Last night I couldn’t sleep. This isn’t a rare occurrence, but it was one of the few times that I couldn’t sleep even after taking my prescription sleeping pill (and the melatonin I take each night). Laying in bed wide awake drives me up the wall, so I slipped out and went downstairs to work for a while. I didn’t turn on any lights because I didn’t want to risk waking Jo or Dani, and I know the house well enough to creep around in the dark just fine.
I poked around on Facebook and Twitter and answered emails until I felt like I could sleep. Also, I heard what I thought might be Jo moving around upstairs and thought, “Aww, he woke up because he missed me in bed with him.” but then as I was heading up the stairs our cats were acting so crazy I figured that actually, it must have been them I heard trollumping around up there like a herd of elephants. None of the lights were on either, so seemed like I must be the only one up.
Walking carefully (I didn’t want to step on a cat’s tail) and quietly so as not to wake anyone, I crept through the darkened living room and turned the corner into the pitch black inside hallway that leads to our bedrooms and bathroom. That’s when a deep voice grumbled at me from the shadows.
I made some sort of strangled squeaking noise and jumped back into the living room. One hand fluttered up to my chest, ready to push my heart back into the cavity if it managed to break free (it was pounding so hard that it felt possible), the other fumbling for the nearest light switch. Turning it on I was relieved to see a very sleepy-looking Jo blinking at me from the darkness. “I was trying to avoid that reaction,” he said, his voice thick from sleep.
I sort of tripped into the bedroom and sat my butt down on the edge of the bed. I was certain of a few things, one of them was that after that jolt of adrenaline sleep wasn’t going to come easy, another that my knees were threatening to turn to jelly so it was best I not rely on them to hold me up. When, eventually, my body calmed down and I felt capable of putting a sentence together, I said. “What did you say?”
It’s become a tradition on my blog that each year I write a letter to Santa about what I want for Giftmas. Not because I want any of my blog readers to buy me those things, but just because sometimes it’s fun to put together wishlists. If you make a Giftmas (or any other winter holiday) wishlist please leave a link in the comments so I can stop by and take a look 🙂
This year has been pretty good, especially compared to last year, and if we don’t count diet I’ve been pretty good. So with that in mind I don’t feel bad writing and asking you for a few things…
I started watching wrestling again this year, Santa, and though I have a few items from the WWEShop I don’t feel like my wardrobe has been sufficiently wrestling-ified. I like most of the wrestlers (except the Wyatt Family and The Real Americans) so I’m not super particular about what you get me. Though, if I had to choose I’d really like CM Punk’s retro hoodie, The Shield’s sweatpants and The Usos T-shirt
I’m always looking for more books, Santa. You could check my Amazon wishlist or my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ list, but both of those are incomplete. I really love short stories so best of anthologies are a pretty safe bet, and I could use a new vegetarian cookbook as well (bonus points for slow cooker recipes because finding meatless ones that aren’t spaghetti sauce is a freaking challenge). Also, I know I have Code Name Verity on my kobo, but I think I also need a physical copy of it. Because reasons.
I haven’t had any new jewelry in quite a long time, so maybe it’s time to change that. I am big on silver and sort of simple designs, and when I did a quick google to find some examples for you, Santa, I found this lovely ring which comes in silver but also in this metal I’ve never seen before. It’s lovely. I’m including a picture below for you. Pretty, no?
Finally Santa, you know how for the past two years I’ve asked you for “some baseboards and riser thingers for my bathroom and kitchen. If we don’t finish them up soon they are just going to blend into the background and we’ll never get them done.” Well, you’ll never guess what I still need this year. Yeah. Those. If you have room in your sleigh that would be super awesome, thank you.
Thank you Santa.
I’ll leave you with two movies today. The first is White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin. Last year I described this as ‘One of my favourite performers performing one of my favourite Christmas songs’. It’s still that, and it still makes me cry.
The second movie is a montage that totally reminds me of Tre (our dog) and Eowyn (our grumpiest cat). Maybe it will make you laugh 🙂
My short story, Feeders, has been accepted by Bete Noire for inclusion in a future issue. Feeders is a funny zombie story that I wrote as a part of the 2012 Whittaker competition. I can’t wait to be able to share it with Bete Noire’s readers. And you. 🙂
Issue number twenty two of Niteblade Magazine was released at midnight last night.
It is fantastic.
This issue includes four stories and five poems, each of them unique and beautiful.
