babarnett: (puppet angel)

Lately life seems to be happening faster than I can blog about it, which is in many ways a good thing. It’s also probably what Twitter was created for, but unfortunately, Twitter and I don’t quite get each other. We’re like co-workers who can get along perfectly well in the workplace, but in social situations we just sort of stare awkwardly at each other and make lame comments about the weather.

Anyway, the things! I must blog them!

Thing #1) If you haven’t read “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies because you prefer to have someone else read your fiction for you, you’re in luck! The story is now available as a shiny podcast, where it receives a wonderful narration by Tina Connolly. So if you’re in the mood for a lighthearted tale about death, go forth and listen!

Thing #2) Daily Science Fiction has launched a Kickstarter campaign.  Among the rewards being offered are short story critiques by DSF authors like myself and many other awesome people. So if you’re a writer, you have a chance to both support an awesome publication and get feedback from one of the authors they’ve published. If you’re not a writer, there are other rewards available, so check it out! Because DSF? Totally worth it, if you ask me.

Thing #3) If you’re reading this post on my website and notLivejournal (and really, are there more than like five of us even left on LJ at this point?), you may have noticed that things look a bit different. I didn’t plan to spend my entire weekend redesigning my website, but I did. Was I procrastinating? Yes. Should I have been writing instead? Yes. Do I regret it? No, because the whole process inadvertently led to me to The Copenhagen Chansonnier, a medieval music manuscript with awesomely whimsical drawings of things like the lady conversing with a snail dude in my website header. You’re welcome.

Thing #4) Somewhere in all of the craziness that is my schedule, fiction has been accomplished! I’ve finally gotten around to revising some flash pieces that I wrote back in January, right before my spring semester from hell devoured all of my writing time. One of those flash pieces has already sold, one is making the submission rounds, one needs just a bit more tweaking before I send it out, and the fourth one is no longer a flash story—it got expanded into a 3,400-word horror story and has just started wandering around Submission Land looking for work. And it has creepy puppets. With nasty defecation habits. Once again, you’re welcome.

babarnett: (mulder google)

My first semester working toward my masters in library and information science is over, and I feel confident in saying that I totally rocked it. I was pleased to discover that, twelve years after finishing my undergraduate degree, I haven't lost my Nerd-Fu.

On the downside, first semester craziness combined with Ye Olde Day Job seriously cut into my fiction writing time. I did, however, find my fiction writing life creeping into my grad school life in fun little ways.

How do I love Scrivener? Let me count the ways . . .

I bought Scrivener several years ago for novel writing. When putting together a lecture for TNEO one summer, I discovered that Scrivener was also great for collecting and organizing research for that. So when it came time this semester to turns lots of research into a presentation for a group project in my Human Information Behavior class, Scrivener once again became a handy tool. And then came my final paper for that same class. In addition to using Scrivener for organizing my research and turning it into a paper, I discovered that Scrivener had an APA style template. From my undergrad days, I was used to writing papers in MLA format, but the MLIS program requires APA format, which was new to me. Scrivener saved me huge amounts of "how exactly am I supposed to format this again?" time on the APA learning curve.

It's just like a short story, only it's mostly plot with very little setting and character development . . .

At first, I was a little apprehensive when faced with the prospect of writing a 15-page research paper for the first time in over a decade. But then I thought, "Hmm, 15 double-spaced pages in 12 point Times New Roman font with an inch margin all around--that's roughly the equivalent of a 4,600 word short story for which I've done lots of background research. Piece of cake!" On the downside, years of focusing on the style and rhythm of my prose made the paper revision process go a little slower than it might have otherwise. Without the fiction writing experience, I probably wouldn't give a damn about using the same sentence construction twice in a row in a research paper.

This one time, at writing camp . . .

Human Information Behavior, where we studied how people search for and process information in a broad number of contexts, was a fascinating course. Several times I found myself drawing on writing-related experiences as an example of information-seeking behaviors and how library and information science professionals interact with users in their search process. One example was the judgmental you-frighten-me look I got while checking out a book called On Killing for research purposes and how that kind of attitude can dissuade people from using the library. And as an example of the Principle of Least Effort, where someone consults a known resource instead of investing the small bit of extra effort needed to get what they know would be a better quality answer, I mentioned the weird phenomena I sometimes saw of individuals asking very specific research questions in a writing forum where it was unlikely anyone had expertise in the area in question, and then balking at suggestions to consult resources more likely to actually provide an answer to their question.

The geek is strong with this one . . .

My other class this semester was Information Technologies, where we got to learn some basics about web design, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, and other fun stuff. The class seemed like it was a struggle at times for several folks, but I was safely in my geek comfort zone. I already knew how to create a website with HTML going into the class, and I picked up the rest of it pretty easily. Two of our projects involved creating an "information resource" on any topic of our choosing, so I created a site called So You Want to Write Speculative Fiction? And for our final project, we had to create a site using WordPress, so I tested out a redesign of my writing website

And there you have it. Now to check off more items on my winter break to-do list, which includes paying attention to this blog again and rediscovering the fact that I'm a writer.

babarnett: (dr. horrible ahhhh)
Urgh, so much for resurfacing on the blogosphere. Well, I did resurface. I just got sucked right back into the Void Of Too Much Else To Do. I have a feeling that's going to be happening a lot over the next few months.

