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Liz A. Vogel
24 June 2016 @ 04:37 pm
4th Street was this past weekend. And I am almost recovered enough to string two sentences together.

It was a terrific con, probably the best one since the first year I went. Pretty much had non-stop good conversations from the moment I walked in until I finally pried myself away from the last few goodbyes. Got very little sleep and definitely over-caffeinated, and I'm not the least little bit sorry. ;-)

I made an effort to pace myself before the event so as not to arrive already exhausted before it even started, despite the overwhelming pressure of the to-do list. Those who know me will appreciate how dubious was my success when I say that I managed to leave without putting maps in the car. Luckily I had my own written directions, and I could probably do the route from memory by now anyway.

Had a great time reconnecting with the Intermediate Writers crowd, even though we didn't officially have a gathering. (Which was only because no one stepped up to coordinate one; guess what I'll probably be doing next year?) And with the consuite crowd, and the smokers' lounge crowd, and assorted other cool people.

The seminar was interesting and well-run, though most of what I came out of it with was the conclusion that I just don't learn well in a seminar format. (And that my process is non-standard and weird, but I knew that going in.) I also came out with what I thought was a good way to ask for help on something I've been struggling with, but I tried it out on two very different groups and it failed utterly, so I guess not. It did kick off some good discussions, though.

My 4th Street tradition continues of there being one or two panels that I don't think I'll be that interested in that turn out to be utterly fascinating, and one or two that I think are going to be right in my wheelhouse that leave me cold. This year, the example of the first was "Large-Scale Structures and Series Planning"; I'm not a big series writer and usually veer away from long tightly-connected series as a reader, but a lot of the stuff about planning and consistency and leaving tools (and toys) for yourself for later was not only really interesting but actually something I could connect to my own work. And the panel on "Writing As A Light Trance State" was deeply intriguing, though I still don't think I came away with an understanding of the difference between trance and just concentrating on what you're doing.

Unfortunately, "The Tropes of Emotion" was one of the latter category, mostly because they did a lot of high-level meta discussion and very little granular, boots-on-the-ground how-to. Which is a pity, because I'm working hard on a bit of how-to in the current revision pass, and I'd have liked some pointers. The other one that left me cold was the That's a Different Panel, which this year ended up being "Clues And Signaling" -- basically, how do we tell readers things -- the very topic I most hoped they'd choose. It would probably have done more for me if they hadn't spent half the panel going on about paratext -- because I am functionally blind to paratext. (No, really. One of the books they cited was one that I read fairly recently and remember well, and they went on and on about the ways paratext was used, and I have no idea what they were talking about.) And what wasn't about paratext was again high-level and meta, not practical and how-to.

(I've realized that when it comes to writing stuff, I do not learn well from getting the big-picture view and trying to apply it to specific usages; I'm much better off with using a specific example in my own work, and reasoning from that to the general principle. I'm not sure if that's how I learn non-writing things as well, or not; I'd need a specific example to consider. Which may answer the question right there. ;-) )

The cookies went over well once again. The dinosaurs were even more popular than I expected (I suspect it was the glitter), and the "writer's toolbox" joke went over well. (Oddly, it seemed nobody wanted to eat the hammers; they were always the last to go. Don't know why.) For future reference: I made 4 batches of dough, but only ended up decorating about 3 batches worth. 3 batches was plenty, enough to stock Friday evening, Saturday mid-day, and Saturday evening, and still have a few left by Sunday. Next time, figure on making ~18 of each shape; that's enough to cover breakage and a few to share pre-con, and still have a dozen+ for the consuite. Which actually is enough, if you're making enough shapes to use up 3 batches of dough.

Drive there was good; the threatened thunderstorms didn't materialize, and I actually took breaks when I was getting dozey, and pulled over for the night when I was tired but not exhausted. Only trouble was that there still isn't a sign for a Caribou/Starbucks/etc. for about three hours past the point where I need one, so I once again arrived at my traditional gas-and-lunch stop rather desperate for coffee. But still overall a nice trip.

