I don’t need a whole new me.

Last week was pretty crappy. I totally blew a submission deadline I wanted to hit, am still behind at work, and had some personal stuff happen that I didn’t handle in the best way. I choose to believe this was all for the best and better things will come due to these failures.

The story I am still working on and didn’t submit wouldn’t have been ready no matter what I did and I’d have been shoving something half-assed out the door if I’d gotten my dates right. It will be a better story for not sending it.

I’ll catch up at work. I’m not REALLY behind, I’m just behind where I want to be.

I had a great opportunity to work on my interpersonal communication and strengthen a relationship.

I can not change what is already done. I can only control my own actions. I wouldn’t magically be happy if I lost some weight or a magical organizing fairy sorted out my entire house while I slept (though I wouldn’t complain if either happened). I don’t need to be FIXED. I need to be aware of what I actually do and make decisions and actions that reflect my actual needs and wants.

I have a tattoo of a feather and a ribbon of water on my left shoulder to remind me to go where the wind and water take me. I got it, because I succeeded my way into misery. I managed to start my own video production company with my first corporate client… and found out I absolutely HATED it. I scraped and clawed my way to where I was… and never thought about if it was what I wanted or where I SHOULD be.

If you’d asked me a few months ago if I’d learned the lesson I needed to from that, I’d have said yes. I realized I’ve never fully learned that lesson, and maybe never will.

There’s a monthly section in my planner titled “Not To-Do List” and for January I wrote:

  • Judge
  • Compare
  • Worry
  • Blame
  • Criticize
  • Self Doubt
  • Shame

And I’ll be honest those are really hard not to-do to myself. Applying them to others is a lot easier. Also, it seems like the universe is trying to test my dedication to sparkle motion.

I don’t need an all new me in 2016. I just need to be more aware of me. To support, love, and forgive myself as much as I do to others. One of the things I’m doing is to use my planner to write how I SPENT my day rather than plan out the next day. I take some time throughout the day and before bed to record how I used my time and color code it. Doing things I enjoy and generally resting are green, writing or working on projects is blue, chores are yellow, work is orange, time with Aaron is purple, and appointments are pink. After doing this for two weeks now, I feel surprisingly better about a lot of things. I can see that stuff generally evens out and that planning to spend all of my waking hours doing things I feel I “SHOULD” do is not just unrealistic, it’s impossible. Also just the act of tracking it causes me to make better or at least more conscious decisions.

My goal for the month is to declutter my life. Clutter = anything taking up space I need for something else. Sure some of that is cleaning and getting rid of physical stuff, but most of it is mental. I have a lot of “shoulds” and “supposed tos” and internal expectations that are just taking up mental space and don’t do me any good.

I feel pretty good about how that’s going so far. I don’t feel particularly great about this last week, but I’m going to let a bad week just a be a bad week and keep going.

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Resolutions

I’m not big on resolutions. I don’t usually make them. However, I do have one for this year.

I am going to forgive myself for not being the person I think I should be and learn to better appreciate and support the person I am.

All of the changes I want in my life are most likely to happen if I succeed at this. The only person I am consistently an asshole to is myself. I wouldn’t put up with anyone else treating me this way, why do I do it to myself?

So, I’m going to forgive myself for not writing my 2015 in review blog post, or upcoming things in 2016, yet. I’ll get to it, and it will be soon enough.

/smile

More to come.

Continuing Adventures of the Debut Writer

 

Cruel Summer

Shattered Ones Book 2: Cruel Summer is out today!!! 

KindleKobo – iBooks – Nook

I am super excited that people get to read the next installment in Hannah and Alex’s story. In CRUEL SUMMER we meet more of Hannah’s family and find out a bit more about Alex’s past. Meanwhile, Zachariah is trying to survive the rage of a vampire he can’t kill and the affection of one who wants to be with him — forever.

