clhollandwriter: (Inigo)
We went to see Mad Max: Fury Road last week, and I have to admit I was a tad underwhelmed.

Don't get me wrong, it was impressive what they managed to do using physical effects instead of CGI - and a refreshing change as well - but as a film I found it a bit dull. Perhaps because it's pretty much one long chase scene, because I had the same problem with the fight scenes in Age of Ultron. They just went on and on and on and on...

Still, it did a lot right. While Max was in the right place at the right time, as with all the other movies he's not really the driving force behind the story it just sort of happens to him. This allows Furiosa to be the kickass protagonist and drive most of the plot's conflict in a way that's much more honest than if Max were doing it. Which, let's face it, he wouldn't because he never volunteers to get himself in these situations. It's just a shame that the plot (such as it is) goes in such a straight line I saw the plot twist coming pretty much as they put the gun in the drawer, and there weren't any real surprises. Except one, which was a refreshing change to movie-fare but to mention it would be a spoiler.

On the whole I liked it. The women were allowed to kick ass and not rely on men to save them (another refreshing change from most of what comes out of Hollywood these days), and it was as daft as any other film in the franchise. I just, I don't know, expected more of something.


In other news: no flash challenge for me this week as next week I'm on lates again. Last week I sat down to write but couldn't make anything of the prompts. It happens that way sometimes. I did write two poems on Monday though, typing them on my phone while on the bus. For some reason that seems to work quite well as a drafting method for poems. I don't know why, but I don't feel comfortable writing in a notebook on public transport these days. The phone doesn't work as well for prose though, so I need to get over it!
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Not much to update, at the moment. This weekend I missed the Liberty Hall flash challenge because it's my week to work late and I knew I wouldnt want to do the crits. Late week I give myself permission to get nothing done. I've got some ideas on what to do with the previous week's story, too, although it involves a complete rewrite and includes switching it from present day to a futuristic setting. This will obviously impact it in unexpected ways so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

It's nice that LH is still ticking along, although I have to say I miss the days when it was bustling with activity. To be fair, a lot of the drop-off seems to be people moving on to the next stage of their careers - Aliette de Bodard and TL Morganfield are both writers I originally met there, and I know Mary Robinette Kowal was a member before my time. But there doesn't seem to have been an influx of new members to make up the losses, so it's very quiet. While I don't need another lively forum to keep track of, the flash challenge definitely benefits from a larger number of participants.

A couple of weeks ago I started a story over at another site, for a contest, but didn't get it finished. I've got a title and a very basic idea, but didn't have enough to get a complete story done by the deadline. So that's on the pile with all the other stories I don't quite know what to do with. Part of the plan is, over the next few weeks, to get all of these half-stories together and printed out so I can start working on them again - some of them are years old now and need either finishing or trunking.

None of that will get done this this week. Late week wrecks my brain, so I'll probably spend my evenings playing Minecraft instead.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
So, I think I need to blog more. Certainly not every day (the A-Z Challenge drove me nuts!) but maybe once a week or once a fortnight. I used to really enjoy it, but got out of the habit somewhere along the way. Like so many things it's hard to find time for blogging when you're not doing it any more.

Sometimes it's hard to convince yourself anyone's interested in what you have to say, but that's true of writing anything.

I'm not sure what I'll blog about, since I'm not writing as much as I used to. Maybe I'll put some things up about making jewellery, or books and films, and just general stuff I like. I don't know yet. I need to come up with a plan.

In writing news, I did the Flash Challenge over at Liberty Hall for the first time in ages. What I came up with wasn't really a story, as such, but it could definitely be worked into something longer. I was supposed to be spending the weekend writing for a contest on another writers' group, but the story isn't fully formed in my head yet - just enough to know it wasn't going to easily fit in the wordcount, and that I needed more than I had to write it. So that's composting for now, but I will get back to it.

And I'm trying my hand at poetry, although I have to admit I don't "get" speculative poetry at all. If it's a story why not just tell it as a story? I have a copy of the 2013 Rhysling Antology I'm working my way through, although the long poems look quite daunting. And poetry itself is much more enjoyable now I understand how it works - something they never managed to teach me at school or university.

