Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nominated... Me???

I was really excited to see that my free Love Has No Boundaries novella, Human Frailties, and the full length novel that grew out of it, Human Frailties, Human Strengths, have both received nominations in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's 2013 Members' Choice Awards! Dudes, I'm kind of stunned (but not, as Husband Beast is quick to point out, speechless). In fact, I've been trying to come up with a blog post to announce this, and I'm still not even sure what to say except, "Thank you!"

Human Frailties has been nominated for Best Debut Book, Best Free Story, and Best Title, and Human Frailties, Human Strengths has been nominated for Best Fantasy and Best Cover!

I don't know that I would have had the courage to put anything else out there if it wasn't for the wonderful, encouraging reception that Human Frailties received in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's Love Has No Boundaries Event this past summer.

Thank you so much to the folks who nominated my stories, and thank you to everyone who has taken a chance on a new author and taken the time to read my books! Your support and your overwhelmingly positive comments mean a lot to me.

And 2014? It's gonna be great...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Clouds and Glass

My brain does not play well with medications of any type. A lot of medications make me experience odd side effects, so I'm very careful about what I take and how much of it I take, and I really hate being forced to take anything. One of the allergy meds my doc suggested I try last summer worked wonderfully, but it also made me hear music. Annoying brass band music. In my head. All. The. Time.

So when I hurt my back last month, I resisted going to the doctor because I knew he'd just give me medication that would make it impossible for me to work. Predictably, the pain got bad enough that I couldn't work anyway, and Husband Beast scraped me up off the floor and dragged me off to the doc (amazing what a week of "I hurt too much to cook dinner" will do for a man's powers of persuasion...). Several prescriptions for muscle relaxants, pain pills, and steroids later, things are looking (and feeling) a lot better, but the last three weeks have been rough in terms of getting any writing done, or even being able to think straight.

Struggling to work through a narcotic cloud for the past three weeks, while frustrating, has given me an interesting insight into my own creative process. (Yeah, I know, I'm groping about for the silver lining here, dudes... there has to be one. By my reckoning, three weeks of lost work is hardly worth one interesting insight, but I'll take what I can get at this point!)

Back in the Stone Age, when I was a starving graduate student, I was doing research on glass structure. Glass is an interesting material in that it doesn't have a fixed crystal structure like a lot of solids do. It's more like a flash-frozen liquid. There are identifiable structures you can find, but these structures only exist in the short range. There is no ordered, repeating pattern like you would find in a crystal. It has become apparent to me that my creative process organizes story-things in a similar manner, and writing a story for me is a bit like trying to figure out a structure where none is apparent.

When I have mental clarity, I can see the subtle signs of long range order in the chaos of my thoughts. I can see layer upon layer of ever deeper connections between the characters, motivations, and events of the series I'm working on. I can see far beyond the obvious, ordered, short-range structures, and get a sense of the underlying connections and how they fit together and what sorts of things they might turn into. Pain meds completely shut down my ability to sense any of that. They trap my mind in a place where all I can see is the obvious, structured short-range stuff that's right in front of me. I know all those layers and connections exist out there, but I'm unable to follow the threads of them or even see them.

Interesting as all that is, the real take-away from this experience is a lot more practical: Women of a certain age should gracefully concede that lugging around forty-pound bags of softener salt is a Bad Idea.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Power Balance

There's been a rather dramatic, unexpected, and unwelcome shift in the power balance around here over the past couple of weeks, and I'm still struggling to adjust. Due to a back injury (Not My Fault), I have been demoted from Commander-in-Chief of the Holiday Preparations to Frantic Spectator.

The Symbols of Power (including the Ermine Cloak lined with Real Live Ermines) have been grudgingly handed over to Husband Beast, who is not taking the Responsibility of the Holiday Preparations seriously at all. The tree is not up yet. The gifts are not wrapped (or even bought). There is no white chocolate cheesecake nestled carefully in the freezer. Nor are there any gingerbread gargoyles (long story) in the cookie tin. And let's not even talk about the amount of dog hair on the floor. There's enough of it floating around to cobble together a whole 'nother dog or two. Not that we're in need of any more dogs, but if we were, we'd be set.

The only bright spot in this rather gloomy December is that Husband Beast very helpfully bought me a Granny Grabber. This is a long, stick-like device with a pincher on the end. It's good for picking up stuff I dropped and sorting laundry, as I'm not supposed to be bending over and stuff. It allows me to do a few things so that I feel Useful and Helpful, even though I am not In Charge.

It's also good for pinching people's butts as they walk by.

Best. Gift. Ever.