Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

I meant to write a post about something else – three something elses.  They came to me one after the other in the pre-dawn hours, when blog posts usually attack.

The problem is by nine am when I actually could sit down and write, I couldn’t remember what in heck I was going to write about.

We’ll start with an announcement – clears throat: A Few Good Men has been nominated for the Prometheus Award.  Keep in mind, it’s not yet a finalist much less a winner.

Maybe I should talk about books and stories that are heart’s blood and favorite children.

This is something I’ve never fully understood – nor will I ever, I suspect.

I like everything I write – of course, I do.  Okay, not strictly true.  There was stuff I wrote that I can’t remember.  Plain Jane is one of those.  I wrote it in three days, and I can’t for the life of me remember what I wrote in it.  I was very shocked going back to find out that it’s divided in sections.

BUT for the normal, not written in a rush because I need the cash, books, I sort of like all of them, more or less.  At least, they do, as it were.  I might not like the edits done to them, or the cover, or whatever, but I like the books.

And of course, I’m going to rise to the defense of any of my books, if you should diss them.

But in the end, most of them…

Okay, this is best explained by going back to when I was doing submissions on paper and to magazines more or less indiscriminately.  Stuff would go out, stuff would come back, I’d send it out again, it was just what it was, no big.

And then…

And then I wrote Thirst.  When Thirst came out it felt like an insult to the system, and I was crushed for a week, before I sent it out again.

Other stories have had the same effect.  Ariadne’s Skein, which I never sold traditionally, and all of space operas, ditto, and then Darkship Thieves.  These stories, somehow, were “Heart’s Blood” and “Favorite Children” and seeing them rejected felt like I’d disintegrate.

When Darkship Thieves was nominated, I held my breath, afraid it would not get it, and I tried to console myself in advance.

With Darkship Renegades, while I loved the book, I didn’t get that feeling of “I’ll disintegrate now if it doesn’t get it.”

Which, btw, is a stupid feeling to get.  It might never have been nominated at all.

But Darkship Thieves having been nominated, I felt I’d be CRUSHED if A Few Good Men wasn’t, and now I’m holding my breath again – because that book is Heart’s Blood and Favorite Child.

Why?  Who the heck knows.  I’m donating my mind to science, but not till I die.  So for now, it’s a big breath of relief that AFGM is nominated, then breath-holding for almost a year.  (Unless it gets kicked out earlier.)  And it’s not impugning the process or the people doing it, btw.  They of course select what they think best.  This is internal, a feeling of protectiveness and tenderness for the book.  Which is also stupid, since books have no feelings.

I’m a writer and I’m stupid.

On that – we’ve just paid tuition for the boys, and we’re about to crash land.  This is worsened by the fact I’m late on delivery for Baen.  The reason I’m late is that I’ve been obsessing over … tight money.  Makes no sense, does it.

I don’t want anyone to denude him or herself.  I KNOW – good Lord, do I know – most of us are holding on by the edge of bleeding fingernails, and I haven’t even put up anything new in my subscriber page for a while, mostly because I’ve been stuck in a novel.  HOWEVER, if you can hit the donate button, it is much appreciated.  As I said, we have tuition to pay.  There are things that need to be done, including moving – but right now we’re stuck because we don’t have the extra money to rent somewhere for the year or so needed to sell the house.  (No, trust me.  It’s impossible to sell a house with four cats in it.  Particularly these four cats.  And then there’s the guys.  Even if they’re being good, messes pile up and you can’t show a house that’s a mess and not sell it at a huge loss, which we can’t afford. Or rather, it’s not impossible, but it takes ALL my time until it sells.  Which comes to the same loss.)  But until we can move, we’re operating at a loss, because… everything has gone up.  And my income is delayed because of stress over income.  Which, yes, yes, is mind boggling but I have already confessed to being stupid.

At least the indie sales are picking up, which means I MUST get off my duff and put more stuff up.  That also has been affected by worry.  But it will get one.  It has to.

And I’ll resume putting things up in the subscriber area as soon as I resume processing stuff for indie.

