The Evil Queen

Yes, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and I’ll have an explanation for that in a few weeks…don’t want to jump the gun until I have definitive answers. But, I have to share the story of the evil queen.

All my life I’ve had what would likely be diagnosed as REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder – when I am dreaming, the shut-off valve between my muscles and my brain does not work, and I will actually act out my dreams. I have not been formally diagnosed, but perhaps just for the heck of it I’ll go get those diagnostics done while I’m spending tons of time in hospitals already…but, that’s another story.

Anyway, all my life I’ve acted out my dreams with relative frequency…at least weekly if not moreso. My poor husband has suffered years of these late night disturbances, the most memorable of which he will recount to me in the morning because I rarely recall either what I was dreaming or what I was doing. Recently, my pattern of dreaming has changed, though, in a chilling manner.

I am amassing an army and preparing to take over the world with my evil minions.

How do I know this? Because apparently I have repeatedly told my minions not only the fact that they were evil, but also in no uncertain terms identified to them that they must listen to me because I am their queen! And, this is a recurring theme, every time that I’ve had an episode in the past months, I have been in evil queen mode. I wish I could recall the dreams because there has to be a great book in there!

The first time the queen appeared, my husband said I was standing in our picture window in the bedroom, looking out over our lawn, and when he asked me what I was doing, dreaming me answered, “Checking out my army.” I did not identify myself to him at that point.

The next event had me opening our bedroom door and whispering to minions in the hallway telling them that I did not need them yet, that they were evil and did not belong here, and that they had to listen to me because I was their queen. Needless to say, my husband has gotten great mileage out of the evil queen concept. I expect he’s a little freaked out, actually!

Most recently, though, the evil queen was sorting minions…and apparently red-heads were a preferred commodity. I am usually very politically correct in my language, as a foil for my red-necked, foul-mouthed husband, and so would not normally refer to red-headed people as gingers, but when my husband asked the evil queen what she was doing, she said she was sorting out the gingers and sending the rest of the supplicants away. Hmmm. To have a recurring dream with these concepts of amassing armies and leading them…I’ll admit it’s even freaking me out a little!

On the lighter side, at least I’m not strangling my husband when I’m the evil queen…yet. During one sleep behaviour event, my husband tried to gently guide me back to bed by saying “Sweetheart, you’re dreaming, go back to sleep.” I jumped onto his chest, wrapped my hands around his throat, and said “Don’t call me sweetheart.” Then, later that night he tried to direct me to sleep again, a little less sweetly with “Go to sleep, bitch!” Somewhat awake, I replied in a hurt voice, “Why are you calling me names?”, to which he replied “Because apparently sweetheart didn’t work!”.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

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Spiralling…upward?

I like to think I’m a strong person, but sometimes things just pile up on you, often a reflection of how busy you are. And, the first things to be sacrificed are those things which are ‘frivolous’ or simple hobbies. Hence the lack of posts here, on Twitter, or Facebook. A bit of a spiral downward but now, hopefully things are looking up.

I’m not looking for sympathy but instead, catharsis! It all started in 2009…

First there was the decline of my in-laws. My husband and I met when I was 16, and so his parents have been a large part of my life for more than half of it. To have Harold retire, and then shortly after suffer a stroke, was heartbreaking because if there was one thing he enjoyed, it was spending time with his grandchildren. The stroke was not fatal, but did rob him of the ability to drive and slowed down his participation in the kids’ lives, our youngest only being 2 and 4 at the time.

Then a …disturbed woman… came along, sporadically driving past our house in 2009 but I guess those drive-bys planted the seeds for what would become an obsession with our family and property.

And I got audited. Not a problem, just stressful.

On the positive, 2009 is when Regression hit the bestseller list on Amazon, back when freebies and purchase books shared the same ranking list, and I hit #149 in the Kindle store. Little positives can go a long way.

