Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pet Peeves: Words Mean Things

In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya famously tells Vizzini, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

A lot of people have pet words. Groups of people have pet words, too. If you follow the news, you'll see it. As one commentator repeatedly has noted through the years, the media will pick a word, and every broadcaster will use it in every broadcast about the story. The word "gravitas" comes to mind from the 2000 election, used to describe George W. Bush's selection of Richard Cheney as his running mate.

One word that I've seen thrown around a lot lately is derivitives of the suffix "-phobic". According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of phobic is:
of, relating to, or having an extremely strong fear or dislike of someone or something
Dictionary.com further defines phobia as:
a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.
The key word in that definition I'd like to glom onto is "irrational". Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you have an irrational fear of it.

There are many things I don't like.

  • I don't like shopping (except for yarn, books, and fabric.) 
  • I don't like crowds (ironically, ochlophobia, the fear of crowds, is today's Dictionary.com word of the day.)
  • I don't like murderers, people who abuse their power, people who abuse children or animals, or people who cheat on their spouses.
  • I REALLY don't like the TSA. This one came forth when I was in Seattle with my son for his bone marrow transplant. I refused to fly back from Seattle with my son because it sent me into a tizzy, nearly to a nervous breakdown every time I thought about having to go through security, alone with my son, and all of his medicines and medical gear. 

Okay, I may be a bit TSA-phobic.

But, I'm not ochlophobic or phobic of shopping. I will go out in crowds. I don't enjoy it, and with having a post-BMT child, I'm reaching for my hand sanitizer often and keeping a lookout for people coughing or sneezing.

Being a writer, I understand the difference. So, I'm beginning to get offended by how often people throw around phobias willy-nilly. If I don't agree with you on something, I must be phobic of it. Nope. Not irrationally afraid of it, I just don't agree.

Yet, certain groups of people want to accuse other groups of people of phobias just because we disagree!

THIS is how we have the breakdown of our language, when we allow words meanings to be weakened by improper usage. We as writers and speakers of the English language (and I'm sure this happens in other languages, too) need to stand up and protest this. When you're in a conversation with your friend and they laugh and say, "I'm so agoraphobic. I can barely bring myself to drink water!", drill down with them, and get them to see that they don't have an irrational fear of water, they just prefer to drink something else. (Especially use this if you know they love to swim and get a shower every day.)

We as writers should take the time to educate those around us. Otherwise, they'll still be stumbling around in the dark, repeating the same drivel they've improperly learned. Only by proper education (and maybe a few bashings over the head with an unabridged dictionary) can we retake our unique language.

Until next time...

If you haven't had an opportunity yet, please go pick up a copy of my short story, CSI Effect, over at Amazon. Please take 30 minutes to read it, and if you can, take the time to post a review! Thanks so much! -- LS

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Amazon Drones On

So, the big news in the last week, among other things, was that Amazon.com was researching the idea of using drones to deliver packages near their repositories.

Source: BBC
This is an interesting idea, but I have mixed feelings about it.

First, my pro-side says that this could really speed up deliveries. Don't have to worry too much about UPS trucks catching fire and burning your package to tho dust. For those outside the distance that would be served, it would free up delivery space so you'd probably see improved response, too. And, it would probably be something that would allow Amazon Fresh to expand into other markets, too. (While I haven't used the service, I saw the delivery vans while in Seattle for 5 1/2 months with my son earlier this year.)

So, yea! Speedier deliveries!

However, another story from a few months ago niggled in my brain when I heard about this.

I believe it was in Colorado (and probably other jurisdicitons as well) where certain towns and counties were considering offering a bounty for drones being shot down.

Now, I'm a conservative, bordering on libertarian. I try to keep that part off this blog for a reason (mostly because I don't want a lot of fighting and hate on my blog, but also because there's an international audience to this blog who really couldn't give a rat's behind about my occasional opinions on politics.) Where my philosophy comes in is that I honestly don't see a problem with shooting down government drones because they've overstepped their bounds of privacy on the individual. But, what if some nincompoop shoots down the Amazon drone bringing me a new battery for my laptop or a box filled with my books for a book signing, thinking it's a government drone? What happens then?

