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August 2017

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There are so many things broken around my house that I need to get fixed:

1. Kitchen sink - garbage disposal is dead, and my hot water is turned off under the sink because of the leak i had a few weeks ago that totally saturated through to my bedroom before I discovered it. I can't fix this one myself dammit.

2. Bathroom toilet - it is dead. I know how to fix toilets, but for some reason the water won't shut off. It is bizarre. Fortunately my half-bath is right next to my room, but what a pain. In fact I need to redo my entire master bath. It looks like a college dorm bathroom. Boring.

3. Fence. I need help turning my fence into Sibe Quentin - there are two main places where the dogs have destroyed it (chasing squirrels and possums) and so the places are covered up with junk. I need desperately to get planks replaced, fencing generally fixed, and chicken wire/gravel put around the perimeter (best cure for husky escapes). If I do that, then I can get a doggie door and the dogs can go in and out all day.

4. Carpet - needs ripping up and replacing. Badly. BADLY. I spent soooo much on that carpet - and then got huskies.

5. Walls - got a professional paint job 9 years ago but it needs serious touching up all over - love my yellow walls but edges, baseboards, etc. yeah. Kitchen needs repainting too.

6. There is a hole in the wall in my bathroom. Needs repair.

7. Little bathroom - needs baseboards. Tiff painted it a pretty green and I like it but it is so generic. It would be nice to spiff it up.

8. Upstairs - major cleaning, throwing away of old furniture, two aquariums need breaking down - son owes me and needs to take care of this crap

9. And then of course my car - needs cosmetic work (new side mirror, new front grill, the hood has dents that I think can be fixed, the dark blue paint is being beat up in the Texas heat and I would love to get that spiffed up).

10. Backyard - huskies are very hard on yards, and my yard sucks. I would love to build a new back porch, big slabs - I know how to do it as my co-worker did and told me how to do it but damn, hard work. I also want more trees. I have a big backyard. Wait - more trees means more squirrels....

I also want to get a new table and chairs for the dining area, sell my treadmill and move the little marble table into the kitchen area - I want to steam my floors too. And fix the front yard up, plant flowers...

I AM DEPRESSED NOW.

Okay not really - but seeing this list makes me think I need to figure out what of this I can do myself, what I can get my son's help, and who can do the other stuff for me. I need a handyman! Or woman! Someone! And a plumber.

At least, thankfully, I know my a/c won't give out on me this year - it is brand new! It CAN'T!!!!!!! And is under warranty.

Also - this afternoon I went to Starbucks and poured through my oldoldold fantasy and the newer one and realized that yes, they belong together - it was interesting to read back through my outline of the old fantasy and see where I lost focus on some of the characters, especially Milandria, but where in the new fantasy, she has a rich role... and I realize that it won't take much work to rework the entire outline, weaving them together... the story arcs... so important they all work, and in the oldold it all fell apart and I couldn't see it...

I definitely think it is worth the effort of seeing if it truly will work as I see it in my head. Definitely.

Finished the Cleopatra Selene trilogy this morning from 2:00 a.m. to about 4:30. LOL. I woke up at 2:00 and went to the restroom and thought oh man, so close to the end... shouldn't take long! And so I did. And bawled like crazy, hit my emotions hard and awesomely - absolutely LOVED this trilogy (Stephanie Dray is the author). If you like first person, female POV, an MC with incredible insight and a damn good journey, exquisite writing (well I sure liked it) and a writer who makes a world and time and place come to life... yeah. Good story.

Am rewatching Orphan Black in prep for the next season/series. So excited, so fabulous to watch again - picking up more stuff, little hints, and am clearer on things. So damn good.
Writing for me has never been a must-do-or-die thing. The closest I came to that was when I wrote Red back in 2003. Writing that book was my way of coping with an incredibly stressful time of my life. I was a very lonely, super-stressed person then, so writing was pretty much what I had in the way of inner happiness, the one thing that was all mine. I worked on Red and I began toying with an idea for an epic fantasy... actually it was the other way around, the fantasy led me to looking for pictures for characters which led me to a Savage Garden cd which led me to looking for stuff online for more pictures which led to slash (OH MY!) lol which led to writing the first incarnation of Red. I have not felt that kind of drive to write since finishing and publishing Red, but life is way, way different now and I am also so much happier than I was then. (just deleted a lot of self-analysis drivel lol as to why this or why that).

(and just deleted a whole bunch more drivel about my past writing. LOL. Let's stop looking to at least that slice of the past, okay? Good.)

What it comes down to is for now at least I have put m/m aside. It is on one hand a bit scary to leave 'a sure thing' behind, but another to find something that makes me excited, and changing genres seems to be what is bringing out the bounce again. I've been happily working on my science fiction story off and on the last few months, but recently I started to think about stories I had started but for one reason or another left unfinished (including that epic fantasy). So, since life here has calmed down, both kids are back in their homes after a nice week long visit, vacation is in the past (sob), and I am living alone, just me and the dogs, and my free time is all mine, I decided to drag all that old stuff out. Again! I have done this so many times! LOL. (THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT I SWEAR.)

Over the last week I've been going over this epic mess. I have around 99k written (about a third, I'm guessing), it is completely outlined (said outline I just found buried in a folder I had at sometime dumped into dropbox), but until recently I could never see how to organize it, make it work. What a mess! But I love this mess! For years I have adored this mess!! Such a mess I could never figure out how to organize it...and then along came Scrivener!

How I love Scrivener!

Thanks to Scrivener I am finally getting things organized, and have realized what I need to change on the outline, and am gaining a solid grasp on the story, and am just totally smitten with the storyline again as I reread it. It also depresses me a bit. What happened to this writer of 13, 14 or so years ago, that she totally lost the spark and fire and creativity I am finding in these scenes? Sigh.

Oh well stop crying, Cee. Now is actually the perfect time to get this all together. Scrivener is a HUGE help, I have the option of self-publishing now which will be perfect for this. I have a friend who is eyeball deep in self-publishing AND does amazing covers who will be a giant, enormous help. This is finally gonna happen, yes it is. Woo! Technically there are 3 stories I have outlined and two with basic but solid blurbs.

