Monday, January 27, 2014

Time off.

Happy Monday! While I've been up before the sun (I expect I'll crash before the sun sets), I actually feel quite good. It was just myself and Shadow this weekend, and I think we both enjoyed the very lax few days. I mean, who couldn't love a Pushing Daisies marathon? I wish they kept the series going. I would have loved to see how certain storylines would unfold. I hate an unfinished story (though they gave a decent ending considering their cancellation...*le sigh*). I even caught the Grammys yesterday, though I should have known to stay off Facebook while it went on. Like the Summer Olympics, the east coast gets everything first, therefore spoiling it for the rest of us in the central, mountain, and pacific time zones. After catching far too many spoilers within a two minute time span, I just settled with focusing on the performances rather than the Grammy winners. It was a good one though, even with the spoilers.

Speaking of the Olympics, I will avoid the status updates for the Sochi Winter Games because I am sure we will get the latter showings of the events compared to the east coast again. While the Winter Olympics isn't a favorite (I really only pay attention to hockey, curling, and speed skating compared to practically everything of the Summer Olympics), I will give my warning to the texting buddies: DON'T DO IT. For the smart alecks who'll say that I said nothing about Facebook, that includes Facebook messages and comments too. If anything, PLEASE ask if I've seen the match first. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting as long as we have to in catching a highly anticipated match and then getting a text HOURS before it, revealing who won. Unless you desire a meeting with "Angry Mel", please refrain from spoiling. Thank you.

Back to the weekend. I've been going through a bit of some spiritual cleansing. Y'know, confronting some demons, clearing out the depression and negativity in my space, letting go of unnecessary things (also in the clothes department), and so on. I think the fun sign of good things to come after my ritual was finding a ladybug inside the house. I took Shadow out for a quick trip to the yard, and when we came back inside, I spotted one by the coat rack. Fun fact: before all the vampires and love of many dark things and creatures, I was quite obsessed with ladybugs and butterflies (and yes, I loved elves and fairies before the vampires too). I hadn't seen ladybugs in a very long time, let alone in the time of cold weather. The sight of it gave me a much needed smile as well as a sigh of relief. I'm reaching that light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, and it feels SO lovely.

I was also contemplating last week on how I want to approach the cohesion edits of books 1-3, and I've decided that I will reprint all the current drafts. I'll do so after I have my second round of book 3 edits, right after I get it back from my reader. Yes, the trees will hate me, but I catch more mistakes in a hardcopy rather than the computer screen. Book 1 takes precedence too; I want it to really be "Mel Perfect" for when it comes out this year. There are a few themes I plan to expand on in book 1 specifically, and I can expect to chop out a few things now too. I look forward to it all! :)

I just hope that they make binders that could possibly fit all three books. It might be wishful thinking, I know, but it would be nice to have it all in one place rather than three separate binders for this coming process.

In the meantime, back to reading!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A familiar road.

 

I'm still in a grappling match with this weird flu. Some moments I'm perfectly fine; other moments, I'm hacking up a lung or dealing with a massive headache. *sighs* It's tiring.

The good news, however, is that I finished my first round of edits and transfers for book 3. While I wait patiently for my reader to go through it, I'm spending the spare time catching up on my reading (and gaming and taking Shadow to the park when I'm heavily medicated, heh). I decided to read a minimum of 50 books for the year of 2014. I never really liked setting those kinds of goals because there are times where the ideal of enjoyment changes to a forced task, but I decided to hell with it and went for it. So far so good! I've got three down out of fifty. Right now I'm in the middle of a book out of Kate Quinn's Rome series. They're not easy to put down, let me tell you. I was never a really big Rome fanatic; I've always preferred Greece. I guess my mindset changed when I started exploring the Celtic world; I'm the kind of person who likes to study both sides of the opposing party, as it were, just to understand the mindset of the era, its people, etc. Long story short, I don't mind tales and shows about Rome now, especially when it comes to the gladiators and the legionnaires. I like studying the different fighting styles...can't help it.

Once I do get the reader's notes on book 3, I will be going through another round of extensive edits with it. I'm debating whether or not to print the current versions of books 1 and 2 as well, since I do catch more inconsistencies in a hard-copy version rather than on the computer screen (I read faster on a computer screen...it's a curse sometimes). The trees will hate me, I'm aware...*sighs* we shall see.

In the meantime, there's reading to be done! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Burnt out.


