Saturday, July 24, 2010

Losses and Failures - character building, right?

I have the distinct feeling I'm not supposed to leave my hermitage at the moment.  The fact that I have had interrupted internet service for at least 6 to 8 weeks now, first with a really nasty virus then with problems with my internet provider who needed four days and four different technicians to fix (it was a burned out card in a box up the street from my house).  And not five minutes after my internet was fixed I went outside to drive to a dementia class for work only to find a dead Saturn Vue.  The ignition switch is gone again.  I replaced it two years ago.  Not cool.
On the high side, it's a good thing I'm in a writers group because the virus wiped out all my new writing on my second novel, Shaman in Exile, which is one chapter away from being finished and a good bit of my new writing on Foxglove Broadsides (a short story becoming a novel).  I also lost half the Shadow Archer Press catalog of books by authors from all over the world. but thankfully have them all on hard copies) and lost the entire Steampunk issue of Fissure magazine - everything: all emails, all contacts, all submissions, all pieces accepted, all artwork. I am not a happy publisher.  Luckily, thanks to bringing hard copies to writers club, I can retype everything I lost on Shaman in Exile and some I lost on Foxglove - although about three chapters are gone - just gone.
This hit me so hard (at a time when I am selling a number of Shadow Archer Press books and back issues of Fissure) that I'm veer between scrambling to recover, retype, relocate hard copies of everything I lost to abject despair which I funnel into escapism by making steampunk journals (on Tesla, absinthe, aeronauts, chrononauts, etc.) to sell at Upstate Steampunk Con and on my Etsy (Gail Gray Studios).  Not wise as far as my writing goes, but otherwise I'd be out of control. Other mechanical things broke (and even non-mechanical such as a toe) at the same time, which is the way it is with mechanical things for me.  How about all of you? Am I the only one who gets it in 3's or 6's?
So I do advise you all, especially writers and artists - make a backup copy frequently of your work!  Don't trust that you are protected.  The virus sent to me, disabled ALL of my security systems before attacking various parts of my computer and corrupting the files. 
Remember:  Back up or face heavy losses - some of which may be irreplaceable. 
But I'm trying to look at all this calamity as if I were one of the characters I write about.  These losses and failures are what we put our characters through to build their character, in the old fashioned sense of the word - to expose their vulnerabilities in order to showcase them transforming faults into strengths, right?  So I should look at this as a great opportunity for transformation, right?
Maybe the best thing to do at times like these is to step back and take a philosophical look at our role on the world stage, as if we were characters. No one likes characters who get everything they want, no one cares about characters have it made.  No, we love the characters who face insurmountable obstacles and endure a constant gauntlet of setbacks.
I'm trying...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coming Back after the Crash

After being a month or more without my main computer, after it's crash, I'm getting back on track.  I lost the entire issue of the Steampunk Fissure issue due to be released later this year as well as all of my new writing on Shaman in Exile (I think I have most of it in hard copy, so will have to retype it.)  But so far I think that's all.  I may have lost some later bits of Foxglove Broadsides. 
So this week I plan to get back into digging around in those folders and finish Shaman in Exile so I can get into editing the second in the Shaman series.
I'm gaining more and more hours at work so that's taking up a lot of time.  There's a good bit of work I do at home even.  Setting up a new art program for a head injury and spinal cord center is a lot more work than I imagined, but it's fun and valuable and I have the bulk of the planning stages and supply gathering finished so now it's down to implementation.  So far everyone seems to be enjoying it and I go home feeling very satisfied at the end of the day knowing that amazing things can happen in the alembic of a group art studio.
I'm also taking some personal time to work on my own art journals again, as well as make some for the steampunk world.  Those are a ton of fun.  And thanks to Nick Valentino, author of Thomas Riley, for awarding me a set of goggles in his twitter contest!  Wow!  That's so incredible, especially with the timing, since I don't own a pair and was going to scout out a mechanic at the Upstate Steampunk Meetup and commission a pair.  I'm already honored to wear the crew credentials and flight patch (now on my poison bag) of the airship, Blood Countess. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shaman Circus now $3.19 on Kindle

I just received this notice from my publisher: 

"All Things That Matter Press is so confident that you will love our authors and their books we lowered the price of all of our Kindle Editions and E-Books to just $3.99. Don't have a Kindle? You can download a free PC, Mac, IPhone, BlackBerry, or IPad version from Want to see all of our Kindle titles? You can go to; under SEARCH, find Kindle; then, where it says GO, type in All Things That Matter Press.

Or go and check out my magical realism novel, Shaman Circus,  set in New Orleans, post Katrina.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Upstate Steampunk Meetup

What a great time at the Upstate Steampunk Meetup at the Greenville Marriott Hotel The Hotel is Stunning! It is certainly a throwback in time with lots of gorgeous event and gathering rooms, indoor fountains, tiled walls, lots of atmosphere and antique looking accoutrements so it will feel like a total immersion con!
Many, many places for great photo ops.
The little details will amaze you, such as a piece of collage artwork with a letter in it dated in the late 1880's, real working antique telephones, brass antique bicycles, old clocks, trunks, globes, books, lots and lots
of hurricane style lamps. There are large amazing event rooms, very grand as well as smaller meeting rooms, a gorgeous bar, a wine bar, a claret room, a posh indoor courtyard, dark study like rooms with wing
chairs and fireplaces. I met really cool people, all different types and personas, some of the vendors and of course, organizer, Gypsey Teague and Marla.
Gypsey did an amazing job finding this hotel. It is a dream hotel for a steampunk con. The gaming room is gorgeous. One of the gentleman took lots of photos so hopefully you can find them online soon. I
suggest you go to the website of the hotel on the Upstate Con site and check out all their photos - although they can't do the place justice.
I only wish everyone had brought calling cards or business cards, so I could remember names and get email addresses. Also there were potential vendors and lots of creativity! I believe in buying direct from artisans and supporting the arts.
There were two people who made top hats, mini ones from Sarah from">Valentine Wolfe, and full scale ones from Soozy the scattered crafter, one who made dolls, and Bethany Williams who makes fused glass steampunk jewelry.
I had the opportunity to show off my latest projects too:  various steampunk journals and boxes which are themed toward the different personas, such as aeronaut, botanist, chrononaut, lady's dream journal, a lady's day journal, a travel journal which are all available on my Etsy page at Gail Gray Studios.  I'm revitalizing my old merchant business Black Swan Thieves Market as a steampunk and SCA (medieval) shop 
It was cool to meet the musicians from Valentine Wolfe, Very bright and fun too. Also very down to earth. I cant' wait to see them perform.
I'd like to have some persona discussions too so I know a more about the people when I see them at future meetups and cons. There were some awesome get ups, but I didn't get to talk to everyone.

Thanks, Gypsey for finding such a beautiful location for our first local con Upstate Steampunk Con.
The atmosphere will transport us in time that's for sure!

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