Con Nooga 2015

This past weekend I attended what I consider my very first convention. If you wanted to me REALLY technical, Con Nooga wasn’t my first: I attended Wizard World Chicago back in 2003, but that was a comic con before comic cons got taken over by television and film. Then in 2006, I attended less than 12 hours of Context in Columbus, Ohio: I wanted to meet Gary Braunbeck and take his workshop, and I also got to meet Catherynne M. Valente and get an autographed copy of Labyrinth.

But in terms of attending a full con and going to panels? Con Nooga was my first. And it was a good, safe con to have as my first: not overwhelming, but more than enough to teach me what I need to do and/or pack for my next convention. I’m already eyeing DragonCon in Atlanta this year. Cherie Priest! Carrie Vaughn! YAY!

So what did I learn? How was Con Nooga? Did I get to meet the magical Seanan McGuire? Talk to the legendary Timothy Zahn? Read on to find out!

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My Story Is Not Done

I’ve been talking for a month now about a BIG! NEW! THING! I’m working out for my day job. Today, we finalized the BIG! NEW! THING! so I’m going to talk about it here, why I’m doing it, and what I hope to get out of it.

What I’m Doing

I’m changing my day job schedule. Currently, I work five days a week, eight hours per day. Starting mid-February, I’m going to work four days a week, ten hours a day. In short, I’m going to give myself a three-day weekend every week. Holidays, vacation days, and sick days allowing, and/or my boss or I decide this just ain’t gonna work.

Why I’m Doing It

My boss floated the idea to me last fall. My first reaction was, “That’s SO not going to work.” I was so convinced that it wasn’t going to work for REASONS that I actually made up a list of pros and cons, and that list ended up being three pages. But for nearly every con, I came up with a solution that turned it into a pro. But I don’t make big decisions quickly or lightly, so I put it on the back burner. There, it simmered and stewed, and I found myself wanting to do it more and more.

Why? Because while I won’t be going to my day job on Fridays, I’m going to go to work. I’m making Fridays my Writing Work Day.

What I Hope To Get Out Of It

I’ve mentioned it before, but I realized this year that I’m not challenging myself writing-wise. I’ve already proven I can churn out a discovery draft of a novel in a year’s time. So what’s the point of doing that over and over and collecting a bunch of novels that badly need revision? I’ve also mentioned before that 2015 is a big year for me: it’s the ten-year anniversary of my attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop. It’s the ten-year anniversary of my deciding to take my writing seriously. It led to my getting my MA in Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction Program (which now offers an MFA). But I burned out a wee bit after graduation for reasons I won’t get into here, and it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve climbed my out.

It’s time to start taking my fiction to the next level. I want to take my thesis novel from SHU, known here as Codename: Telepathic Soulmates, and start shopping for agents. That requires a lot of work that isn’t churning out new words every day. It requires hard revision, polishing, and research and queries. I want to learn how to manage multiple projects at the same time but in different stages. Why? Because if I ever get published, I’d like to have some good working habits established before I’m thrown in the deep end.

But this is an experiment. Taking a three-day weekend may not always lead to Writing Work Days, but I’m hoping in the bigger picture I’ll start to figure out how to incorporate some of these habits daily and feel productive even if I’m not adding to my daily word count.

We’re trying this through the end of March, and then evaluating the system to see how and if it’s working for my day job. Because if it doesn’t work there, then it doesn’t work and I’m cool with that. Day job comes first, because that’s what’s paying the bills. In the meantime though, maybe I’ll learn something. Maybe I’ll get a new focus and a new motivation.

Maybe this is the year something could happen.

Today’s headline brought to you by Seanan McGuire’s album, Wicked Girls. I can’t find “My Story is Not Done” online, but you can read the lyrics here.

Culture Consumption: December 2014

Ah, 2014 has finally ended, and with that, I say good riddance! At least the stuff I was reading and watching was thoroughly enjoyable, so let’s see where December ended up.

Books

My goal for 2014 was to read 50 books. If you don’t count the novellas/novelettes/short stories, then I fell just shy of that goal. However, if you include those (some of those novellas were pretty hefty!), then my total for the year was 95, which is more on course for what I was reading back in my book blogging days. Still short, but considering the kind of year this has been, quite respectable.

