The SFF 2021 Cantina

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mccardey

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Welp, that dragon got a lot scarier real quick... We evacuated yesterday - packed two of the cars full as they could be (had to leave one car behind because the pup can’t drive :confused:) and escaped to a friend’s house that isn’t currently in such dire straits. We’ll probably be bouncing around houses and camping for a while now. Trying to look at it as the vacation we haven’t been able to take all summer, really nothing else we can do.

I still can’t believe any of this. Totally insane. I don’t know much about fires or fighting them, but it sure seems to us like somebody screwed up royally here. It should never have been able to get this close. We’ve been tracking the fire on maps and listening to CalFire’s daily updates for the last week, saying Well there’s no way they’ll let it get all the way here, they can’t let Tahoe burn. But I guess it turns out they can... This has literally never happened before, evacuating the entire town. The other fire people talk about, back in 2007, really only effected a few neighborhoods on on side of town. This is just... everywhere.

We got the call at noon on Monday to GET OUT IMMEDIATELY and upped the already frenzied pace of packing, dodging and brushing away ash going back and forth to the car. I think the scariest part was the cops coming through neighborhood by neighborhood with a loudspeaker telling people FINAL WARNING TIME TO GO. Not at all apocalyptic...

Once we actually left the house, though, I weirdly started feeling much more calm. Something about just being finally on the road, even in bumper to bumper traffic, it was like, Well, that’s all we can do, is what it is. I very much did not like the pressure of deciding the fates of all my possessions, so once that insanity was behind me, I actually relaxed a little.

What an odd experience. Zero stars, would not recommend.
God, it's terrifying isn't it? Down here we get Shelter In Place! warnings. Which means everything is dire.

Are you okay now? Are you safe? We've been seeing footage of it all the way down here. It's - very scarey...
 

Gatteau

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We are safe and healthy, which is the most important thing, and so grateful for that. Even though I keep coming up with things I wish I’d grabbed from the house. (I made dinner last night to thank the friend currently hosting us and I really missed my knives. And my favorite spatula...)
 

Brightdreamer

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Dragons will do that...

Tuesday is close to wrapping, and I still need to open the draft, let alone add words. Today's excursion ate way too much time for a variety of small yet cumulatively annoying reasons. (And now Mom doesn't have any more appointments on the books until October. For a problem she's been complaining about for a year. They keep bumping her to the back of the line and we're really getting hacked off about it, especially as they were handing out appointments right and left while she was in the waiting room today... Is it genetic or something?)

And we're trying to get an appointment to get Dad a handicapped parking placard for when we take him out; he's even talking about it, and he usually just obliviously and gamely totters along, so, yeah, that's totally not disturbing or a bad sign at all... The earliest they can even do a phone appointment for that is the end of next month. And we still need to get him in for a regular checkup for med adjustment because his last INR/blood thinner tests have been out of range, but consistently out of range, so something obviously needs tweaking. (Plus he keeps getting loopy and wiped out... trying not to worry about that, too, going into the end of the year and more pandemic worries, even though we're all vaccinated...)

Fingers crossed I shouldn't have to shop my way home tomorrow, so I get some writing time in after work. Mergh...
 

MaeZe

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And we're trying to get an appointment to get Dad a handicapped parking placard for when we take him out; he's even talking about it, and he usually just obliviously and gamely totters along, so, yeah, that's totally not disturbing or a bad sign at all... The earliest they can even do a phone appointment for that is the end of next month.
I had some serious pulmonary edema a couple years ago and wanted to get a handicapped parking permit. What a hassle. The doc gives one a prescription for it, then you have to take that down to the DMV office or branch you can get your tabs from to pick it up. And those offices are still closed I think. Be prepared for additional hassles. Worth it for a permanent permit but not for a temporary one.
 

mccardey

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We are safe and healthy, which is the most important thing, and so grateful for that. Even though I keep coming up with things I wish I’d grabbed from the house. (I made dinner last night to thank the friend currently hosting us and I really missed my knives. And my favorite spatula...)
I know. But if you can get it with money, it's not worth risking that much for.
 

E.F.B.

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Good morning/early afternoon, Cantina. Ida went further north of us than initially predicted, but we still got super random rain showers off and on all day yesterday, which we needed. It brought a cold front behind it and IT IS SO COOL OUT TODAY! :banana: We've had weeks of heat and suffocating humidity and now it feels like fall and I'M SO HAPPY!!!! My sinuses may be slightly bleh because of the change in air pressure, but I'll deal with it in exchange for a taste of fall. It would probably be too much to ask for it to be this temperature when the state fair rolls around....

