Thursday, November 2, 2017

November 2017 Update

It's been two months since the last update, because I got almost no original words done in September, or October either, for that matter. November, in spite of it being NaNo month, looks like the same.

Why? you may ask.
Hardly an unwarranted question.
Editing and revision, world-building and reading. Did I mention revision? I did write four short reviews and post them (see the last post).
If you recall the last update post, these are all things I expected to do, but I didn’t expect to take quite so long at them. The issue with November is I’ll be afk for over half of it; that alone kept me from attempting NaNo. Finishing 50K words in a month is doable for me, but in 8-10 days? I fear not.

Enough whining.

Updated 2 November, data from 1 November.
Since Blogger won’t properly handle an internal link, I’ve reordered the updates to put the latest on top. Older ones are below the text.


As of (11/1), the WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
   •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. No change.
   •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 103 700 words; revised draft is complete. Revisions finished October 23. To be sent to my long-suffering reader as soon as she’s ready.
   •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Three): 22 462 words; draft underway. With True Princess revised, I’ve flowed those changes through this story⁠—I think I have them all, ha-ha.  I hope for mid-December to have the draft complete.
    •    Blood Moon (A Beckie and Ian story) formerly Princess: 53 435 words, Started working the breakthrough into the story. Plan to finish draft early in December if not by the time November disappears.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 107 954 words; sent the finished version to my reader on Oct 13. On hold til those comments are back.
 Amerith and Rhion have had no attention paid them; I’ll drop them from the updates.

For reference, here was August’s status.
As of (9/1), the WIPs along with my plans for them, are
   •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. No change.
   •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 106 324 words; draft is complete. On 9/1, received comments back from reader; problems. I’ve started a new version as a result. Plan for revisions to be done in September.
   •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Three): 22 255 words; draft underway, although on hold for now,  til True Princess is revised, as the changes will affect it as well.  I hope for mid-October to have the draft complete.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 508 words, the first breakthrough occurred; now to put some meat on the bones. Plan to finish draft in October.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 109 912 words; sent the first half (57 000+ words) back on 8/15 to see if the issues have been addressed. On hold til those comments are back.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 word; no change.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 042 words; no change.

Here’s August’s work. With no changes since September 1, this is the most recent. Since I’ve not done enough original writing to justify entries, the Y-T-D total is the same as it was: 282 333 words through October 31.





What happened?
I enumerated the factors above. The work I’ve done on Voyages highlighted places where I needed to figure out things in Tanial’s universe; that took time and energy figuring out for example, maps and roads, what governments existed, and holidays, which then led to the religions people followed, or didn’t follow. I do expect Voyages to take til the end of the year.

The plan is to finish Blood Moon, now that I think I’ve found a rational way to finish it. The name change may hint at the direction. Some hours were spent on designing a cover for it as well. I hope to finish it before November’s hours vanish, but it may run into December.

Of course, I expect and hope to have some reading to do for my reader; I enjoy her work and hope she has time to complete the stories in her head, too.


As always, comments and opinions welcome.


The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Earlier updates:
As of (8/1), the WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. Took care of the few questions and said, that’s done.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 106 324 words; draft is complete. Reread and revised, and sent to beta reader on August 5.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 336 words, the understanding of where the story is isn’t complete.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 104 578 words; Received comments back, fixing is started.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 words; last questions answered and it’s done.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 042 words; done.

As of (7/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 343 words. To my reader on June 6; comments back and revisions complete. A few more q for the reader, and this one will be finished.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 94 750 words; draft is not complete. Two more scenes; I can see the end. The title has changed because I liked where the characters ran off to. Update July 6: Draft complete.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 370 words, began understanding where the story is; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 100 178 words; almost no work. First read to beta by July 6.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated; Q’s back to reader by July .6
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated.

As of 6/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 115 518 words. Did the revisions, but need to reread, then to my reader by June 5
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 62 162 words; draft is not complete. Now plan by June 30.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 247 words; corrected most significant problems; revising. First read to beta by June 15,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; proof and send to beta by June 5, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; proof and send to beta by June 5.


As of 5/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15
    •    The Voyages Home: 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.

As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.


As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Four Reviews, All in a Row: Magical Mayhem Series

The Magical Mayhem series, by Emily Martha Sorensen. (Four books so far, with a fifth announced.)

Four stars for this series so far. (The individual reviews will appear at Amazon and at Goodreads, perhaps with minor changes.)

To Prevent World Peace - Four Stars
The Magical Mayhem series is (so far) four books all titled To Prevent
The first is To Prevent World Peace, the second … Chic Costumes, the third … Clear Paths, and the fourth, … Smart Choices. The announced fifth book, I suspect not the last, is To Prevent Warm Welcomes.

Ms Sorensen, a USA Best Selling author, is known for clean stories for middle grade and young adult audiences. This series hits YA targets throughout, in my opinion.

The books are all quick reads, four chapters long, and to be honest, might work better as one whole volume. I read them all in one sitting, and I do tend to binge read series, so your experience might be different. That said, I believe they should be read in order; too much is lost if the reader isn’t aware of previous events in the universe.

