True Monsters in my Fiction

Monster In Fiction

 

It occurred to me, sitting here on week three of being unable to edit my latest story, that I have been feeding the monsters in my own fiction. Nobody talks about the monsters inside while writing a story. Everyone expounds the prose, theme, style and little snares within the English Language that causes writers to trip along the way. I figure it’s time to get my monsters out of my brain, just a bit, and hopefully set them free instead of feeding the bears at Yellowstone National Park.

 

Warning to those faint of heart: Stop here, read next week’s blog post and hope everything moves on. I write this to let loose, not for anyone to sit and decide how much of me needs psychological help, or a wave of pity that followed like Jaws following the chum trail.

 

For anyone writing, as I am, or perhaps in a more strategic position or having sold, take solace in the fact that you slew your monsters, you didn’t feed them.

 

When I talk about monster fiction, I don’t think of the Cthulu wave hitting the internet as it does every year. The arguments over if vampires sparkle, or if werewolves actually slip their skin and create cells that regenerate at a high rate for change, but not when they are truly injured. There are deeper monsters you feel before you read the damned story. Monsters that seep into your brain well before the time that ideas take root. They sit and prepare for your creative process to start, as they have already built it’s slippery ladder.

 

For those in the world who bite their fingernails, pick their scabs, or twirl a piece of their hair in their fingers, will know what I’m talking about. It starts with an idea. The idea that you’re going to try something out of normalcy. Usually spiked by a game, movie, show, or even rpg. RPG is my favorite outlet. I loved turning into someone I wasn’t, and delineating facts in a world that never touched mine.  You enjoy something, and one or two facts start mixing in your head until you have to write them down. Either to use in another rpg, write into a story, or make a joke out of them for the next horrible date you pick up.

 

The monster hatches then, in the idea stage. Oh, you were inspired by something, isn’t that copyright in some way? Shouldn’t Spock get credit for the fact you loved how his pointed ears parted his hair away from his temples? Do you track the mean lady at the grocery store who smacked you with her purse because your hip accidentally brushed hers? The pain sparked an idea with ears-quick go pay them both.

 

Its silly, you say. Ideas like that are completely ludicrous, or are they? You make a name for the character only to remember you had a friend by that name in sixth grade, so you erase it and pick a new one. You shorten another character’s hair length, so your current boyfriend won’t think they are in your latest story. In my case, I picked a middle name for my child that is so perfect, and a double entendre in my latest work, that to change it would lose both meanings. And, another monster is born, wondering if she will actually talk when she grows up and some caretaker will sue you for using her name in a book. My own daughter, yet I worry about this, that there is another monster in my head, a monster in fiction that I can’t slay.

 

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

I have three beautiful bet readers for my latest work, but unable to edit consistently for them, as these monsters take my thoughts and turn them into fig pudding.  Everyone says ‘just write’, or ‘reading and writing are the two constants in being an author, you need to be willing to do both.’  Obviously, neither of these people saw the monsters in fiction.

 

The problem isn’t the story, the problem is my fear of it. I am in my 6th draft, editing to a goal of 3 chapters a week and failing miserably. Am I done writing it? Well I wrote it out. I have drives of old versions, changed it from third to first person, character adjustments, lexicon additions and spans of historical data. I threw out my prologue, all 13k words of it. Debated using the prologue as a short story then realized that if I wanted to keep writing in this world, I didn’t want the first piece let out of the bag to be a teaser like the prologue.

 

I don’t worry about if I have used present or past tense, passive voice, oxford commas and even existential prose. I worry about what’s happening to me. I made a promise to my late mother and my current boyfriend that I would send one out to agents.

 

Now, we step into the heart of the monster’s lair, my own mind. I try to edit and end up in tears. Am I insane? What gives me the right to expose my characters to others? How could I ever ask trees to sacrifice themselves for a lame joke or a quick fight? If I publish, my mother will be right, that I only tried after she was gone to spite her.

 

Don’t just tell me to write, talk to me about it. How do I know if my red-haired male protagonist switching to a caramel colored black man is a success or a joke? Is some African American going to find me and beat me down in a parking lot one day for describing the pigment of the skin that way? If I laugh at something in my prose, does that mean it’s stupid? Stupid because nobody seems to understand me, so the more I relate to my own work the more frightened I get that I am writing nothing.

 

I fear that everyone will laugh at my book idea, that everyone won’t either. If I submit, who’s to say that agents won’t think its drivel, in the wrong genre, oh there’s three typos on one page therefore the writer has no skill or grace? People think vampires are dead, angels are placated, and demons are simply a better way to do devious business. Does having all three in my work bury me under a pile of other manuscripts I will never get out from under?

