Sassy Back- My Apology

I read over the last few posts and realize that they are VERY depressing. Problem is, yes they are. It’s part of who I am. I am a depressed, on edge, often overworked, under-promised, single mother with a love of music, low tolerance for common idiocy, and full of anxiety. Nothing is easy, nor does it come that way. I had to push for my music, push for my schooling, push to get my daughter to wear a bra, or say a word, and push to remind those supposedly close to me that I exist.

 

There are some writing posts that talk about online presence, and how you need to be positive, promotional, and downright full of cheer. Sure thing! If I am trying out for the Dallas Cheerleading Squad. I learned early on, to tell things like they are. The more you fake, the more you drag others down into a fairytale of bullcrap. If someone is kind enough to publish my work, it should be because I did the work. I did the couch-sitting, back-breaking, fingernail tearing work that made me go slowly bald. I agonize if my character’s mother ended up being too much like mine. I worry if my character mouths off with a flippant answer, how much of me is in her, and how much of that is apparent. I stress over the fact that I use associations that make many people steer left into a car crash, instead of steering right to the bookstore for another chapter.

 

I cried when my first draft ended up being around 300k words and I realized that would never fly in a breakout author. I still cry 6 drafts later when I end up with 150k words and watch multiple agents on twitter state that the first would should be around 100k. I write about spiders and angels, and fire ants, and truck drivers, and people who have so many layers you wish you could peel them back like an ice cream cone – And, I worry that nobody else will see it.

 

Sorry to say I spent 20 years writing stories out of my head and into the trash can. This ‘trying to get published’ thing is completely new, completely frightening, and feels like torture – of which I have been through before in my past. There’s not a day that goes by, that I don’t secretly regret making this promise to Ben and my now deceased mother, that I would attempt to send out my work.

 

There’s also not a day that goes by that I wonder if I can bring joy to anyone that might read it, and think it might be worth while. It’s like teaching my daughter words. You try, you find new ways, and you repeat 80 times and keep going – till one day when she spends all day giggling and saying ‘Halloween’, even if it is near Christmas.

 

So, in my way I am apologizing for being an 80’s gothic, depression loving gamer, with a penchant for supernatural lore, a love of history, and a range of music that caused me to get kicked out of my own school more than once. If there was ever a mentor for this type of thing, I wish I could sign up for one. Until then, I will continue to type out my thoughts between chapters, and hope that it washes away in a job well done.

 

Kate

It’s wearing me down – It’s all in my head now.

This month, continuing after Westercon, has been filled with extreme highs and extreme lows that I can’t replace or explain. Part of it comes from what I now know is ‘Post-Conference Blues’, according to some of the people who helped make Westercon great. (NO, other people lol) Other parts have included my birthday which was on the 13th of July, Ben’s on the 10th of July, and my daughters end of summer school. Being completely broke doesn’t help you celebrate anything, it draws you into a deeper need to hide away from the things you can’t celebrate. Yes, there are ways to go about it without money, but they always include some element that ends up not in your cupboard, or not in the apartment, or not within reach. Why purchase things for a birthday cake when you have to save the money to come up with some school clothing for her first year of Junior High School?

 

There have been some unexpected high notes as well. When I felt at my worst, a 12yr old girl comes around the corner giggling so loud that you can’t even hear the t.v. or radio. A post on facebook asked everyone to name a band that does not have the letter B in it. After watching TV with Ben, we end up spending the next hour and going to bed listing names back and forth with each other that don’t have the letter B in them. We stopped when he fell asleep at 120 of them, of which I fell asleep saying A-Ha (a band). We saw some fireworks on the night of the 25th off our back porch which my daughter waved at them and said “Hello Hello”.

 

And, I found all 3 of my beta readers (or charlie readers as I call them). Who graciously take 3 chapters a week as I go through my 6th round of edits now. They put up with my drizzle, with my moods and stick by me as I attempt to fry their brains with fun urban fantasy!

 

The lowest part of the year also happened this month. It has now been two years, on July 24th, that my mother passed away. There is this emptiness that feeds into the world when you have an event like this touch your life. Color seems not as bright, things don’t taste the same, and I wonder what I did to make it this way.

 

Let’s not get to the blame game, for I know that my isolation is of my own doing. I just don’t know how to change it.   I tried entrusting my half-sister with my daughter for the first night of the convention, which was a mistake. Not only was she not taken care of properly, but her routine was broken and she met my other half sister again, who still has a substance abuse problem. One of them called me on my birthday to find out if I had smokes for them – the other left me a message saying happy birthday that evening, but nothing since. (The irony in this is that my two half sisters are 12 & 15 years older than I am, and never act like it.)

 

I am extremely lucky that I have Ben as my boyfriend and my support, as the rest of my family fails miserably. With my mother gone, it’s just us three. Somehow it feels not enough.

