azhure: (me phoenix)

Writing shrine

New grotto/shrine for Thoth from The Fable Tribe.

I’ve kind of fallen off the bandwagon of the photo-a-day thing for this year.  I always like the idea of doing it, and take photos happily for a few weeks and then end up just standing and staring at the same things in the house, thinking that they’re boring.

I think it mostly just reflects how much of a hermit I am, really.  I will keep on taking occasional photos, I think, but not hold myself to taking one every day.

It’s been an interesting last few weeks.  Went through some medical testing last week (which has, pending some other tests, revealed nothing dire, which is something).  I have my first chest infection of the year right now, which is just *awesome*.  I’m hoping that it’ll pass quickly, but possibly not, since I’m immunosuppressed right now, and will probably need antibiotics.  Autoimmune diseases suck.

I have been writing, and holding to achieving 10,000 words per week.  Still working on Shaede, and feeling really happy with it.  I think it may end up being a bit longer than I’d planned, but we’ll see.  I am going to need to hunt up some new beta readers once this draft is done, I think, since everyone who’s betaed for me in the past is probably sick of reading this one (though you’re all welcome to beta again if you like!).

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

Busselton Jetty

The view looking back along the Busselton Jetty, taken last week.

The last few months I haven’t been great about keeping up here.  I have been blogging elsewhere privately, but most of that has just been noting the day-to-days.  Dealing with a kid who has night terrors and nightmares.  Dealing with recent exacerbations of chronic illness, and potentially developing new chronic illness (hooray…or something).  And in the midst of that, writing.

I’m hoping to get back into some kind of a schedule.  Also getting back to posting my links again, because that actually forces me to keep up with my rss feeds.

In news of the good, we managed to actually get away for our first family holiday – first down to Busselton for a few days, and then down to Gracetown to stay with a bunch of friends for a few more days.  And oh gods, I didn’t realise how much easier it was to be on holidays with other families.  The kids entertain themselves!  We actually got to relax!!  Sleep, not so much, for me, since I don’t sleep well away from home anyway, and the kidlet has some spectacular night terrors due to ending up overtired and overstimulated.  The end result is that I now have a tonne of photos to go through.

I have Plans for the next year.  Moving on with the writing, but moving on with other things as well.  My OBOD work, reading and reviewing more, getting back to making jewellery and toying with the idea of learning a new craft.  I can’t believe that this year is almost over.  It hasn’t been a bad one, but I feel like I should have accomplished more.  Life with chronic illness, though.  You don’t always get that choice.  And I am acutely aware, writing that, that I am seriously privileged when it comes to my illness.  I have a husband who supports me, I don’t have to work outside the home, and my mother helps with the kidlet so I can write.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

I don’t want to blog today.  But I have committed myself to blogging every day, and so blog I shall.  Even though it feels most of the time like throwing words out into the aether.

I don’t want to blog because I am vaguely sore from impending Weather (though the pain has actually let up a bit now, which indicates that the barometric pressure has risen a bit), I still have a lingering head cold, and I’ve just finished a writing session and I feel like I have no more words.

There’s a lot of stuff I want to blog about, and I will.  I want to talk about my experiences with postnatal depression, with parenting, with writing.  Sometimes it feels like I’m the All Chronic Illness All the Time channel, and yanno, that can get pretty damn boring.

So I have written, and I have run errands (including seeing the aftermath of someone driving their car into the side of the shopping centre – no one hurt, thankfully, decent amount of property damage and a driver in serious shock).  And soon I will go and read and meander about the net a bit, refilling the well.  Later, weather providing, there will be a walk.

The husband and I watched the first episode of Continuum last night.  Which has potential, but was a bit eh at this stage.  I’m happy to give it a few episodes.  It makes me a bit sad that so much speculative television series end up being mediocre, and I think I always have high hopes.  We’ll see, though.  I’m interested, but not really hooked as of yet.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

To celebrate my birthday this week we decided to take the kidlet to the zoo for the first time on Saturday.

I think he was more enamoured of the fact that we went on a bus, train and ferry to get there, and of the other kids at the zoo, than the animals themselves ;)  But he did like the meerkats and some of the small monkeys and he seemed to love the nocturnal house.

And – so cute – on the way home he turned around and asked “Go zoo again?”.  Heh.

I took a bunch of photos that I need to spend some time processing, but here are a few:

 

Kangaroo

Kangaroo who thought it was a cat, sleeping in the pathway.

Cheetah

Cheetah

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
IMG_0714

Loot! Everything but the bottom three books from the con bag.

