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Jul. 3rd, 2015

Daily life: Wow, busy. Eternal Dungeon, submissions, web addiction, trips, introversion, & clutter.

"She will still talk to people, but it will be in a withdrawn way."

--A priest discussing a new Scottish hermit, as quoted by The Press and Journal.

My professional work last month )
On 'The Eternal Dungeon' )
Writing in the fresh outdoors, research trips, and a rant about heavy furniture) )
Professional trips (mainly Waterman research) and personal trips last month )
Getting a handle on my introversion )
The inauspicious anniversary of my web addiction )


As some of you will have noticed, I've been a little backed up in responding to comments to this blog. Unfortunately, I lost all my e-mails prior to April 2014 (yes, that's how backed up I am), but here's my replies to the rest. I hope I didn't miss anyone - if I did, let me know.

Reply to Catana on e-book covers and productivity )
Reply to Dianna Kay on my e-books and the m/m readership )
Reply to Musicman on narratives )
Reply to Angie Fiedler Sutton on Scribe Mozell )

Jun. 29th, 2014

M/F and my writings

This comment by Musicman is interesting enough to bump to the head of the blog:

"You could do a m/f version of one of your stories, to change the sex of one character and see if it sells on the m/f romance? Do it under a pseudonym so you don't ruin your rep as a m/m writer? It might make for an interesting experiment."

Not unless the character was Millard. :)

Filing off the gender serial numbers of my stories isn't as easy as all that. Being gender-neutral, I depend on my readers to tell me whether I do a good job of portraying male and female characters (in terms of the characters' gender-based characteristics). But I do know that, if I changed the gender of any of characters, I'd have to rip up my story settings entirely. With the exception of a couple of my contemporary stories, my story settings are either all-male or patriarchal. If you turned, say, Merrick into a woman, having a female prisoner in an all-male prison would have some impact. :) And an all-female turn-of-the-century prison would be run entirely differently. (I've been tempted to write about turn-of-the-century female prisons, because they're so interesting.)

I have, in fact, written m/f - though, like my m/m, the romance in those stories tends not to be the central plotline in the series as a whole. At the moment, there's Right or Right and Never, as well as m/f subplots in Green Ruin, Blood Vow, and Law of Vengeance. There are more m/f plotlines coming up in The Three Lands, Princeling, Waterman, Michael's House, and even Loren's Lashes (if I ever get around to finishing that series). And, in case you hadn't noticed, I write as much friendship fiction as m/m, so my rep as an m/m author was ruined long ago. :) I hold to the theory - also held by Maculategiraffe, Manna Francis, and many other original slashers - that there's no need for segregation of orientations in fiction series.

The issue is really one of marketing. I don't have enough m/f stories to effectively market myself as an m/f writer. So I'd either have to gradually accumulated enough stories in that subgenre (which I'm happy enough to do), or I'd have to immediately put my m/m stories aside to work on m/f, with no guarantee that I'd be any more likely to earn money as an m/f writer than I do as an m/m writer. As you can imagine, I'm not keen on the latter idea.

Sep. 19th, 2010

Daily life: The move to Maryland

"Stuffed animals are good. I have a sheep and a teddybear and a ladybug and a dragon in my bed right now. Acting my age? Totally overrated."

--Eledhwenlin. Wiggletail (my stuffed dog) and Julian (my stuffed octopus) heartily agree.

How I reply to comments at this blog.

Getting my apprentice ready for his move north )
This week's tweets )

Reply to comments )

Sep. 11th, 2010

Daily life: Catching up on big news

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."

--Hans Hofmann.

How I reply to comments at this blog.

Am still catching up on e-mail. (Yes, Spiralred, I got your note.) I'm sorry about that, but for a while there, I couldn't lift my iPod Touch without swelling. But the antibiotic seems to be doing its job finally; I'm a little better.

Just a thought for today: If a fanatical Christian had bombed a Jewish community center, and if some of the people who were killed in the community center were Christians, would so many Americans oppose the building of a church near the bombing site?

9/11 articles:

Visiting Ground Zero, Asking Allah for Comfort (The New York Times).

Spreading Hate, One Prejudice at a Time (Hindustan Times).

Nine Years Ago (Meg Cabot).

This week's tweets )

Just to underline the big news above: My apprentice is moving here! He's such a sweetheart, uprooting himself from family and friends and the best social worker in the world, in order to brave the unknowns of Maryland.

Just because I need him. He's a treasure.

