stephaniecain
21 September 2013 @ 09:33 pm
AKA Adventures in self-publishing...


So a few weeks ago I wrote, edited, formatted, created cover art for, and published an e-book. Wednesday at 8:03 p.m. I posted that my social media and email were going dark, because I had an 8-hour challenge to complete. Sometime in the next hour I started a timer for eight hours and bought a stock photo that I just knew would fit the cover, because I loved it.

That's the cover art I ended up using, because I'd bought it and I ran out of time at the end. If I'd had another 8 hours to search stock photography sites, I might have done the cover a little differently.

Anyway. I've been working on an epic fantasy novel this summer, tentatively titled The Weather War. I know those characters, and I know several of them are good friends. I've even related a couple of "remember when" type stories in the first draft of TWW. But a couple of my favorite characters in TWW aren't getting as much screen time as I would like. Enter the 8-Hour Ebook Challenge.

Two days ago, my friend Laura sent me a link to the blog post where Joe Konrath issues the 8-Hour Ebook Challenge. I didn't have any idea what to do with it, but the notion sat in the back of my mind for a while, and I got an inkling of a plot idea.

I spent the bulk of those 8 hours writing. I drank a bottle of wine during those 8 hours (Sleepy Creek Vineyards' Three Amigos, for the curious) and listened to a heck of a lot of whalesong. Because magic whales.

Sometime around 2:30 am, I realized I really needed to wrap up the story and figure out how to format an ebook. Jane Friedman's Writing Advice Archive came in handy there. I used styles in Microsoft Word to create a filtered HTML file that I imported into Calibre. I used Photoshop Elements to create a cover, and then I spent some time figuring out Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Not a lot of time.

Amazon KDP actually makes it really incredibly easy for the author to upload her work. So sometime between 4 and 5 am, I finished formatting and uploading the file. I stumbled off to bed and slept for the next nine hours.

 photo StormsingerThumbnail.jpg

When I woke up...I was a self-published author who'd already made one sale. (Okay, so it was to a friend, that still totally counts!)

"Stormsinger" is available on Kindle. Regular price is $0.99, so it shouldn't break the bank. It's 8,400 words, and it gives you a little glimpse into the kingdom of Amethir, where I anticipate hanging out for many years to come.

Stormsinger

Captain Arama Dzornaea thought she was just supposed to transport Crown Prince Vistaren Doth'Mara to meet his contracted bride. As the king's top privateer, she thinks she can handle anything. What Arama doesn't anticipate is storms out of season, an unruly stormwitch, and a strange witchery echo that puts Arama, her ship the Dawn Star, and everyone aboard smack in the middle of a mystery.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
29 January 2013 @ 07:12 pm
The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum, where I work, is situated on 3.5 acres of grass and trees in the middle of Crawfordsville, Indiana. It's a gorgeous place to work, not only because of the national historic landmark in the middle of the grounds, but because of the the trees and crazy abundance of fox squirrels. And then there are the hawks. =)

We had a pair of red-shouldered hawks nesting in a tree on the grounds last summer, and we've been hoping like crazy they would come back this year. We know it's likely, but I'm feeling more confident now because we've had one hanging around for a couple of weeks. I think it's the male, scoping his old territory and defending it from any possible invaders.

I got some good shots of him today.

Here's my set of photos on Flickr.

And a couple shots behind the cut. )
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
15 January 2013 @ 01:37 pm
Prompt: Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Now forget the song, and turn that line into the title or inspiration for your post.

The song in question is U2′s "Unknown Caller"-–a song from their No Line On The Horizon album, which constantly amazes me with its depth and emotion, not to mention awesome music. I think one of the reasons this song so strongly resonates with me is this concept: "restart and reboot yourself."

Hasn't everyone felt, at some point in life, that a reboot is needed? I know I have. And for me, I feel like 2012 was that year. 2012 was the year I started an "issue" blog (separate from my personal blogging), got a job that uses my BA in History/Creative Writing for the first time in my life, turned 36 (which one of my Facebook friends pointed out is 6-squared, which is all kinds of awesome), and revised a good portion of the novel closest to my heart–the one I'm going to spend 2013 trying to get published.

