A Walk Through the Reticent

This morning did not start out good.  Because of I’m a certain age and gender, I tend to get hit upon by scammers who are, first, looking for romance, and, second, looking for your money.  They almost always appear as single dads whose wife has left them or died, and they have at least one child, usually between the ages of six and twelve.  And for the extra topper, they’re almost always stationed in Afghanistan, because of course.  Who’s going to say no to being wooed by a person in the service.

Well, me, for one.

But I digress.  They have the same stock rap and the same smooth operations, and anymore I almost never bother friending them except to allow them to chat me up enough so I can report them to Facebook before blocking them.  Which is what I did with this assclown this morning.  The problem was I was looking for a theme for the post today, and Mr. Lookin’ For Romance–he whom claimed to have read my profile; he whom said he was being directed by god to find someone’s heart he could touch; he whom picked the atheist lesbian to lay his rap upon–totally took me out of my creative space and sent me into a pissed-off spiral that forced me to let him have it good before the reporting, blocking, and unfriending commenced.

All that, however, just sort of sent me into a bit of a pity spiral.  I was feeling crappy last night, and for the first time in a long time didn’t go out to Panera to dine and write.  And there are times when the loneliness of my situation really comes crashing down on me, and I feel as if I can’t take another moment.  I ran all that through my head before getting ready and heading out into the walk to work, where–

It was snowing.

There’s a light snow coming down this morning, and we could get between three and five inches before it stops.  It’s been a long time since I’ve walked in falling snow:  it was something I loved to do as a kid, and often when it was snowing I’d bundle up and go outside for thirty or forty minutes to walk up and down the road and feel the cold flakes upon my face.

I did that today as well.

A bit like this, only far more urban.

A bit like this, only far more urban.

Once I was on my way, once I was heading through the Capitol Park and alone with my thoughts, I imagined Annie and Kerry wandering the paths of the school, hand-in-hand, as the snow falls.  Kerry wouldn’t see this sort of thing much, and he’d likely be enthralled by it–though given the snow that’s fallen this year, maybe they wouldn’t be that excited.  Right now they’d be in their D Levels and waiting for school to end in another two-and-a-half months, but at that moment–parallel to what I was feeling–they’d enjoy a little snow falling on their faces.

I was smiling by the time I walked into work, because I love seeing myself come through the door all bundled up in my coat and boots, with the hair from my wig peeking out from my hood.  My mood has improved, if only because I felt something that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Simple joy.

If only I could have shared that with another person at the same time . . .

The Old Into Tomorrow

I have a novel that I started back about 1992 or so titled Transporting which I eventually finished over the summer of 2012.  This was my first serious attempt at writing, with a lot of work building and character creation and the such, and it nearly drove me mad in the process.  I ended up starting it three different times before finally getting the last forty-five thousand words in the can so I could type “The End” at the bottom of the last scene.

There’s a very good chance I’ll never publish this story.  Maybe I will, but . . . probably not.

There are many reasons for this.  One, it was an emotional journey for me to get it finished, and I actually thought, at one point, it never would.  Everyone has a “Great Unfinished Novel” in them, and I believed I was no exception.

"I could finish this story in a couple of weeks--but first, I have to figure out how they died.  That wasn't suppose to happen."

“I could finish this story in a couple of weeks–but first, I have to figure out how they died. That wasn’t suppose to happen.”

Two, it was an exhausting adventure, one filled with a lot of “I have no idea what I’m doing” thoughts.  The world building was insane:  I was literally building worlds because the majority of the story happened on planets orbiting other stars, and I was figuring out orbital parameters by going to the library and getting books on celestial mechanics (I actually started work on this book in 1991, so no real Internet) and modeling everything on Excel spreadsheets.  How close was I?  When I worked out the same orbits twenty years later using up-to-date software that calculated those sorts of things, I was almost exact in my original calculations.

But getting to that point was a total pain in the ass.

