Wisp is what my more experienced cat-loving friends refer to as a ground cat. She doesn’t climb much, preferring to stay on the ground. But once in a while we see her climb a tree.
In this photo she’s defending her position from Snowdrop. We can’t quite figure out their relationship: they hang out a lot but Wisp often bops him on the head. At feeding time, however, Snowdrop shoves her out of the way; if I put down two bowls, he’ll switch from bowl to bowl, depending which one she’s eating it. It’s a blatant dominance move.
Annoyingly, having Snowdrop around to play with or defend her turf from has convinced Wisp to stay outside at night again. Up until March when the weather here began to warm, she’d been coming in most nights for more than a year, sleeping in the spare bedroom. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d relocate and join her. Now, though, she’s regressed. I know, she’s cat, but I still miss seeing her on the bed.
Not much to blog about because it was one of my all-Leaf weeks. I’m pleased I got the work done but writing about civil engineering technician job descriptions or how to launch a medical coding business doesn’t make for interesting tales. I did get two more Atomic Junkshop posts in, on bad comic-book takes and how young Captain America is.
My insomnia seems to be fading (yay) and my vertigo is so much better (yay again!). And my birthday today has been nice and lazy. I haven’t taken a day off in a while. It feels good.
So that’s my week-in-review post. Here are photos of cats to wrap up. Snowdrop coming and sitting on the couch by himself is a big step forward for him.#SFWApro.
Despite the unpleasant vertigo I endured this week, it was, once again, enjoyably productive. I finished the rewrite of Questionable Minds — it turns out I did a really thorough job last go round. Now it’s a matter of a)spellcheck, b)getting a cover and c)setting a release date so I can do some promotion. I really liked the cover artist I was working with but I think she may be overloaded with work and stress. We shall see.
I did a rewrite of Oh the Places You’ll Go! and it’s 95 percent solid. The 5 percent is that the ending still feels like it needs something and I’m not sure what. I rewrote it so it pays off what I set up the beginning but it still feels like it needs more. Only I’m not sure what. I may recruit an extra beta reader to give it a look-see. I also submitted a couple more short stories and wrote a few Leaf articles.
I rewrote the first chapter of Southern Discomfort to put it in Maria’s first-tense. It does add to her personal tension and maybe makes her a little more likable. I don’t think it ramps up the tension as much as my first feedback suggested, but we’ll see how I feel after a couple more chapters.
Snowdrop is now routinely exploring the house when he comes in, as in this shot where he’s descending from snooping around the second floor.TYG successfully put a collar with a bell on him early this week. He protested a lot and tried to bite it off, but it’s still on him several days later. It’s a little harder to hear him than Wisp as his floof mutes it some. Below, he and Wisp debate control of the couch. Never mind where I get to sit.Next week will probably not be so smooth. I have our car’s annual inspection (assuming I’m not too vertiginous to drive), the housekeepers come in for their monthly gig and we’re getting a new dishwasher installed (can’t wait!). But I’ve accomplished so much this month already, I won’t feel too bad if things slow down to a crawl.
Snowdrop has decided to hang out in the planter sometimes.Wisp, meanwhile, has suddenly decided to sleep on the couch next to me or in my lap rather than on her pillow.It’s almost like they’re living creatures who change their preferences rather than wind-up toys.
And here’s the raw apple pie I mentioned planning to make. A mix of nuts, dates, apples and dried apples, it’s quite tasty. Especially with some cheddar on top.#SFWApro
When I started this month I sat down and calculated how many hours I had for writing, not counting email and blogging. Then I broke it down. 40 hours of Leaf articles would cover my bills next month. I could divide the remaining time between Oh the Places You’ll Go!, Impossible Takes a Little Longer and nonfiction stuff (article pitches, last bits of work on Undead Sexist Cliches). That way if it was a couple of weeks before any Leaf articles came available I could spend that time putting in extra work on other projects, then put in more time on Leaf stuff when things changed.
That premise proved sound. I spent the first couple of weeks doing fiction, then plunged into Leaf. At the end of today I’d made my quota for the month, enough after taxes to cover January’s bills (assuming I don’t have a massive unplanned expenditure) and maybe have a little left over. A month ahead is good, but in freelancing two months makes me happier.
But as I mentioned last week, I wound up losing quite a few hours earlier this month. As a result I’m not anywhere near where I want to be on any of my other writing goals. While part of that is due to TYG’s unusually heavy end-of-the-year workload, a lot of it is baked into the way the dogs, Wisp and Snowdrop eat up increasing amounts of time. A half-hour less each morning is 2.5 hours less during a work week. There are other time drains, both temporary (we’re walking a neighbor’s dogs at lunch this week) and permanent (it’s hard to focus in the evenings when Plushie’s doing his Cats On The Deck! Danger! bark every few minutes).
This will have to be solved because there’s a lot I want to write next year. I will find a way to maintain my full creative work week without stiffing the puppies of TYG of what they need. And I will do it by New Year’s because I want a productive January, dammit!
For the moment, I will take satisfaction in having paid the bills for January (so to speak). That’s a good feeling. And in it being Christmas Eve, which is also a good feeling. TYG’s workload has made this a rough Christmas season but having her and our various animals around is so much better than spending it alone.
#SFWApro, merry Christmas and happy holidays. Cover by Gil Kane, all rights to image remain with current holders.
