I’ve been a stress puppy, instead of a sleepy kitty. (I prefer to be a sleepy kitty, in case you were wondering.)
A total stress puppy. I’m getting snappy and snarly at work and at home, and I’m not loving it.
And then this happened.
My head exploded.
Yep, my head totally exploded. Okay, so I was coughing (but I didn’t have a cold!) and that kicked off my gag reflex, but still. Head. EXPLODED.
Artist’s interpretation of the pain close up.
I could barely breathe, it hurt so bad. Like someone had taken the back of my neck and tried to stretch it to my nose. I haven’t hurt that bad since brain surgery. So, I went to the doc, and got myself diagnosed with a post-nasal drip, plus an ergonomic stress headache. Fix the body, fix the stress, lose the headache but, in the meantime, here’s some muscle relaxants.
What has the hubby been saying to me for the last month? “Get your cough checked out. Sit up straight at the computer.”
Tom Ashworth, Self Portrait 2008 (?)
So, yeah, he’s been saying “I told you so” and nagging in a loving way ever since. (Please note – I am sitting up straight and my shoulders are down as I type this.)
And now I’ve got more stress coming (in a good way) – The play development group I’m with, Fierce Backbone, is doing a full reading of my play tonight. Gulp. And I’m on muscle relaxants.
- Title page to Cassandra Cries.
My two actors were supposed to meet to rehearse – one couldn’t make it the first night, the other couldn’t make it the second night. My leading lady now has an interview at 6pm tonight – which is when they were going to get together to get a quick rehearsal in. And I’m still not sure if I have a narrator (but I’m assured I do). We’re supposed to start by 7:30pm tonight. I’m on muscle relaxants and I’m still somewhat of a stress puppy, but at least it’s a “good” stress. (???) And a milestone event!!!
So, in order to celebrate this milestone, Hubby made cuppy cakes. CHOCOLATE cuppy cakes. Which we shall take with us tonight to bribe everyone. Along with some red wine.
CUPPY CAKES!!! Unfrosted, true, but still…CUPPY CAKES!!!
As I look back at the last two years and three months since I started this new Day Job, I realized one thing – I haven’t had a vacation. I’ve taken time off, but that was always to go to writer’s conferences, not to sit in the Mammoth mountains and chill out for ten days. If I had, maybe I could have missed out on this little stress headache adventure. Because writer’s conferences ARE NOT VACATIONS. They are work days. Fun? Yes. Stressful? YES. I wouldn’t have missed them for the world, but…sigh.
My advice? Vacations. Take them.
Big Squishy Hugs to you ALL!
It’s here, finally. The end of 2012. We’re on the cusp of 2013, a bright, shiny new year not yet failing to meet our expectations. I’m looking back on my writing year, and then taking a look ahead at 2013. Come along, and see what I’ve been up to!
So in Looking Back, this year I’ve:
Turned in the manuscript for DEMON HUNT – it pubbed 7/16 of this year.
Cover for Demon Hunt, by Taria A. Reed.
Turned in the short story BLOOD DREAMS – it pubbed 6/1 of this year.
Invited to write a short-SHORT play based on The Rose, by the Brother’s Grimm; wrote it, rewrote it, rewrote it again; turned it in; it had it’s debut at the Crescent Heights High School in the Spring. Totally delighted.
Went to Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in April; got to hang with old friends, meet up with new ones, and began a relationship with the amazing Brenda Chin of Harlequin. Also met up with Beth Yarnall of OCC RWA and Debra Mullins of EVA RWA; they both asked me if I would be interested in speaking at their chapter meetings. I said yes, of course. ULP!
Worked on “A Run for the Money” and “Evie’s Song” and “Jesse on the Verge”; pitched them, sent them off ; got rejected.
Joined in with friends for a Summer Camp writing group for the month of June. We still meet – Summer Camp has changed into Boarding School. Some of the most creative, intelligent, fun, supportive, and wonderful women – I’m a lucky girl!