I’ve always known this series will be slow to build a buzz. People have to discover and talk about it. I’m not a well-known author, and it isn’t an established series. I anticipate it will have the most buzz in March when Book 3 publishes, completing the story-arc. I have more stories planned, but I like to think of them as as mini-series in an overarching world. This is partially because the thought of writing one long running series for umpteen books doesn’t really appeal to me. It’s also because I have no idea if the series will pick up enough fans to sell subsequent mini-series or stand alones to my publisher (I really really hope so because I adore my publisher and would love to continue writing books for them). It’s also because I know I haven’t read more than 3-4 books in any series myself in the last 10 years or so. I just want readers to have a manageable chunk to complete a story arc while still having lots of room to tell lots of stories with the same characters in the same world. For example, one of the stories my editor would like me to write in the future, is a stand alone novella about how Michel’s plans went horribly awry during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and why Alex was even there at the time.

I can’t wait for you to meet Hannah’s extended family, and I hope you enjoy CRUEL SUMMER. Please tell people about it and leave a review somewhere if you feel inclined. The more people find out about it, the more stories I get to write.

 

Aftercare For Noveling

I just turned in Shattered Ones Book Three: Running Down A Dream, which means my energy now needs to turn to self-care lest I slip off the peak of my accomplishment and slide down into the darkness of depression. I know it seems weird that success is the surest trigger for my depression, but it makes sense when you stop to think about it. At the point of success you have been under tremendous pressure, stress, and expectation. The truth is, each success can’t help but have an emotional dip directly after it.

I wasn’t expecting this with the first novella I published, and it triggered one of the worst depression episodes I’ve had in my adult life. Anticipating the dip and taking self-care measures to head it off at the pass are a huge part of what I need to do to be able to KEEP writing in the future. Here’s a list (with gifs) of what I’m focusing on right now.

cleaning

Clean the House

Toward the end of a deadline, cleaning the first thing I let slide. My house is a shambles. Tidying up and getting everything nice will make me feel a lot better.

nap

Sleep

Sleep Dep is no joke and I’m a pretty grumpy person naturally. It’s a lot easier to feel better if I’m well-rested.

addams.gif

Spend time with my spouse

Aaron has put up with all of my stress and bad moods and things will go a lot better for both of us if I focus on spending some quality time with him when I’m not losing my mind and stressing out.

Socialize with Friends

I’m trying to meet up with people I haven’t seen as much as I could have as I finished this project, both in person and digitally. All the doubts and insecurities have a much harder time taking hold if I’m around other people who can give some much needed perspective.

food.gif

Eat some healthy food

I stop cooking for myself on deadline. This combined with less sleep leads to me eating more stuff that’s bad for me. I will feel better if I get back into the healthy eating routine as quickly as possible.

book.gif

Consume Media

I don’t watch a lot of movies, TV, or read many books when I’m working on a big project. Finishing a project is a good time for me to catch up on everything I’ve meant to watch or read.

grateful.gif

List all the people and things you are grateful for.

I thought this was a stupid exercise initially but reminding yourself of the things that are great is a good way to work on your own inner peace.

vonnegut

(above quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You Mr. Rosewater)

Perform small acts of kindness for others.

I have a really hard time being kind to myself. I am my own worst enemy and the only way I’ve found to be kind to myself is to actively do things for other people that I would wish for myself. This helps me be kinder and more at peace with myself.

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Forgive myself

Forgive myself for everything I didn’t do. For being late on deadlines, for not keeping the house clean while on deadline. For eating McDonalds two days in a row. For all the things I knew I shouldn’t do, but did anyway. Shouldn’t doesn’t mean I didn’t need to do things the way I did to get the results I did. I’m not perfect, I will never be perfect. That’s OK. Striving for perfection will only make me miserable.

bath.gif

Treat Yourself

People always seem to put the treats at the top of self-care lists, but I find mine fit better at the bottom of the list. If I do this first it doesn’t always help. It is a very important part of my self-care, just further down the list of things that work to keep me from sliding into a dark place. Forgiving myself always has to come first or treating myself just feels undeserved.

