What’s Up Wednesday? It’s almost NanoTime…

October 29, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
I dug up the very thick paperback copy of Jim Butcher’s “Furies of Calderon” that I got as a souvenir of the Odyssey Flash Fiction Slam in Nashua in the summer of 2013. I’m getting on for halfway through the story already, and it’s really cool, touching on some of the same themes as the Dresden Files but also very different, with the high fantasy tropes, the elemental furies and other magical beasties.

When I need to read on the bus and can’t stuff “Furies” into my bag, I’ve been reading the original “Gossip Girl” on my tablet. I enjoyed the series, just finished it earlier this year, and so it was interesting to go back and see all the differences with the way it first started.

What I’m writing:
Mostly just concentrating on getting ready for Nanowrimo, though I’ve also been squeezing a few critiques in. I’m really excited for Saturday to come!

What works for me:
The Storywonk “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class has been really great. I’ve been figuring out lots of really cool stuff, especially about the setting for “Never Found” that I never expected to be thinking about, like werewolves making magical potions. 😉

What else I’ve been up to:
Kick-off was amazing! I’m pretty sure that Hamilton is gearing up for a record Nanowrimo, based on how many writers and novel-adjacents we had crammed into the back room of the Winchester Arms Sunday afternoon.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

What’s Up Wednesday? The creative doldrums…

September 3, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! And if you’re looking for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I’ll probably be posting tomorrow.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Well, I got a lot of reading done this week, especially when I was waiting in lines at Fan Expo. Finished “Lords and Ladies”, the novelization of “Spider-man 3”, and “Command Decision.” Read about five graphic novels, including two Doctor Who comics, and the first three volumes of the hilariously weird “Chew.” Reached the halfway point on “Annals of the Heechee”, started Elizabeth Moon’s “Victory Conditions”, and listened to some more Escape Artists.

What I’m writing:

Not that much just at this moment. Started fleshing out an urban fantasy idea that I may be saving up for Nanowrimo this year. I actually got the idea from the character prompts in a Dresden Files RPG session I played at Fan Expo, a girl with stealth magic who was ‘lost and never found.’

What inspires me right now:

Weird comic books, all the geeky energy I got from the crowds at Fan Expo, new Doctor Who episodes with Peter Capaldi, and Harry Potter movies.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went shopping for iPads with my Mom tonight, though she couldn’t find the model and color she wanted. Getting ready for a jam-packed weekend; trivia night in Dundas on Friday, then the BrightRun fundraiser for breast cancer on Saturday, and an epic write-in Sunday afternoon!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

What’s Up Wednesday? Canada Day!

July 2, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Still enjoying “Iron Druid: Trapped”, finished “I’ve got your number” and got it back to the library, and getting close to the end of “Skin Game.” Also read another Angel/Faith Season 9 Graphic Novel, “Daddy Issues”, and read another few stories from Analog on my tablet Zinio. Which is frustrating because the Zinio format of these magazines doesn’t seem to reflow as it resizes, you’ve just got a picture of the magazine page that you can zoom in or out on. But hey, it’s free from the library!

What I’m writing:

Finished the first draft of “Magic Milkshake”, and started the Neural Rewiring story for Camp Nanowrimo’s July session!

What inspires me right now:

Well, I’m going to be coy about the spoiler, but there’s a moment in ‘Skin Game’ where a secret code is revealed that bears on a bunch of conversations from earlier in the story, giving them a second meaning. I’m really looking forward to reviewing all those moments and seeing what was really being said in the second layer.

What else I’ve been up to:

Hanging out with the family for Canada Day, trying to keep cool even though my kitchen air conditioner (the big one in the window) has been acting up a bit, and… I guess that’s it. For now. Oh, and more ‘Angry Birds Epic’, including my own systematic attempt to map out the island and figure out where I can earn coins the fastest!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

What’s Up Wednesday? Summer Solstice edition

June 25, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! I’m glad to be back after spending a few weeks away at the Young Gunns workshop in Kansas.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Well, I finished “Dark Lord of Derkholm”, loved the ending, and I’ve been reading some Iron Druid, starting on “Trapped” and then going back to find “Two Ravens One Crow” because the author was referring to it and I wanted to follow what was going on. I’ve also read a cool story from a January 2013 edition of Analog, courtesy of my local library’s Zinio program, and finished off another Buffy season 9 graphic novel.

