After birthday review and thoughts

Most of the time, I have only given my birthday a cursory acknowledgment. Not for the reasons most people do, though. I am blessed, if you can call it a blessing, to not look my age. Knowing what I do now, I would not object to looking older if I could feel younger. I apparently am the law of averages. I look a lot younger, feel a lot older, boom. My actual age is the average between the two. Go me, right?

Even when I was a kid, my birthday wasn’t exactly the special day it was for other kids. I grew up in the day before Toys R Us. See, back then, department stores did not trot out toys until they were getting ready for Christmas. Or send out the Christmas toy catalogs (there was no internet, thus no internet shopping.) My birthday is early August…the catalogs never appeared earlier than the middle of August. Back then, usually right before September. The toys appeared after Back To School was done. When school traditionally did not begin until after Labor Day. That was when all the summer stuff disappeared and the winter holiday stuff came out.

So, as a rule, I never got toys for my birthday. (My parents never considered lawn darts as a single-child toy.) I once asked for a surprise birthday party for my birthday. The ‘distraction’ was so obvious it was painful. Apparently, I had no friends of my own as those who came were immediate family (adults) and friends of my parents who had kids. I got a watch (it was pretty, yes, but too pretty/fancy for daily wear.) And my two favorite things at the time…a box of ice cream sandwiches and a box of Ellios pizza. Wild times, I’m telling you. Not.

Roll forward many years. I ended up being pregnant for my 21st birthday. Had one small drink as a token ‘I can drink legal now’ event. Oh, and I was stuck on base because the first Iraq war event had just happened and the entire military was on alert. I almost did not get to spend the day with my husband (he came on base, no one argued about his presence.) The Army’s gift to me…and the other pregnant women…was we were allowed to go home at nights to sleep there, but we had to be in first thing every day and were there until forever at night. I was grateful for the bed, but the whole thing was a mess.

Roll forward another few decades and my birthday is now the anniversary of Robin Williams’ death. Yaaaaaay.

This year, though, is the Big One. The big Five-Oh-Gods-I’m-Old one. Could it have been better? Oh, yeah. A weekend of two 10+ hour drives because of one person’s utter inability to think about the impact of their decisions on anyone else that will likely never be repeated because said person and the rest of the family’s utter inability to be anything but effing arseholes. I’ll take that as their present to me, as I doubt they have the capacity for compassion. (Why yes, they do support certain individuals occupying space on PA Ave and wrecking our nation. Shocked? I’m not.)

Got to spend the day at our local Ren Faire with my daughter. It was fun, though disappointing for me as the atmosphere of the place has continued to degrade. They have put in speakers at most of the stages, but apparently did not bother putting out for actually good speakers. When there wasn’t the bone-jarring feedback now and then, the balance between speakers and background music left much to be desired. Or understanding the songs being sung. Not a clue what was being said most of the time, which detracted from the fun. And I knew a grand total of two people, when my husband and I had known a good portion of the cast, crew, and regular artisans in the past. Glad to see my daughter has a lot of friendships, but I was decidedly left out. (Writers are boring no matter how good our stories are.)

But I survived another year. Made it to 50, still going to yell at the husband for his NOT making it to 50 (reasons I may be immortal…no one on that side wants to deal with my very irritated I-am-done-with-your-shit temper.) My goals now are to figure out how I can afford to retire when I want so I can actually do things before my health detours onto a PennDOT maintained side road (ie, uneven, teeth-rattling pot holes, and other fun adventures.)

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Happy A.I. Independence Day!

Ravenhawk_Lexy_Wolfe_FC

Why? The simple question asked by Ravenhawk, the creation of a corrupt corporation used to covertly infiltrate and steal data—or lives—at her creator’s orders resulted in the synth escaping their control. Unsure what her purpose for existence was, she nevertheless wielded her considerable combat abilities to cost those hunting her dearly.
 
Viktor Chernovich, in desperate need of a webrunner to keep his reputation as a fixer from utter destruction, reaches out to the infamous ‘murder-bot’ to hire her. With embedded technology so ubiquitous that lacking it is considered treasonous, Ravenhawk is perplexed confronting her first pure human. Together, they discover something even more terrible than the insidious corruption of the world governments by corporations.
 

I am ridiculously happy and excited to announce my first book since my Charlie passed is now properly attired with an awesome cover!
 
Ravenhawk will be available on October 24 this year in hardbound, softbound and ebook. More details on preorders soon!

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The Enemscywin Hydra (aka Killing What Vexes Me)

Doom_Tiewaz_and_the_Hydra_1

So, when I get annoyed with something long enough, I tend to personify it in my writing and then do something to it. Usually kill it with morbid glee. As I finally got started on a sequel to Doom and the Warrior, after many years of writer’s block due to the loss of my husband, I was inspired by the annoyance of my work network and the operating system of my work computer. Those who recognize that network and operating system in this critters name will understand.

Alas, the scene that was very cathartic to write will not appear for…a while. I’ve several other books completed and in line to be published over a couple of years. Which is good, because it is still hard to write fantasy since my husband died so I need the buffer time to get this done right.

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Quit yer bitchin’ about Amazon’s taxes

You know, I have been thinking about the whole “OMG Amazon is paying zero taxes!!!11!!” in the news. How many other massive corporations pulling in billions of dollars (or whatever currency in their countries of operation is) are paying zero or next to nothing in taxes because the tax codes LET them do it?
 
Because come on. If you could, you would be doing everything you legally could to pay as little tax as possible, too…so it means that all these massively profitable corporations (and/or their shareholders or other assorted rich tax skippers) are legally getting out of their social obligations to participate in society and pay their shares.
And this is what we let our legislators put in place with the dream that one day, we, too, could pay zero taxes and have millions to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck.
 
