'Tis the Season to be Tired Fa La La La La....

Happy Holidays! Better late then never right?

I'm currently in the middle of a Christmas break that is going way to quickly. I can feel the time slipping away, with each blissfully work free day, but I'm trying really hard not to focus on that. I don't want this break to be about what I could or should be accomplishing during this time, because dammit, all I really want to do right now is BE. Is that too much to ask?

So what have I been up to? Since I haven't updated too much on life happenings since October-ish, I'm just going to do a basic recap post. The kind that nobody likes to read.

Moving Day!!
We went to Lake Tahoe over labor day weekend, and then when we came back we moved to our little apartment in Mission Valley. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Moving is the worst. We expected to live there from September 7th until mid December, but plans changed when the builder moved up the closing date on our new home to end October. I was ready to get out of that apartment, but having to break our 3 month lease was stressful, and I was not ready to have to move again so soon. We only lived there for six weeks.

I Had a Book Launch Party

If my husband had asked me if I wanted a book launch party I would have looked at him like he was crazy. I don't like a lot of fuss. I definitely wanted a wedding, but one of the things I most worried about was being the center of attention. I'll admit, I loved every second when it happened, but I'm just not entirely comfortable it. I have a tendency to downplay myself in general. A party is the exact opposite of that, so I definitely would have said no.

I've also been very quiet about writing a book, so it's a pretty logical conclusion that I would not want to throw a party about it. My husband knows this. He did not ask, so when I walked into my own book launch party I had no idea was happening I was stunned.

Official Book Launch Day!

I've been so busy with the chaos of moving twice within the last six weeks, that launch day really snuck up on me and I haven't had too much time to think about it. Or even write a post! So this is it. The paperback has been available for the last month. The e-book was only available for pre-order, but now you can purchase and receive the e-book right away, along with the paperback.

Believe it or not I STILL have yet to see the actual paperback. I waited to pull the trigger on my order until after I moved, so a big box of books should be showing up on my doorstep tomorrow, after the official book launch. Which is kind of weird, but that's okay. It doesn't matter how many people see the paperback before I do. It takes nothing away from the excitement I feel about finally holding a physical copy in my hands.

Pros and Cons of Apartment Life

Walking Distance to Mission Bay
Moving twice isn't ideal, but we felt it was what needed to happen, to make sure the selling of our old house and the buying of our new one went smoothly. We anticipated renting for three months (and even signed a 3 month lease), so we were shocked when the builders told us that we'd be closing in October and not December. More stress! Our landlord wouldn't let us out of the lease, but the builders made a concession for us on our home price as compensation. We've been homeowners living in a 3 bedroom, plus loft,  2.5 bath, 1800 square foot house for eight years. I wasn't thrilled about losing the comforts of home that I'd grown accustomed to, but I tried to look at it as a new adventure for us. And it was! But we are really ready to get out of here. So, let's talk about the pro's and con's of apartment living as I've experienced them for the last six weeks.

Apartment Life #confessions

I'll be the first to admit that I'm spoiled. I've lived in two different places over the last thirteen years and both were brand new. Our next house is brand new. Hell, even my childhood home was brand new. We moved in when I was five. I don't recall worrying about the cleanliness of things back then, but it was definitely of some concern during my apartment living years after college. I cleaned immediately after moving in "just to be sure," and usually felt a little uncomfortable during the first few weeks. My obsessive cleanliness disorder has gotten worse and worse over time, making my transition to a 38 year old apartment really hard after living in everything is brand new land for so long.

The Big Book Cover Reveal

I get so happy when you comment that you can't wait to read my book. First of all, I'm still kind of amazed that I wrote a book that people will be able to read. But also, I think it is just so sweet that you've said it without knowing a single thing about the title or the story. I've been pretty tight lipped about it. Up to this point, it's pretty much just been me and my manuscript. My mom read it in it's infancy when it was super rough. Then, beta readers, my publisher and editor, but that's it. I wrote this thing alone and I didn't tell anyone I was doing it. In my first mention of it here on my blog I'd already been working on it for nine months. My online peeps have been hearing about it for years, but to this day, very few people in my life even know I wrote a book. It's so cute, but my husband has mentioned my book to more people than I have. Nobody at work knows. Writing this novel has been my baby, my passion, and also my secret for so long. The time has finally come to share, and I'm terrified. That was always the goal, even when I wasn't sure I could even write a book but I didn't realize how scary it would be.

