Beginning and Advice from a Master

I’ve begun revising some old work that will fit into the Rose’s Hostage sequel.  It’s painful to see how labored and idiotic it was.  The actual scenes themselves aren’t bad, and what I already did will save me a ton of research.  It’s the writing itself that makes me cringe.

Right now, I’m mostly changing names and tweaking references.  I’ll go back and excise all the purple prose when I fit it in.

I’m also starting to think about the other novel–in fact, I think more about it than I do about this one, sometimes.  I like to make playlists for writing sessions that are specific to each work.  With this one, I went to my dusty record collection and found an old orchestral thing I used to use as background music when I played restaurant as a child.  It’s perfect.  AND IT WAS ON AMAZON.

God, I love the internet. 

God, I love the internet.

 Image:  amazon.com

Man, my parents had so many crazy old records.  We grew up listening to stuff from the 1950s and 1960s, everything from “La Bamba” to Mancini.  I credit them for sparking my obsession with soundtrack music.  When you’re sitting there coloring listening to Bernstein’s The Ten Commandments and Morricone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, how can you not love it?

Speaking of the ‘rents, they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 19 (which was also Benedict Cumberbatch’s birthday.  Happy birthday!).

Congratulations, Mom and Dad!  I’d post an awesome picture, but I want to stay alive a little longer.

While I go attempt to organize myself for the evening, I’d like you to take a look at this Business Insider article.  It distills some great advice from Stephen King from his memoir/advice tome, On Writing.  Every author should have this book on his/her shelf.

You can buy it here.

Too Many Feels about Writing

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen this exchange:

Encouragement

When people say things like this, I feel great.  For a while.  The monumental effort involved in this endeavor, especially when contemplating the vast desert expanse before reaching publication, is enough to crush even the most positive mindset.  It’s fragile, and the slightest jar can be enough to shatter it.

Writing (or any creative profession, really) carries a lot of feelings with it.  Some people have great difficulty dealing with them.  If you’re inclined toward addiction, you might cope by self-medicating.  I don’t do that, but I’m quite sure the stress will cut years off my life.

In no particular order, here are some of the feelings writing has been poking me with lately.

Impatience

Publishing takes a long time.  I’m not the most patient person on earth, and I’ll never be any more so than I am right now.  I find myself saying, Enough already, Universe.  Let’s get going.  It would probably help if I had something in my personal life, but alas, the Big U has implied that the books will come first.  This vague revelation leads to hurt, because I’ve waited long enough, thank you.

Panic

Did I cross all my I’s and dot all my T’s?  Is that query letter as good as it can be?  Answer:

It can always be better, but the time to realize that is not after you’ve hit Send.

Elation

This strikes at odd moments and may be unrelated to writing, since I’m going on vacation soon.  I booked my train tickets this weekend.  For two days, I walked around with a heightened sense of anticipation that sent energy surging through my body, almost like an adrenaline rush but without the shakiness and rapid heartbeat.  Elation makes me hyper-aware of things—if I listen to music, I hear every note, every chord.  The sky looks bluer, the future brighter, and at those moments, anything seems possible.

Stress

Elation also leaped up after Brian posted that tweet (seriously, a horror Grand Master said he likes my book!), but then I stared, unseeing, at the screen and it all turned to pressure and stress.  What to say next?  How to say it?  Why can’t I put what is in my head down on the page?  I know what’s going to happen.  Why am I so goddamn tired?

Jealousy

Creative people do get jealous of each other.  Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha made me so jealous I could hardly see straight.  It helped that I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  The best way to deal with professional jealousy is to examine the work and observe successful elements you can translate to your own work, to make it better.

I have little to say about personal jealousy, except that if it leads to obsession, you better get rid of it fast because you won’t be able to concentrate long enough to write a coherent sentence.

 It mostly comes at night…mostly. 

It mostly comes at night…mostly.

 Image:  ign.com

Despair

I’ll never be good enough; I’ll never be published, and no agent / publisher / reader will ever give a shit about me.  Here’s where the dearth of personal involvement cuts deepest.  It hurts when no one you’re not related to is there to say “Hey, I love you no matter what, and I think you’re brilliant.”  The evil little voice inside my head says that since no other person wants me, clearly no agent ever will either.

