Kate's Korner

Here I hold forth on matters writerly, and anything else that takes my fancy.

Location: Boyertown, Pennsylvania, United States

I've got enough short stories published for SFWA membership, and I'm in the middle of making the next jump to novel sales. The mad genius parts are true. I'm quite insane, and I qualified for Mensa at the tender age of 8 but never actually joined up. As far as I can tell being a mad genius isn't a good thing, although it can be fun.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Progress Report for the week

Well, the work insanity has been making it difficult to get writing in during the week. Still, some progress has happened despite me spending most of the week head down and tail up then losing large chunks of the weekend to Myst 5

Writing: 2500 words on a new short story, plus another 500-odd words on a novel-in-progress.
Gym: Still need to make the phone call to set it up.
Ad Astra: Registration is sent. I still need to book the hotel room.

I suspect that having characters harass me about not doing enough on their particular work does not count as progress ;)


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Progress report #2

After a bad week and some, I'm back on the wagon, I hope.

Progress since the last report:

Daily goal - 1800 words, most of them in the last 2 days. Much of last week involved zero writing progress. Also, one short story revised.

Ad Astra - Registration sent in.

Gym - need to phone to make the first appointment.

Unrelated items -
  • 1 new computer.
  • Much cussing at the old computer and a great deal of time transferring settings and preferences. It's not all there yet, but I have most of what I need. The damage to my fingers from razor sharp expansion slot covers is healing.
  • One mega time-waster in the form of the 5th Myst game, End of Ages. As a puzzle nut, I'm loving this, but I'm having to ration the time I spend playing it. This game is the reason for the new computer - my old machine simply couldn't handle it.
  • One new video card (see above).
  • The discovery, unrelated to all the above, that I'm physically not up to long work days. After about 9 hours, I'm fried. I suspect this is mostly narcolepsy, and I'm hoping that getting fit will improve my stamina.
  • One work week from hell, with three product releases to test (see above). The biggest problem with these weeks is I don't get a lunch break. I eat on the run, which is one of the reasons I end up fried.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Progress report


Daily goal - nada. Didn't get a chance to take a lunch break, and had my Wednesday evening social group after work.

Gym - got the information I needed from the company, but forgot to bring it home.

Cons - checked out passport/visa requirements for heading to Toronto from the US when one is not a US citizen (I'm a legal resident, resident alien, green card or whatever else you care to call it)

Daily goal - revised one short story before sending it to a friend for some line editing.

Gym - found out I needed to do some other things before I can call to make the appointment to join. Did these, and need to make sure my employer has done their side before I make the call.

Cons - Printed and filled out Ad Astra registration. Will drop in mail tomorrow.

Not exactly a running start, but not bad either.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Starting Fresh

Well, it's a few days into 2006 and I'm trying to get a start on my goals for the year.

Writing wise they are
  • Submit at least 2 novels
  • Build up to a minumum of 6 short stories doing the rounds (this will take a while. Moving interstate put a large crimp in submitting and writing shorts)
  • Daily goal - 500 new words OR 1 short story revision OR 1 novel chapter revision.
  • Cons - Ad Astra, WFC, and Philcon, possibly one other.
Other goals
  • Get gym membership and work out at least 3 times a week (with a partly healed broken ankle this could be... interesting)
  • Start practising trombone again. Scary... Very scary.
I'm not expecting all of these to happen at once. I am planning to start small and try to build habits that will let everything else fall into place. Like, once I've got the gym workout to a habit, tweak my schedule to fit in 1/2 hour a day on the 'bone, thereby traumatizing the cats and scaring the neighbors ;-)

And of course, the daily writing goal starts now. Today. I may not always meet it, but I'm going to try. Most activity other than the daily goal is likely to happen on weekends, since weekdays tend to get completely chewed by the day job.

Progress, in no particular order:-
Words today: 455
Gym: Need to find out how my job's corporate membership with the local gym works and how to use it.
Novel Subs: 1 proposal ready to go. 1 novel waiting for revision.
Short story subs: 2 out. Soon to be one as the Writers of the Future results for last quarter trickle in.
Cons: Need to send Ad Astra registration.

The handful of people who check by here are welcome to nag me if I don't post regular updates ;-)


Sunday, September 25, 2005

A long overdue update

To the three or four people who actually read this: sorry it's been so long. Life has kind of exploded on me lately, and I haven't updated in far, far too long.

