The House — free on Amazon for a limited time!

Hey y’all!

The House, my choose your own adventure erotica novel, is free on Amazon for a little bit here as an experiment. If you were on the fence about getting a copy, now’s your deliciously free chance ;).

The House

recently cool things

Had a really good week this past week — was super busy with too much work, but managed to swing getting out to Death Salon in SF last weekend, and a see Hozier play in SF on Friday, and hit the zoo today :D.

Death Salon was really fun — the speakers were interesting and the topics were super varied. I particular enjoyed the one on sex ghosts in Italian catacombs and Hygeia by the Bay — one civil war doctor’s attempt to create a Kellog-like utopia up where Tiburon is nowdays. Afterwards we went to the coolest bar I’ve ever been in — The Long Now’s Interval — it’s ridiculously cool. And since a friend of mine knew Caitlin Doughty (of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and the Order of the Good Death) we got to hang out with her. I wish I’d been able to attend the full day, since we started talking to someone who did forensic facial reconstruction at the bar and I would have looooveeed to see their presentation earlier.

Then seeing Hozier was awesome. Sometime this past spring, back when I was still on nightshift, I heard these two songs on the radio — Take me to Church, by Hozier, and Riptide by Vance Joy, and they’ve been my favorite songs so far this year. We were in the back for a bit — it was a general admission show — but we wandered out to see the merch booth, and then realized there was a door from it to right by the side of the stage — so we were like eight feet away from the stage for the last half of the show. Suuuuuper fun :D.

And then today we did a date over at the Oakland Zoo. It’s a small zoo, but it’s really well set up and the animals all look happy (unlike the SF zoo where I want to buy everything — even the ones with fur – a sweater). It’s so lovely to get out during the day and get some sun. I’m still really pleased by my new dayshift life ;).

This week gets a little crazy with work, but then I’ve got more fun to look forward to — dinner with friends on Friday, relatives over the weekend, and a three day trip next week to Santa Cruz to see my hometown peeps :D, and the holidays are shaping up nicely as well!

I’ve been mostly working on my next erotica book, because work has been so brutal lately — I keep working extra hours and doubles, (because somehow buying a house comes with this mysterious bill called a property tax :P) — and I haven’t had the brain cells to really work on Electricity much, since heavy edits require >>> more brains than spewing 1st draft. But I’ve got a week off in November to write with a friend and I expect to get back to it in a big way then. My goals in general are to finish this erotica (The Hated) and Electricity by the end of the year :D. I think it’s doable with a little hustling ;).

More news tomorrow, dum-dum-dummmmmmm!!!

The Hunted is Out!

The Hunted - High Resolution The Hunted is now live at Amazon!

The second in the Sleeping with Monsters series, about strong women and the monsters they love, The Hunted is a BDSM-themed werewolf thriller.

I had so much fun writing this book. So. Much. Fun. I hope some of y’all enjoy it too!

 

books begun and finished in Lake Tahoe

tahoe

So I’m in the mountains again, first time in a long while — but I used to come up here quite a bit. There’s something about the hypoxia of altitude that’s soothes the soul and makes it easier to write, which is good because I just wrote the first sentence of book 19.

I both love and hate measuring out time in book-lengths — I like that I’ve come this far, that I haven’t ever given up (or if I have, not for long!) but I also feel old having so many books under my belt.

I can still remember sitting on the patio at a friend’s family’s vacation place, typing away furiously in the middle of the summer while friends hung out inside watching a game. I had to sit here for a second and think very hard, and count using both hands — that was my seventh book about an accountant saving a nanite infected Earth with the help of a very enthusiastic wrestling fan club. (It worked in the book, I swear it.)  I loved that book — I loved all of them, frankly, except for book 8. That one, oh man, I pretty much said, ‘You know what? The end. All of you. The end!” and banished everyone off the page.  I may or may not have quit writing there for a bit, until the idea for book 9 came along…and yeah. I’ve never not wrestled with a book, but it’s always been worth it in the end.

I finished Nightshifted in Tahoe. It was with a different group of friends, different house, and I sat out on a deck as the sun went down, losing feeling in my fingers, racing the sinking light, oblivious to what I’m sure was the beauty of sunset over the lake, and the warm friendship waiting for me inside the house.

And that’s sort of it, isn’t it. Because writing is something you do alone, and no one else, no matter how well meaning (or self-evident they think they are) can do it for you. You either enjoy it or you don’t and press on anyways, and it pays rewards  only you can feel that are completely intangible to anyone else.

