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Michelle Bottorff
26 March 2016 @ 08:27 pm

My WiiFit monitor says I’ve walked a thousand miles.

This doesn’t show how amazingly much I walk, because I’ve been collecting the data for more than two years now, (although I do sometimes forget to wear the silly thing), and so I’m averaging less than 1.5 miles a day.

But once again, I prove that I have persistence in spades.

(Also I just ‘beat’ that silly WiiFit Obstacle Course game, so I gleefully removed it from my workout routine — I have discovered that I do not enjoy walking in place. Dancing and not going places is fine because the dance steps aren’t intended to travel, but pretending to walk is just miserable: I’m moving wrong. I know it’s wrong, but I can’t fix it, because if I moved right I would step off the little balance board. Grr!)

Mirrored on My Website.

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Michelle Bottorff
20 December 2015 @ 03:03 pm

So I’ve tried it for a week.
In order to make the switch from work to music, I set my husband’s alarm-clock to turn on the radio. This worked fine for stopping me from editing, but on Friday when I was coding, I just ignored it. ::rueful::

Still I not only got a better balance of stuff accomplished, I also got more total accomplished. Stopping working before I hit brain-dead apparently has fringe benefits.

(I used to know that. Once upon a time my wordcount goals were actually there to tell me “Time to stop,” not to push me to write more. But I guess I sort of forgot that in all the excitement of doing the publication thing?)

Anyway, here’s what I got done last week…

  • Writing: I fixed many errors in Eyes of Infistar, installed a copy on our tablet for my husband to read, got back several chapters worth of notes, made more fixes, and put a new copy on the tablet.

    I also ebook-ified a book written by my daughter, put it on the tablet, and did a read-through.

  • Art: Compiled 19 pages of ink scans for Scent of Spring.
  • Music: Practiced 5 times (inc. 3 “vocal workout” sessions). Worked on scoring Scent of Spring. (Yes, the song has the same title as the graphic novel… There’s a reason for that.)
  • Coding: Started work on an image carousel for inserting on the bottom of certain webpages. In the process, discovered that the ‘$’ jquery shortcut doesn’t work consistently when used on a page that is integrating wordpress content. The discovery process involved a certain amount of hair-pulling. ::rueful::
  • Tatting: Worked on a design that still isn’t right. (I do a lot of that.)

Plus, I did 11 holes of disc golf, played the Eldritch Horror Boardgame with my family 3 times (we just got a new expansion, so we were eager to try out all the new stuff), helped one daughter build a website and helped another make bead lizards* to give away to friends. All in all, a good week.

*My design from over 15 years ago. They were actually the body of a dragon, but the wings were futzy and delicate and the older kids and I ended up making a bunch of dragons without the wings, back when. Examples were still inhabiting my bedroom, and she wanted to make a couple. Her first one is pictured below.

Mirrored on My Website.

 
 
Michelle Bottorff
12 December 2015 @ 10:08 am

I like doing things I can count up or check off. I like to be able to prove to myself that even though I am in the middle of the project, and will probably continue to be in the middle for a long time yet, I am still moving forward.

As long as I’m writing, the wordcount bar fills that psychological need. But when I’m editing, I flounder. Right now, I am editing.

In addition to that, I am struggling with the fact that I have many non-writing projects I want to be working on, and more than one skill I want to be developing. How do I keep everything organized, and on-track, and prioritized?

Right now my week-day routine goes something like: wake up, practice my french, eat breakfast, exercise, work until my brain is too tired to work (this usually doesn’t take anywhere near a whole day), futz around for the rest of the day—maybe on my various non-work projects, but as often as not just killing time.

I want badly to be getting regular music and art time in there too, but I’ve been having trouble motivating myself on the music end because I have no clear goals. And my current art project is at a non-artistic stage in the process, so that’s been an issue too. Plus it would be great if I could set aside some time when I am not brain-dead for coding. And I don’t want to neglect my tatting!

So…
Same morning routine.
Edit for only half my workday – (Change this into a wordage goal when I get back to writing)
Music – Goal: use Garageband to make recordings of my songs. One song every two weeks?
Art – Just get the Scent of Spring Coloring Book put together already! I can prioritize making art again when I no longer have a folder full of over a hundred ink scans waiting to be made into a book. So: 20 pages a week. At least.
Code on Fridays.
Tat one bookmark per weekend.

I think that’s doable. It looks doable. I may need to break the “one song every two weeks” down into smaller sub-goals, but everything else is pretty well defined.

I will give it a try and see how it works.

Mirrored on My Website.

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Michelle Bottorff
11 November 2015 @ 12:01 pm

The first draft of Lioness is finished. All ~140 000 words of it. (Long one!)

…It may possibly be the messiest first draft I’ve ever done, but I don’t care. For the first time since I started writing it in — as close as I can figure — March of 2010, it has not only a beginning but also a middle and an end. So I’m heading off to celebrate. :)

Mirrored on My Website.

