December 5, 2020
The Ports of Surset Book 2 is now in revisions for release in January; I no longer have those new roommates; new article series, Real World Tech in SciFi, begins soon; and Covid19 is never going away.
My current work in progress, The Ports of Surset Book Two, is on track for me to order a final proof copy in paperback by the third week of December. I wanted to release in early January, to miss the election and holiday distractions. The thing is, I am releasing to KDP for the duration of the writing process for each series. This means that each fiscal quarter, I will need to decide if I am keeping the books there or releasing wide. Putting off the official release until January, while it makes sense on one hand, is not necessarily the most efficient scheduling on the other hand. I think I am going to let the fates of edit decide.
I do however, already have book 3 in what I like to call “Chonky Outline” stage. That means I have outlined the plot and then gone back and filled in specific scenes, character jokes, some twists, etc. The thorough writing draft process should be relatively fast.
What I Did For Thanksgiving (instead of eating enough for twelve people)
Instead of Thanksgiving dinner, each year, I try to take a trip to see some example of beautiful holiday lights or exhibitions, fasting on black coffee, ice water, and a little pink salt for the entire four-day bank holiday. There is something amazing about the real feeling of hunger in your middle to remind you that you don’t spend every single day hungry like some people in this world do. There is something so fulfilling in taking the time to gaze on something beautiful and realize it is real and wonderful and you get to experience it. I try to spend the entire time, even if I have to work on Black Friday, putting little reminders in my own path to be mindful of my blessings and thankful for my comforts. And, when the next Monday morning roles around, I absolutely revel in my holiday breakfast. I don’t want to sound snooty about it, but I have gotten so many ugly remarks and mean looks when asked, “What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” and I respond, “Fasting,” that now I am perfectly willing to give a little lip and ‘tood back. (See the “Why Thanksgiving Sucks” section for the ‘tood.)
This year, I fasted for 38 hours over the Thanksgiving holiday and went for a hike at the little known treasure, Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin Georgia. Here, have some pictures:
Why Thanksgiving Sucks
I hate the entire concept of modern Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong; I very much believe in the concept of setting aside time to specifically count my blessings and realize how good I have it. I DO NOT, however, believe the three principles typically expounded as the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday, in any way, convey thankfulness.
ONE–Columbus, Pilgrims, Indians, Corn and Turkeys. This is one of the least attractive myth series about American history to me. Columbus (c. 1492) gets credit for many things he never actually had a clue about. He was an explorer, without a map; basically a guy with a theory and a few boats. When he landed on the island that the native Lucayan people called Guanahani. Columbus renamed it San Salvador. [credit https://www.nationalgeographic.org] He basically, in traditional pale man fashion, decided that, if he could pee on it, that meant it belonged to him. Pilgrims (c.1620) were called that because they were supposedly on a religious quest to worship God (not god as a concept, but God, as in that is a proper noun) without having rules imposed on them by others about how to worship (Something about candles, music and drapes? It changes based on the group to which we are referring.). The term “Pilgrim” means a person on a religious journey, usually to a sacred place. Look it up. THEN, that huge myth about Indians bringing out food for the poor cold and starving Pilgrims, and then everyone getting dressed up to sit and eat together at a huge table… yeah, that didn’t happen. The Native People had tried to teach those poor pale folks how to grow corn and they had traded furs and some foods with them, but when they caught the Pilgrims stealing the corn from the graves of their ancestors, they weren’t pleased. And BTW, turkeys were not a part of the European diet. They didn’t eat those. Try lobster and rat if you want a real, authentic Thanksgiving meal. TWO–All the Food. Completely apart from what is eaten at Thanksgiving, the sheer quantity of it is positively Roman in scale. There is nothing that says ungrateful, gluttonous, greedy, slothful and prideful like wasting as much food as possible in one day. Well, there is that one prayer at the beginning that many families still insist makes it okay… THREE–Black Friday. Exactly what part of being thankful involves mass purchasing with money you don’t actually have at a non-holiday commercial sales event?
I fasted for 38 hours over the Thanksgiving holiday. I find that I am always far more thankful or everything when I have had to go without for a while.
NEW ARTICLE SERIES!
I am currently writing the new article series, Real World Tech in SciFi, to be published through my newsletter. I expect it will be an ongoing column in which, each month, I will expound on the creative ideas I get from various real world breakthroughs that I happen to come across. If you ever have any that you would like to share with me, by all means, do.
I am starting with my theory and thoughts on how such breakthroughs might alter previous scifi. Then moving on to recent tech and then will be able to devote each new article after that to things I have heard about within the previous six-month period. Sometimes there is too much new and awesome to cram it all into one article.
In The News
As of this morning, Covid 19 news has recorded 11M cases in the US. With over 250,000 Covid 19-related deaths reported, the official mortality rate is reported nationally at 4%, steady from last month. With the election results under siege and the uncertainty of the outcome of the electoral vote being cast as indicted by the popular vote, I am officially announcing my endorsement of the move to a fully democratic election process, doing away with the electoral college. When it was conceived, it was the most rational and realistic option available in order to maintain reasonable representation of the will of the governed. However, today, it is being used to strong-arm the system into maintaining control of power by a few who do not represent the interests of all the people. Yo, we have the tech and the security systems and the access to allow people to vote directly for themselves. If we can securely bank online, WTF can’t we vote online?
Closer to home, the roommates did not work out. The man I have known for almost 30 years, and still consider him to be a valued friend; his wife is not such a great friend. I am hoping they are doing well and I will hear from them when they are settled, particularly the actual friend. The entire experience has reminded me why I was so excited to give up my out-of-home day-job office back in March. Most people I have met are not sincere, honest and kind; nor do they have good intentions for all involved. I had hoped that I could trust the judgement of this one life-long friend. This little crap shack that I call home is my safe place from all that worry and unnecessary meanness that is apparently the norm for so many people. I can’t believe I forgot just how horrid so many people choose to be. So, that’s over.
Social, Media and Otherwise
That’s really all I can say at the moment. Too much stress and interruption in my world is keeping me from being the best Amy I can be right now. I am just aiming to weather the storm and finish out Book 2 so I can move on to Book 3 before the new year. For more information about my books and my dogs and my reasons for rebelling against Thanksgiving, sign-up for the mailing list!
Take Care! –Amy (aka Ubriel Bryne and Jami Montgomery)