The Writer as She’s Spoken

I should be giving you the next installment in either Rogue Magic or Dark Fate (Grant in Portugal.)  I should…

There is about a million things I should be doing, instead of telling you I should.  Here’s the thing: whatever writing (or other business) is accomplished these days is accomplished in mad working dashes between spots of feeling not so good and being unable to muster the energy to do anything.

Normally this would be a bad sign, but the dashes are growing and the spots shrinking, so we’re on an upward trend.  Which is good, because still on the up slope of 50 it shouldn’t be this bad.

The thyroid is being treated (I think we’re nearing right dosage) and the eczema is not erupting as frequently (which is good because pred made me gain weight and lose my hair, which is NOT the look I was going for.)  I’m getting back into regular walking and the asthma strikes less — yesterday I managed not to use the rescue inhaler even once.

Guardian is progressing, though interrupted by a bunch of crazy body-crap.  When it’s done, I’ll finish the fourth Dyce (An inlaid Death) and get it up, then do two Darkships as fast as I can, so you guys don’t die waiting.  I have a Black Tide novel to write, also, but frankly I want to do something in my worlds for a change.  Then there’s the Dragons, something called Mirrorplay (taking the name of an old fantasy novel which will probably be called Horse and Bull or Igniting the Stars or something when it comes out.) and then… well, there’s the second of vampire musketeers, the sixth of musketeer mysteries (though the sales on that don’t encourage me to write a ton more.  We’ll see) and eventually more Tudor queens.

All I want for next year is a body that doesn’t crash every two weeks like clockwork, and we’ll be fine.

On the home front, we think it will be two more years with the boys (at least partially) on the paycheck.  When they fly solo, it should stop our sudden money crunches and depletion of savings and THAT will be less stress, which in turn might help the health.

For the foreseeable future I’ll continue working for PJM (links to the two articles this week here and here.)  Unless they kick me out, of course.  If you have anything you want me to write about, please send me a note.  I might or might not cover it, but particularly if it’s related to something recent I very well might.  I’m not as plugged in to daily news as I should be, because… well, look at my work schedule.

On Rogue Magic, I’m rewriting it third person because it’s cleaner, and also cleaning up the plot.  I’ll put up the revised “to now” version, then finish it here on Saturdays.  The same with Dark Fate, which I’ll do after I finish Guardian (only you know, not changing it to third person.  I don’t know what day I’ll do it.  It might end up crammed on Sundays, who knows.)

So, that’s where things are.  Other than being seriously frustrated with my body, I’m okay.  Yes, I’m sure when medical son moves out I’ll get fewer viruses.  Though he’s doing his clinical year, so we only see him minutes a day, I’m sure he brings home stuff to share.  OTOH if I can exercise and get healthier, I’ll withstand the onslaught better.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to have fun (I know you guys can) and go work.



104 thoughts on “The Writer as She’s Spoken

  1. … so you guys don’t die waiting.

    I long ago resigned myself to the fact that I will die awaiting new works by authors I’ve probably not yet discovered. My greater concern is that you not die while I’m waiting, so please take care, rest properly, find the right balance of meds (while I like the Uncle Fester look, I acknowledge it is not for everyone) eat well, attend your family and allow us to continue the re<DELmodelingdecorating.

    Ummmm – are you sure that the wall behind the piranah tank … yes, that one with the fifty foot arch ,,, is not load-bearing?

      1. “Hey, Mom! I stopped by the lab and picked up some Petri dishes out of the incubator… can I keep them in the oven?”

  2. First: Huzzah! The good times are growing and the not-good are shrinking. *Holds up sign* [GOLDPORT]. And yay on not needing the inhaler. Sounds like progress. Might be slow, but one step leads to another and eventually one of those steps is on the moon or something.

    Second: Alright, I don’t feel so bad about “blowing” the night re-installing (the easy part) and re-setting up (almost) every-bloody-thing (the long annoying part) the laptop (which is thankfully NOT my primary computer).

    Third: Once you’ve been exposed to every-bloody-screwy-thing you might wind up being the person with immunity to con-crud, etc. Well, we can dream, yes?

  3. I’ve been making bone broth for a couple years now and I swear it really does support the immune system. Almost as good, you can pretty much ignore it while it simmers and yet still feel like you are accomplishing great things.

    1. Bone broth is nutritious, and you can’t beat it for a balanced source of minerals, but if you’re experiencing immune benefits, here’s probably what’s going on:

      Low thyroid causes calcium to be robbed from the blood and deposited in arteries and joints (hence arteriosclerosis and arthritis), and can cause certain types of tumors (eg. those that start as calcified spots).

