studious

September in Review

Health/Fitness
I started doing kneeling push-ups and stretching a few times a week. I am trying to work myself up to 50 kneeling push-ups, and then I'll switch to regular push-ups and do fewer of those. On the one hand "I'll just do a 20-25 push-ups" seems unlikely to impact my strength by much, and on the other, it's easy to convince myself to do it: "It only takes like 3 minutes, just get it over with."

I did less walking this month, down to 63 minutes per day from 76. I also spent more time cleaning, which I count as exercise in the RealAppeal tracker (as "light cleaning", which is about 2/3rds of the calories-burned-per-minute of "walking"), but didn't log in Google Fit, which is where I get my month-end report.

In addition, I took the last five days of September off from both exercise and food-tracking, because I was visiting family and didn't want to bother with either.

I'm up a pound for the month, which does not feel surprising under the circumstances, or worrisome. My long-term plan is to lose a pound a month, and weight fluctuates enough that a pound one way or another doesn't mean much. If I'm still flat or trending upwards at the end of November, I'll lower my calorie target then.

It is amusing to be losing weight slowly, because standard weight-loss strategies all revolve around weekly progress and I'm like "I don't expect to make progress in a week, and don't really expect to make progress in a month. Maybe in three months we'll know if it's still working or not."

Still down 11 pounds for the year. Still willing to track and stay under 2000 calories daily. Good enough.

Writing
I wrote around 1500 words of Spark of Desire. I was seriously not in the mood to write fiction last month.

I made a few notes for The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady, and the untitled next book in The Demon's Series.

The Business of Writing
However, I did finish initial edits on The Twilight Etherium. \o/

I will need to do more edits. Not looking forward to that.

Art/Other
I have been using to-do lists, and one of the items on my to-do list has been "sketching." It has been surprisingly hard to actually do this one. I usually think of sketching as an easy if not useful thing to get myself to do. But apparently it's not.

When I did get myself to sketch -- I think a total of three times last month -- it was mostly gesture drawings, using gesture-drawing web apps. I do not enjoy gesture drawing. But I would like to someday learn how to sketch without spending several hours on every drawing, so. It's probably good for me.

I should probably watch some tutorials or do other things in an effort to learn and improve instead of struggling randomly.

Also, I really need to do the thing where I do the timed gesture drawings as a warm-up and then let myself draw something for a while, instead of feeling completely exhausted after 15 minutes of quick sketches and quitting.

Socializing
I went to visit my family! I flew out to my parents' home last Thursday, while my brother and his wife flew down to meet us, and we spent a long weekend together. I also spent much of Saturday with Kage, Sophrani, and Envoy, who all live in the area.

It was a laidback weekend of conversation, eating good food, and watching videos and some tennis with my mom. (She loves watching tennis, and I like watching it with her).

Happiness
Fine, I think? Maybe I will start mood-tracking again.

Scorecard for prior month
~ Help Lut & general adulting: I will mark this as done, even though there is one adulting task that I continue to procrastinate on.
~ Use to-do lists: This is working pretty well. I use a combination of lists and "what I actually did". Each week has a section of "things that are scheduled for a specific day" like work and appointments, "one-off tasks I need to do" like "coordinate plans for upcoming trip with friends" or "write month-in-review post", and a section of recurring things that I do multiple times per week, like push ups and stretching. I cross things off as they get done, and put a ~ beside the things I do multiple times to indicate how much is done. If I don't get a thing done, it rolls over to the next week. It's been useful.
My current week has too many one-off tasks, though. I will probably need to figure out a way to abandon tasks rather than rolling them over to new weeks indefinitely.
~ Score 20 writing/editing points: finished editing The Twilight Etherium, so got this done.
~ Do not beat self up for any productivity lapses: I wish I'd remembered this was on the list. n_n I did a reasonable enough job of not beating myself up, though.

Goals for coming month
~ Help Lut & general adulting
~ Keep up with the weekly to-dos
~ Finish 25% of a new book (working on final edits for The Twilight Etherium can count in place of some of this.)

That looks like enough. I gotta get back to writing eventually; it's been a while. This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/642603.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

The Twilight Etherium: Call for First Readers!

 
Hey everyone!
 
