I’ll spare y’all the musings on how time flies etc etc.
(even though it does)
It took me more time than expected to get over the Finland trip (that debacle is a whole post in of itself but suffice to say that it ended up with the tour leader being sat down and told she wasn’t getting tips from more than half the group because of how awful she’d been. not just unprofessional and unprepared, but actively unfriendly.) and then it was a non-stop whirlwind of drama! change! omg! wtf! after that.
The family decided (without my input) that it would be best for everyone if I moved out. So that was A Thing for a while.
Since then, Mom has decided, due to super expensive housing prices, that I don’t have to move, but only if I behave, which is fun to hear when thirty is in the rear view mirror.
Then mom decided that she’d pay for my meds until the end of December and not after, so that was also super exciting.
Everything is thus all up in the air.
Lil bro is coming back to Taiwan, getting his military service out of the way, and applying to medical school, which is another huge kettle of Happening.
And mom tore a muscle when she fell during our trip, so surgery might be in the cards, which means I’ll likely be the one tapped to help with all major aspects of the recovery. That’ll be fun to navigate when it comes to mom’s need to cook three course dinners versus arm surgery that is likely to take her out of commission versus my lack of spoons. We’ll see.
So much excite, so little bandwidth, and the real kicker was that I was going to release Ride the Dawn, my super C-tropey wuxia romance short, but my editor told me that it was sweet and cute and had no plot.
Back to the drawing board for me then. (it needs extensive editing and lengthening, but it’s getting released, eventually!)
In the meantime, I am still editing Phoenix Awoken. It’s going slowly, but surely (I hope).
I’m on chapter 14 out of 40, which just sounds pitiful, but it’s going. I swear.
I’ve been also been posting regularly on Patreon, so join me there if you’re interested in behind-the-scenes analysis of why a certain honorific for the heroine of Ride the Dawn, what non-binary characters use as pronouns, and the serialized story of a tiger princess who finds herself in the position of having to raise another tiger prince (her niece) to the throne.
As always, Twitter (@katjexia) is the best place to catch me. I’m there most days, posting about hysterically funny Fukkienese idioms (using parasites to itch one’s own ass is used to describe someone who is not only bored, but of the tormenting kittens bent), or puns.
I’m pausing the Wattpad stories for now because I haven’t had the energy to keep on top of things, but it’s at the back of my mind, I promise.
That’s it for now. Until later, beloveds!
Mom is taking me on a trip on the eleventh and I’m just going to go with the flow and not worry about things for a while.
Fitting, as it’s going to be retrograde in Pisces.
I’m going to prep what I can (snacks, water, ear plugs, power bank), bring backups of everything I can, and then just see what happens.
I’ve been feeling super burnt out and tired on a fundamental level, and so I’m going to take advantage of the retrograde to give myself an excuse to slow the heck down.
So far this year I’ve re-released Phoenix Chosen, published Silenced, and taken Ariagne wide (with new epilogue!).
Some of you might know that I’ve been busy on Twitter – follow me for threads on Chinese word-play, puns, and idioms. I love Twitter and what I learn on it (did you know that you need to pack your ass, armpits, and cleavage with putty with certain types of spacesuits?) but it’s been endless wildfires.
I’ll miss my friends while on the trip (no data, likely spotty WiFi), but I figure I need the forced separation for a while. It’s 2019 and it’s far too easy to get sucked into everything and feel guilty over not being on top of the news. I know that, but still it’s hard to step away.
I keep wavering back and forth whether to just block all political news while I’m in Taiwan because there’s nothing I can do anyway, but then the guilt.
New project on Patreon: the coffeeshop academy story involving all previous characters.
If you’ve read Silenced, then you’ll have met Kateri. This is her story. She’s a dreamwalker who needs anchors to keep her in the real world rather than constantly in the dream world. If she can’t find her anchors, then eventually her health is going to deteriorate to the point where her life is in danger.
DESPITE THAT, this is a story with lots of fluff, jokes about names, and safe warm fun. It tried to go dark on me (the bit where her physical body is failing) and I wrenched it back.
I’m still working on Phoenix Awoken edits and I can’t see the forest for the trees.
I don’t know how much of it is the brain fog and how much of it is the difficulty in editing something so old. The brain fog is real…I have about an hour of clear-brain time every day and it’s super limiting.
It’s going though. I’m making a point of only working on Awoken on weekdays and leaving the fluff for the weekend. (yes, this is how burnout happens, buuuuut how can anyone resist Kateri and Daddy Fen?)
