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!

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Awesome Alignments…

I’ve been busy working away on Synergy, and needed to verify some of my timelines for the tale, which relates to the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

I made a cool discovery.

When investigating the long count dates, I found some correlations which are eerie…and I’m all about eerie coincidences! This information is taken from Wikipedia’s segment on the Mayan Long Count.

Table of Long Count units

Days Long Count period Long Count unit Approximate solar years
1   1 Kin  
20 20 Kin 1 Uinal  
360 18 Uinal 1 Tun ~ 1
7,200 20 Tun 1 Ka’tun 19.7
144,000 20 Ka’tun 1 Bak’tun 394.3
2,880,000 20 Bak’tun 1 Pictun 7,885
57,600,000 20 Pictun 1 Kalabtun 157,808
1,152,000,000 20 Kalabtun 1 K’inchiltun 3,156,164
23,040,000,000 20 K’inchiltun 1 Alautun 63,123,288

 

Now, it is the last three entries I noticed the importance of…with a little bit of flexibility for the actual timing of events, but still within margins of error. And, working backward from this year as the end of all of the cycles together-which would happen at some point, since they are multiples of each other in the same way that in the year 2000 we reached the end of a decade, century, and millenium together. So imagine that 2012 heralds the end of not only a Bak’tun, but also a Pictun, Kalabtun, K’inchiltun, and Alautun. Counting back from 2012, we find:

Approximately 150,000 years ago – one Kalabtun –  Mitochondrial Eve was theorized to walk the Earth and had a significant influence on what Humanity is today. This is the theory which led me to develop Regression, and is exactly why I started looking into the other dates on the Mayan Long Count, when I noticed the time frame!

3.1 million years ago – one K’inchiltun – Australopithecus africanus developed the major hallmarks of humanity…larger brain casing, a more rounded skull with softer facial features, and female morphological changes to accomodate bipedal pregnancy, so predominantly upright carriage.

Then, we go back even further into human history, as around 63 million years ago – one Alautun-  the first primates evolved.

So, if we take 2012 as the end of the complete and extended long count Mayan Calendar and count backwards, the calendar starts with the first truly bipedal humanoid (although perhaps even some homo species were around at that time but have yet to be discovered, as current theory states homo evolved closer to 2.5 MYA), and each major period coincides with a major development in the evolution of the modern human.

I think that’s really cool. I just might have to fit that into Synergy, although I was not planning on taking the long count back quite that far and the story was fantasy, not science fiction! Just have to see where it heads.

I’m Back…I think…

Well, here’s hoping that I will be able to be in front of the keyboard enough to write some blog entries, make some tweets, do some face time on Facebook, and all that jazz! I’ve been AFK for the past two months for various reasons, the most exciting of which was a trip to Belize!!! For research, of course! I’m overflowing now with incredible ideas for Synergy 2012:Return to Magic, my next project. This urban fantasy is going to draw  upon the 2012 Mayan Calendar renewal, and I literally climbed a mountain inside and out to feed this story!

Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased Regression, Evolussion, and Revolussion. It’s incredible to think that tens of thousands of people have read my words, and many have enjoyed them enough to reach out to me through emails. I so appreciate that support, especially with the challenges we’ve been facing both personally and professionally in our family. The print copy of Revolussion will be coming, as well as an omnibus version, but they will simmer on the back burner for at least a few more weeks.  

I have an exciting new semester at school, teaching senior chemistry as well as an online course, and I hope the energy of the changing session will ride me through composition of Synergy…I’d like to have it ready for spring Equinox. We’ll see if life cooperates…

When is a book finished?

This is such a difficult question to answer, and I’m learning my own response to it!

I re-wrote Regression a number of times, and actually am going to work on an omnibus for the holiday season which includes the first draft (alternate ending) as a bonus. Interestingly enough, neither Evolussion nor Revolussion have alternate endings since the first draft was very close to the completed copy. Why?

Because I learnt that the book will never be finished until I choose it to be finished, because there is always something which could be changed. When I read Regression, I begin to re-write it in my head, while I am more satisfied with the other manuscripts.

So the completion of a manuscript is the point at which you the author think it is finished telling the story. In looking at Revolussion, I know there are the smaller, side story-lines which I could have kept on writing, but I decided that those could be left up to the reader’s imagination. Dawn’s story was over. At least, her story as the mother of humanity. Stew, Nicholas, Hope, Avery…I could continue with their stories, but their roles in the original plot have ended, and I need to take a break from the Infinion Series to test myself against new material. Can I write something else? Fantasy? Science Fiction? Contemporary? I want to try them. And then, I might come back and carry on where Revolussion left off!

