Monday, December 27, 2021

Boosted Tale

So, first, I want to note that any trials I had trying to get my vaccine booster start from a place of privilege, when the global vaccine inequity means plenty of people haven't had access to the first dose.
Also, while I am still considered high risk for Covid, I am a telecommuter who lives in a city with robust services such that I am able to limit my people interactions. Although I do live somewhere with communal laundry.
But when I got my first two doses, I had more schedule flexibility than I do now, so while I had access to weekend appointments, I intentionally selected weekday morning ones, so the weekends could go to folks with less flexibility.
And now my current contract has less flexibility and is not conducive to planning two or three weeks out.
And the place where I got my first two doses, has apparently decided no one needs weekend doses anymore.
So I made an appointment for a Friday evening so I could recover on a weekend.  And then I had to work so I cancelled it. (Also, can we talk about how most of these systems make cancelling appointments so hard?)
And I made another appointment for a Saturday three weeks later, which was the first I could find. And then I came down with something. Likely not Covid, but one of the symptoms they usually ask if you've had in the last few days, so I had to miss my appointment out of an abundance of caution. (I felt better the day of the appointment, of course. Caution is still good.)
And so I made another appointment. And that one worked. Finally.
Other people have noted that we had huge vaccine clinics in April and May and now we don't. I passed a long line at a vaccine clinic doing my errands last weekend, and I had kept an eye on those too as I was searching. But right now, in DC, the city run clinics move around, and have no appointments. So you have to have several hours and the time to get to wherever that day's clinics are. I live in a densely populated area, so there definitely were ones in my area, but not every day, and the announcements are made that day. So you get up, check on line and then know where you need to go.
DC does also have at home scheduling, and that is also an option.
As I said at the start, I did it and I know there are plenty of folks who still can't get one dose, so worry about boosting access is a privilege. But it feels like we've made this process harder instead of easier one year into vaccines being available. And that concerns me, because we still have plenty of vulnerable people in our community.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. If you missed the Jean and Jorts story, there is an update embedded in this post, which takes on the extended metaphor of how expecting cats with different aptitudes to act differently, to ableism in the workplace. 
2. A woman found her cat 12 years later, when he turned up on a social media post for a shelter. 
3. Jonny Sun wrote a beautiful ode to a ZZ plant that can do well basically neglected, but doesn't have to be. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Return of the Light

I texted a friend that I was feeling grinchy this weekend. I spent Saturday running some last errands so that I could get ready for a gathering next weekend and then got home and took a look at the recent COVID numbers and realized that I was not going to attend an indoor event that involved multiple households next week, not even vaccinated households.
But it wasn't just that. Not really. I hadn't begun listening to holiday music, I hadn't put up a sparkle tree, I basically have - other than getting presents shipped - had done very little to acknowledge the season.
And someone tweeted that the Solstice was soon and I felt something relax a bit.
This time of year where our half of the world gets dark is hard. There's a reason so many cultures designed gatherings with food and light. Even without a pandemic it's hard. 
It's hard if you figured out a way to gather safely with your peeps (video chat counts!) or are huddling close to home. 
I'm a big believer that the best kind of holidays are ones where you are expected to eat food at regular intervals and just be. A stretchy bottoms all day kind of holiday. 
Your ideal holiday may look a little different and may also not be this week. 
But for my fellow Northern Hemisphere folks, soon the light returns. And that is quite delightful.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This article took a look at how "Snapped" - which apparently had at it's starting ethos that it would not be about domestic violence victims, is almost entirely about domestic violence victims
2. I am all for a local look at how not everywhere with mountains is the same.  NHPR reviews the New Hamshire-ness of "Single All the Way".  
3. Apparently cephalopod statue are showing up in Dallas sometimes.  

Monday, December 13, 2021

Post-Tornado Resources

Here are some of the resources that were recommended to me:
Operation BBQ Relief:
Mercy Chefs:
And this google doc has a growing list of resources here:
There will of course be aid coming from other sources, including government aid, but these options can help provide some immediate relief.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. A teacher assigned her middle schoolers the task of creating a kids book about Florence Price, a Black female composer born in the late 1800's.  And now it's a  real book
2. I've been following the story of the tainted water in O'ahu. This is a fairly good recap of where it stands right now. My parents had stories of rashes from swimming.  The military presence in Hawai;i and use of Hawai'i as a testing ground has long had consequences. 
3. There is, as this post details, something kind of entrancing about a truly terrible meal.  I am so sorry these folks had this experience, but it is a fascinating story.  

Monday, December 06, 2021

Symbolic Messages

I got the news alert about the diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games and because it was the middle of a busy Monday, I took some time before I was able to click through to the whole article and I confess I was disappointed. I understand there are no perfect solutions here. And I also understand that athletes that wish to compete in a pandemic should maybe get to compete because Olympics are hard to come by. 
I talked before about my unease with holding an Olympics when approximately half the world is currently unvaccinated, when many athletes are travelling from countries that have had limited access to vaccines, and are being asked to arrive somewhere and operate in close quarters with athletes, coaches, judges, and press with limited protection.  
If anyone needs to hang onto their lung capacity it is definitely athletes.  (Also, as an asthmatic, I have to tell you lung capacity is a wonderful privilege that everyone should be able to enjoy.)  

Quick note: I am going to bring up a sexual assualt story.  As always, please feel free to bow out now, if this is not a good time for you to read that.  RAINN provides support to folks who have expereinced sexual assualt and resources for those who wish to better support the survivors in their life.  
 RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, accessible 24/7 by phone (800.656.HOPE) and online (

I am also aware of, and have been following the story of Peng Shuai, a tennis player and Olympian who seems to have possibly disappeared after indicating she had been sexually assaulted by a political figure.  
So, yes, I can think of several reasons for people to have concerns about an Olympics being held in China, not just in a pandemic.  
I know there is reason to believe that with making political change, things like athletic boycotts were more effective in situations like South Africa than many of the economic ones, since economic sanctions mostly affect the people without power.  
I am aware that symbolic gestures are sometimes better than nothing.  I even agree that in a pandemic, less people travelling to be at the thing in person is actually a very good idea.  
But I think this is also not quite enough.  I know no one wants to disappoint athletes, but I think not wanting to disappoint people in a pandemic is part of why this pandemic has continued longer than it needed to.  And so I wish we were ready for a stronger message than we will watch your Olympics from our couches.  But it is at least something.  