Updates on me, generally -
  • I'm free of Frankenfoot the removable cast at last. This ends 3 months in casts of one sort or another. My ankle hasn't fully healed, but I'm working on strengthening it, and taking care not to break it again. There's still enough swelling that the only shoes I can wear comfortably are my sneakers, but I can walk to and from work, and I'm finally able to use stairs without a death-grip on the rails.
  • Our new home is slowly getting more organized. The last box of "things to be unpacked" came down from the attic today. There are a couple of boxes of "things to be stored in the attic" to be taken back up, and some ten boxes (all small) of duplicate, out of date, or just plain bad books that we need to find new homes for. We'll need to locate a good second hand dealer who can handle the possibility of his science fiction and fantasy collection doubling - hubby and I have a LOT of duplicates. The computer room is still not fully unpacked, but our bedroom, the living room, kitchen and back room are all 90% there. This isn't bad, considering that I haven't been able to do stairs until the last few days.
  • The new job is working out well. I'm loving the work, and I'm loving it here. Right now, the fall colors are starting to show, and the trees are a lovely mix of reds, yellows and greens.
  • My husband has work as a night shift manager in Reading. He's enjoying the job, and hopes it will become a permanent position. At the moment, it's temporary until the end of November with a chance of permanent after that. The part he likes best is being to walk out the door at the end of his shift, and not have to worry about work until he returns for the next shift. It makes a big - and welcome - change from his last job managing a convenience store.
Writing updates -
  • Thanks, Dan, for posting the release date for the Valdemar anthology. It's due out on the 6th of December, and you can pre-order it from Amazon.com
  • Illuminated Manuscripts is now available from Double Dragon Publishing. Buying this ebook not only supports me and two of my friends (Darwin and Sarah) who have stories in it, it supports Zette, the lovely lady in charge of the Dragon's Tooth fantasy imprint.
  • I'm still collecting rejection slips with semi-monotonous regularity. The number has dropped off somewhat, for the simple reason that a combination of moving 1500 miles and changing focus to a novel has dropped the number of submissions I'm sending out.
  • The novel in question, Wanderer's Oath, is now about half done. I'm hoping to have it mostly done and have some proposals ready for World Fantasy in November.
  • World Fantasy Convention - I have sent off my registration and applied for vacation time to allow me to get there and get back. I'm really looking forward to this event - I'll be getting to meet so many friends face to face at last :) I'll probably need another vacation when I get back! I'm planning to drive there and back, meeting friends part-way and carpooling.
It doesn't sound a lot condensed to a "highlights" list like this, but somehow all of the above and the running around that goes with it has consumed my life lately.

Hopefully, I can start organizing things a little better now I'm getting back into the swing of having two usable feet again.


Monday, August 08, 2005

The move is finally complete (sort of)

Tom arrived safely at 9-30am yesterday morning, with two miserable,traumatized cats in tow.
Of *course* as an alternative to 90+ and humid, we had 80s and near 100% humidity all day, and no breeze, so everyone was soaked with sweat very quickly. Fortunately, my host, his wife, and several of their friends showed up to help get everything unloaded. That was a huge help - we had the truck emptied by midday, and could start sorting things out.
We now have a living room full of furniture, including the box spring of our bed, which was *not* going up the stairs in any circumstances. Rob and Gary (host and friend) spent a solid half-hour trying to get it into the stairwell, and it was not happening.
The kitchen is more or less functional, with a collection of assortd homeless bits and pieces, and the back room is full of boxes and bits and bobs.
The attic contains a collection of boxes and things that were looked at and designated "deal with later - attic". At least we have ample storage space! There's even unused cupboard space in the kitchen!
Upstairs, we've taken the smaller, front bedroom (among other things, the window AC there actually works), and turned the back bedroom into an office space. It will double as a guest room when we get organized enough to get ourselves some kind of sofa bed for it. It's a nice big room, so a sofa bed won't be a problem. We're also looking at possibly a cheap AC unit for that room.
The attic is storage. Lots of storage. Partly because the old chimney (sealed goodness only knows how long ago and probably not touched since then) has sagging brickwork in the attic, and there could be other problems.
The back room will be my craft stuff, closet space, and kitty korner. Crafts I'm not currently working on will probably join everything in the attic.
The living room will include walls of books (as many as I can cram onto the shelves) and my ornaments. Exactly how we'll use it will depend on how things sort out.
We still need to find or arrange a dresser of some kind (closet space is seriously inadequate - we will almost certainly have the closets in both bedrooms full to busting) and - preferably - a glassed display cabinet for my ornaments and things, especially as some of them can't be dusted. That can wait, at this point.
I'm aching all over and totally exhausted, and so is Tom. We still need to find out if the window ac unit downstairs actually works, and get it into a window if it does.
Oh, and at least one of the cats has overcome her trauma enough to knock on the bedroom door last night to be let in for snuggles, and knock again a few hours later to be let out for potty. Then again to come back in.
She's following us around and keeping an eye on us, while the other one has taken up position on top of the fridge and is watching from there.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Almost Without a Hitch

I'm now in Boyertown, PA, and made the trip almost without a hitch.

Of course, me being me, the one problem was a doozy - I broke my ankle shortly before I left, and since I thought I'd only sprained it, drove nearly 1600 miles on a broken ankle.

It went like this...

