Category Archives: Life Log

09 May

Today I’m celebrating 10 years of being a freelancer

Ten years, man! Ten years! I’ve been freelancer/writer/whatever for 10 years now, sailing my own ship:

Ten years ago I had just published my very first novel. It had been out a few months. But I never got to enjoy or dwell on my first novel experience because I learned just a couple days before my book was to launch that I was going to be out of a job by the end of summer.

I spent that February, March and April:

-finishing the manuscript of my second novel, Ragamuffin, in a panic. I didn’t know if I would be working a McDonald’s or what later in the year. I wanted to have written two novels, so that no matter what mess came next I would have at least done that.

-looking for a new day job. Turned out there were no tech jobs within a decent commute at the time. I was underwater on my mortgage in a house I’d just moved into and had to stretch to afford.

-working freelance gigs that appeared as I announced my availability and impending job loss. I still remember that my boss read my blog post announcing that I was being laid off and ‘encouraged’ me to take it down and I was like ‘I don’t even understand what you mean’ because my focus was on letting the world know I needed to start something new.

By May it had become clear that I had enough lined up that I could take the leap into just working as a freelancer and author.

Ten years. Wow.

There have been a lot of ups and downs. I became a New York Times bestseller thanks to the Halo novel. I went on to write book 3 of what became the Xenowealth series. Agreed to put #4 and #5 on hold after the Halo book and wrote Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever. The freelance gigs have shifted and churned around a bit in the background. I’ve had some banner years in terms of fiction earnings, but not enough I would stop freelancing.

My wife, Emily, has joined me to help out with the freelancing. So the business has grown. We haven’t killed each other yet being home all the time.

I almost died just a few years into freelancing. Found out I had a heart defect. Spent years recovering and learning how to manage a whole new life.

Had twins. Still trying to figure out this dad thing. Very much a learn as you go.

I have published 9 novels in that 10 years, 2 under a pseudonym. There are two more written as of yet unsold as well. I’ve also done 4 collections, 5 novellas, and sold 36 short stories.

My income streams shift and change, but overall everything is growing.

I’m looking out over the next ten and thinking very hard about how I want it to look. I’m in the middle of a great deal of change right now. But… if there’s one thing I’ve learned from 10 years of being a freelancer you have to be comfortable with a great deal of variability.

Does it ever become normal?

I wouldn’t want it to.

What’s next on the horizon?

I’m hoping to nail all that down here soon. You’ll know as soon as I do.

29 Jan

Why I Log

I don’t think I’m alone in this experience. Others have tried a similar diet, though perhaps for other reasons. Advocating for one particular weight-loss diet isn’t my point. My message is this: your weight is in large measure about your psychology. It’s about the hunger mood. Obesity is a crippling social problem, but to our detriment the research has almost uniformly ignored this aspect of the situation. Consider this to be a call to science to focus a great deal more on the psychology of the hunger mood.

In some ways, the hunger system is like the breathing system. The brain has an unconscious mechanism that regulates breathing. Suppose that system got shut down so that it was up to you to consciously control your own breath, adjusting its rate and depth depending on factors such as blood oxygen, carbon dioxide level, physical exertion, and so on. What would happen? You’d die in about 10 minutes.

(Via Hunger is psychological – and dieting only makes it ….)

I thought this was a fascinating article that Cory Doctorow pointed out on twitter.

https://t.co/vlAosXgvju

I have some thoughts about it as I’m coming out of a long year of focusing on deadlines more than my health and trying to reverse a year of self neglect. By last October I’d gained twenty pounds free-basing skittles while sitting all day trying to make various deadlines. I wrote two novels, heavily revised a third, wrote two short stories in a year. I also doubled my freelance work in anticipation of Emily leaving her job.

I spent a lot of time in a chair last year.

And since I have a heart defect I couldn’t go run, or use high intensity interval training, or anything other than a mile or so of walking a day and diet. And I threw diet out the window as I ate my stress.

I’m a quantified self sort of person, and I’ve read a bunch about nutrition, so this was a cool article. One, I have some quibbles with it. But in general, I think it’s awesome because anyone who gives the advice ‘you shouldn’t be hungry all the time on a diet’ is giving fantastic advice.

