And another hot minute passes…

Wild Horses Statue, Providence, RI

Right, so where was I? Ciaragh was back, I was done with GARF, and life was settling down so I could get ready for my inlaws to come for a visit.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Not even close.

For those that don’t know, my mom had some sort of major neurological event around the 3rd week of June, and she has not been able to recover completely. She is in hospice care now, and we really don’t know what the next step is there.

I’m updating right now from a hotel in Rhode Island because I am attending the RID conference. I had completely let this go to the wayside with everything going on at home. I happened to look at the webi

Nope, let’s start again.

This has been the weirdest summer of my entire 47.5 years of life. I sort of feel like I’m in the middle of that groovy statue I got to photograph in Providence – only the horses are real and in motion, and if I don’t watch out I’m going to get trampled.

Over the summer, I wasn’t watching out, and I was most certainly trampled. Ciaragh was back home, and I was settling into my regular summer routine of freelance interpreting, planning for upcoming faires, and writing as much as I could whenever I could. The final draft of the second Clobberpaws book was starting to sit up and pay attention. The first novel in the Forest Wars saga was being actively edited for the…I don’t know, umpteenth time, and was on track for publication at the end of July.

And then, my sister took my mother up to see my dad’s grave on what would have been his birthday. And then there was the night about four days later that I was talking to my mother on the phone and she was slurring her words and was very confused. I rang my sister who went over there, spent the night there, and then took Mom to Emory the next day to see the doctor.

From there, she was fast-tracked into the unit that treats stroke patients, only she hadn’t had a stroke. There was no evidence at all of a stroke. And then she had a seizure and slept for about five days – as one does when one is 86 and has a massive seizure. Her advance directive said no life-prolonging measures – no feeding tubes, etc. And then she was on the hospice unit for something like three weeks, so because nothing was happening, they discharged her to her home, where she died about two weeks-ish later.

Now, none of that is about me. It’s nothing to do with me. But the aftermath is everything to do with me, my sister, and our families. I spent a good day after Mom died wondering if I was an orphan now. Is that something that only applies to children? More time than was probably necessary was devoted to wondering what would happen to my sister and me – we had been texting all day almost every day since that fateful phone call because I am a state away from them. Now that the crisis time was over, would we fade back into our typical roles, only communicating now and then?

So here I am, a month and two days from waking up to a phone call from my sister that Mom had passed in her sleep, and I’m still wondering. Still waiting. Still an orphan – I decided I wanted to own that, so I did. Still struggling to find someone to talk to on long days at home or long car rides when I usually would call Mom. Still not quite able to listen to the stack of voice mails from her still on my phone – recordings that underscore what a neglectful daughter I am for not visiting her more often.

Here I am, with a book about to launch in a week’s time, a “First Page Critique” away to the folks running the writer’s conference in September that I will be attending (in the hopes that it will be chosen to be anonymously ripped to bits by a panel of literary agents), and a big signing event in the works for November.

Here I am, suddenly winning at being a writer for at least a few minutes, and the number one person I want to tell isn’t here. I hope she knows. I hope she is pleased. I hope she is proud.

Scorched and Clobbered on my way into 2019

Yeah, that’s what I look like in my head – but less blonde.

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Yeah, so I’m a little behind, but no blog of mine would be worth its collective weight without a farewell to the old and promises I plan to keep break for the new around this time of year, right? Like here, two years and change ago, when I made the decision to go to grad school…again… Or here, where I acted like a big-time fancy pants writer and announced a book cover on the blog, promising to keep to a deadline. Y’all have met me, so stop laughing and keep reading.

This past year has been a different beast. I lost my dad in April. I lost my mind, more or less, in the summer. I lost my office around November. I lost the regular and pain-free use of my right elbow somewhere during the fall semester. For once, as I said in a very maudlin post on Facebook, I was not desperately clinging to the previous year on New Year’s Eve and was ready to kick that biz to the curb. Roll on, 2019!

For the however long New Year’s Eve took, I was standing between two realities, in a way. New year, new me, right? Sort of. I’m not making specific resolutions, save the generic ones like, “Enjoy life more and read more and so forth.” I’m going to live my best life (so far) in 2019 because really, that’s all we can do, right? That’s all I have been doing, trying to live my best life – perhaps the resolution is to let less of the stuff of life get in my way.