The Moving Diet & Exercise Program

I don't mean to sound like a whiner, but I have to say that moving was a really really terrible experience. Something about putting every single thing I own in the entire world into 24" boxes was almost enough to send me over the edge. I felt so overwhelmed. My husband has more experience with moving and living in limbo. I have to give him a lot of credit for taking the lead and pulling me along. He knew what packing materials to order, and how to pack all of our glass while I stood stunned and motionless in our bedroom. Time was limited, so I knew I needed to do something, but I looked around and just didn't know where to start or how to do it. He takes everything in stride, and it didn't bother him too much, but the disarray in our house, having to decide what to put in storage for three months and what to keep, and the pressure of having to make everything disappear in three days was a lot for me to handle. We purged a lot of things from our house in preparation for selling...and still I felt so disgusted by all the stuff we had to move. It really makes me want to get get rid of everything! Burn it all!! Well that won't happen, but this experience has definitely renewed my desire to continue working towards becoming a minimalist or at least a quasi minimalist.

How We Enjoyed Lake Tahoe without a Rental Car

A few months ago I realized that Southwestern Airlines credits for flights we didn't use last November was set to expire. I didn't want to spend too much more money trying to go somewhere, nor did we really have a lot of time considering we were in the middle of trying to sell our house, but I absolutely could not let that money go to waste.

Me: Okay, where can we go? Hmmm. How 'bout Lake Tahoe? Reno isn't that far.
Him: Why? 
Me: I don't know. I think I've always wanted to go there. Seems like a cool place to visit.
Him: Okay.

He was like, cool whatever, let's go and left it up to me to plan the entire trip. I had to tinker with days and times a lot to get reasonably priced direct flights so it wouldn't take us four hours to get there. Before everything was finalized I'd made and cancelled two different hotel reservations, and still hadn't decided on what our outings would be, but I got it together the week we went. Even then, I had to re-book our shuttle, and our cruise for different times. Ugh. But it all worked out in the end, and we did it without a rental car.

Moving Sucks, Moving Twice Sucks Harder

Real estate is weird. I feel like everything happens backwards. You sell your house when you don't yet have a place to live. You buy a new home, before you've sold your old one. You pay a hefty commitment deposit and agree to buy before you've had a home inspected or even built. You choose flooring and other design elements when the necessary funding for it won't be finalized for weeks or months. Every single  detail for moving or buying a home has been set in place, yet nothing is truly final until those keys are in your hand. None of this makes any sense, whatsoever in my head. Nothing is done in the order you'd think it should be done, and yet this is how it works.

How can anyone function like this? The answer is very stressfully.

Line Edits Are Done

I was definitely a little bit nervous about line edits. I worried about what I might be asked to change, and if I was capable of making requested changes satisfactorily. Or what if the whole thing was so bad that the editor tells my publisher he should pull the plug?

Yes. My mind went there.

There are three types of editing as I understand it. Developmental editing, line editing, and copy editing. Developmental editing is a process by which an editor helps a writer along by providing feedback and possible solutions regarding big picture concepts like plot holes, character development, and structure issues. Grammar isn't really a thing at this stage, and the point is to get the story and characters in good shape. Line edits, as the name suggests, is when an editor goes line by line with an eye for dialogue, tense, tone, inconsistencies, style, flow, and word choice. Copy editing is a detailed look at spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This would be the last type of editing before publication. I was super lucky to have a very competent and knowledgeable editor who really took care of line and copy together. I edited the hell out of my manuscript on my own for years. I read and re-read it, ripped it apart, put it back together, and rearranged it, some more. By the time I went looking for a publisher it was pretty clean, but it still needed extensive editing.

