The SFF 2021 Cantina

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

MaeZe

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... between Reno and Susanville for a while, because they had that main highway closed. Pretty sure that one has gone down some by now, and we never got the smoke from it, so minor win, I hope! ...
I wonder if the little single-wide I rented just outside of town made it through. That was one of those weird experiences in my life.

When I told the director of nursing at the hospital I worked at that I never had a nurse's cap she asked me, "don't you want your status?" Two different worlds.
 
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E.F.B.

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Morning, Cantina. The conference was great. My brain is full of info and my heart is full of encouragement and writerly camaraderie. Also, one of my friends pitched to an agent and got a request for pages! I'm so proud of her, she's been working so hard for this. <333

In less fun news, some of the drama we've had at home this year is that there was water leaking into the basement, but we couldn't figure out what it was coming from, and neither could the plumber. Eventually, we figured out it was that the dishwasher had a crack in the actual body of it as opposed to the pipes (How did it get a crack? Don't know.) and had been leaking water through the floorboards every time we used it. 😬 So, 1) we contacted the manufacturer and managed to get a deal on a new one, plus delivery and removal of the old one. And 2) we had to get a big, honking, basement dehumidifier to dry out the wet basement. We got it down there yesterday and it's working quite well. Mom just emptied it of a full load of water. It's efficient enough, we'll probably have to empty it twice a day until there stops being so much moisture. I just hope this doesn't cause long term problems. Can't help thinking of one of my friends who's family had to leave their home this year because mold caused by water damage was making them sick....
 

E.F.B.

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Morning, Cantina. Busy week so far. Dad had his ophthalmologist appointment, which he always goes to kicking and screaming. He'd canceled it two month in a row, but thankfully his inflammation wasn't as bad as it could have been after putting it off. Still had to get a shot, though.

The dehumidifier is working away. We figured out via a bucket we have that shows measurements on it that the holding tank holds 2 gallons of water. Mom's emptied a full tank at least 10 times now. Y'all. That's 20 gallons of water this thing has pulled out of the air and dirt down there. And it's still going. 😬

Yesterday, we took da dogs to the vet. Da beagle had an allergic, crusty skin thing going on that he's gotten before, and da lab pup was licking... er... places that made us wonder if she was getting another UTI. Da beagle now has allergy medicine and a medicated shampoo, and we also decided to go ahead and get him on something for his mild heart murmur. Da lab has a pee cup because there wasn't any way she was going to tolerate some strange woman following her around with a ladle and trying to catch her pee. So lucky me *I* now get to follow her around here at home with a (disposable) ladle and try to get some pee so they can test it. Better safe than sorry. All things considered, though, she did better than some previous visits. They're letting the pet parents in the building again, and they also let us schedule her and da beagle together so that helped a lot. Da beagle is her emotional support beagle, LOL. He's gotten very confident in his old age (not to mention that the vet is his "Irish girlfriend". She loves beagles and he likes her better than the other vets) and that helps da lab pup be calmer. Shockingly, she even took a treat from the nurse, at least after the nurse set it on the floor. The nurse even put some cheese spray on the treat to spoil her. :p We then had time for a quick walk at a nearby park and that made them both happy and tired.

Today, the new dishwasher, which hopefully doesn't have a crack in the body like the last one, is being delivered. Yay for not handwashing dishes every day. I shall be editing until then.
 

zanzjan

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Yup! I'm near Naugatuck, and work down on the coast in Westport.

You're about two hours south of me, though I trek that way occasionally for the aquarium or to hit IKEA in New Haven.

I miss traveling, but I'm having a lot of trouble committing to going anywhere right now because I don't know what the delta variant situation is going to be in the fall. )-:
 
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Yesterday was supposed to be Fancy Date Night for us, a tiny concert event at this venue not many people get to go to. It's usually our one night of the year we get all dressed up (I looked damn good, guys), and we bought the tickets months ago right when they went on sale. We look forward to it every year, and sadly it was another thing cancelled last year, so it was pretty exciting to be able to do it again.

So we get out to the meeting spot (from which everyone caravans down to the actual venue) and we're a little early, waiting around for 10-15 minutes. No one else has showed up still, so I take a look back through my email confirmation which says everything just like I remembered, then I check their website... The event calendar shows this concert as 5 PM July 24th, not the 22nd that my ticket says! What the hell?! The only thing I can think of is that I bought the tickets basically the moment they went on sale, before anyone else, and they realized they had put the wrong date out there so they changed it on their website, but didn't check that anyone's transaction had actually gone through yet. That or it's a huge conspiracy to keep us from being there... Sigh.

