Category Archives: indie
The week was as exhausting as I’d feared, since all the extra hours in traffic meant late nights to make sure my day job deadlines didn’t zip past with no work completed. On the plus side, hubs got confirmation that he will be the opening act on June 5 for his good friends, The Grand Slambovians. That’s meant that when I am at home, I get to hear full-on rehearsals. I’m so proud I could burst; I got a sneak peek listen to the first song of his set tonight and love the direction he’s grown to be able to tell a non-maudlin love story via the metaphor of the Japanese word kintsukuroi. His music is very different from anything you hear on the radio–melodic, complex, yet beautiful with even just him singing with his guitar. You’re in for a treat if you show up to the concert (which you will if you consider yourself a friend).
At my day job, one of the things taking up my time is a class on leadership after regular work hours. It’s been developed in-house in conjunction with The Thayer Institute to review the work of Dr. Lee Thayer, whose theories about high-performing individuals and organizations form the basis of my company’s core principles. Some of his words read as coming from a privileged white male of a particular generation; on the other hand, his comments about DOING leading to BEING resonate strongly. What cracked me up, then, this week, was a blog post I found about management training. The spread between when people are trained versus when they assume leadership roles within their companies as highlighted in that post rang true for me in this case; the more-to-the-point advice about ensuring the people who are turning to you for leadership have context in which to ground their actions seems like the best management advice I’ve ever seen written. (Even though I’m still considering attending a different leadership class for PMP continuing education credit…) I may end up posting a review of The Competent Organization once class is over to encapsulate what I learn.
In other news, we’re coaxing our good habits back into the house: We walked 5 of 7 days this week for what my phone claims is a daily average of 1.26 miles–even though one of our 1.2-milers was not in the mix, so that’s a lower average than what we did. Still above goal though. For once. I also wrote four nights this week, adding another 550 words to The Builders. Not to plan, but getting back into the swing of things despite a lot of long days. Twice this week, too, my work obligations were opened up to include hubs–who therefore got to join me for game night (we got sucked into what we are told was an unusually long session of Fluxx–our game lasted over an hour, but was hugely fun) and for a talk by Chief Pitch about the experiences he outlines in the book I’ve linked to from his name. Not exactly our typical date nights, but I’m grateful my company encourages us to involve our families in what we do at the office, otherwise my schedule would have left me with only the bare minimum of time with hubs.
I’ve spent my weekend being almost completely non-productive. I read the Mercy Thompson book I had missed. And I will cop to having found an unusual puzzle game that has me entirely entranced: Secret Society. It’s been years since I lost a year to Myst, and I’ve been pretty careful to keep it that way… I seem to be making up for lost time now.
Interestingly, both of those games rely heavily on back story conveyed through text bubbles to give context to exploring immersive images. I guess I’m a sucker for a good story whatever format it’s in.
Otherwise, I still have some obligations to catch up on (I know I owe Kait a blog post, for instance). But this week should be more personally productive. In the meantime, consider checking out how the other ROW80ers are doing with their goals until I return to report again next week.
I anticipated that with friends staying for a visit I wouldn’t be very productive. I didn’t anticipate that the whole week would be lost in a black hole of time suck for all kinds of reasons–including driving all over creation in the midst of seriously insane fellow road warriors. It seems odd to me that in one trip I had both a 16-wheeler and a Mack truck try to run me over, and in another, two SUVs, one of which was tailgating the other, conspired to force me onto the shoulder rather than make room for me to merge after my lane abruptly ended.
Living in such a populous place makes for road crazy. It’s an exhaustion factor all by itself.
This week I’ll be driving all over creation again: Twice to my company’s headquarters in Maryland in one week. I’m hoping last week’s experiences have given me at least something like a temporary immunity to the vehicular madness.
