Learning to Relax

Well the year and I have gotten a bit of a slow start. I’ve been feeling awful lately. Dizzy, rage-filled, moody, and beyond tired. I just thought it was related to chronic inflammation and the whole having an autoimmune disease thing. Nope. Apparently my B12 has been low. I’ve been feeling like telling much of the world to go F**** themselves, which isn’t like me. During this time I avoided people more than I normally do. I’m an introvert type, so I love my me time, but I dreaded being around people. I also couldn’t get my butt out of bed at a decent time in the morning.

So I’m on monthly injections of B12 for 10 months. The first one made me feel ill. I went from no energy to ALL. THE. ENERGY! Then I felt tired. Then I got suddenly overheated. Next I was chilled. Then I was nauseous, shaky, and shortly after that I was ravenous and wondered if there was enough food in the house to satiate me! The next day I was a little sick feeling, but that passed and after a little bit of tiredness I now feel pretty good.

I haven’t got far with my goals this week given all of that, but I’ve been learning to relax. I’ve never been particularly good at it. As a child I always multitasked except when reading Nancy Drew; I used to devour those books. I did my homework or a puzzle while watching TV, or I played solitaire (the old-fashioned way with actual cards). I’m often knitting, hand-sewing, colouring, or writing while watching TV. I’m trying to reduce that. Knitting is reasonable, but I shouldn’t be always multitasking. Why? It leaves me in this always on mode and my muscles knot up.

Tonight I took a bath with Epsom salts and baby oil. I’m trying to take better care of my skin as it’s always too dry. I watched Supernatural by itself, though I felt like I had idle hands. I did briefly feel truly relaxed. It’s a start.

Tomorrow I return to  karate after nearly 3 years away. I’m really looking forward to it!

Writing wise I’m plugging away at The Blood Waitress Club and I’m going to tweak a short story to enter it into a contest soon. I’ll hopefully start that this weekend, though with the sudden extreme increase in energy it’s been hard to focus on one thing. I’ll be used to it soon I’m sure.

I have a sewing project I’m gearing up for as I finally finished a small Harry Potter blanket. I’ve decided to make my own fabric rug as rugs in stores are expensive and never go with my decor. I’ve had some fabric kicking around for years and finally have a project for it. After that I may start my costume for Comiccon because it’s always good to have extra time for it.

I think 2016 is going to be a great year!

Ciao,
R~

Getting Back on Track

I’ve been rather distracted as of late while waiting on medical test results. I was writing, but not very much.

I’m not a New Years resolution type of person. I’m a goal-oriented type. So here’s the writing plan for 2016:

1. Finish the second draft of The Blood Waitress Club. It is a tale of a team of roller derby girls who happen to be vampires.

2. Finish the first draft of Scion. This one is an alien conspiracy involving a particularly skilled boy.

3. Do whatever is needed to get The Page & The Magician to publication. It’s my urban fantasy romance that’s set in Ottawa. This one is currently in review by a publisher, but they could decide it isn’t actually something they’re into, or that it needs a lot more work.

4. Polish some of my short stories and send them out into the world.

5. Attend Ad Astra and Can-Con.

That should keep me busy.

Ciao,
R~

NaNoWriMo 2015

Well I’ve been doing terrible at National Novel Writing Month this year. Why? Life has been busy.

At the end of October, from the 30th to November 1, there was Can-Con. I successfully pitched my novel to one of the publishers, then spent two days touching up my manuscript before submitting it. I had gotten some outside feedback at Can-Con and wanted to apply it. So that took me to November 4th as a start date. Then I had to spend some time ensuring I had food to eat at the Iaido seminar on the 7th. The 6th and 8th were partially lost to travel. I didn’t get much writing done in the first week.

In week two when I could get some time to write, I was facing the challenges of full-time work, writing course, plus social life. I was also facing a challenge of, “Man, it’s been so long since I looked at this manuscript. What’s it about again?” Also, I had updated my Scrivener to the newest version and it moved some of the text files around, so I had to reorganize and read to figure out what I had already written and what needed to happen in the story.