And Three:  I spent so much time figuring out this story that by the time I’d gotten to “The End” I was completely burned out on it.  The novel really came about in the summer of 1988 while I was working at Playboy, and during those times when I had little to do, I’d sit in my office and daydream about these two women who were pretty kick-ass when it came to working for the government of the Humanist Interstellar Empire, and from those meager points almost two hundred and fifty thousand words arose.

But with the exception of two novels and a short story I wrote about these women, I doubt very much if they’ll ever come out and play with anyone in the real world.  I don’t believe the world I created over those two decades is relevant today, and I feel it’d be a bit embarrassing to even try publishing this work.

Besides, I have a new series I can write if I so choose, with new characters that I also love, and a new world that fits in nicely with the world around us today.  A world I know quite will, thank you.  And with characters who have an interesting life ahead of them.

Assuming, of course, I don’t mess them up too bad in the years to come.  That would be a bummer.

Weaving Through the Emotions of the Day

As I stated in yesterday’s post, it was the one month anniversary of my coming out at work, and therefore the anniversary of my going into true full-time living.  And like life itself, yesterday was pretty much an up and down day.

It started out fine, albeit snowy and cold.  A storm rolled through Sunday and there was a lot of stuff on the ground, which made walking into work a bit of a chore.  I don’t mind that; I’ve done it more than a few times in the past.  No, the morning and lunch time were fine.  It was in the afternoon that things fell apart . . .

I was working on a program that I’m going to help demo today, and it wasn’t so much there was an issue with the program as there was an issue with the data–which, to use a technical term, sucks.  I run into this issue all the time–and it doesn’t help that I’ve mentioned it as well, how it seems like nothing really works when I try to test, and sometimes I spend hours attempting to verify if it’s the program that’s acting wonky, or it’s something in the data.

Yesterday it was something in the data.  And it was driving me beyond frustrated.

"Why do you do this to me?  Why do you hate me so?"

“Why do you do this to me? Why do you hate me so?”

Here’s something else to consider:  last Friday afternoon was Shot Day, which I do every other week.  I do my injection and get the estrogen into my body.  It’s usually a few days later before I start feeling moody and emotional, so if I do a shot late Friday, it normally starts hitting me about . . . Monday afternoon.  And that’s when I really started to feel like I was loosing it hard . . .

By the time I left work I was a semi-angry, emotional mess.  Then I have a mile-long walk ahead of me, which allows time to think about things and stuff, and the stuff and things that were on my mind weren’t good.  Nope, not at all.  Which means by the time I’d reached the front of the capitol building I was pretty much on the verge of tears, and I fought off the urge to let it all out for about three blocks–

And that urge ended as soon as I was inside my apartment.

I got dinner going, and as the computer was coming up I broke down.  It was a pretty epic meltdown, one that I haven’t actually had in a while.  It’s the kind that involve a lot of tears and even a little screaming, and it went on for about ten minutes straight.  It was straight-up nasty, and I wasn’t feeling all that well once I had the computer up and I was still a mess–

And then I found a message waiting for me.

I don’t want to say that there’s someone I know out there in Internet Land who has a connection to me, but when their first post is, “How are you feeling?” and a little while later in the conversation you’re told that they felt you calling and that they needed to check in on you–yeah, something’s there, and that something helped me feel better.  Upside to this all is I was far better an hour later, and by the time I went off to bed, while I might not have been feeling one hundred percent, I was better than I when I’d first walked through the apartment door.

I even managed a bit of editing last night–maybe three thousand words.

All in all, not a bad day for a massive roller coaster ride.

It’s Been One Month–

The time has gone by pretty quickly, but today makes one month since coming out at work.  It really makes a lot of things, ’cause February kept me kinda busy–

I came out; I finished a novel; I finished up editing another project; I started editing one of my old novels.  I successfully fought off a cold that was trying to take me down last Friday.  I’ve answered personal question and done at least five videos.  That’s a busy schedule when it comes to the artistic endeavors; so what about work?

Um . . .

"I thought at least there would be one day when people would run screming when they saw me."

“I thought at least there would be one day when people would run screaming when they saw me.”