For audio books, I think I’m getting close to the end of “I’ve got your number,” and I’ve been able to listen to some more of “Skin Game.”

What I’m writing:

Still making some progress with the new draft for “Magic Milkshake”, and I finished a partial revision of “TimeBubble Blues:” it should be on its way out to the critters.org critiquers any minute now! I’ve also been working on giving critiques; I sent one in to critters.org yesterday because my ratio was slipping dangerously low, and I’ve got a lot of novel excerpts yet to critique for “The Never-Ending Odyssey” workshop.

What inspires me right now:

Stories with strong romantic and adventure plots, especially where the couple are able to work together to beat the bad guy or reach the prize, instead of getting bogged down in angst.

What else I’ve been up to:

Gearing up for Camp Nanowrimo in July! Looks like my local writers will be able to get together for some write-ins in July, and I’ve also got a pretty cool cabin on the Camp Nano website.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

What’s Up Wednesday? So Excited!

May 28, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! I may be going on WUW hiatus for a bit, but I’m here right now!

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Started on one of my Christmas books (finally!) It’s Diana Wynne Jones’ “Dark Lord of Derkholm”, and it’s a lot of fun so far. The premise is that the people of a fantasy land are being forced to put on ‘adventure holidays’ for tourists and they’re tired of playing evil wizards and throwing giant battles and so on. Also been reading more stories out of Analog, including one that seems oddly familiar, “Sadness” by Timons Esaias. And I’ve been listening to some Spiderwick Chronicles I borrowed from the library, and the new Dresden Files book from Audible!

What I’m writing:

Finished revising ‘Gotta Have That Look’ for the Young Gunns workshop, and since then I haven’t been writing anything of my own, just trying to get as many of my critiques done as I can before I leave on Sunday.

What inspires me right now:

All of the great stuff I’ve been reading and critiquing, looking forward to the Storywonk ‘Cabin in the Woods’ commentary as soon as I’ve got some time to breathe, and… Kansas!

What else I’ve been up to:

Packing, shopping, trying to organize an expense tracking system. I finally got around to buying the soundtrack for “Roar of the Greasepaint Smell of the Crowd” off iTunes. When I was in middle school, the drama department made it the school play, and my Dad actually found the vinyl album and I listened to it before auditioning, but I didn’t get in. (It’s kinduv a sucky play to put on in school, since there are only a handful of actors on stage.) But when I was converting favorites from the vinyl collection to MP3, we couldn’t find that record.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

F is for Fairy Fatale

April 7, 2014

For the A to Z challenge this year, I’m sharing science fiction and fantasy story ideas…

So, here I’m mashing up the fae with ‘femme fatale.’ (And yes, I know that Jim Butcher has done this already in ‘Summer Knight’, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it too.)

She sells our modern private eye on a fantasy, and she’s trying to find one of her own, something ephemeral, a (metaphorical) firefly. A dream somebody stole from her and she needs to get back.

If you’re interested enough to pick this up and write your own version, feel free; ideas are cheap. And let me know! I’ll be keeping the notions vague enough that lots of different stories might be written from them.

Thanks for visiting!

Ad Astra 2013 flashback: Best Fuego Grilled Burger!

May 11, 2013

Okay, well, the first thing you need to understand is when I went to bed on Saturday night, I set an alarm on the iPhone to wake me up with a custom ringtone. The second thing is that I’ve gotten into this habit of taking the iphone with me when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, because whatever email might have arrived between midnight and 3am is obviously SO important. 😉

So I wake up very groggily to the dim strains of a ringtone playing over and over again in the next room. By the time I finally got to the hotel bathroom to shut it off, that alarm had been ringing for something like ten minutes. Oh well.

