Sunday, December 28, 2008

A (Belated) Merry Christmas...

Christmas Day went well - a nice family meal with m'mater, chum #1 and her parents and our friend from uni (many moons ago, seems like). I was quite busy the day before, roasting a ham with maple syrup, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was, I am assured, fantastic. The fact that I had to actively fight the collies off to eat my portions would support its excellence. I think I will do this every Christmas; it's cheaper to buy an uncooked / smoked ham and roast it yourself, and it invariably tastes better (even with the cremating oven from Hell).

Nut roast tonight with steamed veggies; pork roast tomorrow (we would have had the pork roast on Christmas Eve - traditional Danish fare - but I didn't check the cooking instructions until about 2 hours before we were going to eat, and it has to be fully defrosted before use. :( But, that means we get it tomorrow and I still have the red cabbage to do as well as the hasselback taters. 's good.)

I haven't done any more on the novel, although I've planned a short story (started out as a ghost story, but I don't think it is now). So I've got more writing to do, as well as a plan of things I want to do / complete in 2009. I'm working on the 30th of December (a librarian's work is never done) but then I'm off again 'til the 5th of January, so it's been a lengthy holiday, which is nice.

I have been blessed with Amazon vouchers for Crimble, so there will be a trawling through the book book - adding titles, deleting some I've decided not get etc. - and then there will be purchasing of books. Yay! Bibliomania will be appeased! And in between everything else I can watch Season 2 of Dr Who. ::blinks:: I need to check that all of the discs are working ::blinks:: Honest.

Anyway, Joy to All & Peas on Earth. Time to go and sort out dinner before the 39 Steps starts!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Adventures in cooking...

Having been given a bag of frozen prawns, squid, and mussels by m'mother a little while ago, I finally decided what to do with them last night. (We won't discuss how long they were in the freezer. It'll be fine.)
Chum #1 is currently suffering from the hanging mucosal lergy and felt in need of zinc (hence the prawns) and I thought lots of nice vitamins and minerals couldn't hurt.

So, sauted onion and garlic in olive oil; added two big handfuls of freshly chopped parsley, and two big pinches of Tuscan herbs (similar to Italian herbs except it also includes fennel seeds - yum).
I added the fish and then I cheated a bit, using one of the (Schwartz?) fish sauces in a bag (tomatoes, olives and rosemary) because I didn't have enough time to let a homemade sauce settle*

Added a small bottle of passata, 3/4 of a green pepper, 1/4 of a red one, a sprinkle of freshly pestled peppercorns, some chopped fennel bulb, and two flat mushrooms, also chopped.

Let it burble for about 30 minutes, added two handfuls of arborio (sp?) rice and let it burble for another 15 minutes.

Lovely. Nom nom nom.

*If you've got the time, and don't have a ready sauce then I would just substitute another jar of passata and add in fresh rosemary, some olives, some capers and whatever other herbs and veg you like and let it burble slowly for a few hours. You can always add the fish later** once the sauce has settled in.
**Otherwise there will be rubber shellfish to chew and your jaws will ache.

Mood: Hungry

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I hate budgets with a great, pointy stick / head-banging / give me more caffiene kind of hatred.

They are all kinds of suck.

I am going home now. Hopefully, there will be cake. I know there will be curry - this is good. If it is followed by cake it will be lovely.

Mood: annoyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Music: This is Gallifrey - Our Childhood Home : Murray Gold

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


From wilde_tales

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nearly the end of the holiday...

Okay! Only four more days to go of my holiday and I've finally got round to getting the Internet access sorted out. I've made some progress on Model of Perfection, bringing the wordcount up to 16,116 words; I hope to top 20k before I head for home on Friday. I've also mamanged to read a fair bit (although, not as much as I would have liked. Partly because I've seen most of season 1 & 2 of Supernatural this holiday and that took me out of the reading somewhat.)
I have read:
Tempting the Beast - Lora Leigh
The Man Within - Lora Leigh
Elizabeth's Wolf - Lora Leigh
Nymph King - Gena Showalter
Atlantis Rising - Alyssa Day
The Rogue Hunter - Lynsay Sands
Blood Dreams - Kay Hooper
Turbulent Sea - Christine Feehan
Dark Moon Defender - Sharon Shinn
Reader and Raelynx - Sharon Shinn
My Wicked Enemy - Carolyn Jewel
Lord of the Fading Lands - C.L. Wilson
Lady of Light and Shadows - C.L. Wilson
King of Sword and Sky - C.L. Wilson
Sebastian - Anne Bishop
Belladonna - Anne Bishop
1700: Scenes from London Life - Maureen Waller
Women's Costume: The 18th Century - The Gallery of English Costume
The Period House: Style, Detail & Decoration : 1774 to 1914 - Richard Russell Lawrence and Teresa Chris

And also there's been sleeping, eating, dog walking and frisbee throwing; so it's all to the good. Although I wish I had enough holiday each year to be able to take three weeks in a row and not worry about not having much holiday left. And having the money for the cottage for three weeks as well. Photos to follow later because, of course, I forgot the cable for the laptop-camera connection.

The weather's been mostly sunny, with the odd bit of rain and hail - not bad for Pembrokeshire in November / December, especially as most of the rain has been in the evening. I have been palgued by a robin who keeps trying to come into the house for a look round. It had a wander round under the dining table the first time and now it just stands on the step outside looking at me. I usually give in and crumble some seeded bread for it. Giving in to the blandishments of a bird. tut-tut. I also saw, this morning, a bullfinch. First time I've seen one since I moved away from Dorset. They don't appear to be that common in Derbyshire and it was nice to see that they are still around.The only downside to staying in such a lovely cottage is that central heating is included, so of course we have it on. This does mean, however, that when we get home we're giong to be terribly nesh for a week or so as we adjust to a house with a back-boiler and open fire, rather than full on central heating as we have now.

Anyway, that's me and my little update. I shall no doubt spend most of the weekend going through all of my newsgroup digests and trying to clear all of those before I go back to work on Monday. It will be a definite case of hitting the ground running, but after a presentation on the morning of the 18th I can relax a bit and think about Christmas.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress XXXVIII

Can I just say that I absolutely love the OST for Doctor Who Season Four? A lot of the music is brilliant, but my favourite piece out of the whole album has to be The Greatest Story Never Told. Unfortunately, for maximum impact it should be played at ear wobbling volume.

Strangely, this is another piece of music where I can envisage being on the prow of a sailing ship as it moves at high speed through the waves. It will also do very well for the car, although with the dogs in the back it will not be played loudly as their hearing is much better (and more sensitive) than mine. The Voyage of the Damned Suite is also excellent, and I spent a lot longer listening to the album lst night than I ought to have done. (But, lunchtime tomorrow and I'm on my hols for 2 weeks (!!!!!2 weeks!!!!!!) so I can cope with a bit of tiredness.

Things on the job-sheet

1. Continue working on Model of Perfection (2 chs / 12,051 words in so far)
2. Revise 3's Company - reworking the beginning to take into account the new setup
3. Finish rough draft of the military short & revise
4. Start new outline on Rapunze
5. Plan / write something for the Realms of Fantasy Halloween 2009 issue {this one's tentative}
6. Outline some other pieces i.e. 1-2 lines per scene (F &SF shorts) {This is for when I get bogged down in any of the above, need a break and don't want to read / sleep / watch a DVD / take the dogs for a walk / or cook} (Hey, it could happen.)

Current Research

Georgian London

1. Maps
2. Buildings
3. Social / Political History
4. Clothing
5. Transportation / distances / times
6. Crime & punishment (including the other kind of transportation)

Model of Perfection
Total words: 12,051
New words yesterday: 2, 143
Marcus: Got Penelope to relax. But then she ran off.
Penelope: Not sure a lady would have relaxed that much. Ran off after eating most of the sandwiches.
Trouble: On its way.

Listening to: Voyage of the Damned Suite: Murray Gold
Mood: Sick. I has lergy. {It's because I'm going on holiday-it's punishment} ::mopes::

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poetry Quote

I finally got around to looking up a quote from The Impossible Planet in Doctor Who and found out that it's from a huge, docking great poem called Horatius by Thomas Babington Macaulay. The whole poem can be found here, and below is the stanza containing the few lines spoken in DW by Mr Jefferson.