Sorry to those dealing with handicap placard troubles. I don't remember it being that hard to get dad's, but it's possible it was and I just forgot. The parental health troubles run together after awhile. :Shrug: I know he had it ridiculously easy getting approved for Disability, though, because before he applied for it, he'd tried to get a job with the post office and they felt he wouldn't physically be able to stand and walk as much as he needed to for the job. Much like in the "Miracle on 34th Street Movie" it seems that if the US Post Office says you are something (including, but not limited to being Santa Clause :p), then that is the unshakable truth and dad got approved for disability just like that. No one we knew had ever seen anyone get approved that fast before.
 

jallenecs

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We're too far inland to experience much from hurricanes, beyond some bad storms and the absolute DEATH of warm weather. Sigh.

Things have been fairly quiet here. I got my first Stelara infusion on Monday, and that didn't go well. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I spent siiiiiiiiiick. Strong medicine = strong side effects. So. Much. Vomiting. But today is better, so let's hope that continues. Besides the urrrrp-y-ness, the medicine is working, so that's good.

Despite being sick, Younger Son and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at my mother-in-law's house while Brother-in-Law was out of town for work. Luckily, what she needs is a reassuring presence, rather than physical care, so my being ill only meant I was boring rather than a danger.

Blue Moon has been an absolute comfort to me the last week or so. I have so enjoyed myself with writing it and reading back over the earlier stuff. I'm not the only one, either. My Elder Daughter just tested positive (flu-like symptoms only), and is quarantined for two weeks, so is missing both school and work on top of being miserable. So I emailed her everything I had written thus far (I generally don't share this early in the process). She's been reading it all with delight.
 

Friendly Frog

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Happy to hear the medicine is working, Junely. Here's hoping the side effects soon disappear. :)

Came home with a heap of meds of my own today. Damn allergies have yet again given me a double eye infection. That's four times now in three years. What that hell is that plant?! At least I'm not the only one baffled.

Lucky me.

Still, I'm moving up: Last time this happened I had nine different meds, today I only have eight! Which means for the next two weeks I'll be needing....*quick count* 15 eyedrops a day from five different bottles. After that it's only three meds for four months, until the dead of winter when every plant is DEAD, or at least, you know, not thinking about sex. And then next year, we can do this all over AGAIN!

Gotta love allergies, she said, gnashing her teeth.

No wait, I tell a lie, I already take two allergy meds (that I had gotten specifically to stop this eye thing from happening, really guys you have ONE job), which means I have ten in total. Oh well, at least I won't be needing to take all ten together.

Praise be this universal health system. This entire medical emergency visit and med run did not even set me back more than a weekly grocery run AND I still get to recoup some of that. Really guys, everybody deserves it. I want this for everybody.
 

Brightdreamer

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Thursday evening, and today felt like Friday all that, and I was sorta hoping it would be Friday so I could sleep in tomorrow and not have to face another day of a pointlessly high number at work.

But it was not Friday. It was only Thursday.

Mergh...

Anyway, as implied, work continues to be ridiculously pointless; even with extra bodies all week, all we can do is tread water. And next week we've got Labor Day on Monday, which means we get the "storm surge" backlog hitting us between the eyes on Wednesday on top of the carryover backlog.

What fun. Not.

And I have to shop my way home tomorrow, because Dad has meds in at Walgreens and I need dinner options for the weekend.

On the plus side, I'll have a draft to play with, though I'm planning to wait on that until I finish some streaming rewatching I want done before next Friday (a.k.a when the final Lucifer season drops on Netflix). We shall see if relatives derail that plan, though...

They probably will.

(And there are other Current Events that really, really have me tooth-grindingly furious at intentionally ineffective people in very high places allowing literal dystopian evil to go unchallenged... but that's another rant for another place...)

TL, DR: Today was "mergh". Tomorrow will probably be "mergh".
 

Friendly Frog

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The world is on fire and the urge to viciously kick a few shins is very strong, but right now I have cuddled with two most adorable kittens today.

Cantina, I am content.


EDIT: Do not tell my cats I cuddled kittens.
 
