Saturday, November 18, 2017

Because laws work so well...

I've heard lots of screeching about banning guns recently.  One ignorant twatwaffle even went so far as to whine "Well, at least then we'll know the people with guns are criminals!"

Right.  Like that prevents mass shootings...or any shootings, really.  Because the law abiding don't ever do anything to prevent and/or stop those.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  Tell that to the church shooter in Texas (oh, wait--you can't, because an NRA shooting instructor shot him). 

California was the scene of the latest shooting splattered all over the news.  Shooter chose a gun free zone to minimize anyone shooting back (as most of them do).  A school.  During morning drop-off time. 

Well, why didn't we just take his guns?  Why don't we take everybody's guns so that more children aren't being brutally dismembered in their mothers' wombs (oh, wait--that's abortion, not a school shooting)--er, shot going into their school building?

Well, as it turns out, he had had his guns removed.  And it worked so well to stop him that--well, it didn't.  He stole two, and built two more.  Yes, built.  Because guns are such complicated machines that it's possible to build them with enough time and a few power tools.  Especially since the LOWER RECEIVER is what determines that it's a firearm.  You know, one of the less complicated parts. 

The best way to prevent mass shootings is to remove the shooting galleries gun free zones.  Let the law abiding carry...and shoot back when one of these scumbuckets tries this on. 

You know, there's a good reason why I do not venture into a posted gun free zone.  Any gun free zone that is not also a police department/sheriff's department.   I am not an easy victim, and will not permit some paper pushing trembling twatstain who's terrified of their own lack of emotional control and projects that on everybody to make me a disarmed victim. 

Just another reason I'm relieved to be leaving the university.  My last day on campus is Pearl Harbor Day. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Counting down, now.

I have five class days left of the semester.  Only that.  I have the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (which might as well be cancelled, given the likely attendance), and two Tuesday classes and two Thursday classes after.  Last day of class is 12/7; final exams week is FUBARed, so I'll actually have one class have its final exam on a Monday.  For a Tuesday/Thursday class.  The other one is half an hour off on its times on Tuesday.  The bad side is that the university has completely screwed up a final exams scheduling system that has worked for decades; the good side is that I'll have final grades turned in by Tuesday night.  And then I'm completely done with academia after my last check cleared.

As for what I'll do without that job...I'll be writing.

I'm also counting down on Detritus.  I'm on the next to last chapter.  It might stretch to 40K words, but that'll be it.  It has fought me every step of the way since I decided that it was going to have a hopeful ending. 

Probably not going to publish in hard copy for this one.  Just Kindle.  Look for it in January.

I've got two more short stories to write for the collection I'm putting together, and one to edit and revise.  Probably get that done in fair short order, since the stories aren't fighting me.  I can knock out a short story in about two or three hours, depending on length.  I'm not that fast of a typist. 

Sales and KU reads are spiraling up slowly.  I'm trying to figure a balance between promoting my work (with NO budget for advertising, or for book signings in my local bookstore that does that sort of thing) and spamming my Facebook/blog contacts.  I really don't want to do the spamming thing; if I'm headed in that direction, let me know. 

One of the projects I'm considering for the future is a short manual on Adulting 101, including things like how to do your laundry, how to build a budget, how to plan a menu for a week, how to shop wisely...things that parents are supposed to teach their kids but often don't, either through being to busy or through thinking that it's faster and easier on the household if they just do it for their kids. 

I think I can turn this into an alternate career.  I'm certainly trying.  The time between being employed and being self-employed is certainly ticking away faster than I'd thought it would.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Second to last

Last week, I got hit with a CFS flare.  A bad one.  I'm recovering, now, but I had to cancel office hours Thursday and come home to go to bed. 

I probably should have spent all of Wednesday in bed, but I'm just too stupid-stubborn--there was writing to be done.

No, I didn't get it done.  I got a few words added, but brain fog makes functioning, much less braining, really hard.  I should have just gone to bed.  It might not have gotten so bad if I had.  Or at least I should have moved to my recliner, laptop, keyboard, and all.

Thursday, I picked up the practical proposal paper.  The fourth paper of five papers (plus a blogging assignment).  The last ones I will likely ever grade.  I am wistful about this, but also glad. 

I truly enjoy reading papers and offering feedback on what went wrong, how to fix it, and how to not do it again in the future.  I don't enjoy not being allowed to do more than mark that there IS a mistake, much less what mistake they've made, in grammar, structure, or punctuation.  I don't enjoy deciding what grade to put on a paper, either. 

