January Update!

Wow, the first half of the month has flown by! Partly because it’s winter and I want to hide in my bed…

But I have still be doing a fairly good job of writing (nerdy biker, mmm) and I finished my first pair of full mittens!

I also did a final read (after some beta comments) of BAW and submitted it *frets*

I’m taking part in a 1920s NYC Vampire: the Masquerade tabletop game.

I’m doing a beta read for someone.

The last week my brain was very buzzy and unable to focus so I ended up watching all of Season 1 of M*A*S*H.

So I’ve been pretty busy (or at least unable to focus) but nothing particularly interesting. Unless you want to hear about my vampire shooting ghouls in the head (and chest, and biting them…). That was fun 🙂

Updates!

After a mixed weekend last week, I had a tough week, which means that I didn’t get nearly as much writing done as I had wanted. Nor did I get much revisions done. And yesterday more edits arrived in my inbox, so I’ll be doing them this weekend. Hopefully they won’t be bad and I’ll be able to knock them out fairly easily, and then I can pick one of the three stories that needs revisions and DO IT.

Oh, and keep up with the eight anime shows I’m watching this season. And knitting the baby blanket. And going to the barn, 4-H, seeing friends, feeding myself, reading writers’ group stuff, exercising, and probably something else I’m forgetting.

That said, I am making little bits of progress on the current story (AOF#2) by spending a half an hour some weekday mornings on writing. Sometimes that goes better than others. But I have to say it’s so much easier to have my tablet hooked to the keyboard. Waking that up takes less time than even waking up an asleep laptop. And that might seem silly, but removing obstacles helps me write. (Also, I don’t have twitter on my tablet, so I don’t even have to block myself from it. And I find browsing in general harder, so I don’t do it as much!) So many perks.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Not a Countdown

I am NOT counting down to my book release. Not actively. There’s not eight days left or anything.

Not at all.
BUT OH MY GOODNESS if there were it’d be so exciting!
Thankfully I have lots of other things to keep me distracted. Like editing BAW, giving WCR a read-through to send it off to a beta (which is where it is now), and trying to figure out where to send BAW for possible publication. Plus a few other things.
AND, related to my sorta kinky Sharing a Pond that may or may not be coming out in eight days, I was at a convention for work this weekend. It’s the Geeky Kink Event, and while it was exhausting and a lot of work (and stress), mostly because of prep and car’s crumpling, I had a great time. Talking to like-minded people is always fun, meeting new people, forging new bonds, getting your back set on fire. Good times.
Oh, did the back-set-on-fire thing catch your interest? Well it’s called fireplay and it was amazing. Using rubbing alcohol, firesticks, and her hands, fire was on my back. The alcohol creates a barrier between the fire and the skin so it doesn’t burn, just feels warm, and it’s a fantastic sensation (although requires training and skill, so don’t just run off and do it on your own).
I was really stressed on Saturday night after a 12-hour workday, so a nice fire massage (which is pretty much what it felt like) was much appreciated. The stress just fell away and I was so relaxed I was a little loopy. 
Obviously there are no pictures, and I was given an introductory session (so not as intense as it can/could be).[I wanted to upload a picture from the internet but blogger hated me and wouldn’t let me do it right now] The stick/ball is generally material (cotton? I can’t recall) doused in the alcohol, rung out, then drawn over the skin, with the other hand following shortly after to put out the fire. 

Once More Unto the Edits

Please remind me to never do my edits on paper again.

BaW and I have had a long, long relationship. I wrote it *muffled noise* years ago, submitted it, was rejected (but given feedback). And then proceeded to get distracted. Go figure.

Then I started working on it, in spurts and fits. I gave it to beta readers for feedback, added pieces to the end. Read a book about plotting. Considered reworking it completely. Re-read it. Removed and reorganized pieces, but left it mostly as it was. Printed it out and did edits by hand.

I just finished entering in those changes. And I don’t think I can read this story again with anything near clear vision.

