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