For now I’m going to do battle with Through Fire.  Just on the effort it’s taking, it should end up being Heart’s Blood, but weirdly that’s not how these things work.

124 thoughts on “Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

      1. Yes. Attack into the ambush. Think “wait ’til they get a load of THIS!” and cackle maniacally. Channel your inner cat (you know, where they are washing a leg elegantly, fall off the bed, and then stalk off with a disdainful air and a chorus of “I meant to do that.”).

          1. Basic Accounting principles:

            Increase in income = good.
            Decrease in income = not good.
            Increase in expense = not good.
            Decrease in expense = good.

            All else follows from there. Do not quibble over trifling details so long as trend-lines are toward good and away from not good.

      1. Yay for more money! Now to get some college professor to list the Shakespear books as required reading for another take on the life and times of… How devious are your spawn?

        1. I recommended The Moon is a Harsh Mistress to one of my college professors, and he assigned it in Computers, Minds and Brains after that.

  1. *picks up cat and looks* No, not there. *opens door to THAT closet* Um, no, I don’t . . .
    *hears rustle, moves coats, replaces coats and slams closet door*
    I really hope that wasn’t it. ‘Cuz I’m not opening that door again without backup.

      1. Thanks, but I’ll see if a Shop-Vac works first, then call for assistance. As slow as the feds are about paying PUFF money, MHI would probably stick me with the bill.

  2. So the angst and the protectiveness and the (illogical, conflicting, irrational) internal monologue are normal? Good to know.

    Congrats on the Prometheus nom! While the path may be longer, this is a great step, celebration is in order!

    1. For clarity, I was talking about my angst, protectiveness and internal monologue.

      Also: Follow-up Check!

  3. “And my income is delayed because of stress over income. Which, yes, yes, is mind boggling but I have already confessed to being stupid.”

    Not stupid at all! That’s what’s wrong with me, a lot of the time. Worry can be incapacitating to us natural-born worriers. *hugs*

    And WOOHOO! once more, for the award nomination! \(^o^)/

    1. I don’t know how much possible income I have delayed because of stress over income, since I have a regular job, and don’t currently have any money-making projects on the side, but I certainly have messed up my health stressing out over income, and how to get more of it, so yeah, not so stupid, really.

  4. You can think clearly now your brain is gone? 😉

    Seriously, congrats. You’ve earned some recognition.

  5. “There are things that need to be done, including moving – but right now we’re stuck because we don’t have the extra money to rent somewhere for the year or so needed to sell the house.”

    I’m not up to date on the real estate market in your area, but in the Denver area, houses that are priced right – within certain price ranges – sell in days. Its a very weird market having what we call in fishing ” a slot limit” almost. The price ranges vary up here by neighborhood obviously, but when you are in that range and price correctly, the offers come in fast and furious. A couple of our estate real estate listings went for more than asking price and went under contract in days.

  6. I can see the flyers now: ‘Have you seen this brain?’. Have you got a good picture?

    Congratulations on the nomination.

    And are you selling about a hundred or getting paid about a hundred dollars? Yes, money is nice. More of it a lot nicer.

    I’m getting slightly more money right now, a new side job. Working for a security firm, I’m slapping alarms on the merchandise in a mid-sized department store which sells pretty much everything but food (no perishables, they do have some canned and dry goods, plus candy). Only a few hours per month now (between 8 and 32, depending on the time of the year), but the firm has more stores as clients in the area and from what I’ve been told that is one job where people rarely stay very long, so I may be able to get more hours in time.

    Good point, I can get the hours done any time that suits me when the store is open, so I could, for example, work just between one to three full days in a month. Bad point, it’s boring. But maybe just boring enough. I will probably start imagining something new sooner or later. Just need to keep something with me where I can put down any better scenes or plot points before I forget them. Well, my phone does take dictation, I just need to figure out how that works (I can just see that now, me dictating something about how to best kill a giant swimming slug with intelligence and magical powers, or how a vampire hunter would be able to avoid alerting the security while digging up a grave in a graveyard in the middle of a city, while some customers walk by – okay, this may need some thinking over).

