Chores

Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:39
partlyopenbook: (wolf)
All of my chores are done -- and before 11 AM!

//Smashwords//

The (very minor) epub errors of The Hero and the Holly have been repaired. The new file is already on the site. The only thing that appeared to be wrong with it was a mishap with the NCX ToC... I forgot to make one of the hidden bookmarks carry the prefix "ref_" ... and that hurt the little NCX's brain. So I fixed that, and added in my own ToC.

Also mentioned in my Smashwords profile that I'm available for these services: story editing, Smashwords manuscript prep, book cover design, and private story commissions.


//Learning//

The other day, I was browsing ebooks, as I do, and I came across one called BOUND, by Kate Sparks. I haven't read it or anything (it's on my Wish List), but one of the things that struck me was its synopsis.

If you want to learn how to write a really good book synopsis, study this one. It has a good beginning hook. It's concise. It hones in on the important parts of the novel and makes them seem even more important.

It's one of the best synopses I've read. I'm studying it. Everyone should.

Well. On that note...

I'm off to start editing my newly finished story! If you hear a continuous and rhythmic THUMPTHUMP... that's just me banging my head against the desk... I'll have to keep track of the number of preposition errors I fix. If there's a typo, it's usually a preposition. My other common error is an improper verb ending!

Eleven.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 22:08
partlyopenbook: (strong)
I didn't sleep well last night.

No, really, there's a story behind this. Well, I'm a writer: Isn't everything a story? 

As some might know, the Australian Open is airing now... Last night, I left the TV on, and eventually wandered into Snoozeville around 11 PM. A little while later, the blaring Emergency Broadcast System alarm wakes me up! At 2:43 AM! I don't know what it came on for... I couldn't read it because the screen was really bright, and even my best Cyclopes imitation didn't help. -.O I hope whatever it was, it wasn't anything too terrible.

And I was up for another couple of hours after that.

Then I woke up late. With the kind of headache that tells me "Hey, you didn't sleep well!" 
You know the kind of headache I mean...

I didn't think I'd get any writing done at all. Since I was at the climax of The Pickled Pirate, I wanted to give writing a try.

About four hours and seven thousand words later... I finished it. The whole story. It didn't take as much work to complete it as I thought it would... So, The Pickled Pirate (or, the story with the new super-secret title) is finished! Parts of it will need to be rewritten. It will need intense editing. But it's finished. Right now, it's about 71,000 words long.

Earlier today, prior to the afternoon writing binge, I wrote out vague plots for four more stories. One is a sequel to a short (80K or so) novel I finished a couple of years ago. The other three are plot outlines for more mysteries featuring the characters in the story I just finished!

I'll probably take a break for a couple of days... The next thing I want to do is finish After Dan & Steve Saved the World.

There's definitely something I'm forgetting to say.

partlyopenbook: Not me. :) (Default)
//Writing//

The Pickled Pirate is still a work-in-progress. It's now over 50,000 words in length. I've been working very hard on it... Nearing the end, however, but now I kind of wish I had the solid ambition to make a series out of it. Maybe it will be, one day! 

Also, the story has a new title. The title will be a secret until ... until it isn't a secret anymore! (Evil cackle here.)


//Writing Coincidence//

One of my favorite things in life are those potholes of space and time and words I call A Writing Coincidence. In which I will write something, somehow slip into a Jungian consciousness in which I know things that all others know, whether they're dead or alive, and it will appear in my story. This has happened before. There's even a tag for it on this journal.

The Pickled Pirate takes place in May, 1931 in Toronto, Canada. While writing yesterday, which I figured was about the 31st of May in the story, the characters kept complaining about how hot it was. Edmond, the protagonist, said to his boss, "It's unseasonably warm." Meanwhile, all our wee constable Edmond wants to do is get out of his uniform to stop the unfortunate but natural occurrence of ass-sweat (poor Edmond). Or stick his feet in Lake Ontario...

So I wondered... Was it really that hot in Toronto in May, 1931?

Yes. Yes, it was.

According to the weather archives, which I accessed using this site, on May 28th and 29th of 1931, it was 28.9C (about 84F) degrees both days. On the 30th and 31st, the temperature returned to a more comfortable and average 17.8C and 19.4C.

That's pretty interesting. I say, stroking my somewhat imaginary goatee.

