vanessabrooks: (Default)
I gave a start when I looked at the calendar this morning. The date stared back at me, harmless and innocous, but that didn't erase the surprise. January 25th already and I'm really not sure where the month of January went. I lost the first few weeks of 2010 in a haze of work and illness (mine and others). There is something of a fog surrounding the entire first three weeks of 2010 and as I surface ever so briefly for air, I hope against hope that this is not a portent of the year to come.

Work has been, quite frankly, hellacious. The workload has doubled, perhaps tripled since October 2008 alone but the body count in my department has not. Oddly enough, the body count at the company has a whole has not either. I might even venture forth to say that it has dropped. However, in my line of work, body count isn't always the most important factor. I deal with operating systems, software and hardware . . . and end users. There has been a proliferation of "let's click this and see what it does" combined with general hardware failures that makes me wonder why the whole world doesn't just go to Macs. Being totally brain wiped by the end of the work day is not conducive to writing. It's not conducive to anything other than turning into a vegetable on the couch by 8:30PM and being between the bedsheets by 10PM. I've been reading more (which is a good thing, because writers should read), but the writing end of things has taken a Big Old Hit.

Last weekend my college roomie/bff of almost twenty (gasp!) years threw a blood clot. All right, she threw several blood clots -- one in her arm and "a couple" in her lungs" -- and was hospitalized. She's super independent and also super stubborn, and given to shouldering it all on her own. This meant that my other college roomie/bff had to go visit her in the hospital to lift her spirits.

On Monday, January 18, I awoke with a sore throat and the beginning tinglings of a cold. In hindsight, I think it was more than a cold and that I might have had a bit of flu in there because I did spike a fever. My days since have pretty much consisted of: go to work, pick up daughter from school, have dinner, tag team daughter's homework/projects/extra-curricular/bedtime ritual with hubby, sit on the couch and watch the idiot box (or read) until I can't keep my eyes open, stumbe to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Last night this Creeping Crud Plague began the downward climb into my chest. I have a cough now. A productive cough, but still a pain in the chest cough.

The fact that I'm updating this blog? Amazing.

So, this is my first 2010 update. I thought I should surface and at least let people know what's going on, lest the world think that I've fallen off the face of the earth totally.

Onward and forward I go, like a good little soldier . . .
vanessabrooks: (Default)
Follow me on twitter: @writingnessie

vanessabrooks: (Typewriter with Flower)
In today's Strange Little Band:

Addison slipped into her black, floor-length gown with more happy anticipation than she’d had in months. Although she wasn’t yet ready for her usual form-fitting evening wear–ten more pounds of baby weight to go–the flowing silk dress was an acceptable compromise. It had been far too long since she’d attended a concert, and she intended to make an impression. After one last mental check on her children–Ashlynn with Svetlana, and Jake with Myers–she walked to the recital hall alone.

A hundred of Addison’s colleagues, all in tuxedos or fine dresses, filled the smaller of the Alpha facility’s concert halls. And with good reason: the violinist, a slender young man named Paresh Singh, was marvelous. Addison closed her eyes, letting the familiar strains of Telemann’s Fantasia in E minor wash over her.

Read more at Strange Little Band. But be warned, the bitch is back.
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Addison wakes up to the morning after in today's Strange Little Band.

A preview:

After dressing, styling her hair, and applying makeup, Addison marched to Daniel’s office. She was surprised when his assistant sent her inside immediately.

The king of the facility sat behind his wide mahogany desk, which was appropriately sized for his spacious office. Daniel gave her a welcoming smile and motioned to his earpiece.

Ignoring Daniel’s end of the phone conversation, Addison moved to the floor-to-ceiling windows making up the far wall. The view from the top floor of the administration building was spectacular. Sunlight gleamed on the whitewashed modern structures occupying the interior of the island. A swath of palm trees and tropical foliage ringed the complex. Beyond that were pale, sandy beaches punctuated by craggy outcrops, and the Caribbean stretching to the horizon. Paradise, she mused. Shouldn’t I be happy?

