Welcome 2019: Goals and Thoughts

To start: I’m not totally sold on this new WordPress editor. I know when it came out people were PISSED about it, and honestly, I can see why. On the other hand, it has some cool features. What I’m really not pleased about is the apparent disappearance of the word count function — or maybe it’s somewhere here and I just can’t find it yet. EDIT: I found it. It’s…yeah, okay, I don’t like where it is now. You have to click a button to see it instead of it just being at the base of your editing window.

To continue: Happy New Year! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and Day and that you stayed safe and warm. On New Year’s Eve I went and got a CT scan, which was a terrifying experience as I’m claustrophobic. However, it will hopefully show if my spinal injury has deteriorated or not. (OK, seriously WordPress? You fucked up adding links? Jesus.)

Anyway, as I’ve thrown out my back three times in the past year, I think it’s time to see what’s going on back there and possibly get a referral to a neurologist. I was super lucky to get a CT scan before the end of the year, and going in and getting it was actually very fast. So I’m not displeased.

2019 is the year of feeling less crappy. #spoonielife Click To Tweet

I have decided that 2019 is going to be the year I get my health back. Or, more accurately, the year I stop feeling like 100% crap all the damn time. Living with a spinal injury and acid reflux and all manner of chronic crap as well as mental illness means that I basically always feel like shit, and I’m tired of it, because there are small interventions I can do to lessen that feeling like shit thing.

2019 is also the year of better communication and finishing up projects! It’s the last year in this decade, the 2010s, so I want to get some stuff DONE, you know? I also want to communicate better — by which I mean, actually send out newsletters on a regular basis and blog more. Also maybe get a keyboard that can keep up with me so I’m not having to correct for missing letters every FIVE SECONDS, LAPTOP, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

So anyway, I’ve got some goals. Some writing goals. (I have other goals too but maybe one set of goals per post, or this will be waaaay too long.)

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Hera: Queen of Heaven, Enforcer of Boundaries

Welcome to another installment of Mythology Mondays!

Today we’re going to learn a bit about Hera, Greek Queen of the Gods.

(Thanks to Kayla for suggesting her in the comments on my Facebook post!)

Hera gets a bad rap, honestly, especially with TV shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys being one of the main ways most modern Westerners know of her. She’s seen as jealous and shrewish, a vindictive, scorned wife of the king of the gods.

But let’s be real for a moment: if your partner slept around as much as Zeus did (according to the myths), wouldn’t you be a little cranky? I mean, assuming it’s not an open relationship (and for Zeus and Hera, it wasn’t).

One of the main things people know about the Greek gods these days (if they know anything) is that Zeus…was a bit of a player. And by “bit of a player” I mean he had sex with pretty much everything. Most mythological creatures in Greek mythology? Yeah, they exist because Zeus is their dad.

And the thing is, this is after he and Hera are married. In the beginning, they were both born of Cronos and Rhea (yeah, they’re sister and brother, which is honestly pretty common in a lot of mythologies; I know, it’s kinda weird; just go with it). However, Cronos was told his son would usurp him. So he ate all his kids, natch.

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Hephaestus, renowned artificer of weapons and wheelchairs

Welcome to the first instalment of Mythology Mondays!

Every other week (to start) I’ll be posting a short intro to a figure from mythology. Any mythology that I know something about is up for grabs — Hellenic, Roman, Irish, Buddhist — you name it, I might cover it.

I’ve studied a lot of mythology over the years, both because I enjoy it and because it is rich fodder for fantasy world-building. Also because I’m a polytheist, but you already knew that, I think.

Please note, for the purposes of these posts, the term “mythology” is not a pejorative. As an anthropological term, it is merely descriptive, referring to a body of work of stories told by a religious or cultural group to explain the truths of their worldview.

Calling something myth does not actually comment on whether or not it’s real. It’s important to remember that there is a difference between cosmic truth and literal fact, and they are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Myths reveal what a religion’s or culture’s cosmic truths are — that is, truths about the culture’s cosmology, or how they view the cosmos. They don’t comment on the existence or not of the figures within them. That’s up to members of the religion or culture.