But, then came 2010 with a vengeance. The stalker lady began not just driving past our home but stopping right in front, watching our family live our lives, upwards of seven times per day. She stole much of our summer from us, as having the kids outside was awkward with a spectator and even simple things like getting the van loaded to go out was uncomfortable. Then my  mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.  My father-in-law suffered heart failure and required a pace-maker. Christmas 2010 was very hard as both in-laws were in the hospital and we had to take steps toward finding supported living for them while making appearances in court to redirect the advances of the woman who had begun calling our home in addition to her frequent stops outside our door. Had she been a man, the police would have taken it seriously, but apparently a woman is not considered a serious threat by our justice system. But, we did finally manage to free ourselves from her after our days in court. To this day, I cannot see a silver Toyota Matrix without getting squeamish, and whenever a car drives slowly past our home located on a quiet dead-end street, I have a sense of discomfort. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you would imagine, for a number of reasons…

Packing and moving a home full of memories is hard, and trying to sell that home in a flat real estate market is a challenge; sometimes creativity must be used but it did not ease the burden of responsibility for us, just for the in-laws. And then my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly right at the beginning of summer. Mourning and estate dealings consumed the summer of 2011. Anyone who knows teachers would understand that summer is battery recharge time, and I went into the fall semester already on empty.

I had become the target of a workplace bully in 2010, and tolerated it for over a year before speaking out. Christmas 2011 was spent preparing for a different kind of hearing than 2010. But as anyone who has ever been a victim of this type of violence knows, getting relief from it is virtually impossible…instead I found my teaching assignment changed, a form of punishment for having asked to be treated with respect and courtesy. Years of program development discounted and completely new programs having to be learned and developed. Normally I enjoy a challenge, but as the wellness of my in-laws declined, the ease of familiarity would have been helpful. But I am a workhorse, and pull whatever cart gets put behind me…no matter what type of crap may be piled on it. Even when the odds are stacking against me on all sides

Cancer is not a forgiving adversary, and my mother-in-law’s battle with the disease was lost in early July 2012. I hate the fact that in Regression I wrote about Adya’s mother-in-law dying of cancer…I know it has no bearing, but the synchronicity I’ve spoken about so lightly is distressful in this case, especially since I identify so strongly with Adya. In 2008, while writing Regression, I had no idea I would lose my own mother-in-law to cancer a short four years later.

Another summer of mourning, of wrapping up wounds still fresh from the summer before. I won’t even go into the compounding factors from three other directions which made coping that much harder, but suffice to say that our family seems to attract more than its fair share of malingerers (I’ve written a post about that, too). Then on into another semester…

To top it all off, I’ve been suffering weird swallowing problems which all made sense once my father explained he had surgical correction – twice – for achalasia. Of course. A rare disorder to be added to my list of stupid things which happen to me. Doing diagnostics now, but based upon symptoms I’m a textbook case just needing the barium swallow and manometry results to confirm that I’m going to need a balloon put down my throat to rupture my cardiac sphincter. Joy.

Time for a break. I called it, no rubsies. The fact I had not done anything I enjoyed, such as write a blog entry, or truly sit down and compose (I pushed the first two books of Synergy with the last of my energy), tweeted, or anything in a year meant it was time to make a change. So, I’m taking some time for myself. Getting the tests done. Spending a day doing absolutely nothing. And, although only a couple of weeks in, I think it’s working. Look at how many words I just wrote!

Of course, this semester of my absence appears to be heading for a record number of snow days when busses are cancelled. Can’t have the world stop playing its pranks on me just because I called for a time out.

Anyway, glad to be here once again, and looking forward to returning to the dialogues and monologues I so favoured back before the days of distress!

Entitlement

I am blessed with a significant amount of success. I use the word blessed, but much of the positives in my life have come about through sheer force of will and immense effort rather than luck. As such, I resent people thinking that because I have found success, I should feel obliged to share it with them.

I’m not talking about people in need. That is different. I’m speaking about people who are contracted to do specific services, or approach me for business, but think because I live in a big house, or because the business I’m contracting with them will make significant returns for me (with significant investment on my part), that they can – in a way – steal from me. A quoted price on the telephone always turns out double once the person arrives at our home. A friend in the business admits he does the same – when he sees a big house, he creates a big price. Price the job, not the person. If you would do work for $20/hour for the guy down the street, then do the same for me. Don’t think that because I look like I have money, that I am easily duped.  I have managed my resources wisely to bring me to where I am, and won’t cut slack for those who think I should give them extra because I appear to ‘have money to spare.’ 

