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Apr. 30th, 2017

Daily life: Wattpad, Tuesday Serial, and word count

"More than anything else, I think writing is just a lot of fun. It's a great way to revisit that rollicking, playful space where we spent our days in as kids. Back then, making up stories was our chief occupation. Give a seven-year-old a blank piece of paper and a marker, they're good for hours. There are a lot of adventures and people and animals and kingdoms and trucks and battles and princesses in a piece of paper.

"Somewhere around adolescence, though, most of us stop visiting those imaginary worlds. We get self-conscious. We see that other kids are much better writers or artists than we are, so we cede that creative space to them. And they in turn cede it to others who are better still. The blank page stops being an invitation and becomes intimidating.

"But the impulse to create and make and dream is still with us. It doesn't go away. It just waits, patiently, for us to find a way back to it again. For some adults, it happens through art classes or music lessons. For me, it was through NaNoWriMo. However you get back there, it just feels pretty incredible when you arrive."

--Chris Baty.


What I did this week )

Mar. 26th, 2017

Daily life: Wordage galore! | #writerslife #wordcount

"In April 1870, a twenty-eight-year-old [William] James made a cautionary note to himself in his diary. 'Recollect,' he wrote, 'that only when habits of order are formed can we advance to really interesting fields of action - and consequently accumulate grain on grain of wilful choice like a very miser - never forgetting how one link dropped undoes an indefinite number.' The importance of forming such 'habits of order' later became one of James's great subjects as a psychologist. In one of the lectures he delivered to teachers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1892 - and eventually incorporated into his book Psychology: A Briefer Course - James argued that the 'great thing' in education is to 'make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.'

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.


"James was writing from personal experience - the hypothetical sufferer is, in fact, a thinly disguised description of himself. For James kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life. As Robert D. Richardson wrote in his 2006 biography, 'James on habit, then, is not the smug advice of some martinet, but the too-late-learned too-little-self-knowing, pathetically earnest, hard-won crumbs of practical advice offered by a man who really had no habits - or who lacked the habits he most needed, having only the habit of having no habits - and whose life was itself a "buzzing blooming confusion" that was never really under control.'"

--Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work. (Alternative subtitle: How Artists Work.]


Writing )
Everything else )
Reading )
Finances )

Nov. 25th, 2016

Surgery update

My foot surgery went fine, but there've been a couple of minor complications since then that have delayed my recovery. Except for meals and bathroom breaks, I've been spending my days in bed, with my legs propped up, ice on my foot, and my smartphone in hand. Digital technology makes even lengthy convalescence bearable.

I'd like to report that I've taken this opportunity to write lots of stories with the aid of my Bluetooth keyboard, but the combination of the World Series (I'm a Cubs fan, having been born near Chicago), the presidential election, and the increasingly pressing need to launch my new business soon have all kept me distracted. Also, Twitter. I did write a couple of short stories, though.

I hope the rest of you are having a more fruitful NaNoWriMo. Any tales to share of your writing life?

Oct. 9th, 2016

Daily life: A day in my life | #writerslife #amreading #amresearching #amwriting

"I used to take vacations from writing. You know, it's healthy to take breaks, to breathe different air, to gain a new perspective. I'd finish a novella and not write for three months. Really! I'd do that deliberately and not because of the dreaded Writer's Block. (I feel really uncomfortable even typing that. Nice muse. Good muse. The Muse is My Friend.) Now, the thought of three months without trying to write makes me shudder. I. Wouldn't. Know. What. To. Do. With. Myself."

--Intervention Needed?, a post by Jenna Hilary Sinclair on writing addiction.


The day )

Oct. 2nd, 2016

Daily life: I'm going on an acquisitions fast | #nospend #spendingfast #simpleliving

"Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, 'I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.'"

--Jack Kornfield: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.


About the fast )
General rules )
Books & periodicals (print and digital, including online fiction) )
Internet )
Audio & video )
Games )
Food )
Pharmacy & medical )
Supplies )
Day job )
Writing )
Gifts & charity )
Transportation )
Out-of-home entertainment )

That's the full list of my rules for the fast. If any of you have placed limits on your own acquiring, I'd love to learn from your experiences.

Sep. 25th, 2016

Daily life: Viewer interpretation | #writerslife #amreading #amwatching

"I'm not reading slash for intellectual stimulation! I want my escapism and I want it to be grammatically correct, damnit!"

