Saturday, October 29, 2011

So close, and so far away!

We're down to two days now. This is one of the best parts of NaNoWriMo, to me. The anticipation, the nerves. I love it. The buzz on the forums builds to a positively electric level, so that you can almost feel the excitement.

I've been having a good season, so far, and I've even done a little planning. I don't think I'm doing a true outline, as I'd planned. See, I've decided on a retelling of J. Sheridan Lefanu's classic pre-Dracula novel, Carmilla. I liked the story, but was deeply unsatisfied with the ending, and I really disliked the wimpy female main character. There were so many questions left unanswered that I'd like to answer them! SO I'm spinning it with Carmilla herself as the main character, and a sympathetic, tragic figure.

I have been going over the original novel, and making character lists, and making notes. I had a friend over Thursday morning for coffee and writing chat, and he had a GREAT idea for the central conflict.

See, I'm wanting to give an original spin to the old story, and I think I've gotten it.

Today's going to be a good day, too, because tonight's the local kickoff. I LOVE my local group... such a fun group of people. I'm hoping to have some new faces this year, too! I've seen a few new people posting in the forums.

So this is all rambly, but I wanted to let you know I'm still alive!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Couch to 5k, Week 1, Run 2

I DID IT! I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it!

It wasn't quite the traditional way; I ended up having to stop with 3 runs to go to talk to a neighbor (this is why I don't like to run on my street) but it actually worked out well. I was about to give up, because my ankle was screaming, but while I talked to her (for about ten minutes) I stretched and ran in place... the ankle stopped hurting, and I finished my last three runs!

I exercised for 45 minutes total (including the neighbor chat) and ran/walked for 1.9 miles! (That's according to my pedometer, the accuracy of which I doubt.

I drank plenty of water, and stretched afterwards after my cooldown walk, in the house.

I feel fantastic. I grinned like a total moron during my last run.

It was SO much easier. After two runs the first day, I was already panting and breathing so heavily, but this time, I hit run three, and again with the idiot grinning.

I feel so proud of myself. I can do this (and kept telling myself that during my runs. I had to coax myself to do this, a lot.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not Writing, but Exercising!

I know this isn't writing related, but I felt the need to include it anyway. I mean, any update is better than none, right? I'll apologize in advance for the length of this update... it's actually two updates in one, lifted more or less straight from Google+.

I've embarked on the wild world of running. The UK NHS has a program called Couch to 5k... and I figured it was PERFECT for me.

My first steps into the world of fitness were abortive, but not for the reasons you think. I was all set yesterday morning, had my mp3 player loaded with my NHS couch to 5k podcasts. Got up, got Elisabeth ready to school, and discovered the gate had been left open, and our newest dog, Ozzy, was gone. So I spent half the time I should have been walking/jogging riding around. I gave up riding around in the car, and used a little dog logic about his past escapes and what I know of the neighborhood. I drove over to the next neighborhood (where there's an empty lot connecting it to ours that's infested with feral cats) and decided to walk there, calling Ozzy occasionally.

I got about 4 minutes into the 20 minute routine, when something bumped into my leg, and nearly scared the shit out of me... was Ozzy. Muddy, shaking, scared, and happy as hell to see me. I put his collar and leash on, and walked for a few more minutes, but by that time I was too giddy and tired to continue walking, so I brought Ozzy home (muddying the hell out of my car's passenger seat in the process) to his worried Papa. By that time, it was getting too hot to be outside.

So it was a good and bad morning. Bad, because I didn't even get halfway through the first day's run, good because I found my dog, whom I was certain had hauled ass halfway to Atlanta and would have to be picked up by the pound to be found.

Stupid dog. I'm glad he's home, even if he spoiled my run. (And I did get 7 minutes of exercise in... that's 7 minutes more than I got the day before!)

After yesterday's abortive attempt, I decided to go ahead and start again today. Today went much better; although I did make a couple of mistakes. My first mistake was not properly stretching; I really started to feel it about halfway through. My second was forgetting my water bottle... I was REALLY parched.