So the bulleted version of what this writer has been up to:

* I've been encountering far too much lately that has led to forehead slapping and *head desk* moments.

* After much demanding from my brain, I returned to the slow-going revisions on My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel--so of course a short story idea immediately started jumping up and down and waving its arms around and asking for a little love. Stupid brain.

* I began my dive into the critique fest that is TNEO

* I changed the look of my website.

* More details to come, but it looks like my story "Final Report" (from issue 4 of the sadly short-lived Darker Matter) will get some podcast love in the near future.

* The last few months spewed so much crazy all over the place that my attempts at establishing a routine were repeatedly thwarted. That really needs to change. I was determined to get myself onto something resembling a consistent schedule starting today. It's not even noon yet and that plan's already gone to pot.

And on that note, I think hear the unmistakable sucking sound that is the Void Of Too Much Else To Do.
babarnett: (mulder google)
For me, one of the best parts of using website tracking tools is seeing some of the odd keyword searches that have led people to my blog or website.  Some are just entertaining.  Others leave me wondering, "What in Jeebus' name was this person hoping to find?"

My short story "Love Spells" once received a rather snarky rejection that said the story was a few tweaks away from becoming a trashy bodice ripper.  So in a few entries on my blog (I was using Blogger at the time), I referred to the story as "my would-be trashy bodice ripper."  Since then, the most popular keyword search leading to that blog has become, not my name, but "ripped bodice" or variations thereof.  One of my favorite variations is "what is inside a ripped bodice." I mean, really? You have to ask?  Equally entertaining were the keyword searches for "tortured ripped bodices" and "reaped bodice."

Here are some of the other strange and entertaining keyword searches that have led folks to my internet babblings:
  • viking bunnies of doom
  • how do i make my words big?
  • thing guess
  • incoherent sentences exercises
  • screwing barbara stewart
  • death star slug
  • wackiness august 29
  • i am slug
  • musicophilia galactica
  • how to avoid pesky holes
  • castrated husbands

Anyone else have entertaining keyword searches of their own to share?
babarnett: (firefly shiny kaylee)
1) I've got a shiny new look to my website at [Poll #1661746]
*I reserve the right to totally change my mind should my muse, Jim Bob, show up and offer me a better idea. 
babarnett: (ash boomstick)
The Online World
A new year, a new look to my website and LJ. Not something I had been planning to do, but there was this whole Google Page Creator to Google Sites migration that slightly screwed up my site's layout. So instead of simply fixing it, I decided to totally redo the look and change my LJ template while I was at it. Because I could.

The Dream World
My brain seems to have decided that stress-free vacation days can't possibly be normal and has therefore been filling my dreams with as much stress as possible this past week. Like the work-related dream where the theater's artistic director wanted me to make nonsensical changes to a grant proposal she's already ok'd in real life. Then the audition anxiety dream where I can't remember the words to my song even though I just heard someone else sing the damn thing. Then last night's dream about a reading of A Christmas Carol I'm involved with this weekend (The original December date got snowed out. Stupid snow.) in which the reading was moved into a tiny classroom, half the readers didn't show up, the ones who did refused to stand up in front of the audience and use the mics (why we needed mics in a tiny classroom is beyond me), the audience was small and wouldn't stop chattering, I couldn't set up the post-performance reception because someone else was still cleaning up another reception, and when I came back from trying to do that (which I shouldn't have been since I was supposed to be in the reading), the entire audience had left. 

At least there was the amusing part at the beginning of the dream where we asked the audience to sing along with the Peanuts theme. Which was in a church hymnal. And which has no words to sing along with.

The Writing World
Last year's goal: "avoid 2008's slackery and slug-like tendencies, which were no doubt aided by my unemployed bum status." 

We can happily check off the "achieved" column on that one and change my status to "employed bum."

My 2010 goal: finish rewriting this dang novel.

26400 / 118000
(22.37%)

Totally doable.
babarnett: (Default)
Plug
Apparently A Time To ... Volume 3 - The Best of The Lorelei Signal 2008, which includes my short story "Jarra," is now available for purchase.  Now to begin stalking the mailbox for my shiny contributor copy.

Progress
The rewrite of chapter 5 of My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel is finally done, clocking in at 4,000 words.  Man am I glad to be done with the slog that was that chapter.  On to a short story!

Productivity
I finally got fed up with the ads and invested in a paid LJ account, which in turn inspired me to give my LJ a whole new look, which in turn inspired me to go update my website while I was at it.  I started all that fun in the afternoon with the hope of finishing by dinner.  Instead it turned into the afternoon plus many hours after dinner.  But at least it's done now, leaving me all day tomorrow (yay for four-day weekends!) to start a new short story and get in some bicycling and piano practicing.

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December 2013

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