A contractor completing a huge business installation for us keeps throwing out the future revenue figures when justifying his having overbilled us by tens of thousands above the agreed contractual amount. So, does my making money in the future really have to finance his vacation now? Because I built something which will make money for years, he thinks he should get a cut beyond the original installation price? You want a cut in something, then invest the money yourself and take the risk too.

If this were a one time event, I would not think so much of it. But repeatedly and consistently people feel entitled to share in our successes without having put in the time, effort, and yes, money. Because I have a lovely piece of property for sale which someone really, really loves, they think I should discount the price in half to let them live there because they want it so badly. Honestly… thinking I want to hand them tens of thousands of dollars because they want to make their dreams come true but their dreams are bigger than their actual circumstances? Because I breed dogs which are in demand, I should give them away to anyone who really, really loves them but can’t afford one. Honestly…thinking I want to hand over a dog to someone who cannot afford to purchase it just because they love the breed…love doesn’t pay the vet bills.  Because I live in a nice house I should be willing to pay twice as much for plumbers, electricians, and other contractors. Because I invested hundreds of thousands in a business which will makes millions over time, I should be willing to cut the contractor some slack when he cannot provide proof for overcharges and has not finished the work but wants his final payment anyway.

I am always willing to share with those in need and help those with legitimate claims. The fire department and community agency both given health equipment donations from our business. The families who’ve been given bulldogs to help them heal after horrible events. The charities supported with our time and resources. Even students and their families are helped out when in trouble, from my own personal resources. But, I cannot abide by the sense of entitlement so many people have, where they think that if you’ve had success, you deserve to be penalized for that success by paying through the nose. I have worked hard for what I have. They could have it too, if they put the time, effort, ingenuity, and guts into it. This is North America, the land of opportunity. Just because you live here does not mean you automatically qualify for success, though.

I guess this makes me one of the 55%, even though I do not reside in the USA…

Been A While…

(Love that song!)

Here I am, on the final countdown to the release of Revolussion on 11/11/11…yay! Been a long haul to get here, and I am truly, terribly nervous because in the same way that Evolussion took turns not everyone liked, Revolussion went spiralling in directions I did not even imagine when I created the roadmap I thought the Infinion Series would follow.

Like so many people, I find myself with not enough time to complete all the things I would like to do, and unfortunately I must relegate my online presence to the back burner behind family and work. But, things are opening up now (every time I say that, something new comes along to steal my time!), and I’m excited to be looking at slotting ‘face time’ for Facebook and WordPress to coincide with the release of Revolussion. I can’t guarantee daily, but I just might very well try!

I am going to be posting a surprise for my Facebook Followers, likely Sunday, so be sure to check the Facebook Fan Pages later this weekend.

Synchronicity…again

In an earlier posting, I had mentioned the number of recent coincidences. They continue…

In April, I had been dealing with a government refund for an overpayment on deductions, and had only gotten a partial refund. I called back in June, but still nothing last week. So, I tried to call on Tuesday but the office was closed. I phone the government office on Wednesday only to be told a refund check had been issued on the Monday!! Strange that after almost two months, when I randomly begin to re-initiate contact, they had also begun to work on the file. Granted, there was still a missing portion to the refund (no one can explain that mystery to me, but it is par for the course in my dealings with any financial institution, whether it be government accounting, banks, or payroll!) which is supposed to arrive in the next five days, but at least forward motion had begun.

On a more sombre note, as I’m reading Regression again for the first time in quite a while, I realized another eerie coincidence which does not have a happy ending. In trying to determine the veracity of her memories, Adya called her past/future in-law’s house, and recognizes the voice on the line as that of her deceased mother-in-law, who had died of cancer. My mother-in-law is fighting a losing battle with cancer after a 2010 diagnosis…two years after I wrote the passage in the novel. Again, to be shrugged off as a sad twist of chance but still, it makes you wonder at the alignment of many of the world’s occurrences. Jung’s concept of Synchronicity strikes a chord and makes for interesting reading.

