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The Writer Writes...Catching Up Yet Again.

Suffice to say, I have been busy of late.  I have been working on my writing with more enthusiam.  I have been getting a book together to release on my Lulu store page.

And I am in the process of getting some long needed stuff out with my regular publisher.

Add to that, there is preparation for Future Stuff that I cannot speak of now (because Mom worries when I speak of such things).

My mood is improving.  My mother's health is still a work in progress, but her own determination to get better is starting to take charge.

That makes me happy.

So at any rate, I am out here more because I just want to let people know I am still at the game of writing, and I am still getting on course for the release of a novel (though I might wait a bit until Other Things are out of the way).

At least I am making progress.

Progress is good.

Writer brain is kicking in as it should be.  The desire to get cracking on all the stories and books I have neglected is now swinging into a new high.  I love it.  I want to get going on so many things.

There are times I wish I could retire from my day job and give myself more time, but I know perfectly well the day job is necessary at this point.  I do have bills to pay.

And those are the responsibilities that keep me from going full time.  But, if the opportunity ever offered itself, I would not hesitate.  I am 60 years old.  I can take early retirement in three years if I want to give up full retirement at 67 (which means less money in my old age).  I have a pension and SSI (though one cannot count on the latter considering the politicians who will not keep their hands out of that till).

So many things I want to do.  Like drive my mother up to New England along the coast to see the fall colors in Maine.  Like several more trips to Disney World.

Time will tell.

So I keep plugging and hoping that some day all my hard work as a writer really WILL pay off.

It is a dream I have...

The Writer Writes...Writer Thoughts

I am taking some stuff into careful consideration.  I stopped trying to be so commercial, and as a result, I am writing more again.  I am letting writing be my release from family stress (and I will add that family stress is going away for the most part, so that is a Good Thing).  I am writing what I want to write.

But I am also aware that a writer who has written professionally as long as I have (really, I sold my first article when I was only 17, and people have been giving me money to write for over 40 years now), needs to either keep their writing in the public eye or forever fade from reader memory.

So to this end, I am making some serious decisions.

I am going to self publish some of my work.

This does not mean I am deserting the one publisher who has been faithful to me all these years.  I will continue to let them publish certain series so that my readers can continue those stories.

But I have other books that are important to me.  Books I have long wanted to get into the hands of my readers.

For instance, my novel ANGELS OF MERCY, which was supposed to have been published by Five Star, but got kicked out of the lineup when they decided to shorten their year of finishing off the fantasy books they published.  The book is good.  Seriously good.  I want to get it out there so my readers can see it.  And while I have talked to one of my regular publisher about it, I catch myself thinking that maybe this should be my solo novel.  I am already thinking of a sequel for it.

There are also things like "The Mageborn King" series and "The Blood Mage Trilogy," books I have written but never found a market for.  And there is my Hammer Maid novel, THUNDER HAMMER.  Arula's due some noticing.  I love that book.  I had a blast writing it, and I think readers will have a blast reading it.

But the options in the industry are becoming so limited any more.  Newbies are bypassing the traditional system and going it on their own, and only a few of them really shine.  Old pros are starting to look at the way of the industry and deciding that selling well to a smaller audience is better than a fat advance and a big audience.

As a librarian, I have seen so many Best Sellers fade from sight.

I want to be read.  I want to be read by the people who like what I write.  I want to expand that audience by word of mouth.

But first, I need product.

So I am letting people know that hopefully, by the end of this month, I will be releasing a novel.  Not sure which one, but once I make up my mind, I will work hard at making it happen.

And who knows.  It might be just the thing to push me back into the right state of mind that keeps me writing stuff.

We write to be read.

We write to be remembered.

I want to be remembered as a good writer who people enjoyed reading.

Even if I don't ever make the best seller list, as long as people enjoy my books and keep asking for more, I will keep writing.

The Writer Writes...About Dolls

As people who are in my innermost circle know, I have become a doll collector.  Yes, there are those who hint that I have joined "the creepy doll people."  I am going to tell you there is nothing creepy about collecting dolls.  It is just another art form.  So get over it. ;-)

Now one of the dolls I have become obcessed with are Makies.  You can visit their website here:
https://mymakie.com/ and I can assure you they are very child friendly as well.  There is an app you can download to your iPad to design and make your own doll.  Once you design your doll, you can order it (about $115 USD).