Hope

This is the cruelest one of all.  It makes you delusional.  You feel that possibilities are endless.  Writing by its very nature forces you to imagine them, and this hones your ability to hope.  It becomes a tool that can turn on you in an instant and cut deeper than a surgeon’s scalpel into the most tender and vulnerable part of your psyche.  Reality is hope’s most dangerous predator.

Oh hello….didn’t see you there.  0_0

Oh hello….didn’t see you there.  0_0

 Image:  Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And then there’s this.  Although I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t feel the same, you never can tell.  Dreams up close can be rather frightening.

————

Feelings aren’t always rational, and neither are the thoughts that go with them.  They aren’t good or bad, either; they just are.  What you do with them is what matters.

Writers can use healthy mental exercises to curb thoughts like “I’m not good enough.”  If they are actively practicing their craft, they will get better at it.  I guarantee you Brian would not have said he liked a manuscript of mine two books ago.  The fact that he’s saying it now lets me know that I’ve grown as a writer.  By doing what?  Wishing?  No, by writing.

You know that thing the Universe has apparently sent to someone else (grr)?  Well, wishing might help here, and praying might also, but so will preparing myself to receive the opportunity if the Universe should reconsider.  And that’s what I have to do for writing too.

When it’s your turn to cycle through these emotions, don’t try to push them away.  Let them come.  Clamping a lid down on feelings only ensures their eventual explosive release.  And don’t let them talk you into giving up.  The only book that is never published is the one never written.

How to Drive Yourself Insane

Hope everyone in the US had a safe and fun Fourth of July.  Mine was safe, though dull.  As I had nothing to do, I sat on the couch all day sipping tea and pretending I was British and didn’t care.  I didn’t even get in the shower until three in the afternoon.  It was kind of nice, actually.

Except I have been going INSANE.

I’ve gone through all my materials for the Rose’s Hostage sequel–working title An Unsettling Calm (meh)–and the really diabolical plot I wanted to use is falling by the wayside.  I had abandoned the original plot as too sensational, but I reread the beginning and it was GOOD.

I’m going back to it.  It’s like returning to an old lover, one you didn’t date long but who thrilled you for a while anyway, and who still makes your pulse race when you think of him.

Reunions are sweet.  Unless he stole your purse last time. 

Reunions are sweet.  Unless he stole your purse the last time.

 Image:  nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ll save the diabolical thing for Book Three of the Detective Pierce Chronicles.  I couldn’t tie the villain in with the subplot, no matter how I tried, but Original Plot and I still have some connecting we can do.

The mini-NaNoWriMo may not be a thing, since I wanted to start it on the first of the month and I didn’t get to it (my fault entirely—I’ve been taken up with stupid mental crap).  But I decided I would attempt to write two things at once.  Horrors!

The other book I can’t tell you about at all right now.  But I will be sporadically working on it, with the bulk of the effort going toward Pierce Book Two.  I should be able to get a lot done in the next two-and-a-half months.

Here are some bona fide ways to drive yourself insane and guarantee that you can’t get a project started.

Ambitiously plan to write two books at once when you usually only do one

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Put research ahead of the actual writing

This is a bad one.  I’m guilty of this.  I can get so caught up in research that I actually do nothing toward whatever I’m working on.  Example:  I have yet to complete one single dollhouse or room box, but I now have an extensive knowledge of Victorian household gadgetry.

Watch too much TV

Or Netflix.  My shows aren’t on right now (The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Doctor Who), but that doesn’t stop me from consuming every British comedy series my little red online friend has to offer (Little Britain!).  It’s so tempting to schlep home tired from my day job, do a workout, and then go straight to the My List page.  Bad writer.  Bad.

I laughed so hard at this show I almost coughed up a lung. 

I laughed so hard at this show I almost coughed up a lung.

Image:  mirror.co.uk

Read too much crap on the internet

Oh, Buzzfeed.  You are such a frenemy.  I love your quizzes, your silly GIF posts, your hacks, and how your UK edition constantly shoves more cool London stuff that I will not possibly have time to do right in my face.

