Book 4

FYI the fourth!

As I expected, no way I could get through the monster fourth Geren book in a year...but a year and a half isn't bad. Today I finally finished. This is an FYI that the revised version of my fourth Geren novel is now available for anyone who read the older version and might like to read it again.

Available formats
- pdf
- epub (for Nook, Kobo, Onyx Boox, etc)
- mobi (for Amazon Kindle)

Please let me know if you want paper copies, and they will get a higher priority on my ever-lengthening purchases list!

And now for Geren book 5, the last one, at last!
Sigh

Awful April

So, I'm not writing this from a padded cell, not quite. A basement bedroom in a friend's house is not a padded cell, though it's far from a mansion either!

April stunk. The locals especially to the south and west would say the blizzard in mid-April did that. Those in the north would say getting buried by snow at the end of April would do that too. Everyone is annoyed by this string of gloomy rainy days when the rivers are still in flood stage from the massive snow melt. My time and energy during April was occupied with packing and with looking. I wound up retreading the path of 2016, by renting a regular and later a separate climate-controlled storage unit, both now containing most of my possessions, though my house plants are taking refuge in various places.

The month did bring bright spots: my brother flew out over Easter weekend for our great-aunt's memorial. It was great to see him and a bunch of distant relations. And I finished my art project and found it quite apt to my current situation. Slow but palpable progress with pass 7 of my fourth Geren book as well, though currently I can only squeeze in some time on bus rides or sometimes lunch breaks.

Very grateful for help from my brother and Cindy and the Towners with hauling furniture, or cleaning, or offering me a place to stay. And the Johnsons for taking in some of my plants.

April got more awful for my brother and sister-in-law with their loss around Easter. Then it got truly awful at my job. Worst day in my career by far, when a coworker in her mid-20s didn't show up for work Thursday and we find out after noon that she is dead. It's going to take all of us some time to work through this shock and tragedy and loss.

Apr 14 - Finished 'Passage 2019' book 5 illustration

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout COMPLETE!
Pass 7 Final sweeps In Progress, 30% complete


As for May...it starts with a memorial service on Sunday for me, my coworkers, and many others. It also kicks off with a huge upgrade at work Saturday that will keep my team very busy for some time. It gets underway with the uncertainty of whether I will be living in the basement bedroom for two more weeks or if more upheaval will hit again. God alone knows where and how May will end...
bad day

Maddening March

What a ghastly month. But I should start with the not-bad first. My fellow Minnesotans were probably quite grateful to not have much snow in March, after surviving February. No surprise big storms, and it wasn't even that windy, for March. Best of all, I got the fourth Geren novel back from my editor in the latter half of the month, and I'm delighted she really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I haven't been able to delve into it much yet.

Nothing to show for an accomplishments list. While I did start an art project that was supposed to be 'quick,' my pc Quartus decided it wanted to take over 90 hours to render a big image, so that will be dragging on into April.

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout COMPLETE!
Pass 7 Final sweeps In Progress, 3% complete


But art frustrations are just a little icing on a very big cake. Of the two huge decisions that have been looming over me for months...I got an answer to one of them in early March, and it feels like a least-desirable outcome. It leaves me completely strapped for money and bearing an unshakable sense of feeling trapped, since the tiny bit I still have must be saved for moving. Actually, it leaves me stretched on a 'rack' of my own devising. I would have loads of money, more than enough for everything I needed, if I just stopped my giving, or cut it back to a "mere" tithe. But to my conscience, doing that to bail myself out of my current debacle is faithless. It's tantamount to declaring that I don't really trust God to take care of me, so...stretched on a rack of my own devising and longing to escape but unwilling to let go.

Now my objective is preparing to move, but in which direction?

No answers at all there yet, just a wall I can't see past, or plan past. Last year, my focus was on options A, B, and C. But over the course of March I've found D, E, F, G...it goes on. I am a planner and my inability to plan much of anything past the latter part of April is driving me wild. I can't even figure out my packing strategy, since I don't know if I will have an overlap in rental locations as happened with my first two moves, a half-day gap where I have to be out by noon April 30 and can get in somewhere else May 1, or a longer gap than that where I'm 'homeless' for a while (like happened with my 2016 move). Knowing that would help me figure out how to stage my rented storage space (or even what size space I should have rented) but I don't know anything. Except that noon April 30 is when I'm gone from Gondmar.

