Long Time Coming

I’ve been meaning to update my blog for a while, and I know this has been a long time coming. I’ve been exhausted though, and somewht distracted. Exams finished almost a month ago, but they left me feeling drained. I had a whole entry I was going to write about the top things I learned after my first year at Durham, and all I can think to say is just don’t do it.

That’s not true, of course. Totally do it, it’s, I’m sure, worth it in the long run. But it’s just such a different experience than community college, or even American universities. It’s so intense. I’ll still write the entry, I think, but I’m still getting over the stress.

Since finishing the year, I’ve been trying to work on other things. I’ve been working on brandng for a pen name I have in mind in which I write according to certain tropes. It’s an experiment and also a means of me trying to figure out self publishing before I consider whether or not I want to put something out there I’m really proud of. Part of this pen name experiment is that I’m looking at a bunch of writer self-help books, taking their advice and trying to put it to use. This includes advice from groups like 20booksto50K, which encourages writers to publish a book every three months, and books like 5000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox.

I’ve also finsihed revising my (hopefully) finally draft of my novel that I’ve been working on for the past four years. It’s in the hands of beta readers at the moment, and I have somewhere I’m looking to sumbit it to this month. I’ve also been working on a couple of short stories, one which I’ve submitted as well. I’m waiting to hear back on those. Last year my goal was to submit three things for publication, which I did. This year is to double that. Once I submit this novel, I’ll be four in, with two to go. We’ll see how it all goes.

And finally I’ve been doing things regarding my wrist, which is still causing me problems. Granted, they’re nowhere near as bad as they were, these problems, but I still have issues with it. I went to a musculo-skeletal doctor (however that’s spelled), who sent me to have an MRI done. I did that the other day, which was a very weird experience. Then next week I’ve got to have elctronic pulses or something along those lines sent through my nerves.

I do have to say, as I always do, kudos to the NHS. I wouldn’t be able to get any of this done in the States, nor, I’m sure, would a doctor recommend having these things done.

But that’s the brief catch up. That’s where I’m at.

Update: Snow and Writing

My last post was a bit of a winge. I will give you that. So I thought I would update and iterate that it wasn’t as bad as it felt at the timeand update in general.

Snow

The snow is finally easing off. Most of yesterday was above freezing, and I could even see some green patches of grass around the caravan where it was just finally pissing off, as requested. We still don’t have any water, since our pipes are still frozen. But I’m off to work in an hour and I suspect that the frozen pipe issue will have remedied by the time I get home. As I am writing this I can hear the water trying so hard to come back on! There are drips!! This is very exciting as we’ve been without for four (this is our fifth) days!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to do dishes in my life.

Honestly, while I was frustrated, it wasn’t as bad as I made it seem. We had electric the whole time, which was fine. Our gas worked the majority of the time, which meant we could cook. We were able to go to one of the farm houses and use their water for a shower and to fill up water bottles to bring here so we could drink (coffee), wash the minimum amount of dishes, keep the dogs hydrated and cook.

None of the dogs died from being too cold. Our chicken didn’t die (Did I mention we have a chicken and hatching eggs???) and the birds outside this morning are sounding pretty pleased with themselves.

Also, the week from school (yeah, week from school because between strikes and snow days, I haven’t been to one lecture or tutorial in a week)

Writing

My Project

As I wrote about a few days ago – and have had some pretty positive response to – I am trying to get a publishing project off the ground at the university. I’ll tell you, it’s slow going. While I know the project has been dispersed via a few news letters, I’ve so far only had one student response, who seems quite keen. I won’t lie, I don’t know what to do now. I’ve asked for some background information, and he sounds like a good option, but I don’t know if I should just say ‘great, you’re in!’ without actually meeting him first. However, because I’m impatient, I’m thinking I’m going to just tell him ‘welcome aboard’ and go from there.

But I don’t actually know where to go from there. I mean, it seems logical to meet up with him any way, and we can start discussing the details of everything – how to set up the web page, what our first theme will be and so on. But I’m thinking that I should give it a little bit more time to try and acquire a fuller team before I start moving ahead. After all, I think it’s only been a week or so that the word went out.

The problem I’m facing regarding this is that I’m hoping to get the website and call for submissions out by the end of May with a deadline of August and a selection by September. This would allow the first issue to be out by November. Which sounds like a good plan, except we have to consider that I’m planning on working with just students. In two weeks, March 16th, we all go on break until April 15th (or thereabouts), so a lot of students will be going home. After that, it’s only two weeks until exams, which will be going all month long. My first exam, I think, is on May 4th (maybe 9th?), and the last one is on the 26h. After that I’m done with uni for the summer.

Because of this schedule, I don’t know how many people are going to be able to devote any time at all toward this project and getting it set up. I don’t know how many will have time to respond now. THe only thing I can think to do is get the guy who’s responded, work with him to try and get things done as much as we can between us, and hopefully people will respond to the submission call, and we can try and recruit more people over the summer for aspects like graphic design.

So while I’m impatient, I”m impatient for a seemingly legit reason.

