Weaseling Out

Yep, this post is a total weasel out.  I find that I REALLY need to work on my for-pay books, and so I’m being bad.

So I’m going to throw out half a dozen ideas for discussion, things I’ve been wondering about myself, and maybe the discussion will generate future posts:

1- How many of you feel the need of an additional, non-verbal creative procedure?  I found my time taking art classes were my most productive writing years, as well.  It’s like switching the creativity to different sets of neurons can nudge me out of the dull spot in my story.  (I think Tedd Roberts, aka, Speaker to Lab Animals would have something to say to that.)  What about you?  (And the reason I’m not taking art classes now?  They doubled in price and I feel guilty.  Starting to think they might be worth it, though.)

2- Since I can’t have the next Witchfinder book out for at least two months, it’s working out to a once a year schedule, which I know is bad for indie.  Should I do novellas in between to keep it going?

3- While on that, do many of you find yourself enjoying short novels/novellas — around 30k words — as much as “real novels”?  Because they’re faster reads, and of course, easy to market on kindle.

4 – Does anyone have any suggestions, short of moving (we’re working on that) to stop the cycle of colds/illness (I presume I’m allergic to something in this house) because I have a cold again, and I’m afraid violent coughing will injure the injured eye?

5- Cats, threat or menace?  My older kid can’t spend an evening away with friends without our having two cats lamenting outside our door till all hours.  It’s been too long since I’ve had dogs.  Do they behave like this too?  And what do I do if the kid — as he intends — moves away for graduate school next year?

6 – What are you doing for thanksgiving and how do you tell family what you’re trying to do for a living?  And what are the reactions?  I remember my years as an unpublished writer and having people tell me (I swear.  Verbatim) “So, if you’re not published, that means you’re not a writer, just a housewife.”  What is the mark of being a “real writer.”  (I’ve since settled on “Spend most of the time working on my craft” but I don’t think my younger self would buy it.)

And now forgive me this weaseling out.  I PROMISE to return to Elf Blood as well as all the rest.  This month has been a Catastrophe of the Week club meet, and this too shall pass.

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69 responses to “Weaseling Out

  1. katabatic

    Tell him to take one of the cats when he moves. Dogs tend to be more amenable to rules and discipline. Sticking your head out the door and growling will cow most dogs. Cats just take it as encouragement.

    Unless you have thunder voice or a powerful battle aura. My mom once sent the cat and dog into hiding when someone shredded her bedspread. No words just quiet fuming. Poor things were hiding for hours.

    I like novellas. Working on a series of novellas so I can get one out every other month starting in January. I’d like it to be faster but my schedule tends to go wibbley wobbley on me. When the paying work comes I gotta take it. Also I’m trying to get my grandpa’s book done and to someone who can copy edit the non english words by christmas.

    My family is pretty supportive but frustrated that I haven’t got any of my own stuff in print yet. I tend to get more guff from strangers and acquaintances. Either I get that condescending, “how sweet she’s a x”, or the other person ends the conversation quickly and finds someone more important to talk to. Occasionally I get the subject changer or the concerned “how are you going to retire on that”. It’s a breath of fresh air when I get someone genuinely curious.

  2. Not a fan of novellas, esp. as substitutes for novels I can sink my teeth into. I understand all the issues in favor of shortness for a writer, but don’t like ’em as a reader.

  3. Cat are big fans of Everything In It’s Place, and your son is supposed to be where they can supervise him, and it’s your fault when he isn’t. My senior cat is currently reading me the riot act because the younger one passed away very suddenly this week and Things have Changed. Not that she was a big fan of the younger cat, but she wasn’t consulted.

    If I find good stuff, I want more of it. A Novella is just a fat short story. I lean towards “write lots of stuff, then release it every other month.” That seems to work the best.

    Colds: be antisocial, use gel sanitizer after touching *any* public surface, extra vitamin D. I’ve had far fewer cold/flu events since I went lo-carb, too.

  4. Angus Trim

    As a reader, might I suggest just a little larger size? 45k words + or – 5k words, say? My thought process goes back to the pulp era, particularly the late 50’s through mid 70’s. A lot of the genre paperbacks of the time were written in these sizes, and they were convenient for working family folks. A person could take a book in his lunch box to work, and at home, could maybe get an hour or so to read once the kids were settled.

