The SFF 2021 Cantina

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

MaeZe

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Probably doesn't apply to your dreams, Friendly, but here's my decades long experience: Melatonin makes me either have dreams or remember them better; and if you fall asleep with the TV or Radio on your dreams often incorporate what you are hearing into the dream.

And it doesn't even have to be the radio or TV, other noises can do it as well. When I was a kid I had a very vivid dream of walking up a dirt path to a shed with something scratching on the door from inside. I woke up and it was our dog scratching to come in. She always rotated to the last person sleeping to climb in bed with.

You could try one of those nice nature sounds to fall asleep with. Online you can find them that will play all night I think, or they sell devices that will play the sounds all night.
 

E.F.B.

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Apparently, I could have gotten my vaccine sooner than I did (back in April/May), but my doctor's office failed to tell me that they were giving their patients the vax whether you met the official age qualifications that were in place at that time or not. And apparently even if they weren't, I qualified earlier because the BMI chart considers me obese. But nobody told me that, either. (I'm overweight, not obese, but BMI doesn't take into account a person's unique body build when slapping all those impersonal numbers together. When I was a teen, my pediatrician would look at the charts and say, as I already knew, that it would be unhealthy for someone with my body build to try to get as skinny as the chart said a female of my age and height should supposedly be.) At least I was still able to get it sooner than other people my age were allowed to.

Mom's got her medication for her Bell's Palsy treatment. It'll take some time to (hopefully) see results, but last night she did say that her lips didn't feel numb anymore. Progress!

I am currently at the point in my editing where I'm probably 70-80% through my manuscript and have hit that point where I was pantsing and pantsing HARD as I wrote my way blindly toward the ending. Holy moly, was I pantsing. I can tell because there are some super long, rambly bits, some of which I'm shortening and/or moving around, some of which I'm cutting entirely because they really aren't needed, and I think it's going pretty well. Quite frankly, I'm enjoying this as much as drafting. I feel like a sculptor taking my messy lump of clay and making it pretty. :)
 
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Gatteau

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I'm not really sure if I've just got that lasting pandemic funk, or if I developed a little more than the mild social anxiety I already had going on before. I definitely have days now where I just cannot handle the thought of doing anything, where just the thought of going to the grocery store sends me spiraling, and it's hard to tell if this was built out of being forced to do nothing this whole past year or if there's more to it. Luckily, I have an incredibly patient husband to help me deal with myself - like the kind who, when I'm getting overwhelmed by the thought of what to do for dinner and mention I wish we had just some plain ol' frozen chicken fingers, will run right out to the store and try to find them. (Of course, the store didn't even have regular chicken fingers, but he came back with "dino buddies" probably chicken nuggets, which at least makes me laugh.) Absolutely couldn't have gotten through this past year without him, so that's something.

Getting vaccinated did help quite a bit, but it still took a while after the second shot to fully feel "shields up". So give it some time to adjust in your brain, Froggy, and I do find those nature sounds tracks to help at bedtime too. The "Calm" app has a bunch of free ones of varying lengths, and a sleep timer.

And yay for comfort reading! I think I've reread more books lately than I've read the ones I'm supposed to be getting through on my book clubs lists. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Harry Potter are my go-to's.
 
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MaeZe

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Dino buddies: :ROFLMAO:

They have veges in them too. Not sure if that's all brands or not.

Instead of just eating mystery white chicken nugget meat, you'll be happy to know that each T-rex also has some cauliflower, chickpeas, and "plant protein" (aka some of the same stuff you can find in Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat products). The veggine-infused dino nuggets clock in at 220 calories per serving, and servings sizes are five nuggets.
 

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Ha, yes! I'm not sure if these particular dino buddies are the veggies too kind, but I know I've come across them before. I tend to doubt it because they came from the super discount grocery store down the street, where you can never rely on them having the same brand or product twice. Apparently the other option for us last night was a package of "restaurant quality" chicken tenders that had zero ingredients list or nutrition facts. Seems suspect... Dine buddies, even without the veggies, were probably the better way to go.
 
