Habit RPG

Apr. 28th, 2014 06:33 pm
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I've been woefully neglecting my blog lately. So much so that I even forgot to post about the awesome Toasted Cake podcast of my flash story "A Primary Function". This story remains one of my favourites, because it's just plain evil.

This blog isn't the only thing I've been neglecting. From writing, to eating my five-a-day, to getting the stairs instead of the lift, it's very easy to take the path of least resistance. Especially when you spend all day at work, come home to cooking and cleaning (more work), and still have to write something (which by then feels a lot like work). In an effort to make the things I'm supposed to do more fun, I've joined a site called Habit RPG.

It's basically a website where you make a list of all the things you need to do, then check them off as you do them. You can have Habit, which are things you want to get in the habit of doing or not doing - which can have a positive or negative value (for example taking the stairs versus taking the lift). You can have Dailies, which are things that need to be done every day or on specific days of the week. Or you can have To Dos, which are things you really should get around to doing at some point, like your taxes. You can set these up with checklists too, which is ideal for long-term projects.

The reason this is better than just keeping it all on a piece of paper, is that it's also a game. Specifically, as the title suggests, a roleplaying game. You start as a little warrior avatar, and checking off your tasks gets you gold to buy equipment, and XP to level up with.  If you click a negative habit, or fail to check off a daily, you take damage. At level 10 you can choose a character class (warrior, healer, wizard, or rogue). I picked rogue, because I know myself well enough to admit I'm mostly in it for the random drops, which rogues get more of.

Every so often checking off a task will drop a random item on you: eggs, from which you can hatch cute little pets, and hatching potions which determine the flavour of pet you get. Combining a flying pig egg and a zombie hatching potion gets you an ugly yet amusing zombie flying pig. I'm personally waiting for a shade potion so I can hatch an evil panda. Because why not?

It also fosters a sense of co-operation. You can join a Guild, which is a bunch of people with an interest in common, or a Party in which to do quests. Some quests are "drop quests" where your random drops include items the party is trying to reach a particular number of, and boss fights where doing your tasks causes damage to some random evil you're trying to defeat. The other side of this is that your missed dailies go towards the damage the boss does and so can hurt the rest of the party.

So far it's got me eating my five a day and climbing the stairs, stopped me eating crisps, and helped me organise a massive house clean. I currently have writing and submitting down as habits, but I'm about to switch some of them over to dailies for that spot of extra motivation. Since my main problem is remembering to do the things I've decided I need to do, having them all in one place and getting rewards for doing them is really helping.

I know some people will look down on using a game as a motivator, but frankly we're not all super-organised and saintly, and able to do all of life's Shoulds without a bit of help. I'm not interested in the kind of outlook that says life should be all about being sensible and adult. And neither is my zombie flying pig.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
Not a lot of writing news this week, other than I've sold "This is the Way the World Begins" to Daily Science Fiction. More info when I have it.

Links I like from the last week -
Catherine Ryan Howard - Non-US self-publishers and US taxes - how to get the forms you need.
BBC News - A Point Of View: And prizes for all - an article on the proliferation of literary prizes.
Stephanie Burgis - (Type-)Writing Misconceptions - why does every writer in Hollywood use a typewriter?
Ursula Vernon - Elegant and Fine - a great short story about The Problem of The Problem of Susan.

I am behind

Mar. 5th, 2012 12:48 pm
clhollandwriter: (moon)
Last week I got my first glimpse at the new Timeline on Facebook. It looks like someone vomited information onto the screen. I can put up with it for personal use, but the preview of my Author Page was appalling - not only was it impossible to find anything, it looked unprofessional too. So I'm seriously considering moving the content elsewhere. Which gives me a month to find another venue, maybe a free website or something. Any ideas from the LJ hivemind?

I seem to be behind with everything at the moment: emails I've flagged but not done anything with, writing I planned to do and didn't, half-finished jewellery projects. I don't even have anything ready for my jewellery blog, which I update on Mondays. The only thing I've caught up on is my receipts and paperwork, which I did last night when I was in a bad mood for no apparent reason and decided paperwork couldn't possibly make it worse. I ended up with a sense of satisfaction from getting it done, so that's something.

