Musing Aloud

Pam's thoughts on writing and life

It's Official -- I'm a Convert
I've been reading a lot on my Kindle.  And am now reading a hardcover book.  I have to admit it -- I now prefer my Kindle for reading. I've been buying Kindle books when they are WAY much cheaper than a paper book, but if the prices were similar, opting for paper. No more, I say.  I think from now on, I'll exclusively be reading on the kindle.  I'm pretty much gobsmacked by my decision.  I never thought it would come to this, oh my Book Love.  But this aging thing is convincing me like nothing else could.  I have some arthritis in my left hand and holding a heavy book just isn't good for it.  And the the light issue and not being able to change the size of the type, so needing reading glasses for a paper book.  And I've been riding the bike for 40 minutes at the gym and the Kindle is great for that.

The only thing I now prefer about a paper book is the ability to leaf back through to find and re-read a section -- I can almost always find a section, I'll have a mental image of where on the page to look, and an approximate idea of how far back in the book it was.  You lose all that with a ereader, but on the other hand, you gain the search ability.  And the Main thing I prefer about physical books is a Library.  I like looking at books, I like seeing them and being reminded of what I have to read yet -- books get lost in the ereader.  I've lost more tha my fair share.  And I need a new ereader, too, as my memory is full on my Kindle, so I keep most of my books in the cloud.  I'm hoping the newer kindles have the ability to file books in folders again, like the original one.  I'm using my Fire to read, but you can't organize the library except by alphabetical.  I'd like a "read" and "to read" section, "new" and SF and Fantasy.  But I digress.

I'll probably still buy physical books from my favorite authors that I'd like to re-read, and sometimes I buy older used books because of availability and cheapness, but mainly I'll be buying kindle books from now on.  Although impulse buying is a real issue with an ereader.

Now reading book 2 of The Tearling Queen.  I'm really enjoying the backstory worldbuilding, it's just my cup of tea.  I'm rather surprised they hid it all from Book 1 though, without much of a hint.  I was surprised.  I do wish there'd been a recap of sorts though because I'm not remembering some of the details.

(no subject)
Oh, it's been a busy week and it will continue.  Kinda, sort of.

Last Wed., we went to Disneyland for the hubby's birthday.  That's what he wanted.  It was nice to go, just the two of us, and take things easier and only do what we wanted.  The second day, what I wanted was to be done with walking!  So we went bac to the hotel at 6 pm and I took a bath and we watched Big Brother.  So, it was as relaxing as a trip to Disneyland can be.  Thank goodness, the hubby is finally gotten over his need to RUN to all the rides.  Yes, that heel surgery did slow him down, thank goodness.

We came home Fri. evening and I felt tired, but fine.  Woke up at 5:30 am the next morning with a wonderful bladder infection.  Geez!  At least it waited until I got home, I guess, because when they hit, they hit, and by 8:30 that morning I was at the dr. and rocking with the pain.  So this weekend was a waste -- I felt not good.  I laid around and tried to keep from peeing my pants (yes, I succeeded in that endeavor-- but just barely a couple of times.)  Ah, UTIs -- gotta love to hate them, right?

Today I had a dr. appt. and I talked to  my friend WAY too long after our walk, so I had to rush to get there.  Ran by to see Mom for a few, came home and worked on Master Gardener newspaper article stuff.  And now I should be at the gym because it's almost time to go get the grandboys from school but I don't wanna!!!!

Writing?  ::cue hysterical laughter::  Well, we are going to the beach on Wed. afternoon, so I'll have no demands on my time there, other than our daily walks and grocery trips.  I have not written in over a month.  Reasons and not so many.  Just because.  I do have feedback on a couple of stories that are wasting hard drive space, so I need to apply the feedback and shoo them back out the door.

