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.
rowyn: (current)
I've been driving to work a lot, which is one part laziness, one part "I need to be able to get home in a hurry if something goes wrong with Lut" and one part miscellaneous adulting. Last week, for instance, I had a health clinic, a dentist appt, and coffee with a United Way rep. I also had to leave work early on Weds because Lut wasn't well enough to safely navigate the house on his own.

I've been eating more vegetables, though? So there's that. I started bringing nuke-in-the-bag frozen broccoli with cheese to work for a snack. It's a pretty good compromise between "actually healthy", "wiling to eat" and "convenient".


I did very little writing this month. I finished Demon's Lure, which was maybe a couple thousand words. And wrote maybe five hundred words of Fellwater.
The Business of Writing
I did a lot more here:
* Finished last round of edits on The Sun Etherium before first readers
* Finished proofreading ebook of Silver Scales in advance of release.
* Finished last round of edits on The Sun Etherium before layout
* Finished last round of edits on Golden Coils before layout

The ebook for Scales is ready for release apart from cover layout. (I have cover art, just need to put text on it.) So that'll happen soonish.

I did a couple more icons for Scales, and a random ink sketch for Inktober because why not. I did a fan art sketch for Poison Kiss, too. It's also partly colored now but I haven't finished it up.

I read four books by people who aren't me, which was one of last month's goals. Not as many as I'd've liked to, but that was a reasonable number.
Goals for coming month

* Release Scales
* Attempt Nanowrimo
* Do not beat myself up or push myself on Nanowrimo

I want to do Nano, because it's been ages since I wrote a substantial amount of words-per-day. I also feel incredibly rusty and out of practice. So I'm nervous about trying to dive back in. Especially given Lut's health.

Hence: I'm going to try it, but if it doesn't work out, oh well.

I am also giving myself permission to work on more than one story if I want. I'm currently leaning towards writing the second Demon book, because the outline for it is in pretty good shape and I'm excited about the events that come next. But if I decide to work on finishing Fellwater, or work on a new project, that's fine too. I'll count any words of new fiction towards the Nano total. I have completed six books, from draft to final edits. I don't feel like I still need to prove that I can stick with a project to completion. If I wanna multitask, hey, that works.
rowyn: (studious)

This fact continues to be a source of profound relief to both of us.

He is running out of home visits from health aides, so his speech therapist and occupational therapist has signed off. He is going to continue to get physical therapy, I think.

I'm back to biking to work most days, and biking afterwards. This is closer to three days a week of exercise than the six days I'd been doing before Lut was hospitalized. My weight is holding steady at around 180, so at least it's not going up.

I started buying steamer bags of frozen vegetables with sauce. I am finally conceding that I won't go to the trouble to do any food prep on veggies. So it's worth it to buy expensive but conveniently packaged ones that are gooped up to tastiness than to not eat veggies at all. I bring the steamer bags to work and eat the whole bag as a snack. 12 ounces of broccolli with cheese still has fewer calories than a 1.5 oz chocolate bar.

So far, I've had three, so it's kind of working? There's been a lot of free junk food at work recently, and I haven't been resisting it, so. I'll see how it goes when there's less temptation from free cake and donuts.

5500 words on Demon's Lure*, I think? And a few thousand words of new scenes for book 2 of the Scales duology and The Sun Etherium.

* This is a new WIP title for Demon Hunter. It's not that "Demon Hunter" was a bad title, per se, but there are like fifty urban fantasies/paranormal romances already under that name, and mine isn't even an urban fantasy. Demon's Lure is also the title of a paranormal romance, but only one, so that's an improvement. I might change this name again, though.

The Business of Writing
Silver Scales is done! And also officially titled Silver Scales. It is in Alinsa's hands for layout now. We're planning to release it by the end of the month.  \o/

Book 2 is basically done. I finished my final editing pass on it, but I've decided on a couple of other minor edits to do. Since Alinsa is busy with Scales anyway, I am not in a huge rush to pronounce it officially done. I haven't settled on a title for it, but I am presently leaning towards Gold Coils.

I finished the last of my planned edits on The Sun Etherium and am doing a final read-through now. Then it'll go to first readers and there will be more edits. \o/ Who wants to be a first reader on the second Etherium novel? Note: the story is a standalone fantasy romance. You can read it even if you didn't read The Moon Etherium. (Although it comes after TME and accordingly has spoilers for it.)

I feel super productive, lemme tell you. Also, it was really nice to edit a book that only needed a few scenes expanded and a handful of tweaks instead of forty sweeping changes. Like maybe I'm finally getting the hang of this writing thing and it won't take me an entire year to get my next draft ready for release.

The new Surface helps a lot with editing, which I hadn't anticipated. This is because I can read on it in tablet mode in bed, and it's powerful enough to use Google docs normally. So I do proofreading in bed and make notes for any longer changes I want. (Virtual keyboard is still terrible for actual writing.)

I did some new incidental art for Scales & Book 2, for seven little silhouettes in total. I need to refine them a little more, but hey. New art!

I am not otherwise using the Surface much for drawing, alas. I should do more, if only to justify the $100 stylus for it. (I tried using a cheap pressure-sensitive stylus and ... nope. Just nope. It was unpleasant to hold and to use.)

