tahariel: (Books)
Since I left the Hell-Job on Friday I have:

  • tidied the entire flat so it is now all clean and lovely

  • cleaned out all the photos I don't actually want to keep (elbows and people I don't know)

  • spent all the iTunes vouchers work gave me as a leaving present

  • finagled a single ticket for the National Theatre's production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the monster! (It was EXPENSIVE. More than I thought, anyway. But I am so stoked. Also awesome about this production: Benedict Cumberbatch and the other actor are alternating who plays the monster and who plays Dr Frankenstein. Neat.)

  • started up two tumblr accounts and worked out how to use the damn things

  • went to visit a local film studio to see if we might use it for Taken/Quitados, the short film I am Assistant Producing this year (AWESOME, BTW.)


    So feeling pretty accomplished right now! I start the New Job on Monday so plenty of free time this week to do some writing and such.

    On a more studious note, I've been reading a few articles today by authors I love about publishing, e-publishing and internet piracy that I want to talk to you guys about.

    I can't lay claim to sainthood in this arena by any value system. As I'm sure most of my flist do, I download a lot of TV shows to watch as they come out in the US rather than waiting for them to be shown here in the UK or buying them on DVD. I justify this by telling myself that they're not losing any money from me as I wouldn't be paying to access their TV channels anyway, etc, etc, I don't want to be spoiled, etc. This does not make it okay, and I am also aware of that. I wouldn't have to justify it if it wasn't a problem in the first place.



    Now, the big TV companies? The movie studios? (I don't, as a rule, download movies, but let's assume that I did.) Them I'm not so concerned about, because I don't live in the US, and my opinion - my business - never seems to carry any weight with them when they decide whether or not to keep my favourite shows on TV or whether to make a sequel to my favourite films. But authors? I do care about them.

    [livejournal.com profile] anywherebeyond (YA author Saundra Mitchell) has written a really eye-opening post about the direct impact ebook piracy is having on her livelihood and on the trajectory of her career. (“Free” Books Aren’t Free.) I've never pirated a book, and have no intentions to, but the numbers alone really stunned me. So I followed a few links, and read a bit more, and winced a bit more every time.

    A few more links under the cut to try and slim down this post )
  • tahariel: (Me sci-fi-ish)
    You know how sometimes people on your friend's list post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think "Wait a minute? Since when are they working THERE? Since when are they dating HIM/HER? since when???" And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you *should* already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

    Please copy mine below, erase my answers putting yours in their place then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration! One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out :)


    1. First Name: Amy

    2. Age: 21

    3. Location: Currently at home in Buckinghamshire, near High Wycombe, but as of this Sunday I'm going to be in Birmingham for four weeks for another hospital placement.

    4. Occupation: Poking small children in the eye for their own good. What do you mean that's not what I'm supposed to be doing? (Orthoptics student at Uni of Liverpool)

    5. Partner?: Nope :(

    6. Kids: Not yet!

    7. Brothers/Sisters: My younger sister, Lucy, who finishes her A-level exams tomorrow afternoon. She's been ill for the last four years, so this is a major achievement and I'm very proud of her :)

    8. Pets: Jasper, our Cocker Spaniel, and Fudge, the guinea pig we got from the RSPCA to keep the other guinea pig company, who promptly (well, six months later) died, leaving us with just the one gpig again. He's just been castrated so he can go live with our friends who have girl gpigs, so he won't be lonely any more. Trust me, he's lost about half his body weight, he should be grateful. Those things were bloody massive.

    9. List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:

    * I'm nearly finished writing the first draft of my novel.
    * I'm about to go off on placement to a place that is apparently evil, breaks your spirit and makes you cry.
    * My Dad is getting married later this year which involves some complicated logistics for all of us, house-selling-wise, manner-of-living-wise etc. I'm not 100% happy with all of Dad's plans, but then, I don't really live at home now, so.

