Author Archives: nicolacameronwrites

New Merch in the Teespring Store

So there’s a bit of a foofaraw going on in Romancelandia about a certain individual calling romance writers “literature’s prostitutes.” Needless to say, there was an immediate call for this on a t-shirt because that’s how romance writers roll, so these are my entries (currently available at Teespring — I’ll be doing mugs and stickers as well). I’m also working on a “I’m just here for the ratio” design so keep an eye out for that.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-four (AKA Holy Crap) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Freaking ecstatic, to be honest.

Okay, you may remember back on Day Thirty-six when I mentioned that Shark Week had made its appearance and while I could tell that I was retaining water, I hadn’t gained any weight.

Well, Shark Week this month was due to start yesterday, and I had all the classic symptoms — a brief bout of murderous PMS (now I know why I howled at Ramón a couple of nights ago), cramps, and water retention. I’m not seeing any blood or other materials making their presence known, however (which could just mean that it’ll happen next week). But the water retention was fairly hideous, to the point where I could press divots along my shin from my ankle almost to my knee and my face was visibly puffy.

So I stepped on the scale this morning … and I’d dropped over half a pound. I’m currently at the lowest weight I’ve been in at least three years (I know I keep saying that, but it keeps going down), and I’m retaining at least three pounds of water. When my reproductive system finally gives up the ghost this month and lets all the water go, I suspect I am in for one hell of a pleasant surprise.

And with that in mind, I have a new goal. First, of course, we’ll need reliable medical insurance that will cover it, but I have a specific goal weight in mind. When I reach it, I’m going in for knee replacement surgery. It’s been one of those things that I keep thinking I need to get done, but it’s become very obvious with Chuck that while my endurance is up and I’m getting fitter, my knee pain is getting worse and it’s screwing with other things on that leg. So, time to go bionic and slap in a titanium replacement model. Ramón is terrified at the thought (he’s a control freak about certain things and surgery is one of them — he wouldn’t even let his oral surgeon give him gas or anything during his wisdom tooth extraction, just novocaine) and has muttered about going in to his doc to beg for a single Xanax while I’m in surgery, poor dear.

Me, I just wanna walk again without pain. That’s not too much to ask, I think.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-three (AKA Working For The Man) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Mood: Things are improved somewhat

There are no dental horrors in store for me, according to my hygienist, and my dentist is impressed that my lower left bicuspid filling, which is pretty much all of the tooth to be honest, is still holding on so there’s no need to crown it this year.

Can you tell I like my dentist’s office? They understand that I’m an avowed dental coward and make sure I’m numbed back to the hairline (I don’t care about pressure, vibration, smoke, or a dentist standing on my jaw. They can do whatever they want to me as long as it doesn’t hurt). The day started off with a crappy aura, but after that everything got better (it also helped to find out that our insurance is still good, which we weren’t sure about — there was some question of whether we were covered through the second half of August or not, since Ramón is now a gentleman of leisure. Apparently we’re still covered, so that’s all good).

I’ve also been working with the new (well, new to me — it’s a refurb) Dell laptop and the instructional design app I’ll be using for the contract tech writing work that I’ll be doing for the next five weeks. As I told Ramón, “To paraphrase Tony Stark, ‘…yeah, I can use Storyline.'” I used Captivate extensively while I was still with the Major Telecoms Company, and this app is extremely similar. I may also now have a training module that teaches people how to make bezel cups, ahem.

In writing news, I’m plowing along on Growl and working on a couple of short stories — unfortunately for my romance readers, these are SF short stories so I don’t think you’re going to be interested in them. But if I can get them sold this year, that would be very reassuring that I can still write salable science fiction.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-two (AKA Working On The Website) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Weariness level: Not as bad as yesterday, but I’m still tired.

Today was a busy one, mes amies. After a morning of learning Articulate Storyline for my new contract job, I had to run over to my rock and gem store to get a chain and some sterling wire, package up three sales and mail those out (including one to Canada which meant standing in line while they processed my Customs form), and run back to Michael’s to get some findings that I need NOW. I then grabbed a break at DiMassi’s for a nice Mediterranean buffet, came back home to crit a 10K story for my writing group meeting, then actually went to said meeting and delivered the crit while listening to stories of one member who just got back from Dublin and Worldcon (Worldcon is in New Zealand next year. I wanna gooooooo…).

After all that? I came home, made a Content Advisories page, and started creating entries for all of my books and linking all books to their section on the CA page. My God, I write a lot of violent stuff. But at least people who are squicked by my kind of writing can now check the page out and see whether or not they want to read a specific book. I’m hoping to get some fiction writing in tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how things shake out between the contract work and my dental appointment in the afternoon, whee.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty-one (AKA Ouch) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Weariness level: Wake me up after Election Day, November 2020

So, stress. Is it possible to be really exhausted from a panic attack and want to just go to bed and sleep?

Turns out the answer is yes. What am I stressed about, you ask? The usual — finances, work, the hellscape that is US politics, the oncoming destruction of the biosphere, the fact that my right foot is still aching, yadda yadda. Which means it wasn’t a panic attack, it was an anxiety attack because there was a definite trigger.

Still, I feel wrecked, I already took a nap this afternoon, and I need to go to bed early tonight because I’m pretty much useless at the moment. Ramón offered to go out and get a pizza for dinner, so I thought I’d try to put together my sister’s citrine earrings while the pizza was cooking. This was clearly a mistake. Number one, the garage is still broiling hot even with a fan blowing on me. Number two, I managed to crack one oval setting (not the stone, the setting), then melted the connector jump rings off the other one. The second one is fixable, but I’m not doing it now because it’ll probably blow up in my face.

I also may have yelled at Ramón to leave me alone after I screamed “MOTHERFUCKER” and he poked his head in to see what was wrong. I apologized profusely afterwards and he told me not to worry about it, he knows that “MOTHERFUCKER” just means I’m stressed and I’ll scream his name if something’s seriously wrong. I do love him.

In any case, the one earring that I managed to set looks lovely. Now I just have to put the other setting together and keep it together, and maybe I can set the stones in that one as well.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixty (AKA Well, That Was Nice) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Creativity level: Somewhere between L’Engle and Farmer.

So, I was cleaning, as you do, and thinking about jobs and automation and how so far writers are safe but there are neural nets that are learning how to write stories (they’re not good at it, mind you, but the fact that they can do it at all gives one pause). And suddenly the Muse came down and gifted me with an SF short story about an out-of-work screenwriter who is hired to teach an AI how to write movie scripts. Things get a little problematic when the AI winds up writing a beautiful, poignant, emotional story … and the studio that’s funding it wants changes to make its temperamental star happy. Heh, heh, heh…

In the meantime, I appear to have dropped back down to the lowest weight I’ve been in about three years, and that’s with me very clearly retaining water (supposedly Shark Week will start on Wednesday, but I have my doubts about that). I’ll just keep on taking the supplements, using the progesterone cream and Synthroid, and knocking out my daily time on Chuck — it’s really all I can do until the ovaries give up and I don’t have to worry about monthly swelling anymore.

In other news, my God, dinner was good. I made our usual ginger and garlic chicken stir fry, but I’d forgotten to get baby corn so I tossed in the rest of the spinach instead, and made cauliflower rice (cook a head of cauliflower in the microwave for five minutes, chop it into pieces, toss it into a food processor and process manually until it’s in rice-sized pieces, then toss into a frying pan with a big ol’ knob of butter, some sesame oil, salt, pepper, and onion flakes, and cook on high for fifteen minutes with the lid on, stirring every five minutes). We have none left, it was that delicious. and now I think I may well make another batch tomorrow just for snacking.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fifty-nine (AKA They Task Me) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Irritation level: Eyeing bladed weapons in library.

There are times that test a woman’s soul, and the last thirty-six hours have been one of those times. I’m not going to go into detail because there’s no reason to do so, but I’m honestly surprised I still have a tongue in my head, I’ve bitten it so many times to stop myself from verbally or textually filleting various people.

So, yeah, this is not a good time to poke the bear. Haven’t done a damn bit of writing today and I don’t care. I did get some granulation made and a set of earrings done for an Etsy sale, so I’ve got that going for me, and I finished a pendant that wasn’t so much an art project as it was a way to use up a bunch of pretty but really small cabochons I had (citrine, amethyst, peridot, garnet, and white topaz) and some scrap sterling silver that was too nice to toss into the recycling pouch.

Oh hell yes I recycle my sterling — no way I’m tossing those scraps in the garbage when I can send them to Rio Grande for refining and get a nice little store credit for 85% of what I sent in. My last recycling batch wound up buying me a new pair of flat pliers, a burr assortment, a set of German dividers, and an AdvantEdge silicone polisher kit. Booyah.

