Goodreads Giveaway

I didn’t think I’d give away any copies of A Lonely Magic until I got a new cover for it, sometime in October. (The cover designer I want isn’t available until then, so the cover for the first few months is temporary.) But the paper copies are so shiny that I couldn’t resist.

If you’re from the US, enter for your chance to win! (If you’re not from the US, I promise I’ll do another when it has its final cover and I’ll open that one up to international shipping.)

PS Not you, Judy–yours will be in the mail as soon as I make it to the post office. :)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Lonely Magic by Sarah Wynde

A Lonely Magic

by Sarah Wynde

Giveaway ends August 05, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

A Lonely Magic’s First review

A Lonely Magic’s very first review

Needless to say, it made me happy.

I sent out an email to my mailing list late night inviting everyone on it to download a free copy of A Lonely Magic and giving them a link where they could do so plus a code (ARC7679, which will work for the next four days or first 500 downloads). Three people reported me for spam and one person unsubscribed, saying that she had never signed up for my mailing list. Ha. She subscribed on June 2nd. I still have the damn email I sent her. I wanted to email her again today and say “give me my story back, you liar,” but I managed to show the appropriate self-restraint to not do so. Talk about a short memory, though! And seriously, I wish I got such nice spam. Being reported for “abuse” made me feel all icky and slimy and hostile to the world, which was really sort of a sad result of a giveaway that I had been all happy about just a few hours earlier.

I’m trying to make the nice review and some lovely thank-you notes balance out the bad feelings which would probably be easier if it would just stop raining. If I could go outside and turn the butterfly lights on and maybe go for a swim, I’d feel better, I know. Pro side, though, is that Zelda is plastered against me like a fellow sardine in a can. She hates thunder. It is only bearable to her if she can have fur-to-skin contact with a human being. Doggie cuddles, always a good thing. And nice reviews, those are good, too!

Dark Side of the Sun Event

Oooh, isn’t that cool? I’m going to be attending this event on FB on Friday. The host suggested we do giveaways so I’m also going to be madly giving away copies of A Lonely Magic. He suggested two or three, but I’m sort of thinking that if you show up and chat for a few minutes, I’ll count that as your ticket for a free copy. And if you’re thinking that means I’m done–YES! You are correct. Final proofread corrections completed on Friday. Createspace file created today. I’m not going to publish it until July 10th, so it’s still a few weeks away, but sometime this week–the 24th, I think?–you’ll get to read its very first review.

Choices

I have guests this week, two boys, aged 10 & 13. On Sunday, we went to the movies and saw How to Train Your Dragon 2. On Monday, we went up to Wekiva Springs and had a picnic between dips in the refreshingly cold water. Yesterday was a day filled with boring appointments for me–vet for both dogs, doctor for me, but today, I’m hoping we’re going to play mini-golf in the afternoon. Tomorrow, if the weather co-operates (please, weather, please cooperate!), we’re going inner-tubing at Rock Springs.

Needless to say, I’m not getting a lot of work done. I don’t care. More than that, I’m actively choosing not to. I think it’s the most important lesson I learned as a parent–time never comes back again. Yeah, it would maybe be better for my bottom line if I were writing a story or working on A Precarious Balance but I don’t get to turn around after I’ve finished those things and say, okay, now I get to play with you guys. They won’t be here and even if they come again, they won’t be the same kids, they’ll be x amount older and different. The visiting 10-year-old still knows how to giggle. If he visits at 11, that might already be lost. I’m going to enjoy it while I can. So much playing, not so much audio book recording. I think this audiobook may be a “it happens when it happens” instead of the simultaneous release I was hoping for.

