Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe

In between work, health issues, and running around everywhere, I’ve been reading.

I’ve finished Unstoppable- the Joe Ledger Anthology and then also the latest Joe Ledger book, Dogs of War.

I’ve started The King in Yellow and Old Man’s War and I’ve finished a re-read of Kushiel’s Dart and A Wrinkle In Time, both of which were comfort reads during some of the more interesting days lately.

It’s always fun when you are perpetually dealing with the effects of a chronic illness. Though that’s a blog post for another day.

I’ve also started reading more of the Ursula K. Le Guin I own and I plan to buy what I don’t. So reading and re-reading those and plotting out how to acquire the rest. I am terribly sad that I won’t ever get to meet her now, on this side of the beyond. I came to her works later on, they weren’t part of my childhood mythologies and histories. I was introduced to them by a very dear friend of mine in my late teens-early twenties and it was a revelation.

She was everything that I had been looking for and never known what to ask for, and I’m unendingly grateful to my friend who gave me one of her books and said “read this.” Said friend of mine has done this for me a number of times, introduced me to authors and artists and films that always blow open my mind and horizons and make me think. Everyone should have a friend like this.

I’m still working through what it means to be in a world without the Great Lady who has inspired so many of us. Who was a shining beacon to so many of us.

So that’s where my brain is at the moment. Hopefully, your worlds and lives are well.

Please follow and like us:

An Update: Let The Water Flow

New Year,  new goals, fresh start to everything…it’s supposed to be an energizing part of the year right?    Sadly, I’ve spent whatever time I haven’t been at work or feeding the cats/myself pretty much sleeping or driving.    The reason for that goes back to Christmas really.    The holidays were great, my little brother flew in from Brasil just as The Lovely Housemate flew out to spend sometime with her family.    Christmas was really lovely and spread out over the weekend since we did Christmas with Housemate first and then normal Christmas Eve and Christmas with the parents, brother, and his Wonderful Girlfriend.

After Christmas was when it got interesting.   My day job is a payroll/garnishment specialist and while my job is amazing and I honestly love what I do…to work in payroll during the holidays is never a cake walk.  There are three months out of the year where it kind of sucks to be a payroll specialist, for the pure and simple fact that everything is super crazy and super high stress due to a couple of factors beyond anyone’s actual control (December, January, and April, in case you were wondering).    So with it being Year-End and having a couple of people out, the last week of December was more brutal than most.    Add to that, the fact that the temperatures in Tennessee started dipping down into the single digits and it was pretty hard just making it through for someone who doesn’t have pressure/weather-sensitive chronic pain.

And then it got interesting.   My parents’ are moving because the renovation of their upstairs is starting this next week AND they had to deal with an unexpected massive water leak as well as their furnace being broken.   My father was also gone for a week to visit his family and help his sister out for a short while.   So it was Mom, my brother, the Wonderful Girlfriend, and I working to get as much as we could moved downstairs or packed up and shoved to the upstairs balcony so that when Dad got back, there wasn’t that much left to do.   Got the vast majority of stuff moved downstairs/packed up and Mom got the leak handled.

However since the furnace still hadn’t been fixed yet ( the parts were wrong several times in a row), they had space heaters and the wood burning stove going constantly so that they didn’t have any of their pipes freeze in our almost subzero temperatures.   Which means that one person needs to be in the house at all times to make sure that the fire doesn’t die down too much and that the four-five space heaters don’t spontaneously spark and start fires.

So that meant instead of us hosting New Years Gaming, we packed everything up and put on a couple of extra layers and went up there for gaming fun.   Not a big deal, though I did make the Lovely Housemate drive (since I’d made four-five round trips up and back in addition to four trips to the airport and a full week’s worth of driving for work – I was a little tired).   Then came Tuesday and the realization that one of the three times we’d lost power on Tuesday had shorted out the power strip that the heat tape and heat lamp were plugged into for our water softening system and the pipes were frozen.

This is the first time since we’d owned our house that it had a) been THIS cold and b) we’d had any serious plumbing issues other than some flooding in a few places.

So begins the week of literally trying everything we can think of to thaw the pipes including calling the plumbers twice and yet all they could tell us was that we’d have to stick it out and wait until the ground warmed up.  We were doing all the right things, the pipes were just frozen.

