big fight scene is almost done, then there’s the end results of that scene, what happens to some of the characters, then a small fight and the “connective tissue” scene for A Roman Solist.

    I’m confident enough about the results so far that I’m doing what I call “step two” for getting the book on Kindle-moving the files from Google Docs to a single Word file and running through that grammar and spelling checker. When I write, I tend to write the separate chapters as individual files for clarity’s sake (and so I’m not intimidated by a wall of black text that I have to try and go through) and then combine them at the end into a single novel-length product.

    This actually does help, because I’ve caught a few small bugs and managed to tighten up some scenes. I have a nasty tendency to over-describe, and this helps me to find where I am over-describing things.

    Cover creation, final editing, one scene that I have to write before I get to Kindle production and hopefully the book will come out soon. Maybe not Valentine’s Day but maybe the end of the month.

    This leads to…
  • A Roman Solist/A Solist In Rome-I’m at the “outline and research” phase right now, because I want people to get a really good sense of Rome, Vatican City, and a whole lot of other places that Adelaide and company will be going to.

    The biggest thing about this novel is that it’s the first of the “summer vacation” novels, and weird things happen when Adelaide is out on vacation. It’s actually quite amusing.

    Oh, and there’s also a lot of bonding time between Adelaide and one of her newest Companions, a chance to get out and explore things, the resolution of one plot line from Solist At Large, and a chance for Adelaide to get dressed up again.
  • An Ethical Succubus-Still at the first-tier outline, but I’m getting a much better sense of both the flow of the plot and the characterizations. The biggest thing is how the MC responds to the world, because they now have senses that most people don’t have. Or at least not as a native installation.

    Oh, and making the MC likable. They’re a little hard to like, even before they started having to eat people. The trick has been keeping it clear that the MC isn’t a bad person, per se, just…having to become more likable. And considering that there are people who love absolutely horrible characters and want to bang them like a screen door in a hurricane…I don’t think my job is that hard.

    Doing a LOT of research into San Francisco, and even though I’m a native…I’m finding things that I’m going “I didn’t know that!” when I’m writing. It helps that my MC isn’t a native, so their discovery is organic and genuine.
  • Other Writing Projects-The “swords and sorcery and giant robots” isekei story idea is on a burner, but it’s going to be a while before I can get to it. Mostly due to personal life issues, but I want to get to it because there’s a definite lack of good giant robot stories out there.

    Someone I had contracted with to write the filler text for his miniatures game idea dropped dead recently (no, this was a good thing, as I learned he was an absolute jerk-ass to everyone around him), and I managed to get back from his ex-wife a copy of all the content I’d written for him. Notes, backgrounds, that kind of thing. Might use it at some point for something (it’s for a tabletop science-fiction miniatures game, think Infinity or Deadzone), but not sure what I’ll use it for yet. Doing it as a miniatures game would be an option if I didn’t think the market has issues.

    But, it did give me the justification for Space Elves in three different flavors (biotech, nanotech, and “whatever works”)…

More news as it comes out, and if you feel an urge to comment, I’ll reply and talk about…well, just about anything.

Well, That Is Many Things

So, for anyone that has been paying attention, I’ve been having a rather terrible month. It hasn’t been bad, in the sense that I’m wondering if I need a lawyer or a priest. But between a whole lot of things…it has been frustrating, and I would prefer that this wasn’t the start to 2023. Yes, “nowhere to go but up!” and all that, but I also know how easy it is to slide downwards.

What’s been going on with my family?

  • Mom finally got to Stanford and they did another round of X-Rays and similar examinations. After those, the doctors decided that Mom doesn’t have a floating bone fragment rubbing against her spinal cord.
    Other than a cracked tailbone and how painful it was…she’s in reasonable shape. When they realized this, Stanford set up a physical therapy plan and delivered oxygen for her when she is resting in the hospital bed in her own room.
    So, Mom is home, resting, recovering and finally at home after nearly three weeks banging around hospitals.
    This has not how we wanted to start this year.
  • After the last few weeks and how both Kaiser and Stanford had been treating Mom, I can imagine the conversation between her doctor and my Dad like this-
    DOCTOR: “Good news, sir! Your wife has a cracked tailbone, but no fragments or loose chips and we don’t have to operate! We can release her as soon as we get everything settled for her home care.”
    DAD: “What about all the report that she had one?”
    DOCTOR: “We’re pretty sure that there isn’t an issue.”
    DAD: “Get me a second opinion, from a doctor with an actual work ethic.”
    DOCTOR WITH AN ACTUAL WORK ETHIC (DWAWE): “Good news, sir! Your wife has a cracked tailbone, but no fragments or loose chips and we don’t have to operate! We can release her as soon as we get everything settled for her home care.”
    DAD: “What about the reports and X-Ray that says she had one?”
    DWAWE: “We’re pretty sure it was just bad imaging when she was at Kaiser.”
    DAD: “How soon can we get home before we all go crazy?”
    There will be physical therapy and recovery, but she looks a lot better, she’s actually able to think about things (right dose of pain meds), and it’s better than it was about twenty days ago.
  • Our German Shepard, Mia is VERY happy that Dad is home. We’re all trying to get back into a routine that works and after a good night’s sleep…progress.

