Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Month: July 2009

Fandom Links for 7.28.09

(Originally posted to Daydream Believer)

Wow, would you look at that date? July is almost done for already. It was kind of a long month for me, so it didn’t fly by quite as fast as all the others have, but it still flew. Next time I blink Husband will be back in class and my TV shows will be back on and it’ll be time for ‘WriMo, and I’m already starting to think about Christmas knitting projects.

So what does all of that have to do with today’s links? Dear reader, I am here to tell you: not a blessed thing. I will stop rambling about the obvious now and get to them. These are all videos, but I’ll be kind to your bandwidth and only post the links:

First up is Participate: The Revolution of Fan Culture, a short documentary that features a certain ginger-haired geek demigod who has absolutely nothing at all to do with any of the links below. I’m watching it now, and it’s nothing new, really, but it’s still fascinating. And I’m wondering now how many participants in fan culture, especially the more obsessive ones, skew toward the Autistic spectrum. I wish I made that connection back when it was time to do my senior psych-soc thesis.

If the above only whetted your appetite for more of Teh Whedon, you can go watch the Comic-Con Dollhouse panel.

And if that only whetted your appetite for more Franz Kranz (Topher!), you can go watch him in this hee-larious trailer for his upcoming web series, Megabot, which takes a look at a Power Rangers-like group ten years later, when they’re still stuck wearing their colored spandex and driving a giant robot, even though they kind of hate it and each other. NSFW without headphones.

AND if your main reaction to the DH panel was “Where’s Miracle Laurie (November-Mellie!)?!” you can go watch her and James C. Leary (Clem!) in their trailer for another upcoming web series, a musical comedy about cab drivers in space, The Cabonauts. A little more SFW …but I’d still wear headphones.

This Old Haunt update

For anyone who might be interested, Episode 4 of This Old Haunt is up.

Bully Bait: An Explanation

(Originally posted at Daydream Believer)

I’ve been wanting to write here about my childhood. I had a rough time of it growing up. Not as rough as some, but definitely rougher than a lot of people I know. My home life was dysfunctional, I was picked on relentlessly at school, and I had undiagnosed, barely even heard of at the time, learning and social adjustment disorders that guaranteed I would fit in wherever I went about as well as a tattoo and piercing enthusiast at a Church Ladies’ Sunday Social. So yeah, I have some pent up sob stories.

The thing is, I don’t want to tell sob stories. I want to be frank and honest, in a “names changed to protect the hopefully grown-up enough by now to know better” kind of way, but I want to approach it all with a sense of humor. Because I do have a sense of humor about the whole thing, most of the time. Some of it was too horrible to laugh at, but those parts are probably too private to share here anyway. But most of it, I can joke about. I’ve put off writing about it because I’m not sure how to joke about it in writing without turning it into one big joke, and I don’t want to do that. I’m also wondering how much embellishment for humor’s sake I’m willing to do. I want to do it in an entertaining way that’s funny and relatable and also real.

I’ve also put it off because I’ve been examining why I want to write about it. I’m not interested in getting back at anybody, hence the plan to change names and certain details. Part of it is therapy. I’ve made some pretty great strides in being able to forgive a lot of people, but I’m having trouble with the forgetting part, and on certain days, when I’m in a certain mood, I have a tendency to brood on this stuff, and it can get me really down. I think–hope–that maybe putting it all out here will help me let it go and stop thinking about it.

Another reason–a big reason–is that I want these essays to say, “Hey, look! I’m okay! I lived through some awful stuff, but it’s okay, and I’m relatively happy, and if you’ve gone through it, or you’re going through it, you can be okay, too. If your kids are going through this stuff, they can be okay, too.” I want parents of disordered kids to know that those kids can go through life without being drugged into conformity and those kids can still grow up to be healthy, productive adults. I want parents of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders to know that their kids can eventually learn to do a passable-enough impression of normal to get by in the workplace and even get them invited to parties and out on dates. I want any teens or tweens reading this to know that not only is there life beyond high school, but that, for the most part, it gets so much better. I want twenty-somethings struggling to keep up with their peers to know that it’s okay to cut themselves some slack and stop trying to plan their lives according to other peoples’ schedules.

