Archive | June, 2016

I always seem to fail these reading challenges

29 Jun

The personal “I want to read an X author every month” bit, not the “I want to read 50 books in a year”. To be honest though, I haven’t gotten much reading done over the month. Not for lack of wanting, just lack of time. That, and I’m stubborn about the kobo getting fixed. Taking it in costs me about $180, and I can get a new one for around $130. But cheapskate over here took it apart and is waiting for her father to get back to use his soldering gun, as I’m way over the warranty and at this point we might as well keep it around for spare parts, but it looks like an easy fix. I just haven’t done any soldering in years, and dad is back in like two days, so it’s just best to wait for him. (Even though he was the one who said he would fix it, after a month he admitted to being too busy and to take it in).

So anyway – two days left of the month, and it seems unlikely that I’ll binge-read Anne of Avonlea or something on account that this is my only day off in a stretch of 8 days. Normally I can get some reading done at work, but this last month prior to this tour (previous 5 days) had been busier than usual. I know I always allude that I’m busy, but there’s a difference between “I worked 48 hours this week, and I did 3 calls (less than one call a day)” vs “I worked 36 hours this week and never saw the station” this last week has been a welcome break even though I’m at the station for what amounts to 72 hours in a 7 day stretch. Yes, I work too much but I’m not the only one pulling double time to keep the ambulances in service.

This morning marked the end of my position as a 0.5 with The Broad Squad, an unlikely collection of all female EMS workers, as I accepted two positions (0.5×2 but still considered Part Time – I know; it’s really a 1.0 but the position is split, I just occupy themĀ until I get another position or resign from one or both) in a different rotation, and I think change. Is. Good. Not only do I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone, I also helped my partner occupy my 0.5 so she can spend more time raising her kids. My family complains about shift work; lots of the women at my station like the part-time system so that they can make work around their young families. I don’t consider Dodger to be my baby, and I work more than full time hours, so it made no sense to stay where I was (my position is a float so I will be bounced around a bit; not so great if you need to be home by X time to relieve your spouse).

But I doubt you’re reading this to learn about my work. I’m getting ready for When Words Collide, and in addition to flogging more of the same from last year, I’ll have a few more manuscripts that are primed and ready, my first adult gothic steampunk/horror novel and my first ‘finished’ middle grade. The middle grade was technically doneĀ  last summer, but it took me a good few months to get it refined to the point I was willing to start sending it out in the winter. So far it’s been more negative than I’m used to, but I’m still new to the middle grade. YA, eeeeh, same old same old. Middle Grade just seems notoriously hard to break into. I had a lot of fun writing it though, so I’m not terribly upset.

As for where I am writing-wise, well, I need to get some stuff edited and printed out. I signed up for Blue Pencil/Pitch Sessions as WWC. Still waiting to hear back from one editor from last year. I didn’t sign up to present this year, as I really have nothing new and I’m too busy working on my own stuff and trying to find a home for it.

I took an Ebook course back in April, and I have been goofing around with it, and getting consistently better. So I started to write some product for the ebook related stuff, but I’m not-committed to anything right now as R.J. Hore is busy editing for his summer releases, and we have no swap day in sight. So I work 3k one day on a short story, and the next day I work on a novella. Then the next day I edit the gothic steampunk. Then I work on a sequel that I’ve sort of been picking away at, like 10k a year for the past four years (they do happen – it’s not that I’m not committed it’s that I have zero interest in the project publishing-wise so while it’s fun for me, it’s also silly to spend a lot of time working on something I can’t even send out when it’s done).

So basically, I’m just enjoying the creative process. I’ve heard the “write the scenes you want to write as you want to write them” as ‘eat dessert first’ (Which I want to attribute to Joss Whedon, but I could be wrong) which seems disorganized and like I’m only doing the tra-la-la fun part of writing. But the way I see it, is that if I’m not enjoying the creative process instead of me being an insidious complainer while I edit, I don’t make enough money to depend on it and like heck I’m influencing anyone, so I might as well get my kicks where I can.