Other big news I didn't post when I was really sick )

Reply to comments )

Sep. 5th, 2010

Daily life: Health continues to dip

(A blank space here where I planned to reprint a really good Rilke quotation about death that I read recently . . . but my memory loss is causing me to forget which book I saw it in. Hey, at least I remember it was Rilke.)

How I reply to comments at this blog.

This week's tweets )
Reply to comments )

Jun. 8th, 2010

Health and Writing: Health and fiction update

"I think it's important to deal with the darker side of violence in our stories, the psychological effects, the ways that it can be misused, especially when the source texts don't. And I also think that we need to keep in mind that a lot of the scenarios we use in fanfic (torture or sexual slavery, for example) are based in real-world atrocities and to be mindful of how we handle them. But I don't think that an awareness of the real-world issues needs to prevent us from celebrating heroism, companion-bonding under fire, and the other things that attract us to violent characters -- heck, I don't even think it's morally wrong to put aside the guilt and wallow in the id-tastic side of it either: fast spaceship chases with explosions; women in tight leather toting big guns and beating down criminals -- as long as that's not all we do."


I know I'm totally behind on replying to comments, and I apologize. I've been busy writing and editing fiction instead. I assume that no one here objects to that. :)

Quick health update: My vision is better; I'm not having blurred vision any more, though my eyes are still in winter mode (reading print and watching videos hurts them). My body is no better, no worse. I'm just waiting for health insurance before I go back to the doctor.

Oh, and I totted up the number of words I published last year, and it was 400,000 - yay! I've been writing each day and am now one chapter away from finishing On Guard. Law Links and Master and Servant 3: Unmarked are at the beta-reading stage.

Reply to comments )

May. 29th, 2010

Writing: It's always hard being a fandom of one

"Some writers really seem to believe that they write down their story and it is transmitted completely into the consciousness of the reader, unaltered, just as the author intended. (And that is why fan fiction is so bad, because it creates another version of the story that the author never sanctioned.) Which just makes me wonder: Oh my God, have these people ever read anything in their lives? Have they ever had a conversation with another person about a book in which they had completely different interpretations of the story? Have they ever had a flight of fancy about something they've read and started embellishing the story in their own mind? Do they really not understand that reading is an active process, that the reader brings all their own experiences and values to the text, and creates their own meaning? Do they honestly not realize that there are as many different versions of a story as there are people who have read it?"


How I reply to comments at this blog.

I stopped going to the local slasher meetings because it was just too frustrating hearing people talk on and on about movies and television programs I knew I'd never be able to watch. For the same reason, when I read fanfic, it's usually litfic.

So here I am, gobbling up media productions for the first time since I became partially sighted in 2001. Lots and lots of media. And nobody's writing fan fiction about my chosen medium.

While the rest of you are off trying desperately to draw the subtext out of the latest episodes of Doctor Who, I'm listening to the following scene in BBC Radio's Alexander.

Read more... )

Then Hephaistion comes in, and he and Alexander argue over whether he should be jealous of Bagoas.

For heaven's sakes, why are you folks bemoaning the lack of subtext in the latest Hollywood creation, or the difficulty in getting hold of copies of your favorite British TV show? Go write BBC Radio fanfic.

(*Heads off to listen to Blake's 7.*)

My reply to comments )

May. 21st, 2010

Simplicity: Reworked schedule

"Decide early in life to make your money by selling things that you really believe are good for the customers. Make this a rule before you write another word to your readers or offer another product to your customers. Life is too short and your reputation too fragile to not have your audience first and foremost in your mind and in your heart."

--Scott Dinsmore reporting on Warren Buffett.

How I reply to comments at this blog.

(This was written a couple of weeks ago but not posted till now, thanks to my cranky eyes.)

I seem to be falling into a new sort of schedule. Here's how today went:

Today's schedule )
Replies to comments )

May. 10th, 2010

Health and Writing: Job here.

Poked my eye again. Same eye, same attempt to put eyedrops in, same failure due to the effects of my illness. Fortunately, this time my eyelid was closed, so my eye was only out of commission for a day. But it delayed me working on "Edgeplay" over the weekend.

