Archive for the ‘life’ Tag

Change in the Air

The evil day job and I have parted company (and it wasn’t evil at all, I quite liked that job) and I’m looking for work in western Oregon and Washington. The reasons are varied and, well, personal. My point is that there is likely an interstate move in my future, after fourteen years in the same house.

So I’m working on that, and I’m editing The Unique Solution (the long-awaited sequel to Blade’s Edge; that heroine has been a pill–I pill, I say) and working on the third novella in the Strike Force series, “Kindness of Strangers.”

Kindness will set up the second trilogy of Strike Force stories, what happens with the ‘ghosts’ — those strikers whose bodies didn’t survive the friendly fire incident: Captain Dressler, Whisper, and Grimtoo and LC.

It also starts the process of connecting the Strike Force Stories to the Human Diaspora universe, which actually was a bit of a surprise. Apparently my subconscious likes connecting storylines. Speaking of the Human Diaspora series, Tetsuo and Akiko’s story is next on my to-do list.

In non-writing, non-day job news, all the furbabies are happy and healthy, and Spooky Man has a new project cat, a completely gray intact male shorthair known as Shadow. As soon as he’s domesticated enough, we’ll get him fixed. He’s still too shy for me to get a decent photo, so stay tuned.

 

Update — No, I have not entirely abandoned my website

After recovering from the breast cancer reconstruction that refused to cooperate (no, I will not go into details as I don’t want to freak out anyone; let’s just say I burned off some bad karma), I dove into The Ocasek Opportunity, the story of Tasha’s little brother and how he saved two civilizations from the boogeyman aliens.

Currently, it’s resting before I start editing the first draft into a book.

Now I’m fighting with Kindness of Strangers, the Ganymede Survivors story of Colonel Singh and the elusive Chandra Ramasamy.

And I’ve got one more editing pass on The Unique Solution–the redemption of the evil twin from Blade’s Edge–before I can get it published.

I’ve written more in the last year than in the previous several, just none of it on my website/blog. So now you know.

Thanks,
Val

So, Breast Cancer Came Back

Ductile carcinoma in situ calcifications turned up on a mammogram in February, looking like someone got dust on the negative. Only it was a digital picture. Sigh.

One closeup mammogram, one needle biopsy and three doctor appointments later, the left tata became medical waste. It had thought about killing me twice, so it had to go. And on April 8, it went.

Luckily, it was just starting to think about it (ductile carcinoma is sometimes called Stage 0 cancer, because the body is walling it off with calcium so it hasn’t started to spread yet), which means no chemo. Since chemo is nasty no matter how you look at it, this is A Good Thing.

Right now I’m an Amazon who isn’t good with a bow, and my pendant watch keeps hanging funny, so I’m starting reconstruction on August 18. They’re going to sneak a little muscle from my left shoulder blade area, along with some skin, and put in a tissue expander, which is like an adjustable breast implant. The muscle is to help hold it in place.

The tissue expander starts out kind of flat and they add fluid once a week until you get the size you want — in my case, to match the other side. Then they take it out and put in the permanent implant. And I go buy a t-shirt that says, “One of them’s fake, because the real one was thinking about killing me.”

It’s nice, living in the future. Cancer is annoying and expensive, but it’s nowhere near a death sentence anymore. Also, after the initial wave of terror passes, it’s boring. As a result, this is probably the last you’ll hear about it from me, unless I’m complaining about surgical drains.

So do your exams and get your mammos done. It’s a lot cheaper and less awful if you catch things early. 🙂

Val

Quick update – still alive here, just busy writing

Just wanted to put up a quick note to mention that I’m still alive (although temporarily short a breast that was thinking about killing me again—I’ll tell you about it later).

I’m deep into the middle of the story of Tasha Ocasek’s half-brother Stephan, who—ten years after The Valmont Contingency—is busy saving the universe from an Ancient Horror (yes, that’s their official name) while trying not to fall for the intriguing Ekaterina Avondale. And failing, at least in the not-falling-for Kat department.

Kat was raised in a society of dragons. In this particular instance, “dragon” is the slang term for an alien species formally known as Saurians because they come from a parallel line of evolution where the “dinosaurs” became sentient rather than extinct. So they are part velociraptoroid, part parrotoid, and, like T-Rex, the girls are bigger and stronger than the boys.

So Kat scares the bejeebers out of most men, but Stephan is a little different from most men. His big problem is that she’s the result of a union between to major cartel families, and after the way his father died, he’s extremely allergic to cartel families.

It’s going to take both of them to destroy the group-mind insectoidal colony ship that uses carbon-based life forms to incubate its eggs and larvae. I know, right? It creeps me right out, so Stephan and Kat had better get it together and destroy these things for good, and they only have another 30,000-40,000 words to do it.