My other current project is my science fiction story that is coming along quite nicely despite not working on it since before July (vacation month/kid visit month). I also have plugged it into Scrivener which helped me see what was lacking scene-wise. I have about ten or so scenes to write, then polish the whole thing to perfection before I send it in to the publisher I have eyeballed for it. I had toyed with self-publishing this but no, not for science fiction, not for this story. This little story has gone through the ringer, but I am finally getting it where I want it. I have two other stories planned to follow too. I have a strong desire to get this done and out there...I want very much to sell it while my dad is still around. He is almost 81 and he is why I love science fiction as I do. And fantasy, but mostly science fiction. So yeah, Dad is very much incentive to get this done but I can't rush it either...no rushing, I want this book to succeed! And it has been rejected twice (thankfully!) so I need #3 to be a success.

The other story I dragged out of the dust bin would pretty much qualify, I suppose, as not-urban-but-rural fantasy. Sort of. Another story I have long loved but haven't figured out what to do with, but kinda have more inklings now... Wolfhunter's been around almost as long as Epic but I only have one chapter or so and no real plot yet. But the characters! I LOVE THEM!!! SERIOUSLY! I'll keep this one bubbling on the horizon. And figure out a plot! Good idea, huh! But the characters... Yes. Love them.

I have been playing with this post all afternoon and now here it is after eight. Time to send it up! Am watching Super 8. Never seen it. This should be fun.

Night kids!!





Yawn... I have toyed with this lj all day long!
So once again a month has passed without my writing a post, even though I have thought about doing so dozens of times. I am not sure where this reluctance to share my life seeps from...but it is there, and real, and I have become so selfish about my personal experiences, wanting to keep all of it to myself that even when I start to share I stop and think nah, no reason to share all that. Still, I do love jotting things down, as it gives me a kick now and then to look at the early months of this lj or my old lj I shared with Nick (twisting_path) and well, just reminiscing about all the fun in the past.

The last month has been full of wondrous and amazing events, as well as some sad and frustrating ones. The good - sharing an experience with someone special we'd both been looking forward to for years and years... Done now! And I am so glad to have been a part of that. Meant so much. The bad - watching some friendships explode and disintegrate (my old crit group), though in the end, I believe where the cards have fallen is a good thing. I adore my Team Awesome, and believe we're all in a good place now. I certainly feel a lot less EEEK now, and have lost the feeling I'd had of not belonging. Friendships lost, but friendships strengthened, and I am glad of that.

So cryptic, Cee!

Not much else going on - my daughter and son are doing well, about to start into school again - Tiff called me today and we talked a good half hour during my lunch about how happy she is now in Orlando. She loves what she is studying, she loves her new Starbucks she has moved to, she loves her roomies (in a house and there is a dog, a darling Golden I got to meet last month), and life is just so HAPPY for her. She likes Orlando now that she is settled there, and knowing she can fly home cheaply and easily helps. Thank goodness for cheapo airfare to Orlando!

Work is going very well - I love working for my boss, love my little firm, I feel in control and settled and I just buzz happily away all day, every day. There is a lot of stress but for some reason I am handling it better than I did. Living alone is kinda weird but kinda nice too... I get home from work, feed the dogs, play with the dogs, cuddle the dogs. Maddox has become like glue on me during the evenings. I spend a lot of time with him curled up with me. Weekends are relaxing - I try to meet Suz at least once a week on weekends to write, and oh I have my Gingerman writing group - we meet Monday nights at The Gingerman, a cute little bar near my work. Am getting to know that crew better and better and just really adore them all. Plus, it is a huggy group. I like hugs. :)

I need to get a dog door put in but this will also entail a massive overhaul of the fence (i.e., electrifying it!) because Maddox is an escape artist and we very nearly lost him a few weeks ago while I was gone, but my neighbor saved him. Whew! He pulls planks off and wiggles through. So frustrating that I can't trust him in his own backyard. :(

Writing...have to say I was and am disappointed with how my last book has done. I have several ideas of why that is so, what contributed to it not doing well (while my other books DO continue to sell well), but such is the way of things, right? Not going to stress over it, it is what it is and hey what I have received in royalties definitely paid a bill that needed paying so that is good.

I've been working on my sci fi, expanding it - about ten scenes to go on that - and am falling hard for the brilliance of Scrivener as it is helping me sort out my fantasy mess, which I have needed to for about oh a decade, I suppose? More later on that, and on writing in general (I say that and then another month will go by, oops). The happy is I found, buried deep in my email, the outline I'd written ages and ages and I do mean more than 9 years ago for this fantasy story, and rereading it now, I can see clearly what will work and what needs to be changed. All in all though? I think it will be a go. It always makes me so happy to visit with these characters! I miss them!

All for now. It is bedtime - haven't been sleeping well since the weekend because dork me burned the roof of my mouth on too-hot pizza. The burns were pretty much agony - last night I finally was able to tolerate warm food. Horrifically painful. :(

This ended up longer than I thought. I do ramble!
Thanks to    [livejournal.com profile] pir8fancier am inspired to rewrite my mystery that I have the rights back to.  It was published in 2002.  Sadly,  or perhaps not unexpectedly, I don't have a copy anymore so I ordered one from Amazon that I can cut up and scan into our Adobe OCR.  Also unfortunately, I never saw the second in the series published and it too is long, long, long gone.  There was a moose in it...  And I think maybe I have the opening bit and that is it.

So, forget the second book and it took a path I don't want to take any longer.  It will be a fun side-project, rewriting Home after all this time.  

Great weekend. Srsly.  Writer's group Friday night was a great deal of fun, and though I went to the store Saturday morning, I have not budged from home since.  I plunked a chicken in a pot to slowly cook all weekend - bone broth basically, which the dogs love.  Combined with their kibble (which omg, the good stuff is SO expensive!) makes for happy puppies.  They are also trimming up! Shelby is looking better and she is friskier, which is wonderful!  I'm going to keep this going - the bone broth will last all week.  I like this because instead of grazing, they now gobble their food up. This makes for easier-to-deal-with-digestion, if you know what I mean....  Consistency! Routine! this is good! 

So much to do!  The amazing and wonderfu [livejournal.com profile] blue_fjords s coming to visit!! Which means of course I HAVE TONS TO CLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oy oy oy!!!  I need a list!! I shall make a list!!!  But every room and the back and front would be on the list so maybe that is useless....  LOL.

