The Writer Against The Forces Of Evil Jan 2020


When last we saw our heroine, in her battle against the forces of evil, understood as “things that prevent her from writing fiction”, she had made the valiant resolution of writing a lot.

To such purpose she’d enlisted The Mathematician (A figure of mythical dread — also hotness (it might be inferred she plied him with her wiles!))


— whose principal power is super-human abilities of scheduling and organization) and he’d deployed the near-mythical (in our heroine’s world at least) …. spreadsheet.



The very name causes our heroine to shudder, since the idea of caging THE Writing is almost sacrilegious. Also, it doesn’t work very well.

However, given the fifty some novels in her head and if she doesn’t get them out, she’s probably going to forget which of the voices behind her eyes is her actual own voice. Which would be a bad thing. A very bad thing.


So after The Mathematiciann deployed some wiles on HER, the writer agreed that she could do this. She could defeat the forces of evil in 2020. She would even use the dread (shudder) spreadsheet and keep to a calendar and everything.


But haha, the force of evil never sleep (in which they have some resemblance to our heroine these days. More anon.)


No more had our heroine got in two good days of work, or so, than the forces of evil deployed:


Euclid cat, whose life story could be written as “Euclid Cat, Enter The Derp.”  Or since he’s 21, “Euclid Cat, the Path of the Geezer.”

In this case right after new years he fell of a cliff health-wise. Since our heroine is an idiot who doesn’t like putting down cats who can still walk into the doctor’s office under their own power, and also since when she took him to the doctor Euclid was charming, sociable and cosplayed at being at least 10 years younger, our heroine has spent a bunch of money she doesn’t have, and time she has even less of stabilizing the cat (the model for Peesgrass in the Dyce books) who is now eating, and more alert than he was and has stopped screaming in the middle of the night.


So, that crisis averted, our heroine was ready to resume her course and deploy the spreadsheet:

But the forces of evil never sleep….


And being awake made them really really upset, so… they deployed:


Stomach flu….

Which ate about a week and a bit, until our heroine started getting better and thought: Spreadsheet!


Only the forces of evil weren’t done!  These last three days they have deployed:


Sleeplessness.  No, our heroine has no idea whatsoever why. Okay, it might have to do with the fact she’s pretty much forgotten to take her ADD meds every afternoon, and for some reason not taking the meds means she not only doesn’t sleep at night, but she doesn’t get much done. (Though she’s rendered some pretty images she will eventually use in her (now being revamped) author website. Which will have a non political probably three times a week blog.

Images like this, which will ge used for a click to go through to a page talking about our heroine’s space opera:

lucky I guess1It might also end up being the cover for a novel. Maybe.)

It’s also a vicious cycle, because the more tired she is, the less effect the meds have on ADD, causing her to behave like a very strange squirrel:


And then she gets stressed because she hasn’t been writing and is now late on two novels and two short stories, and then…. everything gets worse, including the lack of sleep.

And then… Well, these last two weeks the forces of evil have scored a major win.


Needless to say this can’t go on.  The Mathematician is looking at our heroine like this:


(Only hotter.)  And after all, our heroine is armed with the mighty spreadsheet!


(Even if she’s managed to screw up one of its functions — it’s like a superpower. not a good one –)

Now, there are hints that other distractions might loom, including perhaps at least a part time job in non-fiction again.


Which is good and bad, because while non-fiction isn’t fiction, it does help pay the bills, and has some not-irrelevant effect on publicity.  (And they’re not paying the heroine in Euros, because, just no. Stupid image.)

However, the heroine thinks she can keep the non fic under control, so it doesn’t eat all her time.


If that confinement is effective, then she will do it. If not…. well, she’s all grown up, even if she’s forgotten how to sleep. (I’ve slept successfully in the past, I swear.)

So The Writer (our heroine) and The Mathematician (very hot. Also good with numbers and organization) have vowed to join forces


And this time truly defeat the forces of evil so our heroine can finish two short stories and at least one of the novels (Other Rhodes) this week.

Tune in next week for another episode of The Writer Against the Forces of Evil!

Will our heroine figure out how to sleep again?

Will Derpish cats figure out a new trick to thwart her?

Will non fiction prove too much for her?

Will Greebo-cat, freelance editor stop glowering at her for being so late?


(Okay, that last one is unlikely.)

All these answers and more wait next week!  Same place, same blog, same overcrowded writer’s mind.  Watch as our heroine does battle against the forces of evil!




