Donation time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 07:53
partlyopenbook: a raccoon looks like it's clapping (yay)
A little while ago, I received payment from my books sold at Smashwords. It was $4.25, if you want to know. If you don't make enough money (I think it's $10) a quarter, they send you your earnings every couple of years, or something like that. 

But, as promised, I will make a donation to the local Animal Humane Society. Probably in the amount of $10, though the minimum is $5, I believe.

I got a new cat from them on December 27th, too, along with purchasing a few items (like kitty toys), so I've been a patron of theirs for a while. Even going back to when I got my other kitty in November of 2015.

The significant other and I also donated a stack of old bath towels, and they were happy to have those! 

Thank you to everyone who purchased my stories and made the donation possible!

***

I'm working on a new novel. It just passed 40,000 words yesterday! As of now, it's called The Buried Cellar, and it's a continuance of a previous manuscript originally finished in, I don't know, 2010 maybe. 

I'm still looking for submission calls that interest me, but mostly just want to work on The Buried Cellar... Someone asked me the other day how many books I'd written, and I honestly don't know at this point. Eleven? Twelve? Two of them I want to rewrite, at least one of them entirely, and the other one needs a new opening (at the very least). There's another one that I want to finish, that I put on hold when I encountered a plot-point issue that has been resolved. 

Over the course of the last two years, it's taken me a long time to feel like a writer again. While I wrote a bunch of short stories for submission calls in the summer of 2015, none was accepted (at least one came very close). Then I didn't write much of anything for over a year. I think I wrote two short stories for submission calls in the spring of 2016, but never sent them in. Both of them I would like to turn into short(!) novels that could probably be written pretty quickly. (Both are set in Canada: one in Ontario, one in Alberta. Again continuing the tradition that I can't write anything unless it's set in Canada or Ohio. The one that is set in Alberta I could easily move to another location.) Writing was always a part of my life, though (since I was seven), and eventually it'd squeeze it's way back into my everyday life. 

The importance of writing started its strong resurgence after I settled into my new place in November [2016]. I had my own office, and I thought that would be helpful, but it's actually really cold and uncomfortable down there so I started scouting for another location. It wound up being the back part of the kitchen, and an old aluminium camp table that belonged to my SO's grandparents. I'm next to a window, with a fine view of the side of the neighbor's house, and another window to the front of me that looks at the garage and the fence where the little sparrows conglomerate on cold Minnesota mornings... I'm also surrounded by plants. There's a jug plant, a giant peace lily, a variegated palm of some sort, donkey tails and other succulents, another peace lily, a spider plant, something that we're trying to root (it's doing very well actually), and, of course, the rhododendron that I brought from my former home. It's doing far better than I thought it would, with plenty of new growth after it sprouted three sets of flowers. I'm still typing on an old Dell (they're not even made anymore), because the keyboard is the best for pounding out thousands of words a day. I have a mug-warmer, a magazine rack that holds notebooks (full notes), my headphones, and a container with miscellaneous office-like items in it. I'm using a rectangular space roughly 4 ft by 3 ft, which includes the space for my chair. 

Ah, my chair. My chair goes with the old 1950's table, and while it is not the most comfortable of chairs (the back is low), it keeps me awake and keeps my legs comfortable. 

But with three cats and a dog, sometimes it's really hard to sit still for hours on end while writing: there's always something going on. 

At the moment, it's quiet. The dog is outside. The cats are sleeping. And, traditionally, plants don't make much noise. 

I've also taken up writing by hand, which I can do while I'm not at home. When I first started on the mission of "Okay, I can write by hand when it's slow at work," I really thought it'd be ridiculous and it wouldn't take at all. Quite the opposite. Writing by hand, with your favorite pen in a nice, old notebook already littered and wrinkly with notes, definitely has its appeals, and it's very calming. There's no stress when you write by hand. I can stop, do some work if necessary, and go back to it without feeling the jam of any creative flow, even without caring whether there is such a thing as "creative flow." I just pick up the pen and go. The only time I have trouble is when I'm tired, and, of course, when it's really busy. Even yesterday, on a day off from work, I thought about writing by hand rather than typing what I've written in the notebook. If you have trouble keeping on task when composing at a computer, writing by hand would be a really good option--at least give it a shot. 

