Archive for February, 2019

Plugging Along

Well, squiders–Lord, is that more yellow? auuughhh–there’s been nothing past the initial contact on the journal class. How long do you think before I ping them? Tomorrow? Or do I need to wait until next week?

(I did check out the other teacher’s class, but it’s $100 and I’m especially not spending $100 on something I have already paid for.)

(Also, it’s my turn to make playdough for the smaller, mobile one’s class, and Goddess, there is nothing I hate more in life than making playdough. We picked yellow, which was a mistake.)

(Also, how am I allowed to make playdough but I am no longer allowed to make cute snacks? Is it because we can pretend the kids aren’t eating the playdough?)

I mean, it’s probably no skin off their backs if they ghost me. It’s not like I can call my credit card and ask them to take off some charge from two years ago. Also, I think I paid with Paypal.

So cross your fingers for me, squiders, that I hear from them soon and that it is good news.

I’ve also collated the posts for the first three books (story ideas, common writing mistakes, and outlining) and put together a list of other things to do:

  • Cover design
  • Find reviewers
  • Create freebie for email list (if you want on my author-specific list, it’s here)
  • Check picture permissions and make sure to attribute them
  • Add thank you pages to the backs of the books
  • Research categories and pricing

I’ve been so busy thinking about writing/revision I forgot about the publishing aspect. Ahahahaha. Ha. Ha. Except now I’ve done that, hooray.

I mean, I still need to do the writing/revision but now I have the big picture in mind.

(If you’ve made workbooks/journals previously, squiders, what software did you use? And did you use normal binding, or a coiled binding, and if you did a coil one, where did you publish it?)

(Stupid missing class.)

Also, it’s the end of February and so I find myself needing to think what I want to spend the next month on. The nonfiction books, yes. They will get done come hell or high water. Four years is more than enough time to spend on a project. But then there’s so many other options–the landsquid picture books (going okay, just procrastinating, which is silly, because it is silly to procrastinate things that are your own ideas that you want to do), maybe a new adult project. I should do some editing on other books, but I’m not feeling motivated. And I’d like to get more feedback before I do anything drastic.

Things to ponder.

Spring looms, squiders. Any plans?

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The Dangers of Procrastination

Oh, squiders. I have run into yet another road bump in the nonfiction book writing process.

It has been my intention to release workbooks with some of the nonfiction books (so far the idea generation and the multiple project books, but perhaps more as I continue to finalize things) and, seeing how I’ve been working on this project for about four years now, I bought an online class two years ago about how to make journals and workbooks with the intention of using it when I was a little further along in the process.

Well, now I’m further along, and I’m ready for that class, so I logged in to the website I bought it from and…

Nothing.

It’s not there.

There’s a note on the member dashboard about classes older than 2016 (though I bought this in 2017, so that shouldn’t be an issue), but other than that, everything is blank.

I’ve contacted support, but they seem a little confused about the whole thing too. There was the implication that it would be difficult to prove I had bought the class at this point in time but that they would try (I think they might have rebranded a bit since I bought the class).

I mean, I have my receipt, so hopefully everything should get worked out eventually, but I could have, in theory, done the entire class by now. And it’s hard to focus knowing I don’t have access to something I’m going to want, especially since the first book in the series has an accompanying workbook (or will, eventually).

Do I look for another workbook class? Another teacher I follow actually just put one out, but I am loathe to pay money for something when I have already paid for something similar. I mean, I could probably figure out how to make a workbook–I’ve certainly formatted weirder things for publication–but sometimes it is nice to have someone else do some of the work for you. (Especially if you’ve already paid for it!)

Anyway, this is an argument for doing projects quickly and consistently, I suppose. (Though this has always been a side project, so…)

Anyway, I’m kind of at a loss about what to do. Do I work on the books and come back to the workbooks (and try to remember what exactly was in each specific book)? Do I wait and work on marketing and publishing plans and hope they find the class for me in the next 24 hours? Do I flail around and work on something else entirely (admittedly what I have been doing)?

