Writing Stuff

Status Update July 2020 - Of Renders, Awards, and Not Writing (featuring handsome naked Alex) - Pax Asteriae Fiction

Status Update July 2020 – Of Renders, Awards, and Not Writing

A 3D image of a naked Alex Jaska, created by Pax Asteriae for their cellphone. (Not this image, obviously; this one's far too small.)

The bank’s sorted, although not without my getting angry. They say they locked my entire account — in the middle of a global pandemic — because I hadn’t logged into online banking in 6 months. Which I would have known, they say, if I’d logged into my online account. But I hadn’t. And they failed to inform me of this in writing so unsurprisingly I had no idea.

I am genuinely considering contacting one of the financial pages in a newspaper to ask if this kind of asshattery is considered normal. I’ve banked with the NatWest for a depressing 20 years (the same amount of time, funnily enough, that I’ve had this mobile number). I can’t see myself banking with them for another 5 now, let alone another 20.

Corporate stupidity aside, life continues much as normal, which is with a fair bit of work and not much writing. My wildly self-indulgent project named itself last night. Peculiar, given I can’t get actual projects to name themselves, but there we go. It’s called The Bastard and the Deep Blue Sea (and I can call it that because it’s wildly self-indulgent and no one else is gonna see it~) and I can even see how the cover will look. I drafted out the text layout last night.

Now I just need to write more than four and a half chapters, when work and home life will allow.

Thing is, I got back into the 3D work I used to do a long time ago, and it keeps distracting me. At least this kind of procrastination is productive, though. To your left there is Alex, one of the Radial main characters. I can now finally render fairly realistic looking versions of my boys. (And that is my new phone background!)

And, bonus, I can now render smutty pictures of them, which amuses me vastly.

The strangest thing about it is, even though it’s procrastination — you can lose hours without even realising just from tweaking skin settings and minutely adjusting lights — it’s a little like digital colouring for me: it forces me to think. The wildly self-indulgent project came about from a render I did for a challenge: I fiddled around, created a character, and suddenly he had a plot and back story and was demanding I write about him. (He may now have changed his mind on that.) A weird but fun post-Fourth Arc story for Radial turned up in my head while noodling around with one of the aforementioned smutty pictures of Milos and Alex.

And, slightly more weirdly, another render I did for that challenge was an Honourable Mention and won me $5. Which I was happy about not for the cash, but because I really enjoyed setting up that render. It almost came together by itself and the end result both came out how I’d wanted and rendered very quickly (not a guaranteed thing!) so I was on the whole very happy.

Not sure what to do with all the renders. I’m having fun creating pictures of Alex and Milos’s everyday life to a certain degree — there’s a sparring picture from the Fourth Arc, and one of Milos training with his long-suffering martial arts instructor (who turned out to look a bit like Sean Bean). I should probably add them to Patreon, free for the ones I already shared elsewhere, and maybe figure out a tier (or add a new one) for the smutty stuff. I don’t know.

So… not dead yet. Still coming up with stories, even if I’m still struggling to actually write. Even when I remind myself that no one else is gonna read TB&TDBS, sometimes I still freeze up. I’ll get over it soon, at least for that. And I’d like to be able to figure out where the story’s going for this intriguing Radial story that seems to start with an unexpected romantic getaway under the guise of work, and then actually turns into work.

We’ll see how things go.

I’ll get around to sharing pictures of my bullet journal at some point too.

JuNoWriMo 2020 Header

JuNoWriMo 2020 – Day 4

Raindrops keep falling on my cat
But that doesn’t mean I ought to wear her like a hat
Nothing seems to fit
‘Cause she keeps crawling off my
She keeps crawling off my head…

Yesterday’s word count: 50 

Didn’t have a great day yesterday.  It’s hard to write when your brain fights against you every step of the way.  It’s just a combination of everything and a healthy dollop of Writer’s Doubt on top of it.  Not Writer’s Block, but the sure and certain knowledge that every single word I write is absolute shit, no part of it is redeemable and the world would be a better place if I just stopped.  Again.

