#WIPpet Wednesday – “Make no mistake” + #ROW80 Update

cupidI’m going to start my post with WIPpet Wednesday, so that those who are only visiting for that don’t have to scroll through all my lists in my ROW80 update. For those who don’t know WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop where writers come together and share excerpts from their WIPs. The only rule is that it has to somehow relate to the date. The linky is here. I’ve got three paragraphs from Unicorn Love. After Aphrodite informs Lydia that she was responsible for Lydia and her (now ex-)boyfriend, David, coming together in the first place, she drops another bombshell: David is moving back to town.

“He’s been offered a job here, and he’s hoping that enough time has passed that he can deal with the return.”

“Then I imagine he’ll be trying to avoid me at all costs.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Lydia tilted her head at her boss. “Five years later and he’s still got your number on his phone. His fingers have hovered over it more than once in the past few weeks, though he’s talked himself out of calling you every time. Make no mistake, Lydia, you are certainly on his mind.”

As you’ll see below, I have basically finished Unicorn Love. The whole story is there, I just need to polish some of it up.

Onto a ROW80 update. ROW80 is the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have Life. Last week I decided to try setting myself some weekly goals to see if it helped with my time management. I think it was really beneficial and I’m definitely going to keep doing it. Here’s how the last week went:

  • Complete readings for critical exhibition review for MUSC8017 – completed Monday night
  • Get first draft of critical exhibition review up to 750/1500 words for MUSC8017 – I got it to 736 words, which is close enough.
  • Complete Module 2 forum discussion response for HIST8015 - I wanted to do this last night, but ended up being too tired. Howeverm Module 2 runs for this week as well, so I’m okay.
  • Do 50% of readings for Module 2 online exercise (HIST8015) – ditto
  • Write a review of Cinder to go up on here on Friday - done and done!
  • Finish second draft of Unicorn Love. – also done! Though the final scene is awful and basically needs a complete do-over. But I’m having some away time for a little while before I do that.
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs and at least 50% of the WIPpet Wednesday blogs – while I only got to maybe 30% of the WIPpet blogs, I did visit some ROW80 blogs after the Sunday check-in (even though I don’t actually participate in that one myself).

row80Additionally to everything above, I also brainstormed a new short story on my lunch break on Monday. I wrote a little of it during a meeting on Monday afternoon but I think I will wait until I’m on a computer to really start it in earnest. I’m quite enjoying the short story writing, even though I don’t know what I’m really going to do with them later.

So, goals for this week. We have a long weekend in my state this week, so an extra day for doing things! :D (though that day will probably be reserved for housework, as my other half is working anyway, so I’ll have the house to myself)

  • Write review of Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Spend an hour each day reading
  • Write 500-1000 words on First Christmas*
  • Complete A Day In My Life post for LiveJournal.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet posts and at least 5 ROW80 blogs
  • Complete Critical Exhibition Review for MUSC8017
  • Plan 750-word response for HIST8015

*I actually have no idea how long this story will be, but this will be a good start on it.

This is how I’ll achieve these goals:

  • Write Redshirts review tonight
  • Spend an hour writing tonight with the Internet turned off
  • Organise photos and post ADIML post tomorrow
  • Spend an hour tomorrow finding sources for history assignment
  • Dedicate Saturday to critical exhibition review. Ask Edy to assist with structure, as well as making sure what I think is critical analysis is in fact critical analysis.
  • Spend two hours on Sunday doing reading for 750-word response. Make notes.
  • Spend an hour (or two if necessary) on Sunday dot-pointing a plan for response.
  • Spread out blog visits over the weekend.

If some of the weekend tasks spill over into Monday, that’s okay, but I’d like to have one full day of the long weekend to enjoy if I can manage it. (I know what you’re thinking: “Enjoy? But you said you were doing housework.” Yes, well, I’m one of those people who gets immeasurable pleasure and satisfaction from cleaning).

We’re waiting for dinner to be delivered right now, but I think I will go start on my Redshirts review. I’ll catch up with you all soon!

