28 September 2013

File under TMI, case #92,954

At 4:30 this morning, I named my future rage-rock band.

Thumper’s Throbbing Intestines.

That was about the same time I was questioning whether or not I would even make it to the opening ceremonies of the Avon Walk; I’d had about an hours’ sleep, possibly two—and not all at once—and couldn’t find a comfortable position to save my life. If I managed to find one that didn’t’ send my gut into spasms, it was killing my back. I’d gone to bed before 9 p.m. already tired; at 4:30 I knew I was beyond tired.

If it had just been fatigue, I could have pushed beyond that. The excitement in the air during opening ceremonies is pretty much enough to get a person through the first few miles, at least. I could have fed on that and gotten a good 9-10 miles in before feeling tired again.

However…I’ve been dealing with—to put it mildly—an overly upset GI tract for over a month and haven’t felt exactly wonderful. I refused to consider missing this walk regardless, and I got it into my head that I would be able to go to the walk, get up on day one and just load up with massive doses of Imodium, and then walk anywhere from 13.2 to 26 miles.

I hadn’t counted on how fatigue + whatever the hell is wrong with my digestive system was going to really feel like.

By 5 a.m. I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to go, and by the time DKM’s alarm went off, I was sure of it. I could have sucked up the fatigue and choked down a dose of Imodium probably not within the realm of a Good Idea and tried to walk…and I would have been miserable the entire time, wondering if the next step was going to be the one where I engaged in gross acts of public humiliation.

Yeah. I’m pretty sure you can figure out what I mean.

DKM was kind enough to get ready in the dark, being very quiet, so that I could try to get a little sleep; I managed to drift off for a couple of hours, and when I got up I was seriously second guessing my decision to not walk. I didn’t feel awful anymore; I didn’t feel great, but I also didn’t feel awful.

But then I packed up and headed towards the Starbucks across the street to get some tea for the drive home, and while I stood in line I broke out in a cold sweat and my gut started churning…I wasn’t so unsure then. That feeling plus walking…nope.

After I got my tea I headed across the other street to the parking garage, set my cup on top of the ticket machine while I paid for parking…and left it there. I realized that as I got to my car—dammit, the tea—but didn’t go back for it because, hell, if it was even still there who knows if someone spit in it or not; I hoped that some random street person saw me leave it there and grabbed it, because I’d rather think someone was enjoying it more than being pissed off at myself for losing it…and then realized that hey, I didn’t feel l so bad.

The 90ish minute drive home, I felt okay. And again began doubting myself.

But…then I stopped at the Starbucks near home, because TEA…yeah, it was uncomfortable. I got my tea and headed home, where no kitty was by the door to greet me. I plopped down into my chair, wondering when the twisting and turning was going to ease up, feeling really, really angry that I’ve missed yet another walk because of my damned gut—when I heard cat feet padding down the hall.

Max ran into the living room, and actually squealed when he saw me.

So that made me feel decent.

On the plus side for this weekend: I did make the drive to SF by myself (which is a bigger deal than it might seem) and I went to the Event Eve stuff, where I got a t-shirt for having raised X amount of dollars before the deadline (even though the shirt is not going to fit me unless I lose like 90 pounds) and while I waited in line for my too-small t-shirt, Jeanette Cereske—another dedicated walker and crazy cat lady—spotted me and we got to chat for a bit.

I also got to have dinner with DKM, which is always good (on my side…I don’t think I was the best company last night.) And she gave me crew t-shirts, and I’m a t-shirt whore.

But…now I’m home and annoyed and very, very glad I didn’t fundraise for this. At least this year’s non-walk is on me and not my donors. And damn, I am starting to feel cursed. Maybe I should stick to crewing…I’ve had luck crewing.

I do think that until I know what’s up with my gut—a visit to the doc is now in order, I think—I’m not committing to anything other than a virtual walk. I like those; I can do them at my leisure, pretty much. I need to get this under control no matter what; I am getting really tired of being the person who bails on everything.

Or it feels like I do.

The rest of today? While I second and third and fourth guess myself, I’m going to make a lap for the Psychokitty and watch whatever crap is on the DVR.


26 September 2013

Tomorrow I'm leaving the Spouse Thingy and the cats.

Really, I am.

Granted, it will only be for 3 days, but hey...I'm walking out that door with a packed bag, getting in my car, and heading for San Francisco.

