04 December 2023
27 November 2023
The title is part of a joke that used to go around my house on my birthday, which sometimes fell on actual American Thanksgiving Day. "What do you want for your birthday meal, Nancy? Ah, well, we're having turkey." I should have made the switch to vegetarian sooner.
Also, I guess, it's my birthday. Hooray. I mean, it is my birthday, but things like baldness and chemo have stolen some of today's joy. But not my niece, Joy. She is still pretty dang awesome.
Last night, as I was driving back from having a late lunch/early dinner with my sister and her family to celebrate my birthday, I got stuck in traffic. I mean, GENIUS move, traveling anywhere further than the postbox on the Sunday after a holiday, but it is what it is. This was 4mph for many miles of traffic, the kind where you think you've made progress only to find it took almost an hour to go 15 miles - and you have less than a quarter of a tank of gas. But as I sat there on the highway surrounded by trucks, I heard this song and knew it was today's Music Monday.
It speaks to a current WIP that will get more attention after Nano is over. Picture two vampires, whose long lives keep intersecting due to a shared destiny, sitting in comfy chairs by a fire sharing a nice bottle of red wine and telling stories about their time apart from each other - when they suddenly realize WHY they keep finding each other. That's what kept me from losing my mind in the car...Connor and Lark, I'm coming for you soon - get ready!
20 November 2023
13 November 2023
10 November 2023
It's been a wild ride, these past few years. We lost my father in 2018, my mother in 2019, the world from 2020 to 2022, and now I've lost my youngest wolfhound, my Ciaragh. So much loss. So much hurt. How do we keep going?
Grief is funny. Not funny ha-ha or funny hmmm, but funny insidious and cantankerous and never, ever satisfied. I've heard all the little adages about grief being love you have that you can't give anymore because the object has passed...love that builds up to where it spills out your eyes and down your cheeks... And while those are valid, they don't strike home as much as grief being the flip side of gratitude or maybe even just a level of gratitude.
If I wasn't grateful that I was Hoyt and Martha's daughter, I wouldn't have noticed that they passed out of my mortal life. They wouldn't still be a part of near daily conversation. I wouldn't have thought of them when I saw a cardinal in a tree looking at me as we arrived back home without our Ciaragh.
If I wasn't grateful for the friends I have, the life I had before, the interactions and bus rides to campus and all the thousands of little things that made my life my own prior to 2020, I wouldn't have grieved the loss of the same for going on three years now. I'm an introvert and the pandemic lockdowns and social distancing should have been my time to shine -- and it was, to some extent -- but it was also painfully lonely in other ways.
If I wasn't grateful that my dear friend Heather rang us to see if we could foster a 14-month-old Irish Wolfhound who needed re-homing through no fault of her own, I wouldn't be missing the wide-eyed, fuzzy head in that photo.
I've said a few times over the past 24 hours that this is just part of having a dog in your life, and it is even more so when the dog is a giant breed with a short life span. But it's more than that. It's learning to open your heart again and again, even though it is only cobbled together from past hurts. As another friend said, it is learning to "hold them with open hands" because you know what is coming.
It is tempting to close off to everything -- friends, experiences, love, laughter -- but that isn't the right choice. If you don't love, you don't grieve. It's the love and the gratitude that makes the pain worth it.
If you are in that dark place with all the grief, I am with you. When you can, turn some of the pain to gratitude. It will help, I promise.
06 November 2023
30 October 2023
Multiverse was a blast, and was so much fun that I apparently forgot to do a NEW Music Monday. Sorry about that. But Sister Moon is speaking to me in terms of the WIP for NaNoWriMo so you got it twice. This time I was thinking about Moonlighting because it was just released on streaming and I made sure to watch my two favorite episodes...one of which featured the song below during a dream sequence. Good, fantastic stuff.
The lyrics are below because this one doesn't have captioning but it does have Sting, so I think that's... no it isn't really a good trade, but it has Sting. Enjoy. This time next week I will be well into my 2k words a day, so I'm going to just lean in to the vibe this song creates.
23 October 2023
16 October 2023
Before you ask, no, I have not seen the series finale of Supernatural. Much like I tried to do with Star Trek: Voyager, I am choosing to believe that the boys are still traveling around, spreading salt circles and listening to great music through Baby's speakers. I have a problem with change and endings, okay?
Anyway, this song came on my radar awhile ago, but my writing partner heard it and came up with an entire scene in his head for the WIP we are working on currently...so I am posting it today, for him and all of you that can see movies in your heads (I'm lucky if I can get a limited run series to pop into my mind's eye at one time). You are the writers I want to be when I grow up, so...carry on.
(Lyrics in the video)
09 October 2023
My sister has done the bulk of the work concerning the last years of our parents' lives, sorting through their estates, and making sure that everything ends up where it needs to be. She said that as she was closing out the last of their estate, she heard a song on the radio that made her think of him...and I totally get it. Everything is so negative in the world these days...we need a ray of light now and then to remember who we are and why we are here.
Nanowrimo starts next month and I'm hoping to carry a spark of this light with me. The world is a dark place for so many right now, y'all. Let's all be a ray of light. Let's feel like we just got home. Onward and upward. (lyrics in the captions)
02 October 2023
Well, what else am I going to do for the first Monday in October? This is from my playlist for a WIP that I'm working on with a writing partner, and it is one of my long time favorites. It just speaks to me of autumn and spooky season and love that can survive anything... "I'd go out of my mind but for you..."