(A lot of people would agree with the last part of that.)

I keep telling my brain that I’m not actually planning on letting anyone see this story.  I fully agree that the world is a better place without my writing, but I’d like to be able to do it in the privacy of my own laptop nonetheless.  Hopefully soon it’ll agree with me and I’ll be able to write more than a couple of hundred words.  It’d be a lot more productive than dumping ridiculous song lyrics into my head every time I walk into the kitchen at any rate.  The above is an example of what I got when I went to use the oven.

I don’t even know why it can do that but not provide an even marginally coherent narrative.  Possibly because there’s only me in the kitchen, not me, a dog, a cat, three loud birds and my mother.  No, I can’t get away with writing in the kitchen.  The table’s too high (or the benches are too low) and it’s in desperate need of a tidy.

Well, no point in whining, even if there is only me here (and the crickets, of course).  It’ll either get done or it won’t, and it’s right now looking like it’s veering towards “won’t.”

We’ll see.

JuNoWriMo 2020 Header

JuNoWriMo 2020 – Day 2

Day start word count: 564

Not off to a great start there.  Every time I sat down to write something either cropped up, or I got Told Things Very Loudly (no, ignoring it does not make it go away, it gets me shouted at instead).  However, today is a very empty work day: an hour and a half in total.  Bad for pay but good for writing… allegedly.  How that plays out in reality we shall see.

Wish me luck!  I’ll need all I can get.  As my status report at the top of the JuNoWriMo spreadsheet says… Get on with it!

(Some light killing of noisy neighbours may need to occur first.)

JuNoWriMo 2020 Header

JuNoWriMo 2020!

I’ve been in need of some motivation lately.  I have a lot of projects sitting barely started or half-finished (and I mean a lot), and I desperately need a push to get a few of them completed.  So when I saw about JuNoWriMo a couple of days ago, I… not so much leapt at the chance as I dipped a toe in its vague direction.  I don’t historically have a lot of luck with extracurricular NaNo experiences (and I’m increasingly struggling with the main NaNoWriMo event due to the complete absence of uninterrupted writing time I get) so I’m a little wary of this.

But at the same time, a kick up the backside to get Singer/Songwriter finished (and maybe even titled, who knows? certainly not me) would be a great help.  It’s not like Blake and Marcus aren’t trying to progress through the plot without me or anything…  (No, really.  They’re getting further through the book than I am.  This might help?  But it probably won’t.)

So here I am, announcing with a certain degree of trepidation that I’m taking part in JuNoWriMo.  Feel free to ask me how my writing is going (my comments are always open; empty – seriously, even the spam bots have given up – but open), and feel equally free to yell at me if I’m not making progress.

Now I suppose I better start writing…!

Current word count: 0

Current chapter: Four

The Solstice, an m/m romance novella by Pax Asteriae

I Did A Thing (which means m/m romance novella The Solstice is now available for preorder!)

I should have been writing, I know.  I've got a whole bunch of things, not just Marcus and Blake, waiting for some love and attention.

The cover of The Solstice, an m/m romance novella by Pax Asteriae

One of them, though, is The Solstice, one of the Tales from Rosgarde I started writing in preparation for NaNo.  It took a... little longer to finish than anticipated: I completed it around midnight at New Year.  Quite aptly.

And now, in an uncharacteristic fit of optimism, I edited it and published it!  Well, set it up for preorder.  It comes out Friday 22nd May.

It was going to be Amazon exclusive, like the others, in order to be enrolled in KDP Select, but with the backlash against Jeff Bezos' news that he is now a trillionaire (!!!) I know quite a few people are now avoiding Amazon.  So, to everyone's dismay, I dusted off my passwords to Kobo Writing Life and Smashwords and logged into Google Play Books, and it's now available to preorder from there too.

Do I imagine queues of people desperate to preorder?  Not on your life.  And it's currently giving me a headache because it means lots of links on book pages instead of one or two, and Smashwords never actually gives you the links to the pages for their expanded distribution just to be awkward so I can never track down a link to Apple Books / iTunes / whatever the hell they're calling themselves now.

