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This post is password protected. You can read it at Cassie Alexander, where it was originally posted. You can comment here or there.

book turned in…and now?

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I already chirped on twitter about this, but I turned in the book I’d been working on to my agent. 8 months of effort, landing at 102k. And now…I have this strange thing called time off. I’m giving myself the whole month of Sept, because it’s been a really long time since I’ve been off-off, and I have to say, so far it’s been strange but lovely.

I went home to Santa Cruz for a few days to hang with old buddies, and then came back up to Oakland to basically…watch TV (Sons of Anarchy season 7) and play video games (Witcher 3) and cook (Blue Apron, because I’m still lazy and hate the grocery store.)

Because I suck at not working entirely, instead of working on book stuff, I’ve decided to reorganize a bunch of our things. I read that KonMari book (so trite, I know, but other girls at work were reading it!) and I hit up my husband and I’s closets. They’re both beautiful now, hopefully they stay that way.

We also watched Ant-Man in the theater — super fun — and Interstellar last night.

Interstellar I have mixed feelings on. I totally love the scope they were aiming for, but I really dislike that Anne Hathaway’s character had to be the astronaut version of the girl who breaks her shoe a horror film, plus also be the one to give cheesy exposition about love. When she started talking, i started feeling my Dr Who watching goggles coming down. But I appreciated the grandeur of the difficulty the movie was trying to capture — relativity is not an easy thing to get across, muchless feel intimate and familiar. (Gotta give the anime Gunbuster a shout out here — first media I ever saw that dealt with relativity appropriately.) And I loved the way they presented the concept of time, particularly at the end, that was gorgeous.

This week is a chill week of working some and hanging out with more friends and generally being indulgent. After the past 8 months, that sounds pretty good :D.

Culture near and far

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

My dad’s been visiting me these past few days, and with him comes the opportunity to disconnect from work and writing and just be a magpie again — we went to the De Young Museum for the Turner exhibit, went on a walk of SF themed around Victorian homes, went to The Long Now’s Interval bar/cafe, which is the hands down coolest place to hang in all of SF, walked all over the USS Hornet, and went out to see Rhonda Benin at the Sound Room in downtown Oakland.

And also watched Nightcrawler, Whiplash, and the Nina Simone documentary on Netflix, all of which were really good in very different ways. (I have additional thoughts about Whiplash, but they’re not cogent enough to share yet.) ((PS: my dad’s into jazz, if you’re sensing a theme.))

And then-then, I read this month’s The Wicked and The Divine. (Here come spoilers!)

I came into comic-books secondhand, thru my husband reading them, and since I’m not a true believer I’m oftentimes frustrated by the medium. The art’s nice n’ all, but where’s the meat? The stories oftentimes don’t feel as fleshed out as I’d like them to be. And just when things feel like they’re ramping up, they get cut off.

So the Wicked and the Divine is the only comic book I’m making an effort to keep up with, because I love the premise — that every generation a group of people are turned into the incarnations of literal gods, and they’ll all be dead within two years.

And this month’s Wicdiv blew me away. It was one of the most feminist things I’ve read recently. Because the people in the comic are actual gods, one of the characters deals with the madonna/whore dichotomy plus fame plus social media intimately. It was glorious. Especially when you realize later that the entire comic was essentially a suicide note and you realize what you’re seeing is what she was seeing on her screens, right before she chose to die.

It was fantastic, just really well done, the best visual of bullying and the internet for women that I have ever seen.  I would recommend it to anyone wholeheartedly.

Anyhow — I’m off in a bit to go to another jazz thing in Jack London Square with my dad and then take him to the airport — and then to recuperate and hopefully put the book I’m working on currently to bed.

A huuuuuge catch-up —

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

It’s been two months, OMG, I have been so remiss!

In my defense, they’ve been two of the busiest months of my life!

Launchpad was amazing. It’s a yearly astronomy workshop held for writers so that we know to get the science right when the opportunity presents itself in our work. I learned so much amazing stuff there — I swear my brain hurt every single day, in a good way. (Apart from the altitude sickness! Laramie, WY is 7000 feet up, and that’s no laughing matter!) All of us stayed in an honors dorm and hung out and ate together and went to observatories together — it was really, really, fun.