My poor mother has been fighting this ugly flu since a little after Christmas now (she's a lot better now, but this strain that's been going around is not leaving without a fight), and after all my "preventive measures" while trying to take care of her, the flu has caught up with me. I guess it was bound to happen...I've been sleep deprived, depressed, angry, stressed, frozen (you're starting to get the picture), etc. since my New York trip. I planned on getting more rest, being social again, have a real proper mourning time, and so on after working the gallery stretch, but yeah, the flu and the overworked spirit has decided to intervene. At least this came when Mom's made her homemade chicken soup (a highly personal favorite!), heh heh heh.

Also, since when has cough syrup tasted better??? When I first went to grab medicine for Mom at Whole Foods, I ended up finding a rather delicious homeopathic cough and cold syrup. Why couldn't that particular brand have existed when I was a kid? I still cringe to this day at the memory of Buckleys shoved down my throat chased by a glass of water (if you never had that godawful syrup, consider yourself fortunate).

I could blame being drained because of football too...it's the playoffs after all! My secondary team is still in it, so I'm far more invested in the playoffs than usual (we knew my Giants did not have a chance early on *sighs*). This coming weekend's round is going to be fantastic, I know it.

As for the edit transfers for book 3...I have 3-4 chapters left to input! These also happen to be the chapters that have the most edits to transfer, including a chunk of extra passages to input from the editing notebook. Knowing me, I'll end up reworking the extra passages I've written in the editing notebook. I should be finished with it all soon, depending on how this flu treats me. If anything, I can take this time to catch up on my Kindle books. Lots of rest and reading always makes things better...and perhaps some Lee Pace and Pushing Daisies. Just maybe. :)

On that note, stay healthy everyone! Invest in IV bags of orange juice, honey, lemon, and tea!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Aftermath.

It is blistering cold here in Santa Fe. I'm willingly wearing a hat because of it (for anyone who knows me personally, I usually put up a fight when it comes to wearing a winter hat...I tend to stick to earmuffs). I barely got out of bed this morning for gallery duty because it was just so nice and warm; it was definitely one of those mornings where you wake up and pretend that the floor is composed of lava, therefore justifying the pure beauty of laziness and staying in bed. Alas, duty calls.

As you can tell, December of 2013 was not very kind to me. I'm still not at 100% from my Abuela's death, but I'm marching along nonetheless. I'll be ok, in time. Bits of my usual routine is coming back; the only "consistent" thing I've been doing is my edit transfers on book 3. I'll get back to my Zumba schedule after I finish this gallery stretch. I'll get back to my Lee Pace and Pushing Daisies marathon after that as well; I snagged the second season (and sadly the final one of the once popular show) a while back. I can at least say that I did have an enjoyable Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My New Years was meh at best, but that is really credited to my depression, not the company I spent it with. I do have a bright outlook for 2014, though. I expect a lot of great things to happen this year.

I've been sticking to the two chapters per weekday (not counting holidays) routine for the book 3 edit transfers. As I've mentioned in other entries, I've a TON of edit marks and passages to transfer over, so this week I am starting from chapter 13. Everything's coming along, even though there have been times where I felt like I've been on autopilot. That's the beauty of editing though; you can go over the material as much as you like before you feel it is complete. I suspect that if I keep up this pace, I'll be done with the edit transfers late next week. Then it'll be off to the reader, and then back to me for another round of edits. I still can't say when I'll start book 4; I have no clue, to tell you the truth. Do not despair though, for it will happen. The characters have been speaking again, which is always a good sign. Plus I've gone back to reading like a maniac again. Thanks to Mom and my Godfather, I've been able to buy a ton of books I've been waiting a great deal of time for.

So while I don't feel entirely back to my normal self, you can rest assured that I am still working on my books. I am eternally grateful for the condolences, the distractions, the hugs, and so on while this dark veil has draped over my life since last month. I'll be fine, I promise. I wouldn't be a true "Raven Queen" if I couldn't find the pathway of light that leads out of the darkness, now would I? :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

To Abuela.

 

Abuela, I'm so sorry I cannot be there tomorrow. I wish like hell that I was, but it seemed that the odds were not in our favor this time. I hope you can forgive me.

I know you're with Titi Rosie now. I know you're watching over us all; I've seen you in my dreams since I said my good-byes to you in New York. I know you were suffering for a long time, even when I saw you back in May. While it pains me deeply to see you go, I am also at peace knowing that you no longer have to fight those battles. I know things are still messy with everyone else, but you can take ease in knowing that we will all get through this. Someday, somehow, all will be right in our world again.