I haven't seen a drone in person, just pictures on the internet, and on the news. However, I think they're rather small, especially the ones demoed on the evening news for Amazon the other night. Unless your average Joe with his high-powered rifle has a very exceptional scope, he's probably not going to be able to tell the difference between a drone launched by the EPA surveying cattle emissions and one launched from the Amazon hub nearby making deliveries.

While I think the idea of having a drone make deliveries for companies is an applaudable, I do think these companies would be remiss if they didn't investigate the legalities of what happens if their drone gets shot down. I'm sure they've got teams of lawyers looking at these laws already--at least, I hope they do!

Legislatures will need to stay current with this as these new technologies come into commonality as well. Unfortunately, our legislative process does move quite slowly in most instances--and for good reason. But this will be a topic that our legislatures and city councils across our country will need to stay on top of, and work to find ways to protect our free economy.

There's a lot to think about as these new technologies become commonplace. (I, personally, am waiting for my transporter, food replicator, and lightsaber!) It would behoove us to be thoughtful as we decide how to integrate them into our lives.

Until next time...

Oh, P.S.

I'm not going to make a huge deal out of it because it's ONE story, but I did post my first self-published short story on Amazon yesterday for $0.99. If you feel so inclined, go take a peek.  It won an honorable mention in the Team PYP short story project in 2011/2012. This is the first time it's been seen outside of the Team PYP group. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Goals Make the World Go 'Round

I disappeared again.

Sorry about that.

But, it was for a good cause. About the time I did my last post, I had started in on a short story--and I blew through 21,000 words in about 3 weeks, including having two days straight where I wrote 4,500+ words (one of those cleared more than 6,000!) I've been working very hard on the project, hence the absence. My focus was just really intense there for a couple weeks.

Photo by Kazarelth
As I've been moving forward in these writing goals, I'm really finding how much I'm solidifying my long-term goals. I'm pretty sure I mentioned when I got back that I'd shifted my goal towards self-publishing in the next 18 months. It's hit home that that number has now dwindled to 15 months!!! That means I have a lot of work ahead of me.

So, I've also been getting some critique partners reading, thinking about others I'd want to ask to read some of my projects, and building up the nerve to ask them. (I do have that problem--I lack the nerve a lot of the time to simply ask for help!)

And, I've also been thinking about how to handle certain aspects like cover design. I do not have any formal training as a designer, but I love to play around with programs. (Several years ago, I asked my husband for a home design program for my birthday. I love opening it up now and then and playing around with it, even though I'll probably never be able to design a house that we'd actually live in!) So, I did spend a significant amount of time playing around with GIMP to design some mock-ups. That's been a lot of fun, and I'm improving my skills. Not sure if I'll ever be able to do a full-blown cover without Photoshop and a couple of classes at my local junior college (which I am contemplating for writing and non-writing reasons, like being able to get student-priced tickets to the opera!) But, I can at least make mock-ups and point someone else in the right direction!

A lot of this has been pushed by the fact that one of my acquaintances locally who works in the hematology office where my son goes is a self-published author... and he has his next book releasing in a couple of weeks. That, and all of the self-publishing podcasts I've been listening to lately. All of this has really motivated me, and I'm practically chomping at the bit to get something, anything up on Amazon.

Even though I'm eager to do so, I know I need to wait. My stories are not ready yet. They need to be polished. I'll get there, and maybe sooner than the 15 months I'm targeting now (maybe as soon as next spring!)

In the meantime, keep watching this space for updates.

Until next time... well, you know. ;)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Math Problems Run Amok

Being a writer, I'm not much of a math person. Sure, I can do basic stuff. But, algebra stumped me, and don't even try to talk calculus to me. My eyes will glaze over.

Still, every time I fold socks in my house, and I don't have anything going on so my mind wanders, I think of a math problem. A specific math problem. One from grade school.

I don't remember exactly how old I was, or even the exact wording of the problem. I was probably in third or fourth grade. And the problem went something like this:

The power has gone out at Mike's house and he has to get ready for school. He has no flashlight. He knows he has 10 red socks and 6 blue socks in his dresser drawer. What's the likelihood he will choose two matching socks?
Even as a third or fourth grader, I remember thinking Mike was an idiot. Why would you not fold your socks so they were mated? Then you wouldn't have problems like that if the power went out! Today, 20-odd years later, I think the writers for that textbook needed to get their heads screwed on straight.

