Thursday, September 02, 2010

[metrics]| Just keep swimming...

I managed a few more words yesterday to bring the count up to 81,330 which isn't bad. I'm hoping to be able to spend a bigger chunk of time on it at the weekend after I've taken Mama Bear to the vets for her blood test to see how her thyroid pills are working/ not working. Certainly, the smells-of-hay misxture we've been adding to her food for her joints seems to be doing the job, so here's hoping that the thyroid tablets are too.

Things accomplished in fiction: We managed to use magic to heal a plant instead of turning it into a triffid - but the confidence that brought this about is going to cause trouble further down the line. Cheeky young not-yet-werewolves are cheeky.

Things accomplished in real life: day job work, read Trent Jamieson's Death Most Definite - {loved it. Great characters - Steven de Selby is quite a funny chap and he's a psychopomp. What a fantastic word. Psych-O-Pomp. You can really get your lips round it. Anyway, had to finish it before I went to bed last night because I had to find out what happened which means I'll definitely be going for book two when it comes out in 2011.} Also, did baked potatoes for tea with Colliers strong cheddar, Genoan ham, lime pickle (for me and chum #1) and brinjal aubergine pickle (that was just for me) and we rounded it off with strawberries and marscapone for dessert - YUM!

Rural Fantasy Progress
81330 / 100000 (81.33%)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

[update] | Cats, work, stuff...

Tansy-cat has setlled in nicely. She feels quite comfortable in coming upstairs at night although she sleeps on the bath mat for some reason. China has taken to sleeping posessively next to my head with a paw on my face or shoulder, but seeing as Tansy is, in fact, in the bathroom the 'this huyman iz mine' effect is rather lost on her.

Re-reading of the UF is nearly finished and new writing is soon to commence. I am determined to ignore the TBR pile(s) staring reproachfully at me every time I enter my room although I do have a bookmark in the Fuller Memorandum and at the weekend I read Fledgling and Saltation by Lee and Miller. I *love* the Liaden Universe and I've re-read the books so often it's a good job I've got two sets. Unfortunately, reading one of them (or two) makes me want to read the others, in order, and there are a few of them now. Must. Resist.

Saw Inception for the third time at the weekend and loved it just as much; will definitely be getting it on DVD but I'm glad that I saw it at the cinema first to really take advantage of having it all on the big screen - even if, for the third showing, Chum #1 and I had to sit in the front row because the film was sold out. Luckily we'd bought our tickets before we went for our meal otherwise we'd never have got in. As it was we barely had time to get the icecream. (Fairly nuts - I cannot adequately express how fantastic that icecream is. Nom.)

I will endeavour to get picspam of Tansy on the camera rather than the phone so I can put a picture on here - I have no idea how to get it off the phone. I have a feeling that somewhere in the detritus of the back room there is a box that may have instructions/ discs etc. in it but I'll have to psych myself up for that kind of excavation and it really will be quicker to grab the camera. At least her fur's growing back now after her operation and she's finally beginning to fill out with all of the food she's snarfed. She's looking quite healthy now. Cat rescue FTW!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Music | Ludovico Einaudi

Thanks to a recommendation by Mark Newton I have been listening to Divenire by Ludovico Einaudi - a collection of piano pieces that are so fantastic and sweeping that I've had it on repeat since I downloaded it from iTunes on Saturday.
Einaudi is an amazing composer and pianist (I already had the album Echoes, bought because I initially wanted a couple of tracks and ended up loving the whole thing) and his music is incredibly moody; not in the sense of being dark and angst-ridden, rather, in the sense that it can inspire moods as all the best music can. It can uplift you, make you contemplative or imagine you're on the prow of a huge sailing ship ploughing through the waves. Wait, maybe that's just me?

It also makes me wish I'd never stopped playing the piano, or that I knew how to dance, but I did and I don't so I shall have to do what I always do with music: use it to relax, to recharge the mental batteries and to provide an avenue to daydream down, to fuel the scenes in my head by giving them their own music as they play out.