Anyway, the pendant turned out like something from a Tuscan summer, so I’m calling it Tuscan Summer. Original, I know, but I’m not in a mood to search for evocative names. Someone on a FB metalsmithing group pointed out that this design would be amazing for mother’s pendants where you could put the birthstone cabs of her kids into it. That’s something I may be pursuing in the near future, but I think I’ll use commercial bezel cups for those. Making all of those teeny tiny bezel cups was a royal pain in the ass, and I still can’t feel the tips of my left index finger and thumb from the callus that built up on them from holding all those tiny elements for sawing/filing/polishing/et al.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fifty-eight (AKA I Really Am Dumb) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 30 minutes.
Pain level: Self-inflicted wound.

Jessica (AKA She Who Must Be Obeyed, also the adorable grey tabby at left) has had either a kitty cold or allergies for the last few days. As a result, she has been producing a prodigious quantity of snot and puke.

I don’t mind cleaning up mucus puddles, but unfortunately a good half of the puke puddles has been deposited on our bedroom carpet because that’s her favorite room, so I spent a full hour today spot treating and running the carpet cleaner over the multitudinous stains because they drive me nuts. On the plus side, all the stains are now gone and the bedroom smells lovely. On the minus side, doing this meant I had to carry a vacuum cleaner/carpet cleaner upstairs as Ramón was out of the house, carried the carpet cleaner back down, and still have to carry down the vacuum cleaner. Needless to say, the bad knee and the ouchy foot are not pleased with this or me.

And yes, we have a spot cleaner. But it was actually easier to use the big machine because there were so many spots to clean, hence me hauling it upstairs. At least she hasn’t horked anywhere else as of this afternoon, so I’m hoping she’s feeling better (she’s dozing on my chest at the moment).

After that and a couple of hours in the garage I was once again drenched in sweat, so now that I’ve taken a shower I’m gonna cuddle Miss Silver for a bit and turn in. Until tomorrow, mi amigos.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fifty-seven (AKA Taking A Day Off) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 0 minutes.
Frustration level: Middling.

My right foot is still really aching, and at the moment the suspect is peroneal tendonitis. Since the only real cure for that is rest, I’m taking the day off from Chuck. Which is annoying, but let’s be real — I’m 53, I don’t heal as fast as I used to, and if I want to be able to get back to Chuck without pain I need to let this irritated tendon rest and heal. In order to do that, ice, ibu, and compression will be the order of the day.

In writing news things continue with Shifter Woods: Growl. Don’t worry, I’m getting back to King of Blades and Uncertainty Principle, but I can knock Growl out fairly quickly as it’s a novella and I’d like to get a new release out toot sweet.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fifty-six (AKA What I Didn’t Mention About Yesterday) #romancefit

Time on Treadmill: 10 minutes.
Hydration level: Sahara.

Update on the client meeting — went really well, I have a very good feeling about it, I get to learn some cool new software which always makes me happy, I am going to be seriously busy until October 1, and I’m thrilled about it because that money will be going to wipe out at least two bills and half of a third, so yay. Also, my knee and foot are still really hurting so I decided to bail on the walking after ten minutes. Not giving whatever I did a chance to heal is not a good idea, after all.

Now, about yesterday — what I failed to mention in the last post was that it was FANTASTIC. I got compliments from not one, not two, but three jewelry customers, I got 1800 words knocked out on Shifter Woods: Growl, Ramón found out that he has an interview on Friday, and I got the news about the client meeting. The only thing that could make yesterday better is learning that we won the Texas Two Step lottery contest and I get to split $1,675,000 dollars with my editor. Which reminds me, I need to check my ticket.

Oh, the hydration level thing — it was seriously hot here in the clavicle of Texas today, to the point where we were being asked to conserve electricity until 7 PM because the wind farms were just barely keeping up with the demand. The official high for Dallas and Plano was 102°F, but my car’s thermometer was reading 110°F when I was on the toll road and read 107°F when I got out of the meeting (and it was in a parking structure in shade). But we’re supposed to get thunderstorms tonight and the temp is going to drop so what does idiot here do? She goes into the garage to get a start on a really cool pendant concept. Yeah, except that I’d forgotten that the garage was still hot as blazes, even after opening the door to get some air exchange going, and I was drenched and blinking sweat out of my eyes within minutes. So now I’m freshly showered and chugging water and electrolytes.

Pendant’s gonna be SO cool, though.