Week three had me facing a bladder/urinary tract infection. The antibiotics quickly cleared that up, but not without other issues. I was nauseous, lightheaded, dizzy, light sensitive, sinus headache, fevered/chilled… It was fantastic.

Somehow I was able to write 1,019 words on one of the days despite how ill I felt? That’s the only day I’ve written over 1000 words.

So as we head into week four, I have 5555 new words written on Scion. I have martial arts tonight, food allergy treatment tomorrow, and physio on Friday.

There are only a couple martial arts classes left before grading. It’s likely best I spend my free time on that if I want to pass it.

On the upside, the writing course is done and I received interesting and helpful feedback from the other students on several of my stories.

I’ve been terrible at ROW80 for this round. I’m posting a day early, because.

Next month should be a little better for getting my writing in. Not that I’m going to stop working on Scion. I’ll just stop feeling bad about not being up to Nano word count. And when I’m stuck, I’ll work on edits for The Blood Waitress Club. Whichever one is ready first will be my next pitch.

Goals for the Rest of the Round

Scion: 250 words/day

The Blood Waitress Club: 1 chapter/week

Ciao,
R~

Slightly Broken

Writing

I’m working away at The Blood Waitress Club in-between the coursework for the fiction writing course I’m taking. I’m enjoying the course, but not always the reading of other people’s work. It’s all first draft content and doesn’t always make sense. I’m enjoying the other readings though. I’m taking my homework along with me on my family visit for Thanksgiving this weekend.

With The Blood Waitress Club, I’m doing an editing experiment. I’m using The Hero’s Journey as a guide to organize the first draft into a story. This is helping reduce the pain of editing so far. I’m unsure if there are other guides like The Hero’s Journey out there, but I figure it’s worth a try to see if it helps me up my quality and reduce the pain in producing it.

Social

I’ve been rather busy of late. Last weekend was the Geek Market. The boyfriend and I had gone through much of the market when we decided to do the scavenger hunt. It was a new addition to the market and I enjoyed looking for clues. After all of that, we got three geocaches nearby. I now have 10. I’m hoping to get an earth cache this Sunday.

Also at the Geek Market were quite a few of my friends such as Heidi who owns Decypher, and fellow authors Benoit, Kris, and Patricia.

My boyfriend is keeping me quite busy with kisses. He’s also helping reduce my neck pain. He’s a massage therapist and an architecture student.

It’s strange. I’m not used to having a man who takes away my pain rather than causing me more. I’ll get used to it, I’m sure 😉

He got me a gift for our one month anniversary, which happens on Saturday, but I’ll be visiting the family for Thanksgiving. He also totally pampered me last night 🙂

The gift:
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A beautiful fan and a pair of tofugu, or Japanese socks that separate the big toe from the rest of the toes. That fan is going to be great in the summer for the Japanese festival. It’s always on the hottest day of July or maybe it just feels that way because I’m in a black keikogi and hakama while demonstrating iaido.

I’ve taken to dropping the capitalization on the name of my martial art due to the prevalence of sans serif fonts. I’m tired of people thinking I practice something called “Laido” as that isn’t correct. It’s iaido and it’s pronounced “eee-eye-doh”, for the record.

Health

I’ve gotten the results of my neck MRI back and I’ve got two bulging discs and one protruding disc. No wonder my neck is upset. The X-ray showed my neck is straighter than it should be. I’m missing the natural backwards C-curve that should be in it. The treatment? At least six rounds of physiotherapy, which begin next week. As I’ve been to physio before for this, I’ve begun the exercises while I wait. Aside from the injury I’ve sustained, a bad habit of leaning forward to read screens is a way this happens to people. It ends up compressing the discs and pinching the spinal cord, from what I’ve read.

I may have to take some time off of iaido because I’m not allowed to do heavy lifting. Six weeks brings us to grading weekend. I’ll have to postpone grading until Guelph seminar in May unless some other opportunity comes up first, but I’m okay with that. Necks are kind of important after all.

It’s probably best I put a hold on dance class as well. Skipping and hopping around aren’t great for the injured spine.

So what will I do? Write, of course!

Also, I’m looking into NAET therapy to rid myself of food allergies. I think that’s worth postponing travel for, if it works.

