Thaw

Aug. 5th, 2015 07:04 pm
calissa: (Default)
20150622_082658_Richtone(HDR)

Since it has been a month since I last posted anything personal, I thought I should probably blow the dust off here.

While the day before Imbolc was warm and promised of Spring, the weather didn't stay that way for long. It was snowing on the hills again today and the maximum temperature never quite made it into double (Celsius) digits.

When I last checked in, Wyrd Games had invited me to write a story for their monthly magazine. It was easy to determine this was a kind of audition to see whether my fiction suits them, since my work on their RPG manual had apparently been solid enough. I'd found writing for the latter project to be rather stressful (editing to deadlines is so much easier than writing to them) and had needed some time to recover. So I emailed them to see if it was the sort of thing I could take them up on later down the track. As I suspected, it was. So I'll be checking in with them in mid-October, once I'm through the birthday whirlwind of September and the local sci-fi convention in early October.

Despite the fact that I haven't had any work from Wyrd over the last month, I have had jobs from a few smaller clients which have been enough to keep me busy and reasonably satisfied. Plus, there's always the EGE blog to look after.

And life hasn't been all work, even if it has been mostly. There have also been baby showers, weddings, illnesses and deaths (none of which were mine, fortunately). There has been tea, chocolate, books and cuddles with cold doggies.

And now I'm heading off for more of the last few. Hopefully, I'll be able to carve out more time to check in here again soon.
calissa: (One Peace)
20140612 Sunset
Sunset from May

As many of you know, September is rather a rough month for me. Remembering the good things always makes it easier (as [personal profile] kaberett frequently reminds me through example). So here is some of the awesome stuff that has been going on.

MY PROFESSIONAL BLOG IS LIVE!!. I'm super excited about this and love the way it is looking. It will eventually start being mirrored here, once I get that sorted out.

Speaking of which, [personal profile] lynnoconnacht has been a wonderful. She has shared some advice on getting the technical side organised. I really do have the most awesome friends.

Spring is well and truly underway here and I have been loving it. With the Vernal Equinox about a week and a half away, the days are noticeably lengthening and my body has been responding by waking up earlier. While I'm not entirely pleased to be losing sleep, it has meant that I've been up in time to witness some truly glorious sunrises.

The flowers are in full bloom. I spent a very lovely morning last weekend having tea with Sahaquiel's mum and then pottering around her extensive garden taking macro shots of the flowers. I'm thinking I might have to make a separate post just for that.

The trees also have leaves budding. I've been keeping a close eye on the introduced species--the ash trees along my walk, the mop-tops and the Japanese maple in the backyard. Even my ginkgo tree is starting to show the first subtle signs that it is more than just a stick in a pot.

I am utterly delighted that we have some Superb Fairy wrens living somewhere in the area. I hear them often and occasionally manage to catch a glimpse of the bright blue of the male in amongst the trees and bushes. It never fails to bring a smile to my face (and a wish that I had a decent camera for bird photography).

I've been spending a bit of time with my family recently. My nephew is nearing his first birthday and is rapidly growing from baby to little boy. He is such a cheerful kid, free with his smiles and giggles. He totally has me wrapped around his little finger. The other day for the very first time he reached out to me to pick him up, even though my sister already had hold of him. It was a true delight to see him playing with my grey-bearded dad, chasing each other at a crawl back and forth across the floor.

Perhaps best of all, September hasn't been quite as hectic as I was expecting. Next week will be especially busy, but that will have died down by the weekend (unless something else comes up in the meantime). And tomorrow is entirely free! I'll probably use the time to catch up on work, but perhaps I might be able to sneak in some time for reading. In the hammock, if the weather stays nice (it really has been very lovely recently). With a cup of tea.
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
The ever-lovely Helen Stubbs has interviewed me as part of the 2014 Australian Speculative Fiction Snapshot. I share some of my thoughts on editing, community and the role of the natural environment in my writing.
calissa: (Default)
20140529 Pig's face 1 HDR
(Carpobrotus rossii, commonly known as pig face)

I'm feeling a little swamped at the moment, so apologies if you find me a little sketchier than usual. I've got a cold I just can't quite shake and my pain levels have been up today (could be a weather change on the way?). However, on the whole, things have been going well and I have been surprisingly productive.