This morning I woke up to see the Hugo nominations have been announced.  I am full of fangirl squee to see so many awesome people and books and publications on there.  So happy to see awesome podcasts like Galactic Suburbia and SF Squeecast, and Cat Valente and Among Others and Mur Lafferty and and and!

And I have promptly gone and bought myself a supporting membership so I can vote :)

And in even more squee, I went to Swancon yesterday!  And for once didn’t come away with a ridiculous amount of books.  I did splurge a little and buy the limited hardcover of Kim Wilkins’ The Infernal from Ticonderoga, as well as Damnation and Dames, which was the one book I’d gone intending to buy.  I also indulged in buying some books for other people, including completing a friend’s set of Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court trilogy and buying another friend Joanne Anderton’s Debris.  I so love buying books for other people, especially when I know they’re in situations where they can’t indulge.

(And in an interlude of cute, the husband just opened his collection of Dr Who minifigs for the two-year old to see, and the kidlet is now playing with the ninth doctor and eleventh doctor.  We start them young here.)

Swancon was awesome, mostly because the wonderful Ju introduced me around a lot.  I got to have an awesome chat with Marianne de Pierres, who is just amazing and wonderful.  And I managed to attend only one panel, and only because I was on it ;)  And it was tremendous fun, and I kind of want to do more panels now.

I will likely try to make some more coherent blog posts this week, but I am proud of myself for going, since social anxiety has kept me away from things like this for so long.  And though I am tired and sore and need some serious introvert recharging time, I am very, very glad that I went.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
Gantheaume Point

Gantheaume Point, one of my favourite places. Old photo, because I didn't have the camera out much this week.

This has been an odd week.  Much pain again, with the arthritis flaring with the change of weather.  I think summer is finally gone, with the nights getting cooler and the days milder.  It’s been lovely to not have to hide away in air conditioning all day, and to have fresh air flowing through the house constantly.  The great shift in my exercise routine is happening, too: no more swimming, and building up my tolerance for walking instead.  I am entertaining the idea of purchasing an exercise bike for rainy days, but slightly put off by the prices, especially of recumbent models, which I am drawn towards.

There has been writing, and I’ve been happy with the quality, but not quantity of it.  My pace is much, much slower that I use to write.  But I suppose that I should be thankful that I’m writing at all.  Between pain, a two-year-old and everything else, it would be very easy to just stop and stare at daytime television all day.

I have been devoting a decent amount of energy to uncluttering, which is a very satisfying thing.  We’re not messy people, but there are places in the house that get cluttered with stuff, and when they’re clean and tidy, things feel much better.  I have a massive list of things I’d like to do around the house (painting, for one, she says, eyeing off the horrid yellow walls in this room) but I’m tackling them in small pieces. They all add up.

Watching a child in their second year of life is incredible.  Especially when said child is sleeping well, and therefore the rest of us are sleeping well ;)  He’s developing such an imagination – he re-enacts scenes with his trains, and tells us that Totoro lives in every big tree he sees :)  He still remains one of the cuddliest kids I’ve ever known, too, which is just delightful.  Hard to think that in a few years he’ll be in school.

Links of the week:

4 ways to hack into your mind and become infinitely more creative.

How to become a real writer.

10 books every fantasy author should read.

Making art, making magic.

Why it’s good to give your stuff for free.

10 secrets to creating unforgettable supporting characters.

How to create story structure to die for.

You must engage your creative side.

How I wrote Doll Bones (Holly Black talking word count).

An exceedingly simple guide to keeping a journal.

How to make a living as a writer, part one.  Part Two.

How will we get around in the post-apocalypse?

I want to make this for my kid: Narnia-themed playroom.

 

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
IMG_0486

Awesome is having an artist friend who comes over and draws Totoros with chalk on the paving for your kid.

 

Not the best or the most productive of weeks, thanks to a flare up of arthritis pain.  But I managed to write every day, and to stick to not breaking the chain.  I am officially giving myself the weekend off from work, though – today the husband and I are going to see The Hunger Games in Gold Class, and tomorrow is massage day.

In good news, the pain seems to be less today, so hopefully I’ll be back to being productive next Monday.

Links!

Housing and dreaming community.

The gift of tabula rasa.

Inside an artist colony.

A three-step algorithm for happiness.

Train your brain for monk-like focus.

Cycle to work at your home office.

Does accepting limitations make us weaker?

What’s the value of SF/F awards to the community?

6 simple ways to release flow.

Struggle is a sure sign you’re making art.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

life support

Photo by the amazing Brooke Shaden.  If you’ve never seen her work before, go and look!

