Saturday, March 10, 2012

Five Things I Am Loving About Sabbatical

Between the tax bill, the leaking pipes, and the bee hive in the backyard, I was feeling a bit mopey the other day. So today I decided to concentrate on all that is good in my life right now -- and there are  plenty of things to be grateful for. More than grateful, in fact.

1 - Weekly massage.

I confess I'm still a little guilty about the Friday massage sessions. I excuse them on the grounds of my still-effed-up wrists and the persistent knots in my shoulders.

I have to say that this is more like sports therapy than the soothing, relaxing spa-type massage I originally envisioned, but I feel good afterwards. I have a lot more range of motion in my shoulders and my spine has stopped making that distracting clicking sound.

Yeah, I know. TMI. Anyway, I set the massage up for Fridays because even when I go back to work, I'm going to try and keep Fridays as off days -- and that's probably one of the things that makes me happiest. The fact that I am committed to not returning to the old workaholic lifestyle.

2 - Cooking.

I'm not a great cook, but I am an efficient cook. If you give me a reasonably simple recipe I can follow it and generally get good results. And I really enjoy cooking. I enjoy experimenting and substituting and trying out new tools and fooling around in my wee kitchen. I'm doing almost all the cooking now, which is a big change around Chez Lanyon, but I find it very relaxing. Almost zen.

I've been cooking a lot of fish lately -- trying to eat less red meat. I particularly love salmon, but I made this dish a couple of times and it's pretty good.

We're (me) trying to eat more fruit and veg with each meal. Not to be fanatics, just make a few little healthy changes.

3 - My books are still selling.

This is important because if my backlist didn't continue to sell steadily, I'd be in a difficult situation. I'm not ready to start writing again, and I don't want to start cranking out inferior work just because I need the moolah, so thank all the powers that be that the old stuff continues to move.

And the fact that so many titles are reverting to me in short order helps again. The difference between seventy and sixty-five percent of royalties versus thirty percent of seventy and sixty-five percent of royalties is signficant. No question.

Also being able to set my own prices.

So thank you to those of you who have just discovered my work and are buying up my backlist. Thank you also to my long time readers who continue to recommend me to your reading friends.

4 - TV. In particular Downton Abbey.

Yes, I am hooked. Enough said. I have rediscovered my love of TV. Sure, I am watching a lot of documentaries -- anything you would like to know about collapsing bee colonies? -- but I've also discovered stuff like Downton Abbey and White Collar.

5 - The  possibilities of the months ahead.

I'm only three months into this sabbatical. No, no miracle of creativity has happened. I'm not burning to write again. I am mildly interested (which is a BIG improvment, believe it or not). There is still lots to read and XBox games to play and my garden to work in (and my garage) -- summer and the swimming pool are coming and perhaps some travel. And more reading.

So while the sabbatical isn't quite rolling out the way I'd anticipated (did I have a plan? I can't remember), things are pretty good in the State of the Josh. And I'm thinking they will get still better. It's spring, after all. And that's all about new beginnings.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Come Unto These Yellow Sands Vs THE WORLD!!!

So I've changed the blog header to reflect the season. I know it's not officially spring for a couple of weeks, but frankly, we never really had a winter this year. Unless Mother Nature has something wet and icy up her flowing sleeve, I believe it's safe to call it.


I guess I should offer a full sabbatical update. Maybe later this week or this weekend? I have been busy, but to be perfectly honest, it's been pretty dull so far. Two years worth of taxes and a refi on the house, a lot of paperwork to catch up on (STILL catching up on), judging a couple of literary awards, and the business of getting all these reverting titles back into play under my own imprint.

Imprint sounds a bit grand. I mean...under my own name.

Anyway, several more titles will be coming back to me this spring -- and I'll also begin reacquiring print titles (though I haven't quite decided what to do with them yet).

Really that doesn't seem much to show for three months, does it? I cleared out the bedroom closets! That should count for something.

Ah! I did have a purpose in starting this blog! Just in case you suspected my mind was beginning to wander. Come Unto These Yellow Sands (which I personally think is one of my all time best efforts) has been nominated in this year's DABWAHA.

The GLBT field is especially tough this time around, but I still think I've got a fair shot. Anyway, the madness and mayhem begin this Sunday. You can find out more about how the whole thing works right here.

It was a lot of fun last time, I have to admit. Mostly because of the lengths readers were willing to go to for their favorite books and authors. Well, not just readers! Authors too. :-D

Anything could happen this time -- and probably will. Stay tuned!