Joining the current decade

Spent a good chunk of the day with the family at the mall upgrading our phones. Like, to our first ever smartphones. The plan we were on before was phased out so long ago that everyone who was helping us looked at it with disbelief. “Wow.” Also amazed by our old LG flip phones. 

Honestly, I almost got the newer flip phone because it looked So. Much. like a Star Trek communicator. But with the deal they had on an Android phone today, the smartphone was the smarter choice.

And the boy now officially has a phone, the number he’s been using. (Got a new one for husband.) Which of course led to the girl being disgruntled that she didn’t get one. (On the other hand, she got to go to Toys R Us and spend a gift card she had, so she was really happy about that.)

Which means yes, yet again, writing came last. More words than yesterday, though.

Words written today: 372
Words written this month: 13,012
Words written 2017: 53,527
Average words/day 2017: 956
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 4 chapters nonfiction, 1 chapter fiction, and 2 chapters with daughter
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Friday is ready for spring


My kids have been complaining loudly that it’s much too warm for February. Me? I opened up all the windows and was glad that the trees are pollinating the air yet.

Eventually, I wrote.

Words written today: 136
Words written this month: 12,640
Words written 2017: 53,155
Average words/day 2017: 966
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 1 chapter
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

A little focus

Not a lot — I lost my morning to that nap. But I also did a couple marketing-related webinars and wrote. Still a very long list of things on my to-do list, but I’ll take what progress I can get.

Words written today: 1,055
Words written this month: 12,504
Words written 2017: 53,019
Average words/day 2017: 982
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 more chapters of Menagerie with my daughter
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Sleepy now (again). I’ll do my daughter’s Scholastic book order in the morning.

Sleep. Sleep would be good.

The other day, our son was accusing me of being obsessed with sleep. I tried to explain to him that’s only because the last time I had a week wherein I got a full night’s sleep each night was around sixteen years ago. (Go ahead, guess how old he’ll be on his next birthday.) He didn’t seem to think the reason was important.

Anyway, I’ve trapped myself in this loop where I’m up late writing, then I have trouble getting up in the morning, but I have to get the kids off to school, then I’m too awake for a nap, so I try to work but I don’t have any focus until midafternoon when the family’s getting home, and I do paying work or SFWA things, so I don’t write until late and I don’t get as many words as I want …

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll manage a nap so I can regain my focus faster.

Words written today: 206
Words written this month: 11,449
Words written 2017: 51,964
Average words/day 2017: 980
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 more chapters of Menagerie with my daughter
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

With luck, 5-1/2 straight hours of sleep tonight.

Slowly getting back to it

Slow was the operative word today. It took me hours to convince myself to head out to the library (picked up a few of the books I heard about at the con) and then to get groceries. With one thing and another, I didn’t start getting words until after 10 p.m., and I’ve been fighting to keep my eyes open.

Words written today: 1,079
Words written this month: 11,243
Words written 2017: 51,758
Average words/day 2017: 997
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 5 chapters — 2 chapters of Menagerie with my daughter, plus read 3 of book I’m on
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Word count went in the right direction today, anyway. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Long drive, short words

Drove back from the con today. Five states, somewhat under five hours — which still feels bizarre to me as a West Coast native. (The states in question: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.)

After getting home, mostly I decompressed — cleared out some accumulated e-mail, put together the blog post about reading recommendations, did the barest minimum of unpacking. Even squeezed some reading in. Eventually. I wrote a little.

Words written today: 223
Words written this month: 10,164
Words written 2017: 50,679
Average words/day 2017: 994
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 chapters
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Ack! It’s happened — I’m below 1k/day average. Time to get my fingers in gear!

The con is over, long live the con

I started the day by dropping in to a reading (Victoria Sandbrook, who was reading some unpublished short pieces. I can’t wait until they’re published so I can point people to them), then dealt with stuff like getting tea, picking up a $3 pair of earrings in the dealers’ room because they matched my outfit, and checking out of the hotel.

My first panel of the day was small — medical advances, science or science fiction, with Dr. Robert Finegold and David Shaw. That was an interesting panel — very cool images and videos with stories behind them. We talked about the MUSE headband, electrodes and prosthetic control, prosthetics, exosuits, 3D printing, lab-grown grafts, CRISPR, new imaging techniques, antibodies as medicine, side effects, personal genetics … It was a really great panel, I’m glad I was on it, and I hope I get the chance to do it again (but I’ll prepare with notes for next time!).

