lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee) this might not be a very long post.

Yesterday was weirdly exhausting. We all ended up in a huge fight. It was dumb. Most of the arguments my family has are not over anything significant, but, in the way of fights, they will spiral into All The Things that are WRONG, Everywhere, ALWAYS. Last night it was over some timing around diner and a text that Mason failed to answer promptly. Simple stuff, really, easily straightened out--but thanks to being hangry and all of us in various states of hormones (Mason is in puberty, Shawn and I are menopausal), there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and much sobbing all around.

We got through it, of course.

But, then I had to bundle myself off to Wyrdsmiths, which often goes until 10:00 or 11:00 pm.... which is way, WAY past my bedtime. We had an excellent meeting, however. All of us came, for once, even the elusive Kelly. We reviewed two pieces, and spent a good deal of our time trying to convince Adam that while his memoir was fine and good, what it really needed was Elder Gods... or possibly dragons. Then, I went on an odd sort of rant about why not doing the dishes is NOT a crime against humanity based entirely, I think, on having too much time to think about one of the critique pieces while waiting on rugs to wash at the laundromat.

But, between the argument and the late night, I have spent today in a kind of fog, even though today is the day that I usually meet up with Eleanor, [personal profile] pegkerr, and [personal profile] naomikritzer . We had a nice time at the coffee shop chatting about life, the universe and everything, actually, but, MAN, I would rather have been napping at home.

So... tired...

I managed to NOT do my spell yesterday, but I did get it done today.

Spell-a-Day (Jan. 11)... )

Now my wife has talked me into re-watching "Highlander" (the TV series) because it appeared on Amazon Prime. It's objectively terrible... though I remember ADORING it in the 1990s.
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.


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: (ichigo being adorbs)
 As you know, Bob, I'm attempting to get myself back on track this year.

The reason you haven't heard from me in the last few days is because I've been revising (maybe even, one could say "reshaping") the web serial that Rachel Gold/Calish and I wrote called "School for Wayward Demons" into book form.  We're planning on having it available for MarsCON 2015, where I will be a guest of honor.  If I dare say so?  After all that work (and knowing that it's not even done yet, that Rachel will be going over it again), I think it's pretty damn good.  

I'm little nervous about next steps.  We're talking about doing a Kickstarter for this series--something I've thought about a lot, but never dared. We're only just sitting down to figure out how we might do that, because... well, because it's a big undertaking.  Do we ask people to fund the production of this book in its print form?  Do we ask people to fund the next book(s) and use this one as a premium?  Both?  Something else entirely?  

If any of you out there have Kickstarter/Indigogo experience, advice, or even just strident opinions, please let me know. You can comment here, or email me (  Rachel and I are meeting tomorrow, but we'll be gathering information for a little while, for sure.

I'll frank, too, the nervous part has to do with how much I worry that Kickstarters and Indigogo things are popularity contests to some extent, and the nerd in me fears that the only award I'd get in such a contest would be "least likely to succeed."  This fear of mine is currently being feed by the fact that I failed to reach critical mass for my Loft Fan Fiction class.  Now I have theories about why that class didn't go and at least one of them falls squarely on Rachel and my shoulders.  The title and the description were a little bland, not very snappy.  We were trying to figure out how to appeal to the type of Loft student who can afford in-house classes and, in doing that, I think we went a little broad.  If we were to offer this in the future, I think we shouldn't bother with that imaginary student and just try to hook the friendly neighborhood geek.  We pushed the class as kind of the: so you want to do that 50 Shades of Gray thing and turn your fic into pro work, eh? angle.  

The only problem with just embracing the geek is that I think the Loft's prices are a big stumbling block for a lot of people. (They would be for me.  Frankly, I just signed up for 8 weeks Japanese Intermediate at Community Ed. and I nearly baulked at the 60 bucks.  The Loft charges  $300 or more for 6 weeks.)

So maybe the lesson here (and for the Kickstarter?) might be: scale costs to your audience.

We'll have to see.  I'm a big proponent of the impulse buy, which is why I talked my editor/publisher at Wizard's Tower Press into such low costs for my e-books.  In my case (and which will be the case with School for Wayward Demons) a lot of people already owned my books.  With School... a  lot of content is on-line and free.  The book is significantly deeper and, in a few cases, different, but we're going to have to be sure to keep that in mind when we think about how we're going about this.

I don't know.

It's going to be interesting, if nothing else.

Meanwhile, did I say I signed up for Intermediate Japanese?  I'm so psyched!  It's going to be a blast (I hope.)  Same teacher: Tetsuya-sensei, whom I really grew to love, so that will be good.  I've been supplementing in the meantime by listening to  All that really means is that I now remember how to introduce myself to someone for the first time!  (The most basic thing ever. Still. I am practicing, which is IMPORTANT.)

Also, I should do a blog post tomorrow about all my reading.  I finished MAPLECROFT: The Borden Dispatches by Cherie Priest.  I also got tapped to read and blurb a book by a new author who seems to be writing New Adult SF Dystopia--though I can't really say for sure, because so far, I only opened up the document long enough to make sure it came through all right.  I'm going to try to read through that this weekend, and then start up on the second of the Philip K. Dick award nominees, BULLET CATCHER'S DAUGHTER by Rod Duncan.  

