Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventeen (AKA I Don’t Know What’s Happening Here) #romancefit

Well, I got today’s half hour in, and I dusted and vacuumed the dining room in between Sections One and Two because Lord, we have five cats and cat hair everywhere. Oh, and then I decided to wipe down the treadmill because it was kinda dusty in places. And then I folded laundry, and went out to get dinner, and did some jewelry fabrication out in the garage …

And I kinda want to get back on the treadmill and walk some more? Either my endurance is coming back or I’m genuinely becoming addicted to cardio, I’m not sure which. Also, the cats are quite offended that I keep stealing their favorite place to snooze, but seriously, guys, we have THREE CAT TREES. Not to mention all of the cat baskets, a sofa, a futon, and the guest room bed. You do not have to camp on the treadmill just because I’m using it, honestly.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Seventeen (AKA Pool Time) #romancefit

EDIT: It is now 2:39 AM and I just finished twenty minutes on the treadmill because I could NOT get to sleep. My brain kept saying, “You didn’t walk today.”

“I know, but I spent two hours in a pool and have the sunburn to prove it.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t walk.”

“But I walked around in water.”

“Yeah, but …”

“Fine. I’ll get up and knock out twenty minutes. Will that keep you happy?”

“Yes.”

So there you are. Apparently cardio is addictive.


I did not walk on the treadmill today, people. I freely admit that, and will take whatever ridicule and castigation you choose to hand out.

Before you dish out said ridicule and castigation, however, let me say that I did not walk on the treadmill because I spent two hours in a pool walking back and forth, bouncing up and down, and generally hanging out with my writing group while celebrating the Fourth of July. And considering that I am 1) somewhat sunburned, 2) completely wiped, and 3) just want to go to bed, I figure the pool time more than fulfilled my walking goal for the day.

Also, I took a shower before climbing into my jammies and I don’t want to change back into workout clothes and get all sweated up again. Hey, a girl has to have some standards.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Sixteen (AKA Sitting In A Hot Garage) #romancefit

And THIS, people, is why I make jewelry. Because while I’m sitting there in a 92°F garage with only a box fan blowing on me for relief, dripping sweat from every pore and painstakingly twisting tiny circles into the sterling backplate of a pendant with a prong rounder to make it looks like bubbles, my mind is free to wander and BAM, I power through the problem that’s been nagging me about King of Blades (namely, that there’s no real conflict driving the plot. There is NOW, by cracky!) All I have to do is finish today’s walking (ten minutes down, twenty to go) and use that time to round off the idea’s edges, figure out how all of this is going to play out between Danaë and Matthias, and I’ll actually have a book!

Oh, the jewelry — it’s finished, shown at left, and is titled Summer Blooms. 2″ x 1″ 18 GA sterling silver backplate, golden fossilized coral and citrine cabochons, $99 with a silk neck cord or a sterling silver chain can be added for an additional $10, free shipping. It’s freaking beautiful, has some serious heft to it due to the thick back plate, and is charged with tons of positive energy because I love it so.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fifteen (AKA Sweaty Betty) #romancefit

I wish I could say the sweat was from treadmilling (yes, I got thirty minutes in), or lifting weights, or doing some sort of healthy exercise. But it’s mainly from working in a hot garage while I added to the heat with butane and propane torches.

Yeah, I’m making jewelry. The pendant shown at left, to be specific (although I decided against the silver balls, as they made the top look crowded once the bezels had been soldered on) — fossilized yellow coral set with citrines on an 18 GA sterling silver backplate. After getting everything cleaned up and polished, I put it in the tumbler where it’ll be burnished by steel shot overnight (seriously, this works great. I add about a pound of different shapes of steel shot to water, a cupful of burnishing compound and a couple of drops of Dawn dish detergent, then pop in whatever needs to be burnished, and it comes out gleaming the next morning.

And I hear you saying, “Well, that’s nice, Nic, but did you do any, you know, writing today?” As a matter of fact I did, on both King of Blades (up to 10K and three chapters now) and the holiday novella One Sweet Christmas. Depending on how much work I get done in the next two weeks I may have to bump Blades to an August release, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing since it could get included in a NYT list of indie releases in August – October if I do that. We’ll have to see.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Fourteen (AKA Watching The Clock) #romancefit

I don’t know why I’m so tired, but I am. I just want to go to bed, but I know if I do it now (8:47 PM) I’ll be up at 1 AM and whoops, there goes my circadian cycle.

