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I know a lot of people don’t seem to like Mondays, but I used to hang out online with author Julie E. Czerneda, and she’d get really, really excited about Mondays. Mondays were the day she got to go back to work, and she loved, loved, loved her job. I’m not sure I’m quite up for getting that excited — for one thing, I’m operating on a very limited energy budget here. Excitement is exhausting. But I do like Mondays.

Mondays are my “start over” day. I’ve learned to limit quantity goals to one week, and if I don’t make the goal in that week I don’t carry over the deficit. I start fresh each new week with a new chance to get it done right this time. Monday is probably the best day for me to assign myself to do something I really, really want to get done once a week. (Although it wouldn’t have worked last week, because last week I slept all day Monday. I do not know why I slept all day Monday, but assigning myself to do something wouldn’t have worked, because I never woke up enough to even care about what I was or wasn’t getting done.)

After getting past that sleepy Monday, I spent last week working on something that only resembled writing, rather than actual writing. (My husband seemed to think it pretty much counted, anyway, perhaps I should believe him.) I was creating ebooks. I started because I finally got around to acquiring a copy the transcription my daughter made of a Regency Romance Novella I wrote when I was eighteen. And then, of course, I had to go over the manuscript to see if there were transcription errors (possibly an almost-pointless enterprise given my general inability to see typographical errors, but I did catch a few), and having done that I figured I would just transfer the file over to ebook format, why not?

When I opened up the app in which I edit my ebooks, I discovered I was in the middle of making an ebook version of the script for Compelled. (Yes, script. Compelled is a story that I think wants to be a graphic novel… okay, to be honest, I think it wants to be a movie. Getting a graphic novel seems more potentially possible (I have done it before once), so I wrote a script for a graphic novel, and until I get my energy back and actually get to become the workaholic I always wanted to be, or someone volunteers to do the illustrations on spec, or I inherit a lot of money, I’m stuck at that point.) I can no longer remember why I wanted to ebook-ize a graphic novel script. But whatever — the ebook was sitting there half-finished, so I finished it. The ebook I originally meant to be making isn’t quite done yet. But almost!

I also discovered how to solve the mysterious problem of suddenly my new eBooks not having their cover images used for the thumbnails in iBooks anymore. Fixing this involved including a property tag I had never included before – rather than doing something I had recently been forgetting to do. So although all my books now have their cover images showing properly when I view the “by me” shelf, I’m still a bit boggled as to why the older books have them when they don’t have the property tag that is apparently now required. Apple must have changed its protocol for creating thumbnails — but the older thumbnails created using the former protocol still work? Something like that.

Also last week I tatted some more bookmarks. (Mental note to self, must email the friend I sorta offered a bookmark to, and make sure I have her latest address.) I have also been toying with the notion that the obvious solution to the problem of tatted bracelets pulling out of shape and stretching while being worn, is to sew them to a ribbon. This brilliant notion came to me while I was finishing some tatted barrettes, for which I have been using ribbon to cover up the metal bits so that they look better. (I will post a picture as soon as I get them taken and uploaded.)

Having come up with the idea, I will now undoubtedly end up making a few ribbon and tatting bracelets, even though I really have no use whatsoever for them. ::rueful:: I do need to figure out how they will be fastened together, though. Buttons are not so ideal for ribbon (where I would need to actually MAKE the buttonholes) as for tatting (where holes are a naturally occurring feature.)

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That is to say, I got back from the ~3000 mile each way cartrip to get my eldest daughter married and my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary properly celebrated.

I’m not entirely sure I held up my end of things, but I tried.

And now, in theory, I will once again have time to do all those things I haven’t been getting done for the past four or five months, like participate in online discussions, update my website and write/edit books.

…The problem with theories is that they are so very theoretical.

But at least I’m home, with nothing worse having happened to me than getting robbed (I dropped my wallet, and when I got it back it was missing all the cash), being stopped by the cops (they issued a driving warning to our rookie driver temporarily filling in to give the two experienced drivers a break), throwing up (maybe the water at our first campsite disagreed with me?), discovering that fires had been banned at one of our campsites so we wouldn’t be able to cook dinner, and mostly loosing my voice and so having to transpose the song I wrote for my parents down four notes before I could perform it which infuriated my accompanist.

