August 23, 2003
can't win

There are days when I realize... I can't win. Things happen, that's just the way it is.

Friday afternoon we were hammered by a virus at work -- this is utterly rare for us. In fact, first one that's really hit us. But it meant all of IT mobilized to fix the problem. So I lost over a half day of work, at a really critical time when I needed to finish things up. Meaning I was on time in getting ready to go to Torcon, until then. And I'd been working every moment I could just to get that far. *groans*

Last night was date night. That once every six months or so time when Kevin and I actually get a sitter and go out. So we did. Nice dinner at Sam's, an Italian place down in Bethlehem that Kevin's been wanting to take me too for ages. Then a movie out at Crossgates (Pirates of the Carribbean). Then home, exhausted.

Today should've been a good day. We had a LOT to do, since we needed to get all trip prep done today. But... things went haywire. First, both kids are cranky because they stayed up too late last night. We started the day by running errands (can't buy bloody shorts because it is too late in the season!). When we got home, we got the kids fed and tucked into bed for quiet time. Then we went upstairs to do the laundry.

This was when it went downhill. I looked under the edge of the bed, and there was Athena. I thought I'd lost her. Her blood sugar was so low that she was near-comatose and convulsed when I held her. I was panicking, crying and screaming. Kevin brought medical syringe (used for administering oral meds to kids, actually) and filled it twice over with Karo syrup which we got into her. We tried to get her to eat, but even though she was interested, she had too little control over self to do it. I was in a complete panic, and afraid to put her in her cat carrier (and really, too freaked out to drive), so I just cradled Thenie in my arms and climbed into the car, while Kevin rounded up the kids (panicked Ry who he woke up) and shoved them in too and we raced across the Capital District to the emergency vet. By the time we got there, Athena's sugar levels were up to the level of VERY low normal, and she spent an hour or so there eating and getting more sugar via IV injection and then came home. She's sleeping peacefully downstairs now.

So then tonight, the Albacon mailing (not quite done yet) which I haven't had time to do previously. And it's gotta get out. It got started late because we needed to have the whole hotel thing figured out first, and losing our original hotel just made a mess of things. BUt that's straightened out, and we have an idea of how large it can be, so I'm sending it out a good 6 weeks late. *sighs* I'm late on everything these days. It's frustrating. But it seems to be the way life is.

I've got a little relaxing time left tonight, then bed. I'm still exhausted from yesterday (Kev woke us up at 5am because he couldn't sleep anymore). And tomorrow will be another very long day.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:34 PM
August 21, 2003
Dara online

Dara has a web page.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 12:37 PM
August 20, 2003
i'm not bleeding...

*phew* The focus! chat is over, and I'm still breathing, and I'm not bleeding. So it went well. *grins*

I got a lot of really great ideas, and am raring to go on this piece. I need to let it all gel a bit. Some of the ideas were pretty intense changes, but good ones. And I need to figure out how to put it all back together. I suspect eBear will be right -- large chunks of this will be set aside and I'll start with a largely blank paper. Which is daunting.

It is still my goal to have this be a short. Not a novel, not yet. Not until after Dreamwalker is over. Then maybe I can work on it. Hells, in some ways it could be a companion piece (in a completely different location, but in the same almost real world setting). But for now, I just want to find the saleable short story (*fingers crossed*) and well, write it.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me during quiet moments at Torcon. Like while the kids are sleeping, maybe.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:20 PM

*bounce* *bounce* *bounce*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 03:47 PM
it talks!

I have a new cell phone. Currently, it talks when it rings. This is SO weird.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:52 PM
jumping out of my skin

Focus in under 7 hours. End of work day in under 4 hrs. Am jumping out of my skin with anticipation.

Neurons fire. I am firmly in writing/gaming space. Hard to drag the brain back to work space. Especially commissions. Mapping commissions between back office systems is not only frustrating, but appears to impossible on a one to one basis. Kept stutter starting on the process. Have determined I can't complete it until Becky's back in the office tomorrow and I can go to her with examples.

Meeting on the Month End Commissions process in 10 minutes. That'll take a little while. Then after that, finish typing up broker payout. If I get that done, I can do the spec for registration renewal. I've got stuff to keep me busy. It's just that staying focused is a bitch right now.