Once the conversation ended Daniel walked up behind her. “I wasn’t expecting you, Addie.” He laid one hand at the base of her neck and rubbed small circles with his thumb. Addison found it distracting at best. “Everything okay?”

Read more at Strange Little Band.
vanessabrooks: (Best Things in Life Aren't Things)
The only thing that I seem to be consistent about is my ability to be inconsistent.

I haven't been updating lately with my word count as I said, however, I have been writing. In the process of pushing out and creating Strange Little Band as just a fun little writing project, Nancy and I left a lot of gaps in the story. Now that we've begun publishing it to the internet as a web serial, we have to actually write up and fill in those little gaps. (Some of them we know, some of them we don't. The latter is really fun. Brainstormapalooza!)

The past week, I've been churning out words of SLB as quickly as possible. The latest installment is at 3020 words and it's not quite finished yet. Last week I churned out 2000+ words. So, I am writing (and I hope doing a good job of it, though I'm not sure about that.) I haven't yet touched my other two possible projects, but hopefully I'll be able to lay hands on one of them in the near future. (*crosses fingers*)

I have been enjoying the revisit to SLB. I'd forgotten how much fun Addison and company could be to write, and the words really are flowing. I've had to change POV and scene a few times in order to find a starting point or to get the story told, but I know that happens sometimes. One day, I'll tackle a project to tell a story from one whole POV the entire tale; you know, on that day when I find I have infinite time and there are more than 24 hours in a day. (Hee! I can dream, right?)
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300+ something (I forget the actual number)

I forgot this last night. Not “real” writing, but plotzing and planning.


Sep. 16th, 2009 07:22 pm
vanessabrooks: (Typewriter with Flower)
She's back in the saddle.

She's also talking about herself in third person, not good at all.

I've decided that I really need some dedication, some effort, some . . . forcing my ass into the chair and staring at a blank screen for however long it takes because that's the only way this writing thing is going to work for me.

So, I'm back and I will write 250/daynight (because who am I kidding? I'm not going to get a thing done at lunch during the day or before The Girl is in bed.) To be certain that I do this, I am going to post my word count every night before heading off to bed. Depending on the time, it might not be much of a post. It might just be a word count, but it will be posted.

I'm not even going to declare a project. I've got two irons in the fire right now, so I'll probably alternate working on those as the muse strikes.

Writing for serious business first; writing for pleasure after the 250 words has been reached.

It is written.
vanessabrooks: (Crying Angel Statue)
I'm PMSing, overworked, over stressed and all around in a not good place right now. I'm easily frustrated/annoyed/depressed/pissed off and taking things personally that I probably should not. Going to put my head in the sand and lay low for a few days AWAY from the 'net.

Just an FYI to those reading. I'm not dead, but I know when it's a good idea to step back and disappear.


Sep. 1st, 2009 08:15 pm
vanessabrooks: (Writing)
Shane searches for "work/life balance" by beating the snot out of a heavy bag in today's Strange Little Band.

Addison Harris is twittering again.
vanessabrooks: (Default)
What? I do.

I have set a writing goal. Originally, it was 500 words/day. Then I found out about the Novel Push Initiative, and I thought, "OH, I so need that." I promptly commented and signed right up. No project hopping is allowed though, so I need to either pick bonus/back stories for SLB or focus on my Universe-swap!Crossover fantasy fare. Four days to decide, so no pressure, right?

(I even told DH that I can't play WoW or any silly little computer games until I've met my word count for the day.)

I'm also setting a goal to do some kind of exercise each and every evening. The Girlfriend and I have been walking, or I've been teaching her to ride her bike. Tonight, sadly, I slacked.

That's it. Short update.