The last time I was in Tahoe was one of the best weekends of my life — the weather was gorgeous, the company divine, but if I’m honest…it’s mostly because I turned my back on all of that to hang out, again, in my own mind.

juggling like a juggler

I always hesitate to use that phrase, because my ex-husband was a juggler. (No, I’m not kidding. You have no idea how well going to juggling conventions prepared me for going to science fiction conventions. No idea.)

But that’s what I’m doing nowadays, and better than I was before (I think. So far.)

I’m up to 15,000 in the complete rewrite of my YA, and as grumpy as I am about rewriting the whole damn thing, I think it’s turning out spectacularly. What’s more, is that I can’t just let it go — which is a good sign. Any time things bite into my brain that hard, well — I’m on the right track. Even if it’ll be a few months before I’m done with rewriting it.

And I’m turning in the final version of The Hunted today, which feels awesome :D.

Annnnnd, I’m prescheduled to work a double tomorrow at work. (If something happens with my heart this time, I will pull it out myself and throw it onto the floor :P.)

I was in a fender-bender the other day on the way to work — it was my fault, and mostly my fender that got bent :(. I’m fine though, and my car’s at a bodyshop — I felt reallllly stupid for it having happened, but it hasn’t thrown my mojo off like I thought it would, which is nice.

I’m busy, but not overwhelmed, and I think things are going well, even if I’m having to bounce around a lot. I feel competent. It’s been awhile. It’s good. :D

DABDA and the editing process

I’m at a coffee shop this morning with my husband’s cousin (he works from home, so we coffee shop it up sometimes) and he was all, “How’s it going?”

And I was all, well…um….

Because I sent the first ten thousand words of my YA over to Daniel, my alpha reader, to read last night, who had salient points on it that I read first thing this morning and was grumpy about.

It isn’t that he’s not right — he totally is — it’s just that before I move forward I have to do a little mental shuffling first.

DABDA’s the acronym for the five stages of grief according to Kubler-Ross — Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance — and in addition to being totally applicable to losing someone from your life, it’s a really good…metaphor? Metric?…for how it feels to find out that something’s not as right as you thought it was.

Luckily, since it’s just book edits and since I know that Daniel’s right, I cycled pretty fast…but it’s funny how easy it is to get hung up in the “no way, my book is perfect!” or “if only so and so read my book they’d like it” or  “everyone hates my book” stages on the way to acceptance of the need to edit further, heh.

Anyhow. In case it’s helpful for anyone else to realize where they are today on the path ;).

Journey Into Podcast – The Secret Diary

Awhile back I wrote a crazy short story, The Secret Diary, and it was accepted into Flyptrap Magazine Issue 11.

The Journey Into Podcast asked to run it as a podcast — it just went up yesterday — and I love the narration of it! Like, this is my favorite audio of a story of mine yet. I’m not just saying that because it’s the most recent one, I really love it :D

It’s also up to help raise awareness of Flytrap Magazine’s Issue #12 kickstarter — which you can donate to, here!

 

cat and mouse –

It’s been awhile since I posted last!

I was in a horrible funk for a very long time. (Well, it felt long to me. Three weeks? Maybe four? Probably since my last heart thing, honestly.) I felt burnt out with the amount of stuff I had to do and afraid I wouldn’t be able to do any of it, and just generally suffused with overwhelmedness.

But the past few days have been better so I thought I’d better come out of hiding to commemorate it while acknowledging that it happened. I appreciate when other people admit they’re not superhuman, so I feel the need to do the same, in this age of ‘everything is awesome!’ all the time.

I emailed some people who’d asked me for reads/blurbs to admit that I couldn’t help out — I hated to do that, but I needed to clear some mental space and have fewer things to guilt myself about — I finished the short story that was due by the end of the month (hooray for flash!) — I got news that’ll postpone the release of The Hunted until 10/1, which is probably a blessing in disguise — annnnnndddd, spent the last four days beating my head against Electricity edits from my agent.

(Warning, so many mixed metaphors follow!)