Work be work, mon.  The first week people came ’round to see me, to speak with me, to congratulate me on doing something brave, and I took it all in stride and with a smile on my face.  I’ve had exactly one negative comment, and I shut that down pretty quickly, but everyone else has accepted me to the point where now, I’m just another woman in the workforce.

Which is how I want it.  I was probably the most surprised to discover that my coming out was the biggest non-event, and the fear that manifested a month ago about coming into work as myself quickly evaporated as I settled in and did what I always did.  Now, tomorrow, I’m giving a program presentation, and I’m probably going to break in some new shoes because I’ll need something to keep me awake.  Or maybe go with something comfortable, because I’ll be thinking about how much my feet hurt most of that morning.

So a month down and more to come.  This week I mark eight months on HRT, and it’s hard to believe that in another four months I’ll be a full year on hormones.  I should meet up with a friend this weekend, so maybe some kind of celebration is in order.  And for when I hit the big one year mark, I really need to do something.  No problems, though:  I have four months to think about what that might be.

I’ve cut down on my writing.  Most of it is due to editing, but a lot of it is due to being tired.  Sixteen months on a single project is a long time, and I’ve not fully recharged from the event.  Yet, I really miss my kids.  I miss bringing out their world.  At the same time I feel like I can’t write about them, at least now right now.  I don’t know why I’m feeling this way, but I am.  But there are ideas coming up for the next novel, and I’ve been drawn to the urge to start up a Scrivener project and start plotting out things.  It’s not gonna be as big as the last novel, but even if it goes one hundred thousand words, that’s still a lot to write down.

Things are normal.  It’s been a month out at work and almost a month done on the novel.  The longest I’ve gone without doing any new writing is about a month, but . . . maybe I can hold out a little longer this time.

After all, I still have other things to do.

Tales of Writing For Tanya

Here I am, once again, with questions about writing, and I saved some of the best–and longest–for last, all from my friend Tanya, she of the video I released just the other day.  If there is anyone who knows me as a writer it’s her, because she’s been with me from the start of when I began writing once again.  That means she also knows what questions to ask.

And those questions are:

 

What does your writing process look like? Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual? Just how important are names in your books? What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process? Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others? Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about? Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?

 

A lot of questions, so let me address them one at a time.

 

What does your writing process look like?

 

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write, then I start gathering data for my story–if it’s necessary–and once that’s all finished, I plot things out and start writing.  While I’m writing I’m constantly thinking about what’s just around the corner in the story, and I’m working out future scenes in my head as I going through whatever I’m working on currently.  I also do that because with a large enough work–like this last novel–you find that some things didn’t work, some things need more explanation, and sometimes you just gotta add or remove scenes to have the story work.  I try to write every night, and I try to get in between five hundred and a thousand words a night.  Five hundred words doesn’t sound like much, but if you keep at it every day, it adds up.

 

Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual?

 

Other that monthly sacrifices to Cthulhu, no.  I enjoy listening to music when I’m writing (as I’m doing right now, listing to a Genesis concert from Zurich, Switzerland, recorded during their Wind and Wuthering tour in 1977), but there aren’t any other unusual habits I have when I’m working on a story.  Though I suppose one could say that once I start a story I dedicate myself to finishing it and not working on or getting sidetracked by other stories that may pop into my head.  If that happens they go into the idea file and I move on.  Remember, kids:  stay focused on what’s before you, and stop with the “But this other story came up and I just had to work on it!”  If that’s the case, then the first story was never meant to be.  And if you get distracted by a third story after you start that second, don’t quit your day job.

 

Just how important are names in your books?

 

They’re important.  As I’ve pointed out in another post, I work on my names until I get them right, and I’ve worked on stories before (Her Demonic Majesty being one) where I had a character and I just had the hardest time writing about that person because I wasn’t diggin’ the name.  But once I know who “they” are, then I’m good to go and I get into them greatly.  Sometimes I get into a character’s name so much that whenever I hear it outside the story, I sort of flash on my character and wonder what they should do next.

 

What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process?