On Saturday I posted my first proper sale from Etsy, of a pair of watch part earrings to the US. Then in celebration I hit the charity shops and sale jewellery in Peacocks and ended up with yet more stuff to dismantle, and a necklace to go with my leaf charm bracelet. Etsy is going slowly so far - I know I need to get more listings up, and be more active in the newbie forums. Yet more things I'm behind with!

I've just finished reading Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. I really enjoyed it, it's the kind of slow-paced book they don't seem to write any more what with everyone being so intent on throwing you into the middle of the action. (I'm as guilty of this as everyone else, my latest project is going to begin either with blackmail or fleeing from monsters.) A passing familiarity with English Literature and Classics certainly helped, what with all the quotations flying around, although it did bring back that sinking feeling that everyone else at university was much smarter than me.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's taken a while, but I've finally made my second pro sale. At some point in the future, I don't know when yet, Daily Science Fiction will be publishing my story "After." Yay!

This weekend was great - we went to Chester to meet up with friends, had a three course meal, did some shopping. I discovered a craft shop I hadn't visited before and came away with the round-nosed pliers I've been pining for, along with some more findings and an impulse purchase of a random pot of wooden beads. However I got home to discover I hadn't bought enough bead caps for the bracelet project I had in mind, so made a pair of earrings instead. There's enough left over to do a matching necklace so that may be my next project.

I'm also trying to figure out what to use for the back of a watch-movement based pendant. It's lovely having the cogs still attached, but it leaves you with bits sticking out the back that need covering.

There will be pictures, eventually, but at the moment we've managed to lose one camera, and the other isn't installed on the PC because it's a pig to set up. I keep promising myself I'll do it at weekends but other things always seem to come up.
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: (Moogle)
So far this weekend I've sold a reprint (details when I've signed the contract), pondered new ideas for a story (I have characters and not much else), and made two pairs of earrings, a bag charm, and a charm bracelet. I can't wait for next week when my watch parts will (hopefully) turn up and I can start making the pendants I'm planning. By that point I might have actually found the camera for photos too.

If only every day were a weekend I could get so much done....

A sale!

Oct. 27th, 2011 04:38 pm
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
I've just found out that my flash story "The Noise" has been accepted for the Kazka Press October Flash Fiction Contest. It will appear at http://kazkapress.wordpress.com/ on 1st November.

The stories had to be exactly 713 words long, and based on a prompt. This month it was the fascinating story of UVB-76, a Russian numbers station prone to making some very odd noises.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
I've just found out that my story "A Celebration in Blue Silk", originally publised in Lorelei Signal, has been accepted by Anthology Builder, so it's now available along with Mr Bad Man, and In Search of Camanac.

The other day I was listening to this

and thinking of this (which it won't let me embed) http://youtu.be/C2VMqQ6XnmI - and wondering why nobody's ever done a version of White Rabbit as sung by Elmer Fudd. Ozzy fudd the Wabbit Slayer notwithstanding.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)

My story "Dark Ghosts and Flamingos" has been accepted for the Paper Golem Press anthology Cucurbital 2, due out in November this year. All the stories are based on the same three prompts, above.

Things are sort of getting back to normal now, or at least as normal as they can be. It's going to take a while before Real Life doesn't seem like a massive imposition. It's not helping that due to busy periods at work for both me and the BF, we hardly feel like we're getting any down time. Something has to suffer, and in this case it's the housework. I can't remember the last time either of us vacuumed.

I've spent a lot of time puttering on the internet, and spent an evening making mini-business cards at moo.com. I haven't ordered any, as I can't see me needing them any time soon. Apart from a writers' "summer school" next month I won't be going to any conventions of other writerly things. But they are a cute idea and gave me something to do.

