Cheese and Another Restless Night

fosteronfilm‘s email circle–a society of which dude_the and dean13 are members of–has engaged in a long-ranging debate on the merits of various types of cheese lo these last few days, with topics ranging from Roquefort v. Gorgonzola to the politics of the cheese oligarchy to the best place to buy and consume cheese locally and abroad. I, an innocent bystander, have been agog at the heated and impassioned discourse, and the one time I tried to enter into the fray, I was quite roundly dismissed as being a mere cheese aficionado-wannabe. Fine, I sez. I’m going home and taking my brie with me. But I’m now craving cheesecake.

Had another restless night last night. Even disabled the motion detector–we’re going through a bit of windy weather, and the holly tree beside it has grown unruly such that its branches are close enough to trigger it if stirred by a strong breeze. This is a slightly different sort of insomnia than I’ve had before. While I seem to be able to get to sleep, I can’t manage to stay that way for more than an hour or two at a stretch. I’m wondering if this bout of sleep dysfunction might be due to the green/black tea blend I’ve been imbibing recently to boost the Adderall. Switching back to herbal as of today.

Eventually, I headed into the bedroom while Matthew was still working in the living room, hoping a more comfortable napping place would help, and then I got hit by the “it’s-dark-I’m-alone-can’t-sleep-clown’ll-eat-me” jitters. So I called Matthew in to keep me company, and he reassured me that no clowns or other baddies would dare set foot in our house because it’s guarded by fairy-types, courtesy our own fey beastie, Hobkin. (Who, while not big on the guard critter front himself, does put in a good word on our behalf.) He then went on to assure me that any boogles or goblins who came visiting would surely only be looking for a cookie, or perhaps a beer, so I needn’t fret. I was all safe and secure.

And y’know? That did it. The willies went away, and I was able to get another couple hours of much-needed sleep. I love my husband.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- An email from Christopher Cevasco, the editor of Paradox, alerting me of the domain and email addy change of his ‘zine. I’ve had a story under consideration with him for almost five and a half months (167-days), so I took the opportunity to query about it. And, it seems I beat him to the draw. He informed me that he wants to publish “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon” in the forthcoming June issue (#9), and the contract will be going out later this week.

*squee!* This is my second sale to Paradox, and I’m delighted to be able to make an encore appearance between those fine pages.

- 54-day “There’s a sense of maturity and authenticity in your portrayal of these imperfect people and tangled relationships, and the ending brought tears to my eyes . . . but” rejection from Strange Horizons with an invite to submit again. Sigh. Evoking tears just ain’t enough anymore, dangit.

Substitute stims . . . and a nap

1 pot of tea + 2 cans of soda + 1 four-hour nap in the middle of the day and I was decently functional without the Adderall. I’m particularly unthrilled by the nap, but since I stayed up until 2AM writing after I woke up, the day still counts as rightly productive. Nice to know my muse is not wholly dependent upon prescription stimulants to keep her going.

Yay.

Now back to the prescription stimulants.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
2200 on “A Thread of Silk”

Bad guy and protag have made contact. Tension and drama, rah.

Hmm. Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong and I should take more frequent days off from the Adderall. ‘Course I’ve once again totally blown my word estimate out of the water. And the last 500 or so were me just rattling rough and clunky (and ungrammatical) words on the page as fast as I could so I could get the ideas for the scene laid out and go to bed. I haven’t looked at them yet today, but I am absolutely certain that they will need much fleshing out and rewriting to make coherent.

There’s maybe two (I think) scenes left to go, but one of them is a pitched battle. Can I finish this in another 1.5K? Let’s see . . .

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,814 / 9,000
(86.8%)

Club 100 For Writers
      7

500/day
      14

Adderall and Chinese communique

I think I’m well and truly addicted to Adderall. I’ve skipped my last couple “weekend holidays” because I didn’t want to risk the drop in writing productivity. The resultant ramping up of tolerance has me fretting. I actually popped an extra 10mg the other day to keep me going when the 20mg wasn’t doing the trick.

(I needs me my speed.)

But I am well aware that that road can only lead to a bad place. Ergo, I’m taking today off as an overdue break to give my system a chance to detox. I suspect there will be much caffeine. Or would that defeat the purpose? Urg.

(I wants me my speed.)