      Low blood calcium makes the parathyroid glands work overtime trying to maintain proper levels of blood calcium, without which your heart stops and you die. It does this by robbing calcium from the bones (thus osteoporisis and senior tooth decay), and if a fibroid tumor has developed (as happens when certain tissues are thyroid-deprived), goes overboard with it and can’t stop by itself. The resulting hyperparathyroidism appears to be the actual cause of most of the more-vague hypothyroid symptoms.

      Adding a nicely-balanced calcium-and-other-minerals mix (eg. bone broth) to the system takes some of the strain off the parathyroid glands, which in turn relieves symptoms.

      1. Now I love the bone broth, but I was reading recently that it’s the vegetables that give you the calcium not the bones. The dissolved bones give you the building blocks for collagen, which are like the rebar for the calcium to go into, so it’s still good for one’s bones. The vegetables are important, too. I hadn’t read about the thyroid implications, so thanks for that.

          1. Definitely vinegar for 30 minutes to 1 hour before it goes on the stovetop. 2T. for chicken. 1/4 C. for beef bones. I use the classics for the broth itself: onion, carrot, celery, but I use a boatload of celery because it gives a good flavor. At the end, a handful of fresh parsley gives it a good mineral zing and flavor. If you use a boatload of celery, the parsley becomes optional for flavor. I follow the Nourishing Broth directions. They are more comprehensive than what’s in Nourishing Traditions and ensure a good gel by telling you 4 to 6 hours at a simmer for chicken and 15 to 20 for beef. If you cook it too long, the collagen starts breaking down and you lose your gel effect. It’s supposedly still in there, but I figure it’s good to make sure.

            When you cool it in the fridge and it sets in a gel you know you’ve done it right.

            A lot of people use a slow cooker from what I’ve read.

      1. I second this! Besides, who ya gonna get to volunteer to stand between a woman and her chocolate? Not me! I have a healthy sense of self preservation!

        1. You are speaking as a woman about another woman. You just aren’t getting the sheer terror across that you need to. Like…”HOLY HELL! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES BOYS!”. 🙂

          1. Or the girl who told the story about how, while she was on her period, her father would push chocolate bars under her door, and flee down the stairs yelling “SATAN HAS BEEN FED!”

            (This will serve as my c4c because my allergies induced running nose could probably do a good impression of the Victoria Falls…)

  4. With the long-untreated low thyroid, if treatment isn’t achieving the expected symptom relief, it’s a good idea to check for hyperparathyroidism, which per the latest research appears to be the endstage of neglected hypothyroid, and will not resolve until any parathyroid tumors are removed.

    1. I intend to go to an endocrynologist before the end of the year. It was untreated for about 20 years, since I think it set in right after the pneumonia.
      BUT I do have symptom relief. Majorly. Honestly the only two things not resolving is weight (and I might need to starve myself. It’ sthe only thing that ever worked for me) and immune system (and that might be idiot son.)

  5. Replying to one of the PJM posts here.
    Re: electrical limitation.

    Oh yeah, that would NOT fly. “I paid for 200 Amp service, by gum, you’re give me 200 Amp service!” is the most polite reply I can even imagine.

    We got our first home computer, kit form, the Netronics ELF II. And things were screwy. Crashy beyond crashy. Schematics examined. Boards examined. A thing or two might have found, but still, WTH? And then Pa had an idea it was NOT the ELF II, but external. A voltmeter got “plugged” into the wall. And the voltage would dip below 90 V and peak at or over 130 V. Bad ground. Bad ground on power company’s side of things. Snipping the seal, it was obvious it needed attention – and also clear it was NOT something we ought to even consider trying, broken seal or not.

    Power company was called. They said they’d be out to take care of it… eventually (translation: shut up and go away). Pa replied that was just fine, he’d just plug the meter in upside down and let it run backwards until they got around to it. (At least at that time, it did. We checked – if only for a few seconds.) Twenty minutes later a crew showed up and fixed the ground connection.

    And that was being nice and civil.

    1. Leave a bad ground? Not good. When you lose the neutral, the voltage can vary all the way up to 240v. A utility knowing about it and ignoring it is setting itself up for a major claim, to the tune of every 120v appliance in the house and the risk of electrocution. It’s been years, but I know of a woman who got a pretty good jolt from her electric stove when they lost the neutral.

