Sundog snippet: Chaotic life is chaotic

I will try to keep this a snippet, but there’s a lot happening these days.

Work

The uncertainty continues.

My former manager is continuing in her acting position as senior manager until December 31. In the meantime, one acting manager has yielded to another, this time, a colleague, talented and deserving.

Two other friends from the consultant pool have been appointed to training coordinator, the position I held as an acting consultant for sixteen months. One of my friends will be handling coordination for my business line and the other for another business line. I’m very happy for them. The position will teach them a lot.

The new training is well underway. I delivered the Sudbury session the second and third weeks in September. Then I mentored a couple of acting advisors on our team to help them learn the way we monitor our new agents, post-training.

I’ll be doing a little more mentoring, and taking on the supervision of an agent returning to work.

Then I’ll be getting ready for the next round of training in November. After that, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen.

I got my projects from the summer done, but beyond that, I don’t know if anything more will come of them.

With all the major players in acting roles, we can’t really do more than react.

Phil’s got his own burden at work, but it’s not my story to tell, so I’ll have to leave it at that.

Usually, when things are going well for me at work, they go poorly for him, and vice versa. Now we both seem to be in a bit of a jam.

Home

The city engineer stopped by my mom’s last week. Apparently, Union Gas will be by to bury the gas line properly again on Monday.

The Gas Line

Then, the rock will be blasted out. As you can see, the blasting mats are already in place.

The Blasting Mats

Then, they’ll be tearing up the driveway and repaving and, I suppose, getting the retaining wall up.

The engineer is supposed to be coming by with the work order for Phil to sign off on. He says he has a lovely railing for the top of the retaining wall.

You know about Nuala’s troubles from last week’s post. She’s making headway, but after the first glucose curve, the vet increased her dosage of insulin. Her sugars were too high. We’re in a holding pattern there until this Thursday, when we’ll take Nu in for her next glucose curve.

Phil and I are growing accustomed to our new schedule, but between that, the gloomy weather we’ve been having, and work uncertainty, we’re both exhausted.

At least, I’ll have my normal salary to look forward to for the next six months or so. We have some hefty vet bills to pay off.

Creatively

As you may have guessed from my Next Chapter post, I’m trying to focus my energies on my writing. It’s what keeps me sane.

Unfortunately, trying to cram everything in tends to wear me out. I know this, and still, I do it.

When a writing friend came to town last month, I’d intended to meet her. She was reading at my mom’s church on the Sunday and then at the Public Library on the Thursday.

On Sunday, I was feeling poorly and decided not to go. I’m not big into church these days anyway. The week of her visit was also one of two weeks of training I was delivering. When Thursday arrived, I got home from work and essentially collapsed. It wasn’t until after nine that I realized I had missed her presentation.

More recently, I wanted to get out to the launch of an art show another friend was having, but events conspired against me and I couldn’t get away.

It really is true that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Otherwise

I have a number of friends going through tough times.

They say news, whether bad or good, is supposed to come in threes, but it’s been far more than that, and since I’m such a hermit these days, I often don’t know what’s happened until after the fact.

I can only give them my moral support in most situations and wish them well.

I sincerely hope all of this misfortune comes to an end soon and that life resumes a better balance for everyone.

And that’s where I’ll leave you, with my very best wishes for a speedy recovery, a soothing of grief, a securing of contentment, if not happiness, and a world of ease to all your troubles. This, too, shall pass.

The warmest of hugs to you all.

Sundog snippet

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The Next Chapter: September 2014 update

So here we are at the beginning of October, my favourite month, not in least because Samhain (Hallowe’en) was my hatch-day (and yes, I’ve heard them all and would proudly claim to be witch, werewolf, vampire, or anything else you’d care to call me).

September was an interesting month.

I made further progress on Gerod and the Lions. Total word count on the project is 21,423 words, just over half-way for an MG novel, which this is supposed to be. I’m no longer on track to finish by the end of the year for reasons I’ll tell you about shortly, but I figure I’ll be done the first draft in January or February of 2015. Not bad.

I finished mapping and reverse engineering Figments (finally!). One thing I’ve learned from this project is that reverse engineering is tough.