Friday, December 03, 2021

New Release - Bored By the Billionaire

Newsletter folks got a heads up on this, but Bored By the Billionaire is here!
1. I have great respect for Amtrak's quiet car.  But the idea of creating characters who got kicked out amused me.  
2. I came up with the title for this first, which almost never happens for me.  I had read an interview where someone said dating billionaires can get boring.  And that intrigued me.  I've read a lot of billionaires.  
But yes, I could also see how eventually hanging out with all these folks born into money might wear on you.  
3. I wanted to write two characters who got together fast.  So fast they skipped over things like jobs and last names.  
4. I also appear to be interested in breakups.  How they happen and how trying to avoid emotional mess may not work. (To be clear I love avoiding emotional mess.  I'm not saying it doesn't ever work.) But the messiness is fun to explore in fiction. 
5. My love of the DC museums shows up here again.  
6. For those who've read Repeated Burn - Marcus, and some of the other staffers at the Hotel Camden show up here.
7. Blurb: Lulu Williams is bored with dating billionaires.  She has just ditched the latest and is on a late night train back to DC when she encounters a handsome stranger.  They get kicked out of the quiet car together and agree to go from the train to a hotel room to explore this sexual tension.  Lulu figures Aiden will be the perfect palate cleanser.  He wasn't supposed to also be an interesting guy who doesn't treat her purse mogul life as a cute hobby, who takes her to museums, and eats fried food from a bag.  And he especially wasn't supposed to be a billionaire.
Available at multiple etailers:

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. As plenty of folks, including Filmed Live Musicals, have been suggesting, Lin-Manual Miranda noted that the filmed version of "Hamilton" actually increased demand for live performance tickets, rather than diminishing it.  Hopefully more filmed performances will be available for folks. 
2. They have declared the cleanup of a WWI dump site near American University (and near the neighborhood I grew up in) complete. 
3. If you are up for a listen, this Bob Mondello remembrance of Stephen Sondheim is lovely. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

"Into the Woods" and Sondheim

I can't remember how I first learned of "Into the Woods", quite possibly sifting through the Broadway section at a music store back in the day. 
Also back in the day, someone set up a theater going group in DC. You could meet up, have dinner with folks, and then go to a show.
A community theater staged "Into the Woods" downtown at a church. I joined the group and we dined, and watched the show. I still remember the actress who played Little Red Riding Hood. 
It was, like smaller productions often are, perfect but still there are so many things that watching it live bring to the experience, even when you've heard Bernadette Peters sing the show.
The movie version is kind of a mish mash to me, some people are chewing scenery and some people are very earnest. But there are delights within it. 
Mr. Sondheim had other works, but that is the one that spoke to me the most. As others have said, there are giants in the sky.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Thanks and Things

I told someone last week I often enjoy working the day after Thanksgiving. This comes with many caveats. I do not mean retail. While I have worked retail, I have managed to avoid peak shopping stuff from that side of the counter. 

No, I mean office type jobs. Places where having someone nominally there is useful, but much of the normal things are quieter. I often got my email sorted and got to all the things that days with conference calls and team IM's meant I couldn't focus on. And because it was a weekday, I got two days of non-work after.

This week can be about food or not. Family and friends or not. Gathering with others or not. 

The roots of the focal holiday has its roots in two disparate groups navigating how to coexist peacefully and figuring they might as well eat while they discussed that.

Food can be both necessary and a wonderful demonstration of love, and so holidays that center food also often center gathering in groups. 

I am grateful this year for many things, even as I adjust to the newer holes in my life.

Vaccines, family and friends both near and far, those willing to work with me to gather in ways that are comfortable and safe for us all, for books (so many delightful books), and for my cat who has proven a wonderful companion both pandemically and not. Also my writing mojo which got a lovely jumpstart from NaNoWriMo. There's more, of course. 

I hope whatever shape your week takes, you find some space to do and/or be something you are grateful for.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. L. D. Lewis wrote a recap of Fiyahcon from the planner side.  I always appreciate her frankness with numbers.  
2. This piece is from a few months ago, but it looked at why being seeing as desirable for your race can be just as icky as the opposite. 
3. And you know I love deeply specific questions about the DC area, like is Iverson Mall making it?  
Bonus: The reading salon I did on Saturday was recorded, so you can watch it here.  

Monday, November 15, 2021

RIP, Ms.Mayer

Petra Mayer was part of the NPR Books team, and as such we had attended many of the same local book events, and I had even chatted with her about the romance book club. 
She was a regular fourth chair on "Pop Culture Happy Hour" and had written, edited, and wrangled good portions of the book coverage on NPR. She was unafraid of genre fiction, and willing to wade happily and deeply into romance, YA, fantasy, and various combinations of the above.
She grew up in DC in the neighborhood I now live in, and was among other things a cat guardian.
My sincere condolences to her loved ones and colleagues. 
I'm gonna go read a nerdy romance in her honor.
Here is a link to when she was featured on Faces of NPR:

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This look at whether some brains are more prone to dancing doesn't go terribly in depth, but was interesting nonetheless. 
2. This reflection of what went right and wrong with a trip while vaccinated was interesting.  
3. This piece about the Rose Queen of Texas is a look at the work involved in an unusual tradition. (NYT link.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

Indie Author Day on Saturday

Hey Folks, 
Saturday is Indie Author Day, and me and some of the other folks from the Inclusive Romance Project are gonna do a reading.  I'll be reading from Repeated Burn, and the lineup is pretty cool, so if you need some more indie authors to check out, this is a great way to do so.  The list of participating authors and straming link is here:
The reading is going to be broadcast on You Tube, so easy to join. 

Monday, November 08, 2021

7 Things I Learned From "ER"

I finished a complete "ER" rewatch earlier this year.  And well, it seemed time for a seven things post.  
1. "ER" was in some ways, much like "The Wire" or "Parks and Rec" in that it was very interested in demonstrating how the large systems that we create are often populated by (some) people doing good work, and stymied by funding and processes. 
2. "ER" told me I never knew whether I was going to get the caring doctor or the distracted doctor.  It was often impossible to tell from the outset whether the demanding patient would turn out to be right that something was wrong, or wrong, but the demanding patient rarely died by being ignored by the distracted doctors.  
3. Doctors on "ER" often had disagreements on the best course of action, with both each other and with patients. Much of this was honestly because the human body is unpredictable, and sometimes it was because having multiple possible health concerns makes many things a judgement call. 
4. Doctors who mean well have about the same success rate as doctors who don't.  Some of this is just the function of fiction, of course. 
5. Doctors who are sticklers for process will abandon it when presented with the right set of circumstances.  
6. Privilege will always serve you.  For a show about a department serving the underserved, it showed again and again how privilege was a great thing to get if you could.   
7. "ER" managed to figure out a way to get Scott Grimes and Angela Bassett to sing on their doctor show.  So the next time I suggest your show needs a musical episode, I don't want excuses.  
Also, this may go without saying, but if you choose to rewatch the show, be ready for a number of sexual assault storylines, rampant unpunished workplace sexual harassment and racism from credited and recurring characters, multiple fatphobia storylines, and an non-zero number of the surprise twist is that they are LGBTQ storylines.  