I have completed initial edits on The Twilight Etherium!  And you all know what that means: time for first readers!
 
This is a polyamorous fantasy romance starring the lead characters from The Moon Etherium. It's possible to read this book as a standalone, but you'll enjoy it more if you've read The Moon Etherium.
 
Message me or leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to be a first reader!  Comments are screened.  You can also message me on Twitter @ladyrowyn.  Blurb is below!
 
~
 
Since the harrowing adventures of two and half years ago, Mirohirokon has married his love, Ardent Sojourner, and settled into a quiet life on her farm in Try Again.
 
That peace is interrupted by the arrival of Ardent's ex-wife, Whispers Rain.  With her comes harrowing news: Stalks Hunter, a sadistic, violent fey, has evaded the surveillance of the Moon Etherium justiciary, and left the fey shard with the intent to conquer and enslave a mortal kingdom. Only Ardent -- entrusted with Sun King's arcane tools -- has the power to stop him.
 
Thus begins a journey into the foreign and unpredictable world of mortal people. To save these mortals, the fey must risk being stranded in this harsh land. It is a risk Miro is prepared to take, as long as he is at his wife's side.
 
But is he prepared for Ardent's unabated love for her former wife?
 
Or his own growing attraction to Whispers Rain?
 
This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/642313.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
studious

Podcast Listening Thoughts

I mentioned over a year ago that I'd started listening to podcasts. I only listen to them while I'm exercising, because exercise is boring and I usually exercise outdoors so watching videos is out. (On the occasions where I do exercise at home, I've watched some Netflix, and over the course of a year I've managed to finish two seasons of The Dragon Prince and of She-Ra. That's not a whole lot of videos for someone who usually exercises for several hours a week.)

I still like "#Fsck 'Em All" and "Make No Law", but those have become very irregular, so I don't get to listen to them much. I've been listening to "All the President's Lawyers", which is "Josh Barro (journalist) talks with Ken White (defense attorney and former federal prosecutor) about the current president's many legal problems". I really like it -- Ken White also does "Make No Law", and I enjoy his combination of scholarly knowledge and dry humor. I also listen to "Left, Right and Center", which is Josh Barro talking to political pundits about current hot topics. I do not love LRC nearly as much because I am just not that into political punditry. Both shows are by KCRW, a public* radio station in southern California.

* KCRW's website says they are "a community service of Santa Monica College" but the feel is way more like public radio than college radio and they broadcast NPR shows as well as original programming, so I'm gonna stick with "public radio."

I've tried some other podcasts that haven't stuck: "I'll listen to this writing-themed podcast! I like these writers! ... um ... I do not like this podcast, though."

"Maybe I'll try this food-themed show WAIT NO what was I thinking I hate listening to people eat and this is an audio show entirely composed of people eating."

I have listened to fiction before, but the truth is that my attention tends to wander when I'm listening to a podcast. With long-form fiction, missing a few minutes kind of means that I don't know what's going on anymore and it's very annoying. With a news podcast, it generally means "I missed part of this four-minute bit and they're gonna switch subjects soon anyway, whatever." I feel like I should try fiction again, either as podcasts or audiobooks, but I haven't.

What I did instead was look at NPR podcasts. I found "Planet Money", which I'd heard of before, and my thought process went "It's a show about business and economics! I used to love reading the WSJ, for reasons I have never been able to adequately explain. I will probably like this." I was right. "Planet Money" has a sister show, "The Indicator", and I've been listening to it too.

One old episode of "The Indicator" was about "animal spirits" as an economics concept. No, this has no connection with "spirit animals". Instead, it's a term Keynes used to describe the emotions that affect decision making in the marketplace, and in particular in the stock market. Decisions that cannot be explained by rational factors alone are considered to be motivated by "animal spirits".

Emotions tend to get a bad rap in decision-making, and so do "animal spirits", but one thing that struck me in the show was that one of the hosts pointed out that "animal spirits" are what prevent people from being paralyzed by indecision.

And this struck me because it reminded me of some case studies on brain damage. This article isn't where I first heard about it, but presents a couple of examples: https://www.thecut.com/2016/06/how-only-using-logic-destroyed-a-man.html of the phenomenon. In essence: brain damage can impair a person's ability to feel emotions. And you might think that this would make people better at making decisions: now they will only evaluate things rationally!

