Caturday Quickie: Honey, I’m home!

Actually, I got home Wednesday afternoon. It’s a six hour drive from London, Ontario back home to Sudbury.

Upon arriving, I immediately got to the unpacking and setting aside of laundry and completely forgot I had an appointment for a massage. It would have been nice after two plus weeks of standing and delivering.

I’ve left a message to reschedule, but haven’t heard back yet . . .

On Thursday, I started by new position. It’s another consultant position, but this should not be as crazy-making as the last one I was offered.

Since then, I’ve been trying to get back on track.

It hasn’t been going so well.

I discovered back in the spring that travelling for the purpose of delivering training no longer serves me well.

I used to be able to write in the evenings and get something done. Now, not so much. And it’s been a challenge also, because I’ve been sharing all sorts of posts and articles about writing process recently. Most of the authors espouse a write anywhere mentality. So I feel guilty for not having written (much) since I left on August 10.

I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other writers, most of whom have the privilege of writing full time.

That’s not me. I still have a day job.

Also, I’m an introvert. Training all day, while I am good at it, is draining. The group we had to train this time around was lovely. And social. My co-facilitator and myself were invited out once each week. A full day’s training followed by an evening of socializing and then another full day of training is deadly for me.

I probably shouldn’t have accepted every invitation, but I didn’t want to be rude. Plus, this particular group of trainees had all come from away, in two instances leaving family behind until they were settled and established in their jobs. In one case, the trainee’s family remains in Taiwan.

So I went, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy myself. They’re great people. I just didn’t have the time I needed to recharge by myself.

So all the writing I did while I was away was to revise and submit one short story and to revise my query letter following a webinar (with the fantastic Kristin Nelson—squee!). I’ll share more about that in my next chapter update next weekend.

So now I’ve just about caught up on all of the videos and newsletters and social media I deferred while I was away.

And now I’ll get back to writing.

By the way, London, Ontario is a lovely city. It’s called the forest city and here’s why:

The forest city

The view from my hotel

But I really enjoy being home with Phil (whom I missed enormously) and being able to sleep in my own bed, and getting back to my “normal” life.

Also, it’s nice to be able to help out my mom, who’s had cataract surgery on one eye while I was gone. This week, I get to take her to the second surgery and follow up appointment. It’s more than nice to be able to be here for her.

I’ll get back to regular weekend posting shortly. I have Series discovery and Mel’s movie madness posts in the works. Fun times 🙂

Caturday Quickie

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, August 9-15, 2015

Lots of video fun this week 🙂

La Atwood’s hair-larious article in The National Post.

The article was pulled and then reposted, prompting this response in The Globe and Mail.

Professors exile laptops from the classroom. The Globe and Mail.

Buzzfeed presents seventeen graphs that perfectly describe being an introvert.

The lasting impact of natural disaster. The New Yorker.

Lakes across Canada face being turned into mine dump sites. Our water is a natural resource, too. CBC.

What happened when a girl was bullied for liking Star Wars. i09.

Have they found the ancient remains of a real life warrior princess? i09.

Nazi train loaded with gold reported found in Poland. CBC.

Photographer Kristy Mitchell’s “Wonderland” project and how her grief transformed into beauty.

Our greatest delusion. Veritasium.

Smoking vs. vaping. Is one better than the other? Smoker that I am, I think I have to concede that neither is part of a healthy living 😉 ASAP Science.

Were dinosaurs cold blooded, warm blooded, or something in between? SciShow.

Heart melting pictures of pets as they age. It’s the journey we accompany them on . . . BoredPanda.

One couple did a “newborn” photo shoot with their new puppy to keep everyone from asking when they were going to have a baby. Buzzfeed.

A bunch of burrowing owls are intrigued by a camera. Daily picks and flicks.

The walrus workout:

Horses having a ball:

Kate Bush’s “Running up that hill,” from The Dreaming.

And that was your edutainment for the week 🙂

Tomorrow is FRIDAY!

Have a great one.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 9-15, 2015

Last Tipsday from London (Ontario)!

Enjoy!

The good, the bad, and the ugly of NaNoWriMo. Roz Morris responds to a reader’s concerns.

Ooh! Shiny! Are new story ideas distracting you from your current project? K.M. Weiland has some suggestions for you.

How to keep your readers riveted by having your characters face the worst your story has to offer. Katie’s weekly vlog.

Katie shares a day in her writing life. I love this process-y stuff 🙂

How Joanna Penn addresses repetitive stress injury.

Jim C. Hines: 9 days to the quittening.

David Villalva visits Christine Frazier’s The Better Novel Project to help us create remarkable villains.

