Missing in action

It’s been a few days since I’ve blogged here, but I haven’t been slacking. On the contrary, I’ve been busy with that crazy thing called life.

After Rory was found safe, life hit full-force. Work, home, organizational stuff, gaming, laundry, work, meeting with a mortgage loan company, work…

Oh yeah, the mortgage thing. Yep, my husband and I have been pre-approved and will begin construction on our first house hopefully in October. We meet with the builder again this evening after I get off work. It’s both exciting and terrifying; on the one hand, we’ll be free of apartment life (forever, if we have anything to say about it), but on the other hand it’s a buttload of responsibility. Mortgage payments, repairs, upkeep, taxes, garbage pickup, etc. … plenty to keep us occupied–and harried.

It’s all new and different and a little more than overwhelming. There was a time in my life where I thought I’d never own a home of my own, let alone freshly build one from the ground up. Now it’s more than just a dream; it’s a swiftly-approaching reality. It will even be complete before our fifth anniversary. Some anniversary present, isn’t it?

Once the house is built, I suspect our social life will evolve in several different ways. We likely will have to adjust to the new, higher cost of living before our ability to participate in activities stabilizes, and we’ll probably host more get-togethers at “our place” as we get things settled. We’re already planning two or three major housewarming parties (family, work, friends) as well as having several out-of-town friends and family members come visit. We’ll need more furniture for sure–can’t have visitors sleeping on the floor, and guests would likely want places to sit–which will mean more spending. It’s cool to think of our house being done, but weird to think of it as being empty. There’s enough furniture to fill our two-bedroom apartment, but with three bedrooms (one of which will be a craft room), a great room, dining area, garage, kitchen, etc., it will be a while before the spaces are filled comfortably.

I almost wish I could speed up the process of finishing my latest novel. I know, I know, the likelihood of getting published any time soon (even if I finish tomorrow lol) is slim to nil, but the thought of being a traditionally published author and a homeowner is thrilling. Like, maybe some day there will be a photo of me standing on my land with the mountains in the background on the back cover of a trade paperback. That would be cool. (Better than the selfie I took outside of my old apartment, anyway. Granted, the selfie looks pretty decent for a selfie, but it’s not the same.)

The going has been slow on the writing, editing, and revising, mostly due to that little thing I mentioned earlier called life. I’m going to try to kick it up a few notches, though, and finish the character sheets I started while I wait for the most recent edits of book 1 to be done. I’ve debated starting on book 3, but I think I should slow my roll until I know what changes I’ll have to make after the edits and critique come back. I don’t want to get too far in and then have to make sweeping changes. That would suck. It feels good to have the next two or so books brewing in the ol’ noggin, though. I’d like the series to continue further, but a quadrilogy would be okay. Maybe a quintilogy. (Spell check says that’s not a word, but Google says it is, and who am I to argue with Google?) Not a trilogy though; there are too many ideas for just three books.

I hope that some of you blog readers will be interested in reading these books. Is dystopian sci-fi your thing? A little bit of politics, some action, some sexyfuntimes? (I know that’s not a word, but I don’t care lol) Keep an eye here for updates on how they’re going. My goal is to have something ready to submit to agents/publishers by the end of the year, with my goal for next year being to have book 2 ready for pubbing. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be anywhere close to having book 1 even published by then, but if I have more installments at the ready I’m hoping it will let publishers know that I’m serious, and that there’s more to come.

Will I be a household name? Probably only in my own house, but that’s okay. I can deal with that.

My own house. Damn, that sounds good.

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Surreal

Taking big steps lately to becoming, like, a real adult. More than just working and paying bills. Sure, there’s work involved–and paying bills–but it’s both exciting and a little unreal. I mean, I don’t think I ever imagined being at this point in my life. Suddenly, things are happening. Okay, starting to happen. Like, they won’t happen for a while, but plans are being made and things are going from theory to discussion to hopefully reality.