Will this start to change? Yes – when I got laid off 7(?…!) years ago and needed to get my various licenses and different things to get my paramedic license like a class four driver’s license and airbrakes, I made the habit of coming up with daily checklists, and the habit kind of stuck. In addition to a master list for where things go, what publishers are like, I have a list of progress. Not marked by a date, so much as “Where are you in the process” so I don’t redo work, and remind myself to get things done. Diddling along in five random things is fun, but if nothing gets checked off, I feel like I’m wasting time, even if it is good for creativity. I’m less scatterbrained when Ron is editing, as he’s bound to get one project at a time, so hopefully I’ll learn to focus and finish up each project bit by bit, but the odds of any of them being ready for Mid August? Slim to none.

Guess I should stop procrastinating and tidy up my room. It’s apparently a bumper crop for strawberries this year. Saskatoons are ready as well, and my smoothie supplies aren’t going to stock themselves.

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May’s Canadian Authors

3 Jun

Sorry I’m a few days late but to be fair, I picked up on Tuesday, and what I assumed would be me given like an hour to blog was me not seeing the station until 9pm, following me realizing that I left my keys back in Portage Station from when we were there earlier. Thankfully, I’m on good speaking terms with my supervisor and he buzzed them to me rather quickly – I didn’t have dinner until about 1030 and I’ve worked the last two days, which were ironically less busy but I still hadn’t had much of a chance to finish my con-ed, let along blog. But the year’s minimum online education is done, so now I’m less guilty about doing this.

So I really should have finished “Blaze” by Kristal D. Ball – my Kobo USB port isn’t working properly – so my dad is going to try to fix it. I think I’ll wait another pay period and probably get another kobo. It’s not the end of the world, but I had about ten ebooks on there I was kinda excited for. Fortunately, the Beta bailed me out, and he gave me two paperbooks, so I read one (finished it June, but… you know…) and it’s Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe
Tesseracts 19 is honestly a weird place to introduce anyone to the Tesseracts Anthologies. Don’t get me wrong, I’m of that unpleasable fanbase (I find shorts too short! The novella collection only had a handful of novellas!) and since the genre of science fiction and fantasy is extremely inclusive when you get into realms like slipstream, paranormal thriller, alternate history, it makes a lot of sense to have a theme instead of one guy writing a psychological headgame and another doing a sword and sorcery rom com.
And I got nothing against Super Heroes. I feel at home at Comic Con because I grew up around pulp fiction and my dad’s old comics (and what was freely available as a kid) as opposed to the more literary festivals, because I guess you go in (despite having a small portfolio of completed books by the age of 20) and it’s kind of funny watching people who don’t do the genre assume they know it and it’s all scum, you’re scum, and if you defy expectations aren’t we an educated little bitch?. Well, it’s funny now – seriously people, I don’t know why some of you like to knock people down, not everyone who signs up for little league has aspirations of playing for the Blue Jays – and I say props to the balls for the editors for picking something that has been treated more seriously in the movie industry lately but is probably poo-poo’d as mainstream. And if you read my star rating, know it’s not that it was an ‘it’s only okay’ thing – I thought the anthology was a lot of fun.
Super Heroes aren’t exactly my thing and I’d be fibbing if I said they were. I can catch the references (and I am taken to the movies… first world problems, right?) but a lot of anthologies I read and I read introductions about someone’s absolute adoration of Lovecraft or Dr. Challenger, and I’m all like, “…I’ve read more than fifty books a year for about the last ten years. WHY DON’T I KNOW EVERYTHING BY NOW?” before probably going to study lung anatomy.
Honestly, I generally enjoy the Tesseracts anthologies, and you can go back and try one from a previous year if this year’s theme doesn’t appeal to you. It’s basically full of Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy, plus it’s a good way to get exposure to different writers from all over the country.