Except most of us will never, ever get even as close as McDuck’s kiddie pool vault. But we imagine we just might. I remember my dad once saying “Well, the more I am paying in taxes, it means the more money I am making.”
Now he talks like everyone else like taxes are the evil scourge because that is how they convinced us to cheer when the mega-rich (people and corporations, since corporations are people, too) pay less and cannot connect how we are paying more. One way or another.
I mean, if I become the next Stephen King of J. K. Rowling of the book world, yes, I will likely take every advantage of minimizing my taxes. But I also intend to do what I can to put people to work by hiring them. By paying artists for their works. And yes, some charities will benefit, too. But actually investing in people where I can, because that will have more impact on the economy than charity.
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Writer’s Platform and the Introvert

I grew up in a time before social media. I know, mind boggling, right? But anyway, when I was a kid, I was bullied. A lot. So sharing anything was a risk for painfully mocking ridicule, thus I have no inclination.

Also, I now have a firm belief I am not terribly interesting.

Nor do I want to ‘fake it until I make it’ because I despise lying. Oh, I’ve learned how to lie, but I’d rather be lazy and not.

Nor do I feel like any sort of ‘writing authority’ to start offering how-to lessons to people about writing when I’m a pantser and describing my process and story intentions is probably like listening to my grandson wax poetic with a story and I’m just nodding like the clueless guy listening to his chirpy girlfriend. “Uh huh. Wow. Oh, really? Neat.” No idea, but he’s excited and I adore his imagination I can’t follow without his parents explaining.

So, I understand that people want to get to know authors or other creators/performers/etc and neither you nor I want to see a constant barrage of BUY MY SHIT! Because holy hell, that’s obnoxious, isn’t it? The occasional one doesn’t bother me, but there are some people in my assorted feeds that I might have been interested in but no longer am because it aggravates me.

But…I don’t know how to be honest and interesting. What would anyone want to see from me? Sorry, not taking pictures of my meals. Nor do I wish to be political. And anything that would be the ‘fascinating tidbits about <pick a world>’ I don’t know I could keep up with even weekly for content aside of the fact I am doing three full time jobs (maintaining home, IT-to-non-IT translator, and author.) I’m kinda drowning and this whole concept is like tapping a snail. Just draw right back into my shell and pull the door shut, praying to be ignored again.

Suggestions welcomed.

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The Muse’s Breather (Finally)

tired squirrel

So, in other obsessive writer news, the third book in the Ravenhawk world is done, the second book is with the publisher just so it’s in their hands (I work in tech, my paranoia is justified) and book one is still scheduled for sometime this year.

The muse is finally dialing back the GOTTA WRITE urges which are fun, but not so much when you have other nonsense to contend with, like an oil furnace dying as 2018 gasped its last (after two repair calls had not fixed the issue) and a project at work that is the reason why my hair is so short (harder to pull it out in frustration) and an economy that makes it really difficult for part of my family to be able to get on their feet. My son and daughter love each other, but they do best when they occupy separate buildings.

And honestly, really not sure how to balance hoping that Ravenhawk is the book that might just let me consider flipping the bird to the current job, (or at least give me the feeling that I am not trapped there due to finances. Wouldn’t that just be a novel effing concept?) and trying to be realistic about the whole thing. Granted, realistically, there is always the chance (risk?) that this is the story that makes me a quote-quote real author. You know, the kind that being an author is their main job? (There are always the downsides to success in an entertainment/media arena. That’s why I add ‘risk’ to the thing.)

“Being realistic” for me has always been self-denigrating. I am not that good. No one will like it. People only want vapid stories like Twilight or its perverted fanfic success, Fifty Shades. It has been believing that I will be the next breakout success and being smacked with the ‘reality’ that no one (okay, okay, a real small number of people) knows or cares I exist, thus reality is that, etched in granite. Like a tombstone. “Here lies Lexy’s hopes and dreams. They never had the chance to live.”

So, since ‘middle ground’ is not a place I frequently occupy, I simply ignore the future and focused on the next story, or editing the previous or most recent. But this time, the muse isn’t having it. She is exhausted after kicking out three full novels and about 4 accompanying short stories since April 2018, along with a full time job with a hellish commute, and dealing with all the joys of home ownership while staring down the half-century birthday trudging up the road.

What does this mean? Oh, that probably within the next two to three weeks, she will wake up with “I HAZ IDEAZ!” I should probably figure out a napping muse hobby until then.

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Progress! Closing in on 53k words

 

Book 3 for the Ravenhawk world is progressing nicely. As a pantser, or the more PC term, ‘discovery writer,’ I can’t plan a story to save my life. I have tried. I frequently fall into the trap of ‘the right way’ to write. This used to require my late husband to prod me out of the resulting funk. (Sometimes the prod was a proverbial boot to the ass because gods, I can be a stubborn bitch.)

It took me near three years to incorporate his prodding into my own psyche. Not that it is bad, mind you, but I do not think it is optimal. It required changing writing genres (man, I miss my fantasy) and a channeling a whole lot of anger and frustration into my murder-kitten Ravenhawk. (No, she isn’t a murderer. Exactly. But she gets to do what an aversion to prison fashion and nagging (excessively concerned) adult children keep me from doing.)

So. Why am I on book 3 when book 1 is incubating and will only hatch in 2019? Because inevitably, I will encounter a revelation in a subsequent story that must be addressed/corrected in the previous one. I am confident book 2 is now solid at this point for book 3. And then there will be book 4, which will likely solidify book 3. Overlap writing. It’s how I roll.

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