I know there are apps or plugins that block you from the internet so that you can work, but I’m afraid if I try one that I’ll tear a hole in my computer trying to get past it.

Plan a vacation

My UK holiday is almost completely set up, except for train tickets to Cardiff (too early to book yet) and a possible quick jaunt up to Loch Ness in the beautiful West Highlands of Scotland via sleeper train (a bucket list item).  Once that is squared away, I can just STOP PLANNING AND GET TO WORK ALREADY.

Or, I could just trust the thetrainline.com email reminders and STOP PLANNING AND GET TO WORK ALREADY.

You did promise me, you know.

You did promise me, you know.

Image:  imageevent.com       

 Yes, sir, I know.

Think way too much about things that in real life will probably not happen but are not impossible because the world is a magical place and the Universe really needs to reconsider and fork it over anyway

The less said about that, the better.

———–

In the coming weeks, I will blog to you as I write, so you can vicariously experience the madness that is me trying to do more than one thing at a time.  In the words of the immortal Bette Davis:

 

Querying and Outlining and Ed Sheeran, Oh My!

It’s been a bit since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d come in and give you a short update.  I’ve started outlining the Rose’s Hostage sequel, while waiting for an expert to answer a few questions.  I’m also reading something related to catching the villain (can’t tell you yet).  And I got a very good idea about some research I can do while in London.

The Universe gave me the finger on that special request (dammit), unless it’s got something planned later down the road.

Dream crusher!

Dream crusher!

Image:  arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Still, maybe the Universe isn’t saying no; maybe it’s saying not right now.  But because of that nice little chunk of bad news, I didn’t sleep much last night, and still I worked all day and did two sets of stair climbs.  So you can imagine that today hasn’t been a great day.  Here’s hoping I sleep tonight and don’t dream about it.

In addition to all that, I’ve been making notes and tapping out a few things here and there on a much more ambitious work, which the special request sort of would have helped (dammit again).  It’s something I’ve been sitting on for a while, but it requires specialized knowledge I don’t have.

Plus, I can’t decide on a period for it and that would make a difference.  It’s fighting to get out, so we’ll see if I can settle it down and work on two things at once.

Possibly; or maybe, I’ll just lose my mind. 

Possibly.  Or maybe, I’ll just lose my mind.

Image:  Wikipedia.com

I’ll catch you up more later.  Meanwhile, please enjoy this video of Ed Sheeran’s catchy new single, titled “SING.” The album x comes out June 23.  I love this guy.  Yeah, I know the video is a little weird; just roll with it.

 

London Links!

A friend at work and I went to lunch yesterday, and we were talking about my upcoming trip to London and Cardiff and her planned trip to London next year.  I told her I’d send her some links.  Of course, my enormous email turned into a blog post.

Doesn’t everything?

Doesn’t everything?

Image:  yingyo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instead of just sending them to her, I thought I would draw on my previous trip (though it was very long ago) and recent research and post it here in case anyone reading wants to go.  Seriously, off the top of my head, I know five people besides me who are going either this year or next.

So this may be my longest post ever, but here is my compilation of travel tips for first-timers in London.  If I got anything wrong, please correct me in the comments.

General stuff

First off, a few useful facts:

  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (aka UK or Britain) consists of England, Scotland (for the moment), Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • London is the capital of England.
  • Edinburgh is pronounced ED-in-burr-uh.
  • Say Gloucester as GLAW-ster.
  • Say Leicester Square as LESS-ter.
  • Say Grosvenor Street as GROVE-ner.
  • Say Thames as Tems.  
  • Striped pedestrian crossings are called zebra crossings.  Pronounce zebra to rhyme with Debra.
  • ATMs are called cashpoints.  Rick Steves has more info on how to use them here.

Temperatures are in Celsius.  Weights and measures are metric (except for miles, I think).  You may see 24-hour time (00:00–24:00) in train stations, though if you ask someone the time, they’ll tell you it’s four p.m., not 1600 hours.

