Camp NaNo

26/3/15 16:06
auguris: Dozens of blue butterflies resting on a tree. (ΦΙΛΗΜΩΝ)
[personal profile] auguris


I haven't done a lot of writing this past year. I haven't done much creatively at all, to be honest. I was starting to think I couldn't, anymore, but I've done it for so long I know that's not true.

Anyway, without getting too far down the woe-is-me-my-depression-nearly-killed-me hole, I decided to sign up for Camp NaNo. I'm going to work on the draft of the first book for Krixos, aka Ghost Sight. (GS was a terrible working title. Krixos is a slightly less terrible working title.) I don't really get this whole cabin thing.

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andrewducker: (running lego man)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Amongst the things I need to do before I can "launch" my replacement link poster is make it work with WordPress*. And Pinterest**.

And today I got it working with WordPress. More testing needed, and I need to tidy it up a bit.

It felt really good to see the top post appear here. Not _quite_ as good as defeating Ormstein and Smough***, but still, pretty damn good.

This is, of course, why I code. For the rush.


*Because the current one does, and I don't want to launch a replacement that doesn't do all of the things the current one does, only better. The current one, if WordPress times out - but has posted - tries again repeatedly, possibly leaving multiple reposts. This one simply marks the post as failed, and leaves it up to the user to hit the "repost" button.
**Because that was why I started this in the first place, about 25 years ago.
***John got that one.
sarah: (Default)
[personal profile] sarah
I haven't been posting to my main blog here, but I've been cooking up a storm and talking about it all over on [community profile] faultlessrecipes.

Conversation I just had with D:
screen cap of text convo where I tell d I'm making grass fed burgers and steak next week and she fakes horror at the thought

I love my crockpot

26/3/15 15:10
sraun: castle bundt cake (cooking)
[personal profile] sraun
Earlier this week we took some pork loins out of the freezer.

Last night I made a marinade of (approximately) four parts Plum Sauce, one part Hoisin Sauce, one part Soy Sauce, and about an inch of fresh ginger root, grated. Poured it over the pork loin in a ziplock bag, and put it in the refrigerator.

This morning I peeled, cored, and sliced three Gala apples, and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Over that went a container of blueberries (the small size at the grocery store), and about as much raisins (by volume) as blueberries. Then about a quarter-cup of apple juice. Then the pork loins, and I poured all the marinade over that. Turned it on Low.

The plan is to take the pork loins out, and toss all the fruit in my food processor to puree it.

I expect it to be pretty good.
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(no subject)

26/3/15 07:43
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
There are few things more incidentally satisfying than walking past a bus stop where someone is waiting for a bus, and then two minutes later seeing that bus go past with that person sitting down on it.

It's just a delightful complete little narrative that ends with someone having achieved a simple goal.

daily gratitudes

26/3/15 10:26
watersword: KT Tunstall against a colorful striped background (Music: KT Tunstall)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. impulse purchase of wild mushroom and barley soup was exactly what I wanted last night
  2. a piece of poetry I had damn near given up on was accepted for publication
  3. farmer's market pizza for dinner tonight
  4. I have promised myself white hot chocolate this afternoon
  5. it's Keira Knightley's birthday, which means my tumblr is flooded with her face *\o/*
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So there’s an app called CleanReader out there that censors the filthy words from author’s books so that people can read them.  And a lot of authors are very upset that someone would dare to change their words before reading their book, because they put those fucks in and there they demand those fucks stay.  Those are artisanal fucks, hand-placed, meant for impact, and how dare you delete the fucks.

And speaking as a guy whose debut novel features the word “fuck” roughly once every three pages and features a lead female character who’s really into fucking pretty dudes up the ass with her strap-on, I have this to say about CleanReader:

Did you buy my book legitimately, so I get paid?

Are you presenting this bowlderized version as something I approved?

Are you posting it to a larger audience in some attempt to usurp the original content?