Chosen was about duty, about finding a home unexpectedly, about the privilege of being able to build a home and care for it.
Awoken is …about connection, about finding the way back to something once thought lost, about love.
Chosen skews to the political fantasy (such as I do it), but Awoken is leaning hard toward the softer emotions and that might be why it’s harder to pull together.
We’ll see. I’m working really hard on it and I hope to be able to do the story justice.
See y’all on the other side of the retrograde!
I got the idea from my Lexie-love and thought that it looked like a lot of fun. If any of you do this, please link me and let me know!
Anyway, without further exposition…
Disclosure: the links were generated using my Amazon affiliate account.
Describe Yourself: Jane Doe – Victoria Helen Stone
I think rather than I am Jane Doe, Jane Doe is my heroine and who I want to be. She’s smart, collected, and just a little bit ruthless – but only to people who deserve it. She doesn’t turn that sharp edge on the innocent, and that’s so key for me loving her.
How do you feel: Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox – Forthright
A bit adrift. A bit uncertain. Filled with wondering horror and questioning awe at the world I’m in, but determined to do the best I can for everyone I can.
Describe where you currently live: City of War – Debbie Cassidy
This one was chosen more for the title than anything else, but the story fits. It’s 2019 and it’s time to take a stand, no matter where we are. Fight for what you love. Fight for what’s good and right.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: When We Were Crowned – Auryn Hadley
I couldn’t find something purely fluffy, so let’s go for something more realistic, I guess. Get through the gladiator trials. Kill the enemies. Bring peace to the country. Find true love. Kick ass. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Your best friend is: Blade’s Destiny – Lisa Blackwood
Loyal, kick-ass, takes no prisoners, and can vivisect you with a well-chosen sentence. (this book is really good, but it does end on a sorta-cliffhanger. the other books in the series are just as good and standalone, so go for those.)
What is life to you: Succubus on a Mission – L.L Frost
With the chronic illness, I sometimes feel like a leech. (here’s where the vampire girl story comes from).
Adie doesn’t want to feed the way a succubus does, but it’s to her detriment, and now she’s got a mission on top of everything else. I sympathize with how hard she’s trying and how sometimes the flailing doesn’t get her anywhere fast.
Your fear: One Apocalypse – Kristy Cunning
It’s 2019 and the world is still actively burning. No more need be said, right?
What is the best advice you have to give: Calling the Change – Michelle Diener
Okay, so the blurb says that the hero rescues Taya from the moon, right? And yeah, his nifty space ship did bring them back, but never forget that it’s Taya’s change that bought them the chance to escape. This isn’t your usual damsel in distress waiting to be saved. No. This is someone who goes out and kicks ass, who does what’s right despite the danger to herself. Despite being kidnapped to the moon (their world’s tech level is horses and wagons, for an idea). Despite being trapped on said moon where nothing behaves the way it ought. Where all the powers of her family and friends don’t work. Despite everything, Taya pays attention and finds a way out. (sure, it helps that the moon happens to have a plot device that helps, but still)
Thought for the Day: Royal Magic – K.M Shea
I love K.M Shea’s books in general, but I have a particular fondness for the redemption of past assholes and enemies->friends->lover plots. Like most of her other stuff, Royal Magic is sweet-fluffy with a clear edge of bitter-sharp. Royal Magic in particular, reminds me that there’s an inner asshole in all of us who could do with some redemption.
My soul’s present condition: Surrendered to the Sea – Dessa Lux (m/m, mpreg)
Warning: Devon does start the book with an suicide attempt.
A lot of this book resonated. Devon’s hopelessness. The feeling of “I just want to be loved for me.” and feeling that it’s too hard, too much, and what’s the point. Lir’s got his own issues, but he rises to the occasion, mostly, and despite the rocky start, I found most of it to be hopeful and sweet while acknowledging the difficulties they have to overcome.
So that’s it for 2018. May we have put it thoroughly to bed and may 2019 be better. So much better.
It’s been a complicated year, but then that’s like saying that the sky is blue.
A bit more so this year, however.
Ariagne has also been taken out of KU, but for the moment it’s not wide yet because of formatting issues. For those that care, if I’m putting it up on Smashwords to be included in the premium catalog (going to vendors other than Smashwords) it can’t have links in the back matter and it needs to either be in a neat .doc or .epub. The format I have now is mobi and I don’t have the brain to re-format the thing right now.
I made new friends, posted stuff on Patreon, went on the WXR cruise, and I felt like I Did Stuff, but I also feel like I didn’t Accomplish Stuff, if that makes sense.
