I Can Haz Do-over?

cat-needs-helpI know, it’s been awhile since I last posted and that I haven’t posted any new writing exercises or Word Wars. There’s several reasons for that. This blog was turning into all writing exercises all the time and that wasn’t what I wanted. There are tons of other blogs out there who cover writing exercises, many far better than I can. For people who might be interested, I’ll put together a list of my favorite writing exercise spots in another post.

So I’m making another go at this, going back to what I originally intended: a place that covers writing, particularly my writing, both in fiction and in RPGs. I haven’t given up on writing and I haven’t given up on this blog. In fact, the main reasons you haven’t heard much from me here or on Facebook are 1) because I’ve been knee-deep in How to Think Sideways (HTTS) homework and 2) life events in general, including an emergency room visit that’s currently having me running from one doctor to another.

Yup, it looks like the medication that supposed to keep me going and functional sent me to the ER. I woke up two weeks ago with some heartburn. That’s not unusual: I’ve been on anti-inflammatory medication for over twenty years now and it really chews up the stomach lining. I’m taking two major antacids to help keep that from happening. Usually with heartburn, if I sit up and wait a little, it calms down enough that I can get to my medication, including said antacids.

Not this time. When I sat up, my upper chest area muscles contracted. Hard. Right behind the breast bone. It felt like my body was trying to squeeze my heart and lungs out through my esophagus. I starting to have trouble breathing. I was also taking a antibiotic I’d never taken before–generally not a good thing: they tend to land me in the ER as I discover I have to add something else to my list of known allergies. But I needed to take them in preparation for oral surgery I was supposed to have–well–that morning, actually. John called the oral surgeon, then bundled me into the car for the 40-mile trip to Wake Med.

Fastest admittance I’ve ever had to the ER. Even faster than the last time I tried a new antibiotic and had a throat that was swelling closed. The woman at the front desk looked at me, asked “Chest pain?” I nodded and she and a nurse who appeared at my side took me straight into triage. I wasn’t in triage very long before they ushered me into a room. By this point, my chest pain had eased up some. They stuck me with an IV and started pouring all kinds of things into my body. I don’t remember exactly what they gave me. I did refuse the morphine. I’d had enough narcotics last year as I prepared to test for my second degree black belt (a story I’ll tell another time). Apparently few people do that, since all the hospital-related people in my room seemed shocked that I didn’t want it. That, or it was my insanely high pain tolerance poking it’s head up again. They asked me several times if I was sure.

To make an already long story short, after a whole battery of tests, including a trip through the Stargate (MRI. Does anyone else get the urge to shout “Chevron One encoding” as they slide you in?), it turned out I wasn’t having a heart attack. It was severe acid reflux and my esophagus was extremely raw, hence the chest cramping. But since my family has a history of heart disease, I have to go through the Parade of Specialists to make sure everything is completely okay. They’ve taken me off of my current anti-inflammatory and put me on a new one (which means I have the fun of having no anti-inflammatory in my system for about a month as Celebrex builds up to “therapeutic levels”.

But I’m actually doing really well, apart from the odyssey I described above the aforementioned oral surgery, now rescheduled for next week. I suspect it was time for me to switch anti-inflammatories. The last time I had to switch, I (and my doctor) thought I had appendicitis. My life is nothing, if not colorful. But even with all of this, I’m still writing and haven’t fallen too far behind my HTTS homework. And I’ve even come up with an idea for a line of jewelry based on the Major Arcana.

I’ll keep y’all posted as things develop.

Live boldly. There may not be a later.

[Photo courtesy of postmemes.com via Flickr Creative Commons]

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Fantastic Writing Course Closing Registration Today

Course Cover © Holly Lisle

Course Cover © Holly Lisle

Heads up for anyone who wants a great writing course and doesn’t mind making a long-term commitment. Today is the last day to sign up for Holly Lisle’s breakthrough writing course How to Think Sideways. You have about 8 hours to sign up. The best thing about this course is that once you’ve bought it, it’s good for life. I’ve taken this course and made it to Lesson 19, but then life interfered and I got side-tracked. I’m going through it again this year. This is the first year that there’s actually a class going through it together, which I’m hoping will give me some accountability and help me make it all the way through. Because of that, though, Holly had now decided to open registration only once a year.

