The First Two Live of Brandy Grey

Plagued by visions after her nanny dies, Next-Generation goddess Brandy Grey is convinced that the Fates rule all. It will take one choice, and the destruction of the Earth, to convince her that free will exists.

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Loss

Depression sucks.

I know a lot of people write posts on depression. I try not to. I try to avoid thinking about it because then I might get caught up in all the bad thoughts again, and I’ve done a pretty good job the last… I don’t know, ten years, maybe? Of not sinking down into them as far as I used to.

But I’ve been thinking about it today and last night. Yesterday afternoon I got an email from a friend telling me that a mutual friend of ours died. She didn’t know how at the time, but we both assumed suicide.

We were right.

How horrible is it that I spent eight hours yesterday hoping it had been some terrible accident instead? She’d stopped answering my emails. I sent them anyway, but I’d been miserable in July and forgot.

She was one of the kindest people I have ever met. She was an artist, photographer, writer, baker and geek. She would do anything for anyone.

She was also an abuse survivor, first by her father, then her husband. Her family refused to believe her, so she moved far away and had no support network. She had PTSD and was in therapy, but her (our) co-workers were horrible to her. They were the kind of people who thought therapy was for sissies, etc. She was at the point where she couldn’t see an alternative to anything. Any option I or anyone else put forth was somehow impossible. 

I remember being like that. I never made her final choice because I always thought of my niece and nephew. Her family abandoning her took that away from her, and I am SO angry, at all of them. 

I’m angry at her for not reaching out, if not to her therapist, to me, to someone. I’m angry at her family, myself for not remembering to check up on her even though she stopped writing back. I’m angry at the horrific ableist workplace culture that ostracized her. 

And, in retrospect, I’m angry at the fact that I grew up in a culture where depression was looked at as weak and pathetic. I spent over thirty years doing my best to hide it. Now, thanks to writing, my family, and copious amounts of tea and chocolate, I don’t get those dark moments anymore.

I just wish she could have let someone in.

My niece and nephew pretty much saved my life. When they were younger, I knew I could never die because they wouldn’t understand, and I could never hurt them like that. When they got older, we had more in common, and I realized I absolutely had to see the adults they would grow into. They’re in college now, and they just get more amazing all the time.

I wish my friend could see her niece grow up. 

I have a storyline in the book I’m querying about a starship named Chuck. In the book, there is a series of ships named for spies in 20th/21st century TV shows. I never would have come up with that if it hadn’t been for watching Chuck marathons with my nephew. It’s still our favorite show.

Please, if you’re considering ending your life, call someone. Or text, or email.

Or, there are hotlines:

741741 is a text hotline from crisistextline.org

Spsamerica.org – national suicide prevention hotline number – 1-800-273-8255

And, when I googled that, I found tweets about a song by Logic that has the above number in the lyrics. Hopefully it proves to be as catchy as Jenny’s number.

(867-5309, for those of you who don’t know Tommy Tutone)

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Novella update

The first novella in the Ten Earth Saga is written and being revised, and I’m working on the second and third. Work and an avalanche of things breaking in my personal life (including ME) has kept me from writing quite as much as I wanted to lately (small example – I turned on my computer to write before work and the thing immediately decided to do updates, so now I have only ten minutes left before I need to leave), but I have made some progress. I decided to self-publish, and am going through a workshop on how to do so. The section on how to do a cover is KILLING ME. I have three different programs for creating a cover, and have watched videos on each, and… well, no one is going to be able to master everything in life, and for me, photoshop type programs are apparently one of those things. You get what you pay for, and I’m afraid my cover would scare people away. 🙂

I could probably do a collage of what I want on paper and then scan it in. If I were promoting a book with an artsy feel, that would probably work, too. But this book? Not so much.

But, I may try it one more time…

Have a great Hump Day, everyone!

 

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Arts degrees, fries, and memes

Okay, I’m going to be unpopular for a minute.

