Sick kids & shenanigans

God must think I’m a bigger badass than I actually am.

Last week. Last…week. We had the hvac guys out to replace the capacitor on the heat pump compressor on Thursday. And, about an hour before he was due to arrive, I get a call from the kids’ school: Daniel had thrown up after having had a snack. So I had to run over and get him. And school rules dictate that there must be at least 24 hours between the last emission, and when the sick kid is allowed back, so he was out Friday, too (despite being 100% recovered).

Saturday was Kathryn’s birthday, so there was a lot to do: gifts and grandparent visits and a meal out (she picked The Olive Garden, somewhere she’d never been, because they had options I could eat!), and…

Yeah. From about Thursday on, the rest of the week was…not spent writing, as I’d planned. And before Thursday? Not good, either. Despite my intentions.

This week, I’ve been fighting with abrupt weather changes messing with my joints, dealing with my daughter’s first piano recital, and…a repeat of last week, except this time, I didn’t have to go pick him up. Yep. Daniel’s sick again. Let the dog out, then ran for the bathroom. So, not nearly as much time spent writing as I’d wanted to do. At all.

I’ve gotten maybe another thousand words added. I’m not stuck, but I’m too busy with the full-time job to do the writing that I’d rather be doing…and I’m enough of an adult to grit my teeth and do the things I don’t want to do but that need to be done.

Static…

Last month…was…yeah. Something else. I had my laptop (briefly) shit the bed, then got ambushed by a book. And then got ambushed by financial crap.* And then Thanksgiving. And Christmas decorating, and starting to plan/shop for…

I’m…kinda tired, y’all.

So. What I accomplished last month wasn’t a bad way to get back into the swing of things: the book that ambushed me? 15K words in about nine or ten working days. I could have had an extra 10K or so, had it not been for Thanksgiving Break last week–because when the kids are home and crammed in the house with me, I’m too focused on paying attention to kid noise to determine when I need to step in to be able to focus on writing. Editing, sure (and I should have…but I didn’t), but not writing.

And I have the rest of this week, and two more before they’re out for two weeks plus an extra school day. Who knows what I’ll be able to accomplish?

I will spend Christmas Break (the weeks before and after Christmas) editing. Probably Pint. Maybe Schrodinger as well, but I won’t bet on it.

And then I’m planning to finish Certified Public Assassin in January. After the kids to back to school…and I’m sure Daniel’s doing okay with his new schedule (they’re switching up “electives” in January).

*Financial crap: four new tires costing $200 more than I’d expected, a new capacitor for the compressor on my heat pump, property tax (real & personal), Christmas shopping…inflation that they’re admitting is nearing 10% and is more like 30-45% in reality…

Giving thanks.

The kids are out of school, this week. In the US, we have a holiday where we give thanks for the blessings we’ve had throughout the previous year, and it’s this Thursday. And, since things have been rough for me for a while, I’m going to spend this post focusing on the positive.

The kids are both healthy as goats (I know the saying is “as healthy as a horse,” but horses can drop dead of colic with no warning, and all the goats I’ve been around have been robustly healthy). They’re now 13 (my son) and will be 11 in two weeks (my daughter), and are growing fast. My son’s taller than me–which, I admit, is a low bar: I’m under 5′ tall. My daughter’s hands and feet indicate she’s going to shoot past me when she kicks into her next growth spurt.

We have a very solid house, which had a new roof put on last April. We have enough to eat, a private well (no water bill or sewer bill to the city), and we have heat. We have enough for necessities (like the new tires I need), and a few non-necessities (like a Christmas budget that stretches to a little more than the kids).

I’m thankful I’d seen the writing on the wall where the current shortages and inflation levels are concerned, and that we sprang for the desktop last year. I’m doubly thankful about that, given the sudden reduction in reliability of my laptop (I really hate that there’s no way to just…leave a flash card in it for backup as I’m working, but the geniuses who designed it did so in such a way that the card sticks out for half its length…).

God was very good to me when we tried one last time to figure out a way to get the laptop to let us get my documents. I prayed all day (alternating pleas for help getting what I needed from it, with pleas for help finding my equilibrium if we couldn’t get my documents off), handed it off to Andrew, and he powered it up…and the lock screen came up for the first time in two full days.

