Friday, 31 January 2014

Almost done running

One of the pairings I haven’t ever done is Bella and Seth. Ooh can I cross that off my challenge list? I will have to go check. Yes, I can! There ya go wolfgirlandproud.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I wrote two stories for the ‘Paws and Art 3.0’ and I finally got around to posting the second one yesterday.
It’s here at fanfiction and here at fictionpad.
Because the original banner had been adopted, don’tcallmeleelee made a new one for me, too. It had to be a seductive and flirty looking Bella and Seth. I think she got that down.

I had to mess with the ages a little to make him over sixteen, and therefore legal for sex in Washington State, and I made Bella a college dropout. Initially I had her breaking up with Jasper when he has an affair with her best friend, Alice, but Feebes convinced me to change that. I believe her words were that I would have to extend it one day and the vampire Cullens might need to visit Forks. She knows me so well, lol.
It has almost twenty five reviews, oddly most ask about the rest of the story. *faceplant into keyboard*
Cursed, I tell you… cursed.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kiss me out of desire

banner made by don'tcallmeleelee
What is it about me and rare pairings?
The ‘Paws and art 3.0’ contest had a huge number of banner entries. Eighty of them!
I subscribe to their page on an rss feed, and I kept a copy of the page so that I could access it offline and chose a Seth/Bella banner. I wrote my story and it wasn’t until after I had entered it that I realised that that banner had been adopted and removed from the competition entries. Cue panic attack. Silly me for not checking first! I wanted to support the contest; previously I have won it in 2011 and come third in 2012, so I chose a different banner. There wasn’t another Seth banner option and the point of the contest is to write to the existing banners.
I literally wrote a one shot in an hour or so and sent it in. I knew it wasn’t my best work, but I didn’t have time to do anything else as I was in the middle of nanowrimo and there were very few entries already posted. I was worried about the contest.
So I chose the banner above and wrote ‘Kiss me out of desire’. The title is a line from the Jeff Buckley song ‘Last goodbye’. The rest of the line is ‘kiss me out of desire babe, and not consolation.’ I love that line.
It is posted here at fanfiction and here at fictionpad.
Summary: Leah's deep and abiding anger attracts the attention of someone who feels emotions. Someone who is tired of control, and strict diets and suppressed libidos.
It has over fifty reviews most of which complain that they need more and I can’t leave it where I did. Bwahaha. My eternal curse!
It certainly has places that it could go but it would be a rare outing for me; I have never written fanfiction with a Cullen main character before, but I like Jasper’s darkness.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Google drive scripts

I use Google docs (sorry, I am so old school) Google Drive to post chapters for my betas to check. We can all access a document, once I have granted them permission and vice versa for me with their documents. We can even chat if we are in the document at the same time. It’s a great system and it works well for us. We have fallen into a colour coded pattern where each of us uses the same colour so that the doc owner knows who made which comment.
My big issue with Google Drive is that it has no running total word count. I know I can press ctrl/shift/C and get the number of words in the document, or the part I have selected, but I can’t add a sentence here, a word there and a big bit in the middle and know how many words I just added.
I have searched for a long time to find something that would do that. I did find a program on greasemonkey but I don’t trust the maker and there are not enough comments from people to say whether it worked for them (or not) for me to be installing a program that allows access to my documents.
I use a program called Evernote to copy web pages. It is very neat and very useful when I am researching a topic. It is all stored in the cloud, with urls, text and images etc and I lose nothing if disaster happens. Plus, it starts to auto tag stuff. Oh, this should go in ‘fic ideas’ marked ‘succubus’. Yes, it should. Pats Evernote. It also synchs with your phone.
The Evernote ambassador is Jamie Todd Rubin, a scifi author who writes computer code as a day job. He loves spreadsheets and being super organised. Recently he shared his basic code for a Google doc word counter that works with Evernote.
I read it and it looked perfect for me. I took a deep breath. I am not techie. And I love the way that people who deal with code all the time say ‘it’s so easy’… sure, it is.
As I understand the code, you write in a particular folder. At the end of the day, the script makes a copy of what you have written and puts it into a different folder. It compares it with yesterday’s copy and counts the number of words added and posts that total into another spreadsheet under the date. It then emails to my Evernote address, a copy of what was added.
As a writer this is neat. I am always terrified that I will edit and ruin something. It would effectively give me daily backup copies. Bonus!
To use this code, I had to install goggle scripts, copy in more than a thousand lines of code on two pages and make some adjustments - my email address, time zone, document names and so on. But I couldn’t get it to work. Test runs failed at a particular line. It took me long enough to work out how to do a test run! Jamie said he doesn’t have time to help people get it to work and that is fair enough; he’s busy.
I did some research. I read up on Scripts and I changed one line of code and voila! (I had to change the spreadsheet to find by url not id#. If I ever move that spreadsheet it will fail again. Note to self: do not move spreadsheet.)
Today I got an email and a line of numbers in my spreadsheet. And I am so proud of myself.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Goodreads author program