Horatius (from the Lays of Ancient Rome – 1842)


Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
‘To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods,

Saturday, November 08, 2008


NaNoWriMo is currently underway and not going too badly, although if I don't pick the pace up I won't be making 50K by the end of November. But, Sweating With Sven is almost ready to kick off once more and that is a more genteel race to word count greatness. If I don't achieve one, I will more likely achieve the other.

I know, for NaNo that you're supposed to turn off your internal editor, but mine's just told me that chapter four should be chapter six and so now I have to discover what happens in chapters four and five, so that will be something to go over this evening, after m'nevvy's birthday party (he is, he proudly told me, five now. He's been 'almost five' since he turned three!) His dad made him a giant jaffa cake, cake for yesterday and today he's having cake in the shape of a train, so he and his sibs will be pinging off the walls on a sugar high.

It's cold, but I'm putting off lighting the fire until it actually gets dark. 14:00hrs is a little early yet for getting the coal in so it'll be on with another layer (and you see, this is where being a werewolf would come in really handy. On the one hand you'd have a higher metabolism so you'd be warmer anyway; and if it got really cold you could half-shift (so you could still type, naturally) and be all furry and whatnot while still being bipedal and opposedly thumbed. I think evolution missed a trick on that one.)

Anyway, anyone doing NaNo? Doing well?

Anyone about to start Sven?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time to go home...

Early finish today (worked 'til 9 last night) so I shall go home to get changed and then over to m'mother's to use her laptop - our PC is not yet re-connected after having been fitted with an ethernet port and a shiny USB 2.0 port. 21st Century, baby. Oh, yeah!

::ahem:: Anyway. I shall use the time to re-draft my Model of Perfection outline for NaNo ready for Saturday - I'm working until 1pm but should be able to get cracking in the afternoon. After I've set the cawl on to cook. If I can get that planned this avo then I'll work on getting my short done so that the decks are clear and ready for the off.

And, Chum #1 has found a number of internet cafes within easy reach of the farm where we're staying at the end of November, so I'll be able to upload my totals after all!

Iz pleased.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free ebook from Juno Books...

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  • “Kerfol” by Edith Wharton (1916)
  • “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston (1925)

    Go here to download a copy.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    Iz cold...

    Long day at work today, and the building renovations go on. Men in hard hats and fluorescent jackets have been ripping out windows and putting new ones in all day (accompanied by horrifically chilly drafts) and now the building refuses to get warm. I've also just used up the last of my milk in a rather strong cup of coffee, so now I'll have to wait until I get home to have another one. (I don't really like instant coffee without milk.)
    I'm regretting not putting a pair of gloves in my coat this morning as I could really do with a pair about now.

    Lots of people are gearing up for NaNoWriMo in preparation for next month. I'm going to be doing it again - even though I probably won't be in a position to upload anything as it's doubtful I'll be near an internet anything for the last week. (But, you know, I may surpass 50k in the first 3 weeks so that won't be a problem, right? ::rolls_eyes::) No idea what I'll be working on, although I may re-draft the outline to a novella and start again. The secondary story was shoehorned into the original projected length so a litlle re-working should place it more comfortably without things feeling rushed and crammed into too few words. Hmmm. That would work, actually.

    No afternoon off this week (meetings, meetings) but that means I get to save some more hours to be used later, so I may actually have Christmas Eve off instead of having to work it.

    Speaking of Christmas Eve, in a roundabout way, does anyone else follow the tradition of listening to / watching / reading aloud ghost stories before bed? Chum #1's family have always done this (usually M.R. James' stories) and she's continued this and I just wondered if anyone else did it too? If you do, what ghost stories? Or do you make up your own?

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Hey! I can almost see the weekend from here!

    Well, I am suitably punished for staying up past my normal 'school' day bedtime last night--I'm absolutely cream crackered. Hopefully I'll be getting my second (first?) wind before my meeting at 2pm!

    I stayed up to finish the book I was reading (isn't it always the way?) and then it took me ages to get to sleep. Someone was doing DIY in the house next door until about 01:30, and I was a bit frustrated that I'd had to read books in a series out of order. A couple of weeks ago I bought Josh Lanyon's Man, Oh, Man! (non-fiction) and in that he had some excerpts from his Adrien English series. Interest piqued I ordered the first three and because life does this to me I got books 1 and 3 at the same time but book 2 has not yet arrived. I finished the first book--Fatal Shadows--yesterday (enjoyed it, although I thought it could have been longer) and wanted to dive straight into book two; I hesitated for about, oh, five seconds before giving in and reading book 3--The Hell You Say. Hopefully book 2--A Dangerous Thing--and book 4--Death of a Pirate King--will arrive at about the same time and I can read them all together. In order.

    What I like most is the character of Adrien. He has a great voice which makes his personality come across well in the first person form. The mystery and romance are intertwined, with a little more weight given to the mystery but that works really well. The relationship tensions come across especially well in The Hell You Say: Adrien's relationship with some of his writing group; his staff; his mother; and of course his relationship with Jake, not to mention the tentative friendship building with Guy. All were very well drawn and came across as people rather than characters (if that makes sense). Adrien really comes over as the kind of guy you'd like to know.

    Anyway. Looking forward to the tardy volumes' arrival so that I can read all four in one go. I am valiantly ignoring my TBR pile. If it ever fell on top of me I'd be one dead librarian; crushed under a mountain of unread books, their pristine spines a silent reproach to my obvious lack of dedication in whittling it down.

    Also recently read are: The Fifth Sorceress - first in a fantasy trilogy by Robert Newcombe. OK, but not brilliant in that, I didn't really like the main character. He was supposed to be 29 but acted like a very whiny 19 year old (going on 9) and the wizard chappy got on every nerve I had. I'd have decked him. But, I have the other two books so I shall read them anyway, just not yet.

    I re-read Magician by Raymond E. Feist - loved it all over again. Can't find my copies of Silverthorn or A Darkness at Sethanon so I've ordered replacements (but at least all of the covers will match) and I may re-read Faerie Tale now as well.

    I've taken Stacia Kane's Personal Demons off the shelf and that will be the next to be read in the fiction line, and I've got some non-fiction (oceans) to read up on too.

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Progress XXXVI

    Total words: 3520
    New words yesterday: 437
    Ashe: Is confused & angry
    Konstantin: Is frustrated & angry
    Weather: Snowing

    This isn't flowing as well as the last one. Normally in a lunch break I can crank out 1K longhand with little to no problems but, as you can see, I barely got over 400 words before running out of steam. I'm going to keep going rather than go back and try to fix whatever it is that's not working, but I think that in the revision(s) there will be a lot of rewriting to do, to correct whatever it is that's gone tits up.
    But, I do like the characters of Ashe and Konstantin so that's something. I just need to get their dynamic right - I think that's where the brain tickle is coming from. ::mopes::
    Once that’s sorted – and it may take me another couple of thousand words or so, I can go back and rewrite it with the dynamic in mind; but at the moment it seems I need to write it badly in order to get it right.

    Anyway, it's all practice and so never wasted.

    Listening to: A builder's radio somewhere else in the building
    Mood: Tired. Few more hours to go before I can go home.

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Another quick update...

    Just got back to work after being off for a few days with a stinking head cold. ::booooo!:: I've got a cough, but I don't think I'm contagious anymore and I don't fall asleep at the drop of a hat either.

    Done another 1K on the short so will aim to get that finished this week and into first revisions, and then I've got the novella to do third revisions on before returning to the paused novella that I'm going to expand. 20K is too short, there's too much I want to go on there (secondary storyline has more depth that I need to into), so I'll bump it up to 40k-60k I think and see how that goes. It may go up - or down - in revisions anyway, so I'm not going to hugely panic in the first draft.

    Dog walking when I get home - get some fresh air into the lungs, mud up the leggings etc. and then some sort of sausage casserole for dinner, I think. Chum #1 is making it, so I'm not entirely sure of the ingredients. Pumpkin & butternut squash soup to be made next weekend. I have the ingredients so I shall be culinary. I may even go the whole hog and make bread! Lovely.