But it turns out that it makes people unable to make decisions at all. Without an emotional component -- without a reason to prefer one option over another, or even one outcome over another, people don't bother choosing. They cycle over different alternatives endlessly, unable to decide.

I find that fascinating, and it reminds me that it has always bothered me to put "rational/logical" on one end of a spectrum and "emotional" on the other, because I've always felt that emotion must inform the backbone of all logic. Logic is based upon assumptions, and assumptions in the real world include value judgments. If you take emotional weight out of your assumptions, you won't have premises like "it is better to be happy than miserable" and your logic will produce FREAKISHLY TERRIBLE results Not to mention that, without emotions, what is the point to having assumptions like "life is better than death"? What is a preference, if not an emotion?

So to my mind, "evaluating things rationally" doesn't mean "without emotion" but rather "use reason to determine how to meet your emotional needs." Incidentally, this informed the narrative in A Rational Arrangement, because Wisteria, my extremely rational female protagonist, also had lots of strong emotions: she had likes and dislikes, she fell in love, she got angry, etc. And Wisteria never thought "emotions are irrational; I shouldn't feel this." She used reason to meet her long-term needs for love, satisfaction, contentment, and happiness.

Irrationality is better defined as "short-term emotional states which run counter to your long-term needs." Or "emotional responses which are premised on an irrational assessment of risk." "Irrational assessment of risk" is a serious problem for human beings, because our gut feelings about "risky" vs "safe" are usually terrible. We estimate risk based on "how often have I heard stories about this happening/has it happened to me personally" and so we vastly overestimate the risk of dramatic events that get a lot of attention in the media, like kidnapping, and vastly underestimate the risk of boring hazards, like driving.


Another episode was about "private firefighters", which is an industry mostly funded by insurance companies. They hire private companies to protect houses they've insured during fires. The fact that this is a service funded by insurance companies -- people whose only incentive is economic -- made me feel that local governments -- at least in the areas where private firefighters flourish -- do not have fire departments that are remotely as robust as they ought to be. Why are we not hiring more firefighters? Is firefighting not sexy enough to spend tax dollars on? Do people not realize that more money on firefighters would result in less damage from fire and a net economic gain? I mean, there is obviously a point of diminishing returns on firefighting and I assumed that most areas were already at that point. But if insurance companies think it's worth buying more firefighting, then that strongly suggests they are not.


The podcast was only about California, which (a) catches fire more often in recent years than it used to (b) has always had a problem with fires and (c) has a lot of very expensive real estate in fire-prone areas. So I don't know if this is a case of "it would be a net economic gain if fire departments everywhere were better funded" or if it's a matter of "some areas in California and the Pacific Northwest have disproportionately underfunded fire departments relative to the risk of property damage."

The Indicator didn't talk about the impact on human lives because these were all cases of wildfire, where you had huge fires raging and everyone had been evacuated. They did compare it to education, in that we have a public education system that's not as good as the private education system that rich people can afford for their kids. I think that's a valid comparison, but also that firefighting is much easier to quantify than a public good like healthcare or education. You can measure the good done by firefighting in terms of "lives saved" and "property damage prevented". The "lives saved" part is hard to value, obviously. But the property damage side is easy. You can look at past years and how much it cost to rebuild after the fires in a given area, and analyze how much damage could have been averted by having more firefighters & equipment available. If in an average year, it costs more to rebuild than it would to pay for firefighters and their equipment, you should have more of the latter. There's obviously considerable guesswork involved; you're never going to know for sure what the likelihood of future fires is or how much damage is prevented per dollar spent on firefighting. But it's an area where you can get a lot of data, and it's not nearly as squidgy as the economic value of an education at a private elementary school vs a public one.

I will share one last favorite "indicator" from the show before I go: 3.5%. If 3.5% percent of a country's population participates in a protest, then that protest will effect revolutionary change in the country's government. That would be "the percentage of people who physically show up", obviously, and presumably it means that if your country has 3.5% who are passionate enough to go to a protest, a whole lot more than that support the protest's goals. But that's the statistic based on analysis of protests across the globe for the last hundred years.

