Monday, July 17, 2017

43

As a serious Douglas Adams fan, I had hoped that 42 years old would be a great time for me. Just cause that would be extra fun, and naturally we all want our lives to go well. Major health challenges put a big crink in those plans. So here's to hoping for stronger health and more productivity in general now that I've moved on to being 43. I'm due for a good year. Aren't we all? While the world might be going insane out there, I'm planning to get myself together.

Have a great one folks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fighting with Cats for the Best Spot on the Bed

Meeko doesn't care for my convalescing in bed during the day. He wants his napping spot. Now, not only is he trying to take over the spot, but he is stealing my book as well.
Meeko stealing the bed, and the book

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Making Space - Belated Flash Fiction Friday



Carolyn descended the three cement steps into the dusty garage. A space of about four by seven feet had been cleared of boxes and debris and swept clean. In the center of this space was a stack of three empty pet carriers, a basket of dog toys, and a dog bed with a sleeping speckled dog sprawled in it. Behind her followed an older gentleman, her father. When he came beside her he reached past her shoulder to pull a dangling cord turning on a long fluorescent light that hung over a workbench that ran the length one wall of the garage. 

"So if we could just make a little more space out here, I could take in more fosters and you wouldn't have anything disturbed in the house." As she talked Carolyn adjusted her hold on the five day old kitten she carried. It mewed in complaint until she got it better situated against her body and returned the little baby bottle. 

"Where do you plan to put everything?" His skepticism about this whole project dripped from the question.
"That's what I was hoping you could help me with," Carolyn began. "This stuff has been in boxes since I was little. You don't use any of it. Could we maybe. . .  get rid of. . . some of it?"

Her father looked at her, then at the wall of boxes. He said nothing.

"Look, Dad." Carolyn set the baby bottle down on the workbench and shoved the kitten into her father's hands causing a surprised sputter from him and an angry mewl from the kitten. She reached into the nearest box and pulled out a dusty metal tool that had two holes and a plate that could slide back and forth. "This thing for example. I've never seen you use it. Why let it sit out here taking up space? Is it so important to keep?"

Dad was still trying to figure out how to hold onto the squirming, now unhappy kitten as Carolyn waved the tool at him. He settled on cradling it in both hands against his belly. He looked up at his daughter. "That is an antique Colt bullet mold from 1862. No, we are not getting rid of it." The kitten was attempting to climb up his front in search of its missing bottle, letting out frustrated little meows all the while. He assisted the tiny body by bringing it more up to his chest, but still trying to contain it in his hands.

Carolyn didn't seem to notice his distress with the kitten. She regarded the bullet mold thoughtfully. "Well then, maybe we could just use it."

Her dad snorted. "Making bullets seems to go against the spirit of your animal rescuing thing."

Carolyn rolled her eyes. "No. I mean maybe. . . ", she turned to the workbench and popped off the nipple of the tiny baby bottle, turned it over and stuck it into one of the bullet mold holes. "There. Like that." She held the mold/nipple combo out for her father to see.

He looked at it, then at her, again saying nothing, but with a hint of an eyebrow raise.

"When we wash them, they could go there for drying." She smiled.

By this point the kitten had found one of Dad's pinkie fingers and latched on. The dog stretched in his sleep, rolling out of the bed and waking himself.  He got up wagging to see people out here with him and approached Dad with a rope toy and a hopeful expression. 

"Ok," Dad said. "Tomorrow you can help me go thought some of these boxes. There might be a few things we could get rid of."



Author note - Following a writing prompt from the Writing Excuses Podcast, I asked my Facebook Friends to send me photos of random objects. I would use 3 of these photos to make a story. These were the first three photos sent:


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Robin Hobb is my Idol

I'm reading Golden Fool by Robin Hobb right now. I've been saving it for my surgery/recovery so I would have something to look forward to. I'm just about halfway through and just learned something that rocked my little reader brain for a loop. I won't give the spoiler here, but man oh man is this a good book.

It's a little awkward to blog about how everyone needs to read this book when it is the second book in the middle of a trilogy, and this trilogy is in the middle of a much longer series of books. Don't start here. Start with Assassin's Apprentice. Work your way through everything in between, then read this. It will be worth it.

Now, when I was trying to figure out the reading order of these books, several websites and forum discussions I came across said that you could skip the Liveship books since they focus on different characters. I read the Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, and Assassin's Quest) first (as should you), then the Liveship books (Ship of Magic, Mad Ship, and Ship of Destiny) and the started on the Tawny Man trilogy (Fool's Errand, Golden Fool - that I'm in the middle of now) and next will be Fool's Fate). Now that I have done so I can say with authority that you should absolutely NOT skip the Liveship books.