 

Way Way Way Too Many Links

Hey I’ve been saving these up for way too long meaning to get around to doing a blog entry. Clearly putting out a series is eating my brain and that hasn’t happened on a regular basis, so this is going to be an exceptionally long Too Many Links.

Writing

Writing Begins With Forgiveness – Perhaps some of you need to read this essay now during NaNoWriMo. I totally don’t write every day. I try to average 500 words per day over a month, but that does not happen every day.

http://www.kameronhurley.com/the-cold-publishing-equations-books-sold-marketability-love/The Cold Publishing Equations: Books Sold + Marketability + Love – Kameron Hurley talks about book numbers

Ann Leckie’s “The 10 Best Science Fiction Books”

Cat Vincent muses on the city itself becoming a character in Urban Fantasy

24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing

Kameron Hurley: Absolute Zero — The Temperature At Which Writers Give Up

Alan Moore interview about Electricomics

Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your Diverse* Fantasy or  Science Fiction Novel 

Extremely detailed musing about the business of books 

Science:

Are sperm whales cultured?

Squirrel’s nest leads to ancient giant virus

NASA’s plan for getting to Mars

Man fails paternity test due to vanished twinO_o human chimeras exist

Bees today – I have bees on the brain of late. Hopefully I find the time to write my martian bee saints story.

How hormones affect mood

History:

1813 Alaska shipwreck: How they survived –  In 1813 shipwrecked sailors survived for nearly a month during an Alaska winter with nearly no supplies. Now archaeologists say they know how they did it.

Lovely article on the Fox Sisters – The sisters who spoke to spirits: How two mischievous girls gave birth to a religion (or why learning to crack your toes can help you gain fame and fortune)

Teaching History with Cookbooks

photo gallery of 1976-81 magazine ads aimed at cocaine users 

Lost rivers underneath London

John Dee’s books to go on display in 2016 (Cool pictures of his margin drawings)

Parachuting beavers – VIDEO

Search historical newspapers

Misc:

Writer reconnects with the people who robbed and kidnapped him in 2006

Medieval Skeleton Found Dangling From the Roots of a Fallen Tree

The People Who Drink Human Blood 

Files for lawsuit against CIA stolen during break-in at UW

13 Spooky Museums in US 

Woman donates skeleton from closet

What’s in a boarding pass barcode – a good reminder to keep and properly dispose of any identifying paperwork

How to train your Rageasaurus – Good primer in how to live with the rage you feel without letting it take over your life (and good general techniques for setting up conversation boundaries)

Masculinity Is an Anxiety Disorder: Breaking Down the Nerd Box

“Every president has been manipulated by national security officials”: David Talbot exposes America’s “deep state”

Cool Things To Buy:

https://evilsupply.co/

Fiction:

The Good Matter by Nene Ormes

The Smog Society by Chen Qiufan

Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky

The Game of Smash and Recovery By Kelly Link

Book Launch Week – TAKE ON ME

What the first week of Book Launch looked like from the author side:

Saturday: *turns in manuscript for Book 3*

Sunday: *Sleeps*

Monday: I… I think I feel Ok. Is it OK that I feel OK? Am I panicked and excited enough? Am I doing this right? Should I have remembered to take tomorrow off work? Do most people go to work the day their book comes out? Uh… I better clean my house. *cleans house*

Tuesday: OMG MY BOOK IS OUT!!! EVERYTHING IS AMAZING!!!

Wednesday: Did this really happen? IT DID! IT DID HAPPEN!

Thursday: I am a complete failure and everything is terrible.

Friday: …hey, people are reading my book… THAT IS AMAZING. I GET TO KEEP DOING THIS!!!! *also cleans house and does errands*

So did I have expectations? Of course I did. I also had hopes. My expectations have always been that this will be a slow burn of a series and that it will have a modest start that will continue to grow over time, boosted by each successive book. I think everyone hopes their book will be the exception and it will be an overnight blockbuster. It isn’t a REASONABLE expectation, but neither is expecting to actually win the lottery when you buy a LOTTO ticket. Thursday was pretty much my brain throwing a pity party that unreasonable hopes did not magically manifest into being. It was also very temporary. I woke up feeling good on Friday and ended the day feeling AWESOME.

