Allison Pang's Blog, page 7

June 21, 2013

cornsillyIt’s been a long week.

The surgery went as well as could be expected on Monday – though of course, once the doc got in there and poked around…well, let’s just say they ended up rebuilding some stuff they weren’t anticipating. I’m okay, just wayyyy more sore than I expected I would be. Each day is a little better.

Actually, the surgery almost didn’t happen at all. It was scheduled for 10 AM and I got to admissions at 8 AM to start the paperwork. (Keep in mind, I’d been up the entire night before and hadn’t eaten anything since midnight. I don’t sleep well before stuff like this, among other things.)

By 9:40, I was STILL waiting to be admitted -because of a computer issue that had removed my doctor as an admitting physician, even though she’d been doing surgeries and procedures there for many years.  My doctor showed up and was livid, but they still wouldn’t let her admit me and we had to go bitch to the Chief of Staff about the whole process.

By 10:20, I was finally allowed in. The computer company had fixed the glitch, but now I was late for my surgery, which ended up happening at noon as a result. Sorta set everything back several hours, so I didn’t end up getting home until nearly 8. (Took me 2 hours to wake up from the anesthesia.)

Just a long day overall. (The last several days have been a mixed bag of sleeping and playing bouts of Dishonored. Gotta get those Clean Hands/Ghost achievements, yo.) I’ve been attempting to write here and there as well, but I’m finding it hard to focus. I’ve got a 12 week recovery to look forward to, so I’m just going to take it slow.

Hopefully this weekend things will improve more. (I’d *really* like to stop having to sit on ice. You have NO idea.)

      Related StoriesMembership Has Its PrivilegesBack BracingWolf Children 
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Published on June 21, 2013 07:37 • 50 views

June 12, 2013

800px-MEMBERS_ONLY_jacket_tagIt’s that time of year again – membership renewals. I belong to a fairly large number of writing organizations. Even though some of the renewals aren’t all the expensive – $25 – $35, some of them are upwards of $80. When you add it all up, it starts getting pretty pricey.

So then I have to weigh out if it’s worth renewing or not. It’s a tough call because I’ve been a member of a number of these groups for years now, but when I really sit down and look at it, I haven’t been taking advantage of the things they offer for quite some time.

(Not to mention that I have to wonder if I *want* to be a member of some of those groups anymore – e.g. SFWA. I’d already renewed before that last major issue so I’m still here for now. Besides, I’d like to think that by staying in such a group, I might be able to help make a difference as far as some of the changes that need to be made.)

Before I was published, joining these organizations made a lot of sense. I got a chance to become involved and ask questions about writing or publishing, take workshops or enter contests.

These days? I feel like I’m on an endless stream of mailing lists. Digest or not, I never seem to have time to do more than give them a quick glance, or just delete them as they come in. There’s still a part of me that has a hard time letting go – I might miss something if I’m not part of the crowd – but I’m not taking workshops, I’m not entering contests…I’m not even really participating in any of the conversations.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed I’ve become more of an introvert than I used to be. Maybe I’m just getting more selfish about my time. I don’t know. So belonging to some of these groups, even on the periphery, becomes more of a “keeping my toe in the water” type thing.

I may not be jumping into the pool any time soon, but at least I know what the temperature is.

      Related StoriesBack BracingWolf ChildrenRemember Me 
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Published on June 12, 2013 11:42 • 75 views

June 7, 2013

2013-06-07 12.40.33I’m wearing my back brace today. (Nicely  decorated with an Iron Man Hello Kitty because of reasons.)

There’s been an element of WTF to this week back-wise. I ended up going to the chiro three times. Monday something was massively out of alignment and causing me severe pain. Wednesday was a regular…and then today. Had an MRI yesterday and after that everything on my right side was gorked up enough that if I laid down flat on my stomach, my right hip bone didn’t touch the floor. So I’m bracing and icing after my realignment, but it’s complicated by the fact that I can’t take any anti-inflammatories for the next 10 days. (Yay, upcoming pelvic prolapse surgery.)

Had a quick look at the MRI images and let’s just say that L4-L5 disc is toast. (Chiro was quick to point out that it’s good that it’s herniated the way it has – if it were shifted just a bit I’d probably be in way worse shape. Small favors.)  Third back surgeon also said a double fusion was the way to go, but now I have to wait 12 weeks after the prolapse surgery, so that’s going to push things back to the late August/early September timeframe.