3.5% of America's population would be 11.5 million, if you're curious.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the podcast and will stick with it. I still need a few more hours per week worth of podcasts to listen to in order to have something every day, though. So I'll probably catch up on the last few months of The Indicator and maybe Planet Money, and then look for something new.
This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/642244.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

August in Review

Health/Fitness
Activity was up this month, from an average of 65 minutes per day to 76 minutes. I blame the Team Rocket takeovers.

Eating habits are about the same.

I am down 12 pounds for the year. *\o/*

Writing
I wrote 14,800 words on The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady, before I realized that I needed to write a version of the same elaborate formal courting process I used in Princess. This was daunting enough that I started to procrastinate on writing more of Lord by editing. Which is fine, because I'd been writing Lord in order to procrastinate on editing. It's the circle of procrastination. Also, the only way I ever get things done. This is the process and it's terrible but it's mine.

The Business of Writing
I finished initial edits on The Mortal Prince and the Moon Etherium, got feedback from first readers, added another scene, got more feedback, and completed final edits on August 9. I forgot how much faster this process goes when you're working on something novelette-length. Anyway, it's done and waiting on layout.

I also made the editing list for The Twilight Etherium, at long last. And then I started completing items on it. I've finished 15 of 34 items thus far.

The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince sold 305 copies in its first two months. It's now #6 in unit sales among my books (ahead of four books that were published before it). Its first month was good enough to pay for the cover I commissioned for it, which is nice. I have commissioned covers for five of my ten books, and only two of those books have broke even so far. (Angel's Sigil is very close to the break-even point, however, and will probably make it there within the next month or two. The covers for Silver Scales and Golden Coils were considerably more expensive than the other three; at the current pace, it will be 3+ years before they break even.)

Art
Jenn modeled for me briefly while I was visiting her last Wednesday, and I did some sketching then.

I also did the cover for Mortal Prince, which is in the same silhouette style and palette as the Etherium novels. It was mostly "find a good public-domain reference to base the figure silhouette upon" and then stitching together some existing background art from the Moon Etherium illustrations I did a few years ago.

Other
I forgot to mention this in the last update: in mid-July, my old upright vacuum died, and I bought a robot vacuum, which I named Rovan, to replace it. Rovan is a Eufy 30C; I decided on that model after reviewing the recommendations from Consumer Reports.

I'm just gonna take a moment to aside on how much I love Consumer Reports when I need to buy an appliance. I got a subscription back when I bought my car, because their car-buying guide is the best thing. But I kept it because it makes other purchasing decisions so easy. "Oh no, I need a new washing machine, how will I ever decide -- WAIT I CAN JUST ASK CONSUMER REPORTS." (I bought a new washing machine in June and it's great.)

Anyway, I also love Rovan. Rovan does have one issue: his wi-fi connection to the phone app worked for a week, and then died. I tried the reset instructions, and then uninstalling and reinstalling the app, but the app still says it can't find him when I try to set him up again.

The app was convenient when it worked: it meant I could start Rovan when I wasn't at home, and it'd give me a message it Rovan got stuck somewhere.

But not having it just means "I have to hit the button on Rovan or use the remote to turn him on, instead of my phone." And at this point I've taken care of all of the problem areas on the floor, so he hasn't gotten stuck in weeks.

It took about a week of Rovan working for an hour every day before he'd finally gotten all the cat fur and Rowyn hair out of the carpet (by the time I got him, it had been a couple of months since I'd last vacuumed.) But at this point I run him every other day and he does a great job of keeping the floor clean. I am tempted to rent a carpet cleaner to tackle the stains, although honestly the carpet is 16 years old and if moving all the furniture to have it replaced wasn't a nightmare, I'd replace it. In fairness, though, the carpet looks pretty good despite its age and some stains.

I am also somewhat surprised to find that my floors are sufficiently clutter-free that running a robot vacuum daily works fine. The only thing he's had problems with has been power cords. I did eventually have to use some of the magnetic strips Rovan came with to screen the power cord on the reclining loveseat, but the others lie close enough to walls that he doesn't get tangled up in them.