What's even more interesting is that two days before in the story, it'd rained a little. According to the archives, it rained a little two days before. And it was foggy one evening, but fog isn't mentioned in the archives... We will never know if it was!

I'm more accurate at predicting the weather in 1931 than I am the proper dates in my story, it seems. I might have to make some edits so it ties together well! 

Whenever I write historical stories, I always try to use proper dates. For instance, I say in the story that May 26, 1931 is a Tuesday: I will check and make sure that May 26, 1931 was, in fact, a Tuesday. It was. (Not that I'm implying I'm the only one who does this, or that I am, to borrow from Snape, "an insufferable know-it-all...")

I try to do this with weather, too. This might stem from the fact that I'm a weather nerd. Or it's a druid thing, IDK... Or both!

If you ever read The Information Man, you'll see that they argue a little about the uncertainty of Thanksgiving. Even in Canada, like their southern neighbor the USA, they hadn't decided on a proper date for Thanksgiving.

I've also noticed lately that, when I'm writing (like actually sitting down for hours and working on something), I tend to look up a bit of research about six times during that writing span. It might be anything. A word. Whether Sweden was in World War I (no, they weren't). What color of fedora was popular in 1931 (Detective Ferris's is "fawn" colored). But, yeah, I'll have about six items of research on any given writing day...

If I finally do finish The Pickled Pirate after months of working on it, we should all give our silent thanks to Misha Collins, who plays an impeccable Detective Ferris in my head. Before that started, I was really struggling to get a grip on the characters...

What...?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015 17:30
partlyopenbook: (facepalm)
How did I not know this? How has it been almost a year two years, and I didn't know this? 

Granted, February of 2013 was not a time that I was exceptionally in touch with what else was going on with the world, outside of my family's woes. So, there's that excuse.

But still...

I will have to read her other series, the Dame Frevisse, and Joliffe mysteries... I've only read The Needlecraft Mysteries. Except the last one, the (now I think ironically-titled) And Then You Dye...

This sad post needs to end with a Quokka.

partlyopenbook: CKR (act)
//Personal//

It wasn't until I started spending so much time with Dr. Drosselmeier that I noticed how Manly I actually am. This is not something I remembered about myself.

People tend to be tricked into thinking I'm an Absolute Femme by the way I look. Parts of me are very ladylike. It isn't until they start to know me better that they realize they've been duped into thinking I'm All Girl. Because I don't hide my subtle masculinity very well. I just act how I would normally act.

And there's something more about being manly than knowing my favorite Saturday morning includes Barclay's (preferably Swansea kicking someone's butt.. MC? MU? Oh, I know, CHELSEA.) then a trip to a bookstore that doesn't really need our business... then an out-of-the-way coffeehouse that I'm not really pretty or studious enough to be vising... and, later, hockey and pizza. No beer, though. I draw the manliness at beer. But a half of Guinness on tap, I wouldn't say no. Only once in a while. Like Bank Holidays, otherwise it's too much, too indulgent, and, let's face it: I don't exercise enough to warrant consuming masses of pizza and Guinness.


//Writing//

Taking a couple of days off from writing... Did not have a great day yesterday, and today I've not been concerned with much besides reading and a load of laundry. Some of yesterday's heaviness remains. I'll be better tomorrow.

But here's the 411 on The Pickled Pirate, in case anyone's reading this and wants to know...

The Pickled Pirate is now almost 30,000 words long. It's become its own entity. I'm going to scrap the whole idea I had earlier, of including four other pirate-themed stories with the release. Instead, I don't know what will become of The Pickled Pirate. I'll work on that.

For now, I have to finish it, and edit it. The fun thing about writing mysteries is gaining clues as you go on, then going back and remembering all the things you have to fix (continuity), or the bits you should add in so the whole ending isn't quite a stunner, or the ending won't make as much sense if you go back and reread the story a second (third, fourth) time. It's true what I read once, that essentially you're writing your mystery story backwards: crime, killer, clues -- these come first. Then you gel it together with word epoxy (in a well-ventilated room). And hope it works.

Mysteries take longer to write than rom-coms. You blink: your rom-com is done! Mysteries linger, like a garlic-heavy dinner.