And, what’s been going on myself and my writing?

  • More job rejections. More jobs that are putting me in a holding pattern for one reason or another. And trying to follow up so I ‘m in their mental queue, but not so much that they’re thinking that I’m some kind of creep or whatever.
    I’m going to be glad when this is over, I hate being cut loose like this. And money is nice. It can’t buy you happiness, but at the very least you can buy your own choices of misery.
  • At least I’m getting mileage in with Mia the last few days. Two miles every day, minimum.
    And Mia likes me…when Dad isn’t around. When Dad is around, she demands all of his attention and if I even get in the same time zone as Mia and could possibly distract Dad’s attention…she get extremely protective.
    (Feel free to insert jokes about how I’m the secondary person in everybody’s relationships…)
  • Back to the gym once things calm down a bit. Dad will go even if I have to push, but there will be one family member at home for Mom.
  • The Winter Solist is taking more time than I want. Mostly that one last big dance number before we reach the ending and winding up to get us ready for A Solist In Rome.
  • The outlines for An Ethical Succubus and some of the other writing ideas are coming along.
    Doing that kind of writing-story outlines and doing research-has been one of the things that has kept me sane and reasonably thoughtful during the last few weeks.

    Maybe that is my big career, if I can figure out how to get the job. Create the background and paperwork for big projects of all sorts. Ideas where I can do this and how? Preferably not Hollywood, because the place has gotten worse over the last few years. Too many horror stories, far too overpriced for someone that wants some minimum level of comforts.

Fingers crossed that this weekend will be marking a time when things are getting better and there’s nowhere to go but up.

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

So, what have I been up to? And what have I been doing?

  • Job Hunting-Well, I had two second interviews this week. Fingers crossed that they lead to a job and a regular salary.
  • Family-Mom is…hopefully going to escape from her particular confinement and finally have that bone chip in her spine removed soon. Yes, I recognize that there’s a lot of issues with the health care system and I wish I could just buy an off-the-shelf OEM part and give her a new spine. But, that technology isn’t here yet, which makes me very sad.
  • Personal Stuff-Not going to the gym as much as I’d like, but I am getting as much walking in as I can. Despite the fact that the next-door neighbor is building an ark. Because Dad is cooking and because Dad is trying to avoid showing how much he loves us by stuffing us full of love via food…we’re losing weight. A little bit. Somewhat.

    It just can’t be the stress, after all…
  • Writing-The thing you’re here for!
    The Winter Solist is hitting an air-pocket, but it’s a small one. Writing has progressed and I’m hoping for a Valentine’s Day release date, with some luck and some definite finger crossing.
    A Solist In Rome‘s outline is mostly finished, and needs to be fleshed out.
    An Ethical Succubus has been progressing slowly. Mostly due to the outline needs, but I’m getting there.
    Other writing projects have been slowly making forward progress…but not as fast as I would like.

Fingers crossed for some good news coming up soon, especially if I get a new job. That’s the big thing right now, I need a steady income and health insurance. From there…who knows?

I can promise you this much-if I win the MegaMillions this time around, it’ll be a lot of vague for a while, then perhaps a very sudden rush of writing work…

Writing Notes for December 24th

Once again, weird energies for writing. I’ve always had issues with depression, anxiety, and worry-the combination of factors that I’m having isn’t helping any.

It doesn’t help that a number of these factors are my bloody muses-I write to escape the things that frustrate me, but I also know that those things that are a problem are out there. Waiting for me to stop being in the headspace of my characters with huge, spiked clubs. And, wanting to make up for lost time that I wasn’t feeling awful for not performing miracles to get a new job and fix my entire life in a single epic Hard Work Montage that clearly only covers a day or two of real time.