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Gatteau

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The world is on fire and the urge to viciously kick a few shins is very strong, but right now I have cuddled with two most adorable kittens today.
This, this is quite an accurate description of my life right now. Except trade out those kitties for doggies...

We are still staying at another friend’s house now while fire rages around our town, though it seems as though it has at least stalled out a bit, not threatening our homes quite so directly - whew - but we’re expecting not to be able to go home for another two weeks or so. Some people at the other end of the burn are just now being told they can go home, and they got evacuated about two weeks before us, so that feels like a decent gauge of our current timeline.

We just got a campsite reserved for most of next week out at the coast, so that’s sounding quite lovely right now. We’ll spend a few days sitting on the beach, eating amazing seafood, reading books, and - gasp - maybe I’ll even get around to writing a little something!
 

Brightdreamer

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As predicted, my Friday was "mergh"ish. And I'll probably be feelin' it tomorrow; a minor equipment malfunction meant I had to do more bending and twisting and pushing at work than normal. (Of course, nobody who does actual repairs was on site today of all days.)

Also had to stand in line for about half an hour at Walgreen's to pick up meds for Dad... and they didn't even remember to do the address-or-birthdate security check.

On the plus side, got a fun audiobook review written up: Adam Rex's Cold Cereal (first of a trilogy), MG fantasy that unexpectedly crosses Arthurian lore, fae magic, secret societies, and food conglomerates into a fun (and somewhat dark) tale that'll change the way you look at those too-happy mascots selling sugary cereals (and what else?) to kids...

Fingers crossed my weekend is productive. Or I at least get to finish my Lucifer rewatch (only five eps left to rewatch in S5) in peace.
 

Friendly Frog

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Trying to work out a useful scheme of migrating the bottles of eyedrops across the bathroom so the placement helps me remember the sequence of drops I took already. But it's a rainy day and then I have time for such frivolities.

Since it rains I currently have two options of constructive entertainment. I either break out the grout to finish those few loose tiles in the hallway or make some headway with the Sequel Sisyphus.

I actually don't mind it raining today either. Huh. After the wettest summers on record this actually surprises me. Probably still am on kitten high.

Sorry to hear about your mergh friday, BD. Fingers crossed for a productive weekend indeed.
We just got a campsite reserved for most of next week out at the coast, so that’s sounding quite lovely right now. We’ll spend a few days sitting on the beach, eating amazing seafood, reading books, and - gasp - maybe I’ll even get around to writing a little something!
Glad to hear you have something fun to look forward to, Gatteau. :)
 

Brightdreamer

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Hooray for camping and post-kitten highs!

Urgh... family is being extra family today. Just can't get the frell away from them; the moment I go out back to do some walking/thinking, Mom races out there to poke around and water things and yammer at me (even though I clearly have headphones on). Not just once, either. Two, three times this happens. Then she yells when I go inside to get out of her way.

I just can't win.

Anyway, nearly time to get dinner started. Will have to do some sort of indoor exercise since outdoor exercise isn't happening today (see: intrusive family).
 

MaeZe

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I managed to shop at Whole Foods and the pet store half a block away in 30 minutes. I do believe that is a new record!
 

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Skyped with the mothership today. Realised that my father, who died just over a year ago, would have been 104 today.

Read an old story I published over a decade ago, and decided it was actually halfway decent. Am hoping that eventually I will get 'bit' by the writing bug again.

Now looking up recipes with the intent of making for tea my first-ever-attempt at meat pies. Store bought puff pastry, though, cuz life's too short.
 
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Brightdreamer

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Sometimes I skim my old spitballing files and realize some of it might make a halfway decent story seed...

Then I remember that "halfway decent' is also "halfway not decent" and I choke.

And Saturday winds down at last. Transcription's a wash tonight, so I might stream something or try some non-Sisyphus spitballing (because I'm still too on-the-fence about revisions to do more than muddle about if I open the file just yet).
 

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Then I remember that "halfway decent' is also "halfway not decent" and I choke.
Well, yes, there is that!

I was trying to boost my lack of confidence by reminding myself that it was published alongside a short story by Nicola Griffith, and that it garnered at least one positive review, and that if I could write a story even halfway decent ten years ago I can learn to do it again, only mo' better, and....

But yeah, probably safer to go back to lurking. At least till I retire from the day job.
 

Friendly Frog

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Rereading one's own old stories is IMO a good way to reawaken the writing bug. Mostly because I remember how much fun I had writing it.

Oddly enough I never remember how much a story fought me, or how much effing time it took, or how much flailing and cursing there was to reach a deadline. :ROFLMAO:

But if I only wrote stories that were more than half-way decent I'd never write at all. It is not at the start that you know how they'll turn out, unfortunately. And this amateur at least can afford to waste time on half-decent ideas. For professionals I'm sure that's different.
 
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Brightdreamer

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Sunday afternoon, and I just got told off by a squirrel. (It's trying to bury walnuts in one of Mom's backyard planters and took offense to me existing in its vicinity.)

Otherwise, got some site stuff done and rewatched another Lucifer ep. (Only two to go, which I want to clear back-to-back if possible.) Should probably do something for exercise that doesn't upset the local wildlife. Then I might check the transcription site, and if that's a wash I may finally break down and crack open the Sisyphus Sequel story file.

--

Monday morning, and already had the pleasure of an unpleasant olfactory experience whilst changing a toilet seat in the downstairs bathroom, the one Dad and the sibling mostly use. (Dad's health issues and dementia mean he's... not as good at aiming. Sibling's issues mean that cleaning is a foreign concept to her. Sooo... yeah. Changed clothes after that little job...) But the broken seat has been replaced and hopefully the new one lasts a little while so I don't have to do that again any time soon.

Today's plans are to finish off that rewatch, assuming I'm not co-opted into a shopping trip. (Would rather do that tomorrow, but we shall see what Mom decides. I just drive the car...) And once that's done, there's a story draft in dire need of a machete.
 
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Checking in. Ida dumped lots of rain and wind on us in CT but we weathered it well enough (pun intended). A bit of water in the basement, but we knew that was an issue, and had already had an estimate guy come out last week. $16K for repairs and a full sump pump. Sigh.

Then I got back feedback from my editor on Taming of the Few, which was basically 'nothing happens for 300 pages, then it's all squeezed in the last 90. Spread it out'. So... I'm chopping off the first half of the book, which are my six POV people and their 'instigating incidents' to come to Ireland. I'll save those and publish them as short stories later, or as giveaways. I'll just hint at their beginnings and instead start the story with two of them arriving, then getting sent to deal with the first emergency. Then the next two for the second emergency, etc. Instead of all the attacks coordinated at once.

That hurts, but it'll make the book stronger.
 

Brightdreamer

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Boo for liquid-containing basements!

Hooray for draft improvement!

And windin' down Monday at last. For the record, I finished the Lucifer rewatch and even looped back to see the pilot again (because it's still fun seeing how everything evolved; it was pretty solid out of the gate, but the characters and premise really did grow as they dialed in on their strengths), so I should be starting my own draft improvement project tomorrow.

Now I have some stuff to order on Amazon before I forget, then I might read until sleep occurs.
 

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I got a strong start on the project yesterday. It was 105K words. I cut it down to 50K by taking out the origin chapters. (still smarts!) I wrote a new opening chapter and got through the first 5000 words to ensure the narrative flows, etc. I'm back up to 52K with just that. Proceeding apace.
 

E.F.B.

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Morning, Cantina. I had a great writing day yesterday. Added a necessary new scene to IDTC that then sparked a brain storming session for the second book (I'm growing in confidence that this story wants to be a duology) that resulted in figuring out where the second book might be going, climax and all. That's exciting to me because it's more than I, as a plantser, had for quite some time while writing IDTC. IDTC came largely with certain vivid scenes that I was able to write and then I had to pants the in-between parts. This second book is being different in that, while I do have certain scenes vividly in my mind, the general plot is being far more forthcoming despite not having started writing it yet.

Speaking of duologies and such, would anyone have an opinion to share? I've seen a few trad pub authors (like Alexa Donne on Youtube) suggest that if you have a multi-book series, even a duology or trilogy, that it's best to only write the first book and wait to write the next book(s) in the series until you've actually sold the first book, because if you *don't* sell the first book, then you've spent extra time and energy writing another book(s) that will then all have to be shelved, and it would be better to spend that time working on an unrelated book that you can then query, etc, etc. That sort of made sense to me, but more recently I heard someone else in trad pub suggest going on and writing the rest of the books in the series if you're a debut, because then you can show the potential publisher that you are able to pull off the storyline. And that also makes sense to me. *brain breaks with conflicting information* Anyone have thoughts on this?
 
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