A Needed Break

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I didn’t post last week because I took a staycation and took care of some health issues. Other than a brief trip to visit my mother for 2 nights, I hardly budged outside of my house. I did some serious R&R, as we called it in the military. I played low-stress games like Freecell and Solitaire until I was winning almost every game. I loaded music on my computer and synced them up with my iDevices. I only wrote about a thousand words. I browsed lots of news sites (you may not realize it, but I am quite a news junkie).

I also got my blood pressure managed. Additional dietary choices are now open to me, so I will once again eliminate dairy from my diet. I went the entire month of January without milk, and my intestinal issues and rib pain went away. Unfortunately, my blood pressure also went up because my breakfast without milk has a lot more sodium than plain cereal with milk. Now that I can eliminate dairy again, I am hoping this rib pain will go away again. It kept me up last night for about an hour.

So it was a good week. I don’t want it to end, quite frankly, but that’s why they call it vacation. My husband wants me to schedule another week already. July is looking good.

I decided not to move my website. I am currently using a premium WordPress account, and after reflecting that I have spent zero time worrying about my website over the last year, I decided to stay put. The managed WordPress accounts are too expensive and don’t get me anything that I don’t have here, plus I have been accumulating a few handfuls of WordPress followers (hey guys!) I don’t want to cut them off by moving.

I may, however, redo my theme, and maybe procure a premium theme … if I can find one that is worth the cash.

Financial Tip!

This is my first financial tip ever. But we got our first American Express card and it is really helping our finances. We put all our charges on the AmEx card and pay it off at the end of the month. Nothing else is going on our regular credit card, allowing us to pay it off faster. Plus we are getting lots of AmEx points.

An important note about AmEx cards–they are designed to pay off at the end of the month. So be careful to only use it for planned expenses, like grocery, gas, and small credit card purchases. You do NOT want to be in a position where you are unable to pay off the card at the end of the month. AmEx is designed to be a charge card, not a credit card, and there is a distinct difference.

It is going to totally be worth the 200 dollars to renew at the end of the year.

Writing Update

Chicory, Anne Elizabeth and I were having quite a discussion on epic fantasy and warrior woman tropes in the Back From Hiatus post. They got me to reveal some of the ideas I have been playing with (ahem–paladin story–cough), and we have just been having a good ole time. While my first priority has got to be finishing East of Yesterday, I am finding it difficult to resist working on my paladin story!

Anne Elizabeth recommended I try reading David Weber’s War God series, and I probably will, but it seems to be kind of a spoof of a paladin story. Has anyone ever read any good paladin stories, other than the quintessential Deed of Paksenarrion?

Site Showcase: Tropes Galore. And then some more tropes.

I found the best writing site ever.

I don’t say that lightly. Have you ever read anything like that here before? Probably not.

This is one of those “how the hell did I not stumble across this site years ago?” sites. And I have only run across one site like that ever. This one.

How useful is this site? I have been browsing it nightly for two weeks.

Two weeks.

This site bills itself as “catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.” And they’re not bragging. It’s been so useful that I joined the site. I don’t think I joined a site since I joined AbsoluteWrite about six or seven years ago. (At least, I have not joined any sites that I stuck with.)

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to this awesome site:

tvtropestvtropes.org, to be exact.

Yes, it is a very unlikely name. It is so much more than TV Tropes. It’s a collection of tropes found in every imaginable type of fiction. If the trope has been used in fiction, on tv, in film, in comic books, in RPG games, in wrestling, and even in advertising, it will be here. Described in glorious, wiki-comprehensive detail. And often funny, too.

What can you use it for? Well, I vetted the site by reading all the articles on time travel. I had never seen my particular ideas for time travel in fiction or at the movies before, so I started looking for them. Three or four nights later, I was satisfied that my time travel ideas are pretty damned original.

Some of my ideas do come close to the tropes, such as the Stable Time Loop. Except my characters did not cause their own trouble in the past. Someone else did. And I admit to using a dash of Applied Phlebotinum. I try to keep the fantasy elements understated. My characters do not fit any of the character tropes I have seen so far, but Brad is a bit of a Jerk Ass–not  totally. He does grow as a character.

I found a trope from my warrior woman trunk novel–the Amazonian Beauty. Except Abriel wasn’t much of a beauty (she was charismatic instead). Other than that, this trope is pretty much dead-on.

Hmm. Maybe that’s why it’s a trunk novel.

Talia is kind of like the Hooker with the Heart of Gold, except she was never actually a hooker. She was just … easy.

I can’t find any tropes for Gretchen, or for Mike and Adele from East of Yesterday. Some of my side characters are tropish, however, so I need to work on those.

Some of my favorite books have extensive write-ups, such as The Deed of Paksenarrion and Dragonlance.

So why don’t you head over there, check out your favorite tropes, and report back on what you found? You could look me up while you are there; my handle is lostintime. (At the moment, I have done nothing with this handle except create it.)

Of course, if you’re like me, you may get lost in that site and I may never see you again.

Back from Hiatus

I am almost done with my contest judging and I am now writing again. At work, things are quiet as we wait to see if there is going to be another layoff with this expected reorg. So I will attempt to resume my twice-weekly posting schedule, one personal (like this one) and one something-else.

I’ll be taking a staycation soon, and during it I need to determine whether I keep this site where it is or move it to another host. Right now, this site is hosted on WordPress.com, which is good, but does not have the flexibility of a self-hosted site. However, flexibility = time commitment, and I’m not sure if I need another of those. This site may have to remain good enough for now.

East of Yesterday is up to 82,000 words. I’ve been retrofitting the first 100 pages before I launch into the ending.

I have also been thinking again about Magic by Starlight. Once I finish EOY, maybe I can finish up MBS and have two books to market.

And I have been thinking epic fantasy again. I have always wanted to write one, and I have a new idea. I am still in the early idea stage, but I did start a wiki for it yesterday.

I have not been reading many books that I can review lately because I think I ought to remain discreet about my contest judging, but I still get review copies from time to time and some of them look amazing, so I may have some book reviews soon. (I still don’t take review copies–these are unsolicited books from publicists who have my address.)

I discovered a very cool website that I’ll be posting about on Wednesday.

Do any of you use Office 13? I am able to get it inexpensively through work, but I don’t want it if it is too tightly-coupled with their online services. I may jump ship and use OpenOffice because they appear to have vastly improved their Navigator functionality. Any word processor I use must have some sort of document navigation tool, which is what has kept me with MS Word all this time.