MISSING FROM POSTING IS ENDING!
I never intended to stop writing blog posts here, and at the books’ site – it just sort of happened, for the usual reason these things happen to me: there is only so much energy left to someone with ME/CFS after dealing with it during a day, and only so much of it doesn’t have active brain fog, and stress makes it worse, never better (I don’t have the equivalent of being able to supercharge with caffeine, adrenaline, or, well, anything).
So ‘things happening’ and climbing to the top of the priorities lists (as they always do) means other things get neglected.
I’ve posted some when I had a little energy, but I have about twelve STARTED posts, six per blog, because when I have an idea I quickly create a new one, think up a temporary title, possibly even create a graphic (thanks, Stencil, for 10 free ones a month), sketch in a few quick notes… And usually follow up. Which I haven’t been up to doing lately.
Erratic is the result. Sometimes people even forget you exist.
And they certainly don’t have time in their lives to track another blogger down.
COMMENTING keeps my hand in
and serves a second purpose: getting the brain cells trained toward thought and typing.
If I find an interesting post, I will leave a comment if I have anything to contribute to the conversation. Bloggers don’t get enough engagement, and they put a lot of thought into the posts, and seem to like even my digressions (ON their topic) enough not to block me. Online I’m more of an opinionated extrovert than I manage in person. I still try to keep it civil and not sound as if I’m the ultimate authority on the subject – my rule for myself is, “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it at all.” True internet anonymity is not my style.
If I get it wrong, I apologize. Text exchanges inherently lack nuance, and more than once I’ve interpreted something my way and found out from a reply that it was meant some other way. Even with knowing the blog or FB stream, it happens. Twice in the last year the best response was to delete what I said. Not too bad, considering I flap my fingers thousands of times. And have strong opinions of my own.
But commenting doesn’t mean I’m capable of organizing and finishing a post of my own; often it means the opposite.
THE BIG ONE is almost finished
I wish it had been another piece of fiction, but it wasn’t. It was a tax problem which affected me, has taken a lot of time to resolve, and is ALMOST finished, which is why I can START thinking about how to use my time for my writing again.
I like to contribute as much as I can to problems which are partly mine. And this one was big enough that I needed to maintain as much of my usable ‘good time’ for it every day – and ONLY for it – because I have such a small amount of it that it really can’t be split and still get anything accomplished. It also took almost all of my assistant’s time in the two 2-hour sessions I had with her over months, so I got no other benefit from her time most sessions.
But the problem slowly got pinned down and then solved, piece by piece, because I CAN do that, still, if I HAVE to.
I fear for when this is no longer true.
And worry that other things aren’t getting done.
But I refuse to be a parasite just because I am disabled, and I COULD help with this one, so I did.
And I still managed to get Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD published – by spending the money, and having my good friend Bill Peschel do the cover and formatting work. Yes, he was great. No, he’s not making a career of that part of it – he has enough work of his and his wife’s to keep him quite busy, thankyouverymuch.
Otherwise I would be sending everything I could his way. Our loss.
The PHYSICAL parts I will gloss over:
The first was necessary and long postponed surgery (due to the pandemic) last September (which is why I had someone else help get NETHERWORLD out – you never know for sure if you’ll come out of surgery). And a totally unexpected VERY painful recovery and meds mess; mostly over now.
The second, this year, for the fun of it, was a trip to the ER because of chest pain. Did you know that half of the time you have chest pain AND elevated troponin (a cardiac enzyme) levels, it is NOT a heart attack, but you’ve probably done something and deprived your hear muscle of adequate oxygen for a while? But they can’t tell without dragging you to a hospital WITH a cardiac unit, and performing an angiogram to see if any of your stents have plugged up OR you need a new one OR, I assume, something else is wrong. Big fuss. Hospitals (2). Days (3). Recovery (a good week). All of this very difficult when you already have ME/CFS. I will not be doing carpet scrubbing bent over any more. The good new was that I don’t need more stents; the bad part was that I already knew that from the angiogram required prior to surgery last September. And the final word was from the cardiologist who released me who said, “Well, that should be good for another 2 – 5 years,” and who probably wasn’t thinking that I’d had one four months before which should have meant I was okay now. I’m grateful they don’t take chances, but the effect on my tiny life was astronomical.
That’s me ‘glossing over’ anything. For Heaven’s sake, the woman likes to talk! Maybe the second paragraph will help someone else in the future…
Now that I’m supposed to be getting MY life back…
all I want to do is finish LIMBO, and see if I can shorten the 3-5 year expected time to write and publish it.