Started “Weightless”, a YA story set in a ballet company; wrote 50k on that. Needs a rewrite and it needs to be finished. BUT – pitched it, sent it off, got rejected. I’m okay with that. Sent it in to a contest – and got great feedback.
Got a phone call from Brenda Chin on the last Monday in July (just before RWA National Conference) – she requested a manuscript that I pitched via a piece of paper! Woo! Sent it off. Have refrained from stalking her via phone or email. Suspect it’s not her cup of tea but will wait for the formal decision on it.
At the conference, I had several delightful, informal bump-intos with Brenda (at the booksigning, in front of Kathy Lyons‘ table, I introduced myself – she said, “I know who you are.” Squee!) (The next day, she bought me a cup of coffee! Double Squee!) Had a hard time not acting all fan-girl on her, but I managed to not totally embarrass myself. Pitched a new manuscript (that wasn’t even written – a HUGE no-no, but since she’d just requested one, I felt safe enough doing that). Needless to say, she hated it BUT – liked a turn of phrase. Gave me a plot. Said “write me that”. So – that’s what I’ve been working on, novel-wise, ever since.
In October, I joined a group called Fierce Backbone; a play development group made up of writers, actors, and directors. They’ve been reading and commenting on my first play (written in 2010/2011); if it ever gets to a staged reading, I’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops. Two people, one set. Imminently produceable.
In October, I also got to be the guest of honor at a book club. They read my book, talked about it, asked me a bunch of questions – it was fantastic and I learned a lot. Thank you Tabitha! And along with Lisa Kessler, I did a booksigning down at Starcrafts in San Diego – Teresa See and friends were lovely and gracious.
Because Fierce Backbone sparks creativity, I wrote a play for my husband for Christmas. Money being not floating from the sky, I needed to get darned creative. He loves it (whew!), and it needs rewriting – but that’s what I worked on almost exclusively from October to Christmas Eve. Dialog comes easy to me, so I’ll get more work done on it and submit to Fierce Backbone to get it into the Monday readings, and we’ll see how it goes!
In November, I gave my first-ever talk to East Valley Authors chapter of RWA. People took notes! They came up afterwards, thanked me, and asked questions! I shocked myself by actually being able to talk for an hour. But yeah, my inner actress was totally stoked.
I’m now (with the help of a couple of wonderful pairs of eagle-eyes) back at work on the Brenda Chin novel. I’ve got so much of it written – now it just needs to get cohesive. I am SO thankful that I’ll be taking a plotting course in January!
I’m taking on the mantle of President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors. I am predicting a calm, easy year (!).
I’m speaking at Orange County Chapter of RWA on January 12th; Los Angeles Romance Authors on January 20th.
I plan on finishing the Brenda Book in January and getting it off to her. Think I should really come up with a series idea to go along with this book and pitch that, too. Then, and only then, will I bug her about the other book. Just a friendly warning, Brenda. 😉
Then I really must get to Demon’s Rage, the final book in the Demon Trilogy. I’d like to get that one turned in by the end of March, then write two or three short stories in the world and turn all those in, as well.
Then back to Weightless, my Ballet YA. I’d love to get that one done up and send it around. If no one bites, I may just dip my toes into self-publishing. I love this book and it deserves to go somewhere.
March 15 – 17, I’ll be at the So Cal RWA Writer’s Conference, California Dreaming. Brenda Chin will also be there (according to the conference website).
Stalking seeing her will be very cool. If I don’t have that book done and turned in to her BEFORE then, I will just be a failure so there’s that! A good prod to productivity.
I’m not looking too much farther ahead than March. I have a lot to do in the next three months – besides all of the above, I have two plays to re-write.
RWA National Conference will be held in Atlanta this year. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, even though I should since I’m chapter president and all. We shall see.
So, there it is – looking back, and looking ahead. How far ahead do you plan your year? Or do you let circumstances change your schedule?
Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet! Be safe out there tonight – remember there will be a lot of amateur drunks on the roads. Don’t drive if you don’t have to!
~ Until next year, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?