I just need more time to write, and read, and make jewellery, and bake, and sleep. And do all the things, really.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I've been meaning to do a blog post for a while now, but honestly haven't had that much to post about. It doesn't help that a fair bit of December was lost to flu - first my OH was down with it for a week, so of course I had to take over all the household tasks and making sure he was fed etc. Then just as he started to get better, it was my turn. I'd booked a Thursday and Friday off work to tidy up and get the Christmas decorations up but ended up being off from early afternoon Wednesday until the following Wednesday. Being sick is really boring - too tired to read, not enough brain to write, I just ended up watching DVDs non-stop. I can't even remember what I watched, but that might be because of the insomnia since I didn't do more than doze for four days in a row.

We finally got the Christmas decorations up - although that was only a wreath and a card hanger - on 21st December. It was nice and easy to put away again though.

I never used to be a big fan of New Year, being the arbitrary marking of the calendar that it is. This year I was glad to see it, since 2013 was a year of stress. It's nice to draw a line under things. Of course there were a lot of articles going around about how New Year's resolutions are pointless because if you really meant it you'd do it anyway. I think they're missing the point. Of course there's no sense to them if you make them in February. But it's always said that you should set goals and deadlines if you want to get anything done, and that's what New Year is for. The last few months of the year are a grey wintery slog, miserable for making changes. It's hard to think about diet when craving comforting stodge, or exercise when it's dark when you get up and when you get home, or doing All the Things when you're tired all the time. Without New Year's resolutions, I think most people would just keep plodding along as usual.

My resolutions are mostly to do with writing. I'm rebooting Write 1 Sub 1, since I haven't managed it since September. Plus I'm going to make the effort to get over to Liberty Hall to do the Flash Challenge at least once a month. I'm also determined to be kinder to myself, and not beat myself up over slacking sometimes. Also read more, since that disappeared under the weight of all the Shoulds. Which is why I'm on my fourth book already this month.

January's for a fresh start. Let's see if I can keep it up until December.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Another bunch of writing links I've linked from the last week:

Writing for Women's Magazines
Five Ways to Write When You Really Don't Want To
The Business of Writing: Turn Your Income Stream into a River
and Terry Pratchett interview: Sex, Death and Nature

That's pretty much it. I'm behind on my novella, but did manage to get the flash challenge done over at Liberty Hall last night. I updated all the links in the Bibliography section on Saturday, and found a few that are no longer working. That's the reason for putting the stories out in e-books. I should think about doing another one soon, but I think it might be May before enough rights have reverted to me to make it worth doing.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Here are some links I've liked in the last week:

Author Spotlight with Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette over at Lightspeed.
Another great post from Eizabeth Ducie - Getting Paid.
A useful submission calendar for writers.

And, at the risk of being cheeky, I have a new website for my freelance work.


Not a great deal of other news as I've been spending a lot of time on my Tax Return and proofreading course lately. Although I did manage the Flash Challenge over at Liberty Hall yesterday.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
I've been busy sorting out my ebooks this weekend. "The Reflection of Memory" is now available at Amazon and Smashwords for $0.99. I decided not to go with KDP Select this time, and release it on both sites at the same time.

In conjunction with this, "A World in Clockwork and Other Stories" is free at Amazon today and tomorrow. "Golems, Vampires and Wanderers" is free too, because I fixed some formatting issues and put a new version up. I also used it to practice formatting for Smashwords, since it will be available to put up there in a couple of weeks.

Any reviews would be welcome, even if you don't like what you read!

Yesterday I did the Flash Challenge over at Liberty Hall, so I need to do my crits for that this week. I also got three poems drafted last week, so overall I'm feeling quite productive.
clhollandwriter: (eyes)
I failed at the Liberty Hall challenge this weekend, the trigger was good it just didn't do anything for me. It wasn't a total loss though, since I got 800 words typed up from a notebook instead.

Etsy have started providing an About page for their users, so I also spent the weekend setting mine up. The photos need a tweak, since the site has cropped some of them in odd places, but it's looking OK so far. I really like having it, since it was difficult to get everything into the welcome message.

I stumbled across a great jewellery blog via Twitter, wirewrapped.eu. As you might imagine, the owner focusses on wire-wrapping, and makes a selection of beautiful Goth and steampunk jewellery. I'm jealous!