Between that and the crazy amount of rain we started getting last night and the 2013-06-07 09.17.01subsequent leaky window, it’s been a stupid day.

And don’t get me started on the windows. As I’ve noted previously, the builders of this house were clearly on drugs or complete idiots.

We’ve been finding leaks in a large number of windows over the years – this one has apparently been leaking for quite some time based on the amount of damage that was hidden beneath the blinds.

Not sure if we’re just going to get the window frames replaced (there’s at least 5 or 6 that need replacing now) or bite the bullet and look at replacing ALL the windows with something a bit more efficient. Either way, not sure how we’ll do it. The unplanned AC replacement this year kinda screwed up our plans for the summer.  (The jackass who owned the house before us built the deck himself and it’s not to code and he only waterproofed half of it. So, yeah. Hello, money pit.)

That being said, here’s hoping I can get some major amounts of editing done this weekend. I’ve got at least one entire chapter I need to add, so time to buckle down. :)

      Related StoriesWolf ChildrenRemember MeNon-Prolific 
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Published on June 07, 2013 10:11 • 72 views

June 5, 2013

Wolf-ChildrenSo I found this fan-made AMV on Tumblr the other day (and it turns out it won the Best Drama and Editor’s Choice over at Anime Boston this year, so it’s good stuff.)

Not even mentioning the fact that I clearly have a soft spot for the demon/spirit foxes and the ladies who love them, this AMV is really well done. And sad.

The anime it’s created from is  Wolf Children Ame and Yuki – which has been licensed by Funimation but it hasn’t been released in the U.S. yet. I did find a fan sub the other night and watched it in its entirety and I’ll definitely be picking it up when it’s released here. (Hopefully in Blu-Ray)

It’s worth the watch. On the surface, it’s about a girl who falls in love with a wolf man. When he dies, she’s left trying to raise two children who aren’t completely human. (There’s one scene that might be problematic for some…or at least lead to some awkward questions, so fair warning.) But in the end, she does what she must to give her children the best life she can. (And as a mother myself, yeah…there are some fairly gut-wrenching moments, but there are some beautiful ones too.)

It’s not really a children’s story so much as it is a big metaphor of nature vs nurture and what it means to let go.

      Related StoriesRemember MeNon-ProlificBuilding My World 
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Published on June 05, 2013 08:07 • 68 views

June 4, 2013


When I’m stressed I tend to buy or play a lot of computer games. Usually it’s because I’m looking for an escape from whatever I’m supposed to be doing. (Hello, edits? *ahem*)

Anyway, I’ve lamented several times about the lack of female protagonists in games. (And quite frankly, after the massive amount of wtfkery going on with women in gaming/writing/comics this past week – I’ve been trying to avoid the internet for a bit because it’s been depressing me rather badly.)

For additional details see this…or this or this or this. It’s just been “crap all over women creators” week.  I haven’t really bothered writing up a post about any of it – there have been so many fabulous write ups and responses (to the SFWA issue, in particular – and the powers that be have agreed there is an issue and they’re investigating it). I don’t think there’s much more I can say that would add to the discussion – and as I’ve said, I’m really rather depressed and discouraged that this is still happening.

In the meantime though – Remember Me was released today. I’ve bought it, but won’t have a chance to really fire it up until later tonight. So what’s so interesting about this game?

Well, for one thing – it has a female protagonist, so that’s a bonus in my book right off the top – especially when you read about how much the game developers had to fight to make this game with a woman as the main character.

Now, I’ve seen some mixed reviews – I sort of suspect that it’s trying to be too many different things at once, but I’ll reserve judgement until I get a chance to try it out. My bigger concern is that even as plugged in the gaming world as I am, I heard almost ZERO buzz about this game.

I’m always seeing the argument that games with female protags (or female characters on the covers of the game boxes) don’t sell. But how much is due the fact that there just aren’t that many games with female protags vs the fact that game publishers usually only spend half the budget on marketing such games as they do for games with male protags? Becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy – as any midlist author can tell you – if people aren’t aware of a product, how can they be expected to buy it?

So it’s nice to see that the developers stuck to their guns for this. Also kudos to Naughty The-last-of-usDog for their upcoming PS3 game “The Last of Us” – again, they had to fight to have a female protag and doubly so to have her on the cover.