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this description of ambient trauma useful.  We are all experiencing some level of ambient trauma right now, and while having the term doesn't fix it, it helps to appreciate the strange times we are in.  
2. I was pointed to this study that looked at how games like Tetris can help in dealing with intrusive memories from traumatic events
3. I saw a post about a bride's brother trying on her wedding dress, and tried to track down the source of the photos and found several stories where this had happened.  And one where it's the groom's brother.

Monday, November 01, 2021

7 Things About NaNo

1. There are always the takes. Real writers don't need NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) to write.
Counter: The qualifications for being a writer are...*checks notes*...writing. If you write in November (or April or July) you are a writer. If you write other months, you are a writer.
2. November is a bad month. 
Counter: It may be. I think having a ridiculous non-day job goal during a busy period of my day job actually kept me balanced. But if it's a bad month for you there's camp in April or July. There's people all over the internet running writing challenges about any time you can think of. 
3. People can't write anything decent at that pace. 
Or: Drafting processes vary, but I actually do better at that pace. I've tried writing faster and had mixed results. I've written slower and the draft quality is not better. Knowing this about yourself is useful data, but the only way to know is to try.
4. Most people never finish their NaNo book. 
So, this is probably true. But, the stats for drafts when you gather folks up and start asking around are dire. I know these days it seems that everyone has written a book. They haven't. Lots of people started. Less people finished. This is a feature of projects that require a lot of time and energy. Not everything works out.
5. I can't not edit. 
Counter: Those of you who know I am a fan of messy first drafting know this is not my process. But if yours works better with constant editing, then cool. Do that. Work the way that works best for you. (PS yes, I have tried this method. Neither of those drafts ever got finished.)
6. I hate zoom/discord/slack/Twitter/etc. 
First let me gasp. (I kid.) But if you hate the various virtual meetup choices being offered, you are welcome to plan another. And you could also just write and not meetup. (I know, gasp.)
7. I'm a long term NaNo fan, NaNo got me my first completed draft, and several of my published works were NaNo of Camp NaNo projects. Not all of them were. And not all of my NaNo projects turned into something that had promise. But each of those projects was worthwhile to me to embark on. And I learned about my process. If it isn't for you, you don't have to join. But if it is, it might be a lot of fun.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this interview with B. Pagels Minor, formerly of Netflix, heartbreaking in part because I have worked somewhere I thought I had vetted well, only to discover that things changed.  
2. This recap of the NFT idea that was and then was not from Pajiba is useful, if like me, you checked Twitter after work to discover something had clearly happened.  Also worth noting, I think we'll see a version of this idea again so understanding what NFTs are is a good start.  
3. E. Alex Jung's interviews are always fascinating to me, and this one with Kumail Nanjani is no exception.  Note: Includes discussion of changing one's body and dealing with public body perception.  

Monday, October 25, 2021

7 Things About Time Travel and the Multiverse

One of my accidental reading trends this year has been time travel and/or multi verses. Now I watched, well, multiple episodes of "The Flash" before deciding that Iris deserved better and also if the theme was going to be: messing with the multiverse is bad, oops, I messed with the multiverse again, then I was out. 
(I am fickle.)
I also find, that as with things like vampires and zombies, that the less time spent on the what, time travel can't be real...OMG, I think time travel is real part, the better. Because while yes, the discovery can tell us something about the character, if the reader already knows it's real, watching them fight it, bogs the story down. 
1.  I'm not saying everyone who time travels should be trusted implicitly. But if someone shows up and says, please be cautious around this person and maybe don't go here, you should consider being cautious. 
2. If someone gives you a letter from the future, read it right away. Do not hang onto it for like three weeks. 
3.  Anyone who you can't tell about time travel cannot solve your time travel conundrums. Do not torture your friends and family with hypothetical that are missing all the pertinent data. 
4.  There are no changes you can make to the trajectory of your life or anyone else's that won't have ripple effects. 
5.  If you die in one spot to try to reawaken in another, it seems worth noting that the people in the one place will think you are dead. It may be worth it for your larger purpose, but let's not pretend this is a consequence free choice. 
6. Telling people how they die is only useful if they can do something to alter it. Telling someone they will die of something there are no tests for yet is kinda mean.
6. I feel like the TL:DR version of this is stop fucking with the multiverse. Except of course I keep reading about people fucking with the multiverse, so at least be interesting when you do it.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. Since I'm not a Netflix Subscriber I've been watching but not commenting much on the goings on there, but this piece summarizes the failures in Netflix's response to criticism. (NYT link)
2. This piece by R. Eric Thomas about Billy Porter's memoir is a delight
3. New island dropped (rose?).  

Monday, October 18, 2021

Boundaries and Gatherings

I've got a whole post about why I usually stay home on New Year's Eve that predates the pandemic. Gathering with others has always involved negotiation and boundaries, the pandemic has simply made more clear some of the ones regarding safety and wellness. 
But, I want to talk about a recent gathering. 
I met with a friend who knew that despite us both being vaccinated, my preference was to eat outside. We picked a place that has expanded outdoor seating with a streatery*. 
My friend who likes to plan ahead went to make a reservation and found they only allow reservations for indoors, but were stating that all employees were vaccinated and masked, and that all indoor patrons would require proof of vaccination. 
Now, this isn't the first restaurant I've seen with this or some version of this. I understand that restaurants would like to serve as many patrons as possible and leaving some seating unreserved is useful. I understand that streateries exist due to a change in rules that might someday be rescinded, so restricting who is counting in those sears is wise. 
We arrived on the day and were told that there was no seating outside, without a wait. We could sit indoors, but they had a large party arriving shortly that was going to fill a lot of what currently appeared to be empty tables. Oh and also, no vaccination proof was needed, they believed us.
We opted to wait for a table outside. 
And we got one quickly and the food was great, it was all fine. 
But every time I see a thing about how people are being silly to be scared if they've been vaccinated, I think about the folks pulling off their masks in places with a mask mandate to take a selfie, I think about restaurant staff and retail workers who have limited sick days and limited wages having to deal with folks who want to blame them for a rule made to keep all of us safe. 
All of us are navigating choices, and those of us trying to limit risk are constantly being asked to shift our boundaries. 
So all if this is to say if you are making choices I'm not willing to for my own self yet, that's cool. But the idea that I'm the one being silly for trying to minimize my own exposure to illness is and remains unfair. 

