Holy CRAP. I just went national

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A few nights ago, if you were on Twitter you might have noticed the hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear trending. Since I am 1) a woman writer and 2) have heard some astounding shit which has tempted me on more than one occasion to take the action shown above (I’ve managed to abstain by reminding myself that I’m a redhead and orange isn’t my power color), I posted a couple of tweets.

One of them, “Well, it’s not like it’s real work, right?” could in fact be applied to all sexes of writers, something I later acknowledged (although one male writer did say that women probably heard it more often than men). The other, “Wait, you write science fiction? But you’re a woman” was something that a then-new doctor actually said to me after asking me what I did. Since I needed a refill on my Synthroid scrip I just gave him a thin smile at the time (sometimes you have to pick your battles). I was very surprised to find my tweets liked and retweeted time and time again, but I didn’t really think anything about it other than, “Yeah, obviously I wasn’t the only one to get this.”

A few hours ago, I learned that 27 of the most relatable tweets in this hashtag had been collected for an article at The Tempest, and in fact my first tweet was used as the lede. The article itself included tweets from such literary lights as S.E. Hinton, Joanne Harris, Kate Elliott, and a host of other brilliant writers who have many, many more followers than I do. I have no idea how I wound up with these amazing women, but I’m proud as hell that I was included.

Where did March go, anyway?

Man, this month pretty much flew by. I know I got various things done (the taxes, a start on the weightlifting, voting for the Nebulas, writing up outlines for the next two books, finishing a novella) but it seems like it was just February 28 a few days ago.

Then again, the weather was around the high 80’s today, so I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t that warm AND February. It’s bad enough that we’re getting those kind of temps in March, along with the mondo storms that force me to shove the Brit’s leathercrafting stuff to one side in the garage so that I can park my car in there and away from any possible hail damage.

But climate change isn’t real. 45 said so. *rolls eyes*

Anyway, today finished my second week of weightlifting, and I’m pleased to say that my Eastern European genes are kicking in as expected and putting on muscle tissue like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t lost a whole lot of weight yet, but I didn’t expect to because some of it is being converted into muscle. More importantly, I can see a noticeable difference in my silhouette (not to mention the definition in my arms and legs), and I can feel a definite increase in my strength and stamina. Turns out that going to the gym at 4:00 PM instead of late at night might have been what I needed to do all along.

The interesting thing will be when I go in next week to get my Synthroid scrip refilled. I fully expect them to do a blood draw and test things like my triglicerides along with my T3 and T4 levels. Staying away from carbs and other foods that aren’t good for Hashimoto’s patients, using the 16/8 IF protocol, and three weeks of weightlifting by then will hopefully have some nice knock-on effects on my bloodwork. We shall see.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love weightlifting?

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I love weightlifting. I love the burn in my muscles as I increase the weight 50%, 75%, 90% to my goal weight, then crank out another set. I love how quickly my body reacts to me weightlifting, throwing on muscle like there’s a fire sale at Muscle ‘R’ Us. I love walking around the free weights section of the gym, nodding at the other people in there while we do squats, bent over rows, and dumbbell shoulder presses. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, like they were looking at the fat chick and wondering why I was there instead of on the treadmill. Now, I recognize the regulars and they recognize me as we work our way around the different stations. I even love it when certain muscle groups scream at me in Sumerian (today it was my obliques) because I haven’t worked them for a while and “What the HELL, Mel?”

I also love how my bad cholesterol levels sink like a rock when I’m weightlighting regularly, and how my mood improves tremendously. And frankly, yeah, I feel like a bit of a badass. I don’t want to be skinny–I want to be strong. I want to be the one that muggers look at and think, “Yeah, no, not that one. She’ll hurt me.”

And yes, I’m fully aware that I should get into a habit and always do this. I think my problem is that I have to find a happy balance between writing and working out, which is why I’m trying something new and going during the day between 4 and 5 PM. The gym is pleasantly unpopulated at that time and I can get my workout in without trying to dance around a bunch of guys all working their delts at the same time. Once that’s done, I have the evening to myself and can write, clean, or do some sort of craft.

Oh, the point of this post — first full week back at the gym, and I’m a happy little weightlifter. I’ll be discussing some other things I’m doing once another two weeks have gone by and I can correlate some data.