I fell back into Puzzle Pirates. Oops. On the bright side, I didn't feel like playing it this morning and wrote a post for Flight Rising instead, so there's some hope that it won't suck me in completely.

Also, a lot of the time I spend on PP now is time I used to spend on Twitter or webbrowsing. It's not really displacing editing or writing, it's just changing what I do to avoid those.

I've been a little glum the last week or so, with the combined sense of "I am spending too much time goofing off" and "I am stressed out from not enough free time." Despite having a lot more free time because I don't have to commute twice daily to the hospital. I think I am subconciously expecting things to be "normal" and thus frustrated that I'm not getting as much done as I did when things actually were normal.

Goals for coming month
* Finish editing The Sun Etherium and send it to first readers.
* Finish editing Gold Coils
* Read some books. That somebody other than me wrote.

I'm also gonna try to do a few thousand words of Demon's Lure, but I feel like my reading has fallen off a cliff this year and that it is probably more important to me professionally to Do Some Reading than it is to crank out more words. And the only way this is happening is if I actually put it down as a more important goal than writing. For one month, anyway.

Especially since I will probably want to do Nanowrimo next month, so November will not be a great time for more reading. :)
rowyn: (Default)
My weight hasn't changed! Despite not exercising and eating crap. So there's that.

Lut was discharged from the hospital and went to rehab in August, which was actually pretty effective. He's still critically low on energy since he got home, but he is otherwise much closer to normal.

I set a writing goal for myself partway through the month, of 200 words of new fiction per day. This is a pretty trivial goal, and I still didn't always make it. Still, wrote around 5000 words on Demon Hunter, so that was something. \o/

I also started making some more notes for a different book in yet another setting. We'll see if this one gels.

The Business of Writing
I finished my penultimate editing pass on Scales (or whatever I'm finally calling it). I cut another 17,000 words out of it. It is still longer than A Rational Arrangement, but less than 5% longer now. Only about 3,200 of those removed words were entire scenes. The other 13,800 were entirely a matter of abbreviating scenes and rephrasing things to use fewer words, without changing the substance at all.

I am now doing a final proofreading pass, which is pretty much "check to see if any of those words you chopped out were actually important and you need to put them back" and "find the editing artifacts you introduced by trimming the book down by 8%." I'm on the last 100 pages (as of 9/10) so that'll be done soon. I will do one more read-through, but that's after Alinsa typesets it. That read-through is just to make sure that typesetting it doesn't introduce any new errors.

Nothing in August.

I saw Corwyn a couple of times, but spent most of August at work/hospital/nursing facility.

It was a hard month. Neither the hospital nor the nursing facility were fun places to be. September is better. Lut is home!

Goals for coming month
  • Finish proofreading Scales
  • Write 5000 words of Demon Hunter
  • Do some art for Scales and/or start editing book 2

One reason I got the Surface 3 was that i wanted to do some incidental art for Scales, and maybe some promotional images. I am not sure I will be happy enough to use anything I come up with, but we'll see! I might do something in the same silhouette style I used for ARA, but with different colors. And more individualized than the TME ones, since I don't need to worry about re-using them for a serial.

I am still pretty unambitious on creative goals (at 200 words per day, I'm going to write 6000 words of Demon Hunter). But a lot of stuff is still going on and I don't know what my new routine will look like.
rowyn: (Default)
I stopped exercising in July. The time I used to use exercising, I now spend commuting to the hospital twice a day. There's a really stupid quote that goes something like 'if you don't make time for exercise you will find yourself one day making time to be sick'. I find myself thinking instead "since I used to make time for exercise it's much easier to find time for sickness by giving it up". -_-

I'd rather be exercising, to be honest.

Lut is a little better physically and somewhat worse mentally than he was when I took him to the ER on June 30. He is still at the hospital, and in a regular ward instead of the PCU, where he was all last week. So that's an improvement. If he continues to improve, the hospital will try to place him in a skilled nursing facility again. I don't know when or if they'll succeed at that.

I wrote, I dunno, a thousand words of Demon Hunter in July. It's not really on my priority list any more but sometimes I do it anyway. I kept my #4thewords streak by using up my stockpile of stempos (in-game items that allow you to skip days) because I forgot or didn't have time to write on several days. I also wrote a lot of stuff about Lut and health care that I'm not going to share.

The Business of Writing
I cut about 9,500 words out of the first half of Scales. I am pretty much done cutting words out of the first half, although having cut that much stuff I really need to read it again to look for editing artifacts. But at this point I'm comfortable saying "I just want to fix things that are actual errors", I think. For the first half.

I am still looking at trimming the second half, and also making some more changes based on feedback. Work on it hasn't ground to a halt despite health crisis, but I'm not dumping any deadlines on myself at this point.

I haven't socialized much outside of the hospital, but I have seen Corwyn a couple of times and we did hang out for an hour or two after I took him to test drive the Corolla. Also, I went out for a couple of meals with Lut's family when they visited, and I talked to them. So less hermit-like than usual, really.

