Missing both my computer and imaginary friends

If you’re the type of person who likes unfocused, general blog posts, then you will love this one!

So, what’s going on with me? First, I don’t have a computer! That sucks for anyone in general, but if you are struggling to put out the last book in an urban fantasy series, it perhaps really sucks. It’s been over a month now, and I miss having a computer a great deal. However, I just started a new job after being home with the kids all summer (read: not making money), so while I’ll hopefully have one soon, it hasn’t been able to happen yet.

Another thing: I was in two regular RPGs, and now both are on hiatus. I know this shouldn’t seem like that jarring an occurrence, but these were two people who I was very close to, and I do miss them. This happened at around the same time when I finished writing the first draft of Fresh Blood, so I also had to say goodbye to my protagonist. And for those who weren’t clear from reading above, the people I am missing are the characters I played in the games.

Thing of change the third: My older son started attending kindergarten in a public school this fall. He had previously only attended a private pre-k at his daycare. For those who don’t have kids, daycare hardly ever closes. Public school is closed all the time, for holidays I would never have off from work. In addition, daycare gets out at 6pm. Public school gets out at 2:20pm. So it was a bit of an adjustment, to say the least, with a ton of scrambling for childcare. When both parents work outside the home (and in different boroughs) and both kids attending different schools, commuting can be very difficult.

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My son on the first day of kindergarten!

So in conclusion, there have been a lot of changes lately, and I am looking forward to having things calm down a bit, if that ever really happens.

What are you thinking?

You may be the annoying questioner or the annoyed answerer on any given day, but more than likely you and your significant other have traded the question “What are you thinking about?”

Some idyllic but often untrue answers are: “How much I love you.” “How beautiful our children are/will be.” “Remember that night in Paris?”

Some mundane but truthful answers include: “What to make for dinner.” “Should I change cable companies?” “What made that stain on the carpet and will it ever come out?”

What my actual answer was: “If you were ejected from a submarine at enough of a depth that you wouldn’t be able to get to the surface quickly enough to hold your breath and would get the bends from doing so anyway, and you had three dots in Forces, two in Mind, two in Spirit, one in Prime, and one in Correspondence, but none in Life or Time, would you be able to survive, and if so, how?”*

Fortunately my husband and I have been together for more than ten years and he already knows how weird I am.

In any case, in my further musing on this question, I have done a survey of my own brain as to what thoughts occupy it the most, and this is what I came up with. Note that this list is in order of actual importance to me, and may not be a true reflection of the percentage of time given to each category of thought on a random day. For example, a few days out of the month, I can think of little else than “why isn’t there chocolate?”

1. Kids
2. Stuff to write about
3. RPGs that I’m playing in
4. Video games that I’m playing
5. Why isn’t there chocolate

*This is from a role-playing game that I’m in, and if anyone knows what I’m talking about, feel free to give your opinion!

I am a secret or perhaps not-so-secret nerd

In high school and college, I was not so nerdy. I went to one of those high schools that aren’t private, but you did have to test into them and most kids were in a particular kind of program. Specifically, I was in a writing program. But there were also science programs and an agriculture program. Yes, I went to high school in New York City, and I don’t suppose there are very many other high schools in the five boroughs that have a chapter of the Future Farmers of America. I also can’t imagine how many people who graduated that school actually became some sort of farmer. But I digress.

In college, I had a good time–possibly too good a time. But after three different colleges and more than that many drop-outs on my part, I finally graduated with a Bachelor degree in Literature and Communications. And all through my high school and college years, I had never once played a role-playing game (hencefoth, RPG) or read a comic book. Looking back, other than reading the very occasional science fiction or fantasy novel required for class, I’m not even sure if I participated in any activities that were particularly nerdy.

What changed everything? Both strangely and sadly enough, it was the death of my mother, which happened almost ten years ago. My mom and I were really close, and I became very depressed after her somewhat sudden death. However, at the same time I had to deal with my father’s depression and other ensuing family issues. It was all terribly overwhelming.

A good friend of mine suggested I needed something to take my mind of off the situation. What did she suggest? Not drugs, booze, knitting, or whathaveyou, but watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While I had heard of the show before, I thought only mildly insane people watched it. But my friend lent me all of seasons one through five (season six was airing at the time), and I got through them fairly quickly, watching a few episodes a night.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer quickly became my gateway drug to nerdiness. I loved the show so much, that my friend then suggested we play the Buffy Role-Playing Game. Now, when my friend had mentioned RPGs in the past, I had thought they were just for losers who never got invited to the good parties. Nevertheless, I agreed to play. Since it was my first time, my friends and I all took the parts of characters from the show. I remember I played Anya, and had fun using her quotes from the show and imitating her mannerisms.

When that game was done, my friend suggested we start a regular Buffy RPG twice a month, making our own unique characters. I was a little nervous, since prior to that day I’m not even sure I had rolled a single die before. But it seemed like something I could devote a lot of time and energy to and take my mind off my personal problems, so I agreed. I think we played for three sessions before I started gushing about how awesome gaming was, and my friend said, “If you think I’m good at running a game, you should meet the guy who runs my Mage game.”

That guy, as it turned out, became my husband a very short time later, and in addition to being the love of my life, he was the person responsible of introducing me to more nerdlier pursuits than I can name. Here is a short list of nerdy things: video games, tabletop RPGs, live-action RPGs, board games, card games, nerd-themed conventions, and of course, fantasy novels.

After having wanted to write a book since I was about five years old and reading a smattering of vampire-related fiction, the only natural course of action for me was to write my very own series of vampire novels. And since I’ve started to play RPGs, I will occasionally think, “This book reads like an amazing RPG that I would love to play in!”

So when a friend of mine said that very thing about my book, I was immensely pleased and flattered. And I no longer think nerds are people who don’t get invited to the cool parties.