Far Point Recap and…

I have about four minutes to make this post before my brain shuts down entirely. It’s just been one of those non-stop weeks between work, school, my second job, commuting and homework, and as sleep is suffering, I have to try to stick to an 8 hour schedule… uh, yeah…so…

Far Point was AWESOME! I think this show gets better and better every year. Maybe it has something to do with getting to know the other authors who are there better, or expanding the list of authors who I know. Either or both, I really felt at home and in my element–I felt pretty shiny–and am still a bit on the high from it all. Some fun conversations post-con have also come from this, one of which is with T. Eric Bakutis (https://www.facebook.com/TEricBakutis/ ) about virtual reality (on his end) and early childhood development–specifically on the importance of touch/lack thereof in infancy (on my end). We have only just started the brainstorming, but I expect we will add a few wrinkles to our gray matter by the end of it. Some of what we’ve talked about in regards to where VR technology is going has also stirred my thoughts and motivation for one of my back burner works-in-progress. This is good, in that I’d LOVE to get back to it and finish it! But not so good, as I’m within 50 pages or less of finishing Starbright and now is not the time for distraction! Well, we know how my muses like to get this close to the end of a book–so they’re really right on time.

One more bit before I have to crack on with my evening: I have an invite to Shore Leave–a similar event as Far Point that takes place in the summer. More information on that as things develop. And YES, I am excited for this one!!

Far Point schedule, etc.

First things first:
My Far Point schedule is thus:

Friday at 4pm: I will be speaking on a panel about killing off characters. I believe the panel is called “But I liked that guy!!” I speak on this one every year and it continues to be one of my favorite writing topics.

Friday at 5pm: I will be in one of the bigger rooms to sign books and talk to anyone who might come by to say hello.

Saturday at 10am: I am speaking on a panel about publishing in 2017.

Saturday at 3pm: I am doing a reading, though of what, I haven’t yet decided…

Sunday at 10am: I am speaking on a panel called “Beyond the female sidekick”. Another one I’ve done before and enjoy.

Sunday at 11am: I am speaking on a panel called “Music behind the authors”. I’m pretty excited about this one and it’s new this year.

Sunday at Noon: I will be in one of the bigger rooms to sign books and talk to anyone who might come by to say hello.

Sunday at 1pm: I am speaking on a panel called”Literature in a post-lit world”. Also a new one, at least for me. Should be interesting.

Other news: Continued poking along on Starbright (working title). I think it’s up to about 197 pages, or thereabouts. I still don’t know how to wrap up the ending on this one, so that may be my delay. On the upside, I keep thinking of awesome historical details to work in throughout the rest of the book. I am also stumped on what to do for the cover. I have absolutely no means to pay an artist, so I have been toying with the idea of doing the cover myself. Maybe a pastel drawing…At least I still have my pastels. I knew there was a reason I never got rid of them. I am not settled on that idea, but it’s what I have at the moment.

I fell off of the ‘dream book’ wagon again and just haven’t had a chance to record my dreams for the past week. They haven’t been much of a thrill ride, so no loss, but it does more or less end the idea of 365 Dreams as a book of consecutive nightly visions. Sorry. I’ll keep recording them as I do have time, and maybe I can get individual novels off of them. I’m okay with this.

New, new, new

A new year, a new semester at school…So far, that’s where it ends. I was hoping to move closer to work and campus this month or even in February, but I didn’t get the honey of an apartment that I was looking at. So, the search continues. Whatever the reasoning was that the Universe has stapled to this, I’m not sure, but may that mean something even better for me (hard to imagine, but life has been heavily teaching me that I don’t know what I’m talking about and it’s going to do the driving).