I wrote before I was on Adderall; I can still do it, dammit.

   


Writing Stuff

Received a letter from my folks–my stepdad thanking me for the birthday card we sent him, and to let us know that their apartment flooded and they’re staying with his younger son until they can move into a new apartment. They also suggested that I send them some of my previously published works and they’d see if they could find a Chinese publisher to both translate and publish it, maybe as a collection or something. I have no idea how the publishing industry works in China, but that would indeed be cool.

Received:
- A note, along with contract, from Greek ‘zine Ennea (9) that “Fade to Black” appeared in issue #292 in February. Sweet.
- My contrib. copy of Sages and Swords in which I fulfill a longtime ambition: sharing a ToC with Tanith Lee. I’d squee, except I’m too logy. The anthology’s a very nice production, glossy and redolent with that “new book” smell, although I think the title font is a little utilitarian (I blame dude_the that I even noticed). Of note, it seems the title of my story was changed from “The Wizard of Eternal Watch and the Keeper of Forever” to just “The Wizard of Eternal Watch” which I’m okay with–it was, after all, a pretty unwieldy title–although I would have liked to have been notified of this alteration in advance.
- 7-day email from Jason Sizemore of Apex Digest that he liked my story, “Nothing of Me,” and wants it for the Aegri Somnia anthology. Woot!

And as a reminder, only two more days until Jason’s birthday. They still need sixteen new subscribers or renewals to make their challenge. Subscribe, pleeease?

New Words:
200 on “A Thread of Silk”
Not one of my more productive days . . .

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,597 / 7,500
(74.6%)

Club 100 For Writers
      6

Pink Panther and Hobkin’s better

fosteronfilm went to see an advance screening of the new Pink Panther movie last night. I was planning on seeing it with him, but Hobkin sicked up his lunch yesterday, which made three meals in a row that he hadn’t held down, so I decided to stay home and see how he did with dinner.

Matthew gave the movie two reels in his Fosteronfilm review so I’m not all that disappointed to have missed it. (PSA/plug: fosteronfilm has begun doing giveaways of our spare advance screening tickets from his fosteronfilm.com site. Obviously, this is only of interest to locals, but if you’re in the Atlanta area, there are freebies to be had.)

Hobkin’s dinner went over (and stayed down) well. After a bit of minor post-meal chaos–mostly miscellaneous stomping and sporadic digging–Hobkin settled in my lap, fell asleep, and pinned me in my chair all night. I think he’s feeling better.

The prognosis on my back is less positive. My spine feels like one fused plank. Ow.

   


Writing Stuff

I did indeed sit on my muse (probably not what the doctor recommends for an unhappy back). Alas, the only thing I got out of her was a muffled “more weight.”

Just what I need, a cheeky muse.

Hence, I embarked upon much joyous cat-waxing. I went through my list of recently published works and picked a couple to send out to foreign markets for reprint consideration. I especially like submitting reprints this way ’cause I can sim sub like crazy as there’re no rights conflicts to fret about. Foreign markets buy their translation in their language, easy-schmeasy. It feels like such a luxury compared to the strict one-market-exclusive-consideration-no-matter-how-long-their-RL-is standard for first publication consideration. Sure, there are markets that will consider sim subs, but they’re few and far between, and it doesn’t do a sneeze worth of good if one market will look at sim subs but the other one you want to send it to won’t. It’s so not a writers’ market out there.

Received:
- Contract from Galaktika for the Hungarian reprint of “All in My Mind.”
- 2-day “very well written, but isn’t really a Baen’s Universe story” personal rejection from Baen’s Universe with lots of encouragement, an invite to submit again, and a better idea of what they’re looking for (more action).
- 30-day (!) rejection from GVG (!) of F&SF. Wowza. This is, by far, the longest response time I’ve ever had from F&SF. I thought for sure the ms had been eaten by the USPS. My perception of the world-as-I-know-it has been rocked.

New Words: 100 on “Honor is a Game Mortals Play.”
The end was so clear to me last week, so close I could almost taste it. But now I’m spinning my wheels. Wah!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,240 / 6,000
(87.3%)

Club 100 For Writers
      2

Things that aren’t working: Hobkin’s tummy, my back, HP

Hobkin isn’t feeling well. Last night he sicked up his dinner as well as his midnight snack of (we’d hoped) tummy-settling bread and bok choy. I continue to be inordinately grateful that the little guy seems disinclined to be sick either on me, the carpet, or the furniture.

