WiP Updates!

So I’ve not done this in a while. Haven’t done much of anything here for a while. Which is sad if you squint just right.

Anyway, let’s start off with the published ones, shall we?

Butch Girls Can Fix Anything (BGCFA) was published in 2007. Yeah. It was that long ago. BGCFA won an award in 2008 with Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) for Debut Author. Even after all these years, BGCFA still sells well. Romance is THE bread and butter for lesbian writers.

To Sleep (TS), book one of The Soliloquy was published in 2013 and was a finalist in the GCLS Speculative Fiction (SF/F) category. Science Fiction does not sell well within the lesbian niche market. Which is really sad because there are some freakin’ fantastic books out there that need to be read.

To Dream (TD), book two of The Soliloquy, was published in 2015 and was a finalist in the 2016 GCLS Speculative Fiction category. Like To Sleep, it has not sold well. In fact, BGCFA continues to sell more than TS and TD combined.

Now what do I have in the works? Same stuff as always.

Butch Girls: As Advertised, another book in the unofficial “Butch Girl” series so falls into the Romance genre. Formerly known as “BG2”, it was actually the first BG book I started. It is about Nicole “Nikki” Rogers and Ellen Hess. For, like, ever, I was undecided as to how to go with this book. I knew I had to make a decision or the book would forever sit there in limbo. I went with the “met through an online dating service” trope. It is slow to happen since I always always slog down in the middle.

Perchance, book three of The Soliloquy is coming along nicely. However, the publisher and I reached an agreement where any books in the series will not be published through them. I can take it to another publisher or publish them myself. I’ve chosen the self-publishing route, something I thought I would never do. That’ll learn me, right? Anyway, Perchance takes place after To Sleep (duh) and covers the gathering of the Enixi. Karen and the rest of First House plod on.

Relic. Well. What to say about this book? For some reason I am being forced inside my head to not reveal much about this book. It is mostly SF but has some F aspects. Right now it is moving far too fast and I need to find ways to slow the plot down. In some ways, I like that it is fast. I like it is skipping forward in time without me dwelling in dialogue and all that. But it really needs to go slower. To build up the anticipation of The Big Reveal.

Castanea Chronicles is a Fantasy series in the traditional three parts although I may toss in a fourth just to mess with the norm. Most F books are about the hero/heroes but this one is more about the sidekick. I have been working on these books for many, many years. 2002 I think is when I started it. I have only two projects that are older (and I consider them dead from neglect) but this one just won’t let me go.

In the Back Burner category, I have:
Butch Girls: Stereotype This (or Butch Girls and Stereotypes) – Romance
Elements – Fantasy (magic, orbs, prophecy, oh my!)
Exodus and Genesis – Science Fiction (with dystopia and utopia elements)

There. That’s it. I used to work on a lot of projects at once but I’ve worked to get it down to just three or 4. My writing is very…organic. I do very little plot planning although I do a hella lot of research. In fact, I have book not listed above that is stuck in perpetual research. Relic almost got locked into the research tango but I am wiser now. (stop giggling)

Nearly all of my projects start with a word or phrase. Best example is Butch Girls Can Do Anything was a celebratory song and dance Lorna and I did after we did something we thought impossible. Like, I rebuilt the carburetor of our main vehicle and…it started! We did our dance. The Soliloquy book titles are based on Shakespeares’ Hamlet (Act III, Scene I). It is the infamous “To be or not to be” speech which is called, ahem, The Soliloquy. However, I’m a redneck and I got the order wrong. “Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;/To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub”. I say my version is better because it is in friendly order. Who wants to sleep the sleep of death and dream the dream of death? Well, Hamlet apparently but not me. So there. (but each book includes an apology for getting it wrong)

Mistress Depression

When one says she/he has depression, that’s more than just “down in the dumps” and other variants. That means they are stuck there. Going out into the sunshine, taking a walk, etc doesn’t do much. Because the weight of that chemical imbalance in their brains doesn’t lift.

Hello, I’m Paula, and I have clinical depression.

I currently take two medications to assist with the depression. We have to regularly change my meds since my brain wants to return to what it think is normal (gloom, doom, despair) and finds ways to get around the medication’s effects. So by changing it often, the brain can’t do that and the cloud lifts. Some days are better than others, some days really stink from the algae at the bottom of the pit I am in.

It is hard to write, or at least I find it to be so, when one is depressed. I guess I could write like Poe. Or Hemingway. But, no, the stuff I write like that is all tragedy and conflicts that are unnecessary for the plot. And then the characters hate me so there’s that.

I am writing, though. Here and there. Tweaking what I have already written. Making notes for further along the book. Notes for other book ideas. I research quite often because an idea will hit me. I think about writing all the time. I just cannot actually do it.

So, there it is.

Timelines and Writer Fodder

I’ve been looking for a timeline for Earth and her inhabitants. Like, when was first Homo species around compared to time of oldest tool found. And what else was going on when pyramids were being built. I have a very rough and wandering text file started but today got serious on looking for one. Hint: Google is your frenemy.

