“If they weren't solidly real dragons... it wouldn't have been worth doing.”
Jo Walton

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

near five thousand words and also some peach pepper pie
Thu 2015-11-19 00:28:50 (single post)
  • 18,471 words (if poetry, lines) long

I remain woefully behind the NaNoWriMo curve. But today I found out how many words I can log in two dedicated hours of nanobabbling. As it turns out, that number is 4,865. Yes, I can type really fast! Also, the internal editor is turned entirely off, so it can't butt in and tell me, "You already explained that last scene, you don't need to have your character explain it again," or, "You realize that this bit of dialogue is just an excuse for you to figure out the backstory's timeline, right?" Internal editor doesn't get to say that stuff, so I just keep typing.

As usual, I'm not sure where the story's going to go tomorrow. But I jotted down some questions that occurred to me during today's session, and those will probably help get me pointed in the right direction.

In other news, my sprained wrist/thumb has not prevented me using the typewriter. Turns out, it's pretty painless. I don't even use my left thumb when I type. It just sits there and watches the right thumb do all the space-bar work. So I'm finally getting that October 2015 Fictionette Artifact done for them what's got one coming to 'em. Yay!

Typing on a manual typewriter is weird. It's not just because I've used the Dvorak layout for more than a decade now, and am no longer reliable to touch-type in Qwerty. I'm actually starting to get Qwerty back so long as I'm on the typewriter. It's a context thing. No, what makes the manual typewriter weird is the way I instinctively try to hit ALT-TAB on it when I switch between it and my laptop. You know. ALT-TAB. To get back to the typewriter "window." *facepalm*

In other other news, I organized our freezer. It's the sort that's one big below-fridge drawer in which everything gets dumped, which means it's hard to find stuff, especially if you keep a lot of ice-packs on hand to bring to roller derby practice just in case. So I pulled most everything out in order to put it all back following some semblance of logic. I discovered two things:

  • There are still like five 1-lb packages of breakfast sausage down there. WHATEVER DID I DO TO DESERVE SUCH LARGESS O UNIVERSE I AM NOT WORTHY.
  • There is way too much stuff in there that's been there for way too long and needs to either get used up or thrown away.

The following recipe/experiment arose from an attempt to use up some of that surplus.

Peach-Pepper Pie (muffin form)

  1. Set one sheet of puff pastry out to defrost. I believe I acquired the puff pastry package when a friend moved out of state and I helped her re-home many of the edible contents of her kitchen. The box was still unopened when I pulled it out of the freezer tonight.
  2. Put some peaches on to simmer over medium heat. Some years ago when I not only had a CSA share from Abbondanza Organic Seeds and Produce but also a fruit share add-on from Ela Family Farms, I found myself overrun with peaches. So I sliced up a bunch of them into sandwich bags, and I stuffed the sandwich bags into a gallon-sized freezer bag. This experiment used up one sandwich bag full of frozen peach slices. I was worried they might be freezer-burned after all this time, and it might indeed have been an issue if I was going to eat them plain. But instead...
  3. Stir in a crap-ton of sugar. It came out to two heaping soup spoons of brown sugar and two of plain granulated sugar.
  4. Stir in some pickled chili peppers. About one and a half heaping soup spoons of MMLocal's High Desert Peppers (mild).
  5. Season with black and red pepper, then continue simmering until mixture is thick. I like pepper. I put a bunch in. Anyway, I let the whole mess simmer until the pastry was tolerably defrosted, about 40 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add 1 tbl butter, 1 egg, and some oatmeal. Stir. Four big soup-spoons of McCann's Quick Cooking Irish oatmeal (or whatever kind of quick-cook oatmeal you've got in your pantry), mainly to soak up any liquid that hadn't simmered away.
  7. Apply cooking spray to a 6-hole muffin tin. Line bottom of each hole with pastry. I was going to do a small pie tin, but I was too impatient with the pastry. I tried to unfold it when it wasn't quite defrosted, and it cracked into three strips. So I cut those strips up into twelve squares that fit the muffin holes nicely.
  8. Spoon in pie mixture. Not too much. You want your top crust and bottom crust to meet along the sides.
  9. Layer a piece of roasted chili on top of pie mixture. I also had a sandwich bag of roasted mild pueblo chilis in the freezer, because while I love them on everything, I still never manage to eat a whole package of them before mold sets in. So I've learned to parcel out most of them into small freezer bags and defrost when ready.
  10. Cover with another layer of pastry. Really smoosh it down. Don't be shy. Again, you want this top crust to meet up with the bottom so that the "muffin" doesn't fall apart too much when you go to eat it.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Let sit to cool for five or ten minutes, then carefully pry them out so you can devour them. Feeds one very greedy cook over the course of one two-hour NaNoWriMo session.

