Weird Dreams

You’d think I would be dreaming of volcanoes, earthquakes, and asteroids, since I have been reading a book on natural disasters.  Or about serial killers, since I am earlobes deep into my next book, which, even I, find mildly disturbing.  But I’m not…

I’m dreaming of Hoof & Mouth Disease (perhaps another clue as to why I have sleep anxiety).  Last night and the night before, I dreamed that Hoof & Mouth Disease had become very transmittable from animals to humans.  The symptoms in humans was psychopathic disregard for human life (think The Purge).  And my waking brain went “What the hell?!?”

Hoof & Mouth Disease is very hard for humans to catch.  It does happen, rarely… very rarely… like almost never… but it can spread to humans from infected animals, predominately, infected cattle, but not via ingestion.  You can eat all the infected cattle you want and not get the disease because our stomach acid kills the virus that creates Hoof & Mouth Disease.

And it does not infect the brain.  We are more likely to suffer an epidemic of psychopaths created by Spongebob Squarepants than we are from Hoof & Mouth.  It causes lesions on the skin and in the oral cavity.  It’s painful and sometimes, fatal, but it never touches the brain.

It is a very odd thing to dream about.

Unnoticed

In 1809, there was a massive volcanic eruption in Colombia South America.  The years 1810-1812 are known as the “Years without Summer.”  Somehow, the human race, despite suffering from a volcanic winter, managed to completely miss the eruption that caused it.  It wasn’t until about 30 years ago, when ice cores from Alaska and Greenland brought the eruption to the attention of scientists that the “Years without Summer” became explainable.  And yet, we still can’t find the volcano…

Now, I’m not a doom and gloom kind of person.  I know that Yellowstone is a supervolcano.  I also know it is heavily monitored and that when the caldera decides to spew forth its destructive contents, living in Missouri, is not going to save me from what is most likely an extinction level event.  However, I don’t think about it… I don’t wake up in the morning wondering if today is the day that the Yellowstone Caldera erupts.

The mystery volcano in Colombia bothers me.  In 1883, Krakatoa exploded with a VEI-6 (I can’t remember what VEI stands for).  In 1991, Mount Pinatubo also erupted at a VEI-6.  The Krakatoa eruption created an island.  Yep, think about that statement for a moment… a VEI-6 can create a brand new island…

Which is why the mystery volcano bothers me.  It was large enough to create a miniature ice age (very miniature)… Three years of epic snow falls, disastrously short growing seasons, and springs and falls that looked a whole lot like winter.  It was bigger than a VEI-6.   And we can’t freakin’ find it?!?  (On an interesting side note, in 1809 the New Madrid fault gave its first belch, a preview of an event that would lead to a couple of years of severe earthquakes that actually made the Mississippi River run backwards and could be felt as far north as Montreal, Canada)

Krakatoa did not create a volcanic winter.  Pinatuba (in 1991 it erupted at a VEI-6) did not cause a volcanic winter.  Yet, the volcano we can’t find, did.  This means there is a very good chance that it is more like Yellowstone than Krakatoa… A super volcano.

The nice thing about volcanoes is that we have made a ton of progress in understanding them over the last fifty years.  We monitor the shit out of them, because if we monitor them, we can predict eruptions (which saved thousands when Pinatuba went in 1991).  No one seems to notice the battalion of scientists hanging around Yellowstone with billions of dollars worth of equipment, but they both exist.  But we can’t monitor a volcano we can’t find… A volcano that we know erupted with a VEI-7, at the least.

There are dozens of volcanoes in Colombia, only one is classified as large; Dona Juana.  The volcano is active and does have a caldera…  So, was it the Dona Juana that caused the volcanic winter or are we really dealing with an unmonitored supervolcano?

Book Case #86 – Elysium Dreams

Hadena James:

A New Elysium Dreams review and post!