As usual, when I approach the end of a story, my writing slows to a turtle's crawl. (That's okay: I like turtles.) So it takes me a little longer. Until I write epilogues. Then I can write 10K in one day, and not think much of all that work... Although I have the rest of the scenes scribbled down in a wee notebook I have next to the computer for such a purpose. That helps. There are seven or eight, not including all the Invisible Scenes that always creep up without warning...

I could just make a cup of tea, and go to work for a little while...

It occurs to me that I never mentioned The Hero and the Holly's epub-check failure: the re-do progress. Yeah, since I forgot to mention it, you can probably tell it's not big on my list of priorities. (Wait. Priorities? At this point, I nod and smile.) There are no pending "tickets" from retailers, so whatever is wrong with the file isn't something dreadful... I will get to it eventually.

Since I made my other books 0.99¢ no one has downloaded or purchased a single one! Haha!

Oh moneyed society, oh commerce, how you do bridge the gap between predictability and amusement, so, so well...

THH Failure.

Saturday, 3 January 2015 09:13
partlyopenbook: (facepalm)
It looks like The Hero and the Holly failed its Epub Check, which is some industry-standard test of epub awesomeness. The story's been released a week, and after 100+ downloads, "They" finally get around to telling me that it didn't pass the Check! 

I looked at the Kindle file. It was okay. Not super, but everything worked and it had that lovely Kindle-format flair (slight sarcasm: Kindle likes to add extra spaces at the beginning of chapters). I haven't looked at the epub file yet. Sorry if anyone downloaded it and found it unreadable (though I doubt this is the case).

Since a failed epub check keeps the book from being distributed in the "Premium Catalog" I'm not in a big hurry to fix it. You only get in the Premium Catalog if you sell thousands of books on Smashwords... That's what I remember reading, anyway. Considering that the book will remain free for an indefinite (infinite) period of time, I don't see Premium Catalog in its future.

But I will fix it... eventually. It's hard for me to forget that there's something wrong with it, and then just leave it... Maybe by tomorrow, I'll have some time. Today, however, is going to be a bit crowded!

Again, apologies to anyone who's found the epub file (and only the epub file) of The Hero and the Holly incomprehensible. I will fix it!

By the end of Sunday, it will probably be repaired. And by the end of Sunday, all of my books except The Hero and the Holly will cost 0.99 cents (USD). So get them today while they don't cost you a thing, besides some exertion in your mouse-click finger.

For now, I offer a link to this Dr. Who gif that explains, in a visual manner, everything going on with me, but for copyright reasons it cannot be put on my journal. Thank you, and please continue having a splendid day!

Big Toronto.

Friday, 2 January 2015 15:18
partlyopenbook: pinkie pie pony leaps into frame (happy)
 I've spent the last couple of days working hard on The Pickled Pirate. It's coming along nicely. How relieving it is to a person's conscience when she knows she can achieve what she wants with a bit of hard work. It is so easy to fall into the dreamless patterns of laziness and indolence. Not this time, though. 

The Pickled Pirate takes place in Toronto, circa 1930. I've found a couple of lovely old Toronto maps on the Internwebs, which I have cherished and have used as a desktop wallpaper to keep me inspired (as if this is tricky to do). As I mentioned in a previous entry, The Pickled Pirate is closely associated with The Information Man, another novella of mine released last summer. Oswald and Rex Malin, the Malin brothers, are in The Pickled Pirate, though chiefly that role is reserved for Oswald. His superpower-infused brother makes a cameo later on. 

Spending all this time in the Toronto of my head, it is quite lovely that I am attending the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild Game this evening! By 1930, the Leafs were already an established team in the NHL (formerly of the OPHL, 1906-1909). They wouldn't move into old Maple Leaf Gardens until the following year, November of 1931. 

[Sidebar] I've never heard anyone talk about Maple Leaf Gardens without first adding "old" in front of it, like it's an article, a title, a prefix... like those granted to tribal leaders of ancient days. [/Sidebar]

But, er... I won't be rooting for the Leafs tonight. Unless the game is hopelessly one-sided, in favor of the Wild, then I will root for them, as I would root for competition and fair play no matter what. 

The Pickled Pirate, if it continues to go well and the Muses keep feasting, will be completed sooner than I thought, though it appears as though it is going to be much longer than first supposed. It's already 18,100 words.

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