Good Morning?

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First hot coffee of the season here in GA.

And no, it’s not the stuff from the can shown in the pic. I’m a freshly-ground 8 O’clock girl, and/or home-roasted espresso girl. The colorful Chock full o’Nuts can is an item appropriately left over from my Father-In-Law who stayed most of the summer with us. THAT was an adventure, let me tell you.

But I won’t tell you – not all of it, anyway. Because while he’s not a bad person, the man gets on my last damned nerve, and it’s not fair to my husband to air out every last grievance about his parents on the internet. At least not the public part of the internet. But let’s just say I am very, very introverted, and FIL is very, very socially inept and pushes his unsolicited opinions and advice on everything and everyone. He also has little understanding or respect for boundaries. I think I’m allowed to say that much. There were some good things about him being here for almost three months: he helped with the bills while I was in my slow work season. He made our back deck somewhat functional, even though I’m pretty sure his “repairs” will ultimately add to the rotting problem in the long run. He cut down a lot of tree limbs and underbrush, some of which we didn’t really want cut down, but hey – it’s Georgia, and it’ll be back threefold next year. He pulled the bridge from our creek that got destroyed by a fallen tree (not his fault). And his stay required us to rearrange a couple of rooms in our house, which turned out to be a slight improvement.

I am glad he’s back on his side of the country and living his best, though – he was sent to us under a severe misdiagnosis. Also a good thing – the docs here at Emory know their shit. The man has heart failure and was sent to us with a terminal, needs-surgery-or-will-die-in-a-month diagnosis. The docs here fixed his meds and he spent the rest of the time doing all of the above crazy-ass shit until we finally told his medical team what he was doing, and they said, “er – yeah. If he’s doing all that stuff he doesn’t need to be here.”

So, that was my summer – creativity squashed by the stress of an obnoxious in-law living in my space at full volume all summer.

Once he left, I think something in me just collapsed, and I fell from jaw-grinding stress into a physical depression. One that I am hopefully starting to come out of, but man, it was rough. Also rough: having depression and ADD while being self-employed. My business has really taken a hit. Which, in turn, becomes a blow to my self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which then feeds my depression, etc. Good times.

This week I am working on pulling it together, though. My driving force is actually my dog:

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This precious bundle of soft, squishy sweetness who owns my heart. She’s perfect, save for some separation anxiety and subsequent piddle issues. I know, non-dog-people – just skip this part. Our carpets were crap before the dog, and OxyClean is a motherfucking godsend. Anyway, I take full responsibility for her accidents. She needs routine, and she hasn’t been getting it, because *I* don’t have any routine. Some days I’m here all day, sometimes I’m gone in the afternoon, other days I’m gone in the mornings, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on or when we’ll be out of bed (again with the depression). And all of our animals – cats included – are bed-potatoes. Seriously, our cats do not wake us up for food. If anything, they stay in bed and suck away all will and motivation to get up. The struggle is so real.

So my October resolution is to get us on a routine, field work or not – up and piddled and coffee/yogurt/back-deck-notebook by 8am.

Today was all luck. I haven’t had enough sleep, really. But I got up anyway. And here in another hour I’ll be in the water, swimming. After that, I might be in the local art studio, practicing with clay. Later today I’ll be working on finishing up this damned Steinway I’ve had in my dining room for too fucking long. And I will also be writing new scenes for two stories.

Yes, I am still a writer, too.

I am so fucking happy October is finally here. Maybe I’ll do a daily or weekly spoop to celebrate. Meanwhile, here’s this:

Spoopy Halloween!

Spoopy Halloween!

Three Things That Have Pushed My Happy Buttons Recently

Thing the 1:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Okay, sure, fitzsimmons. FITZSIMMONS. Oh, man. But besides that, the whole business of Skye/Quake/Daisy’s powers. Every time they get into the stuff about quantum physics and resonant frequencies, my piano-tuner self just SQUIRMS with delight. Seriously, I do physical flailing. It makes me So. Damned. Happy.

