Monthly Archives: September 2015

PSA – Melanoma Or Get Thee to a Dermatologist

Melanoma runs deep in my family. It is how my mother died 20 years ago. We are absolutely proactive about it. Sunscreen is a MUST. Checking of all the moles is a must. I know what a “good” mole looks like vs a “bad” mole. I check myself and the kids pretty regularly. It is habit now.

Because this is the year for freaking out, a little after I found my little bump, I noticed that there was a mole on my oldest son’s arm that I did not like. Not one little bit. So I scheduled a dermatologist appointment for him too. Of course, a few days before his appointment, I hurt my foot and could drive so the husband had to take him. The doctor took the mole I was worried about and another one too.

It’s the waiting that makes it all unbearable. A week for a biopsy. The kid did better at waiting than me. I worry over it, obsess over it, and run through all the worst case scenarios in my head because that is what I’ve always done. Apart from letting me check his wounds and their healing process, he’s not said a word about it. He’s not acting worried or anything either. He hasn’t even asked me once about when we hear back on said biopsy. I called today (it’s always a good sign when you have to call them) and he’s all clear. They were just moles. And that is the biggest relief.

I know it’s family history that makes me nervous for him. I’ve been a basket case for every single one of the moles I’ve had removed (5). I really hoped I’d have longer to wait before he started getting pieces of himself taken off. I was 17 the first time I had a mole removed. He’s not quite 15 yet. And his looked scarier than mine. And now I’ve called and gotten the information I need – just moles, not precancer or melanomas. Boring old moles. I LOVE boring old moles.

Most people have some moles, freckles, or other marks. You should get them checked. A good baseline check by a dermatologist and learn the difference between moles you can ignore and moles you should worry about. Get yourself checked and keep track of your spots. You are never too young to start checking for these things. It’s a good habit to get into – like checking for lumps in your breast in the shower.

Know the difference.

Know the difference.

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Question for readers

I’ve got this little shred of an idea that won’t leave me alone but I’m also not sure it’ll work the way my brain wants it to. Would you read a series of books where the main character of the series is absolutely pivotal to each book but not actually the main character in any but the last of them?

The idea is growing on me even though I have more than enough on my writing plate right now and it would absolutely be my Nanowrimo project this year if I had time for Nanowrimo this year.

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Mythology and Story Telling

I have been more than a little obsessed with mythology for most of my life. Celtic, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Native American mythology especially. If you read my stories or my poetry that obsession is fairly evident. I cannot count the books I’ve read on mythology and philosophy. The stories are beautiful, far reaching, and the kind of thing that reminds us all that we are more alike than we are different.

Fairy tales, folk tales, philosophical tomes – all full of mythology. If my story is the tapestry, words are the fibers and mythology the loom. I know – so overly dramatic – but also true. Some of the mythology may be of my own making, especially stories set on other worlds – but mythology informs the cultures my characters are a part of.

Every culture is built upon mythology in some way, I just like to inspect it. Let’s put the pantheon under a microscope and see all the ways it effects the civilization that named it. The evolution of the mythology, the journey from magic to science intrigues me. What happened to the Sumerian gods? To the Tuatha De Danann?  How would the evolution work on other worlds with other gods – maybe gods who are a little more hands on and present?

My interests and obsessions can’t help but find their way into my stories. I know the advice is to “write what you know” but imagine how limited my stories would be if I did that? I’m a work from home mom who rarely leaves my house and pretty much lives vicariously through the research I do and the stories I read (and write). I write what interests me.

In Hunter’s Crossing, I explore a lot of myth especially surrounding  what happens after death and the kind of monsters society once created to explain horrible events. In Guardian of the Gods, I explore the evolution of a warrior who is a slave to his gods becoming the man who is savior of them. The book I’m waiting on edits of, I get to play with dragons and magic. OK, so magic exists in all three of those stories alongside the myths I created or studied.

I think, if I had to do it over, I’d likely go into anthropology. People may be awful (see yesterday’s post), but they are so interesting too. What’s the point of telling stories if I can’t pass on my joys in the same way I share my fears?

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Some people are awful

I read a thing today I wish I hadn’t read. In San Francisco there is a lawsuit basically trying to get the courts to declare a 9 year old boy with autism as a public nuisance. He may be ten now, I can’t quite tell by the article. I’m about to rant about this article that you can read for yourself here: Autism Society San Francisco.

Things you should know – I have a 9 year old boy who is autistic. If it were my neighbors filing this awful lawsuit, I can only imagine how livid I would be. I know we only see one side of this lawsuit but it really reads like stuff that any little kid might do, not just a kid with autism.

