Intro Post

Aug. 8th, 2012 09:54 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (shadow)
Velcome to my lair--er, livejournal.

If you're a livejournal user and you decide to friend me, please leave me a comment letting me know how you found my journal and why you friended me.

If you don't have a livejournal or only want to follow part of my blog, these RSS feeds might make it easier:

Everything

1. The RSS feed for all my blog posts is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss

Writing

2. The RSS feed for all my writing blog posts (includes my market list updates, Circus of Brass and Bone, and MinnSpec podcasts) is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=writerblog

3. The RSS feed for only my Aswiebe's Market List newsletter is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=marketnews

4. The RSS feed for The Circus of Brass and Bone, a post-apocalyptic steampunk story about a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization, is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=circus of brass and bone

5. The RSS feed for the MinnSpec Writers Group podcast is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=minnspec podcast

Photography

6. The RSS feed for only my photography blog posts is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=photoblog

Food

7. The RSS feed for only my CSA posts is http://cloudscudding.livejournal.com/data/rss?tag=csa
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (self-evolving system)
At the request of a friend, I finally finished working out my wedding photography pricing*. Le voila!


If you chose to have me do wedding photos, the engagement photos are free--otherwise, see the extras section below.

725 - Wedding coverage, including wedding day preparation. Does not include reception. (Most reception halls are so dark that the quality of photos is poor. I would be delighted to attend as a guest--and would probably take photos--but it's not included in this package as an official, guaranteed thing.). Includes a wedding photo book with the best photos, an 8x10 framed print, an online album that people can go to (and if they want, download photos from), and the digital negatives.

2,500 - Wedding coverage, including wedding day preparation and reception through the first dance. Includes a wedding photo book with the best photos, two parent albums, an 8x10 framed print, 2 5x7 framed prints (suitable for display on a desk at work), an online album that people can go to (and if they want, download photos from), and the digital negatives. Includes curating up to 200 photos by guests and creating a photo book of the best images.
Optional (no extra charge):
* groom's dinner
* trash the dress session
* the day after (if there is brunch or other planned activity)

Extras (can also just do something from here)
(Digital negatives and online photo album included with all extras. Optional: photos can be included in wedding photo book. I can also choose the best photos from any of the below and create a photo book for just that event--pricing depends on size, begins at $45. Additional photo books available at a significant discount.)

engagement photos - 150

groom's dinner - 250

bachelorette party (includes commemorative 5x7 flip-books for up to 10 attendees, extras can be ordered at cost) - 1,000

wedding shower - 250

reception photos - 250

photo curating of guests' digital photographs (includes sorting out the best pictures, photo editing good pictures and creating an online album, and creating a photo book of the very best ones) - $45/100 photos

photo curating of physical photographs (such as developed disposable camera photos--includes sorting out the best pictures and putting them into a photo album) - $45/250 photos

additional wedding photo books - depends on size, etc.

trash the dress session - 250

day after - 500


Is there anything that people might be interested in that I've forgotten to mention?

Yes, the prices are roughly half what is the low price standard in the Twin Cities. Why? Well, I'm just starting out at trying to do this thing professionally. I could do with another couple of lens types and another camera body, some fancier flashes.... I don't have a studio. Things like that.

IMG_4586
But I've taken quite a few wedding photos. Let's take a walk down memory lane.... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
I've been very busy with work for the last two weeks, so I haven't gotten much done, alas.

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log

Total


Episode 12


Other writingy stuff:
* Updated one submission to reflect the loooong reported response times (9+ months!) of Tor.com, queried a second time (to a different email) for another that I’d sent to Escape Pod, and emailed a “since I haven’t gotten a response to my status query, I consider my submission rejected/withdrawn/never received,” to Bizarro Magazine. Hate it when that happens.
* Finally posted market list update to Fb/Twitter
* Recorded intro for MinnSpec podcast, Episode 4: Organization.
* How to manage being a business manager, marketer, and artist: http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/756997.html
* Pricing ebooks: http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/930924.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
You know I’ve been way too busy when I’ve been busy with writing stuff but haven’t taken the time to record it! In addition to the three separate work project things, I also had a whooole bunch of writing stuff to do.

* Did the Aswiebe's Market list update.
* Edited, recorded, and uploaded the new Circus of Brass and Bone episode.
* Did critiques and writing exercise for MinnSpec writing group.