I will always cherish the times we spent together. I will always remember how you would take me to the Yankee games as a kid, even if it was just to catch a few innings. You used to say it was never a waste to see those few innings, just so we could watch Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and the rest of the "Dream Team". My love of baseball definitely came from you. My favorite baseball memory will always be whenever the Yankees were in the playoffs; you would write down the Yankees roster and put the list in the microwave, just for them to "stay hot", and you would write down the opposing team's roster and put them in the freezer, just for them to "stay cold". I will always remember the wrestling days, and how you would cheer on those you favored and cursed the ones you despised. Needless to say, the only Spanish I managed to learn were your famous string of curses. I think you always loved knowing that, even when you pretended to be shocked whenever I repeated you.

I will also remember the constant Law and Order marathons, as well as your need to be glued to Court TV (or what is now Tru Tv). I remember how happy you were whenever I brought over my CSI: Miami dvds, especially because you knew how I was so in love with Adam Rodriguez. You enjoyed making me blush whenever he came on and you would point and say, "Hey, it's your husband!". You enjoyed making me laugh about other shows too; you survived the Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! days of my childhood and tween years, though I know deep down you loved watching them with me.

I will remember the hot summer days where you would buy me coquitos and piraguas. You got me to appreciate the coconut ones, even though I only ever wanted the cherry ones. I will remember how we passed the time playing Bingo, Memory, Sorry, Boggle, and all the other board and card games we had stashed away in that teeny tiny apartment. I will remember how you would joke around and tell people how Jonathan, Hector, Stephanie and I would drive you crazy whenever you had all four of us with you and how you had to keep feeding us just so you could have some moments of silence.

I will remember all the scowls about each time I would cut or dye my hair. I know how happy you were seeing the natural blonde back, even with the current short cut. I will remember the smirks you had whenever I took a long time to get ready because of my newfound need for make-up; I think you were just happy I finally turned into a girl. I will remember that one phone conversation we had about boyfriends; you would tease me about being lazy in finding one, just so you could finally meet one instead of hearing about him through my cousins. I think you were always worried I would keep away from guys because I've never had a boyfriend long enough and I was more interested in my books and sports. You never have to worry, Abuela. Never.

I will remember the trips to Puerto Rico, and how happy you were that I was able to dance to the music. I will never forget your smile from when we danced so much at the big wedding, and I will never forget how hard you laughed when Titi Rosie pulled me to the floor for the bouquet toss (to which I actually caught). I'd like to think you enjoyed having me sit with you on the rocks by the sea, you with a cold Coors in hand, and me with an authentic piragua. As much as you loved the Bronx, I think the sea was where you truly felt at peace.

Well, I shouldn't forget Atlantic City and its casinos either.

I'm sorry I never did get to go gamble with you at Trump Casino in Atlantic City. I always thought that there would be a day where you and I would be glued to the slot machines, though I would never have your luck. I'm sorry I never got to have a cold beer with you; it took me a long time just to even like that kind of alcohol. I'm sorry I couldn't even get out to your birthday party in City Island; you have no idea how much I wanted to be there for you. At least we had the mounds Valencia cakes, with Dad scolding us for hardly leaving him enough...at least we had the old traditions from the holidays, before all the wars and the madness. You got to see me graduate college; you got to spend so much time with not only your grandchildren, but also your great-grandchildren.

I'm sorry it hurt you that I moved away to Santa Fe. I know that even my going to school in Vermont hurt too. I think my need to explore and leave New York and New Jersey scared you sometimes, as if I would forget you and everyone else. I never EVER did. Even with my gypsy spirit, I could never forget what mattered. I had a poor way of showing it sometimes, I can admit that, but it never meant that I never cared. Now that you watch over me, I know you can see why the southwest claimed my heart. Even as I sit here in the gallery, I can feel your presence over my shoulder, casting various facial expressions, laughing that small chuckle of yours while saying, "You're writing again, mami?".

It hurts that I cannot even read this aloud to you tomorrow, while everyone else is saying their good-byes to you. I will see you again, I know this. Whether the greeting is, "What did you do to your hair?", "Where is your hat?", "What's with all the make-up?", or simply, "What took you so long?", I know you'll be there with open arms to hug me again. While Coors is not my poison of choice, I think just this once I can make an exception and have one with you.

I love you, Abuela. I hope the baseball players in Heaven are giving you one hell of a show, and that the casinos along the beach are far more fun than the ones here. We'll be alright down here, I promise.