We're going to go on Saturday now, but the date switch means my husband has to get someone to cover that night's shift for him. And this is how I know it was the 22nd when I bought the tickets, because I specifically thought, Oh good, it's on a Thursday, he won't be working. Thanks a lot, guys. Maybe do a little more proofreading before you make things public on your website.

Not wanting our fanciness to go to waste, we went out for drinks and ran into some friends we hadn't seen since before the pandemic, and then dinner (which was a whole other fiasco - maybe don't let your entire wait staff be high school kids in their first jobs on a packed-house night). I suppose this means we get a whole extra Fancy Date Night this year, but it was quite a roller coaster of an outing. I'm exhausted.
 
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Friendly Frog

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I spent quite some hours on the roof this week, hopefully repairing the leaks we had two weeks ago. Dad fixed the loose roofing, I fixed the washed-out grouting. So with luck we shouldn't have any water in the spare room anymore when later today the expected thunderstorm hits.

Here's hoping the water stays manageable in the south and east of the country that only last week suffered unprecented flooding. They absolutely don't need more water right now.

I'm getting seriously grumpy from all the COVID-news and how much is due to stupidity even I could see coming. If I hear one more person proclaim: "but we couldn't possibly have foreseen what the delta-variant is doing!" I'm going to make somebody eat last month's published expert predictions.
So we get out to the meeting spot (from which everyone caravans down to the actual venue) and we're a little early, waiting around for 10-15 minutes. No one else has showed up still, so I take a look back through my email confirmation which says everything just like I remembered, then I check their website... The event calendar shows this concert as 5 PM July 24th, not the 22nd that my ticket says! What the hell?! The only thing I can think of is that I bought the tickets basically the moment they went on sale, before anyone else, and they realized they had put the wrong date out there so they changed it on their website, but didn't check that anyone's transaction had actually gone through yet. That or it's a huge conspiracy to keep us from being there... Sigh.

Yikes! But it is fortunate it ultimately wasn't the 20th instead.

Still, all needless stress in times when no one needs much more of it. :Hug2:

I hope the concert tonight is stress-free!
 

E.F.B.

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Hope the concert goes better tonight, Gatteau!

Morning, Cantina. Had some random dreams last night of the variety that aren't total nightmares, but are right on the edge of being a little scary, so I woke up in not the best mood. It's starting to clear up, though.

The dishwasher did *not* get delivered on Thursday. They got here, went, "Oops, we need extension things we don't have," and left. Now they have to get the extensions and we have to reschedule.

I did get good editing done this week. Crit group took two weeks off since we had two members going to Realm Makers conference in person and therefore not having time to read or submit anything, or attend the monthly meeting to get further feedback on last month's submission. I suggested we make this break an annual thing since we're likely to have multiple members gone for the conference every year, and everyone seemed on board with that. So, had some extra time to get ahead on my own editing. Got to one of the big, emotional scenes in my story, really tightened it up and am feeling good about it. I keep feeling better and better about this story overall, really. I know it's not perfect and still has room to improve, but it *is* improving.
 
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Friendly Frog

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How annoying! I hope the diswasher gets delivered with all the parts soon. I hate doing dishes by hand, mostly because it was one of my tasks when I was younger. So many fights with my sister around that sink. Brr...

The roof repairs have held so far! Four more days of rain forecast so it looks like it will get some serious testing. Sadly more flooding in the south of the country. Poor buggers.
 
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Gatteau

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The concert did actually happen last night, yay! I would have preferred a slightly different program like they've had in past years - there was only one musician this time, and the things she played were a little generic - but still pretty cool to just be there. It's always an interesting event, because we're usually the youngest couple there (this year we got beat out by someone's college-age daughter) and we're definitely the, shall we say, lowest class people. I say this with confidence because literally everyone we talked to at some point mentioned their second home just up the road, and we know we're realistically still years out from our first home... So we get to hob nob with the rich folk, and always end up having good conversation with them; it's refreshing to be able to break through stereotypes a little bit. And hey, networking, right?

Agreed, Froggy, I am glad we didn't just miss it entirely. Because time travel is really hard... And good luck with your roof, stay dry!
 

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So, some good news on the writing front! My writer part of the brain is finally starting to stir! :yessmiley I mean, words have not happened yet, but I've pulled open a couple of my ideas and am actually refining a query for a novel idea that I think I'll try to work on here to jumpstart the wording. So yay!!

I also found notes for a creepy, scary short in my writing journal that I must have jotted down many moons ago, as I wouldn't have known I had the idea but for the fact it's in my handwriting LOL.

