rowyn: (studious)
I should download my Google Fit data and look at it but meh. I forgot to add a few workouts into it until just now, which means they won't be in the export. I'll do that later. I was pretty good about doing some form of activity on almost every day this month. Mostly walking. Walking is low-effort. Not just low physical effort, but low mental effort. I don't have to psych myself up to doing it, I can just go "well, I'm already wearing clothes, I might as well go for a walk."

RealAppeal sent me a blender in March. It's this adorable 24 ounce tumbler with the blender blades in the top of the vessel instead of on the bottom. I bet all blenders do that now, it's a good design choice. Anyway, I dug up some smoothie recipes online and bought some fruits and vegetables, mostly frozen, to put into smoothies. And then I actually made some. The only one I like so far is blueberry/banana/spinach. I cut up a little of a yellow bell pepper to add in and that worked all right. It mostly tastes like banana and yogurt rather than spinach or pepper, which is all to the good. The biggest downside of the recipe is that it uses a whole banana and the resulting smoothie is ginormous and effectively a meal, so I have to pick a meal to replace with it. At some point, I need to try sticking half of it in the fridge and drinking the rest of it the next day. Anyway, this is a good strategy for sneaking some Actual Fruits and Vegetables into my other produce-free diet. The nice thing about smoothies is that I can use frozen stuff for it and it doesn't matter because I was going to drink it cold anyway.

I'm down to 178 pounds now, so since I started RealAppeal about 10-11 weeks ago, I've lost six pounds. The RealAppeal thing is no trouble to maintain and I plan to stick with it. This has been an interesting contrast with my last attempt at tracking diet & exercise, in 2014. In 2014, I lasted through about 10-11 weeks of tracking app before I found it too annoying to keep doing. During that time, I lost a total of two pounds.

The most fascinating thing about this to me is that in 2014, I was eating significantly less than I am now. It's one of the reasons I gave up; it took willpower to stick with it and I ran out of willpower.

The differences that I think matter:

~ I am not trying to lose weight. So if I weigh in at the end of a week and I've gained two pounds, I don't go "WHY AM I EVEN BOTHERING???" I go "meh. Didn't care anyway."
~ I refused to let the program set a calorie goal for me. Like the fitness app I used in 2014, the RealAppeal diet program thinks my calorie goal should be between 1200 and 1550 calories. To which I say NOPE. I tried that goal in 2014 and I hated it and burned out after less than three months. I set my calorie goal in RA at 2000.
~ The RealAppeal tracking app is much easier to use than the last one I tried. It has a huge database of existing foods, including most items from chain restaurants. I can start to type and then pick from the list of matches. It remembers the things I've eaten before and offers those matches first. I can add new recipes to the database. I can use the app on my phone or open it in a web browser. I have done daily quests for games that were more inconvenient than this. It's not a hassle.
~ RealAppeal has coaches: actual human beings. I liked my coach, Cass, immediately. Having an Actual Human Coach that I can email or talk to is of both practical and psychological value. I scheduled a one-on-one with my coach (you can do this! As often as you like! Because fortunately not everyone wants to) to talk to her about sneaking veggies into my diet (yeah, I'm basically a toddler, I have to trick myself into eating them.) This was not just so I could get suggestions (which she provided, and some of them were helpful) but to give me MOTIVATION. I told myself three weeks in a row that I would find a way to eat more veggies THIS WEEK FOR SURE but it wasn't until I had to talk to an actual person about it that I persuaded myself to DO IT. I am sure the coaches are the most expensive part of the program, and I don't know that they're the most effective. But they are certainly add considerable value. And the fact that I know how expensive this is makes me value it more, I think, than I would if I treated it as if it had no cost. Even though I have no out-of-pocket costs for the program.
~ The coach and the class doesn't push the nutritional guide. The class is structured around the idea of gradual improvement and giving you a few new things to consider each week. Cass emphasizes the importance of tracking much more than the idea of avoiding specific unhealthy foods or eating healthy ones.

Things that do not make difference:

~ The instructional videos. Every week, there's a thirty-minute class, of which 10-20 minutes is instructional video. They do their best with these, but I find them tedious and mostly uninformative. The rest of the class is discussion between the coach and students, and that part is more engaging. I don't mind the class; I exercise through it and I don't generally do anything very interesting while I'm exercising, so it's no worse than usual.
~ The nutritional guide. RealAppeal has astonishingly inconsistent messaging. Its app tells me that my baseline calories used (assuming no exercise) is 1935. To lose ten pounds in a year, you only need to eat, I don't know, 70 calories fewer than you burn per day. Given that I usually get some exercise in a day, 2000 calories is a perfectly reasonable target for me. But despite this, the nutrition guide programs top out at 1800 and those are supposed to be for large active men. So it's like the app was set up with the idea of "we want you to do this for the rest of your life so you can make your goals ones you can easily maintain" and the nutrition guide is "we think you will quit unless you see instant results so here's some super-stringent requirements that will require all of your willpower." The RealAppeal nutrition guide also wants me to pick one of its meal plans and eat only its recipes and I'm like ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I am not going to prepare 21 new and unfamiliar meals in a single week. Why would you even think that was reasonable. It's so far out there that I haven't even tried to incorporate anything from it into my diet. I don't even use its smoothie recipes because I wanted recipes with veggies and it doesn't have any.
~ The commitment contract: they want you to sign a contract every week that says you will stick with your chosen plan from the nutritional guide. NOPETOPUS ON OUTTA HERE.
~ I want to re-emphasize that point about the nutritional guide, because the last time I tried a diet plan of 1800 calories or less I DIDN'T LOSE WEIGHT. So not only is it a sacrifice, but it's a sacrifice that doesn't even work.

The failure of the nutritional guide to offer any guidance on "ways to gradually improve your diet" is probably my biggest disappointment in the plan. But I am taking a mix-and-match approach and just ignoring anything that doesn't work for me, so it's in the category of "missed opportunity" rather than something that's actively making the service less useful. Overall, I am pleased with the experience.

I worked on outlines for two new books in March:
The Twin Etheriums: set two hundred years before The Moon Etherium, this novel is a polyamorous romance between three fey who seek the key to immortality: an asexual/alloromantic trans man from the Sun Etherium, a demigirl barbarian, and a cis woman from the Moon Etherium. The outline for this book is complete and in pretty good shape.
Untitled sequel to Frost and Desire: a four-person polyamorous romance. From a marketing perspective, this is a mistake (Frost is my worst-selling series.) I don't particularly want to write this and consider it vaporware. On the other hand, I do want to read it. So it might happen. I have about 2/3rds of an outline for it, so it'll need more work before I can start.

>The Business of Writing
I also outlined the most significant changes I want to make to the final version of Princess. I wrote another eight thousand words or so to add to the novel.

I started work on an illustration of Frost and Thistle, but it's unfinished.

I had some drama on Flight Rising. In an effort to make the recap less tedious, the following is not actual quotes. It's pretty similar to the events, though.

Flight Rising moderators: "We deleted a bunch of the bios in your lair for obscenity and we are giving you a warning for having posted obscenity."
Me: "But ... there wasn't anything explicit or pornographic or obscene in any of the bios you deleted. Can you give me copies of the material you deleted?"
FR Mods: "No, we don't keep copies. Or have site backups, apparently. But that stuff was all porn."
Me: "Then how do you know it was obscene?"
FR mods: "Because we deleted it!"
Me: "... so ... do you mean that you consider saying 'some dragons enjoy consensual BDSM activities' to be obscene, even if there is no depiction of sex, sexual activity, or BDSM scenes?"
FR Mods: "Yes."
Me: "The actual site lore is that dragons are sapient beings. Lairs buy and sell them. On an auction house. To breed."
FR Mods: "Yes, well, slavery and forced breeding is fine, obviously, but dragons who enjoy the role of a slave? Having discussions about consent? HOW DARE."
Me: "This bio you deleted was about the rescue of a lost dragon. What was obscene about it?"
FR Mods: "That one is fine."
Me: "... then why did you delete it?"
FR Mods: "Because."

I am vaguely annoyed about their decision that "saying consensual BDSM exists is obscene", given the site lore. But I would have shrugged it off if they hadn't been completely ham-handed and arbitrary in their enforcement of it. This wasn't material on the front page of their site; these were bios buried in my lair. You had to dig to find them. The mods could've told me "Please remove any bios that reference BDSM within X days or we will delete them" and I would have deleted the actual material they cared about and not, like, random bios of the dragons sitting next to them.

Anyway, I have not been much involved with Flight Rising for the last couple of years, and this kerfluffle killed what interest remained. I decided to take an indefinite hiatus from the site. Maybe someday I will want to go back, although it seems unlikely.

After this, a couple of people suggested trying

On the plus side, I love the art for the ponies. There's like 15 different breeds and I like almost all of them.

However, there isn't a whole lot of game to the site. You get enough in-game currency to buy a few ponies. After that, you go to the site now and then, click around a bit to take care of the ponies and do the things that cost money but will eventually make, hopefully, more money. Then you leave the site and do something else until your next window in which to click around a bit opens. After you make more money, you can buy more ponies and dress them up. And use them to make more money. That's pretty much the whole site. Probably the worst thing about it is that your ponies eventually die if you don't take care of them, so taking a few months off would mean your herd would be dead when you got back.

Despite my ambivalence about the gameplay or lack thereof, I bought a year's subscription and have dutifully been building up my herd and trying to make enough money that I can eventually dress them up. They are pretty cute. We'll see if I find this worth it long-term. I do not expect to get involved in the community on PonyIsland, because by the sound of it their moderation system is even more ham-handed and arbitrary than FR's.

One of the things that had kept me coming back to FR for so long was the monthly writers' chat Maggie and I hosted on their forums. I decided to make a writers' chat community on Dreamwidth to see if I could lure some of the FR folks away from the site. And also in case any of my writer friends off-site were interested. It's not a feedback group: it's just a chat group for talking to other writers about writer stuff. Check it out if you're interested:

I felt pretty beat up at the end of February, and honestly, March was worse. (Not because of the FR kerfluffle. Or cancer. Stuff I don't want to talk about.) But I got some stuff done that I wanted to do, so that's good. It'll be all right.

But I do want to take a moment here to thank Past Rowyn for her rabid determination to save money for an early retirement. She could've gotten a car fifteen years earlier, or a bigger house, or traveled more lavishly, or eaten restaurant food for lunch every workday instead of bringing food from home, or spent her money on any number of other things that she wanted at the time. But she saved it all instead, so that Present Rowyn wouldn't have to worry as much about money as Past Rowyn did. Thank you, past me. That was kind of you, and I appreciate it.

Goals for coming month
~ Finish the final version of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince and send it to Alinsa for layout.
~ Stretch goal: start work on my next draft
~ Other stretch goal: start edits on the Etherium novelette that I inadvertently wrote while drafting Princess, or on editing The Twilight Etherium

I do want to get The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince wrapped up this month, and that may take all month but seems pretty doable. I feel pretty flexible about what I do apart from that.
rowyn: (just me)
It's been a week, and I promised myself that I would consider whether or not I want to set any creative goals for March.

I don't. I really don't.

