What’s up Wednesday? Crashing from Nanoland back down to Earth

December 3, 2014

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

What I’m SnowyHousesreading:
Finished “Academ’s Fury”, just hours before the ebook expired back to the library ebook. Since then, I’ve started “Sheepfarmer’s Daughter”, one of three Paks paperbacks that my Mom gave me for my birthday, and started listening to stories via the PodCastle and Toasted Cake podcasts again. I kinda fell off fiction podcasts during November, partly because I was listening to my soundtracks so much, and the fabulous Storywonk Nano podcast; something else had to fall out, but I’ve got plenty of stories queued up on the iPhone now!

What I’m writing:
Well, I reached 60k for Nano at Wafflepalooza, and I’m really happy with where my incomplete books got to. Since December started, I haven’t done any actual writing, but I do want to work on synopsis outlines for both books, as well as getting back to the Flash Fiction course.

What works for me:
Riding the wave of Nanowrimo for a victory lap, I guess! Pulled off another 10k between Thursday and Sunday, which is pretty good.

What else I’ve been up to:
Enjoying not going out for write-ins nearly every day. Playing around with my Dana Alphasmart wordcount software a little more, with keyboard shortcuts to copy values from field to field, and changing the deletion routines so I can just delete scratchpad 2 out of 4, instead of having to delete 2, 3, and 4 all at the same time.

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

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What’s Up Wednesday? The Last Day of Winter…

March 19, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood on Audible, and Escape Artist podcasts, and started listening to ‘Culture: Excession’ again, though I feel like it’s a little hard to follow on audio, sigh. Finished the Secret Circle trilogy, and I’m branching out to some new markets of short stories, reading from ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine’, as well as catching up on Strange Horizons.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo clock count: 28 and a half hours! I’ve finished my revisions on ‘Gotta Have that Look’, and started making some big changes to my Orpheus story. I haven’t given up on HTRYN and “The Angel’s Charlie,” but going through the world triage seems to be dragging on a little, sigh.

What inspires me right now:

Write-ins, the Odyssey video chat salon, and getting back to using my Alphasmart Dana on the bus.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not that much lately. Waiting for more news from Kij Johnson about whether I get into the Novel workshop at CSSF, and organizing my huge Audible collection. 🙂

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


What’s Up Wednesday? Another Blizzard!

March 12, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still working through my Secret Circle ebooks and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood on Audible. Read many Escape Pod stories this past week and no PodCastle, because I’ve been trying different ways of choosing my podcasts and Escape Pod was coming up first.

I also read through a little ebook I got ages ago, “Alias Recruited” while I was at Comicon on Sunday, mostly while waiting for panels to start. It was a fun little read, part of a paperback prequel series for the Alias TV show with Jennifer Garner, which I never really got into that much but is still on my ‘to watch’ list.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo revision, baby! I’m up to 17-ish hours so far, and pleased with the progress I’ve made, especially the HTRYN classes for “The Angel’s Charlie” which have been going much faster than the first time I revised a novel with them, and ‘Gotta Have that Look’ which should be ready for critique by Monday.

What inspires me right now:

Open mike night, hearing Eliza Dushku’s mother talk about the power of telling stories, and Billy Joel’s “Leningrad.”

What else I’ve been up to:

Had a pretty good time at Toronto Comicon over the weekend. Spent too much money on graphic novels and Star Wars picture books, and lost my water bottle, but what the hey? And I’ve been enjoying the nice weather when it shows up. (Glares out the window at the snow.)

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


What’s Up Wednesday, Edmo edition

March 5, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! (If you’re looking for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, that’ll be up tomorrow.)

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Well, I borrowed a book and a half from the library this week. 😉 Whoever published the original ‘Secret Circle’ trilogy in ebooks decided to make them two ebooks. I got the first half of the trilogy years ago, and finally finished up to the end of part 1 of ‘The Captive.’ The other half was available at the library, so I should be finished it another week or so.

Still listening to some Audible books, including ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood, which has become my go-to book for listening to when I’m washing dishes or doing other chores in No-screen time, because it’s what’s currently loaded on the little Audible Otis (which doesn’t have enough of a screen to count.) And enjoying the PodCastle and Escape Pod as much as ever.

What I’m writing:

NaNoEdMo is underway here, as well as a few places on twitter. I’ve been working on revising my novel “The Angel’s Charlie” on the Holly Lisle revision plan, as well as some shorter pieces to rewrite.

What inspires me right now:

The monastery playlist! Old ‘Brothers and Sisters’ episodes. Camp Nanowrimo on the horizon.

What else I’ve been up to:

Let’s see. The office move happened on Monday, went pretty well though our network was down until 4pm. Had another good write-in over the weekend, great to see Elizabeth Twist and bond with her about revision. And I got my invitation to The Never-Ending Odyssey reunion workshop yesterday!