Can't forget to mention that April is when I move at my job too, as if there wasn't enough upheaval happening already. I'm getting split up from some coworkers I've worked near for 21 years; not at all thrilled about that.

Time will show if I'll be writing my next monthly summary post from a padded cell! Obviously April will be consumed by preparing to move only-God-knows-where. Accompanied by the fun of having hurt my lower back with such fantastic timing. At least I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for the middle of April, since I seem to be adding new minor health issues on a weekly basis now. As time permits, I'll try to wade into pass 7 with the fourth Geren book, but I don't expect time to permit all that much. Just packing, not having a nervous breakdown, and hopefully getting some direction sometime so I can start looking at places...hopefully that's the agenda prior to May.
Christmastime

Unique February

An interesting month! First and foremost, of course, was the weather. Plenty of cold and loads of snow led to it being the snowiest February on record in my area, and fourth snowiest of any winter month. Amazing, and so much fun to experience. (I have addiction issues with snow ;)

Aside from the weather, February was a waiting month for me. Some big decisions pending, but I felt led to wait until the end of the month to seek direction. However, in the midst of that came good news both with tax returns and the yearly company bonus. Best of all, I got my fourth Geren novel off to my wonderful editor, who will be working on it well into March.

Not much of a list for February, but glad I had a break between colds to squeeze in a blood donation! Unfortunately my health continues a slow decline, with what appears associated symptoms of depression and no energy. So not nearly as much got done as I'd hoped (no art at all), though taxes made up for some of the lack.

Feb 10 - First blood donation of 2019

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout COMPLETE!
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


At the very end of February, I gave my two month notice for moving out. That means the focus of March will be on preparing to move, while I await getting my book back from my editor. I'll continue enjoying more time for reading on the bus rides, though I might shift to editing at some point. March brings some big decisions...and who knows, maybe a little hint of oncoming spring as well...
Christmastime

Dashing December and Frustrating January

It's been an interesting two months. December was busy, of course, between wrapping up my art project for the single page calendars, working away to finish verbal edits with the fourth Geren book, while enjoying extra reading time on the bus rides. Lots of parties the week before Christmas, and then off to visit family for Christmas and New Year's. Lots and lots of wonderful food! My mom and I had a marvelous overnight trip to the Monterey area that was blessed with fantastic weather. I was in California for the first week of January as well, which provided the opportunity to take a niece and nephew to the San Francisco area on another overnight trip.

Unfortunately, I picked up a bug on the way to California, and was sick for three weeks until I finally went to urgent care. So that got January off to an annoying start, between being ill, having to miss the blood drive, and other conflicts wrecking other plans on top of that. I feel stuck in way too many aspects of my life, which also shadowed the month. Still, on the bright side, starting pass 6 with editing my fourth Geren novel meant I could contact my editor again and secure dates with her in February - March. January knew no happy medium when it came to the weather either, starting out appallingly snowless and way above average, then wrapping up with the coldest temps since 1996, back when I was in college.

So my accomplishments list, unsurprisingly, is far from great, but at least it's not empty.

Dec 5 - Finished ‘Night Music’ 2019 calendar project
Dec 23 - Jan 8 - Visiting Family
Jan 30 - Finished 'First Fall' winter wallpaper

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through COMPLETE!
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout In Progress, 95% complete
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


As for February, just need to wrap up the last tweaks before I hand over Geren book 4 to my wonderful editor. Then, with the last Christmas decorations put away, hopefully I'll have the extra time to start prep-work and purging as a gear-up to moving this year. And not spend it all reading or working on art projects, though I hope to enjoy some of that as well!
Reading

2018 Books

Another new year means another round of moving my books list from my shouts_of_joy bio page over here to be a reference down the road. 2018 was not a good reading year, since work on the fourth Geren book took loads of time but doesn't get counted. Just 39 books, so at least I squeaked past 2016's total.