    10. Where and for what did you go to school for?: University of Liverpool, Orthoptics.

    11. Parents?: My dad is an engineer and he's constantly moody and in pain, he also never gives compliments. My mum is a cleaner and tends to be horribly depressive and stressed about everything.

    12. Who are some of your closest friends?: Laura-Hat, Rupert, Kaneen, Sazzy, Other-Nick. Many others, those are just top of the 'people I miss' list at the moment.
    tahariel: (Wedding)
    You can see some of my pictures from [livejournal.com profile] jaksbin's wedding last weekend here at my facebook :)
    tahariel: (Submerged)
    Hey honeybunches! I am sorry it's taken me so long to post again here (as ever), but my only defence is that I have been very busy this last week, doing stuff and junk. (Yeah, that important :D)

    I've been busy this week! So I'll start where I left off - my birthday party last Tuesday. )

    ...all this really boils down to is that I haven't done any writing for much too long, and I'm sort of making excuses with myself for being so slow. I should be faster than I am, or something - if I ever got published I would have to be faster. Which is why I've decided to void my New Year's Resolution to get the manuscript off to agents by the end of the year. I'm just not convinced that I could manage the publishing thing while trying to finish my dissertation and degree at the same time without dying of overwork. "Oh, sorry Mr Publisher, no book for you - I have to revise for my exam." So I'm going to delay until I finish university, and then - publishing time! Hopefully :D And by then I might have two books in the series, which makes people keener than just having the first book in a series, so that could help, too.
    tahariel: (Flights of Fancy)
    So, I guess I'm kind of a book snob.

    (BTW, I am totally over all the freaking out today. It seems to have blown over. And also I have finished all my exams! Yay! So happy happy la la today. Tomorrow gotta go have my hair cut and buy Dad and Gail a happy engagement card. For those who don't know, they got engaged last week and told me on Monday, at which point I proceeded to freak out over all the change that implied, but I'm over it now.)

    Over on Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels a male author who has just been told by his publisher that he has written a paranormal romance wants a primer in paranormal romance, and so has asked for recommendations.

    Now, I love paranormal-type novels, and alot of them are paranormal romance. So off I trotted to Amazon with many of the titles from this list to see what they were about, what I thought by reading the summaries, that sort of thing.

    But so many of them had really bad trashy covers, and as soon as the pages loaded my finger tended to hit the 'back' button without even scrolling down to read the blurbs.

    I'm sure there are very good trashy novels out there, and aren't you supposed to not judge a book by its cover? But so many novels with bad covers are bad inside. How do you tell the difference? And does this make me a snob? If so, do you now look at me with less love and respect than you did before? (Surely it is not humanly possible for you to have less respect for me than before, I hear you cry.)

    And when I'm looking at agents, and who they've got on their client lists, and not only see no names I know but see novels with trashy looking covers from publishers who publish that sort of thing all the time, should I be looking for other agents or thinking, 'this agent got that author published in the right place for their novel', rather than, 'do they have the contacts for the kind of novel I want to publish? And do they even publish novels of the standard I hope I'm writing at?'

    Am I just an incorrigible snob?
    tahariel: (Default)
    I have been TERRIBLE at posting here lately, I promise to try and make up for it!

    New Years Resolution: I will finish my novel and send it to agents by the end of the year.

    I'm only making the one resolution, so hopefully *fingers crossed*

    Okay, I know I've been terrible at posting here, but I really have nothing to say, except that you totally have to watch this video, it is just SO AWESOME:




    Whee, first embedded video ever!
    tahariel: (Me sci-fi-ish)
    Following the lj tradition of posting the title and first line of the first post of each month in the past year, here is my year in review!

    So I don't often use titles it seems... )

    Brr!

