Sign up for my newsletter to be among the first to learn of upcoming titles!

[personal] Busy busy busy

I am booked solid today from right about now until 11:30 pm. Can you tell I’m Doing Stuff so that when I start writing Tourbillion Real Soon Now I can crawl back into my writerhole? Link Salad will be delayed until at least midday, and might possibly take the day off.

Also, I have recently been asked several times (twice yesterday) to talk about how to write a novel outline. I swear I’ve done a post on this before, but darned if I can find it right now. (If you bookmarked that, please leave me a note in comments.) So tomorrow, when I do have some time after my morning hike in Tighe Valley up on the east slope of Mount Hood, I will talk about outlining.

Y’all play nice.

[personal] “Still waking up in the mornings with shaking hands”

Went to bed last night at 9:15. Woke up at 3:15. Went for an hour-long brisk walk along 120th up Miracle Hill, down the other side to Dodge Street, then back again to the hotel.

This new sleep schedule rocks. I’ve gotten 2+ hours into my day that I’ve never had before. I’m using one of those for exercise, and the other for miscellaneous to-dos, which in turn will open up my evenings with a little more writing time. One of the weird gifts of the cancer and surgery has been this reset on my sleep clock.

It’s also a lot more adjustable. I can go to bed at 8, 10, midnight, whatever, and still sleep six hours. I feel rested, and energized. The flip side is that I have a lot less margin of error. If I do short some time, or stay up too long, it catches me hard and fast.

A new way to live. One I’m enjoying a lot. Who knew? Really, truly, who knew?

[personal] End of the blogging day

This post marks the end of the blogging day for me, most likely. I’m off to the office soon here in Omaha, and right after work, I’ll be running pinks out of darkest Iowa (at least two of you reading know what that means; the rest of you will have to wait until kenscholes and I finish our extremely NSFW “Roy G. Biv” collaboration). More to the point, I have a celebratory dinner in Des Moines tonight.

Yes, Des Moines. Yes, that’s not the same place as Omaha, though if you squint from either coast they kind of run together.

So I won’t be back at the bloggy keyboard until quite late this evening. Y’all play nice while I’m gone.

[personal] Miscellaneous updatery

Today will be hot, but not Africa hot like the last few days. (I say this as someone who lived in Africa for years.) I have no plans, but many goals. There’s a few hours of Day Jobbe work which must be done — very rare for a weekend, but sometimes it happens. I need to pack to fly off to Omaha in the wee hours of tomorrow. I need to straighten this place up, as it looks like a mail bomb went off around Nuevo Rancho Lake. A few bills to pay, and a check or two to deposit. I need to work on the next IROSF article, and begin the Tourbillion outline.

All in all, I feel vaguely like a normal human being. Of course, sleeping hard for nine hours last night might have something to do with that as well…

[personal] Updatery, and bit on reviews

Busy day ahead at work today. Some socializing tonight. Quite early tomorrow morning, the_child, tillyjane and me are driving up Mt. Hood to go hiking on the Timberline Trail. (That’s about 6,000 feet.) Sunday is low key, then I’m off to Omaha Monday. Also, I’m off to Omaha again at the end Labor Day weekend, with a trade show in San Francisco the week after that. Home, much, me?

I’m planning to have the outline of Tourbillion done early this coming week. Have to bat cleanup on some open projects, get the next IROSF article going with specficrider, and maybe address a few short fiction bits.

Also, I was thinking as I walked this morning about the value of linking to negative reviews. I’ve been asked a few times if I’m worried about creating an Internet dogpile on a reviewer. I should hope not. I find negative reviews interesting, even funny, and very rarely have a challenging response to them inside my own head. I think this stems from my very deep conviction that the story belongs to the reader. Doesn’t matter if that reader is a fan, a critic, an editor or some random person who picked up the book. It’s theirs. When the reactions are good, I take pleasure in them. When the reactions are poor, I learn what I can from them.

How do you handle negative reviews and critique? Is it a door-slamming moment for you? Or do you chuckle and move on?

[personal] Home from the Perseids

Meteor shower was a bust. We saw two just after dusk, then the clouds closed in. The drive out to the Gorge and back was lovely, however. And I’m way too late. Plus I got to explain the stellar fusion cycle to my four-year-old niece.

In other news, I saw a McCain campaign ad on a bar tv at lunch. Lots of photos of Obama, with ominous cue cards reading, “Increase Government Spending”, “Raise Taxes”, “Fewer Jobs”. Which pretty much describes the Bush administration — increased spending, tumbling employment, and higher taxes, if you presume that the GOP’s runaway deficit financing will somehow eventually be paid for rather than defaulted on. So why is it good for Bush to do that stuff, and bad for Obama? Coz, you know, the last Democratic administration presided over an economic boom which has become only a distant dream under the Republicans. I’m only a mere liberal-progressive, my tiny brain can’t handle the distinction.