If the answers are “yes, no, and no,” then do whatever the fuck you want.

Mind you, it’s not that I think well of the tremulous parents who must scrub all the profanities personally from their children’s eyes.  It’s just that to my mind, when I hand you this novel of mine, it is then yours to do with personally as you please.  Wanna write fanfic where Paul Tsabo plooks a goat while filling out barnyard animal forms?  Go right ahead.  Wanna draw pictures of Valentine (who is specifically presented as a beautiful, plump woman) as some skinny anime figure?  Hey, I dropped my book into your imagination, and though I find it distasteful you’d remove a significant portion of her description, it’s yours now.  Wanna cosplay?  Sure.

Once the book’s in your hands, you can tear up the pages and use them to make a papier-mache idol of Newt Gingrich that you then marry, for all I’m concerned.  I made the words, my publisher helped put ‘em out there, and now how you enjoy the book?  Is up to you.  Judging any fandom of note, “What the author wanted” becomes a shriekingly marginal portion of how the fans slice ‘n’ dice their reactions to it.

I once had a post up here where I asked, “Hey, do you read prologues to a book?”  A small minority – about 5% – said they skip all prologues because they’re boring.  Nobody got their undies in a twist over that, and they’re skipping more of my book than stripping all the profanities there.  They can read it however brings them the most enjoyment.

Read the chapters from back to front for a Memento groove.  Read every other sentence.  Gender-flip the protagonists.  Make the magic system a virus inflicted by aliens from the planet Mars.  Get creative.

Just don’t say I wanted that, is all.

And again; I swear a fucking lot in my journal, and in my fiction.  I disagree with people who think that a book is better without all those fucks.  I do, in fact, think less of you for such an opinion.  But if it makes you happy and you are not trying to say, “This is what Ferrett’s book is!” then sure, go nuts.

Now, I’ve heard some rumors that CleanReader is actually not paying all its authors for the books, in which case I’ll quote Goodfellas and say “Fuck you, pay me.”  But otherwise?  I’ve got a big “meh” there.  I think the folks at CleanReader are too Ned Flanders for me, and offensive in different ways (“bitch” to “witch”, fellas? Pagans count), but they can consume my book in different ways.

If you disagree? Well, Chuck Wendig has some instructions as to how to get your book off of CleanReader, and he really fucking hates it.  And do so if the urge strikes you.  Every author’s going to react differently.  You may disagree here, and that’s another aspect of how I approach this: I made this essay, I tossed it out there, and now y’all can tell me how I’m wrong.

Me?  I gave it to you.  I may not respect the way you read my book, in the end, but by God it’s your right.  Just as it’s my right to go, “What Star Wars prequels?” and ignore their very existence when discussing things.  It pisses off George Lucas, but it makes me so much happier.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Well, you’re in luck!  For I am on Daniel M. Bensen’s most excellent podcast The Kingdoms of Evil, and while we ramble most amiably on about a variety of topics, I discuss how the Internet’s relentless focus on things helped shape my approach to the magic system in Flex.  I’m totes chattery, so go check it out if you’d like to hear me talk!

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Untaken is an interesting blend of styles, combining Judy Blume-style coming-of-age stuff with the roughness of Stephen King.  The one thing both of those authors share is their solid grasp on characters, and so you’ve got some interesting teens at the heart of a story of an alien invasion.  The characters are so interesting, in fact, that I kept getting mildly annoyed when the aliens or the government squads showed up, because I far preferred the quiet scenes where they were toodling around on the road looking for shelter.

This is, to say the least, an interesting complaint for a book about a space invasions.

The two leads are sharply delineated: you have Gracie, a slightly spoiled ordinary teenager who bitches about Mom and Dad until they get vacuumed up into the sky by silver-tentacled space parasites.  And you have Brandon, the son of an alcoholic and blatantly crazy father, who’s trying his best to live up to his Dad’s skewed ideals before again, whoops, space monsters.