Rovan also motivates me to do more cleaning sometimes too. You know how if you live with someone and they start cleaning, sometimes you'll think "Oh, I might as well clean too" out of solidarity or inspiration or guilt? The robot works for this on me.

In conclusion: robots good. Thanks to my friends and acquaintances who'd mentioned robot vacuums being fairly effective and easy to use these days. ❤️

Gaming
I am still enjoying battling Team Rocket in Pokemon Go. Niantic modified the battles and it's now easier to fight Team Rocket if you use pokemon that are good against the particular team, as opposed to just "use your three biggest Slakoth and hope for the best". As a result, after a year of playing this game, I am finally starting to remember a little about which Pokemon types are good against which.

For me, it's a 20-minute drive to a good area for finding Team Rocket (you need a high density of pokestops if you want to be able to reliably spot a takeover at any given moment), so I don't hunt them every day. But on Saturday and Sunday, I'll often drive to the Plaza, spend an hour walking from one Team Rocket-held pokestop to another, then spend a couple of hours writing or editing at a coffee shop, and then another hour hunting Team Rocket before I go home.

Also, I went to midtown for the Suicune Raid Day on August 16, and in the last 30 minutes of the three-hour window, I made level 40. Whee!

This means it took me just over a year to go from "newbie" to "max level". It was about 6 months to reach 39 and then another 6 months to reach 40. :D

My enduring affection for Pokemon Go is mostly "I need to exercise anyway", but that does seem to be enough.

Socializing
I visited Jenn twice in August, because she's moving in early September to live closer to her kids. She has many friends in this area, however, and will be back to visit. I probably won't see her every month anymore, though.

Happiness
I think I'm doing pretty well. I've been feeling more ambitious, and also like it's not much a burden to get things done.

Score card for last month
Last month's goals were not ambitious:
~ Help Lut and generally adult
~ Initial edits of A Mortal Prince
~ Send A Mortal Prince
~ Do some fiction writing too
~ Do not angst about productivity otherwise.

I did all of these things! And more! And I didn't even angst much about productivity.

Goals for coming month
~ Help Lut & do general adulting
~ Use to-do lists for a few weeks. I'm trying to start doing push-ups and stretching a few times a week, and cultivating a new habit is easiest if I have a schedule thing I'm supposed to look at and that I can cross things off of.
~ Score 20 writing/editing points. Getting a novel 1.25% closer to completion is worth one point, as is completing one of the items on an editing list. This is really just a fancy way of measuring "write 20,000 words or finish initial edits of The Twilight Etherium or some combination of the two." But I want to do the fancy way because I want to measure writing productivity by "how close to done is the book" rather than "words written". You get more of what you measure, and what I want to do is finish books.
~ Do not beat self up for any productivity lapses.

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/641993.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
studious

Publishing Choices



I saw this tweet and realized I hadn't thought about this question in some time.

To be honest, I don't have an answer to recommend to others on this topic. I can explain my choices and why, but "what should you do?" I have no idea.

I have self-published ten books in the last four years. I've never queried an agent or tried to place a novel with a traditional publisher. Why not? It's complicated.

The first book I published, A Rational Arrangement, was a queer polyamorous fantasy romance that weighed in at 210,000 words. It was the length of an epic fantasy with the plot of an regency romance. Except queer. And polyam.

Queer polyamorous fantasy romance is a subgenre of a subgenre. I am sure that there are small presses that deal in it; I am unsure that any press or agent is looking for a first book of this length. If one existed in 2014, I couldn't find them. The idea of trying to hack down this behemoth or split it into chunks and massage it into a shape that would be acceptable to the market had no appeal. I had a friend who'd been self-publishing for several years, M. C. A. Hogarth, and had a passing familiarity with the process through her. Another friend, Alinsa, was eager to do the layout of A Rational Arrangement for me. Why not self-publish?

I did the art for the cover myself, and paid (sphinxhijinx on Twitter), to do the art for the imprint logo. I didn't hire an editor; I relied on myself and my first readers for advice and proofreading. I expected the book to sell 50 copies to my friends and friends-of-friends; I did not expect it to be a financial success. It was mostly a matter of "I wrote this book and I'd like other people to see it, so why not self-publish?"