Editing has been the biggest thing on my plate--I've got a couple of jobs I'm wrapping up and a few business tasks that are going to keep me busy for a little while.

Last week I took another trip with my family out to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, so I have more photos to post when I get the chance. I was especially pleased with this batch. The gorgeous weather may have played a part.

The neo-Pagan holiday of Imbolc falls on Friday in the southern hemisphere. I have been making preparations to celebrate on Saturday with a small group of friends. However, I will also be taking Friday off to celebrate on my own. How, I haven't quite decided. It might involve some serious writing or cleaning (or both). I also hope to get some photos of the wattle that's in bloom a couple of blocks away. Fingers crossed that the weather is nice!
calissa: (Default)
It is with regret and relief that I would like to announce my resignation as editor of the Gold Coast anthology.

Many of you will be aware that relationships with the organisers of the project had soured and the publisher withdrew earlier in the week. The organisers intended to go ahead and self-publish. Given the organisers' lack of experience and their complete disregard for our professional advice, my co-editor and I felt it would be misleading to our authors to continue supporting the anthology--particularly since we no longer had any influence over the final product. We tendered our resignations yesterday afternoon.

On one hand, this is a bitter disappointment. There were a number of excellent stories in the collection and I was looking forward to launching my second anthology as an editor.

On the other hand, this has been an extremely stressful time and the behaviour of certain parties has been reprehensible. I am glad to be able to finally put this behind me and move on.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported me in this trying time. I truly have appreciated it.

Busy bee

Jan. 29th, 2014 07:49 pm
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
This is more for my own reference than anything, though there may perhaps be a couple of others interested.

Today I saw an Australian native bee in my garden.

Blue-banded bee )

In other news, editing on the Gold Coast anthology continues so well that tonight I have run out of editing and can now only wait until I've heard back from authors. However, I do still have some admin work to tackle for the project... though I think I will leave it until tomorrow.
calissa: A stalk with drying grass seeds sits in the foreground with a golden hill and blue mountains in the background. (Summer)
There are some impressive looking clouds turning the sky pink in the setting sun. They promise rain but any precipitation that falls is likely to evaporate long before it hits the ground. Southeast Australia is in the middle of a heatwave. Temperatures locally have been hovering around 40C/104F since Sunday and are likely to remain that way until at least the weekend. I count that quite a feat, considering I live in one of Australia's very few subalpine regions. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

The heatwave is not really the reason I have been quiet here lately. Edits for the Gold Coast anthology need to be finalised by the end of the month. I think I'll be done with them all in time but am not quite sure. While I generally enjoy editing, juggling so many stories at once is a bit of a struggle. For the record, I am editing twelve stories and fielding queries from my co-editor on nine more. I really don't remember how I handled Winds of Change all on my own--perhaps I had a longer time frame. I expect that things here on my journal will remain quiet until I'm done.

To make matters just that little bit more interesting, I have come down with a mild cold. Thankfully, it's just enough to be annoying and not enough to make me truly miserable. It has meant that I've had to skip swimming this week, though. Disappointing when the weather is so perfect for it.
calissa: (Default)
There has hardly been a cloud in the sky for days, even though the temperature has dropped back from the scorching summer heat to something a little more comfortable. The claret ash trees are heavy with seed and the oaks have the first beginnings of acorns. As I write this, the sun is slowly setting and the evening is full of the long shadows and golden light that speak so eloquently of the season. The western horizon will still be a paler shade of blue when 9:30 PM rolls around.