I've also ordered a box easel on Ebay, much cheaper than on any art supplies site I've seen, as I've been getting the urge to do more art puttering. It's difficult to allow myself to suck at it (and I do), bu I need a hobby where there's no pressure and it's ideal. The easel is because it's supposed to be easier to do pastels upright to avoid smudging and dust, and also for storage of the assorted bits and pieces that are currently taking up most of my writing space. There's a book on fantasy architecture coming too, more for reference than because I have any hope of being able to draw the stuff. Any source of inspiration is a welcome thing, particularly at the moment.
clhollandwriter: (Default)

It's a little sad how happy this makes me, but a 25th person Liked my Facebook page today which allows me to get my very own username. Meaning that now I can be found at www.facebook.com/CLHollandwriter, rather than www.facebook.com/mynameandabunchofrandomnumbers.

I also got a submission out the door, and made a sale that I'm not going to announce the details of yet as it's subject to some editorial tweaking on my part. All of this put together means that I get to declare the brick-sized slab of lemon cheesecake the BF and I shared ealier as retrospective celebratory cheesecake, rather than an indulgence that goes against our attempts at healthy eating. So all in all, it's been a good day.

Apart from the bit where the cats are in again because Gabriel brought home a bird. From the looks of it, it's the second hatching from the nest she decimated the first time. Bad cat.

clhollandwriter: (Default)
My fantasy story "Answers" has been accepted by Every Day Fiction, and will be published on April 28th.

I had planned on doing the flash challenge this week, but things have kind of got on top of me. The BF has been off work with the flu since Wednesday, and it's been difficult to keep up with the cooking, washing up, laundry, and other assorted household tasks. Especially as we're in the middle of a clear out as we'd ordered a new divan which turned up yesterday. At the moment it's new and comfy, a bit like sleeping on pillows, but I'm sure it won't be long before it's a springy lumpy mess. We don't have much luck with mattresses.

In the veg sak this week, apart from the usual: lettuce, spring onions, tomatoes, and a swede. Which means salad and a roast dinner are on the menu this week.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I'm wondering if I should be worried that Lucifer makes noises like the aliens in Mars Attacks!

"Beauty Sleeping" has been selected to appear in the anthology The Best of Every Day Fiction Three. This makes my third sale so far this year (although not of anything actually submitted this year) which is almost half of what I sold last year. In fact, if you don't count selected (rather than submitted) reprints, it's actually more than half.

A grumble about people reading over my shoulder )
clhollandwriter: (Default)

"In Search of Camanac", originally published in the Hadley Rille Books Ruins Metropolis anthology, is now available at AnthologyBuilder.

It's a great place to send reprints, since once they're there they tend to look after themselves. There doesn't seem much point in shopping them around to markets that will always prefer a new story over an old on anyway, especially as there's not much money in reprints to justify the extra effort to find markets that accept them. Part of my plan for the year is to go through my back catalogue and see what else I have free to send to AnthologyBuilder. Every story should earn its keep!

We went to see Tron 3D last night. On the whole it was a very enjoyable film - part sequel and part remake. It had all the bits the fans would be looking for (except, amusingly, the bit itself), and was as shiny as you'd expect. The plot was a little light in place, and downright odd in others (what's with the Zen?), but it wasn't as two-dimensional as Avatar. The 80s-style soundtrack by Daft Punk fitted it perfectly, somehow managing not to sound out of place in a film set in the last decade. The only thing that marred it was that the cinema didn't seem to have their 3D set up properly. The adverts before the film were perfectly rendered - even made a couple of people shout in surprise when butterflies and footballs flew out of the screen at them - but in the movie itself they were middling. There was a "shadow" on the screen, particularly noticeable whenever one of the characters in their neon suits were stood next to a dark background. The end result was that the 3D lost a lot of depth and I ended up with a splitting headache. But still, worth seeing anyway.

clhollandwriter: (Default)

My first sale and publication of the year: my flash story "And a Cup of Good Cheer" has been published in the January issue of 10Flash Quarterly, the theme of which is Santa Claus Ain't Coming to Town.

The magic was all in the hat, of course.  It had to come from somewhere and it certainly wasn’t him.