"Restart and reboot yourself–you're free to go."

Yes, that's the appeal of a reboot–freedom. A fresh start. Something new. Going back to the essence of yourself, without all the junk that gets installed and downloaded and virused up over the course of daily living. Run a health check. Delete those unused programs and habits that are just clogging up the system.

"Shout for joy if you get the chance."

Go on, do it right now. Close your eyes and give a big old whoop of happiness. "WOOHOO!" Ignore the people in the cubicles around you or sitting nearby at the coffee shop. Forget that you're on the commuter train with standing room only. Don't worry about whether the dog is going to think you've gone insane. Just smile and make a joyful noise.

Done? Did you notice how it makes you feel? You can't make a joyful noise without smiling. You can't smile–genuinely smile–without it making you feel better. I'm sitting on my bed as I type this, my two cats chasing each other. I'm not unhappy, the word I would use is probably content, but I'm also not feeling particularly joyful. Until I shout.

Isn't it crazy? Making a joyful noise makes you feel joyful. Letting out a few loud woohoos has lifted my mood from content into something that feels energized and empowered and ready to create something.

I feel like I've restarted. Rebooted.

I feel free.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
06 January 2013 @ 04:39 pm
Really tired of it. Someday I want to live in a place where winter happens every few years. *G* The geography and climate of San Diego appeals to me, though it has far too many people. Maybe the desert. I could live in the desert.

I need to finish my novel. I also need to find a second job. I wonder if any of the gyms in town are hiring. That would give me access to a gym, which I also would really love to have. My arms are flabby, and it's starting to really bug me. LOL

Finished my first book of 2013. Patricia Wrede's The Far West, which I absolutely loved. Spoilers here )
Now I am going to sit and write. I really am. I mean it. >.>
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
01 January 2013 @ 01:43 pm
So last year I read 64 books, 7 of them non-fiction. I can't seem to break that 10 non-fiction books barrier. Maybe this year. Of course, I did read a lot of white papers for work, and some of them were almost book-length. And I have been working my way through another non-fiction book for work, but I haven't finished it yet. Oh well.

2013 Reading List
  1. The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Far West - Patricia C. Wrede
  3. The Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson
  4. Social Media 101 - Chris Brogan *
  5. Kitty Steals the Show - Carrie Vaughn
  6. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  7. On Writing - Stephen King *
  8. Keeping the Castle - Patrice Kindl
  9. Dark and Stormy Knights - ed by P.N. Elrod
  10. Libriomancer - Jim C. Hines
  11. A Million Suns - Beth Revis
  12. The Last Knight - Hilari Bell

 
 
stephaniecain
10 December 2012 @ 08:53 pm
pile of coloured pencils with the words inkingitout write 75000 words in 2013
 
 
Current Mood: hopeful
 
 
stephaniecain
10 December 2012 @ 07:14 pm
According to my novel outline, I’m 9 scenes away from finishing the novel revision. And I’m stuck at the scene that takes place right before the major showdown. I have to get Character C and Villain A to a certain physical location and set the scene for the showdown to come… And I can’t seem to find the right entry point to this scene. Character C is at the end of his rope, heartsick at what’s been demanded of him throughout the novel, and terrified of what he’s going to have to do next. And for whatever reason, I absolutely cannot find the right tone for him in this scene.

I’m going to make another attempt at the scene tonight. I spent last night setting up a new Windows 8 laptop and playing with Skype for the first time ever. (Skype scared me. It still sort of scares me, but I think I’ll get used to it.) It just occurred to me that I’ve set the computer up with almost all my necessary software–except Skyrim–without using a single disc. Technology blows my mind.

And I managed to get Christmas cards and presents in the mail today. This is an accomplishment, since last year my Christmas presents got mailed…sometime in the summer? Yeah.

