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

Happy New Year!

Road subject to flooding.
I couldn’t find a picture to encapsulate my year, so I just picked one at random. Though I guess “Road Subject to Flooding” does it pretty nicely.

I am writing this from the past, because I know myself well enough to know I would never be able to write this and post it on time for when I want to post it (11:59pm, December 31st 2014). That, or I’m trapped in the past and this is the only way I can communicate with you. Help! Rescue me! GET IN THE DELOREAN AND SAVE ME BEFORE I FADE AWAY

Anyway. My best wishes are going out to all of you for an awesome New Year’s, with partying that suits your personal levels of introversion/extroversion and midnight expressions of affection you are comfortable with. If 2014 was good, I hope 2015 is even better. If 2014 sucked donkey genitalia, then join me in wrestling 2015 to the ground and making it our minion.

2014 was a mixed bag for me. On the upside, I finally moved in with Mr. Katje, and he’s pretty great to live with. On the downside, I broke my femur, requiring long months of doing absolutely nothing followed by more months of not being fully recovered yet — see above note about donkey genitalia.

Hooray, just got a big shipment from Barefooot Books! Continually impressed with the quality of these books.
Some of the things I sell.

On the upside, I started a new business in selling Barefoot Books, which I’m enjoying and I am really excited about. (You can read about my exploits on my business blog.) On the downside, I’m fucking exhausted: starting a new business is a LOT of work and I have, yet again, overestimated my capabilities. (As downsides go, though, this one isn’t huge. I’m just whining.)

On the upside, I wrote almost 120,000 words this year. On the downsides, I didn’t make my goal of 150,000 and over half of what I did write was on blogging because I allowed myself to count blogging words for word count. That skewed my writing heavily in a way I did not like.

I also had a bit of a breakdown in November with regards to my writing. The stress of releasing The Jade Star of Athering was so great it broke something in me, and I was pretty close to calling it quits with this whole writing thing.

I’m glad I didn’t. I decided to take a step back, give myself a hiatus, and take it easy on myself. I’m feeling better now, and I hope that very soon I’ll be back in the saddle. However, what this means is that I won’t be releasing any books in 2015. If I try, I might have another stress-related breakdown and then all bets are off. I’m sorry, I know how much it sucks to wait a long time for the next book in a series. I really do. (10 years.)

On the bright side, it should only be about 13 months before my next release. I hope to get the next book in The Third Age out in February 2016. That’s assuming everything goes to plan, so cross your fingers!

Blog changes in 2015

You might have noticed the changes to this blog already. New theme, new name. Mind you, I came up with “Quillscratches” when I was loopy from lack of sleep so no telling how long it’ll stick around.

What is sticking is the change to what’s being posted here. I’m not going to quit posting about mental illness, smashing the kyriarchy, or the weird things that happen in my life — not completely. I’m just shifting focus.

Starting next week, on Wednesday, I will be posting bits of backstory, character profiles or interviews, and other bits and bobs from my writing that doesn’t make it into the final books. I’ll be posting every Wednesday, all year.

Other posts might come up outside of Wednesdays — maybe snippets of my personal life or those rants I love to get into — but they won’t be a focus, and will only show up as and when I’m inspired to write them…which is basically how my posts here have been done for a while, anyway. I want to change that.

(If, by the end of the year, I’ve kept to the once-a-week schedule, I may consider upping it to twice a week because I, too, like to live dangerously.)

And, despite the subtitle of this blog, these bits and bobs will not be solely Athering-related. Any world I write in is fair game.

If you have questions for me you’d like me to answer with one of my weekly blog posts, please send them to me at this email address: katjevanloon AT gmail DOT com. Put “Blog questions” or something similar in the subject line so I know what it’s about.

Fifty Shades of Drinking

This has been on hiatus for an unduly long time, and I am sorry. I was going to get back to it in October, but a bunch of events sort of took over my autumn and then I was planning on doing one as a surprise Christmas present to y’all but then I slept a lot and then Christmas was over and then I slept a lot again and now it’s basically the end of the year, so.

It is coming back. I’m not going to give an exact date, because I won’t keep to it, but expect a new episode in January. Hopefully before the last day of the month. Honestly, I plan on doing this vlog series for as long as I humanly can. The broken leg just threw a wrench into a LOT of things for me…including my leg, which was wrenched when I fell. A wrenched leg wrenches plans!

I’ll stop typing ‘wrench’ now.

Anyway, it IS coming back. Sometime in January you will again get to enjoy the slow destruction of my liver, punctuated with many vicious swear words and rants against misogyny.


 

Welp, that’s the news. I will see you all next week.

Sending wishes to banish the morning’s hangovers!

-Katje

ETA: Apparently I set this post to publish at 11:59 AM, not PM, so. Uh. Not the new year for me yet. But maybe for you! HAPPY NEW YEAR ANYWAAAAAAY

Updates to the website and other random news

The other night I spent several hours updating my writer website, instead of working on revisions as I’d planned. I know, I know.

Anyway, I’m really happy with the results. Like, really happy. And I want to make everyone look at the site and tell me how amazing I am. So here’s a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.00.35 AM

Click on the picture to get taken to the site and see the rest of its incredible beauty. Then tell me how amazing I am in the comments here!