I now own four of these little darlings, and I have more on the way. The great fun about them is choosing eye color, hair color, and even the shape of the face.  Yep, YOU design the doll's face, select a skin color, pick clothes and even decide on human or elfin ears, with or without earring holes.

The amazing part is these dolls are "printed."  Once you have decided to purchase your doll, the Makie Lab folks send the info over to a nylon 3-D printing company and make your Makie.  They then assemble it, dress it, give it a mild faceup (very mild) and ship it to you.

Here are a couple of my Makies.  The first one I designed and ordered was Oona.

This is how she looked on the web when I designed her.

This is how she looks now:

The rest of my gang consisted of Niall (the blond boy with glasses), Penelope (the striking redhaired elf) and Kyle (the dark-haired elf boy).

Kinda cute, aren't they.  I redid all their faces (Niall just got his done this weekend).

And I have another on the way.

I recommend watching for the sales when they discount the dolls.  You can make one and get it cheaper.  I also know that they are discussing using mold injected bodies (less costly that 3-D printer) which will allow them to lower the price and make them more Child Friendly to Purchase.

But I also recommend them because they are aimed at children 6 and beyond.  Imagine what your child would think if they could make a doll that looks like them.  Or like their favorite character.  It is fun just to design the dolls.  I have a number of saved dolls on my account, and one day, I might own them all.

So go take a peek at the Makies dolls.  You might become addicted.

The Writer Writes...Another Month Gone...

Seems like I am getting neglegent in posting to this site.  Not for a lack of better things to do, mind you, but I do have a lot on my plate.

I am writing, though I think I am mostly editing, but that is a sort of writing.  I did finish a story that has been pestering me for a while, and I am getting a few others into the proper format for submission.

Just seems like time flies by, and I suddenly realize I am falling behind.

Part of it is due to the weather.  We are either horribly fricking hot, or we are being flooded with cats and dogs and hogs and frogs from the sky.  Storms move in, wreck havoc and move on.  Or miss us and cause problems elsewhere.

At the moment, I am a little depressed.  I work hard at my job, and I am still trying to get my mother's stuff done.  She has a long list of things she wants done, from getting a new shed so we can store stuff to setting up her estate (she swears she has not got long on this earth, in spite of what doctors tell her).

I was doing fine until a patron came in and got in my face and accused me of purposely being unhelpful.  His screaming fit in which he shouted curses at me and threatened my job security left me tired.  I hate the fact that I am not allowed to be the dragon in my soul and stand up and breath fire on those folks who step on my toes and falsely accuse me of things.

The truth is the old man is dying from Agent Orange and he has ptsd, and he is just taking it out on us because we are unable to do what he wants.  He came in just before the computers were about to shut off, and when I tried to be nice and tell him there was no time for him to get on the computer, he turned and pointed a finger at me and started shouting that I "damn well better fix it so he could use the computer."  We tried to explain to him that we had no control of the computers--that it was the software that shut them down ten minutes before closing, and he accused us of never trying to help him.  When we offered him alternatives (and indeed, this was my third encounters and I told him where he needed to go the first time, but he didn't want to do that, he wanted ME to get online for him and fill out forms for him--which I cannot do because it involves personal information and polities).

If I *could* help him, I would have, but there are policies in place that prevent me from doing so, and his screaming cursing fits do not help matters.  He left here threatening to get me fired for my attitude.  I left work alternately screaming and crying as I drove home.

A lot of nice people come in and ask for my help, and I do what I can.

But that one rotten apple ruined my day and left me dazed and angry and upset.

So now I am slowly filtering through my minor depression with cookies.

Cookies cure everything.  ;-)

Writers don't need depression.  They need clear heads to work.

So working through this is going to take time.

The Writer Writes...A Month???

A whole month has passed since the last time I was out here.  I apologize for that, but life still has a way of interfering.

Not that things have been TOO bad.  Oh, there are some fights going on.  I am still trying to get Mom's stuff taken care of, and I am not always having a lot of luck (I seriously hate playing phone tag/push the button for options with businesses--it is crappy and inhuman of corporations and government offices to be lazy and irresponsible and uncaring by not having humans talk to you).

But I digress.

I am writing.  It takes longer to finish my own things with so many external interruptions, but they do not stop me from doing what I want to do.