He was curled up with me on the couch, and when he realized dinner was going to make an urgent reappearance, he sprang up, scrambled off the couch, and made a mad dash into the kitchen. He didn’t quite make his area with its linoleum floor–and thereby didn’t execute another head-in-litter-box miracle–but the hard wood kitchen floor is leaps and bounds better than the living room carpet. And after his first bout, he wobbled his way into his area for his second. The poor lil guy! It always makes me feel so helpless and anxious when he’s sick. And we still have no idea what sets off these tender tummy episodes.

At least we’ve got a treatment worked out. The vet prescribes us this amazing anti-nausea stuff (which thankfully the fuzzwit loves the taste of), and Hobkin also gets mint sandwiches (bits of bread soaked in Pepto Bismol) which, in combination, fix him right up, usually within 24 hours. And as far as psychological effects go, having a queasy GI tract doesn’t seem to particularly faze him. Just a half minute after his sick-up, he was energetic and begging us for a snack to replace his lost dinner. Silly, worrisome beastie.

He crawled up to snuggle with me after all the excitement and seemed happy to bask in the extra attention as I fussed over and cuddled him.

My back continues to malfunction. I took two Tramadol yesterday, which is pretty astonishing because usually one lays me out flat. This time, one only took the edge off–didn’t even make me sleepy. Makes me wonder if it’s the pain overwhelming the med, or the Adderall keeping me awake.

According to the status info on the HP website, my laptop hasn’t shipped yet, even though the expected date was yesterday. So not a surprise. Our case manager mentioned it would take longer than their promised 3-day turnaround because they need to do fairly in-depth tests on it this time. (*snort*) I suppose we should have asked how much longer.

   


Writing Stuff

New Words: 500 on the Japanese Demon Hunter story, now tentatively titled: “Honor is a Game Mortals Play.” Into the climax and I’m dithering over where I want to go with it. No, scratch that. I know where I want to go with it, but I’m dithering over how to get there. Going to lasso and sit on my muse today and see if that doesn’t get her cooperative-like.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,111 / 6,000
(85.2%)

Club 100 For Writers
      1
I’m pretty sure I missed at least one day in there . . .

500/day
      4

User Pix, squee! Also, woozy and woolen cat waxing

A HUGE thank you to britzkrieg and my mysterious anonymous benefactor who, between them, have renewed my extra user pix until March ’07! Thankyouthankyou!

Noticed something odd recently. I’ve been seeing a recurrence of the woozy, light-headed Effexor withdrawal effects. I have to wonder if it’s stress related. Maybe my serotonin levels have taken a nosedive due to assorted anxiety and frustrations, and my human suit is still expecting artificially elevated amounts, causing that periodic brain-giddy feeling? It’s not as bad as the initial onset effects were; I think I’d be safe to drive while having them. But it’s disconcerting. Thought I was over this. Effexor is damn insidious.

I think Hobkin’s been sensing both my stressed and irritable mood and my physical misery. He’s been quite skittish, even downright antisocial for a couple days, only emerging from under his hutch for meals and a skunk lap or two around the house, and even more prone to startling at shadows than usual. Might be spring fever too, I guess, although it seems a little early for that.

In a fit of cat waxing (also because I was fed up with my wing stubs both aching and freezing) and inspired greatly by merebrillante‘s fabulous Prisoner of Azkaban wrist-warmers, I assembled some wing protection:

Unlike merebrillante, I don’t have the skill or talent to construct useful yarn-wear like this from scratch (and of course mine are nowhere near as stylish as hers), but I did have an old pair of driving gloves with cracking fingers, an even older pair of wool socks with the heels wearing out, a pair of scissors, and a needle and some thread (which I can wield with adequate proficiency). Several snips and some well-placed stitches to keep everything from fraying apart, and I now have comfy things that keep my wrists and hands warm and that allow me to type and mouse. It’s a small thing, but it made me inordinately proud of myself. Not to mention it’s really helping on the frozen wing stub front.

Conspicuous absence of “Writing Stuff” section due to an utter lack of anything to report.

The plan is to give “Tried as an Adult” a final pass (or five) and send it off to dsnight for his Heroes in Training anthology today, but that was also the plan yesterday and the day before yesterday, and the day before that . . .

