• Catch-up from All Summer

    white lined notebook on gray table
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    Fog on the brain.

    No matter how much I write each day, or edit a sentence, or get through the day job, most of the time that unrelenting fog of obscurity looms in my mind, clouding my thoughts and visions, making me walk in circles with no compass. Uncertainty is always there. It bites.

    Yet I still move on as there always be the finish line for any task.

    This is a long overdue post so this will be somewhat short.

    I want to say that my editing services are still active. A few interested writers came up so that’s a small win for me. Marketing ain’t my strong suit but still learning, even as I juggle a 9-5 office job. Part of that was I found a writer’s group in San Diego full of writers, new and established. I drive down first Sunday of the last few months, talking about the life and business of writing. And it’s managed by Jonathan Maberry!

    The meetings are helping me write, confidence-wise, just knowing that I’m not the only one beating writer’s block. Right now I’ve used a graph paper notebook to write two pages a day and transcribe those notes to Scrivener. I then continue on to wrap up the day’s quota, if I have the mental capacity to do so. Any why graph paper? Probably harboring on my Dad’s habits. He was a civil engineer, building houses for a living until he built the B&B in Big Bear.

    This year I turned 31 last June. The biggest moment to crown that weekend was visiting the actual JPL headquarters in Pasadena. Yes. JPL. Ho. Ly. Crap. They had Explore JPL happening, showcasing the labs, technologies, and active projects to the general public. There were tours, and one of them was missing control, the very room where the moon landings and Curiosity landing operated. I was restraining myself so hard from squeeing like a little girl. Pics to prove it.

     

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    Bucket list moment… checked off.

    The day before that, well, was a sad one. Anthony Bourdain. Finding out his suicide that Friday morning was hard, sulking over the inspirational quotes from all over social media.

    Instead of writing anything else, here’s what I shared before you might enjoy.

    I met him once, but he interacted with me twice.

    The first was Twitter, back in college. I think he tweeted about favorite foods or something, and I tweeted back about oven-roasted chicken with an orange glaze/sauce. He noticed it and tweeted back how good it sounded. Very little to anybody, but it felt great after actually making it back home.

    The second was in person. He was on tour and his next show was in Palm Springs during college. So I went there after class, my copies of Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw in hand, grinning ear to ear in the auditorium hearing about his stories on food and travel. At the signing, my copies were signed, we shook hands, and I became a bumbling idiot talking about the chicken tweet. Pretty star struck that night, but hey, you need to meet your idols when you can.

    It’s those tiny moments that make life great.

    But that didn’t compare to what he was and did outside those times. His TV shows, his books, his work on food and travel journalism, and his massive heart to share that it’s okay to meet the unknown head-on with curiosity was deeply felt across those that watched, read, and heard from him, and they were an inspiration to me. It will be hard to watch and read his work again, knowing I will never hear his voice again, but he did shine light on dark moments of my adult life.

    RIP Mr. Bourdain. I raise my glass to you.

    Even to this day, it’s hard to see his face on Parts Unknown on Netflix. Like a ghost voice… I’m gonna miss him.

    So a month later I went to Northern Michigan with my mom for the 4th of July weekend. I can’t remember the last time I attended a parade or seen that much green forest in a long time, or the small town vibe of Harbor Springs. Haven’t been back for years, not since moving off the mountain and when Dad died. He loved it up there.

    Sorry for ending on a sad note, but it’s what I wanted to share. Now, time for me to hit the notebook again.

    P.S.: I might—and I mean might—share more on the What Do We Know collection. Why? Boredom, mostly.

  • Cars, Comics, and Clarity

    A short spring update for you all. It’s been a while but I have been busy with a few things.

    A big change happened. Wait, make that two. My day job recently made a big office move from Aliso Viejo to San Clemente a couple months ago, going from new, growing town to a beach town. It’s still making me feel bitter that my commute was increased by 10 – 15 min.

    IMG_20180217_073901On the other hand, that same week, I got a new car. Just with the math alone, my previous car (2006 Scion XB) could’ve had me at the gas pump every four days, causing my gas budget to jump off a cliff. This 2017 Prius Prime, however, is freaking awesome. Hybrid vehicle and plug-in EV. I’m practically saving half of what I pay at the station every week, plus experiment with EV chargers.

    This was all thanks to my Mom, the credit goes to her. Believe me, the first week of the office move, I was so bitter acting that it took me a few days to realize the new car in the parking lot. I feel bad for my pillow muffling my screams.

    Went to WonderCon last month and that was a blast. Last year I couldn’t go that weekend after coming back from my Alaska trip after being so sick my head was about to burst. Real bummer, but I made it up. Spent the whole weekend meeting small comic book studios (Aspen Comics is my favorite), a couple webcomic artists, a few writing panels, and, well, buying stuff. This time I finally caved and bought D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook so I can finally read up on a game I never had the chance to play. I’m a SF/F writer and I never grasped D&D? ‘Fraid so, and I’ll work that out, as long as I don’t get too obsessed with it.

    Lastly was about the editing services I mentioned last time. Just in the past two months, I took classes on developmental editing as a side hustle. For those not familiar, developmental editing works at the first draft level with writers on the “big picture,” such as story structure, characters, setting, fact, story flow, etc. I can call myself one, even build the freelance business.

    Yes, I know taking up a side hustle along with writing the third novel and my full-time job under my belt is crazy, but it’s chance to earn a little more during the weekends. I’ve done it for a while with an author friend from DeviantART, so it’s natural that I expand.

    That change is all thanks to that Bullet Journal I started this year. It’s kept me focused and centered on what must be done, yet still slow. No matter what, I’m changing my habits.

