inasmuch as it concerns Consuite:
Hanging out with other disciples of the pen and, er, talking about writing. Yeah. That's what we're doing.
hello Hugo voter packet; goodbye productivity
- 946 wds. long
All right already. "Later in the weekend" turned into effin' Wednesday, but here it is: "The Parable of the Singer," the Friday Fictionette for May 12 (ebook, audiobook). A little light blasphemy in the key of, oh, I dunno, Milton maybe. I am going to refrain from doing the "I suck" song and dance that usually accompanies a release that's this late; suffice it to be said that the best plans of mice and writers oft gang ugly when insomnia strikes. But I have clawed my way once more into a regular diurnal schedule. We'll see how long I can keep it up.
At least I'll have a strong incentive to turn in early, going forward. I have like a year of bedtime reading to cram into the not-quite-two-months that remain until the Hugo Awards voting deadline of July 17. It is a lovely dilemma to have. Many thanks to the creators and rights-holders of the materials on the ballot for making them available to WorldCon members everywhere! I will be diving into that glorious TBR pile (TBR = "to be read," see also Mt. Tsundoku) pretty much as soon as I'm done posting this.
(I promise not to spend the next two weeks incessantly reading in bed.)
one catch-up day equals several days moving forward into the kind of future that requires sunglasses
- 1,129 wds. long
It's catch-up day! The Friday Fictionette for April 21 is out at last, rejoicing in the title "In Your Lifetime" (Patron only links to ebook and audiobook; links for everybody to excerpt on Wattpad). It's a coming-of-age story--well, it's a coming-of-age scene, anyway--in which the legendary monsters are just the regular schmucks of the world, and the humans are the legendary monsters. One human, anyway. Nobody likes that guy. He's a jerk.
Meanwhile, the Fictionette Artifacts for January will hit the mail tomorrow. Finally. I have at last got to a point where I can just chip at that backlog bit by bit every day until we're all caught up, just in time to send out the Fictionette Artifacts for April. I'm using a delightfully parchment-like gray stationery for January, which was a great idea right up until I realized that the correction tape on my brand-new typewriter ribbon is white. Thankfully it's not quite as tacky-looking as I feared. (The surprise inside is not paid product placement, I swear. I'm just that excited to have fresh supplies of brand-new typewriter ribbon.)
I've logged all the submission acknowledgments and responses that were pending for pretty much a whole month. This puts me at the uncomfortable status of Slush Zero--I got nothing out on market at this time. But that's OK! Because today was a successful catch-up day, the rest of the week can be oriented more toward going forward. For instance: My writing group came through with some great feedback on "Caroline's Wake" that I think pinpointed where I was inadvertently diluting the characters' stakes, and I know how to fix it. Well, I've identified a fix I'm definitely implementing, anyway. On rereading it I may find other places to fine-tune things based on Sunday's discussion. I am utterly jazzed to get this done and send the story out all hopeful to its next date with fate!
I continue to experience angst over why this timesheet-and-checkbox thing isn't actually working. But today I have Taken Action. A small action. Small corrections are sometimes the best correction, in life as in roller derby. ANYWAY, I changed out the timesheet template to make it more generic, with a First Session given over to the gotta-dos and a Second Session for fiction and submissions. And I've got this idea that if I create tomorrow's template tonight, filling it out with tomorrow's task list before I go to bed, I'll be more likely to wake up on time ready and eager to Do All The Things. The key is in having those Things clearly identified. If I wake up feeling like the day is full of a Vague Yet Menacing Too-Muchness of Things, I'm liable to panic and flee back into the safety of REM sleep. And we can't be having with that, because...
That's it! No more trying to get stuff done after derby, not even "just a little bit." Come 6:00 PM, the work day is over. I want to come home from practice with nothing to do but relax, play, and put myself to bed in good order. Suiting thought to deed, or deed to thought, whichever order one says that in--I lined today up such that even my blogging would happen before practice tonight. And lo, it was done, it is being done, and it is good. It will be good. It'll be so good tonight around 10:00 PM. We are talking beer and post-derby dinner and self-indulgent soak in the tub and probably a couple hours of Puzzle Pirates. Yes, all at once. What do you think wireless keyboards and mice are for?
good news to report from the actually writing front
It was a good weekend.
