Donations Are Appreciated!
Friday, July 01 2011 @ 07:11 PM EDT
I was hoping to launch the Kickstarter today, but I'm having problems with Amazon and my bank not playing nice with each other. I literally spent hours on the phone with Amazon and two separate banks (since I couldn't get my bank account, I was hoping to use Paul's as a temporary measure just to get started on time) and nothing I did worked.
I'm trying to be zen and accept that I'm just going to be launching a little later than I'd hoped.
I'm trying really hard.
I hate waiting.
Thursday, June 30 2011 @ 09:12 AM EDT
Tomorrow, I'm launching a Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that people use to fund artistic or creative projects.
Here is the description of what I want to do. The Kickstarter will launch tomorrow, if you're interested in learning more or offering funding. You can also visit the Bursts of Light website, if you're interested.
I want to put together a short story anthology of positive speculative fiction. I'd like the chance to create a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories that makes the reader feel better about life, the universe, and everything. I want to see hope overcoming despair, hard work paying off, and the victory of the human spirit. I want to put together a book that can cheer you up when you're having a bad day.
If my funding succeeds, I plan on having open submissions and paying professional rates for my stories.
I want to put out an anthology of other authors instead of a collection of my own work for a lot of reasons. First, I just enjoy editing. I like finding great stories in the slush pile and working with authors on rewrites.
I also think that there are a lot of voices out there that deserve to be heard. And then, there's the fact that if this works, maybe other aspiring editors will try it, and open up more markets that I can submit my fiction to.
There's a lot of bleak fiction out there right now. Dark fiction can be wonderful, but it's not what I want to read all of the time. So much of the fiction that I've seen lately focuses on humanity's problems and failures. Acknowledging those things is vital, but I think it's important to remember to celebrate our triumphs, too. So, if you've had enough bleak, angsty fiction, or if you just want a change of pace, consider funding my anthology.
Why are you doing this?
I'm passionate about fiction. I love both writing and editing. It's all I've ever wanted to do with my life. Bursts of Light is the sort of book that I would pick up if I saw it in a store, and using Kickstarter is a way to make it into reality. Thinking about the project makes me happy. That alone seems like a pretty damn good reason to try.
Why use Kickstarter? Why not try traditional publishing routes first?
Because I want to see if this can work. There are a lot of projects looking for funding here, but most of the fiction that people are trying to get funding for is their own. If crowd funding can work for fiction anthologies, I think that'll do interesting things to the short fiction market. I also don't have the sort of connections that I'd need to do an anthology for a traditional publisher, and I like the thought of having creative control and being able to do this my own way.
Why should I support this project?
If you want to help another human being achieve her dream. That's kind of a big deal, if you think about it.
If you like fiction that makes you feel good.
If you like reading at all, really.
If you write short fiction. If this succeeds, it could open a floodgate of new, interesting markets. At the very least, it'll lead to one.
If you like cookies!
What's up with the cookies, anyway?
Cookies, like the stories I hope to include in Bursts of Light, are little things that make life better.
What will you use my money for?
I want to pay my authors $.05 per word, and I'd like publish about 100,000 words. That's a pretty ambitious goal, but if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right. I also need to pay for cover art, printing costs, promotional materials, and ads. Plus, a portion of your donation will go to Kickstarter and Amazon.
Any final words to convince me?
Walt Disney said, "All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." That quote is a big part of my inspiration for this project. This is the most ambitious thing that I've ever attempted. I'm taking a deep breathe and making this jump. With your help, I could succeed beyond my wildest dreams. Without you, I'll fall on my face. Please, if you like the look of this project, go ahead and donate. I appreciate any help at all, and I'll do my very best not to disappoint you.
Also, I make really good cookies.
Monday, June 20 2011 @ 10:37 AM EDT
Kellogg's K2O is comes as packets of powder that you mix into a bottle of water. Each one has 30 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. The pink lemonade flavor is decent. Not great--a little too acidic for my taste, but definitely drinkable. I find it's best if I mix the powder into my water, shake the bottle a bit, then throw it back in the fridge for a while. Letting it dissolve completely ensures that you don't get any graininess.
It's meant to help stave off hunger, and I'm finding that it does a pretty dang good job of it.
Sunday, June 19 2011 @ 04:43 PM EDT
I've spent hours and hours this weekend sorting through my clothes. I'm getting rid of everything that is too big. I don't care if it's cute or if I've never worn it, or if I have nice memories of it, or what. if it doesn't fit, it goes. If I don't like it, it goes. I don't care who gave it to me, or what it's from, or whatever.
