Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday stuff and fluff

Let's see ... the week that was.

I finished the first draft of a 7,000 word short story and did a happy dance in the kitchen, which my kids laughed at. Silly Mom, bopping around the kitchen. If they were older, they probably would have been embarrassed rather than amused. I also did some minor tweaking on another story that is now ready to go for pro-market submissions after I get receive my inevitable no-thanks from Writers of the Future sometime in the coming weeks. (BTW, that's not a reflection on the story, which I think might be my best ever, but a reflection on how my style apparently doesn't push the right buttons with the WotF judges. Yet I keep entering every quarter. Is that the definition of insanity?)

Submissions this week: 1

My body is finally adjusting to the earlier wake-up time required for getting the kids to school. Maybe I'll have energy to go running (OK, OK jogging) in the mornings this week. I haven't done much of anything resembling exercise over the summer, so I'll be starting slow. That woman you see huffing through the neighborhood, looking like she might keel over onto the sidewalk at any second, thus requiring CPR and possibly a call to 911 ... that might be me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to school

This week has been a strange one, but I need to get used to it because it's going to be my new normal. For the first time in 11 years, since my now-stepson came to live with me and my husband (then fiance) full time, there are no children in the house during the school day. Our youngest is in first grade this year, which is her first time in full-day school. That results in a bit of an empty nest. It's a mixed blessing. My days off are now flush with hours and hours in which I can do pretty much whatever I want, but I also miss my kids.

This week, I used that time to finish my current work-in-progress, which came in a little under 7,000 words. The dog and I went for some walks. I caught up on television shows. I've done some reading. Oh, and chores and errands. But the house is too quiet, and I found myself doing my writing at a nearby Starbucks. I remember being single once with all my time as my own, but that was so long ago that I've forgotten how to handle it. It'll come back to me how to use the time soon enough, I'm sure.

 Bits and pieces:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday stuff and fluff

Weekly! Update! Whoo!

The work-in-progress has passed the 5,000-word mark. I'm loving the story and characters, and I'll hit "the end" on the first draft sometime this week or next. My kids are back in school on Monday, which will make my mornings quieter and more conducive for writing. I also hope to get back into running several times a week.

Submissions this week: 2

Favorite writer of the week: Chuck Wendig. His serial The Forever Endeavor is publishing in Fireside Magazine. Friends of mine have recommended his work to me before, and I've never gotten around to reading it. After reading the first part of The Forever Endeavor, I'm going to track down more of his stories. Fantastic style, excellent use of dialogue.

Cool astronomy news: A Japanese astronomer discovered a new nova last week. With a decent pair of binoculars, you too can find it in the night sky and say you've seen a stellar explosion. More information here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fireside Fiction Company

Fireside Magazine has a new name (see above) to go with its relaunch, which officially went live yesterday. I've been a big cheerleader for Fireside, not just because it'll be publishing one of my stories (although that makes me a very happy writer). It's because, as a reader, this is one of the few publications out there, online or in print, in which I enjoy just about every story that gets published. I can't even say that about the Big Three (Asimov's, Analog and Fantasy & Science Fiction). Right now you might be saying to yourself, "But, Jennifer, I didn't contribute to the Kickstarter, so how can I read all this great fiction?" Not to worry. Subscriptions are available, or you can purchase single issues.

In other news: Google Maps will take you inside the TARDIS. Seriously. It locates the Police Telephone Box on a street corner in London, and if you click on the double arrows, you can go inside the bridge. Awesome.

And in personal news, my kids are going to back-to-school night tonight. It's hard to believe the school year starts Monday. My daughter is so excited to start first grade she can hardly stand it, while my son, who is starting fourth grade, is dreading the end of summer vacation.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday stuff and fluff

Happy Saturday, blog readers. This is the second week in a row that I'm doing general updatery stuff on Saturday morning, and maybe I can make a habit out of it.

First, some good news: Fireside Magazine will be going live next week, Wednesday, Aug. 14. My story "Catch a Fallen Star" will be going live in November. Fireside published three issues last year in paper and ebook, and now is revamping the format for online. Every month there will be three or four stories. I've seen the schedule of what's publishing when, and the talent lineup is great.

The writing is going well. I did my 200+ words every day this week except one, and that was because of a horrible, no-good, nausea-inducing headache that reduced me to a sad, huddled figure under my bed covers in a dark room. Can't write when I can't see straight.