Dark, gloomy, death and destruction seem to be where my ideas are going at this point. So, I figure I'll pull up one of the darker plot bunnies before I accidentally decide to kill everybody off in Pirates 2. Pretty sure Kitkit, tiana and a few others around these parts would threaten bodily harm if I did that...

In other news, I wonder if part of the writer's brain finally waking is because I'm back on a good self care regime bandwagon. Not that I've been unhappy per se, but the pandemic really did a number on my mental health and I wasn't very good to myself at all over the past year, physically or mentally. So I've been trying to work on that. My mood is DEFINITELY improved and I just feel a lot closer to the positive #sparklyreaper that is ME. ✨

Anybody else been finding ways to get out of the pandemic funk you may or may not have been in?
 

MaeZe

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I can't say if I'm out of my pandemic funk yet. I was certainly in it. My business hasn't returned much yet. I would love to retire so that's okay on one level. But there are some issues I will have with finances if it takes me too long to figure out what to do next.
 
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E.F.B.

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My pandemic funks more came in bits and spells, not necessarily a looming, long lasting thing. Self care is huge in dealing with it, though. A lot of people got their routines majorly thrown off and I think that added to their funks. My family are such homebodies as it is, it didn't throw us off as much, so I think that's part of the reason I didn't have funk in the same way as some people. My creative brain never shut off. I basically threw myself into creativity as a way to focus on the things I can control instead of what I can't control, which is why I finished IDTC last year and have been hardcore editing it ever since.

Soooo, I don't know if anyone remembers how last year I was grousing a bit about a new crit group member who wasn't super communicative and was posting unedited first draft material which was really hard to read? Well, they dropped out for several months graduated college, got a writing coach, and now they're back. The good news: A quick skim of the story they finally posted says their writing might be cleaner now. The bad news: they just dumped a 10k story in the group when the agreed upon length for excerpts is 3.5k. Guess I'm going to go in the group chat to say "hey, I assume we're dividing this up into sections?" And also, they're going to be traveling and living overseas for a bit soon, so I suspect they're going to do the thing of not reading anyone else's work again. Plus, the timezone difference is going to make it impossible for them to attend the online meetings unless they want to be up at 3 am to attend. *headdesk*

Oh, and that other person who wanted me to put forth the effort to significantly shorten my summary of my story so far? Dropped off the map. Hasn't been reading, hasn't been communicating, hasn't been posting their own work. Like, why did you join the group and ask for summaries if you're not going to do anything? *headdesk again* Well, in better news, last night's meeting went well. Those of us in the group who actually communicate with each other get along really well and get and give really good feedback. Funny how communication works like that. :p

ETA: Shockingly, individual #1 responded very quickly and agreed to us breaking the 10k story into sections and working through it over time. This is progress.
 
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MaeZe

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When folks in our crit group bring in more than the specified amount we just stop reading at that point in their work. Exceptions are made if something goes over by a page or two to finish up a chapter or if the members agree they want to read the extra pages.
 

tiddlywinks

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Yeah, I think the pandemic threw me for such a loop because I was JUST getting back on track and in the groove post divorce. It was just enough time past that nasty chapter that I was like "yeah! this is the me I remember from AGES ago!" and then, boom. Even though I'm an introvert, reconnecting with friends was really important for my newly minted positive outlook and a lot of my friends dropped off the map during COVID. Plus being isolated from family was hard for me.

But it's on the upswing, so that's good. Sending positive vibes your way, @MaeZe and @E.F.B.
 

tianaluthien

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Dark, gloomy, death and destruction seem to be where my ideas are going at this point. So, I figure I'll pull up one of the darker plot bunnies before I accidentally decide to kill everybody off in Pirates 2. Pretty sure Kitkit, tiana and a few others around these parts would threaten bodily harm if I did that...

[...]

Anybody else been finding ways to get out of the pandemic funk you may or may not have been in?
Hon, the border might (still) be closed between our fair lands but don't think for one minute I wouldn't find a way around that if you killed off everyone in Pirates 2. Me and a hoard of commando geese and killer beavers. :devilish:

I've definitely been in a pandemic funk. Slowly starting to climb out. The biggest help right now for me is researching. I'm setting the book, Impetus (sequel to Midnight Hour), in a desert-Australian-outback-wild-west-ish-ish type of milieu, so I'm researching things like mining towns, and weather patterns (I have a hold on a meteorology textbook at the library and apparently this thing is popular because it was "in transit +1 hold" when I reserved the thing -- who'd have thought?), and that research is helping me fill out this city-town, and that's fun as well as helpful. It's very slow. But it's happening.