I feel like I’m spreading myself too thin again, and that there’s not enough hours in the day for what I want to get done.  I want to write, I want to read, I want to organise the house, I want to play with the kidlet, I want to get the garden sorted out, I want I want I want…

I need to breathe.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
IMG_0366

Things which keep me grounded; the view from the kitchen: tea, geekery, a kidlet not eating his breakfast

 

This has been a hard week.  Two lights lost to the world and moving beyond, two new holes in the world.  I wish I could physically be at the memorials for both.  My heart is there.

It feels somewhat wrong to be moving on (as it always does after a loss), but at the same time it feels right.  The loss of anyone is a reminder of what matters, to value those things in life.  To make our lives worthwhile.

I want to make my life mean something.  To be a good mother to that amazing kid above.  To be a good friend.  To write something that fills a hole in someone else’s life.

I will do these things.  I will make my time on this earth mean something.

On the mundane side, I have been keeping on with keeping on.  Still keeping my chains unbroken, and this week finally getting around to trialling the Pomodoro technique.  Much modified (which for me means that I pretty much only get one or two pomodoros in per day) but so far it’s working pretty well.

Some links for the week:

10 amazing real-world locations for fantasy worldbuilding.

Sometimes what feels like surrender isn’t surrender at all.

Dystopia and the ferris wheel effect.

Are the nutritionists lying to us?

The things that save us.

Are we too obsessed with happiness?

The five best productivity methods.

The art of being fearless.

On piracy and copyright and file sharing and free speech.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
Fable Tribe shrine

New mini shrine from the Fable Tribe

This has been a frustrating week.  My pain levels have been high, and the kidlet’s sleep has been out of whack (which means that mine has been as well).  We suspect he’s working on a molar, but thankfully he had a good night last night, which means that I actually feel human this morning.

In the mail yesterday came my new mini shrine from the Fable Tribe.  Which is amazing and magical and has found a home in my magpie collection of inspiration which lives above my writing computer.  They just updated on Friday, so if you’re looking for some magic, go and have a look at their etsy store.  I was stalking the update so I could grab a specific Glamourkin, and was very happy indeed to be able to nab it.

Not much writing done this week, though I’ve stuck to my goal of trying to get something done each day, even if it’s only a sentence.  I’m finding myself a little stuck, which means that I’ve gone wrong somewhere.  Need to untangle that.  I’m firmly in the middle of the middle of the book, so it could just be that usual middle-of-the-book syndrome kicking in.  My plan is to take a good look at my outline and see if there’s something I’ve missed or which isn’t connecting up.

I have been managing a fair bit of reading – on the ninth (and final book) of Mark Chadbourn’s massive Age of Misrule/The Dark Age/Kingdom of the Serpent series.  I find myself enthralled and frustrated by this series.  There’s so much to interest me, but I feel that there’s huge plot points that feel forced, and the characters are all-too-often sliding into cardboard cutouts.  But I’ve found enough to keep me going through the books, so that’s something.

I continue to pare down my online life.  I left a bunch of Facebook groups yesterday, and I’m going to be going through and paring down my general reading lists as well.  I’m already feeling better for it.

And now it’s a lovely long weekend, which shall hopefully be filled with lots of cuddles from the kidlet.

 

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

I’ve noticed of late that my internet time is becoming a stressful thing for me.  There’s so much drama in groups and between individuals.  It’s gotten to a point where every time I sit down at the computer I end up coming away stressed and frustrated.

And so, I am making some changes.

I’m stepping away from a bunch of online groups and I’m going to stop following people who seem to give nothing but negativity to the world.  This means that I’ll likely be cutting down lists on things like facebook, livejournal etc.

I’m pretty much moving all of my blogging over to here, anyway, so no one is going to miss anything.

It’s time to strengthen the connections that strengthen me.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
Australian Magpie

Australian magpie surveying his domain. Taken using my zoom lens; he was right on the top of a Norfolk Pine.

This week has been frustrating.

I’ve been sick and exhausted and worn out and unable to focus on much at all.  This has resulted in not much writing, not much reading.  Lots of wanting to do things, but being unable to do them.

When I don’t write, I tend to spiral into depression.  One of the things that I’ve been learning in therapy (which should be bleedingly obvious, really) is to take note of the other things that I do get done, especially when my concentration is shot and I can’t work on creative projects.

I’ve maintained the house, cooked meals, played with Liam a lot.  We got some new furniture this week – a new wall unit and new DVD shelving, and I’ve worked to fill them.  Which included polishing of some very tarnished silver.  I’ve exercised every day (doing minimal amounts some days when I was feeling awful).  So, I’m still accomplishing stuff, even if it isn’t what I’d really like to be doing.

