I’m not doing super awesome with this whole pandemic thing, honestly. I think we should cancel it.
I’m super scatterbrained and just keep forgetting what day it is and what I need to be working on, to the point that my blog post didn’t get written on Thursday or Friday, and then I kinda felt like it didn’t matter in comparison to everything else, but it does matter to me, so I’m writing it now.
I think I’m going to try to do a sketch a day for a while, because that was pretty fun in October, and it seems like a good way to get my mind off the wildly stressful stuff that’s going on right now. Today, I drew a Chinese mantis that I met quite a few years ago. She had wandered into my garden and was quite charming and friendly. This introduced species is very common in the US, and is even sold in garden stores for pest control.
This is all very weird and scary, and it is definitely messing with my head. I spent the whole week thinking it was Thursday, right up until Friday when I thought that it was already Saturday. I’m focusing on the garden a lot as the weather in Seattle finally warms up. Making some food and adding extra color to the world seems like a very good thing right now.
Please be safe and, wherever possible, take care of the people, animals, and plants around you.
There’s nothing like the looming threat of quarantine to make a person want to get out of the house, so I tried out a new hiking spot, since that’s a pretty low human contact activity. It was very pretty and soothing.
I picked up The Hunger by Alma Katsu while I was in Portland for the weekend, and I finished it within a few hours of getting home. The book is a fictional account of the Donner party’s entire ill-fated adventure. It makes a pretty solid horror story, as you might imagine.
She clearly did a huge amount of research, and her writing made the setting and characters feel very real. That made it even more interesting that we got some female perspectives, since their lives and interests tend to get glossed over in the history books. The cast of main/focus characters is fairly balanced between men and women, but not racially diverse, in spite of the fact that some non-white folks do get involved at points.
She does a great job of showing just enough about each character to make you curious about them, but not enough that it bogs down the story. Sometimes it was a tiny bit aggravating, since most of the characters clearly had deep dark secrets and their brooding refusal to think about them in complete sentences could feel a bit contrived after a while. Regardless, she did get me pretty invested in a handful of them, in spite of the fact that I knew going in approximately what happened to the Donner party (Historical spoiler: It was unfortunate) so I tried not to get attached. She dragged me in anyway, and it was a weird and interesting ride.
In conclusion, The Hunger was legit creepy and well-written, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes horror and history.
Content warnings for the book listed below the photo, so people who want to avoid story spoilers can do so.
Content warnings: Descriptions of violence and some gore. Descriptions of sexual assault. Portrayal of suicidal thoughts and actions. Racist comments against Native Americans. Use/appropriation of Native American myths and beliefs. Personally, I was most bothered by the internalized homophobia of one of the characters. Unlike the other potentially triggering things, that self-hatred wasn’t as clearly framed as a bad thing. Given how hard that would have been to portray, I kinda wish that aspect of the character had just been omitted.
My husband and I saw Emma yesterday, which was hilarious, and now I’m in Portland with my boyfriend. It’s shaping up to be an excellent birthday week. I didn’t come up with anything particularly clever to share here, so here’s a picture of me with a goofy bunny sitting on my shoulder.
So, some new stuff is coming up. I’m still working on the details, but I’ll be offering email list signups soon. I’ve been reluctant to do that, because I personally find excessive email pretty bothersome, but an email list is an important thing for indie authors to build and maintain.
Self published authors rely heavily on the grace of a few huge corporations for their livelihoods. Amazon and Facebook are particularly known for their capriciousness, but all companies can suddenly change their business model or regulations, not to mention that accounts can be deactivated or deleted entirely. Sometimes that’s accidental, and sometimes it’s the result of a targeted effort on the part of trolls who don’t like that person’s platform. When that happens, the author can potentially lose all of their followers permanently, which means they lose all their ability to advertise their work to an interested audience. That’s the work of months, or even years, building an audience, and it can be gone in an instant.
An email list is a group of people who are interested in what the author has to offer, and it isn’t subject to the whims of Facebook or Amazon or any other company. It belongs to the author. Even if Mail Chimp, or whichever other service they’re using, goes under, they’ll still have that list and can switch to another similar service. That’s why it’s so important for authors.
It can also be nice for followers who don’t use social media as heavily, since they may otherwise miss content or events from creators they enjoy. There’s a balance to strike, where emails regularly offer content that followers are interested in, but obviously they should never overwhelm anyone’s inbox. I would never encourage anyone to stay signed up for emails that stress them out or annoy them. It’s just one option, for anyone who might be interested.
I’m really struggling to write this post. I can’t think of anything to say, and I’m getting frustrated and distracted, and it’s probably at least in part because I set my expectations too high this week. I wanted to come up with something more to write about than just a quick update or picture, but there’s also a lot of other stuff going on in my life right now, and that inspiring idea just didn’t show up.
It’s so easy to feel like I should just throw my hands up and not post anything if I have nothing cool to share, but that’s not a healthy approach to meeting goals. I said I’d post every Friday, and I do. Ground-breaking content is not specified, although it’d definitely be neat if I could scrounge some up more often.