Life is pain, you just get used to it

All the recent stress appears to have done in the fragile equilibrium of my human suit. Wing stubs are flaring something fierce–although that might also be due to the less-than-ergonomically-ideal temporary working setup I’ve been using. Ouch owie ow. My joints and muscles have also been so achy that it interfere with my ability to fall asleep. For a brief while, I entertained the notion of popping a Klonopin last night to knock me into sleepy-land, but then it occurred to me I’d be taking both an amphetamine and a benzodiazepine at the same time, which would be wrong. *gurgle* Too many pills.

LJ just informed me that my extra user pictures expire in ten days. Pook. I’d recently made some new ones too. But there’s simply no way I can rationalize paying for extra user pix, alas. The sad realization that I’m going to need to seriously start looking into that whole day job thing is ruthlessly clubbing me over the head. Ow.

   


Writing Stuff

While I did a lot of various and sundry editorial work for both Tangent and The Town Drunk yesterday, as well as a whole gob of copy editing for fosteronfilm, I did precious little writing. I have once again fallen off the 100 words/day wagon.

I suck.

Received:
- Contract from Dragonfly Spirit for “Kaawaa, Naagan, and the Queen’s Diamond Necklace.” Signing and sending out . . .

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome 2006. Farewell 2005.

It occurs to me that I haven’t taken any Prozac in several days and none of my Effexor withdrawal effects have returned. Hurray! I’m clean! Huge, HUGE thanks go out to t_rex for suggesting Prozac as a means to step off the Effexor. I’m very glad to finally be rid of all anti-depressants. Adderall much better.

fosteronfilm hung up my new mirror, which prompted a manic cleaning spree. The master bath is now shiny. The rest of the house, not so much.

Yesterday we rang in the new year with a low-key celebration. We watched the new Doctor Who episode, “The Christmas Invasion,” while sipping Tom Collinses made with Bombay Sapphire gin. While I will truly miss Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, the tenth Doctor is hawt. I was somewhat skeptical when I first saw him, because he seems so young, but after watching him in action–ooo, yummy! Me likie. Rawr.

   


Writing Stuff

I’ve started my end-of-year writing bookkeeping. My head hurts already. Or maybe I’m hungover–although that seems unlikely as I only had one drink.

And, *drum roll please* The Town Drunk, britzkrieg‘s new webzine, is now officially open for submissions. Make us laugh! (With you, not at you. Cross my heart.)

Published:
“The Son that Pain Made” is now out in the Jan. 2006 (#6) issue of Aberrant Dreams alongside their “Reader’s Eye On . . .” interview of me. Also, the editor informed me that they recently switched printers so I’ll also be receiving a contrib. hardcopy of this issue. Coolness. Go read. It’s free! Snazzy cover art:


I’m not sure what it says about me that I really relate to the cover girl.

Shorter tempered

The Prozac has utterly curtailed the dizzy/woozy Effexor withdrawal effects, which is fantastic. Although I’m still feeling a wee bit short tempered. Still, even that is improving. I didn’t have the burning desire this morning to strangle the Barnes & Nobles information desk employee when he kept pointing me to the Poetry section (where I’d just spent 45-minutes fruitlessly looking for the book I wanted) and telling me that everything was organized by author (duh). Nor did I feel the need to get out my stabby pen when he said he couldn’t help me after I explained that I didn’t know the name of the author (editor actually). And I didn’t even feel murderous when he informed me that their computers could only do searches by title and author name, although I know that any book searching software worth two copper plugs can do a subject search. However, I will admit to feelings of exasperation when I had to ask him twice to do a simple subject search. Nevertheless, it was fleeting exasperation that dissipated once he found what I was looking for upon conducting the requested subject search, as I knew he would. It’s not like I pulled out an uzi and started mowing down hapless bookstore patrons.

Y’know, I simply like bookstores (and libraries). I spent several hours just wandering up and down the aisles, browsing. I think I spent a whole half an hour poking around in the reference section alone. Yep, I’m a bibliophile.

I do find it distressing that I didn’t see a single SF/F magazine in their newsstand section–not an Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, or Realms of Fantasy anywhere. I’m telling myself it’s because they sold out and are due for the next issues, not because they’ve decided to simply stop carrying any.