Though, I do sometimes wonder if Mike made it to school with matching socks. ;)

How about you? Do you have something from your school days that sticks out in your head, that just won't leave you alone years or even decades later?

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Poaching is a Crime

Ugh! Behind again! I did so well in September, and then the last two to three weeks fell apart for me--including one ER trip for my son--and I'm back to having the weird blogging schedule again. Oh well. ;) I'm now the mother a five-year-old--how the heck did that happen? Overall, things are going well with my son, so that's about as much can be hoped for at the moment.


Today's post is something that's been driving me nuts lately: Poaching.

I'm not talking about boiling meats, either, or illegal hunting of wild game.

The type of poaching I'm talking about is cyber-poaching. This is where Friend A from one circle you move in decides to befriend on Facebook or Google+ Friend B of yours from a completely different circle of your friends. They otherwise would have no other reason to be friends with each other besides the fact they both know you.

Some people may not see why this is harmful, but it is, especially if the person in the middle has no idea it's going on until it's too late. You say something to Friend B that Friend A misconstrues, and then you get a snide note from Friend A. Or they jump into the conversation which was supposedly otherwise "private." (Although, let's be realistic: just how much privacy do you really have on the Internet these days?)

Honestly, I find poaching rather creepy, especially when it's done from friends to family or vice-versa. My friend, Chila Woychik, has also agreed with this in the past on her own Facebook page, and actually labeled it what I'm calling it. Why does, say, Friend B need to befriend my cousin? Or, why does my uncle need to be friends with an author friend of mine? (These are examples--they are not real, just so you know.) Pre-Facebook, there would have been no way for most people's different circles they move in to come in contact with other circles, except, perhaps, at very specific instances--birthday parties, weddings, funerals.

But, just because the way to connect with others has gotten easier doesn't mean we shouldn't show some restraint. And, I'm not talking about honest-to-goodness networking--where you're a business-owner and reach out to another person who is doing what you're doing to learn from them and their experiences. However, next time you're tempted to make a friend request to someone because you have a friend in common, stop and ask yourself why you'd want to be friends with that person. If it's only because of that other friend, maybe you'd be better off not pressing that friend request button.

That being said, here are my general rules for how I handle my social networking.

  • Do I know the person in real life? This can be through a menagerie of ways: church, family, writers, politics, old school chums, etc.
  • Do I have a legitimate reason to know this person besides our friend of a friend? For instance, is this person another writer? A politician whom I would like to keep track of? A pastor or support staff at my church?
  • If I do not know this person, do we have a lot of mutual friends where I can easily identify which group of friends they belong to? For instance, if they're friends with K.M. Weiland, Linda Yezak, and 216 other friends who are writers, the likelihood is this person is a reader or a writer, and probably okay to befriend.
I use these guidelines when I send a friend request, and I also use it when I'm sent a friend request. If someone is new to Facebook, it is quite often the case that when I receive a request, I do not see many, if any, common friends, so I will sit on the request for a while and wait for more friends to be added. If none come to light, I ignore the request permanently.  Another option, being that I manage four pages (including my Author Facebook and Google+ pages), I'll direct that person to whichever seems the best fit.

How about you? Do you find "poaching" a problem in your cyber-life? Do you have guidelines on how you handle networking and mutual friends? If so, share below!

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Structuring Your Novel: A Review

As a "pantser" writer, me and structure/outlining don't necessarily go together naturally. Oil and water, we are.

However, every writer should continue to learn about her craft, and that's where K.M. Weiland's new book, Structuring Your Novel, comes into play. I was absolutely delighted, I must say, when K.M. asked me to be an early reader, as I was for her last nonfiction book, Outlining Your Novel. Even so, being in a bit of a hectic time of life, I'm getting to the actual reviewing a bit late. But, that old adage is true: better late than never.

Being a pantser means I don't usually pay attention to structure, whether it's outlining or otherwise. I've only actually ever used an outline with success once, and that was for NaNoWriMo back in 2009. Yet, K.M.'s previous non-fiction book left me thinking, and while I'm still not an outliner, I can honestly say I recognize the merits of outlining, and when I'm stuck, will sit down and outline the next few chapters to get me going again.

I approached Structuring in much the same way. I'm a pantser: what can this book do for me?

