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.
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.)
My last post here was Valentine’s Day. That’s ridiculous. Granted, this time I actually have an excuse: school did kind of eat my face.
It was all worth it, though! Check out these puppies:
If you can’t see the image, it’s a list of all the classes I took and my final grade in each of them. A+ across the board. I SLAYED this semester. I AM THE LIZARD KING
And then I slept for the past three weeks, basically. I have really just been sleeping for most of this entire time. Sleeping and watching movies with my husband because we now have access to a bunch of movies on demand.
Now I’m arising from my sleep like a leviathan from the depths of the ocean and looking at summer like the tasty morsel it is. It’s time to get some shit done. I need to get my tits up and ACCOMPLISH STUFF.
(Side note, if you haven’t seen Bad Moms, it is a really funny film and I highly recommend it.)
Things I want to accomplish this summer include:
◆ Clean my freaking house so I actually have a place to do homework come Fall.
◆ Finish all my current WIPs and hopefully another book. (What am I CRAZY?)
◆ Read a LOT.
◆ Give my mom a really excellent 70th birthday. It’s a BIG ONE!
◆ Have a nice birthday myself.
◆ Cuddle Lord Tyee the wundermutt.
◆ Get ahead in my Medical Terminology book in preparation for next semester. (halp)
◆ Be more active here and at my other blogs. Mostly here, though. And, like…with a purpose.
Honestly, no idea if I’ll accomplish all this stuff, but I’m hopeful. At any rate, the last one I’m going to be starting with next week. I’m going to try to actually blog here on a regular basis, on actual topics that I know a little about. I hope that these posts I’m going to write are helpful and informative and entertaining for you all.
There, of course, will still be the regular “omg what am I even doing with my life” type posts, but hopefully those won’t be the ONLY thing that happens because they tend to happen once every few months. I’d like blogging here to be a weekly thing, eventually. However, it might start out as every other week, until I can get more into the habit.
Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print DEAR GODS I HAVE TO STOP USING THAT PHRASE, TALK ABOUT DATING MYSELF.
I’m going to sign off now, and work on some more writing. As a reminder, if you want to be first to know when From the Ashes is done, sign up for Loony Nation. If you want to be second to know, join my Patreon. If you want to be third to know, join my reader’s group on Facebook. And if you just want to find out with the rest of the world, just…keep doing what you’re doing, I guess? I mean you’re reading this post, so I assume you’re following me online somewhere.
See you all next week! Have a great weekend, and happy mother’s day. Unless mother’s day is a shitty day for you, in which case I’m sorry for reminding you about it. *offers hugs and cookies*
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.
ok, so, long and short of it — i’ve been up all night and i can’t see straight at this point. yesterday i got informed we have another flood. for those of you keeping score at home, this is flood number 3 in our time here. the first was the weekend before our wedding, the second was last november (so only a few months ago), and the third was yesterday.
the good news is this flood seems to be the least severe of the three, so they’re getting better? i guess?
regardless it meant i spent yesterday dealing with flood stuff instead of WORKING AS I WAS SUPPOSED TO so i have now been up all night getting work done that needed to be done for today.
anyway i’m too tired to deal with proper capitalization right now. or maybe ever. also, if you see any extra t’s in my post it’s because that key is coming up on my keyboard and i have to periodically SQUISH ITS TINY HEAD.
so sunday was my very first author takeover! how exciting is that! if you missed it, that’s ok, i’m sure to do another one at some point. and if you really wanted in on the giveaways, no worries, i’ll do more of those too. (hey, if you really want to know about future book giveaways, become a member of Loony Nation! so important i capitalized it.)
anyway the takeover was a lot of fun and i had a lot of engagement on my posts, so that was very nice. made me feel like i was not completely failing at it, which my brain convinced me i was going to do in the lead up to it. because my brain hates me and wants me to suffer.
but it was a good event so my brain was wrong this time and haha, i bite my thumb at it. which is a very awkward position to get into.
