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Around the House

Cleansing and Organizing

You can't beat this morning view.

You can’t beat this morning view.

This month I’ve been simplifying my life. Actually, it started a couple years ago, but I’ve kicked it into gear.

I’m moving at the beginning of next year, and I’m downsizing. I don’t need the excess furniture, or rooms that are rarely used. I had much less stress in my life when I live comfortably in a one bedroom place with a great view. I’ll be going from a 3/2 to a 2/2 (I need one room for bookshelves *koff*) with a beach view (all hail Florida – yes, I love the odd).

I used ThredUP to donate some of the better handbags, totes, clothes, and shoes that only took up space. I can’t walk in heels anymore. I wear size 5 – it’s a challenge on my best days.

Today, it has taken a turn toward my writing life. I’m donating blank/empty journals and notebooks. I have clients who love to write (they don’t know what I do on the side) – one is 10 yrs old.

I feel lighter already. 🙂

Around the House, Demon, Dragon, Ebook, Elf, Elves, Fae, Fairies, Fairy, Fantasy, Fiction, Gina the Werewolf, New Orleans, Romance, Romantic Times, RT Convention, Short Stories, Suspense

2013 Wrap Up

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Thank you to all the wonderful readers, authors, and bloggers I’ve met and worked with this year. It’s an amazing journey.

This year SMOLDER came out in May.  It’s a Romantic Suspense Novel. There’s just as much suspense as romance, so if you like a good scary ride.. it’s in there. The week before it’s release, I was in St. Louis Missouri for the Romantic Times Booklovers convention while my Uncle was dying of heart failure, with my father by his side, in Chicago.

I released DEATH DEALER in October under a new pen name – Rane Sjodin. It’s a Paranormal Urban Fantasy Action/Adventure book that starts a new series for me. There will be offshoot books set in the same world, as well.

Due to moving to a different state and having to restart all of my business, I wasn’t able to accomplish as much as I wanted. For starters, Tessa’s (Summer Fae) book is not coming out this year. However, I am working with an editor at one of my publishers to polish the entire series into a single book that will release next year.

1417532_10152111149777154_572216081_oAlso, I have a short story coming out soon as part of a group, it’s a HOT erotic romance and will be the first of six such stories I’ll release next year.

 

 

 

There’s another book, one with Gina, my bounty hunting werewolf, who likes sex as much as killing, in process to be released next year as well. This is also with an editor at a publishing house.

So, the count is up to 6 short stories in a themed series, and three novels, including the second Arcane Court (Rane Sjodin) book, for 2015.

I think that fills all my spare moments up for the year.

Graylin Rane

 

Around the House

On Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and living with Chronic Pain

Today is one of those days when I can’t write or edit much. Not because I don’t want to but because I physically can’t do the work. [Cross posted on my Rane Sjodin site.]

I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It’s a neurological disease you can get from birth deformities, trauma, pregnancy, or repetitive activities. I’m writing this because I’m the only one who suffers from it. Maybe someone else can find this post and tell their friends.

I was born with this. I have an extra first rib. Oh goody, I overachieved in the womb and screwed myself up.

shoulder_thoracic_outlet_syndrome_causes01

I started experiencing symptoms in high school. When the gym teacher asked us to do cartwheels, I fell on my head a few times because the nerves in my wrist would pinch. Damn. I started to do them by barely putting my hands on the mat so it looked like I was doing what I was told. Then my mother took me to every doctor in town to find out what was wrong.

I ended up with a hand and foot specialist who worked with the Auburn University football team. He twisted me in knots and took x-rays. There was the extra rib. Then he asked me to put my hands up in a surrender position and hold them there. Thirty seconds later, I had no discernible pulse in either wrist. Which makes for interesting effects on work out equipment. If I grip the pulse readers, it doesn’t register.  It also means I can’t do my hair if it requires me holding anything up for more than a few seconds.

They sent me to physical therapy. I went once. That shit hurt. If I’m never going to get rid of this problem, the least I can do is avoid things that make me scream in pain. Again, I was sixteen at this point and stubborn. Very stubborn.

That was thirty plus years ago now. The pain has gotten worse and more persistent. I wake up with tender muscles in my shoulders and upper arms. No one warned me I could get injured sleeping. I have bursitis in my right hip. Some days, I get up hunched over and limping. It ain’t pretty but I got a life to get to. 

I drive to work with my right arm (the most affected) in my lap so I’ll be able to write my progress notes that day. I can’t buy groceries weekly because I can’t carry them, so I go two to three times a week. Most days, I get home from work and lay down with my shoulders supported. It takes an hour or two for the throbbing to go down. But it does, and then I can tackle what I need to that evening. Reading, writing, cleaning the house.

Today, I’m packing to move. I gave away my dishes and the matching glasses I’ve had for twenty years because I had to change to Corelle. Thank gods for Corelle. I can now carry a bowl of fruit without having to use two hands.

