stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Last Friday I sent the rough draft of The Poison Court to my agent. I then managed to take five whole days of vacation, but today I'm going to start revising.

I'm also updating my website, one page at a time. My old server went down sometime in December. I secured new hosting in March, only to discover that my most recent backup was from 2014. Sigh. So now I'm trying to replicate content, one post at a time.

Time to make the chimi-f*@%ing-changas, as they say.
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
Good morning, LiveJournal! Happy 2016!

My website has been languishing with server woes for some time now, so my scant updates will be split between here and Patreon for a while.

2015 was a good year. At the end of 2014 I moved in with my partner and his roommates; this spring we moved out of a cramped apartment on the 3rd floor into a very lovely house in Austin. This summer I got my ass in gear on The Poison Court--and, with the help of Patreon, was able to scale my hours back at the used book mines. I didn't type The End in 2015, but I can see it from my couch now.

We spent Christmas in New Orleans, which was delightful. Eventually I'll finish sorting through our pictures.

And of course, Dreams of Shreds & Tatters was released this year, and the Necromancer Chronicles finally earned out.

Books read:

1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh
9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh
10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie
11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh
13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh
14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola
15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola
16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen
17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh
18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
19. The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker
20. Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
21. Conspirator - C.J. Cherryh
22. Deceiver - C.J. Cherryh
23. Betrayer - C.J. Cherryh
24. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts - Orrin Grey
25. Ancillary Sword - Anne Leckie
26. Protector - C.J. Cherryh*
27. The Stone In The Skull - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)

My favorite book of the year was definitely Painted Monsters.


* You may notice I skipped the 13th book. That happened by accident, but having finished the 14th, I just can't bring myself to go back. Perhaps someday.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Today I have:

* Reached 60,000 words on The Poison Court.
* Hung up cobwebs in the kitchen.
* Scrubbed the bathtub
* Gone to the gym.

I see a celebratory cocktail in my future.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Things I have done today include:

Taken Agent J to therapy.
Returned her to school.
Gone to the store.
Made an appointment to have a corgi groomed.
Got an oil change.
Registered for Warrior Dash.
Poked Poison Court and made some notes.
Done three loads of laundry. (At once. I'm sorry--I'm that asshole today.)
Walked to the grocery store.
Started borscht, to deal with my farmshare beet problem.

Now I fall over for a bit, but in a few minutes I'll get up, put my laundry away, and clean up the beet crime scene in the kitchen. At some point after that I will eat borscht, put on my Pogues shirt, and go out for a drink. Because I deserve it.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Today feels so productive it warrants a post!

So far I have:

* Taken Agent J to her weekly therapy session.
* Gone to the dentist to have my crown reattached. Because spending the weekend without a tooth was very traumatic.
* Written half on an introduction which I owe someone very soon. But it's half done now!
* Tidied the apartment.
* Planned a dinner with the neighbors tomorrow night and bought the appropriate groceries.
* Learned how to make chocolate ganache truffles. Only in theory so far, but this theory will be tested soon. Oh yes.
* Made "What the hell is in the fridge?" soup. Answer: split peas, sausage, parsley, and beet greens.

Next I'll make tea, chill, and wait for a friend to get home so we can watch True Detective. About which I have Serious Feelings, as any of you who suffered through Dreams with me might well imagine.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace UK)
A somewhat productive week. I made progress on "Snakebit," which has been languishing unfinished for a year since the last time I made progress on it, and even longer before that. When it's finished I need to turn my attention to either "Flood" or "Waiting For The Train," since novels love me not. I also need to find a market for the ghoul-smut sestina, which has been lying around for far too long.

I also have a referral for physical therapy now. We'll see what that does for my knee. Sadly, I think it's too late to hope for the half marathon in March. But I already have my Warrior Dash registration, by god, and dash it I shall.

And now, on to the inanity of the survey.

50. Have you ever saved someone's life or had your life saved?

In the intricate web of causality way, probably. In a dramatic direct intervention way, no.

51. Make up a definition for the following silly words...

No. I am too much on my dignity today, meme.

52. What was the last thing you made with your own hands?

I assume we're not counting books, no matter how they make my wrists hurt. I haven't made jewelry in a long time, sadly. I helped assemble the Gothtopus, and made the (tragically underfeathered) wings for my griffin costume. Or perhaps the cookies I baked to bribe a coworker.

53. What was your favorite toy as a child?

I can't remember a single favorite, but it was probably something She-Ra related.

54. How many TV’s are in your house?

Two.

55. What is your favorite thing to do outside?

Climbing, followed closely by hiking and swimming.

