“Cut a good story anywhere, and it will bleed.”
Anton Chekhov

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

minor optimism at tired o'clock
Tue 2017-07-11 23:51:11 (single post)

So I did spend a little time the other day looking at the notes from last year's novel brainstorming session. Got kind of excited about it all over again, like, yes, this is going to be a novel worth writing, and spending time with these characters will be keen, but I didn't have any sudden breakthroughs. I mean, it would have been very nice to reread the notes and suddenly go, "Oh! That's how the novel ends. I see it all now! Must write the first draft NOW!" But no.

I also haven't managed to get back to it since that night. Which isn't very good for maintaining that excitement level. Mainly I've just been plugging away as best as my schedule and energy levels will allow. Mostly not having any crash-and-waste-the-day days, but still haven't reached the sort of daily productivity level I'm looking for.

Meanwhile, the goddamn insomnia is back. Not getting sleep isn't helping, body, please do a thing that is helping, pretty please.

On a different note, there is something very satisfying about getting together with fifteen or so of your best roller derby buddies to reposition the floor tiles and lay down a fresh track. Then, when you get there for Tuesday practice, you get to look at it and skate on it and think, "We did that. Go us!" Very tiring work, especially when the day previous you skated in two very competitive bouts, but very satisfying nevertheless.

OK, I'm off to try to make myself very tired.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 8-9: The (attempted) resurrection of Jade
Sat 2017-07-08 13:08:43 (single post)

STOP THE PRESSES. There will be a blockade on the Jade Ocean this weekend!

When? Sunday, July 9, 12 PM Pirate Time
Where? Arco Ascalón
Against whom? ˇVARGAS EL LOCO!
Why? In another attempt to wake up Jade Ocean and encourage others to do the same

They're going to start at a pay of 3k per segment, but reserve the right to send in fewer and smaller ships as Vargas's fleet diminishes.

On Cerulean, Babylon would appreciate your help in defending Kirin today. Blackstar will be defending Eta and Jubilee from attack by The Stumbling Solo. Byrne will be defended as well.

Meridian and Emerald are not devoid of action today. In the case of Emerald, that is an understatement, especially since Illusion dropped a whole bunch of noon-time Sunday war chests at the last minute. Obsidian, aka Dark Seas, have no blockades yet but the time will come. (I gotta update my database!)

In more general news, a couple of enterprising pirates have created new resources for your enjoyment:

An' that's the news, an' I am outta here.

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, July 8 ***

12:00 p.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Ice Wyrm's Brood (4)

12:01 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (4)
Attacker: Knockout

12:01 p.m. - Cryo Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover
Attacker: Shadows of Sage

12:02 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

12:04 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Jinx (2)
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:35 p.m. - Anegada Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Per Aspera Ad Sol
Attacker: Spoon Republic

5:54 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Keeping The Peace

*** Sunday, July 9 ***

10:02 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Shadows of Sage

10:08 a.m. - Corona Reef, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Infamous
Attacker: Antheas

11:00 a.m. - Arco Ascal�n, Jade Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: El Iluminado (1)
Attacker: United Explorers

11:56 a.m. - Saiph Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

11:57 a.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Illusion

11:57 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

11:58 a.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Illusion

11:58 a.m. - Kakraphoon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: Illusion

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 8 ***

12:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Jinx (2)

7:56 p.m. - Eta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

8:00 p.m. - Jubilee Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

11:58 p.m. - Byrne Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

I also got a photo of Joe DiMeowgio. Score.
what we call a great start to the week
Mon 2017-07-03 23:41:39 (single post)

Oh, and speaking of making up for things, I slept in today. A lot. I needed to make up for the weekend, in which I failed to get pretty much any sleep and so I failed at pretty much everything else. So. Hi! I'm well rested now!

Tomorrow is party day. Tomorrow is get up, make the ambrosia salad, make with about half a workday's worth of writing, and then make with the partying. Yay party.

Apropros of just about nothing at all, did you know that the latest version of the Android emulator Bluestacks (2.7.320.8504) is actually compatible with Neko Atsume? OH MY GOD IT'S FULL OF KITTIES. I finally got a picture of Ramses the Great today. This makes me feel so accomplished I cannot begin to tell you.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 1-2: A shadow descends over the ocean
Sat 2017-07-01 13:08:40 (single post)

Most of the blockades this weekend are on Cerulean and Emerald. There's... one on Meridian. Just one this weekend.

By sheer coincidence, Meridian's doubloon market is off the hook. We're talking buying offers at nearly 11k. Seriously, Meridian, what's up with you?