No, not my vomit of TYG’s. But Tuesday, Trixie puked up while still on the bed. She had another puke later and since then she’s been fine. However Plushie, who’s more prone to puking, did so Wednesday and Thursday morning. And every time, TYG had to wash the sheets while I took care of the dogs. Given I’m already dealing with Wisp and Snowdrop in the pre-work morning, this makes for a chaotic period. As I count on a reasonably calm period to get myself in a head space for writing that was disruptive.
Despite which, the week’s writing went well (hence the “victory”). I’m now 14,000 words into a new draft of Impossible Takes a Little Longer. I couldn’t focus enough to do much on Oh the Places You’ll Go! but I reread my earlier drafts and figured out what was missing from the current one. Earlier I’d focused on the family connection between my four protagonists but I lost that in adding more plot and incident. I sat down Thursday and replotted the story and I think I’ve melded the two approaches successfully.
I put a great deal of time into working on Undead Sexist Cliches as the proofing and spellchecking requires relatively little creative work. It’s easy to do even when frazzled. I also worked on some queries for articles related to Alien Visitors in the hopes I can both promote the book and make some extra money off my research.
Snowdrop is coming in every morning. As you can see, he’ll even sit on the couch. However it’s freezing cold and he won’t stay inside if I close the porch door. This limits how much I can keep him in. He’s made the transition to eating inside much faster than Wisp did but he’s a lot more wary about people. Even without the dogs, he’d make it hard to focus on things like yoga, stretching, exercise, etc. Wisp has her own spot, a pillow on the back of the couch where I work. She likes it even though, as you can see, it’s not always a firm foundation for her. It’s much easier to deal with the dogs at the same time if she naps up there rather than in my lap.
Oh, and I gave blood this morning! It took much longer than I expected — the tech was new — but I got it done. So despite the vomit, I think the week is a win.
So this week Snowdrop has been coming in more, often in company with Wisp.But Snowdrop’s come in much further than that and even begun exploring the house cautiously. He still won’t let us pet him, but he’ll come close enough to sniff our hands. And he seems to anticipate food being read for him in the living room when he shows up. This is good. Hopefully he’ll come to spend more time indoors and become amenable to petting (TYG really wants to pet him). And won’t turn out to be more troublesome than Wisp (we’ve been very lucky with how easy she is to deal with).
Wisp has been in a lot and she’s getting along well with the dogs. Most of the time at least. Snowdrop sometimes walks up to Plushie and sniffs or rubs him the way Wisp used to in the early days.
One morning this week, I tried closing the door out to the deck while Snowdrop was further inside. When he returned and saw there was no exit he began circling the nearest chair in obvious confusion and distress. I opened the door quickly.
He came back in shortly afterwards.
Little baby steps.
So my manuscript for Alien Visitors is due a week from tomorrow. The work is progressing, but nowhere near fast enough to suit me. So while I will be posting through the next week — I’m not about to break my years-long streak of daily posts — it may not be more than an image or two.
However I will present you with this photo of Snowdrop coming in this week to eat breakfast indoors.Given how skittish she is — I had to stand half the room away — I think this is a real accomplishment. A long way from getting her indoors as much as Wisp is, but she’s come this far much sooner than Wisp did, so there’s that.
And that’s about all I have time for, alas. Time’s winged chariot ain’t waiting on me.
First, let’s look at Plushie in one of his more regal poses.Now, as to my week, it went well. Non-stop work on Alien Visitors and it’s freaky to realize how close it is to deadline but it’s coming along well. It’s less a question of finishing on time than how good I can make it before I send it in. I definitely won’t have time to catch all the movies and TV I’d like to take a look at but honestly, I don’t think it’ll hurt the book.
When it’s done, I really need to think about my schedule. My time in the morning seems to keep getting smaller; my time in the evening is getting increasingly hard to concentrate (reading, writing, whatever) as we have both Wisp and Snowdrop showing up. I have to break to put food out for them, and there’s also insane barking from the dogs at THE CATS DADDY THE CATS!!!! Impairs focus.
Further impairing focus, I had some legal paperwork that suddenly had to be done. All taken care of except for the mailing.
Oh, and I reworked one of my old columns into a new column on Dr. Fate for Atomic Junkshop.
Wisp, as she did last winter, is starting to come in a lot more. This was very disruptive Thursday — she was in my lap (I can’t bring myself to say no) and the dogs were not happy. But this morning she came in and went to sleep on the couch. Much simpler — she didn’t even look up when I moved away.Snowdrop is much warier. I set down some food right inside the back door one morning and he stepped inside, licked at the food, then ran out. That’s progress, a little, but I had to put the food back out so he would eat. We’ll see how it goes. At least we have our shelter on the back deck so they both have somewhere to huddle when it’s below freezing.
Oh, I did get Southern Discomfort back from another publisher. I’ll blog more about that sometime soon.
#SFWApro. Cover by Murphy Anderson, all rights to images remain with current holders.
Happily I didn’t suffer any ill effects other than a sore arm so I gained some extra work time (I’d planned for a couple of dies lying inert. As I’ll be going to the movies to catch Eternals next week, I figure it’s just as well to be extra vaccinated.
I don’t have a good image for my vaccination so here’s a photo of Wips and Snowdrop waiting on the front steps to be fed.If I have the energy I’ll post this afternoon. If not, this will serve as my week in review post.