I think the monkish self-hating of the body is super spread out in our modern world. Dieting becomes a form of self-scarification and exercise in self control in modern culture. I hate so many of its manifestations, as it leaves people who don’t succeed thinking of themselves as failures at a goal instead of on a particular journey.

I knew I was going to have to spend November and December restyling my life when I started down the path I did earlier this year.

And I have. I’ll blog about it some time. I’ve twittered a wee bit about it.

But, back to this article. You shouldn’t be hungry. Yes.

The author’s impression of ‘calorie counting’ is a bit off though:

But the most insidious attack on the hunger mechanism might be the chronic diet. The calorie-counting trap. The more you try to micromanage your automatic hunger control mechanism, the more you mess with its dynamics. Skip breakfast, cut calories at lunch, eat a small dinner, be constantly mindful of the calorie count, and you poke the hunger tiger.

This is where I’m like ‘no no no.’

Calorie tracking. Just track. Not after the day (where he says ‘most people don’t remember what they ate enough to track) but before it goes in my mouth.

Why?

Mindfulness.

But also, to manage hunger and eat the things I adore.

Because here’s the thing. Go on a low carb diet, it’s one of the coolest hacks for lost weight I’ve ever seen (and the article does link to something that dispels the whole ‘ketones’ and ‘chemistry’ and low-carb=magic chemistry woo woo bullshit I hate). I learned low carb first from a weightlifter who said to me ‘two weeks to supercharge weight loss at the start of a program and psyche yourself up and then the last two weeks before you’re on a stage, but the rest of the time, you need simple carbs.’

But the thing is, after that magic period…

Chocolate cake and Lil Debbie Nutty Bars still exist. And they’re manna. And you know it. Those are my favorites.

So you either have to become religious about it, cycle up and down and on and off low carb. Or you have to figure out how to eat the things you do love that aren’t protein and veggies.

Low carb works, as far as I can tell from years logging data, not because of magic chemistry, but because it takes a ton of protein to match the calories in bread. When tracking calories, when I eat mostly protein, I almost struggle to eat above my base metabolic rate. So when I see that I’m eating too much, I strip out the carbs for the next few meals to feel full and dispel hunger.

And I do this so that I can do things like eat donuts and Lil Debbie Nutty Bars every day (cheesecake with dinner).

Yum.

But no matter what approach, starving one’s self is horrible. Everyone has a Base Metabolic Rate (BMR). I use the scale and a rough calculation. It means I make sure to never eat less than a certain amount. One of the things we talked about on a panel recently about apps is how they can push negative things, and most logging apps don’t set a minimum you should not go below, so I am hacking them to focus on tracking and positivity and mindfulness. But a lot of the apps need to refocus how they educate and encourage folks.

There’s such a simple correlation between my health and when I’m mindful through logging before I pick up the food that I am directly regretting the 9 month lapse last year. That was a bad decision on my part LOL.

But I agree starving one’s self is always a horrible proposition, and enjoyed the article.

09 Dec

The Transformers/Gobots Christmas Surprise

For his 12 blogs of Christmas Paul Cornell asks:

Have you, in your life, a mishearing that you’ve persisted with, from
a song or a movie or anything, that you prefer to the original, or
that has special meaning for you?

So it’s the 80s, I’m a little boy growing up in Grenada, WI and money is tight. Some of my friends are super into Transformers. I live on a boat, so I don’t get TV, I’ve never seen the cartoon. I’ve seen some of the toys being played with.

In a move rare for me, I do fall for brand marketing and talk up Transformers to my mom. And so, one Christmas, I pick up a package and remove the paper, and then another layer of paper, and then more tape (this was my mom’s things, heavily wrapped gifts that took a while to get to the bottom of) and lo and behold I got…

…a Gobot!

NewImage

See that little blue-legged one with the big wheels on the shoulder? That was my Gobot.

They were off-brand Transformers, basically. I was pretty devastated. Mainly because the Gobots were hard as fuck to transform, the wheel on the shoulder came right off in no time, and I remember the joints being rubbery and imprecise.

