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.

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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

Beware of Ergot-Poisoned Writing Advice

Bumper Crops of Fungus

It’s Nanowrimo! Holy gods where has the year gone? I feel like just yesterday I was saying Happy New Year to folks.

Ok, so, it’s November and I’ve apparently been abducted by aliens this year because that’s the only way to explain all the missing time. I’m also recovering from seriously heavy burnout. Slowly feeling more like myself, but trying not to push it. Pushing it leads to more burnout.

And because it’s Nanowrimo, we have a new crop to harvest! A new crop of writing advice!

Like all harvests, some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is of dubious quality. Be careful before you dig in; you don’t want ergot poisoning. (Actually…ergot is a hallucinogen, so it might help you come up with things to write. GO FOR IT! No, don’t, don’t ever take advice from me. Or do, whatever, I’m not your supervisor.)

Floating out there in cyberspace, I saw one particular part of writing advice that I needed to comment on. (I don’t remember where I saw it; I just know I saw it. Also it’s not an uncommon piece of advice to get tossed around.)

It said something along the lines of “it’s no good writing a bunch of words if you have to toss most of them out.”

Hoo boy.

Yeah, so, this is wrong. I mean, in my not so humble opinion, obviously, your mileage may vary, but so, so wrong.

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Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride

I honestly cannot believe that September is more than half-over already. I feel like we JUST finished August.

This month has been a bit of a whirlwind of downtime for me, if that makes any sense at all. We did Pirates and Fairies on Labour Day Weekend; it’s our yearly excursion to the lake for fun and glitter. It gives new meaning to the term “glamping”.

Usually we have a really incredible time but this year it was *so hot* we had trouble functioning. Mr. Katje is usually the one up till 7am; he was falling asleep at 2am because of the heat. Our brains didn’t work properly and we just wanted to sleep the entire time.

Despite the heat we DID have fun, and got to hang out with some good friends and swim in the lake. Mr. Katje got sunburned; I did not. We both wore sunscreen.

After coming home I was so tired I was barely able to function during the week. I managed to help out my friend with getting things ready for the event she was organizing, Vancouver Pagan Pride Day, on Thursday the 7th. Then Saturday the 9th was the actual event and I was there all day.

It poured for the first few hours before finally becoming dry around 1pm. I was in so much pain that weekend.

Normally I’m a person who likes rain, but doing an outdoor event in the rain? Nope. Nope nope nope. I’ve done it multiple times and EVERY TIME I swear “Never again!” Especially if you’re selling books — NO ONE buys books in the rain. When you have that on top of “sitting in rain makes me hurt all over for days”….yeah.

However, I’d committed to volunteering at VPPD and I wanted to make the event as successful as possible, so I showed up and stayed all day to help out. My books were on the snack bar table, which was the community vending table this year. Didn’t sell any (told you) but that’s okay; I made some good contacts and new friends (YAY NEW FRIENDS). Worth the pain. 😉

Mainly, though, I was there to make the day a success for my friend. She has been working herself to the bone to make VPPD a great day for the community every single year, and it has been so hard on her. Rain hurts turnout, which hurts things like raffle sales, concession sales, and donations, which in turn hurts the event.

Events like this cost money. Quite a bit of money in Vancouver, which is a SUPER expensive city. We need to give back to events like these if we want to continue to HAVE them for the community.

Ok, I’m not going to get into a rant about lack of pagan infrastructure on this blog. That’s best saved for my blog at moragspinner.net…where I’m sure I’ll rant AT LENGTH about this particular thing, because it’s a huge thorn in my side right now/always.

But anyway, my point is: if you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them. If you can’t support them financially you need to support them in other ways…like word of mouth advertising to get people there so that there’s a bigger turnout and better chance of ACTUAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

'If you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them.' #VanPPD Click To Tweet

And rain hurts turnout. So this year…I don’t know the exact numbers, but we didn’t do as well as we should have. Actually, we’re kind of in major trouble.

TO THAT END (the point of this post, finally, sheesh).

From now until Imbolc, if you buy an ebook by either me or my mom at our Ecwid store I will be donating 80% of the proceeds to VPPD to help make up for the shortfall from this year’s event.

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Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

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gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

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My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 21, 2017.


Last month my friend from high school died, and we don’t know why, he just did, he was in his late 20s and he died of natural causes, which is just fucking me up because what the fuck does that even mean?

Like my brain kind of thinks that if you make it through infancy then random natural causes should be off your list of possible deaths until you are in your late 80s. Unless you’re sick or you get hit by a car or whatever, you should be safe.

But his body just quit. It just quit and there’s no reason to it. He was healthy and in his 20s and it just quit. Natural causes means we don’t know what the fuck happened, he just died.

