Nano and estores

Mechanicsville fans will be happy to know that I am writing draft 1 of book 3 (title to be determined) during Nanowrimo.  Yes, by Nov 30th I will have 50,000 words of a terrible first draft to be polished into the further adventures of Samantha, Ashley and Faraj.

So an edited version will be for sale this spring!  Yay!  And as usual, I will be running a fundraiser for literary charities through Nanowrimo.org.  Anyone who donates $20 or more can get a character or something named after them. A hero? A villain? An office building?  Your choice!

 

Also, I have been upgrading/ figuring out the estore on my website. I hope it works. I hope my SSL is added right. I hope I know what I’m doing.

And an amusing tale to send you off into the dreary, wet day…

I planted my garlic for next year, 100 cloves in nice, sorta-tidy rows.  Of course, I buried them in the dirt after the photo. Otherwise, it would have been a pretty boring shot.

The funny part is how much my bum hurt the next day. Seriously, I could hardly walk. But my back didn’t hurt at all. Not a bit. Yay for pain management.  Even today, I’m hobbling around because it hurts every time I flex my butt cheek. Do you have any idea how often you do that?  LOL

The Tax Journal will be ready for Can-Con!

I finished the tax journal for authorpreneurs today!

I had promised people that it would be ready for Can-Con, and it will be. Barring printer problems, idiots at customs and so forth, of course.

I don’t have a table at Can-Con, so I’ll have a few in my bag and a box in my room, just stop me and ask. Unless you have a table and are willing to share a corner.  🙂

I don’t have my final printing costs yet, so I don’t know what I’ll be charging. But I can spare a buck or two to a vendor who saves me the effort.

Now, this is a journal specific to Canadian taxes. Is there interest in a general writer’s bullet journal? It would be prettier but have much the same functionality. Fewer tax points, but more space for general journaling and story ideas.

Life happens

Sometimes it happens a lot. Explodes kinda.

I recently found out I’m becoming a godmother! I’ll try to be the nice one, not the one who curses the whole castle.  No promises.  🙂

We’ve been to 2 out of 3 baby showers, being the first grandchild in both the mom and pop-to-be’s families, everybody wanted to celebrate. I made a quilt! (my computer is being a poopy-head so I can’t upload a photo of it.)

I’m also taking a local herbalism course so that if someone is unwise enough to follow the suggestions of my totally invented healer in my totally made up world, they don’t poison themselves.  Plus it’s fascinating!

And I finally got into the pain clinic at Ottawa General. This means four weeks of 830-2pm sessions. I’m usually wrecked for 3 days after being in town for 1 day. This will be interesting. The doctor in charge says that she wants to see me on a bad day. Oh you will, honey, you will. By say… Wednesday of the first week.

Plus I’m trying to write 2000 words a day over 3 stories I’m currently working on. Harder than it should be. Like pulling teeth some days. Hen’s teeth.

I’m trying to finish 2 books that I’ve promised to review/ beta read. And many other things which I am too busy to think about.

But it’s summer!  Nothing else really matters.

I could be famous!

Right now I’m reading Val McDermid’s article on her writing routine.

She gets up at 9am, starts working by 11. This is me! I get up around 830am, drag my bones out to get dressed, have a coffee, and am at the computer by 10. I then do email and blogs for a while, just like her. I also have music playing, though mostly SJ Tucker and Heather Dale for the fantasy feel. Maybe I should find some fantasy instrumentals?
Our routines are so much alike that I cannot help but become famous.  LOL  I wish.

Instead I fight my way through the pain to scrape together 1000-2000 words a day while watching others post 1000 words an hour. Of course, they’re on their 20th novel and can type. I’m not hunt and peck, but I have to be watching the keyboard.
I do research when the words won’t come and some days I’m more proud of 500 words on a bad day than I am of 2k on a good day. Some days the pain is a monster that won’t let me sleep, walk, stand or sit.
Those days, a bit of research into herbal medicines of the middle ages, or reading a how to plan better-write faster book is still work, and good for my “work-at-any-cost” protestant upbringing.
My dad worked 15 years for the Provincial government, and took not a single sick day. Not one.  Of course that was when Nyquil was the “get-some-rest-so-you-feel-better-and-can-get-back-to-work” medicine.  Now it’s “get-some-rest-so-you-feel-better-and-stay-home-and-not-give-everyone-the-plague” medicine.
It’s not the same thing with chronic pain, but the drive is the same. I feel terrible when I take a day off. I read somewhere that you should read a book on “how-to” and a couple of good novels in your genre every month.

