Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?

Site news, new sites, a makeover to my mom’s blog, coffee, insomnia, workaholism, NaNoWriMo, Literary+, Smoke and Shadows, bugs, boobs…you know. The usual.

This is what I get for drinking three cups of coffee in the morning. Coffee, plus “Oh, I’ll just work for a few minutes…” when I got home from my boyfriend’s place at 12:30am.

FOUR HOURS LATER…we find our heroine still sitting and working.

I’m a workaholic. I admit it. I have a problem. I get into a flow and I just keep working and don’t even look up or think about eating or peeing or sleeping. Then suddenly my eyes will flick innocently upwards, and I’ll catch the time in my glance. And I’ll pronounce, with great solemn dignity, “What the everloving fuck.”

And then I stumble to bed and collapse and sleep all day. When I get up I will proceed to vegetate for several hours, until I fall asleep at some ungodsly hour again. This will continue until I finally right my schedule to one where I’m waking up before noon, and for the days that happens I actually manage to be productive, until I get into a flow too late at night and…. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the plus side, I do have something to show for my toil. PresentingKatje Writes. A brand spankin’ new site that showcases all most of my writing in one, easy to find place. At Katje Writes you will find Bellica‘s first 11 chapters, as well as various bits of fiction and poetry on the main site, and last but not least, my stories for Smoke and Shadows.

I mentioned it once before that Smoke and Shadows was a series of short stories written by Literary+ authors. Long story short is that Literary+ is going in different directions, but enough of us decided we wanted to continue with S&S, and we did. So far there’s only the one story up, but expect more after NaNoWriMo is over. (Oh, and you should go read Sanna’s posts at her blog. She writes about Witches too!)

But wait! There’s more!

Continue reading “Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?”

Practicing gratefulness, because life is AWESOME

This year, I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving the way I usually do — and that’s okay, because I have so much for which to be thankful. What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, for those of us in cold, snowy sunny Canada, it is Thanksgiving weekend. We have it in October instead of November. There’s a very good reason for that. If we tried to harvest anything in November, we would starve.

(Mind you, the timing of harvest festivals is sort of a moot point in a world where we can have mangoes from other countries flown to us year-round, but tradition dictates that Thanksgiving falls in October in Canada. Who am I to argue with tradition? Usually the first in line.)

Usually I spend this weekend with my boyfriend’s family, but today they’re having dinner over at his brother-in-law’s place, and they’re meeting his BIL’s parents. For the first time. Apparently BIL’s parents are…a bit more conservative than the rest of the family, so I will not be joining them. It was decided that my boyfriend was all the unorthodox they could take for this visit. Next year, I’ll be able to come.

I am actually okay with this. (Technically it’s our anniversary, too, but as we don’t really have a firm date for when the relationship “began” I’ve decided, unilaterally, that we shall have an Anniversary Week, from the 8th to the 16th of October. And we shall celebrate every day. He’s not totally on board yet, but give it time. I’ll wear him down.) Despite Thanksgiving being one of my favourite holidays now that I have a family again, I’m okay with not actually celebrating it this year.

Continue reading “Practicing gratefulness, because life is AWESOME”

Am ill. Please send care package of Nutella and Yogi Green Tea Echinacea.

Decisions about blogging, and a Community reference.

Ok, you don’t really have to send a care package. You can if you want to, though, don’t let me stop you.

I’m sick. It’s not the worst cold I’ve ever had, but it has some nasty flu-like symptoms, and it’s sort of knocked me flat. I don’t have much energy for anything right now, so I’m not going to blog what I was planning to blog today.

I think I’ve reached a decision about my blogging, however, and that is to streamline down to one blog for Katje van Loon. (Don’t worry; Morag Spinner will continue on at Innocence and Immanence. I won’t bore y’all with my religious ramblings over here.) I started Gossip Diet a while ago because I felt I needed a Blogspot blog for more…informal posts? I suppose that’s the word I’m looking for. I wanted to make my blogging here more journalistic, and my blogging over there more personal.

It’s too much. I’d much rather just camp out in one spot to chat with y’all, and frankly I prefer WordPress to Blogspot. Also, reading this post by Kristen Lamb sort of helped solidify that opinion.

So I’ve imported all my posts and comments from Gossip Diet to here (which is quite a bigger job than I’d anticipated, as it turned all my tags from GD to categories and now I have some clean-up to do), and at some point this month I’ll be deleting Gossip Diet. Or perhaps just making it private. I’m not really sure.

At any rate, you can expect both this blog and my penis to be much more focused and rewarding.

I’m sorry, I had to get a Community reference in here. And if you don’t get it and find it really offensive, I do not apologize. I simply say “Get thee to Netflix and watch thyself some Community, pronto.” They totally said pronto in Shakespeare’s time. It’s in the first draft of Hamlet. Little known secret.