 

Promotion is, for me, the worse.  That’s because I’m really not good at selling myself, and I always feel like I’m pushing my crap onto other people if I’m trying to get them interested in my stories.  Even though it’s the only way to get any exposure in these days of self publishing, I hate it.  And once you’ve seen another writer spamming every thread they can access with invitations to read their story, you feel like you don’t want to bother people with your requests.  Truly, I suck at this.

 

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others?

 

A lot of people would imagine romance scenes are hard to write, but I’m actually go with those–I enjoy writing them, because if handled right, romantic scenes are great for character building.  Just look at Annie and Kerry and see how they grew in their romance.  (And, no, That Girl does not exist here.  Nope.  Not at all.  Move along.)

The scenes I have the most difficulty writing are action scenes, and here’s the reason why.  These days, action has become associated with visual presentations seen on movies and television.  We now have an expectation of how action is suppose to play out, and directors and special effects people know exactly how those are to look.

The only thing is, action on the screen is difficult to play out on the written page.  There are only so many adjectives one can apply to action before you start repeating yourself, or end up looking ridiculous.  And if you watch closely, some action scenes in movies play out forever:  it’s like they slipped into a Whovian Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey ball of stuff, and what should be over in two minutes gone on for twenty.

My action scenes tend to be short and quick, because if you were paying attention, the three main action scenes that were in The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced–Kerry fighting the Abomination; Annie and Kerry against the homunculi in Self Defense class; and the Battle of Link Bridge–went fairly fast.  Well, two of the three, but we’ll get to that . . .  The reason they went fast is either due to some heavy-ass magic flying about–the Link Bridge battle–or one opponent was outclassed by the other–Kerry and the Abomination.  In the second example Kerry quickly came to the conclusion that if he hung around trying to fight this thing he was gonna die, and did what he could to get the creature off Emma and to come after him thinking he could somehow outrun the beast.  In the first example you saw that magic fights were a little like modern day aircraft or submarine battles:  if you get through the defenses and hit, you’ll score a kill.  As I showed, the Link Bridge Battle was over in forty seconds, and most everyone was in bad shape after that little soiree–even the winners needed a quick evac.

The exception to this rule was Annie and Kerry fighting the homunculi scene–or as I lovingly titled it, The Walking Tests.  That went on for about nine thousand words, due to the set up, the preamble of one coven getting their butts kicked, and after the fight hearing about how the test may have been set up, and our two combatants wandering off to clean up.  The actually battle seemed to take some time, only because there was some butt saving, and some talking, and most talking, and finally–well, once the kids figured out how to dust those loser homunculi walkers, it was over quickly.  If I had to put a timer on the action, I’d say Annie and Kerry were on the mat no more than a couple of minutes at most–and that took four thousand words.

Though I have to admit that scene was one of my favorites to write, even if it did take me almost a week . . .

 

Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about?

 

While I like telling stories, I can’t say I’ve always enjoyed writing.  Mostly because, at least in the beginning, one, I have horrible handwriting; two, I can’t spell worth a damn; and three, I couldn’t type.  Once I learned to type I only had Point Two holding me back, and spell checkers help out there greatly.

The first story I remember completing was a horror tale that was really about as amateur as they get, complete with creepy, unknown things going bump in the night, and the overused trope of the author (the story was told in first person point of view) continuing to write as the Horror Outta The Basement came to eat his ass–otherwise known as the Apocalyptic Log with the writing making sure everyone read The Last Entry.

At the time I thought I was doing something great, but now it’s not hard to see it was complete crap.  I really had no idea what I was doing, and I was totally coping the style of a write whose work I enjoyed.  All writers do this (well, almost all), and I learned from that work, because my next two were much better.  The second story I wrote was done with original characters, and involved a trio of time travelers realizing the part they had to play in the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981.  It was the first time I worked with original characters who weren’t just there as part of the scenery, and there was the first inkling of a story starting to play out.  (True story:  this was written as an assignment for an adult writing night course I was taking.  The instructor had wanted something along the lines of four to five pages; I turned in twenty-eight.  She made certain to tell the whole class that I’d actually turned in a story, which I found a little embarrassing.)