~ Emily

Independent Publishing and DMCA Abuse, or “How a Scammer Got My Book Blocked with Very Little Effort”

Emily Witt:

So… this is basically terrifying.

Originally posted on The Active Voice:

Okay, I’ve got a story. It’s a sort of scary one. I think independent/self-publishing authors need to know about it, and telling it carefully and correctly is also important for my own situation, so I’m going to take my time and lay it all out in order.

Pressed for time? You can skip to the bottom for the TL;DR summation.


Becca Mills - Nolander - 333x500 On Friday, February 27, 2015, I noticed that my bookmarked Amazon.com link to my first novel,  Nolander , was yielding, “We’re sorry. The Web address you entered is not a functioning page on our site.” I went to my Amazon dashboard and discovered the book had been blocked.

In my spam folder, I discovered an email from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing arm, informing me that someone had sent in a DMCA notice. In response, Amazon had summarily blocked Nolander from sale.

“DMCA” stands for “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”…

View original 3,853 more words

#MirthMusicMon – The Greatest Little Hobbit of Them All

It was a sad weekend for nerds the world over who learned on Friday (or in the case of Australians, woke up to the news on Saturday) that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. For anyone who has been living under a rock for the past fifty years, Leonard Nimoy played Science Officer Mr Spock in Star Trek, both the TV shows and several of the movies (he even had a cameo in the JJ Abrams reboot in 2011). He was an actor, director, photographer, poet, and teacher, but he’ll always be known as the logical pointy-eared half-human, half-Vulcan.

In honour of Mr Nimoy, I have this fabulous little song that he recorded in 1967. It’s actually incredibly cringe-worthy, but glorious once you get past that. :-P

Since that is not actually the lasting memory anyone wants to have of Leonard Nimoy, here’s a compilation of Spock at his snarky, I mean, logical, best.

Join us over here for Mirth and Music Monday. Feel free to post your own things, too!

~ Emily

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author:
Marissa Meyer
Genre:
YA/sci-fi/romance
Date Read: 18/02/2015 – 24/02/2015
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Cinder_CoverAccording to GoodReads, this book was on my TBR shelf for almost exactly three years. A friend of mine started reading it and that made me think I really should get around to it myself. After all, I love fairytale retellings and who could resist cyborg Cinderella, right?

For a start, I think I maybe made the mistake of beginning this book in the wrong mindset. The book I had read immediately before this one was quite a mature, dark urban fantasy/horror novel, and maybe plunging into YA sci-fi immediately wasn’t the greatest idea. While it was very readable (I knocked it over in a couple of afternoons), it’s also quite predictable. I had worked out who certain characters were (but didn’t know they were) by about chapter three. I also didn’t feel any particular investment in any of the characters. They all had pretty awful things happening to them, and I certainly sympathised, but I didn’t feel any real investment in them.

This improved in the last quarter. The stakes got higher, characters confronted each other, and there was finally a bit of action. I actually think Queen Levana, the villain, is one of the best-crafted characters in the book, and seeing her finally interact with Cinder as well as Prince Kai, was really good.

The world-building is interesting, though I always felt it was a bit superficial. I wanted to know more about cyborg technology, about the robots they use, about New Beijing… I have read reviews written by people who know more about Chinese culture than I do, and they have also pointed out that as an Asian civilisation, New Beijing and by extension, the Eastern Commonwealth, do not ring true. I had a gut feeling as I was reading that this was the case.

Cinder and Prince Kai are pretty stock-standard YA leads. I don’t really have much to say about them, other than it is exciting to meet a female YA lead who is a mechanic by trade. We need more of that! I am going to read the next book in the series; while it is based on Red Riding Hood and I don’t generally enjoy adaptations of that story, the following two books in the series are based on Rapunzel and Snow White respectively, and I’m pretty keen on that, as neither of those are stories that get retold very often.

I can totally see why this book is so popular with the YA crowd, and I am hoping I will enjoy the subsequent books. Now that a lot of the world-building is out of the way, that allows the rest of the series room for more story, and I hope that’s what I get.

