Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Thoughts on discussion and comments

My site was the victim of a brute force attack. My service provider had to disable the log-in since the bots wouldn’t quit trying to get in and so I lost access for a while. It’s back now and hopefully I’ll be able to figure out something to keep it from going down again in the future.

I’ve never shut off comments to old posts — the internet being what it is, unless it’s a post on a time sensitive topic, or even then, I usually think of posts as potential for an on-going discussion with people who might be a bit late to the party.

That said, after one of my posts got 435 spam comments over the course of this weekend, I had to bow to the scourge and I shut off the comments to Goddess in Waiting ch. 2.

Some blog owners have a policy of shutting off comments after a certain number of days, but I’m trying to hold off on that. Hopefully, since the bulk of my spam comments are all directed at that page for some reason obscured to me, that’ll solve the problem for now.

I hate captcha — mostly because I usually fail at it and I think that most people are more loathe to comment if you add even a bit more of a hurdle to it, but I have to admit I’m seeing the lure at this point. However, even if I do go down that dark path, I will choose a math one rather than those unholy scribbles.

*sigh*

Anyway, I spent about an hour skimming over and deleting spam comments today. It’s not something that has ever really troubled me before, so I have a new found appreciation for what people mean when they claim that blog maintenance can take up a healthy chunk of time.

 

Counting my blessings

A schoolbus did a hit and run on my car this past Sunday and now my poor baby has a huge dent in the front where the headlights are and there are bits of broken reflective headlight stuff rattling around inside the headlight space thingy.

I was parked right beside the road, next to the curb, with my hazard lights on, waiting for Iddt to pick up some stuff at the farmer’s market. My mom was texting me, so I was texting her back when suddenly the car rocked, hard, and there was this grinding noise.

I looked up in horror and there’s this big ass schoolbus just…kinda embedded in my car. It was pulling over to let its passengers off and clearly just wasn’t paying enough attention.

Frozen in shock, I just kinda sat there, uncertain whether or not to jump into traffic and run over to shout at the driver, sorta expecting the bus driver or someone to come over and see about damages, but the next thing I knew the bus had pulled away with a horrific screech. The noise, of course, was from the pulling away pushing its tail end deeper into my car. If it had backed up, pulled straight and then drove straight ahead it probably would not have caused as much damage as it did, but I miscalculated in assuming the bus driver knowing that he hit something.

Some of the kids who had come off the schoolbus had that what-the-fuck look on their face at the really loud horrific grinding noise.

Further in shock that this was happening, that the bus driver clearly had no clue that this whole thing happened, I blinked for a moment before hopping out of the car and waylaying the people who had come off the car.

Me: “Um, where are you guys from? Your schoolbus just hit my car.”

Some of the kids nodded, hard, with this “you poor bastard” expression.

I got the contact info of the school and one of the chaperons and retreated back to my car, completely in shock.

We get home and my friends were like — um, you need to file a police report.

Me: “Huh? Really? I didn’t know that. I thought you just exchanged contact info and then you exchanged insurance company info.”

Them: “No, you really, really do.”

So I called up the Boston police dept at the non-emergency number. They told me I need to come in person to file a police report.

Despite still being super shaky, I drove back into Boston with my brother and … and they told me to put down my name, address, phone number and sent me away again. Literally, I was like — a schoolbus did a hit and run on my car. It was at 12:13pm. It was at 478 Harrison Ave. Him: Okay. Let me photocopy your registration. Here’s your police report number.

Me, when I got back home: 0____o They didn’t even ask me what happened! They didn’t ask for like, details or shit! What the hell? And if, like, all they wanted was my contact info, why the hell did I need to get back into the Hell that is driving?

An officer called. He’s all like “So, when did this happen?” Me: “12:13pm.” Officer: “When did you get back to your car and found the damage?” Me: “Um. 12:13pm. I was IN the car when it happened.” Here I was thinking …how the hell do you think I knew it was a schoolbus and the precise time?! Officer: “…….ho–kay…you were IN the car?” Me: “Uh. Yeah.” I poured out every detail I can remember. He went okay and then the phone call ends. I’m kinda like — WTF, mate?

