These days, when someone says something to me like how's it going, my answer always seems to be "working".
When I'm in the Workshop chat room -- I'm distracting myself from working.
When I'm online, I'm working.
Every bloody evening, I'm working.
Last night, I didn't work, but that's only because by the time I was home from work and gymnastics and had kids tucked into bed and I finally got dinner it was already 8:30 and I was wiped.
Tonight, I worked until about 10pm. Finally took a break (am taking a break) but can't marshal the coherence to write or crit. *sighs*
Tomorrow and Thursday evenings I work as well. Thursday will be the worst -- Kev's working late that night too. But I need to have things ready to be off on Friday. I might stop in Friday morning (*sighs*) and say hi to everyone with the peanut in tow and we can drop off spec sheets and then go spend some girl time shopping (yes, she's a girl -- she likes shoes and she likes to shop!) and going to see Lizzie McGuire. Yes, Dani and I are going to see the movie -- she is SO excited. We watch it on the Disney Channel together.
Time to go see if I can find some brainpower to do something useful that isn't work tonight. There's gotta be SOMETHING I can accomplish.
Well, last night I wrote my first piece of flash. Okay, so I need to trim a few words out of it to get it perfectly under 500 words to be TRUE flash, but it clocked in at 510 when I was done. I felt pretty impressed with myself so I posted it because I was curious what sorts of reactions it would get.
And its one of those that leaves me confused. Actually, its getting much the same reactions Fade did. Some people say I should have telegraphed the ending -- foretold it more than I did. Some people like the twist and are only concerned that it isn't believable (that one I can cope with).
But it makes it hard to do revisions. I can definitely see that I need to make each one of those 500 words work harder. After all, I need the twist to be believable when it happens. And it *is* foreshadowed at the beginning, just lightly. I'm not sure I want to make it stronger than that, but if someone's uncomfortable with it, then I haven't done my job as a writer, either.
Urgh. It is much harder to revise a story which has such conflicting results among the readers.
Okay, there is an amazing sense of guilt when I open my own page and realize...
I've been busy. I know, I know, same old excuse. Tired excuse, really. And a tired me. Work's insane. I'm running flat out and the end of the marathon is still a WAYS away. Today I'm writing spec sheets. Yes, its Sunday, but I need them ready for Monday morning. Which means finishing them up this weekend. I'm blowing off the laundry and Kevin's offered to handle the kitchen so I can get these done.
So these five minutes stolen from work probably aren't in my best interest.
I'm trying to finish up this afternoon so I can do the Sunday evening writing exercise on the workshop chat room. My writing's been getting lost (again) so I've done some focusing on that this weekend as well. Sent "Metamorphosis" and "Fade" both out to markets. Figure I'll hear back before I want to. *smiles* If its good news, I'll be pleasantly surprised. In the meantime, I need to work hard. I'll never find them homes if I don't get them revised and OUT THE BLOODY DOOR.
Which would be why I've been focussing on that. I've got revs to complete for "In the Flickering Light" and for "Choices". I love "Choices" really, but can't find a good market for it. Kev wants me to send it to Weird Tales, and I think that'll be my first stop, but I'm not sure its right.
I think I've figured out that I'm not normal enough for the low end markets and too normal for the high end markets and not nearly literary enough for the literary markets.
I must be writing for myself. *smiles* Which is true, really. But it would be nice to get paid occassionally too!!
Hit a home run with the pork roast I made tonight... came out really well!!
2.5 lb lean pork roast
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 T mixed spices (rosemary, basil, etc.)
2 T soy sauce
2 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
Mix up the sugar, spices, soy, chili powder, and garlic powder in a bowl. Spread onto pork roast and massage into the roast, all over. Sear the roast in an oven safe pan (1 tsp olive oil) on all sides, then roast in the oven in the same pan until 160 degrees.
Take the finished roast off to a cutting board and let rest. Add 1 can fat free chicken stock to the pan on top of the stove, and add another tsp mixed spices. Boil until reduced by half and spoon over sliced pork.
...and Julia was quite right. It was the cat.
We pieced it together last night, when Kevin found the algae eater. It had fallen out of the tank, onto the floor (how I missed this Sunday when we cleaned the tank, I do not know). At this point, I began to remember events from a few nights ago. It was after Kevin went upstairs to bed, long after Dani was asleep...