There are events and characters in the book right now that would carry so much less interest and almost no emotional impact for me as a reader if I didn't have all the extensive background information and relationship connections explored in the Liveship books. My mind boggles at those reviews I read way back when that said you could skip them and not miss out on anything. The emotional wallop I and them main character hit yesterday would have been completely absent without the Liveship books. In fact, it may have been a bigger wallop to me since I have more incite to the revelation than Fitz does right now.

The only other books I saw as recommended to skip are the Soldier's Son trilogy. These are actually an unrelated trilogy that is unconnected to the events in the Farseer world. Still, I read them and loved them. They are worth reading, but you don't need to worry about their placement in the larger series because the events are completely outside of that story-line.

That's probably enough gushing for the moment. Go read!


Monday, July 3, 2017

I Lost my Belly Button

I like to picture it in a jar of formaldehyde on a shelf somewhere, but that isn't where it went. More likely it was incinerated as biologic waste a week ago. Regardless, I don't have a belly button anymore. The kids and I were brainstorming ideas of how I could explain to people why I don't have one. One wanted me to say I was an alien. I sort of liked the story that I hatched out of an egg. But the one I like best is that I don't have a belly button because my mother molded me from clay and Zeus gave me life. Now I'm just waiting for this to somehow come up in conversation.

I'm tired and sore, but doing really well all things considered. My big goal of the week is to get some writing done. I'd love to have a new Flash Fiction Friday piece ready this week. So watch for it to see how I'm doing! I'm tired of talking about my health so I probably won't for awhile.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Today is the Big Day

Abdominal Wall Reconstruction Day

Sooner than I had expected, but that's how things go sometimes, don't they. I thought I had considerably more weight to lose, but my surgeons are thrilled with what I've done so far. Trying to organize my life to make sure all my responsibilities are covered while I'm out of commission has kept me busy enough that I haven't spent too much time obsessing about the actual surgery part, which is probably for the best.

I'm hoping to get some writing time in during recovery, but from experience I know when I don't feel well, my brain doesn't flow all that well either. So we'll see and hope for the best.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weight Loss Progress

So the weight loss is going better than expected. I'm down about 15 pounds from May 1st, which puts me on track to be down 25 pounds by mid July. I'm a little worried about muscle loss since I am so limited on what exercises I can do, but I'm putting that into the 'things I cannot change' category and trying not to let the stress of it get to me too much. I am walking a lot, and I enjoy that.

For those interested, I use the Sparkpeople app to track my food and exercise. I think you have to go into the full site to get your goals set up to see the recommended calories a day, etc. but after that I recommend the app instead. The full site is crazy ad heavy so it loads super slow and is generally a pain. But it's all free, so it has that going for it.

Just a couple days ago I hit 190 on the scale, and got very excited that I only have 10 pounds to go! Whoo! Then I thought things through a little further and realized that my reward for losing these last 10 pounds will be getting a horrible surgery that I don't especially want to have, and in that light it is a whole lot less exciting. The flip side is that I don't want to stay the way I am either, as both hernias seem to be causing me more pain and discomfort as time goes along. So surgery it is. Dammit.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Revising

Life has been very hectic lately. I haven't done any new writing in awhile aside from journaling, but I am working on my novel revisions. What has surprised me about the revision process is that I'm getting excited about the story again. I was a little burnt out with it by the end of the first draft. That wasn't something I expected to happen. I follow a lot of authors on various social media platforms, and I read a lot of books, and listen to a lot of podcasts about writing. I expected revisions to make me more frustrated with the story, not more excited.

Perhaps the time lag helped in that regard. There is common advice to set a story aside for a time before trying to revise. How much time seems to be a personal choice - a day, a week, a month are all suggestions I've read. I probably didn't look at my first draft for several months before starting on revisions. I didn't intend to wait so long, but I'm just not good at time management, so that's where I landed. While I'm reading through marking things that need to change, I'm feeling it isn't the train wreck I thought it was.

Certainly, revising something the size of a novel (or maybe a novella, I'm not sure where the final word count will land) is much more intimidating than revising short stories. I will probably have lists involved very soon. And I can see that by the end of the process I may start to feel again that annoyance with the story that I did before, but by then hopefully it will be ready for my beta readers and I will get another break until they have time to read and give their feedback.

Anyway, It's good to be moving forward again.