Goals from Last Month
I had "help Lut get better" down, which in retrospect was unduly optimistic. I visit him at the hospital before and after work during the week (this is why I got a car) and I spend several hours each weekend day with him. I still go home to sleep, because I have a cat and also the one time I tried to sleep at the hospital was traumatic. I am trying to help him. I don't know what I can do that actually would help, though.

I looked into buying a car, and actually bought one on 8/3 so good job there.

Card benefits services sent me a document saying they'd settled the claim and that Enterprise had acknowledged it was settled, so I think that's finally over. Four months and many emails later. Meh.

Goals for coming month
Get adoracar registered and real license plates put on her.
Visit Lut in hospital or wherever else he goes, until he can come home.
Upload The Moon Etherium print edition (this is basically done, but I found another typo to ask Alinsa to fix. Bleah, typos)

Everything else is extra.
rowyn: (studious)
My June update got overrun by July being completely awful. June itself actually wasn't bad, though.

Health & Fitness
I was visiting my parents for 9 days, and didn't get my normal exercise then. I did some walking with my father, though, when it wasn't too hot in the morning and/or I got up early enough. that it wasn't hot yet.

I wrote some new scenes for Scales and Birthright, but didn't work on any other new fiction. I kept my 4thewords streak going mostly with writing about my life, and mostly things dull enough that I didn't post them to LJ. I didn't keep a word count for anything for June.

Oh, I did write three Poll RPG installments in June. I forgot about those.

The Business of Writing
I finished editing Scales for betareaders and got most of the way through editing Birthright.

I also hired an artist to do the cover for Scales (I will hire her to do the cover for Birthright as well, but one thing at a time.). I am inordinately proud of myself for actually doing the Scary Thing and talking to artists I don't know. Alinsa helped a lot by looking at art for me and sharing the best stuff, and making some preliminary contacts. ♥ It was hard! But I did it, and the artist has since completed amazing preliminary sketches and I can't wait to see the color tests.

I don't think I did any drawing in June.

I played Scrabble with my brother and his wife while all three of us were visiting my parents. My brother did not outscore us both combined, which is pretty much as close to victory as one gets against my brother in Scrabble.

I went to NC for nine days. I spent the first weekend mostly visiting Kagetsume, Sophrani, and Boingdragon. We watched "Rogue One" in Kage's home theatre, which somehow none of us had seen yet, not even Kage who'd bought it on Blueray. It was as grim as I'd expected, but pretty good. We also went to see "Wonder Woman" in Imax 3D. I haven't seen a movie in 3D since "Avatar", but didn't mind giving it another try. I remain indifferent to 3D. It doesn't particularly bother me, but it doesn't enhance the experience at all, and the glasses are vaguely uncomfortable. I enjoyed "Wonder Woman", although not with the overwhelming love of most people. Maybe I'm just not good at overwhelming love for media any more. I dunno.

I spent Monday through Friday low-key visiting my parents. This mostly consisted of watching a little TV with my father, watching some tennis with my mother,, and playing with my mother's spare laptop in the recliner in her office while she played WoW at her desk. We went out to dinner a couple of times too. My father likes to go out to eat every three days. They stock up on leftovers at the restaurant, and my father will eat those for the next few days until they go out again.

On the last weekend, my brother and his wife C came to visit. This was my first time meeting C (they got married last year with a very small ceremony). She was delightful. My impression of her is no doubt bolstered by the fact that she has read and likes my books, but I'm sure I would love her anyway. ♥ On Sunday, we made strawberry shortcake with Bisquick shortcake and C's hand-whipped whip cream. I can report that this is still delicious. :9 I ate way too much on this trip.

I was worried about Lut while I was gone, and called him several times.. This was before I took him to the ER, but I was already concerned that his health had taken a turn for the worse. He had assured me before I left that he would be fine and I should go and he was not willing to go to a doctor. He seemed to be managing okay without me, although the power went out for 48 hours and that sucked a lot.

As a way of life, "stoic" really has its downsides, y'all.

I think I was happy? I can't remember. I had a good vacation. It was so low-key that I felt like I should be getting more editing done and felt vaguely guilty about that, but it was still good.

Card benefit services emailed that they'd settled with the rental car company over the minor accident back in March, and they were just waiting for the rental car company to send a letter acknowledging the matter was closed. Which they will then send to me, I think. Anyway, this is finally almost done so hopefully I can take "poke card benefits and rental car co to talk to each other until this over" off my list of goals in August. But it's not done yet.

The nadir of this experience hit when the rental car company mailed me a letter to complain that I had never responded to any of their attempts to contact me, and I needed to pay them for the damage in the next ten days.

I responded with "I guess you lost all of the emails I sent you about this, and also all of the emails that you sent me in response to my emails. And also the physical letter you sent me in response to one of my emails. HERE ARE COPIES OF EVERYTHING. Let me know if you need anything else that you lost!"


That was much more polite than I felt about the whole matter.

Goals for coming month
Help Lut get better
Look into buying car
Poke about insurance claim if necessary

If I finish anything else, great. If not, oh well. I have been doing a little editing this month, mostly because re-reading my books to look for typos is one of the few things I have sufficient brain for. I've been spending a lot of time at the hospital watching Trask doze, so I've had some time to do that.
rowyn: (studious)
I caught another lingering cold, this one mostly a cough that won't quite go away. I never felt horrible on this one, just run down. This is good, because I only have enough PTO to cover my vacation in the third week of June.