Ta-da!

a litany of distractions you may enjoy
Mon 2015-11-16 23:55:31 (single post)

It's been a very slow Monday, full of distractions and laziness. Here are some of the things I've been distracted with:

Two Dots - It's an app for Android and iPhone. It is also a very addictive game. I downloaded Bluestacks specifically so I could play this app despite my lack of smartphone. Then I downloaded Windroye when an update to Two Dots proved glitchy on Bluestacks. "Why don't you just buy a tablet?" Well, for two reasons. One, perhaps quixotically, I want all my things to work on one device. Secondly, I'm not buying new hardware just to play a free game, darn it.

The nice thing about Two Dots is that lives regenerate at a rate of one per twenty minutes, which means the distraction has a limited lifetime. Use up your lives, get back to work. Except now that I've got it running on both Android emulators (having rolled back the update on Bluestacks so that it's not glitchy there), and each "device" generates and maintains a separate life count, the distraction's duration is potentially quite long.

I promise to be a lot more disciplined about it tomorrow, though.

Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair and sequels - Overall, this series is rollicking good fun. What Douglas Adams did for traditional SF with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Fforde does here for English literature overall. It focuses on the classics, but it gets its licks in on all the genres. Fan fiction, vanity publishing, and the oral tradition are not forgotten either. The story takes place in a version of the U.K. which benefits/suffers from an alternate history to ours, undoubtedly because time travel shenanigans are going on all the time. Also interfictional shenanigans--characters commonly pass in between the real world and multiple fictional ones. The books have flaws, no doubt, but the ride overall is a good on. The plots are surprisingly tightly constructed. It's hard to put these books down even on the reread.

I have copies up through One of Our Thursdays is Missing (2011), which book I am about to begin rereading. It's about time I picked up the next one, The Woman Who Died a Lot (2012). I just now tried to visit one of the websites advertised on the back of One of Our Thursdays is Missing but the domain, www.thursdaynext.com, appears no longer related to the book. One can get so behind the times.

"My father had a face that could stop a clock" is a first line that deserves to be considered in the company of all those other first lines. "The primroses were over." "Call me Ishmael." "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." "There was a boy named Eustace Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Any first lines you like.

Reasoning with Vampires - Dana has a Tumblr. On that Tumblr, she dissects Twilight. She diagrams its sentences, critiques its commas, reminds us that sentences are not minivans, and scolds irrelevant parentheticals for interrupting the flow of the narrative--such as it is. She holds up for ridicule and horror those passages that best display everything that's wrong with the book's central romance. Might be the sort of blog that only a dedicated language geek could love, I don't know. I'm a fairly dedicated language geek. Gods forfend I ever abuse a comma again. (Whatcha doin' there, little comma?)

Dana's way with a line-edit makes me laugh out loud, sometimes for long uncontrollable minutes. Reading many posts in one sitting has a cumulative effect similar to I Can Has Cheezburger?--the funny bits are even funnier for having followed the funny bits before.

I got on a kick of rereading RwV from its very first post because Cleolinda, queen of Twilight recaps, recently livetweeted her experience reading the genderswapped follow-up Life and Death.

Hey, I never said my pastimes were particularly noble. I laugh a lot, though.

So... like I said, tomorrow I will be more disciplined. Especially since Friday I need to leave on a roller derby road trip at like 2 PM, which means all the Friday things need to be done done DONE by then. But today was Monday, and sometimes you get Distracted Niki on Mondays.

I am a little uncomfortable that the best CC-licensed photo I could find of a boxcar interior was of a boxcar that was actually used to haul prisoners to concentration camps in WWII. Absolutely nothing on that scale of horror is going on in here.
the future's so fast i gotta wear skates
Sat 2015-11-14 00:00:04 (single post)
  • 12,613 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 933 words (if poetry, lines) long

It's Friday, so I've got a fictionette for y'all. "Future's So Bright," in which the curse of psychic powers messes with one's social life and also one's optical prescription, is available in both ebook and audiobook form for those who wish to chuck a buck or three at the Friday Fictionettes project. The usual excerpt is also available--try before you buy! Patrons get access to a brand new one of these things every first through fourth Friday; everyone else gets one of 'em on the last day of each month. Any of the links in this paragraph will take you to a page where you can subscribe if you so desire.