*We have been calling sidewalk and roadside seating streateries, and I find it ridiculous but also am perpetuating it. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

On the Newsletter - Reading Roundup

Third quarter reading round up over on the newsletter.  

Friday, October 15, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I am interested to see if this cookbook scandal leads to more vetting and a better discussion of what plagiarism and receipt stealing are.  
2. This opinion piece about the things you should do before trying to hire an executive of color was on point.  
3. I appreciated this post about how some shows are presenting deeper versions of the Black Lady Therapist trope.  

Monday, October 11, 2021

You Are Irreplacable but Not Indispenable

There is a thing that happens where you have been doing a thing and you wish to let someone else do the thing, but you fear it will not happen without you and so you keep doing it, and yet, because you don't want to still be doing it, both it and you suffer.  
When I first volunteered for one role, there was a four year cap.  I loved that cap.  It meant I couldn't be stuck forever, I would essentially be forced out.  And then we hit four years and someone decided a four year cap was silly, and removed it, and there were changes afoot so I agreed to stay to provide continuity, and that's how I ended up doing that thing for ten years.  
The things is, I am wonderful.  I am great.  But other people are wonderful and great too.  And while there certainly is something to be said for continuity, there's also something to be said for new people with new ideas.  Especially in cyclical roles, it's easy to start to be like oh yes, very similar to the thing we tried five years ago that didn't work.  Sometimes it's useful to tell folks about the thing that didn't work, and sometimes you are just squashing all the ideas before they can blossom.  Knowing the difference is tough.  
But, you might say, this one thing no one else really will do.  And sometimes that is true too.  I've stepped down from things that never got taken over.  And in the end, I am sad, but that is okay too.  
I have stepped down from things I was sure no one would take over only to have someone do it.  And chances are, they never would have done so unless I stepped down.  And I have stepped into things after watching someone run it badly, so sure, problems are a possibility.  But I think especially as we're all facing various kinds of burnout and overwork due to the still ongoing pandemic, it's important to remember that while you are wonderful and no one else will do things the way you do them, someone else might be just fine if you make space for them to step into. 

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. In my now normal rotation of reading about things I did not watch, we have these two pieces about "Diana, The Musical" - a review, and a song ranking
2. I've been - shall we say - not focusing on the supposed critical race theory bans, but this one school district basically proved that the folks supposedly behind this just want to make all the books kids read be about white people.  (They say it's just coincidence that books about non-white people are the ones that happen to discuss race existing in this world.)  These students managed to launch a campaign to get the school board to reverse this decision.  But they are aware, it's going to be an ongoing fight. 
3. I discovered a mystery flavored lollipop in a gift bag, and well, that led me to this article about how and why the mystery flavor exists

Monday, October 04, 2021

Let's Talk Teleworking Again

Hi, remember when I did a whole series on teleworking? Fun times. I'm going to try not to repeat any of that. 
But my current position has me talking on the phone a lot. I had to sign a thing that said I had a dedicated space that was quiet and away from pets and kids. I signed it. 
Technically my cat is not cordoned off from my desk, but she generally naps during much of the workday, and even ay her loudest meow is not going to make phone calls impossible. 
But of course, let's talk through the privilege implied in this work request. Having a dedicated space, which sure, could just be a little lap desk, but depending on the size and population of your housing, can be a challenge. 
I can turn off and keep off things like TVs, music, and such that people talking to me me won't be distracted by that noise. 
I cannot control my neighbor's alarm, a delivery truck backing up outside, or any construction that might occur. I have a headset to minimize external noise, but I've tested it, it picks up things like sawing across the way. 
I talked to someone who did the, I'm not mad about you, but some of your coworkers, I can hear kids and TVs. And here's the thing. It is still a pandemic. This project I'm on started in April. Some folks were unemployed before then. They have kids who were schooling from home, or off for the summer. People who had dogs or other pets, may have had them before the pandemic and now their pet wants to know why the human talks to the box and not them. 
There may be other employed adults in their living space taking their own work calls. 
Assuming that amid a pandemic and a not unrelated economic crisis that people have the resources to move or work from a closet for eight hours, it just isn't realistic. 
I'm a big proponent that not every job is for every person, but I'm sorry the news keeps telling you there are jobs for the taking. Some people have to work from home right now due to kids, family members they care for, or being high risk for COVID. So we are all going to have to allow for a little more disruption for a bit.  

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This Simone Biles piece is beautiful  CN: Contains mention of sexual assault 
2. This piece about two Black gay men, who decided to work with LGBTQ youth to show them there are thriving elders, is just delightful. 
3. This tablet has been confirmed as the oldest breakup letter, and I gotta say, some things never change. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Magic of Creation

I was listening to a podcast and the speaker talked about the magic of making things. I was knitting as I listened and I thought about how I can explain to you how looping the yarn this way and that way creates waves and shapes, but in the end it is still kind of magic. We have a tendency (and I include myself in that we) to seek explanations for things and to forget the fun. I know why mixing certain ingredients creates cake, but cake remains a delicious delight each time. 
And of course for every time I created a knitted thing or baked thing that worked, I can recall ones that did not. Some of them I know what went wrong and dsome remain mysteries. 
But each act of making a thing is a journey of hope. I go in expecting success. And that in itself is a kind of magic. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Back on Let's Go Steal a Podcast

I was back on Let's Go Steal a Podcast, to talk about the "Paranormal Hacktivity Job":

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this long read about the process through which Lorde approached writing and recording songs for her new album in Maori, really interesting. 
2. I was searching the interwebs for articles about Frances Tiafoe, and came across this about his path to tennis, growing up near College Park.  
3. And yes, I have been searching the interwebs a bit this week, because I also landed on this article about the "colorblindness" of the Brandy version of "Cinderella".  

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Pace Is Unrelenting

I remember looking up corporate policy at one job after a relative died and noting that they had codified how much time off each death earned. Like three days for a parent or child, two for a grandparent, one for aunts, uncles, and so on. Everything else counted as regular vacation time. 
I mention this not so much to fault the HR people who were tasked with figuring this out. But we are trained early and often to believe grief has a measurable timeframe, and after that, any failures to return to normal are a personal problem. 
Obviously as I count up the personal griefs I am working through, this is more noticeable. But with this many losses, you have to be just incredibly lucky to be untouched. And if you remain in that privileged place it feels odd. It felt odd for me to live through both September 11th in DC, and the Beltway Sniper shootings the following year and feel mostly untouched. (I was also grieving my dad, so my sense of okay was likely profoundly off kilter.) 
We are all experiencing pandemic related change, and yet we are now supposed to be experienced pandemic people, and therefore should need no more time for grief, worry, or concern. So what if literally nothing is back to normal yet, we are expected to carry on. And I recognize that no one reading this is surprised, but sometimes it feels important to keep mentioning, this is not normal. It is okay to feel sad, mad, tired or some variation thereof. 
And yes, I realize I say all this after wrapping a work week, followed by volunteering/attending a virtual convention, so if you even doubt these posts are me talking to myself as much as anyone else, it definitely is.  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. In my apparent new role as person who reads thoughtful pieces about TV I have not watched, I enjoyed this piece with Meg Conley talking about some of the context of US Housewives, prosperity gospel, and capitalism, that didn't make it into the "LulaRich" documentary. 
2. This interview with Gabrielle Union looked at how she has found radical transparency to be a superpower
3. And yay for the local resident who won the Tiny Desk Contest.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Questions I Have Not Seen White Writers Asked

And yes, every one if these is based on a real question I have seen an author asked. 