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greendragon

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I have and have not been in pandemic funk. I'm an ambivert, but my introvert half has come out in full force this last year. She's like rolling up her sleeves with an 'I got this!' and settling in. At the same time, if my author critique group hadn't gone virtual and still met via zoom every week, I might have fallen further into funkiness. The fact that my job closed in August didn't help, which made me find a new job. The new job was an hour commute each way and required people to work in the OPEN OFFICE with 40 people in the same room. They didn't mention the open office until I arrived on my first day (all interviews were virtual due to pandemic). So I started looking for another job immediately, because the anxiety level of being in that open office would have been high even without COVID. I can't concentrate with that many people, noises, movement around me. I'm an accountant, not a DJ.

So, fast forward to December, I got a new job - but it meant I had to move to Connecticut (from upstate NY). Which meant finding a house. No rentals were reasonably priced, as all the NYC people were moving up to CT. A rental apartment 2/1 was $1800 a month! For that much, we bought a 3/2 house near Naugatuck with a 1/2 acre land. So all of that.

The new job is not WFH. Unfortunately, I still have a nasty commute. 35 minutes without traffic, which would be fine. I tested that before we put an offer on the house. But mid-December during COVID was not a fair test. It's often an hour commute with heavy traffic. Sigh. But I love the work and the people are great, and I have my own office, so I'm working to negotiate at least 2 days a week WFH. As an accountant, 100% of my work can be done from home.

So, long story, I haven't been that isolated in the pandemic, because I've had to go into work each day.

In writing news, some may recall I have a 9-book historical fantasy series with a small press publisher. Each book is on a 5 year contract. As the first one came due last year, I had to fight to get the rights back. My publisher did NOT want to have one book self-published and the rest published with her. She insisted that I buy back the rights to all the books at once (about $2500). I insisted there was no such clause in any of the contracts, and had no interest in doing that. ($2500 would have been more than I've made in royalties on the entire series since inception). Finally, I had to pull in the mediators at SFWA, who looked over all the contracts, and agreed with me. She finally backed down and gave me what I originally asked for - as each book comes up for reversion, I can re-publish with new covers, new edits, etc. I'm also doing print and audio versions (she only ever did print on the first one and never did audio). So far, it's doing well, and book two is on pre-order to be released August 8th.

I'm also working on an urban fantasy trilogy. Book one is in the latter stages of editing (Taming of the Few). Book two is just finished with the first draft (Much Ado About Dying). Book three is a glimmer in my NaNoWriMo eyes (All's Fae that Ends Fae). Still waffling about the series name. I'd settled on The Hidden Gods Series (the folks with magic are called the Unhidden and Irish Gods show up as characters at some point). However, I'm toying with a more Shakespearean name. Love's Labor's Found Series? A Midsummer God's Dream Series? The Winter's Gods Series? Don't know. Bleh.

And I'm still editing my Extreme Planning for Authors Workbook series. I'm breaking it into three workbooks at about 15K words each. Pre-writing, writing, and post-writing stages. It's all written, going through critique group, and then more editing.

I usually work on two to three projects at a time in various stages. I've got four right now and it's officially too many. Since Legacy of Truth is on pre-order, that's MOSTLY done and done. I want to get closer to finishing another project before I start a new one.

In other news... while our critique group has been great on zoom each week, it's shifting back to in-person, and a lot of great writers in the group have dropped off. So I'm looking for a new one, either virtual (preferred) or in person. Is anyone in a weekly critique group that's interested in a new member who gives mostly polished work and knows what a word count limit is? :)
 

tiddlywinks

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"So why did all the Canadian geese cross the road today in front of Winks?"

That's a very good question. I blame @tianaluthien. I was so excited about the fancy salad I'd decided to treat myself to for a late lunch, I nearly creamed the lot of them when I rounded the corner home. *sigh*

In better news, I spent the afternoon being lazy by my pool. Swam laps for about an hour then took a light cat nap to enjoy the sunshine and a breeze...which is hopefully blowing away the residual smoke we've had in the air from nearby fires. It's nowhere near as bad as I've experienced when visiting Kitkit or Outtamylaine, but we've had numerous air quality warnings this week and it's been pretty post-apocalyptic looking.

Tonight is dinner at my partner's place and we're having over my brother and sis-in-law. Partner is nervous since he's fixing a nice vegetarian dinner for SIL and I think he still wants to impress (I keep telling him that my bros and SILs already like him wayyyyyyy better than the ex since they've actually met him, he likes people, and he's been very friendly to them. Plus he treats me wonderfully, which is all that matters to my family. Silly goose!) I'm bringing over one of my California wines obtained during a marathon wine country visit with Kitkit, so SIL is super happy already. It should be a fun night of board games and catching up.