      FWIW, even in the days of mechanical meters, you had some that would not run backwards when turned upside down. The ones I saw had a little weighted cam on the side that flipped how the register worked when upside down. In these days of electronic metering, most utilities prefer meters that record forward for both “received” and “delivered.” We didn’t, choosing instead to monitor both from the office. That meant we didn’t have to have a different meter or reprogram an existing meter to handle alternate power sources sold back to the utility.

      Note: Some central units, usually heat pumps, have a small solar panel to help improve the energy efficiency rating. We have run into situations where they made the meter run backwards. Measuring both received and delivered, it handled it without a hitch. Those that record forward for both would bill the customer and not credit him at all.

    2. When I was living in Montgomery, most of the power was provided by Alabama Power, the “official public utility”. I well remember when I got my first APC UPS that included the monitoring software. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. After that, I made sure that there was an UPS with surge protection between anything electric and them.

      Couple years later I moved to an area just outside the then city limits serviced by an outfit called Dixie Electric Co-Op. All of a sudden, I stopped getting a dozen alarms a day. Power outages were essentially never. Ain’t competition grand? So far, TXU here in Dallas is doing equally well… because there’s at least two other companies competing for my business.

      1. Waall … there’s outages and then there’s blinks. Both are roughly in direct proportion to distance from the substation. That’s because the greater the distance, the more likely something will brush the line somewhere. This includes critters. The day after we got the lights back on, we had an outage courtesy of a squirrel.

        Utility guys usually count the blinks. What we’re doing is seeing if a recloser operates. That’s a rough analog to a breaker. On a fuse, pow! No blinks. On a recloser, the blinks vary according to the utility. What’s going on is that it’s trying to give devices downstream time to react. We use to coordinate these things using translucent log-log paper and timing curves. Now it’s done by software. If we didn’t, a fault would ride all the way back to the substation and knock out the entire circuit.

        Of course, electronics doesn’t care for these blinks, and that causes another set of problems, but without a battery or capacitor, there’s nothing that can be done about it.

        Here’s another critter that will set off UPS: some automated reading systems. We had an accountant who’s UPS would go off at the same time every day, but her lights didn’t blink. The time sounded familiar, so while she was on the phone, I did a remote read of her meter. Sure enought, her UPS beeped. It interpreted the signal as trashy voltage. For technical reasons I won’t go into it wasn’t, but it thought it was.

        1. Outages, blinks, undervoltage, overvoltage, non sine wave, you name it. Of course, I also started making proximity to hospitals part of my housing criteria and that may have helped too.

        2. The local power company uses a tree-trimming service that prioritizes reliability over how pretty the tree looks. After Trees Inc is done with a tree too close to a line, it won’t cause trouble again. (Of course, I live in a very wooded section of country, and the odd gnarled tree is just character…)

          Our power still is glitchy; substation is a half mile away, but the feeder for that one is a loooooooooonnnnnge way away. A big enough storm will take out the 100 miles of 115KV main line. When we get an outage during a storm, I try to ask of certain towns are out, too. If so, it’s time to set up the backup power.

          1. Our power company changed its name to something generic, closed all of its business offices, and made other economies by ceasing to trim their rights of way. Oh, and they got rid of their maintenance guys; they hire contractors to replace exploded transformers, downed lines, etc. Oh, and we have some of the highest electric rates in the nation.

            That’s why the new house has a propane fueled generator.

            1. I had a distribution transformer go toes-up 5 years ago, and the power company’s own people did it. The lead guy is an acquaintance, and he was complaining that the company is dropping staffing levels. They used to have two people on the basic-service boom truck, now it’s one. Still, it’s acceptable. Apparently, they’ve figured that aggressive tree control is cheaper than fixing downed lines.

              Some judge decided that ordinary people shouldn’t get the benefit of Bonneville Dam power, so our rates went up. The hoo-ha about removing 4 hydro dams on the Klamath River is forcing us to pay into a piggy-bank fund to remove the things; meanwhile, there’s still a lot of fighting over whether that will happen. (It’s also unclear that those dams are actually causing the fish issues that the downstream tribes complain about. Another river has a whacking great dam, but it’s carefully ignored in the issues. California tribes; Oregon-benefitting dams slated for removal, ignore the California-benefitting dam. Hmm. I think I see what’s going on.

              Our backup power is a 1.6kW solar system on a large trailer. Big enough to run refrigeration and some small loads. We plan to install a big brother to it for the pumphouse, but right now, it’s a gas generator.

            2. There was a maple tree in the backyard of the house I grew up in under the power lines. Local utility district (municipal, publicly-owned) would send out tree trimmers from time to time. One time, they asked my dad how far he wanted it cut. He said, That trunk is rotting, can you take it all the way down? And they did. And they did the same thing when the other trunk started rotting.