Other than that there's not a lot to report. I'm still plodding away. :)
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've been a bit quiet lately, if you don't count tweets, because I've been busy with other things.

I've made a bunch of wraparound bracelets (blogged about here), and also designed a few more pieces I dont have the parts/expertise to make yet. There are so many different types of jewellery-making I'd love to try - resin, polymer clay, and shrink plastic in particular. One thing at a time.

Last weekend I got a 1600 (DQed) story out in the Liberty Hall flash challenge. The BF will be busy with an online gaming challenge this weekend, so I'm going to try and get in this week too - I'd forgotten the buzz when things go right.

And in other news, I've worked my way up to the marked assignment in the proofreading course. However, I'm going to go through the unit again before I try it because there are a few things I'm not sure of. It's like learning a new language, and languages are hard.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
In for the 300th Flash Challenge over at Liberty Hall this weekend. I just hope another 36 hour headache doesn't get in the way of the voting and critting this time.

The trigger was trippy, to say the least. I remember when we used to get triggers that strange every week. So I have a story, and it's completely WFT?, so I'm looking forward to seeing the reaction it gets.

Two stories in two weeks. I guess that means I'm a writer again.

Also, for interested parties, the End-of Year contest triggers have been anounced over at Liberty Hall. The deadline for submission is 14th October, and to enter you have to have taken part in a flash challenge either last week, this week, or next week. Guidelines (and prizes) here.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
Just finished the flash challenge over at LH, with my first piece of spec fic in a couple of months. And now I'm too excited and revved up to sleep, which is a shame as I have to get to bed soon to be fresh for the thrills of work tomorrow.
clhollandwriter: (block)
Mike Munsil has just announced a new short story contest over at Liberty Hall, with some nifty prizes. I'd love to take part, but I'm seriously struggling with prose at the moment - I don't think I've written any new fiction apart from a flash challenge since the end of June. It also means I have to take place in a Flash Challenge between now and 9th October, as that's one of the conditions of entry. On the other hand, it could be just the thing to kick-start my fiction engine.

It's not that I haven't been writing though, I've come up with a fair amount of terrible poetry since mid-August. I've even entered a couple of poetry competitions. It's fun, something different and certainly more of a challenge than vegetating in front of DVDs. But it's starting to scare me a bit now - I feel like someone's flicked a switch in my head from "fiction" to "poetry" and I have no idea how to flip it back or even if I can.

This is the weirdest writer's block ever.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've just done the flash challenge over at Liberty Hall for the first time in I don't know how long. The triggers were great, but my story did its own thing and I've ended up with I don't know what. It's better than nothing, I suppose, since I've been having issues with prose lately. I've written a bunch of poems since getting back from Swanwick though. They're not very good but at least they're something.
clhollandwriter: (hello)
I've sent my entry to the LH end of Year Challenge, and while I know it won't win at least I enjoyed writing it. I know a lot of people will hang on , polishing and polishing until the last minute, but I'd got to the point where I didn't want to keep tinkering with it.

The Yule log went down well at work, and even gave me some amusing anecdotes to tell. Like how I had to throw a whole batch of icing in the bin because I turned my back for a few seconds - which was enough for Gabriel to insert her face into the bowl. That cat will eat anything as long as it's human food. It could be worse, I suppose: Lucifer still keeps trying to eat the Xmas tree.

All's been quiet on the submissions front recently, which isn't really surprising given the holidays. I've decided to send out one more email on all outstanding issues (one query, one payment conspicuous by its absence, one magazine also conspicuous by its absence) and then forget about them until the new year. At that point, once the Christmas post is out of the way, I'll withdraw the story and send letters.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
No posts for a few days as I've been lazy. We were out all day Saturday at the local independent gaming store, as the bf had decided he wanted to run a fantasy roleplay for the first time in four years. Everyone enjoyed it, despite the protests of "You're so evil!" his storyline got - well how would you like to have to fight zombies unarmed and butt-naked? (It's worth pointing out here that it's the sort of roleplay where you sit around a table and roll dice, not the sort where you actually get butt-naked and fight zombies.) It was nice to do something different for a change, and it's been agreed we'll pick up where we left off after Xmas.

