My writing process

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Every now and then I get asked how I write, since I’m a pantser through and through. Often I get the question, “How can you write not knowing where you’re going to go?” Well, while that’s half the fun, it’s also not entirely true of what I do. Let me explain.

I go in with my characters – the majority of which introduce themselves long before I get started, the setting, and a vague plot. I do have a beginning and an end. It’s the middle part that I tend to write by the seat of my pants. Essentially, I know where they’re going to end up. It’s up to them to choose the roads to it.

People look at me odd when I say the characters “choose” their own paths, but other pantsers understand exactly what I’m talking about. Also, there are many authors who agree with me that they hear the voices of their characters in their heads, talking to them, pushing them on when energy flags so that the story can be told. I’ve ended up having to supervise arguments between the characters in my head so I could see where it led. That was fun. I learned a lot about my characters with that one.

The truth is I enjoy learning about my characters as I write, which is why my first drafts get almost completely rewritten when I go back to them. I look at my first drafts as sort of an overly complex set of character sketches. I use the plot as the guide to let the characters sort themselves out. Once that’s been done, I go back and use that information to pare down what I’ve been given and then add more information where it was lacking.

I can rewrite a story five or six (or more) times before I’m somewhat happy with it. Only then will I send it to a beta reader, who will then go through and pick it apart for me. I’ll take the advice they give me that I feel would strengthen the story and discard the advice I don’t think will help. I have taken advice I don’t agree with and ended up enjoying the results anyway. So even if I don’t like the advice given, I don’t discard everything.

I can be very scattered in my methods, but the result is the same – a fun story that I’ve enjoyed writing and that I hope readers will love reading. We’ll find out next year when the first of my books gets published (by me).

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My musical awakening – 2017 version

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I’ve always been very particular in my music choices. I haven’t ventured out of the rock genre in ages, though I’ve dabbled in dubstep, techno, and a few other varieties as well as revisiting some of the classic country I heard when I was a kid. Then I got on Discord and discovered that they have special bots that allow you to play music through the voice chat options.

Let me just say…this has been eye opening.

I’ve been introduced to Manowar, Sabaton, Eminem, Lil Wayne, NF, Bruno Mars, and so many others. I’ve started adding to my writing playlist on Spotify, putting in my favorites from the lists. (Though Manowar’s Sleipnir isn’t on Spotify since they don’t have the license for it – the turkey butts.)

I’m loving every bit of what I’ve been shown, and if you’ve known me for any length of time, you know how odd that is. I’ve sworn up and down that I *hate* rap, that I’d never listen to it willingly, that I’d shut off whatever program was playing it rather than listen. Well, there are a few songs from Eminem, Lil Wayne, NF, and Bruno Mars that have made it into my repertoire now.

I’ve also gone into foreign language songs. I’ve got some more German language songs, and a few Japanese ones. Granted, these are covers of anime songs, but hey, I have to start somewhere, don’t I? 😀 I also have one Arabic/French mix song, and as soon as my friend gets back on Discord, I’m grabbing another Arabic song. Well, it’s actually Arabic/Latin/Spanish. Why? Because I can.

Music can open so many doors. We are literally a gathering of people from across the world, and all of us are sharing music we enjoy. It’s so much fun to see what everyone else int he world listens to, and share what I enjoy with them. I’ve even been reintroduced to old favorites (from the 80s) I’d forgotten about.

If you like a song, and have a chance to share it with someone, do so. They may not like it, but it’s a good conversation starter.

Manowar – Sleipnir

Why do I even bother?

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This was me, back in May. (As is obvious, since my hair is long. Have I shown you guys my new hair cut and the dyeing job I did myself? I need to check that in a minute.) You might notice my rather prominent stomach. That isn’t because I’m pregnant. It’s because I’m fat. I weighed 245 lbs in May with the goal to getting down to around 200 lbs by December.