    Dec. 10th, 2007 08:31 pm
    tahariel: (Lurgy)
    We were supposed to be going to the pub tonight at 8pm but considering that it's 8:30pm and I haven't even heard anything it's looking less and less likely. Considering I was ambivalent at best about going, and that I am definitely coming down with a cold - started as a feeling in my nose, and now, as usual when I'm sick, I feel freezing if I'm wearing less than a t-shirt, a cardigan AND my dressing gown, I'm sort of glad we appear not to be going. If they decide we're going after all I might cop out anyway. Brr! I always get cold when I'm ill. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow, but at least this time I actually have medicine in.

    Only two more days of class, and then one of 'compulsory volunteering' (I KNOW), and then I'm done for the term. Whew.

    ETA: They just came to ask if I was ready and I copped out. Apparently they didn't expect me to come anyway, which is good, and they didn't seem hacked off. If I'd been well I'd have gone, but. Urgh. I hate the feeling of a cold coming on. If I'm this cold unless I'm this bundled up, going out in the cold in less bundling would not have been a good plan.
    tahariel: (I want you to know that)
    Today is the third anniversary of Mum's death. Me and Dad and Lucy went to the churchyard this morning to take her some lovely flowers from the florist down the road. It's strange to think that it's been so long, and yet so short, a time since it happened. I guess I don't really think about it all that much any more.

    For those of you who I've only become friends with recently, my Mum died of an aneurysm in her brain, very suddenly and quickly, over a couple of days, in the first week of December 2004. You could say we had a bad time of it - my sister was ill with glandular fever at the time, and I was in my final year of high school preparing to take some important exams. A month later our elderly dog had to be put to sleep, and that year both my Dad and my sister developed depression, and my sister's glandular fever turned into ME. It sounds as though I'm making it up to be dramatic, but I'm really not. That year, year and a half was awful, and it was one thing after another.

    What I really wanted to talk about today, though, was how far I feel like I've come since. I failed to get the grades to get into university that year after everything that happened, so I reapplied and got jobs and worked. I learnt the value of money and how things really work in the world. I grew up. I found a course, and what will eventually be a career, that will suit me infinitely better than what I was going to do, and I am so happy doing it. I genuinely enjoy my lectures. I have become more self-sufficient and confident in myself, because I have had to.

    As a result of everything that happened I am not only a much more determined writer but, I think, a much better one, even if only because I had to find an outlet for the way I felt and it expressed itself in thousands of words of writing that let me practice and practice and practice my skill. I feel like I have acheived a depth in my writing that I never used to have.

    It feels sometimes like things have always been this way, that my mother never existed and it has always been the three of us. I can't remember her voice any more, or the way she smelled, or even her face without having to build it up out of photographs I remember of her. I think after a while those things just slip away from you.

    I turned eighteen without her. I went to university without her. I will have relationships and get married and have kids without her. That hurts.

    But I am stronger now than I ever was, and I'm grateful for that, even if I wish the reasons it has happened hadn't. I know what I want and I want to try hard to get it for myself, because I know that things don't always last.

    I am proud of myself and where I am now. I hope she would have been, too.

    Three years is a long time, and no time at all, for everything to be different.
    tahariel: (Happiness and excitement)
    Finished the first draft of the Big Scary Assignment, thank God! With eight references, five of them journal articles, so now I just need to go back to it tomorrow and work it over until it doesn't suck. It's not due until next Thursday, so I'm glad I've got most of it done. Now I've only got the A-level level Neurophysiology assignment to do, which should be relatively easy comparatively.

    Thank God, basically summarises it. I'm just glad I finally sat down and did it - I was kind maybe a little bit procrastinating a tiny weeny bit on this one. Um. Yeah.

    But now I can totally do some writing! Or watch NCIS, whatever. They're totally equal on the acheivement front, I'm sure you'll agree.
    tahariel: (The Night Tower - canals and drawbridges)
    I've been thinking about something Myv has said to me, about the way I work and how much work I do. She says that, at least at the moment, I'm not taking a degree, I'm writing a novel - and to some extent I think she's right. I'm not very good at doing things I don't want to do, and too good at doing the things I do. I need to find a better balance between the two and get work done.

