jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And did I mention the degree is finally done? (hurrah! Results in mid July! Hoping to pull off a 2:1 overall)  And with that clear from my brain, and the drain that is holiday cover for the family business also done with, I'm finally getting my head around everything that's been put on hold.

Most notably, the writing of fiction stuff.  It feels like a small age since I last wrote anything fictional (a quick check suggests the last was just before the last degree module started up, which makes sense) and the little writing cells, they be so rusty.  So I went digging through my old writing to get back in the groove and discovered things I'd completely forgotten I'd written.  Most of which are unpublishable, but teenage/early twenties me did have some surprisingly interesting ideas! (Also some truly terrible and slightly problematic ones, but, we evolve...)  And there's a ton of unfinished shorts from the last couple of years that need sorting out.

And there's new fiction things I've been noodling over the last few months - after sitting down and plotting out things, have discovered that novel-wise I've got 3 secondary world/portal fantasies, 2 urban fantasies, a paranormal romance, a horror, 2 historic fantasies, 2 SF and a supernatural crime thing all begging attention. And that's before we get to the short fiction.  Do not even get me started on the short fiction. It's a looooooong list.

And then there's non fiction - there's a ton of blog posts I need to write so there may be the vague chance of weekly blog posts at some point (don't faint!), plus I want to get back to the short fiction reviewing again.

Am also plotting future anthologies, o'course, because I do love doing the anthologies and hope at some point to eventually edit one that pays pro rates to our lovely authors.  Though where and with who is going to take a bit of creativity.  Possibly a kickstarter may happen next year.  Watch this space.... :-)
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
... because why not.  ;)

Sooo (as all great blog posts are wont to start...) 2013 then.  That was a year.  Quite a good one for me actually.

I had two short stories published in two very excellent Fox Spirit anthologies:
Past Lives in Piracy - this one being a spin off of the mermaid-pirate stories I keep writing, though it's more about the human pirate that's hunting them and how that is a very bad idea...

To Fox Tor Mire in Shapeshifters - this one being a Maddy Cain story where the sins of the mother come back to bite the daughter on the ass... (one day I will finish a novel length urban fantasy thing with my beloved fox-mage trickster girl, until then, there will be many shorts...)

Speaking of - there's another Maddy Cain story due out at some point from Elektrik Milk Bath Press in their Urban Fantasy anthology - no idea when though, probably sometime in late 2014.

With my editor hat on (it has sparkles and feathers and room for spare red pens) the big one was The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic which I'm well chuffed about. I always have a lot of fun co-editing with Jan Edwards, and Urban Mythic managed to get a fantastic line up and launched quite well too.

In fact, so well did it go, that we're doing Urban Mythic 2 in 2014!  Full guidelines will be up shortly for that!

Oh, and, Alchemy did a quickie interview with us about the anthology here.

And, not only that, but we'll also be doing a rather wicked little anthology with Fox Spirit Books towards the end of the year.  More news on that lovely thing another time...

Convention wise, there was, of course, WFC.  Which was all work.  And as mentioned previously, 2014 is going to be convention play year - I'm  definitely going to Nine Worlds Geekfest and Fantasycon (unless next-cousin-to-be-married picks that weekend for the festivities), and am hoping to get to BristolCon and EdgeLit, depending on time and finances.

With my academic hat on (extra pockets for emergency chocolate) I started my penultimate module for the history degree - Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds - which continues to be an awesome course.  Oh, and there's also the book keeping course thingy I'm doing alongside it as the family business keeps inventing new ways to challenge me and generally drive me insane and someone needs to understand the all new complicated numbers stuff...

Cool fiction read I'll cover in another post, because the short fiction list will probably go on a bit... and according to Goodreads I read 104 books last year.  ::blinks::

Other than that, there was little sister's wedding, of which I'm just about over the trauma of wearing a bridesmaid dress, though the psychological scars from being trapped with that many relatives in one go will likely last a while longer...  ;-P
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)

O!M!G!  It's not a post about Urban Mythic!  I know, it's been a while, right?

So, what' s been going on? Well now, I'm glad you asked.

Big main thing is the university year has started right back up and with only two modules left to do for my degree it's all very serious and researchy. On the plus side, this year's module is Myth in the Greek and Roman world which is all kinds of awesome. seriously, why did no one tell me classics was so much fun. (Actually I did kind of suspect it, but it's been a bugger to find an actual course that wasn't medieval to modern history.) So, yes, I do classics now. Classics are cool. ;)

So too is accountancy. Though that one is more of a business necessity since some crazy person or persons to go unnamed decided to make the family business a limited company with employee on payroll and proper grown up serious stuff. Oy gevalt. This has made the book keeping a bit more complicated. Well, I say a bit, in the way that the Pacific is a bit wet... Still, I like a challenge, and anything that involves juggling numbers on spreadsheets and I'm definitely your girl. So I'm also working my way towards a professional bookkeeping/accountancy certification thingy. Cos why do things by halves, right? Right!  (Egads, there will be exams. Exams! Gah!)