I did good though, I got through 15 minutes of the 20 minute workout. I would have done more, but my ankle started to flare up (I had a severe sprain/broken foot bone a couple years ago that still bothers me) and I had to stop. It actually hurt so much by the time I got home that I had trouble driving.

But, I decided to join my neighbor who was walking to cool down, because I was still overheating and breathing heavily. We walked at an old lady's pace for a while, and I felt much, much better. I've only got a distant ache in my ankle now, and it didn't swell up, in the end. I'm probably going to take a break tomorrow, let it recover, and run again thursday, although I may walk tomorrow. I haven't decided.

Total exercise? about 6 minutes of running (60 second intervals) and 38 minutes of walking. 2754 steps on my pedometer, roughly a mile and a half total.

I'm very pleased with this.

Places I can feel the burn: My ass (woohoo!) calves, and surprisingly, my arms. I know a little bit about running/walking, and know about moving those arms. Once I get into running to where I'm not having as much trouble keeping up with the full routine, I'm going to get some arm weights.

Lessons learned: Stretch, you idiot! Don't forget your water! Don't forget to do a cool down walk. I knew that last one, but I wanted to reiterate it to myself so I don't forget.

I'm probably going to repeat week 1 until I can do the whole 20 minutes, whereas normally you'd do three week 1 sessions before moving to week 2. I want to do this right, so I don't give up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Google+ has my brain.

So I've joined Google Plus. Why is that being posted here, you might ask? Well, as it turns out... it's a writing community goldmine. A LOT of the MLs from NaNoWriMo have accounts there, and thanks to the efforts of some intrepid users, finding lists of them isn't hard.

I've expanded my circle of people I communicate with, and it's been actually quite stimulating to do so. I have discussions with interesting people, who do and say interesting things. I don't treat it like a Facebook clone, it's becoming something a little different. It's sort of a social blog... there's no character limit that I've found on share updates (statuses) so the brevity I so detest on Facebook isn't there. It's also attracted people who really don't care for social websites, so things just feel differently.

Hangouts are fun too, for inspiring you to write, word wars and the like. I can REALLY see it as being useful in November. I can't wait to try it out.

And if you feel like adding me, do so. I don't have to be as protective there as I am of my Facebook. (Thank you, Circles, and thank you, Google, for being so sensitive of our privacy needs). Just let me know who you are, so I'll know which circle to put you in. :)

Friday, July 08, 2011

The strangest motivators

Okay, so I got started on Camp, and then stared. And stared. And stared. I couldn't make the words come. I just couldn't figure out where to go next. I'm breaking a cardinal NaNo rule, and starting with a work in progress, but I have too many good, salable pieces in progress to start yet another one that would languish unfinished, so I promised myself I would finish at least one before starting a new one.

So you know what the random bit of social engineering did it for me this time?

It turns on my webcam, if I want it (I usually leave it off) and broadcasts my computer screen in live streaming video. I've had quite a few friends stop in for a chat, and it's been really, really fun. Nothing gets me writing like knowing that someone is literally looking over your shoulder while you write! What's cool is in addition to allowing me to tweak things like mic input and camera, I can also have it set to stream what's going through my speakers, so I can share the music I'm listening to with my watchers!

Very fun.

I got the idea from Kit Fox on the NaNo forums... so you should try it out, and post your link there for the rest of us crackheads to watch! It's gotten me through my mad stuckness, for the moment, and I have forward motion. It's not GOOD motion, but it's moving. I've picked up my 2007 NaNo, Heaven's Bounty, and plan on adding it.

Man, I am a crackhead.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ready for Camp!




So Camp NaNoWriMo launches in a few days, and I think I'm ready.  I have the marshmallows, the graham crackers, the chocolate bars. 

Wait, I'm suppose to be writing

Oh crap. 

Umm... maybe not quite as ready as I thought I was.  