And then, I introduced the last full paper the class will write.  Like always, I use this final paper as an unofficial final exam (that they're allowed to revise if they earn under 90%.  And some do, not because the paper's bad, but because they somehow missed out on doing some part of citing the sources). 

I am not a low-energy teacher.  Even when I have none to spare. 

So, Thursday, I spent half of it teaching, and the other half in bed.  And never managed to get my brain working well enough to finish the last little bit of Detritus before I picked up the paper, or get any of the drafts I picked up graded. 

This coming week is going to be busy grading the second to last paper, and teaching the source credibility guidelines and citation guidelines for the last paper.  The next week will be Thanksgiving Break.  The following week is when paper 5 is due. 

But that's future workloads.  Right now, I need to grade the second to last paper instead of worrying about the last one coming in.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


It's NaNoWriMo once again.  National Novel Writers' Month.  Yes, I am participating...sort of.  I'm going to be trying to finish three unfinished projects this month--four, if I can manage it. 

Current project: Not yet sure if it's a short novel or long novella.  Detritus.*  Started out with 21.5K words (about 47 pgs, typed, single-spaced, in 12 pt font in Word).  Reviewed and revised all 21.5 K words, and added 2K today.  I know where it's going, and how it's getting there; I'm only limited by typing time and speed (including almost 5 hrs spent on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though tomorrow is freewrite/research day for my students).  I may be finished with a first draft of this one before the weekend's out.  I'm planning on releasing it sometime in January.  Whether I release it as Kindle only or as a CreateSpace paperback is still up in the air.

Next project: Normalcy Bias.  I've got two more stories in that collection to pull from my draft book and type.  Probably will wind up at around 45-50K words, altogether; currently sitting at 36K or so.  I plan on either picking that up immediately following finishing the previous, or just after I finish grading the papers I pick up a week from tomorrow.  Hoping to release it sometime in March or so.

End of the month: The Schrodinger Paradox.**  Again, I know where that one's going, and how it's getting there, but there's a LOT more typing to do--something like another 30K words.  I hope to have it totally finished before the kids are out for Christmas Break, but considering end of semester stuff/catch up housecleaning/Christmas decorating and shopping, I'm not going to be guaranteeing it.  I'm just hoping I can get the first draft finished, and get the alpha readers' feedback incorporated into a second draft before the start of the year.  This one is going to a publishing house's slush pile.  I should hear back in 9 months to a year. 

Assuming I get the first draft of Schrodinger totally finished, and have time left, I'll pick up a vampire story I'd set down a few years ago, and see what I can finish of that.***

Don't worry--this will be the last post I write about writing this month.  I will not spend the whole month griping about how it is (or isn't) going according to plan, and messing with my life (what there is of that).  

*I've found for this one, The Rolling Stones or Shaman's Harvest really gets the words flowing from the keys.  The Pretty Reckless almost does it, but not quite.  

**Figured out that it's not the music stalling things.  It was the fact that I wanted to start it in a place/time it didn't want to be started.  Music is still Starset. 

***The story of how the main character wakes up dead is one of the ones in Normalcy Bias. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My blankie

It isn't a blankie, per se.  It's books.  I have found that being surrounded by books has a significant positive effect on my mental and emotional well-being. 

I have a bookcase full of books to my left at my new desk.  I will have one to my right soon enough.  Both in my peripheral vision while I'm at my desk working (which is actually a lot of the time, now).

At the old house, we had 400 sq. ft. smaller of an area to work with.  We had three bedrooms, one living space, an eat-in kitchen, and a utility room/pantry.  One wall on the living room had bookcases (not very tall), one wall had storage cubbies, and one had the TV and DVDs.  Our bedroom held the majority of books that weren't in storage.

I love my children dearly.  I love my children enough that I gave up having a library so that the pixie and imp didn't have to share a bedroom. 

That actually put something like 3/4 of our books in storage.

Those are slowly being brought back out.  The low bookcases that were in the living room now reside one each in the kids' rooms.  Because their grandpa made them.  We have a 3 shelf bookcase in the family room with kids' books in it, a knock together 5 shelf (modified with an extra from one that fell apart), a similar quality 4 shelf one (that will likely move to the master bedroom in a few months), and two solid wood hand made 6 shelf bookcases.  Every one is packed with books, and most of our books are still in boxes in the garage. 