For one thing, I got the Friday Fictionette out only one day late. (That seems to be about as good as it gets, these past months.) "The Witch's Stories" (ebook, audiobook) is sort of a roundabout way of saying wherever you go, there you are, while reiterating that you still can go wherever. Really wherever. I drafted some of it at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, whose hospitality (and tea) is unparalleled.
(I began drafting this post at Conor O'Neill's, which ditto, only for "tea" substitute "beer and hearty pub grub". On a slow Monday night, it's nice to tuck myself into the table on the stage behind the stage-right big screen TV, and no one knows you're there. MAH WRITING NOOK, I HAS IT. Bonus if I get one of the EV charging spots behind the Boulder Country Commissioners office, which is available to all EV drivers outside of regular business hours.)
For another (writing) thing, I met with my brand new writing group. Which is, in a way, a freshly revived writing group, as it's currently all made up of people I met at NaNoWriMo write-ins, back in the day. We had dinner, shared works in progress, and enjoyed some designated writing time, all in the space of two hours. A+ would meet again. And will, if all goes well--we set a date for March.
I have sorely missed being in a face-to-face writing group. Oh, there's Codex, of course, but the face-to-face thing is important. I've missed having real-time conversations about writing. I've missed exchanging manuscript critiques with a group who have similar writing interests, similar writing goals, and similar writing skills to mine. I've missed having a writer's social life.
Heck, I've missed having a social life outside of roller derby. My derby peeps are awesome, but they are a large and vibrant league who not only skate together but also hang out together, host and attend events together, and fill up each other's Facebook timelines. And of course my husband coaches in the league, so derby concerns easily creep into family life as well. (The post-scrimmage discussions with Papa Whiskey can go right up to two in the morning.) So it's very easy for roller derby to consume all my available hours and social capital if I don't make deliberate efforts toward other endeavors.
One of my unstated New Year's Resolutions was to make a deliberate effort toward the writing part of my social life--to reach out to writing friends and see if we can't come together to talk shop or more. So I finally got around to emailing one of my old NaNoWriMo friends (sorry it took so long, Julie!) and, meanwhile, a couple other old NaNoWriMo friends who happen to have become derby friends in the meantime moseyed over and said "Hey, remember that writing thing...?"
I am feeling so energized about it. Also there is now pressure to dive back into my short story revision queue, or to start drafting the novel-in-planning, so that I'll have something I can share with the group. (I have already shared out copies of "Stand By for Your Assignment", but I need to work on another thing while I wait for feedback on that. Also I need to write up my thoughts on the stuff they shared with me. WHICH WAS SO GOOD, Y'ALL, why isn't MORE of those stories finished so I can read them SOONEST?!)
Meanwhile, there was today. Today I got a heroic amount of stuff done, which included hotel reservations and messages left with certain offices and dishes done, and which culminated with crashing my Homeowners' Association's board meeting since it was conveniently scheduled for a Monday. (The board was very inviting and receptive to my suggestions, but I may have just bought myself a new role on a soon-to-be-instigated committee to investigate the installation of a community EV charging station.) Also my daily writting gotta-dos. I was so good, y'all! So I rewarded myself with dinner anna beer an' YPP at Conor O'Neill's (hence the partial drafting of this post there--but only partially, because the EV charging station I was parked at had a posted limit of 4 hours).
In the course of the evening I was reminded that I also have a social life centered around Puzzle Pirates; my crew and flag on the Cerulean Ocean are very active, and they're always glad to see me when I log on. Which they notice I don't do nearly as frequently as I might. I believe the exact words were, "We're just happy to to see ye when ye can make it." Awwww. I suppose I should make it more often, then.
the actual physical health stuff that supports the actually writing, and also the skating
Hello! I'm back. We'll see if it sticks.
This is going to be an injury recovery update post rather than a writing update post. That's because there is more to report on the former at this time, and what there is to report keeps multiplying, and the thing about "this is going to be a really long post" is that it comes with a side of "and I haven't the time or energy to write it today." You can see how that's a downward spiral with no cut-off switch, right? Right.