63 thoughts on “The Writer Against The Forces Of Evil Jan 2020

  1. Non-fiction? Like, about politics and stuff? (No, wait — all of that is fiction – bad fiction. We just pretend yo believe it is real)

    Maybe she meant to type Nu Fiction. Yeah, that’s probably the deal. Space nuns, with ray projector rulers, the kind capable of measuring to infinity and beyond.. Nuuuuuuuunsssss Innnnnnnnn Spaaaaaaaaace!

    -Stop crowding me, Reply Button!

    Make that spreadsheet cower in terror before the rage of your Writer-Fu. (Author-Fu?)

  2. 10:40 this morning: I suggest to Sarah that instead of writing about politics when she’s half-asleep she write fiction instead.

    3 hours later: We get THIS.

    I had no idea I had so much influence around here.

  3. As Himself was wont to say: “Soldier, shut up and soldier!”
    Greebo and I don’t need no stinking spreadsheets (though as an Industrial and Systems Engineer I does love them to death). Mommy is late on a host of long promised jobs that once done ought to be worth many cans of tuna. Because feh on your euros or dollars for that matter, it’s all about the fish in those metal containers that open to that irresistable magical seductive sound beloved by felines everywhere.
    Seriously, sweetie, glad ol’ Greebs is on the mend, being on site I count on him to keep you focused.
    But about that kanoodling mathematician, you do know that your husband does on occasion read this blog?

  4. Glad you’re over the stomach flu. I got the flu too around the same time and I’m just now starting to perk up. I’ve been knocked on my ask for over a week. Not fun. Good luck on the writing.

    I’m suddenly very preoccupied with looking at flats in the city and dreaming. Rent has doubled since I left only 2 yrs ago. It’ll be tough to get back especially with a pooch in tow.

  5. Glad to hear Euclid is doing better. We really should have made pets out of Galapagos tortoises or something else likely to outlive us.

    I know a lot about sleeplessness. It sucks when the most stressful thing of the day is going to bed.

    Although what you’re doing with your sleeplessness…is that lady the one from “The Winter Prince” by any chance?

    1. That’s the advantage of a pet rock – you won’t outlive it. An elephant has a lifespan of fifty to seventy years so there’s a good option for a pet you won’t outlive by much, if at all.

      I would like to adopt a Hroshii princess for a pet, but I understand there may be dietary issues with those.

      1. One does not simply adopt Hroshii, they adopt you and rais generations of RES’s. As for dietary issues think of a heard of Hroshii as a solution to the problem of att these useless recyclables. One caution overfeeding Hroshii is bad. Not as bad as overfeeding flat cats (or their literary descendants tribbles) but bad

  6. Good to hear things are on the mend although that sleep stuff is a lot more annoying than people think. As a side issue both of my daughters take ADD meds and have experienced similar issues if they miss it so maybe its not that uncommon? And of course forgetting things or missing things can be part of the ADD so its a vicious cycle. Why does it happen? I have no clue dammit I’m a Software Engineer not a Doctor :-).

  7. Will mention in passing that while I am fine with the new blog look I do miss the link to comments at the start of the post.

      1. Threaded comments? What kind of repressed anal/retentive neurotic wants threaded comments? What’s the point in those?

        The system ought simply put all the cool people comments at the top and randomly arrange the remainder down below – if they even accept any of those.

        BTW – speaking of cool people comments, I see you’ve got the recent remark (aka: IT’S JUST SOME PEOPLE TALKING) schedule up to fifteen. How cool is that?

        1. Cool people? Around here, the cool people are those that turned up the air conditioning or down the heat, depending on the climatic conditions.

  8. Yee wowch. You win. I just had bronchitis, sort-of being on a search committee*, jury duty (which turned into show up and be dismissed duty) and Day Job.

    *We’re not making the full final decision, but we are needed in order to get a sense of if this person can work in our rather Odd situation.

  9. Afternoon ADD meds? Oh, yeah, the non-time release stuff.

    Also, the green chairs at the hospital have to be pulled away from the wall before they can be pulled fully out. FUI

    1. I looked for a Steven Wright clip of his “Did you Sleep Well?” “No, I made a few mistakes.” but didn’t come across any that weren’t part of his whole 40 minute bit.

  10. I’m also getting back into things. A full tale of the events is too boring, let us just say that Murphy was in control of many of the aspects of my medical adventure. Second major winter storm for a medical trip in two years; $SPOUSE was not thrilled. Nor was I.

    The GI system is getting back to normal, though my body reminded me that biopsies (minor) and lunchtime hot sauce make for a rude middle-of-the-night awakening when things pass by the relevant section. Sriracha can wait a bit longer.

