A cookbook day…

Posted on February 19, 2018 By

I had all these plans, but kid-stuff derailed my brain last night and I barely slept at all. Meaning I let that happen, but it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing I’ll ever stop giving top priority…though, yes, something more effective than lying awake and worrying would be good. Also, teenagers are nuts and have no idea how bad their decisions might turn out to be, for themselves or others. Still gotta love ours, though, for tons of reasons.

Anyway. I did a lot of fiddly-bits for my wife’s cookbook. The cover and interior PDF are waiting for her final approval. Not that that’s especially final. In, you know, reality. Next up? I submit the files for review at Createspace, then I deal with whatever I screwed up, then we order a proof copy, and so forth.

Meanwhile I need to work on keywords and categories for the thing later on this evening. That will take a while, though completing them will mean we’re mere hours from publishing the ebook.

And the ebook is going to be available via Kindle Unlimited, at least at first, so I won’t need to worry about Google Play, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or anybody else. Sweet.

Kind of a good, if underwaterly-brained, day. But not productive in a new-fiction sense at all. Maybe tomorrow. I hope so.

Have fun out there!

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Personal stuff.

Posted on February 16, 2018 By

…that’s what happened today. I did get some edits done on the prequel, which came out better than I’d thought. And I had a few revelations, or at any rate ideas, and wrote them down. But no writing to speak of. Unless we count a nasty-gram to a school administrator. You guys ever notice that bureaucratic folks seem to kind of reflexively cover for each other? Even if their jobs are entirely unrelated, they sort of honor the hierarchy. Is this useful behavior, or simply a carry-over of a bad habit from one arena to another? Beats me.

Anyway. I am lame. I declare it so, and hope to do much better on Monday.

Have fun out there!

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Interlude-ish experiment

Posted on February 15, 2018 By

I’m doing something a little different today–well, that’s actually a lie. Or is it? Either way, what I mean is this: I recorded this blog post yesterday, while waiting to pick up a kid. My plan when I get home in about half an hour (which was a bit past 3 PM yesterday, Central time, from your point of view) is to schedule the post so it goes live.

I’m mostly doing this to give myself an excuse to talk to my recorder while doing nothing that requires a great deal of thought, and partly as a piece of my scheme to familiarize myself with the use of the recorder while it’s strapped around my neck.

That last is a surprisingly significant issue for me. For some reason it seems more intuitive to hold the recorder up to my mouth. Doing it this way, hands-free, currently evokes more unease and distrust than it ought.

Seriously, there’s a mild screaming panic in my brain right now. I can’t see the recorder. I don’t feel it in my hand. I know that other people waiting in line, and walking by the car on the sidewalk, can see that I’m talking to myself. Well…they almost certainly assume I’m talking to some sort of Bluetooth device. Most likely on a phone call, yes? But still…it feels weird to me.

So, you might ask, why not simply hold the recorder in my hand? Well, that’s what I did yesterday. Worked great, actually. Or, well, it was today, but yesterday as of blog-post time.

I don’t want to have to hold it in my hand. I would like to be able to dictate while driving–probably a bad idea, but for some reason the notion of a road trip spent dictating fiction strongly appeals. Maybe on certain highways, away from traffic? Specifically, I’m thinking US 281, north of San Antonio and up through the Texas Hill Country before I need to veer off toward Dallas. If I visit certain friends. Or possibly on Interstate 37, south toward Corpus Christi. Either way, there are long miles with very little to think about.

It’s still probably a bad idea. I do realize this. Might do it anyway.

Also, there was the mishap the other day with my previous voice recorder. I’ll give you one more detail: it involved a portable bathroom. So there’s actual value, which can be expressed in commonly-used currency, in having the recorder hang on a lanyard around my neck. Just saying. And stopping there.

So as I dictate this, I have no idea how the writing will go tomorrow…or earlier today, from your point of view, and don’t you wish I would quit harping on that? I may add that information later on. Or I may not. I mean, hell, at this point the damn recording hasn’t even been transcribed. Who knows what I’ll do with it?

Regardless of that, though? Have fun out there!

And remember: the presence of an electronic device into which a person speaks does not necessarily rule out the possibility that that person is batshit crazy. Food for thought, yes?

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Bombs away!

Posted on February 14, 2018 By

Okay, that title may not make a lot of sense. But, see, I had my phone in “airplane mode” for a few hours, and in three sessions (94 minutes) I dictated the first draft of the prequel story I mentioned a while back. I still plan to make that a mailing-list exclusive, and won’t even do that till the novel is released, but it still feels like progress. I like progress.