I’ve never read Gabaldon’s books.* BUT. I think people are taking her “fries with that” comment WAY too… well, crazy, actually. But, that’s Twitter for ya.

The main thing that made my eyes roll were the comments from people saying that she devalued the food service industry. WHUT? I’m sorry, but the “arts and humanities degree” = “fries with that” thing was a meme before memes were memes. AND, it was standard advice from most parents. It was from mine. I started writing when I was FOUR. When I was in grade school, my goal was to be an author. What did I major in? Chemistry. Because I followed the advice of my parents. I can’t say I love my job, but I do have health insurance.

The fries/food service industry comment isn’t an insult. People giving advice to major in something that offers a steady income from a forty hour week at a day job isn’t an insult to your creativity. It’s an acknowledgment that the arts are a crapshoot. Look at how many authors out there are querying. How many will get agents, and after that, actually be published? How many self-published authors make enough to pay their bills? How many dancers make it big? How many painters, sculptors, garage bands? I’m not saying it’s not worth it to try – I’m still trying (and working my 40 hour weeks with health insurance). I’m saying that Gabaldon, who is from the same generation as my parents, probably wants to give out advice to people which will help them make a living wage and have… yeah. Health insurance. AND write on the side. It’s amazing how much writing you can do if you really want to do it, even with a demanding forty-hour work week. As for learning the craft, there are a crapton of workshops out there. Online, Holly Lisle and Kristen Lamb both have fabulous books and online classes/workshops (I’ve taken several). Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have a lot of books and workshops, the latter both in person and online. I definitely recommend the books – haven’t taken any of their workshops yet. I really need the Genre Structure workshop, though…

So, there’s my two cents. YMMV.

Oh – pro tip: I’ve researched it, and REI seems the best place for part-time workers who want health insurance. I’d be tempted to try for Starbucks, though… all that lovely coffee… LOL.

 

*I know, I know! I write time travel and I haven’t read them. But I’ve heard about some things in the books that I don’t think I could deal with. So. Oh, but hey – this can now fit in my Time Travel Tuesday category. Haven’t kept up with the categories for a long time…

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Ten Earth Saga collector items

I only got four hours of sleep today, so forgive the crazy thought train.

Or not.

I was at work and saw a Styrofoam box that looked like the kind that holds collector’s plates, which I loved about 25 years ago. NOT THAT I NO LONGER LOVE THEM. I do. Especially the whales. But I digress. 

Thinking of collector’s plates led to the thought “You haven’t really made it until you have your own line of collector’s plates for your IP.”*

And then an image of melmac plates with crayon drawings popped into my head. 

And I burst into maniacal laughter that terrified my coworkers.

Well, no, but I did giggle.

And.now I’m really tempted to have my niece** create artwork for the books and plaster them on plates to sell on Etsy. HA! I think my readers will have to have that kind of sense of humor to read the books anyway…

* IP = Intellectual property 

** She’s an adult, and an artist – no, not going to have a kid scribble on plates and sell them… lol.

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Name change

I’ve spent the last few months retooling the Brandy Chronicles, and the main change, it turns out, is that “it’s not all about you” (meaning Brandy). I’ve changed it from a novel with a novella series afterwards to six novellas in place of the first book, all taking place in Brandy’s first life – but in different universes where the characters make very different choices. The bigger the choices, the more different the universes. The best example is Athena – in some universes, she interprets a prophecy in 1000BC one way, in other universes other ways. They lead to her raising Brandy in 20th century Dallas in one world , Seattle in another, and in yet another she waits another thousand years before Brandy is born.

Along with the structural changes, I decided the name needed to be changed as well. And so, we have the Ten Earth Saga, headed to your e-reader or bookshelves soon. 🙂

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The Power of Fiction

I debated the last few days about whether or not to actually post this, mainly because I’m a hermit and don’t generally like to admit weakness. I learned that early on – it only upset others in my world to know I was bullied, so I didn’t say anything. I was the oldest, and as most older children are, I was taught that my job was to protect the younger kids in the family. Somehow that ended up extending to protecting just about everyone, and hiding anything that was wrong. I still do that, actually.