And it's a bad fibromyalgeia day. There are wandering pangs of weird pain all over the place, and it's distracting and driving me nuts. Makes me want to jump up and go for a long walk. Not possible.

I'll be lucky if I don't completely go nuts by the end of the day.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:20 PM
time to update the character stuff

Okay, I think it's time for me to get my character pages updated. Some characters still don't have pages after more than a year of play. And I have to admit that some campaigns are dead and gone and not likely to come back, so those characters should be removed or moved to inactive status.

Damara gets to stay current, because she is now in a new campaign. Same character -- she woke up in Tears from the Sun, and is working out wonderfully there, with all her baggage coming right along with her.

I've got a note for Dara, but no page. I've been putting a lot of work into her, getting her ready for The Grand Affair, and she has decided to piggyback on my brain for the moment. So I need to get her page done while she's still fresh in my head. Besides, I have a whole ramble on the concept of instruments (yes, musical) to go there, sparked by a pre-game thread with Random. It's interesting what a character will take to heart sometimes, isn't it? But it has given me some interesting insight into her background and psychology.

the Dreamer is still active. I need to add some more ramblings there, I think... maybe if I can get all my notes together and in one coherent place!

Gale, unfortunately, is gone... I haven't heard from Kat about Blackmoor since it went on hiatus. Which is a pity. I was having a great time, and had just jumped threads and it was really a lot of fun. I was looking forward to that thread because it was a real freakout time for Gale. *laughs* She'd done something without really thinking about it, and landed herself in a whole heap of weird.

Haley and Kale, both still good. No updates needed there.

Krystol, Leigh, and Shanna need pages. Krys... who knows if I'll get to play her more. The PBEM aspect of that game always seems to pass me by. So I only play at ACUS. And last year, Mike and Ben (Dad & Mom!) didn't come to the convention. I miss her, actually. Although it's been long enough I'm not sure I remember exactly where she was or what she was doing. Well, other than enjoying being married after all the fun it took to get there!

Kylie needs to be removed -- I'm switching Shanna in there. I played Shanna in my first campaign with Frank, and that campaign ended. When he started a new campaign in the same world, I started Kylie. But she doesn't have the same resonance as Shanna (which is odd, since Kylie is far more of a typical "me" character -- bouncing, cheerful, effervescent, innocent). So we're writing Kylie out and Shanna in, which is just WAY cool. I love Shanna.

And Leigh... I've been playing Leigh in SB for a while (met some PCs! whee!) and she's fun. But she doesn't have a theme song, and she's still sort of new in my head somehow, so I don't have a page for her yet. Although right now she's trying to tumble into something that could be a bit of trouble, so she's starting to grow in my head some more.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:53 AM

It is just SO frustrating when an idea strikes for a short story at a time when I can not scribble it. *grumbles* Just got one combining the high fever with the lights going out in an apocolypse story which I am totally sure counts as trite and overdone but well, it wants to be written so I just have to write it. Right?

Hopefully later. I scribbled notes to myself so I don't forget the image in my head or the thoughts about the lyrics of the story (yes, lyrics... there was something very singsong in my head about it).

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:16 AM
reward for writing

Okay, so last night my reward for getting the entire Celia scene finished (half the chapter) was to skip ahead to the next chapter and start a Traci sequence. *grins* I'm now working both the rest of chapter 4 (which is a long Karen sequence) and also starting chapter 5 (the Traci sequence). The Traci bit is interesting. It ties her into the dreaming plotline, as well as defining more about her and her relationship with Shane. As always, relationships are a huge part of my work. Karen & her husband and family. Celia, with Jay on her heels and also working with the cop. And Traci and Shane and her extended family. I think I find it impossible to write characters who do not connect with other characters in the story, and somehow find strength from that.

I'm hoping to get both chapter 4 and chapter 5 finished up by the time Torcon really starts. I'd like to finish 4 before I go, but with all the prepping that may not be possible. However, when I get there, there will be a lot of quiet in-room time. Last time I was in a hotel for a weekend, I used naptimes to get two stories revised and one out the door for submission. Admittedly, I can't do hard copy subs while I am in Canada, but I can certainly do email subs. I'm definitely bringing "Amber Eyes" with me so that I can revise that one after the focus. Although so many of the comments are conflicting. Tonight's the focus. Nervous. Excited. Can't wait!