Fast forward to the end of September/beginning of October. I weigh 247 lbs. I got down to 230ish at one point, but I’m back up to almost 250 lbs. Now part of this is when my legs went out due to the nerve issues, I went completely sedentary. I also didn’t exactly cut down my portion size. I could barely hobble around the house, let alone go for walks or anything more physical. I even gave up  yoga/stretching.

I’m planning on taking a more current picture soon, so we can all see what I look like now. I’ve started taking new steps towards changing my weight and physical health. I’ve installed two apps on my phone – one to help me keep track of how many calories I should be eating to lose around 1.5 lbs/wk, how much fat/protein/sugar/carbs I should be eating per day, and it even tracks my water, and the other to track me as I walk (usually with the puppy.)

My end target goal is ~135 lbs. Why? Because I’m 5’3″ and a healthy weight for my size is between 107 and 140 lbs. As far as I’m concerned, with my bone structure, I’d start looking more like a skeleton with skin stretched over it if I let myself get too close to 107 lbs. So I’m trying for 130-135 lbs. At 1.5 lbs/week, that should take around 2 years.

I’m taking it as slow as I am because 4-8 lbs/month is a healthy weight loss. Anything more is considered unhealthy and anything less isn’t really helpful because you just pack it all right back on. Now, I am very aware that as I lose more fat it’ll convert to muscle and my weight may or may not fluctuate as much at times. I’m not worried about that. One of my goals is to get rid of my stomach along with losing my weight.

Now, you might be concerned by the title of this post. You might think it’s because I’m depressed about my weight and such.

I’m not.

“Why do I even bother?” That was a question that used to send me into a spiral of depression and self-destruction. Now, when that pops into my head, I tell myself why.

“I want to be healthy.”

“I’m tired of feeling ugly.”

“I want to be able to wear the clothing I like.”

“I want to be able to keep up a little more often with my husband.”

“I want to be able to farm without getting out of breath every two seconds.”

“I want to be able to get off some of the medications I’m on.”

“I want to be able to go to cons and not feel quite so out of place.”

These are just some of the reasons, and they all make me smile. I’m not proud of who I’ve been in my life, but I am who it’s made me, and there’s so much I’ve learned over the years that – realistically – I don’t want to change what I’ve endured. I want to change how I deal with it, how I let it affect me now, and let go of everything that’s weighing me down (pardon the pun) from my past. Part of my expanded waistline is because I “depression eat” and don’t exercise.

That’s changing now. No more candy (except for dark chocolate.) Very few sugary drinks (I’m not giving up all my quad shot mochas or the occasional Mike’s Hard Lemonade/wine cooler/similar beverage – but NO MORE HARD LIQUOR/SODA mixes.) Cut back on my simple sugars and refined sugars (syrup, cookies, brownies, etc. – though I’ll still eat them on occasion). There are special occasions where some of these will be lifted (just not the hard liquor one) – such as holidays – but that’s about it.

I have goals.

I have a life.

I’m going to live instead of exist.

I’m 40 – I’m not dead.

I am an adaptable human being – watch me succeed!

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Tiger, Tiger – an explanation

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Photo via VisualHunt.com

Hi everyone!

Yes, I know. I don’t usually post on weekends. But I’m sure you’ve all noticed my blog has been consumed by the story Tiger, Tiger. There’s a reason for that.

I’m attempting something that’s been done before, but I don’t really care. I’m doing it in my own style – I’m attempting to post a novella/novel on my blog. You’re getting it in small chunks as I progress through the story.

It’s going to be a little boring in places, and I’m sorry for that. You’re getting the first draft, as you do with just about everything I post here. My plans are to edit/revise/rewrite it and then post it for free on Smashwords in its entirety (since it’s already been up for free on my blog – I’m not going to charge people for it).

I just thought this would be a fun exercise. If you don’t want to read Tiger, Tiger, then just ignore the Monday through Friday posts. I’ll be posting on the weekends as well now. I won’t be doing my usual drabbles. I don’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to come up with something that takes me out of the universe of my current story, entering somewhere else, and then having to try to go back in.

