alfreda89: (FSM)
So preliminary work was accomplished during the morning. All was quiet on the tiki front. I was alone except for Merlyn, my Burmese nanny cat. A light lunch, back to work....

Cat klaxon sounds! ZOMG!


Checked the spells and other protections, made sure the brave but geriatic cat was barricaded into the bedroom, bolted into the back hallway-- The tikis made it into the sunken livingroom! The little ones crawled off the walls or something, I don't know, I thought that...


We secured the borders.

With the tikis inside.
Tiki Battle! )
Once I am sure what Hurricane Man's wishes are in this matter, I will see the tikis carefully wrapped and boxed until this particular grouping of powers has scattered to other venues. In the meantime, Merlyn still insists on coming out, yelling at the tikis in passing, inspecting the empty tiki hut, and warning me about the water demons.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (USS Enterprise Lightning)

All day rain, steady, misty, driving...

In an apartment in a large Texas city, you never hear the rain unless it's nuts outside.   Complexes have sliding doors, not windows.  Here I can open the windows and hear the rain dripping off the trees, sliding off the roof, overflowing the gutters, hammering the lawn furniture with a queer splat.

It's like a rainy day up by the great lakes.  I can't dwell on it too long, or I will cry.  If I can just figure out how to make a living off the Internet, I will go find a little place up there.  Too far from home.  Sometimes you carry home with you, and sometimes home is a place.  I have always carried home with me, with my cats.  But behind that is a place.  And it's calling me.  Problem is, the odds of making a living up there with my skills are unknown.  So...back to work.

alfreda89: (FSM)
I knew it.

Well, not really--but it's well on its way to being a ghost in a machine somewhere.

It's a PITA to assemble, I had to drive back (a long drive) TWICE to get parts that worked, and the idea that I could take it apart before moving is nuts.  Ikea is not all it's cracked up to be.

At least as far as my aching hands are concerned.
alfreda89: (anime)
Condensed into one living space (house sitting through.)   Mugs found, hot pot missing, Rx really missing, drat it, and found shower curtain clips but not shower curtain.  Lots of school reading over the break for the fourth.

Outtakes from Spiral Path:

Well, this was an entirely new chapter for my book…unless I was ahead of my lessons.

How many unicorns would I deliver?
alfreda89: (cat animated)
I hope that the barn swallows are not trying for another nest of fledglings.  I don't think that the apartment management will allow them to keep that nest.  They raised four this year, that was a great job!

Status: Packing
alfreda89: (We the People)

Well, I spent many hours yesterday doing the first pass on proofing a manuscript for Book View Cafe ebook conversion.  I start reading tonight, confirming what I've done and watching for errors a spellchecker doesn't pick up.  (I was reading one of my favorite indulgences last night, Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews, and the errors jump out at me this time around.  Mostly missing words.  I don't think I would have missed them, but you never know.  No editor can catch everything, it's impossible.  We each have things our eye will correct.)

This am it's been another chapter of Spiral Path, the third Alfreda book.  Of course I don't know if I will keep the same places for chapter breaks, as I have been pruning with vigor, and inserting a couple of tiny but very useful scenes into the novel.  I have a major scene to write, at the end, and a minor but significant change to make closer to the end.  And the last few pages of falling action will change, because I suspect Allie gets to use Shaw's gift after all.  I hope to get this all done this week, but I start a class Thursday with rampant paranoia, and have no idea how much time it will demand.  Plus, unpacking/packing.

Later a client down south.  Maybe a second client, and some work for me.

No, self-employed people have to carve out their own vacation days.  And for me, it's been a long time since I've gotten any.  Memorial Day tends to be just another day, except for remembering those who serve and served.

alfreda89: (Tea -- the universal cure (ask the Docto)
So I am supposed to be answering questions for an interview. I was asked this:

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Ah...totally rocks the Bechdel Test? Examines power as a metaphor?

How does my work differ? (Writers are usually bad at figuring this out for themselves...)
alfreda89: (anime)
Edit on Chapter Four is done. What little I accomplished on the taxes took way too long. Now I have to cook lunch for tomorrow, which got lost in the shuffle, hit shower and try sleep.

Wishing you all sweet dreams...
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
I had the week from hell, ending with a recycling bin trying to eat me. It did not break my nose but I have looked better. I have been leaned upon until I agreed to seek new cover art, in hopes that bowing to modern tropes will cause the series to break out. And I have an artist, I think. I have great people to handle fonts and layout, if they can just get healthy.