The two make for a pretty good team.  Brandon has the know-how to survive, but has his dad’s twisted dreams of AMURCA and no common sense.  Gracie has a lot of common sense and a lot of school booksmarts, but not a whole lot of courage in dealing with the initial onslaught.  They make a fine team, especially when they pick up a small kid who may or may not be an alien himself.

If you like Stephen King, some of the action sequences are superbly Kingenated in flavor, particularly the scenes where a) the aliens invade Brandon’s house, and b) the scene where the aliens stalk our heroes through a shopping mall.  Anckorn has a really good sense of tension, and when you combine that with her natural gift for characterization, you bite your nails worrying that everyone will make it out okay.

And in fact, the biggest issues I have with the book is when she strays from Brandon and Gracie.  The end of the book doesn’t tie into their personalities as much as I’d like – it’s an ending, but they feel a little ancillary.  And there’s a romance in the book that felt a little YA-obligatory to me, because Brandon and Gracie are good for each other but I didn’t necessarily feel sparks flying.

Still, it was a lot of fun, and I gobbled it up in about three sessions in the bathtub, which is quick reading for me.  The aliens were interesting, and they had actual motivation, which is something that’s comparatively rare in alien stories – quite often aliens are treated like deux ex machinae, doing whatever they in order to propel the plot, yet the aliens here actually had a pretty solid reason for their invasion.

I’d like to see where Gracie and Brandon go from here.  Currently Untaken is only $4.99 on Amazon Kindle, so if you feel like being creeped out, I’d say it’s a good purchase.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Postcards, Round 3

26/3/15 14:34
nanila: (me: art)
[personal profile] nanila
Mia has made one of her recent pieces available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “Aswang, at Night” is an incredibly powerful image wrought from many hours of work with ink and watercolour.



I've ordered a set of 16 postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, if you provided your address in one of the previous postcard polls, you don’t need to leave it again. Just say, “Yes, please” or equivalent. If you need to check whether or not you've left me your address before, links to my previous postcard posts for "When Dragons Speak" and "Princesa" can be found by looking at the free stuff tag: DW and LJ.

It usually takes several days for a Redbubble order to reach me, so these will be going on over the next two to three weeks.

Poll #16560 Aswang, at Night
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 1

I would like an aswang postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

seperis: (Default)
[personal profile] seperis
Things that are both weird and true: three quarters of my skillsets and knowledge base are quite literally pleasant side effects. There is quite literally nothing--and I do mean nothing--I learned by saying "I'd like to learn x, it sounds cool." I start with "I really need this; how do I make it happen?"

At work, people are generally wondering what the hell, because three quarters of the time I'm just the vaguely there employee who hates mornings and generally doesn't make extra work for anyone. In other words, functional, forgettable, and whatever. I don't mind, trust me; it helps, lets put it that way.

Then there's the other one quarter.

yeah, and about that )
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The Advice Checklist

26/3/15 10:08
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Clippy-Advice

This rant list has been brought to you by a few comments on this blog post, and by observations about the internet in general. Before jumping in to immediately offer advice on all the things, please consider asking yourself the following questions. Thank you.

And yeah, I get the potential irony of giving advice about asking questions before giving advice. I also think there’s a huge difference between sharing my thoughts in a blog post and jumping into other conversations to tell an individual what you think they should do.

Did this person ask for advice?

Hint: Posting about something on the internet is not the same as asking for advice. Requests for advice usually involve phrases like “What do you think I should do?” or “I need advice.”

Do you think your advice is something this person hasn’t already heard?

Hint: I’ve been diabetic for 16 years. If you’re neither diabetic nor a doctor, I probably know more about my disease than you do. I’ve read the books, heard the advice, followed the online discussions, talked to the doctors, and so on. On a similar note, someone who’s overweight has probably already heard your advice to exercise more. Someone with depression has already heard your advice to “just think positive!”