So I need a beta reader again. Anyone interested can drop me a line (alexdwhitehall at gmail). It’s possibly the softest, most mellow apocalypse you will ever read.

In other news, I’ve been hitting my word goals (somehow), and my reading goals (go me!), and am looking forward to spring.

In February I read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It’s done in illustrated/comic form and while it was good, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I found the beginning to be too disjointed and often vague. I had trouble following some plots–or else being completely lost as to why this information was being shared. I struggled through that part, and it could be that as a child, we were shown things like a child would share things, but it didn’t work for me. I didn’t connect with the main character and, in fact, I was generally kind of annoyed with her a fair amount of time.

In contrast, as she aged, I found her more likable. While she was a trouble maker and cause stress for her family, everything felt realistic and more alive. Her struggle felt more real and as a person she blossomed into a real being rather than…whatever it was that was on the page before. I liked the change and while I was still annoyed with her at moments, it was in the way that I’m generally annoyed with people doing stupid things. But the circumstances and her life seemed more real.

I don’t regret reading this (it was a gift from a friend), but I doubt I’ll return to it again.

And since I read that super quickly, I read volume 2 of Crimson Spell.

And for March, I’m reading Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. This is a collection of essays, but also also an interesting thing he hasn’t done before where he writes at essay from a kooky perspective. It’s been a while since I’ve read his other stuff, but I think this is my favorite of his books so far (not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy the other stuff). This one just resonates with me more, for some reason.

The essays that are biographical are also entertaining, though they feel more hit or miss to me. But as with any time you’re trying something new, that’s the risk. I haven’t quite finished it yet (four or five stories to go, I believe), but I’d recommend picking this one up.

And that about catches me up, book and editing wise. Writing…well, I was going to continue working on one of my old pieces, and actually wrote 900 words. And then…something happened. The file was…damaged. All the writing I did (and edits earlier in the piece) were gone. I plan that I was saving directly to the flash drive on my Mac using Office Libre. I’m not sure which one is to blame, so they each get one third.

So I lost motivation for that piece and instead decided to start writing one of those post-it note stories that I’ve had hanging around. So now I’m working on trans cowboy story, which I have sort of plotted out and as long as I can get over the next hump, I think will be pretty awesome.

Spring is coming soon!!!

Updates, now with pictures!

January, like every other month, flies by. I’ve been keeping busy with the writing (hit my word count goal!), making submissions, making freebies, and then looking at my spreadsheet and crying quietly 😛

My 5,000 words for January mostly went into finishing the BDSM short and writing a new ending for BAW (just finished that this morning). The short needs to sit, because I feel like it’s, well, too short. I’m sure when I return to it with fresh eyes I’ll find five a few thousand more words to add. For BAW, I need to start at the beginning and do some serious chopping out of unnecessary scenes tightening all the bits into a good story. So that will be my new week-day project.

On the weekends, when I actually can write (because I haven’t found a good way to get my brain to write during the weekdays), I’ll be rewriting a story I wrote a long time ago. I love the story and the setting and the concept, but I have a fight scene that takes four lines at one point. It’s one of those things that just needs to be trashed and re-written, although much of it will remain the same.

And I have my trust ol’ writing mug with me, of course.

You can see it, because it’s imprinted, but it says “fresh-brewed inspiration for the day ahead.” And this technically has hot chocolate in it. Don’t judge.

The book I read in January was Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin, which was amusing and had moments that were laugh-out loud, but didn’t blow me off my feet, either. It was playful and cute and I could see the moments where events in the ‘original’ were turned on their head and mocked, but it also didn’t rely upon having read the source material. Which is good, because I only got about halfway through the first before I returned it to the library.

That said, people who read the books (painfully) might enjoy this more. It was a quick read, too, which mean I was able to fit in another short book (book 1 of The Crimson Spell), which I’ve read before but am trying to read the whole series now that they are actually being translated.

