Where I Live

If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you might have figured out that I live in the coastal mountains of northwest Oregon, in a rainforest of giant trees and moss.  Our quaint town is 10 miles down the road and the big city is an hour or two away (depending on elk, ice, fog, snow, logging trucks, and the intended destination).  Cell phone service is non-existent, and our entertainment comes by satellite including the internet which is  s…l…o…w…  and I mean    s………l………o………w

Yet, I love living out here.

To give you a better idea of this place, I’ve created one of those fun “Where I live” graphics. There is no exaggeration in this post AT ALL.

Where I live

 

Careful what you wish for…You might just get it.

download (8)If you look back through my posts, you might notice an ongoing desire for balance in my life.

An admitted writing addict, there’s nothing more I like to do more than rise from bed at 4:00 in the morning, brew a cup of coffee, and relax back in my recliner, laptop across my knees. I can write for 12 hours straight without a break (except for that second hot cup).

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

In truth, I can write for 16 hours straight, oblivious to the passing time. I have no particular desire to eat, shower, cook, do housework, enjoy the sunshine, go to movies, or communicate with friends, family, or spouse. My husband comes home from work and I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t moved. He thinks I’m in a coma.

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

In truth, I’ve been extraordinarily busy. I’ve had a tumultuous and exhausting day battling the soulless. I’ve lost loyal companions, my sword arm weighs a ton, the city is in flames, and the future of human civilization hinges on my next choice. I need to unearth the enemy’s fatal flaw before time runs dry and the world descends into chaos. With all this responsibility, who has time for laundry?

He rolls his eyes when I tell him I need a maid…and a cook.

Well, this real world of friends, family, and chores only has so much patience for my writing addiction. I know with utter certainty that I don’t want to wake up one morning and find that all I have left in my life resides inside my head. Therefore, the need for balance.

Careful what you wish for…you just might get it.

  • The Overlord

    The Overlord

    My daughter graced me with a grandchild. I now spend two full days a week with a drum-obsessed overlord. Almost-two-year-olds are more exhausting than the soulless (though much cuter).

  • Big energy is trying to run a mega pipeline through my little town’s drinking water supply. As a writer and advocate for my community’s viability, I’ve become an activist fighting the oppressive, polluting robber barons.
  • The overlord commented on the spider webs in my living room. You can always rely on a child for the painful truth. He says it’s “spooky.”
  • Over the past two years, the yard has morphed into a prehistoric jungle. I can’t see my patio. I have two months until the overlord’s second birthday party to get it into a less mortifying state.
  • I’ve started blogging and following blogs and making friends all over the world that I genuinely care about. Now, that’s a little too much fun and I can’t stop.
image from site.google.com

image from site.google.com

My initial reaction to the onset of balance was a troubling case of writing withdrawal: shakiness, irritability, insomnia, and hives. I found myself dropping things, burning dinner, taking naps, and – believe it or not – vacuuming. I had shameful relapses, like allowing the overlord to watch cartoons while I polish up some dialog on the laptop.

Five months later, I’m pleased to announce a gradual adjustment. The urge to write all day every day continues to invade my consciousness, but I’m working the program. A sense of balance is taking hold, and I’m settling into a new blend of busy-ness that makes room for more of the chaos and joys of life. The overlord and I have been spending more time at the park, building and smashing sand castles.

How do you maintain balance when the story calls? I’d love to hear your secrets.

 

Should books for adults have content warnings?

image by digitalspy.co.uk

image by digitalspy.co.uk

I told my mother to skip reading my latest book, The Bone Wall. She’s in her 80’s, and I know for a fact that she would find it gruesome and offensive. She thought my other fantasy books were “horror” and wondered why I was so “angry.”

I’m actually a pretty happy-go-lucky person: a loyal friend, loving wife and grandmother, and active volunteer. I like babies and puppies. I’m “nice.”

image from pixshark.com

image from pixshark.com

At the same time, I’m a fan of Mark Lawrence, Joe Abercrombie, and Anthony Ryan, to name a few. I like gritty realism in my fantasy favorites, and my writing tends to reflect my preferences. I have this “thing” about not sugarcoating brutality.

Yet, as a “nice” person, I also have an aversion to giving offense. I want to move my readers emotionally and perhaps make them ponder choices for a moment of two, but my preference isn’t to trigger outrage or upset. My books are meant to entertain.

image by kaleveradaily.com

image by kaleveradaily.com

The Bone Wall pushed my own limits. Living inside these characters’ heads took its toll. I was exhausted, dehydrated, and stressed out. My heart was forgetting to beat, and when I went to bed at night, I wasn’t convinced I’d wake up in the morning. I ended up at the cardiologist with an exacerbated heart arrhythmia.

Oddly enough, after I finished the first draft, all my symptoms vanished. I wanted to warn my readers: DON’T READ THIS! BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Well, as you might guess, I didn’t put that on the cover. I wrote an Author’s Note and tried to make the blurb reflect the content. Why did I stop there? Or go that far?

image by ethicsalarms.com

image by ethicsalarms.com

As I struggled over whether to warn readers about violence, sex, profanity, and religious content, I wondered if I was over-reacting. Will some readers say, “Gosh, Diana, what’s the big deal? You are such a wimpy drama queen.”

And books are supposed to trigger our emotions to an extent, aren’t they? The struggles our character’s endure and choices they make in the face of physical, moral, or psychic danger is part of what draws us in and engrosses us in the story.

The Bone Wall is not a YA novel. As a parent, I understand the desire to monitor content. Back in the olden days, I would have appreciated a rating on the books my daughter read, if only to engage with her regarding controversial subject matter. Though many YA authors seem to agree that content warnings have a place, differences of opinion continue to exist as to what should be included.

image from blogs.kcrw.com

image from blogs.kcrw.com

Adult readers have years of experience and wisdom to draw on. Our tastes and tolerances vary greatly. My husband likes Mad Max and I like Forest Gump. We have the choice to walk out of a movie or put a book down. I’ve done it, more often because it’s boring or vapid rather than too graphic. I chalk it up in the “oh, well” column and move on.

The Bone Wall is out now. I still muse over this topic and wonder what reader/reviewer reactions will be. I’d love to hear your thoughts about content warnings on adult books. Good idea? Bad idea? What’s your experience as a writer, reader, or both?

Thank you, and hugs from the “nice” me.