I am over-stressed, and may not be making a lot of sense. But this I know:

"I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: to last, as Hemingway says, and get my work done. I want to be an honest man and a good writer,” – James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son.

Or woman, in my case. Here ends an "I" post.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
There's a problem with success too soon. Or success at any time, actually, when you are talking about creative pursuits. Because most creatives occasionally wrestle with The Critics.

Not the critics out on the Internet, or in magazines or even your local artistic circle. The critics in your head. They're the worst, and often the hardest to compartmentalize. They have their uses, when you channel them properly. But if you let them take over the studio? You're in trouble.

Over on John Scalzi's blog Whatever, Paolo Bacigalupi talks about zagging when everyone else expects you to zig--and in so doing recentering yourself as an artist.

(He also mentions his new zombie book for kids. Hey, you silence your critics your way...he let his save the world from zombies.)
alfreda89: (Blankenship Reeds)

I don't think I will sell anymore short works to anyone else--just bring them out through Book View Cafe, where I can control entry of metadata.

Another review for Wings of Morning, the collection of two short stories, one an Alfreda story. And the reviewer was clearly disappointed that it was not a novel.

It says on the blurb that it is a short story chapbook!

Boy, if you can't put (0.5) on the thing, so people get hit between the eyes, you can forget anyone doing something like checking the reviews?

Amazon has changed their layout! At any rate--good stories, short stories, two of them, only one Alfreda--only in paper.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (book view cafe)
They are out there. Some of them are famous, some of them had a first flush of attention--award nominations, great reviews, multi-book contracts. But the publisher, perhaps, did not know how to promote their books to the right readers. Their audience was smaller than the publishing paradigm required to survive.

At any rate, they stopped writing. Is there anything we can do to encourage them to write again?

alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Katy Rose Pink)
Well, it's too late for the library, so must pick up books on Monday. This will keep me working this weekend. More on the nonprofit site I've helped shape, and finished first pass on a short piece I'm editing for a fellow BVCer. Caught a few continuity things and some missing or misplaced quotes, so am doing a Service. Need to brush back through the front before returning--I learned something new about LibreOffice halfway through, so will clean up what I discovered.

In the meantime, my subconscious wants those fans; Costco will be visited soon.

Last night was gloriously cool, which meant I opened up this am until noonish. I could survive summer better if we always hit the upper sixties at night. Hope it's not a problem for local farmers.

Tonight, more editing/web site work/ and if I'm lucky, reading more of Precious Dragon or Night Calls.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
I mean, the business mail EXPLODED. I didn't get nearly enough work done today because of mail.

And how do you people type in your laps? My extensors in my right forearm say too much mouse scroll!
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Aaaannnnnd the nail in the coffin.

Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at Escaping Stockholm

By reader request, I’m posting Judith’s entire Escaping Stockholm essay as one post, too, for ease of linking and perhaps ease of discussion. I shall, however, put it all behind a cut tag straight off, in order to not re-flood the friends’ list. :)

If you wish to break it out and read each section individually, here you go:

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Otherwise, onward!
Because this will fill a page... )

alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Keep going....

Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at Escaping Stockholm: Part 2

Escaping Stockholm: Second in a series of publishing industry essays by author Judith Tarr, about whom the following is all perfectly true:

Judith Tarr hates writing bios of herself. She would rather write historical fantasy or historical novels or epic fantasy or the (rather) odd alternate history, or short stories on just about any subject that catches her fancy.

She has been a World Fantasy Award nominee for her Alexander the Great novel, Lord of the Two Lands, and won the Crawford Award for her Hound and the Falcon trilogy. She also writes as Caitlin Brennan (The Mountain’s Call and sequels) and Kathleen Bryan (The Serpent and the Rose and sequels).

When she is not working on her latest novel or story, she is breeding, raising, and training Lipizzan horses on her farm near Tucson, Arizona. Her horses are Space Aliens, her stallion is a Pooka, and they frequently appear in song, story, blog (she is dancinghorse on livejournal), facebook, and twitter.

Escape from Stockholm: An Epic Publishing Saga
Find Judith Tarr on LiveJournal | on Twitter | & at Book View Cafe

Part One | Part Three

…Bestseller numbers ain’t what they used to be, by a long shot.) But mostly? It’s a sweatshop.