Artwork by DA ID Hinata141

While it’s sort of porny, especially in the beginning, the art is gorgeous (if you like the detailed style), and from what I remember of the story, the plot begins to pick up as the story continues. Also, the one main character turns into a hot demon covered in black markings. Mmm.

The story is focused on a young prince who takes up a cursed sword in order to save his people from invading demons, but now he’s, well, cursed. He travels afar to a wizard who promises to help him break the spell, and thus their journeys together begin! The prince only turns into a demon sometimes (mostly at night?) and the wizard finds ways to…restrain him. And…keep him distracted.

If you know what I mean.

Now to spend the rest of the weekend being productive!

Right?

November is over!

Okay, so:

My goals for this month:
1. Edit/write every day I don’t have a conflicting event (like my GKE trip next weekend). *Holds up calendar* You can tell I’m serious ’cause I wrote it down.
2. The above should let me finish a pass of edits on SaP, SS, and HtPD. So hopefully.
3. I’d love to get 3-5 K written this month, and I’m keeping track, but it’s not make or break.

I am excited to announce that I was very successful this month.

My writing hit 3K, but it wasn’t as much original, publishable fiction as I would have liked. And I haven’t written anything since the 16th. So that one wasn’t a huge success, but it did keep me writing a little when I knew my edits would overwhelm me.

As for the edits: I finished doing a pass on SaP, SS, and HtPD. I sent SS out to two beta readers and have gotten feedback from one. Overall positive feedback, so that makes me happy. She pointed out an issue with the end that I also felt…but I need to ponder how to fix it.

SaP, sitting at just over 50K, was a close one. I just finished my editing pass today. I also have to ponder how to move forward with this one. There’s a submission call that it can be sent to, and the deadline for it isn’t until 1/31/15, so I could hunt up a beta reader and get feedback, or I can just send it off and get it off my plate.

I’m leaning toward the second, because I’d like to focus on finishing up SS and then returning to BaW, which I’d REALLY like to get done or closer to friggen done 😛

Which leads me to this month’s goals:
1. Finish writing new ending to BaW.
2. Enter handwritten edits into final file.
3. Submit BaW to the writing group.

Goals for the birthday month

July’s goals1. Finish one level of Code Academy – That’s 6 hours of stuff, so it’s a mouthful, but hopefully I won’t choke.
2. Read a new, nonwork-related book. Just one. I mostly have been rereading old favorites and stuff for work. And I’ll even count rereading books that I read a long time ago (pre-accident) and no longer remember.
3. Work on side project of mystery goal.
4. Write a thousand words OR prep a story for submission. Oh yeah, I do that sometimes, don’t I?

I actually wasn’t expecting to do as well here as I did. I threw a lot of stuff down hoping I’d do some of it and feel victorious.Instead:

1. Finished the HTML/CSS level of Code Academy. I’m not sure how much I remembered, and I’m planning on making a cheat sheet for the codes, and I want to apply what I’ve learned to a “website” but I feel good about what I learned.

2. This was a slight cheat, because I re-read Whistling in the Dark. That counts as a  non-work book, but it’s also one I’ve read before. I also read it because I had just finished working on two historical novels, and I had an itch to read it again. For my house-sitting adventure, I’ve packed a novel to read, but not sure that’s gonna happen. Time works differently here.

3. I did what I set out to do so far with this. The project still has groundwork I need to do, but I feel like I took the big step that I needed to here.

4. I wrote 1,000+ words for BAW, plus some other stuff, so this was a win. However, it also brought to my attention how much more work BAW needs. GROAN.

August’s goals
1. Apply what I learned from Code Academy into a website project.

2. 1,000 more words written

3. Review HtPD and see if it can become something. Currently it’s super short so it either needs to get more written for it to stand alone, or I need to hunt down an anthology for it to fit into.

I think that’s it for now. I’m feeling all panicky today, so I’m not sure if I’m underachieving or if I’m overachieving right now.