Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 34

Blogland,

This has been a weird week. My hours have been scaled back at the library, which adds a new layer of stress, but also allows me to really work on my writing. Silver linings, and all that. I’ve also been visiting the library just as a patron more, and it reminds me just how magical they are when you’re not on the working side of the desk. Add in a very long day of socializing for our best friend’s birthday (we went to a board game cafe and played all kinds of games for hours) and it was actually a nice week.

IMG_20180825_171815
This is a “Vision Card” from the board game Mysterium.

Last Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Finish The Fall of Ezra Clarke rough draft
  • Finish reading Foxglove Summer
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita

How’d I do?

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Finish The Fall of Ezra Clarke rough draft
    furthest station
    • YES! There’s a bit of a story here, but yes!
  • Finish reading Foxglove Summer
    • Yep. Finished it Tuesday night as I expected. I also finished reading The Furthest Station.
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
    • Yep! Practically wrote itself.
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Nope. Didn’t get there.

Weekly Word Count: 8,079

Let me tell you all about this freaking short story. I got the idea for it back in January, but didn’t want to actively work on it until Exodus was “done”. And since it’s as done as I can make it right now, I figured this month was the perfect time to finish the rough draft of the tentatively named The Fall of Ezra Clarke.

I wrote 3700 words in a frenzy and then it flopped. All forward momentum crashed to a halt. But, I wasn’t upset. I figured this was really just the foundation, me exploring these characters, learning who they are, who they were, and who they might one day become. Not time wasted at all.

A couple days later I had a new beginning and another feverish 2500 words. And then the story ran out of gas and just… stopped. There was no where to go. Huh. All right, I thought. That’s disappointing, but let’s try something else.

So, while bouncing ideas off a friend in the writer’s discord I’m in (thanks neolith!), I restarted The Fall of Ezra Clarke five times. And though each initial paragraph felt good, the juice eventually gave out and left me perplexed.

The last time I had this much trouble with a short story was in the early days, when I wanted Lifelike to be an unreliable female narrator and I didn’t have the chops to make it happen.

That experience taught me that, when the story is balking, it usually means the perspective is wrong. I need to find the right person to tell the story. But, I’d already switched between the two main characters! It still didn’t work.

And then that weird part of my brain that only functions in the wee hours or after LOTS of caffeine said, “tell it from the space ship’s perspective.”Evil Kermit 27082018121756

Say what?

“You heard me.”

And so I did. I thought it was a crazy idea, something fun to write and experiment with but would ultimately fizzle out just like everything else.

Then I wrote it through, beginning to end. 6000 words in two days. I had a wonderful whirlwind of a time, following this voice wherever it would take me. I renamed the story, since it wasn’t about Ezra’s fall from grace anymore, and it’s now called That Which Illuminates Heaven. I know that the story’s too big right now, that it has some pacing issues and areas that could be honed in on. Points I want to drive home.But, hey, it’s just a rough draft!

I haven’t looked at it since. I want distance from it, at least a couple week’s worth, and will probably start revising it in October, once we’re back from Germany. In the meantime I’m going read Science Fiction short stories featuring non-human characters, specifically androids, robots, and mechs, so that I can get a feel for what’s already out there, and where my story fits in with the traditions already established. Then I’ll be ready to edit it into something wonderful.

See all this hope? That’s called the post-rough draft high and I am riding it for all it’s worth.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog postsmore human than human.jpg
  • Write/share a tumblr prompt
  • Record/share 2 episodes of Santa Sarita
  • Read two stories from More Human Than Human
  • Write chapter 7 of Sanctuary

That doesn’t look like much, does it? I’m hoping to do a bit of reading this week and catch up on my fandom content that I’ve been neglecting for original projects. Also, since I’m barely working, I’m trying to get more housework done, since it’s something neither of us are particularly gifted with.

Also, my best friend is in town from Sioux City this weekend, so that’s going to take a chunk of my time. Best to keep things straightforward.

So, lots of reading, a bit of fanfic writing, and some recording of my older fics. A laid back week ahead, but still likely to get some quality work in. I like it!

Submissions continue. They’ll probably do so for a while, because I’ve already submitted to most of the open magazines, which means I’ll soon be lurking around, impatiently waiting for other markets to open their calls for submissions.

I remind myself that this is par for the course. This is the real test of writerdom, perseverance. And so I shall persist, nevertheless.