1. Do you always think you'll write about white people, or are you interested in other kinds of characters too?
2. I know you've said you write the stories you wish you'd had growing up, and that's great. Do you think non-white people can find something for themselves in your work?
3. I really enjoyed reading your work. If I wanted to learn more about white people, do you have any other recommendations?
4. There's another white writer that I know of, have you met them?
5. I've adopted a white child, do you have any recommendations for things I could do or not do in raising them?
6. My child is marrying someone who is white, do you think she will enjoy your work?
7. I teach a lot of white students, but they aren't sure they want to read your work. What should I tell them?
8. I didn't always understand all the references in your book. Do you know where I can go to learn more about white culture?
9. I was reading yesterday about these white bank robbers. Have you considered writing a story on that?

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This is written about UU congregations, but I think the idea of creating workable communities in the face of one or more members holding back progress is applicable to other spaces as well. 
2. An artist created the Salon of the Refused, after not being selected for a collection, and talked about the project here. 
3. This piece on periods and sports was fascinating.  

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Energy vs. Experience

I've been watching the US Open and well, feeling a bit tired and please join me as I turn this into an extended analogy. 
One of the things that is often true about younger players is that they have skill, of course, and so much energy, but less pro experience. Players who are ten years older have simply played more games than you. They have more experience to draw from. 
But younger players have a lot of energy. So if the game goes to extra sets, they eat extra sets for snacks. They bounce on their toes between points, not just to stay warm, but also because they are so jazzed to be playing. 
And so the lack of experience can push you through errors like trying a fancy shot that didn't work, or focusing more on returning the ball and not planning for the shot after that. They can get run all back and forth by a more experienced player and just keep going. 
And that works for a while. Sometimes four rounds of that catches up to you. 
As an experienced player you can be strategic with your shots. You are accustomed to thinking through returning serves, when to move in and when to hang back, planning lobs and other things to keep your opponent expending lots of energy while you conserve yours. So if your opponent in the energizer bunny that's fine because you have the skills to wear them out until they make a mistake. 
But of course some days the player with the energy wins, and some days the strategy and experience wins. And some days you thought you were the strategic player, but it looks like you're relying on energy and vibes today. 
And some days you do what you can to survive long enough to get a nap. 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I was pointed to this post about the death (perhaps) of five year plans
2. Continuing my theme of reading thoughtful articles about TV shows I have not watched, I found this piece on "The Chair" fascinating
3. Another Gulf is Possible is providing support to folks affected by Hurricane Ida.  Help Sierra Breathe is helping folks near some of the fire zones get masks. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Math of Adjustment

We've been talking the the Write Better Faster group about this Awkward Yeti cartoon:
I had one of those weeks. Or weekends. Essentially, for reasons, I currently cannot use my stove. I became aware of this when I tried to turn it on to make dinner Friday night. I decided this was a sign that I was meant to make the frozen pizza in my toaster oven instead. 
There are cascading things related to this. Building staff needed to enter my apartment Saturday which of course meant looking around and thinking maybe a quick scrub of the kitchen was in order. 
And of course it meant the plans I had made to consume pasta and soup over the next few days got scrapped. 
Now of course these are essentially minor inconveniences. I happened to have a frozen pizza, and other food that could be prepared using the toaster oven and/or microwave. My kettle is also electric. I did have to scan through the fridge and figure out what was not going to wait for the fix and needed to be roasted or consumed or frozen in the next few days. 
But I am fine. My loved ones are fine. This is mostly a logistics problem. 
And yet, life has been a large logistics problem for about a year and a half. Having to think through the logistics of this, revise yet another plan, because of something outside of my control is tiring. 
It's okay to be tired. It's okay to be bummed that I can't make soup right now. And it's okay to be sad about something that is not life threatening. We are all carrying a lot. Being tripped up sucks. Even when you know it will probably work out okay. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

On the Newsletter - My Own Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo Report

Over on the newsletter, I reported which boxes I did (and did not) read this summer.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I really enjoy the 88 Cups of Tea podcast, so I appreciated this interview with Yin Chang where she talked about her return to "Gossip Girl" and what she's learned in her time building both a storyteller community and a food community. 
2. This older post about banking and prudery noted the impact on Patreon, former book purveyor AllRomance and others, which was context I saw missing from many others.  This Slate piece covers some of the more recent developments with OnlyFans. 
3. Given all the things lately, there are two charity auctions with a bookish bent coming up: Romance for Haiti and Romancelandia for Afghan Women

Monday, August 23, 2021

Hope Isn't Silly

I was telling someone I'm in a stint of books about hard things - dystopias, traumas, grief, cross cultural parents.  And they are each useful and good, and are mostly all lined with hope but sometimes it's hard to keep going even with the promise of hope.  
And well, it's hard when the world itself is as it is.  I thought I had kept my expectations realistic, but there are things I thought I could maybe do this fall that are clearly not possible right now.  And that's sad.  
And my worries do not include in person work right now.  I have friends who have already been back to in person work, who are being asked back because someone wants to try, or because there are financial stakes to being there in person.  
The project I'm working on right now I am dealing entirely with people who have lost someone so I am dealing with a lot of people in every phase of grief, including the I think everyone is lying to me and everything is terrible phase.  It is a really great project. It's using a lot of my skills in ways I hadn't flexed in quite this manner in a while.  But it's hard.  
Grief is hard. Trauma is hard.  One of the things I am reading rattled off the stats and between war, assault, intimate partner violence, and addiction, we are a society that is already carrying a lot of trauma and adding a pandemic just means another layer to that.  
Hope can often be placed alongside words like fluffy and sparkly, words that connote sillness and a lack of seriousness.  But hope is incredibly serious business.  Looking around at the cracks and issues in our society and being willing to roll up sleeves and work on making things better is serious stuff. Gathering enough food and cozy blankets to feed and snuggle everyone in your household is also serious stuff.  Survival, as this pandemic has reminded us, is not a given.  Doing the work to keep going requires a complete toolset and hope is an important part of it. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. As someone who used to rely on Snopes quite a bit, this article detailing both plagiarism and false sourcing was fairly disheartening. 
2. I was pointed to this post from last year that spoke of some ways to make sure you are avoiding racist tropes in your fiction. It focuses on SFF, but I think is widely applicable. 
3. Bookstore Romance Day is this weekend, and there's so many panels.  Also, there's Bookshop links on that page if there are no participating stores near you and/or shipped books are preferable to your life right now. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Thinking Globally

