The Trouble With the Back…

So I hurt my back this week. You know, the normal way, lifting something unusually heavy several times this weekend followed by toting an insanely heavy bag all over the coworking facility in high heels. Twice. Then lifting said bag at lunch, from the floor, twisting. #ouch #andtherewenttheback

The trouble with the back is that it’s connected to freaking everything. You can’t prop your back up while you work. You can’t wrap it with an ace bandage so tight you can’t move it. You can’t lie down and hope it feels better (clue: lying flat hurt *worse*). And toilets are inconveniently located for people with back problems. Sad truth.

So, I spent most of Wednesday afternoon curled up under a heating blanket in the fetal position, doing research on pain tolerance and back pain for some future book as yet unnamed. Thursday was moderately better, if mincing around the house in a slightly-bent posture with funny faces is better. Friday and Saturday were delightful, because we’d hit the point where ibuprofen worked–for real. During the two-hour window of ibuprofen awesomeness I could get up and down from a chair again and even pick up (one or two) things from the floor. Sunday and today I have full range of motion back, if still a little sore and still on meds.

I have learned several important things from this experience:

1. Writing full time is poor preparation for heavy lifting. Experts should be hired, or weight slowly built to, not just randomly picked up like I can handle it (I can’t, apparently, even if it seems okay at the time).

2. Back pain is distracting. Like, really distracting.

3. My back recovers from *everything* much slower in my thirties than it did in my twenties. I should plan accordingly.

4. They make laptop bags / mobile offices with wheels and a handle. For under $100. I’ve bought one and thinking about a second.

5. High heels are not my friend, at least not at this weight. Oh, look, they make lots of pretty flats.

6. Pain is very motivating.

What about you guys? Have any interesting stories from back or shoulder injuries you want to share?

Posted in being brave, Don't Give Up, life update | 3 Comments

The New Working Adventure

After the difficult winter I’ve had, I’m finding myself missing the old office job more than I’d care to admit. Working at home can be lonely at times, and personal and work can bleed together. The laundry can demand to be done at 2:00 pm, for example, and the toilets need to be scrubbed instead of the writing done. I miss the enforced camaraderie of a work team sometimes, and the chance to chat at the water cooler and spark good ideas.

I have a pretty aggressive writing schedule planned over the next months, and I’ve always been happier and more productive with a lot to do and a team to do it with. So, as an experiment, I’m taking on a few extra freelancing jobs over the next few months beyond the usual, taking on more teaching and speaking opportunities, and working with friends on a few projects. I’m also–gasp!–signed up to try a coworking facility not far from my husband’s job in the city. That’s right, I’m intentionally adding a long commute to my day (with a carpool), to enforce a sense of separation between work and personal. And, several days a week for the next few weeks, I’ll be dressing up in office clothes and going to work in a shared space with other soloprenuers and freelancers, to write–and work–my heart out.

After all, you guys deserve the next Mindspace books sooner rather than later. I have Three Words stories, books, classes, and projects to finish. And I deserve a chance to feel like I’m working a real job, for me this time, rather than other people.

We’ll see how it goes!

Posted in being brave, business, getting better all the time, Yay me! | 1 Comment

For My Readers

AlexValentine3_Final

 

Thank you all for your encouragement while I explore this new publishing adventure, and
for your support of me, my characters, and my stories.
You guys are amazing.
Alex
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I Have the Smartest Readers Ever

As you guys know, I asked you for just Three Words to write stories from this week, and boy, have you delivered! I’ve already gotten over fifty sets of words from you amazing folks, which include some humdingers I hadn’t previously heard of.

Here’s a small cross section of the fabulousness.

Dissonance, Invective, and Tactile – Lara

Echinacea, Surreptitiously, Haunted – Blanton

Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosive – Robert

Mariachi, Kendama, Express mail – Ricky

Azure, Mastodon, and  Querulous – Michael

Rigor, Hemlock, Susurrus – Victoria

Beds Are Burning – Carol

Banana, Intermittent, Fedora  – Lucene

Verbose, Absent, Rival – Alexander

 

And here are a few of the words you guys shared that I had to look up. (Well done!)

Susurrus

Bouffant

Pareidolia

Caliginous

Esurient

Threnody

Simony

Excoriate

Psilocybin

Widdershins

Pard

 

Nicely done all. I truly do have the smartest readers ever.

Alex

p.s., if you haven’t sent your words in yet and you want in on the Three Words project submissions, email me at alex (at) ahugheswriter (dot) com. I’ll be sending the stories out only to the email list, so make sure you’re signed up there.

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Three Words is Back

As you know, it’s been a hard winter for me thus far. (Check out my blog post explaining it here.) I’m still figuring out next steps, but some good things have happened and you guys have reached out in amazing support. I am incredibly encouraged. I’ve dived back in to the next Adam book and it’s going well. So it’s finally time for something fun!