[cancer] The gifts of cancer

By and large, I am much better these days. The antibiotic course has been effective, within the context of the usual unpleasantnesses. The surgical seam is nicely healed, though I feel it when I am very tired. I haven’t been aware of the internal seam in a while.

Still, I stop and think about this often. Sometimes for a moment, sometimes for quite a while. And today I realized cancer has given me a number of gifts.

I am far more in touch with my body these days than ever before. (You! In the back! Quit snickering! This is a family blog.) My comprehension of the immediate and longer term consequences of things like dietary choices, activity choices, resting time and so forth is much stronger than before. My recent cholesterol workup was the best I’ve ever had. I weigh less than I have since I left college.

I am much more thoughtful about how I spend my time. I’m a lot more ruthless in declining events, opportunities, even people. This feels selfish to me, but it also feels like much better self-care.

I am much more careful with how I spend my energy. I take more breaks, more downtime, am not trying to paint my schedule wall-to-wall.

Even better, I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough of a handle on those issues not to go back to my old defaults. At the least, I’m going to work at it.

I wouldn’t wish my path to these gifts on anyone, but they’re clearly things I needed to hear and understand. Cancer brought me to my knees and bent to my ear and whispered to me that I should be mindful of what I spent my life on. And so I am trying to be.

[personal] Updatery of the highest order

I’m home alone all day today. This is my last quiet day before bugging out for LaunchPad and Denvention this coming Wednesday, so it’s time for bill paying, paperwork, pre-packing, book shipping and miscellaneous related tasks which need to be done soon and won’t get done if I don’t do them today.

I’m pushing needed revisions on Green and “In the Forests of the Night” off until I’ve met all those nonwriting related program activity requirements (well, some of them are WRPAs). Still, I don’t expect this to be a difficult day. And since I’m not actively writing, I’m running the extended edition DVDs of Lord of the Rings as my audiovisual wallpaper, at least while I’m in the living room.

Might be more blogging later. I need to promote the Steampunk Abecedary, at a minimum. But for now, I am being virtuous and attending to the business of my one-person household.

[personal] Miscellaeous updatery

I’ll post a report about yesterday’s signing later, I’m running very behind this morning. In brief, good travel, good socializing, good book-ness. Working today, then in town for dinner with some Seattle peeps. Can someone send me the directions to tonight’s Clarion West party?

Also, I haven’t forgotten the Steampunk Abecedary. I just need a catch up day or two before I can deal with that. I’m also on two important revision deadlines between now and the end of the month, and heading off to LaunchPad. So, um, probably not a lot of blogging for the next few days.

In case you missed it, open question thread here: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ].

[personal] More updatery of various sorts

Spent the afternoon and evening at the Fireside. I did some critique and some editing, then dug back into “In the Forests of the Night.” 1,700 new words, which was less than I’d hoped but still reasonable. Clearly I’m not writing as fast as I used to pre-op, but the prose seems to be holding up, so I’m going to accept it and keep moving forward. And I’m very glad to be back in the saddle. There will be more writing time tomorrow.

While I was there, my phone rang. It was an Obama fundraiser, pitching me to donate more money. Which I’d planned to do, until his FISA vote. And I told her that I would support him with my vote but not my money, not until he explained his switch on FISA and why he went directly opposite the positions he’d taken in the primary. I mean, if I wanted centrism I’d have supported Hillary. If I wanted amoral opportunism, I’d be a Republican. Obama’s run to the center is not losing him my vote, but it’s sapping my enthusiasm. And quite frankly, given the right’s track record of late, I don’t think he needs the center. Holding firm on his principles and explaining why he voted against a bill which primarily serves to retroactively legalize wholesale domestic spying by the Bush White House would have been a much stronger stance. The woman on the phone became very weary-sounding when I explained myself, thanked me and hung up. I suspect she’s heard that a lot.

On the healthcare front, I was back with my colo-rectal surgeon today, discussing my digestive hijinks of the past four weeks. Apparently I’ve contracted an opportunistic infection in my lower GI as an indirect result of the surgery, and these bad bugs have overwhelmed the good bugs. I’m on a 14-day course of targeted antibiotics, and under strong recommendation to consume as much probiotics as possible while doing it. I suspect the cure will be every bit as bad as the disease, but at least I have an end game now. As opposed to, say, a toilet-based lifestyle.

One last note: When I returned from California on Sunday, I walked into my house to find the_child watching Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. I’m still tangled up in the societal messaging she’s received from that movie, and why a ten-year-old would ask her mother to rent it in the first place. My kid…