lydamorehouse: (cranky aizen)
Admittedly, I have been procrastinating on setting up my work email so that I can view it from home. Several months ago, Ramsey County experienced a payroll hack that had IT scrambling to plug holes. One way in which they did so (inconveniently for _me_) was to set up a two-point authorization for those of us who need to check email remotely (i.e., from home.) This required an app and, thus, obviously, a smart phone, which I didn't have until very, very recently.

Even so, I've had my smart phone for a couple of months and I only just (after some good-natured harassment from my family yesterday) decided that today would be an excellent day to make all the various calls to the IT folks and Get It Done. First, I forgot my password enough that I locked myself out of the log-in page that would get me started on the process. Then, after calling to change it, I discovered that it didn't matter because I had been dropped off the official list of people who needed to access this whole deal. So, I had to call AGAIN. And, then wait an half hour.

So, I took full advantage of my half hour and I went to the library to return a book that was about to be due and to pick up another on hold. I then, went to the grocery store and picked up victuals for dinner tonight. (Mason really wanted "meat muffins"--which are basically individual meat loaves in muffin tins.)

Back at home I downloaded the app and thought I had it all set. Well, for reasons unknown to me, the process got hung up in the verification step and so I had to call IT AGAIN. This time the guy was one of those people that you sort of wonder how they keep their job because he was so inarticulate, while also insulting my intelligence ("Did you try to scan the QV code from the PDF?" To which I said, "Do you THINK I'm a moron?" He chuckled but added, "You'd be surprised how often that's the problem.") But, he also left me with the "instruction" to wait for a call back from IT when they were done resetting my account.

Good f*cking thing I didn't wait for a call before I tried again, because I'D STILL BE WAITING.

Instead, I thought, surely it's been long enough and I went through the process and this time it worked, no hitches.

Good news, everyone: I appear to still be employed by Ramsey County and I now have access to mail at home.

Woo.

Otherwise, I printed out all of the submissions for tomorrow night's Wyrdsmith's meeting (for those of you who are new subscribers, Wyrdmiths is an in-person writers' group that I founded back in 1997-ish[?] that has been on-going ever since. We meet on Thursday nights at a local coffee shop and talk writing.) We have one very short story from Adam, and new novel bits from [personal profile] naomikritzer I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing both of those tomorrow while I sit at the laundromat washing all of the rag rugs that poor Ms. Ball ruined with her Hell PoopTM .

Spell-a-Day Project (Jan 9) )
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Tonight, Shawn will be having a friend over to make gingerbread cookies. 

I'm going to go ahead and put this out there: I don't think, at this point, we NEED more cookies. 

But, in all honesty, this get-together is about doing a thing with a friend. Shawn doesn't really _like_ gingerbread cookies that much, so I think her plan is to make them in order to bring them to work to give away. I, however, have been tasked to go look for decorations for gingerbread. I made a glance around Kowalski's when I was there earlier, but there wasn't much, surprisingly. I think I will try Michael's cake decoration section later today, on my way to pick up Mason. (It's at least in that general direction, so why not?)

Speaking of cookies....  when I was at the post office yesterday sending off the care package to my cousin, I ran into my old friend Harry LeBlanc. We chatted a bit and he invited me to join him on his lunch break at a nearby Chinese buffet. So we did!  Harry was my first writer friend. I met him in the 1990s in a science fiction writing class we were both taking at the Loft. Together, he and I formed Wyrdsmiths, an in-person writers' group that's still meeting regularly to critique writing. 

Harry has mostly moved away from writing science fiction, though he just got his PhD in music therapy or some such recently. His dissertation was a rock opera. So, he's still doing high creative work. He's been working with convicted child sex offenders, as a therapist, and I'm impressed as hell that he's stayed at it because that's got to be draining, to say the least. 

Anyway, it was really lovely to catch up with such an old friend.

I used to see Harry regularly when I worked at the Immigration History Research Center and he was an IT consultant who could make his own hours. We would get together at the Egg & I and talk for hours, and that's not really much of an exaggeration. I was supposed to only have an half hour for lunch, but I would often be gone for an hour and a half EASILY. (It is well known that you never want to hire me for a traditional 9 to 5 job. My work ethic is very "you don't pay me enough to care.")  Those were fun days, though. Harry and i could argue about the craft of writing until we were blue in the face. I'm sure that's partly why we haven't seen much of each other since he left to do his art therapy thing and let the writing dream merge into a different creative venture. 

I have a couple of friends who made the conscious choice to walk away from trying to sell their writing and picked another, stronger, artistic call. Harry went to his music and my friend Sean to his photography. I both feel the loss of their writing and completely sympathize with and support their choices, you know?  

I mean, look at where I am. A dozen or so books published and not much to show for it any more. It's not like I can say to someone: "Hey, writing is a GREAT CAREER! So fulfilling!"  I mean, it _is_, but it's also deeply flawed as a thing to do for the rest of your life. You kind of always have to have some other way to make money, a fall back. That's really a tough way to try to do... anything, really.  It's such a shame that art and artists are not more supported in our culture.

*sigh*

Anyway, I hope you all are well and are out there doing your art.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I was really hoping to catalogue our trip to Washington, DC with photos, but the picture editor/attacher mechanism over here on LJ is still busted.  Your best bet to see all the pictures is going to be to scroll through: https://www.facebook.com/lyda.morehouse, which you should be able to do without being signed-up (though I don't know that for sure.)