I like denial.

   


Writing Stuff

Did I mention how much my Apex Digest editor, Jason Sizemore, rawketh? It bears repeating. He saw my “where’s my money?” post yesterday and immediately emailed me to let me know both my contrib. copies and payment for “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” will be going out this week. Yay! And he’s the featured writer (along with Apex co-editor Athena Workman) over at the Wicked Karnival message board. So go ask him something. (I think you need to register to post a question, but how painless is that?)

I also got a note from my Aberrant Dreams editor, Ernie Saylor, letting me know that I’m in today’s Slip of the Pen (their webcomic). I’ve never been immortalized by a comic strip before. Hee!

Published:
- My appreciation of “Hell Notes” by M.K. Hobson (bricoleur) (published 2/9/2005 in SCI FICTION) as part of David Schwartz’s (snurri) ED SF project.

Received:
- Confirmation from Futurismic (after I queried them) that they’re still considering a story of mine they’ve had since mid-October. I’m very relieved that the Internet beasties didn’t eat my submission and knocking on wood that the tale passes final muster.

Motley post

LiveJournal once again seems to not be emailing me comments. Well, snartleblast! If I’m not responding to your comments, it’s because I haven’t @#$! seen them. At least Comcast has worked out whatever was bringing our Internet connection down so consistently recently. (Have I just jinxed us?) We’ve had fairly stable connectivity for the last couple days. fosteronfilm and I started talking about switching to DSL over the weekend. Maybe Comcast bugged our modem and overheard us? While it’s true that if Comcast can maintain a semblance of reliability, I’m less inclined to switch and contend with all that assorted hassle, but considering how aggravating their perpetual “we’re up, we’re down” service has been, we’ll see . . .

We spent Sunday afternoon with sruna and pleroma festively hanging out, nibbling upon holiday delicacies, and drinking mead and the best hot chocolate evah! Well, fosteronfilm had the mead. I had three sips from his glass, which is probably about all I can safely down. It was very yummy. But sruna absolutely makes the most fabulous hot chocolate. It’s sublime.

I think the Prozac may be helping with the Effexor withdrawal icks, although I’m not sure yet. Then again, it could be that I’m crested over the worst of the symptoms anyway. Still getting dizzy bouts, but they’re fewer, further apart, and less intense. Regardless, I’m staying on the Prozac, at least until next week, just to be safe.

   


Writing Stuff

Published:
- “Only Springtime When She’s Gone” (reprint) in issue #7 of Neometropolis
- “Spring Arrives on a Hob’s Tail” in Story Station.

Hmm. A Spring theme for December?

These are both online and free, so hop on over for a read! The former is a SF, cyberpunkish re-telling of the Hades & Persephone Greek myth that was originally published in jinzi‘s anaisdotmfk.com, and the latter is a fairy tale inspired by Hobkin and his tail.

Looking over my logs, it seems that I’m now awaiting payment on no fewer than five recently published stories:
- “The Bunny of Vengeance and the Bear of Death” in Fantasy Magazine. The check on this one’s rather outstanding now. I may need to do a bit of polite nudging.
- “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in Apex Digest.
- “My Friend is a Lesbian Zombie” in Here & Now.
- “When the Lights Go Out” in Ennea (9).
and now
- “Spring Arrives on a Hob’s Tail” in Story Station.

I wonder if I’ll get these before the new year or if I should go ahead and start furrowing my brow at getting all my 2005 bookkeeping in order? I do quite a bit of end-of-year accounting for my writing stuff and the sooner I can get started on it, the better.

New Words: -400 and several editing passes on the rewrite of “Cyberevenge Inc.” Sent it back to the folks at TQR. I hope they buy it. It’s a vicious little tale that I was inspired to write in 2002 after a run-in with a nasty cyberstalker. It was a very cathartic piece to write. The first place I sold it to was an anthology project that crumbled before it could see publication, but I’m actually rather pleased about that as it gave me the opportunity to go in and do some tweaking and tuning before I sent it out again. It’s a much stronger story than it was. And because of the subject matter, I think I’d rather have it be published in an ezine. Normally I prefer the feel of hard copy publication over electronic, but the ironic appropriateness for this in an Internet venue is just too chock-full of pointy goodness.

Club 100 For Writers
      72

500/day
      115