truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (lionsmane)
1. Yesterday I posed with a giant inflatable colon to promote colorectal cancer awareness. Most surreal Thursday morning ever.

Yes, a colonoscopy is not the most fun you will ever have, but speaking as a friend of the awesome Jay Lake and as someone who has had a polyp removed from her colon and will be going back for another screening in a couple years, colon cancer needs to be beaten to death with a stick.

2. Liz Bourke has reviewed The Goblin Emperor for As an author, positive reviews are great, but what you really want are good reviews, reviews that understand the book you tried to write and convey it well. This is that kind of review.

3. I am currently undergoing all kinds of adjustments to my . . . I don't even know what to call it. The victory conditions for sleep? They're shipping me a different mask to try with the little Cthulhu machine. It will still look like a disastrous attempt at an elephant costume, but hopefully it will (a) be more comfortable and (b) seal to my face better. Yes, I have seen Aliens. Please don't remind me.

But ALSO, my sleep doctor and I are trying to rejigger my RLS medications, because I'd gotten to the point where it was requiring way too much narcotics to club the damn thing into unconsciousness. The new medication is definitely working, so that's a plus, and I am re-weaning myself off the narcotics. Yes, there has been just a tiny bit of withdrawal. I haven't gone off them entirely yet, but I am working on it because I hate the damn drugs. I am hoping that when I can finally stop taking them, I will be less tired and also that my creativity will come back again.

It did come back in December and January before drying up again in February, and the creepy thing is that I can actually articulate the difference. When everything is working correctly (i.e., what I thought of as "normal" until the clusterfuck began in 2010), there are words in my head. Well, there are always words in my head. I am like Hector Puncheon, who "usually thought articulately, and often, indeed, conversed quite sensibly aloud with his own soul." So maybe it's more accurate to say that the staus quo ante, to which I desire ardently to return, is that there are stories forming, word by word. Because there are words, separate from my internal narration/dialogue. They form themselves into sentences, and the sentences form narratives. When it was working right, I would frequently "get" sentences from Booth out of nowhere.

Now, I can force prose. There are always days when you have to. But it's not the same, at least from my side of the proscenium, and I really didn't realize what I'd lost until I had it back. I didn't realize that there was a wellspring, that I wasn't imagining that writing used to involve joy instead of just grim desperation.

I had it back, and then the RLS went bad, and it was gone again. I knew that bad RLS nights correlated with low or nonexistent creativity, and now I know what it's attacking. I know that there's a thing that should be there that isn't. And I can only hope that it can grow back. Again.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (lionsmane)
1. This guy's art is AMAZING.

2. The thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is that I now have a little weather prediction center in my right ankle that FAITHFULLY lets me know when the weather is changing. You know, just like characters in books always do. I must tell you, however, that it is not actually as much fun as you might think.

3. I love this proof that cats have always been cats.

4. I have rubbed a raw spot inside my nose with my sleep apnea tentacles. DON'T ASK ME HOW I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

5. If you are in need of laughter today, this site made me laugh so hard I nearly ended up on the floor.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: hamlet)
This is most likely the last post I will make specifically about my ankle, unless something changes dramatically for better or worse, although I'll probably still bitch about it from time to time.

I'm making this post for closure on the series of posts I made about breaking my ankle and recovering therefrom, and because everything is a learning experience and everything is potentially story material, so that anyone thinking about breaking a character's ankle will have some idea of (at least some of) the possible repercussions and outcomes.

cut for the laundry list )

Overall--and I want to be clear about this--I am extremely lucky. I do have full range of motion, and the lingering problems don't prevent me from doing any of the things I love. The RLS is far, far worse, both in terms of day to day nuisance value and because it makes travel so very, very unpleasant. But my ankle is never going to be as good as it was before I broke it, and while I'm at peace with that (unlike with the sleep apnea, which still makes me want to punch things), it is a fact that requires some workarounds and hacks in order to be manageable. (Really, the cut-up old socks are damn near miraculous.)

And that's the new status quo.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (ws: hamlet)
So, one of the pieces of writing advice I tend to endorse is the idea that you need to write every day, or as close to it as you can manage. And I still think it's true, or at least helpful, to think of writing as something you have to practice frequently and regularly, like music or baseball or dressage.

But I swear to god I had no idea how hard it is.

I knew about how hard it could be to find the time, especially if you have the pieces of a real life to try to assemble around it. And I knew how hard it could be when you felt like there were no words in your head, even when you had time to write them down.