56. How do you feel when you see a rainbow?

Grateful that we've had any rain.

57. Have you ever dreamt a dream that came true?

In a symbolic sense, yes. And a few that were just that boring.

58. Have you ever been to a psychic/tarot reader?

I had a tarot reading on New Year's Day. It gave me good advice.

59. What is your idea of paradise?

A dancefloor.
stillsostrange: (Brigitte)
Thursday - 1 hour gym, mostly bodyweight exercises. Negs. Oh, the misery that is negs.
Friday - 4 hours dayjob, bouldering.
Saturday - Run/walking 5 miles, dancing.
Sunday - Dayjob, dancing.
Monday - Yoga, climbing.
Tuesday - 1 hour gym, weights. We started box squats, which are cool, but the bar bruised the back of my neck.
Wednesday - ~5k on the elliptical, since my knee is still out of commission.

Not much in the way of a rest day the past week. I may need to make sure one of those happens soon.

84 miles out of Hobbiton.

My trainer's diagnosis of my bad knee is over-tight quads. She took a foam roller to me, and... Well, I felt like I should be paying her more to hurt me that way. I'm going to be stretching daily and foam rolling at home, but if I can't reach a point of running without pain, my dreams of a half marathon may be on hold for a while. Do not want.



Project: GYTO worked fairly well last week. Wordcount wasn't great, but every day I sat down with a goal I met it. This week has been derailed by Agent J coming down with strep. Hopefully I will be back in the game next week.



The survey, cont'd...

7. What stage of life are you in right now?

A slightly frustrating one. But I'll endure and it will change.

8. Are you more child-like or childish?

Childlike. And I want my own Gmork.

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?

"I want my own Gmork." Because I talk to myself.

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

And every pop song on the radio is suddenly speaking to me... But no, "Superhero" is not my song right now. Thank god. I left my head and my heart on the dancefloor...?

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

No.

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?

If your life stays the same, you may be doing something wrong. My life has improved steadily and markedly the older I get, with the occasional rough patch.

13. Does time really heal all wounds?

No. But it helps with some.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace UK)
Hah, found a meme! I'm swiping the 5,000 question survey thingy from [livejournal.com profile] jennythe_reader, at least until it can no longer hold my interest.

1. Who are you?

Amanda. I'm a fantasy writer, a goth, a recent mom, and--lately--something like an athlete.

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

I suffer from Resting Bitch-Face Syndrome. Don't take it personally. Unless you're being a dick, and then I really am glaring at you. I'm sure other important things will reveal themselves after more questions.

3. When you aren't filling out 5,000 question surveys like this one what are you doing?

Writing, being bothered by cats, keeping children alive, working at a bookstore, dancing, or possibly climbing rocks. Notice how housecleaning doesn't rank very high on that list.

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn't like at the time).

I enjoyed enough lit classes to earn my degree. Linguistics and German were also a lot of fun, but I loved Physical Anthropology and Forensics unreasonably. I had such a crush on that prof. Math was an ordeal which I survived.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?

To sell another book, or at least have one ready for [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia to start shopping.

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Writing books, raising a slightly less feral child. Maybe still living in Austin. It's starting to develop a strange home-like sensation. I will still be closing out clubs.

To be continued...
stillsostrange: (fatale)
At some point in the last two years I seem to have leveled up in Femme. I learned how to apply eyeshadow (via internet tutorials). I found a pair of heels I could walk in without dying (Fluevogs). The advent of Mad Men fashion let me find dishy--and occasionally even classy--dresses. Heels have become steadily more wearable*, and now I have a collection. I can even dance for hours in some of them. And now, Goth help me, I've developed a fondness for lip gloss and Urban Decay eyeshadow**.

Now I just need to learn to style my hair.


* Possibly having thirty fewer pounds balanced on the balls of my feet is helpful here.

** Because I never develop fondnesses for cheap things.
stillsostrange: (Bored)
Still alive, mostly. Saturday and yesterday I tried to woman up and take as little Vicodin as possible, but that resulted in two nights of waking up at 4 AM in pain, so today I'm going to take a happy pill every five hours and be a good zombie. I don't like overmedicating, but I like feeling as though my skull is lined in pain even less.

Today Agent F--who is considering changing her name to Jessica*, which doesn't require anonymization--is at daycare, and the Stepspawn has been given carte blanche to play Skyrim until his brain drips out his ears. I will be in bed, playing hidden object games and trying to write a synopsis for The Poison Court. Because synopses are incoherent even when one isn't on drugs.

Bed is boring. Comments are welcome.