I’m kicking off Mythology Mondays with one of my favourite dudes: Hephaestus.

Continue reading “Hephaestus, renowned artificer of weapons and wheelchairs”

End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017

I feel like I’m saying that a lot these days. Every New Year’s I turn to the past year and scream BURN IN HELL YOU ASSHOLE and then turn to the next year like it’s going to be better. And then it’s not. Or it is in some ways, but worse in other ways.

Anyway, this year is no exception. 2017 was long and hard and yet surprisingly short, and while I’m glad it’s over I also want to hit Pause for a few days because I am so not ready for 2018, y’all.

Continue reading “End of Year Reflection: Go Fuck Yourself, 2017”

Hello Overwhelm, my old friend!

I don’t know what it is about this part of the year but it always seems to be completely insanely busy for me — right when I’m feeling the need to draw inward and rest and relax.

You already know about Pronoun folding, putting a bunch of work on my desk right in time for the holidays. I’m ALSO trying to get our books up on Ingram Spark so they can be sold to libraries — which has a deadline of Nov. 30th, because that’s when the Indie Fringe code expires that makes set up free and we can’t afford 50 bucks per book right now.

As well, I am working my ass off trying to make enough money to a) pay rent, b) pay my super overdue phone bill that is about to be cut off, and c) cover some school costs while I wait on word of whether or not I’m getting a loan. Oh, and I have to jump through a thousand hoops to get that loan, because between the time of my last student loan and now I CHANGED MY BLOODY NAME LIKE A FREAKING IDIOT.

(My mom- and dad-in-law helped me out with school a LOT by paying my tuition as a Christmas gift, but I still need to cover a shit ton of costs for the Winter Semester.)

Seriously, if you’re ever going to go through the legal process of changing your whole name, be prepared for the incredible amount of work in front of you. Also be prepared — at least if you’re a person who gets socially classed as female — for people to completely not understand anything when you try to get your paperwork sorted because you didn’t get your name changed as a part of marriage. Like, dear gods, the amount of times I’ve had people look at me like I’d grown an extra head because I explained it wasn’t marriage that changed my name and just a desire to live more authentically as myself…for Hera’s sake.

Anyway, I digress. I’m crazy-busy right now and obviously it’s driving me crazy (er). On top of work I’ve been doing Nanowrimo — it’s looking very unlikely I’ll hit word count (though I’m rebelling, so it wouldn’t be a “true” win in the spirit of Nano anyway — at this point, this month is sort of like a devotion of sorts; I’m less concerned with following the “rules” and more concerned with just making sure I write) — but it wasn’t that so much I was concerned with as it was just FINISHING MY BOOK.

I have been trying to finish first draft of this book for…I don’t even know anymore. A long time. I have even rewrote it from scratch once and gotten about as far in as the first time before stalling out. I really need to put my ass to the grindstone (I know it’s nose, but my nose is so perfect in shape, and my ass won’t miss it if some of it gets ground off) and just type out the rest of the story even if it’s pure unmitigated crap. But that is so much easier to say than it is to do — especially when I’m focusing on trying to make money so I don’t lose my phone or my home or anything else.

This poverty thing is fun!

I’ve also been knitting, which I’ve been trying to blog about at my knitting/planning/crocheting/messy lifestyle stuff blog but I’m really bad at blogging on a regular schedule at all, let’s face it, so. Some of the things I’m making are for gifts and others are for sale (because again, trying to hustle up that end of year cash).

Anyway, in the turmoil of all this overwhelm, I wanted to blog here again because I kind of miss blogging, I’m realizing, and want to be better about doing it more often. I don’t know how well that’s going to work, but I’m going to try for at least once a month for the next few months, and if I can keep to that schedule, up it to once every 2 weeks or so. No idea what I’m going to be blogging about, because I’m having issues finding my own life interesting right now so it’s hard for me to write about it as if anyone else would be interested. But I’m going to try to figure it out.