Couldn't I just submit through Apple, now they've finally opened their registration to us plebs without a sainted Apple device?

No.  Because Apple couldn't run a piss-up in a brewery, if that archaic and ridiculous sign-up process is anything to go by.

So Smashwords it is, for that anyway.

And what else?

Well, there may be a paperback on its way too...  I really can't imagine anyone buying it, but I felt like having fun.  (And yes, I really do consider formatting fun. 😀 )

So now it's just a matter of waiting, and then pretending I didn't Do The Thing because this always strikes terror into my little withered heart.

Such fun.

So if you like your m/m romance with boys who're angry, arsey and quick to fall in love, it's a short read, it has smut (ooooh) and it'll be relevant maybe once a year or so. Who knows.  Maybe if I write more of the longer Rosgardian stories, it may one day warrant a page of its own...

One hand raised above the waterline. Not waving, just drowning.

Because If You’ve Not Written A Novel In Lockdown You’re Just Not Trying

(Or: why applying your life to other people’s is a moronic thing to do)

I keep seeing people complaining about how unproductive they’ve become, writing-wise, since the world went to shit and entered lockdown some five or six weeks ago.  That it’s difficult juggling working from home with a home life that suddenly decides it’s going to intrude at all kinds of random times (usually while they’re working) and fitting both the motivation for and the action of writing into all that.

So let’s try a little thought exercise.

Health & Life Update

In short: even in these pandemic-ridden times… no, I’m not dead.

My desktop PC went off due to a Windows update and has so far declined to turn back on again.  Currently eyeballing a mini-PC replacement, but the one I’d wanted is no longer available… and the one I want would come from Hong Kong, so I worry it’d get stuck in Customs with the global health issues just lately.  Shouldn’t do, but some Arax Pitta face masks went into Customs and never came out.  They were ordered before the outbreak, ironically, but probably hit Customs as the virus gained traction so… I suspect someone in Customs now has some fancy grey masks they didn’t go to the effort of buying.  (I bought replacements that didn’t come from overseas.)  A new PC is much pricier than a set of masks.

My mental health took a nosedive at the start of last month and has yet to recover.  For various personal reasons I can’t see this improving in the foreseeable future.

My physical health has started to decline further.  My main issue is a congenital hip disability I’ve (unsurprisingly) had since birth.  Ironically, the issue isn’t when I walk, it’s when I stop.  Standing still and upright for any length of time is painful; doing the recycling is agonising.  Sitting is no longer quite so great either: sitting for work yesterday put it slightly out its socket for most of the day.

Annnnd last night’s dream involved an all-girl pop band that turned into a group of eldritch horrors with long, glowing snouts and fantastic hearing.

It’s been an interesting time.

And on the subject of ‘interesting’ and ‘not dead,’ I’m not so much self-isolating from the coronavirus as I am just… going about my normal day.  I already work from home, and because my hours can change overnight I always get my shopping delivered.  Just livin’ that prepper life, apparently, only I’ve never felt the burning need to stock up on excessive amounts of loo roll.

We have two sets of neighbours: one to the side, one behind us.  The ones behind us have sent us xmas cards three years running now.  The ones beside us I’ve seen only once, a couple of years ago, when she came round to ask if we needed her to prune the hedge between properties — and she only did that because I’d already cut down all the overhanging leaves, which were a good three or four foot over my drive and shedding leaves over my mother’s car.  Aside from that, they mostly sit in their back garden chain-smoking and making it impossible to do anything in my back garden without needing a respirator, the stench is that bad.  Which in the current climate at least looks less weird, I guess.

