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Meet Gudrun

Have you ever had that dream where you're not quite flying, but where every step you take carries you a mile across the landscape? Or where you can descend flights of stairs in a single graceful bound?

Riding an ebike is like that.

Meet Gudrun*.Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cannabis update

I find that vaping is harder on my lungs than I'm comfortable with, so, having toked up a whole half gram of cannabis concentrate, I'm looking for alternatives.

I suspect that my uptake wasn't good (I coughed it all out instantly!) and that I might not have gotten adequate doses, because after that first miraculous end of toothache misery, I couldn't replicate the pain-relief results. Once the offending tooth was extracted and the local wore off, I was in misery and no number of hits on the vape pen had the slightest impact.

But I can't keep relying on ibuprofen, and I am not resorting to opioids. I have arthritis, it's a problem, and joint-replacement surgery isn't really on the table.

So, next stop: sublingual CBD tincture.

Also, actually doing the exercises I went to physical therapy to learn. And maybe not sitting so much.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cover shoot first mockup

There's been some progress on the book cover photo shoot. Here's the first mockup, just to test color contrast between the costume and the chair.

Yellow trousers, white formal shirt, and a red and gold brocade vest draped over a red wingback chair to resemble a Regency gentleman lounging, for the Restraint cover shoot

Those are Goodwill garments in roughly the right colors and shapes. We decided that with the pale costume we'll want a dark chair, so here we're testing red rummage-sale curtain fabric. We've got a bronze-gold-brown-red pair of drapes coming from eBay.

The backdrop will be a nearly-black wall, aka my living room, so pretty soon I'll have to drag that chair indoors.

Meanwhile, I've acquired some fake gold leaf for illuminating the decorative elements, and a white linen tablecloth that will make a pretty nice poet shirt. Sewing will ensue. Really quick-and-dirty, fusible-and-glue sewing.

Then we just need to find the guy. Think "finding the guy" thoughts, please!

a poster advertising for a male model for a book cover photoshoot

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Adventures in Cannabis

Lately I've been hurting more than mere ibuprofen can handle--osteoarthritis, mostly, but a motherfucker of a toothache right at the moment.

So, though I've never been much for getting high, today I tried medical marijuana for the first time.

It took a lot of homework for me to get here. I read books, attended a workshop, and spent several hours on Leafly. I asked my doctor (who, as a naturopath, is all for it). I researched cannabinoids, terpenes, strains of sativa and indica. I read about the different dispensaries. Learned something about the labyrinth of laws surrounding legalization in Oregon. Became engrossed in delivery methods. Decided on vaping. Vaping is fast-acting and doesn't stink the joint up.

Harlequin is a sativa strain bred for high CBD and low THC, which translates to "pain relief without getting high", and my neighborhood dispensary sells it.

So off I walked to Kings of Canna on 15th and Prescott, and came home half an hour later with some paraphernalia and drugs.

A white zip bag, a vape pen with USB charger, a cannabis cartridge, some retail packaging

But look! It comes in retail packaging. There are USB chargers and LED indicators. The only baggie in sight was the fancy opaque white zip-lock bag mandated by the State of Oregon for carting the goods off-premises.

It's a couple of hours and several hits of Harlequin later, and behold! The tooth isn't really hurting anymore.

Heh. Maybe I need a new icon.
A vaporizer pen with a bright blue mouthpiece. A cannabis oil capsule is attached. The device is emitting curls of vapor

ETA: And I really don't feel high. Maybe a teeny bit hazy. I might have eaten a box of cookies...

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cover Art

I need a book cover!

There are quickie template-based designs online, and there's $5000 for original artwork, and there's not much in between.

"Well, what do you want to wind up with?" asked my sister Helen.

"Basically this," said I:
Working cover of Restraint, a photograph manipulated to look something like an oil painting, featuring Jared Padalecki's face on Johnny Depp's tuxedo-wearing body slouched in an enormous baroque brocade armchair, all in tones of red and gold

"...but a) without Jared Padalecki's face; b) not stolen from a copyright fashion shoot with Johnny Depp; and c) featuring a poet shirt and buckskin breeches rather than that 20th century tuxedo."