Today's the first day of a new month; there's a new Seal o' Piracy to be earned. This month, you get it by completing 30 sea battles. Don't wait until the last minute--this is one that's going to take time.

Meanwhile, the Dark Seas beta has dropped. That's kinda big. Steam not required yet--just download the client directly from the links in the forum post. Things will look very familiar. You'll catch on in a flash.

*Goes away humming the Monster Mash*

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, July 1 ***

12:00 p.m. - Zuyua Mist, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming Soon
Attacker: Black Veil (3)

12:00 p.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Raiders Of The Void
Attacker: Spoon Republic

12:00 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Caught In Crossfire
Attacker: Knockout

4:00 p.m. - Kasidim Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Dead In The Water
Attacker: Illuminatti

7:31 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Per Aspera Ad Sol
Attacker: Invicta

8:12 p.m. - Sayers Rock, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (3)
Attacker: Illuminatti

8:35 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

8:36 p.m. - Cryo Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: No Strings Attached
Attacker: Auspicious Takeover

8:58 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (6)

11:54 p.m. - Bowditch Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Jinx (3)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 1 ***

12:01 p.m. - Beta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The Enlightened (2)
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

6:56 p.m. - Eta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

7:00 p.m. - Jubilee Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

7:06 p.m. - Olive Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

7:12 p.m. - Byrne Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

*** Sunday, July 2 ***

10:29 a.m. - Fintan Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Blackstar
Attacker: Babylon
Attacker: The Stumbling Solo

Cover art incorporates Page of Wands (Pamela Colman Smith, following instructions from A.E. Waite) [public domain in the US].
this fictionette is very, very embarrassed
Sat 2017-07-01 00:54:57 (single post)
  • 4,600 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,206 words (if poetry, lines) long

Two things.

First, the Friday Fictionette for June 30 is out: "Strange Tidings" (ebook, audiobook) which begins with an observation about the gaps in the official Rider-Waite tarot interpretations and from there goes somewhere odd.

Secondly, I have just received the most embarrassing rejection letter in as long as I can remember. My face is red as we speak. Turns out, the place I just sent "Caroline's Wake," that sounded like the perfect home for it, and whose submission window just happened to open at the time I sent it... I had actually sent it there before. During a previous submission period. When I undoubtedly thought it would be just the perfect home for it.

The editors were really gracious about it. Apparently it was memorable--in a good way--so when it crossed their desks they recognized it immediately. They hope I will send them something new the next time they open for submissions.

I am very, very embarrassed. Since it is not good form to respond to rejection letters, even to say sorry (editors are busy, I am not adding to their caseload just to soothe my own feelings), I am exorcising the embarrassment demons here.

(I am sure that Very Famous and Successful Authors the world over have made just this mistake and been just as embarrassed about it. Someday, when I am a Very Famous and Successful Author, newer authors will read this blog post and say, "Oh, what a relief, even Very Famous and Successful Authors make that mistake too." See? This is a public service.)

which doesn't make the date less significant
Thu 2017-06-29 17:08:10 (single post)

About the same today: Got the daily stuff in--did my freewriting, finished drafting this week's Fictionette release, and typed a page against the Fictionette artifact backlog. Then I had to leave for errands in Longmont en route to the usual Thursday scrimmage. But maybe, maybe, if I am very good, and if I do it in an idle sort of low-energy way that is compatible with the post-derby portion of the evening, I might manage to spend a half hour or so on the novel I started brainstorming last year. I might not actually write any of it--I might spend that half hour simply reading all my notes from last November and maybe adding to them--but it is nevertheless an exciting prospect.

To make that more possible, I'm doing the blog post now rather than later. Hi!

Greens in the fridge notwithstanding, I am enjoying a bowl of pho at Pho Huong Viet. They have become my pre-bout ritual, only I missed out on Saturday what with that whole "oops, I left my shoes at the Fairgrounds and now the building's locked and it turns out the people at the restaurant would really rather I didn't skate on their nice wood floor" thing. I mean, they did let me order spring rolls to go, but it just wasn't the same. So I'm making up for it today.

I made up for a different oversight by calling Dad. My parents have the same wedding anniversary date that me and John do, so generally it's easy to remember to call. But this year, what with our frantic roller derby schedule, we barely remembered our own anniversary. So I called today.

It was weird, though. I had this awful feeling that wishing Dad a happy anniversary would not actually be kind. Like it was more likely to add insult to injury. I mean, if Dad was widowed, there'd be no question; the anniversary of the start of a fantastic marriage is no less something to be celebrated just because death did you part. But it feels wrong somehow when Mom is still around in body but entirely gone in her mind. The marriage continues but one of its participants has changed beyond recognition (and does not herself recognize most of the people closest to her in her life). Are we celebrating? Are we in any position to celebrate? Was the 20th, in fact, a happy day, or was it just an occasion for the calendar to stick a knife in Dad's ribs and twist it?

Dementia sucks and makes everything awkward.

But I called, and I said happy anniversary, and Dad kind of laughed and returned the good wishes, and we took the rest of the phone call as just another opportunity to catch up on the last few weeks. I told him about the most recent bouts; he took the news about his daughter getting a black eye in stride ("So you scored points, and you got a badge of honor. Nothing wrong with that!"). He told me about how his day's been going. Things were OK.

He put Mom on the phone. Mom said hello and that she hoped everything was going well for me, and then, this having used up her scant verbal reserves, she handed back the phone.

"Well, that didn't go so well," Dad said.

"I dunno," said I, "she put words together to form sentences. That's a thing."

So. I guess the moral of the story is, however awkward the conversation, it's never actually wrong to call. Well, rarely, anyway.

but i'm supposed to blog so i guess here is a post
Thu 2017-06-29 00:09:28 (single post)

Hullo the blog. Not much to report. Continuing to plug along at my daily tasks and inch through the overdue ones. Also there are household things and the everpresent specter of roller derby, so each day winds up having less time in it than I think. Still haven't managed to get to the exciting things like "and work on that novel you started brainstorming last year!" or "get a new short story ready for submission!" But that will come. Meanwhile, I am showing up every day and putting in a solid session, and I am no longer actively falling behind in anything.

The linden tree out back started blooming about a day after I complained that it hadn't. So that's nice. The fragrance was particularly delightful late last night.

I am sporting my very first derby-related black eye! It's awesome. One of the staff at Murphy's last night, where we often go for post-practice dinner and drinks, asked me if I gave as good as I got. I had to admit that I had, yes, by definition, seeing has how I had given it to myself in the first place. Remember about the inadvisability of playing offense with your face? Yeah, well, same goes for jamming. Also I need to get better at my hockey stops so I have other options when approaching a pack at speed other than "success!" and "panic, fall over, go boom."

In other news, it's CSA season and my fridge is full of greens. I keep thinking, "I've been good, I've worked hard, I should treat myself to five spice wok chicken at Jin Chan," and then I don't go, because my fridge is full of greens. I have been coming up with all the ways to eat them. There's sauteeed mizuna to keep my leftover kung pao chicken from getting lonely, there's finely shredded kale mixed in with shredded potatoes and scrambled eggs for a sort of hash brown/omelet/egg-fu-yung/potato-pancake hybrid breakfast (don't forget the apple sauce), there's stewed chard in a pot of approximate dal, there's anything leafy at all in my sausage-mac-and-cheese (featuring more cheddar brats from my teammate's farm), there's sprouts on my fake-bacon-and-cheese sandwich, and then there's straight-up salad.

WHAT MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY I AM EATING ALL THE THINGS WITH MAGNESIUM IN THEM.

(The foot does seem to be cramping less during practice... but that could just be the results of, y'know, practice.)

So. Like I said, not much to report. Just stuff. More stuff tomorrow if we're lucky.

walking around on a Monday afternoon (now with more writing)
Mon 2017-06-19 23:10:31 (single post)

I would like to get to the point where I am no longer patting myself on my back just for getting the day's work done. I feel like "puts in the hours writing" is a bare minimum to call myself a writer, much as "has four wheels and an engine" is the bare minimum for calling something a car. But years of painful experience tells me that it's not a given, so: Today was a good day. I put in the hours writing. This week is off to a good start.

I can tell you this about procrastination: It's not fun. Knowing that I've got a writing task to get to, and yet doing anything other than starting on that task, is a weird sort of self-administered torture that makes absolutely no sense at all. So there was a sense of relief today when, rather than doing the avoidance dance for hours on end, I just said to myself, Enough of this crap, clocked in on my timesheet, and got to work on the next task.

By contrast, my four-hour Puzzle Pirates session at the Rayback on Saturday was blissful because I had done my Friday work and had no reason to feel guilty. I had earned my self-indulgence.

It's really, really silly how much it's in my own power to reduce my own stress and increase my own happiness, and how nevertheless I so often don't take the steps to do it.

Speaking of steps (she segued masterfully), I did a lot of walking today. Mondays I take the Volt on my various errands and charge it, which means a lot of walking between whatever charging station I use and whatever errands I have. Today's errands were: 1. While charging the car at the Village on the Peaks station, my weekly Cafe of Life appointment, lunch at Leenie's Cafe (oyster remoulade omelet, grits, biscuit, and coffee while accomplishing some of the aforementioned writing tasks), and groceries; 2. while using the plug that a small business owner in Gunbarrel very kindly makes available to the public via plugshare.com, New Recruit Night at Finkel & Garf. (There will be another on Wedensday at Left Hand Brewing, so if you missed it tonight and you're interested in learning more about roller derby in Boulder County, put that on your calendar.) My knee appears to be all better, or if not all better then as close as makes no nevermind; it got tight and sore from all the walking more quickly than the other knee did, but no more than that. I think I'm in good shape for tomorrow's practice.

I passed linden trees in Longmont that were already in bloom and smelling gorgeously sweet. Not sure why the ones at home aren't blooming yet, but it can't be long now. The two or three weeks of high summer when that scent is constantly wafting in our bedroom window are glorious.

YPP Weekend Blockades, June 17-18: technical difficulties
Sat 2017-06-17 13:31:25 (single post)

OK, so, I'm gonna keep this short because 1. it's past noon game time, and I'm anxious to get to playing in the YPP blockades myself, and 2. I left my external keyboard at home, drat me, and my laptop's keyboard is currently denying me use of the F5 key, the 5 and 0 on the number row, the 7 on the number pad, the DEL and CAPS LOCK keys, and the letter "o". This makes blog post composition awkward. So I'm just gonna paste the schedule in below and get on with things, how about that?

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, June 17 ***

12:11 p.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Sons Of Anarchy
Attacker: Lit

12:58 p.m. - Ilha da Aguia, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Lit

3:34 p.m. - Gallows Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The Enlightened (2)
Attacker: Per Aspera Ad Sol
Attacker: Sons Of Anarchy

4:00 p.m. - Hubble's Eye, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (5)

5:00 p.m. - Fugu Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Argosy
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (3)

10:42 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Liquored Up
Attacker: deutsche kaiserflotte

*** Sunday, June 18 ***

11:27 a.m. - Sayers Rock, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Illusion

11:28 a.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Illusion

11:32 a.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Illusion

11:45 a.m. - Saiph Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Versus Terminus
Attacker: deutsche kaiserflotte

11:48 a.m. - Ambush Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Going Down
Attacker: Hunny Buns

11:52 a.m. - Basset Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Hunny Buns

11:54 a.m. - Ashkelon Arch, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Illusion

12:00 p.m. - Akhlys Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

12:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illusion
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (6)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, June 17 ***

12:58 p.m. - Fintan Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

1:12 p.m. - Eta Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Stumbling Solo
Attacker: Blackstar

Cover art features original photography by the author, who had to move some furniture to get that alarm clock unplugged. You're welcome.
this fictionette will not get a delay of game penalty
Sat 2017-06-17 00:05:16 (single post)
  • 988 words (if poetry, lines) long

Mwahahahahaha--BEHOLD! The Friday Fictionette for June 16, released on June 16. BWAHAHAHAHA! Ha-ha. *ahem* It has been a good week. And so I present to you "CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP" (ebook, audiobook) which is another of those tiresome self-indulgent magic realism numbers wherein the author subverts a physical law in order to say something meaningful and symbolic about the human condition. JUST KIDDING. It's a weird little flash piece about a day when all the off-switches for everything electronic stops working. (Which is kind of the same thing, depending on how you feel about weird little magic realism numbers.)

Thanks to the weave and dodge strategy, I wound up this morning looking at about 1500 words of disjointed pieces of story, all auditioning to be part of the fictionette. It was surprisingly simple to remove the bits that didn't fit and smooth the remaining pieces together into a single work. So. Note to self: this works.

(There is still no Mongo. There is still no cheese.)

And I have a lovely weekend ahead of me, with an unscheduled Saturday (omg!) and a holiday Sunday off from derby. I know, I know, Tuesday's blog post I was all MOAR SKATING PLS. Well, after four hours on Tuesday, a couple hours on Wednesday, and Thursday's double scrimmage which managed somehow to tweak my left knee, I'm oddly OK with taking this Sunday off. Don't nobody panic--it's not comparable with January's grade 2 MCL tear. If it's comparable at all, the comparison is with that injury after four or five weeks of recovery, OK? I'm walking fine. I'm not in significant pain. I'm just stiff and sore and a smidge swollen, that's all. It's responding nicely to a regimen of ice and ibuprofen and some of range-of-mobility exercises from my past PT repertoire. But I'm sure it will appreciate a little extra time off skates before diving back into travel team practice in preparation for that big Bombshells vs. Crossroads bout on the 24th.

(Sunday plans involve dinner-anna-movie and quiet acknowledgment that, gosh, John and I will have been married for 19 years come Tuesday. How about that.)

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