Someday, I'd like to create a new dot-com, but not just yet. I'm still getting used to writing again, and I don't want to take on too much. I've thought of taking my stories off Smashwords entirely and just starting over. I don't receive very many downloads for my free books, about one a month, and no one's paid for my two .99-cent books in ages. Then again, it's hard to just discard all the work that went into creating those ebooks--and it is a lot of work. All you have to do is breeze through the Smashwords Style Guide to know it's a lot of work. So, for now, they're still available. I don't even know if anyone reads this journal. By this entry, you know that I was pretty sure, at that point, that I really wouldn't write commercially again, or have any kind of writing life on the internet. I'm not really interested in marketing myself at the moment, but I still have my goodreads account, and I've started looking at submission calls again. I've thought about throwing together another book of short stories (rejects or unsent stories through the years), but I think I'd like to release it through Amazon instead, probably under a different pseudonym. Using Amazon would be an interesting challenge for me. I've already done the Smashwords thing. Mostly, though, I'm all right with staying off the internet except for research, and just keep writing books even if no one ever reads them or they never get published. 

It's a tough world out there, which is exactly why I started writing again in the first place. I've borrowed my life from Nietzsche:

We have art so that we shall not die of reality. 
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
I can hardly write in a notebook-shaped journal anymore. It isn't that I'm disinterested in journaling, just not interested in writing in a notebook. I mean to, even pick it up and fill out the date, the time, the cycle day, etc... Then, inevitably, the first sentence often sees me wondering why I am bothering to write in there at all. Why bother writing in there at all?

It's occurred to me that the abhorrence for notebook-journaling has been born from a repugnance to a time when writing in a journal was far more comforting... back at the days I spent at home... and I don't want to think about any of that, or think about it as little as possible, to keep the sting from my eyes and the distressful, tight pinches around my heart. It's very hard to suffer a continuous broken heart, knowing that, in a way, I won't ever recover since the world is the world, filled with things, sights and smells and actions, constantly triggering reminders of home.

I do a lot to block away these things. Even when driving home these days, from work, I have the windows rolled up on nice days, with the air conditioning on. I try to pass it off as fighting off pollen and other airborne allergens, but me and my conscience are not so sufficiently self-denying. We know it has more to do with the whimsies of a spring day, the smell of sun-warmed viridescence, and the sound of a healthy breeze through baby leaves, or when that breeze is warm enough to feel that it's fully southern, baptized by the Kentucky and southern Indiana hillsides, warmed there, tumbling over itself, until it flits, against its will, into the flattened Miami Valley... where it stalls, stutters, and roars on to float upon Lake Erie... I close my windows and forget these things.

My life is not wholly rotten, anyway... There's a certain juvenescence that's returned to me. And by me, I mean, of course, the thoughts I have, the inspirations I feel. These are not meant to imply that I take actions to fulfill the inspirations, turning them, naturally, into motivations. I continue to sit more than I move. I work enough, hard enough and long enough, to want to sit, sit, sit for as long as I'm able. It's incredible how awful one's feet can feel the morning after standing around for seven and a half hours, give or take ten minutes. And how it isn't the bottoms of my feet that are sore and achy, but the joints of my ankles, as if the tendons and ligaments there have been stretched and pulled against the weight of bones, muscle, water, or against the tension of the job which ebbs and flows and beats against me like a fierce, incoming tide against rocks waiting patiently next to the sea. And it isn't a day or two of eight hours, but four or five days in a row at a place where I wish I had a clone, an effigy to take what I can't do or when I feel that I should be ripped apart for being ignorant of every detail, angry at myself for my ignorance, and wishing I could do something else far more peaceful, more solitary... to live again in my own head, be my own self, not drawn and quartered by an obsession for a job that I don't know how to do well enough to suppress speculation... Just a quiet, meaningless job.

I'm starting a new very part-time job this afternoon, a private gig to do computer-related admin. The informality of it pleases me. It'd be nice to have work to do that doesn't come with a list of common and hefty demands, and trying to remember a hundred things at once. There is no protocol but the standards of ethics, the common-sense variety of kindness and self-confidence that I've been implementing for ages.

I'm visiting with an old friend today, too. The visit will be shortened by part-time work, but that is the way it has to be... I'm looking forward to running about town with Jason, like the good old days, like 1997 but with wisdom and less hope for the future, less spasmodic reasoning, less convincing philosophy now that I know I can change my mind, alter my opinions, yet the rudimentary beliefs are housed in my core and have been nesting for two decades. I'm built of layers of myself: one year over another over another, and so forth, to my outer shell that's shallow but timid and fragile. I can see each layer's pattern, the created and etched integuments of every year... from the moldy inner sheath to the shimmer of newness surrounding me but not entirely a part of me, not yet...

It will be a nice day off from one job, a nice new start for a new job. The rest of the week will fly by, and I feel reasonably optimistic that it will get better. I'll find new jobs to apply for and something else to do... I'll figure things out that have been pressing their ugliness rancorously against me. Words will be written, paragraphs constructed, stories remembered and hopes remembered, dreams rekindled...


Reading
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, the Sea
Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway
Henry James - The Reverberator

Listening
Namnambulu - Trapped

Watching
Family Ties
CSI: Miami
Coffee Prince
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
I don't know about anyone else (no, really, I don't), but I'll be happy to see the last minutes of this year.

