Love in the time of pandemic

AND WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

Gak! It’s been almost a month since I posted anything!

There was a lot of quarantining in that time. NOT because we were exposed to Covid, though some independent living residents in this facility were (we found out because they had dinner with friends in Assisted Living at the Friendship Table, and the AL people ARE tested regularly because they’re in the health-care portion of our facility).

And because those people in IL who WERE exposed to the people in AL who tested positive, the State of California required them to quarantine for FOURTEEN DAYS in their apartments. None of the IL residents got Covid, thank goodness, but WE had a vacation in Lake Tahoe with our kids a few weeks later, and realized that WE wouldn’t be able to go IF we got exposed ourselves, here, and then had to do the same quarantine for 14 days.

That is, we quarantined for 14 days so we wouldn’t have to quarantine for 14 days – at an inconvenient time which would put the kibosh on OUR vacation. Mixed up world, eh?

So – any progress on publishing NETHERWORLD?

Well, yes and no.

For the ms., I created an easy ARC from Scrivener – the complete, very long pdf of the whole thing (~500 pages), and sent it to the first person who’s offered to review AND buy it on launch day (thank you, David!), and as a backup complete proofed file to several places, including my amazing beta reader (thank you, Rachel!), and gave my husband and children the necessary information to manage my literary estate (and publish Netherworld) if something happened on the trip/vacation/return. You never know.

The formatting is no further than that.

For the cover: I have all the pieces, an updated Pixelmator 3, and an updated Learn Pixelmator 3.5 video course (free update – thanks folks!).

I’ve bought licenses for the two cover images from Dreamstime, acquired another photo from the same friend who supplied the sky for Purgatory’s cover, found a couple of low-res images to guide me in the changes I’ll need to create the cover in my head, and put the whole thing into a folder and a backup on the iCloud. Phew.

Now I just have to do the work, get it past my cover mentor (thank you, Jessica!), and create ebook, paper and hardback covers to spec, and then, because I want to make one change to them, redo a bit of the Purgatory covers (bigger name so it shows on the thumbnail, add the award, etc.) which really amounts to redoing a fair amount of the Purgatory covers AND creating the hardcover one.

I have my permissions from Cambridge U. for my KJV quotations – feels nice and official.

I got my copyright certificate from the Library of Congress! I always feel better after I do that, for whatever it might be worth.

Launching is, of course, dependent on having something to launch. I had approached a PR firm, put up with a long delay to talk to them, checked in with them and received a promise of an answer of some kind before the end of May, and than have been ghosted. It does remind me that if people are not reliable in the small things, it’s probably better not to rely on them for the big ones, so that firm is permanently off the table. Too bad, because I liked them, and had already invested some effort into them.

I’m still obsessively re-reading the end of Netherworld – and not changing a word. I promise explosions, and I hope they are well received.

I want to continue getting into writing LIMBO

I literally can’t wait – because there are only a few hours between the end of 2 and the beginning of 3, and I’m very happy how that turned out.

And I’ve already started writing Chapter 41(LIMBO goes to 60).

BUT I’ve been dealing with some medical problems for 2.5 years to no solution, and I’m in the middle of trying to fix some things that really need fixing, and it’s a slow process because disability means EVERYTHING is so much harder – from making phone calls through phone systems that won’t just let you call someone to make an appointment, to doctor visits which consume an incredible amount of prep time, energy, and recovery time, to a whole slew of medical tests with the same problems – which the new doctor insists on before she will even consider DOING something.

Plus a big paperwork problem I’ve finally admitted I had to step in and manage, do some of, get help, hand over to the pros…

And my limited number of daily spoons is gone every day before I manage to write. Because it’s not just ‘write a few words’ now – it’s the whole huge Book 3 planning review, restart, clean up, carry stuff from 1 and 2 typical glorious mess of starting the final volume in a trilogy. Drives me up a tree that I can’t just do it.

But I’m literally doing the best I can

And not managing to sleep very well with all the above, to boot.

I can tell stress that I’m fine until I’m full-body blue, but that does NOT take away the stress. It just doesn’t add worry, but the things I’m having to do are stressful in and of themselves, and that is such a deep autonomic process that you can’t affect it much.

Plus the physical problems have extra pain and much discomfort associated, which has to be micromanaged – and I was already exhausted before that.

There are signs, portents, and possibilities

of improvements, but not fast.

This is literally the first time I’ve even been able to think of writing a simple blog post, in the whole past month.

Life happens – you deal.