There was a clatter, which at first I thought came from Dani's room, and Athena trotted into the living room. The clatter was unsurprising -- Dani's room is a MESS and it doesn't take much to knock something over. Then a little while later I realized Athena was damp, and figured I'd been wrong -- she'd been in the tub getting a drink (normal for her) and knocked the tub toys around.
Now I figure what happened was this. She leapt up on top of the tank. Which is, btw, four feet off the ground with nothing nearby to leap from, and the cat is um, 15 years old. So I didn't even think she could do that without making huge noises. There is a hole in the back of the lid, where the pump goes in. Athena must've gone fishing there, and scooped out the algae eater (which must've been near the top at the time -- rare for it -- or else she REALLY dipped down in). But she flipped it instead of catching it, and in the process of jumping down made a rattle and since she was doing something she wasn't supposed to, she ran away from it and never went back to clean up her mess.
She must've been neater when she got the tetras.
The surprise was that she could get up there. This cat misses the couch sometimes! Also she has NEVER shown interest in the tank that I've noticed. Hells, she doesn't even really like Dani's room. But I think that because Dani left the light to the tank on, it became this really neat brightly lit point in a dark room at the time of night when Athena was in hunting mode. As long as the light remains off, I think the fishies will be safe.
I hope. Otherwise this could become an annoyingly expensive kitty buffet!!
Kev's going to go get a new algae eater and probably a new molly (to replace the one that died ages ago) on Thursday. Something to cheer Dani up. She doesn't know Athena did it, and we're not going to mention that part. But she does know the algae eater is gone, and is depressed about it.
Okay, now this is just plain weird. Dani has a fish tank. You all know that already. Well, a while back, we bought four neon tetras for it. Yet a couple of weeks ago, Kev and I both noticed there were only two. No floaters. No sinkers. Just only two, instead of four. Ohhhhkay. That was weird.
I noted that one of the bleeding heart tetras was bigger. But the thought of them being carnivorous was just too bizarre.
We figured the next time we gave the tank a full cleaning we'd find them, probably either hiding consistently (which we doubted) or at least little bodies in some corner somewhere.
So today was the day. We did a full cleaning on the tank, including pulling out all the little coral and castle and stuff. No little fishies. And worse yet... the gold algae eater, which was there last night!, is now missing. And yes, it was missing before we cleaned the tank. All the other fishies look pretty normal (the kittiefishie might be a little bigger) but the algae eater is just plain MISSING.
It's like the tank has turned into a black hole somewhere in there. Usually when I say "we've lost a fish" I mean it died and went to flushing heaven. But this time... we've really just plain lost the fish!
Okay, most of you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about but its got me all excited so I have to share. *grins*
On the OWW if you contribute 50 reviews, you get a "bee" (for busy bee). I only joined the group the day after Christmas, so it has now been 3 1/2 months, and I just got my bee. So I'm pretty excited. Of course, now its telling me that I need to do 100 more to get a second bee. Eep!!
I don't think I'll ever aspire to three bees. I just don't have that much time to crit!!! Not if I ever want to write my own stuff again, that is!
If you live in the northeast, you are likely sick of snow and ice and slush and muck. I know I am. Last week, when the ice storm hit on Thursday night and Friday morning, my daughter was practically in tears asking when it would be spring. Today she informed it IS spring but it's not acting like it, and when will God want it to be warm again?
I have my own term for it.
The Northeast is hereby renamed Blackwood, the land of eternal winter.
Ok, so its an in-joke and only a few of you out there get it. But I bet there's at least one person laughing. (And someday Artifacts of Winter WILL become a novel!)
Ill Met by Moonlight
by Sarah A. Hoyt
paperback from Ace, October 2002
And now for something completely different... and I don't mean that in the funny sense, either. This book is a breath of fresh air, a complete change from what I usually read. And if you love Shakespeare, you'll love it.
Ill Met by Moonlight speculates upon what might have inspired Shakespeare in his more mystical elements in his plays. It is a lovely story of what happens when Will's wife is stolen away and Shakespeare must treat with the elven folk in order to win back his Nan.
