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!
So, last time I talked about my antidepressant stuff I sounded so optimistic, but then I crashed hard. December was…literally the worst. And January wasn’t too hot either. (Literally or figuratively…my electric bill! *sobs*) So my doctor doubled my dose of Zoloft. I have to take it twice daily now, which is a pain to remember even with alarms on my phone, but it also means that forgetting for an hour or two doesn’t mess me up as bad as when I was on one a day, so that’s nice. I’ve actually managed to be productive–not super productive, but I have managed to write about eight thousand words in February, which is better than the two previous months combined. Unfortunately not all of it was for AFWT. o_o;
It’s not unusual for me to come out of a depressive spiral with a new story idea–I tend to find something to distract myself–a TV show, a movie, a new books series–and start poking at it until it suits my tastes. This one started off as fan fic of my own characters, a fluffy tea shop AU, but the idea sort of blended with the books I was reading recently (Psycop and the Rowan Harbour Cycle) so now I have a third story to tell in my Genius Loci series, Woodhaven, about an asexual enby artist/seer who works part time in a cafe run by genius loci descended wolves in a town hidden in a forest, which is populated by a variety of genius loci who have lost their ancestral territories and human magic-users hiding from the eyes of the world. It takes place some time after the events in the two previous planned series, Golden Wolf and A Spirit of Place, but I don’t know if the characters will cross over yet, since I haven’t quite crystallized the plot details in my head. I should probably do that, lol.
I am chipping away at the next scene for AFWT, but it’s a duel scene and those are hard. (It doesn’t help that I can’t get my lazy arse out of bed early enough to have time to work on anything.) But it is getting worked on. Soon I’ll be done with the beginning of Woodhaven and my brain will hopefully get back on track so I can finish the beast.
My eye appointment was today, and picking out my new frames by myself was just as frustrating as I had imagined. The place I went was pretty small, and the selection of frames they had to fit my tiny face was also…quite small.
I, uh, had to choose my new glasses from the kid’s rack. But! They are metallic fuchsia, a bit lighter and redder than my current glasses–or at least the color my current glasses used to be before I finally rubbed the color off from wearing them WAY past their expiration date. (You do not even want to know how long it’s been since I went to the eye doctor.)
Then I went to Half Price Books, because it was right across the street, basically, and looked for those reference books I didn’t find at Book People. I found Austin, An Illustrated History, which looks to be a good general history. Remarkable Plants of Texas also looks like it will be good, as it contains not just info about the plants, but their historic uses and cultural significance. Indians of Texas was on my list for the original version of Golden Wolf, so I bought it even though I’ve changed a lot of stuff since then. After I got home I realized I already had one book with a similar title that I found on Ebay last year. Oops. Oh well. I also bought some books about digital photography–a general guide for dummies, and couple of books about nature and wildlife photography–because the male lead of Golden Wolf is a nature photographer.
I should have looked at books about the Hill Country too, but I spent entirely too much money today already.
Speaking of nature photos. I went for a walk. Have a sunset.
I sort of fell off the internet for a while, except for Tumblr, which, as social media outlets go, is the most benign, being 99% pictures of cats and webcomic updates. My depression and anxiety have calmed down a bit, so I recently dove back into the wilds of Twitter.
This proved a boon for that one weird novel idea that came to me last year, featuring the supernatural oddball combination of a unicorn and an incubus. (This was inspired partly by a side character from the Kate Kane series I talked about here and an offhand comment from some social media post ages ago about unicorns in urban fantasy.) The two main characters came pretty easily, and a conflict soon followed, but the bane of my writing existence is actually plotting so I struggled to find some way to get the book moving beyond introducing the characters. Worldbuilding was also a bit of an issue with this one–how do you handle the ubiquitous urban fantasy tropes? Especially when you’ve already got another urban fantasy-ish story that you’ve determined will have none of them in the works at the same time?
It was given some steam, quite by accident, when I saw this tweet
I wandered through the goblin market in a garden of silk roses, and the lion and the unicorn danced in the streets
It struck my attention because the working title for this book is Lion and Unicorn, because the antagonist is a lion avatar of a goddess. Still working out the main plot, but now there is some forward motion on it, and I was inspired to work on the details, which led to searching such things as sacred plants in folklore, ancient deities who have lions as sacred beasts, genius loci, Celtic fairy lore, and all the other usual suspects in urban fantasy, ie, werecreatures, vampires, and the like.