Finished my hard-copy edits of the sci fi and am now plugging in my changes.  Not sure how long it will take - a week or so?  Next weekend I am going to this con: ttp://www.condfw.org/, A Literary Science Fiction and Fantasy Event. I definitely will be going to this one:  2 pm: Tweaking Reality: How to Alter History Believably   an 4 pm: Who Killed the Courtroom Drama?  Trends in Mystery.  

Should be awesome fun and awesome hard deciding which panels... Oh my!  I am not sure about Sunday.  or about this underline that now will not go away. LOL.  

I am hoping that I will come out of that con ready to burn rubber on my fantasy.  :)  You know, that same one I've had ready to write for a few years now....  well since 2010? Yeah. Since then. 

That's it for now.  Why am I craving a Twix????
2012 was not the easiest of years, but it was definitely better than 2011. Last March, after 15 months of unemployment, I found a new job. It has been a challenging, interesting nine months. I love my job. It stresses the hell out of me, keeps me enormously busy, more often than not I am tired tired TIRED when I get home, but it is worth it.

My boss actually is great to work for. Very appreciative, complimentary, and flat-out tells me how happy he is we found each other. LOL. I think I'm doing okay, and it is getting easier to deal with the stress, channel it away from me, and not let the job rule my life, but it takes work. And thinking about it, and stopping to take deep breaths, etc. It isn't always easy still but then again I rather thrive on the crazy, too. I just have to remind myself not to let it own me, or else that is all I will do. Work, go home, go to bed, get up, start again.

Monetarily, though I make a good salary, it has been an expensive year - getting the daughter moved, getting caught up on bills, vacation (which was awesome and wonderful and too short, and dammit I had a cold the entire time, which sucked, but still, wonderful) and car ailments all added up. But everything along that line is going well now. I hope, hope I can stay balanced in that area of life. Living a basic, frugal life is not a bad thing - since I'm used to it, just going to keep doing it. Build up the bank account again as it was totally smashed by losing my job.

I've made some new friends who actually live within thirty minutes of me. They all came to me via Nano - a group that meets at The Gingerman on Monday nights, and Writer's Without Borders (so named because the Border's they met at closed) on Friday nights. LOL that gives me three writing groups though there is crossover between the two new ones. That gets me out of the house twice a week, which is a good thing.

I also sold a book. Yay! It comes out Feb. 3. It Might Be Magic, through Amber Quill Press. Woo!

Am about to send another one in, a sci fi. New publisher I'm targeting, so hopefully they will want it. Woo! It would be the first in a trilogy.

And now here it is 2013. I've made goals but primarily because my writing group aka Team Awesome has made goals. So I had to make goals too, because they made me. But, I like them. So here you go, C's goals for 2013!!


Carolyn
• Writing Goals:
o Finish rewrite of sci fi and send to LSB by end of January
o Jack Frost book – first draft end of April
o Fantasy – first draft summer’s end
o Drake’s Island – first draft end of year

• Promotion Plans:
o Set up blog tour for IMBM
o Blog regularly

• Website Plans:
o Revamp carolyngraybooks
o Create Fantasy website

• Other Goals:
o Glide through each day in a zen state
o Get knee well, get strong
o www.twohundredsitups.com
o Knock this last 15 lbs. off for good
o Read 2 books a month from different genres
o Create square foot garden and get back to nature

And that's all, folks!
Not much going on here - yes, am doing Nano but dang it, despite the fact I am currently not working, time seems to skitter away from me - spent the weekend helping my friend Cid move to her new place, and most of the rest of my free time was spent reading a school reading assignment, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon.

This book has intrigued me for an unexpected reason - I finished reading part II this evening, but what has absolutely fascinated me, and caught my imagination, is how I can readily apply the dynamics of a revolution (colonized v. colonizer) to my current fantasy wip (the one that I haven't started yet, so probably isn't a wip quite yet). I have long planned to write Jax's world as an occupied one, but until this book (and this class, which focuses on culture and empire), I didn't have the meat so to speak that I needed to detail a believable scenario. I have it now. While reading part II especially, I found myself fictionalizing it in my mind, which of my characters would be doing what (and why, the all important WHY). I could see what roles my Oppressors should play (and WHY), and have found myself totally caught up in the possibilities for writing I am gleaning from this required reading.

Good times.

Been emailing my classmate Ethan all evening about it - study-group-via-email? - oh yeah, why not? He was going to drop out of this class, despite having a solid B and making an A on the midterm, as he was letting it get to him, how difficult it is (demanding more than difficult, really - the professor IS rather awesome), but I was so happy that he decided to stay in. There isn't much time left after all!

I've signed up for my next class, another special-topics history class. Should be a good one - European history, race, religion and politics, yo.

After that, I only have Algebra, a communications class, and to test out of the computer and English Comp II classes. Need to get my hands on a study guide of some sort for the computer competency test. Not sure when I will take those.

If I could just knock out the communications class this summer, I could conceivably graduate in December! *thunk*

And after that? My heart and brain and love of history tell me to keep going, dammit - Masters in History, oh yeah, at UTA. Double oh yeah. I have a weird vision of just going and going and going with this...I think it started when I read my professor's dissertation and I thought "oh good grief, I could do this." Um. Yeah. LOL!!! And how awesome it would be too. So we'll see...the future has lots of possibilities.

Son went to Austin tonight with friends to see Slayer. You bet I am freaked out and worried to death but trying to be chill and calm and all that. Oh man... *bites nails*

Daughter is at work, and is sad she can't afford to take any additional classes in the spring, even one. I am sad too, as I sincerely hate that I can't help her any. While I am very grateful to be on unemployment, I am horrificly distressed about it, too. If there was only something I could do at home that would bring in a guaranteed 2k a month... LOL. Yeah. I know.

Every day except today I've made myself get out of the house, go to Starbucks, and be around people. That has helped but I hate this feeling of "I am not worthy of enjoying this time off because I should not be unemployed." Okay enough of that. Those of you who have been there, know this all too well.

What else? Not much else. I hope to finish up this homework reading tomorrow morning so I can write my discussion questions and finally get back to work on writing. The rewrite is going slow, but I love all two scenes I've finished...

As for my book that is out there, I have no idea how it is doing. I don't want to know, as I did see some comments that make me groan (comparisons to the first book are many, and complaints the 2nd is not like the first - no, it isn't, because no book will ever be like that first book - I am no longer that person, THANK THE STARS).