So, I don’t remember if I was charitable or gracious. I do remember that I knew mom had done her best. I wasn’t angry at her, per se. I was angry because in my mind, if I couldn’t have the Transformer, I wouldn’t have minded the money just going towards more Legos instead of a Gobot. It was a one two punch, see? We didn’t have much money, so I knew that the Gobot had sucked resources away.

Then there were the kids. “What is that?”

“A Gobot?”

“So, not a Transformer?”

“Apparently not.”

“It can be a bad guy that we melt on the stove. Hold its hand over the flame and make it confess.”

Eventually the Gobot, after taking some abuse, faded away. As we couldn’t afford Transformers I developed a reflexive avoidance of all things Transformers and Gobots as a form of psychological self defense. So again, I didn’t own any, didn’t have any marketing material, had never seen the show.

As a result, I’d never actually *seen* the phrase Transformers: Robots in Disguise (the tagline for them).

But I was living in the Islands. I was *hearing* a lot of friends playing with Transformers and singing the line “Transformers: Robots in Disguise.”

But linguistically, a lot of my friends had accents that blurred the TH and D sounds. So it’s not as simplistic as saying they said ‘Da Skies’ but when sung quickly ‘The Skies’ in a Caribbean accent and ‘Disguise’ sounded awfully damn close and so I thought, honestly, that the tagline was:

“Transformers: Robots in the Skies!”

Remember, if I was singing that out loud, I would also have a little bit of an accent with many friends, so they had no reason usually to correct me.

Until one fateful day when I was with someone who had the unholy combination of a) having Transformers b) my saying I didn’t want to play Transformers because I didn’t like them made no sense at all to him and c) he was a white kid.

So imagine us playing Transformers. He’s flying them through the air. I have no reason NOT to think that Transformers DON’T fly through the skies.

He sings “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” and I’m like, yeah, cool, and in a very formal English: “Transformers: Robots in the Skies!” And I’m all Received Pronunciation on ‘THE.’ You can fucking tell it’s a TH.

And he pauses and looks at me. “What did you just say?”

Me, trying to rewind what he just sang. “Transformers: Robots in the Skies?”

Him. “What?”

Me, hesitantly, like walking along the abyss and realizing something horrible is about to happen. “Transformers… Robots…” yeah, okay, so far so good. So they ARE indeed robots, I’ve inferred correctly there. “in?” Yep, they’re definitely *in* something. “the…” awww fuck, it’s going all wrong… “skies?”

“Robots in Disguise.”

“Yeah, man. Robots in the Skies. Totally.”

“No. Disguise.”

Understanding dawns. It’s out. It’s clear I haven’t watched the show. I don’t really know what the fuck Transformers are. I’m a fraud. I’m ignorant. There’s only one way out of this, a Hail Mary pass that will let us move past this and forward. “Fuck Transformers. They’re dumb anyway. Let’s play Legos.”

My antipathy toward all things Transformers and Gobots lasted for many years, and were not improved by the Michael Bay films in any way.

And if I sing the tagline out loud, to this day, in my head, it’s still ‘Transformers: Robots in the Skies!’

23 Oct

Hurricane Patricia needs a new category definition, it’s so strong

In Hurricane Fever one of the big parts of the triptych of storms that hit the Caribbean was my suggestion that higher category hurricanes would appear.

Devastating to see this happen, now, with Patricia, my thoughts are for Mexico:

https://mobile.twitter.com/RyanMaue/status/657526655691395072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Thanks to Karen Lord for the heads up. I’ve heard this was a big one, I didn’t realize how powerful.

Sustained 200 MPH winds. I hope there isn’t too much loss of life.

20 Oct

Yes, I’m psyched Star Wars has a diverse cast up front! Here’s why

Great post by Chuck about the Star Wars boycott:

Apparently people are mad because blah blah black dude protagonist with a lightsaber, or girl protagonist, or Latino X-Wing pilot protagonist, and not enough straight white dudes. And folks are mad enough to join in on the hashtag and — nngh. Bleh. Meh. Gnarrgh. I mean, what version of Star Wars did you watch? The one where Luke Skywalker is a racist hick shitbird? The one where the Empire are the good guys because yay oppression and fascism and totalitarian chic?

(Via About That Dumb Star Wars Boycott « terribleminds: chuck wendig.)