 

Most of my friends from when I drove truck, moved on. I subsequently lost my friends for one reason or another over the last few years and with focusing on my writing, wonder at times why there is nobody to talk to every day about it. Some suggested that I send thank you notes to those who made the con great, however its been about a month, and everyone I wanted to thank, I was lucky enough to do so in person on the last two days. They have moved on to other conventions, other events, and other projects. Just as I went back to my writing.

 

With my mothers anniversary this last week, I ended up only submitting two chapters, not three. Hopefully they understand. Things are cranking faster, and I latch onto some things like a Writing Excuses episode that is titled – I’m a Horrible Writer. I wanted to add more to the last chapter I submitted, but ended up at 4545 words with no room as I try keeping my chapters under 5k. I took a glance at my third person outline, as I am switching it to first person, and I can now see the end in sight. All that takes is kicking myself in the rear and sitting down to type.

 

I can’t let it wear me down, no matter how much my depression and anxiety want me to. The title of this post is a song by Dashboard Prophets titled – Wearing me down. It fits as for years everyone was in my head. Once I wrote it out of my head, I threw it away. I can’t let the loneliness, depression, fear, nerves, anxiety, familial situations, or terror bring me down. Its my promise to myself, and I am still trying.   Even if it makes my mother right, that I wouldn’t try to get published until she passed away..I have to think she was proud of me, even misplaced.

 

How do you keep going despite the odds or situations?

 

 

 

Kate

Obtainable Charity & Island of Writing Alone

I haven’t had time to write on the blog for a while so wanted to start off with some positive notes and hopefully heartwarming thoughts on this Memorial Day Weekend.

As you may know, my 12yr old daughter has autism. She is non-verbal, still in diapers, and so unique and smart that she amazes me on a daily basis. She also has a condition called Pica. (definition adapted from Wikipedia for your understanding) ((Pica (pyka) is characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive, such as ice, clay, chalk, dirt, or sand.  According to DSM-IV criteria, for these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate, not part of culturally sanctioned practice and sufficiently severe to warrant clinical attention.)) I have the same disorder and it affects our weight along with other issues. For my daughter, the substances vary depending on texture and availability. The texture chewing is a side effect of her autism.

She developed lately, the need to chew on her own hair. You hear all the older stories of “you will get bugs chewing on your own hair”, or how it ruins the hair. She had hair past her backside, and it was thicker than anything I have seen other than a horse mane. (but softer). Ben and I alternated washing it only on odd days because it would gather dirt and oil that fast.

The concern is that she would chew small chunks off, tie them into chewable knots, chew and swallow her own hair. It usually cleared the digestive tract completely, but it frightened me and increased my issues with anxiety. What if she ate too much, what if she actually did get bugs from it. What if the hair didn’t clear the tract and I had to rush her to the emergency room for surgery because her stomach or bowels were blocked? How would I explain that telling her no, icky, wrong in this case didn’t work. I am as supermom as I can be, but I am still only a mom and not always able to make her understand.

The simple solution, find a way to make it fun to cut her hair and for a good reason. There is a family acquaintance that cuts hair. We made a trip of it where she got to walk over there and while girls were getting their hair done for a wedding, Jordan was treated as the guest of honor. They cut her bangs out of her eyes (after we washed it an hour before). The hair was placed in a ponytail at shoulder top and cut in one huge chunk. It was braided after and measured for length. The ponytail is fatter than a common soda can and 12 inches long. We donated it for kids with cancer who need wigs made. Now, she has a cute haircut that reminds me of the 16th century carriage boys with their paige type hairstyle. We can shape itm mousse it, and she can shake her fingers through it without bringing any of it to her mouth.

The thought of the line that Autistic child donates hair to children with cancer, makes me feel good. One of the few fantastic thoughts this holiday.

May is a hard month for me. My mothers passing is still raw, Her birthday comes up the first week of June. Memorial day hits hard as I remember my father who served in the army pre-vietnam, who also died in May almost two dozen years ago. Although I have some remote family, they do not like nor approve of me, which leaves Ben and Jordan. I remembered to tell Ben thank you for his service, as he spent 8 years in the army and national guard, and trained as a sniper. The topics of flowers on graves, or attending services throws my depression and anxiety off kilter and I am unable to relate well.

My island of writing-

As some of you may know, I started volunteering for various aspects of a local convention coming in July. It needed some help, I had time to help, I wanted to do an event during the con, and got bamboozled into more. I sent over 1k emails in a week and ended up delaying my beta readers schedule because things were not done that needed to be.

Unfortunately, I came to the realization that maybe I am just not meant to help community events in general. I ran into parallels in this society that I did in my writing, and it made me build a solid trench of which to defend my little island I am on in the writing world. I am trying to reach out, but if it is always this difficult I do not know how sturdy I can be.

