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The Second Moon

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I am so glad the forums are back.

In good news, a short story of mine was published in an anthology. I got all the rights back a couple of days ago and am planning on making it into a linked short story collection.

When last seen here, I was stuck halfway in my MG superhero book. Fast forward to now. I just got my (completed) draft back from my alpha reader and am correcting things. I plan on self-publishing it some time this year. I'm grateful that AW is back so now I can look for beta readers (because you people are the best).
 

Maggie Maxwell

Making Einstein cry since 1994
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Tired. I am...very tired. Glad to have a little haven of the internet back. :)

Back in Nov-Feb, we were having a room renovated in our house, except the renovators didn't exactly follow best practices for keeping the house clean (ex: putting up plastic to keep construction dust in the immediate area). The work finished, and we thought it was done. And then my husband stopped being able to be in our house. He'd have immediate allergic reactions in the form of asthma attacks. He'd always had airborne allergies, but never this bad. We had a number of people come by to inspect air quality, he rented a hotel room for a week, and I ran my butt off cleaning and buying new air filters. Then the bottom went out of our washing machine and poured water all over our new room, so we had to scramble for a new washer. Then he got his 2nd covid shot while at the hotel and had to be hospitalized two days later for myocarditis (now a known side effect of the shot). This was all within like 5 days. Since then, our water heater and sump pump have died and my husband's transmission line in his car was cut somehow, all while we're STILL trying to find out why his allergies are being kicked off (he can actually stay in the house now, which is a marked improvement. We've replaced both the sofa and the rug in the room where the construction was and had professional cleaners go over it) and he's still dealing with the myocarditis. It would be lovely to have a month where something expensive doesn't break or we end up with an enormous credit card bill because of replacing things. Right now, it's just lovely to be able to be back with you all. We're keeping at it, we'll get to a place of stability again eventually. But right now, I am just so tired.

Writing? Hahaha.
 

brad_b

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It's so good to have AW back. Thanks to all the techs who have worked hard getting things sorted out.

My business has been going great guns since the weather broke this Spring and I have such a backlog of work it's hard to see how I can get it all done - and more work keeps coming in. Life has gone as usual and the pandemic hasn't altered my lifestyle - I suppose I'm one of the fortunate ones. We've worked on a patio this week in spite of nasty hot weather and humidity. Starting early and quitting early have helped somewhat, but it's taken me twice as long as I had hoped to get the job done. We should finish up come Monday and then it's on to the next project.

Take care, all, and may life return to normal for all of us.
 

AW Admin

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It's so good to have AW back. Thanks to all the techs who have worked hard getting things sorted out.
Thanks. There's just me and the consultant Mac and I hired to migrate and convert the database, but I'll pass on your appreciation.
 

kinokonoronin

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Finished: 3 short stories
Still writing: 2 short stories and a novel

Read: Gideon the Ninth (boy was this fun)
Still reading: Black Sun (was excited to read it, but somehow I can't get into it)

My job is stable, I'm healthy, my game project is chugging along; I have no complaints. My sympathies go out to those who have had a hard time. Glad AW is back.
 
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ajaye

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I am still relishing not having to complete every book even after having left school more than a decade ago.
Oh yes! I remember the glorious relief when I made this same discovery/decision.
 
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Perks

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I don't even know where to begin. This last year and a half has done my head in. I think I was classically and thoroughly depressed for the first time in my life.

But I'm starting to feeling myself again these last few months.


Maybe I can even write again.

It's wonderful just to be typing on AbsoluteWrite
 

katfeete

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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?

I am so happy to see AW back! And I've done enough database work to guess how much work went into a migration like this. Hats off and thank you so much to you guys, that must have been a whole pile of No Fun you just volunteered your way through.

How I am, well, uh, since late April:
  • We learned a fellow farmer and longtime friend had been killed by one of his bulls
  • A tree fell on our house
  • We had our annual food safety audit at work, always a massive exhausting crunch
  • I found out the 1800 mg a day of ibuprofen I'd been proscribed for my chronic pelvic pain had officially started loosing me kidney function and got moved onto a different drug at lower doses that is about half as effective
  • My grandfather had a major stroke and passed away four days later
  • The literal day of the funeral, my brother and his wife had their first baby
So uh, I'm... not sure? I was getting on ok with coming out of the pandemic, getting life going again, etc, but this past month or so has been... a lot to process. My grandfather especially. He was 96, so it wasn't exactly out of the blue, but... We discovered in 2013 after my grandmother died that he was spiraling gently into dementia and had been for an unknown amount of time, so for the last 8 years I've been splitting caretaker duties for him with my mother and brother. We'd been increasingly worried that we couldn't keep doing it, as he was getting more and more fragile and difficult to handle -- but at the same time he was deathly afraid of being put "in a home", massively and vocally refused any kind of consent, and we were terrified that even if we did push it the change itself would kill him. The stroke was, in its way, a mercy. But having him gone is a massive, hard to ignore hole in my daily routine, and I expect the grief-relief-guilt-grief cocktail is going to take a while working its way through my system.

In the meantime, because each new challenge/disaster has come right on the middle of trying to deal with the previous one, there is still a tree on my goddamn house.

Writing wise, I finally started updating my webcomic again after two years (although, ahaha, it's now on a hopefully shorter break again; see above.) With my novel, I finally admitted to myself that the solution to the Subplot Problem was not "make everything the main plot!" and started combining characters and ripping out plotlines. My grandfather's illness and death happened right on the tail end of planning the shredding, but I hope to have the spoons to pick that up again.

Reading: I've been doing a lot of comfort food and re-reading FOR SOME REASON. Georgette Heyer, a new romance series by Sabrina Jeffries I found that's fun and non-challenging, some of my old standbys like Lois McMaster Bujold and Jennifer Cruisie. I'm within a book of catching up on Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, which is just great fun and always makes me laugh; I dug Catherynne M. Valente's Deathless up from the bottom of my TBR pile and found it a searing but beautifully written historical fairy tale (the siege of Leningrad combined with the folktale of Koschei the Deathless, oof.) Most recently I finished Max Gladstone's Empress of Forever, which I enjoyed. Very much a Big Ideas book but with energy, entertainment, and some wicked sharp commentary.

Listening-wise, I finally broke down and picked up a Spotify subscription and have been enjoying the lack of irritating ads very much. I haven't been listening to a lot of new stuff per se, but the workday music Substack I subscribe to tossed up a 1970s Moroccan funk organist that is going on my permanent Background Writing Music list.

Fingers crossed, the next month will be an improvement on the last (and at least there's a new baby!) I choose to view the return of AW as a sign that things are looking up. :)
 

brokenfingers

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Oh, you know. Just been riding the storms on the sea of life. Face in the wind, steering my way through the gales of adversity and the fierce waves of fate. All while bearing down against the downpour of bill collectors. Without a rainsuit.

So, yeah. Things haven’t been too bad. I missed out on everything that’s happened lately so I’m like the castaway who’s just been beached back ashore. Didn’t know AW had been down til just now.


But now that I’ve landed back here, it feels good. Like the soft caress of a breeze that carries the smell of home. *sniff* Ah, tortured souls and writer’s guilt.

It’s good to be back.
 

Roxxsmom

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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.
I've really enjoyed these as well. I'm on the last one now :( so now I have to figure out what to read next. I've done some comfort re-reads of old faves too. I've always been puzzled by folks who are against re-reading stuff. Some seem haughty, or even angry that some folks will return to old favorites when it comes up in online discussions (not here on AW so much, but in some SF and F forums and FB groups).

I've been much more interested in optimistic, fun fantasy and SF reads over the past year, but with enough seriousness to have me care about the characters. I discovered Ursula Vernon's (as T Kingfisher for many) fantasy novels, and they are lots of fun too.
 
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Harlequin

Eat books, not brains!
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Hello AW Admin :) I'm the happiest I've ever been.

Had a rollercoaster year and a rough start: began with separating, crawling out of a bad marriage, having to move out during lockdown and ending up in semi-derelict housing with the kids (beggars can't be choosers). Didn't really having much of a future -- many years out of work, no employable skills, autistic adult with autistic smalls.

But then I finished my 3rd novel, went back on submission, got pre-empted in 4 days by Tor, and have a book coming out next Fall. The advance dug me out of a financial hole and we got a better place to live (with heating and working utilities) just in time for winter. The cover is coming along and that's all pretty exciting.

2021 has been spent doing lots of edits, outlining for the next book, and generally pulling my life together in lots of ways. Nothing to complain of here! Esp because I know how unpleasant and hard 2020 has been for lots of folks (esp the ones who didn't survive covid).

Currently reading a LOT of books! 35 and counting since January. It's good for the soul.
 

Just Jeremy

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I’m most at peace with myself and the universe when wandering around the world, which has found me for the better part of the last decade spending much of my time in Asia.

From living in remote stone cottages in the Northern India Himalaya, to exploring the spice islands of Eastern Indonesia, or bumming a lift up the Mekong on a dilapidated cargo boat through Cambodia, I’ve a seemingly innate urge to investigate people and places - “the traveler” having become my identity in the process.

Being forced to return last year due to COVID has come with challenges - the worst of it being no end date in sight as to when I can have my life back. If it were said to me that in twelve months, or two years (or five) I’m able to resume my nomadic ways, I could deal with it a little better, I think. I guess I feel a bit rudderless.

I understand my first world problems are rather insignificant compared to many, but I do feel a particular sense of loss.

Having said that, this last year I’ve sharpened my photography skills a little (perhaps, maybe), added a few more songs to the guitar repertoire, the writing continues in fits and starts, and I’ve cemented a daily exercise routine which includes a ten kilometer walk - overall, I feel fit, healthy and engaged in life.

I do miss studying those in other places, though. A few subjects from Nepal and Indonesia I had the good fortune of coming across not that long ago.

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The image function works smoothly. :) edited; pics seem to be dropping out.
 
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williemeikle

The force is strong in this one.
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Still mostly isolating here in Newfoundland, although we've escaped COVID mostly unscathed. I'm immunocompromised after a cancer scare so staying away from folks is probably for the best right now.

On the writing front, I've got two action horror series on the go from Severed Press, have a new Carnacki ghost story collection at Dark Regions Press, and I've recently signed a three book deal with Silver Shamrock Publishing for three short horror story collections.

I've become an old age pensioner and this week marks my 30th year at writing ( the last 14 full time). I thought I might be slowing down by now, but there's no sign of it yet.
 

Kat M

Ooh, look! String!
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Very thankful to be alive and in my right mind.
I'm thankful to hear that! I'd been wondering how you were doing.

Late to the ballgame here (ugh, cliche), but here's my rundown, in no particular order:
- Decided my WIP was not structurally ready for querying; elated with how the restructure's going.
- Solidified a New Shiny.
- Took up Irish fiddle (as opposed to not-Irish fiddle)
- Sought mental health services for the first time and it was overdue. Not sure if I have Anxiety with a capital A or just a lot of anxious thoughts but either way I need some help to manage it.
- Got thoroughly sick of teaching on Zoom.
- Applied for and received a position change from teaching general elementary to Highly Capable (gifted/talented).
- All Pfizer'd up and ready to mingle!

I don't interact with a lot of you but it's been delightful to catch up. Be well! :)
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Good to see you, Kat! Glad you're doing well, Harlequin! Kudos to Aw Admin, Mac and the tech for getting this up and running. Brave New World and all that. :) Kudos also to all those of you who have written, submitted, sold, etc., any writing at all under the very trying circumstances.

To Taylor Harbin, Maggie Maxwell, Perks, and all others dealing with stress and inner pain: Hang in there! You're worth it; you're always worth it. And remember to breathe deeply: inhale deeply and slowly and let the belly expand; exhale slowly and reverse the process. That got me through last year's wildfires, which were the worst of our personal tribulations here.

I've been well. At the end of February last year, had this crazy cold with this crazy cough that took much longer than usual to go away. (And I rarely have colds anyway.) Don't think it was Covid though, since I had no unusual reactions to the vaccinations (all done!). I'm a homebody and Mr. Siri is retired, so we haven't had any of the other problems that went with this gig. It was a piece of cake, actually, after dealing with my demented mother on her long slide to the end. (And we are all SO grateful she passed in 2019 before she could be frightened by us wearing masks.) As stated, the wildfires (which you can read about in the disaster thread) were the worst.

Uh, except for...well, let's do this metaphorically. My writing career collapsed. I'm not up to sharing the reasons here yet (and maybe not ever), but it was like driving on a narrow scenic highway and having the road ahead of me slid into the sea. I could see it clearly enough not to slide into the sea too. But figuring out which road to take to get my writing back has been difficult. And the motivation isn't much there. Yet.

So, last year, during these fun and games, I ended up reading a great many works by and about Asians: a carefully researched biography of Kahlil Gibran by his nephew and niece in law; The Nine Cloud Dream, which was written in Mandarin probably by a Korean, and which turns out to be one of the greatest classics of Buddhist literature of all time, and The Jew in the Lotus, about a delegation of, yes, Jews to Dharamasala to visit with the Dalai Lama. Those were the highlights of last year's reading.

This year, the unexpected highlight so far has been The Annotated Mansfield Park.

Music: I'm an opera girl, and we've watched many of the operas that the Met streamed. For an assortment of reasons, we have a lot of opera CDs acquired just before or early in the pandemic and have slowly been making our way through them.

And that's it for now.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Shakesbear

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I've been doing writing challenges with some family and friends which were hard work but fun. We set a topic and had a set number of words and off we went.
I was also doing a lot of embroidery which I handed in a few weeks back. It is going on display at a museum - but I am still unsure about dates and other 'stuff'.
Working in the garden - which is now tidier than my house.
Hope all is well with all of you X
 

Gatteau

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Woohoo, so happy to see things getting back to normal! Better than normal, even -- the new site looks great, moves great, smells great... Massive thanks to any and all involved with that transition. :hooray:

Overall, I can say I've been pretty good. We were lucky enough to stay safe through Covid, and live in a place where lockdowns didn't feel too terribly confining (i.e. still able to enjoy our regular outdoors activities and see friends). We may have even been able to absorb a few good habits -- cooking at home more and healthier, spending more time with the pup, losing the desire to go sit at the bar all night...

I did lose my job in February; due to poor profits over the course of the pandemic (and not being able to throw wild parties any more), the shop had to close its doors probably for good. But I've tried to take it as an opportunity to relax and get some writing done. Turns out I'm very good at the former, not so great at pushing myself on the latter. I have managed to coax a couple of short stories out of infancy in the last few months, but I can't help feeling like I should have more to show for the near infinite amount of spare time I now have. Just have to keep chugging along, I suppose. I sure am glad to have the full AW back for motivation!
 

Lyv

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It's weird around here these days. Unless you're interested in weird medical stuff, you may want to skip this. In March 2020 I was days from death, thanks to a passive form of VSED (voluntarily stopping eating and drinking). The way I was doing it was legal, because my medical team documented that eating and drinking were just too terrible on me (severe pain from the first swallow through the entire digestive process and two hours of either violent shivering or feeling like lava was being poured over me. I've literally gotten heat rashes from eating a couple of bites of bread. For those interested in weird medical stuff it's what happens when a parotid tumor causes gustatory flushing--usually mild sweating and flushing around the face and hairline--in a person whose autonomic system is on its last legs, so they can't sweat, make goosebumps, feel the difference in hot and cold, regulate temperature or anything else your body does automatically). So not eating or drinking was easier, especially because I have a fantastic doctor and hospice team to manage the muscles spasms, etc. Oh, and I hadn't felt hunger in two decades. Had to train myself to recognize a kind of headache and shaking to remind me to eat. Then the coronavirus news really broke, and I wanted to get my husband through it so I started force-feeding again. Good thing, too, because my husband's employers basically had them all working around the clock (some companies in his industry closed down, but his didn't so took on the extra work) he'd have had no chance to find supplies or get groceries. And only because of me being medically vulnerable was he one of the few people grudgingly allowed to work from home a few days some weeks. I decided I'd hang in as long as I could, until my husband was fully vaccinated if I could manage it, though that was a long, long shot. Oh, and by this time, the autonomic stuff got so bad that even my husband turning a page in the next room or walking past me can trigger two hours of what my doctor calls "haywire." Basically it's like freezing and boiling and having panic attacks (they aren't but that's what it feels like) all day. Sounds, any changes in temperature, really, almost any stimuli triggers some awful stuff. I eat half an English muffin each morning and I have to go into the next room before the toaster pops of my body goes into full meltdown.

No one can believe I made it this far. I've been under 80 pounds since March 2020 (I'm 5'5"), and my vital signs are incompatible with life. My nurse said my heart would probably give out and out of the 3-5 things that we thought might kill me, that's the one I preferred. In October, I had what, without diagnostics, we are 99% sure was a heart attack, and have probably had several since. Weirdly, since that heart attack, I feel hunger again, though can't tolerate much, so that hasn't been fun (the same heart attack brought back my love of coffee, which I'd lost 18 months earlier after a concussion. My partially radiated-for-childhood-cancer brain is...weird). But, go heart failure!

What I forgot was that since 2003, I've had a pericardial effusion. I just got used to it, managed it without having to really think about it (eat less salt, dehydrate a little more) but now so much is wrong with my heart, we don't know what pain is from which problem, so I forgot. When my nurse and I did our first normal post-vaccine visit (we've been limiting contact), she recognized the pattern right away and said my effusion has put me at risk of cardiac tamponade, which puts extreme pressure on the heart and because we aren't going to treat it, there's a chance my heart could rupture before it kills me, which I am almost phobic about. So, we're trying to figure out what to do next. (I do get to make a lot of tampon jokes)

I'm wicked proud of how I immediately got us organized and stocked up, how I made things as fun for my husband as I could through this, and that he can know beyond a doubt how deeply and completely I love him. I got to vote for a candidate I'd been waiting almost a decade to vote for (VP Harris) and celebrate something I would have otherwise missed out on with a lot of people I love (I also lost around 20 friends, including my best friend, because so many were in medically vulnerable populations). I managed to make ear savers for essential workers for months, and did what I could to help my community, which pulled together in a remarkable way. I tried to write, especially working on an essay with a good hook: working my ass off to survive a pandemic I didn't want to live through, but I can't write anymore. That's a loss but one I knew was coming. My quality of life is unbearable and has been, and I think I had something of a breakdown this winter. I'm at peace now, and even if this virus never really goes away and some new variant starts raging, I got my husband to a place where he'll be able to do the things I did to get us through this. I got him a vaccination appointment for the day his stage opened up so I have I still laugh a lot and am getting to see a few friends, so for now, I'm just taking it moment by moment and so glad to come back here to say hello and see how everyone else is!
 

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