Took care of the printer cable today. One big load off my mind. Also grocery shopped and picked up the Claritin refill and did three new First Day Covers - first of ten sets of America's Greetings stamps. Sets of fifty envelopes, canceled on day of issue (31 have come back so far) in the state that they're Greetings from. Kind of a neat massive concept project, but a whole lot of work since I've got 500 sketches to do to complete all the sets. I chose to do the state flower on them. I really wanted to do this as an excuse to do State Flowers when they haven't done a State Flowers issue for a long time. The one I started with was the Prairie Rose on the Greetings from North Dakota cover. It came out neat, even if it took half the day doing the first one. I had forgotten to bring along the Charles R. Knight book or the Painting Horses book to do Year of the Horse..

My old cardboard pencil box finally died, so I had the pencils in a piece of Tupperware and Andrew picked up a new basswood pencil box for me with a slide lid. Nice box. Nice... plain... wooden box suitable for painting something on it. It's a lot easier to use than the cardboard one because the ones I'm using at the moment can roll around on the lid and don't roll off. There's a little ridge around the slide top that keeps them in. So I had fun with it.

For some reason I'm sitting here physically exhausted. All that running around. It makes sense, but it's annoying. Maybe if I sit still long enough I'll start to feel rested and feel up to writing...

Robert and Ari >^..^< (He got me bouncy balls! Purr boingy boingy boingy...)


Lexmark is very good on support. They got back to me while I slept. The needed cable is Type A to B (non hub mode), USB specification v1.0 compliant, and cable should be no more than 10 feet long. I can live with that. Ari is a lot of havoc on longish cords, short ones get less of his attention and are much easier to keep in place on the back of the desk!

And then last night the very irritating block against starting a new novel broke in a big way. Not a long scene but it's full of conflict and I like the conflict. 1,390 words of opener that will probably suck in the other fragments as backstory or side characters. Some of the ideas I got in the fitful starts are good if folded in, sometimes I might be able to grab chunks of prose to recycle.

At any rate it's something to hang my head in that isn't Quest of the Perilous Blade so that I can do the rewrite from a comfortable distance. I'm giving it a good start and then I'll try splitting my time by days - days writing, days rewriting. That seems to work better for me than a split shift in the same day. I'm not racing to get this book done. I'm more lingering over working on this book as something to enjoy myself with while I kick the last one into publishable condition or as near it as I can get.


Robert and Ari >^..^< (Oh look, there's birds!)


And there's great rejoicing around the Sloan house today, despite a tiny irony about it.

I have a new printer! The hospital program did authorize a replacement printer, it came with one color cartridge so the inkjet refills should work on that and it's absolutely lovely. And a replacement keyboard for the one I wore out last year. I've been using a salvaged old Compaq keyboard - mighty heavy and sturdy, but it doesn't have the Windows keys the way the one that came with my computer did. For $9.99 Alison got me a specialized Internet keyboard with hot keys on the function keys for Net stuff. 90% of which I won't use, since the lists are preprogrammed, but it does have those specialized function keys I missed.

What I didn't know till I got it home was that it takes a USB cable, not a regular printer cable like the old printer did. They have one on the Lexmark site, with a specific part number. "A USB cable (such as Lexmark P/N 12A2405) purchased separately."

So I checked Pricewatch because that's been my electronic drool site ever since Dstar pointed it out to me. Cheap online electronics, it's a geek site that has a huge webpage listing bargains and things you can order online. Prices on it are wonderful - that's where I saw a laptop for under $400? Where from various manufacturers and stores, I could usually get a pretty decent House Brand or Generic computer without OS for under $200 (lots of choices in that range) and do the Linux Box for Backup that I'm hoping to put together someday... so if I need a USB cable, let's look at USB cables. Yeah, right.

They start at $1 or $2 with three or four bucks more shipping. But they come in at least two varieties, A to A or A to B. Lots of house brand and generic USB cable listings in my price range, the Pricewatch range. Then I search on the Lexmark one so that I can tell whether it's an A to A or an A to B. I don't care about length, I can put the tower on the side with the printer and use a three foot cable as easily as arrange the desk the other way. Lexmark's product lists online for $21. Ouch. Check the Lexmark site. $18.95 there and they still don't say anything about it but that parts number. Arrrgh!

So please - if you own a Lexmark Z23 printer and know which generic to get - comment to this blog! Tell me if it's A to A or A to B that I'm looking for and whether there's some brand specific weirdness about this USB cable that means I can't just use one off the generic shelf.

Mildly annoying that I can't just use it the day I brought it home - but at least I've got a good working printer now and it's registered. If you've got the answer to my question, please comment!