    ...I still desperately want to crack on with my novel, though.
    tahariel: (Fury)
    I went to get our veg from the market by myself today, because Myv went to the voluntary Stats recap lecture (since I did stats for A-level, I am already so bored in the mandatory lectures that I felt it would be fine for me to miss this one.) Fine. I got enough veg and fruit, etc, that I could actually carry it easily for once, even though it's so windy here that my umbrella was in constant risk of turning inside out and I was still getting wet anyway because it is raining cats and dogs. Fine.

    But then this fucking ASSHOLE bus driver went straight through a deep puddle right in front of me and soaked me from waist to feet. Luckily my hoodie mostly caught it in the pocket, so my t-shirt was dry, but I was plastered in jeans from thigh to ankle, and it was NOT COMFORTABLE.

    This may sound funny - and I'm sure it will be later - but right now I want to murder this guy in cold blood, the fucker. (Not even cold blood, I suppose, since I'm basically sitting here growling.)

    If it stays this wet, I might stay in tonight. I really, really, really hate going out in the rain.
    tahariel: (Default)
    As it turns out, spending an hour by myself with music on so loud that I could pretend nobody else in the world existed and lopping off heads in this Headless Horseman game made me feel better, so I actually had a great time at the concert :)

    I went with my friend Sam to see KT Tunstall at the Guild of Students, and as always KT was a fantastic performer - full of energy, and a great live singer. It was monstrously hot and we had to stand up the whole time and afterwards I could barely walk, but it was fun, especially after Sam and me swapped places and then we could both see - me over the head of the middle-aged lady bopping from side to side so that Sam couldn't see around her, and her through a gap I hadn't been able to use, because previously I had been staring either through the double of the balding man in front of me's head or directly at the back of his head, depending on his irritating talent for moving directly into my line of sight in any given minute. Belting out 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' at full volume with crashing guitars more than made up for this.

    Yesterday morning I went to play with Ben, too, the autistic boy I'm volunteering with, and it went really well. Not only did I not get lost on the buses this time, but we had an instant rapport again - which apparently never happens - and I played with him for a solid half hour alone before he decided we were leaving his playroom, which also never happens. (Sarah, Ben's Mum, told me that some of her volunteers have taken six months to get him in there for an hour. She wants me to drop out of uni and become his nanny :D) I love that kid. And I really, hugely enjoy going over there, because he's fun to play with but also his Mum is lovely and I really like her. Two hours a week at least is going to fly by.

    On top of all that, I was barely at home yesterday, but I still managed to churn out a good 600 words more on my novel, which pleases me, though I then woke up this morning unable to breathe through my nose and am still in my pyjamas and dressing gown, lounging around reading my writing book, which I'm really glad I bought because it's ace. Not so much a 'make up characters like this' as a 'writing is pretty much like this' kind of book, with helpful hints about publication and such. It made me laugh out loud a lot, until Myv threw me out of her room, and I was highly amused to see that she recommends copying your novel several times and carrying it on a data stick in your purse in case your house burns down, which is exactly what I do! (Plus I have a copy in my room in case my handbag is stolen, plus a copy with my Dad in the fireproof safe, plus Susan always has a copy, plus I upload anything new to Google Documents in case every computer I know goes down. This is not just paranoia, folks, it's psychosis, but at least I'll never lose my work!)

    AS WELL AS ALL THAT, the poster I designed for the play I'm stage managing (Midsummer Night's Dream) has been approved by the director and I'm doing the touch-ups today. I'm really pleased with it, you can see the current version here.

    This is a very long post for me. I'd probably better go have a lie down :D

    ETA: Jesus Fuck. Sam just came in and told me that Marc and Myv are breaking up - he's breaking up with her because he can't do the long distance thing any more. I don't know what to do about this. There's nothing much I can do, but... she's going home for a few days. Not surprising, as they've been going out for three years. Bugger. This sucks. Poor Myv.
    tahariel: (Corpse Bride - lift your sorrows)
    Just a quick post...

