Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Rest rethink restart

After my nano crash I have also crashed a little. It’s a combination of things. December is not my favourite month. After breaking my walking streak, I haven’t been inspired to do my daily amount of steps. The device I use keeps a ‘longest streak’ not a ‘current streak’ so until I pass 300 days I can’t see any progress. That’s kind of disheartening.
I usually listen to audiobooks as I walk. Often this encourages me to get out there when there is a story that I am eager to continue listening to. My current audiobook isn’t doing it for me so I am finding other reasons to stay inside.
[I know the easy solution is to just dnf that book…]
I’ve been messing with recording my time in an attempt to keep myself on target, and it isn’t working for me. I end up beating myself up because I wrote so little in so much time, or whatever fault my brain decides to pick on.
[look how much time you spent on tumblr … I swear those pics of naked men are inspiring. I write erotic romance… ]
I’ve said it before, the nanowrimo kind of word count thing works for me.  I do NOT know why. It seems to be just enough of a step away from setting the target myself. I often do the camps where I set my own word target, so how does that inspire me… shrugs. But it does.
This week I saw some writers on twitter singing the praises of another kind of word count app and I went to check it out. It’s free. Yay. And I saw more people rave about it today. So I will give that a go.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Toggl time recording app
Pacemaker word count app

Thursday, 1 December 2016

I made the shot and I missed

Nanowrimo 2016.
Well, that was a trip.
Here is my chart for 2016. I missed the midnight cut off by 421 words.

421 words.
Actually, it’s closer than that; when I tried to enter an update I was up to 49,696 or 324 words off finishing.
Sighs heavily.
It’s my own fault. I spent the first week paralysed by shock and horror at the trumperdink vote. I was unable to write a love story under those circumstances.
I left it all to the last minute, as I often do, in my life. So on the last two days, I powered up. Twenty minute Pomodoro’s, too much coffee - just get the words down. I was punching out two thousand words an hour.
And then I got some other curve-balls. Days wiped out through no fault of mine. A power outage at a friend of kid 2’s who then asked if he could hold the party he had all planned at my house. I said yes. He needed a hand in the kitchen and my desk is in the corner of the living room, so I didn’t get a lot of words written.
Kid extra brought a friend home because of train cancellations. All disruptive.
[After the party I was cleaning up. I looked at my step counter and said ‘what time is it? I have 280 steps to go’ as it clicked over to midnight and wiped out a 300 day run of goals. Kid 2 looked at my face, said, ‘I love you, mum’ and RAN.]
In the last two days, even with all of that on, I started at 36,455 and wrote nearly 14 thousand words. The nano site is often glitchy when it comes to geography. It kept saying I still had two days to go when it hit midnight and froze me out. I could have lied, but I don't do that, either.
I made the shot and I missed.
But you know… all I had to do was write an extra 14 words on each day.
That’s all. I could have done that amount on any day.
And what I have now is a jumbled mass of words. It’s rougher than most of my rough first drafts, but it’s fifty thousand words. I got some blinding insights for some characters back stories. I sorted out my themes and my story arcs. I got some ideas for the next story in what is becoming a series.
But man, am I pissed about those step goals.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

