Super Awesome Self Promo Thread of Doom

self promo

Hello, bloggers! Welcome to the Super Awesome Self Promo Thread of Doom.  I will post this thread on Sundays.  Then, for the next week, any and all are welcome to drop links in the comments section.

  •  Link to any post or page on your blog.
  • I will share your (work safe) content here on and in my social media feeds.
  • Preference is given to new content, but I will also share info posts/pages for long running blog features.

The only rules:

  • No Amazon links or links to “buy my book!” pages.  I want to know what’s happening on your blog.  If I go there, I can find your commercial projects myself.
  • Drop as many links as you like, but for every link you share you must also visit and comment on a link someone else drops!
  • Reblog and/or share this post at least once during the week.

Writer’s Blog Hop: Lifelong Learner!


Hi everyone!

I got my timing messed up, forgot to schedule this.  It should have gone live a couple of Saturdays ago.  In any case, I’m (belatedly) participating in a Writer’s Blog Hop hosted by Ruth L. Snyder again this week. This week’s theme is “lifelong learner” and the question of the day is “what have you learned in 2014 that made you a better writer?”

Well, I’ll start off by saying that I view each project as a learning experience and actively experiment with them in order to try something different or learn something new.

RBF_Fox_Hunting Title 1

With Fox. Hunting, I learned a new way to approach pacing in an action-oriented story. I also blogged about that in this post

RBF_Giving_Best Title 1

With Giving Best, I tried a new narrative approach. It failed miserably, and I had to deconstruct the story and put it back together a different way.  What I learned from that experience was how to tell what was going wrong and why it wasn’t working in terms of perspective and narrative development.  Not every story is suited to the same style or technique, and sometimes it takes a little experimenting to figure out what’s going to work and what isn’t.

RBF_Branches Title 1

With Branches,  I experimented with a genre I seldom write in, and my goal was to create something weird, suspenseful, and with an ending that was ambiguous and unsettling. I succeeded at “weird” and I think I was okay in the suspense department, but my ambiguous ending really didn’t pan out. So, I think what I learned was to let the story be what it needed to be rather than try to shoehorn it into what I wanted it to be.


Boone Doesn’t Live Here Anymore is my favorite story of 2014. It’s the one that came out of nowhere and demanded to be written. I basically tossed my usual outline system out the window and pantsed this one because I had no idea what it wanted or where it was going, but it wouldn’t leave me alone.  It has a few warts, particularly one line that keeps bothering me months after the fact, but overall it was a success, and what I learned from it was that the outlines are great when I need them, but I don’t need to force myself to write one if the story just wants to come out. (Caveat: this works best for short stories, in my experience.)

There were some general lessons about cutting my losses when planned projects don’t work out and coming up with a plan B before I hit the disaster zone, but I think those are really things I knew and just didn’t want to recognize. There’s probably enough there for another post, so I think I’ll save it either way.

Weekend Coffeeshare: PUPPIES! Puppies make everything better!


If we were having coffee, I would try to tell you what’s been going on with me since January.

I would assume that you know I have cerebral palsy and rely on my upper body for most of my ambulation and weight bearing.
I’d also assume that you know about my arm injuries and chronic tendinitis.

What you may not know is that I have a state-funded worker who is supposed to help me with grocery shopping, food preparation, and light housework. The state approved me for eight hours/week, but the agency that contracts to provide the workers will only allow me between 5 and 6 for financial and staffing reasons.

The worker that I have had for the past 18 months can’t follow simple written directions like this:
1. Cut zucchini into circles.
2. Place in large container, use same container for all zucchini.
3. Add 4 tblsp water
4. Cook in microwave for 10 minutes. Check. Cook 10 more minutes if needed.
5. If making soup, save water.
6. Fill one small bag with zucchini and put in the refrigerator. Put the rest aside.
7. This will be mixed with whatever meal your are making. Refer to MEAL PAGES, if you have questions.

