31 December 2011

Challenges and goals

It's the last day of 2011, so I thought I'd post my challenges for 2012 ...

Short Story Challenge
I mentioned this earlier, so I'll be brief: my challenge for 2012 is to write and publish 50 stories in a year, based on a title. I will post them here, and then publish each story as the next is ready.

Comic Challenge
The Comic Challenge is to draw and publish three comic pages per week, for Grim Tales. My ideal situation would be to draw page 1 on Monday, and publish it on Wednesday, also drawing page 2. Etc.

Writing Challenge
My Writing Challenge was originally stated to be "continuing with my normal writing stuff" ... so, that means: continuing to send the stories I wrote this year to magazines; finishing and publishing Lifechanger, and working on my school-girl demon-hunter novel; and participating in challenges like NaNoWriMo, NaPoWriMo, (possibly) Screnzy, etc.

Weight Challenge
I think this might be more properly called "The Exercise Challenge", but weight is an obvious thing to measure. Since starting my anti-depressant, I have been less depressed and gaining weight. I didn't really notice until two or three months ago that I was about 30 pounds heavier than I'd thought I was.
So, I want to exercise and try to lose those 30 pounds again. Starting weight is 200lbs. I'll attempt to post updates about exercise attempts and successes.

Dvorak Challenge
I recently  taped the Dvorak layout to my keyboard ... it's being a slow process, learning the layout. I'm somewhat worried about how this will affect my writing speed, so my challenge is to learn the layout, and possibly even learn to properly type it.

Okay, that's what I've got for now. I'll sign off now to enjoy my new year's eve.

08 December 2011

I have an agent! Woot!

That's right, dear readers! I have an agent, who doesn’t require a contract, thinks I’m great, and won’t do one thing to manage my career ... and allegedly makes great popcorn. I can't verify this last claim, because of what happens to popcorn when it gets emailed.
He urges me to fire him, but I just haven't been able to decide ... He seems pretty perfect.

Go read Passive Guy's blog. Let me know what you think.
And read the comments--some of them are priceless!

02 December 2011


I'm not feeling well. Sore throat, super-tired ,,, I'll probably sleep a lot today. Not that I really had other plans: I switched my work schedule so I could go to this Yule party/wedding reception tonight, so I don't work today, and I might have tried finishing the novella today, but that's really it. That or harvest more titles from the NaNo adoptables thread. I already have more than I could possibly use in one lifetime, but, you know, a few more couldn't hurt, right?

Anyway, I'll probably take a nap for a while, and then see how I'm doing. I would like to write a little or do some work today if I can ... but for now, it's time to sleep.

30 November 2011


As a writer, I really like shows/movies that feature writers. Stranger Than Fiction was fantastic, and I really ought to own it. There was another movie whose title I can't remember (it involved two people's names, and I just can't remember their names) that was pretty good.
But Castle, now. I love Castle. It's a show about a genre-savvy murder mystery writer who solves crimes with his knowledge of genre and story. It's amazing.
I love it.

Anyway, I'm still watching the first season--though I'm nearly done--and I'm a little pissed that I didn't start watching earlier, so that I could be caught up before the current season started. Alas ... I should be caught up by next season ...

Short Story Challenge!

Sort of like a New Years' resolution. Dean Wesley Smith inspired me to challenge myself in 2012. Paraphrasing his example (100 stories in one year), I will challenge myself to write 50 stories in one year. I will also take his example of writing them from titles, but instead of looking at books and short stories for my titles, I've got a huge list of adoptable titles from the NaNo forums.
I'm not sure yet how I'll choose--I might print out a list of titles and find some way (darts?) to choose at random; I might print out a list, cut it into bits, put them into a large bowl or something, and choose a new title out of the bowl; I might just pick a handful and make a poll on the blog for my readers to choose from. I may do a mix of all three ...
Regardless, I will strive to write, publish, and make a cover for 50 stories (that's about a story a week, which terrifies me), in addition to my regular writing (novels and novellas), NaNoWriMo, and attempting to do a blog post at least once per week.
So, there's that.

