Weird things that happened to me in 2016

I’m hopeful about 2017 being a good year. That being said, 2016 was a really weird year for me. Not necessarily bad, not necessarily good, just… weird. 

In February, I got a job offer out of the blue. Also, three year anniversary. 

In April, my apartment gave me fleas. And a panic attack. Thanks, former apartment. But before all that, we gave our first cat her first bath and yikes. That tiny girl made it sound like we were murdering a baby. For some reason we ended up doing this at 2am… Sorry, apartment neighbors. 

In May, I commuted 2-3 hours to work. Occasionally I avoided the long drive by sleeping at the office or in a van. 

In June, my car was simultaneously nearly hit by a falling tree and slightly hit by downed power lines in the same moment. Life lesson: when I got out of the car, I’m lucky I didn’t get badly electrocuted. Also, my partner said to me, “Look at this kitten up for adoption. She looks like she has poop on her face!” Then we got our second cat. 

In July, we moved into a fabulous little duplex. Our landlord is awesome. 

Luci and Frankie
Luci (younger) and Frankie (older) when they were each baby kittens
In September, our second cat had an accident in her carrier. Towards the start of a two hour drive. Thanks, Lu. Afterwards I gave said cat a much needed bath, but really only on her back half. Because I didn’t have to get her face wet, the whole affair was surprisingly silent and escape attempt/injury free. Now the cats share a carrier and our first cat cries less in the car. They love each other. 

In November, my Grammy died, and my partner came with me to Montana and met my dad’s side of the family. I finally confirmed that I’m not the only queer member of said family. (Who knew?) Also, I won NaNoWriMo. Thanks, Grammy. Meanwhile, my country elected an Oompa Loompa to be president. 

In December, I started getting more serious about freelance work, finished all my Christmas shopping on time and under budget, and felt like a gd adult in ways I never have before. Weird. 

In conclusion… Happy New Year everybody!

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Mystery Blogger Award!


Mystery Blogger Award

I was nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by the talented JA Goodsell!

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” – Neil Armstrong.

The Mystery Blogger Award…

  • is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.
  • is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.
  • was created by Okoto Enigma.

Guidelines:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

So here we go.


 

Three Things About Me:

  1. I love listening to audiobooks in the car. It gives me an extra compelling reason to get up and drive to work every day.
  2. I really should exercise more. Now that I have real hiking boots, maybe this will happen. I am not above putting headphones in and going for long walks, although it would help if my neighborhood had sidewalks instead of narrow country roads.
  3. Whether I’m writing fantasy, sci-fi, or “real world” setting, my stories will always have queer characters.

The Questions I Have to Answer:

  1. Who would you have dinner with, if you could do so with any DEAD person (they wouldn’t be dead at the dinner, obviously)?
    Oh boy… I think I would want to have dinner with Neil Gaiman (alive) and Terry Pratchett (deceased). I wouldn’t know what to talk about with either of them separately but if put together I think a fascinating conversation would ensue. Plus, I really like Good Omens and might want to ask them some questions.
  2. What was your favorite movie that came out this year (2016)?
    Heh, well, the only thing I saw in theaters this year was Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. But I’m really excited about eventually watching the new Ghostbusters, the new Star Wars, the new Star Trek, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, 10 Cloverfield Lane… and I am intrigued by Passengers.
  3. Where would you be right now, if you could be anywhere?
    It’s funny, my partner and I won a dream vacation and we’ve been asking ourselves that every since. Lately we’ve mostly on the eastern coast of Mexico or somewhere on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Of course, we’re limited by our ability to pay for flights and food, so that aside… Maybe somewhere in Malaysia. Or London or Amsterdam. Ooh, Amsterdam!
  4. When you get up in the morning, what is the first thing you do?
    The first thing I do is pet our tortie calico cat. She’s very demanding about it and might die if not given enough scratches.
  5. Why do you blog?
    I blog, technically, because my partner wanted to start a blog so we both signed up on WordPress the same night. But it functions well as a way to hold myself accountable to writing regularly.