"So let's do our own photoshoot."

Wait. What? Do it ourselves?Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Notes and Comments

Beta-reader notes on the final draft of Restraint have started coming in. This is the most nerve-wracking process!

The feedback so far is excellent: constructive, knowledgeable, and detailed. Nobody so far hates the novel. But the silences! Do the non-responders dislike it too much to comment? Were they too bored to finish? Are they too nice to say so?

It's impossible to get my ego out of the way. These people are doing me a huge favor and I don't want to press them, but only the fact that I have acrylic nails is keeping me from biting those nails off.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

And I thought writing was hard

Beta readers are coming back with very few notes on Restraint. The rewritten story works for them. I think it really is finished. Seth Godin (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a workshop in NYC a couple weeks ago) basically said, "Ship it."

Now comes marketing.Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Spring does come

It's gonna be a long road. At 61, I accept that I won't see the end of it, or a return to "the way things were".

Which is all the more reason to remember that every day is precious, I am not unlimited, I must give my best work to the Resistance as best I can, and that means taking a breath, and a walk, and a moment to recognize that there is still beauty and hope in the world.
Gray cat foot standing among early green daffodil spears in the leaf-litter of winter
Graydie and the daffodils. January 30 2017


Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Draft 8, 100%

I finished my final draft of Restraint on Thursday and sent it out yesterday to four champion fellow writers willing to read it for structure, pacing, flow, and logic. That's a big, big job.

I expect to get suggestions back for further small changes, and of course I spotted typos the instant I hit the send button. I could undoubtedly still shave a few words for style, or add a sentence here or there to fill out a minor plot point, but the novel--this novel--is finished. Any big changes at this point would be making it into a different novel.

It's a little weird, cleaning up all the files, closing all the research tabs, shutting down the gigantic spreadsheet called "Engineering Restraint" after more than two years of rewrites. The prospect of starting a new project is daunting.

But I'm starting. I'm thinking about the new political situation, and how it's my responsibility to write for the Resistance in some way. Not a dystopian Hunger-Games-ish thing--that's not who I am as a writer--but somehow a weaving of resistance into the fabric of the historical novel I'm already researching.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

My homemade MFA in creative writing

Happy New Year to the few, the strong, the loyal who are still here at Dreamwidth.

2016, like 2015, has been about my homemade MFA program in creative writing. My "thesis"--which was due on December 31st and should be done this week--is a publishable final draft of Restraint. I expect 2017 to be about writing, too.

My program of study has revolved primarily around story structure and editing. As I approach the finish line, here's a roundup of the changes my studies have wrought:
  • Word count: Fanfic 230,000, Profic 145,000.
  • Character names changed: 15
  • Characters cut: 2
  • Subplots cut: also 2
  • Subplots added: 1
  • Scenes cut: I've lost track. A lot.
  • Scenes added: about 10
  • Average sentence length: Fanfic 16 words, Profic 14 words
  • Reading ease score: Fanfic 69, Profic 72 (higher is easier)
  • Number of drafts to get here: 8
Here's a rough and improvised heat map of the restructured novel, scene by scene. Green bars are scenes that end positive; red, negative. Height of bar approximates scene intensity:

a bar graph with green bars rising above the centerline and red bars descending below it, representing scene-by-scene valence shifts in the novel Restraint</a>


Three fellow writers have volunteered to read and comment on the final draft. Assuming they find no major failings, I'll polish it up and start sending it out in March.

In other writing news, I'm taking Shawn Coyne's Story Grid Workshop in New York City in February. It'll be three days with the story structure master and 25 other writers who are ready to go pro. Since Restraint will be finished by then, I'll be applying what I learn there--and everything I've learned in my Homemade MFA Program--to my next novel, which is currently in the proto-outline stage.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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