    Walter Mittying. With the exception that I very rarely imagine myself doing things, apart from occasional forays into daydreams where I have become successful enough to have the money to be able to do something I would like to do but don’t have the money for – or perhaps being recognized by some fan just before I have gotten secure enough to quit the job, so I’d get the pleasure of signing an autograph or posing for a picture there, and then I’d of course need to explain why to the store workers… 😀

    1. Recognizing it is not always a viable option, boring tasks can be relieved with an MP3 player and audio books. If feasible, a basic subscription to Audible.com runs about $15 a month and provides one free audio book each month. There are “new subscriber” specials and frequent sales offering a wide variety of titles for $5 (all prices American.)

      SF, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, non-fiction and about all else is available. Some folks dislike “reading” at another person’s pace but in my opinion being able to read while doing housework, yardwork, dronework outweighs the frustration of pacing.

      OTOH, it means distracting your brain with somebody else’s writing may diminish your own.

      1. Ah, I thought of something like that. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to use that types of devices while working. No earphones. While I am not one of the salespersons people mistake me for one, and I have to be able to hear them so I can answer ‘I’m sorry, I work for a different firm, I’m here just to install these alarm devices’ (mostly stickers, by the way). Which I have done about twice per hour, now, when there. An unfortunate distraction for my daydreaming. That, and the store plays both rather annoying muzak, and very annoying spoken advertisements. Can hardly wait for the Christmas season sales to begin. I’d rather not know what their idea of Christmas music is like. 😀

        1. I have a day job with similar requirements. I’m always amazed at how many people see me wearing something that’s definitely not the store uniform, bypass the three people who do work for the store to get to me and then get offended that I can’t help them because I don’t work there. Christmas musak is almost universally awful but they also probably won’t want you in there as much, either.

          1. Happens to me too. *sigh Nowadays I have little old ladies (under five feet tall) rush towards me so that I can get something for them on the top shelf in the grocery store. Ladies are around 80-90.

            1. I get the business ladies in a hurry. They have a laser like focus on a single person and are so interested in what they’re doing/looking for, it doesn’t matter that the person doesn’t actually fit their needs. *sigh* at least most of the grocery stores around here have a similar layout and the employees are usually close enough to hear what I’m being asked and step in.

                1. We’re feeling it, too, but it’s expressed differently. The stores hire my company to do work that they can’t afford to have their own people do and then ask us to do the impossible. 40 hours of work in 20 hours? Sure, we can do that…and we can, if we cut certain corners. It’s when the store managers ask us to do things that breaks the union contract that things get iffy. We’re not part of the union but there are certain tasks that can only be performed by store personnel that keep making their way into our lists for the day.

              1. I’m thinking that you probably look competent, and the business ladies would gravitate toward someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, whether that related to the store or not.

                1. Which also explains why I get people asking me questions while I’m shopping at Home Depot. I’ve got the “I work retail” walk and it causes no end of problems. Ah, well, I’m not going to try and be *less* competent just because it’s inconvenient.

            2. That last happens to anyone taller than average. It doesn’t happen to to me very often, simply because I seldom encounter the little old ladies at the normal times that I’m in the store, but it does sometimes.

                1. Nobody ever asks me that, but then I am just a bit over 5 ft 2. Means I need a ladder to get to the upper shelves too, in that store they are theoretically in my reach, but pretty much just theoretically.

                  1. Pam– as soon as someone walks purposely towards me, I just ask what they need from the top shelf. Funny they don’t ask when the hubby Is with me… plus when no one wants something– they don’t seem to see me. I have wondered if I have that fading power that Kate talks about in her books.

                    1. I have a nasty suspicion I look like everyone’s mother. The younger the young man, the happier he seems to be, to help me. Sigh. Youth is wasted on the young-and-too-shy-to-even-look-them-in-the-eye.

                    2. lol– I guess that I don’t look like anyone’s grandmother although the little children think that my hubby is their grandfather. 😉 Yes, they run up to him and grab his legs.