Some public bathrooms are pay toilets (mostly in tube stations).  You have to pay to get into the stall.  Save your change!  I have no idea how much they cost now.  Keep a pocket pack of tissue in your bag in case you get caught without any.  Self-cleaning toilet booths are pay also.

It’s okay to ask for the toilet in London; alternately, the loo, WC, lavatory, bog, ladies’, or gents’.

Airport

If you’re going through Heathrow, you can take the Underground (commonly referred to as the tube) to central London.  It’s cheaper than the Heathrow Express.  Find travel information here on the airport’s website (Transport & Directions).

Power adapters

Voltage is higher than in the US.  You’ll need UK adapters; ones for Europe in general won’t work.  Amazon has them.  I’d take one with you so you have it right away in case you need to charge your phone, etc.  For more info, check here.

UK power outlets are bigger than ours.  Many of them have switches.  If you plug something into the outlet with your adapter and it doesn’t work, try flipping the switch.

uk outlet

Image: amazon.co.uk

If you forget anything, you can buy it at a drugstore (chemist).  I won’t even bother to pack toiletries, just put travel sizes in my carry-on in case my luggage is delayed.  I’ll buy shampoo, etc. there and then ditch it when I leave.

Language

Accents aren’t that hard, especially if you watch a lot of BBCA, but not everyone in England sounds like they just stepped out of Downton Abbey.  The only person I had trouble with was a cabdriver with the thickest accent I’ve ever heard in my life—he was damn near incomprehensible.  He was nice; he laughed pretty good-naturedly when I admitted I couldn’t understand him.

If someone is talking too fast and you can’t quite keep up, all you have to say is “I’m sorry, I’m not used to your accent.  Could you please repeat that more slowly?”

Brits have different terms than we do for things.  Look at this link for a list of words that might trip you up.

In Wales (Cymru), everyone speaks English, though signs are in both English and Welsh.  Click the link to hear someone say the word Wales in Welsh—it’s nothing like it looks!  I’m planning to practice a bit of pronunciation, so I won’t end up in the sea if I ask where something is.

Good to know.

Good to know.

Image:  bbc.co.uk

Getting around

The London Underground

Last time I was there, the Underground had little yellow paper tickets you put through the barrier (yes I’m old—shut yer gob).  It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it, but now people have Oyster cards.

You use an Oyster card on the London Underground (tube) and the bus.  This link helped me understand the Oyster card / Travelcard thing.  If you’re staying more than a few days, it’s cheaper to get an Oyster card at Heathrow when you get there.  You can top it up at the tube stations.  You can also load the Travelcard onto the Oyster card, apparently, but NOT if it is a Visitor Oyster card.

No, it doesn’t have a picture of seafood on it.

No, it doesn’t have a picture of seafood on it.

 Image:  Frank Murmann / Wikimedia Commons

Here is the Transport for London website for more information.

UPDATE:  According to this Buzzfeed article, TfL is moving to contactless debit/credit card usage on the transport system.  You should still be able to get/use Oyster for a while, anyway.  Keep an eye on the TfL website.

London is a massive city and people are in a hurry.  The main things to remember on the tube are (1) have your Oyster card or ticket ready at the barrier (so you don’t create a traffic jam), and (2) keep right on escalators, stairs, etc.

The tube has been in use (though obviously updated) for over 100 years (1863), so there are stations without lifts (elevators), and THERE IS NO AIR CONDITIONING.  Delays are common.  Twice when I was there before, they closed the line for something.  Once was a train problem and once was a suicide on the track, and I had to find another train or a cab.

Try to plan ahead when you take the tube and avoid peak times (rush hour):  6:00—10:00 am and 4:00—7:00 pm.  This is a good post about etiquette on the tube.

London A-Z

Image:  amazon.com

Buy one of these!! You should be able to get it at the airport or at any newsstand (newsagent).  British people don’t say Z—they say Zed (rhymes with bed).  So ask for a London A-Zed.

I hung onto mine for years, and I finally threw it away because it was so outdated (and I didn’t think I’d ever go back, waah).  London is very walkable, but you’ll need good shoes and make sure they are rainproof.  Because it will rain.

