Monday, August 21st, 2017 08:59 pm
lizvogel: Chicory flowers (Landscapin')
Saw the eclipse. It was cool.

We're in about the 80% band up here. Part of me was wishing I'd had my act together enough to head down to view the totality, but the rest of me looked at the anticipated crowds and decided the backyard was just fine. And it was. My homemade eclipse glasses (a couple welding filters, some cardboard and duct tape) worked very well; I could even slide one filter out for viewing through clouds and then back in for unobstructed sun. And there were some clouds, especially earlier on, but there was more than enough clear for decent viewing.

My favorite part: The sun, looking like nothing more than a crescent moon, gliding behind just enough cloud cover to be comfortably viewed with the naked eye.

Atmospheric dispersion is impressive; even at 80% eclipse, the light level was no less than that of a mildly cloudy day. There was an odd quality to the light, though I'm not sure it was enough to call attention to itself if I hadn't already been considering it.

So I had a good time weeding flower beds and hanging out with the cats, and checking the eclipse every few minutes. At the very end, just as the last little nibble at the edge of the sun's disc was rounding out, the keyhole in the clouds closed in, as though drawing a curtain on the show.

June Word Count

Monday, July 3rd, 2017 06:46 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I suspected I hadn't done any writing at all in June, and I was very nearly right. 100 words of beta-edits on Falling From Ground, and that's it.

Stories submitted: 5

Contests entered: 1

This is not a surprise. Between coming down off of one con and gearing up for another, the kerfuffle, a number of house projects that were way over schedule (and still are), and several other things which I recall being present but can't bring to mind at the moment, I basically gave myself permission to put writing on hold for the month. And clearly I did so. I'm actually fairly impressed that the sub stats are as good as they are.

This is not, however, an acceptable state of affairs to let continue.

There are two things working against me. One is that the novel is stuck, stuck, horribly stuck, and I really am at the point where I have to figure out what's going on so that my MC can start uncovering it. The other is simple fatigue.

The fatigue I can fix. It involves boring things like going to bed early and exercising regularly, and maybe even remembering to take a vitamin once in a while.

The stuck is another matter. I've tried some new brainstorming techniques recently, but I keep ending up staring at the same blank wall I've been slamming up against all along. I've got one more trick to try, but it's going to require laying still in a quiet room and turning my attention inward without falling asleep, and that's a tall order right now.

Okay, three things. Lack of focus is another obstacle. The house projects and various other undertakings do all need to be done, and they will happily eat every minute of every day without so much as a burp. I need to get back to making writing the top priority, at least some of the time. Which would be a lot easier if I felt like I was getting anywhere with it.
lizvogel: Chicory flowers (Landscapin')
I spent half the day fighting more of the lawn into submission, after the other half was eaten by more digitally-oriented clean-up. I didn't even try to work on the remaining downed trees that need to be cut up; it was just too windy. So the enormous tree limb that came down in my parking space wasn't really necessary.

On the plus side, it merely dinged the hood of my car before rolling off, causing no operational damage and only minimal cosmetic. I've been pulling back a bit when I park, in case of just such an eventuality. So it could be a lot worse.

It even politely rolled off to the side, blocking neither parking space nor the rest of the driveway. But there's still what looks like an entire tree laying there, and I'm the one who'll have to deal with it. So yes, I am farther behind after working all day than I was when I started; I estimate I accumulated an extra ten hours of work to do, not an hour after I'd done a whole bunch of work.

OMG Life

Thursday, April 6th, 2017 01:49 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
The last month or so has been a saga of one thing after another -- except when they've overlapped. To wit:

     housemate sick - trip to con in MN - power outage - me sick - kitchen faucet

each of which lasted about a week. The power outage hit 14 hours after we arrived home from a trip made into a mini-saga of its own by Amtrak's crap communication. The thirty-foot tree that's down in the front yard hasn't really been registering on the agenda. And now it's tax time.

I'm not posting wordcount stats right now, because I don't want to look.

Just This One

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 09:22 am
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I wasn't going to say anything about the election, but I feel the need to put something above Tuesday's then-humorous post.

So, a few calming reflections.

- We can probably trust to bureaucratic inertia to scotch the more wacked-out ideas. Recreating the Great Wall of China is not really feasible for a country that can't even keep its existing roads and bridges properly paved, for example.