I discovered this week that it's a lot easier to get a Friday Fictionette up on time if I've been faithfully putting in my 25 minutes a day on it every single day. The fictionette itself was drafted by Tuesday, the cover art done on Wednesday, the draft polished up on Thursday, and the MP3 and PDF produced on Friday along with the usual excerpts.

NaNoWriMo is also easier to accomplish if I put in my scheduled time each time a scheduled time comes round. Unfortunately, I slipped up a bit with it this week. Once again, I've been moving slowly through my days, leaving too much to do for the evenings when I have no energy to do them. So I didn't move the novel's word count at all yesterday, and have only made it through about a thousand words so far today.

It is unlikely that I will make significant progress tomorrow, as I will be in Castle Rock all day participating in that league's annual Fall Down Mix-Up rolller derby tournament. But I will bring my backpack with its usual contents, and if there is time between bouts I might jot down a few sentences. A non-zero amount of words is winning the day!

Matter of fact, I was working on NaNoWriMo at my very first roller derby experience. I was sitting in the audience at the 2011 championships, laptop open and accumulating words during halftime. It'll be just like old times, y'all.

Now, considering that I'll need to leave Boulder at 7:30 in order to get to the Fairgrounds by 9:00, I should probably wrap this up and go to bed. Enjoy your weekend, and if you're around, come watch us skate in Castle Rock tomorrow!

wine, disappointment, ambition, persistence, more wine
Wed 2015-11-11 23:56:37 (single post)
  • 1,200 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 4,558 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 11,665 words (if poetry, lines) long

Got off to a slow start today. Might have been because it was so cold out--Boulder finally got some snow, and snow makes me want to hibernate. Could also have something to do with the righteously exhausting roller derby practice I had last night. In any case, I slept late, I dawdled a bit, I moved very slowly.

But here's where I'm at now: Two thirds the way through today's NaNoWriMo chunk-o-text, three-and-a-half hours of my workday five done, two half-glasses of red wine toward silly, and one new rejection letter to file away.

Alas, after triumphing over my year of resistance with a gorgeous completed revision, I ultimately received a rejection letter for "Caroline's Wake" from the editor who'd invited me to submit that rewrite. If you also do this freelance fiction writing thing, you won't be too shocked, I hope. This is a thing that happens. A revision request isn't necessarily a promise to buy the results. In fact, it's almost never a promise to buy. It's disappointing, of course, but the story's much better for the revision. It'll have a better chance next time I send it out than it would have had previously.

I won't send it out immediately. The rejection letter included some feedback that gave me pause. I'll see if I can't do some small tweaks in response to that feedback to prevent the problem cited from being a problem for the next slush reader who sees it.

No, the rejection letter did not drive me to drink. Please do not think that. It's just, wine is tasty, and I have some wine here, and I have nowhere to be tonight. Wine pairs nicely with popcorn. Popcorn seasoned with Cajun Land and curry powder. With red wine. My NaNoWriMo characters are also drinking red wine. I have to keep them company.

Where was I? Ah. Yes. So...

I'm also giving some serious thought to converting another story of mine to a form of interactive fiction. There's a brand new web-zine out there, Sub-Q, the interactive magazine for interactive fiction, and they're hungry for submissions. I think "Keeping Time" would be perfect for them, but it needs some work to at least prepare an interactivity proposal. I should probably play a little with Twine just to get a feel for what the kids these days are doing. But I'm thinking something like travelogue-style pop-ups for items and people whom the main character interacts with, a constant sense of the passage of time despite time being weird when you continue on a one-way trip through different worlds, maybe some choice as to which worlds the character visits but with a certain inevitability about the ultimate outcome...

I don't know. I'm still brainstorming.

But not tonight. Tonight I still need to log about 900 more words on the NaNoWriMo novel. And it's nearly midnight, so, really, I need to get back to it.

I do wish the room wasn't spinning so. Stupid wine. Tasty, tasty, stupid wine.

this november you see will be just fine
Tue 2015-11-10 23:20:32 (single post)
  • 9,437 words (if poetry, lines) long

So I'm doing NaNoWriMo again. You may recall.