And when I'm stressed? My brain tries to trick me into procrastinating.

How a writing project gets derailed

Goal: do a writing exercise for the creating a character workshop--give a character the Myers-Briggs test.

Hmm, I'm not really creating a character in my existing works right now, but I do need to start a new side project story.

First I'd better figure out the side project story plot.

So I should read anthology listings to decide what story to write.

Which means I should update the market list to make sure I don't miss anything.

(Fortunately, I managed to pull myself out of this tailspin and do the exercise for an existing character...the morning of the writing workshop. Learned good stuff, too--more about which anon.)

Some actual writing of Circus of Brass and Bone happened in there somewhere, too.

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log

Total


Episode 12


Oh, and a couple of writing links:
* A compilation of how-to publicity links: http://marketingfloozy.wordpress.com/
* The Nitty-Gritty of Copyright (written by me--scroll down to the feature article in this newsletter): http://www.writing-world.com/newsletter/2011/WW11-04.shtml
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (experiment)
I am sitting at my desk, working on writingy things, listening to my "Non-Ambient Electronica" station on Pandora, and Foundling is sitting on the back of my desk chair and occasionally pouncing on my braid when it swings too close. Life is pretty good, despite the lack of NgithOwl work for the last week+. Ah well, soon enough I won't even be *able* to do the on-site projects. So I am grateful for both the senior sitting job and the work-from-home NgithOwl projects, both of which I have had this week. Phil and I still need to sit down and really hash out our financials, though.

As I said, mostly no work. Naturally, I have been doing other things.

Friday, the dice kept rolling ones. Over and over and over. If I'd been gaming, my character would have been so dead. Instead, I did lots and lots and lots of cleaning, including paying bills, baking banana bread, starting to organize hall closet, and figuring out that yes, the roomba is really broken and no, I cannot swap the battery into an older model in our basement. ::sorrow:: It's on the list to either buy a battery for one of the ancient-and-iffily-functional roombas, or to get a new one. The list, however, will take some time to get through. I think a new toaster oven probably comes first.

Saturday morning was at the senior center. I had my excitement for the day when the lady got too over the edge of the bed when she was trying to get up and so she started to fall. I could ease her down so she sat down gently on the floor, but I couldn't get her up to her feet on my own. So the home sent a resident to help, and that was good. But they also called the husband to tell him they were on their way, and that was bad. He had no idea what was going on but was already on his way home, so he had an unpleasant ten minutes of worry that wasn't really necessary.

The afternoon was more pleasant, since [livejournal.com profile] tesla_aldrich hosted tea over at her place. There were cookies and tea and fruit and hummus and I brought banana bread (that Mr. V appeared to enjoy particularly) and generally it was lovely to see friends. I have spotted a drawback to having "coffee shop" at somebody's home, and it is that people may go expecting to talk and socialize the whole time instead of working on projecty things. So less gets done, albeit in a very pleasant atmosphere.

Sunday, I got to try something new! [livejournal.com profile] traladeda and I went to the 331 Club's Crafternoon Delight. $5 gets you access to a ton of crafting supplies appropriate for whatever the craft of the month is, and there's $5 Bloody Marys and 1/2 price bottles of wine for those who choose to indulge. It was a fun outing for a low cost. I got a good start on a "book of books" shadow box that (alas) I'll have to finish later. I will see if I think it's worth keeping when it's done (it is clearly a first project!). Tips: Go at or a little before the 2 PM start time to make sure you get your materials, plan for things to wrap up around 4-5 PM, bring any particular tools you think might be useful, and get a booth if you can. The small tables really fill up fast when crafting!

Next month is terrariums, so I'm definitely going to that. I have wanted a terrarium for, well, quite a while. Anybody else?