So time to knuckle down and get to writing.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
04 December 2012 @ 04:56 pm
Have a wretched, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad cold. My sore throat has been so bad it wakes me up several times a night for the past week, and then there's the cough and sinus headache. I feel run-down and miserable, but I still feel like I should be making progress on the novel. I can't seem to manage much in the way of housework or Christmas-present making, so it seems like I should at least be able to sit at a computer. But it's just so darn hard! My brain doesn't want to process things.

I worked on adding info to my series bible, but for the most part I've been doing things like catching up on Arrow on Hulu and watching movies on Amazon Prime. I was pleased to find Thor and Captain America on the free streaming for Prime members, but sadly enough, Iron Man and The Avengers aren't free yet, and I can't afford the rental price right now. They're fun movies, but I can't get into them quite as much as I get into Batman. Maybe I really am just a DC Comics girl.

I've also been rewatching Escaflowne, which was the very first anime I ever watched, courtesy of [personal profile] slightlyjillian. I've discovered I still like it as much as I did then, and I still adore Dryden and Gaddes, which tells me my taste in men hasn't changed in 25 years. LOL Scoundrels and sidekicks, that's my kinda guy.

But I still feel like I should be doing some writing. *sigh*
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
22 November 2012 @ 11:06 pm
I completed my backstory on Saturday, and on Sunday heard back with approval from my beta-reader. The story answered her questions, so now I have the opportunity to weave the backstory into my novel in several tiny snippets. I finished up somewhere between 21,000 and 22,000 words, which is a lot of writing to never see publication. But at the same time, it's invaluable to me, since it taught me so much about the characters and where each of them is coming from.

Of course, I'm not thinking about just ignoring those words. I'm considering the Writers of the Future contest, if I can tighten up the story enough to fit the word count. I think it's possible, because I always write really long on my first drafts of anything. That's probably a blessing, since I think it's easier to cut words than the alternative.

In the meantime, I'm back to work on the actual novel, have sent chapter 11 to one of my beta-readers, and am excited about moving forward again. I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
15 November 2012 @ 04:53 pm
The novel revision has been on hold for a couple of weeks as I've been working on backstory for several of the characters. Not generic backstory like, "He had four brothers and two of them died and now he's the heir" or "She grew up north of the mountains and has never been in a city", but an actual event that took place three years prior to the events in the novel.

One of my beta-readers (the amazingly talented [personal profile] slightlyjillian) pointed out several opportunities where I could, instead of having Character A think Character B is a liar, I could have Character A flash back briefly to a specific incident that made him realize Character B is a liar. Similarly, when Character B is reflecting on what a loyal person Character C is, he could reflect on this particular incident where Character C proved his loyalty.

What has resulted is (so far) almost 15,000 words about a formative incident in the lives of five of my novel's characters. Three of them are main characters, two of them minor, and the relationships particularly between the three main characters is crucial to the outcome of the novel. In addition, I am absolutely loving this backstory and I'm hoping I can eventually turn it into something worth publication on its own, provided it won't spoil the events of the novel for people. (I don't think it will, though!)

Something I love about this backstory is that it gives me a chance to lavish a little attention on a couple of characters who only get namedropped in the novel itself. It also allows me to spend some time in a setting that was ruthlessly chopped out of the novel because the subplot that took them there was superfluous to the main action (and, frankly, my high-school attempt at a scene inspired by the Council of Elrond).

Another great thing about writing this backstory is that I'm learning new things about the characters that have been living in my head for twenty-odd years. That's always a good thing! And they're surprising me, too. I shouldn't be surprised, because their actions are entirely in character...and yet I didn't realize, for instance, that Character B had actually told Character A he would do a certain thing, before he ended up weaseling out of it. (Character A isn't necessarily wrong in thinking Character B is a liar!) And I didn't realize just how uncharitable Character A could be in his judgments of other people until I discovered that he would completely misinterpret something to fit his opinion of someone.

