lizvogel: cute cat in 'yoga' position (Cat Yoga)
Milo, our eldest boy and the world's most amiable cat, the one who adopted us in no uncertain terms, has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. That's one of the nasty ones; inoperable, and isn't much impressed by chemo or radiation. Our vet gives him weeks, maybe months, but definitely not the years we expected to have.

We've got an appointment with an oncologist on Thursday, but it's more of a due diligence thing than anything we expect to give us a different answer.

Dammit.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Couldn't let today pass without the one thing that justifies this day's existence. ;-) (Or is that every day?)

Fearless Super Seeds Crunch 70% Cacao

Where bought: Foods For Living

Awesome name & amusing packaging, with a bite-shaped corner cut-out to represent the portion of their proceeds donated to good causes.

Smells a little dry, sharp; not bad.

Crumbly texture, though that's at least partly due to the seeds (hemp, chia, flax, & sunflower) generously mixed in. Little crunchy bits somewhat reminiscent of really authentic raspberry jam. Neither dry nor smooth in texture, but somewhere in between.

Good standard dark-chocolate taste, a little tart (unless that's the seeds), not super-rich but definitely present. Interesting chiaroscuro of flavors from the seeds; not strong, but complex. Satisfying in surprisingly small quantities. Feels very nutritious!

Overall: Entertaining, would buy again. Great way to get flax seeds.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Finally got to listen to the final episode(s) of Cabin Pressure. Yay! (Thank you, *cough*othersources*cough*.) Things worked out the way I predicted, though the way they worked out was not something I ever would have anticipated. Part 1 of Zurich seemed a little filler-y to me on first listen, but Part 2 rolled along nicely. Not sure anything could have lived up to the anticipation, really, but I came out of it happy at the end. And I find myself wanting to listen to it again today, so it must be pretty good.

As anticipated, there is a complete series box set available, and as hoped, there's enough extra goodies on it to make it worth buying even if one, er, already has the base material. For those who object to *cough*othersources*cough*, rest assured this'll be going on my wish list.

Oh, come on!

Monday, February 9th, 2015 01:49 pm
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
Having a terribly efficient morning after cranking out another 1000+ words last night, and the next task up is to get one of the two currently "resting" stories submitted. So I turn on the computer...

...and there in my in-box is a rejection. Really? You can't even wait until I get one of the others sent off?

I swear, the universe has a "Reject Me Now" light that goes on every time I think seriously of my submissions spreadsheet. I know it's not supposed to be easy, but man, this is getting old.


ETA: And just for that, I sent two stories out. And now I'm going to go have a nice hot shower and then see if I can't write some more. So take that, universe.

Action!

Sunday, February 8th, 2015 01:42 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
1090 words this morning.

I like writing action scenes. I don't know why I don't do more stories involving more of them. They're easy, they're fun, and what feedback I have indicates they come out pretty good. And yet, even the stories I do that are centered around a fight scene are really more about the fall-out from the action than the action itself. Which is also the fun part, granted. But it does make me long for an all-action-all-the-time story, however much that would be a yin without its yang.

Still, nearly 1100 words. I feel a bit guilty counting these old-mission stories toward pay-copy quota, since I really don't know how well they work separately from the novel, but the idea is there. And the word count ain't peanuts.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Ever wondered what 4th Street Fantasy is like? Imagine a three-day version of this Jo Walton article crossed with a really raucous game of Cards Against Humanity, with occasional breaks for very good food.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Haley mission story: 1811
Green Ring: 1222
A Cold Day In Spells: 482

Total new words in January: 3515

Queries sent: 1 (and three ruled out)

All quotas achieved! And the revised target of 3000 words handily passed with a generous margin. Had to push a bit at the end of the month for that, but not ridiculously so. And the Haley story is done, and in the hands of the housemate for critique.

Also, I submitted 4 stories! Or rather, I submitted stories 4 times; some of them were the same stories. (That prompt-response thing has its drawbacks.) My goal of keeping all submittable stories out there is going pretty well; only one story is "resting" right now.


For February:

3000 words, at least some of which had better be on the Mars novel.

Extract agent lists from the AAR database.

Keep all short stories that are ready for it in circulation until somebody buys 'em.

Queryitis Recurs

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 02:57 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I tried to send a query yesterday, I really did. Of the five agents left in my worth-considering bookmarks, the first two were both at agencies I'd previously decided against (one not a good fit for various reasons, the other... well, let's just say that's not an organization I want to work with). The individual agents themselves may be fine, but, just no.