 

I have nobody to talk to about this daily, no true comrade in arms. No dinner dates, or conference meetings, or panels to prepare for this time. I face going to Salt Lake Comiccon in September with nothing to show for it, as I haven’t worked in three weeks.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there is something to work on, but it’s too hard to think about. My head is full of the monsters in fiction, and there is no exterminator team in sight.

 

Will people think I included an autistic child to check off some imaginary box, instead of realizing some of the things she did in her past are too damned funny to pass up?

 

Will someone read my main character, who is a simple sexual polyander, and think I am imitating someone else?

 

Will some gun fanatic come at me with a loaded weapon one day because my character starts from the super basic fundamental of carrying an unloaded gun around for practice?

 

I had an agent last month tell me that its standard to throw out the first 2-3 chapters of any book to make it good. Will they tell me that, not realizing I already chucked 4 prologues and 6 first chapters?

 

Will my late mother haunt me every night for daring to get published after she passed away?

 

Can my boyfriend tone down his competitive nature long enough to actually support my writing, instead of getting his backbone twisted over his own fan-fiction every time I clear a hurdle?

 

Does anyone talk the way I do anymore? Since nobody in my immediate vicinity seems to understand me?

 

How can I publish, when some agent, or editor, or fan will find me ‘not aesthetically pleasing’, to put it lightly.

 

Will I ever be able to go to a popular con outside of Utah when I can’t fly.

 

Take all these questions above, times by ten, and shove them into 60 seconds of the time I think about my writing. This is the small food chain of the monster in my fiction. I am not being contrite, or pretentious, or even needy. A good therapist, or research, or even ‘Elements of Style’, by Strunk & White will not steer me clear of them. I sit and weep, I wake up when I can sleep, in a cold sweat. I dread every movement of my fingers as they possibly compound the situation. My cheeks flame in embarrassment just by the notion that someone is going to pay money to read my drivel.

No, there are no tricks that can help clear the monsters in my fiction.

A good friend might…

 

Then again, everyone is too busy for it.

 

All I can say is please forgive me while I become a better monster hunter, never to be confused in the same arena of Larry Correia.

 

Kate

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

Pick One – Anyone

I am reminded of the scene in Pretty Woman where she unzips her long red boot and pulls out an assortment of condoms. Julia Roberts, the lead character, then holds up the condoms like holding up a hand of cards and says “Pick a color, any color,” then goes on to list all of them and what they do. And, he picks one.

I saw some friends on twitter, old critique partners, asking for various diseases or illnesses. Having done research on my latest in mental issues, I immediately pulled up my list. ‘Pick a disease, any disease’. By the time I settled my daughter down from her habit of eating puzzles, they had moved on in twitter. Apparently everyone popped off answers fast, and they picked one and moved on.

As you may know, the conference I worked pulled me out of my edits for a good two plus months and finally ended at the beginning of July. However, it has left a hole in my heart (or is that my depression?). I was too busy making changes to programming as it fell on me in the last days, to enjoy the whole reason I wanted to do the conference – to talk to other writers. There were poets, self pubbed, celebs that I met before, and I didn’t have time, nor the stamina, to talk to them long.

You go to these things expecting maybe 5 minutes if you’re lucky to talk or say hello, maybe remind them who you are or listen to sage advice. Someday, say five to ten years from now, maybe they will pick up your book like you did theirs and enjoy it. At least that is my hope. the only good time I got to spend with anyone was driving people to and from the airport.

Back to Reality

 

The reason I brought up the condoms and diseases, is that the conference left me alone, again. Ben went back to his gun files, and anime and fan fiction. Jordan still doesn’t talk, and all those fantastic people I hoped to have dinner with, or hang out with, are now gone. At least they all expressed how happy they were with their schedules and time there.

I had to abandon my edits and beta readers to do the conference, and as of yet I have not heard back from them if they wish to continue. My anxiety and depression became too much during the con and I had to isolate myself online to get anything done. Making the lonely feeling all my fault, which I accept. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

I stare at this manuscript which I changed from third, to first person. Which I have thrown out 2 prologues and 3 first chapters, and knocked down from 295k words to about 150k words, and wonder what now? I am doing edits and changes and float in the unknown land.

 

The unknown feeling of wondering if the story is entertaining for anyone else, wondering if I am doing the right thing trying to keep my promise to my deceased mother and my boyfriend, and wondering why I can’t seem to find a writing group, or friend whom I can talk to about the book every day. I knocked out 480 words out of the first 3 chapters, and try to find the strength to keep going. How do these people do this? Or, is the pressure and fear I feel just a buildup of my anxiety and depression? Sometimes, I don’t know how to function, so I just do.