    Ive found this thing online (through Neil Gaiman's blog, actually.) This woman is an American who cannot afford the surgery she needs to live but does not qualify for aid, and as I'm sure you know, in America, no money no medicine. She has serious brain problems - malformation and lesions. And so she's trying to do this thing where if enough people download this little text file - it's virus free, I did check - then the download company megaupload will pay her $10,000, which would mean she could have her surgery (she's already getting a 50% discount from her state teaching hospital, but it's not enough.)

    Go and have a read of her website here, and see if you want to help. It takes literally two seconds to do. In my books it's worth it. And if she's a scammer? Well, for one thing she's been setting this up for a long time, and I'd rather help a scammer than not help someone who might need two seconds of my time every day to live.
    tahariel: (Shoe and cake)
    ...OH WAIT IT'S ME!

    Mmm, cake! It makes me really happy - I love baking. It's just a shame that Myv is on a diet and so will never touch it and Sam isn't sure she will eat any of it :( I think I will have to invite that bottomless pit Sam calls her boyfriend over to eat some and compliment me or something. (I am needy for praise. It's really quite silly to bake a LOVELY CAKE and be the only one to eat it.

    I will include pictures when it cools down and I have tipped it out of the casserole dish I used to cook it in (I don't have any cake tins, okay? Well, alright, I have a loaf tin. But that wasn't the idea.)
    tahariel: (Fish out of water)
    First things first...

    Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
    45,339 / 100,000
    (45.3%)


    Whee! Only 4,661 words until I can buy myself another book about writing! (I have a lot of fun reading them, even though I write without referencing them. I feel motivated afterwards and like I might have learned something, and I love to discuss writing, so this is almost as good as that!) And also, of course I then lend them to [livejournal.com profile] blondeyetti, so it's like a cycle of goodness ^-^

    (If anyone ever feels like discussing writing, by the way, OHMIGOD PICK ME, PICK ME! because I really, really enjoy it. My project, your project, writing in general...)

    Bulletpoints, because I haven't used them in a while!

  • Anyway, real life stuff! We've been given LOADS of work this week, and I was going to go to the anime club's fangirl sleepover on Saturday, but I don't think I can justify the time to myself TT-TT I really have loads I have to get done, which is sad. (The sleepover is from, like, two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, so it really would eat up too much time, unfortunately.) I have loads of Self-Directed Learning due.

  • Today I downloaded some free novel-planning software off the net, and I have to say that I really like it. I'm not going to use it to actually write my novel, but it's useful to look at structure and things - like tracking where each character is, where scenes are, whether there's enough tension all the way through or if there are low patches, that sort of thing. I plugged in everything I've done so far, anyway, and I'm half in love with it. If anyone's interested, you can find it here, it's called ywriter.

  • I'm getting all wound up more easily at the moment, which I think is probably because of a few different things - more work, plus going to talk to the phD student about Mum stirred that up, and one of my friends' Dad died. (I'd say who it was, but she hasn't said that I could, so.) Plus the Postal Strike is still on here, with no end in sight, and I'm getting PISSED OFF. I ordered my copy of the new Temeraire book from the States so that I could read it as soon as possible, goddammit!

    But basically all my issues are closer to the surface at the moment, so for instance I'm finding it hard to convince myself (again) that the reason I've not met anyone yet, like, ever, is not because there is something fundamentally wrong with me, it's just a case of timing. Sometimes I'm just very aware of being twenty years old and never had a boyfriend, you know? I want somebody to be close to, who will say nice things to me even though he'll tease me like hell too, etc etc. And so on and so forth.

  • I need ten more fics that I love enough to rec on my del.icio.us, because then I will have exactly 1000 fics linked on there, in loads of different fandoms. Can anybody rec me anything to read? Please?

