Bits and Pieces

This fire fighter has finished her firefighting final. My overall grade for the course is 97 percent. Let’s go burn something down so I can put it out. Nope. Just totally kidding, my fire fighting brethren.

***

Hi! It’s been a different kind of day, with a big test for student me in the middle of it. The students who helped out on the interview committee are now meeting with me to give me their impressions of the job candidates. We finish that Monday, and then we pick our candidate on Wednesday. What I’m happy about is that I no longer have to video tape, well, anything.

***
The Ground is Full of Teeth is off to its readers. Meanwhile, I proof the Word version. THEN I get back to A Lasting Storm . Like The Ground is Full of Teeth before, this is not yet the right title for this novel. I need a good title. Oh, gods of title-dom, here my pleas!

***

In a fit of re-readiness, I decided to re-read Small Gods. Terry Pratchett, taking on hollow (organized?) religion at the height of his powers. It’s my favorite book of his. After this, I plan to read the first 3 early Lois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan books. I blame Michele Maakestad. You know it’s your fault.

***

Weekend? Tonight I planned to do my clerical things, but I need some working out, because today was a talk and test kind of day. I expect my accuracy for such things is off. We’ll take it as we go. In short, I’ll do what I want to do tonight, after working out. And I want to work out.

***

I hope you all have evenings less disjunctured than mine.

Summer

We’re in finals week here at Kirkwood, so technically it’s still spring. I give two finals Tuesday, the 13th, the last day of the spring semester, and then summer term kicks right in on the 19th. Kirkwood has borrowed some of my writing every day time during the job search, so I still get to write pretty much every day until I go on my summer vacation, which begins a little earlier than normal for me this year.

I’m not going anywhere foreign or exotic this summer. I’m not going on a week long writing retreat either. I’m going to Wiscon, like I always do, for it is a dear outing with dear friends. I’m going to Detcon because, in addition to seeing friends, I want to make some writerly connections. I’m going to Convergence, because that’s a Bryon and I thing, plus, you know, we do it every year for many of the same Wiscon reasons.

For me, that’s not much traveling. I’m going to roof seam repair land AND bathroom remodel land. That’ll be fun.

And I’ll spend my summer writing. Yes, I have this strange idea that if I spend every day writing like a full time job this summer, I could complete Klarion I. Call me crazy. Right now, usually, I’d be reading a lot of workshop material. Instead, I’m getting my novella around for Paper Golem and going back to my novel. I like going on writing retreats, but THERE’S some food for thought, right there. Productivity versus fun.

Ah-hah! You scream type A at me! No, don’t go all crazy. Fun is still number one. But I have been gifted with a huge chunk of time to write. I’ll keep writing from May 14th until June 6th, but starting June 9th until July 29th, large tracks of free time are mine. What would it be like to be a full-time writer? I think I’ll get a simulation going on.

Okay. Students coming in for interviews, followed by a day of the last interview. Hurrah?

Life as a Thinner, Uncaffeinated Person

You might remember that I am losing weight mostly to deal with some health issues. I want pressure off of my arthritic knee. I want less acid reflux. I want better breathing for the dust allergy. How’s that going?

I remain in the 20 pounds lighter zone. This last month at work was pretty bad, so I haven’t really been working on it. More or less, though, I’ve been maintaining. Work has lightened up considerably this week, as you can see by the fact that I have written 3 journal entries, so I’m back in the swing of things.

About this time last year, I was considering using a cane for those times when my knee just ached. My knee still hurts on occasion, such as when I step down from a giant firetruck platform without noticing the size of the step, but I climb stairs now, and descend stairs now, which was the more painful part, quiet easily. Taking 20 pounds off my knee has been a success. I can even run a little bit, although I don’t push that.

As to reflux, I would have to say that my diet has helped there more than my weight loss. Of course, losing weight is helpful. BUT that said, what is more helpful is the no coffee, no chocolate, no soda thing. The new slant box for the mattress is also helpful.