And my third story was really sort of a fan fiction, as it took place inside a role playing universe that I was running at the time–however, I used all original character (save for two who were really in a position to help drive the plot along), and there was an actual history developed in the course of telling this story, where I was giving background on some of the characters, and even giving them, in the course of the story, motivation for their actions.  It was also my first really cinematic story, as I could see scenes playing out as if I was watching this play out on HBO–and given all the swearing and mayhem that occurred in the story, it would have been perfect for HBO before the coming of the show known as A Song of Breasts and Dragons.

The most important thing about the story, however, was the length:  it was about forty-five thousand words, which means long before I wrote my first novel, this was my first novel, at least according to the guild lines set down by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  And only a few friend ever heard the whole story:  I never posted it on the Internet, I never tried to get it published because I know, as a derivative entity of an existing work with a legitimate copywrite, I couldn’t do anything with the story.  I read it at writer’s meetings, and that was that.

None of these works exist any longer.  They all resided on the hard drive an old computer that eventually went belly up, and were lost to history.  I managed to find a hard copy of almost half of the third story about fifteen years ago (all these things were written in the late 1980s, early 1990s), but even that has vanished.  I could, however, rewrite the third story if I had to, because even to this day I remember it well, because, really, you never forget your first.

 

Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?

 

And we finally come to the last question, and the crowd goes wild!  Just kidding . . .

I write everything in order, and even I find that a bit strange, because as I have my stories laid out so well, it doesn’t make sense that I start at the beginning, work my way through the middle, and work towards the end, because if I know what’s going into a scene months before I get to it, why not write said scene?  Writing software makes this possible, and with all my scenes for my last novel developed before setting down word one, then why not skip around?  Why not write about what happened to Annie and Kerry in Kansas City long before they go to the Samhain Dance, or why not write the ending–which I knew before I started writing–and then get the kids together?

Because even though I know what’s going to happen before I get to those scenes, I don’t know what’s going to happen until I get there.

Allow me to explain.

When I laid out A For Advanced I knew the kids would go to Kansas City on a field op for the good guys.  And, in a metadata view of the story, I knew certain things would happen there.  What I didn’t know were the details, and I didn’t start working on those until I was about ready to write them.  This was after I had months to think about that adventure, and even when I started writing, I only knew maybe six events in any kind of detail.

Annie and Kerry talking about France outside the school?  Came to me that day before I wrote the scene.  Same with the Dreamspace scene; had that idea the night before because I knew it made sense given what they knew.  The CDC?  Also figured out the day before I wrote the scene, based upon what I knew of the world I’d developed over the last year.  And the Magic Show the kids gave in the park only came about due to knowing what they had already done magically, and want I wanted to bring up in a later scene.

In short, I couldn’t have written any of the Kansas City scenes without knowing what my kids had been through before getting there.  I mean, I could have, but those scenes would have been completely different, and it’s very likely I may have needed to rewrite them completely to fit with what I’d written if I’d decided to work the whole field op out of order.

There are scenes I could write now for later novels because I know them well–and believe it when I say I would love to sometimes, just to write them out.  But I would probably end up rewriting them later, and I hate to do that.  It’s best to get to them in the right order so I know that my kids have advanced the way they’re supposed to advance.

Though if I did write out The Polar Express now it would answer one burning question . . .

"She finally tells us if Kerry nailed that tramp Emma and ends up cheating on Annie, who is just way too good for him!  Yay!"

“She’s finally going to tell us if Kerry nails that horrible tramp Emma and ends up breaking Annie’s heart! Yay!”

Ummm, on second thought, I’ll just keep that information to myself for a few more years.

There you have it:  twenty-five hundred words telling you a bit more about me as a writer.  I hope you found it entertaining.

Because I remembered things that I thought I’d lost.  And that’s a good thing.

Tricking Out the Trade

I’m much better today.  Yesterday I had to come home early from work and get some sleep because a proto-cold was knocking me up, and I wasn’t handling it well.  I had a stuffy nose and soar throat, and I felt as if my energy reserves were below zero.  After sleep, rest, and medication I seem better today, and I’m doing my best to stay warm.

