CRC update – Can I give myself a mulligan?

September 30, 2011

About a month and a half ago, I posted about how I was starting ‘Consistent Reader’s Club’ over at Stringing Words. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot read, and I’ve come across a few references to similar things, including The Seinfeld Chain.

But unfortunately, I slipped this week. I was juggling a lot of things, including catching up on over a hundred blog subscription emails that had gathered in my gmail, finishing a story rewrite, and Campaigner business, and I completely forgot to set aside 15 minutes to read from a novel I hadn’t read before on Wednesday.

So my ‘chain’ goes up to 44 days, and I’m struggling with the notion of allowing myself the possibility of missing just one day a month without breaking the chain.

Con: It’s breaking the rules that I set for myself in August.

Pro: The point is to motivate myself to read more, and if I make this little allowance for occasionally forgetting or just being way too busy, then I’ll be more motivated overall.

I went right back to reading “The Gripping Hand” yesterday and tonight, but I haven’t quite decided if this is continuing the old chain with a mulligan, or starting a brand new streak. What do you think I should do?

Campaigner Spotlight: Kerry Freeman

September 29, 2011

Hello again! Today I’m shining the spotlight on Kerry Freeman, at kf writes books.

What was your favorite thing to do when you were a kid?
Would you believe read? I was just telling this story earlier today. When I was around 13 years old, there was this wonderful hippy-run bookstore in my neighborhood. (This was the early 80s, so the hippy thing was not on its way back in yet.) They had a bookshelf devoted to banned books, and I’d go every week or so and buy a new book from that shelf. Today I wonder what my mother was thinking letting me read some of that stuff, but, then again, I’m glad she did 🙂

What’s your beverage of choice while writing?
Something with caffeine to keep me awake. I don’t like coffee, though, so it’s usually Diet Pepsi or Diet Cherry Coke.

How many Campaigners does it take to change a light bulb?
 A baker’s dozen. One to stand on the stool waiting for instruction while four look it up on Wiki, four do an informal Twitter poll, and four search it on Google.

92 words about me:
I’m a gay romance author, and I live in Alabama with my husband and two socially awkward dogs. A tomboy and a geek from way back, I have an only slightly evil day job.
My first book will be released next month by Loose Id. I did a happy dance when it was described as a dramedy because that means someone laughed besides me.
I have a weakness for yaoi, Japanese stationery, YA fiction, and ginger-haired soul singers from Britain. I own an impressive t-shirt collection. Nowaki & Hiroki are my homeboys.

Thanks for dropping by, Kerry!

Second Campaigner Challenge – Imago? Are you kidding me??

September 28, 2011

I’m getting tired of challenges with ridiculously obscure requirements.

This is a picture of a cicada imago emerging. Isn’t that really gross? Just looking at it gives me the screaming jeebies.

For thousands of years, people thought that diseases were caused by miasma – foul or unclean air. This theory has been around for longer than we’ve had written records, and only got debunked after John Snow proved that cholera was spread through infected water, not through the air.

Lacuna was a minor character in Piers Anthony’s Xanth series – twin sister of Hiatus, (whose name basically means the same thing, a gap,) with the talent of making print appear. Eventually, she managed to get a major role in ‘Question Quest’, saved Magician Humphrey from Hell, and got her life retroactively changed to include a happy marriage and kids as a reward.

I remember reading an old speculative science fiction short story about what life would be like if the principle of causality in the universe was suddenly replaced with synchronicity – the idea that simmilar things happen at the same time.

So, that’s my answer to the challenge. Isn’t all of this boring? It’s enough to make me oscitate.

Campaigner Spotlight: The Guardian Writer

September 26, 2011

Hi everybody! Today on the Spotlight, we’ve got Melissa Dean, from The Guardian Writer.

What is your favorite movie – you have to pick just one!
My favorite movie is “One Crazy Summer”.  It is a cheezy 80’s movie with John Cusack, Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldwait, and Matt Mulhern.  It is hilarious and even today makes me practically wet myself with giggles.

Are you organized or messy?
It depends.  I try really hard to be organized, but I have bouts of messiness. However it’s probably 80/20 in favor of organized.

What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Well, since I write late at night, I would have to say Cheez-its.  Just a bowl of Cheez-its and I  can get into the groove.

Here’s a little about my blog:  I began blogging in February 2010.  At The Guardian Writer, I showcase things I’ve learned in many webinars, conferences, and workshops.  I love to do series blogs about one topic and writing flash fiction.  Also, I love to review books, showcase videos, and giveaway lots of prizes.  So, everyone should stop by!

Six Sentence Sunday: Chatterboxes opening

September 25, 2011

Confession – I forgot about Six Sentence Sunday last week until it was too late to make the official list, and instead of putting up an unofficial entry again, I just ignored it and put up a Campaigner Spotlight. But this week, I’m organized and ready!

This is near the beginning of my most recent draft of my speculative novel “Chatterboxes”:

What I remember most was the red laser light flashing in my eye. It was that kind of a club – somewhere in downtown Hamilton, doesn’t really matter where. Aside from lasers, there was the smoke machine, (so that the lasers could light up the smoke and stand out in high relief, never mind that everything else was fuzzed out,) and that kind of loud dance music that everybody loves to complain about because you can’t talk to anybody without yelling in their ears.

I don’t always complain. If you want to be able to talk to strangers in a comfortable atmosphere, with soft music and lights on the moderately dim side, (not to mention clean air,) then go and try to pick somebody up at a damn coffeehouse. On a good night, all of the music and the other distractions are something that I can just sail through, and maybe even borrow energy from, start to feel confident with the basic paradoxes of the singles scene.

I’m not sure if I love this passage, but it’s fun. It also definitely reminds me of writing on the first day of National Novel Writing Month!