Family Time Is the Best Time

I eat this pizza every year at the fair, not even kidding
I really wanted to get these pics on my blog this month...because it happened THIS MONTH. Lately, it's a big ask to get my  blog updated in the same month in which it occurs, but I've done it. Only three weeks late.

Aim high.

Physical Therapy is Super Fun

Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder syndrome is really weird. The tissues in my shoulder became tight and inflamed. Scar tissue and adhesions that are not supposed to be there formed making it hard to move my arm. The manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is meant to break that tissue with aggressive movement and manipulation of my arm. It might also include a scope with tiny scissors through an incision in my shoulder, if the adhesions could not be sufficiently broken. The anesthesia team came by before hand and told me I would be given a nerve block shot prior to being put under anesthesia, but that I'd get a little something in my IV to relax me.

Bummer. I was hoping that the whole thing would happen while I was completely knocked out.

Surgery or no Surgery? That is the Question

If my doctor had asked me in November last year if I wanted shoulder surgery my answer would have been yes. Without hesitation. Yes! Put me under. Give me the knife. Just make the pain stop! I was really, really over it by then. Physically pained, and mentally exhausted by living that way for so long.

Disclaimer: I have no recollection of this photo being taken due to drugs
Despite all efforts, to rehab my torn rotator cuff in physical therapy I was still in a lot of pain, and had been for a year. Just to recap. Summer of 2016 I felt a twinge of pain in my shoulder when I did push-ups. By November of that year, the twinge of pain during exercise morphed into an excruciating stab of pain every time I reached for something above my head or to my right. By January 2017 I was in with my primary doctor, who suggested exercises (which I did faithfully) and a follow up appointment if it got worse. I went back to my primary in March. I was referred to Orthopedics, X-rayed and MRI'd. Diagnosis: 7 mm tear of the rotator cuff. I had my first physical therapy appointment in April. I was really committed to physical therapy three times per day. There was some improvement, but I was still in pain doing most of the exercises, up until my very last PT appointment in June before leaving the country for six weeks.

One Year and Nine Months Later...

Oh my. It's been a long time. A lot of things happened this month, and when a lot of things happen the old blog tends to take a back seat.

The biggest and most exciting news is that my long lost husband is home. For good. Not just a visit. The first set of large black containers showed up on May 12th. There would be two more separate sets of box deliveries before he finally arrived on May 26. It would be pretty fair to say he's been quite the distraction ever since. A good distraction. I went from living alone for one year and nine months to rarely being home alone, and I like it.

I'm Publishing My Book

My original manuscript
I wrote a very detailed post about five different ways to get a book published, but never got around to telling you how I'm planning to get my book published.

I learned I'd need a query letter and that I'd need to research agencies to query. This query letter would be sent to literary agents requesting representation for my manuscript. They either want just the query letter or the query letter plus the first one to three chapters, or the query letter plus the first ten pages. Some may also want a synopsis so I had to be prepared for that also. Each query letter has to be tailored according to specific agency submission guidelines, and the idea is that you keep sending queries until someone requests the full manuscript. It's also important not to burn through all submission options in one go. Test the waters and await possible feedback, or lack thereof.  Depending on that, I would need to consider tweaking the query letter or halting submissions altogether to revise my manuscript. It can take a really long time to hear back from an agent at each step, and some of them have rules about whether or not they allow submission of the full manuscript to any other agents while they are reviewing it. So you can imagine how long this could take, and how delicate the process. If I got an agent, there could be more revisions. Then, said agent would try to sell my book to a publisher. If it sold there could be additional revisions after that. If I was lucky.

Novel Update & Why It Took So Long to Finish

My last novel update post was in 2016 when I was taking my first ever writing class, and learning a lot of information that inspired me to make a whole lot of changes to my manuscript.

So what's been going on with my manuscript since then? First, here's a little recap on my novel writing journey.

When You Spend Your Birthday Alone

Birthday Spoils

 I'm an April Fool's baby, and this year I spent my birthday alone. When I say alone, I do mean alone, as in the only person I spoke to in person was the barista at Starbucks and she really wasn't all that friendly. You got your free coffee now go away.  She didn't actually say it, but that was the general impression. Good thing I don't rely on strangers for my sense of self worth.