Anyway, it's been a great exercise, and I've been enjoying it. All the same, I'm looking forward to getting back to the actual novel revision. My goal is to finish this backstory today. I want this novel ready for submission by the end of 2012, and I'm running out of time!
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
24 October 2012 @ 11:41 pm
Wow, hi LJ! *dusts off blog* How is everyone doing? I have been focused so much on work and novel and SWC blog that I have been almost entirely absent here.

I love my job. Every single day I go to work and feel like I have made a difference to my coworkers and employer, and that I have given an excellent experience to our visitors. I don't think there's any way I wouldn't like a job where the mission statement was to "celebrate and renew belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture." And one of these days, I'll even finish reading Ben-Hur.

About three weeks ago I swore off Facebook until the election was over. Too much vitriol from either side of the aisle, and frankly I was tired of losing respect for people I had always liked. Tonight I took a cool quiz at www.isidewith.com and, to no great surprise, learned that I side 76% with Barack Obama. (What surprised me more was that I actually agreed with Mitt Romney about...well, um, anything.) The website had sharing links, so I took a deep breath, bit the bullet and outed myself on Facebook as someone who's voting Democrat this year.

Of course, now I'm too cowardly to go read my friends feed, with its three lonely liberals. Ah, the loneliness of being a moderate. You may get to poke fun at both ends of the political spectrum, but you also have twice the number of people pissed off at you. *G*

Because of a request one of my beta-readers made, I've been spending my writing time this week working on an episode in the backstory of five characters. It's not something that will appear in the novel, except as each of those five people remember it from their various POVs. But the more I work on it, the more I love it, and I'm gaining all sorts of new understanding of these characters I've been living with for...um...over 22 years now. Well, most of them. Poor Ranulf, he didn't show up until draft 3, I think. *G* Anyway, it's fun.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I made a miserable attempt at Camp NaNo this summer, which consisted of me signing up for it and promptly refusing to write for nearly two weeks straight. That led to some consideration of my novel-writing process, and I decided that, while NaNoWriMo is awesomely fun, I have learned all that it has to teach me at the present, and I really want to concentrate on finishing my current novel revision. So I'm setting NaNo aside for 2012. I may go back to it in future years, but not this year. NaNo taught me how to plot a novel, and NaNo gave me characters like Zeva and Edmund and Fithian, and I will forever be grateful that I discovered NaNoWriMo. But this year, it isn't in the cards.

In other news, still looking for a second part-time job. Retail and waitressing are out, unfortunately, because as much as I love my job, it requires a lot of energy for someone who is an introvert. I think adding a second job that requires too much interaction with the general public would make me a wreck. And in the meantime, I'm squeaking by financially. I had to borrow $10 from my dad until payday on Friday, but since that $10 is going to keep his and mom's cell phones working along with my own, I think that's okay. And one of these days I'll get around to selling my Gaiam balance ball chair and that Boonton ware I inherited from Gedna and have no use for.

A while ago Eowyn brought me a present, in the form of a not-quite-dead mouse. I'm not afraid of mice, but I don't particularly want them in my bed, so I carried her back downstairs (mouse firmly in her jaws) and put her in a large box. She proceeded to kill the mouse and jump out of the box, leaving the mouse behind to feed me, I guess. I think she's getting the hang of this hunting thing. :)
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
16 September 2012 @ 07:57 pm
Went to Pine Creek Important Bird Area with the parents today. Mom and I have been meaning to get up there during the fall migration for three years now, and this year finally managed it. I'm not sure why Dad goes along on bird-watching expeditions, because he spent most of the day sitting in the car. Apparently he just likes riding around in the car with us. Anyway, we had a good time. We hiked a few miles of grassland at Pine Creek (which is not currently a creek, thanks to the drought), then drove over to Willow Slough on the state line. We added a few lifelist birds and spotted some other exciting birds.