so because of the flood i have now taken down my xmas trees and am in the process of putting away xmas stuff, which i suppose should make me feel like i have my life together but it really doesn’t. also, we found a box of books we didn’t know we owned and for a while i was very confused as to if they were even ours. it was a weird fucking combo of fantasy books (most of which were likely Mr Katje’s) and stuff like The Poisonwood Bible or a book on companion planting or stuff from Oprah’s book club. also The Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades 1 and 2.
i mean those last 2 also make sense because of my fifty shades of drinking video log that is on indefinite hiatus because of computer issues, mea culpa mea culpa, except that those copies were clean and not filled with notes in the marigins to the tune of FUCKING KILL ME ALREADY THIS BOOK IS CANCER, as does the hunger games because i actually like that series, but with the rest of the stuff thrown in it was such a fucking weird mess i was very doubtful they were ours, but MORE doubtful they belonged to the landlords.
when mr katje got home we figured it out; it was a box of stuff from his room that his mom had added a bunch of books she wanted to get rid of to. at least we think that’s the case. so now i have a stack of random books on our freezer that i need to find a place to put away. could be worse!
book writing and stuff
ok so one thing i really wanna say before my eyes completely crap out on me and i need to stumble into bed to put my monstrous machine over my face so i can not die in my sleep is that i am finally getting back to writing. it’s been like, a year and a half, and in that time i have not felt excited about my writing at all.
but i’m finally excited again! i’ve been doing a lot of worldbuilding writing and plotting out of from the ashes, which is the sequel to stranger skies and book 2 in the borderlands saga overall. i am so excited to get back into this story, so thrilled to work on this series again. and that’s an amazing feeling when you’ve been spending a year and a half feeling like you’ll never be able to write again. i’ve even plotted out the book after from the ashes as well! (currently titled the moonrunner. except capitalized. don’t judge my laziness right now. writing is hard.)
i have some specific goals with this series which i’m not going to get into here/now, because it’s too soon, and anyway, newsletter subscribers hear it first. but i am going to be sharing my writing progress updates publically on facebook and google plus, so if you’re on those social media networks and you want to read about my getting words on the page, you should follow me! you should also subscribe to my newsletter, hint hint. i promise i won’t zerg rush your inbox.
i will also be posting writing update compilations here, ie, grabbing a week’s worth of fb/g+ posts and putting them in one post here, because some of the posts might be super small and i don’t want to make several small blog posts.
but yes, i’m going to be starting real work on From the Ashes again really soon and I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT YIPPEEEE.
ok 2 more updates and then bed
—BELLICA IS FREE ON KINDLE. this took me like a year of work and one or two ritual sacrifices but it finally happened and kindle price-matched bellica to free. huzzah! so if you have friends who haven’t picked it up yet, or if you haven’t for some weird reason, go forth and download from the mighty Zon. (it’s also now available through Pronoun, which pushes books to big distributors a bit like Smashwords except i kind of like it more. sorry smashwords. i will still use you for the other distributors that pronoun doesn’t cover though!)
–expect to see a few posts go up here in the near future that were originally published on my medium account. i’m still going to be publishing stuff to medium, just also publishing it here when i do, and i hadn’t yet done that with the posts that are currently up.
Specifically, acid reflux. I want to talk about my reflux.
I’ve been holding back so much from my public life. I’ve stopped blogging here almost completely because I always feel that any post here has to fit my “brand” — whatever my brand is. I think the problem became me trying to fit myself into some mold I’m not; trying to always be camera-ready, even in my writing.
When I first started blogging I talked about everything that was going on in my life. I didn’t hold back. Over time I decided there were some things I’d prefer to keep private, but generally I still blogged about my life. And then I became a writer, and suddenly I needed a writing blog.
I’m tired of this. I’m tired of feeling like every post here has to relate somehow to writing or reading or literature or just “My life as a writer” as if that is separate in any way from the rest of my life. I’m tired of feeling like there needs to be a theme for my blog. There is a theme: me. There is a brand: a genderqueer, disabled, chronically and mentally ill writer who tries to pen books when zie’s not feeling like absolute crap, and who has fucking had it with the stigma around talking about one’s illnesses.