44) Symbiont by Mira Grant
45) Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
46) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Short Fiction

45) The Ninety-Ninth Bride by Catherine F. King
46) The Astronomer Who Met the North Wind by Kate Hall
47) The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin
48) Snakes and Ladders by Seanan McGuire
49) White As a Raven’s Wing by Seanan McGuire

Comics

It utterly amazes me at the number of comics I read every year. Seriously, I added it up, and I read a total of 283 individual issues this year. There’s definitely down from previous years, but the way the issues have piled up is overwhelming, and I still have a very large TBR comic pile. There’s some series that are ending, which is good, and some series I’m pretty close to quitting. That said, I’d like to be more judicious and selective in the my titles for 2015, and keep it to the stuff I’m really into.

Individual Issues:

Batgirl #37
Black Widow #12
Black Widow #13
Ms. Marvel #10
Sex Criminals #8
Sex Criminals #9
Sleepy Hollow #2
The Massive #29

Movies

My husband and I had an epic Harry Potter marathon in December, which was a helluva lot of fun, because it’s been a while since I’ve seen these and it was a lot of fun to go back to the start, knowing how the series ends, and see all the little clues I missed the first time around. I look forward to do the same with the books, but that’s a marathon for a much later time.

Total movies seen this year? 14 total in theaters, and 61 in the comfort of my own home.

In December, we watched the following:

A Christmas Story
Elf
Guardians of the Galaxy
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Home Alone
Palo Alto
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (in theaters)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 (in theaters)
Total Recall (1990)

Television Shows

We didn’t finish and seasons this month, but we completed a total of 46 seasons of stuff. Damn, that’s a lot of television, but when you consider a nice portion of those to be marathons of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Friday Night Lights, it takes up a good portion, and most of the television we watch is during the fall to summer season, so it’s an episode a week for a limited number of shows. Still, those seasons do add up, don’t they?


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2014 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Culture Consumption: October 2014

September’s list might have been late, but I’m making sure October is RIGHT ON TIME.

Books

34) Perdition by Ann Aguirre
35) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
36) Motherless Child by Glen Hirshberg
37) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
38) Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
39) Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Short Fiction

39) Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang
40) In Her Head, In Her Eyes by Yukimi Ogawa
41) Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire
42) The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, The Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar by Gail Carriger

Comics

Individual Issues:

American Vampire: Second Cycle #5
Batgirl #35
Black Widow #11
Caliban #7
Coffin Hill #11
Copperhead #2
Lazarus #11
Ms. Marvel #9
Sleepy Hollow #1
The Massive #27
Thor #1
Unwritten: Apocalypse #9
The Walking Dead #132
The Walking Dead #133

Movies

Gone Girl
Occulus


That’s it from me! Also, feel free to share whatever 2014 stats you’ve got! How many books? How many movies? What were your favorites? Lay them on me!

Cheers!

Culture Consumption: August 2014

It’s that time again! Amazing how fast the time flies, but once more, it’s time for another Culture Consumption. As always, I’ll post a list of what I’ve read/watched over the past month, and in some cases, provide some commentary. If there’s anything you’re interested in or curious about, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments, and I’ll be happy to talk further!

August was actually quite productive. Some of it is due to vacation, and the time I spent in the airport and on the plane reading, but I also spent a few weekends where I said f*** it to the dishes and sat down and read like a fiend. Also, good shows too!

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Culture Consumption: May 2014

It’s that time again! Amazing how fast the time flies, but once more, it’s time for another Culture Consumption. As always, I’ll post a list of what I’ve read/watched over the past month, and in some cases, provide some commentary. If there’s anything you’re interested in or curious about, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments, and I’ll be happy to talk further!

May was a better month than April, when it comes to reading. Granted, it still sucks in comparison to my old productivity, but given all the stuff on my plate, I’ll take it. A head’s up: June will likely be filled with a lot of Hugo-nominated works, as the Hugo Voter’s Packet is now available and given how slowly I’m getting around to things lately, I’m gonna have to get some reading done. 🙂 But I’m happy enough for May’s results, especially on the television side of things, I finally finished watching Breaking Bad and True Detective, so let’s dig in!

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Culture Consumption: April 2014

It’s that time again! Amazing how fast the time flies, but once more, it’s time for another Culture Consumption. As always, I’ll post a list of what I’ve read/watched over the past month, and in some cases, provide some commentary. If there’s anything you’re interested in or curious about, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments, and I’ll be happy to talk further!

April, I will say, was a bad reading month. As I’ve mentioned before, it takes me longer and longer to get through a book, even if I love what I’m reading. But some of that is balanced out by the fact I did some major catch-up of comic book reading in April, and as well as all the shows that were wrapping up this spring.

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