I’m going to do the Three Words project again. Last summer, it got such a great response from you guys that I’m starting it back up for my email newsletter. (Make sure you sign up here.) I’m asking the newsletter folks to send me three words (the more random, the better) and I’ll choose the ones I like to write stories from. Then, I’ll write a flash short story including all three of the words and send it to the list every Friday for two months or so.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

Make sure you’re part of my list to get the stories, and to hear all the latest news as I have it.

Looking forward to the Three Words. :)

Posted in I'd Love to Hear From You, news, Why Not | 3 Comments

Happy News

Hi All,

In happy news, one of my stories has been accepted by Fireside Magazine! The editor said Fluffy Harbinger of Death made him tear up in the best possible way. See the official announcement of all their acceptances here.

This one’s a major milestone for me. I’ve been sending in stories to pro magazines since I was 14, and collected literally hundreds of no’s. To be able to have a story I’m proud of get bought by a pro magazine feels like crossing some kind of major finish line. Not to mention they pay, and pay very well. When I heard, I literally danced around the room. Finally I am a real author! Because, you know, those 4 books in the bookstore didn’t totally do it :).

–Alex

Posted in big milestones, contests & markets | 1 Comment

Resolute for New Year’s

I’ve sat down to write this blog post a few times, and never quite known what to say, or how to say it. It’s been a crazy rough few months in my world. Depending on how you count, we’ve now had 3 or 4 different family emergencies since the beginning of December. I had a nasty flu that knocked me out for more than a week flat on my back.

And Penguin told me that they won’t be buying any more Mindspace books.

I knew that was a possibility. My editor had been good to me in letting me know the lay of the land as early as possible. But I had done everything in my power to write better books, to promote more, and to connect with readers. I had hoped with everything in me that I’d be able to make them change their minds. So it was still a bit of a shock, and a disappointment.

Like I said, it’s been a very, very rough holiday for me, and the writing hasn’t really happened. I’m coming back to work now, but for my sanity I may need to work on another (non-Mindspace) mystery to get my feet back under myself. This will delay things for the next book in the series, guys, and I’m sorry. It will happen, I promise, but it may not be immediate.

I am super committed to my readers and I love you guys. As I said more than once already during the tour for Vacant and other books, I have blocked out at least nine books in the series, and I plan to make good on the whole series. So many of you have reached out over the last two years to say you love the world and the characters, and that’s been incredible. You deserve more books, and you’ll have them. I just need to figure out details of when and how and what. And like I said, I need a little time to figure out me after Life Happened this Christmas.

I am feeling sad but resolute, tired and angry and discombobulated. But mostly I feel grateful, to have such amazing readers. I appreciate you guys, and the books will keep coming.

Posted in being brave, big milestones, business | 11 Comments

VACANT Blog Tour Scavenger Hunt Winner Announced

Hi all!

Just popping in to your holiday celebration to announce the winner of the VACANT Blog Tour Scavenger Hunt!!!

MOLLY SMITH

Congrats to Molly, and thanks to each of you who visited our awesome tour hosts and participated in the scavenger hunt. (And thanks to each of the blogs who participated, you guys rock!) We hope you enjoyed each of the posts, and had fun collecting all of the clues.

Hope you’re all having a great holiday.

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Scavenger Hunt & Contest Updates!!

All of our “CLUE-styled” Scavenger Hunt clues have been posted, all of our VACANT Blog Tour stops are live, and you’ve got til tomorrow night to win so many things!

There are individual blog contests and giveaways happening on many of the blogs (some have ended, so check each blog’s contest info). Print books, audio books, ebooks – they’re all up for grabs. Not to mention — the GRAND PRIZE for the Scavenger Hunt:

  • $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
  • Signed Copy of MARKED
  • YOUR name as a character in an upcoming Mindspace Investigations novel!!!

All of the listings on the original Scavenger Hunt blog post (HERE) are direct links to guest posts, interviews, reviews, contests and CLUES!! Be sure to use the checklist on that page to mark off the clues from each blog. When you’ve figured out who’s left – be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter entry form (also on that page) with your “Suspect”, “Location”, and “Weapon” guesses. (Also on the rafflecopter are ways to sign up for the mailing list, and help share some VACANT love.)

Don’t miss out – hit the sites on the tour… read the cool stuff (and give those hosts a little thank you in their comments for playing along)… enter all the contests… check off the clues… and GOOD LUCK!! (Only one day left!!)

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Thank you so much

I am overwhelmed by the great wishes, generous reviews, and the outpouring of love and support you all have given me during the launch of Vacant. It truly means the world to me. Thank you. I am so lucky to have such amazing readers!

In appreciation, I’m sharing more deleted scenes from Mindspace to give you guys more Mindspace. Here are three brand new deleted scenes:

Adam’s Brother (a deleted scene from Marked)

The Marsh (a deleted scene from Vacant)

Psychic (a deleted scene from Vacant)

I hope you enjoy.

Also, for those who are interested, the Clue-inspired Scavenger Hunt is still on & going strong until December the 20th. One lucky entry will get a character named after them in a future book.

Thank you guys again. I am so lucky to have you as readers.

With all joy,
Alex

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