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Blink

2018

Back with the quiz I've posted yearly since 2004. I think the best word to define 2018 would be 'disappointing.' Most of the rotten things from 2017 just kept right on going, while certain good items or changes I'd been anticipating were either cancelled, delayed, or turned into letdowns. At least my rewrite of the five Geren novels keeps progressing and I'm still on track to have the entire huge project done in the space of 6-7 years (2018 being year 4). And yes, I celebrated my 25th anniversary since first meeting t'DoL in February and throughout the year, and that proved one big bright spot.

Now to discover if some of the big changes I've been anticipating will strike in 2019...

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Black squirrel

Chilly October and Nice November

Amazing to realize that it is December already. Parts of October and November felt very fast indeed. Despite my unimpressive accomplishments list below, a lot happened over the past two months. The past two cold months, I should clarify...a bit of October felt like November and a fair bit of November felt like December! A lot of wet, wind, and cold made for a less-than-stellar fall, but thanks to the Towners letting me use the minivan, I was able to get out a few times to enjoy it--a big blessing. I took a course on the Wilderness by Messenger International which was fantastic and challenging, and also started receiving prayer counseling on some Wednesday nights, as part of my very long quest to get through whatever's blocking me from getting out of the wilderness of the past 12+ years.

Editing progress with the fourth Geren novel proceeded quite well, so that I enter December a trifle past my schedule...and on track to hopefully start working with my wonderful editor in February (that thanks to a huge prayer request answered near the end of November). My planned art projects had to decrease from three to two, but at least I finally finished my big illustration I started in February and had it printed on metal to hang in my bedroom, then resumed work on the illustration for both my latest story and next year's calendar. And I got to celebrate both 25.75 years, t'DoL's birthday, and Thanksgiving in the space of a week!

Oct 27 - Finished 'Relentless' 25th anniversary commemorative picture
Nov 11 - Third blood donation of 2018

Pass 1 Highlight/comment potential edits & revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 2 Major edits and revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 3 Items missed in Pass 2, edit revisions COMPLETE!
Pass 4 Highlight/address bad habits and trouble spots COMPLETE!
Pass 5 Verbal read-through In Progress, 83% complete
Pass 6 Thorough review with different font and page layout not yet started
Pass 7 Final sweeps not yet started


As for December, rushing full-tilt to finish my 2019 full-page calendar illustration along with pass 5 in the fourth Geren novel. Besides that, time to put up the decorations and get ready for a nice long trip to visit family over the holidays. Can't forget shopping, parties, Christmas music! I'm also itching to do more illustrations with the Wolf Lord in them, so if time permits, maybe I can start the next one...
Autumn

Timing is Everything: Autumn 2018

This was not the best of autumns. Weeks of gloomy, cloudy, then rainy weather starting at the end of September, meant that most of the poplars (cottonwoods, quaking aspens, and bigtooth aspens) had their leaves turn greyish brown and die on the trees in too many cases. The ash trees looked strange, with a combination of green, yellow, and shriveled dead brown leaves on their boughs. Then, as the skies finally cleared, the winds came in and tried to rip the leaves down as soon as they got colorful. Or so it felt.

But, blessed by the loan of the wonderful Towner's minivan, I got out a few times. Down to Red Wing for the Fall Festival of the Arts before peak color, grateful the sun broke out for a little while as I was hiking around the top of Barn Bluff. Then I hit perfect timing the morning of the 21st, to get to Lebanon Hills just a little after dawn and capture that wonderful golden light. Visited Thomas Lake Park the next evening to try to enjoy more color from the oaks (and tamaracks!). Not much left for leaves by the 28th after more rain and crazy winds--but the oaks were stubborn and held on, and seeing a not-quite-mature bald eagle sitting in a tree made up for the sparseness of remaining autumn color. Some adult bald eagles and other raptors were soaring about as well, but I was too far away to get good photos of the migrating swans, coots, and various ducks on the river.

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Fading too fast, as always, but so glad I was able to get out a few times and enjoy it!