More work done on Starbright. I’m up to about 175 pages, with more and more of the gaps between chapters and scenes shrinking away. Yesterday brought an epiphany with the story’s history, which I need to figure out how to incorporate. It’s always tricksy, trying to get enough history skillfully included and not revealing it all at the beginning. Blah. Boring. After working on my homework for a while this morning, I will take a break and see about fitting in an hour or so of writing. I really slacked off where homework was concerned yesterday, so I will have to make up for that today. Where did the time go? Once again, trying to give my home an overhaul–putting things away, getting rid of unnecessary stuff (not that there is a lot of that anymore), cleaning, etc. Several years ago I started making a quilt with earth tone colors (yellow, gold, tan, beige, brown, rust, olive, forest green, ivory…) and every now and then I work on it. As always happens with projects, the longer it takes for me to complete it, the more materials I accumulate and want to incorporate. In this case, I’ve made clothing or costumes that have left scraps perfect to go into this quilt. It’s nice to have more options, but annoying in trying to work them in. On the upside, the quilt is really only about 1/3 done, if that, and I can stick that section in the middle and work above, below and on either side of it to work in these new fabrics. I have no plans to make anything else that might have coordinating material, so this should be it. While it’s made up of 4×4″ squares and nothing fancy, it still takes time to iron the fabric, measure and mark and then cut them. Yes, I have a cutting wheel, but some fabrics hate it and it’s easier to go crazy with the sharpie, and then sit and cut the squares while watching a movie. I’m also not a fan of standing at the ironing board for hours upon hours to do the cutting, so marking is about 5 seconds faster per square. Anyway, I have a lot of fabric left to cut and I’m getting better at weeding out the big, squared off remnants–I don’t need to use ALL of what I have. I just need a good mixture all around. It’s nice to see the unuseable scraps filling the trashcan and the nicely folded remnants stacking up to be sold on eBay…

That was a nice rant…Back to writing–

As I expected I eventually would (though not nearly so soon), I’ve already missed out on the 365 nights of dreams that was intended to be a book. Four nights’ worth of dreams I think I missed. It’s not that there was anything earth-shattering in them–I just kept telling myself, “You’ve got to write that down!” Followed up with, “Yes, yes. I will!” And I never did. My dreams have been a little weird lately though. Less in what is going on or who is there (with some exceptions), and more about the places I’m ‘visiting’. Lots of merging of locations: airports, hotels and shopping malls really like to become one with each other in my dreams. Office buildings and Victorian mansions. An interwoven web of small town streets all stacked on top of one another–Venice, Italy overlaid with Erie, Pennsylvania is a popular one.  They are almost impossible to describe unless you’ve been to both. I will keep recording my dreams to see if anything can come of doing so. If anything, maybe I’ll just get singular books from them–as is the case with many of my books so far. The night before last involved preparation for the coming of zombies. Everyone in the world was divided up into teams. We didn’t get to choose who we teamed up with–we were just sent to our meeting place. This included celebrities, politicians, the rich, the poor–everyone. No one was left out and no one had a say on where they went. I don’t know who ran this, or how teams were chosen. It was really pretty odd to see who was there with me and I’m glad the zombies never showed…


A quick update this morning before I head off into the world:

During my winter break, I took a 70 page story to an over 150 page book. Yes–I am shocked. I guess it was the right place to escape to! With the exception of one day this week, I’ve continued to add to it and have mapped out pretty much all of the missing chapters. The ending though….the ending….I have no idea how to end this one. I can’t say I’m hopping to start ANOTHER series, though now with the Twins Trilogy done, I guess I’m down to two open series at the moment…Make that three…I think I’ll just have to keep going on filling in the holes of this one and see how it goes. With The Case Files, I didn’t know it would be a series (8 books…sheesh!!) until well after the first one was out and had time to breathe for a while. This one may have to have some r&r time as well, if I do decided to elongate it with a follow up book or …five.

Somewhere around last weekend, I started up another story. It is not likely to go anywhere as-is. It’s one of those ‘exercise’ stories (Where can I go with this, I wonder??) but again, if some sort of metamorphosis takes place with it, it might be something someday. Back burner project, for sure.

As soon as I finish with the first book mentioned in this post (still no title, though Starbright may be the poorly named understudy for the time being), I am tentatively thinking of getting back to The Case Files. I think that was mentioned a few posts ago. I still don’t have enough material for it, but I do have a decent outline. I just need to be around the right group of people to be inspired (you know–the usual excuse) and so I can collect the right sort of tone to carry it through. On the off chance that I can finish up Starbright and get it off of my plate by March, Her Majesty has a good chance of getting done and out by fall. And then whatever else happens to come up. I’ve had some wacky dreams as of late, but nothing book-inspiring. I have been writing them down since January 1st, so you may end up with a book of dreams…IF I can be sure to write them ALL down for the whole year…Big IF, my friends.