Kickstarter for 2016 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

I have a story accepted for the 2016 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, and the Kickstarter campaign went live today.  First time I've been involved in a Kickstarter.  There's pledges to sponsor a donated copy to a school library, which I think is a great goal.  And I'll be in a ToC with Nany Kress!  And a whole bunch of other cool writers.  Anyway, info here:

2015 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide Kickstarter

It’s time for us to get ready for the 2016 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide! Once again, we have a great collection of stories and authors.

Nancy Kress “The Aliens and Me”
Beth Cato “Red Dust and Dancing Horses”
Cori Cunningham “Cool Things That Happen On Venus”
Deborah Walker “The Worms Won’t Feed Themselves, You Know”
Curtis C. Chen “Laddie Come Home”
Elliotte Rusty Harold “Blood Test”
Maggie Allen “Lunar Camp”
Brad Hafford “Clockwork Dancer”
Pam Wallace “When Hope Dies for Esperanza”
Ralan Conley “Child of Luna”
Eric Del Carlo “Warboots”
Jessi Cole Jackson “The Rum Cake Runner”
Anne E. Johnson “Leafheart”
Michael Barretta “The Beach”
Amy Griswold “Walk, Run, Fly”
Angeline Woon “Luckless Tin Elephant”
Brigid Collins “The Sugimori Sisters and the Time Machine Conflict”
Wendy Lambert “The Hope of Astraea”

“When I was a child, the school library had a Girls’ Section, which included fairy tales, and a Boys’ Section, which included all the science fiction. Things have changed, of course, but not enough. There is a strong need for science fiction, as opposed to fantasy, aimed at girls, especially in the middle grades. This anthology is an important contribution to the effort to fill that need, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
~ Nancy Kress, winner of six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award

There is no doubt that things have been getting better.

In the last year alone, huge strides have been made as parents and other concerned adults have spoken out against the unnecessary gendering of children’s books and toys, as well as the importance of representation and diversity in the media children consume.

Increasingly, people are realizing that these “rules” about boy things for boys, girl things for girls have no basis in reality, or even kids’ preferences, but in out-dated traditions.

Earlier this year we published the 2015 Young Explorer’s adventure guide – a collection of 24 science fiction stories aimed at middle grade readers with a focus on diversity and representation. Girls and boys of all skin tones are the heroes here. Our authors ranged from Hugo and Nebula winners to relative newcomers in the field.

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The most annoying thing about Windows 10
The most annoying thing about Windows 10 is the Automatic Updates.  It doesn't notify you, just goes in and restarts your pc when it's idle.  So guess what?  Your browser closes with all your open tabs (not really a problem with Chrome, since it saves your tabs, but annoying) and all your open documents close.  So you have to recover all your Word files you might have open.  Notepad doesn't save, so make a note to NOT leave open Notepad files.  And yes, SUPPOSEDLY you can go into settings and tell Windows 10 that you want it to schedule the restart.  Now whether it will listen to you or not is the thing.  It didn't listen to me today.  I'd changed the setting after the last time it restarted on me, and thought all was well.  Until today when I came home, opened the lid, and found my Start screen waiting for me.  I went back and checked, and yes, I had changed the setting.  It's enough to make me want to go to a Mac, I tell ya.  I still miss my recents and documents flip out menus on the old start screen.  Having to click through the file explorer is a lot of work after one's used to the simplicity of the flip out menus.  Why do they mess with a good thing?  I haven't gone back to my 2nd party Start button program yet, I'm really giving this the old college try and hoping I adjust, since I really do prefer the looks of the windows 10 start over the program I was using (except for not having the flip out Recent and Documents, that is).