    Time to go. Hopefully tomorrow will be a tad less frenetic.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Quick Update

    The new term has started and it's busy, busy, busy!

    Lots of inductions; lots of 'please be quiet in this area / group study and chit-chat areas are elsewhere' etc. (That bit is going to get old hat very quickly)

    Started a new short story and made notes for another, so on a bit of a roll. Other than that, not much is going on as the new term sucks up a lot of time and energy (and brain power). I've got three late nights this week, which means I'll be home at 22:00, 21:00 and 19:30hrs on three consecutive nights (not tonight, thank goodness) and then it's off to Newcastle to the pater's for the weekend and lots of relaxation and sleep.

    Then I get to do it all again, but slightly less frantic, next week. It should begin to calm down after that, though.

    What's your week looking like? Good, bad, indifferent?

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    It's (Not) the End of the World As We Know It


    Got this from desperance, who got it from flyingsauce.

    So funny, I had to share. Well, that brightened up my morning!

    Mood: Amused
    Listening to: Shabda - Mike Oldfield

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    New Britwriters Blog post up

    Just a quick recap before I head off for lunch! I'll try and post more later.

    I've just done a new post for the Britwriters Blog. It's on outlines, and my use of them. So have a look here and post a comment. Also, if you have a(nother) spare minute - check out the previous post on Birmingham's influence on Tolkein, by Fiona!

    Hope you all had a lovely weekend! (I had rain)

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Hey, I can see the weekend from here!

    Well, I am back at work after a week off...and it isn't raining! I had to stay at work an extra half hour yesterday because I'd left my umbrella and coat in the car and it decided to thunder with torrential rain just as I was about to log off. New term is only 19 days away so I'm gearing up for that and trying to maintain a facsimile of wakefulness to do other stuff during breaks and home time. I think I will be pinning most of my productive hopes* on the weekends at the moment; I'm still trying to get back into the habit of getting up at 5am to get the dogs out before I get ready for work.

    What am I up to?

    Contraband - paused while I figure (yet again) where I'm going wrong. I'm pretty sure I'm starting it in the wrong place, but I'll be damned if I can figure out the right place at the moment. I really want to write this story (which is possibly part of the problem - I may just be trying too hard to force it where I think it wants to go)

    3's Company - due for second edits/revisions in the next couple of weeks

    Model of Perfection - paused while I get a short story (6k) off the ground. This is going to be longer than I thought, so I'll be aiming for 40k rather than 20k and see how that goes

    Untitled short (6k) - research done, need to get a map to make sure I get place names correct and then I'll be ready to dive in

    *And if the 'war' on the WiFi network (don't laugh - that's what the tech on the other end of the phone said "there's a war on your network") doesn't get sorted out at least I won't be able to pizzle the time away on the interwebs.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008


    A new story idea came to me last night (while watching Medical Investigations over dinner bizarrely enough) The investigators were searching for pathogens in the ocean that could be causing an illness in humans and seals, and I thought 'how would you deal with that, if it was actually in the ocean? What if it spread around the world (and you had no other world to escape to)? How would you combat it without killing everything else? What would it be like if you didn't care if everything else (in the water) died and you ended up with a dead ocean? What could happen after that?' Basically it moved on from there. I've got some notes to get down and flesh out, see where they take me; and I have a picture in my head of what it will look like. I'll work on that while I'm on holiday (1 1/2 days to go!) and see what happens. I'll also have to do some scientific research on oceans & specifically how the loss of plankton etc. would affect things.

    Model of Perfection got paused briefly as the day job has been insanely busy and brain-draining with finishing off phase 2 of a project. Now we just need to hand it off so that the rest of the work can be incorporated into everyone's normal day job activities and roles.There'll still be some steering from us, but we can devolve a fair amount of the work to relevant people. Term starts in another month so when I get back from my leave I'll have a few last minute things to finish - presentations and the like. And then we'll be ready to rock for at least 3 weeks of utter madness and hectic (possibly even frenetic) activity, before things slow to a more manageable level. Yay.

    Now I have a stabbing pain in my head when I cough - yay, lergy. So I'm going home to lie down. My life. It is full of speshul exzitement.


    Via M.K. Hobson's livejournal.

    Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

    NBPS - The Idealist

    Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Shape

    You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

    The Perception Personality Types:


    Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

    Monday, August 11, 2008


    Okay, I'm now 42% of the way through Model of Perfection (8,461 words, if you're interested) and everything's ticking along nicely. (So far - plenty of time for things to go horribly wrong).
    I am really looking forward to my holiday (2 more weeks to go, YES!) it's only for a week, but as the H.E. term starts mid-September it'll be nice to have some time to prepare for the mental and physical horror that comprise the induction weeks. Oh, yeah. I'll take zombies any day. I'll need to make sure I get some flat shoes beforehand, though. I did all of induction in high heels last year because my flats had died...never again. My feet were killing me at the end of the day. I like the heels because most 14 year olds are taller than me, so the 18 year olds certainly are. Maybe I should get some goth platforms to raise me up? Hmmm. There's a thought (and, unfortunately an image to go with it. No, no. Out damned vision.)
    Anyway, back to work - chug, chug, chug.

    How's your day going? Productive, unproductive, frustrating or fantastic?

    Listening to: Going Under - Evanescence

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    It's hot! Damn hot!

    Well, it's another day in paradise. NOT!
    It's insanely muggy (and it seems to have worsened in the last half hour or so). There was a rumble of thunder this morning, but all attempts at stormy weather have ceased and we just have mugg instead. I have a headache of muggness. Not happy.

    Also, my chair in office no.2 is not comfy and my tailbone keeps locking, so every time I stand up I walk like Long John Silver for the first couple of minutes. ::pouts::

    Model of Perfection is jogging along. Not as quickly as I'd like, but it's forward motion so not to be sniffed at. It's at 4,459 / 20,000 words which is around 22% so it's getting there. I've fleshed out the later sections of the outline, so I've a better idea of what will happen when, I just need a block of time to sit down and crack on. I should get some tonight when I go home (checks watch: 1 hour to go!) and on Friday. Saturday I've got the house to myself, but may go over to m'mother's and use her laptop instead as she has an incredibly comfy office chair and a bigger garden for the dogs to play in. Choices, choices.

    Still dreaming about Contraband. I will crack that sucker on the head. I refuse to let it beat me. It's going to sit to one side for a while until I decide where the beginning really is, and then I shal attack it. Again.

    3's Company is to one side and is due for its 2nd revision in August. I'm on holiday the week of the UK Bank Holiday so I may leave it till then - I'll see how I go on the other projects first. I know I won't be able to get anything done when I'm at my dad's except a little long-hand writing when I go up to bed, so I can strike 4 days off (with possibly a 5th for travelling - depends on the traffic) but I'll have the rest of the week to go through it. 37K shouldn't take too long, eh?

    Interesting posts I've read today:

    David de Beer's looking at flat-fee vs. by-the-word payment for shorts, and is looking for feedback

    Orson Scott Card gives matociquala a headache

    Apex Digest Online are looking for a slush wrangler and an editor

    And, Stacia Kane is up to part nine in her 'Be a sex-writing strumpet' writing series

    Also, don't forget to check out Paperback Writer's site for the Left Behind and Loving It series of workshops. Not only includes her own workshops, but also links to posts/ workshops offered by other people on a huge range of topics.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    Where has all the time gone?

    It doesn't seem that long ago that I was planning out my weekend, and now another week has gone by (pretty much in a blur) and another weekend is almost here. (Driving up to see my Dad tomorrow lunchtime so that will be nice)

    Work has started on Model of Perfection, although I am (naturally) altering the outline as I go along to try and increase the heat level a bit earlier. I don't know if it will work, but I've built in enough editing/ revision time that I can change it to the earlier outline scenario if it doesn't feel right.

    I've been putting down some thoughts on the m/m military short I'm thinking of doing - how it's going to kick off and then progress. I'll get MoP out of the way first and then start work on that.

    I had joined the Forward Motion July/ August Dare, but if I don't pull my socks up I won't be reaching the target word count of 62K for the two months. Spent too much time sleeping when I got home!