I had the ambitious but perfectly reasonable plan that NaNoWriMo would take up the bulk of my afternoon shift each work day. That is, every Tuesday through Friday, my two hours of working on fiction in the afternoon would be spent producing word count on this new novel. There are 16 Tuesday-through-Fridays in November 2015; I would therefore be responsible for 3,125 words at each session.

Easy. I typically spew some thousand words of freewriting in a single 25-minute timed session. All I have to do is make sure I work all my afternoon shifts.

Well, that turned out to be easier said than done. For reasons already explained elsewhere as well as for other reasons less good and virtuous than those, the first week of November was almost entirely a bust. I got my Friday Fictionette out, but that was all. I haven't even typewriter'd up October's "fictionette artifact" for my gracious Patron, and that's for yet another reason--at some point during the first week of November, I sprained my effin' thumb.

In the grand scheme of things, it's minor. Recommended treatment is to wear my brace whenever I can, give it frequent time under a warm water bath or heating pad, take ibuprofen strategically, and be patient. The pain comes and goes. Oddly, the thing that really brings it on is the natural hanging/swinging motion of arms and wrists that happens during upright perambulation. So I especially make sure to wear my brace while walking or running.

But I can't wear it when I skate, because I have to wear my wrist guards instead. And they don't provide as much stabilization as the brace. Which means that after Sunday's practice, my thumb and wrist were sore again, and after Monday night helping to train the Phase 1 (beginning skating skills) class, things were downright painful. Typing on my laptop this morning and afternoon was a very awkward endeavor. Attempting to pilot a manual typewriter? Unthinkable.

But when my gear came off after tonight's practice, the affected area was magically painless. Typing is fairly comfortable now. I don't get it, I don't trust it, but I'm going to take full advantage of it. If the thumb and wrist feel no worse tomorrow, I'll haul out the typewriter and see if it's manageable.

But anyway--that's what I've got to show for Week 1. Whine, whine, whine; excuses, excuses. But, as planned, I had a writing date on Saturday that got me my first chunk of 3,125. I had another successful session on Monday, and yet another today. Which means my original ambitious-but-reasonable plan still holds, except that it's now Monday-Friday rather than just Tuesday-Friday. Which is fine.

Now, I feared that I'd only have enough story idea to see me through the first three thousand words, and indeed, at the time, having written none of them yet, that was true. But it's amazing how one session leads to another. And how one sentence leads to another. And how, if you give yourself permission to follow every tangent, one throw-away line leads to several hundred words of flashback that reveal more about the character than maybe you already knew, which in turn informs the next scene, which spawns follow-on scenes and more flashbacks and maybe even plot involving incidental secondary characters you threw in just to make a previous scene work, and...

And that's how I know everything is going to be just fine.

Best propaganda poster ever.
YPP Weekend Blockade Roundup, Nov 7-8: Of Sheep, Cold Steel, and Cream Pie
Sat 2015-11-07 13:10:48 (single post)

This is the first weekend featuring the recent changes to the blockade schedule. It's probably too early to tell what effect these changes are having on the blockade scene, but I can tell you this much: Over on the Meridian Ocean, everybody and their gunpuppy is attacking Cream Pie. I don't know if this is because CP are known to be asleep around noon Pirate Time, or because there's some sort of oceanwide grudge against that flag--no one's talking about it on the forums that I can see. But these are all high-paying blockades; I was seeing jobbing offers ranging from 5K to 75 PoE/seg. If you're looking to replenish your doubloon supply, Meridian Ocean looks to be the place.

None of the other oceans are quite as blockade-infatuated today as the Meridian Ocean, but there's something to do everywhere except for Jade. (The Jade Ocean is saving its energy for next week, when Azarbad attacks Spaniel.) On Cerulean, Cold Steel is defending Guava Island from Madame Yu Jian; in a recruitment effort for this they have produced some of the most fantastic intent art I have ever seen. Opal's hosting a scuffle between Strawhats and that ocean's own version of Azarbad the Great over Doyle-Insel. And Emerald Ocean features four blockades, one of them a midnight defense against Admiral Finius and his 19-strong fleet.

Nineteen! I could be wrong, though. I had a very hard time counting those little red shippies on the blockade schedule, so many they were and so crowded close together. I had to move my little mouse cursor over the little red shippies and tell people not to talk to me while I counted.