I struggled with writing this post, because my first inclination is to pretend Thursday didn’t happen at all. I decided that was lying by omission and an omission that is harmful, both to myself and for anyone looking to my experiences for some kind of “normal”. I’m pretty lucky, in that this isn’t my first rodeo. It’s my first novel, but I’ve had many other writing milestones before this one and I know that a temporary “everything is terrible” after the initial launch excitement has been a normal part of things for myself. Did knowing that make Thursday any easier to deal with? Not really. It did help me to just accept it and keep going. In the past it was trying to pretend that wasn’t actually a thing that has caused me the worst harm. I don’t have to like it, but it’s easier to hug the little prickly hedgehog of feelings until it wanders off on its own.

My book is out in the world. People are reading it, and will read it in the future. Characters and a world that have only existed in my head are out there being shared by people—Some of them even like them! I feel incredibly blessed and excited. I now get to focus on helping people discover this already existing thing and to launch the next two books out behind it. It feels pretty awesome, and each new reader discovering it is this growing snowball of awesomeness.

Round Up Of Links About TAKE ON ME:

Publisher’s page. (Links to buy everywhere plus the first 5 chapters to read free!)

Interview with Me at The Quillery 

My Favorite Bit at Mary Robinette Kowal’s Blog 

Post at Stellar Four about how my writing and museum job interact in mysterious ways (like knowing what dried human plasma looks like on sight causes odd questions about your personal life)

Conversation between myself and editor Brian White (in case you missed it)

Reviews:

Uncertain Tales

Feminist Sonar

Conversation Between Me And My Editor on Book Launch Day!!!

takeonemecover

MY BOOK IS OUT!!!! You can buy it at your ebook retailer of choice! Links can be found here as well as a link to read the first five chapters for free. To celebrate I bring you an un-edited conversation between my editor, Brian White, and myself about the launch.

Brian White:  guess what your book is now live in all channels

YOU ARE A PUBLISHED NOVELIST

Minerva Zimmerman:  not the west coast yet 🙂

Brian White: really?

MZ: yeah no still preorder

BW: weird

MZ: yep, time zone dependent

BW: oh well who cares about that coast anyway

MZ: fuck you and your wrong sided ocean 🙂

BW: let’s start the conversation right there

MZ: lol Ok

MZ: So. We seem to have published a book.

MZ: or at least you’re saying so, the west coast hasn’t had it happen yet

so I’m future published?

BW: hell in Europe you are already old hat

MZ: Australia?

isn’t it tomorrow already

BW: there is a statue of you in Melbourne City Parke

MZ: that would be so incredibly creepy

BW: It sounds more like a Gibson novel to be honest

MZ: I dunno, I think if there are statues of you, you better be dead.

or married to an artist

BW: You’d think? That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

OK so when I was in Kentucky

This was back before they cut off pork-barrel spending

so Mitch McConnell would bring in all kinds of money, and had various things named after him

including, in the town I was working in, the workshop of the engineering lab, which was a big concrete thing with rolling doors etc. and we at the newspaper just called in Mitch’s Garage

MZ: Heh. My boss actually named the bird watching station after my former coworker cause she told him that “Only old rich white guys get stuff named after them.”

BW: I guess it was the “Senator Mitch McConnell Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics laboratory”

MZ: and he just wanted to prove her wrong.

BW: hahaha

MZ: Also she seriously made the whole project work and deserved to have even more things named after her. But my boss is a serious contrarian that way.

BW: You should name something after him

MZ: I am genuinely not sure that is safe to do while he is able to run as fast as I am.

BW: this is why everyone needs a desk bat

MZ: I have a desk swan.

