The next chapter: October 2022 update


Ah, November. Time for NaNaWriMo and a break from weekly curation 🙂 Getting this update out early before the word rush begins.

I’ll be providing mini updates every week, as I have in past years but, with my new system, a regular update on November’s doings should be feasible. Look for that in early December, just before curation resumes.

Your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until Black, Indigenous, and people of colour lives matter.

Continue to observe public health guidelines (washing hands, maintaining physical distance, masking where you can’t, getting your vaccinations as recommended). Covid is endemic and new variants continue to crop up. Get your bivalent booster when you can (got mine!). Take care of yourselves and the people you love.

Russia’s unprovoked war in the Ukraine continues and continues to be deplorable. I stand with the Ukraine!

Reproductive rights are everyone’s fight!

The month in writing

I continued working through Reality Bomb but had to give up around the 15th. By then, I’d only managed to cut 4,000 words. I realized that my map was failing me almost as much as the draft. I need to step back, take an objective view, and prepare myself for more rewriting, I think.

So, the only writing tracked this month was on the blog.

Including this post, I wrote 6,774 words or by 5,000-word goal, or 135%.

But … I made my choice and am now working with editor and book coach extraordinaire, Suzy Vadori 🙂 She’ll help me whip my WIP into shape.

I also had a Canadian Authors Association Board meeting on the 24th.

Filling the well

The Writer Unboxed OnConference continued through to the 16th. Lots of great sessions with Donald Maass, David Corbett, Desmond Hall, Kathryn Craft, Keith Cronin, Julie Duffy, Gwen Hernandez, Tiffany Yates Martin … there were just so many excellent sessions!

I attended the virtual launch of Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Spare Man on the 10th.

Then, I kind of did the crazy about mid-month. I signed up for Sandra Wickham’s five day “Outline Your Novel” workshop from the 12th to the 16th, and I had already signed up for Can-Con (virtual stream) from the 14th to the 16th. Both events overlapped with the OnCon. Thank goodness for replays.

I then continued the crazy by signing up for Daniel David Wallace’s Escape the Plot Forest event from the 22nd to the 25th. Again, replays saved my butt.

Finally, I attended Mary Robinette Kowall’s No Prep NaNoWriMo on the 29th. It’s the second time I’ve attended and I’m hoping that her techniques will help me draft my next project.

I read some of my poetry for the first time since the panini hit (and, truthfully, a long time before that) at the French Kiss open mic on October 4th. It was a lovely evening, and I got to reconnect with Pandora Topp and Chloé LaDuchesse. I also received some news from Latitude 46: the publisher has a line on a poetry editor for my forthcoming collection.

Had Thanksgiving supper at my mother-in-law’s. For simplicity and convenience, we opted for Chinese (few of us really enjoy Turkey). It was delicious, and we had apple cake for dessert.

We had to leave Torvi at home alone (for the first time) for the 2 hours we were there, as my mother-in-law’s building doesn’t allow pets on the premises, even to visit. The good news, Torvi—though she went ballistic when we got home—was a VERY good girl who deserved all the treatos 🙂

A non-writing event I attended was the Beyond Limits Autism Conference on the 23rd.

I got my second covid booster (Moderna bivalent) on the 12th. I will say that my arm was the sorest with this vaccine, but I’m as protected as I can be. For now.

What I’m watching and reading

In the viewing department, I finished watching the first season of Severance (Apple +). Weird and creepy and totally absorbing. Twists abound, but no answers … yet.

Phil and I watched She-Hulk (Disney +) and we both loved it. I read She-Hulk (both savage and sensational) when I was young, and the series reflects the comics. A focus on the difficulty of trying to be a lawyer and a superpowered person? Check. Breaking the fourth wall? Check. Fun sex positivity? Check (check, check)! And the finale was so meta.

I watched the third live action Full Metal Alchemist: The Last Alchemy. Again, it adheres to the FMA: Brotherhood storyline, but I liked the divergences. Subplots are all tied up at the end.

I watched the first season of House of the Dragon. I liked it, despite repeated misogyny and body horror. I know it’s being done for a reason, but honestly, I could have done without it.

Finally, I watched Red Notice. Fun triple-heist, opposites attract/buddy comedy, long con, double cross, and double-double cross, with a little Indiana Jones thrown in. You’d think with so many tropes, the movie wouldn’t be coherent, but the writers dove into each trope with such gusto, it all worked. And Ryan Reynolds is always entertaining.

Moving on to the month in reading, I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. It’s very Velveteen Rabbit and gave me the same feels. Klara is an artificial friend (AF) who is purchased for a young girl, Josie, by her mother. Josie is sick and needs Klara is ways most other children don’t need their AFs. Klara is solar powered but has a special relationship with the sun. She plans to cure Josie with the sun’s “special energy.”

But the mother has other reasons for purchasing Klara and as the mystery unravels and Josie gets sicker, Klara takes drastic measures to save her girl. The ending is bittersweet.

Then, I listened to The Sandman, Act III by Neil Gaiman. S&S Audio pulled out all the stops. Orchestral score, sound effects, actors like James MacAvoy. I can’t imagine how long it takes to produce these things, but bravo. And I loved it.

Next up was Gail Carriger’s Changeless, the second in her Parasol Protectorate series. Alexia stops a humanizing “weapon” from being used to manipulate the supernatural world, but her friend Ivy elopes with an actor and, when it’s revealed she’s pregnant, her werewolf husband suspects her of infidelity, because supernaturals can’t procreate.

I also finished reading Tanya Huff’s The Future Falls. It’s the third in the Gale Women series, but I suspect that each book is fairly standalone. Essentially, Gale Seer Aunt Catharine (all the powerful women in the family are Aunts—the capital counts) Sees that an asteroid is going to strike Earth in an extinction-level event. The Gales can protect themselves, but Charlie wants to save the world. She’s kind of grown to like it, mostly because of the music.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

Until next tipsday, the last for November, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

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