Thirty Days Writing Meme: Day One )
My reaction to the Diana Gabaldon fuss )
Replies to comments )

May. 3rd, 2010

Health and Writing: Update on my symptoms and my writing

First of all, Master and Servant 3: Unmarked (i.e. my Hoopers Island story) is off at the beta readers. My eyes are still cranky enough to discourage me from further editing. Instead - since I'm not out of the woods healthwise - I'm typing up summaries of my unfinished stories. I'd already done that task with The Eternal Dungeon and some of the Three Lands novel, but now I'm doing the other summaries too. Because my story outlines, alas, look like this: "Chapter Twelve - Talk in the dining room." Which is enough to remind me of what I was going to write, but ain't very helpful if I'm not around to elaborate.

I'm now halfway through my month of taking the antibiotic that appears to be fighting back my disease. For the sake of those of you who, like my apprentice, actually like reading icky lists of symptoms, here's the current status of my symptoms.

A tediously long list )

Overall, I'm pleased with my progress. There's still plenty of room for disaster - I still have symptoms that could cause death or severe disability in no less than three ways - but every day I'm a little bit better. The only question is whether the antibiotic I'm taking will be enough to clear the disease out of my system.

To show how bad things used to be, this is the beginning of an unfinished blog entry I wrote one night three weeks ago, when my symptoms were keeping me awake.

'At night is when the waking nightmare begins.' )

So I'm cautiously hopeful - "cautiously" because anything could happen in the next few weeks. But I'm no longer counting the minutes to my death, as I was in early April.

Replies to comments )

. . . and thank you to everyone else who sent me brief messages of good wishes. I'm continuing to work my way back through the messages; I've already read them all (or had my apprentice read them to me), but I want to be able to respond to the more detailed ones.

Apr. 29th, 2010

Writing: Morse code

Oh, geez, I was just kidding about listening to Morse code as an alternative form of reading, but then I found this. It will translate up to 11,000 words of text - enough for me to translate a chapter into Morse code.

So now I'm teaching myself Morse code. I'm testing a theory that my brain doesn't treat spoken writings (audio books and text-to-speech) as writings because they don't have individual letters. I want to see whether I can trick my brain by offering it Morse code instead.

(Notice that the software designer claims that MorsePlay "will also be really useful if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic scenario one day and you have some broadcasting equipment that you can hook up to the computer to transmit your farewell messages on Morse code.")

Replies to comments )

Apr. 12th, 2010

Health and Home: Me and my brother

I guess I can write daily life entries, as long as I keep them short. (*Everyone who has seen my normal daily life entries stares in disbelief.*) Read more... )

Apr. 4th, 2010

Simplicity and Health: Holy Saturday

"Across the Country, the Devoted Gather for the iPad."

--New York Times headline on Holy Saturday.

How I reply to comments at this blog.

Thoughts about organized religion (Christianity); beware if this is a trigger topic for you. )
Replies to the latest comments )

Apr. 1st, 2010

Simplicity and Health: A dream and a doctor's report

"When my quest began [for food she could eat, after she became allergic to virtually every food in existence], I ate to survive, trying merely to stop my stomach from growling, my head from spinning in dizziness. Suddenly twenty pounds lighter, I was weak and faint, and it took all the strength I had just to procure three meals a day. I lived and ate alone, and although I tried to add variation to my diet by eating my mono-meals in a number of forms—an apple could be transformed into raw slices, a baked bundle, or a bowl of sauce, for example—I mostly just bore my way down and through another bowl of boiled parsnips, another dish of sweet potatoes. I clicked on the radio news and propped up the paper at the table, simultaneously blocking two senses, my lunch of steamed chard disappearing on my plate. . . .

"I was raised a strict Catholic, and from my convent school days was practiced in the rigors of self-discipline and denial. . . . The nuns themselves ate as they lived, in silence. In fifth grade, the year I thought I'd heard the call to join the order, I used to wander away from the crowded winter noon-recess-filled gym and peer through a window on one of the stairwells that looked out on a courtyard and into the cloistered convent. Through another piece of glass, I could see the nuns in their dining room, seated around a long wooden table, the skirts of their black habits sweeping the floor, heads bent over their food, their veils falling down smoothly around their shoulders. Respectfully, rhythmically, as if in slow motion, they lifted their forks in the air, the utensils becoming wands vanishing into the whiteness of their wimples, casting a charge across the table that seemed to connect these women not only to one another but to something more powerful . . .

"I now know that the nuns in their dining room were eating the same tuna-noodle casserole that we girls were served in the hot lunch line. Nothing sacred about the product but something hallowed in the process. One day I turned off the radio, put down the paper, and began eating as an act of meditation. I brought a plate of yucca to the table and sat with it for five minutes, focusing all my attention on the vegetable, clearing my head of any other thoughts. I blotted out everything in the room and took in its aroma, its white color, its texture. . . .