          2. I do have the added problem of wearing a vest which is exactly the same color as the store uniforms, just has a different text in the back, so can’t blame the customers that much. 😀 Some have been pretty nice about it, others have walked off in a huff.

            And off topic, I just checked what ‘huff’ means because while I know the meaning of ‘in a huff’ I have never previously looked if that word gets used in other connections, or has different meanings. So, according to some slang dictionary it’s also ‘low grade weed’. Would that explain Huffington Post?

            1. lol, that’s when you get a sign or a hat that says “Doesn’t work here” … but I had mine taken away so probably not a viable option.

              And yes, I think that would explain the Huffington Post 🙂

  7. It’s funny how being stressed makes you less able to deal with the source of the stress. But if you weren’t stressed then dealing with it is… well, you’re not stressed, right? Being creative, even in the simple things like simple problem solving, seems to be the first thing to go.

      1. I find intense denial to be an effective method of handling stress, or I would if I ever experienced stress, which I don’t. That my teeth are thoroughly ground down is mere coincidence.

          1. I ended up trying one for about a week (one of the home-fit ones), and it worked just well enough to get a couple nights good (if interrupted by uncomfortable jaw) sleep. Once I got enough sleep, I was able to think clearly enough to attack problems, make progress, and stop grinding my teeth because the visible progress lowered my stress. I’ve kept it, though, because I’m sure this will be a recurring cycle. The only question is… how long until I need it again?

            1. home-made one — too soft. I chewed it and about choked on it. Expensive, doctor made one — it feels too big, and too hard. (Stop with the jokes kiddies.) So, I don’t use it.

              1. there may have been a glass of something amber and made from corn and rye to prevent me noticing the discomfort….

  8. Calmer Half’s book of his heart, his memoir, went live on kindle & createspace last night. I think his impulse control is hiding with your brain, talking over old war stories and other fishing tales while passing the brandy ’round. We had to leave the house this morning to prevent compulsively checking amazon rank and kdp sales every few minutes. It’s already been rejected, in earlier versions, by various publishers as “too controversial”, “no niche for this”, and “mentions Christianity.” Now it’s past the gatekeepers, ignoring their objections, and out therefor the public to see if they like it.

    Calmer Half is… less than calm this morning. Caught between the relief of finally delivering his book of the heart to readers, and on tenterhooks waiting to see if the readers will like or reject it.

    Were you closer, I would drag both of you out to the science museum or the zoo, and from there to a nice cafe where I could plunk down the jug of porto, and demand you two have some nice tapas and the split the whole bottle until you stopped worrying and started singing loud raucous Portuguese songs.

      1. *Here’s hoping putting Our Hostess’s associate link on the end will keep it from showing up as a giant cover image*

        1. LOL, your description of your husband’s state of mind had me intensely curious about what kind of book he wrote… until I scrolled down to this and remembered, “DUH, it’s Dorothy Grant posting that. I’m reading her husband’s book right now!” 😀

      1. Oh, yes, there’s quite a bit of work left on promoting – but given kdp has been lagging up to 5 days getting through the glut of books signing up for the upcoming kindle matchbook program (it seems to be back down to normal now, but we couldn’t tell until we tried), we decided to soft launch early, and timed the promotions to start once we knew it would be approved.

        Doesn’t keep Calmer Half from being jittery. I’m not used to being the more laid back one of our pair!

        If this gets much worse, I’m going to load the truck with guns, ammo, targets, water, and a packed lunch in a cooler. Then I’ll tell him to go out to the range and shoot things, and not come back until he’s run out of ammo.

        1. You might not see him again, depending on how many guys feel sorry for him and insist on offering him a quarter brick or so. 😉 Or you might find a line of gents at your front door, each praising your husband but wanting you to know that if anything ever happens to the Calmer Half, they’d be available!

  9. As I started to say to Dorothy – getting the book written is half the job, getting it in front of potential readers … now, that is the other half.
    And I have taken a page from Our Esteemed Leader’s book — in a manner of speaking. I’m posting chapters on my book blog/website of my essay into re-vamping the Lone Ranger.
    Hey, if I am going to go western adventure, I may as well go all out!
    I’m working on the set-up chapters here – http://www.celiahayes.com/archives/1776
    And you know, it’s a curious coincidence that the number of the post should be 1776…

              1. Is it the Dallas or the Forth Worth library system that is sponsoring this event? I believe that they are two distinct systems. They’re in seperate counties, even.