But, between these moments of anxiety-

  • Sending in resumes and doing interviews (yes, I know that applying for a job in December sucks and the writing profession is in the middle of chaos due to AI chatbots. Doesn’t matter. Have to apply for jobs.)
  • The holidays (I’m usually happier on the holidays, or at least not unhappy. Losing your job right after Thanksgiving definitely puts a pall on things.)
  • Dealing with my physical health (I love garlic and onions. I am having stomach issues and my doctor tried a dairy-free and a gluten-free diet. Not doing onions and garlic seems to be the only thing that helps…but I love garlic and onions…)
  • Dealing with my mental health (if you think I’m over-sharing now, this is positively loquacious in comparison to how I usually deal with my emotional state. Too many years of having “friends” use any momentary vulnerability to break my kneecaps will do that to you. It’s only been recently that I haven’t done the “bottle up, bottle up, bottle up, EXPLODE” method of dealing with the octopus that lives in my head.)
  • Dealing with my fiscal health (I’m in no immediate danger-the previous job gave me unemployment and I have savings. As long as I’m still on MediCal, I’m tight but not desperate. But this is an additional worry I don’t need. If you want to help, please buy a copy of Solist At Large and review it. If you want to contribute directly, thank you-anything helps and I won’t even do sad dogs in the snow montage.)

-and a half dozen other issues, I’m actually getting some writing done.

And, on that note…

  • The Winter Solist-About another 3,000 or so words, and we’re at the big dance number of the book. Once that happens, it’s time to write up the last bit of the novel, put it all together, go in to fill two spots I had to jump over (I was having a writer’s block, and rather than just pound my head there, I put notes in and will have to search for them to revise those sections.) From there, it’s getting a cover, final layout, a landing page on this website to directly link for my marketing, and then…
  • A Roman Solist-This one is going to be fun-I’ve got most of the outline done, down to the second tier with some third-tier items. Once I finish that up, I’m going to start not only writing this novel, but the outline for Solist At The Fall, where we finally meet Special Operations Group Manticore and deal with African monsters. This is where we meet Aretta, and writing her is going to be interesting…
  • An Ethical Succubus-Outline is at the first tier, and I’ve managed to get the prologue and first two chapters done (the MC isn’t quite as…observant as Adelaide is, not at first…), but I’m definitely going to need the second and third tiers before I get to seriously writing this.
  • Other Writing Projects-I’m doing an outline for an isekei novel idea, currently at the first tier with some serious wish fulfillment ideas. And it’s third person so we get multiple POV characters, which will be fun. At the very least, it’ll let me have a palate cleanser for some of the other stories. It will also let me play around the idea of elves and elven skin colors (think the opposite of Forgotten Realms, with some nasty religious implications).

    Other story ideas are percolating, as often as I can write down the notes.

I expect to be busy tomorrow, but I will try to say something for Christmas. If I don’t…Merry Christmas to you all.

Writing Notes For December 17th

Well, the energy has been coming back, but in fits and starts. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to keep that motivation as the holidays go past.

On what I’ve managed to get done…

  • The Winter Solist-Pushing about 3-4000 words this week, which runs to about two or three chapters. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and that’s a good thing.

    I’m going to be glad to be done with this novel, and starting to work on A Roman Solist, which actually has an outline and I’m not going to have to do too much patch work in.
  • An Ethical Succubus-The outline is done and I’ve gotten the first two chapters done. The biggest issue is avoiding my usual problem of description porn, because our protagonist isn’t paying that much attention to the world around him until about chapter four or five, then we start to pick up speed.

    But, I have an outline!
  • Other Writing Projects-I’m trying to blog more, but my damned mood and energy has made that difficult. And, looking for a job hasn’t helped, either.

    (Yes, I know. It’s never easy looking for work in December. But, sooner begun, sooner done, right?)

Hopefully, there will be happier news next week for Christmas, and that will be a good thing.

Writing Notes for December 10th

One of the biggest problems that I have for doing my writing is…intermittent motivation. There’s no particular reason for it, but there’s just times where I know that I need to finish up some writing…and it won’t come naturally.

It often requires me to do my work at the last minute. It comes out great, I’m proud of it, I just wished I could be less…dramatic about it. It’s not even the fun kind of drama, the exciting kind.

The Winter Solist is still getting closer to the endgame portion, but not as fast as I’d like.