Granted, I realize that every moment contains its own RESET button. But 2014 wasn't very good to me, and at times it was hard to remember the RESET button existed.

There were a few good things about 2014. I released three "books" on Smashwords: The Information Man... Zandry of Bonewood... and my newest one, The Hero and the Holly.

I met some interesting people. Of course, now none of that really matters, since I moved back to The North Hole and left those interesting people behind. Which didn't seem to bother those people that much. C'est la vie!

I got a new (used) car. That in itself has been a mixed blessing. I love, love, love driving my car... but I hate that I've had to put $1400 into it since I bought it. In May. I hope it doesn't cost me nearly that much in repairs and maintenance in 2015.

I got away from some very bad people that were in my life. And it hurts to think that they're thinking the same about me....

Despite having only a couple of stories accepted and published by the professional writing world in 2014, I am still writing. During the upcoming year, my focus will stay on what I can accomplish. The last two years, I honed in on challenging myself as a writer. Whereas my inability to have erotica published might have seemed like a failure, to me it isn't quite so. I did write a lot of erotic tales, and I had a very good time doing it, too! That isn't a failure. Am I going to try again to have an erotic tale published? Probably not... I'm not closed-off to the idea altogether. Simply, there are other avenues to explore.

I have a few things that I want to finish up in 2015... like The Pickled Pirate.... and After Dan & Steve Saved the World. After that, my intention is to clean up my novel manuscripts and send them out to publishers using Ye Old Query Letter and Submission process. This upcoming year will be about that, and if I work on anything at all, I mean for it to be this sweeping, gargantuan epic that I've wanted to work on for years... Or (sigh) perhaps a couple of sequels. I have three ideas for sequels to stories I've already finished. At the very least, I could block them out, chapter by chapter, which is handy to have if a publisher is interested in Book The First, so I hear.

Largely, however, I've found that blocking books out doesn't work very well for me... I tend to get a bit tangential when I write. Or another idea hits me that makes the book more exciting for me to write! And that, that I like better than trying to stick to a pattern. Patterns tend to dull the senses after a while. Good some of the time, but not, for goodness sake, all of the time!

So, in 2015, I intend to finish my outstanding projects... The Pickled Pirate will probably be out sometime in February... depending on the amount of editing the volume requires. The titular tale isn't finished yet. The accompanying four short stories are in splendid shape and form, as far as I can tell, and the editing there will be minor, if it exists at all. But the release date depends on how quickly I can actualize the book itself, seeing as how I plan to release it using a different site. There will be new formatting rules to grasp. Always an adventure!

I plan to read more in 2015 than I did this year. Of course, this year was dangerous with dips into devilry, beleaguered by bandits and beasts of the metaphorical and allegorical sort—and I didn't have much time for reading. Since returning to The North Hole, I've felt relaxed enough to sink into books... now, of course, that all of my books were left behind me. Thank goodness for digital libraries and electronic reading devices (and my brother's personal library)...

In the upcoming days, I intend to start charging the minuscule fee of ¢0.99 for my books, except The Hero and the Holly. This includes all others, though: The Information Man, The Carols of Holly House, and Zandry of Bonewood (which is already listed for a price). I would like to try and make some money (please reread Paragraph 5), and, of course, free samples of those works will be available to read prior to purchasing. A lot of people don't want to pay for art, I know. If you don't want to pay for my books, there are plenty of other good stories that you can find for free, either on Smashwords, Project Gutenberg, Fiction Press, Archive of Our Own, or your local library... But a nice book, for less than a dollar? If I found a book at the thrift store that I really wanted, it would be ninety-nine cents there, too. Comparatively, my books are bargains, even if they're not very long. Please consider buying books for authors you like, whether it's me or Meg Cabot or Chris Colfer!

The upcoming year is far from mapped out. (See my sidebar on blocking books.) There are things I want to do, sure... Mostly, I just want to have a good time, have some fun, earn a bit of money from my stories, from hard work in the less fictionalized world (Real Life), and maintain an interest in my art without falling into crevices of heartache. Basically, I want to stick to my oldest of old new year's resolutions: Be happy, and try not to die.

Happy 2015 to everyone!

Autumn.

Friday, 10 October 2014 17:25
partlyopenbook: (bird)
Long time, no post... Things are better. Going to collect some wayward short stories into another collection. Release date TBD. As soon as I figure out if I can write the fifth and final addition to the collection...

In the meantime, enjoying what I can of the outdoors.

Waiting.

Saturday, 20 September 2014 20:49
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
The worst thing about finding a place to live is how awfully it's misunderstood by everyone else. They expect you to just find a place and move in an hour later. In actuality, a lot of it is just waiting for people to get back to you. It's a lot of waiting. Waiting... More waiting. And anxiety because you're not sure how long you can stay, if rent will go up, if heating bills over the winter will drive you back into the poorhouse, if you'll be able to afford food.