Writing

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log

Total


Episode 12


Other writingy stuff:
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Finished redmarking CoBB (except for one tricky paragraph)
* Best practices for Amazon ebook sales: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/best-practices-for-amazon-ebook-sales/
* Word meanings shift over time. When you can still use the originals: http://www.slate.com/id/2290536/
* Getting To Know You: http://obscurekidlitauthors.blogspot.com/2011/04/getting-to-know-you-meeting-main.html
* First, a Radiolab podcast about creative urges and other things that feel like a separate entity. Worth a listen for the reporter who talks about how Tom Waits deals with his muse:
http://feeds.wnyc.org/~r/radiolab/~5/B86iAT79Aqg/radiolab030811.mp3
* Next, the text of the article she wrote (not much on creativity, but a pretty awesome portrait of Tom Waits):
http://www.tomwaitslibrary.com/interviews/02-june-gq.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (dark mirror)
First, a Radiolab podcast about creative urges and other things that feel like a separate entity. Worth a listen for the reporter who talks about how Tom Waits deals with his muse:
http://feeds.wnyc.org/~r/radiolab/~5/B86iAT79Aqg/radiolab030811.mp3

Next, the text of the article she wrote (not much on creativity, but a pretty awesome portrait of Tom Waits):
http://www.tomwaitslibrary.com/interviews/02-june-gq.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (tea ring)
Yesterday I just ran out of oomph. I wasn't sleepy, just totally lacking in any motivation to do anything whatsoever. This was after I wrote in the morning, picked up my holds from the library (prenatal exercise videos), and biked to the senior center for the afternoon. Flat out of energy. Instead of writing at the senior center, I played a lot of Nethack. Then I biked home and went floomp! on the couch. Phil only got dinner because I'd planned it ahead of time and it was a matter of simple assembly and reheating (fried rice). After that? More Nethack. And reading--re-reading a J.D. Robb SF/mystery and continuing Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three.

It felt pretty good, but I still feel as if I ought to feel guilty. I guess the day before was pretty productive, with a fair amount of writing and cleaning and finally getting my extra maternity clothes on eBay and getting my new! computer! set up.

Ah, yes. I do indeed have a New! Computer!, courtesy of Mr. Valentine. It's about a year and a half old, but it's the newest computer I've had for...oh...the last eight years or so? It's a massive, massive upgrade. It runs Windows 7! I totally skipped from XP to 7, which I understand is the best way to go. It is just so much more responsive than my old computer. Even surfing the internet is noticeably faster (I also updated to the new Firefox at the same time). I can watch streaming video again!

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log

Total


Episode 12


New words: 1,326
Total words: 69,609
Overused word: Captain
Gratuitous word: disputants
Type of scene: the perspective from here
Challenge(s): Putting in the bits I need without overwriting.
Which line is it anyways?We're all bored silly--word of something new would spread like syphilis.
Notes: I was worried that the logical break point would happen before the wordcount I want for the next episode. I am no longer worried.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Checked and linked the Presentations Presentation MinnSpec podcast.
* How to Get Reviews for Self-Published Books: http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2011/03/30/HowToGetReviewsForSelfPublishedBooks.aspx?et_mid=270113&rid=2957480
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
Conrad Zero and I have been recording MinnSpec (Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group) meetings, wherein we discuss various aspects of the writing craft. The latest podcast is about how to give presentations.

If you're interested in giving it a listen, parts I and II are here:
http://conradzero.com/audio/MinnSpec-ep3-presentations-pt1.mp3
http://conradzero.com/audio/MinnSpec-ep3-presentations-pt2.mp3

Boring Day

Feb. 22nd, 2011 10:27 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (motivation hazard)


Boring day. Taxes, job hunt stuff, laundry, address updating, update on mom's health, forgetting that there would be no mail until I'd checked it a half-dozen times, began installing TV recording device on computer, had a hissy fit over lack of Parmesan in house (go go gadget pregnancy hormones!). And a bit of writing.



2/21/11, Monday
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* What makes science fiction work: http://aescifi.ca/index.php/non-fiction/37-editorials/425-over-the-transom-what-we-point-to-when-we-say-ae
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
Our financial situation is...very uncomfortable at the moment. We're not buying groceries, we're tapping out savings to cover bills, we're cashing in savings bonds, we're not spending any money-type uncomfortable. This is thanks to me not really getting work from NgithOwl for the last 3-4 months. We didn't immediately stop spending, mostly because these low points usually pick back up a lot faster than this. But it sucks. Basically, we're getting a preview of what will happen when I'm not working (except on those rare work-from-home projects), except without the raise that Phil's expecting in a couple of months.

One of the things I'm less happy about is that because of this, we've had to stop covering my parents' home loan, which is something we've been doing (from our own pocket) for the last several months. I just--wish there was more I could do.