On the other hand, since my visitors were also bookworms, I’ve been on a reading kick. Last night I stayed up until the wee hours to finish the latest Mercy Thompson installment, even after I realized several chapters in that (oh! The horror!) I had missed buying (and reading) book 8 in the series. It’s now in my shopping cart at Amazon waiting for me to remember enough other things we need to qualify the order for free shipping. I suppose that spoils some of the action for me from book 8, but, honestly, I’m just happy to spend more time with an unusual character who recognizes her fears but acts (with increasing discretion and forethought) in support of her friends and family anyway. She’s strong, not super-human, and gifted with a sense of loyalty and priorities that make me wish she were real so I could meet her and become her friend, too.
Interestingly, with all those virtues, and as much as I’ve enjoyed watching her gain faith in her core self, a quick Google search reveals that she’s been critiqued as being a Mary Sue. For a character who consistently takes action on her own, without backup or a plan, and chafes against people (especially men who try to mansplain her incapacity to do things) forcing her to abide by their rules and restrictions, this is a silly claim. And yet this week, too, Gayla reported one of her Discord Jones books had been tarred with the same judgment. In a separate conversation, then, I found the 2011 two-post set from Zoe Marriott about her run-in with the term and its inherent sexism. The bottom line in all this: Apparently female characters are expected never to act without a man’s guidance–and when they do, they get tagged as “unrealistic,” “wish-fulfilling,” and similar adjectives that indicate our society’s fictional expectations haven’t caught up to what we profess in terms of gender equality.
I fully expect my characters will eventually find the same critique. Several have wounds that limit their ability to trust, and they’ve found that the only way to find inner peace is by accepting responsibility for actions they choose of their own volition.
While I anticipate this reaction, it makes me sad. And more determined than ever to write the stories that need to be told from the perspective of a woman who’s fought challenges that break some people. Women characters can and should have the same learning curve as women themselves. The hero’s journey is not restricted to men.
But not this past week, when I needed time to retreat into other people’s fiction from the busy-ness that comes with guests and plans and work deadlines.
The good news is that we’ve slowly started up the walking train again. I averaged 1,430 steps per day, and today we took our first 1.3-mile walk in quite a while. I’m embarrassingly out of shape. Though… KouKi was also ridiculously excited to be on a family walk again and did resistance training with me the whole distance.
So I’ll be coaxing my good habits back to the fore with Hubs’ help this week, including returning to my recently neglected WIPs. We’ll see how much progress I make, but in the meantime, check out my ROW80 cohorts to see how they’re progressing.
This week is brought to you by the Germans… or at least “my” Germans. The woman who’s always felt like my big sister, who’s known me since I was about a year old, is spending her family’s spring break visiting us. (Hubs really wanted me to non-post last week that we’re living the German invasion, but even the time to do that slipped through my fingers.) She’s my alter ego; it’s so easy to fall into quiet togetherness sometimes I’ve felt the need to remind myself that it’s been almost 15 years since I last saw her in the flesh and we really should be talking more. But we’re both quiet people who enjoy reading and watching doggie shenanigans and observing the world around us. It doesn’t take much talking to just revel in her presence.
So I’ve been following Hepburn’s advice and enjoying life. We’ve been catching up on some of the movies that have been building in our backlog while I’ve been rushing toward the end of The Builders: Tomorrowland, Inside Out, Batman v Superman, and The Martian. It’s been great to immerse myself in other people’s imaginations, to see how they handle optimism without a descent into treacly, to explore how antagonists and protagonists successfully live as the main characters in their own lives, to revisit pacing and structure and the satisfaction of stories well-told.
This weekend, when we weren’t eating too much or chit-chatting about plans, thoughts, and dreams, we were reading. I finished two books that had been on my TBR pile for at least six months, and now have my head in that post-story haze of… what about this ending??
Last round of ROW80, my sponsor post was about inspiration and perspiration, and followed on the heels of my struggle to balance the pursuit of my creative goals with my need for some down time. As much as I love my visitors, having people in my house who have a vastly different schedule (between the time difference and their natural inclinations, I’m saying goodnight to my guests by no later than 11pm!) has also caused some disruption. I’m glad I’m getting to bed earlier too, to avoid missing too much time together, but this is the first time I’ve even looked at my computer in a week. So… no time for creative writing or blogging.