Originally posted on Haunted Book Case:

Elysium DreamsBook and Author Details:
Elysium Dreams on Good Reads
Elysium Dreams on Amazon
Hadena James’ Website
Hadena James Facebook

Description from Author:

In the cold, dark nights of Alaska, a hunter is stalking his prey. Once found, he takes them into the woods and skins them alive, prolonging the experience as much as he can, but the satisfaction always wanes.

Aislinn Cain and the Serial Crimes Unit head for the north to find this brutal and cruel killer. The climate is harsh, the locals are hostile, and each day the unsub moves closer to claiming his next trophy – Aislinn.

My Review:
I have to admit, I am a new fangirl of Hadena James’ Dreams and Reality series. I was sent book two after reviewing book one, and fell even more in love with the characters within the pages. I am addicted to the character development. I am drawn in…

View original 235 more words

It’s All About Perspective

My SO and I have been house shopping.  I find the process very stressful.  Especially since we are house shopping while I attempt to write my next novel… and the closer we get to finding that perfect place, the more stressed I found myself becoming because we’d be moving while I attempted to write my next novel… and moving sucks; life, energy, and creativity out of a person.

For a month, I struggled to put words on the screen.  Then it hit me one day; this book, with it’s very intricate plot and twisty pathways, just wasn’t going to work during such a high stress period of time.  During this time, writing hasn’t been a stress reliever, it’s been a stress inducer.  A daily torture as I attempted to meet lofty word goals on a plot that required more attention than I could dedicate.

So, I switched plots (meaning, I switched serial killers).  The plot is still intricate.  The killer still demanding.  But it isn’t the draft I had been hammering out (which involved the return of several characters and a contract killer).  I moved five chapters into a new book and started over this morning.  And the words started flowing.  I banged out a modest three chapters this morning, more than I had put down in the last two weeks.

My word count goals are still lofty, to say the least, but at least it doesn’t require me to keep stopping and looking at my research.  Or require me to double check my plot lines for holes I have missed during this stress-filled writing frenzy.  The realization that some books require more attention than others is an interesting one.

And that realization has given me some clarity.  While people like to complain about Mercurial Dreams, it is actually the book that I had to put the most thought into… The plot and unanswered questions required far more work than any of the others.  Suddenly, its status has been elevated to being my personal favorite.  It really is all about perspective.

Reunions

In the mail today, I got notification of a 10-year class reunion next month.  It’s for college.  I got to thinking about it and I didn’t really make many friends in college.  A few, but we have become mostly just Facebook Friends at this point.  Our real lives interfering with our ability to stay connected face-to-face.

If I don’t attend, they would like me to contact them with a story that can be shared with the group that does attend.  A story?  From college?  Hm, drawing a blank.  I’m not a joiner and I was older.  I started college at 22, not 18.  Do I have any stories to share?  Not really.

A quick look back makes me realize that while most people were busy enjoying college, I was busy getting an education.  I didn’t go to join History Club or the track team.  I didn’t even go with the intention of making new friends and meeting new people.

I did learn, earning a couple of degrees and graduating with far more credit hours than I needed.  But did I gain anything?  I’m not sure.

Daylight Savings Time

For most of us in the good ol’ US of A, we’ve switched to Daylight Savings Time.  It blows.  My body has trouble adjusting to Daylight Savings Time.  I’m fine switching back to standard time in November, but the March leap forward, causes some issues.

I will start by saying I am not a morning person.  I used to be.  It used to be easy for me to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, with a smile on my face and the world at my feet.  Now, when I wake up, it takes about 2 hours for me to get my head wrapped around the fact that I am awake.  My tongue doesn’t want to work, my throat feels like I sucked up the Sahara during the night and have most of it still lodged there, and it is very easy for me to shut off the alarm, roll over and go back to sleep.  Unfortunately, that just delays the inevitable 2 hour time span that I spend in a state of dysfunction.  Most mornings I have to debate whether I want to be functional at 10 a.m. or noon… which is what gets me out of bed at 8.