Even though I did some editing last night–and managed to finish a scene and a Part to Kolor Ijo–I pretty much took it easy.  Which means I’m ready to answer another reader question.  And this one comes from Skye Hegyes, who asks:

 

You use many things I’d love to hear more about, but recently the one that has me the most curious is the research involved to find out where everything is (place-wise) in your stories, what the weather is like certain days, and things like that. Sometimes it drives me nuts. I see all your screen shots and I’m like, “How did she find this out?!?” It would be a cool thing to learn.  I am good at research, but nowhere near as good as you. Tips of the trade would be awesome.

 

I’ve been asked about research in the past, and I’ve even written about some of the things I do to bring a story together.  I think the best thing to do here is see how things were put together for The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced, because the world building started right there.

Originally the Salem Institute for Greater Learning and Education, or Sigle, was originally located on the southwest flanks of Mount Katahdin in south-central Maine.  The idea originally was to place it there to keep it away from prying eyes, but as I thought more about this aspect of my world, the whole “Hiding in Plain Sight” idea became stronger and stronger, and I finally decided it could hang out in a populated area because magic and technology would keep it hidden from the outside world.  Which meant all I had to do was find a place close to Salem where I could put a huge, walled-off school . . .

So it was off to Google Maps to look.  And after some looking around I was able to settle on Cape Ann because the center of the island was a forest and nature preserve–

Or is it?

Or is it?

I’m a bit of a map freak:  I love looking for things on maps, and Google Maps is a great place for me to loose time.  When I saw that blank space, I knew my school could go there.  And in doing my research, I discovered that Gloucester was the original location of Salem, but that the first colony failed and they moved to the location of the current city.  Hummm . . . I wonder if someone had a hand in that failure?

As for finding out a lot of things that I use in my research, I tend to Google and then search the hell out of the links.  Sometimes I’ll go several pages deep into a search and see what turns up, but I rarely stick with one site.  And if you look around you’ll find lots of interesting things . . .

I already knew Kerry’s name when I started the story, but that doesn’t stop me from going to my favorite naming places, Baby Center, and looking up his name.  Not only do I like all the information available, but I love using the Related tab, which shows you names that are like the one you’re considering–in case you decide you suddenly like Cary better.

I am not buying Homer, however.  Witches, yes:  Homer . . .

I am not buying Homer, however. Witches, yes: Homer . . .

I’ll also search by certain names as well, such as Persian and Gaelic, which I have done many times in the past.  Sometimes you just have to go that route.

Speaking of maps, I’ve been asked before about how I make some of the routes I have, and that’s done through Daft Logic’s Advanced Google Maps Distance Calculator.  I found this a long time ago–back in late 2012, to be exact–and I’ve used it to lay out several routes that will show up in The Foundation novels as they come out.

It looks like a couple of routes have been removed from your viewing.  I wonder what they were?

It looks like a couple of routes have been removed from your viewing. I wonder what they were?

This comes in handy if you’re trying to figure out distances through flight as well, since Google Maps will tell you the distance if you’re traveling by road.  But for making some of the things I’ve made–or, as you can see, laying out the flight from the school to Pearl Hill State Park–it can’t be beat.

Now, about the weather . . .  Historical weather can be had at Weather Underground, but there are a few things you need to understand.  The National Weather Service tracks weather at airports, so when I’m looking at the weather at the school, I’m really getting it from the airport at Beverly, MA, about thirty miles to the west.  This means that what I’ll have at the school may not be the same, but as far at the story goes, it’s close enough.  And when you’re traveling over a wide area, you may want to check with several airports along the way.

You can get a nice rundown of the daily conditions–

Hey, look:  it's the last day of school.

Hey, look: it’s the last day of school.

Or you can scroll down and see an hour-by-hour recording of the weather:

It's still the last day of school, but now there's a lot more of it.

It’s still the last day of school, but now there’s a lot more of it.

This is how I come up with those “Kerry looked out the window at the thick overcast” scenes.  I’ve not tried a lot of this with overseas locations, but eventually I will–only because I’m like that.