We hit up the store for jugs of purified water for hair washing and bottled water for drinking for both us and the cats and made do as best we could.   It’s been an adventure.

Yesterday (Saturday)  we gathered up laundry piles and shower gear and headed up to the parents’ place to shower and do laundry since their water was still nice and hot and they’re always happy to have kids drop in.   Hung out, watched some movies and shows in between actual showers and laundry being done.

Today, their furnace got fixed and then we got some water flowing back into the house.  So progress right?

Until the pipe burst.  Luckily, it’s a small pipe attached to the water softener and not one of the ones in the ground and the plumber has been called again and we’re on the list of stops he’ll make.  We haven’t been the only ones dealing with frozen or burst pipes in the last week or so.   So that’s been one of the things eating up all the spare time in between work, food, and transit times.

Hopefully, your New Years have started much less eventfully than mine has. Anyways, normal blogging should get back on track this week, providing the stars and my energy levels comply.    I’m currently in the middle of reading some of the Christmas books I got this year as well as a reread of Kushiel’s Dart because weirdly, that’s one of my comfort books.

I have several More Joy posts that will be appearing and some articles about various research type things I’ve been doing.

Please follow and like us:

Update: Patreon Shenanigans

So in an update to this post, I am deliriously happy to report that Patreon has acknowledged that they done screwed up and that they are not actually rolling out the updates to their fee structure that they had announced.   So I am thrilled they are being not evil in this particular way.  However,  they have burned a lot of trust and I will be continuing to watch and research other alternatives in case something like this goes down again.

You can read their apology post here.

So currently on Patreon is the story of why my mother has a Russian Motherhood Medal and then the December short story will be posted soon.

Any Patreon alternatives you want to drop in the comments, I’d be appreciative.

Please follow and like us:

Wednesday Reads (On Thursday)

Because I like to be a rebel and Wednesday was  full of preparations for this early Thursday morning and also troubleshooting cable issues ( apparently all the channels decided to change and that disrupted a lot of things).

So what am I reading, what have I currently read, and what’s still upcoming from the To Read Pile?

Well, glad you asked.

What I’m Reading:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – which has been recommended to me by many places and people and I am happy to report that they were all correct. This book is fascinating for many reasons. It will draw you in with the dialogue and ease of reading and keep you by the narration of the life and viewpoint of a very well known man in one of British history’s most well known periods. The prose is captivating and Hilary Mantel weaves the historical details into a narrative that is easily understood. I haven’t yet seen the PBS Masterpiece Special they’ve based on this, but if they’re true to the book, then it will be fantastic I’m sure.

Fading Suns: RPG book – because this will factor into Christmas gifts and I am making sure that I am familiar with the system and requirements so that modules can be built.   I’m dipping more into GMing which will be fun.

What I’ve Finished:

The second Mitch Rapp book, (chronologically) Kill Shot by Vince Flynn was a hell of a sequel to American Assassin. Mitch gets himself into and out of trouble with a little bit of help from Irene and Thomas and we see Stan Hurley and our good old friend Victor again. It was overall a fairly satisfying read and I’ll be fascinated to see if this is the next Flynn novel to get movie treatment.  I have a lot more feelings about this book, but they are all massively spoileriffic so if you’ve read it,  poke me in the comments and we can flail over it together.

Church Refugees by Ashleigh Hope and Josh Packard

This was an interesting book that I was reading, partly for research and partly for personal reasons.  It’s amazing and also painful.   It talks about the Dones, people who are followers of a certain religious path that are for one reason or another, done with the Church as the institution we are familiar with, but not done with their faith. It takes a sociological look at this phenomenon  and though both contributors are themselves believers in this religion, they try and minimize their internal bias to only focus on the data gathered.  Their academic and scientific standards have been top notch and I want to throw this book at every pastor and missionary I know.   Because I believe it will be that helpful, because I think it will be able to express things in a way that will make sense and be better able to communicate why precisely there are a lot of people leaving the church in order to serve God more.

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie’s amazing novel about a murder on a train and the detective who has to solve the mystery while the train is stuck in the snow. One of the more interesting character novels, as it provides a great insight into Hercule Poirot’s mindset and personal set of ethics.