Campaigner Spotlight: Nicole Zoltack

September 24, 2011

Hi, everybody! It’s Campaigner Spotlight time again, and today, the spotlight falls on Nicole Zoltack’s blog: Where Fantasy and Love take Flight.

What has been the greatest achievement of your life?

My family. Family has always meant so much to me growing up (I have 5 siblings) and starting a family of my own means the world to me. I married my college sweetheart (who was also my first kiss), and we’ve been married for 4 years now. Our family is still growing – we have two sons (almost 3 and 13 months) and will hopefully have a daughter in February (although I just want this baby to be healthy too). We want a total of 4 so we’re almost there!

Tell us something that’s frightened you.

Death has always been something that’s frightened me as far back as I can remember. I just have so much to live for and so much that I want to do with my life yet. I guess my fear stems from worrying that I wouldn’t have lived before I die. It just means that I try to live each day to the fullest and to have no regrets.

Are you more comfortable in a large group or talking with just one other person?

I’m definitely more of an introvert so talking with just one other person. I tend to be quiet and shy but once I get to know you, I tend to never shut up!

When she isn’t writing about girls wanting to be knights, talking unicorns, and zombies, she spends time with her loving family. She loves to ride horses (pretending their unicorns, of course!) and going to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, dressed in period garb. To learn more about Nicole and her work, visit her website at or her blog at

Thanks for your answers and volunteering for the spotlight, Nicole!








Not my ideal writing machine: Asus Eee Pad Transformer

September 23, 2011

I’ve been playing around for a few days with a new gadget – the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It sounded like a great idea – an Android tablet with a touchscreen, that docks onto a keyboard to form a machine with an ultrathin, ultralight netbook form factor. I thought it would be great for writing, revising, working with simple spreadsheets, and as a multimedia machine to watch videos and listen to music on.

It’s not a bad machine. It can handle all of that stuff – sort of. But I’ve found that the available Android office and productivity software is awkward and doesn’t exactly play nice with the keyboard interface. The pre-installed suite, Polaris Office, won’t open Rich Text Format files, doesn’t offer a word count function or show comments, and it’s awkward about text entry and navigation in spreadsheets. I downloaded a trial for another office package, OfficeSuite pro, and that was a little better, but I still found some issues – like no spell checker or ability to actually see the contents of comments.

More than just the office software, there’s all kinds of things about Android that I don’t like in the netbook keyboard experience – the complete absence of scrollbars in scrollable lists, for instance, since Android things that being able to push the list up or down on the touchscreen is so completely intuitive. The movie player doesn’t show titles, just sample frames; the music player is locked into a kind of a circle flow interface, and the Market application (to find and install new apps) seems very buggy, often getting stuck at the point between downloading and installing my app.

And wait, there’s more issues! The mouse touchpad is incredibly sensitive while typing, although to their credit, Asus had foresight enough to include a dedicated button to turn the touchpad on and off. And the browser doesn’t seem to want to let me scroll up and down inside a text area as opposed to scrolling the page up and down – which is incredibly frustrating when I want to compose a blog post. (And the WordPress android app is still stuck and won’t install.)

I know that I could probably sort out some of these annoyances by experimenting with other Android apps, but at the moment, I don’t have the patience for it. The entire package is going back to Futureshop, probably tomorrow. Thanks for the test drive, Asus, but this latest product wasn’t worth it – nearly $800 canadian, with the 2 year warranty plan and taxes. No thank you.

PS: And the web browser won’t even let me paste in text from OfficeSuite, so I won’t be able to post this to the blog until I get home. Grr all over again.

The fallacy of ‘If I only had time to write…’

September 21, 2011

I really should know better than to fall for this one.

But it’s so tempting – you see so much of your days taken up by going to work, routine chores – or conventions in distant places, whatever – and still you manage to get a little writing done. So the idea’s obviously going to occur to you at some point: “If I only had a few days with nothing to worry about but writing, how much could I get done?”

I’m off work this week without any impressive travel plans, and I’ve managed to get some things from my to-do list crossed off, including critiques, finishing up a revision, and catching up with the Campaign. I’ve even gotten a new chapter finished on a crossover fanfic that I’ve been wanting to tie up.

But I still feel like I’m going to fall short of the targets that I’d hoped for stay-cation productivity. And that’s mostly because of the obvious reason that time to write is not enough. You need to have mental energy to draw on, and inspiration, and focus. After this summer, I didn’t really realize how low my reserves were getting, and doing other things to recharge them is much better than pushing too hard.

Like Aesop’s tortoise, I’ll get there in the end – wherever it is that I’m heading.

And thank you very much to Brinda Berry for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. 🙂

Campaigner Spotlight: The Restless Writer

September 20, 2011

Okay, today my spotlight falls on Sarah Perry, The Restless Writer – and I just love her blog title!

What’s your job like?

I am employed part time as a Librarian and full time as a mom.  It is really cool to be a librarian.  I love being surrounded by books and helping promote them.  There’s nothing like recommending a book to someone and then hearing that they really loved it.  In addition to books, we also help people with technology needs.  In this terrible economy, we help a lot of people with uploading resumes, faxing them and emailing them.  Even though the world seems to be fast paced and connected at all times, there are still many people who don’t own their own computers, have internet access or cell phones.  It’s rewarding to help them as well.

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Narratives from the real world.

September 19, 2011

I was listening to a Storywonk podcast today, more than a month behind as usual. This time, Lani and Alastair were talking about reality television, and some of the ways producers set up the shows so that no matter what the participants do or who wins, some kind of a natural narrative will flow naturally. They also mentioned that professional sports are set up in somewhat the same way, which naturally made me think of this cartoon:

Original Alt text by Randall Munroe: Also, all financial analysis. And, more directly, D&D.

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