28 August 2009

Onward and upward, to great ... whatever.

So. The romance version of Blue Danube Waltz was roundly rejected. Happens. So after that, I had to decide what to do with it: resubmit or rewrite. I opted to rewrite as a novel-length piece.

However, upon further reflection (and badgering of my friends), I came to realize that the plot as I envisioned it was unworkable. So I was back to square one! After a couple rounds of emails with Liz, the kernel of a plot had started to grow, but all was vague! Liz suggested writing a one-sentence version of the plot, then one paragraph, three paragraphs, and seven. I managed to get that, but I skipped three and went to five, followed by two pages.

Now I'm staring at the opening chapter, with two scenes begun and about 950 words. Hmm, if I get 50 words into this third scene, I'll have an even thousand. I know I have a lot of going back and filling in in the first 2 scenes. That's fine. I had to get the seeds planted so they can germinate while I do other things.

Apparently this time I'm trying the outline thing, but not working in a strictly linear fashion. I'll probably have more luck going linear once I get the opening muddled through.

Also, holy crap, Dragon*Con is in less than a week. We're leaving Thursday morning. I've got my costume pretty close, though I have to redraft the sleeves. That sounds like no fun.

In other news entirely, I'm still enjoying the taiji weapons class I'm taking. I learned a stick form, which is also usable as a broadsword form, and a Chen broadsword form (which is really short, but awesomely violent when you look at the applications). Right now I'm learning fan form. I'm, like, 10 postures in, and I just got to open the fan. It's also fairly short, but it's pretty and different.

17 August 2009

Another no, more on Berlin

Space opera romance was rejected. Probably for the better, because I'm not really a romance writer. I like reading romances, good ones anyway, but I'm not of the mindset to write books that romance readers would enjoy.

So I'm trying to figure out how to turn the story into a full-length, straight-up space opera with romancey bits in. I despair of finding enough material to fill it out. We'll see.

I've decided that, barring a global H1N1 pandemic, I'll do the Goethe Institut in Berlin in April. I just need to decide whether I want to look into renting an apartment through Craigslist (some run 15E/day, which is about the same as the homestay fee) or do the homestay. Staying in Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain is an inducement, really, so... hum. I have a friend who's planning to move there in the next couple months, so I'll get her input later.

And for our 10th anniversary, Ben & I are planning a trip to Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest for the beginning of May. Probably 1.5-2 weeks, since I don't want to short-change any cities. Three-four days per city sounds reasonable, though maybe 2 in Bratislava? (It's the Habsburg dual-monarchy tour!)

11 August 2009

Beaches

So, this weekend was the annual nerds go to the beach weekend. We went to the beach, with a bunch of nerds from the anime club. Bringing food to cook in the hotel rooms was a good idea, and it saved money, though heading to the Mexican restaurant in Carolina Beach to eat dinner and drink pitchers of margarita was a necessity. Going for beer afterwards may not have been required, but we did it anyway. It was actually kinda cool -- for non-draft beer, you walked into the cooler and picked up a bottle you wanted. I tried Sam Adams' Blackberry Wit. It was pretty good, actually.

The ocean tried to kill me. The waves were rougher than I can remember on any beach trips over the last 8 years or so, and it seemed like the tide was always coming in. (It was a full moon.) I didn't get to spend much time in the ocean, because I don't like waves going over my head, and when I was standing in shallow enough water (waist deep or so), I got caught in an outgoing wave while an incoming one was breaking. So I sat in my chair on the sand and watched.

The weekend before last I was in Oregon for a family reunion-y thing on the husband's side. They're all outdoorsy, hiking types, so I spent most of the weekend alone and bored. Though the call of free wifi at Timberline Lodge was hard to resist, so I went up there for a few hours one day to attempt to catch up on my intarwebs.

That also involved a lot of cooking at home, and I was roped into making vegetarian food the night steak was the main course. Here is a recipe for the improvised grilled tofu I made. It turned out well. Since tofu is a sponge for other flavors, it mostly tasted like balsamic vinegar, which I won't complain about.

Thankfully, I have nothing on tap for the coming weekend. The following weekend I'm working, then I have one off, then it's Dragon*Con. I need to get sewing on my costume. I cut the pattern out of the giant sheet of paper, but I need to trace it and alter it a hair (I'm short, so I always have to shorten the back length) then mark, cut, and sew. Should be ... fun. At least it doesn't require extreme fitting like the Victorian ones.

Also, it's revoltingly hot here. The Triangle area is the hottest spot in the southeast right now. Tomorrow it's only supposed to be 88! A break from the 100 degree stretch we've had! Hey, my bell peppers are looking to ripen nicely, at least.

I was also reminded that I didn't write anything about my Asheville trip last month. I got the pictures off the camera, finally. Maybe I'll write something later this week.

03 August 2009

(Mostly) Confidential to Ben's mom

This is my metric for androgynous (yes, that's a dude):













(via mana_shrine0.tripod.com)

This doesn't even trigger my androgyny radar:













(via tarkanvisual.blogspot.com)

Mammoth book of dudes who write SF.

Take a viddy at the table of contents of the Mammoth Book of Mind-blowing SF. What do you notice about the names in the list? Go on, think a second. I'll wait.

Done? Have a guess? OK, the list is composed of stories by men. Exclusively by men. What this suggests to me, as a woman who writes science fiction (space opera, even), is that there's still a popular notion, among editors and/or readers of a certain age, perhaps, that Girls Don't Write Mind-blowing SF.

Hmm. CJ Cherryh writes some damn good Hugo-winning SF. Lois McMaster Bujold writes some damn good Hugo-winning SF. Ursula LeGuin has written some damn good Hugo-winning SF. The table of contents of The New Space Opera has 4 female names on the list, out of 18 stories. Not quite 25%, which isn't *bad* representation, but it could be better. The New Space Opera 2 has 3 female names out of 19, for a slightly worse representation. But both are far better than 0/21.

I'll be passing on this "mindblowing" SF collection, methinks. (Hat tip to Jim Hines.)