Then…I worked a lot. A lot a lot. My work hired a bunch of new kids, which is great, we really did need the help, but I knew the second they got off of orientation the double-time $$$ would dry up, so I basically picked up So Many Shifts. Why? Because I wanted to pay for fun at San Diego Comiccon!

I got to go down to San Diego and stay with my brother in Oceanside and ride the train back and forth every day — Comiccon was a blast. I hung out with writer friends, went to panels when I felt like it, bought all my friends awesome shirts in the dealer’s room (exhibit hall, excuse me ;)) and took pictures of amazing cosplay, plus swam in the ocean twice :D. It was a completely ace time.

Then after that, OMG, July — my folks visited, I went to Palm Springs (swimming in hotel pools, yay!) on a business trip with my husband, I worked a ton still, friends visited, and I went camping for five days — I just got back on Sunday, actually. (That was the only possibly un-fun thing — we were camping with people I adored and we were near very scenic waterfalls that I got to swim in (this is my summer theme = swimming!), but it was 111 degrees out. Hooboy.)

Annnnd, now I’m back at work. Only all the kiddos have been set free — and I have a book to finish. I started my major rehaul of it at Comiccon, on the train back and forth to the convention, and I’m just about to the endity-end. August is gonna be busy too — I have a girl’s weekend coming up and my dad’s visiting — but since I’m not picking up any extra shifts, I should be done, with it turned in to my agent, by 9/1.

So there. I’m caught up, phew. And I’ll try to stay more on top of things from here out. It should be easier, because I don’t think I’ll be that busy again for a long while…until next summer, most likely ;).

busy bee-ing

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I’ve reached the point where I need to catch up here or I’ll be so behind forever ;).

First off, Baycon was last weekend, and it was amazing. I had so much fun hanging out with friends, it was so relaxed and enjoyable. I was the pro for one of the writing workshops, which I love — talking to new writers about what makes their books tick is fantastic. And then I was on (and moderated!) a panel about the future of antibiotics, which, while grim subject-wise, was immensely fun to be on.

On Monday, I go off to Launchpad! It’s an astronomy camp for writers, and I pretty much can’t wait! I know a ton of people who’ve been in the past, and have some friends going among the current crew — it’s apparently like getting a year’s worth of graduate astronomy lectures crammed into one week. My brain is ready! :D

And, I’ve been writing. A ton. My book’s coming along nicely. I usually have a horse-and-rider relationship with my manuscripts, and up until now I’ve been the one in charge — but this book’s different. I’m the horse this time, just taking it where it needs to go. It’s strange, but good.

Last, but not least, I’ve been keeping up with boxing. I find it incredibly enjoyable. I already talked about this on FB, but yesterday I was assaulted by a homeless guy in Berkeley.

My last boxing lesson, I was totally drained at the end of last session, and my trainer started shouting at me to imagine punching someone I hated. That didn’t help because, as it turns out, I don’t hate anyone. Talking to my husband about it later, he made a face and was all, “I think your boxing instructor’s a psychopath,” in a teasing, half-not-teasing way.

Well, yesterday I was standing by a friend in Berkeley near a main street in daylight when a homeless person came up and kicked me in the back, hard. I screamed in surprise — he kicked me hard enough to make me fall into my friend and for my sunglasses to fall.

Luckily for me, he just walked off, and things didn’t escalate. We got into my friend’s car and trailed him while I talked to 911, and gave them a description. There not being much other crime in Berkeley, two cars went off to look for him, while another cop came over to talk to me.

I know how many homeless people are mentally ill, I see them each and every day at work. So we basically had a, “Yeah, it pretty much sucks,”-type convo. It’s not like I want to press charges. I only reported it in case this guy goes off on some sort of kicking-spree.

I know how it is. Coulda been my voice, my hair, my backpack, time of day, whatever. I hate those existential moments when there’s no reason for things, things just are. I know I’m lucky that it didn’t get worse. I am bemused that this happened in Berkeley, since Oakland’s the far more traditionally ‘dangerous’ locale.

After that, I picked up my husband early from work — and he’s all, “You can take as many boxing lessons as you want to,” heh.

More soon, after Launchpad probably :D


when you go back to the beginning

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I’ve reached that point…the point when you go back to the beginning. (Which is why I’ve linked this particular part of the Princess Bride ;))

It’s not a bad thing! It happens every book, and while I’d rather it not happen, it always does. Somewhere around 30k I realize what the book’s really about and have to go back and make it actually about that thing.