    I have to admit, that part of my thought on this was the failure of the novellas to support the “Mongoliad” series Amazon published. The thought behind them, the “Foreworld” novellas, is that something would come out every month, and keep the customers in anticipation of the next novel of the series. From a marketing point of view, it flopped. {I was a co-author on a couple of pieces of this. Great lesson on how a good idea can flop}

    On the other hand, the shorter novels in indie land are gaining traction again.

    Just my thoughts on it.

  5. I prefer full sized novels as a reader.

    But as a writer with a complex universe, I find myself needing to point out things now or introduce characters that will be important later, but don’t fit anywhere as a subplot, and aren’t complex enough to be a novel. So I’ve written a bunch of novellas in the 20-30K word range. The early ones I bundled up into novel sized collections, the last few I’ve sold as stand alones. I don’t know how “I need to publish something in this universe this year” could be inspirational That sort of motivation for ideas doesn’t sound very workable. But then you’re a writing machine who makes me feel like a dilettante.

  6. Alternate creations . . . I also do some art, and find that it doesn’t mix well with writing. If I’m just taking a break for a few hours, and want to write more, later in the day, I try to not get pulled into the cover designs and drawing.

    Sudoku, Free Cell, and solitaire on the other hand, seem to let my mind coast, without flipping it out of writer mode. going back and forth is easy.

  7. Let’s see, what else is on your list? Thanksgiving.

    My husband does not hate turkey. He hates turkey leftovers for the next week. But this year will be different! I have found turkey thighs. Period. I’ll cook two with all the fixings (in reasonable amounts, honest!) slightly altered to slightly reduce the carb overload. Voila!

    It’s different when the kids don’t come home for the holidays.

    How does my family feel about my writing? Very proud, now that I’ve been able to hand them real paper books (thank you, Create Space). :: cough :: I don’t mention my income. As for “when are you a professional writer” I always like Eric Flint’s definition. When your income is part of the monthly household budget, not a delightful occasional windfall, you are a professional.

    Cats. Menace. Haven’t had any for years. The last ones, I adopted then the neighbors moved out and abandoned them. Strictly outdoors, they took care of all the rodents in the barn. And the beautiful little birds. And the baby bunnies. And the snakes, even the ultra cool king snake that had lived in the barn for years. I refuse to keep them inside, but the little hunters kill things. So I don’t have any. Not that that helps the local bird population, my neighbor’s got about twenty families worth of cats.

    • Synova

      That’s funny. My husband figures that turkey leftovers are the whole point of the turkey. So we’ve got an 18 pound bird for five people.

      • I have a HUGE issue because I starting thinking “but 20 lb turkey is cheaper.” Whether we have four people, five, sixteen or two …
        I need to get a grip on this before we’re empty nesters. I like Pam’s elegant solution. We used to do this a lot when we were childless (not for thanksgiving) because turkey thighs and legs are cheap. I’d stuff them with sausage and bits of live and a vaguely mediterranean “thing.”

  8. I’m torn on the novella issue. I really prefer full length novels and even when I get to the end of the 120 – 130k I find with the good ones that I just don’t want the story to stop. I want to know what happens next. On the other hand I remember reading the serialised novels in Astounding in the 50’s and how the anticipation of finding the next part kept me searching the newsagents and magazine stands.
    So I think a series of novellas on a regular basis could be a winner both economically and in terms of what is feasible in terms of productivity. A series of Shifter Tales could be very popular. The trick would be keeping up a regular supply (perhaps bi-monthly or quarterly) that would satisfy your reader’s expectations and at the same time keeping up the quality.

  9. Luke

    Dogs do not behave like that. But they might watch out the window for him, and if he comes home at 2 in the morning, expect to hear about it. Especially if he tries to be sneaky.
    The big thing is that dogs are pack animals. As long as you present yourself as their superior, and have clear and consistent rules, the vast majority will happily embrace their role in your family.
    Caveats: it takes longer to housebreak a dog than box train a cat. Puppies chewing things is a stereotype because it’s true. You’ll almost certainly want to avoid terriers and sighthounds. Toy breeds and working dogs are a mixed bag. Scenthounds and retrievers are hard to go wrong with.

