Vintage Update

Well, the semester has almost started! And I am happy about that.

Recently, I heard from Emma Curtis at the Costume Supercenter.com. She pointed me in the direction of 1920s and 1950s hair tutorials on her site. Just check out my vintage page under hair, and visit the site for some fun costumes, vintage and otherwise.

And Then, Draft 3 Was Done

Draft 3 is done. As part of draft three, however, I threw out the final quarter of the novel. I still have a complete novel, but the last fourth is really a first draft.

Right now, I'm engaged in what I'm calling draft 3.1, revising the new ending to send it out to my critique friends. I've already been getting feedback on the first 3/4 which is very helpful.

Of course, as usual, the best laid plans of writers are often waylaid. In my case by 120 extra students, and 15 teacher interviews. I will try to get as much done as I can by the conference, but realistically can I get it done? That's the question.

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Today I purchased my new CPAP. I'll be sure to write a review. Why? Because I found that I didn't know much about them before all this, and that information might be helpful to someone else out there who is underoxygenated. Yup. I love making up words.

2014 in Writing

So...I'm looking at the Submission Grinder, and I'm discovering that I submitted 11 shorter works 53 times last year. I'm looking at Query Tracker, and I'm discovering that I hit 52 new agents with Abigail Rath. This year I rewrote a novella (which still needs another rewrite), wrote a new novel and have revised it almost 3 times, and wrote six new short stories.

I had several stories held for upper tier consideration, second and even third looks. I had some requests for full manuscripts.

I made my first professional sale. Blatant plug: Buy The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk when it comes out in July. You know you want to. Or maybe you know I want you to, if we get all Freudian about it.

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What can I take from this? Well, in no particular order

1. I worked really, really hard at producing writing this year.
2. Revising is a lifestyle.
3. I am a submitting machine.

Now, in terms of controlling what I could, I did good. :) I would have liked more sales, or an agent. I would have liked to have finished The Poison of thy Flesh in terms of having it ready to send out. But I look at the amount I've done, and I can't say that I really did a lot of procrastinating. Nope. Productive is my middle name this year.

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Where am I at in my quest to gain the extra 6K I need to get my 10K Outliers hours? Yes, I am still on my quest to get those 10K hours that Malcolm Gladwell suggests to master an art. I've been at it for 4 years, and this year my magic number has totaled 2232. I wrote 516 dedicated hours last year, fewer than the first 2 years, but about the same as last year. That I did all the above in 516 hours makes me feel pretty good.

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So, in 2015? Well, I'm going to get Poison smooth, get its supporting materials in great shape, and send it out. I'll be visiting two pitch conferences in addition to all the queries by mail. My goal to produce a short a month will continue, and it's still my hope to get a serial up on Patreon.

After Poison, I'll be ripping into that weredog novella again, and then I'm thinking I will revisit the trolls in Decorah YA. Then, on to the second Klarion book. Plans of course can change.

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How about you? What are you up to? What do you hope for in 2015?

Happy 2015

For want of a more original title, I guess.

The official analysis from the sleep lab is this: I quit breathing 10 times an hour. Let's put that in perspective. Someone with serious apnea quits breathing 120 or so times an hour. So I have a tiny, cute little apnea, for which I will be getting a tiny, cute little CPAP, which looks like a cross between packing pillows and an oxygen mask. I should be shelling out the big bucks for that in the next couple of weeks. Nope, I don't know how much yet. It's not a Muppet nose. Even though it's small, I feel like they're shoving a gale force up my nose! In the end they had to get me a smaller insert. My tiny nose!

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So, I lost about 7 pounds entire last year. I was lower at one point, but I finished at 206, more or less. I'm trying out Weight Watchers new personal coach feature this year, and trying to eat smaller meals more often. And muchos plant matter. I would really like to have y cruise pictures look different this year than the last time, even if I am not a svelte goddess on the cruise.

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The book is about 3/4 done now. Part of it is out to readers, and they are getting back to me pretty quickly. Awfully nice of them. I have this month to get things well in hand. Wish me luck. Work is very worky, and I fear I will spend next weekend prepping to teach.

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When next I write, I want to go over my year in writing and my writing plans for this coming year. Stay tuned.

Writer Tamago’s Top 10 Films for 2014

What do you mean we're almost out of December? Well, okay, then, I guess it's time for the top films that I saw this year.

My criteria are sloppy. I can pick anything I watched for the first time this year, even if it didn't come out this year. Strangely enough, though, for a change, more came out this year than didn't. And when I say film, I mean something I watched with my eyes, so it could actually be a tv show or a short disguised on my film list. Here we go! In no particular order:

Continue reading

Ribsy Triumphs; Reflux Triumphs; Student Tsunami

Three quick things

1. Ribsy lost a pound and a half last week. I won't be doing the Weight Watchers weigh in until after the New Year, and then I will get back to my weight reports.

