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Hibernation Season

We’ve reached the time of year when I really just want to hibernate. I joke about being part bear. In January and February, I want nothing more than to wrap up in a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book (that I’m either reading or writing). It’s not a seasonal depression because I absolutely love it and it makes me very happy. It’s that Danish hygge thing. There’s a similar concept in Norwegian, koselig. It loosely translates to “cozy,” and it has a lot to do with enjoying warmth in the midst of winter. Some nice, fuzzy socks, books, candles, maybe a fire in the fireplace, a hot drink, and a blanket, and the nastier it is outside, the better. When I first read about this concept, I had a big “That’s it!” reaction, so apparently it’s genetic. My Norwegian blood must run true.

This works great if you make your living by reading and writing books. It’s perfect working conditions, and I tend to get a lot done at this time of year.

The problem is that the rest of the world doesn’t conveniently stop, and the interruptions that require dealing with the outside world feel even ruder. I really don’t want to go anywhere or do anything, but I still have to get groceries, return library books (I also need books, but I have enough of a stockpile at home that I wouldn’t suffer), and teach children’s choir.

Today I’m trying to psych myself up to either go to the library, go to the grocery store, or go see Frozen 2 (I have to deal with small children, so I really need to be able to communicate with them about things that matter to them). But it’s gray and foggy, and the blanket is calling. I seem to have missed my chance at the early showtime for Frozen, and the fog is lifting, so maybe I’ll walk to the library and take care of an errand and get exercise in one fell swoop. Then back to my blanket, even though it’s actually fairly warm today.

What Season is it Today?

We had a rather crazy weekend around here, starting with warm weather and severe storms on Friday. It was also the weekend of the Choristers Guild workshop, so I actually had to leave the house. It was supposed to rain off and on all day, then a line of storms would come through in the evening. I decided to play it safe and skipped the last session, since it was just sight reading through a bunch of music and I was losing my voice (the session is intended to let choir directors hear some music they might want to select, so it doesn’t really apply to what I do, but it is fun singing in a room full of professional musicians). I managed to drive home between cloudbursts, so I was fine, but then the tornado warnings started.

The first warning expired right before the storm reached me, but then there was a new warning, and on TV, they zoomed in on the radar to show where there was rotation in the storm, and I could see exactly where my house is, and they mentioned my street. So, I headed into the downstairs bathroom (the closest thing I have to a storm shelter). They lifted the warning soon after that, and the storm moved off to the east. It seems to have just been a radar tornado that didn’t actually hit the ground, since I drove through the area it hit and saw no damage.

After going to bed with thunderstorms still going on, I woke the next morning to the sound of sleet. And, yep, it was another day when I had to leave the house (for day 2 of the workshop). But, again, it worked out okay because it was clear while I was driving, and it was above freezing, so the roads were okay. In the middle of the first session, it started snowing. It was rather distracting, all the lovely snow dancing around in the sky. Apparently, farther north and west from there (like, at my house), it actually accumulated a little. Where I was, it was just flurries, with nothing sticking to the ground.

Then the sun came out and it warmed up, and I drove home on a nice, sunny day.

So, yeah, the two days out of the month when I absolutely had to be somewhere, we had the kind of weather that usually has me hunkered down at home, refusing to leave the house. I wouldn’t mind a nice, snowy Saturday morning that I could spend sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, watching it snow.

Really, that’s the best way to have snow when you’re an adult, just flakes fluttering around in the sky but with no impact on the ground.

There’s a chance of another rainy day later this week, and I’m planning a reading/movie day because I’m at just the stage of work when that will be perfect. Now, watch the forecast change.

Looking at 2020

Happy new year! After taking a couple of weeks off for the holidays for the first time in years (usually I have a deadline early in the new year, since editors and agents love to clear their desks before they go on holiday, and they expect the revisions they requested soon after they get back to work), I’m ready to get back into the swing of things and charge into the new year.

I’ve got a book launching this week, my first Audible Original. That means it’s an audiobook only for the first year. If you’ve been thinking about giving Audible a try, now would be the time. There may be a print edition coming after that, but that will depend on a lot of things.

I’ve also heard from the narrator for the audiobooks of the Enchanted, Inc. series, and book 9 will be coming soon. She was getting to work on it last month.

I’m developing a new series that I hope to launch later this year. I’m trying to get a few books written before the launch so I can make a bigger splash. This one is structured more like a traditional mystery series, but it still has magical elements and a dash of romance. I have a first draft of the first book and am revising that, as well as starting to plot book 2.

And I’m starting to do the research to build a new fantasy world where I can set a series of semi-standalone novels — the connecting tie for the series would be the world, with some overlapping characters, but the plots of each book would more or less stand alone. You’d get more out of the story if you read all the books, but you wouldn’t be totally lost if you hadn’t. At least, that’s the idea.