Also, here’s some book news:

All my books are on sale for the rest of the year. It was just going to be a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, but I figured, eh, why not, I’ll keep the prices low until the end of December. Bellica is still free, of course, but right now you can get The Jade Star of Athering, Stranger Skies, or glasstown for $0.99 each.

Currently only Bellica and glasstown are up at all retailers, but Jade Star and Stranger Skies have been uploaded to Draft2Digital and are getting pushed to other retailers as we speak. They’re both on Kobo and Jade Star is also on Apple right now. I’ll be giving you the universal book link from Draft2Digital so it will take you to your preferred retailer.

Here are some links (again, my Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get an extra commission if you buy my books or something else after using these links, but you don’t pay any extra):

Bellica: Amazon  |  Amazon.ca  |  Universal Book Link from Draft2Digital

The Jade Star of Athering: Amazon  |  Amazon.ca  |  Universal Book Link from Draft2Digital

Stranger Skies: Amazon  |  Amazon.ca  |  Universal Book Link from Draft2Digital

glasstown: Amazon  |  Amazon.ca  |  Universal Book Link from Draft2Digital

They are also available through our Ecwid store, and from my Gumroad store, as well as our Payhip store, if you prefer to go super indie with retailers.


I think there was more I was wanting to say in this blog post, but I’ve run out of steam in the several hours it’s taken me to write this. (I started writing it last night while cooking dinner, then took a huge break, and now it’s 7am the next day and I’m still not done with it.)

So, yup. I’m loonier than usual right now, but all my books are on sale so you should tell your friends. Or get them ebooks for Xmas. Or whatever; I’m not your supervisor. (Or AM I?)

Until next time, fellow loons!

-Katje

Nope, taking care of the dog did not, in fact, kill me

Or at least I assume so, as I seem to still be corporeal. (Though my body is disintegrating at an alarming rate now I’m this close to being 30. It is possible I am a zombie.)

It occurred to me today that I hadn’t posted here since December, and that I should probably remedy that, as my last post was about how taking care of Tyee was slowly murdering me and some readers might think I did actually die-by-doggy-daycare (actually, that sounds amazing). At least one might think that if one doesn’t follow my Facebook page, which I’ve been updating more frequently.

Anyway. I survived.

I’ve had some time to reflect on things the past couple of months. I’ve realized some things about myself and how I work, and how I don’t work. One thing I realized is that I do not work well with a set subject for a blog — at least, not with this blog. Every time I try to set myself to write about a certain thing here, I end up not posting for approximately forever. Obviously, this isn’t sustainable.

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting rid of this blog altogether and just posting at my LiveJournal about author-y stuff, but I don’t like that idea for one big reason: I like keeping control of my content. Yes, I write over at Medium now, and I continue to place my writing in other places on the web, but at any moment my writing can disappear from those places. This site is self-hosted, and the only way it’s disappearing is if I forget to pay my bills. (Which, ok, not without the realm of possibility, but still. My writing is safer here than it is anywhere else.)

The trouble, I think, with trying to keep to a certain subject matter here is the same trouble I have with “branding”. Being an indie author means I’m supposed to constantly be thinking about my “brand”, but truthfully I find that exhausting. As exhausting as I find most social interaction. I’m not going to cultivate a brand anymore; I’m just going to be myself, and write what I want, and say what I want on social media, and let that be my ‘brand’. I summed myself up as “author, poet, menace to society” and honestly that’s as close a label as I can come to sum me up.

So this blog will remain, and I’m going to go back to posting whatever the fuck I want to post about. I’ve been blogging for 12 years now; you would think I’d figured this stuff out, but I’m a slow learner.

On that note, some writing news!

I took a huge hiatus from writing fiction — about 6 months — but I’m back on the horse again. I had to chase down the horse first, of course, because the fucker had wandered into a nearby saloon and holy hell was he drunk, but everything’s all good now, even if I am riding a very soused horse. I haven’t yet gotten back to my big projects — been dipping my toes with little bits of short prose — but that’s on the table for April. Next month I plan on writing 30K on Anala, Book 3 in The Third Age, and hopefully getting it closer to being finished; I’m using Camp Nanowrimo to help me with this. This means March is dedicated to Camp Nano prep — there’s still a lot of world-building work I need to do for Anala, as well as sitting down and plotting out that book and the book that comes after.

