Tag Archives: writing

Publishing Plans

12 Aug

Using Create Space, Amazon’s publishing platform, I shall self-publish two novels in October 2017: a Middle Grade fantasy novel that’s the beginning of a series, Rowanwick Witches; and a magical realism novel for adults, Skeleton from the Closet.

I self-published my travel memoir, Every Day is Magical: A Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal, which is available on Amazon.com (as will be the novels). For other novels, I intend to keep querying literary agents and small presses.

 

Bad Mood, Hot Weather, and Housepainting

23 Jul

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Bad mood. Not sure why. Heatwave? Thanks to climate change, this summer is nonstop heatwaves.

It seemed to start when I was masking the stairs (to paint the tops of the steps dark brown), and my forehead was sweating. Halfway down the stairs, my forehead was sweating profusely, and I took a break, even though this brought up memories of The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy harassing me for having unfinished projects and I could hear her voice in my head judging me because I didn’t go ahead and get the whole stairway masked in one fell swoop (since of course the way she does things is the only way to do them, and the way I do things is wrong because everything about me is wrong and bad). I haven’t seen that parasite in a year, but she’s still in my head.

While I took a break, I had a frozen fruit bar and read a portion of a book on empaths, and I felt really sad while reading it and nearly started crying while reading and taking notes. According to this book, empaths sometimes unconsciously resort to depression because depression reduces empathy. Reading this made me feel depressed.

I briefly looked back over the latest chapter I’m sharing with my novel critique group (and got annoyed at my computer, which claimed that someone else was working on the document and that I could only open it in read-only, so I created a new document). My bad mood includes irritation at sweating and at my uncooperative computer; depression in response to reading about depression; indecision and a feeling of being overwhelmed because I’ve been painting and masking and think I should also be putting up curtain rods, which involves standing on something to reach up and use the electric drill and hope it goes smoothly. Such mechanical tasks are only likely to put me in a worse mood or bring back the bad mood.

Last night I finished reading Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere (for the eighth time, but this time it was the “author’s preferred text). I had decided to read it because my period was just ending and I wanted to read something fun rather than something that might provoke a bad mood, such as a book on boundaries or a book on empathy. And I just felt like reading it (something that The Worst Frenemy in the Galaxy disapproved of—how dare I read books I feel like reading rather than bore myself with books she prefers!

Anytime I meet someone who says they’re an INTP, I shall as politely as possible inform them that I want to never see them again, because INTPs are arrogant pieces of shit, based on that one…of course, she’s also a sociopath and a narcissist with BPD, which has more than anything else to do with her being an arrogant piece of shit, but still, someone who’s dismissive of my emotions and thinks that thinking and intellectual snobbery is more important than emotions is clearly toxic and unfit company for me or any other empath).

During that little break, when I was about to send the critique group the chapter I just revised, I had the irksome experience of receiving a text message from Lawnmower Man. I’ve reached the point that I am acutely aware of feeling annoyed with him and practically dreading his visits; he does not have good vibes, and recently he attempted to manipulate me into renting the apartment to him. I refused to let him come over today; I’m starting to take my boundaries seriously.

I’ve been a recluse at home all weekend—just don’t want to be around people. I wasn’t a recluse on Friday evening, just all day Saturday and Sunday (today).

Two days ago, I finally realized that when I first meet people who don’t have good vibes, I assume I’m nervous just because I’m talking to a stranger. Now that I’m aware of this bad habit, hopefully I’ll stop doing it.

What a pity I didn’t read up on empaths when I was, say, twenty years old. I would have realized beforehand that working in retail would be a terrible idea, and I would have made a point of going straight to grad school out of undergrad. I’d probably have a PhD in Creative Writing (which may sound strange, but such a degree does exist). Sure, I can write without degrees and without college debt, but that would have spared me all those years of soulless jobs only for money, in which I was surrounded by toxic perpetual playground bullies. All that energy, all those bad moods constantly around me: no wonder I just became more and more angry.

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Oh, yes, I should mention: the break was brief, and I have since finished going all the way down the stairs. I just haven’t cleared off and masked the landing, which of course will also require sweeping and painting. I might go ahead and paint the rest of the stairs and hold off on the landing. Then at least it looks more like I’ve gotten quite a bit accomplished. At about midnight last night, I painted the front of the steps burgundy; or maybe I just did the masking then and painted the steps this morning. That’s weird that I’m blanking out on that. That’s right—the second version. Anyway, I had to do additional masking (and a bit of unmasking) for the sake of painting the dark brown tops of the steps and the whatever-that-is-like-a-baseboard-along the inner side of the stairs. Oh, I guess it’s a big baseboard.

I also need to save the paint sample card for when I have a banister, which I suspect will be a couple years. The color is Benjamin Moore…oh, I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s odd that I bought a house that no longer has a banister.

I only got far enough along with curtain rods to take a long curtain rod out of its package and place the library stool by the window…well, but the shoe rack is in the way, between the stool and the wall.

Also, I did most of the masking in the apartment bathroom but didn’t finish it and of course didn’t start painting that room.

It will still be daylight for a few more hours; it’s 6 pm now. I’ll read something other than the empath book and possibly fall to sleep—but at least do some reading before I resume painting the stairs (after the temperature has gone down a bit).

Comparable Titles

22 Jun

The gothic novel I keep picking at—I mean revising—has now reached 399 pages.

This same novel is the one for which I have just begun contacting agents and publishers, even though I’m still sharing it with a novel critique group. The other members have busy lives with day jobs, while I am focused on writing and have multiple novels to revise and/or finish writing; in short, one chapter at a time every two weeks is the right pace for them, so I decided to go ahead and start querying my novel before I’m finished sharing it with the group. I’m still receiving valuable feedback that results in significant revision. I suppose this novel is rather complicated.

In the process of creating the book proposal for this gothic novel, I became arguably too wrapped up with researching comparable titles. Actually, it is a good idea for an author to regularly keep up with the genre or subgenre in which she or he writes; this is part of keeping up with the publishing industry.

In my query letter, I have written a small paragraph listing off three comparable titles and their authors. As I’ve discovered more comparable titles, I’ve changed the list of three.

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels inspired my novel, but I have discovered that quite a few spooky gothic novels have come out in the past five years. (That is an appropriate time frame; if you pick comparable titles published ten or more years ago, they don’t necessarily reflect the current publishing industry.) I did much of the research on Goodreads and, after finding titles there, searched for them on the public library’s database, where I found most of them. I have therefore been engrossed in eerie, spooky novels and allowing the dishes to pile up in the sink.

The Year of Death

21 Sep

It has been four months since my dad passed away.

On Friday night, the dhamma (dharma in Sanskrit) talk was about death and dying. Monks from the Pacific Hermitage were our guests, and one of them gave the dhamma talk after tea. All of us who had read the email knew that the abbot of Dharma Rain, a Zen community that used to own the hundred-year-old building that we now occupy, had just died from a heart attack. During tea, a sangha member had said that her father has cancer.

My dad died of sarcoma cancer. My sister-in-law’s father currently has thyroid cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer. What an evil disease.

Before our group meditation, the monks chanted in Pali for the dead. I imagined myself sitting in the hospice room minutes after my dad’s death. I was the only one in the room with his body for at least ten minutes. In my vision, I sat in the same spot, on the couch, and with palms pressed together chanted the same chant in Pali. I wish I had known it at the time.

As the library curator at the nonprofit organization In Other Words, I have been sorting through a great many recently donated books. This weekend, one donation included several books about death, dying, and grief.

Tonight, when I dropped a friend off at her apartment, we saw two police cars parked on the street, inches from her parking lot. After I parked and we got out of the car, we overheard an intense situation. An upstairs apartment door was blocked with yellow caution tape. The resident’s parents yelled at the police because they wouldn’t allow the parents to see their son. In the course of the conversation, we learned that the parents had called the cops—and now regretted doing so. Their son was depressed and mentally ill and wanted to commit suicide. Either he committed suicide, or he was threatening to do so, and the cops killed him. The mother said, “You shot him!” The mother shouted that she wouldn’t trust police ever again and would never again call them in an emergency.

I’ve become more conscious of mortality and death since my dad passed away. I’ve been aware of a need to resume reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead (unabridged) and to read other books concerning death, Buddhist or otherwise. I’ve become more conscious than ever of my numerous unfinished projects and in the past week or two have put some effort into completing fantasy stories I began writing a long time ago. You never know when it will happen to you. My birthday was this month, adding to my increasing awareness of my own mortality.

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My travel memoir about Shantum Seth’s pilgrimage, In the Footsteps of the Buddha, is now available. http://amzn.com/1499258895 The title is Every Day is Magical: a Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal