Tag Archives: cat

Mission Report: September 16, 2016

So it’s been over…

*looks at last blog post and calendar*

*promptly burns the calendar*

Ahem, never mind. All that matters is the update I’m about to lay on you guys.


I’ve been heavy in the deep, dark, re-write cave since it feels like forever. Just to give a progress report, so to speak, let’s go over the goals I set several months back.


  • March thru April (…June): finish draft 2 of UF #1, send to betas; write query, synopsis, and pitches for Twitter  Nope
    • April 23 – 24 = DFWCon (not planning to pitch or consult w/ any agent)  Done, didn’t pitch/consult but I DID get a new CP/writer buddy and met several others! SUCCESS
  • June thru July: outline & flesh out DF idea  Nope
    • June 9 = Pitmad for UF  #1  Nope
    • June ?? = SFFPit for UF #1 Nope
  • July: Draft DF book for CampNaNo Noooooope
    • start prepping PitchWars submission Double nope
  • August thru September: complete draft 3 of UF #1; work on query, synopsis, blurb, etc. Nope
    • August 3 = PitchWars subs open (!)  Super nope


Seeing a theme, here?  Spoiler alert – rewrites take a long fucking time. I am making progress, it’s just a slow and steady race. Currently I’m sitting at 8 chapters re-written out of an expected 21; the first 5 have taken the lion’s share of the time to fix, and there’s still a couple in those that will still have to be reworked again for voice and plausibility before style and other proofreaderly edits.

In addition to grunt work, with the help of my fabulous CP, I’ve worked up three solid pitches for Twitter pitch parties. AND THE FIRST BOOK HAS A TITLE! Can’t describe to you how much of a weight is lifted off with finally having something to call this baby other than UF #1.

And no, not going to relay it here. Not until closer to the finished, query-ready manuscript draft, anyway. Just know that title includes a bird.  =)


Other goings on: I went to California for a week for work, and THEN went to Englannnnnd! FOR TWO WEEKS!






My wonderful colleague/friend made the trip so much less stressful. Once her husband found out I wanted to go visit all the London touristy things, he planned a full route for me to see as much as possible in one day. The British Museum was the one place I actually went into, but we hit almost all of the other major sights: Buckingham Palace (as he called it, the Queen’s House), British Museum,  Hyde Park, St. James Park, Horse Guards Parade, Parliament/Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, London Bridge, The Eye, the Shard. I rode the tube, and an above-ground rail/train to a station near their house.

They took me out to fish and chips. I tried gin and tonic (never again). Got to see the bad traffic on several of the M’s. Experienced the greatness that is Tesco, for lunch. And on and on… It was great, guys. Rural England reminds me very much of southwestern Virginia where I grew up, and although London/England was never on my top places to visit, it’s definitely on my list to return to.


The other, much less fun part of this update is about my absence from Twitter the last few days. You might be wondering why I chose to to title this post thusly. Two reasons:

#1 obviously, the Captain America: Civil War reference, which will make sense later
#2 Friday (Sept.16) was the last time I touched my WIP in terms of re-writing/revising


Warning: probably about to be some feels ensuing. Mine are a given.


If you’ve been following me on Twitter the last few months, you’ve probably seen posts about our cats. Cat pictures, volunteering, and the struggle with our “baby” Diamond.



Diamond started having seizures in March. We went through medication, bloodwork, an MRI, consultation and testing with a neurologist, and more medication. They suspected her of having a metabolic disorder.

There’s no cure for metabolic disorders in cats. You basically just monitor their standard of living. If you’re lucky, you get to make the choice for them when they reach that point.


Diamond passed away Saturday morning. She had either one really big shitty seizure, or several small shitty seizures. Either way, her little 6lb body couldn’t handle it. As I held her on the way to the ER-Vet, I kept telling her to hang on even though I think I knew, deep down, she wasn’t going to come back from it. When the vet asked if we wanted them to try and stabilize her, I just nodded. I wanted to ask what the odds are of her having brain damage were, IF she stabilized, but I buried that down. And when she crashed, I nodded with H again to have them try CPR. It couldn’t hurt to hope, right?

I wish I would’ve just said my mind. I wish we could’ve just given her peace in those last few minutes.


I’ve experienced the death of close relatives, but I don’t think I grieved for them. Not like this, not like I’ve grieved for Commodore and Diamond. And that’s just two sides of what feels like a d20 in this whole situation: losing two pets, two members of our family in less than two years. We knew there would come a point of no return, we just thought we had another ~6 months with her. Even with Commodore it was about a 3 week downward turn. For Diamond, we had an hour, maybe.


I’m angry, because she didn’t deserve that kind of death. She didn’t deserve to have her brains scrambled to the point it wouldn’t function.

I’m lost, because how do I fill the time previously spent caring for her? What do I put on my schedule instead of “need to be back by x time to give her her medication” ?

