Saturday, May 16, 2015

"The Mermaid and the Unicorn" - first printout is HUGE!

One Alpha reader gets a print out copy. Fun to see the book take physical form, even if the size is pretty daunting!

I know you're wondering... why is Matt's name first when I'm doing the majority of the writing? Here's a post he wrote about coauthored books. He's absolutely more than an editor on this book (and we also need his name to be first on every book in this multi-author series so that they're shelved together in bookstores and libraries). Basically, we plotted the book together - there is no way I could have come up with a plot this tight on my own - then for the past three years I would write a section, send it to him, he'd make a few tweaks and comments, then I'd implement his comments and write more. There's a few sections he's rewritten already, and I'm sure there will be many more bits when we get into draft 4... my 'this is my baby!' author side hopes it won't be too much, but Matt's changes always make the book stronger. Certainly the whole world of the ruahim is his brainchild, he is a fantastic worldbuilder and this series is only going to be as strong as it is because of his guidance.

He is an excellent editor, btw, if you can employ him, you definitely should! I'm very blessed that with this series he just takes a cut of the royalties and I don't have to pay him out of pocket.

Friday, May 15, 2015



I just finished the latest draft of "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" and have sent it off to my alpha readers (see previous post for what those are).  My body is dead and I don't want to type again for the rest of the weekend, but expect blogging to resume next week.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mermaid Muse

I am trying to conserve my typing strength for "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" editing right now. (It's due to Alpha readers on the 15th, which is already a week later than I'd originally hoped). Thankfully I've got this little mermaid come all the way from Florida to be my muse. :)

What's an Alpha reader and how is it different than a Beta reader? I like this definition:

"Beta readers, as you know, help authors refine their work by identifying where things aren’t working, clumsy language, and various other problems in a manuscript.  Alpha readers also help authors, but their focus is more specifically on the story, plot, and characterization.  Alpha readers are the first readers: they provide the first feedback to an author on whether a story is working." ~ From UndiscoveredAuthor

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Librarian For All Seasons

As my frequent readers will know, I work hard to make it clear in my reviews what sort of content might be red flags for different readers. As I've grown up, so has my reading, but there are still some types of books I just will not write about here because of the number of teens I know read my posts.

Reading this article (and the comments) was eye-opening - my experience has been through conservative Christian lens, and that's what I highlight on here because I know most of my readers affiliate themselves this way. It was interesting to see how conservative Muslim and Jewish readers could have even stronger feelings about content that wouldn't even blip my radar screen.

"These teens may not read much of anything from the YA area, either. They might voluntarily skip from the children’s room to reading “classics” such as Jane Austen books, not realizing that the YA section also contains great choices. These adolescents may even have become convinced that the public library is not for people like them".

I remember being a preteen and struggling with this. Of course, fifteen years ago the whole genre of YA was just really starting to take off, so there simply were not as many books between the "Middle School" and "Adult" gaps... but I know the teen section always looked freaky to me (ha ha).

And honestly, when I picked up YA fiction, it was often beyond what I was comfortable reading. And yet I was a pretty advanced reader (I read 400 page Tudor biographies when I was 11) so novels with (what seemed to me) age appropriate subject matter, were just not as challenging and engaging. The internet was just being born then, so it was harder to find reviews and suggestions than it is now. I know conservative teens today can find many great resources (hopefully my blog counts as one to you!) to help them navigate the lines of their own comfort zone as they mature in both age and subject reflection. In high school, I was behind what most of my peers would be comfortable reading/watching. Now, I'm ahead of many of my conservative peers. There's nothing wrong with any of these comfort zones, as long as you periodically examine them and ask "am I stretching myself to grow wiser and more mature in appropriate ways that will allow me to connect/understand the world I'm growing up in?"

Anyhow, I love seeing that there are librarians aware of this issue and seeking to make a difference. A display like they're talking about would have been pretty awesome for me as a teen.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Social Media and Stress and Hands

I've always loved technology. Especially as a deaf woman, being able to text and e-mail has made my ability to communicate so much easier.