I want to give all of these people a big hug. Barring that, I want to be able to share a laugh with them, and help them learn to laugh at themselves.

Also, I just really want to practice memoir and comedic writing.

So that’s going to be an occasional column here, starting this week (schedule permitting). I had kicked around the idea of doing a separate, anonymous blog on the topic, but seeing as how maintaining one blog with any regularity is proving a major challenge right now, that didn’t seem like one of my brighter ideas. Plus, for me, the anonymity felt like a cop-out, and I wondered if anybody would believe I wasn’t making it all up. An occasional column here seemed like a good compromise. So for now, that’s the plan.

****

Writing and Creativity Links for 7.27.2009

Some of these tabs have been open in my browser for more than a week. Time to put them to rest.

Footsteps To a Novel – A great breakdown from author Margaret McGaffey Fisk on how to get started turning your basic idea into a full-blown novel. Even after I’ve written a few, I still found this helpful as I start thinking about what I want to do for NaNoWriMo this year.

From there I found Fisk’s list of writing tools, which includes useful things like a scene plotting spreadsheet and several different word count trackers.

The list also included a link to Holly Lisle’s Index Card Plotting Method, which I have a feeling is going to change my writing life once I get around to trying it out for myself.

Not strictly related to writing, but to creativity in general, Tyler Durden’s 8 Rules for Innovation is the article that inspired me to stop putting off the “Bully Bait” column I wrote about in the previous post (I’ve been kicking that idea around for almost a year now), make like a Nike spokesperson, and Just Do It. It’s inspiring me to Just Do a lot of things, actually. Here’s hoping that inspiration doesn’t wane.

In which I bring you links, to TOH Audio and other nifty things.

So far, nobody seems to have any work for me today, which is actually good timing, since I’ve got to run some eBay and Buick-related errands this afternoon before we head out for an evening with Husband’s mom and step-dad. Also, I have a headache, so I wouldn’t be giving anybody my best work this morning.

But I took advantage of the rare slow weekday morning to catch up on the 157 blog posts that were queued up in my Google Reader, do some job hunting, and finish editing the audio for Ep. 2 of This Old Haunt, which is posted here.

And now, some links:

Mur Lafferty posted this link to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors, which I have not yet read, but which I will, and when I do I hope (expect) to be inspired (shamed) into being a more effective author.

Unrelated to that, I think I have a burgeoning girl-crush on Maurissa Tancharoen, a.k.a. “Captain Hammer Groupie #1,” a.k.a. Joss Whedon’s sister-in-law, a.k.a. DOLLHOUSE and DR. HORRIBLE writer. Exhibit A: She’s hella funny (warning: contains language).

Exhibit B: She sings purdy. Right now I’m listening to this mp3 of “Remains”, a song she and her husband Jed Whedon co-wrote for the unaired Dollhouse episode “Epitaph One.”

And speaking of “Epitaph One,” it has inevitably leaked into the intertubes, and some Googling led me to an ad-heavy but still watchable Youtube version here, which I’m going to watch right after I post this. Which would be… right now.

Lately, in a random fashion (7.20.09)

First things first: I just posted a new episode of This Old Haunt, and along with it, a question: do you listen to/care about listening to the audio? Because I’m way behind on audio edits, and also still feeling pretty awkward about them, and if nobody cares, that’s actually quite a load off. Of course, if you do care, that’s lovely to hear, too.

I just read all the latest casting news for Game of Thrones, and I can barely contain my fangirlish squee. I do I do I DO hope that we’re in a position to afford cable and HBO when this show finally hits the airwaves.

The July Money Panic is well and truly over. We sold our old Buick for a respectable price, and I made enough on eBay on top of that to cover all of the gaps for this month. And the August Money Panic is being staved off by our remembering that, if worse comes to worst, we can always cash in my 401K. I hate to lose so much of that to taxes, not to mention lose our only retirement savings, and hopefully we won’t have to. Client referrals are coming in left and right, and I’m sure there’s more stuff around here that I can put up for auction. But it makes me feel 100% better to know that it’s there if we need it, and we won’t have to get behind on our mortgage, or any of the other bills.