Part of the reason I’d prayed for acceptance is because I’d finished Liquid Diet Chronicles: Having a Pint (to the tune of nearly 60K words–the next most-finished draft had just under 58K), and finished the first draft of The Schrodinger Paradox (over 100K words, there, with the closest version on backup coming in at barely over 60K words). And that doesn’t count the nearly 20K words’ worth of short stories I had finished drafts of (and am still working on editing…and writing on another 10K words’ worth).

So, yes, I’m very thankful that we were able to get my documents off my laptop.

And I’m thankful that I can sit at the desk and write. I’m thankful that the keyboard cord is long enough (since the wireless keyboard is…iffy…about working right) that I can put it in my lap, and thankful that the wireless mouse works fine. Otherwise, I’d have to figure out some type of bracers for typing, since I seem to be allergic to the desk (parawood–if you’re allergic to latex, you’ll be allergic to parawood, since parawood is made from retired rubber trees). So, yeah: long keyboard cable and wireless mouse working are blessings to be thankful for.

I’m thankful to be living in the middle of the nation, and in an area where potential rioters are (rightfully) afraid they’d get shot, and that the idiots protesting are smart enough to realize that doing so in the road will get them hurt by the locals.

There’s so much more that I have to be thankful for. And I’m thankful that I’m aware of that–it means I’m a lot happier than a lot of other people who focus on their grievances, real or (mostly) imagined.

Been a while…

I haven’t been terribly productive, recently. I did get Having a Pint finished, and heard back from most of my beta readers. I’ve got it edited, but right now, it’s sitting. I’ll go through it one last time before I start going through the Amazon process.

I have spent the past four months helping Daniel get adjusted to middle school. With his ADHD, we had to spend most of the first quarter figuring out where his meds dose needed to be, and figuring out what kind of organizational scaffolding/support he needed to function on a day-to-day basis. That took through most of October to get set. I’ve backed off, and am just monitoring, now. But it was taking up most of my brain’s problem-solving and processing power while we were getting everything set up.

Doesn’t help that my laptop–my main work machine for the past year–had started acting…wonky. And last week, it decided that its system was borked. As in: it started up, then restarted, then decided there was something wrong that it had to repair, and…stuck. Wouldn’t repair it. Could not move past the screen announcing that it was 0% done…don’t touchy the laptop. Frozen on a blue screen.

And all of my finished documents and drafts were on it. And almost all of my in-progress projects.

It finally un-borked itself two days later, but I don’t trust the laptop for writing, anymore. I pulled all of my stuff onto a massive flash drive and a good-sized thumb drive, and moved it over to the desktop. And I’ve been working at/on the desktop since then. Downside is that a lot of brain processing froze, and I’ve spent most of it trying to set up for work. That includes getting Office ’07 put on the desktop, and trying to get my preferred music player loaded (failed at that–waiting for other half to get home and see if he can’t get it done for me).

The upside is that I’m more productive at an actual desk with a keyboard in my lap.

So. Current projects. I’ll be working on revising and editing The Schrodinger Paradox toward a final early draft. I have the first draft finished (came in at just over 100K words), and have done initial revisions on the first of three parts. The second part has been through the revision process once, and the third part is…really rough.

Right now, though, I’ve had a long-term back-burner project jump the queue. Again. The character, apparently, was only waiting for me to be stressed and overwhelmed enough before she was willing to jump in. It’s Molly–the assassin character from an idea I’d had floating around for years without being able to do much with. She’s even gifted me with what’s likely to go on the back cover. Assuming she doesn’t change things on me in the process of writing.

Hell, I don’t even know quite how long this will be, just yet. I’ve got a vague idea of what’s going to be going on, but she’s not cooperating with even a basic outline.

Anyway, here’s the gist:

Molly McGuire is an assassin, and damn good at it. Still has the dubious honor of scoring the highest on the certification exam put forth by the government when it was legalized. It really helped that she’d started out as a paralegal, and knew how to do effective legal research—not many of her colleagues did.

She didn’t want to be an assassin. But it was the best way to pay off a mountain of debt in the shortest possible time so that she could get on with her life.

But now that the debt’s almost paid off, she’s left facing the conundrum of what to do next: does she keep her current job until she just can’t do it anymore, or does she look for something else?

Her handler—her uncle Jack—has ideas. And plans.

Before Molly decides anything, however, she’s got to finish paying off that debt, and try to rebuild what she can of her life outside of work.

Interruptions

So. I finished writing The Schrodinger Paradox last week. The first draft came in at just under 102K words. I finished Thursday, then took Friday off.

