Back again

Sep. 27th, 2015 09:09 pm
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Apparently it's been more than a month since I last posted. It doesn't seem like it, time has gone so fast since I came back from Swanwick.

I've done very little on the writing front. It doesn't feel like I've had time. I bought some books on new genres I'd like to look into, started thinking about a new project, but that's about it. I've just had a week off work and not written a single thing, although I have read a bit. Part of the reason is a lack of time. We've started an epic decluttering of the flat, something which is going to take a while since we're both hoarders with different space-consuming hobbies, and although we both like fantasy and science fiction we don't read the same authors. The declutter includes going through all the bed linen and towels, and replacing anything that's worn out. It's going to take a while, but we're fed up with making do.

I'm also looking at online courses again, in an effort to give myself something to do other than binge-watching Netflix in the evenings. There are a lot I'm interested in to sift through, and I'll do a round-up of writing ones I find for anyone else who's interested. Courseswill also give me something to focus on while the SO takes over the console to begin an epic playthough of Fallout 3 in preparation for Fallout 4 coming out in November. I'm going to be sick of that game before it's even released...

Back again

Nov. 15th, 2014 08:52 pm
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Kind of fell off the grid again, due to some real life stuff. There was family health stuff, including heavy colds and broken bones, and also a change of job role. Still with the same company, but their Issue Resolution department had an opening which I was offered and decided to take. So I've spent the last couple of months dealing with that (more complicated, change of hours, new tasks to get the hang of) which has left me very tired.

I was going to attempt NaNoWriMo this year, but decided it was far too much so I'm trying for a novella instead, maybe 20k or so. It's going slowly, but I have characters and a plot, and I know what people's motivations are. It's just trying to fit words around everything else that's going on. The plan was to blitz it at weekends, but that hasn't really happened. Today I was feeling really grungy and didn't want to be staring at a computer screen, let alone typing on it. I doubt I'll finish by deadline, but I do plan to finish. I need to start writing things that are longer than flash.

Jewellery-wise I'm still making things, but not as many as I used. It's hard to find the time to just sit down and play. I did make a necklace on commission this year, as a present for a family member. At some point I'll post pictures, just as soon as I remember what I did with the camera. I've also done a PacMan bracelet kit, and made a couple of bracelets - stringing things on elastic cord is harder than it looks, becasue you have to stretch it to knot it. I've got some funky ceramic penguins to make a bracelet and/or earrings with for the winter (if I ever get time), and I've also tried and failed to make a star necklace twice now. The stars are ceramic and different on both sides (one's glazed and the other isn't) and I cant get the flipping things to sit right. That's about it though.

I'm trying not to read and get distracted during novella season, but I've bought my usual stack of Christmas food magazines. It's quite demoralising how many of them are based on pastry/double cream/cheese. No wonder everyone complains about stacking on weight. My aim this year is to try and not put on more than a couple of pounds. Indulging is all very well and good, but you've got to get back to normal again afterwards.
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: (poppy)
I've been a bit quiet other than my last non-NaNo post, because life has not been quiet.

We finally completed the relocation in July - found a flat, packed up the house and cats and moved everything 300 miles. I changed jobs, the OH found a job, and we began the long process of unpacking. It's been four and a half months and we still haven't finished. Part of this was due to losing two bookcases in the move - when we packed we discovered that the bathroom had leaked through into the bedroom and turned the bookcases moldy. Luckily none of the books were affected, but it left us without storage. The books are now all unpacked (hooray for the local second-hand furniture shop!) although some of them are currently in stacks in the hallway. About 70 are in bags waiting to go to the charity shop, and have been added to my Kindle wishlist. The problem with downsizing is that sometimes you have to get rid of things you really don't want to.

We also have four boxes labelled Fragile, that we can't unpack because there are no shelves in the flat, or space for anything inside the boxes. One weekend were going to downsize the contents of those too. For now they can sit in the corner.

The main problem with getting everything unpacked though, is time. We're both working full time, in very different but equally tiring jobs. The last thing either of us wants to do in our downtime is anything that can be construed as work.