What I will do is post some non-fiction posts. Some random recipes, some discussions on what’s going on in my life, fun things I find on the web, things like that. So there is a break from the story to give you guys a rest once in a while.

If you have any topics you’d like me to cover, leave me a comment. If you want to complain about Tiger, Tiger, feel free. But be warned I’m probably going to ignore you unless it’s a suggestion on how to fix areas in revisions. Then I’ll make a note of your comment and continue on.

I love you all. Thank you for following me, hanging out, and enjoying my stories. It means a lot to me. Now…off to get Manas and Lilavati into even more trouble!

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Adapting to life

Random Ramblings #2 – The Health Episode

Hi everyone. You may have noticed I missed yesterday’s post. That was mostly because of the eclipse here in the US. I was excited for that and really wasn’t paying attention to anything else. I was also dealing with another issue, one mentioned in the YouTube video I linked above. It’s my second vlog episode, and one where I actually break down. I don’t do that often in anything public, least of all something that’s on the internet. But I felt it was important to get out my message, and that’s part of it.

What’s so important that I had to say it when I was so emotional? I went to the ER for a screaming headache and the fact that my legs felt like someone poured gasoline (petrol for those of you not in the US) on them and lit them on fire. They were so much on fire I wanted to scream. They still are. The Nurse Practitioner treated the migraine but really didn’t say much about my legs other than that the pain was most likely a “form of neuropathy.” When I talked to my primary care doctor, she agreed with the assessment. When I talked to my vascular surgeon he agreed with the assessment, even though neuropathy typically sticks to the feet and hands and is more common to someone with diabetes.

No, I don’t have diabetes. I don’t even have pre-diabetes. My A1C number (that’s what they look at to assess your likelihood for diabetes) is at the low end of what’s considered normal. It’s not too low though, so there’s nothing to be worried about. But now I have a problem – what exactly is wrong with my legs, and is it permanent? I hope it’s not, but if it is, I’ll have mobility issues for the rest of my life. This is something that I don’t look forward to, since I have more than enough health issues that are going to last me for the rest of my life. I don’t need one more.

I’ve set another appointment with my primary care doctor to see what she says, what tests I need to take to find out what this is, and how I can treat it – if there is a treatment. I’ve had to make some adjustments to my life, though at first I thought I’d lost the ability to do one of the things that makes me really happy.

I thought I’d lost the ability to cook and bake. Both of those require me to stand on my feet, and my legs just couldn’t take it. It was suggested I could sit in the kitchen and direct people, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to have my hands in everything. I wanted to chop, stir, knead bread, mix pancakes. I wanted to do everything when it came to the cooking.

So, thanks to my wonderful friend Deborah urging me not to give up on something I love so much, I came up with the idea to turn the table that serves as the “island” in our kitchen into my work space. With some help, I cleared it off and got rid of most of the stuff under it. I tucked a stool underneath for me to sit on and voila, instant work area. It got its first test yesterday morning, and it worked fairly well. I still had to do a lot of standing and walking, but that was mostly because my original breakfast plan got scrapped due to not finding a couple ingredients. But if I plan carefully, I shouldn’t have to worry about standing at all, except to pull things out of the oven and to drain things in the sink, like pasta. This makes me very happy.

What I’ve learned through all of this is humans are very adaptable creatures. We constantly adapt our surroundings to suit us. And if that doesn’t work, we adapt to that as well. We know we can do things that will make our lives easier, or at the very least more livable. We are remarkably resilient and can do a lot of stuff.

So when life throws a curve ball in your direction, don’t let it stop you. Roll with it and adapt to the situation. Figure out how to deal with it and move forward. Go ahead and have a good cry if you need to. An emotional breakdown is okay. I’ve had a few since this all started. But the next step is to keep moving beyond them. Keep moving forward. That’s the only way to survive.