*deposits chocolate chip muffins on the bar*

Make sure winks doesn't take them all. *eyes winks suspiciously*
 

tiddlywinks

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Hon, the border might (still) be closed between our fair lands but don't think for one minute I wouldn't find a way around that if you killed off everyone in Pirates 2. Me and a hoard of commando geese and killer beavers. :devilish:

I've definitely been in a pandemic funk. Slowly starting to climb out. The biggest help right now for me is researching. I'm setting the book, Impetus (sequel to Midnight Hour), in a desert-Australian-outback-wild-west-ish-ish type of milieu, so I'm researching things like mining towns, and weather patterns (I have a hold on a meteorology textbook at the library and apparently this thing is popular because it was "in transit +1 hold" when I reserved the thing -- who'd have thought?), and that research is helping me fill out this city-town, and that's fun as well as helpful. It's very slow. But it's happening.

*deposits chocolate chip muffins on the bar*

Make sure winks doesn't take them all. *eyes winks suspiciously*
DID YOU SEND THOSE GEESE THAT ARE HANGING OUT NEXT DOOR AT THE POND TO SPY ON ME?

I kid, I kid (about Pirates, not the geese). I wouldn't kill everyone off in book 2...I mean, I need to leave some folks for the killing spree in Book 3, right? *looks around* *smiles winsomely* *scuttles out of tiana's reach*

For the record, chocolate chip muffins are not my kryptonite. Now, had they been pumpkin muffins...well.
 

E.F.B.

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Morning, Cantina.

Uuuuuugh. The good news of the day: Mom went to her ENT yesterday and her ear is responding to treatment. It's still by no means totally better, but it is responding, so we're going to keep at it. The bad news: Mom's now developed Bell's Palsy. Basically, medical science isn't totally sure what causes it, but they think it happens when something causes inflamation of a facial nerve. With the inflammation/swelling mom's had going on in her ear, I'm sure you can draw the same conclusion on what triggered this. Both my dad and uncle have had Bell's Palsy in the past and it cleared up with no lingering problems. We're hoping and praying mom's clears up the same way. I'd be lying, though, if I said this wasn't frustrating and i'm not mad about it. (Mom's mad too.) This whole year just feels like it's been one more thing, one more thing, one more thing. And we're just at a point of... uuuuuuugh can the medical stuff just stop. Well, at least some good news is that same medicine she's going to be taking to continue treating her ear is also a treatment for Bell's Palsy, so there's that at least.
 

Friendly Frog

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Sadly the main answer to get out of pandemic funk seems to be... for me to get out the pandemic.

While it was interesting to learn about myself that I can always count on some (constructive) destruction if the creative juices let me down. (And that creative energy is one of the first things to go and even while I'm still thinking it'll be a thing I can rely on in the hardest times) - but really, I've had enough soulsearching for two pandemics already. I just want it to stop.

Maybe the stressy dreams will lessen now that I've got my second vaccine shot. Turned out it was a way bigger mental hurdle than it should have been.
 

tianaluthien

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DID YOU SEND THOSE GEESE THAT ARE HANGING OUT NEXT DOOR AT THE POND TO SPY ON ME?

I kid, I kid (about Pirates, not the geese). I wouldn't kill everyone off in book 2...I mean, I need to leave some folks for the killing spree in Book 3, right? *looks around* *smiles winsomely* *scuttles out of tiana's reach*

For the record, chocolate chip muffins are not my kryptonite. Now, had they been pumpkin muffins...well.
Me? Send geese to spy on you? NEVER!

Guys, I told you to be inconspicuous, dammit

*deposits pumpkin muffins near winks' door* *waits with a net*


Sadly the main answer to get out of pandemic funk seems to be... for me to get out the pandemic.


You and me both, Froggy. I've got my second shot on Friday and I am so thankful for that. Originally, all our shots were going to be 12-15 weeks apart, just because of supply (I'm Canada), but Pfizer and Moderna caught up and we got a windfall, so we were allowed to bump up to 8 weeks. I had to check multiple times before the spots opened up, but I have never been so excited to get a jab in my arm. I WANT OUT.
 

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... IIII"m not sure I'd want the answer to that, Tiddly...

Getting my second dose of vaccine didn't quite stop the stressy dreams but then mild side-effects may have something to do with that. I was kind of hoping a re-read of comfort material would help my sub-concious settle down but apparently half of Discworld series is not enough. We'll carry on then.

And if it won't help me feel comfy, maybe at least it will spark something for the Sequel Sisyphus....
 

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