We're getting a lot better at warbler identification, thanks to my Audubon Birds app on my iPhone. If we have a bird narrowed down but aren't quite certain, listening to the calls always cinches an ID for us.

Our lifelist birds were:
Sedge Wren (at Pine Creek)
Black-and-White Warbler (at Willow Slough)
Blackpoll Warbler (at Willow Slough)
Black-Throated Green Warbler (at Willow Slough)

In addition, at Willow Slough we saw two Great Egrets, three Sandhill Cranes, several Great Blue Herons, two Belted Kingfishers, and one Bald Eagle! Along with the remarkable birds, we also saw the usual blue jays, catbirds, crows, and of course, lots of my spirit bird, the turkey vulture. *G*

Came home, made supper, paid bills, and read a little bit of Writer's Digest. Now I need to sit down and get some writing done.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
Well, we're expecting what's left of Isaac to hit any minute, if you listen to the news. Early predictions were that Isaac could "erase" the drought in some parts of Indiana. Way too late for the corn crops, of course, and every projection I've heard since has lowered the expected rainfall. Not that I mind. We could use the rain, but we've already had more in August than in May through July, and even though I mowed the grass a week ago, it needs it again. And Dad broke the mower yesterday.

>.<

Seriously, what does it take to get a break around here? Or, um, a nonbreak?

The Cub Cadet has been broken since May, and we haven't fixed it because the Snapper was running fine, and we didn't have the money to fix the Cadet. But the mower Dad broke? Of course--the Snapper. So we dropped the Cadet off at the service place today, which means I'll have a non-zero-turn mower I have to use for the rest of the season. Ugh. But at least it has a drink holder. *snort*

Speaking of breaks...

My PC is still giving me fits. It behaved itself for about two weeks, making me think my problem was fixed. Then this morning it froze in the middle of doing something, and I had to power it down with the button. When I restarted it this afternoon, I had to go through three hard reboots before it settled down to actually work. Urgh.

Took the kitties to the vet for their shots this Monday. Strider embarrassed the hell out of me. The assistant weighed him and he was fine. Then Dr. Jon listened to his heartbeat and checked his ears, and he was not pleased about that. When Dr. Jon gripped his head to look in his eyes and mouth, Strider flipped out. He hissed and growled and came off that exam table like he had a rocket under his butt. Jumped to the windowsill, where Eowyn was waiting patiently for her turn, and landed on her, then almost climbed the window shade before dropping down under my feet. I tried to grab him, which earned me a nasty stripe across the back of my hand, then Dr. Jon told me to let him go. Strider stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by four people and a very unhappy sister, and slunk off under the sink, where he growled and hissed copiously for quite a while.

I was SO SHOCKED. He has never behaved like that in his life! It was worse than one of Merlin's freakouts in volume, though he didn't actually bite anyone, and I'm not sure he intentionally swiped me. But he was very loud about warning everyone off, that's for sure. He hid under the sink while Dr. Jon ignored him and did Eowyn's exam. She wasn't pleased, but she behaved herself very well. I think she was more shaken up about Strider than the exam or shots. Dr. Jon had to get The Net, which he used to capture Strider and (mostly) immobilize him, so he could give him the two shots. And then we realized that Strider had pooped on the floor. >.<

Neither of the kitties like car rides, but I'd held Strider on the way to the vet, and he'd been completely content once he could see out the window and everything. He didn't get that privilege on the way home. Strider got put in the backseat of the car, carrier draped with a towel, while I rode in the front seat and held Eowyn in my lap. Strider let out a couple of growls, but calmed down pretty quickly. When we were about two miles from home, Eowyn started panting really bad, which panicked me a little. We got a little water in her, but she wasn't really thirsty. Once I pointed the A/C vents right at her, though, she started doing better. I got her inside ASAP and made sure she was okay.

The funny thing is, we left Strider's carrier on the floor in the garage for a minute while I settled Eowyn. (I was planning to isolate him if he didn't behave.) Eowyn walked around meowing as I carried his box up the stairs. He was acting just fine, so I let him out. Eowyn went up to him, sniffed him, and stopped meowing. I think she thought I had left him at the vet!