Many apologizes.

It was a great trip, all and all.  While Shawn was stuck in endless meetings, Mason and I were power-tourists.  Our hotel was within walking distance of the zoo, so that was one of our first stops.  We spent two days exploring the museums on the Mall (our favorite was the Natural History Museum), took in a show at the Kennedy Center, saw the Library of Congress (Mason wept to think of 35 million books), the National Archives (where we saw the Constitution, etc.,) waved to the empty White House (apparently Mr. Obama has been on vacation too), saw all the various monuments, went all the way out the National Arboretum, attempted to kayak the Potomac (we couldn't find the boat rental), went to the Spy Museum, ate out, and generally learned to navigate the Metro like pros.

All in five days.

I'm pooped now and ready to be home and back to my usual things.

While we were away my Bloggin' for Books book arrived.  I ordered a book about how to become a comic book artist called Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists by John Paul Lowe, which I've pawed through and it's made me feel like the worst artist in the history of art.  I've been contemplating how to blog about this visceral and emotional reaction to what is essentially a text book. I wrote something up, but I'm not sure if it's a review or a whine about my life.  The sad thing is that I can't order another book until I review this one, so I'm going to have to figure something out.

Also a check came from my agent.  I'm apparently selling like gangbusters over at Audible.com.  The entire Garnet Lacey series is there and available, and, for whatever mysterious and awesome reason, is selling REALLY well.  Here's the first one: http://www.amazon.com/Tall-Dark-and-Dead/dp/B00COIYSHW/.  You can listen to a sample for free.

On the flip side, I also got a rejection for a writing job I applied for.  It was for a game company called Choice of Games: https://www.choiceofgames.com/about-us/. They were looking for writers to write Choose Your Own Adventure style story games for them.  Technically, I failed to be good enough to pitch them, which I guess makes me even more of a doofus.  But, I blame myself.  They were looking for a 3 - 5 page sample of writing and I sent them the very first story I ever sold, "Irish Blood," because it's one of the few stories that's actually short enough for me to send them something complete.  I'm still immensely proud of that story and I thought it best to show something with a beginning, middle, and ending.  I still think the story is awesome.  It was awesome enough to be reprinted in the Best of Dreams of Decadence not that long ago, after all.  But, it's about a fairy and a vampire, and it's possible the gaming folks felt that kind of story was very 'been there, done that.'

Who knows.

It would have been an interesting gig, had I gotten it.  But, it also would have been a LOT of work.  A friend of mine who applied with me is still in the running and I'll be curious how the process goes if she makes it past this hurtle.  (Fingers crossed!)  I have to admit I'm fascinated by the directions in which writing and writer/reader interactions are headed.  I'm starting to have real fun over at WattPad, and I see this fan-fiction model as a really fascinating experiment in continuing writing outside and beyond traditional New York publishing houses.  What is writing going to be like in the future?  I suspect it's going to be much more like this, because most people look for writing on-line these days.

A blog just won a Hugo, after all.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
*throws up in mouth*

This comment was left on one of my fics the other day.  Because I'm that kind of person, I re-read the fic in question and tried to determine what on earth I wrote that would have caused that reaction.  The fic that elicited this remark wasn't terribly explicit, which is to say there was no actual sex scene a person might have gotten squicked over.  There was a conversation between two adults about sex, and I suppose someone could have been upset since one of the characters is discussing these things with her childhood friend who is currently sleeping with her adoptive brother.  But, the scene was intended to be all the awkward you might imagine something like that would be.  Also the fic is clearly tagged for the male pairing, so if this person preferred the stories where the childhood friends get together, you'd think the tags alone would have been a clue NOT TO GO THERE.

What is strange to me is that someone felt the need to leave this cryptic insult/comment in the middle of a long-running series without further explanation.

It is all of four words, with two asterisks, absolutely no other context, and of course, it's been nagging me for DAYS.

This is why the idea of sporking makes me violently ill.

I'm a professional writer.  I've had to suffer the slings and arrows of Amazon.com reviews and fellow professional writers snarkily saying "less of Morehouse is better" in print.  And, yet, four little words, surrounded by two asterisks, KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT.

Truth is, I remember all the bad things anyone ever said about my professionally published novels.  A hundred people can tell me a story or novel or a fic is awesome, but even the slightest remark that implies there's something seriously wrong with my writing (or myself) and it will haunt me forever... or at least several days.

Despite the fact that I'm going to probably turn this moment around and around in my mind for days, I know I'm going to survive it.  If I kept writing after the "Less of Morehouse" comment (which always makes me think of a playground taunt), this is not going to end me.

But it's really not hard to see how it could.

I mean, writers (and artists in general, I imagine) have very fragile egos (even if successful artists are also usually resilient), none of which is helped by the mercurial nature of our business.  There's this sense that good books survive and sucky books die on the shelf.  Nothing could be less true. Many an amazing author has withered; and many books (do I have to remind you all of 50 Shades of Gray or Bridges Over Madison County???) become best sellers for reasons that baffle many of the rest of us.  Yet, when a career does stall or a book fails, the writer almost always blames themselves.  Every bad word ever written about any of their books loom large.  Every cliche they ever used is examined and found embarrassing and wanting and oh-god-how-could-I-have-ever-thought-I-was-any-good!

