cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
This is a good thing for me to think about now, since I'm about to go back to the "having a tiny completely dependent human" phase, plus toddler! For me, I think it comes down to a few things.

1. Life of the mind. Taking a few minutes a day to work on a longhand story in my notebook while the small child is awake and running around. Listening to podcasts while I do more around the house can help keep me from feeling quite so locked-in, and doesn't scream "bad parent" like having the TV on. Likewise, reading. My ebook reader has been a lifesaver, though reading paper books would be hard. There are also a ton of free online classes that could be worked on while the baby's sleeping (note to self:

2. Contact with other adult, non-baby-centered humans. I have a couple of writing-related groups that meet once a month, and that helps a lot. Having friends over for dinner (if she or someone else in the household likes to cook) or going out for dinner (if they don't) can be managed with or without small children.

3. Getting out (with baby)! Taking a walk around the block, even. Once small child is walking, finding places that are good for baby-socialization: library storytimes (often with bonus playtime), awesome children's bookstores, coffee shops with popular play areas. Museums (also good for life of the mind).

4. Defending my time. When the kids are sleeping, that is my time for working on creative endeavors. It is not the time for doing household chores or prepping dinner or anything else, and if that means other things don't get done, that's just too bad. Related to that--

5. Rearranging my time. There is still time to do creative things, it just may not be in the same amounts or time slots as previously. This is the part where a supportive spouse can really make a difference, both by flipping any "I can't X" statement into "How can you X?" A spouse offering a consistent extra time slot that can be planned upon can help--every Saturday afternoon, say, or every Wednesday evening from 7 - 9 PM. And looking forward to that time can really help. This can be time at home to work, or time to go to a coffee shop alone, or whatever.

Most of this is stuff that only the SAHSpouse can choose to do, but basic spousal suggestions are: reinforce non-SAHM positive traits, schedule a regular time to take over childcare duties, divide household tasks explicitly to keep them from being automatically put on the SAHM plate, ask what needs to be done so the SAHM can do things she says she can't.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Seems about the right time for another game of "Where's Abra?"


2015 - A Circus of Brass and Bone Book Release

Would you enjoy escaping into a post-apocalyptic steampunk novel about a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization? A Circus of Brass and Bone is available in trade paperback through Amazon and in ebook format through all major online retailers. Published writing as Abra SW.

Amazon | Google Play | Smashwords | B&N | Apple | and many others

Trade paperback: $13.99, Ebook: $3.99

Discover more stories at my website!

Upcoming conventions I'm attending!

4th Street Fantasy Convention, June 26-28th

CONvergence, July 2nd - 5th

Enjoy an A Circus of Brass and Bone reading at the CONvergence convention in Minneapolis!

11 a.m. on July 5, 2015

There will be donuts!

I will also be speaking on panels at this convention! Exactly which panels ... well ... I'm still waiting to find out.


I'm in a lot of places! Mostly these are all their own thing, but there is some information that I post to all of these, like my market list updates, new publications, and other major news (writing-related or not). - My website. Home base for my writing. The best place to find things I've written.

Livejournal - Here! I don't post as often on Livejournal as I used to, but I tend to keep my longer daily life posts and the important life updates over here, along with the occasional photo or recipe post.

Facebook - Short updates about my life, bemused writing-related comments, as well as random links I enjoy or find useful. You know. I use it like most people do.

Twitter - Mostly SF/F and writing market-related posts these days.

Google+ - Personal stuff, by and large. This is where I put most of my little updates about my life and my family.

Goodreads - Strictly business. This is my author account on Goodreads, not the personal one that I deluge with my to-reads.

Etc. - G+, Pinterest, Flickr, and so on. These are other, more specialized social networks.

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:


1. The RSS feed for all my blog posts is


2. The RSS feed for all my writing blog posts (includes my market list updates, Circus of Brass and Bone, and MinnSpec podcasts) is

3. The RSS feed for only my Aswiebe's Market List newsletter is

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 of brass and bone

5. The RSS feed for the MinnSpec Writers Group podcast is podcast


6. The RSS feed for only my photography blog posts is


7. The RSS feed for only my CSA posts is
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
So many high-quality free courses available online! So not something I have time for!

Princeton, Stanford, Penn, and UMich -
MIT and Harvard -
These other guys -

Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World? Oh, Coursera, that's just mean!

It's actually interactive, too, with homework and everything.

I wist.

I most definitely wist.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Because [ profile] fayde asked.