My Nominees:

  1. Zen & Pi – zenandpi.com
  2. Hearts Everywhere –heartseverywhere.com
  3. Inkbiotic – inkbiotic.com
  4. Martin – someidiottalking.wordpress.com
  5. The Excited Writer – theexcitedwriter.com
  6. An Adventure in NaNoWriMo – tahenryauthoress.wordpress.com
  7. Musing to Pieces – musingtopieces.wordpress.com
  8. Author Miska Williams – mishkawilliams.wordpress.com
  9. Bridgett Morignia – bridgettmorigna.com
  10. Tyler Charles Austen – tylercharlesausten.wordpress.com
  11. Sam Dylan Finch – letsqueerthingsup.com
  12. Morgan S Hazelwood – morganhazelwood.com
  13. ellDimensional – elldimensional.wordpress.com

 

The Five Questions I’m Asking:

  1. What’s the book you always wanted to read (or should have read) when you were younger but couldn’t because you never found it/it didn’t exist? Like, what would you have felt truly represented you?
  2. Are you good with directions? (I’m not.)
  3. Starbucks, yes or no? Explain why.
  4. What are you the most hopeful about for 2017?
  5. Weird question: Do you have a favorite airport? (Mine’s SeaTac.)

 

My Best Post:

My One Year Blogging Anniversary

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This anniversary notice popped up sometime in late-ish October and I haven’t gotten around to remarking upon it until now. The reason is simple: first there was NaNoWriMo, and then I forgot.

So, here’s a brief summary of my first year in blogging.

One year and a couple months ago, I officially launched this blog as writing insurance. I announced that I would be participating in NaNoWriMo 2015. Roughly 30 days later, I also got to announce that I had won, yay!

A part of me feels like I haven’t done much else. That’s not technically true, of course. I did Monday Musing and Wednesday Words of Wisdom for a while. I did Sunday Gratitudes for even longer. I did a reasonable job keeping up on reading all the blogs I’ve followed and even made a decent effort to comment on them.

Over this past year, this blog has changed a bit. First of all, I changed the theme. I can no longer remember what it looked like originally, so if you weren’t around at the time you’re going to have to take my word for it that anything is different. I’m not sure how many of you have been with me that far back but I am proud to say that I currently have 132 followers, 1940 views, 989 visitors, a best views ever record of 50 on March 21st, 2016, and my most popular day and time is Wednesday at 10am PST.

Here’s the thing… In some ways, I feel like I’ve run out of things to say. I haven’t, but it’s still how I feel. Although in the big picture I’ve grown more confident and happy in this past year and a bit I am still intimidated by sharing certain things. Especially my creative writing. Here are some reasons why:

1. It’s scary.

To say I’m creative and that I trust my instincts enough to publish what I’ve written is a big deal for my. I’m the compulsive edit-while-I-write type — which, incidentally, is what makes winning NaNoWriMo two years in a row such a huge victory. Even when I regularly published fanfic it was very rare that I posted anything before running it past a beta reader once or twice. I had one dedicated beta for my Hitchhiker’s Guide stuff but shopped around to slightly larger pool for other works, and after a while they all learned that when I meant fine toothed comb I really super duper meant it. Also, they learned that I would make edits and send it back, asking if it was better now. (Fun fact: I also tried to do this with a philosophy professor and a 30 page research paper once. I think she tapped out after one round the first five pages, but even that was enormously helpful.)

2. It’s a publishing issue.

Did reason number one suggest that I’m an overly cautious person? Because I am. One of the reasons I don’t post a lot of my original creative works is because once it’s on the internet, I can’t send it to a publisher and get it in print. (If I am incorrect, someone for the love of dog please tell me.) On one hand, this is silly because most of the things I might post are short little whatevers that probably wouldn’t be published anyway. On the other, instead of writing that type of thing I’ve lately been working on drafts of big long novels that I really do want to see in print some day. Even if I self-publish the latter stuff, I still don’t want a version of it floating around on the internet.

3. I’m kind of a weenie.

This is included as a reason because, for heaven’s sake, I have hidden caches of my writing scattered across a number of different sites. I still have old stuff up on FanFiction.net, the original works version of that site (which you can tell I used incredibly often based on my laser-pinpointing of the name from memory), Archive of our Own, Writing.com, and LiveJournal. I also recently started posting things on Prose.com — newer works, mostly read over by my partner a few times before I hit go. So it’s not like I’m not sharing anything. It’s just something about WordPress that psychs me out for some reason.

That’s how I feel. Now, there are two questions I want to ask my readers at this point.