Non-Uni Projects

I’m working on a short story at the moment for a competition. Among all the other things I’m doing, I’m trying to turn out short stories on the regular to submit to paying competitions in an effort to get some more cash flow. This week off has been pretty helpful with both essays and creative writing, but it’s also been pretty influential on my laziness,

Carpe Nocturne

While I had mentioned that there was a bit of a delay with the last Carpe Nocturne issue coming out, there is still that issue. I’ve been in contact with one of the section editors who has been in contact with the producer of the magazine, though he hasn’t heard anything new yet. While I had hoped that this issue would be out by the end of February, it’s still not out.

Wonderbox Publishing

The Anthology still isn’t out. I haven’t heard anything more about it either. The last I had heard, the digital copy was going to be released and there was going to be a Kickstarter (or some equivalent) to get a print version on the go. I thought that in order to make that happen, it would have started ages ago. However, again, I haven’t heard anything.

Ugh. Writers.

Blogs

And, just as a general self-promotion, I thought I would share my recent blog posts from other blogs. Actually, I”ve only written in one blog other than this one, so I’ll essentially just list and link the blog entries (nice and simple, yes?)

 

A General Update: What is Going On with Writing

Of course, as to be expected, university and general life has kept me pretty busy.  But I do have some writing news that I thought I would share.

New News

First of all, I am now an editor of Durham University’s online magazine, The Bubble, specifically an editor of the environment section. I am one of three, and since our writers are pretty few and far between, I am essentially one of the writers for it as well.

Wonderbox Anthology

I haven’t heard any more regarding my publication with Wonderbox, so I think they’re running a bit behind. Initially they had said they hoped the digital copy would be released by the end of February, though it’s pretty close to it and I haven’t heard anything about it, nor seen any advertisement on their social media.

Carpe Nocturne

Carpe Nocturne has also had a few setbacks, and the winter issue that was meant to come out in the middle of January should be hopefully released at the end of this month as well, though the communication has been pretty scant.

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Blogs

However, despite the addition of projects and setbacks of other publications, I have had time to get a little bit of blogging in on my other two blogs:

Hodgepodge and Food Gathering, my frugal-living blog: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Incubating Chicken Eggs
As someone who hasn’t really done the incubating thing other than when I was maybe 7 and in elementary school (I recall a whole farm unit. I think I had a teacher obsessed with cows), I don’t really know too much about incubating eggs. So I thought I’d share what I learned.

Hopscotch and Woolgathering, my travel blog: Brancepth, County Durham
We happened upon a very quaint little village, and thought I would share our experience.

Other

I have a new project that I’m working on through the university, though until it gets at least slightly off the ground, or starts rolling in one way or another, I don’t know that I’m ready to talk about it. So that’s about all you get from that!

 

MyHorrorLives.com Blog

A very good friend of mine writes horror. You can find his work in Carpe Nocturne Magazine, HorrorAddicts, and his website. He’s recently expanded from beyond writing horror to compiling a blog. I’d like to share one of his entries, for those of you who are horror movie addicts–feel free to visit his site and argue or agree with him! 

Best Horror Movie Deaths

Being a better reader

While I’m working hard to get get my writing out there, trying to create more fiction for the world to read, trying to prove my professionalism, and just trying to get known as a blogger (ha!), I have to remind myself that it is a two-way street:

I have to read.

That’s not to say that I don’t like to read, because I absolutely do dig it. I’m posts of the past I’ve made vows to read x amount of books in x time because I just don’t do it enough. In fact, way back when I started this blog, in the before school times, I said that I wanted to go for an English degree in part because it would make me read more.

I wonder what it is that has deterred me for so long?

This is in part the reason why I’ve committed to writing bi-weekly book reviews. Not only am I now held accountable for reading, but I’m really looking into what I’m reading and I have to be kept to a schedule. It’s a good thing. I thrive on deadlines.

But there’s something more important that I should be doing that I’m not doing nearly as much: reading fellow writers’ blogs. I subscribe to so many of them, but I rarely actually go through my WordPress reader feed and click on the entries. How can I expect to learn and grow as a writer if I’m not reading the work of my blogging peers as well?

This is something I intend to work on. However, it’s finding te time that I’m struggling with. I’m so busy trying to be supportive on social media, the online writing groups, the newly published authors whose books are recently released, the news, and writing my own things and participating in self promotion, as well as working full time, entertaining family while they’re visiting, and the rest of life–where do I find time to read and support my fellow bloggers?

As I stand in the ice cream shack that I manage, scrolling numbly through my Facebook page, I wonder what on earth i can give up to make me a better reader.

There’s an obvious solution here, you know.

So! Instead of scrolling through Facebook while waiting for customers, I chose to write this post on my phone. See what I did there? An ample opportunity to be reading and instead I’m working on my own thing, complaining about how I’m promoting the work of others!

I promise I am going to change this, hopefully.

Hold me to it! Make me accountable!  A slacker, poke me with a hot stick and tell me to knock it off! You have my permission.