So today I want to talk about reflux. Warning: this post will contain some graphic description of the effects of acid reflux. Not recommended for emetophobes.
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’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.
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.
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!
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
You know what else I just realized? My 4-year anniversary with Mr. Katje was 4 days ago and we have marked the occasion in no way whatsoever. I think because we forgot.
Either way, it’s clear that I am terrible with anniversaries. And so is Mr. Katje. We make a good team.
Anyway. There was a draw for ebooks. WINNER ANNOUNCING TIME
I used Random.org to pick a winner, and the winner is Shawna! Congrats! Check your inbox for an email from me.
In other news I will be volunteering at the Writers Fest all this week, as I do every year, so I don’t know how much I’ll be posting here in the next several days. I am going to be very busy. I may already be suffering from intense overwhelm. Send help in the form of tea and Nutella.
If you’re in Vancouver and you haven’t done the Writers Fest before, you totally should! There are still events that are not sold out and it’s a really cool opportunity to see authors speak and maybe even meet them or get your books signed. If you’re into literature, you’ll probably enjoy yourself.
I’ve never really done anything for my “blogaversary” but I figure after six years of blogging at this blog — whether it was called Bacon & Whiskey or Amoeba Kat Musings or whatever name it might have in the future — maybe a little celebration is in order.
Some people do full on blog parties for their blogging anniversaries. I truly admire that. I would attempt it, but I know I don’t have it in me to do it right. Better I leave it to the pros.
Instead, I’m just going to make an effort to post here more often between today and the anniversary. I don’t know if I’ll manage every day, but I will try very hard. There might be a lot of pictures of food (Thanksgiving is coming up!).
So, anytime between now and October 19th, if you leave a comment on one of my posts here (remember, comments close after 2 days), I’ll enter you into a draw. (This includes this post. No pressure on comment content. So long as it’s not spam or harassment, it counts.) The winner of the draw will receive an ebook. I haven’t decided which one yet, but it’ll either be by me or Kaimana Wolff.
I’ll announce the winner on the 19th and contact you via email about your prize (so make sure you use a valid email when commenting). I wish you all luck.
One other thing: I’m going to try something over the next few days. Thanksgiving is coming up so I’m going to try to end each blog post with something I’m grateful for. My original idea was to do several posts, each dedicated to a thing I’m grateful for, but I think this is more workable.
Today, I am grateful for my ability to stick to this blog for so long.
It occurs to me that I do this blog switching thing around the same time of year — autumn or winter. I tend to get restless during this time. Especially autumn. Autumn comes round and I want to do everything, be everywhere, and change up my life.
It makes sense; autumn is short, here in Vancouver, and it’s my favourite season. I want to experience as much as possible. This time of year is when I go back to school, usually, and that’s a big change. Nanowrimo also adds to this feeling of restless need to do something.
And then, of course, there are the leaves. Gorgeous leaves changing out green for red, yellow, orange, and then falling all around to blanket the ground in an explosion of color.
Fuck I love this season.
So today, I changed my blog. Moved back from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I spent hours combing through themes trying to find the perfect one, before finally giving up and settling on this one as a stopgap. We’ll see how long it lasts.
I’m also pondering a name change for the blog. I no longer am attached to Amoeba Kat Musings, but I am not yet sure what would be better. Letting it percolate.
One thing that hasn’t really changed is that I’m still stumbling around, trying to find my blogging center. And you know, I’m beginning to think I don’t have a blogging center. I mean, look at me: change is my middle name. What I want to blog about may never be a steady thing. So I can no longer tell you what to expect, except “things by Katje”.
Finally, I’m making a change to the comment policy. Comments will be allowed on new posts. I’m going with a “One strike, you’re out” rule, and commenting will be closed 2 days after a post is made. Every comment will be manually approved by me.
This is on a trial basis. If I start dreading looking at my comments again, I will turn them off completely.
Now. Time for me to get some lunch, and work on changing my house from “unholy mess” to “slightly less unholy mess.”