Anyway. That does relate to the rest of the post, I promise. I wrote it earlier, so it repeats a little of what I just wrote, but, ah well.

***

Richard Hatch, who played Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica, died this last week. He was 71.

When I was in grade school, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Big surprise. I’m a nerd. I was a nerd then, and I was bullied throughout school. I wished I had a big brother and/or a big sister, instead of two younger ones to defend and protect. Not that I don’t love them – I do, and I would do anything for them – but at seven it would have been nice to have someone to look after me.

When Battlestar Galactica aired, I found the perfect imaginary big brother and sister in Apollo and Athena. I was too young to “fall in love” with a character, but I adored them like crazy and wished they were real. And, of course, since I had a very vivid imagination and was completely miserable most of the time, I spent most of my time at school – especially at recess – pretending they were in space above me, talking to me through my communicator, telling me I just had to make it through school and then they could take me back up to the ship… it got me through. Later on in grade school I wrote typical “lost princess” stories based on that. The princesses, of course, were always from another planet.

I usually say that Luke in ESB was my first screen crush, but really, Apollo was, just on a different level than your typical “crush.” I hadn’t realized the impact he (the character, and therefore the actor) had on me, but right now it feels like I lost the big brother who kept me sane when I was seven or eight.

And, of course, I wish I’d realized this earlier. I’m not sure I would have been dorky enough to thank him for playing a character I loved as an imaginary brother forty years ago, but I do wish I’d made an effort to join the sea of fans who let him know they appreciated him before he was gone.

May he rest in peace.

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Beauty

Every once in a while, I’ll be out shopping, and I’ll see someone and think “that woman is beautiful.”

Not the typical blond-haired blue-eyed skinny-jeans-wearing twenty-somethings. Not the teens with their phones plastered to the makeup they cake on, or the thirty-somethings who somehow managed to have 2.5 kids and come out looking like they went to zumba the next day. Not any of those.

I’m talking about the women who probably had a kid puke on them as they were trying to leave the house, and had to run back in and change so they could leave. The women who haven’t had a day to themselves in weeks, between work and kids and their spouse, if they have one, and they’d probably rather be wearing sweats but they decided to put on something a little different and head to the grocery store with the Starbucks in it so they could enjoy being away from the kids for an hour while they shopped.

Or maybe it’s the woman who IS in her early twenties, but she’s got student debt piled up to here and since she doesn’t have experience yet her pay won’t cover her bills and the loans and she’s trying to get a second job to cover them, and she’s wondering if college was actually worth it when she’s picking up quarter tips off tables covered with syrup at IHOP.

Or maybe she’s woman in a midlife crisis, realizing that she chose the wrong career and she’ll never get out, and she’ll be stuck working a job she hates until she dies.

Whoever she is, every once in a while, she relaxes, and she smiles, and she’s beautiful, and I see it. And I want to tell her that she’s beautiful.

But I don’t. Because, crazy stranger danger talk.

But I smile.

So the next time you’re out and feeling like maybe the world isn’t quite so bad, remember.

You’re beautiful.

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September’s over, Green Day (and October’s almost gone, too)

Whoa, bad blogger! I missed almost three full months. I need an alarm or a timer or something. Maybe I should list this as a task in my bullet journal. 🙂

Is writing a good excuse for not writing? Probably not. I’ve actually been on the road most of the last three weeks, visiting family, so there hasn’t been a lot of writing this month. I did get close to 2000 words written two or three weeks ago on my new project, and I set up a Scrivener project for it (new project created, chapters created, two scenes per chapter with word count target and outline for what should happen in each scene) (YES, I am a plotter), but other than that I’m going to use it for my NaNo novel this year.