I saw Wicked on Saturday (bought the tickets over a year ago, when I was still gainfully employed), and was smitten in a way I haven’t been smitten by a musical in a long time, so that was nice. This morning I lost over an hour to Youtube clips of and related to the show, including this one of Adam Lambert as Fiero, and this old favorite Firefly-Serenity/”Defying Gravity” mashup that still makes me cry. I’ve watched it so many times since it was first posted a year or two ago, in fact, that when I teared up during that song at Saturday’s performance, I wasn’t sure whether I was crying for Elphaba or my old show. A little of both, probably.

No spoilers, but I will just say that the show ends much more happily than the book does. And I like the show better, which probably surprises no one.

I had a full-blown night terror early this morning. Hadn’t had one of those in a long time, probably because my husband usually shakes me awake at the sound of my first whimper. He was having a bout of insomnia and wasn’t in bed when it struck this morning, and only came to check on me after I woke myself up with my own screaming. I was convinced that someone was coming in through our bedroom window, and they had hold of my ankle so I couldn’t move to warn him or get to our gun, and I kept calling out for him but he didn’t hear me. Except I guess he did, because AFTER I woke up, shook it off and went happily back to sleep, he woke me up to ask if I was okay. Heh.

Tomorrow night, we’re going over to my in-laws’ for dinner and a movie. They’re ordering Chinese. I cannot wait. I don’t have nearly enough Chinese food in my life these days.

Oh! I also watched all of Harper’s Island on Netflix over the weekend. Anybody else here get into that show? I was totally hooked, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. And I’m sure mainlining that 13-hour long slasher movie over three days had nothing at all to do with my night terror.

I still have plans for this blog that go beyond posting random life updates, but I still haven’t figured out how to balance my personal projects with my paying projects. I keep thinking/hoping that if I hang in there, balance will come. Right now I’m all about building the business and bending over backwards to make my clients happy so they’ll keep being my clients and tell all of their friends and colleagues about me, and so far, that part seems to be working. I hope that we’ll reach a point where they trust me and I’m comfortable enough in my role to devote an hour or two to my own writing and blogging projects without fearing that they’ll feel neglected and take their business elsewhere, and ten to fourteen hour workdays won’t always be the norm. I just need to hang in there. When that day comes, the material here will get more interesting. And the broken background will get fixed, too. Until then… well, random life blather is what blogging was built on, isn’t it?

And now I shall seize this opportunity to go to bed at a decent hour for a change. Good night, moon.

This Old Haunt Update

It’s a bit early, but I just posted Episode Two of This Old Haunt (sans audio, I’m afraid). And that’s one less thing I have to put on Monday’s intimidatingly long To Do list.

Lately, 7.11.09

Things are getting better. Most of the outstanding invoices I was waiting on when the crisis hit have since been taken care of, and I already sold one Opus & Bill ornament at a respectable Buy It Now price to an enthusiastic collector. So the immediate crisis is past. I’m still concerned about making the house payment at the end of the month, but I’m trying very hard to trust in the Lord’s provision and not stress out about it. For one thing, the others are all going to sell, and hopefully toward the end of the auction tomorrow the bidding will heat up. No Craigslisters have offered us a price to beat what the scrap yard offered us for the Buick, but the amount the scrap yard will give us will still help. And I have plenty more collectibles and vintage goodies that I’ll be getting ready to either eBay or post in my Etsy shop tomorrow. I also accidentally made a really cute bracelet the other day (I was trying to make a collar for Boudica, but I didn’t make it long enough), so I’ll be making more of those for the shop.

