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My internet access last night was as slow as an exhausted sloth slogging through mud with kettleballs chained to its ankles, and writing on the computer in any position -- sitting, standing, reclining, whatever -- was distractingly uncomfortable. Thus I spent some hours stretched out across the bed to write by hand while the hip discomfort receded to an ignorable dull ache.

Excellent forward progress was made on Breath of Stone, the sequel to Sand of Bone. Considering I cut thousands of words with a fell swoop not too long ago, I'm pleased to have gained ground once again. Best of all, the collection of chapters that actively fought to escape the rules of a timeline are now behaving properly. I'll still need to do some trimming of edges here and there, but no characters now need teleportation to arrive at their proper plot-required destinations.

I'm closing in on the sprint. I can feel that sense of urgency coming—the sudden clarity that happens when I can hold the entire plot in my head while, at the same time, focusing on an individual scene. By the end of the week, barring intrusions, I should hit stride again.

Oh, and I had a birthday yesterday. Nothing terrible happened. In fact, it was rather pleasant. Best of all, my sister—who readily points out she is the younger sister—flew into town last night. Icky roads and flight delays meant she didn't arrive until around midnight, but we stayed up until 3am to make up for it. So worth it.

Maybe I'll actually risk planning something fun and interesting and ambitious for my 45th birthday next year.*

And in the meantime, links and commentary!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck: You've seen this -- I know you have -- but I include it because the thing I celebrate most about growing older is the ability to better discern what is worth caring about. And the older I get, the more interested I am in action over advocacy, involvement over analysis, and problem-solving rather than problem-uncovering. I realize, too, that those who prefer advocacy, analysis, and problem-uncovering would look at my choices and wonder what the hell good I think I'm doing that's actually valuable. That's okay. I know what I'm doing.

How Secular Family Values Stack Up: First of all, please know I'm completely uninterested in slamming/stereotyping the faithful and the believing. I was raised in the American Episcopal faith ("Catholic with options"), spent time at Benedictine monasteries, and strongly considered spending my life in religious studies. The path to my current secular life is long and winding and not for this post. Suffice it to say I am not surprised by what the article claims. And my sensitivity on the issue is most certainly influenced by the fact I've for years been surrounded by some extremely judgmental and unloving folks who have justified their actions through religion. Regardless, I found the article interesting.

Yes, Women In Dragon Ago Could Use Longswords: In addition to pointing it the mental gymnastics some folks go through to accept fighting dragons while dismissing female fighters (a pointing I heartily agree with), the article uses historical facts rather than play-acting assumptions to make its point. Sadly, I must admit the "Women do too fight!" argument is rapidly tumbling into my "no fuck to give" bucket—not because I don't have knowledge of the situation, but because the "No, they don't!" crowd is increasingly irrelevant on multiple fronts. Yes, some in the creative industry—many of whom, not surprisingly, say they just love strong women—will cling to their self-affirming bias. But there are many more who don't. And an increasing number of writers and creators who have been marginalized are trading in the approval of the establishment for the support of their fans.

(Besides, as a martial artist, I admit an unseemly satisfaction comes from throwing a bigger, stronger, cocky opponent who doesn't yet understand that force is not the same as power.)

Indie Fantasy Bundle: If you haven't already checked it out, please do! If you have, thank you! If you're interested in giving those writers more support, you can do simple things like add the books to your Goodreads lists, leave reviews for the ones you've already read, and let others know about the Indie Fantasy Bundle.

Speaking of StoryBundle, I'll be curating for them again! A whole post on the curating experience will be coming later in the week. In the meantime, the details of time and theme of my upcoming bundles are still settling into place. But if you're an author interested in being part of a future bundle, leave a comment or drop me a line and I'll let you know how to submit either directly to me or to StoryBundle.

Lastly, if you'd like to be updated on StoryBundle projects and know first when Breath of Stone is released, remember to sign up for my not-too-often newsletter.



*For those who have no clue what I'm alluding to: I had planned a complete weekend getaway with a group of friends to celebrate my 40th birthday. Instead, I spent it in a VA hospital with my not-ex-but-separated-from husband, helping him eat his first meal in three days while trying to find out from the doctors why he'd had multiple heart attacks in two weeks, and reading lab reports that indicated the diagnosis would be end-stage liver cancer. There is no need for you to mention this in comments if you feel awkward or obligated to do so. If, however, you have questions or are seeking support/information/sharing, I'm more than willing to discuss it.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Jan. 26th, 2015 10:22 pm (UTC)
I had internet issues last night as well. You don't, by any chance, have Charter, do you? :)

Hooray for novel progress! That's always a great happiness, isn't it?