I am dissatisfied (Author brands and Battlestar Galactica)

This post contains spoilers for Battlestar Galactica (2004). You’ve been warned.

When I chose the current theme for this blog I was in the process of revamping my online presence to better reflect my “author brand.” Apparently an author brand is an important thing to have, and I wanted to have one.

So I chose orange as my go-to color, and it dominates this site and Gossip Diet. I also chose my serious, bookish, I’m wearing glasses I don’t actually need and also I’m upside-down photo as my profile photo for all author-related things. One face, recognizable.

Recently, I changed that photo to the one of me as Starbuck, from Dragon*Con 2008. (More accurately the photo itself is from SeaTac airport on my way to Dragon*Con, but that’s a sort of useless detail.) Honestly, it better captures the sort of look I want to convey as an author my personality: I drink and swear a lot and can often be seen kicking ass in various ways and screwing up my life in others. Also I’m dating a Cylon who loves me madly and I probably will never shoot him, no matter what.

Somehow, since that change this blog has felt off. I look at it and I feel dissatisfied. It looks cluttered and too bright and headachey. I want something cleaner.

Continue reading “I am dissatisfied (Author brands and Battlestar Galactica)”

On copyright, and dangerous blogging

Roni Loren posted a blog about how she got sued for using a photo.

It’s a very good post and I highly recommend you go read it and then come back here to read the rest of this post. Seriously, because I’m basically just commenting on Roni’s post.

My first reaction to learning what happened to Roni was “Holy shit.” My second reaction was “I smell a scam;” that is, I’m sure the photo actually belonged to the dude who filed the takedown notice, but I’m also sure he wouldn’t have threatened to sue her if she weren’t a romance author. People seem to think romance authors have deep pockets. Hells, people seem to think authors of any genre have deep pockets; I don’t know where they get this info as it’s a blatant falsehood. “Become a writer! Share cat food with your cat!”

At any rate, it’s galvanizing me. I generally use Zemanta for my posts, but even that seems suspect. Over the next few weeks I’ll be going through all my old posts and making sure they are clear of photos that do not belong to me. I’ll also be working on curating my own collection of photos, and sharing them with other writers on Flickr in the WANA commons.

If you’re a blogger of any sort and you weren’t aware of how royally screwed you could be from not being ridiculously careful in making sure your photos are not copyrighted, now you know!

And knowing is half the battle!

The other half is taking down all those pictures before the copyright police find you and you get sued into the next millennium.

Or, you know, don’t. Live on the wild side. Life is short, am I right?

Reviews for Bellica!

So I’m pretty excited about this — I have two really great reviews for Bellica from friends Robin A. Sams and Mary Malinski.

Quotes from each review:

Katje’s character development is fantastic. She feeds details about the characters (and there are a lot of them, but don’t let that intimidate you!) in just large enough doses to keep you on your toes. Just when you think you know one of the characters…some new piece of information is released that changes what you thought you knew.

Bellica — Book Review | Circle of the Sacred Muse

Bellica is filled with vivid characters, and I greatly enjoyed reading their different viewpoints.  I was also angry when certain characters died, even if it was necessary to the story.  This novel overflows with intrigue, passion, and magek. 

Bellica book review | Robin A. Sams

It makes me really happy to know that my book is worthy of such praise. Reading reviews like these really brightens my day.

I hope I can keep the magek going in The Jade Star of Athering and Dead Transgressions!

Image from Wikipedia

In other news: it is the summer solstice today. What are you doing reading my blog? Go out and enjoy the sun god(s’)/desses’ blessings, whether you follow Brighid, Helios, Amaterasu, or Ra! (“Hail to the Sun God! He’s a really fun god! RA RA RA!”)

Technique Tuesday: Just write, dammit!

I really need to learn to take my own advice.

I have been struggling with just writing for weeks now.

It’s only partially my fault, though. (No, really!) My laptop is on the fritz, so I’m trying not to overuse it while I work on backing up all my files from my external harddrive so I can re-format it for Macs and back up the laptop so I can take it to the geniuses at the Apple Store so they can look at it…it’s a big process, is the point, so writing has sort of come to a standstill. Writing The Jade Star of Athering, that is. Writing blog posts I can still do on my desktop, and have been doing pretty frequently, actually. (Yay! The Muse is back!)

So I’m trying some techniques to keep the muse turning so that when I can sit down and write, I won’t just end up playing Solitaire for hours on end (metaphorically speaking; my Macs don’t have Solitaire — they do have World of Warcraft and Kingdom of Loathing, however).

Continue reading “Technique Tuesday: Just write, dammit!”

Post Sick and Airy Ed: Undergraduate Episode Completed (new high score)

I’ve been in Post Sick and Airy Ed (my mom’s word for Post-Secondary Education, or University) of some sort for the past 9 years, struggling to get my undergraduate degree.