They were both lethargic and not very hungry for the first day after the shots. Eowyn snuggled up on my lap every single chance she got. In fact, Monday night I slept on my back in one position all night, because she was lying on my stomach when I went to sleep, and she was lying on my lap when I woke up, and my back freaking killed me. LOL Strider was very sleep and a little subdued all Tuesday, and it took Eowyn several hours to forgive him for jumping on her. I know he'd taken a chunk of her belly fur off, because I had to pull it off his back claw when he came out of his cage.

They're both fine now, and adorable and well-behaved as ever. They're getting along fine now, too.

I'm sort of terrified of taking him to the vet next time, though. I think I'm going to schedule them for different days, so he can't, at least, traumatize her again next time.
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
15 August 2012 @ 06:54 pm
August 2012
- Finish The Loyalty Factor revision.
- Finish "Blue Watch" or "Long Way Home."
- Identify markets for short story.

September 2012
- Write a short story set in Teronn.
- Begin querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Submit finished short story.

October 2012
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Examine writing goals and revise if necessary.
- Decide on and plot NaNoWriMo 2012 novel.

November 2012
- NaNoWriMo 2012
- Attend at least one write-in.
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.

December 2012
- Recover from NaNoWriMo.
- Finish NaNoWriMo novel if necessary.
- Continue querying agents about The Loyalty Factor.
- Set writing goals for 2013.
 
 
Current Mood: cranky
Current Music: Reeve Carney - Rise Above 1 (feat. Bono and The Edge)
 
 
stephaniecain
15 August 2012 @ 02:08 pm
I have changed my LJ layout. I'd love to apply that to DW as well, but I can't be arsed to work out if it's possible. :P ETA: Not only is it possible, it isn't as difficult as I'd feared. And actually I decided the layout I made for Innerslytherin was more appropriate for my writing LJ, so that's where I put it. This layout is by [profile] scholarslayouts.

So far it has rained more in August in Indiana than it did in May, June, and July all put together. This is nice for our yard and garden, but I fear it's too late for the corn crops. Soybeans might yet be all right. The resurgence of my allergies has proven that there is, in fact, a connection between how much rain we have and how allergic I am. This reinforces my goal to move to the desert at some point in my life.

I have written a whopping 1583 words in August. >.<

I would really love to put some of my old writing together in a document to sell for a couple bucks on Smashwords. The dilemma is that I don't want to self-publish the things for which I would like to pursue traditional publishing. So I want to self-publish old old writing. So the writing is quite possible (probably) sub-par. But I don't want to take the time (away from my fantasy novel rewrite) necessary to even read it and decide if it's shite. Anyone feel like doing that for me? LOL

My sciatica is acting up again. I'm taking Advil intermittently for it, and I've explored yoga, but I honestly don't have the patience/discipline/whatever to make myself do the yoga every day, so I have yet to see benefits for that. But at the moment my right leg is tingly and my right butt cheek hurts like a bitch, which means I've been sitting at the computer too long and need to do some stretching. I'll walk out to the mailbox as soon as I hit post.

This is Mom's first day back at work. I intended to use the empty house to my advantage, but instead I am sitting here not being productive. Argh.

I got a Starbucks card yesterday. Damn those green coffee lime refreshers!
 
 
Current Mood: cranky
Current Music: Kaiser Chiefs - Caroline, Yes
 
 
stephaniecain
13 August 2012 @ 11:36 pm
So I love my job. Seriously love it. I GET to go to work every Friday and Saturday, and it is awesome. The more I learn about Lew Wallace, the more I adore the man. And it's so much fun to share that love with people who come to the Study.

I am, however, not making a lot of money. As in, hardly any. So I am still hoping that another historic location in town will get in touch with me regarding some part time work.

