Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Words, words, words, words, words...

I may have mentioned that I was attempting CampNaNoWriMo this month. I might not have though, as I've been a bit distracted with the whole new human making business and all of that. I have, however, actually made the attempt and, while I got off to a very slow start, I am much closer to actually succeeding at CampNaNoWriMo than I have ever been. For some reason April writing and I have never really gotten along. In fact out of the three or four CampNaNos I've ever tried is the first one that looks like it will work.

Anyway, what that means is: so far this month I've added 19,273 words to the first draft of the sequel to Blade's Edge. About 15,000 of which have come from the past three days. (I mentioned the slow start right?) Well, I'm pretty thrilled with that, because if I keep up the 5k a day from now until the end of April I will have written 40k in April and that will make for 100k words for that first draft and probably the entirety of the plot down on paper. That's very exciting because it means I am on track to get the book out before Speck arrives in September. If I finish the first draft in April, then I can spend May doing major revisions and then I can have beta readers reading during June and July and then I can finish up formatting etc. in August.

So... I can't be 100% sure that I'll finish in time, but I'm highly motivated and I've knocked out 5k a day for the past three days, so the outlook is fairly positive. After all, I managed to finish NaNoWriMo in the last three days of the month with 10k a day so I know it's possible, and this is a lot less stressful than that.

And can I just say that I'm so excited to finally have the plot for this story figured out?! I mean, it's been kind of touch and go this whole time, and there is still a lot that will need to be fixed in revision, but... I went from thinking I would just put words down until I was done and basically have to start from scratch for the revision, to thinking that I've actually tied things together in a halfway decent series of twists that should make for an interesting story all the way up to the last page. There will still be lots that needs fixing in revision (the quality of the prose for this first draft is pretty abysmal) but I actually think I've sorted out most of the major plot kinks here.

The prospect of NOT having to completely rewrite the entire book for the second draft is extremely pleasing.


In other news, the whole second trimester of pregnancy being better than the first seems to be holding true pretty well. I have had way more energy for writing, running, hiking, and generally doing things that aren't sleeping, eating, or feeling sick to my stomach. So, all and all we'll call that a win.

Which reminds me, I'm getting my formatting freelancing back in gear, so if you need any book formatting done, be sure to hit me up.

And finally, I mentioned that my energy was back, yes? Well, the husband, the dog, and I went for a nice long hike on Sunday to celebrate the arrival of spring. Here are a couple photos from the adventure, courtesy of hubby's phone camera.

Early on in the hike we came across this cave set in a cliff and I couldn't resist the temptation to climb up to it. Pay no mind to the fact that I look like Golem. 

Most of the lake was still frozen but that didn't make it any less scenic.

Just at the end of the hike we came to point where the ice was finally giving up the ghost. Here you can see the line that the wind pushing back.

And here you can see Artemis and I enjoying the sun (but mostly the wind) at our turnaround point on the hike. It was a nice view of the thawed portion of the lake, but we only ate half of our lunch there before deciding to turn back and find a less windy place to eat.

That's it for today, I think. Hope everyone is having a lovely spring so far! I'll be sure to update once I've finished the first draft (oh there will be much celebrating... boozeless celebrating, but still, celebrating!) 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Public Restrooms...

...and why it shouldn't matter who uses which ones.

I don't generally pick divisive topics for this blog, but hey, I have this tiny public platform that some people read and occasionally I can't resist the temptation to throw my voice in with the other voices of reason I see around the internet. Hopefully the more people who write about it, the more people will start to see reason. Or at least it will generate conversation... so here goes...

Where transgender people get to pee has been in the news a lot lately. A couple of states are trying to require that people only pee in the bathroom that matches their birth certificate, and lately Target has been brought under fire by conservative groups because it has instated a "pee wherever you identify" policy for all of its employees and customers.

Why are people upset? Well according to them...
"Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims," AFA President Tim Wildmon said in an open letter. "This means a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom ... even if young girls or women are already in there." (Quote taken from a Business Insider article written by Haley Peterson)
Umm... It's difficult to know where to begin with how messed up that statement is. So first of all, let's look at how things stand currently. At this moment, in the states that haven't bothered to try to make it illegal, there are no laws stating that men have to use men's restrooms and women have to use women's restrooms. It's just common practice. Think about it, if it were already illegal then the states that are currently trying to ban transgender access to the public restroom they feel most comfortable with wouldn't need to do anything. It would ALREADY BE ILLEGAL. But it's not...

So, right now (and for the last... FOREVER), there is NOTHING keeping sexual predators out of public restrooms except a stick figure silhouette. So, if that's your great fear, then why haven't you been worried about it YOUR WHOLE LIFE?

Chances are, you haven't worried about it because it doesn't happen very often. And here's the kicker, no matter what the policy on public restroom access is SEXUAL ASSAULT IS STILL ILLEGAL. Just because someone was "allowed" to be in a public restroom does not mean that person is allowed to sexually assault whoever else is in there. It's not like public restrooms are law free zones where suddenly you can do any damn thing you want, laws be damned. If a sexual predator wants in to a public restroom all they have to do is go in there. That's true right now and will remain true whether or not you let transgender people pee where they feel most comfortable.