…well I do have a desk bat

but it is the kind that flies

and chitters.

and it’s mounted on a wire

BW: that was a nicely escalated series of 5 lines, each creepier than the last

MZ: There is a lot of taxidermy in my office.

it is pretty creepy

BW: mine too but the reporters hate when we call them that

MZ: The local theater brought back a sheep’s head I didn’t know we’d loaned them the other day.

BW: You have a weird job

MZ: I do, and it doesn’t help that either I or the front desk volunteer is usually hard of hearing so when they say something I thought was “Doll Sheep Head” I wasn’t sure what I was going downstairs to pick up.

BW: i hope you have gloves handy at all times

MZ: Yeah, I learned the hard way that you never touch anything you don’t know what it is cause sometimes touching history is scary.

Oh, I suppose I can tell this story.

So I got a package in the mail and it had a letter and a funny little like… button with a long stick off the back of it that had been packaged inside a clear film canister.

And I was like “Huh weird. I wonder how this works.” And had taken it out and was looking at it, and figured it was some kind of weird historical fastener.

…then I read the letter.

Which informed that the lady who was sending it to me always remembered it being on her mother’s dresser and how she was never allowed to touch it, and it wasn’t until she was older that she learned was a pessary even WAS.

(waits for you to google this)

BW: (googles)

AHHHHHHHH

MZ: …and that’s why I always wear gloves. Cause I accidentally handled a 120 year old pessary.

BW: (Waits for readers to Google this)

OK who’s still with us?

MZ: Probably no one? We can probably safely talk about the book we intended to promote now?

BW: Yes the real dirty business

MZ: Holy crap. We published a book… and we have to do it all again, two more times!

BW: BOOK BOOK BOOK

In publishing we call that a trilby.

No

Trifecta

Something

MZ: Trilogy?

BW: Could be

MZ: So my brain is still kind of fried. I just turned in the manuscript for Book 3: Running Down A Dream to you on… Saturday? So I’m a little temporally confused in reality and in fiction.

What do you suppose people want to know about Book 1: Take On Me?

BW: Probably first what flavor it is.

MZ: I tend to go with Tragically Comedic as a description, but I”m not sure that really gets the information across.

I tend to write funny things about terrible events.

BW: I can dig that. To me, this is a book about two people thrown together by an awful  moment, and forcing each other to figure out who they are. Two snarky snarky people. Who happen to be vampires.

MZ: I dunno if snarky is incorrect, it just feels a bit incomplete in describing the characters. Hannah is, well, she’s a teenager and acts like it. Alex personally feels more glib than snarky… but I think the two of them together is snarkyville.

MZ: Can I just mention that I’m really glad I accidentally sold you this series, cause I still haven’t figured out how to query it.

BW: That is a good way to avoid that.

MZ: Unfortunately you do still make me write up book summaries.

BW: I am an editor it is my job to make writers suffer

MZ: …and then rewrite them. And rewrite them again…

BW: This is Writer Torture 101

MZ: I thought that was writing author bios.

BW: I dunno I didn’t really come up through publishing school

MZ: You’re a newspaper guy

BW: Guilty as charged

MZ: That’s actually why I approached you originally. Cause your whole professional life is fixing text.

and I figured if anyone could deal with my little weird inconsistencies, it’d be you.

also, I knew you had a similar sense of humor, which is really important for this series.

BW: Yeah I think that we meshed really well on this

MZ: And I just want to point out that for the record, I did really, truly, originally try to pay you to edit this. Like, I think we even had a price pretty much figured out?

BW: I think that may have happened, yes

MZ: So, when did you think that you wanted to publish this? Like, what was it that made that decision?

BW: It was two things I guess: I loved the world you had created, and especially the characters. Both Hannah and Alex, but also the supporting cast. And I was also excited about the idea of experimenting with three shorter novels, and maybe with more in the future, given that it was pretty clear you had a lot more to write about in this world than these three books.