Creating aliens: Veronica Sicoe participates in her first podcast on the Resolute Writer.

Victoria Namkung: Ten things I’ve learned from being a debut novelist. The Huffington Post.

Writing advice from The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Let authors take the quiet road. The Independant.

What would you like to do if money was no object? by Alan Watts.

What ten books were almost called. Mental Floss.

Tipsday

Buzzfeed presents the 51 fantasy series we should all read.

Coming up: Thoughty Thursday, a return to Saturday posting, and, of course, Tipsday again, next Tuesday!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, August 9-15, 2015

Getting thoughty with it 😉

Anna Lovind shares her thoughts on the self-talk that can make or break you.

Susan Cain is interviewed on the CBC’s Q about the quiet revolution.

The kindness of strangers connects a poet to her grief. NPR.

The touching advice given to a young man in mourning. Tickld.

You’ve got this. On depression and hope. Be brave, and talk.

The science of being happier. Next Avenue.

Mindy Kaling’s guide to killer self-confidence. Glamor.

Jonathan Fields interviews Debbie Millman on what it takes to design a good life. Brainpickings.

Mary Engelbreit started drawing anti-racist illustrations for children’s books and some of her fans took exception. Buzzfeed.

Rose McGowan: Hollywood whistle blower. Buzzfeed.

Wasn’t sure where to put this . . . Irish Central shares some of the advice that was given to 19th century Irish women.

Eleven things introverts want you to know. The Elephant Journal.

How to get more sleep. Brendan Burchard.

Where do we draw the line between appreciation and appropriation? CBC’s Q.

Sudbury cancer researcher makes promising discovery. The Sudbury Star.

Space lettuce! Gizmodo.

How Minority Report predicted the future with surprising accuracy. Outer Places.

Why smart objects might be a dumb idea. The New York Times.

New report scorches Stephen Harper’s democratic record. Rabble.ca

Federal cuts to MD/PhD program will hamstring research. Just another underhanded move by the Conservatives. CBC.

Rick Mercer: Either Harper was in on it, or he’s psychotic.

Harper’s even made The New York Times: The closing of the Canadian mind.

Strandbeests. Strange and wonderful. The New Yorker.

This new New York carousel puts riders in the middle of a swirling school of mechanized fish. The New York Times.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be back next week with more Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday, and then next weekend, I’ll be back to my weekend posting habits. It’s been a long couple of weeks away from home. Looking forward to getting back to my usual, quiet life.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 9-15, 2015

Four methods to invigorate your prose with surprising sentences. K.M. Weiland.

Moar Katie: How not to waste your story setting’s full potential.

The love that dare not appear in print. David Corbett for Writer Unboxed.

The socially awkward writer. Sarah Callender for Writer Unboxed.

Roz Morris guest posts for Romance University on what you need to do for your NaNoWriMo preparation.

Harry Connolly shares what keeps him writing full time. Jim C. Hines.

The five things productive writers do differently. Joe Bunting guests posts on Tim Grahl’s blog.

Kristen Lamb explains what went wrong with True Detective, season 2.

To the lab! Veronica Sicoe writes about creating alien species in three steps.

Joanna Penn and Guy Windsor discuss the difficulties of writing good sword fights.

Just call her our lady of dark grace. Silvia Moreno-Garcia responds to commenters who call her a “little bitch” for daring to publish an anthology of Lovecraftian tales written by women.

Why do people say that the novel is dead? The New York Times.

Deborah Malcom was inspired by Neil Gaiman to create Meh, her wordless picture book that helps kids understand mental health issues. The Big Issue.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s first fantasy story to be published. Aaaannd, it’s from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic poem. The Guardian.

Hear Shakespeare’s plays in Renaissance English. Open Culture.

Cannabis found in Shakespeare’s pipes (!). As a friend said, this explains The Tempest! The Telegraph.

Russell Smith offers six tips to help you write and publish your first novel. The Globe and Mail.

Five Room writers talk about their favourite writing tools.

Being a medieval librarian was hard work. Medieval books.

New images from the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Entertainment Weekly.

More Tipsday coming up next week, but in the meantime, swing back for some thoughty on Thursday 😉

Tipsday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, August 2-8, 2015

Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, animated on Brainpickings.

Josh Barro explores the difference between American and Canadian political debates. The New York Times.

Traffic stop:

On consent and victim-bashing. Hrtwarming.

Why women daren’t go grey. The Guardian.

First Nations film maker, Shirley Cheechoo, will become the next Chancellor of Brock University. The Brock News.

Seven forgotten women surrealists who deserve to be remembered. The Huffington Post.

This is for the women who don’t give a fuck.

Anna Lovind writes for The Huffington Post about the life-changing lessons chronic pain has taught her.