Recently I started using muscle relaxers to calm the tension so I can type. I’ve gone through physical therapy exercises to ease the tightness. They help on days I need to edit or write for hours. Some days, I get so caught up in what I’m doing that I’ll forget to pause and stretch. Typing is actually easier than the fine motor movements required by the mouse.

Texting hurts worse. I have to grit my teeth to get through messages. The only way I do it now is by dictation. My friends understand that sometimes they’ll get crazy things because autocorrect and I don’t speak the same language. Add that to my middle age sight loss and my phone could be its own Autocorrect comedy routine.

Today hurts. So I’m going to get on the couch, put on comedy DVD’s to forget the pain, and let the tension ease up so I can edit more later.

Chronic pain sucks. Stopping what I love to do would suck more.

Graylin

Around the House

Latest News

A lot has been going in my world lately. I’m moving back down to Florida. I loved it in graduate school and miss it. That transition, and the needed professional credentialing, are taking up a good bit of my time for the next two months.

So I won’t be on Facebook much at all. I will check in with Twitter between moving, packing, and studying  for a licensing exam. I’ll be back up and running in mid-September.  If you want to contact me, my public email is GraylinWrites@gmail.com and I’ll answer you.

 

Thanks,

Graylin

Around the House, Book Reviews, Fiction, Publications, Short Stories

Authors Against Bullying – My Story

Bullying Kills. It destroys hearts, egos, and takes lives. Whether it’s in person or online doesn’t matter. The effect is the same.

These are my stories of being bullied, as a kid, a teenager, and an author:

I moved around a lot as a kid. My father wasn’t in the military; he was a college professor, and each time he did a presentation at a conference he’d charm someone and get job offers. I don’t remember the first three states but I do remember Buffalo (Williamsville) NY. It was freezing, our driveway was downhill and we ruined jeans every winter sliding to the bottom for the bus. I also remember my mother telling the nuns at school that I needed to stay in my class, not move up a year, because I shouldn’t leave my friends behind. Then we moved, again and I wished she’d let me advance.

I was 10 when we moved to Phoenix, AZ, my 5th different state. At a local Catholic school, I was the “new kid.” Isolated and talked about to my face but never using my name. This is a girl’s signature bullying tactic that dares you to say something and leaves room for the absurd “prove it was you we’re talking about” denial.  [A now-popular bully tactic on Twitter.] I sat up front and ignored the rest of the class. I don’t remember a single friend from there. On the playground, I always found my brother.

I learned a lot that year about  the closeness of family (my brother is still one of my best friends), and knowing who you are and remaining true to that. The next year, 5th grade, I changed to a public school. Again, the new kid. This time I was a little stronger. I didn’t care if the ‘cool’ kids liked me or paid attention to me. It hurt, but I didn’t show it. The kid who developed a crush on me was ridiculed and teased. 10 year olds can be cruel.

Then I met Karen. She lived across a 4 lane highway from me and had three older sisters. She and the other kids in our neighborhood welcomed us and we built a happy life.  Then ¾ of the way through my 7th grade year, we moved again. I adapted well to the last quarter of 7th grade, but only because I pretended I didn’t hear the jokes. My friend Karen’s mom had worked at a Hyatt Hotel. I wore one of their t-shirts to school because I missed my friend and was pulled aside. Apparently, at 12 yrs old, that made me “easy.” I ignored it so well they thought I was ‘tough’ by summer. Not true but I did nothing to change that perception.

It was mostly good until my senior year in high school. I was a nerd before it was cool. Being intelligent in school was not considered a good thing. Especially in a southeastern conference football town. I tried to blend in and hung out with some popular kids long enough to find out they had as many, if not more, insecurities than I did. Then I pulled back and just hung out with the kids I liked. I made friends, had boyfriends, acted in plays, swam competitively. There was some bullying from the local baptist kids. It was the first time I was told my Catholicism was a cult and was insulted for attending mass. I wasn’t alone and had friends from church who did their best to ignore them as well. The small parish in that town still only holds about 300 people. There’s no need to expand beyond that. The message is clear. In the south, Catholicism is not welcome.

Then the soccer team started in on me at the beginning of my senior year. Not just me, but my brother. I ignored it. It worked for me in the past so I didn’t see a need to change it. The problem? My brother couldn’t ignore it. They asked him where’d I been the night before at practice. Ya know, as I write this I realized – he never told me about it and I don’t know everything they said to him. Love him for that. A group of kids tried to get at me through my brother. Pathetic. It hurt my brother, and mom told me she had to talk to the kids parents. The backlash on the field could have been awful for him. But, in the goal was Mac, a friend and classmate of mine, the protector of the players on the field, and a huge mountain of a kid. He stood up to the bullies and told them, to their faces, to shut up.

They stopped. I learned, face down a bully and they stop.

