“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
Robert Benchley

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

YPP Weekend Blockades, August 5-6: My how the week just flew by
Sat 2017-08-05 11:34:48 (single post)

Hey, look, when did it get to be Saturday again? I swear I have been hard at work this past week, but I just haven't managed to get to the items at the end of the to-do list, including blogging. So. Next week will be better.

Meanwhile, in the YPP universe, there are blockades. Not many, mind you. But a couple. As usual, stay tuned for whether additional war chests drop at the last minute.

Also there is a new Seal o' Piracy to fight for. Or play for, if you prefer. The Seal for August 2017 calls for playing 10 parlor games. Personally, I dislike this particular goal, because parlor games are my least favorite part of the game. There are infinite variations on Poker, Hearts and Spades across many, many different apps in all the computerized world--why, precisely, do I need to do that in Puzzle Pirates? I'd much rather be doing the things that are actually unique to the game. That said, the Treasure Drop and Drinking games might be considered unique to YPP (despite that Drinking is basically just a thematic skin on the PopCap game Alchemy), but I don't really like them much.

Basically, I'm waiting for Thursdays and Saturdays to play in swordfighting and rumble tournaments. I'm not sure if that counts toward the August Seal o' Piracy. We'll find out.

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, August 5 ***

2:00 p.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Ice Wyrm's Brood (2)
Attacker: Trap House

7:01 p.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: No Strings Attached

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 29-30: The target specified is no longer valid
Sat 2017-07-29 11:56:26 (single post)

What is wrong with everyone? There are two--count 'em, two-- blockades currently scheduled across the entire YPP universe. That's it. One on Cerulean and one on Meridian, both scheduled for noon Pirate Time today. WHERE IS EVERYONE OMG (and why nothing on Emerald? That's my doubloon farm, people!)

More war chests may get dropped as we approach the end of the blockade declaration window, but I won't be able to check on that until later on in the afternoon 'cause I'm going to see the 12:30 MDT showing of Atomic Blonde. Will try to remember to check afterward and update this post with any additions to the schedule.

Update! In fact, yes, a handful of Sunday blockades did drop (including one on Emerald yay), and the Hephaestus' Forge BK attack on Cerulean got rescheduled for Sunday. So there you go. But I did not actually go to the movie after all. Next weekend maybe.

MEANWHILE... I got a prompt to update my Java installation this week. After that, my shortcuts for Dark Seas/Obsidian no longer worked. I was able to fix them following these instructions. The post is about ten years old, but the advice is still good--at least, I can vouch for that in windows. Briefly, you have to edit the shortcut's target folder's name to reference the version of Java you're currently running. So instead of...

  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_131\bin\javaw.exe" -jar getdown-dop.jar .

...it now says this:

  • "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_144\bin\javaw.exe" -jar getdown-dop.jar .

(A simpler and more recent post on the subject is here.)

If you're on a Mac I can't help you. With any luck, Gothmog's post will still be useful to you, too.

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 29 ***

12:00 p.m. - Akhlys Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (3)

*** Sunday, July 30 ***

10:44 a.m. - Stormy Fell, Meridian Ocean
Event: 1 round, nonsinking
Hosted by: Barely Dressed

11:38 a.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Ice Wyrm's Brood (2)
Attacker: The Warriors

12:00 p.m. - Ventress Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Crayon Box
Attacker: Spoon Republic

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, July 30 ***

11:00 a.m. - Hephaestus' Forge, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (2)

of flesh and blood, born to make mistakes, yadda tunefully yadda
Fri 2017-07-28 22:32:14 (single post)

Well. After that big, passionate, weary oasis manifesto yesterday... I went and got all caught up in following today's news cycle and didn't write for beans. Not a biscuit. Not even a little green apple. Nothing. Then I went out to Buddha Thai where I kept reading the news obsessively and also ate my whole damn plate of drunken noodles in one sitting. This led inevitably to evening food coma.

Well.

*Digs toe in sand, blushes, shuffles away humming Human League duets*

So anyway, the Friday Fictionette for July 28th (to do with a city that only comes out at noon and the only girl in town who can see it) will be out by Monday the 31st, at which time the Fictionette Freebie for July will get released and the Fictionette Artifact for March (yes, I'm still way behind there) will go out in the mail. That's the plan. That's my story. We'll see how well I stick to it.