Tomorrow involves a shovel and murdering some pernicious weeds once and for all. Along with a few bushes that are highly poisonous to puppies who like to chew on branches for 'new sticks!' *sigh*

There may be writing tomorrow. We shall see. I may get dragged into some clothes shopping for the tween who needs to clear out her closet of stuff that's too small for her. :)
 
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Friendly Frog

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Not sure if the state of my subconcious has improved or whether I've just been getting more sleep but I woke up the last two days without feeling frustrated over things that happened in dreams, so I call that a win!

And I'm already thinking I should be making lists of the things I want to do before my trip next month, so clearly something is waking up from stupour. Might also be because the nephews have finally gone home and boy, I love to have them over, but you end up doing very little other than taking care of them.

My respect for parents of young kids continue to grow. It's amazing what they can do.
 
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E.F.B.

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I'm also working on an urban fantasy trilogy. Book one is in the latter stages of editing (Taming of the Few). Book two is just finished with the first draft (Much Ado About Dying). Book three is a glimmer in my NaNoWriMo eyes (All's Fae that Ends Fae). Still waffling about the series name. I'd settled on The Hidden Gods Series (the folks with magic are called the Unhidden and Irish Gods show up as characters at some point). However, I'm toying with a more Shakespearean name. Love's Labor's Found Series? A Midsummer God's Dream Series? The Winter's Gods Series? Don't know. Bleh.
If you don't mind me adding my two cents, the only one of those I *wouldn't* go with is "Love's Labor's Found". It hits me strongly as the title of a cutesy historical or contemporary romance series. The rest work for fantasy, IMHO.


Is @tianaluthien responsible for all the geese? We've come across Canadian geese crossing the road three times in the past week.


I am feeling meeeeh, this morning, Cantina. I was sleeping fine last night, but woke up at 4:30 to the dog coughing (not unusual, that's around the time he usually needs another dose of cough medicine) so I gave him the medicine, got up to go pee, laid back down and... I felt wide awake. Not sleepy at all. So I laid there and laid there and laid there and just wasn't falling back to sleep and starting to get frustrated, which put my mind on thoughts of other frustrations, so I was getting really unhappy. Finally started to doze off again only for the dog to wake up and freaking start coughing again. So that made me feel wonky that I was almost asleep and got jarred awake again. Finally, he stopped and I did fall back asleep, but had annoying dreams because I'd been so annoyed by the time I fell asleep. The only thing I can think is that it happened because we slept in yesterday morning since mom decided she wanted to take the week off from Sunday school since she can't speak clearly with the Bell's Palsy. My monthly lady issues are also near and I get a little extra sleepy around that time, so I've been sleeping soundly, and maybe my brain decided I'd had enough sleep for the weekend. I disagree with it, but it didn't ask me. Grr.

Other than that hiccup, yesterday wasn't bad. I did some major scheduling of social media posts for my Etsy Insta and decided on an official launch date (September 29th) for my Jungle Book inspired collection. I also registered some crochet things for the State Fair craft competition, gave my room some much needed dusting, and finished the main body of the biggest crochet item in the aforementioned collection. Now it just needs a border and that will be a huge thing checked off the list. Today, though, I need to get back to some writing stuff.
 
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jallenecs

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Morning folks. Doctor's visit for me this morning, then lunch with Younger Daughter.

Got a question for y'all. What do you think of the peripatetic story? as in, a story that has no particular plot or narrative through line, but simply follows the character's adventures through a given time.

This is a short story, for Blue Moon, of course. In it, a 6-year old boy, Randy, is in his first or second turning as a young werewolf. But going out with Dad and Mom isn't an option (Dad has to work, darn it!). So, frustrated, he sneaks out of the house and goes wandering through the trailer park, exploring, seeing what can be seen, having a few encounters, before Mom finally figures out he's gone, finds him, and he is in sooo much trouble!

There is no plot. There is no overarching narrative, no goal to be achieved. Just following a rambunctious boy-cub as he gets into mischief. Thoughts?
 

E.F.B.