Well, a lot, I'll say that. Not so much a "how to" book, more a "these are the qualities of a strong book" book, Structuring Your Novel uses examples from familiar books and movies to describe fundamentally how all successful stories are arranged, what readers and viewers expect. Surprisingly enough, if you've read enough quality books or watched solid movies, you probably intuitively know a lot about story structure. But, K.M. lays it out perfunctorily so you can understand why you need to do XYZ by a set point in the story, for instance, having all your major characters introduced by the first plot point, around the 25% mark in your story.

What I learned most: I don't have to outline my novels, but I should sit down and at least figure out if my drafts are in line with what typically happens in a book. Is my first plot point too early? Too late? What can I do to adjust its timing?

Additionally, I really enjoyed the second and third parts: Part Two is on Scene Structure, and Part Three is a short piece on Sentence Structure. Some of "Scene Structure" will be familiar if you've been following K.M.'s blog, Helping Writers Become Authors, but it's nice to have the refresher in an easy-to-snag spot on my Kindle. Sentence Structure really is a crash course in many do's and don't's common in early novels: repetitiveness, ambiguity, pompous words, etc.

Who needs this book: Every fiction writer who wants to get a better handle on the elements of storytelling, outliner and pantser alike. While newbies especially would benefit, those of us who are old-hands at story (whether published or not) can use the refresher, and gain new insights into how to tell a superb story. Maybe we will realize we need to move some bodies around in our stories because of Structuring. (That's a little murder mystery writer humor!)

Structuring Your Novel is available through Amazon.com (and other booksellers) for $2.99 for Kindle presently, however, the list price is $12.75. Paperbacks cost $10.42, also at the same list price. Whichever version you pick up, it is well worth the cost. Getting a solid grasp on structure--even if you're a pantser like me--will help make you a better writer, and in the end, isn't that what all of us writers want?

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Face-Palm Moment

You know, when I picked up writing again on this blog a couple weeks ago, I joked I may be sharing my cooking disasters here.

It really was meant to be a joke. Truly, it was.

Unfortunately, barely a week had passed when I did it.

Normally, I don't have full-out disasters in the kitchen. I'm really a pretty good cook. I will, occasionally, choose recipes that don't go over well. I will experiment, and things won't be as flavorful  as they could be. Or, I'll be absent an ingredient and will substitute something that really shouldn't be in there. Like... cilantro instead of basil.

My husband has decided I should not be grilling any longer. Unfortunately, his hours require me to grill if we're going to be grilling on a weeknight or it could be 9 PM before we eat dinner.

Enter a bad combination of events last week.

  • I was grilling.
  • I was grilling mule deer ribs.
  • I wanted to watch the season finale of A&E's "Longmire" before it expired on my iPhone app.
  • I decided doing all of these at the same time was a good idea.

iPhone in hand, I began grilling our mule deer ribs after having properly thawed them for 2 days in my fridge. I'd seasoned them lightly, and as I watched Walt Longmire's TV portrayal, went inside to get my side dishes going, and wash and set the table. My kids were being a little needy... I probably should have sent them to their rooms.

I get a little engrossed in the show, but go out to flip the ribs. They're looking pretty good, and I turn down the heat, mostly because I'd gotten a text from my adorable husband that he would be a little late. No big  deal, I do this all the time with the grill.

Mistake #1: Pushing the ribs to the back of the grill.

Mistake #2: Not turning off a burner.

I come back out 10 - 15 minutes later... and the thermometer on the top of the grill immediately tells me something is definitely wrong. 600°?!?! How the heck is it 600°!

Robert Taylor on A&E's "Longmire"
Opening the lid, I find my ribs a charred mess, and mostly ablaze. It had gotten so hot, some of the rib bones had turned to ash, I discover once the fire is mostly out.

Needless to say, none of us were thrilled. We couldn't find much edible meat, though enough for a few bites a piece. Hubby and I were still hungry after we put the kids to bed (late) and had to share a bowl of popcorn.

On the plus side, the "Longmire" season finale made me wish it wasn't a summer show. Thirteen episodes a year are not nearly enough. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Meeting "Strangers"

While I was in Seattle, and even on the way there, I was able to meet some "strangers". All of them were WRITERS!

Honestly, one of the highlights of my five-and-a-half months in Seattle was being able to meet some pretty cool people I've known online, some for upwards of seven years, a few of which are familiar commenters around these parts!