Saturday was finances day. Sitting down and figuring out how we're paying bills for the next month. Emergency "this is our last hundred dollars"-type budgeting. It turned out okay, actually. Things will be really, really tight, but we'll cover everything and might even have a little extra to put against the credit card balance.

And then I started doing taxes, found out I hadn't recorded certain expenses, and swore a lot. So Saturday was mostly fussing with money. Had to be done, but wasn't pleasant.

But then there was a tiki party!



Not an emblematic tiki image, but isn't the art gorgeous? Plus, bonus eyeball creatures in spacesuits! And the artist has a process post about this piece here.

Phil had a basketball dunk contest he had plans to watch that evening, so we went for the early portion of the party. It was nice seeing and socializing with people (no work also means Abra gets cabin fever), and there was an impressive spread of food and beverages, including infinite permutations of Italian soda. Without the ability to drink booze, these things matter more to me....

I was tired, so I left when Phil did and went home instead of staying for the entire later portion. After lying down for a bit, I had energy enough to start doing taxes again. Blech. Also? Yeah, tracking expenses is important, because otherwise I'd have to be paying extra taxes on the money I made from writing last year. My book purchases saved me--although, geez, that was with me trying not to buy any books (due to critical lack of bookshelf space)!

As you might guess, that left not much time for writingy things.



2/19/11, Saturday writing log
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Worked on CoBB thank-yous.
* A smidge of writing on CoBB
* Character Clues: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2011/02/character-clues.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
2/7/11, Monday
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Edited CoBB, Ep 9, finishing editing rounds 1 and 2.
* How to use Kickstarter: http://olganunes.com/2011/01/on-lamp-kickstarter-and.php
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 540
Total words: 53,475
Overused phrase: "not difficult"
Gratuitous word: warren
Type of scene: Analysis of a city.
Challenge(s): Length. I'm a bit worried it's too long-winded and yet not city-specific enough. New York is *hard* to narrow down the research for!
Which line is it anyways?The slow, steady trickle of stone-carriers put Tonya in mind of ants building an anthill.
Researched: New York tenement houses, laborer's clothes, the layout of New York in the 1870s (I'll be fudging that one)
Added to spellchecker: unshoulder
Notes: There's a lot of introspection in this episode, and I'm kinda worried about that. Hrm. Part story artifact, part getting-back-into-writing artifact, I fear.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Registered for 4th Street Fantasy Convention and added the cost to my “writing expenses” spreadsheet.
* Here’s the thing; writing, compassion, perseverance http://jess-ka.livejournal.com/534541.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
12/8/10, Wednesday
* Freewriting warmup.
* The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of Writer’s Block: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1311997/pdf/jaba00061-0143a.pdf

12/6/10, Monday
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 525
Total words: 47,408
Overused word: boys
Gratuitous word: spraddle-legged
Type of scene: Civil War flashback
Challenge(s): Keeping the "main character then" and "main character now" POVs separate.
Which line is it anyways?His appetite whetted, Walters leapfrogged across the field of engagement, empty hands outstretched to grasp the enemy.
Researched: All things military.
Notes: I've been having a terrible time getting writing done lately. This is Not Good. I have Deadlines.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* How Authors Can Hold Awesome Events: http://www.conradzero.com/how-authors-can-hold-awesome-events
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
12/5/10, Sunday
* Freewriting warmup
* Worked on MinnSpec crit.
* Read WritersDigest, Critters, and Duotrope newsletters and updated market list from them.
* Dealt with MinnSpec podcast, Episode 2.
* Answered Aswiebe’s Market List comments.
* Got myself properly signed up at Codex’s online writing group.
* Began changing the Spec the Halls links on my website (as it is on indefinite hiatus).