In Stockholm.
Read more... )
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
I'm sharing this mostly without comment, except to say this -- I had Life, Interrupted. Never made it to Judy's heights in income. Not sure I can figure out how to make a living writing fiction even by today's standards. But one thing the following essay is not -- it's not a complaint, or an attempt to make any fan feel guilty or uncomfortable about the boiling cauldron that is currently publishing.

Don't want to know what writers talk about late at night?

Stop right here.

Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at Escaping Stockholm: Part 1

I’ve said this before and will no doubt say it again: one of the coolest things about the intarwebs and growing up to be a writer is having become friends with some of my writing heroes. People I wanted to grow up to be, or whose work touched me, or who I admired the holy living bejeezus out of, or I learned from by reading their books, or all of the above. Usually all of the above.

One of those people is Judith Tarr. She’s a tremendous writer and a splendid person, and if you’d told me ten years ago that I would chat with Judy (see!? I get to call her Judy now, and everything!) on a weekly basis, if you’d said, “and you’ll get worried when she hasn’t posted for several days, especially if the weather’s been bad where she and the fat white ponies live,” if you’d said anything like that I’d have–well, I’d have sat in a corner giggling hysterically and peeking through my fingers and saying, “Really? *Really*?” and then giggling some more.

If you’d told me Judith Tarr would end up writing a three-part blog post about the changes in the publishing industry, inspired by my post on the myth of the rich writer, for my blog, I just wouldn’t have believed it. But she’s done just that, and I’m really ridiculously delighted to present her words to you here over the course of this week.

Escape from Stockholm: An Epic Publishing Saga
Find Judith Tarr on LiveJournal | on Twitter | & at Book View Cafe

So Catie and I have been having this conversation. It started with her post on money, and I finally snapped, after years of keeping politely quiet. I said, “I am horrified at what I see writers of your particular generation having to do in order to pay your bills/satisfy your publishers/keep your careers alive.”
Read more... )

alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (MY BVC mug)
Because some days it's all that keeps you going.

I didn't plan on getting up this early, but the thunder is keeping me awake. There is a massive storm system a few hours west of us, and a small one just in spitting distance. I think I'm hearing the small one.

Sometimes Spidey Senses stink.
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (book cover)
I should add that these are very successful writers. The ones you hear about making a fortune? They are outliers. You will also make more money writing romance, by the way, although you might want to think about self-pub -- new game, new rules. Are you reading Kris Rusch regularly? Why not?

I don't write this fast. I'm trying to learn.

Originally posted by [ profile] suricattus at Boosting the signal, and commentary: C.E. Murphy's "a momentary reality check"
Preface:  I am normally of the "it's none of your business how much I earn, any more than how much you earn is any of my business" mindset.  But... maybe this will help people understand.  Or not.  I don't know.

[ profile] mizkit posted about writerly income at a momentary reality check and I'm reposting here because, well, WHAT SHE'S SAYING.  Never mind Rowling, King, Brown, etc.  Ain't nobody 'cept those very few getting rich at this job.  Damned few of us are earning above the poverty line (Federal standards: $12-15k per household of 1, $23-25k for a family of 3).

Catie and I are on a similar track (well, substitute two needy felines for a kid, and remove the spouse), and we are among the fortunate ones, at this point in time, in that we can say that we make an actual living out of this gig.

Averaging the past five years, I'm making around $45k/year, after my agency's 15% commission but before taxes.  After-taxes would make you cry, no lie. Freelancer taxes are hell.  I write more slowly than Catie does, which means I have fewer opportunities to sell, but I have my editorial sideline (5-10k of that pre-tax 45) which is why I can (almost) afford to live in NYC.*

(EtA: I also have multiple streams of writing income, between NYC, BookViewCafe, and direct-to-market)

As a point of comparison, the median family income in 2011 (most recent official numbers) was $61,455.   There are benefits to this gig, but a fat paycheck is rarely one of them.

Keep in mind that writers (all freelancers) are not eligible for unemployment insurance if we lose our job, and every year that's a very real risk.  So every year you're also (hopefully, ideally) squirreling away for the inevitable Really Bad Year(s).  As they say in the financials, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Read more... )
alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (MY BVC mug)
Thinking serious thoughts about the Snoopy Happy Dance right about now. There is the Snoopy Dance Part One, the Dance Part Two, and the Dance Part Three. Then, the Dance Event.

This is SDPO.

No, you don't get to know anything until Part Two.

No, this is not Alfreda news.

No, this is not a full time job.


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