 
All I know is that I can’t keep hiding in the shadows of life, waiting for the storm of people to pass. Somehow, I have to join it. So pick a disease, condom or stress in life, just don’t forget me too.

Broken Pieces and Toeing the Line

The week of July 7-13th, is set as recuperation from Westercon67. I came late to the party and basically ended up being clean-up gal to make sure the convention ran as smooth as possible. Were there hiccups? You bet. Did things seem to fall apart at times? Yes. I think a small part of that goes on regardless of what event anyone does, as unforeseen factors make up a good chunk of life.

The important things still happened. I somehow juggled 110 participants while still keeping my mind intact. I did not loose my daughter during the processes, nor did I loose Ben, and all but three of the participants were extremely happy in what they had to do and the connections they made with each other during the convention.

Now that I sit here, my medications getting balanced again, and resting my legs and lower back that seemed to take the brunt of my lack of sleep; it is those three that haunt me. They shouldn’t be my problem. I strove to do my best with what I was given and in many points of view pulled off a miracle here and there with sponsors and guests. (Anyone who has to juggle 13 guests of honor has a license to be insane.) I have a hard time remembering the good qualities of the con, when their points of view float in my head like broken pieces of a bad record.

No matter how many times Mary Robinette Kowal, Peter Orullian, or Larry Correia and Howard Tayler congratulated me on the success, I knew not everyone was happy. But, I asked myself, is there a way to fix that? In all honesty, I do not think there is.

As a former pet, I learned to follow the facial expressions and small cues to anticipate a dominant’s needs. As a secretary or personal assistant, it remained an invaluable skill in anticipating the needs of a boss, or celebrity. It doesn’t mean you have to toe the company line, but you better be damned sure you know where it is when you step off it.

It took me four days, and a bunch of realization to find out those negative viewpoints, are not my problem, it’s theirs. They stepped off the line without knowing its there. Most were local authors, or authors that were talked about in local circles, but not much outside it. Some are building their reader database and finding their niche. There is no problem with that. I applaud they are doing something I am scared of. However, they took their decided lack of conference success out on me.

It was not my problem that I was handed tasks so late in the game. It was not my fault that there were 110 panelist and only so many panels to assign them. Just like it was not my fault that some of them could not understand the difference between a local, and regional conference.

Sometimes you have to give up the ghost, and enjoy the connections you made, and not bemoan the fact that you did not get the spotlight. There were a lot of spotlights to juggle. Alot of dancers without choreography, and alot of lines jumped during Westercon.

 

Now, after the convention, I sit back in my recliner trying to get the swelling down in my legs, trying to calm my own demons, and try to focus on my manuscript I left on the side of the road to help others. There are no celebrities wanting a personal assistant, there are no other conventions needing my help, there are no phone calls or emails with fires to put out… There is just forty year old me on sunday, a mostly empty apartment, and a haunted diesel out there that hasn’t reached its destination yet.

 
May the powers that be, have mercy on me when I cross that line as an author, and not a convention organizer…so I do not become one of those three voices that soured the circus.

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

Does everyone reach this inadequate stage?

Does everyone reach this inadequate stage?

 

I watched tv as a young girl, and noticed instances where the parents had to deal with the kids homework, and couldn’t. Growing up, my parents were not able to do half of the math I learned by 5th grade. If you showed my dad fractions, it should have some football gambling angle to it. If you showed them to my mother, it was useless without a cooking book. It helped me doing homework while growing up to keep on track with the knowledge I surpassed my parents during elementary school. I would not be one of those parents that could not help their kids with homework.

 

By the time 6th grade came, I read historical texts and romances in excess of 400 pages in one day, and retained the knowledge. I jumped into Algebra and Trigonometry in Junior High. I spent 2 years learning German, 1 year learning Russian, and three years learning health, sports medicine, and socialism (psychology) electives. I avoided the physical arts, but could play 3 instruments in the orchestra. During my music career I went from being denied music class in 5th grade, to sneaking in anyway and learned violin. I self taught some basics on the piano, and in 7th grade we lost our only cellist. It took me 4 months to self teach myself cello with my class teacher helping the transition – and by 8th grade we were playing concerts conductorless with me starting as cello, not the first violinist. The habits propelled me into over-achievement syndrome.