              Given how much tree removal costs around here, that was stellar. But there’s little doubt that the maple falling would have caused MAJOR problems with the lines, so it was actually in their best interests. (Love that utility company, BTW. There’s a private one that does overlapping service areas and they are three times the cost and not nearly as responsive.)

          2. Around where I live, there are some “creatively” trimmed trees near power lines, too. The ones I like are the ones directly under the wires, which make a giant “Y” shape.

      1. As well you should be. I just finished reading it – excellent. Waiting patiently for Darkship Defiance (?). In the meantime please take good care of you and yours….

  6. Yeah on not using the inhaler. Bigger yeah on generally feeling better! And I sympathize about Son bringing home stuff. Mom and Dad Red are not thrilled when I announce things like “Half the 6th grade has the sniffles,” or “My classroom sounded like the control group on a ragweed allergy shot test.”

  7. I feel like my health is mirroring your health. I am carrying a rescue inhaler as well. When I can write, I do a mad dash as well. I’m going the other way though– less dashes and more bad health spots. *sigh

    1. My allergies (mostly) went away when we moved to rural Oregon. (The dry side; mold is an issue.) I had a lot of trouble with elm, American in the spring, and Chinese in the fall. Fun!

      Now, the fun medical issue is a film that’s trying to shrinkwrap the macula in my left eye. I have some interesting surgery scheduled in a couple of weeks. I tell myself I’m not scared; on good days, I believe it. (Worst case, I lose vision in the left eye. It’s semi-useless right now, but it does contribute, and I’m rather fond of it.) For those with high curiosity levels and no particular adversion to grue, look up the treatment for epiretinal film.

      1. You definitely need to go for the piratical look.
        Get an eye patch before you go in for the surgery. Wear it on the right eye. When asked, tell the doctor he better get the surgery correct, since you haven’t been able to see out of your right one since you got the eye patch.

  8. “Horse and Bull”? Ought that not be “Horse and Minotaur”, or “Horse and Ox”? (Orvan couldn’t ask this for himself, yaknow.)

    1. If that is the work that I think it is, it would be severely unhealthy for be involved in that particular society and I have no issue at all with me and my kind being “included out.”

  9. Two weeks between crashes? Your body obviously isn’t running on a Windows operating system then, I never had one go that long between crashes.

  10. For what it’s worth I realize that doing first person well is difficult, but I thought it is what gave Rogue Magic its extra appeal.

      1. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that multiple first person is by far the hardest to write, but if done well can be extremely good. If done properly it is probably my favorite, but all too often it comes off as “disorienting” because the author can’t really get into the head of all the characters and they end up having similar mindvoices, or almost worse, their mindvoices fluctuate instead of being consistent to the character.

        Also for what it’s worth, I don’t recall that problem in Rogue Magic, but from having tried it myself (and given up on it) it is actually worse when doing edits and rewrites. Because you have to switch back and forth between different characters and mindvoices constantly, rather than writing a chapter in this characters mindvoice today, then resetting yourself in other characters mind tomorrow, before writing that chapter.

  11. …taking the name of an old fantasy novel which will probably be called Horse and Bull or Igniting the Stars or something when it comes out.

    I am sure it will be called something, what will depend on who is doing the calling. Your loyal audience will ignore the usual detractors and read it anyway.

    It should have a title. Let us know what it is when you release it. It will make it easier to order it. 😉

  12. Gads – I feel like a lazybones, looking at your schedule …I have only two books to finish in the next two months; one is four-fifths complete and the other stands at about a quarter.
    And then there are the weekend markets.
    Still – fantastic that you are feeling better and have a grip on the chronic problems.

  13. If you have anything you want me to write about, please send me a note

    I’d like to see an article about how you spent a weekend resting and rejuvenating… not holding my breath, though. 😉

    1. I would love to read it as well. I bet the itinerary would include a long stroll through the Zoo, time at various Museums discovering wonders and eating at the Diner with friends … and it would all be wonderful.

        1. <Blockquote…
          But all that I've noticed, Except my own feet
          Was a horse and a wagon on Mulberry Street.
          That's nothing to tell of,
          That won't do, of course….
          Just a broken-down wagon
          That's drawn by a horse.
          That can't be my story. That's only a start.

          Yup, if Our Esteemed Hostess is to have a relaxing break she needs to stay away from Mulberry Street.

                1. Vampires are no longer horror, they’re cuddly and sparkle. We’re still waiting to see how Dark Fate turns out before we consider you to have earned horror cred.

