• Well, This Happened

    Wasn’t at all prepared to receive this news last week, so now I must share it. It’s not book related, but cool nonetheless.

    Months ago, a coworker of mine shared NASA Socials with me. It’s NASA’s program to share mission details with social media followers. They invite a handful of people to attend.

    And the email last week confirmed I’m one of them!

    The event on March 11 is Moon to Mars. It details various missions to send astronauts to the moon, establish a lunar outpost for scientific research, and a stepping stone for Mars missions. You can find the details here and here.

    Visiting JPL on that public event last year was a random bucket list check off. Yet this does fit with my interests with NASA as well. I’ll be tweeting about it as much as I can that day, but will have a blog post on my thoughts about it. In all hindsight, I’ll be a journalist for a day.

    Talk to you all later.

  • Year in Review… ish

    Photo by Luis Dalvan on Pexels.com

    Last week while I waited at Starbucks for breakfast, I happened to glance at the Starbucks Card rack as I waited. One card design caught my attention.

    A stenciled outline of a pig’s face against a yellow background, white daisies dotted a few places, and statement in front spelled “2019 – Year of the Pig”.

    I went alright, nice touch, and got my meal. But back in my car, a thought hit me: when was the last Year of the Pig?

    There are twelve years in the Chinese Zodiac cycle. Counting back twelve years, I fell on 2007. Wow, I thought, that was it. Twelve years ago, I stepped into that creative writing class at Crafton Hills in Yucaipa. I entered for ways to combat my research paper issues but left with the backbone notes for Mana Pool.

    Twelve years. Time flies, right? But enough reminiscing the beginnings. Let me backtrack what I’ve done to stave off cabin fever since the last I talked.

    I went to Santa Barbara by train for a day trip. Spent time at a brewery downtown, visited a museum on the pier, and then understood why the coastline is well known for their sea urchin during lunch. Yum.

    There were mental hurdles I had to overcome late summer as I felt angry how Ghost Factor was turning out. I had to do something, so I went to a float tank center or a sensory deprivation tank filled with pounds of Epsom salts for a unique hour-long meditation experience. Did it four times a week for a month to get my brain straight. Then I realized the mistake on the draft and what my next steps are as a freelance editor, which I’ll get to in a moment.

    Fall came and SiglerFest in Las Vegas approached. It was great seeing old folks again as I laughed with them. One I wanted to meet so bad (looking at you Scott Pond) that almost made me cry on his lap. He survived colon cancer surgery; it was quite personal to me if you know me. Also met an old boss face to face finally from a previous online job. Good times with those guys.

    Nothing else to say except having my first roasted duck for Christmas dinner with Mom and watching my brother’s dog over the holidays. Now the writing issue I mentioned.

    For a while, like through the summer, I was working on a process of combining a few old chapter and scene drafts into the main draft by clipping and pulling and rewriting sentences that fit the plot to an exact point. Like a newspaper or magazine editor before computers, stitching paper clippings to a board before printing. Stupid, just stupid. Took me a few months to realize the unworkable method and why: my brain wanted perfection, to feel content with the choices, without caring about the flow state for the first draft.

    Get this stitched together before the real fun begins, man, this beginning hangs on everything, said the brain with a YouTube addiction scratching itself.

    I can’t write in separate places in a large project. I’m linear. Always has been, always will be, and it took a salt tank to realize the truth. I then started this approach: copywrite word for word scenes that matched the new plot, review them, and continue without the other draft notes, now burned in the virtual trash bin. The scenes are still shitty, but at least the feeling of flow writing returned.

    Writing fiction after my day job? Still a problem, even in 2019. So this year, I want to shift some habits to the front.

    Website

    I want to post once a month on the blog. Once a week is too much for me to handle as many bloggers do, not right now at least. Anything outside of a life update doesn’t count, such as the What Do We Know posts. Yes, I’m still working on one for the fun of it.

    Editor Life

    Freelance spots are still open for editor work. This year I’ll be joining more editor clubs and associations for better exposure. On top of the EFA, I joined the ACES (American Copy Editors Society) for their mentor program. I also opened my services for comic book dev editing, a long-holding interest for me I’ll dive into this year.

    Events

    Last year I attended more memorable events (visiting JPL in Pasadena as one of them), but not a whole lot of possibilities for my editor side hustle. This year, WonderCon will happen again, but San Diego Comic-Con isn’t, as the tickets went sold out in twelve minutes. I’ll up that chance to attend a few more conventions in LA, Palm Springs, and Long Beach, as well as more local writer meetups.

    Health

    A new yoga studio opened up near me that I’ve frequented recently. I may not have the mental drive to exercise between Monday and Thursday, but I can go to a yoga studio at eight at night knowing I can sleep in Saturday morning. Chances to get back down to my 233lb state a few years ago is becoming more and more prevalent.

    And of course… finish Ghost Factor. Wish I could share more about the progress, or the story itself, but I’m still not ready to share anything. When I know it’s ready, it’s ready, and the announcements will come.

    Here’s to hoping 2019 will be the year for me.

  • Catch-up from All Summer

    white lined notebook on gray table
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

    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.

     

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    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.