So I finished up my 5 year journal/writing tracking journal. I did a lousy job writing every day, but in 5 years, I finished and published Nine books. I need to up the ante on that. I have been tracking my writing so far this year (all four days of it…), though I don’t have a new journal yet. This  is the one I would like to get:


Hopefully you can see that. Here’s a picture: 

Anyhow, the hope is to do better over the next 5 years…So far, so good.

As the ink dries, the paint shall run

In case anyone missed it, The Open Book is now available for ordering. I don’t have any in stock yet, but it can be ordered (unsigned) through www.lulu.com. Signed copies are available upon pre-order and request (send $22 via heather@heatherehutsell.com through PayPal). Turn around time on that is about 2 weeks as I have to order the book, get and sign it, and then ship it back out. You can always order from Lulu and bring it to me to sign at a later date. Right now, the only show I have booked for 2017 is FarPoint in February.

Today is the first day of my winter break from work. I have a long list of things to do (none are terribly earth-shattering, but such is my life right now), and as I said before, I’ll be job hunting during that time as well (still). Maybe I will do some writing. I have it on my list, alternating between two different books, but as I mentioned a post or two ago, there’s no inspiration happening right now and the cheerleading I once had is now gone as well. Non-writers have no idea how important it is to have someone on our side, telling us how proud they are of us, how excited and happy they are when we are writing…It is the light and nourishment that makes us writers feel like even bothering. Sure, I can write without it–I can write garbage. I can write the stuff that fills dark, formidable, cold sewage ways and stale, hollow alleys that no one ever wishes to visit. No joy, no purpose. It’s how all of life feels inside without those encouraging words.

Just a small insight to my world at present. Isn’t it lovely? It’s why there is once again paint and canvas in my home. I’m back to a place I never wanted to return to again. I can only hope that it helps as it did the last time. If not…*shrug*

Middle of the Middle

Over the weekend, I finished The Open Book as promised. During the winter break (as I won’t be in school and don’t yet have a back up job, so may just be home for the entire time), I will be editing so I can get the book released before the end of the year. It may be on December 31st at 11:59pm EST, but it will be before the end of the year, nonetheless. Finally: number 14.

Beyond that book, I still haven’t picked up my writing again. I have opened several works in progress, read a few lines and then closed them again. I’m pretty undecided as to what book to work on next so that doesn’t help the process. Sometimes my muses are kind in times like this and they eventually start to speak up…like just as I’m getting into hard editing, so I won’t be at all surprised if they start chattering in about two weeks! I have taken a look at the remaining books in The Case Files series, and I’m glad I did. In sticking to the theme of ‘most recent–working backwards through time’, I’ve come to realize that Darling Orphan wouldn’t actually come next as Book 4, but rather, #5 or even #6, and, that being said, I will go with what was supposed to be #5 and move it up to #4…Too many numbers there. Well, I know which one is next at this point, so that’s important. It will be interesting to see what new material is added to it between whenever I pick it up and when it ends, as it will greatly impact which of the next three will come immediately after. There is some overlap with 4,5 & 6 as with Lord Spencer and Captain Hauke, but whichever goes back farther will be the one that comes in at #6… Okay. Enough of the birth order of this series.

Almost another week has gone by since my last post, and still no luck with a second job or finding a closer place to my one job to move to. I’m more than a little bit under the gun to acquire a second job for obvious reasons, but also because I have three trips for 2017 in mind and they will have to be paid for in some way.  Fortunately, there is some spacing in between, but the months in which they are to happen will arrive quickly, so time is of the essence. And, should I be able to get the Head Start+second job scenario to work out, one of those trips will involve a cross-country train ride SO–lots of work to make that happen coming up.

Where I Am

As life continues to throw me curveballs and love and support disappears left and right, I am taking a moment to express my gratitude for all that I do have and those who have bothered to stick around for the ride. This is not the first time I’ve been at the bottom, it’s not the first time I’ve ceased to exist to others. Somehow, I’m still here and alive–doing my best to keep my chin up when I feel withered–and again left looking for my purpose in continuing with this life.