 London Cabs

1200px-A_TX4_Taxi_at_Heathrow_Airport_Terminal_5

Image:  Unisouth / Wikipedia.com / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Drivers of the iconic black taxis have to pass an insanely difficult test called The Knowledge before they can drive the cabs.  They know where stuff is and will not jack you around on the fare.  Find out how to take a London cab here.

DO NOT TAKE UNLICENCED MINICABS.  In my research, I’ve been warned that women especially have been assaulted by drivers.  In any case, they don’t have The Knowledge.  Legit minicabs must be booked in advance.  Some people are upset that they are taking business away from the black cabs; how you feel about that is up to you.

WARNING:  remember that people drive on the LEFT in England.  If you value your life, look right when you cross the street, and ONLY cross at the zebras!

1024px-Wavy_lines_before_pedestrian_crossing

Read the road. Tells you what to do.

Image:  Benjamin D. Esham / Wikipedia.com /

Etiquette

English people are reserved, though they are usually quite nice when you do speak with them.  They LOVE it when people are very polite.  Their sense of humor ranges from extremely sarcastic to gross / borderline offensive to incredibly silly.  You’ll always find a few rude jerks anywhere you go, but overall, they are really lovely people.

Keep your volume low.  The British don’t bellow like we Americans do.  On the tube, please refrain from chatting up everyone you see.  If someone is reading or wearing headphones, leave them alone!

They don’t smile at everybody they see either (this is a knee-jerk reaction where I live).  Just act like you’re in New York and you’ll be fine.  This link is for kids, but it’s awesome and if anyone is confused about anything, it explains it very well.

Food and stuff to do

I’ve skipped the obvious tourist stops, which I’m sure you’ve already googled.  The only thing I did last time that I might do again is Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.  The original is in London and it was totally worth it for the Chamber of Horrors alone.  Don’t be put off by the insane website.

I found a terrific Trip Advisor thread for those of us without a trust fund.  I googled links or names of places I found interesting to see if they were still open.  You can sort it by newest or oldest posts first.

Though it’s a bit old, this is a good post also (scroll down to #8, by caffn8me):    This person gave a lot of good advice, including stuff to avoid.

For tea and fancies, visit Fortnum and Mason.

Harrods has a dress code.  I’ve heard people have been turned away for wearing too-casual clothing, including celebrities.  For Harrods FAQs, visit this link.

I highly recommend you see Hampton Court Palace.  It’s Henry VIII’s house (Tudors!)  Seriously, this place is AMAZING.

My mother said I HAVE to go to this place.  The bakery here has been going since Tudor times (wonder if Henry VIII had any of their little treats?)

Or perhaps he had too many of them.

Or perhaps he had too many of them.

Image:  Wikimedia Commons

I hope that gets you started, or at least dreaming of the ultimate British holiday.  If you spot any mistakes, or if you have any recommendations about fun things to see and / or do, please share in the comments.

See you soon!

See you soon!

Image:  bbc.co.uk

 

Related links:

Transport for London

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/

National Rail website

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Here’s a cool blog about London with lots of info.

http://londontopia.net/

Visit Britain!

http://www.visitbritain.com/en/US/

Find out what to wear around the world, based on the weather!  http://www.clothesforecast.com/index.php

London events you can attend for free!

http://www.freelondonevents.co.uk/index.php

If you decide to nip on over to Cardiff, it’s only 2-1/2 hours by train.

http://www.visitcardiff.com/

The Sad and the Glad Today

Sad news today:  we lost Maya Angelou, poet, writer, and activist.  She was a strong voice for change and equality.  She will be greatly missed.  Rest in peace, beautiful lady.

 

Angelou reciting her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning", at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, January 1993

Angelou reciting her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning”, at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, January 1993

Image:  Office of the White House PD-USGOV-POTUS / Wikipedia

 Today is my birthday!  No one hit my car!  Of course, I still have to go to the rink later, so let’s hope it stays that way.

 

Birthday mall haul!

Birthday mall haul!

Photo:  Elizabeth West

I went to the mall and got a REALLY REALLY EXPENSIVE pair of walking shoes for my holiday.  The scarves were on sale at Charming Charlie’s, so I got two for less than the price of one.  I don’t typically wear scarves, but I’d like to start.  Now I need to practice tying them so I don’t look like a complete fashion fail.