By the time this room is finished, we will have three bookcases full of books on the long wall with the doorway, and maybe five on the opposite wall.  The short wall shared with the family room has four big pass through openings from waist high to about a foot from the ceiling, and the outside wall has a huge window overlooking the front yard, road, and trees across the road.  And this is where my desk is set. 

For the past three and a half years, I've taught my classes in the university library.  Even though I'm not surrounded by books in the classroom, the smell pervades.  It grants a level of peace and serenity that I otherwise wouldn't have had.  For the past seven years, I've been without the majority of books at home, because until we found and purchased this beautiful place, we simply didn't have the room.

Well, that, and we didn't trust the kids (particularly the pixie) to not climb the bookcases.

But now, the kids are older (and taller, and know where the step-stools are), and we do have the room.  It may take a while (and a LOT of work), but my library is being rebuilt with solid wood replacing particle board.*

*The bookcases we had made of particle board were sagging, breaking pegs, and listing under the weight of the load of books on their shelves.  I'm glad to have solid wood ones going in.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

...and CreateSpace is back.

Good thing, too.  I'm not unhappy with the quality of Amazon's print on demand paperbacks, but I'm not happy with it, either.  It's several steps below CreateSpace--standard pulp fiction paper. 

Yes, that means I got my copy.  I'm also not happy with that process.  Where CreateSpace permits for author copies to be ordered, Amazon does not.  You have to pay full list price for one of your books. 

I admire Amazon for making the effort, but the effort falls far short of what it should turn out.  And doesn't make things simple for authors at all

Monday, October 23, 2017

Now available in Kindle:

(And yes, I have set it available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited--just like all of my other books--for those of you who are curious, but don't want to shell out a few bucks to buy them)

This went live last night.  My cover artist is on Facebook, paints a lot, and sells her work.  If you're interested in looking her up, her name is Rhonda Palmer.

I fully credit Dorothy Grant with the cover copy/description of the book.  Mine sucked.  Big time.

I am getting back to writing The Schrodinger Paradox.  I know exactly where it's going, and may have part 3 done before the end of the month.  Maybe.  I also have papers coming due as of tomorrow. 


So, since I am finishing out my final few weeks of my last semester, I've come to a few realizations.  Realization the first: I am sick of academia.  Last week, there was a Hijab Day on campus.  The Muslim Student Association hosted a series of presentations lying about what the function of the garment was for the culture, and how it was a choice to wear it.  They also had scarves and Muslim girls to teach the Western girls how to wear them, and selfie booths.  They complained, the day after, about how few people bought their bullshit were interested in what they had to say/try on the mark of being considered subhuman. 

I also have to walk on eggshells grading the papers of minorities, or trying to get anyone to question their assumptions (or even admit that there are unstated assumptions underlying claims that may make them absolutely the opposite of persuasive to those who do not share those assumptions). 

I am, and have been, sick of the atmosphere on campus for years, now.  I'm sure that the Soviet Union was worse, but only because they'd actually kill you for holding a dissenting opinion (though I'm sure Berkley would like to head in that direction). 

Realization the second: my Office suite comes to me through the university.  I may have to either switch to Open Office, despite not liking it nearly as well, or hope that I can continue using it for a while.  Because I can't buy a copy right now. 

Realization the third: One of the reasons I've not been writing is that I simply didn't have the energy, mental, emotional, or spiritual, to write.  The other is that I was so damn miserable that I was reading instead of writing, retreating into places other than the one I was in.  Part of that was the awful health problems (not resolved, but mitigated, and managed to the extent they could be), part was the horrid neighbors that moved in next door in '15, and part was dreading going back at the start of each semester.

Realization the fourth: Teaching takes a lot more out of me than I thought it did.  I'm capable of doing a lot more if I am not also in front of a classroom for six hours a week, interacting with students.  I don't know if it's the social interaction draining me, or if it's the way I teach (active, all over the classroom, and hanging over shoulders during group and individual worktime, monitoring how my students are doing and offering suggestions and help). 

Realization the fifth: I can be writing a LOT with it set as my fulltime "job."  I can do around 1500 words per hour.  If the story's coming well, I can do somewhere around 4-6K words per day, before I'm fried.  And my endurance may climb after a while.  And I've got work enough for a while--I have a LOT of ideas I just haven't had time or energy to develop.