I actually wrote a whole chapter and a half of An Ethical Succubus, and I’m going to have to revise the plot outline again (I need to have my main character do something horrible and make it clear that this was something horrible, unintentional, and they can be forgiven. But the road won’t be easy.)

Several other smaller story ideas are being worked on.

I’m writing up longer blog posts, hopefully for next week.

Happy Post-Thanksgiving Saturday

There’s no question about it-it’s been a busy few weeks.

Work? There are some odd pulls and pushes-anybody that doesn’t think we’re going into a recession hasn’t been paying attention to advertising buys and marketing trends. Marketing is usually the first thing trimmed by a company that is expecting bad times, and that means things have been tight at my job. People have been trying to do more with less, look into Twitter alternatives (which can be summarized as slim and none-the nearest thing out there is Hive Social, and that has the feel of “Twitter, but better,” for values of “better”) so they don’t have to deal with Elon Musk, and a much tighter holiday season all around.

(Personal suggestion-right now is a time to pay cash, pay off any bills or debts ASAP, or do without unless it’s critical. It has the feel of the time just before the big crashes around 2007-2008, especially with “too big to fail” media companies working their way up their legs with shotguns, no long just shooting themselves in the foot…)

Home? Just repainted my room and finally getting everything settled back into place. I have been tired of off-white walls, and I painted them in a nice, calming shade of blue that gives the walls more feeling. Thanksgiving was quiet, didn’t have anything to do for Black Friday, and today will be the day we set up the Christmas tree. Christmas shopping will be fairly light, mostly just “useful stuff” under the tree, small things.

And, onto the writing…

  • The Winter Solist has hit an air pocket. Bridging scene isn’t working out how I wanted, so I’m either going to try and push through or roll back and go another direction. Might do both, we’ll see.
  • An Ethical Succubus has been interesting. Lots of research, and I’ve drawn up a plot flowchart, making this the second novel that I’ve done this for (A Roman Solist is the first).
  • Other stories have been…percolating. Mostly on a time-available basis.

There will hopefully be more news, and good news, soon.

I’m Not Sorry, But Pretty Close…

I’ve just been busy, the sort of busy where you know you have to write something, you have things you need to get done…but once you get home, you don’t want to do anything.

Had to make a drive up to Oregon to clean out a dead uncle’s storage locker. Went up Saturday morning, came back Monday morning. The drive wasn’t too bad-nine hours each way with a stop for breakfast and lunch. But…family was at the end of it. It’s not bad on the scale of other families-no screaming, no yelling, no fist-fights, nobody shooting at each other-but, family fights are never fun. And…wondering if your family member truly has the issues they claim, or they’re doing the whole “poor pitiful me” to get other people to do things for them isn’t fun.

Oh, and IHG really needs to do a serious renovation of the Holiday Inn Express in Corvalis. Seriously-we had a leaking bathtub and toilet in our first room, and when they couldn’t get that fixed, we moved to another room. That room had worn-out plugs (if we didn’t have power strips for our things, power adaptors for our equipment would have fallen out), and there’s a general sort of tired to the place. But, that also describes Corvalis as well.

Corvalis, Oregon reminds me of Berkeley, twenty years ago. I’m pretty sure that isn’t a compliment. The city just seems worn if you get far enough away from the University campus or the main downtown area. Lots of deferred upkeep, but I don’t know if this is just how things are for the next few years, or the echos of COVID and everybody being short on money. I’m not sure how the shopping was-which is something I try to do whenever I wind up in a new town-because we were far too busy dealing with family matters.

For writing-

  • The Winter Solist is coming, slowly but surely. I posted a few snippets and people are enjoying them…enough that Solist At Large got some sales. That’s something, least.
  • A few of my other writing projects, including my ideas for a space opera series and one idea I can’t talk about right now are coming along as well.

Otherwise…it’s November. Seems like it came far too early this year by about two weeks. I don’t know why, but…it just did. Maybe it’s the crazy election season, maybe it’s just other things going in. Don’t know, but got to stay busy.

Will hopefully have more news to talk about soon, but no promises as of yet.

Getting Organized

I’ve really got to get myself more organized.

Short version, the writing has been slow because that’s what I do for work. When I get out of work, I’m roped into the “honey do” lists, because somebody has to do them and there’s only so much the rest of the family can do.

So, this leaves me with very little time to get my brain out of not thinking, get to writing, and get things done.

This means…I’m going to have to get organized. Write up some lists. Take many more notes. Get my brain working faster and harder…because I need to get myself back into the publishing game.

Fingers crossed.