The good news is that I’m starting to feel better, and I hope that I’m going to be able to get back into some writing work next week.  I have writer’s group tonight, too, which always kickstarts me creatively.  I don’t have the words to express how much I love my writer’s group.

I am also loving the new camera, and am so happy to have it.  I’ve been running around after the kidlet a lot messing about – he’s very used to having the camera shoved in his face by now.  I look forward to playing more with photography and expanding my skills.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)
First

The first photo taken with my new camera, a Canon EOS600D

It’s been a rough week about these parts.  I’ve been sick.  The kidlet has been sick.  Thankfully it’s only a mild cold, but it’s been enough to disrupt his sleep (and therefore mine) and generally make me feel off enough that accomplishing anything that requires a brain has been difficult.

The result is that I haven’t done much work on anything – writing, reading, website.  But I’ve actually had enough energy (thanks to prednisolone agitation) to get some things done around the house.  We got some new furniture delivered this week: a new wall unit/display cabinet for the lounge room and DVD storage shelves, which both got filled.  DVD organisation proper is still to come, though (see lack of brain).

I also got a new toy in the mail yesterday – a new camera!  I’ve been using and loving my Canon EOS400D for a few years, and have gotten enough interest in photography where an upgrade was worth it.  I toyed with the idea of going for a higher end model, but for what I need, the EOS600D is perfect.  Down the track, I may invest in some better glass, but having the ability to video on the DSLR as well as the flip out screen (which I love from my old Canon point and shoot) is awesome.  You can see the inaugural photo above, with the kidlet being suitable photogenic ;)

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

Today, for the first time in a long time, I wrote.  1,200 words, and they were easy and they are good.  And lo, I am happy.

I’ve lost pretty much a solid month to this awful flu, and the fatigue aftermath.  Last week, the flu itself was mostly passed, but I was hit with bone-crushing fatigue.  Which meant that pretty much everything stopped.  On the worst days, I couldn’t read or focus on anything for more than five minutes.  True lost days.

Somewhere in there, ideas for Bone Girls started to come together.  I’m not certain of the story, but the general shape of its protagonist is starting to emerge.  Ideally, I’d like to have an outline put together by the time I finish this draft of Never, so I can go onto working on the first draft.  Yes, I appear to have become an outline writer.

We finally managed writer’s group this weekend (it had been delayed twice because I had been sick).  It was still hard, because I was one with the fatigue and fever (and spent part of the evening lying on the floor because of it).  I didn’t get much actual writing done, but just being with the other writers is something that feed my soul.  I have wanted a good writing group for so long, and I feel so damn blessed to know these people.  We’re all very different writers with different methods and inspiration, but they all feed me, and they’re all so damn talented with what they do.

Today I am tired, but it’s mostly lack-of-sleep-tired, not bone-crushing fatigue (and yes, they are two different things, and anyone who’s dealt with a fatiguing illness will know the difference).  Despite the sleepiness, I managed to clean the house, deal with laundry (and jag getting it all dry around rain), cuddle the kidlet a lot, nap while he did and begin the process of catching up on everything that I’ve put off for the last month.  I have a lot of Aurealis reading to do, for one thing, which means that a few other things (like my Her Worlds and Words project) are going to get put on the backburner for a while.

It is good to be writing again, oh yes.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (me phoenix)

According to my calendar, I haven’t written properly in almost a fortnight.  Sickness meant that I didn’t have the focus, and depression added to the weight pulling me away from the page.  Today, I feel well enough (with the addition of medication), but a clingy kidlet kept me away from the computer instead.

It feels strange.  To not be writing, though I have been reading.  To be haunted by those days as they pass.  Haunted by all the shoulds: I should be further along in my career, I should be better/stronger/more than I am right now.

Meandering through my books brought me to the biography of Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr, purchased a while ago and languishing unread.  I have been enthralled by her, absolutely fascinated by what made her.  She didn’t start writing seriously until she was much older than I am now, and look at what she produced.  There is still time.

Here is still time.

And the stories, they will come.

Yesterday afternoon, in a break between the unseasonable rain, I walked the land.  I hadn’t been out walking for too long, thanks to sickness, and I’d almost forgotten how much it makes me whole.  I follow a druidic path, and just being out beneath the sky and the trees, the earth beneath my feet feeds everything that makes me.

There are stories in the land, if you only take the time to see them.

