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December 15th, 2010

Christmas Cards!

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I'm doing Christmas cards! Post here with your addy, all posts are screened so only I can see them.

I need your name, address, and some random fun fact about you.

December 6th, 2009

CHRISTMAS CARD POST 2009

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Ok so, Livejournal still owns for being able to screen comments. So, if you'd like a Christmas card this year from me (and Wyatt and the cat) please leave a comment here with your name and address. If you include your email addy I'll be able to send you mine too if you'd like to send one back.

No one will be able to see your information but me! See how awesome 10 year old technology is! (The point is, get with IT Facebook!)

Ok so easy version.

Post comment with your address, receive Christmas card!!

Ok thank you for playing.

Renda

October 9th, 2009

(no subject)

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I recently came across the term “Indie Author” while researching more avenues for self-publishing and promotion. While I personally like to avoid labels, in the world of writing and publishing genre and identification are so important. It shows that the author understands their writing and where it fits in with traditional publishing. It’s a much nicer label than “Self-Publisher”, which has so many negative connotations. It used to be if someone told you they had self-published a book you would smile, nod and maybe even ask politely “about what?”, all while feigning interest in something that hadn’t been “good enough” to be published. It’s not the case anymore. With print-on-demand companies it’s become so much easier to create a professional looking product that can sell.

The bottom line is: If you write a good book, that is well edited, and tells a compelling story you can definitely break out of traditional publishing, in to the world of independent publishing and achieve success.

Does that mean you can write the first draft of a novel, print it and hope it will sell? Nope, not at all.

You have a lot of revising, editing and reading to go. You need friends that can help you out with the things you aren’t as good at. For example, in the 3rd full revision of ‘Inked’ a reader of mine pointed out that I had the word “isle” every time I meant “aisle”. I had 11 readers, who weren’t me, from various walks of life. I was able to learn what readers with wide ranging literary tastes thought of the book and the character. I made tons of changes based on what reader’s thought, and honestly sometimes I didn’t. Their feedback was invaluable to the end-product. There’s also the fact my boyfriend did the cover art for my book, and it turns out he was better with photoshop than I was.

All of this was so much work, but the easy part was getting out the first draft in one month by participating in National Novel Writing Month. It seems that the line between the traditional idea of self-publishing and “Indie Authors” is the amount of work. I don’t laugh, scoff or demean traditional publishing, it makes it a lot easier on the author, but I think it’s nearly impossible to break into. I heard an agent speak at a writer’s conference in July and she said that she would have turned down the book “Bridges of Madison County” because she didn’t like the language it was written in. Now, I haven’t personally read Bridges, but it seemed to be a very popular book. You have to wonder how there are so many published, famous authors with rejection letter piles up to the 50’s before they were “discovered”. It’s just the way traditional publishing works, and if you want to turn your wheels in the system for months or years, as some of my collegeues have, that’s one option. Taking control of your own book, your own writing, your own future and making something of yourself is also another option.

Just remember that it’s not easy. I have tons of email in my inbox right now I should be responding to. I have organizations and business partnerships that need my attention. I have more self-promotion to do. I have a short story to edit for a literary magazine, and another to write for a friend’s collaborative collection he wants to self-publish. NaNoWriMo is only 22 days away, and I’ve got a region to Liasion and a new novel I’m plotting. Oh and yeah, I’m also broke because any money I’ve earned from pre-sales has gone straight back out into the book.

But it’s so worth it. I have written, edited and loved this book from the moment it was idea in my head. Now, I have a revised, finished and printed book. I can throw all the passion I have for this story behind bringing it out to the public.

So, am I an Indie Author? You better believe it, and I think that’s a really good thing.

October 3rd, 2009

My Novel

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Well, I did it. I wrote a book, edited that book and I am now publishing said book (before I turn 30 in a few months). Click through the picture to go to RendaDodge.com and get more information about the book. Pre-Order is going on now, book is out on 10/20.

July 25th, 2009

(no subject)

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I'm reading through Sylvia Plath's Journals (the parts that Ted Hughes didn't destroy to 'protect his family'), and like I was when I read the Bell Jar, I am struck with an overwhelming sense of connection to Plath and her writing. It's amazing that she is the closest attachment in writing I've been able to find, and she stuck her head in a gas oven and killed herself with her children in the other room. Great. I can pick them. Either way, she's a fantastic writer who apparently lived life with many mixed emotions that I share with her on a regular basis. In what and how she writes I see a lot of myself, and what I'd like to achieve to be. You know, without the oven part.