Saturday marks the start of the Avon Breast Cancer Walk; it's 40 miles over 2 days, winding through SF and Marin County--which means walking over the Golden Gate Bridge, which is always fun...well, other than at 7 a.m. when it's cold and foggy--and while there's a camp at the end of the first day's route, I will get on a shuttle and head back to the hotel.

Yep, I'm feeling delicate. I want a real bed.

And no, I didn't do much in the way of fundraising this year. Since y'all were so generous last year and then I wound up not walking, I decided to self-fund this year to more or less make up those miles. I still feel like I owe them to you. And sure, over the year I've gone out and walked more than those miles, but not in the event. So...I'm walking. Hopefully the distance, but I'm not adverse to hopping on a sweep van if the need arises. And given the state of my digestive system lately...the need will likely arise.

Still... I do have one fundraising thing up my sleeve. I'm giving a t-shirt fundraiser a try, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to another walker who still has an upcoming event this year.

The shirts are $22 and I have to sell 20 of them in order for it to go to print (don't worry; if you buy one and only 19 sell, you'll get your money back...) and there are only 13 days left to order one.

Why purple? It's the ribbon color for cancer. And the pink feet? Because...walking. Raising money for a cure.

Please buy one. I really want to sell 20 so that *I* can have one... Christmas is coming, and one of these shirts would be a terrific gift for your favorite walker!

Just click HERE and you'll go right to the page where you can check it out.


21 September 2013

Last night, while I contemplated cleaning the kitchen, I happily entered a discussion online (happily because hey, it was important and an excuse to not clean the kitchen) with a few indie writers. A couple of them are newbies, still trying to polish the first manuscript and agonizing over putting it out there where real people can read their work, and a couple of them have one or two books out now and the reviewer-generated scars to show for it.

[I felt like the old person sitting in the recliner in the corner; been there, done that, have the stories to tell but no real reason to tell them unless asked. And once asked…I might not shut up.]

Most of what we talked about was standard indie fare: what makes a good book cover? How many beta readers are necessary? Pay for an editor or talk a college kid into doing a copy-edit? (Answers: good, clear, creative images and DON’T USE COMIC SANS AS A FONT. As many as you’re willing to take criticism from. Pay a real editor.)

There was a little talk about sales—how to generate them—and it drifted into Rights Ownership. What to do if the Giant Corporation came knocking, offering a metric farkton of cash for All Rights?

That’s when I got quiet; I wanted to see what they thought, where they were in the process.

Typically, when you’re negotiating with a traditional publisher, you keep as many rights as you can, so that you can sell those separately. You offer First North American Rights first (unless you’re not in North America. We all are.) and try to keep second and serial rights, movie rights, etc. for yourself. New to the game are digital rights, something that if you can get you grab it. Even the big boys in writing and publishing can see the shiny in keeping digital rights to your own books: it’s easy to put the books out there yourself, and reap the much, much higher royalty rates.

I would never sell All Rights was the general consensus. That’s just giving your work away and losing future revenue.

That’s when I spoke up again. “What if your work had been in the market for a number of years? Would you consider it then?”

Hell no, from every one of them. Their work is worth something; their characters are like real people and they love them.

This is where I part ways with traditional thinking. If someone offered me enough money for the rights to the Charybdis series, I’d sign away in a heartbeat. Sure, I’d be gambling that I could earn far more by selling the rights individually, and by selling all rights away I would never be able to write those characters again (unless I managed to stick in a clause that allowed me future books) but I’m all right with that.

I wrote those books. I’m not saying I would never want to write another book in the series, but for the right amount of money? Hell yes.

Look, I know the potential of those books. I also know I’m about as likely to pursue selling the movie and TV rights as I am to go to the moon. I know how likely I am to try to publish in foreign countries, other than where Amazon already easily allows me to do so.

Basically, I’m kind of lazy. And the footwork to sell those rights requires more steps that I really want to take. So hell yes, if someone offers me the right dollar amount, I’ll sign them over.

Setting us up for the rest of our lives would make it worth giving up the rights. And make no mistake, it would not be easy because those are characters I’ve carried around since I was 14 years old, but I’d still do it.

I doubt I’d feel the same way about something I just published; I certainly wouldn’t give up all rights to Max’s books right now because…MAX…but the Charybdis books?