 
 
Michelle Bottorff
02 November 2015 @ 10:28 pm

Apparently my little tatted dragon pendant has been nominated for the “best new free tatting design” award on Craftree.com. Coolness!

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Michelle Bottorff
12 April 2015 @ 09:35 pm

My son went to the library the other day, and came home with a particular book because “I saw it and I thought of you.”

Which book makes him think of me?

The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure: Classic Tales of Dashing Heroes, Dastardly Villains, and Daring Escapes, edited by Lawrence Ellsworth

I would guess that this isn’t what reminds most college students of their moms, but Vive la Difference! :)

And, in other news, I have been slowly revamping the “Art” area of my website into the “Arts and Crafts” area of my website, so that I would have a place to put my tatting patterns. I also included a link to the instructions for the origami fold from Across a Jade Sea, but it looks kind of lonely as the only “craft design” that isn’t tatting. Clearly I need to figure out what else I’ve invented over the years that is worth posting instructions for. My bead dragons, maybe? Or “How to sew your very own Coral Palace gisgir?”

Mirrored on My Website.

 
 
Michelle Bottorff
12 March 2015 @ 08:33 am

Velvet Lies is a novella that shares a setting with my fantasy novels Cantata in Coral and Ivory, and Pavane and Pearl and Emerald. It is free on amazon for the kindle for the next few days. Plot-wise it’s a murder mystery: no fantasy elements at all except for the non-earth setting. But it’s really more about exploring a culture*, and people making (hopefully) witty remarks, than it is about catching crooks.

For my ad on Goodreads, I used the tagline: A comedy of murder and manners. I don’t know that it’s actually all that funny — more snicker-ific than LOL — but oh, well. My publisher wanted the “You mean the man’s own servants won’t say who killed him because it wouldn’t be polite?” quote, and that was the best I could do with the limited space remaining.

*Since the culture being explored is an imaginary one, yes does pass the “does this book actually need to be fantasy/sf?” test, even with the complete lack of expected fantasy elements.

Mirrored on My Website.

 
 
Michelle Bottorff
19 February 2015 @ 04:43 pm

I published another book.

Yeah, yeah, I know normal people have a party on their birthday. Since when was I normal? But I did go out to dinner.

Many thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday!

Except my Wii. It claimed I was 20 two weeks before my birthday, but just as my birthday was approaching it changed its mind and decided I was 54. Bad Wii. No cookie.

Mirrored on My Website.

 
 
Michelle Bottorff
15 January 2015 @ 11:12 am

When transcribing someone’s Juvenilia, should one preserve the spelling errors, or not?

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Michelle Bottorff
04 January 2015 @ 02:18 pm

It occurred to me that before I posted another ‘Making of Cantata’ post where I blamed part of the Coral Palace culture on the filk community, that I really ought to explain what the filk community is. Especially since a lot of non-filkers define filk as “song parodies about scifi, computer games and other geeky things”. Which doesn’t quite cover enough ground to explain the Filk-Cantata connection.

As a young reader, I delighted in the bits of poetry/verse that I found in some of the books I read: Tolkien and McCaffrey come most particularly to mind. I would often memorize the poems, and even sometimes improvise tunes for some of the ones that were supposed to be songs, so that I could sing them. When I started writing, I sometimes included songs in my own stories. The “folk songs” I made up for use in one particular story with a historical setting (I wouldn’t do that now, I don’t think, I would use actual existing folksongs) I even created tunes for, thinking that because they were “folk songs” I might get a chance to sing them to someone sometime. You never know. But there didn’t seem to be any possibility of finding an audience for the more “fantasy” type songs, so I didn’t bother making up tunes for those.

And then I went to college, and the guy who would eventually become my husband took me to my first ever science fiction convention, and in the evening, even though I said I was tired, he insisted I attend something called ‘filking’. “You’ll love it!” He assured me. I walked in and discovered a group of people sitting roughly in a circle, and singing a song called “Pride of Chanur”, about the science fiction books featuring a race of intelligent cat-like people by C.J. Cherryh, with a tune that I had never heard before… but luckily I’m good at picking up tunes, and in no time I was singing along with the chorus. We went on to sing many other songs, some of which, like “Pride of Chanur”, were songs with original words and original tunes, some of which were new lyrics to familiar tunes, and some of which took poems from out of books and set them to music. Clearly I had found ‘my people’.

And when the convention came to an end, I went home and started writing tunes for my “fantasy” songs. :)

So: the filk community is a musical community that grew up around science fiction and fantasy conventions. (It is now large enough to hold conventions of its own.) There are two key elements to the filk community: the interest in fantasy and science fiction and related topics, and the emphasis on participation in music rather than just passively listening. Everyone is encouraged to sing. Everyone is encouraged to write songs. If you can’t do tunes, write new words to someone else’s tune. If you can’t do lyrics, write music to someone else’s lyrics. Take a turn singing in the circle. If you know the song someone else is singing, join in. Learn to play an instrument. Don’t just be a fan of filk, become a filker.

Mirrored on My Website.