When you're professionally published, however, that's kind of the deal, the dues you pay.

When you're writing for fun/pleasure.... what's the joy in poking someone?  I guess like any bullying, it makes the bully feel bigger.  I don't understand it. It's far easier to ignore the fic writers whose stuff I find subpar than to drag myself through it and then go to the added trouble of hitting comment and writing out some vague insult.  I don't know, it's like walking up to a random person you don't know and whispering, "You're ugly."  That thing we all fear is true.

What can I say?  Random fic bullying: *throws up in mouth*
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Shawn, Mason and I had a nice weekend. We spent a good part of Saturday morning estate sale/rummage shopping, which was a blast. There were a couple of church basement rummage sales, including a really awesome book sale at St. Olivet's, which is this beautiful Congregational church close to the Merrim Park Library. In fact, Mason and I were done early and we just sat an admired their gorgeous 'gymnasium.' Shawn and I joked that we were tempted to join the church just for the building.

St. Olivet's was a stark contrast to the house we stopped at that was just down the road from Stepping Stone Theatre (behind the law school). It was... straight out of a Stephen King novel, not only had it suffered HARDCORE neglect (on a squalor level), but, you know how most of the time you can feel the good strong bones of a house underneath all the grime and disrepair? Yeah, no. This house had been born with a mutated, malformed skeleton. Because, even though people had 'remuddled' it over the years, there were pieces that were clearly original that were just... odd. Like the second story... prayer alcove? It looked like people had been using it last as a closet, but it had been built with a stained glass window and a little buildt-in kneeler. The rooms were also all off at odd angles, which were perhaps originally meant to be 'charming' or even 'eccentric' but came off as cramped and wrong after time had worn the beauty away.

Mason, who has a very low threshold for bad vibes, walked in and instantly said, "Oh, no. Let's just go." Shawn and I pushed through with sheer curiosity and, much to Mason's chagrin, we both brought something home from that house. (Shawn got a roll of rope and I found a leather wallet.)

That house was one of the ones that all the sale-rs had to stop and chat with strangers about (which, if you aren't from around here, you might not realize what a BIG DEAL that is in Minnesota.) I would say something to Mason like, "My god, look at this, the original builders didn't even finish off these floor boards..." and the person passing by on the way up the stairs would feel compelled to stop, look, and then comment about some other odd feature they'd seen in the garage or elsewhere. The estate sale workers kept trying to sort of reassure people by saying, "This house is old. It was built in 1913." To which, I replied, "Our house was built in 1911. It doesn't look like this. Something more than time happened to this house." To which, they had no other response than, "The workers are coming back on Monday."

The other thing that pissed off all the estate sale-rs that came through was that, possibly to fund the remodeling, the prices were jacked up. There were things there that should have been marked ten bucks (generous) that were set at SEVENTY.

Mason shadowed me through the whole house saying, "This place is like a HOG (Hidden Object Game)." Because on top of all the weird angles and decrepit-ness the estate sale workers had just piled all the goods in boxes and in tables in a way that just made it all seem that much more chaotic. Even the back yard garden was a mess.

It was kind of amazing, really. It was the sort of place that sticks in your head, and it may have to work its way into a novel, because it's too good to waste, you know?

Sunday we spent doing some housework, baking cookies (for real! I made chocolate chip!) and playing some board games. It was that kind of day because we woke up to a rain that beat down steadily all day long.

During some of my housework, I started a new anime series. I'm now watching Witch Craft Works. I'm not entirely sure I can recommend it. It's weirdly compelling, though. The story is about "an average high school boy" who, it turns out, has a witch guardian who considers him her "princess." A lot of the humor in the story has to do with a shounen reversal. She gets all the power-ups, is popular and aloof, and he's just kind of a pretty/handsome load she constantly has to rescue. Weirdly, that kind of works for me. All the villains and side-characters are female, too, so it's very much a conscious 'see, this is what you look like!' in terms of reversing all the gender stuff.

I'm watching it on Crunchyroll, so it's a new anime, only just having aired this year in January in Japan. There are 12 episodes, and I'm just about to start #4 with today's load of dishes. I suspect that if this anime follows the flow of most 'new-ish' anime, the real action will start now that they've set up the characters and the situation. I feel like it was right about episode 3 or 4 that Rei was introduced in Free! Iwatobi Swim Club and that's when things really started rolling.

At any rate, I'm enjoying that.

Today my plans are to get a good start on my new Tate installment. I have to say that given time, the serial thing on WattPad is starting to work better for me. I've decided that I'm not allowed to look at my statistics, which helps, and only concentrate on the comments. I have one really faithful reader (who is not actually someone I know outside of this context), so I'm kind of writing this for her. She leaves comments at the end of each chapter and is even starting to try to guess at the plot, WHICH I TOTALLY ADORE AND HAD BEEN HOPING FOR. So, that's working.

More importantly, having the publishing deadline of once a week on a Tuesday afternoon, means I'm writing forward every week. This is a very, very good thing.

Plus, even though I hate it, it seems like my social media blast about the updates are getting re-blogged (at least a friend saw it happen once), so that's kind of all I can hope for.