I went to the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet, and wasn’t too impressed with their french toast or milk, (and there were no pancakes at all,) but went back for a second helping of bacon and breakfast potatoes. Maybe that was because I’d gone the day before with no meat and possibly a low level of protein, (peanuts notwithstanding.)

So after breakfast, went back up to the room again; the plan was to check out by nine AM so that I could help out with the vendor’s room again and not need to worry about running back upstairs. That worked out pretty well, except that I forgot about a work thing I was supposed to do on the laptop Sunday morning, (but that worked out okay twelve hours later.) I took a few things out to the car, and left other luggage behind the front desk with a claim check. It was a little while before anybody showed up for the vendor’s room, so I pulled out the Kindle and read some of Jim Butcher’s “Ghost Story.”

After the vendor’s room was open, I went upstairs, and met Magie and Maggie from the browncoats in the corridor. They were a little upset that the Star wars/Disney panel (with Jim!) wasn’t where they’d expected it to be, but I pulled out my schedule and figured out that they were nearly an hour early. 🙂

The Masquerade awards were given out at ten-thirty Sunday morning, and the participants outnumbered the few fans who’d come out to see who won. (And one participant, Link, wasn’t able to come because he was stuck on duty at the registration desk.)

So… I won an award!  Read the rest of this entry »

Ad Astra 2013 flashback: Cosplay Saturday!

May 9, 2013

Well, it’s more than a month since I went to Ad Astra, but I figure I can still tell you guys about it. My last Ad Astra post covered Friday, so this time I’ll start with Saturday morning.

I woke up pretty early, showered, headed out to look for the Tim Horton’s at the corner that I’d seen listed on Google Maps. It turned out to be a coffee counter at a gas station, and they didn’t have TimBits, so I grabbed two maple dip donuts for breakfast. 😉 Once I’d eaten, I suited up into security gear and went downstairs to see if I could help.

The volunteer room wasn’t open by nine, so I just kinduv hung around, and kept an eye on the vendors moving their stuff into the room. Soon the guy who’d deputized me as a volunteer showed up, and told me that my main job was to keep non-Vendors from wandering into the Vendors room before it opened up at ten. That worked out pretty well; I got to say hi to a lot of people, even though some of them were disappointed that they couldn’t get an early start on their window shopping. I also challenged a vendor or two who didn’t have their lemon-lime colored vendor badges out, and let a few people with ‘panelists’ slip through because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give them a hard time about hanging out with their vendor friends. 🙂 And it was fun to get to check with the ConCom liaison in charge of the Vendor’s room and tell the gathering horde that it was time to go and buy!

At ten, I went to a panel for ‘What’s new in fandom’, but started paging through my schedule and realized that I had a busy day of stalking Jim Butcher ahead of me, so I left the panel to take care of some business. First I checked in with the guy in the volunteer office to ask some questions about spending the day in Cosplay. The volunteer guy said that I could just leave the yellow T-shirt and the radio gear in my hotel room while I was dressed up. He was bonding a staff from somebody’s cosplay outfit when I got there, so that answered another question, if I should ask to get my blasting rod bonded as safe. So up the elevator I went, put on my Harry Dresden finery, and back down to the volunteer office, where a bit of black zip-tie was wrapped around the end of my ‘blasting rod’ broomstick, to mark it as convention-safe or whatever.

There were Jim Butcher panels in the next two time slots: “Standalone novel versus series” and “Magic in the big city.” I was complimented a few times on my costume, and two people suggested that I should sign up for the Masquerade contest that night, so I left after the first few minutes of the ’50 years of Doctor Who’ panel to go to the signup table and entered as a novice, no craftmanship judging: I didn’t craft most of the costume myself. My Mom did more of that, with all the time she put in on the white bead pentacle, and helping with the shield bracelet too.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ad Astra 2013 Highlights – Day One

May 3, 2013

Hi there, friends and followers. It was nice to be able to take a day off from blogging, now that April is over, but I’m happy to be back!