Do you know enough about this person’s situation to give useful advice?

Hint: Telling someone with financial problems to get rid of their credit cards isn’t going to cut it if they’re currently paying legal fees following a divorce, are underwater in their mortgage, and just got laid off from work.

Are you more concerned with helping or with fixing the person so they’ll stop making you uncomfortable?

Hint: People talk about their problems for a range of reasons. To vent, to process their own feelings, to connect with others and know they’re not alone… If you genuinely want to help, great—but in many cases, giving advice isn’t the way to do that.

Are you more concerned with helping or with looking clever? Are you willing to be told your advice is unwanted?

Hint: If the person in question says they’re not interested in your advice and you respond by getting huffy or defensive or going Full Asshole, then this isn’t about the other person. This is about you and your ego. Take your ego out for ice cream, and stop adding to other people’s problems.

Are you sharing what worked for you or telling the person what they should do?

Hint: There’s a difference between “This is something that helped me,” “This is something you might try,” and “This is what you should do.” For me personally, the first option is easier to hear than the second, and the third usually just pisses me off. But also be prepared to hear that the person doesn’t want your advice, no matter how you phrase it.

Do you know what “giving advice” looks like?

Hint: I wouldn’t have thought this one was necessary. Then I got the commenter responding to one of my posts on depression by telling me, “Listen to your inner self and make it your outer self” and insisting he wasn’t giving me advice. He was just “stating an opinion.” Dude, if you’re telling someone what to do, you’re giving advice. If you’re getting huffy about it just being your opinion, you may also be acting like an asshole.

Have you asked whether the person wants your advice?

Hint: If you’re not sure what someone wants, asking is a pretty safe way to go.

#

I’m not saying you should never offer advice. A few days ago, I left a comment on someone’s Facebook post where she was questioning whether she should bother trying to get her book published. I offered my experience, disagreed with a writing-related myth she referenced, pointed to several options that had worked for myself or other writers, and acknowledged that my advice might or might not be helpful for her particular situation.

But I have zero patience these days for the useless, knee-jerk advice that comes from a place of ego and cluelessnes.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost I missed #everydayonabike this bitterest winter. Still cold and rainy but hope for #30daysofbiking.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Earlier this month, Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] was a Kindle Daily Deal, meaning Amazon was selling the e-book for a mere $1.99. This was the first time one of my books had been selected for the KDD program, and I have to say, it was pretty sweet. But how much of an impact does that $1.99 day really have?

I’ll probably never have exact numbers. These sales will show up on my next royalty statement, which covers January – June of this year, but doesn’t break things down by day or week.

Here’s what I do know…

1. Once Amazon drops the price, most other online retailers follow suit. Soon after I posted about the Kindle Daily Deal, I realized the book was also on sale at Barnes & Noble. Then people mentioned Google Play and iBooks. They all seem to monitor and price-match, which means the book was on sale pretty much across the board…at least in the U.S. Alas, Europe and most other non-U.S. ebook sellers didn’t get in on the action.

2. Libriomancer was, at least for one day, outselling Fifty Shades of Grey.

Libriomancer vs. Shades of Grey

3. We probably sold >1000 ebooks on Amazon alone. But wait, didn’t I just say I wouldn’t get numbers until my next royalty statement? Well, yes. But I do have the ability to pull up my Amazon affiliate account and see how many copies sold through that link. About 350 or so people bought Libriomancer through my site and links. My friend Howard Tayler (of Schlock Mercenary fame) was kind enough not only to mention the sale, but also to email me afterward and let me know he’d had close to 400 sales through his post. Given that Amazon was also marketing the book, and other folks were signal-boosting, I think 1000+ is a reasonable guess.

4. Apparently Libriomancer is a Sword & Sorcery book. This was news to me. But who am I to argue with this screencap?

Libriomancer #1

5. I have absolutely wonderful friends and fans. I was blown away by how many people signal-boosted the sale. Thank you all so much for the support and word-of-mouth.