Unfortunately writing is firmly in that category at the moment. At the end of a day at a mentally-demanding job the last thing I want to do is something that's mentally demanding. I'm just about keeping up with the Coursera course I'm taking, because it's modular and bitty, but writing needs more attention than I have to give it right now. Write 1 Sub 1 has been a failure for the last two months, and is shaping up for the same this month - I'm supposed to be writing a novella (not a NaNo novel, but a similar project) and have done a grand total of 2500 words. I've sold a grand total of one story this year, although I can't give details as there's no contract yet. I did sell some content work earlier in the year, but had to give that up because Reasons.

I haven't even touch my jewellery stuff since I unpacked it. I'm thinking about tidying it all up, picking a project, and doing that when I'm vegged out in from of a DVD in the evenings. Productivity breeds productivity, after all.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
My story "Conversations With Dragons" will be published at Kazka Press tomorrow. I love their 713 word story contest, it's an interesting challenge to do something with the trigger in such a short wordcount. Clicky link when there is one.

I really need to stop looking on Etsy. The problem is, I keep getting ideas for things to make for which I don't have the parts. And I have plenty of parts already. This weekend I'll be experimenting with the camera to get some photos of what I've been making. It needs natural light really, and there's precious little of that in the evenings at the moment!


The real reason women spend so long shopping for clothes

Man in shop: These trousers are the right waist and leg size, it says so in inches on the label. I don't need to try them on, I'll just take them home.

Woman in shop: These trousers are my size, but I'll just try them on to be sure. Darn, too small! I'll try a size larger - far too big, and the legs seem to be made for someone on stilts. How about these? Oh look, my size fits around the waist but the legs are inches too short. Next size up? The legs are fine but the waist is like clown trousers.
Repeat with every other pair of trousers in the shop.
Well, that's that. Off to try another shop and their arbitrary sizing policy!

And that's just with trousers. I can't count the number of times I've gone in a shop where the tops are sized for girls with the hips and breasts of a teenage boy.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
There’s a lot of fuss being made about a film coming out, Anonymous, that claims Shakespeare didn’t write the works of Shakespeare.

Now, I know academics like to create new literary theories, and in fairness pretty much everything must have been said about Shakespeare already, but does it really matter?

If Shakespeare is outed as a plagiarist, there isn’t a single wrong that will be righted. It’s far too late for it to matter to any of the parties involved. In fact, it might actually damage the face of English literature as we know it.

Shakespeare’s works are famous because some of them are great, and because of the sheer volume of them. The Complete Works of Shakespeare is a hefty book. But in truth there are some pretty mediocre works in there too – Anthony and Cleopatra is like a badly written soap, and I once upset a lecturer of mine by saying I felt some of the sonnets overrated. This is forgiven because, well, it’s Shakespeare.

If the works get reatributed, there won't be a complete works of Shakespeare. There might be a complete works of whoever they thought really wrote it (In this case Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford) or, more likely, a handful of scattered works attributed to several other playwrights of the day. And then people will start to forget about them. Shakespeare is famous enough that people not into literature might well sit down to watch a movie of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet "because it's Shakespeare". If it's some nobody they've never heard of who's going to bother? The lesser known works will start to disappear because they won't have the weight of Shakespeare's name to keep them around, except in university courses dedicated to the works we once thought were Shakespeare's. And that would be a real shame.

What about the rest of you, do you think this is something that should be dug into or best left alone?
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's the start of the weekend for most of the UK, as we now have the Easter Bank Holidays. After that there's the royal wedding holiday, and the May bank holiday. With the judicious application of three days of annual leave in the middle, the BF and I have managed to wangle ourselves an eleven day break to spend doing the garden, spring cleaning the house, playing video games and generally chilling out.

I really need the break. It turns out my prediction at the end of last week was right, so I started this week with two days off sick from something unpleasant and stomach related. There's nothing more boring than staying in bed all day, even if you do have a DVD boxset of Supernatural to keep you company. Back to work on Wednesday and I had to play catch-up, and then today it was so manically busy because of the holidays that I spent most of the day fielding technical support calls - it's amazing how many people forget that a bank holiday means that the banks are on holiday.

