2016 Reflections

2016… A year where too much life happened and none of my personal goals got accomplished.

I recall about this time last year that I couldn’t wait for 2016 to get here. I was all ready for 2015 to end and believed that 2016 will be better…utterly forgetting the lesson that things can always be worse.

It has been, in general, a difficult year for just about everyone. Therefore, saying that I’ve struggled isn’t news. I suppose it should be obvious from the lack of blog posts that I just haven’t been around much online. In fact, I spent most of the year in hiatus.

Then in November, I nearly left the internet for good. I returned about a week ago, and even now, I have to tell myself to check social network to see what my friends have been up to.

Since I haven’t really posted anything, here are some things that happened in 2016.


*New Family Members*

2016 wasn’t all bad. This year, I discover my love of cats, and I have come to the very-young-very-general conclusion that I may be more of a cat person than a dog person. We have entertained the idea of having a pet dog as part of the family, but the decision for that has been pushed time and time again. The reasons were many, but the most important one was that I simply didn’t have the time and energy to take care of an animal on top of my children. I wasn’t entirely sure I could afford to either. I don’t like small dog breeds. I prefer the bigger ones like Huskies and Retrievers, but nothing the size of Dalmatians or Great Danes. I love Samoyed dogs too, so there’s that. However, we weren’t looking to buy from a breeder. Rescue shelters rarely have purebreds, and I just didn’t think I have it in me to bring in a dog that may not bond well with the children.

Then in March, this black cat who looked completely pregnant showed up at our door, probably just passing by and just happened to catch Bitworks outside. Bitworks popped his head in to tell me that there’s a starving cat outside, and I didn’t need to be told again. I immediately opened up the cabinet with our spare dog and cat food and tore open a can for her.

Thus began the journey of getting the mother cat back to a healthy weight. We fed her every day, three times a day, like clockwork. We even tried to make beds and a home for her to have her kittens, but she chose to have them elsewhere. In fact, she might have even just dropped them by the time she showed up at our door.

A source of food secured from gullible humans (me), she started coming by everyday. Then in the last week of April, I found her outside with five kittens. I was beside myself with adoration and excitement.

They were adorable. My heart melted.

Unfortunately, two of the five didn’t come back a week later, leaving the mother with a gray one with white paws, a solid black one like herself, and a black one with white paws. The black one with white paws, unfortunately, got stuck in a neighbor’s fence and had passed away there. Bitworks found the boy and buried it.

Eventually the mother left the kitties after they were raised and were supposed to be able to fend for themselves. Since the kittens were shown that food could be found at our house since they could begin eating solids, they never went anywhere else and began sleeping and spending time here. Just like that, the two kittens adopted us as their family. Actually, it would be more accurate to say they tolerated us.

Three months ago, they started warming up to us, sitting down on our door mat and doing little actions like rolling on the floor in front of us and batting at the door when we stood on the other side. We started buying toys, cat treats, and one night, I started calling them by names.

The gray one with white paws is named “Charcoal.” His sister, the solid black one, is called “Shadow.”

About six weeks ago, we managed to get a scratch in, and I marveled at their soft fur. Charcoal began mewing for Bitworks and he would purr for me. Shadow never truly came out of her shell. She likes the treats well enough, will tolerate 3 strokes of scratching from me at most at random times, and likes to scratch against the glass of our screen door. Charcoal, however, has been quite the affectionate kitten, begging for scratches and strokes wherever Bitworks or I show up at the door, wanting to be rubbed head to where his tail began, over and over, as much as we would.

Our time spent doing so is limited to how cold the weather was.

As the temperature began dropping, Bitworks and I scrambled to fend for our two new additions. At first we had one of the children’s old play huts set up with baskets lined with pillows and a fleece throw the children no longer used to help them retain their body heat. Then we bought them each a heat mat to go on top of that when the weather started dipping into the 30s and 40s, but none of that helped with the freezing wind.

Over the last two weeks, we used CPVC piping and some 4mil plastic sheeting and created for them a temporary home that could easily house their sleeping baskets and would keep the rain, snow, and wind off them at night.

When it’s dry outside and the sun is shining, they’ll be in our neighbor’s yard sunning themselves. When it’s cold, windy, and wet, they’re in their house outside hiding from the cold and baking on their heating mats.

I haven’t a clue if they’re happy. I just hope for now they’re more comfortable as Bitworks and I design a more permanent house for them next, complete with scratching posts, climbing poles, toys on the inside, and (maybe) even a heater to keep them warm.

We’re now officially a family of six. If we were to ever leave, these cats are coming with us.


*The One(s) I Lost*

The animal front wasn’t all smiles, giggles, ooohs, and aaahs.

faith1Between end of July and beginning of August, a starving dog by the name of Faith (picture left) showed up in our backyard sniffing at the scraps of food we tossed out. A couple of years ago, we started a compost heap for ourselves by using the vegetable and fruit peels we get from our preparation and cooking. Of course, the deer and other wildlife likes to partake from that pile, so our compost has yet to be successful *laugh*. That’s all right, we don’t mind.

The problem with buying food like rotisserie chicken is our inability to finish it all in time. We’ll have it for dinner, save the breast section for things like chicken pasta, wraps, or curry, but even then, we can’t finish it all. I will collect the parts we couldn’t finish and Bitworks would put them outside for the wild animals down by our stream.

It was in this pile of food he found Faith. He came inside to tell me, “Honey, there’s a starving dog outside eating in our scrap pile.”