Breathing is also a considerable change. Not lugging around 20 pounds more means it’s easier to breathe. I am less likely to hack up a lung when I try to exert myself, and I no longer snore or pop at night. The dust allergy and triggers seem less severe.

From a health perspective, I will definitely say that even if I didn’t drop more weight, these results are worth it. I do have plans to try to take off more, because I want to feel better than I do now. When I started, I had 76 pounds to lose. Now I am over my “ideal” weight by about 56 pounds. As I mentioned above, work has settled down considerably, so now I will begin phase two. It took me six months to lose twenty pounds. Slow and steady wins the race. By the end of October, I would like to have 36 pounds left to lose.

The next stage begins today, as this is the day I weigh in. I have come to think of the first phase as the thyroid med phase. This one will be labeled the fruits and vegetables stage. Over the summer, I plan to cook at home more, and make fruits and veggies my habit. Not just fruits and veggies, but they will be what I plan my meals around, and they will become my go to snack.

Anyway, I’m feeling better.

Writing Updatery

And now some quick writing updatery.

I have been writing. While it has been impossible to get away every day to do it, I have still been doing it frequently during the week, and all the time that has been taken away has been put back into my life later.

So, what’s going on with Author Stump?

The Love Song of Oliver Toddle is currently out at a reprint market.
O-Taga-San is currently out at a YA market.
Cookies has received a second round bump-up to an editor in chief. I sincerely hope that it finds a good place. I am very proud of Cookies.
The Two Sisters has just gone out on its third journey.

The Ground is Full of Teeth, the title for my were-dog novella now, will soon be returning to a place that asked me for rewrites. It’s just a matter of proofing and critiques.

Novel-a-thon for Detcon (I want my novel’s first draft to be done by Detcon) begins this Thursday.

***

Something else to be aware of. As you know, I have stories in Cucurbital 2 and Cucurbital 3 at Paper Golem. 2013 will be the last year to get either a hard cover or a soft cover copy of the book for a variety of reasons. The book will continue to be available electronically. NOT that this is an urgent matter, but if you want a dead tree style version of this book, you’d best get on it by December.

Things I Have Recently Read That You Might Like

I read in 5-10 minute increments most of the time. In this way, I find that I get a lot of reading done, in spite of a very full professorial life. Mind, there are times when I have more time to read. I am not entirely an ADD reader.

There are a couple of items I’d like to bring to your attention that I’ve looked at recently.

London Falling by Paul Cornell: Imagine Neil Cross of Luther fame and Neil Gaiman of Neil Gaiman fame had a love child. That love child would be London Falling, Paul Cornell’s first in a series of magical police procedural novels. It’s as British as it gets, and being fairly British (Mom’s from Scotland), I enjoyed it. There’s one scary damned villain in the piece, and some of the good guys hit the scary vibe as well. The police research is impeccable. No doubt, many of you have read this, and you’re thinking, “Yeah. Duh. What took you so long?” The answer is that I’m a little over a year behind on my to read list. The good news for me is that I hear there’s a sequel coming out soon, so in another year, I’ll read another one. 😀

The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer: For those of you who like to read or write middle-grade, if you haven’t done so, you might like to take a look at Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes books. I’ve made it through the first two and have four more to go. Enola is indeed the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft, and you could see where a book like this could go south. This book avoids that with really solid portrayals of Sherlock and Enola. Enola is resourceful and clever, but not in a cliche way. Springer’s research into the period is some of the most in-depth research I’ve seen.

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin: Game of Thrones leaves me cold. I’ve tried to start it, and it’s not my kind of thing. This, this was my kind of thing. The oldest, ugliest, riverboat captain in the world takes on vampires. Fantastic. This book is a masterwork, and the character is one of my favorite ever in speculative fiction. It’s artistic and beautiful, and if you want to see Martin kills some bad guys who really deserve it, well, there you go.

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations for me?