That’s probably about par for 6000 miles, right?

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So I was taking my usual evening walk with my husband, and he knew I had been working on a history for my Cultivator Universe, and he was curious about my “squid aliens” and how far along my technical advancement track I was going to let them go (I had already told him that my “squid alien” civilizations didn’t achieve spaceflight before they were discovered by other people who had).

I admitted that I hadn’t even figured out how squid aliens could achieve written language yet, and then dove right into figuring out how they might do so, with my husband valiantly holding up his end as sounding board and alternate outlook. We wandered through a possible system for representing their language physically, discussed clay tablets, and about the time I started wondering what materials would be available to act as the frame for a moveable-type system, he told me his brain had gone into overload… “I was just asking a question!”

And I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t help it — my brain just works like that.”

“Yeah,” he answered. “I know.”

For me it was a bit of relief, though. It means I am pretty much back to normal, after over a month of “feeling awful and not able to get anything done,” followed by another month of rebuilding of my mental and physical endurance. Bleh.

I’m doing much better now, and should be in good enough shape to get back on my “regular” schedule. (Sans singing, alas, because I’ve been perpetually stuffed up since New Years.)

And in the eye-candy department…

As I said I have been working on a history, and that means I needed a map… only it’s the history of something that calls itself a Galactic Empire. So, map, yeah…

This is the “terrain” map I ended up drawing.

Pretty, yes?

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When transcribing someone’s Juvenilia, should one preserve the spelling errors, or not?

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Green Card

May. 7th, 2014 08:24 pm
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I got my new permanent resident card in the mail today. It was actually green–unlike my first “green card”, which was pink, and my second one, which was pale yellow. It also came with a pamphlet welcoming me to the United States. That made me chuckle a bit — I’ve been here for more than twenty years! But I guess it’s more bother than it’s worth to sort out which cards are renewals, and which are actually new.

The pink card is still my favorite, though, and I still carry it around in my wallet. I like it, not because of the color, but because it officially and with all due legality declares that I am an alien. (In big bold letters across the top!) I like to use it to pick up my badge at science fiction conventions.

Speaking of which, I will be going to Marcon this weekend. (I just hope I can get everything I want to get done really soon finished tomorrow, because I’m sure to be sick for all of next week. That’s the price I pay for revelry.)

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A writer friend of mine, Ryk E. Spoor, (he has some cool space opera books out from Baen) is trying to kickstarter the funding for an Oz-based novel titled Polychrome. (I guess Baen wasn’t interested in that project.)

He says he’s reached nearly 90% with 19 days to go, so now’s a great time to jump in. You can fund at any level from $1 on up!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/420370544/polychrome-an-oz-based-novel

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I recently added the “Dance Pose” to my daily yoga/strength routine on WiiFit. I couldn’t actually do the dance pose at the time, but I figured I was more likely to get better at it by trying, than waiting for some mythical “better time”.

Today, for the first time, I got through the session without either dropping my foot grabbing something, or falling off my balance board. Woot!

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Happiness

Feb. 27th, 2014 01:39 pm
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I read an article once that claimed that happiness came from not the big good things that you know you have, but from small good things that pop up unexpectedly. I’m not entirely convinced. Being with my family makes me happy, but it’s not at all unexpected.

But there does seem to be an extra thrill when something nice happens “out of the blue”.

Yesterday I got an email from an online friend with a link, and a message to “scroll down, you’ll like it.”

The link lead to the blog of an author named Rachel Neumeier with whom I have no prior acquaintance. (Although, clearly I need to check out her books, since she shows excellent taste.) She was discussing the difficulty in finding “self-published gems” followed up by the revelation that she had actually managed to find one.

Three guesses as to what that “self-published gem” was?

Yep. Across a Jade Sea.