A Rational Arrangement vastly exceeded my expectations. In its first six weeks of publication, it earned enough money to qualify me for SFWA membership. In its first six months, it earned as much or more than the typical first-book advance from a big press. I was hooked on self-publishing.

If all my books had done as well as ARA, it would be easy to explain why I never tried trad pub. Why spend years struggling to find a publisher who's probably not going to pay me any more money than I can make on my own? But in fact, ARA was and remains an outlier in my catalog. I've published nine books since then, and all of them put together have not yet managed to out-earn ARA. A Rational Arrangement's sequel, Further Arrangements, has earned less than 25% of what ARA made, and FA is nonetheless the second-best seller in my catalog. (It is likely to be displaced by A Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince, which had a better first month than FA; FA does have an advantage in its length of time in the market.)

But some of the same reasons I didn't seek a traditional publisher for ARA apply to my other books. The Moon Etherium and The Sun Etherium are deeply queer novels set in a post-scarcity society that feels in some ways like science fiction, despite being a magic-rich setting with fey characters. Silver Scales was written when I had mainstream ambitions but it's nonetheless over 200,000 words and a difficult sell to traditional publishing. Frost and Desire has a content warning longer than the blurb.

Demon's Lure and Angel's Sigil, though. Like most of my books, they're full of queer characters. But they fall within the word count range that trad publishers typically look for in a novel, and they're not polyamorous romances. I could have tried to find a publisher for them.

Why didn't I?

I think it's more impatience than anything else. Researching agents and publishing houses and sending query letters is tedious, time-consuming, and unrewarding. I have friends who are better writers than I am who've spent several years trying and failing to place books with a traditional publisher. Granted, that's years of "waiting for responses" and not "years of constant work", but the sense of futility remains. Acquiring a good agent is no guarantee that they will sell your novel. Selling a novel is no guarantee that the novel will do well enough in the market to enable you to sell your next novel. Traditional publishers do very little marketing for the typical author in their catalog. I don't care about rejection, but spending time and energy on the chance that my work will resonate with a slush reader and an editor irritates me.

Did I make the right choice? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Would I recommend it to someone else? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here is what I believe about publishing:

If you define success as "your work is known to 10,000+ people and you are able to outearn a typical 9-5 job at it", then the odds of success are incredibly slim. Millions of people want that; perhaps thousands of them achieve it. If you work hard, hone your craft, and persist, then you can improve your odds dramatically. But that improvement takes your chances from, let's say, "one in a million" to "one in a hundred." You are a THOUSAND TIMES more likely to succeed now! But that is not the same as "likely to succeed".

If you are wondering "am I more like to make a living through selfpub or tradpub?": I have no idea, but I don't think this is a particularly useful question, either. It's like asking "am I more likely to profit by playing slot machines or by buying a lottery ticket?" If what you want is a really high chance of making money for your efforts, I recommend becoming an employee at a business.

I realize this sounds discouraging, but in fact I mean just the opposite. I want you to understand that the intrinsic value of your creative efforts is not measured by your ability to market it, and that remains true whether you are marketing it to traditional publishers or directly to your audience.

Write because you love having written. Evaluate your work and the market for it, and do what you think is best for yourself. There isn't a One Weird Trick That Will Make You a Success, if only you knew it. Everyone else is floundering, too. Some times the floundering works! It's okay. Just go for it. This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/641756.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
studious

July in Review

Health/Fitness I didn't walk 50km in a week in July, so not quite as much exercise this month as June, but more than May or April: 65 minutes per day.

The last couple of weeks, I've made an effort to walk faster while I'm out walking. I don't have a good way of measuring this, although it looks like my steps-per-minute-of-walking is going up. This is not a great measure because my "minutes" only includes the time I spend walking for a few minutes or more, and "steps" includes any time I walk around with my phone. The data for "how far I walked but only when I was going for a walk" exists but not in a convenient form for summarizing.

Still down around 10 pounds for the year. Eating habits have not changed much; still tracking and taking some care not to overeat.

Writing
I wrote a thing! "Insecurity", an 8000-word story for The Reclamation Project, a shared-world furry anthology that John "the Gneech" Robey is editing for FurPlanet.