So, I’m off to try to type my 500 words, then going in town for a baby shower gift for a dear friend, and to see my foster son in a musical.
Life is not only good, it’s amazing!

Belated Mother’s Day and other mistakes I make

Happy Mother’s Day, mom… a little late.  In my defence, I did remember on the day, and the day after, I just couldn’t get through on the phone, or you were out.  Then my jerk brain said “Great, reminded you twice. My job here is done! And I forgot.
I really should have remembered, the 14th was also her wedding anniversary, I’m a bad daughter. But we are hoping to fly her up for a visit in the fall, when I’ll have time to just enjoy her company, so I’m not terrible. Much.

In the meantime; I have a contract coming from a traditional (sorta) publisher for a cookbook. I’ll explain more once I’m allowed to talk about it.  I just received word that another short story sold, and with only one round of edits!
I’ve been in a lot of pain with the rainy month we’ve had and have just been accepted to a month-long thing at the pain clinic. It is multi-faceted, including meditation, mindfulness, exercises, stretching, physio, coping strategies, etc. No painkillers or surgeries, so… yay!

I’m also busy with trying to purge my house. I’ve reached my tolerance limit on clutter and dust-collectors. So we’re sorting and giving away things. It’s hard, but necessary for my peace of mind.
I’ve recently seen articles that show a correlation between stress, insomnia and weight gain with clutter and mess. Since we’re both trying to lose weight, dearest Hubby and I are working on emptying the house. It’s also proving to us that a lot of our treasured things deserve more space on the shelves.
Instead of a pile of Blue Mountain pottery, I want to be able to display it. Same with my weird medieval-gothic-gypsy-vampire things, they’re so cool. People should be able to see them and be impressed. Or befuddled. I’ll accept either.

I’m also making a baby quilt for a dear friend who’s expecting her first child in July. My fingers remember how to quilt! It’s much easier than I remember, maybe when this one’s done I should pull out my rainbow in shadow quilt and finish it.

So, that’s it for today, must get back to things. And tea… much more tea!

My non-existent pain…

Tomorrow morning bright and early, we leave on a ten hour drive to my Mom’s to help with her wedding.  It’s both stressful (Mom reports turning into a 16 yo bridezilla) and incredibly cute.

So, I spent all day yesterday packing for a 2 week trip, and was supposed to spend today getting the house ready to be empty.  Like emptying the fridge of rottables.

Instead of sleeping last night, I was up all night with severe pain in my non-existent gall bladder. I had my gall bladder removed almost 2 years ago, and I’m still having attacks?  Worse than when I had it?!  The very definition of unfair.

I am so tired and sore today it’s not funny.  But I’ve still got so much to do.  Like refreezing the freezer packs. And bringing down the box of stuff for Mom.

I’m betting that the love of my life didn’t get much sleep either because there was no position that lessened the pain. But I still shifted around looking for it. Constantly.

I was also supposed to write a review of an ARC I received. I wanted it done before we headed down east, but my brain is poutine today. Messy, squishy, some parts hot, some cold… you get the idea.

Maybe I can write the review on my tablet in the car tomorrow, and upload when we get to my Mom’s?

I won! IwonIwonIwon!

I entered a short story contest put on by Radish a few weeks ago. Radish is an online story sharing app, kind of a pro-level Wattpad. Except that it just goes to Mac Apple products for now. (They are working on an Android app)

I entered a short story based in my world for Nets to Catch the Wind. It stars Thalia, one of the supporting characters. The contest rules were that it must involve flashbacks triggered by a shot in a bar. So I wrote some backstory to my backstory.

And it won best fantasy!

Great news to come back from Ad Astra to, eh?  Which was great on its own, btw.

So, I’m not sure how much I can say about my biggest bestest thing that happened, I’ll have to wait for permission, but it was awesome!

I also got to chat with amazing authors, buy tons of new books, and see a couple great panels. I got to party with a writer whose work I love. And… I seem to have been promised a panel or seminar on taxes and the authorpreneur at Can-Con 2016!

They want to call it “What to do with those fracking receipts!”  LOL, I can work with that.

 

My life so far….

Well, so far today.

Major pain from being in town yesterday. I had a Dr appt, where she doubled my morphine dose (that’s always a good sign, right?), told me the xrays of my back revealed “significant erosion” from L5 to L3, and there wasn’t enough healthy bone left to try to operate to fix the degenerating discs.