The Fitness Challenge at work wrapped up in May, thank goodness. I can go back to my usual workout schedule instead of the weird deformed one I've been using to try to minmax the challenge. The challenge does not correlate very well with any actual minmaxing of health, so this was mostly not a net positive. The closest it did to good was getting me to exercise on some days when I would have skipped it. But I also did less exercise on many days than I would normally, because extra time didn't "count".

I did some kind of exercise for 23 out of 31 days in May, so not far off normal. I hope to get back to doing one long bike ride on the weekends while the weather remains good. I think I've only had one ride over 12 miles since March, and I am feeling out of shape.

I've been eating more mandarin oranges and cottage cheese and less pastries and candy. This has not impacted my health or weight as far as I can tell.

I wrote a bunch of Poll RPG installments, and some new scenes for Birthright. That's about it. I have been more focused on editing.

Poll RPG: 13,500 words (the total of both files is at 26,250 now).

The Business of Writing
I finished my first editing pass on Birthright. I now have 7 items left to fix on Scales, and 18 left on Birthright. They are pretty much all hard changes that I don't have a clear idea on how to implement. Still. Getting there.

I worked on a picture of Smoke and Corydalis for several days, and lost interest before finishing it. That was all the art I felt like doing this month.

I went to see Terrycloth in Seattle! Alinsa came to visit too, and the three of us hung out a lot. Alinsa and I went to see the Sabaton concert on the last day of my trip. We were going to drag Terry along, but opted not to in the end. This was the right call, as Terry is even less keen on standing than I am. Concerts are a LOT of standing. I actually sat down on the floor through most of the set for the second band, Leaves Eyes. Also, the venua did not have A/C and it was packed with people and about 90 inside. Sweltering. And you don't dare drink much because then you have to fight your way to the bathroom and then try to fight your way back to your spot.

This may be my last concert at a venue without seats, is what I'm saying. Fortunately, ProgPower is in a big theatre with stadium seating, so it's quite comfortable.

In any case, Sabaton was great. <3

Seeing Terry and Alinsa was also great. <3

I spent a lot of May in a kind of low-grade glum mood. Not miserable, just thinking "I want to cry" a lot. I didn't even actually cry. Just glum.

Anyway, the "I want to cry" song is much better than the "I suck and everything I do is awful" or "I want to kill myself" songs, so. There's that. It would be nice to be more upbeat, though.

I write this down as a marker, so I don't forget and exaggerate my past as better or worse than it was. Moving on.

Goals for coming month
* Finish editing Scales and Birthright. I'd like to finish Scales (again) first, because once I finish it this time, I can kick it to beta readers. Because this will be the last round of edits that will impact it.
* Do something about covers for the two books. Where by "do something" I mean "find a cover artist". Who is not me. A professional.
* I also still have to deal with the rental car and credit card insurance people. Sigh. There was actually a thing the credit card insurance people asked me for that I could even get them (credit card statement showing the rental), but I didn't until last night because I had to look up when the accident happened again. I couldn't remember any more. I could have just sent every credit card statement. "It's on one of these four! Have fun."

Anyway, I finally did this (and even found the right statement) yesterday evening. Chrome would open the statement but not save it to file, for no apparent reason. I had to print it to PDF, which was semi-illegible also for no apparent reason. It was basically still readable, so I sent it. Hopefully that will be that.

Card Benefit Services has sent me letters for stuff that only the rental people can provide, too. I forward those on. I don't know if the rental people have provided any of it. They don't write me back. -_- But the claim form only had "other" for things to upload and they haven't asked for anything else but the statement lately, so. Maybe?
rowyn: (studious)
I wrote this back in early May and forgot to post it. Weird.


I did pretty well at exercising for much of the month. I took the last weekend off, for no particular reason except that I had a rental car and couldn't motivate myself to go use the exercise bike. And I missed a few days while on my staycation, because I got sick. Otherwise, I was exercising 6-7 days a week.

I was definitely sick for three or four days, and then had a couple of weeks of "my throat is still a little scratchy and I'm sneezing more than usual" sort of stuff, where I wasn't really sick but didn't feel exactly well. It started on the Tuesday of the Monday-Friday that I had off. So, on the one hand: I guess I was going to take that time off anyway so might as well have it scheduled? (My bank has just "Paid Time Off" in one big pool, instead of separate vacation and sick days. I have been there for twenty years and I get five weeks of PTO a year, so I'm not really hurting for paid time off, though.) On the other hand, it was not a very relaxing vacation.

I am still eating lots of junk food. The bank had a bake sale while I was on vacation, so at least I missed that. But we're having another one on Monday and my willpower is weak versus bake sale, so.



I beat my CampNano goal for Demon's Hunter! I lost most of my will to work on it by the time I hit goal last week, but I'm still poking away at it.

Also, I started the Poll RPG, which has been pretty fun and also kind of weird, especially the Twitter version. One thing I wanted to do with the story was write short installments, of no more than a few hundred words each, so there'd be frequent polls on what Smoke did next.

