Six reasons why my cats are jerks
Oh boy, it’s been so long since I’ve written a proper blog. You all know how much I love lists. And cats. So let’s do this thing!
Sadly, I lost two cats to illness last year. While I cannot replace my lovelies who crossed the rainbow bridge too soon, we were able to adopt more. So let’s introduce you to the most recent family of shelter cats.
Fluffy – Pretty plus and absurdly hirsute, her main hobbies include judging others and hissing. And snacks. Lots of snacks. Preferably brought to her by her human slaves.
More writing stuff I've learned up to now (not complete) (list will never be complete)
Recently, I was cleaning out my email in-box and ran across contest entries, emails, and queries that I sent, way back when the world was good and pure, and the possibilities for becoming an author were endless. One thing became super clear: I didn’t have a single clue what I was doing.
Now? Still learning, but I do have a better grasp on what I am supposed to be doing and what seems to work in my little nook of the universe.
#1) Time management = everything. Especially for those of us working full-time jobs. A day or a week off is GOLD. Give me a few post-it sheets for my to-do list and I will set the world on fire. (Not literally. That would be super bad.)
#2) Let editors know your time frames. Because of my weird work schedule, I am on call for 7-10 days at a time. During that time, my writing brain pretty much shuts down and I live in on-call doctor mode. It’s not in anyone’s best interest for me to have deadlines or interviews or projects due during that period. I do my best to let folks know this information in advance, or will try to pre-emptively complete projects early when I know these blocks are coming. I’ve been caught out a few times where I didn’t give enough lead-time on my time limitations. Like many professional areas, I need to work more on time transparency.
#3) Marketing still kind of stinks. There’s no magic bullet. There’s no one thing to do that will make a book visible. And social media will eat up all of my time, if I’m not careful. Over time, I’ve cultivated some marketing sites that seem to work for me. For right now. Things change constantly.
It’s been 12 years since I wrote that first (awful) manuscript. Wow. Looking back, it’s clear I had no clue about publishing, and very little clue about writing. That’s not to say I didn’t >think< I knew a lot! Ugh.
Here’s a mishmash of what I’ve learned. Maybe it will help other writers or writers-to-be. Hopefully it will keep others from making the same mistakes that I’ve made.
Image via despair.com
#1) Overnight success isn’t overnight. Marketing/social media makes it appear like it’s overnight. Rarely is this true. I don’t know if I can claim the robust definition of “success” yet, but I wrote my first book in 2005. My first published book (which was NOT my first book written, BTW), was printed in 2015. That was a goal achieved, even if a small one.
#2) If you’re going to be clueless, at least be pleasant. I didn’t know beans about publishing and etiquette, and thus I kind of Mr. Magoo’d into asking for something. And got it. (Stars and planets had to have aligned that day. No other explanation.) That conversation could have gone either way, and frankly, I got lucky.
Okay, roll up the sleeves, it’s year two of the judging adventures for RWA’s 2017 RITA awards! Cannot wait for my packet of books to arrive. It’s really like Christmas! I talked about my first experience of judging RWA around this time last year and how, well, not super duper qualified I was to judge the contest.
So, from that basement, there's nowhere to go but up this year! How am I going to up my scoring game for this year’s RITA’s? As I described in the March 2016 post, there’s really no consensus explanation of how to score or what the numbers really mean. What does a 6 mean? What does an 8 mean? Is Judge A's 9 the same thing as Judge B's? I don't know. I haven’t even tried to figure out decimals, and therefore, we will work on that later when I arbitrarily award decimal bonuses. Yeah. I said it. Decimal. Bonuses.
Every so often, I talk about how my writing life needs to remain separate from my professional/personal life. It’s not that I don’t want readers to know more about me. Quite the opposite. It’s that, well, for one thing, Big Brother in the workplace is kind of a thing these days. The particular Big Brother corporation I work with is a benevolent yet capricious and sometimes draconian organization, and I cannot be confident that the company would recognize the separation between work and writing.
Along those same lines, I’m not quite ready to share the writing work with all of my friends, family members, coworkers, and patients. The topics/scenes I delve into are quite dark and can be painful and graphic. Readers seem to dig it, and it’s cathartic for me to write this way. And frankly, I don’t know how to water stuff down. As one reviewer wrote, “(Jillian) sure knows how to write torture scenes.” And I’m proud of that fact that the words can make someone feel everything that’s happening to the characters.
ChapStick is magic
With dry, winter weather comes dry, winter lips. Which makes me think of one of my favorite products: ChapStick.
Whoever came up with this stuff is a verifiable genius. Here’s why I love it. It’s possible that I have a medically definable diagnosis relative to this petroleum-based product.
