Sigh

The trouble with having Mondays off is that it messes up your internal calendar for what day it is.  I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I thought it was Sunday.

I’ll get myself together someday, I promise.  In the meantime, I am actually working on some stuff that I’ll reveal to y’all soon.  Also, working on a post for Thursday…

 

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While I’m trying to nap

Insomnia sucks, especially when I’m too busy to take a dang nap.  Here’s something that Finding Insight E-bookmight tide you over until I get back to functional:  Finding Insight is up for pre-order!  This one’s about Sebastian, and his new friend Gabriel, who isn’t a spirit but still has a few secrets of his own.  The special launch price is $0.99 though the first week of July.

Sebastian is determined to keep his people safe.  Even those who don’t know they have magic.

Sebastian Russell is fiercely protective of his family, and of the secrets of his community at the Village at Rancho San Calafia apartments.  Still reeling from the violent betrayal of his human brother, he continues to do regular patrols around the area, looking out for anything that might threaten those he loves.

One night he stumbles across a young man sleeping in a makeshift camp at the entrance of a nearby cave.  The boy is plagued by nightmares and looks far too thin.  After a chance encounter with the boy during daylight hours, Sebastian realizes that there is far more to young Gabriel than first appears.  And when the two people harassing the young man turn out to be Hunters, Sebastian has some quick thinking to do.  Not only do the Hunters want Gabe’s special skills for themselves, but once they have him, they will use him to hunt down and kill every non-human spirit they can reach.

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As I mentioned last week, I’ve been trying to sort myself into some vague semblance of organized.  I know, I know, it’s a bit of a dream, but even a little effort can make a huge difference.  But there’s so much to do and so many different ways to do most of it, and so many ideas and projects and schedules and people to work with and… Well, it’s pretty overwhelming.

gnome-garden-decoration-dwarf-littleSo… last week my anxiety started to get the better of me, and I spent most of my morning chatting with my husband over the internet.  Unfortunately, since he already lives in Tokyo, he had to go to bed at some point though I’m pretty sure he stayed up late for me.  So I was left to myself around lunchtime and my brain started spinning out of control.

So.  Many.  Projects! Holycrap!!

And each project has a damn to-do list as long as my arm: get an outline started, get the thing written, get it edited and critiqued and edited again, get a cover for it, figure out a title and a blurb… And that’s just writing the stories.  There’s a laundry list of behind the

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Photo credit: rachelkramerbussel.com on Visualhunt / CC BY

scenes stuff going on too, and the move and general day-to-day living and parenting and on and on.  And my brain started to kind of blow up a bit.

I may have sent my friend Mookie a panic-drunk text.  He’s been a professional writer for well over a decade and immediately sympathized with my lunacy, and he talked me back from the ledge.  He gave me the best advice that we’ve all already heard, but usually forget when it all blows up: take everything one step at a time.  Don’t try to do everything all at once.  Slow down, make a list, and then start locking that shit down.

So, I did.

First up, the Finding Insight pre-order should be up in the next couple of days.  Amazon is being slow in approving it for some reason, but then giant multi-national corporations don’t exactly move cheetah fast.  While I’m waiting for that I’m buckling down and working on sketching out my outlines.  I’m likely to keep pantsing a bit, but having that framework already laid did help me finally finish Insight, so I’d like to try it from the beginning.  I’m talking to my cover designer about the next Los Gatos book (don’t get too excited, it’s months off yet.  I’d just like to have the cover ready to go.)

So I have a list now.  It’s about 2 pages long, but still.  It’s a list, in pretty much the order I need to do stuff in.  I’m sure I’ll find out other things I need to add, and I’ll change my mind on others.  No doubt moving will make a significant dent in my best-laid plans.  We’ll see.  Still, the Anxiety Gnomes didn’t even get off a real attack this time, so I’m calling it a win.  How do you keep your brain from spinning out when there’s too much going on?  I’d love to have a few more tricks up my sleeve for next time!

Changing gears

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Having been thrown completely off my stride the past few weeks hasn’t exactly led to a great surge of productivity, as I’m sure you noticed.  However, it did force me to evaluate my methods.  One of the things about being an indie author is that you are your own company, responsible for everything from marketing to time management to actually putting words on (digital) paper.  I am good at approximately one of those things.

StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4TSo I’ve been trying to work out how to get better at a few of them, or at least get them a bit more organized. There are going to be a few changes coming up soon.  Exciting things that I hope you all like or at least understand and approve of.  Right now I’m not planning on changing the blog schedule or the newsletter.  I might post a bit less on Facebook, but that’s easier to take with me as I go.  However, I’m working on project planning and I now have a list of things I’m going to work on over the next few months.   I’m only planning a few months out since I have this giant move looming over my head, but I think overall you will all be pleased with my ideas.

In the meantime, Sarah’s Inheritance has gone on sale for coffee-snack-cup$.99 through this weekend.  If you wanted to pick it up, now’s a great time!  And Finding Insight should be up for pre-order very soon, so Watch This Space, if you will.  News and Announcements will be appearing over the next few weeks, not just of the book, but of a few other fun tricks and treats.