It turns out that it's harder for me to write a short installment that actually accomplishes anything than it is to write several hundred words. Especially if I'm trying to establish relationships between characters. Once the Twitter fork got to a character Smoke could flirt with, daily installments started running 20 or more tweets each again. I'm still trying to keep the daily updates for the Twitter version shorter than the Dreamwidth ones, but I decided not to angst over making it short.

I did make Google Doc files of the story-to-date for each version, because it wasn't a lot of effort and the Twitter one is already totally unnavigable. Tweet chains of 50 or so tweets work fine on the webpage, but hundreds of tweets in one chain don't work well in-browser, and they break some of the client programs. So. My plan now is to start a new thread each day and link to the doc in the opening tweet.

Demon's Hunter: 28,000 (CampNano goal was 25,000. Total )

Poll RPG Notes: 3,800

Poll RPG: 11,700

And a bunch more words for LJ posts and notes for Birthright and suchlike that I'm not going to bother parsing out.

The Business of Writing

I read another book for research purposes, and browsed about on the web for info, and made thousands of words of notes, and also fell into a pit of black despair.

I'm about 20% through on my first editing pass of Birthright. Most of the actual editing was done in the last seven days. Before that was research and despair. I will try to finish the first pass in May. I'm going to try getting more editing done from work by putting 10-page chunks of book into separate Google docs so they're small enough to edit on phone. This works for sections that just need some continuity clean-up or the like, but not on sections that need to be totally re-written, or when I need to rearrange the order of scenes.

Wish me luck.


Oh hey I drew some pictures this month! The Poll RPG game made me want to do pictures. So I drew a portrait of the protagonist and a picture of Blackwood and some sketches of Corydalis. I have yet to make a decent colored pic of Corydalis, and I still want to.

Anyway, that was a nice change of pace.

I did do my taxes in April!

I have poked at my credit card company and the rental car company a few times in an effort to get them to get each other the documents they need.


I crit-failed my planning roll for my vacation in April and didn't go anywhere. If we assume I was going to get sick that week anyway, that's probably just as well.

I am going to see Terry and Alinsa in Seattle next weekend, though! And assuming I don't mess up on buying tickets, I'll see my parents and brother in June, and hopefully my NC friends as well.


April was not been a good month for happiness. I was depressed and dragging for most of it. I'm glad it's over now.

Goals for May

Yay new month! Yay is not running time-limited events that will make me feel like I need to write thousands of words every day to complete them! backfired for me in April, because I was so determined to finish all the CampNano quests that I spent less time on editing than I would have otherwise. Also, I am to the point of "I don't really want to do any new writing any more, I'd rather just be editing."

Editing on my phone is still awful, but I'm going to make an effort to do it anyway. When I can make it work, I can get an extra 10-20 pages a day edited that way.

* Finish first-pass edits on Birthright
* Keep up with PollRPG for fun & to keep 4thewords streak
* Do some more art for PollRPG
* Other writing as desired
* Poke rental car & card benefits to get them to give each other the info and money they need. (Fixing this is not within my control, so it's just staying as a goal of 'poke them' until they actually do what they need to do.)
rowyn: (Default)
Work started a "fitness challenge" in March. I looked at the parameters when they announced it, and realized that my current levels of exercise scored 3-4 points, 5 days a week. "Sure," I said. "I will participate. Maybe I will even exercise on the weekend for bonus points." The fitness challenge, annoyingly, has a per-day cap of 3. I don't mind that there's a cap, but a per-week cap would be way less obnoxious.

In the first twelve days of March, I took two weekend days off and could count 30 of a max 36. (I scored well over 36, but can't count points over 3 in a single day.) We're on teams of like 4 to 6 people, and they tallied up the teams. My team was in second place, with a per-person average of 16 (for the full 12 days). The 1st place team had an average of 16.5.

... If I'd scored 6 more points, we would have been in first.

Anyway, clearly (a) everyone else in this challenge has a very different idea of "reasonable amount of exercise" from mine, and (b) I can't take another day off.

So I maxed out my points for the rest of March. The challenge runs through May 31, so I dunno if I'll keep this up for two more months. Six days a week is okay, but every single day is excessive. Even for me.

I still eat too much, so no change in weight. \o_

Mostly been writing Demon's Hunter. Also a lot of generic rambling, and a very little bit of Fellwater. I kinda feel like I should finish Fellwater, because there's only a handful of scenes left. But it's such a ridiculous thing that I'm not even motivated to edit it.

I've also been doing a lot of "I am just rambling to myself about my day", when I feel like playing but don't want to work at it writing anything very coherent. Much of it is the sort of thing I used to post on LJ and Opendiary, way back when. Some of it is very boring (me talking about 4thewords, for example), but it does make me wonder if I should post more chit-chat stuff to my LJ again.

Demon's Hunter: 34,200 (total book is now 37,400).
Fellwater: 1,100 (total book is now 89,900)
Other stuff (LJ posts, 4thewords counting deleted words, forum posts, etc.): 27,000

My 4thewords count for the year through 3/31 is 178,000.

The Business of Writing
In March, I finished 30 out of 27 items on my to-edit list for Scales, and had 2 items left at the end of month. I am bad at math. Also, the list kept growing. This doesn't include some items that I decided to change without adding them to the list.