The week has been, overall, fine. I have made more notes for The Twin Etheriums, which is the working title for the Extremely Gay Prequel to The Moon Etherium. The Twin Etheriums now has protagonists and an outline, although I am not exactly happy with the outline. I am going to work on it some more and then try to cadge some friends into telling me if they think it'll make a good book. At present, the outline has an A plot and a B plot, and the B plot resolves waaaaay after the A plot, which does not strike me as optimal. So I'm going to try to beat the two plots into resolving closer together.

I have been working on mental hygiene, I guess you could call it? Specifically, I have been trying to dismantle the mental process that tells me "you NEED to be writing/editing/PRODUCING STUFF!" On the one hand, this feels like a dangerous choice: how will I keep making stuff if I don't set goals and expectations for myself? What happens if I start thinking that I have value outside of my ability to make things?

And on the other hand WOW UNHEALTHY MUCH GIRL??? Have I seriously designed an entire mental process around telling myself that I suck unless I'm churning out material? Yes. Yes I have. Why did this seem like a good idea. I don't know.

Ursula Vernon makes jokes about her anxiety kicking in if she's not working: "I gotta go write another book or I'll die in a ditch next to Wal-Mart." This is a great joke, but ... uh ... I do not want this as my role model. I do not suffer from anxiety, as a rule. My brain dysfunction of choice is depression. "I gotta write another book or I'll fall into the Pit of Eternal Despair." I don't want THAT as a role model, either. I want "I gotta write another book so I'll be able to read it." My next book's purposes is not to save me from poverty or death or despair. Its purpose is to be a fun thing to read. That should be enough.

That needs to be enough.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a blog post on productivity this week. One thing she wrote in it struck me:
"1,000 words of new material five days per week is 5,000 words per week, or 260,000 words of new material per year. That’s about three 90,000 word novels. Three novels is prolific by traditional publishing standards—hell, by any standards."

I wrote 330,000 words last year. I published three books last year and I expect to publish three books this year as well.

I do not feel prolific. I feel like I'm blundering along at the same sluggish pace that I took to write Prophecy, to be honest. But there is Kristine Rusch -- a blogger who has high expectations of writers, who believes in producing a high volume of work at a consistent, focused pace -- writing that three novels is prolific by any standards.


I kind of want to frame that and put it on my wall or my desktop or something. Perspective. I need it.

But to get back to my earlier point: tying my self-worth to my productivity is Not Good. First, it's just wrong. If I told someone else "you're worthless if you're not making anything", I would slap myself. More importantly, it's counterproductive. Being miserable doesn't make me more creative! It just makes me miserable! My first rule of depression is "do not beat yourself up for being depressed." The corollary of that is "don't beat yourself up about the things you aren't doing because you're depressed." Maybe just "don't beat yourself up at all." Save guilt for the prevention of immoral and unethical acts. Girl, writing 1000 words a day is not a moral imperative.

So I am tuning the mental process of "you NEED to do author stuff" to "oh hey, you could be doing author stuff, no pressure though." When I'm bored or have some idle time, I'll think "I could use this time to write/edit/etc." But I am pruning away the part that continues "and if you DON'T that's because you're USELESS and BAD and you'll never finish another book EVER AGAIN."

I'm astonished that consciously deciding not to fall into a particular thought pattern has actually been working, but it has so far. o_o Might just be coincidence.

Anyway, I don't want goals right now. At the end of March, I will write up my usual "this is what I accomplished" post, and whatever it is, it will be enough.
rowyn: (downcast)

I spent all of February sick. With the same cough. That doesn't stop. x_x It was only really bad for the first week. I still have it, a little bit, but it's just "I cough a few times a day" now, so it's not waking me up at night anymore and I feel basically healthy. Still. Actually healthy would be nice.

I've been walking less because it's miserable outside and also sick, but I'm still averaging 3,045,647 Google-Fit-increments per day. I don't understand how those translate to anything else. I used to think those were microseconds (it's labelled "duration (ms)" so that'd make sense?) But I know the total duration of "other" is way less than the number of minutes I entered so really, I got nothin'.

Ooh wait, I updated my numbers in the Google Fit app just before I downloaded it from my desktop. Maybe the app didn't sync before the download.

*attempts to force a sync*

No luck. But I think Google's just not adding in the numbers I entered today to the archive I'm grabbing today, because I added a new activity and it's not showing up at all.

The problem is that I've been tracking exercise in RealAppeal, which I can't export from, and also Google Fit, which I can export from but it's weird.

Anyway, my Google Fit numbers are:

November: 69 minutes per day
December: 64
January: 64
February: 51

February is probably undercounted due to syncing issues. I can see if it goes up retroactively when I grab numbers again at the end of March. But I also did exercise less in February. Because sick. For the whole month.

I am still doing RealAppeal. It hasn't altered my eating or exercise habits much. I eat slightly less and I exercise slightly more. I am kind of frustrated because the change I wanted to make was "eat more healthy foods" and that's not happening. On the other hand, eating slightly less and exercising slightly more is a good thing, so there's that. My weight as of today is 179, so I lost another pound, woo.

I made some notes for The Twin Etheriums, the prequel story for the Etherium setting that I want to write. It is not close to an actual outline yet.

The Business of Writing
I chopped out a novelette's worth of words from The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. There was a big chunk of backstory for one character that just doesn't fit in this book. I also added another 8000 words of Other Stuff in, so overall length hasn't changed much. I sent it to first readers last Sunday. I plan on starting final edits for it in April.

Oh hey I did a picture!

I made level 39 in Pokemon GO, as anticipated, and am all of 10% of the way to level 40. I will stop posting level updates now.

Flight Rising added a "Hibernal Den", which gives you storage space for dragons you're not using but can't bear to part with. They have a bunch of quests for it. I've been playing a lot more Flight Rising lately.

I have been grimly depressed for the past week or so.

Goals for coming month
So, depression has made it extremely difficult to get anything done, and -- BONUS -- trying makes me feel worse. YAY.

I am not sure that not-trying will help, but I sure don't feel in the mood for goal-setting. Here's my March goals for now:

* Care for Lut
* Do 2018 taxes
* Take stock on March 8 and see if I feel more like setting other goals or not.

Good enough. -_-

rowyn: (Default)
[Content note: I actually talk about weight and calories and such in this one.]

This year, my health insurer started paying for a weight loss program called "RealAppeal".

I am, on the one hand, not much interested in weight loss anymore. Years ago, one of my friends described me as "smokin' hot", and whenever I think about my appearance, this is the line that comes to mind. It's a valuation that has become independent of objective reality in my head. "Everyone who I would be interested in already finds me attractive. My weight is irrelevant."

Beyond that, weight as a measure of overall fitness is highly suspect. I have been exercising regularly for about 15 years now, while generally gaining a few pounds a year. I am fitter now than I was when I was 60 pounds lighter back in the late 90s. Medical professionals tend to blame everything on "patient is overweight", and the accordingly lowered standard of care fat people get may contribute more to poor health outcomes for them than any actual weight-related issues.

On the other hand, my diet is terrible. I don't mean "I eat too much", I mean "I survive mostly on sugar and fat." And my health insurance company is not paying for this program out of charity or kindness. They are a business; they would not pay for RealAppeal if they did not believe, based on evidence, that RealAppeal would improve the insurer's bottom line by improving the health of their customers. (My insurer may well be wrong about this! They're run by humans with the same biases as all other humans. But they are definitely not doing it because they think I'd be pretty if I just lost a few pounds.)

So I signed up for it -- it's free, I can always quit, why not?

The emphasis on weight loss is just as annoying as I thought it would be. I feel like RealAppeal is negging me: "take a picture of yourself now so you can see how much better you look after losing weight!"

I am SMOKIN' HOT RIGHT NOW, RealAppeal, and nothing you or a camera says will change that.


However! Despite this, I actually like the program so far.

It has weekly online classes, which I thought was going to be super annoying ("ugh, stuck in front of a computer watching a video for 45 minutes?") But their mobile app can play the online classes, so I go for a walk while I watch/listen to the class. The classes are with the same people and the same coach every week (you are encouraged to stick with your time slot, although you can take a make-up class if you miss one). My coach, Cass, is adorable, fun to listen to, and very relatable. She has struggled with bad eating habits too. She was talking about one of the tactics for staying on track -- "write down your motivation somewhere that you'll see it" -- and that the motivation can be very personal. Hers had been a note on her fridge: "Are you hungry? :)" And I thought that was great: at once an invitation to eat if you ARE hungry, and a gentle reminder that if you're not hungry maybe food is not the fix for whatever problem you do have.

You can also schedule 1-on-1 time with your coach if you want to discuss specific issues or just for bonding. I am a big believer in the power of bonding to promote good habits, so I feel like the existence of a coach who is invested in me eating well and exercising is useful by itself.

The site has a tracker, which is much less annoying to use than the last few times I tried food trackers. With the exception of meals from restaurants that aren't chains, it's had all the food I eat already in it. Generally, I can just type part of a name, pick what I had off a picklist, and set the portion size, and I'm done.

Moreover, I love having data and graphs and charts, so it's something I get a kick out of having done.

So I've been tracking what I eat for a couple of weeks. I already tracked exercise through Google Fit. Tracking leads to me eating a little less junk food: there is the act of thinking "do I actually want this or am I just eating it out of habit?" which leads to the occasional "yeah, I don't actually want this" in response.

The program lets you set your own targets, and the competing information is deeply amusing to me.

Video on calorie targets: "Women should set a target between 1200-1500 depending on how active you are!"

Me: "Nopenopenope" *nopetopuses on out of here*

Website, looking at my specific height/weight/exercise levels: "How's 2000-2200 calories sound?"

Me: "Okay that's fine."

I guess the "guideline" targets are aimed at the "I need to see VISIBLE RESULTS IMMEDIATELY or I will give up." But the last time I set calorie targets like that, I (a) soon hated tracking (b) also having to think about what I was eating all the time and (c) didn't lose weight anyway.

So I set my calorie target at 2000, in case I get lazier about exercise, and told the site I wanted to lose 0.25 pounds a week (the smallest number it allows).

In general, I've been either walking or dancing every day for 45-60 minutes, and eating between 1600-1900 calories. I have chosen not to eat food that I would have otherwise had, because it would put me over my target. Like yesterday I got a "pick two" and a frozen mocha from Panera, and then realized this is Too Much Food, so I took the soup and roll home as leftovers instead of eating them.

I have not, at any point, thought "I'm hungry and this takes too much willpower."

I've lost three pounds, much to my surprise. I'm not sure how that happened? This may just be the initial "oh it's a diet you're allowed to lose a couple pounds" before my body adjusts to the new normal and stops losing weight.

But since my actual goal is "exercise and eat better": as long as those things are happening, I don't care about the scale. 95% of why I am weighing myself is that the program asks me to, and since I don't care, I might as well make them happy.

Oh, for anyone curious: I started at 183 lbs and am currently 180 lbs.

I finished the initial draft of The Twilight Etherium! My belief that "the second half will be shorter" was way more accurate than I thought it would be. First half: 74,400 words. Second half: 28,500. Total word count: 102,900.

So the book ended up right in the 100-120k range, same as the other Etherium books. AW YEAH. I am pleased. Also glad to have the first draft done. And also thinking next book I will try to estimate word count per bullet point instead of "eh, historically each bullet point is around 1500ish words" because while that was still right ON AVERAGE, it was wackily far off when it came to estimating how much book was left on this one.