Well, I am. I think I'm actually going to be participating as a rebel this time, since I have about four really good WIPs that I need to work on, and I don't have any fresh ideas for camp. I've got a couple, but they're just tidbits of ideas.  The one I'm really wanting to work on is Heaven's Bounty, my (2008?) NaNo. It's actually pretty good. I love the characters, and their interactions, my only real problem is I'm a little stuck on the ending.  I don't quite know how I want to end it!  I think I'm getting close, but I don't know. See, I have a little confession to make: 

I suck at endings. I mean, I tend to start and not finish so many novels that I have far less practice finishing them than I do starting them. So maybe that's what I need to focus on for a while. Either way, I'll be writing 50k during camp, and I hope you join me. We're launching this week, and I've had the pleasure of poking around on the new site in testing all last week, and it's so pretty and simple and awesome. I hope you like it! 

So in the interest of a Camping theme, let's talk toasting marshmallows. Do you like yours on fire, or lightly toasted until golden brown?  Do you like to eat off the outside that's been cooked and re-toast the innards? How do YOU like your marshmallows?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My, how far technology has come

Right now I am testing my bluetooth keyboard link with my iPod. I think that if I take this with me to write-ins, I can actually do some mobile writing. I Just need to find a fold-down keyboard, because the mac keyboard is nice, but not exactly easily portable. I've heard that portable options exist. Now, my iPod is official Da Bomb. Mark 2. I decided about halfway through to post this to a blog, and realized that this is just perfect. As long as I have wireless (hey, it's not an iPhone) I can do anything my computer can do. Why do I own a laptop again? Welcome to the future, folks. This is reality. Next step? Those projected screens you see in all the sci-fi flicks.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Look ma, another plot bunny

While I was working on my novel, I actually had a plot bunny. You see, the magic system is based on an elemental sort of thing, you know, earth, air, fire, and water. As I'm writing the climax, though, I'm finding some weaknesses in the system, namely that the antagonist has an opposing element to the female protagonist. Now, for the confrontation, it's fine, but it's left me some holes in the rest of the system that I need to plug.

So I plugged in elemental magic to Google, and started getting some ideas to work around it, and I think I've figured out which way I want to go.

I think I'm going to go with a revamped elemental system based on the Chinese elements; fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. I don't know if I'll keep that exact pattern, but the flowing nature of it, and the way some of it opposes the rest fits the story as I'm writing it better then the traditional european four elements.

It also gives me more potential for side plots and additional character classes/races. AND it gives me more ideas for the sequel to this one, possibly breaking through the block there.
I love it when progress is so profound.

Now, the children have gotten disturbingly quiet, so I'd better go make sure they haven't managed to finally kill themselves in their room.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A milestone reached

Last night I accomplished something truly great. See, if you remember from posts past, I like to write by hand, and purchased a journal-sized notebook to write in.

Well, as of last night, I've officially filled it up.

That's right... It's DONE. Well, not the story, I'm still moving forward on the story, but the book itself is very full, and I've started on a second.

Just LOOK! Look at the beautiful, and so very full pages!

Completed notebook.

Umm... ignore the chicken scratch.

So with that done, I've got a backup book on hand, that I've already continued on. I removed the handy THIS IS MINE ribbon from the red book and moved it to the brown.

The new notebook, ready to be filled.

I'm even continuing the page numbering from 249. I'm at the climax of the novel, just at the beginning of the big confrontation, and I've got FORWARD MOTION. I can't wait to write tonight.

I think I'll go do that now.

crossposted to

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

BLARGH! I hate domain name propagation.

Okay, so as you may have noticed in the previous post, I've decided to activate my parked domain name, and set up a word press blog there, and importing everything from here to there.

Everything seemed hunky dory, until, of course, I realized that a installation lacks a very key feature: plugins. As in, all those pretty, customizable wordpress widgets? No go. It also lacks some other key features I kinda need.

So I decided I'll activate a true hosting account with my other hosting service (used for other websites) that will cost more than $1 a month, but will allow me ultimate power.

Only problem with that? DNS propagation. For the uninitiated, this means I have to wait anywhere from 1-3 days for the entire world's nameservers to catch up with the change.

So is currently offline. However, you can access the plain wordpress blog at until propagation completes. Hopefully, it won't take too long. It's just annoying me because the wordpress installation I set up on fatcow points to the domain name, so they have to catch up with the fact that I'm already pointing to their own nameservers. Sigh.

So, to pass the time, and hopefully leave you smiling, and waiting once again for my infrequent posts to show up on my pretty new domain, I leave you with a kitten attacking a puppy.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving Day!

After much thought, I've decided to activate my long-dormant domain, I love blogger, but it's not as feature-rich as I could like, and it's time for me to move on up to a grown- CMS. One day I will, but until then, Wordpress will do.

I plan on moving my subscriber list as well, but until then, you can visit manually. I hope to see you there, and know that hopefully this will not be an interruption. It's not like there's that many of you around! Either way, thanks for reading, and I'll see you over there!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Progress and ruminations

I've been working steadily on Hacker Dragon. I'm up to 21,667 words as of this very moment. I feel like that's a truly respectable total, since this time last week, I only had about 13,000 or so. I'm finding it's hard to get back into Drakan's head; I'm not sure what the magic mix was when I first wrote her. She's there, I can *feel* her, but I haven't quite reconnected with her.

I'm pleased with the work. She's mellowed, some. I think it's me that's mellowed, truthfully. I think I was in a very turbulent time in my life then. It's no less turbulent now, but I'm coping better. I'm not in the grips of post-partum depression, though its lingering effects still hang in my mind like the unwanted cobwebs in my bedroom. I know they're there, I know I need to get the broom, but I can't quite bring myself to do it.

Such is the nature of depression, I suppose.

But I'm enjoying what I'm writing. It's not Great Literature or anything, and I'm not sure I will pursue traditional publication with this piece; it's leaning towards romance, although it may pull away into a respectable sci-fi piece by the time I'm done. If it does stay romantic, I may try Ellora's Cave, or maybe just plain self-publishing via ebook.

I have NOT given up traditional publishing for my other works; I just don't know if the world is ready for this one. :) I won't know until I'm finished, of course. I've got roughly a month before the CreateSpace deadline, and I think I'd like to print this one with it.

I don't know. This is a very experimental book, for me. It's outside of my comfort zone, it's different, and I don't think it has mainstream appeal, but I think it may very well find a very loyal audience in a certain niche.

Who knows, though, after I get the original version out, it may end up very different after it goes through editing.

I love writing. I love the mystery of it, the discovery. I'm a very visceral writer, I take a dream and I give it reality, and I enjoy learning where it leads. I've never been much of a planner.

And that, my friends, is my scattered brain dump for the day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Picking up an old WIP

Mom cancelled on us, so I've got the whole day to myself. I've made two positive steps towards being actually productive.

1) Last night, I read over the piece I'm planning to continue. It doesn't suck, and although I think I need to back up and take the story in a different direction than it did from the last plot twist, I think I've got a good base, and some damn good characters to work with.
2) Just now, I opened Scrivener. I will follow this action by stopping to tweet about the action I just took, then make a blog post about it.
Hey, it's forward motion, right?

I think after that, I will move all of the text from the word doc I've got this saved on into Scrivener.

I've been trying to think of a new title, though. This piece is about a genetically enhanced computer geek who takes over a corporate network (think Shadowrun, but without most of the magical stuff.) just before another hostile organization takes over. This is literal hostility, including guns. She lets them take over, makes an arrangement with the leader of that organization, and is now playing cat-and-mouse with him. Romance ensues.

Quick bit of worldbuilding: Post apocalyptic thing, now humanity has a dual animal nature. Some are naturally more strong than others. Corporations rule the world (nah, I wasn't influenced by anything cyberpunk. I PROMISE.) Most people are regular animals of various sorts, some are myths. MC is a dragon, leader of organization is tiger (smilodon fatalis, to be exact.) It comes off less cheesy than it sounds, I promise.

Anyway, It's a sci-fantasy thing, heavier on the sci than the fantasy.

