GA General Assemly Furloughs

So the House and Senate of the Georgia General Assembly are taking furloughs due to the budget deficit, and hence, the employees of the Office of Legislative Counsel are being required to also take a mandatory one-day-a-month furlough. They’re having a meeting about it to answer questions and whatnot this afternoon at the capitol, but today happens to be my 4×10 day off. Debated whether to go in for the meeting, but I figure it’s not worth the time and gas. I’ll get the lowdown from my co-editors tomorrow.

All in all, it could be worse. A day a month is better than a day a week—which some state employees have had to do—and it’s hella better than being laid off. But the line between black and red for our household budget is sliver-thin, and it’s gonna be hard finding another notch in our already-cutting-off-circulation belt.

The thing is, this is another hard knock exacted by the state in a string of them. They’re also increasing our parking fees from $15 to $40 per month, and as a result, I’m relinquishing my parking spot. I only used it occasionally, during the legislative session and for the occasional doctor’s appointment or when I overslept and needed to drive in to avoid being late—not enough to merit $480 a year—but it was pretty important to have during session. Going to have to figure out how to manage now without a parking space. And they also decreased our health care options, so I’m going to have to switch from my current plan next year. Very annoying as it means I’ll be losing the rheumatologist I adore who pulled me out of a months-long flare-up and has kept me stable for years.

I still love my day job. After spending 11 years as a highly paid but soul-battered cubicle monkey, money is low on my priority list for job satisfaction. And I still have incredible job satisfaction, enough to outweigh the annoying sensation of being reamed. But I really would prefer to forgo the reaming.

Session 2008 Day 31.5: Atlanta weather and return of the prodigal laptop

The tornado was a nonevent for us. Didn’t even realize one had ripped through downtown Atlanta until we got calls from fosteronfilm‘s mother worried about our safety. Up north where we are, we got dark skies and thunderstorms, but no twister action. The hail on Saturday was a bit more dramatic, but we seem to have withstood that without any damage, too.

And, my laptop’s back, my laptop’s back! Yay! It languished for over a month in the shop, and in that time my organizational system fell into total disarray. My to-do list reached profoundly scary proportions, and after I finished re-loading my system and trying to sort through my emails, I’d flagged nearly 100 emails as “needs response.”

While I had a back-up system to work on and check email from while my VAIO was gone, it’s a huge behemoth of a machine that I can’t easily transport back and forth on the train. Plus, it doesn’t have the battery life that my ultra-portable VAIO does, making it useless by midday. So I ended up leaving it at home and checking email from a browser interface at work—and therefore not having my address book or sent history or received archives at hand. And without a main system as the hub repository for all my data, I ended up accumulating duplicates and putting off items or having information scattered across multiple systems in different versions. What a mess.

But my laptop’s back home now, and I’ve been wading through the pile-up. As of this morning, I’m down to 60 emails flagged, and my files are more or less synced up. Whew. I’m worried that some stuff may have gotten lost in the cracks; I tried to err on the side of duplication rather than deletion, but then I tried to keep the duplicates manageable and…glargh. I hope to have everything shipshape by the end of this week, legislature obliging, of course.

I missed my little VAIO. A lot.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
• 125-day SALE of “The Better To…” to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, slated for #38—which I believe will be their October issue.
• 91-day very glowing and personal rejection from Space & Time. It got held until the final round, but…sigh.
• Contract from Drabblecast for “The Tiger Fortune Princess.”
• Payment from Realms of Fantasy for “Daugher of Bótù,” which I believe will be coming out in their next (June) issue.

Session 2008 Day 29.5

We’re in the home stretch. The legislature has established their schedule through Day 38, which will be the 27th of this month. That means they’ll most likely adjourn sine die the first week of April, hopefully April 1 or 2, which is much earlier than last year, with sine die falling on the 20th.

Good thing, too. I’ve switched to taking my Imuran in the A.M. with breakfast instead of at night with dinner because the schedule for my evening meals is all thrown off with session. There have been nights when I’ve had to skip dinner altogether and just make due with snacking at my desk between bills—resulting in me forgetting to take my meds. This brought on a (thankfully very minor*) flare-up last month, and I realized I needed to swap my pill-taking time so it could coincide with what’s left of my daily routine. But taking it in the morning often makes me a bit queasy, which it doesn’t do at night ’cause I usually take it with a hefty meal versus the cup-o-yogurt that I have in the morning.

