Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back to work...

Well, my brief holiday is over and it's back to work - and the preparation for a presentation I have to give at a staff conference next Thursday & Friday (the 4th & 5th of June). I was volunteered for this, so it should be interesting as I have to do a 20 minute session on effective Google searching (aka Improving Your Google-fu) using interactive voting pads. *cough* I know what I'll be doing for the next little while, then. ::grrr::

Apart from that, the sun is trying to shine through the cloud cover; my vitamin D euphoria is wearing off slowly and I'm working until 21:00hrs on my first day back. Typical.

Beauty and the Beast retelling is going well; I'll do more on that later - see if I can get it up to 8k. (considering where I am in the tale at 3.6k, it's going to be over 10k by the time I'm done

Mood: Hyper
Music: Never Think - Rob Pattinson

Monday, May 25, 2009

Twilight - original score

Okay. I have to admit it. I've got soundtrack love. I watched Twilight last weekend - enjoyed the film - and the music stayed in my mind. All night. All week. I got my housemate (she of public librarian-ness) to bring the OST home from work. Listened to that and enjoyed it, but it was music from the film i.e. songs by various artists; I still wanted the score.

Gave in on Saturday night and downloaded the original score from iTunes (£7.99, as opposed to £18.99 on Amazon. I know that putting it on a CD and in a box makes it more expensive but £11 more?) Well. My ears / brain are in love. Most of the pieces are fairly short; none are over five minutes, but they work nonetheless.
Carter Burwell has done a good job of creating pieces that stick in your mind and alter your mood. He's also managed to evoke wet forests in Oregon (or Wales - to me they're fairly interchangeable. Apart from the bears. And the docking great trees) with just a few seconds of music.

I'm very pleased that I gave in to the urge to get the album, although when my housemate returns from the joys of the Hay literature festival she will probably tell me to put my headphones on when it starts to make its fifth go-round!


You Are Rosemary

You are stable and grounded. You may take a slow, steady approach to live, but you're a survivor.

You are an intellectual and very rational. You can see things from a logical, detached viewpoint.

You are successful but not particularly ambitious. You have a way of letting success come to you.

You tend to be a bit understated and modest. You let your accomplishments speak for themselves.

This is rather ironic as it's one of the plants - despite my generally green hands - that I have difficulty keeping alive in the garden. It seems to be doing well in the allotment so far though, so let's keep our fingers crossed, eh?
Mood: Thoughtful
Music: The lion fell in love with the lamb - Twilight OST

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fairy tales & Interzone

The mental block I had in regard to my retelling of Beauty and the Beast has been resolved. (It's amazing what a cheese and pickle sandwich (Collier's and Branston, if you were curious) and a mocha in the student cafe can do to your thought patterns.) Along with the Sisters of Mercy. Thank God for the Pod of i.

Anyway, Beauty & the Beast - set in the future, on a spaceship. With peril, pride, and prejudice, and the odd threat of being chucked out of the airlock for bad behaviour.

And let's see if we can keep the damn thing short, shall we?

Also: Just read Aliette de Bodard's Ys in the current Interzone, liked it a lot - and I also want to go and visit Brittany now. Aliette's also no. 10 in the Reader's Poll top 20 for 2008! So way to go, Aliette!

Kim Lakin-Smith's tale in this issue of Interzone was also very compelling - a mixture of retro and futuristic which I enjoyed. I haven't read all the way through it yet, but it looks like a good issue so far.

Scribd Lanches Scribd Store

Of potential interest:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--May 18, 2009 -- Scribd, the world's largest social publishing company, today announced the beta launch of Scribd Store, a first-of-its-kind e-commerce destination and publishing marketplace where anyone -- from professional publishers and authors to students and enthusiasts -- can upload and sell their written works to a readership of 60 million.

You can read the rest of the article here

It will be interesting to see how this will work - will people use this as an alternative to Lulu, or other POD/ e-download stores. I imagine some authors who already put shorts/ novellas on Scribd for free will continue to do so, but I wonder whether there will be an influx (or even a trickle) of people who haven't used Scribd before listing their work and selling it direct?

Any thoughts?

[metrics] Progress & reading matter

Progress was made yesterday! Minimal amount of extra wordage on DOEDoGGT, but this has brought the first draft to a (very) rough and ready close. I shall sit on that for a bit while I do revisions on Wish Child and then attack it.

Does Old Earth Dream of Green, Green Things?
6176 / 6000

So yes, pleased with that.

Busy day today as I'm covering a desk for a colleague, and then interviewing all afternoon but it will bring me another day closer to my six day bank holiday weekend (what? why have one extra day when you can have three?)
And it will be good to have that time off (and the house to myself (and the border collies and the cat)) as Amazon UK delivered!

Waiting for my undivided attention are:

Transgressions by Erastes
False Colors by Alex Beecroft
The Turning Tide by Diana Pharoah Francis
The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin

And on top of that, the latest issue of Interzone (222) has arrived so there are joy, joy feelings all 'round, basically.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cyborg name

Mechanical Electronic Replicant Intended for Assassination, Destruction and Online Calculation

Get Your Cyborg Name


Weekend - not bad if you like rain.

No writing over the weekend, although Friday's wordcount was good, so I'm pleased with that as I got another 2,207 words on the short which brings it up to:

Does Old Earth Dream of Green, Green Things?
5948 / 6000

It's also rather obvious that I'm going to have to revise the first draft wordcount up (again) so I think I'll take it up to 10K and if it's done before then that's fine.

Saturday I read The Black Ship by Diana Pharoah Francis - really enjoyed it; Thorn is a great character and I liked the fact that he hung onto his integrity no matter what people did to him. I also liked the fact that the Captain and Thorn's crimpers didn't turn on him once they found out how Pilot's are made. I'm looking forward to reading the Turning Tide (Amazon UK I am looking at you. And tapping my fingers.)
It was my turn to cook, so I did cold weather food (it had been wazzing with rain on and off all day): sausage (cumberland), mash, peas, and gravy. Lovely! I then had a retro moment and watched the first two Star Trek films - it'd been years since I'd seen them and it was interesting to watch them when I'd just seen the new Star Trek film last weekend.

Sunday I was up early to go swimming with Chum #1, her brother, his wife, and their four children. Mayhem ensued, naturally and lots of pool water was swallowed by over-excited children. We all repaired home for a cup of tea and then cleaning was done, which involved the donation of a lot of my books that I'd shoved in boxes and forgotten about being given to our local RSPCA shop to sell. (It also meant that I found some books I'd forgotten about that I wanted to hang on to, so they've now made their way upstairs to 'rest' on the landing for a bit while I decide where to put them.

So, properly exhausted, I went to bed like a good librarian and now the week has started again. BUT! The second bank holiday of the month is approaching and I will be off for SIX days! Yay!

How did your weekend go?

Friday, May 15, 2009

[metrics] Earth story

Took part in word wars yesterday on LJ and managed a fairly decent word count (for me, anyway.) I had to increase the word limit to 6K, but I'll work on getting it back down again when I go through the first revision as, although I need to know how things started, I don't think the reader does. We'll see.

Anyway, added 1,670 new words yesterday. Progress. We haz it.

Does Old Earth Dream of Green, Green Things?

3024 / 6000

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interesting article: The Eroticization of Equality and Social Justice

pointed out an interesting article written by Hillary Rettig, who talks about love as a progressive activity and how (and why) it's denigrated in society. It's very thought-provoking - as are some of the texts she quotes - and I think it's well worth a read.

You can get access to the article here: The Eroticization of Equality and Social Justice


"Therefore, they have to be made good...a good person -- a moral person -- is someone who is disciplined enough to be obedient..."

This quote, from George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant which is mentioned in Rettig's article, is often (I think) the basis of many dystopic stories, where the elite's self-percieved utopia is brought about by demanding absolute obedience from the proles (whoever they may be in the context of the story.) And of course, a side effect of that is the creation of a dystopic society where individual freedom or expression can be seen as disobedience and is therefore punished.

Interesting reading, anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New, Genre Creative Writing MA

Edinburgh Napier University has launched the UK's first genre-based Creative Writing MA which could change the landscape of creative writing in Scotland.

This is via the literaturetraining newsletter - more details on their website here; information on the part-time degree here, and the full-time degree here.

NB: I do not work at Napier University, have never worked there, and I'm not endorsing the course (never having been on it). I just thought it was interesting that someone was providing a course specific to genre fiction - although they seem to have left off a couple of genres as historical fiction, westerns, and romance aren't mentioned (although perhaps that's due to a lack of tutors/ perceived lack of interest from potential students - who knows?)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Early start to the weekend!

I shall be finishing work shortly to head off up to Newcastle to visit my Dad for the weekend - always best to get an early start when the M1/ A1 is involved :-<
Hopefully we shall follow the time honoured tradition of heading out to Borders at Silverlink tonight (where I shall whether they still have epic Locusfail or not - even in the UK; even with the economic downturn, one would think that they could - at the very least - get the next to latest issue of Locus in the shop. We shall see. I am not holding my breath as hypoxia is not good for Merry.)

Then perhaps, the cinema? Trek, or Wolverine? Choices, choices.

And hopefully there will be the sun, so that I can sit outside while reading more of Roy Porter's English Society in the 18th Century

Have a good weekend!