- Regardless of who won, I still would have been at the mechanic's yesterday getting the car seen to. Regardless of who won, I still would have needed to clean the toilet. And the cats would still be cute. Whose butt is in the Oval Office does not really affect most people's day-to-day lives.

- We don't actually know what the election-winner's going to do. We know what he thought would get him publicity (and he was right). Those may not be the same thing; we're talking about a reality TV show star here, remember. I'm not suggesting he's some kind of undercover saint, but let's see what actually happens before cranking up the hysteria, eh?

- This too shall pass. Although I am somewhat a subscriber to the Great (or Awful) Man theory of history, the truth is that one person generally can't shift the destiny of an entire country. Eight years ago, there were plenty of people proclaiming the end of the world, but the world's still here. I suspect it'll still be here four years from now, too.

- Finally, we can't control what the guy in the White House does. We can control what we do. This was one of the most acrimonious campaigns on record, and that stems directly from the acrimonious, sound-bite-driven, over-reaction-as-a-tool-of-silencing society we now live in. But we don't have to. If you're talking to someone you disagree with and your immediate response is to take what they say to the most egregious extreme and then vilify them for it, you're part of the problem. If you immediately assume anyone not jumping on your bandwagon is on the other side and attack them for it, you're part of the problem. But if you read or listen to what they're actually saying, and take the time to engage with it with civility and the assumption of good faith, you might just be part of the solution.

lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
And now, I can't resist this.

Cthulhu / Voldemort 2016

Are you sure it's the greater evil?


Saturday, August 27th, 2016 12:52 pm
lizvogel: Chicory flowers (Landscapin')
Neither rain nor lack of sleep nor desolation of cats who want to go outside shall keep me from getting this damned lawn mowed.


Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 03:40 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Yesterday was sushi and pie (Pie Day!) and a large mocha, all of which fire up the writing brain. Instead I went to bed, and my brain used all that fuel for the kind of dreams that leave me feeling like I was running a marathon all night. Which frequently happens when I haven't been writing enough; this was just dialed to eleven.

Now I'm sitting down to write, and the same brain that wouldn't stop spinning scenarios all night is lying there like a lump. I have this one short story left from the batch I want to complete before going back to the Mars novel. It was a good idea when I first thought of it; it's probably still a good idea, somewhere under this massive layer of "eh". And I have all the engagement of road-kill.

I want another mocha. This is probably not a good idea, but it may come to that.


Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 10:34 am
lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
I got a lungful of cold air yesterday which has moved in and set up shop, and now I feel like crap. Welcome to March.

Rumble in the Box

Thursday, January 14th, 2016 06:39 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Money was tight this Christmas, and the cats are so spoiled that it's hard to find something new and different to buy them, anyway. So I took the box that the new microwave shipped in and cut a couple small doorways in it, and now the kitties have themselves a box fort.

There's something fundamentally delightful about listening to a large cardboard box purr.

New In, New Out

Monday, December 21st, 2015 02:54 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
About a month and a half ago, I started a new job. It's nothing glamorous, just a part-time gig at the local hardware store, but it's a little steady money coming in, and it's a little me getting out of the house. No question that both of those needed to happen, but I was concerned what the effect on my writing would be.

Well, within the last few weeks, I've gotten un-stuck on the current short story (figured out what the thing my characters were investigating was meant to do, figured out how it tied together with some other things I wanted to include, and worked out how it all gets resolved). I've also, and here's the bit that needs a fanfare playing in the background, gotten un-stuck on the Mars novel! It's been stalled for months because I needed my character to discover a Thing, and while I knew the general parameters and what kind of effect it needed to have, I had no idea what the Thing actually was. And now I do! It fits nicely, it has possible implications for later, and it will really mess with his head.

And I do think the job is why this inspiration is finally happening, or at least a part of it. The amelioration of a certain amount of financial stress is probably a factor (I love doing freelance/contract work, and it's great when the clients are there, but it's a fiscal crap shoot). However, I suspect most of the credit goes to simply getting new input for the brain. It's a lot easier to have new thoughts when the neurons have new things to process, even if it's only where the mouse traps are or what kind of pipe to use for gas vs. water. Like any other part of the body, the brain works better when it's exercised regularly.

On the other hand, having come up with the new idea for the Mars novel, I haven't had a chance to do anything with it beyond the 250 or so words of jotting down the main concept.