My next experience with bullying is something you may have heard about. A couple of years ago, I sent a small indie publisher Your Biggest Fan. At the time, it was a 7080k story (14 pages). The publisher, who was polite and professional all the way through, told me it needed a lot of work. I agreed and signed the contract with one caveat, the main character’s story line remain in place. The second email from my assigned editor, who owned the pub, told me I “don’t have a plot” and then gave me a choice of Couple A or Couple B to build a 35k novella. It was Thursday night, and she gave me until Monday to pick. Instead, I contacted the publisher and asked for a new editor. She explained she was the only other person available and would require the same things. An offer to be released from the contract was included. I took it, and she returned my rights within 72 hours. The editor sent me one last email that was personally insulting and included a critique from “All seven of my children.” It foreshadowed what came next.

Was that bullying? Well the owner/editor certainly tried to bully me into changing my main plot. But I walked away, so not yet.

Three weeks later an award for “Worst Writer…” showed up in my Google alerts. It was at a review site I’d never heard of, but the message was clear. She referred to me as “Sunshine” and told me I’d need to “do the work sometime.” I ignored it. The review sites’ first follower was the publisher. I’d only had 3 stories accepted, and the other pub hadn’t assigned me an editor yet. The trail back to the owner/editor was clear in my mind.

Was it bullying? In my opinion, absolutely.

The next part gets nastier. After someone looked into the legitimacy of the review site, two more posts went up in quick succession. These included accusations of breach of privacy for readers, and, not surprisingly, the blame for all of it was placed at my feet. She even wrote a section warning publishers and agents about my lack of professionalism. BULLYING. And yes, although the site has been stripped to its bones, the offensive posts, with no basis in reality, are still there, which means the bullying continues.

The justification used on the site? “Graylin Fox had a “hissy fit” over a review.” That’s it. That’s all it took for members of the publishing community to hop up on their high horses, put on cleats, and ride over to jump up and down on my reputation until I either stopped writing or begged for mercy. All because a dog whistle went out: “author + review + hissy fit = ATTACK!”

This is where she got to stand back and watch other people take the lies she posted and bully me with them. Blogs went crazy with traffic ,and people jumped from one to the other, “like OMG something NEW came out.” A week after the bullshit started, I posted a reply. It was short, succinct, and made very clear that the accusations were crap. What I didn’t say at the time, because I didn’t think it was hard to follow – the person who made the accusations is a publisher hiding behind a review site.

Let me be clear here, if you participated in this – You bullied me.

I’ve purposely kept the names of people involved out of this post. So why bring it up?

Because the atmosphere that allowed this person to attack me without cause still exists. Seated behind a keyboard at home, a bully can make that one accusation against an author, and then watch sit back as their victim’s reputation is shredded by strangers. We all see these things fly by on twitter. This is the sole reason for this post.

I vow from today forward, I will never:

  • RT a tweet about someone not following the rules, or an author who posted a response to reviewers, or disobeyed the publishing cultures rules.
  • Write a blog post slamming an author who responded when they didn’t like a review.
  • Insult, degrade, or write nasty things about reviewers.
  • Jump into the melee when there’s nothing more than a weak thread of a rumor or unfounded accusation.
  • Tell people to “shut up and take it” because it will go away. {Passive assistance.}
  • ASSUME ANYTHING. ‘Nuff said there.

That’s my story. I ignored bullies up until I couldn’t anymore. If the only consequences to bullying are a few rogue voices being squelched by the masses, the problem won’t go away.

Graylin

My Fellow Participants: Special thanks to Mandy Roth, Michelle Pillow, and Yasmine Galenorn for this blog hop.

Mandy M. Roth
Yasmine Galenorn
Lauren Dane
Michelle M. Pillow
Kate Douglas
Shawntelle Madison 
Leah Braemel
Aaron Crocco
NJ Walters
Jax Garren
Shelli Stevens
Melissa Schroeder
Jaycee Clark
Shawna Thomas
Ella Drake
E.J. Stevens
Ashley Shaw
Jeaniene Frost
Rachel Caine
Kate Rothwell
Jackie Morse Kessler
Jaye Wells
Kate Angell
Melissa Cutler
PT Michelle
Patrice Michelle
Julie Leto
Kaz Mahoney
Cynthia D’Alba
Jesse L. Cairns
TJ Michaels
Jess Haines
Phoebe Conn
Jessa Slade
Kate Davies
Lynne Silver
Taryn Blackthorne
Margaret Daley
Alyssa Day
Aaron Dries
Lisa Whitefern
Rhyannon Byrd
Carly Phillips
Leslie Kelly
Janelle Denison
Graylin Fox
Lee McKenzie
Barbara Winkes
Harmony Evans
Mary Eason
Ann Aguirre
Lucy Monroe
Nikki Duncan
Kerry Schafer
Ruth Frances Long

Please feel free to leave your stories in the comments section. Thank you.

Around the House

New Words from the Washington Post Mensa Invitational

I got this in an email from my father. We are a word nerdy family.

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.  {I couldn’t find this on the Washingtonpost.com website. If you find the page where they posted this please leave it in the comments. GF} 

Here are the winners:
1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect : The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

 

Graylin

_ If you have ones of your own, please feel free to start a list in the comments!

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