They both know my mother’s disabled; today the ones behind us came round to ask if there was anything they could do to help.  Not seen hide nor hair of the ones beside us since the aforementioned meeting.  …And a good thing, really, because my mother’s desperate to chew them out over the incessant smell and the fact they keep driving over our drive’s drop kerb — which has a section of normal raised pavement between theirs and ours, so aside from being plain rude it’s also illegal.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Other than that it’s business as usual.  We already have plenty of hand sanitiser as my mother’s nurses weren’t always… reliable about using the sink (yes, really; one in particular never washed her hands unless prompted.  She was promoted, presumably out of harm’s way because her beside manner was atrocious) so we had to make it easy for them.  It’s just been a matter of using it even more often.

Not made writing any easier though, things have stalled a little, at least as far as actual words-on-page go.  Ideas?  They’re still bubbling along, including one loose end that might now be less so, and handy really because I couldn’t work out why my thoughts kept returning to it.  Obviously it wasn’t entirely daydreaming…

All in all, things have been just… meh.  Here’s hoping everything — and I mean everything — blows over soon.

Creative Goals: 3 – 9 February 2020

Somehow February has already started to feel long, and that’s before we get to the extra day.  The RSI of doom has returned, and appears to be carpal tunnel instead (numbness in fingers and I keep dropping things and getting angry with myself).  Wrist braces everywhere.  I found an old blog post where I talked about the symptoms I’d had before; I’d actually forgotten it’d become so bad, to the point where my thumb was going numb and I had pain all the way up to the elbow.

Wrist braces are a pain in the backside to wear, but I don’t want things to become that bad again, so I’ve had to go back to wearing one all the time as well as changing the way I sit when I’m working.  Hopefully I can get things as fixed as they’re likely to get soon…

At least it’s the incessant click-click-click since my day job is very mouse-heavy, and it’s not writing that’s the problem…  Now it’d just be nice to get some time to actually do some.


Writing

  • Finish chapter 3 of Singer/Songwriter for real this week.  (Work allowing.)
  • Start chapter 4?
  • Really could do with a few more titles, before the only one I have sticks by mistake.
  • Start the Twitter hashtag games I want to play for the month.  This month they’re: #LGBTWIP, #aNovelRomance, #LGBTQwrites and #SmoreWords.  I have a hell of a time keeping up with even one or two, so this should be interesting…
  • Work, home and inspiration allowing, maybe start on an idea for the Story-Bat Valentines Wordfest, which has an interesting prompt this year.

Reading

  • Actually finish the book, fingers crossed.

Misc

  • 44 hours of work this week.  (Already starting 4 hours above the cap…)
  • Find the time to reboot the Virgin Media hub, since we’re getting the fantastic download speed of 10mbs right now.  But it’s Virgin Media, so you can’t expect your expensive fibre internet to actually work properly, can you?

So it’s a week heavy-ish on the writing, but we’ll see what happens with the work hours.

Remember kids, it’s only finger-wagging over your work-life balance if you’re choosing your hours, not your employers!

Creative Goals: 27 January – 2 February 2020

It’s only taken a month, but I finally grabbed the Easy Content Template plugin for WordPress.  Previously I was opening up old posts and copying the stuff across… then I remembered it’d be much, much easier to just, y’know… set up a template.

Hey, sometimes I can be efficient.

Just… not often.


Writing

  • Finish chapter 3 of Singer/Songwriter.
  • Start chapter 4 of Singer/Songwriter.
  • Try to come up with a couple more potential names for Singer/Songwriter…  I struggle with naming things, can you tell?

Reading

  • Actually finish this damn book!

Misc

  • Day job: working 40.5 hours a week.  Check for the total on Sunday!
  • Maybe get the PC booted up this week?  Fingers crossed.
  • Finish setting up my bullet journal for February. Yes I know I missed the entirety of January, shhh.  It’s planned in pencil, it just needs inking in.
  • Tidy desk.  It’s looked like a bomb’s hit it for weeks now and it’s irritating me… but I only really sit here to work, so I’m usually distracted.
  • Try to manage a couple more sketches.  I miss drawing.

Again, it’s not a list of goals that’ll set the world alight, and I’m already starting to get stressed by the Singer/Songwriter story – not because I don’t know what to write but because, thanks to my home life and variable working hours, I don’t have the time to sit and write.