Then again, there was the great Tumor Scare of 2018.
TL;DR: an ultrasound found a Thing in my liver, the doctor called it a tumor, and then there were talks about CT scans and biopsies and so on. I went and got a second and third opinion and in general we think that it was a false scare and that I’m fine. Probably. That took up a lot of time, energy, and fairly wiped me out for the rest of the year.
I’m wiffling back and forth on whether to go to Dublin for WorldCon. I’m not super into the idea of WorldCon itself, but I have friends that are going and I really want to go to Ireland and see if I like it as much as Scotland and and and…
(look, not being into the idea of WorldCon is …total sour grapes, FYI…)
…but also travel, money, spoons, and my ghost shrimpiness.
Same with WXR. I’d love to do it again, but see above. Or see the post about the cruise.
Jesse mentioned the Surrey BC writer’s conference and I’m tempted, so lots to think about. It’s a long way to fly just for two days, so I’d want to pair it something else, and then things get complicated. Plus it sounds like it’d eat spoons like a devourer.
After the Great Tumor Scare, I’m more inclined to pull money out of my IRA and just go Do The Things because you never know. My Second Uncle dropped dead of a heart attack out of the blue and another uncle had a stroke shortly after his funeral. It’s just been A Lot and combined with how on fire the world’s been this year, it seems like chasing joy is better worth my money and life than trying to play it safe.
In the meantime, while I waffle waffle waffle…
Part of being fair with myself re: whether Stuff Got Done is setting up goalposts and not moving them unless it’s to reassess whether they’re unreasonable for my current state of being. (apparently walking 10k steps a day for 8 consecutive days in a row will wipe me out. good to know. yay.)
My plans for 2019 (tentative, because everytime I plan, I hear the Universe cackling):
- re-edit Phoenix Chosen and re-release.
- send Ariagne wide
- publish Silenced (Little Mermaid re-telling) in KU for three months, then take it wide
- finally finish the edits for Phoenix Awoken (yes, it’s book two! I’m sorry!) and publish that.
- finish Sentinel Academy (Wattpad first)
- Finish Melisangre (Beauty and the Beast re-telling. Also Wattpad first.)
- Finish Phoenix Book 3 (currently unnamed. I need to go back and check my list of words ending in -en)
As for Patreon – I’m going to keep posting bits of Sunny’s story, tidbits about worldbuilding, and I’ll be collecting some of my Twitter threads about Chinese puns, idioms, and other cultural stuff, and re-posting them there.
So that’s the outline for 2019 – here’s hoping it’s a lot better than 2018.
Alternate title: spoonie, writer, WOC, pie
This is going to be a difficult post because of intersections and I’m in the midst of everything, so I don’t know if there’s even a way to unpack everything, but with three days left I think I have to at least try. If I don’t, I suspect it’s all going to drift into the labyrinth of the unquantifiable.
First off, I am enjoying myself very much and if I had the money to do it again next year, I absolutely would. Almost everyone has been a complete delight, which is something I keep wondering over. I’m not sure what it is, because I haven’t ever had this level of enjoyment in/with a group of people anywhere else. It’s not the conference/convention aspect, because I’ve had awful experiences in “fan/creator spaces” in the past. It’s not the “we paid lots to be here, so we’re going to cherish each other and the experience extra hard” because…yeah. I’ve been on tour groups and …welp! I swear it’s gotta be something in the water. People have been sharing lint rollers, Claritin, cough drops, their extra bottles of water from the water packages, and just going above and beyond.
The classes have been amazing. Amal El-Mohtar had one on using poetry to unlock writer’s block that was stunning. She spoke eloquently and poignantly of her own experiences with poetry, family legacies of art and resistance, and reconciling (in a good way!) “this person I love and know as ‘just my grandfather’” with “this person who has done amazing things”. Then people read the poetry they wrote and it was simply jaw-droppingly good. Good enough I would love to have a collection of all the poetry attendees wrote in that 15 minute window. There was one on structuring your life to support creativity by Sandra Taylor, and Howard Taylor had a master class on writing the funny that I wish I had the brains to wade through.
The organizers have really made a huge effort to create the best experience. Every day we’re sorted into new tables at dinner so we have a chance to have an in-depth conversation with each other and with the instructors. The conversations have been truly wonderful and special in that “only with fellow creatives” sort of way. One day I shall tell you about how a man and a murdered pelican prompted a table of us to consider a joint writing effort where a girl will fall in love with Clippy, a pelican shifter, sheep shifters, Optimus Prime, Nessie, and a triceratops in succession, with each story building upon the previous…and how we managed to both intrigue Mary Robinette into asking why all of us were in bright red hysterics AND giving us the “on that note, I’m…” departure line.