Trade-offs. Queasy or pained-feverish? Blah.


*It’s been so long since I had a real-for-sure flare-up that I didn’t recognize it at first. I couldn’t figure out why my joints and muscles were aching so much…until the fever and dizziness came.

   


Writing Stuff

I’m in a bit of shock that Speculations and its wonderful Rumor Mill community are gone. While I haven’t been all that active on it, I’ve been a member—subscribed to several threads, checking in on folks’ author topics, etc.—since I began writing seriously in 2000. It was a great resource and a great community, and I’ll miss it.

Finished up my 2007 short fiction readings (yes, I’m behind) and finally got my picks to Chris McKitterick for this year’s Sturgeon Awards. I’ve been honored to be asked to contribute to the nomination process for the last several years, and this year I had to ask for an extension on the deadline as I was so utterly swamped at work and couldn’t get my nominations in on time. But I finally managed to send them off yesterday.

Received:
• 44-day reprint SALE of “The Tiger Fortune Princess” to Drabblecast. Yay! The editor, Norm Sherman, actually solicited this one from me. He’d heard Escape Pod‘s production of “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” and liked it enough to both email his compliments and ask me to send something his way. Much shiny ego-boo.

Session 2008 Day 22.5

Over the halfway mark for Session 2008. 18 more days to go.* I’m getting a wee bit scared about how far behind I’ve gotten with regard to other obligations, but trying to keep my head above water and/or not think about the hamsters I don’t have time to attend to.

But I can see out of the corner of my eye that them hamsters are getting pretty hefty . . .

What’s really exacerbating things is that I had to send in my VAIO laptop for maintenance. It’s just a hardware issue: a loose A/C connection that was requiring me to clip the cord at an odd angle in order to get the battery to charge. But I had to backup the whole drive as I’m sure they’ll wipe it (as it seems to be standard operating procedure at every shop on the planet). And now they’re waiting for an ordered part to get in, so I don’t know when I’ll get it back. Plus when I do get it back, I’ll have to spend several hours reloading it.

The loss of my “cart around everywhere” computer has really hindered my productivity. I can’t reply to emails on the train, can’t do a bit of editing during the commute, etc. I really need that extra hour and a half per day to stay on top of the hamster pile. Wah.


* Don’t ask me whether I’m a “glass half full” or “glass half empty” type. Mostly, I’m a “thirsty now, gimme water” type.

   


Writing Stuff

I’ve put several more stories up at Anthologybuilder.com. All of my cyberpunk-esque Tales from Old Atlanta, including the Phobos award-winning one, “All in My Mind,” which prompted me to write the rest of them: “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me,” “Addy in My Mind,” “Only Springtime When She’s Gone,” and “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps” (which was already up). I’ve got one more from that world, “The Music Company,” which I planned to submit this weekend, but never got a chance to.

I’ve also got several stories up for sale at the Sony eBook Store through a contract with Tekno: “All in My Mind” (again), “The Tiger Fortune Princess,” “Returning My Sister’s Face,” “Honor is a Game Mortals Play,” “The Bunny of Vengeance and the Bear of Death,” “The Wizard of Eternal Watch,” and “The Storyteller’s Wife.”

Much buying goodness!

Received:
• Payment from Baen’s Universe for “A Thread of Silk,” which helped offset some of the debt from Christmas.

New Words:
In the midst of the chaos of last week, I was bowled over by the urge to do some writing. Novel writing, even. I’m not sure which I’d rather have, no time but plenty of inspiration or plenty of time but no inspiration. They’re both exercises in frustration and thwarted creativity. Actually, come to think of it, the latter is worse. I did manage to crank out a little over 300 words. I’ll take that over grinding my gears, staring at a blank page, any day. But it still leaves me twitchy and irked.

Session 2008: Day 11

Got up extra early this morning to vote. I voted. A less exciting undertaking in practice than theory.

So, yeah, my life = blurred frenetic haze of legislative editing punctuated by non-legislative editing for The Fix.

I’m finding the editing mindset a bit hard to break out of…in an OCD sort of way. dude_the was here* for our annual Superbowl shindig (the only football game I watch), and we were out doing the Saturday beer run at the Wine Shop. Not being much of an alcohol drinker (or buyer), I amused myself by reading the wine descriptions. Three sentences in, I found myself with pen in hand, busily adding in the missing serial commas. fosteronfilm dragged me away before I could finish (or attract the ire of the shopkeeps). *twitch*

But we’re now on Day 11, over one-quarter of the way through Session 2008. Rah.