One of the things I predict is that some people will be shocked, shocked, to see this.

When I arrived in the US in 1995, almost 40% of the US population alive disapproved of my very existence:

NewImage

As of 2007, some 18% of the US population still basically disapproved of my very existence.

Here we are 8 years later, and a lot of that 18% or whatever that’s left over: they’re online. They’re on twitter.

Whenever these explosions happen, SF/F people are like ‘no, what, things were so nice and quiet before’ but it’s always been thus. Take it from someone who came out with a novel that had A LOT of black people in outer space doing cool shit in 2006.

That 18% gets *pissed* when you do something like that.

Now they’re more visible.

So, yeah, I’m hoping Star Wars is well written. I hope it’s fun. I hope that an SF/F film with a black lead and a woman lead rake in tons of fucking dough and kill it at the box office. (And I hope it’s more than just two token characters, yes, this could still go bad, I understand, but I’m talking about my hopes here).

Not just because I hope it’ll get that argument that SF with diversity can’t sell, a lie that even allies and so forth buy into all too often, but because I just want to see more of it.

And so that its success is louder than those other, hateful voices.

-Signed: some dude who writes action adventure pew pew laser science fiction adventures that features a diverse cast.

05 Oct

Process neepery: my all new morning schedule for writing (did he say morning?)

I’m somewhat known for being a night owl. In the past my productive hours have been from 11pm or thereabouts until 3am. No one bothers me, nothing interesting is happening, I just put my head down and write.

Well, now I’m a morning writer.

Welp.

This doesn’t mean I get up with birds chirping and wide eyes and enthusiastically tackle what I’m up to with a grin and a cup of coffee.

First off, I’m not allowed to have any stimulants due to my heart. It’s a drag, but my last bottle of caffeine happened in November 2008. I’ve been clean since then. It kinda sucks.

Secondly, I still hate mornings. This morning while eating breakfast outside the local coffeeshop Emily looked at me and laughed. “You’re not enjoying the beautiful morning at all, are you?”

NewImage

Okay, so let’s back it up. A year ago I started tracking my sleep patterns with an app on the phone, and then when I got a new FitBit Charge HR, it started giving me intel automatically.

At the time, Emily was teaching at a school that was a fifteen to twenty minute drive away and had a very early start time. The twins were going to Kindergarten. So I was writing from roughly midnight to three, then they were getting up at five thirty or sixish. I would wake up at noon. But I was struggling with being tired a lot still.

What I found out after studying my sleep was that the whole family getting ready for an hour would wake me up just enough to disrupt sleep patterns for an hour or two, then I’d fall back asleep after everyone was out of the house. I was actually losing 1-2 hours a day to this. So I was getting 7 hours a day, maybe less if I stayed up later to really jam on writing. My app and FitBit were guessing that I was averaging 5.6 hours a night.

I would crash on weekends and basically sleep all day.

Emily recently changed careers to come join me running the various things I do. I guess I haven’t mentioned it before. But so far, six weeks in, it’s been great to have her pitching in. There are so many projects I could use her help on. This means that we were able to enroll the twins locally, to the school just a couple blocks away. A germ of an idea occurred to me over the summer: a whole new schedule change.

Knowing that I was losing a couple hours a day had been bugging me. So I decided to pivot everything into a morning schedule. I’d tried on in the first few months of 2014. I went to bed at 12-1am, I got up at 9-9:30 and I wrote until noon. It had been very effective until it fell apart due to exhaustion. I now know that’s due to those ghost 2 hours of little sleep.

I decided to wake up with everyone.

So, starting on the first day of school I set my alarm to get up with the kids. Because, walking them to school on the first day, how could I not? We got ready, shared the bathroom, ate breakfast, all together.

IMG 0561

They were excited to be able to hoof it.

IMG 0564

Like an alcoholic taking a last drink before their first AA meeting, I’d stayed up late the night before.

After walking the twins to school, Emily and I took the poodle out for a continuing walk, swinging through town near the local coffee shop and then back home for a full mile’s walk.

Once home I sat down at the computer and got to business. I worked until noon, then took a break for lunch and touching base with Emily about the day. After lunch, I turned to my freelance work.