Cosplay, on the other hand, has suffered due to my increasing obsession with Pokémon Go and the exercise I’ve been getting. I haven’t been spending as much time in the craft room, and now that I’m only a month out from when we leave for Dragon Con I’m feeling the Crunch. I have to step things up on the sewing, but tomorrow is reserved for prop-building with some new friends. They’re much more experienced than we are, so we’re hoping they can give us more pointers than the panels we attended at Phoenix Comicon. We’re still a little in over our heads, but we’re willing to learn and we’ve gotten most of the supplies and (we think) all of the materials we’ll need. Basically the only thing left to buy is the corset boning, and I have to get off my Poké-ass and get to sewing so I know what lengths of boning I’ll need.

Writing is pretty much at a standstill…again. I keep getting new ideas on how my society will play out, trying to imagine what life will be like a couple hundred years from now. Will space travel be a common thing, or will it have been a passing fad? What kind of tech will be available? What about society itself? Will things improve from today’s media-fed nightmare, or will it all go to shit? Well, it’s a dystopian setting I’m aiming for so I’m guessing things will go to shit, but to what extreme?

But this new thing–this adulting thing–this is a vision of the future that is tangible, that I can actually see and envision with clarity. Change, in this case, is something that I think is a good thing.

Mockingjay: Pure Entertainment, or Cautionary Tale?

So by now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Mockingjay movies, as well as the first movie, The Hunger Games, and the sequel, Catching Fire. These movies have definitely caught fire in entertainment, marketing, and product lines, but is the message being lost?

I’ve both read the books and seen the movies. I know the differences between the two, and some of the more glaring differences are bothersome to me. The movies don’t have Katniss getting her iconic Mockingjay pin from a friend she didn’t even know she had in District 12. They don’t go into her fear of having children because she doesn’t want them to have to face competition in the Hunger Games.

These are two minor changes, but they are powerful messages that need to be conveyed. The symbol of the Mockingjay wasn’t something Katniss picked up in a marketplace; it was given to her by a friend, a precious commodity to Katniss in the harsh conditions of District 12. Her fear of having children was a powerful message, a sign of the desperation of the times. Being afraid to have a child because that child might have to compete in a battle to the death with other children? That is an enormous weight to carry, and to gloss over that is to do the books a great disservice.

Another thing that disturbs me is that the message of the story is lost in the commercialization of the films. We–I’m speaking primarily of Americans–have become complacent in our current political system. We protest, we gripe on Facebook, we post political memes and quotes…but what do we really do about it?

Now, I’m not suggesting full-on rebellion like in the books. I’m saying that we need to consider the situation we’re in. Sure, our political system has worked for a couple hundred years. Yeah, we had that Civil War in there, but y’know, we’ve been pretty much status quo for a while. Are we really operating in the right system right now, though?

You have basically two parties that are diametrically opposed. “Debates” become arguing sessions where nothing is accomplished. And don’t even get me started on TV coverage of politics. Ugh.

Our political system is a hot mess. Do I know how to fix it? Hell, no. I don’t get involved in politics because not only do I admittedly have only a basic understanding of the system, but also because I don’t fully agree with either side. I’m neither right nor left, black nor white, light nor dark. I’m in that grey area, that middle ground where I don’t feel strongly enough about any of the hot button topics to raise up my voice and speak out. And if I did, who would listen? My Twitter followers? My few Facebook friends?

Politics and social media don’t mix well, I’ve found–and yet I’m writing this blog post today. Why? Because I think we should do something. I don’t know what; I’m not smart enough for that. But maybe, just maybe, someone who is smart enough will read this and say, “Hey, she’s got a point. We don’t have to keep the system we have just because it’s what we’ve done for a couple hundred years.”

“Well, AJ,” you might say, “what exactly do you want us to do?” I honestly don’t know. I want us to not bitch about stupid things. I want us to be open to different ideas and different beliefs. I want something more.

Is there an “ideal” political system? Is it worth it to upend the current one only to wind up in a worse situation? Who knows. I don’t think the ideal political system has yet been found, because if it had someone somewhere certainly would have the common sense to say, “These people have got it right. This is what we need to do.” And then others with common sense would say, “Yeah, good point. Let’s do the thing.” And we would all do the thing, and world harmony and all that jazz.

Yeah, I know that’s not going to happen. Maybe some day in the far, far future, but certainly not my lifetime. And that sucks.