      1. Thanks – I had sort of considered going to meet you at that symposium, but it’s a full day drive from San Antonio, and three tanks of gas to get there … and I’m having to spend this weekend running around finalizing documents for sale of my relatively useless California real estate… for which I am breaking even and glad to be doing so…

    1. Pinky’s sidekick. 😉

      On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > ** > Phil Fraering commented: “Brain? What is Brain?” >

  10. So, if one were looking to donate and did not hit the recurring box, but the final screen referred to the donating as a “recurring donation” could one figure that one had made a one time donation? For now?

        1. I think PayPal changed their page design. I had several sites do that to me. Guess I’ll find out next month if it does something I didn’t intend.

  11. …I could just see a Hoyt’s Hun/Hoyden with jewelry-making skills making a nice little cloisonne pin of an eagle clutching a liver…

    1. We got pins many years ago at rec.arts.science-fiction.composition that anyone could order. They were just a little square aluminum pin with a cat being vaccumed. Very cute. The lady who knew how to order them, who took orders and mailed them out, has passed so she can’t be asked how to get them done. However, it seemed to just be a place on the internet that let you put your design in and order a minimum quantity… something akin to cafe-press.

      I took a small-metals class my first year back at college that was actually “jewelry making”. I didn’t get to cloisonne but I do have to say… welding and manipulating tiny silver things when you’ve got 48 year old eyes (older now!) is a challenge.

  12. Congratulations! I have a real soft spot for AFGM too. But that may be because it was (I think?…???) the first full-length novel I read by you. But probably the echoes of my favorite novel of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo, is another big chunk of it. Good luck!

    Can’t afford the bump right now, so I’ll just figure out a way somehow to direct new readers to your work/blog in hopes it bears fruit for you.

    Found out today that because of the furlough (is that spelled right?), my dad has a 50/50 chance of losing his job. Which means he’d have more time to write his novels, but until then, mine may keep the family afloat – and we were already tight to begin with. 😡 Just what I needed – more stress! (But in the good news – it seems my computer is working again? Not sure for how long, though. But I’m really hoping it’ll at least last out the year.)

    I react to stress in a very similar way to you. I thought I was unusually stupid, but it seems I’m at least not alone in it. If I hadn’t stirred up so must dust cleaning the area around my computer and unknotting chords, I’d be writing tonight, though. So hopefully I can be more firm with myself on a working schedule.


    1. We’ll be firm together. (Thank heavens we’re both women, or these people would make bad jokes. Oh, wait, they probably still will.) We’ll try to help each other keep working, right?

  13. Congrats on the nomination!

    When money stress hits, I have a tendency to do the dishes and scrub the bathroom. Then I sit down and design covers for books I can’t seem to sit down and write. Seeing as August tried to kill us, I had a very clean apartment for a while there but September appears to be getting better (I actually got a check from the day-job-that-sucks! and hours! it’s a shame they can’t seem to find my letter of resignation) and, while the book sales have sucked this month, I actually have a release schedule of things I’ve written.

    Now, I have to go and write blog posts for my blogs this weekend and maybe get some actual fiction done.

      1. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s using your creative brain in a way that doesn’t cause you stress, thus letting the ideas that are stressing you to percolate a bit more and not drive you crazy. At least, that’s how it works for me, and it still registers in my brain as *work* instead of *play* so I don’t feel bad for taking time off when we’re broke.

        1. That’s probably it. I also end up drawing and/or sewing a lot.
          I need to have a mega book sale. We have thousands of books I now have electronic, or I was keeping “just in case” even at a dollar a book, it’s significant money.

  14. Aaaand, for you Friday follies . . . according to the geneii over at YouToob, the original video for “These Dreams” by Heart is about the Illuminati. Yeah, another grand conspiracy I’ve never been invited to join.

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