And I am planning future trips.  I have a con coming up at the end of this month.  I am going to be a toastmistress at MidSouthCon next year (my first big gig since I was keynote speaker at a writer's conference).

Sometimes, things still feel a little surreal.  I only have one parent to care for now.  I am making plans to move upstairs so my mother doesn't feel lonely.  We don't have as much of a household income, so I am having to take over things from time to time.

But otherwise, it is a life.  It goes on.

That is how it should be.

And for those wondering, I do have things coming out in the future.  YDP will be releasing some of my older items in ebook format.  I am trying to finish a couple of books for publication.

So yes, I am working on my career.  Just takes a little longer now.

The Writer Writes...Is it Friday Yet?

Unfortunately not, but it has not started out too badly, this week.  I only have two days of work, and then I am off three days (though two of those days will be spent squiring my mother about to the doctors and to the grand nephew's graduation ceremony).

Other than that?

The writer writes, and she is slowly getting back in the habit of editing stories that have been sorely neglected.  She has been getting one story ready for submission, and others that were incomplete are now getting her full attention.

Why?  Because she stopped caring about whether or not she was getting published anymore and went back to writing the stories she loved instead of the stories editors were telling her they wanted.

Which makes the writer seem more like a hobby writer than a pro, but one thing I have learned as a pro is you must love what you write or you will stop writing.

And I do still play with dolls, though now they are being put aside for the writing.  So things do come full circle.

Besides, I got my first invitation to be a Toast Mistress at a convention.  Yep.  Me, the Bridesmaid Writer is going to be a Toast Mistress.  And I am looking forward to it.

Not until next spring, of course.  But it happens to be close enough that if the weather is bad, I know many other ways to get there.  ;-)

So the Writer Writes.  Which is all that is really important in her humble opinion.
Terry Pratchett is gone.  He went peacefully, if the articles I have read today are correct.  He was facing a future with alzheimer's disease, and while I am sad that he is gone, I am glad he will not have to face the ugliest part of that affliction.

Sir Terry has always been someone I admired.  From the witches in his Discworld novels to the hilarious shenannigans of his (and Neil Gaiman's) novel Good Omens, I have enjoyed his work. He proved that you can use humor as a weapon as easily as magic in fiction.

I always remember sitting at a table in the restaurant of the old MidSouthCon hotel with Lee Martindale and Esther Friesner when Sir Terry toddled over and asked if one of us ladies could assist a "dottery old Englishman" to find a cereal without sugar.  Of course, the three of us leapt to the task (pretty impressive for Lee since she lives in a wheelchair) and were able to dig down in the bowl and find Rice Krispies for him.

Years ago, when I was manager of Periodicals, the reference librarian called me up and asked if I knew how to find out who a certain character in a Terry Pratchett novel was.  The patron had asked "Who was Chlority?" and when I asked for clarification, they said the quote had been that a certain person was "richer than Howard Hughes and Chlority combined."

I KNEW Chlority was just a character, but someones you have to prove things to patrons.  And since I could not find a source "stating" this, I decided to take the bull by the horns and wrote to the man himself.

And he answered, telling me I was quite right in my assumption that Clority was a character and went on to point out that she was a character who had "yet to be born" since it was one of his SF novels.

But then he asked, "Do people often ask you questions like that?"

I explained various things from the National Geographic bit where patrons came in wanting to find the article written by Robert Kincaid from the novel BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY to folks demanding actual photographs of "The Last Supper" as it was taking place.

He wrote back and declared, "Do people really think writers live in their fantasy worlds?  Do they not understand that in order to write fantasy, one needs to have both feet firmly planted on the ground?"

It is a statement as a writer I have never forgotten.

I am keeping both feet on the ground, even when I am delving in fictional incarnations.

Because it is the only way one can write.

You will be sorely missed Sir Terry.  I hope you and the Death you created in Discworld are having a delightful time.

The Writer Writes...Where Have I Been?

Life is full of ups and downs, and mine has been no exception.  I regaled people with the problems regarding my mother's health.  She is still on the road to recovery, but it is a very long slow road.