Whether you’re healing anxiety or a broken heart, the tools are the same. The Elephant Journal.

How vacation habits can lead to sustainable year-round happiness. The Huffington Post.

The age at which you have your first sexual experience can have far-reaching relationship effects. PsychCentral.

Psychopaths versus sociopaths: what’s the difference? IFLS.

A musician decodes whale song. NPR.

Thoughty Thursday

See you next Thursday with more thoughty 🙂

Be well until then.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 2-8, 2015

This was the big controversy this week: Homme de Plume (now in convenient hashtag #hommedeplume). One woman author queries using a male name and gets more requests for partials and fulls than when using her name.

Canadian author, Marie Bilodeau responds.

Kameron Hurley offers a reality check on the necessity and nature of writing with a day job.

Then Chuck Wendig posted this: Starving is a terrible condition for making art.

Most common writing mistakes, part 43: Too many exclamation points! K.M. Weiland, Helping writers become authors.

Show, don’t tell, matters in foreshadowing, too. Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Christine Frazier looks at five kinds of societies for your novel on The Better Novel Project.

Donald Maass discusses how to write about unnameable emotions on Writer Unboxed.

Elizabeth Stephens introduces us to the #weneeddiversebooks hashtag on Writer Unboxed.

Veronica Sicoe writes about how perfectionism is murdering your muse.

Stephen King shares 22 lessons on how to be a great writer on The Business Insider.

John Scalzi shares his creative process on lifehacker.

Catherine Ryan Howard answers the question, how many drafts did you do?

Chris Winkle discusses the process of troubleshooting when you’re stuck. Mythcreants.

Can a virtuous character be interesting? The New York Times.

22 authors, including K.M. Weiland and Roz Morris, share their greatest writing challenges. Become a Writer Today.

A genre takes flight: Science Fiction. The Library Journal. The good news: epic fantasy still sells. The bad news: the dark stuff, not so much . . .

Tor.com shares 20 time travel classics.

Ten Old English insults that could be band names. Anglophenia.

Geekster Ink Shares twenty images of women in practical armour.

Tipsday

The Red Band Deadpool trailer is def NSFW.

Tipsday will be beck next Tuesday with more Writerly Goodness.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 26-August 1, 2015

Interesting stuff this week. Veeerrry interesting 😉

Controversial feminist Camille Paglia lectures on Shakespeare’s evil women. CBC’s Ideas.

Don’t know what the ‘vocal fry’ is? Faith Salie demonstrates:

Naomi Wolf advises young women to eschew the ‘vocal fry.’ The Guardian.

In response, Erin Riley calls shenanigans. The dislike of the ‘vocal fry’ is just an excuse to ignore young women’s voices. The Guardian.

Loneliness is on the rise in the age of connectivity. CBC’s The Current.

The Heart and the Bottle is a modern fable about denying difficult emotions. Brainpickings.

The Crossroads of Should and Must, an intelligent illustrated field guide to finding your bliss. Brainpickings.

What the best education systems in the world are doing right. TED.ed

I know I’m usually more about the astronomy than the astrology, but July 31st was the second full moon in the month, also called a blue moon. Apparently, it had astrological significance as well (!)

Brainpickings introduces us to Beatrix Potter, mycologist.

Carbon engineering. IFLS.

There is a two billion year old, natural, nuclear reactor in Africa. IFLS.

The Smithsonian introduces us to the bejewelled skeletons of Catholicism’s forgotten martyrs.

Water intoxication in dogs is another summer hazard to watch out for. The Huffington Post.

Why are dogs so insanely happy to see us when we get home? i09.

Discarded images presents this list of the top ten Medieval butt-licking cats. Thanks to Diana Gabaldon and her daughter for this 🙂

Kawaii! Watch a baby pygmy hippo have a swim. IFLS.

Now . . . since I’m heading out of town on the weekend (for two and a half weeks), I’m going to take me a brief break from the weekend posts. It’s just a bit much while I’m on the road. I will continue to curate Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday, though, so come on back and check it out next week.

Thanks for your understanding.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 26-August 1, 2015

Tipsday is back, full force. Feel the Writerly Goodness 😉

K.M. Weiland shares four ways to write a likeable protagonist at the beginning of the character arc. Helping writers become authors.

Related: Chris Winkle asks (and answers), do characters need to be likeable? Mythcreants.

Here are two ways to make the most of your climactic setting, Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Writer Unboxed continues its Diversity series with Gabriel Valjan: Import foreign cultures into your fiction.

Jami Gold shines a light on diversity issues.

Kim Bullock gets confessional on Writer Unboxed: The elephant in my living room.