The veg sack came a day early this week: onions, potatoes, carrots, eggs, cabbage, brocolli, celery, peppers and tiny plum tomatoes. The brocolli and potatoes are going in a cheese sauce bake, along with the cauliflower from last week (not eaten because I was ill, and it's kept remarkably well). The tomatoes are going in salad tomorrow, and whatever's left will be turned into soup or pizza topping, since they won't keep long. I may put the celery in too, since neither of us can stand the stuff.

Not much going on in writing news at the moment. I spent this evening going through the proofs for "Beauty Sleeping", ready for the launch of the new Every Day Fiction anthology on 21st May. Plus I got a rejection, and got the story straight back out the door. Tomorrow I plan to revamp my submissions spreadsheet as it's got a bit cumbersome, and do some writing as my muse is currently handing out ideas at a rate that suggests it doesn't think I'm working hard enough. 
clhollandwriter: (Default)
So football's in the news again.

There's been a lot of fuss over the fact Russia's been awarded the 2018 World Cup, the day after being branded a Mafia state in that Wikileaks scandal. Well if that's the case they can buy anything, right?

Not only that, but over here it's been hard to miss the UK media baring it's teeth over allegations of vote-buying and corruption in FIFA, including the BBC airing a documentary about it just days before the vote. The media frenzy was hardly going to win the English bid any friends - guilty or innocent, no one likes to be accused of wrongdoing.
So it's hardly surprising that the England bid lost with a paltry two votes out of twenty-two - and one of those from a British guy. Whoever thought that slinging mud at an organisation and then expecting it to give us the World Cup was a good plan is an idiot. And of course, the media is now having a feeding frenzy over how it was all fixed. All of which just goes to show that the rabid institution hasn't got an ounce of sense anywhere in it.

Personally I find it quite funny. The embarrassingly low vote is reminiscent of the Eurovision Song Contest, and no one likes us there either. I wasn't a fan of the idea in the first place - it's too soon after the 2012 Olympics, especially as we have a struggling economy. Besides, given the mess we're bound to make of the Olympics it's probably for the best.
clhollandwriter: (Matter)
I'm a couple of days late, but - England are out of the World Cup! Hooray!

Just for the record, I am English. But I hate the World Cup, and English football in general. It's not because it has a history of taking over the TV (I don't have TV anyway, so that doesn't bother me) or because you can't go in a decent pub when there's a match on. It's because the players are paid an obscene amount of money and yet when they lose seem to blame everyone but themselves.

You hear stories about managers banning the WAGs from going to tournaments, as if it's the women's fault if the men play badly. You hear stories about the banning of late nights/drinking/whatever, as if they're to blame for poor performance rather than the players for indulging in the first place. In one of the recent WC matches (against the USA?) the goalkeeper made a mistake and England lost. He was villified in the press, there was speculation that he wouldn't be fielded again - because the loss of the match was his fault. Never mind the fact there were ten other England players on the pitch who failed to keep the ball away from the goal in the first place. The goalkeeper only has a limited amount of the pitch to defend, after all.

And if England lose the World Cup the manager is always sacked or forced to resign. Of course he plays a part in motivating the team and preparing them for the games, but when it comes down to it he's not on the pitch, they are. They come home to a bit of embarrassment, and keep their heads down for a while, but go back to their five-or-six figure salaries. None of them get sacked.

Maybe if there was a bit more accountability for the whole team - or simply just a bit more team spirit - it wouldn't leave such a sour taste. As it is, all I see when I look at football is a group of men who are happy to accept vast amounts of cash, but not willing to accept any responsibility for their own poor performance.

And that's why I don't like football.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
While my knee was bad, I didn't get out hardly at all and a bunch of things happened to our "garden". One of the tomato plants fruited and then started dying, and because of the sudden turn in the weather the salad leaves, dill, basil, and coriander all bolted. A lot of the carrots died, and the radishes got half-eaten by critters so we harvested and ate the rest. There are fruits on the pepper plant, which is surprising, and none on the chilli, which isn't. And the other tomatoes all had a growth explosion. We'll get a lot of fruit from them, although it might all rot instead of ripening - the sun's gone away and left us with rain for yet another summer.

