Monthly Archives: November 2013

Navigating the public sphere

… is something I need to learn how to do, pretty much on the spot. Sink or swim type, and isn’t that enjoyable for my anxiety-riddled self? (says she ironically)

I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone reading this post: I have a book coming out. I am really proud of this book. The first draft took 15 months to write, and it took several revisions to make it into the book it is today. Two weeks from now I am going to launch it. At a launch party. People have already confirmed that they will be there. There will be tea served. I will make sandwiches, and sign my book (and shit! I need to practice a decent autograph; I cannot subject my readers to my hideous handwriting) … anyway, it’s going to be awesome.

I want lots of people to come at the launch. I want even more people to read the book. But that means talking to people about the launch, and about the book, and that is so hard. I don’t like bringing attention to myself, I always feel like I’m bragging and boring people when I talk about myself, and I always feel like I’m bothering people when I have to ask for something.

(This attitude has brought on many amusing conversations between myself and many people I know. Yes, I have written a book. Yes, it is getting published. Yes, I am proud. Yes, I am sneaky.)

So imagine how I feel, having to write to a bunch of people I don’t know, and asking them to please talk about my book on their website. Which explains why I’ve been putting it off for days (arguably weeks, but definitively days.) Well, the emails are sent, and I’ll probably have to send more by the time this is done. Hopefully, everything will go well.

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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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My trailer

Look! Look! It’s the trailer for my book!

Doesn’t it look amazing? I’m so excited about this. I have written a book! It’s coming out in two weeks. People are going to read it. There’s a trailer for it. This is so great; it’s awesome!

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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized



New experiences

One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that I have something of an anxious personality. Not enough to get myself to a doctor and get treatment (although that might speak more to my level of stubbornness then to my level of anxiety) but enough that I have to take steps to manage it. Mostly by a lot of mental preparation and some reward after the fact.

For example, when I start a new job, which thankfully I haven’t had to do in two years.The first morning, I am a mess. I can’t really prepare because I don’t know what will be expected of me. (Even if they explain the job during the interview, for some reason, I can’t contextualize the words.) So the only thing to do is bite the bullet, so to speak. I clench my jaw, I ignore the “what if I suck what if the job sucks what if I hate everyone what if everyone hates me” circling in my head and the pounding of my heart and the knot in my stomach as best I can, and I remind myself that going to the office and doing the job means I will get paid and that money is good, and then I go to the office. And then the same thing happens every time. Someone point at a chair and says “I’m gonna show you how to do a thing, then the thing is going to be your job”, and two years later the job is my routine and the only bad thing that could happen would be to lose the job and have to start all over again. (God please no.)

Another example: I have to go pick up a package at a place I’ve never been to before. I can’t go tomorrow, or Friday, and the place is closed during the week-end, so I have until Monday to prepare myself. I tell myself “Monday, after work, call a cab, go to the place, get the package, get another cab and go back home” and at the end of it, I get what’s in the package, which is something I want, or I wouldn’t have ordered it. So it’s still a little stressful, but less than the new job.

One more example: the publicity stunt for The Admirer that I can’t talk about, because spoilers. I’m not going to spoil anything; I’m just going to say that it involves me doing something that I really don’t like doing, something that makes me really uncomfortable. The something involves a lot of other people, which makes the whole thing unpredictable. There is hypothetically a reward at the end of this experiment – publicity for my book – but even if the hypothesis becomes a proven fact, publicity is such a nebulous concept that it doesn’t really feel like a reward. So how do I deal with that stunt? Either I do the thing I have to do every day as fast as I possibly can and then ride the wave of anxiety, or I don’t do it and feel like an unreliable punk.

The publicity stunt is the exception rather then the rule, though. The rule being If Something Makes Me This Anxious, I Don’t Do It. I’ll do it once, so I can see how I feel doing it, and if I like it, I’ll keep doing it, and if I don’t like it … well, I’ll do it until it either becomes a routine or it stops being an obligation, whichever comes first.

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Uncategorized



A few of my favorite things

Scented candles. I love scented candles. I especially love the sweet smelling ones, the ones that smell like berries, or like peppermint, or like maple syrup.

Advent calendars. I found this great one today; it’s reusable. It’s shaped like a Christmas tree, and it has a bunch of little boxed that I can fill up with my favorite candy, which is this case would be Ferrero Rocher.