Since my guests don’t leave until Thursday and this week has another pile of stuff on the agenda, I don’t know that my work for this round will actually begin until next week, but until then, I’m going to outline my goals to see where they take me:
- Write at least 1,500 words of fiction per week.
- Blog at least weekly, and keep up with my ROW80 sponsor duties.
- Post two book reviews.
- Finish the writing and editing processes, and release The Builders.
- Finish writing the third book of the Red Slaves trilogy.
- Walk at least a mile at least six days a week.
- Spend at least one evening a week with hubs watching one of our backlog of shows or movies.
That’s more than plenty to keep my busy. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but until then, check in with my ROW80 cohorts to see how they’re doing.
I’m not sure why, exactly, but this week everything slowed down. I’ll blame it on a DST conversion hangover and the rise of spring allergies, but the seesawing temperatures and wet weather also meant we confined ourselves to staying close to home. So all my bad habits came storming back in the house: Staying up too late, not walking enough, and allowing silly distractions to eat up too much time. I wrote 1,317 words this week, which, granted, is more than my goal, but marks the second week of a downward trend in productivity.
I need to step it up.
But we’re feeling the pressure, too: Our company arrives this weekend, and the house is… Well. It’s been a swamp in the back yard and the dogs are beginning their spring shed… We ought to do some kind of deep spring cleaning, but there are so many more fun ways to spend our time.
Like figuring out when I’m going to schedule my next writer’s retreat trip to visit Gayla (likely the end of September), or helping a friend qualify for a rescue Corgi, or watch in astonishment as my 5-minute pick job for the NCAA tournament pool at work has me in 1st place. I’m honestly not a basketball fan, but I suspect some secret osmosis from hubs (who is) and a large dose of help from the statisticians at the 538 site. If my lead holds up… this would be the second year in a row I would’ve won the pot. I’ve hit refresh on the team standings page far more often than is healthy, and still have to pinch myself that, yes, that’s me right up there at the top.
Another feel-good, easy distraction…? Don’t mind if I do: The #dceaglecam has highlighted some amazing footage this week captured by the American Eagle Foundation from their cameras at the National Arboretum. I RTed the link to the best picture I’ve seen so far this week earlier tonight: Both eaglets framed by both their parents. A truly awwwww-inspiring moment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that both eaglets survive to adulthood, though I suppose hatching right before this weekend’s cold snap may not be great for their health. They do appear to have attentive parents keeping them warm, though.
Apparently spring fever is a thing, and I’ve been distracted by a few too many things, despite knowing I should be knuckling down to finish The Builders. And I’ve been neglecting my at-home date nights with hubs, though he did take me out for a nice meal to celebrate a work milestone. We’ve also done more cleaning and reorganizing and cooking at home this weekend than usual, so I suppose being productive together still counts for something. I’m starting to get bouncy about our visitors, too–it’s been about 15 years since I last saw them in person, though we’re in regular Skype contact, and I will always regard her as my sister from another mister. More than likely, all this together means I’ll end this round on a whimper rather than with a bang, but I will continue to coax my habits along and work for the best. In the meantime, check out how my fellow ROW80ers are doing, and I’ll be back again next week.
I was highly amused last night by the Sun Gazing image I’m sharing here… mostly because I hate Daylight Savings Time, but also because there seems to have been a time-sucking vortex in play this week. (For a great perspective on the ridiculousness of DST, check out the Lakotah reaction: “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.”)
The first week of any month is always heavy with reporting duties and extra meetings at the day job, but this week we also had a family member hospitalized for surgery. Relatively routine as far as those things go, and the prognosis is good now that they’re home again, but there is a burden of care associated with these experiences. As with family visits, we respond with love and an investment of extra time. That doesn’t mean those minutes and hours will ever be available for pursuing our creative or personal endeavors, though. As I’ve said before, time is one of the few zero-sum games, so anytime I’m given the gift of time, I value it almost more than any other possibility. From a different perspective, all clocks are haunted by the people we invite into our lives, then.