Oh, and to the writerly stuff:  I will have a Clobberpaws book coming out in the spring/summer of this year and at least one Orana Chronicles novel out by May, if the scorching and clobbering process (that is writing and editing) doesn’t kill me first, that is.

Camp Mail Call

Sometime in the early 90’s, at Camp Glisson

Those of you that are familiar with me know about my love for all things camp-related and Nanowrimo-related. So the fact that I am a die-hard Camp Nanowrimo Participant should be no surprise, really. Every year I do three rounds of Novel Writing Month work, two for Camp Nano and one for Nano Proper in November.

One thing I love about Camp Nanowrimo is that since it is set up like virtual summer camp you get the daily inspirational emails in the form of #CampCarePackages and they are jam-packed full of advice that you can use even after camp is closed for the year. I wanted to share the care package from Friday because it speaks to who I am as a writer on a very deep level. Enjoy, and don’t forget your bug spray or sunscreen. It’s brutal out here in the wilderness.

Camp Care Package: Writer’s block v. “writer’s laziness”.
From: Camp NaNoWriMo
To: NancyEDunne

Author Claire Kann takes over as your first Camp Counselor this July! She’s providing this week’s Camp Care Packages:

I’m the kind of creator that doesn’t experience writer’s block. I suffer from what’s known as writer’s laziness—and I know I’m not alone. When this happens, I can’t even force myself to get my work done. But instead of sitting and staring at a blank page, I’ll give myself a set number of minutes to indulge in media that will inspire me to get back to work. Writing a romance? Watch your favorite romcom! Knee-deep in horror land? Find a book that has the same kind of spooktacular themes you’re exploring. I often find that’s enough to jumpstart my writing.

More from my own shameless commerce division…

Tomorrow is the day, y’all. Tempest goes live on Amazon for Kindle, and the paperback will hopefully follow soon. This was an incredibly personal piece for me to write, and I feel like I’ve just come out from under something very heavy with it going to release.

Pre-order has been open for a month, and I’m learning more about marketing a book as the month crawls on. Tomorrow will be a bit of a release for me because I can change gears from PLEASE BUY MY BOOK IN ADVANCE to releasing teasers and hoping that some of the folks reading Wanderer on Kindle Unlimited will hop over to Tempest when they are done.

You won’t hear me compliment myself often, but I really do feel that Gin’s story needs to be told. One of my muses told me recently that he was glad to see Gin coming into her own a bit more through the story told in Tempest. I hope that others will see that in her and will find her story empowering in some way.

I remember when I read the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, one of the things that struck me over and over is how I could actually see myself in the characters – no small feat for an epic fantasy that spanned more than ten novels – and I hope that people find something familiar in the characters I have created in the Orana Chronicles.

Oh, let’s be honest, I just hope that people will read the books and love Gin and Sath and the others as much as I do. If you have read Wanderer and have pre-ordered Tempest, you have my thanks.

In which I rant, and then make a promise…and hope for some happy.

Jumbled desk, clear head.

This has been spring break week where I work, which means the students are off enjoying sun and fun and whatever else you do when you need some time off from hard work.  I will be doing that very thing NEXT week on Thursday and Friday as I will be at Sandy Paws again…where my heart lives and my friends gather, where I was introduced to my Mei Mei for the first time and where I will present her story, An American Greyhound in Yorkshire, to those who know and love her almost as much as I do.

As a result of the students being away, my workload has been different this week, and I was looking forward to it being time when I could do some professional development because I just don’t have the money to go to all the workshops and conferences that I would like to attend.  A lot of my self improvement comes from watching recorded workshops and talks given by the leaders in my field and especially by the Deaf Community members that if nothing else give me a chance to see good, clear, beautiful ASL.  Also, I thought I’d have a chance to catch up on some reading for the classes I caption because, as we should know, you can’t caption or interpret what you don’t understand…at least not in a way that is beneficial to your students.

Well.  It seems that sort of thing has become Not A Good Use Of My Time and equates to “You’re not doing anything important.”  Direct quote.  I can shrug that off.  I know that the person who said that doesn’t really get what I do…no one that isn’t an interpreter or captionist really does, truth be told.  Those of you Lettuce Readers that have ever worked as a staff interpreter anywhere can relate, I’m sure, to the raised eyebrows and suspicious looks you get when you say something needs a team of interpreters or that you’ve just returned from a difficult interpretation and you need a little down time to get your head back on straight.  I expect that sort of lack of understanding and for the most part have come to accept it as part of working for someone else.