The Business of Writing
NEW BOOK RELEASE WOOOO! Frost and Desire is now out in the wild. I love this book, y'all. ❤️

I also did some more revisions on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. I crossed of another 12 items on the planned changes list. 23 more to go!

As predicted last month, Pokemon Go play remains way down. I'm still level 38. I will probably make 39 sometime in February; I have one last friend who regularly opens gifts to get to Best Friends status, and that'll pretty much push me over. But I suspect I won't make level 40 until late this year, assuming I don't just quit entirely. On the other hand, spring and summer weather may make playing more appealing.

I was pretty glum for a week or so this month, but my mood turned around a couple of weeks ago and I've been upbeat since then. It's nice.

Report Card for January Goals
* Care for Lut: yup, did that
* Finish 17 more bullet points on The Twilight Etherium: finished 37 points and the whole draft. CRUSHED IT.
* And/or finish 17 bullet points on the editing list for The Princess, Her Dragon and Their Prince, or some combination of these two: only did 12, but this was an "in combination with the above" so this is all gravy.
* Release Frost and Desire: done!
* Spend 15 hours reading stuff that I didn't write. Books, graphic novels, blog posts, articles, and short stories all count. Twitter, Discord, and Tootplanet do not. Lol nope. I caught up on my Dreamwidth feed, which is nice, and I tried reading some books without making much progress. But I didn't even try to track my time spent reading and I'm confident it didn't make it to half an hour a day. This should be easy. I don't know why it isn't anymore. MEH.

Goals for February
* Care for Lut
* Finish revisions on Princess and send to first readers
* Think about next book(s)

I haven't solidified what I'm writing next yet. I am most inclined to write an EXTREMELY QUEER prequel to The Moon Etherium, but since I don't have a solid concept for it yet, I'm not committed. I am farther along on my year's work than I expected to be at this point, so I'm not concerned, either.
rowyn: (smile)
January: Golden Coils
June: Demon's Lure
August: Angel's Sigil
Demon's Lure: complete
Angel's Sigil: complete
Frost and Desire: complete
The Princess Her Dragon, and Their Prince: Started initial edits (very little done).
Angel's Sigil: 8,000 (draft begun 2017, completed 2018)
Frost and Desire: 120,380
The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince: 134,928
The Twilight Etherium: 74,400 (draft incomplete)
That's 337,000 words. This is not quite my all-time high of 347,000 in 2016, but in 2016 I only edited one book and this year I edited three. Also, cancer. I am happy with my word count total.
Purchased four international-only Bookbub ads, for Silver Scales, Demon's Lure, The Moon Etherium, and The Sun Etherium
Other Business-of-Writing items
I commissioned Anthony Avon to do the Demon's Lure and Angel's Sigil covers. I've also commissioned a different artist to do the cover for The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince.
4 finished
2 Flight Rising adopts
6 sketches
Composited one cover out of my existing art
Support Lut
He's still alive!  *\o/*  Actually doing pretty well at the moment, as he recovers from the cold and has not been pushed back down by cancer treatment yet. His oncologist will try tapering down on one of his drugs next month, which may help with his general brain fog.
General Adulting
I have done pretty well at this, with one exception -- I broke the front wall of my garage back in, like, October? And never got it fixed.  I made some very desultory attempts at it, and then it was winter and of course I can't hire someone in winter which gave me an excuse not to try.  I should really do something about this, though.
Also, the house needs painting and some general exterior repairs. Meh.
In 2011, I started an activity log to track all of my creative efforts.  Then in 2012, I made a "unified productivity scoring" system kind of thing, that gave me points for writing/editing/completing fiction, and also for blog posts and for art. It was more than slightly ridiculous. For 2012, I scored 27,000 points.  For 2013 I set what I considered an extremely ambitious goal of 30,000. My actual 2013 score -- the year I began and finished the first draft of A Rational Arrangement -- was 45,780. My 2014 and 2015 levels of creative output were overall much lower. (In fairness to my past self, in 2014 and 2015 I was trying to sort out editing and self-publishing and this was extremely stressful for me at the time.)
I stopped using the activity log in the middle of 2014, because it had become much too cumbersome.  But for fun this year, I decided to try to calculate what my 2018 score would've been.
That's not even counting a bunch of stuff that I would have scored points for if I was still using the log -- time spent (or words written) on blog posts and art would've counted as well, for instance.
Anyway, that amused me.
2018 Goal Recap:
I hit all of my stated goals:
* Support Lut through the cancer treatment process
* Continue general adulting as necessary.
* Publish Golden Coils
* Edit and publish the two Demon books.
* Post monthly updates on whatever I did.
I also reached my stretch goal:
* finish some other book and/or stories.
My ideal was "write and publish a fourth book and have two more books drafted."  I did not accomplish this. I drafted 2.5 books this year instead of the hoped-for three, and I didn't publish a fourth book.
I am vaguely dissatisfied about this, and also think that dissatisfaction here is ridiculous and unreasonable.  Yes, I could've spent December working instead of relaxing and maybe finished the draft of The Twilight Etherium. (Probably not; it would've taken another 50k month at a minimum and that still might not have been enough.)  
But I averaged over 900 words per day this year -- not just work-week days, every day! -- and I edited three books to completion and I got three books published and I hired contractors and at some point I just need to admit that this is Good Enough.  I'm not ready to be a four-books-a-year author yet.
Honestly, three books is quite a lot.
Also, they are all good books that I am proud of and enjoy re-reading, which is important too.
2019 Goals
* Support Lut through cancer treatment process
* Do something about the broken garage wall
* Publish three books
* Finish drafting three books
* Write a book in the 55,000-85,000 word range and which covers the entire original outline for the book.
* Post monthly updates
Technically, I've written one book under 85,000 words already, but this was accomplished by splitting Demon's Lure and Angel's Sigil into two books. I am content with them as two books, but I have gotten some complaints about the break and I am just not a fan of this approach. It's part of why I don't want to split The Twilight Etherium.  The Twilight Etherium splits very well in one sense: there's one major plot arc that wraps up the first half, and the second half of the book has a new plot arc that resolves during it. But I want the Etherium books to all be in the same genre: standalone fantasy romances. If I split TTE in half, then it becomes a two-part romance instead of a standalone. From a marketing perspective, this is confusing.
Anyway, I feel as if I am much better at estimating book length than I was four years ago, and that figuring out in advance how long an outline will be and then MAKING IT SHORTER -- or doing a different outline -- is no longer beyond my skillset. Also, I don't want another year where I write 337,000 words but that's somehow only 2.5 books.
rowyn: (studious)
I went to the coffee shop to write this, which was a huge mistake because my poor little Surface 3 is choking to death on all the stuff I am asking it to do this morning.

One of those things was "extract the data from Google Fit and get it into some kind of meaningful format."

It looks like Google Fit records the data in nanoseconds, because it's a computer and why not, I guess. Assuming this is right -- it produces minutes-per-day that are a little higher than those the app shows, so I'm not confident, but there is no single divisor that will match app to data so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ -- then my average "activity per day" for November was 69 minutes and for December, 65. These figures make zero intuitive sense to me: I felt like I did almost no exercise in December. I stopped biking, and I practically stopped doing anything for the last two weeks because BODY SO BROKEN.

I am not particularly happy with this level of activity, especially since it's 100% walking, with nothing of higher intensity, but meh. I do not seem able to motivate myself to use the exercise bike or dance in my living room, which are my usual methods of winter activity. So this is probably what the next couple of months will look like.

I already whinged about my body failing me repeatedly, so I won't rehash that.

Lut still has a cold, but has been slowly recovering rather than getting worse. One Wednesday, 12/26, he was scheduled for his monthly immunotherapy treatment.

Lut: "I am too sick to get up this early. I can't go to the clinic."
Me: "You still can't call in sick to your doctor's appointment."

So I coaxed him out of bed and into the shower, even, and we got to the clinic only five or ten minutes late, which I totally took as a win. At the oncology clinic, he saw Melody, our usual RN (appointments generally alternate between her and the oncology doctor).

Melody: "You look pretty awful."
Lut: *grunts a little, eyes closed and slumped in his chair.*
Melody: "Do you want to put off treatment until next week?"
Lut: "YES."
Melody: "Okay, we'll reschedule you for next Monday."
Me: "Oh, hey. I guess you can call in sick to your doctor's appointment. WHO KNEW."
Lut: *manages a smile*
Melody: "We really do prefer that you at least show up so we can see how you're doing and if you need emergency care."

I had been worried that Lut would still not feel up to treatment by Monday, because I'd caught the same cold on Friday and while I was mostly healthy five days later, I still had a lingering cough and drippy nose. Even as I write this, 10 days later, I am still not 100%. As feared, Lut was still sick Monday. I got him moving to go to the appointment -- "I want them to SEE YOU so we can have an expert opinion that you are recovering and that you don't need urgent care" -- but when Melody offered to reschedule again, he wanted to do that. So we go back on Friday. My work schedule is in shambles. I'm glad I am officially only 2.5 days a week after this week, because even this week, where I am nominally still supposed to work30 hours, I'm only going to show up for like 14 hours. >_< (I get holiday pay for 6 of that, but the other 10 are gonna have to come out of my depleted stash of PTO.)

I was on vacation in December! So I only wrote 16,900 words of The Twilight Etherium.

2018 Rowyn: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I did prod myself to write on my vacation; I honestly hardly ever "feel like writing". But it doesn't take much prodding to convince myself to write a few hundred words, at this stage. "I'm bored, I might as well write so I have something to show for it." Or "I have the day off! I could spend this WHOLE MORNING at the coffee shop and get some writing done! That's fun, right?"

The TTE draft is up to 74,400 words now, and about half-done per the outline. That puts the final manuscript estimate at 151,000 words. I still think the last half of the outline is going to be shorter than the first half, but we'll see.

I also wrote a number of blog posts, for a change. My favorite was the tribute to Excel. It turns out I rarely have much in the way of blogging that I want to do these days, but I do miss having a record of my life so it was nice to get back to that a little. And yeah, I was definitely writing more blog posts because I was writing less fiction.

The Business of Writing
I was on vacation in December!

But one of my goals was to get the remaining bits for Frost and Desire to Alinsa, and I did this. I also commissioned an artist to do the cover for The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince.

I also ran a Bookbub ad for The Sun Etherium I may write a post about my experience this year with advertising.

I finished "Gimme One", which was just a general art-practice piece.

I am getting bored of Pokemon Go, sadly. This has contributed to my decreased exercise time, although apparently not as much as I thought it had. *stares at Google Fit numbers in confusion.* I expect I will keep playing at least a little every day. There are a handful of dailies that only take a few minutes:

* Catch a pokemon
* Spin a pokestop
* Do a field research quest

I have to leave the house, at least to walk across the street, in order to do the last two. But if I am leaving the house at all, going to one pokestop doesn't take me out of my way. And doing each of these once per day gives most of the rewards, so worth doing. I try to end gifts out as well: at a minimum, to all the gift-eligible people that I haven't reached max friend status with. Preferably to everyone eligible. But both of those require a lot more dedication, so I haven't been doing them as much. I haven't been to the Plaza since the last Community Day; I've been trying not to drive as much for Pokemon Go.

I am about 1/3rd through level 38, and I expect it'll be several months before I hit the level cap. Possibly I will speed up again when there's more daylight and biking after work becomes feasible again.