Without me in the room to verbally guide her through each step, point, and remind her of the directions at least 3 or 4 times per visit, NOTHING GETS DONE. My house is covered in Post-it note reminders of where things go and what she needs to do every week. I spend hours every Wednesday and Thursday getting those things ready for her. I am not exaggerating.

I’ve had an ongoing issue with her being unable to complete her work within the time she has but rather than prioritizing tasks, just continuing to go over her hours until I notice how late it is, then arguing with me about whether or not she should leave, still expecting to get paid for the time she put in.

When I tried to address these issues with the contracting agency (numerous emails and telephone calls since October) I have been told that I’m asking her to do too much, my directions are too complicated, she’s a perfectionist and wants to do everything perfectly, and that I need to remind her of how much time she has and when she should leave. I’ve tried to explain to them that I can’t give someone five hours of constant verbal direction and repetition EVERY WEEK, but I seem to be the only one who thinks it’s a problem that this woman can’t follow directions and manage her own time after more than a year.

At the beginning of February, I began requesting either mediation with the agency or a different worker. In March, what I ended up with was a second worker being assigned, so now I’m training that one to do my groceries and minor food prep. The other one is still here for three hours a week, during which she’s supposed to do a load of laundry, light cleaning, and change my bed linens. It takes her 45 minutes to make my bed, so my linens are getting changed like once a month.

By way of illustration, she is here right now arguing with me about whether or not she should make my bed today. I am trying to politely say I don’t have 45 minutes to walk her through that process for the 100th time, but my “polite” is wearing out. If we were having coffee, you would either be impressed I hadn’t killed her yet or scared I was going to.

My sister has been driving an hour every other week to do most of my cooking because neither of the workers have time with the hours split this way.
I’m hoping that things will settle down once the new worker has a better handle on the groceries and food prep. Until I know for sure, the time I have to give to blogging and other online projects is pretty limited.

I would also tell you that my brother fell asleep with a cigarette and was lucky that my mom went in to wake him up and was able to douse the fire. (In a no smoking building, no less. Go, bro. )

I would tell you that Sunday will be one year since I wrote this post about losing a woman I considered my sister and whom I helped raise three children. It’s been a difficult year all told, with lots of unpleasantness from unexpected directions, but if there’s one thing I’ve gained it’s a clearer sense of how far I will go to support someone in trouble and where the line is between support and allowing myself to be used. Sometime when I have my life back, I have a blog series in the works about addiction, co-dependent behavior, and tips for surviving an addict and learning to break dysfunctional behavior patterns.

Actually, that’s one of three big projects I wanted to announce for the second quarter, but I’ve done nothing on them so far. I’m trying to just go with what’s in front of me from one day to the next, not make long-term plans right now and hopefully not become discouraged.

I would say I’m proud and excited that the Redefining Disability Project has taken off the way it has, but I’m also more than a little overwhelmed because I feel like it’s becoming a full-time job for me to keep up with challenge posts. I know I’m not reblogging or commenting the way I’d like to, and I would like to bring a second staff person on board, so if any Redefining Disability folks are having coffee today and would like to help out, drop me a comment or a note somewhere.

And if Natacha was having coffee with us, I would thank her for hanging with me through everything, and offer her some new helmets and cookies, because fortunately we’re not too old for this shit.

And I would show you some puppies.  Bloodhound puppies.  Because nothing makes me feel better than the sight of a bloodhound puppy.

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I Don’t Want Coffee. Here Are Some Links, Though.

coffee2If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t show up.  Or if I did, you’d be at my house and I’d be in my pajamas dictating notes into a voice recorder while you drank some leftover Foldgers I’d dug out of a closet where it’s been sitting for three years since the last time I saw my friend who  drinks coffee. If I decided to talk to you at all, I’d be griping and moaning about how I had discovered this week that religious bigotry is still lurking in the shadows of my scifi verse and I DON’T WANT IT TO BE THERE.