Obviously, then, To Prevent World Peace opens the story of Save-the-World magical girl Kendra, her magical girl team buddies, and Chronos, a hands-off mage who doesn’t want to be a villain, but would rather stay home than… than do anything, really. The conflict between good and I-don’t-care shows tantalizing hints, set in the framework of Kendra’s uncompromising belief in her ability to do good.

Until she declares she will be a magical girl no more. “I’ve decided,” Kendra said quietly, “to become… a villain instead.”

Kendra’s next step rocks into the rest of the series.

Ms Sorensen’s writing is crisp and eminently suitable for a YA reader. Or an adult one, for that matter.

While the book sort of completes an arc, for me it really felt too short. I took a star back for that. YMMV, of course.

I read the book on my Macbook Pro using the Kindle for Mac app; it worked perfectly. Also, I opened it on my Kindle Voyage and had no issues. I’d expect no problems using another platform to read. I noticed no typos or other bothersome mechanical problems, just as I expect for Ms Sorensen’s work. The cover calls for a color display, but that’s the only loss moving to a monochrome device, and the contrast allows the Voyage to render it nicely.

I recommend To Prevent World Peace to any reader looking for the beginning of an enjoyable, clean fantasy that doesn’t shy away from real-world problems.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review, which you are reading here. I also purchased a copy, though it was free. This review will appear at Goodreads in slightly different form, and the portion dealing with the series will appear in reviews of the other three books.

To Prevent Chic Costumes - Four Stars
The Magical Mayhem series is (so far) four books all titled To Prevent
The first is To Prevent World Peace, the second … Chic Costumes, the third … Clear Paths, and the fourth, … Smart Choices. The announced fifth book, I suspect not the last, is To Prevent Warm Welcomes.

Ms Sorensen, a USA Best Selling author, is known for clean stories for middle grade and young adult audiences. This series hits YA targets throughout, in my opinion.

The books are all quick reads, four chapters long, and to be honest, might work better as one whole volume. I read them all in one sitting, and I do tend to binge read series, so your experience might be different. That said, I believe they should be read in order; too much is lost if the reader isn’t aware of previous events in the universe.

To Prevent Chic Costumes develops Kendra’s relationship with Chronos. Unwilling might be a good description. The unstoppable force and the immovable object paradox comes to mind; Ms Sorensen develops this aspect of the conflict well.

The costumes of the title allow the introduction of Chronos’ older sister, Rhea, one of the villains Chronos does not wish to be, because Rhea’s a fashion-maker in Paris, and any magical girl-turned-villain needs first and foremost, a suitable costume. The suitable costume must be accompanied by a new lair for the new villain. Chronos makes that sacrifice to be free of Kendra.

As I’ve said previously, Ms Sorensen’s writing is crisp and eminently suitable for a YA reader. Or an adult one, for that matter.

My only, and continuing, complaint is that the story, while it does close an arc, is too short. I’ll not mention it again.

I read this book on my Macbook Pro using the Kindle for Mac app; it worked perfectly. Also, I opened it on my Kindle Voyage and had no issues. I’d expect no problems using another platform to read. I noticed no typos or bothersome mechanical problems, just as I expect for Ms Sorensen’s work. The cover calls for a color display, but that’s the only loss moving to a monochrome device, and the contrast in the cover art allows the Voyage to render it nicely.

I recommend To Prevent Chic Costumes to any reader looking for an enjoyable, clean fantasy that doesn’t shy away from real-world problems, but I strongly suggest you begin with To Prevent World Peace, the first book in the series.

This review will appear at Goodreads in slightly different form, and the portion dealing with the series will appear in reviews of the other three books.

To Prevent Clear Paths - Four Stars
The Magical Mayhem series is (so far) four books all titled To Prevent
The first is To Prevent World Peace, the second … Chic Costumes, the third … Clear Paths, and the fourth, … Smart Choices. The announced fifth book, I suspect not the last, is To Prevent Warm Welcomes.

Ms Sorensen, a USA Best Selling author, is known for clean stories for middle grade and young adult audiences. This series hits YA targets throughout, in my opinion.

The books are all quick reads, four chapters long, and to be honest, might work better as one whole volume. I read them all in one sitting, and I do tend to binge read series, so your experience might be different. That said, I believe they should be read in order; too much is lost if the reader isn’t aware of previous events in the universe.

To Prevent Clear Paths. The new lair, a lovely abode fortunately sans corpses, does include a blonde terror⁠—or mechanical marvel⁠—named Tiffany to add to both Chronos’ and Kendra’s woes. More seriously, the story brings Kendra’s return to her former team, and her first failure as a magical girl turned villain. Since it mirrors an earlier event, we can’t be too surprised; how Kendra’s stoic response plays out is yet to be addressed.