I got a finger-wagging month or so ago because I wasn’t Writing Every Day and Publishing Every Month and did I really Want To Be A Writer?  And I’m really happy for them that they aren’t a full-time carer in full-time employment with all the fun of their own full-time disabilities as well, but some of us need nice, quiet alone time to be able to think and write.  I already know from NaNo that if I try to write in 5-10 minute bursts, I end up having no fucking idea what I wrote previously.  Yeah, I can edit it later… but then it’s twice as much work as actually writing it properly in the first place.

So… y’know, should anyone get the random urge to go dictating ‘advice’ to people, have a little think.  And if someone’s trying to work, care for someone and also has days when they can’t stand upright for longer than ten minutes without crippling hip/back pain (but still has to do all the cooking, cleaning, recycling/bins etc.), sneering at them and telling them it’s not an excuse is, possibly, not the best argument you can make.

If something works for you, great!  Fantastic!  I hope you keep on at it!  But writing is not a one-size-fits-all gig.  Don’t try to demand that it should be.

Accountability: 20 – 26 January 2020

It’s been a week that feels a little like swimming through treacle.  Time has gone quickly and at the same time had much the same feeling of pace to it as the average garden snail on a particularly aimless day.  I’d say I need a holiday, but aside from the fact it’s only January, I think we all know what I won’t get to have at any point in the foreseeable future…


Writing

  • I did indeed finish the second chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story.
  • And I have indeed started the third chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story, although progress is slow because Life.
  • I came up with… well, all of one name so far, but it’s one name more than I had at the start of the week.

Reading

  • I haven’t finished the book yet.  In part I haven’t had time because of work, everything I have to do at home and trying to write, and in part because it feels like a very long book…

Misc

  • Bad cellphone photo of a drawing of a blond-haired Caucasian elf in a pink T-shirt and a fur-collared denim jacket.There’s been a little progress on the playlist, but not by much.  I’ve enjoyed listening to lots of different music though, and adding things I particularly enjoyed to my likes to re-listen for suitability later.
  • I did actually manage the picture of Marcus!  It came out not as hideously as I’d expected it to be when I started.  (I also discovered at a very inopportune time I only have one white-fleshtone Kurecolor marker, so I should have probably done it with Copics instead…)
  • 47 hours of day job this week.  The reason I’m tracking this is that we had an Edict at the end of last year about how everyone should only be working 40 hours in order to maintain a Good Work-Life Balance, and thus no one would be allowed to pick up any shifts beyond this without manager approval.  …But I don’t pick up shifts. A Good Work-Life Balance is only if they’re not desperate to fill out shifts, apparently.
  • I finally managed to boot up my desktop!  …And the day after, there was another fucking Windows Update and I’ve not been able to start it again since.  Thanks, Windows.

 

Creative Goals: 20 – 26 January 2020

I’m actually enjoying having goals set out.  It gives me that odd feeling of accomplishment when I achieve them.  That’s why I tend to work towards smaller goals: if I announced big ones, I’d end up panicking and fail on everything.

I love my brain chemistry so much.


Writing

  • Finish the second chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story.
  • Start the third chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story (trying to take it steady).
  • Actually make an effort to try to come up with some names this time.  It might be easier now the characters have started sharing some more of the plot with me.

Reading

Short as ever.


Misc

  • Assemble a playlist for Singer/Songwriter.  It has all of two songs on it right now.  This is my favourite goal for the week, even if it does mean I’ll have to listen to some mainstream pop for Marcus’s song.  For the record, the last time I listened to the radio, Panic! At The Disco’s Mona Lisa was in the charts.  I stopped listening after an hour and a half, because I’d heard all the same songs at least three times by then…
  • Really, truly draw a sketch of Marcus this week.
  • 44 hours of day job this week.  I’m already 4 hours over the limit I’m supposed to be working through no fault of my own, so this time it better not change.
  • Actually manage to boot up my desktop PC.  It hates Windows updates and knows how to hold a grudge.  No featured images until that’s back up and running!