So I guess I have the inestimable joy of calling the school tomorrow and being like — hey, the schoolbus you hired hit my car. Please to pay for damages. Then I get to call the company and be like – yo. I am truly, truly not looking forward to this.

I…just… I can’t even.

2014 has not been a kind year to my baby. Early on, I had to replace the water pump and the battery, to the tune of about $1100 I didn’t have. Then my boyfriend had an incident with the car in February. Then this.

I have a really uneasy relationship with cars and being in cars. By which I mean being in cars terrifies me.

I was hit by a taxi when I was in 7th grade.

I got hit by a blue SUV while I was riding my electric bike to class when I was in college. This was a hit and run where the driver paused only long enough to see that I was moving before roaring off.

About five (?) years ago, another driver T-boned the car on my side when my mother was driving us to the doctor’s. The other driver drove away and my mom followed them, finally trailing them to a parking lot. Failed hit and run.

Shortly after that, my dad was driving the car in Central Square when someone rammed into us from the back and then roared off. Hit and run, again.

About three years ago, someone rammed into me from behind again.

And then, yesterday.

This doesn’t include the endless near-death misses which constitutes the average driving experience.

So I don’t cope well with cars. I hate driving. I hate riding in cars. My parents finally forced me to learn how to drive when I was 25 because they said it was just not good for me not to learn how. Every time I ended my driving lessons, I’d have the urge to kiss the ground and then just flop there until my heart stopped trying to pound its way out of my chest.

But, Katje, your post is entitled Counting my blessings — wtf?

Well, I’m blogging about what led me to count my blessings because apparently writing about stressful or traumatic events can decrease the likelihood of associated illnesses and be less likely to carry the trauma around for as long or as heavily. It can also help wounds heal faster and help with specific illnesses like asthma, cancer or AIDs.

Also, because despite having encountered 6 car accidents in my 28 years, which I have to say is significantly higher than the car insurance industry’s estimate of a person filing a claim for a collision once every 17.9 years, I have only been in an ambulance for one out of those six times. Even then, despite going air-borne and passing out briefly, I was released home later that night with only a massive bruise and a doctor’s note excusing me from gym for the next month. All the other times, I walked away, albeit with an increasingly tarnished view of both humanity and my assumptions of how much attention other drivers on the road are actually paying to their surroundings.

My car still runs. Hopefully it will still run and there isn’t some hidden damage that will come back and bite me even if my insurance company is a dick and refuses to pay and also hikes my premium.

I believe that ultimately I am a safer driver because of having survived all of those accidents. I practice defensive driving and I’m always hyper-vigilant of what other cars around me are doing. I probably also stress out to an extent that is unhealthy, but it might keep me from ever being the cause of an accident and might help me avoid accidents in the future.

So yeah. I’m not thrilled this happened. I’m probably in fact going to have more nightmares and trauma about it for a while, but at the end of the day my car still runs and I walked away.

The Chinese have a superstition that sometimes your personal belongings will take a hit for you, that their damage or breaking has shielded you from being damaged or broken.

I can run with that idea. But even if I don’t, even if I question just what kind of luck I have that seems to have cars kissing up to me in uncomfortable fashions in alarming frequencies, I also have to give thanks that despite it all, I am safe and whole.

 

 

 

Writing Process Blog Relay 2014

Many thanks to Anoosha at My Heart’s Blab for bringing this blog relay to my attention since I can be a bit oblivious about what’s going on around the web. It’s been fascinating to trace the posts backward through various blogs and I’ve been introduced to many authors I would not have otherwise met.

 

What am you working on?

Currently, I’m working on Conflagration of Phoenixes, theta draft. I was doing a serial, but I’m a bit stalled out because it’s hard to write a scene to top killing the MC and bringing them back to life.

 

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I write romantic fantasy, so there’s quite a lot going there. *laughs* I’m pretty sure most things have been done at this point.

It’s set in alternate universe imperial China with magic, so that’s a bit unusual. I also try to balance the epic fantasy elements of politics and adventuring with a strong romance angle involving four entities — so it’s a bit of a mutt. I expect people will tell me if I’ve succeeded or not when I’m done.