I was reading an article about the Goodreads author program and how they had hit the milestone of one hundred thousand authors and twenty five million members. Something made me type in one of my ISBN numbers and eek - cue panic attack - it’s listed on Goodreads. It was a freak choice that one of my seven titles was listed and I hit the right one. But unfortunately under the wrong AM Gray. It’s a common name. Sigh.
I have many skills but knowledge of US Marine Corps campaigns isn't one of them. To differentiate us, they have designated me as AM two space Gray. That is so my Native American name! It will look the same on the site. Somewhere out there may be AM three space Gray.
I am not sure that I am ready to join the author program but so be it; I'm there now. And my profile pic is the bright green absinthe porn fairy that enjoyyourjacob made for me for JBNP. Lmao. It looks good.
I just noticed that I am number 146 in the list of top reviewers. Goodness me. I assume that is just for Australia. I’d be nowhere near that anywhere else.
So, yet another online place to find me. Now I am a real author and the prospect is terrifying. I suppose I should go off to write some more.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fandom choice awards 2014

Last night the awards were announced. I was nominated in five categories and I won a prize in all five!
1.            equal first all-time favourite author
2.            second all-time favourite Story for ‘Closer to God’
3.            first in best erotica - ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’
4.            first in best non canon story ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’
5.            first in best non-traditional story ‘Swan’s mate for life’.
I am just blown away. Swan's is one of those stories that divided people. Some just didn't like it and that is fine; everyone is not going to like everything I write.
And I have said before how excited I am by the acceptance of Josh; my basically original main character. So many people keep telling me that they forgot it was a fanfic story. All good news to the hopeful writer inside me.

Thank you also to the fandom choice awards site and Tricky Raven for running the awards. Great job! There were clearly a few close runs this year. Thank you also, to everyone who nominated me and voted for me.

10 books that have stayed with me

I follow a tumblr site called bookporn. This week they have been asking for people to send in ten books that have stayed with them. Off the top of my head, I typed out ten names. If I had to think about it or go through my Goodreads listing I might have a different ten books.
So this is them and this is why… which, I think, is the more interesting question.
10 books that have stayed with me:
1.      A winter’s tale - Mark Helprin.
I have never fallen in love with a book before. I can’t even say what it was that made me buy this one; I think it was the cover with the flying horse? I read it aloud to my then boyfriend and he loved it, too. The story of an older Irish burglar and the girl he met who sleeps out on the roof in the snow. It is utterly beautiful and I must find the time to read it again, soon. Especially before the movie is released and the images I have in my head are replaced by Guillermo Del Toro images. Hopefully that is not a bad thing. Cross fingers.
He has cast Colin Farrell as the older burglar, Peter Lake and Russell Crowe as the leader of the gang the Short Tails, Pearly Soames, his enemy. A story of someone who loves so completely that he stops time for her. The trailer makes me cry. I am so hopeful.
2.      Testament of youth - Vera Brittain
The story of a young woman’s life during the First World War. Coming up to its centenary I suppose. I was maybe seventeen when I read it? I cried, I took up calligraphy and wrote out passages in bad script and I mourned with her for her lost loves and the tragedy of the lost generation of English youth. ‘The flower of British youth lying dead in the trenches’ … I think that was Wilfred Owen?
Unsurprisingly, it is also considered a feminist classic.
3.      American gods - Neil Gaiman
Impossible to describe. What if the gods got their power and their existence from the strength of your belief in them? You move to live in a New World and you bring your old gods with you. How do they survive? What conflicts do they have? The kind of book that one person ONLY read for an entire year and still found things in it that he hadn’t seen before. The kind of book that you could read again and always find something new.
4.      Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Gah! These books. A world in which the metaphors she uses for love with the Native American boy are the air, the sun but for with the vampire boy? She uses drug metaphors - my own brand of heroin… no prizes for guessing which one she chooses…
She somehow wrote an interesting cast of side characters with great back stories and forgot to do the same for her main characters. I write fanfic to fix them; they are  awful but influential as I now write for myself. I have to give them that.
5.      The fountainhead - Ayn Rand
I feel as if I should apologise for this one and in a way, not. A man who would never sell out; never give away a single part of his principles for any reason… a man who chooses elegance and simplicity over decoration? I like him. I do. Ayn Rand’s philosophy of the virtue of selfishness… I think I even had a copy of it at one time.
Did it help that Howard Roark was played by Gary Cooper in the movie? Absolutely.
6.      The secret garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
My old hardback copy of this one is battered and worn. I sobbed as I read it aloud to my children. I adore this story. The spoiled, horrible brat who comes to a large, heartless home and somehow manages to find her own heart and her uncle’s is a beautiful tale. And she discovers the therapeutic value of gardening. It’s all good.
7.      The magus - John Fowles
His first novel, I believe and an old one 1966. One of those books that you need to read again in order to understand it properly. I do think the Godgame might have been a better title. Nicholas Urfe spends a long time in the company of an eccentric Greek millionaire before discovering that all his psychological games, his paradoxical views on life, his mysterious persona, and his eccentric masques has less to do with  the millionaire and more to do with Nicholas.
A wonderful glimpse of how writing can make it all seem real. The games, the masques, the artifice… I believed it as a reader. It is a powerful lesson to learn.
8.      Tunc - Lawrence Durrell
I am hard pressed to choose a favourite Lawrence Durrell. It took me a long time to realise that this wonderful creature was the annoying eccentric elder brother of the cuddly Gerald Durrell with the books ‘My family and other animals’. He is an expat brat who ended up living in Corfu (with waters "like the heartbeat of the world itself") in 1939 and following the Bohemain life.
I imagine that Alexandria is just like the city he write and clearly adored; the city of his dreams. I fear to go there because it would just disappoint me. A man who was ruled out of the Nobel Prize for literature because of his “monomaniacal preoccupation with erotic complications.” Needless to say, I like that.
Tunc, again, had passages that I wrote out in calligraphy, they spoke to me so well.
9.      The amber spyglass - Philip Pullman (the whole His Dark Materials trilogy, really.)
What is it with me and sobbing? I read this to my children and again, could hardly get the words out I was so moved. These are NOT just children’s books; they really are not. They deal with such powerful things and I guess that is the magic of writing what are perceived to be books for children; you can get away with it.
This is the story of a small girl who goes to the end of the Earth and even kills God to keep a promise to her friend. The first love. And a knife so sharp that it can cut a passage into other worlds.
10.    Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
Another wonderful series of children’s books. Here, special people have a skill; when they read aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world. Just imagine it?
The problem is that someone else has to go into the book world, for balance. Meggie’s father Mo, when reading to her, sees her mother get sucked into the book and the bad guys who came out don’t want to go back, so they destroy all the editions of the book to stop Mo trying to read her out again.
That works until Mo and Meggie find the author… Another darker than you think it will be children’s book. But the concept that authors literally made other worlds with their words stuck with me.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Fanfic-n-tastic awards