Talk soon, Bloggos, when I come back to talk about The Furthest Station.

 

BZ

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Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 33

Blogland!

It’s been a rollercoaster week, mostly with some work drama that I am so over. But, writing is chugging along, slowly but surely. It’s hot and smoky here, so it’s a good excuse to stay indoors and get work done.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Send Exodus: Descent to Tim the Agent™
  • Sort out The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Foxglove Summerfoxglove summer
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Send Exodus: Descent to Tim the Agent™
    • Yes! I almost backed out, and then I slammed that send button.
  • Sort out The Fall of Ezra Clarke
    • Yes? I started it over, but I think there are more changes to come.
  • Read Foxglove Summer
    • Nope. I’m really close though.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course! I always do.

Weekly Word Count: 2,616

This week had a few bursts of energy and productivity, and yet I felt like I just didn’t really accomplish all that much. There was a definite vibe of “taking a break”. I’d worked my butt off the week before getting Exodus into shape, and I think I needed a low key week to let my brain recuperate.

I have no idea what Tim’s turnaround time will be. Or if he’ll even respond. I imagine he will, because ignoring someone you requested materials from would be rude. Right? But, I’ve never really corresponded with an agent before, so what do I know? I’ve got Exodus out to him and a few reader/editor friends. I’ll wait for their feedback before I dive back in to really hone the novella into publication shape. Then I’ve got a list of markets that will accept novellas.

As if submitting short stories isn’t stressful enough.

I’ve reworked Ezra, moving it forward in time. I’ve got a couple thousand words down for it, but I think it needs to jump ahead again. It’s languishing, which is fine while I’m writing and learning these characters, but I need to tighten things up and get to the plot. I’ve got the characters, I have their struggles and dynamic with each other sorted. Now I need to throw them into the mess of this story and figure out what happens.

I think I’ll finish Foxglove Summer tonight, which is good because I need to read these graphic novels and novella as fast as I can. I am out of time.

I gave Madhu my feedback on her manuscript, which means there won’t be any pages to read this week. What a weird concept. No peer review? No line edits for The Audient Void? No novella to write or edit?

What the hell am I doing this week?

So, What’s Next?

  •  Publish 2 blog posts
  • Finish The Fall of Ezra Clarke rough draft
  • Finish reading Foxglove Summer
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita

That’s it. I really want to focus on finding the direction for this short story and hammering it out. If I could get it ready for submission before we leave for Germany I would be ecstatic.

I think I’ll finish Foxglove Summer as well as the Peter Grant graphic novels tonight. I’ve spent a really long time in this world and I am just about ready to move on. Just some graphic novels, a novella and one more novel to go. furthest station

I still have a handful of tumblr prompts (3 to be exact), so I’ll get some work on those done this week as well. And then record an episode of Santa Sarita. So, really, there’s not much going on this week, just a lot of time to sink into my writing.

Hopefully the weather will break soon. I’ve got a hankering for a chai latte and oversized sweaters. So if it could dip below 70 degrees sometime soon, that’d be nice.

I have the review for Foxglove Summer on deck, since it’s almost done, and then a Submission Update planned for later this week as well. I’ll be around, so keep an eye out.

Until then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Book Review – Broken Homes (Peter Grant #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

Hi Blogland,

This week got off to a slow start with a migraine that refused to respond to medication. Yesterday was my first day without pain, and I had some obligations in the morning and then work in the evening. So, now it’s Friday and I’m finally here with the review for the next Peter Grant book! Beware some minor spoilers below.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

broken homes

I think this was my favorite of the books so far. As I’ve come to expect, Peter takes the reader through an all new area of London, furthering my mental image of the city with each flip of the page.

A string of suspicious but seemingly unrelated murders have piqued Nightingale’s interest, which means Peter and Lesley are on the job. From the car accident that revealed a murder in progress to the Housing Authority worker that committed suicide on the Underground. It all links back to a stolen book, a German tome on the industrial uses of magic and an architect from the 60s.

You see, the Faceless Man wants that book, and he wants the building the architect used to mine magical energy.

So, Peter and Lesley move into a vacant flat in the rundown Skygarden Tower. It’s a low income area with passionate tenants that have called the tower home for decades. They have monthly meetings to discuss how to combat the city council and keep the building protected.

Which is unfortunate, because the Faceless Man intends to blow it up.