I learned, among other things, that hawthorns feature in a number of folklore traditions, including vampire slaying, but all the things I found are European in origin. I started looking up American analogues, and let me tell you, it was hard trying to get information on the species native to the Central Texas area, but I did it. The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has a very nice database, so I was not only able to find some species of hawthorn to use, I was also able to look up wild roses and verbena, which also have prominent places in the folklore. I still need to look up local folklore. I have some books to read on that subject; they just need to be unearthed from my massive TBR pile.
I have parts of two chapters for this book already, but I probably won’t get to work on it seriously for a while. My priority, aside from ATWT, is going to be the ace wolf shifter story (working title:Golden Wolf) and the other urban fantasy, (working title:A Spirit of Place), which share a world and have crossing plotlines, which both need research as well, mostly on the setting. Going in search of a good history book about Austin this weekend to that end. The magic system for that series is going to be based on genius loci, so that’ll be fun.
Um…not a lot else to talk about, really. I’ve been plugging away at AFWT, currently on Ch46 of the fifty-two I have outlined. My anxiety has gotten a lot better, but my depression is still kicking my ass, and this week’s work schedule isn’t helping. I wanted to do Inktober, but after the first day, work was such that I came home Monday dead on my feet and spent the next two days half zombified, so the second page of the work, inspired by the aforementioned A Spirit of Place, the protagonist of which is a webcomic artist who co-owns an art supply shop.) is barely half drafted. There was perspective involved, which makes me twitchy anyway, and the hardest part of making comics is actually trying to decide the best way to compose the panels, so it took me like, three hours to do even that much.
I was planning to get back to it today, but I ended up being depressed and also full of allergies so I slept most of the afternoon, and my brief attempt to write was…not successful. But my sister made me dinner and I had a nice walk, and a book that I pre-ordered will be coming out tonight, so I’m giving myself the rest of the evening off, and I’ll try to get back to the drawing stuff tomorrow night.
In the meantime, have this shot of the cover/first page of ‘cold’ by Elise Davenport, the MC of A Spirit of Place.
It currently only lasts about five minutes unplugged. I’ve had this phone for about three years, I think? An iPhone 5c. It was free with my contract renewal, and it’s been getting slower anyway, so I thought I’d go and see about a new one.
Went to Verizon, and my options, as told to me by the guy behind the counter, are to pay full price outright for a phone (lolno), or pay monthly payments until it’s payed for (it’d take two years to pay for the damn thing). So I said, “You don’t do contract renewal pricing anymore?”
And he said they did but my bill would go up by twenty dollars a month.
So I said that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of, who would pay more to be trapped in a contract for two years? And he said it was to keep the non-contracted customers.
But…you don’t want to keep the ones who are willing to be contracted? Like, I could *switch* phone companies right now and get a cheaper phone? Big business logic?!??!!? (Also, they wanted to charge me fifty dollars more for the phone than Apple would have if I bought it outright?!)
I know, I know. “Stop wasting time whining about phones and finish the dang book already.”
I am about halfway done with the revision, though. I…severely doubt I will be able to finish before the new year, unless my muse lights a serious fire under my @$$. I was looking at Ch12 today, and Extremely Large chunks of it will have to be rewritten from scratch now–I will never, ever write another book without figuring out all the worldbuilding details first again–I have basically halted work on my side project (tentatively titled ‘Golden Wolf’) for just that reason. (It’s an asexual romance with wolves who can turn into people, not werewolves, set in small town Texas. I’m planning to do a research trip for it for my birthday, to Boerne, which is tentatively the setting. Haven’t decided whether it will be set in the real town or a fictional version.)
I also figured out the emotional arc for the sp/ace romance. I had been stumped for a conflict, and stupidly ignored that it was right there in the first scene that I live-tweeted last year, because I thought it was going to be a much different story than the one it is supposed to be. Oops. Oh well, I still have a deal of research to do for it anyway. I thought of writing it for NaNoWriMo this year, but I think I’ll actually just work on AFWT instead, see if I can’t finish it before the end of the year. And on that note, I’ll go work on Ch12, but only for an hour, because I have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow, chief of which is going to get the battery replaced on my phone because *makes rude gesture at Verizon*