(I’m so disappointed it’s only for PS3 – I was really hoping for a port to PC. I’ll admit, I’m sorta tempted to buy a PS3 just to play it, but I’ll wait until I hear more about the PS4 release – praying they don’t gork things up as badly as the XBox One appears to.)

It’s a promising sign, though if this past week is anything to go by, we’ve still got a long way to go.

      Related StoriesNon-ProlificBuilding My WorldWord Whore ~ Fox and Willow Thursday 
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Published on June 04, 2013 10:38 • 106 views

May 28, 2013

So I find myself in a post-edit funk today. Not that my edits are done, by any stretch. But I’ve gone through everything, scratched out my notes, made some tweaks, drew some maps and timelines and all that fun stuff needed to solidify the world.

And now I get to go back and make all those changes. It should be exciting and on one level it is really nice to see everything come together. But there’s still a lot of second-guessing going on. I’m still not sure it’s what I originally envisioned. Well, I know it’s not – which doesn’t make it bad, but I can’t help feeling it’s not good enough.

(On the scale of things, this isn’t a bad place to be – I’m in a prime position to make changes as much as I want. You know, as opposed to 1st pass pages where I decide I need to completely rewrite three chapters or something. Part of my issue is that I haven’t sent it out for any feedback from anyone yet – it won’t be ready until at least this first pass of edits is complete. It’s easy to second-guess yourself when you’ve been immersed in something for so long – after a while your pov gets skewed.)

I’ll continue to plug away at it – my hernia surgery is scheduled for the 3rd week of June, so bonus if I can get it wrapped up by then and off to the agent and beta readers (just so I don’t have it hanging over my head while I recover).

But there have been times today when I just feel like I’m never productive enough. I’m not a fast writer and I’ve got a lot of real-life stuff going on – family and job and chronic illness and all that – but I still can’t help but compare myself to writer friends who have the magic ability to pump out manuscripts with ease. I know it’s not a competition, but there’s always that voice that constantly tells me I’d be more productive if I could just stop doing x or start doing y.

Which may or may not be true. There’s a certain amount of sanity I’d like to retain going forward, and there are certain things I cannot sacrifice for additional time right now.

Even so, I’m not entirely sure what to do to break the funk. I realize I’m probably too hard on myself (and there’s always a fun amount of self-loathing worked into the mix, but I can recognize that for what it is and as long as I don’t poke at it too hard, I can manage.)

Frankly, I’m rather tired of whining about it, but there it is.

      Related StoriesHackedEntitlementMonday Morning Updates 
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Published on May 28, 2013 10:52 • 68 views

May 24, 2013

2013-05-24 11.37.09I mapped out a city last night. Admittedly it’s not much of a map. I actually have a copy of Campaign Cartographer 3 somewhere (and City Builder 3, among others), but the learning curve is rather steep and as lovely as the pictures it can create are, I just don’t have time to learn it right this second.

So I ended up doing the quick and dirty sketch by hand. And it’s pretty wretched, but it gives me a better understanding of the places I’m trying to describe and the paths the characters need to take to get to where they’re going.

I ended up creating a detailed time line as well – which isn’t something I usually do, but this particular story has a lot of history. While I don’t need to know *every* little detail, there’s enough going on that I have to make sure things are happening at the right time. And a good thing too, as I discovered people’s ages weren’t lining up right. Had to tack on an extra 5 years to make sure things worked out the way they needed to.

This much detail is a new thing for me – I have a tendency to just keep all this sort of stuff in my head and winging it. As I’ve been going through my edits and realizing things weren’t working out as neatly as they should, I found that writing it all out became very helpful in knocking things into place.

I’m still going page by page for the base edits, but the sheer amount of extra stuff I’ll be going back to add is pretty significant. Both the aforementioned details as well as a good sized chunk of plot overhaul.Some scenes get to move around, but there’s several chapters of all new stuff that will need to be written and the ending has changed quite a bit. (But the good news is that I’ve actually plotted it out and while I thought I’d written myself into a corner at one point, it turns out I’ve got things under better control than I thought.)

Still. So much to work through. Part of me wants to just get back into the wip and start tweaking, but I really am a big believer in letting a work breathe a little before making changes. So I’m going to continue making notes and shuffling things about, but I’m feeling much better about it now, and that’s a good thing.