What’s Next:

Old Man’s War – my first Scalzi novel! I’m excited to read this.

The King in Yellow – Robert Chambers – this one is for research purposes, but I am so curious about it.  I’ve heard so much about it here and there.

What are you reading?   Share in the comments!

Please follow and like us:

Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is a time in my family to stop and reflect on what we’re grateful for, as a person and as a family. This year has been harder than the last ten or so before it, but it’s also the first time in a while that I really stopped to reflect on what I’m grateful for. Really truly grateful for, not just the glib answers that immediately come to mind when someone puts me on the spot. So since I am always better with written words rather than spoken ones, I wrote them down here to share.

I am grateful to be alive. Because despite everything, I am alive and my roommate/ best friend is alive, and my family is alive and that right there is a huge blessing. We’re alive, despite the government doing it’s absolute damndest to work to kill us. I am grateful for every single person writing and faxing and calling their Senators and Representatives and encouraging them to put country over party and not sign legislation that would kill me or the people I love.

I am grateful that my chronic pain disease is managable enough that I can keep fighting for people whose disease don’t permit them to do much except keep breathing and keep existing. I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to take the time I need when I need it. I am greatful to have coworkers who genuinely care about my wellbeing both on and off the job. I am thankful that they provide benefits and that they also pay me a living wage. That they don’t hate me when I make mistakes and that they always encourage me to learn more and shine brighter because they actually care about their employees as people, not just numbers on a payroll.

I am so greatful for the support and love from the people I have met at conventions and shows that honestly love and care about me and aren’t afraid to use their platforms to make the world a better place. For the creative community that never fails to surprise and humble me with their outpourings of support and love and presence. For their bravery in continuing to produce amazing work despite the climate we all live in. Where it would be so easy to just give up and walk away because it’s harder now than it has been before and this kind of hypervigilance and the ceaseless crises from one moment to the next is wearing physically, emotionally, and mentally.

For all my fellow autistic and disabled people who are so so tired of forever justifying our existence and our right to be heard and be alive. Thank you so much for everything you are and everything you’ve done and continue to do.

For all of the people who’ve been there for me when the depression and the anxiety have taken hold and I start to doubt again, thank you. You make this life worth living and I’m not saying that lightly. Thank you for being the light in the darkness when it was needed.

Over the past year, I have really come to understand why it is that God encourages us to have community with each other, because it’s impossible to do this alone. So for every single person reading this, thank you for being my community. Thank you for letting me share in your lives and help when and where I can, thank you for everything. You make my life better by being in it.

Please follow and like us:

Self-Care and Writers: An Update

Writers are not really great about this self-care thing.  Just ask the Internet or any writers you know.   We forget food, errands, sometimes hygiene, all because we’ve got fictional words driving us to type them out and make them real on paper/word processor.    It’s a thing.    The frustration when we’re not producing up to our own standards is also a thing (see above for helpful links regarding all of that).

Self-Care is important. 

I have a double-dose of forgetting about self-care because not only am I a writer, my family is also the worst at this.   We grind and grind until we drop and then once we’re back upright, grinding more.   We never stop and we’re not overly fond of slowing down from the things we need to get done.

So in a move that really surprises no one at all, least of all me, because of all of the compounded stuff in the last three-four months (okay really since April to be honest) – I  hit the actual burnout point.  Technically I hit it at the beginning of last month, but I still had a con to do at that point, so I pushed through it.   Which meant that I spent the entire rest of the month of October reaping the whirlwind exhaustion and fatigue from having just pushed myself so far without a whole lot of down or recovery time.

I did 37 total panels at four conventions in between  a trip to NYC, my baby brother leaving for college, my best friend coming for a weeklong visit, and a whole wealth of immediate and extended family events, house issues and the ever present, always fun medical issues.    I’ve been to Atlanta three times and Louisville once. I’ve had a short story published and invites to submit to three other anthologies, the Patreon is still running for various short stories and novellas, and we’re coming up on the major holiday season.  It’s been a lot lately.

