Sorry, gang. No Feminist Monday today. I've hit the second big hurdle in the manuscript edit. So, I have to focus hard on finishing this edit. I've a week before it's due. It is at this point where I tend to stop and think back on myself as a newbie writer. I'm actually thankful for the long rough road to where I am now. If I hadn't had that experience, I'd crumple under the pressure right now. It's comforting to understand that every time I go through this process, I level up as a writer.
Anyway, I predict that the next seven or eight days are going to be a scarce one for blog posts. We'll see how today goes. Take care, Dear Reader. And please continue to kick ass out there.
Well...that was a bumpy start. Had to buy a copy of MS Word (and a DVD/CD drive) for my iMac because track changes is now absolutely necessary to the editing process, and Word's track changes function doesn't port well into Pages. Er...actually, it doesn't at all. Then I had to move everything over to the iMac because my laptop is old and cranky and couldn't handle having three different word processors open at the same time. Finally, I had to re-arrange my work area because I can't sit the entire time. It totally screws with my already screwed spine. [sigh] No fun at all. But necessary. Hurray for Macs, and their ability to just plug and play. (The entire reason I'm on an Apple platform and plan on staying there.) Struggling with drivers and so on would've made a simple task involving one morning into a lost day. That would've sucked. It's silly, but the feeling of having a new toy has helped my focus. I'm for whatever works.
Also, I'm not having any panic attacks--not yet, anyway.
Still, I've got the bulk of the new beginning sorted out. Honestly that was the scariest part of the edits this time around. There's some heavy-lifting in the middle--middles are (and I suspect always will be) the bane to my writerly existence. Hey, every writer has some aspect of the process where they habitually bog down. Middle-muddles are mine. I've much more confidence in endings than I used to have, thank the gods. That's something. I've learned a great deal since I was first published. Yay, progress!
Anyway...that's today's State of the Stina address. It's been very difficult to not pay attention to the news right now. I simply can't afford it for the next two weeks. Please. Please keep up the activism, y'all. Dear reader, if you're an American, I need you to take point for a bit. Keep calling those Congress-critters. It's clear the GOP thinks they're above the law. Kick their asses, and keep kicking 'em. It's your responsibility as a citizen of the United States to hold them accountable. Yes. Democracies are a pain in the ass. Do it anyway. There are too many other citizens at risk to do otherwise.
Take care, you. And be excellent to one another.
 I don't like having to rely only upon the internet for installing software. It sucks. Plus, I still have a physical music collection. Did I mention I don't trust electronic media enough to 100% depend upon it as an archive for...well...anything? Certainly not books or music. Mock me if you will, but when you change devices and/or formats a couple more times and lose your information because of formatting incompatibility, I'll just shrug.
 Scrivener, Pages, and Word. Hey, I jumped the gun, thinking that a conversion to Pages and back to Word would be okay. Er...not so much.
 Although, technically it's novel number one--in order of how the things were written. See, this one was trunked. I'll be honest. It was for a good reason. My story-eyes were too big for my writing chops. I've always tended to do that. As for the second novel I ever wrote...well, you'll never see that one. It was a write-for-hire thing, and not very good. Trust me, you're not missing anything. Also, if you're a beginner, I should probably set some expectations. Selling five out of five novels written is not normal. I'm a weirdo. Most novelists have a number of trunked novels. (Even Stephen King.) That's not a bad thing. It means most writers at my stage have far more practice at it than I do. So...there you are.
Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.
Not really. Actually, now is the time when professional writers do that thing called "get those edits back to your editor before the deadline. NOWNOWNOW!" You guessed it. Blackthorne has hit that final stage of polish, and the deadline is a tight one. That means I'm going to be somewhat flakey with the blogging for the next twelve days. Sorry, but it can't be avoided. That's the downside.
On the upside? NEW NOVEL ON THE WAY.
I plan on another brief check-in on Friday. It may be longer. We'll see how today and tomorrow go, though. In the meantime, have this totally (politically) appropriate punk music track:
Good morning, y'all. Ready for a dose of Feminist Rage and Female Empowerment? Then, let's do that thing.