My favorite food truck gave me a delicious pie for my birthday.  :D

My friends have all wished me a happy birthday.

Back to work tomorrow, but today has been a good day.  Think I’ll mail another query.  Hope your day is splendid as well!

A Notable Birthday and an Update

Sir_Arthur_Conan_Doyle_1890

Image:  Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896) / Wikimedia Commons/PD: US

Happy birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!  Born May 22, 1859, died July 7, 1930. Creator of our favorite high-functioning sociopathic detective, Sherlock Holmes.  :)

So what have I been up to since the A-Z Challenge?  Well, I’ve finished the semester of course, and I’ve queried Tunerville  twice (and been rejected twice). Yeah, it sucks, but rejection is part of the process.

Hat Sherlock

Of course it is.  Now get back to work.

Image:  benedictcumberbatch.co.uk

There’s something in the book that’s been bothering me–I’m not sure I got it quite right, so I’ve reached out to an expert for assistance.  Since no one’s asking me for pages or a manuscript, I can take a bit of time to check it.

This upcoming holiday week, I’ve taken some extra PTO and will begin chucking crap out of The Crumbling Albatross (my house) and get some research and outlining done on the RH sequel.  Look for another vocabulary post coming soon; I’d like to finish that series.  I think we left off with S before the Challenge, didn’t we?  So T will be next.

I’ve got two things bouncing around in my head that are dying to get out.  One might be novel-worthy.  It’s been in there for a long time and may be literary in nature.  I’m not sure.  Nearly everything I write has some weird component to it, so we’ll see.

 The other one is only a vague, half-formed notion at this juncture but will probably end up being my fledgling attempt at a screenplay.  Part of my self-imposed curriculum this summer is to learn how to write those.  I’ve got some study materials recommended by a screenwriter friend, so I’m ready to go.

BUT FIRST:

I’m taking a long-needed break, during which I’ve started the UK version of The Office (hilarious), watched the world’s saddest movie (you can rent it on YouTube), and become enamored of Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow and the world’s saddest song (it plays over the credits of the world’s saddest movie).

Seriously, get back to work. 

Seriously, get back to work.

Image:  imageevent.com

Of course, Mr. Holmes.  I promise.  :)

Net Neutrality Takes a Hit

Well, shit.

The FCC voted 3-2 today to let Big Bidness make deals with websites for faster internet.  That’s basically going to kill net neutrality (see more about that at the link).

Read this article at the Washington Post for shenanigans.  I don’t believe Wheeler for one second that this won’t become the slipperiest slope of all slopes ever.  We’re already paying way too much for internet in the U.S.  This only reinforces my opinion that we’ve become an oligarchy already and the corporate assholes are running the country.

I kinda want to leave. But where to go?

I kinda want to leave. But where to go?

Image: Ktrinko / Wikimedia Commons

Write your Congress critter and contact the FCC here to protest.

Update:  Here is a comment email you can use to send a comment.   openinternet@fcc.gov 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

BLARGH!

I just turned in my research slide assignment.  I only have to comment on other people’s slides (apparently, that’s our final) and take a test and then I AM DONE with the World’s Worst Semester.

Haaaaaaaallelujah!

Haaaaaaaallelujah!

Image:  samarttiw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There will be time off.  I must begin The Great Purge, in which I divest my dwelling place, nicknamed The Crumbling Albatross, of an excess of crap that has piled up over time.  I have also decided, when I’m ready to begin the next book, to do a mini-NaNoWriMo.  There is a little bit of organization to do first, because I haven’t looked at it in ages.

Someone in a forum, in response to a mini-rant about crap, said my world is about to get bigger in a bit.  Let’s hope so—I placed a pretty tall order to the Universe.  It can wait just a little, like my Eddie Bauer raincoat I won’t get until July, but not much longer.  For a change, I’d rather not see this:

 “Universe here.  Your order has been canceled.  We shipped it to someone else.” 

W-what?  Noooooo!

W-what?  Noooooo!