    To do list - high priority
    Continue with Model of Perfection (needs 16k by the end of the weekend)
    Think/ plan more of military short
    Plan more of paranormal novella

    Research to read
    Lascivious Bodies : a sexual history of the eighteenth century by Julie Peakman
    Notes on Spetsnaz

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    The weekend's nearly here...

    Plans for the weekend:

    Working tomorrow until around 2-ish, so I should get home at about 3 o'clock, maybe a bit earlier (note to self: remember to take sandwiches).

    Once I'm home I've got a number of things to do:
    • Get my teeth into the write-up of Model of Perfection (* & **)
    • Delve into the bottom-most collapsible crate in my bedroom to rescue the fantasy/ dark fantasy books that have been languishing there for the past year and move them onto my re-organised bookcases
    • Hoover / laundry
    • Visit chums - may have to playstation on Saturday rather than tonight, as I'm working tomorrow. Can't turn up to work all sparkly if you didn't go to bed until 03:00hrs!
    • Visit the Mater
    *I've estimated 7 chapters and I've outlined up to chapter five, scene three. I'm hoping that the ending will come to me as I approach it. I've estimated I need a minimum of 1333 w.p.d. to get it done and leave me with enough time to revise and edit. The outline is quite detailed (in some cases down to specific bits of dialogue / action I want, so this will (should!) aid the smoothness. If I've done it right.

    ** The title's a bit trite, but I couldn't think of one I really liked and didn't want to work on Short ER WIP # 'x' so I can use this one as a filler and hopefully come up with a better one around the same time I find out what the ending is.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    No way!

    I is Yoda

    Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

    Progress XXXV

    Okay - quick update before I head off for a sandwich and then the contact lens optician...

    I'm halfway through the outline for the historical novella - can't think of a blerrie title at the moment, hopefully inspiration will strike before rather than after I need it! Outline's going well, I just need some info on 17thC English clothes (layers/ strings vs hooks & eyes etc.) Not too much detail needed, but some.

    I've also let 3's Company sit for a couple of weeks, so I shall start editing that shortly as well. I'll be editing it on paper to begin with and uploading the corrections afterwards. Then, I may flesh out one or two other areas as well.

    In the pipeline:
    4 more outlines - for novellas
    1 outline - for a short story

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    Wordle - fun toy

    This is a word cloud of part of my short-story Contraband (as was - I'm pretty sure I'm changing it again. I will get it the way I want!)
    'S nice.

    Not as deaf as I thought...

    Got this from erastes - apparently I'm in my twenties as far as hearing goes. Not bad considering I'm in my mid-thrities and have been abusing my eardrums with loud music since I was about ten!

    You can still hear reasonably well and you can play this without my old fart colleagues hearing it which makes you feel kinda good.

    The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 15.8kHz
    Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!

    Mood: Tired
    Music: Shabda - Mike Oldfield

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008


    Playtex moonwalk successfully completed - just need to collect all of the sponsorship money now. (Next year I'm doing the online donation thing - much easier).

    It was a great experience and seeing Edinburgh by night was interesting, but my God, it was cold! Once we got to 03:00hrs we had our space blankets wrapped around us, which looked very fetching with the see-through macs we were given in case it rained. Lovely!
    I had 3 hours sleep vs 36 awake, and I still haven't quite caught up. I'm working on that. Hope to be caught up by Friday, something the dogs are waiting for with bated breath. They've found it very disappointing over the last couple of days to have my alarm go off at 05:30 and for me to then turn over and go back to sleep for an hour. Ah well. Their ungodly hour of the morning walk will come. On Friday. Probably.

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    Progress XXXIV

    It's DONE! The second draft of 3's Company is finished and is now put to one side for a few weeks while I work on Contraband as was.

    I am so relieved. ::happy_dance::

    I'm going home now as I'm doing the Playtex Moonwalk in Edinburgh tomorrow night and I'll need my rest. I also still have to decorate my bra! Not that I've left it late or anything!

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Progress XXXIII

    Okay, nearly finished the second draft of 3's Company. First draft was 26, 033 words; second draft, so far, is up to 31, 423 words. I stopped at the 20, 571 words mark (in 1st draft) which means that I've added 10,852 new words up to that point in the story in the 2nd draft.

    I am pleased! I've got the afternoon off today (worked late last night, last late night this term) and I'll be supervising the putting up of shelves later; but hopefully I'll be able to put this to bed tonight as I've got the house to myself until about 22:30hrs.

    This is only for me, but I like the picture and wanted and excuse to use it! (Thanks to Rachel Caine for the pic!

    Tuesday, June 03, 2008

    Free E-Book

    Simon Haynes [info]halspacejock- author of the Hal Spacejock series - is giving away a free download of book one: Hal Spacejock. You can download it here

    If you've already read the previous three, book four - No Free Lunch - has just hit the shelves.

    For more info, Simon's website is here

    Go, read, enjoy.

    Thursday, May 29, 2008


    I've done some more background work on Contraband (as was - I'm still calling it that for the moment, but I think that will change as it gets longer. So much for keeping it under 3K!) As my rather gruesome request in an earlier post showed I'm going into more detail for this - it's coming along tickety-boo.

    I'm working this Saturday, so I thought that on my way home I would stop off at Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property. Well, I'm not that interested in the house to be honest. I'm looking forward to walking through the grounds which are, apparently, very nice. I will try and remember to take my camera so that I can capture the pastoral bliss. (I only hope that the weather doesn't follow its recent pattern of lashing it down at every opportunity!)

    Broad beans in the allotment are growing at a mutant rate, but the runner beans got too much sun a couple of weeks ago and all but two got scorched leaves. I've got two sturdy pumpkin plants almost ready to go in and the potatoes are chitting in a mutant fashion, reminding me that although they are not earlies, neither are they that late! Ooops. My garlic is also doing well and I will have it mainly to myself as my housemate can only eat it if she doesn't smell it cooking - she used to be green in the face allergic, so this is an improvement. (She doesn't like the sun either, but we didn't mention that when we visited the Transylvanian Alps - just in case!)

    I shall make bread this weekend, I think. I made some lovely sun-dried tomato bread to go with my spaghetti sauce while I was on holiday and it reminded me how much I love fresh, home-made bread. I went to Asda on Sunday and asked the baker for some fresh yeast and she gave me about 100g, so much baking will ensue. I didn't make any bread over the bank holiday, but I did cook the salmon dish my housemate likes. All you need are:
    salmon steaks
    5 slices of pancetta per steak
    enough Roquefort to put a thick slice on top of each.

    Lay out the pancetta, overlapping the long edges slightly. Place salmon steak on top, put roquefort on top of salmon. Wrap pancetta round the whole thing. Lightly oil a baking dish and cook for 20 minutes at 175 degrees celsius. (If you have a psychotic oven, put tin foil over the dish for the first 15 minutes, then take off to let the pancetta crisp up.)

    Complement with salad & a balsamic vinegar dressing/ steamed veg.

    Lovely! nom nom nom. (Unfortunately there are no pictures of this culinary delight because, unlike my friend Steve, I don't photograph my successes.) (Although I did take a picture of a particularly lovely baby bear pumpkin that I grew last year - right before I stuck it into a pot of soup - so I suppose I can't say anything!)

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    Tax, and the British author selling to the US

    [info]alex_beecroft has just written a post over on the Britwriters blog on how British authors, who sell to US publishers, can get an ITIN number that means they're exempt from US tax and therefore only pay it in the UK. Read the post here.

    Handy information to have, and there are links to the relevant forms included in the post.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Update & a Question

    The Bank Holiday's over, the car passed its MOT and I'm back at work. Yay.

    Haven't finished the second draft of 3's Company yet. My housemate is finishing off her Master's thesis and we've had to go turn and turn about on the pc so we're both chugging along, just not as quickly as if we had a computer each. So far, I've added just over 8k in new words (same point in the first draft was c.15k as opposed to 23k in 2nd) so that's part of the reason it's taking so long.

    Had an idea for Contraband, which raised a question that I hope someone will have an answer to: if you can use vegetable oil for biofuel (after conversion) could you use human fat in the same way? i.e. after liposuction, could you take the removed fat, turn it into liquid and then convert it into a biofuel? Does anyone know?