In other news, I finished NaNoWriMo, getting to 50,171 words before I went to bed last night--and I'm not planning on writing any fiction today--I'll do a little work, including this blog, and maybe working on some kind of system for my Challenge--lists of names, titles, etc., just so I don't have to think about names, etc., for too long and can hopefully have the next title stewing my brain before I have to jump into it.
Then it will be food and decompression time: an episode of Castle or Doctor Who, something warm to eat, (dark) chocolate (almond) milk ... yum.

19 November 2011

NaNo is Saving My Life

I've been wanting to be a writer, an author for a very long time. In the last couple years, I've been very serious about that, trying to improve my writing through critique groups and reading about writing. The last few months, I've been getting serious about being published and being read, reading blogs about publishing, looking into self-publishing and e-readers--my writing group started a publishing company.
But through all that, I wondered. I wondered if the freelancing life was for me. Especially when I started reading about it. I wondered if I had the temperament, the drive, the love required to be a full-time writer, a full-time freelancer.
Then, for those not up on my personal life: I got married, which involved a fair amount of stress, and a lot of not doing anything but work, wedding planning, and trying to eat and sleep enough. The wedding was fabulous, and once I'd recovered (mostly, slept), and my husband (!) had gone back to work, I still had a few days of not-working. And NaNo was upon us! (We got weddinged on 11/5.)
So I started writing.
I started writing a lot, because I was about 6 days behind (and I've only gained one day on that). I did start work again recently, but my days off have become freelancing days, full-time writing days.
And you know what?
I love it. I absolutely love waking up, eating breakfast and then writing. I've been giving myself 1,000-word marathons: after 1,000 words, I am allowed to get up, refill my water bottle and/or tea mug, go to the bathroom, eat some food, stretch, etc. Sometimes I take walks or clean a small part of the house in between, just to do something physical.
Can I tell you how crazy that is for me? I hate doing physical stuff--but then, I'm usually exhausted from the whole work-day thing, and all I want when I'm home is to hole up and read or watch Dr. Who/Community/Castle/House/Bones/Dead Like Me/etc.
But now that I'm holed up in my office all day, writing, anything is possible. I finally cleaned the living room--not entirely, but a lot better than it had been--which I'd been avoiding all month. And I cleaned rather than go for a walk because the weather turned nasty yesterday, and I'm not sure my boots have dried from it yet.

So, anyway--every day that I devote to writing is another day that confirms my desire to write full-time, to be a freelance writer. This last week or two (with occasional interruptions from the working world and other things) have been amazing.

And then, because I've been meaning to do this, I present pictures of my office:
Posters, left to right: Emilie Autumn's against animal cruelty "Rats aren't creepy. Experimenting on the IS."; Alice in Wonderland I won at the CONduit Art Auction; EA's painting that I got with VIP tickets to see her at her last show.
The black-and-white orbs adorned the reception, and they also fit the Feng Shui of the office (black is good for Career, White for Creativity--plus the good energy they got from being part of the wedding? Perfect!), so I added them.
The notes under the rat painting: my goal to make a living with my writing, and three quotes that give me good feelings.

The place where the magic happens: my padded chair, my desk lamp, my little paper-stand, great for typing in hand-written stories/scenes/notes, and, of course, my netbook (Elizabeth Bathory). Also a candle and my water bottle, and my mp3 player (Hathor), which has been a little under the weather lately.

Behind my chair, my printer, my Heterodyne Coffee "Spark Roast" poster (It's Perfection in every cup!), and below all that is the round black cushion (very good Feng Shui) where my cats sometimes sleep ... when they don't want to climb up on my lap, which, by the way, is where Elizabeth Bathory usually goes. Of course.
Anyway, this space is wonderful--though I'm thinking of expanding it enough for a bookshelf--to store my writing books. My journals, and a few low-circulation magazines that I've been published in (like my high school's art & literature magazines) are kept above the desk--you can see them at the top of the first picture. But I'd still like to keep my writing books nearby.

Anyway, I'm very close to being halfway through the challenge (though I'll probably save that for tomorrow, since it's getting a little late), and every day that I "sit down at the keyboard and give it everything I have" is a Really Good Day. (That's one of my quotes on my wall.)
Love you all! Time to eat, and watch Castle, or maybe House or Bones ...

11 November 2011




11/11/11, a set on Flickr.

I waited all day to post this. Maybe I should have started sooner. The second 11:11 has just passed, alas. Well, here we go:
Today, on 11/11/11, at 11:11(am), we (me, Holly, Beverly) had elevensies at 11th S and 11th E while wearing eleven article of clothing. There were eleven people on the corner, and our meal consisted of eleven pieces of food. (Yes, there were eleven elevens in those two sentences.)
 The Flickr set (above) consists of eleven of the photos I took today. They don't all contain elevens (that I know of--I need to check a couple of the crazy-people photos), but they celebrate the day's festivities.
We visited all four 11-11 locations: 1100 South/1100 East (at 11:11, there was a party there); 1100 South/1100 West (the only location with a house numbered 1100 on 1100); 1100 West/1100 North (the doghouse was approximately at 1100), and 11th Ave/1100 East (the cemetery--there isn't an 1100 North that far east).

That's what I did today. Oh, and I wrote a little.

25 September 2011

Suddenly depressed.

If I fail to write in my journal, or to update my blog, for a sufficiently long period of time, I start to avoid it, because I feel embarrassed about leaving it alone for so long. Or I feel overwhelmed by all the things I haven't written about, or I just feel like I can't think of anything to say. This, of course, compounds the issue.
Earlier today I decided to write in my blog, but I think trying to figure out how to start pushed me in the direction of being overwhelmed, because I suddenly felt depressed. (That and Dylan calling to say that he was having fun and hanging out with people and eating, so I guess that means I have to figure out dinner by myself, and get to sit here by myself until he gets home. I'm even in a somewhat social mood, having spent an hour or so hanging out with a few pagans--and in conversation with one I'd just met for a good deal of that time. Me being actively social happens so rarely ... )
Anyway, I almost left the blog post alone. We're singing in the morning, and Dylan and I are part of the contingent that will be spending the first part of the morning at San Esteban's, doing some kind of an outreach or interfaith community sort of thing: our church (the UU church) and theirs (an Hispanic Presbyterian church? don't remember) are doing community stuff, and that includes our choirs singing together. Anyway, it's way west and a fair bit south, so we'll have to leave even earlier than we normally would on a Sunday morning, and that have been as good excuse as any to go to bed without writing anything.

Now I'm just not sure what to say. I can think of things, but I'd like to save most of them for their own topics. So I guess I'll sign off, eat some dinner, and sleep. And tomorrow I'll wake up, sing, and probably go straight to work for eight-and-a-half hours. Yay ...
Not for the first time, I wish I had internet access at work.

13 August 2011

grim tales: ashputtel

I've mentioned it here before, my desire to create a webcomic. Well, it's finally happened. Inspired by a truly awesome Cinderella story written by a friend of mine, I bought crayons and a pad of paper and starting drawing.
I've been meaning to update the blog about the presence of my comic for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it till now. (And, I've been putting it on Facebook .... so, I'm not sure anyone who knows me doesn't know about my webcomic, but I still wanted to actually announce it on my blog before sending "Page Up!" updates.
Anyway, here's my fancy comic announcement! (And I worked bloody hard for the thing, too: this would have been posted an hour ago, if the fancy comic announcement had been less persnickety.)

Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 1Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 02Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 03Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 04Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 05Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 06
Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 07Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 08Grim Tales - Ashputtel page 09

Chapter 1 is Ashputtel, the German/Brothers Grimm version of Perrault's Cinderella. If I can figure out how to do it, I might take votes for which story Chapter 2 will be ... my current inclination is Red Riding Hood, but I'm open to suggestions.
However, that means: tell your friends! If  I run a poll, and only get two votes, I'll be mighty embarrassed ... plus, I might be forced into doing something boring, like The Frog Prince.