I stopped blogging last year because of tendinitis in my right thumb (and, yes, that word really is spelled correctly, wrong though it looks) and carpal tunnel issues and the fact that my day job was all data entry. Thumb and wrists have improved, especially if I am NOT STUPID; temporary day job, being temporary, ended in November, and I am still waiting for another assignment; it seems like this would be the perfect time to write things: An Apprentice to Elves, for example, or Thirdhop Scarp, or any of a score of other projects.

But then there's the Restless Leg Syndrome, which revved up about the time my day job ended and has been relentless ever since. I learned in 2010 that creativity and RLS exist in inverse proportion to each other; in 2012 I learned that not only does RLS scour the creativity out of my head, but on the occasions when I do manage to write something, or to think seriously about writing something, it also deploys the worst of all the inner voices any writer (or artist or musician or anyone who loves what they do) can be afflicted with, the one that says, That's stupid. No one wants to read that. God, that's just puerile. This isn't working. The more words you put into it, the worse it's getting. Stop before you destroy whatever good you'd managed at all.

I know that voice is a liar. But I'm also tired and stressed and unhappy (see above re: neither job nor writing), and you know, that write every day advice seems smug and self-satisfied, and dear god don't you think I would if I could?

My RLS specialist and I are working on adjusting my medications. I am trying to get the things done that I can and not to beat myself up about the fact that right now there are things that I can't.

But it may be a while before I'm blogging regularly again. Thank you for your patience.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (tr: mole)
This is just to let everyone know that I'm going to be off the internet for the next couple of months. Do not panic; although it is a medical issue, it is nothing life-threatening or paradigm-shifting.

Hopefully, I'll be back, at least in a limited capacity, by the New Year.

In the meantime, two things:

1. Since someone asked & I suspect other people will be interested in the answer: no, there is not currently any legally available e-format (or paper format for that matter) of either Mélusine or The Virtu. This is because I, personally, do not have a useable electronic version of either book and thus cannot self-publish them through Lulu and/or Smashwords (or another of their ilk), which I promise you is still the plan. I am really, wretchedly sorry about this state of affairs, but making any of the files I do have into useable versions of the text of the published books is something I cannot do right now.

2. If you need to get in touch with me, to ask me a question or tell me about something important, my email address is semonette (at) I will be checking my email, although not necessarily every day.

Best wishes to you all for the rest of 2012.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (shalott)
Dear Internets,

Please tell me about your experiences with endometrial ablation. cut for what may be TMI )

Basically, I don't like any of the options I can see, and I think I need more data. All comments, from the anecdotal to the clinical, will be gratefully welcomed.

And, as an apology for a very self-centered and overly share-y post, let me point out that "Blue Lace Agate" is available as a podcast at Lightspeed, as are many other fine stories, including one by [ profile] mrissa. (I would link, but Lightspeed's site is currently down.)
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (porpentine: stick)
My body, as I have noticed before, thinks it has a sense of humor. Sunday, I write that one of my goals for 2012 is to be healthy. Monday, I come down with the stomach flu.

Ha bloody ha.

The violently disgusting part of the program was mercifully brief, but apparently stomach flu acts as an amplifer for RLS. Monday afternoon I ended up going to Urgent Care, not for the flu, but for the involuntary twitching and spasms I was having in both legs. If RLS is like having little dragons chasing each other up and down my legs, this was big dragons. On STEROIDS. We weren't to too serious for numbers, but we definitely reached my pain is not fucking around. (The doctor said that gastrointestinal upset can have neurological effects, which was a new one on me. Of course, usually those effects are weakness in the legs, not uncontrollable twitching. Because I just have to be a special snowflake.) They ended up giving me an extra dose of my usual RLS medication--which, hey, three cheers for Lyrica, because it worked.

Since then, I've been virusish: weak and washed out and although I'm not nauseated any longer, food is deeply unappealing. And there's the twitching. The horrible relentless twitching. The sleep clnic doctors have okayed my taking an extra Lyrica during the day and assured me Tuesday that things would die down in "a couple days."

The degree to which I want them to be right cannot be expressed in words.

truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (writing: glass cat)
As the new year begins, my story "Blue Lace Agate" is live at Lightspeed. (Author interview here.) "Blue Lace Agate" is chronologically the first story about Mick and Jamie, the protagonists of "A Night in Electric Squidland" and "Impostors" (in Somewhere Beneath Those Waves), and I'm delighted that it has finally found a home.

ETA: Also, Mateusz Skutnik has a charming little New Year's game which I commend to your attention.