The heroes of the medical profession

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Photo via Visual Hunt

I know a lot of you hang around because of my little fiction drabbles – which aren’t always as short as I intend – but I’m going to talk about something else serious today. Then perhaps tomorrow the drabbles will resume. I want to talk to you today about the heroes of the ER – the nurses.

The first people on the scene when you get into the ER aren’t the doctors. They’re the nurses. They take your vital signs, listen to you as you explain your situation, clean up the blood and/or vomit and/or urine/feces as they listen, and note a general assessment in your chart. Then they go off to tell the doctor what’s going on.

They check on you regularly and if they think the doctor is being too slow in doing something for you, they’ll ride their ass until they come in and talk to you. Once that happens, treatment begins. But it isn’t the doctor who does the actual treatment. Once again, it’s the nurses. They’re the ones who stick the IVs into you, who put catheters in places you’re rather not have one, who console you when you hear about all the tests you’re going to have to go through, and administer any medications the doctor thinks you need right at that moment. They’re also the ones who try to make you feel better with a good bedside manner – which many ER doctors don’t have.

The nurses are the ones who check on you after you’ve returned from being wheeled out for getting x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or whatever tests you’re being given that will take you out of your spot in the ER. They’re the ones who keep you updated on what’s going on. And again, they’re the ones who push the doctor if they think they’re taking too long.

Of course, if the ER is really busy, you might not see your nurse as often as you’d like. But they will make sure you’re checked on, even if they have to beg one of their coworkers to check in on you. They want to be sure you’re safe, cared for, and as pain free as possible.

When the doctor gives their final diagnosis and comes up with a treatment plan, they’ll come in and give you the bare details and then leave. It’s the nurse who brings up the discharge plan and explains everything to you in detail, answers any questions you may have, gives you whatever warnings are needed, and wishes you well. The nurses are the ones who tell you if you have questions to call and if it gets worse to come back. The nurses are the ones who follow you to the door to make sure you’re well enough to leave, and if you can’t walk, they’ll get a wheelchair for you and take you out to your car.

Even outside the ER, nurses are the ones who do the bulk of the work. In a hospital setting, the nurses outside the ER do a lot of what the ER nurses do. In a doctor’s office, they’re the ones who take your vitals, ask you what’s going on, get notes for the doctor, and then they’e also the ones who administer any shots the doctor wants you to have and explains what the doctor wants you to have done if you have questions.

My brother is a trauma nurse. My ex-sister-in-law is a regular hospital nurse. I was a CNA for a few years, who are the right hands of nurses outside of the ER. Be nice to your nurses. For the most part, they genuinely care about you and want to make sure you’re healthy and happy by the end of your visit. And if that’s not going to be the case, they’re the ones who are there to grieve with you, to comfort you, and to show they care and want to ease your burden as much as possible as you go through this terrible time.

I’m not saying doctors don’t do anything. They do a lot. General practice doctors are a lot more hands on, and work hand in hand with their nurses. A lot of them keep their nurses in the room with them to be an extra pair of hands and to explain things when the doctor can’t. But in a hospital setting, doctors have very little time to deal with patients as they often have twenty other patients to attend to – oftentimes more. So they are stretched very thin. That’s why they rely on their nurses to get things done.

Nurses are heroes. Remember that. Nurses are heroes.

Goal Post August 2018

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(Photo taken by me of a flowering tree in our yard – no clue what it is though.)

Hi everyone! Racing the Wind will be back tomorrow since you’re all interested (I hope) in the outcome of the contests between Eridan and Angharad. But as this is August 1st, it’s time for the goal post. Yay!

Let’s look at last month’s goals and see how I did. *cringe*

I will blog every weekday, unless there is something going on. If there is, I’ll post a brief explanation of my missed days on the weekend. This way I don’t have to try to get a full post up on the weekends, which oddly enough can be even busier on the farm than the weekdays.