Still haven't decided what to bring for the pajama party. Not sure when exactly that's happening... I think Friday night. I'm torn on pieces. I might just go and crit and hang out and meet people. That's the part I'm really looking forward to. Of course, I know eBear (have known her for years, yay Bear!) but I've never met most of the folks on the OWW that I talk to. And a lot of people will be there, and I'm really looking forward to getting to put faces to names.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 07:48 AM
August 19, 2003
cold feet

Okay, I'm nervous.

Tomorrow's my Focus! chat for OWW. I've gotten some really positive reviews and some really negative reviews. They say that those stories that receive conflicting reviews are the ones that sell, but I don't think it's one of those stories. *smiles*

The funny thing is, my biggest question was about whether it was a complete story. Some people say yes, some people say no, and some say yes but not quite it needs these details. I got one of those last ones that was just SO helpful. It's like the review that has me just about ready to pull it and start rewriting it again. Although since I *just* rewrote it, I'm terrified of digging back into it again. I think I'm still a bit too close to it.

But I want to get this one working and out the door. I'm fond of it for some reason. I'd like to see it get picked up somewhere. It's certainly not F&SF grade material. But I hope there's a home somewhere.

But first I have to survive tomorrow night. I've got my thick skin on, and my questions ready, and I'm wondering if I'll get a word in edgewise. *smiles*

Overall, I'm terrified. But I'm also antsy and ready for it and I can't wait. I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow after dinner I get to go upstairs all by myself and focus on my own Focus! (how's that for cool -- my husband is SO wonderful sometimes).


Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:47 PM

Okay, it's not an "I got published" sort of wahoo. But with all the struggling I've been doing with Dreamwalker, I am just SO excited to have cranked out 1200 words today. I spit out a couple hundred at lunchtime. And then while Dani had her gymnastics class I really hit a major roll (in a Celia scene of all places) and cranked out a thousand words. I'm just SO excited.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 07:25 PM
mind on walkabout

Okay, my brain has done that thing where it keeps wandering and it's nearly impossible to keep it focussed on the task at hand.

This happens periodically. Usually when I need a vacation (gods know I do). A part of my mind is already allocated to being on the road. To relaxing. To writing.

Dreamwalker is raring at me, wanting me to write it. For the moment I have creativity, and of course, no time to put it to the test. It is a good scene -- Celia's first interaction with Art, which sets the stage for that as well as begins the storyline of the police intersecting with the dreamwalker. Then I'll bring in Karen, and things'll start to really roll from there.

One comment I've gotten so far is that the pacing might be too fast. Which is a shock to me -- I've never written anything that went too fast before! Usually I have such a bad habit of not being able to get past the mundane that I wind up stewing and stewing over bs that has nothing to do with anything and then the whole mess slows down.

But this time I'm just rocketing forward. And sometimes I feel like I'm moving it all too slowly and then someone else says it's too fast and I end up just getting all confused.

As you can see, my brain isn't really here at work today. Damn. It's going to be a very frustrating day!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:08 AM
August 18, 2003
happy quotes

I have *finally* managed to send some quotes for Dara's page in A Grand Affair.

Her quote for herself just sort of popped into my head when I was thinking about how changeable she is. Shapeshifting aside, Dara has managed to shift moods more often than any other character I've played (which says something, I know). And I've only played through two backstory threads. She is working out exactly as I conceived -- someone who adapts to the situation, whose moods and speech are as fluid as her shape can be.

But my favorite quote? The opening to the Corwin quote.

Dara on the subject of Corwin. "I was young, I was foolish, and I was following orders."

*grins* Okay, so I like it. And when the latter part of it is tagged in, it fits her level of confusion perfectly. *happy little sighs* Yes, the silliest things make me happy. Tonight, it's quotes.

I should probably go write some more!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:34 PM
August 17, 2003

Finally made it to about 1100 words. So I'm halfway there in the Celia segment. And I've got a vague plan for the chapter, which helps, and it gets two of the three main characters together. Whee!

I've managed to introduce new tension in this chapter, and new confusion. Added another layer to Celia's thoughts about Jay. And soon she'll meet Karen, bring another layer of plot to Celia's dreams, and then the two of them can meet Traci a little later on. Which is when things will start getting really weird.