As I’ve said previously, Ms Sorensen’s writing is crisp and eminently suitable for a YA reader. Or an adult one, for that matter. By this, the third book, the development of the plot is proceeding. I can’t see yet how Kendra and Chronos… and the magnificent secondary characters, resolve the overall problem. This is good.

I read To Prevent Clear Paths on my Macbook Pro using the Kindle for Mac app; it worked perfectly. I opened and read it on my Kindle Voyage with no issues. I’d expect no problems using another platform to read. I noticed no typos or other bothersome mechanical problems, just as I expect for Ms Sorensen’s work. The cover calls for a color display, but that’s the only loss moving to a monochrome device. Still the contrast in the cover art allows the Voyage to render it nicely.

I recommend To Prevent Clear Paths to any reader looking for an enjoyable, clean fantasy that doesn’t shy away from real-world problems, especially in this installment, but I strongly suggest beginning with the first book in the series.

This review will appear at Goodreads in slightly different form, and the portion dealing with the series will appear in reviews of the other three books.

To Prevent Smart Choices - Four stars
The Magical Mayhem series is (so far) four books all titled To Prevent
The first is To Prevent World Peace, the second … Chic Costumes, the third … Clear Paths, and the fourth, … Smart Choices. The announced fifth book, I suspect not the last, is To Prevent Warm Welcomes.

Ms Sorensen, a USA Best Selling author, is known for clean stories for middle grade and young adult audiences. This series hits YA targets throughout, in my opinion.

The books are all quick reads, four chapters long, and to be honest, might work better as one whole volume. I read them all in one sitting, and I do tend to binge read series, so your experience might be different. That said, I believe they should be read in order; too much is lost if the reader isn’t aware of previous events in the universe.

To Prevent Smart Choices brings Kendra’s attempt to restore order at Rouen Académie des Saintes (France’s premier magical girl school) and her second failure… as she perceives it. Chronos, in her role as Seer, believes differently.  On a darker note, Rhea uses her knowledge of the Past to determine that Kendra is doing villainous things to Rhea’s villains. Rhea makes her plans. Don’t you love cliff-hangers?

As I’ve said previously, Ms Sorensen’s writing is crisp and eminently suitable for a YA reader. Or an adult one, for that matter.  The plot is proceeding into darker territory; I’m anxious to see just how it will resolve.

I read To Prevent Smart Choices on my Macbook Pro using the Kindle for Mac app; it worked perfectly. Also, I read portions on my Kindle Voyage without problem. I’d expect no issues using another platform to read. I noticed no typos or other bothersome mechanical problems, just as I expect for Ms Sorensen’s work. The cover calls for a color display, but that’s the only loss moving to a monochrome device. Still, the contrast in the cover art allows the Voyage to render it nicely.

I recommend To Prevent Smart Choices to any reader looking for an enjoyable, clean fantasy that doesn’t shy away from real-world problems. However, I strongly suggest beginning with the first book in the series.

This review will appear at Goodreads in slightly different form, and the portion dealing with the series will appear in reviews of the other three books.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August Update


Updated 5 Sep, data from 1 September.
Since Blogger won’t properly handle an internal link, I’ve reordered the updates to put the latest on top. Older ones are below the text.


When we did this last time:
As of (9/1), the WIPs, along with my plans for them, are
   •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. No change.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 106 324 words; draft is complete. On 9/1, received comments back from reader; problems. I’ve started a new version as a result. Plan for revisions to be done in September.
   •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Three): 22 255 words; draft underway, although on hold for now til True Princess is revised, as the changes will affect it as well.  I hope to have the draft complete by mid-October.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 508 words, the first breakthrough occurred; now to put some meat on the bones. Plan to finish draft in October.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 109 912 words; sent the first half (57 000+ words) back on 8/15 to see if the issues have been addressed. On hold til those comments are back.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 word; no change.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 042 words; no change.

For reference, here’s last month’s status.
July: As of (8/1), the WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. Took care of the few questions and said, that’s done.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 106 324 words; draft is complete. Reread and revised, and sent to beta reader on August 5.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 336 words, the understanding of where the story is isn’t complete.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 104 578 words; Received comments back, fixing is started.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 words; last questions answered and it’s done.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 042 words; done.


Here’s August’s work:





























I wrote 35 025 original words in June, averaging 1130 per day, with thirteen days of writing nothing. That’s about 1945 words each day I did write, which, though less than last month, would still have been fine if I’d kept it going. The short title is at the right. The thirteen days of no writing were mostly spent worrying about the problems in Low Places.


What happened?

The beginning of the month, I tried to see the problems in Low Places and design corrections. That took the first week; making the changes took through to the 15th, when I packaged the partial draft up and mailed it to my reader. Of course, she has her own work and life (I know; imagine that!) and not only that, but she was getting started on True Princess.

While futzing around with Low Places, I reread True Princess once again, and sent it to my reader on August 5.