I’ve also written a little about Seat Guru, which I use to see aircraft layouts, but which you can use to get a good seat on a flight.  But if you absolutely, positively need to see the layout of a Air France 777-200 (772) Three Class V2–

dfdf

You know what to do.

And lastly I give you this, because I never know what anyone out there is working on, but as for me the need once arose to see the sort of effect a large blast would have on an area, and in looking about the Internet I found Nuke Map, which is the place to go if you wanna see what nuking a city, any city, looks like.  I’ve played with this before, and if you consider seeing the aftermath of a devastated area after you lob a twenty megaton bomb into the center of said area “playing”, then you’re just like me.

For example, I picked Indianapolis–the capital of Indiana, a place where politicians are working overtime to allow legal discrimination of people like me–and I decided to see what would happen if I exploded a standard 150 kiloton cruise missile above the capitol building, which used to be right across the street from where I worked.  And . . .

My therapist is well outside the blast area, so it's all good.

My therapist is well outside the blast area, so it’s all good.

As with any research, consult several sources.  When I was looking up information on runes I looked at four different sites, and correlated the information between them to get the results you may have saw the Annie’s and Kerry’s dreams.  Don’t assume that the first site you find will have everything you want:  you may need to consider a lot of information before deciding on what you want to use.

And another thing to remember is that most libraries have Internet access these days.  There’s nothing wrong with taking something you found on the Internet and seeing if there’s a hard copy source of that info you can take home–or visa versa.  If you can, use all the information.  It makes for a better story.  And don’t forget to bookmark anything you find that you like.  If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have found these lovely physics calculators that I’ve used over the years.  You never know when you might need math . . .

There you have it, and I hope the information I’ve given you is helpful.  If nothing else, it tells you about how I go about looking for things–

And some of the stuff I’ve found.

Stepping Off to the New

How was everyone’s day?  Good, I hope.  Mine was, well, let’s say pretty good.  I had a huge post yesterday, and it was a good thing I got it out early because in the afternoon it had to compete with the Internet shutting down over escaped llamas and bad dresses that may have been black and blue or gold and white–a question so burning for some that in one group I’m in on Facebook someone actually flounced because they were told they were wrong about the color.

"Now that I've solved the greatest mystery of the Internet, I'm going to tell all these losers wh--Oh, Llamas!"

“Now that I’ve solved the greatest mystery of the Internet, I’m going to tell all these losers wh–Oh, Llamas!”

Me?  Well, I gave my opinion on one (the dress), and we told many times about the other (the llamas), and continued working on something else.  And I made a lot of progress given that I was being told about the most earth-shattering events of the day–while at the same time my mind was on my own dilemmas as well.

Of late I’ve been thinking about a . . . let’s call it “next novel”.  And I think you know what novel I’m talking about, because people have actually asked me when I’m starting on that book.  I was even considering writing a scene from it, because it’s been calling to me a little, and I wanted to do something for that calling–

At the same time, though, I’ll admit:  I’m tired.  I told a friend last night that when you put almost sixteen months of your life into any project, you get tired of said project after a while.  It happens to the best of writers, and I imagine there are days when George R. R. Martin just wants to turn loose the Dragons of Westeros and torch the whole damn thing to the ground because he’s been working on the same stories for twenty years.

There is a real hesitation to get into the project again, to start on a second novel, because I may not have the energy needed to get into plotting everything out and start writing.  The good thing is I don’t need to make up any new characters, because save for a few people, they’re all there.  The bad news is I have no idea how long this sucker will turn out, and it scares me to think it could be huge.  The logical portion of my brain says that won’t be the case, but I won’t know–not until I plot it out.

While I was editing, however, I was contacted by other friends and asked if I wanted to get involved in another writing project.  And this sort of got me thinking, because it would be part of a collaborative effort, and that would mean I don’t have to do everything.  Also, it’s a change of pace, one that doesn’t involve throwing your body and soul into and coming out the other end of the wringer beat to hell and gone.

I’m looking forward to this, because it’s a change-up that I can use.  I’ll get back to Annie and Kerry when I’m ready–

After all, I’ll do their story more justice if I’m not exhausted all the time.