BW: Which I guess maybe doesn’t answer your question? But I’m not sure I had a single moment. In talking to you about the manuscript though, it was clear we’d work well together and had similar ideas about things like trying a rapid-release schedule and other things on the publishing side of things.

MZ: Yeah, when you suggested we publish it together rather than my original self-publishing idea it felt like the right choice. I still had to rationalize it all out, but I’ve never questioned that I found the right home for these books.

Cause you’ve always been “OK how do we make sure you do what you were trying to do and make everything as good as it can be.”

When we didn’t see eye to eye, it was because I hadn’t managed to convey what I meant.

MZ: Other stuff was just “Here, if you do this it will make this other thing work better”

Ugh this is turning into a self-congratulatory love fest.

throws hedgehogs at you

BW: GAH

haha ok so here’s something I never asked you about

In the book a lot, you talk about Hannah having a scent of cherries and steel, and Alex of granite and rain. Where did this touchstone come from, and why those scents?

MZ: Oh. Uhm, well partly it came from the fact that scent is used so rarely in text.

MZ: It seemed like a good layer of information to add on the world, and since my vampires are designed to be plausible, their urge to feed on blood has to do with transmission vectors. They are strongly attracted to the scent of blood that is able to host the virus, so it made sense in my weird little head that people who were already vampires would have a different layer of scent information.

MZ: And I don’t think I ever talk about it, but it’s almost always a mix of two scents and honestly I picked them to reflect things about the characters origins and personality.

MZ: So Cherries and Steel is sort of this modern big city origin mixed with the real smell of cherries, not cherry flavor. The steel also goes with her strength.

MZ: Rain and Granite has to do with Alex’s origins and his sort of earthy, grounding personality. Also that’s a sense memory most people have but don’t actually know that they have consciously?

I mean rain on asphalt is also a very specific smell, but rain on granite is similar but earthier, more natural.

…and he kind of predates asphalt.

BW: Cool!

MZ: I was trying to make sure to use all the senses in information that’s given in the story. I’m not sure how well I did consistently, but I’m pretty happy with how my vampires smell.

BW: It passes the sniff test

MZ: ha

MZ: In some of my other writing, I tend to exaggerate one sense in a character to show how their POV is unique. I don’t do that as much with Alex and Hannah because their vampire-ness is stronger in how they sense the world.

MZ: I think maaaaybe people might notice that more when there’s a third POV that is non-vampire (trying to not be too spoilery)

MZ: I don’t think they mention scent… hardly at all. While both Hannah and Alex tend to notice smell information in the people around them, one way or another.

BW: I definitely think that bears out

MZ: Well, what else do you think we should tell people? The trilogy is finished, there’s no way they won’t gt all 3 books. Book 2 comes out in December, and book 3 in February. It’s vampires, but they aren’t your… little sister’s vampires?

BW: or your mom’s if your mom was into Anne Rice

MZ: …shut up youngster.

Anne Rice was not THAT long ago.

/sticks fingers in ears

la la la la la la la

BW: God rest her soul

MZ: She’s alive. And I would never ever ever say anything about her online, ever.

BW: heh

OK we should get some sleep. Tomorrow we have a GODDAMN BOOK TO FLOG

MZ: wait, was I supposed to order a special book flog?

BW: jesus christ no one reads my memos

MZ: Did you send it from Bibi?

BW: Bibi doesn’t do memos, Bibi dictates memos

MZ: I only read Bibi memos.

BW: shit

MZ: How was I supposed to know any of the others were important?!

BW: This is a disaster

MZ: I do have a duck and a hose and know where to get rubber pants in our size at this time of night?

And… I better annotate the hell out of that last bit.

BW: /snort

I’ll bring the tarp.

MZ: Wooo there aint no party like a book flogging party cause a book flogging party don’t stop until… well, no they never DO end.

BUY MY BOOK

BW: /salutes

MZ: /salutes

/presses “Launch Book” button

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