(Oh, side note: Found a hairstylist for The Girlfriend. I think we have a winner. Even if she told me that I was doing the very best with what I've been given to work with. *sob* Oh, c'est le vie. I've lived this long, I'll just keep pushing forward.)
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Every now and again, I begin to ponder whether or not I should give up my desire to write fantasy and/or science fiction novels and instead focus on writing about the trials and tribulations (and joys) of raising a biracial child in a world that is still homogenous. By homogenous I don't mean that there's no acknowledgement of race or racial issues (though, this could be very true depending on what part of the country/world you're in), but rather that everything (and everyone) is still Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, etc.

What do I mean by this? Allow me to explain.

My daughter is biracial. I'm black (Black. Not African-American. The latter is a whole different rant for a whole different day.) My husband is white. Thirty years ago my daughter would have been "mixed." In today's world of political correctness and handling everything with kid gloves, she's biracial or even more specifically "multicultural" or "multiethnic" because God forbid we actually say something that might offend the delicate sensibilities of someone sitting on a high horse who has absolutely no relation or real world experience to identify with the terminology. And I digress . . .

Getting back on track . . . )
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Maybe not hate, but I am more than a bit aggrieved right now.

There is an Avon catalogue in our kitchen right now. On the front it says "Featuring Slimwear."

The model is this little slim thing that probably wears a size 6 when she's bloated. I'm not saying that women of all shapes and sizes don't have body image problems, but ... I'm really going to find it hard to take interest in slimwear when the model doesn't look like she needs it.

Ugh. Does anyone know the average dress size of a woman in the US today? Depending on the source, it's a 12 or 14.

(I swear, when I hit the lottery, I'm going to find a designer and create a proper line of clothes. Gonna call it Pleasingly Plump and it will be for those of us who are short and fat. No, I am not "big boned." Thanks for playing.)
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Is the PCMCIA wireless card. More precisely, finding one that will work with the drivers available for Xubuntu.

The X200 does not have wireless on board (D'oh! Talk about spoiled, I'm just so accustomed to onboard wireless that I assumed it would have it. Yes, I do know what they about what happens when you assume.) This means that I will need to purchase a PCMCIA wireless card. I'm not sure exactly why, perhaps because they are now considered "older" technology, but these do not come cheap. (For the record: I'm cheap frugal.) To get a well known, well tested, well supported card, it will cost between $40 and $80 bucks. The low end of that means finding a card on sale. I found some off-name brands for cheaper, but I'm not too sure about the drivers and support on those.

Anyway, I did my research and discovered this little difficulty with the cards. My friend, B, warned me about this. Sadly, I harbored a belief that my Google-foo might be stronger than his, although he is the Master Chief Luddite and does know considerably more about working with old tech than I do.

The tiny little laptop that could is currently working as a netbook. It's loaded with Windows XP, SP 2. Tonight I'm going to throw Firefox on it. It'll be good to get around the 'net with, but that's about all. It doesn't even have the processor speed for me to load a kid-friendly MMO game on it. (Did you click the link? Is it like the cutest thing ever?)

(. . . I think I know where to get my hands on an old Latitude 100L . . .)
vanessabrooks: (Default)
Check out the awesome, way cool, totally sweet review that Strange Little Band received at the e-Fiction Book Club. That was a real uplift at a time when I needed it.

I know, I made some squirrely odd statement about posting more, and then I promptly disappeared. I disappeared because my grandmother is in the hospital. All signs point to her being okay, so I'm able to relax and focus again. Which means I should be doing some hard core writing tonight . . . and yes, to supply a misquote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "I have but face."

I shall now go to my techie geek happy place. You have been warned. )
vanessabrooks: (Typewriter with Flower)
I stumbled across this great article on why every writer should keep a blog. (I found it courtesy of Melanie Edmonds, the author of a really griping, engaging post-apocalyptic webserial.)

I have a blog (obviously).

I also don't update it nearly often enough (also should be obvious.)

One major reason that I don't update is simply because sometimes it seems like I'm feeding into vanity. I've never been the sort to stand in a crowded room and shout, "Hey, look at me! Pay attention to me! I'm here, I'm here!" (Shh! Those college dorm days and party nights are not open for discussion.) When I blog about my writing, or some deep philosophical musing I'm having (read: babbling about nothing), I feel like I'm being very egocentric. Which, in a way, makes sense because it's my blog. But that sort of center of the world vanity just isnt' me.