I really do think this is the sort of thing that might become a THING given enough time. For now, I'm along for the ride... and it's keeping me writing on a Tate project.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
In about a half-hour, my family and I are about to head off to spend the day at the Water Park of America. This place claims to be the largest INDOOR water park in America.  It very well may be.  It also boasts a 10 story water slide, which I've never been brave enough to try.  Though we have tried the one that's probably 3 or 4 stories high.  It always makes my stomach drop out, but, usually, in the OMG-THIS-IS-FUN way, though there is a turn that always makes me shift into OMFG-WE'RE-GONNA-DIE mode momentarily.  Shawn, my dear beloved, will opt out of all the scary and sit in an inner tube and surf the lazy river all day.  I will be the one climbing the stairs and rushing to my doom with Mason, though Mason confessed he's more nervous this time, so I might not be required to do it as much as I have in the past.

I actually don't mind.  Adrenaline is good for the soul.

In small doses.

:-)

I'm also bummed because Shawn won't let me bring along any electronics (yeah, okay, MAYBE I have a problem with bringing Mac/i products in the bathtub), which means the book I was reading will have to be on hold. [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer has a friend who has a book coming out from Viking soon who tapped me for a blurb, and I'm REALLY enjoying the book so far.  But, even with a day's hiatus, I'm hoping to get it read by this weekend, because = awesome, plus I really like doing this kind of favor for people, even though I'm never convinced that my name on anything helps sell it.

Especially lately.

Of course, because I have impostor syndrome bad right now, everyone has been asking me to do author-type things.  I got asked for this blurb,  asked to do a reading for Speculations, which I'll be doing next month, and the Loft has me teaching one of their teen drop-in classes in May at, of all places, ROSEVILLE LIBRARY, where I work.

I don't know what to do about this feeling I've been having, either.  I think it's been triggered by the admiration I get at work by non-writers/wannabe writers when they hear I've been published.  Listening to them makes me realize that, even if I feel like a moron lately, I did something that a lot of people really, REALLY wish they could do.  Even if I don't feel lucky right this moment, the truth of the matter is that I am extremely lucky to have published at all, much less 15 books.  And they remind me that I'm proud of what I've written, what I've accomplished....

But instead of making me feel like "yeah, damn it, that's a good thing," I find myself feeling, "what the f*ck is wrong with me that I can't push on?"  Even though I finally have pushed through (mostly thanks to [livejournal.com profile] empty_mirrors who has found a way to help me value both fan and original writing) and am working fairly steadily on two projects.

It's been slow going, though, and I feel badly about that.

I'm not fishing for anything here, I just wanted to write these feelings down in the hopes of examining them and trying to figure out why I can't feel happy for the progress I am making.  Maybe I need to do one of those lists that people always make of what they're grateful for, like, hey, despite all this, I still have an agent who is shopping things around.  Hey, I have a job that I like that's keeping the wolves from the door so we don't have to fight about money while I'm struggling with my feelings of Moon-Moon-ness.  I have super supportive friends who haven't given up on me either.

Yay.  Okay, see, that actually worked a little.  There will always be greater and lesser persons then myself... as Spock used to tell me on the Leonard Nemoy albums I had as a kid.  (Yes, I have BOTH of them, yes, the Biblo Baggins song, which f*ck you, I LOVED, plus his reading of "Cool, Green Hills of Earth" and "Gentlemen, Be Seated" on VINYL, kids, VI-NYL.)

Right, okay, on that much happier note, I'll head off to drift around the lazy river and bounce in the wave pool and plunge to my terrifying doom.... 
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
As I wrote before, I got a nasty little stomach bug last week, which I proceeded to pass around the house. Mason wins the most spectacular event by vomiting copious amounts of ring spaghetti onto the sidewalk on our way to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] revolutionaryjo at the Tea Garden. I felt like the World's Best Mom (tm), as I rubbed his back as he barfed in public. Seriously. Not cool. But, in true fannishness, Mason and I hung out and chatted SnK and Free! for a little while despite all the excitement.

Sheesh.

Shawn, who usually has the lowest constitution in our campaign party, was the last to fall. She got sick yesterday and, like Mason, seems to be over it already. Me, I got to have it for almost five days.

But, yesterday, I managed to take advantage of an unplanned pajama day (since Shawn was down for the count with the sick) and did a little preliminary editing on the podcast project. I successfully made a separate audio clip of the Sumerian language stuff, so it's now ready to be spliced into to the podcast at some point. The next thing I need to do is go through the interview I did with Rachel and pick out some of the highlights for the first episode. And then I need some kind of cohesive narrative to tie it all together. The good news is we're not looking to have it ready until the 29th. The bad news THAT'S ONLY EIGHT DAYS FROM NOW.

Today I also worked a bit for Sofa Wolf. I'm helping them package things up for the kickstarter that they did to print an omnibus edition of Digger. Today I packaged up a lot of stickers. Tomorrow will likely be the same. I'm fairly sure I drove Jeffery insane singing to myself while listening to my mp3 and generally nattering on about people's cool last names, where they were from, my opinions about the characters in Digger (most of which I find ridiculously awesome, charming and/or hilarious) and all sorts of other odd observations.

I'm kind of my own noise generator.

:-)

My agent was also looking for something with different sexual orientations, so I dusted of my very first novel, Sidhe Promised, and sent it on to her to see if it would fit the bill. It'd be cool if it did. I rather love that book still, though it may be a touch dated, given that I wrote it almost 20 years ago. Anyway, fingers crossed.