What do you use music for? Daydreaming? Blocking out the world? Background as you write/ paint/ read?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Revisions | Slice 'n' dice

Yesterday was fairly successful on the revision front as I managed to get through 21 pages on various breaks throughout the day - I didn't get home until late so I didn't do any more then. The last few pages (about 4, I think) I'll do today and then there'll be a final read-through before sending off. Then it's: tweaking Earth and sending it back out; a non-fiction article; and then--finally--back to the UF and the dreaded read through of the 235 (MS format) pages I've written so far.

However, while lying in bed trying to get to sleep last night, I realised something about my main character which would (a) excise two characters and a fair amount of words and (b) increase tension a bit more as there really won't be anyone to rely on. I decided not to depend on my brain to remember what I'd thought so I dutifully lurched out of bed, navigating round the cat and two of the dogs, who just drop wherever their energy runs out, and wrote myself a note. I love notes. And lists. Lists of lists. Lovely. ::hugs lists::

Ahem. Anyway. I'm on holiday in a week so I've booked in the UF kick off for then. I want the first, full, draft completed before the hell of induction etc. starts in mid-September, as for the first 4 weeks or so I'll be zombie librarian instead of incredibly alert and well-rested librarian.

Hmm. I need a zombie librarian avatar.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's that Friday feeling

We're halfway through the day and the weekend is almost here! Chum #1 is working 'til 22:00hrs on the literature festival so I shall have the duty of picking up the dogges from the grandparents (it is a duty rather than a joy because they do not like my car. Henry only has two doors, whereas the Chum's car has four which means the collies have their own door onto the back seat. (They also have their own electric window button which Mama Bear uses whenever she gets too hot.) When I walk Baby Bear out and he see's it's my car he tries to run back into the house. ::sniff:: I could take it personally.)

Anyway, I have another four-and-a-bit hours before the end of the work day and then it's dogges! washing up! dogges! & cat! (the feeding of)revisions! dogges! (the walking of), and then it will be sleep - hopefully early because I'll be up at 06:30 to take the dogs out for another walk before heading off to alt.fiction for the day.

Lunchtime tomorrow should be interesting as the Quad is near the Big (TV) Screen and, according to East Midlands Today, there's going to be a demonstration there to protest the fact that the council won't be paying for the public to watch the World Cup on it. Police, cordons etc. Let's just hope that they're either not too rowdy or that the Quad has got good soundproofing. The last time I went to alt.fiction I attended a panel by jemck, Sarah Ash, desperance and someone else?) and they had to compete with the Ladyboys of Bangkok singing in a tent outside! With any luck it'll be quieter this year.

Anyone else going to alt.fiction tomorrow? I still haven't decided which panels I'm going to so that will have to be added to the jobs list - something to discuss with Chum#1 when she gets home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alt.Fiction 2010

The one day spec fic convention known as Alt.Fiction is back in Derby (Derbyshire, UK) on the 12th of June

The day is made up of a number of different types of sessions, including author talks, Q&A sessions, discussion panels and workshops. There will also be a number of publishers in attendance, including Angry Robot Books, Gollancz, Solaris, Abaddon and BBC Books, while genre agents John Berlyne and John Jarrold will also be sharing their considerable experience.

Authors attending include: Chaz Brenchley, Juliet McKenna, Mark Charan Newton, Graham Joyce, and Sarah Pinborough among others. I went the last time it was held and it was (a) very interesting (in an almost anthropological kind of way) and (b) good fun. So if you fancy a day at the Quad in Derby come along (although tickets are, apparently, selling fast.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunny Sundays are good for washing Bear...

The sun shone magnificently yesterday and as it was far too hot to take the beasts out in the middle of the day we decided to do the next best thing - bath them! Two out of the three were scrubbed, disgustingly brown water was sluiced off and we even managed to get a bit of a brush through the wool of Bear's trousers so it was a productive afternoon. He's still going to need a set of professional clippers to get the underfur out quickly - he really doesn't like being groomed overmuch - but at least he's now clean and shiny. Dog no.3 will be done next weekend, weather willing. I just need to buy more shampoo.