What I don’t accept is hearing from multiple co-workers that the same person I mentioned before is discussing with THEM how I’m not doing anything constructive and that I need to be given busy work.  I can’t just ignore it, when I’ve also been told that I can’t have my office anywhere other than in the main office because employees can’t be trusted to do their work if they can’t been seen face to face.  What?

I hope it won’t come as a surprise to anyone that reads the Lettuce that the job I’m in now isn’t what I want to be doing until I retire.  If for no other reason, I have no plans to retire in the United States.  We are here now because we need to be, but when that need is no longer we will leave and go back to somewhere we both feel more comfortable.  But also there is this tiny little person, this continuous, nagging voice that asks me what I’m doing here when I really want to be a writer.  I love interpreting, I love the Deaf Community and I love the language, but I also love writing and storytelling.  I want to make my living sitting in front of a computer and getting all those stories out of my head and into the hands of others.

A very good friend of mine has taken her first steps toward creating a photography business.  Another friend already owns her own interpreting business.  Why not me?  So here, right now in this blog (because once you write it on the tinter’webs you can’t take it back), I’m promising you, the handful that read the Lettuce, that I’m going to do what I have to do starting now to make that dream a reality.  All the reasons why I shouldn’t, like I’m waiting for Hubs to get a full time job or I’m waiting to pay down that credit card or I’m waiting to make sure that X, Y, and Z are handled…all those things are killing my happy, and I’m not going to keep doing that.  I’m going to climb out from under the bus I’ve been thrown under and make a go of this. I’ve said it here before but not followed through…but this is the year I follow through.  This is the year.  This is my happy, and I think that I deserve it.

Watch this space…

What a long strange…year…it’s about to be.

Starry, Starry Blackberry Wallpaper

I’m not going to do my standard “Year in Review” post today.  I’m also not going to list resolutions for the new year that I will certainly break.  What I am going to do is tell you my plans for the year, so that this time 2014 I can look at this post again and see how close I got to getting it all right.

A short disclaimer:  This optimism is destined not to last, so enjoy it while it is here.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my regular emo ray of sunshine self very, very soon.

This year is going to be very lucky for me and mine.  We have a house.  We will have a fence and a deck soon.  Our basement floor will return to normal.  We will get all our boxes from the overseas move unpacked before summer.  We will have guests from the UK and the US and Canada and wherever else we have friends to come stay with us. I will be having a Eurovision finals party at my house in May. Daisy and Clown will maintain, healthy and happy, as they are today.

Our family will grow.  We’ve gotten downright scientific about this whole process, and while we will definitely increase the canine population of the house with a larger and fuzzier newcomer, I am confident that we will also add to our family of humans.

I will get something published.  In the past, I have resolved to “make part of my living with my writing” and I’ve done that. Daisy’s book and my others are still available on Lulu.com. This year, however, is when that takes a step up.  This is the year that all my nano-noveling and other pecking at my keyboard will be shared with the world, as well as the year that I truly start to believe that I have a story to tell that people want to read.

I will be doing more things in the name of self-care.  There will be yoga and meditation to quiet my mind as well as a dedicated effort to start running again while my knees will still allow me to do so.

There will be travel.  Watch this space, as I will be filling all five or six of you in on my travels in a more timely manner than I have in the past.  Along those lines, and in combination with the above publishing work, there will be a photo book in the works of our honeymoon trip.  We are fairly decent photogs, me and my Mister, and I want to share the incredible experience we had with others.

I am going to be a better listener and friend, and will spend more time doing and less time talking about doing.  Of course, this blog doesn’t count…

Finally, I’m going to look back on this post on 1 Jan 2014 and smile at all I’ve accomplished this year.  Happy New Year, Lettuce Readers.  Live long and prosper, and all that jazz.

How did I forget this?

Yep, that’s right.

I finished/won another NaNoWriMo novel on Wednesday afternoon.  The final word count was 50,514 and with a bit of editing I think it will be the beginning of something I might just consider submitting for proper publishing.  Or it might end up on Lulu.  Or, it might end up on my hard drive with all the others, awaiting the light of day.

Anyway, if you’ve seen my entry for “Novel Info” on my NaNo page (which means you’re quite the little stalker, aren’t you?  Well done.) then you can just forget all of that.  Legacy (working title, really, I think it is tripe but…) turned out to be something else altogether from the novel I started.  Stay tuned.