I can only imagine what our neighbors think when we’re in full meltdown at our house. I want to find this family and hug them and comfort them and tell them that their kid isn’t the problem – awful people just can’t help being awful. Perhaps that will someday be known as a disability. We’ll send them to empathy therapy and manners classes instead of OT or PT.

 

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Clutz Moment of the Year

I am not a graceful person. Anyone who knows me knows that I can trip over anything, including nothing. I am currently in a foam padded shoe and using crutches as I bruised a bone in my foot. How did I manage that you ask? I ran over my foot with a fairly empty shopping cart while out with my grandmother.

It could be so much worse but seriously that has to be the dumbest way I’ve hurt myself yet. Recovery time will be much less time than a break would have been but that’s still me sitting around with my foot up. Hoping to manage to get some words in over the next week or two.

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Grabbing the Brass Ring

For a large chunk of my childhood, that phrase was quite literal. I wanted the brass ring more than I wanted anything else. If I was tall enough and clever enough to get the brass ring, then I was big enough. Big enough to what, I’m not entirely sure. What the hell am I talking about? A carousel. Specifically the Looff Carousel in Spokane, Washington. It’s one of the few carousels left where you can still reach for the brass ring, quite literally.

My Brass Ring

My Brass Ring

Every time I went to the park, I’d ride the carousel, mostly on the same horse, and try and stand as tall as I could, reach as far as I could to grab the rings that came down the metal arm. I didn’t want the plastic rings, but I would have been happy with those (sort of). I tried loosening the belt and sitting on my feet (and got yelled at). I stood on my tippy toes and stretched as far as I could but I came up short (ha!) for a long time. Years. I finally managed when I was about ten, give or take a year.  You are supposed to give up your brass ring in exchange for a free trip on the Carousel but I absolutely refused to let it go. Cost my poor dad $10 too.

He tells the story much better than I do but we lived that day through very different eyes. For me, the ring was all that mattered and the rest was not important. For him, the ring was a small part of the big picture.

I haven’t been in Spokane in YEARS but I miss that carousel and think of it often. That and the trash eating goat sculpture. It was such a fun city to be little in.

When I think about grabbing the brass ring now, it’s a lot less literal. For me, the brass ring is getting my stories in the hands of readers who might find them fun, interesting, inspiring, infuriating – I’m not picky about the emotion so long as there is one. A figurative brass ring is a lot harder to catch but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

I’m older and wiser now and the ring has become one part of my big picture but it is one part I’ve not reached yet. I’m a lot closer than I was – I have books published and available to be read, other books still in the process of finding the right publisher, other books still in the writing and editing process. I have a lot of short stories in a lot of anthologies too. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I can see that brass ring now. I think my fingers have brushed it a time or two. I’m not sure how to define when I’ve caught it but I think I’ll know when I do. Of course, when I do, a new brass ring will drop into the arm and I’ll have to chase that one too.

My brass ring is very real but it is a symbol for me. I’ve kept it within easy reach for all these years because it matters to me. It is my reminder that if I am dedicated, if I keep reaching and don’t give up, I’ll snag it eventually.

 

 

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No Excuses

There is no excuse for me not to be getting at least a few words in daily. Even if I don’t have any new ideas any time soon, I’ve got three books that need revisions and four that need writing. In a few weeks I’ll have a reason to set everything aside – when I get the first round of edits back on a book that I’ll be talking more about closer to release dates – but until then, there is no reason at all for me not to see progress every single day. Period.

It can be very easy for me to ignore my current projects for something new and shiny but I’m trying to break myself of that. Especially now that there are deadlines, contracts, and expectations involved. The odds are that it means that I won’t be able to do Nanowrimo this year because I’ll be doing the biggest chunk of edits and I’m good with that. I know I can do it. I’ve done it several times. And apparently, I’ve had some good successes with it because Guardian of the Gods, Hunter’s Crossing, and the one I’m not talking about right this second all started off as 50,000 word first drafts sputtered out in various Novembers. Two of the projects in need of revisions started that way too actually. None of them look much like their original form now and that’s for the best, but getting that first zero draft, that ugly splatter of ideas without the finer details, poetry, or grace is probably my favorite part of writing. It’s messy but it is invigorating, exhilarating, and exhausting all at once. That’s not to say the second and the beta drafts are less important but that first rush, when you know nothing about what’s going to happen, there’s something really special about it.

I did get a few words in on Soul Eater and some notes on Demonborne so I’m calling it a successful day. Tomorrow should be less busy so I should hopefully be able to get even more done!

 

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