Thing the 2:

The Martian.

Yes, yes, everyone is going ON about this movie. But not without reason. I expect it to sweep the Oscars. More than that, of course, was the book. And Andy Weir himself. I mean, his personality really kind of made that book, because it gave that snarky, witty, but not too presumptuous edge to the character voice. Layer that on top of the frankly brilliant science-splaining and epic problem solving of the whole plot, and it’s golden.

Still, that’s not my major happy button. My big, giant, sparkly silver happy button was the feeling of communal enthusiasm in the audience and in everyone who’s read the book. It woke up the little girl in me that dreamed of being an astronomer, or even an astronaut. It rekindled the wonder and love of the study of outer space that I think has been kind of lost for a while, now. Happy. Button.

Thing the Final, which made me super-happy-squirmy just last night:

Dreams of Gods and Monstersthe third book of Laini Taylor‘s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

I’ve been intentionally taking forever to read this, because I’m pretty deeply in love with this series and I don’t want it to end. Okay, also because I’ve frankly been in a serious reading slump for like, a year now. But I’m “letting” myself read at a snail’s pace, anyway.

Last night, though, I was in bed with everyone around me sleeping, and I reached a point in the third book where she started getting all complex and pretty about multiple universes and reality and just – YUM OMG I LOVE THAT SHIT SO HARD. SQUIRMY SQUIRMY HAPPY.

Seriously, Laini – you already had me with your gorgeous prose and world building and magical creatures, but you had to go THERE, too?! Marry me, please.

Other shit:

NaNoWriMo is coming up, and it’s apparently turned autumn here in Georgia (knock wood. Seriously, I don’t expect this shit to stay). Time for hot tea, hot coffee, hoodies, and fuzzy socks. And pleading with myself to get my shit together and seriously tackle my word count issues. Are you doing the NaNo?

I finally womaned-up and got to the pool today. I think the last time I swam actual laps was when I was learning to swim at the tender age of five? What the hell took me so long, though? People at the aquatic center are largely there for the same reason I am – because their bodies don’t want to cooperate enough to do other exercises, and because swamming is great. Somewhere along the line, however, I seem to have forgotten how to handle submerging my whole face, breathing, and swamming at the same time. It’s okay, I worked around it today, but man. Derpiness.

That’s about it for now. I’m sure I’ll have something to say once we go see Crimson Peak.

xox,

CC

Illness Random

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before (likely the last time I had a cold), but I suck at being sick. I don’t know if it’s that I’m already hyperaware/hypersensitive/hypervigilant of every. damned. feeling. in. my. body., or if I’m just a wimp (you can assume the latter). But, yeah. People with more serious and/or chronic illnesses have my deepest respect. I can only hope I never have to woman-up to dealing with anything more serious than an occasional cold/flu/knee problems/shoulder problems/anxiety/depression. You know what I mean, right?

Anyway. In an attempt to beat back this crud enough to actually make some money this week, I am staying home and doing the couch camp.  The dextromethorphan is starting to kick in, and I’m trying to decide whether to put on some music or some Newsroom in the background. I’ve actually been bingeing American Horror Story – OH MY GOD what an awesome show! – but I don’t want to miss any of it in my haze. Although, it could be interesting…. No, too weird.

Speaking of great consumables, this fall is full of so much promise! I just picked up the new Metric album, Pagans in Vegas, as well as the new Vintage Trouble album in anticipation for the small-venue concert we’re seeing in October. There’s The Martian this weekend (!!!!), Agents of SHIELD, Crimson Peak (my heart), even Steve Jobs, which honestly I’m only sold on because Michael Fassbender, Jeff Daniels, and Aaron Sorkin. There’s a new Bill Murray thing which may or may not be awesome, and a ton more I’m sure. It might be the drugs and sinus pressure, but I’m even a little excited about that new Peanuts movie. WHAT.

That new Metric album is pretty neat in headphones.