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Morning folks. Doctor's visit for me this morning, then lunch with Younger Daughter.

Got a question for y'all. What do you think of the peripatetic story? as in, a story that has no particular plot or narrative through line, but simply follows the character's adventures through a given time.

This is a short story, for Blue Moon, of course. In it, a 6-year old boy, Randy, is in his first or second turning as a young werewolf. But going out with Dad and Mom isn't an option (Dad has to work, darn it!). So, frustrated, he sneaks out of the house and goes wandering through the trailer park, exploring, seeing what can be seen, having a few encounters, before Mom finally figures out he's gone, finds him, and he is in sooo much trouble!

There is no plot. There is no overarching narrative, no goal to be achieved. Just following a rambunctious boy-cub as he gets into mischief. Thoughts?
I'd read that.


Afternoon, Cantina. I slept MUCH better last. Also, WE HAVE A DISHWASHER AGAIN! The delivery people were an hour and twenty minutes late, but hopefully this dish washer at least won't dump gallons and gallons and gallons of water into the basement. Why yes, the dehumidifier down there is still pulling out 4 gallons a day, why do you ask? We're using it to water the plants during this dry spell.
 

Friendly Frog

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That's a lot of water! Especially since the old dishwasher has been removed for quite a while. Still, good to not let it go to waste.

Yeay for new dish washer! May he be well hooked up and never leak for many future years!

There is no plot. There is no overarching narrative, no goal to be achieved. Just following a rambunctious boy-cub as he gets into mischief. Thoughts?
Short stories are perfect for that sort of thing, IMO. They don't always need to high stakes. But children's adventures, especially young werewolves, sound like enough plot to me.
 

E.F.B.

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That's a lot of water! Especially since the old dishwasher has been removed for quite a while. Still, good to not let it go to waste.
Yeah, but we had it for quite a while and the leak was coming from a crack in the actual body of the machine. So it was apparently leaking water every time we used it, once or twice a day for all that time. Sigh.


Morning, Cantina. I have crit reading and self editing to do today. Mom also wants to get outside and cut up the big honking poplar branch that fell this weekend. When I say "big honking" I do mean it. It fell probably a good 20 feet away from the house, but I felt it lightly vibrate the side of the house I was sitting near at the time. It fell off the second oldest tree on the property, which is quite large, so the branch itself is basically like a small fallen tree all on its own. Good thing nothing was under it. The tree is very healthy and the branch isn't rotten, so not sure what happened. Maybe one of the recent storms damaged it, or it might have been weakened as far back as the big ice storm in February and just now came down from the weight of the leaves.

ION: A writing spider has built a web on the front porch, right next to the door. It's kinda pretty and not in the way of anything, so we don't mind it being there, but it is growing fast. Guess that means it's doing its job and catching lots of bugs. Mom decided last night to name it Georgette.
 

jallenecs

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I love it when my subconscious does the work for me! I've been crocheting since suppertime, just doing my thing. As soon as I put my yarn away to wind down for the evening, my brain pops up and says, "Hey! I had a great idea, lets play with this for a while!"

EDIT: Also, I've been struggling a bit because my usual writing background music was no longer working for me. So Younger Son turned me onto an alternative: videogame soundtracks. Not an ideal solution, but a workable mood builder for the moment. Right now, I'm going back and forth between Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, and occasionally Fallout Radio. So far, so good!
 
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E.F.B.

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EFB, you passed your water woes to me! Our washer in the basement started backing stuff up through the hose in back. Plumber tomorrow. :(
Oh no! Sorry about that. :/
I love it when my subconscious does the work for me! I've been crocheting since suppertime, just doing my thing. As soon as I put my yarn away to wind down for the evening, my brain pops up and says, "Hey! I had a great idea, lets play with this for a while!"

EDIT: Also, I've been struggling a bit because my usual writing background music was no longer working for me. So Younger Son turned me onto an alternative: videogame soundtracks. Not an ideal solution, but a workable mood builder for the moment. Right now, I'm going back and forth between Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, and occasionally Fallout Radio. So far, so good!
Video game soundtracks are great! I write by them all the time. Some of my favorites are the two Ori games (I just finished playing the first game so I finally know the story to go with the music, LOL), Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Child of Light, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Skyrim isn't bad, either.