Books I've been reading
I finally dove into Robin Hobb's Rain Wilds Chronicles series.  This series follows the Mad Ships trilogy, focusing on the dragons.  There are 4 books in the series.  The first was published back in 2010.  I bought it in hardcover because I'm a huge fan of her books, but never actually read it until this year.  Partly my fault, for reasons I don't recall, and partly the fault of the initial POV in the prologue.  I tried to read it twice and the prologue didn't draw me in.  Which is surprising for me, because I usually love prologues, but the POV, as I said, was rather hard for me attach to for some reason.  But this year, I perservered, and after I got through the prologue and the first chapter or so, I was hooked in, as I usually am by her books.  I'm kind of glad now that I didn't read them when they were first published, because I was able to read all four together and pretty quickly, so that was fun.  Since my memory is getting sketchy, I don't recall books as easily as I used to, so reading the next book in a series a year after the previous one is not as easy as it used to be.  Now I'm anxious to get moving on the newest Fitz books by Hobb.  There were two previous trilogies featuring Fitz and the Fool characters:  Tawny Man Trilogy and Farseer Trilogy.  Lots of fun, those.  The next two books in the new, Fitz and the Fool trilogy, are Fool's Assassin and Fool's Quest.  I'm thinking I should go back and read the previous trilogies, just for fun, too, but geez, my To-Read shelves are so full already, I really don't have the time to go back and read books I've previously read.

But anyway, here's what I've read this year so far.  Have been making an effort to read more.
2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More, by Rachel Aaron
Blood of Dragons (Rain Wild Chronicles, #4), by Robin Hobb
City of Dragons (Rain Wild Chronicles, #3), by Robin Hobb
Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, #2), by Robin Hobb
The Dragon Keeper (Rain Wild Chronicles, #1), by Robin Hobb
The Clockwork Crown , by Beth Cato
Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress, #1), by Annie Bellet
Emilie and the Hollow World , by Marth Wells
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1), by Erika Johansen
The Martian, by Andy Weir
The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1), by Terry Pratchett
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1) by Rae Carson
Bettyville, by George Hodgman
Writers of the Future Volume 30
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
Rain Reign, by Ann M. Martin, (MG)
The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1) by Jeanne DuPrau (MG)      
The Clockwork Dagger, by Beth Cato

CURRENTLY READING:  Outlander, by Dianna Gabaldon (yes, I know, *WAY* behind, but with the TV series, I've heard really good things, so wanted to give it a shot).  I'm only 5% into it, so says my Kindle, but am enjoying it so far.
Next up will be Kate Elliott's Court of Five, which Amazon has informed me is on it's way and will be at my door on Tuesday!  Yay!  Can't wait for this one.

Buzz, buzz, busy!
Oh my Stars it's been a busy couple of weeks.  Last week we took Grandboy #1 to the coast with us, and then that weekend he had a baseball tournament so we were at the ballpark for 2 days.  Then I had the same grandboy all day Mon. & Tues. because his school hadn't started yet, while Grandboy #2's had.  Wed., I had Master Gardeners from first thing in the A.M. until 1 pm, came home and picked up the grandboys.  Thurs., we had a morning meeting but I went to bed and woke up with a migraine, so it was a struggle.  I'd wanted to go to the gym since I hadn't been for about 10 days because of Grandboys, but that just wasn't going to happen.  Migraines and exercise, I've learned the hard way, do NOT play nicely together.  I did manage Costco and then picked up the grandboys and that was the extent of my ability that day.  So today, I had to do ALL the stuff.  Went for a walk, went to the gym, came home and showered, went to see Mom, went to grocery store, picked up the grandboys, cooked dinner, two loads of laundry.

Am reading 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love and feeling inspired.  If you own a kindle, it's available for $.99 -- or it was a few days ago.  I still have some worldbuilding issues to confront on my MG or YA novel I'd like to start working on, but figured out a beginning today I think.  And maybe an ending?  I wish that part weren't so "out there".  Beginnings and characters are usually pretty easy for me, and basic worldbuilding, and a few middle scenes.  But the ending and major turning points are a problem and what usually keeps me from finishing.  Maybe someday.

A sub I was *really* hopeful on and felt sure it was a perfect fit for a market was rejected after making it to the final round.  I still have high hopes for this story but am disappointed at the rejection.  Now downtrodden, which is new--I guess because I'm pretty sure I'm going to sell this one eventually, but I really wanted that sale because it's a market I'd love to break into.  Ah well.  So it goes.