I’ll be home for Christmas won second prize in the best Wolf Pack Story category of the 2014 fanfic-n-tastic awards.

Congratulations to all the winners! Check the winners’ list here.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me!

Friday, 3 January 2014

2013 in a nutshell

I keep a spreadsheet and enter in how many words a day that I type up. It was last year’s resolution. My target was 2,000 a day; some days I miss that by a mile, some days I obliterate it. Some days I look at my scrivener total and say, ‘whaa… no way.’ Other days my PC auto-restarts before I got to write the total down.
I hate those days.
I would love it if Google docs could make a session target word count or a running count like scrivener. I keep asking; maybe, one day. There is some hideously complex way to write program commands for it, but me Luddite… don’t know how… yet?
So what did I work on in 2013?
·       I finished ‘Swan’s mate for life’ (217,071 words),
·       I wrote nine Twilight one-shots (29,000 words) plus a few more anonymous competition entries.
·       I started expanding ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ and finished it (187,764 words).
·       I posted 48 original short stories on the blog (and wrote a few more that I haven’t posted yet).
·       And I rewrote Bluebeard as my nanowrimo project (50,521 and counting)
plus I worked on some fanfic (my Nov total was 78k) I did work on some other original stories, and
·       I finished an erotic novella.
My total words written for the year, according to that spreadsheet is 487,374. That sounds like a lot but it isn’t 2k a day; it’s about 1400. And dammit, I won’t crack the half million. Ah well, that can be my aim for 2014, right?
So, here were my resolutions for 2013:
1.         I will write and publish one novel (approx. 100k words) and a novella (20-40k).
2.         I will reach 500 likes for my Facebook author page.
3.         I will write 2,000 words a day.
4.         I will write less fanfiction.
5.         I will improve my writing, grammar etc.

So how did I do?
1.               I wrote that novella (YAY) and half of two more novels (which sadly is not a whole novel - grin). I sent the novella out but forgot to send it to other publishers when the no reply time period was up. I think I need a literary agent who can do that for me, but I can’t get one until I finish something big and can wave it at them.
2.               I have 152 Facebook likes. I don’t know how to use FB properly and it annoys me asking me to pay for ads to contact people who have already liked me. It’s not advertising; it’s extortion. But I must remember to post there more frequently. Sorry FB fans.
3.               I wrote about 1400 words a day. I almost did Nanowrimo every single day of the year. Wow.
4.               oopsies. Still maybe two thirds fanfic.
5.               I didn’t read any more of the grammar books I bought after July. But I still think I am doing okay on this one. I did try to follow better story planning setups but there are so many of them that it confuses me sometimes. And I fell in love with Scrivener.
Basically it was an epic fail.
As MTR, I won six awards and was nominated for a few more that I have honestly lost track of. Bad mtr.
I did manage to finish the Goodreads challenge and read 80 books (21,382 pages) for the year. I did 50 last year, and set 75 as the target for 2013, so that is a big improvement. I don’t think I can do 100 but might set it at 80 and see how I go. That’s one and a half books a week.

So, I think I just have to try to be more organised; not easy for a scatter brain like me.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

twifanfiction recs for the month of December

‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ has been nominated in the twifanfiction recs for the month of December. There are seriously 46 stories and 45 of them are Bella/vampire. Bwahaha. Oh, my god… I love it! They have listed him as an original character - maybe they don’t know he’s a wolf and is Sam’s dad? I am squeeing.