The car turned 200,000 on the way, which was cool.

Drive home was much the same; I turned the need to stall for a while to avoid Madison rush hour into a nice long lunch break, and pulled over for a walk and cold beverages when it seemed like a good idea but not yet a dire necessity. Got home around 2am, tired but still functional.

The cats were happy to see me. :-)

And now it's time to get back to normal, although I'm hoping to reboot "normal" to a slightly more satisfactory version. One that involves more sleep, writing, and exercise, and less unrelenting to-do list.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/153472.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: tiredtired, but happy
Current Music: Peter Gabriel, "Come Talk To Me"
Liz A. Vogel
01 June 2016 @ 04:48 pm
Had a very good con this past weekend. We did the commuting-from-home thing again, which in addition to saving money once again encouraged us to get out there and try more things that we otherwise might have skipped in favor of flaking in the hotel room. Went to quite a few decent panels (and the inevitable couple that required an urgent text message partway through), had several good meals with good company, and some kind soul gave me digital copies of a show I've been trying off and on for twenty years to see. (Which was cognitively dissonating; cloning tapes used to be a big part of the con back in The Olde Dayes, so my earliest fannish conditioning collided with the modernity of getting an entire series on a piece of technology so small I could lose it if I sneezed.) Also stayed up far too late two nights in a row playing Cards Against Humanity with the kind of sick and twisted people you want to play Cards Against Humanity with. ;-)

Having wisely taken Tuesday off for recovery purposes, we had a lovely day vegging out yesterday. The housemate is back dealing with the real world today, and I am back scrambling madly to get ready for the next con I'm going to, only a couple weeks away. But at least we're both doing it with a decent bit of sleep under our belts.

There were some minor issues, most notably that the panel organizers seemed to have utilized a random number generator in assigning panelists. (And they wonder why more people don't volunteer/offer suggestions.) However, everybody rolled with it and managed to have a good time anyway.

Looking forward to next year.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/153104.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

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Current Mood: contentcontent
Current Music: Fountains of Wayne, "Better Things"
Liz A. Vogel
18 May 2016 @ 03:47 pm
"If everything reminds us of our past burdens, then we lose the future, no? All this victimization makes us beggars."
    - Elvira Meliksetyan, Armenian women's rights activist, as quoted in National Geographic April 2016

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/153069.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Current Music: Talking Heads, "Sax and Violins"
Liz A. Vogel
06 May 2016 @ 04:25 pm
old-mission stories: 65
original short fiction*: 2976
Total new words in April: 3041

*which includes 555 words of the Cinderella-crossed-with-Snow-White-only-not-really novel that I'm not supposed to be working on yet. But when a beginning hands itself to you, you don't argue.

All of which makes it look like the writing's coming a bit easier lately, and it is. Still not up to the productivity or ease I'd prefer, but: I've started a new story (A-to-Z) that I've given myself permission to just have fun with, rather than struggling with the "railroad" story that I was beginning to hate; the fairytale princess opening rather demanded to be written (always nice when that happens); and I got something that feels like a functional beginning to "Adrian Blissfield and the Night Train to Munich" while on the train back from DC. (Now if I can just work on that one without having to travel to another state!)

short stories submitted: 3

No querying done; email's still in limbo, and so's the final-I-hope HoM revision. (Which was supposed to be done in March. Housemate has agreed that we tackle that next weekend at the absolute latest.)

May's goals:

- get HoM finished

- move the email search along. Yes, it's tedious, but it's not that bad.

- sub more. Even if it means getting some new stories brushed up and put into rotation.

Yeah, none of that's writing. But until I get some of that taken care of, I'm too much in limbo to really dig into anything major. Which is why it needs to get taken care of, now.