So, that's kind of the re-cap. I should be working on the UnSeen World novel for Rachel, but I'm being side-tracked by silly Halloween stuff right now. And Tumblr. Such a time suck Tumblr is. Though, my fandom really does live there.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
St. Patrick's Day Observed was for us, as it was for a lot of people I suspect, Saturday.

We took Mason to his usual swimming lessons in the morning -- alas he didn't pass to level 5, but, tbf, "stroke improvement," which is where he's at is very hard. This is also a Red Cross program so they don't just automatically pass anyone who shows up enough. There are serious standards.

Our big social event was the party at [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer's house, where we were looking forward to ingesting the traditional corned beef and cabbage. We were not disappointed. I had a great time talking to [livejournal.com profile] pegkerr and her daughter and seeing [livejournal.com profile] haddayr and family again. The only lampshade/dim shablows moment was that I think I may have actually gotten a bit buzzed on the trifle (which is pretty sad. But, yes, I'm that much of a light weight.)

Mason kept us there quite late because he joined a game of "Clue." But I think good times were had by all.

Sunday was a complete pajama day, so I was an utter slug and did nothing useful. We tried to watch "Branded" last night--a science fiction film about advertising (in Russia.) It was... surreal. There was a burning of a red heifer and attack logo muppets. And those are the easily accessable parts. YEAH. If I were feeling more coherent I'd summarize the movie better and maybe even offer a review, but I'm not sure my brain is up to trying to explain the "space cow"/voiceover.

Unlike Shawn, I watched it through to the bitter end. I should have recorded the recap I gave her in the bathroom while she was brushing her teeth, but all you would have heard was a lot of 'what?' and 'are you serious?' and laughter.

Yeah, so it was called "Branded," and you could give it a miss, I think.

Today, I'm trying to work on Elite Forces, but I keep getting distracted by research into the Red Planet. Shawn found me a copy of THE CASE FOR MARS: THE PLAN TO SETTLE THE RED PLANET AND WHY WE MUST by Robert Zubrin, which I've started to read. I also listened to a couple of podcasts on Mars, and discovered a lovely site called "Universe Today", and their Guide to Space (not, alas, the Hitchhiker's Guide, but close enough.)

So total word count ON PAGE was pretty sad. I did a good amount of research, though.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Yesterday, I was supposed to work on my sample chapters. I just could NOT get motivated. I don't know why. I have lots of other things I could blame besides myself, of course, including the fact that Shawn ended up not going to work (she had to attend the funeral of her co-worker/friend's mom) and Mason had the day off from school. Mason, however, was quite content to spend the day watching too much streaming MythBusters while putting together the LEGO DeathStar. So... actually, I had plenty of free time.

Which I spent meandering around the Internet and generally moaning about having ennui.

I did manage to write a blurb for a friend's small press science fiction novel. That had been on my to-do pile for MONTHS. I thought, in fact, I'd missed my opportunity to say something about it, but he emailed me a week ago to say that the book was in its final stages and they could still use a quote from me, if I had something to say. I'd read a lot of it when I thought I still had time, but then life had gotten in the way like it always does and I'd set it aside. So I picked it back up and read it.

Writing blurbs is such a funny, fun experience. It's one of the perks of being a pro that I never really gave much thought to when I imagined my life as a writer. Of course, I never imagined that I would still be struggling to make ends-meet when my "dream came true," but, on a happier note, there are these strange sort of perks to being a writer that are a bit like benefits. Like, occasionally, I get free books. My only 'price' is that I have to find something snappy and witty to say about them (if I like them.)

If you ever wondered, there is no blurb out there that wasn't solicited in one way or the other. By solicited, I do NOT mean paid for, but I mean the person asking (usually the author her/himself) knows or is connected to in some way the person s/he requested the blurb from. Only very rarely, I get requests from people's publishers. I suspect if I were a bigger NAME, I'd get many more of those. (I'm sure Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold are overrun, for instance.) But for someone at my level, it's usually someone I consider a colleague, or even a friend, who's asked me to read and blurb their book.

I've actually long dreamed of asking my friend Eleanor Arnason to blurb my book in her signature Icelandic way, which I imagine going something like this, "XXX by Lyda Morehouse is okay. I've read worse."

Anyone who knew Eleanor would realize what AMAZING praise that was and rush out and buy a million copies. Of course, most people outside of the Mid-West (who weren't Scandinavian) would be like, "What?!"

:-)

Anyway, I'm happy to report that, having turned in my blurb to my friend, I did, officially, accomplish SOMETHING yesterday.

I also posted the first part of my Komamura fic. (http://archiveofourown.org/works/650152) which has gotten very little response. To be fair, not a lot happens in it. There's a conversation at a party and a little flirting. I didn't jump in with both feet by any means. I also realized that while there's some overlap with furries and Bleach, it's still kind of... taboo to write what is essentially a romantic story about an anthropomorphic wolf/fox and a shape-shifting fox demon. Perhaps 'taboo' isn't the right word, but it's clearly not a lot of people's cup of tea.