Table of Contents:
The Curse of the Reaper’s Wife
The Language of Flowers
The Orphean Habit
The House That Did Not Breathe
I’m going to resist the urge to talk a bit about each piece here because, really, if I’m going to editorialize (and I’m not) I should do that in Niteblade not my personal blog. Still, it is a fantastic issue. I think everyone reading for it, from the slush readers to Alexa and myself, were super selective and aiming for beautiful language and something unique in the story. I look at our line up and there are no poems, no stories that make me go “Well…”. When Jo was doing the layout and asked me, as he usually does, “Which is your favourite story?” followed by “Which is your favourite poem?” it was not an easy question to answer. That, I think, is a pretty damn good indicator of quality, which is totally what we are striving for at Niteblade.
While I think all the work in this issue are fantastic and very much worth reading I am especially proud of our production team for this issue. There were so many things going on in the background, any single one of which could have legitimately kept us from being able to put this issue out on time, but they didn’t. There were family deaths, horrible sicknesses, ill pets and fewer slush readers than usual and we still managed to make it work. Go us!
On a completely unrelated note — NaNoWriMo.
When I first did NaNoWriMo it really was a challenge for me and I struggled and sacrificed to make it to the finish line. Then, with practice and some changes in my life (ie: giving up my other jobs), NaNo became really quite easy. Just this thing I did. The most difficult part was running NaNoLJers during it, and then, when Arnold took over that for me, cheering on my teammates on Team Calliope and, this year, Team Thalia. This year though, this year it was a challenge again.
I am depressed these days and pretty low on energy to begin with so juggling dealing with my Mom’s death, Indiana’s sickness, Niteblade and NaNoWriMo in addition to everything else in my day-to-day life was pretty tricky. But I did it. And I am so proud of myself for that 🙂
One way I managed to reach my word count each day was by using the Write or Die desktop edition with the backspace key disabled. That helped push me toward my word goal but it also resulted in a very, very messy manuscript. I would start to write something and mess it up somehow and, because I couldn’t use my backspace I would just put my cursor behind the screwed up word and hit enter a few times to get it out of my face. For example, I’ve copied and pasted the following directly out of my mss:
er :I think
coo a in
e Cal Sanda sa
‘I t e jo
faz v she lovere lowever
I also wrote in Kamikaze mode, which meant if I stopped writing, it would start deleting my words. Most of the words at the end of the manuscript looked a lot like the gibberish you see above this, but still, they were words and I didn’t want to lose them. So when I got stuck for a word or a phase I wanted to use, I wouldn’t really stop to think about what I wanted to say, I would just write a note for myself and keep going. The same thing if I realised I’d written something contradictory or perhaps forgotten something important (ie: suddenly the MC is holding a torch when there hadn’t been any torches anywhere around three paragraphs before). Some of that resulted in some amusing notes for myself. Like these:
“You’ll be fine,” he replied, and VERBED the cover into place.
Left alone in his room, *** I DON”T WANT TO WRITE THIS SCENE RIGHT NOW ***
he hoped that wasn’t going to be seen as WORD but
***THIS CHANGES, RIGHT?***
*** THIS IS DUMB, DUDE HEARD HIM TAKE THAT OFF TEH WALL AND HE”S NOT A MORON. CUT G ***
***DAMN IT, WRONG POV. RWArR. YES. RWArR!*** (my backspace key was disabled for these notes to myself too, so… typos!)
*** CHECK AND SEE WHAT SHE”S ACTUALLY WA WEARING LOL ***
“Are you ready?”
“Ready for what?” ***GOOD QUESTION***
and my personal favourite:
her voice, cold as *** SOMETHING THAT ISN”T ICE ***
Ahhh… good times 🙂
This novel isn’t finished and it’s my plan to complete it before I move on to anything else, but one of the wonderful parts about writing everyday is that it becomes a habit and then it’s easier. What’s more, it opens my mind and I feel my creative juices flowing easier and more freely than usual. While working on this novel I had three separate epiphany-type moments about how to fix the problems in some of my other novels (Hollow Children, Twixt and Shadows). I intend to keep Shadows in my drawer despite my idea for its improvement (at least for now) but I’m super excited about the possibilities for the other two stories.
As for November Poem a Day? I fell behind early and never managed to catch up however, those prompts aren’t going anywhere so I’m just going to keep working through them outside of November. Because I can.