Then it was off for a spot of lunch and socializing with friends before my second panel — great beach reads for winter, which I moderated. Panelists included William Hayashi, Tui Sutherland, and Susan Jane Bigelow (all of whom are now on my “grab their first books and go from there” list). We discussed comfort reads, rereads, length of reads (Tui said that she’s more likely to take on an epic book like Neal Stephenson or a trilogy (currently, one by Jo Walton) in the winter. We talked about classic SF, cozy mysteries, and Regency romances. One young audience member pointed out that one reason he likes to reread is that the first time through, there’s all this tension, but when you reread, you can just enjoy. One audience member asked for short fiction recommendations (Susan  recommended Long Hidden and Hidden Youth; I suggested two collections, Ken Liu’s Paper Menagerie and Caroline M.Yoachim’s Seven Wonders of a Once and a Future World). I regret not mentioning the Nebula reading list as a great place to discover new favorites. I really enjoyed that panel, and I think it was probably perfect as an introduction to moderating.

All in all, it was an excellent con, and I’m looking forward to next year, when I hope to be on the programming again.

And I wrote this evening!

Words written today: 400
Words written this month: 9,941
Words written 2017: 50,456
Average words/day 2017: 1,009
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 chapters
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Staying with my friend Bonnie tonight, and I’ll drive home tomorrow. (And write, of course.) Tuesday, we will resume our ordinary life of making school lunches, copyediting, grocery shopping, and so forth. Life is good, both the quotidian and the extraordinary.

Saturday night sleepies 

Panel on the perfect teenage hero went well this morning. I’ve been fortunate in having moderators who are good about asking for input from all of the panel members, making sure everyone gets a chance to speak. Perhaps too much so, as I occasionally have nothing to say and feel like I should try anyway.

My reading … the reading itself was good. Need to work on the main character’s voice, as I was told it sounded too girly. My reading actually ran a little short, so I could pick another scene to round it out a bit. The only other issue was not unexpected — only my son and best friend were there. At least it was a friendly audience!

Spent the afternoon attending panels — there were some very funny lines in both the making your own mythology panel and the worldbuilding in urban fantasy panel. I’m afraid I drowsed during the other talk I went to. Also spent a bit of money in the dealer’s room.

Eating was fraught. The bar was packed, but it was still easier to get a seat in than the Irish pub. I think between showing up to look for a table and finally paying (or signing for it to be charged to the room, anyway) and leaving, my son and I were there for more than 2-1/2 hours. For a burger and a wrap.

Anyway, I did eventually sit down and get some words.

Words written today: 408
Words written this month: 9,541
Words written 2017: 50,056
Average words/day 2017: 1,022
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 chapters
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

As you can see, I finally broke 50k. Maybe after I get back home, I can get that average word count trending back up again.

That’s a peregrine?

Drive to Boston went well, although as usual, I’ve gotten too much sun on my face. You’d think I would remember that. Son picked what we listened to in the car — first, the Hamilton soundtrack (downloaded with Amazon Music — I love Prime!), then the first couple short stories in The Legend of Drizzt (from Audible, grabbed when it was a Daily Deal — great voice talent on this).

The Once and Future Teen panel — wonderful group of people on the panel. We talked about agency and vibrancy, how much more extreme things feel for teens, about the value of firsts and how romance isn’t required. I mentioned a book (not by name) that I wanted to throw across the room because of the stupid decision the protagonist made — but how it was in character and totally believable for a teen and how my son thinks I should finish reading the series so he can talk about it with me.

Designing a Game panel — another amazing varied group.value of immersion, designing for fun, how graphics aren’t everything and computing power could be used for more than particle effects. Value of story. Iterative design. Value of being able to pick up a game and start playing without long explanations.

Bumped into a few people I knew, like John Murphy, and chatted more with people I met on panels. Now have the recommendation to watch Something Rotten.

Last event of the evening was Pictionary with the Pros. My team lost, but we had a lot of fun playing. There were interesting things that came up, like how do you convey “union” in a picture?

After getting back to our room, I realized I still needed to write, so I did. Hence the late update. Fortunately, I can sleep in in the morning.

Words written today: 160
Words written this month: 9,133
Words written 2017: 49,648
Average words/day 2017: 1,031
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 chapters
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

As you can see, I didn’t break 50k for the year yet, although I did finally break 9k for the month!

Eve of departure

Crazy busy day. Still doing laundry. Had to stop at the grocery store. Did a Girl Scout cookie booth (well, sat there while my daughter “worked” the booth). Went to a parent-teacher conference. Still poking at this article I’m copyediting. And lost a crown on a tooth, but can’t even call the dentist until Tuesday, as I’m out of town for the next four days. (For the record, in a pinch, denture adhesive or dental cement can be procured at your local drugstore. Not a long-term solution, though.)

Words written today: 307
Words written this month: 8,973
Words written 2017: 49,488
Average words/day 2017: 1,031
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 2 chapters
Books read 2017: 2
Exercise reps: 0

Tomorrow’s goals: drive to Boston, participate in programming, and get past 50,000 words written for the year (that means at least 512).