02 August 2011

Sewing Update

Today, I did not work, and I didn't have anywhere else to be. So I spent all day working on sewing. First thing: I decided to go with the "cool thing", which is three pieces instead of one or two. All my corsets so far have been one-piece, with one set of ties in the back. Theoretically, making a "pair of bodies" (lacing in back and front) shouldn't be that much harder, but I've never done it.
Cutting the "front" piece from the "side" pieces (and then adjusting them so that I could wear the whole thing) actually wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I didn't have to rip that many seams, because the stitch holders fit perfectly into the boning channels ...
I added an extra boning channel per side piece, and here we go:
Look: three pieces! With holes for ribbons (also spiral lacing ... )
I used to cut the zip-ties with tin snips. You'd think those would work well, being made for cutting metal, and I'm cutting plastic and all. But what really happened was that I had to close the tin snips as tight as I could around the plastic, hold that for a minute, then take the zip tie out and turn it around, and cut the other side. Usually, I could then bend the piece of zip-tie back and forth until it snapped, but sometimes I needed to go back over them with the tin snips.
I bought a PVC cutter, after borrowing a friend's, and holy gods, does it make my life so much easier. I figure out where I want to cut, put it in the cutter, and snip! I have two pieces. It's an amazing piece of equipment.
The PVC cutter that has made corsetry amazingly easy ... cutting bones the old way SUCKED.
And now we have the corset, bones in place (look at the shadows; they're made from the bones). Yay! It only took me one day (less than that, because I spent the morning reworking the corset and adding stitch markers) to cut and place all the bones. (I am nearly out of my zip-ties, too. I need another trip to Ace Hardware before my next project. I get the ridiculously long 48" zip-ties because I get more boning for less money.)  
Look! Bones! In channels! And cut to length!
Tomorrow, I will cut the pretty fabric. I'll probably use the sewing machine a little there, to just sew a couple straight lines along the side edges to hold the fabric in place, but after that, the sewing machine can go back to its storage shelf (it would be really nice if I actually had shelf space for the creature).
I envision going to gaming tomorrow night with corset-pieces, ribbon, a needle and some thread--placing the fabric and sewing the ribbon trim around the edges is all I have left to do. (Well, I'm going to have to figure out straps, but that's part of cutting the fabric--and, actually, I just had an idea that might make the strap-situation a LOT easier .... )

01 August 2011

Sewing Project

I started working on the wedding corset last night after work, and continued this morning before work.
Before I left for work, I completed this:
The corset "shell"--the denim lining that will hold the boning. 
I read a lot of stuff before starting to work, and contrary to what I read, corset-making isn't difficult, but a lot of it is time-consuming. It took me all "morning" (I woke up at 1pm) to get the boning channels sewn. Three hours, then, since I showered at 4pm before eating and heading to work.
Oh, and please note the lacing--spiral lacing, and it's period. (I'm not actually a period Nazi (denim interior, plastic bones), but I take pleasure in doing things in the period way, when I can--for instance, I won't be using grommets. I buy plastic (not-period) stitch markers (for knitting and crocheting), and set those between the two denim layers, and hold them in place with a few stitches until it's basically done. Then I do the period thing and stitch buttonhole style around them to hold them in place. It's sturdy (grommets pull out sometimes) and it looks good (and period!).)
A close-up of the shell, an example "bone" (zip-tie) and the yummy fabric I bought as a remnant and didn't realize was so yummy until after I brought it home and opened it ...
Tomorrow, I will begin cutting the two outer fabrics--ever since coming upon the theory (at my first real CONduit) of reversible corsets, I haven't seen the point of a non-reversible one. So, instead of the pretty fabric and the lining, I'll be doing two outer fabrics. The purple pictured above is for the wedding. The black-and-red not pictured will just be for whenever.
AND, I have an idea for something that would look cool, but require more work ... so, we'll see.

Anyway, it's late, and I should go to bed.

24 July 2011


Fireworks 001Fireworks 002Fireworks 003Fireworks 004Fireworks 005Fireworks 006
Fireworks 007Fireworks 008Fireworks 010Fireworks 011Fireworks 012Fireworks 013
Fireworks 014Fireworks 015Fireworks 016Fireworks 017Fireworks 018Fireworks 019
Fireworks 020

fireworks, a set on Flickr.

Following the ancient tradition of blowing stuff up on my birthday … well, a few days late. Some of the pictures are completely crazy, and some of them actually look like fireworks.