Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Crud

The good news about being sick is that I finished an exciting ARC in less than 24hrs. The bad news is... Well, I hope my notes on it make sense tomorrow. ;) Hopefully I'll have more to report on next week since I'll be restarting my evening writing sessions between now and then.

Or ELSE, future me. Or else.

(Happy Holidays!)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why NaNoWriMo isn't in December

Merry Christmas, every one! I hope you are having a relaxing and/or productive holiday. Personally, I'm going more for the former and not so much for the later. My writing depends on routine, so having family over and having the kids' sleep schedules all wonky means that I'm not going to stress about writing every night, not until schedules return to normal. This wasn't initially a conscious decision because I tend to plan for the best possible scenario and then wonder what went wrong. This time it was me and the baby being sick that went wrong. Going to bed at 7pm with the kids kinda kills nightly writing time. ;)

I am at some good stopping/shelving points in many of my projects and I have a specific day that I expect to restart my nightly writing sessions. I find that choosing a restart date is important for me. Until then I am charging my batteries and brainstorming in stolen moments. I'll probably start back up with a focus on editing (and submitting). The story I was working on for NaNo isn't finished but could use some more brainstorming. The plot turned out to be more far-reaching than I originally intended, and I'm not sure I'm ready to table some of my other projects for that one yet.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Writing Week in Review

There is no excerpt or flash fiction piece today because ohmehgerd I reviewed so many things. My review of "Apollo's Outcasts" by Allen Steele is already out here, and you can look forward to three more YA Report reviews and their associated interviews, as well as another magazine review for Tangent. The total word count is that of two short stories, all in a week, and I think my head my explode. It also serves as proof of how much I love reviewing and how different the writing process is from writing fiction. I can't imagine writing the drafts for two short stories in a week because it would be harder for me to switch gears between the two stories. But maybe reviewing short story magazines is giving me exactly that kind of skill, because those reviews are actually a collection of about 6 shorter reviews that I write at the same time.

I also wrote a few children's books and polished and submitted one. I sent it out with the Christmas letters as part of a psychological trick where I told myself I was going out to the mailbox any way. It's been years since I submitted anything by snail mail because I am a firm believer in email subs, but young children's books are different.

AND I managed some beta reading. Sheesh. Who am I? Am I going to pay for this super productivity by flopping about next week? I don't plan to.

It was a packed writing week that stretched my abilities and self conception. So many reviews. Researching the children's book market.  Kicking myself in the rear and submitting any thing. Forget New Years resolutions, I'm already doing it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Apollo's Outcasts by Allen Steele

So many good books have come out these past couple of months! Here is one that should please fans of hard science fiction and YA:

Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele is a near-future YA following Jamey, a ‘looney’ who is crippled on Earth because of his lunar birth, as he and five other political refugees flee to the moon to escape a suddenly hostile US government. As Jamey and the other teenagers struggle to control their new trajectories, they learn that even the moon is not far enough away to escape Earth politics...

Read the rest of the review at the SFFWRTCHT.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Asimov, Jan 2013

Having the internet is really useful for reviewing books and magazines. More so than you would probably think. How I was doing this before is a miracle, and mostly attributable to Bryan's patience. Between the five months without internet and participating in Nanowrimo last month, I've got a bit of a review clog. That means that I'm changing my writing project "schedule" for this week so that every day says "Reviews."

Here is my review for Asimov, Jan 2013, which just posted at Tangent thanks to Dave's help.

I have several novels for the YA report, and another magazine for Tangent. Still going strong despite my discovery that my spellchecker quit working. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 7, 2012

To Disturb the All-Seeing Waters

You say not to feel sorry for you, that it's me who has to remember what you can't. Now I agree with you.

This morning I served you breakfast ungraciously, upset that you rose out of bed before the sun. You called me by our daughter's name, Rachel, and said that I had promised to cook you eggs. There was nothing to gain by correcting you, so ten minutes later you had a glass of milk and a rubber mess on your plate. I never could make them over easy. The yolks always break.

I grumbled as I served you and you laughed at me. "You're just like your mom," you said. Suddenly your face knotted into a troubled frown. "What did you see in the divination?"