Then I’d complain about how my computer is shutting itself on and off for kicks and sounds like a lawnmower, so I’ve been trying to move everything over to a different one before it dies completely, so all my blog stuff has come to a screeching halt.  Again.  This post was meant to go live last Sunday and I forgot to finish it because I was playing musical computers all day.



But, on the bright side, I was able to make some progress figuring out exactly which career path Nariya Caine is going to take, which is an important aspect of Adanna’s Beginning.  I’ve projected Nariya out to about 35 now, with a career she enjoys, a family in her future, and a solid relationship with her dad, which was a pretty big problem in my writing over the last couple of months.


And then, I probably wouldn’t have anything else to say because this is how I AM when I’m writing fiction, and if you know me well enough to be having coffee at my house, you know it’s just not a good idea to bother me about anything OTHER than stories when I’m writing stories. Yes, I am actually this dysfunctional. I’m not exaggerating for humor value, though I’m sure it’s funny.  Ask Natacha.


But seriously. I’ve been trying to come up with a coffee post for weeks, ever since my friends put this Weekend Coffeshare linkup together.  I might manage one every two months, when I pull my head out of the sand over here. I think it’s just going to be like that this year.  But I have some links to share because I’ve been behind on reblogs that are important to me, which is why I finished this post today.


Firstly, if you’ve been following my blog and the Redefining Disability Project, check out Dee Scribes and Ruth L. Snyder. Both are new participants this year, and I think Ruth is our first participant who has children with disabilities.  Dee’s recent post on the Social Model of Disability and how it relates to her experiences is pretty much the best thing I’ve read since I started the project, and you should read it if you haven’t already.


I have a guest post coming up in the next few weeks from Heather Massey over at The Galaxy Express on The Social Model as a worldbuilding tool.


Kerry has also made some fantastic Redefining Disability posts recently, and if I tried to link to all of them, I would pretty much link to everything she’s written on Mondays since the new year.


And finally, Feminist Friday discussions are starting up again on Part Time Monster. Sadly, I’m out this round for personal reasons,  but if women’s issues matter to you, this is not a series you should ignore.



Writer’s Blog Hop #3: Favorite Character

Hi everyone!

Since January 6, I’ve been blogging about a new project that I’m working on called Adanna’s Beginning. I’ll be blogging my way through this project connection with Redefining Disability. You can read more about the Redefining Disability Project here, and there is a list of all posts related to a Adanna’s Beginning here.

Some of my Adanna’s Beginning posts, including this one, were written in connection with Ruth L Snyder’s Writer’s Blog Hop.

Adanna’s Beginning itself is part of a collaborative blogging project called Redefining Disability.

I’m participating in a Writer’s Blog Hop hosted by Ruth L. Snyder again this week. My post is going up early because I already have two things scheduled for Saturday.  This week’s theme is “favorite character,” and I have to laugh here.


Asking me to pick a favorite character is a little bit like asking a mouse pick a favorite cheese. If we’re talking about famous characters, the list of my favorites is basically “three people from every story that’s ever meant anything to me.” If we’re talking about my own character, there’s really not a list.  My “favorite” is whoever has the most potential and/or most interesting things for me to write about any given time.

At the moment, my favorite character is Nariya Caine. You met her briefly a couple of weeks ago when I posted an excerpt from a conversation that she was having with her father. If you missed that post, you can check it out here.


My original concept for Nariya was as a nine-year-old girl. I wanted her to be that age primarily because I intended for her to be a recurring character in a space-adventure series.  I wanted to stay as far away from concepts that evoked Wesley Crusher as I could get.

I enjoy writing child characters, and one of my favorite things in a long-running series is to watch the young characters grow, develop, and (hopefully) mature into a new facet of the story’s overarching themes.  I think child characters have a lot more to add to “adult” fiction than they’re usually givevn room for.

In this case, I also knew that if Nariya started out as a teenager in the story, that would mean she would be old enough to remember the traumatic experiences that her family went through during the war. I was hoping to avoid that and allow her to have a primarily positive, secure upbringing.  (I don’t subscribe to the theory that “damage” automatically makes a character more interesting/sympathetic, and there are plenty of traumatized people in this universe already.)

