July 2017 Updates, Goals

Hello again! Another month has flown past—and as you might’ve guessed, that 1-month construction project outside my house has stretched into Month 3. They’ve had to cut into stuff that was finished years ago to lay pipe or whatever; that’s what you see depicted above. Unfortunately, they’ve also ripped out all the greenery that the fireflies used to hang out in. They’re supposed to put it back in and then some, so I’m hopeful for that.

Still outlining book 3, working on new characters, character arcs, and what have you. When outlining, there’s so much work to do; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and sit there going, “What now?” I find it’s helpful to give myself at least 1 “assignment” every day. Look that up, figure this out, etc. Then I can at least feel like I’m moving in a positive direction.

Sometime soon, I’d also like to reread Blood’s Force and Harbingers to ensure I don’t leave out important details. I hope to minimize inconsistencies and loose ends between books as much as possible. It can be painful and occasionally mystifying to read my own stuff, though. “Ugh, did I really …?” I guess it’s a good reaction to have. It means I’m improving (or so I hope)!

Current Goals:
Updating website/blog. Slow going, but in progress. I found a Bootstrap template I like for the website, and now it’s a matter of tweaking it. I also found a prospective new blog template, but that changeover will be more difficult because WordPress doesn’t give you any way to fiddle with a template, fix all the bugs, then make it live. Nope, you gotta make the change live before you even know what fires will erupt! I may have to schedule some downtime for the blog when I get serious about updating it.

Learning how to roll Rs. I’m gonna call this one “done,” although I’m still practicing a little every day. My trilling remains inconsistent, but it’s way better than before I began trying! In case it may be useful to anyone, here are some things that helped me:

  • Hold your tongue in the position for saying S, then move it to the back of the alveolar ridge, close to the roof of your mouth. That’ll cut down on slushy, spitty noises when you start blowing air to flap the tongue.
  • Stay well hydrated, which also cuts down on spitty noises.
  • Relax the tongue. Now relax it some more. Lying on your back helps you figure it out.
  • Use the flap in the middle of the words “butter” and “ladder” to get an idea of what your tongue should be doing.
  • If you have a hard time with sustained trilling (like I do), practice with words instead. In Spanish for instance, there’s perro, erre, etc.

All this said, try not to think too hard about what you’re doing. Once you get the trill working, relax and let it happen.

Learning Latin. Still making interesting new discoveries all the time. For instance, in Sword and Starship, there’s a trade guild called Linum Dominorum: Flax (or Linen) of Lords. I came up with that name years before embarking on this Latin adventure, and did my best to get the translation right at the time using whatever resources I could google up. At this point, I’ve learned enough Latin to confirm that I did actually decline the phrase properly back when I had no idea what I was doing! LOL To be really pedantic, there are a couple of long vowels in there—Līnum Dominōrum—but many people don’t bother marking those. They really should, as there’s a difference between liber (book) and līber (free), for instance. However, I’m not going to worry about it going forward in Sword and Starship. In that case, consistency is more important than precision.

Later Goals:
– Learn Italian (at least enough to get around town with)
– Plan/schedule trip to Rome in 2018
– Ramp up selling/promotion

Feel free to let me know how you’re doing. Otherwise, see you next month! :)