There’s this cat that I guess belongs to my neighbor. It’s an outside cat, and I’ve watched it for two days now just sport-hunting. I know that cat isn’t hungry. It just looks for squirrels to kill. Kind of psychotic. I’m okay with that. We don’t use our fireplace because it attracts squirrels and it pisses me off and bums me out when they fall down our chimney.

I’m also still the tiniest bit sour about a discovery I made a while back. Basically people on the internet being not who they say they are, and at the same time completely disregarding the fact that the people they’re manipulating and lying to ARE PEOPLE. People with lives and feelings and just – what the hell. Why would you go out of your way to not just make up a whole life and fictional family, but to text me directly about your “cheating husband” who never fucking existed, because you knew I had gone through infidelity in my own marriage? What in the hell kind of bullshit is that? Don’t fucking talk to me.

Okay, I feel better.

Dextro messes me up, man. Wheeeeoooooh!

I totally should write some crack. My three main series bunnies have been active in my head a lot lately, but I’m in no condition to seriously tackle them right now. Maybe I should, though. I have this pattern where scene changes sometimes turn into brick walls that I beat myself against and nothing wants to happen until I get the damned sentence right. Usually when said scene change leads me to realize a whole other backstory that ultimately fills out the wolrd much better, but my world keeps expanding and it’s fucking with me.

I gotta stop this blog entry. I’m a mess. Here’s some candy I got from my tumblr feed.

I can't deal with this man's adorable sexiness.

I can’t deal with this man’s adorable sexiness.

 

Mish to the Mash Update: Rants and Raves

Been a while, I know. I’ve been working on a few large things, both in authorland and pianoland. Which means a lot of head-down working and a long stretch of nothing to show for it for the foreseeable future. I’m a-okay with that. Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end, and the happy part is that I’m actually excited about both writing and pianos again, despite the overwhelming parts.

Apparently, this is the year of Steinway for me. It’ll be interesting. Fingers crossed.

It helps my focus that the internet is so full of shit lately, I’ll say that much. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe stepping away from the internet and all its commentary and bitchery has made me less tolerant of it. I don’t know. What I do know is that, for me anyway, there are bigger things to advocate for and against than author bullies and problematic fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great thing that so many people (myself included) have been educated and changed for the better with regards to racism, bigotry, sexism, and just general human kindness and understanding. But lately, the few times poke my head in on the blogs and tumblrs I usually follow, I get this feeling of stale disgust.

The two main issues I personally have are:

a) We’re really still whinging about GoodReads meanies? I swear to christ, some of these authors and their boohooing need to spend three active years immersed in a large and critical fandom, be put through the wringer multiple times on fanficrants and fandomfail, and have to submit their work to sites like Petulant Poetess. When you put your shit out there, whether as an author, blogger, musician, artist, whatever – you are putting a product out that is no longer in your hands. And when it’s in the proverbial hands of a consumer (reader, listener, whatever), they have any and every right to respond however the fuck they want. Also? That fact is NOT “victim blaming.” Your publicly sold/posted material isn’t akin to “wearing too short of a skirt,” and blog trolls are NOT “rapists.” Jesus fucking christ. That was easily one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a month, and no, I’m not going to link where I saw it.

b) Fictional characters are fictional. And frankly, as a reader, I don’t want to read about or watch perfect people who never say, think, or do anything problematic. While I think it’s important and valuable to point out the problematic shit, the characters and stories are not the author. Just as a story is no longer “our baby” when it goes out to readers, the story a reader gets isn’t the author. That said, I’ve seen both reviewers and authors lose sight of that. All I can say is: if/when I publish a story with some sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or slut-shaming character flaws, when that criticism comes, I will be happy to agree that said characterization is problematic, and that’s kind of the point. No one is perfect – even the best, most socially conscious hero or heroine would be fucking boring and unrealistic as fuck if they didn’t have their idiot moments. And said idiotic moments absolutely should be criticized, not celebrated.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, RAVES.