#ROW80 Update and #WIPpet Wednesday – “I screwed up”

Arrrrgh! I had an awesome ROW80 post that I had typed up on my breaks at work today, and then I just opened the email where I thought I had emailed it to myself, and there was nothing there! Noooo! This is what I get for copying things at 4pm when I’ve been at work since 7:45. All right, time to start the memory test.

row80I’ve decided to revise the way I do my goals for ROW80. Not only will I have my round-long goals, but I’m going to start setting goals for the following week every check-in. I’ve seen a few people do this and I think it will be really beneficial for me, particularly now that I’m studying again.

Last week I didn’t do any writing. Instead, I was getting settled into online study and trying to get my head around that. I’m doing two courses this semester: Colonial Australia in an Imperial World and Museums and Collections: Key Concepts and Practices. While the Museums one is actually relevant to my degree (Museums and Cultural Heritage), I’m currently finding the history elective more interesting. This may change, though.

I’ve already written 250 words of 1500 for the critical exhibition review I have due on the 11th of March. So I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve responded to one forum discussion for the history course. I have to respond to at least three over the course of the semester, so I’m trying to get them out of the way early so that when I’m writing major essays, I don’t need to worry. One of said major essays is due smack-bang in the middle of My Fair Lady performances, so I’m really going to need to try to get that completed a week or so early.

So now, some goals for the week of Wednesday 25 February through to Tuesday March 3:

  • Complete readings for critical exhibition review for MUSC8017
  • Get first draft of critical exhibition review up to 750/1500 words for MUSC8017
  • Complete Module 2 forum discussion response for HIST8015
  • Do 50% of readings for Module 2 online exercise (HIST8015)
  • Write a review of Cinder to go up on here on Friday
  • Finish second draft of Unicorn Love.
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs and at least 50% of the WIPpet Wednesday blogs

Rough plan for doing this:

  • Write Cinder review after this post, because I’m not home tomorrow and I’ll probably forget on Friday
  • Spend an hour on Friday night and Tuesday night finishing Unicorn Love. That is all it should take; I’m really close! Then someone will have to read it.
  • Spend an hour on uni work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Depending on how long I am out for on Saturday, and on what is needed, add a second hour on Saturday.
  • Spend an hour Saturday and an hour Sunday visiting blogs, unless I have managed to already fit some of this in elsewhere.

I do love a good list. I’m actually feeling fluttery excitement in my belly at the thought of getting stuck into these so I can strike them out in next Wednesday’s post.

wippetwednesdayOnto WIPpet Wednesday. I’ve revamped Unicorn Love a bit. I’ve taken all the time travel out, as well as some other material, and made it a lot more concise. Where the first draft was nearly 9000 words, I think this will be under 4k.  I’m really hoping that will be the case, because then I can enter into the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Competition. Anyway, today is the 25th, so I’ve added 2+5 and have seven paragraphs to share. The scene I’m sharing comes a little after the one I shared last week.

“Would you prefer to have never cried the tears you cried over David?”

“What? Of course not.”

“You said that if I didn’t meddle, many tears could be avoided. You and David didn’t come together by chance, you know. Would you have preferred to have never known him, and never cried over him when he left you?”

“You mean, you…”

“That’s right.”

Lydia looked down at her hands. “And then I screwed it up.”

To her credit, Aphrodite did pause before answering, trying to find a tactful way of agreeing. “Well,” she said finally, “yes, you did.”

For the record, Lydia screwed it up by getting drunk and making out with another guy in a bar. At least, she tells herself she was drunk. It may have had more to do with the fact that she and David had had a fight the night before and she was feeling reckless and spiteful, than with her level of alcohol consumption.

Y’all should join in on WIPpet Wednesday, or ROW80 or both! WIPpet Wednesday just requires that you post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Then you link up here. All the chocolate and coffee to our fearless host, K. L. Schwengel. ROW80, or A Round of Words in 80 Days, is an awesome system for sorting your writing goals and having some accountability. It’s a bit more complicated, but you can check out the website for more info.

I’m going to go now and try to get my Cinder review before I fall asleep on my keyboard. See you all over the next few days!