I don’t have a lot of book events planned this year. I’m still waffling on whether to attend the Nebula Awards conference or possibly the World Fantasy Convention. I’m not really getting invited to conventions or other book events these days. But I think this is mostly going to be a year for buckling down and writing. You have to have something written before you can sell or promote it, so there’s not much point in going to a con for either promotion or networking unless you’ve got something ready to go.

So, off to work, and here’s to a fabulous 2020.

Holiday Countdown

I’m now in the most annoying phase of illness, when I mostly feel pretty good, but I get tired easily, and when I get tired the coughing starts. So I start out with energy, eager to get things done. But then I get tired and start coughing.

I was able to sing enough to run through my choir music. I’ve got a voice, and I can even stay on pitch. But as I got later into the day, I started getting tired and started coughing, so I didn’t try to go to choir practice last night. I figured rest would be better for me. And it must have been. I woke up without the usual morning coughing fit, and at about my usual time, with some energy. If I keep resting and improving, I might be up to singing on Christmas Eve night. That’s what I’m aiming for.

In the meantime, there’s Star Wars. I have a ticket for an early matinee tomorrow. Then I’ll spend most of the weekend resting and relaxing. Maybe I’ll watch some Christmas movies.

This afternoon, I’m planning to venture out to get groceries and finish my shopping. I’m going to try something wild and crazy this year and wrap my gifts before Christmas Eve. I’m usually frantically finishing that between services on Christmas Eve night, even if I bought them weeks before.

I also need to finish this draft of the book I’m working on. I’d like to take all of next week totally off. That does mean I’m not going to meet my arbitrary goal for hours spent writing this year. However, that goal was 100 hours over what I did last year, and I’ve passed last year and am fewer than 20 hours under the goal. I think it’s more important to give myself some work/life balance than to hit some made-up number, especially since I’d be doing busy work to hit that number rather than working on a deadline.

Getting Christmas Done

I finally got my Christmas tree up and decorated. Last week, on the last day before I got really sick, I brought the tree in from the garage. It then lay in pieces on the living room floor because I was too sick to deal with it or care.

Last weekend, I realized that I either had to commit and put it up or I had to give up and take it back to the garage. I put it together as a tree, and it stayed that way for a few more days.

I’d been hesitating about putting up a tree at all this year, since it goes on the wall where they’re going to have to do repair work, but I figured that at this point in the holiday season, they’re probably not going to schedule any construction work, so I’m probably safe. So yesterday I got out the decorations and actually put up the lights and ornaments. I went fairly minimalist with the ornaments. Normally, a lot of my decor involves silk roses tied on with gold ribbon. It’s a sort of Victorian look. But that was more than I wanted to deal with, so I went more traditional, just with ornaments. I have some ribbons to put up, but I have to find them first. They weren’t in the first couple of boxes of decorations I brought down. Next time I have the energy to go upstairs, I’ll look for them.

I also haven’t put up my Nativity scene, but that’s also upstairs.

I actually feel a lot better, but now I’m very tired. I suspect my body has to recover from all the effort put into fighting the infection. I fell asleep yesterday afternoon while editing and had about an hour nap. This morning I slept really late after getting a decent night’s sleep without waking up much for coughing. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll manage to get to choir rehearsal tonight. I have a voice, but I haven’t tried singing, and I don’t know if I’ll have the energy by the end of the day. Maybe I’ll take another nap.

When Christmas Attacks

I’ve reached the annoying phase of illness in which I’m well enough to be frustrated with not being 100 percent. I’m close, but not quite there yet. Fortunately, today is cold and gray, so I have no urge to go outside and do stuff. That gives me another day of rest, which should get me closer to being well. My voice seems to be more or less back. I haven’t tried singing and I haven’t tried talking much, but at least I’m not rasping and I can get above a whisper without pain.

Now I’m really ready to be well and to get back to normal. I have things I want to do!

I tried watching some Christmas movies this weekend, and either I chose badly or I’m not really in the mood for these things. There seems to be a whole subgenre about meeting someone in an elevator. In the first one, there was an elevator mishap that got two people stuck and led to one of those “we’re going to die” moments, which led to a kiss. Which kind of works as a meet-cute. But then there was another one that seemed to be a sequel of sorts — it’s in the same office building — and in that one, the guy just randomly kissed the girl in the elevator because she was wearing a sexy Mrs. Claus outfit and he figured that made her slutty so that was okay. And this was the hero of the movie. I thought that since she pretended her neighbor/best friend was her boyfriend to fend this guy off that she’d end up with the friend. After all, if you pretend someone is your significant other in one of these movies, you either realize or develop feelings for them. But no, the elevator rapist guy was the hero.