Kinda Loopy

I loved roller coasters when I was younger.  I wanted all the loops.  All the dips.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs with my arms in the air. The more extreme the better. Disneyland was cute, but I preferred the thrill of Magic Mountain. I got excited just looking at the Colussus sprawling across the park. It was so pretty, and massive, and it was my favorite. These days...no. I haven't been to a major amusement park in a really long time. The last major roller coaster I rode was The Big Apple Coaster on the roof of New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas. I only did it because my sister insisted. So much fun! I have the guts for it mentally, but not physically. We got jerked around so much I thought my neck would break. When we go to the fair, mild rides are the way to go (if at all), and only before I've eaten or else I risk being nauseated for the rest of the day.

I Don't Concern Myself With Their Age

I haven't seen my parents since Christmas, so my mom decided they would come spend her Birthday with me.

"Do you know how old Mom is?" Dad asked.
"I don't know.  I don't know how old you are either! Does it bother you that I don't know how old you are?  Is that weird?"

Five Ways to Get a Book Published

Writing a novel was the goal, in and of itself, so it wasn't a priority for me to know anything about the publishing industry before I started.  I wrote my fiction novel in a vacuum, but three years, and many revisions later it occurred to me to take a look to see what my options might be should I ever try to publish.  So much information! It was pretty overwhelming, but I found out what I needed to know.

Traditional publishing is pretty clear cut.  The path is as old as time, well established, and there isn't much variation on what it takes to get in or how it works.  Once you dig deeper into other publishing options is when it gets a little bit confusing.  Words like small press, indie publishing, hybrid publishing, partnership publishing, self publishing, pay to publish, and vanity publishing get thrown around and they often mean different things depending on who's talking about it.

On Breaking Up With the Scale

For a really long time I had a really unhealthy relationship with the scale.  I still do, and for that reason, I had to give it up. 

Collector of Memories

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!  I got a new blog design and I think I like it.  I remember when blogs had multi colored unicorn dust popping off every page, but now the trend seems to be black and white minimalist.  There seems to be a pervasive fear of color now, but I like it.  All the better to showcase words and photos, because let's face it.  That's the main reason I'm still here. The bonus is the connections I've made with other bloggers over the years.

Taking Down Larry Nassar

I hate that I have to write about this, but I can't write extensively about all the gymnasts who won gold medals at the last Olympic Games and not write about how some of those very same athletes that won gold joined forces to take down a child molester.  I don't like to see a sport that has brought me so much joy as a gymnast and a fan, do so much wrong, but the reality is that USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University failed miserably to protect it's athletes. Last week Larry Nassar former USA Gymnastics, Michigan State University, and Twistars Gymnastics team doctor was convicted of sexually abuse disguised as medical treatment of young girls over a time period spanning twenty plus years.

My Shoulder is What?

I sleep with a teddy bear.  I know it sounds weird, and I know I'm way too old for stuffed animals, but you see my shoulder is frozen.  And when I say frozen, I actually do mean frozen.  Sleeping on my stomach is not comfortable, and sleeping on my right side is not possible. I know better than to even try.  I can sleep on my left side okay as long I stuff a pillow under my armpit for support, but I spend most nights sleeping on my back.  That's how the giant teddy bear found it's way from the basket in the spare room to my bed.  I can't rest my hand on my belly when I lay down.  It's really  bizarre how it just sort of hangs there hovering above my stomach like a limp rag.  Teddy gives me another option besides leaving it stiffly at my side.  I wrap my arms around him, and generally contort him into whatever shape I need to get comfortable.

That Kind of Year

0 arm workouts.

1 time eating Panera Bread, and it was so good.  I had to fly all the way to Dover to do this.  Not like they aren't all over the place where I live or anything.

1 pair designer jeans purchased.  I got lucky and found Seven jeans for $50 on a mess of a clearance rack at Macy's.

2 times eating cheese spaetzle in Germany.  I love it so.

3 flights to Las Vegas.