I'll keep plinking away, of course.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/152807.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: Midnight Oil, "Been Away Too Long"
Liz A. Vogel
27 April 2016 @ 06:34 pm
...Aaaand no sooner do I settle in after posting that, than I have to go jot down the 500-odd word beginning to a new novel. Beginnings have been murder for me lately, but this one came smooth and relatively easy like beginnings should. I can't prove it was due to the run, but I doubt it was just coincidence.

It's not the beginning of anything I'm supposed to be working on, of course, but I'll take it. ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/152502.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated
Current Music: the clickety-clack of keys
Liz A. Vogel
27 April 2016 @ 03:44 pm
Went for my first run of the season today. Well, jog. Well, kind of a bouncy shuffle. But I managed to kick off at the equivalent of Week 5 of Couch-to-5K, which ain't bad for having been off half a year. Bright sun, fresh air, and a body that if it's mostly still knots managed to get out and move fairly well -- I'll take it.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/152079.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: Lord Huron, "Ends of the Earth"
Liz A. Vogel
Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Blueberries (72%)

Where Bought: Foods For Living

Endangered Species is one of my favorite brands. Aside from the 10% donation to ecological causes, it's really good chocolate, and they have a lot of flavors and combinations that are right up my taste buds' alley.

Aroma: lovely strong hit of chocolate

Texture is firm, satisfying to dig your teeth into but not hard. Breaks with moderate pressure without being brittle or crumbly.

Good strong chocolate flavor, dark but not bitter, intense and just the right amount of sweet. The blueberries are a nice tart zing, neither overwhelming nor overwhelmed.

Overall: Mmmmmm. Heck yeah, would buy again.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/151932.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Foo Fighters, "Live-in Skin"
Liz A. Vogel
10 April 2016 @ 04:07 pm
So much for posting more often. ;-P

original short fiction: 2222
Total new words in March: 2222

Yeah, all right. Better than I feared, worse than I hoped, and I need to get my act in gear. (Not least because if the writing brain doesn't get exercised via writing, it takes it out in anxiety dreams. The last couple nights were doozies.)

What I hadn't realized is that I didn't submit anything in March. Bad writer. That flurry of stuff I sent out in February had mostly come back, so it's not like I didn't have inventory.

Made some progress with investigating new email services. Hushmail would be a contender except for the lack of spell-check; Inbox looks promising, but there's a couple things I can't check without a test account to play with. Must get my act in gear on that one!

April goals: Get the bloody Highway of Mirrors revision put to bed (still waiting on beta reader). Get email back to functionality. Get at least one story out, to the nice people who told me to send them something else if I had it. And get enough writing done that I can at least sleep at night.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/151620.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: busyoverloaded
Liz A. Vogel
15 March 2016 @ 03:40 pm
Yesterday was sushi and pie (Pie Day!) and a large mocha, all of which fire up the writing brain. Instead I went to bed, and my brain used all that fuel for the kind of dreams that leave me feeling like I was running a marathon all night. Which frequently happens when I haven't been writing enough; this was just dialed to eleven.

Now I'm sitting down to write, and the same brain that wouldn't stop spinning scenarios all night is lying there like a lump. I have this one short story left from the batch I want to complete before going back to the Mars novel. It was a good idea when I first thought of it; it's probably still a good idea, somewhere under this massive layer of "eh". And I have all the engagement of road-kill.

I want another mocha. This is probably not a good idea, but it may come to that.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/151405.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: sleepydozy
Current Music: Genesis, "Robbery, Assault, and Battery"
Liz A. Vogel
My library's search function always offers a "Did you mean..." even if it finds what you asked for. I don't know who programmed the thing, but it clearly has no filters for names or anything that might be relevant for a library search. Its latest, however... no, search, when I asked for Larry Niven's Ringworld, I did not mean "larry naive ringworm".

...I think perhaps I will not write a children's book called Larry the Naive Ringworm.

This entry was originally posted at http://lizvogel.dreamwidth.org/151207.html because I got tired of dealing with whatever LiveJournal had broken this time. Comment whereever.

Current Mood: sillysilly
Current Music: Bamboos, "Medicine Man"