The story is delightfully told in the style and speech so reminiscent of the works of Shakespeare. There are many quotes within it that are instantly recognizable from his plays. For anyone who loves his work, it is a lot of fun to read it and spot the quotes, and see how his works influenced this story, which in turn is showing how Will was influenced himself. Twisty goodness there.
There is a next novel, which I'll need to check out when it finally makes it into paperback. It was quick, pleasant, and entertaining. All good things.
Words: 412 to revise Chapter 6 of Shades of Grey
1 for Alison Scheidler's "the Guardian"
1 for Luke Kendall's "Leeth, chapter 4"
Wrote some thank you notes for crits tonight. I figured that'd be a good, healthy idea. Especially since I still owe for those crits. I'm working my way through the crits I owe, trying to get all caught up as the crit marathon progresses.
So, at ACUS Jenn made pork chops in this marinade, that were supposed to be lamb chops but I don't like lamb so she did pork instead. Neither does Kev, so it isn't something we cook in our house. And I was wary of trying it at ACUS when there weren't any other options.
But both Jenn and Michael told me that the marinade was much better with lamb (it was already good with pork!). Which I told Kev. And today, while we were out shopping Kev suggested we pick up some lamb chops and give it a whirl.
So we did.
And the marinade was SO different with lamb. It was good. Still not my favorite meat, but the marinade was worth it. I don't have cardamom, so instead of the cardamom and cumin I used a tandoori spice blend I have. It worked out great, served with Thai sticky rice. Yummy yummy dinner.
THANKS Jenn! *grins*
Okay, got two more crits up for the crit marathon. I've been really pushing myself to do crits and have learned a few things. One, I can do crits a bit faster than I normally do them if I REALLY push it. Two, there's some great stuff on the workshop and damn I can't read all of it. *smiles* And um three, I'd do a lot more crits if I had more time in the day. I mean, between laundry and playing with my kids and all the other Saturday stuff I got five done. Most nights though I'm lucky to get done one. They're just time consuming to do them right!
I was going to do a whole in depth Ambercon review, but well, the best thing I can say was OHMIGOD that was FANTASTIC. I didn't have a bad game all weekend.
Amusingly, the game that got the most quotes, I think, was the one that started with the GM stating that his game would have no quotes... (and thanks to Tina for helping me get them!).
I've got quotes from five games:
Thursday Night -- Brand New World.
Friday Morning -- Ad Amber Per Astra II
Friday Night -- To 'Scape the Serpents Tongue
Saturday Morning -- Unto the Third Generation
Sunday Afternoon -- One Uncle Fell Down the Well...
Since this'll be a long post, I'm putting the actual quotes after the "more..."
Brand New World
GM: Jeremy "Bolthy" Zimmerman
All children of Brand and Dara, after the founding of Amber-Chaos at the end of the war.
Clarissa (990) -- Jen Crice -- the eldest, secretary to the king and queen
Mikail (975) -- Stormy (Scott Whitney)-- the Minister of Labor, or a slaver outside of Amber
T'Soona (903) -- Leslie Lightfoot -- the plains Indian wanderer
Cecil (632) -- Patrick Franklin -- one of Bleys' generals
Morganna (200+) -- Bridgette Ruggles -- the "odd child"
Lily (117) -- Deb Atwood -- bubbly & happy & a member of Julian's Wild Hunt
Keylley (45) -- Jill Pritts -- artist/dreamer
Aislinn (16) -- BriAnne Searles -- the spooky child
Aislinn: "I think this may be fantastically stupid." Pause. "On the other hand, if we die, we don't have to go to the party."
Morganna: "Unless Mikail gets ahold of our bodies."
Leslie: "Did you guys blow up a cow?"
Jen: "You don't have spiders in your room in Amber. You have demons."
Bridgette: "So long as there's flailing and screaming it'll have the right effect."
Leslie: "Dara uses a completely different aftershave."
Jen: "A gay, mooing clone of Brand?"
GM: "You hear shattering porcelain. No happy meaty bullet sounds."
[After Lily spends several minutes threatening Julian and being threatened in return...]
Julian: "Lily, have you seen Benedict angry?"
Lily: "No." Pause. "I've seen him pruning grapes."