For your delectation, a picture of shiny Bear at play...

Friday, May 14, 2010

tap, this thing on?

I have been released from the oars at last! (Well, okay, maybe one ankle is still attached but hey, progress!) The day jobbery has dialled back enough that I should be going from exhaustion to merely tired any day now.

Hello, I've missed you, and I probably won't be reading the last two months of entries that I've missed. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Countdown to Pcon 7

17 days before I hop on a plane at the crack of dawn and make my way over to Dublin (after carefully measuring the suitcase to ensure it conforms to cabin storage dimensions.) This does not bode well for the return journey of course; after all, what will I do with the books I buy when I'm there? I shall have to ensure that I keep 30 euros spare for emergency hold stowage, just in case.

Convention details are here, along with lists of guests/ attendees etc. It'll be the first time I've (a) been to this one and (b) been to one that lasts longer than a day, so I'm really looking forward to it - although I am now regretting that I didn't book in for Odyssey 2010 as well. No time/ money now, especially as I'm going to a reader's retreat in Normandy in April with chum #1 who reviews for newbooks magazine. We won't be going by plane for that trip, though.

Anyone convention-going soon?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

[metrics] Cthulhu

I had hoped to have finished the Cthulu short I've been working on but I didn't like the direction it was going in - it was too meandery and waffly so I'm rewriting, aiming for 3K. So far (she says cautiously) it's going okay.

Once that's done, it's revision time for the three first-draft shorts I have waiting. First lines meme to follow in a bit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

100 stories for Haiti - deadline extended

Via John Scalzi's Whatever blog:

Author Greg McQueen has put out a call for short stories (not exceeding 1000 words) to go into a charity anthology : all proceeds to go to the Red Cross to help out in Haiti.

100 Stories for Haiti
We want short story submissions to help raise money for disaster-stricken Haiti. Out of the submissions, 100 pieces of fiction will be chosen to appear in an e-book, the proceeds of which will go to the Red Cross.
If you want to send a short story, please follow these guidelines:
  • Do not exceed 1,000 words.
  • No stories containing graphic violence, death or destruction.
  • Send all stories in the body text of an email to Stories sent as attachments will not be opened.

Go to Greg's blog here; the 100 Stories for Haiti website; and remember that the deadline has been extended to this Wednesday the 27th by Midnight (wherever you are on the planet) so brush off a story if you have one or dash one off if you're a speed demon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Melting at last!

Well, it's been absolutely ages since I last posted. The new year went well but I spent most of the first week working from home because I couldn't get the car out of our street. It was great for dog walking, not so much for driving; but, the snow (and more importantly the ice) is now melting. When I parked the car at work this morning it was raining and foggy so I imagine the news will start saying things like "The Big [British] Melt as opposed to Freeze.

Yesterday was slightly traumatic; first I had to have a new car windscreen because there was a large crack across the middle of mine. Then I had to take Baby Bear and Mama Bear to the vets; the former for his boosters and the latter for her free six monthly check (it's not really 'free' - I pay a monthly amount so I don't have to pay when I turn up.) Baby Bear was fine; he didn't cry for the needle and the vet thought he looked very fit and healthy. Mama Bear has put on 5 kilos and is on rations, but because she's overweight we're going to have to alter her exercise regimen to avoid damaging her joints. No long walks, instead she'll have a number of shorter (no longer than 30 minutes) each day. The vet said it'll be the rationing rather than the exercise that will drop the weight off her, so I'll have to get the parentals who dog-sit to make sure she can't eat the other dogs' food and I'll have to remember to hide the cat biscuits when I go out/ go to bed. She will not be happy, but it's all in a good cause.

Here are some pictures from a walk at the weekend:

This weekend I'm aiming to get my Lovecraftian-style short finished - I did about 1K yesterday - and then I'll be free to re-read the YA UF novel so far and crack on with that again.

If you have to go out and about and it's still snowy/ icy take care!