Current working title REALLY sucks: Hacker Dragon. Not the kind of thing I'd be proud to show off in public. So I have to figure out something different. I'd like this to be my CreateSpace submission, so I need a non-shitty title.

Now to figure one OUT. Any suggestions?

But I think I'll start working on my scrivener file first, so that I'm making more progress towards actually writing, rather than procrastinating with minutiae.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Brace yourself...

I just turned off comment moderation. Blogger finally added some kind of spam detection; I generally like Google's spam algorithms, so I'm going to give it a try.

So hopefully, my beloved stable of commenters (all ten of you) can comment free of impediment. :)

Revising and Procrastination

So I still haven't started writing yet. I think I've learned to take procrastination to all new heights, these days. I'll pick strawberries with the kids, play farmville, warhammer, go to the grocery store, but write? Heck no.

But a recent blog by Chris Baty has me wondering. What sort of revision efforts could NaNoWriMo help me with? He's asking for input on the kinds of revision tools you'd like to see.

Right now, we have the barest minimum. A couple of forums, the Critiques forum, and the Novel Draft Aftercare forum. Critiques is great, but only if you have something ready to critique. Aftercare is nice, but I'm not done yet.

I had a dream the other night. Apparently, my subconscious doesn't set its sights very high. I dreamed that I went to the mailbox, and my novel was in there. It was a paperback proof, had been retitled "Off the Shoulder" (I have no idea why) and was printed by the "Del Rey Discount Books" division. There was a contract in there... with a $1,500 advance written in. I remember the cover art being pretty cool, though.

I mean... really? My brain couldn't come up with NYT bestseller list, or a million dollar advance, or even a fully priced paperback? Oh dear.

I'm going to take it as encouragement, though. While I don't think Del Rey has a discount books division, I like the attainability of that dream. Million dollar advances are very rare-- but what I'm aiming for isn't a certain advance, or even the NYT list. It's purely, and simply, publication. My book, available in a bookstore near you, where I can go and front my books, and smile like an idiot while I point to it to the other customers and say "MINE!" while they back away slowly. I've thought (hard) about publishing some ebooks, but I still want the real thing.

So what are your writing plans? Are you writing for you? Are you revising something to be published? Going the self-publishing or ebook routes? Trying to convince the aliens in the back of your head that they can't destroy the planet because of your literary prowess?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Clever spammers

While checking the spam filter on the Script Frenzy forums, I came across the strangest thing.
It was a polite, nicely formatted response to the spam filter feedback form:

Kindly post my comment I'm not posting spam.
Thank you very much and more power..God bless..
Respectively Yours,
Gaile Seive

This isn't unusual; I often get confused, amused, or even angry feedback from users whose posts have been erroneous flagged as spam. This one struck me as odd though, because of the content of the post. It was responding to a question about asbestos and heat... this person posted the following on the thread:

"Asbestos is said to be carcinogenic and it contains variety ofchemicals that enhance cancer cells.They may also come in differentforms and as they have said this may be the result of potential toxinsthrough inhalation,ingestion and even through food intake andcigarette smoking.That's why this is very dangerous for mostmen.Prostate cancer may be one of the outcome cause of this asbestoschemicals.There's a new review that suggests screening and catchingprostate cancer early will not stop fatalities from the disease. Theresearch culled data from 2 decades of records, and it found thatindividuals who got regular screenings for cancer of the prostate werediagnosed with and perished from the disease at the same rate as thosewho did not get regular cancer of the prostate screenings. This mighthelp you decide what method is best for you when you sign up for apersonal unsecured loan for professional medical costs."

Notice that last line? Yeah. It WAS spam. For a loan! How strange that the spammer took the time to politely tell me they weren't spamming!

Clever, clever spammers. You are no match for my spam stomping powers! And for those who are curious, yes, I banned this very polite spammer. With prejudice.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Spanish Engrish

On the recommendation of a friend, I went and picked up some real Mexican hot chocolate... more specifically, handmade salvadoran chocolate tablets.

The short of it: milk, chocolate, and a cinnamon stick... boil and serve.

That's not the fun part. The best part were the directions. This is a direct transcription:

1) Dissolve one tablet of Salvadoran chocolate in two cups of milk or water.
2) Cook moderate fire. Constantly revolve.
3) Boil for one minute and retire of fire.
4) Serve hot

How awesome is that. You couldn't make this up if you tried.

Spanish Engrish

On the recommendation of a friend, I went and picked up some real Mexican hot chocolate... more specifically, handmade salvadoran chocolate tablets.

The short of it: milk, chocolate, and a cinnamon stick... boil and serve.

That's not the fun part. The best part were the directions. This is a direct transcription:

1) Dissolve one tablet of Salvadoran chocolate in two cups of milk or water.
2) Cook moderate fire. Constantly revolve.
3) Boil for one minute and retire of fire.
4) Serve hot

How awesome is that. You couldn't make this up if you tried.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Teeny tiny notebooks

While shopping for party supplies today for my 3 year old's birthday part tomorrow, I discovered something that quite literally made me squee in the store.

Yes, the lady the down the aisle from me looked at me funny.

But that's not the point. Look at this.

Yes. That is my thumb. It's about an inch long. And YES, it is a lined notepad. A real one, with about 25 or so pages.

Wait, it gets better.

Thumb-sized composition notebook.

What's not to love? I had a fit over these. I'm going to carry them around in my purse. And I 'm telling my ML about it, because these would make epic goody bag stuff.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Playing around with ideas

I've been toying around with the basics of my new plot; some changes will have to be made, naturally. One of the things that's been stumping me is the shapeshifter clan; their original location was a wild, unclaimed country inhabited by the usual big beasts, dragons, and generally inhospitable things.

While post-civil war America has lots of land, it doesn't have anything that quite goes by this description.

I've decided that my clan will need to become Native American; it makes more sense than an overseas transplant. I'd like it to be an eastern tribe, but it will have to be an original one... I don't want to butcher an existing clan or disrespect them. They'll thank me in the end, I think. Everyone does midwestern or western Natives, I think using one of the eastern tribe would be a nice change.

This will be an AU, so I am trying to think of ways America will be different with magic. My male main character, Gabriel, is the son of a powerful, very ancient vampire. Now, I can't imagine such a creature living happily in the wilds, so he'll probably be a European vampire. Perhaps Gabriel fled overseas to get away from his father's shadow?

I'm going to have to imagine a slightly wilder government; I'm thinking the Hunter's Guild will be some kind of quasi-governmental enforcement... sort of like marshals, but with special orders. Perhaps a special marshal offshoot?

So much to think about... so little time. Fade in is tomorrow night. I think I might spend today and tomorrow doing research, and see where it goes.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New twist on an old story

I have a story I've been telling for a very long time. In its first incarnation, it was actually a Vampire Hunter D fanfic, although I didn't know what fanfic was at the time. Complete with a pretty blatant mary sue self insert in the classic sense. :)

Over the years, it's evolved into its own tale, a high fantasy about a shapeshifter and a Hunter from the Hunter's Guild. Set in my own, original world, Bethra. I've got maps and such. Problem is, the story itself has stalled... I know what happens in the major confrontation... but after? No clue.

Last night, I was lying in bed, half asleep and delirious last night, when a bolt from the blue struck me.

I'm going to pull the characters, the plot, and all out of Bethra (the world) and plop it into Earth. Post-civil war earth, to be exact. Alternate universe Earth, one where there are things of a paranormal nature (shapeshifters, vampires, elves, etc) as a standard part of society; the Hunter's Guild will be set up to fight rogues of whatever kind, sort of a quasi-governmental bounty hunter's society.

I don't know how it will turn out. But I'm suddenly very, very excited about this story. I'd been planning on participating in Script Frenzy as a rebel anyway (scripts aren't my art form, but I have to be on the forums anyway in my mod capacity) and I think I just figured out what I'm going to do!