I’m an introvert so recharging generally means I’m sitting somewhere comfy by myself, enjoying the quiet and stillness of just being inside my own brain and not needing to respond to any exterior stimulae unless I wanted to.  Unfortunately with a day job and cats who demand to be fed at regular intervals, recharging had to come at points where I wasn’t working at the full time day job.  So literally everything else had to get reshuffled around to make sure that I could have the time to refresh and recharge.  So that’s why there hasn’t been a lot of posting here from me here (if you follow on me on Twitter, different story, but Twitter doesn’t lend itself well to good thinky posts like I prefer to do here).   You’ll see more posting now, some of it normal updates like the reviews and the wednesday reads, some of them will probably be hilarious posts about November and writing/writers.   It’s deep into NaNoWriMo after all (i’m at 18k and change and I hit the part of loathing all the words ever, so really I’m right on schedule for the nanocycle of writing or if you prefer, I’m right at “The Tango of Mirth and Shame” ).

So hi, everyone!  I’m back and you’ll start to see a lot more posts floating your way very soon.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

The Mad Visions of Al-Hazred Is Out Today!

 

Cover for the anthology

So this came out today and I am super thrilled about it!!   I’ve got a story in there, along with stories from super talented and amazing people.   If you like Cthulhu Mythos stories, then pick this up!    If you would like a signed copy from me,  please comment here or DM/Email me.   It’s 13$ plus shipping and I am more than happy to personalize it any way you like.

Otherwise, it should be available in short order wherever you buy your books!

Please follow and like us:

Drabble Treat and Shannara Reviews

New October Treat up at the Patreon. This month, $1 buys you access to all the short stories from the last couple of months as well as the story for this month and the drabble treats. Because I love this month and all my patrons!
So if you want to see what it’s all about, click here to go to the Patreon
**
And in the other bit of news for today,   The Shannara Chronicles comes back with season two tomorrow.   Watch this space for episode reviews and I’ll be live tweeting every episode I watch live (which should be all of them, life permitting).   I’m super excited to see where they’ll go from here.   Last season was a hell of a ride and I’m so intrigued to see where they take us from where they left off.    You can see all the Season 1 Reviews here  if you want to read my thoughts on last season.
Thanks to Spoiler TV for the promo image.
Please follow and like us:

Wednesday Reads:

Welcome to Wednesday Reads.

Ahsoka (cover of the novel taken from Amazon)

Currently I am working my way through E.K. Johnston’s Ahsoka book (available here)  and it’s a delight so far.  I really love her character and I was very excited to get my hands on this.  My friend Bryan recommended it to me (you can find his stuff here) and so far I have not been disappointed.

I’ve recently finished Garrett Investigates by Elizabeth Bear, a short story compendium of Abby Irene shorts.  It’s a fantastic universe and I definitely recommend it if you can get your hands on it.   I’ve also finished American Assassin by Vince Flynn,  The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle,  The Alpha’s Home by Dessa Lux, and The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. LeGuin.

More reviews about those to come.   Currently on my reading list after I finish Ahsoka is New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear,  State of Fear by Michael Crichton,  and Shadows over Baker Street – an anthology mixing Sherlock Holmes and the Cthulhu mythos.

What are you reading?  Tell me in the comments!

Please follow and like us:

Dragon*Con 2017

At the end of the day, I wound up doing more panels than I’d officially been put on.  The grand total was 19 for the con and it was a lot, but I had a blast doing them.   Even though I work the con, rather than attend, I always have a good time.   This year was one of the best years.

So if you’re coming to here from having seen me at Dragon*Con, welcome! I really am just as weird as I am in person, only I use taller fonts to make my words seem larger.

Here is the link to the Patreon – there’s a 1.00 tier for if you just want access to the short stories!

You can also find me on Twitter over at  @DorothyJoanGray  and it’s some writing, some humor, some politics, and a lot of signal boosting.

So if you’re finding me through D*Con, leave a comment with where we encountered each other and I’ll send you some free flash fiction!

This month is going to be pretty busy with another con this weekend and then a weekend trip up to NYC from the 15th to the 18th.  However, I do have some reviews and essays that will be going up just as soon as I can have the brainspace to sling them up.    For reasons of not having much of a brain, I generally don’t post anything much until the weekend after D*Con.

Stay  weird, my lovelies.

Please follow and like us: