In which our heroine proves she can still kinda design a website.

my hands are back

March 26th, 2018

“Oh hey Steph did cooking today,” you might say. “Been a while since I’ve seen that.”

Yes it has. Reason for that.

Back in October, things started hurting. More than the usual hurting. Then by November, things started tingling. And by December, it progressed to a mixture of tingling, burning, numbing, and constant throbbing.

So I did the thing I can do as a person with excellent benefits and onsite services: I got physical therapy. And the PT person prescribed a lot of exercises, some ergonomic adjustments, and general advice to eliminate some repetitive stress motions. Which, it turns out, were coming from work, play, and cooking (aka “work-play”).

I reluctantly stopped playing Overwatch for about a month (which was fine because OWL was coming online then so I just sat back and watched people way better than me play), and I really reluctantly stopped cooking almost entirely except very simple dump-and-done recipes. I signed us back up for Gobble, and Mike volunteered to cook again. I replaced my old home desk with something lower and more friendly to my height (I’m so, so short).

And so now here we are, in March. Things don’t throb anymore. My hands aren’t going numb when I cook anymore. We’re probably still going to keep Gobble because as a working lady it’s cleared up time during my weeknights and weekends; meal planning is and always has been a chunk of time out of my schedule, alas. And it’s not perfect. But nothing is at this age. Especially when you’ve got one kid who still needs to be picked up on the regular and hauled out of bathtubs, or onto changing tables, or nestled into cribs, and he’s built like a tank.

I’ve still got a story due (in — gulp — May) so not a bunch of cooking between now and then, but maybe after then I’ll go back to some projects. Stella from BraveTart gave some insight on how to convert my Lentz cookie dough to an all-butter recipe, so I may give that a try. We’ll see. And there are other things I miss that I used to make on the regular. Also last night the Daughterbot informed us she wanted rice with roast beef. Where that came from I don’t know, but no problem, kid. You’re basically asking for pot roast with rice, and I can dig it.

It’s good to have my hands back.

trust the process

January 15th, 2018

I’ve done this enough now that when the invite shows up and my initial panic of I DON’T HAVE AN IDEA sets in, I know to just give it a moment.

Take a step back.

Let the feeling happen.

Okay, good. Have you had your moment? Are you done panicking? Feel better now? Let’s….

  • play some new music
  • play some old music you haven’t listened to in a decade or so
  • take a bath
  • go for a walk
  • bake a tea cake
  • go for a swim
  • go for a massage (after being well rested — falling asleep on the massage table doesn’t help)
  • catch up on all the sleep
  • lightly skim the last story and the notes we made last time when we staggered over the finish line
  • read someone else’s stories
  • play with the kids
  • do anything and everything to exit the routine and shake up our brain

But most importantly: remember this is a story, not the end of the world. Have a cup of tea. Let it churn.

Now: throw some words on a page. Stop judging.  Just throw them on the page.  NO NOT THOSE WORDS.  Ugh.  Not those words either. AND DEFINITELY NOT — wait.


Aaaaaand there it is. The seed of an idea. Almost certainly not the final form — it’s just never that easy with my brain — but it’s got potential.

I could be talking about a story. I could be talking about building a client’s web application. I could be talking about having a baby or planning a garden or planning an itinerary overseas. Creating things isn’t easy, iteration is part of the process, nothing is set in stone.

Take a deep breath.

Have your moment.

Trust the process.

Bootknife is sold

August 9th, 2017

Should be out in December. Prepare to meet the old man’s old man.

Also, here’s to never again outlining, writing, editing, and revising a story while nursing an infant, holding down a fulltime job, and paying attention to the other members of the fam.  This is hopefully the first and last time I have to ask myself if I really have time for this.

Bootknife and a Small Quarrel

May 5th, 2017

I didn’t write about “A Small Quarrel” at all last year.  Sorry about that.  Pregnancy and writing and childrearing and job wrangling severely sap my blogging time. That story’s been out a few months, and I just wrote the follow-up, “Bootknife”.  It’s in the hands of the editor now.  I try hard to not spin wheels with these stories — I only have 6500 words or less to work with, after all — and I finally introduced Wil’s dad, which if you didn’t know (because you’re not me) I’ve been wanting to do for about five years now.  He’s been running around in the back of my head for at least that long, though many of his details didn’t become clear until I started writing him out.  Occasionally he’d get a mention in other stories, but then I’d hit up against that word count wall and have to edit him back out.  But this time he got his own story, his own space, and I’m glad he did.

Now that we are four stories deep into this cycle, I’m seeing a pattern of objects in the story titles, which is a good thing because I hate naming stuff and having nomenclature is one wait to cheat your way out of having to be clever with names.  Also, it makes me look smart, like, oh, she planned all of this.  Except for the first one which she called “Whitest Lie” after a Bayside song but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen.  I SMELL A RETCON!

As pregnancy isn’t forever, it should be noted I had another baby, which very nearly derailed writing any of this.  There were several moments in December as I balanced a squawking infant against my chest where I wondered how the f*&% I was going to get this thing done.  But I did!  It helps to have a spouse to tank the littles while you’re holed up in the bedroom with headphones on and having a love affair with your netbook.

For one of the first times in my life, I am not overly stressed about having sent the story to the editor.  I think I actually…like? this story.  I don’t usually like my stories.  There always seems to be something I’ve forgotten, and certainly there were bits I wish I could have written into this one that will forever be stashed in the yarn bag known as “leftovers” on my Scrivener project.  Maybe someday I can edit it into a longer form project.  You know, in my copious freetime.


July 28th, 2015

I think I’m having more fun writing the flashbacks than the main story. -_-


the contract is signed, munin returns

July 28th, 2015

“The Highjorune Masque” is officially part of the next Valdemar anthology lineup, thank the Maker, pass the rum.

I wrote 1,000 words today to/from work, mainly by writing a section I wasn’t sure I was going to write, and also by dragging in an old new character who is fun and mysterious and (okay) sexy: Munin (one of Odin’s ravens, and a recycle from a manga proposal I was working on a long while back). I am continuously amused by what my main character does (she seems to have a limited sense of self-preservation), and I have a sense of the larger endgame, though the structure is still all over the board. Either I’m doing flashbacks or I’m not, and I don’t (yet) know how they work into the uberstructure.

But have faith in the process, and in the meantime the protagonist is puking up her guts and thinking her life is over, poor dear.

And Los Angeles is burning still missing.

oscillating stories

July 6th, 2015

I’m writing two novels at the moment, both with a different set of characters and worlds.  This is probably madness, but it also seems to be working.

The first one is modern times, but there’s still worldbuilding involved because I made Los Angeles disappear and my main character still hasn’t told me what, exactly, she is.

The other is more standard fantasy drama hero’s journey stuff except not.  I have a pretty clear sense of who the first main character is, and there are about two more incoming who I have the vaguest idea of.

I’m writing in fits and starts.  I get some time on the way to work in the vanpool, and I get some time at home.  I dusted off my netbook, which is perfect for this: fits in my lap, does just enough to get me connected to music and my file sharing service, and that’s about it.  I can’t browse with it, and I can’t game with it, and I don’t need to.

My goal is to finish (or get close to finished) by the end of the year on one of these.  Right now they both have issues of I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m hoping that’ll sort itself out.

The obligatory Spotify list is here.

Wil #2

May 4th, 2015

The next in the series of what I’m thinking of as “Lone Wil and Cub” has been written, it’s had the fine-toothed comma comb (comba?) run over it by my husband (notorious grammar hunter and devastator of passive voice) , and is now off to the editor.  I realize at this point I should just assume it’s a sale, but I never assume it’s a sale.  So I’ll update this when I actually get the “Accepted! For Realsies!” message.

How do I feel?  Uh, pretty much how I always feel when I manage not to give my editors a nervous breakdown by not missing the date: relieved.  One of the great things about the modern age is I can turn this stuff in at 11:59 PM the day it’s due and know it’s probably going to get to my editor in a timely manner.  And if it doesn’t, they just send me email to let me know they need me to resend it.  When I was younger, you had to have it postmarked and out the door a week in advance, and ha ha ha ha good luck and hope the USPS doesn’t lose your precious bundle.  Times are much better now.

I wrote this story partially while sitting in the back of my vanpool, and have come to a solid realization: my laptop is too damn big to comfortably write in the back of  a vanpool.  Which is unfortunate, because I can’t exactly buy another laptop at this phase of my life.  Or can I?

Anyway.  I’m excited for this story because I honestly believe it doesn’t suck, plus certain characters get some badass moments, and I am all about the badassery.  This is partially why I decided to shift focus from goofy Bard to slightly more serious Herald who has, as life has tenderized him, become less serious.  The Herald has more potential for badassery, being what he is.

And now, having successfully completed what I set out to do at the start of the month, I am off to bed.  G’night.

old friends, new tales

October 12th, 2014

Trying something new with an old cast.  I know it’s a cliche to say but — sometimes you just have to ignore what everyone’s been telling you and write what you want.

So that’s what I’m doing, and that’ll be 850 words today.

Finding the time to do this requires working around an 18 month old and a workweek that features a 2 hour commute and at least 8.5 hours of work.  Challenging, but I’m trying.

signed, sealed, delivered

July 16th, 2014


Story is sold, the editor gods are pleased.

I’m probably going to use the money to get air conditioning for my family.  So, y’know, that’s what my Valdemar moneys gets me and mine.