How to write a novel in the dark, by Siobhan Adcock. The Daily Beast.

This is crazy-awesome Writingeekery. MJ Bush decided to live blog her 24 hour write-a-thon to draft her next book.

More Writer Unboxed: Jo Eberhardt shares a personal story about the power of fiction. [Mel’s note: Mary Brown’s The Unlikely Ones was one of the books I latched onto in my university years. Wonderful.]

Jeff Gerke guest posts on C.S. Lakin’s Live, Write, Thrive blog about hacking your reader’s brain.

Callie Oettinger revisits a past post on Steven Pressfield’s blog: Lay a little heavy on the business side.

Your second life starts when life cracks you open. Justine Musk on stepping into the bigger story.

Virginia Woolf believed that the best mind is an androgynous mind. Brainpickings.

Janis Joplin speaks about creativity and rejection in her final, lost interview, rediscovered and animated. Fabulous. Brainpickings.

Portland Monthly features home grown author Ursula K. le Guin. Amazing read.

Ever thought, ‘gee, I’d like to ask Ursula K. le Guin about writing’? Well, now you can! The Book View Cafe.

Neil Gaiman talks in his sleep. His wife, Amanda Palmer, found a forgotten recording of one of their nocturnal conversations and created this whimsical animated short. Brainpickings. [Mel’s note: I take a strange kind of comfort in the fact that I talk in my sleep, too. Phil doesn’t record our conversations, though.]

Fantasy writer N.K. Jemesin upends the racist and sexist status quo. The Guardian.

Haruki Murakami shares the moment he knew he’d be a writer. The Telegraph.

Jill Soloway calls for a matriarchal revolution in film. The Vulture.

How changing your reading habits can improve your health. Fast Company.

Charlie Jane Anders of i09 writes about ten books we pretend to have read and why we really should. For the record, I’ve only read one of these, Dune.

Foz Meadows writes about Sens8 for Tor.com. Just for the record, Phil and I loved the shite out of this Netflix Original.

CBC is now producing webseries: The Riftworld Chronicles. Tamoh Penikett stars 🙂

Buzzfeed presents seventeen (gif) faces that every grammar nerd will relate to.

Authors tweet #tenthingsnottosaytoawriter. Entertainment Weekly.

Interesting stuff coming up on thoughty Thursday, See you then!

Tipsday

The next chapter: July 2015 update

July was a weird month.

I got off to a decent start, determined to finish off Marushka. I revised and submitted a short story to an anthology call. I received a rejection for another story a few days later.

Then, Nuala’s kidneys shut down and we had to make that anguished, final visit to the vet.

While I kept up the blogging, mostly because I had my curation posts already composed, I couldn’t face the page for a few days.

I got back to Marushka slowly on the 14th, and that weekend, I set out my second round of queries for Initiate of Stone. I also revised another story and sent it off.

Since then, I’ve received a rejection on the story and two more rejections—polite though they may have been—from agents regarding Initiate of Stone.

I’ve just today revised my query, signed up for a query workshop with Kristin Nelson, and booked my hotel for Can-Con in October.

So it’s been a busy month, and a productive one, considering, but I’m just on the cusp of my pre-revision tracking best.

July's writing progress

Here’s how the numbers break down

Short fiction: 92 words

Marushka: 7,217 words (And no, I’m not quite done with the draft, yet. I’m at 87% of goal right now. I might make my 40k word goal. This is, of course, in addition to the 30k I generated during NaNoWriMo last year.)

Blog: 9,116 words

Total: 16,425 words

July's Summary

Moving forward, I will continue to revise and submit my short stories wherever I can place them, but, as I mentioned last month, I haven’t been bitten by the short fiction bug recently and will not be drafting new stories for the foreseeable.

Several of my shorts may actually be novels in disguise, so, once I exhaust the available venues, I might see about expanding one and see how that works, but I’ve a way to go before I get there with some of my lovelies.

I’m going to finish Marushka this month (damn it!). I’m only about 5k words from ‘the end’ on this one, and it’s been so long in coming that I really want to put it to bed.

Then, it’s back to Gerod and the Lions. Once that draft is finished, I’ll turn to revision again, but NaNo will probably pop up in the middle of those efforts.

I’m starting to outline this year’s NaNo project. It’s a tasty one.

The blogging will probably simmer down for a while without the convention reportage, so we may see a reduction in word count there, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Work-wise, I’m heading out of town for the day job from August 10-26 and then I’ll be taking on another acting Consultant position. This one promises to be less stressful than the last couple I’ve had, but we’ll see.

Other than that, there’s not much else to report.

I’m keeping on, keeping on.

You do the same.

Until next month!

The Next Chapter