                  1. Not the way she wrote them. Sword and Blood definitely fits under the “horror” end of the vampire-novel spectrum.

                    1. No, yours are heroic. Vampire musketeers? Horror? Pfui. Next you’ll be writing shifter-mysteries featuring a sloth detective assisted by an otter who brings clews and suspects to the sloth’s lair.

                2. Yes well, when I first got it you told me to wait to read it until certain matters regarding the series rights were sorted out. By the time you gave the all clear life got in the way again … it is still waiting patiently at the top of my to be read when I am ready to start a new series stack.

  14. Off topic, but I was telling a gal about the blogger who thinks women can telepathically communicate with plants the other day, and she didn’t really believe me. I can’t remember “she who talks with plants” name or blog to refer her to. Can any of you help me out with that?

    1. Witchwind, I think? Maybe Witchwynd? On one of the larger blogging sites; I want to say blogspot, but it’s been a very long time, especially measured in Harried Mother Years.

  15. Super secret message from some libertarian chick:

    The Left Wants Supermen to Rule, But They Aren’t Even Giants
    By Sarah Hoyt
    One of the disturbing lines of reasoning the left inevitably seems to trundle down is “the superior being.”

    This is, of necessity, baked into the idea that people are despicable, and therefore they need the government to stop them from the truly horrible. Since we know – even the left – the government is made up of people, it, therefore, must follow that those people who make up the government are really, really important and special, enlightened beings with super-human capabilities.

    You see it again and again.

    Recently in one of my quests to read back in the history of SF/F, I came across “The Green Man of Graypec” by Festus Pragnell. This was a rip-roaring and not unenjoyable adventure, though the scientific premise is, to say the least, outdated. However, in the middle of it, apropos nothing, there were a few lights of left-virtue-signaling, which for all I know might already have been needed to get through most of the traditional publishing establishment in 1935.

    What I found fascinating was that this was before socialism and progressivism had stripped themselves of their eugenics load, and therefore in the middle of the book we are told that if only these civilizations had listened to H. G. Wells (spelled some weird way, since this was supposed to be another world, after all) and implemented hygienic breeding and making sure only the best bred, they wouldn’t be in this trouble.

    Now and after the debacle of National Socialism’s eugenics program, the Socialists go a long way to deny any tie to eugenics. Of course, they replace it with tribalism, which is another form of eugenics.

    At any rate, their denial of a belief in a superior man is a fig leaf. It’s still there, behind their concept of the perfect society, behind their belief behind how socialism would work out if only it were practiced by the “right people” and behind the doltish hero-worship they fall into when one of their own is president. This, of course, also leads them into ridiculous dynastic-type thought. After all, Hillary Clinton was worthy of the presidency simply because she had lived with that demi-god, Bill Clinton. And who among us hasn’t heard them speak in hushed tones – or included as a throwaway line in movies – such unlikely presidencies as Michelle Obama, the Obama daughters, or even Chelsea Clinton. There is no logical reason to posit that type of dynasty – the right at least has the decency to be somewhat embarrassed at the party organization’s dynastic ideas, which is why Jeb! was a non-starter – unless, of course, you believe in superior human beings and superior bloodlines.

    It is clear that Hillary does. There are people who are supposed to “rule” and plan things for a society and it is essential that people surrender all their trust to them.


    1. …and that bunch of termites and do-nothings has the unshakeable belief that they are the “superior” ones.

      It is to ROFL…

  16. One suggestion on the Eczema, I’ve fought with skin problems most of my life, and I’ve found that limiting exposure to hot water greatly reduces irritation. Cool showers are not enjoyable, but skin peeling off my fingers is less so. I’ve tried shedloads of prescription solutions, but temperature control works better (and cheaper!) for me. Also swear by Tom’s of Maine soaps, but those also make me swear at prices.

  17. IDK, it looks like the problem is that there’s never only one problem, even before side effects of drugs against one replace it with another.
    Conversely, there are general purpose “tugging out of the muck” solutions, but their wide usefulness comes with limitations too. Even showers, indeed.
    E.g. the Eleutherococcus group adaptogens (Rhodiola rosea, etc) helps with just about anything (especially once long-term effects spin up), but they also have rather common contra-indications, such as inflammations and hormonal (adrenaline/thyroid) issues. Xanthines are nice, but with those cardiovascular effects they don’t even need specific contra-indications, so even “drink more hot tea” is not always an option…
    There may be other good stimulants that don’t escalate exactly the same problems, but if so, they are rare.

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