Ooh, and the fabulous Shapeshifters anthology from Fox Spirit should be out soon, in which discerning readers will find a story by yours truly. Also many other funky peeps.

WFC is of course the hot topic of the season. I will, of course, be on registration duty again so expect plenty of completely forgetting the names of people I've known for years while trying to give sensible answers to random questions.

Ooh and I've booked up for next year's Nine Worlds Geekfest, cos how cool did this year's one sound.  Yes, going to an actual convention that I'm not working at! Stop fainting at the back there.  Might even attempt to do Edge-Lit next year as well.

But that's enough excitement for one day! ;-)

jen_qoe: (Default)
So today saw the delivery of the books for my next history module - this one being on Empires and a level 3 course (gulp).  But, still, shiny new books with shiny new book smells!  Alas, the new OU policy of not letting you know your assignments until the website officially opens at end of the month has completely buggered my intentions of getting ahead of things... Ah well, there's still lovely booksies to read...

In other news, the fabulous Adele over at her new imprint Fox Spirit, has just published the excellent sounding Tales of the Nun and Dragon...  Behold! The cover....

Have got my copy and will be reading it ever so shortly...

In other-other news, I do believe I have found the perfect hairstyle thingy for evil-twin's Wedding-of-the-Century. 
Thank you Katy Perry for doing all the work and modelling it! Nice and simple and purple!

Oh, and, of course, I really should be mentioning that order details for that there Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders are emerging -paperback editions available from Amazon UK, Amazon USABarnes & Noble or The Book Depository for £10 / $15 - though can be had for the bargain price of £8 if you buy it at Fantasycon in a couple of weeks.  No news on the e-book editions as yet, but rumour has it our beloved publisher is working hard to crunch files and sort that out...

Annnnnnd, not only that, but m'fine and funky co-editor Jan and I will be doing another anthology next year - that one will be the APB of Urban Mythic and details on that shall be forthcoming after Fantasycon...
jen_qoe: (Default)
So have just heard when and where the scary exam for this year's history module is taking place. Not, as previously thought, at Reading Uni. Nope, somewhere far more interesting than that...

This would be Sindlesham Court, which may or may not be connected to the Berkshire Masonic Lodge next door.

Strangely, this has just wiped out about half the stress from the impending June torture as it has the bonus of being closer to home with waaay better parking than Reading Uni. Also, it's quite pretty. I may even be looking forward to the exam now... ;-P
jen_qoe: (whoa)
OU goes well. Quite well actually. Got an excellent mark on the last assignment (stunned, shocked, amazed) and so far it's all rather enjoyable, if not easy, then at least logical and full of all those lovely a-ha moments. Which is rather surprising as m'fellow students are of the opinion that this particular module is a bit of a dog. (Mind, I suffered through the compressed archaeology course so after that, anything is light relief...) ;-)

The essays do tend to take up a considerable amount of brainage, however. This month it's all about the European Reformation. (Something I have so far managed to avoid knowing anything about!) And now I totally get all those Spanish Inquisition jokes! And Iconoclasm. And Calvinism. And William of Orange! (And the Grand old Duke of York - but that was last month's bit of the course! Yes, I might have sung a bit when I realised the connection there... History is so cool!)

Have also discovered that I prefer the historian side of things to the archaeologist side of things. (Possibly the aforementioned archaeology course is a bit to blame for that too!) Possibly it's also got to do with the fact that analysing pot sherds and corn husk impressions and wotnot makes me snooze off but give me some juicy text on what people have been doing and I'm so there! Scandals! Shenanigans! Revolutions getting mucked up due to hard-line militancy and lack of funding! But mainly, I think, it's discovering all the connections between everything. Connections and getting to put into context all those vague people and events that get lodged in the brain through other means.

Did I mention History is cool? ;-P
jen_qoe: (Default)
So, it being September (it's September! So soon!) means that the next batch of OU courses are kicking in. Woohoo! Was initially a little worried about being able to do stuff, what with the insane price rises due to bastard!government!practices! but, luckily, the OU is keeping prices stable for peeps already in the midst of studying degrees. (Newbies, however, are totally buggered. Unless they happen to have a won a lottery or two.)

Anyhoo, this still-friendly pricing means I can happily continue on with the next course in the History BA - Exploring History: Medieval to Modern. Not my favourite era as I'm more an ancient history kinda gal, but on the plus side, shiny new information! (And a scary exam in June! Arrrgh! Must refine my (lack of) revision skills!)

Plus, just for fun, there's the short science courses. Given that I hated science at school this is probably a slightly twisted definition of fun. (Also I'd quite like to write some decent SF one day so a basic understanding of that there science thing might be helpful...)