OK. Off to see what else blew up since I've been napping.

this is my oasis of normality it is a nice oasis have a coconut
Thu 2017-07-27 22:37:31 (single post)
  • 2,996 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 101 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 100 words (if poetry, lines) long

Things are getting kind of unhinged out there. (Getting?) OK, more unhinged. Dramatically more unhinged. I'm not oblivious to this--I wish I had the luxury to be oblivious, but I don't think anyone has that luxury, not really. I've been keeping a browser tab open on the latest political open thread at Metafilter, refreshing it frequently, and dreading what I'll see but being grateful for the intelligent and bleakly humorous tenor of the conversation there.

For the most part, aside from the occasional outburst in the social mediaz, I've been restricting my reactions to carefully worded faxes to my Senators and Representatives (have you met Resistbot?). I'm... going to stick with that, actually. If I start commenting more, especially here on a blog dedicated specifically daily writing accountability, the writing will get squeezed out and my ability to resist usefully will wither under the blow-torch of perpetual outrage and I'll wither, too, just wither away into an exhausted, whimpering ball of despair.

I'm aware. I'm doing my part. But I'm also setting boundaries and patrolling them as best I can.

Sometimes it seems like the best act of resistance I can muster is to simply continue, day by day, to show up at the page, to submit stories for publication, to publish each Friday's fictionette--to be a small force for normality in the world, pushing forward, come what may. To keep doing the good work of... just being this person in the world.

To raise my little flag that says, "I'm still here. I'm still writing, I'm still skating, and the fuckers can't take that away from me."

So. Hello. We are writing now.

Today was a good day. Good like most of last week was good. This week has not been so good--the crash-and-burn tendency caught up with me Tuesday and bled over a bit into Wednesday--but last week was great and so was today. It would be nice to think I've gone from a "one day on, one day off" cycle to a "ten days on, one day off" cycle. It would be very nice for that to be a permanent change. I mean, heck, ten days on, one day off--that's above and beyond the mainstream standard, right? It's a longer work-week and a shorter weekend, is what it is.

Anyway.

A couple stories came back with rejection letters. I haven't yet decided where to send them next, but I did send one of my other existing drabbles out. I have a good handful of unpublished drabbles from the days when SpeckLit.com encouraged writers to submit ten at a time; since SpeckLit shut down and Drabblecast went on hiatus, it's hard to find paying markets for them. It's not as simple as sending them to places that welcome very short flash fiction. With markets that don't specifically solicit drabbles, there's the possibility that the editor doesn't really consider 100 words to be an actual story. On the other hand, if the market welcomes flash and doesn't specify a lower word-count limit, what have I got to lose by sending one in? I'm trying to thread the needle between shotgunning and self-rejection by targeting markets that seem more likely. The ones that have published, say, 300-word short fiction. Or that take prose poetry.

I could also take one of my drabbles and expand it. That's an option. As soon as the flash piece that's currently taking up my afternoon shift is done, I may just do that.

So. Onward. Just as though everything were normal.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 22-23: It's halfway over before we've quite begun talking about it
Sat 2017-07-22 13:55:15 (single post)

The blockade schedule is very slim this week. One on each English-speaking ocean starting at noon today, and then a last little tussle on Emerald at a quarter to four.

(And when I say "English-speaking ocean" I am not including Obsidian. I think there aren't going to be blockades on Obsidian for a while, certainly not until islands that can be blockaded have been colonized.)

That's all I've got, which is great 'cause I'm late. One round is already up. Go! Hurry! Go!

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 22 ***

12:00 p.m. - Olive Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Velt's Boiyz
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (2)

12:00 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (2)
Attacker: Black Flag

3:47 p.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Spoon Republic
Attacker: Crayon Box

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 22 ***

12:00 p.m. - Corona Reef, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: The Insane Asylum
Attacker: Jinx (2)

Cover art incorporates pubilc domain photograph via Wikimedia Commons and a totally overused lighting effect in The GIMP.
no crashy-burny for THIS fictionette; also, how the sausage gets made
Fri 2017-07-21 23:47:11 (single post)
  • 1,031 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 2,850 words (if poetry, lines) long

The bad news is, yes I got sick again. Or discovered I'm still sick, and that Thursday was just a day off from being sick because the universe is merciful or because it likes a good joke or maybe just because I took a 12-hour Sudafed at exactly the right time, I don't know. Today was gross sniffly coughing sneezing bleaaarrrrrgh.