Okay, the words were like scraping lichen off the tree and then pasting it in place, bit by bit, but I'm starting to get excited again. I feel like maybe I should write a good six or seven chapters more before I post any again, just so I don't get turned around again. I need momentum!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:18 PM
brain freeze

I have an amazing case of writer's block. I sit here. I write a sentence. I delete a sentence. I can't figure out where to go.

Stupid me -- my favorite character went to sleep. Now I have to muddle through the rest of the day and into the evening before she wakes up again, and it's driving me nuts. It's like, without Traci, there's no driving force to the novel.

I'm wondering if that means I have to drag her out of bed again. For some reason. But why? She's already growled at people for waking her up.

Gods, surely I can manage one chapter without her voice. One chapter without her storyline.

It's just one bloody chapter!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:40 PM
August 12, 2003
cook once for four meals

So, last weekend (the one before last week, not this most recent one) we decided to try out a new rub recipe on a steak. Not just any steak, but a HUGE london broil we had in the freezer. More roast than steak!

I started by brining the steak in a mixture of white vinegar, water, garlic, and salt overnight. Then I put the rub on a few hours before I was ready to grill. The rub was from the new barbecue book I've got (the title escapes me at the moment) and was basically paprika, garlic, salt and pepper. Very simple, very flavorful.

So that night we had steak and potatoes and all was yummy.

The next night was Monday and dinner is not really a priority on Mondays. Usually catch as catch can. So I pulled out some wheat wraps that were in the fridge, and we layered on steak and lettuce and tomatoes and caramelized onions and feta. OMG it was SO good. Hard to believe it was leftovers!

Later that week I took pizza shells from Hannaford (very low fat, very yummy) and rubbed extra virgin olive oil on them, sprinkled with garlic, then spread low fat mozarella, the steak (thinly sliced) and feta cheese. Once again, OMG.

And there was still steak left.

The final meal was a quick and simple one. A bagel, spread with roasted garlic & herb hummus, then topped with thinly sliced steak and made into a sandwich. No work at all, and absolutely yummy.

Four dinners. One HUGE steak, brined, rubbed, and grilled. Whee!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:12 PM
strange associations

I have realized that my "I'm tired and cranky" or "I'm having a bad day" set of music to listen to is now Adrienne's soundtrack.

Given the character, I find this somehow a disturbing commentary upon my psychology.


And yes, I just put it in the CD player.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:59 PM
August 11, 2003
craving baking

I hadn't baked in a long time.

Then I made cookies on Saturday. Chocolate chip cookies, with toffee bits. REALLY yummy.

Now I'm craving baking. I used to do it all the time, when Dani was very very little. It was what I did to decompress when I was stressed. If I showed up for gaming with bags and bags of different flavors, it had been a bad month. But I don't bake as much since the kids. It's too difficult to get time on my own to do it.

But it felt good on Saturday to bake cookies. So I'm sitting here daydreaming about these recipes I wanna try, for cranberry walnut cookies, or lemon cookies with candied ginger pieces.

I think I'm gonna have to bake tonight.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:46 PM
August 02, 2003

I have to thank Jenn's "The Spice Must Flow" for tonight's dinner. I didn't do the recipe I *wanted* to, because I didn't have the ingredients (in fact, I had fewer than I thought I had!) but tonight's dinner was inspired by the Chicken with Tomato and Feta. By the time I was done, I think the only ingredients I actually used was the chicken. *laughs at self*

It sounded so good. And I wish I could've made it. But I didn't want to go back out to get Feta, and it turned out I was out of diced tomatoes (which was just SO weird to discover -- I NEVER run out of those in my pantry!). So... I took it as inspiration and ran in a whole new direction.

I chopped an onion and sauteed that with a huge spoonful of garlic in olive oil. Then I added a pound of chicken, diced & salted, and sauteed that. I added ground thyme and some rosemary (yum!) while that was cooking. Then I took a can of whole tomatoes and squished those up along with about half of their juice. And let the whole thing simmer very strongly for a while.

To finish it off, I added a quarter cup of fat free half & half that was shaken up with 1 T of cornstarch to thicken it up. Then about 1/2 c of fresh grated parmesan (or maybe it was romano) and the whole thing was done. Served it over brown rice and it was seriously yummy. Very rosemary and tomato and I'm glad we've got leftovers.

So, um... it wasn't what you wrote, Jenn, but thanks for the inspiration!! And I need inspiration these days to get me cooking!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:25 PM