I dropped everything I was washing, cleaned my hands off with a rag and dashed outside to look. I had Bitworks grab some snacks first to entice her closer, and then had him open up a can of dog food that, as usual, I stock in the pantry. Don’t worry, I buy new ones every year because I put dog and cat food out for the wildlife when the weather dips into the single digits. It’s horribly against the rules, but when they look so cold and hungry…

*sighs*

Faith ate 3 cans of dog food, starved for god knows how long. As you can tell from her picture above, that dog had nothing on her but skin. I’m sure you can also tell from those udders of hers, she recently had puppies.

I was frantic. Where were they? Are they all right? How has she been providing when she’s starved to this point?

We fed as much as we thought was safe. The problem with feeding dogs starved to the point of death is the risk of vomiting. If they eat too much all at once, they will just throw it all back up, which hurts them more than it helps them. After the third can (I buy the little cans, not the big ones) and her attempt to eat the spoon I was scooping out her food with, I had to tell her, all the while having my heart break into tiny pieces that I can’t give her any more. I told her to come back later, that I will give her some more, but she will have to wait and let her body adjust to food once more.

We saw her again the next day, and the next day she ate two cans with a little bit of dry dog food mixed in to soften up. Clearing me out of all the stocked cans I had, I rushed to Walmart to buy some more. That night, Bitworks had been up late with work, and at about 1am, he heard something at the door.

Opening, he saw her, a dead puppy in her mouth. By the time he could get shoes on and go out to help her, Faith was gone, the puppy gone with her. He woke me up to tell me this, and the following day, I got dressed, hosed myself down with mosquito repellent, and walked my entire neighborhood through the woods and into the streams and muddy banks looking for Faith and a possible location she might have had puppies. If one died, chances are, the others are in poor condition. How could they be healthy when the mother looked like that pictured above? She didn’t have anything for herself. There wasn’t a way she could feed her puppies.

I never found where Faith had birthed her puppies despite an entire day from when the children left for school and their return. My neighbor found her huddled under one of my neighbor’s porches and carried her back and put her in a cage. After much debate, I put a leash on Faith and with her leading, tried to find her puppies, crawling through briar brush and Holly bushes because that’s what Faith recognized. When 8pm came around, we still hadn’t found her puppies, and she kept trying to go into places I physically couldn’t fit into or through.

Knowing she had puppies, I decided to let Faith go so she could return to them. I hoped, like how the mother cat had kept returning and eventually brought her kittens with her, Faith will do the same. We offered her food. We will take care of her and her puppies. I hoped she understood that.

Our neighbor had also seen Faith during those days we searched for her, and we managed to get the collar off her to find a telephone number. The owner took 2 days to get back to us, and when he was told that Faith had puppies, he claimed he had puppies at home with him. He claimed that they had adopted Faith from a shelter.

BULLSHIT. Shelters aren’t allowed to let pets get adopted without them being fixed. If she had been adopted from a shelter, she shouldn’t have been able to have puppies.

He didn’t seem to care, and he told my neighbor that the dog had been missing for three weeks and that they had been searching for her. That’s why she looked starved.

I just want to go on official record that a dog looking that emaciated isn’t starved for 3 weeks. My father-in-law used to be a breeder. He also used to be a cop. He has seen his fair share of animal abuse and rescued quite a few, and he told us that for a dog, a healthy dog, to be that emaciated, it meant she was starved for at least 6 weeks, maybe more.

I lost my sh!t.

We alerted the authorities, handed over the pictures of Faith that I took, and I even handed over all the pictures I took of the owner’s car (license plate makes it very easy to find people) and his face when he came by to talk to our neighbor (he didn’t realize I was taking them, I’m sure). I was throwing that asshole into the meat grinder. I didn’t give a bloody damn how nice he claims he and his family are.

The cops had a solid case with our pictures, and the man apparently had multiple dogs in his house. Whether they were all in the same condition as Faith, I don’t know, and this wasn’t something we could ask. All I know from the vine (since we do work with the cops) is that he lost all his dogs, was slapped with an $800 fine and let go.

Justice, ladies and gentlemen, was not served.

I never saw Faith again after that day I followed her trying to find her puppies. I didn’t know if she lived or died, nor do I know if any of her puppies survived. For 2 months we kept an eye out for Faith, for sounds of puppy yips, hoping that she will return to us, hoping that we could keep her and her puppies and give them a good, warm home full of love and potentially rambunctious children who would most likely want to sleep with the dogs in their beds.

I never forgave myself for letting her go that night. In a bid to save them all, I lost them all. But I couldn’t live with myself for leaving them to die either. I didn’t know what to do. I made a choice. Was it the right choice?

I may never know. I still cry when I think about her, and this little bump in the road made it impossible for me to write for a while. I was too depressed to put words to paper.


*Writing*

If anyone actually read my blog entries from the past, you might remember I had fanfiction projects in the works. They were all scrapped in May. It was a little before the time around AF Henley’s blog tour for the novel Wolf, en Garde that the notion of completely stepping away from fanfiction struck me.

At the end of March going into April, I suddenly had a whole slew of new characters appearing in my head, but I hadn’t the slightest clue what to do with them or where to go. At that time, they were slated for half-original, half-fanfiction projects that I had announced.

The more I worked at the story line, the more irritated I became. I was tired of fanfiction. I wanted something original, something mine, like Trent and Chase, Ash and Callie. I wanted something I could mix with those four paranormal characters (actually, only 3 of them are paranormal. Chase isn’t, but I do love him the most of the four, oddly enough).