This book takes its time setting up the history and lore, including how Skygarden Tower was designed, the purpose it serves, and the lives of those who call it home. Including a wood nymph named Sky who may be the spirit of the land the tower is built on. The Rivers are present, including the return of Peter’s almost lover Beverly Brook, and Zach the half-fae even makes a comeback!

But, once you reach the last 70 pages or so, things really take off. I felt like there were more action sequences in this book than in the previous one, and we get to see Nightingale really take off the gloves and unleash some monstrous power on the Faceless Man’s flunkies.

And, you know, Peter throws himself into danger in order to save civilians, like the proper copper he is.

There’s a lot more going on in this book, including some very interesting character developments, but I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say I really liked this book and it launched me into Foxglove Summer the very next morning. foxglove summer

I’m hoping to get a ton of reading done over the weekend. I’m running out of time on these Interlibrary loans!

I should have another book review out next week, and I think it’s just about time to have a big Submission discussion, where I talk about my submissions so far and then share what my submission process looks like and what resources I use.

So, keep an eye out for both of those sometime next week.

 

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 32

Blogland!

We’re buckling up for another hot week here in the Pacific Northwest. The fans are blasting, with ample water in supply. Although, my yard is definitely worse for the wear. But, the writing den is cool and comfortable today, which means it’s time to get to work.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Read Broken Homes
  • Read through The Steel Armada/send to Madhu
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write/share one tumblr prompt
    • Yep! Early in the week I finished and posted a Dragon Age tumblr prompt to a few notes and comments.
  • Write 1k of The Fall of Ezra Clarke
    broken homes
    • Nope. Only wrote 88 words on this project this week.
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Nope. Not even a little bit.
  • Read Broken HomesYes! I didn’t think I’d make this one, but I finished it in the wee hours last night.
  • Read through Exodus:Descent/send to Madhu
    • Yep! This was a bigger task than I anticipated, which warranted labeling the file “Draft 2.5”. So now it’s sitting somewhere between drafts two and three.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yarp. Madhu’s been struggling a little bit as she’s slogging through the last pages of her rewrite. But, I’m diligent in getting her pages back to her in a timely manner.

Weekly Word Count: 2,927

So, not a crazy good week, but not a bad one either. Revising Exodus is really my top priority, so I don’t feel so bad about neglecting Ezra this week. The reading and blogging continue to be consistent. I’ve got tumblr prompts to keep my mind engaged and working on new content. Work on Ezra has slowed, mainly because I’m not really sure where the story is going, and I have a feeling a rewrite is on the way. But, we’ll see.

Saturday evening I received word that, yet again, The Cost of Rain made it to the final round but did not get selected for publication. However, the magazine offered feedback which, though brief, was actually quite good. I made the subsequent changes and sent it off to the next place.

I also finally got my hands on The Audient Void short stories for issue #6. Doing the line edits took up one of my evenings, and I can’t wait for you all to see it! These stories are really good!

the audient void no 5
Or buy a copy here!

If you’re at WorldCon this weekend you can pick up a copy of The Audient Void Issue #5 at The Book Bin’s booth as well as get your books signed by a slew of wonderful authors!

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Send Exodus: Descent to Tim the Agent™
  • Sort out The Fall of Ezra Clarke
  • Read Foxglove Summer
  • Review Madhu’s pages

That’s it. I need to keep it simple this week. Submitting Exodus is my biggest priority. And the most complicated. In order to send it this week I need to finish the revision (currently adding some extras and honing the ending) and write and perfect the query letter. So, yeah. That’s a big job on its own.

Once that’s done I need to sit down and decide if I try to slog through Ezra as it is, or start fresh with that new take on it that’s bouncing around my brain. I’m increasingly thinking that it’s time to start over. But, that can wait until Exodus is done.

I am running out of time with these Peter Grant books. I have until the 21st to read them all, and I only have two left! That means, if I’m not writing, I’m reading.

And of course there will be time to review Madhu’s pages. I’ll probably even send her some snippets of the changes I’ve made to Exodus, just to be sure they’re working before I send it off.

So, yeah. There’s a lot of work ahead of me this week. I’ll be back, probably on Thursday, to share my review of Broken Homes, and then you probably won’t see much of me. I gotta get this biz done!

So until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Book Review – Brief Cases (Dresden Files #15.1) by Jim Butcher

Blogland,

Sorry for the delay on this. I’m working hard to get The Steel Armada done in time for my August 1st deadline. And I’m working longer days at the library than I’m used to. Time to kick on those time management skills!