On the work front, the one regular Task Wrangler client is keeping me busy, and thanks to their referral, I just signed a new client who I think will have plenty for me to do for weeks to come. If I can just rustle up two more steady clients of that caliber, we’ll be in good shape. If I can find four more, we’ll even be, dare I say, comfortable. For now I just need to focus on keeping these two really happy so hopefully they’ll spread the word and bring in more referrals. I also need to find time to write some more articles-for-hire for Demand Studios. Their pay isn’t the greatest, but it’s easy money, or at least it would be if I could stop being such a perfectionist and stop taking several hours to craft a 500 word how-to article.

So I’m a lot more optimistic than I was a week ago. Getting through this month is looking doable. There’s still August to scrape through, but I’ll worry about that when it gets here. One day, one month, one house payment at a time. The hardest part is not being able to take care of things when they go wrong. Our air conditioner, for example, isn’t cooling the house, but I don’t know where we’re gonna get even the $60 to cover the home warranty service call (and as handy as it’s come in, I’m pretty sure renewing the year of home warranty service that came with the house isn’t going to happen). And we need to repair a tire for the car (did I mention that, on the way back from the bank when I went to put in some cash borrowed off of our only active credit card to fix the overdraft mess that started this whole crisis in the first place, I got a flat tire? “When it rains, it pours” is a cliche because it’s true, and that’s why it’s used so often. Sheesh). But those are merely inconveniences, thankfully, and they can wait until funds are flowing a little more freely again.

Thanks to all of you who offered sympathy and encouragement. It helped me keep my perspective.

Looking forward: later today I’ll be posting the audio version of the first episode of This Old Haunt — that is, if the file doesn’t get completely erased after almost two hours of recording and editing just as I’m about to finish it, like it did the other day. The rest of the weekend, despite being tempted to languish in the wilting heat with a book and a tall, cold glass of iced tea, I’ll be getting the next episode, both written and audio, ready to post on Monday, and also getting the above-mentioned items ready for my shop and eBay.

What about you guys? What are you doing to beat the heat and/or the economy?

[Originally posted to Daydream Believer.]

THIS OLD HAUNT is live

Some of you have read it already, but the first, edited episode of my e-novella project is up. You can read it here, and I would be ever so happy if you were to leave a comment there letting me know you dropped by.

, I would especially like to know what you think of the name I ended up giving the agency. 😉

There will be audio joining it later this week.

My finances are a wash. Or, they’re as fracked as Wash. Take your pick, they’re both true.

Remember in my last post, how I said we were good for this month, and then things would get dicey? Yeah. I remember thinking that was how it was. That’s a nice memory.

Here, though, is the reality: thanks to my infuriating combination of a flighty attention span and bad math skills, we’re out of money now. Like, completely. So completely that we were actually a couple hundred dollars in the hole, but my husband the ex-banker convinced the nice customer service rep to refund the overdraft fees, thank you Bank of America (suck it, IBC!). So we’re at nothing, with bills on the way.

Instead of crying about it–okay, after crying about it a lot–I went into action. I stocked and re-opened my Etsy shop, where shipping on all items is free on purchases made between now and next Saturday. I listed all of my Bloom County/Outland/Opus Christmas ornaments on eBay. I have an old Buick for sale. And I set up a new blog for posting my novella, This Old Haunt. And yes, there is a tip jar. Donations are completely optional, and I was careful to make that clear.

Before the critics descend to tell me I should get a job–that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last six months. Broadening my field and lowering my standards haven’t helped. I can’t even find temp or part time work. Business is trickling in on the Virtual Assistant and freelance writing fronts, but paydays from that are small and slow in coming. If we can just make it through July and August, I think we’ll be okay for the rest of the year. But rest assured, I’m working my butt off, and I honestly don’t know what else to do that doesn’t involve illicit surgery and the black market.

I just don’t want to lose my house. I don’t know what we’ll do if it comes to that.

So anyway, if you, dear readers, could take a look at my offerings and see if there’s anything you like well enough to pay for, I will be eternally grateful. I’ll be equally grateful if you help spread the word about This Old Haunt, where the first episode will go live tomorrow.

Thank you. And if you ever need a helping hand, don’t ever hesitate to ask me.

[Originally posted at Daydream Believer.]

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