* I can't argue with any Shakespearian name, and I can live in hope that she'll grow up to be a Bene Gesserit. Also, while her real name is very pretty, it will also leave her with a lifetime of "how do you spell that?"
stillsostrange: (Teeth)
I'm alive, and mostly conscious. I don't think my tooth has been replaced by a false on full of poison gas. But I can hope. Most importantly, I don't have a tooth disintegrating in my mouth any more, trying to take my maxilla with it.

At least this dentist warned me before I went under that I'd have to go back to get stitches removed. The first time I had my wisdom teeth out, no one mentioned that I'd be packed full of bloody gauze, which would later have to be removed. I'm wearing something like an Invisalign tray with a fake tooth in, which luckily prevents me from poking around the extraction site with my tongue, not to mention lessens the risk of harming myself with pudding.

As always happens with me and Vicodin, I have moments of clarity where I think I should be writing. Then I wake up in a puddle of drool and strange dreams twenty minutes later. We'll see which state wins.
stillsostrange: (Default)

Today I have a picture and a thousand words. I am the queen of today.

Today (also queen of word rep) was Agent F's last day of school. I got several hundred words written before I picked her up at noon. From there we got a hair cut, bought a book (she picked a horse book, and she doesn't even know about horse camp yet), bought a new swimsuit, and went to the nearby water park. Aquatic fun ensued.

After dinner and the assembly of some sort of Barbie pool thing that comes with small dogs*, I finally made it back to the WiP to finish up today's quota. We've made it past the corpse and the alarming reveal. Now I just need to get the investigation rolling and find an in for a new POV to whom a different part of the plot is happening.



* I just work here.

stillsostrange: (Words)
I'm taking up the A - Z meme that's making its rounds on my friends-list, a few days late. I don't have a theme, but I'm open to suggestions. If Sue Grafton can manage a whole series on this premise, I think I can manage LJ entries. (I'm really curious about what her X will be.)

Since there seem to be new readers around here, I'll begin with a shamelessly self-centered post. Consider this a brief summary of the past several years.

As you may have deduced, I'm Amanda Downum (nee Van Metre-Oestman). I'm the author of the Necromancer Chronicles, as well as a couple handfuls of short fiction. My latest book, Kingdoms of Dust, came out in March, the third contracted Necromancer Chronicle. I'm currently working on a proposal for a fourth book, as well as revising a Lovecraftian dark fantasy novel. I write slowly.

I'm a goth (though often too lazy to dress the part, especially in the Texas summer); I dayjob at a used bookstore; I rock climb, though not very well, and would kayak more often if Texas would turn down the killing light of the daystar. Upon moving to Austin, I got a tattoo, took up a sport, and got a dog. This may be a requirement of residency. I enjoy dancing and spy movies and absinthe bars.

I've been married for several years, and my husband and I are trying to adopt through foster care. I talk about this more under friends' lock, so if you're interested in the process or have stories to share, let me know and I'll add you.

I'll be an adult hobbit this July. Tomorrow I'm going to dress up like a zombie and go dancing. Today I'm cleaning my house.

And now I'm out of things to say. If anyone has any ideas for themes, or for a more interesting A post, let me know.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
March 1 - 7

March 1 - I have completely forgotten what I did last Thursday. Either I did something, or it was a rest day.
March 2 - Yard work, 2 hours.
March 3 - Day job, 5 hours.
March 4 - Day job, 7 hours.
March 5 - Day job, 5 hours; bouldering; core class, 1 hour.
March 6 - House cleaning, ~ 1 hour.
March 7 - Day job, 5 hours; top-roping; yoga, 1 hour; dancing, ~3 hours. State of the badass art.


Every time I see the video for "Lucretia, My Reflection" I think of a line from Traveling With The Dead: ...Because it was white, a color no sane woman, dead or Undead, would wear on a train. This makes me want to work on my Spies With Fabulous Hats book so very badly.


Day 15 of no sugar. These molasses muffins are my salvation.


I am typing this boring post on Jadis! The blue fire worked! We upgraded my OS and she came back to life. We're guessing maybe a file had been corrupted that was replaced in the upgrade. I hope that is in fact the case, because my Apple Care expires next month, and I don't really want to spend a huge chunk of my publication check for Kingdoms on a new computer.
stillsostrange: (Clean)
I have cleaned so many things today. All the things? No. But a lot of these damn things. Why do I have so many things? I blame the Norse.

I finished off the last square of chocolate in the pantry, and that is the end of the sweets. It's a good thing I didn't make alcohol an option on the poll, because I definitely earned a beer tonight. I probably earned three, but moderation and all that.