As I followed Henley through his blog tour, ideas that had already been bouncing in my head began to solidify and give me some sense of direction as to what I wanted to do and where it is I wanted to go. It gripped me so hard that I actually didn’t read Wolf, en Garde in the same type of time space I usually do: Twice in the first three days following its release.

That’s because the notion of wanting to be publish caught me by the ankles and dragged me into a different space altogether. It’s not going to be tomorrow or next year, but it’s not an impossible dream.

From my trip home last year, my reading material took a directional change. I didn’t look to general fantasy novels anymore, and the m/m erotica took a solid backseat in that I no longer read them unless they were written by Henley. I began reading in Chinese, re-learning my native language, and started on the journey of writing in Chinese.

That was the most fun I’ve had in years.

I took the characters in my head and began looking at making them completely original – my own world, rules, and with Bitworks’ undying support, began putting the pieces together. But it wasn’t enough.

My current characters suddenly brought another set of characters, the people that are there before my current characters. If I have to use an example, the best one I can draw from is Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I had characters to play in my version of LOTR, and those characters brought forth the characters for the story that happened in the Hobbit.

Like Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, some of these characters are going to overlap because some races do live for a very long time – from 300 years to as much as 5,000. Some are even able to achieve immortality.

I went back to the drawing board and started a new folder for this, and suddenly, this story had all my attention. Setting up the world – people, places, history, etc, and figuring out how the story unfolds and would have affected my first set of original characters had been a huge task that I hadn’t expected to take on this year, but take on I did.

And I slated this for the National Novel Writing Month this year that I promised I will participate in. Unfortunately, I think this might be the last time I do so. Cranking out that many words in one month exhausted me, especially when I had to spend 3 hours every other day for the majority of the month hand-washing laundry. It was brutal. The challenge stopped being fun and became a task I wanted to give up on… and nearly did.

Despite the desire to give up, I continued to work at it until November 30. For about 10 days after the election, all I could add to my word count was a mere 200 words. It was discouraging. The last 10 days of the whole challenge, I made it over the writing slump and began putting out words in earnest.

A much-loved author of mine warned me not to overdo it, so as soon as December 1 came around, I took a week’s worth of break – more like 10 days, actually. No writing. No thinking about the story. No surfing the internet. Just give my hands and wrists a good chunk of time to recover from their abuse and my brain to stop hitting itself against a wall.

And just in time too. I had to wear wrist braces on some days to ensure my carpal tunnel didn’t flare up too much.

This project is currently on-going. I haven’t a clue how long it’ll be or how long it will take me. I only know that it’s slated to be a Chinese story, but it is being written in English first. When it’s finished, edited to my satisfaction, I’ll start translating it to Chinese. When that portion is done, I’ll start posting them in tandem.

Writing one story is challenging enough. Writing and translating is going to be interesting, but it’s a challenge I look forward to tackling.


*Site Renovation*

Some may have noticed, and others may not have, but a few things have changed around here. The Home Page has been re-written. It is more curt and direct and less playful. Part of it is due to this year’s experiences. I no longer have within me the capacity to be “cute” and “cuddly.”

“Break Me Into Pieces” is no longer accessible. It was a personal memoir written to help me get past a difficult time in my life. If you’ve read it, awesome. If you haven’t, then it’s not something you’ll be able to see at this point.

Adult stories on this site have been password locked. The passwords will be accessible to people who I already know are of legal age. As for other people, when y!gallery returns, you can verify your age with me through that website.

Some blog posts are going to be password locked as well. I’m not interested in sharing too much with people anymore. Not after this year’s social media fiasco.

My intro over at Tumblr have also changed. Some of you may have noticed that the tag “LGBTQ” has been removed in its entirety, not because I no longer support the community, but because I’ve been rather cross with the LGBTQ community in general (and the minorities too).

I won’t be getting into politics here, and most likely never will going forward. I have been disappointed in the people I’ve fought alongside and supported – many of them I consider friends. See, I got the feeling – before, during, and after the US Presidential Election – that whenever someone says “pro-LGBTQ,” that support should be, and is expected to be unconditional.

The only thing I have to say about that is this: My support wasn’t, isn’t, and will never be unconditional. I do apologize for that.

My values haven’t changed. My belief in the equality of rights to all people still holds strong and steady. I’m in this for equality, not for revenge or payback.

But if you start getting in my face and yelling at me through obnoxious images and one-sided arguments to choose between my children and you, I promise you, 10 times out of 10, I will choose my children. If you, as an LGBTQ member or a minority of the community also have children, and I get in your face about picking a side, I expect you to choose your kids over me. End of story. We all have to pick our battles, and for the same battles, we may end up on the same side or on opposite sides. The battleground isn’t black and white. Life is complicated.

Therefore, the only way to come out with the strength and dignity to fight another day is to be courteous and kind to one another. Our enemy is inequality. That’s a big enough fight without having all of us to turn on each other.

We all have a right to our opinions. We all have a right to choose whether we want to exercise a right or not without being chewed up, spit on, or nasty-grammed. That is all.


*Things I Didn’t Get To*

It is less than a week before Christmas. My decorations outside aren’t up. My tree is only decorated with lights. I didn’t mail out a single Christmas card, and I haven’t done a shred of Christmas shopping.

I am simply too tired and beaten up to care about it anymore.