Although I don't usually write year-in-review posts, after the year I've just had, I really do feel the need to sit down and take stock (4,691 irradiated haggis, check).


2011 in bullet points )

As 2012 begins, I'm going to full-time as a database thrall, and we'll see what effect that has on my health and my writing.

Goals for 2012 (note to self: do not mistype as "gaols," please) include:
  • finish The Goblin Emperor
  • write An Apprentice to Elves [with [ profile] matociquala]
  • finish Thirdhop Scarp and write this backlog of Booth stories
  • write a bunch of other short stories
  • maybe start on this novel that is twining seductively around my ankles
  • blog more

Happy New Year! May 2012 be a better year for all of us than 2011!
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
So, today [ profile] mirrorthaw and I spent way more of our Saturday than either of us had intended in various healthcare institutions, determining that what I have is NOT a blood clot in my right leg. It is a Baker's cyst. Which is good news (no blood clot = YAY!), but is in itself annoying and painful and about all there is to do about it is wait for it to go away.

My body thinks it has a sense of humor, but it's wrong.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
So, yes, I'm still here. Just not on the internets hardly at all.

the details, if you want 'em )

But while I'm here, I should mention that [ profile] matociquala and I will be doing a signing (which I just mistyped "singing," and honestly? that's not impossible) as part of Pandemonium Books' 22nd anniversary celebration on November 19th (their website says the 18th, but that's the Friday and the signing is on Saturday). If you happen to be in the Boston area, you should totally come out for it.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (smaug)
So, in case anybody was wondering, the RLS isn't beaten yet. It's definitely improved--it's mostly just the right leg now, except on really bad nights, and it's not as miserablely awful. But it's still bad enough that I can't sleep until it lets go. I've started thinking of it as a very small dragon flexing its claws in my right quadriceps; when the dragon goes to sleep, so can I.

But this lack of sleep is interfering with basically everything, including my writing, and most specifically the revisions to The Goblin Emperor which I need to have done by September first. Mostly what's been happening lately is that I open the file and then just stare at it sadly, kind of like this:

(Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half: Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving)

This is not a good state of affairs.

So I let my doctor at the sleep clinic prescribe temazepam (brand name Restoril), even though I do not like sleeping pills, and I tried it last night.

It was an interesting experience.

It did work (Ambien didn't), but it seemed to send my body to sleep well before my mind, so I lay there for I don't know how long, being aware that my body had become this great inert LUMP. On the other hand, it worked on the dragon, too, so there was a certain amount of pleasure simply in being aware that my right thigh wasn't doing the latent-twitch thing that it does almost all the time these days. (It's not that I'm actually twitching; it's that my right quadriceps feels like it's about to twitch. CONSTANTLY.) And I know I did sleep, because I had weird dreams (that part, at least, is comfortingly familiar), and I slept for what must be about twelve hours.

On the other other hand, I feel disassociated and unsteady and not particularly well rested--although that last may be attributable to chronic lack of sleep rather than the temazepam. So I'll keep taking it, at least for another couple days (yes, I am hyper-vigilant about that whole chemical-dependency thing, thank you), but I'm in no danger of coming to like it.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (horse: fd-milo)
1. The tow truck guy, bless his tattooed heart, figured out what's causing the Saab's psychosis before I had to pay him to tow it to the service guys.

2. It's the ignition switch. Now we wait to find out whether the service guys can rebuild it or whether we have to get a new one . . . on which there is no ETA. I love my 1997 Saab, but there are drawbacks.

3. Speaking of drawbacks, my insurance company voted no on the Lyrica prescription. I need to find time to call my doctor's office and find out what we do about round 2.

4. On the other hand, the acupuncture is working. I took a walk with [ profile] mirrorthaw yesterday after my appointment and had to double-take twice. Once because my ankle didn't hurt and once later because my thigh muscles weren't stringed-instrument-tense. It didn't last, but boy it was nice while it was there.

5. And finally, today I had the odd experience of consciously witnessing myself have a breakthrough. I've been struggling for most of a year, since before I broke my ankle, with cantering. (Yet another thing fantasy writers don't think about.) I fell off the first time I tried cantering off the lunge line--actually it was three hundred and sixty-three days ago, May 19, I just went and looked--and since then I've been struggling both to learn how to canter and to stop being afraid of it. (The huge hiatus because of the ankle did not help.) But today we were working off the lunge line, and I asked my teacher if we could try cantering. Not because I thought I ought to, but because I wanted to. She was delighted.