~ Emily

Cover Reveal: Torn by Kate Sparkes

I do love a good cover reveal, and this one is particularly stunning so I’m excited to take part. Back about six months ago, fellow blogger Kate Sparkes was releasing her first book, Bound, and now the second book in the trilogy, Torn, is coming out! Here’s the synopsis:

Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother Severn will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. It’s a mission that seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.

Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she has potential to become a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving a family member’s life—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.

Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.

And now for the moment of truth:

 

torncover

I said it was pretty stunning, didn’t I? Torn is being released at the low price of $2.99 on March 31. Pre-order now on Amazon so you don’t miss out on the special release price.

But wait! There’s more! If you haven’t read Bound already, you’ll be mighty confused when you try reading Torn. But for this week only, Bound is available for only 99c, which gives you really no excuse to not read it and catch-up! ;)

boundsale

#WIPpet Wednesday and#ROW80 Update: Drastic Measures

I’m unexpectedly at home today, after falling off my bike halfway to work. I think I’m okay, though I have two rather large bruises on my right thigh. Earlier, my ankle was also causing me grief and my head was swimming when I walked, but that seems to have cleared up. The lovely folks at work have told me in no uncertain terms to not come back tomorrow unless I am feeling completely 100%, so we’ll see how I’m going.

I finished the first draft of Unicorn Love on Saturday. It only needed another 300 words or so, which goes to show just how lazy I had been in the week and a half prior. But anyway. Somewhat fitting that a story in which the main character is a cupid, and which explores the idea of true love, was finished on Valentine’s Day. That was the only Valentine’s Day-related thing that happened on Saturday, since the partner and I tend to ignore the day usually (though it is also International Give A Book day, which is something I can get behind).

The first draft ended up being just under 9000 words. However… I am not entirely sure if I am going to keep more than the first 2700-odd. It works really well up until the time travel happens, at which point it practically becomes a different story. At first, I was just trying to figure out ways to bring in aspects from the first part and tie it all together better, but my other problem was that I was having trouble coming up with an ending that was neither too easy nor too unrealistic (both of which were the case in the first version). I was driving a friend home after a theatre outing on Saturday evening and bounced some ideas off him. He has given me something to work with, though it will require deleting some stuff I’m quite partial to… I’ll have to see if I can work that in elsewhere. Either way, just as with AMCF, it sounds like the second draft of Unicorn Love will be drastically different to the first.

cupidOnto WIPpet Wednesday, and this scene follows the one I posted three weeks ago. Lydia is surprised that the Chinese boy and the girl in the bookstore are already together when she and Aphrodite spot them the next morning.

Lydia narrowed her eyes at Aphrodite. “Did you do something?”

“Lydia! I’m surprised you’d even suggest such a thing!” Lydia arched an eyebrow. “All right, maybe I gave them a little push.”

“I knew it.”

“But look at the boy! He’s beaming! And she is clearly smitten.”

“And how much of that is thanks to you?”

“Lydia, you’re not thinking about this in the right way. No wonder you’ve become disillusioned.” Aphrodite motioned for Lydia to follow and they continued past shops towards a crowded food court. “We are partly responsible for so many couples being brought together. Does that make their love any less legitimate?”

“I guess not. But why can’t you let it run its own course, once we’ve set it on its way?”

“Well, after today, I will. But while your job is simply to give prospective couples the push they need to come together, mine is far more complicated than that. I have to make decisions about which relationships should continue and which ones should end. I intervene a lot more than you know. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the work that couple does to stay together isn’t any less important, or that the tears that are cried when it doesn’t work out are less justified, just because I nudged it in one direction or another.”

“But the tears might have been avoided if you didn’t meddle.”

I realised while reading through the whole thing the other day that Lydia does an awful lot of eyebrow-arching. Something else for the second draft.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K. L. Schwengel and you can find out linky here. To participate, simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. I posted 9 paragraphs because I added together the one and the eight from the eighteenth. A Round of Words in 80 Days is hosted by Kait Nolan, and you can check out the blog for more info. Now I’m off to do some uni work!

~ Emily