Fingers crossed for continuing small successes.

And by the way… the Spotify playlist for the story is right here.  Here’s hoping it expands / adjusts as I (slowly) add to it and fiddle around.

I’d love to center it but… yeah. WordPress.

Goals 13-19 January

Accountability: 13 – 19 January 2020

An odd week this week.  At one point I wilfully forewent an easy afternoon in favour of a solid five hours of work.  Made me very glad I now finish at 6pm instead of 9pm…

It’s also been a week of random research, mostly into the Cornish language (Kernewek), since Blake’s surname was voted to be Saint-Ives, and dokkalfa usually have the surnames of the city or town they first registered.  Mostly I was trying to find a Cornish word for ‘elf,’ except there doesn’t appear to be one.  There’s ‘ælf’ cropping up a few times in place names, but those are the same across the country.  Of an actual folklore term?  Not a sign of it.  The closest I could find in terms of folklore-closeness was the ‘Small People’ (pobel vean), and then got ranted at by Blake in my head, because it turns out he’s a bit touchy about only being 5’6″…

I recommend a Google Maps stroll around St. Ives though, it’s a beautiful place.


Writing

  • I have indeed finished the first chapter of Singer/Songwriter. Draft zero (a term coined by my awesome friend Anika Daniels, whose website I would link if she had one) is on Patreon.  One day I’ll figure out the WordPress/Patreon link so it can look slightly better than Patreon makes things.  Why can’t you have more formatting options, Patreon?  Why?
  • I have also started the second chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story, so that’s a win too.
  • I have, however, so far failed to come up with any kind of useful name for it.  I’ve not really had the time nor the spoons to think about it, to be honest.  I’m terrible at naming things.  There’s a reason Gabrys is still called Gabrys a few years later…

Reading

  • I finished The Ritual.  I didn’t start until Wednesday or so, but after that I couldn’t put it down.  It has very short chapters, which makes the reading experience slightly peculiar: at 85% of the way through the book, you’re on Chapter Sixty-Five.  I can’t remember reading a book that wasn’t disturbingly massive epic fantasy or sci-fi that has so many chapters before.  Considering I read it in lieu of watching the movie, I’m now very confused about how they managed to make it a movie in the first place.

Misc

  • Bad cellphone photo of a drawing of a brown-haired dark elf in grey T-shirt and black suit jacket.My strawberry Shiba Inu is still only a head, so a fail on that front.
  • Sorry Marcus.  I drew and coloured Blake instead.
  • 38 and a half hours of day job instead.
  • Bonus round: I listened to a lot of indie music on Spotify too.  Technically for research, but I’ll always have a soft spot for it.  I tried listening to indie rock too, but whoever curated the Indie Rock Playlist has funny ideas about what’s indie: it contained, among others, The Hives, Franz Ferdinand and The Kaiser Chiefs.  Apparently to some people, indie means instead not American, which is depressing.
  • Bonus round part 2: figured out and fixed an issue with WordPress and cron jobs.  Basically, if you schedule posts and they keep missing their posting times, it’s because WordPress only runs a cron operation when someone visits your site.  If no one visits your site *cough* then it won’t run.  There are plugins to fix it, or you can get technical and fiddle with its specialised settings in cpanel.  As I’m lazy these days, I went for the plugin.  This post gets to be the guinea pig!
Goals 13-19 January

Creative Goals: 13 – 19 January 2020

The first week of this has been, unexpectedly, a success!  Admittedly I didn’t write enough goals to really stretch myself, but then, writing too many for the sake of it would be a demoralising waste of time, so it’s swings and roundabouts.

It’s hard to achieve a work-life balance sometimes when work is constantly shifting goalposts and life likes to bite me in the arse, so I think I’ll stick with the narrow goals and hope one day I can stretch to expansive, demanding ones that won’t then result in a breakdown. You’d think it wouldn’t take me so long to know my limitations, but there we go.  I’m not a fast learner.