The down side is the time management issue. I know lots of writers manage to write around full-time jobs, and I don't pretend my couple of days a week ought to be a major obstacle. But I'm still having trouble finding my footing. I'm not an every-day writer anyway, so the days when I've been on my feet for seven hours are obvious choices for no-writing days. But it seems like all the other demands of life are ganging up and overwhelming the remaining time even more than they already did, and if I do manage to beat them off and declare a writing day, I come up for air to find rubble and chaos everywhere. ;-) Trying to fit in writing in less than all-day chunks hasn't been working at all. Or at least not very well; I'm getting better, but I still need a lot of boot-up time before staring at the screen turns into putting words on it.

So as far as writing is concerned, the job is a net good, because all the writing time in the world won't help if your brain is mired in stale sludge. But all the new ideas in the world won't help if you don't make time to put them to use, either.

I need to be very careful about taking on any new demands on my time (especially this time of year, when baking and crafts will Eat My Life if given half a chance). And I need to establish a better balance of life maintenance and writing.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
One year ago today, our kitten disappeared, and didn't come back for two agonizing weeks.

He's been unusually jumpy about outside lately. Maybe he's just been picking it up from us. Obviously, he's a cat, and doesn't know from calendars. But if he associates the similar weather, shortness of daylight, etc. with being cold and hungry and alone, it would explain a lot.

Today, he and I went for a nice long walk. He didn't venture far into the woods, not more than twenty feet or so. At one point, he did seem interested in following the track between the neighbors' properties farther back than I was comfortable with, but I managed to dissuade him, and redirect his attention with an extended neck scritch. Mostly there was a lot of tree climbing, and pouncing on things rustling in the grass, and much returning to the human for pets and even picking up and purrrrrrrrs. At one point he did decide to investigate the other neighbor's front flower bed; not sure why the big open expanse of their lawn seemed fine to him when normally he sticks to cover, but when I caught up he turned and headed back toward home fairly agreeably.

All in all we were out about three hours, and he seemed very satisfied indeed, both with his walk and with coming home at the end of it. And I can't think of a better way to spend a morning.

Still here....

Sunday, November 8th, 2015 12:36 pm
lizvogel: text: I have more userpics on Dreamwidth (more userpics on Dreamwidth)
I've been neglecting this journal lately. Partly that's just me; partly it's that I've been trying to be more active on another forum, and it seems I really do have a fixed (and small) amount of social-media-izing to go around.

I recognized this on Thursday, and then my internet went out for two days. (And the phone with it, just for extra isolation.) I do not think the universe is sympathetic to my attempts to keep up.
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
I'm going to have to make a desk to get what I want. I recognize that. I don't actually want a glass top: too much dusting (or too obvious dust when I don't, more likely). However, I find myself wondering, would a glass top reduce the chances of me thinking there's a fly or something on my leg and accidentally kicking a cat* when I go to brush it off?

Might be worth it, if so....

* Well, gently bumping a cat, really. But she still left, so I still feel bad.

lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I've been getting out in the workshop again lately. Nothing fancy, just some bracing for the saggy-but-comfortable couch and the much saggier armchair, but it's been needing to be done forever. I'd almost forgotten the satisfaction of making something with my hands, the almost meditative process of cutting and shaping. It's a shame my work will be invisible to anyone who doesn't go around lifting up couch cushions, because for what it is, I made it beautiful.
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
This is just here for the record; not much to show for the past couple months.


Haley novel = 38 (I managed to work in a line I really liked and hadn't previously been able to find a place for.)
original short stories = 15
Total new words in April = 53

Queries sent = 1

Looking back at goals, I did get my taxes done. And the flu is gone, though there is a trace of a lingering cough that I'll be very glad to see the back of.


Falling From Ground = 40
original short stories = 184 (incl. more clown history!)
Total new words in May = 224

There were also a couple quick edits on ...And The Kitchen Sink that didn't actually change the word count.

Short stories submitted = 2

What can I say? I've rather had my mind on other matters lately.

I'm not setting targets for June, either; still getting my feet under me from real-life matters. I've an unaccustomed amount of critiquing to do; got the stuff for the library group done just in time, and now there's the 4th Street workshop coming up. I have been fiddling with some living-room fanfic lately, which is a nice low-demand way to ease back into writing. And I poked at Green Ring a little the other night.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat as necessary.