Okay, so this one didn’t exactly turn out like I hoped. Not only did I NOT blog every weekday, I also didn’t post my brief updates on the weekends. *sigh* I’m going to get this blogging thing figured out eventually.

I’m going to post a vlog once a week, a gaming video at least once a week, and do a stream at least once a week. I need to get my digital presence back up and moving.

So, no vlogs, but there’s a reason for that. My phone has been giving me fits for the past month and within the last week or so it has finally crapped out. I can barely make phone calls on it. I can’t record videos and upload them to YouTube since I can’t connect to our wi-fi and I’m not using data (it’s expensive through my phone provider)…if I could even get a signal. Our house doesn’t lend itself for getting any kind of signal. The gaming videos are picking up, though for a while I couldn’t even bring myself to do them. I’ve got a bunch recorded and I’m posting them every day so far. I’m going to do more as I can and keep scheduling them out as far as I can. I managed my first stream last Saturday at 7:30 PM PDT. I’m rather proud of myself on that one. I haven’t touched my Twitch account in months.

I am going to start being more active on Twitter, since I’ve all but vanished off of it lately. It doesn’t do me much good to ignore a good social media platform if I plan on developing relationships with friends and finding fans.

I started this at the beginning of the month. I really did. And then…….I kinda quit. Facebook is much easier to engage with people on. Conversations happen much quicker and it’s easier to follow them.

I’m going to finish chapter 3 in Into the Flames and at the very least start chapter 4. If I finish it, that’ll be a bonus. But I at least want to get it started.

Well I did that. Then I scrapped that whole version and started over with the book. My characters gave a new shiny idea for their story that fits with their personalities better. So we’ll see how this one goes. I have reached chapter 2 with it, so I’m having fun.

I will do 20 minutes of yoga every day and go for a walk at least three times a week. My goal is to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year (I’m at 240 lbs right now), so I need to get my ass in gear and get moving.

*sigh*

I don’t even want to talk about this one. Not only have I NOT done any yoga, but I’ve gone on maybe three walks the entire month of July. I’ve also regained 10 lbs, so I’m up around 250 again. I doubt I’ll get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year now, since a healthy weight loss is around 8 lbs a month. I just fell off the bandwagon.

So…THIS month’s goals.

1. Blog every weekday. If I miss a day, oh well. Life happens. Shrug it off and move on. Also on Fridays post a goal update so I can hold myself accountable. (I’m lazy and this should be a good motivation for me. Though I may not get one posted on the 4th…that’s our big grocery trip into Salem. If I do get one done, it won’t be until late in the afternoon/evening.)

2. Get back on Twitter for an hour every day and limit my Facebook time to one hour a day. I seriously spend way too much time on Facebook, and that cuts into my work time. So I’m going to see if I can cut back on all my time wasters.

3. Continue working on Into the Flames. No set chapter goal this month. This is a whole new story to me with the same characters so I’m working slowly to make sure I get everything down. Of course, this is a first draft so it’s definitely not perfect. We’ll have to see if I continue liking it or if I’m going back to the other version.

4. Vlog once a week, post YouTube videos weekly (daily if possible), and stream every week (if possible). My phone problem will be solved (hopefully) on Wednesday. A kind friend (from Facebook XD) is mailing me her husband’s Nexus 5. He upgraded and it was never used that much anyway. So as soon as it gets here I’ll get a vlog up. My weekly streams are tentatively scheduled from 7:30 PM PDT to 8:30 PM PDT on Saturday nights. It may change, I may add more. I don’t know yet. We’ll have to see.

5. 20 minutes of yoga every day, one walk every day, and whatever other physical activity I can get in. Also, cut back on my food portions and cut out soda completely. I sit too much on my butt at my computer. I know it. I need to get out and do more physical activity since that’s one of the contributing factors to my weight. I also eat too much. I know this too. So I’m going to cut my portion sizes down. I also have to cut soda out completely. I keep saying I’m going to do it, and then I go and buy a 1 liter Mountain Dew when I’m depressed. I’m going to force myself not to do that because going cold turkey is the only way I’m going to stop myself from drinking it.