Goals for coming month
Let's see.
* Care for Lut
* Finish 17 more bullet points on the outline for The Twilight Etherium
* And/or finish 17 bullet points on the editing list for The Princess, Her Dragon and Their Prince, or some combination of these two.
* Release Frost and Desire if the layout is finished this month
* Spend 15 hours reading stuff that I didn't write. Books, graphic novels, blog posts, articles, and short stories all count. Twitter, Discord, and Tootplanet do not.

That last one is an effort to tackle my "why am I not reading anymore?" problem from a different angle. I will try tracking my progress on this and see how it goes. It may turn out to be too annoying to track "time spent". But I feel as if my mind is simultaneously "it only counts as reading if you finish an entire book" and also "reading a book takes too long and is too much commitment." And I need to get back to reading or my writing is really going to stagnate. So many of my books were directly or indirectly inspired by other authors.

The "finish bullet points on the outline" emphasis for TTE is because the draft is half-done and already book-length. I do not want to encourage myself to be long-winded by setting a word count goal.
rowyn: (Default)

I installed Google Fit on my phone, which is nice in that it automatically tracks both walking and biking correctly as long as I'm carrying my phone. No need to have it open or to turn it on or tell it that I'm exercising. It is much better at this than I would've expected. Yes, I have given up any pretense of privacy in preference for convenience.

Google Fit doesn't produce any nice reports for me, which is a shame. You have all this data, Google, why won't you at least spit it out on a .csv for me? Meh. Maybe there'll be an upgrade.

Anyway, I did a bunch of biking and walking and generally walked or biked for at least 30 minutes a day and usually more like an hour. I did a lot more biking in November than I usually do; normally I quit biking as soon DST ends, because it's too dark to bike after work. But Pokemon GO is enough motivation to get me out of the house a little early in the morning and bike around a bit before work. The cold is annoying, less because "I am cold while biking" and more because "I am wearing so much stuff to keep warm that it is less pleasant to bike." So when the weather has been clear and there isn't snow on the road, I've been getting in 45 minutes or an hour of biking.

I feel like this is a reasonable amount of activity and also much less than I was getting before Lut was hospitalized. Because I used to spend 40 minutes commuting to work on foot and didn't count that as exercise, and now I'm basically saying "the equivalent of that walk is good enough."


On Lut's front: the good news is, the oncologist said that his multiple myeloma work up looks great: virtually in remission.

The bad news is, Lut still has zero energy for anything. I don't think people understand what I mean when I say "zero energy", so let me clarify: "too tired to do literally anything, including watch videos, for most of the day." He sleeps a lot, and also spends a lot of time not technically asleep but lying in bed doing nothing because he's too tired to focus on anything. It's not clear what's causing the extreme fatigue or if it's going to improve.

The oncologist also asked if we would want to try the bone marrow transplant process again. This question caused Lut and I to turn to each other. "..."

Oncologist: "Well, you don't have to decide right now."

The BMT team had said that chemotherapy would weaken Lut's stem cells and so a transplant would not be feasible in the future. But Lut's only had immunotherapy since the failure to collect stem cells, so our oncologist doesn't think that will disqualify him.

Neither of us are keen to go through all of that again. I am probably more willing to do it than Lut is. I am also more willing to do the part where he got a few days of shots and then spent a few days trying to collect, than I am to do the last-ditch part where it went "heavy dose of chemo and then three weeks of shots every day". The whole thing was grueling, though. And it never actually worked. I feel like I want a better idea of the chances it will go better this time, and I don't know if anyone will be able to give odds. :| Anyway, Lut and I should discuss this further.


I wrote 57,500 words on The Twilight Etherium, winning NaNoWriMo, yay. I am 37% of the way through my outline, which would leave me with another 100k in this book. If that's the case, then I am definitely splitting this book into two parts. (There is a logical breakpoint in the middle, it's not a big deal if I do this.) I feel like I'm closer to halfway through, though, and if the book is 120k-ish I will leave it as one book.

Still kind of excited that I'm finally writing the ACTUAL THIRD BOOK in a series. Yes, technically The Pirncess, Her Dragon and Their Prince is in the same setting as the Etherium novels, but it's set in one of the mortal worlds and I may well cut out the brief section that takes place on the fey shard; it's critical to the backstory for one character, but it's not a crucial part of the narrative arc and it's several thousand words. Anyway, I'm planning to market Princess as a standalone, maybe with some mention that it's in the fey multiverse.

The Business of Writing

Alinsa sent me the initial e-book of Frost and Desire, and I finished proofing it this morning. I still have to do the back matter/front matter stuff, and the cover still needs layout. Still, will probably get it released this month.

I also talked to a new artist about doing the cover for Princess, so that is exciting. I need to send them more details about character appearance and stuff this weekend.


I am still playing Pokemon GO, but not as obsessed with it as I was a couple of months ago. Also, it's cold outside. The appeal of roaming around outside with snow on the ground in freezing weather and with limited daylight is considerably diminished.

But this is Community weekend, and they've made a few normally-scarce-and-also-powerful Pokemon common spawns for the whole weekend, so I'll be spending a chunk of time this weekend playing to get those. I am excited to finally get some Dragonites and Tyranitars! And get my silver Dragon Tamer cheevo. :D (I have gold badges for all the pokemon types except Dragon, at this point. I don't think one weekend where dragons are one of the usual spawns will be enough to get that badge to gold. Dragons are, generally, super-rare.) Oh, and also it's purportedly possible to get the limited-time


I went to visit Jenn yesterday, and dragged her out of the house and into the drizzling cold for an hour to play Pokemon, so clearly I'm not over Pokemon yet. n_n (We spent more time cuddling and in the hot tub than on Pokemon, I'm not a total monster). Also went to Contra KC earlier in the month and had a good time.


I don't have any idea, to be honest. I spent some of the month being excited and happy to be working on The Twilight Etherium, and some of it happy to be socializing with friends online or off, and some of it just exhausted and burned out on everything. I don't know what this averages out to.

Goals for coming month

* Care for Lut
* Get remaining bits for Frost release to Alinsa. Release book if it's ready this month.
* Get commission info to artist for the Princess cover
* Yeah I think that's it.

I'm not even putting any stretch goals down this time. Maybe I will do some writing, on The Twilight Etherium or something else, or maybe I will start edits on Princess. I'm not going to swear off of all work. I'm just going to declare work pretty optional this month. I've been telling myself I'd take a break "just as soon as I finish [x]" since September. Well, I finished NaNoWriMo. I'm taking a break. My 2019 releases can wait until 2019.

*falls over*
rowyn: (content)

It's getting colder and darker, so I haven't done as much biking this month. Pokemon GO is still giving me a reason to get out and walk most days, however. Niantic is also adding a feature to have Pokemon GO autosync with a fitness app, so that Pokemon GO will count you as walking even if you don't have the app on screen. I suspect this will add a little motivation boost for me, as there are times where I'd be more inclined to walk if Pokemon would count kilometers walked while I was using Evernote or Discord or Chrome.


The first draft of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince is DONE. AT LONG LAST. I wrote 15,800 words and the final total is 134,928. That will change. I don't know yet if edits will make it longer or shorter.

I wrote another 11,800 words of Frost, bringing it up to 120,381.

I created a rough outline for The Twilight Etherium. It could use some more refining, but it's solid enough to make a start.

The Business of Writing

Final edits on Frost and Desire are now complete and I've handed it off to Alinsa for layout. It'll probably come out in December or January. December would be nice because then I'd have four releases for the year, just like a normal year for Maggie! January would be nice because then I will have a head start on 2019's releases. Realistically, I do not think I am a four-books-a-year writer at this stage of my life. If I didn't have a Day Hobby and/or Lut did not have cancer, then maybe. As it is, three books is doable, and two books is definitely reasonable. We're ten months into this year and I have drafted two books and edited three. Drafting another complete book this year is probably not happening.


I put together the cover for Frost and Desire. This did not involve much new art, just me squidging about with how to crop the picture and how to get the title on there. I am mostly content with it now, though I might futz with the picture a bit more.


On Community Day, a guy handed me a business card for a Pokemon GO Discord channel for raiders in my area. So I now have a way of talking to locals who play! I have not had time to exploit this ability at all, because I do all my Pokemon GO during the week in the area around my house, which is not a good area for raids. I don't want to spend forty minutes commuting into the city, where the good areas are, on a weeknight. And last weekend I went to Seattle. And next weekend has Gengar Day, and the weekend after that is November's Community Day and also Contra KC. So I might just do those events rather than trying to get together with specific locals. We will see how ambitious and social I feel. I do want to catch the Halloween raid boss and I'm not sure I want to wait for Community Day to have a shot at it.

Ooh, and I got another EX Raid pass and caught a second Deoxys. Deoxys does not appear to be a useful Pokemon to have multiples of, but maybe it'll stop being Mythical at some point and I can trade one to my friends.

I won another raid against Mewtwo on Community Day, but did not catch it. Alas! So I'm probably not getting another Mewtwo. But I have two already and the non-EX-Raid Mewtwo doesn't have the l33t combat move so it doesn't seem to matter much.

Also on Community Day, I caught a lot of Beldums and then forgot to evolve any of them until I got home 56 minutes after the event ended. And I was like "but I have until an hour after so IT'S NOT TOO LATE!"

And then the app crashed.


I managed to get it working 59 minutes and 10 seconds after the event ended, and evolved one Beldum to Metang and then Metagross in time to get meteor swarm. But the second one I evolved was too late. Of course, "Metagross with Meteor Swarm" turns out to be super overpowered and it would be great to have, like, the FOUR of them that I could've had if I'd remembered sooner. 9_9 Well, at least I got one. This is better than I did with the Meganium evolution, where I forgot entirely.

One of the lessons from this is that I should look up before Community Day whether or not a Community-Day-only pokemon is going to be OP. (Yes, people who are not me know the game and moves and pokemon well enough that they can tell this stuff). Knowing that "yes, this will be a great pokemon with this move" will probably improve my chances of remembering to evolve them before it's too late.


I went to see Terrycloth yessssssss. So many hearts. Also, my local friend Corwyn and his wife took Lut and me out to dinner, and I drove to Lawrence to see Jen. I feel like I am almost at a normal amount of socializing for an adult!

Okay not really, but I am a homebody and this much is fine.

Scorecard for last month
I did all of my September goals! Lut is getting palliative radiation for his back pain now, which is a quick treatment every morning for two weeks (with weekends off). He did two of the ten in October. His sixth one will be tomorrow.

I also finished edits on Frost and finished the draft of Princess.

The "decide what I'm writing" goal came out kind of squidgy, since my decision was to not decide. But you still have made a choice, as the Rush song points out, so I think that's good enough. At this stage, I have published 8 books, finished 9, and completed 11 drafts. I no longer feel like I need to commit to one project at a time in order to prove to myself that I can Finish Things. I have finished things. It's okay to work on projects in whatever order works best for me.

Goals for coming month

* Take care of Lut
* Write 50,000 words of something(s) for Nanowrimo. This will probably be The Twilight Etherium, because its outline is in the best shape. My other ideas are still amorphous. But I have decided that I am just going to count anything I write for Nano this year, because I'm tired and why not. So I can work on various outlines and notes some more, or I can dive into writing, or I can alternate books. Whatever sounds best at the time. Honestly, if it wasn't Nano, I would probably take the next couple of weeks off.
rowyn: (cute)
My obsession with Pokemon GO continues unabated. This means that on most days last month, I walked or biked for more than an hour each day. Not eating any better, though. Probably a little worse, since I started having cream of wheat with (way too much) Nutella for breakfast again.