I voted today. I know, and have known for a while now, who I’m voting for, so why wait ten more days? Plus now I don’t need to do anything but wait and see how it turns out.

I better get to packing.

Ciao,
R~

End of the Round

Hi there! What have I been up to? Tons of stuff!

Writer Stuff

A friend and I have started a group to read books by Canadian authors with a special focus on local authors and review them on YouTube. It’s harder for Indie authors to get the word out about their books and we’re hoping to help make that a little easier. No one has to read every book every month. If someone hates sci-fi, it wouldn’t make sense to force them to read a book on it and review it, would it? Want to know more? Comment on this post or send me a message via my contact page. There’s also a Facebook group called Ottawa BookTubers.

Also check my announcement page for a special announcement.

I went to the quarterly reading event ChiSeries on Tuesday night. It was enjoyable as usual. I bought books consisting of the Grigori Legacy series written by Linda Poitevin and I started collecting the Dead Kid Detective Agency series by Evan Munday. His reading was hilarious!

The Blood Waitress Club

I’ve been puttering away at The Blood Waitress Club. I think I’m having trouble staying in character, but I have a good start on it and can tweak it after the basic idea is written. I often worry about characters being too similar to each other on all of my projects, though my one beta reader isn’t finding that a problem with The Page & The Magician.

Northern Horror

I’ve also been working on a short story I’ve dubbed Northern Horror. It features cannibalism… maybe.

Writing Course

I’ve begun taking a MOOC on fiction writing put out by the University of Iowa called How Writers Write Fiction. It’s in an introductory week right now, so there isn’t homework yet, but I’m eager to get going on it!

Health

I have a result back on my CT scan. No tumors or stones in my salivary glands. They’re inflamed with some small calcium deposits and that’s it.

The sports doctor wants to see me about the MRI on my neck, so I’m a little worried about that. I don’t see that doctor until October. He’s the kind of doctor that only wants to see you if they found something…

I saw the rheumatologist on Wednesday about the joint pain I’ve been having. I’ve been worrying about all of this. A wise friend told me not to worry about it all because it might be nothing. Did I get answers? Not so much. I have markers for some things and more testing is needed to figure out what may or may not be going on in my body. She was interested in the results of the MRI I had…

Iaido

Last week a sensei that taught at the Guelph seminar, passed away suddenly. Maehara Toshio was a humorous man and skilled at communicating through body language, which made the language barrier almost non-existent. I’m thankful I got to experience his teaching and am sad I won’t learn anything more from him.

Hobbies

Last Thursday night I tried Scottish Country Dancing with a friend. It was so much fun! It’s less intense on the joints and muscles than highland dancing. We skip around and do some things that are sort of like square dancing but not really. I’ve been wanting to do something Scottish for a while now. This was fun and really inexpensive. It’s once a week, so also not hugely time demanding. Here’s an example of it.

I’ve got an initiative going to knit or crochet warm things for little ones to bring to St. Mary’s shelter before Christmas. Want to get involved? Comment on this post or send me a message via my contact page. There’s a Facebook group called Charity Knitting Ottawa. I want to drop things off by the first of December.

On the weekend, I braved the rain to see Of Monsters and Men in concert at CityFolk. I’m at an awkward stage in life as many of my friends have toddlers or are hermit writers. So I went alone and met some people who were fun to stand around with after helping them find the rest of their friends. Of Monsters and Men were fantastic. Multiple drums sets, trombone, trumpet, cello, viola, keyboard, guitar, and vocals. Yes, they are a large band. They’re also very talented. Not sure if you know who I’m talking about? Check out Little Talks. During the year I was separated, they came out with an album and music was something that really helped me not only get through the rough patches, but find myself again. I was in a very happy place being at their concert.

Ciao,
R~

Life and Roller Derby

I’m finding the comic course mostly interesting. The current assignment involves looking at what the communist scares of the early 1950s had to do with comics. The thing is that it’s all U.S. based and I’m in Canada. I don’t know if Canada was worried about communism in those days. I don’t remember covering that in history in high school. I skipped the last assignment entirely. It was asking why Jewish people are prevalent in the comics industry. I took the course to learn about comics, but not really to dissect the history of the industry. The first assignment on character origins was fantastic. Most of the others have disappointed me because they don’t align with my goals of knowing more about characters and comic series. I’m just going to start reading comics online.

I had an MRI on Friday evening, which I had shown up twelve hours early for in the morning. My neck still hurts from the days I did roller derby, so they’re looking at it to see if there’s damage. I hope I never have one again. It was loud. The noise reminded me at times of an air raid siren and at other times of crashing cars in Pole Position for the Commodore 64. I kept my eyes closed because I’m slightly claustrophobic.

It’s the weekend of the 2015 WFTDA International Championships in Irving, Texas. Well, it’s not the only weekend. Because this level of roller derby is international, there are a lot of teams and multiple tournaments are necessary to fit everyone in. This weekend, the Ottawa team from Rideau Valley Roller Girls is playing. It’s their first time at Division 1 Championships. Last year they had their debut at Division 2 and they’ve worked hard all year and made it to Division 1. Division 1 is where the top 40 or so teams in the world compete. The competition is fierce and there are a lot of new European and Australian teams that play a different style of roller derby strategy. I’m sure the girls will have lots of new tools at their disposal for the 2016 season.

On writing… I felt like I needed to start working on my roller derby vampire story, The Blood Waitress Club. The first draft is pretty much written, so I’m working on the second draft. Yes, that means I’m a little crazy and am jumping into editing another manuscript, but I think it would be great to have a second novel to pitch when I pitch The Page & The Magician in October. I’m getting so excited about all of this. I’ve also seen some early concepts for my book cover and I’m getting excited for that too.

I gave my fishy friend Winchester the Amazing a ping pong ball. He gets curious about it, but hasn’t tried to move it around himself. I’m not sure if I can train him to do so. He definitely knows what his food container looks like. I’m not sure he sees all that great as I often need to point out the first piece of food to him despite how excited he is to be fed. Then he has no trouble with the others though. He likes hanging out by the filter for some reason. If he’s right in front of it, he’s practically invisible to me. Ninja fish. Who can’t see great.

He’s been fed this morning, but I haven’t. Time to go and do that as I have an essay to finish, writing to do, Iaido, errands, and more roller derby to watch. I wonder if I can fit in some guitar too before I lose my calluses…

Ciao,
R~

Sunday isn’t Monday…

Thankfully it’s the long weekend and even Monday isn’t Monday. This does mean, however, that Tuesday becomes Monday and remains Tuesday.

I haven’t made nearly as much progress on cleaning my place this weekend as I was intending to. Is it laziness? The heat? Am I just tired? Maybe a little of all of those things. I have tomorrow too, right?

I want to skip cleaning and just write. What do I want to write? I don’t know yet. I’m thinking of playing around with The Blood Waitress Club. It’s basically first drafted. I even have a cover already for it, though only an eBook and not a paperback one. I think I could get the rest done easily though. The back of the cover could just be black with high contrast text… I don’t know about the spine, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Perhaps a short story would be best first. Like a palette cleanser.

I’m going to force myself to do some dishes first though.

I have a doctor’s appointment I better not forget about tomorrow. Yes, on a holiday. Hopefully it’s short.

I’ve added a second adult album to my vinyl collection: Radiohead – Pablo Honey. I find listening to vinyl is relaxing in a different way than digital music, but that may be due to often having headphones in for digital music. I got two free albums recently for playing the Family Guy game and unlocking Avril Lavigne and Alice Cooper.

Oh!!! I got a betta fish. I’ve named him Winchester the Amazing! We aren’t quite used to each other yet. Sometimes he sees me as a threat and starts flaring at me.

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He’s hard to photograph, but is beautiful. He’s a mix of blue, purple, and red. I’m trying to get him hooked on Supernatural, but so far no dice.

I hope it doesn’t upset him that I’m having crab legs for dinner…

Ciao,
R~

Writing Update – June 21, 2015

Well I guess this is the last ROW80 check-in for this round? I’ve been unsure of the start and end of this whole round.

Editing

I read something recently that said that a book should be edited 5 times. I think that it’s silly to put a number to it. I think it depends. Each chapter needs different things. Chapter 1 is the MOST important, so you might edit it 20 times. As you get closer to the end of you vomit draft, I think it’s less vomit-filled, so you might need less passes.

The Page & The Magician

I was struggling with Chapter 9. Today I scrapped Chapter 9, 10, and 11. There are bits I’m definitely keeping from 9 and 10, but then I’m skipping ahead to where the story starts really taking off. Enough hinting and sub plot stuff. It’s time to get into the meat of it and torture my protagonist. It’s time to blow stuff up and turn her world upside down!

The Blood Waitress Club

I have a dilemma. I don’t know if I want to keep it as a short story. I have an entire blog I once kept on my roller derby experiences. It’s 50,000 words. I’m thinking the story I already wrote can be a longer piece. I’m not sure how to meld the two though. Should I keep many of the blog posts as blog entries in the story? Or maybe it’s her diary? Decisions to make. Much of it is written, and may not even be a vomit draft. I won’t let myself get lost in writing it until The Page & The Magician has gone to beta readers because that’s how projects never get finished.

Reading Night

This Thursday I will be doing my first ever reading. I’ll be reading a portion of The Page & The Magician as the time limit isn’t long enough for the whole thing. I’m a little nervous about it, but I’ve chosen to read at an Ottawa Independent Writers meeting, which is a friendly group of people. I know enough of them to be reasonably comfortable. I should be able to finish under the time limit. I’ve been practicing reading my chunks with inflection. I’m looking forward to it.

Ciao,
R~

Taking Chances

It may seem like everything that I have going on in my life is deliberate. The truth is that many of the good things happen because I take a chance that turns out better than I expected.

Take my writing group, for example. I went to a small press book fair at Jack Purcell Community Centre. I wanted to see what the small press thing was about and thought I may meet some other writers. I met two “old guys” who were excited to meet another sci-fi writer. They promptly invited me to come to one of their houses for a meeting on writing. I was a little hesitant, they could be creeps after all, but I figured they were probably legit as they were both there selling their books.

So I went to the first meeting last June, which happened to be the last of the year before a break for summer. It was fantastic! I was so inspired to write, though I didn’t know much about how to critique another’s work. I think I’ve improved in that regard as I used to get stuck on grammar suggestions rather than the guts of the story.

I never thought I’d find a writer’s group simply by showing up to a book fair. Hell, I didn’t even really know writers groups were a thing at that time. I thought I’d maybe make one acquaintance and find at least one interesting book to read.

My writing was rather directionless before that. I knew I would find a way to get published “someday”, but I wasn’t putting much effort into writing. I was a little lost and trying to find my voice.

Since then, I’ve gotten feedback on several stories and been connected to information like books that help improve my writing. I’m close to publishing a short story. I sent a story into a contest in May. I’m working through the second draft of an urban fantasy novel set in Ottawa. I have so many story ideas and keep coming up with more, but I’ve learned the discipline of not working on too many things at once.

And the two “old guys” are fantastic gentlemen that I feel immensely thankful for meeting.

Chances I Took

– I left my house.

Netflix is fun, but doesn’t move your career along. If you want something, you need to go out and get it. You can still watch TV shows, just do it a bit less.

– I went to the book fair alone.

I know a lot of people that refuse to go anywhere alone. I’ve found it beneficial in the networking sense to go to things alone as one never has to worry their friend is bored.

– I went to a stranger’s home.

Okay this one was possibly dangerous as a tiny female, but thankfully worked out. Just be careful and smart about it. They were legitimate writers inviting me to a writing thing.

What’s Next?

My writing group is putting together a plan to take a more active role in helping each other succeed. Beyond critiquing each other’s work, we’re going to help each other get to market. It’s not entirely clear what that means yet, but I look forward to the challenges ahead and I couldn’t have a better group of people to face them with.

Immediate Writing Goals

– Revise Chapter 1 of The Page & The Magician before next week’s reading of it
– Finish the current edit of my short story, The Blood Waitress Club

Ciao,
R~