"My feet on the floor, back pressed against the oak dining chair, I stared at the chunks of yucca and took delight in their simple arrangement on the royal blue plate, the noon light bouncing off the snow outside and streaming through the window. I picked up my fork, and slowly, pleasurably, watched it glint in the sun. I lifted the vegetable toward my face."

--Mary Swander: "Out of This World: A Woman's Life Among the Amish."

How I reply to comments at this blog.

I fell asleep, struggling again to breathe, and dreamt I was young. )
Health update )
Replies to the latest comments )

Mar. 30th, 2010

Health: How to write on a computer when you're flat on your back (redux)

"'Casso. Would you like to learn to read and write?'

"Stillness. The smile vanished. In the growing flicker of the fire I saw him rigid, all eyes, unbelieving, like the lost traveller who has the clue, against all hope, thrust into his hand."

--Mary Stewart: "The Last Enchantment."

How I reply to comments at this blog.

My external keyboard arrived today. )

In summary: I'm back to business. "Business," of course, being writing stories.

Replies to the latest comments )

Mar. 27th, 2010

Reply to comments: Software

@wrabbit wrote:

"You can type one-handed with the mouse on the on screen keyboard."

(Goes looking for it.) Oh. My. God. I had totally forgotten to look in Windows' accessibility section. Me, a person who already had their computer set up for large print via that section. That's a perfect short-term solution.

Thank you also to shadowonthesun for your plethora of links. After examining my alternatives, I decided to buy this. It's cheap, and it's lightweight enough to type on top of a pillow over my groin (I hope).

To everyone else: Legs are holding out, eyes are holding out, and boy, do I want that keyboard to arrive so I can write more Eternal Dungeon stuff.

Mar. 22nd, 2010

Health and Home and Writing: Progress

"It's hard to do a daily word count, because it takes the romance out of writing. We all love the long, out-of-body writing binges where we look up hours later, eyes blurry and hands cramped and realize how deeply we were lost in our story, and how much we produced. We also know that those sessions are not always gold, and need to be rewritten as much as the session we bled out of ourselves—and sometimes more. But the problem with the writing binges is that if we let them, they can become like a crack fix, and we'll only write when we can work ourselves into them. It makes a lot of sense, if you think about it—you know when you're on those binges you're on a contact high, which means your brain is going to seek them out again in the same way it seeks out chocolate (or whatever your food-crack is). This can be a good thing, but not if this is the only way you can write."


How I reply to comments at this blog.

I wrote 1500 words of The Eternal Dungeon today )
Replies to the latest comments )

Mar. 21st, 2010

Health and Home and Mentoring and Writing: A day in my life

"I had had so much: husband and home; studies that exhilerated; a body that could climb hills and aquaplane and lie in the sun; all impossible or forbidden now. And I had taken them all for granted - everybody's gift, I thought then, and for time unending."

--Jessamyn West: The Woman Said Yes: Encounters with Life and Death.

How I reply to comments at this blog.

I wake with a headache . . . )
Replies to the latest comments )

But speaking of you folks . . . When I became partially sighted, I suddenly became aware, through conversations with others, that a lot of the people I knew were dealing with chronic illnesses. I'd just never known it before, because they'd never mentioned their illnesses.

I'm sure that's the case here too; two people have already mentioned it. If any of you have, or have had, chronic/serious illnesses, or have helped care for people who had them, I'd love to hear your stories if you feel like sharing them.

Mar. 18th, 2010

Health and Mentoring: The meaning of courage

"Education doesn't change life much. It just lifts trouble to a higher plane of regard."

--Robert Frost. Found on a bookmark from my college bookstore, in a cardboard box I browsed through today.

Courage )
Brief health update )
Replies to last post's comments )

Mar. 15th, 2010

Writing and Health: Laptop love and doctor's orders

"It's when novices move toward survival, embracing the deprivations of monastic life as a personal, inner necessity, that they begin to feel truly free. They also begin to understand the depths of joy, and how little it has to do with what the world calls happiness. Like the farmer or rancher who willingly takes on economic hardship, remaining in Dakota out of love for the land, these monks can grow to a profound understanding of fast and feast. One makes sense only in terms of the other, and both may be seen in terms of play. Like country folk everywhere, monks develop an ability to party simply but well."

--Kathleen Norris: Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.

How to write on a computer when you're flat on your back (in case you ever need to know) )
Replies to last post's comments )

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