  • Thursday afternoon - finish loading the car. Check that I have everything and head back downstairs to the car to head for psych appointment.
  • Two steps from the bottom, right ankle twists under me. I end up sprawled on the cement, whimpering and a bit shocky. I pull myself together, collect everything that fell out of my handback and haul myself to my feet. Right foot hurts like mad whenever I put weight on it.
  • Oh, I think, I've twisted it. It should settle down. I've given myself mild twists before and after a bit of rest, they fix themselves. I hobble to the car, and drive to the psych, using left foot to brake since right objects to any kind of twisting.
  • At psych, discover that I have definitely at least sprained the ankle, which is now badly swollen on the outside. The psych gets me a ziplock back full of icecubes, which I use to ice my ankle.
  • On my way home, I stop at a CVS to get an ankle brace to help prevent swelling. I phone my husband and ask him to get me a cold pack and some wrappings.
  • I get home. Husband helps me into ankle brace and other medications, then helps me back to the car. I give him my set of apartment keys, the access card for the security gates, and the parking permit for the prime parking spots.
  • Driving starts. I stop for dinner at a truck stop near the Kinder, LA exit, refill my ice bag, and take advil. So far so good. I drive a few more hours, stopping near the eastern LA border around 9pm, and hobble to the first motel I find.
  • Foot is now a study in Bruise, but not too badly swollen. I take more advil and sleep with the foot propped up on a pillow.
  • Friday AM. I wake up about 5-30 am needing the bathroom. I just barely make it -- getting there takes about ten times as long as I'm used to. I organize self, make a rather careful descent into the bath by sitting on the edge, holding on as I swing the good leg over and easing myself down. Showering is done by leaning back into the shower stream, while the bath continues to fill. This gets me clean, but getting out makes me think I might not want to do this again any time soon.
  • I hobble to car with overnight bag, then drive around to park as close to restaurant as possible for breakfast. At breakfast, lovely waitress offers to get me what I want from the buffet. I thank her muchly and leave a tip even though this isn't needed.
  • I hobble to reception and check out, then hobble back through the restaurant to get back to my car. By now, it's just on 8am.
  • Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, a little bit of Georgia, and Tennessee. I stop several times - gas, bathroom, lunch and bathroom, bathroom, dinner, and finally motel near Tennessee/Virginia border sometime around 9pm Eastern time. Each stop gets a refill of the ziplock bag with a fresh set of ice cubes, and advil is taken regularly.
  • I peel the support brace off my foot, which is now about double the normal size and a truly spectacular sample of Bruise. I medicate, and again sleep with foot propped up on a pillow.
  • Saturday. This time, I don't even attempt to bathe. I sponge a bit, dress, and realize there is no way I'm going to get that brace on my foot. I'm starting to think at this point that it might be more than a sprain. I loosen shoe even further, put cold pack on again, and take overnight gear to car before hobbling to breakfast.
  • Tennessee, Virginia, a teensy bit of West Virginia and a teensier bit of Maryland later, I reach Pennsylvania. Only a couple of hours to go. I'm up to four advil at a time now.
  • Reach Boyertown intact and weary at about 5-30pm. Haul self out of car and begin long slow hobble to home of friends who are boarding me until I can find a new place for self and hubby.
  • Friends ease shoe off, take one look at foot, and say "ER". They unload my car for me, then Rob takes me to ER, leaving Heather with their kids.
  • ER takes one look at foot, and says "Broken". They Xray foot to find out what I broke and mutter astounded things about me driving nearly 1600 miles with broken ankle and walking on said ankle. I'm given a half-cast and orders to take myself to an orthopedic surgeon ASAP. Crutches are issued.
  • By 9pm, I'm back at "home", and arrangements are made for me to sleep on the sofa. The guest room was set up in the attic, but there is no way I'm going to get up two flights of stairs with a foot I'm not allowed to use at all.
  • Sunday is spent mostly lying or sitting around, with foot propped up on whatever is available. The sofa has become "mine".
  • Monday, I go through the rigmarole of finding a local-ish orthopedic surgeon who is in my insurance network. After more fiddling about calling hospital to get XRays released, going to hospital to collect XRays and visiting the ortho, I am the "proud" owner of a bright blue cast from toes to knee. I have strict orders to stay off the foot, and to come back in 2 weeks to be XRayed again to make sure the break is healing cleanly.

Since then, I've started my new job, which I like, and my toes (the only part of my foot that can be seen) have slowly faded from purple/black to a yellowish green with hints of unbruised skin. The swelling has also started going down, as I have more room inside the cast than I had when it went on. I've also gone from Tylenol-3 to normal doses of Advil, 3 times a day. Stairs remain an obstacle, but they are no longer a complete "roadblock". We're considering seeing if the ortho can prescribe me a wheelchair for the time my foot can't be used, simply to make it easier to get around the office - I scoot around in an office chair rather than use the crutches, because it's easier and takes a lot less time and effort.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, everything is fine :)