In 2017, some fossils from the Mediterranean region (initially found in 1944) were thoroughly examined with high-tech stuff. They determined they were Graecopithecus freybergi and existed over 7 million years ago. And were NOT in east Africa. But Greece and Bulgaria. Which tosses some theories for loops. They not only looked at the bones, but the layers of stuff around them, which helps with the timeline. They found other things, too. Like a type of grass that shouldn’t have existed there. And tons of dust from the Sahara. And that the area was an actual savanna biome.

That search result led me to look for “pre human remains” (human being Homo sapiens aka “anatomically modern humans”) which gave me the tip of an iceberg within Wikipedia.

Now, I know, Wikipedia is not to be trusted. They’re evil. They’re wrong. They’re too fluid. Blah blah. I disagree. And I also believe that one should never rely on a single source for information. The best part about Wikipedia is the “further reading”, “references”, “external links”, and the “see also” sections at the bottom of every article. I almost always start there and work my way through their pages and the information linked to them. So there.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right, iceberg tip.

List of human evolution fossils is, like, wow. Listed in chronological order from oldest to newest. And, like most Wikipedia graphs, can be resorted into things like “date found” and “discovered by”. From there, I wanted to verify the time shorthand they (and other articles) were using: ka, Ma, Ga, etc. First I did a Google search which didn’t get me far. “Ka” stands for a lot of things, by the way. Sigh. But they did have a link back to Wikipedia Called “Detailed logarithmic timeline“. Jackpot. Wow. Just what I was looking for! But still no answer to the shorthand. Returned to the fossil page and realized the “ka” for the first time used was a link. Duh. Which led me to a section of the “Year” page called “SI Prefix multipliers (yeah, toasted a few brain cells on that alone).

[for the curious, ka is thousand, Ma is million, Ga is billion, and etc is et cetera]

The “Detailed logarithmic timeline” page is part of a main article, “Logarithmic Timeline“. That one branches out from there. It’s resource has a link to an archived graphic of “Four Thousand Years of World History” made in 1931 (history of it from original Slate article). Oh, and it is 5′ tall. Yeah, it only goes back to 2000 BC but it is still awesome to view.

I remember as a kid the first time I realized Jesus was not locked into his own universe. There were other things happening in the world at the same time. It was a pivotal moment in my life when I saw a similar timeline graphic. It removed the religious magic from him, almost as if I considered him to be…not real? Like, I knew Santa Claus wasn’t real but was based on a real person a long time ago and resembled nothing what we in the US see now. And I kinda saw Jesus as the same thing. Real but not…touchable? Linked to anything else other than that big huge book on the coffee table? But seeing that timeline graphic when I was a kid? Boom. It made me realize Jesus was indeed real. He pooped his diapers (something my Sunday School teacher was not pleased for me to say aloud). He stubbed his toe. He was overall a real person. And now he’s Santa Claus.

I wandered again. That Histomap led me to others: Histomap of Religion and the Histomap of Evolution. Do a Google search for “Histomap” and have fun!

Anyway, the “Detailed logarithmic timeline” was what I was looking for. Mostly. It is a great jumping point at the least, right?

Changes Are A’Comin’

I had my 2nd seating clinic appt today. The first was for deciding what was wrong or right about current chair (don’t get me started on this lemon). Also discussed what has changed (better head support needed) and what hasn’t.

Today Blane from National Seating and Mobility (formerly Mobility Concepts) attended. He brought with him a chair that would possibly meet my needs. And I loved it. A Quickie Q700. This will be my fourth powerchair and my sixth or seventh chair overall.

One of the main problems with my current chair (there are so many…) is due to how I push down on the arm rests to get in and out. My current chair couldn’t handle that and I am constantly having to re-adjust them or give up and use a rolled up towel. The new one (IF approved) will have a support bar. The armrest (and the bar) will swing back out of the way, too.

My current cushion is toast and has been for years. We tried out another that would last longer but still be firm enough and cool enough. I put out a LOT of heat. Sweat can cause skin breakdown, something I strive to prevent. Same brand I have now, just more dense.

A joyous part of EDS is the ever changing places needing padding, support, relief, etc. So we had to work around that. Longer thigh support, better headrest, better armrests.

One reason we are switching chair brands is the back on the new one will fold down. Permobil has none that do that. Which makes it a PITA to get in/out of the van.

After Blane and Barbara (from CarePartner’s seating clinic) went through options, they had gone through an 18 page form. It was 24 pages but they removed the ones that was just pictures. We now wait for approval for it all and that can take 3-9mos.

It will be basic matte black with blue highlights. It will have power tilt, power legrests, thigh pads (to keep hips in line), gel armrests with cloth-ish cover (heat and comfort), flip-away armrests with support post, headrest that makes me feel great (cuddles my darlin’ occipitals), way cool suspension to assist with jostling, and some other stuff. I got to test drive the demo and, once I learned to trust it, I was climbing the curb and hills easily.