In a couple of different capacities, I work with international teams. I received an email - sent by a USian,  a few weeks back that ended with the closing, "I hope you all are enjoying vaccinated life" and I cringed internally. 
I am vaccinated. I am lucky to live somewhere, and to have had a schedule at the time that meant I could just pick the best times for me and go. I had the ability to spend a day recovering. (My symptoms were neither unusual for me nor outside the usual reported ones. But for me, I was not much good for about 24 hours after.)
I am aware that there are those with conditions who have been advised to wait. That plenty of people live in households with people currently unable to be vaccinated. Oh, and that worldwide the vaccine is only available in abundance in a handful of countries. Such that the worldwide vaccination rates are under 25 percent. 
Someone got a lot of flack on Twitter earlier this year for pointing out that when working in international teams, it's worth considering that not everyone is in the same season. And sure, if someone wishes me a good morning, I don't yell at them to respect time zones. But I do often answer with, oh, good afternoon. 
And one of the easiest things that people with access to vaccination can do, is remember that there are tons, literal tons of people, who still don't have the option yet. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I was alerted to two posts about Janet Dailey this week.  The first was here - from April. And then this one that delved a little more into it. 
I recognize that the posthumous author angle is clearly the most intriguing, but I feel it worth noting that Janet Dailey was found to have gone through a period of plagiarism mostly because for all the folks that pop up and say the internet is mean for cancelling people, this author's career has outlived both plagiarism and her.  
2. Linda Holmes at NPR dabbled in watching each sport for the Olympics.  
3. This story about the goings on at Scholastic in the wake of the CEO's death is a reminder that these things happen in real life too, and affect real employees. 

Monday, August 09, 2021

7 Things I (Re)Learned From the Olympics

1. Some days, no matter how hard you trained, no matter how many accolades you have already gotten, you cannot get all the things to work the way you want on the day you want. 
2. After you've done a very hard thing, it's normal to collapse in a heap for a bit.
3. Sometimes your very best day aligns with someone else's very best day. Sometimes that means incredible success. And sometimes that means people asking did you mind only getting the bronze even though you were faster than the world record that was on the books. 
4. People who are not you are very sure they know your future (This is probably her last Olympics...). You don't have to listen to them. 
5. There are only three medal winners but between personal bests, country, and continent records, there are lots of ways to measure excellence. 
6. Sometimes finishing really is achievement enough. 
7. Sometimes sharing the win is cooler than duking out who was the tiniest bit better. 

Friday, August 06, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this article about the various concerns wearing leotards can bring for young women interesting. 
2. This article really nailed the issue for me with food and cultural appropriation
3. And I put together a Bookshop list of native American writers.  I will add to it as I run across more names.

Monday, August 02, 2021

A Tangled Fan

I need to get a new fan. 
Growing up our house had AC, but my mother was very much an open the windows for a cross breeze person, where my dad was a modern technology means never being uncomfortable person which meant the thermostat was set to 78, and got turned off altogether if it was deemed a cool night. 
The building I live in has central air, but I find my individual apartment unit too cold if it runs all the time, so I rely on the main building cooling and a fan for much of the time. 
The current fan I have sits on the floor and tilts up, keeping the air in the apartment circulating. 
I was sitting near the fan knitting. Yes, it is predictable in retrospect that sitting near a fan with yarn would lead to yarn in the fan. Also, yes, I could, in theory, disassemble the fan. In practice the fan does not come apart easily, which is a shame because it is very gorgeous yarn. 
I also spent a good amount of time poking a plastic crochet hook into the unplugged fan, but not being able to get a good angle at the back meant I couldn't tell when I had crossed from unwrapping to rewrapping, so in the end scissors had to be employed. 
And also, now I need a new fan. This time I'm prioritizing ones that come apart easily. For cleaning of course. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. Njera Perkins looked at the expectations that Black women athletes face. 
2. David Perry talked about the dangers of trying to return to normal
3. This couple went with a DC metro theme for their wedding. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What Sports Demonstrates About Athleticism and Consent

People much smarter than I have already talked about the importance of protecting one's body and soul, even if you are an athlete, and even or perhaps especially in a pandemic. 
I want to talk about two things: athleticism and consent. 
On the athleticism front I think there is a weird thing that sometimes happens in sports, where we assume the sporting is a prelude. Like obviously so-and-do will win and we're all just here to watch it. Except obviously not, or we could just hand out trophies. Those other folks - sure not all of them expect to win each day, but you don't have to travel across the world and sleep in a strange bed just to run, or swim, or do back flips. 
Sports is about the unexpected. This is why I am fascinated when the weather factors in. The story could and often should be about the folks who had a great day, not just who wasn't. 
On the consent front, one of the most challenging things about consent is that we tell everyone it is an ongoing conversation and yet we don't really mean it. Let me tell a story, I swear is related. 
I had a train ticket and the folks I was visiting said, oh, let's go to breakfast beforehand. In the discussion the night before the cafe at the train station had been mentioned, so I assumed it was an option being considered. That morning there was some texting with one party and some focus on other things. And then it was decided we should breakfast. I mentioned the cafe at the station and was vetoed. Three other options were mentioned, including one that the last time I ate at it took two hours to complete our meal and we were now just over an hour from my train. 
I picked the one closest to the station, when I expressed time concerns, I was told that everything was very close and it was a weekday, nowhere would be busy. 
Well, we got to said place, and there were people standing around near the entrance clearly waiting to be called for a table. 
At this point I rescinded my vote for said place because by the time we got on the list, got a table, it would be too much to expect a packed restaurant to turn over our food that quickly and it would mean eating in a rush. 
So then we (after another attempt at an order and pay first place) we ended up at the train station cafe where we all finished well before the train arrived. 
So, the thing with consent is, you agree to do (or not do) something based on the information and circumstances you are aware of at the time. Sometimes you sleep like crap, sometimes there's way more traffic than you planned for, sometimes once you get there, the things you were expecting aren't as you expected. And we have to be okay with people changing based on new information, even if that information exists inside their own body. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sports in Pandemic Times