Bottom line: Most of my WIPs are on hold now, waiting to see where things stand vis a vis the problems. I have the old Princess story to work on (and retitle!), but I think this will be a month of catching up on my TBR list (thank you Fiction River and  StoryBundle!) and working out more backstory and world-building questions in the Faux Princess world.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Earlier updates:

June: As of (7/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 343 words. To my reader on June 6; comments back and revisions complete. A few more q for the reader, and this one will be finished.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 94 750 words; draft is not complete. Two more scenes; I can see the end. The title has changed because I liked where the characters ran off to. Update July 6: Draft complete.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 370 words, began understanding where the story is; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 100 178 words; almost no work. First read to beta by July 6.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated; Q’s back to reader by July .6
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated.

May: As of 6/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 115 518 words. Did the revisions, but need to reread, then to my reader by June 5
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 62 162 words; draft is not complete. Now plan by June 30.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 247 words; corrected most significant problems; revising. First read to beta by June 15,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; proof and send to beta by June 5, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; proof and send to beta by June 5.


April: As of 5/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15
    •    The Voyages Home: 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.

March: As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

February: As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.


January: As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Eclipse Is Over and Done, So What’s This About?

I know it's late; everyone has forgotten the eclipse in the news from the disaster in Texas. Speaking of that, give what you can to help, but be sure you give to organizations that will actually help the people in Houston and other communities affected by Harvey.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.
We've all seen excellent photos of the eclipse that occurred on the 21st past, but I thought perhaps there might be some slight interest in a different way of looking at the (for us, partial) solar eclipse.

We live south of Boston, so the eclipse was just over 60% coverage of the solar disk. We have a roof-top solar installation, and I thought the graph of the power output at five minute intervals might be interesting.


Power vs time of day, Aug 21, 2017


Note that we had, in addition to the eclipse, a few clouds; those account for the overall unevenness as well as apparent spike in output as the eclipse’s leading edge approached at about quarter past two (just before 14:20).

As always, comments welcome.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

July's Gone; Here's the Update


Updated 8 Aug, data from 1 August.

Since Blogger won’t properly handle an internal link, I’ve reordered the updates to put the latest on top. Older ones are below the text.


As of (8/1), the WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 490 words. Took care of the few questions and said, that’s done.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 106 324 words; draft is complete. Reread and revised, and sent to beta reader on August 5.
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Three): 3 700 words; draft is about 5%. Plan for the first draft to be done by September 15.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 336 words, the understanding of where the story is isn’t complete.
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 104 578 words; Received comments from beta reader; fixing has started.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 words; last questions answered and it’s done.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 042 words; done.

For reference, here’s last month’s status.
As of (7/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 343 words. To my reader on June 6; comments back and revisions complete. A few more q for the reader, and this one will be finished.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 94 750 words; draft is not complete. Two more scenes; I can see the end. The title has changed because I liked where the characters ran off to. Update July 6: Draft complete.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 370 words, began understanding where the story is; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 100 178 words; almost no work. First read to beta by July 6.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated; Q’s back to reader by July .6
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated.

Here’s July’s work:




I wrote 17 170 original words in June, averaging 554 per day, with twenty-four days of writing nothing. That’s about 2450 words each day I did write, which would have been fine if I’d kept it going. The short title is at the right. The twenty-four days of no writing were spent in editing or reading, and worrying about the problems my reader found in Low Places.


What happened?

On July 15, I got feedback on Low Places. It was largely negative after a quarter of the book, and deservedly so, once I read the comments. It’s a simple problem to recognize (once you look for it) and while conceptually the correction is easy, the implementation is far-reaching. For those keeping score, I failed to allow Beckie, the protagonist, to grow through the preceding five novels; she’s still making mistakes that would be fine, or at least understandable, in the first or second books (where she did make some of them), but aren't so plausible after seven years in her universe.

As of the time of this update, I’ve reworked up to about the spot where my reader stopped; when I get there, I’ll send it and see if I’ve improved it sufficiently.

I finished the draft of True Princess July 6; I set it aside and cleaned up The Faux Princess and Amerith, finishing them about the same time the comments on Low Places arrived.
The comments on Low Places bothered me because I didn’t know why I made the mistakes. My confusion about that stopped me cold for the best part of a week, and I still don’t really understand what I was thinking. The worrisome part of that is how will I recognize it in future? Thank heavens for good beta readers!


I set The True Princess, the second book in the Dragons Run My Life series, aside to steep. Then, while contemplating the problems in Low Places, I reread True, editing and going through the list of words I use too much. After doing that twice, I sent it to my reader. Hopefully she won’t find problems as big as in Low Places.


Bottom line: My plan is to have the first quarter of Low Places ready for review by the middle of next week. If that part meets expectations, I hope to have the whole story fixed by the first week in September, and back to my reader the week after that. Depending on when I get True Princess back and the number and depth of comments, I hope to have it well along by the end of the month. Depending on how I might split my time, I want to have the first draft of Voyages Home done by the middle of September, too.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Earlier updates:

As of 6/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 115 518 words. Did the revisions, but need to reread, then to my reader by June 5
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 62 162 words; draft is not complete. Now plan by June 30.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 247 words; corrected most significant problems; revising. First read to beta by June 15,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; proof and send to beta by June 5, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; proof and send to beta by June 5.


As of 5/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15
    •    The Voyages Home: 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.

As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.


As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.



Thursday, July 6, 2017

June, 2017 Update


Updated 6 July, data from 1 July.
When we did this last time:

Sorry, this month internal linking does not work, so until I figure out what's different, scroll down to So how did I do?

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

As of 5/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15
    •    The Voyages Home: 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.

As of 6/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 115 518 words. Did the revisions, but need to reread, then to my reader by June 5
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 62 162 words; draft is not complete. Now plan by June 30.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 247 words; corrected most significant problems; revising. First read to beta by June 15,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; proof and send to beta by June 5, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; proof and send to beta by June 5.

So how did I do?
As of (7/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 111 343 words. Went to my reader on June 6; comments back and revisions complete. A few more Q's for the reader, and this one will be finished.
    •    The True Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 94 750 words; draft is not complete. Two more scenes; I can see the end. The title has changed because I liked where the characters ran off to. Update July 6: Draft complete.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 49 370 words, began understanding where the story is; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 100 178 words; almost no work. First read to beta by July 6.
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 900 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated; Q’s back to reader by July 6.
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; sent to beta June 6. Comments received and incorporated.

Here’s June’s work:




I wrote 30 430 original words in June, averaging 1014 per day, with eleven days of writing nothing. That’s about 1600 words each day I did write, not as good as last month. The short title is at the right. The eleven days of no writing were spent mostly in editing or reading, lest you think I’m not doing authorly things, once the wedding (last month) and the funeral (this month) are taken into account. I revised the three stories my reader returned, making changes and finding questions to ask.


What happened?

The draft of Low Places is done; I got caught up in other things (mostly The True Princess story) and my reader was out of town for a bit, so I neglected this until just now.

I plan to finish the draft of True Princess early in July; I will set it aside and work on comments on Low Places, once I receive them, and finalize Faux Princess. I hope to get some reading in, and figure out what to do with Princess (too many stories about princesses-I have to find a new title for this one!).


The curve ball the characters of Voyages Home pitched fits nicely in the series overall arc, but changed this book’s arc so much I changed the title. Since, now that I’m willing to look, I see the characters have been pushing this way since about the first quarter was done. I am relieved with the change; I think it a better product. Killing important side characters doesn’t always go easily, but this is a story, right? Better in words than in RL.

Bottom line: I hope to have one ms to my reader in the next week, and one more at the end of July.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Update for June 1


When we did this last time:
Click for latest.

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

As of 5/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15
    •    The Voyages Home: 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.

So, how did I do?
As of today (6/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life, Book One): 115 518 words. Did the revisions, but need to reread, then to my reader by June 5
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life, Book Two): 62 162 words; draft is not complete. Now plan by June 30.
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by July 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 247 words; corrected most significant problems; revising. First read to beta by June 15,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 848 words; proof and send to beta by June 5, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 018 words; proof and send to beta by June 5.

Here’s April’s work:





I wrote 25 919 original words in May, averaging 836 per day, with sixteen days of writing nothing. That’s not quite 1730 words each day I did write. The short title is at the right. The sixteen days of no writing were spent mostly in editing or reading, lest you think I’m not doing authorly things. I read and revised all the WIP except Voyages and Princess.

What happened?

The draft of Low Places is almost complete; there are a couple of items that seem to me to need embellishment. Since that’s atypical, I’ve waited to reflect, to see if that’s a good idea or not. I should have the changes incorporated in time to send it off to my reader on the fifteenth.

The two shorts I wrote in the Dragon universe (Amerith and Rhion) got excess words trimmed; I'll send those and the current version (I won't say the last, though I can hope!) of Faux Princess on the fifth.


I chose not to credit any of the words added to Low Places, since there were none in a block due to the way the editing went. As a result, virtually all the month’s writing, 25 100 words, went into Voyages Home. Over sixty-two thousand words, but unlike last month, I have begun the scene where Princess Miri is being dressed for the ceremony. I only have big waypoints in mind when I start, allowing the characters to fill in as they go. They’ve pitched me a curve ball, which won’t change the overall story arc⁠—I think⁠—but will play havoc with this book’s arc. It may end up being two books.

Bottom line: I hope to have three mss to my reader in the next week, and one more by mid-month.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Monday, May 1, 2017

Update through April

When we did this last time:

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

As of 4/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Went over notes from my reader. Revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words; proof and send to beta by April 15.

So, how did I do?

As of today (5/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess (Dragons Run My Life Book 1): 110 651 words. Found even more holes with the aid of my reader; plug them with the revision to beta by May 15,
    •    The Voyages Home (Dragons Run My Life Book 2): 37 735 words; draft may be complete by May 15, but more likely, the 30th,
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by June 30,
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 99 053 words; found significant problems; revising. First read to beta by May 30,
    •   Amerith (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 19 854 words; proof and send to beta by May 15, and
    •   Rhion Prequel (A Dragons Run My Life Addenda): 6 013 words; proof and send to beta by May 15.


Here’s April’s work:



I wrote 47 904 original words in March, averaging 1597 per day, with three days of writing nothing and four more of not very much. The short title is at the right.

What happened?
The draft of Low Places is still steeping, since problems in Faux Princess highlighted potential issues there. Who knew my stupidity would carry over from series to series? Not me, for sure! Anyway, I have significant work to redo before that sees the light of day. I plan to get through it during May. We’ll see.

One of the comments I received on Faux Princess drove me to write a short bit about one of the major characters (not one of the protags, however) whose backstory might be interesting, but it wasn’t directly part of either of the stories in process. It fits much better between the two, though it could also be read before either of them, as an introduction, I suppose. That’s the WIP named Amerith, almost half of this month’s words went there.

I decided, more because I needed to know what’s going on than it’s a good stand alone, to write a bit of backstory on another character, to layout just how the big conflict through the first three books (as I plan them now, at least) began. That’s Rhion in the WIP list, and a bit over 6000 words.

While I did a little more than a thousand words I credited to Low Places, basically the rest of the month was writing for Voyages Home. Almost thirty-eight thousand words and I haven’t gotten to the wedding yet! It’s still two days off in Dragon time.

Bottom line: I hope to have three mss to my reader at mid-month.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Update Through March

When we did this last time:

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

As of 3/1, the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
  •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words Sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

So, how did I do?

As of today (4/2), the four WIPs, along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 108 807 words. Going over notes from my reader. Complete revisions complete by April 20; return to beta by April 30.
    •    The Voyages Home: 13834 words; draft complete by May 15;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 96 958 words Draft completed 3/11. Proof and send to beta by April 15.

Here’s March’s work:




I wrote 46 098 original words in March, averaging 1487 per day, with nine days of writing nothing and two more of not very much. The short title I worked on is at the right.

What happened?
I finished the draft of Low Places a couple days sooner than I expected. Since my reader's comments on The Faux Princess arrived weeks ago, I set Low Places aside to steep, if you will, and went to the comments and suggestions on Faux Princess. Turns out she liked a lot of it. However, about a twenty-thousand word chunk at the beginning was crap. (That’s my translation, reading between her lines; she’d never say such a thing.) She offered suggestions about what struck her as either unbelievable or just wrong.

I considered the problems she saw and largely agreed with them. Fixing them required (in my mind, at least, and I’m the writer) focusing on a couple of the not main characters, and admitting that I’ve written an “buddy-love” story and upping the focus on the second of the two co-heroes.

All that requires words. While a few changes called for a deletion, most didn’t, as you can see from the names in the right-hand column: some 13 000 original words in six days. Since the total word count for Faux rose by almost 18 000,  there were some I missed or didn’t count as original. The perils of editing, I suppose.

The benefit: when my reader returned the revised section, the top level note was “Loved it.” Now to improve the rest of it.

While I work through those edits, I also need to proof Low Places, correct things I find there and send it off for my beta reader’s opinions.

I'll be adding to The Voyages Home, too, and  worrying the plot holes in Princess to try and get that on track. Check back and see how I did.

As always, comments and opinions welcome.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Update through February


When we did this last time:

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

As of 2/1, the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

So, how did I do?

As of today (3/1), the four WIPs along with my plans for them, are
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 954 words was sent to beta reader Jan 30; notes came back by 2/12 and have lain waiting for Low Places to be complete. Goal is to have it ready to publish by 3/31.
    •    The Voyages Home: 8382 words; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 81 365 words; failed to complete draft by Feb 15. The goal is now to have the draft by 3/15, and on to my long suffering beta ready by 3/31.

Here’s February’s work:



I wrote 36 219 original words in February, averaging 1294 per day, with six days of writing nothing and two more of not very much. The short title is at the right, you see it includes blog posts.

What happened to Low Places? About the twentieth, I reread it through, since it was almost finished… I thought. If you follow the calculations, while I wrote 36 000 words in February, the totals for Voyages and Low account for only 21 315. The missing words went into three alternate endings for Low. I finally figured out that I had three different ways to end it because I’d made a mistake at a fork point⁠—choosing the wrong path. Since then, I have added some words, but mostly it’s been revising words already down to fit the new⁠—hopefully improved⁠—ending. It’s likely to take me two more weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                           
The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv (http://svenjaliv.com).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

In Memoriam: Chez Pazienza

Chez Pazienza (1969 - 2017) died last Saturday, probably fifty years too soon.

Chez wrote his life. Don’t mistake that for not living his life; he did that also. But to my mind, his writing is the Chez we will remember.

I’m old enough that I don’t recall how I originally happened on his blog, Deus Ex Malcontent, Making a Mockery of Mockery. The blog filled with personal stories of heartbreak and success, the blog that got him fired from CNN (Their game, their rules, he said.), the outlet for the feelings and scorn that he brought to The Daily Banter. It may have been from /. I found Megatokyo there, after all, so certainly not all bad.