And I’ve got some exciting memories to share. I didn’t get a chance to deliver an Ad Astra report while the A-Z challenge was going on, but I made some notes that I’d love to share. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Okay, so I left work Friday around two in the afternoon, picking that hour so that if I made really good time to Toronto, I’d get there just in time for the 3:00 hotel check-in. Of course, things didn’t quite work out like that. This was the first time I’d driven into Toronto on a Friday afternoon; actually I think the only other time I’ve actually driven into Toronto by myself was going to the airport on my way to Kansas last summer. It worked out fairly well, but I got a little lost twice; once because I wanted to get off the highway for Burger King takeout, because the takeout bag was going to be part of my cosplay. There was construction on the exit I’d picked, so I decided to drive over to the next on-ramp, but couldn’t figure out the right way to get on the highway driving East, and ended up driving East along the surface streets until the highway drifted north enough to intersect my street, and getting on then.

I also went too far north on the 400, because I’d managed to print out the wrong directions. But I got to the hotel in good time, got checked in, ate my burger and fries, and went down to get my convention badge and program and all that. Rather interestingly, I got them on the honor system; the volunteers at the registration desk had a big list of everybody who’d pre-paid, but I wasn’t on the list. “When did you pay?”

“Um, last summer at Polaris.”

“Oh, that explains it then. Here you go.” And he handed me a badge. Apparently the list of people who’d paid at Polaris got lost, and they weren’t rechecking anybody who said that was where they’d signed up. I even had my payment stub, but he didn’t want to look at it. Oh well.

Read the rest of this entry »

What I’ve been reading lately: September 2012

September 12, 2012

Well, I’ve definitely been reading a lot. As I think I’ve mentioned, all the waiting in lines I did for Fan Expo and Dragon*Con helped – it’s easy to pull out a Kindle (or a smartphone or PDA) and read while you’re waiting for that Q&A session or autograph, and I read several of the Buffy season 7 comics on the plane when they don’t allow you to have electronic devices turned on.

But I can’t blame all my reading progress on conventions. I recently finished the last ‘Harry Potter’ book, (which was a great read, I was so excited as I was getting near the end, with the Battle of Hogwarts and the final confrontation between Harry and You-Know-Who, not to mention the stuff with Severus in it,) and the Fourth Harry Dresden book, Summer Knight, which was enormous fun in a completely different way.

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed reading anything quite so much recently as the moment where Dresden gets the Maguffin back from the bad’un at the height of the climactic Faerie battle scene. Before running away with it, he imitates Road Runner and yells “Meep-meep!” 😀 Not many authors could make a moment like that work, but Jim Butcher gets away with it because it’s consistent with what we’ve learned about Harry in the books leading up to it.

And ‘Summer Knight’ is #49 on my 52 books in 2012 list, which suggests that I’m well ahead of schedule! I wonder if I can make it up to 70 books in the year.

Other titles I’ve finished recently:

  • The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
  • All Together Dead, by Charlaine Harris
  • Vampire Diaries: The Struggle, by LJ Smith
  • Castle Kidnapped, by John de Chancie
  • Buffy Season 8: #3-5
  • Star Trek New Frontier: Dark Allies, by Peter David
  • Dragon’s Kin, by Todd McCaffrey

I’m currently reading “The Glamour Chase”, a fun Doctor Who novel I picked up at a convention years ago, and “Star Trek: Behind Enemy Lines”, which involves some of the characters from TNG in the Dominion War plotlines from Deep Space Nine.

By the way, Happy Programmer’s day to any fellow coders out there. I saw something about this earlier on twitter, but it wasn’t until I was doing a bit of math to see how well I was doing on the reading that I remembered the reasoning for Programmer’s day – it’s day 256 of the year. 😉

And if you’re a Nano-er and haven’t seen this yet, go vote for Nanowrimo at Chase Community Giving. They could get a donation of $50-250 thousand dollars!

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