I started feeling okayish in general on Monday? And so I started back in. My agent wanted me to toss my old intro, which was good advice, but it’s like cutting off the head of a living animal and then suturing a new one back on that performs the same functions of the old one, by and large, only in a shorter space and also cooler. I also, well, you don’t even want to know all the stuff I need to do to this story. Basically the only thing I get to keep is the character voice. I have to make a marginal character important, I have to deal with the consequences of part of the plot better, I have to make everything better-better-better…I feel like I gave her a Pinto and she wants a Mustang. I can see why a Mustang is preferable to a Pinto, yes, but the upgrades are going to be painful. There was a phase shift in the plot, and if you’re a writer, you understand how bad those are, when you think you’re writing about one thing thematically but you need to include another that changes the first radically…oy.

But today I figured out the first new 600 words. Which may not seem like much, and doesn’t nearly spin enough plates for the thing to get off the ground, but it’s something. At long freaking last, it’s something ;).

I’m tempted to work on it more now (my husband and I are just goofing off) but I’m not going to. Just because I’m betterish doesn’t mean I should run myself aground. I may not make my self-imposed deadline of having it done to turn back in on 9/8, but that’s OK too. I just really have to work in increments I can handle and not push myself too hard for a bit — so I’m playing cat and mouse with my brain, and I’m just going to have to be patient.

I’m gonna give myself some bonus points for: visiting my therapist last week when I really started to spiral, being good about going to the gym/doing yoga while I was blue, and for setting up writing dates to stop me from rolling out of bed and staring into a screen and feeling lost and lonely. Tomorrow’ll be my first unaccompanied writing day of my break, but I think I can finally be trusted to be productive independently, which is a really good feeling.

In the future, hopefully I can feel things coming on sooner and avert them via nicer to myself earlier. (Doubtful, but one can hope!)

Hooray serotonin for now and all that :).

Snowpiercer and Arrow and hopes and dreams

So, under much duress, I decided to take this past weekend off. (I did not really want to, however people I cared about didn’t give me much choice :P.)

Friday night I went out and saw Snowpiercer with friends. It’s been awhile since I talked about my kind of ultraviolence here but as you might imagine from my books I’m quite fond of it — and in that sense, Snowpiercer totally totally delivered. The axe fight was so lovingly reminiscent of the hammer sequence in Oldboy (the original, of course!) — I loved all the close in fighting, the surreal changes from car to car, it was like an anime come to life. And even the heavy handed moralizing worked for me. If you’re going to be shameless, there’s no point in doing it halfway! I loved it.

Saturday I went into SF with a friend and walked around and looked at Fluevogs (oh, please self-publishing gods, pay out more and faster so I can buy more shoes ;)) and when I got home I finished off season 1 of Arrow…and then bought season two on prime and spent the majority of today watching the first ten episodes.

I heard people didn’t like season 2, but it’s still totally working for me, I’m very pleased so far — although I’ll probably have really weird dreams tonight. (And it was odd to ride on BART after having watched Snowpiercer the night before, ha.)

I needed the time off because I was feeling burnt. Not as burnt as I have been in the past — I remember wandering the halls of my mind thinking, ‘Really? So this is what I’ve decided to do with my life again? Am I sure I can’t go back to school and become something — anything — else?’ and it took me a long time to come back from that last time….

But this time was just as valid, and I’m glad I was able to be talked into doing a little self-care before it became too bad. (Not to mention my husband thinking that if I work too hard, my heart will explode. :/)

I’ve got a short story to do for a friend (which is stressful because it’s a friend and I want it to be amazing and perfect) and then I’d like to do a novella (um, we’ll see) and then I have two weeks off to edit the YA project of my dreams up in. The YA project that I think will put me back on the map in a big way — it’s important to me, and I think maybe to readers (when I’m not too scared to admit it because saying you’re writing something Important sounds silly, even if you’re pretty sure you are.)

That’s sort of the problem right there. All these things on my plate with hopes and dreams pressed into them, like thumbprint cookies. If I didn’t give a shit, I wouldn’t stress, and the quality of what I did would probably be much less. But by giving too much of a shit, I deny myself the normal joys of life — not having an exploding heart, walking around SF with friends, and watching roughly 8 hrs of Arrow on the couch with my husband.

When I was on nights, it was easier to chop my life into segments, I had no choice, I didn’t be social as often, I had never ending nights to write in and get stuff done. But now that I’m working less, and I expect more of myself…finding balance is hella hard.