I finished one of the remaining items this morning, so it's done. The last point -- "actually try to make it shorter, this time for sure" -- is probably not happening in any meaningful way. "Make it shorter" is not something I do. -_- Also, of the three books I've released, the longest one is the one that still, almost two years later, sells the best. So the personal experience is not really speaking to the whole "people like their books concise". However, I will leave it out there as a thing to think about. I did actually cut some unnecessary-but-amusing stuff this morning. It is not clear to me how much of that kind of thing -- "this is just here for flavor" -- I should cut. Obviously some of it is integral to making the book not be boring.

I paid off my mortgage this month! \o/ That was nice.

Telnar visited last weekend! We did a lot of talking and some walking. Also went to the indoor waterpark near my house for a couple of hours, and I got him to download Ascension for his iPad so we could play it. The UI on the PC is basically identical to the iPad, but the PC is ten times more annoying because my desktop doesn't have a touchscreen and I can't hold it conveniently ten inches from my face. (The big problem with the PC UI is that the max resolution is like 600x800 or something. It is teeeeeeeny and I can't resize it.)

In other socialization news, I went to a retirement party last night, for a man I've been working with for 16 years. He was my boss, briefly, after my previous boss left in 2010 or something. Other than that time, we've never worked in the same department, but we always got along well. He and his wife were really surprised and touched that I made it to the party. It was 25 miles away! I did not ride my bike. I rented a car. A couple of people offered me rides, but I needed a car this weekend anyway so it worked out.

Anyway, it was only for a few hours and it was hard to talk because the room was loud (just from all the people talking!) But I saw many many former co-workers from before the last merger, and that was cool. Including several people who don't work at the bank any more! I am glad I went. And happy for my friend. And a little melancholy, thinking about other former co-workers I haven't seen in many years, and wondering if I ever will again. It's very hard for me to keep in contact with people unless I have some activity that keeps me engaged with them. :/

I have some depression related to "not retired from Day Job yet and very tired of working 40 hours a week", and some bonus free-floating anxiety at the end of the month. I feel like I have forgotten to do some critical adulting task and by the time I remember it will be too late.

Still, it's been a good month overall and I'm pretty happy, but there are still hard parts.

Goals for coming month
So it's CampNano in April, and moreover will be doing a CampNano event, so I know I'm going to be writing for it. I set my CampNano goal for "modest and easily achievable", which is to say 25,000 words.


Yes, that is modest and easily achieved. I wasn't really trying to write this month and went over 30,000. The biggest threat to my writing productivity is that the weather is getting nicer, though. I've been writing 800-1000 words just on the walk to and from work, and while I'm on my exercise bike.

I keep comparing my current writing pace to the rate at which I wrote The Moon Etherium and being disappointed. Then I have to remind myself I'm supposed to be editing and not writing.

Then I remember that I've been editing for four months and I'm maybe half-done, and it's all black despair from there. -_-

Anyway! I PERSIST.

So, goals:
  • Write 25,000 words of new fiction
  • Do some research for Birthright. Make world-building notes.
  • Do some editing on Birthright
  • Do my taxes, including the tax form Missouri wants my business to fill out even though I thought I already filled it out and I know I paid it so .... I don't know. I need to fill a thing out.
  • Do what I can to make sure my credit card and the rental car company talk enough to get claim for damage settled.*

I would love to finish editing Birthright by the end of May, but I'm betting on end of June.

If I am doing really well at editing somehow, I don't care if the writing slides.

Last time I did research, I checked out books from the library. I plan to buy some e-books this time, to see if having more conveniently-sized books helps with the process. Also, the book selection in the local library system was disappointing. I don't know if the selection in e-book form will be better or worse, but I'll take a look.

* I rented a car last weekend too, and managed to damage it backing into a very low retaining wall at < 5 mph. I filed the claim with my credit card -- my special I-only-have-this-card-for-the-rental-insurance-waiver -- on the day of the accident. Thursday they emailed to ask me to send a bunch of documents from the rental car company. Why they didn't ask the rental place to send these documents is not clear. Today I talked to rental folks, but all the documentation I need is with their Damage Reduction Unit and they can't get me any of it. They expected the DRU to talk to me and/or the credit card. So I will wait a few more business days to see if anyone else gets in touch with me. If not, I will call the DRU and ask them for docs. It's a process. I have a lot of time to sort this out, so I am not very worried about it, but I also don't want to think "lots of time left!" and then find myself wondering in September whatever happened with the claim.
rowyn: (Default)
As usual, I am keeping up with exercise and not paying much attention to what I eat. No change in weight. \o_

4thewords' inflated total for February is 50,000 words.

I started a new book in February because I am very bored of Fellwater, and since it's the "work on for fun" project, hard to convince myself to work hard on it. Working title for the new work-on-for-fun project is Demon Hunter.

I will probably still finish Fellwater eventually, because it's close, but eh.


Fellwater (text): 8,500
Fellwater (notes & outline): 1,000
Demon Hunter (text): 3,200
Demon Hunter (notes & outline): 8,700
New scenes for Warlock: 4,600

The other 24,000 words is miscellaneous: LJ entries, diary, forum posts, comments, notes for Warlock, etc.