Is it Christmas? I love getting holiday cards! I turn them into origami boxes after the holidays. I also love getting gifts (but don't really expect them).

The short version: Want to get me a gift? Good ideas are a homemade dinner, a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble or Baen's Webscriptions (since these days I do all my reading on my Nook--it's so hard to balance physical books while breastfeeding), an gift certificate (since I do most of my shopping online these days), whimsical stud earrings, a book of fairytales/folktales, or crystal prisms I can hang in my windows to cast rainbows.

For more specific things, I do have an Amazon wishlist, too, under my gmail address.

Read more... )
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.

But I've taken quite a few wedding photos. Let's take a walk down memory lane.... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (experiment)
I love my robots dearly, and when they stop working I am very sad.

My Roomba started making a thumping noise every couple of seconds, which was worrisome. When I googled the sound it linked up to an entry that mentioned the brushes weren't spinning, which was more worrisome. And lo, when I took the back off to see if the brushes were spinning, they were not.

Woe and despair! What would save my kingdom from the menacing dust bunnies?

But the internets provided the solution, for lo!, we live in an age of miracles and wonders known as the future, when a total stranger's diary entry can be the key to us fixing our personal domestic robots.

Turns out this happens when the detangler engages, thinking the brushes are full of hair because it's encountering resistance. If the brushes are not full of hair, it's likely that the gear box is.

Where is a Roomba's gear box, you may wonder? Excellent question. The answer is, basically, behind all the screws. First you must unscrew the yellow swirly brush. Then you must unscrew the grey bottom. Then you must unscrew the purple-blue brush frame from the patient's body. Then you must unscrew the purple-blue brush frame's sides. This is a trick, because they don't come off--just loosen enough to allow you to swivel out the red brush case (carefully, without disconnecting the black wire, which will cause the bomb to go off). Then you must unscrew the side of the red brush case, which allows you access to the gear box.

I had a line of shot glasses sitting on the table in front of me, just to keep the screws in the right order.

And lo! The gears were clogged with cruddy junky bits and cat hair. Apparently the Roomba has been setting aside some cat hair for a snack later. So, using a tiiiiny screwdriver, I cleaned the grooves in all the gears, and extracted the giant hairballs from around the spindles and in the corners.

Then I snapped my fingers and the Roomba didst reassemble itself. And lo, the thumping was no more, and the brushes did spin, and peace reigned once more in the kingdom.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
As a genre writer (I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, so I can't pin it down much closer than that), I follow a number of feeds that are helpful. These fall into three main categories: excellent genre fiction, markets/writing how-to, and science/futurism.


Beneath Ceaseless Skies -
Clarkesworld -
Escape Pod -
Podcastle -

Markets/Writing How-to
Odyssey F/SF -
I Should Be Writing -

Future Tense -
Science Friday -
Radiolab -


Lightspeed -

Markets/Writing How-to
Magical Words -
Nathan Bransford -
Dark Markets -

Subset--writers who talk about the craft sometimes and are generally good reading
Scalzi's Whatever -
Elizabeth Bear -
Marissa Lingen -
Catherynne M. Valente -

Subset--good, free writing/markets newsletters
Writing-World -
WritersWeekly -
WritersDigest (for the blog posts) -
Duotrope -
Ralan -

Warren Ellis (NSFW on so many levels) -
Scientific American (email newsletter) -


May. 18th, 2010 10:45 pm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Agh!I accidentally hit some unknown keys anb My desktop has flipped upside down. I am typing this upside-down. The computer start-up looks normal, but then it flips as soon as it hits the Windows welcome screen. HELP!

ETA: Fixed! So, for future reference, if you right click on the desktop and go to graphics options, rotation, you can flip your (or somebody else's) desktop 180 degrees. How I managed to accomplish this by accident remains a mystery is still pretty impressive:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
This was good enough that there are no highlights--the whole thing would be one. Because I wanted to keep track of the info, my transcript is below:

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
IndieGoGo is like Kiva but for creative projects. (If you're not familiar with Kiva, it allows people to make micro-loans [like $25] directly to other people in poorer countries/circumstances to fund relatively cheap projects that can make a major difference in their lives and communities.) Boing-Boing article. The different incentives offered are interesting--makes simple Tuckerization look like an amateur's game. Even if I never use this service, I like it for marketing/crowdfunding ideas.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Things to remember, things to do, things to maintain, things to help.