Brief Cases is Butcher’s second collection of Dresden short stories and novellas. I listened to it via my library’s Libby app which allows for downloads of ebooks and digital audio while simultaneously listening to its predecessor, Side Jobs, on CD in my car.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

brief cases

This book was a ride, let me tell you. While Side Jobs has a couple stories from side characters’ perspectives, Brief Cases really branches out. Luccio, Marcone, Butters, Molly, Maggie, and Mouse all have moments of first person narrative and in the audio recording, everyone but Maggie and Mouse have their own narrator! And of course, James Marsters is back and fantastic as always as Harry Dresden.

I really loved all of these stories, though Molly’s broke my heart. Being in Marcone’s head was really fascinating. He’s cold, almost unfeeling. But he has a code and he keeps to it. His motivations, on the surface, are steeped in his business, but deep down there’s some sort of emotion there; he just won’t acknowledge it. But you get to see how he thinks towards Gard and Hendricks, and how fierce he can be when it comes to their well being. They are his responsibility and he takes that very seriously. Marcone.jpg

I loved every minute of it.

Butters’ story was a little scary, but mostly sweet as he finds his feet on his first mission with Fidelacchius. Remember that Fidelacchius is the sword of faith, but Butters is a doctor, a man of science. He’s learning how those two worlds can blend and be a force of good. It was a very heartwarming tale.

And then there’s the last story, where Harry takes his daughter Maggie and their dog Mouse to the zoo. Each of them has their own version of events and their own antagonists to face while keeping the others in the dark about what they’re doing. It was really nice to get some time with Maggie, because so far she’s been pretty non-existent since she came into the Dresden world. Which made her feel like a MacGuffin in Changes, and not actually a character we should have any feelings about. Seeing her and her struggles (she has anxiety and it was really touching to read about) helped make her more real in my mind. And of course, anytime we can be in Mouse’s head is a good time.

There are, of course, Dresden centric stories in this collection, but if I’m being honest, I don’t really remember them. The Bigfoot stories found a home here, and now that I’m researching I do remember them, and they were good, but the side characters really have the standout stories in this collection.

This is something that has me concerned about The Dresden Files for a while, that I like the side characters more than I like Dresden. I find them more interesting, more compelling, I want to know more about them. I thought this would be a universal problem, but when I spoke with a friend he said he has a love/hate relationship with Dresden, that he identifies with him A LOT, but that he finds his arrogance and his lone wolf tendencies frustrating.

Meanwhile, I’m over here dreaming of spin-offs. Thank goodness for short story collections, huh?

If you’re a fan of the series I hardly need to recommend this book to you. If you haven’t read The Dresden Files, you might tell from my reading and my reviews, but I highly recommend them. They are fun, action-packed, and chock-a-block full of a wide range of fascinating side characters. This book is no exception.

I’m still (slowly) listening to Side Jobs, so there will be one more Dresden review sometime this summer. Then it’s the long wait for the next book, Peace Talks

I hate waiting.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be back this weekend to talk about Moon Over Soho, and hopefully share some good news about finishing this freaking book.

Until then,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 29

Bloggos,

This was an insane week for me! The most productive I’ve been in weeks and I am so ready to talk about it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Post a tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
    • YES! It took longer than I anticipated, with some very diligent writing sessions where I stared at the blank screen furiously, but I did it.
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
    • YES! Whaaaaat???? I honestly didn’t think this would happen, but I got a second win after Gloomhaven last night.
  • Post a tumblr prompt
    • Yep. Actually, I posted two of them. The first was not my favorite, the prompt really fought me and I couldn’t really get it to come together the way I wanted it to. But the second one? Pure gold. Maybe one of the best oneshots I’ve ever written. So that felt really good.
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
    • Yes! This was another project I didn’t think I’d get to, but I finished it up last night, before I dug into chapter 6 of Sanctuary.
  • Finish an audiobook
    • Nope. I’m getting really close to the end of Side Jobs, and might finish Bloodlist today while I do household chores. So, close, but no cigar. vampire files #1
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course!

Weekly Word Count: 8,599

Do you see that word count? Do you see it? How has my brain not turned to mush? How is it not dribbling from my ears and left me a gibbering mess? Instead I’m left feeling proud and energized and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

This last week I wrote an entire chapter of The Steel Armada, half a chapter of Sanctuary, and two tumblr prompts. I spread out my writing and that really paid off, obviously. I did fewer writing binges and had more steady sessions. I also was invited to join a writer’s discord server, and there were some sprints and really awesome and encouraging conversations.

I didn’t read as much this week, mainly because I’ve been reading a nonfiction book about writing, which has slowed me down a bit. Even as straightforward and concise as the book is, it’s no Peter Grant, so it goes a bit slower.

I’ve got two audiobooks on deck right now, as i have for the last few weeks. I’m really hoping to finish one this week, as well as the next Peter Grant book and this writing book. It’s one of those moments in my reading where things slow down because there’s too much on my reading plate. So, I don’t read as fast but then I finish four books around the same time!

The audio narration of Santa Sarita is going well enough. It’s a side project, something fun for me to learn and share with an audience I’ve already established. Voice acting is something I know nothing about, and I’m going forward with James Marsters as my inspiration. Now, I don’t have a repertoire of accents or much of a vocal range, but I’m trying damn it! And, let’s be real, it’s a ton of fun.

Madhu’s pages continue to come in, and we’re getting close to the end for both of our projects. August first will be here before we know it.

What’s Next

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Finish reading Whispers Under Ground
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Whispers_Under_Ground

I’m keeping it straightforward this week. I’ve got 8 days to finish The Steel Armada and get it cleaned up enough to send to Madhu for her feedback on the first of August. So, reading and writing only this week. No tumblr prompts, no fanfic.

I’ve still got a queue of book reviews to post, so I’ll be around this week to share my thoughts on Brief Cases and Moon Over Soho. I’m going to try to finish listening to Bloodlist while I catch up on some chores, and I’m working long days this week so I’ll have plenty of lunch breaks to tear into Whispers Under Ground.

Madhu’s pages might be late this week since she was having computer trouble last week, but I’ll be ready for them whenever they arrive. We’re too close to the end for me to fall behind now.

On an unrelated note, both Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are out still. The longer they go without hearing back, the better and I’m actually feeling pretty zen about it. Hopeful, but zen.

So, yeah. Another week in this writing life. Full steam ahead!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 27

Blogland,

Here we are, another week down. The time is flying by entirely too quickly, and from behind the haze of this migraine, this thing is likely to be short.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Start chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Write a tumblr prompt
  • Finish reading Kill the Farm Boy
  • Submit Lifelike somewhere
  • Record an “episode” of Santa Sarita
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes! Actually, there were three last week, including the unexpected review for Kill the Farm Boy!Kill the Farm Boy
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Nope. I did write a few hundred words, but that was it. There was a considerable reread and a few minor edits however.
  • Start chapter 6 of Sanctuary
    • Yep. Not much, a few hundred words, but it’s a start.
  • Write a tumblr prompt
    • No. I started one, but did not finish it. Again, a few hundred words only.
  • Finish reading Kill the Farm Boy
    • Yes! And I finished a whole ‘nother book on top of that!
  • Submit Lifelike somewhere
    • Yes. And I just received its rejection… c’est la vie.
  • Record an “episode” of Santa Sarita
    • No… I started recording then managed to get horribly distracted.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Yes. As usual.

Weekly Word Count: 951

Yikes. That is not a stellar start to the month. But, I did more reading this last week than I did in all of June so I guess that’s a fair trade. For all my efforts yesterday I have a migraine today, so no writing to be had, but quite a lot of listening to Brief Cases, the only audiobook I have on my phone at present. I’m about halfway through it already, which means July is off to a very impressive reading start.

Now if I can just kick the writing back into gear.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Finish tumblr prompt
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
  • Submit Lifelike
  • Review Madhu’s pages

I should really add “record an episode of Santa Sarita” on there, but I didn’t want to add another bullet point. This is plenty. More than plenty, considering I only completed half of them last week.

I’ve got a long day at work tomorrow, a short day on Wednesday. I’m off Thursday and Friday and then work another long day on Saturday. My schedule is pretty weird right now because the branch I normally work at is closed for renovations. So, I’m still getting decent-ish hours, but have more days off. Hopefully I can turn those extra days off into productivity.

We’ll see.

Midnight RiotI’ve got the book review for Midnight Riot (published as Rivers of London in the UK) on deck, as well as my next editing check-in for this week, so expect to see me around a bit.

Until then,

 

BZ