*Actually, dude_the is still here, as his flight was cancelled last night, but I’m not sure if I’ll get to see him off from his extended stay—or at all—as I’ll probably have to work late again tonight. A bummer, as he got back from his wranglings with Hartsfield-Jackson airport last night after my bedtime.

   


Writing Stuff

Rich Horton (ecbatan) singled out my story, “Honor is a Game Mortals Play,” as one of the best in the DAW anthologies from 2007. *Squee!* (Thanks to jimhines for the heads up!)

Received:
• 23-day reprint SALE of “The Life and Times of Penguin” to the Triangulation: Taking flight anthology. My first sale of the year! And it came with an exceedingly complimentary acceptance letter from the editor, Pete Butler. It was his first acceptance letter (written) of the year, too. Hee!
• 44-day personal “not right for us” from Weird Tales with an invite to submit again. The sale gods giveth and they smacketh. Sigh.
• Payment from Llewellyn for “A Nose for Magic” after a bit of worrisome email straying. Seems they sent me a request for a W-9 for tax purposes which they wanted me to send back before they could cut my check, but I never got the email—I suspect an overzealous spam filter, paired with the lack of a subject in the original email, was the culprit, as I do check my spam folder regularly for misfiled correspondences. It was purely by luck that I saw the follow-up, recognized the “Llewellyn” in the return email addy, and fished it out.
• Note from palmerwriter letting me know that Voices for the Cure (the charity anthology to benefit the American Diabetes Association with my story, “An Interesting Week for Emmy,” in it) is now available through White Rocket Books, which means it’ll soon be available at Amazon.com and B&N.com, too. Yay!

Session 2008: first casualty. Paper ow.

Paper cuts = occupational hazard. Stupid resolution got me right between the fingers in the webbing, too. Grumpf.

Had to work on Monday on the MLK, Jr., holiday. Spent over five hours on one bill. Head spinny foomp, but overtimey goodness.

   


Writing Stuff

Got a (group) email from the Magic in the Mirrorstone anthology publicity folks (Mirrorstone is an imprint of Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro, hence they have publicity folks . . .ooo). They’re wanting to hold a book signing in May or April. Alas, in New York, so I can’t make it.

Actually, I was surprised to see how many writers responded who thought they’d be able to attend. I thought that the time of New York-as-writing-nexus had passed such that it wasn’t particularly important for writers to be located in New York anymore (unlike, say, actors, who really need to be in L.A. in order to get work) but I guess New York is still an undisputed hub of publishing activity. And folks still gravitate to where the moving and shaking happens.

Received:
• 15-day cordial pass with brief comments and invite to submit again from a new market, Wrong World. They’ve got an interesting point-based submission/rejection system. An attempt to quantify a qualitatively subjective process. . .

And I have yet to make my first sale of 2008. Snargleblast.

Session 2008

And so it begins. The Georgia Legislative Session 2008 has convened. Cue ominous music.

The gods of transportation and commuting doth smiteth me. I languished for over an hour getting to the MARTA station yesterday morning due to an accident on 400, then experienced further delays as the eastbound rail line dealt with some technical difficulties, making me late to work. And after the not-quite-as-nightmarish-but-still-awful drive down 400 this morning, I’m speculating as to whether I will need to set my alarm an extra 15 minutes earlier in order to get to work on time due to the increased congestion on 400. Glargh.

   


Writing Stuff

Joined up with anthologybuilder.com this weekend. The site is a new concept (masterminded by Nancy Fulda) where writers can market their previously published work. In a nutshell, readers can construct and buy their own, customized hard copy (trade paperback) anthology by selecting from the offered short stories on the site. Writers earn royalties and get a chance to get out-of-print stories back into circulation. Shiny, huh?

I sent over a quartet of vampire stories: “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps,” originally published in the now-defunct Oceans of the Mind; “Ascendancy of Blood,” my first Scrybe Press chapbook; and “Still My Beating Heart” and “Inspirations End,” my second Scrybe Press chapbook–both chapbooks now being officially out of print as I’ve severed my contract with Scrybe.

Dwelling on what other stories I might want to send to anthologybuilder.com, but if anyone wants a hard copy collection of those four vampire tales, they’re available.