You know what to do--get out there, get jobbed, puzzle hard, have fun. If you need me, I'll be on the Meridian Ocean. I mean, writing. I'm totally going to be writing. (On the Meridian Ocean.)

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, November 7 ***

10:08 a.m. - Doyle-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Das alles verzehrende Feuer (1)
Attacker: Strawhats

12:00 p.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

12:00 p.m. - Terra Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Coming Soon

12:00 p.m. - Hadrian Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Blood Sweat and Beers

12:00 p.m. - Fintan Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Radioactive

12:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Coming Soon
Undeclared: Heaven's Army

12:00 p.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

1:00 p.m. - Dendrite Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Radioactive
Attacker: Cannabis Nation

2:00 p.m. - Prolix Purlieu, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Velt's Boiyz
Attacker: The Enlightened (13)

4:00 p.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Midknight Sun
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (6)

5:00 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: Cunning Stunts

5:29 p.m. - Labyrinth Moors, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (4)
Attacker: The Secret Service

7:32 p.m. - Surtsey Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Black Veil (2)
Attacker: Per Angusta Ad Augusta
Attacker: Licence to Kill

10:31 p.m. - Kakraphoon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: Cunning Stunts

*** Sunday, November 8 ***

12:00 a.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Gunslingers
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (19)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, November 7 ***

12:00 p.m. - Guava Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Cold Steel
Attacker: The Jade Empire (4)

Cover art incorporates images sourced from pixabay.com and dreamstime.com
fictionettes for fridays and novels each november
Sat 2015-11-07 00:10:20 (single post)
  • 1,190 words (if poetry, lines) long

First things first. Today is a first Friday; you get a Fictionette. "In the Shadow of Next Tuesday" is its title. It's kind of fun and silly, and it's also kind of bittersweet. And I totally want to pet the stilt-o-dile.

In other Fictionette news, the Fictionette Freebie for October 2015 turned out to be "How the Lassie Didn't Go East of the Sun and West of the Moon". Turned out--I say that like it just happened, all on its ownsome, like I didn't have a vote. OK. I decided to go with the Friday Fictionette for October 2. In any case, the complete text is now available to one and all as a slick little PDF you can print or just load up in your favorite reader, and as a bite-sized MP3 of me reading the fictionette to you as a bedtime story or during rush hour traffic.

So that's your Fictionette news. Now, about that National Novel Writing Month...

So last year I abstained for the first time in more than a decade. I'd just retired from precisely a decade of being Boulder's NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, and I had a short story revision I was excited to work on, and, well, "because it would be a shame to break my twelve-year streak" seemed insufficient reason to stress myself out. So I took last year off. Well, this year I finally got that short story revision done, and I decided I'd do NaNoWriMo to celebrate that. Yay, a whole month of nothing but glorious fun wild delirious discovery draft! A whole month during which two hours of each writing day may be spent exploring a brand new story and holding myself to absolutely no standards of quality!

Well, today's Day 6 and I haven't logged a single word yet.

Drat.

It's OK, though! I had already planned on... let's see, 50K divided by 16 workdays in November... I'd already planned on writing 3,125 words per session; I just have to work some of those sessions on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Which is fine. I'll be meeting an old NaNoWriMo friend (who is also now a roller derby friend--the Venn diagram overlap of my writing circle and my derby circle is of surprisingly significant size) for a late lunch and writing date tomorrow, so even if I get nothing logged tonight I'll be off to a great start this weekend.

It will all be just fine.

Despite an original cunning plan to spend the last days of October in productive plot-brainstorming mode, I never quite figured out what I was going to write. Then on November 1 my freewriting session resulted in a sort of cross between Ursula K. LeGuin's novel The Lathe of Heaven (dreams that rewrite the world) and the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life" (if you don't keep the godlet happy, he'll send you to the cornfield). I am mildly concerned that this idea will last me for roughly 5,000 words before dumping me in the proverbial cornfield. But that's the risk one takes. If I have to describe the protagonist's breakfast like it was Dónal and Mórag's wedding feast, then I will do that. That is, after all, how NaNoWriMo goes. Like the founder of the annual shindig says, No Plot? No Problem!

things are lumpy but getting smoother
Thu 2015-11-05 23:54:55 (single post)

Hi. Hello. So... didn't really get back into gear so smoothly after giving myself a Halloween holiday. Took a while to get the engines running. I think maybe taking time off so soon after starting a new routine might be contraindicated when fomenting new habits. Not that it would have been better to try to not take time off, not with everything else that was going on. But I suspect that time off didn't help.