Or not. You don’t have to do any of that stuff, I s’pose. I just wanted to share my really cool site, guise. (There are a few more updates coming but it’s fully operational and REALLY PRETTY.)

Other small updates that don’t warrant posts of their own:

  • My leg is healing really well. Actually, the bone is healed, I just can’t walk normally yet (muscles, ligaments, etc, are not so eager). But I can walk with the help of my crutches and I should be able to walk normally by the end of this month. I just have to take it slow, and be patient and ARRRRGGGG I DON’T WANT TO BE PATIENT WHEN ARE WE GETTING CYBERNETIC BODY PARTS FFS? Ahem. I mean, yes. Patience. Taking it slow. Things I am so good at don’t you know.
  • You might notice a change to the info in the sidebar. Specifically, images for Barefoot Books. I am now a Barefoot Books ambassador and will be selling children’s books to anyone who’s interested. I am pretty excited about this opportunity, as I love books (duh), am interested in championing literacy (double-duh), and the books are really high quality (you’ll have to take my word for this for now). I am probably going to pen a larger post in the next few days, but for now I just wanted to give y’all a small heads up. (Also, don’t worry, I won’t turn into a spam-o-matic.)
  • I submitted 2 pieces of microfiction to a writing contest and I am incredibly nervous. Winners are announced at the end of October. That is a long time away. Someone hold me.
  • There is still time to pre-order Broken Sleep, my mom’s new book! I know, I know, shameless plugging, but I’m serious when I say it’s a good book, and you get a discount for pre-order. So if you want to read the really incredible first book in The Falling Sky Trilogy, go here and click the link of your choice. (Paperbacks ordered from Storenvy will be signed!)
  • I will be doing Fifty Shades of Drinking again starting in a few weeks. My goal is to have the next episode up by October 1st. Hopefully I will be able to stick to that. It depends on how well I can walk by then. (The problem being, of course, that going to the bathroom is such a tremendous effort while one is on crutches that drinking alcohol is a terrible idea. Water I can hold for 4, 6, 8, 12 hours. Coffee about 4 to 6. Alcohol? 1 hour. And then every 15 minutes for a few hours after. That is way too much hobbling for me right now, unfortunately.)

That’s the news in a nutshell, basically. New site look and layout, my leg is doing well, Barefoot Books is a thing that’s happening for me, I am now submitting short fiction and terrified, Broken Sleep is coming out really soon, and Fifty Shades of Drinking’s hiatus is nearing its end time.

-Katje

Fifty Shades of Drinking is on hiatus until mid to late September

Possibly October.

I mean, you guys probably figured that out already — I have a broken leg, therefore no drinking — but I figured I’d make an official announcement.

Theoretically, I could fake being drunk, but where’s the fun in it? And it would just feel wrong. You watch it for off the cuff super drunk Katje being angry and ranty. I can’t fake that genuine anger. It wouldn’t be right.

So until I am healed — which should be late August, meaning I might be ready to drink by mid-September, but we’ll see how it goes — FSOD is on hiatus. I’m very sorry, and trust me, I am not happy about skipping this. The book might make my brain bleed, but doing the series is actually fun and I was looking forward to this month’s episode!

Ah well. Can’t be helped.

However, I might be doing a regular vlog one of these days. Depends on if I can get some proper clothing on myself. I am open to topic suggestions! Leave yours in a comment below.

Until next time,

-Katje

Exciting News!

Well, I’m excited. And a little tipsy.

That’s right — I’m tipsy because I just filmed Chapter 5 of Fifty Shades of Drinking, everyone’s favourite “Katje gets drunk and angry” vlog!

Wooooo!

I’ll be editing tomorrow because that great writing advice from Hemingway whom I don’t really like as a writer but some of his quotes are damn awesome, anyway, that advice about writing drunk and editing sober holds so damn true for film, too. Not that a lot of people are filming drunk, so I guess it can’t be widely applied. But in this case, where I am playing a drinking game designed to kill you, it does.

EDIT: I just looked it up apparently the quote isn’t by Hemingway, it’s just attributed to him and is actually a paraphrasing of a quote by Peter De Vries, which now that I’ve read I actually quite like. But Hemingway did say “Fuck literature” so my above comment about liking some of his quotes holds true. Huzzah.

So, I’m editing tomorrow. Tonight I am going to cook dinner and drink a hell of a lot of water to offset the hell of a lot of vodka I consumed during filming. I’ll post the video here when it’s done.

-Katje

Fifty Shades of Drinking update

I know, I know, I promised another episode early in the new year and I have not delivered. I am terribly sorry about that. However, life has been pretty insane since coming up here to visit my mom, and a few days ago I was put on a run of antibiotics to clear out the infection my wisdom teeth — so I can’t have any alcohol till that’s over, which will be the 23rd or so.

I will get an episode up by the end of the month, I swear. (Or, like, a few minutes after midnight on the first of February.)

Thanks so much for your patience and understanding, y’all, and rest assured I have not abandoned the project. I want to continue to rip apart the books while getting sloshed as much as you want to watch me do it.