The good news is, I got all my work done anyway. So there. Take that, sick! You ain't the boss of me!

Seriously, though, 100% not kidding, today was probably a more powerful rebuttal to Jerk Brain than it would have been had I felt perfectly fine. It's evidence that my ability to Be A Writer™ is not dependent on the stars being aligned just right. It is something that, in all but the most exceptionally terrible cases, is always within reach. That's really empowering.

Today I...

  • Sent "First Breath" off on a new quest for reprint publication
  • Published this week's Friday Fictionette
  • Set up a Scrivener project for converting an old draft into a new piece of flash fiction

And also freewriting, Morning Pages, this blog entry, Fictionette Artifact catch-up, yadda yadda yadda. ALL THE THINGS.

The Friday Fictionette for July 21 is "Falling Toward the Light" (for Patrons: full-length ebook, audiobook), which is mostly about the hazards of having a rift in the space-time continuum open up while excavating for new building construction in downtown Loveland. It's also partly, possibly, between the lines, about the effects of the above on economics and politics at the hyperlocal level.

When keeping up with Friday Fictionettes was threatening to take over my entire writing life, I was beginning to question their viability as a continuing side project. I was sick of having nothing writing-wise to blog about except them. But now that I'm more or less caught up and reliably on time with the weekly releases (excluding, of course, the Fictionette Artifacts--I am almost ready to mail the ones from March), and now that I'm regularly working on writing and selling short fiction again, I'm going to designate Fridays and only Fridays for blogging about Friday Fictionettes. To everyone's relief, mine especially.

And now that they've been reliably on time for a few weeks, I feel like I can speak to the weekly routine of making them happen. So! Here is my Process, in case you are wondering.

Saturday: Tomorrow's Saturday! Yay. It is the Saturday preceding the July Week 4 release. So I'll take a look at what I wrote during my freewriting sessions during the fourth week of June and choose one of those pieces to develop into the Friday Fictionette for July 28. I'll copy it from the Daily Writing scriv to the Friday Fictionettes scriv, then set up its folder with all the relevant templates. That's pretty much it. It's the weekend, and I just valiantly published the previous release, so I get to take it easy.

Sunday: NOTHING. I started giving myself this day off from even the most minimal writing tasks after I was forced to recognize I wasn't doing them. Something about starting the day with a three- or even six-hour roller derby practice. I've still been optimistic enough to set up writing dates with friends on Sunday afternoons, though.

Monday: Back to work. Once in a while, I'm fortunate enough to have produced a pretty good first draft during the original freewriting session. Most of the time, I'm not, and the output will be this rambling exploratory babble. So I'll spend Monday's fictionette-prep session just creating a very wordy outline. It's mostly about structure: Start here, then this happens, then that, then the other, then finally end with this.

Tuesday through Thursday: Write the dang thing. Using the outline as a sort of fill-in-the-blank, using the weave-and-dodge strategy to keep from getting stuck, trying not to waste any of my daily 25-minute fictionette-prep session on staring into space or doing too much internet research. This is the hard part but it's getting easier.

Friday: Publish the sucker. Come up with a title and an author's note if I haven't already. Ditto cover art. Sometimes I have all the foresight and I create the cover from my own photography or drawings, but usually I do a last minute search for public domain or creative commons attribution/share-alike commercial-OK licensed imagery. Export the Fictionette as PDF and epub, convert epub to mobi, record the audiobook and convert to mp3, and post to Patreon. If by this time it is not stupidly late o'clock, do the excerpts for Patreon, Wattpad, and my blog too; otherwise, do those over the weekend. (I try not to have to leave them for the weekend.) It sounds like a lot, but everything after creating the cover art is pretty mechanical by now. It only takes forever if I didn't finish the actual writing by Thursday.

And that is how the sausage gets made. The end.

See you tomorrow for the weekend YPP report! Or, if that's not relevant to your interests, skip it and I'll see you Monday.

that's it, no more crashy-burny for you (you don't even LIKE crashy-burny, what the hell is wrong with you)
Thu 2017-07-20 23:34:13 (single post)
  • 2,996 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 100 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 3,339 words (if poetry, lines) long

So it turned out to be just 24-hour sinus drama. Went to bed sniffly and feeling crappy, woke up before seven o'clock still sniffly but with boundless energy and well-being. It's confusing as hell, but I'll take it.

I submitted three things to paying markets today, y'all. Three! That's five submissions this week! And one of the things I subimtted today was a brand new drabble (100-word short story) that I just wrote this afternoon. And I finished up the promised manuscript critiques, and I did all the required daily things, and I continue to catch up on the Fictionette Artifact backlog, and I cleaned the toilets. (They really needed it.)

And now I am back from scrimmage. It was a lovely scrimmage. We hit each other really hard, damn near ended in a tie score, and then we had a party with beer and cake. (Also, one of my teammates wore assless booty shorts. It was a themed scrimmage, so this makes sense. Trust me.)

Days like today scare me. Rather, what scares me is the prospect of the day after a day like today. Past recent experience says I'm due to crash and burn tomorrow. I always crash and burn the day after phenomenally productive and fulfilling days. That's what jerk brain says, anyway. I tell it, "Hey, jerk brain, you have selection bias like woah, you're ignoring all the non-crashy-burny days, there is no good reason that I should crash and burn--I mean, unless I get sick again or something, and it would be just like you, wouldn't it, to make me get sick again tomorrow just to prove your crappy naysaying point?"

I spend a lot of time talking to jerk brain. But you should hear the mouth it has. Someone has to stand up to it.

So the thing about drabbles is, I planned to put together a raft of eight or ten brand new ones and submit them to SpeckLit. That went rather well for me in the past. Only I haven't visitied them in ages. I visited them again after writing that one drabble today and trying to remember what kinds of things authors put in their author's notes there. Turns out, they closed their doors last September. Dang it.

But there is, as it happens, no shortage of online markets looking for very very short fiction. Not all of them will pay SFWA professional rates, but at one hundred words the difference between pro pay and token pay is more in the percentage than in the pocketbook. And I just wanted to submit something that was new. You know? Rather than just collect another handful of rejections for the stories I've been shipping around for the past few years?

So I found a place (which does pay pro rates, by the way), and I sent it, by the Gods.

This is me, feeling like Real Writer™ again. It is not my default feeling. I have to work at it. Tomorrow I will work at it some more. It'll be great. (You hear me, jerk brain? It'll be great!)

what is this fresh nonsense cut it out
Wed 2017-07-19 22:32:52 (single post)
  • 4,600 words (if poetry, lines) long

Well, I wasn't to know my sinuses were going to attack me today, was I? *sigh* Had to call in sick today, more or less. Got about a half day's work in, brain moving at half-speed the whole time. Got the daily stuff done--and congratulated myself for that accordingly--but nothing beyond that. And did not make it to yoga+derby. Hopefully my body will stop with the dramatics and let me go to scrimmage tomorrow night.

(I honestly don't know if I'm sick or just suffering some weird sinusitis-like reaction to last night's Fieldburger with cheese. The throat irritation kicked in immediately after I finished eating; the post-nasal drip continued all night long and into today. I have no allergies that I know of, but bodies are weird. More research may be required.)

That aside, "daily stuff" properly includes submission procedures, even if it's been a while since I've treated it as such. Finally got over my embarrassment, logged the duplicate submission rejection, and sent "Caroline's Wake" out again. And again, since the place I sent it yesterday got the rejection right back to me today. (And yes, I triple checked my records; neither that place nor the place I sent it today have seen it before. NOT MAKING THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. I hope.)

So tomorrow with the remaining manuscript critique, popping something else into some magazine's electronic submissions system, and--maybe?--writing something entirely new, just to prove I can.

And scrimmage, I hope. And less with the sniffly, sore throat, post-nasal drip, high-on-Sudafed nonsense. Because that's what it is. NONSENSE. You hear me, body?!

back to your regularly scheduled reality
Tue 2017-07-18 23:55:23 (single post)

All right! I'm back. I'm back for reals. I took tonight off from practice so I could have time both to have a good, solid, full work day and take care of random errands and crap waiting for me after a weekend away. SUCCESS. For the most part, anyway. I was able to check off the new "Did everything on my timesheet" Habit item, so that's a thing--in addition to my daily gottas, I finally got to the manuscript critique I promised a month ago. Yayyyyy.

Will have to be on my toes tomorrow to keep up the good work and hit yoga-and-practice in the afternoon, but I think I can do it. Chez LeBoeuf-Little has begun getting up at 7 AM which has led to remarkably productive mornings. It has not yet led to me reliably getting to bed before midnight, but it's all a work in progress anyway.

About that bout? We won our game. It was not easy! We spent pretty much the whole first half figuring out how we were going to have a shot at winning the second. I think we did an exemplary job of adapting to unfamiliar terrain (literally and figuratively), and to an unfamiliar opponent, in time to pull off the win. The host league, the Salina Sirens, are utter sweethearts on and off the track. I didn't want to leave the afterparty.

There are pictures, if you want to check 'em out. From the bout, I mean. Not the afterparty. Well, there may be some from the afterparty but I don't have those at hand.

Got back in town Sunday afternoon and pretty much collapsed--and I'm not even the one who did the driving. Took it relatively easy Monday. So it was time to get back to work today.

Look! It's not quite midnight yet! Yayyyyy.

YPP Weekend Blockades, July 15-16: Simon says it's time to place your starting bids
Sat 2017-07-15 10:37:25 (single post)

Notable in today's blockade schedule is a triple attack by new(ish) flag Symonds Says on islands owned by Spoon Republic. This would be on the Emerald Ocean.

Also on Emerald, Knockout invites all comers to invade their islands "in a friendly setting":

We want opportunities to try out some blockade staff teams that don't typically get much involvement in the 10k/seg high scale blockades.

Hence, we'd like to invite participants to choose an island between Scrimshaw, Alkaid, and even Admiral to showcase their best blockading talents. From here, the two flags will discuss terms and conditions regarding the blockade to ensure as much evenness as possible to truly determine that the best blockade team wins. Some of these terms and conditions may be time of blockade, even jobbing, shared nav lists, etc. To incentive participants, Knockout will be paying 25% of the jobber poe spent by the attackers if the attack was deemed genuine and the flag showed desire to win through at least one fully contested round.

In short, we would like the opportunity to get some more controlled blockades on the scene and we encourage flags who normally would shy away from expensive blockades to take up the challenge.

On Cerulean, the crew "Wolf" is returning to the scene, and their flag Zion announced their intent to take over Endurance Island. Cold Steel will unfortunately not be able to defend, so look for this contest to be called early.

In non-blockade events, Spoon Republic and their friends will be holding an auction on Sunday at 4 PM pirate time. View the forum post linked here for a list of who's up for bid and what they will do for you if you win. (I am particularly charmed by Highpriority's offer to "narrate your life with a fabulous British accent.") Bids start at 50K. Well, 10K really, but there is a 50K prebid on all pirates, so. Other prebids have been announced in replies to the thread. Get yours in now!

And the Oceanmasters have announced two separate contests where by the YPP community can help create a most enticing Steam store page for Dark Seas. Get your crew together, do something fun on the Obsidian Ocean, and capture screenshots and videos of the proceedings as your contest entries! Deadline for both is this Sunday, July 16 at 11:59 PM pirate time.

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 15 ***

12:00 p.m. - Kirin Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Get Off My Lawn
Attacker: The Jade Empire (6)

4:33 p.m. - Hubble's Eye, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:37 p.m. - Manu Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

4:39 p.m. - Gauntlet Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Symonds Says
Attacker: Spoon Republic

8:29 p.m. - Spaniel Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Keeping The Peace

*** Sunday, July 16 ***

10:00 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Per Aspera Ad Sol

11:56 a.m. - Kasidim Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Symonds Says

12:00 p.m. - Isle of Kent, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Keeping The Peace
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (7)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, July 15 ***

12:03 p.m. - Endurance Island, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: Cold Steel
Attacker: Zion

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