"I love you because you are me...my writing, my desire to be many lives. I will be a little god in my small way. At home on my desk is the best story I've ever written. How can I tell Bob that my happiness streams from having wrenched a piece out of my life, a piece of hurt and beauty, and transformed it into typewritten words on paper? How can he know I am justifying my life, my keen emotion, my feeling, by turning it into print?"


"There was more small talk, more laughing, sidelong glances, more of the unspoken physical friction that makes each new conquest so delightful. In the air was the strong smell of masculinity which creates the ideal medium for me to exist in."

July 15th, 2009

I guess I'll break my life into sections because it seems like the right way to do it. Segregate this here, stick that over there. Sure, why not.

Health:
I had my surgery on June 16th. It was long, I went under around 9:30 and didn't wake up until 2:30. The doctor said the actual surgery lasted four hours or so and was a bit more complicated than he thought it would be. However, he does think he repaired the tear to give me more stability. Not sure if that's going to decrease the pain though, because post surgery I'm having tons of pain. I still take a lot of Percocet, and it's not as fun as you might think. It impairs my ability to write, concentrate or drive. I haven't driven since before the surgery. I sleep all the time. I wake up in pain. If it doesn't actually make it better than pre-surgery I'm going to be pretty pissed off.

I was thinking of last summer, before my nausea and pain got really bad from the gall bladder and before I hurt my arm. I want that freedom back. I don't want to have to rely on other people to help me do things. I don't want to stay home 100% of the time because I don't know if I'll start hurting while I'm out. Small steps I guess. I did get on my own bra for the first time today, it took 5 minutes and unconventional methods, but I did it. Pretty pathetic when that's exciting.

Writing:
I am on what I call the 3rd draft of "Inked". I've had a lot of readers all of whom I thank so much (Max, Brian, Wyatt, Ducky, Reid, Josh and even my mother). I have gotten a lot of good feedback I have ended up incorporating into the story, and I'm pretty much at the point that I consider the book to be done. Which I was never sure I'd ever reach, but TADA here it is.

In two weeks Reid and I will be attending the PNWA Conference where I will have the opportunity to meet with agents and editors as well as take workshops and stuff. Sounds pretty cool, but I'm also nervous as shit. This is the first time I will actually try to show my work to someone and say "hey, please like it". (Yeah, that's pretty much going to be my pitch.)

My thoughts have been moving to my next project. Most likely will get started on it during NaNo this year.

Life in General:
I really wish I could report that everything was great and that my life is awesome. But in light of my physical situation and various other points of drama in my life I've been feeling very unsure about everything. I've been feeling so old. I'm turning 30 this year, and I've never actually felt as old as I am. But now, with the pain and limited use of my left arm I've been feeling older than my age. I'm still on unemployment and there isn't a lot of jobs out there for my skill set right now. It seems to be working out alright for finishing my book and such, but at the same time is slightly frustrating. I've also been experiencing some disappointment as I had to be reminded lately that everything, even if it seemed like you planned everything out as best you could, doesn't always work out the way that you planned.

Long gone are the days where I spelled out all my personal feelings and issues on the livejournal eh?

May 7th, 2009

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Countdown To My Surgery

Yeah, I'm definitely counting down this shit.

May 1st, 2009

About My Shoulder..

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So, most people know what is going on with my shoulder, but I guess a lot don’t. So, I’m going to give the end all be all of diatribes here.

Last July I was hanging a shelf in my apartment. I had a boyfriend, whom we will refer to as the asshole ex-boyfriend, and the shelf was being hung above my head. I was standing on a chair holding up one end of the shelf, he was screwing in his side. Well, that’s what he was supposed to be doing, until he lost his grip on his side and all the weight hit me. I felt my shoulder “pop out”, I fell to the floor and felt it “pop in”. As I laid on the floor, grabbing my shoulder and crying, Asshole Ex-BF stood over me and told me “it’s not that bad, get up”. Boy, did I prove him wrong.

Two days later I still couldn’t move it. I went to the doctor, they ex-rayed it, stuck it in a sling and gave me drugs. I think I wore the sling for 2 weeks, and all was well. I thought it had healed.

Fast Forward to December, I dumped the asshole, Phil and I are back together and we went Christmas shopping (during the big snow). While we were out my left arm started to hurt a lot, for days it hurt and burned and I couldn’t move it. It only got worse when I joined the gym in January. By that time, if I rolled over badly in bed I screamed, some days I couldn’t get my own shirt on. I got into the regular doctor and she ordered and MRI. As we all know, I had a hard time with it and it took two times and a lot of anti-anxiety medication to get me in the giant magnet tube.