I wish my calorie tracker had "Ikea" as an activity option. I would dearly love to know how many calories I burned wrestling a bookcase together. My right thumb is still store from the allen wrench. But now my paperbacks are no longer stacked four deep, and my hardbacks no longer three deep. Now I just have to something about the horror that is my non-fiction shelf.

I also wrote my 500 words yesterday. I have a structure and characters--now I have to finish the thing in less than three weeks. A title would be very helpful. Mi-go aren't as conducive to easy titles as ghouls or deep ones.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
Today was not as productive as I might have liked in wordcount, but I did also manage to take my car to the shop (cracked ignition coil), buy [livejournal.com profile] jmeadows' brand new book, meet [livejournal.com profile] commodorified & co. for coffee and mutually assured corgi destruction, and spend some time chatting with a strange and tiny new cat in my driveway.

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters



70105 / 80000 words. 88% done!

I have five chapters left to revise from the old-old file, or around 13,000 terrible awful nogood words. I'm not sure what that will become in new words. On the one hand, the old stuff was overwritten and repetitive sentence-wise, so things will shrink. On the other hand, I'm adding more useful bits in this draft, and have two new plot points I want to squeeze in. And the original denouement was atrocious, and needs to become completely different. I would guess the final product will turn into 85k, but I've been wrong before.

Tomorrow I have dayjobbery and climbing, but Thursday through Saturday shall be a bookmarch of epic proportions.

Also, Publishers Weekly has nice things to say about Kingdoms.
stillsostrange: (Bleak)
Today I have: organized my CDs, taken my car to the shop (the weird noise was a wheel bearing), ogled Michael Fassbender, and written 2002 words. Not in that order.

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters



43093 / 70000 words. 62% done!

I've excised at least three flabby scenes from the last few chapters, and another is undergoing intense scrutiny. Hopefully this will help with the screwy pacing.

Tomorrow I get to take a pressure washer to the floor of my garage. Cleaning is much more fun when dangerous machines are involved.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Wings: Stage 1 by Amanda Downum
Wings: Stage 1, a photo by Amanda Downum on Flickr.

Can a collection of PVC, joints, garden wire, and electrical tape become something resembling wings? We'll find out soon.

I'd originally planned to have furry boot covers, but it's too late to eBay them and the fake fur at Jo-Ann was more than I feel like paying. So I won't be a cyber/rivethead griffin.



Tonight I plan to measure and cut the PVC and wrap the wing-bones in electrical tape. Because that is how we roll here. Then I'll test the weight and stability and see what I need to do to stabilize them.

Besides buying pipe joints, I've also been to the optometrist and the bank today. At the former I made an appointment to be fitted for contacts for the first time in my life (because griffins don't wear spectacles, and I'd like to see while marching in the parade). At the latter I closed my Chase account, because a) I don't feel like paying $12 a month because I don't have direct deposit, and b) I have a credit union account already. The banker looked very sad, but really--charging me more because I don't have money is not the way to win my undying customer loyalty.
stillsostrange: (Words)
Finish my Halloween costume.
Finish a website.
Attend the Pflugerville library's SFF readers' meet-up
Finish (by which I mean start) a piece of Shadow Unit art.
Finish a proposal for That Damn Book.
Revise the ending of Dreams for my crit group. Because not enough people have suffered already.
Read and crit two novels.
Come up with an idea for a Mi-go story.

I can do all this in two months, right? At least I'll have the flight to and from Hawaii to get some reading done.

Also on that list: get out of bed and put some pants on.
stillsostrange: (Words)
I have not been update-avoidant the past week because of LJ ennui, but because of extreme busyness. [livejournal.com profile] matociquala was here for a week, during which time we climbed four times, danced three nights, kayaked once, drank a lot, and crashed World Horror. I managed to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] mr_earbrass, [livejournal.com profile] vegan_vulcan, [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, the [livejournal.com profile] handful_ofdusts, [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored, [livejournal.com profile] marshallpayne1, [livejournal.com profile] stina_leicht, Orrin, Camille, Andrew, Jessica, and many more! I snuck into the dealers room long enough to buy an orthoceras fossil pendant from Lillian Butler and a copy of A Rope of Thorns from the CZP table. Two trips to Peché were undertaken, with various companions. And I even got a little more editing done on Kingdoms.

This morning I deposited [livejournal.com profile] matociquala at the airport, dropped the boy off at work, and took Gretchen to the vet. Gretchen's inner princess nature is once again manifesting with nasty allergies and autocannibalism, so she's currently wearing the Cone of Shame and full of pills. It's a hard life when one is both a princess and a shark.

Now I will eat some of the many leftovers crammed in my fridge, and try to do more revising.

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