R.I.P. Milo

Saturday, May 30th, 2015 06:10 pm
lizvogel: cute cat in 'yoga' position (Cat Yoga)
A little over ten years ago, a scruffy yearling cat stood on our porch and said, "I live here now. Let me in!"

Today, we said goodbye.

Milo was the world's most amiable cat: laid-back, mellow, but always wanting to be involved in whatever was going on. Smart, brave, and affectionate, he loved muzzle rubs and rump pats and that spot at the base of the tail that induces caltitude. He could velcro himself to a lap before you'd quite finished sitting down, and he had an amazing ability, if he wasn't sitting on you already, to identify end-credit music and ensconce himself immovably on your lap so you had to sit and watch another three episodes. He loved food, and his adopted sister (and his big and little brothers, past and present), and catnip, and us.

Yesterday we had a lovely morning sitting outside in the sun, followed by an extended multi-stage afternoon nap on the nice cool living room carpet, with his people sitting nearby and petting. The cancer had taken away a lot of what he enjoyed, but he still made a beeline for my lap, or stretched out his paws to touch one of us. And there were several meals, and then off to bed for one last snuggle in my armpit, and one more early this morning, complete with a good loud purr. And then today, we gave him as peaceful an end as possible, the last thing we could do for him.

He never backed down from a fight in his life, but this was one he just couldn't win.

Goodbye, my little guy. You were the best of cats.

Status Report

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 05:15 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
It wasn't enough that I had the flu, followed by the nastier flu, both lingering; last week, I had to go and sprain my ankle, too. ;-P

I'm in that annoying state where I don't feel good enough to do much of anything, but I don't feel bad enough to be not doing anything. Which means I am mostly surfing the web. Occasionally I manage to turn that to the arguably-useful surfing of market and agent research, but not often enough.

Well, and minioning to cats. Because colds may come and ankles may go, but the cats still expect hot-and-cold running human at their every beck and call.

March Word Count

Friday, April 10th, 2015 04:28 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Getting a meaningful total for March is complicated. The first thing I did that month was scrap Chapter 2 of Falling From Ground in its entirety, which put me down -4567 words right from the get-go. Despite some fairly Herculean outputs here and there, that would give me a net total of 1361 words -- which seems a poor reward for a hard decision that really did need to be made and that will make the book sooo much better.

So instead, I'm going to reset to zero after that point, and just look at new production.

Green Ring: 1382
Falling From Ground: 1013
The Kitten Case: 3533

Total new words in March: 5928

That sounds better than it was; a graphical representation of my output would look like an inverted Bell curve. And The Kitten Case is definitely anomalous data: I attempted a NaNo-style ass-kicking and produced a for-me impressive 3500 words in seven days (six, really, there was a day off in there), but I'm not sure I'm happy with any of it. It may end up going the way of FFG's second chapter, and for much the same reason: For all that I'm a fan of wordcount as a metric, pushing for wordcount when the story's not there just leaves a mess to be cleaned up before the real writing can be done.

Still, it's good to know I can push out that kind of wordcount if I set my mind to it. And while I'm sick, to boot. In fact, all of March's stats get the "while I'm sick" bonus, because while the ugly-cousin flu moved in right at the beginning of April, I wasn't exactly feeling spry and healthy for any of the month leading up to it.

Querying: Queried 2 agents, researched and decided against 4. Mostly from the AAR database trawl.

Submitted 1 story.

There are no goals for April, other than to get my taxes done and to shake this rotten flu.

Sickie Squared

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 01:43 pm
lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
It seemed like the Cold From Heck and I were reaching an understanding. It was even making noises like it might move out on its own, and then, it invited its cousin to stay -- the big, ugly cousin, with the prison tats and the anti-social tendencies.

I spent the whole of yesterday in bed, and may be headed back there quite soon. I'll spare you the gorier details, but actually getting uninterrupted sleep in three- and four-hour blocks last night felt miraculous. I never want to see another glass of juice or cup of tea again.

For added fun, I'm on call for jury duty next week. Normally I don't mind doing my civic duty, but then normally I can breathe without coughing up a trachea. I don't have to report tomorrow, which is good because I don't imagine they'd like having me there any more than I'd like being there. But there's no guarantee my luck will hold for the rest of the week.




RSS Atom


October 2017

1 234567
891011 121314
1516 17 18192021

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags