“A novel is something that stands at the end of a lengthy process called writing.”
Victoria Nelson

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Changing Titles, and Something To Look Forward To
Tue 2006-06-13 04:50:00 (single post)
  • 680 words (if poetry, lines) long

On Friday, June 16th, I'll have fiction published again. Yes! Having undergone yet another title change (from "The Right Time" to "Right Door, Wrong Time"), my Award Winning Flash Fiction Story[TM] will see the light at Twilight Tales. The title change was the idea of the fiction editor, Ed deGeorge--and may I just say that an editor whose name is Ed is just set, you know? He can use "ed" as his email handle at the twilighttales.com domain, and it can mean "editor at Twilight Tales" or it can mean "Ed at Twilight Tales." That's totally cool. You just can't do neat wordplay like that with "Niki". I mean, you can, but I've heard all the possibilities sung at me on the kindergarten playground, and they're all goofy and unuseful.

Anyway, it works for me. The title, I mean. It's a title that tells us what's known up-front, rather than giving away what is revealed at the end. Then again, "The Right Time" was ambiguous enough to apply to both before the revelation and after--but I think wittering about which of several very similar titles is best is right up next to inserting a comma in the morning and taking it out in the evening. It's a sign that it's time to let the editor make the changes.

Besides, what sense does it make to talk about "the revelation" in a 700-word short-short? I mean, yes, suspense can be done in flash fiction, it ought to be there, but it only lasts about a minute or two, since that's all the time it takes to read the whole thing.

In any case, there's a date attached to the promise of publication. When the story goes up on Friday, I'll post a link.

An Interlude, With Snark
Fri 2006-06-09 23:48:27 (single post)

I'm sorry, I have nothing new for you here. I am currently in the middle of another laptop crisis simultaneous with a deadline crisis. But you should visit Miss Snark, just in case you, as a genre writer, ever again get asked, "When are you going to right a real book?"

ps. critiques are trickling in. joy! thank-yous will be forthcoming.

Sorry, Play Again
Tue 2006-06-06 17:54:14 (single post)
  • 2,500 words (if poetry, lines) long

Annnnd this just in. I am not a winner in Wild Child's Fairytale Contest. I just found this out by visiting the site, where the winners were posted yesterday. (I probably should have figured that out earlier, what with not having been emailed by May 20th as they said all winners would be.)

They say they will put all stories (I presume the winning ones) up by the 15th. Should be some good reading, so bookmark the link!

Sallying Forth Once Again
Tue 2006-06-06 17:29:28 (single post)
  • 5,000 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 2,764 words (if poetry, lines) long

It's probably getting boring to hear it, but I've sent "Turbulence" and "Heroes" back out again into the slush. Hurrah! I am being a Writer, yes I am.

Although I don't usually like to say which markets I'm trying until I get an answer back, yea or nay, I will mention that my first choice for "Turbulence" turned out to be a non-starter. DNA Publications's Fantastic Stories of the Imagination has apparently not been heard from in some time. Andrew Burt's The Black Hole has no data on them later than 2004. (Absolute Magnitude, on the other hand, has quite a rew recent rejections logged, but I suspect that market likes its science fiction somewhat "harder" than this story delivers. So I have sent it elsewhere.)

So there that is. In other me-write-fiction news, tomorrow is the beginning of a couple of critique periods for me. I've got the first two chapters of The Golden Bridle to be released to Critters.org, and the short story "The Impact of Snowflakes" entering the Newbie Queue at Critique Circle. If you're a member of either, I sure wouldn't mind the feedback. If you're not, but you want to read and comment on these pieces, it takes no time at all to sign up at these sites and dive into the queues.

And then on the work-for-hire side of my life, I have a June 19 deadline, so if I seem to get a little freaky between now and then, don't worry, that's just my standard operating procedure.

And for those who haven't noticed, the AbsoluteWrite.com Water Cooler (i.e. big huge honkin' 7000+ member forum) is up and functional again without a jot of lost data. All hard feelings against those involved in its time down should be sublimated into posting the 20 Worst Agents list far and wide, with the proper preamble attached and donating generously to AbsoluteWrite.com to help pay its bills and fund the legal proceedings. (The post at Jenna's blog is dated, but the PayPal button still works.) No mention of the persons involved in the ISP Which Cannot Be Named, we are told, will be tolerated at the Cooler. It's called "taking the high road," and it grates harshly upon still stinging nerves, and it's the best thing to do. So do.

Weekend Check-In
Sat 2006-06-03 06:25:34 (single post)
  • 5,000 words (if poetry, lines) long

Yo. OK, so, the story is now down to with 50 words of 5000 words. Which means I'm allowed to say "about 5000 words" and send it in. Which I did Thursday evening. Ms. Last minute, that's me. The first 1200 words were really easy to cut, what with pointless mental meanderings and obnoxious repetitions and the plot holes that were more verbose than the sealant used to plug them. The last 300, now, those were damn hard.

Last weekend was pretty action-packed, between movies and concerts and 10K races. OK, well, one of each. But still. One of each is plenty. Saw X-Men 3 and the Cars/Blondie Road Rage tour, my opinions of both of which you can read over at my latest blogging gig. Did my fourth Bolder BOULDER in 1:30:30, my best time yet by about 4 minutes (yes, I suck), and my bodily reaction is somewhere between "ankles and knees no longer sore" and "toenails not quite fallen off yet."

On for this weekend: Pretty much everything I've been yammering on about for the last few weeks. Working my way through The Golden Bridle and maybe getting "Snowflakes" closer to ready to submit somewhere. Kicking finished stories off the couch and back out into the world. Logging some five thousand words or so on the current work-for-hire assignment. Y'know. Writing and stuff.

In other news, I hear the AbsoluteWrite forums are this close to resurrected. (This link goes, not to AW itself, but to a post at the temporary forums telling us to please not try to visit AW because all the server's resources are needed just to install and heal up the database that the greatly dishonorable web-host-of-a-million-contradicting-stories, JC Hosting, gave the gang a 24-hour window* of access to (after sitting on it without sufficient explanation for nine freakin' days). Rejoice and hold your breath.

*24 hours was what the gang were told yesterday in the wee hours of the morning; today the story has already changed to say that the May 22 shut-down was an automatic bandwidth overage suspension, which counter is reset automatically on June 1, so that there is no shutter on their access window. Like I said, a million contradictory stories. It's like these people have never heard of screen capture.

My Threats Have No Teeth
Sun 2006-05-28 23:25:27 (single post)
  • 6,708 words (if poetry, lines) long

Of course I can't submit my story as-is. The maximum word count for the workshop is five thousand words! Durh.

Spent an hour's walk ruminating on the Big Things What Need Changing. Ended up at Amante on North Broadway, where I handwrote the beginnings of a new draft over a yummy little espresso version of that classic drink, Irish Coffee.

I will have no trouble bringing this story down to under 5,000 words. It's got a lot of crap in it that does absolutely nothing to serve the story.

I'll see how much of the new type-in I can do tomorrow morning between waking up at 6 and stumbling outside at 8:40ish to join the NB wave at the Bolder Boulder starting line. Then I'll see how much I can get done after I get back before I collapse into the sleep of the non-runner who nevertheless jog/walks 10K once a year and inexplicably gets the urge to walk rather long distances the night before doing so.

If you see me, wave!

Update on the Crappiness, Which Is My Crappiness
Sat 2006-05-27 22:16:28 (single post)
  • 6,708 words (if poetry, lines) long

So apparently my problems are a matter of table structure, not lost data. Whee.

Confession: I have been woefully bad at keeping myself educated as my ISP traveled upward through the MySQL versions over the years, and the tables I created back in the 3.23 days, when the default was ISAM, did not play well with the move to 4.1, where ISAM is deprecated and MyISAM is preferred. I ought to have converted them over, but I have been ignorant and did not know to do so. So to fix things, I think I need to be given access to the backups from earlier in the month so that I can insert the data into manually recreated MyISAM tables. Because I really don't want to make the support staff at my ISP endure the pain in the butt of taking care of it for me. Because it would be a big pain in the butt for them, and not one they're contracted for. They'll take it on out of the goodness of their hearts, which I only come to appreciate more and more as situations like this painfully educate me about MySQL programming--but they oughtn't to have to do so.

So we're still working on it. Hang in there, Story and Dream Vortex participants. All will be as it was before, give or take the last two weeks of Story additions.

Meanwhile, still no progress in the writing. It's damn hard to concentrate when your little web mini-empire (mwahahaha! empire) is lying in chunks around your ankles. Did you notice that my entire domain here went down today? Just a glitch, but on top of everything, seeing one of those slimy "Your Web Site Here!" pages show up instead of your blog can be a real downer. (OK, it wasn't all that slimy, as such pages go. But it did have that annoyingly ubiquitous list of search terms and all.) I've been playing a lot of mind-numbing puzzle games and hitting the "get new email" button in Thunderbird with great frequency. (Sorry, Comcast.)

Tomorrow, Sunday, I hope to improve my productivity. I have lots of notes scribbled all over "Putting Down Roots" and will email it tomorrow night, in whatever form I've got it into, to the Borderlands Writer's Boot Camp. So my motivation to get hopping on the rewrite is to avoid getting told what I already know is wrong with the story, and instead get told things about the story I didn't already know. Otherwise, what a waste of an enrollment fee it would be!

Get your copy of The Street Smart Writer and support AW, too!
On Silver Linings and The Value of Non-Evil
Sat 2006-05-27 00:31:55 (single post)

I would just like to say, right now, that--all MySQL discomforts aside--I am very glad I am hosting with Drak.Net and not with another web site. Specifically, I am glad I am hosting with a company whose policy is not to pull the plug on a customer within the hour of receiving an abusive phone call from someone who doesn't know the DMCA from the YMCA.

The ignorant screaming meemy in question is Barbara Bauer, one of the Twenty Worst Agents (according to Preditors and Editors, and Miss Snark, both of whom know a thing or two).

The foolish and possibly dishonest web host owner would be Stephanie Cordray, who gave the good people at AbsoluteWrite one hour after that phone call to grab their data before she took down the site.

Do you know how much useful crap is at AbsoluteWrite? 7,000+ writers in a forum well known, among other things, for being a home to the Bewares and Background Checks forum and the Learn Writing With Uncle Jim thread, both of which have saved many a newbie writer from falling into the hands of, well, scammers such as Barbara Bauer. And that's just the forum. The main site is full of online classes, articles, and all sorts of good stuff.

You know what else? While the funeral meats were still warm, so to speak, Stephanie Cordray resurrected her own writer's community. Conflict of interest much?

So. The one time I was implicated in anything unsavory at all--and that was when a spammer hijacked one of my email-me forms--Drak.net's owner worked it out with me. She did have to temporarily suspend the account in order to shut down the spammer's access, but soon after that we spent about 2 hours on the phone trying to figure out how spam was managing to get sent through their smtp via me, and how to stop it. Right now, even as I write, she's digging up the "last good" backups for littlebull.com and dreamvortex.net so that those sites can be restored. (Thankfully, there was a good, recent backup of my writing database available where I could get it; that's why this blog is now error free. But for the other sites, sadly, I only have access to backups made after things exploded. Sorry, Story participants and Dream sharers.) Sure, I have my quibbles, no one's perfect, mistakes happen--but even the woes of this week are far outweighed by the peace of mind I get from knowing that my ISP have nothing but the best intentions, upon which they do act.

My ISP would never, ever do to me what Stephanie Cordray did to AbsoluteWrite.

In short: Thank you, Drak.Net, for not being evil.

Things Got Crappier
Thu 2006-05-25 18:38:05 (single post)

The laptop? Hard drive dead. Data gone.

The blog and other websites? Data also gone. Some tables just got irretrievably futzed during the upgrade. I'd restore them from my local backups, except... see above. Lost all data on laptop. The backups on the server also appear to be futzed.

So unless my ISP has backups I don't know about (waiting to hear about that now), I'm looking at a huge honking amount of data loss. I'm going to have to recreate a bunch of my writing database from memory and scratch. As for the other websites, they're just going to be gone. Sorry, dreamers and story participants. Your posts are quite probably kaput.

Once again, I urge everybody reading this to backup your data often! Daily, if possible! In multiple places!


The actual writing is safe, and I have a story I should be working on. Not to mention several other projects. So... off I go with heavy heart and inexorable purpose.

Things Get Crappy
Thu 2006-05-25 09:03:51 (single post)

  1. An upgrade to MySQL 4.1 has appeared to make all SELECT statements that JOIN tables from two different databases erroneous: Can't find file: 'manuscripts.MYI' (errno: 2) That's why you're seeing icky error messages up top the page and no manuscript titles in their blue boxes attached to each entry. I'm working on it.
  2. My laptop died last night. At least, the OS installation appears hosed. I woke up this morning ready to dump all the hard drive data onto another computer, only to find I can't get to the hard drive on an Averatec 3200 Series laptop. Another trip to Computer Renaissance it is! (And maybe breakfast at LePeep's while I'm at it.)
Thanks for listening to me gripe. Have a nice day.