For the convention, much like my writing, everyone is interested in helping out, but seems to be concerned about the wrong things. I had plenty of offers to help with my writing, but nobody had the time to really help. We have plenty of committee members to do things, yet the communication gets lost in translation sometimes.

I watch the writing communities argue in social media about who is politically correct, are we including things, so and so is a racist, so and so is a misogynist, or these people said this about writing how dare they?

I watch people in the various organizations, celebrity, and media for conventions locally get offended about the strangest topics, only focus on what is in it for them, only interested in the one person they can relate to going- who cares about the rest. Who did the rules, how can I work around them, Why are things not happening like I want them to be

There is too much blame game in both worlds, when there should only be team efforts and results.

In writing, who cares what is or isn’t represented in it? It is a story, in a genre that hopefully gives a reader, somewhere, some entertainment. Anything beyond that purpose and joy of getting to share what is in my head with the world, is reaching too far.

I hope someday my stories can help people laugh, cry, worry, stimulate and explore. If you have another agenda in reading or writing, I feel a measure of pity as it is not a platform, it is a work of art.

In the convention community, who gives a flying frack who did what for how many cookies? As long as it got done and everyone enjoyed themselves? Your worries should not include what agendas are covered, what political views are made, if you contacted so and so through the right people, or if its “above your station” to deal with. The only concern should be that people show up, people enjoy themselves, and are able to connect as fans of the same topic that represents the conference.

I watched a community of writers rally behind Robison Wells this week to recognize mental illness in writing and our genre. They helped raise money not only to assist Wells with the pitfalls of having mental illness, but to raise awareness and assist others as well. It broke my heart that I had nothing to donate money wise, and that I am not someone known well enough to contribute work that would boost the fundraiser.

I did what I could. I spread the word to every social media I could. Each time a famous author posted about it, added a new perk, raised awareness – I retweeted it to my 300 followers and others. I copied the news articles about it and cheered them on from the sidelines.

As I can attest, writing with mental illness can kill in its own way. I am thankful that someone helped him. I hope someday to be as lucky to do the same, or be able to share my writing with the world despite mental illness. Not everyone has a community around them, and I am happy Robison Wells does. He is a very deserving individual with a brave voice.

So I start this weekend off telling the conference to kiss my dust of trying to edit, work with my three beta readers I was able to find, and let them realize their own issues before I help again next week. The other feelings will hopefully fall away in the cloud fury of typing.

Kate

The High Price of Time

The High Price of Time

 

   I took this week away from blogging, writing, and everything computer related in order to attend the Salt Lake ComicCon Fan Experience. In September, at the last Comiccon, I ran around trying to go from panel to panel that I wanted to attend, and realized there was not enough time between them and ended up missing most of them. This time for Fan-X, we planned small and only wanted to attend a couple of them. Big or small on the plans, both events ended up with the same issues, there was not enough time. I took the time this weekend to evaluate what I need to complete my edits and work for the Wyld Hunt Hotline book one, and fear that it will not get done because I need two things that are the most precious commodity in life, help and time.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Fan-X was fun!

 

   I got to volunteer on Wednesday, helping out with pre-registration and talking to customers about cosplay and events and everything geek related. The jokes about Multi-Pass from The Fifth Element were all day long. Since they had over 700 volunteers planned for the event, along with security, I planned on enjoying the rest of the event.

 

    Thursday was a mass of confusion that started with trying to enter from the west end, and ended up with us leaving just to lose the crowd. We attended one celebrity panel but they let the three p.m. crowd in and told them they could stay for the four p.m. panel, and we almost ended up with no seat because they were not thinking about those wanting in only at four.  The lines for the celebrity that I wanted to see were outrageous for 7 hours straight, and others were only going to be there on Friday or Saturday.The highlight of Thursday was getting to reconnect briefly with MichaelBrent Collings and his family at their booth, who remembered me but more so my boyfriend Ben, who loves discussion weapons, style, and martial arts with anime.

 

    Friday I had two highlights of my day. An unnamed celebrity not only gave me their signature, but as my boyfriend told them about my book, gave us their agents email and told us to contact them to do the audio book once its published. Someday I hope to make some agent happy. The other highlight was having Sandra Tayler come over to me, recognize me from the last LTUE convention, and ask how I and my writing are doing. The fact someone very busy as she is would recognize me and ask about my work, was amazing. I cried when I got home that night because it touched a very basic need in me, the need to connect on some level with humanity.

 

    My saturday was spent at home recuperating from the event. With my depression, anxiety, and lymph system issues, I had too much pain to endure another day. I missed the panels as well as the chance to see Saturday only guests like Sir Patrick Stewart, and Twitch from So You Think You Can Dance. Ben went on his own, and ended up coming home three hours later due to huge crowds and crazy fun also being too much for him. We joked briefly about turning forty soon for me and how we feel old.