Happy me. :)

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Batteries

Feb. 24th, 2014 09:54 am
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My morning workout yesterday ended up being MUCH longer than it was supposed to be, because my WiiFit balance board abruptly decided it needed more juice, and stopped working in the middle of my routine. So I ended up having to stop and wait for a recharge.

I think whoever cracks this portable power problem is going to get rich huge.

Ironically, this happened on a day when I was feeling pretty good, and didn’t need a break at all. Today, I was getting seriously dizzy by the end of my routine. Having a break in the middle to recharge probably would have done me good.

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The question seems to be being asked everywhere, but answering it always feels like I’m raining on someone’s parade, so I guess I’ll answer it in my own space instead of theirs: No, I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo.

The only possible benefit I could see it having for me, is that it would prevent me from feeling quite so lonely, when the activity on most of the online communities I participate in goes down to almost nothing for the entire month. That never seems to me like a good enough reason to sign up.

Instead, I’m going to hope that my health will be sufficiently good to allow me to be too busy to care that there’s nobody around to talk to. ::crosses fingers::

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I just got my very first ever cordless phone.

At this rate, I’ll get my first cell-phone in… twenty years?

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My husband’s website just made it’s first sale, and there is now a bought and paid for copy of my space pirate graphic novel out there somewhere. I hope it found a good home.

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Serendipity's Tide Cover Draft One

This is some cover art we are considering for one of my stories, which my husband has decided he wants to try publishing. He notes that it does not match the current trends in cover designs. So, will it attract the right kind of audience for the story inside? Will it attract anyone at all? Should we dump this approach and go for something a little more fashionable? Should we keep it, but maybe fix a few things… and if so, what? (If you left click on it and load it in another window, you can get a slightly larger version.)

Here’s the whole wrap around image without the text:
Serendipity's Tide Full Cover Draft One

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My laptop choked on two more CDs today. I guess I was just lucky that it would read the one I used to transfer my new Cat Faber album over with.

I guess I need to stick with digital downloads until I can afford a new drive. :(

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Google says I should send them a sitemap. I tried using an automatic sitemap builder, and it ran all day without getting anywhere so I shut it down. My site just isn’t very crawlable. That’s why Google could use to have a site-map in the first place.

But there is no way I’m going to try build and maintain a site-map by hand. My site has: 2 Webcomics up for betareaders, at 140 pages, and 302 pages each plus indexes. There’s two short stories and three novel samples… I don’t even know how many pages that involves. I have two perpetual calendars (lets count that as 2, not infinity X 2, shall we?), 4 writing tutorials, 20 pages of “Extras”, like character interviews, art galleries, and card game instructions, plus 6 more activity aka “Fun” pages: two card games that can be played online, a mad-libs story game, a personality quiz, horoscopes, and a space pirate “paperdoll”.

There are 53 Information pages, 7 home pages — one for the site and one for each of the story world sections, and an additional 27 pages that list characters, or stories, or other pages. Plus a page for every character I’ve added to my character database… that’s 349 pages. And a page for about a third of my images… that’s fifty or so. And a page for every song/poem, that’s over 80 more. If you want to push the point you could say that there is a page for every location in the database (256), but only a handful of them have actual descriptions, so perhaps we should just mention that the computer generated location pages can display locations on 12 different maps.

I think we’re at around a thousand pages, and we haven’t even got to the blog yet.

I probably need to build my own automatic sitemap creator that can use my database files to build the sitemap instead of trying to crawl the site itself. Yet another thing to go on the to do list, I guess.

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Blogfest!

Jul. 21st, 2012 07:11 pm
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So my daughter Azure told me she wanted a blog. Naturally I set her up a blog. (It’s nice to feel like I’m actually doing something for someone else, instead of the other way around.) And her sister Lisandra thought that Azure’s blog was pretty darn cool, so I offered to make her a blog too. And then Alloria asked me, “If I had a blog, would it be able to do…” Well of course I could do that!

You can check their blogs out at http://azure.aircastle.org http://lisandra.aircastle.org and http://alloria.aircastle.org or, if chasing around to everyone’s own site is too much bother, you can follow all three blogs at once (and my blog as well) at http://family.chaoscircle.com

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