Ad Amber per Astra II
GM: Paul Weimer
Thomas -- Mike Trout -- parentage unknown, has walked Pattern, one of Benedict's officers
Rhionde -- Mike LeVay -- daughter of unknown, a little odd in society, new to Amber
Brian -- Marvin Allen -- son of Llewella, assisted Gerard during Patternfall War
Calico -- Bridgette Ruggles -- in and about, incognito
Honor -- Keith Cripe -- ward of Benedict, found in Avalon centuries ago
Agian Aoifeson -- Jenn Woelke -- son of unknown
Melisanthe -- Deb Atwood -- daughter of Random
"It's not so strong as Dad's thingy." -- Melisanthe
"Even I have to draw the line somewhere." *grins* "Not many." -- Calico
"Ooh, my pouch wiggled." -- Melisanthe
"I can think of someplace to put that." -- Calico
"Just close your eyes if it gets too painful." -- Melisanthe to Agian
"I don't need to know what else she does well." -- Calico
"We need horses." -- Agian
"Calico's dressed in chocolate colored leather." -- Bridgette
"Chocolate covered what?" -- Jenn
"Drawing Benedict out is like trying to drink flame; you're going to get burned." -- GM
"May your hellride be longer and more interesting than ours." -- Melisanthe
*dryly* "Thanks." -- Honor
"I'm cute but clueless." -- Mike, about Rhionde
"So you have a plan for execution?" -- Melisanthe
"No, they don't plan to be executed." -- Jenn
"There appears to be a large open shaft which some of the elves enter and float up." -- GM
"So we take the prisoners to be shafted." -- Deb
To 'Scape the Serpent's Tongue
GMs: Deb Atwood & Bridgette Ruggles
The cast... in order of appearance...
Puck -- Emma Sansome
Hermia -- Mike LaVey
Lysander -- Paul Weimer
Demetrius -- Paul Burdick
Helena -- Sasha Burdick
Theseus -- Scott Olson
Hippolyta -- Dana Bayer
Bottom -- Ben Bernard
Speaking of Theseus...
GM Deb: "What dagger does he have?"
Dana: "Besides his dagger of love?"
GM Deb: "And Bottom is now a duck."
GM Bridgette: "But Titania likes the little nibbly parts."
Bottom: "I'm very useful! I can fix things! I can screw things in!"
To Lysander and Hermia (who have been caught in the act...)
Hippolyta: "Withdraw thy sword and sheathe it!"
Titania: "He's mine and I'm keeping him."
Oberon: "Who? This mortal?"
GM Bridgette: "And she is completely naked."
Theseus: "Doesn't bother me."
Hippolyta: "Not me either."
Ben: "Bottom starts climbing the tree."
Paul B.: "It may not be what it's quacked up to be."
Bottom: "I am but a lonely traveler in the night."
Titania: "I heard that before."
Bottom: "It worked the last time."
Oberon: "She is not what you are here to do!"
Demetrius: "I beg to differ."
Helena: "And we should all work together... but I am NOT going up there!"
Demetrius: "I can't slap him around now??"
Demetrius: "But he made me gay!!!"
Theseus: "We might want to know her."
Lysander: "Bottom already did."
Unto the Third Generation
GM: DJ Quinn
Rachel Holmberg -- Azrael, of House Gerard (or Julian as she calls it)
David DeJong -- Percival, of House Gerard
Fiona Morales -- Lily, of House Clarissa
Liz Trumitch -- Valentine, granddaughter of Bleys, daughter of the King of Begma
BriAnne Searles -- Ophelia, granddaughter of Llewella
Jenn Woelke -- Aoife, granddaughter of Gideon (pre-Benedict Oberon son)
Deb Atwood -- Meredith, unknown
Percival: "I am sorry I failed in my quest."
Valentine: "It's not over yet."
Rachel: "You have an eternity. Go. Fetch."
David: "What is the proper title for a regent?"
GM: "Jason has told you it is not 'Babe'."
Referring to Jason:
Ophelia : "I've never met anyone with a head that empty."
About House Gerard:
Rachel : "It's the house of social ineptitude!"
Regarding the impending invasion by Flora...
GM as Walker: "That would be colorful."
Valentine: "I'm sure they would wear something that color coordinates with blood, but I don't think they should be underestimated."
Ophelia: "Now we not only can't trust the people, we can't trust the plants!"
Ophelia: "In the future, could you try to refrain from blowing up part of the castle?"
Discussing the color of Meredith's dress...