Fairly unproductive weekend, just making the most of the time off before going back to work. Mostly spent playing on games or watching DVDs. On New Year's Eve we did what we always do and stayed in to watch films with a friend. First was The Fall, which is a very odd mix of The Princess Bride, Big Fish, and The Usual Suspects and is probably the best film Terry Gilliam never made. We followed it with Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, the Ian Dury biopic which was, frankly, a bit rubbish. The narriative jumped around all over the place, relying a bit too much on viewers already knowing the story, and from all they hype it seems they were going for "loveable rogue" - except they forgot the loveable part so instead it was a portrait of a man with no redeeming features. 

Lucifer brought us a starling yesterday, still alive and screaming. Unlike Gabriel she still tries to bring her prey in the house - her sister has worked out we don't like it and prefers to play with them in the garden instead. I honestly don't know why Lucifer does it, since it's obviously not to present it to us. Usually she pauses in the doorway looking stupid and runs away when we spot her. This time we managed to get her to drop the bird in the kitchen, and once she was safely out of the way we caught it in a towel and released it into the garden. It flew away in a hurry, which was a big relief since I've lost count of the times she's brought home birds beyond saving.

clhollandwriter: (Default)
Lucifer, bless her, is not very bright. She hopped onto my lap for a cuddle this evening, while I was wearing the bf's fleece that he'd worn at work earlier. The silly cat insisted on sniffing her way all the way over the thing, with her tail twitching. I can't work out if she got confused because her nose and eyes were telling her different things or if she thought I was keeping the bf up my jumper somehow.

In other news, "The Girl With the CLockwork Heart" has been accepted for publication by Every Day Fiction.
clhollandwriter: (eyes)
At the end of last month, a man was arrested for murdering prostitutes in Bradford. In court he gave his name as the "crossbow cannibal", and although there isn't any evidence that he ate his victims they haven't actually found all of them yet. Just parts. And then yesterday a taxi driver went on a rampage, shooting dead twelve people and injuring twenty-five others before killing himself. It seems like living in the UK has somehow turned into a series of Criminal Minds.

Now for some good news - today I sold "A World in Clockwork" to The Lorelei Signal, where it will appear in the October issue and also in the November print issue Mystic Signals.

I also stumbled across a great review of "The Clay Men", which appeared in Kaleiodotrope #7, at Tangent Online: "The Clay Men" by C.L. Holland deals with a deluge not of acid but of mordant human behaviour...."

A sale!

Mar. 22nd, 2010 05:04 pm
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)

My first non-reprint sale of the year - my Wizard of Oz "what if?" story, "Of Corn and Crows" will be appearing in the October issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly!

clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've been asked where people can see Oleksandra Barysheva's (Sasha's) illustration for my WotF story, so here it is up at DeviantArt. Check out some of her other stuff too - I had a look at her portfolio while we were there, and she's really good.

In other news, I've made another sale to Every Day Fiction, "Beauty Sleeping" will be published there probably next month. I'll pimp it again when I have a date. ;)

I discovered on Friday that I write more out than I do at home - less distractions. So now the hunt is on for a cheap cafe that won't be too busy during the day, so I can save my pennies and go there to write once a week. I might as well make the most of this unemployed malarky while I am.

clhollandwriter: (Default)
I can't remember if I've mentioned this sale already, but I've just recived confirmation that "Child of the Pact" will be published in September's issue of Alternative Coordinates.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
So, I went to the doctors. I'm now on anti-biotics for what he thinks is an infection in the kneecap. I mean, how do you even get one of those? I'm also under orders to rest - no shopping, no walking long distances, no going to work. And no trekking across to West Kirby at the weekend. :(

Something that's particularly annoying is that the doctor can tell you to stay off work, but they won't give you a doctor's note unless it's for more than a week. So I don't have a doctor's note, and had to tell work I wouldn't be in until next week with nothing to back it up. Which, in the current economic climate, is not something I'm thrilled with. Next week I have to go back to the doctor again, because even if the infection has cleared up he wants to do a couple of tests on my knee to see if there's an underlying problem. I really, really hope I'm mobile by the end of August.

And in other news, "Mr Bad Man" has found a home at AnthologyBuilder. Yay for retirement homes for reprints!

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