And that is all for now. Hope all of you guys are doing well.
Tomorrow finishes up my initial two weeks at the law firm, filling in for someone who is dealing with cancer. I'll be back there to jump in when she starts radiation, unless I find something ahead of time. I love the law firm, but omg that is the most boring desk EVER.

I am continually caught up, despite having three lawyers to 'care' for. I really like one of them especially--I would work for him full-time! He cracks me up, a little gnome of a man who was in law school when I was in elementary school. He is funny and has expressed impatience with his current legal secretary's inability to handle Word (they use Wordperfect and Word there, but the older secretaries favor Wordperfect which is more along the lines of Word 2003). I've fixed a few things for him because I do know Word well, and he is ecstatic--tomorrow, he will write a personal letter and, whee, I will print it out on small stationery, and print off envelopes. LOL. Such excitement! The other two attorneys--one is in securities and such, and is very easy to deal with, and the third, an associate, does all his own work.

That is, I can see, the wave of the future...I think the days of new attorneys dictating everything rather than writing it all out themselves is near-over. Legal secretaries do other things now, but at this desk? Not enough. OMG yawn. LOL.

Unless I find another job in the meantime, in four weeks when she begins radiation, I will go back and fill in again. It'll be unpredictable though--depends on how she handles the radiation. :*(

But! Happily thanks to the quiet this week, I had printed my ms out at home and brought parts of it up every day, and over the last four days during the minutes/hours I had nothing (eek!) to do, I worked on it. Finished up the last of the first pass tonight! YAY!

Gameplan--Saturday, get up, get ready and head for Panera, which is bright and roomy and has fooods, and big tables. It is the go-to place for TCU students to study, but they are out now so there should be no problem in finding a good spot.

Not much else going on. Kid graduated last weekend, did family stuff all weekend. Worked on ms, brushed the dogs a lot (coat blowing season). Once this ms is turned in, I'll be attacking my big bang project full-on, and cannot WAIT to just have some fun with writing first draft stuff again.

I also need to get back into the swing of the fantasy, and wrap up the planning stages. I just want to get started writing the damn thing, you know? I would like to have a good start before school starts in the fall. ARGH.

And that is all I know for now.
Today, you have been odd.

Had no sleep last night--sent Nick a phonepic of my clock at 1:15 a.m. with a whiny message but that wasn't the last time I looked at the clock. Then, suddenly my alarm went off--I am trying to stay with a 7:30 a.m. up-time regardless of what I do--so up I got. Then daughter comes to me crying--her BFF#4 (lotsa BFF's has she) lost his mother this morning after a ten year battle with illness. It was expected, but they are very close, hope to be roommates eventually, and all this brings back lots of hard memories for Tiff of when her dad died. But Troy needs her and she's been with him all day.

I accomplished nothing today other than dealing with that (lotsa hugs). Read over two fics I had beta'd, happy to see them both wrapped up, and watched lots of Supernatural (episodes of which seemed to have become like my comfort blanket--I barely pay attention, really, but the boys do a good job keeping me company), sorted shoes (daughter has a HUGE basketful, and they were all right at the door, geesh), and played with the dogs.

At least later today was more productive! Made a post on my pro blog (feels very weird to post things there), wrote a bunch of junk re: my fantasy magic system, and...

THIS POST IS BORING, RIGHT? I KNOW!!!!!!

I wanted to work on my Merlin Big Bang, but I just now opened it for the first time today. It needs work work work and I am in the mood of 'man, what is the point?' re: writing it for that purpose. I would rather beta, honestly--I love beta'ing my writers. They need to hurry up and write more so I can beta more, right?

I am also determinedly trying not to think of my phone hearing on Monday. Oh yes, didn't I mention? Bastards at my former place of employment are trying to fight my unemployment. I am not afraid, definitely not of that bastard (who my lovely writing group promises to kill off in their fics--love them) but very, very annoyed. I don't want to deal with this, but will, because I am right and they are wrong. Bastards.

Happily, I got my ESOP money finally, so at least there is plenty in the bank. What would make me even happier? To hear from Loose-Id would make me REALLY happy. Really really really really.

In fantasy news, things are marching along, though in an unexpected manner--one of my characters became something that I didn't expect, which is leading me to create a whole culture I hadn't expected to. Also, it seems there will be water dragons...kinda cool, that. I hope to start writing on this soon. Ready or not, I need to get going.


I wish I was going to England...
I had to add this: OMG THE UGLY HEADER IS BACK! LJ, THAT HEADER SUCKS! I HATE IT!!!!! AAAHHH!!!

It has been a busy, interesting week! Or two. So here's how things are:

State of Unemployment: Still unemployed! I got a letter from my ex-employer stating that they were appealing the decision in my favor. However, checking the dates, it looks like they are way, way past the deadline for doing so. They did that on the 7th, it is now 10 days later, and my status with TEC has not changed, no correspondence from them, nothing. I was really really angry that they added some sweet little lies into what The Rat Bastard was claiming I said and did. Pretty mind-blowing. In my next ms, there will be a character named Doran. Expect him to DIE DIE DIE a REALLY REALLY horrible death. REALLY HORRIBLE.

Otherwise, plugging along. Today I went to the Work Resources center for a mandatory orientation, and had a blast. Okay I am weird, right? But there are lots of things I can benefit from there, so next week will zip over (it is about 15 minutes from here) and take the different things. Plus, they keep track, and it looks good on record.

State of the Loose-Id: Progress! My editor needs a synopsis and some other info from me so the ms can go to the next stage. Squee! Am I excited? Yes I am excited! YOU BET I am excited! And tomorrow will be Synopsis Day. My alarm is set for 7:30 and I will be hammering out that puppy all day.

State of the Writing Part 1 (Splash Page) Thanks to the word wars on the weekend, my first draft stands at....16,103 words. Am I excited? YOU BET I AM! Sure it is a messy first draft but that is okay. I am writing the first draft fast and dirty, and just having fun with it. Working on it on weekends only.