Today's post is more of a "travelogue" as I'm just going to share some pictures of yours truly with those I was finally able to meet in person.

Author K.M. Weiland & Liberty Speidel
It was a very brisk March night when we
met over cheesecake.

Five Christian writers gathered at Starbucks
Left side, front to rear: Lynnette Bonner, DeWayne
Ruggles, Steve Mathisen
Right side, front to rear: Janalyn Voigt, Liberty Speidel

Liberty Speidel & Kristina Seleshanko
I was so grateful that she & her family opened their
home up to my son and me for a day!

In addition to the writers, we also met a bunch of fellow Shwachman Diamond parents and patients... too bad I didn't get any pictures that I can post to here!

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Welcome Back! -- an Update and a Re-Evaluation

Tap, tap, tap! Does this thing still work??


Yes, I'm back after a much extended break. So, let me catch you up on what's happened in since I did a serious post back in January.

My little man +121 after transplant, feeling great!
In early February, we were told that we were ready for transplant, and March 1 found my husband and I driving from Kansas City to Seattle, WA, where we proceeded with my son's bone marrow transplant. It  was slated to happen the last week in March, but he got a virus (which he wasn't symptomatic for!) and forced a delay until May 1. From May 1 until July 23, we were outpatient for only 2 weeks, 14 hours! My little boy kept getting sick for various reasons, so we never got more than a week and a few hours out the two times we were outpatient.


He has done AMAZINGLY well, and we were able to leave on his day +101 to come home!! We arrived home on August 12, which ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for us. We got home at 12:45 AM, rushed to make an appointment with our KC BMT doctor, then went to see my grandmother who was dying... and who passed away while we were with her.

I am so glad I got to come home and see her one last time.


So, whirlwind 5 1/2 months means no writing, right? 


While I didn't do near as much writing as I'd hoped to do in those five and a half months, I did more than I think many people expected I would. I finished the third draft on my suspense-in-the-future book, Reprisal, and moved further along with the first draft of my police procedural with a Sci-Fi-y twist, Dead Before Arrival. I also began drafting a short story that will be a prequel to Beyond Dead and Dead Before Arrival--and am actively brainstorming ideas for a series of shorts that could very well lead up to the publication of both books, plus the third book in the trilogy, which I've yet to name or do more with than have a few ideas for scenes that could or should happen in them. 

Which brings me to the re-evaluation phase of this post.

Something in me snapped last fall where publishing is concerned. Most of you who regularly read this blog will remember I've said repeatedly that I'm only interested in getting an agent and going the traditional route. I'm not sure what changed, but something has. Maybe it's watching so many of my friends succeed in self-publishing, maybe it's the further success of e-books, or the fact they're now outselling physical books, but I've been re-evaluating what my desires are for publishing.

Over the last several months, I've been listening to podcasts like Self-Publishing Podcast and Joanna Penn's The Creative Penn with regularity--maybe even being on the brink of being a bit obsessive about it.  In the many hours of listening while driving or doing house chores, the things the hosts and their guests have said struck a chord with me, and I'm beginning to see how it's possible for lil' ol' me to be successful in self-publishing. I've got a few hang-ups I'm working through, but thankfully, I've got friends whom I can pick the brains of. 

Currently, I'm formulating a plan to begin publishing in the next 18 months--maybe even sooner. We'll have to see how that goes. I'm starting to chomp at the bit in order to make this happen, so if I can keep up that level of enthusiasm and have things come together, you may be seeing my name in print very soon!

As for this blog, I'm going to keep trying to plug away at it, though as I think I've said in the past, it's going to encompass more of what interests me besides writing, so you may hear about kitchen disasters, anecdotes about my kids, or whatever else floats my boat. I'm also considering doing a non-fiction book about my experiences during transplant, although I'm not really sure about the direction of the project yet.

Until next time,

Friday, March 01, 2013

Page update:

Due to the fact of my son's bone marrow transplant, this page is in hiatus until further notice. Hopefully, come August or September, things will have calmed down, I'll be home, and I will be able to give the time and energy necessary for regular or semi-regular page updates. Don't think I'm not writing--I am--but my energy levels are such that I'm afraid of spreading myself too thin.

Please follow me at my author page: Facebook.com/LibertySpeidel to stay up to date with any writing I do during this time, and please visit my son's page: Facebook.com/AlexanderSpeidelTransplant where we'll have updates on how he's doing.