I wrote 10,900 words of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, which was a little over my goal of 10k, but did not reach my stretch goal of finishing the draft. It's up to 119,100 words now.

The Business of Writing
I wrote and slotted in one of the four scenes I'm adding to Frost in final edits, and plotted out the details of the other three scenes. Which are probably going to be more than three. Whatever.

I did a couple of fake-shaded-pencil sketches on the Surface, and then lost my tablet pen. Meh.

I am up to level 34 of 40 in Pokemon GO. Level progression slows down a lot in the 30s, and even more in the high 30s. (It takes more xp to get from level 39 to 40 than from 1 to 33.) Unlike most leveling games, it doesn't get much easier to gain xp as you gain levels, either. I do have an advantage in leveling, in my ridiculously long list of Pokemon GO friends. A good 1/3rd of my xp to date has come from the friends system: giving and receiving gifts from friends. I've already gotten most of the 7- and 30-day bonuses that I'm likely to get from the existing list, but the 90-day bonuses will start rolling in during November and December. I expect to still need the XP then, too. But if I don't ease back, I might well hit the level cap in 2018. o_O

Because so much of my XP is from friends, I'm kind of a wimpy level 34. I did get an invitation to an EX Raid, which astonished me -- EX Raids are invitation-only and they're designed to weight people who are involved in the local Pokemon GO community. I would like to be involved in the local Pokemon GO community, but it's apparently on Facebook and I don't want to be involved THAT badly. I got into the EX Raid because I showed up on the Plaza on Community Day along with 300 other players, and so got into some pick-up raids against Mewtwo.

Anyway, I have a Deoxys and a Mewtwo now and this is pretty cool. I still do not feel leet.

I went to Progpower with Alinsa (and sucked her into playing Pokemon GO with me). It was a fun trip! I enjoyed the company more than the show this time, but the company was great. I also drove to Lawrence to see my friend Jen, which is to become a monthly event. \o/


I accomplished last month's goals with the exception of "final title for Frost". I would just go with "Frost", but I like having distinctive titles for my books and there are a lot of books with that title. I am leaning towards "Frost and Desire". Other possibilities are "Frost and Thistle" (the names of the protagonists), and "Lord Frost", which I like and the title character despises. I feel like I should get farther from my initial concept here but my efforts in that direction were all things I liked less. "Sorcery and Desire"? "The Things You Did Not Teach Me"? Meh.

Goals for coming month

* Take care of Lut
* Finish final edits on Frost
* Finish first draft of The Princess, Her Prince, and Their Dragon
* Decide what I'm writing for Nanowrimo (I am vaguely thinking about either the third book in the Demon's Series, or "The Least of All Monsters", an idea I did world-building for several years ago but never figured out the plot. But by the time it's November, I will probably decide on something else entirely.)
rowyn: (Default)
My obsession with Pokemon GO has continued in full force. It was helped along by the addition of a new Special Mission quest line, although not in the way one might think. It's not that I am playing Even More in an effort to make progress on these quests.
No, what happened is that one of the early Special Mission quests was to "add three new friends".  Well, I already had 21 Pokemon GO friends, from asking every person that I knew online to add me, plus a bunch of random people I did a raid with on Community Day. But you can never have too many friends, right?  I'd run into one co-worker on the Plaza during Community Day, so I asked him. And then I tweeted my trainer code in case I'd missed anyone the last time.
It turns out that a lot of people were searching Twitter for trainer codes at that time, for the same reason that I'd put mine up.
And there didn't seem to be any reason to turn them down when they added me.
So now I have 34 Pokemon GO friends.
This is perhaps more in-game friends than might be strictly necessary.
Around twenty-five of them are eligible for me to send gifts to on any given day.  I get one gift approximately every other time I spin a pokestop. This means that every day, I spin about 50 Pokestops.
This is a lot of pokestops for my area. If I go to the Plaza, it's easy to make that in half an hour, but if I stay in the area within a few miles of my house, it takes ninety minutes or so of biking. Fairly slow biking, though I have gotten the hang of spinning pokestops without having to stop my bike, so that's good.
Anyway, I've been diligently going out to spin all these pokestops and send gifts to everyone whether I know them or not. Including one notable bike ride during a thunderstorm.  (It wasn't  raining when I started but there were threatening clouds and flashes of lightning in the distance and I went anyway. This was not a smart decision.) On the days when I don't ride my bike, I spend sixty minutes or more walking. I feel like I am getting sufficient levels of exercise.
I have failed at my "only eat when hungry" plan, however.  This feels like it shouldn't be that hard and YET. *nibbles on M&Ms because she isn't hungry but wants chocolate*
I wrote 19,300 words on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, which is now up to 108,200 words. Another 20,000-ish to go, at a guess. That was more than my goal for last month but I feel unproductive and discontent. To clarify, I feel simultaneously sick of working at writing and also that I am not writing fast enough. So that's a thing.
The Business of Writing
Angel's Sigil is out! \o/ Go buy it, everyone!
I drew a couple of pictures this month, for no particular reason except "I feel like drawing." I almost like the one I posted in this tweet: .  When I was in college, I took a couple of life drawing classes where we used charcoal on paper, and that period pretty much represents my peak of skill at visual art. ArtRage's "pastel" brush is pretty similar to charcoal, and using the "palette knife" tool is a lot like a blender, so that combo is more natural and less strained than most of my digital art.
Actually, there was a kind of silly reason that I wanted to draw.  Many of my friends keep "bullet journals", which are on paper and combine a to-do list with a bullet-point listing of what you did that day. I don't really want to keep a paper journal, but I like the idea having a "what I did" record.  I tried it a couple of years ago and stopped after a few days, but I started again in August.  I make a weekly to-do list in EverNote, in a virtual notebook called "bullet journal", and then record everything I actually do that week.  If I draw a picture that week, then I can drag it into the note file and it makes the week's entry prettier. Also, Evernote puts a little icon-sized version of the picture next to the entry, so it makes the list of entries look nicer too. And it gives me a use for random sketches.  I still don't do very many, but I kind of want to do more. We'll see.  It is unlike to become a priority.
Oh!  And I worked on the cover for Frost, which is pretty much a crop of a painting I already did of the character, with some futzing with the layout to make a place for the title. Amusingly, I decided to use this painting for the cover because I dragged the painting into an EverNote file as a random illustration for the story, and then noticed that the preview, shrunk down and cropped, looked good.
Telnar came out to visit me for a weekend!  Right after I started playing Pokemon GO, so he was subjected to a lot of me nattering about the game and dragging him around the Plaza while I played it. He was very tolerant about it. :D We went to the Toy and Miniature Museum, which is my favorite KC museum (and was his suggestion, so I didn't drag him to that one!) We also went to the indoor water park across the street from my house. It was a good visit!
Goals for coming month
  • Help Lut with medical care, etc.*
  • Write 10,000 words of Princess
  • Start final edits of Frost
  • Figure out the final title for Frost
Stretch goal:
  • Finish draft of Princess
  • Read or at least start reading and DNF some of the e-books piled up on my phone.
* I keep thinking "it's silly to put this on here because it goes without saying". And then I remind myself that this is a thing that I do and it takes time and energy and arguably I should not hold myself to the same expectations that I had when he was healthier.
rowyn: (Default)
Exercise levels trended up. I am still struggling with "only eat when hungry". Sometimes it's not at all convenient to delay a meal for a few hours until I have the appetite for it.

At the end of the month I installed Pokemon GO on my phone, which has greatly increased my motivation to Go Outside and Go Places, on the one hand. On the other hand, the whole thing where I stop and stand around for a few minutes at every pokestop considerably slows me down. Much more than I envisioned it doing. I am not sure the increased regularity with which I am now biking offsets the lowered intensity. We'll see.

I won CampNano! With 50,150 words at the end of July 31. (The CampNano "verified" total is slightly higher, but I don't care.) This was probably the toughest time I had with Nano since 2007. I didn't have to push to make it in the end; I was at or over par for the entire duration. But it was a slog the whole time, and I never got more than a couple of days ahead. Very unlike my experiences writing the Etherium novels or Frost.

But I did it, and the book is closing in on the end, so that's good. The draft was at 88,900 words as of the end of July. I am pretty sure I am going to excise out 16,000 words from that and make that its own novella, because it is too much backstory to belong in this novel. There's, I dunno, another 30-40,000 words left in the book, I'd guess.

The Business of Writing
I did proofread Angel's Sigil. I procrastinated on a few bits of backmatter/frontmatter, but finally finished those on Sunday (in August). Alinsa is pretty much done with the layout, so looking good for the August release.

Silver Scales had the international-only Bookbub promotion, which was fun in that it sold a couple hundred discounted copies. It did not make a profit, either on the initial sale or in follow-through, though Golden Coils did see a little bump in sales afterwards.


Pokemon GO has become my new gaming obsession. I got the 100 pokestop visits badge after 4 days. Apparently this is a lot of pokestops per day. (I hit 59 on the third day. That was too many pokestops.)

The game kind of works on a bike, in the sense that I can get to pokestops faster than on foot and loot them for stuff. (Especially gifts. MUST HAVE GIFTS FOR ALL MY TRAINER FRIENDS. Sending out presents every morning is the most fun part of the game.) I also get credit for some fraction of the distance I cover, like maybe 10-30% of it. This is probably from all the stop-and-go from pokestops -- when I'm going under 5-6mph, it counts it as distance traveled, and when I get over that it, stops counting. I've heard joggers complain it doesn't count their distance accurately either.

Anyway, I am enjoying it so far. We'll see if I stick with it for years the way some of my friends have. I beat my first gym last Tuesday morning! That was exciting. My defending pokemon even held it for half a day.

I haven't figured out how raids work yet, other than "badly". I have found a few raid bosses that were weak enough that I could solo them, so that was fun and also surprising.

I did keep posting on the Dragon: Rebirth game, but mostly once every day or two instead of frequently. It may have petered out, we'll see.

I went to Corwyn and Kat's wedding! It was at the hotel across the street, so I didn't have to travel far for it. It was a good ceremony, short and poignant with some bits that the wedding couple included for humor. ❤

The reception was lovely, too, and I got to see several mutual friends and catch up with some people I don't see much of. It was great.

Cancer is still the worst. I've been depressed a lot in July and I kind of feel like "I don't know what I was expecting."

Goals for coming month
  • Care for Trask and get him various things he needs
  • Release Angel's Sigil
  • Write another 10,000 words of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Princ

Stretch goals
  • Start final revisions to Frost
  • Frost cover
  • Finish draft of Princess.

I kind of want a more ambitious word count goal for Princess, but I am also burnt out on writing so I'm not going to push it. The stretch goal can cover it if I regain some energy.

I did make all of my July goals, plus one of the stretch goals, so that was good.
rowyn: (Default)
I've been trying to get back to biking, and am riding for 60-90 minutes after work, three or four times a week. This isn't as good as my pre-cancer and pre-car days, but it's progress. After this Thursday, lut moves from weekly to bi-weekly appointments, so that may make it easier to make time to bike four-five times a week. We'll see. Having podcasts to look forward to helps with motivation. Unfortunately, my luck with the next two podcasts I tried was not as good as with the first two, so I may actually start looking for podcast recs as the list of "ones I've heard about for years" narrows down after I listen to a few episodes and realize, "oh turns out I don't actually want to listen to this after all."