I feel guilty. What if instead of feeling crabby that H missed her 3:30 AM dose Saturday morning, I’d just given it to her* when I saw he didn’t? Would that have made any difference?

I’m numb, because it’s the best way to get through the day without crying. Don’t think, don’t feel, just survive.

I hurt for her, for H, for us. The ER-Vet already sent a card, and I know it says “Sorry for your loss,” and I just can’t open it. I dread the next few days because I know there’s a call coming, at some point, to pick up her ashes. Then it will be real. Then she will truly be gone.


I hope you’ve found peace, little one. We miss you.



If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading.

*I know this probably wouldn’t have helped. Anti-convulsants build up in the system, so one missed dose shouldn’t have triggered this. I feel guilty, regardless.


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Writing with Music: A Careful Dance

Okay everybody, it’s that time again. Curse these stinkin’ Mondays, making you WORK. And now I’m going to make you do more. No rest for the wicked, no rest for the writer.

Fine, you can have one margarita before you start. ONE.


This week’s theme is: A Careful Dance. Today’s music courtesy of Lindsey Sterling –


Some prompt ideas:

– a character must tango, literally or figuratively, with someone they perceive as an enemy

– a thief steals something, is spotted, now must run for their freedom and/or life

– space freighter captain navigating through enemy airspace, barking commands at his or her crew while trying to keep the ship and cargo intact


For me, the song seems like it would fit a historical piece or section, especially if the character or mood needs to be a little sassy. Whether it’s a young woman who has to dance with a proposed suitor at a ball to make her guardian happy, or a sky-captain grappling onto another airship in a surprise attack, this song should work for both character or plot-driven scenes.

Again, don’t spend all your writing time today/tomorrow doing this. Ten to fifteen minutes, just enough to get your juices flowing. To grease your brain gears for your own project. To spark an idea. Seriously, there is no pressure! I won’t even tell my hundred-plus ponies if you didn’t do it.  I will tell the cat, though. He’s not so forgiving. He’ll be all up on your face wondering why you weren’t feeding him if you weren’t writing, either.



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Where has the time gone?

Where, oh where, did 2014 go? I don’t know if I should blame work or what, but the year really flew by. There were some notable experiences — attended my first writer’s conference; went to my first author signing; attempted (and “won”) NaNoWriMo for the first time. Lots of good things!

Unfortunately, our year concluded in a bad way. [Warning, heavy paragraphs ahead.]

Shortly after NaNo ended, we became concerned about Commodore. He acted fine, but would barely eat. After several days he wouldn’t touch his normal dry food. We bought three or four different wet foods (to start) trying to entice him to eat. He’d work down maybe half a small can and then stop. We knew something was wrong, just didn’t realize how bad it was for cats not to eat.

The short version of the story* is that Commodore’s FeLV likely went from regressive to progressive, setting off Hepatic Lipidosis (fatty liver) and/or something worse like lymphoma.  For two weeks we force-fed him four to five times a day and gave him a steroid, trying to reverse the fatty liver and slow down the FeLV. We are happy that one of those weeks was a good one; his energy picked up, he became interested again in going outside, and he ate more treats. But despite our best efforts, the sickness prevailed. On December 28, we chose to help Commodore across the rainbow bridge.

It is, and will be for some time, hard to talk about him. Hard to glance at his tower in my study, now empty save for a pile of his toys. Hard to pull into the driveway and not see him sunning in the study window. Hard not to see him hobbling down the hall to meet us when we come home for lunch. To put it simply, he was a glorious cat and is sorely missed.




Tomorrow we’re going up to my parents’ farmland in Virginia for a week as our holiday vacation. We’re going to bury Commodore’s ashes somewhere with lots of trees and birdsong, since he was an outdoor cat at heart.

On a happier note, my family will all be together for the first time in a year. We get to meet my older brother’s girlfriend. We can disconnect a little from the crazy stress of 2014 and re-balance for the new year. While there, I’ll be working on the next post. Suffice to say it should have a sunnier tone.  I do still want to talk about NaNo. It was a crazy ride, especially the last ten days or so. Book reviews will be coming too.

Most of the New Year goals I made in years past fizzled. I originally didn’t plan on having goals this year, but Commodore changed that. For 2015, I want to spend more time with family, friends, and our two dogs. I want to take a smarter approach to writing, so that more of my time is spent with those I love instead of wasting it on random websites. I also want to blog more about the books that move me, whether for good reasons or bad. I want to volunteer, or just give back in some way to the rescue that helped us out so much with our pirate cat.


What about you guys? What are your 2015 goals? What matters to YOU this year?


* If anyone wants the long story of what happened and our care plan, I’ll be more than happy to post it. I just didn’t want to drag down the whole post with giant blocks of text over the specifics.

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