That “airplane mode” thing was very cool. Required some notification/cooperation from others, but I felt awfully…free and easy and liberated and flowy…you know? Stuff like that. I had a few thoughts about things I “should” be doing, and jotted down some quick notes, which seemed sufficient in the moment. Then I actually got all those things done pretty quickly, once I was done writing. Go figure.

Also, I had a minor revelation. Maybe you guys know this already? But anyway: airplane mode shuts off radios. But I could re-enable Bluetooth while otherwise remaining in airplane mode, so my folding keyboard and finger mouse would work…but I still couldn’t be bothered with calls, texts, or email. Handy.

In other probably not fascinating news, I actually got some sleep last night. Still felt like I could use some more when I had to get up this morning, but better than it’s been for the last week or so. Probably related to productivity.

Also, I wandered. My “office” today was a park with trails, a table at Panera Bread, and a table at Whataburger. Plus the front seat of my van. Back when I was working on The Secret, I kept going to different places to try to write. They’d generally work for 20-30 minutes, at which point I’d want to move again. Back then I decided that meant trying to write away from home wasn’t really working for me. Now I’m thinking…look, I actually enjoy all the changes of scenery, so why not do it whenever I want? Making a virtue, or at least a convenience, out of my lack of a dedicated writing space at home.

Anyway. It was a good day. I’m typing this now at Whataburger. Leaving soon-ish to pick up a kid from school.

Have fun out there!

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Happy Mardi Gras!

Posted on February 13, 2018 By

Partly for that reason, but mostly because yesterday’s non-surprise was nevertheless extremely irritating and I obsessed over it instead of doing anything overtly (or in any other way) useful…no writing to speak of today. I played with a mind map. And have been up since before 2am, and am sort of vaguely dissatisfied-ish with the day as a whole. But! Mardi Gras!

I miss living in New Orleans. Other places too, but that’s one of my favorites. And the aftermath of the parades: the cleanup phase is a thing that ought to be legendary.

Hmm. If I were writing worth a damn, maybe I’d try to create that legend. Maybe…later.

Have fun out there!

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So, I guess mind mapping?

Posted on February 12, 2018 By

You may have noticed I didn’t post anything over the weekend. Since I’m no longer doing the 4:30am thing, and I have other responsibilities (kids), it doesn’t make sense to me to try to write on non-weekdays…though I did make progress. Sort of.

I’m a bit unhappy about switching to weekdays-only. Also about not saying so in advance. But I didn’t really make that decision till Saturday morning, and it didn’t seem worthwhile to put that (and nothing else) into people’s inboxes. Surprise! I guess.

Anyway, this morning didn’t go perfectly, but I did get in two dictation sessions, for a total of an hour and 49 minutes. Two complete chapters…ish. We’ll see what they look like once I get to transcription.

Also, I went a slightly different route than I’d originally planned. Instead of dictating my just-in-time outline, I went to a coffee shop and made mind maps for the chapters I was about to “write”…seemed to work. Conceptually this ought to be the same as an outline, but for whatever reason it seemed like a good idea. And it worked. So I’ll probably stick to that method for now. Using an app called SimpleMind, by the way, which is good for both Android and Windows. I’d prefer Linux for the desktop, but I didn’t really like the Linux mind-mapping software I played with over the weekend. Well, either I didn’t like it or it didn’t easily move files to and from Android apps. Different answers for different options. But none of that probably matters a whole lot.

Gotta get ready to pick up kids and have their CPS caseworker visit. Ideally this time without suddenly disclosing to the kids a new plan for their future, with no prior warning, no meaningful attempt to find out how they feel about whatever the new plan might be, no questions to us about how to broach the subject (we’re just foster parents, see, so we have no useful relationships with the kids who’ve lived with us for nearly a year and a half…nothing like the once-a-month closeness each caseworker develops, before disappearing from their lives and being replaced by a new caseworker, anyway) and no apparent concern for any consequences to the kids’ ability to feel safe.

Not that that ever happens. Except that it was happening every month for a while there, and if there’s no sudden switch announced today that’ll be the first month without one since July. Not so much of a good thing. But maybe it’s over, for now. Different people involved, sort of anyway, right? So we’ll see how it goes. We’ve, uh…been surprised often enough that further surprises will not surprise. But we’re hoping it doesn’t happen this time. That’s a healthy approach, we figure. Or maybe it’s denial. Or faith? Or maybe we just can’t control what happens, so our expectations are only relevant insofar as they/we help the kids to prepare for, and process, this stuff that gets dumped on them.

So. All we can do is the best we can do. Guess we’ll try that. And, again and again and again, see how it goes.

Have fun out there!

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