So, right now I'm doing a shortie Human Nutrition course (and getting a crash course in the chemical composition of stuff) which is actually quite fascinating and fodder for dropping all kinds of 'and did you know' into random conversations with the parentals. (They did not, in fact, know, and are also quite fascinated. Which is nice.)

Then once the scary history exam is done and my brain's clear from nasty revision stuff, there's a couple of environmental science shorties I can squeeze in for doing over the summer break. I say couple, but actually there's four I've got my eye on so what gets done will depend on finances at the time.

Then come next September it's the Empire history course with a couple more shortie science courses and possibly the shortie Welsh history course fitted around it. Then 2013... (yes, I have planned that far ahead. That I've got a spreadsheet going to do so will surprise no-one I know.) ... 2013 will be From Enlightenment to Romanticism, with more shortie science things. Then after that, all I need to finish the degree will be Myth in the Greek & Roman worlds and Exploring the Classical World. (More scary exams! Double argh!)

Fun times!
jen_qoe: (layla miller)
Arrgh.  The World Archaeology course is not going well.  My brain? Obviously deficient.

(Hysterical whinging about academic stressing to follow... therefore, (hopefully), a helpful cut.
a helpful cut )
jen_qoe: (layla miller)
Ah, December. Apparently some people have snow. Lower Earley, however, is sunny and snow free. (The joys of being a valley girl! Apparently our weather doesn't act like wot it does in the rest of the country.)

So, what news?

Well, Kari Sperring fans can soon look out for an interview of the fabulous award-winning multi-talented genius lady in the upcoming BFS Journal (being the new megamix hardback publication the BFS is putting out in a bid to merge Prism, Dark Horizons and New Horizons. Or something. I? Have no idea.) The cover is gorgeous though. BFS members can expect it as soon as it's back from the printers.

It's Women in SF week over at Torque Control! Go check out the many fabulous posts and discussions about women in sf!

If you're in need of some fun stories to brighten your December, go see the fantastic December Lights project organised by Stephanie Burgis and Patrick Samphire. Me, I loooooove Undead Philosophy 101 by Stephanie Burgis.

Women & Hollywood make mention of how Helen Mirren kicked ass at the Women in Entertainment Breakfast There is a video. And delicious quotes. (Helen Mirren also kicks ass in the film RED. Just sayin'. :-P)

M'good friends Pete and Jan (they of Wyld Stallyns. Wild Stacks fame) have now been made the editors of the BFS' Dark Horizons, and, thusly, are looking for subs.


On personal newsie bits -
The Nano thing - duly done so my record of making the 50k in November goes unblemished. (Huzzah!)
OU status - Fiiiiinally got the results of the last course/module/thingy back. Passed it! 85% on the examinable part, 75% average on the coursework part (which is, apparently, a bit weird as most people get lower marks for the examinable bit.)
Now, just got to fight my way through the current course from hell then see how many course/module/thingies I can get done before the prices rise astronomically thanks to the Bastard!Government!Trolls! Ahem. Yes. Studying is fun. Really. ;-P
jen_qoe: (Default)
Apparently it's October. That's nice. Also quite surprising on account of September being blocked out by a little bit of Fcon but mostly by a month long obsession with the last assignment for the current OU module.

I was really organised, truly. I had the reading and note taking and quotes and *everything* done before Fcon, with about 80% of a first draft locked away. Because I know what Fcon does to me. Total wipe out for at least a week afterwards. And with the essay due two weeks after Fcon, prep was essential.

So last week was a haze of staring at the computer screen and not managing to do anything useful at all. (Except sign up for the free Kindle for PC app and spend money on e-books, which is a whole 'nother thing.)

And then yesterday I re-read the essay question to check all was well and polish up. And swore. Then swore some more. Yep, time to start from scratch. Bugger. And it was due today. High noon, baby.

Cue panic. (And there was No. Chocolate. In. The. House. Reader, feel my pain. Essay panic can only be alleviated by vast quantities of food of the gods. It is essential, dammit.)

So I tried to write. Which didn't work. And it got later. So I tried to write. And it still didn't work. No essay quality words would ease themselves out of my brain. So I resorted to foolishness, dear reader, as foolishness often works where all else fails. Yes, I wrote a whole essay in slang and swearing (a lot of swearing) and snarky comments. Apparently this was enough to unlock my brain, who knew! (Well, that and finding the right soundtrack to listen to, cos, apparently my brain needs music to type to and today's essay on sacred places was brought to you by the Italian Job. No, I have no idea why either. You'd have thought, given the subject matter, that something a little more atmospheric would have worked better. But apparently no.) And once tidied up (and rewritten sensibly), it's actually not too bad an essay. I hope.

Did I make the deadline? Oh yes. With 20 minutes to spare. And now I get a whole month off before the next module (World Archaeology) starts. Woohoo! (Can sleep now!)


jen_qoe: (Default)

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