Gluten Reactions

I ate a little gluten yesterday. R and I escaped from the noisy house (the gigantic fans are still running 24 hours a day, trying to dry the place out) and went out to breakfast. My order came with an unexpected English muffin and I took a few bites of it.

I’m not sure why I did it. Was it curiosity? Did I want to see what would happen? I’ve been feeling horrible lately–depressed, exhausted, congested. I’m pretty sure I’ve got another sinus infection and my allergies have been attacking nonstop. Maybe I thought I might as well eat gluten because it couldn’t make me feel worse.

I was wrong.

Wow, was I wrong.

All of the pain in my joints that I’ve attributed to early-onset arthritis (diagnosed seven years ago) is back today. My knees ache. My fingers and toes hurt. And my stomach is upset. *sigh*

I suppose that’s good to know, especially as we head into the vacation that I am still determined to have. Chances were that I would have eaten gluten at some point during the trip, simply because it’s so hard to avoid. Now I’ll be reminded of the cost. But I am definitely feeling sorry for myself today. I wish it had at least been a chocolate cupcake or some really good French toast.

In nicer news, the insurance guy is coming this afternoon, so at least I can get that out of the way. I’ve never dealt with an insurance claim before so I’m not sure what to expect. I’d love to ask him author-type questions because it seems like it could be a really cool job for a character in a story–but maybe I’m basing that idea on the characters in Leverage rather than reality!

Thoroughly unproductive

I have been insanely unproductive for the past couple of weeks.

Here’s one reason why:

Squashed on a twin bed

Squashed on a twin bed

With R home for summer, I’m sleeping and working on the daybed in my office. It should be fine, really. I moved lots of my stuff into the office, so that I didn’t have to continually go back into my bedroom to get clean clothes or stuff from the bathroom. But the dogs all think that the natural state of affairs is that they be on the bed with me. That’s, in order, Macie at the bottom, Zelda in the middle, Bartleby at the top. And my toes, squashed up against the side of the bedframe.

Plus the way in and out of the house is through my office. So when R comes home late at night and C goes out walking Macie in the morning, I get to greet both ends of the day. I’ve never found a shortage of sleep all that helpful when it comes to feeling creative and productive.

And then there’s this:

Today's disaster

Today’s disaster

The office floor started seeping water Wednesday night. It was in the middle of an impressively torrential downpour so I thought it was weather-related which was pretty horrifying. I guess I can be glad that it was actually a leak in the refrigerator water line that had been slowly spreading under the kitchen tile, under the kitchen laminate, finally showing up when it reached the dining room. But I’m going to be spending the rest of my summer living in chaos, I suspect, and chaos is a lot easier when you’re well-rested.

I’m trying to be very zen. I’m saying a lot of Buddhist prayers. May I be healthy. May I be safe. May I believe in myself.

Last week’s book launch was disappointing. I gave away hundreds of review copies in advance so the lack of sales wasn’t actually unexpected, but since the hundreds of review copies didn’t translate into dozens of reviews, it’s looking like that was a bad strategy. Well, and that people aren’t responding well to the book, I suppose. So it goes. I still like it and that counts for a lot.

Put it all together, though, and I’m in the crawl-into-bed, pull-the-covers-over-my-head stage. Or I would be, if I had a bed of my own to crawl into.

I have a real vacation planned for next week: a road trip with R up to PA to visit relatives. But depending on how things go with the damage control guys over the next few days (who are currently drying out my kitchen with huge machines that are both noisy and heat-inducing, just what every Floridian wants to live with in midsummer), I don’t know whether I’ll be able to go or not.

Still, I remind myself, over and over again, that I’m having a better summer than other people I know. Joel, may you be happy. May you be safe. May you find hope. Barbara, may you be healthy. May you be strong. May you be comforted in your grief. Eric, may you find peace. May you find moments of joy. May you be comforted in your grief. It’s so sadly easy to think of people who need more prayers than I do.

One more prayer for me, though: may I sleep well tonight. And for you, too, just in case you need it as much as I do: may you sleep well tonight.

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.