#1) Fits in every single pocket of every single pair of pants I own.
#2) Stashes easily in purses and desks at work.
#3) Comes in different colors that all end up clear on your lips.
#4) Saves having to apply lipstick. Lipstick? Yuck.
#5) If I have ChapStick in my pocket, my stress level magically drops 10 points.
#6) Zipper stuck? Rub some ChapStick into it and the zipper will work again.
#7) Survivalists out there? Yeah, you can smear this stuff on any fabric and use it as fire started. (After swiping it one last time over your lips, of course.)
#8) Scuffed shoes? You can fix it with ChapStick. Yeah. I said it. Dab or rub the product on the shoes, then buff with a soft cloth. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do in a pinch. Note to self: do not use the ChapStick on your ips after using on the shoes, because....yuck.
#9) No sunscreen? No problem. Smear the product on your face. Gets you somewhere from 4-15 SPF, depending on the flavor.
#10) Stops bleeding. What? You bet. Of course, it won’t make a lick of difference if you’ve severed your femoral artery. No amount of ChapStick will solve that little conundrum. But if you have, say, a paper cut? Smear a little bit of amazing-ness on it and voila? No more bleeding and sealed from infection.
Excuses for not getting a mammogram
Ok, people. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Otherwise known and "Save the Ta Ta's" month.
It's not simply about wearing pink, although that's cool and everything, no question. Pink rocks.
A few quick facts:
Breast cancer is the #1 cancer in women.
It KILLS over 40,000 women per year.
1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer.
And yes, fellas. Guys can get breast cancer, too.
What about a new study that questions the value of mammography? Look, here's what we know, and here's what the preponderance of research tells us: Mammograms save lives. Period. There's new data suggesting that we might be picking breast cancer up super early in the stage just prior to invasive breast cancer, and maybe this is "over-estimating" the cancer?
If it's there, why not fix it early? Who wants to take the chance and wait? Seriously.
Things that make no sense about a mall
Ok. We’re talking about fun stuff today. Like shopping.
Why? Because I’m in Seattle at the ECWC conference, and the hotel is right across from a big, beautiful mall.
So what, you say? Why the big deal about a mall, you might ask. Well, going to the Big City is a treat for those of us who live hours away from a Big Mall. And to find out there is a Big Department Store in the mall here? That’s me, totally verkelmpt over here. >fans self wildly<
But…there are things that make no sense in a mall.
#1) Why is there an extra large size in the petite section? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
#2) Why do they write on the bra tag “comfort underwire”? That’s also an oxymoron. Written by morons. Who don’t wear bras. Who are these people and where can I talk with them. Alone. In a small room.
#3) Why is there a chocolate store next to a sporting goods store?
#4) Why don’t they make bras that really fit how breasts go…like sideways. The tag needs an extra designation. Like “34D, laterally” or 38B, downward” so you know you’re getting the most accurate fit before going into the dressing room and acting like a monkey wrestler, trying to get those darn things on.
…mostly because hubs and I would rock at these events. (We had free time. We made a list.)
#1) Checkers. Before you laugh, recall that ESPN considers poker to be a SPORT. (Seriously?)
#2) Synchronized cannonballs. What’s not to like? This event would be even more awesome off the high platform, but I suppose then they’d increase the chances of broken bones. (If femur pokes out after the dive? Degree of difficulty: HIGH)
#3) Eating chocolate. Dude. Just give me the gold medal already.
#4) Speed reading. Yup.
#5) Side eye and eyeball rolling. Points for distance and for snarky impact.
#6) Riding that inflatable banana thing that you see at the beach or on the lake.
#7) Maintaining a perfect 11:30 minute mile pace for 30 whole minutes. Play me the freakin’ anthem and pass the snacks.
#8) No sleep as an endurance event.
#9) Avoidance of housework. Complete with tiptoeing around hairballs on the carpet.
#10) Competitive rock, scissors, paper
Hubby and I were playing the hypothetical/impossible game of ‘what if’ a few nights ago.
To understand how ridiculous the game is, let’s call the proverbial spade a spade: Hubs and I are a short and stumpy match made in heaven. While we like to imagine that once upon a time we were ‘elite athletes’, the reality is much different. We’re okay with that fact.
But for funsies, let’s go through the list and see what sports might net these two hobbits a gold medal!
#1) Archery: Not really. I can’t hit a fly with an oversized flyswatter, and hubs would kill himself with the compound bow.
#2) Rowing: While it’s a point of dubious pride that I have pretty amazing, flabby man-arms, it’s a foregone conclusion that a few rows with the oars and I’d be done. Snack, please.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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