Windows 10
So I upgraded to Windows 10 today.  I was nervous about it but from what I read, it seemed that it might not cause big problems and be an improvement over Hateful 8 because it puts back a Start button.  I was using a 3rd party start button that was pretty much like Windows XP, and I liked it.  I may end up going back to it if I can.  While there *is* a Start button, it's much different.  It shows recently used apps or programs, which is fine, but I miss the "recent documents" list.  I did find the recent documents, it's now in File Explorer, and that's easily found, but it's an extra step that you didn't need to do in the XP or 7 start.  And the start button brings up the stupid Metro side of the apps, which I hate.  I'll have to poke around and see if I can change things more and get others back.  But overall, I'd say it's an improvement on 8.  Everything went pretty smooth, I haven't had to reload any programs or settings so far.  Well, except for the new Browser.  It's called Edge instead of Internet Explorer.  My favorites weren't saved in it, but since I don't use it that much, I only have a few saved sites anyway and most of them came up right away.  I didn't look and see if I could import bookmarks, but I'd bet I could have if I needed to.  Chrome is working fine.  Some of my old programs are kind of hidden and I'm not sure right now where they are -- I can bring up Word, for example, but I'm not sure where exactly *my* version of the Word.exe file is hidden, so if I want to run Power Point, for example, not sure I can find it.  I think my old programs are in an "Old Windows" folder, but I'm still not sure yet.  I may be returning to Classic Shell soon if I don't figure out this file structure soon.  And then again, maybe that's not the problem.  Not that it's really a problem, per se.  Just wondering and thinking at this point.  Bottom line is everything is working, just have to make sure I can find it all when I want it.

ETA:  Not impressed with the Start menu.  There is a shortcut for Apps, but not for Programs.  Programs and Apps are not the same thing, I don't care what you think, Microsoft.  The Search function is improved over the last few iterations of Windows, but that's not saying much, is it.  I still can't find the file location of my Microsoft Office programs.  I see their shortcuts, but not the file location.  Where Windows XP had it right was how easy it was to find all your files and programs.  Since, then, Microsoft has been screwing around and hiding things.  I think the Desktop will be relied on more heavily again -- there for a while, I was not putting my shortcuts to programs on the desktop, because there was no need.  I'll probably return to Classic Shell eventually.  I'll keep giving this one a go for now.

Life continues here.  My headaches had increased quite a bit so I went back to the Dr. where a CT scan was done and a referral to a neurologist.  He wanted me to try a new improved migraine medication but since I have fairly crappy insurance that doesn't cover non-generic medications, I said no thanks to $200+ for 6 pills.  My Imitrex works just fine once it kicks in.  He also sent me to Physical Therapy, which I requested.  I went about 10 years ago for a shoulder issue, wherein I was informed that my neck was involved, much to my surprise.  I really liked my PT and he knows his stuff.  A couple of times I had a headache when I went in and he would lay me on my back, position his hands on the base of my head and gently pull and VOILA! headache gone.  Geez, how I've longed for Tony's fingers during the years when I've had a headache.  Anyway, I'm back to seeing him although I only expect to go a couple times.  My issue is chronic, I just need to learn better ways to sit and sleep that won't exacerbate my neck arthritis/possible pinched nerve.  He explained just what was happening, which I like, because with yoga training I know how to isolate and relax muscles and now that I know which ones are involved, it's easier for me to work on them.  Of course I was told the laptop (which I'm on for most of the day) is the WORST for neck problems.  But he's told me better ways to sit and now I have the laptop sitting on two little laptop-type desks so it's higher, and I'm focusing on not holding my head/neck in a certain way.  Oh yes and I have a folded towel around my neck that I supposed to use when on the laptop, for sleeping, and for riding in the car.  Dang thing is HOT though so I maybe have to look into a cooling towel of some kind.