Aided by my trusty Atrix, I captured some of them.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

The title pretty much says it all.  Despite getting decent amounts of quality sleep, today was a day of much fatigue.

Despite that, I did manage to be somewhat productive.  1,600 words on Never, a little bit of reading (currently reading The First Australians, which is pretty eye-opening).  Played with the kidlet a lot, managed a trudge (instead of a walk).

And then the husband came home with the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray, so now we get to geek out for a bit.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

first rose of spring

The first rose of spring.

It felt like spring again today, so of course it’s supposed to be raining at the end of the week.  There were showers predicted for today, but I saw nary a drop of actual rain.

Today saw me slipping back into Never, which is both daunting and enjoyable.  I didn’t get a huge word count – just over 1,000 words – but it’s a start.  I have a lot of work to be done on this book.  It does feel very unmanageable when I look at it as a whole, but I’ll just take it a piece at a time and hope the pieces make sense.

I finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle yesterday (which I may have mentioned) and am somewhat at a loss as to what I’ll read next.  I’ve had a few nonfiction books on my currently-reading pile for too long (as well as a few other books), so I’m going to make an effort to finish those, I think.  And I think I have just been convinced via Twitter to finally read Soulless and the following books after that :)

We watched the season finale of True Blood last night and I was quite underwhelmed.  I still have a fondness for the show, and I do think that the TV adaptation from the books is incredible.  But I do wonder how long it’s going to last for.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

 

Desk

Today.

Today I wrote poetry for the first time in well over a decade.  The lines are blurred out, because this poem is a gift for someone.  It’s simple, but I hope it will be a light.

You will also spot a new pile of Glamourkins that arrived today.  I am giving serious thought to using my stash as writing prompts for poetry over the next little while.

Beneath my poetry journal is the printout of the third draft of Ghosts.  I won’t be looking at the line edits until Monday, however.

I did also catch up on my slush reading.  I need to make a post about reading slush sometime soon.  The take home message from today is this: please, please make sure you use correct grammar in your first sentence.  I can forgive some grammar wobbliness if I’m immersed in the story, but right at the beginning it often puts me off from reading any further.

I finished reading Remnant Population, which I enjoyed immensely.  Next book will be We Have Always Lived in the Castle ahead of the next Writer and the Critic episode.  And then I really have to get to some reviewing.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

Spring

Sep. 8th, 2011 09:16 pm
azhure: (dreaming tree)

Crocus

Today’s photo: crocuses in the garden.

Today’s writing: 1,100 words on the third draft of Ghosts, which brought me to the end of the draft.  All that’s left is some line edits and it’ll be sent off into the aether.

It is feeling most definitely like spring.  I have crocuses growing in the garden for the first time, and many other as-of-yet unknown bulbs sprouting up.  The roses have taken off after being pruned, and one even has a bud already.  Along with that comes the usual aphid infestation.  I’ve tried the same trick that worked last year, which is spraying the aphids directly with a solution of dishwashing liquid in water.  I do believe that our lemon tree will actually produce lemons this year for the first time, too.

I’ve moved on to reading Elizabeth Moon’s Remnant Population, which is proving to be startlingly good.  I haven’t read any of Moon’s work before, and am enjoying this thoroughly so far.

And my walking companion this afternoon was the latest episode of the Outer Alliance podcast, which I have also been enjoying thoroughly.  Only about halfway through so far, too!

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

azhure: (dreaming tree)

 

2011-09-07_17-07-09_269.jpg

A view from my walk today.

Yesterday was a lost day, thanks to the lingering post-migraine exhaustion and mental fuzziness.

I’d actually expected today to be not much better.  As it turned out, it was a useful day.  I wrote 2,200 words of the third draft of Ghosts.  Which will be the final full draft I write, I think.  Next step after this is to print it out and do line edits.  And then profit submission!  I’m fairly confident about it as a story, and have had great feedback from beta readers.  Who knows if it’s a fit for the editor’s view of the anthology, though.  We’ll see in due time.

The kidlet had an unexpected long nap this afternoon, which allowed me to finish reading Firebird.  I’m still a little undecided as to how I feel about this book.  I love the fairy tale form, but I feel like more could have been done with it, I think.

This afternoon, a glorious, albeit too short, walk.  During which I listened to the end of the last Writer and the Critic podcast.  Kirstyn and Ian never fail to have me laughing to myself like a loon as I walk down the street, headphones in ears.  I’m really looking forward to hearing them on the Outer Alliance podcast.

Today, spring is creeping over the land.  I think winter has loosened its hold.

Mirrored from Stephanie Gunn.

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