2016 has been difficult. Will 2017 be different? I don’t know. I dare not hope that it will be better, but I know this: I’ve got new goals, and I look forward to achieving them next year.

I bid all of you a hopeful ending to 2016. I wish you all a grand and happy 2017.

This is my final post of the year. Thank you for sticking with me and helping me through. Good night, everyone.


❤ ❤ ❤

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…

Or something like that… 🙂

*walks into a faceful of cobweb*

*frantically flails arms to clear head space and face* Ah! Blegh!

*sees all the other cobwebs*

Why, hello there.

It certainly looks like I’ve been gone a wee bit too long, yet I don’t see it ending any time soon.

I just stumbled onto the phase of my writing where my brain’s screaming and my fingers absolutely refuse to write another word on the story, which then just makes my brain throw hissy fits. I figured I’ll shove that particular story voice into a nice, big, dark closet for a bit of a time-out before it escalates any further and come dust in here a little bit…

Figured I’ll ponder a few things while I’m at it. I just hadn’t expected this much dust. *squeak-sneezes*

*snags some tissue*

*draws a deep breath*

*sneezes again* Okay, no deep breaths. Not without a mask.

First things first: DAD.

My last post mentioned my father being in the hospital, and he was for a couple of days. During those couple days and for a few more days after that, I suffered too many panic attacks to function properly. I think I actually made myself sick(er) there for a bit, slept something like 36 hours, and then got back up to continue with this thing called ‘life’ – the four-letter word that has a tendency to screw one over more than the word “fuck.” How’s that for a kicker in the guts? 🙂

All I can pass onto you are my father’s words, “Don’t worry. It’s nothing. I’m all right.”

Bitworks will be the first one to tell you this: “Asking this woman not to worry is the equivalent of asking her to stop breathing. If she actually had a middle name, it would be worry. Actually, no, her first middle name would be ‘Stress’ followed by her second middle name ‘Worry.’ She doesn’t know how not to do that despite all the effort she’s put into trying to learn how not to.”

So, according to him, my name would sound something like this: Lavender Stress Worry Wynter.

I don’t know. I kinda like the ring of it. Need one of those random letters though:

Lavender Stress N. Worry Wynter.

There ya go. XD

But Bitworks’ got a point. Every time I hear someone I know on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter is sick, I want to mail him/her this giant fruit basket, although I think only a few of them would eat it. Too many pizza (and meat) lovers to actually want fruit, methinks. I’m not all too sure about the vegetarian ones, but I suppose even vegetarians can be picky about fruit. *chuckles*

That was really awful humor.

I’ve somehow unlearned humor in the last 3 months. Not sure how that happened, but it did. I blame it on a few factors, actually.

  1. Donald Trump is running for president.
  2. Hillary Clinton isn’t behind bars, and she’s running for president.
  3. Who the fuck let Sarah Palin out of the looney bin again?
  4. I’m not sure what Bernie Sanders is smoking, but I think it should be banned.
  5. Ted Cruz makes me grind my teeth, and that’s absolutely horrible for my dental visits.
  6. USAF used to have smart people running it. When the fuck did they drop the ‘intelligent’ requirement?

Do not ask me to clarify anything. I’ll give myself an ulcer on a rant that I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear. 🙂

FYI, I don’t read the news, yet I still manage to hear news about these people. Probably because Bitworks does, and I have to ask every time he head bangs the dining table. *grimace* It’s a miracle the man hasn’t knocked over his coffee by accident. *chuckle* He probably has it perfected into an art… the not-knocking-over-coffee skill.

The most enjoyable news I’ve heard ALL YEAR is the 90th birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth II. Happy Belated Birthday, Your Majesty. May the blessings to you and yours continue.

*extends a Swiffer cleaning pole* As for me… there’s the usual managing-husband thing (although lately it’s more the husband managing me) and the herding of kids. I mentioned previously that I was depressed. It still runs its course, but I’m happy to say that the good days are starting to outnumber the bad, which is… ’bout damn time, right? I think I’m climbing out of the pit as the weather warms.

Next thing on the list to kick my ass? Allergies. Yay, Spring.

My love for winter is still strong as always, but this past season had been difficult. I had a hard time dealing with the cold, and even when it was far from freezing, my limbs felt lethargic and cold, which was highly unusual. I didn’t wear my cashmere sweater more than five times last year, but this year, I had it on me pretty much even before the temperatures dipped and didn’t stop wearing it until the weather climbed into the 40s. That worried Bitworks.

Me… who wears shorts in 30 degree weather (Fahrenheit. In Celcius, that’s -1 to 1) to take a stroll up to the mailbox and back was in fleece-lined sweat pants and double-layer coats for the same walk this past winter.

I really wasn’t feeling well. Due to this – and the doctor couldn’t find anything, I had to cut my voluntary job as a reviewer over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

Probably just the stress. That was most people’s theory.

Aside from Husband and Kids, every available minute is dumped into writing. I barely check social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr). Right now, I’ve got three stories going:

 

  • Bleach x Jujironkirin Novel-length fanfic. (There are 3 versions of this, at 40k words each, as I continue to juggle the task of creating characters.)
  • Bleach – Kisuke x Byakuya fanfic, part 2, that is a continuation of “An Unexpected Encounter” that will, hopefully, lead me to the story I’ve been putting together where Byakuya and Hisana cross paths once more after the whole Thousand Year Blood War Arc finishes as I need to know the people still left standing. (Word count currently sitting at 5k.)
  • Bleach – Kisuke x Yoruichi fanfic that takes place after Aizen’s Winter War. However, this one might merge with the first fanfic on this list. We’ll see. (Current word count, 8900 words.)

 

I’m also drawing out Closet Souls Chronicles Book 2 – Ash and Callie in preparation for November’s National Novel Writing Month that I was forced to skip last year due to the hectic schedule. This one is going to be as big of a task as the Bleach x Jujironokirin fanfic… if not bigger. It probably will be, knowing me.

So there it is, what I’ve been up to. I’m not typically this obsessed with my writing life, but I got only one fanfic and one original written in 2015 (a novelette at that). I didn’t like that, and I’m sure somewhere in here is me trying too hard to compensate for lost time, but I need it. I’m losing myself in my head from it being so cluttered.

I hope all of you are doing well in 2016. It’s a tough year. I have a feeling it’s going to get tougher. Hang in there. If you need anything, I’m always reachable by email!

Much love & Welcome to Spring!

I’ve Been Quiet.

I know. A little too quiet, in fact.

It’s not that I didn’t want to write something long before now, but looking back at the history of the posts, it seems like I had a lot of ranting to do, mostly about family, and I get sick of writing those.

I’ve also been horribly depressed. I’ve been overwhelmed even before 2015 ended, and it almost seemed like the moment that clock settled at 00:00:00 on 1/1/2016, stress fractures appeared in one giant weave in my world, and it’s left me scrambling to make sure I can patch them before more showed up. Last thing I want is for the sky to fall on me.

January to March is the accumulation of:

  • 4 strep cases (children).
  • 1 bronchitis infection that triggered asthma (myself).
  • 1 stomach flu (son, on Spring Break no less).
  • 5 cases of cold/flu.
  • And a few more things.

.

Then it’s April. First thing this month is my father having to check himself into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be discharged Saturday.

.

He’s alone. So much is balanced on that man’s shoulders that his health is failing. And I’m terrified. Half the world away, I can’t do anything. I can’t cook for him, stay with him… help him in any way, shape, or form.

Except the stupid 5 minute phone calls I make to ask how he’s doing.

He’s my father. In my veins flow his blood. Anybody who knows my father and knows me never fails to comment that I’m a chip off his block. I don’t just look like him. I’ve got his personality traits. We may not talk, but I get him, I suspect, in the same way he gets me. Our father-daughter times, few in number, were always special and different from when he’s around my mother or my brother. I know. I can sense it.

Introverts connect more non-verbally than verbally. That’s the thing that my mother and my brother has trouble with, being extroverts that they are.

I think that’s why he’s had so much more success with raising me from a distance than my brother. Once you figured out how someone thinks and acts, it’s not difficult to understand what he/she’ll say or do even before the words are even uttered or the action carried through. It’s the little things.

So when I say I’m terrified…

I. Am. Terrified.

*sighs*

If anybody needs me, I’ll be reachable by email. ❤

Trying My Hand At Proofreading!

⭐ FREE Proofreading Service!! ⭐

Kind of. For the moment.

I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting myself into gear for the proofreading/editing job market, and I need your help!

Trent: *frets* Wait, you’re giving up on us?

No, dear. I’m not. The writing’s still going. Sit down before you get an ulcer.

Trent: *obeys*

Over the course of a long time now, the prospect for being an editor or a proofreader of some kind has crossed my path many times. In the last year and a few months, as I make it through countless piles of paperwork and meetings with school advisers and counselors about my children’s education progress, I’d been handed a lot of things to read that required signatures. As I went through the “official” forms, in the classic style that I am, I circled the problem spots (in pencil so they can erase it later) that weren’t too clear, provided suggestions, penned my John Hancock on the required lines, and returned the forms with the editions.

It’s like an itch I can’t stop myself from scratching. XD

Ash: *giggles*

Shush, you! 🙂

*ahem*

As I was saying, most of the corrections I’ve come across were simple spelling typos and missing words that might’ve been accidentally deleted because of a sensitive touchpad on a laptop (like mine).

I was asked if I was an editor to which I answered “no.” After about five of these different “official forms” through various occasions, someone made the remark “You should be an editor. We can so use someone to proofread things and do edits.”

Thus began the 2014 quest of “Writing vs. Editing” because I cannot comfortably call myself something when I’ve never done it. I’m sure you all know those people we hate for “creatively” buffing up their resumes. I really, really don’t want to be one of them.

There are a number of people online who find my knack of seeing mistakes annoying. There are a couple of people who took it in stride and didn’t mind any comments (sent in private) for anything I saw. As I bang my head on the table with massive editing oversights from small and big publishers alike, I ambushed Bitworks one night at the dining table as he watched another History show about the whole editing path after the kids had finally passed out, and I was sucking down a caffeine infused cup of green tea. XD

That would officially cross our discussions about this into the double-digits. We’ve had long, long chats about this during my last two years of college after I had visited him here in New Jersey during a Christmas break and he showed me the Editorial Floor of the Princeton Dow Jones campus. Since most of those guys worked the 8am to 5pm slots, I only saw a few people in the vast area, probably proofreading the news articles that were scheduled to go out on the 1-star edition WSJ that were going to be printed just as the 4-star edition Wall Street Journal was wrapping up on the print floor. Brownie points for those of you who know what those stars mean. 😉

People telling me that I should be an editor wasn’t just a once or twice thing. It’s pretty constant, through the years, and somewhere around 2010, I started taking it like it was the Universe telling me where it is it wanted me to go. Not that I take queues from the Universe that often, but it’s somewhat enjoyed smacking me in the back of the head whenever I don’t, so I’ve been universally-broken in that regard. I heed the “look here” calls now when it gets this… insistent.