Well, I’ll have to figure something out. How are you doing, squiders?

Nonfiction Books and a Green Mars Update

Hi, squiders! How are you doing? My washing machine is leaking out the bottom and I’m trying to figure out if I need a new one, but it’s kind of a two-person job (one to tilt the washing machine, one to look under it) so I will have to wait until I have another adult to solve that one.

I know we’ve had a lot of media updates lately, but I wanted to let you know that I am working on the nonfiction books. I’ve re-ordered them for release based on the steps of the writing process, so they’re looking like this now:

  1. Finding Writing Ideas
  2. Common Writing Problems and Fixes
  3. Outlining
  4. Writing Consistently
  5. Writing Around Life
  6. Working on Multiple Projects at Once
  7. Submission and Publication

I wrote 6 first, as part of a training course I was taking at the time (kind of wondering if I should go back through the training course real quick), so I’m using that as the format for the other books. Plus, you know, the rest of the books are mostly a collection of blog posts at the moment.

So I’ve started working on the Writing Ideas book, adding in new material and streamlining the posts so they’re not repetitive, make sense, etc. I planned a workbook to go with that one (and also the multiple projects book) so I need to work on that as well.

Any thoughts on the publication order, squiders? I can’t decide whether Outlining should go before Common Writing Problems. Also, if you’d like to beta any of the books, let me know.

Also, I know we were supposed to discuss Green Mars as part of our Mars Trilogy readalong, like two weeks ago–or was it longer?–and I haven’t mentioned it recently, but I am working on it. It’s just slow going. The viewpoints are a little denser than the first book, which makes sense in context, but requires me to pay closer attention when reading.

Also I got eaten by Gemina. (If you’re not reading the Illuminae series and like science fiction + weird typography, you’re missing out.)

So, anyway! Green Mars is still coming, the nonfiction books are making good progress, and I’m feeling pretty good about how February is going in general, even with the sinus surgery.

I hope you guys are feeling pretty good too.

Bunnies and Pom-poms, Oh My

Nobody had school on Monday, so while my instinct is to distract them with things they can do themselves unsupervised (admittedly not much) so I could do some writing, I decided to be a decent parent and plan a craft project for us to work on.

Both the small-ish, mobile ones enjoy crafts, and I’ve been stockpiling them on Pinterest, so I picked two that seemed like they’d be doable and where it wouldn’t be too hard to find supplies for them.

The choices were pom-pom bunnies or glove monsters, and to be honest I’m glad they picked the bunnies, because cheap gloves are very hit or miss this time of year, and this way I didn’t have to deal with any meltdowns if/when we didn’t find them.

(I should probably pick up some gloves when I come across them next. Just in case.)

On the surface, this looked pretty easy. Make pom-poms (I actually grabbed a fuzzy brown yarn from my mom a few months ago for this exact purpose), glue pom-poms together, glue on eyes/ears/nose/tail, ta-da.

The tutorial is here, if you’re interested:

Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan, and I kind of have to just let them do it, because creativity is something I value and I want it to be something they value as well. Instead of two pom-pom guides I had to make four, because the bigger mobile one wanted a giant rabbit, and the littler one wanted a tiny rabbit. And our yarn was too fluffy, so our bunnies look like long-haired guinea pig/rabbit hybrids.

But, whatever. We had fun. And I only burned myself with the hot glue twice.

Here’s our version (complete with $4 worth of tiny birds because they puppy-eyed at me at the craft store, and I already don’t have much craft store willpower):

The bigger one is named Fluffy and the smaller one Purple, because, well, still working on the creativity thing.

(They have red inner ears instead of pink because the craft store was sold out of pink felt. The employee I asked about it said that they were out of pink everything due to Valentine’s Day.)