Free Ebook!

I’m getting ready for the release of Revolussion, the third book in the Infinion Series. Smashwords is my distributor for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. I’m thinking ahead…I would like to propagate the ‘free’ price for Bestselling Regression on their listings pages, but it can take up to three months to trickle down. By listing now, maybe Regression will be free when Revolussion is released on 11/11/11. And perhaps even Amazon will catch up on the price. So, if you like Smashwords, science fiction, and time travel, stop on by and grab a free copy of my book.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5649

A bit Late!

I took an interesting phone call the other day. This call was interesting only in that it exemplified the state of the publishing industry.

The woman on the other end of the line identified herself as being with a publishing company who was interested in publishing my book. I laughed, and told her she was more than two years two late, as my book had not only been published, but also made the Amazon Bestsellers list in 2009, had the sequel out last year, and the conclusion to the trilogy coming out this fall. The other end of the line went dead for a moment, and then she asked me with whom I had published. I said, myself. Dead air again, and then she repeated her question. I said, I did it myself. I really don’t think she knew what to say, but then she went on to ask if I planned any other books. Obviously her script did not cover how to deal with someone who was happily published, as she tried to convince me that I needed her firm. I politely but firmly indicated that I really did not think print was the way to go, and that digital was my primary target market so no, thanks. She wanted to engage in a debate, asking me who told me print was dying and digital flying, but I closed the conversation with a quick ‘Thank you for your time” and a disconnect.

You know the print companies are in trouble when they’re soliciting future manuscripts by telephone! I wish I had thought to jot down which firm she represented. Three years ago when I was sending out manuscripts, I would have loved to get a phone call (actually, I did get a number of positive emails but nothing panned out), but now I recognize how much more effective publishing with Kindle and the other electronic platforms is, and would not want to deal with any publisher who will not admit it is time to do digital or die.

Eerie Coincidences

As I’ve worked my way through the Infinion series, I’ve encountered some eerie coincidences.

When I wrote Regression, I pondered how to produce maximum genetic variety from a small population of individuals. Regular fraternal twins or siblings just didn’t create enough diversity; I needed to most completely opposite DNA possible, so that the children shared no common genes even though they had a common mother. I decided to have the plasmid act on the chromosomes, making twins who started out identical, but through manipulation ended up with completely opposite genetic material. I dubbed my babies Polar Twins, having not heard of the term before. Then, in 2010, I was at the vet for a routine c-section when the vet commented ‘We’ve got twins’. I didn’t think much of it, since a litter is by nature fraternal twins, until she reinforced that no, two puppies shared both a placenta and amniotic sac. Imagine our surprise to discover one of those pups was a male, the other a female. One possible explanation for our unusual twins is polar twinning, where an egg had uneven division of the cytoplasm during oogenesis and a viable polar body was created, then an X chromosome sperm fertilized one of them, and a Y chromosome fertilized the other. Such an occurrence has not been seen in dogs. Unfortunately, we lost the male pup to an infection so could not document the ongoing development or determine fertility level later on. I do have a sample of his DNA, which when life settles down will get submitted for extensive testing to verify the relationship between the puppies, their mother, father and siblings. Still, for having never heard of the concept of polar twinning, then using the term in my book (I was all exciting thinking I had coined it, but I guess perhaps not), to have one of my dogs give birth not only to rare twins, but possible polar twins, is surprising in the extreme. That is the most unusual of the coincidences.

As I was working away on Evolussion, I drafted a scene where Dawn relives her demise, and views the full moon. Realizing how critical readers can be, I decided to verify the phase of the moon on 11/11/11 AFTER I had written the passage to include a full moon. Imagine my delight to find that yes, the moon would be full (full is actually on the 10th, but will appear full enough less than 24 hours later). The creepiness of coincidences didn’t hit at that point because it was only a couple.