Image:  David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 When it could just do this:

“Universe here.  Your requested item is no longer on backorder and has been shipped to you.  Enjoy!  :D” 

Much better.

In the interim, I’ll occupy myself with taking numerous Buzzfeed quizzes (I got Captain Kirk, people!) and planning what to do on my vacation.  I’ve already bookmarked so many things that I’ll need another month to do them all.

Fine by me. Not gonna want to leave.

Image:  David Dixon / Wikipedia.com

 

Reflections on the A-Z Challenge 2014

A-to-Z_Reflection_[2014]

And so we’ve reached the end of another Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  Thanks to Arlee Bird and the A-Z Team!  I’m posting my reflection early because I can.  And because I’m behind on homework (again).

Doing these character posts has been more difficult than I imagined.  When I create a character, I don’t always think about these elements consciously.  Writing the blog posts forced me to dissect the process.  I’m not entirely sure that’s how I even do it.

It’s magic.  No, really.

It’s magic.  No, really.

Image:  eofdreams.com

Now I sit here eating fancy avocado toast with sea salt and Old Bay and sipping a cup of tea (seriously, I should just move to London already–I drank a whole damn pot) and wondering what to write about next.  I suppose I could finish the Vocabulary series.  I should think up something else.  I’ll study on it and get back to you.

I’m very glad I made a plan.  Without it, I couldn’t have kept up with a post a day.  I only had to double up twice—that makes me rather proud of myself.  Especially considering that I’ve been in two of the most insanely insane classes this semester.

  • A document design class (I suck at this)
  • A healthcare writing class (I could not possibly care less about this)

Learning to work with InDesign has been interesting, but I doubt I’ll ever use it.   I don’t use it at work now and if I suddenly had to, I could have learned it online for free.  With school more expensive than ever and less return on that investment, I’m not sure I want to throw more money at it.

I’m already in indentured servitude to student loans. 

I’m already in indentured servitude to student loans.

Image:  Wikipedia

I’ve decided to take the summer off to write the sequel to Rose’s Hostage.  You’ll be kept up to date on my progress; I might do another mini- NaNoWriMo of my own for it.  I may not go back in the fall, depending on what happens.  If I do return to school, I can do it in the spring semester and not face any issues, according to my adviser.

My plans for the next five or six months include:

  • Doing another edit of Tunerville: my last reader bailed (she’s having a baby—yay!), so my sister has stepped up and is working through it now
  • Hopefully getting my Rose’s Hostage critique back from Brian and doing those edits
  • Querying Tunerville
  • Working
  • Working out
  • Going to London and Cardiff to:
    • Visit some friends and family
    • See Riverdance (!!!)
    • Attend the Doctor Who Experience
    • See the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studios
    • Nom on as many delicious things as I can stuff into my face (hey, I’m going to be walking everywhere)
    • Do whatever else I feel like doing that won’t get me thrown out of a pub or arrested, heh heh

I’m driving everyone crazy because this trip is all I can talk/think about.  Sorry, but it has been so long since I had a real vacation, where I actually get to go somewhere far away for EIGHTEEN COUNT ‘EM EIGHTEEN days instead of just taking a day here and there.  Weekend trips don’t really count.  And you have no clue how badly I need to get the hell out of here.

This was starting to look pretty good.

This was starting to look pretty good.

Image:  fanpop.com

Speaking of which, about those Sherlock pictures in every single post in this series?  It started as a joke in my chat room, so I decided to put one in each post and see if anyone would call me on it.  Nobody did.

YOU HAVE FAILED ME, PEOPLE!

YOU HAVE FAILED ME, PEOPLE!

Image:  Dave Buchwald / Wikimedia Commons

Just kidding.  It was fun.  If you have any thoughts about a series you’d like me to do, feel free to make suggestions in the comments.  I’ll be pondering.  I keep having this weird feeling that something major is going to happen and it has nothing to do with school, so maybe whatever that is will give me extra goodies to post.  In the meantime, I’ll try not to go AWOL while I finish these final school projects.

Thank you for stopping by during the Challenge, and thanks to those of you who have been reading on a regular basis.