But not today.
Today I want to talk about how WXR18 has been difficult as a spoonie as a reference for others who might be considering coming on future cruises. To their great credit, there has been a spoonie meetup and I know they’re going to aim for more accessibility in the future, but there’s some stuff that isn’t going to/can’t change.
– the pacing is spoon-breaking. Not just spoon-stealing, but active spoon-breaking. We’ve had at least one class every single day and sometimes two or three. As someone said, they take this as either a workshop or a retreat, but it honestly can’t be both. There’s a prize for writing pi (3124 words iirc?) and cracking the pie safe, and it’s completely undoable for me. There’s also daily challenges. Some are fairly easy, and others (2500 words! Come up with five pitches! Outline one of your pitches to your satisfaction!) are really…well, challenging. Yes, they are optional, but the overall grinding feel of “omg, I’m not getting anything done” can be devastating.
– we’re on Liberty of the Seas and it can feel very Goldilocks-y. The level 14 bar vibrates. The cafe and bars on the promenade are too loud. Too much glare and humidity on the decks outside. No wifi and lots of FOMO in the cabins. I hear tell that there’s other places at various points in the day depending on their use, but it does cost spoons to seek these places out.
– it’s likely that a spoonie is unlikely to be able to take advantage of most that is on offer. (we’ve given up on all) There’s game nights starting from 10pm onward, but that’s a big nope for me considering the day starts at about 7:30am with the first class at 9am. Dinner with everyone is from 8pm to 10pm, which can be difficult for feeding time reasons and staying up late. There’s lots of ship stuff, but choices would have to be made between classes/eating/resting and the shows, water slides, ice rink, and rock climbing wall. I feel having more mental prep for “oh god, why can’t I do All This Stuff I Desperately Want To Do” would have been helpful.
– the ship is kept super cold. Super super cold. I’m currently sitting in the bar with my hoodie up, a long sleeve shirt, a shift, and a maxi skirt. I was debating breaking out the legwarmers and fuzzy socks this morning. I tend to get really cold when underfed, overstimulated, and exhausted – it’s almost a given that at least two of these conditions will be going on at any given time.
– for some reason, many of the areas in the ship smell musty. The conference room was so musty that I was literally taken aback by a wall of “do not pass”. It has dissipated some since we boarded (yay human air filters?) but I still have to take Claritin daily to cope. The bar also smells moldy, but somewhat less so. I’ve been fighting off an allergy-spawned cold for the last few days and it Has Not Been Helping.
– I would suggest not going on the excursions. I’ve seen a couple of people back out of excursions because “can’t/won’t”. Initially I felt really sad about not being able to afford the excursions and not feeling spoon-ful enough to organize a wander through town, but after the first two days, I’m now embracing that shore days are rest days and that’s okay. This is another thing to think hard on, because I get the “I’m here in Honduras and Belize and Mexico and I’m…staying on the ship and napping? OMGWTF”.
– bring in-ear foam headphones and a long-lived mp3 player and a blindfold if you can tolerate them. You will have a roommate, unless you pay to be in a single room, and they might snore, or they might want to be out late or up early, and having a way to block out things out is invaluable. For that matter, I’ve found that my headphones have also been useful when the dining room is too loud, or when they’re (FOR SOME OBSCURE REASON) holding a congo line, the macarena song-thing, or performing gangnam style in the formal dining room when you’re just trying to eat and have a civilized conversation.
All in all though – it’s been amazing and definitely @ me or email me if you have more questions about the retreat.
Keep in mind that I am approaching all of this from the privileged position of not having to scramble back to work immediately after. I’ll likely crash for two weeks or so after I return to Taipei on 10/10.
Silenced is plodding along. I’ve pinpointed the issue with it though, so here’s hoping that it will go faster from now on. For a given bit of “going faster”, of course.
My problem was that Silenced didn’t feel much like a story. Things happen, but there wasn’t enough of a journey. Not spiritually, not romantically, and definitely not dramatically. As it was, I figure people would have been grumpy about “is this really romance? but they’re together in two chapters, tops!”, but I didn’t want to tip it over into pure fantasy either.
So now it’s going to go on for a little bit longer than I expected it to, but that’s fine.
Anyways. For various reasons, I’ve been thinking about taking my stories out of Kindle Unlimited and going wide. Not the least of which is the monumental evil of the ‘zon and not wanting to make it even more of a monster than it already is, but also because eggs, basket, and all that.
