Monthly Archives: April 2018

Well that was a week

An exhausting, at times exciting, but still tiring week. Husband had some eye appointments in Portland that bracketed the weekend, but there was enough stuff up in the air that I only could really plan one get-together with someone I’ve missed except for tiny grabs for the last few trips. It was probably a good thing I didn’t overplan the Portland time, as I ended up down flat sick from an allergic reaction to all the damn pollen. The same thing happened last year, and I had a less extreme reaction in March, so….yeah. I suspect this means that this is now a thing. On the other hand, I found a cromolyn sodium nasal spray and that’s really helping with things, much better than its steroidal cousin and much less harsh. So I now need to find someplace other than the Kaiser Pharmacy to buy it OTC.

We did spend two days skiing. The first day was lovely in spite of the stormy weather, and the second day was full of the heavy deep powder the Cascades is known for. Three runs and not only was my back done in but my knee was complaining. So we stopped. We’d considered skiing on our way home yesterday, but I was so tired and hurting that I determined it wasn’t a good idea. All the same, everything works really well on the slopes again. I’ve got my control back and I’m not struggling like I was so much of the time last year. I’m now thinking that everything I’m doing to address the lower back pain is paying off in this respect. Yay!

Then we spent two days hunting razor clams. OMG. Both days were hard clamming days. Lots of false shows to fake us out, which meant a LOT of digging. The first day wasn’t too bad as we were four clams shy of a full limit. The lot were amongst the biggest clams we’ve ever dug, though, consistently large. I found a medium-sized cockle on the beach, still alive, and claimed it. That day was also good for finding hermit crabs, a live snail, and sandpipers. At one point I stood still as the sandpipers scurried around me, several coming within five feet of me. Sweet.

It was also a lovely day for April on the Oregon Coast. Very light wind, sunny, and relatively warm. A good day to be down on the beach, but after the hard work clamming none of us felt like following up with fishing like we had planned.

The second day was tougher. We never did get any good clam shows, and ended up with just one limit between the three of us. It was another gorgeous warm day on the beach, though. Not as much bird action, nor did I find any crabs. My back ached so bad that I went back to the truck and brainstormed the latest rough draft work, including a quick sketch on a short story idea.

 

Then we packed up, went back to Portland, and headed back to Enterprise yesterday. Three short story ideas mugged me on the way back. I’m not sure why that part of my brain is waking up again–perhaps being finished with Netwalk, and two-thirds of the way through Goddess’s Honor is a factor? Dunno, but I’m not going to ignore it. I sketched the three stories out last night. They’re all tied to some other stories I’ve been working on, contemporary fantasy or Western fantasy.

And now for the first time in a week I’m not having to wake up and rush around to go somewhere. Later on today I’m going to introduce Miss Mocha to the wonderful world of saddlebags. But spring is erupting in Wallowa County and I’m itching to get on the front porch for a porch writing session. Ah. Lovely.

 

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Back on the planks again

So here I am at 60 years old and I’m still skiing. Of course, it wasn’t until I reached 60 that I had the experience of galloping a horse through snow…and let’s just say that I was going faster on Miss Mocha (her idea!) than I usually ski (well, except for going down the Magic Mile but the Mile is its own thing). I thought oldsters were supposed to slow down, but…maybe it’s time to scheme on a way to rig up a means to do skijoring with Mocha without a rider. PVC pipe and surcingle, I think…and lots of ground practice during the dry season.

Anyway.

Yesterday hubby and I finally took advantage of the sweet late-season skiing and went up to Timberline. Unlike last year, I could visualize my moves when watching ski movie clips. I felt stronger and had this suspicion that it was going to work out just fine….

….which it did.

It was a stormy day, with temperatures running right about freezing. The snow was a crisp mix of snow and ice, not that nasty can’t-get-a-grip ice but just enough to give the footing a crunch. It was wintry-mixing all the way through to our last run, where things changed from tolerable to full-scale misery with sharp icy drops cutting into the face and coating the glasses.

Glasses. Sigh. I cannot wear goggles with my current lenses. The lovely (NOT) opticians at Kaiser decided that despite my requests and the optometrist’s specific instructions to lower the bifocal line that we were both full of it and jammed the line into the usual spot (no, I do not wear progressives, progressives are NOT an option for me, they do not work so don’t waste your time advising me to try them out!!). As a result, I can’t wear any goggles because according to the opticians, I wear my glasses too low on my nose so that when I DO wear my goggles the lovely fucking bifocal line is halfway through my line of sight and I can’t see a damn thing clearly for my complete lower field of vision. Which is NOT acceptable for ski life and depth perception in an already-sketchy situation.

Oh well. Maybe I need yet another pair of glasses that are just single-vision distance glasses. Grrr.

On the other hand, my feet worked very nicely. I have spent the last year working a combination of massage/chiropractic/foot and back massagers/acupuncture to try to get my feet back in shape and minimize my lower back pain issues. Yesterday proved that I’m on the right path. My stiff Dalbellos went on my feet securely and while I had the usual “ouch ouch ouch” while starting up, I worked through them and was able to control what my feet were doing…which meant I could control my skis, and my hips, and yes. Lovely, lovely glides and turns. No fighting and struggling.

It also helped that I took the skis in for a professional tune. They desperately needed edging. My wax skills are pretty decent for the level of skiing we do, but edging…um…not ready to go there.

We made five runs on Stormin’ Norman. Between skiing out there and the runs, that was close to about five miles skied. Five runs that were gorgeous, wonderful, and…yeah.