Nonetheless, I managed another 1,616 words on The Builders this week. I love that the MyBookProgress plugin celebrates every time I update my word count–whether it’s for 50 words or 500. I’m still not sure whether I’ll make it to “the end” on this story before the end of the month, but I’m dangerously close to meeting that goal. Having a tool that breaks down the pace for me so I know at a glance what’s necessary to meet my goal has been extraordinarily helpful to keeping me on track.
Because I was focused on at least moving my story ball forward in my small remaining chunks of time, there was no time for a stay-at-home date night–certainly a hospital room is not conducive to relaxation, either. There was also limited time for walking, even with the weather blessing us with an early spring. My phone shows a daily average of 1,411 steps, just barely the low end of what I find acceptable for daily movement, considering I still haven’t gotten back in the habit of carrying my phone everywhere. I will admit to a good deal of stretching and scrambling and NOPE-ing, feeling grateful I don’t have the job of feeding angry snakes, all of which might have upped my heart rate enough to also contribute to my cardiovascular goals, though.
Otherwise, hubs forwarded a list of 30 things to stop doing to “yourself” from the ever-useful Evolve and Ascend blog. I think I’m mostly past these things, but it was another echo of the necessity of choosing who you spend time with carefully–and avoiding the trap of trying to explain yourself when you do.
It’s back to the trenches this week. I have 8,000 words +/- to go to finish my story. I’d love it if I could double what I managed last week. I’m starting to get more positive beta reader feedback, so am feeling the need to push for the end. While I squirrel away writing minutes, I suggest you visit the other ROW80ers to track their progress.
I just returned from another virtuoso performance by The Musical Box–a lovely date night with hubs at the Howard Theatre. We’ve seen all that group’s versions of the early Genesis concerts several times now, and even when there was an unexpected bit of equipment malfunction tonight, they played through it seamlessly and delivered rousing versions of the great Genesis songs, including “Watcher of the Skies,” “The Musical Box,” and “Supper’s Ready.” But it had me reflecting on a recent conversation with other writers. It seems that a good many of them start off writing fanfics. Some of the bestselling stories out in recent years also started as fanfics. How often does any creative endeavor begin in homage to an artist who has moved you?
For myself, as much as I loved Anne McCaffrey’s Pern and would have given a lot to live in that world, it was always only her world. I think in some part of my mind, I would have seen a take-off on what she had started as some kind of plagiarism. And there is copyright law to support that contention. In her case, specifically, she left specific instructions about who was allowed to write in her world, with the result that while she produced over 20 books of Pern stories in her life, nothing new has been added to it since her death.
And yet, the number of times I’ve had a particular song jump to mind as being applicable to a scene could be accounted as a different kind of fanfic. While I seriously doubt I will ever again allow a core scene to be driven by lyrics that demand licensing agreements, it’s hard to argue with the depth of cultural reference songs can add. In the case of my Red Slaves story, there are layers of meaning to the scene when Ivan is quoting an Elvis song. The lyrics themselves are a useful insight to his feelings, but the fact that he remembers music from the 50s in the 90s should be a pointer to careful readers that he’s much older than he seems. It’s also a useful contrast of Anne’s ability to understand his basic English between the beginning and the end of that book. (Oddly, in refreshing my memory about the details of the song tonight, I discovered that it was released on my birthday… fifteen years before I was born.)
So Plato was definitely onto something with the impact music can have on us. The other tune I discovered recently is being called Swedish Marble Punk, and is as much performance art and fine craftsmanship as music–and I can watch, rewatch, and re-listen to it over and over.
Something about all this explication on rhythm and harmony ties in with a link hubs sent this week with thirty beautiful quotes about reincarnation. I think my favorite is the one from Isaac Bashevis Singer–though there are some surprise entries in the list, too (cough Henry Ford cough):
There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead? The soul never dies and the body is never really alive.