I am midway through my 6th week post-sprain. Wednesday last week, as I mentioned before, I got the OK to strap on skates. Since then, it went like this:
- Wednesday: some 15 minutes and 3/4 mile of street skating (as reported earlier)
- Thursday: some 20 minutes or so on the track at our practice space before NSOing our regularly scheduled scrimmage
- Friday and Saturday: some unmeasured time at the inline hockey rink in North Boulder
- Sunday: Travel team practice; it was all more or less non-contact (evasive jammer maneuvers around cones and stationary non-skating coaches) and none of it hurt
- Monday: Phase 1 practice and off-skates conditioning, some of the latter being perhaps a bit ambitious at this stage in the game
- Tuesday: After my physical therapist confirmed that I hadn't set my recovery back any, but that I really should go easy on the strengthy stuff for a day, travel team practice minus any scrimmage-format drills or strength conditioning. I ventured a small amount of controlled and limited contact (a pairs-blocking drill with, in my trio's case, the intensity scaled back a bit).
Then yesterday I woke up with a post-nasal drip sore throat and all the aching muscles, which is apparently how my body tells me LIE DOWN ALREADY AND TAKE A DAY OFF. I took the day off.
Today my PT again confirmed my recovery was continuing on track (though she volunteered nothing about my chances of full-contact performance next week). I went to NSO at scrimmage again and skated for some 20 minutes before first whistle.
Tomorrow I am not skating because 1. I'm doing all the other things, like visiting a writer friend for lunch, attending the 300 Suns release party for the results of their "colaBEERation" with us, and also finishing up the Friday Fictionette due that day. (It is coming along slowly, but it's turning out to be a ton of fun to write), and figuring out what to bring to a brand new writing group that's meeting Saturday... and also 2. because I get the hint, already, body, I'm listening this time, please don't shut me down again like that, OK? Yesterday morning was unfun and painful!
You can see from the above paragraph that I will have plenty of actually writing to report in upcoming posts if I actually manage to stay on this daily blogging wagon this time. Stay tuned, I guess?
many of whose hours weren't all that conducive to recovery, as it turns out
It's Recovery Monday! I had a lovely time at Mile Hi Con, but it was a con after the nature of cons, which is to say, exhausting. I can't swear I got more than 5 hours sleep on either night, and the drive was pretty dang tiring for being "local." Now, I feel like a terrible wimp saying this, because goodness knows John had a convention weekend and a drive between Boulder and Albequerque, but there it is: Just attending a con that's an hour's drive away, or two depending on traffic, wears me out.
The shenanigans involving coordinating auto maintenance and a rental car on either side of the trip didn't exactly help, mind you.
So anyway, long story short (too late!), I slept in this morning.
I've been off skates for a week because of resting the foot/ankle Tuesday, having scrimmage called off due to rain Thursday, and playing truant in order to enjoy Mile Hi Con's Sunday programming, but today I geared up again to take my turn helping to train our Phase 1 training class. Great bunch of skaters, all terrifically determined to master their crossovers and transitions; the improvement and increased confidence just over the course of this one practice was amazing. And of course I did everything right along with them, which means I'm all worn out--a close focus on basic maneuvers for two hours straight is no joke, not even for an experienced skater. This on top of deciding to ride my bike to practice, and I was glad I'd slept in. I may in fact go to bed early tonight.
The bike thing was because I don't quite trust the car not to fail to start. Our usual mechanic discovered a failing ignition control module, which, seeing as how they'd just put that one in less than a year ago, they replaced at no charge under warranty. (This is why it was worth having it towed to the usual mechanic, rather than leaving it in the care of the very nice shop next door to the place I found myself becalmed on Friday.) They put the new part in and the car started up just fine--but when I tried to drive it home today, it wouldn't start for me. They coaxed some life into it, and it hasn't failed me since, but that was only this afternoon. If there's any possibility of it failing to start in the near future, I'd as soon not have that be on a friend's farm, as it seems unkind to inflict a tow truck upon her property and animals and all. So I biked. I thought it would take me 30 minutes; it took about 50. I was able to catch a ride back from a very kind skater who lives up the road from me. She was extraordinarily patient with the whole big production required to get my bike to fit in her car.
So, yeah, that was my recovery day. Not all that "recovery," now that I look back on it.