My first day of that was August 31st. It’s been rather effective.

For one, I begin every day with a one mile walk. So I’m getting my exercise in right away and getting the cobwebs out of my head. No matter what else happens, I’ve seen my kids off to school, gotten a hug, gotten a walk. There are worse ways to start a day.

Secondly, by writing when I get home right away I get the other really important part of my day out of the way: writing fiction. Usually by 10am, I feel like if the rest of the day exploded into uselessness, I’d still have walked and written. Thus: I win.

Combined with my social media break and GTD approach to email I’ve been more productive than I ever have been. And importantly, consistency productive.

But is it sustainable?

I don’t know. I’ve been aiming for 7 hours 20 minutes of sleep a night minimum. I’ve been failing that here and there, but last week I had a string of 8 days in a row of 7.5 hours of sleep minimum, which is really good. I’ve been getting into bed between 11-midnight. I have fallen down a few times. Twice when company was over (I’m social, I can talk all night), one of those times I stayed up until 3am. I was a mess the next day and felt hungover for 48 hours after. My FitBit helps, it vibrates on my arm at 11, reminding me I need to turn in. If it wasn’t for that, I’d never realize. I do feel very tired around midnight now, which is new, but I’ll still accidentally power through that easily if I don’t have alarms to remind me to go to bed.

The hardest thing has been to fight my desire to ‘stay up and push on getting things caught up on.’ I’m juggling more work in my professional life than I ever have. Fitting it all in has been challenging. But with this schedule, I feel like I’m starting to get caught up (I’m certainly right on track for this current novel deadline) finally. But I still, each night, have this old instinct to want to just stay up and power on.

But I am forcing myself to leave things undone and just trust that the schedule will catch me up.

The morning schedule also solved a problem I’ve always had in the past: working while traveling. While in Baltimore I was up each morning before eight and getting my writing done before I was scheduled to be speaking. If I keep protecting my mornings I expect a boost there. I’m also getting up early on the weekends and not sleeping in, then working on projects for a couple hours.

This is week 6 of the new schedule.

In the past, I was never able to make mornings work at all. I spent six years trying to make this happen when at a day job. I spent my mornings unable to get my brain to speed, and I scheduled all important work and focused on getting things accomplished in the afternoons knowing that I’d barely be able to answer emails.

But we change sometimes. I often experiment with changes and track the results just to make sure I don’t follow old habits blindly. In this case, my morning routine seems to be lending itself toward better results, while my productivity in the late hours was falling off (I have records and charts that show this). How productive? A 60% boost in daily average word count and a 40% boost in rewrites and copy edits.

I still find the late hours conducive to creativity and take notes and drum up ideas in the hours just before bed.

So, crossing fingers this holds for the whole year…

28 Sep

Baltimore Book Festival Recap

I got back late last night from Baltimore where I was the SFWA Guest of Honor. This year Sarah Pinsker took over running what I’m told is a constantly growing tent with what I saw was a great list of running panels and interviews.

Fran Wilde, the author the recently launched and great read Updraft, interviewed me about writing, sailing in fiction and much more.

The panels were a great deal of fun. I got to meet YA author Justina Ireland and catch up with Rosarium’s Bill Campbell, who’ll be turning Arctic Rising into a graphic novel series.

IMG 0618

Bill and I also snuck off next door to Baltimore Comic Con which was going down to walk around and check stuff out, as well as catch up on what was going on.

One of the panels I was really impressed by was Mike Underwood and Sarah Pinsker’s show ‘Dangerous Voices Variety Hour’ where they gave away prizes for audience members who guessed the right answer to science fictional and fantasy trivia, let the guest authors read some quick fragments of their work, and also got the authors to try and guess answers to win the audience members prizes. It was fun.

Double fun because I got to do the panel with Diana Peterfreund who is a great writer I’ve followed online for a while and enjoy reading. I wish we’d had more time to catch up, but the panel was fun.

Another fun moment was sneaking out with Scott Edelman Saturday night to go to Vacarro’s Italian Pastry Shop in Little Italy, where we caught up with each other. Scott was the editor guest instructor at Clarion in 1999 when I attended.