At the library on Tuesday night, I noticed that Arden Hills had the third Hawkeye collection: HAWKEYE: L.A. WOMAN (Fraction/Wu, Pulido).  This one seems to follow Kate Bishop (aka Hawkeye--yes, folks, there are two) when she gets fed up with Clint and goes to Los Angeles.  She apparently takes the Dog, who is, BY FAR, the fan favorite if fic requests during Yuletide are any indication.

So that's me.  You?

Also, Wyrdsmiths has a new member, Theo Lorenz.  
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Last night at Wyrdsmiths, the reception of my newest re-vision of the prequel was met with a resounding, "Uhm." My favorite part was when Eleanor declined to critique it until she'd heard whether or not everyone else was going to completely trash it. After Bill made happy noises that I was at least making progress, Eleanor decided "well, if Bill likes it, it's probably okay."


So this morning I am starting again.

I have no fraking idea why I am struggling so much to write this book. I decided, however, that I'm still missing essential Mouse-ness somehow, and have decided to riff on an off-handed suggestion last night to write a short story about this article (forwarded to me originally by [ profile] naomikritzer) that had inspired one of Page's footnotes (which were too long, too many, and not funny enough. *sigh*).

The book now starts like this:

"You know you're living in a true sh*t-hole when the army won't even send real soldiers. Drones they call 'em. Mohammad and I call 'em "parts."
Here comes another one now. It rolls smoothly on the wavy, shifting sand dunes that fill the narrow roadway between the crumbling buildings and half-buried stalls. Its motor chatters as it pings and ticks and whirs to itself, like the mutterings of an old, lost soul in this ghostly marketplace."

That has more something... more *je ne sais pas.* I think it will eventually lead me back some places I'd been before, but I need to see them all again with fresh, science fictional eyes.

I've been depressed all morning, though I did sit and compose a bit of the new stuff out in the backyard (horray for laptop batteries and outlets in the garage). The sun on my skin felt great and I was visited by a mangy, calico cat who sat and watched me suspiciously for several moments before rubbing her scent glands against the picnic table just to let me know it was hers. Later a squrriel buried a few nuts or seeds or just randomly dug holes like they're wont to do, and a juvenile robin sat on Mason's jungle gym before fluttering off to greener pastures, no doubt.

I really kind of want to give in to my cravings for a Coke or some chocolate, but I went to the gym this morning and realize that it would take more than thirty minutes on the eliptical to sweat off that one can of Coke. Bleah. Perhaps tonight I will drink too much Mike's Hard Lemonade and watch more of "The Closer." Although Shawn's friend Liz is coming over for homemade pizza -- the dough is rising even now, which should be fun, and distracting from my writing woes.

Well, nose to the grindstone. I may write a bit of Tate's YA, since that practically writes itself at breakneck speeds.

*double sigh*
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I got very little done yesterday and I blame Crossroads (Mason's school.) Yesterday the entire Pre-K class (and, it seemed many other of the Crossroad Science clases) went on a field trip to the Children's Museum. I chaperoned.

It was... exhausting, although not as insane as you might imagine. Ms. R. got enough volunteer chaperones that each adult was given three to four charges. I was responsible for Mason and two other boys (Henry and Turuin [pronounced: Two-roo-n]). I was also supposed to have Rueben, but he was absent. When we first got into the Great Big Room as they call it at the Children's Museum I thought: "This is going to be a nightmare. I'll never keep three boys all moving in the same direction." But after about two minutes out in the actual exhibits I realized that the smartest thing to do was not to try. I took up a post at the entrance to the exhibit hall and explained to the boys when they were ready to move to the next room they should find me. If someone was done before the others they either had to wait or go convince their colleagues that it was time to go. It worked really well. Mason and Turuin had a great deal of fun playing a game we dubbed, "Where's Henry?"

I was able to do this, of course, because all three boys were actually extremely well-behaved. It took about three minutes to realize these three were not the kids that were going to destroy any exhibits or otherwise cause trouble by not sharing, kicking, screaming, etc. I could watch from a distance and let them have the freedom to run.

But I did have to keep my eye on them, and, of course, ocassionally herd them from room to room, which was surprisingly exhausting. I think, though, I faired much better than Tina's mom who seemed intent on micromanaging the four girls in her charge. She looked completely harried at the end of the day. I was tired, but not completely wiped.

I got to meet one of the other teachers (Mr. C.) who wondered what language I had on my t-shirt. I was wearing my "Free Mouse" shirt, so I explained that it was Russian and also that it was an obscure reference to a series of science fiction books I wrote. Mr. C. rolled with that pretty well... I didn't get the usual, "Oh, are they published?" etc. He actually seemed genuinely interested and enthused. I have to remember to bring him a stack of books.

Then last night was Wyrdsmiths, which was, as it always is, a lot of fun. My only complaint is that because I missed a few meetings thanks to Shawn's Dad's memorial and whatnot, I have a TON of manuscripts to read and review for next time. But that's really a minor complaint. Kelly has started his Black School series (which I'm intensely fond of), [ profile] naomikritzer is writing an awesome new YA about a faerie safehouse in Minneapolis, [ profile] seanmmurphy is writing a cool urban fantasy, as is [ profile] swords_and_pens, *and* Eleanor Arnason is handing out short stories again, so it's not a real hardship.

But I need to crack down and start getting my own writing done soon or I'm going to fall behind.

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