    • katabatic

      Gentle giants are always a win with me! King Charles Spaniels are awesome lap dogs if you prefer something small.

      • Luke

        We’ve got a St. Bernard as part of the menagerie, so I understand. (He’s a big sweetie.)
        But I wouldn’t recommend them to someone unprepared for the experience. The shedding and the slobber can be a bit overwhelming for many.

    • Synova

      I’ve gone from “dogs should be dog sized” to “smaller dog, smaller poop.”

      I don’t intend to ever get another dog, but if I did, I’d go for a lap-dog that was small enough to just go with us everywhere.

      • I have a chiweenie (chihuahua-wiener dog mix) in my lap as I type. I’ll never get a large dog again.

        • Dan wants something that size. I wanted a bigger one…

        • Truth is we’ll probably end up with mutt, whatever size.

          • Nobody pines like a dog. Remember Hatchi or Greyfriars Bobby? Heh.

            Dogs can be much more amenable to whatever whackado regime the Big Boss Lady requires of them (how many street people does one see with cats after all) but there’s can be a much steeper learning curve for both of you and a larger investment of time on the front end. Crate- training is your friend: do it right and even a challenging dog behavior issue gets easier. If you do decide to bring home a canine “friend in fur” please feel free to drop me a line. I second the reccy against terriers, beagles (if noise is an issue) and sight hounds unless you have a fully fenced yard. In which case you can get a retired racing greyhound (otherwise known as the 40 mph couch potato.) huge sweetie pies and great for people who need to ignore their dog for big chunks of time to play in imaginary worlds. As long as you’re keeping them company while they nap it’s all good.

            One final caveat: dogs are expensive. If money gets tight they can be a challenge to rehome (we’ve helped friends with this) and if you’ve become attached it will break your heart–and the dogs. Dog sitters are trickier and more costly if you want to take off for a con. Sorry to be such a downer. I would definitely make a dog a financial priority – and have. They are totally worth it – to us. YMMV.

            • My grandma had a retired greyhound. the only thing I’ve heard is that they hate cats. Which is weird, because ours didn’t. He was a sweet heart and if i could get one that wouldn’t eat the cats I’d be all for it.
              It’s two years (at least) int he future for all the reasons you mention. Unless we find one starving and flea bitten and in need of a home. Then all bets are off.

        • Synova

          Totally worth it, just for the name chiweenie.

  10. Draven

    at present, creative writing *is* one of my ‘alternate creative activities’

  11. cat. According to the cat in law, she is a menace.

    I say that I am a historian who substitute teaches and writes fiction on the side. It’s mostly honest.

  12. I only like novellas if they’re related to a larger novel universe. I could see myself getting into a serial, though, if the entries were cheap enough and came fast enough. I understand serials have been very good to some of the PNR writers in the indie forum I follow.

  13. And cats–threat *and* menace. Just ask my dogs. When they get hungry or desperate for attention, they just crowd your feet and look up soulfully at you as though you were the master of the universe.

  14. Don’t have Thanksgiving over in this part of the world, but I was chatting with Kate about food recently. It’s summer Down Under, and hitting temperatures that are bad for computers and people, so I rather miss baked fruit things. Royal Gala apples are delightfully small, so sometimes I’ll prepare one for myself, or one for Rhys, by peeling and coring it, wrapping the apple in a puff pastry or other dough, and stuffing the middle. What goes in there varies, usually sultanas or raspberry jam, with a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s like a single serve apple pie.

    My mother and I were talking about how they’ve been using the toaster oven for baking sweet potatoes, and I suggested that they take a slice of bread, spread some margarine or butter on it, layer slices of apple on top, and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and sugar before toasting the whole thing. Mom tried it out and she says it feels so decadent to have, it’s so yummy and easy to make.