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


More Complex

February 21, 2014

I’ve been thinking about a passage from a story all week.

The story was “Immersion”, by Aliette de Bodard, and I read it via the Escape Pod-cast, last weekend; mostly while walking out in the snow on Sunday morning. It’s a great tale about technology and culture, but the passage is this:

“[It was] conceived by a Galactic mind… every logical connection within it exudes a mindset that might as well be alien to these girls. It takes a Galactic to believe that you can take a whole culture and reduce it to algorithms; that language and customs can be boiled to just a simple set of rules. For these girls, things are so much more complex than this… they’ll never ever think like that.”

Maybe I’ve got the Galactic mindset already, because what I immediately thought after listening to that passage was “Does it make sense to talk about ANYTHING being ‘more complex’ than algorithms?” I’m not talking about particular algorithms here, but about the concept of ‘algorithms’ in the abstract.

If you’re not familiar with the term, an ‘algorithm’ is a defined set of rules for solving a problem, suitable for a computer to follow. (Though you don’t have to be a computer to use them; most recipes for baking or cooking are algorithms, for instance, as well as driving directions or other instructions to give to people.) In the field of software and computing, an algorithm is generally distinct from the specific program written in a particular programming language which implements it.

And not all algorithms are simple, by any means. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are algorithms used by Google, for instance, so complicated that no one person understands all the details of them, only the broad outline and their particular specialty component. Algorithms can, in theory, solve a lot of problems if they’re provided with the right information. There’s a field within computer science about unsolvable problems, or problems that we suspect can’t be solved without taking too much time to be practical beyond simple cases, but even then, you can get a long way with the right algorithm if you let go of the idea of the ‘perfect’ solution and are satisfied with something in the right ballpark.

And when it comes down to it, I don’t really think we, as people, have special powers in our minds that computers could never match or compare to. The human brain is a wonderful thing, yes, and we haven’t written algorithms that can math a lot of what we can accomplish. But that’s just because we’ve been working for thousands of years at culture, language, and customs, and only a few hundred years at writing algorithms.

I can’t wait to see what we come up with next. Though if we succeed in making computer programs that can write their own software and fiction, I may be out of work for a while. 😉


What’s Up Wednesday, weary of winter…

February 19, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to great stories from Escape Artists and a couple of Audible books, including ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. In print, I’ve been reading more of “That Touch of Magic” by Lucy March, “Knot Gneiss” by Piers Anthony, and “Secret Circle: The Captive” by LJ Smith.

What I’m writing:

Well, I did some last-minute revisions to my Kitchen Scale stuff and sent it off to apply to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, and I wrote a 5000+ word fantasy/comedy/heist story for the Codex ‘Mega Weekend Warrior’ contest over the weekend. Now I think I’m going to focus on critiquing other people’s writing for a little.

What inspires me right now:

Mary Chapin Carpenter lyrics! Women destroying all kinds of genres. 😉 Jesse Tyler Ferguson — I’ve been watching both ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The Class’, and it’s been cool comparing his performances in two very different comedic roles over nearly eight years.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went to a write-in over the weekend with some local writers. Tried to get a family gathering organized for Family Day here in Ontario, but it didn’t come through, so I ended up working from home for a good chunk of the holiday, so I can get the time back later. Getting ready to move the day job to a new office. Riding the bus in to work as much as I can, so that somebody else has to deal with the winter driving.

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


What’s Up Wednesday: Umm…

February 12, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to plenty of great podcasts from Escape Artists, plus ‘Sandman Slim’ and ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. On the e-reader I’ve been reading the new Lucy March fantasy, ‘That Touch of Magic’, and short mysteries from “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”

What I’m writing:

Completed another flash fiction for the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Making some progress on the ‘Kitchen Scale’ stuff, both on the synopsis and my sample pages. Not sure if I’ll make my original goal of applying to Kij Johnson’s workshop by the 13th, but there should still be room if I take a few extra days.

What inspires me right now:

Old sitcoms like The Class, Married with Children and Malcolm in the Middle. Hanging out with awesome writers on Codex, and figuring out that I’ve met some of them in person at Young Gunns. The new souper-seekrit Team Ambitious IRC room…

What else I’ve been up to:

Avoiding the winter weather when I can and stressing myself out when I can’t, sigh. Hanging out with family a little. Playing around with programming projects, like adding song sorting to my Android music rater.

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


What’s Up Wednesday, blizzard edition!

February 5, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

I finished ‘Terra’ yesterday, loved the ending, it’s a great book. I’ve also started reading stories from Strange Horizons, and getting back into the Sherlock Holmes stories, and continuing to listen to Escape Pod and PodCastle. ‘Vestigial Girl’ was awesome!