IMG 0630

I got to meet a number of new folks like Emmie Mears, Anna Kashina, KM Szpara, catch up with others like Keffy, Annalee Flower Horne, Bud Sparhawk Michael Underwood, Tom Doyle, Karen Burnham and Anne Gray. Met Anatoly Belilovsky again, who I met at Nebula but had forgotten (so sorry, man). I grabbed some interesting dinners, and hopefully didn’t say anything too silly.

John Appel gifted me with some locally made dark rum for the trip home, and helped me get to the airport after I was only able to spend 15 minutes at the last panel:

My thanks to Sarah Pinsker for all her organizational work and making sure I got to where I need to, Summer Cullen of the festival for travel arrangements, and all the sponsors and organizers of the Baltimore Book Festival for bringing me in.

18 Sep

Scotch Review: Highland Park 12

A couple nights ago I suggested to my friend Brandon Rhodes that we hop in a car and go to the nearby small city (big town) of Findlay to hit up a state liquor store as I was out (gasp) of scotch. Which made me very sad, as I usually have three or four bottles of what I consider mid-range scotch in my liquor cabinet that I enjoy sipping around the edges of.

Highland park 12I picked up a bottle of Highland Park 12, which was new to me. However it is on my list of scotches to try that I’m slowly working through over the years as I go to liquor stores. I don’t know a ton about scotch but I enjoy trying different ones out. We all need a hobby, right?

The Glenrothes is my favorite scotch, hands down and bar none, I adore the hell out of it. But I have a place in my heart for smoky, peaty scotches as they’re the scotches that first taught me that scotch has a variety of tastes. They can be overpowering, like trying to drink a campfire, or a leather shoe, but that lends to the fun for me.

So to me the Highland Park 12 has some smokiness to it, though it’s not as strong as an Islay. When I tried it two nights ago I wrote: ‘peaty, but mildly so. More… smokey with a smoothness [is it blended?] and a sweetness that balances the peat. Other professional tasting notes mention a ‘honey’ and ‘heather’ sweetness that goes along with the peat and smokiness.

It’s more challenging than a basic blended scotch, but it’s not a Laphroig or Lagavullin.

I drank it first neat, then I switched to two ice cubes and a more generous portion. I found that with some ice it really became a flavorful scotch and might be one of my favorite on the rocks scotches.

All in all, a good catch. I’m not sure it’ll end up being in my cabinet as a ‘must always have on hand’ like Laphroig, Lagavullin or Glenrothes, but I found it really good.

01 Sep

Some things I’ve learned after eleven days without social media

On the 21st I mentioned I was going on Twitter vacation. I’ve seen a few articles from people who go on social media diets. They come back from down the hill to with their wisdom.

-The most obvious effect is that I’m a lot less distracted. I have ADHD, and I wrote about my last productivity hack on the blog (4 Hacks I’ve Used To Focus Harder While Writing on a Computer), but declaring I’m off social media publicly, while logging out of it and deleting all apps from my phone… has boosted productivity more. I’m super booked up right now, so this has been nice. I’m not wondering what’s happening because I know it’s not even a thing.

-Although productivity for my freelance and writing work is boosted, I only have so many ‘golden hours’ a day where I can throw myself at work. I’m not a machine. Twitter wasn’t using up all of those. Logging in to special working desktops let me partition out things over the last month or so. But I was flipping through twitter a lot in my down time. So I’m finding that, even though it’s only been 11 days, I’m redirecting my down time. I’ve managed to fit in more reading, which is good for the creative soul. I’ve started to blog more. Instead of responding quickly on twitter I’m storing up observations and making notes of them.

-Dragging back the time to read a book was awesome. I listen to a lot of audio books, but I was falling way behind on eyeball 2.0 reading. I wasn’t *not* reading, but I was way slower than I like. Getting two books read over the last 11 days feels more like my proper place. And those books gave me lots of ideas and fed into the ferment from where I will draw future inspirations.

-I can’t entirely escape social media. People who direct message me go into my inbox as I don’t want to miss those. That’s meant logging on to reply, albeit fast and briefly.

-Most people following me on twitter have absolutely no fucking clue I declared a twitter vacation or that I’m not on twitter anymore until October judging by the @ notifications unread number I saw when I had to log in quickly to respond to a piece of writing business.

