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Stytch

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Things have been ... a lot. More than I could possibly cover. But coming out the other side again, I'm employed (again), writing (still), and my family is healthy, lucky, and doing OK. I know all too many who cannot say the same, and I'm constantly conscious of how much luck or chance has to do with everyone's life. I'm very thankful to see the forum up, it's almost like one of the last remaining things that I could have asked for. After, you know, world peace, taxing the rich, etc.
In writing news, I hope to finish the last few first draft chapters of a project I first mentioned here about 2 years ago or so, and that's a big deal in my little writing corner. I also recently heard back about progress, cover reveal, etc. for a CNF piece that was accepted before the pandemic paused everything, which was nice.
Thanks for all the work you've done on this, we are most appreciative to see it back.
 

Lakey

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Hello; I'm so glad we're back. Big big thanks to AW Admin et al. for all the hard work to get us going again.

I'm doing all right, and mostly the same. Writing-wise, I had a short story published shortly after AW went offline. I have a couple others out there racking up rejections; one in particular is getting a lot of "we would love to see more of your work" sorts of rejections, so maybe I'm getting warmer. On the novel (the same novel I've been working on all along) I did some heavy plot-work and I'm now digging into rewriting (or writing new material for) about a quarter of the manuscript.

Reading-wise, here are a few highlights: I read some Alice Munro for the first time and had my socks knocked off. Something else wonderful that I read this year was Richard Powers, The Overstory. And I reread Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping and absolutely loved every last word of it. I had read it last year and though I liked it, I felt I was underwhelmed or had missed something. I'm so glad I read it again; what a marvelous book.
 

AW Admin

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I have some Hot Opinions about Dune, namely about how it handles different religions and I honestly think there's no way this would ever get published as a debut novel today lol. Though on a more technical level I really enjoyed it and how it was written/structured, so I felt like I learned a lot there. I did watch the David Lynch film and it was Delightfully Terrible (I lost it at the shields first popping up in the fight scene). I'm very interested to see how the new movie will manage things and if they'll make a worm action figure. I am sad that the ballet version that my sister had seen doesn't seem to have any videos of it on the internet because I really really want to see the ballet adaption of Dune.
I can't remember which version is which, now. I liked the sandworms in one version; thought the ones in Beetlejuice were better. Laughed at both versions, inappropriately,

Loved Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck.

I read Dune decades ago as a teen and enjoyed it, but reading it later . . . well. It's one of those books that the suck fairy visited, for me. Like a lot of the eco stuff still.
 
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Cobalt Jade

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Not much writing for me during this downtime. Spend a lot of time with the new puppy, now a young man dog (he just turned one) and watching TV which has been more convenient and enjoyable since I got a FireStick.
 
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ap123

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Helloooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so, so happy to see AW back online and all these wonderful familiar faces. Avvies. something. ;) First and foremost, a huge thank you to AW Admin and all who worked to make this happen.

I've spent way too much time on Twitter with AW down, and while I've met some nice tweeps (writers and not), there's nothing like my fellow AWers.

Life has been both horrendously boring and insanely hectic, so not much different there. I've had some pieces published in the past few months, whee! One short came out (print journal, I think I had posted about it when I got that acceptance), just had a flash pubbed in a newer online mag last week, that one took 2nd place in a flash competition, and a poem that came out today, another online journal. I have a new (ish) idea I've been playing with, but writing has been slow and sporadic for me these days.

Apologies in advance, it's going to take me forever to figure out the lay of this new land.

Mostly, hooray for AW being back!:hooray::heart::snoopy:
 

Quinn_Inuit

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Welcome back, everyone! It's good to see you all again.

I didn't write much during the pandemic, a combination of my job getting gradually crazier as I was promoted and general anxiety about the pandemic. I'm now getting back into it with a vengeance, ripping one project to pieces in an editing job and writing new material for a different project.
 
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Roxxsmom

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It's so great to be back on AW and to see everyone again! I've missed you all. Thanks to AW admin and everyone else who worked to get the new forums up and running.

So much has happened over the past few months. We've gotten vaccinated for Covid and have begun to enjoy some tentative get togethers with other vaccinated friends and family.

Just finished another semester of online (yuck) teaching. Will be teaching online again in the fall, because our community college district is behind the eight ball compared to many schools and will not require staff, let alone students, to all be vaccinated. So admins are still paralyzed (plus they love the idea of online, even if it hasn't turned out to be the accessibility and enrollment panacea they'd expected). But hoping we will be back closer to normal teaching by 2022 at least!

As for writing, I'm afraid I've done very little lately. Between the all-consuming (24-7) nature of online teaching and generalized anxiety about the state of the world, every speculative fiction story idea I have in mind seems sort of trite or naive right now, but I don't want to write about the real world either >.< I've been filling free time during the past year or so with self soothing via reading and with playing video games. I think I'm going to have to pick up my latest project again and try baby steps to try and get back in a groove.
 

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I've been filling free time during the past year or so with self soothing via reading and with playing video games. I think I'm going to have to pick up my latest project again and try baby steps to try and get back in a groove.

I've found it very difficult to concentrate on reading even things I am actually interested in reading. I've mostly relied on re-reads of fiction.

I absolutely love Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries; every time a new one (5 novellas and a novel) has come out, I've read them all again in sequence.
 
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Quinn_Inuit

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I've found it very difficult to concentrate on reading even things I am actually interested in reading. I've mostly relied on re-reads of fiction.

I absolutely love Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries; every time a new one (5 novellas and a novel) has come out, I've read them all again in sequence.
Same here! I feel compelled to keep checking the news repeatedly just to make sure nothing even more ridiculously horrible is going on because for much of 2020 the answer was usually "yes." I've only been able to concentrate on larger things again since late January.
 

InkFinger

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How are you? Well, changing jobs, which will be big, but good.

What have you written? 3 Short Stories, 2 novellas, 41K into what will be a novel

What have you read that you like? Jade City, Murderbot, Rage of Dragons, Breach of Peace, WoTF v. 38, and Sword of Kaigen

What have you been listening to? The Stormlight Archives, and just started Last Hope Island
 
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Introversion

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I absolutely love Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries; every time a new one (5 novellas and a novel) has come out, I've read them all again in sequence.
I’ve been a fan of her work for a decade (two?) and always felt she was criminally under-read and -rated. Glad she’s getting some acclaim and good sales for this series, though I confess I prefer her Books of the Raksura fantasy series.
 

Kricket

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So glad the forum is back! A couple months ago I came looking for it and found it down so I've been anxiously waiting 😁

Haven't done a ton of writing, trying to survive a pandemic with 3 kids and all that. But I'm trying to get my writing groove back so here I am
 
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Alessandra Kelley

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I'm so glad the site is back! I'm so glad to see you all!

My family is basically okay, dealing with pandemic issues like many others. We recently lost someone much loved and missed, not to coronavirus, but to cancer treatment being disrupted because of coronavirus. Others in our extended family caught it but seem to have recovered. My immediate family has been hunkering down since early last year. Kid #2 took a gap year from university and we've all been working from home. We have all been fully vaccinated.

I have been writing. Somewhere in the back of my head someone is laughing at all the times I said that I was a visual artist, not a writer. Seems to be various permutations of urban fantasy and episodic adventure inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, except more the way I wanted to see it. The adventuring party is all women of various species and orientations, and they are liberating old hidden gods.

Oh! And I've done some interior art and illustration work for a forthcoming roleplaying game, "The Hammer and the Stake", by industry veteran Chris Gunning, currently active on Kickstarter. Proletariat freedom fighters work to overthrow Dracula's despotic regime in post-WWI "Greater Hungary".

(The cover art you see is by the inestimable Steve Ellis. I've made - so far - the map and some 1920s-style propaganda posters for the different factions. More art on the way!)
 

MaryLennox

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Yay! Thank you for bringing AW back!!!

I am still writing away. Made the dive and learned how to self-publish, after years of dealing with indie publishers. I self-published a middle grade novel, so that has been interesting. I missed being able to check AW for advice during the process. :(

Hope everyone is well!
 
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Snitchcat

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I want to know how everyone is doing.

It's been a long long break.

How are you?

What have you written?

What have you read that you like?

What have you been listening to?
Lots have happened since the forums went offline:

Lost my job because of restructuring, love life is moving along well, designing my own products for sale, writing scripts mostly, and staying busy. All the while listening to meditative music, and taking up martial arts again and other exercises. Also baking more again. Heh.

How's everyone doing?
 

MaeZe

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It's so nice to see everyone!!!!

I'm okay, some good (quarantine finally easing up, family all made it through without getting COVID, since the government is letting self-employed people collect unemployment I'm doing fine for the moment but it would be bad if not for that); some bad (one of my two dogs died and the other one, a litter mate, has the same symptoms now, and my autoimmune thingy is no longer controlled on my prednisone dose—lots of issue to resolve there).

My novel is ready to start trying to sell it (mentioned that elsewhere). I'm still tinkering.

I've been mostly reading non-fiction, nothing I would recommend.

I have developed an absolute obsession with Freddie Mercury and Queen. I'm not sure why now, Mercury has been dead for more than 25 years. What an incredible singer and all four of the members of Queen are fantastic musicians and songwriters. Can't really explain my obsession.
 

Susan Coffin

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I have been away for a few years but glad to be back.

I got married in August 2019, went to Ireland (from California) for our honeymoon, and have been isolating due to the pandemic. You'd think I got a lot of writing done but I just got a little--kind of like chipping away at the words. I have been spending a lot of time on digital artwork and on acrylic painting, landscapes being my favorite.

Great to be back and to "see" everyone again. A HUGE thank you to all who made kept the forum intact while transitioning to the new boards. Well done! :)
 
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muse

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So happy to have AW back up and running - thanks for all your hard work and perseverance @AW Admin

Like most writers I know, I haven't written as much as I hoped during lockdown. I've turned more to crafts, card making in particular. Still reading as much as ever. Finally managed to read nearly every book on my bookshelf. (Libraries were closed here for a VERY long time.) I've also got used to reading e-books. Before this, I was very much a physical book kinda girl. :)

Looking forward to catching up with all my AW friends. :D
 

Taylor Harbin

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I’ve got a lot to get off my chest so please bear with me. First of all, I’m very thankful this site is back. I missed you guys a lot. Around July 30 last year I had a mental breakdown. Stress had been building for some time. I was in martial arts classes twice a week. We made to make two trips to Texas to help my in-laws. But the straw that broke me was A simple misunderstanding at work that led me to destroy certain paperwork that should not have been destroyed. My boss flew into a rage and I cried right there in front of her. I thought I was going to lose my job. This was not the first time I’d had such severe emotional reactions, and with my wife’s urging I finally decided to seek counseling. I asked a woman at church (retired psychology professor) for recommendations and selected a man I thought would be a good fit.

I thought I was going for stress management but it became clear within two sessions that my stress reactions stemmed from a low opinion I have of myself brought on by excessive and irrational guilt, which I had pounded into myself for decades.

As I wrestled with what to tell my therapist I sank into deep depression, wanting to finally face my demons but also afraid to, because it meant I’d have to give up control of them. My dad (who’d been through AA and battled drug addiction) urged me to spill all the beans. I got on Lexipro and began reading books on cognitive therapy like “Feeling Good.”

During this time I quit writing and I was convinced the end had come at last. I had been working on a novel but abandoned it. I didn’t really enjoy much of anything any more. I tried to burn my old manuscripts but my mother and wife wouldn’t let me. Tried to sell my typewriter collection but thwarted again. I began suffering severe anxiety (memory triggered, not true anxiety attacks).

I was never actively suicidal but had come dangerously close. I began to think “if I died today I’d be ok with that. I’ve seen enough.” As a Christian I’m supposed to be “ready to go” at any moment but this was a resigned defeatist kind of ready. My mother was instrumental in helping me, since she had barely survived severe depression about five years ago.

There were advantages to not having any interest. I became more relaxed, went with the flow, quit melatonin and began sleeping better than ever before (ironically I slept well even when despairing. Crying is good exercise). I stopped thinking past tomorrow.

During this time on lockdown I got to bond with our dog Kimber. She’s been a great joy to our lives and our adventures could fill another post and a half.

Ideas kept coming to me but it was easy to shrug them off. “Someone else could write a good story with that.” Sometime around December I remembered a story I wanted to write about a time-traveling detective. I realized that the story would work better as a straight up historical novel but shied away from doing it because I felt all washed up.

But then my wife said that she was concerned because I wasn’t writing anymore. So against my better judgement I dipped my toe in the water and began researching my topic for a “hypothetical” novel, thus allowing myself to walk away scot free if I petered out. All I’ll say here is that it’s got something to do with Mexico in the 1930s, and I’m neck deep in it. That country has a fascinating history and it’s changed my views on current issues like immigration reform.

I’ve had to reinvent my writing process to fit my new mental outlook. I won’t write a single work of the story till everything is studied and outlined. For the first time in my life I’m writing to my true self and playing on my strength. I’m not suited to write sprawling fantasies or scathing satire. I’m a historian. The past should be my playground. Do I regret those floundering years? Yeah but I’m only 32. With luck the course correction came in time. From now on I write for me, which I should have been doing all along.

As to COVID, we in Arkansas got off pretty easy. My family mostly avoided it and we kept our jobs. Our governor had a good head on his shoulders and now everything’s coming back to life. Very thankful to be alive and in my right mind.
 

lizmonster

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3 weeks away from having our house fully paid off...annnnnnnnnnd we've taken out a 20 yr loan for massive renovations.
As someone who had to oversee the sale of a home that hadn't been touched in 35 years - you are doing the right thing. :) I hope the renovations improve your enjoyment of the house.
 
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starrystorm

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So glad to see everyone again! I've had both good and bad things happen. Mainly good.

When the forums were closed I was last seen struggling through my second draft of a YA sci-fi called "Puppet People" I am currently reviewing my alpha reader's edits of the final product! One big change is that I've decided to trade publish this book. I'm excited but also dreading how long it will take. As of now, I'll soon be heading onto finding beta readers which is why I'm glad this forum came back because I feel safer here then, say, Instagram.

I've been doing a lot of reading. Some good ones: Thursday's Child. Harrow Lake, If I Stay/Where She Went, Calvin and more. Just finished "The Ones We're Meant to Find" I'd rate it a 3.5. Great story but a lot of technical babble.

Recently I have been diagnosed with a mild form of OCD. It's mostly mental (intrusive thoughts), but I'm coping well. I think it is Pure O OCD. But I just got medicine to help on Monday! It should take three weeks before I notice any major changes.
 

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