Look for news on Synergy 2012: Return to Magic on the blog as I begin a new project!

11/11/11 – Revolussion!

Yes, release date is finally here. I am a bundle of nerves.

See, publishing Regression was easy, because no one had any expectations of me. Actually, as one person said, they ‘didn’t know [I] had it in [me]’. But, for Evolussion and now Revolussion, I know there are people waiting to see how the story plays out and I’m afraid of disappointing them. So I doubt I’ll sleep a wink tonight as the conclusion of the Infinion series goes live on Amazon. I’ll be checking the site all the time, wincing as I slowly scroll down the page to see any new reviews…I suppose if the first one is a negative, it won’t be a surprise because the star rating will show up top anyway. But, I do hope the majority of readers enjoy the story.

And, that is all I can ask for, that most people are satisfied with the ending. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I am happy with where the story went. But, that doesn’t change the fact I am anxiously fearful of reader responses telling me they hate it!

I set a deadline for Revolussion, one that made sense based upon the key date in the story. I don’t know if that was a good thing, or a bad thing. Many authors and bloggers say they love the flexibility of self publishing because they don’t work to a deadline, they work to their own pace. To be honest, I likely would not have finished the novel without a self-imposed but publicly posted deadline, because life has the bad habit of stealing my time away from me. But, knowing that people were looking forward to the deadline had me stealing that time right back – often late at night again, just like with Regression. My next project is a fantasy, Synergy 2012: Return to Magic, and I have not set a deadline for completion. I’ll see if the world conspires against me less when they don’t know what I’m doing, LOL!

Off to press publish on the Amazon version of Revolussion…Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Revolussion-Infinion-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0065SEITA . Apparently it hasn’t propagated through to other etailers yet.

Behind Regression: The plasmid

Science is cool. Funny, I didn’t necessarily think so in high school, and now here I am teaching science. I was just asked to teach Grade 12 Chemistry…should be interesting!

Anyway, my curiousity about science has led me to devour articles on the internet, and also I’ve used resources for teaching in the classroom, so I was familiar with the plasmid as a vector for genetically modifying organisms (can you say Monsanto, anyone?). When I began to write Regression, I had planned on the plasmid being passive, but as the story evolved the strand literally took on a personality of its own. Especially in light of the fact that the more I refreshed my university genetics coursework/knowledge, the more I saw the parallels between computer program coding and genetic sequencing. So, of course, the strand of DNA had to become a computer!

My husband has been watching quite a few TED videos lately, some of which grab my attention and I lurk over his shoulder (I never have much time to actually sit my butt down so tend to graze the Internet). A recent one spoke to multiple intelligences and creativity being best expressed by people with backgrounds in various areas. I think my writing reflects that, since I am in an unusual position as a teacher (and person, I suppose), straddling the boundaries between not two, but three departments of very disparate subjects. Science is usually paired with math, but instead I have double qualifications in Science and Humanities (Psychology) augmented by computer experience. I think the three areas of knowledge blended together to help me generate the Infinion Series with more richness than if I was just familiar with one domain. I recognize I took that concept to an extreme with the friction between Adya and the scientists, but I also built upon human nature…people excel in one area, sometimes to the detriment of others.

Because of the plasmid taking on a sentient role, the subsequent books headed in different directions than orginally planned. Other posts talk about how unexpected those directions were, but it all points back to the junction point where the plasmid veered off from being a simple vector to becoming an actual character in the story.

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

Doing a Book Reading Online

Sort Of. I’ve been invited to host a ‘Read With The Author’ Book Klub on Kindleboards and will be reading through Regression, Evolussion, and finally Revolussion (in the form of Advance Reader Copies). So, my monotone voice will not be droning on but I will be reading along with other people, in their heads. I hope. More need to show up or I’ll just be talking mainly to myself!

So, what is Kindleboards? It’s a great social site for Kindle users to share tips, ideas, book recommendations, and just hang out. I just learned a whole bunch about Walt Disney World from hanging around the boards, so it’s not just about Kindles, although ownership is strongly recommended as it does make it easier to take part in the conversations!

Since I’ve made the committment to visit the Kindleboards site daily over the coming months, I’m also going to try to get slamming out some blog entries. And of course, with the final book in the Infinion Series coming out soon, I’ll have to work in some background about that. Get it months before it goes on sale by joining me in the Book Klub!

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.

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