The third, it turned out I'd already queried. (Sigh, brains. I have a system, I just didn't quite finish using it.) And the fourth, the agency had a lot of small marks against it, culminating in a blanket "no sci-fi" policy that just rubbed me the wrong way. Sigh. At that point, I decided I'd better just go to bed, and give the last one a fair shake tomorrow.

Now it's tomorrow, and luckily, the last one looks okay. So, query sent!

And the bookmark list is empty. I may have to schedule that date with the AAR database again.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Mac Bar I'm Getting Pistoffeed (Dark Chocolate, Pistachios, Toffee)

Where bought: Not sure. Wasn't anywhere fancy; maybe Meijer?

Not much aroma; what there is is generically chocolatey.

Lovely smooth texture, nice thick bar to sink your teeth into. Very slight crunch from pistachios & toffee (mostly the toffee).

Satisfyingly rich. The toffee and pistachio presence is minimal for a bar "raging" with them, but they're reasonably well represented in the overall taste. The chocolate is thoroughly dark but still creamy; it almost has a hint of mocha to it. Wonder if that's from the toffee?

Overall: Very good. Would buy again.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Sun on frosted trees
Waiting for trash truck to come
Kitten wants outside

Bright, snow-silent woods
Crunch of feet, cry of birds -- squirrel!
Kitten loves outside

Toes like cubes of ice
Scary noises, dogs, humans
Kitten is hiding

Waiting under fence
Just come 'round, Mom, I'm right here!
Kitten comes to me


And one for yesterday, because that's how all kitten walks should end:

Rolling on the porch
Little nose has sniffed its fill
Kitten comes inside

Send Chocolate

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 03:14 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Hey, want to really depress the crap out of yourself? Decide it's time to clean out your email account, and copy & save a bunch of your old query efforts. With accompanying responses, of course.

I'm going to go take a nice, hot shower now.
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
I sat down to do some story-submitting today, with a brief detour into reading Dreamwidth. (Bad habit, I know, but there it is.) One of the first things on my reading list was the latest news post. Now, I'll admit, I braced a little (conditioned response from many other sites, where every "improvement" is an annoyance at best), but the truth is, with Dreamwidth's changes I usually click through and go, "Well, that can be worked with." Sometimes I'm even pleasantly surprised.

So I look at the new stuff, and what do I get? Outright broken functionality, and an aesthetic road accident. (Two, in fact.) Senior staff, who are usually reasonably responsive to complaints and try to make things work for everyone as best as possible, are giving a general gist of "Well, people wanted it like that, and you just don't like change," along with occasionally blaming the user's browser settings. Users are pleading for a custom CSS option and suggesting script tricks to turn some of the new stuff off; some of it, there's just no way around it.

Which all sounds unpleasantly familiar. It sounds like LiveJournal, and the reason why I abandoned LiveJournal as my primary platform (and rarely make it over there at all any more, unless I have a comment). As a fellow ex-pat put it, we were spending all our time finding ways around the latest "upgrades" instead of enjoying the content, and that's not supposed to be the point of the exercise.

And here I am: I've lost two hours to writing feedback comments and bug reports, and I'm shaking with unchanneled adrenaline. This is not what I come to Dreamwidth for, folks! I come here for relaxing reading and the occasional stimulating conversation, not to flush my afternoon testing broken things and protesting ghastly design decisions, and having those protests fall on largely deaf ears.

I really hope this is a temporary aberration, and not a sign of things to come. C'mon, Dreamwidth. You're better than this.
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
What is it with submissions, that every time I send something out, it signals the universe to bounce something else back? Seriously, I sent out a story at the beginning of the year; two days later, something else got rejected. Yesterday, I sent out two stories, and whammo, this morning there's a rejection on something else in my inbox.

One of my goals is to keep every story that's submittable out in slush-land. But I swear, I'm getting tempted to hold something back, just so the universe will keep everything else in what I can pretend is active consideration.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
...or, the genesis of an idea.

One of the side-effects of deciding to finally send "Rising to the Occasion" out into slush-land was that I re-read it, and one of the effects of that was that the characters moved back in and took over my brain. I've even scribbled down a few snippets, though it's all been slice-of-life stuff that probably doesn't belong anywhere and certainly doesn't count toward word-quotas until/unless it acquires a plot.