This year I’m also going to try to remember to start adding content to Patreon again. It’s a bit difficult because I don’t think there’s really anything I can imagine anyone wanting to pay for, so I guess I’ll have to try to figure that out somehow.  I’d say it’ll be a challenge, but it’s not one I’m willing to add to the to-do list yet!


Writing

  • Finish the first chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story.
  • Start the second chapter of the Singer/Songwriter story (see what I’m doing there?).
  • Try to brainstorm some potential names rather than keep calling it ‘the Singer/Songwriter story’.

Reading

Short list again for the week.

  • Start The Ritual by Adam Nevill.  I’d wanted to see the film, since I like the actors in it, but apparently the book’s better (when isn’t it?) so I’ll read that first.

Misc

  • Finish felting the little strawberry Shiba Inu I started last week.  I’m not good at felting, but I really enjoy stabbing things repeatedly.
  • Actually draw a sketch of Marcus this week.
  • 26.5 hours of day job this week.  We’ll see what that looks like by next Sunday.

See?  Straightforward.

Hopefully.

Accountability 6-12 January 2020

Accountability: 6 – 12 January 2020

Sketch by Pax Asteriae of dark elf Blake

One of the joys of writing modern fantasy is the things my characters complain about. Milos occasionally rails against R. A. Salvatore books (though not by name); Blake has just informed me he doesn’t think ljusalfa really count as a minority because, thanks to Tolkien, everyone fawns over them. He says Tolkien clearly was hanging around places he shouldn’t in an unsavoury manner.

As you may be able to guess, my Singer/Songwriter characters have named themselves. Blake (pictured right) is the songwriter dokkalfa; Marcus is the singer ljusalfa. I disagree with both names, but then, I disagreed with Milos’s too and look where that got me. At least I got my way over his surname, but who even knows what his original surname would’ve been if his parents hadn’t moved to London?

It’s my first week of accountability, so let’s see how things went…


Writing

  • I finished and posted the short story I wrote for Story-Bat’s Secret Scribble Santa.  It’s called Wintertide Gifts and, thankfully, the recipient seemed happy with it.  (It’s also straight, which was very odd to write; kept writing ‘him’ instead of ‘her’ and luckily only failed to catch it once, so thanks to site owner Ashielf for the read-through!)
  • I’ve not finished the beat sheet for the Singer/Songwriter story, but I transcribed my notes into Scrivener and arranged them into where they should be for the beat sheet, which has given me a road map to around 1/3 of the story as well as helped me figure out what the overreaching arc needs to be.
  • Bonus round!  I’ve started on the first chapter!  Life being what it is, actually being able to write it has proven difficult — I think I used up my supply of luck getting the gift story finished to be honest — but at least I’ve started.  I’m currently 1,341 words into it (and Marcus has upset Blake already).

Reading

  • Finished Into The Deep and very much enjoyed it. I’m not often a pirate fiction fan for some reason, but the relationship between hapless Lamark and Yuvie the merman was adorable. I haven’t settled on what to read next.  Probably one of the ones I started and then put down last year.

Misc

  • Xmas decorations down!  It took, as expected, quite a long time… and then they had to be packed and stacked into the garage.  Seem to have accumulated two extra boxes of them somehow…!
  • Sketch a picture of Marcus.  Nope.  But I do keep looking at my sketch of Blake and being amused.  I may enjoy drawing grumpy dokkalfa more than I ought.
  • I’ve done very little gaming.  I started playing Breath of the Wild on the Switch, but again it’s not something I got uninterrupted time for.  But I started, which is more than I expected.
  • Finished up with 43 hours of work.

Goals for next week coming tomorrow!

Goals 6-12 January - image by Simone Hutsch on Unsplash

Creative Goals: 6 – 12 January 2020

I’m going to try something different this year: accountability posts for projects I’m working on.  I’ll post a new one for the week each Monday, and each Sunday I’ll compare what I’ve done with what I’d hoped to achieve.

Now, this should be a fascinating experience, not just because executive dysfunction is a bitch to work with, but also because my work schedule will wander off at any given point with either no warning or next-to-no warning, which makes planning things difficult.

