Kanda is a bit heartbroken. He didn't expect a thing today as I've packed my suitcase and left him with my parents FOUR times this summer. He's been in PA for 3 months so he didn't expect anything bad when I packed that suitcase today. I DO feel bad for him. At my parents he has two floors to run around in, a porch he can sit on with us, windows and sliding glass doors to look out and almost always at least one person home. Here he has an overcrowded apartment with a porch he can't sit on with me (neighbors don't leash dogs), no windows but one (as they're all over the vents so I can't put up anything he can get up on) and he's alone almost all the time.
I spent the drive here plotting my novel and got here to find last night's writing on These Haunted Hills didn't save. Thank god it was only 100 pitiful words.
The weather was so fine that day that when my afternoon art class (eighteen first-, second-, and third-graders) begged to have class outside, I agreed.
The boy was maybe three years old, much too young to be on his own in the crowd of Library Square.
The Funeral Blues of Barnaby Sloan
At precisely eleven fifty-five on a Tuesday morning in January, Barnaby Sloan put the papyrus he was poring over into its storage box, packed his laptop in his backpack, tucked the backpack into a cubbyhole in his desk, and left the documents room.
Grad students could not live by study alone, Dylan said, so Jacob went with him to Zebra on Saturday night.
I don't think we're supposed to post anything for unconventionalcourtship before our posting date, so I'm going to leave that story (technically, those stories) off the meme this time.
I've got more Scrivener projects that are still just ideas than I realized. And then there are a few that are going to be rewritten from word one, so they're somewhere between idea and WIP. And there are still a lot of ideas on the Big List of Next that aren't even projects yet.
Waugh. So many words, so little time.
Side eyes my provost. Got emailed over the weekend by a former student who teaches biology in a local high school. Apparently instead of sending the college ready h.s. students to me to teach the nursing a&p, they arranged a deal with the school for my former student to teach it. Oh btw can I give him all the notes, the syllabus etc. Did I mention school starts in less than a week? Did I mention no one ran this by me to see if this was feasible and I don’t even know what the lab situation at the school is? It needs to have a certain set of labs (all costly and I don’t know if the h.s. can handle it). So in the middle of the faculty meeting on Thursday I have to bring him up to speed. Luckily the OTHER brand new faculty member also will be teaching this class so I guess I’m mentoring them both. It's going to be one interesting semester.
I just realized that after labor day I don't have a single weekend open until November. Here comes the fall festival season. Send reinforcements.
And thanks for nothing Preacher. I'm sitting here watching with my parents. It was bad enough when the villain ordered his people to set up a fantasy rape scenario with a hooker but then to have his people order up three men to complete the scenario 'where no means yes' just like he asked and we get the banging table sex scene that he gets into heavily.
And this means I better start planning for Nanowrimo. I was going to go with Zvon et al but that will take more planning than I have time for with 7 classes. It's Jana's turn anyhow. I SHOULD finish These Haunted Hills. I have a good feeling about this story. It deserves a shot. And really I would love to find someone to beta read (maybe exchange chapter for chapter and trade beta reading services).
So recently, at Barnes & Noble, my attention was drawn to a hardback on the “fantasy new releases” table, featuring what was described as “flintlock fantasy with airships, a touch of humor, and an engaging female hero.”
I nearly burned the place down. ¬.¬
After the writing, revising, submitting, re-revising, submitting again, and so forth that Sky Pirates of Calypsitania has gone through, to see this thing sitting there made me want to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS SHOULD BE MY BOOK!”
So. Yeah. I was upset. Deep breaths. Let’s work this thing out.
On the positive side, clearly someone must think there’s a market for the kind of books I want to write. I mean, there it is. But I have to connect to it.
And to be clear, I’m pretty sure that the author of that book worked just as long and just as hard on it as I did on mine. My own personal green-eyed-monster popping out notwithstanding, I wish them success.
That doesn’t alter the fact that I had this extreme, intensely emotional reaction to seeing “my book with someone else’s name on it” right there on the very table where I have been trying to get my book for years now. What I have to do, is direct that energy in a positive direction.