So now let's address the real issue. If you are freaked out by transgender people using a public restroom, that's probably because transgender people (who are by and large not interested in doing anything besides peeing and fixing their hair when they enter a public restroom) probably freak you out. That may be because you can't possibly fathom what it's like to be born with one sex but identify so strongly with the other that you feel the need to change your physical appearance/physique. You may think it's weird, or gross, or unnatural, or any other number of things, and you're welcome to your opinion, but that doesn't mean you get to discriminate against these folks. These people are just trying to go about their lives and pee without making a scene. You have probably already peed in the same public restroom as a transgender person and never had a clue.... Because despite what you may think, not all transgender people are obviously transgender.

In fact there are many transgender people who would cause quite an uproar by being forced to pee in the bathroom that fits with the sex they were born with. And one of the main reasons that transgender people would like to pee in the bathroom that they identify with now, is not because they have creepy ulterior motives, or because they think it's just more fun, but because they JUST WANT TO PEE and don't want to be accosted while doing so.

Take Aydian Dowling:

He is clearly a dude. If you saw him go into a women's bathroom you'd be like, "Bro, wrong door. The men's room is over here." And he would be like, "Thanks, man. How embarrassing." And you would both chuckle, because clearly this man was heading into the ladies' room by accident. 

But Aydian Dowling was born a woman, and if you start forcing folks to go pee in the place where their birth certificate indicates they should, you would be forcing him to use the women's restroom. And hey, I would welcome Aydian Dowling in the ladies' room, but I think that's the opposite of what you people are freaking out about.

And how about Adreja Pejic?

If you saw her walking into a men's room you'd probably turn her around to the ladies' and giggle about it as well. But again, this woman's birth certificate states her sex as male, so if you were in North Carolina she'd just have to shrug and go into the men's room anyway. 

Or what about any of these ladies?

Are we sensing a theme here yet? There are lots of trans folks that you would never guess were trans. And there are others who are obviously so, but that shouldn't matter. What matters is, there are people in this world who just want to go pee without getting harassed by law enforcement, or anyone else, just like the rest of us, and they should be allowed to do so. 

And keep in mind that laws like these hurt everyone. You might assume that only transgender people will be embarrassed and given a hard time by this law, but what about the mannish looking women, the effeminate men, or the girls who dress in baggy "men's" clothing? Are they all supposed to put up with being ID'd at the entrance to the public restroom? What about your aunt Mildred who has always had a rather square jaw? Will she be humiliated the next time she has to pee at Walmart? Asked to produce her birth certificate to prove that she's always been a woman? How the hell is that anyone's business? And why on earth would we put ANYONE through that? Chances are, no one's going to look twice at Aydian Dowling when he walks into the men's room, but your aunt Mildred is going to be harassed every time she has to pee outside of her home. So how does that make legal sense?

Transgender people face discrimination, threats of violence, and worse, on a daily basis. They are not looking to prey on unsuspecting bathroom goers. They are simply trying to pee and then get on with their lives. The current law in most states enables them to do that, so why are we going out of our way to keep them from it?

Please stop making excuses about sexual predators in bathrooms and start letting people who aren't hurting anyone go about their lives. If you have nothing better to do than worry about where someone else chooses to urinate, it might be a sign that you need some new hobbies. Try reading some books, maybe something about treating other human beings with respect and kindness. Just a thought.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Side Tracked

Well, I have been working on the sequel to Blade's Edge. That's the good news.

The bad news is that between doing a second round of taxes on Monday (filing in two countries is a pain in the ass) and having guests come to stay with us, I have gotten side tracked from blogging. I haven't even written my week 18 update for my pregnancy blog yet. Which, by the way, if you're wondering why I'm only blogging once a week on this blog and those entries are pretty short, it's largely because I'm writing two entries per week for the pregnancy blog and it's taking up a lot of my non-fiction writing time.

I'm a bit sorry about that, but it does seem to be a popular topic, and I'm getting way more hits over on that blog than I am on this one.

Le sigh...

Meanwhile, I have registered for C4 (happening in late October) and hopefully for KeyCon (happening in late May). I say hopefully for KeyCon as I haven't yet heard back from them regarding my registration, but it was sent by mail, so that's not too surprising really. I expect to confirm all of this later this week. So keep an eye out for those if you enjoy going to conventions! And, I plan to have the Blade's Edge sequel ready to sell for C4, though I sadly will not have it ready in time for KeyCon.

I'm excited to announce that at both Cons I will be joined at my table by the talented author and artist Katya Kolmakov. She will be selling prints of her original artwork and promoting her various online fantasy series at our table.

(An example of the fantastic artwork by Katya Kolmakov - borrowed from her blog.)

So, that's all the news from this quarter for the week. More updates coming soonish... Happy Spring! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April snow storms bring...

...long walks with the dog and a good excuse to drink hot beverages all day.

They also bring the right kind of weather for diving back into Traitor's Hope. Yes, you read that right. I'm back to working on the sequel to Blade's Edge! At the moment I'm still rereading to get back into the text, but I have been rereading every day since the 1st of April and I should be caught up and writing new stuff starting later tonight or tomorrow. My goal is to be finished with the rough draft by the end of the month.

So YAYYYYYY!!! Yay for actually feeling well enough to write, and for getting back into the Blade's Edge sequel, and for moving FORWARD! It feels really good to do that.

And in the meantime, if Spring is taking its time getting here, so be it. The snow meant that our walk today was decidedly not muddy, and that was a nice change of pace. (Plus, Artemis seemed to feel like she was the right temperature for the first time in weeks.)

Hope everyone is enjoying whatever form of weather spring (or fall) is taking in their part of the world!

This pug does not appreciate Spring taking its time...