2. I went to the emergency room to have a fake heart attack Monday night. It was significantly different from the usual reflux attack, so we were all a little worried. However, after a two day intensive round of cardiac testing, I am pleased that it wasn't my heart. Yippee! I suspect it is my reflux acting in different ways because I have changed my food and exercise habits lately--eating late and exercising more. So, I need to learn how to manage reflux within new parameters. Dr. Banks and I talk next week. Meanwhile, the highlight of the evening was watching Matrix 2 while jacked up on morphine at 1 am. If this weren't a family show, I'd recommend you give it a whirl. :)

3. We will probably hit 500 ELA students at work this spring. My job is even MOAR intense than usual. Which could have contributed to number 2, although I do try to relax. Honest. Anyway, we have six interviews for new teachers, and I've blocked off some time to interview students. This is an amazing thing. I'm so impressed that students have pegged Kirkwood as THE place to come and study English.

I'm moving right along on draft 3, considering. :) I also had a letter from a fan of my old Harry Potter fan fiction, asking for Substance in its original incarnation. Gratifying to be remembered.

With that, I hope to be back sooner rather than later. We live in hope.

The Sleep Lab

My journey into restoring my health began last October, when we discovered that my thyroid was off. I started into some counseling to help with anxiety, and I tried to slow down. I lost around 20 pounds. Things were pretty good. Working out, eating better, more secure. This fall notwithstanding, the overall prognosis has been excellent. And, as you might remember from yesterday's post, I'm ready for phase 2, and to knock off the backsliding.

At my checkup in October, I was sure that the doc would adjust my thyroid meds, because I still feel tired often. I get enough sleep. I call it a night at 9:30 and I'm up at 5:30. Do the math. My problem, it seems, is sleep apnea, which to my way of thinking is a better diagnosis than, "you're old now." So, in order to both diagnose, and to get my CPAP up and running, I've been to/will be returning to the sleep lab.

What's it like to have a sleep test? Well, you go to a room that looks like a hotel room with an intercom and all sorts of fun wires and monitors. When you get a sleep test, they paste a bunch of diodes into your hair, and put monitors on your heart, your rib cage, and your legs, just in case your problem isn't with your airway. Then you take a couple of sleeping pills and fade in and out of consciousness all night.

This time around, they'll be fitting me with a CPAP. I don't have serious apnea, because they didn't do the adjustment the first night I was there, but I do have it. On the scale of apnea, where a 4 is normal, I scored a 16, so we were pretty sure that's what was going on. As women get older, our likelihood of apnea evens up with men's. It increases 20 fold. And I have tiny little air passages in my nose, another sign.

So, this is where I'll ring in 2015. At the sleep lab, wired for sound. And then we'll have a CPAP, and we'll see if we have more energy.

Hope all of you are well.

The Return of Ribsy

Still working on the novel, ending the semester, hiring a boatload of new teachers, all that.

I have gained a bit of weight back. I am now at these stats:

Beginning Weight at Weight Watchers: 224.8
Current Weight Watchers Weight: 210.2
Lost: -14.6

Beginning Wii Weight: 223
Current Wii Weight: 207.2
Lost: -16.6

The last time I made goal weight, Bryon gave me the nickname Ribsy, affectionately after Henry Huggins' dog. Sure, Ribsy was a boy dog, but the point was you could count my ribs. I am now beginning phase 2. I'll be monitoring what I eat more closely and making sure I work out each day. Why? Well, I'd like to lose another 30 pounds before we go on our cruise this summer. I have a lot of--um--voluptuous cruise pictures already, and I'd like to have some differently shaped ones.

The battle for good health continues!

In other health related news, I will be getting my second sleep study on December 31st. Yes, this woman knows how to party on New Year's Eve. What's that, you say? You didn't know I was getting a sleep study? You don't even know what a sleep study is all about? Well...next entry then. Hardware for slumber.

Penguins of Madagascar

In an attempt to distract ourselves from our cat grief, Bryon and I went to see The Penguins of Madagascar movie over the holiday weekend. I do like my penguins, their punny humor, their wry caricatures, and just the witty delivery of the script. It's kind of off beat, but so am I.

I bring Penguins to your attention, because I've been working with My Story Can Beat Up Your Story this year, and if you would like to see a movie that brings all of the script writing theory in that book together, it is this movie. It sets up the story arcs perfectly, the characters are archetypal, there are items introduced early in the film that will become pivotal later, and so on. Get the book, read it, and then go see Penguins.

If you feel weird about seeing Penguins, two of the voices are John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch. There. Now you can feel high brow about seeing Penguins.