25 September 2023
This week starts a new round of infusion treatment for me and a new round of uncertainty. In that vein (see what I did there?), this song is speaking to me, because I'm not a real fan of being unprepared by design. I need to know what's coming, but you can't, of course. So when I was listening to this song as a part of my Nanowrimo 23 prep, the line "But there never seems to be enough time/ To do the things you want to do once you find them" really struck me. The first round of treatment I focused only on the treatment. I planned my life around it. And to some extent, you have to do that...but I haven't written anything since July's Camp Nano save my Very Short Stories on the bird app. That has to change. That will change. There is enough of me to do both. Let's do this. Hand me that bottle.
(lyrics on screen)
21 September 2023
So, I've recently (like a year ago, but still) been able to fullfill a childhood goal and have started playing D&D with a group of my friends. I didn't think it would be too hard - I did play MMORPGs for more than a decade (still do, shoutouts to Everquest and WoW) and am currently working my way (slowly) through Balders Gate 3.
I was wrong. So wrong. BDG3 helps, as it is part of the D&D universe. But you know what helps the most? The wonderful folks in my campaign. All but one of them are seasoned players, and they have taken my noob-ness in stride. Today's song is from my other newish obsession, Critical Role. It's like sitting down at my table! Friends (who are all voice actors, but still) gathering around a table to play D&D and I get to watch and learn! This is the opening theme from Campaign 3 and while I'm still watching 1, this is good stuff.
Also, turn on the captions for the words, and you can see who is singing each line. Join the adventure, chose your actions...you can certainly try. 😈
11 September 2023
This weekend was a welcome return to normal...whatever that means. I spent the weekend at the Upstate Renaissance Festival in Greer, SC, signing/selling books and talking writing with loads of people. I was apprehensive because my booth mate, the marvelous Misty Massey, had car trouble on Thursday and couldn't join me. I wasn't sure that I could do it - but when I got there, my years as a Rennie and my years of selling books kicked in and it was a breeze. The organizers and staff are amazing, and I'm planning to put in my application for next year as soon as they open!
|The intrepid author melts into her seat...|
|My cozy little tent, Friday evening.|
In fact, on Saturday, it was a swift breeze that made my canopy jumpy, but there was no lift off like last year. But I digress...
|Hey look, I've got the same garb as...fifty-eleven others.|
|The view from the chair...|
So the moral of this story is that cancer treatment has changed a lot over the years, and I must just be too stubborn to let it beat me. First round is finished as of this morning and I still feel pretty good. Bring it!
For Music Monday I've chosen a song by the late Jimmy Buffett to remind all of us how to get through tough days...Breathe in, breathe out, move on. Thanks, Sailor, for showing us how to live.
07 September 2023
Hey there, all you dozen or so Lettuce Readers. Today's post is going to differ somewhat from my normal musical musings and appearance agendas. Today, I want to tell you something that hasn't been made public yet, but I think it's time to come clean.
Leap, and the net will appear, right?
So, back in June, I got a doctor's appointment with a new doc - hooray for insurance companies that switch up preferred providers, right? Anyway, starting on June 7th, I was seen, poked, prodded, bombarded with several types/levels of radiation, and at the end of it all was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.
Still leaping, still hoping for that net.
I started chemo on July 31st, and as of this writing am about to finish the first round. It hasn't been too bad, other than my scalp yeeting most of my hair and some days where I just felt not quite right. But I am thankful beyond measure that most of the side effects they warned me about either didn't happen or were so slight that I could manage them. I was also having a week in between each infusion, so that helped with getting me back to normal...ish.
On the 25th of this month, I will start a new round with a new drug, but this time it will be every week, so here's hoping my luck holds out longer than I fear my eyebrows and eyelashes will. My oncologist says that he sees I am responding well, so I guess that means that the tumor (whom I have named Eugene) is reacting unfavorably to the chemotherapy. Good. I hope it hurts, Eugene. I hope it hurts.
So why am I telling you this? Well, I'm staring down an author appearance at the Upstate Renaissance Faire in Greer, SC this weekend and for the first time I will be out in public, all day, in garb. I've mostly been staying home since diagnosis, and even cancelled my trip to Baltimore for my DayJob™ professional conference before any of this wacky rollercoaster ride started. No one outside of my families of origin and choice have seen me in person, especially since my hair fell out. I needed to be okay with this, I guess, before it became public knowledge.
Am I okay with it now? Of course not, but that keeps me fighting. I'm not a warrior, by any means, but I will be a survivor.
Trusting the net will appear.
So, here goes. I'm taking a first brave step out into a wider world, like my MC Gin did when she was yanked out of the Great Forest in Wanderer. (Y'all didn't think I'd completely stop pushing my books, did you? 😂) I just hope that I can handle what comes with the same grace that she did...and does. I hope to see you at the faire this weekend, at Multiverse in Atlanta in October, and the Geekery Market in Concord in November. I'm usually up for hugs, but I may need masks in place first.
Leap and the net will appear.
Don't worry, I'm not one of those players who will send you to Whamhalla on purpose, just because I can. Because I can't. Not fr...
Litchfield Beach, SC I'm doing better with at least thinking about updating this blog, y'all, I swear. So this past weekend I ...
Just a reminder that for less than the cost of a coffee you can have your own Kindle copy of SCORCH on launch day to finish up the ...
I'm going to talk about grief today, and not just because we just lost that gorgeous face there yesterday afternoon to a very aggressive...