Essential checklist:
1. Have I gotten enough sleep? Should I be sleeping now?
2. Have I eaten appropriately, with enough fruits and veggies? Did I take my vitamins? Are you drinking enough water?
3. Have I showered today? Is my hair clean, combed, and out of the way? Do I need to wash my face again? Are contacts and earrings in?
4. Maintain awareness of what else is going on. Check calendar reminders morning and evening. Check email and phone messages.
5. Handle the non-postponable--bills, library book returns, etc. Keep an eye on work schedule, writing deadlines, to make sure nothing slips.

Beyond the basics, as physically capable:
1. Writing--freewriting warmup, some form of actual writing, and editing projects etc.
2. Cleaning--dishes, laundry, Flylady 15-minute mission, Roomba, and bathroom quick-clean.
3. Exercise--a walk or bike outside, knee physical therapy exercises.

Mood helpers:
1. Keep music playing or a TV show on.
2. Open windows or walk around the block (if physically capable)
3. A mug of tea.
4. Clean washed face.
5. Nail polish.
6. Fresh fruit.
7. Flowers/plants.


Jan. 31st, 2010 12:40 am
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
[ profile] nemoren pointed me toward, which has a ridiculously large selection of full television episodes online, much larger than (although the video quality is lower, I think). I was delighted because this meant I could catch up on the last couple of Criminal Minds episodes that I missed. Yay!

Then I found out it has all the episodes of the most recent season of Dexter. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! But...but...I have other stuff I should be doing.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
I was inspired by Laura Hamby's post on creating a personal revising checklist. This is something I've been meaning to do for some time, and it will certainly be refined and added to, but here's the basics. I've still got to build a list of crutch words (words that I overuse in my writing) to help filter them out, but this is a good start.

My Revision Checklist )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • - Our kitten, Fu Manchu, is now big enough to jump on kitchen counters. Heaven help us all.
  • Yay, Google!
  • Loving the "Decreased Productivity" Firefox web-surfing add-on:
  • Disable favicons in tabs in firefox:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • Snapbird searches Twitter by user beyond the 10-day Twitter archive limit:
  • Dear Editors, Please email your contributors when their story's out *so they can help with publicity.* Your job's hard; let us help.
  • A small crowd had formed when suddenly a scuffle erupted. A haggard young man pushed his way in to collapse in front of the display. #nwm
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • The first two cabbies knew naught and doubted that anything more exciting than a spoilt child in a tantrum existed on River Road. #nwm
  • Why yes, I need a t-shirt about the dark side of Santa's myth:
  • The third remembered. "There was a nasty scene. Some poor sod in love with a girl in a workhouse recognized her aspect selling shoes." #nwm
  • November may be over, but "Walking Out of the Machine" isn't. I'll keep going until it's done. Then there will be rewriting. #nwm
  • Mpls library book/DVD/CD sale--$.25/item 12/05-12/11, $2/bag 12/12-12/19.
  • Oddly enough, 90% of the time, when I see a submission response that starts with "Thank you," it's a rejection.
  • Got one of these in my email today. Bad phish!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 11:11 Finally downloaded TweetDeck, can tell instantly that it'll make life better! Filtered friends groups!
  • 16:52 When pop cultures collide:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (self-evolving system)
I love Digital Photography School's articles--quite useful in gaining photo techniques. This one is useful enough that I'm posting it for my own reference so that I can work on integrating it into my standard photography practices.

Level up your photo skills by learning to keep these things in mind:
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
07/17/2009 - Friday - Sunday, at Phil's family reunion, camping on the forest land they own in Wisconsin. Besieged by children and dogs and family--not much got done.
* But I did redmark Vicesteed Chapter 19, and I learned something very valuable. I can edit anywhere. It doesn't matter what chaos I'm surrounded by, as long as I have the tablespace, it's all good. This is an important thing to know--and something I should take advantage of more often. I don't think this would work so well for writing--but to be honest, I haven't tried. And then there's always the "ability to write" vs. "ability to write good quality stuff" debate, and by how much the former outweighs the latter.

07/16/2009 - Thursday, lots of downtime, appointment in the morning with dishwasher repair guy, evening departed for the woods.
* Wrangled the market list: finished updating market list from Ralan; cleared out old contest and anthology listings; loaded it up to the website; wrote the newsletter; emailed it out; and pinged it out to LJ, website, Facebook, and Twitter.

07/15/2009 - Wednesday, dentist's appointment in the morning, no work downtime--in fact, I am not sure Wednesday even existed.

07/14/2009 - Tuesday
* Read Duotrope newsletter and updated markets newsletter from them (through Ralan's "Paying Markets").

07/13/2009 - Monday
* Posted writing log.


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