So I’m making myself stay up until 10 PM at least, at which point Grandma here can go to bed. While I’m waiting, I’ll knock out that thirty minutes on the treadmill. Maybe the cardio will help keep me awake. Or I’ll fall over and break something, who knows.

That beings said, this also makes two complete weeks of walking for thirty minutes, give or take, every day, and I’m here to tell you that it really has made a difference. My legs are more toned, as is my butt (the skin on it has gotten the tiniest bit deflated, which makes me happy), it’s easier to bend over, it’s easier to walk around, and I just don’t feel as sick and defeated as I had two weeks ago. And yeah, there’s been some minor weight loss as well, which is nice, but once again that’s not the goal. Nic wants to be able to walk long distances without wanting to be put out of her misery, and this is really the only way to do it. Thank God Ramón bought that treadmill 15 years ago, that’s all I have to say.

I’ve also learned that a 24-hour Claritin every day is a must, not only to dry up my sinuses but to stop my joints from reacting to whatever allergen is freaking them out. Good to know.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Thirteen (AKA The Day Kristine Kathryn Rusch Schooled Me)

I’m now getting to the point where I don’t really break a sweat until I’m somewhere in the 10-20 minute point of walking, so I think that’s a sign that my poor abused endurance is finally making a comeback. I was also able to go food shopping and stand in the kitchen for about 30-40 minutes while making garlic ginger chicken stir fry without becoming drenched in sweat or needing to sit down RIGHT NOW.

So yeah, this whole business of walking thirty minutes a day, every day, does your body good.

In writing news, I got some wordage in on King of Blades and pulled out the Christmas novella that I need to finish in September so that I can have it ready for the holiday season. I’m also extremely pleased that I sold twenty-five copies of Stealing Dmitri through Amazon and three copies through Smashwords. Seeing as it’s a five-year-old re-release, I’m really happy with those numbers and I’m already musing about a sequel.

I’m also musing about business matters, because Kristine Kathryn Rusch delivered a truth bomb today that solidified a lot of things that have been floating in my head about where I am, professionally and financially, as a writer. If you’re a writer of any sort go read her post because it’s informative as hell, but what she said, in short, is that “We are not in the publishing industry. We are in the entertainment industry.” From a business point of view, the published book shouldn’t the be-all and end-all goal of writers — it’s the story that matters, that unique chunk of intellectual property that came flaming out of your head, and there are so many ways you can take that IP and license it throughout the entertainment industry (which is yet another reason why I’m turning To My Muse into a script).

Another way to make your IP work for you is through merchandising, be that games, toys, apps, or apparel. And while I’ve had a half-assed Merchandise page languishing on this site for some time, I’ve decided that it’s time to punch it up and start getting serious about doing something with all of these nifty graphics I’ve been developing for various stories/series.

I mean, come on, wouldn’t you want a cool Mayhew Plants and Nursery t-shirt in your choice of colors? Or maybe a Trickster Tech sticker for your laptop? (I have one, and it’s gotten comments at various coffee shops.) Or an Olympic Cove “Get Wet” mug? Oh, and wait until you see the logo I’m working on for Stealing Dmitri’s spaceship/AI — think pin-up girl in Scottish gear sitting sidesaddle on an old-fashioned rocket as she’s shooting through the stars. It’s going to be AWESOME.

So yeah, I’m feeling rather pumped about the second half of 2019.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Twelve (AKA Learning Curves)

So today has been pretty much spent at my bench working on earring settings (7 AM – 12 PM because it was the only time when the garage was at a bearable temperature), eating lunch and cooling off (12 – 1PM), collapsing into a weird but desperately needed doze (1-5 PM), then getting up and puttering around, watching more episodes of Fleabag, going out and deadheading some of the plants before we got hit with yet another small but powerful storm, making dinner, then wrestling with a store-bought prong setting for some earrings only to find that I’d used jump rings that were too big (5 PM – now). I was able to salvage the other setting and put on smaller rings, and it looks faboo, but now I have to wait until Rio Grande ships me another 10x12mm pre-notched sterling silver setting to finish the earrings.