The Business of Writing
I finished my first editing pass on The Warlock, the Hare and the Dragon, and made a list of the remaining items I want to change. There were 27 items on the list; I've finished one so it's down to 26 now. These range from "make sure some names are used consistently" to "planned and failed to do this in three different revision attempts but somehow refusing to give up now". Anyway, this was my stretch goal for the month, so: victory!

Books Read
I noticed that I hadn't read any books yet in 2017, which is ridiculous. So I read a couple:

Frederica by Georgette Heyer
Robots Have No Tails by Henry Kuttner

I still haven't read any books written this century, granted. Nonetheless: reading!

I went to Conflation this month! I left the house and saw other human beings and did not spend the entire weekend hiding in my pillow fort. Go me!

Goals for coming month

* Take care of the remaining 26 items on the to-do list for The Warlock, the Hare, and the Dragon

That's enough. My stretch goal will be "do some research in light of the planned revisions for Birthright". If I feel ambitious, I might start some actual revisions for Birthright, but probably not.
rowyn: (Default)
As usual, I am keeping up with exercise and not paying much attention to what I eat. I am doing a little better this week than the last several. I bought a bag of mandarin oranges a week ago and have almost finished it now, so I ate more fruit this month than usual. \o_

I got the mandarin oranges because one of my co-workers had bought a bag and gave me a few and they were SO GOOD. Sweet and not at all tart. Then the ones I got myself were much more orange-y and not nearly as delicious. Alas. But at least they're a convenient size.

According to 4thewords, I wrote 66,000 words in January. 4thewords counts words written and then deleted on the site, which means that if I cut-and-paste words to move them around, they get counted twice. It also does weird things like "count words a second time if you italicize them". So. Not the very best kind of tracker. But it's a site under active development, so some of the weirdness may well get fixed at some point. Moreover, since I used to never track the word count for my LJ posts and notes and other miscellanea, it's nice to have something that gives me a rough estimate of them. Anyway, my guess for the breakdown:

Fellwater: 27,700 (not a guess, I actually totaled this one)
Dragon bios: 3,500
Journal Entries: 15,000
Miscellaneous notes related to fiction and editing: 5,000
Forum posts & emails: 6,000
Deleted/repasted words and other 4thewords oddities: 8,800

For my convenience for the next update: Fellwater is at 80,800 words, plus 4900 words of notes, for 85,700 total in the project. I thought that this novel would be 100,000 words or so, but I've been ridiculously long-winded about it so now I'm not sure. I am kind of tempted to quit with this thing and work on something with a little more mainstream appeal and a lot less kinky sex. But I don't have anything I am eager to work on, so I am still poking away at it for now.

The Business of Writing
I edited 329 pages of The Warlock, the Hare and the Dragon, which was a little over my goal. \o/ On the other hand, my list of "things I should change but have skipped past instead" is getting longer. To the point where I need to make a real list of it and not just little scattered notes alongside the post-facto outline. (I didn't write an outline before writing WHD so I made one afterwards. I am not sure how helpful this really is but it makes me feel like I have a better handle on the work as a whole.)

I did a couple of headers, I think? Mostly I am re-using headers for TME at this point. I haven't really been drawing. If I want to do something mildly productive, I've been playing 4thewords instead.

I had several bad days in January. It's hard to say how much of this is me and how much is the state of the nation. The latter is certainly depressing enough.

Goals for coming month

* Edit 180 pages of The Warlock, the Hare, and the Dragon
* Make a to-do list of everything I still want to change but haven't yet.

I am not going to finish edits in February. I had 11 days off in January and only 9 in February, and moreover I'm going to Conflation so only 6 days off in practice. I have 249 pages left. I really wanted to at least finish the current pass, but looking at the actual timeframe: bleh. I will make an effort to finish the current pass, but I'm not making it a goal because that's just setting myself up for failure. Also, the last 249 pages contain a lot of scenes that I want to make real changes to, not just rubber-stamp.

In related news: I keep thinking that (a) I want beta readers to be able to read both books together and (b) I need to do more research to revise the sequel. Realistically, it will take at least four months to revise the sequel. So unless something changes, that'd mean I don't get anything to beta readers until July. Which puts "starting the serial" out to August or September, and publication to October.

... or I can suddenly start researching and revising at like 10 times my current pace and not have this take an eternity. Or I could have some beta-readers read the unrevised sequel, I suppose. I kind of hate having people read something I know I'm going to change anyway, but the reason to have people read it in conjunction with the first book is mostly "do I need to change anything in Book 1 because of Book 2?" and revision will not affect that part substantially.


Well, we'll see how February goes.
rowyn: (Me 2012)

2016 was a mediocre year for fitness for me, and I'm wondering if that contributed to multiple illnesses over the year. I usually only call in sick one or two days a year, sometimes not even that. This year, I called in sick for at least six days, for three different illnesses. Ugh. The bout in October, with the cough that took me an entire year to shake, was especially bad.

My diet has been crap overall: I eat too much, and none of it is particularly healthy.

On the other hand, when I was healthy I did generally exercise four or five days per week, so there's that.


347,300 words of original fiction for the year.

