Summer Distractions

Shoreline

 

Summer is here, and I had to take a little time out to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. A road trip, some hiking, some boating, and enjoying the company of friends — important things! But never fear, my lovelies, you are always in my mind, and I have not forgotten you! The next installment of Olivia’s story is coming soon!

❤ ❤ ❤

Poetry!

 

Yes, I know I’m moving slowly, but I have finished the first piece of the great remodel. The Poetry page is ready! So far, everything in it is work that I’ve published previously in this blog, although most of it was in late 2014 and the most recent was a year ago. So, unless you’re dedicated enough to drill through the category links, those pieces would be a little hard to find now, except for this reorganization.

So, if you haven’t seen them before, head on over and have a look, and hopefully you’ll like what you see. If you have read them already… well, head over anyway! Most, though not all, have some sort of romantic angle to them, whether it’s finding love or it’s heartbreak and loss. Looking back, I can see that I have a bit of a fascination with color and light, as well as mountains and travel. Two have a bit of a science-fiction feel to them, and one is a little bit steampunk, so maybe there’s something for every poetry lover out there?

See for yourself: Poetry

Coming soon, another page to gather up my flash fiction, serial short fiction, and excerpts.

Remodeling

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

In with a new year, and in with a slightly different look and feel. I’m going to reorganize the website just a bit, so that the creative works I write (and have written) are collected into pages, so that hopefully it’s a little easier to find things. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and now it’s time. However, I’ll be feeling my way about a bit as I create pages and menus and move prior posts into them, so for those of you getting notifications, please accept my apologies in advance!

So, here’s to a fresh coat of paint, and a fresh look going into 2016!

Holiday

I’m baaaack!

I’ve been away on a little holiday… ok, a bit of an extended holiday… ok, pretty much all of February. While I was away, I also took a holiday from most things online or electronic, which I admit was a difficult decision, but a good one. I recommend it once in a while!

And, of course I came home to more than 500 unread emails. I still have a lot of sifting and sorting to do there, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. If you sent me a message, email, Twitter, comment, etc, I will get back to you, it just may take me a bit to get to them all.

Where did I go? I’ll have more to write about that, but here’s a little hint:

Bag End Party Business

Contemplation and a Break

Winter Contemplation

 

Every once in a while we need to just sit back and think. Or not think, as the case may be. Find a quiet, secluded spot, make ourselves comfortable, and contemplate. Perhaps it is our navels, perhaps it is the mysteries of the cosmos, and perhaps it’s just frustration with Edith Crawley’s simpering melodrama — but these large issues need time.

In a city that knows how to keep its secrets, I will be contemplating the answers to life’s persistent questions*, and so will be a little quiet for a bit. In a few weeks, though, I’ll be back in force, never fear.

 

* Bonus points if you know the source of my paraphrasing.

Twitter Analytics and Gender

 

Like many new (or soon-to-be-new) authors dipping their toes into social media, I’ve been trying to get a handle on not only how to better manage the wild chaotic beast that is Twitter, but also how to understand it. Eva Gantz is the go-to expert on social media for authors, and following her advice I checked out Twitter Analytics, which I discovered has this cool little feature for breaking down the demographics of your followers.

Neat! So now I know that 55% of my followers are in the US (no surprise there, because I’m in the US, I suppose), 17% in the UK, etc. I know that 88% are interested in “Romance (books and literature),” which makes sense, because I’m trying to be a romance author — that’s probably the most useful statistic, actually.

 

And I know that 51% are male and 49% female.

Huh? How does Twitter know that? I wracked my brain trying to remember if Twitter ever asked me my gender when I signed up, and no, it didn’t. I checked my profile, and nowhere is there anything that says “female” (or any other gender!). So, if Twitter doesn’t know my gender, how can it know the gender of my followers?

The answer is, apparently, big data and social algorithms. It is all in your word choice, word frequency, word proximity, etc, apparently. Twitter (and Facebook too, for that matter) has been hiring some of the world’s foremost social statisticians and researchers, because they want to know this sort of thing about us (without asking, apparently).

I guess it’s a little creepy and a little fascinating at the same time.

Glenn Fleishman wrote a very interesting article for BoingBoing about it a couple months ago, which I came across in my search for the answer. It seems he had the same head-scratching moment I did when he looked at that graph. Oddly, it appears for most people their followers skew far more to the male side, regardless of their own gender or what they tweet, whereas mine are nearly evenly matched. I don’t know that that’s good or bad or indifferent — I’m very happy if men find what I have to write as interesting as women do, and in fact I do have some men who regularly read my blog, and I love them for it (you know who you are, and you’re all wonderful)!

Have you looked at your own Twitter Analytics results recently? What is your thinking about computers determining your gender based on how you write?

There’s a lot more to the analytics that I haven’t even begun to understand yet. There’s a lot to Twitter I don’t understand yet.

Offline Retreat

Once more I am headed into the mountains, bound for a place where no roads go, that can only be reached by boat, floatplane…

 

or multi-day wilderness trek (crossing a few high mountain passes along the way).

 

WiFi doesn’t penetrate there; cellular towers are unknown. I will leave the electronics behind and immerse myself in nature and the pages of an old-fashioned bound and printed book. I will not tweet, or status update, or blog. I will not open a laptop. I will put my phone away.

Four disconnected days.

 

But… I will still think about you. And I will return.

Because I love you all.

Yes, you, too.

Revitalizing

Lake 22 Trail

Some of you may recall that I have been struggling with a hurt knee throughout the spring and summer. Today I got back in that saddle and went for my first actual hike since doing the damage, and the knee came through fine! I’m still doing physical therapy, and I’m not all the way healed yet — I have to be careful when I walk, think about foot placement, and be conscious of how the muscles in my leg are pulling in different directions — but this is a huge step forward for me.

Today’s trail is a very popular one in the Pacific Northwest, and had long been on my radar, but for whatever reason I had never actually hiked it before. Lake 22 supposedly gets its name from 19th-century railroad maps, which listed each creek numerically. While the others went on to receive proper names, the numbers for “Creek 22” and its source lake simply stuck. The trail isn’t very long, at 5-1/2 miles round-trip, but that was perfect for me as a knee tester. It climbs fairly steadily through a beautiful forest, with simply dozens of waterfalls along the way, some of which are quite large. Some sections of the trail are extremely well-maintained, as you can see in the photo above, while others were fairly rough, with fallen boulders to scramble over, and some water on the trail.

Regardless, the view at the top makes everything worthwhile.

Lake 22Thanks for following along on this admittedly off-topic post, but hey, it’s my blog, and I’ll post what I want to, right? 🙂

 

Coffee Romance

I’m considering an entry for Frisky Feminist‘s Erotic Romance Anthology Love in the Time of Coffee. I mean, I love erotic romance, and I love coffee, so what’s not to like here? Of course, some seriously good writers that I know of are also considering entries, so competition might be… ahem… stiff. But, one has to start somewhere!

It’s not clear if the deadline for submissions is October 1 or December 1, so on the assumption it’s the former, I (and maybe you, too?) have to decide quickly. As in, very soon.

Here’s a snippet from the blurb at friskyfeminist.com:

Got a story about that sexy barista who keeps putting hearts on your cup? What about the brooding person in the corner that you just know is writing love poetry you’re dying to read?

We want to read it!

This comes right on the heels of Sheri Savill tweeting about coffee porn, which just got us all steaming and frothing for more, so the time must be right! At least right to ponder it over a cup of coffee.

What do you think?