The last time I was super burnt out on writing was when I finished Deadshifted. I was sure it was the worst book I’d ever written (it wasn’t. Book 1, way back in the day, totally holds that title.) I can remember laying in bed at my parents house, staring up at the ceiling, desperately clicking from site to site on my tablet having an existential crisis, trying to find something that’d give everything meaning again. That’d pay me back for having devoted sixteen years of my life to this thing that I currently didn’t enjoy. The irony of the fact that I was reading other people’s words for solace was not lost on me then, or now.

And here’s what I read — because I snipped it out and saved it for myself for other times like these:

“Sometimes everything seems pointless, sure. You can’t be a writer and not stare down the barrel of that gun regularly. When Philip Roth recently said in an interview that he sat down and read all of his work, from earliest to latest, to see if it was worthwhile, that gave me a shiver down my spine. I imagined myself as a very old woman, re-reading my extensive coverage of “Paradise Hotel,” and then pulling out a shotgun and blowing my brains out.

But fuck that. Why should our lives be deemed “significant” at all? What if we’re just doing what we do reasonably well, and working to get a little better each day? What about focusing on enjoying your fucking craft, and leaving it at that? Our culture has been so fixated on psychology and happiness for the past few decades that we all have bloated expectations. Our days are marked by the neurotic dissatisfaction that comes from a constant examination and reevaluation of what really, truly matters in the big scheme of things. We must upgrade every dimension of our lives and ourselves constantly or reveal ourselves as mediocre. Even the common exhortation, repeated from parent to parent, to make every moment count with your child, has the unique ability to suck the joy right out of every moment. Does this moment count enough? How about this one? Each moment cannot be so important without inducing a coronary.

When I accept that it’s all pointless and it will all end far too soon, I can’t see any reason not to enjoy it. I kiss my kids a lot. I stick my neck out more. I don’t mind that my ass is showing. I try things that I might never be any good at. I appreciate breathing the air, listening to the crows. And that salted caramel tastes so good.”

That’s from the Ask Polly column on The Awl. Her columns are always fantastic, and that one in particular gave me some sort of hope then — even to start the long gray walk back from the bottom of the Abyss I was slowly drifting into. And it gives me a whiff of hope now, when I need it again, so that I might not tumble down quite so far.

That, and hell, the fact that I’m writing this post, which is a suspiciously writing-like activity for someone who is supposed to be taking a day off (and someone who’s husband is calling from the other room, to remind her to be taking it off, at that ;)).

I love words, words love me, it doesn’t have to be meaningful to anyone but myself, and everything’s going to turn out just fine.

Plus I still have 12 episodes of Arrow left to look forward to :D.

 

The Tell Tale Heart

So, yesterday my heart decided to do one of those things again where it forgot how to be a real heart and thought that maybe it lived inside the body of the Flash, and zipped up to 226 beats a minute.

Luckily, I was at work when it happened (unless work is somehow triggering it, since all my episodes have been at work?) and they took me down to the emergency department, again, only this time shit got real faster and they cut my scrub top off of me and put defib paddles on ‘just in case’.

Actually luckily, it converted after that, dropping down into the 120′s for a bit before it chilled out and hung out in the 105s, before going back to my normal 80′s rate. I was very happy to have skipped getting adenosine again, because That Sucks.

I had to hang out for a few hours before all my lab results came back normal, again. I haven’t even had my follow up appt from the cardiologist for the first one yet, it’s not until the end of August, so the only thing I can see that might be causing it is ever so slightly low potassium (nothing I would even worry about at work in a patient :P), so in the interests of Health! I’ll be eating half an avocado a day on principle (and also because I really like avocados. ;))

It’s interesting to note that having been psychologically ‘I wish I could die’ at many times in the past when I was depressed, that the physiological equivalent of ‘I might really die’ is quite different, and good at putting things in perspective.

So I spent some time laying in bed this morning thinking about things, and what’s nice, is that I’m happy. My life is pretty awesome. Everyone that I love knows that I care about them, without doubt, my husband, my family, my friends. I don’t have any bitterness or anger or regret, I’ve done a decent amount of good in the world through nursing and fiction. I’ve gotten to pretty much live out my dream, and I’ve gotten the chance to share some of those dreams with some of you. I may not have conquered as thoroughly or as broadly as I might have liked, but I also might never get to go to Europe, so hey. Not everyone gets what they want — its making the most of what we have that matters.

I’m taking tomorrow off work at my husband’s request, although I feel pretty fine now and am out at a coffee shop (drinking decaf, I swear) and hanging with a friend. Like I said, life is good.

Onwards.