So this was a good year for Churning Out the Words. I finished the first draft for three books this year:

The Moon Etherium
Birthright (about 40% written from 2006-2015; wrote the last 60% of it this year.)
The Sun Etherium

In addition, I'm about halfway through Fellwater, which I may or may not ever do anything with, but what the heck, we'll count it.

Anyway, I've gone from the sort of person who felt like writing 500 words a day was unreasonably ambitious as a goal, to someone who thinks that taking three months to finish a draft means I'm slacking.

I've also finally managed to write book-length-books, instead of doorstoppers like my first three finished manuscripts. Bonus!

The Business of Writing

I published two books this year: Further Arrangements, in February, and The Moon Etherium, in September.

I edited The Moon Etherium this year but haven't finished any other edits. This was the year for ALL THE WRITING and NONE OF THE EDITING. At least it feels that way. At a guess, I'm 10-15% done with the revision process for The Warlock, the Hare, and the Dragon. After a month. I need to build up some steam on this.

I made less money in 2016 than I did in 2015, despite publishing twice as much work and getting royalties over 12 months instead of over 3. Yes, the first three months of sales for A Rational Arrangement  were better than all the sales of ARA since then, plus all the sales of FA and TME. This is depressing but not really unexpected; at the time that I first started posting about ARA's sales, I thought they were largely due to effects that I couldn't duplicate again.

Still, I am particularly sad about The Moon Etherium. It's made less than $200 in the first three months of release (that's less than 5% of ARA's sales over its first three months). I love this setting and these characters and looked forward to writing more about them. But with this level of sales, I can't justify sequels which will do even less well. I've drafted The Sun Etherium already, and will probably edit and release it for the ten people who are interested. But unless some miracle happens with sales, that'll be the last book of the series.


I did a fair amount of sketching and small marker and digital pieces in 2016.  I did probably my best digital painting ever, and decided it wasn't good enough to be a book cover. I did a couple of cover variants for Further Arrangements and I finsihed the headers for ARA and drew some new ones for TME.

I don't really feel like I did much, art-wise, and I'm okay with that. I want to be a writer, not an artist. I did a lot of writing. Good enough.


I didn't get out much this year, I went on four trips this year: two to Seattle to see [ profile] terrycloth and other folks in the area, one to North Carolina to see my parents and visit Myrral, Kage, and Envoy, and one to Atlanta to attend ProgPower with [ profile] alinsa. I did a few long-weekend events locally; Contra KC and WorldCon.

I was on two panels for WorldCon, which I gotta say was cool.

I got out a few others times to see Corwyn, but my main social outlet remains the Internet, and low-key methods of keeping in touch like Twitter, LJ, with some direct messaging in various formats.

I feel weird about this. There are people I want to see and did not this year, and more travelling is the only way that will happen. I am very fond of Corwyn and do not see him often enough. Also, I really love being by myself and not dealing with people. So actually fixing this thing where I am super-anti-social is hard, because socializing is a lot of effort. It is not work so much as exertion: I like doing it but I'm lazy and so I don't. Also, not having a car


What a year this was. I've been basically happy for most of it.  Some things have made me sad: the awful 2016 presidenial campaign and its unsurprisingly awful results. On a personal level, I'd hoped that publishing more books would revive my books sales and I'm sad that it didn't.

But I didn't have any major bouts with depression and very little suicidal ideation, so that's good. I am pleased with the writing that I've done, both in quantity and in the stories that I've written.

January Goals

After I finished making all the revision notes, I've been reading and revising WHD in order. My goal for February is to get through at least 300 more pages. This feels ambitious, since I only revised 129 pages in December, but then again, I also made 16,000 words of notes. I can convert "time spent making all those notes" into "time spent revising an extra 170 pages".

This goal assumes I'll revise an average of 30 pages per non-work-day in January, and do no revision during the work week. Since I revised 45 pages yesterday, this doesn't seem too unreasonable.

It will also put me on track to finish first-pass revisions in February. I will probably do a little extra clean-up that's not page-by-page at that point, and then kick it out to beta readers. Then I can do final edits some time in March. If all goes well.

2017 Goals

I've been posting month-to-month goals, and I will continue to do that. But I actually have some goals for the year as a whole in mind, so I might as well post them here.

  • Serialize and publish The Warlock, the Hare and the Dragon. Serial will likely launch some time in April-June. I'll release the book a month or so after the serial starts.

  • Publish the sequel, Birthright, probably sometime in September-December

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

  • Stretch goals: Finishing drafting a new book or three. Publish The Sun Etherium, probably in December.

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

The release time frames are extremely squishy. If I get two books published in 2017, I'll be happy. I don't really care how late in the year it happens.

The stretch goals seem ridiculously optimistic, but the truth is that I wrote much faster in 2016 than I ever have before and I don't feel like I'm going to slow down that much. And it would be silly to publish three books in 2017 and then have nothing written and ready to revise for 2018.

So. Sure. I think it is realistic to revise three books this year and draft three new and different books.

Also, I am a pod person and I'm very sorry if you liked the Rowyn I killed and devoured in 2016 so I could take her place. If it's any consolation, she felt no pain and also got to miss Brexit and the Trump election so, y'know. There's that.

April 2019



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