Ferrero Rocher is another one of my favorite things. Why do these only sell during the holiday season? They are selling now, I should stockpile them in my freezer while I have the chance.

Snow. Snow is awesome. We got a little bit of snow last week, and it got me all excited for Christmas. But we’ve gotten nothing but rain since, and all the snow washed away. I hope it comes back before Christmas.

I guess that’s a good start.

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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Uncategorized



Update, for lack of a better title

I had a really, really big surprise today.

After work, I went to the library because I had some books to pick up and to drop off. I expected to pick up four books. I picked up 17.

I was so glad to have brought an extra book bag, because I did need to bag, and my purse. That hadn’t happened to me in a while.

I have no idea how I’m going to read all of those in three weeks. I will have no choice but to renew those I haven’t read when the three weeks are up, and by the time the other three weeks are over, Christmas will have passed, and so will have the time to read those books.

Yes. I have 17 Christmas books that I borrowed from the library. That’s not even the worst part. The worst part isn’t even that I have 28 more on hold. The real worst part? I have absolutely no shame. What can I say? I love Christmas. I’m always looking for good Christmas novels and novellas. Those can be hard to find, you know.

Was I planning to write, at all, in the next little while? (yeah, I know I was). You might have figured, the writing hasn’t been going that well lately. I haven’t written fiction in the last three days.

I’ve been doing other stuff, you know.

Shooting the trailer. Taking my author photo (which you can now see in the about page). Planning and preparing for the book launch. (I have to practice reading aloud at a good pace, because everyone tells me that I always go too fast.) Finish working my way through blog directories trying to find potential reviewers/blog tour hosts. Trying really hard to finish that one book I had to return to the library today, and succeed.

Uploading my novel on Goodreads, then trying to link my regular Goodreads profile to my brand-new author profile and stopping because Goodreads was asking me to “correct” my name and just generally failing to understand the concept of pen names, which lead to creating a gmail account for Aurelia Osborne, which I shall use shortly to create an Aurelia Osborne Goodreads account. I just need to figure out if I should have the same books on my shelves as Aurelia Osborne then as myself.

I guess that’s it for now.

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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in Uncategorized



A really good day

That’s what today has been.

First of all, I baked. Remember that “things to do on a rainy Saturday” post I made a while back, the one that had an item reading “baking cookies, or brownies, or both”? Well, I didn’t bake those on that day, I baked them today, and they turned out really well. I’m very pleased with myself, and I get a bunch of sweet stuff to eat as a reward for the time and effort I took.

Then I finished reading Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and I just loved it. It was sweet, and funny, and exactly my type. I’m so glad I listened to the impulse that made me buy that paperback, and not to the voice in my head saying “but you don’t buy hard copies of books anymore, you buy digital”. I’m not saying I would not have enjoyed that book digitally, but I might have put off buying it, which means I would not have spent the best part of my day reading it and loving it.

I watched The Princess Bride, and the 1995 BBC mini-series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Again. What can I say, I love those DVDs. Besides, they were mostly background noise while I baked and read.

I also found the last three chapter of my very first Nanowrimo novel, for which the complete manuscript as unfortunately been lost. Those three chapters were on a floppy I found in my office material. (Yes, I was still using floppies six years ago, when I first attempted Nanowrimo, don’t judge me.) (No, my computer doesn’t actually read floppies, I bought an external drive to read them. The story of why I need one is too long for this post, and it turned out to be pretty convenient today anyway, didn’t it?) I haven’t read them yet, but I might, at some point, if I want to reminisces about how good (or, more likely, terrible) I was, see how far I’ve come as a writer, and/or attempt to re-create the lost manuscript of my first Nano, but better.

Last but not least, it snowed today. I love that. Actual snow, and it stuck to the ground. At least a quarter of an inch, from what I can guess judging by my balcony. I need a shovel, to clear out my balcony is case of a fire. It doesn’t look urgent, not for a quarter of an inch, but today was just the beginning: there will be more. So I need a shovel. And a Christmas tree. Watching that snow building up centimeter by centimeter made me want to pull out my Christmas stuff and buy a tree and start decorating. I’ve already put some, most actually, of my Christmas music on my MP3 player, and I listen to it at work. No shame and no regret. Christmas rocks!

So that’s a decent round up. There was stuff I was supposed to do, and didn’t get around to, but I’m not dwelling on that. I’ve had a good day.