Welp, mom and I sawed up most of the big honking branch and tossed its bits into the swail. That's the nice thing about having a swail. Toss tree debris down there and it's out of the way and nature will take care of the rest. The thickest part of the tree wasn't going to cut with the handsaw and was too heavy for the two of us to lift, so we rolled it to the edge of the yard. In cutting the branch, we discovered what weakened it so it fell. The center was black, but not with rot. Nope, that thing was burnt inside. Must have been struck by lightning at some point.

In less good news, dad's developing some cellulitis on his foot. He was having a bit of an anxiety attack about it because some previous cellulitis infections in his leg (10 years ago) put him in the hospital, but we know what to look for now and caught this early, so we'll be able to take him to the urgent clinic tomorrow morning and get him on antibiotics before it gets worse.
 

jallenecs

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Oh no! Sorry about that. :/

Video game soundtracks are great! I write by them all the time. Some of my favorites are the two Ori games (I just finished playing the first game so I finally know the story to go with the music, LOL), Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Child of Light, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Skyrim isn't bad, either.
Listening to Child of Light right now! So far, so awesome!

EDIT: Aaaaand.... now I've switched to Rush 2112. Because sometimes you gotta go there!
 
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More cursed waterwoes. I could swear those water stains on the attic wall weren't there last month... *sigh* Wat(er) comes around, wat(er) goes around?

Rains forecast for the weekend, we'll see it wet or not then. Fortunatelly nothing on the attic that can be ruined by water.
 

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It turns out the previous owner (we bought this house in January) had half-assed the plumbing, installed some things backwards, and done weird things with it. It'll cost about $500 to fix it correctly. Sigh.
 

jallenecs

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So an odd story idea came to me just a few minutes ago. What would you do if Hannibal Lector turned up on your doorstep, not to kill you, but to kill you with kindness? Clean your house, keep you company, cook your dinner, treat you like a long lost child. Never once does anything aggressive or spooky.

By the way, the day before he turns up, you seriously pissed him off. Like "ran over his dog" pissed him off.

I think that would be even scarier than if he'd turned up with a butcher knife and a frying pan. Forever waiting for the other shoe to drop, KNOWING it's bound to drop eventually.
 

CobraMisfit

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So an odd story idea came to me just a few minutes ago. What would you do if Hannibal Lector turned up on your doorstep, not to kill you, but to kill you with kindness? Clean your house, keep you company, cook your dinner, treat you like a long lost child. Never once does anything aggressive or spooky.

By the way, the day before he turns up, you seriously pissed him off. Like "ran over his dog" pissed him off.

I think that would be even scarier than if he'd turned up with a butcher knife and a frying pan. Forever waiting for the other shoe to drop, KNOWING it's bound to drop eventually.

I'd read that.

Also, JUNELY!!!



Evening, gang.

Whut up?
 

jallenecs

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Hi, Cobra!

So I have to admit, I'm a little annoyed. I was surfing Amazon yesterday, and I found a couple books that were SOOO in my wheelhouse! Two books in a series, set in a trailer park, filled with fantastical/horror creatures! I was so excited (a little envious, but still excited)! So I grab one and start reading and.....

Really? Really? Why do people assume that lowest denomination stereotypes are funny? Or interesting? I was so angry. I still am. Poor people -- whether they're from Appalachia or the Ozarks or Cabrini Green or the Bronx -- have personalities, have depth, have thoughts and desires and fears. Poor people are PEOPLE! They're not stereotypes!
 

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["fantastical/horror creatures in trailer parks...." ponders that for a bit]

I am so stupid. I have fallen on uneven paving stones in the patio before and I know to be careful. And yet I've done it again.

I step on the edge of the stone, my ankle turns and down I go.

I know I need to fix the patio. I could make an effort to fix the hazard.

Thank goodness I haven't yet broken a major bone. But I managed to smash the hell out of my arm and maybe I've cracked a rib. Or it's probably just bruised. It hurts to take a deep breath.

It's hard for me to get up when I'm sprawled out in the dirt.

Oh well.
 

jallenecs

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["fantastical/horror creatures in trailer parks...." ponders that for a bit]
It's a horror comedy. Or comic fantasy? I'm not sure. I'm using horror and fantasy creatures to tell very silly, very small stories.

I'm sorry about the fall. Gotta take care of yourself!
 
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