In have changed my mind about Camp NaNoWriMo and dropped out. As soon as I signed up, I think I got this mental block. As soon as I deleted my profile, I got unblocked. I think I may have come to the end of NaNo's usefulness to me. It's fun, but honestly, I have to find the motivation to write within myself, and I have been, and I no longer seem to need the camaraderie of NaNo to keep my word count up.

Except that I have backslid a great deal this month. Of course, Mom goes back to school this Wednesday, so I am trying to enjoy all the hanging out time and all the accomplishing projects time that we have left. Today we hiked a little over four miles at our local state park. It was awesome.

We saw a yellow-billed cuckoo today. First one we've seen there in years. We saw a cuckoo in Trinidad (a squirrel cuckoo, I think), but it's neat to see the local one. :) Our cuckoos don't really say "cuckoo" though. There's a little "coo coo coo" noise, but the awesome one is the "c-c-c-c-couwl couwl!" It's a fun bird to listen to.

Eowyn has caught five mice in the past four days. Friday night she caught one and we threw it way out in the yard. Saturday night she caught one and brought it upstairs to me. I was at the computer when she jumped on the bed and I realized what she had in her mouth. I carried her back downstairs, mouse still in her mouth, and ended up taking the mouse outside. Then Sunday she wasn't downstairs for two minutes before she had her first mouse. I felt bad for taking them away from her, so I put her and the mouse in a big box and let her play with it for a while. Then Strider jumped in the box, took the mouse, jumped out, and ran for the upstairs. I had to chase him and take the mouse away. These wretched, adorable creatures. They must really want to feed me mice. >.< Eowyn caught another mouse 15 minutes later, but it got away down a hole to the crawlspace. Then about an hour later, we heard growling from the area of the stairs. Eown had caught a mouse, was holding it in her mouth, and was growling around it at her brother to keep him from stealing her mouse!

She doesn't seem to know what to do with them once she catches them though. I let her play with that one until she seemed bored, but the mouse wasn't badly hurt when she was through with it. I carried it well out into the field and dropped it in the beans. Hopefully now that Mom and I sealed up the hole to the crawlspace, the mice won't get back into the house. :P
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
06 August 2012 @ 09:13 pm
Because I have become obsessed with the time-management side of writing, I printed out a calendar of July and marked the days I didn't write. I wanted to see if there was a pattern. And I discovered there's a pretty obvious pattern.

Click to see my calendar )

See the pattern? Right up until I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, my non-writing days were almost entirely centered on the weekend. To be exact, 8 out of 12, or 66.67%, of my non-writing days were either Saturday or Sunday. The remaining four days were 3 Mondays and 1 Friday. Okay, so they aren't technically weekend days, but they're just to one side or the other of the weekend.

So what happened when I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo? No idea. Intimidation, maybe? Or rebelliousness against the idea that now I have to write? I have been enjoying it so much in July, maybe introducing the additional challenge of CampNaNo in August subconsciously threatened my enjoyment?

Who knows. Anyway, I'm GOING to write tonight, dammit! The OCD side of me is protesting the outliers that are going to show up on my August map.
 
 
Current Music: E. S. Posthumus - Arise
Current Mood: cranky
 
 
stephaniecain
02 August 2012 @ 12:53 pm


Just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. No idea why, except that, hey, I wrote 32K last month, so I ought to be able to write 50K this month, right? Especially since my goal is to finish the original novel revision by August 30.

Let's hope, anyway.

Also, I'm signed up as a sponsored camper, so if I raise $50 in donations I get a nifty pen, and if I raise $100 in donations I get a nifty poster. So if y'all are so inclined to sponsor me, please click below.

http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=206981
 
 
Current Mood: crazy
Current Music: Reeve Carney - Rise Above 1 (feat. Bono and The Edge)
 
 
stephaniecain
30 July 2012 @ 06:21 pm
I'm a member of the [community profile] inkingitout community, where we check in on a regular basis with the amount of words we've written. There are great conversation starters posted at the journal as well, and recent questions have been about the timing of our writing. Do we write on a daily basis, on a cyclical basis, etc? Where on the spectrum do we find ourselves? It really got me thinking about my writing habits.