  15. I’m trying a couple of things that are creative-but-not-writing, since caring for Wee Dave has nearly completely sucked the juice from my well. I’ve got a couple of blocks of polymer clay and a set of small tools, and I’ve been sculpting things. I’m working on a set of historical shields, and have a couple of other things (human skull, direwolf skull, stuff like that), and it helps. Somewhat. I still hate that I’m not writing, but every time I sit down, either he needs my attention, or I stare at the last sentence I wrote for half an hour and then go do something actually productive. It’s kinda soul-killing, honestly. I also have gaming miniatures and paint, but those take a little more uninterrupted time than the sculpey.

    Most of my family has accepted my career as a writer, at least to my face. My parents have reported the occasional, “but shouldn’t he get a real job sometime; I mean, what if this writing thing doesn’t work out?” Whenever anybody expresses any confusion or concern, I break out with the Publishing 101 spiel, and their eyes glaze over. That’s kept away the worst of the offenders. Otherwise, I spend time with people who understand it.

    A writer is one who writes. Tautological, but true, nonetheless. A professional writer gets paid for their writing. This is a long-tail game, especially going indie, and it can take a decade or more to build a sufficient readership so that the writing goes toward paying the expenses. On the other hand, pouring any income back into the business (in the form of purchasing new equipment to replace old, buying ISBNs or art for covers, etc.) can mean you don’t “make” any money, but you’re still working. I’m actually willing to extend a lot more grace to others than I am to myself. But then, I have friends like Sarah, Larry and Howard; people whose work ethics beggar any pretensions I might have. YMMV, and usually does.

    We have stuff for you that may help with health. Just need to get it in the mail. Soon, promise.

    As for novellas, I have plans. They’ve yet to gel, because life, but I have ’em.

    • … “but shouldn’t he get a real job sometime; I mean, what if this writing thing doesn’t work out?” Whenever anybody expresses any confusion or concern, I break out with the Publishing 101 spiel, and their eyes glaze over. That’s kept away the worst of the offenders. Otherwise, I spend time with people who understand it.

      This has been a source of great frustration to me over the last few months. I hate talking to ‘mundanes’ – people who don’t have un grand passion in their lives, or even have a hobby they really enjoy. Then said folks wonder why I really don’t like doing the various little things that they do to fill up the empty spaces of their time that they can brag about, but don’t seem to really enjoy. Of course, said people are the same sorts who seem shocked that I’ve been in a single, monogamous relationship for 11 years, where they’ve had several short relationships that ‘never really worked out but were fun for a while.’ They also are shocked that I’m ‘never bored’ despite the fact that I rarely go out.

      • katabatic

        Yeah. My mom asked me why I just stare off into space sometimes at social events. I’ve tried to explain to her that after a few minutes most people give me the brush off or stop listening. I don’t mind being the listener in a conversation but if there is no common ground or curiosity from the other side it gets exhausting.

        So I listen to the conversations around me for a topic I have something to add to. Then for story fodder. Then I just mentally wander off.

        She says I look like a zombie when I do that.

        Plop me in a room with my people and its a different story. Not just because the people around me are interesting, but interested as well. I agree with Shadowdancer that it’s the passion that makes the difference. There’s only so much gossip and small talk that I can stand.

        • Yeah. People ask me what I like to do for fun, and when I say “Read, write, draw, cook,” they slot me into the box labelled “Boring nerd” and aren’t really sure what to say, or go “Oh, I can’t read, it’s so boring!~” If I add “Shoot stuff at the range” the reaction is O_O and unless the other person is a shooter themselves, they get uncomfortable. Asked if I like to go out shopping, I say I spend money on books and food. If people start talking about cooking though, I can join in.

          But yeah, my people are online and this is one of the places where we gather to chat and pursue rabbit-hole trains of thought and conversation.

          The person I consider my best friend online has the ability to shut down a conversation pretty darn quickly. One guy, trying to flirt and find out more, asked “So what do you do for work?”

          Tohya: I work at a printing company.
          guy: What do you do there?
          Tohya: Print stuff.
          guy: *messages me* Help, I’m banging my head against the brick wall that is Tohya-chan

          More recently, someone asked her ingame “Can you give me a date?”
          Reply: “July 26, 1972.” *has toon walk away*

          • katabatic

            Lol! Love your friend! Honestly if I had more money I’d be out a bit more. I’m interested in sword play, wall climbing and I just heard of archery tag. Paint ball with bows! I actually squeed.