Done any fun crafts lately, squiders? Tips to help me stop burning myself with the hot glue?

R.I.P. Opportunity

I woke up yesterday to the news that NASA had officially declared Opportunity to be dead, which has made me sadder than I expected. I was working in the aerospace industry when Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars back in 2004, and I remember it being a very exciting time at work.

(I did not work on Mars-related stuff at the time, but it was all anyone wanted to talk about. You couldn’t get three feet around the office without the rovers coming up in one form or another.)

And, to be honest, I hadn’t thought about the rovers in years. Spirit was declared dead a long time ago, and then Curiosity was launched, and Opportunity slipped my mind.

For a rover meant to last 3 months, the fact that it lasted almost 15 years is pretty dang amazing. And NASA did such a good job of getting us all to care about some little (I say little facetiously–neither Spirit or Opportunity is that small, and Curiosity is freaking huge) robots exploring on another planet.

But I will admit I cried a little, when I learned that Opportunity’s last message was “My batteries are low and it is getting dark.” (And it makes me feel better to know I wasn’t the only one.)

I know it’s just a machine, but Godspeed, Opportunity. Thanks for all your hard work.

It seems to me you lived your life
like a rover in the wind
never fading with the sunset
when the dust set in.

Your tracks will always fall here,
among Mars’ reddest hills;
your candle’s burned out long before
your science ever will.#ThanksOppy. I owe you so much. pic.twitter.com/x0i5WqA9sL— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) February 13, 2019

Sinuses and Landsquid

Hey, squiders, hope you’re having a good February!

I had to have sinus surgery yesterday, but all things considered, it went well and I’m recuperating fine. However, I am a bit woozy and tired, so, while I hoped I would have the energy to blog today, I just…don’t.

But I did draw you a landsquid.

(He’s getting more done in the hospital than I did.)

Anyway, we should be back to normal on Thursday. Til then, I hope your week treats you well!

Alternate Universes

Morning, squiders! The bigger, mobile one has a “virtual day” today, which is the worst. Basically, when the district declares a delayed start, his school just has everyone stay home and do work on the computer. Let me tell you how self-motivated a first grader is.

(Hint: Not especially)

So, since I have an added complication today, I thought I’d dig up another of those old, old saved blog drafts. Today’s comes to us from Dec 2010, where my notes say:

“ALSO AWESOME”

Once again, this is so helpful for deciphering what I wanted to talk about.

(Also, this begs the question, if this is “also awesome,” what was the thing that was originally awesome?” Alas, that knowledge is lost to time.)

I did go back and look at December 2010 and who knows. There’s a post about Turtleduck Press (which launched in Dec 2010, so that makes sense), a bunch of link round-ups, and the periodic rant about how I’ve tried to do much. It might potentially be about the lunar eclipse. The word awesome is used.

But, hey, alternate universes! I wonder if I meant “alternate universe” in the Sliders sort of way, where characters travel to universes that are essentially ours with some tweaks, or more in the “Man in the High Castle” or “Iron Moon” sort of way, where something in history went a different way and changed everything that went after it.

Or maybe I wanted to talk about the fanfiction concept of alternate universes, where you take characters from a book or a movie or a TV show and stick them somewhere else. Like, instead of galloping about the galaxy on a spaceship, everyone’s in high school. Or vice versa, for that matter.

Anyway you look at it, alternate universes are kind of fun, and a mainstay of science fiction. A lot of science fiction comes from “what if?” questions, and alternate universes are a direct response to that. What if Columbus didn’t find the Americas? What if we discovered space travel in the 1850s? What if gravity wasn’t automatic? What if the United States had rejected capitalism?

They’re good for fantasy too, though they work differently. Alternate universes in fantasy tends to be more synonymous with portal fantasy, where characters are actively traveling somewhere else, often using magic.

But, really, you can’t go wrong.

How do you feel about alternate universes, squiders? What’s your favorite example (of any kind)?