And then there was another that could have been cute, but that guy ended up with red flags, too, where he got furious when she wouldn’t instantly commit to him the moment he brought up the idea of them getting together, even though she just broke up with someone. That’s actually on the “he has abuser potential” list, if he demands a fast commitment.

I’m almost done with my Star Wars rewatch, so maybe I’ll get to more Christmas movies soon. I don’t really have plans for the weekend and should probably take it easy and finish recovering, so that may be my plan. Though I do need to do some shopping at some point, I guess. As usual, Christmas sneaks up on me. I go straight from “it’s too early!” to “it’s here!” I need to pace myself better, but getting sick threw off my schedule.

Another Silent Day

I still have no voice at all. This shouldn’t bother me, as I have no reason to talk, but it does. I don’t like knowing I can’t talk. Also, it’s sunny and pretty outside, which makes it a bad day for a sick day. When I feel like this, there should be clouds at least, preferably some rain. You know, a day for staying in pajamas, snuggling under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book.

I missed choir practice last night, which gave me a chance to catch up on my Star Wars rewatch in preparation for the new movie. I’m trying to get through all the films. So far, I’ve done the prequels and the interstitials and am heading into the original trilogy. I think I’m going to skip the first one since it’s way more familiar and I watched it earlier this year. But I don’t think I’ve watched The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi since the special editions were in the theater.

I’ve been live Tweeting these rewatches, so if you want to see my immediate thoughts on these films, check out my Twitter feed.

And now it’s time to get back under the blankets and rest a bit. It may not be cloudy, but tea and rest are still pretty much what I need.

Quiet Day

I seem to be getting this cold one symptom at a time. Monday was the day of sniffling and sneezing. Yesterday was the stuffy head. Today is the sore throat, and I’ve just about lost my voice. It is possible that I didn’t have much of a voice yesterday, since I didn’t have to talk to anyone, but this morning I had my annual furnace checkup, so I had to talk to the technician, and the more I talked to him, the less voice I had, so that by the time he left, I was down to a whisper. I don’t feel so bad, just tired, as long as I don’t try to talk.

I never did get around to watching Christmas movies yesterday. I ended up reading and napping and even did some work. I just wasn’t in the mood for watching anything. Maybe I’ll watch something today. There may be more napping, since I had to get up early this morning.

One of my bits of work yesterday was to finish re-reading the book I just wrote so I can figure out what to do with it in revisions, and I noticed that several characters changed names midway through. They were similar names, so I must have mixed them up while I was writing quickly. I had a master list of character names as a quick reference panel, but I guess I didn’t refer to it. One character switched names with another character in mid-scene (the other character wasn’t in the scene). Another got a different, but similar, last name. Another took on a different first name that had most of the same letters in it. I tried to fix them as I noticed them, but I’ll have to be particularly alert as I do revisions.

Today I think I’ll focus on research for another project because I’m a bit too foggy for critical thinking and planning, which I’ll need for figuring out what to fix in revisions.

Sick Day

Yeah, it’s definitely a cold, not just allergies, and I seem to be on the upswing, with most of the cold symptoms fading, but now left just feeling tired, weak, and foggy. So it’s the perfect day for that lie on the sofa and watch Christmas movies plan, which I’ll be getting to after lunch.

For now, I’m snuggled on the bed with some books and my computer. I may or may not manage to do something work-related. I have three chapters to review, but I don’t know how well I can focus. If I had to be sick, this was good timing.

Getting Christmassy

I started feeling a little Christmassy yesterday when I put up the garlands on my loft and stair rails. This year, I got clever and plugged them into a remote-control outlet (that I normally have a lamp on so I can turn it on from the front door, since my light switches are in the back of the living room). Now I can click the lights on and off without having to go upstairs and grope around behind the chaise and the antenna.

I also went to the neighborhood tree lighting last night, which counted as exercise, since I walked over there (though I think the cocoa I had there might have undone the effect of the exercise). It’s fun watching the kids run around and play together before they light the tree. My neighborhood is in one of the most diverse zip codes in the country, so there are kids from just about every race and multiple nationalities all playing together, and it does the heart good to see that. I enjoy seeing the people of the neighborhood come together, and then I like looking at all the lights along the way as I walk home.

Today is a shopping day, but it’s an excursion for supplies. It’s my last Wednesday of children’s choir until after the holidays, so it’s also the last Wednesday night dinner at church. I figure that makes it a good opportunity for an Ikea run, since the church is on the way home from the Ikea, and there are a number of other stores in the general area of Ikea that I need to visit. I think I may do my actual Christmas shopping tomorrow in a big mall day, maybe even with lunch out and a movie.

And then I need to dig back into writing, though I’m tentatively planning a Christmas movies on the couch day next week since there’s supposed to be a cold, rainy day.