Story submissions this week: 2

And now to get on my soapbox for a moment: a bit on the next Doctor on "Doctor Who." I've read from several online commentators this week that the casting of Peter Capaldi is going to drive away a certain segment of the fandom: those who were on board because they like their Doctor young and hot. I watched a video today of a British teenage girl throwing a fit when Capaldi came out on stage for the announcement last week. ("Ugh," she said with a look of disgust.) I'm one of those who's in for the long haul on this show because I like the premise, and I think the quality of the writing and acting is more important than whether the person playing the Doctor will make People magazine's Sexiest Alive list. That being said, I'm going on the record that David Tennant and Matt Smith would be lucky to look as good at 55 as Peter Capaldi does. From what I've seen, he has poise and confidence and, yes, is quite handsome. So give the man a flattering haircut and costume, and let him do his thing. All will be well, Whovians.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What it's like after Launch Pad

One of my fellow Launch Pad workshoppers passed along this comic strip today, and it sums up perfectly what it's like coming back from an intense week of astronomy education. The strip is called "Sphere" comes from

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stephen Colbert does Daft Punk

I was not up all night last night doing anything. Thanks to a horrible, no-good, nausea-inducing headache, I slept for going on 11 hours. But Stephen Colbert was dancing the night away. Seriously, one of the funnier videos I've seen in awhile. Enjoy.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Doctor Who: The new Doctor is in

I started watching "Doctor Who" with Matt Smith's first episode, so the changing of the guard is a new experience for me. Now it's official that Peter Capaldi will succeed Matt Smith. The announcement -- which was made in a broadcast that aired live in Britain, the U.S., Australia and probably elsewhere, too -- was not unexpected. The British bookies had stopped taking bets a few days ago, so sure they were that Capaldi had landed the role.

I'm not really familiar with Capaldi's work. I know from online reports that he guest-starred on the Pompeii episode of "Doctor Who" and had a role in "Torchwood: Children of Earth." I haven't re-watched either of those in years but probably will do so now. He's most well-known for his role as a foul-mouthed spin doctor on "The Thick of It."

He made a good first impression on me in his short interview during the big announcement, and most of the social media reaction has been positive. He looks like the Doctor to me. I've read comments comparing his appearance to an older David Tennant, and also someone who said he looked like he could be Rory's uncle. I've also read comments complaining that Capaldi is too old for the part (he's 55), but I think that casting an older actor is a brilliant move by Steven Moffat. I'm hoping Capaldi brings more maturity to the Doctor. I've enjoyed the bonkers energy that Matt Smith has brought to the show, but I'm excited by the possibility that Number 12 might be more intellectual and perhaps a little darker.

Check out Capaldi in his short BBC video introduction. I love mischief in his expression, the slightly evil grin. There's a hint of danger there. As I read on one blog earlier, there's potential to worry about this Doctor. The writers might not go that route, but they could, and that's cool.

The more I think about it, the more I like this casting. Of course we won't know how well it works until next year, but I'm optimistic that the role of the Doctor is in good hands.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday stuff and fluff

My "Tortoise and the Hare" approach to writing seems to be working. About two weeks ago, I decided to put less pressure on myself to produce big word counts. There are too many other nonwriting things on my plate (and I'm too slow a writer) for me to realistically say I'm going to write several hundred words per day. The general result of making those kinds of goals is that I freeze up and don't write at all. Not good. So when I came back from Launch Pad, I set the goal of 200 words minimum every day -- slow but steady, like the tortoise who eventually wins the race. So far I have hit that goal and then some every day. This past week, my word count was between 1,500 and 2,000.

Submissions this week: 2, one of them out for the first time

In other news, a mixed blessing: I think I've pinpointed the source of the unrelenting nausea I've been experiencing for the past three weeks, and it's dairy products. In the few days since I've cut all dairy from my diet, I've had no stomach issues. However, this is distressing to me. I love milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. But apparently my body is saying "no."

I watched the first half of the first episode of BBC's "Broadchurch" online last night, and I will definitely finish it tonight. I cried watching it. There were actual tears, which never happens for me. I'm looking forward to the official series premiere next week. I'm also looking forward to the reveal tomorrow of the actor or actress who will replace Matt Smith on "Doctor Who," though I am miffed at BBC for how they've handled it. There was to be a "big announcement" on Thursday, and then the announcement was ... that they're going to make an announcement on Sunday. Very lame, BBC.