But I am beginning to think I've overdone it. Constantly waiting for responses and not knowing if those responses are going to induce drama gets rather stressful and takes its toll. As part of a 10-day health initiative my husband and I are doing, we've cut back majorly on electronic communication. I still scroll through Facebook some, but not NEARLY as much. And I'm not letting myself post unless it is absolutely necessary.

Because I'm on my phone and computer less, I'm also texting and e-mailing a lot less. And I'm finding that I really like it. Living a slower, more in the moment, old-fashioned type of life is... really nice.

Don't get me wrong. I still want to stay connected with everyone in my life. I will still scroll through Facebook and share photos and updates. But I'm finding that maybe having open discussions on facebook, or trying to have a conversation that isn't realtime is more stressful than it's really always worth for me.

Part of this has to do with how much my hands hurt. If there is anything even slightly stressful about a conversation, it gets much harder when i have to try to navigate that conversation with hurting hands. Just writing this much of a blog post puts a lot of strain on them.

(Yes, this health program is mainly about trying to heal my hands and the rest of my hurting body. If that doesn't work, we're going to explore whether I have arthritis or rheumatism or fibromyalgia or something like that. *sigh*)

If you are suddenly wondering "but how am I supposed to contact you!" don't freak out. I'll still use texting and e-mail, but hopefully less. We're working on exploring a new telephone-with-captions technology that could make realtime conversations much nicer. And we're going to set up voice to text options on my phone which will make the texting and e-mails easier (although I'm still going to try and make a focus on keeping anything potentially stressful be a realtime conversation. They turn out so much better that way.)

If praying is something you do, I would very much appreciate prayers. Both that we would find answers for my hands, and that i would have the personal strength to figure out how to use technology and the internet going forwards in the way that is best for my health, and how to communicate that to everyone in my life, and that they would be understanding and supportive.

And don't worry, I love blogging and I already have pretty good perimeters for blogging that keep the stress about it way down. (I am way more likely to find stress in an e-mail or on Facebook than here!) So as long as my hands semi-comply, I'll stay here.

Monday, April 20, 2015

An Explanation

This past week has been a little ridiculous.

Nine days ago, on the 11th, I woke up to find that my left hearing aid was not functional. This incited a major freak-out on my part and pretty much destroyed any chance of a normal work week.  This is how I shared it with my inner circles on Facebook:

I ask for prayers a lot (it seems) but this one is an unusual one - one of my hearing aids just died and this is an extremely FREAKY thing for me to deal with, being not only Deaf but also an Aspie. There are pretty much NO resources to help over the weekend, so I'm stuck until Monday at the very earliest.
I can't even begin to explain how tremendously nasty this situation is. It's not just physical, it's intensely emotional and disorienting and scary. And Nathan has never dealt with me in this situation before and it is HIS BIRTHDAY this weekend.
This is one of those situations where everything converges into a perfect storm of awfulness and one of the only times you will ever hear me say that I hate being deaf.

Later I added:

It's hard because there is only so much you can do when your whole world is off-kilter. It's not just emotion, it's a physical disturbance, like an itch you can't scratch. I can't quite explain how it affects everything, but it really does. Like we rely on our hearing for balance and orientation and taking away half of that totally messes with your brain. It's not just the normal "breath in, breath out" coping, because any time you move everything seems wrong. Which makes it that much harder to deal with the emotional side, of course, because all of my patience is going into just not freaking out every second, much less coping with anything else that comes into the picture. 

Two brighter spots... it is my left (non-dominent) ear, which has a sore in it so it will appreciate a chance to heal up a bit. And a friend with similar health issues totally understood the situation and send me a new kindle book to read right away, since reading is something I prefer to do without hearing aids anyhow.

The good news is that we DO have another pair of hearing aids, but they are not programmed yet, and even when that happens (no idea how long it will take to get an appointment) I'll have to adjust to a totally new way of hearing, which is my least favorite thing to do and I've been putting it off as long as possible because I hate it so much. And now I don't have a choice, I just have to face an unexpectedly bad couple of weeks now (and just when I was feeling healthier too.)