            Money as usual is the issue. Have to balance the fun with finances and halloween tapped out my fun budget for a few weeks.

            • Oh, I definitely hear you on the money allocation. XD

              I’d love to take up archery and pistol shooting – Rhys is more into rifles than pistols, but the first time I touched a rifle in thirty years, I shot a pretty close grouping that hit the bullseye. The first time I shot a (very badly maintained, poorly treated) pistol we rented I kept a good grouping as well even though I struggled with the weight and the kick.

              Rhys, an armorer, admitted that I did better than expected. He said the gun was so terrible that he would have marked it as unsafe to use.

      • Synova

        I have no understanding of boredom.

    • Just hang in there. They grow up, and you may find your subconscious is storing up all sorts of ideas and will dump them on you when you finally do find the time (and escape from sleep deprivation) and so forth.

  16. Oh yeah, I had a look at the review Larry linked and you’ve got a good one there too. ^__^ Linking in case you hadn’t seen it yet, as well as for the other Huns.

    http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/shattered-shields-edited-by-bryan-thomas-schmidt-and-jennifer-brozek-book-review/

  17. I’m not fond of novellas, but it may be because I bought a few back in the day that tried to convince me they were novels, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I like them in worlds/universes in which I have read a number of novels, because I respect the author enough to figure that if the author thought the novella form was better for this story, it gets instant cred.

    I don’t do Thanksgiving and I live in New England. It has nothing to do with the original purpose and is just an excuse to overeat and watch football. Oh, and to have to sit down to a meal with people you barely know or actively dislike all in the interests of fellowship. Bah!

    I don’t do art but I do try to knit. There are times when knitting is more important than writing, but most of the time is the opposite. When the knitting is more important, I know I shouldn’t touch the story because there are demons at work that I am exorcising with the knitting.

    And as to being a writer, I belong to a writers workshop where fewer than half of us have published, and most of the publishing is in literary or poetry journals. I may actually finally be “published” shortly because I have submitted some dicey political poems to it that fascinate the editors of our annual “Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop” which is for sale locally and online. It is usually about 200 pages long and has short pieces, poetry, short stories, essays and art. So I think I qualify as a writer if I’ve submitted work to a publication and it has not yet been declined.

    P.S. I usually find the better formulation for me is not to claim to be a writer but to say that I belong to a writers workshop. I have on occasion lately said, “My first novel is with my editor and I’m 60,000 words into my second novel.” They tend not to argue with that.

  18. Synova

    At this point in my life I would prefer to have no animals at all. Problem with that is we already have them. Looking back I can see how I never viewed pets as something that cost either time or money. In my childhood they just *were* but now I realize just how much we’re spending on food for them, just how much dealing with the mess, the litter boxes, the not-using-litter-boxes, takes up time and effort that I don’t really have. Not to mention making it harder to go anywhere. Cats don’t really care so long as they get fed, but the (remaining) dog, like all dogs, has a psychological need for fellowship and we’re not home enough.

    In the “if I had it to do again” department, I’d have a fish tank and finches.

    • Oh, we KNOW they take money, and honeslty we never meant to have one except the first cat, but… rescues.

      • Synova

        I do understand. I can’t really blame anyone else for our zoo, because I’m the one without self-control. (I also have snakes, mice, and chickens, two cockateils, two parakeets, and three fish.)

        I saw a cute little dog under the overpass a couple of weeks ago and I was wimpering over it and my husband kept saying, “Should I go back?” and I kept saying no, no, someone else could be the good Samaritan this time. And I was strong, but it was *hard*.

  19. katabatic

    Oh yeah! Already did thanksgiving ‘cus I’m Canadian but I have a roasted veggie recipe that everybody seems to like.

    Chop some colourful potatoes and carrots into a casserole dish. Add shallots, mushrooms, celery and red and yellow bell peppers. mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and rosemary into a small bowl. Mix it with the vegetables and bake until the balsamic caramelizes a bit.

    I like the little purple flesh sweet potatoes and sometimes I add pepper flakes to the seasoning. Let me know if you try it out. 🙂

  20. Synova

    I think it’s hard to tell family that you’re a writer if you don’t have published books to show them, or an income that you can (without being specific) describe as “a pretty good contribution at this point” or some similar construction. Family ought to get a little bit of a break for being concerned over your financial security, either because they’re worried or just curious. Since my husband has a good job and I’m planning on continuing where I am, hopefully into a full time career thing if all goes well, I don’t have the same issue as any of you who are currently making a career push, and I realize that. I also find that “I’m a writer” is a far different statement than “I write science fiction.”

  21. Synova

    I’ve long thought that I didn’t like short stories but lately I’ve enjoyed the ones they post on the Baen front-page. Most of those seem to be tie-ins to novels that the authors have coming out but I’ve enjoyed them even when, for example, I hadn’t read any of Ryk’s Jason Woods novels. Maybe there is an element to it of “if I like this I know that there is more”, but I don’t think that’s it. Maybe it wasn’t short stories that I didn’t like, maybe it was because I had toddlers when I decided I didn’t like them. Maybe it was because it was the late-ish 1990’s and all the short stories published were trying too hard. Yeah… maybe it was just the 1990’s.

    Novellas and 30-50K novels are long enough, but I do want to know what I’m looking at when I buy one, partly so I don’t feel cheated because I thought I was getting a really good deal on a novel, but also because my expectations affect how I understand the pacing of the story as I read it. Maybe non-writers don’t have that problem but I’m always (or almost always) aware of the beats.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Ryk Spoor doesn’t have any Jason Wood novels out. Technically speaking Digital Knight, or at least the earlier version, is a collection of short stories. Okay, maybe one version or the other reads well enough that one can be happy calling it a novel.

  22. Synova

    Um… what were the other questions…

    Jewelry. I’ve started making jewelry. It’s small, three dimensional, and creative, but once the decision is made to use particular beads for a pattern, the rest is sort of mindless construction. I don’t actually wear a lot of jewelry, but it’s pretty and a shop here sells various natural stone beads that I like very much. I’ve had a couple of false starts with the labradorite beads, but I’ll figure out the design they want eventually.

  23. Angus Trim

    Explaining to a lot of people that writing thing, and their eyes cross, and they walk away shaking their head. Talk to someone else who tends to be really obsessive, like a martial arts instructor, they understand.

    For a good sixteen years, I was obsessed with making swords. I was on the periphery of the growing Western Martial Arts {now HEMA, Historical European Martial Arts}. Actually, it was a double and really strong obsession, meaning it was a passion times an obsession times a really large constant.

    I knew I was losing money on every sword I made, and still made them, and actually gloried in it……

    But then I had the stroke seven years ago, then got old, and the passion faded. I wound up obsessed with writing.

    I too have been asked where the published works are by family, in fact my youngest daughter asked me when they’d be up on Amazon a couple of hours ago.

    Trying to explain the whole thing about bottlenecks and getting kinks out of a system, and you get crossed eyes {I have six novels in line for the copy editor, and one cover done}. By explaining I’ve gone through this whole bottleneck stuff before when starting the sword stuff, they kind of understand, but not really.

    I’d comment again on the novella vs short novel again {30k vs 40k}, but being an aspiring writer still, I’m better off “listening” rather than “telling”.

    • I think the problem is trying to explain the joy you have in the creating and accomplishing – it’s an abstract, not monetarily quantifiable, and to a lot of people ‘worthless’ as a result.

      Worse still, are the people who think that because it’s not something that’s immediately out there – ergo, instant gratification – it’s ‘not worth the investment.’ Which is one of the problems with the ‘easily discard’ mentality when it comes to a person who actually values something/task/effort. One cannot easily try to convey the joy that stays, versus the joy that is fleeting – any more than it’s easy to explain why some books end up so dog-eared and worn from repeated re-reading, and some look pristine despite having been read, to someone who doesn’t take pleasure in reading.

      • Angus Trim

        There are a couple of people that understand. One of them also made swords, and now writes.