State of the Writing Part 2 (Fantasy): I am starting to feel like a full-time writer. If I am not doing chores, talking to Nick, playing with the dogs or sleeping, or oh yeah, job hunting, I am working either on Splash Page or on this. I have three writing group meetings a week, and my writing peeps are dedicated and determined. I wish I could just do life like this forever, but alas, eventually the money will run out. Pout. But I am not bored. Oh far from it!. Anyway. This no-name fantasy that needs a name (The Beast Boy sound bad? I could call it TBB for short) is absolutely stealing my brain, my heart, my waking moments, and even stealing many of my should-be-sleeping moments and I LOVE IT. As I've explained before, my Saturday group, Warrior Writers, has a set plan for getting a novel ready for writing. As a Plotmeister, I love it. So far this is what I have:

1. Goals! yes I have them
2. Worldbuilding! Yes, I have it solidly started, using OneNote (best tool EVER! if you want ideas for how to make it work for you, I have them) to keep track of things. but as I discovered, worldbuilding takes time, is fluid, and will never end. So this is an ongoing thing.
3. Antagonist! Yes, Unser LIVES! I have never worked so hard to prepare a character, and I LOVE him. He is so evil! In all the best ways. I learned a lot remoulding him from the sketchy bits I've had sitting around all these years.
4. Protagonist! Yes, Jax lives! And so does Aneli! And I have three more! But WOW, I have never been fond of character studies, but for some reason, with the approach we take, it is working for me. If anyone is curious and would like to see, holler. Next up is Minions. Minions? Okay, I do have one in mind, and she is one wicked thing, so she will be fun to work on. So yeah. By the time I am done with all these, writing the basic outline of the story will be a piece of red velvet cupcake.
and there is a bit more behind the cut )
Such a nice weekend here in North Texas--beautiful and sunny though the temps were colder, which I appreciated actually. I am not ready for winter to end here, thanks. Plus I got to spend lots of time with Nick. :) I always love that!

Okay so what did I accomplish this last week. Let me think...

C is terribly lj cut challenged )
I am a horrible housekeeper. Seriously. I have all this time on my hands, and by now every corner of my house and yard and garage should be Suzy Homemaker perfect. But it isn't, and I neglect the hell out of it, until I can't stand it any more. So today I armed myself with all the cleaning equipment I could find, and bought new spray stuff that smells fabulous, and attacked!

Hours later, the house smells great (the red velvet soy candle I bought sure helps plus it is very pretty and reminds me of [livejournal.com profile] blue_fjords's cupcakes of awesome.) The floors are clean, walls scrubbed, bathtub and sinks shiny, kitchen clean, I can even walk through my hallway! No laundry baskets! We'll see how long this lasts. Two days maybe.

I managed yesterday to get all my stuff re: defensive driving turned in (though I had to fax a paper to the municipal court that dipstick here forgot at home) so that is all good, got my ESOP paperwork today so THAT is AWESOME, and the glow from winning unemployment has not diminished. Now all I need to do is do my taxes. Bah. Friday.

LOL I just realized that my 'state of me' format I was going to use was forgotten. Oh well.

Been working on my plot for my fantasy...attacking the worldbuilding, antagonist next. The method for plotting and planning is a little different than I've done before (the method we're following on my Saturday morning writing workshops), and I'm finding it really very helpful. Way helpful. For the first time, my 10-year's worth of jumbled notes and thoughts and characters and plot are starting to iron out. They are actually making sense! There may be hope for me yet. LOL. Next post--will write about that. I promised a couple of people I would yack about Writer's Journey, which ties into what I am doing with my Saturday group. Oh, and that Saturday group is after me to start blogging. Like real blogging? Like 'building your brand!' blogging. *headdesk* Given there are two of me, this is going to be a pain...

I wish I had more exciting stuff to write here, but alas, I can't think of anything!

Anyone watch Smallville? I'm on the sixth one. It is pretty fun (so many exploding things! so many deaths! so much weirdness!), is pretty entertaining though Lux baby confused me at first. Lex, I mean. LOL. I am intrigued by his characterization, as he starts out as a relatively good guy.

I need to go somewhere, so badly. ANYWHERE!!!!!!!!!! On a PLANE!!!!!

Tomorrow, tomorrow, maybe tomorrow will be an exciting day?

Oh yay!

Jan. 26th, 2011 12:56 pm
paragraphs: Come Travel with Me (Default)
The laptop can be fixed! Took it to JWJ Computers, pulled it out of the backpack, computer dude with bad toupee said, "I know exactly what is wrong with it." Seems this model of HP was well-known for being very very bad--bad circuit boards. There was a recall at some point that I never knew about--maybe because the store we bought this from went belly-up within a week or two after we got them? (Nick had one too but his died a different death lol um yeah).

So, happily, my baby should be back in a couple of days, and cost only $125 to fix. I can deal with that.

Had Tuesday night writer's group last night, just me and Suz and Cid, which was lovely. I got my OneNote organized for the three ms's I have to work on, though I am going to work on only one right now. I seem to do better like that. OneNote is pretty damn nifty. Suz and Cid have theirs so darn organized! Very shipshape, but not so over-organized as to make one think "Wow, that is all you do re: writing, isn't it?" Actually, nope. Suz has already sold her first (YAY!) and Cid sent off an entry last night to Samhain for a novella call. She let me read a little of another of hers, and I know, I just know in me bones, that 2011 is her year.

It is so nice to have peoples around here to do writerly things. Well worth the bit of drive I have to make to meet them.

Job hunting continues. Am currently in a good state--am okay $-wise, my dad and sis both have my back, which helps, especially Dear Old Dad (as we call him). I did great with the temp agency tests, and the agent person I am working with loves my skills and is convinced she can help me find something permanent along the lines of what I was doing, except in the oil and gas industry. I am all for that, as two of my buds, Cody and Jeremy, went that direction. Would be awesome to be downtown near them! We're having lunch next week. I miss those guys.

So my optimism is up for the moment. I think talking to Dad a long time about it all has made me feel better. Much better. Surely, surely, SURELY I will find something, anything, by the end of February?

In any case, I can't fight it anymore. I am about to fall asleep on my keyboard. Too much thinking last night. Bah. Plotting, mostly. I hope my mind can stay at ease now where I can do something besides stare at the walls and freak out. That's getting old! Very old. And does no one any good, not me, the kids, or Nick who is about to move to the UK! Like...FRIDAY! OMG! I am so happy for him. :) I just better get to go see him, soon. VERY SOON. Or else I shall keel over. Sigh.

Naptime now!

C (oh look I signed it like an email)
Nick just did a post in his lj about himself, which has inspired me not to do the same but just to plunk down what's been going on in my world as I rarely post things of substance.