Back in the 80s, I started reading the first shared-world anthology, Thieves' World, with its first book. Shared-world anthologies were pretty popular for a while and I read a bunch of them; I remember Liavek with particular fondness, and Wild Cards, which George R. R. Martin wrote stories in and edited for decades (still going!), long before he hit the mainstream with Game of Thrones. I always thought this style of story-telling was great fun and I am excited to have written a story for one. Eeee! *^_^* FurPlanet plans to release the anthology at the end of this year, and I will keep y'all posted.

The Business of Writing
I published The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince! It was a successful launch! Woo!

It was, in fact, my most successful launch since A Rational Arrangement, surpassing the launch month for Further Arrangements by a few dozen sales. I am still a long way from publishing another book as successful as ARA was, granted, but I am pleased. Ooh, and in other good news: the new release had a perceptible "halo" effect on the rest of my catalog: every other title also sold a few more copies in July than in June. The effect really was spread across the whole catalog, too. ARA was the biggest beneficiary, but readers who wanted to try something else after reading Princess just went all over the place.

I also revised "Insecurity" and sent it off to the Gneech.

I did a little bit of editing work on The Twilight Etherium and Eclipse's novelette, which now has a title: "A Mortal Prince in Fey Lands". Eclipse's novelette now has an editing list just like I do for books. It has seven points on it.

Oh! And I solidified the outline for The Lord, His Monster, and Their Lady. It stars Raindrop, one of the supporting cast members from The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. It is ridiculous and inspired by Northanger Abbey in the sense of "gentle send-up of Gothic romances". Raindrop is the antithesis of a Gothic romance heroine. It amuses me greatly. I think y'all will love it.

Art/Other
I drew a fan art portrait at the start of July:
Fredianne Riga

I started another portrait but wasn't happy with how it was coming out and just stopped drawing for the rest of the month.

Gaming

Pokemon Go added a new mechanic: Team Rocket "takes over" pokestops on occasion for 30 minutes at a time. While they're there, you can battle their three-Pokemon teams of "shadow Pokemon". If you win the battle, you have the opportunity to capture a shadow Pokemon, which you can then purify.

It took me a while to figure out how to defeat Team Rocket. In raids, you really want a team of pokemon that the raid boss is vulnerable to. With Team Rocket, raw CP seems to be the most important factor. I buffed up a team of three Slakoth to 4250-4400 CP, figured out how to get their charged attacks up to "Excellent" reliably, and they can now take out pretty much any Team Rocket combo they've gone up against.

It's not clear if there's much real advantage to purified Pokemon over regular ones. They can get a charged attack that's only available to purified Pokemon, and they're cheaper to evolve and level than standard ones. But none of that necessarily makes them any better in combat, and most of the shadow Pokemon are pretty wimpy in their regular forms. But hunting for Team Rocket pokestops has made playing Pokemon Go actually interesting to me again, at least for a little while. I went to the Plaza on Wednesday evening for an EX Raid, and wandered around for an extra hour getting some exercise in and taking out Team Rocket. I figure on doing the Team Rocket hunt again either tomorrow or Sunday. Saturday is Community Day, so I expect I'll do that on Saturday rather than fighting Team Rocket.

Happiness
I did manage to be happier in July than in June. So that was good.

Goals for coming month

* Help Lut and generally adult
* Just edit "A Mortal Prince" already. I have been waffling about what to do with this novelette for several months. I am going to stop waffling and Do a Thing.
* Send "A Mortal Prince" to first readers. Then if I did the wrong thing, they can tell me. My plan for "A Mortal Prince" is to make it a freebie anyway. It is really a tie-in story: it fills in the background for Eclipse, the titular prince in The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince.
* Do some fiction writing too
* Do not angst about productivity otherwise.

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Me 2012

Georgette Heyer, The Convenient Marriage

This might be my least favorite of the Heyer books I've read so far. The male protagonist is twice the age of the female protagonist and I didn't like either of them. Some of the supporting cast was entertaining.  There are the usual hijinks, some of which were amusing, but for the most part without protagonists that I could actually like it just was not a fun experience.  I skimmed my way to the end just to see if the characters would redeem themselves, but meh. This was like a 5, I guess.

