I Really Didn’t Know What to Write About this Week

I still don’t. I’m working on the whole consistency thing, though… With somewhat mixed results.

Today was pretty busy. I swung by Secret Garden Books to pick up my copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It’s been recommended to me by several people now, so I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m also looking forward to finishing The Monster’s Daughter. It’s interesting, but I don’t think it’s exactly my thing. I do want to see how it turns out, though. I can almost never just put a book down mid-read. I have to know the end, even if it’s not something I’m likely to come back to.

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Random animal update that no one needs: Some of my fish are sick. It appears that the stress of being in a new environment made them vulnerable to a bacterial infection common to livebearing species like guppies and mollies and, in this case, Endler’s livebearers. I’ve been treating them for about a week, but it’s not clearing up. I haven’t lost any of them yet, though, so that’s a good sign. I’ve been treating with salt and Melafix, which is a tea tree product, but I think I’m gonna up my game tomorrow and try some antibiotics.

I did get a few new fish today. The sick ones are in quarantine and the other fish in the tank are still in great health, so there’s no risk of the new guys catching anything.

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I got a few bumblebee otocinclus. They’re tiny suckerfish with adorable stripes.

I ran a few other errands, and then got to do some bat watching at the park. It’s nice to see so many of them around here. Now I’m up way too late and I’m going to try to do a little more editing tonight before bed.

P.S. Now WordPress is refusing to properly save my post so I can post it and I want to scream. Blogging is fun!

Camping Pics and Stuff

I don’t think I’ve been reading enough lately. I got distracted by life for a while and it’s been bothering me. I’ve been listening to audiobooks, but I miss just lying down with a book and being absorbed for hours. I needed the full book experience. So, I wandered into a local bookshop today and walked out with some new books and a super cute bookmark.

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This is how you remember history. Statues of old racists not required.

Camping was really fun and relaxing. I wandered around the woods and went wading in the river and took a million pictures of flowers and bugs and things. I also munched on some yummy wild blackberries and caught minnows. All in all it was extremely satisfactory.

Maybe It Shouldn’t Be Quite this Hard

Last Thursday, I cried in front of a stranger because I couldn’t do algebra with colored squares.

After many years of wondering why I’m so damn useless and lazy, I finally got tested for ADHD.* I’ve had partners with it, read books about it, but I really didn’t think it applied to me. I wondered sometimes, but I thought I was just looking for an easy way out of just getting my shit together, which is frustratingly typical. I have no hyperactivity problems; I can sit still just fine, especially if I’ve got something interesting in front of me. The issue is in my ability to focus on the right stuff at the right time and for long enough to get it done. I’ve heard it described as feeling like you’ve got too many tabs open in your brain-browser. That’s basically it, except to me it also feels like there’s this constant static that makes it hard for any clear action signals to get through. I may know I need to get up and go to an appointment, but instead of getting up, I’ll sit motionless and listen to my brain buzzing until the time to go is long past.

Now, of course, I really wish I’d been diagnosed younger. My academic record is basically just a painful mess, and I can’t help thinking that maybe it didn’t have to be. Women are massively under-diagnosed with ADHD. Because of social conditioning, girls tend to get depressed and hate themselves for struggling rather than scream and break things, so we often don’t get help. Society is really pretty chill with girls being depressed and dysfunctional, so long as we are considerate enough to implode rather than explode.

One way of looking at it that I personally kind of like, is that ADHD isn’t exactly a flaw in brain function; it’s more of an outdated feature. It can have great benefits, especially if you happen to be a hunter-gatherer who needs to watch for lions and venomous snakes without missing any subtle signs of drinkable water and edible tubers. This is one of those things where social context largely determines impact, and what might make me really excellent at some things, makes me absolutely crap at what I want to do with my life and means that I can’t keep up with the lifestyle required by this society.

I would like to function better in my daily life and be able to fully pursue my goals, so I’m starting CBT coaching and I’m also going to look into medication, because science is awesome and this is exactly the kind of thing it is for.

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The moody leaves have nothing to do with anything. I just like them.

*Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder: Apparently ADD is now combined with ADHD even when there’s no hyperactive component and is referred to as inattentive ADHD.

Writing Dirty

Recently, someone in a writing group I follow asked for advice on good words to use when writing a sex scene. They got a lot of answers, many of which could be broken down into two categories: strangely clinical* and childish euphemisms. I feel like it all missed the point, though.

Even beginning writers generally know that they need to develop a distinct voice for each character. Failing this, the characters all sound exactly alike and it won’t be believable. A teenager probably shouldn’t sound the same as a fifty-year-old ex-mercenary. Although, if they do, that could be a pretty distinct character voice right there, provided they’re surrounded by people with contrasting speaking styles.

I think the issue when it comes to writing sexy scenes is that people get nervous and stiffen up. (Heh.) They’re afraid they’ll sound silly, or they’re afraid the subject matter itself will spark a negative response, and they want to word it perfectly. It’s also kind of hard to toe the line between a sexy, romantic scene and straight up porn. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, but it may not be what the writer is going for. I’m sure a list of suggestions can be very helpful in this situation, but it won’t do to just pick and choose an array of words that sound good to the writer.

The writer is piloting the characters, and the characters still need to sound like themselves. Even if the story is in third person, it’s best to use words that the POV (point of view) character might use. This draws the reader in and makes them feel close to that character. It sets the tone. There are times when distancing the reader is fine, but a romantic or sexy scene really isn’t one of them. That’s exactly when you want that closeness, so the reader is emotionally invested in what’s going on.

In first person, this is even more vital. The writer absolutely has to choose words that suit the character. It makes no sense for them to switch into a different mode as soon as things start to get steamy. The biker can’t go from cursing the air blue to referring to their partner’s genitals as their “tenderness.” It’s just weird. If the character would use terms that make the author uncomfortable, the author is gonna have to deal with that or wind up creating a very inconsistent narrative. The words should also go together well. Switching tone mid-scene is confusing and will push the reader out of immersion.

So, what would the character say? That’s it. Asking around for inspiration is great, but it all has to be filtered through the character in the end.

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I tried to find more suggestive flowers, but this was the best I could do. I apologize.

*  Anatomy tip: The vagina is on the inside and the vulva is on the outside. Unless there’s penetration involved, no one is doing anything to the vagina. I was a little concerned by the number of people who suggested penis and vagina as the only terms any writer really needs for a solid sex scene. For a number of reasons.

 

Updated Back Cover Blurb for Somnolence

Seventeen year old Orane has been given a mission by her royal parents: to travel to Castle Destare and convince her reclusive uncle to leave his estate to her family. With only her new lady in waiting for companionship, and steadfast Captain Felix and his men for protection, Orane sets out for the northern mountains.

After a harrowing attack on the road, Castle Destare is a welcome sight, but it is nothing like Orane expected. Her uncle and his caretakers are strange and withdrawn, and the great stronghold itself seems to be slowly surrendering to the elements. Worse, Orane can’t help feeling that the decay is creeping into her mind. With unnatural creatures prowling the woods, escape seems impossible, but it might be just as dangerous to stay.

Will Orane be able to open her heart and uncover the terrible secret that haunts the castle, or is it already too late? 

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Wildly Optimistic Book Goals

I’ve been avoiding committing myself because I’m about as in over my head as I expected to be this year, but here’s what I’m aiming for.

Finish this stage and return manuscript to the editor for line edit – August 8th

Cover reveal – September 15th

Open for preorders – November 15th

Release date – December 1st

I just like this picture I took. Orane’s family crest features thistles, though, so it’s loosely related.

Some Photos From the Shoot

Today was a bit of a wash, but here are some cute pictures from my photoshoot. I think Christine at Entwined Portraits did a great job working with my total awkwardness. She was so nice and professional, and she made the whole experience fun. We even worked the pups in there right at the end because we had extra time, and I’m a ridiculous dog person and insufficiently ashamed of it.

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Gotta have my sugary caffeinated beverage to work.
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Serious author face.
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They are not cooperative beasts.