Years ago, I visited Barcelona and one of the things you could go see was the Olympic Stadium and the hotel built for the Olympics.  I was there in June, and I hope there are things in normal times that the stadium is used for, but wandering through a huge empty stadium was off, and the hotel looked odd, taller and shinier than most buildings in Barcelona, it just looked plunked down there.  
A cousin got married near Lake Placid and we went to visit some of the things leftover from that that are still used for training.  
I went on a work trip to Salt Lake City, and we took a look at the bobsled tracks still there.  
I started to wonder how many leftover bits there were in various cities that had hosted the Olympics. The housing, the various equipment needs, it's probably not anything that any city needs to speed zillions of dollars building for two amazing weeks.  
I used to love the reading of the Olympic oath.  These days it is ever more clear to me how much the athlete's rules are bendable if you are the right kind of athlete.  If you're a privileged white guy, it's fine to vandalize things, harm other players, and so on.  Some folks have been able to appeal their positive drug tests, and others have not.  It's not fair, and like so many things, it in part has to do with who has the time, energy, and social capital to make an issue of something.  To move forward and survive headlines associating you with scandal.  
When runner Dutee Chand's gender was questioned, her mother talked about the shame of all of this happening in public.  Likely plenty more athletes have run afoul of the narrow gender definitions and simply not wished to press it.  
And then you add in a pandemic.  A pandemic where gathering in groups increases risk.  A pandemic where the virus causes long term lung damage, a particular problem for athletes.  A pandemic where travelling and unequal access to vaccination increases the risk of variants developing.  A pandemic where vaccinated folks are more likely to contract asymptomatic versions and not know to further limit contact.  
All of this is to say, my love for the Olympics is tarnished, and it is completely ridiculous that we are asking these athletes, the many volunteers and staff, to do this so we can watch safely from our TVs.  
And I still cried when I saw who lit the flame.  

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This article noted that cross cultural casting has always existed, the current change in just in who is getting cast cross-culturally. 
2. I will possibly stop sharing every post about Fiyahcon at some point, but this piece with Vida and Iori talking about the costs and time accessibility for what will now be BonFiyah, was interesting. 
3. I caught up to this Lil Nas X profile.  (Content note: there are some passing mentions of suicidal ideation.)

Monday, July 19, 2021

Some of Your Uncertainty is Wisdom

I was talking to a friend a bit ago and she was saying that she was stuck in the decision cycle and it annoyed her to still be noodling over some things, but also she couldn't figure out the best way forward.  And I said to her, well, some of your uncertainty is wisdom.  
I wasn't trying to be super profound, but the reality is, certainty comes from being able to predict reliably, and this last year plus has shown that many things are not going the way anyone expected them to.  
Uncertainty sucks, and of course, we like to try to think our way out of it.  But sometimes you can't.  I have predictions for what the fall will look like as offices and schools resume more in person gathering, but they are guesses.  I think my guesses on this are better than some other people's but - much like that article about sporting events in the UK, we are going to try a bunch of things and see how they go.  
Obviously people can't stay inside forever, not even the ones who've been privileged to have some say about that.  And everyone who stays inside is relying on those who aren't or can't to some extent.  
We are all weighing risks and making the best choices we can based on the data and our own predictions, but we do still have a limited sample set to work with.  And even when I say I have predictions, I have predictions about infection spread.  I don't know how offices and schools and other businesses will respond.  I don't know how the government - local or federal will respond if infections tick back up.  
We are all trying and this would be less worrisome if real people's lives weren't at stake.  I remember a co-worker saying once, well, we're not brain surgeons, no one's dying today.  Except that we were dealing with prescription files, so like I could pretty easily get to the part where someone's health was at risk.  And the pandemic has been like that.  I know some people have narrowed their focus to themselves because the larger responsibility is too much to think about.  
So uncertainty sucks, but sometimes it is not a failing for you to be uncertain.  

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. This article looked at the complicated feelings surfing hitting the Olympics brings, as it has come to be known as a sport of white people, divorced from its Hawaiian roots. 
2. Nathan Burgoine pointed to this older post about why being viewed as a plot bunny by people is tiring, in light of some recent book world revelations. 
3. This piece looks at how the Merrie Monarch Festival (which was able to be held in a socially distant fashion this year) has brought hula to a wider audience

Monday, July 12, 2021

Stealing People's Stories

For those of you paying attention to the discourse out there, this both is and is not about the revelation that the short story "Cat Person" lifted some details from a real person's life. 
I had a conversation with a family friend who is an artist, who said when she paints people, she usually envisions someone she knows to start with, and kind of adds enough bits on top that it isn't really them, but she can always see who she used to start with underneath, and was writing like that.  
For me it both is and is not.  I always remember the bit in L. M. Montgomery's Emily series, where Emily gets published and various neighbors decide they are the such and such character and feel affronted about this bit. Because I think no matter what you do as an author, people who know you are going to decide you stole it from them.  
I have written stories based on real people, but also not.  Because I'm a pantser, if I know exactly what happened, I am bored, and no longer care.  But I did once write a story that combined a bunch of things my brain had been noodling on, and then when it was finished, realize one element of it bore enough similarity to something that had happened to a roommate of mine that there was no way she wasn't going to think it was inspired by that, even though I hadn't thought about them once when I was drafting.  That wasn't the only problem with that story, my main character changes personalities halfway through and that meant at least half of it needed to be re-written, probably more, and so I trunked it.  It wasn't just because it resembled a thing that had happened to someone, because let's face it there are a finite number of things that happen to people, especially when writing contemporary.  But once the similarity was clear to me, I couldn't see how I could fix the story and disentangle it enough from what had happened to my roommate to not seem like a trauma vampire and so trunked that story is.  
But yes, writers joke about plot bunnies, but for me, unless I'm doing a retelling, I'm taking a thing and throwing it into a blender and using it to power the story engine, not using it as the entire story template.  These differences may seem subtle but I do think it's important.  I want people to feel seen when they read a story I wrote because I got to some emotional truth of a thing.  Now, of course, I did use a viral date gone wrong story for Undercover Bridesmaid, but I felt to me like that was different because I was using a thing and the story wasn't really about that, that was just a way to move the beginning bit.  Could I have done it another way?  Yes.  
And certainly I am often inspired by stories that I read, both the viral date gone bad, and other news stories.  But mostly the thing I wonder is - what happens next?  Like sure, you go on a date and discover the guy has booked other dates, but what do you do next? 
And yes, I have overheard things in coffee shops, and thought hmm, and talked to people about funny things that happened to them and thought hmm, but writing a story about Bob in accounting is not appealing to me.  And while I can never guarantee I won't stumble onto a combination of things that happened to someone I know, I can of course try not to do it intentionally. And it feels like if anyone can say I think your whole story is based on me and Bob, then rather than there's a bit in chapter two that happened to me once, well, it feels like that's not fiction anymore.  