See you in the autumn!


Monday, January 21, 2013


I ran across a word in the Dictionary.com app on my phone last week that intrigued me, not so much because it was a new concept, but because I'd never knew there was an actual definition to something I experience frequently.

The word?


Definition: Pertaining to the semiconscious state prior to complete wakefulness.

I, by nature, am not a morning person. About once or twice a year before kids was how often I was out of bed on a weekend before my husband. And, truth be told, I love to linger in bed whenever possible--even with a preschooler and toddler in the house. So, I have a pretty lengthy hypnopompic period almost daily.

An interesting thing happens, however, when that period intersects with the alarm going off on a weekday.

I am also a self-admitted news junkie. Despite multiple efforts by TMOTH to dissuade me, my bedside radio is tuned not to music, but to a news-talk station--the one I typically listen to for several hours a day before switching to a different one to catch a different program. And what do you hear on a news-talk station at 6:30 in the morning? News, of course!

Now, usually, this doesn't cause too many problems. I learn about what's gone on in the world before I get out of bed, what the traffic's like (for my husband, since I'm a stay-at-home-mom), and what the weather is supposed to be like... provided I'm awake enough, of course.

When I am in a deeper hypnopompic state, however, there's no telling what could happen. Sometimes, my dreams are just a bit crazier than normal and I dream of people I know--all of which are usually vivid and just crazy enough for me to remember for hours, sometimes days or weeks later. Or, they can take the course that happened this past week.

Photo by DavidsonScott15
Crime is, living in a big city, not unheard of. Heck, being a mystery writer, I thrive on hearing about crazy crime scenarios on a daily basis. Last week had an interesting incident, however. A police chase on the opposite side of town from me, which resulted in a cop shooting and killing someone who was wanted on an arrest warrant. But, just imagine what hearing about this happening--repeatedly, because it was happening near-realtime to my alarm going off--would do to a brain not quite awake?

All of a sudden, I'm in the MIDST of a standoff and shooting, complete with car chases, lots of cops, and seedy areas of town. (Although, the incident didn't happen in a horrible part of Kansas City, it's still not the best.)

How's that a way to wake up again? To me, it's a little startling. But, things like this, and even more far-fetched incidents are regular play in my brain during the hypnopompic state.

Two questions this week:
First, are there any new words you've learned which have special meaning once you learn them?
Second, have you ever had anything bizarre happen during your own hypnopompic states? Please share here (for both questions) or blog about them and post links. :)

And, yes, for the record, since I disclosed my own alarm time, I will acknowledge that I wrote this blog post a few days in advance for publication today. While I love all of my readers, I'm barely coherent before about 9 AM, so I usually save you from that lack of coherency. Usually, but not always. ;)

Until next time,

Monday, January 14, 2013

On Hospitals

Life sure does take the craziest paths sometimes.

For instance, I've only been admitted to the hospital twice--and both were avoidable occurrences (the births of my children.) I actually hate hospitals. When I was having my son, I remember vividly telling my doctor that I just wanted to go home--that's how much I hate hospitals. My words were met with a laugh by all in the room, but I was dead serious.

So, you can imagine my consternation with the amount of time I've had to spend IN hospitals in the last two years. Yes, I understand they're necessary. Yes, I understand that it's been for the best that my son is there periodically, and that most of his doctors are based at hospitals.

Doesn't stop my slight germaphobia.

I'm pondering this aspect of my personality more as the day gets closer that we'll be taking our son out to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant. While we won't be inpatient for 4 - 6 months, he and I will be in hospitals several times a week. How will that work, especially since I get a bit of anxiety when I'm in the hospital for a long time (i.e. more than two days)?

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, Washington
I have decided that there are a few things I'm going to do while I'm in Seattle. Right now, since I'm mostly writer blocked (hence no blog posts for the last two months!) all of these are reading and crafty. I figure I'll have a lot of downtime. Currently, my list of things includes: learning to knit socks, learning Tunisian-style crochet, possibly learning to hand quilt, reading all of the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, and reading all of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (there was a freebie on Amazon.com a while back and I've already started it.) I'm hoping these activities, possibly coupled with writing some short or novel-length stories, will keep some of my anxiety at bay... and keep me from going bananas while being surrounded by doctors, nurses, and germs.

Until next time,

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