Jenn: *holds up dark purple grape to the light* "Like this?"
Deb: "Yes, she's wearing that."
BriAnne: "She's wearing a grape??"
Azrael: "I mean, how long could you wield a broadsword and a mug?"
Rachel: "Why doesn't anybody make sweet mind mind love?"
Valentine: "Never trust the dumb ones."
GM: Dana Bayer
Deb Atwood -- Jenny, daughter of Fiona
Rain Donaldson -- Crystal, daughter of Fiona
Trish Hart -- Kirys, daughter of Caine
Tina Gilman -- Julianna, daughter of Caine
DJ Quinn -- Lexie, daughter of Bleys
BriAnne Searles -- Bryony, daughter of Flora
Jarod Van Kirk -- Nerissa, daughter of Gerard
"No quotes in my game." -- GM
"Bleys was found in bed, naked, no sign of anyone else. Rigor mortis had apparently already set in." -- GM
"Bryony is the daughter of Flora and therefore prettier than all of you." -- BriAnne
"Are you trying to tell me Random has tact and knows when to keep his mouth shut?" -- Jenny
"You have a point." -- Crystal
"I'm not a mad scientist. I'm a mad alchemist. There's a difference." -- Crystal
"Gee, Dad. Secretive. Imagine." -- Lexie, about Bleys
"I spent all the points on battery and not enough points on power." -- Deb
*grins* "So did Lexie." -- DJ
"D cells don't count, dear." -- Jarod
"You're going to lie to your favorite uncle? That's no way to build a relationship." -- Crystal
"I'm not going to lie. I'm going to take the heat. There's a difference." -- Jenny
"I'm not sneaky." -- Julianna
"I'm not trouble." -- Jenny
"Don't look at me." -- Lexie
"I'm here because Fiona was with the bodies." -- Lexie
"Benedict sweeps across the table, clears a spot, and throws her body up on the table and rips her dress open..." -- GM to Nerissa
"You forget, this is a social event. I didn't think a mere poisoning was enough to concern you." -- Mandor to Random, during the formal dinner
"She can wrap her legs around behind her head." -- Jarod, about Nerissa
"Why would you want to points into that?" -- ??
"So are Lexie and Nerissa a couple?" -- Rain
"She's not butch, she's athletic." -- Jarod
"She doesn't often wear dresses." -- Tina
"So she wears pants or wanders around naked?" -- GM
"You can establish Lexie's location by the screams." -- DJ
"Please or pain? Or both?" -- Tina
"Yes." -- DJ & Deb
"No one trusts my mom." -- Crystal
"It's not not trusting. It's independent verification." -- Kirys
"I want my murderer found!" -- GM
"He's my murderer, and I lost him, and I want him found!" -- Deb
"I trust you. I just don't trust the shapeshifter that's impersonating you." -- Crystal
"Where's Julian? Where's Random? And yes, I'm talking to the horse." -- Jenny
"Fiona is gonna peel my mind like a grape." -- Lexie
"If Lexie weren't acting suspicious I would be more suspicious." -- Crystal
"Like I've said before, endurance is the stat of sex, warfare is the stat of kinky sex." -- DJ
"Anyone want to drag me off? Use and abuse me?" -- GM
"I've got trumps stored in all kinds of places so they don't get stolen. I..." *pause* *glares at everyone* "Stop that!" -- Jenny
"I'm trying to decide what Random's going to do." -- GM
"Kick. Your. Ass." -- Lexie
"We have a plan and it's actually subtle this time." -- Jenny
"Injuring GM. Instant Bad Stuff!" -- Trish
"Part of the reason I thought Bleys was retarded the way he was..." -- Crystal
"That would mean she had a Trump of [Bleys] bed." -- Julianna
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if my sister had a trump of his bed." -- Crystal
"Aunt Flora walks around with a grenade in her purse." -- Kirys
"She scares me." -- Julianna
"Where's Random, Jenny?" -- GM
"Closeted." -- Jenny
"You know, I've always suspected that." -- Crystal
"Something icky this way comes." -- Jenny & Nerissa
"I'm getting pissed and learning how to shapeshift so I can be a guy." -- Jenny
"Demon vomit?" -- Julianna
"Possibly." -- Nerissa
"Ew." -- Julianna
"We went from silver to demon spit. I'd like to get the rest of the sentence filled in." -- Lexie
"Trumping a demon. Ow." -- Nerissa
Words: the big zip
Well, I got one crit done last night and three today so far. I'm enjoying reading through things, and finding some fascinating stuff on the workshop that while yeah, it needs polishing, it is also very unique and interesting. I'm also shifting around my crit style for some things. Sometimes I do my usual sentence by sentence crit where I dive right on in and go deep, and sometimes I do a more overall thematic sort of crit. Its kind of fun learning my own review style.