Today was my first day fully back to my normal routine. Work--on the Gold Coast anthology, on Wolfwinter, on all the usual things--resumed in earnest. And yet, I still found myself spending the latter half of last week trying to conquer my To Do list. Much like my To Read list, it never seems to grow smaller but only longer, no matter how hard I work at it. In the back of my mind, I know this is the height of foolishness. Everyone dies with something left undone--I've seen the truth of this with my own eyes in recent years. Nevertheless, I find myself anxiously battling to get through everything, trying to "catch up"--to what, I don't know.

What I would like, instead, is to slow down. I'd like to pause, to breathe, to savour the cool breeze coming in through my study window. I'd like to appreciate the life that is passing me by while I worry about my To Do list. This isn't a New Year's resolution, but more a vague hope for the year.

My actual goals for the year are something quite different. Mostly they involve finishing things.

I have approximately ten weeks until my candidate year with the AODA is meant to be completed. I aim to have finished the requirements by then, though I anticipate it may actually take me a little longer (which is fine--a year is the minimum time in which to complete the requirements, not the maximum). Once that is completed, I will be taking some time to consider if I want to complete the next degree.

The Gold Coast anthology is due to be launched in early May. The edits need to be completed by the end of the month. This is my biggest focus at the moment.

My writing goal for the year is to straighten out Wolfwinter. This chiefly involves working out what happens in the second book to a reasonable level of detail and fixing up the pacing issue in the first.

And lastly, I will be participating in a self portrait course called Be Your Own Beloved. I have a few body image issues and so I expect this is going to be a huge challenge for me. I still don't know whether I'm going to be brave enough to share my photos.

Trying to strike a balance between these projects and the stillness I'm craving is going to be yet another challenge... though perhaps one that relates to those self esteem issues.
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
December starts on Sunday. Which means that 2014 is just around the corner. I find myself contemplating what projects I want to focus on next year. This is probably not the wisest thing, considering I've been feeling overwhelmed by everything I already having going, but I'm a sucker for the possibilities inherent in a new year.

I do this to myself every year. It is hard to resist the urge to do All The Things.

I've been kicking around a number of possibilities. Some are very easy to identify. I'll be continuing to complete my AODA Candidate year. By my current estimates, I should be wrapping up with that mid-to-late March--around the time of the Autumn Equinox.

Work on the Gold Coast Anthology will also continue. I am just now entering the phase where the work really and truly begins. The first round of edits are underway and will be heading out to authors soon. A tentative launch date has been scheduled for early May.

Things become slightly more nebulous after that. Currently on top of my priorities list is Wolfwinter and I strongly feel that this needs to be my creative focus for next year. This will mean that I will be unable to participate in the quarterly short story challenges run by one of my writing groups. I am really disappointed to miss out but I know myself too well to think that I can juggle both. I am a slow writer at the best of times and don't deal well with splitting my focus--one story or another suffers. Lately, it has been Wolfwinter that has suffered and I feel that I owe it to myself and others not to keep doing that.

Which makes my next potential project possibly problematic. I have been considering starting a blog on my editing website. This is partly in the hope that it will generate more traffic to the site and thus net me more work. But also, I'd like a place where I can dialogue with a wider community than that at DW. I suppose social media offers that to a degree, depending on the platform, but nothing I'm entirely happy with. Of course, this would mean I'll need to work on generating content and I refer you to the paragraph above. I'd be interested in some perspectives from people who maintain a professional blog.

Good thing I've got another month to iron everything out.

Unsettled

Oct. 29th, 2013 07:13 pm
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
The wind has been blowing in from the south, carrying a chill straight from Antarctica. Although I'm not a fan of the cold, I haven't minded today. When I woke up there was a heavy smoke haze hanging over the city and I was sure I was in for a bad day with my hay fever. Then the wind started up and pushed the haze back north. The sun was warm enough to take the worst of the edge off the chill.