Towards the end of the month I also started a brand new eating habit, which is "Only eat when I'm hungry."

Yes, this does substantially change my eating habits, sometimes in seriously weird ways. For instance, yesterday I went to a restaurant to eat lunch, and had half of my meal and took the rest home, which is pretty normal. It wasn't a particularly big meal, but by dinner time I still didn't feel hungry, so I didn't eat dinner. I woke up at 7AM, and ... still wasn't hungry. By 8:30AM I was hungry, so I had breakfast then, and broke my accidental 20-hour fast.

I don't intend to do a lot of "skip meals if I'm not hungry", but that's a thing. I have managed to stop myself from snacking quite a bit by thinking "I want a cookie" and then going "but wait, am I hungry? No. No cookie then. Wait 'til you're hungry."

I knew I was doing a lot of boredom eating but it's still weird to see it in action.

24,750 words on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince (this is my favorite book title for one of my works to date. If people start reading this book and are disappointed that it's a polyamorous romance, I don't know what to tell them. You need to read more shifter novels or furry stuff or something.) Princess is up to 38,750 words now.
I also did some writing for a new play-by-post game, and wrote a few dragon bios for Flight Rising. It's good to do some just-for-fun fic writing again; it's been a long time since I did that.

The Business of Writing
I wrapped up edits on Angel's Sigil and gave it to my wuff Alinsa to lay out.

I purchased an international-only Bookbub for Silver Scales, to run on July 7, so that's exciting!

For those who don't know: Bookbub is the most effective (in practice, really, the only effective) advertising outlet for books. They are moderately expensive and hard to purchase. Per their internal stats, they reject 80% of requests for ads. I started trying to buy a Bookbub in January and had been rejected nine times before this. But persistence works! I suspect a good cover helps too. Honestly, I am surprised it only took ten tries.

Bookbub is a discount newsleter; they get subscribers because they only advertise books discounted to $2,99 or less. You might make your advertising dollars back from discounted sales, but the it's real effectiveness is "follow-on sales in the same series". This is why I didn't start trying to buy a Bookbub until I had several books out. The carry-over effect to other series is small, and I only have two books in each of my series.

The international-only Bookbub covers just four countries: UK, India, Australia, and Canada. Bookbub's penetration in those countries is much smaller than the US, so the international-only cost is something like 25% of a US + international deal. $188, in my specific case, for a fantasy novel discounted to 0.99 (or 65 rupees in India). The ad prices fluctuate by genre, region, and price: Bookbub charges more for higher-priced books.

The results I've heard for an international Bookbub for a $0.99 SFF deal have been anywhere from selling a dozen copies to several hundred. I am unlikely to make a big profit from the Bookbub itself, because I only make 34-56 cents per copy. And I'm also unlikely to make a big profit from follow-on sales because there's only one more book in the series. So this is by no means a "Woo I'm RICH!" moment. If July's profits are in the range of A Rational Arrangement's profits for its first month, I will be shocked. :D

Nonetheless! I AM EXCITED.

So excited I already discounted Scales JUST TO BE SURE the right price would be in place, even though the Bookbub itself doesn't run until next Saturday. And I discounted it in all markets, including the US, because why not. So if you've been thinking about buying Silver Scales, now is a good time.

Related: if you've already read Scales, have not reviewed it, and would be willing to drop a review on Amazon or Goodreads, I would be delighted. People are a lot more willing to take a chance on a new author if they see the book has a lot of reviews. Even a couple of sentences is great for getting the numbers up.

Bard and I started a new one-on-one play-by-post game, because it'd been a year or two since our last PBEM and we are contractually obligated to attempt one periodically. I titled it Dragon: Rebirth and Bard is playing a baby dragon.

There was a small get-together at the hotel across the street from my house, and I spent a few hours there saying hi to people. One of my out-of-town SOs came by for it, so I also spent several hours with him. That was nice. I am still in Extreme Introvert mode, so that's a thing. Motivation to get out of Extreme Introvert mode has been sorely lacking.

Goals for coming month
I signed up for CampNano! I set my word count goal at 50,000 words! I don't know why I did that!
Seriously, I wrote less than half that in June and my whole schtick for YEARS has been "set modest goals that you can exceed", so I don't know why THIS MONTH I decided I should set an ambitious goal. I think I've just been setting modest goals for the last couple of months and I feel unproductive.

Also, I actually do not have ANY plans to edit in July. Angel's Sigil is set for an August release, so I don't even have to do proofreading for it. I could edit Frost, but that release won't be until, like, November or something. There is seriously no rush on that. I honestly can't remember the last time there was a whole month where I didn't have a book in the works that I needed to edit or was in the process of releasing.

*scrolls back through her monthly updates tag looking for the last time*

*keeps scrolling*

Okay, it was November. Of 2016.

This is a RARE BIRD, is what I'm saying. It's a good time for me to focus on writing and not worry about anything else. I don't know if I'm actually going to want to write this much; I'm halfway through the first day and I've written all of 70 words so far. And I wasn't doing anything but writing for the last three weeks of June, either, but was still undermotivated.

But hey, we'll see. Right now, the goal feels intimidating, but it also feels oddly good. Like yes, it's okay to have high expectations of myself, because I can meet them.

We'll see how that works out in practice. :D

In bullet-point form:

  • Get Lut to oncology appointments and suchlike.
  • Write 50,000 words of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince
  • Continue the Dragon: Rebirth game at whatever pace is comfortable

Optional Goals (not worried about meeting these)
  • Final edits on Frost
  • Cover for Frost
  • Proofread Angel's Sigil
rowyn: (studious)
I did some of this! I wrote another 10,500 words for Frost, and about 6,000 words of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, which is now up to 14,500 words total.

The Business of Writing
While I didn't do the official launch stuff for Demon's Lure until the beginning of June, it was uploaded to the various e-tailers at the end of May. I also solicited ARC readers and sent advance copies to a handful of people.

I didn't feel much like writing in May, so I finished the initial edits for Frost instead.

I did some editing on Angel's Sigil, but didn't finish it.

I poked at my notes for The Twilight Etherium a little, but I still don't have an outline for it.

Media Consumption
I played a new-to-me single player computer game! For the first time in ages. It was "Regency Solitaire", which turned out to be cutscenes about a Regency love story framing gameplay of a solitaire variant. The solitaire variant involved enough skill to make the gameplay interesting to me.

I also read some books, one webcomic archive, and listened to some podcasts, but I've already written entries about those. Except for Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet, which I still have to post about.

Lut started a new form of chemo, daratumumab. This one is weekly and via IV. It's been pretty time-intensive. The first dose was supposed to take 9 hours to administer, and ended up taking 20 because Lut reacted badly when they tried to increase the rate on the IV. But "sometimes the first dose takes a long time because you have a bad reaction to it" is an uncommon but anticipated problem (I think it affects about 20% of patients? Don't quote me on that.) The second week was still an all-day process, where we arrived at 8:30 and left the clinic at 6PM. The third week was 8-ish to 3:30. The fourth dose is tomorrow, and is again supposed to be quicker, so we'll see. Lut hasn't had any bad reactions to the administration of it since the first week. His oncologist picked this drug because it only targets the cancer, and therefore Lut's low blood counts are continuing to recover on it, instead of being suppressed by the chemo as with some other drugs.

We're hoping Lut will be eligible to get a port at some point. His low platelet counts make him a bad candidate for the procedure now, but they're going up, so hopefully. It'd be good, because Lut's low blood counts also make finding a vein to put an IV in very challenging, and daratumumab is IV-administered.

No severe side effects from the chemo, but Lut's been having some moderate problems. Insomnia has been especially bad; he's been spending a lot of time trying to sleep and failing. Also some nausea/stomach pain problems, which he's been managing via a prescription anti-nausea drug. Overall, not doing too badly. He got back into WoW and he's been reading more. We've gone to the library a few times to restock on books. ♥

Goals for coming month

Get Lut to chemo appts and other doctor stuff as necessary
Finish editing Angel's Sigil (the re-titled sequel to Demon's Lure)
Write some more of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince

Optional things to work on if I feel like it
Final edits for Frost
Read some more books
Outline/notes for The Twilight Etherium or some other new book.

I finished the Angel's Sigil edits this morning, so that one's a gimme. Logically, I should put down a word count goal for Princess, probably 40,000-ish words, but I'm not because ... I don't want to.

I am on track to release four books in 2018, even if all I do in the rest of the year is finish final edits for Frost. Four books in one year is enough. In an ideal world, I would write another three drafts this year too, so that I have three drafts to edit/release in 2019, which is how I started out this year. If they average 100,000 words each, that means I need to write about 40,000 words per month. My average word count so far this year is 24,500. I've been mostly editing this year, so switching gears to mostly writing makes sense and 40,000 words per month is an achievable goal. When I'm focused on writing, it's common for me to write more than 50,000 words in a month.

But it sounds exhausting to make that an actual goal month after month after month. July is Camp Nanowrimo, so that'll be as good an excuse as any to buckle down on writing. For June, I want to feel like I can rest on my laurels and coast if I want to. In the last five months, I've written one draft, edited two books, done initial edits on a third, and released two books. It may be that it's time for me to stop telling myself "if you slow down for a few months it means YOU WILL NEVER FINISH ANYTHING AGAIN." If I only finish one more book this year, that will still be plenty.

