“Seya? I did not expect to see you back here,” [Zan] said. He frowned after Rheta’s swiftly retreating form. “And fighting in front of my gate again.”
“Yeah, well. Had to bring you a thank you gift, didn’t I.” Seya said, gesturing to Nemone.
So, uh, here’s the long awaited(?) chapter 22. I’m going to stop apologizing for letting this hellscape of a year kick my ass. I am trying, it’s just hard to proof these chapters when I can barely get myself out of bed. And my rare bouts of useful energy are all being directed at keeping the enormous number of plants I’ve acquired since March alive, since to do otherwise would be a huge waste of money. Speaking of which, I have to go water all those succulent props in my studio if I want them to survive to be sale-worthy next year.
In case you thought I was joking about the plants…
Three more days, Seya thought as she found herself at the window once again, searching for a small, furtive figure that wasn’t there.
Two and a half days, now—she had whiled the morning away, tense and restless, looking for something to do besides sit around worrying and imagining the worst. “What were you thinking, offering to help some damn brat kid when you can’t even help yourself?” she scolded herself out loud as she was cleaning the apartment. “Idiot.”
Brace yourselves, guys, it’s gonna be a real long day for everyone. Content warning for evidence of child abuse. Read the chapter here!
Jayen sighed impatiently and lowered his shields, his hand closing over Vico’s arm as he felt the other man’s presence sifting through the clan bond, sinking into his aura. It felt much like a healer’s touch, except Vico’s presence felt warm and achingly familiar. And irritated. And…affectionate? Jayen dismissed the notion. Vico had done this for him before, checking his aural signature after particularly bad fights and magical disasters, and he had never been able to discern anything like feelings before. Still, it was a pleasant fantasy. Almost as good as the real thing. It was hard not to indulge in a small bit of fantasy when Vico was staring into his eyes so intently.
Jayen arrived promptly at seven forty-five to ferry Seya and Vico to the Halcyon clinic for her checkup the next morning. Vico was prepared to fend off his attempts at flirtation, as he had since that day in the Mediations office—Jayen was nothing if not persistent—but he was in almost constant communication with the security detail at Bretinne. It was…rather disappointing, actually, even though Vico had been the one trying to maintain some distance. He shook his head, exasperated at his own weakness.
Ok, my lovely readers (if I actually have any), I’m attempting to set up as many chapters ahead of time as I can with the rest of my vacation. Spent most of it reading And messing about with my plants. :)
Chapter 13 is up, finally. Sorry for flaking, I seem to have had a depressive episode that intersected with some hardcore hyperfocus, and I basically spent the last three weeks obsessing over succulents. Yes, the plants. I’ve managed to accumulate quite a collection of them. Also seeds for my annual gardening project. (Wait, what about that purple garden—yeah, that’s still in progress. Tiger rose is still alive. Wisteria is hanging on by a thread; we’ll see if it leafs out this year before I say anything more.)
Expect pictures of all my recent acquisitions at some point, which include a raspberry bush, a couple of flowering cherry trees, and a kiwi vine. I also bought a lot of heirloom fruit/veg seeds. My plan is to make a vertical garden with scavenged/reused materials. Probably some raised beds and a couple of arbors too, because what else is Pinterest for but giving people grandiose ideas about what they’re capable of?
So I am still attempting to work this upload schedule into my routine. It still hasn’t taken yet, and I keep forgetting to do the pre-posted pages because really, WHERE DID ALL THE TIME GO. She asks after spending six hours scrolling Pinterest yesterday. NOPE NO TIME HERE ONLY EXECUTIVE DISFUNCTION LA LA LA.
ANYWAY. I did scrape together the time to upload Chapter Twelve to AO3 and the official website today, but only because I don’t have to go to work until four. Links for the rest will come…eventually. Maybe. *sigh*
And in case you missed it, I did post Chapter Eleven—at least, I thought I did. Turns out I forgot to hit update so the page I was looking at before I had to leave (for work *sigh*) was the preview page. Oops. It’s up now, and the Table of Contents has even been updated!
Because I am a magnificent flake, I totally pasted Chapter Nine into a document titled Chapter Eight, and did not realize it until yesterday afternoon! ADHD is so fun. Anyway, I fixed it, and if you were wondering why something seemed to be missing–it was. Oops. Anyway, I fixed it. You can read the actual Chapter Eight now, and since I goofed, I also posted Chapter Ten to make up for it! Yay!
Chapter Ten (In which there is a duel! And a cliffhanger, just FYI)
I apologize again for being a flake. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is real and I HAS IT. And believe me, IT SUCKS. But! I have just noticed that I can pre-post pages in WordPress, and I intend to spend Sunday setting up the next few chapters and announcement blog posts to automatically post, so hopefully that will help.
After totally wasting a ton of time on a bunch of Christmas ornaments, which is really annoying and upsetting, I finally got the AFWT website up, and it’s currently up to date with all the chapters released! I know, nothing short of miraculous! I’m still working on the other venues—-Dreamwidth (horrible name aside, it’s the most like Livejournal we’ve got that’s not being slowly ground to dust under our megacorporate overlords), and Pillowfort (not exactly a burgeoning community over there yet sigh). I still need to chop up all the chapters into individual documents, proof them one more time for typos and flow issues, and back them up to the cloud so I can do this shit even if I’m not in front of my tablet. Do not ask about my laptop, it is currently circling the drain. I think it knew I was going to end up flat broke and in mild credit card debt this year so yay for that. (I love my awful fur children but they are EXPENSIVE YO *sobs hysterically*)
2019 was an industrial trash fire! Good riddance!
Here are links to Chapters Five and Six! Links to the alternate sites are on the home page at AFWT.jmcowan.net, as are the social medias where you can follow the updates!