Robert and Ari >^..^< (That's a funny printer! It's not shaped right, it's not the one I climbed on as a kitten! He confused me!)
Let's find out if this works in a blog:

It didn't. Asiatic Dayflower is what I did this evening when I realized I hadn't taken any time off to draw. No day of first day covers, no visual relaxation. They actually grow around the area I live. I liked them, didn't know what they were called till I got the wildflowers book to do Carnivorous Plants with. Found a great photo reference and meant to draw them eventually. They're not a State Flower so they'll never wind up on a First Day Cover (envelope with a "cachet" drawing by me and the stamp it relates to, canceled for First Day of Issue, collectible) so I did this one in my sketchbook. Nice to add to the sketchbook a couple of times a year.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (His lap is comfy this evening. Purr)


Board trouble seems a bit more serious than it looked. Forward Motion might be moving to EZboard after all, particularly as EZboard did answer at the next higher level of authority with something positive, not that I actually got to see the post because N54 went down before I got to see it. I trust the person who read it and was replying to it. Chat continues in the Crash Chat java chat, where there are a couple of features we don't usually have like icons and we don't have one that we always use: taglines to post word count in so that it's constantly updated whenever answering any post.

I don't think it's the software that keeps the community together, I think it's the community. Certainly the Crash Chat today is as lively as chat usually gets. I'm not, but that's an unrelated matter. I've still got a cold and the idea of writing a story is competing heavily with non verbal relaxation...

Robert and Ari (now cat napping on top of the dresser in plain view, looking cute!)
Let's try this again. Last night's real total, 4,975 or something like that. Just short of 5,000 because I wrote 2,000 words of fiction. All usable decent story but hanging on the need for a major antagonist in that one. I'm definitely at a rumination stage and not sure what I'm writing next.

I'm sitting around with a cold, having taken lots of medicine for it that has reduced the symptoms from miserable to drowsy-sluggish-achy. It is raining out, here in the lovely Hudson Valley. I'm hanging out in Crash Chat because Forward Motion at N54 is down again. The main static page isn't: http://hollylisle.com never goes down even when Forward Motion does. I check now and then to see if it's up.

I might write later on but at the moment I think what I want to do is just throw the cold off and gather my reserves, physically and emotionally. The move is on, sort of, without date or details, with no idea of where I'll move to or what it'll be like or how much help I'll get. I can count on Peter himself for a lot of help, he's big and strong and doesn't have a problem with helping. Overall when I weigh the ups and downs of the move, I'm mostly looking forward to it - and mostly looking forward to having it done and gotten out of the way and taken care of.

A quiet day. Ari has decided to take a nice long cat nap and has crawled into his kitten den under the futon couch, he has a nice little spot between some cushions I stored under there that I think he likes for the cushions and the way he won't be disturbed or stepped on. He's sweet. He got very boingy when I first got up and raced all over the house at top speed playing and jumping. But now it's kitten nap time.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (zzzzzzzzzzz)


Productive day at almost 3,000 words, even if it's mostly nonfiction. About six words of fiction. I'm a bit stumped on a story dealing with themes and events that aren't usually what I write about. Perhaps because unlike some others, I don't have something clear to say about it. Perhaps simply a weight of research that would be a whole lot of work to do in relation to a short story that isn't even my genre.

Whatever it is, I'm starting to get somewhere again on those Dares - three out of four nonfiction articles written, the last is about half done and will then need tightening. Three and a half out of four ain't bad!

And Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers who write! Theme of the first article I wrote this morning for SelfHelpForWriters.com - enjoy!

Robert and Ari >^..^<
My friend has a blog. Gorok and Wulf have a blog! - and I have been enjoying this story while critiquing it, I'm very familiar with it and I'm glad to see they've got the backstage blog to hang loose and cuddle the snowcat and generally give little teasers to what will be a great fantasy novel. Their author has serious designs on my spending money.

Robert and Ari >^..^< (Now how come I can't put all the links in the left column like Star Lines and other really good blogs... hm... and Robert always throws me off the desk when I open HELP...)
Blogging and getting ready for bed. 220 words of torture scene opener, for a story too dark for me to write. I don't do downers. The idea that came to mind for the thriller challenge was - sick - and I'm not doing it till I can see some kind of plausible resolution that doesn't leave the man in that chair just tragically dead on someone's stupidity and guilt by association. A guilt by association tragedy is more Arthur Miller than thriller. And I do not like writing certain types of tragedies. No, I do heroes that are larger than life. And this story idea is just - a sketch at the moment, a good rough opener that could turn into something very weird and cool if I let it sit where things that haven't come into focus yet do.

I'm going to have to do that rewrite on Quest. Soon. Kick off on it. Knock out those last two nonfiction articles in a timely way, actually send out some of this nonfiction, and get to it. I need to gather a little courage for that leap. It's the last wall really.

The last wall is the submission steps and the career steps that will put me on track. I've done this so far mostly by baby steps. I'm feeling a bit more confident right now - and a bit tired, and that's okay. Because I did and do need to rest too, physically, and to find some place to hang my head where I care more about what happens on Page Next than about what happens to any and all submissions. All of my patience is only an ability to shift balance to where I can relax and do the writing.

Rewriting simply isn't that immersive. I wind up instead of being that focused, paying a lot of attention to the here and now and to things in the here and now that I've got little or no patience for, like the bureaucratic stuff or the doctor's appointments or how I feel. When those things aren't going catastrophically wrong, I wind up worrying too much if I'm not out sinking my mind into the stories ... and short stories don't really take me away from it that long. I need another longish work. I will probably do one. I am close to starting one, I can feel it coming up - and when I do it'll be fun. It's just a rhythm of my life.

And I'll get that rewrite done.

Robert and Ari >^..^<