(No matter that I’ve already written this book once before. No, no, that would make too much sense for me to entirely grasp the thing now, nooooo.)

So tomorrow, I’m going to set to again, from the intro on out. It already feels good in my brain. (Deletion of many strained metaphors here.) I’m pretty happy to make the book realign.

In other news, I’ve been busy as heck. Still working a ton of extra shifts, and then went to two shows last week — I saw Florence and the Machine at the Masonic in SF, which I’d never been to. A very intimate show, my best friend and I were just 20 feet from the stage!


She’s so beautiful — listening to her sing in person is like being visited by Galadriel. Just crazy intense.

And then my husband and I spent the rest of the weekend in Santa Cruz and saw the Reverend Horton Heat again, who always puts on an awesome show :D.

I just have this weekend off, and then I work 8 outta the next 11 days, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, it very much is, on my particularly back-breaking floor. But that’s OK — all the work makes me hungry to write, and this book has its teeth in me now, it’s not letting go :D.

My birthday –

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

I should type this up quickly before the clock dings and my glass shoe falls off ;) —

It’s my birthday today, and I spent it largely goofing off, watching Jupiter Ascending (which I LOVED) and writing a bit, plus going to a local ex-Top Chef contestant’s restaurant to be ‘fancy’.

I dunno why I’m in a retrospective mood now (could be the sangria I had with dinner!) but I am.

I’m up to 12k in Electricity’s reboot. Waiting to hear back from Daniel on the 1st 10k. Feeling antsy, usually he’s a quick read, nervous that I screwed it all up, heh.

More nervous that I didn’t, and now I have to pull it off. I’m debating on if I should get to call this my 20th book or not, seeing as it’s a complete rewrite of a former book — even though it’s totally brand new — and….

that’s why i’m angsting. I’m about 5k away from the end of my ‘I know what happens now’ book tether, after that I’ll be floating off into the void with a kind-of plan, but not a real plan, and what I’ll be writing will bear so little resemblance to what came before that it’s not even helpful to think about it.

Discussed this at dinner with my husband. He says I do this every book. He’s right. But still :P. Doesn’t make it any less anxiety making — especially because this book is still The Book for me.

Of course, watching the movie today I had a 1001 great ideas for my next book (heh) but y’all know how that goes, the story-grass is always greener in another file.

I’ll just have to keep on keeping on. Rainforest retreat is next week. I really want to make some wordcount then, but I may have to be content with just figuring out goes next. I’ve been trying to creep up on this project sideways, 100 words here, 500 there, not embiggening it in my head, don’t want to scare it off, but hopefully I’ll catch the tail of something soon because it’d be nice to really crank again.

Anyhow — things are good, really. My brain’s still good. Like, really good and work’s been awesome, I’m enjoying writing more than I’m scared of it, and my husband’s ace and kicking ass at his work.

I think 39 will be a pretty good year, actually. I just have a certain silly feeling about it :D.

The Hated is live!

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

(When I type things like that, I always want to cackle, ‘It’s alive! It’s alive!’, like I’m Dr. Frankenstein ;))

Hated Final Cover

The Hated, the third book in my Sleeping with Monsters series, is live on Amazon now! This is my vampiric science fantasy that borrows a little bit from everything I love — Elric of Melnibone, Dune, and Gormenghast — and whirs it all up with a lot of sexy times for a cool futuristic erotica.

Other life things — I’ve written a bunch of posts on Publishing Aunt about: Will my words matter, Writing with a job, Good but not good enough, and How to find an editor.

The treadmill desk is awesome — but I worked too much this past week to use it much :P. Tomorrow is another day, tho! :D

The Year in Review

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

2014 has beeeeeeen interesting :D. Can’t say it’s been my favorite year, but I really like where I am now in it, so I shouldn’t complain.

Life stuff — had some serious ups and downs relationshipwise with my husband and certain friends. But, all in all, things have pulled through and I feel more positive and more connected now than I have at any time in the year prior. I think all the shakiness knocked things down to their foundations, and what’s been rebuilt has been made to last.