Today I happened to glance over some of the ideas I'd brainstormed and rejected for the first story, one of which still catches my fancy... but it'd have to be set a couple of years after the first one, and I'd like to do some more stories in the series first, if series there is to be. (Which is probably something that should wait til I've at least sold the first one, but writer-brain will persist in these things.) There was one element of that idea, though, that just didn't fit, entertaining though an ice-imp potentially is. ("Imps are a myth." "Yes, I know, but....") But it might be enough to carry a story by itself... and then I went to take a shower, which I should have known was asking for trouble. (All the best ideas come in the shower.) Somewhere between the shampoo and the hot water running lukewarm, it acquired a setting, and I worked out how the main character would get involved. And then while I was getting dressed, it went and evolved a name.

So now I really had better finish up the Haley short-story, so I can make room for "A Cold Day in Spells". (Yes, I really did go there. Sorry.)
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Patricia Wrede is a very sensible person, and today's post on getting back on the writing horse after a crisis is a prime example.

December Word Count

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015 04:23 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Quotas went right out the window during the kitten crisis, and that's okay. So this is here just for the record, and not for anything more than that.

Green Ring = 657
Haley mission story* = 700
Total new words in December = 1357

Queries sent: 2

Which is not bad at all for a week, which was about how much month there was before matters feline pushed everything else aside.


January's goal is to get back in the saddle again, which so far is coming along acceptably. I've written, not huge amounts, but several times. And I've sent out a story. Soft targets for the month are 5000 3000 words, and at least one query.


* Last worked on... a year and a half ago? Apparently.

lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
...or so my New Year's Day fortune cookie told me. ;-)

To that end: I really like the bakery story. And I've been sitting on it for six months waiting for beta-reading that isn't going to happen. Enough of that. Out it goes.

Writing!

Friday, January 2nd, 2015 04:51 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Managed a little over 400 words last night, which is pretty good for my first day back. \o/

Writing got dropped along with everything else non-essential during the kitten crisis, and that along with my natural procrastinatory tendencies made it hard to pick back up again. An earlier attempt yesterday, on the same story I'd done so well on the morning before the kitten disappeared, netted all of one word (and that one that I'm probably going to change). But because I really wanted to start the new year off a little better than that, I gave it another go before bed, this time on The Green Ring. The hundred-word rule stood me in good stead; the first seventy or so were like pulling teeth, but then the pump finally primed and I managed a decent chunk with relatively little difficulty.

I still feel like I've got the writing brain only about half booted up, but that mostly just needs plugging away at it. (And the bit where I discovered I'd written two mutually-contradictory ways for young Teb to join up with the mail carriage was done some time ago, so I can't blame that on this. ;-)  )
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Because I am just that pussy-whipped, the kitten got to go outside today.

Under supervision, mind; fortunately, the only thing he loves more than outside is outside with his human in attendance. I'd been telling him he had to wait until at least after New Year's, but he asked soooo piteously, and the Weather Service says that, cold as it is, today may be the nicest day we'll get for a while. (It may sleet this weekend.) So I wrapped up warm and took him out.

He was a very good kitten, and showed no interest whatsoever in bolting for the hills or otherwise inducing heart failure in his human. Instead, he sniffed along the side of the house, and rolled in the loose dirt, and sniffed around the brush pile out back, and made sure that every one of the protruding sticks was properly cheek-rubbed, and then inspected the woodshed. He did meander over to the neighbor's driveway, but I was easily able to head him off before he got into the junk cars (which means he wasn't really trying to go there), and after a brief saunter up the hood of a salvage Jaguar, he allowed me to take him back to his own yard. Where he examined the back deck, then huddled by the back slider waiting to go inside.

Ten minutes was all he wanted, poor kid.

He would have liked another ten minutes five minutes later, but that's enough for one day. He is a Very Good Kitten, and seems much calmer now that he has proof that there will be outside again.

And I am much calmer now that this first hurdle has been passed, and he handled it just fine. Though I'll still be going out with him for the foreseeable future.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Sadly, the BBC website still hates my browser, my player, and/or my connection speed. (I have had sites refuse to give me things because my ISP's response time is slow enough that they think it's not there any more.) And *cough*othersources*cough* have so far failed me. Which means no final episodes of Cabin Pressure for me.
/*is sad*/

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