So that’s it for today’s post and this month’s goals. Anyone want to take bets on how much of this I’m going to actually accomplish? *grin* I am DETERMINED TO SUCCEED!!!!!!!!!

Goal Post July 2017

 

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Photo via Visualhunt

Another month has passed. It’s July. Yay! *does a happy dance…and hurts her back*

*coughs* Geez I’m getting old. 😉

So, let’s get down to it. Starting with last month’s goals and a bit of a progress report.

  1. I will be blogging (as much as I can) 5 days a week. That means Monday through Friday, unless something’s going on in my life. Then I’ll make up the day I missed on the weekend.
    Okay, so as you can tell, I didn’t exactly do well with this one. I’m going to try to do better this month.
  2. I’ll still do my little bits of fiction, but expect goal posts at the beginning of the month, updates on my health (both mental and physical), updates on my progress on whatever novel I’m working on, and the occasional post on the farm. I’ve also started streaming video games on Twitch and I’m recording videos for YouTube on the same, so I may post one post a week as well on those. I’ll also be referencing my personal vlog from time to time.
    So this one went a little better. I’ve done a lot of bits of fiction. You’re looking at the goal post for this month. I didn’t do a health update, though I’ve been going through a lot. I don’t have a lot of answers yet, so I’m waiting to discuss those until I have more information. The gaming videos and streams…will pick up eventually. Life has just been very busy lately. Same with the personal vlogs. I’ve only got my phone to work with, so it’s often difficult to manage everything.
  3. As you can see, my blog look has changed. I was getting bored with the old look and I wanted something new. Change is good – even if it can be scary at times – and I wanted to do something new.
    Still playing with some more new ideas for various things. I’ll update you as I go along.

 

So, here are the NEW goals for July:

1. I will blog every weekday, unless there is something going on. If there is, I’ll post a brief explanation of my missed days on the weekend. This way I don’t have to try to get a full post up on the weekends, which oddly enough can be even busier on the farm than the weekdays.

2. I’m going to post a vlog once a week, a gaming video at least once a week, and do a stream at least once a week. I need to get my digital presence back up and moving.

3. I am going to start being more active on Twitter, since I’ve all but vanished off of it lately. It doesn’t do me much good to ignore a good social media platform if I plan on developing relationships with friends and finding fans.

4. I’m going to finish chapter 3 in Into the Flames and at the very least start chapter 4. If I finish it, that’ll be a bonus. But I at least want to get it started.

5. I will do 20 minutes of yoga every day and go for a walk at least three times a week. My goal is to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year (I’m at 240 lbs right now), so I need to get my ass in gear and get moving.

 

I think that’s enough to keep me busy for this month. Everyone enjoy your day and I’ll be back with another random post tomorrow!

Goals and other general updates

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Photo via VisualHunt.com

It’s June. The year seems to be flying by. It’s already half over. I decided it was time to change things up on the blog. So, here’s the new order of things on here.

  1. I will be blogging (as much as I can) 5 days a week. That means Monday through Friday, unless something’s going on in my life. Then I’ll make up the day I missed on the weekend.
  2. I’ll still do my little bits of fiction, but expect goal posts at the beginning of the month, updates on my health (both mental and physical), updates on my progress on whatever novel I’m working on, and the occasional post on the farm. I’ve also started streaming video games on Twitch and I’m recording videos for YouTube on the same, so I may post one post a week as well on those. I’ll also be referencing my personal vlog from time to time.
  3. As you can see, my blog look has changed. I was getting bored with the old look and I wanted something new. Change is good – even if it can be scary at times – and I wanted to do something new.
  4. There really isn’t a number 4. I just felt like adding another line to this list. 😀

Basically, there are a lot of changes in the works for the future. I hope you’ll all stick around and enjoy what I’ve got planned.