I’m terrible

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So I forgot what day it is.  I’m sorry.  I should have had a post up already, but it honestly just occurred to me that it’s Monday now, and not Friday or something.  You’d think having a regular show schedule to adhere to would help me remember what day of the week it is, but apparently not so much.

I’m hard at work doing edits for Finding Insight, the next Spirits of Los Gatos book.  The pre-order should be up very soon, and I’ll have the cover to show off hopefully by the next post.  I’m also sitting down to plan out the next few projects.  The fourth os Gatos book, and some short stories that I hope you will all enjoy, and a few other fun things.

I’m trying to get myself much better at being organized.  You have, no doubt, noticed over the past few weeks that I’ve been horribly scattered.  I hate feeling like this, like I’m sort of adrift, and I’m taking some steps to get myself back on some kind of track.  Writing out goals for the next few months, and using an actual calendar and so on, and I’m starting to feel a bit more grounded in reality.  I’ve realized that I need to do a better job of managing myself, honestly, it’s not a skill I excel at.  Do you all have any suggestions?

Getting back

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It’s been a long couple of weeks, you guys.  I had a much more visceral reaction to this show that is normal, and I have to hand it to the cast for that reaction.  It’s a pretty powerful and important musical and I’m proud to be working on it.  The downside, as you’ve noticed, is that basically, all my other work has swirled off into the great black hole of mental space-time.

However, now that the show is open and we’re on a regular run schedule, I’m starting to get myself back on track.  I’ve realized that while I can work just about anywhere, I need to have some kind of consistency about it.  The same time every day, the same (or damn close) setup of my laptop, some music, and a cup of coffee.  I can’t have people constantly swirling around me or talking at me.  It’s been pretty interesting, actually, trying to get work done in odd places and strange times at the theatre.

So I’m home in the mornings now, working out my new schedule for the next couple of weeks.  Get up, take a walk, have some coffee.  Take The Boy to school and when I get back, I sit down and get cracking at the doing room table.  Yeah, I have a desk upstairs, and yeah my family wanders in and out, but mostly they let me work and knowing they’re around is comforting.  Okay, usually it’s comforting.

I discovered a few months back that I work well in sprints, so I’ll set my alarm and plow through 45 or so minutes of writing or plotting or edits and then take a break so my mind doesn’t crumple under the strain.  It’s good to be getting words down again, finally.  Even if they’re more character sketch, unconnected scenes, or general rambling.  I know I’m brewing the next few things to get out to you guys, and the process settles something in my soul.

Wish me luck, though.  School’s out in two weeks.

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Book Report: The Wood Wife

So this week of previews at the theatre is almost over.  I have two shows to go till my day off— a matinee and an evening performance— and we’re all pretty ready for a break.  The horrifying awfulness of so much of the show is starting to wear off a bit as I get the shape of the show and my cues through it all into my bones.  That’s usually the hardest part of a show, and for this one, it’s been extra difficult.

But what all this means is that my mind is starting to come back online, which means I’m starting to think about writing and other work again.  Two of my co-workers united to spark an idea for a series of short stories, and I’m finally going to sit down and plan out the next novel or two.  But for now, I’m still just reading to balance my emotional strain a bit.  Have I told you guys about The Wood Wife yet?  I haven’t?  It’s one of my favorite books ever, let me tell you about it.

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The Wood Wife is the story of a poet remembering that she is a poet.  It’s also about a poet who lived on a mountain and drowned in the desert, all for his lover who was a surrealist painter.  It’s also about the mountain they live on.  And the past, and the present, and the forces that run through a place and the people affected by both the place and the spirits that weave through everything.

It’s a hard book to describe, really.  The language Terri Windling uses had me wrapped up from page one where she describes the night of the elder poet’s death and the creatures that mark his passing even as he is left, drowned in a dry wash that hasn’t seen water in decades in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.   Even though she’s properly at home in Britain, she manages to evoke the American Southwest in a way that I’m sure I couldn’t.

I love Maggie Black, the main character.  She moves into the house of Cooper Davis on a wild mountain near Tuscon after he leaves it to her in his will.  She takes it as a sign that he’s finally granting permission for her to write a book on him, though he’s refused to even meet her in person for years.  Naturally, once she gets there, she gets caught up in the slower life, the more remote mountain and the interesting characters that live there, and along with them she gets swept into a battle for the supernatural balance of the area.  At least Maggie is let in on the supernatural aspect of it— not all of them are.  And on the way we get to watch her journey from tired, slightly defeated writer trying to break out of her magnetic ex-husband’s orbit back to energized, driven poet who can honestly be fond friends with her ex, but no longer elastically tied to him.

It’s not a fast-paced, snarky, city adventure by any stretch.  It’s a slow, almost hushed build to the climactic gathering of all the characters, but once you get there the pay off is well worth the reader’s patience, and the journey there is entirely enjoyable.  I can’t recommend this book enough. Seriously.  Go read this one.