I think I might start with Not Just Human, since that one doesn’t get much attention anyway.
I’m currently working on a shorty short called “Adam, Eve, Lucifer and Lilith walk into a bard” over on Patreon. When that’s done, I’m thinking that I’ll pull Not Just Human, put the shorty short in it, and then throw it up wide on permafree or something like that.
Silenced will be on KU for three months, I’ll let everyone know that if they want to read it for free they should do it then, and then I’ll put it wide as well.
Anyway, that’s the plan for now. I’m almost loathe to speak of plans because the last time I did, I got the mumps and before that… But hey.
If anyone’s interested in the current iteration of Silenced, it’s up on Wattpad.
The comment spam is quite overrunning me.
That, and the “another attempt to hack your site has been foiled” emails. I have about 80 from today alone. As such, I’m almost completely certain that 99.999% of my site traffic is either hackers, spam bots, or people hired to do horrible things.
Yes, redundancy is redundant.
At any rate, this is so y’all know that comments on posts older than fourteen days will be disabled. I’ll shorten that period more if the bots get more annoying.
I’m usually to be found on Twitter and email is the most reliable fashion of contacting me, so drop me a note if you wish.
I’ve been posting more reliably on my Patreon lately – reminder that not all posts are locked and the patron locked ones are available to the general populace after 30 days, so it’s pretty worth dropping by every once in a while if you like snippets of what I’m working on.
I’ll also be continuing to post chapters of Silenced up on Wattpad (search for @katjexia) as I finish them.
I read a TinyLetter this morning and decided oh hey, this seems like a good idea; I should do one too!
For those not in the know, a TinyLetter is a stripped down newsletter that tends towards the rambly, personal, possibly just a bit TMI newsy news rather than about businessy types things like releases, blurbs, and so forth.
There’s something incredibly appealing about it, both to get and receive. There’s this illusion (yes, mostly, probably illusion. I’m sorry.) that the letter writer is a close friend spilling everything in a letter just for you. And as the letter writer, there’s some special sort of joy in the writing and the sending and the knowing that there’s actually a list out there of people who want to hear about your life. Exclusively about your life.
I blame Mercury in Leo for my impetuous decision to do The Thing. As warned, my TinyLetter, which one can sign up for here, is just about my life and it’s likely to be NSFW at times, rambly, possibly TMI-ed, and highly irregular. Both in how often one is sent (I’ll try not to do a spate of daily ones) and what’s written within. Offerings may include anything from Patreon snippets to Wattpad WIPs to what I’m learning about astrology and tarot.
So that’s the new thing!
In other news, I’m mostly over the mumps, although the appetite is super slow to return and probably adversely affecting my ability to do anything else. I did post some stuff up on my Patreon, which I’m pretty pleased by, and I’m hoping to actually get more WIP words down soon.
Possibly not today because today has been the Day of Cooking Black Herbal Water and yesterday was filled with Things That Ate Spoons and I want a nap. Tomorrow!
Whew. It’s been a while since I last posted.
My summer solstice resolution for this year is to get better about posting on my blog. Let’s see how that goes… *sheepish grin* I know, I know, I’ve only made this resolution almost every single time I’ve noticed the sad state of my blog, but hope springs eternal.
I’m still in a period of “katje plans; the Universe sighs and then laughs hysterically”, so~
The latest in the wtfery is getting the mumps immediately after buying a book cover for the WIP I’ve had in the wings since 2016. Yep, you read right – the mumps. Who even gets the mumps nowadays? Furthermore, how does one get the mumps while hermiting at home in almost complete seclusion?
Spontaneous mumps. Just another one of those little mysteries of my life.
The idea was that I’d finish up the fairytale re-tellings because they’re easier to focus on than Phoenix Awoken. First on the docket is Silenced, the Little Mermaid re-telling (bit obvs here, yeah?). Then, A Crown of Feathers, my Six Swans re-telling.
That’s still the plan, albeit a bit scrambled due to sick! fever! complete loss of ability to eat! wooziness! and all the other bits of the chronic illness that has no name but I shall persevere.
For now, have a look at the absolutely gorgeous cover I have.
Isn’t it absolutely stunning? I might need to fiddle a bit with the title – I don’t want to block off the clock, but right now the title seems a bit scrunched on the bottom…
Ah well, plenty of time to fiddle. I’m still mumpsy and my head is still all woozy.
Let me know what you think of the cover and any suggestions for the title placement!