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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Almost Caught Up

This week, the NYC High Schools were giving Regents exams so I was "off." On Monday, I reviewed 70 charts for quality assurance. Rather tedious. Tuesday I had a training in Manhattan all day.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday, my "vacation" days getting proposals out for the memoir. Exhausting since it's a 60 page document and they all want different formats. Three agents only take hard copy, one wanted clips and a photo as well. Not very green-including two trips to the post office.

Friday I did a Basic Life Support refresher (not related to the aggravating submissions but rather a job requirement). I am SORE from all that CPR! In the afternoon, I finally finished the required online Electronic Fetal Monitoring Course. Got six hours of continuing education credit but it took me nearly ten including studying. Then I went to Maya's school for the Blood Drive and rolled up my sleeve.

The best part of the week was a date with my husband Friday night. We saw "It's Complicated." ROTFLMAO! I really needed that.

Saturday I cleaned the house (which after months of re-organization is on the cusp of being under control), unstopped two toilets, did five loads of laundry and went grocery shopping. I wonder why I didn't feel like doing novel revisions.

But I made myself sit down and made very good progress. The revised opening held up, getting only a few characterization tweaks. The EDITS system markup on chapters 4-7 and the changes I'd put in were surprisingly good.

Today I finished up some crits I owed, made a dent in my marketing tasks, and prepped two things for workshop submissions later in the week. Tonight I hope to polish off the EDITS on Chapters 8-17 of the novel. A big chunk, but if yesterday's experience is repeated, I can do it. That will get me almost half way through this pass (and the latter half is in much better shape). Once I finish this I can focus on new writing.

I didn't get to dance classes this weekend, and I've given up on two long languishing features now that my major market IROSF has dried up. It's hard for me to admit defeat, but I just can't do it all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

During the holiday season, deep in edits and marketing my recent publications, I was also struggling to keep up with fast breaking news and political action as the health care reform bill went to the Senate.

I had to drastically cut back all social networking to stay on top of what needed to be done and expected things would calm down, but they haven't. In order to tick off the many things on my "to do" list, I am staying on task and off-line as much as I can.

But, I have been working. Several submissions, queries, pitches have gone out. I'm now back at Tangent Online (since The Fix went on hiatus) and working on reviews of a novella and three collections. The saddening news that The Internet Review of Science Fiction is ceasing publication after the February issue is another indicator of how difficult things are in the publishing business, and I am scrambling to find new markets who pay me at least something for the incredible amounts of time I invest in preparing reviews, criticism, and features of interest to readers in the speculative genres.

Aside from a few short nonfiction pieces, most of my new writing has been empassioned letters to my Senators and Representatives pleading for them to do the right thing regarding the poor excuse for health care reform limping toward the finish line. These quotes, from a January 11 article in The New York Times, pretty much sum up the way a lot of us feel:

Ron Vaughn who provides health insurance to his 60 employees at Argonaut Wine and Liquor in Denver.

"I’m a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. I want the Democrats out of my pocket and Republicans out of my bedroom. The one word I would use for what’s going on in Washington is embarrassing."

James W. Noon, who runs a packaging supply business here, said he was irked to see Senate leaders secure votes by promising extra Medicaid money to Nebraska and Louisiana. “Don’t they realize how dumb that looks?” said Mr. Noon, a Republican.

Michael R. Stone, a private investigator who describes himself as a political independent, was bothered by those deals, too. “President Obama campaigned on a promise to change the way things are done in Washington,” Mr. Stone said. “But it seems like business as usual to me."

Anyone interested in more, check out my professional blogs:

Having pretty much given up on health care reform efforts out of sheer disgust, I've been making good progress. Then yesterday morning, while answering email, a virus invaded my computer. This porn site took over Internet Explorer and I started getting multiple messages, disguised as Microsoft Word, telling me to click here to allow a virus removal program to run. I played a game of "whack a mole," turning off the rapid succession of pop-ups, which got more rapid as time went on.

Thanks to the fact I was sitting there when it happened, and to my quick thinking husband who responded to my distress call, turned off the wireless router and then got Malware to run before it was hijacked, the four offending files were sequestered and deleted. I've been using another computer since 11 am, since we then had to run full scans on three different anti-virus/ anti-malware programs. Now, I can't connect to the Internet on that computer. But all my files are safe (I back them up every night on Mozy anyway) and I have almost everything on a flash drive as well. So, if I owe you a crit or something else, please be patient.

Things have been very crazy for me since late summer. Since then I've only been able to read about one-third through Neal Stephenson's Anathem and feel like I will never finish it. Like a metaphor for my life, I'm trapped in a world I don't quite get. I've read Acacia (Durham), Thunderer, (Gilman) and A Short History of Women (Walbert) in the interim, so it isn't the page count, but rather the dense plot and ponderous pace.

I am a fast reader, and uber organized, and so this inertia and chaos is very unsettling. But I've succeeded at doing what I do for a long time, so I have hope that, by the beginning of February to have the backlog of revision and marketing work done and get back to writing NEW material. And reading something else.

I'm trying out a new Bravenet Forum on my webpage. Join me to discuss any of those works of fiction under the tab Fantastic Fiction. David Anthony Durham and Lev Grossman will be there on January 20.

Finally, all this aggravation is nothing compared to what the Haitian people are going through right now. if you haven't already given a donation to help the earthquake victims, might I suggest Doctors Without Borders? I have an acquaintance who works for them, and I'm sure she's on her way if not already there. They have an established hospital in Port Au Prince, which I've heard was destroyed, but they are working under makeshift conditions. I'm sure there are a lot of places to donate, but here's an easy link.