When I worked backward through my plot for Initiate of Stone earlier this year, I was working with a seventh draft. I’d already completed a lot of the structural reorganization that reverse engineering might have indicated was necessary. Though I fine tuned a lot of foreshadowing and really tightened things up, there wasn’t a lot of tearing apart and putting back together.

With Figments, there was. Figments is a first draft, a NaNoWriMo first draft, at that. I’m not ashamed to admit that I lost my way a few times. I ended up listing events in reverse chronological order and then reorganizing them into Victoria Mixon’s holographic structure. In made my head spin.

Another thing I’ve decided is that I’ll head back to the computer for my mapping. It’s just a lot easier than rewriting everything out by hand. The reverse engineering, though, has to be done by hand. It really puts you in a different headspace.

Having accomplished the Figments mapping and reverse engineering, I’ve moved onto Apprentice of Wind. That will take me a while to get a handle on as well. It might as well be a first draft, though I went as far as draft four with IoS and AoW as one honkin’ monster of a novel 😛 I have subsequently changed enough in IoS and cut up parts of AoW that it really is like starting from scratch.

The other thing I started on this month is reworking IoS. I still have betas outstanding, but my writer’s head had to go there. I haven’t gotten very far, just a few chapters, but I think it’s going well. I have enough distance from the novel that I’m seeing a lot of things more clearly than I had before.

This isn’t to say that the outstanding betas work over the last year and a bit has been for nought. I still want to see what you recommend. I’m not above going back and changing even more. I just had to get at it.

I can finally tell you about my mysterious short(-ish) story tale. I had submitted it to Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine in response to a special call out by C.C. Finlay in the first part of August.

I received word on September 21st that he wasn’t taken with the story (though it was a very nice rejection—thank you!). So, I promptly revised to try and fix what may have been the dear thing’s flaws and sent it off to Writers of the Future.

In reviewing my previous submissions to that contest, I realized that my honourable mention from 2011 was for the same story that I eventually revised and submitted to On Spec: “Downtime,” which should be out in the fall 2014 issue (I’m still so excited about that).

Can’t wait to get my paws on my contributor’s issue. Sorry, drooling there a bit.

Other On Spec news: they won an Aurora Award! W00t! Congratz! So pleased for them. Chuffed even.

Also, Bastion Science Fiction Magazine, the online publication that accepted “The Broken Places” back in June, has become an Amazon bestseller. More W00t! and Gratz! to the good people at Bastion.

Though I decided not to move forward with my self-funded leave this fall, I’ve decided that I still want to attempt to do NaNoWriMo again this year. Yes. That’s while working the day job. Yup. I’m certifiable.

I had considered taking a blogging holiday for a month, and it may come to that if I can’t manage my time and get the words down, but I’d prefer to keep to three posts a week: Tipsday, Thoughty Thursday, and my WWC2014 reportage.

In the last month, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted a lot on Sundays. I’ve found that to be a wonderful gift for the writing side of things. This weekend is an exception. You’ll find out later in my second post of this particular Sunday.

The other thing I’ve tried in the last couple of weeks is to prepare my Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday posts on Sunday and just post them on the appropriate weekday. I think between giving myself Sundays, prepping the weekday posts, and then focusing on my NaNo project to the exclusion of most other creative endeavours for the month, I’ll be able to hack it.

Of course, November will be the acid test. I’m also heading down to Toronto for a couple of days for a Humber School for Writers workshop on November 6 and 7. I just can’t help myself. I have to try.

I’ve already been doing some research on my idea and I’ll be working on a rough outline and further research this month. It’s the strength of this idea that has convinced me to make this crazy NaNoWriMo commitment.

I’ve also joined Jane Ann McLachlan’s street team I’ll talk a bit more about street teams in a future post. Her next novel, a YA science fiction, will be coming out soon. Much excitement there!

So, here’s how September’s numbers worked out:

September's writing progress

A total of 13, 218 words. Modest, but reasonable.

7,921 on the blog, 5203 on GatL, and a scant 94 on my longish short story (that was after removing and rearranging several hundred, but I never count negative words).

So that was my month in writing.

How have your projects been shaping up? Please share in the comments. I love hearing about your yummy, yummy words.

The Next Chapter