...Haven't I used that as a title before?
I've been a quiet lately, mostly because I've had the Horrific 'Flu (tm) that's given me a still-lingering cough, ridiculously bad sneezes and regular thumping headaches. Not really conducive to doing very much. Annnnd honestly I still feel like a poorly-reanimated corpse, which is proving fun.
BUT! Despite all that, I've finally got off my backside and started editing (again) the story occasionally known as Gabrys, and occasionally as The Prince's Last Whatever The Hell It Was. ...It needs a better name. I think it's working better for it, although who actually knows? It's slow going though, especially as some chapters needed at least half of them rewriting, which means braining, which is proving awkward with the headaches and having to fit it in between work.
So this is mostly just an update to say, I'm not dead even if I feel like it.
And that this round of editing is very almost proving fun. But only very almost.
So, as ever, you can get free books. Not quite in the same way, but if you look over here...
(And there might be something hanging around on the Modern Fantasy page, but don't get your hopes up too much.)
Finished the excellent Occult Detective Quarterly #5 today, which was kindly sent by one of the editors as a bonus for backing the ODQ #4 Kickstarter. Honestly, I'd have happily backed a Kickstarter for this one too. Both issues have a great range of stories from various authors, and some of them lodge pretty firmly in your thoughts. There's a couple here I'll still be turning over in my head in a couple of weeks' time. Particular highlights are teenage lovers sneaking into an old church, a twist on the 'girl on a highway in the rain' and a rock band with a distinctly unnerving studio.
I don't know if they're planning on releasing an ebook format version, but you can pick up the paperbacks on either Amazon US or Amazon UK.
Google decided to mark all Weebly-hosted sites as 'dangerous' this morning. Weebly keep trying to downplay it and say it was only a small percentage of the sites, but it certainly didn't look like it from where I was sitting.
And how do I know it wasn't a small percentage of sites?
Their own site editor was blacklisted along with everyone else's site.
It's not a big deal for me. I mean, who the hell even comes over here, right? But I felt bad for people whose businesses relied on their site working well, and whose customers might not be savvy enough to know how to get around the massive, threatening red screen Google puts up. People do freak out at the big threatening screen and probably don't have the day job where you go "oh fuck, the cookie's expired again" — i.e. me at least once a week.
They've shrugged it off so flippantly as a "false-positive that adversely affected a certain number of sites" but for those people who rely on it to make a living? I'm sure all that lost revenue is not so easily shrugged off.
It's definitely 'flu. And not even the fun kind that lets me drift gently away and hallucinate very, very gay stories. The last time I had it was when I realised the Rose Queen was male, not female, and suddenly there was so much more plot...
Not a luxury I've got today. It's been ten hours of work, and then another ten tomorrow, and eight after that. There may be questionable decisions made but... well, I can't go dropping 28 hours' worth of shifts because I'm ill. I don't get sick pay (this was mooted maybe five years ago? and vanished without trace for, I suspect, fairly obvious reasons) and I don't fancy their chances of finding cover for all those hours at short notice. I'm sure they'd try, and I'm sure for some of the people on one of my shifts extra hours would be welcome, but... there's a big chunk of money to miss out on just because I'm occasionally vomiting my guts up and I haven't slept properly in two days.
A friend and fellow writer challenged me to write 5,000 words of smut a week. The mutant death cold from hell put paid to that. Nothing makes you less inclined toward writing smut than every sneeze being so hard you think you'll eject several teeth and possibly a tonsil.
To be fair, I'm seeing a distinct lack of her contacting me with what she's written, soooooo...
I've come down with a cold, somehow, despite having not left the house since Saturday. I feel like I've ingested sandpaper and my throat won't let me forget it.
It's the kind of time I always seem to end up inflicting suffering on my characters...
ETA: tongue ulcers and an itchy roof of my mouth; stress-based illness rather than a caught one. Arguably better? Could do without the ulcers.
From the start of the new year, with a couple of breaks, I've been using Duolingo to learn Japanese.
Or rather, currently, it's relearn Japanese.
A long (long) time ago I used to take Japanese night classes, which I enjoyed a lot. It was weird, because I'd spent seven or so years studying French (you get no choice, sooooo...) and somehow I learned more Japanese in a year of night classes than I had in those seven of French.