Still unofficially homeless. Staying at a hotel tonight and tomorrow night. Nice, fairly cheap, comfortable. A toad outside the access door, oddly comforting and very strangely Ohioan - just not sure how. I'd give you info to donate to my paypal account, but I have to figure out how that works first. Until that happens, please buy a book of mine. It doesn't even matter if you ever read it. Ninety-nine cents isn't a whole lot of money, but it's enough to make me feel better about myself. Smashwords doesn't pay until you get to $10.00 (I think that's how it works). I'm at 2-something.

At least I have a cause now. I mean, one greater than homeless animals (including horses). Now it's homeless people, too.

There's really nothing like having a home, a real one, one that's never-ending.
partlyopenbook: (hullo)
I've returned to the cottage after an unanticipated and extended hiatus. If I'd had more time to consider options, instead of just bolting out the door as I'd done in April, I would've spent a lovely month in Canada. Ah, well... Maybe next time!

Not much here at BDC (Breezy Day Cottage) has changed. The garden is ENORMOUS. If anyone wants any tomatoes, look no further...

Between exceptional heat and trying to get my writing life back on track, there has begun a great purge of every garret nook and every basement cranny. I'm not entirely sure how I wound up with so many clothes... or what half of this stuff actually is, besides junk. Perhaps useful to others, but, for myself, it's become junk. The sentimentality I often feel towards objects, once holding some significant or profound memory, has been forced into a cold oubliette.

Another purge was my from-seed, homegrown lavender plant. She was put in a place where she would be looked after, and received attention enough, where she'd been talked to and watered. Alas, she was neglected in the way of proper sunbeams: she'd been left in a place with inadequate light. I've cut off the dead stems and set her back in sunlight. It's possible that the roots might form new shoots with good attention. It's also possible that the new batch of seeds I planted will sprout. It's possible that neither of these things will happen.

Future posts will update you on this most interesting story!

I started writing a new novel the other day... then dutifully recalled that I'd left my Summervale rewrite hanging in the ether of Unfinished Projects. Yesterday morning, I wrote quite a bit in the rewrite. Originally, in the upcoming release of Zandry of Bonewood, I was going to have Summervale as the first story... I'll probably switch things up a bit, though. I still believe the rewrite is worth the time, but I also think it doesn't make a great opening story in a collection of short stories.

I've decided to devote September entirely to my writing. I say this as if I don't devote every month and every day to my writing... But last month was rather lost in the way of writing, aside from a five-day flurry of short story production. This month, I mean to get a lot more done, I mean to do what I can to reach a few goals, finish a few tasks.

Later edit... I have Last Time in Summervale put together in its entirety, minus sufficient editing. It looks as though it's going to top off around 13,000 words! Yikes! The original was about 9500 words! That's a difference of 3500 words!

Me, afraid?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 17:59
partlyopenbook: Fairy-winged child and gray wolf. (friendship)
Edit: My appointment is Friday, not tomorrow! That shows how nervous I've been about it, right? So I'll just repost this Thursday evening.

____

Perhaps there's nothing worse than going to the doctor when you know there's something wrong with you, but you don't know what that something is!

I'm going tomorrow morning. It'll be a great wonder if I sleep tonight. Maybe I'll hop on google chat in case anyone wants to pop round to say hi. I'll probably stay awake later than usual. I'm nervous. Very few people actually like going to the doctor!

What I'm working on now...

- submission for Hyacinth Noir's Beltaine 2014 issue... I don't know what the Noir Gnomies will think of this one! "Woohoo!" or "Yikes, Lore!" Time will tell. I also wanted to write an article, but I don't know if I'll have a chance...

- editing The Information Man... I'm still planning to release it April 22nd.

- trying to decide on a cover for The Information Man... I had one all picked out, but doubt if it really has anything to do with the story... although with the trend of book covers the last, oh, century or so, image association is so early nineteenth century, a mere trifling detail. But decisions will soon be made.

Well, I'll try not to be paranoid about tomorrow. I'm glad I only had to wait around a couple of days between making the doctor's appointment and going to the doctor's appointment, rather than waiting a whole week or two. This is about all I can stand!



My thanks to whoever made that gif. I don't have a source for it.

Sunday, 28 July 2013 18:41
partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
Getting a lot of work done following a bout of some sinus ailment.

Soon, I'll be starting edits for that book I finished a while back... and trying to finish up a manuscript I've been working on since 2010.

It's been a slow evening... I'm thinking I'll read the last few chapters of Northanger Abbey, then maybe a calm movie to wrap up the day. Tomorrow, plenty to do, phone calls to make, messages to send, and I want to begin again that book from 2010.

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