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. Eater had a piece about how restaurants could use these pandemic skills to also figure out how to better accommodate diners who are disabled.  
2. This teen has expanded her pandemic bakery into a growing business.  
 Pets of chefs - Washington City Paper interviewed some local chefs about their dogs.  

Monday, July 05, 2021

Holidays and Work

I have attended schools both private and public. I have worked for small businesses and large corporations. The one commonality is that there is no consistency in holidays. I had to become a freelancer to get Indigenous Peoples Day or Emancipation Day off (both city holidays in DC). 
When Y2K was a concern, the company I worked for took away New Years as a holiday for us. Like we all had to work January 1, even though if all the patches we had worked around the clock to implement failed, I personally was not in charge of fixing that. And all of that is totes legal in the US, because it was a company wide policy. 
I am not against holidays. I like them. I think the US has a lot to learn about letting people relax. But I think when we talk about things from Election Day to Juneteenth, the fact that holidays only exist for the privileged gets lost. 
Sure, most federal employees get federal holidays. But hospitals, nursing homes, electric companies, public transit, all of these things keep going. And what is it you think you're doing on this holiday? Are you going to a restaurant, stopping in a store? Of course you know those things are run by people. 
So, I like a good holiday. But holidays in the US are not equal. And they are not accessible to everyone. And not everyone gets holiday pay for working them. 
So holidays can be part of any movement towards making things better. But they are never the only response needed. 

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Three Interesting Things

1. Some European scientists want sports fans to know, this summer is all an experiment
2. Eddie Louise, who I worked on Fiyahcon with, had some thoughts about how awards could better accommodate teams.  
3. NPR's Joy Generator is a fun way to look at things that bring people joy and why, so you feel smart in your joy. Plus there are puppies and kittens. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

How I Became a Surprise President

I like phone games.  I play them only on my phone, even when they offer laptop versions because my phone is in theory where the fun things happen, although that's also where I do all my social media, so that's not always what's happening on my phone.  I am aware that since I constantly use the internet on my laptop, I am always about a click and a half away from a game, but this is knowledge I try to ignore.  
I've begun playing these two hidden object games that are both from the same creators.  As with other things, once I find a game I like, I often search for others like it.  My attention span for games is sort of variable.  I often love them a lot for a few days, drop down to a more reasonable amount of time, and then either complete them or fade out.  Not all games offer end points.  
At one point in these two hidden object games, I was offered the opportunity to join a club for more rewards.  I don't do everything the games always suggest to garner rewards.  I basically never go liek their social media, I will occasionally watch ads, I am a little variable.  But joining a club in the game seemed harmless.  So I searched for ones with easy breezy sounding names and joined one.  And then I reached a similar point in the other game and did the same.  
So, these two games are from the same creators, but there are some differences in operation.  One has much more regular little sidequests, and club membership lets you share energy and other rewards, as well as getting you access to a weekly challenge.  Basically, since I've joined the club I have so many coins I don't even know what to spend them on, and our team wins the weekly challenge really regularly.  I was welcomed on entry, and told that they liked to chat, liked to friend each other on Facebook, and liked to have each team member maintain a certain level of points each week, but if I had a week where something took me away and I let people know, that was fine.  
I confess at the start that seemed like a lot of data, but it was clear, and so far they have been fine with my regular but comparatively minimal contributions.  (Many of them appear to be insomniacs who play through the night.  I am a person who likes to have play breaks during the day, but does not play too late because I ended up dreaming the game.)  
The other group no one said anything.  Or at least not at first.  Now the other game the weekly challenges for teams have varied, and do not always require team participation.  You can share gifts that convert to energy or clues, and so we were doing that.  
And then we got a new person who was very chatty.  Not excessively so, but when there had been almost no chat before, there was now daily chat, so it was a shift.  And it was almost entirely this one person trying to encourage us to move up the leaderboard, play the challenge, rah, rah, rah! They started remarking that we had more players who hadn't played that week at all, than we did who were actively playing.  We made it past one leaderboard challenge, and the rest, we did okay but often got beat out by teams with more active players, or more willingness to spend money on extra energy.  
And so finally that person announced they were off to form their own team with celar requirements and leadership roles, and they left.  Several other players left with them.  We had a few new people join, ask a question and when it didn't immediately get answered they left too.  (In fairness, people are in all different time zones, but hey.)  
I kept playing.  I was playing a lot and noticed one week I was the only one who participated in the special challenge. I started checking the stats of other players to see if I was the only one still playing.  One player who had been active seemed to have stopped.  One other player was still making progress.  And that seemed to be it, out of eight theoretical people.
I was trying to decide if I cared.  There were a couple of bonus things that you can't really ever do without others, but beyond that, it wasn't holding me back from playing the game.  And then one day I got a game alert.  Usually they tell me my energy has renewed.  This one said I was President.  
I immediately logged back in to the game because how could that be right?  But as I poked around I was not listed as president, and it appeared that I could not eject people from our club and I also could just reassign the presidency.  
I have not yet done anything with this new power. But I might.     

Friday, June 25, 2021

Re-Release - Repeated Burn

As long time readers might recall, I had a story called Repeated Burn, that originally appeared in the Do It Again Anthology.  The anthology (which has now been sunsetted) worked around a theme of second chance or bouncing back.  As I thought through who to write about, I thought about Raven.  Raven had shown up in Aloha to You as Adriana's fellow small business owner and purveyor of excellent brownies.  (And tea. Let's not forget that tea.)  
As it developed I decided that it was essentially a spinoff of the City Complications Series, so I'm re-releasing it as the first in the City Entanglements series.  For those of you who like to adhere to reading order, I wrote Repeated Burn to take place in approximately the same time frame as Aloha to You, which is to say they can be read in either order and nothing will be spoiled. 
Raven is already having a bad Monday, and the appearance of her ex's new ex is not helping. She delivers Sienna to her brother Marcus, planning to wash her hands of the whole thing. But the universe seems determined to throw her and Marcus together. Marcus is used to cleaning up his little sister's messes. They usually don't involve attractive women. He is drawn to Raven's independence and her confidence. But Raven's been burned by those who claimed to love her time and again. Will she be able to trust that Marcus is ready for the long haul?
TL:DR version of the blurb
*Coffee shop and bakery owner
*Meets corporate hotel dude
*The older brother of her ex's new ex might be the hotness
*Contains brownies and so much coffee
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