    Various chores await; see winter storm.

    1. Definitely sounds unpleasant. Probably contains live bobcat, 0/10 would not recommend.

      1. had the joy of learning the moron is driving the plow again this storm. Last big storm ,the curb plow driver just ambled along, and I had to clear the lump at the corner and my walk to street little portion.
        This storm, again the baboon (apologies to actual baboons) went past at 35 to 40 mph (on a 25mph street) and I had the street’s snow added to the 8 inches or so already there.
        5 minutes after I cleared the sidewalk and doffed my outerwear, I heard him drive by again and got more coverage though the School Teacher and the lady a few more doors down were out shoveling so he had to slow down (Or he would have injured them with the blast) so it was only 2-3 inches of hardpack tossed into my walks. Also, last storm, the plowing actual meaningfully cleared the intersections, this baboon (see previous apology), while my side street was cleared on my block only, came back on the avenues and left a furrow that will stop most cars at the street intersections, and now, 9+ hours later, still hasn’t cleared those.
        This driver, a few years back, was doing his normal stupid streets clearing and wedged the plow in between 2 cars, and a truck with a trailer, parked for drive clearing, by going too fast, and sliding so the front plow was between the cars, and his side plow was behind the truck, and in front of the trailer in such a way he couldn’t retract the side plow, or re-angle the front plow to extricate himself, in his slide, he also got the bottom plow (this is a dump truck with a spreader and 4 plows. Front, bottom that can angle, and the small shoulder plows that can lift up and back) slid under one of the cars and the owners of those vehicles didn’t seem to rush to help him escape. It didn’t look like he hit anything, but I drove past twice in a bit over an hour and he was still there, and I don’t know how long before or after he was parked like that.
        I always hope he hits something and gets fired.
        Or want to shoot him as he drive past.

    2. Why yes, this is from real experience:

      “I’m have some breathing issues, but hopefully it’s cardiac and not pulmonary.”
      “Wait.. you HOPE it’s cardiac? Why?!?!”
      “Surgeons can fix hearts. Can’t do much for lungs.”
      “I really to stop smoking…”

  11. Posts like this are why ATH is one of the most entertaining blogs around. 🙂

  12. Send me your cell # and when you need to take your meds. I will harass you every day until you text back you have taken them. I know how to set an alarm….

    1. Thing is I have set alarms for every other med. this one won’t “take. I’m going to ask doctor for timed release. Meanwhile I’m going to bed in half an hour so I can wake up and work.

  13. I have had success with a pill organizer and alarm. I have had no success in carrying out tasks.

  14. Ouch. Why is it that, when you have trouble, you tend to have lots of trouble? I know that’s how it always seems to work at this house

    Yesterday I thought we were finally making headway on the repairs on the house from the windstorm the day before Thanksgiving. The roofer came and put the new rubber roof on the back sunporch, just ahead of a heavy rain that was coming through overnight.

    This morning I got up and heard an odd plinking sound. I went out there and discovered water dripping from the ceiling. I immediately called the contractor, and he said he’d call his roofing subcontractor and get them out there. So we were getting that dealt with, but I’d have to miss the breakfast one of the local churches was putting on.

    So I’m bidding the rest of the family good-bye and settling in to wait and get myself a breakfast here at home. And then the guys come back in, telling me that there was a message on the car’s Driver Information Center: “Oil pressure low — stop engine now.” So I make some calls, then go out in the pouring rain to check the car’s oil dipstick. It shows normal, which is not a good sign. It might be the oil sending unit giving a bad reading, but it could also be the oil pump failing. Even trying to drive the car to the shop a few blocks north of us could destroy the engine.

    So we ended up having the car towed up to the shop just so that we could get the business van out of the driveway and be able to go places today. And the roofing crew came right about the same time as the tow truck, and they got our roof tarped up again — but the problem wasn’t an error on the roofer’s part. According to the supervisor, the decking is bowing and causing the water to pond rather than flowing off the roof properly (perhaps less obvious damage from when the tree limbs crashed onto it and punctured the rubber membrane?), and all the decking will have to be replaced. They’re going to talk with our insurance company about putting it on the work order.

    In the meantime, the water is still dripping, probably because the felt underneath the rubber membrane is soaked and releasing it bit by bit. And the drywall on the ceiling is definitely looking like it’s taken serious damage. I’m just hoping it doesn’t crumble and fall before it can be replaced. And hoping that they don’t discover more problems when they pull the decking up.