I apologize about the last-minute post. I was going to post about it, but I honestly thought registrations were closed already. I just received an email in my box telling me today was the last day to register, so anyone who’s interested still has some time to sign up. The course cost is $497, which you can break down into 7 monthly payments of $77/month. From my own experience, this course has been more than worth the money. I’m not an affiliate (I was once, but the affiliate program was jettisoned), just a very satisfied customer and I’m receiving no payment of any kind for this plug.

It’s a 29-week course, so yeah, it’s a time commitment. But if life interferes and you fall behind for any reason, you can still complete the course at your own pace. You just won’t be with the rest of the class. Many people who have graduated from this course have gone on to publish books of their own, both self- and traditionally-published. And the course doesn’t just cover writing. It covers the whole life of a novel, from generating the original idea to how to market your published book, including how to work with agents and editors. Or if self-publishing is your way to go, she covers how to do that, including how to publish within your budget and how to created a professional-looking cover.

Holly herself is working writer who’s published over thirty novels, both traditional publications and self-published ones, mostly in the SF/F genre, though she has a few paranormal romances I thought were surprisingly good. How to Think Sideways isn’t her only course. She also has long courses that cover how to revise your novel and how to write a series. And many shorter courses, including Create a Culture Clinic, How to Create a Plot, Create a Language Clinic, How to Write Page-Turning Scenes and more.

For more information, go to How To Think Sideways Ultra. And if you decide to join me, I’m jaderpggm on the forums

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New Facebook Group

I’ve made a Facebook group to go along with this blog. It’s private group, so the public will know the group exists, but won’t be able to read posts without joining. I had to add  people when I created the group, so I just added a couple of people I felt would probably want to join. I’ll be sharing my posts here on the group’s page and people can comment here or there, whichever they feel more comfortable with.

The group is called “rpg+fiction=?” and I’m extending the offer to join to anyone who reads this blog. If you want to be part of the group, leave a comment below or email me at jade(at)rpggm(dot)com. Reference this post, either in the subject or body of the email so I know you’re not a bot.

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humble-dogToday I received a mailing list email from one of my favorite authors, Mur Lafferty, where she talks about “humbledrag.”1 In essence, humbledrag is the act of dragging down your efforts, talents, abilities, whatever, to appear humble. Now, she wasn’t talking about false humility, but genuine beliefs that your work isn’t as good as anyone else’s, simply because it was your own work. Not exclude the men in my audience, this is something we, as women, particularly need to become aware of. Men can humbledrag, but girls and women receive messages that this is the proper way to think about their work. Hell, I was raised by a feminist but I humbledrag with the best of them. If we appraise our work correctly, then we lose. We lose the raise, the house, the fiance, the book deal, whatever, because we’re “pushy” or “bossy” or “have unrealistic expectations”.

We need to be aware of our humbledragging. We need to notice when we do it verbally and we need to edit it out of our written work. I’m thinking about creating a reward system for myself: every time I notice myself humbledragging, I get a reward. Just a small one. Two hours of guilt free reading, for example, or an episode or two of my current favorite show. We should also help each other. Keep an ear out for your friends’ humbledragging. Agree between friends that you will point out each other’s humbledragging in a friendly way, such as saying “Humbledrag!” (or simply “Hb!”) whenever you notice them doing it. Make it a game between you; the last thing we want here is meanness, since that will just reinforce the humbledragging behavior.

I’m going to make a definite effort to avoid humbledragging from now on. Anyone with me?

1Shambling Guide to New York, Ghost Train to New Orleans, as well as numerous short works, many available for free. Just check out her website at http://murverse.com.

[Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. I give credit to the actual photographer, if Flickr hadn’t dandified it’s site to point that I can’t tell who it was. But the link there should get you to the original photo]

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