Milo and I cantered. I didn't fall off and I wasn't terrified I was going to (although I do need to quit trying to grip the stirrups with my toes). It was splendid.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. The Gabapentin has stopped working.

2. My (baffled) doctor has prescribed Lyrica, which my insurance company does not want to let me have. Since the paperwork couldn't get cleared up before the weekend, it will be Monday before I have a chance even to TRY this new drug. ("I want a new drug, one that does what it should"--Glen Phillips's cover of that song is BEYOND BRILLIANT, btw. And there's always Weird Al and "I Want A New Duck".)

3. This is the second time in 2011 I've had this problem, since my insurance company decided at the beginning of the year that it didn't want to cover Protonix, which I have been taking successfully for 10+ years. It would rather I take Prilosec, which is not as effective (I'm on a doubled dose, and am suspicious I may have to go back and tell my gastroenterologist that's not working either).

4. And this is with GOOD health insurance.

5. Also, our fourteen-year-old Saab has just gone pear-shaped. I think Friday the Thirteenth was just waiting until Saturday.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
I am back safely from Arizona.

LepreCon was excellent--thank you to everybody involved!--and Arizona was beautiful. I deeply appreciated that fifty-degree temperature differential.

Traveling was kind of dreadful, although mercifully everything was on time and nothing exciting happened. But American Airlines squashes its coach passengers into tiny seats and, having charged $25 to check a bag, does not feel it can spring for so much as a packet of peanuts. The positive side is that the plate and nine screws in my ankle did not set off the metal detectors either in Madison or Phoenix.

And traveling with RLS is like traveling with a demon toddler. It WON'T go to sleep, WON'T WON'T WON'T, and that means I can't sleep either. Making me a charming roommate, as [ profile] matociquala and [ profile] klages can attest.

But I got to see many people I am very fond of, and don't get to see very often, and I met new people whom I liked very much, and aside from my stupid health issues, had a wonderful time.

And I came home to discover that spring, which has been on back-order for two months, has finally arrived.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
So I voted today, in exactly the pinkoliberalcommiebitch way you would expect of me. I also ran a number of other errands, including an appointment with my GI specialist so that maybe I can stop feeling queasy all the time.

And, following [ profile] mrissa's Law, I stopped for ice cream. (The Chocolate Shoppe's Peanut Butter Cup, which--just in case you need to know--I recommend highly.)

Ice cream is almost always, IMHO, a good idea. Sometimes, it is also the right idea, and today was one of those times. My mood and general demeanor improved approximately a hundredfold between walking into the ice cream parlor and walking out again.

In celebration of that, I'm going to offer a list of some other things that have made me feel cheerful this week:

  • Occasionally, I talk in my sleep. Sunday morning, [ profile] mirrorthaw tells me, I said, very clearly, "Oh god, an audience." I have no idea what I was dreaming about.
  • Monday, when I dragged myself out of bed, there were no jellicle ninjas visible. I staggered out into the hall, and--like magic!--two little black faces appeared, one from the TV room and one from the stairs, to see if I was doing anything cats might be interested in.
  • The crocuses are blooming, in a distinctly Dear Old Man Winter, fuck you very much fashion.
  • Drabblecast has given [ profile] matociquala and me an awesome graphic:

truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. [ profile] saladinahmed is looking for a few good cartographers.

2. I am really tired of feeling like crap all the time.

3. OTOH, great dressage lesson yesterday, after which Milo got his revenge for having to admit I was the boss by (a.) depositing a generous pile of manure in the stable aisle, (b.) backing up to plant his foot in it, and then (c.) pretending he had not the least idea how to go forward again.


5. The pool was closed for maintenance all last week, but I got out there today. Of course, I forgot my watch. :P

Unknown amount of time, 20 laps.
308 miles, 10 laps.

5 things

Mar. 31st, 2011 12:15 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (smaug)
1. I dreamed Monday night that I was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West in a production of Alice in Wonderland. ([ profile] stillsostrange was Alice, which tells you what kind of Alice we're talking about.) I've been wondering all week, more or less idly, how to make the mashup work.

2. Dear Feckless Acupuncture Clinic: If you wish us to have a client/service provider relationship of any kind, there must be a method by which I can communicate with you. Either phone or email is fine, but ONE OF THEM HAS GOT TO GET A RESPONSE.

3. Okay, maybe it's not my magnesium/calcium/zinc supplements making me queasy. Maybe it's just me. :P

4. Amazon says there's cover art for The Tempering of Men.

5. Johnny Cash covering Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day" has depths of awesome beyond what I would have expected. And that's saying something.