And let me tell you, I now understand why jewelers prefer to make their own prong settings because trying to shape a one-size-fits-all piece so that it’ll take your stone is a pain in the freaking ass. But at least I now know how to do it, so I’ve got that going for me.

No, I didn’t walk at all. Gonna go do that now, whee.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Eleven (AKA Oh God I Want To Sleep)

I made the huge mistake of not getting a decent night’s sleep last night, which has rendered me semi-comatose all day. Yes, I got my thirty minutes in on the treadmill, but then we went out with my editor for a birthday dinner (she and Ramón were born on the same day) at this great Lebanese place, and between the pita bread, the hummus, and the gyro plate I’ve been hit with a carb bomb that is making me soooooooooo sleepy.

But I don’t WANNA go to bed before 10 PM because if I do I’m just going to wake up around 1 AM and not be able to get back to sleep. So I need to find something that will keep me awake without being physically or mentally exhausting, and I think Season 2 of Fleabag on Amazon Prime is working nicely. Not only is it blackly funny, but I can now see why so many people find Andrew Scott attractive. Mind you, I’m perfectly aware that he’s a handsome man as well as an immensely talented actor, but it was one of those things where I consciously appreciated the man’s aesthetics but they didn’t really light a fire.

Now he’s playing a goofy, charming Catholic priest of all things, and I don’t know if I’m so tired that I’m channeling the main character’s unrequited lust or what, but damn, he’s smokin’ hot. Yeah, yeah, I’m going to hell…

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Ten (AKA Kinda Got Distracted By the Dem Debates)

So today I only got twenty minutes in on the mill due to a combination of this lingering cold and needing to get some work done. While I feel a bit bad about that I know it’s not the end of the world. I still got off my butt and walked for twenty minutes, which is far better than spending the entire day sitting.

In fact, with the improving leg strength and stamina I think I’m going to start back at the gym on Monday and see if I can add some weights in three days a week with the daily cardio. I know I may look like Mrs. Potatohead but I like the way I feel when I lift, so it’s probably time to start throwing iron around.

Oh, and I said I’d check in on any weight loss on Day Ten. Yes, there has been some, not a huge amount but that’s not the goal with all of this. It’s more important to regain strength, stability, and flexibility, and that’s all starting to come back. If I get smaller, too, that’s a nice fringe benefit but I’m not going to obsess about it.

That being said, MAN my calf muscles are starting to shape up nicely.

Let’s Get Healthy: Day Nine (AKA It Takes Three Weeks To Form a New Habit)

Yep, still doing thirty minutes a day.

Yep, still listening to Pod is My Copilot while trudging along.

Yep, still entertaining the cats.

Yep, still sweating like Seabiscuit.

Yep, my knees still hurt like a mother.

But. I was able to climb up a ladder today to replace the seasonal decor over the front door without much of a problem (we have a pair of garlands, a front door wreath, and two vases of flowers that get switched out every season. Today I put the Summer flowers up, so the foyer is now a riot of color).

Plus I was able to do two sessions of fifteen minutes each instead of three ten-minute sessions because, well, I wasn’t tired when I hit the first ten minutes so why not just punch out another five minutes? Plus tomorrow I’m going over to my editor’s house to help clean her guest room because her broken ankle requires her to stay off it and not do things like clean her guest room (she has an incoming guest, hence the cleaning), and I’m not dreading this. So it looks like the endurance is starting to come back whether it likes it or not. Now if I could just find a way to get some sleep without wanting to slice out my knees, that would be faboo.

In writing news, I have a draft cover for King of Blades. I’ve wanted to get Matthias on a cover since Book One, and I finally did it, dammit. Mind you, this isn’t the final version — I still need to do some tweaking here and there and smooth his face out just a bit more (not too much, but enough to match the painted style of the other covers in the series), and maybe add a shooting star under the moon because what the hell, why not. Ooh, and birds — birds would also be a good idea.

But at the moment I am very, very happy with this image. As I put it when I posted it on Instagram, “It’s the closest I could get to Iain Glen without actually using a picture of, you know, Iain Glen.” Now I just have to finish the book, and everything is cool.