I also bought Holly Lisle’s class How to Revise Your Novel, and I have started in revising the very first version of my Brandy book. I have several versions of it right now. When I read through the first, I realized I actually liked it the best. It was simple. Just a love story – girl meets boy, they fall in love, there’s a triangle and a mystery subplot (which needs to be a REAL mystery in the revision), but oh well, and her goal is to figure out how to get to where he is, because he happens to be from 1200 years in the future. He’s not worried because he already knows she’s in the future – he just didn’t like her all that much until he met her in the past. I let the story turn into a lot of different things over the last three years. I have plans for those, too, but this first one needs to get back to the basics.

Oh. And, uh, yes. I spent the last three (four?) months becoming slightly obsessed with bullet journals… Not that I didn’t have an obsession with journals before, but I never could find a planner I liked, or would work for me. The bullet journal is WHATEVER YOU MAKE IT. It’s just amazing.

So. How’s your fall? 🙂

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Rewrite statistics

Okay, note to self: hit TAB, not ENTER, after typing the post title. D’oh. I think I just published this with title only.

Anyway.

I rewrote a significant portion of my novel over the last six weeks. Part of it came from a dream I had a couple of years ago and ignored – the rest from a series of dreams I had after I got back from a writer’s workshop this summer.

Don’t ignore your dreams, people. Your subconscious puts a lot of effort into those things. I’m too close to it to know for sure, but I feel that this version is a heck of a lot better than the last couple of versions. Of course, those didn’t have such significant changes, except the first couple when I was trying to figure out what the book really *was.* This one? Huge changes.

Numbers: I didn’t try to calculate the difference in words in the all of the scenes I kept, but the percentage of new words in new scenes and huge chunks of old scenes was 39%. That’s a lot. The percent of new scenes, total, was 48%. I only kept the “relationship” scenes between the two main characters and the scenes for the main character which led to the climax of the book. If I’d taken them out, well, I don’t know what the book would have been about. 🙂

Part of me wishes I hadn’t ignored that dream I had a couple of years ago. I thought it felt too “Dresden-Files-ish,” even though loved the show and I like the book series, and figured my brain was just trying to copy that – but the dream was right about the relationships it gave my character. They’ve changed her a lot from the last version of the book, and it’s for the better.

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#PitchWars Mentee Bio

I keep wanting to write “Mentos” bio. Put me in a can of Coke and shake me up, then run away!

Who am I? I’m someone who is hopefully entering PitchWars, that’s who! OH. You want that other stuff, the boring “real life” stuff (though I would argue that the amount of time I spend writing is probably more than the time I spend at work…).

I’m a lab tech who really did not know what she was getting into 25 years ago when she went into the field. I just knew I loved chemistry. A LOT. Like, spending my lunch hours in the chem lab type of love. Working in a medical lab? That’s, like, *biology.* Shudder. I never liked biology. I didn’t even TAKE biology in high school. I skipped it and went to the chem and physics classes. Not that I really liked physics, either… Just give me chemistry. This is why I LOVE fabric dyeing. That’s more like playing in the chem lab.

Anyway, my chosen profession isn’t all that bad, and I’m pretty good at it, but I’d always rather be writing. To that end, I travel for work, doing short term assignments so I can take off time between them. I have an RV to use as my base camp, but this is my goal:

http://www.autohomeus.com/roof-top-tent/air-top-tent.php

It’s a tent for the top of your car. My goal is spend two weeks in each of the National Parks while I’m writing the books in my novella series. Last year I spent a week in Terlingua and wrote a lot while I was there. No distractions except the birds and the sunsets.

My MS is a little bit cross-genre, but it basically falls under science fiction thanks to all the time travel (invented by humans, not magically brought on by the gods), space travel, and alternate universes. I found the genre “Science Fantasy” thanks to a fellow PitchWarrior, but then had a query critique and decided to stick with SF.

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