Week One

Keyboarding properly might just kill me. The goal they set out is simple: 30wpm, no more than two errors.

I can do 55 or so a minute as shown with Hera (doing 10k words in three hours, my calculator tells me that’s only 55 a minute. Seriously?) But the errors, oh, the errors!

The instructor said in the past she has disabled the backspace key (oh… gods) but this year didn’t. To which my mind went YES! And then that little voice in the back of my head went, “how much faster can you write a book if you actually typed accurately?” To which I, being the proud writer that I am, threw them off a cliff.

And began taking the tests and doing the exercises without the use of the backspace.

The instructor has a point. When something is there, we rely on it to help us out, but we need to learn to do things when it’s not there. At the same time, the voice at the back of my mind has a point. My old laptop has one broken key. The backspace key. Yeah, I used it way too much.

The thing is. My fingers go, “we can be so much faster,” and I don’t have music to drown things out. The woman who sits next to me keyboards properly, learned it in high school and a lot more recently than I have. Her wpm are something like 35 and I can hear her typing and it’s like a drug or something.

Mm, give me some of that clickety-clack.

Then there’s a couple of issues. Stories on the go for writing? None… editing is Crop and Harvest, but I always have something writing. I’m still planning out the new Coffee and Blood trilogy. That should be enough. But it’s like I hear the clacking of keys and all my characters start jumping up and down and going, “me, me, me!”

And Shade, who I’m supposed to be using to practice good keyboarding? Well, he rolled over and went back to sleep in his cell. Thanks, Shade. I no longer feel bad about what I’m about to do to you. How do you become an immortal, feared monster hunter if you’re a lazy bum?

The issue I’m having seems to be that all my stories want some help, they want my attention thinking that I’m in between projects, and I’m not. The other issue is that every time a story pops up, the voice at the back of my mind immediately dismisses it because I don’t want to devote that kind of attention to the plot. I don’t think I could manage to pay so much attention. So there is Savage Shores, all… five? Of the D.o.t.A books I have planned out, two for Coffee and Blood planned out, even Shade.

But the only one that has stuck around and maybe I could work on is mainly erotica, working title Bound by Blood, a book I started working on three years ago and never finished because it wound up more novella length and I didn’t like that.

I need to figure this out because the stories have to stop bothering me. Without being able to write, which would distract me, I’ve been flickering between webpages and OneNote. I’m almost certain the person beside me has caught on and watches but all we’re learning this semester are things I have a basic understanding of. By doing the back and forth, I’m stopping myself from becoming frustrated or winding up in circles. If that happens, I’m going to start writing and that’s not great for me.

Besides keyboarding, the other thing I might have trouble with is Interpersonal Communication. Yeah, soft skills. Boo.

Work has also taught me this over the years. It basically amounts to customer service and not being a dick. Easy, right? Sort of…

I have training in interpersonal communication, in difficult conversations, training and retraining and all sorts. That doesn’t mean I’ve ever been comfortable with the level of talking I give others, if that makes sense. So, I could very much learn from this course but it’s main time is Friday afternoons. Day three of three long days and at two-thirty on Friday my brain completely checked out. I lost about twenty minutes of the lecture and only really came to as I was leaving and the instructor said goodbye and wished me a good weekend. She’s such a cheery woman that it stuck out.

I basically went to work and proceeded to beat my head on the wall because that is not how interpersonal communication works.

Do you want a good job, Aya? Because this is not how you get a good job.

Math, accounting, and writing round out the semester. Math I can do, it’s only covering twelve years of math in one semester, how hard could it be? It goes so far as fractions and long division, maybe some algebra I think he said. I can do that. I do that while at work to fill the time. Figure out total new income from raises, percentages on sales, and hours, etc.

I like math, I suppose is what I mean.

Accounting, work has also had me do. Not quite the way they’re teaching us, but I kind of have a basic understanding. I’ve also been doing this for my writing but it seems not quite correctly. Everything’s recorded, it’d just be hell to go through for any poor soul who has to audit me. So I’m going to start doing that properly which is great practice for accounting.

Oh, and computer skills. I apparently skimmed over what the first chapter said. Stupid. Once I hit the questions, I knew I had a problem so I need to review it again.

For homework, I’ve done most of it on breaks or between school and work. But those periods were actually reserved for self-review last week. I went over extra information. Going through chapters and writing up notes on it, reading old notes, doing exercises. Whatever I can do to stay on top.

They told us several times that in the end your grades don’t matter and I fully understand and believe that. I could probably pass on what I know already, but then why even bother taking the semester? If I can refine skills I already have, I would be very happy. And for some reason I can’t just leave off at what the instructor gives us. I need to know I have an understanding of the information before me. It’s been that way for years.

Maybe because work has, for years, thrown new information at me and had me train others. After so long it’s almost impossible to just leave off. So I’m making more work for myself now, but I also feel a little more confident in my skills which means less nerves and the ability to pay attention more because I’m not concerned with that failing grade. I’ve only ever received below 60% on one course so… I mean, statistically it’s almost impossible for me to fail.

That doesn’t mean I’m just going to lean back and laze through the semester though.

My notes are going through OneNote, which has been fabulous so far. I access it on my phone, on my computers, and all the rest. Because I do most of the notes on my laptop, I don’t have to worry about a connection to the internet to access them when I’m out and about. Typically I am accessing them on theĀ  laptop.

The only issue I have is writing. She wants us to hand write/print it all. No computers. Me and my arthritis are not pleased but I get that we do need practice hand writing things because we will have to write notes. With those, I simply take pictures at the end of class and upload them to OneNote.

Tada. All my things on one place and organized by subject, then by date/chapter. Gone are the days of flipping through things searching for something specific and I love it to bits. I’m sure there are other programs that do the same, it’s the concept I love, I’ve wanted that inter-connectivity since being in high school and losing my first usb drive. I still have to back up onto drives because clouds could vanish or be hacked. I’m just not worth the effort of trying to get in there, so… so far I’ll be fine.

The only issue I really have is wanting to quit work. I want my work and income to be purely from writing but it definitely does not offer enough to do that.

Suppose this is where I put on the weepy author eyes and say, “please buy my books and leave a nice review when you’re done.” but I’m sure it will come with due time. For now, I have to accept the situation I’m in.

Unless I can buy the winning lottery ticket, but I’m not spending money on that without some kind of incentive.

Weekly Update

I’m technically a day late for my update, I know. I spent yesterday playing a video game figuring I wouldn’t have another chunk of time for a while.

The problem with the game is that it’s basically an open sandbox universe. Science fiction, lots of travel, you can walk anywhere on a planet surface. It’s a problem because that’s exactly what I like to do.

Surprisingly, my anxiety yesterday was almost zero. I’ve been on something new for anxiety and have been relatively anxiety free for the last week. The only issue is that my urgency to get the writing projects done has also dropped off.

Did you know overachieving is linked to anxiety in a lot of people? Wish I had a link to the study now. The anxiety causes that sense of urgency, the it has to be done now feeling that gets us up and doing things when there’s a really great game (or fifteen) sitting on your hard drive.

The moment I realized the sense of urgency was gone, I thought about cutting back. I like that part, and I don’t need full blown anxiety attacks to have the sense of urgency. In fact, I tend to get the most done when I’ve felt anxiety free.

Boy, was I wrong about what ‘anxiety free’ means.

Anyhow, after a little consideration, I decided to keep up with the current dose, but just for a little while. I’m well aware that psychological disturbances, mental illness, and the like can affect us physically. I’ve been anxious a long time. I’ll continue with what I’m doing for a couple of weeks to give my body the break it needs.

Oddly, as I realized the sense of urgency was gone, I added another page to Savage Shores.

I’ve also cleaned my little area. I technically live in a one bedroom with the ability to wander most of the house, so I cleaned everything but under the bed. And I only stopped there because it was late and I had to get up early to go to a driving lesson.

Now, the anxiety might also effect my ability to drive. I don’t get things on the first try because I’ve gone from fearing failure to basically going, “meh, there’s no consequences.” which is also something I don’t like, but it’s just a couple of weeks.

Alternatively, I need to re-teach myself how to act while not anxious.

I started with driving yesterday, obviously. Since I was mid-lesson when my teacher asked me what was going on because I wasn’t driving the way I had before and how I was driving concerned him. He took me to new areas and tried to re-teach me how to parallel park with a method that made no sense to me.

I turned it over in my mind all of yesterday and I think I get it now, but it’s overly complicated.

I took lessons some sixteen years ago and my teacher then had a fabulous method for parking. Sit in their driver seat basically, begin backing until you’re in their backseat then turn the wheel all the way to the passenger side and back slowly (in case you need to stop before hitting a car) As their back light appears in your windshield, straighten the wheel.

Shit, I lost a step. Youtube videos it is. Maybe the straighten isn’t there and you turn all the way to the left immediately.

Considering where I live, parallel parking is not a skill I would need to use often. I want to learn it, but I don’t need it. I have two legs, one’s a little messed up, but I still have two legs and I like walking.

Basically, I suppose, as he tried to teach me, my brain went, “WE DON’T NEED THIS,” I guess and it skipped about. Thanks brain. Me without anxiety might have an attention problem.

As in, if it doesn’t interest me, I don’t pay attention.

That’s not to say I’m lacking the urgency for projects because it doesn’t interest me. Those do, a great deal. But as I said before, my attention for the school year is school. I’m not getting overly invested in a project because I know I might not finish it.

Today is the first day of school. I have no idea what’s going on, where I’m going, if I’ll have a safe place right away to place my bag, if the instructors are nice or people I can get along with, if I can deal with my peers, where I will eat, if someone will be mean to me, what happens after class, what I’m eating for lunch, where I’m getting water from, where the nearest bathroom is, where the second nearest bathroom is, if my funding is going to come through by the end of the week, if I’ll need my laptop or my books today, or a million other things.

These are all things which make me anxious normally. I can feel a little anxiety riding up my spine, but if it were a normal day sans-treatment, I would be frozen in place and on the edge of tears.

I installed Sims 3 on the new laptop for after class, lunches, long waits… and giggles.

It may be a bad thing that the laptop handles Sims 3 better than my desktop. That makes me want a new desktop (Because I can’t upgrade anything due to the company basically welding everything together) but it still works so I’ll just settle with being thankful I have a working desktop.

And a five month old kitten in my lap who does not want me to leave. Can I just take a cat to technical school? Is that a professional move? I’m sure everyone would love him.

Planning etc

So, school starts on Tuesday. Most of my work will be wrapped up by then. There are final edits I will have to make time for and work around but that was bound to happen.

The schooling I’m taking is a technical college, I think they call it. Basically, they are going to teach me how to do a new job. It’s also a little like on the job training and I need to network and be a happy person every day.

… this is the part where I swear.

Ah, well.

School is taking priority over both writing and the day-job. To be fair, though, after this long I can do my day job in my sleep. I need physical energy and nothing more.

But over all that time, what’s going to happen? I’ll just vanish for nine or ten months and reappear?

That’s not my plan. Instead, over the next nine or ten months I will find bits here and there for writing. I have to, or I will go mad. I’ll make time for edits, or I’ll start editing text books and the instructor’s notes. I’ll update The Others between school and work.

I will still do things.

But I’m making only one promise: every Monday I will write up a post. It could be what I learned the week before, how I’m doing, some snippet I’m working on. Whatever it is, I will write an update. I will post it here.

With any luck, one of my first updates will basically be: no homework. Totally writing another book.

But I’m not leaning in that direction.

Instead, I’m looking out over my time and am weighing things carefully. I don’t want to fatigue myself too much but I could have an hour or more of a wait between getting off school and getting home, a two hour wait on days I work the late shift.

It’s my own fault, should have gone for driving lessons sooner.

My first priority is obviously homework. That needs to get done, I need to put in an effort for getting the tasks down pat. My second is supposed to be networking but I need a handle on my anxiety to be able to talk to people.

I might join student union.

I didn’t feel that anything much was said about the Student Union besides that they raise money for Cystic Fibrosis, had a bouncy castle last year, and do ‘lots of things.’ Events change between years, but I feel they could work on their communication, especially if they want to get everyone involved.

Because I’m in a leadership position at work so I forgot I’ve got this problem.

The problem where, when the orientation lady looked over a group of ten, I’m handed the paperwork and then I manage the whole scavenger hunt.

It’s not even my anxiety doing it. My level is about a one right now and that’s probably because my new supplement is starting to wear off.

A gym full of people smelled sulfer and I was the only one to get up and ask about the weird smell that reminded me of natural gas. Everyone else stayed put.

Which… is super weird and concerning.

I think that means I need to add ‘natural leader’ to my resume, right? Except I loathe taking on leadership roles when I’m not certain of the surroundings. I can do it, but the fear of failure in those environments is enough to spike my anxiety. Which causes an attack, which makes me cry, which… etc.

I want to buy all the books now, but I’m a broke bunny until the grants come in. Which apparently isn’t for everyone? I assumed it was, but when I went to the student center the nice woman I dealt with was very surprised that I obtained so much in grants.

Apparently, I’m a broken but lucky bunny.

All I did was go in to show my notice of assessment and then I asked the question I’ve had for the past couple of weeks about what I need the first day. Then I shut up and nodded and listened. I caught myself trying to run, though, and made my feet return to where they had been.

In doing so, I learned that the student union has a book sale of donated books from past students. I spoke with the president one on one for about two seconds, she kept staring at my boob (I realized after she might be committing my name to memory, crap) and she’s in the same area as me and knows they have one of the books I’ll need and that it’s the right edition. It might not save me much, but every bit helps.

Right. Plans.

I’m converting books and all else over to OneNote. It’ll free up space on my phone and allow me to access from any of my devices. I’ve been worried of late about the phone dying or me losing it / it being stolen. This way if it is lost, I don’t lose part of a book as well.

Scotland… Working Title

Okay, I’m sitting in orientation having an anxiety attack and it made me attempt to retreat into fantasy (hey, if it works…) so this may be all over the place and make no sense.

Coffee and Blood will continue through vampires with a new trilogy set in Scotland and involving a Canadian visiting Scotland who gets mixed up with vampires. Her ancestors immigrated to Canada and I need to do some research on Scottish immigrants and choose a family.

I’m dabbling with her wearing a necklace that was passed down through her family, or maybe a ring. It may or may not cause trouble.

She’s 32, oldest I’ve had in the books yet but it just makes sense to vary the ages. Her age also puts her in the position to have the funds to go on the trip and gives a little more chance for her back story to work better. Maybe would also explain going to see where her family came from.

His name is Drest, he ruled th Pict people on and off for some five hundred years. He’s a warrior and is a generation below an Elder, having learned about half of what Elders need to know. He tells me he has no power, but he does have a way of using whatever is on hand as a weapon.

As far as I know, he doesn’t have a family or faction. I know at least one faction (Lamia) gets involved, but Scotland isn’t within their territory so the European faction likely also gets involved.

His stock is of noble heritage but never kings or queens (that’d be dangerous) and he has the fifth highest immortal body count. That’s right, he know a couple of deaths of the month.

I don’t know his age or who turned him. I suspect (in this version of history, of course) he was the force that drove the Romans out through shadowy schemes and outright taking to the battlefield. Which would mean, given the timing, it’s entirely possible he’s the only vampire to drive out the Council and survive.

Death killed his Maker, but he’s also got a vendetta or two he’s carrying out. Considering he has travelled the world, has the worn passport to prove it, to bring down a vampire, he’s probably got more than one or two vendettas, now that I think about it.

I still need to debate the causes of the plot and what the outcome is. I mean, I think I know the very ending but I said the same thing about The Reaping and it changed. I’ve got a couple of ideas, both a cause of clash and why he gets involved and why she chose to go out now of all the time to visit Scotland.

Because of his position it is possible he works or protects another supernatural race. At first I thought fae but now I’m not certain. Could be witches. Could be hybrids, can’t remember what they’re called. Could be a mingled community of all the races (including humans).

I’ll find out more over the next couple of weeks.

Trying to Work

I have struggled to get edits done for Crop over the past week. I have goals, I have timelines, but I’ve been so stressed out by the day-job that I’ve managed absolutely nothing for two weeks.

And that sucks.

This morning I started editing Crop and even got through a couple chapters of removing ‘was’ (one of the many things I’m trying to do to strengthen my writing) then I finished my coffee and went out on an errand.

When I got back, I should have gotten back to work. Instead, I took a nap.

I did deserve a nap, but it’s also hours not being put into the work that I’m already behind on.

I miss the days when I’d stumble home from work (stumbling because I was tired) pour myself a glass of wine and spend the rest of my night editing as a way to unwind.

I’m working night shifts is why I can’t try to do that, I think. That and being constantly broke.

My school year is fast approaching and between it and work, I won’t be able to relax into much writing. Especially if the student loan doesn’t go through. Then I’ll need all the hours I can get to pay for the school but unlike a university degree, I can afford to pay for school with my current situation.

Come on, student loan.

The writing hasn’t really come back yet but my backlog for editing is pretty extensive and I wrote out all those plots weeks ago just in case this happened during the school year. It just so happens that my ability to write ended months earlier due to stress and anxiety.

Tonight, I’ll do more edits while watching tv shows. I’m also factory restoring my little tablet/netbook thing so I can start working while at work. They insist on working me full time hours (but since I need the hours, I’m not really complaining) on night shifts so I’m going to make it work one way or another.

As in, this works or I’ll be taking a baseball bat to it.

The writing I have been doing, for books of course, I’m trying to watch how I write and do it stronger to start with but words fail me. It’s an indicator or stress and overworking.

I’m going to be removing the games from my phone and avoiding certain sites like Reddit where I only read half the titles and have mucked up my attention span.

Going to have to read books again instead of skimming, oh noes!

Lethargy

My get up and go got up and shot itself in the face: is how I describe how I’m feeling right now. I think it’s been a couple of weeks since I did any real work. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that all my motivation is gone. Not the external motivation, the internal fire that keeps me going and keeps me warm at night.

Not depressed… which is usually a cause of this behaviour. A little stressed but in the process of fixing that. A few life changes, what with school and driving courses and applying for a student loan.

Could be the student loan. Since I’m dragging my feet about applying.

I have this weird relationship with spending money I need to improve my situation but not wanting to because of how large the dollar amount is.

Or it could be because my birthday is coming up. Normally I get whiny and … well, wine-y.

So the “Alphas Book 1” hasn’t been written. I do have to start over and write from the beginning of the book but it’s a loss of a couple of pages and I like the new plot better.

Wherein there is no plot really. But it’s a nice show of how Alphas can and do act. So far I’ve just had them startled. Like a cat finding a cucumber laying behind it. And the Alphas shown have been bickering over land. Land, like that’s going to get them a gold star.

I mean, it could, there’s a new world order they’re working out. But typically owners of land rule for a decade or so then get eaten and forgotten about.

Actual Alphas, who are settled in stable land, don’t worry about the land or who owns it. Unless that person interferes with their studies or inventions, then the owner of the land dies horribly when the Alpha unleashes his companions on the Dom’s settlement and just sits back with a cold drink, watching the bloody chaos that follows.

I don’t know why I want to write about the companions going all stabby but it’s been a recurring fantasy of mine since I created the world and it hasn’t been linked to any real world problem. It’s probably a phenomenon in the world that I just want to explore, as I am a world builder.

Anyhow. Real alphas are a bit more like Blane when Alex was still alive. Alex (or a companion) would run their land, estate, raise the children right. The Alpha would take an active role but their mania would mean sometimes they are absentee fathers, which is where the companion comes in, stepping in to fill the role of father while the actual father is off and away.

So in Alphas Book 1 we come across Darien who is constantly checking his email. I really had to pry it out of him as to why it was important. He told me to take a flying leap, I threatened to have him broken for Rebecca’s (the only Mother so far) entertainment and that didn’t work. Then I threatened to sell his companions on the black market for dirty, unpleasant things and finally he relented.

He checks his email and phone throughout basically thinking things like, “nope, still a broke Alpha,” because he’s recently done a thing for his line of work, which I won’t spoil because it kind of ties in to the big ending. Darien isn’t necessarily young for an Alpha to break out into the world, twenty-seven or so. Which means he’s late to the party so to speak. He wasn’t in school all that time. He graduated at twenty with a doctorate (which is not unusual for an Alpha) and promptly and accidentally took on an underage companion.

With how Alphas break companions and create lifelong, unbreakable bonds with their new… ‘friends’ this is a very real problem in the world. Darien went to a party, Cody said he was of age and had a fake identification (obviously Darien couldn’t tell the difference) then found out the problem the next day.

Okay, so that’s a little world building for me because without that I might lose interest. Cody would be the first companion broken while underage who is acknowledged in the books but when you have jerks like Owen about, it’s likely happened in the past and I hope they were slaughtered slowly by their own companions.

Oh… that happened too. Wonder what the story was behind that.

Darien and the new kid Al are in talks with one another about how this will go. It seems they want a bunch of smut with the old companions in the first book, a bunch of smut with Al in the second book, and then maybe a third to wrap up the whole story with a bunch of smut all around and maybe with Blane.

Who probably walks in pissed off because this would be the sixth book, I think, that I have him called.

Why?

Oh, he knows why.

Which is also why he’s not protesting too loudly to me about it.

Of course, these would be novella lengths, not books. Or novellettes.

Obviously my words aren’t backed up, so I’m not burnt out. The ideas are still there and flowing like ever before.

No idea what’s wrong. But I have to head out for a course now, so I’ll have to try to solve this problem later.

Alphas

So… I now need to name the world that Daughters of the Alphas takes place in. I’ve had a short but heated debate with the Alpha from this morning and have agreed to do a companion series involving Alphas and their companions.

That’s right, I know there are some readers out there who have been waiting for this. I will be doing a m/m series in the same world.

The point that the Alpha argued was that this world started as m/m and has been f/m with a quasi m/m sub-theme because of the civil war. But before the war, Alphas recognized that some of them just weren’t interested in women except for breeding. As in, not attracted to them but they are friends with women or hire a surrogate.

In the new world order the place of the companion has changed yet not. Even though Alphas and companions go together like cats and catnip, they haven’t been covered in Daughters of the Alphas. Even the planned books, the Alphas are mainly heterosexually inclined.

The terms that have so far been agreed to:

-Aiming for novella lengths. Short reads basically.

-Both new and settled companions

-Possibly tales of Alphas from the past. So historically relevant to the world.

As it’s going to be novella length in nature, I’m not certain when they will get done. The last novella was Contract Gifted which was written across three or so months as I had the time. This was among other projects as well.

So, names for the world and ideas on how to get this moving.