This week's call for action: from Jenn Hoffman, "Note: Since some of the hearings start THIS Tuesday, don't delay in making calls. Leaving a message is okay. These appointments do not represent who we are as a nation." For all the details, including a call script click here. Remember we've already had a big, big impact on the situation. This is great! It's working! However, Congress and Trump are merely waiting for us to stop paying attention. They know that this kind of work is difficult and they're counting on Amercians to flake after a while. Prove them wrong. We do have the stamina and courage to fight this shit off before it becomes impossible. We fucking got this. Keep up the great work, y'all! And have another tool for keeping track of what is going on in Congress.
And I've started watching Madam Secretary, which I highly recommend. It's like House of Cards where the primary characters are good (but flawed and complex) people. Hey, I like political stories about nests of evil spiders as much as the next person. However, I can only watch so much before I get depressed and long for a fucking can of Raid Insect Spray. You know what? Good characters can be complex too. Secretary Elizabeth McCord is the fucking McGyver of political leaders, and I adore her. Seriously, she's tough, ethical, and willing to take a hit to her pride/image in order to negotiate peace. It's fun to watch her work. Téa Leoni is in-fucking-credible. The show makes me yearn for more women in government positions. Yay, Netflix and yay CBS! I'd have been watching all along except I don't watch network TV much these days.
So, this weekend I binge-watched The O A on Netflix.
I enjoyed the hell out of it. I'm going to try to tell you why without spoiling the story for you. (I don't believe in spoiling stories for people unless they've been around forever.)
That image reminds me of when I used to read under the covers with a flashlight as a kid. Anyway, forgive me but I'm going to mumble about reading and writing for a bit. I do this because it might be useful for others on the writing path.
So, I've a confession to make. I sort of slowed down on fiction reading to the point of only finishing about four novels a year. That's not good. I may be a slow reader, but I'm not that slow. So, one of my resolutions is to read more. I probably should set a numeric goal, but part of the reason I haven't is that I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. (I'm already stressed as it is due to the political situation.) I'm already doing better. I finished reading Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others as well as the first two novels in The Expanse series and a couple of short stories (written by women) since the beginning of December. I need to start logging them. I've come to the conclusion that the best 'school' for me at this point is reading. Sitting in classroom situations doesn't seem to be working. There's too much internal emotional conflict going on in my brain in those situations. Enough is enough. I end up undercutting myself. I still beleive that no matter what stage you're in as a writer, you need to continually learn. Stop learning and you stagnate, but I think at this stage I need to do that via reading. Of course, that does nothing for my need for socialization, but one thing at a time. Heh. So, fix that damned bedside lamp already. Reading in bed is what you do.
I've collected a number of anthologies and short story magazines. (I've copies of Ursula K. LeGuin's new short works collections!) It's time to read those. I'll never wrap my head around short story space without reading them. It isn't that I'm incapable of writing shorts. I've done, and I can do it well--particularly after I've read a really great example. So, there's that.
Today got a late start because...well...Dane and I made ourselves rather merry yesterday. Today is the very last day of the holiday for me. (And Dane's last day of vacation too.) So, I don't officially get busy until tomorrow. I need that one more day because of a discussion going FUBAR on my FB wall yesterday. It occurred in two waves. The first was when an individual had a bad response and misinturpreted a friend's reply. The second was when the same person came back to explain to everyone about how the word "cunt" as he used it wasn't really as misogynist as everyone was telling him. (What utter bullshit. I was too tired to dredge through the mess and merely deleted the whole thing.) However...today is Feminist Monday. I'm not giving up. So, here I am. :) I hope your holidays were warm and wonderful and filled with joy. We'll all need that energy that was recouped because...yeah. 2017's theme seems to be this. But my intent for 2017 is summed up by what Chuck Wendig said. Write Despite. And keep involved despite too. So...here goes.
For the record, YouTube is looking increasingly scary for women. It's almost impossible to do a search for Feminist topics and find a positive result. It's wall to wall negative sexist rants. Fun! Today's video:
I haven't seen Rogue One yet. (The holidays hit us pretty hard financically this year.) I do plan on seeing it soon. Still, I find it disturbing that based upon everything I've seen and heard that Rogue One seems to suffer from Smurfette Syndrome pretty badly. But hey, at least the men being portrayed aren't all white.
In spite of the last couple of months, my 2016 was pretty good. Most of the good stuff pertains to things I can't talk about. (yeah. yeah. i know.) Cold Iron was reviewed on NPR's site-much to my shock and surprise. Blackthorne's big rewrite went extremely well, and I'm proud of it--or will be after one more pass. (Yes. I'm exacting with my work. It's important.) Other bits are boring health-related things.I've fewer migraines than I was having. I bought a bicycle. (I really, really needed one.) And now I've added daily 5 mile rides to the weekly Hakkoryu (martial arts) training. I've made a lot of headway, considering how out of shape I was. I can now get up from the floor without touching it with my hands for example, and sitting in seiza and/or Lotus position is comfortable. I couldn't do any of these things at the start of 2016. So, progress was made. I'm thankful for that. I also rewrote one short story and completed another. Both were rejected by the magazines at which they were submitted, but the second story is off on submission again. This is a good thing. It's been a while since I've done that. I'd given up on short stories. Hell, the second rejection was what my bestie, Melissa, used to refer to as an A++ rejection. (Personalized and from the top editor.) I'm trying again with short stories because a new friend I met at Worldcon recommended that I do so. She was terribly encouraging exactly when I needed it. I'm working on a new project that I'm excited about. Dane, my husband, is doing well, and we still make one another laugh. So...yes. All in all it was a good year--the election, the loss of a friend, and the celeb deaths asside.
So, happiest of New Years to you, dear reader. My hope is that 2017 isn't as vile as I fear it'll be politically and financially. Ultimately, I hope that each of you has a prosperous, healthful, joyous year, filled with laughter and love. May we all have the courage and persistence to do the right thing when it's most needed.
Goodbye, Carrie Fisher. Thanks for everything you did for women. Thanks for giving zero fucks about how you weren't pretty and young any longer. Thanks for returning to Star Wars and showing us how those Skywalker boys are weak as shit. Thanks for not giving up. Just...thanks. You were a bad ass and will be missed. Terribly.
[sigh] It's been a rough few days. Sorry I missed Monday. I've been having migraines. I knew those shots in my neck would be temporary, but I didn't know how much of a difference they'd made. Humans can adjust to just about anything. And I didn't know how bad it was getting. The good news is, it's still not as bad as it was because of the new meds. So, yay?
I can't help feel that we (progressives) are being abandoned by all our heroes because it's time to prove ourselves. We've hit that point in the story where the wise wizardly teacher/mother/mentor croaks it and leaves the student to grow into a new, more powerful role. Prince, Bowie...everyone...they're leaving us in droves, it seems. This is the architypical transition when everything looks the darkest. This is where the strong do not give up hope, but keep fighting and growing into the being they were meant to be all along. We've got this. To pull a quote from another of my favorite films...
Never give up. Never surrender.
Well, here we are. The Winter Solstace holiday is right around the corner. (Or was on the 21st, if you're pagan. ;)) Interestingly enough, Chanukah starts on the 24th this year, Kwanzaa is on the 26th, and today is Diwalli--the Hindu festival of lights. No matter what your chosen spiritual practice or if you specifically don't practice a belief system...I hope you and yours have a wonderful, safe, and joyous winter. May none of you go hungry or want for shelter or love. I've a feeling next year is going to require a great deal of positive energy from us all in order to prevent harm to those most at risk. May we all be strong enough to face down the darkness. May each of us blaze with the light of goodness, kindness, love, and courage when we (and others) need it most.
Dane and I celebrate a secular Christmas. I'm fond of Santa. Always have been. And every year I tend to look for just the right Christmas ornament. I don't always buy one. That said, this year's ornament was Wonder Woman. Even though I'm not generally a fan, I adore Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman. (Even though she's still wearing high heels and a fucking swimsuit into battle--something no experienced warrior would do in their right mind. Male gaze. ARRRRRGGGGH!) But whatever. If we waited for a perfect female icon, we'd be waiting forever--that is, in fact, part of what holds women back. So, fuck that. Back that sucker and always remember the symbology is a problem. I'm a grown ass adult. I can do that. So, I'm fucking in.
It is our sacred duty to defend the world. And it's what I'm going to do.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.