When the results of the MRI came back it showed I have a tear in my labrum (cartridge in my shoulder) and I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. First I have to see the PA. He was a jerk, but referred me to the actual surgeon. I met the surgeon, he seemed preoccupied and unconcerned. He took my shoulder and moved in ways I hadn’t moved it in months. At that appointment he ordered ANOTHER MRI, because I just figure they hate me. The difference between the MRI’s is that the second one is done with contrast. While I was in the doctor’s office the nurse explained to me that meant an IV. Yeah, fucking right. Turns out it has to be injected into the shoulder with big long needles and an x-ray for accuracy.

When the surgeon received the results of the 2nd MRI it confirmed the tear, and he asked me to see if I could “live with it”. This was around Mid-March. I decided that I would try physical therapy, and get the therapist’s opinion on the matter while I decided if I could “live with it”. I started physical therapy with Jessica, who was really nice, but also very honest. She’s the only person that has ever explained the actual injury to me. I have a posterior term of my labrum, it’s what the surgeon calls a “10 to 6” tear (imagine a clock face). She explained in my first meeting with her that the tear is 3 – 4” long.

That’s right, it’s a HUGE tear. When the surgeon asked me to “live with it” I assumed the tear was a tiny thing, and maybe the daily pain was just an over-reaction. I thought maybe if I went to PT and worked through it I might be able to get around the tear. But, it’s a huge portion of the cartridge that holds my shoulder in place.

I learned through PT that there was nothing she was going to be able to do, she urged me to see the surgeon again. Even on my good days my “range of motion is still crap” according to Jessica. At this point I can’t raise my arm above the plane of my shoulder. I can’t pick up anything with it. And half the time if I’m doing anything (sitting, driving, walking at the grocery store) my arm becomes dead weight because I can no longer hold it up with the muscles around the joint, which is pretty much the only thing holding my shoulder in place because the cartridge is torn.

So, a couple of weeks ago I went back to the surgeon and I learned that not only do I have a tear, I have a cyst that’s grown while my body has been trying to repair the cartilage The surgeon thinks that the cyst may be a cause of pain as well as the tear itself. He told me that he could do surgery, try to repair the tear and remove the cyst, but this may not solve the problem, I may have pain for the rest of my life. He assumes it’s just better to let him try though, since I am in so much pain.

My surgery is scheduled for June 16th, not exactly speedy. And while I’m waiting for the surgery I can’t get anyone at Group Health to help with pain management. I hate being on narcotics. I become a bitch, I itch, I become spacey (and not in a good way). My primary care doctor wants to stay away from me and my shoulder tear, and my orthopedic surgeon’s office has been terrible about responding or taking responsibility.

(If you want to read the email chain that’s currently going between us, it’s here: http://www.littlepinkfish.com/mapes.html)

On top of all of this, I believe that occasionally I tear it just a little more. The other day, I rolled over in bed and it felt like it tore a little more as pain seared through my shoulder, down my arm for hours until I finally gave in and took narcotics. I couldn’t move it for hours, and the recliner has become my best friend.

So, now you all know, when I saw I’m having a bad arm day I usually mean there’s a pain radiating from my shoulder into my arm that makes me want to scream with rage and cry all at the same time. Every day is hit or miss. Some days I wake up great, but half way through the day it starts in. Other days it starts from the very beginning and doesn’t stop. I am never able to actually use it, on the “good” days I will sometimes forget that I can’t use that shoulder (29 years of habit) and then it’s screwed for DAYS.

I’m not looking forward to recovery. I’m really not looking forward to the possibility of a lifetime of this. I have to hope that the surgery will fix it. At this point, I feel like it’s amputated most of the time, I just try to forget it’s there. Unless, like now, it’s screaming in pain.

Here’s a graphic video that isn’t for the weak of heart showing how they will repair the tear with anchors. Mine should take more than one anchor, this is also an anterior tear rather than a posterior tear. DO NOT WATCH IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE INSIDE OF A SHOULDER, but for those of you with macabre interest : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oysXsFG0jc4 OR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyd5MCbj774

There’s two morals you can take away from my story, either A) Don’t date Assholes or B) Don’t hang shelves.

April 28th, 2009

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It's now officially time to shout it from the rooftops. I finished the second revision of my novel!

That's right, 2:08am on April 28th, I have an official Second Draft of "A Pattern of Absence"!

I honestly don't think I've been this excited in a very long time, it's more of a relief than hitting 50,000 words at the end of November. I actually have a finished novel I'd let people read.

Fuck.
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