And then Friday, I got a call from my primary care physician’s office that I had an appointment set for Monday morning. I printed a copy (accidentally got one and a half) of Having a Pint, and took it with me, to show up for the time I’d had written down. I had to run a paper check to the bank to deposit, first, and then (after some dumb bastard who clearly hadn’t had enough coffee nearly smacked into me pulling out of his driveway), I went to the clinic.

…and found out I’d written the time down wrong. I got there at ten after, and my appointment wasn’t at 8:30, but at 9:00.

I did get some catch-up grocery shopping done, but it still ate into my productive time.

And then, when I got to the doctor’s office…I had to wait. I did get some editing done in ink on paper. But not a lot. The doc came in, and started in on me about my weight (I’ve lost 20 lbs according to my scales, since December, but their office scales didn’t show that much of a loss–which has me wondering about the accuracy of their scales since I’ve gone down two pants sizes), my blood pressure (which is controlled by an herbal supplement, but mildly elevated from the earlier near-miss traffic incident), my cholesterol (not even going there, since elevated cholesterol is not a problem in and of itself, but rather a symptom), and other tests she plans to bully me into (good luck–I don’t bully).

On the other hand, she knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned being unable to do what I used to do, and that my previous doctor (who had her head on straight, but got promoted to supervise babydocs) had diagnosed me with myalgic encephalomyelitis. There were no attempts to tell me it didn’t exist; just asking me how I was managing it, and asking if whatever I was doing working for me.

So, yeah. Yesterday was shot, except for the editing by hand I did while waiting for the harpy. I’ll give her a chance to be a good doctor–I’ve got an appointment scheduled for six months out–but I’m strongly considering jumping to my kids’ and spouse’s doctor, since I don’t need a whole lot of care with the exception of the thyroid meds monitoring.

I have gotten dug in this morning, while I was drinking my second cup of coffee. Gotten about 500 words added, and a good bit changed, and I’m not even done with the first chapter. I’ll be digging back into that in a few minutes, but I thought I’d tell y’all what was going on in the writing world.

A quick status update

I’m back at work. I mentioned having the new laptop all set up, and finding all of my files I needed, right? In any case, I’m back at work. I have The Schrodinger Paradox up to 95K words, total, and I’m not done for the day. We’re moving fairly quickly toward the end of part 3, though. It’s just not coming easily.

Honestly, at this point, there’s not much that is. There’s too many other things going on in my personal life and distracting me for the planned writing to be coming easily.

Unplanned writing, on the other hand, is ambushing me right and left. I wrote a story based on a prompt in December. Then, earlier in this month, another story ambushed me–and I thought I might have a theme for a collection, if more appeared. The day I got this laptop delivered, I was ambushed by a third story…but this one really surprised me. Instead of having a dragon waltzing into normal people’s lives, I had a Cheshire kitten follow a beat-to-hell rescue tom in through the cat door, and start talking to the narrator.

That’s for later, though. The stories will come out as they will, whether I will or no.

In the meantime, I will be finishing the draft of The Schrodinger Paradox. And then, I will re-read and revise my first draft of Having a Pint, so I can get that out to my beta readers.

I’m kind of done setting goals–between one thing and another, I never manage to meet them.

I think this will work…

My Dell laptop arrived yesterday evening. I had to argue with the Acer to get it and the Dell to see each other, so I could import my bookmarks…because the Acer wouldn’t export/save them for me at all. That, right there, took all evening and night last night, after having gotten the setup done. I had the laptop handed to me right around dinner time, last night, started work, then got done and went to bed around a quarter ’til midnight (with a 6:30 wake-up time, to get the kids ready).

I’ve got my backed up documents, music, and pictures loaded. I’ve gotten a browser downloaded. I’ve gotten a music player downloaded (essential, for my writing process). I’ve gotten Office ’07 loaded. I’ve got LibreOffice downloaded to see if it’s more functional for what I want (so far, yes).

I’ve hunted through my files and found the ones I need (I really need to reorganize my documents), and gotten Paradox open for work. Found my short stories I’d been working on and collecting (oh gawd have I been ambushed, lately!).