Health stuff — Oh, my silly heart. It hasn’t had any runs of SVT since the fall, but I went through all the testing and no one knows why any of that ever happened. I hope it behaves from here on out, but there are no guarantees. On a positive note though, my Christmas gift from my husband is a treadmill desk, all the components are being shipped to us as I type, so soon I’ll be typing and writing at the same dang time, I can’t wait ;). AND — I finally found a yoga studio I liked! It only took me six tries at assorted studios :P. (Luckily, there’s a ton of yoga out here, and new student specials.) I hadn’t realized what a special place my studio in Santa Cruz was until I started trying to find its like in Oakland. I’ve been going to one place exclusively though this past month and feel really good about continuing my practice there this upcoming year — my back needs yoga so badly to feel good.

Work stuff! Work’s been grand. Switching to dayshift has meant a much shittier commute, but only having to work ten days a month (although I do work more!) is awesome, and keeping normal daylight hours — OMG, it’s so lovely. I had no idea how nice this was when I was doing my six years of night shift time. I don’t know everything there is to know yet nursing-wise, but I know enough to feel pretty confident on a day to day basis at work. I’m a good nurse, and I do a good job. I love it, honestly.

Writing stuff! (I could include ‘mental health stuff!’ in here too, since my writing basically is my mental health ;)). That’s where 2014 gets a little tricky. I think this past year has been me processing my series not getting picked back up by SMP. It’s really hard to work your whole life towards one goal and accomplish it only to then kind-of-sort-of fail. (The awkward sort of failing that looks like success to anyone else who hasn’t succeed-failed yet, heh.) (I was so mystified-bewildered-upset by the entire thing that I sent a letter in to Dude In Publishing who was kind enough to answer it with an essay that made me cry.)

I didn’t know what to do with myself, really. Spent some time being depressed, and then realized that my series cancellation didn’t change things. I got existential rock-bottom and realized, all I really know is writing — and that I’m a writer. I don’t have any other hobbies or interests or anything. Writing is all I enjoy doing. I like being a writing machine. I like thinking writing-thoughts, I like plowing down words, I like editing things until they shine, I love talking shop with other writers — writing is pretty much all there is to me. If you told me I couldn’t write tomorrow…I honestly have no idea what it is I’d do. What do normal people do with their free time? I’d be lost.

Because of all of that, I couldn’t stop writing, you know? So my way of coping with my cancellation was to pour my energy into some low-ego projects — my Sleeping with Monsters erotica books, The Haunted, The Hunted, and The Hated (coming up.) I got the chance to roughhouse in some awesome genre playgrounds (ghost stories! werewolves! vampires!) and pretend that none of it matters because of all the explicit sex, heh.

But I’m actually really proud of the work I did and the original ideas inside those books — The Hated in particular, since it’s SF. And I wound up writing at least 180k on them this year (probably close to 220k for the year, if I add in Electricity) which is cool. I’m going to recover them and do an omnibus and see how that goes — and I’ve got ideas for a few more books in the series if they happen to take off ;).

I wound up selling three short stories this year too, under other names, which also felt really really good.

What’s coming up in 2015?

Well, now that The Hated’s gonna be turned in on Thurs — it’s back to the YA mines for me. I think I’m ready to take on this extreme rewrite on Electricity, finally. (I thought it was extreme before, no, this is from the ground up. All the way from the bones. Half the bones. Maybe one fragment of the skull.) Talking to Daniel about it, about what part of that story really mattered to me, has given me laser focus. I’m just hoping that I can do a good enough job to pull it off the way it deserves to be.

After that? I’m not sure. I’ve got 3-4 book ideas bumping around in my head, a middle grade series, a novella set in WWII, my erotica + PKD book that I want to write as a straight literary novel that just happens to be really weird, and I’m tempted to release an older unpublished book of mine on Wattpad just to see what, if anything, would happen to it. I loved that book, I don’t care if it doesn’t make any money, I’d just like it to get it some readers.

This whole year writing-wise — especially writing the eroticas so quickly — has made me realize what a good writer I am. I know my stuff. I can rely on my intuition. I’m talented. I can trust in me.

So now I suppose the best word for how I feel is liminal. It’s not an entirely comfortable feeling, but instead of being scared by that, the in-betweeness of my career and where I thought I’d be instead — I don’t know — I just can’t help but feel full of potential and opportunity. I’m back to where I was before Edie. I’m good at what I do and I can write anything I damn well please ;).

So yeah — that’s been 2014. And as for 2015? It’s time to get back to work. ;)

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This post is password protected. You can read it at Cassie Alexander, where it was originally posted. You can comment here or there.

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