A quick bit of Puzzle Pirates content, since I once again didn't manage to put any YPP content up on Sunday: Brigand King sightings do not in fact appear to count toward the October Seal o' Piracy. I have hard data on this! Both Oshun/Meridian and Millefleur/Emerald failed to acquire the trophy after travel + BK, then were awarded the Seal upon completing a Buried Treasure expedition. Meanwhile, four of my other pirates got the Seal with travel + Imperial Outpost or travel + shipwreck/treasure haul. So I can only conclude that BK sightings do not count, but buried treasure, shipwrecks, and imperial outposts do. And traveling around the ocean, of course.
I'm still working on my Ice pirate. Perhaps I'll buy her a Viking Raid map that's small enough to be able to win solo (I'm usually the only person logged onto the Ice server, which is no surprise, because Ice) and see if that counts. I keep sailing her up and down the route between Wemadeit and Maelstrom, and all I get are these lousy Kraken Hunt maps. No expeditions and no effin' map to Mini Island, drat the luck.
Update: Teshka on Ice was awarded her Seal o' Piracy upon buying the Viking Raid map. That is weird!
The other YPP news is that apparently there will be changes implemented to a couple scheduling aspects of blockades, but I'll go into that on Saturday when it's next time to blog blockades. If you're curious, the info's here.
And that's all. I will go fall over unconscious now. G'night!
this fictionette went shopping for mead, and hijinks ensued
Compared to my usual eleventh hour stunts, this week's Fictionette got done ridiculously early. Par for this week's course, happily. I got up early to see John off--he hit the road for New Mexicon--and then I got right to work so that I'd be able to go to a convention myself. MileHiCon's programming started at 2:00 PM, and I planned to be there.
So, yeah, I pretty much did my morning shift right away and straight through, and when I was done, "I Didn't Ask for Champagne" was up at Patreon and it had only gone twenty past noon. Go me!
But I still didn't make it to the con in time to catch the two o'clock panel. This is because, in the parking lot of Redstone Meadery, just when I'd finished purchasing gifts for a friend and was ready to make the hour-long drive to the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, the car died. The engine simply died before I'd even put the car in reverse, and it would not start again. It was 1:00 PM.
What followed was a long call to AAA from the tasting room of Redstone Meadery, and a short wait therein, which was followed by my car being towed to its usual mechanic and myself at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Mirage rented from the nearby Hertz. When I at last began my drive out of Boulder, it was 2:30 PM. Pretty slick, I have to admit. What could have wrecked my weekend plans was reduced to mere inconvenience, and not even that much expense. Gods of travel, bless the Triple A.
(Not that much expense so far. The rental was under $35 for the whole weekend, but we'll see what the bill comes to when the Saturn gets diagnosed.)
The next hour was taken up with construction traffic on Highway 36 which began very early on the Foothills on-ramp. The hour after that, with normal traffic on I-25. But I had Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap to keep me company, so I laughed a lot instead of raging at the road.
Then I finally made it to the hotel around 4:30 PM and was in the audience by 5:00 to hear Kevin and Ursula live--Ursula Vernon is the artist guest of honor, and Kevin Sonney was not shy about contributing to her GoH hour, to everyone's enjoyment. Connie Willis took over at 6:00 to talk to us about foreshadowing and which movies do it well (or poorly), opening ceremonies were at 7:00, dinner was overpriced but delicious salmon at the hotel restaurant, and at 9:00 Carrie Vaughn interviewed Kevin Hearne in the style of her series heroine's "Midnight Hour" radio show on KNOB. There was ranting about conspiracy theorists and speculation about Bigfoot. Everything was splendid. We lived happily after ever. The end.
Oh, except I still had two more hours of workday to live up to, and a short story to line-edit. Well. I'm finishing that up now, aren't I?
The story has not yet been submitted, despite my hopes. That's OK. It wasn't for lack of working on it. Line edits are simply taking longer than expected. My bad for expecting them to be so quick! This is the stage where I do get to bring out my inner perfectionist and let her try to get every sentence in every paragraph right. Within reason, anyway. I expect I'll be all, "That's FINE, let it GO, just SUBMIT the dang thing" by about Wednesday.