People will die

I watched the American election results with growing horror. I’m Australian. We have compulsory voting which kind of solves voter suppression issues. You live here, you vote. If you don’t vote you get fined. If you want to spoil your ballot or donkey vote (number it from 1 down) go ahead. We also have preferential selection. Each party decides which other candidate their votes go to if they don’t have enough to win. To demonstrate, you could have made a third party protest vote to Johnson and then, if he gave his preferences to Clinton, they would count in her total.
We also gave the world Rupert Murdoch and for that I apologise.
As it is, Clinton won the popular vote and will probably not win the Presidency. The Electoral College system is unique. No one else in the world has copied this form of voting because historically, it’s based on slavery. I don’t know who the EC voters are, or how they are selected, but they hold too much power as anonymous citizens for this to be democratic. I have seen reports that some people are trying to lobby them. I fear that will not work. I don’t change my mind because someone shouts at me. Most other people don’t either.
I do not know how Americans could vote for a man endorsed by the KKK, the US Nazi party, by North Korea and Russia. Daesh celebrated when he won. He is not a successful businessman. He seems functionally illiterate. A man charged with the rape of a child and about to appear in court for fraud. Almost the only group he hadn’t offended was Jews and he did that in the last days of his campaign. I thought his daughter Ivanka married a Jew and practiced Judaism. I am horrified that whole counties voted for him.
I don’t get it. I don’t care if you think it was a protest vote against the establishment. From the outside, it looked like an easy choice: reason vs madness.
My kids found me sobbing at my keyboard and all I could say was, ‘people will die’.
It has already started. My twitter stream is full of reports of people who with this last straw have decided they can’t carry any more. They suicide because they are gay, or trans, or they feel their health bill will be a burden on their families. Then I am trying to comfort people because trolls tell them they made up the death of their friend.
Maybe it’s because I follow and have befriended a lot of writers. Writers are what they are because they constantly think of ‘what if’ situations. They can turn a one sentence prompt into a whole novel.
Writers are frightened right now. Often they use their words to generate income because they can’t hold down a nine-to-five job. They may be struggling with chronic illness, or mental health issues. I know people whose lives have been dramatically changed by the last eight years. They got married, they got Obamacare and with the extra income they have started new businesses or become full time authors and given up the day job; the one with the health insurance.
I have friends who say without Obamacare, they will not get health insurance and they do not know how they and their children will survive. I have friends who are frightened to hold their spouse’s hand in the street. I have friends who are rushing to get long term contraceptives now before that choice is taken away from them.
The people Trump has flagged to assist him are genuinely terrifying. They have already proved their inhumanity and incompetence, and he is giving them power.
‘What if Trump is elected?’ was a scary enough proposition. But when people don’t get what they think they voted for, they get angry. America already has a problem with guns. Angry people with guns? More people will die.
I don’t have it in me to be positive right now. I’m still angry and sad. I’ve been reading a lot to escape to other worlds; worlds where there’s a happy ending, where love wins, where different people are accepted. Today I am going to write. I signed up for Nanowrimo and my word count graph hasn’t moved in days. I need to fix that.
I reckon the world is going to need more stories.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Dammit brain!

There are days when I despair of myself and my ability to knock ME off track.
To explain: I’ve been doing the Artist’s Way workbook course. It’s a twelve week therapeutic drill-down course into yourself. One of the set tasks was to eat a favourite food from childhood. Being a good Aussie kid I chose fresh bread with butter and Vegemite.
Sounds easy, right?
Not for me.
Did I go to the store and buy a loaf of fresh bread or a newly baked bun?
Oh, no.
I decided that I needed to make my own bread. I already do this. I own a bread machine and I have a giant Tupperware container that holds five kilograms of the bread mix.
Did I choose that method? Oh, no.
No, you see. I decided that I needed to make sourdough.
I have never tried this before. I do not have a sourdough starter, nor do I know anyone who does that I could steal some culture from. It’s living yeast bread. You need a little bit of the starter yeast to feed and grow before you can start making a single loaf.
So, I needed to harvest wild yeast from within the environment of my own kitchen. This is why sourdough from different places tastes different. Nifty, eh?
This, naturally, took six days.
Oh, AM… shake my head.
But, after almost a week of feeding, weighing and crooning my starter was bubbling away. I’m sure the crooning to it was an essential part of this process even if the kids did look at me weirdly.
Then to make the dough. This, also took more hours than I thought possible. Fold it over on itself four times, and only four times, cover and then leave it for half an hour. Do this for three hours.
Wait… what?
That was just one step in the daylong process. But, eventually, I made two sourdough loaves. They were crusty. They were bubbly on the surface, and they had big air holes inside. They were almost perfect, if just a little bit vertically challenged.

They tasted good, too.
Did this work in the way the exercise was supposed to; to transport me back to a moment in my childhood? Of course not. You don’t think my mother would have had anything as odd as sourdough bread, do you?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Anagrams and pseudonyms

One of my Smashwords works is in i-books jail. ‘Kissing Cousins’ has been marked as containing ‘inappropriate content’. Duh, it says it right on the damn title. I can try to appeal but what is the point?
I’ve said this before, and had many a response on reviews about this. Australians do not have the same quasi incest thing that Americans have with cousins. We just don’t. Maybe it’s our English roots? Honestly, I’ve read a pile of Regency romances lately and people are always having sex with and getting married off to various cousins. I truly think it is America’s puritan roots showing.
But regardless, being in sale jail is an issue. It means that your works do not and will not show up in search items, or ‘also boughts’ or any other of the viral kind of sales methods.
I was thinking…
We all know how dangerous this is…
But more than a few erotica authors have pseudonyms, often for just such an occurrence. If one of their series gets the tar and feathers treatment, then they can publish new works under another name.
I was thinking about this, when I probably should have been doing a hundred other things.
So what should my pseudonym be?
And I plugged my full name into an anagram generator.
I got the result: anagram.

Friday, 14 October 2016

10 million total fanfiction hits

Some time ago, I realised that my fanfiction stats were fast approaching a huge milestone.
And then I kind of forgot about it. I set a reminder in google keep with an alarm date on it, but obviously my math skills are deficient, and I was days late. I suspect I also forgot some of the more recent stories I had posted. They weren’t in the table and skewed the total in Excel.
Today, I was tooling about and thought I’d just check because the daily read rates were higher than they have been for a while, and voila… my legacy story stats total is 10,032,027 hits.

The top three stories make up 6 million of the total. They're the usual suspects.
You know the ones. *grins*

Thursday, 29 September 2016

He will always be my almost.

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag #writeworld in your block!
“He will always be my almost,” Kathleen said and sighed.
Her friend, Marie, noticed. “Almost is a horrible word.”
“It is neither one thing nor the other. It is nothing.” She busied herself stacking the plates on their cafe table.
“Yes.” Kathleen handed her a side dish they hadn’t used. “That’s the waiter’s job, you know.”
“I know.” Silence for a moment and then Marie added, “If you don’t ask him, you will never know.”
Kathleen frowned. “Ask what?”
“Ask whom.”
“Is that almost’s name?”
“Yes, and no, I won’t ask.”
“Why not?”
“I just told you.”
Marie waved her hand dismissively. “No matter. Call him.”
“I don’t have--”
The look Marie gave her stopped her cold.
“You have his number. You know where he works and you know his name. You follow his career.”
“I--” she stopped at another glare.
“Slay the dragon, or fuck him. I do not care.”
“I think you mixed your metaphors there--”
“But finish it. Either way. Shift it from ‘almost’ to ‘never’ or ‘done that’. Don’t forget to tip well.” She stood, leaned down to kiss Kathleen and strode away.
“She’s right,” Kathleen said to the bill Marie had left her. “I guess I’m paying for the advice. And the tip.”
She laughed and the waiter who was clearing the plates glanced at her.
She did have David’s details. She sent him a message; a chatty, I’m-in-town, we should meet up type of thing. He responded so quickly it made her suspicious.
They agreed to a lunch for the next day. Lunch felt less like a date than a dinner, and if she did it quickly she wouldn’t have time to chicken out or drive herself nuts over what to wear.
Lunch was safe, right?
She suggested the cafe she and Marie had been at; the food was good and it also made it feel more like a safe, social thing.
He was a little bit overweight and his skin looked florid; she suspected he drank too much. When he ordered a bottle of wine she knew it.
She had followed his career, but not his facebook. She wasn’t a stalker.
If she had, she might have learned that he was mid-divorce. He spent the whole lunch bitching about his ex-wife and describing incidents that the ex had complained about. The more he told, the more Kathleen agreed with the ex.
She sat back in her chair, smiled politely, moved food around her plate and wondered how to escape.
As luck would have it, he got a call from his divorce lawyer. “She what?” he screeched before putting the phone against his chest. “I have to go,” he announced, and then left without paying.
She texted Marie. Disastrous
Why? Tell me everything.
He hasn’t changed. He’s still the selfish boy I had a crush on.
Right. Why did I think that attitude was so great?
So, he’s slain?
Hell, yeah.
No more almosts
Marie was right; she felt better. The lunch was delicious once she stopped stressing about how awful David was.
As she exited the cafe someone called out to her. She turned and ran into the waiter. He grabbed her arm as they almost overbalanced.
“Sorry for manhandling you.”
“I would have fallen otherwise.” She looked at him expectantly. It was the same waiter as the day before.
“You forgot your wine.” He held out the bottle with the screw lid replaced.
“Thanks, but I don’t drink alone.”
He grinned at her. “That almost sounds like an invitation.”
Kathleen could hear what Marie would say. “It does, doesn’t it?” She took a deep breath and went all in. “What time does your shift finish?”
“You hold the wine hostage and I’ll be back at five to ransom it. We can drink it together.”
He had the loveliest smile. “Perfect.”
And it was.