New Year, Same Me

Happy 2018, everybody!

I was thinking, as people often do, about what a new year means. Resolutions, goals, arbitrary distinctions and constructs we call time…these are all important and warrant introspection. What I came away with, though, was one phrase–new year, same me.

Not new me.

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I don’t know who these toons belong to, but grats (and for the Horde).

While it’s true that my sense of self adapts and changes as I journey through life, I am still me. I get hit with setbacks, I achieve goals, I fail and succeed and recalibrate when I do either since huge lessons exist in both of these states. I gain experience. The more I live, the more XP I gain. And through it all, I am always and forever me. I may respec or decide to follow a different skill tree (gaming metaphor mode intensifies) or even relearn my skills altogether (applies vanishing powder to unwanted glyphs) but I am constantly leveling up. And every time I advance, I’m still me–a stronger me, yes, but me all the same. With every DING! (insert glowy effects, triumphant music, ), I am Amanda but with more HP/MP and better, well, everything. At least in the places that matter to me–the mind, the soul, and understanding of my place in the world.

I hope 2018 sees you leveling up to be a more powerful, more awesome you than you’d ever dreamed. Happy New Year! <3

 

Social Media Update

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Hi there! I hope you are all well and thriving this near-the-end-of-October day. I wanted to send out a quick note to let you know that I’ve been doing some much-needed maintenance on my sundry writer’s accounts, and have made some changes based on recent reader feedback. For ease of searching, my Twitter handle is now @AEAshWrites, my Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr usernames are @aeashwrites, and my Goodreads remains A.E. Ash.

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Streetlights on during the day…creepy. YES.

I’ll post any other new updates as they occur, of course…in the meantime, I’m excited to be able to foist a new creepy poem upon ya’ll just in time for Halloween tomorrow. I’ll have more news in the coming weeks–lots of little projects and one or two big ones are afoot, and life continues, for which I am profoundly thankful. The year wanes, the days grow short here in the Northern Hemisphere, and autumn settles around me quietly, nudging me towards even more writing, the excitement of NaNoWriMo (even if I decide not to participate this year and I’m still not sure, I love hearing about others doing so!), and the welcome quiet and introspection of the darker part of the year. All the best and thank you as ever for following and for reading! <3 

 

Pain, Work, And Moving Forward

Since earlier this year, I have been sinking deeper into chronic pain. Context: When I was around 10, the plum tree branch on which I was perched broke and I crashed onto my left knee. In the early 90’s, I pivoted wrong and broke my right (I have crazy hyperextensive stuff going on…not quite Fantastic 4 but bendy). I walked on it broken for 3 months before they found the piece of bone that the X-Rays did not show, and then had arthroscopic surgery. I have also stress-fractured both ankles in my more recent past—being both active and clumsy at times had its dangers. Recently, the pain got so bad I have been severely limited in what I can do. I put on weight over the past few years, was walking with a cane this summer to mitigate immobility…it’s been rough.

I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis in my right knee. My left suffers just by default (mechanics, physics) but also those old injuries don’t help. One doctor told me I’d probably have to have knee replacement like, NOW. That saddened me…I’d have to have it refreshed since I’m still so young and I was feeling like pain was becoming my life.

Yesterday, I started physical therapy and I got some freaking good news. 1: I do not likely need surgery anytime soon…if I work hard, that is. 2: Some of this can be reversed. While I will always be a human barometer (the ol’ storm knee knows when the pressure is changing, I promise you), I can do much to address this and for that, I just…I can’t even. I’m so full of tentative hope. 3: Apparently, it’s not my knees that are causing the biggest knee problems. THAT I did not expect. It’s my big old hips, my posture and gait affected to the point my knees compact inward. As of this week, I’ll be doing aggressive physical therapy starting 3 times a week, with home exercises and swimming in between.  My therapist over at SERC is AMAZING. She is a Harry Potter fan, a cat lover, and most of all, taking me and my pain seriously. She told me that the prognosis is fantastic, all things considered—that she will do everything she can to help me improve my mobility and quality of life. She said be ready to work for it—and I am. Hard work is something I know, something I can deal with. I just needed hope, a plan, a diagnosis/prognosis instead of this numinous sense that life was pain, pain, pain.

gym-room-1178293_1920 (1)After this first appointment and all the tests and exercises, I went out to my car, sat looking at traffic going by, and bawled. Full on ugly-cried. Hope? That is amazing. An action plan from a confident and capable care provider and the ability to be able to avail myself of this care? I AM SO BLESSED. I’ll be really, really busy in the next weeks. My life will be therapy and hanging out at the Y and working towards healing. I could not be happier…I promise you, I am over the moon and ready to get to work. My publishing schedule will still keep moving along—an upcoming poem, anthology story, and new serialized weird fiction project are all in the works, continuing to promote Temporary Duty Assignment, and revealing a new novella series in 2018. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have some things in your world that drive you to work harder than ever before, and that give you the light of hope!