Ten out of 5 rutabagas.  Seriously.  I love this book.

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Photo credit: akseabird via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Good, not fun

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Photo credit: OZinOH on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

I owe you all an apology for this week.  I’m sitting here, in the electrics ‘office’ writing down a few thoughts before we get rolling on today’s rehearsal.  It’s been a somewhat rough show to work on, etching it in fits and starts, but we finally put it all together last Sunday to run the show beginning to end and it was pretty hard to take.  We had our first preview last night, and no doubt there are things we need to touch up and refine now that we’ve had a taste of what the show feels like with an audience.

I have to tell you it was not easy.

I suppose I should back up a bit.  This is a good show.  It’s performed by some incredibly talented and brave people, and I’m genuinely glad I get to be a part of it, but it’s really forced me to remember that ‘good’ and ‘fun’ aren’t synonymous.  See, the show I’m working on is The Scottsboro Boys, and it’s a peppy, upbeat musical about an actual godawful train wreck of the so-called American Justice System in Alabama in the thirties.  There’s a disturbing, beautiful, upbeat song and dance number about sending a 12-year-old to the electric chair, so you have some context.

6981216591_7bb692e187_c.jpgI’m glad to be a part of it, like I said, since it’s a damn good show and an important subject, but it has seriously impacted my ability to get any of my own work done.  I missed Monday’s post (as you no doubt noticed) and didn’t even realize it till it was far too late to rerun something.  Even this post has been a bit of a struggle.  And I know it’s not going to get easier this week at least.

So I’m going to fall back on doing some line edits and get out into the fresh air (when it’s not pouring down rain and hail outside) and then, hopefully by next week, I can start working on some outlines.  The assistant designer and my fellow spot-op have sparked an idea for a series of short stories that may amuse you all.  I’m looking forward to being able to work on them soon.

Just not this week.  I hope you can forgive me.

Here we go again

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Photo credit: piermario via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Well, I’m in tech again.  Probably even as you read this, I’m sitting in the dark, slaving over a hot follow spot, waiting for someone to tell me where I’m pointing.  It’s probably my last show as a technician, though I’ve said that before and look how that turned out.  Still, I’m moving out of the country, and away from the few people I still know well in the D.C. area theatre scene who would think to hire me, and that’s okay.

I mean, it’s kind of sad, really.  This is what I got my degree in lo these many years ago.  I spent all that time and energy (and student loan money) learning the skills I would need to propel me through an industry that I’m leaving behind.  But really, when I step back and think about it, I’m only leaving part of what I was interested in.  Because what is theatre about, really?

It’s people getting together and telling stories.  It’s characters and scenery and dialogue and action and all that amazing stuff, and I still get to do that, which is amazing.  I sort of fell into theatre by accident— thanks to my brother mostly— back in a time when real writers were the people who could get an agent to convince a publisher to spread ink across paper in the shape of their words.  Blogs became a viable thing when I was in college already, but by then I’d had my attention redirected.  It wasn’t until I was in California, raising my son as a stay at home mom that I got my first Kindle.  (My husband, bless him, had no idea what he was starting when he got it for me…)

With that Kindle came an epiphany, and I dipped a toe into the Wild West of indie publishing.  So, while I’m going to feel a hole in my heart where theatre has been for the last twenty years, I’m still going to be in the business of telling stories.  I just won’t be surrounded physically by an amazing group of like-minded people with the same goal: a great performance.

On the bright side, I’ll have my weekends back.  Monday is an odd day to have off.

Everything hurts, again

So I went over to a friend’s house last Friday to help her tackle some of the invasive ground cover she’s trying to get rid of.  Four hands are better than two and we made an awful lot of progress, and I learned a bit about the native plants she’s trying to establish in place of the invasive we yanked out.  We didn’t get it all done, but we made a lot of headway and felt pretty decent about ourselves when we were done.

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                                     I tried to talk her into just getting a goat, but to no avail.                               Photo credit: williac on Visualhunt / CC BY

We made sure to stay hydrated, and mostly in the shade, and all that good self-care stuff that’s super easy to forget about when you get In The Zone at something outdoors.  I especially got a bit zen-ed out towards the end of our gardening playdate and had a few decent ideas for what to do with my next writing project.  I also didn’t get bitten by any ticks, so I’m taking it as a massive win here.

On the other hand, I woke up on Saturday and once again, *everything* was sore.  You guys, I spent most of the weeding session sitting down on my butt.  Why my legs felt like I ran a marathon I couldn’t begin to tell you.  My hand makes more sense.  I’ve been heading to arthritis in my hands, and boy did it hurt till about lunchtime when the pain meds and so on really kicked in.  My back and arms though?  Totally fine.  Weird.

So I guess I have even more motivation to keep trying to get more exercise and take better care of myself.  Somewhat tricky when all the jobs I have involve a lot of sitting down, but I’ll do my best.  Do any of you have some favorite tricks to combat sedentary lifestyle troubles?  I’m all ears!