My goals for the new year! Learn how to talk to other people! Get more crafty stuff done! Finish A Shield and an Anchor, and also Golden Wolf! Blog more! Totally break the record on how many exclamation points one person can use in a single blog post!
The beginning of the year was tough for me. The weather was acting up, my allergies were acting up, work was…awful…and I hit another one of those long, drawn-out depressive patches. I did finally manage to break out of that and finish the revisions to A Flower With Thorns, so yay for that. The website for the serial is a work-in-progress, slightly stalled for the moment because BRAIN STUFF UGH.
My doctor changed my meds–I transitioned from the Xoloft to something called Effexor XR. It seemed to work at first; I had a six-week-long burst of creativity, mostly writing, and got through a couple chapters of A Shield and an Anchor, the sequel to AFWT, and through chapter eight of Golden Wolf, and then…I crashed right into a wall. It’s been over a month since I’ve gotten anything substantial done, creatively speaking.
Yeah, not great. I’m not even sure if this is a depressive streak, since my mood has been mostly good. I was just caught by a sudden obsession with comparison shopping for sewing machines, and then looms. (I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave.) It’s ridiculous, since I’m so freaking broke right now I couldn’t afford to buy either one even at the best price. Sigh.
I did manage to finish GW ch9 the other day, and I made an over-the-sink shelf for my kitchen, so it’s not like I’m wallowing in my inactivity. I just can’t seem to get back to any of my current projects with any kind of consistency. I was reading about how adhd is frequently misdiagnosed as depression, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to try meds for that. It’s kind of nervous-making, since a lot of those meds are addictive stimulants, but not being able to get anything done is also pretty upsetting. I have an appointment soon, and intend to discuss it with my doctor then.
I’d been planning to launch AFWT in July, got the website up and everything, but that didn’t happen either. I’m going for ‘at least before the end of the year’ at this point, but we’ll see.
In other news: work has continued to be HELL because summer in Texas is basically hell, but with more tourists. (Although if Hell were real and plottable I’m sure there’d be people lining up to tour it.) We were short-handed for most of the summer too, so I have not had my vacation yet, and I spent most of June and July exhausted from overtime and the gross heat/humidity.
I am also spectacularly broke. I started the year by needing a new washing machine, and the expenses piled up from there. Also, before my meds were changed I went on another of those shopping sprees–bought way too much crafty stuff, which I regret now, since we had to take Belle to the vet for a bad UTI, and now Evie has an abscess on her jaw again, and also, the universe gave me a dog, which was not cheap, even if he was free.
(The cats are not exactly pleased with this development, in case you’re wondering, lolsob)
The pupper’s name is Benedict Benjamin, Ben-Ben for short, and he’s a white German Shepherd. He was very shy when I brought him home but after a couple of weeks, he’s settled in and getting rambunctious with it. Ben-Ben is currently about five months, sweet and pretty dang smart. He’s learning commands pretty fast, I just need to teach him to listen to me even when the cats are making noise. He’s a bit of a chewer, already mauled one of my books–but it was only a 50¢ copy of The Red Badge of Courage. He hasn’t touched another one since, so maybe he was just express his opinion on American classic literature; no one actually likes that book.
I was doing really well with my Wellbutrin but the last week or so everything just kind of…ground to a slow crawl. I was lucky to get out a couple hundred words a day, then luckier to get myself out of bed in time for even that much. Then one of my coworkers flaked out and I ended up doing overtime which meant I worked seven days straight so I am EXHAUSTED still from that. Plus the stress of having to be a witness at an upcoming drunk driving trial…
(Why, why can people not just behave themselves?!)
The latter of which is the reason that I had to be up at a truly ridiculous hour on the first day I’d had off in a week. Got to the Justice Center fifteen minutes early only to find out the trial has been reset.
I am not currently filled with faith in our justice system. The drunk driving thing happened two years ago.
So. Came home, ate, went back to sleep. Read and played Tropicats for a while before I made myself get my computer and look at the sadly neglected Ch53, then realized the reason it was so hard to drag the words out was because I was taking the chapter in the wrong direction.
So I’m probably gonna have to scrap all three thousand words of it and start over.
As you can probably imagine, this was not a fun thing to realize. I meant to go through what have and try to fix it, but then I remembered I had to go back to town, to work, on my day off, to renew my UST training. That stands for Underground Storage Tank, but after following too many romance authors on social media (and more recently, falling down the fanfic wormhole) I can’t look at that acronym without wanting to LOL.
Anyway, that’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. Stupid certifications. *grumbles about people with no common sense making things more difficult for the rest of us*
I crashed again when I got home. Laid in bed not really sleeping until ten thirty, when I finally forced myself to get up and make dinners for the rest of the week. I’d bought chicken, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts after I got off work Monday, but was too tired to cook after having to work Sunday night and then get back up early on Monday morning for the truck. So I prepped the garlic, shallots, mushrooms, and chicken, and while that sautéed, started shredding the sprouts. I’d gotten through about half of the bag before I managed to slice a chunk of skin off the edge of my thumb.
Which is bad enough but I couldn’t get it to stop bleeding, and it was my right thumb, naturally, so everything after that was awful. It hurt, I couldn’t manage the spice jars or the pepper mill. Ended up tossing what I had of the shredded sprouts into the pan and finishing it up as a one pot dish. It didn’t turn out too awful, but it certainly could have used a bit more flavor. Sigh.
I cleaned up as well as I could manage one-handed, which is to say, not that well, and went to bed.
Anyway. Not a great week. I am officially taking a break from everything creative until next Tuesday. Then I’ll figure out if I was just rundown because overwork and too hot weather, or if I need to try to up my Wellbutrin.
Either way, it’s super annoying that it happened when I’m on the last dang chapter of this book. :/