NANO:
I made such great progress last week, almost 9k words (for me in a week that is fantastic), which brings my total for ballet boy to just under 59k. I *should* be able to turn it in first part of December. ZOMG YES! Yes, I am behind on the word count for Nano, but I'm not entirely doing it correctly anyway, completing an already-started manuscript as I am. Whatever. I'll get my 50k in by the end, and am happy about that, it'll just involve ending one ms and starting the next one which ultimately will end up with Loose-Id too, I hope. I am planning on it anyway.

2011 ORIG FICTION PLANS:
For other original fiction geared toward the fantasy market, I've settled on that too, and have been covertly working on it behind-the-scenes...primarily the planning stages. Right now, my #1 priority is finishing this ms, and the end is finally in sight, I'm making exciting progress and am extraordarily excited about that.

MAH LOCAL PEEPS OF AWESOME:
I have to say, a huge reason I am so much happier writing these days is, hands down, because of my friends here where I live. I've got a fantastic writing group now--Cid, Linda, Alice and Suz--they keep me sane and going ever-forward. It is awesome to have people around here who are fun and inspiring and enthusiastic and want me to adopt them. LOL! We have fun, and I'm learning so much from them too. Never thought I'd find peoples like that here. I'd given up. There are other good kids too, though these four are my core peeps.

I am much happier these days, I think, with writing and the writing world back as my priority in life again. Nick's writing again like a maniac too, and a couple who writes together... LOL! Seriously. I love love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE him. And his writing. Oh yeah.

MERLIN:
So! Nick's also dragged me into the Merlin fandom, though as with Torchwood, I'm just hanging onto his coattails, on the edge. I like the edge. I've always preferred it there, under the radar. Merlin, Merlin...the fandom is so very very different from Torchwood. Lots of good people, but as with any fandom, there are Issues. Mostly, I just ignore them, watch the show and enjoy each episode as it comes without any expectations other than having fun, and read some of the fic. There are some good writers in the fandom, without doubt, and I love that there's alot of RPS as I enjoy Bradley James and Colin Morgan and their dynamics. The guys are great friends, are so different yet get along and are fun to watch.

TORCHWOOD:
I have to admit, except for Mander's TW 4.0, which is incredible and why aren't you reading it? GO HERE NOW: http://amand-r.livejournal.com/493428.html) I am not reading much TW. Those who know me know I love the show, am excited about the new Torchwood, that yes, while RTD is a prat in many ways, there is a hell of a lot I admire about what he's accomplished (especially after reading A Writer's Tale). So, I stay away from all discussion, wank and growls for a reason, as everyone does have the right to an opinion and I just prefer not to get involved with the hashing of opinions. For me though, it will be intriguing and hopefully fun to see how the fandom takes shape after, or should I say After. It'll be like Old Who/New Who! Old TW/New TW!

Other things...

PROGRESS ON STRETCH AND DANG THAT SCANNED NICELY:
I love Teresa Wentzler patterns. It is going slooowwww though because it is lots of thread-changes, each which involves pairing two different colors, there are tons of half-stitches, and it is maddening at times and oh the back is messy. But I love the progress! Returning to cross-stitch has helped me in so many ways. I think, no, I know, that side of my brain was STARVING. It is much happier now.

SUPERNATURAL:
I am about to watch episode 5.16. I am slowing down though, not wanting the ride to end just yet. Dean, oh Dean, you have infiltrated my dreams, and my fic! Yes, my character Lee has, without doubt, come to life for me because of Dean Winchester. I could never truly fall for Lee like I had Gev, and the solution came to me in the form of this glorious man:



I mean, c'mon, look at that. GORGEOUS and that is not even a picture with his eyes of awesome focusing on you. LOL. And yes, I know, I know...I succumbed right along with Nick, which makes [livejournal.com profile] blue_fjords happy. And yes that picture came from her. And actually? I think I can count on one hand the times I've posted a fan pic. Whatever. I'm glad to be watching this series, as I've enjoyed the fire out of it, and it has made my work go by so much faster. Yeah, I can watch shows at work. I know, right? Crazy.

What I 'can't' do, and shouldn't, is play on livejournal...

Um.

This is getting long. See? I don't write a post for ages, then blurt everything out at once. Sorry. This is why no one reads my long posts!
SO. After chopping a gazilliony billionty words from my current ms, I have 84 pages of good solid clean fic, 175 more to go. Starting tonight (correction, tomorrow night lol), I have set myself the task of reworking 5 pages a day or else. In 35 days, it will be DONE if I keep up with this plan. I've given [livejournal.com profile] blue_fjords free reign to smack me sideways and to the moon and back if I fail to report my nightly pages done. :)

I still have to write retconbookwrite, but I have a great idea! I am just not sure I can pull it off as I am not really that good at writing other peoples' characters. It throws me. And I hate writing short fiction. And...yeah. Last thing I'll be signing up for, without doubt. It is best if I stick to original fiction. lol.

This was a busy weekend! Friday night was spent running around doing stuff and cleaning, Saturday I got to spend the afternoon and evening with my friend [livejournal.com profile] talekyn as he is in town for business for a few days. We've settled on Tuesday night for dinner again and that will be awesome--I adore Anthony! We talk writing, books, about life and adventures and all sorts of things. Mostly about writing and how we both WILL make 2011 the Year of the Book. He has a marvelous story near completion, I have a fantasy to hammer out and write, and neither of us has any excuse for not getting things done. I mean, really. We will see each other again September 2011 and it would be very embarrassing if by then we were no further along than we are now with these particular stories. I mean, really! RIGHT ANTHONY?????

So, the gameplan: finish this rewrite over the next 35 days, well before the end of October, and get it turned in. My editor is expecting it, and is being very supportive about it, so I must not fail her. Nano will be devoted to finishing ballet boy, and I'll get IT sent in by the end of the year. Next Loose-Id book...I have no idea what I will do, but ya know what? I've given my editor two third-person books in a row, and by golly next one is gonna be in first person, so THERE. But that is later, like next summer's project.

2011 will be free and clear and wide-open for the fantasy. I just have to decide exactly what to write. I've gone from having no idea what I could possibly write to having 3 things I would enjoy, all for different reasons. Technically, all three could work in the same world, IF I move my 10-years-in-my-head-world over to a slightly more modern, technological setting.