You read that right. 9 friggin years. The Fellowship of the Baccalaureate! Longer and more pedantic, with fewer orcs.

It’s finally happened. I applied to graduate today, and I’ll be walking across the stage in January, 2013.

My GPA is a B+, or 3.31. (This is a guesstimate based off what I think the grade is for my final class, which just finished today. Update with actual GPA will occur when my grade gets posted.)

I think that considering I have multiple disabilities, physical and mental, and have dealt with some massive shit-storms of suck over the past 9 years, that a B+ GPA is really damn good for a four-year degree that took me almost 10.

I am incredibly proud of myself right now.

And very grateful. Because I never would have made it through this long slog if it weren’t for some special people. They are, in no particular order:

  • Kaimana Wolff, my mom. She has supported me wholeheartedly through every step of my secondary and post-secondary education, and I am dead sure I would have ended up a high school drop out working [insert horrible, low-paying job of choice here] until I died an early death at the age of 33.
  • Egbertine van Loon-Laffra, my oma. She died two years ago this August, but she didn’t stop supporting me once her physical body stopped working. She’s been here with me my whole life and that’s never going to change. Thank you, Oma. I love you and wish you could be here in person to see me walk across the stage to get my degree; I have to believe you’re watching from the Afterlife.
  • The Ogre, my boyfriend. Granted, he’s only been present for the last two years of the degree, but the support he’s given has been priceless. Kicking my ass out of bed early in the morning so I can make it to class; kicking my ass back home from visiting him in Vancouver so I don’t miss class; kicking my ass in general. Everyone needs an Ogre on their ass, making sure they don’t fail themselves. I have mine.
  • All my friends. Whether you were around for the Community College years (which, by the way, were a lot like the shenanigans portrayed in Community), the MUC/VIU years, or all the years — thank you. For the laughs, the parties, the homework help, the listening ears to my venting. Thank you for everything.

If there’s anyone I’ve missed, I apologize. It wasn’t done on purpose; blame it on post-nine-years-of-school-brain-fatigue.

And for now, I’m off to celebrate.

With a nap.

 

Oregon is a dangerous place for us — and I’m not talking about dysentery

Oregon has no state tax. This is like a stranger in a van offering candy to us 14%-tax-beleaguered British Columbians: dangerous, but oh so tempting.

Our trip to Seattle got delayed a bit when we decided to stop in Portland. Mom bought shoes (so what else is new?), we both got books, I picked up a pre-loved copy of Destroy All Humans, and then we may have wandered into the Apple store and I may be writing this blog entry on an iPad.

Wait! Before you write me off as just another spoiled white kid, let me elaborate. The iPad is a business expense so we write it off. We’re not just writers, you see: we’re publishers as well. Katje van Loon (autocorrect changed my name to “Kate” — bad iPad! No cookie) writes books published by The Pack Press, run by Mom, and Jana van Loon runs Stars Above, Stars Below Publishing, which puts out Kaimana Wolff’s (ie, Mom’s) novels and poetry. Each house also puts out books by other people and non-profit organizations, and we offer publishing services to those who wish to self-publish.

We’ve nothing against being self-published, but many contests do — and we want to enter those contests. Same deal for many writers’ festivals: your publisher needs to get you in. Not to mention, as a mother-daughter writing team who publishes each other’s books, we have many opportunities to promote each other — which is much easier than promoting oneself tirelessly. Less spammy, too.

Finally, my mother and I trust each other’s judgement in various areas: she’s an accomplished, professional editor, fantastic at in-person social networking, has knowledge of how to do business and understands finances (ie, how to make money), and has years of expertise in several areas, most importantly law.

I have a near instinctual grasp of our modern technology and know how to utilize it to our advantage. I understand Internet social networking and excel at it as much as I fail at face to face. I know InDesign, and I’m good at cover design and book block design.

We’re both dedicated, determined, and we have keen eyes for errors in each other’s works — you’d be amazed at what sneaks past in the first 7 edits/read-throughs. We help each other shoulder the burden of publishing a book on your own — being an indie author is difficult, time-sucking work, and it is not an easy way to make a buck. You’re spending almost every hour of the day working — sometimes for very little return, at least at first.

You want a good, professional book that people will a) take interest in and b) love or at least like? You have to put in the time or money, and it takes a bit.

So, we bought an iPad. It is another tank for our arsenal on the battlefield of the publishing world. We’ve small publishing houses; we need every weapon available.

2012 Writing Goals

I completed some of my 2011 Writing Goals, but not all of them. That’s okay. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m just going to do better this year.

  1. Finish Dead Transgressions.
  2. Finish The Jade Star of Athering.
  3. Make some headway on the Clio table for parthenon.
  4. Blogging: 3 entries a week. On anything.
  5. Finish either The Man of Bronze or Islands of Fire and Water.
  6. Publish two more books.
  7. Attend a writing festival or something similar as a guest.