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

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Happy Equinox! Equinox…that whole business with the sun crossing the celestial equator, making it so that all over the planet there is roughly the same amount of day and night. Here in my hemisphere it’s the autumn equinox, Mabon, in the wheel of the year–a time of balance, a time of change. I always try to pause at some point during the equinox time to think about areas where my life needs more balance–more equanimity applied to all proceedings. Not much wouldn’t benefit from a balanced way of thinking, if I’m being honest, and making the time to remind myself of this can be refreshing as  well as helpful. When the seasons themselves are telling me a thing, maybe that thing has some merit beyond metaphor? As I move into the waning months, I’ll be looking for ways to keep light in my life and my world, to stay positive and retain warmth of heart no matter what is happening around me. This equinox, what in your life could use more balance? Wishing all well on this day of celestial interest–thank you as ever for reading! <3

 

Book Birthday/Birthday Week…yay!

TDA_FrontCover (1)Salut, all! I hope you are thriving as well as you can these days. This week has been a sky-full-of-lights, all-hands-on-deck busy week for me, WHEW. /collapses

My new sci-fi novella Temporary Duty Assignment is finally out in the world, waiting to be read, to find a home on your shelf or nestled amongst the other lovely e-books on your reader of choice. I would be honored if you bought it…what greater compliment to a writer than purchasing her work? You can order it by clicking on the link above, or find other versions on The Book Smugglers site! <3

You can also read about what inspired me to write this novella and create this world over on The Book Smugglers site where my Inspirations and Influences essay awaits if you are curious and need perhaps that extra little nudge before buying the book. Check it out–you know you wanna! <3

It’s also my birthday today…I’m 42! You know, that amazing number? The one Douglas Adams wrote about? The answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? I was too bombarded/blasted/tie-tie/zzzzzzzzz to have a party this week, birthday or book birthday, but I want to celebrate amidst some messed up, crazy, enormous things going on in my country and the world. I want to celebrate my hope that things can be better. I want to celebrate my fervent wish that maybe, at 42, I can finally start to chip away on that whole life/the universe/everything quandary and make some sense of it all. Wish me well, dear readers…I would like that so very much.

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Thank you as ever for reading, for supporting my work and here is wishing you a safe, relaxing and kind weekend! <3

#GoodNewsTues

 

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Hello all, and happy Tuesday! I hope the world is treating you kindly so far this week. ^_^

downloadIn the course of my Intarwebs Adventures, I have encountered this lil’ #GoodNewsTues hashtag again and again (and yes, usually on Tuesday :P). I have to say, it makes me happy when I see it…and not in a Professor Farnsworth, “Good news everyone!” sort of way. I can always use some good news but yeah, now more than ever, seeing that wonderful things are still happening in people’s worlds is not just helpful, it’s necessary for cultivating a hope and faith.

It made me think…in my authorly endeavors, I will have soooooooo much good news coming down the road. And soon, too…soon enough that I’ve hit the stratosphere in my rocketing squee levels, about to break into space! Maybe it’s cheating to make a #GoodNewsTues post with no concrete details but I can wiggle around that technicality by saying that me having impending good news is…you guessed it…good news! The writing and publishing processes (trust me, they are two different beasties) are often slow, ponderous things until suddenly they go FTL and I’m so excited to note that I’m approaching the latter. Please do stay tuned, and in the next couple of weeks check back for some exciting announcements in my writing journey.

In the meantime, I hope you can find some not just good, but awesome news in your own lives, and that the rest of your Good News Tuesday is just the best. <3

 

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Isn’t Food Nice?

Howdy, all…I hope the week is treating you well so far!

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about how much I adore people’s food pics on social media. I’ve seen rants from naysayers, people complaining about UGH ANOTHER PICTURE OF SOMEONE’S STUPID DINNER and it never fails to make me a sad kitty. I love food, you see. Not just some casual, ‘you’re kinda alright’ feel but a deep and abiding love. I love how food brings people together–so many holidays and life milestones, happy, mournful, or indifferent–involve celebrations revolving around food. Food brings us together. We all must consume organic matter to convert to the energy our bodies need to function…alas, we are not yet transcended beyond flesh.

Which brings me to the fact that in most of my longer fiction, I try to include at least one little hint about the kind of food my characters eat or have available to them. Engaging all of the senses of a reader, communicating the smell of sauteeing garlic and onions or the warmth of a cup of fragrant jasmine tea–these details shift the world into a recognizable and relatable focus (or so I hope), and make everything just a little more real. This is incredibly important in speculative fiction, where worlds can be alien and strange.

In Nice, my story in the newest Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac, I introduce a  place called Super Gyro. It’s an ad-hoc, hover-truck gyro joint that is so freaking good that even the transit cops in this cyberpunk metropolis love it enough that they’re willing to “forget” to enforce traffic laws whenever it shows up. Super Gyro connects Kitsune, the heroine of Nice, to Sam, the kitten-shirt wearing spec-ops soldier you’ll meet in my novella set in the same universe and coming from The Book Smugglers in August. I like to think that people from any walk of life can identify with the satisfaction of well-prepared, nourishing food…that enjoying the simple act of treating ourselves, if we’re so lucky to be able to do so, is something we can all agree upon.

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Stop by if you are so inclined, to join Kitsune in her appreciation of good food before the whole world falls down around her. Happy Tasty Tuesday, and thank you as always for reading! You’re really the best for that, you know! <3

If you’ve read any good meals lately, by the way, I’d love to hear about it on Twitter or in the comments!