Now if I can just get the majority of it done before my surgery in June, I’ll be all set. (Let’s call it an internal hernia of sorts, and leave it at that. It’s not going to be overly pleasant.)

      Related StoriesWord Whore ~ Fox and Willow ThursdayLinks and Updates and ThingsRough Draft 
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Published on May 24, 2013 11:10 • 44 views

May 23, 2013

wordwhorebadge Popping in to mention I’m over at Word Whores today, talking about internal dialogue and how I tend to use it. (This is one of those things that really becomes a personal preference when it comes to writers and readers, so YMMV, as always.)

Otherwise, new page of Fox & Willow is up (and holy cow, I just realized we’ve been doing this for over a year now??! Time freaking flies and we’re up to page 112.  And getting close to the end of this chapter, I believe.  Crazy, but awesome all at once.)

In the meantime, I’m STILL locked out of my NWN MMO account. Finally got an email from customer support with a link to change my password and to let me know my account is currently banned. Once the password is changed, they’ll unlock the account. Which I did, but it looks as though my IP address at home is completely banned from the Perfect World servers. Every time I head over there to look at the forum I get told my region is banned. At this point, I don’t think I even want to bother playing the game anymore.  Really frustrating, all the way around.

      Related StoriesWord Whore ~ Fox and Willow ThursdayMonday Morning UpdatesRedirection 
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Published on May 23, 2013 08:23 • 66 views

May 17, 2013

GNeQrToday has been one of *those* days.

Which started last night, about 1 AM. I was actually being good – editing as opposed to farting around on tumblr – until I got an email just as I was about to head to bed.

My NWN MMO account had been hacked. Now, I’m a veteran of MMOs. I don’t click links I shouldn’t click and I keep my nose clean and my passwords tight. But however the person got it, the reason I found out was because PWE sent me an email indicating that they’d had a request for a new email address to be connected to my account.

But instead of letting me confirm this particular request, they sent the confirmation to the NEW email address. Which was some bogus hotmail account. The icing on the cake is that I got this notification about 30 minutes AFTER the request was made.

And the hacker then immediately changed my password and stole all of my ZEN. (in game money you buy with real money.) Now, I have a founder account for NWN – this means I dropped $200 of actual cash to play the game with a distinct number of advantages – including over 2 million astral diamonds (another form of in game currency. This is also all gone.)

The long and short of it is that I was up until about 2:30 AM or so trying to sort out my account and desperately reaching out to customer service. At this point I haven’t gotten anything back but an auto responder, though a quick run through the game forums shows I’m far from alone. Sadly, many people are reporting weeks without a response from CS…and those that are getting their accounts back are finding them banned and with no way to recover anything that was stolen.

I’m pretty fucking burned about it, honestly.

(I also don’t expect to get my account back…or if I do, I doubt I’ll get any of my stolen currency back. In which case, I’m done with PW and Cryptic for good. The game is fun but they’ve clearly got some major security issues.)

Not much I can do about other than wait, but between being so riled up about it that I couldn’t sleep and a cup of green tea this morning that set off my Interstitial Cystitis into a rageboner of suck, it hasn’t been a particularly good day.

Hopefully this weekend will be better.

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Published on May 17, 2013 13:41 • 95 views

May 14, 2013

melnobuSince Carniepunk is coming out in a few months (July 23rd!), I decided to have Darchala draw me out a lovely scene from my story, A Duet with Darkness.

(It’s not an exact match as far as the story goes, but it’s freaking awesome and I love it. So there.  Plus Dar got the livestream working and I was able to watch her work.)

We wavered a bit on a title and finally decided on “Pride and a Fall” – though the working title was “No More Pride, Little Bird”  - honestly I couldn’t decide between the two.

But we’ve got Melanie there with the red hair and the rainbow socks…and her sin-eater fallen angel paramour Nobu.


I may look at turning it into a print if there’s interest.

Also, it looks like Carniepunk is going to be released in audiobook format as well. This tickles me silly, though I’m not sure I’ll be able to listen to it without giggling. My words or not, I have a hard time hearing them in other voices than my own. But we’ll see how it turns out – more details on that when I know them.

Some details of the image below. :)


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Published on May 14, 2013 08:34 • 99 views