I’ve started a new job as an associate teacher through Head Start. Short of knowing nothing of what I’m doing, I enjoy it–I enjoy finally getting to be around children and feel pretty blessed that the opportunity has been presented. It is a struggle, however, as anyone knows that teachers make very little money–associate teachers make even less. Being back below poverty level, I’m now looking for additional work and a closer residence to my job so I can cut out the 35-45 minute commute and save on fuel. It’s tricky and going much more slowly than I thought it would. I’m also looking for a second job, though getting schedules to match has also proven a challenge.

As things have been particularly dismantling (especially in the past two weeks), I’ve lost much of the inspiration to my writing…It’s devastating and I have no other words for that… I will make it one of my priorities to finish the last chapter of The Open Book this weekend, as I still want to release it before the end of the year, but my joy for writing has been more than a little weakened. It will take some time to get that back. I’ve said before that I would never give up my writing, as it feeds my soul unlike anything else, but in the middle of moments like this, I do wonder if it will ever come back–it does not feel like it this time, and that is rather soul-crushing as well.

It’s been some time since I’ve done much sewing. There’s a part of me that feels I should return to it as a means of distraction, and also to help me get rid of more excess in materials. I still think while I’m sewing, but not to the extent that other activities allow for, and that may be best for now. I will say that not being on call anymore has already lifted quite a lot of a different kind of stress. Yes, I abhor struggling and scraping financially, but I will make things work. Being on call was inescapable. At least I can go for walks now and leave my phone behind…I can only hope that being able to have that will bring inspiration where there is none.

Not writing

I just wanted to make a quick post about my necktie boutonnieres–I’ve started listing them on Etsy, and I will put that link in this post, but also under my Support of Interests tab. Please go take a look and know that each sale helps enable me to make ends meet. That is more important than ever right now, and certainly if I want to keep writing! I’m just showing a few here so you know what I’m talking about. Please feel free to contact me about these or go ahead and shop through Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/heatherhutsell?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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Upside Down

My apologies for not staying consistent with this blog. I had really wanted to get to a point where I was posting daily (or at the least–every other day), but as some people in my closer circle already know, the company I work for has decided to eliminate my position. There was about a 30 day notice on this, so I’ve been spending time sending out resumes, filling out applications, and going to every one of the few interviews I’ve been called back for. It’s been rough and I don’t know where things will be in another 2.5 weeks, when it all ends.

With this going on, I’ve been trying not to fall too far behind on my school work, and to also edit a page or two as I can on The Open Book. I have sent the first ten chapters off to one of my editors, so it’s at least into that part of the process, and I’m still crossing my fingers for an end of year release. I have done very little writing aside from that, and while my soul is craving the chance to get back into it, I guess it’s something of a relief that my muses are rather hushed right now.

There is, of course, much more going on that just isn’t meant for here, and it does all have me thinking some pretty dismal thoughts. I say this because I think on how many times I’ve read or heard people say that this kind of darkness is the best sort to create from. Personally speaking, there’s too much survival mode happening for me right now to even consider it. I can’t even look at my basket of mending and small sewing projects and make sense of it, let alone churn out some kind of masterpiece. I wish I had the sort of drive those people are talking about to help me through this. It’s a cycle I seem to have been caught in for quite a while–tiny glimmers of light in a night that just doesn’t ever want to give way to dawn. I’m but a few breaths away from resigning to the reality that this is just how it is always going to be for me. Yes, I’m in that place, and there has been no indication–inside or out–that I am wrong. It’s been a very long time now that anyone has told me that I’m not alone–hard to believe otherwise now, and it gets more and more real each day.

The Open Book Update

It has been a week since finishing the full first draft of The Open Book, and it’s now in editing mode. A little slow on that, considering that I’m getting hits on all sides from work and school and it leaves little time to concentrate on punctuation, grammar and flow of a book. Deadline goal: December 31st, or sooner. I know I’m really pushing it in thinking I’ll have it done by then, but there is that small piece of time after the semester ends…