On a slightly more news-y note, I posted ALM to NetGalley last week, with the proviso that it was an Advance Review Copy, still subject to minor changes. (When it’s no longer subject to minor changes, but still an Advance Review Copy, I’ll let everyone on my mailing list know how to get it, so if you’re waiting impatiently, give me just a little longer to get it completely cleaned up.) Anyway, today it received its first review. I’m reasonably calm about reviews: I think people are entitled to their opinions and that if we all liked exactly the same thing the world would be a boring place. But the first few reviews on a new book are different, and the very first one, today, was a weirdly physical experience–my stomach churned with nerves when I saw that there was feedback and my muscles were all tight with tension as I scrolled down, and I think I forgot to breathe while I clicked the “View All Feedback” button… and now, I’m pretty much going to spend my day in a glow of happiness while I walk on air. :) The review will get posted to the author’s blog next week, so I will link to it then, but it’s a lovely review. Yay!

Audiobook production

Making an audio book is a hell of a lot of work, made even harder when you’re stupid about it. Thursday night, I sat down to show a guest what I was working on and the sound was all messed up. It took me a few minutes to realize that I hadn’t checked the setting of the microphone in the morning and never tested to see if I was getting good sound. Five chapters — hours of reading aloud — totally wasted.

ARGH!

I keep thinking I should give up. Am I at the point where I’m throwing good hours after bad? And shouldn’t I be writing instead? But it’s kind of fun, and I still need to read the rest of the book aloud, and I’ve learned a lot… I suspect this will be my first and only audio book. But I’m going to persist and make this one work.

Here’s the first minute. For those of you who listen to audio books, am I talking too fast? I’m trying to figure out how to submit a sample to ACX so they can tell me if I’m doing okay, but they haven’t answered my email yet. (PS: Fen swears a lot, so if you object to hearing f-words, don’t listen!)

The recording studio

So my big task this week is the final proofread of A Lonely Magic. I usually spend about two days reading a book aloud as my final proof. With Time, I wound up starting and stopping about three times before I was done. If any major revisions get made–by which I mean complete paragraphs–I reread at least those chapters a second time, so when I start to find lots of things I want to change, sometimes I need to stop and start over.

With ALM, I’ve already read it aloud once, done a fair number of revisions since then, proofed the whole thing once (in not read-aloud mode) and am now set for the last pass. But this time I’m also recording the audio book at the same time. I thought it would be efficient that way–two birds with one stone. But wow, recording an audio book is tedious. This, however, is my highly efficient recording studio. I’m actually kind of proud of it. Reorganizing the closet was a huge task. Was it worth it? I guess time will tell!

My highly efficient recording studio

My highly efficient recording studio

Judgements

I invited a couple people over for dinner last Friday. And then, one thing leading to another (mostly the people I like having significant others that they like) we wound up having a dinner party of 10 people. It was lovely. We ate on the back porch, the butterfly lights and torches alight, with much delicious food, and a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity before the evening ended.

One of the guests was a stranger to all of us (except the guy who brought her) and her reaction to CAH was a fascinating, “but you’re all going to be judging me.” Nope, only on how funny her answers were and she was tied for the win at the end of the evening, so go her, but it made me think about judgement.

I always tell people the full story of how Bartleby came to be my dog when they meet him. Literally, it’s the most boring story in my repertoire, because if you say, “hey, cute dog,” I’m going to share with you how he showed up in my backyard during a thunderstorm, and how I give him eyedrops in the morning, Benadryl at both meals, glucosamine and omega three oils in the evening, and how he’s got chronic dry eye and patellar luxation and allergies to all grains and maybe dairy, etc. etc. And sometimes–not always, but often–people respond with things like, “he was lucky to have found you.”  And I always feel vaguely like, “no, that’s not the right response.”

Enlightenment struck on Saturday. I realized, because of thinking about judgement and people judging us, that I tell people these stories because I’m still seriously embarrassed about owning a chihuahua. Possibly mixed with a “mini-pin” according to one of our guests. I don’t even know what these minis are! But I tell people his history so that they won’t think me a chihuahua person, even while he barks to get into my lap and I follow his orders, and then spend the CAH game petting the lap dog who occasionally tries to lick my nose.

Fundamentally, I don’t need people to think me a good person for rescuing a stray: I just need them to know that I wouldn’t have gotten a chihuahua if he hadn’t wandered into my backyard and needed me. So now that I know that, I hope I can stop telling his story. Yep, I own a chihuahua. (OMG, how embarrassing.)

