What’s Up Wednesday? Summer’s comin’…

May 14, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! It’s been a while since I joined in, went on WUW hiatus for the A-Z challenge, but it’s great to be back.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

I finally got “Discworld: Witches Abroad” from the library, and I’m loving it! (It took a few weeks for them to get the hold ready, with glitches on the website catalog and a copy gone missing at the Central Library.) The best part, so far, is how Pratchett is not just ‘playing’ with fairy tale tropes, but weaving the very fact that they’re tropes into the overarching plot and the Big Bad’s magic. (Short version, the stories have power to enact themselves, and she’s guiding them to ensure an ending where she rules the country.)

Also: Still listening to ‘Neuromancer’, getting to the end and loving the ride even though I feel like I’m not following 100% of what’s going on. Finished “The Handmaid’s Tale” (loved the ending at Denay, Nunavut) and read more stories from Daily Science Fiction.

What I’m writing:

More revising, especially on Time Bubble Blues, where the bones of the new draft are finished and I’m working on polishing up scenes. Due date for getting my stories sent off to my Young Gunns classmates is coming up soon!

What inspires me right now:

Vampire Diaries, hanging out with fellow writers online (like at the Odyssey Salon, come check it out!) and the long weekend coming up! Three days without work to finish revising my stories… 😉

What else I’ve been up to:

Got the air conditioner ready for summer, just picked up new toner for the printer, which is very important considering all the printing out I’ll need to do. Finished my round 1 of novel excerpt critiques for TNEO, really excited about that. Still playing lots of Angry Birds…

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

What’s Up Wednesday? Mayday is behind us

May 7, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! It’s been a while since I joined in, went on WUW hiatus for the A-Z challenge, but it’s great to be back.

TreeWhat I’m reading:

Short stories from F&SF, Strange Horizons, and Daily Science Fiction. I’ve also been loving listening to ‘Neuromancer’ — thank you Hamilton Public Library for making it available as a digital audio download! And speaking of the library, I just found out that “Witches Abroad” is finally ready for pickup, after weeks of waiting on the hold. (Apparently they lost one copy of the book at the central branch, but the other got returned from a borrower in Dundas.)

I’ve also been listening to “The Handmaid’s Tale” here and there, nearly finished and I love how the narrator gets sidetracked picking at her own language, trying to understand how the roots of idioms affect how people use them. And still squeezing in some Escape Pod stories; read “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” the first time on podcast and loved it!

What I’m writing:

Back to revising, mostly the new outline for “Time Bubble Blues”, though I need to make some changes to “Gotta Have That Look” as well. I’ve also got a lot of critiques to finish for the ‘Never-Ending Odyssey’ workshop.

What inspires me right now:

Having time to write on the bus, and the sunny warm weather. Still loving the Chromebook, which is good. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, which I’ve been marathoning on this past week and I’m up to the crossover storyline with the Captain America movie! Hmm… can I call my Angry Birds inspiring too? 😉

What else I’ve been up to:

Work, making time to be with family, trying to spring-clean the kitchen, particularly so that the air conditioner guy has room to work there. Booked my flight to Kansas and back for the Young Gunns workshop in June!

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

Screens off before bedtime!

February 24, 2014

Okay, I hadn’t really heard about melatonin supression before yesterday. The basic idea is that blue-rich light from electronic devices like LCD screens and televisions screws up our brain chemistry if we’re exposed to it a lot late at night, and keeps people from getting a good night’s sleep.

Now, sleep is very important to me. And I’ve been noticing some problems with it lately. So I decided to give this thing a try yesterday. I didn’t muck around with apps to adjust light levels or amber goggles, just set a deadline to turn off all the LCD screen devices, and gave myself a bedtime an hour later.

It was a little odd trying to steer clear of my computers, the television, my smartphones, tablet, etcetera for that hour, but worked out pretty well. I did some cleaning and dishes in the kitchen while listening to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on an old audiobook player that doesn’t really have enough of a screen to worry about. (It does have blue backlight, actually, but I figured it wasn’t bright enough to make a difference if I wasn’t staring at the readout for the whole hour.) And I enjoyed a nice bedtime snack while listening to some music.

I felt like I got some good sleep, and I’m going to try it again tonight, so I need to wrap-up this post quickly. I think one of the benefits for me may not be about blue light, just that without all my fancy devices, I won’t be so tempted to procrastinate and stay up later than I meant to! 😉

So much to read, and listen to–so little time!

January 25, 2014

I’ve been doing some planning for my reading of 2014 lately. So far, in the new year, I’ve read ‘Discworld: Reaper Man’ from the library, listened to a Vampire Diaries digital audiobook also from the local library, read quite a bit from my Kindle magazines, including the conclusion of the ‘Lockstep’ serial in Analog.

One thing I definitely want to get back to is making sure that I’m well read on the classics of SF. Two and a half years ago, after going to the Young Gunns workshop for the first time, I realized that I had some catch-up reading to do and downloaded several Audible books from the CSSF Institute curriculum for SF teachers. It took me over a year to finish the last of those five books, and I’ve added a few other books from the list, like Childhood’s End, The Puppet Masters, and The Time Machine, but I haven’t tried to tackle it systematically since. Until now.

For my first Audible picks of the year, I took the original ‘Dune’, which I never read, and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I also picked a couple audiobooks that weren’t on the CSSF list: “Thuvia Maid of Mars”, which I tried reading on my phone last year because I liked the original Barsoom trilogy so much, but couldn’t motivate myself to continue, and “Sandman Slim”, a recommendation that’s been sitting on my wish list since last summer; one of a trio of suggestions for fans of Harry Dresden, actually. The Iron Druid and Kate Daniels books have worked out, so why not give Slim a try?

I’m also hoping to listen to ‘Neuromancer’ soon; I didn’t grab that one from Audible because it’s available for downloading from the library, whoo-hoo! Which brings me to some other reading lists I’ve been working on; series that I’ve enjoyed and wish to continue, like the Spiderwick Chronicles, Heechee Saga, Jeeves, Culture, John De Chancie’s Castle Perilous books; and authors who don’t have specific series I’m in the middle of but I know I want to read more of, including Neil Gaiman, Sophie Kinsella, Lani Diane Rich, Wil Wheaton, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, and Robert Heinlein. I’ve gone through a lot of these with the library catalog, figuring out which books I could borrow and in what formats.

Then there’s the books I’ve already got on my ‘to read’ piles: I got several paperbacks for my birthday and christmas, including Elizabeth Moon, the latest Iron Druid, and two Diana Wynne Jones. Also some Sherlock Holmes on this list, a Song of Ice and Fire, and the collaborated Myth-Adventures…

As if all this weren’t enough, I’ve finally taken Elizabeth Twist’s advice to check out the Escape Artists story podcasts. Now, I have eighty-some MP3 fantasy and SF stories sitting on my hard drive, and I’m not even sure where to start first. Thanks a lot, Elizabeth! 😉

So, what about you? Is there anything particular you’re looking forward to reading (either print or audio) in 2014?

What’s Up Wednesday? The freakin’ Polar Vortex!

January 22, 2014

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

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Well, I just finished the ‘Lockstep’ serial in Analog magazine, loved the ending, but I’ve still got lots of magazine stories to read. Also finished ‘Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls’ from the library, and been catching up on podcasts, but I just bought me some new books at Audible: The Handmaid’s Tale, Dune, Samdman Slim, and Thuvia Maid of Mars.

What I’m writing:

Finished the draft synopsis of “Alien Love on a Kitchen Scale,” and started getting back to revisions of  “Gotta Have that Look.” Once again having issues trying to figure out how much critique feedback to take and what to ignore, sigh.

What inspires me right now:

The Kitchen Scale soundtrack, Castle, Stringing Words, and the new Odfellows newsletter.

What else I’ve been up to:

Not very much. We drove around looking at new office locations for my day job team yesterday; looks like we have to be moved by March at the latest. Calling around to family making plans for my sister’s birthday. 🙂

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

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