    So now I’m not just trying to get my partially finished projects into some kind of rational order to complete and get released on KDP. I’m also wondering how I should prioritize re-releasing my existing KDP material vs working on new releases (and the short story I’m working on for the Jim Baen Memorial Award).

    1. . Why is it that, when you have trouble, you tend to have lots of trouble? I know that’s how it always seems to work at this house

      Strange Attractor / Attractive Nuisance?

  15. And now I ponder an admittedly very silly series of “The Writer Against the Forces of ______”

    Toasters? Waffle Irons? Space-Penguins? Teenage Mutant Vitrified Wombats? Rhomboids? Tachyonic Wallabies? Plow Snows? Suban Kugars? 18+ year-old single=malt scotch? String, Silly and Otherwise?

    1. Well, mostly because I’ll be dipped in butter and called Edna if I’m going to continue the main series and send business to the house who says the books aren’t selling but wants to sell me my IP for 50k (if I get 50k to play with, they will get it, just not a way they want) I’m going to continue the series with “the next generation” so you might get a chance to figure this out. 😉

        1. It’s probably just stupidity, honest. They refuse to give me rights back until they sell all books in the warehouse (which are 50k, supposedly, at author’s discount.)
          HOW they intend to sell the books, I don’t know, except they told me I CAN continue the series.
          They won’t even give me erights back till those sell (though they’ve done that for some authors.)
          I am part mule. So, no dice. Shifters is getting rebooted with a different character (who does interact with the others.
          And DST will be “next generation.”
          Only next year, though. Mostly this year I’m going into Schrodinger worlds, both feet.

      1. if they don’t think that the books are selling and its not worth publishing new ones, then why would they think the IP is worth 50k to ANYONE….

        1. Oh, but it’s not for the IP. You see they have printed copies, I have to buy before the ERIGHTS revert. That’s the 50k. At half price author’s price.
          a) They could give me just the erights. That’s the NORMAL arrangement in that situation. In fact, if I had the erights it would continue the series, and they’d probably sell the stock FASTER. b) if they have 100k in retail price in books…. well, considering TF and Darkship Revenge never had a mmpb edition… there’s some gross mismanagement in the initial print run. which, mind you is possible. Stupidity is always possible. c) I don’t WANT the paper books. What the hell would I do with them? No, seriously, what the hell would I do with them? I have a palette from Noah’s boy in the garage. I don’t feel like running sales from home (too long, too much work. I’d rather be writing) and I don’t go to cons enough to sell them. Even if I had the money, I DON’T WANT THEM. d) They immediately gave me the right, nay encouraged me to continue the series. Without the right to the other work. No, it did NOT escape my keen intellect that if the series goes on and lifts off in indie, the back books will sell. Most of them probably in ebook.

          Look, I’m descended from a guy who laid himself down and ordered his men to march in over his body. At eighty five. when he finally got the door to the citadel he’d been laying siege to open…. Some traits breed true.
          I don’t understand why they thought I’d dance to their tune. I’d rather give up that series — or cut off an arm — and go on to something completely different.

          1. Sarah, is this something that Ms Weisskopf could resolve? And is there any valid reason she hasn’t?

            1. I think answering such a question might be considered a breach of professional ethics. However badly Baen’s current management treats Sarah it does not seem not something into which we fans ought inquire. It is not our place to incite her burning of bridges, however rickety they may have become.

              She is perfectly capable of picking her fights and likely needs no help from us.

              1. A prime example of why the Left gets away with “wearing the carcass as a skin-suit and demanding respect.”

                In this and many other situations, they count on our having principles as their shield.

          2. They have 100K in (list) price of the 5 DarkShip books? That seems insane they’re ~ $9 a piece (most Paperbacks are 8.99 each these days) so that’s over 11 thousand (minimum, earlier ones were cheaper). I wonder what the run rate on Ebooks are? Ah also Shifters so roughly 1000 of all 10 titles plus a couple others I see. Does seem like a lot of print run, especially since I bet Ebook beats Paper for sales at Baen given their historical support for ebook. I do wonder what the run rate on Ebook for this titles is. I know I’ve recommended Darkship series to several folks and know for a fact they got Ebook NOT paper. Seems a nasty trick to play on authors.

  16. Jerry had his Monk’ Cell. Perhaps thou needst a convent for one. Cloistered of course. A cell with no windows, except one on the computer, which only has a single word processing application on it, with no internet connection. Oh, and the cell door locks automatically and won’t open until you’ve input 10,000 words into the word processor.

    1. I doubt we want to risk Sarah typing “All work and no play makes Sarah a dull girl” a thousand times. She wants cat supervision while writing, not isolation.

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