The other tasks (some of which I’ve been kicking along in little bits of time) include:
Getting readers and reviews for NETHERWORLD. Seven 5* reviews/ratings is a lovely start. Selling one copy in February 2023 is not. ARCs are slowly going out to the reviewers who said they were waiting for it, but it is a long time commitment (about 12 hours to read, plus the time it takes to review), and each ask takes me a couple of days of my tiny bits of leftover ‘second best time.’
Submitting to awards. NETHERWORLD was a Finalist for the 2022 Indies Today Awards, a decent showing for the second novel in a trilogy (PURGATORY won 2021 Best Contemporary novel from Indies Today last year). I’ve submitted to one other award – will know in May – but investigating awards which are good to have has taken a lot of time, and applying to them is getting expensive. I have more to say about help on that front, but won’t, for now.
Marketing. Two attempts to get help from ‘professionals’ have resulted in nothing yet; one of the companies has ghosted me twice (hmmm).
Mainstream literary fiction – the best way to categorize what I write – is a difficult sell if you’re a self-published author; even my Facebook group admin for marketing it has stated they ONLY take their recommendations from regular media (in their case, broadsheets (newspapers) of significant repute which still have review sections). Discouraging.
My somewhat tongue-in-cheek post about how to go viral with literary fiction left me with finding the right influencer as the main method, and I’m trying, but it’s even harder than finding reviewers!
I had at one time the thought of looking at the reviews of popular traditionally-published literary novels – and targeting the readers who DIDN’T like those – until I realized what a huge effort that might be (there were thousands), and decided it would be better to spend the energy writing LIMBO, as having a COMPLETE trilogy is considered far better than having only one or two volumes finished. I’m not sure I believe that – there was a lot of publicity (much of it expensive PAID publicity) for Elena Ferrante’s quartet before the last two came out – but my record for marketing up until now is unprepossessing. At best.
THE REST OF MY SO-CALLED LIFE
The pandemic – and waiting for surgery – did a number on the fun things here at our retirement community.
I’m now able to go out (when it’s warm enough) and ride around on Maggie (my Airwheel S8, a bicycle seat on a hoverboard) on and off our campus. I’ll have to build up to doing that more – and possibly find new people to do it with.
I will be going back to using our pools, including the nice warm therapy pool I love to bob in for a half-hour or less, followed by the huge but necessary time-wasting of a shower with hair-washing.
I hope to regenerate our folk-singing group, on hiatus because singing in an enclosed space turned out to be a really good way to spread the virus, but will have to find a safe way to do that (a bigger, better-ventilated room would help). It has been so many years since we sang together that it will be practically a new venture.
I’m back to using B1 (150mg of benfotiamine + 500mg of Vitamin B1, 2-3 times daily) plus B12 (liquid B12, dropperful sublingually up to 8 times daily) because they or the combination seems a LITTLE bit better than nothing for getting me to have a usable brain.
And I continue to write better when blocking the internet with FREEDOM or ANTI-SOCIAL for a given chunk of time, so I don’t get sidetracked (I’m easily distractible – shiny!).
THE REST OF MY WRITING LIFE
All the obvious:
sales for the books
publishing Too Late, the prequel short story
finding MY readers out of the vast sea of not-my-readers
maybe some short stories about Kary, Andrew, Bianca – and offspring
the next big writing project/book
publicity of some kind – possibly including me if there is enough interest
the as-read-by-author audiobooks
the easier hardcover and large print books
applying for relevant awards
and always, finding ways to persuade reviewers whose reviews I like that they will enjoy reading MY story, and will possibly encourage me by giving the books one of their lovely reviews.
I think that’s about it. Y’all are sort of up-to-date about my MIA status.
I no longer have a BookSprout account (it didn’t produce a single download or review of either PURGATORY or NETHERWORLD in a year), so contact me (comments or About for the email address) if you would like an ARC and would CONSIDER writing a review; I don’t nag.
If you like my fiction, there’s a lot of short stuff here
I am always honored when a reader recommends Pride’s Children to friends or family. Or BOOK CLUB!
Visit the Pride’s Children blog for more about the books (including questions for book clubs!) and to read the prequel. If you FOLLOW there, you’ll find out more about LIMBO and timing and sales when I send out the occasional email/newsletter.
Pray for stability to my life – it helps the writing.