First, I’ve been listening to an audiobook copy of The Martian from my local library. Does it show? If you’ve read/listened to the book, or even just watched the movie, don’t be shy about chiming in. I ask because I tend to write however I sound in my head, and right now Mark Watney’s voice is bouncing around in there. (Just be glad you weren’t around when I read Grapes of Wrath in high school.)

Second, where should I go from here? Because I’m really not sure. I have ideas worth expressing, experiences worth sharing, and creative visions worth putting into action, but I don’t know how I want to organize them and funnel them into interesting blog posts. So I’m opening this up to whoever’s out there. What do you think?



 

In conclusion, thank you to everyone who keeps coming around, reading, and commenting. That means a lot to me. In general it’s been a weird year, but 2017 will be better and I want to be a better blogger.

Sunday Gratitudes #44

🔔 – Due to a paperwork error on a hastily handwritten section of a form, we were nearly disqualified from receiving a free 8 day dream vacation. But I stuck around arguing about it long enough that they let us have it anyway, along with the complimentary Wine Country tastings we’d also been promised. (All those years of being deeply embarrassed whenever my mom snapped at fast food employees who got our order wrong finally paid off!) I am so proud of myself for not being a doormat and giving in. 

🔔 – We’re doing a Christmas card this year!! I feel like such an adult. 

🔔 – I have all my Christmas shopping done. Never have I been so ahead of the curve and organized about gifts before. And most of them are already wrapped and under our tree! Adult achievement unlocked. (I got a gift app and that helped. I’m even under my expected budget!)

🔔 – One of my dad’s cousins and her partner are in town and they want to visit, no pressure no schedule no timeline! I love my immediate family but they make scheduling visits so complicated. This is refreshing and makes me feel special and calm and grown up. 

🔔 – For years I thought I was the only openly queer member of the family because my dad asked me not to tell my catholic grandmother. But the aforementioned cousin (Grammy’s niece) brought her partner to the 100th birthday party. I’m not alone!

🔔 – I have a haircut scheduled for Christmas Eve morning. My stylist seemed bummed about having to work that day, so I told her I’d bring her a plate of cookies. She seemed super excited! And this is only my second appointment with her, she doesn’t even know that my grandma makes like twenty different kinds plus barks and candies. 

🔔 – I wrote twelve days of Christmas love letters for my baby and made them all pretty. It’s going to be a very good Christmas and New Years. 💝 

IWSG Post #04

A few days late, oops. 


DECEMBER’S QUESTION: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there? 

I honestly don’t know if it’ll take five years, or more, or less, but I’ve got a good first draft of a novel now. Unlike my NaNo novel from last year, I don’t feel like I have to make so many radical changes that I can’t still use the majority of what I wrote this November, which puts me in a good position for tackling the second draft. I have one beta reader lined up (my lovely partner over at Musing to Pieces) and a couple more in mind. Maybe within a year or so I’ll have a readable draft that I can start seriously trying to get published. 

As for my 2015 NaNo novel, that still requires a lot of worldbuilding and rewriting before I can properly get to the beta readers stage. That’s my long term goal, though, is to get that published too. 

NaNoWriMo victory due entirely to air travel

I flew to Montana this week for my paternal grandmother’s funeral service and internment. The service was nice, the cremation urn was beautiful, and Montana in November is a bit on the cold side.


I did receive an inheritance, which takes a lot of worry of my plate for the time being. Part of will go into an investment of some sort and the rest will go towards keeping my bank account above that magic number below which they start charging maintenance fees.

But the other thing my Grammy gave me was time. I am not much of a sprinter when it comes to writing. Work keeps me busy and I am easily distracted. Pantsing this novel didn’t help, although I always had a pretty good idea of the story arc in my head that will become infinitely better articulated in the second draft.

Flying to Montana from California happens in two legs, connecting either through Seattle, Salt Lake City, or Denver in my experience. (Hashtag SeaTac is my favorite airport of all time.) Each flight is about 1-2 hours long, providing a good long stretch of no internet and the imminent concern of running out of battery power, thus significantly limiting distractions and lack of urgency.

Flying there, I hit almost 5000 words in one day. Flying back, I hit somewhere around 7000 for the win and validated my novel in the car ride home from the airport. Grammy, this victory was for you.