I’m hesitant, not because I don’t think I can’t make it, but because most people telling me that “You should be an editor” do not completely understand what “Being an Editor” means. An editor doesn’t do proofreading. That’s delegated, usually, to a group of interns or assistants that the Editor manages, and they do the nitty gritty work of reading and submitting corrections, talking to the people who wrote the articles or whatever it is that was being published at the time. Then a meeting was held with the Editor to semi-finalize the corrections, and then a meeting with the Editor-in-Chief where he or she signs off on the final editions.

That’s how it goes down in a big financial publishing firm on things that aren’t fiction, which is rather cool and all, but I want to do fiction. However, I’m not limiting myself at the moment as I set out on this little adventure.

A very respected person I had the privilege of communicating via email once or twice wrote something that really stuck with me, and it’s still circulating in my head. This person said,

“My point being, if you want to edit you should pursue it. Some of us would like to write beyond that.”

The “that” referenced in that quote was talking about the guidelines that states “one must write in the grade eight capacity for your reader.” I’ve heard that too, through the many vines of people I’ve lingered around. I just thought it was some kind of an inside joke I didn’t get.

So after a few more discussions with Bitworks, a hellacious amount of research on the internet I could find time to spare for, I’m moving forward. Very carefully. Toe-testing the kiddie pool and all.

There are apparently certifications I need to get if I haven’t had a single bit of experience – which I am currently collecting materials for, actually, so I can study and take the exams – and it’s best if I have done this and have something to show for it. Right now, I don’t have anything in any official capacity.

This is where all of you come in, and why it is free. For now. I’m still rather undecided if I wanted to do this freelance on my own or work for a publisher and basically hold this service on the side for friends free-of-charge.

*hides a list of authors I would love to do this for* 😉

I’m not asking every person to give me a recommendation letter, but if you do use my service – whether it’s for a manuscript set for publication, free-reads, or even fanfiction – giving me feedback to help me either quit this or move forward would be wonderful. And if you are, indeed, a published author or someone in the field of editing, a recommendation really would be amazing.

I’m not doing this for your Elementary, Jr. High, High School, or College paper, though. Just no. Sorry. 😦

Now, for what everybody is worried about – Copyright Infringement and Protecting Your Assets.

I do believe I’m a rather trustworthy person, but just in case you’re not quite sure what to make of me and this whole “proofreading for free” conundrum, here it is:

I, Lavender Wynter and all other names I go by, will NOT distribute anything to anybody. This includes NOT showing anything – a printout, a screenshot, a blurb, or even a mention of it online/offline anywhere – unless I have your explicit consent to do so for a defined purpose. I will NOT publish/tell/hint who I work with in regards to this service. The other party, however, is not restricted to this. This is only applicable to me.

I will not tell you how you should tell your story. My purpose is to look for spelling mistakes, misused words, missing words, extra words, missing or additional punctuation not needed, and anything else you would like me to keep an open eye for. I am in no way, shape, or form trying to apply all the grammar rules to the telling of your story. You’re the artist. I’m just trying to loan you a fresh pair of eyes for mistakes we all miss in our own work as I sharpen my skills in the proofreading department.

In return, I ask that you remember I am under no obligation to write a review of your work once it is published/released. I might give you a personal opinion piece about how I feel about it if time allows in an email, but I’m not holding myself to anything. I also hope that I can approach you for a letter of recommendation or to list you as a reference if any private publishing houses are asking for a list of people I might have done work for. Again, all of this is behind the scenes and closed doors. None of this will be made public to anybody.

Chase: They might want to know how fast you can do these things.

Ah, yes. Thank you, Chase!

I can do most chapters for a story in about 24-48 hours, depending on when it is I get it and how advance the writing is (and just how big of a bomb went off in my house). I can comfortably, judging by past experience, read 140,000 words in one week and type up a document (11 pages) of mistakes by page and line number, give myself a day or two in between 2 proofreads of my document, and turn around to submit it back to you.

I am a mother of two young children, so my schedule is limited to when they are in school, I have finished my critical errands, and plagued by insomnia. Mondays through Fridays is considered a week if there aren’t national holidays like “Martin Luther King Jr., Labor Day, Memorial Day, and the like. They are also off during the summer months (and this year I’ll be traveling), Thanksgiving, and Christmas breaks, so efficiency is restricted to that.

I can offer a sample of what it is I had done for the .PDF manuscript I was given, but it will only be a screenshot because I don’t want the author to be coming after me for violating anything. The book isn’t slated to be on the bookshelves until 2016.

Before I get too ahead of myself, please do note that English is not my native language. While I can get and understand most things I’ve been handed, some things might just be beyond me. I will always ask first if I ran into something I don’t understand, but outside of that, most people think I’m American born and raised.

While I’m not charging at the moment, I’m going to give this a trial run by quarters (so this first test ends in March). If it all goes well, then I’ll go from there. It would also be awesome if I can get a signed copy/card of the work – regardless of what it is, if you’re comfortable sharing it with me.

*crosses fingers*

Here’s to hoping this works for me!

If you have any further questions, please feel free to direct them to my email: lav.wynter@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

 

A Little Update…

Happy New Year, my friends.