Also, one of our skaters broke her leg Monday night during our scrimmage in Fort Collins. This is a thing that occasionally happens when you play a full-contact sport on skates. We prepare for it as best we can, and then we try not to think about it. We try to play like it's not even in the realm of possibility. And then, once in a while, it happens, and it sucks.

Pretty much everyone in the league who was at that scrimmage had a pretty shitty night after that. Not, of course, nearly as shitty as what the injured skater herself endured. But the league immediately began doing everything in its collective power to make things less shitty for her, from hospital visits to errand-running to plans for bringing her food to just plain sending all our love via the internet and phone and telepathy. That's what roller derby leagues do. It's kind of amazing.

So priorities changed, and the next few days got a little redirected. And that's life.

Today was a fairly solid writing day, if a little weird. I had a ticket to see the live Welcome to Night Vale show at the Paramount. So I took off by bus around midday for Denver with plans to work on my various writing tasks from maybe Leela European Cafe until showtime. And then I remembered that Union Station got significantly upgraded, and is no longer this cavernous hall with bad acoustics and tall penitent pews and an aura of despair. Instead, it is now a fancy hotel and a small shopping mall and a restaurant district. So I splurged a bit at Stoic & Genuine (well, kind of more than a bit) and then settled down at one of the lobby device-charging tables to plug in my laptop and make words happen on it. And words did happen.

The Welcome to Night Vale live show was amazing. Go see it if you can.

I'm writing this blog post on the bus back to Boulder. John will meet me at the station and drive me home, where I will have a bite to eat and then commence whatever the heck I wind up writing for NaNoWriMo.

Have I mentioned that I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year? Well, I am.

About that, more later.

YPP Weekend Blockade Roundup for Oct 31-Nov 1: Let's do the Time Warp
Sat 2015-10-31 19:15:13 (single post)

As was announced last week, there will be a couple changes to the way blockades are scheduled. Starting November 6...

  • The blockade drop window will be Friday noon to midnight Pirate Time. Blockades will all happen between noon and midnight on Saturday. (This will also shorten the window for Brigand King blockade times.)
  • All breaks will now be 15 minutes, removing the long break between rounds 3 and 4.

Now, the Opal Ocean has always run on a slightly different schedule; you've probably noticed that blockades on the German-language ocean often start many hours before noon on Saturday. Accordingly, Opal's new blockade schedule will be different from that of the English-language oceans:

On the Opal Ocean, the new time frame for declaring blockades will be Friday 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM (11:00 - 23:00) German time. The start time of the blockades will correspondingly be Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Again, this applies also to Brigand Kings.

This translation brought to you by Google Translate and my own copyediting skills. And according to timeanddate.com, when it's 11:00 AM in Germany it's 2:00 AM by Pirate Time/U.S. Pacific Time.

Speaking of time zones and schedules, U.S. Daylight Savings Time ends this week. In most U.S. locations, we set our clocks back an hour. The Pacific Time zone is no exception. Any blockades with start times later than 2:00 AM PT on Sunday, Nov. 1 may be represented inaccurately below--I still haven't figured out how to fix that for sure. I'll try to double-check the schedule sometime early after the time shift tomorrow morning and correct whatever needs correcting.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, October 31 ***

3:00 a.m. - Doyle-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Der Zorn der Götter
Attacker: Das alles verzehrende Feuer (1)

9:50 a.m. - McGuffins Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonische Horden (1)
Attacker: Strawhats

11:05 a.m. - Tumult-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Hort des Eiswurms (1)
Attacker: Strawhats

1:42 p.m. - Windward Vale, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Alria
Attacker: Coming Soon

2:00 p.m. - Raven's Roost, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Legacy of Life
Attacker: Corteezism

7:43 p.m. - Surtsey Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Black Veil (3)
Attacker: Trap House

*** Sunday, November 1 ***

6:51 a.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (4)
Attacker: Coming In Hot

9:00 a.m. - Ambush Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Midknight Sun
Attacker: The Jade Empire (4)

11:00 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: The Jade Empire (7)