    Cheers :D

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Monday, Monday

    Okay, my week off is over and I am back at work...nope, no cheering from the stands; I could quite happily have had another two (or three, or-) weeks without coming back.

    I got a minimal amount of writing done. Transcribed more of 3's Company; wrote more on Contraband v.3 and am now pausing that to do some worldbuilding that I should have done before I started. There's nothing like doing it all backwards, eh?

    On the plus side, I did get a huge amount of gardening done and some allotmenteering, so that should be more maintainable now (i.e. the odd half hour here an there when I get back from work rather than an entire day on the weekend).

    I'm trying to avoid starting the new novella until I'm done with the second draft of 3's Company otherwise it'll just sit and fester, unloved, on the hard-drive. In light of this, I've set myself a personal challenge to have the whole of the second draft done by Sunday 25th at the latest. So friends & family will have to put up with me being anti-social in the extreme for a week


    There's a new British Writers blog & Yahoo Group starting up, initiated by Alex Beecroft, among other authors:

    'After envying all the writers on my list who always seemed to be going to RWA meetings or RT conventions, I thought that it would be nice if we UK writers could get together and do something en masse :) Strength in numbers, and all that - not to mention that if there's a con in Newcastle it's easier to post some stuff to a local who is going anyway, than it is to book flights and hotels to go yourself. (And, of course, the same at the other end of the country.'

    Click here to read the full post at Alex's blog.

    Edited to correct some appalling spelling.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008


    I'm on day three (or day 5, if you count the weekend) of my week's holiday. I've been up at six every morning to take the dogs for a walk, which has been amazing(!) and I've done a fair amount of work in the garden weeding, re-potting etc.
    This afternoon I will have to repeat it (with more digging) on the allotment and get the rest of my runner beans in, as well as potatoes. I've updated the file for the novella (3's Company) and will be working on that today.

    So far, I'm having a great time and it's just a shame that I'll have to go back to the Day Job on Monday. ::phbbbt::

    When I get round to it I shall post pictures of the wilderness that is my allotment, I'm gaining ground what appears to be an inch at a time.

    Have a lovely day!

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Progress XXXII

    Okay, quick updates.

    Typing up/ editing of 3's Company is going well and I'm at 15,542 words on that.

    Version 3 of Contraband is also cracking on, that currently stands at 2050 words so there's still a bit more to go. I may also have a go at writing this as a screenplay - someone I met at Alt.Fiction (hello Robert! ::waves::) suggested that, as it was a short story and I had been having problems, doing it as a screenplay would pare it down to the absolute essentials and could help with the stop-start problems I've been having. So, even though the story has picked up I think I shall have a bash at it anyway, because--why not?

    I'm on holiday next week (yay!) so will do more during the day then, but for now, evenings are the key times (because I am really not a morning person!)
    Late night at work for me tonight, finishing at 21:00hrs! But, hopefully the sun will still be shining then (doubt it). It has been a most glorious day, around 20 deg. C and tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be hotter. And I'm at work! How wrong is that, I ask you? 'Od's fish. ^O_O^

    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Three day weekend coming up!

    Yes, there is a Bank Holiday on Monday! Yay!
    I know I'm on holiday in another week anyway, so it may seem a bit bizarre crowing over a day off when I've got a whole week coming up four days later, but in my defence it has been a mad couple of weeks and I'm very tired ::smiles::

    If the weather is nice I will no doubt be on the allotment for some of the time, but I will also make the effort to (a) do some writing, (b) tidy up my bedroom and (finally) get the additional shelving up that I need - must get the books out of the boxes & towers and onto shelves and (c) catch up on reading new books/ watching some films that I got for Christmas/ birthday and still haven't seen!

    And update the blog of course, while interacting on various groups/ reading my feed reader etc. and so on ::blink::

    The surveys at work went very well, we had a goodly number of respondents and we're keeping everything open until mid-May, at which point I and a colleague step back in to collate all of the quantitative and qualitative responses. Quantitative is quite easy as the program we used will do that for us, qualitative will mean drilling down into the results a way and putting them in a presentable form for discussion.

    I still haven't given an update on Alt.Fiction which was a week ago tomorrow - I will get round to it (although there's nothing profound I have to say on it!) but likely not this afternoon as I am working in the first half (facing the public!) and being defoliated in the second so will be rather busy.

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    Struck a cord...

    Got this from Karen Miller's blog. It's quite a long post and referring to the F&SF/ spec fic genre but I think it could also be applied to the Romance genre (and all it's associated sub-genres) because similar attitudes do seem to prevail (and explode across the blogosphere from time to time).
    See Lauren Dane's site for a re-hash of a cyclical argument in the romance world (and RWR) and her response (heads up for the link came from Gennita Low's blog.)

    To quote (or with my memory, more likely mis-quote) Jack Nicholson (and I've no recollection of which character he was playing at the time): 'why can't we all just get along?'


    What Is Your Animal Personality?

    Take this quiz!

    Quizilla |

    | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

    Pity about the your rather than you're, but nice picture!

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Madness! Madness!

    Well, yesterday at work was hectic from start to finish. We're running surveys of our web pages/ tutorials and potential induction videos and I hit the ground running and didn't grind to a halt until I got home. We had three laptops running three different surveys simultaneously - one of the laptops was very slow. We got a replacement and couldn't log in, so had to wait for the laptop's main user to come and log in (our system is migrating so the network has a dicky fit every now and again); then, we could only run one survey per machine so I had to run back to the office and alter the survey settings so that multiple surveys could be submitted from the same laptop. This brought me to 11:45 am!
    For the rest of the day, nothing went wrong but there was more running around.

    I am very tired today and in about 25 minutes I'm giong to have to do it all over again (although hopefully without anything actually going wrong!)

    Update on Alt.Fiction to follow when I've got another moment.

    Mood: Tired
    Music: The show must go on - Freddie Mercury

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Linky linky

    Bit delayed, but finally got round to reading The Big Idea: Kate Elliot on John Scalzi's blog. Very funny story, very interesting.
    I haven't read any of her books yet, although my Dad's read them all (and he's picky - but loved them) so I shall be adding her to the, dangerously overloaded, TBR pile. Actually, it's not really a pile, it's more of a mountain. With dust.

    Progress XXXI

    Good, but also not good.

    Good: have typed up over 12K of 3's Company. Based on the original first draft total I'm 49% in, so only 51% to go, right? Wrong!

    Bad: I've added just over 5K of new words so far, which means I'm not 49% through the hand-written version. On the 5K alone I'm over the 30K maximum and I imagine I'll be adding more new words as I'm editing as I go. There will be cuts, my pretties, oh yes!

    Also, yesterday (when I should have been writing, gorammit) I caught up on all of the feeds (and oh, God do I mean all) in my feed-reader and ended up looking at editorrent's Redlines articles (go to the site, scroll down to labels and click on the redlines link). There is some good stuff there and in the other articles, on things to look out for in your writing and so on.

    However, what I should have done was saved the entries and then looked at them after the type-up, during second edits. Why? Because I found that immediately after having read some of the more pertinent posts (pertinent to my own writing) I began to self-correct what I was transcribing/ editing. Not a bad thing necessarily, but I do need to get this transcribed onto screen (which will make editing easier) so speed is important in the first instance.

    The articles are very good and interesting though--as are the comments--and I'd recommend people have a look at least!

    News: I have bought a book on punctuation. Why? I have 'comma diarrhea' ::mopes:: 'S true. And embarrassing.

    Mood: Full. Nice sarnie. Nom nom nom

    Music: Snow White Queen - Evanescence


    Okay. I've booked to go to Alt.Fiction in Derby on Saturday. The schedule looks interesting, in fact the whole experience should be interesting because I've never gone to anything like this before, for any genre. Hmm. Perhaps I shouldn't have admitted that out loud?

    The only question is, do I drive and park in the secure car park which is expensive but very secure or, do I go by train-which is ok in the going, but in the coming back may be intermittent as regards stopping at my station and will then involve either (a) it costs how much to get a taxi to my house? or, (b) please come and pick me up. pleeeeese or, (c) it costs how much to park at the station and then retrieve my car? ::choices, choices::

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Sven Update

    Okay. 24 days to go so quick update on progress overall.