And I’m not healthy and I’m 30 and I don’t want to die. I say I do all the time and I’m suicidal but I don’t actually want to die, I just want the pain to end and so far the most efficient way for that to happen seems to be death. I learned the lesson of my desire to live when I accidentally poisoned myself with belladonna. (Yes, accidentally.) I don’t want to stop living. I’m terrified of dying too early.

And I’m terrified of my husband dying too early. He’s 35 and since Jesse died my anxiety about my husband randomly dying in his sleep has skyrocketed. (It was already there, because I’m an anxious, fucked-up mess of a human being.) He was sleeping in for a long time the other day and I suddenly had a panic attack over it, I had to rush in the bedroom and make sure he was still breathing.

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Celebrate Love. All kinds of love.

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 14, 2017.


I used to hate Valentine’s Day with an all-consuming passion. Before that, I adored it.

In my childhood, Valentine’s Day was great. It was my half-birthday (approximately 6 months from my actual birthday) so my parents (well, mom mostly) made a big deal of it and how I was their Valentine. It was about celebrating family love.

I got a little older, and my best friend’s little brother would ask me if I was his Valentine every year — and I would say “Yes, of course I am!” because he was a sweet kid.

I got a little older, and the teacher had to order the other students to give me valentines so my envelope wouldn’t be empty.

I got a little older, and I realized that not only did no one else give a shit it was my half-birthday, no one even knew what a half-birthday was. Apparently it had been made up by my crazy family.

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This is not for you: Productivity and Chronic Illness

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 7th, 2017.


I read a lot of articles on productivity and improving one’s creativity and making life better. How to do better, be better, accomplish more, feel satisfied with my life, not feel like such a fucking failure all the time. I read these articles because productivity and discipline are things I struggle with and I want to see if there’s anything out there that can give me a leg up in reaching my goals.

About 90% of them are explicitly not for me.

I struggle with discipline, but I’m also chronically ill. I have trouble being productive because I’m a procrastinator, but I’m also disabled. I struggle with gratitude because I haven’t developed a habit of it, but I also suffer from severe mental illness.

There are very few articles out there about productivity that write with any of these things in mind. Almost all of them talk about “willpower” and “making time” and “a morning routine is essential” and “you need to practice gratefulness” and “breakfast WILL give you energy!”

Willpower? Willpower means nothing when I sleep through the 10 alarms I set; it’s not about using my strength of will to not hit the snooze button, it’s about salvaging my wreckage of a day because my body refused to wake up, refused to even hear the alarms until it got 12 hours. Articles that write about “having the willpower to get up earlier” are telling me nothing new; they’re just telling me something useless, something I’ve heard time and time again that does nothing to help me with my issues.

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Not everything is for you: kids and Deadpool

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 17th, 2016.


I suppose it was inevitable. People have taken their kids to see Deadpool…and then complained it wasn’t appropriate for kids.

Look. I am the first person to say that the MPAA ratings are bullshit and usually far too puritanical. I believe parents know better than a bunch of film-rating execs what’s appropriate for their kids. What’s more, the MPAA ratings are hopelessly vague. An “R” rating doesn’t tell me if a movie is going to have an animal dying, which will have me more upset than a kid pranked with a fake trip to Disneyland. It doesn’t tell me if there’s going to be a rape or attempted rape scene, which will trigger the fuck out of me. I’ve learned that the best way for me to enjoy movies or TV shows is — if I think there’s a possibility there’s a chance for these things that will really upset me and basically ruin my entire fucking week — ask someone who’s already seen it, or have my husband pre-view it for me so he can warn me, and be on hand for cuddles afterwards if I do, indeed, decide to go through with viewing it.

I grew up watching things that were well “beyond my age”. When I was 10, mom took me to see the Kama Sutra movie in theatres — “Just act like you’re 18!” — because she knew that I could handle a positive portrayal of adult sexuality. And, in fact, probably needed to see a positive portrayal of adult sexuality, seeing as by the age of 10 I had already been assaulted. She was right. The Kama Sutra movie did not scar me (though the “sequel” which was “American tourists rekindle their marriage by exploiting Indian traditions” kind of did).

But that was one of very few positive experiences I had watching things beyond my age when I was very young. I was a really sensitive kid, you see. I’m still sensitive now, but I’ve had to grow an unnaturally thick skin just so I can survive daily life (which is full of people saying I’m too sensitive, a sissy, a coward, a pussy, etc). I was easily scared (still am, and horror is one of my fave film genres) and very empathetic towards suffering seen on screen — especially for animals.

When I was a little kid, my dad showed me Alien and Aliens. I still adore these films, but the truth is they scared the shit out of me when I first saw them. (I mean, duh, they’re scary films.) I was probably way too young to see them whenever I did the first time. I don’t remember how old I was; I just know that the Aliens franchise was part of growing up for me.

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