        The other is a fellow that used to do some of my leather work, and also taught rapier fencing for years. His passion for teaching the Italian Rapier didn’t really fade until one last set of rib and back injuries.

        Now he works on rebuilding and refurbishing old firearms. That’s his passion now. But, having experienced a transition of passions, as the body changes and you adapt to things, he understands.

        • Those sound like such wonderful passions, honestly. I love martial arts, but before the wish to master my physical capabilities became a full blown passion, health got in the way. The most exercise I can do is walk, and not for very long, nowadays. I’m nowhere near as physically active as I once was.

          In my mind, I am free, and limited only by my own imagination.

  24. Laura M

    I guess I don’t need a non-verbal creative outlet. (I’m thinking of getting photoshop so I can do short story covers myself, but I don’t have it yet, so that doesn’t count.) Between the day job and the writing, I don’t need more. I do exercise.

    Dogs? Labradors!

    Novellas are fine by me as a reader. For writers who are new to me, I like to try something shorter and novellas fit the bill. A novella about the interesting minor character at the end of Witchfinder? I’d definitely read it.

  25. 1) The reason I have my art is because of my writing. I wanted to entice other artists to draw my characters from my fanfictions and knew that fic writers who were also artists (even if they were terrible at it) got more artwork. I’ve outstripped 90% of the artists in the fandom by this point. It supplements my writing and brings in some extra money. Aside from drawn art, though, I sometimes make jewelry (most often with polymer clay). Either way, I find it’s a relief to make art when words aren’t working. But I always seem to be in a weird place when I can’t write and I can’t draw and I have to turn to crafts.

    2/3) Up to you. I know I don’t buy novellas/short stories on their own. (Aside from free, of course.) I prefer bundles/anthologies/whatever. It also helps knowing where they “fit” in the series. I get frustrated not knowing if I’m going to spoiler myself for the novels. And I only really ever read the short stories/novellas for a series if I really, really like their other work – or if it’s part of an anthology and they promise no spoilers for the series. (I know I’ve sought out peoples’ series from liking stories they’d contributed to an anthology.) ALL of that said, I know I’m not the typical reader and I would suggest if you want to write novellas in the series in-between, go for it. Just make sure to bundle them together when you have enough of them. xD

    4) If you figure it out, lemmie know. Though I know mine is mostly from being exposed to my grade school teacher SIL and the two niece monsters (one of which goes to preschool two days a week). I find when I take my vitamins and am more active, I am less likely to get sick, but it doesn’t mean I don’t. Tea and local honey in it seems to help too.

    5) Yes. (re: Threat/menace) And, yes, dogs can get that way too. Our pit bull is extremely needy. People can’t leave the house without her whining at the door. It’s usually worst in the daytime, though, because she thinks if people go outside, she should be outside with them. At least they don’t howl anymore. Cannot help you with fixing the behavior, though I’m sure there’s some sort of way to do it with the Cat Whisperer or whatever. xD;

    6) The usual. Probably. After a fairly uncomfortable Thanksgiving last year, we’ve pretty much agreed that we’re having it at home, rather than going to one of the other extended family households. We have places for people to sit and eat rather than doing it in shifts or standing. So whether it’s “just us” or if we have extended family over, it’s generally food at around 3pm and we go our separate ways to watch football or nap or what-have-you. We’re pretty easy-going that way.

    My family’s pretty cool with my pursuing writing. (Oddly, I think they’re more supportive of my artwork and try to encourage that more. I guess because it’s easier for them to “see” and thus understand? Or it could be just that it brings in money faster and not so long-tail.) It does stress me out when I’ve had a bad month and my dad jokes, “So, have you made a million-bazillion dollars yet? No? Okay, what about by morning? Think you can do that?”, but it’s not like he’s making a dig at me, so I can’t take it personally. Rest of my family doesn’t even ask how it’s going. I’m not sure extended family know I’m a “writer and freelance artist”. They might think I just sit on the internet and eat bonbons all day.

  26. aalabamadill

    http://www.cavalierrescueusa.org/western.html
    Cavs think they are cats. I have a pair, happy and live up to the nickname the comforter. Take care of yourself please, you help light the way ma’am.

