aqua fortis

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Latest Count:

Latest NaNoWriMo count - 33,580. About 2,800 and counting, today alone. More comin'. I'm going to get as close to 37,000 as I can today.

Am I Gonna Make It?

Well, at 30,600 or so words, I may not even make my 37K personal goal by the deadline tomorrow evening, unless I can churn out about 6,400 more tomorrow. It could happen. I think I will also give myself an extra week and see if I can't actually produce 50,000 in a month's time--who says I have to follow the specified start and end time? I won't get the nifty graphic, but I'll still have completed a huge amount.

Monday, November 28, 2005


How odd. I may have just lost a potential customer for my freelance business due to sounding like a goober on the phone. Or, if it wasn't my inept phone manner, it may have been my inability to take a credit card payment except through PayPal. (Or maybe they'll be calling me back later; I don't know.) But what happened was, my cell phone rang with an unfamiliar number and area code (which I later looked up and found out was near Chicago). I picked up, and a male voice asked me if I was Sarah J. Stevenson, and if I take credit card payments.

In my total surprise--never having had to field such a phone call before for my own business, which only technically became a licensed City of Modesto business last month--I intelligently answered, "For what?"

"For your business," he replied, fortunately not sounding like he thought I was insane or slow. Still caught off guard, I responded with the first thing that popped into my head, which was "No, we're not set up to take credit cards, but we do accept PayPal." To which he replied, "Okay, thank you." That was the end of the call.

What terrible salesmanship. After hanging up I realized I should have inquired more about the purpose of his call--what sort of job would he (or his boss) be wanting me to do? Is this writing- or editing-related? Art- or design-related? I could be far less mystified at this moment if I'd just thought to ask a question or two and introduce myself like a normal businessperson. And then, when I looked up the area code and found it was in Illinois, I kept thinking, how is somebody in Illinois interested in my random little freelance business? How did they find my information? Did they just randomly look me up online? And then I thought, how did they get my cell phone number? I have business cards I hand out on occasion, but they have a land line number. Even if they got my card from someone, it wouldn't have my cell number on it, unless it was somebody I know. This is another crucial question I could have asked--how did you find out about my business? So that's very strange.

This was followed only moments later by a phone call on my land line from Ceres Karate, which I've done calligraphy on certificates for about once or twice a year for the past couple of years. I asked the guy if it was him who just called me asking about credit cards--this was before I looked up the area code--and of course he said no. So, two business-related phone calls today. Unfortunately the calligraphy money will be rather piddly, as he only needs names and belt rankings filled in on 3 certificates. However, they have a history of paying me more than I charge them, which is awfully nice of them. I might push some marketing collateral (translation: a brochure) on Sanjay this time, and hope he knows some other random karate studios who might want a calligrapher or designer or something. That means I probably should make a new brochure, as my current one is sort of lame. Must...not...procrastinate...on...NaNoWriMo... But I did set a more realistic goal of 37,000 words, bearing in mind that I did not start writing until a week into the month.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I have less than three days left to reach my 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo, but I just reached the halfway point today--I'm at a little over 26,000 words. Chances are, unless I become seriously inspired AND put in some major marathon action, I will not make the deadline on Nov. 30 at midnight Howland Island Time (which, I believe, is 8:00 pm PST).

On the other hand, when I think about the fact that I'm twelve (brief) chapters into a completely new novel that did not exist even in my brain until about three weeks ago, that's pretty good. However, I will still be disappointed in myself if I don't finish. I like the idea of having completed such a major accomplishment in a month's time. I so often feel like my writing has no purpose whatsoever, since so few people seem interested in publishing it. But I keep on trying...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Holiday Top Ten

Signs you're having Thanksgiving dinner with a geek. Thanks to Psychotic Web Monkey Corey.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I hate it when I'm really busy. It's making me seriously lag on my project for National Novel Writing Month. I'm somewhere above 21,000 words now, but with Thanksgiving coming, parents soon-to-be-visiting, and lots of cleaning yet to be done, I fear for the next handful of days. And since I only have nine days left to get to 50,000, I'm seriously doubting this is going to happen. That whole starting-a-week-into-things thing was a bigger deal than I thought, since I failed to factor in Thanksgiving....Plus I spent most of yesterday doing manual household labor--washed both cars, raked and mowed the front lawn, and sawed these little wooden blocks to mount a painting on. (One of the pieces I did for my painting class is going to be in the student show. Ha!) All of this stuff left me with time to write exactly three sentences yesterday.

On the other hand, I'm nine chapters into a new piece, which isn't a bad thing.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wooo! 20%!

Today I somehow wrote 10 1/2 pages and put myself above the 20% mark for National Novel Writing Month's 50,000-word goal. Yay! I'm actually starting to think that yes, I can do this, and no, I'm perhaps not entirely insane.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Well, Shoot.

It seems that JibJab are doing my IGN For Men job with far more bells and whistles than I ever did. I recognized at least four on the front page alone, three of which I clearly remember reviewing in the good old days of Weird Wild Web.

This site I definitely would have written about if it had been around back then. Oh. My. God. Pack-rat-itis gone totally wrong, and this house is a mere hour and 40 minutes away in Folsom. Holy crap, and I do mean crap. I hope this person has managed to move out of the house by now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Should I, or Shouldn't I?

NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

I realize it's a bit late, and Rob thinks I'm a little nuts for even considering it, but I'm still allowed to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, which is November. As it has now turned into National Novel Writing Three-Weeks, I don't exactly have the same amount of time to churn out a 50,000-word novel as those who were on the ball about it. But it crossed my mind because last night I wrote the first chapter of a new YA book--an idea that popped into my head as I made the six-hour drive from SoCal to NorCal Friday evening. That's lots of thinkin' time, if you know what I mean.

So yesterday I actually sat down and blurted out a five-page chapter. It came along at a good time, because I'm currently feeling a bit blah about the novel I'm in the middle of writing. I heard something about agents (well, one agent) being less interested in fantasy or supernatural stories because there's a glut of them on the market. Since my finished novel AND my half-finished one both have a supernatural angle, this made me feel grumbly. Then I thought maybe I should write something realistic, and then go back to my half-finished piece when I'm in a better writing mood.

And now, even as I sit here, I'm having various interesting ideas about the new book. 50,000 words in three weeks? BAH! My freelance stuff is in a lull right now. My finished novel is something like 120,000 words. If I have 21 days left, assuming about 250 words per page...that means I would have to write about 10 pages per day to finish and get the neat little graphic for my web page. Now, I have until the 25th to sign up. But I guess I have to verify that I started during the actual time period, right? Well, I did, so...why not? The worst that can happen is I don't finish and...yeah. Nothing to lose.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pumpkins 05

Pumpkins 05
Originally uploaded by Aquafortis.
Apparently I moved the camera a little, but you get the idea.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

GeekFest '05

Guess what we did today? We celebrated Worldwide D&D Game Day--not at a game store or other authorized participating schwag seller, but at our friends' house, by holding a GameFest. This entailed inviting a handful of other interested parties, mainly other MJC employees, and dividing into a few small gaming groups in different areas of the house. We had one session in the late morning, then a big barbecue (manned by Rob, the God of Fire and Charcoal), then we mixed up the groups a bit and held another session in the late afternoon/evening.

It was not originally intended that we would celebrate Worldwide Game Day in such an extravangant manner. Our geek quotient is not quite that extensive. We had actually planned our GameFest and THEN discovered that our proposed date happened to coincide with the Worldwide event, so then, of course, we had to do it that day. It was mandatory. So we did, and there was much battling and dungeon crawling. And it was fun.