Then the other night my husband brought to my attention the fact an asteroid is passing quite close to Earth in mid-November, and would actually still be visible on 11/11/11. I had not written one into Dawn’s experience, but since an asteroid is the cause of all the problems on Earth, it’s freaky one is truly passing near at the time of my book release, and will likely still be visible on 11/11/11 (albeit maybe only by telescope)!

I like to ask my husband for help and thoughts now when working on the books. I never told him I was writing the first one until it was done, but that’s a story for another blog. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I pulled out the globe, spun it, and said ‘Where would you land if you were an alien coming to Earth for the first time?’ He pointed to Northern Africa and said ‘Right there. Lots of landmass around, it would make sense.’ So, I wrote that in as a placeholder, without getting specific. Then, tonight, as I was writing a first contact scene, I realized where the contact had to take place. The Great Pyramid in Giza is situated smack, dab in the centre of the Earth’s landmasses. Trent and I had watched a show about the pyramids only last week, and as I tried to add more detail to the first contact meeting, I realized coincidence was once again at work. We had unknowingly chosen exactly where the Great Pyramid was situated, and then the show (Ancient Aliens) mentioned it sat right at the centre of the landmasses. I’m still working on the first contact scene, and discovering properties of the pyramid I was completely unaware of, but that work themselves seamlessly into the story in the same manner that White Buffalo Calf Woman did when I discovered that tale.

That is another coincidence, finding a Lakota legend which fit my story, after just putting ‘vision quest’ as a placeholder in Evolussion. I had never heard of her before, but she’s become a central part of the series. Refer to my earlier entry about White Buffalo Woman and 2012.

Although unrelated to the Infinion Series, I had another TV coincidence happen for an urban fantasy I will begin as soon as Revolussion is finished (which is of course being delayed by life’s curveballs, just as always). I knew exactly what I wanted to have happen in the story, but could not find a natural beginning for the tale. Once again, watching a show (Gates of Hell) led me to the perfect location for my already developed activity. These coincidences save me immense amounts of research time, as I would have had to scour hundreds of possible locations without happening to turn on the TV to a show I had no intention of watching, and which happened to mention ‘Mayans’ right when we turned the show on. Eerie!

I may be a scientist who believes in empirical data, but I still find it unsettling when I sing a song and then hear it on the radio within minutes, and that happens more often than I like, LOL! Coincidences, or scripted? .

I shouldn’t write after midnight!

<edit – Since it’s Sample Sunday, I’ll try and post part of the pyramid scene on my other blog later today!>

The Other Blog – Sample Sunday Post

Since I don’t have much traffic at the other blog (either), I’d better post the link here when I update there, at least for now.

There is a wee excerpt from Revolussion that might be fun for some readers.
http://kathybellauthor.blogspot.com/2011/04/sample-sunday-science-fiction.html

Progress is happening…actually, off to write some more right now. Finished 2200 words in 1.5 hours last night, here’s hoping the flow continues!

Why PMS?

I was pondering the nature of life, and wondering exactly what purpose PMS would serve from an evolutionary standpoint. I mean, you can certainly see where ovulation fits it, with pheromones and all that, but what the heck good would being grumpy and nasty do you, except to drive away the male.

And therein lies the answer!!

If you’re PMSing, that means you didn’t get pregnant. Which means the male failed in the breeding because if you’re cycling normally, you should have gotten pregnant and when you didn’t then your body is blaming the male and attempting to drive him away so you can find a more suitable mate when ovulation arrives again a couple of weeks later.

Of course, this is relating back to when humans were not social, monogamous creatures living in communities. This would be before the times of true love and ’til debt..oops…death do we part’. Back in the days of live to eat, sleep, excrete, and reproduce. Back when evolution would have been influencing human development. Perhaps having the unsuccessful male leave because of nastiness served a purpose – opening the door for the next, more fertile, male! And, since you wouldn’t PMS once pregnant, then your fertile male sticks around, protecting the gravid female.

This is, of course, speculation, which is one of my favourite things to do. And, is of course not politically correct, which is one of my least favourite things. Let the comments role…looking forward to it!

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