11:58 a.m. - Ventress Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Gunslingers
Attacker: Hysteria

11:58 a.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Naughtiest Naughtiness

12:00 p.m. - Labyrinth Moors, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (5)

12:00 p.m. - Doyle Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Naughtiest Naughtiness
Attacker: Truth or Dare

12:00 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Loose Lips Sink Ships
Attacker: Qlimax Telecom

12:00 p.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Qlimax Telecom

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, October 31 ***

12:00 p.m. - Labyrinth Moors, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Mixed Nuts
Attacker: Babylon

1:00 p.m. - Turtle Island, Cerulean Ocean
Event: 7 rounds, nonsinking & no removal
Hosted by: Babylon

3:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Totalitarian principle
Attacker: Babylon

3:15 p.m. - Remora Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Phoenix Rises
Attacker: Undertow

6:00 p.m. - Islay of Luthien, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Tyr's Own
Attacker: Babylon

8:00 p.m. - Lagniappe Island, Cerulean Ocean
Event: 1 round, sinking!
Hosted by: Tequila Sunrise

9:00 p.m. - Cormorant Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Super Awesomeness
Attacker: Babylon

*** Sunday, November 1 ***

12:00 a.m. - Hephaestus' Forge, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Midnight Yacht Club
Attacker: Babylon

3:00 a.m. - Cochineal Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Static Before the Storm
Attacker: Babylon

6:00 a.m. - Cnossos Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Phoenix Rises
Attacker: Riding High

12:00 p.m. - Xi Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Crimson Tide
Attacker: Ice Wyrm's Brood (4)

a whole thunder of stuff done rolled
Wed 2015-10-28 22:48:43 (single post)
  • 1,285 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 4,558 words (if poetry, lines) long

Behold! Two short stories went winging to their respective targets. Two of them! And all my writing for the day, except for this blog post, done before five pee-em. Folks, I am on fire.

John very kindly allowed me to read "Caroline's Wake" to him, which, given its length, meant the donation of more than half an hour plus some engaged discussion. He is a fantastic writer-support spouse. All the kudos. It was his first time experiencing this particular story, so he was able to offer a fresh perspective on whether it made sense, whether the characters were acting like real people, and whether things the right emotional weight was present. These are all things I worry about when a lot of slicing and dicing goes on between drafts. While "killing your darlings" it's possible to also kill some hard-working support structures. When vital pillars and buttresses go missing, it helps to have someone around to notice.

Speaking of killing your darlings, he also suggested I cut the final paragraph. The one about the crocus heralding a mild winter. Dammit. OK. I cut it, because the requesting editor said the exact same thing (or at the very least she suggested that it shouldn't be the final paragraph) and when two separate readers notice the same problem then maybe it's a good idea to listen to them. Dammit.

(Some darlings are very darling. Alas.)

Anyway, the story went into the email, and very soon afterward I had a reply full of excitement and glee, which was a relief. I'd secretly feared, because I am prone to Writer's Weasel Brain, that she'd be all what, this old thing? Not interested anymore. You missed your chance. But of course that was not the case. Weasel Brain is always wrong. Two reliable things about Weasel Brain: It'll always have something to say, and it'll always be wrong.

As expected, the title of the submission to Alien Artifacts got changed. When that story went to The First Line, it was called "The Rapture of the Santiago Women", as a nod to the famous Roman abduction event known as the Rape of the Sabine Women". Problem was, the allusion really only was skin deep. It was clever but not resonant. So I changed it to "Comin' For to Carry Me Home" both for the literal meaning within the plot and the play on homing device.

(And now you have the song stuck in your head, and my work here is done.)

Also, the first line got changed, as its original first line is best considered the exclusive property of The First Line. Which mean the little boy's name had to be changed, since it had been part of the first line. And then a whole bunch of other stuff got changed until, given that the story's only about 1300 words long, the revision really merited a whole new version number under my private and terribly subjective file-naming system. So Alien Artifacts gets to see Homing Device v2.0, or maybe, given the last print-out and line-edit pass, v2.2.1

Fair warning: I may just take the rest of the week off. Friday is fifth Friday, which means no Friday Fictionette is due. And tomorrow is a Halloween party on skates, which means I have to put the finishing touches on my costume. (John has been helping me with that, too. All the kudos.) So if I get very little done for the rest of the week, it's OK. I done a whole thunder of stuff between last week and now. I can take a small holiday.

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