Writing-wise, I've been doing bits and pieces but not a lot of actual sitting down and getting on with it. Apart from a couple of Costa visits that solved some problems - but I can't afford to do that any more. :(

Not a lot going on other than that. Working my notice and looking for a new job, but there's not a lot around at the moment unless you want to move to Australia....
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I am not loving Windows Vista. No, not at all. It keeps trying to install things, and be helpful in theway that over-zealous shop assistants are when they try to help when you're browsing but really they're just annoying.

And speaking of over-zealous shop assistants, it occured to me the other day what they remind me of. You know how in those roleplaying computer games (I'm thinking the likes of Diablo 2, Oblivion, and Baldur's Gate), when you get close enough to the NPCs on the screen they activate and spout a stock phrase? It's like that - get too close and they automatically home in asking "Can I help you?"

I've started Part 2 of Reunion, after a brief bout of (shock, horror!) outlining. Not much, just enough to determine the order of a couple of events, as that determines the order of the pov characters. No doubt I'll regret my choice later, but I'm sure I can work around it if I do.

Yesterday I found out I've sold "When the Harlequin Dances" to Bards and Sages Quarterly. They've requested an edit, so that's my current project, that and editing a flash piece so it's ready to go out the door. At some point soon I need to start working on short stories again, as I've sold less of them than flashes. Subbed less too, I think because I find them more difficult. Most stories either don't have enough meat on them to sustain more than 1000 words, or they keep adding to themselves so in the end I'm looking at writing a novella. Which I wouldn't mind, if there were more places to sell the longer pieces.

And now I want to write, but it's late and I'm tired, and I've got nothing done because I kept trying to explain to Vista that I wanted to run Word '97, not the crappy trial version of '07. *sulks*
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I had a load of things I wanted to braindump, but by the time I've got around to actually sitting at the computer I've forgotten what they are.

Some people just shouldn't be allowed to have children. )

Procrastinating, Not Writing )
Poor kitty. )

Braindump

Mar. 3rd, 2009 11:31 am
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
Dreams about running around monster-infested tunnels (but not seeing any monsters), only to emerge into the apocalypse are not conducive to a good night's sleep. Neither is the vast amount of pain my wisdom teeth are causing at the moment. But at least the dreams were fun.

I'm in music heaven at the moment. Back when I was about twelve, I got really into 80s synth pop. Given that it wasn't the 80s at the time, I got a lot of ridicule at school for it, but I didn't care. I liked it. I liked the atmosphere, the sounds, the nonsensical lyrics, the way it made me feel. And now, here in the UK charts, 80s synth pop is having a bit of a revival. There have been hints of it for a while now (The Killers' early stuff sounds a lot like the Cure meets Depeche Mode in places) but now there are new albums out by M83, Ladyhawke, Empire of the Sun, Black Kids, and Bat For Lashes, and albums due out over the summer by Little Boots, Florence and the Machine, and La Roux. For the first time in my life what I like's in fashion and I'm loving it!

At the weekend we had the worst pub meal ever. It was write-a-letter-and-complain-about-it bad. I won't go into details, suffice is to say that we weren't told about the three things they'd run out of until after we'd paid, things were delivered incorrectly, and my veggie bf did not appreciate his potato skins having bacon in them. It was the one sour note in an otherwise great weekend.

I got 500 words into a story yesterday, only to realise I started it in the wrong place. There's a lot of scene setting, but not much happens. Given that I'm on a deadline and the beginning has to be "grabby", this is not a good thing. So today's plan is another 500 words of a new beginning, and hope it goes better this time. Also, my rejectomancy, and the increasing amount of entries in red on Duotrope, tells me that I'm due for a load of rejections all at the same time. And I still haven't started the next chapter of Reunion.

Braindump

Feb. 20th, 2009 10:12 am
clhollandwriter: (moon)
This morning, as I sat down at my desk at work, something shiny caught my eye. I looked out of the window and saw a single raindrop on a twig, sparkling in rainbow colours as the sunlight hit it. And just now, a buzzard flew past. For all that the people in the main office tease those of us who work in the portacabins, I know where I'd rather be: here on the edge of the woods where I can see things like this.


Ramble about George R.R. Martin )

Ramble about Star Trek )

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