I'm getting rid of prom gowns, bridesmaid's dresses, unflattering tops, slacks and jackets I've owned for years and maybe worn once... and so much else. I'm also going through and throwing away anything that has holes in it or stains. My I've gone through pretty much everything but my socks. You're next, socks.
Of cousre, I need to purge socks because I ordered new socks. Nice socks. Pretty socks. Hiking socks.
I've recently gotten a sock thing.
Anyway, even after all of the bags and bags of stuff I'm getting rid of, I still have sooo maaannnyy clooooothes. I'm probably keeping too many T shirts and sweaters and long sleeved shirts and skirts... but at least they are all things that I wear.
Monday, June 13 2011 @ 06:54 PM EDT
Wrote a story today! It was inspired by this painting, which I saw yesterday at the Carnegie Museum of Art. It's called Midgard and it's by Anselm Kiefer. It's a huge painting--it takes up most of the wall. What I saw when I looked at it wasn't the broken world that our tour guide mentioned, but a misshapen heart. Combine that with the snake about to enter it and my weird parasite thing (if you've read Larva Mother, my story in January 2011's Bards and Sages, you might understand what I mean) and I had the seed of an idea. Now, it's a rough draft.
Bwahahaha! I'm pretty pleased with myself today.
Sunday, June 12 2011 @ 06:57 PM EDT
On Friday, Paul and I went on a double date with our friends Pete and Sabrina. We had dinner at the Lemongrass Cafe downtown, then we wandered over to the Three River's Arts Fest for a free outdoor concert by Brandi Carlile. I very much reccomend the Lemongrass Cafe's vegetable skewers, and if you ever find a place selling chocolate strawberries on a stick, buy them.
On Saturday, Bill and I went on an endurance hike. I wanted to see how far we could hike, so we drove up to Lake Wilhelm. There's a 12 mile bicycle trail around the lake, and my family lives up there, so if we'd needed to bail my mother could have come and rescued us. We made it around twice. We hiked 24 miles in just over 8 hours. We're probably not quite up for the Rachel Carson Challenge yet, but I think we will be by next year. After that, we came back to Pittsburgh and went to go see Kung Fu Panda 2, which I loved. The villain is just so cool. And the movie is just fun.
This morning, I got up and walked to Oakland (they say the best thing for sore muscles is more of what made them sore, you know) to have breakfast at Pamela's with my friend Katy. French toast with strawberries and wonderful company--one of the very best ways to spend a Sunday morning. After breakfast, Paul and I went to the Carnegie Library's Extravaganza. We decorated smiley cookies and wandered around a bit, then we went into the art museum and did a guided tour. It was really cool. The guide was interesting and informative, and it was just the two of us and one other woman, so we weren't moving as a big crowd.
Then, we came back home and finished Eden of the East. Of course, not really, cause there are two OVAs. I enjoyed the series, though I would have liked the female character to have a little more to do.
You know, the first OVA is on Netflix. Maybe I'll go do that right now....
Friday, June 10 2011 @ 10:31 PM EDT
The amazingly talented, brilliant, and beautiful Lex Covato has agreed to do the cover art for my kickstarter project! Things are really starting to get exciting!! Woo!
Friday, June 10 2011 @ 12:26 PM EDT
I love ghost stories! And promts! And prizes! And being part of the cemetary tour sounds cool, too!
Ligonier Valley Writers Announces Flash Fiction Contest
Where do you find winning stories? For our contest, graveyards, mausoleums, cemeteries, and other burial places. Write a scary (or not so scary) story for moolah, cash, coin of the realm!
Ligonier Valley Writers is again looking for scribes to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write a flash fiction story for its seventh annual Flash Fiction Contest.
Ed Kelemen, contest chair, announces the deadline for the contest: the witching hour when August 14, 2011, passes into history. Knowing the lack of cash in most writers' wallets, Ligonier Valley Writers is pleased to announce that there will be NO ENTRY FEE for this contest.
Okay, here are the details:
1. This year the setting must be a graveyard, mausoleum, cemetery, or other burial place.
2. Since this year marks the 25th anniversary of Ligonier Valley Writers, you must include the words twenty-five, anniversary, and silver somewhere in the body of your story.
3. A flash fiction story is less than 1,000 words long. But good news: The words twenty-five, anniversary, and silver don’t count. Your story can run all of 1,003 words.
4. To save a few trees, writers are encouraged to submit electronically. Please place your story in the body of an email and send it to Ed Kelemen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT send it as an attachment; attachments will not be opened.
5. Include a short (150 words maximum) bio and the following statement with your entry: “I, [Your Name], hereby give Ligonier Valley Writers the right to read my story titled “-------------------” at various venues during the Halloween season of 2011 and a one-time right to publish the story online at www.lvwonline.org. The rights revert to me six months after the story is published.” Include your name, address, and contact information.
6. Winning entries will be read at the Hannah’s Town historical site in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, as part of its annual Graveyard Tour shortly before Halloween.
7. Winning entries will also be published online at www.lvwonline.org.
8. Now for the part you've been waiting for. Prizes will be awarded as follows:
First Prize $50, Second Prize $25, Third Prize $15. There will also be three Honorable Mentions. These stories will not receive cash prizes but will be published and read aloud with the other winners.
For more about LVW events, publications, and writing contests, visit www.lvwonline.org.Watch the site for news on the LVW Conference July 16, the Loyalhanna Review publication party July 15, the Author and Artist Book Fair August 13, and the all-day Writing History workshop at Hannah’s Town August 27.
Friday, June 10 2011 @ 11:08 AM EDT
My work-in-progress fantasy novel is up to 70,000 words. The end is in sight, now I just have to sit down and write it. It's both exhilarating and intimidating. Once I get it all down, I'm going to give it another pass before I force it upon my writing group.
I wrote a flash piece this week, and I'm working on another short story sort of inspired by The Flight of the Navigator. It's a lot of fun.
The Triangulation Kickstarter has surpassed its funding goal, which is exciting beyond words. It's going to be such a good book! And I'm continuing to work on my own project. I contacted an artist friend who I want to do the cover for me yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed! If she says yes, I'll put the video together while she works on the cover, and hopefully get the Kickstarter launched around the end of the month.
Thursday, June 09 2011 @ 08:28 AM EDT
Dieting is the hardest thing about losing weight. Before I started my current effort, I had no idea how many calories were in the foods I was eating. Figuring out how much I was actually putting into my body every day was an important first step.
There are lots of ways to do that. The study gave us copies of one of those little pocket books with huge lists of foods and their nutritional infomation. I have an app for my ipod touch that is really helpful. (I use MyNetDiary, but there are a lot of them out there.)
My biggest issue was portion size. I measure things, now. I don't have a food scale, so I have to estimate lots of things, especially meat, but I think I'm getting better with practice.
I'm lucky that I tend to like healthy food--I'm a big fan of most vegetables. I was just eating too much of everything.
However, just eating less of the same foods isn't really helpful if it leaves you hungry all of the time, so I thought I'd share some of the things that have become staples in my diet. ^_^ Just in case any of you are interested. If you want to share you own heathy ideas in the comments, I'd love to hear them!
I'm a big fan of raw carrots. They're one of the few vegetables that I can just dig into without any sort of condiment or anything. I eat a lot of apples, too. I'm a big fan of fruit in general, really.
Oven roasted vegetables are another of my favorites. And they're super easy. Just turn the oven to 350, spread the green beans or asparagus or thin-sliced sweet potatoes or whatever you fancy on a cookie sheet, give them a light spray with cooking oil (or coat them with your favorite oil if you prefer, but the cooking spray lets you get a lighter coating) dust on your favorite seasoning (I like cajun spice mixes or garlic salt) and roast them till they're cooked enough for your liking.
I eat cereal for breakfast almost every morning. Kashi GoLean is really good, and super good for you. And raisin bran is pretty dang awesome.
I'm also a big fan of Kashi's granola bars, especially their GoLean cinnamon coffee cake ones. They're great for days when I don't get a lunch break and need to have something to get me through the day.
Fiber Plus's coconut caramel fudge bars taste like Samoas. I love them.
Dannon's fat free yogurt had a good amount of protein, and I haven't tried a flavor that I didn't like. The cherry is really good, it has real bits of fruit in it.
If you freeze bananas and then throw them in the blender, they come out with a nice custard-like texture. Of course, keep in mind that bananas aren't the most low calorie fruit. But it is really good with just a little hot fudge and some redi whip. Of course, you might just want to get a light ice cream or frozen yogurt and make sure you just eat a single serving of it.
3 oz of meat is acutally a decent serving size. It might not seem like it at first, but it is.
Salad is awesome. Find a healthy dressing you acutally like. Don't make yourself eat something you don't enjoy just because it's healthy. There are too many healthy and delicious options out there for you to do that to yourself.
Canned salmon is delicious, especially if you sautee it up with a little garlic. I spread a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese on a piece of Pepperidge Farm's high fiber light bread and pile some salmon ot top, and it's just wonderful.
I know I'm dropping a lot of brand names, here, but these are the things I use.
I've also been experimenting with healthier baking--doing stuff like using yogurt instead of butter, flax seed for some of the oil, and whole wheat flour. It's acutally pretty fun. I have a banana bread recipe that I'll see if I can find and put up here.