The good news was that the anti-osteoporosis meds I’ve been on for 4 years have started adding bone mass to my hips, just not the frigging spine! And she admires my upbeatness and my hopeful cheerfulness. Well, let’s be honest, dear readers. My back is Fracked!  I can moan and groan and be miserable, or I can love my family & friends with all my heart, throw myself into healthy cooking, my writing etc and be as happy as I can because after 36 years of this shit with my back, I’m still here. I’m still having fun.

This is where studying Stoicism comes in. I can only change what is within my power. Is a degenerating spine something in my power to change? No. But my attitude, my behaviour, and my character all are. So I choose to be happy. I choose to be strong. I do NOT choose to let the pain define me.

I love my life. I love my hubby, I love gardening (with the help of my minion Willow) and I love writing. And my back is what it is. Nothing will change it.

In other news of things to appreciate, my Yeti , who is still claiming to be a giant cat, is scary smart. His water dish was empty. He went to the sink to yowl for more. When that didn’t work, he came to my office, yowled for me to pet him, but backed out of reach. Every time I reached for him, he ran to the office door and looked at me.  When I followed him to the kitchen, yes he ran straight to the kitchen, he actually stood up to paw at the counter in front of the sink. It took long enough to sink in that he wanted me to follow him that I wonder which of us is smarter…

 

It’s pretty clear who he thinks is smarter.

Late again, but I have an excuse!

8000 steps yesterday, and every one hurt.

I’m supposed to do 1500-2000 steps a day. I did 4-5 X that much. Owie!

But I’m back, almost in one piece, and eager to get editing my fantasy epic.  April is Camp Nano, and I’ve chosen to edit my book so that it makes sense, tighten it by about 30k words, and get it ready for a couple of alpha readers.

Strange as it sounds, I’m very excited by this. I’ve taken the last 2 weeks away from working on it to clear my head and prep for my mom’s wedding next month. It didn’t totally clear, I kept getting flashes of ideas and writing myself notes.

I figure, that I’m starting April 5th, that I need to do 25-30 pages of the original manuscript per day, regardless of what it ends up in the edited version.  Today I did 25 pages. Go, me!

And I still can’t find my frigging dress that I bought for the wedding and put somewhere safe. You really would think I’d know better. So at least one day this week is to be spent tearing my bedroom apart.  Good chance to rotate the seasonal wardrobe, I tell myself. As opposed to “you idiot, where did you put the fricking dress? It matches the purse you just bought. The one that matches NOTHING else in my wardrobe.”

But, life will go on, my wardrobe will be there eventually. And my box of cool shit foe my om will go to NB with me.

Let’s be different today!

Today I am starting to organize myself for the Beltaine Craft fair on April 23rd.  Yes, that’s a long ways away, and yes, I do need to start this early.

Part of it is my chronic pain making the necessary bending and lifting almost impossible, and part of it is my #mybrainisajerk syndrome.  It works like this, I realize I need a specific item.  My brain says “Right, I got that sorted!”, and I promptly forget to do it. Every time I think of that item again, my brain says “We handled it, remember?”

I get to the craft show, and you know it, the item is missing.  So now I need to do it regardless of what my brain says, because it lies.

I’m also searching desperately for the dress I bought for my Mom’s wedding in May.  Because I put it where I can’t possibly lose it, and you guessed it…. #mybrainisajerk.  I have no idea where it is and it’s not in the usual places like the closet, or the top of the dresser with the purse it matches.

So, with all this going on in my head, I decided to cop out on blogging and share a recipe from my Fresh and Home-made Indian cookbook.

Coconut Chicken Curry!  I originally created this recipe for my Mom, who hates harsh or spicy curries. (But her fave Asian dish is Singapore Noodles, go figure! * Singapore Noodles are curried, FYI) She loves this recipe, even had 2 bowls the last time I made it!

This curry is sweet and creamy, though adding hot peppers, hot sauce or more curry powder will increase the heat if you like it hot.  I usually make this in the crockpot, just save the cashews and peas to the end, and toss everything else in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.  Add the peas about 15 minutes before serving, and top with cashews.  Serve with rice or quinoa.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Serves four.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup whole unsalted cashews

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt to taste

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced  (or 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup frozen peas

1 red pepper, seeded and diced

 

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the cashews in a pie plate and bake for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Lightly season the chicken with salt. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil until smoking.

Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat to moderate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until smoking. Add curry powder, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic, and cook until the onion softens, about 10 minutes; if the mixture seems dry, add up to 1/4 cup of water to prevent sticking.

Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, pineapple and red pepper  and cook for 1 minute.

Transfer the coconut chicken curry to a bowl, sprinkle with the cashews and serve over rice.

12722017_10153215051681568_1421391997_n  Available on Amazon, Kobo, and ibooks