I have, unfortunately, entered 2015 with the wrong kind of bang. Truth be told, I haven’t written a single word towards a story since that 4th weekend of November, and with a project pending for February 14, 2015, it’s put me in a rather dark funk. Ever since the writing has taken back a stronghold in my life, it doesn’t like relinquishing its allotment of time – especially to things as mundane as cleaning up my house and making way for busy schedules.

Indeed, the last three weeks or so had seen, in the four walls of my very humble (and very under construction) abode, monumental amounts of cleaning. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the chosen pastime of yours truly, but Chinese New Year is coming up… And I’ve resolved myself to getting rid of things I am no longer using or will not see myself using in the future by either giving them away to people who could use them or donating them where I can – namely a lot of baby and maternity things I had kept solely for the expectation of Baby Number Three.

Hubby still hold the hope, I believe, somewhere in his heart for a Third. I can’t say I’ve completely killed it myself, but with me trying to get a foothold in moving this family – and myself – forward… a Third Child is just not in the works with our current financial means. 😦

That will require me to have a full-time paying job, some very nice medical benefits, and giving up my time for writing again. It also encompasses the possibility that I have to ditch the plans on becoming a proofreader-into-editor that I had been chewing on for the last… six months now? We’d just crossed that threshold where we could take children on vacations and long car journeys cross country without too much fuss. A new baby means another three year setback at the minimum.

Not to mention the boggling expenses of international trips to both Taiwan and Ireland are simply out of our grasp. As is, I’m looking at nearly $10k just for a family of four to go back to Taiwan once. Another will add another $2500-$3500 to the tab. Some people in this country barely make $13,500 a year, nevermind throwing most of it down for airfare.

We have come to the agreement that if we were to ever win the lottery, then by all means, I will have another child, stars permitting – because at that point, I can hire help to maintain my writing schedule, and things like $15,000 in airfare for one family trip across the Pacific Ocean doesn’t mean I have to spend years saving by never taking another vacation or not buying something nice for myself once in a while. My entire wardrobe right now consists of frayed and bleach-damaged t-shirts with an assortment of shorts and pants that should never see the light of day outside my house.

And they don’t, thankfully. I have some very worn jeans for that and then “borrow” Bitwork’s work shirts if I have to make grocery runs or drop my children off at school.

What? We share the same closet! XD

So, seeing that it’s 2015, I think the popular thing is having New Year resolutions or goals? Not that I’m a follower of trends…

I have a story to edit (still), a couple of novels to write, one short story (unless the word count runs away from me), and one inkling of something that’s been floating around in my head for a while but haven’t found solid ground to make progress yet.

Other than that, not much else. Like I said in my last post, with a pending Summer trip back to Taiwan this year, I’m pretty booked as far as expendable energy goes. And money.

And my parents are in town, sort of, until the end of January I think. This week finds them in Las Vegas for the CES convention. My father works as a consultant for a friend of his in the business and had been hired for the purpose of hopefully making some substantial connections at this convention with the other bigwigs.

And they’ll be back for my brother’s graduation. So, it’s a busy year for my parents too.

As for the lack of posting on Undisclosed Conversation, I am, unfortunately, still slaving over the editing and with the lessons learned, I’m really becoming more adamant about not publishing anything online until the whole work has been written, read, re-read, edited, read again, edited again, contemplate re-writing the whole thing, and then finally sharing. XD

Actually, A. F. Henley shared something on the wonderful processes of publishing a work last month on the 20th. By all means, read it. I love his wit, and he made it all lighthearted and stuff. It’s very encouraging, really, and I’m glad he did it at the end of 2014 going into 2015. It really does answer a lot of questions for those of you who might be wondering just what the process is. Granted, it’s different for every person, but if you’re interested, Jennifer Fallon also covered it in her How to Write a Bestseller series. She, too, has good wit – in my very humble opinion.

In case any of you are wondering if you’ll keep reading about AF Henley here, the answer is yes, here and there, much in the same way you’ve read about Bitworks, Stark-black, and Jennifer Fallon. ❤

Because a few very lovely people have pointed out and kept reminding me… it is my blog, so like it or not, these people are here to stay with me for the long haul as far as my obsession dedication goes.

I hope all of you are seeing a wonderful start to your new year. Plenty have people have voiced opinions that they’re not sorry to see 2014 go as a relatively uneasy year to get through. Mine were in 2012 and 2013, so 2014 had seen changes for the better. Like many others, I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that 2015 will be an absolute blast!

I wish all of you the best, and for those of you in the regions of the world where the wonky weather is affecting you more than it is me…

Please, be safe, and in the words of Jerry Springer, “Take care of yourself and each other.”

Family… ‘Nuff Said

It’s the 3rd day of December, and I’m already far, far behind. The lights we put up for Halloween are still up. My Christmas decorations for the exterior are well behind, but the days are getting harder instead of easier.

At least I am on medication and recovering now. 🙂

Continue reading

Writing Update!

It is 3:30am, and I’ve been up since 2. Catelyn is burning a high fever and having a cough that concerns me. Looks like no school for her for the rest of the week, and it’ll be another pediatric appointment. Hopefully I can get it as early as possible. Aiden has a half-day, home by 1:30 and Hubby’ll be gone.

Thanksgiving is this week, plus all the deals, and I haven’t a spare moment to take a look. Normally, it isn’t such a big deal, but now that I have in-laws and nieces and motherly necessities, suddenly the sales and deals during this week just became super important.