    Sven total is skewed because now that I'm typing up draft one and editing as I go I'm adding new words but I won't be able to work out the difference until it's finished. But it's going well even if I can't quantify it.

    Contraband has been started three times now and I hope that this time the story's going where it should. The irritating thing is that I now know where it should start, which means ditching the first 800 words or so. But, it will make it a better story so I won't complain about that.

    A third piece has been planned and a basic outline has been done. Chapter outline to follow and then I'll get started on that (and this time I will be typing direct!) Lesson learned there.

    Mood: Tired. Took the dogs on a long walk yesterday round a dam. Flat surface (i.e. not really rough terrain) and my hips were aching this morning so I must have been plodding hard at one point. Obviously I need to work on the incredible lightness of footsteps!

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Progress XXX

    Up to 31% typed up on 3's Company! I'll do more this evening and try to get it up to 40% at least. As far as wordcount overall & Sweating with Sven goes, then it's not looking good. Although, if I can get this typed up and start on the shifter novella then I may get closer to 60K by the end of Sven than I thought I would a week ago.
    What I don't want is to fall into the trap of writing it out longhand and having to go through this whole typing it up malarkey again. Which will mean sitting at my desk during lunch to write and coping with interruptions. ::sigh::

    Mood: Good
    Music: Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Progress XXIX

    Type-up on 3's Company has begun again! Joy to the world and peas on earth. ::big_grin::

    Wrote some more on Contraband at the weekend, but haven't totted it up yet as it was longhand.

    Saw some absolutely gorgeous 'on the move' laptops on Saturday. One was a Dell and the other an Acer - both have Vista, which is a downer, but you can apparently put XP on top and just select it from the BIOS as your operating system of choice. The problem with that, is that you can't get rid of Vista, so it will still take up 10GB on your hard drive - doing nothing. And then XP is about another 5GB - so, big hard disk. Also, apparently, there may be a new OS in a year or so anyway. Do we stay or do we go? ::ponders::

    Progress good.
    Temp: 19 degrees C (brrrr)
    Music: At Wit's End - PotC3

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Progress XXVIII

    Slow progress on Contraband, practically (totally) stopped on the type-up of 3's Company, so that's something that will be taking up most of my time in the near future. Not quantitative progress as in 'x' no. of new words, but it will be progress all the same.

    Musn't go off the boil! Especially as I have plans for 5 other pieces, of varying lengths, between now and December to satisfy specific calls for submissions. Then, of course, there are those pieces already paused and languishing in a flash drive dungeon, waiting for me to release them and have at them once more.
    I have a chart to give me an idea of what should be started and when, as well as to highlight which pieces of work will need to be written at the same time as something else. It's actually been quite useful, so I shall certainly do something similar next year.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Nothing But Red is now available...

    On the 7th of April 2007, Du'a Khalil was stoned & beaten to death in an honour killing precipitated by her relationship with a young shopkeeper. Some of her relatives were among those who participated in the killing, and the event was filmed on people's mobile phones resulting in world wide coverage of, and commentary on, her death.

    Joss Whedon wrote an impassioned essay about this, and misogony in general, a month later. You can read it here

    As a result, a group of volunteers decided that they would put together an anthology responding to Joss' essay and Du'a Khalil's death, with the proceeds for this going to the charity Equality Now. They called for contributions and got a significant response from people, myself included. (My piece is titled 'My Sister's Bones')
    The anthology is called Nothing But Red, and it's available as an e-book or as a print book through Lulu as of today.

    NBR website here
    Lulu link here
    Equality Now link here
    Times article about Du'a here
    IWPR report about Du'a here

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    Progress XXVII

    Still typing up 3's Company - it's going well so far.

    I've decided to re-start Contraband. I didn't like the way it was going, so I've completely re-written what I'd done and added a bit more so I'm up to 1,255 words on that (I'm aiming for 3k)

    So quite productive!

    Time to go home now, though.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Finding Time

    Treva had a good post at the start of March (which I've only just read - I know, but I've over-RSS'd myself) about the mythical 'I'll write when I have time...'

    She made some good points. No-one is going to magically hand out a portion of time for you/ me/ us to write in. Even when (if) we retire, our days won't necessarily be empty of other things to do. Real life, as always, intrudes.

    In the past I have, I will admit, been guilty of the 'when I have time' or 'I didn't have time' whine. And, in my case, it was a whine because I would have had time if I had: not watched tv/ not read a book etc.
    This year I've sought to improve that, and I've managed to achieve some regularity of writing. Most especially, at work during my lunchbreaks. Having a deadline of 45 mins to an hour - even one that's self-imposed - meant I got my head down and was astonishngly productive. But I had to make the effort. I had to want it enough to not read during my lunchbreak, or check my RSS reader, or any of the other task avoidance things I'm prone to.

    In doing this I've finished the first draft of a 26k novella - something I hadn't done before. I've had ideas for other stories (novellas/ novels/ shorts) and they've come a little more easily than in the past.

    On a personal level then, getting out of the 'I don't have time' rut and refusing to allow myself that 'out', I've managed to improve my productivity, and hopefully, by writing on a regular basis, I've improved the quality of my work as well.
    Sometimes, life will intervene. That's true. But for me, a lot (most) of the time when I said 'I don't have time' it was an excuse, not a valid reason. It was just me, wasting the time I did have.

    May your time be productively spent this weekend and may real life avoid tossing a caber at you.

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Progress XXVI

    I've typed up, and revised, 20% of 3's Company, so that's cracking on. I'll try to get that done by the weekend so it can sit while I work on something else. I really want to get this first phase done as I've got a few other things in the pipeline, but until this is typed up I don't feel I can work on them.

    So, clickety clackety.

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    Progress XXV

    First draft of 3's Company is done!
    Now for the typing up, as I've been doing this all longhand. I'll be concentrating on that over the Easter break, before I have to go back to work, and I'll be re-working Contraband as well as I don't like the direction it's going in at the moment.

    3's Company - 1st draft
    New words: 826
    Total words: 26,033
    Total pages: 104.132
    Lucy: Getting ready to take a leap in the dark
    Jared & Sam: Relieved she's chosen them
    Random sample of text: "But if you don't jump. If you don't take that leap of faith and try to fly, then you'll always look back with regret at what could have been."

    Mood: Quiet sense of achievement.
    Update: It's snowing! Big, fat flakes of snow too!

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Potential absence

    I'm away for 3 days and may not have access to the internet while I'm gone, so just in case anyone thinks I've dropped off the face of the earth. I haven't, I just may be technologically embarassed!

    Have a good few days and good luck with the Sven-ing all!


    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Progress XXIV

    Not much progress made yesterday - short break so I didn't have much time to get up a head of steam. Came across a bit of a plot problem, but with the help of a brainstorming session with a friend I think I've got it sorted. I'll see how it works out on paper.

    3's Company

    New words: 463
    Total words: 25,207 (max 0f 30k)
    Total pages: 100.828 (max of 120)
    Lucy: Really getting her mad on
    Sam & Jared: Angry for Lucy, waiting to see what she wants to do.
    Random sample of text: "Darling Lucy. With us, you spread a lot more than your wings," Sam retaliated.
    "Bastard," she said, affectionately. "See if I stroke your tattoo now."

    Contraband's paused while I finish 3's Company. I'll go back to it next week. I'm away for three days, but I should have a chance to complete Contraband before I get back, and decide whether I want it in 1st person POV or not. Jury's still out on that one.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Progress XXIII

    Reached the minimum wordcount on 3's Company. It's not finished yet, I need to wrap the story up, bearing in mind that the wordcount will fluctuate anyway as I type it up and edit as I go along. I'm aiming to actually get the storyline finished by the end of the weekend. Then I'll concentrate on the type-up and first draft edit, leave it for a week and then go through it again.

    3's Company
    New words: 1,087
    Total words: 24,744
    Total pages: 98.976 / 96 (min.)
    Lucy: Angry, now that she's over her shock
    Sam: Being strong and, mostly, silent
    Jared: Wants to know what the hell is going on
    Random sample of text: "Robson basically said that my...being with you - having a threesome - makes me a security risk. I would, apparently, be easy to blackmail," she finished, dryly.