--Augusta Columbine.


Homemaking )
Writing )
Reading and viewing )

Sep. 18th, 2016

Daily life: Jo/e is fine! Plus writing, reading, homemaking, & web addiction | #internetaddiction

"Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more."

--Jon Kabat-Zin: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.


Writing )
Reading )
Mentoring (i.e. Jo/e's surgery) )
Homemaking )
Web addiction )

Sep. 11th, 2016

Daily life: Jo/e's surgery, a library booksale, and a change in my writing lifestyle | #writerslife

Thanks to my new job, I'm going to be online more often, so I'm switching to weekly, more bite-sized Daily Life entries.


What I wrote this past week )
What I read this past week )
What I did this past week )

Jul. 19th, 2016

Daily life: My summer so far

The full messiness )

Since somebody (I suspect it's my body, in conspiracy with my online laptop) has decided I'm not going to issue any stories this summer, I'm spending this summer writing stories instead. (Yes, despite the cubital tunnel syndrome.) Expect to see my next update in the fall. It'll be a good one, I promise.

Apr. 11th, 2016

Daily life: Writing productivity! Publishing productivity! (Tons of work.) | #amwriting #writerslife

"If quitting Twitter and ditching the iPhone was relatively easy, Facebook made it as hard as possible, tugging on all the virtual heartstrings they could dredge up from their data. Having selected 'deactivate account' from my settings, I was faced with a gallery of family and friends who I was told would miss me. Fortunately, as someone had tagged the contents of a barbecue grill with my friends' names, this was less of an emotional strain than was intended ('Andrew will miss you,' pleaded a photo of a forlorn and slightly singed chicken drumstick)."

--Mark Hooper: Back to reality: giving up the Internet.



My professional work last month )
Thoughts on the state of my writing and publishing )

Mar. 22nd, 2016

Daily life: Trying to get back into the writing habit

"There was an odd kind of mood lift that came with privation. . . . It was something seen during long, long nights of corporate projects where no one slept and where eating was done from half cold takeaways while you worked. Sometimes the cheer was called 'punch drunk', but it was as if people began to concentrate on anything that in a seriously uncomfortable situation gave them any kind of comfort, particularly the most primal things. The intense sensory pleasure of hot coffee and the sweetness of donuts, which on an ordinary day you'd eat without noticing. A kind of pride and celebration that said this was a hell of a night, but we got through it. Dale knew the feeling too from his experience of being what Flynn and the others called grounded. When your day was severely simplified and restricted, you began to notice and take real pleasure from anything good, from the smallest of privileges that usually you'd barely notice. The human spirit, in circumstances of hardship fought back, and a little rough living cleared both your head and your senses."

--Rolf and Ranger: Silver Bullet - Ranch.


My professional work last month )
Teasers from e-books I've published during the past week )
A writing day in my life )

Daily life: Trying to get back into the writing habit

"There was an odd kind of mood lift that came with privation. . . . It was something seen during long, long nights of corporate projects where no one slept and where eating was done from half cold takeaways while you worked. Sometimes the cheer was called 'punch drunk', but it was as if people began to concentrate on anything that in a seriously uncomfortable situation gave them any kind of comfort, particularly the most primal things. The intense sensory pleasure of hot coffee and the sweetness of donuts, which on an ordinary day you'd eat without noticing. A kind of pride and celebration that said this was a hell of a night, but we got through it. Dale knew the feeling too from his experience of being what Flynn and the others called grounded. When your day was severely simplified and restricted, you began to notice and take real pleasure from anything good, from the smallest of privileges that usually you'd barely notice. The human spirit, in circumstances of hardship fought back, and a little rough living cleared both your head and your senses."

--Rolf and Ranger: Silver Bullet - Ranch.


My professional work last month )

Aug. 19th, 2015

Daily life: Sorting, researching stories, and a chronology for the Toughs stories

"This morning four boxes containing not quite all of my worldly possessions arrived at my doorstep. Less than two months via cargo ship is not too bad. The funny thing is that I'd almost forgotten what was in them. There were some things that I was very happy to see (my Icelandic novels, a sweatshirt, a pair of light pyjama bottoms, the tin containing my spare buttons) and other things that only made me think 'huh, why did I ship that across the Atlantic?' There's a strong argument for donating anything that you're not thrilled to see after two months living out of a suitcase."