Tomorrow: Breakfast off-site! And then at 9:30 AM I will have a dilemma: Do I go to the SFWA business meeting, or do I throw in my lot with a Wreckin' Roller Rebels skater who's giving the kids a sock-footed lesson in roller derby? THIS IS A HARD CHOICE no, I'm serious, it actually is. I mean it. Don't laugh!
Meet local authors in Longmont this Wednesday
There's a new(ish) Meetup.com group in the area, and it sounds really exciting. It's called Longmont Meet The Authors and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You come to their meetups in Longmont, you get to meet local authors. How cool is that?
(This, by the way, was the blog post I was going to publish to Examiner back on Thursday. But since Examiner and I seem to be done with each other, you get it here! Enjoy.)
So I heard about the way I usually hear about new Meetup.com groups, which is by having signed up for notifications relevant to my interest. I hear about enough new Meetup.com groups that way that I could probably do a monthly series about "Newest writing meetups in the Boulder area!" and never hurt for material. (I also hear about a lot of new Meetup.com groups that aren't much to do with writing, despite that "Writing" is the only interest I've listed on my profile. I suspect some meetup leaders choose their "we're about" tags somewhat indiscriminately.)
Anyway, having heard about the group some couple months ago, I'm a little annoyed with myself for not having gone to a meetup yet. I'm hoping to make this next one:
Meet New Authors
Who: Debra Jason (Millionaire Marketing on a Shoestring Budget)
Who Else: Stan Moore (Mister Moffat's Road)
When: Wednesday, October 21, 6:30-8:00 PM
Where: Local Editions Books and Coffee
(2919 17th Ave. Ste. 110, Longmont, CO)
Debra Jason's book is about business promotion and social media. Stan Moore's is about the namesake of the Moffat Tunnel--the man with the plan to build a railway line from Denver to Salt Lake City. As for Local Editions, it sounds like the perfect place for this particular Meetup.com group; it's a tiny little bookstore that carries absolutely nothing but books by local authors. And if you are a local author, you should probably introduce yourself to the proprietors...
...one of whom, coincidentally, is the organizer of Longmont Meet The Authors. Funny how that works...
So, in short: Join local meetup, go to local bookstore, meet local authors and buy their books. Winning!
this fictionette ain't goin' nowhere but maybe round the corner for a beer
- 1,026 wds. long
- 1,126 wds. long
The first Friday Fictionette for October is a small folk tale retelling, or a folk tale fanfic if you will. It's called "How the Lassie Didn't Go East of the Sun and West of the Moon," and it posits a lot more communication and common sense than is the norm in folk tales. I mean, seriously, a girl's got more senses than just her sight. If her mother imagines that her daughter needs a candle to tell whether the guy she's sharing her bed isn't a Troll, her mother has a very innocent idea of what goes on in bed. That's all I'm saying.
I was astounded to discover that all of Kay Nielson's gorgeous watercolor illustrations for the folk tale collection East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North are as much in the public domain as the text itself--or at least they are covered by "no known copyright restrictions." I incorporated one of these illustrations for the Fictionette cover art, because it's lovely and because it helps make clear exactly what folk tale I'm playing with.
I've also released a Fictionette Freebie for September, and it's "The Celebrated Frog Forger of Clackamas County." The PDF chapbook and the MP3 audiofictionette are now both available for free to subscribers and nonsubscribers alike. Enjoy!
And with that we head into the weekend. If you're in the neighborhood and want to hang out, I'll be among the crowd helping local brewery (and Boulder County Bombers sponsor!) 300 Suns celebrate their Grand Re-Opening on Saturday afternoon. Bring a game to play, buy some beer, and enjoy their new menu! That's what I'm gonna do. (My, that Lushious Belgian Ale with the ginger and lavender sounds tasty...)
this fictionette skated by faster than the eye can follow
- 1,159 wds. long
I swear I got the Friday Fictionette done on time! Early, in fact. It's called "Protective Coloration" and it's got more fairy-like creatures in the corner of the protagonist's eye. It only took about two hours to proof, publish, and record the PDF and MP3. I wasn't up until stupid o'clock getting it done, either, which was way cool.
But then I ran off to skate at ROLL and was up until stupid o'clock for that reason.