Which brings me back around to the question of what it really means to live. For me, an essential part of living is finding the rhythms of creation–which I express through my storytelling. But Kait shared a link this week about how to manage your energy that had some profound insights in it. The fallacy we all seem to fall for is that if we can just squeeze more productivity out of the limited amount of time we have, we can find satisfaction in finally accomplishing all we’ve set out to do. If we don’t have any energy left over after that, though… have we really lived?
For me, this week, I’ve been able to add 1,799 words to my manuscript, and I’m feeling caught behind the 8-ball. I wrote more last week than I have in quite some time, but even if I keep to this pace, I don’t think I’ll finish my WIP before our company arrives at the end of the month. If I kill myself to finish before my friends arrive, how will I enjoy that as my reward, though?
It’s a perpetual question of balance, and I perpetually seek its answer. We again slowed down on walking, partly because I had a lower or higher grade headache all week. Hubs says this is a classic sign of deficiency (especially lack of sleep), but we’re not doing that well on fixing that issue either.
So I will keep looking for balance in my activities and goals, and try to remind myself that certain rhythms can’t be ignored, no matter how inspired I might feel. In the meantime, check out my ROW80 cohorts until I return again next week.
It was a crazy-long set of days at work last week, so I missed my weekly writing goal, as predicted. But not by as much as I had thought: I wrote 833 words on the two nights I thought I was absolutely too tired to be productive. Maybe it’s a thing where my brain needs to shut down to a basic level to let the words flow. I remember Kait blogging a while back about her inner editor being too asleep early in the morning to get in the way of word production; I may have proven the point for myself last week. Otherwise known as: Your excuses don’t matter; your actions do.
Or I may be just pretending, along with all the other adults out there who are out there acting like they have the adulting thing mastered. The work event was certainly an interesting opportunity to observe personalities and interpersonal dynamics as teams reported on six months’ worth of progress to goal for funding received. The serial attack of throat-clearing and low-voiced non-projection wasn’t always warranted, and I think hubs should’ve maybe sent out the link he recently forwarded me about the importance of body language to a wider audience.
Then too, I’ve been sensitized to watching for those things and being able to pinpoint their description through my writing. And through moving testimonies of lessons learned through painful experiences–in one case, what a newly divorced man wished someone had given him as marriage advice. Or this article about how emotionally abused people learn to love differently–that last has certainly informed my characterization of Tara in The Builders, which just got its first preview shout-out on the Lloyd Reads blog last week.
I’m trying to ignore the fact that a friend of mine just pointed out–and spent a couple hours brainstorming details about–a fantastic new plot bunny. That I don’t have time for this year at all… but have set up a Google doc to keep track of how hobgoblins in the DC suburbs are the ultimate access point to The Corridors of Power… Current political climate issues may or may not be driving this madness.
Otherwise, I am seeing an up-tick in our walking, and even my phone agrees I’m averaging at least 1,950 steps a day this week again. I know we can do better. I felt a little pathetic today when we took our first mile-long walk in almost a month and I came home in a full sweat. Of course, KouKi was dragging me the whole way, no matter how I worked with her–she was just too excited to be out enjoying the glorious weather with the whole family together to settle down. On the other hand, we both got our resistance training in, and she’s been calm and happy since we got home. We also spent more time catching up with our shows. I’ve now watched the X-Files all the way through its six-episode mini-season. I loved the parenthood leitmotif and its sense of irreverent, self-referential humor… but I still want to wring Chris Carter’s neck for ending on such a blatant cop-out of a cliff-hanger. I know he’s said there will be more, but ending right in the middle of the action drives me nuts. It’s a thing that will make me down-rate stories of any kind–book, movie, or TV. For me, it speaks to a misunderstanding of the nature of a satisfying story arc as well as a crass “I’ll make sure you buy the next one, just to answer the questions that made you jump out of your chair at the end of the last one” kind of commercialism. Not that we don’t all have families to feed with our art, but compelling characters should be sufficient drivers for a return to a storyteller’s wares without that crutch. [end rant]
We also finished watching The Expanse. It got, if possible, even more gory and gruesome toward the end of the season, but these story writers understood the cadence of their story arc and our investment in these characters to end on a satisfying, if very dark, note. We’re happy to wait for its return, too. Finally, we caught a few more episodes of Agent Carter. What’s interesting to me about the second season is that the basic premise remains the same: Peggy is mostly on her own pursuing what she knows is the moral high ground while trying to match wits with a scientific genius. And it’s, if possible, even more gripping this second time around. We’re getting flashbacks to her history, which I can see will be key to understanding how the effort to undermine her toward the end of the season will play out. We’re getting fully fleshed out female protagonists AND antagonists and a whole new depth of understanding of the straits women had to walk in the 40s and 50s. I am more and more of a fan.