I will also admit to being a night owl.  I always have been, even when I was a morning person I could stay up until 1 a.m. and get up at 7 a.m., all bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Days end somewhere between 1 and 2 in the morning.  If it is earlier than 1, I’m sick or have a migraine.

Now comes Daylight Savings time.  As the clock rolls around to 1 a.m., my body is still convinced that it is only midnight and I have at least another hour before I have to go to bed.  At 2 a.m., I drag my carcass into the bedroom and curl up… but it’s usually closer to 3 when I finally manage to fall asleep and I don’t sleep well those first couple of weeks.  So, when that stupid alarm goes off at 8 a.m., I’ve gotten less sleep than normal and it was crappy sleep on top of it.  My body shuts off the alarm without input from my brain, because my brain is still coping with sleeplessness.

Therefore, I have decided that Daylight Savings Time was invented to torture the poor saps that have strong internal clocks.  It might be time to move to Arizona… Unfortunately, I know very little about Arizona, except that some parts do not partake in the DST Kool-Aid and there was a mass UFO sighting there in 1997.

Scandal… Schmandal…

Before I woke up yesterday morning, I was fairly certain that the world was still having problems.  Like, serious, holy shit, the world is on the brink of implosion, kind of problems.  Watching my nightly news reminded me that no matter how bad it gets out there, the lead story will be a politically-motivated scandal.

Yep, I’m talking about Hilary’s email issues…  I’m not the biggest fan of our Secretary of State, I’m also not her biggest detractor… However, everyone who thinks this is newsworthy is a hypocrite.  Ouch!  Such language!  Nope, it stays.  I used to work for both state government and local government.  Everyone I knew/know who works in a government office uses their personal email for work and *gasp* their work email for personal stuff.  I’d be willing to bet the politicos on Capitol Hill demanding her head do the same.

Why on Earth are we inventing problems?!?

Want to learn about a real scandal?  Listen to the news about OU.  That’s newsworthy.  Try to figure out what is going on with SAE… obviously, there’s a problem with the fraternal organization.

What are we doing about ISIS this week?  We know what they are doing (murdering an Israeli spy, last I heard).  So, how are we handling it?  No, I don’t expect the tactical data and movements weekly, but some sort of reassurance that ISIS is being dealt with would be nice.

How about the fact that the flu vaccine isn’t working this year, currently effective only 16% of the time, because it’s not the “right” strain of flu?  And it is making a second run, with confirmed cases in several states.  Or the fact that because this particular strain is very contagious among birds, chicken and turkey prices are going to rise.

Why aren’t we discussing the economic increase that has been slowly taking hold?  (I’m acutely aware of how the dollar is performing in the international market because it impacts how much money I make on international e-book sales)

How’s the trial going for the Boston Marathon bombers?

Why did a grandmother in Chicago take a saw to the throat of her 2 year old grandchild?  And how did her kids survive to reproduce?

*sigh*

Living The Dream?

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  That’s bullshit.  Technically, I have my dream job.  I love what I do.  It fills me with satisfaction.  I still work my ass off.

Whatever romantic image of being a writer most people have is wrong.  It’s a lot of hours.  It’s a lot of weird hours.  Each of us is different and no matter how much I train my body, I still work better at night.  I can sit at a desk for eight hours a day, five days a week and still not churn out as much as I will from about 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.  And it isn’t just writing.

Of course, I don’t sit at a desk.  I sit on a couch.  I’m not here eight hours a day, it’s more like ten.  It isn’t five days a week, it’s seven.  When it isn’t flowing well, part of that ten hours a day is spent trying to stimulate my brain or tease out a scene.  When it is flowing, it’s hard to take a break, even to get up and grab a sandwich or go to the restroom.

The process of writing is about more than just writing.  I’m not a plotter or planner.  I start with an idea and go from there.  But there are times when “where does it go next” is an issue.  Coaxing out “what comes next” can be a tedious process with minutes or even hours spent doing something mind-numbing while your brain plays out different scenarios in your head.