If this is the team that put the book on the table, I reasoned, then it could serve me well to hook up with that team. A little research turned up the agent of not-my-book. I went back and rewrote the opening, again, to address feedback the book had received on the previous round, getting thumbs-ups from my beta readers, and sent it to that agent. Given that this particular agent has a strict “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” policy, however, the response could easily range from an excited followup any day, to chirping crickets until forever.
I don’t intend to wait. As far as I’ve been able to make out, the main thing that makes a writing career succeed (besides lightning in a bottle) is sheer volume. The most popular and well-paid writers I know get that way by writing a lot of books. And as much as I love Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, it is only the one.
What this boils down to is, I need to work on another book. I’ll keep shopping Sky Pirates around as long as it takes, but I can’t leave my career on hold waiting for any one project to move.
I have been trying to write a more “mainstream” fantasy, and I got maybe a third of it done as part of last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I keep running into a fundamental paradox: in trying to adhere to more standard tropes in order to make the book “sellable,” I feel like I’m just aping other people’s work, which in turn makes for a book that I’m not sure I would read, myself.
Of course, it’s just the first draft of said book, and so there’s an argument that I should just finish the thing, with “rip out all the Tolkien” being one of the goals of the second draft. But if I know all the Tolkien needs to come out anyway, then leaving it in there for the first draft feels like creating work I don’t need to do.
So perhaps I should just leave that one in the drafts folder and start a whole new project that’s more like what I want to write.
But I need to do something. I need to get somewhere.
Today I'm at My Fiction Nook, talking about my experience of characters stopping talking to their author. Also at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, pontificating on my obsession with the years either side of 1900.
I'm now relaxing at home and laughing about the Barnaby Joyce situation. I'll be waiting to see what he does.
Let's talk research. I've been saying for eons that an author should be able to write almost anything they're interested in IF they do the research but damn, I've seen some truly lazy research lately and from big name publishers who's editors should know better.
Historicals are the most common offender of this. Someone on my list was bitching about one set in 1820 where the characters were talking about 'flipping her switch' (which is an electrical metaphor which didn't exist then) and in a historical cambodian mystery that I DNF, which was over stuffed with Cambodia history but in spite of the character being born in 1903 and the story being set when she's 17, the character spoke like today's teens with a lot of 'geezes' and was talking about gene pools (a term not coined until the mid 40s) and in a script I just saw had the characters dialing 911 in 1969 (since the Manson murders were just happening). Yes 911 started in Alabama in 68 but wasn't established nation wide until 73 and in 76 less than 20% of states used it. Did I memorize this? No. I looked it up because I knew in high school there was NOT 911 in my area (an ambulance came to my grandmother's thinking we had called but it wasn't us and everyone was frantic trying to figure out where the call had come from and there was no 911 then). In fact by the time I was a junior in college still less than 50% of the states used 911.
It is easy of course to screw this stuff up. We take 911 for granted. We talk in colorful phrases and metaphors all the time without much thought as to where they've come from. I've made this mistake myself. But between the author, beta readers and editors this stuff should be caught.
I'm reading a book right now I honestly don't like but I bought it from the author (who was nice and gave me such a cute autograph that I hate hating on this book). In chapter one a character was talking about seeing the changes in the main character's brain on X-Ray. You can't SEE the brain (other than as a shadow) on X-ray (and I rather thought everyone knew that). And the detective is constantly in 600$ suits (any look into actual detectives will show that homicide doesn't strut around in Armani because it would get ruined. I keep thinking it's a clue (and that he's secretly with the Mob which is a main part of this book)
So basically a) don't base everything off what you see on TV b) if you aren't an expert in something you want to write, research it c) if using a metaphor or saying in a historical look it up.
And remember me talking about how SO many readers bitch about female characters in m/m books (i've seen any number of them mention they won't even read it if there's a female on page)? I'm not alone in a) noticing this and b) noticing it's not gay men saying it, only the women. I’m glad he’s calling them out on this (even if some of the commentors take shots at women).
Links from Betty
Villain’s redemption arc
what a writer can learn from Stephen King
out of print termination clauses This one seems very good to know if you're doing something other than self pubbing.
tips for successful writers
Other Links I've found: Finding the center of your book
Promoting your YA novel on social media
I can't remember if I shared this one or not but I need to do this once I get this posted. writing great blurbs
Published: June 2017 by Peggy Bright Books
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Guerline Scarfe #1
Genres: Sci-fi, crime
Available: Publisher (print and electronic) ~Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The author is a friend. I have done my best to give an unbiased review.