Well, for all my good intentions, my plan didn’t work out. It turned out that the only way my plot would work would be if Nariya was legitimately old enough to make an important story-related decision on her own.  So, I had to re-think her development and ended up with a 15-year-old instead of a nine-year-old.

In the beginning, I really struggled with her.  I didn’t know what direction to take her or who she was as a person, because everything I knew about her had been changed or overshadowed by those war-related experiences I never wanted her to have in the first place. As my first draft went on, I realized that Nariya knew who she was and what she wanted out of life even if I didn’t.  I decided to trust her and just write what came to me in her scenes.

Nariya’s an average, ordinary person, for the most part. She’s not super intelligent or fabulously artistic.  (Neither is she dumb or untalented.) She takes martial arts, but she’s not the best in her class or age group.  She can sing, but, at least right now, she doesn’t have the stage presence or the ambition to make a career out of it.  She doesn’t have any special powers the way a lot of young characters in spec fic stories do.

She’s not sure what she wants to do with her life in terms of career or anything like that.  At fifteen, that’s pretty normal for modern earth but unusual for characters in this setting, where “adolescence” is truncated at best and not really a defined social concept. What she does know is that she wants more for herself than the options she has in front of her.

Courtesy of Natacha Guyot

Courtesy of Natacha Guyot

Unfortunately, she’s struggling emotionally and, one way or another keeps managing to blow the opportunities she’s given.  This brings her really down on herself because she also wants her father to see her as an asset/ally rather than the “pain in the ass obligation” she’s afraid she’s become to him.

Her father’s famous — or maybe “infamous” these days, but he was once a celebrated cultural hero — and he’s recently acquired a disability that becomes a factor in the story. Both of those things make it harder for Nariya to relate to him, so her personal struggles create a viscious cycle with her relational issues.

What I love about her is her determination to achieve something for herself even if she isn’t sure what it is. It doesn’t matter to her if she is not “the best” at something or the “only one who can do (whatever.)” She’s not afraid to fail.  She knows that her value based on who she is, not her skill set.  She is striving to improve herself and her situation, but she is not driven by an impossible quest to be “the best.”

Along with that, she has enough faith in herself to keep trying even when she knows that she’s not only failing to meet her goals but sabotaging herself with emotional outbursts.  She’s far from perfect, but she owns her mistakes and doesn’t waste time on feeling sorry for herself or whining about her situation.

She spends most of the story that I’m working on right now screwing up, but I don’t expect that to be a long-term issue. Once she finds her footing, I see Nariya as the character who’ll always be willing to chip in and support her friends/family in whatever way she can.  She believes in her father a lot more than anyone else does right now, including himself, and I think that loyalty and faith in the people she loves is going to be one of her strongest characteristics.

I have a better idea of where she’s headed now than I did when I started her story, but things are still evolving. If you’re interested, I plan to post semiregular updates on how this story is going throughout the year. Eventually, the finished product will also be on the blog as a free read.

Note: Recovery from the computer disaster is still in progress.  I have some Adanna’s Beginning posts scheduled ahead.  Everything else is on hold for a while.

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge #2 — Why I See Myself As Having a Disability

 Redefining Disability2

This is my response to question #2 of the Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.


If you have a medical diagnosis, do you see yourself as having a disability? Why or why not? If you don’t have one, how do you view the concept of disability or the people in your life who have them?

Last time, I gave my laundry list of disabilities and chronic health problems. So, it will probably not be a surprise to anyone that I do, in fact, identify as having a disability. The reason I included this question is that until my 20s, I would have said that I had a disability by the standards of my society and culture, but I didn’t see myself as a person with a disability or as “disabled” because of cerebral palsy.

I began to change my mind when I entered college, and I realized that the workload of my classes was so heavy that I was having to choose between keeping up with that and doing my basic housekeeping tasks. That may sound like something easy to dismiss.  “Yeah, college is hard.  We all let laundry pile up; college students are slobs.” That’s what I did for a while, but it got to a point where I literally couldn’t manage to take care of my home and my personal care was slipping because I was too tired from my work in school.