So be it. I had a great time writing it, and I might just be stubborn and do it again. (I am very curious about this reaction in one way, though, considering how animalistic I allow my Renji to be. Apparently-animal-on-the inside/barely contained nature ala Wolverine is much, MUCH more acceptable than animal-on-the-outside. [My furry friends? Any comments on this phenomenon?])

At any rate, it is what it is. I don't expect people to read outside of their comfort zone. This is one of the reasons I get cranky when people mock fan fic writers for choosing unusual pairing or for taking on a fetish that is way, way out of the norm. (I recently got a new comment on my rant about i09's former FFF column that brought all this back to me.) The thing is, I don't really happen to *get* diaper fetishes or water sports or any number of things that healthy, normal human beings are into. There are things, in fact, I actually find somewhat objectionable, like rape fantasies and certain underage sex stories. But, I deal with that by checking the warning tags AND JUST NOT READING THEM. That's why warnings were invented, people.

I also tend to stop reading any fic that has extremely bad grammar or spelling... unless, by some miracle, the story and characterizations are able to rise above that (which, strangely, CAN happen.) Sure, it's funny when someone (like me -- this is a real example from an erotica piece I handed out to my writers' group) uses the word lions when they mean loins, or talks about quacking Aspens or bear feet. I've kind of done them all, and to which I say, Dyslexics Untie! (A joke Shawn had to explain to me, because I read it several times and still parced 'Unite.')

But, seriously, people, if it bugs you JUST STOP READING. It's not that hard. No one is forcing you to read their terrible grammar. They're not even getting paid to post it. So, it's not like you bought a book for 7.99 and discovered that that author has a soul-bonding rape fantasy and no copy-editor (which happened to me.)

I think in the case of the latter, when it's something that's been professionally published and which people are then expected to pay for, I think mocking should rain down from the heavens. Because, that's the dues of a published author. Even when you don't have a fetish that leaks into your fiction, you are putting it out there, and that means someone, somewhere thinks it's COMPLETE CRAP. Other people, take it home, love it and beg you for more. That's just the way the publishing game is played.

The same rules shouldn't apply to fic, IMHO. Because it's just for fun. If it's not fun for you, DON'T F*CKING READ IT; go play in the sandbox that fits YOUR fantasies. That's the POINT OF IT.

/rant

Man, I get wound up. :-)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I woke up a couple hours ago with the sensation that I had STUFF TO DO, so I took the time to finally (after almost 12 months and two laptops) update my static webpage: www.lydamorehouse.com. Feel free to check it out, but I'll hit the highlights for you: 1) an ebook version of Archangel Protocol should be coming out from Wizard's Tower Press some time REALLY SOON (Cheryl Morgan suggested it might happen here in December or early next year;) 2) I have a short story that will be appearing in Dybbuk Press's second Biblical anthology KING DAVID AND THE SPIDERS OF MARS called "God Box," which is about among other things golden hemerroids, that is currently on the docket for June of 2013; and 3) if you somehow missed it, I had two releases in August 2012: PRECINCT 13 (Tate's newest from Penguin) and SKY-TINTED WATERS (an anthology edited by Michael Mirriam in which my short story "Tutivillius" appeared about a demon whose job it is to collect words managed in the performance of Mass.)

I feel like such an idiot for having an old page up for so long. Part of the problem is that I haven't had a file transfer program I've felt comfortable with since I killed that last laptop with a frozen turkey. I'm a huge fan of CuteFTP, probably because I'm from the days when we all did our own html coding -- as I'm sure will be very clear, if you visit the site -- and, I didn't want to have to buy a new copy. I tried Filezilla, but we just didn't click. I had to tell Filezilla I just wanted to be friends and ran back to CuteFTP, even though I had to pay for services, as it were. (Wow, that sounds tawdry!)

Anyway, I also emailed a few people I've neglected over the past several months.

This is all part of my "Wake The F*ck Up, Lyda" program. As I've been telling a lot of my local writer colleagues, I've been really struggling with my career these past few months. One of the problems is that I seem to be at the place where I have to kind of start at a square one, or, perhaps more accurately square one and a half. By that I mean, since my editor at Penguin seems to be a dead end, I back at that place I haven't been for nearly a decade and a half... in competition with all the new authors for a spot with a new publisher. This means, I have to probably write a novel to sell it, which I haven't gotten my brain around because since 1999, I've been selling my work on proposal really steadily. I've kind of forgotten how to do this, and, quite honestly, have rested on my laurels for too long.

So... there you go. Currently, I'm still putting my energy into the NaNoWriMo project, SHATTERED MASK. I handed the first chapter out to Wyrdsmiths, so I'm waiting to hear if they think it's something seriously worth persuing. If so, I may actually have to step back and write out a synopsis/plot thing, since I kind of wrote it not knowing where I was going.

But the other bit of good news is that my agent is worried about me. She e-mailed on Friday to let me know she's headed off to a European vacation and that when she comes back we're going to talk on the phone about strategies for the new year and rustling up some writing work. She's got some feelers in at some places and, with any luck, something will hit somewhere. I haven't given up.... though I do feel lately like I'm floundering quite a bit.

Anyway, on Monday I have a lot of fan art to share. I have a bunch of peices I drew in reference to a fic that my friend [livejournal.com profile] empty_mirrors and I wrote together, and, last night, in preparation for writing to my pen pal, I drew another fun sketch of my boy Renji.