Honestly, I thought I'd only stay until maybe 11:00 PM. That would give me a good two hours of fun, and an exit for when the track got crowded and the crowd got drunk. I'm also, admittedly, not a fan of the DJ. I don't understand why you'd have a Thunderdome-themed skate party and never actually play "We Don't Need Another Hero," or an '80s-themed skate party and then mash up the classic anthems of the decade you are supposedly celebrating such that there's no melody line left to sing along to. But being on skates makes everything wonderful, at least for a little while. So I go, I have fun, and when I stop having fun, I leave. I figured that after about two hours I'd run off to a diner to write up a blog post and get a couple other things done.
But I surprised myself by not actually stopping having fun. As it happened, I didn't leave until they kicked everyone out of Tracks at 2:00 AM. So that was a thing.
It helped that I had friends with me--a couple of gals from my roller derby league met me there, and we hung out. It also helped that we spent Peak Crowded Drunken Hour in the karaoke lounge. (It is possible that the skate floor DJ played "We Don't Need Another Hero" while I was in the karaoke lounge. I would not bet on it, however.) And the singers and their supporters were friendly, and the songs chosen ran the gamut from metal to hip-hop to blues to Broadway. When the karaoke DJ shut it down, we went back out to the main floor for the last 15 minutes of the party, and we discovered it was practically deserted. Plenty of room to try fun dance moves or just skate fast. "I didn't know ROLL shut down with a speed skate," I said.
Anyway, that's why I didn't finish my homework on Friday.
outmoded, inconvenient, messy, elegant, satisfying
Pictured here is my second-hand typewriter, a Sears Tower which appears to be identical to the 1950s-era portable Smith-Corona Sterling. I bought it from a co-worker back in the late '90s. Then, upon my lamenting that it had features I'd no idea how to use, I was sent a copy of the Sterling's owners' manual by a Usenet acquaintance who guessed my typewriter was largely the same as his. (This was before it was trivial to find PDFs of owners' manuals of just about everything online--though, admittedly, I haven't found the exact document my friend sent me. This is the closest match I've located. My typewriter doesn't have those CL and SET buttons on the right.) That gift empowered me to use the ingenious Page Gage (sic) feature to get consistent bottom margins every time. It's a seriously clever thing.
Five years ago, this typewriter was instrumental in drafting the first recognizable version of "First Breath." This week it'll be key in fulfilling some long overdue Patreon pledge rewards. I owe two, soon to be three "fictionettes in your mailbox" to my $5+ tier patron. This is where, at the end of the month, I type out one of the month's fictionettes, correct some of the typos with white-out, watercolor and scribble and sketch on it, and send it off with my thanks.
At the moment, I am offering this thank-you to the first ten $5+ patrons. That may have been overly optimistic. I am thinking of lowering that maximum to five. A thousand words feels a lot longer on a typewriter than on a laptop. Accordingly, I find myself sometimes revising on the fly and cutting out phrases that no longer seem absolutely necessary. Or rearranging phrases because I got ahead of myself and I am not going back to correct it.
Also, mastering the Dvorak keyboard layout seems to have come at the expense of being able to touch-type in Qwerty. So I do a lot of looking up and looking down between the computer screen and the typewriter keys and the typewriter output, and losing my place in the original document, and shit there went the 1-inch marker on the Page Gage about two lines ago, I guess the bottom margin is going to be a little smaller than planned...
I'm not really complaining. I'm just griping. The difference is, complaints are meant to be actionable but griping is only recreational. I don't seriously want not to do this. I'm enjoying the exercise--reacquainting myself with the typewriter, producing a literary artifact, enjoying the messy elegance of the results (it's not the most precise instrument, this Tower), and creating a physical object as a token of my appreciation. And sending it in the mail! Having an excuse to mail physical letters is wonderful. It's inconvenient and outmoded and I love it. I'm in love with the written word in all its forms. Look, I do my morning pages with a fountain pen. Of course I love the typewriter and the U.S. Post.
Anyway, I intend to finish the May mailable tonight and maybe produce tomorrow the one that was due at the end of June. That'll will put me back on track in time to type up the July mailable at the end of the month. Huzzah! Getting caught up is the best!