Still, we won’t know if we don’t try, right?


Writing

  • Finish a short story I’m doing for the xmas story exchange at Story-Bat.  Seems a bit late, you say?  I didn’t sign up to the exchange myself, but someone else hasn’t received a story so I’m trying to step in.
  • Finish the beat sheet for The Singer & The Songwriter, the currently lacklustre title of a Radialverse story about a ljusalfa pop-rock singer whose label introduces him to a grumpy dokkalfa songwriter — and then springs on them both that they’ve now got to pretend to be engaged, to boost both their profiles.  I’m using the excellent Romancing The Beat by Gwen Hayes.
  • Bonus round! Write the first chapter of The Singer & The Songwriter.  This one is a distinct MAYBE.

As an aside, lacklustre titles are dangerous.  Any title is dangerous, because familiarity can make it hard to shift…


Reading

Short list, this one.

  • Finish reading Into The Deep by Amara Lynn, which I’m 21% of the way through right now.

Misc

  • Take down xmas decorations. This has to be done today, and it took me several hours to put them up without any help at all. Taking them down, which I’ve already started (and been doing for a couple of hours; still not completed) is proving painful.
  • If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll find the time to sketch a picture of Ljusalfa Singer that I don’t absolutely loathe.
  • If I’m really lucky, I’ll get undisturbed time to play a video game! Like Death Stranding I’ve had since launch, or Anthem, or Borderlands 3.  Or pretty much any of my Switch games, only one of which I’ve played, or…  *sigh*
  • 41 hours of day job this week.  Possibly more later in the week, there’s no way of knowing: last night the 7th was a 1-and-a-half hour working day.  This morning it’s an 8-and-a-half hour working day.  See?  No way of knowing.  *wiggles fingers*  As an aside, that could have very easily completely fucked up my food delivery also coming on the 7th — which I have to have delivered, because these regular short-notice changes to my schedule stopped me from having the time to go and do it in person.

So we will see how this week goes, and how this accountability thing goes, and how the short-notice-day-job thing goes.  Even if I am a little miffed that my nice writing day tomorrow is now a less-nice but better-paid incessant-working day, here’s keeping my fingers crossed for a productive week.

And at least I’ll no longer finish work at 9pm!

Image of the word 2020 on a wooden board surrounded by stars. Image by Jamie Street.

New Year, New Site

I realised last year that I was finally outgrowing Weebly (while I was trying to make the site do something it wasn’t designed for, sooo…) and needed to move to a WordPress environment.  I had a look around at the recommended hosts, decided paying £120/year for a site when I make less than a tenth of that by selling books was lunacy, and went with Namecheap, who I already host the Notts NaNo site on, ~£30 being infinitely better than £120 etc.

Annnnnd then spent a day failing to get anything done because I’d had to do something initially that the site then didn’t like, borked the site totally and in the end had to contact support to get help. (Thanks Nina from Namecheap, you were really helpful – and patient!)  Now – when I have time, at least – I can work on getting the things onto the site I’d originally wanted.

And sort out the colour scheme a bit.  It’s a little… academic-looking.

Had fun getting the free ebooks on, mind (both Rescuing The Princess and The Solstice, the New Year’s one that took bloody forever)!  WordPress does not like odd file formats, but that’s why there’s a cpanel and file access.  Might need to let me know if they stop working though, since it was a sneaky-sneaky way of doing it.

I’ve not got much to say today to be honest.  Debating whether to copy across old blog posts or not.  I suppose… new year, fresh start?  Let’s try to make it better than last year!

Happy new year, everyone.  Here’s to the Roaring 20s!

#aNovelRomance Prompts – Alex & Milos

I did the #aNovelRomance interview prompts on Twitter with Alex and Milos for quite a while, and these can be found beneath the Read More on the bottom... not least because they really do like to argue.  Even within the constraints of Twitter, they became quite long and these have been edited for clarity, so slightly longer still.  Also I recommend checking out the hashtag: the characters people share are so varied and interesting!