The other factor at play is that in May, I wrote 16,500 words, got ready for the release of one book, finished initial edits on another, and did some editing on a third. My feeling about this is "I was slacking". Like REALLY ME? Is this what slacking looks like now. Please stop. Maybe I need a break to read some more books and recharge. I certainly don't need to set the goal posts WAY OUT THERE.
rowyn: (Default)
Another 22,000 words for Frost, which put it at 98,000 words. Since writing wasn't a goal this month, that's plenty.
The Business of Writing
I finished first-pass edits on Demon's Sigil and sent it to beta-readers.
Alinsa got me the early version of the Demon's Lure e-book and I started proofreading it.
I finished the couple's adopt for Flight Rising and got one customer. Alas!  I think I am done making adopts. 
I finished my taxes! Just like everyone else, I know, but whatever. They were stressful and annoying and now they are done.
Lut and I took some money out of his disability stipend via ATM, so that works. It's kind of expensive because his debit card doesn't have a bank, so there are no local ATMs. So he'd have to pay a fee every time we took cash out. We also attempted to use it to pay one of his outstanding medical bills from last year. I don't know if that worked yet. I'll check the debit card balance by phone later this month to see if they actually debited it. We can't use the debit card to pay our credit card, alas, because the credit card will only debit checking accounts.
We did get the last checks cashed from before they started putting the money on the debit card.
We never did get a medical bill for this year. I thought we had for a little while! But that turned out to be a bill for last year and only because one provider didn't have Lut's insurance info. I sent them Lut's insurance info. I was afraid this would mean that I'd have to scrounge up documentation on one of the prescription co-pays (seriously? they're all under $5 except the Revlimid that was $25 but I paid it in January and didn't keep the receipt) just to keep the copay grant open long enough to make sure no actual bills arrive. 
HOWEVER, it turns out the co-pay grant will pay Lut's insurance premiums! And that only required documentation from my employer. So I got that together and sent it to them. I don't know if it worked yet.
Lut only had a couple of appointments in April. The oncologist hasn't put him back on treatment yet because the cancer indicators were all still low based on the blood tests in March. He had blood tests today, though, and his platelet count was low so he needed a platelet transfusion. Next week is another oncologist appointment and I kind of suspect he'll be resuming treatment of some kind.
I saw Terry for the first time in foreeeeeveeeer. ❤️ ❤️ Just for a long weekend, but it was a good visit. 
Oh man I don't know what my goals are for May. There are three obvious ones:
Finish proofreading Demon's Lure
Front/backmatter for Demon's Lure
Finish first draft of Frost
But I finished writing Frost yesterday (total count is 103,359), and I will probably finish proofreading Lure tonight or tomorrow. Some other logical things are:
Final edits for Demon's Sigil
Release Demon's Lure
Initial edits for Frost
I am optimistic that the book release will happen this month. I am not going to start final edits on Sigil now, but maybe later in the month. Likewise for Frost; I want to let it sit a little while before I go back over it.
One of the strengths of my current process is that, since I don't work on just one thing from when I start writing to when I release, I always have something I can work on. If something needs to wait on cover art or layout or first readers, that's fine. I can work on something else.
One of the weaknesses is that there are no logical "take a vacation" points. I don't go "well, I finished this draft, time for a month off from writing while I let my subconscious chew on it" or "I just released a book, time to rest on my laurels". There is always another thing I could be doing. Furthermore, having consciously turned myself into a kind of workaholic, I do not enjoy taking time off from writing nearly as much as I did fifteen years ago. I finished everything on my goal list for March and April a week or more before month-end, and instead of thinking "Yay! I did a great job!" I thought "I didn't put enough stuff on my goal list. MUST DO MORE."
I am not sure this counts as a problem or a humble brag.  Maybe both. It is strange to be so alien to my younger, oft-procrastinating self. 
Anyway, I will split my goal list into parts, and not worry too much about what I get done on the "maybe work on these" section.
Definite goals
Finish proofreading and front/backmatter for Demon's Lure 
Finish first draft of Frost
See if anyone would like an ARC of Demon's Lure, for review purposes

Work on one or more of the following:
Final edits for Demon's Sigil
Release Demon's Lure
Initial edits for Frost
Write more of The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince
Outline The Twilight Etherium
rowyn: (Default)
Frost is at 76,000 words. That's up from 17,500 at the end of this month. No, writing Frost was not on the goal list for last month. I checked. In my case, writing 58,500 words is what I do to avoid editing for a few weeks. It would've been nice if I could've written them on any one of the sequels I was planning to write next but HEY. Writing happens.

Because I'm writing Frost to indulge myself, it's been pretty easy to write. I'm just doing the parts that are interesting to me. When I hit a point where I'd normally go "I need to do research or think of clever things to use for this part", I mostly NOPE out of it instead. This is a ROMANCE, let's get back to the chewy relationship stuff and there can be just enough surrounding material to hold it together. Just barely enough. Whatever. Like there are two main characters and I hardly even let anyone else show up. I actually thought really hard about making it a poly romance because I love two of the few supporting cast characters, but I feel like this story is held together mainly by the way the protagonists are obsessed with each other. So.

The Business of Writing
Despite procrastinating SO HARD on editing, I did manage to finish the penultimate editing pass for Demon's Lure. last month. \o/ In the last week, because I put it off for that long. "Penultimate" means that the book is now in Alinsa's capable paws for layout. When she's done with layout, I will read it a final time to check for errors, and then it goes into the wild. Because it took me so long to get it to Alinsa, I'm expecting the release to be sometime in May. At least it's not a doorstopper like Silver Scales, so it shouldn't be as hard to layout.

I also commissioned my artist for the cover for Demon's Sigil. The cover he did for Lure is amazing, by the way. SO BEAUTIFUL. I need to do a post just for it. Usually I like to wait for release but I am impatient this time.

I did a little more work on my Flight Rising adopt, because I got three more customers. (!) So that was fun. I also started to draw a couple's adopt (where two dragons are posed together). I don't know if I'm going to do enough on it to make it available for purchase, but we'll see. Adopts are fun to do in general, but they're more fun when I know someone is going to appreciate the art. <3

I am planning a trip in April! To visit Terrycloth! For the first time in a year! I AM VERY EXCITED. If you live in the Seattle area and would like to see me briefly, I'll be there Sat-Sun, 4/28-29. Barring medical crises forcing me to cancel. But yes, Lut is presently doing well enough that he thinks he can fend for himself for a long weekend without me. \o/ 

I was depressed for much of March. A lot of days where I felt wrung out and hopeless. And unproductive, in defiance of all reason. Like, yes, I was procrastinating on editing but still. I did a Nano in like 3 weeks. Give yourself a break, girl.

Anyway, I'm doing better now. We'll see if this lasts!

Goals for coming month

I am tempted to put Frost on the goal list, but NOPE. Odds are I'm going to write it anyway. It doesn't need to be a goal.

I did succeed, technically, at all my goals for last month! Lut is alive, Demon's Lure is to Alinsa for editing, and I did "some editing" on Demon's Sigil. Where "some editing" means "very little but technically editing for 3-4 days DOES COUNT as some". I have crossed 11 items off the list. The list is up to 32 items. So there's 21 left. I don't know how many items it's going to grow to. Anyway, here's my goals:
  • Get Lut to doctor's appointments and otherwise make sure he is all right
  • Do taxes before April 15
  • Figure out how to get Lut's disbility stipend off his debit card and to somewhere that it can actually pay for his expenses. Maybe an ATM. And then actually do this.
  • Get the remainder of Lut's disability checks cashed.
  • Get together enough paperwork for at least one medical bill so that I can keep the Lut's co-pay grant open
  • Finish preliminary edits on Demon's Sigil and get it to beta readers.
The "co-pay grant" is a grant that will pay or reimburse us for the portion of Lut's medical expenses that aren't paid by insurance. It will reimburse for any expenses incurred after 11/8/2017. But it has pretty stringent paperwork requirements: I have to provide a copy of the bill, prove that it was authorized by a medical professional, show that the service was performed during the covered period, find where my insurance paid for its portion of the particular service, and provide proof that I paid it, if I'm asking for reimbursement. I also have to send in at least one receipt every 90 days in order to keep the grant active. So I have until May 8th to do this.

The biggest problem with this is that almost all of Lut's medical expenses are from September 2017 or prior. By October, he had met the out-of-pocket cap and stopped incurring new bills in 2017. In 2018, it looks like the combination of MO HealthNet (the state Medicaid program) and UMR (private insurance through my employer) has either covered everything, or confused healthcare providers so thoroughly that they haven't gotten around to billing us yet. (Honestly, it is anyone's guess which one. GOOD LUCK HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS.)

In another great twist of what-the-heck, the bills I have paid myself, that were from Sept 2017 or earlier, have started to send us refund checks. What. Why. Did you change your mind after four months and decide you didn't want money after all? So I have to try depositing the checks back in my account, I guess.

Anyway, I am putting all this stuff on my Goals list because it's not been getting done and my monthly goals are about the only way to give myself a shot at doing them. I am not good at paperwork. Also, having it on my goals list will remind me that it is, in fact, work. And I should give myself credit for doing it and not go "why am I not accomplishing anything ;__;" all the time.
rowyn: (Default)
The Business of Writing
Because Surprise Staycation gave me extra time at home, I finished editing Demon's Lure on March 17, much sooner than I'd anticipated. I've fixed some typos caught first readers, but haven't made much in the way of substantive changes yet. A couple of first readers have had issues with the same aspect, and it's one that will be time-consuming to address. I expect I will make an effort to do so before I pronounce it done.

Since I finished editing early, I started writing a new book. No, I didn't resume work on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. Nor did I start on any of the other books I was talking about working on next. AH HA HA why would I do that, that would make sense.

Instead, I'd stumbled across a half-finished outline I started in 2015 and abandoned because the story is Super Problematic. I did several illustrations from the story back in 2015, and posted one of them here: Anyway, having remembered this idea existed, I promptly became obsessed with it all over again, and I decided that I could reward myself for finishing edits early by working on something frivolous until the end of the month. So I finished up the outline and wrote out some world-building notes for four days, then dove in to write 17,500 words in the last week of February.

It is tempting to keep charging forward on it, but I lost my stride as soon as March hit, so I don't think so.

Uhh. I did a reference map for Demon's Lure? And some more genes and a handful of apparel pieces for my Skydancer adoptable. I did launch an adopt shop on FR. It has had two customers! \o/ I am excited because the second customer was today and since I'd ignored it completely for the last two weeks since completing an adopt for my first customer, I'd assumed I wasn't going to have another. :)

Surprise Staycation was unexpectedly relaxing. Surprise Hospital Stay and going back to work was bad. Writing 2500 words a day for a week was also pleasant, though. I finished out February with my reserves tapped out, but my mood overall was reasonably good. Fatigued but not depressed.

"Reserves tapped out" means I go into a total meltdown over minor inconveniences, though. See Friday's entry about the difficulty with hunting down Lut's medicine. x_x

Goals for coming month
  • Take care of Lut
  • Do final edits on Demon's Lure and send to Alinsa for typesetting.
  • Do some editing on the Demon's Sigil. March is presently shaping up to be a lot of "get up ridiculously early and go to hospital", because they are trying to collect stem cells from Lut next week. If he gets the transplant, that's another two weeks in the hospital for him. Hospital is exhausting. Anyway, I kind of wanted to finish initial edits on Sigil, but since I want to do some significant revision on Lure, probably not gonna happen.
rowyn: (Default)
I did manage to eat more vegetables this month! Not really exercising much. The clinic has tried two more times to collect stem cells from Lut, since the pneumonia in December cut the first attempt short.  The last two times, he's gone through all of the shots, plus the bonus shots, but not produced enough to collect. So we start a different and even more awful regimen next Wednesday.
Anyway, because of this I've been getting up early and getting home late and not exercising on those days. On days when I go to work at a normal time and get home at a normal time, I usually still exercise a little, but not as much as I used to.
8,000 words on Demon's Sigil, finishing the first draft
8,500 words in world-building, outline, and story notes for The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince: my newest work-in-progress
8,000 words beginning the actual PDP book.
The Business of Writing
I did a very little bit of editing on Demon's Lure on the 31st.