Pondering the issue of reaching people

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As you know (Bob), I not only write SF and fantasy as Melanie Fletcher, but I also write specfic romance as Nicola Cameron. I’ve had quite the enjoyable ride as Nicola, and I’ve even become a hybrid author thanks to her so that’s all good.

Except I’m running into some curious issues of promotion with my latest Nicola book, Degree of Resistance. DoR is the first book in a planned 6-book series called Pacifica Rising, and is classified as science fiction romance, specifically cyborg romance. In reality, it’s so precisely balanced on the border between SF and romance that I think I may be scaring off readers in both camps. There is undoubtedly a romance at the center of the story — in a 2048 that’s seen the dissolution of the United States into a loose conglomeration of protectorates, Evie Contreras is an unlicensed cybernetic engineer working as a PA for a rich quadriplegic in the Pacifica Protectorate. When she learns that her fiancĂ© Ben didn’t die twelve years ago in a jumpship crash as she’d been told, she moves heaven and earth to find him, and romantic hijinks ensue (complete with explicit sex scenes because, frankly, I enjoy writing them).

So that’s the romance. The SF is the future tech and the protectorate’s sequestration of cyborg technology to hide a secret — that after a disastrous android uprising, low-caste protectorate citizens have been converted into controllable cyborgs and used for black ops projects and expendable “entertainment” at luxurious resorts. Plus there’s a snarky AI named Lilith who works with a group that offers to help Evie rescue Ben if she’ll get Lilith’s server out of Pacifica in one piece. Oh, and there’s the question of the remaining Adamantine line of androids that fomented the rebellion in the first place — Lilith uses one as a peripheral to interact with humans more easily, but there may be one more in existence, something that won’t make the Pacifica authorities happy.

And did I mention there’s a comet on the way that’s about to sterilize the surface of the earth? Because there’s nothing like raising the stakes to global annihilation

Like I said, it’s balanced pretty much on the border between SF and romance. Everyone who’s read it really loves it (and has left great reviews, bless their hearts), but it’s just not selling all that well because, despite buying ads and talking it up all over social media, I’ve had the devil’s own time trying to get romance reviewers to review it and get the word out about it. I think I’m going to try pitching it to SF reviewers as well and hope that the sex scenes don’t throw them.

Want a cat?

So the Brit is off at his bimonthly game night. In his absence, I thought I’d wrap up the tax paper wrangling, then do a little quilting in celebration of National Quilting Day.

And then my eyes fell on my Watmire scarf, which had been pulled out of its bag yet again by some enterprising cats. I call it my Watmire scarf because it’s patterned after Watson’s scarf from Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, but I knitted the bulk of it while bingeing on Longmire. Anyhoo, I was approximately four rows from finishing the damn thing, so I thought, “Ya know, I’m gonna sit down, knock out those rows, and then it’s done except for the weaving in of the ends and the fringe.”

So I sit down, start knitting, and realize that the yarn is sticking oddly to the bamboo knitting needles. And then I sniff and realize why.

Someone, and since she’s the only one who does this I’m pretty damn sure that her name rhymes with Bessica, had decided to pee all over my scarf. Why? Who knows. Maybe she was feeling ignored, maybe Jas had sat on it and she felt like re-establishing her territory, maybe she just felt like peeing on it. Not only that, she also managed to tag the balls of yarn inside the bag. I was admit that a large quantity of profanity was called into use at this moment, and Jessica (shown at right) promptly hightailed it out of the living room because she knew damn well what she’d done.

Swearing steadily, I retired to the bathroom with my reeking scarf, whereupon I finished the damn thing and cast off. It is now soaking in a lingerie bag, along with the peed-upon balls of yarn, in Nature’s Miracle, and I will carefully wash it later and let it hang dry. I know the scarf is salvageable, but if I have to buy three brand new skeins of yarn just to do the damn fringe on this thing, I am turning that cat into slippers. Mark my words.

Excuse the mess

I’m in the middle of moving ISPs so melaniefletcher.com will be somewhat messy for the next few weeks or so while I try to get this and the Future Classics website moved over and set up, finish editing A Most Malicious Murder and get that out, and maintain promo duties on my new cyborg romance book. Because hey, who needs sleep?

On the plus side, I have a blog now, so whee!