Hope you and your sister had fun!

I sure wish I wrote more fantasy (and would have something finished and was an author with a name). If I did, I would love to send you something for consideration.
blairmacg
Jan. 27th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC)
Worse than Charter. Comcast. This happens nearly every time we have a sudden temperature drop. Last year, the poor tech guys were up and down the poles in our neighborhood I don't know how many times when the temps dropped below zero. We've actually been lucky it's happened only a couple times this year!

Novel progress is indeed a happiness. I am excited about it!

And folks don't need to have a "name" to be part of StoryBundle. Heck, they included my very first novel two years ago!
queenoftheskies
Jan. 27th, 2015 09:01 pm (UTC)
I have heard some horrible things about Comcast. My sympathies! Do the lines actually freeze?

Go you!

Yes, but you already had a presence from Writers of the Future and sales that you made before you took a break from writing. :)
blairmacg
Jan. 28th, 2015 03:39 am (UTC)
On the presence issue, mine is still so teeny-tiny! The short sales I made were too far apart, and in such disparate markets. But "presence" is such a nebulous thing these days because the market itself has expanded so much. While there are a scant handful of genre titles "everyone" reads (or thinks everyone reads), and perhaps a double-handful of folks "everyone" knows about, there is now room for a different sort of midlist writer--the writer who grows an audience that would be considered too small or scattered for a Big 5 imprint, but is plenty to financially and motivationally reward her.

So the "presence" required is no longer bounded by a small collection of influencers. It's more scattered, more diverse, more open to writers who build over a long period of time.

(Having said all that, I still struggle with the concept myself, and I suspect that comes from knowing--as you do--so many people whose success and "presence" is measured and appraised in terms of industry connections and contracts. There is nothing wrong with those things. But the readership is perfectly comfortable reaching outside the industry to pick up what it wants.)

Bottom line: Presence is in flux. It's fickle and has short-term memory issues. Readers want story, and story is forever. :)
blairmacg
Jan. 28th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
Oh, and Comcast: One of the techs explained that adjustments had to be made to some sort of switch that prevented overheating... and something-something-blah-blah about temps affecting speed so the speed had to be adjusted...

I don't get it, but I nodded as if I did because the young man was so earnest in his attempt to explain it to me. :)
queenoftheskies
Jan. 28th, 2015 04:01 pm (UTC)
I always appreciate it when they explain instead of thinking I'm a stupid woman. :)
sartorias
Jan. 27th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Get something into shape. We will help you. This is a fantastic way of getting your name out there!
queenoftheskies
Jan. 27th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
Oh. Wow! Thank you!
blairmacg
Jan. 28th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC)
I second everything Sherwood said. :)
queenoftheskies
Jan. 28th, 2015 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! You ladies are wonderful. :)

Now, if I could just stop writing SF and UF long enough to write some fantasy (other than erotica), LOL.
sartorias
Jan. 27th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday!
blairmacg
Jan. 28th, 2015 03:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
elenbarathi
Jan. 28th, 2015 01:57 am (UTC)
Happy birthday! Sorry to hear you're having pain; hope that gets better soon. Huzzah for 'closing in on the sprint'!

Mark Manson rocks; thanks! I know a young man who really needs to read him.

blairmacg
Jan. 28th, 2015 03:42 am (UTC)
The pain, alas, likely won't go away completely anymore. At the risk of making myself sound like some sort of martyr (which, truly, is a role I haven't the grit to pull off!), it's a companion these days, though most days it doesn't nag so much. :)

Pass the Manson essay along! I think it's just marvelous, if for no other reason than it offers a sense of perspective.
elenbarathi
Feb. 3rd, 2015 02:24 am (UTC)
I really like a lot of Manson's little essays; thanks!

Nah, hon, you don't sound like a martyr - all of us of a Certain Age have aches and pains as permanent companions, like sharing a house with one's disagreeable relatives. It sucks, but they're family, so one gets used to accommodating them, and life goes on.

The people who sound like martyrs are those who act like they ought to get a medal for suffering, and that's definitely not you.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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