This last one is the one I find the most fascinating. Right now I’m talking to writers and a ton of people are under the impression that it is *required* that we get on social media.

I keep saying ‘don’t do things you really hate doing.’ I say this to writers of all stripes because I truly believe the following. a) if you succeed at doing something you hate doing, you’re then stuck doing it, if not more, from then on. If you want to do something you hate doing, there are probably more lucrative things than writing you could grit through. b) if you hate it, I think it eventually comes out or shows through.

When I told one colleague about my plan to take a 2 month break, they were like ‘woah, man, that could be dangerous, you need to keep a presence!’

Sure. Maybe. What I also need to do is write more novels. In fact, that’s my primary mission.

But the fact that everyone missed my announcement, and talking about this break, and so on, indicates just how fucking full of static twitter is. You’re following so many people, who’re tweeting so many multiple times a day, that people have to post multiple times and risk annoying followers just to remind them that they have something important to get out (see book launches, etc). And then, even then, afterwards people will say ‘what, you had a new book out. I missed that!’

And the kicker is, I ended up having more of a presence on twitter by getting off of it. Because I wasn’t on twitter on the night of the Hugos batting reactions back and forth, when I saw the ballot I wondered what the alternative non-Puppy ballot was and quickly pulled it together. That link got 12,000+ hits on it, almost all of them from the link shortener t.co.

Which is to say: twitter.

I’m not leaving twitter forever. I will finish this current spate of deadlines. I love and miss you all and I will be back.

In the meantime, drop me an email. Or if you have my number, text or call me.

I’m still here.

31 Aug

Adventures in Unbearable Pain

On Friday I was going to write about things I had learned since declaring a social media vacation the week before, but was experiencing stabbing pains in a very delicate area and wasn’t in the mood.

Saturday chimney repair people came. Emily (and I’ve been helping) has done some remodeling in the house to put down new floors and we found that our chimney was leaking and rotting a piece of floor. I repaired that but we got a chimney quote. That was expensive, but due to higher than normal amounts of rain, we were lucky to get a person in.

While driving to the hardware store to get a new downspout and some screws I experienced pain so intense I drove off the road. But it ebbed ten minutes later and went away.

I took a nap mid afternoon as I hadn’t slept well, and woke up in so much pain I bolted upright gasping right out of deep sleep. Dizzy, I stumbled into the hallway and with gritted teeth told Emily I wanted to get to the ER. No ifs ands or buts.

Every little second of kids getting ready and Emily getting keys seemed to happen in slow motion. I scared the kids a little writhing around in the passenger seat. Jumped out of the car the moment she got me in front of the ER. Step step step, pause and hyperventilate, step step.

The admitting nurse asked a bunch of questions and told me to breathe slowly, as my teeth were so gritted she was worried about me passing out.

Once admitted, they asked me what I thought was going on and I guessed ‘kidney stone?’

“Who diagnosed you?” I was challenged (I’ve had doctors get a bit snippy with me sometimes about that).

“No one! You’re the medical experts. You diagnose me, you’re right, I don’t know what this is, I just want the pain to stop,” I hissed.

They gave me some pain meds and lots of fluids. I watched trashy TV with Emily (a good friend came over to the house to watch TV with the kids while I was in the ER).

Because I had no lower back pain at all they were not sure, so I got a CAT scan. Into the Stargate machine!

Back in my room, settled in, fully full of fluid, I ended passing a largish kidney stone while waiting for scan results. I wasn’t expecting that, there may have been a yipping quick scream or something along those lines.

The medical staff were super excited and so happy. Like, big grins. They retrieved it for a lab, the nurse showed it to another nurse and everyone agreed that yes, I had been most likely in quite a bit of pain and that, yes, it was a kidney stone.

The doctor rushed into the room like it was Christmas. “We just saw it on the cat scan!” he said, and took a look. “Yes, that’s it, we just saw the picture of it and here it is!” The ebullience in his voice and big grin made me think he was going to high five me. I was surprised cigars were not produced.

I came home, had some scotch, passed out at 9, slept twelve hours or so, and spent Sunday lolling around playing video games.

How was your weekend?