 

It Drove The Writing Message Home

    There is already a small publisher interested in my book, as well as a few friends who simply like what I write. Unfortunately, as I realize so many things I neglected during this week of conferences and arranging babysitters, I see that I can’t afford what it takes to achieve my goals and I am afraid.

 

    I barely make it as a mother, hope I make it as Ben’s girlfriend/wife (an inside joke), and as a human. I spend most of my time at home, safe within the confines of a small two bedroom apartment and spend my focus on getting my daughter to school and small enjoyments of topics and alone time with my boyfriend. My appearance, and quirks have much to be desired by others yet I find good things about myself enough to keep fighting the good fight for my daughter. The problem is under the layer of expenses and medical issues, I am buried alone.

 

    My family never had time for my interests when my mother was alive. I barely have contact with them now that she is gone. My daughter has autism and cannot understand the work, let alone be a reciprocative audience for my adult themed fiction. My boyfriend writes fanfiction and his own scifi/fantasy and we have an understanding to not burden each other with our writing, to keep cross contamination or envy to a minimum. I have a couple of friends that enjoy my writing but have no opinion, professional or otherwise, to help my progress. And, those who have tried to help me either work with different genres, and don’t understand the adult themed urban fantasy, or don’t have time to give me the assistance I need. Some are slightly offended by the topics of it.

 

I Am A Weak-Willed Individual.

 

    I thought finding a beta reader would be enough. Unfortunately, beta readers have to have time, and most do not have time for me. I need advice on physical fitness I can’t afford. I need someone who has the time to beta read at least three chapters a week and help with edits. I hope somewhere there is someone who can read through posts, content, or plans and understand some of it. I wish there was someone I could share the process with, that can take time a couple days a week to just talk to me and offer some encouragement.

 

    Those who beta read often deal with their own work, or jobs and don’t have time to talk a couple times a week, or don’t have time to read and edit and be a friend. With my physical and mental issues, I wonder if there is anyone who is rich in time. Its the one commodity that all of us seem poor in. Maybe someone can tell the tooth fairy to trade commodities.

 

In The Meantime…

 

    I hope to help with Westercon in July, and if I am lucky they will let me run a geek panel. I keep trying to blog for the A-Z Challenge in April, keep contact through my personal blog, and work through edits in hope that I am not editing my work to death.

 

    I find solace in my daughter’s smile, my boyfriend’s hugs, and my casual poke back and forth with those who know me on fb or twitter. I meet amazing authors at these conventions like Sandra Tayler, Michaelbrent Collings, Howard Tayler, Peter David, Robinson Wells, Larry Correia, and Peter Orullian.

 

   I can’t afford much, but it seems none of us can afford time… Any thoughts on how to purchase it would be appreciated lol


Kate

04-02-2014 Dentists and Financial Paranoia

     I try rather hard not to think about financial motives while writing. My main goal is to get the stories out of my head, finally release the burden of living in a fantasy world that I’m unable to share. The promise I made to my family and friends to let people read what I write is an ongoing battle, but it’s too hard to not think about financial issues.

 

     After three years of not having medical for my daughter due to disability, I finally got it. The first thing we did was go see the special dentist they have at Primary Childrens Hospital for disabled children. Most autistic children have issues with diet, brushing or other functions that greatly impact their tooth health. Some refuse to brush, some won’t open their mouth, and some scream or bite. My daughter did none of this. She listened to the dentist, and even bit on something so they could take an x-ray of her mouth.

 

     I was very proud of Jordan for letting the dentist in. Despite all the issues and years of training it took to get her to brush her teeth, there was still one cavity. For her, it means they get to knock her out just to fix the cavity. I freak out every time they knock her out for anything. This will be the fourth time in her life and I hold a pit of anxiety just for it.

 

     The other thing that came with getting medical, was the bill collector hounds that circle. I pay as much as I can every months to try to get bills down, but all my back bills are medical, and most of them are overdue. I can’t do as much as others with the limited budget of disability.

 

     I try not to write when the financial pressure gets too much. I worry about making the latest book everything it can be to be a success, and writing comes out wrong. So, I haven’t edited or wrote anything in two weeks until the A-Z blog challenge.  Putting the bills aside, it’s time for me to restart. Harder with financial issues and nobody to help get me through.

 

     I also got distracted by a marathon of all eight seasons of 24. Cramming was a requirement as the new 12 episode season of 24 starts May 5th. Comiccon Fan-X is April 17th. Looking forward to Karl Urban, Nathan Fillion and James Marstars… and others.

 

     So I am going to post a request for two alpha readers. To fold through 3 chapters a week, and hopefully keep my spirits positive while I edit through my earlier drafts. I will post on this in a day or so. In the meantime I look for reasons to keep writing, and hold back the fear.

Kate