OMG, y’all. The Martian by Andy Weir. Can I tell you about this? I discovered Andy Weir, not from the bestseller hype, but from a tumblr meme that spoke to my agnostic self. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual jpeg that went with it, but it was basically his short story, The Egg. Go ahead, read it.

…right?

Anyway, I was so blown away, I looked into his other stuff and nabbed The Martian. Funny enough, I haven’t actually finished reading it. Because it’s so damned good, I don’t want it to end. So I keep stopping myself and setting it aside. Seriously. Just read the first page, and you’ll see.

More exciting, it’s being made into a movie for release this fall, with a slew of awesome actors, and I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT OMG OMG OMG. Seriously, THAT CAST. and THAT STORY. GUH.

Speaking of Jeff Daniels, the husband and I just recently finished binge watching The Newsroom. More fantastic writing and acting. And yeah, yeah, typical middle aged white male hero, blah blah see point #2 up there.

I also finally broke into Orange is the New Black, which again – fantastic writing and acting. So many monologues, and they’re all good.

Game of Thrones? What is that? I don’t want to go there. We’re still watching it. I’m not happy about several obvious turns it’s taken, but no one is. It’s all been said, and whatever – DRAGONS.

Okay, that’s about all I have to throw into the void for now. Time to get back to job estimates and time travel. ❤

Disappointed and Grateful

Brought to you by the Jenny Trout/Anne Rice/racist-slave-BDSM-hotmess-story/Excessica shitpot.

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At first I was bemused. Sure, there’s always drama somewhere. But haven’t we yet clued in and moved beyond the belief that any one writer and/or reviewer can have the power to “destroy” another writer’s career? I mean, never mind that people are going to read whatever the fuck they want to read, and make their own decisions. I guess if you’re not an all-powerful super-blogger, you’re just a brainwashed sheep that does whatever you’re told. And not that it matters, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who agreed that the original story that triggered this mess was pretty fucked up and racist, but I personally wasn’t willing to go so far as to contact retailers and demand its removal.

I also scratched my head at the thought that blogging a request/suggestion, no matter how scathing, to write to retailers and express opinions about their product, and/or “voting with your dollars,” somehow wasn’t a freedom of speech just as valid as any other. After all, we didn’t scream to protect Chick Fil-A from censorship, punishing those who spoke against them and encouraged others to boycott them for their marriage equality opposition.

The whole thing just seemed – odd. Odd, and a little ridiculous.

But, then it came to light. This isn’t really about censorship at all, is it? It’s about mean girls and cliques, and wanting to punish those who step out of line, give them a taste of their own medicine, whatever.

And that’s disappointing.

If that one slave story was actually removed from retailers due to people reporting it for racist content (and I honestly don’t know, as I wasn’t following that closely), that’s just… NOT the end of a career. At least, not any career that had a hope of being successful in the first place. Hell, if anything, I’d bet a cup of coffee and a pastry that all this hoo-hah has probably given that author more attention than they’d ever had, resulting in a spike of sales. But I could be wrong.

The turnabout, blackballing the blogger-author author Jenny Trout from the Bad Boys Next Door anthology, served no purpose other than powerplay and reindeer games. And while it ultimately affected 11 other authors, I am hopeful that it’s Excessica (and their queen writer) that will suffer for it. Probably not, but in the spirit of my utter disgust, I can hope. Those authors who voluntarily pulled their stories from the anthology? I’ll happily go buy their stuff from other publishers. And I’m going to round out my Jenny Trout / Abigail Barnette library, now.

The Gratitude part of this post is again: I am really so grateful to be a nobody. This has served as a warning against certain social media voices. It has reminded and encouraged me to just focus even more on story-writing, and to avoid e-publishers like Excessica and Ellora’s Cave like the bloody plague, both as a reader and an author. I’ll take obscurity over that shittiness, thanks.