    Okay, that's it for now :D
  • tahariel: (Cloud Nine)
    So I really ought to post more, huh? (Hey, look at the new icon I made - it came out cool, huh? Yes, I am modest as well as talented.)

    Not a lot going on, really. I'm just finished my second week of lectures (which I'm enjoying, by the way - learning new things is made. Of. Awesome.) I'm really liking anatomy, because I like knowing the names of all the different fiddly bits of things (we're only doing the skull and orbit, for obvious reasons) and seeing how it all fits together. It's like the best sort of jigsaw puzzle :)

    I'm really trying to knuckle down and write again. I'm in that sticky place, and if I make myself I can write, but I'm not just sitting down and doing it at the moment, which is annoying, because I do enjoy it. I really need to break the habit, too, of always starting at about 10:30pm and writing until I wake up the next morning with dark circles. Anyway, drumrolls please:

    Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
    34,670 / 100,000
    (34.7%)


    Ta da!


    I can't remember what else I've already told you about, so I'm going to ramble a bit more, okay?

    I've joined the Drama Society this year, wanting to do backstage team work, and I've got the exact job I wanted, which rules - I'm stage manager for Midsummer Night's Dream! This means I get to make lists, organise props and stage, and boss people around. So, perfect :D I'm really looking forward to getting going with it. The play is on at the end of November (not that I expect you all to pick up sticks and come and see it - I'm a bit out of your way, mostly, am I right?) I'm doing the graphic design, too, at least for that play and possibly for the three others we're putting on this term (it's a big society!) So I'll let you see the posters when they're done. On top of even that, they're going to be running writing workshops - aimed at screenplays and scriptwriting, but I think it could be really useful anyway. Dialogue and character are important in almost every type of writing, so if I can work at it and improve, that's a good thing!


    I'm also going to my first Anime Club meeting this evening. I wasn't sure if I was going to go, because it sounds like Drama could be really busy, but then I met [livejournal.com profile] tellezara on the Orthoptic night out, and it sounds fun and fannish, and I have no fannish friends here, so I'm going to go. Hopefully it will be awesome :)


    That's all I can think of for now. I'll post again... some time :D
    tahariel: (Lurgy)
    I've got a sore throat TT-TT

    And I'm stuck on The Night Tower again.

    Bother.
    tahariel: (Sleeeeeep)
    Hi everyone!

    Just to let you know I'm alive and well in Liverpool. I only got my internet sorted out today, so. I haven't caught up with lj yet, anyway, so if you get a late response to something, don't be surprised.

    I'll make a better post tomorrow, I promise :)

    Whee!

    Sep. 8th, 2007 10:31 pm
    tahariel: (Arcessitor - tattoo wings)
    We got a new guinea pig!

    His name is Fudge and we got him from the RSPCA, so he's already big and about Neo's age. So hopefully they will get along and be friends, and stop being so lonely. It's annoying that I'm just about to go away, but since I'm the only one with enough time to spend with Neo when he was on his own to stop hm from getting too lonely - and he still was - it's also good.

    He's very noisy, and lively, and so far they seemed to get along okay when we put them in together for a little while.

    Also, fic recs!

    Vampyre and Zhombies of London, by [livejournal.com profile] girl_starfish.

    It's DC comics fanfic, starring Superboy, Robin and Kid Flash (Kon, Tim and Bart.) But you don't have to be familiar with the fandom - it's AU, and fairly self-explanatory, and basically awesome. It's a Victorian-type story where they hunt monsters, there is genderbending and slash. I've asked the author if she plans to write more and the answer is 'not now but maybe'. Really, I got totally enthralled by these (which may, I admit, be because I love and know the fandom.)

    Do try them, at least. It's cleverly and carefully done, with slowly developing relationships between characters and slow revelations - the sort of thing I LOVE.

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    tahariel: (Default)
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