clhollandwriter: (Default)
Two poems and a story out the door so far this weekend. Next on the list is to try and turn these characters and snippets of dialogue into an actual story.

It looks like my laptop may be beginning its decline. It's started randomly ignoring key-presses, like the first letter of email addresses, and the @ sign when I try to log into my emails. I could really do without the expense of replacing it - I've got this year's Swanwick Writers' Summer School to pay for, and also want to save up for a Kindle once that expense is out the way.

Also this weekend, I started a new blog over at Blogger. It's for all my jewellery-making endeavours and projects. I found I wanted to blog about it, but wasn't comfortable with doing so on here. So, a new blog. There are infinite hours in the day, right?
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
The broadband was switched on today, which means I got to spend my unexpected Christmas Eve afternoon off attempting to negotiate a microfilter that doesn't work, the fact that our phone sockets and power sockets are nowhere near each other and the cables for the router are really short, and the fact that the PC that's not wireless-enabled can't go anywhere near the phone socket (and therefore the router) and the ethernet cable is also really short.

However, that's mostly sorted and we are now, as they say, cooking with gas.

The BF is currently in the process of sorting out the connection for the games console, no doubt salivating with delight at the prospect of getting on Fallout: New Vegas - which I previously banned him from until it was patched. What he doesn't realise is that since he's on holiday until January and I'm not, the console is mine for the next four days. He can have it when I'm at work. ;-)

The next stage is getting all my writing bits and pieces in order, ready to hit the markets hard in January. There are a couple of stories-in-progress that I can already see potential markets for. The trick will be getting them done for the deadline.

So finally, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you who celebrate these things. :)

Gone black

Dec. 13th, 2010 01:05 pm
clhollandwriter: (Default)

...Well sort of greyish, anyway.

On Saturday, the home PC decided to become an expensive paperweight. My trusty IT support* suggested it might be the power pack, but it's a question of when and if we can get it fixed, and whether we can sort out the internet on another machine. So for now posts will be during my lunch break, if I have time.

Which leaves me with just enough time to mention that Every Day Publishing, the nice people behind Every Day Fiction and Every Day Poets, are relaunching Raygun Revival on February 1st:

Ray Gun Revival (RGR) is an online magazine dedicated to fun stories, grand escapism, and good old sensawunda. RGRl provides just that, a throwback publication that revisits space opera and golden age sci-fi. Their stories focus more on character development than hard science and sail all the wide-open waters between science fantasy and harder SF. Think of the original Star Wars stories, Doc Smith's Lensman series, the Warlord of Mars tales from Edgar Rice Burroughs. Think of everything from John Carter and Gully Foyle to Kimball Kinnison and Han Solo. They are bringing out the deepest elements of what has traditionally been rather superficial fiction and updating them for a new generation of fiction enthusiasts.

Which for writers like me, who have been lamenting the lack of somewhere to send the softer side of sci fi, is great news!

Now I just have to write some. Good job I've got all this downtime coming up......

*Hi, Dad!

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)
It's been, what, a week since I had to reinstall my computer? And in that time I've somehow managed to pick up one of those annoying things that makes pop-ups happen *all the time.* I am more than a little annoyed by this, since I have no idea where it came from. Which means that instead of spending my Friday evening relaxing I'm updating all the anti-virus/anti-spyware software I have. Joy.

Writing-wise I haven't done anything for a couple of days, with the exception of a half-hearted attempt at doing some work on Reunion. There are a few things I want to edit, but they have to wait a couple of weeks so I can look at them objectively. The writing part of my brain appears to have stalled, and I'm stuck firmly in editing mode. I'm also tired and cranky.

What I want to be doing is submitting things, but at the moment that just ain't happening. *sigh*
clhollandwriter: (angel)
The more posts I make the bigger the strange cat orgy at the top of the screen becomes. It's getting a bit worrying!

The computer is now becoming increasingly more unstable. Normally it won't run without the side panel off and a desk fan pointing at it, but once the weather starts getting warmer we have to check that the thermometer says 18 degrees or lower for it to run at all. Once we get properly into the summer it won't run between the hours of 5am and 11pm. It truly is the most useless piece of crap I've ever come across. Still, we had some good news on Friday - after nearly a year of wrangling we're finally getting most of our deposit back from Reeds Rains so we're going to put it towards a laptop. Then we might actually, for the first time in three years, have a computer that actually works.

The saga of Reeds Rains was stressful, and I'm glad it's finally over. It started last summer after we moved out of our old house, and they sent us a letter to say they wanted to take £300 from our deposit. A couple of the items we didn't have an issue with, because they were our fault. We didn't get around to shampooing the carpets when we left, or doing the whole of the garden, because we were going for the quickest most stress-free move we could as the boyf's dad had died a fortnight before. So we didn't mind paying for those, but what we took issue to was being requred to pay for the replacement of the decor in the bathroom.

Just to get it straight where our issue lay - the bathroom had no extractor fan at all and was done up with absorbant woodchip wallpaper. Needless to say damp was a problem, even though we left the window wide open whenever we were in the house and on the latch when we weren't, no matter what time of year it was. We asked for a copy of the move-out report where they'd worked out the costs, so we could see how much of the deposit was in dispute, but got no reply for about four months. It wasn't until we wrote back to prod them we got a letter back saying they couldn't help. So next we wrote to the local branch and asked them (rather than the lettings branch we were having so much trouble with). Once again the lettings branch wrote back to say they couldn't help and that we should seek legal advice.

Now we intended to do this once we'd exhausted all chance of sorting it out amicably, so we wrote back and explained that we weren't going to pay for the bathroom until we knew where the money had gone, and could they please tell us how much it was. They wrote back to say the landlady was refusing to give a breakdown as there were no reciepts, that she'd got friends and family to do most of the work, and it cost over £200.

Pardon my French, but bollocks. £200 to redecorate a bathroom? Not including labour, and bearing in mind that the decor was already damaged when we got there. It was decided that I'd ask the interior decorator at work, and a decorator I know, for estimates on decorating a bathroom of that size. In the meantime our ex-housemate sent a letter suggesting that we split the cost of the bathroom with the landlady in order to reach an agreement.

The letter we got back told us in no uncertain terms that Reed Rains wanted nothing more to do with the matter and that we should contact the landlady directly as they weren't going to pass on any more letters. Now, at no point had they ever told us that this was what we should be doing. All they said was to seek legal advice and take her to court.

It was at this point I made a query to the ombudsman, asking for advice. At this point I didn't realise that the branch we were dealing with wasn't one of the two that was registered with them for lettings. I had to name the estate agent, and on Friday they phoned to tell me that they couldn't help. We'd have to go through Reeds Rains complaints procedure and hope they took complaints more seriously than they do manners and efficiency.

Friday evening we got a shock. Our former housemate texted to say that Reeds Rains had sent a cheque for most of our deposit, minus less than half of the original deduction. There wasn't a letter with it, so we don't know if the landlay got sick of waiting, or whether Reed Rains found out about our complaint from the ombudsman. Either way, we're happy to leave things at that. We would certainly have got legal advice if we'd had to, and we think it would have been in our favour. We'd already noted on the move-in inventory about damage to the decor in the bathroom, and with the landlay unable to provide us with receipts for what exactly the money was spent on....

Still, it's finally done with. It's removed a lot of stress. Now my major issue is that I have a week to get 130 staff on the payroll system - something I can't do at my current rate of 7-10 employees a day, because I'm expected to do it while answering the phone, dealing with everyone elses' problems, getting coffee for visitors....the list is endless. In fact, I'm seriously considering asking to do overtime next Saturday, so I can actually get some work done without constant interruptions.

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