We exchanged a few (far too few) comments on topics he’d written, but that was, except for my waiting each day to see if he’d updated, the extent of our relationship. It’s too much to even call it a relationship; I loved his work, and supported the Banter and Chez’ foray into on-the-ground reporting from Ferguson, but otherwise never had contact.


Not that I ever would have. His life was far different than mine—not least in that I’m typing this while he’s gone. But a look at the Banter pages revealing his death and the comments there leave a strong message that my loss isn’t just mine; more, others have lost even more than I. I haven’t had health issues, suffered drug addiction, lived through broken marriages. I didn’t volunteer to assist in New York after 9/11; I didn’t do most of the things that made Chez’ life his and his alone.

But we both lived. I’ve read his book, Dead Star Twilight, through twice. If I can bear it, I’ll read it again. Not soon, though.

The officials haven’t announced a formal cause of death, however, Ben Cohen reports:

"He OD'ed. The asshole," Chez's fiancée Taryn told Bob Cesca.

Like many of the commenters at the Banter, I believe Chez did not OD intentionally. It wasn’t the way he’d seek attention, and while he battled depression, he had much to live for.

My writing is not nearly a shadow of his; I regret a world where anyone needs escape as badly as Chez did, and I’ll miss him without ever knowing him directly.

Whatever you found, Chez, I hope it’s better than what you left.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January Update

From my post of 1/23, my goals:

As of 1/23, the four WIPs along with my plans for them:
    •    The Faux Princess: 91 300 words, to beta reader by Jan 31;
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 50 000 words, draft complete by Feb 15.

So, how did I do?

As of today, Feb 1, my four WIPs are:
    •    The Faux Princess: 90 956 words, sent to beta reader Jan 30 (met this goal);
    •    The Voyages Home: 2500 words, no change; draft complete by April 30;
    •    Princess (A Beckie and Ian story): 51 000 words, no change; draft complete by April 30, and
    •    Low Places (A Beckie and Ian story): 65 932 words, still on track to complete draft by Feb 15.

My January progress above isn’t indicative of the entire month, which you can see in this figure:






I did 43 569 original words in January, averaging 1405 per day, with four days of writing nothing and three or four more of not very much. The cut-off portion has additional stats.

The spreadsheet: Created by Svenja. See svenjaliv.com for more info and resources, including a free online word meter. All images are © 2011-2016 SvenjaLiv.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women’s March Boston 2017

January 21 dawned cloudy, chilly, unwelcoming. My wife invited me to go with her to the Women’s March downtown. Quickly we decided driving would be for hardier souls than we; we opted for commuter rail leaving Canton Junction.

A check of the schedule, we could take the eight o’clock train, arriving South Station in Boston at 8:43, or the nine o’clock, arriving at 9:43. Later trains would arrive… later. Late, based on the published schedule. The nine o’clock train looked eminently doable.

Four bucks purchased parking at the station. Thirty bucks purchased two round-trip Zone 3 tickets, downloaded to our phones. We were off.

Arrived at the station intentionally early. It was… barren, except for workers replacing stairs to the bridge over the tracks.

Canton Junction 8:40

We met another couple headed in; the pussy ears hat was a dead giveaway. And in pink. They’d taken the ferry from Martha’s Vineyard Friday night, and were now waiting with us for the train.

Daisy and Bob


More people showed up. At 9:07, still eight minutes before the scheduled arrival time, and fifteen minutes before the actual arrival time, the platform had filled somewhat. It would fill more.

Canton Junction 9:07 - Notice the people further back.
The train arrived, as I said, twenty or so minutes late. Boarded it, and the reason for the delay became obvious. The T had anticipated somewhat lower ridership than they were faced with. Six or seven of the double-decker cars, and the ones we looked in (and eventually stood in) were SRO. The conductors did not (could not?) even collect fares or tickets. But except for standing the whole way (an extravagant 40 minutes or so), the ride was fine.

After a speedy walk from South Station to the Common (eleven and a quarter minutes for the first kilometer, nearly the whole way), a not so speedy walk ensued from the Park Street T kiosk at Winter Street to the spot marked on the map below. It was still cloudy and chilly.

Where we stood for the festivities,

 We were not alone, though this photo doesn't do the crowd justice. It was taken about 10:40, so still about an hour before the festivities were to begin. We were just south of the State House, between it and the Tadpole Playground.

Lots of pussy hats! Headed to the actual meeting spot. 10:40

We chose to stand beside a tree so we wouldn't be closed in on all sides.

We waited there for the program to begin. I clicked photos of some of the signs we saw, honoring many different beliefs. I won't apologize for the words or the implications; if you are easily offended, especially by truth, you should click somewhere else.

BMC Supports Women's Rights

Stay Steady and Resist; Our Bodies Our Choice Feminist

Quakers for ...; Rights for... Matter

With Liberty & Justice for All; Pro-Women Pro-Family Pro-Choice; Health Care... A Human Right


No Mandate for Hate; Educate Agitate Organize!

The Emperor has... No Clue!; With Liberty and Justice for All

Don't Blame Me I Voted for Her; Make America Think Again; 10:50, still a half hour to go.
Before the festivities began, Beacon Street, behind the fence, was blocked off and packed; the iron fence marking the boundary of the Common was hidden from view by marchers.

Trump: Boorish Banal Buffoon

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Damental Human Rights
Build a Wall Around... Hate; Women Not Up for Grabs; Make America Kind Again

I'm With Her

President Tweety is for the Birds

Stop Skipping Briefings and Stop Tweeting Fake News

We Expect Better

Girls Just Want to Have Fun-Ding for Planned Parenthood

Climate Change is Real Science is Real
Men of Quality do not Fear Equality; Boston She Party; Women's Rights Are Human Rights

First, Do No Harm

Can't Believe We Still Have to Protest This Shit; We Cannot be Silent About the Things that Matter

Chin Up Fangs Out; Women Unite for Justice Fairness & Respect; We all Bleed the Same Color...

Women's Rights Are Not Up for Grabs

 In the background of the Women' Rights... image, the crowd on the hill between the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the stage is filling in. This is at 11:00, still a half hour or so before the music started.


Respeta Mi Existencia o Espera Mi Resistencia
We Will Not Be Silent; Make America Think Again; Tiny Hands...
 In the We Will Not Be Silent image, the sun has made an appearance through thinning clouds. In a few minutes, the sky cleared quite nicely.

Nasty Women Love Fairness; Compassion Respect Integrity...

Later, while the program was going on, four kids and a couple of adults were atop the NECN van, to get a better view. The NECN crew wasn't live, I guess, so no one bothered them up there.

I'm Teaching Her & My Son Everyone Counts!

Bullying: A Problem Not A Solution; History Has Its Eyes On You
After this photo (taken at 11:15-still fifteen minutes before things got going), I switched to video, and the following are from those clips. Not sure the audio is good enough to include Senator Warren's ten minute speech, unfortunately.

Make America Great Again: Impeach Trump
 The Impeach Trump image is looking away from the stage, back toward the way in. The crowd has filled in nicely.

Looking toward the hill again.

Not Our President; We're Not Going Back; Boston She Party
 In the Not Our President image, Beacon Street has filled in, as has the Common between my location and the iron fence. Remember that? It's there, behind the marchers.

No Man is Good Enough to Govern Any Woman w/o Her Consent; Respect

#Feminasty; Make America Sane Again; Truth Matters...

Then the actual march began, perhaps spurred slightly by the masses shouting March! March! March! From our spot amongst the trees, it took us forty-five minutes to walk a kilometer--perhaps thrown off a little by the slow pace until we finally exited the Common (no way to escape without climbing walls or fences, for which I'm too old! We eased our way to the borders of the marchers and were able to pick up our pace so the next two kilometers took about fifteen minutes each, and then we shot (well, it felt like it) to South Station in another twelve minutes. But we made it!

So just to wrap things up...
I normally avoid any event where I'm likely to meet even tens of my fellow Americans. Exceptions abound, of course: Fenway for Patriots Day and trips to the mall the day before Christmas, for example. This definitely pushed all those buttons, to which I must add, for me, my old age and decrepitude makes walking slowly, with nothing to hold on to, on uneven surfaces a chore. Kudos and thanks to the several people who gave me a hand or forgave my falling into them.

It was worth it. Even though the event wasn't really a surprise (it's Massachusetts, duh!), given how many people in our country voted against what is right, not only for them but for millions of others, the crowd was a relief! I'm glad I did it, even though anyone who fails to read this blog will never know that I personally was in that crowd--that Sean Spicer would claim was either 10,000 or a million, depending on his master--I know I was there. Keep it going!

Reliable reports are that between 135,000 and 175,000 people joined together on the Common. We had music, singing, cheering, fiery speeches, lots of pussy hats and for most of it, a mostly sunny day with temperatures comfortable in the low to mid-fifties. There were NO arrests reported.

By the way, if you ever wondered why Boston has so many pieces of snow removal equipment...

Seriously? Block the drive to the Four Seasons?

Needed three here, whereas for most other intersections, one parked obliquely did the trick.

I'm sure the Police and Public Works Departments are happy to get some extra use out of the plows/sanders, instead of renting those flimsy barriers. Most every intersection into the march area was blocked by one or, as above, more pieces of equipment. In some case, a police car or fire truck had been added to fill a gap.

Our trip home was as uneventful as the trip in, although it began with a nearly two hour wait for the train. We were fortunate, I guess, in that the train before, that we just missed, broke down and had to return to South Station. The T is capable of change; the outbound train had two or two and a half times the number of cars the inbound one had had. And it was pretty full by the time it left Back Bay (the last in-the-city stop), with some standees. We got to display our on-the-phone tickets to the conductor just as we got up to exit.

We enjoyed the day, and I hope you did, too, albeit vicariously. Respect others and resist!

170122 Edited to correct spelling and add some final thoughts.