 

I thought I had things all figured out until I gave birth to my one and only daughter, Jordan. She went from counting to five in 4 languages by the time she was 2, to not saying a word. All the knowledge as a Health Unit Coordinator, Truck Driver, Substitute Teacher, Convention Information Assistant, and my loves of Music, Sociology, and European History prepared me for one job as a mother, advocating for my daughter. I battled 5 doctors til a plastic surgeon removed her  cyst at 1 ½ yrs old. I fought 9 doctors to prove she didn’t need tubes in her ears, and finally one of the state techs certified “She hears you just fine, she is choosing to ignore you.” I struggled through task after task, meetings, doctors, socialists, state workers and therapists alike. She is worth every fight, every word.

 

The knowledge that I would never have that moment where I couldn’t help her with her homework was a partial relief, and broke my heart on a daily basis once school started for Jordan. That is, until now. Jordan is in a functional skills class and has a program called the PCI reading program where they are teaching her sign language. Every day they talk about the sign for bath, eat, bed etc. They send home small papers and say “this is the word we are working on this week”. Its great! I can learn the words when she does…wrong. They sent home a paper with sentences using the word time. Oh okay, so I have to look up the sign for time. Is that all she is learning? The teacher corrected me on the phone. “Actually it is not the word, it is those sentences using time. We sign the whole sentence then go over each word in them, all made from the PIC program.”

 

WHAT?

I realize today Jordan had a leg up on me, and has learned cohesion with her sign language, while I have learned how to count and repeat the ABC’s in sign language with speed. How can I help her with homework if I don’t know how to sign?

 

Needless to say, I made some calls today and there is a free class in June. I will start it while she goes to summer school. But, it hurt my confidence that I ran into the same place my parents were. By 6th grade my child surpassed what I can do for her in homework, and I feel just as inadequate as my parents must have felt. I had to explain to a deaf person today that I didn’t have the time and money to find a sign language teacher for myself, and that filled me with shame. I should have foresaw this problem, and now it is a mini-crisis.

 

Another knock in the confidence to go along with only finding 2 readers for my latest manuscript. i took time to write up ada issues for a conference, and received no feedback from the coordinators. I suggested a special event with full detail for the non, and never heard back yet. I feel horrible and can’t seem to be on top of anything lately, and wonder if it is my disabilities I am experiencing, or if I am not at the levels i should be in my adventures of life….

 

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

March 21,2014 Why are you doing this?

My goal with this new setup is to blog once a week on personal thoughts and updates on my books. It’s supposed to help my mental health as well as find new ways to re-integrate myself into the world.

 

For those of you who don’t know, I am a 39 year old single parent in Utah. Although pen names don’t stay secret, I adapted mine in deference to some solitude for my daughter who has autism, Jordan. My boyfriend, Ben, is 41 and our birthdays are only three days apart. I have a love of music, reading, history, and tabletop style games. I also claim an associate certification in unit clerking, double majored in college (Music and history education), became a certified truck driver for eight years, and have various physical and mental health issues.

 

In the simple form I am an introvert with a habit of recluse behavior and self esteem issues. Since having my daughter, I have worked hard at changing this in small steps. One of these steps includes my writing.

 

To date I have written 27 manuscripts (full finish) and after getting the ideas out of my head, I threw them away. Publishing was never a goal of mine before now. My imagination is like a rampant dragon, breathing fire on silly ideas and sinking its teeth into bone-ripping paths to other worlds. I’m like a cake decorator that had too much fun with the icing stencils. You might think that I wasted my writing, but I live with a constant fear that nobody will understand what worlds float in my head and tried to pursue noble hobbies and paths to make my way in the world. That changed last year.

 

My mother passed away, cancer, a couple of years ago. The more she would push for me to publish, the less I wrote. It wasn’t fair of her to put pressure on me, but it wasn’t fair that everything I wrote she refused to read either. She always joked that I would publish after her passing, and I told her the thought’s insane. My boyfriend of eight years, Ben, urged me to quit hiding in the ‘writers closet’ and try to get my latest work published.

 

I have nothing to lose at this point in the goal. Nothing could be said that I haven’t used as an excuse to hide my work from others. My fears may imagine everyone who reads my work dies of boredom, but I know that won’t really happen, mostly. I take courage from other writers on twitter and solace that this goal is not futile.

 

I’ve taken my latest project, and had it critiqued at a writing conference. Technically, there was no critique. The editor that glanced at my query and couple of pages simply said they want my work – to finish whatever edits I’m doing and submit to them. That ‘critique’ was the single most relieving advice I had to date. Now, I’m editing and trying to become part of the world again, even if its just online.

 

I hope to post once a week here. I also put various information on my latest world out to the internet. You can find a peak glimpse of the world at WyldHuntHotline.com

 

It promises to be an exciting and terrifying foray into publishing and I am honored you took the time to come along for the ride!

 

Wish me luck,

Kate Hatcher