As for Anne Rice, the cow who hates fanfic but makes money writing Jesus fanfic herself, who lauds STGRB yet sends her ‘minions’ to do the exact same? Well, that’s really all you can say about her, isn’t it? Pretty much sums up her whole hypocrisy right there. My tinhat is piqued that it was really Rice’s fans that pushed this thing to its current position, though.

But this is all just, like, my opinion, man.

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Friday not-so-random shit

HI INTERNETS!

Welcome to 2015 and all that shit. I have some mish-mash links for you at the bottom of this post, if you want to skip the “me” stuff.

So. I’ve been kind of at a loss for anything heartfelt to say these past months, what with all the racism, transphobia, homophobia, sexism, classism, and general bigotry flying around. It’s crushing to see how fucked up the human race is, how much hate there still is in this world, and combined with the awareness of my own privilege as a cisgender, white, lower-middleclass American, I’ve struggled to find anything eloquent and organized enough to say, so I’ve pretty much been reduced to reblogs and link-passing.

On the non-political/humanitarian front, I’m officially burned out on book blogs and writing blogs, very lightly skimming headlines and occasional content. My two, mediocre little self-published releases frankly don’t bring in enough attention or money for me to give two shits about what Amazon is doing, or where the future of ebooks is. I just need to focus on writing actual stories, so fuck all the sniping and gossiping and hand-wringing.

Writing has been mostly “off” as well, while I figured out what my problems are: mainly a weakness in understanding and utilizing plot structure, and general frustration with trying to shoehorn stories into a romance formula. Both can be corrected, but that means taking a deep breath and patiently refocusing. All behind-the-scenes shit.

So what I’m saying is I’m still here. Same-o, same-oh.

Resolutions? Eh. Read more – a LOT more. Listen more – a LOT more. Treat every day that’s not a planned day off as a work day. Get health insurance, somehow. See a doctor and make my husband do the same. Fix up / restring my piano, get rid of the three other pianos in my house, fix up the digital piano I picked up. Polish off all the old pieces I mis-learned and add some more music to my repertoire. Blog more. Write. None of this is anything exclusive to January 1st, 2015.

All that said, have some links that are relevant to my mood, plus some urban exploration:

When you start to do these 20 things today, your life will be greatly improved. Okay, 20 is kind of a high number. Try just one at a time. They’re all pretty good, and none of them involve stupid shit like dieting or abusing your body or psyche.

20 Signs you Really Hate People. Gif-stravaganza. Oh, man, is this me to a tee. An oldy but a goody.

Urban exploration of the Burlington Bunker. “Under the Corsham Cotswalds approximately eighty feet below ground beneath RAF Corsham, lies the UK’s largest underground bunker and for sixty years one of the best kept secrets in modern MOD history. Burlington bunker. Assembled as an emergency relocation site for the British government if the threat of nuclear war ever became reality. The bunker boasts some impressive ‘sections’ from a BBC broadcasting suite to a Hospital all accessible via 10 miles of ‘road’.” AKA Really Cool Shit.

And finally, if you just want some pretentious hipster eye candy, there’s an Instagram of nothing but Men and Coffee. You’re welcome.

Currently listening to: Pure Heroine by Lorde

I made a thing. Or, “Introducing, FREE FICTION!”

*throws glitter*

I wrote a smutlet. I tried, unsuccessfully at first, to post it publicly on WattPad. Apparently bits of it are too smutty to be deemed fit for public consumption by the PTB at WattPad, so I went ahead and created a new page here. So, I bring to you, Free Fiction by C.C. Denham! Any little smutlets or short-shorts I’d feel bad about charging money for, I’ll be sharing at that location. Generally plan on stuff that’s 5k or less.

But, back to WattPad. I have decided to test the waters there for some of my less-serious stuff. I did figure out that it would let me post R-rated material publicly, but apparently certain keywords or phrases trigger their NC-17 flag, and those get hidden from the public, only viewable to those folks following me. If you’re a WattPad-er, come by and trade “follows” with me!