I put another Heyer book on reserve, one that was specifically recommended, because I am still in the mood to read one but I want it to be good this time. c_c Wish me luck!

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Me 2012

New Book Release! The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince!

A standalone polyamorous fantasy romance.

After Mereni is conquered by a vicious dragon, Mereni's king-in-exile is willing to do anything to save his kingdom. Including promising half of it and the hand of his daughter, Princess Cherish, to whomsoever stops the cruel beast. With luck, he reasons, one or more of the neighboring kingdoms will come to their aid, and some eligible prince will claim his daughter as bride. Perhaps even some palatable individual, like the handsome Prince Eclipse, who is already on friendly terms with Cherish.

It does not occur to Cherish's father that she might have her own ideas about whom she should marry --

-- Or that the best individual to stop a dragon is, of course, another dragon.

Author Comments
Yes, after talking about this book for over a year, it's finally really completely done! And available for purchase! *\o/*

In February 2017, one of my Twitter friends, @muppetK, tagged me into a thread with @MicroSFF to suggest that I write a book expanding on one of Micro SF/F's tweetfics: I demurred on the grounds that I would not want to rip off another author's ideas. Micro SF/F replied to the the thread to offer blanket permission to use their microfics as inspiration. (You can scroll up from this link to read the original conversation.)

And that was how The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince was born. I added the prince's role because I've not written a polyamorous story since Further Arrangements in 2015, and I wanted to. When I started working on the outline, I wrote in a part where one of the characters goes to faerie-like people for assistance. Then I remembered that I'd already written about a faerie-like race in the Etherium books, which is how this novel came to be set in the Etherium multiverse. You need not have read any of the Etherium novels to enjoy Princess, however, and because it takes place in a mortal world, most of the setting is new.

Content Notes/Spoilers
Unlike the Etherium books, The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince takes place in nations that are hostile to transgender people (this is mitigated as the events of the book unfold). There is some misgendering of a trans character in the early part of the book.

Also contains explicit sex: lesbian, straight, and a triad.

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Me 2012

June in Review

Health/Fitness
Pokemon Go had an event in June where they gave out a bunch of bonus rare candy if you walked 50km in one week. So I walked 50km in one week. That's a little under 30 miles. It was enough extra walking that my average activity for the month was 72 minutes, up from an average of 57 minutes in May. Even though I went to visit Terry at the end of the month and did not make a point of exercising daily during the trip. (Although, in fairness, Terry and I did go for a walk on most of the days of my visit.)

I have also lost 10 lbs since the beginning of the year, so that's nice.

Writing
Spark of Desire was up to 43,000 words as of month-end. I've been thinking about switching projects, since the reason to write Spark was "I am motivated so it will go quickly", but it's not going particularly quickly. I poked at the outline for Raindrop's novel a little more, but Spark remains the path of least resistance. I mean, there's still a lot of resistance and it's hard to even get started writing most days, much less to make appreciable progress. But everything else is even more resistance.

The Business of Writing
Poked at Eclipse's novelette again, but no real progress.

Art/Other
Oh hey I actually did stuff in this category. All fan art for quests on Sufficient Velocity, and mostly simple portraits This one is my favorite:
Morgan
You can click on it and browse forward to see the other four pieces I did in June. (And a sixth one finished in July).

Portraits are pretty fun to draw.

Happiness
I got to see Terry finally! ❤️ That was good.

The rest of June, not so much. -_-

Goals for coming month
Keep up with general adulting & helping Lut
Do the book launch for The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince
Be less depressed than in June

There's other stuff I hope to do -- the usual editing and writing -- but I failed my creative goals for June and I don't feel like setting ones to fail in July. So I'll just keep it easy. I've already done some writing in July, so that means I'm already ahead! \o/ This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/640700.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

Love Nikki: Dress UP Queen

Love Nikki is a phone app game, for iPhone and Android. It's made by a Chinese company, released in China in 2015, and released in the US in 2017. It's a wacky mix of elements: anime-style art, RPG quest lines, tons of crafting (so much crafting), and a combat system based on FASHION.

This is the game of FASHION WAR, y'all.

I have a lot to say, so I'll hide it behind cut tags.
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