Okay... it's 3:15 am now. I may try to go back to sleep for a few hours.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
For those of you just tuning in, I've been more than a little obsessed on an Anime called "Bleach." In particular, my brain has seized upon a character named Renji Abarai, over whom I've expended a great deal of creative energy writing fan fic and drawing fan art.

I realized, today, why I love Renji. Renji isn't the hero of "Bleach," no, far from it. He's not even the most powerful or cool guy in the show. In point of fact, he gets his a$$ handed to him on a surprisingly regular basis. The reason I love Renji is he gets back up. Every damn time. There is ABSOLUTELY no keeping Renji Abarai down.

photo

Today, I need to be Renji. I need his indomitable spirit. I feel kind of crushed by a particular rejection -- shredded, quite honestly. But, as much as I want to just lay down and die, what I need to do is get up off my knees, *again*, and fight.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I caught that thing that seems to be going around, the dreaded head cold. Luckily, it seems to be fairly mild. I took two nights off, crashed early, and that seems to have done something. I still have a stuffy, runny nose, but it doesn't seem to have gotten much worse than that.

I took advantage of being sick and laid in bed yesterday watching Aime. A friend from KSW suggested FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST when he heard that I was a fan of BLEACH. (Netflix had been agreeing with him for some time, I might add.) I can see how this show could be awesome, but I got to the episode called "Cry of the Chimera" and I had to stop. Ten years ago, I probably would have had no problem with the show, but things have happened to me since that make it impossible for me to deal with certain themes in literature/shows. I can no longer cope with the death of innocents. When little kids (and animals, I've discovered,) go splat, I'm out. As a bonus, in this episode, we get a two-fer, cute dog *and* cute girl get it. Ironically, one of the things that my friend said to recommend of this series is that I would get all the action of BLEACH, but "actually care for the characters." Alas, the opposite is true. The more "real" the violence (which, in this case, seemed a bit gratuitous to me), the less I trust, so the less I'm able to invest in the characters.

Ironically, I care a great deal about the characters in BLEACH precisely because they can be run through with a gigantic sword and they get up, wrap a couple of banages around themselves, and live to fight another day. Hell, we're even reassured that the Hollows don't die in that show, just get recycled into the Cosmic hourglass (except those killed by Quincies, of course.)

I can care about characters like those. The ones who make friends only to watch them get mutilated and then die (splat against the wall, no less,)... hmmmm, not so much.

I wish I wasn't broken like this, believe me. But the fact is, I am. I will have to find some other Anime to entertain me. (Luckily, BLEACH actually has not ended in Japan....)

Also, if people decide to start "reccing" things, let me tell you something else I've discovered about what I like in my Anime: I like semi-adults as main characters. I realize this cuts out a LARGE amount of Anime, but I can deal with the very manly 15 that Ichigo is supposed to be (especially since he looks 20.) Edward was supposed to be, what, 13? He looked 11. I often fantasize about BEING these heroes, so I prefer to be a near-adult if I have to be a teen at all.

I LOVE this whole spiritual stuff that was present in both BLEACH and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. A lot. So, Netflix and my friend weren't wrong about that one bit. More, more, more, please. The other commonality that I really liked about both? A corrupt government. Yeah, that's always an easy hook for me.

I don't mind the alternate universe/SF setting of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, but I ADORE the psuedo-ancient Japan of the Celestial City of BLEACH. Dudes wearing robes with swords.... yeah, that works for me.

Also, I think (no surprise to those who know me well) I like "boy" stories. Sword-play, fighting, magic, and boys/men. I wouldn't be adverse to trying some with women heroes, but right now I'm liking the way these stories get told because they tend to be about honor and justice (and being SURPRISINGLY adept at whatever skill is needed to make you awesome.)

:-)

In other news, my agent and I got the year-end report for the sales of RESURRECTION CODE. No surprise, my numbers sucked. I already knew from watching BookScan report on the book, no one has bought it much. (Yes, an e-book is supposed to be coming out sometime this year. I still don't know when.) Sigh.

I'm not surprised, however. As much as I hate to say this, I think the AngeLINK series ran its course some time ago. It doesn't surprise me that, nearly a decade later, there aren't a lot of people STILL hungering for more stories in this universe. Yes, you, my diehard fans, are to be commended and rewarded for still loving it (reward: more coming in the Gaylaxicon program guide!) Plus, I intentionally wrote it for my fans, and not for new readers. I think, too, it was a tough sell for the Mad Norwegians, since they don't do a lot of original fiction.

I probably could have done more to promote it, but, honestly, I don't know HOW. All the things that seem to be the best (getting readers to recommend it to others, what they call "viral" marketing) are magic. I can't ask someone to tell their friends how much they loved my book. It just has to happen.

I am still planning to have e-book versions of the original tetrology available (fingers crossed) in time for CONvergence. That gives me until July. So, I'm doing my best to continue make these books available.

It's just sort of depressing news. I do think, however, having a new science fiction book out, has helped me personally, tremendously. I don't think I'd have nearly as many invites to various SF conventions otherwise. So the project was worthwhile on that front.

I'm also trying to think about other science fictional things I could write. I ended up enjoying the background world of the short story "God Box" that I just sold to Dybbuk Press for the Biblical Horror anthology. I'm wondering if there isn't more there for me to mine.