Dreamwalker is hammering around inside my head. Did I blog about it getting its first bad review? Dunno... but it's like it's broken a dam and now well, I want to write, but it's hard to find the time to do so with the two kids and all. We're housebound today and I keep escaping upstairs to do things (I should clean the bathroom among other things, not to mention the rest of the upstairs of the house). Tomorrow we can get out and about and do the shopping and all. Today is play with the kids and do laundry and relax day. Oh yeah, there's another stat -- loads of laundry: 3 so far.
Well, Kev's reading Warchild now (I enthused so much he had to pick it up next). And he keeps looking up at me, bemused, and saying that it is more his type of book than mine. And I keep reminding him that while it is focussed on the military it is SO character focused that it is oh so very much my type of book. Which is yet another point in its favor. We have, before, found books that we both love because of their combination of elements (like Bujold's Vorkosigan books). But this one calls so strongly to those parts of us that are different, yet it is all one book. Damn, that's good!!
Crits: 1 (the Brigid, ch23-24)
I've finished up the second chapter of Dreamwalker, but I need to clean it up a little bit before I post it. Not sure if the middle of the crit marathon is a GOOD time to post it or a bad time. I think it could go either way. After all, if I'm going to get more crits on the first chapter, now's probably the time. On the other hand, by posting this now, maybe I can draw in more readers. It isn't as strong as the first chapter. It certainly doesn't flow as smoothly. And I do need to do the first revision on it. But overall, I am still liking the story. Eek!!
Crits: 1 (Game On)
Nominations to the Reviewer Honor Roll for March -- 2!!!
Okay, so I'm REALLY excited about that last. I've been on the workshop since December 26th and I've made three nominations. Since I'm so TOTALLY scared of critting things sometimes, that really helps my self-confidence. And I'm just SO glad to help out. I've discovered I enjoy critting (which is why I joined the crit marathon so that I could manage to really push myself to get crits done).
It's 10:45 at night and I'm trying hard to listen to advice. Which isn't as easy as it sounds.
I've done one crit tonight, and wanted to do a second, but know I won't get there. Which means tomorrow for penance I'll do three instead of two. Although if I get an actual lunch that might be easier than otherwise. Maybe I'll bring The Brigid with me tomorrow -- I love the story and REALLY want to get myself caught up on it.
I'm writing tonight. Going to put in some wordage, even if it's not a lot. See, I do listen to you guys!! And this is before gaming. Gods, this chapter is just so hard to write somehow. The first one tripped out of my fingertips and this one feels wrenched from the heart. I think a part of it is the kidnapping. My mind somehow skitters away from it, from the pain of knowing a child has been stolen. I don't feel like it has the raw emotion yet that it needs, but it will be posted in rough draft format anyway and I can always go back and edit that in some more later. But I want it to be at least partly there first, and it is just SO hard to write.
This is going to be a painful novel to experience as I write it. The mere thoughts terrify me. And yet I put them into words and place them on paper. Does it exorcise the fear? Not really.
Still, this is my new attempt at getting it all in order and organized. First, a crit. Then a little writing. Then game moves. Then another crit. And something during lunch if there IS a lunch involved in the day.
If I'm lucky, sleep by midnight. *smiles*
But then again, who needs sleep. After all, one of the themes of Dreamwalker is sleep deprivation. I'll just call it research.
Well, weighed in this morning (one day late since I was on vacation yesterday) and I'm still hanging at the same weight. Not bad, since Ambercon intervened (and a lot less point watching than I should have done).
Checked the points on the recipe I made at ACUS and WOW it was light. Although it might change slightly since I do need to check exactly how much ricotta cheese I used. I'll post it when I'm positive it's right. But if you like spinach and feta and garlic, and are looking for something light, its a good one.