6. I’m still addicted to checking my Amazon rankings. Most days, I’ve gotten to where I don’t need to check in to see if my sales rank has gone up or down, or if anyone’s left a new review, or whatever. But I was clicking Refresh all day to see what kind of impact the sale would have. At one point, Libriomancer was #1 in two different categories, and #16 among all paid Kindle books, which is pretty sweet.

Libriomancer Rank

This also put the book near the top of Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” for the day:

Movers and Shakers

7. It boosts sales of other books in the series, too. Neither Codex Born nor Unbound saw the same level of sales, but the Amazon rank for both of those books ended up in the four-digit range, meaning sales were above-average for them as well. Probably not a huge number of sales, but definitely better than nothing! Hopefully there will be some longer-term sales too as people finish reading Libriomancer.

8. A few weeks later, I’ve got 24 new Amazon reviews for Libriomancer. I don’t know if those extra reviews will help to sell more books, but it’s nice to see, and it means at least some of the people who picked up the book also read and enjoyed it. Yay!

9. Amazon pushes and markets its KDD books. As one of my fellow authors put it, this is a situation where the author gets the benefits of Amazon’s market and advertising power. They promote their Kindle Daily Deals, and while I don’t know how much that helps, it’s certainly a significant boost.

#

Thanks again to everyone who signal-boosted, and to all of the readers who shelled out $2 to try the book. I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll probably check back in later this year once I’ve seen royalty statements, and can compare this six-month window to prior royalty periods. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from other authors who’ve done the KDD thing. How did your experience compare to mine? Any additional insight or information you can share?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

(no subject)

26/3/15 06:10
sraun: birthday cake (cake birthday)
[personal profile] sraun
Happy Birthday [livejournal.com profile] tigertoy
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vass: Psychoanalysis comic book c over: an analyst watches a woman recount her dreams (psych the third)
[personal profile] vass
My subconscious would like to thank Tumblr, Canada, Customs Australia[*] and my parents.

dreamspam )

[*] Why Customs Australia? Because I've been looking into ordering my vitamins from iHerb instead of buying them locally, but I would rather stay on the right side of legality while doing so, and this led me to this rabbithole of reading Customs Australia's list of prohibited and restricted imports, and some of them are obvious, some make sense if you know about the trade stuff with bananas or the history of ANZAC biscuits, and some make no sense at all without context, and now I really need to know why novelty erasers are restricted. I'm sure there's a story there, and I want it.
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tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Second and third days of eResearchNZ 2015 saw me become increasingly grumpy with vendors and IT managers promoting the virtues of cloud technologies without consideration. I have been ambivalent in the past, but following a panel of several of NZ senior IT managers in the academic world who were flummoxed by my question on the relative inefficiency of cloud versus physical HPC lead me to pen a few words under the title The Cloud : An Inferior Implementation of HPC. It follows a previous post a couple of weeks back on Adopting Microservices at Netflix, which included far too many universal claims from a context-bound situation. My own paper to the conference, Skill Improvements versus Interface Designs for eResarchers seemed to be well-received by the people who are actually directly involved in skill development among researchers with the potential of future trans-Tasman collaborative work as a result.

With around a day spare following the conference closure, [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya took the opportunity to take a Queenstown lake cruise. The captain was slightly loopy, but gave many charming tales of the history and geography of the region, and allowed me to be a big kid and pilot the ship for a short time ("steady she goes"). The following day took the Skyline Gondola to a high point overlooking the town and - despite my uneasiness with heights - took a bungy jump which can be politely described as "very exciting". It is apparently safe, but it is a little difficult to convince one's mind of this. Afterwards ate a buffet lunch at the Stratosfare which had fair food, but superb views. After all that, made the extensive journey to Oamaru, including a stop at the charmingly art deco and rail history town of Ranfurly.

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azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz - bolt of blue - infovore)

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