--Naraht.


My professional work last month )
On foreshadows in stories )
Researching African-American slavery; or, How I get ideas for historical stories )
My web addiction last month )
My decluttering last month )
My family and leisure time last month )
Replies to Musicman and Twicet )
Chronological order of the Toughs stories (slightly corrected), along with some dates of birth for my characters )

Daily life: Sorting, researching stories, and a chronology for the Toughs stories

"This morning four boxes containing not quite all of my worldly possessions arrived at my doorstep. Less than two months via cargo ship is not too bad. The funny thing is that I'd almost forgotten what was in them. There were some things that I was very happy to see (my Icelandic novels, a sweatshirt, a pair of light pyjama bottoms, the tin containing my spare buttons) and other things that only made me think 'huh, why did I ship that across the Atlantic?' There's a strong argument for donating anything that you're not thrilled to see after two months living out of a suitcase."

--Naraht.


My professional work last month )
On foreshadows in stories )
Researching African-American slavery; or, How I get ideas for historical stories )
My web addiction last month )
My decluttering last month )
My family and leisure time last month )
Replies to Musicman and Twicet )
Reply to Twicet:

Thanks for the reminder that I need to update the Toughs timeline to include chronological links to all the Toughs stories. I also have to correct the dating of the earliest stories; I managed to make a mistake in my dating cheat sheet that placed all of those stories five years off their actual dates.

Not to mention getting Merrick's name wrong through the entire second part of "Rain." (*Sigh.*)

In the meantime, I've put the Toughs chronology at the end of this post. The series page for The Three Lands has those stories listed in chronological order.


Chronological order of the Toughs stories (slightly corrected), along with some dates of birth for my characters )

Jun. 3rd, 2015

Daily life: Website layout, e-book covers, and hoarding

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion."

--The Talmud


My professional work last month )
Redoing my website )
Redoing my covers )
My reading last month )
My decluttering and homemaking last month )
My personal life last month )
My web addiction last month; plus, hoarding )

Daily life: Web layout, e-book covers, and hoarding

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion."

--The Talmud


My professional work last month )
Redoing my website )
Redoing my covers )
My reading last month )
My decluttering and homemaking last month )
My personal life last month )
My web addiction last month; plus, hoarding )

Daily life: Web layout, e-book covers, and hoarding

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion."

--The Talmud


My professional work last month )
Redoing my website )
Redoing my covers )
My reading last month )
My decluttering and homemaking last month )
My personal life last month )
My web addiction last month; plus, hoarding )

Daily life: Web layout, e-book covers, and hoarding

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion."

--The Talmud


My professional work last month )
Redoing my website )
Redoing my covers )
My reading last month )
My decluttering and homemaking last month )
My personal life last month )
My web addiction last month; plus, hoarding )

Daily life: Web layout, e-book covers, and hoarding

"Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion."

--The Talmud


My professional work last month )
Redoing my website )
Redoing my covers )
My reading last month )
My decluttering and homemaking last month )
My personal life last month )
My web addiction last month; plus, hoarding )

May. 12th, 2015

Learning how to write short stories; wordage; Camp NaNoWriMo; story outlines

"I write traditional fantasy, which means that I gravitate toward the noble, if flawed, hero. That doesn't mean that I don't like a little grit in my stories; quite the opposite in fact. It's just that if I have characters who are called to make sacrifices, I want to to believe there is something in the world that makes the sacrifice worthwhile, whether that be love or honor or the promise of an afterlife. I'm afraid that is often perceived as naiveté, especially considering the fantasy market's lean toward darker, sometimes nihilistic, themes over the last decade or two.

"Yet, I think even the most cynical among us will admit they look for the meaning in tragedy. When someone dies violently or at a young age, we want to believe that something good can come from the sorrow. We set up scholarship funds in the victim's name. We raise money for charity. We do things that in some way fill the hole in the world left by that loss.

"Similarly, I want to believe that the characters' suffering is for more than just their own vain ambitions or merely to illustrate a grim worldview. I want something that reminds me that deep down, no matter how bad things get, there is a purpose and a meaning to life. Fantasy is an excellent vehicle for showing the resilience of the spirit and the power of selfless love."

--Carla Laureano, as interviewed by Eileen Putnam in the May 2015 issue of Romance Writers Report.


My professional work last month )

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