5 things

Mar. 13th, 2011 05:07 pm
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. Fifty degrees Fahrenheit is apparently my cut-off for "it's nice enough for a walk."

2. 58,000 people protesting at the Capitol yesterday, which, mind you, is day 27 of the protest. Not that Governor Walker cares.

3. It's useless to say my thoughts are with the people of Japan, but they are. I thought 2011 was bad enough when it was just my shit that was fucked up. (This photo is apparently not from this earthquake, but it's still a powerful image.)

4. My health problems are still problematic. And that's really all I want to say about it.

5. A $3,200 donation has been made to the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital's Companion Animal Fund in memory of Ben. Again, a thousand thank yous to everyone who donated.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (cats: napping)

So here's the thing. Due to the RLS being a complete monster for the past week, I haven't been getting to sleep before about four in the morning--and therefore, haven't been able to drag myself out of bed before noon. Or one. (I hate this, btw, but that's not the point here.) Also, Wednesday, I have a dressage lesson at three, and I know for a fact that if I'm setting up sale posts to go live at two, I will be late. Which is bad.

So I'm making a change. The Ben Jonson Memorial Fundraiser will start at midnight CST, February 2nd, and run 'til midnight CST, February 3rd. This is much more realistic vis-à-vis my actual life right now.

How we're gonna work it:

Except for the production costs of Unnatural Creatures, all the money goes to the Companion Animal Fund.

I will pay shipping costs, and I will ship anywhere in the world. Depending on what the total ends up being, that may mean a lot of things get shipped Media Mail.

After the sale, I will set up a post with screened comments so that if you want things personalized (e.g., To Gawain, with best wishes, Sarah Monette), you can tell me what name or names. If you don't want an inscription, that's cool, too. I'll also ask that everyone who bought something comment, so that I don't make any mistakes in the shipping.

There will be three sale posts, one for the Doctrine of Labyrinths auction, one for the Unnatural Creatures subscription, and one for all the items that I'm simply selling.

1. The auction will run from midnight to midnight. Starting bid is $100.

2. Unnatural Creatures will be on sale from midnight to midnight. You can buy as many copies as you like. I won't place the order with Lulu until after the sale ends (and possibly a little after that, depending on when [ profile] hominysnark gets the cover finished), so there's no need to worry about running out. I will order as many copies as have been paid for at the end of the sale. Please be advised that, since I will have to sign all of them once Lulu has shipped them to me, it may take me a while to get them shipped out to y'all.

3. Everything else. How this part of the sale is going to work goes like this: (1) You make a comment to the post indicating that you want to buy an item. (2) I reply to the comment, letting you know that the item is yours. (3) Then you PayPal me. I don't want anybody paying me when they are, for instance, the sixth person to comment for the five Companion to Wolves hardbacks. Also, if you are having cash-flow issues (as I know at least one interested party is), you may stake your claim during the sale and pay me later. I will not ship anything until the money has transferred, and I won't hold items indefinitely, but you can have a couple days' grace if you need it.

Also, if you don't want to buy anything (or can't afford to buy the thing you want), but would like to make a donation in Ben's memory (for whatever amount--if you can only spare a dollar but want to contribute, that is perfectly okay with me), I will figure out how to set up a PayPal button on the catch-all post so that that can be easy.

If there's anything I've forgotten to address, or anything that's unclear, or heck, just anything you want to ask about, please comment.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
1. Beowulf socks FTW!

2. [ profile] yuki_onna has an excellent rant about the portrayal of the USSR by Western authors, which has some common ground with my rant yesterday about the portrayal of pre-Enlightenment cultures by post-Enlightenment authors.

3. Cake Wrecks' Sunday Sweets this week include this impossibly adorable Baby Cthulhu cake.

4. [ profile] jaylake wants pictures of what you're doing today. As he says, "Not exactly a contest. More like group art."

ETA: My contribution, feeding feral cats:

(Link, and other pics: 1 (without zoom, so that's the actual distance between him and me), 2, 3.)

5. I was hoping to go spectate at a horse show this weekend, but the RLS and associated dyshypnia (is that even a word? sleep dysfunctionality is what I mean--I suppose dyssomnia would be the other option) mean that I have not been able to drag myself out of bed before noon, and the show is two hours away. So no ponies for me, which makes me sad. (The RLS makes me tired and frustrated and stressed, which doesn't help, either.) You are welcome to post things that might help me be more cheerful, although please note that that is posed as an invitation, not a demand.


truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)

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