The crux of “disability” for me is not necessarily things I can’t do, but having to choose between things that most people wouldn’t consider or worry about because it takes me a lot longer and I don’t have the time/energy to take care of everything, even if I could do it. Things like:

“Mopping the kitchen floor will take 3 hours.  Doing the laundry will take 4 hours. Both of those things require a lot of physical effort and concentration. I’m going to have to choose one, and I’ll be too tired to do much else when I’m finished.”

That has gotten more prevalent since my arms have been injured, and it’s complicated by my other chronic conditions. So, if I put all of that together, I do feel that I have a disability by the definition this project is using.

Of course, there are some things that I just can’t do, and some of them are things I used to be able to do but can’t anymore. That’s hard to adjust to, but the biggest challenge for me is always having to prioritize based on how much time and energy something is going to take in ways that most people really don’t seem to grasp.

Writer’s Blog Hop Post #2: Writing Sample

Writers-Blog-Hop-150x150Hi everyone!

Since January 6, I’ve been blogging about a new project that I’m working on called Adanna’s Beginning. I’ll be blogging my way through this project connection with Redefining Disability. You can read more about the Redefining Disability Project here, and there is a list of all posts related to a Adanna’s Beginning here.

Some of my Adanna’s Beginning posts were written in connection with Ruth L Snyder’s Writer’s Blog Hop.

Adanna’s Beginning itself is part of a collaborative blogging project called Redefining Disability.

This is  a post for the blog hop.  This week’s theme is “writing samples,” and I have a little confession.

I hate story excerpts. I hate reading random snippets of unfamiliar stories out of context, and I have a terrible time trying to pick an excerpt from my own work, especially from a rough draft because my first drafts consist mainly of dialogue with some stage direction instead of description. My second and third drafts are where I go back in and add the contextual narrative and details that a reader would probably need to understand what’s going on in any given scene.
In the spirit of being a good sport, I decided to play along.

Here’s a bit of an excerpt from the story I mentioned in my last couple of posts. It’s mostly dialogue, from a pivotal scene with Caine and his daughter, Nariya. I’m not sure how it works out of context, but I hope you enjoy. The issue here is that the characters have no idea how to relate or talk to one another and keep misunderstanding one another’s intentions. This is the first time they’re able to start breaking through the problem and communicating, but it’s still obviously pretty difficult.

Disclaimer: this is a rough draft. I have no idea what will stay and will be cut.


Awesome new Nariya Banner courtesy of Natacha Guyot


“Dad, I screwed up. Does it have to be the end of the world? I’m already kicked out of school. Can’t you just give me another chance?” Nariya said.

“I’m trying to. You need to give me something to work with.”

“I don’t understand.”

“This has happened too many times,” Caine sighed. “I can’t keep letting it slide. I need some assurance it won’t happen again. Last time, your word was enough. This time it isn’t. It can’t be, because that only works once. Suspending you from school for the rest of the year was headmaster Pruett’s decision, but there needs to be administrative action on my part as well. If anyone comes back to me, I have to have a reason to say that you aren’t a public threat.”

“This is what I mean! One minute you’re saying you want me to talk to you because you’re my dad and you want to help. Next minute you’re saying I have to talk to you because Commander Caine is in charge of station and I’m in trouble.”

“You’re right. I can see where that’s confusing. It’s both. I want you to be able to talk to me without being afraid, because I’m your dad. You don’t have to. But I can’t do anything to give you another chance unless you tell me what’s going on. Whether you do or not, we need to make sure there aren’t anymore fights, and it has to go on record. Because that’s my job.”


“Okay what?”

“Okay, I understand.”

“Do you have any idea what we should do now?” Caine asked.

“Are you going to send me back to Mom?”

“No! Well — I don’t want to, but if you want to go, I won’t keep you here. Do you want to go?”

There was a long pause…”