A lovely late beginning to the ski year. Going back up tomorrow, and then maybe Friday on our way back to Enterprise, depending on how sore my back is after two days of clam digging and surf fishing. Yay.

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Happy Book Day, CHALLENGES OF HONOR!

And it’s here! Challenges of Honor is now available!  Here’s the details:

What challenges from the Gods are honorable…and right…to accept?

Change is coming eleven years after the events that transformed Katerin Healer into Katerin ea Miteal and catapulted Rekaré ea Miteal to the Leadership of Medvara. Katerin’s daughter Witmara grows stronger in magic while studying under Alicira, Katerin’s cousin and Rekaré’s mother. Rekaré struggles with her mixed feelings toward her leadership and her daughter Melarae. When a challenge to Rekaré arises from a recent Daran Empire exile, Chiral, as Alicira’s health fails, Katerin must choose between remaining obscure, or fully claim her role as a Miteal. The Seven Crowned Gods have their own agenda. What are the consequences of thwarting Chiral’s schemes, and why are the Gods meddling now? Katerin and Rekaré are faced with many challenging choices but not all are honorable—or wise.

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BYZZMSQ

Also on Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and others (Books2Read Universal link here): https://draft2digital.com/book/320484

I started the Goddess’s Honor series after reading one too many fantasy novels set in a quasi-medieval European setting with yet again too many men and not enough strong women in leadership roles. I also wanted to examine what happens in a world driven by magic when the Gods overseeing it go to war against each other. At what point do the humans affected by the divine war step in and say “enough!”? Additionally, I wanted to write fantasy based in places I live and love, not partially visualized generic settings from a part of the world that my family hasn’t lived in for over two hundred years. Goddess’s Honor is loosely set in the Columbia Plateau and Willamette Valley environs with the Great River Chellana running through the lands of Keldara, Clenda, and Medvara. Magic comes from the land and manifests not just through human spells but in special breeds of horses, sheep, and plant species.

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Lagging and accountability

I’m getting really annoyed with myself. For some reason I keep struggling with getting stuff done, especially with my ambitious marketing and writing plans. Things just seem to take longer and…well, it’s all probably just my ADHD getting in my way. I hadn’t thought about that aspect until I read a friend’s comment and lists of projects in motion and her surmise that maybe she was being a bit ADHD about it all, and then I went…oh. Yeah. Maybe that’s the reason. But still….

Some of this is also due to changes in online culture. Ten years ago, I was following a lot more blogs with writer metrics. Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, and others. The continual discussion of writing metrics and writing goals really helped keep me focused. Now…well, it’s all on Facebook, and for some reason I just don’t find what I read there to be inspirational. Perhaps not having a regular daily job is also a factor. I just don’t know.

Blogging is one area which is really suffering. I have a list of ambitious blog projects that I want to do, commentary about writing and the intersection of writing and politics. Maybe I need to post a monthly or weekly accounting of active projects, what progress I’m making, and so on. Not the daily word count metric–though I may resort to that at some point just to jump-start everything.

It may also be the mood of the current era. On the other hand, I blogged regularly throughout the Bush era, so maybe I just need to take myself in hand and do some accountability measures. Okay. So perhaps I’ll do that right now. What I’m trying to do right now is clear the deck of half-finished projects so that I don’t have them hanging over my head.

Planned Book Releases for 2018 and current progress

Challenges of Honor–due for release this month, needs formatting for ebooks and hard copy, blurb and MS size to cover designer, promotion plans needed. Planning to do some work on it today. Epic fantasy.

Klone’s Stronghold–in rough draft, about 58k words, needs to be FINISHED this week to stay on schedule. Purchase cover, write blurb, prepare promotion plan, anticipated June 2018 release. Contemporary fantasy.

Bearing Witness–in rough draft, about 30k words, needs to be finished in May but is a short novel. Purchase cover, write blurb, prepare promotion plan, anticipated July 2018 release. Western fantasy/Weird West.

Seeking Shelter expansion and revision–Revise and expand book that I’ve gotten the rights back from the publisher. Notes made for revision, about 30k new words needed. Purchase cover, prepare promotion plan, anticipated August 2018 release. Apocalyptic/cli-fi sf.

Federation Cowboy–in rough draft, about 20k words. Purchase cover, write blurb, prepare promotion plan, anticipated October 2018 release. Space opera with futuristic cowboys and sentient nonhuman beings uniting to defeat the Plasmid invasion.

Ski Days–Compilation of ski blog posts. Need to edit and write introductory material. Cover, blurb, promotion plan. Anticipated November 2018 release. Memoir.

 

Sounds ambitious but these projects have been on the table for a while. It’s time to get them cleared out so I can focus on THESE projects:

Oregon Country–What if John McLoughlin, fur trappers, Native Americans, and non-missionary whites banded together to form Oregon as its own anti-slavery country in the pre-Civil War era? With magic and unicorns, somewhat of a wish fulfillment about what should have happened in the Pacific Northwest. One of my rare male protagonists. Weird West.

Choices of Honor–Last book in the primary Goddess’s Honor trilogy. Epic fantasy.

Becoming Solo–Sewing, witchcraft, and coming of age. Urban fantasy.

Rust and Flame–Secret supernatural warfare that has been happening in and around humans for years, warring groups brought together by an outside threat that endangers supernaturals and humans alike. Urban fantasy.

Alice Mary/Coyote–A virus turns some children into superheroes, which is not widely accepted by society at large. Some short stories already published in this world. Urban fantasy.

Star Shepherds–Far future extension of Netwalk Sequence world. Humans partnered with alien entities to battle a mutual threat.

All this can change depending upon what happens with sales…..or if I get hijacked by a really good new idea.

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