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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.

The Writer Writes...New Story Up

Sorcerous Signals latest issue is on the web.  I have a story in that issue titled "Bear Hunt" which is one of my Hammer Maid tales.

http://www.sorceroussignals.com/BearHunt.html

The last time I had a Hammer Maid story out was in RevolutionSF some years ago.  In fact, the story is still available in their archives, and you can read it here:

http://www.revolutionsf.com/fiction/blackhammer/index.html

I give you these links so you can enjoy these stories for free.

I like being able to offer these things to my fans.  If you want a permanent copy, you can purchase a copy (with a discount of 25% good until November 30th) by going here: https://www.createspace.com/5096318 and using this code: 9HW5GHYR.

That's right.  You can get a discount between now and the end of November, and get a copy you can keep.

Enjoy...
It gets very annoying to go out on google, search your name, and find a link you never saw before.  You think, "Oh, maybe it is a review or something."

But no.

It is another darn book thief.  Someone who thinks nothing of taking your work and posting a free download on the web.

Many of these companies are foreign owned.  A few say they are nothing more than places where readers can "link" to copies of your books and not responsible for the fact that some of the links might lead to illegal copies.

It is very disheartening for an author to find that copies of their books are being shared on the web freely without their knowledge.  Especially since this means they are not getting paid.

It is stealing.  Bottom line is I do not write what I write so someone can post a free copy on the web and give it to others who are too damned chintzy to pay for a copy.

Now admittedly, there are times I give stuff away for promotional purposes.  But a web site that shares illegal downloads is nothing more than a thief in my opinion.

You have NO right to give my work away to others.  I am happy when readers want to tell others about my work.  I am happy if that telling leads to another person picking up and purchasing a copy of my book to read.  Word of mouth is still the most powerful tool out there, and we writers depend on fans with good intentions who respect our ownership of the material.

We do not like people who think nothing of giving our stuff away because in in their mind, everything on the web should be free.

I deserve to be paid for my work.  It is my work.

So please, if you see a site that is offering free downloads of my work, don't fall victim to the temptation.  For one thing, a lot of these sites contain malware that will eat you and your computer alive.  In fact, when you see someone giving away an author's work, let that author's publisher know.

If it is an indie author, let THEM know.

It is not fair to the person who took so much time to create the work when they have to spend a lot of time surfing the web seeking the illegal copies of their work, writing said offenders and trying to maintain their rights.

Theft is theft.  Remember that.  Be it altering someone else's photos or giving someone else's work away, it is wrong.

The Writer Writes...Or Does She???

So sorry for my long absence from this place.  Life as it is has been hectic.

First there was the trip to Disney with my mother and sister.

Then there was my mother's surgery.

It is the latter that has kept me out of touch, I fear.  My mother had a skin cancer that started out as a sore.  She had to have a vulvectomy in order to rid herself of the cancer.  To make matters worse, she came back from Disney World with a bad cold, and I caught it right after she did, and we had to put off the surgery for about ten days.

The surgery was a success and she is cancer free.

The problem, however, was that she got pneumonia in the hospital, and it got pretty tense for a bit.  I was at her side the whole time, taking time off from work when I could and basically getting only 2-3 hours of interrupted sleep a night for nearly 12 nights in a row.  There were times I wondered if we should have waited more than ten days because I am certain the bad cold we got weakened her immune system enough that she was susceptible to pneumonia.

The lack of sleep, however, plays Old Hairy with your brain.  Sleep deprivation turns you into a living zombie.  You mutter a lot. You get lost easily.  You drive like an automaton.

And yet, I managed to pretend to be human enough to interact, but I am certain somewhere I said or did something that is going to be remembered for the wrong reasons... ;-)

I had to take care of all the household bills.  I had to keep encouraging my mother to live.  There were a couple of times she thought she was leaving this world.

And she is still alive.  Weak from the experience, but growing stronger daily.  She is in rehab at this time, and turning into her old cocky self.  She plots silliness.  She and I sit and laugh, much to the chagrin of her roomie, who apparently pretends to be weak and helpless when her family or the nurses are present, but turns into a little hell raiser when they leave.  And keeps trying to escape the alarm they put on her.  In fact, the roomie figured out if she stripped naked, she could get away without setting off the alarm, but Mom let the nurses know she was running around in her birthday suit and they started keeping a closer eye on the old dear.

For me, this has been a lost month or two.  I have done nothing as a writer (well, not entirely, I did sell a story that should soon be available on the web).  I am looking at ways to take my career in a new direction because frankly, my sales are at an all time low, and I get the impression no one likes good fantasy anymore.

Doesn't stop me from wanting to keep writing.  Just leaves me wondering why I bother.

That said, I am slowly trying to get back on the high horse of literature and charge back into the fray.

Bear with me.

It might take a while.

And thank you to all those who continue to believe in me and my writing.
Dragon's Tongue, Book 1 of The Demon-Bound Duology is about to go on special.  On September 11th, you will be able to pick up a copy of the Kindle Edition for only .99 cents.

On September 12th, the e-book will retail at $1.99.  After that, it returns to its regular price of $2.99.

So if you have not read Dragon's Tongue, here is the perfect opportunity to get a copy at a bargain.

If you have read it, tell your friends.  Share this info.


http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Tongue-Demon-Bound-Book-ebook/dp/B00658MMVG/ref=sr_1_8?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1410203993&sr=1-8&keywords=Laura+J.+Underwood

Remember, this is a two day deal.

And if you like Dragon's Tongue, you might want to hop over to www.yarddogpress.com and pick up a copy of the sequel Wandering Lark.

Enjoy

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