My comment at the community got so long and so involved that I decided to post it here as a journal entry.

Let's see, I last checked in on the 25th, so from then until the 28th I wrote 2613 words. I'm at 72909 for the year.

I've been obsessively tracking my writing since 6/30 of this year, and I've noticed that I do a great job of writing daily...for 3 to 5 days at a time. Then I seem to need at least one day off, up to three days off at a time. I do feel better about myself if I write every day, but since 6/30 I've taken off the following days: 7/2, 7/7-7/8, 7/14-7/16, 7/21-7/23, and 7/27-7/29. This seems really weird to me, but over the course of a month of tracking my writing, it's pretty consistent, so apparently I have a short little writing cycle myself!

I really would prefer to be writing on a daily basis, or perhaps taking only one day off a week. But then again, despite the days off this month, this has been the most productive month for my writing, aside from NaNoWriMo, in quite some time. My total word count since 6/30 is 30,704. So I may have to just accept that this is the best way for me to be productive.

What I've discovered is that I have a hard time experiencing compelling fiction written by someone else and then writing my own fiction afterwards. For instance, three of those days I took off writing because I had been watching the Dark Knight trilogy. Another day I took off because I watched Brave. Another set of days I took off while I was reading a novel. Of course, the other side of this could be that after several days of writing, I need to experience compelling fiction written by someone else. In other words, which is the cause of the break, and which the effect? Do I stop writing because I read? Or do I read because I need to stop writing? I don't know. It's something I'll have to think about more.

My most recent days off, however, have been because I was working very intensive days at my day job, and was just frankly too exhausted to write at the end of those days, and then last night I started reading another novel that just sucked my time away from me. In no way am I complaining about the days at my day job. It's a great job, with great people, and I get to spend my time learning about history, talking about history, writing about history, and it's by far the most wonderful thing I have ever been paid to do. I look forward to going to work every week.

I just need to figure out how to have enough mental energy left to write when I get home from work. :)
 
 
 
 
stephaniecain
25 July 2012 @ 04:16 pm
*eyes desktop warily*

My 4-year-old HP desktop is acting unhappy lately. It'll boot up, I'll start doing something, and two minutes later it just randomly shuts off and goes into the reboot cycle. O.o Or it tries to boot, then freezes and I have to do a hard reboot. *sigh* I really really can't afford to replace it right now, so I am going to sacrifice a goat later to see if that appeases it. >.> Or maybe I'll just run a few more diagnostics and pray really hard. Heh.

In the meantime, though, I've been using Rachel Aaron's method of fast writing, and I am floored with how excited I am to sit down and write every day. It's been a long time since I've felt that way, so this has basically revolutionized my life.

One thing Rachel Aaron does is track her productivity, which I had always done in a desultory sort of manner. I used a spreadsheet to track how many hours I wrote and how many words I wrote each day, but I hadn't bothered tracking much else. I do know that spending 5 hours at the Barnes & Noble cafe always means a very good writing day for me -- often between 5-8k words. But I hadn't done too much specific tracking. So on June 30 I started a spreadsheet that tracks Times (of Day) Written, # of Hours, Word Count, Words Per Hour, Location, and Medium (meaning longhand, netbook, desktop).

Since June 30 I have written for a total of 23.51 hours. In those hours, I've written 28,091 words. Most of those words have been written at home, many of them on my netbook, which has a new lease on life thanks to Xubuntu and LibreOffice. A lot of those words have also been written at Starbucks, where I go for two hours once a week to write. During that time, I've had 9 days where I was unable to write, for various reasons.

I confess, I haven't read Rachel Aaron's books, but she is officially one of my new favorite authors, simply because of what she has taught me. As soon as I have money, I plan to buy all her books.
 
 
Current Mood: excited
Current Music: Luke White - Black Market Red Roses