I've been feeling a little... adrift, I guess? lately, so I figured I'd take it up again. It couldn't be any worse than the disastrous time I tried to learn German on Duolingo, right? (I spent one year studying German at school; again, I had no choice. It and I didn't get along, to put it mildly.)
And no, it isn't. And in some ways it's better, because I've learned a bit more kanji on sight, but currently... yeah, we're on a par. Except for the times I was taught too well and ended up arguing with Duolingo about just how polite you need to be in certain situations (it can be quite rude). And my irritation that some of their language is only what you'd get when stepping into a high-end department store (not joking). And that it doesn't explain the difference between important things — the most fun was hearing "shichiji juunanapun" for 7:17 which is... 七時十七分. You see those two characters that look exactly the same? That's because they are. There are two ways to say seven: shichi and nana. Absolutely none of this is explained in the app; the only reason I know are my night classes, which are thankfully coming back as I study.
The best of it is the Duolingo app itself, which veers wildly between being unnecessarily difficult. Yes, I now know how to say "I am from the UK" and "I am British" but most would just use the latter unless you're being super-specific, in which case the listener will be backing away slowly anyway; I also know two ways to say "my name is ______" and I'm assuming one is informal while the other is formal, but I've only ever learned the formal before and there's no indication the other is informal. I know "watashi no namae wa Pax desu" is more of a mouthful than "Pax toiimasu" but honestly, I'd rather not be rude to total strangers...
The most bizarre thing is the way it's tried to cram this information into my skull. I thought we were doing pretty well, but one update later and you get these gems:
Because I frequently mistake vegetables for a number, you know?
I know very soon now we'll reach the limits of my education and I'll be stuck with their obscure methods of teaching, but I really hope my teacher gave me a good grounding in the subject (enough that a question from a friend had me looking up whether a corpse was 'iru' or 'aru' — to which the answer is apparently both, depending on quite how respectful you are or how ambulatory it is) that it won't matter too much.
I don't recall running into 'zero' at all in my classes. I suspect it's only handy if you're spelling out a number very specifically, but there are a lot of other ways of saying things for that...
Also, fun fact, my teacher was Mr. Hair. 'Hair' in Japanese is 'kami.' 'God' is also 'kami.' My teacher was 'Mr. God.'
Writer's block is so much fun. Not only does it affect my ability to actually write anything fiction-wise, but I'd thought out what I was going to write here but on the sight of the text block my brain went blank, replacing all my thoughts with the words to Fall Out Boy's Irresistible.
It was, possibly, about writer's block — writer's anxiety, more like — that I'd been intending on writing about anyway. It's a vicious circle: the more you stare blankly at the blank page, the blanker your mind becomes and the more nervous you get. I am back, again, to the point where faced with a blank document my hands start to shake, which is always so much fun.
Oh, there go the lyrics to I Don't Know How But They Found Us' Choke, which is, incidentally, a fantastic song. The whole EP it's on is great, and would be inspiring if I could actually, you know, string a sentence together.
That said, I did actually write something recently. Although, by recently, I do mean in March of 2018 which, for me, is recent because I've still got Alex and Milos's first arc unfinished from around nine years ago. I will finish it eventually. I'd meant to publish it — insert hollow laughter here — but I'm pretty sure there's zero market for those two, no matter how much I love them. The relationship is far too fucked up, and with far too much baggage on both sides.
Although, in my head right now, Alex keeps getting distracted by how red Milos's tongue looks against his lavender-grey skin and all the uses it can be put to, so at least they remain interesting after all this time, even if it is just for me. I wouldn't mind, but that particularly intrusive Alex-ism came while I was trying to figure something out about a totally different story I was failing to write.
Ultimately, I find I do better with prompts and, sometimes, with rigid frameworks. In said March of 2018, I saw by chance a last call for a competition that asked for a 500-word story based on the image of a streetlight. I completed it, even with edits (more hollow laughter), with time and a couple of words to spare, but couldn't bring myself to submit it.
Since I know no one reads this, I figure I might as well post it here. Surprisingly, I did enjoy writing it, and I enjoyed the challenge of it too, despite it being very out my comfort zone in so, so many ways. It's also cliché and derivative, which is one of the reasons I didn't submit, but eh. It's not like I'm doing anything with it here, right?