There was no way to know which one you were talking about. I repressed a sigh as I cast about for the right words. "Not much. You?"

"Chains. Around me."

I nodded, remembering. "And then you spilled it, you clumsy old man."

Your ears burned red. "I knocked it on purpose. Didn't need Betty freaking out."

"Why would Mom care--"

You hushed me then, worried that I would walk in and hear myself talking about it. The look of vague confusion on your face was much more painful to watch than any secrets you could have told me. You lowered your voice. "Your Mom was holding the chains. I thought you might have seen. But it doesn't mean anything, you know? Divination's half guess work, any way."

I turned to wipe the counter, hiding my face from you so that you couldn't realize that it was me you were talking to. "Sometimes it tells the future."

You laughed. "Who cares? Maybe I like chains. But your mom would flip and send us all to counseling."

It was hard to think back to who I was ten, twenty years ago. Anxious. Always had to be on top of things. I remembered something that Rachel yelled at me once, when the reflection had shown her and a boy at school kissing. "I don't think we should do any more divination. Useless piece of donkey hide, like you say."

You nod with approval. "Tell that to your Mom, then!"

Even if I wanted to use the waters again, I'd need Rachel for the encantation, and she's not here. It's just you and me and our past.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing without the Internet!

So, we have not had the internet for about 5 months, until today. It was a bit of a learning experience, but not as much as I thought it would be. Having grown up without internet for much of my childhood, I think of it as a luxury and not a necessity - necessities being things like food and water. I thought that not having the internet would help me focus on writing, seeing as we still had a computer to type on. And it kind of did. But that lesson only took a few weeks to sink in. After that, all I learned was that life in the USA is run as if every one has internet, because most people do. Heck, even I had my data connection on my phone, which was kind of like having dialup, and there's always the library if you don't have two toddlers to drag with you. Point being that people expect you to be able to search your email, email back, check online calendars, fill out forms online, etc., and do all that quickly. The biggest blow besides not being able to pay bills online was not being able to blog or submit my writing through online forms. It's great to get more writing done, but shorter projects have a greater need to get out there in some fashion. I mean, I am doing reviews for two websites now and I am lucky that they have been able to work with me on not being able to put up the review myself.

Now I am very grateful for the internet and I'm forming a plan for how to get the most out of it for my writing. One thing I learned was that I should have a single task for each night's writing time. More focus means faster typing and editing and less forgetting of details. Keeping a physical weekly/2week project calendar helps me remember external and internally motivated deadlines alike. Smaller tasks can be relegated to non-writing time when I can grab five minutes during the day and focus (or typing long winded posts...) is not an issue. I think I have a pretty good idea of what my phone can handle, haha. And! And! Once we get the wireless set up, my phone will do these "5 minute" things faster. Drooooool.

Here is my generic weekly plan for my new internet-laden writing times:

  • Posting Monday - Scheduling all my posts for the coming week, including this blog, and reviews, and tweets...
  • Review Tuesday - A good day to feel guilty about reviews I haven't written yet and get on that. Links to reviews that have just gone live may appear this day if I scheduled them on Monday, but this is a no-internet day for me.
  • Submission Wednesday - A day to check where I plan to submit and where I am with those goals, and then Beta Read. I have to be submitting things myself before I can read and comment on other people's unpublished writing.
  • Writing Thursday - You won't be hearing from me this day because I will be writing fiction like the internet hasn't been invented yet.
  • Exerpt Friday - This is my accountability day, the day that I post on this blog to tell you what I have written during the week. I'll be posting an excerpt, summary, link, or flash piece for #flashfriday on twitter.
  • Podcasting Saturday - This is the day that Pendragon Variety records, when they are recording that week. I'd also like to get back into recording short fiction like for the Dribblecast.
  • Homeschooling Sunday - During the traditional school sessions, I teach at a homeschool Coop on Mondays. Plus, I also do light homeschooling for my 3 year old. Plus whatever else strikes my fancy. I have been itching to upload materials to TeachersPayTeachers.

This is something I will tweek every week because I can't stand being tied too closely to a schedule with no regard for specific projects. But, this is the default. This is something to start with. Yay!