Linky:
* A Comprehensive and Totally Universal Listing of Every Problem a Story Has Ever Had: http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/EveryProblem.htm
* Passing the hat for web fiction: http://www.novelr.com/2010/10/28/passing-the-hat
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 258
Total words: 39,702
Overused word: sleep
Gratuitous word: conviviality
Type of scene: Blissful ignorance.
Challenge(s): Plotting everything out.
Which line is it anyways?They stared at him as if an ostrich had talked to them.
Notes: Midway through every book-length project (and even some very long short stories), I come to a point where I need to stop and re-brainstorm the plot, outlining the rest of the events in great detail. I think I've hit that point. But I only had time to outline this mini-arc. Soon, soon, I will need to outline the rest of The Circus of Brass and Bone in a very detailed way. I know enough about the world and the characters to do that now.
Other writingy stuff:
* Cleared out old entries from Aswiebe's Market List.
* Wrote market list newsletter, uploaded new spreadsheets, and posted around.
* Brainstormed more detailed plot for the next mini-arc in The Circus of Brass and Bone.
* Read WritersDigest newsletter.
* An interesting editing exercise: http://blog.writersdigest.com/promptly/Cut+One+Word+Per+Sentence+This+Technique+Is+Pure+Magic.aspx
* The importance of structure: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/anatomy-of-a-best-selling-novel-structure-matters-part-one/
* Self-promotion and what works: http://1stturningpoint.com/?p=5036
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
10/06/10, Wednesday
* http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/09/07/we-5-1-third-person-limited/
* http://podcasts.odysseyworkshop.org/odysseypodcasts_41_gregoryfrost_viewpointvoicepsychicdistance1.mp3


10/04/10, Monday
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 433
Total words: 23,758
Overused word: mam
Gratuitous object: pitcher and basin
Type of scene: the lull
Challenge(s): Putting a (necessary?) pause in.
Which line is it anyways?After a long while, during which William stared at the ceiling and tried to think of nothing, William's mam woke.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted writing log and freewriting.
* Read Publisher's Lunch and WritersDigest newsletters.
* Updated market list with new Escape Pod information (pay raise! yay!).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 932
Total words: 15,815
Overused word: girl
Gratuitous adjective: sullen-mouthed
Type of scene: The slums! And piles of bodies! And plot-pivotiness!
Challenge(s): Writing with my Dad cutting a hole and then put a door into the wall next to me. I mostly failed.
Which line is it anyways?The rats who survived ate well.
Researched: Slum tenement housing.
Notes: This was so cool. My subconscious did the neat "creating a way to get to that plot point you weren't sure how to reach naturally" thing. It's so magical when it does that.
Other writingy stuff:
* Posted freewriting and writing log.
* Public appearance: http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/605955.html
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing)
The first time I've had a chance to write since Tuesday! Day job projects have been eating up all my time--and I work from home, so I don't get to go home and stop working on them, alas.

Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: roughly 1,000
Total words: 6,984
Overused word: wreckage
Gratuitous word: ken
Type of scene: Er, in large part me writing later bits. But also, finding other survivors.
Challenge(s): Writing while on a roadtrip with Himself playing his music. (The roadtrip ended in a visit to the Circus World Museum, though, so it totally counts as work!)
Which line is it anyways?They were hard men, William's da would have said, but then, his da looked a hard man himself, when he came back from building canals.
Notes: Switching POV characters, pulling the bits together--writing each episode has some of the same challenges as starting a new short story. An interesting form to work in.
Other writingy stuff:
* Discussion with Phil about aether and how the terrible things the South did with it and to get it would affect the war. As he said at the end, "Okay, that's legitimately horrific." (They still lost. This is not that kind of revisionist history, and this takes place after the war. But some of the reasons why and the after-effects are different.) This will come up later in the story.
* Went on a road trip to Circus World! For research purposes, natch.
* Textual density: http://alecaustin.livejournal.com/264709.html
* The choose-your-own adventure that getting published is: http://jddeshaw.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/lesson-4/
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
Circus of Brass and Bone Writing Log



New words: 639
Total words: 5,012
Overused word: aether - and it will continue to be so for a while
Gratuitous word: supercharged
Type of scene: Poor discriminated-against Irish immigrant kid! Also, skipped ahead to do the big picture at the beginning of Episode 2, because I was feelin' it.
Challenge(s): Just the facts--but interesting facts!
Which line is it anyways?Death was not stingy with its favors.
Researched: Irish immigrants in Boston in the 1870s.
Notes: Was planning on doing vignettes around the world, but now I think I'll stick to just America--that is where the circus will be traveling, after all.
Other writingy stuff:
* Steampunk and alternate history: http://ripping-ozzie-reads.com/2010/07/29/more-thoughts-on-steampunk-alternate-history/

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