I know what my primary aim is (if family is okay), but I’m not able to DO it right now.

Don’t worry. Nothing TOO horribly grim. But I’m all tapped out of spoons every day, almost the end of the morning, when I’ve done nothing yet.

But stuff slowly gets done, and goes into the rearview mirror queue from the To Do list, and I’ll get there.

On the bright side

my oldest daughter is helping me select my new computer for the foreseeable future – my current lovey is from 2015, and can’t be upgraded far enough because then my necessary old software – Office 2011 for Mac and Dramatica Story Expert – won’t work, and I don’t have the mental bandwidth right now to deal with another potential crash.

Everything is properly backed up (Time Machine and iCloud), but bobbles with computers cost me days or weeks when they happen, so for the first time in a long time, I’m being proactive: a new Macbook Air with the M2 processor and good camera should take me far into the future and definitely through LIMBO.

It will, however, require some learning – not my strong point.

So that’s the update:

I’m working as hard as I can on the critical list items

I’m as far along with Netherworld as I can be, including covers

Ditto redoing the Purgatory covers

Ditto writing into the future with Limbo

and dealing with the sorry carcass which makes all of this possible at all in as graceful a manner as I can against the extra stress of having to do it at all, and the unbelievable amount of extra energy it takes

AND, courtesy of my lovely assistant Sammy, whose last day is today (she’s graduating! going on to grad school! going home for the summer!), I have already acquired an assistant for the fall (another senior – so I’ll get 8-9 months of her life, and leave her a changed young woman – but seniors are really handy), and she’s interested in learning the self-pub aspects of the job I haven’t had time to do with Sammy because other things were more, uh, important.

And the ability to write this post reassures me that there’s still a ‘me’ here.

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More when there’s actually progress on this laundry list.

Be well. Have a great summer. Don’t work TOO hard.

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PS: If you are desperate to read NETHERWORLD, and wouldn’t mind writing a review to be posted when it’s published, email me (abehrhardt at gmail), make your case, and I’ll send you what I have at the time.

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20 thoughts on “Love in the time of pandemic

  1. acflory

    I know you’re in the midst of chaos at the moment but…you did it. You finished Netherworld! The process of getting it published is something else again, but the important part is done. Congratulations, Alicia. You’ve climbed Everest. -hugs-

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  2. Widdershins

    I haven’t got to the stage, yet, where I can write every day. So many things have gone sideways, (which is a great title for my next post about it all 🙂 ) with my health and other things, that there are days, not so many now thankfully, where I feel like I’ve used up my spoons just getting out of bed. Reading what you’ve achieved by sheer dogged stubbornness, and heart, always cheers me up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Just remember that the per-day progress is tiny – but we get there. I hope to, anyway.

      I’m sorry you’ve had the extra challenges.

      And many a day I’ve used up my spoons by getting out of bed – and I don’t get any back. In fact, I’m about to talk to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) person at our healthcare facility – I’m so tired of everything being SO much harder when what we need is far more help. I’ll post about what I discover, if useful.

      If I can cheer YOU up, and you cheer me up, we’re doubling the cheer increase in the world. Good for us!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks! The best you can doesn’t seem like much – until you look back.

      Was the progress worth your life – not answerable. But I know I’ll get things done asap, whatever that is.

      Meanwhile, if you’d like to read Netherworld, and can handle an imperfectly formatted epub or pdf, let me know. You’re one of the few people entitled at this point – and it is complete and proofed to our very best.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. J Reeve Fox

    Holy cow! You’ve been busy! I love reading your blogs, although I don’t understand computer details as I used to. You are indeed moving along at a goodly pace, all considered.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Lee McAulay

    “disability means EVERYTHING is so much harder” – Yep. I hear you (spouse has MS and one of our friends has fibro – plans change at short notice with fluctuating spoon levels).
    “the ability to write this post reassures me that there’s still a ‘me’ here” – again, I hear you. When our writing disappears it seems like we’ve been abandoned by an essential part of our being; finding that voice again, however tiny, is a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I’m hoping to get ‘something’ done this weekend, but it often doesn’t depend on what I WILL, but what I’m ALLOWED.

      I don’t think that means that what I write is special BECAUSE it’s so hard to do, but it is different from the easier mysteries I was planning to write in retirement, back when I was not constrained, and thought all I had to do was choose what to apply my brain to. Ha!

      It is, indeed, a blessing to find that the drive is still there – and it may be possible to still use it. I’ll take it.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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