Session ’07, Day 30, Crossover Day

Today is Crossover Day, the deadline for when bills have to pass at least one chamber or be dropped, and also the busiest day of Georgia’s legislative year. Historically, Crossover Day is a midnight+ affair for the legislature and therefore us folks at the Office O’Legislative Counsel. Last year, I believe the House was in session until 1:30AM.

I wore the comfiest work clothes I have, brought a blanket/pillow and toothbrush, and packed an extra 10mg of Adderall (which I haven’t decided whether I should take or not, and I need to soon since it’s an XR).

Urk. I expect my brain will be at half mast come Wednesday.

But, on a happy note, someone brought in a plate of amazing caramel brownies this morning. Brownies and coffee for breakfast, does it get any more decadent? And the attorneys are treating the office to dinner tonight.

When under stress, apply food. Yup.

dude_the is here on a business trip, taking a class. Yay! Although we haven’t seen him yet as, well, he’s taking a class and it’s session. But his class ends on Wednesday, and he’s hanging out through the weekend. Hoping I get to do more than wave to him in passing.

   


Writing Stuff

The novel bug’s been hitting me. Adding details and brainstorm-related particulars to my existing outline and character sketches for the YA novel. Gearing up for a full out effort once the session ends.

Performance anxiety and trepidation is high.

I’m primarily doing research, possible to do between rush bills, at least, and gathering a bit of fodder for hungry lil plot bunnies. My focus is on autism and Asperger’s but while digging around online, I discovered a fascinating condition called hypergraphia, a driving compulsion to write, which I was unfamiliar with before. Speculating whether some particularly prolific writers might have it.

Brains are neat. And weird.

Session ’07, After Day 29, adjourned again

I wasn’t able to go to the Pirates of the Caribbean screening last Sunday. I had to work. All day.

I got in the office at around 10:15 AM and couldn’t leave until after 7 PM. Bummer. But I knew that playtime would undoubtedly have to be sacrificed to the legislative session going into it, and so far, I’ve already had more actual weekends than I’d expected I would. And I know I’ve had it relatively soft compared to other editors, like poor elemess who had to stay until midnight on Tuesday. Plus, the evil-scary bill I labored over on Sunday, HB 227, actually passed in the House this week.

fosteronfilm is having two wisdom teeth pulled this morning, the poor thing. But it’s high time. One of them broke months ago. Fortunately, the break didn’t expose the nerve, and he wasn’t in pain.

Less fortunately, with the new year, we’d switched dental plans, which also involved acquiring a new dentist, and the one we got (based primarily on the proximity of his office to our house) was not a good fit, being less concerned about the state and welfare of our teeth and more interested in pushing expensive and unnecessary dental procedures–which, ironically, did not include extracting the broken tooth since that apparently wasn’t big ticket enough. So yah, we decided that we wanted a new dentist and had to wait for the insurance folks to approve a switch (the third dentist we’ve had in six months). Then we had to wait for the paperwork to go through so this new dentist could examine Matthew’s tooth and go “yup, that needs to come out, and probably be a good idea to pull that other one too while we’re at it,” get the extraction procedure okayed by the insurance, and then schedule it.

I’m just really, really glad that Matthew wasn’t in any pain. All this waiting, while decidedly annoying, at least wasn’t agonizing.

On the plus side, the extraction procedure is 100% covered. On the minus side, the anesthesia portion is 0% covered. The hubby is opting to have it done under just a local which is much less expensive than a general would’ve been. He’s hella more macho than me; when I had my wisdom teeth out, I insisted they knock me out. But I remain perplexed and indignant than none of the anesthesia is covered. If we couldn’t afford to pay for it out of pocket, would they really have subjected him to having two teeth pulled without any anesthesia?

   


Writing Stuff

I’m either due or past due on responses from several markets. I haven’t felt jonesy for a sale for a while, but I’ve got the writerly jitters good now. I could really use a juicy sale fix. *twitch*

Received:
- Heidi Ruby Miller (ambasadora) asked to interview me for her ongoing “Heidi’s Pick Six” author spotlights. Of course I said “yes.” Mine is slotted to go up next month.

New Words:
- 300 on “Better a Heart of Fire.” As I feared, my momentum is beginning to fizzle. A gooey glob of inspiration hit while I was driving to the MARTA station this morning. But, of course, traffic cops tend to frown at folks typing on laptops while driving, so I refrained from trying to increase my word count while cruising down the freeway. Will try to work on it this weekend.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,568 / 3,500
(73.4%)