What I’m writing:

Well, let’s see. Wrote a flash fiction for the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Was pretty pleased with it, until I read some of the other entrants from my division! Also been working on the Kitchen Scale stuff, and hit one of those radical ‘kill your babies’ moments… I’m not sure I can get the alien love triangle aspect to fit, so maybe it has to go and turn the book into more of a buddy comedy.

We did a little writing exercise at the Hamilton Writers meeting on Sunday. The idea was to each write something from our own prompt sentence leading up to the next person’s prompt, so that it might fit into a whole narrative. Of course the transitions were hilarious, because you can’t tell what the next person is going to do with that prompt. I had a lot of fun with mine though, starting with a domestic argument and ending up with a woman who’s stepped through a closet doorway into the past on some important mission!

What inspires me right now:

The Codex Weekend Warriors, definitely. Old musicals like “The Roar of the Greasepaint.” Community! (I just loved the floor-is-lava game and the bulletin board episode.)

What else I’ve been up to:

Not too much, just dealing with the winter weather; except on days like today when I can stay inside and avoid it. Met up with my mom over the weekend, that was fun, and went to two small coffeeshop writer events on Sunday. Oh, and the library writer’s workshop last week went pretty well, I met up with Trish and Elizabeth from the Nanowrimo crew and had fun with the writing exercises.

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


Are you (walking/driving) comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

January 28, 2014

Okay, I’ve dived into my new Escape Artist podcasts, and don’t think I’ll be backing out, though it’ll probably (hopefully?) take me a long time to catch up on the incredible backlog of stories there. I started listening to them when braving the elements yesterday to get some exercise and fresh air on a day when the weather was lousy enough that I worked from home instead of driving into the office. And the stories were good enough to make me forget about the treacherous sidewalks I was picking my way over and lose myself to a faraway seashore with a boy genius and a great city besieged by intangible aliens.

It was as that second podcast was starting, that I thought of the quote I paraphrased in the title. I never listened to “Listen with Mother” on the radio, or watched on the television. The most direct experience I have with it was when it was sampled on Doctor Who, or referenced by Flanders and Swann. But I love the idea of these fiction podcasts as storytelling for the new millenium. They have a different kind of feel from longer audiobooks, or podcasting shows that are centered around the hosts and the general topic.

This morning, I listened to the same podcast on the drive into work, and got a pleasant surprise at the end of it, as an Escape Artist editor came on to summarize some listener e-mail and/or reviews they got for an earlier story–by Brad Hafford! I met Brad this summer; he was our resident adviser for Odyssey, and though I knew he was a talented writer, I guess I’d never bothered to track down his publications. Now I know where to find at least one; it wasn’t on the Escape Pod iTunes feed, but the archives on the Escape Pod website seem to go all the way back to the beginning.

What’s the coolest unexpected surprise you’ve ever found in a podcast?


Trying to glide through the Crash

December 3, 2012

On the walk to the downtown bus stop tonight, I was catching up on some of the last Storywonk Nano podcasts that I didn’t listen to during November, (I can never be prompt with podcasts,) and in one of them, Lani and Alastair were warning about the post-Nano Crash.

I think I hit the Crash over the weekend. On Saturday it wasn’t too bad – I was still high on sugar from Waffle-palooza, I did some grocery shopping, had some chicken schnitzel, and went into Toronto for a Browncoats shindig. Yesterday was a bit tougher. I felt as if I had a headache for most of the day, tried to nap but couldn’t stay in bed long, and didn’t get much done except for catching up on a few episodes of ‘Suburgatory.’

Lani said that you have to respect the Crash, that if you try to run from the Crash it will come get you. Now, even before I heard this, I wasn’t feeling particularly Crashed today – I did watch some videos on the bus to Burlington instead of diving back into ‘How to Revise your Novel’ or anything, but I felt fairly full of energy at work. On the bus ride home, I pulled out the eeePC and surfed through old word count tracking spreadsheets, trying to find promising short stories to rewrite for my workshop submissions, even though I think I have two strong candidates. Looking for other options is part of what helps me feel more confident in the choices that I already had.

So, I don’t think I’m going to just sit through my crash. I’ll take the December goals a bit on the easy side until I’m sure that I’m through the stormy weather, but a little gliding doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

What about you? Have you hit the Crash yet? What are your plans?

PS: I also want to mention, I’m kinduv liking the new National Novel Writing Month iPhone case that I got at the Night of Writing Dangerously. It’s a rigid case, with a bit less coverage than the big bulky Otter case I’ve been using, which means I can plug in the headphones with the ear guards, which means that I can listen to podcasts (or music, or audiobooks) on the iPhone while walking. With the Otter case, I had to use the apple ear buds, and they’d come loose if I was moving around. I think I’ll also be able to dock the phone on my little iPod speaker unit in this case.

The downside is that it seems like it wouldn’t give as much impact protection as the Otter, so I may switch back and forth – using the Nano case when I want to show it off, or use the attachments, and go back to the Otter – when I’m feeling clumsy, which is often.


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