Applied for (and was refused) a Bookbub, whee! Bookbub is an exclusive discount advertising outlet. It is the only effective form of book advertising, so far as I know. They reject a lot. Anyway, I need to get in the habit of applying for Bookbubs even though I don't have the best kind of back catalog to take advantage of them. And I need more reviews for my books. If you've read one of my books and haven't reviewed it, these sad puppy eyes are me asking you to do so: /o_o\

Most importantly: released Golden Coils. \o/
I actually did multiple drawings this month, surprisingly.
* Black & white cartoon
* Color cartoon
* three color portraits of women for practice
* color illustration for one of the characters from PDP
* sketch of one of the PDP characters
* Female skydancer adopt and seven or eight genes for it (in Flight Rising, players sometimes make their own lineart based on one of the breeds, and then recreate the genes and apparel to match it, and sell versions tailored to other people's dragons as a cheaper form of commissioning art for your dragon. I haven't tried to market mine and I don't know that anyone would buy it if I did. But Maggie started doing it for female tundras, and then got a few other friends drawing dragons for adopts, so I hopped on the bandwagon.)
This has not been a great month, but given Lut's health issues, not surprising. I feel pretty productive, though. I am happy with the amount of stuff I accomplished.
Goals for coming month
* Complete 24 items on the editing list for Demon's Lure
I picked "24" because that is how many items are currently on the list.  Me being me, I will be VERY SURPRISED if that list doesn't attract any new items as I start editing. Very few of those items are simple.  I need to go through and rank them from easiest to hardest so I can do the easiest one first.  Actually, I can tell right now which is easiest and I am going to do it.
There, done. One down!
I have become a big believer in "do the easiest items first", because (a) watching the list get shorter gives me confidence and (b) the hard ones seem less daunting when the list is shorter. But I did also get started on one of the hard items today too, so I'm not a total wuss.
Ideally, I want to finish editing Demon's Lure this month and get to first readers, but this seems awfully optimistic, hence the "complete 24 items on the list."  In the unlikely event that the list doesn't grow, it'll be done and hey, bonus.
rowyn: (Just me)
I am going to keep these relatively unambitious, because the big one is, you know, big.
2018 Goals
  • Support Lut through the cancer treatment process
  • Continue general adulting as necessary.
  • Publish Golden Coils
  • Edit and publish the two Demon books. 
  • Post monthly updates on whatever I did.

Stretch goals
: finish some other book and/or stories.
Ideally, I'd like to write and publish a fourth book and have two more books drafted. In a hypothetical year without cancer, this would not be unreasonable. Even with cancer last year, I edited three books, published two, and drafted 1 plus most of another.
But. Cancer.
I will certainly work on some new stories this year. I can't picture a year where I only write new fiction for one month, which is about how long I expect finishing Demon's Sigil to take. But having the focus to finish something while editing ... Let's not count on that.
Three new books will suffice, even if they're books mostly or entirely finished last year.

January Goals
Eat at least a pound of veggies per week. I want to eat more vegetables, but I don't want to set a goal that would be, like, an actual healthy amount to eat per day. Because then I would give up. I don't really like veggies or preparing them. I am trying my father's method, which is to buy frozen steam-in-bag veggies that come in some kind of sauce so they're (a) easy to prepare and (b) not actively unpleasant to eat and (c) will not spoil before I get to them. I've only found one that meets all three criteria so far: broccoli in cheese sauce.  I need to find some more if I'm going to work up to eating some veggies every day, because the broccoli with cheese gets unpleasant to eat after a couple of days in a row. So. Any suggestions? o_o
Finish Demon's Sigil: This is going to be easy because I'm on the last scene now. \o/
rowyn: (studious)
I normally do separate December wrap-up and year-in-review posts, but I'm combining them because I only have a couple of things to comment on for December specifically.

I''m 181 lbs now, which I mention for bookkeeping purposes.

I've been trying to get back into the habit of exercising again, with not much success. I wonder if I can get a reclining exercise bike that would work with a laptop yet? The one I got 10 or 12 years ago is almost but not quite workable with one. Lately a lot of my exercise has been dancing in my living room, with the laptop on a counter top, which is probably not as good exercise as the treadmill desks some people use, but it's better than nothing.

My favorite exercise guru answer to the "What is the best kind of exercise?" question is "The kind you will do."

Fellwater: 38,041. (Fellwater is at 91,141 total now)
PollRPG: 29,023
Demon's Lure: 80,966
Demon's Sigil: 73,284

That's 221,000 words of fiction total. That's a lot less than last year, when I wrote 347,300. But 2016 Me only edited one book and 2017 Me edited three. The only other year where I've broken 200,000 words was 2013. So, all together, I'm pleased with how much fiction I wrote.

Of those projects, only Demon's Lure is a complete book. I hope to finish Demon's Sigil in January. I estimate I have around 20,000 words left. Most of the hard stuff is done and it's mostly denouement from here. Then it's All The Edits because the Demon books were ones where I kind of skipped some of the world building and character development that I really should've done beforehand and now I need to backfill it. *sigh*

Anyway, I finished drafting a book! So that was good.

I don't know if I will finish Fellwater or Poll RPG, for different reasons. I'm not quite declaring them dead, but they're both dormant. Haven't decided what I'll write after I finish Demon's Sigil. I have several candidates. All of which are sequels of a sort, for a change. None of them involve existing characters, but they do involve existing settings, at least.

The Business of Writing
I finished edits on three books:
Silver Scales
Golden Coils
The Sun Etherium

I published two of those, Silver Scales and The Sun Etherium. Golden Coils will come out later this month.

Uhhhh. I did a cover for The Sun Etherium? And a few incidental illustrations for books. I pretty much gave up on trying to draw in 2017, to be honest. Getting a Surface to draw on did not help in any meaningful way, alas.

This is the year my partner of twenty years was diagnosed with cancer and spent eight weeks in a hospital, mostly in a state of confusion so strong he couldn't remember anything but his name and mine.

So all things considered, my mood was pretty good. But 2017 was still a crappy year.

Goals Recap

Let's look at last year's goals! I set some.

Serialize Silver Scales (aka The Warlock, the Hare and the Dragon).
-- Nope, didn't do this one. But this was a "decided against" rather than a failure. When I polled about this, only three people responded that they preferred serials over reading it as a book. Serializing a book, even one I've already written, is a significant time investment and didn't seem worth it for three people. (My apologies to all three of you!) A Rational Arrangement had picked up a number of readers as a serial, but The Moon Etherium didn't, so I figured the serial was unlikely to grow my audience.

Publish Silver Scales
Done! In November, so later than anticipated. Mostly because cancer. -_-

Publish the sequel, Golden Coils, probably sometime in September-December
Not quite! It'll be out this month.

Hire a professional-quality artist to do cover illustrations for the above.

Stretch goals:
Publish The Sun Etherium, probably in December.
Done! On time, even.
For those curious: I bumped TSE ahead of Coils because when The Moon Etherium was in the Story Bundle back in September, Alinsa and I added "Coming Soon" blurbs for Scales (in October) and The Sun Etherium (in December) to the back. Scales ran a little late because it was long and had some layout issues. Since I hadn't set a release date for Coils and I had set one for TSE, I wanted TSE to make its release date.

Also a bunch of people kept saying "why are you releasing the sequel so soon after the first book? No one will have finished it yet! Traditional publishing never does that!" Well, traditional publishing never does that for a bunch of reasons that are irrelevant to me. But I figured the extra month would make those people happier. O:)

Finish drafting a new book or three.
I finished drafting Demon's Lure! I am almost done with its sequel, Demon's Sigil. I expect to finish that this month. They will need a fair bit of editing.

Also, keep doing the monthly updates. Those are handy and not too arduous.

I had some December-specific goals too:

Illustrate The Sun Etherium cover:

Look for an artist for Demon's Lure.
I figured out what I wanted the cover to look like partway through the month, and realized I definitely could not do it by doing a bad mockup for it. Then I emailed an artist at 10:30PM on Sunday night just so I could write that I hadn't failed this one. The artist got back to me the next day with a "sure, I can do this" and a quite reasonable quote. I still have to get him a contract to sign, but it looks like I have a cover artist. \o/

Talk to my father and/or Telnar for advice about my horrible cash flow issues.
I did talk to Telnar, and then my cash flow issues got resolved by unrelated means. ♥ and also \o/

Write 14,000 words of Demon's Sigil.
Wrote 20,000 words SO THERE December!

I technically failed two goals this year (serializing Scales and publishing Coils). But I achieved all the rest, plus some stretch goals, and Coils is super-close to being published as well.

Overall, I am SUPER PROUD of myself for everything I accomplished. While doing all of this horrible adulting. GO ME. I can't believe I actually achieved stretch goals in this terrible year.  What.

rowyn: (Default)
I used my exercise bike in during the first week of the month, because I was doing some writing for Nanowrimo while on it. In subsequent weeks, I've been doing stretches in the living room instead. I have a hard time going down into my dark, dank, miserable basement to exercise, and even when it's warm enough, it's too dark after work to ride my bike outside at this time of year.

I did dance exercises in the living room on Friday night, so I may go back to doing that, though.

I no longer walk to work. I did for a little while, but there've been at least two times where I'd walked or biked to work and Lut had a health emergency in the middle of the day, so I don't want to chance it any more.

I won Nanowrimo!

I started Demon's Sigil for Nano, and it was at 53,000 words at the end of the month. I won it early, on 11/26, despite doing very little writing during the three days I was at the convention across the street in mid-November. So it turns out I can still write quickly when I put my mind to it.

I have not been much motivated to continue the manuscript since I won Nano, though. My plan is to take it easy in December and only write 14,000 words or so. I have to do the cover art for The Sun Etherium, for one thing.

I feel guilty not writing faster. Or working harder. I also feel worn out and don't want to work any more. So, you know, that's a thing.

The Business of Writing
I released a new book! It feels so long ago. Silver Scales is now a thing people can buy!

Scales sold well on launch day. Afterwards, its sales graph per day has turned into a weird little sine wave, something like: 0 1 3 5 4 1 0, repeat. So far, it's selling better than The Moon Etherium did, but not as well as A Rational Arrangement or even Further Arrangements. The sequel will be out in January, so that should perk up sales a bit.

The Sun Etherium will be out later this month. Alinsa finished the initial build on Saturday, so I've started proofreading it. I also started work on the cover on Sunday, and then finished it on Monday. It helped that I'd already figured out what I wanted it to look like and assembled all my references beforehand. I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out; much more mellow about it than I was about The Moon Etherium's cover.

I did some fan art for Poison Kiss, and a promo image for Scales. (Not the cover! The beautiful cover image for Scales was painted by the talented Ilse Gort.) The Sun Etherium cover doesn't count for November.

I did a lot of adulting, too. Adulting. So much.

I miss the PollRPG but I'm not sure I miss it enough to do it again. In part because running a serial that I can't build a buffer for is not well-suited towards my mentality, and in part because I suspect most of the people who were following it have forgotten by now and will not be interested enough to pick it up again.

I went to the convention! I saw people and talked to people and got socialized-out for like a month.


Yeah, not so much. I'm glad I won Nano, and I'm glad I can still write 2000+ words in a day. That was a good thing to be reminded of. But Lut has cancer and I have to be a grown-up and inside I am just screaming and flailing and tantruming like a toddler. Sometimes not just on the inside.

One grace note of this whole situation: Lut and I have remained understanding towards each other. Our frustrations are all directed outwards. (Lut has been astonishingly good-tempered overall. I am the only one tantruming.) So that's one nice thing.

Goals for coming month
* Illustrate The Sun Etherium cover
* Look for an artist for Demon's Lure. I might do the art myself, I haven't firmly decided. I have an idea of what I want it to look like if I do it myself; it wouldn't be either the flat-shape look I've done for my other books or one of my attempts at realistic. I don't know if it'd work at all. Anyway, I should probably try to hire someone because it's a good investment in the long run. It's just that I have horrible cash flow issues right now and I would like publishing to make them better and not worse.
* Talk to my father and/or Telnar for advice about my horrible cash flow issues.
* Write 14,000 words of Demon's Sigil.

That seems like enough.

April 2019



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