Other things tickling my story-teller brain: A new documentary about the Lakota/Dakota as horse people, “Horse Nation“. And recent news that the Babylonians knew more about Jupiter than astronomers in the 13th and 14th centuries. That far-back historical perspective bleeds through in The Builders to a low level, because the idea of evolution of ideas that are lost and must be re-explored anew has long fascinated me. We have this need to imagine a linear progression of societal growth, organization, and success, which, more often than not, is disproved by historical fact. Still, we cling to it, imagining some moral and societal superiority over previous generations.
This week, my schedule should return to its more normal pace. I’m hoping to write more than just two nights of the week, to catch up with where I had anticipated being to complete my WIP by the end of March–when I have visitors coming to stay for 10 days, so can’t work at writing. In the meantime, check out my fellow ROW80ers, and I’ll be back again to report on progress next week.
This week was all about prioritizing the necessary. Mostly, that meant I spent half of my evenings in editing mode, making sure Gayla’s latest was good to go for a Thursday release date. The Wolf Fount is very different from her Discord Jones series, dealing with adult situations and the damage that can come from a lifetime of neglect/disconnect from helpful parental influences, as well as a reflection on the archetype of a hubristic leader. One reader told me today it seemed almost like the modernization (with werewolf/vampire elements!) of the Arthurian legend and his entanglement with Lancelot and Guinevere. I can see that parallel as well as other interesting themes. When I point them out to Gayla, she laughs and says her story brain is smarter than she is–she didn’t intentionally put that there. But her writer’s experience is an interesting reflection on St. Francis’ quote above, too: She has practiced and honed her various story-telling skills over time to make it possible to write well-crafted tales. Now she’s layering in depths on subconscious levels that make her characters spring from the page and reflect timeless themes in new ways that leave the reader deeply satisfied. Hugh Howey wrote a blog post about this process about a month ago. I can verify the template he laid out via what I have witnessed of Gayla’s experience, because the level of effort and commitment she puts into her writing career means that each new manuscript I see of hers is better than the previous one.
In other words: I have a lot of fun editing her work.
On the other hand, between that work and working make-up hours at the day job, I only managed slightly fewer than 400 words on The Builders this week. And we had a work event yesterday that meant my weekend wasn’t really my own either. So while hubs and I got to spend some time together, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves last night, all our rhythms were off kilter. He still found the time to send me some thought-provoking articles. The first was by musician David Byrne, who was reflecting on the polarization in our political lives. He makes some compelling points about the way we lock ourselves into echo chambers of self-reflective affirmation–and, in fact, these are some of the worries Gayla and I kick back and forth… do we like each other too much to find the objectivity to see the true strengths and weaknesses in our work? I think in Gayla’s case, the market has spoken. In mine… well. I’m several years behind her in the experience curve, but am happy to follow the template she and others have lived, and will assume that with enough work, revision, and breadth of feedback, I’ll get there, too.
This week is going to be as full, for different work reasons, so I’m not sure whether I’ll make my writing goal again. But the other article hubs forwarded, about cosmic and spiritual laws, is a handy reminder that there is balance in all things, so eventually I will resume my efforts. In the meantime, check in with my ROW80 cohorts to see how they’re doing on their goals.
It’s always a good day when I get to help out my writer friends. Today, Ciara Ballintyne announces:
About the Book
Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.
Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her murdered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris is serving out his exile for striking his prince.