So…

Who here remembers I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month?

Nobody…

Well, then, let me just regale you with what’s going on over there.

*takes dramatic breath*

Undisclosed Conversation is finished.

Wasn’t expecting that, were you? 😀

Didn’t think so. 😉

Winner-2014-Square-ButtonBut it is. The word count for the chapters not posted on the website (9 through 17 if you were curious) has a closing word count of 52,771 words. And it has been validated. This closes out the whole book, unedited, at over 100,000 words.

← And here’s the badge from NaNoWriMo. I find it kind of funny. They actually have a few of these formats made for when you finish. There’s a banner, a Facebook one, Twitter one, and this one. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be posting this anywhere else since… I cheated. XD

Okay, maybe it’ll go on my LinkedIn profile.

Anyhow.

When that particular piece of reality hit – finishing the novel, my initial reaction was this: “Oh, fu*k me, I got a lot of editing to do.”

Yeah… XD

Although that isn’t as substantial as the fact that I’ve actually finished Undisclosed Conversation. It’s working its way through my brain, and will probably still be doing so after Thanksgiving.

What’s the big deal?

Well, nothing really. I finished a story. It’s not a big deal by itself, but it is a big deal for me. This is the first writing project I’ve had the opportunity to actually finish. I’ve written since I was thirteen – all pretty big projects. I suppose my thought has always been “Go big or go home.” At thirty-two, this would be the first writing project I finished because life had too many demands on me where I couldn’t make adjustments for personal writing time.

This feat is achieved from substituting the time I would spend for a Master’s Degree – which my parents keep nudging me towards – for writing.

So, it is, embarrassingly, a big deal.

Especially since the last 3 chapters gave me heartbreak.

No, that’s not a typo.

Three chapters before the ending, I was in a funk. Complete I-don’t-want-this-to-end funk. Lost my drive after finishing the 1st of the three remaining, plowed forward with the middle chapter… and began/delete the last chapter 5 times before I began venting my frustrations at my Beta/Muse.

Who, wisely, had this to offer:

You’ve written the first chapter for your audience. Now write the final chapter for yourself.

For myself…

If there was one thing about Chase and Trent that I knew I had to have, it was a together ending… happily ever after on their terms. It took me quite a few precious days to find it, but I think I did.

And then I balled my own eyes out over my ending. XD

Yeah…

But, hey, I patted myself on the back, looked toward the editing with dread, and sometime between validating my work and Sunday night, the editing bug flew by and bit me in the ass.

Go figure, right?

So I’m editing 9 through 17 like crazy.

And attempting to write an extra side (18+) scene into the story.

Why?

Why not? *shrugs* They keep displaying the damn scene in my head for me for over two months now. If that isn’t a particular hint, I don’t know what is. XD

Edits… edits… edits… Somebody shoot me.

I had posted on Tumblr a while ago saying that I’m too wordy. Indeed, I am. This novel really shouldn’t be past 75k words at maximum, and I’d wanted to trim it. Again, per my usual BITWORKS-I-NEEEEEED-HELP attitude, I ran to my Beta and asked for his opinion.

He asked: Who’d you write it for?

I answered: Hubby*. And me. Us. I wrote it for us.

He asked: Then what’s the problem?

I answered: Nothing, I guess.

He said: Good guess. Now, give yourself a break. Go outside and smell winter… isn’t that season your namesake?

So I went outside and smelled winter. By golly… it is cold this year. Even I shivered in my snow boots. XD

Wait, Wynter, there’s an asterisk up there.

Why yes, yes there is… because Hubby and Beta/Bitworks is the same person, so I was, in actuality, saying I wrote it for him and me. Which I did.

Why do I use different names?

They’re all pseudonyms, just like my Lavender Wynter. I’m Mary, by the way, for any of you who are interested, nice to meet you… and if I was to ever be published, I already have a pen name for that too – Moira Wynter – Mary Wynter in Irish, so to speak.

Before Hubby is Hubby, I knew him by his online handle(s) *ahem*. Many of our friends still call us by those instead of our given names because that is just what we knew each other by… and Bitworks and I have known each other since 2001… which, in hindsight, is venturing into the territory of “It’s been a while!”

Awesome, if I do say so myself.

On December 11, 2015 – which is next year… we will officially have been together for 10 years as what we are now, not just best friends. That date was when he put this ring *waves* on my finger. It wasn’t an engagement ring, or a marriage ring. It served as a commitment ring.

Yes, there is a difference.

But “Hubby” and “Bestfriend/Muse/Beta” is used to mark certain periods in my life regarding our relationship. Bitworks is “Bestfriend/Muse/Beta” first in our relationship before he became “Hubby.”

Or as I’ll like to call him… “Honey.”

So in my head, it works like that. When I need my Muse, my brain clicks “Bitworks.” When I’m… well, doing wifely things, my brain clicks “Honey.”

And yes, we do email a lot. I know, we live in the same house, but you wouldn’t believe how little we say to each other on most days. It’s all done via E-mail. Old habits are hard to break. We didn’t actually started being close to each other – literally – until 2008 where we lived in the same apartment. Before, I was in Texas and he was in New Jersey. We communicated by E-mail. And my personal Journal. Daily.

Anyhow, moving on.

So…

I just wanted all of you to know that… it is finished. Only took 1000 words for me to say so. XD

Have a happy Thanksgiving for those of you who celebrate it!