    Later.

  • New Year, Same Goals

    IMG_20180122_195145Hey, folks. Sure has been a while since I talked, hasn’t it?

    So the new year is here, and that means resolutions. Yet it’s just the same usual resolutions year after year—lose weight, relationships, writing, learning—and the same story not meeting those promises to myself. Changing habits alone is a tremendous internal shift to make, and knowing what triggers the habits takes time to uncover.

    Starting this year, I’ll figure them out.

    What I started in the second half of 2017 was implement the Bullet Journal method. One blank notebook wherever I go, jotting down daily lists, future appointments, random thoughts, and reflections what I really accomplished. Honestly, digital to-do lists have grown out of me past college. Most of the time I forget I had to-do lists. You can look up YouTube videos of journal spreads, designs and bedazzled pedicures to make the journals a personal creation, but really, I’ll go for the basic G2 pen and Moleskin hardcover graph notebook with an REI sticker on the cover.

    With my country’s decline in common sense and reality itself, doing anything creative was tough. I’ve known over creative types that were hampered by the constant barrage of an uneasy future. Hard enough to tell myself to unplug and ignore all that and just write.

    It’s mindfulness I’m after. With the daily tasks, I build a small habit tracker to focus on the important things: yoga, meditation, and writing. Outside forces still happen and I have to work around that to break the writer’s block.

    So what it for this year? Same old same old, with some changes.

    Ghost Factor draft is almost done. I’ll say that the Bullet Journal for the last six months kept me focused to rework the plot from the ground up. With the time lost to make it an actual ebook form, the plan to serialize it on my website is still there.

    The last two Snippet stories—Keystone and Her Discovery—will get the editing treatment and released before Ghost Factor Chapter 1 (the final form) is out.

    Moving on will be working on Tyler’s Profession, right after Ghost Factor is at the last chapter. It comes as no surprise I haven’t touched the plot line or the original Nanowrimo draft since 2011. It’ll either be serialized the same way or when I gather the funds for an editor for the paperback and ebook; whichever comes first.

    Those are the big projects, as usual, but let’s jump to the What Do We Know posts.

    The experiment last summer was great to write. It’s not quite what I wanted as a Mana Pool encyclopedia, but I’ll say it helped fill some gaps in between the stories. If you haven’t read them, you can click here and divulge. I’m just as anxious as you to share terran biology and magic as you, but that and other topics won’t be released until halfway through Ghost Factor. There’s a reason behind that.

    So really, everything depends on me finishing that draft to move on. I’m already flipping off distractions and procrastination.

    The last bit to say is what I had in mind to accomplish since last fall. I mentioned before on social media I’ve been doing freelance editing as a side hobby for other authors. As of now, I decided to make freelance editing a side hustle. Check out the new editorial services page for what I’m offering for developmental editing.

    Balancing that while writing my own work is a crazy idea to do, but this is a possible extra income stream for the bills. Can I balance both being a writer and editor? If I can do yoga, meditation, reading, and more camping trips to reset my focus, I could.

    So with all that, it’s my job to keep up with these tasks. As Chuck Wendig mentioned with the one writer resolution to have this year: write with intentionality.

    Later.

  • Fall Is Here

    You just can’t get away from a pumpkin spice joke this season: so ubiquitous on every corner. Or more like in every food we see in the store beside the coffee drink. Sometimes I think about Frank Herbert’s Dune, where the Arrakis spice or melange turned user’s eyes blue over regular consumption. Makes you wonder if melange makes glowing blue eyes, would pumpkin spice cause eyes to glow orange?

    This is the kind of stuff that makes me chuckle in the middle of the day.

    But yeah, cold weather is approaching and the opportunity to wear a coat is coming closer for me. The best weather for my creativity. Sure wish it was raining more where I live.

    Good news is the plot issues in Ghost Factor are dealt with. Now, sub-plotting and drafting run smooth. It is still a long road until I say that the draft is done. I know I’m learning my lesson from this mess.

    So two weekends ago I went my third trip to Las Vegas for SiglerFest every fall, a small convention/party of an author friend Scott Sigler. There was much laughter, beer, and friends I haven’t seen in a while to go around, but still had time to sit down to write. And yes, I know. This was Columbus Day weekend. This was the weekend after the shooting massacre. It was hard to stomach what happened that night, knowing that in three days I’ll be in that city. And well… let me draw you a picture.

    Early Thursday morning, well before sunrise, with coffee and breakfast sandwich to go. The trek to the city in the desert is known by heart; head east until the 15 freeway, then head north until the city lights are in view. A quick stop in Barstow, Baker, and a rest stop to get the blood flowing. By the time it was around 8:30 or 8:45 the city was coming to view around the mountain corner. Then a massive wave of nausea, anxiety, dread, sadness, and depression came over me I lost my attention to the podcast on the stereo and believed the breakfast sandwich was tainted. But no. It was the city. The feelings of that dreadful night hung thick in the air. I breathed a few times, drank some water, a turned the A/C up a couple notches. The Mandalay Bay jumbotrons and others along the highway didn’t display shows or nightclub ads, but condolences and heavy hearts. I got to the hotel room that morning and expelled those feelings.

    When the first drink of the night and seeing old friends from last year and always enjoyed their company, I never forgot the lives lost. It was tough to come close to the Strip, even see those busted windows overlooking the road.

    In other words: my heart goes out to the loved ones of the tragedy. Friggin’ psychos.

    Ending this entry on a bad note is hard, but it’s what I wanted to say about it.

    Back to the grind for me.

    Later.