But life took a dive in December.  One week before Christmas, my stepfather took ill.  He was taken to the hospital having respiratory arrest.  He had a heart attack, and ended up on a respirator.  After two weeks of infections, discovering that his kidneys were failing, that one of his three bypasses had failed and become clogged, that his arteries around the bypass were also blocked, and that there was a large mass on his pancreas that could not be biopsied because he was too weak, we had to let him go.  On the first of January, the respirator was removed, and he slid peacefully out of this world.

I was there.  I had spent a lot of time at the hospital, and afterwards, I had to deal with closing out his accounts, talking to social security and the Veterans Administration, making the arrangements for his cremation, and all the other duties that fall on me because my mother is not healthy enough to deal with them.

It has taken up a big chunk of my life.

But things are starting to move forward, even if the steps are a little staggering and scattered.  I am trying to get back into my own routines while keeping my mother on the path to a better life.  She is still suffering issues from the bouts of pneumonia she has suffered.  She is on oxygen because she had difficulty breathing.

Everyone worries about me.  I am okay.  I am used to finding myself inundated into being the caregiver for others in my family, so it is really just another step of the routine.  The good news is that in spite of the health issues, my mother still has all her wits about her.  She can still laugh at funny stuff.  Still find things to distract and amuse herself.  She does find herself worrying about things.  She is always worried about things.  I used to tell her that she was not happy unless she had something to worry about, and she would say that it was her grandmother's fault, because her grandmother (who raised her mostly) worried about everything.

So onward and upward. I move forward.  I write when I can.  I work on doll clothes and art when I can.  I knit and crochet and get out and walk around and shop when I can.

That's life.

All we can do is live it to the best of our ability.

The Writer Writes...Yes, I Like Dolls...

I have been doing a lot of doll crafting things.  Sewing and knitting mostly because it is too cold to paint faces on the newer members of my doll court.

I recently purchased a doll from a fellow doll lover, making it my first "second hand" bjd.  Most of the second hand dolls I own are Monster High dolls I use for practicing the art of Dollystein (or Frankendolly, if that be your preference), which is basically the art of taking two dolls and making a new doll.

Hey, parts is parts as someone once said.

Now at the moment, I am doing a test.  I am trying to insert a picture via copy/paste, so here goes nothing.

Well, what do you know.  It seems to work.  This is Joey, in case you are curious.  He is a ResinSoul Yu.

Of course, it remains to be seen if this picture appears after I save and post this entry.

This is another picture.  My second hand girl.  Her name is now Fiona.

And yes, it worked again.  Fiona is faceless at the moment.  She is a ResinSoul Li immature body with a ResinSoul Qing head.

Another new kid in my collection is Legacy Day Cerise Hood.

So I like dolls.  I will continue to buy them and show them off because they are like potato chips to me...

No one can have Just One.  ;-)
Mine, actually.  On this day in 1954, I was born, and if you do the math, it will tell you I have seen 60 years of existence in this world.

I remember when I was little, my dad used to tell me that when the year 2000 rolled around, I would be 46.  I remember thinking That is SO OLD!!!

Of course, it is not.  Now that I have attained the big Six-O, I am not as convinced of the ancientness of that age.

I will say that as time passes, birthdays sort of mean less and less, and yet they also mean more.  They mean less because I really don't care how old I am.  They mean more because you would think individuals would honor and venerate you for having attained that age.

Some people get parties and tons of presents...

They get taken out to dinner, or have a bunch of friends who get together and surprise them with something Very Special.

Me...I get to work.  I spent the morning in the doctor's office with my mother who was getting some followup testing, then I went to work where I will be until well after dark.

Presents?  I bought myself a couple of new dolls.  No one else is going to get them for me, so why not.

Parties--I am not that much of a party person, but no one ever throws me a surprise party anyway.

Now, I am not complaining.  My mother gave me cards (one has a cat flushing a toilet that makes the sound of a cat meowing while flusing the toilet).  She also paid for a nice dinner at Red Lobster (yes, I like their specials).  She got me lunch at Taco Bell (though I am inclined to call it Taco Hell because I *know* what the after effect of eating there will be in a few hours).

And a number of my Facebook Friends have wished me the proper sentiments online.

Birthdays are just another day to me.  I think I stopped expecting them to be special when I turned 50 and no one even noticed.

So don't feel sad for me.

I am having a nice day.  I am not having to deal with some of our more troublesome individuals, so no big deal.

You can wish me a Happy Birthday if you want, and I will be content.

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