I never set out to write a series with Bellica, and now that I am I’m wishing I’d planned ahead more. But then again, if I had, I wouldn’t be Starbuck in real life.

I don’t know when Anala will be done, but I am aiming for this year, and a publication date of the end of this year or the beginning of next. I’m trying not to rush things though I know people are eager to read the next installment. I’m eager to read it too, to be honest. I’ve got a bunch of scenes in my head of Anala kicking all sorts of butt and I really want to sit down and write them. But I need to respect my process, and how slow I am, which I’ve learned is about as fast as a sloth on downers. So I — and my readers — must exercise patience.

The other big project I want to get to this year is the next book in The Borderlands Saga, From the Ashes. I have a good 30K written on it already, but I need to go back and rewrite and re-plot it out, as well as doing more worldbuilding and planning for the next few books. However, Anala is my current priority, so that book comes first.

I also have a bunch of smaller projects this year — short stories, new Atherian myths, and the like — and I’ll announce them as/when it becomes appropriate. And besides the fiction, there’s my poetry and creative non-fiction as well, so this is a busy year, writing-wise, for me.

That’s the news for now. I will be writing here again, though about what I really cannot say.

Have a great Saturday night (what’s left of it), and I’ll see you soon!

-Katje

Letting Go of Shame

I just read this great piece by Daniel José Older called Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong. There’s a paragraph I really want to share with you, so I’m going to quote it here:

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

The whole article is great, though, and I urge you to take the time to read it.

But this thing, this shame…it hangs over my head every day I don’t write. Every day I don’t put in the time on my writing, or my author career — every day I don’t blog, I don’t edit, I don’t proof, I don’t put new words on paper — every day I focus on something else, I feel shame.

And I need to let go of that.

Right now I’m not writing as much as I’d like to. I’ve been putting in some work on a small project, but it’s slow going and like pulling teeth to be honest. I would like to have been finished with it in August but at this rate, I’ll be lucky to write “the end” in October. And as for the big project, Anala, book 3 in The Third Age, I’ve had to promise myself that on day 1 of my honeymoon I’ll sit down and do more work on it, but that I can’t try to get to before then.

I still have a bunch of stuff to do before then anyway — I just finished proofing The Jade Star of Athering, finally, and now I’ll be sending off the edited files so I can get the final paperback proof, and maybe there will be a paperback available by November. (Let’s not get hasty here; there have been so many issues with getting that book out.) I have that small project to get out, which I’ll talk more about when it’s launched, but suffice it to say it consists of 5 short pieces — a story, a myth, and 3 character backstories — that are proving difficult to get done.

These things I have to find room for in between the day job, the other publishing work I do, keeping house, wedding planning, and keeping my health up. To be honest I’m kinda crap at all of these things, except the day job, where the requirement is I show up, smile, and do the same thing for 8 hours. The fact is I just don’t have time to focus on writing all that much right now, and I have to let myself be okay with that.

It’s a struggle. I already shame myself for not being productive enough on whatever I’m doing; writing is no exception there. It’s supposed to be my greatest joy, but I also want it to be my career — to provide for me on some level. Is it any surprise I am too hard on myself for not doing enough of it?

I’ve been writing for most of my life and I’ve yet to really find my process. It’s changed and fluctuated so much over the years, I’m honestly not sure what really works for me. I’m sure I’ll figure it out someday — if I can let go, and trust myself, and actually have the time to do so.

So I’m letting go of the shame. I’m not letting myself feel crappy for not writing (aside from, you know, the crap feeling I get when I’m not writing just because I’m not writing — I’m not giving myself extra crap feeling, is what I’m saying). Shame does nothing productive; it drags us down; it makes us despair; it constricts whatever creativity we might have had. Shame is the mind-killer, for it is rooted in fear.

I’m going to start with self-forgiveness instead. Then, when I have the time to sit down and write, I can truly let what’s in my heart sing on the page.

~Katje

I should probably post something here

Just so you all know I’m not dead.