The other reason I don't update is because I feel that . . . well, it's boring. As much as I might want to read the latest anecdote of my daughter's day, or report back on a silly conversation I had with my husband, why would anyone else want to read that? Essentially, isn't that what blogging is? Putting material out there for people to read? Or rather that you want and hope that people will be interested in reading, and hopefully comment on, too?

I don't often have deep reflective thoughts. If I do, it seems like too much energy to expend to get them on "paper." If I need to vent, I do it over the telephone or face-to-face with a friend and by the time I'm in front of my blog, I've run out of steam and motivation.

. . . um, I also get distracted and lose my train of thought. That being said, I'm taking my ADD blogging skills and going to get some real work done . . .
vanessabrooks: (Default)
This week on the e-Fiction Book Club Reading Round is Strange Little Band.

If you haven't started reading yet, it's a great time to start and read along with a whole group of readers and reviews.
vanessabrooks: (Writing)
Guess who's coming to dinner? Hint: It's not Sidney Poitier. (Or Ashton Kutcher.) Check it out at today's Strange Little Band.
vanessabrooks: (Typewriter with Flower)
Yes, it's reflective musing time again. (I do this on my lunch break and then post it when I get the opportunity.)

I've been wondering, how do you write? (And by "you," I mean that group of writers who are actually reading my blog.) Do you come up with a great plot or world idea and then craft characters to fit it? Do you have an awesome character for whom you have to find a setting? A mixture of both?

I actually had to think about this one for a while, because I truly never thought about it in this way. For example, I'd played with Addison Harris (or her alteregos) in various different forms, from fantastical to modern to paranormal, from a vast array of ages and experiences before [ profile] tenaciousnancyand I discovered that the "anti-hero" versions of our characters and their darker world was one that just *clicked.* Addison, however, with all her flaws, quirks, vanity and bitchiness might be more of the exception than the rule. There are a few other homeless characters (no world, no story, no setting) that I've met over the years, but that doesn't seem to be the path I tread.

I am a world builder at heart, I think. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that I spend a lot of time and energy creating worlds and scenarios and then floundering helplessly because I don't have a plot to fill the void or with which to occupy any characters. (Though usually at this time, there aren't any characters.) The characters tend to wander in after ward, telling me about themselves, their history and their place in that world.

Just my random musings for the day.
vanessabrooks: (Three Muses)
A new installment of Strange Little Band is up. It's time for Shane to meet the parents family.
vanessabrooks: (Typewriter with Flower)
My brain is practically bursting with writing ideas.

I've been at a creative lull stand still for so long that I've forgotten what it is to be filled up and overflowing with creative ideas. That's not to say that I'll get them down on paper, or even get more than a few chapters written, but I'm considering it A Very Good Thing that the ideas are a-flowing again. It gives me hope that my font of creativity has not yet turned into the dried desert that I was beginning to believe that it was.

Aside from channeling Addison Harris anew (possibility of Strange Little Band bonus/side stories, maybe?), a creative spark lightening bolt fried my head while I lie trying to fall asleep last night.

A little background: I wrote a fan fic story years ago that I considered one of my best works. Mostly because I took the familiar characters and transplanted them to a different setting of my own creation. Doing so, I was able to bring in original characters of my own creation and basically place loose and fun and not have to deal with "canon this" and "canon that." It was fun, it worked out well and a lot of people (evidently) liked it.

For the longest time, this was (still is) one of my favorite settings and writing experiments. I've often wanted to revisit it, but not from a fan fiction standpoint, but from an original fiction take off. I already knew how to change the world and what additonal pieces and parts to include. What I didn't have was a) characters, or b) a method of transport. Amazingly enough, the characters introduced themselves to me last night and it was this primary cast that gave me the answer to the other question(s) as well.

I'm feeling rather accomplished even if I haven't written a word.