Today I go with my D-i-L to my younger grandson's school to meet his kindergarten teacher.  This summer is the first time in 8 years that I haven't had a grandboy with me for part of the week.  They've been going to their summer camp thing at school and it's cheaper to send them for the whole week than part of the week, so I've been letting them go all week.  And next week (!!!!!) school starts for the little guy so I'll only have them all day on school holidays now.  Well, except for the next two weeks.  They have no day camp next week, so I'll have them both for Mon. & Tues.  Then the little guy starts school on Thurs. and the older one is going with us to the coast and then the following week I'll have the bigger guy for three days until he starts school on Thursday.  Gosh, freedome again, of a sorts.  I'll volunteer in the kindergarten class so there'll be part of a day gone, and I'll get them both after school a couple of days, but yes, I am looking forward to having more free time to myself.  Maybe I'll even get some writing done?  ;-D  Yeah, not much going on there.  Sporadic and no new stuff.  I have to get off my lazy duff.

What's that falling from the sky????
I walked in the RAIN today!  Real rain!  Enough rain that my hair and shirt were almost completely soaked through.  Rain!  In Summer! In California!  What's the world coming to?  It's way muggy today though, with temps in the 90's.  It was fine on our walk, not cold at all.  I purposely didn't take an umbrella, as a way to tempt fate and Mother Nature into raining on me, and it worked!  Yes, I can take complete credit for the rainfall.  You're welcome, CA.  ;-D

It wasn't much rain, more like a heavy sprinkle, but it did last quite a while and at this point, we'll take any moisture we can get.  I know So Cal and the Central Coast got a pretty good rain, so that's awesome.  Hoping the mountains got a really good rain, too.  But what we really need is a long cold snowy winter in the mountains.  The snow melt is what results in the release of dam water to the irrigation districts so the farmers don't have to pump groundwater to irrigate their crops during the summer.  The last couple of years, there's been almost no irrigation water releases, so the groundwater reservoirs are getting drained.  The well diggers are having a heyday, that's for sure, but it's not so pretty on the poor landowners having to redrill their wells (if they can even afford to do so).

So Much Accomplished Today I'm Already Sore
Finally off my dead butt!  Went for a walk this morning with my walking buddy and her 6 mo old adorable granddaughter, came back and relaxed for just a little bit and then, with NO PROCRASTINATING! went to the gym and rode the bike for 45 minutes.  Went by the car wash to get the exterior washed, vaccumed the car and was a sweaty mess after.  Came home intending to shower the sweaty mess off of me and noticed all the jillions of bugs still on the front end of my car.  Was pissed they didn't do a better job.  Part of me wanted to go right back down there and the other part was curious as to whether the bugs would even come off.  This car wash has never gotten all the bugs off this car, which for some reason is a BUG MAGNET!  So I cleaned up the inside of the car and then took about a hundred Clorox wipes to the bugs.  And Lo, they did come off, fairly easily.  And I can get a little obsessive about cleaning if I'm in the mood, so for the next hour I wiped and scrubbed.  But I did get all the bugs and spots off that they missed.  It was a lot of work but not impossible and now I know that next time they do such a poor job, I'm taking the car back.  The back bumper was covered is grimy dust, didn't look like they'd even touched it, but I was almost done at that point and didn't feel like going back down there.  So, the car is nice and shiny clean and my legs and arms are aching already.  But much satisfaction at a job well done, if I do say so myself.  Since then I've been working on some organizing of files and emails for the Master Gardener newspaper article column that I'm suddenly in charge of.  It's going to be a ton of work.  I wanted to get the whole thing organized, which is what I volunteered for, but got roped into doing more than that, of course.  It'll be fine, though, and at least I won't have to worry about getting all my hours done this year (we're required to do 25 volunteer hours and 12 continuing education hours each year).

Now I have to make a serious effort to do a story for a Codex flash contest.  I only have 3 hours left, which is twice as long as I'm used to for Liberty Hall challenges.  Inspiration has been in short supply, though.  None of the prompts really triggered any ideas, so I'm going to push through some other ideas files and Pinterest and see what I can find that might inspire me.  And if not, oh well.  That's how the writer crumbles.  ;-D


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