The writers I was talking to, they’re young enough and new enough to the market that holding onto their rights and seeing how far they can go is a good idea. But for someone like myself, whose books have been around for years and have sold well but will never reach life-changing sales numbers (and I’m okay with that; part of being indie is controlling the effort expanded into marketing, and I’ve sold well beyond my marketing efforts) being willing to sell all the rights is not a bad idea.

Would it bother me if I did that and someone else turned it around into a multi-million dollar franchise?


If I got what I wanted—enough for the Spouse Thingy to retire comfortably and for me to still buy the toys I love—and they could make a fortune from my work, good for them. I would always know that those stories were my creation, the characters wormed out of my brain, and if someone else can make them even better…that’s a good thing.

It’s also a pipe dream, but what the hell. That’s what writing is about.

Dreaming on paper.

Right now my dream is about $2.5 million.


15 September 2013

If you know me at all, you know I have a serious diet soda addiction.

We're talking 3+ liters a day.

But...I kinda wonder if it's half the reason I always feel like crap, so this weekend was a lot of not drinking that crap, and drinking water.

The effort right now is to not consume soft drinks at home, and not be a pain in the ass about it when we're out. If we need to share a drink, I'll indulge in a little diet soda. But for the most part...water.

Our water here, even filtered, tastes like crap, so there's going to be a lot of plastic bottle abuse, but I have to start somewhere.


Have to admit, it hasn't been difficult and I thought it would be...but my tongue feels funny. Go figure.


13 September 2013

Finally...we got out of the house and headed for something that wasn't HERE.

Leaving San Francisco; the view of the Bay Bridge behind us
We wandered around Union Square and China Town for a couple of hours; nope, I didn't spend all the Spouse Thingy's money even though I threatened to. Hell, he was the only one who bought anything. I was just happy to be out in semi-fresh air, and doing something that wasn't sitting here in my chair practically drooling, wondering if I was ever going to feel human again.

The weekend's planned activities involve mostly walking...which is a good thing since the Avon Walk is in only 2 weeks and I am not ready. If we do walking things 3-4 times a week I will be; the distance isn't the issue, it's reminding my feet that they will not die after mile 5.

At least I hope they won't.

I'd look awfully odd crawling over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Shuddup. Fine. Odder.


10 September 2013

The Spouse Thingy is on vacation this week--time off he put in for months ago--and we've made plans to do quite a few things: walk around SF, hike Muir Woods, hike a trail near Sausalito, just get out and enjoy the cooler temps near the coast, have fun. I need to walk more because the Avon Walk is coming up soon, and we both need to ramp up the activity a bit.

So of course, I woke up yesterday feeling tired and a little dizzy. And today I woke up a lot tired and a lot more dizzy.

I don't feel sick, so I'm guessing it's my sinuses or ears, but it's just enough to slap me back into bed for a couple extra hours a day and enough to have Max checking on me every 15 minutes.

Here's the thing about Nurse Max...he feels a deep need to check on me, but he can't do it quietly. He jumps on the bed, gets his face close to mine, and then meows loudly. Hey, you alive in there? I appreciate it, but it makes resting sort of problematic.

Right now, he's sitting on the back of the chair, snoopervising. I feel 90% better than I did this morning--the world is not spinning around me--but he keeps checking.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel normal, and I feel normal tomorrow the rest of the Spouse Thingy's vacation might not be spent hanging around the house being a giant lump, and Max can get some rest.

Granted, he might be working hard to get himself a Twinkie as a reward, but he is making an effort.

And in other news...remember the frog we went to SF looking for but had already been purchased? I found a picture of one on reddit, one that had been left outside and the arm broken, and posted it on Facebook. One of my old Monkey friends from the Wil Wheaton Soapbox days knew a friend who loves frogs, asked her about it, and she knew exactly what it was, and had the URL for the artist.

One link followed another, and bingo...I was able to order the frog.

It got here today...and holy carp, it's a lot bigger than I remembered.

Totally cool, though.


6 September 2013

Look, I'm special! I am now an official Guinness Book Of World Record record holder.

Me and 44,804 other people.

Hey. I take my thrills where I can get them.


2 September 2013

Don't marginalize the truth in an attempt to find some kind of relief in an uncomfortable reality. It diminishes my past experience and serves to tell me that I have no right to my own history, but that I instead need to substitute your revisionist expectations, even if they are well intended.


(Okay, that sped through my brain and I wanted to stick it somewhere I would find it again; it is a truthiness I may want to use in a manuscript at some, if it ran through my head, there must be a reason, so I need to hold onto it.)

Okay. Now discuss.