Laborin' on Labor Day

I took off Friday, and this coming Tuesday, from the day job to focus on stuff at Caffeinated Press. Making hella-good progress, too.
Some updates:

  • Book Projects Complete.  Yesterday, in an all-day marathon, I performed my finishing touches on the Brewed Awakenings 2 anthology. The project is overdue by almost exactly a year. Yesterday evening, I sent full/complete proofs of the interior and cover to all 14 authors; so far, three have responded, all positively. Except in the highly unlikely scenario of a major edit request, this collection will be released in about three weeks. Today, keeping the theme alive, I did final wrap up on Grayson Rising — also horribly overdue — and sent the proofs of this delightful YA novel to the author. And I finished the first-pass cut of the interior of Ladri, although I have about another hour or two of work on the cover, which I’ll complete when the author gives me a few pieces of info I need. And, John advises that he’ll wrap up the initial layout of Vol. 2, Issue 1 of The 3288 Review this weekend. So September looks like we’ll be wrapped up with four major projects. Which is a relief — the rest of the stuff in the production queue doesn’t hit until winter-ish. I’ll be able to head into November’s NaNo-fueled writing frenzy with a clean conscience that at least I’m not delayed on anything else.
  • Kerrytown Book Festival.  In a few weeks, I’m headed to Ann Arbor for the day to shop our wares at the KBF. Should be a good time. I’ll put the sales education I got from AmyJo to good use. If any of my peeps from East Mitten feel like stopping by ….
  • Submissions. I pulled a few more items from my vetted personal slush pile to submit to a pair of writing contests. I’ve got another submission due tomorrow, then a few more sprinkling through September. It’d be nice to win something, or to at least grow my publication list for fiction/poetry stuff. The current flash piece I’m shopping, Regret, is fairly strong thanks to the workshop I attended in July at the GLCL.
  • Birthday Lunch with Mom. Three weeks and a reschedule later, I finally took my mom out for lunch for her mid-August birthday. It was fun. But it’s funny that it took so long. We’re actually closer to my birthday than we were to hers. And I got to see Gunner, the happy-go-lucky but health-challenged German Shepherd.
  • WriteOn! Flash Critique. Last month, our illustrious writing-group leader, JCBAH, was gallivanting around Ireland and Scotland, so I offered the group an assignment: Prepare a flash piece of no more than 800 words for vetting by the group. As if by magic, eight of the nine participated (and the lone holdout has a really good excuse). The event went well. It’s good for the group to feel the pressure of critiques. We do really good on the pizza-and-socializing part, not always so good on the writing part.
  • National Novel Writing Month. Speaking of writing, I’m looking forward to the frenzy of NaNoWriMo again. I don’t have a fully fleshed idea yet, but some concepts are rollin’ round my noggin. I’m hosting, again, a kickoff Halloween event at Caffeinated Press: Show up after 6p on 10/31, bring a dish to pass, wear a costume if you want, and prep — with a word war to follow at 12:01 a.m. on 11/1. Should be a good time.
  • VLO on Schedule. Tony and I are back on track for weekly podcast releases. We went to every other week in July and August.
  • VIMFP.  I had discussed it briefly with Roux a while back, but it’s looking increasingly likely (odds now above 75 percent) that I’ll be attending the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic in October in Las Vegas. Tony, however, cannot attend. Which means the VIMFPers get an upgrade. 🙂
  • Outside Stuff. Jen (and her husband) and I have rescheduled our diving trip to Gilboa, Ohio for later this fall. And I think I’m going to take a late-September weekend — because I have some free time — to do an overnight backpacking trek near Cadillac. Neither of these are set in stone, but if I can do both, this marks the first year I’ve hit the diving/hiking/kayaking trifecta in a single season. Which will be nice.
  • Ye Olde Catholic Church. Last week I had the chance to meet a new friend, Jane, who’s an author we’ve worked with at Caffeinated Press. She and I enjoyed several beers and nachos at The Cottage one night. She and I spent the bulk of our time talking religion. Reminds me of the value of having a church home, but also reminds me of how painful the state of homiletics remains within Mother Church. No matter where I go — St. Anthony, St. Andrew, St. Robert, St. Mary — I’m struck by how superficial things feel. Perhaps a self-directed renewal during Advent will help.
  • Virtual Desktop. I created an account at PaperSpace.io — the company offers cheap but robust virtual Windows desktops. I picked a Pro offering and created a surprisingly awesome experience out of it. When I need to run the full Adobe Creative Suite on my Surface 3, it’s no problem. As long as I have Wi-Fi, that is.

I’m looking forward to the next few months. September — besides being my birth month — marks a pivot from summer into autumn. So far, the month looks to be fairly sedate, now that I’m fundamentally caught up at Caffeinated Press and the outlook for the next year does not include massive boluses of work I have to handle. October sees the transition into a glorious #PureMichigan autumn, with prep for NaNoWriMo and (presumably) VIMFP on the docket, leading toward my family’s kickoff of the holiday season with Halloween. November is a busy writing month, culminating with Thanksgiving and another five-day weekend. Then December, with a NAHQ board event in Orlando (I know, rough) and then two weeks’ holiday at the end of the month.
I think my anticipating is growing because more and more things are firing on all cylinders. The norovirus-induced weight loss continues. I feel better. Less stress at the day job and at Caffeinated Press, one vexing writer notwithstanding. My writing is solidifying. My financial situation is stable and healthy. I plan to get my Christmas shopping done by the end of this month. Life with the feline overlords remains pleasant. The podcast is doing well. The governance transition within the NAHQ board is starting to gel.
A couple of things are missing — a tighter degree of spiritual centeredness, perhaps acquiring a Significant Other — but those are solvable problems, and they’re not immediately pressing.
The Starks remind us that Winter Is Coming. I say, bring it on.

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