Tanja Morgenstein, daughter of a wealthy industrialist and a geochemist, is dead from exposure to Titan’s lethal, chilled atmosphere, and Guerline Scarfe must determine why.
This novella blends hard-SF extrapolation with elements of contemporary crime fiction, to envisage a future human society in a hostile environment, in which a young woman’s worst enemies may be those around her.
Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body is a hard sci-fi crime novella. It starts off with the suicide of a wealthy heiress, but the book is as much about the author’s vision of Titan’s settlement as it is about the mystery.
Usually, I’m not particularly fond of hard sci-fi and there were elements of the genre present in Matters Arising that didn’t appeal to me. In particular, I found the language more academic than emotive, which created a distance from the characters. However, the story went some way towards mitigating that by giving the main character a family life of sorts. Seeing her struggle with her personal relationships helped humanise Guerline. Her focus and dedication to her work is shown as both a virtue and a character flaw.
The details of daily life also helped make Guerline relatable. We get to see her make long commutes, grouch at missed flights and travel delays, and engage in online research and recreation. These details also do a clever double duty, showing what it’s like to live on Titan in a way that feels natural. It also fits in with the detail-oriented nature of procedural crime.
The drawback to this approach is that it can feel a bit slow-paced. There’s no real sense of urgency until Guerline’s final trip home. However, the short chapters help to counterbalance this.
Another thing I was pleased to see was how diverse the cast was. It’s something I’m not used to seeing in hard sci-fi… though it should be said my experience with the genre is very limited, especially when it comes to modern examples.
All in all, Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body was a solid read and while not exactly my cup of tea, I’d definitely recommend it to lovers of hard sci-fi.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Self publishing was always for me, at least in part, about learning new skills, and the last year has been - and continues to be - a real adventure. I started with some reissues of older stories I'd got the rights back for, paired up and repackaged, Wild Bells and In the Spotlight. En route I made mistakes, but I learned from them, and moved on, to the point I thought, "Let's try something a bit braver." Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour is my something-a-bit-braver and it's out tomorrow.
And then, as my something-braver-still, I'm on the verge of getting it into print, too. All that for someone who never aimed to be published but who's loving every moment.
Secondly, I wasn't sure whether to post my fiction chapters this week. I thought of simply linking to this.
But then I looked at my chapters for this week. They consisted of (1) a protest against people who commit violent oppression, (2) a protest against people who commit violent oppression, and (3) an apology from a character who committed violence.
So yes, I've posted my fic this week. But I'll put off other announcements till next week.
"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."
Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.
Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.
- Latest chapters: Chapter 9/27 and Chapter 10/27. End of Law Links 2: The Sword. Next week: Law Links 3: God of Mercy.
- Online fiction: Law Links at AO3.
- Free multiformat e-book: Law Links.
- Series: The Three Lands.
- Series resources: The Great Peninsula: series resources for The Three Lands.
"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"
A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.
All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.
- Latest chapters: Chapter 6/16 and Chapter 7/16. End of Mercy's Prisoner 1: Life Prison. Next week: Mercy's Prisoner 2: Men and Lads.
- Online fiction: Life Prison at AO3.
- Free multiformat e-book: Mercy's Prisoner.
- Series: Life Prison.
- Series cycle: Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.
"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."
The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.
Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.
Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?
- Latest chapters: Chapter 9/11 and Chapter 10/11.
- Online fiction: Checkmate at AO3.
- E-book: Checkmate.
- Series: The Eternal Dungeon.
- Series cycle: Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.
( To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )
The trip was good. Mom and I went to the glass museum in the park and Oglebay mansion. Compared to what I recently saw in Newport, it was pretty plain but still it was a huge and lovely house. From there we went to Books a million which is always a good thing.
Then I came home to see the news out of Charlottesville and had the thought of at least China is telling North Korea to knock off the shit (because the idea of China backing them is to terrifying for words).
But I did find things today that I wanted to share that made me feel a little better.
And women swept the Hugo awards
But I did end up in urgent care last night. I have a tonsil/sinus/ear infection and because of that my brother canceled out our lunch this weekend. Told him fine, see you in Christmas.You couldn't be bothered to see me last weekend anyhow like I wanted because seeing your SiL's new dogs was more important.
Mom and I had planned so many trips. She spent hours looking for them and we did...none of them. Sigh, where the hell did this year go? I'm back to work on Thursday. Before I know it, it'll be Christmas.
I haven't finished anything I wanted to do. I need to learn how to manage time better. I used to be SO good. ELD and Silvrethorn can tell you how much I used to write. Hell even long timers to my blog know how much fanfic I wrote a year. Now I can't finish a damn thing.
I had ten deer in the yard. They ate my tomato plant.
Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of Earl Grey Editing’s blog. I’m celebrating with Lamington cake: vanilla sponge cake dipped in chocolate and covered in dessicated coconut, layered with jam and cream. It is delicious!
So, three years. That sounds like such a short time and yet it feels like I’ve been doing this forever. I find the work very satisfying and it continues to bring me a great deal of joy. Having found my niche, I hope to continue for many more years.
2017 has brought a few milestones. It was a great honour to be nominated for the Aurealis Convenors’ Award for Excellence, so thank you to the person or people who put my name forward. I’d also like to say a big thank you to those of you who nominated and voted for the blog as part of the Ditmar Awards. Getting my first nominations for both major Australian SFF awards in the same year was a delightful surprise. Thanks also goes to Paul Weimer for his support and to Mike Glyer and File 770 for the occasional signal boosts. It is astonishing to be acknowledged by one of the giants in the field.
To celebrate, I’m trying something new: a giveaway. The prize is a gift card for either Booktopia ($30 AUD) or Amazon US ($25 USD) or Amazon UK (GBP) Because I hate it when giveaways are restricted to just a few countries on the other side of the world, I’m also open to prize suggestions if none of the above suit your country of origin. Entries close 19 August (AEST) with a winner announced on 25 August. Head over to the EGE blog to enter.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
Song: It's All Coming Back to Me Now by Céline Dion
Sources: Captain America vol. 1 - 5, Man Out of Time, Captain America Reborn, and Civil War.
Now these three authors have stellar careers, and the sort of sales one can only fantasise about, yet was there any hint of a diva about them? No. They were enthusiastically supporting a relatively small local event, they spent time talking to readers, visitors and other authors, and generally they were nice people to be around.
And if you ever get a chance to hear Peter Lovesey reading out some of the correspondence he's received over the years, take it with both hands.
Unlike other parts of work that just get annoying. I have some regulars who come to use our computers and they always need help with something, but it seems like they whine when asking, that may be my perception because it's always something small, and something I've helped them with before, but the tone of voice just gets too me and it makes me not want to help.
I have 4 new pages to train, and while they are good kids and picking up quickly, but having 4 of them to check on and keep track of is a little tiring. But soon they will know what to do and I won't have to worry.
The circ co-workers are as horrible as ever and I really wish them ill, they are hateful women who cause drama and chaos and think they are the wronged parties.
The boss always seems to be out of the building, I suspect she's taking part in lots of things to the end of moving on and up which is fine, but she never seems to be around when needed most, like electricians coming to fix something and none of us know what, or patrons complaining about noise or wifi or computers not up to snuff. I purposefully have not applied for director job because I didn't want to deal with all that but I'm doing it anyway without the acknowledgement or money.
Majority of things would be better if the circ people would leave.
The bees had filled the hive, getting past a stopper that was supposed to keep them from the rest of the hive, and building on all the bars past that. And when they’d run out of space, they’d left. So I really wanted to make sure that my colony had plenty of space to build and store honey.
( So I went in and took some... )
And sadly, there are some good points in the Google employee's manifesto, but he tried to make it about diversity and sexism, when he had ideas that Google might have been willing to try if he hadn't made it an "us vs them issue." Sadly, now that he's put his paper out there on the Internet, he's destined to become a hero of MRAs and the alt-right when at first he merely had a more conservative position
You probably already know about this but just in case you don't, I thought I'd share. I just installed it and it worked, I can see all my photos again. :)
It’s weird how I go through these phases. Like, I haven’t played a game of Overwatch in months. I have signed on once or twice to update the app, but I haven’t actually played any.
It’s a side-effect of energy level. Since the heat wave around AnthroCon, I have spent most of my time pretty much as pictured above. What productivity and energy I’ve had has focused on my writing, because that mostly uses my brain and my fingertips. When I log into a game, it’s Lords of the Rings Online, for the same reason. (And also because LotRO finally got to Mordor, and there are lots of rumblings about the state of the game and the company that runs it. There’s a non-zero chance LotRO may not be around forever, and I want to get the most out of it while I still can.)
I still like Overwatch and at some point I’m sure I’ll get excited about it again. I’m a little surprised the Summer Games event hasn’t lit that spark, considering how much I loved Lucioball the first time around. But right now I’m just not feelin’ it.
But one thing this has definitely taught me: I am not cut out to be YouTuber/streamer. Not in the way the industry exists right now, anyway. I can’t (and don’t really want to) knock myself out trying to grind out 10+ minutes of content to post as-close-to-daily-as-possible. As a general rule I dive deep into projects and come up for air weeks or months later, producing something big when I’m finished (e.g., that D&D map, or a novel).
This has always been the biggest challenge of doing a comic, fighting with having to keep feeding the beast when there are other things I want to do instead. The only reason the comic actually keeps going is because a) I love it, and b) there are too few good furry comics as it is.
I’m sure that when the Overwatch bug bites again, I’ll be streaming and posting and all that jazz just as I’ve been, but purely for the fun of it. I’m not going to chase viewers or subscriptions. There’s a fair chance I won’t hit master level with Mercy because I’m not competing enough, and eh, that’s okay. It’s an artificial goal designed to give me a destination anyway, not something I had a driving passion for in and of itself. I’m still going to do my best. 🙂
But only when it’s fun. ;P
Today I decided to take myself to see Kinky Boots. My friends had either seen it or were not interested so I it was only me I needed to please. I got a matinee ticket for today and took myself off on the 9.13 train.
I love the train trip to Sydney. 2 hours of beautiful scenery and a good book. I couldn't ask for more.
I arrived just after 11 and walked to a local shopping centre where I had one of the best gozlemes around. From there it was down to the theatre - a walk of about 15 minutes.
My seat was to the right but only a few rows back from the stage. There was no one in the seat in front of me so I had a perfect view.
I really enjoyed the show. The guy who played Lola was excellent. I loved the way that he moved and sang.
After the show it was a quick walk to Central Station where I walked straight onto a train. Perfect timing.
As I said, a good day, and one that I hope to repeat with another show.
Barb: finishes rewatching season one of Deadwood, gets word today that she's sold the next book in a series, submits to an invite-only anthology this weekend, knocks out 1,900 words of Seth Bullock/Wild Bill sex in an evening. (Seth Bullock/Al Swearingen is next, she promises.)
(PS to zulu : Barb is rereading one of her SGA fic, and says "You crawl! You crawl like John, when Kolya says you crawl!" - relic of a misspent youth of drunken download parties.)
There were a lot of things I didn't know. Like Carnigie Mellon will let you go to school for free if you major in bagpipes. And there is something I loved that I need to use if I ever get to doing a sequel to Aaron and RHys's novel. On Roberto Clemente bridge, they have a local legend where a couple attaches a lock to the gridwork of the bridge and then toss the key into the river to symbolize their love.
The only downside to it is I'm getting very ill. Three days of sore throat, and I rarely get them. I thought it was sinus drainage but I think it's an infection. Which sucks because I'm finally going to be able to see my BFF from college. We missed each other at Christmas because she was ill and crap kept happening all summer.
But when I got to the next exit, I thought to myself, as long as I'm taking the long way around, I might as well continue on one more exit, get off at Keene, and take Woodford-Tehachapi Road back.
Woodford-Tehachapi Road is a windy little 2-lane country road, working its way up the mountain through ranches and fields, and it also has a turnout with a great view of the Tehachapi Loop. The Loop is a section of railroad in an area that's too steep for trains to go up directly, so they built a loop of track that circles around on itself, gradually increasing in grade so that trains can make it up the mountain. I've been past it many times, but most of the time manage to see it when there aren't any trains in it.
Yesterday was my lucky day! There were two trains in the Loop, one going up and one going down. So I stopped to take pictures.