So, there you go. Let the recommendations for Anime flow!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I should be revising, because I find myself with a bit of unexpected free time. Mason's teacher called about a half-hour ago to cancel my usual volunteering gig. It seems that they had an awesome math test, so he was planning on giving them extra snow-play time outside this afternoon, as a reward. Apparently there are only a couple of sheets that need to go into the folder, and he thought I might like to just skip this time. There just wouldn't be that much for me to do. Since tonight is the first time I'll be volunteering for chess club, I thought that seemed like a pretty fine idea.

I'm looking forward to chess club. Mason has been kind of into chess for a while. Since we started watching Hikaru no-Go, actually. I'm... okay at it. I played chess in high school, though never seriously. The point is, it will be nice for him to play with people who are probably not only better at it, but more INTO it.

But because we knew we'd be going to chess tonight, we went to KSW again last night. (Two nights in a row!) I had a surprisingly great time. The "game" at the end of class was a friendly competition to see who could do a running snap-kick over a string of knoted belts that was risen progressively higher and higher. I surprised myself (and possibly the head instructor) by actually being in the group that lasted all the way to the end. This was particularly surprising to me because it wasn't just about jumping (which I normally am not good at) but it was also required that the motion with which we went over the barrier actually RESEMBLED a kick, not just a jump (or, as I would have expected of myself, a flail.)

When time-over was called, there were two brown belts, a red belt and puny little yellow-belted me. (Also, I would like to note that we were all girls, and I was at least twice the age of the oldest one.)

Cool, huh?

I thought so.

If nothing else, it bodes well for my year-in-excercise.

The other really funny thing was that when we got home, Mason talked me into going downstairs to row on our rowing machine for almost another hour. Yeah.... see, we have this new rule, which is, if I'm going to waste time watching TV, I have to be rowing. Mason really, really wanted to watch some more Bleach. How could I say no to that?

We ended up watching two episodes, which is about an hour.... I should be so sore today, but I'm not. I have a bit of stiffness in my legs here and there, but I'm happy to say that I'm not crippled with muscle soreness. Weird.

All right. Enough of that. I'm going to try to get more work done on the book. I have to say that revisions are taking more time than I might have hoped. Part of that is because the beginning is a bit drafty, as it were. There are holes that need patching, and. in some cases, re-BUILDING. I spent a good part of the morning rewriting.

To be fair, I had a hard time starting this book, so it's not that surprising that the beginning is the roughest part.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Okay, I should be working on revisions, but Mason is home from school (some scheduled deal -- I swear kids spend every other Friday home.) We went to the library this morning. I should learn never to go to the library with a list of books I want to find. My library never has them. I have to order them or put myself on a waiting list. I did pick up Scott Westerfeld's SO YESTERDAY, though what I really wanted was the first of his UGLIES/PRETTIES series. While I was searching him in the database, I discovered Westerfeld wrote EVOLUTION'S DARLING, a book (and short story) that I found strange yet compelling. So when they had SO YESTERDAY on the shelf and it didn't seem to be the third or thirteenth book in a series, I picked it up. The nice thing about the library is that if it's not my taste, I can just drop it off. No questions asked.

I finished Willis' INSIDE JOB last night after Wyrdsmiths. That book was pretty awesome. I hesitate to recommend it because it might be hard to find, as Subterranean Press is somewhat smallish. Anyway, I ripped through it, though, like I noted yesterday, it's a small book, maybe even just a novellette.

A friend recommended VELLUM: THE BOOK OF ALL HOURS by Hal Duncan, which I tried to find at the library to no avail. It was supposed to be on the shelf, but it wasn't! When I took Mason to HalfPrice Books, there it was, tauting me. So I bought it. (I hope it doesn't suck! I can't return it!)

Also, since all of the kids are reading it, I tried to check out BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest but my library had ordered it but not put it in the system officially yet. No one has dropped one used yet, no surprise, though, since it's so new.

If you can't tell, all I want to do on a snowy day like today is curl up with one of these books and read. I don't want to work on my revisions, especially since I have to sit at the "big" computer to write (as opposed to my paperweight of a laptop.) After this Backyardigans is over, I'm going to coax Mason out into the cold. We need to check and see if a local computer shop has a replacement cord. It would be nice to be able to use my laptop sooner rather than later. Obviously the big computer works fine (since I'm using it to write to you), but it's not as comfy as laying on the couch or in the bed and I've gotten awfully spoiled by the convenience of that.

Also, I have to say my instinct was right. There's been a thread about advances on a list of professional SF/F writers that I belong to that I have quite purposefully avoided. Knowing what other people get paid for their writing is potentially crazy-making. The thread came up at Wyrdsmiths and I actually got interested enough to check it out this morning. Mistake. Now I feel even LESS like doing my revisions. Although if I don't do them, I don't get paid at all....

Though I don't really have that much to do. Some of it is very simple. But, like I've been saying, I've been paying more attention to the book because it *is* the last of the Garnet books and I don't want it to be a disappointment to readers.

I need to get it off my plate, though, because the next big thing I need to do is come up with some proposals for more adult books by Tate. My editor is willing to consider more contemporary urban fantasy. I'd like to be able to give my agent a range of ideas, maybe a half dozen. Shawn and I came up with some ideas, but I need to flesh them out into proposals so I have something to offer.

Plus all my web pages are woefully out-dated.

Stuff to do!

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