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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Uncategorized



Is perfection of this world?

Sometimes, like today, when I spend over an hour pouring over blog directories looking for potential blog tour hosts, I think “no, of course not”. Because if it did, I would have more to show for that hour I spent today, and the other I spent yesterday, than two “that one sounds good” and nine “meh, maybe”.

Other times, like on Monday, I think “yes, of course it does”. Because what other word to be used to describe the two Christmas gifts I found, on for each of my siblings, while I was just browsing through the bookstore waiting for the bus? There is no other words; those gifts are perfect.

Maybe perfection can only be found when you’re not really looking for it.

Which is all well and good, except that I can’t really afford to stop looking for blog tour hosts. My book comes out on the first week-end of December, there are no author events going on at that time, except maybe one. If I want to get word of my book out there (and I do) it will have to be online. I need that blog tour, and it needs to be ready as soon as possible.

You might think that eleven potential hosts isn’t that bad, but remember: it’s only eleven if you count the “meh, maybe”s, which I don’t. Finding blogs isn’t everything; they have to be the right blogs. Choosing the wrong blog means risking a bad review, and that would do me absolutely no good.

So I’ll pick another directory and keep looking, and maybe I’ll find the perfect match (preferably more then one).

ps Am I using this entry, and the search for the blog hosts, as an excuse not to Nano today? I could, because I really think that writing the next book is less important than polishing up the details, like the publicity, of this one. But I won’t mainly because this entry isn’t 500 words long, and I promised myself to write at least 500 words every day. So back in the trenches for a little while, I’ll go back to directories and blog surfing later.

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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Eyes on the goal, except not really

Two days into my Nano-esque writing for the sequel to The Admirer, I am remembering why I’m so very terrible at Nanowrimo. When comes the time to perform very intense tasks, such as writing 1667 words a day for 30 days, I suddenly develop this condition which reduces my attention span to that of a fruit fly.

Take today, for example. It’s a Saturday, I’m not working, I have plenty of time to write. I should be busy boosting up my word count, right?  And what am I doing with my day instead? I’m watching The Princess Bride. I’m playing the Princess Bride video game. I’m making my grocery list for tomorrow. I am laying the ground work for the other very intense, time-consuming project of creating edits of the perfect casts of Les Misérables (yes, casts is plural, there will be at least two of them).

I’m sort of pathetic.

Here’s the thing: I am not a sprint writer, I’m a marathon writer. It’s not about writing the maximum amount of words in 30 days. (Or God forbids, in 3 days. I have a friend who did that, two months after she gave birth. She’s a lunatic.) It’s about making the time to write a little, or at all. I’ve gotten very good at making the time to write, because I made it a New Years resolution a couple of years ago, and mock me all you want, it works for me. The fiction writing has slipped to the side, giving way to journal writing for the most part, but I can get to work on that.

Another thing that Nanowrimo does to me, that is really the opposite of helpful, is make me hyper-conscious of my word count. My way of writing is I divide the story in all the parts that need to be written, and I write each part, one at a time. When I do that for Nanowrimo, I try to have 30 parts, of course. But then, I soon as I’ve written one part, I start doing the math, the calculate the full word count by extension. I tend to be pretty much to the point, when I write, and my word count is therefore on the low side. The Admirer, at last count, was just under 43 000 words. The sequel isn’t lining up to be much higher. That’s the current average word count for a middle grade book. It’s ridiculous, and again, sort of pathetic.  When I’m writing on my own, I can ignore the word count until the first draft is finished, at the very least. But since Nano is all about the word count …

I’ve first attempted Nanowrimo in 2007. I’ve had plenty of time to learn all the things I’ve just told you, and indeed I learned those things a long time ago. So how did I let myself get suckered this year, you ask?

I wanted the excuse the get back into fiction writing, is the main reason.  But there is the not insignificant factor of all my friends who are doing Nanowrimo and they are all like “come on, do it, it’s fun!” Writing is fun. Nano is just a lot of stress.

But what the hell, I said I would do it, I might as well give it a try. And in the end, I’ll have a very rough, ridiculously short draft for my sequel to The Admirer. And maybe by next year, I’ll have the willpower to say to myself and to my friends: “no, that is not for me.”

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Posted by on November 2, 2013 in Uncategorized