Unemployed

This post is kinda depressing, so I’ve decided to lighten it up with a couple cheery pictures I took of chubby little birds. Yay birds!

My ‘day job’ is writing advertising copy and descriptions. I often joke that my job is one that any monkey (who has been taught about search engine keywords) can do, but sadly my biggest clients have come to that same conclusion as well. They are automating most of the jobs I used to do and the one huge job I had which they couldn’t automate is now done. Done. This means that I am, for all intents and purposes, unemployed.

That, frankly sucks.

It especially sucks to be replaced by a computer. It really does, no matter how much I’ve joked about it in the past, the reality sucks.

So the good news is that I’ll have more time to finish up the mountainous pile of things on my neverending to-do list, but the bad news is, no one is going to be paying me as I do it. My plan is to do that; work on getting some of these things that don’t repeat (schoolwork, colaborative projects etc.) done and then, with Jo, reassess and decide on a next step.

Unfortunately all I can get in the traditional job market are minimum wage service industry jobs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve held them before and in some ways have actually really, really enjoyed them, but meh. I’ve been spoiled. Spoiled by being about to pick my own hours, to see Dani off to school and be here when she gets home again, to have time to write in the afternoons and volunteer my time at the local elementary school. All that goes away if I take a job outside my house, and if I’m doing it for minimum wage, well, there are only a few jobs I can think of that I won’t be very resentful of. Happily, those few jobs do exist and they could be fun and have advantages of their own.

So yeah, things are pretty up in the air for me right now. I guess we’ll see what happens in a few weeks when I’ve finished some of these other things. In the meantime I’ll have a little extra time and who knows, I might even get this house clean. I won’t be washing the walls anytime soon for fun you understand, but you know, a little extra attention would probably not be a bad thing. 🙂

Accountability

An important part of writing is being alive, and one way to extend my life (and increase the quality of it) is regular exercise. I am not a sporty person, I don’t like taking walks for the sake of the walk, or well, most exercise-y things. Still, I know from past expirience that if I establish a routine that includes working out I will do it, even when I don’t feel like it, and eventually my body will come to crave the exercise. I still won’t like it, but it will feel good as well as bad, so I’ll do it.

That makes me sound a little crazy doesn’t it? It’s true, but more importantly it’s a long way to go to get here: I need an accountability partner to help me set that initial routine.

I had one a while back and things were going great. We’d check in with each other every day and complain about how much our workout hurt (in this case it was The 30-Day Shred) or celebrate that it was getting easier. It was very motivating to me and on several days when I normally would have not exercised (and justified it to myself somehow) I forced myself to suck it up and just do it, because I knew my partner would be working out even though she didn’t want to.

Sadly my partner had an (unrelated) accident and a couple new developments that meant she has to take some time off working out like we were. Without her there to help motivate me, my working out also collapsed.

Jo is going to be my new accountability partner, but I thought I’d also put this out to the universe in case anyone else is interested in getting in on the ‘action’ 🙂 I’ll be beginning to workout again on October 1st which gives you a little bit to talk yourself into doing this with me and dropping me a line (on either blog or email 🙂 ). The more the merrier!

Also, there are only two more days left to enter the Goodreads contest to win a copy of Shades of Green:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shades of Green (Paperback) by Rhonda Parrish

Shades of Green

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends September 30, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Clicky, clicky. The more the merrier there too 🙂

Lastly, the image at the top is one I took of Danica the other day. I <3 the reflections in the bubble 🙂

Sick

I’m sick. I don’t do sick well, I turn into a whiny, sniffly, self-pitying mess. Good times! So I spent most of yesterday doing those things, which is why I didn’t get a blog entry done. Today I’m feeling slightly better, so I’m whining less, but still feel like I’m in a cold medication-induced brain fog. So, my blog entry is going to be a mindless and shameless self-interested plug. Forgive me?

I’m giving away a copy of Shades of Green at Goodreads. You should enter to win 🙂

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shades of Green (Paperback) by Rhonda Parrish

Shades of Green

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends September 30, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

/shameless plug

*sniffle, sniffle, cough, cough*

Lost and Found Page

It has been a pretty long day, and I’m exhausted. In fact, I’m just about to go and enjoy some well-earned video game time, but before I do I have something I’m pretty pleased with I’d like to share. LOST AND FOUND has it’s own page on my blog now. I didn’t know where to put it so it’s under ‘Publications’. That feels a bit weird because it’s not actually published (and when I put it on the blog if you want to call that ‘publishing’ it, it’s self-publication at best), but I didn’t know where else to put it. So there you go. Anyway, it’s right here:

Lost and Found

I’m really pleased with it. Take a look, it’s nothing fancy but I think it’s pretty cool. I’ll be linking all the chapters from there when I post them on the blog to make it easier to find and read them, and adding some reviews once I get them. What do you think? Not too shabby, eh?

Swamped

I wasn’t feeling well yesterday so I spent most of it sleeping to try and head off whatever I was coming down with. It worked, I feel much better today, but I really couldn’t afford the time off. I was already falling behind on schoolwork and a metric craptonne of misc. tasks, and the day not doing them has resulted in my being even more swamped than usual.

One of those misc. tasks on my to-do list is a newsletter for this month. I don’t have time to think or be creative or anything like that, so my solution is to share chapter one of Lost and Found in the newsletter. I think it’s a win-win situation. It rewards my subscribers with an early peek (everyone else gets to see the first chapter on October 4th) and formatting that for the newsletter will take far less time than it usually takes me to put together. Yay!

The newsletter will be going out tonight, when I get back from my critiquing meeting 🙂

The Line…

TooltasticBorrowing real life cultures for fiction is something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late, and the book I’m currently reading has just slammed me in the head with what I don’t want to do.

Let me explain a little bit. In my novel-in-progress, currently titled See the Sky Again, I am working really hard on developing the culture of the Aphanasian mountain elves. I worry a great deal about the perception of that culture, I do not want them to be -insert any culture or race here- transplanted into the inside of a mountain. That being said, I have borrowed one or two of the trappings of real life cultures and bent them to my purposes. Each instance of this (there are two, from two different cultures) has required a lot of introspection on my part before I did it (a lot) and the results have been run by several people to make sure no one had any red flags or eye-rolling moments. Indecisive as I am, I’m confident now that they are woven into and integral enough to the story that they aren’t going to make people go ‘Oh, she just totally stole that from ancient Japan!’*

I’m reading The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett and for the first two thirds of the thing I freaking loved it. It’s a story about a world where every night demons rise up out of the ground intent on killing anything that moves. It’s a fantastic concept, the people and lifestyle that have developed as a result of living with that threat are very believable and I was completely drawn into the story.

I’m almost done the first book and the three main characters haven’t yet met each other which tells me that the book is not going to be self-contained. That is one of my pet peeves about books in a series, but in this case I was totally willing to forgive it because I liked the book that much. Then I encountered the Krasians. Everything I read about these people makes them sound like a renamed real-world culture to me. That taints my reading of the story, partly because I find part of my brain analyzing the story to see what the author thinks/feels about that cultur, and kills my suspension of disbelief.

As an aside, most people don’t seem to see the Krasians the way I do. As I was writing this I googled them just to see and it seems they are often seen as a cross between different warrior races. One interviewer described them as “a blend of Vikings and Mongols, with a little bit of the near East thrown in for good measure” and Mr. Brett said the original inspiration for them came from Medieval Japan. So it could be that my perception may say more about myself than it does the book. Still, for the sake of this blog post, let’s assume that it’s not completely on me.August 30, 2010

The Warded Man is well-worth reading (and I’ve not even finished it yet), but my issue with the Krasian race has tainted my completely unbridled enthusiasm for it. I don’t want to do that with my stories, and I’m curious to hear other people’s thoughts on the issue. Not, so much on the political/moral/ethical correctness of borrowing from cultures and what not, but more the effect it has on the work itself (or, as a reader, your enjoyment of it).

I’m sort of feeling around in my brain to see where the line is. If you’re a writer are you constantly aware of cultural appropriation? What about as a reader? Do you find yourself pulled out of a book if the cultures in it too closely resemble real ones? What about psychoanalyzing the author when that happens? I’m willing to bet it’s not just me.

*Not actually a culture I used LOL

**Pictures just added because I took them and liked them, not because they are relevant in any way.

Late

I did a collaborative project recently over on the 2xCreative community on LiveJournal (incidentally, if you use LJ and we aren’t friends there… you know how this ends right? –> Moi On LJ). I was paired up with Dragon-Gypsy who is an artist. She and I had one month to come up with a creative project to do together and both of us were pretty short on time, but not enthusiasm. In the end I wrote a story and she illustrated it. It turned out great, and I enjoyed the collaboration. It was good to have deadlines and work with someone with the common goal of creating something creative and cool. Thank you Mab! You rock.

Click on the image to see go to her Deviant Art page and see the image in a larger size along with all of her other great artwork. 🙂

Late

I’m running down the stairs to the subway, the echo of my heels on stone sounds in my ears like gongs as I descend into the bowels of the city. I hold my dress above the filth I’m walking on like a heroine in some Victorian novel. It’s white; the kind of bright white that exists only for overexposed pictures and weddings. Marc always teased me that I’d be late for my own funeral, but I’d promised to be on time today. Continue reading