Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Did A Thing, And You're Probably Not Gonna Like It

As of today, Blind Study is no longer for sale, on any format. 

Why? Because it was a failure. It rapidly went from barely selling to not selling at all, and has pretty much sat quietly on Amazon, Nook and Kobo ever since. The only reason it took me this long to take it down is because it took me this long to figure out what my next step would be.

(I'm really, really terrible at decisions. Really terrible.)

So, here's the deal. I'm going back to pursuing an agent, basically back to pursuing a traditional publishing career. One of the things that I've learned from this failure is that I don't want to be self-published. I want the support that a publishing house and an agency brings with it. I don't want to have to fight to get my books into bookstores; I want someone else to do the fighting for me. I want to write. I don't want to do business, or, rather, I want to do as little business as possible.

I keep using that word, failure. It's a word that has a lot of negative connotations, but in this case, I'm pretty proud of that word. Before you fail, you have to try, and that's what I did. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It's what happens after you lose, though, that really matters.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

5k Day!

First 5k of the year! I chose a new event, the Lehighton Officers Down 5k, which, among other causes, benefitted the Corporal Bryan Dickson Fund, in memory of a police officer who was killed locally in an ambush last year. 

I chose wisely. There was a DJ, a whole bunch of vendors, etc, and police from all over. As we started, all the cruisers lined up with their lights going as we ran past, and the fire truck had their ladder extended over us with a flag, too.

 You can just barely see the cruisers and fire truck in the distance. 

They sent the Honor Guard from Allentown, and they all stood at attention as we came up the final stretch of the race. 

This is them chilling before; I couldn't take a picture when they were at attention because I was busy trying not to die. 

The Bethlehem Mounted Police also came by. This horse tried to eat my hand but was polite enough to pose for a selfie with me. 

There was also the arson dog, who was so excited he literally could not even. 
Getting told off by his handler. 😋

It was a very welcoming and well-organized event. The atmosphere was great, which is so important. Last year I attended another local 5k, which I will not name. It was my first 5k, so I had questions, but everyone I asked made me feel like I was bothering them. The organizers of Officers Down were very responsive and friendly, both on the event's Facebook page and in person. 

An enthusiastic fellow racer. 

I'm very happy with my performance, too, considering I haven't run more than 2.5 miles since last summer. I can tell you now, though, I've got a lot of work to do. 

Oh and I almost forgot to show you my shirt!!

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

I Maked These, March 2015

Man, it was a long week by Monday afternoon, wasn't it? I missed my usual Thursday post...I actually did remember it, but sort of made a pfft noise at it and rolled my eyes in the opposite direction. I've been struggling with some physical injury stuff, which had me worried that I wasn't going to make my first 5K on April 12, but thanks to a few game-plan changes and some help from my Sensei, who poked me full of acupuncture needles, it looks like I'm back on track. Basically, I've been crabby as fuck all week. But I promised myself, and you few, you proud readers, one blog per week, and I am determined to do just that.

I was looking through my pictures and remembered I  meant to share these:

After my holiday crochet projects ran a little, er, close last year, I decided to take a break and go back to cross stitch for a bit. I'm not very good at it, but it's a non-messy, structured way to make frameable art. Really, though, I mean it when I say I'm not good--if you take a close look at the Run Your Own Race one, you can see where I screwed up a bit. Which is kind of on-message, if you think about it. The RYOR is hanging in my bathroom now. One of my biggest problems is constantly comparing myself to others, and I hope seeing this message every morning will remind me to keep my eyes on my own paper. The Hogwarts crest I actually did a few years ago; I just finally got around to framing it.

Here's hoping this week is better than the last. *raises glass in hopeful toast*

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pepper Spray, No Smoothies

I was going to do a video blog on how to make a smoothie, but my video camera app wouldn't work on my Kindle so whatever. 

Later, though, I was shopping for a new canister of pepper gel, and thought that might be a good blog topic. 

There are two different kinds of pepper self-defense spray: the actual spray, and gel. Which you choose is a matter of personal preference; I use gel, for several reasons. Gel is sticky, and when the perpetrator tries to wipe it off, he's just going to get it stuck to his hand and smear it in even better places. Second, it's heavier, so you're going to have better accuracy in windy conditions. Speaking of wind, gel also doesn't have the blowback/secondary contamination problem spray has. I run with my dogs, so I don't want to hit them by accident, or myself. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the slight chance that the perp could actually wipe the gel off himself and fling it back at you. Slight, because I doubt most attackers are going to have the pain tolerance/presence of mind to do that. But worth mentioning all the same. 

This is my preferred gel. You can buy it here

The safety mechanism that keeps you from accidentally spraying yourself in the face is the best, IMO, and very easy to manipulate one-handed. Also, I remove the second keyring and attach a Wii controller strap, to keep it secured to my wrist. No worries about trying to get it in/out of a pocket.   

One thing to keep in mind that most people forget; that pepper spray that's been in the bottom of your purse forever? It has an expiration date. Make sure you replace it regularly. I actually don't know if my current canister is expired or not, since I managed to sweat the date off of it, which is why I decided to err on the side of safety and get a new one. 

Oh, and while I was shopping, I spied this: 


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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tim Hewitt

Tim Hewitt is the name I chant under my breath during my worst winter runs. He's a 59-year-old lawyer from Pennsylvania who, for eight years straight, has run the Iditarod Invitational. The Iditarod Invitational is a lovely 2500 mile, month-long fun-run through Alaska's winter wonderland, alongside the sled dog teams recreating the famous 1925 trek from Willow, AK to Nome.

Tim says he can tell when it's -20F, because that's when his eyebrows freeze. He used to utilize village checkpoints for supply drops, like most participants and sled teams, but now he drags all his food and supplies in a fifty-pound sled behind him, because WHY NOT? He also once finished the last 500 miles of the race on a broken leg. I deeply admire that level of crazypants. He's written a book on his experiences, which you can purchase here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday: Two Quick Rants

 As a general rule, I try to stay outwardly upbeat. Complaining doesn't usually help things, and it has the additional effect of putting you in a worse mood than you were before. 


I am in a monumentally foul mood, mainly because of the weather, or our prodigious excess of it. I have not been out running since Saturday, almost every drive to work has been a white-knuckler (which also means no audiobook, since I don't dare to spare the concentration). It's miserable, I'm miserable, everything is miserable. 

So. Two things rubbed me the complete wrong way today, and I am going to bitch about them. 

#1: Seeing an author I like retweet something that tears another fandom down, because that fandom is temporarily in competition with hers. Listen, blast your triumphs as loud as you want, I will retweet the crap out of that. But when you start mocking other fandoms, even secondhand? It's rude from a fan, it's unprofessional in an author. 

(Side note: I originally posted this with a picture of the tweet, and named the author. Then I realized that was pretty unprofessional of me, and have edited this post. So if you're confused because you're seeing something different, that's why.)

#2: This: 

Tl;dr: Actually a pretty cool story about inmates and corrections officers banding together to break into a locked room, to prevent an inmate from raping a corrections officer. However, this jackass Norman Seabrook, the union prez, killed the mood:

"I appreciate [them] helping a sister officer, because that could have been their mother, wife, or sister," he said.

Okay. Okay. Let's try this. Any time we're talking about a woman being raped, and you start to feel the need to say, "she could be somebody's..." stop. Just stop right there. She doesn't have to be "somebody's". Because she is somebody all on her own. Women are also human beings, believe it or not, and have the right to not have sex against their will, regardless of what her nearest male relative has to say about it. Ugh.