Sunday was a bit of a non-event, with not enough writing and too much watching Star Trek. I'm on a long weekend at the moment due to a mess-up of holidays. I was supposed to have a friend visiting, but he can't make it because his car died. It's too late to change the days and add them to Xmas, so I'm back to work tomorrow until Xmas Eve. The bf finished on Friday. :-<

We went walking yesterday, revisiting old haunts where we used to spend time as students. Today the plan is to make a Yule log cake to take to work tomorrow, although I've had to promise the bf I'll make another one for home on Saturday. I don't mind making two, although I might by the weekend. :-D I also need to start working on my entry for the LH end of year challenge. I have an idea, finally, but I don't know how it will pan out.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I now have an ending for my frog-like new idea. So far I'm mostly absent of middle though. The speculative content is also notably absent, although I'm fairly sure there's some in there somewhere. At the  moment it's a bit like doing a jigsaw without looking at the picture on the box.

I've just done the flash challenge over at LH, although getting into it was a struggle as it took ages to get anything from the trigger. I'm too stubborn to give up though, because I just know that if I walk away I'll have a brilliant idea too late to do anything about it. 

In a fit of displacemt activity, today I made pikelets for breakfast and then cleaned the grill and the oven. Then I finished rereading The Light Fantastic. There are several things I should be working on, but they've ganged up on me a bit. At the very least I should be working on something for submission. This time last month I'd made a start on my quota!

In other news: the mystery of the disappearing chocolate has been solved. My office has nocturnal visitors of the rodent kind.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
 I could really do without knowing there's an intelligent spider in my bathroom.

Spiders freak me out at the best of times. This one was spotted while I was in the bathroom (obviously) and it happily ignored me while it built its web in the doorway, although it did try to camoflage itself against the wood. Everything was fine, it didn't react at all to me moving around - until I picked up a cup to catch it in. As soon as I did it dived (literally) from the wall and disappeared under the bath. You can't tell me that spider hasn't learned what someone picking up a cup nearby means. *shudder*

In other news, my LH challenge dilemma has solved itself, by way of me setting a timer and treating it just like any other fash challenge. Although obviously I editted this one before submitting. I got it out of the way because otherwise I'd just sit there tinkerin with it. Now I can get back to the three short stories that are bouncing around in my head clamouring for attention. One of them can probably go off to Clockwork Phoenix and another to Subtle Edens, but I have no idea where to send the third. Oh well, I've got to finish them first in any case!
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Actually, the subject's a bit of a misnomer. There was no cheese-eating last night, but there were large amounts of very strange dreams. The bit after the boyfriend got up was the trippiest, in which I discovered my friend keeps ferrets in his shower, and cartoon pigs watched human faces form in the clouds. Before the alarm was a godsend though. I'm now halfway through a short story based on the main thread of the dream, and it makes a remarkable amount of sense despite that. Unfortunately it's no good for the LH challenge though. I may have to give up on that one. :-(

I've also posted up Chapter 3 of Reunion on NB, at the request of RF Long who doesn't want people pestering her for the next installment of Moy Tura. :-D Hopefully this one will be a bit less contentious than the last, which garnered some criticism for the homosexual content. This one's just got necromancy, violence, and rude words.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I went to the main post office in town today and got an IRC, so now "The Clay Men" is wending its way to the PBSS anthology.
And now I've hit the point where I start wondering why I bothered. They'll have hundreds of submissions in a similar vein, etc etc. Hopefully I'll have managed to shake it off by tomorrow, so I can pretend I don't care at the same time as obssessively checking my emails/post.

In a fit of complete uselessness I've managed to forget my password for Duotrope....three days after signing up.

I'm going through a major thing for Diana Wynne Jones at the moment. Somehow I managed to miss her books when I was devouring the school library as a child so now I'm making up for lost time. I read Black Maria yesterday, and now I'm halfway through Conrad's Fate. As far as I'm concerned she leaves JK Rowling in the dust: I remember when The Prisoner of Azkaban came out everyone was going on about how dark it was with the Dementors and everything, but some of the things in DWJ makes the Dementors seem tame. I can't think of any other childrens' authors who would tell you how it feels for their character who's been buried alive for twenty years.

The LH end of year challenge is up now. I want to write something for it, but so far no ideas are forthcoming. There are too many other things bouncing around in my head.

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