So far, this laptop is…perfectly adequate. I’m not a gamer, so I don’t do the stupidly huge graphics card and high resolution. I have a Bluetooth speaker that my darling husband got me for Christmas (and the Bluetooth on this laptop actually works–my Acer’s never did), which sort of negates the need for the (honestly better than average) laptop speakers. I have maybe 62GB of files, so the 256GB drive is more than adequate to my needs. The keyboard is fairly quiet, and easy to use. No awkwardly placed keys shortening my right hand shift key (looking at YOU, Lenovo!) and FUBARing my typing. It’s quick, it’s responsive, and it seems to work well.

I’ll be getting back to work, starting probably tomorrow. I am still freakin’ beat from fighting with the dying Acer to get everything off of it that I wanted.

Me and my big mouth…

I should know better, by now, than to predict success. Every time I do, something comes along to FUBAR my plans.

Before Christmas, I had a panic attack. It was warranted, but it certainly threw me off big time. I did not get the draft finished.

Over Christmas break, I wound up having to diffuse arguments between the kids, and deal with multiple attacks of the chronic fatigue mess going on with me, complete with brain fog making me lose time.

And now that the kids are back in school, I’ve got issues with my laptop cropping up. As in: my hard drive is in the process of dying. Things aren’t working quickly, aren’t processing, and are frequently freezing in the middle of trying to do things, to the point that I sometimes get half a paragraph typed before I realize that the laptop’s frozen and didn’t register it, and I need to wait.

I have everything backed up, at this point, no new work going on, and I have ordered a new laptop. It should arrive tomorrow or Wednesday, according to the tracking.

I haven’t quit writing–it’s just all in my draft book. And will take time to transcribe, once everything’s transferred, the new laptop is set up, and Office ’07 is installed.

Whew.

I finished editing the second part of The Schrodinger Paradox today. Part 1–Cataclysm–came in at just under 40K words; part 2–Heisenberg’s Point of Observation–came in originally at around 17K words….the revision did a bit more than double that, ending at 35K words. In about a week and a half. With one of the days being totally non-productive due to brain fog and pain.

Yes, I am proud of myself.

I have just finished the first read-through of the 12K words I had done for part 3–currently titled Rewind. I’ll likely go through it again, at least once, before I really start in on it. I’m planning on starting in on it seriously tomorrow.

All told, current word count is just around 87K. And that…that’s not totally first draft, but it’s also not final draft. And not complete. We’ll have to see how it turns out.

I am, for the most part, holding to my goals of 2000 words/week day, 1000 words/weekend day. With the exception of the day I couldn’t focus on anything but the ceiling, that’s been about the average–some days more, some less.

If I can keep this up, I can almost certainly finish this before Christmas. Maybe not before the kids are out for Christmas Break at 11:00 on this coming Friday, but before Christmas.

And then…then, I’ll pick back up with editing and revising Liquid Diet Chronicles: Having a Pint. That shouldn’t take too long, either, and I’ll be able to get that done and dealt with before January, and out to beta readers sometime in early January.

I promise, I also have other projects in the works–these are just what I’ve got going right now, and what’s most immediate at the top of my attention.

Progress!

I mentioned, last week, that I was picking The Schrodinger Paradox back up to work on. I pulled up both the file for the work itself, as well as the file containing a friend’s read-through and feedback on part 1–a friend who was kind enough to help me with the stuff I not only didn’t know, but didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Anyway, I’ve got part 1 read through, edited, corrected, and expanded. I’m working my way through part two. Part 2 is taking a lot more work. It was really bare-bones (more detailed outline than story) in way too many parts.

So, last week’s starting word count was 54,700 words, with just part 1 and part 2 in one document, and 12,000 words in a separate document, starting part 3. When I started working on this, last week, I hadn’t even added in what I had of part 3, and I’d had part 2 only part of the way done. This week, I’ve got everything compiled properly, and I’m about halfway through revising, editing, rewriting, and expanding part 2. Current word count is 77,000, and is climbing rapidly. I’m holding to my goals of an average of 2,000 words per week day, and overshooting that on many days.

I should finish with my revision/expansion of part 2 sometime this week, hopefully before midweek. I hope to finish part 3 before the kids break for Christmas. They’re out a week from Friday, and honestly, at the rate I’ve been going, I think I have a pretty good chance of managing exactly that. Barring family emergencies that require my attention away from being able to write.

If I do manage, the plan is to pick Having a Pint back up, and doing a read-through/revision of that, then sending it to my beta readers in January.

I won’t hold my breath, though. This year has been a massive, nasty bitch about throwing curve-balls at literally everybody.