I am extremely tempted by the thought of changing my old medievaly setting to a neo-Victorian. Steampunk somewhat. I kinda have a meh-yeah! attitude toward steampunk...mostly it is frustration with what books I've picked up thus far. Not a single one has satisfied me, been what I want a steampunk novel to be. Then again, I admit it is possible the problem is I keep looking for a book that's not written yet but will be soon as [livejournal.com profile] theemdash and [livejournal.com profile] momebie get cracking on it. Ever since I read about their characters for their ms, and their plans for it, I have been wanting to find something similar and really, I haven't. Therefore I conclude nothing will suit but having their story in my hands, and of course writing my own story and making it how *I* want a steampunk world to be. Being late to the game as ever, I now have a Delicious account, and have been stashing all kinds of links and such in there.

HOW did I live without Delicious before now? Seriously! I hate my air-headedness sometimes, and how I often must be bashed over the head before I see brilliance in something!

Should I number these paragraphs?

Anyway. Gonna ramble on more about that subgenre later. Tomorrow is going to be exciting at work! NEW COMPUTERS! Even though mine is just a year old (if that) I'm getting a new one. All the programs we use for GIS and BNSF's programs and what-not take powerful computers and the powers-that-be apparently decided that we needed better. Plus, BNSF has FINALLY upgraded from old school IE and we can too at last (though I have been using Firefox for the non-BNSF stuff for months now). Windows 7, which I've played a little with, and a screaming new machine...hopefully this will be awesome.

One last interesting thing--my recent flist cleaning freaked out some people, pissed a few off, but also helped me reconnect to some old friends who I hadn't talked to in awhile. It is really nice to have a shiny pretty smaller flist to deal with on lj, and the DWers tracked so I don't miss their posts. I likes it. And LOVE hearing from those people again. :)

Today's event was my daughter's ring ceremony at TCU. It was outside(!) and hot, but awesome to see her get her school ring. When she graduates, she'll turn it around the other way so the emblem faces out. It is lovely. She's done this all herself, putting herself through school and earning all those grants and scholarships (about 90k worth, more really) and I am enormously proud of all she has accomplished. I was happy to be there, even if like everyone else, I was melting. LOL. Oh Texas, where is FALL????

Nite kids!
From 250k to 212k down to 135.5k, I've managed to whittle this manuscript down to a much more manageable, and much stronger story. Not through with rewriting all the scenes yet (SO MUCH MORE TO GO!) but I am so happy with what I've accomplished this weekend. Seriously chuffed, honestly.

Never, Ever, EVER AGAIN will I write something and let it get so long, let the story get so out of hand! Ever! (I can try not to at least, right?)

Emailed with editor today. All is well there. I may have this baby turned in by the end of September after all. She was happy to get in touch with me, so I am happy about that. YAY!!!

And then it is on to my fantasy at last! WOOT! Actually, prepping it for Nano first--yeah yeah I've got parts of this thing written, but then again...it is highly probable I will pull it back to earlier, as the editor at Armadillocon suggested I do. Too tired to do so tonight but I will try and write about that experience tomorrow. I'm not going to pressure myself to get 50k during November--25k is my goal, which with my work schedule is reasonable.

One other note before I collapse happily into bed, this is a thought-provoking article by Sherwood Smith [livejournal.com profile] sartorias about that amazing writing phenomena she calls 'writing the white fire novel.' This really zinged home to me as I've experienced it myself once, and it was an amazing thing to experience (and lasted for the entire book), as well as amazingly-difficult to accept not all stories will be white fire novels. How I wish! This article was very good for me to read as I finish up a project that definitely was NOT a white fire novel (but I tamed it anyway!), and start a new one that I have this underlying sense will bring that experience to me again. There's a momentum started, writing is back on top with me as being my #1 thing I do outside of work and spend time with my family (Nick, dogs, kids lol and yes, in that order...I love having older kids!).

Here's the link if you'd like to read it: http://blog.bookviewcafe.com/2010/09/05/writers-on-writing-the-white-fire/

Okay, to bed! Getting up will be hard tomorrow. Ugh. Gotta take my walking stuff with me as I am determined to start walking that track again tomorrow, right after work. Sitting around writing most of the weekend, and then sitting around staring at monitors all week at work has started to really get to me. I feel fluffy and crickety, even though I haven't gained anything. I hate it!
Okay this was a rather fun one. I decided to 'analyze' my current wip, my fantasy. Multiple-pov, traditional fantasy, on the dark side... This is one of the results I got, for a male character, Gregorii, who is a soldier in tough circumstances, far from home, responsible for the safety of his men--not a born leader but forced to become one as there was no one else:


I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




I decided to give the other characters a shot:

Margaret Atwood - my female lead, Milandria, during a happy scene before I ruin her life completely by destroying her life and killing off (she thinks) her man (but oh what an amazing woman she proves to be)

J.K. Rowling - my soon-to-be-of-age male character Avery who is a wee bit spoiled (at first) but grows up fast

Vladamir Nabakov - Reif, male character in extreme pain, emotional and physical, devastated by what happened to his people, and full of anger and remorse for failure to save them, and his almost-wife, Milandria (their story is the center of the book)

Intriguingly, I tested different scenes with the same characters, and I wrote them consistently, continuing to bring up Poe, Atwood, Rowling, Nabakov (who I am least familiar with). This is kinda cool, actually! As I write more, for grins I'll have to run through the gristmill again and see what happens.

This is the story I have submitted (first chapter) to the Armadillocon 32 writer's workshop. Two of my local writerly friends have also signed up. I'm excited to see how we all do--and if we survive the hard-core, sit-and-listen-and-be-quiet critique sessions. I'm super-excited to have brought this story out of the closet, and can't wait to see how it does under fresh eyes, though I am nervous too.

My chapter one was once chapter four, it starts off quite happily, romantic even, and only at the end of the chapter does all hell break lose. Start where everything changes is exactly what I did...but is the opening appealing to those who prefer to read dark fantasy, which this definitely is?

I've run this one through the ringer over the past two months without writing anything additional. I've cut, changed, replaced, reorganized--really like how it is pulling together, but tons of work left to do.

Damn, I love this book. So crazy much. Ten years working on it, off and on! Time to finish it, time to be brave and forge ahead and sell something again, a new genre to boot. Hell yeah.

New admin starts tomorrow. I AM ECSTATIC! Chris-the-boss put me back on road crossings and lol, dang it--I kinda missed running around processing exhibits! Silly me.

I burned my neck, somehow--not with a curling iron lol or anything, but...I don't know how. It is a reaction to something unknown, has been building for awhile. Had to take off my necklace, stop wearing my badge on a lanyard (I feel so naked!). It hurts. Tiff had some A&D ointment she'd bought for her tattoo--I rubbed that on it, bought new pillows (non-feather), will be washing all my clothes in Arm & Hammer dye-perfume free (suggested by Mander, who suffered from terrible hives). Nick thought that was a weird name for a detergent, and lol he really is right. There is a timeline, which explains the name!

http://www.armhammer.com/history/ourhistory.asp

LOL.

Am watching the latest Harry Potter movie. I am crazily excited by the last two--told the daughter she HAS to go with me. Of course she will be all busy, so I'll end up going by myself or something. Not that that is a bad thing!
I haven't made a post since the 9th of June. It isn't that I haven't been around--twitter and email have just been where I've been hanging out, when I have felt up to it. Mostly, this is because I have been sick with the most horrible cold I have ever had in my life. I don't get sick that often, but when I do, I fall like a dead trunk. A dead tree trunk struck by lightening.

A week ago Friday night, my little English Springer Spaniel, Claire, died unexpectedly.



She was getting on in years, but was only 12, so seeing her rapid decline (we're talking about 3 hours total here) was shocking. She died before I could get dressed to take her to the ER--it happened that fast, with me, my son, and my two huskies there with her. It has been (as it always is) interesting to see how the change in pack dynamics influences how the huskies behave. Maddox? Not so much, but Shelby has been wildly affectionate and silly. Is she glad Claire is gone? Maybe? She had spats with Claire, but that hadn't happened in ages. She woo'd at Claire alot that last hour--so strange, but that's Shelby.

In any case, the two are fine, I am finally almost entirely recovered. Finally.

Work has been nuts--we're still several people short, the admin we wanted took another job, I still miss Jeremy and Cody like crazy beans, the stupid stupid idiots. It is so quiet, and we are very busy. I am working on a project that is a wee bit boring (researching 38 crossings in Seattle, WA), but watching shows helps.

But Kevin, Chris, Juan and I are enjoying soccer talk, as we're all into it. Watching Italy vs. New Zealand. I had Italy 2-0, but NZ came out with a lucky(?) goal in the first seven minutes. I like this commentator, who is Scottish--he just has no patience with Italy's dramatics. Every time one falls to the ground he expresses his disgust. LOL. Nick got bored and is taking a nap. LOL. This has been a fun match to watch. Or maybe I just like the Scottish commentator?

Current reads: WARBREAKER by Brandon Sanderson, the writer who is finishing the Robert Jordan series. It is well, well done, with a lead character that has some of the best dialogue I've read in ages, and a magic system that I find entrancing.

FEED: A Zombie book by Mira Grant. I don't usually do zombie books, but this one is engrossing.

I cried to itunes about losing the GRRM audiobooks I paid so much for when my computer was stolen, and they let me redownload the first one. Not all of them, just the first. :*( But relistening to it after all these years is interesting. I hope he finishes the series, sigh. I hate the thought of not knowing what happens to all those characters.

There is so much that GRRM does in his writing that I really like--the multiple POV is something I enjoy working with, and what I am doing with AF. I think I need a new title for it though (was Altered Fates, which sounds more like science fiction than fantasy). So I will think about that.

Embracing the fantasy again has been amazing. I've pulled it apart, literally. Taken three POV's out (10 was a wee bit!), and a fourth POV has been moved from one male character to a female's character. I have taken out a huge thread as a result, but it was not a good thread, and detracted from what should be the main story. That is where I was going wrong so many years ago--I just couldn't see it. I do now. Time and finally being able to divorce myself from the bitterness surrounding this story has made it all fresh and new again, and you can bet I will not ever ever let anyone else destroy what is a good thing. Critique partners can be great, but when you land with one who has her own agenda, and let that near-destroy you, well... That's what happened to this book. And me. Stupid, huh. Absolutely it was.

Now my task is to go through what I have, smooth it out, and then take each character's thread and make each one as solid as possible. And make some other major decisions, but am feeling good about it, and I finally have several people I trust to bounce things off of. That is SWEET.

Yawn--I am feeling kind of sleepy, too. But I need to get a hair cut today! I just realized it is Sunday though--will have to wait until this afternoon. LOL.
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If you would like to read my entries, just leave a comment here and I'll more than likely be happy to friend you back. Unless of course you are one of those Russian bots. [livejournal.com profile] green_knight suggested I leave a few posts open to show whoever what I'm like, so I chose a few from my trip to Wales. Not that I have strangers popping by here wondering who [livejournal.com profile] paragraphs is, but you never know. :)

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Zang! Who is that, rampaging along the freeway! It is Paragraphs, hands clutching a reflective halberd! She screams ominously:

"Blood and souls for my dark lord! I hereby snap and go berzerk!"

Find out!
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Okay so do I owe apologies for yesterday's post? Probably. Sorry kids, really am. I didn't mean to alarm so many of you. I will answer those comments in a bit.

But can I also admit to the warm fuzzies for your concerns? Seriously. I'm so used to lolling behind somebody's shadow (a nice place to be, really--I like it here on the edge of things) that the sudden flurry of comments and emails made me grin? Y'all care! You do! You really really do! Sniff!

Silly C, huh.

Anyway. The point of that post was to express a light-bulb moment I had while nose-deep in a bunch of crossing closures; I don't want to write m/m fiction any more. I just don't want to.

I mean, really. I gotta look at this logically. If I am capable of garnering such nice responses first to my published mystery (dorky as it was) and then to Red, then I am capable of doing so with another story in a different genre. Something different and what I want to write. Not what others want me to write (no matter how lovely the requests for more more more--more of the same--are).

Red is basically a romance. Romantic suspense. I have never had a desire to be a romance author. I looked into it extensively back in the day, owe a lot (quite a lot frankly) to my time with the romance world (all those brilliant workshops) but I never belonged there. I've written a romance once, I did it well, I wrote the story of my heart when I needed to do it and I Just Do Not Want to do it again. Anything else would be a rehash of what I have already done and I put EVERYTHING (ideas and passions) I had for that particular genre into Red. I am getting NOTHING out of trying to do another. I am not striving, I am not pushing myself because there is nothing left to push.

I am not having any fun with it at all )