And my head is full of stuff.  All the time.  My last thoughts before going to sleep are “what happens next”.  Sometimes, I forget what I thought up the night before, sometimes I don’t and the morning creativity process works a little faster.  A mini-movie plays through my imagination often.  If Person A does this, Person B reacts like this and Reaction D takes place, but let’s rewind and have Person A do this instead… How does Person B react?  Like I said, it works like a movie, projected on the inside of my skull for my brain to see; I can rewind, fast-forward, pause, and skip bits.

I don’t have coworkers who stop at my cubicle to tell me about their evening’s misadventures.  If I need help, I have to wait for someone to get done with their day job and hope they aren’t too tired to get to it that night.  I talk to myself, sometimes out loud.  It’s particularly bad when I’m alone in a car.  But it also happens when I’m not alone.  There are times I will go days and the only conversations that I’ll have are with my mother, my SO, and myself.

I love it, but it’s still work.  There are times I’d rather be playing a video game or reading a book or hanging out with friends, but I’m writing, so I can’t.

Dear New Computer -

Dear New Computer –

I’d like to start out by saying, I will stop complaining about Windows 8.1.  I’m still not a fan, but it isn’t the worst thing to happen to the world of computing.  For example, spontaneous combustion is the worst.

However, I’d like to talk about a few other issues that seem to be prevalent.

Why don’t all my keys work all the time?  I’m a terrible typist to begin with.  If I have to remind myself every time I hit the space bar or “h” key to strike it a little hard than the others, one of two things is going to happen.  1.  There are going to be lots of missing “h”‘s and spaces.  2.  I will begin striking all the keys with incredible force until I have pounded the hell out of the keyboard and other keys will die a senseless, tragic death.  Please let this problem be resolvable by usage.

Why do you keep reinstalling Skype?  I have uninstalled this program three times.  I do not Skype.  I’m not the video chatting type.  I’m not even the chatting type.  I do not need this program.  I certainly do not need this program to run in the background all the time.  I would like for you to stop re-installing it.  Also, stop reminding me to set up a Skype account, log in to my non-existent Skype account, or giving me messages telling me that I’m not logged in to Skype and therefore, cannot receive messages.  It’s an issue of logic; I know that if I am not logged into Skype, I will not be able to receive requests to Skype.  Reminding me only ensures that we are going to go through the install/reinstall process all over again.

Finally, what is wrong with the mouse?  I have had three laptops and I am very comfortable using a swipe pad.  However, your swipe pad seems to have some issues.  For example, why did you highlight and delete three paragraphs tonight when I attempted to click the X button to close the program?  I will have to plug in a wireless mouse if this nonsense continues.

Your Interested Owner,

H

Writing & the New Computer

I replaced my old laptop.  The new one arrived just in time.  While the old one did give up the ghost, so to speak, it is still mildly functional, as long as you don’t do anything taxing.  Or mind random shut-downs…

The new machine is Windows 8.1 based.  I find the start menu pointless.  You click on something and it takes you back to the normal “computer screen” to run the program anyway… so why bother?  I get that it’s set up more like a phone or a tablet (the new laptop is not the tablet/laptop hybrid), but I have a phone and a tablet, I’d like my computer to look and feel like a computer.  If I wasn’t in love with that look and feel, I’d use a typewriter or *gasp* hand write everything.

However, there is a major problem.  I use WriteWay to compose all my novels.  The program is having issues installing/running on it.  I am in a holding pattern, waiting for their tech support to get back to me.  I’m not getting anything written or accomplished.  It is actually starting to bug me.  It’s been 4 days since I put words on paper… and I lost some of those words.  My old laptop turned them to gobbledity gook when it crashed during back-up, corrupting both files.

So, I’m twiddling my thumbs.  I am not very good at waiting.

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