Firefox “Add-ons/Extensions Missing” Fix

So yesterday, at midnight UTC (9pm for me in eastern US), nearly all Firefox users had their add-ons and extensions disabled. And it was a mess. I followed a Reddit thread (there are a lot of them now) then switched to a Bugzilla bug thread. Through those, I learned I could download the “Nightly” version of Firefox and it would work.

It mostly didn’t. Neither did the other suggestions (such as going into about:debugging).

During the night, the Bugzilla crew came up with a fix BUT you have to have something turned in in the preferences. I’m still using the Nightly FF and it worked.

Go to Options
Go to Privacy and Security
Scroll to Firefox Data Collection and Use
Ensure you have the “Allow Firefox to send…” and the “Allow Firefox to install…” checked.

Go to Add-Ons. Wait a few seconds. You should see your add-ons/extensions start to move back to active. If the icon for one isn’t appearing at the top of the browser where it should be, disable then re-enable it. It should appear then.

(bigger image I did with arrows and numbered steps because I’m such a nerd)

Regrets are Heavy

I have always said I will have one big regret when I go under the roses: never having kids. But lately I am seeing more and more regrets, wish I had dones, and wish I hadn’t done thats.

Because of back issues, I can’t sit at the computer for very long. I have to tilt too far back and can’t see the monitor. So I’ve had to use my phone and borrow L’s tablet. I started watching YouTube far too much and got hooked on people who minimized to the extreme in order to make a dream a reality. They bought live-aboard boats. Wood boats, fiberglass, you name it. They knew they wanted to do this so…they did it. Some lasted a while. Others are still going. Nearly all of them speak about following that dream (but be smart about it) so one can later look back with satisfaction.

This has opened up my past to me and made me remember things I said or did or didn’t say or do. It was made worse by Mom dying last year. There’s a lot of dreams I wish I could reach for.

Wanted to be a potter. Went to school for it. Was good at it (not great, but hey, playin’ in mud!). Then body failed and I could no longer do it. The reason we left our families up Nawth and moved here. And I couldn’t do it. So I chased that dream and failed.

Wanted to be a social worker or counselor. Wanted to help those like I had been helped. Or wished I had been helped. Got sidetracked as a “manager” and/or “program coordinator” instead. Nasty politics, wow. Another dream failed.

Wanted to be a writer. Been doing it for along time and decided I wanted to write a book and get it published by a real publisher (vs vanity-slash-self publish). I did that. Then I faltered and essentially gave up. Six years later, came out with another book. Two years after that, a sequel to it. And they’ve failed. Horribly. Now the third book is in the works but I’ll have to self-publish if it is going to see the light of day. Have I failed yet again? Maybe. Perhaps.

Fights with my mom play in my head. My childhood. My college years. The adult years. Things I should have done and didn’t. Regrets.

So what is my point to all this doom and gloom?

Chase your dreams. Even if you fail, chase them. Do what your heart says. Be an artist. Be a welder. Be a ditch digger. Whatever it is you want to be, do it. Want to sail around the world in a 35′ wooden boat you built yourself? Do it. Along the way you will find yourself. And years later, you can look back on it and either be happy and content or see the failures. Either way, you did it.

So what are you waiting for?

Pass this to everyone you know!!1!!

Seriously, do.

Here is something you need to do at least every few months or so. Go to this website:

Enter in your email address and click the PWND button. The search result will let you know if your email address was involved in any of the hacks, breaches, breaks, whatever from any of the online sites that report it.

If you get results, then go to the site(s) listed and change your password.

I now view all my email on my phone and online. I no longer download it. I was checking the spam folder of one of my accounts and saw I had sent myself an email. Usually this is a spoof or whatever but this one had the subject line that included an old password. And three of my websites have been hit with big login attacks. Added together, I took the safe road and with my webhost who confirmed it is a spam.

In addition to telling me to check out the pwnd site, they directed me to this article:

It is likely that this improved sextortion attempt is at least semi-automated: My guess is that the perpetrator has created some kind of script that draws directly from the usernames and passwords from a given data breach at a popular Web site that happened more than a decade ago, and that every victim who had their password compromised as part of that breach is getting this same email at the address used to sign up at that hacked Web site.

I suspect that as this scam gets refined even more, perpetrators will begin using more recent and relevant passwords — and perhaps other personal data that can be found online — to convince people that the hacking threat is real. That’s because there are a number of shady password lookup services online that index billions of usernames (i.e. email addresses) and passwords stolen in some of the biggest data breaches to date.

For the record, I don’t visit porn sites, I don’t have a webcam (that works), and lawd help them if they record me sitting here (if they could, that is). What I do have is a cool program called 1Password. It not only keeps track of them for me, it creates new passwords, lets me know if there are any too similar, and some other cool stuff. LastPass and Dashlane are two others. I found Dashlane to be rather intrusive in what it wanted to install on my computer, though. Do a Google search for ‘password manager’ and check them out. PCMag has a good review article as does CNET.

So, go to the Have I Been Pwned site, check your passwords, and put a piece of tape over your webcam.

*For those who don’t know, pwned is gamer shorthand for “pawned” and means to be really beaten (paper airplane meets flame kind of beaten).