And then:

 I hate talking about all of this, but I feel like if I don't talk about it, I'm just perpetuating the bubble of ignorance about handicaps and deafness in particular. A hearing aid isn't like a car - you can't function without it - but it's also not like pacemaker, you /can/ live without it. So it's not something you can get fixed at an emergency room, but it ought to be because it is so critical. You can't borrow someone else's aid if yours breaks. Basically I can't drive or really go out in public or see people until this is resolved. And even things like sewing are hard because of the spacial stuff I mentioned in my last post. It's just frustration all the same, and not for an easily quantifyable reason, so you feel like you're going insane.

The weekend was the hardest. Both the adjustment and the not knowing what was going to happen. I did freak out a lot, and Nathan had to cope with that. A couple of friends sent me Kindle books because reading is one thing I prefer to do without my aids in anyhow.

By Monday my brain had settled into the new information intake pattern so I was less stressed, and we found that my old aid could be repaired, and thanks to an awesome tax refund, we could afford it! It'd be less than two weeks to repair. (It ended up just being one!)

THEN the allergies hit. And other health stuff. It was confusing and painful and my health care provider was out of town so we just kind of had to cope and do our best. I basically couldn't do anything except read and (sometimes) knit. I had a bit of a respite on Friday, which was good because my friend and mentor Regina Doman was in town and we had her, her husband and their newest little baby over for dinner and to see our apartment. I hadn't seen them for two years, which is the longest we've gone since we first met (and this is the family I lived with for 3 months back in 2011!). So that was great.

But Saturday and Sunday were REALLY rough. I was hardly on Facebook at all and pretty much didn't get out of bed. Just read and slept and felt miserable and frustrated.

Today my hearing aid came in and we were able to get in to see my health care professional so we got some answers and solutions there. I still feel miserable, but at least I have a plan now.

Anyhow, that's all a very long way of explaining why I haven't blogged this week, despite more OUAT revelations and Daredevil getting released and a new Star Wars trailer and all that.

Monday, April 13, 2015

OUAT explodes hearts(and minds)

There are spoilers for 4.18  "Heart of Gold" coming, so if you haven't watched it yet, steer away!!!




"Once Upon a Time" has come under a lot of criticism over the past two seasons. Some of it I have agreed with, although for the past four episodes I've been clearing noting and stating a definite trend upwards in quality. Episode 18, "Heart of Gold" not only continues the rise in quality, but also pays off something set up at the end of Season 3 and fixes a continuity issue that we weren't even expecting to get explained.

Let's talk about that first. Several seasons ago, when Robin Hood was first introduced as a one-off character, he was portrayed by an actor that made us all go "meh." When the character came back as a series regular, he was recast as Sean McGuire, who was so superior that all the fans breathed a sigh of relief and decided not to nitpick the change of face. Recasting just happens sometimes, and outside of Doctor Who, we mostly just accept it without being given any explanations.

"Heart of Gold," however, not only explains that face change, but uses the masking device to explode our minds with the revelation that Zelena switched places with Marian before Emma took her out of the Enchanted Forest.


We knew Zelena and Oz would be making a return to the screen from the most recent TV teaser, but there was no indication why or how. Season 3's finale had certainly left the possibility that Zelena didn't actually die, but with neither hide nor hair of her showing up in the first half of Season 4, I pretty much figured that was just another lost thread in the entertaining but messy tapestry that is "Once Upon a Time."

And here we thought the Queens of Darkness were a red herring for the Author... while both the queens and certainly the Author are still relevant to the plot, they both pale in comparison to revelation that the real threat isn't even Gold, it's Zelena, the grand puppet-mistress.

I had no idea how they were going to deal with the Regina/Robin/Marian triangle without being cheesy or a cop-out, but this is brilliant. I love it.

(Also, any time Will Scarlet gets to do anything on screen is a time for cheering, so multiple flashback scenes were a real treat!)

BUT now we have to wait a week to find out what answer Regina is going to give Gold. And man, but Lana Parrilla is just superb at bringing Regina to life. My heart just breaks for her!