The restless wind suits my mood this evening because I'm feeling a bit out of sorts. After spending the last couple of months working hard to meet deadlines, I suddenly find myself between projects. I've finished off all my editing jobs, except for one that is waiting for me to collect my final thoughts. A tentative table of contents has been put together for the Gold Coast anthology; my co-editor and I are preparing to send out notifications and are about to embark on the early stages of editing. I'm not currently writing anything and can't seem to settle down enough to start my November Project early. I finished reading A Room of One's Own last night and have started in on The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews (on loan from [personal profile] sidheblessed and [personal profile] darakat) but I'm not really feeling all that into it.

There's plenty of stuff I could be doing, I just can't settle.
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
Editing has been picking up lately. I have managed to acquire a couple of new jobs that are keeping me busy and it is taking a little bit to adjust. I am somewhat amused by the fact that, even though I am a person who highly values stability and routine, I have ended up in a role characterised by deadlines and uncertainty.

There are definitely parts I'm enjoying. The sheer variety in what I've been editing has been awesome. It has also been nice to feel like I'm doing something useful with my time (though I wasn't exactly feeling useless before). However, the change in schedule to incorporate more editing time takes a bit of getting used to and my To Do list just seems to get longer by the day.

This afternoon I spent some time having tea and chatting with [personal profile] sidheblessed. I may have mentioned before that we try to get together once a fortnight or so to talk writing and keep each other accountable. Today as we talked I realised how tired I was. I've been chasing one deadline or another for a few months now.

One of the things we discussed was a November Project. Managing injury makes NaNoWriMo difficult, if not physically impossible, for me. So, I have taken to designing my own challenge. This year I have been tossing up between two possibilities. One was completing the story bible for Wolfwinter--something I had very much hoped to do by the end of this year. However, given how tired and over deadlines I am, I am rather regretfully putting this aside.

Instead, I'm going to do much the same thing as I did last year. My current writing journal is an A6 size. Every day for November I am going to fill one page with something creative. This could be a poem (or several), the draft of a story, a photograph, a painting... whatever I feel moved to include. I enjoyed the results from last year and hope it will be low-key enough not to stress me out this year.

Do you have a November Project you'll be working on? I'd love to hear :)
calissa: (Default)
Hour 15 begins (1 PM)
I skipped most of Hour 14 to have lunch and watch an episode of Person of Interest. I'm feeling much better for the break and am looking forward to diving back into it. I have about 8.5 stories left to read. I think I should be able to get through them before bed time.

Hour 16 begins (2 PM)
I have made quicker progress than expected and now have only 4 stories left to read. I should easily make it through these today, which means I shall have to decide on a decent book to read once I'm done. Not another collection of short stories, though--I'll have had enough of those for one day.

Hour 17 begins (3 PM)
I've made it through all the short stories and have moved onto books. Most of the books I'd picked out for the readathon are all short story collections, so I have ditched them in favour of reading The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. This is one of the books that The Witcher computer games are based off. I thought an epic adventure would make a nice change of pace. I had thought that I might read out in the hammock, but the wind has come up and the sky is grey. I expect we may get a brief shower or two.

Hour 18 begins (4 PM)
Hilariously, I discover that The Last Wish is actually a series of short stories. Having the same protagonist is helping, however. I'm also enjoying the fight sequences and will have to have a closer look at them later. I wrote some of my own fight sequences recently for Children of the Crown Wars and felt incredibly rusty. I'm feeling pretty tired at the moment and am contemplating making some green tea.

Hour 19 begins (5 PM)
The green tea has helped and I am feeling a little more awake. I'll likely stop for dinner in an hour. I continue to enjoy The Last Wish and am amused to find it contains a kind of retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Today feels like it has flown past.

Hour 20 begins (6 PM)
Dinner is still cooking, but will be ready shortly. I'll probably take a break while eating and watch another episode of Person of Interest. There are some similarities between the protagonist in the show and the protagonist in the book I'm reading. I'm also amused to discover that I've gone from a retelling of Beauty and the Beast into a retelling of Snow White. I'm sensing a theme.
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
Dewey's readathon begins at midnight, local time. For those unaware, it is a 24 hour readathon in memory of a book-blogger who went by the name of Dewey. It is held twice a year. I missed out on participating back in April because I was attending the Australian Science Fiction Convention. This time I will be participating, but in a slightly different way to usual.

The most essential similarity between this readathon and the previous readathons in which I have participated is that I don't intend to go for the full 24 hours. I do not function well on a lack of sleep and this is an event I'm doing purely for fun--there's no need to torture myself. Last year, I managed more than 8 hours of actual reading time and was pretty happy with that.

I'll be updating on my progress here and on Twitter. As I did last year, I will likely bunch together several hours worth of check-ins here so as to avoid spamming you all.

The key difference this time around will lie in what I am reading. I had hoped to use the readathon to get my Mt TBR at least a little bit back under control. However, I find myself with a number of editing deadlines--most importantly, reading the submissions for the Gold Coast anthology. So, I shall be using this readathon to finish off the last of those. I expect it will take me all day, but I can always drag out some books if I finish early.

Reading the submissions will make the readathon a bit more challenging than usual. For one, I'll need to make notes. It will also likely mean that I spend the day sitting at my desk rather than reclining on the couch. Of course, I plan to take breaks but I'm a little apprehensive about how my upper body will cope. I'll be sure to be sensible.

I'd also best make sure I get some decent sleep tonight...

Recovery

Oct. 7th, 2013 08:15 pm
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
Today was a public holiday in Australia and it has been just what I've needed. I had a couple of social commitments this weekend (a birthday party and a game of D&D). Finishing Children of the Crown Wars on Friday morning meant I could fully relax into those things.

Over the last few weeks--and particularly in the last week--my focus had really become narrowed down to just finishing the story. I wasn't even worried about finishing it well, just finishing it. I was sick of seeing That Damn Story (and every story becomes That Damn Story in the end). So when I finished it, I felt like I had been given my life back. There was suddenly space for other things in my head--like poetry, gardening and seeing friends.

This sense of space is deceptive, however. In order to finish CotCW I had cleared everything that wasn't absolutely essential off my calendar and to-do list. Now I need to catch up on those things. Particularly editing deadlines. I have a week to have CotCW edited into proper shape. I've recovered enough from writing it that I'm not too concerned about it (at this stage, anyway). I'm more preoccupied with needing to finish reading the submissions for the Gold Coast anthology in short order and another job from one of my regular clients. Guess I know what I'll be busy with this week.

At some stage I hope to take some time to reflect on the process of writing CotCW. I think there are some lessons to be learned. My word count massively increased--to the point where I wrote more in one day than I did for the entirety of August. I had not thought that physically possible. I know it's not sustainable. I can't afford to permanently set aside that much time in my schedule. Also, my body just wouldn't be able to handle that level of strain. In fact, I was surprised that it coped as well as it did--practically no high pain days and just some increased pain levels for 48 hours after finishing the story (I'm feeling good tonight). This leads me to think that I could push a little harder than I had been doing prior to my deadline rush, both physically and in terms of word count. However, I need to be smart about how I do it.

I'm considering posting CotCW up here once I'm done with it. If you're interested in being included on my writing filter, please let me know :)
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
I don't tend to work on a whole lot of projects at once because I lack the head space and need to manage pain levels. However, I know that even when I'm a regular visitor to a journal (and more especially when I'm a new reader) I can sometimes find it really hard to keep track of the author's writing projects.

For the curious and confused, here is what I'm currently working on at the moment:

Last updated: 6 October 2013


Gold Coast anthology )
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
The official website for my editing business, Earl Grey Editing Services, has finally gone live. This makes me equal parts thrilled and terrified. Nevertheless, it must be said that Fine Lime Designs have done a great job with putting it together.

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