I suspect people won’t know how to properly characterize it. Certainly I’m having a hard time really giving people a good idea of what to expect. Too much romance for it to be just epic fantasy; possibly too heavy on the political/adventure aspects for the romance crowd and it involves multi-partner romance but I don’t intend to make it explicit so I’ve scared away the usual m/f crowd but left the erotica crowd cold.

I’ve had CPs throw up their hands a bit. *laughs*

 

Why do you write what you do?

That is how the stories come to me. I’ll have a plot bunny and then I’ll have characters show up to populate the story. As the story unwinds, they tell me things and for me including them as they isn’t a choice.

Goddess in Waiting, for example, started out with a reluctant goddess who’s dragged back into the living world. I had the outline planned out. But somewhere in the story, this conversation happens:

Thanatos: “What are you doing with my wife?”

Me: “Uh? Since when? I haven’t seen you in each other’s company for what, a few thousand years?”

Thanatos: “None of your business.”

Amarantha: “Don’t wanna talk about it. Painful memories.”

So the entire plot shifted.

I serve Story, that’s all.

 

How does your writing process work?

A better question might honestly be “how does it not fail”? *laughs*

I used be a complete pantser, but now I outline. I follow the 5 key turning points of scripts when I’m laying out the initial outline, but it’s really fluid. As opposed to say, “turn right at Cross St and then go straight for a mile before turning left onto Pearl St”, it’s really more like “Start with car accident, turn left at emotional trauma and go until you’re halfway there then make a slight right onto emo drama and straight on til morning”.

The first draft is usually fast for me. I tend to edit as I go, going over the previous chapter before starting on the new one. I tend to produce fairly clean copy, so I’ll read over it when it’s done, tweak whatever needs doing and send it on to my CPs. They’ll let me know what works and doesn’t work. Then, well, then Hell happens. I haven’t finished edits on my first novel yet, so I’ll have to update after I’ve finished a polished copy that’s ready for publication.

I do writing challenges with friends at writechat.net almost every day. I also keep Google Hangouts up all day so my friends and I can spur each other on, help each other with brainstorming and shoot the breeze. That and my number spreadsheets keep me going when I otherwise might not.

 

Next up:

(I’m linking more than three because these ladies are just that awesome and when they all responded to my call to action I didn’t want anyone to miss out on meeting them.)

Zoë Sumra was born in London, and decided to become a novelist when she was three years old. She subsequently moved to Lancashire and, bored with countryside living, finally started writing novels at the age of twelve. She wrote most of an epic fantasy trilogy before moving to space opera and staying there, because making spaceships blow up is entertaining.  Away from writing she works as a print controller in the advertising industry and is a UK-ranked foil and sabre fencer.

Jess Mahler is a kinky, crazy, and somewhat confused woman trying to get by in the modern world. She was introduced to fantasy in 7th grade English class when the teacher assigned “The Littlest Dragon Boy,” by Anne McCaffery, and never looked back. Today she writes specfic of all kinds, incorporating her own experience with alternative sexualities, alternative lifestyles, and chronic illness.

Elise Hepner writes smutty goodness. Her latest book is about Megaera,a Fury who functions as Hades’ right hand.

Claudia Long is the author of Josefina’s Sin and The Duel for Consuelo, two novels of 1700 colonial Mexico. She also wrote The Harlot’s Pen which is about women in the Labor Movement in San Francisco in 1920. She writes about Colonial Mexico, Mexican historical fiction, and in The Duel for Consuelo, the Conversos, the secret Jews who converted at the point of a sword. .

 

 

 

 

Hello world!

I have to admit: I always like to start a blog with a post with the “Hello world!” title.

It’s cheery, and has this feeling of extroversion and optimism that I want to capture and keep. Begin as you mean to go on and all that.

Anyway!

This is my blog, to state the painfully obvious.

Or in other words, where the insanity lives, breeds like bunnies, and lies in wait for unsuspecting travelers.

*ahem*

Right. About that being non-creepy thing.

Consider this the Unknown Forest, where you are never sure if you’re going to meander through miles of boring trails or get chased by a dragon or fall into a bear trap.

I’ll try to keep it entertaining, but no promises.