But the peril of judgement is that you never know all of what you’re judging. Every story has dimensions that the surface doesn’t show.

Life after death

A former colleague of mine lost his daughter today. It was her sixth birthday.

Doesn’t that suck? The loss isn’t any bigger, of course. The day after her birthday would have been just as bad, or the day before. Or a month later or nowhere near by. And yet, we notice special days. We celebrate them. We memorialize them. I suppose, long term, for the many years to come for my colleague and his wife, it’s not worse to have both those bad days–her death and her birth–happen on the same day. One miserable day a year instead of two, nothing wrong with that.

And yet, there are so many miserable days to get through before then.

I think I’m going to spend some time tonight practicing yoga breathing. Just breathe. One breath after another. In, out, and life continues.

Win at trying

I can’t italicize a title, darn it.

Two blog posts in one day, ridiculous!

But my friend Tim said something to me tonight and I need to save it forever and this is the place where I save things forever, so… he said,

“You win at trying.”

It makes me want to do fist pumps, jump in the air and clap, turn my head up to the sky and shout in my loudest voice, “Yes.”

I win at trying. Getting out of bed is so hard sometimes and I do it anyway. When I can’t write the words, I at least open the files and look at them. It feels like nothing. I beat myself up about it. But I keep doing it, day after day after day.

And all I need to remember is to keep doing it. It’s not about finishing a book. It’s not about making a business work. It’s not about accomplishing anything. Never giving up is a success unto itself.

It’s my new life goal: Win at trying.

Gluten-free

A friend of mine who shares many of my health issues recently started this completely insane autoimmune-paleo diet, one of those restricted eating things that eliminates basically everything except meat and green vegetables from her life. (<–exaggeration, but only slight). She sent me info on it, suggesting it might help me, too.

Um, no, thank you. I like food, I like eating, I like cooking. I also like occasional sugar, plenty of pasta, eggs and dairy, caffeine in the mornings, wine in the evenings, and don’t even get me started on soy sauce. The idea of cooking without it? Yeah, no, not going to happen.

But somewhat randomly, for three days in a row, I didn’t eat any gluten. It was a little bit intentional–I paused before having granola or toast for breakfast and chose not to, and when dinner rolled around the third day, I decided to make something that I knew was gluten-free. But it was also happenstance, days when salad and veggies and pure proteins came my way easier than sandwiches and pasta. On the fourth day, C and I were on our way to yoga, and I told her that I thought I might be entering a hypomanic phase again.

That afternoon, I made pasta for lunch, ate the same pasta for dinner because I was in a hurry, and ate the leftover pasta for breakfast the next morning. And then crashed. That day, I got nothing done. After thinking I was getting hypomanic–lots of energy, lots of drive to get stuff done, super-efficiency mode–I was abruptly back in total sluggish depressed mode, finding it hard to get out of bed, not really interested in doing anything, too exhausted to continue the spree of cleaning chores I’d started the previous day.

The next day I decided to give gluten-free a try. Not the whole autoimmune-paleo thing–that looks way too hard! But just gluten-free. To see. Five days in and my energy level was back up. I was updating all my blogs, tracking my sales numbers, reading boards, organizing my closet, making plans, going out to lunch, inviting people over for dinner. Every last bit of laundry was done and put away. Even minor stuff — I changed the light bulb in the garage that burnt out months ago that I kept ignoring despite the inconvenience. It took five minutes to set up the ladder and I couldn’t think why I hadn’t done it ages ago.

And then last night I inadvertently ate some pasta that I thought was gluten-free but wasn’t.

Today, I’m normal again. I don’t feel bad, I feel normal. Not manic, but also not energetic. One job and then I want to take a break for a while. Yoga and afterwards I’m totally ready for a nap. The grocery store is exhausting. That’s normal. My normal. The way my normal has been for as long as I can remember.

And it is both dazzling and sort of terrifying to realize that my normal is a gluten-created normal and that I can have a new normal if I’m willing to eliminate gluten from my life.

That auto-immune diet, though, still looks just too hard.