I know, I haven’t posted in over a month, and now I am posting it’s just a boring general update on my life, not something fascinating about the backstory of Athering.

I apologize.

I’ve been fighting off illness, physical and mental, for most of February and March, and been finding it really hard to keep my focus. Even now I’m getting distracted, looking away, letting my attention wander, obsessively checking Kitten Clicker to see if there’s a new astronomical event I can observe and make a star chart from (there isn’t).

Yesterday I decided that cleaning up and reorganizing my office/the guest bedroom would help me focus better, because the mess has been distracting. It’s true the mess has been distracting, and I do feel better now that I’ve taken the first step to cleaning. Of course, there are still a million steps, and I’m sitting here trying to convince myself to do some actual work before tackling the mess again. It’s going to take me several days to finish it, so there’s no need for it to be the first thing I work at every day.

All this is to say: I have no idea what to write about here. Or, I have ideas, I just haven’t had the focus to sit down and get them done.

I don’t know where my focus went. I wish it were something simple, like I’ve been off my meds and just need to start taking them again, but that’s not it. I’ve been taking my meds faithfully for a while now. I just…can’t concentrate. It might be a symptom of absolute overwhelm. Whenever there’s too much on my plate (as there is now) my brain just sort of…shuts down. It won’t focus on what needs to be done, what’s priority; it’ll just grab onto random passing thoughts and run with them. Which is why I find myself doing low-priority things first, because they’re easier, and I can convince myself I’m being truly productive because hey, that thing I’m doing is on the list. Somewhere near the murky bottom, but still on the list.

So I think what I’m getting at with this post is that I need to reduce my stated posting schedule here until my current state of overwhelm is relieved a bit. Posting once a week would be awesome, but it’s apparent I just can’t manage it at the moment, and every week I miss I feel guiltier and guiltier until I’m stuck in a shame-spiral that won’t end. Well, time to end the shame-spiral because it’s not doing anyone any good. I’m going to post here once a month, on a topic related to the worlds I write in — character snapshots, backstory, maybe unpublished myths, who knows. Stuff like that.

Reducing my posting commitment here, for now, will lower my stress levels and allow me to finish other projects — like proofing the paperback copy of The Jade Star of Athering, which really should have been done this week, and would have, probably, had there not been a TON of errors for me to correct (because I apparently misplaced my brain when I did the layout). New goal: end of the month.

Other projects I should be focusing on? Writing the third book in The Third Age, Anala, as I have a self-imposed deadline of April 12 to finish the first draft. Going to have to pull out the big guns to make that happen: coffee IVs and huge sacrifices to the Mousai. (Only half-kidding.)

Then there’s this month’s episode of Fifty Shades of Drinking; finishing the cleaning of the office; finishing last year’s taxes; re-organizing my pantry and cleaning my kitchen; doing my filing (a Sisyphean task); and oh, did I mention, wedding planning? Yeah. Getting (officially) married in 7 months and am super behind on that. Go me.

Adulting is super difficult and the benefits don’t always outweigh the costs. If you’re a kid reading this, take my advice: don’t grow up. Run away to Never Never Land and just stay a kid forever. MUCH BETTER CHOICE.

Anyway. I’m off to work some more on The Jade Star of Athering, and if I don’t post again this month (with something actually about Athering or something) then I will see you in April.

-Katje

Character Snapshot: Jules, 4020

Hello, and welcome to another instalment of Character Snapshots!

Today we’ll be talking to Jules deTania just after the events that take place in Bellica. There are spoilers ahead, so beware.

Continue reading “Character Snapshot: Jules, 4020”

Mental Illness in Athering

So today I’m taking a little bit of a detour from Character Snapshots in order to talk about Athering’s approach to mental illness. I’ll be using examples from the books (Bellica and The Jade Star of Athering), so spoilers ahead.

Why? Well, it’s #BellLetsTalk day, and I like contributing to it on the blog. As it is also a Wednesday, I figured this would be a chance to talk about how Athering approaches mental illness.

In a word? Badly.

Let me elaborate.

Continue reading “Mental Illness in Athering”