Huh. That’s interesting…

On Tuesday, I had a doctor’s appointment to remove a small epidermoid cyst on my upper back. No big deal, totally benign, it’s basically skin cells that become envaginated inside the epidermis and slowly grow until the cyst is removed.

While I was stretched out on the exam table as Dr. W did his job, I mentioned that my BP had been elevated when the nurse had taken it (she’d done it on my left arm and had gotten a reading of 180/100, which scared the crap out of her. When she tried my right arm, it was 160/88, which was better but still not good) and how I’ve been having an elevated BP all year and maybe it was time to discuss hypertension meds. He agreed, took my BP again after the removal procedure (it had dropped to 130/84, go figure) and said, “Yeah, considering your history and all, let’s put you on an ACE inhibitor. It’s effective, dirt cheap, and the only side effect most people report is a dry tickle in the throat.”

So off I go with my spandy new prescription for lisinopril, get it filled, and take the first dose. No side effects, but I did notice that there was a certain loosening in my chest, which felt good. I then went home and researched my new med, and found medical studies that recommended taking it at bedtime so that it would be most available during the night when the heart repairs and remodels itself. Makes perfect sense, and last night was the first one I took a dose at bedtime.

Then I found another study on ACE inhibitors from 2008, an Australian one with an absolutely fascinating result. It had been reported in a lot of the news agencies at the time, then promptly disappeared. I did some more digging and found follow-up studies from 2012 and 2013 that seemed to reinforce the conclusion from the 2008 study. I don’t want to wander off into tinfoil hat woowoo territory so I’m not going to go into detail about this, not yet. Not until I’ve had a chance to see how the conclusion of the study applies to me, if it does at all.

Although if it does, I may have to fly to Australia and give those researchers some big ol’ kisses because it would explain one hell of a lot about the hot mess that is my endocrine system. Stay tuned.

I probably should post something here, hey

The reason why I haven’t posted anything since I pretty much moved everything over to WordPress is simple — I now have four different WP website/blogs that I maintain, and logging in and out is a PITA so I tend to stay logged into one and keep it that way.

That being said, it’s ridiculous that I’m paying for a blog over here and not using it, so, hello. New publishing stuff since April — I’ve published another Nicola paranormal romance novella, Shifter Woods: Roar,¬† I have two short stories out in the new Future Classics anthology A Lone Star in the Sky, I’m thisclose to finishing book three in Nicola’s Two Thrones series, and I’ve submitted works to Carina Press and an agent.

New arting stuff — I now have 33 covers under my belt, which pleases me as a graphic artist, and I’ll be adding at least three more covers to that number before the end of the year. I knew buying that Wacom drawing tablet was going to be a good investment.

New personal stuff — this past summer in the clavicle of Texas has been remarkably mild, and according to the battery of medical tests I’ve had due to turning 50 and being eligible for ALL kinds of free screenings I’m relatively healthy and should continue to kick around for another twenty years or so, barring accident, murder, or incoming asteroid. The J Crew continue on their merry feline ways, the Bodacious Brit is both British and bodacious as always, and while I rather liked Episode 1 of Star Trek: Discovery I doubt that we’ll be paying for CBS Access because that way lies madness.

Oh, and apparently as of October 18th the Department of Homeland Security will start collecting social media information on all immigrants and their families/associates, so as the wife of a green card holder I presume that I’ll be watched by DC. Hello, boys!

Busy, busy, busy…

Man, it’s been a hectic ten days or so, hence my lack of posting. Incoming house guest and associated house cleaning + unexpected trip back to the UK for the Bodacious Brit + two book covers + one character doll + getting the car safety inspection and new registration sticker = Mellie running around like a headless chicken. But right now the house is clean, I had a lovely dinner, the cats are snoozing, and there’s nothing nagging at me to be done. So that makes for a nice Saturday night.

Mind you, I still need to finish that character doll tomorrow, pay the bills, vacuum the stairs, and put in some more wordage on Cross Current. But that’s a lazy Sunday for me. Hell, I may even kick back with a hard cider or two.

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 fianc√© 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!