Lyram is third in line for the throne, and when the castle is unexpectedly besieged, he fears his prince means to remove him from contention for the crown permanently. Ellaeva’s arrival brings hope, until she reveals she has not come for the siege, but instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the dark god of decay.
Within their stone prison, Ellaeva and Lyram must fight to save themselves from political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, the greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.
About the Author
Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic.
She began her first attempts at the craft of writing in 1992, culminating in the publication of her debut work, Confronting the Demon, in 2013. Her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing is In the Company of the Dead.
She holds degrees in law and accounting, and is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world – how hard can it really be? If she could be anything, she’d choose a dragon, but if she is honest she shares more in common with Dr. Gregory House of House M.D. – both the good and the bad. She is a browncoat, a saltgunner, a Whedonite, a Sherlockian, a Ringer, and a Whovian… OK, most major geek fandoms. Her alignment is chaotic good. She is an INTJ.
Ciara lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, her two daughters, and a growing menagerie of animals that unfortunately includes no dragons.
I felt the plague of this cold coming on a week ago, but apparently didn’t take it seriously enough… It settled in with such a vengeance I spent most of my week at home, and several days with such an extreme sinus headache I couldn’t see straight. This, the week of our 18th wedding anniversary. In fact, forget the flowers and chocolates, I learned this week the true measure of my hubs is his ability to care for me when I feel like death. Regardless of the milestone we were supposed to be celebrating. I owe him big-time–and apparently get to repay him sooner than anticipated, as he’s had the bad luck to pick up the Dread Cold baton.
Luckily, he has the needles, herbs, nutraceuticals, and whole-food nutrition knowledge on hand to allow us at least some amount of productivity while our bodies go into overdrive on mucus production–and the coughing rejection of said goop. That meant I was just three words shy of my 1,000-words-a-week goal this week. And I somehow got into a blogging zone that inspired me to write about fantasy (my favorite genre) as well as write and schedule two book reviews. I’m toying with making the whole “literary term” thing a more regular feature on my blog since it seems many of my friends hadn’t known that “easy” set of writer’s lingo. Beccause I bandy these terms about on a regular basis, I might as well make sure everyone understands what I mean.
Adding weight to my decision is the news report that Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing another (successful) author writing in her (my!) genre. I’m glad to see Cassandra Clare’s lawyers fighting the claims of copyright infringement, since nowhere in the original complaint is there any evidence of actual plagiarism named or listed. Which would be another case entirely–and would actually have my support. No. This case seems to be arguing that many of the common conventions urban fantasy authors use–that humans don’t know about the supernatural, that the supernatural nonetheless exist, and that there are frequently secret wars waged to keep the hidden world… hidden–could be governed by copyright law and enforced by this kind of legal maneuvering. Romance author Courtney Milan summary-tweeted what’s been made public to this point, and pretty well summed up my feelings on the issue. I rest my case by pointing out the fact that there is a wiki called TV Tropes with a huge segment dedicated to all the common heritage references in fantasy alone. (Naturally, there are tropes for romance writers, mystery writers, and the like, in case anyone thinks there’s any genre exempt from walking in previous storytellers’ footsteps.) As the maintainers of the wiki explain: Tropes are storytelling tools, a kind of shorthand to help audiences understand and connect with whatever it is the writer is trying to convey. It’s worth understanding that nobody tells a story without relying on these to some degree; the skill comes in applying tropes in such a way that they feel new to the reader.
Aside from all that heavy stuff, we had another week of very little exercise (in deference to Dread Cold), but made up for it with more Agent Carter and snippets of the various Thor movies, since there appears to have been a Marvel Universe-themed rerun weekend here. Maybe all the superhero thoughts will see us through to health. (Carrie Vaughn had an interesting blog post this week about how the MCU movies have far outgrown the boundaries of what one normally understands as a movie experience, and lends some credence to the thought that the community is one of the enticements to enjoy the feature.)
In the meantime, I’ve gotten new words to edit from Gayla, so I’ll encourage you to go check out how the other ROW80ers are doing with their goals. I’ll be back again next week to report on my progress.