    • My heart just melted. I will probably post about the Puppy Search (for this purpose all dogs are puppies) after we move/buy again which might be a couple of years (moving with cats is bad enough.) At that time, if you’re around, maybe you’ll send me the link again. I do like Cavaliers. And we always get rescue if we can, though usually not formal, you know, just starving, wounded kitten in mini-golf course type of rescue.

      • katabatic

        My step dad had one. So sweet and easy to train. If you get a pure bred be sure to look up the breeder. They can have crippling migraines as well as heart conditions.

        I miss that little guy. He kinda melted into your arms and went to sleep when you picked him up. 😦

  27. So, there’s a stereotype of the kind of author who writes hard-boiled detective stories, who drinks just as hard as his protagonists….

    So here’s a nosy question. Does alcohol have any place in your creative process? Does it loosen you up and let your creative juices flow, or does it cloud the mind and ruin your work?

    • It muddies, which is annoying, as I really enjoy sipping whiskey, and I’d like to actually utilize it as a creative/brainstorming measure. I’ve actually gotten to the point where unwinding looks a lot like sipping some bourbon or scotch while playing a video game.

    • Occasionally. I sip those 5% alcoholic mixer drinks when the mood strikes, to help me relax. Not enough to cloud my mind, because that defeats the purpose, but just enough to get my body to feel like I can mentally and actually stretch out instead of being a tense ball of nerves. I tend not to drink more than that.

      And when I mean occasionally, I mean it. I go for months without a sip of anything alcoholic.

    • katabatic

      I get sleepy halfway through the second glass of wine. In the summer I enjoy a glass of cider in the afternoons. Not every day. As long as I stay at 1 glass I can get work done. I save the second for after.

    • I can drink a neck of your typical Seagram’s wine cooler and be giggly and light-headed. I’m that much of a lightweight. (Of course, I can drink two in rapid succession and have no obvious side effects. I imagine it has something to do with the amount of food on my stomach and my blood sugar balance.)

      I can sort of brainstorm while tipsy and can come up with some interesting ideas that way. I can roleplay, no big deal. But “write” (as in the serious stuff)? Nah.

      And I personally wouldn’t care to make a habit of it. I wouldn’t want to rely on it as a crutch. That’s one of the reasons I stopped writing to music and switched over to “white noise” (rain sounds, cafe noises, actual white/pink/brown noise; etc).

  28. MattK

    Re #4:
    Appropriate supplementation is a start. All the usual disclaimers about major changes in supplementation apply, especially in this case if you have autoimmune problems. Having said that – I am an urban-district grade school teacher, and thus exposed daily to the worst pathogens known to man, short of Ebola and anthrax. 2000-4000 IU of Vitamin D daily (more in the winter, less in the summer) plus some iodine and selenium supplementation keep my immune system working at peak efficiency, and my former 6-8 BAD respiratory infections per school year are now 1-2 very mild ones which I can *usually* fight off without visiting the doctor/taking antibiotics.

    The trick is getting everything balanced right, as Vitamins A, D, and K need to be balanced in the right ratios, and iodine and selenium intake need to be balanced properly as well. Iodine supplementation is often contraindicated for folks with thyroid or autoimmune problems, although recent research seems to indicate that taking selenium along with the iodine can limit or eliminate the problems iodine can cause for those folks.

    I can also second the “local honey” remedy if you are allergic to plants where you live. I’m from the Lehigh Valley in PA, which is known by doctors practicing there as the Allergy Capital of the United States. More than one doctor of my acquaintance in that area prescribes local wildflower honey in tea or coffee as an allergy remedy.

    That all serves if your problem is germs or pollen outdoors. If it’s mold in the house, ramping up your immune system is probably going to make your symptoms *worse* and not better. That problem I solved with a Honeywell air purifier which runs 24/7 in my basement bedroom.

    We’re in a pretty small duplex right now – if your house is larger you may need to run multiple ones of these. But they work like a champ. HEPA filter with a prefilter that you remove and vacuum off once a month or as required. In the year I’ve had that, my almost constant low-grade throat tickle/cough/post-nasal drip has entirely disappeared. No more steroid inhaler!