    Mood: More productive than yesterday!

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008


    Jeff Vandermeer has posted an interesting, short, article on Tips for Beginners in creative writing.
    I think 4, 5, & 7 were relevant (to me personally). I'm not saying the others aren't as well, just that those three tapped me on the shoulder and went 'there, you see? What did we tell you?'

    How's your day going? I've had a busy day at work, so no writing. (Meetings, travel to meetings, travel back from meetings etc.) I'm looking forward to getting home and going to bed. ::snores::

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Progress XXII

    Writing is still going well at lunchtimes, although weekends are full of procrastination and excuses for some reason (more time, less motivation?).
    I've nearly reached the minimum wordcount for 3's Company (24k) so I will be going over, but that's okay as there will be some additions/ subtractions in the edits. As long as I'm not woefully under or over then I'm not too bothered at this stage.

    Contraband is paused temporarily. I've been writing it in 1st pov and I'm not sure it should be. It's not flowing as it should/ could so it may be that I'm (a) writing the wrong story or, (b) that the pov is wrong and throwing the whole thing off. I'm only aiming for a maximum of 3k, so I could write it both ways - but I'm not sure I want to! We'll see. I had originally planned to have a max. of 1k - maybe I should return to that. It may not be working becaue I'm trying to get too much in? ::ponders::

    3's Company
    New words: 1,214
    Total words: 23,652
    Total pages: 94.608 / 96
    Lucy: Feeling happy, until her boss corners her in the lift
    Sam: Haranguing security to get the lift started again
    Jared: Swearing at the security camera
    Freaky moments: One. Lucy's boss acts scarily out of character
    Random sample of text: Lucy crowded back in a corner, unnerved by his reaction and loss of control. The emergency phone had been ringing for some time, the rings shrill in the close confines of the lift. She looked at it with longing, not quite daring to cross into his personal space to answer it.

    Mood: Not really a mood, but I'm cold. Chilly hands.

    Music: I don't think now is the best time from Pirates of the Caribbean 3

    Progress XXI

    No new words this weekend, I did some reading around the craft instead and got some good ideas for dealing with a couple of areas that I wasn't that happy with in 3's Company. So, it was time well spent as I can incorporate the new ideas into the first edit and they will, hopefully, make it a better story.

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Progress XX

    Not bad, not bad at all. Only 440 words behind what my total to date should be, so as long as I can keep this up, all will be well. (And all manner of things will be well. [apologies to Voltaire])

    3's Company
    New words: 890
    Total words: 22,438
    Total pages: 89.752 / 96
    Lucy: Feeling very daring
    Sam: Feeling put upon
    Jared: Voting for the cardigan
    Kisses: None, but there's lots of scowling
    Random sample of text: Jared threw his hands in the air in the universal sign of defeat, and marched to the door, Lucy on his heels. Sam brought up the rear, a gusty sigh on the back of her neck his sign of displeasure.

    Edited to add: Typed up 793 words of 3's Company, editing-as-I-go.

    Mood: Productive.

    Progress XIX

    No new words on 3's Company yesterday, although I did get some down for Contraband. Most progress was made on the backstory/ outline for a piece for Cobblestone's Octoberfest call. Four other pieces to be planned, although two of them aren't due until Oct/Dec this year, so I can wait on those two for a bit unless I get a brilliant idea!

    New words: 160
    Total words: 677
    Total pages: 2.708 / 12
    Narrator: Seems a bit weird
    Shem & Cain: Don't know what's coming
    Random sample of text: 'Anyone who gets caught breaking the rules gets two warnings. The third time, though, they get recycled.'

    Octoberfest outline/ notes: 1,113 words

    Total new words for Thursday: 1,273

    Mood: Chipper

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Progress XVIII

    No new words yesterday, but I've been typing up the longhand I did for 3's Company. It needs to be done, so that's progress of a sort.

    Sven total since Saturday
    New words: 2852
    Not good, as I'm behind now, but I'll be doing more during my lunchbreak so that will rack things up again. I will also try to do more typing up tonight before Ashes to Ashes.

    Mood: Tired. The coffee hasn't started working yet.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Ten simple rules...

    for graduates in the evil sciences
    This link was cadged via Neil Gaiman's blog. Read through all the entries, they're hilarious (bit like the evil overlord list).


    Progress XVII

    Rollin'. rollin', rollin'...

    Things are going well, progress is being made, although I am slowing down somewhat on 3's Company but hopefully that's a blip rather than a trend, as I'm actually quite close to the end!

    3's Company
    New words: 977
    Total words: 21,548
    Total pages: 86.192 / 96
    Lucy: Discovers that Sam & Jared can get into her room quicker than she can. Without a key.
    Sam: Just getting out of the shower.
    Jared: Charming extra towels out of the chambermaid.
    Kisses: 1
    Random sample of text: "How did you get here before me? I took the elevator. Wait a minute, how did you get in?" She demanded.
    "Well, we are security specialists," he said.

    New words: 117
    Total words: 526
    Total pages: 2.104 / 12
    Narrator: Leaving the agri-compund for the first time
    Shem: Driving the lorry
    Cain: Riding shotgun
    Checkpoints: 12 - with guns.
    Random sample of text: The giant solar panels of Nott'ham glittered in the distance like the silver, multi-faceted eyes of a carniverous insect, waiting to devour us.

    Mood: Productive, cherie.
    Music: Nothing, but the sound of a fan on high power, pushing back the heat.

    Monday, March 03, 2008

    Progress XVI

    Sven started on Saturday, and I got off to an okay start. I managed to type up just over 350 words of Three's Company. It's slightly different from what I'd originally written, so technically it's new words but I'm not counting it as such as it occurred as part of the typing up process. Now that I've altered the beginning, the rest of the type up should move along more quickly. Which is good, as I'll be doing the typing in the evening after having written new words during my lunchbreak.

    I also started a new short story on Sunday, called Contraband. It will be a short-short I think. Possibly under 3K. Bizarrely enough, the story came to me when I was wandering back from my mother's house with a bag of peppercorns, that I'd raided from her supply. Strange how these things can come about.

    3's Company
    New words: 1,358
    Total words: 20,571
    Total pages: 82.284
    Lucy: Feeling her inner vixen ascend
    Sam: Relieved that she hasn't left yet
    Jared: Thinks a trip to the Botanic Gardens will do the trick
    Kisses: 3 little smooches
    Random sample of text: "I'm in room seven-oh-six. Come and get me." She blew them a quick kiss, shutting the door before they were even half-way across the room.

    Mood: I am productive.

    Friday, February 29, 2008

    Progress XV

    3's Company is ticking along. The type-up is definitely going to be done during Sven, but I'll be interspersing that with one or two other projects so that I'm not focussed too narrowly on just the one thing.

    3's Company
    New words: 1,153
    Total words: 19,213 / 24,000
    Total pages: 76.852 / 96
    Lucy: Laughing at Sam's explanation
    Sam: Not explaining very well
    Jared: Not helping at all
    Kisses: None
    Random sample of text: "It's weird, I know. And it probably makes us sound like psycho, stalker blokes who won't let you do anything without following you everywhere. But we're not!"

    Mood: Tickety-boo!
    Music: None. Is all quiet. (Except for the sound of traffic in the distance.)


    Many thanks to Portia for the widget on the right, which is doing a countdown to the end of Sven. I know. Sven doesn't officially start for me until tonight at 00:00:01, but what can I say? I'm keen! (And, with it being Friday and me not having to do the Day Job on Saturday (this week anyway) I could actually stay up and get started early!

    Or I could go to bed with my cocoa like a little old lady (no offense intended to any little old ladies who regularly stay up until 3am boogie-ing away in nightclubs! I'm referring to the ones who start nodding off over their supper at 8pm) and then I could get up early (cue Merry falling off her chair laughing like a maniac at that).

    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    Progress XIV

    Well, I've broken the 18K barrier - just under 6K to go! (Followed by hours of frustration typing up the longhand notes and doing the first set of edits as I type.)

    And taken from Amanda (who got it from Elle)
    3's Company
    New words: 842
    Total words: 18,060
    Total pages: 72.24
    Lucy: Waiting for the other shoe to drop
    Jared: Trying not to scare her off, so he gets
    Sam: to give her 'the talk'
    Kisses: 1
    Random sampling of text: "But, sweetheart. If you don't relax a bit, people will think you've got lockjaw."

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Progress XIII

    Just shy of 16K. Not doing so well at the moment - real life intruded with a vengeance at the weekend so that was pretty much shot as far as personal time went. But, it's further along than it was. I think the real pain will be typing it up. There are advantages and disadvantages to writing longhand. Perhaps if, when, I get a laptop that will swing it to the side of advantages. We live in hope!
    Working late tonight, so I won't be home until 10pm (quick shower, cup of tea and then bed) so I'll try to do what I can during my breaks today and see how I get on.

    Just slipped over 17K! Woo! I'm tired and I want my dinner now.

    Mood: Great actually!

    Listening to: I don't think now is the best time from PotC: At World's End

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Progress XII

    Just under 9K to go. Busy day at work today so I had an abbreviated writing period for lunch, unfortunately. I'll do more this weekend, I'm aiming for another 5K as I want this done and (hopefully/ possibly) typed up for the end of the month.

    I want to start Sven with a clean slate, leaving 3's Company to sit for a while before editing. I also want to improve on my daily average. When I calculated it for my 2008 business plan I based it on writing every day. So far, however, I haven't done much at weekends so this has brought the weekly/ monthly average down. I'm not doing badly, but I could do better! :cheeky_grin:

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Progress X

    Nearly 15K done - which is great - but I'm submitting somewhere else so the bottom wordcount has crept up to 24K, so rather than being 3/4 done I'm around 2/3 done. Which isn't bad, but not as good as it would have been with a 20K target!
    However. I need a bit more dialogue between my characters. Ahem. :bigcheesygrin: I'm writing longhand at the moment, so when I type it up there'll be lots of 'on the spot' editing. Then, I'll do another pass to get it shiny.

    I have a headache now though. I think I've had too much caffeine. :phhhbbbbbt:

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Progress IX

    Over 13K - yay!

    I have noticed, however, that time moves differently when you write. You write for what seems like hours, certain that you've poured out at least a couple of thousand words despite the crossing out. And yet, when you count the words written, they don't total a single thousand. Maybe a bare 2.5 pages have been done. An achievement, certainly. But the impression of one's achievement, gained while actually writing, seemed so much greater than the reality.

    Ah, well. Would it be any different (i.e. better/ worse) if I'd been typing rather than working longhand? I shall try it next time (and perhaps by April I will have a laptop. Not quite the laptop of heavanly perfection (LHP) that Chaz Brenchley has, but it will be a nice one if I can get it.)

    Anyway, enough about me. How's it going for all out there? Life, the Universe and Everything going ok?

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Progress VIII

    Progress is slow at the moment. Nothing done at the weekend as I was away, but I've managed a bit more now that I'm back and I'll get more done at lunchtime.

    Read a brillian book last night (couldn't put it down, I was up until 01:40 finishing it) Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis. First book of hers that I've read and I'm definitely going to be getting the other three that are showing up on Amazon. The characters were great and the worldbuilding (it's a fantasy) was very interesting, a good take on magic. I would certainly recommend it!

    The sun is now shining, and the office isn't too cold. This is good. When I went out to the car this morning it was, apparently, -4˚C (it felt very cold) but it seems to have warmed up again.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    Progress VII

    Another 3 pages! Looking good. Over halfway now.

    Listening to: Up is Down from Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (Good ol' Hans Zimmer!)

    Mood: Good. The sun, she is shining!

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Progress VI

    Just got over 10K. (Did 4 pages at lunchtime) I will definitely be heading for the 20K mark, though. I've been writing longhand on this one, just for conveniance at work (I can take it to the coffee shop for a start) but I have a horrible feeling that I should have chosen a slightly larger notebook.
    I calculated yesterday that I had enough pages left for about 4K, so the final 6K will have to be on some loose sheets of paper, I think. :phhhbbbbt:

    I won't be writing this weekend as I'm visitating, but I shall outline some of the other stuff that I've got in the pipeline (and get ready for Sven's kickoff), so it won't be a completely writing-free weekend. But, there will also be a trip to Borders so there will be a chance to get Interzone & Realms of Fantasy magazines. Yay!

    Sven: The Return!

    Oh, yes! Sven is back and he's ready to crack that whip!

    Sweating with Sven: round three starts on the 1st of March (St. David's Day - don't forget the daffodils on your desk as a pick-me-up) and goes on until the 16th of May. The goal is 60K - 100k words and we've got an extra week built in so there are 77 days to reach our goal(s).
    Click here to go to the Sweating with Sven website and sign up/ leave a comment!

    Join in the fun!

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Not done...

    Well, the short piece I've been working on isn't finished yet. I'm getting there, but real life intruded at the weekend (including sorting out the computer which has been having a fit or three) so the submission I had it planned for is out. However, I can tweak it for another sub so all is not lost.

    Aim for 2008 - buy a laptop. Even if it can't connect to the internetz, a laptop that can do wordprocessing would help.

    Edited at 14:41 to add: Brought it up just shy of 10K. I will be going over (perhaps closer to the 20K than I thought) and then there will be a major type-up and edit-as-I-go phase. But I'm pleased so far. Not with being incapable of keeping to a self-imposed deadline, but pleased with the fact that I've written so much (and I've written every day at work during my lunchbreak, even if I haven't written at any other place/time).

    So I've managed to keep to one of my resolutions about writing regularly. I just need to do it at home as well to get enough words/ pages per day. I've proven to myself that I can do it, so now I need to take it a step further and do it in a more difficult environment.

    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Progress V

    Got up to 8802wds yesterday. Didn't do any more in the evening so this means I've a hard slog tonight to get it finished so that I can edit Saturday/ Sunday and send.

    Unfortunately, I've just reached the point in the writing where my internal editor (id?) is telling me that it's all crap. I am ignoring her. She is a cow.

    Nearly lunchtime, so I shall see how many pages I can add before duty calls once more.

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Progress IV

    Okay, interim update while I'm near a pc (just about to clock off, will have the chance to write for a couple of hours before meeting up with some chums!)
    I've done in the region of 34 pages (out of a possible total of 80). I can't be precise at the moment because I've (a) been writing longhand (and may have miscounted occasionally - either up or down) and (b) when I type it up, Word may decide it's more or less than a hand count, and I'll probably change things as I type them up as well.

    But, I'm pleased so far.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Progress III

    Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds...(Wm. Shakespeare/ Romeo & Juliet/ Juleit's Soliloquy)

    Good progress again! I may actually be able to edit this shortly. It may not make it up to 20K (it has to be between 10K & 20K) so I shall have to see what the natural stopping point seems to be. If I do end up going over, I'm sure there will be extraneous words/ sentances/ paragraphs that can be cut. Certainly if past work is anything to go by, there will be things that could stand being removed!

    Listening to: Christina Aguilera - Fighter
    Mood: Well... it's raining, and my raincoat's in the car. 'Nuff said.

    Monday, February 04, 2008

    Progress II

    3.5 pages this lunchtime - that does seem to be the standard for writing longhand 3-3.5 pages per hour. That's not bad. So if I actually sat my backside down for 16 hours and maintained my average, I could have this finished and ready to edit in no time.
    Unfortunately, there is the job du jour and also the need for sleep so I won't be able to do it in one go (I will ignore the fact that, if I'd done this at the weekend, I could at the very least have worked for 8 hours - if not more.)

    But, there is progress. So. Onwards & upwards.

    Edited to add: up to 31% completed! Yay! I love coffee breaks! I'll have to do some more tonight although I will be watching at least one episode of Life on Mars: series 2. (I don't want to watch the episodes out of sequence, but I also can't wait to watch the Camberwick Green episode when Sam is tripping. Classic! (And the sad thing is, I remember Camberwick Green. I used to watch it as a littley. ) :sigh:

    BP -

    Listening to: Enya - May it Be

    Mood: The glow of achievement looms above me!