For anyone waiting impatiently for Talyn’s story, I’ll be doing the final edit on it just as soon as I get this first draft finished. My goal is to get it published by the end of the summer.

Back to the story now,
Val

At Last, Something to Say

Have you ever had one of those periods where you just have nothing to say? I’ve had six weeks of it.

Went to a kick-ass hands-on workshop on self-publishing, taught by Boise mystery and SF writer Ken McConnell — no comment, everyone knows Ken has mad skillz

Sent a novella out for critique with plans to self-publish it — no comment since I haven’t really heard much back yet.

Stock market hits record highs — no comment.

Stock market tanks 200+ points in a day — no comment.

Bombs at the Boston Marathon — no comment (really, what can you say other than “Oh my god, so horrible, so horrible” and everyone else is saying that).

West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion — no comment (see Boston Marathon, above).

Linked In e-mail that a friend has endorsed me for my knowledge of Unix — wait, what? I don’t know anything about Unix. Okay, I can spell it and name the most popular distributions (Red Hat and Ubuntu), but I can’t install it or use a command line at all. The only command I know is SUDO, which is very dangerous in the hands of a Unix-ignorant person such as myself. What in the wide-open world is going on over at Linked In?

Oh. I had something to say about that. I guess I’m out of my no-opinion slump.

RWA National Conference

I had planned to go — purchased a plane ticket, paid for the conference, reserved a hotel room, the whole thing. I even went shoe shopping (shudder). Then Spooky Man’s new medication didn’t show up.

Spooky Man is one of the world’s youngest Vietnam veterans — he turned 17 in early February 1975 and enlisted the next Monday. He was barely out of boot camp and training to be a tank gunner when the conflict ended. He has a service-connected disability rating of 60%, some of which is due to PTSD (I’d say why, but it’s classified), for which he takes antidepressants.

His VA psychiatrist recently changed his medication because it was becoming less effective, and then upped the dose the week before the RWA national conference. And then the new medication didn’t show up. It still hasn’t shown up and I am not amused (for god’s sake, the regional VA medical center is across town; it’s not like it had to come from Seattle or something).

I wasn’t about to leave town with him in this state. So I canceled what reservations I could and ate the other costs, because my husband, my life partner, having a crisis is more important than an event that will happen again next year. It’s sad that I wasn’t able to meet and connect with people I follow on Twitter or know via e-mail listservs, but I think they would understand that my family’s health comes first.

For what it’s worth, I cheered all the Golden Heart and Rita winners as they were announced on the RWA tweet stream and even teared up a little when Brenda Jackson received her lifetime achievement award (which was much deserved).

And while I was on the computer that night, I wrote rough cuts for the Newtonian, Einsteinian and Quantum Mechanics lectures for the online class I’m supposed to teach (Modern Physics for Writers), starting August 6th.

Luckily, the new shoes will still fit next year.

 

Not the best birthday gift

Spooky Man took away my laptop. Actually, he sent it to the shop to have the hard drive replaced with a solid-state drive. SSDs are quieter, faster, require less power and generate less heat, so it’s a thoughtful gift.

Except it requires me to spend five days without a computer at home. During vacation days when I was planning to do a lot of writing. Insert frustrated noise here.

I did get a few thousand words written with a pen and a notepad (I tried writing on an Ipad, too, and it was awful — virtual keyboards are ridiculously inaccurate for real typing), but it wasn’t the 7-10K I was hoping for.

So I’m currently behind where I want to be on the works in progress. What else is new?

I think I’m going to be spending a few extra hours at the day job this week, borrowing the keyboard for a — ahem — side project, at least until I get my New! Improved! laptop back.

Shar-Pei Tidbit

Spooky Man reminded me today that Chinese Shar-Pei’s are not a breed the Idaho prison system uses for its guard dog program.

One of the K9 folks once told him, circa 1994, “They’re great barkers. They sound ferocious.” (heavy sigh) “But they’re just too damned happy to actually bite anyone, even with training.”

I like that in a companion dog.

Copy Edits

I’m in the midst of copy edits for The Valmont Contingency. It’s amazing; they take away my semicolons and then go after me for comma splices. Snort.

Hopefully I’ll have time to put together a real post this week.

The day job might have gotten me some help

Keep your fingers crossed, because I might have found a new technical writer for the California office of my day job. If so, it means traveling to train him, but it also means I’m not trying to keep up with two offices’ worth of projects.

While doing developmental edits for a new editor I’ve never worked with before. And plotting/starting the second book in the Galactic Republic/Stern Reich/ Nippon Empire universe.

No wonder I freaked out about the zombie battle. I was out of coping beans. Ha!

Onward, to The Nobinata Gambit (or whatever title it turns into). No more zombies, but there is a Samurai/Ninja duel during an Imperial Tea ceremony. Really, how could I not?

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