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#WriteTuesday – What I Did on My Vacation

Apologies everyone – I was a little bit confused as to what day it was and wasn’t thinking about posting on here.  Luckily it’s still Tuesday (just a little later than I was planning on posting!)

So last week, when I was taking some me time, I was also on vacation from my day job. 🙂  The week off was fantastic – I made as little plans as possible because, as I said last week, I wanted to slow life down a bit and get caught up on some things I’ve been putting off.

Last Tuesday was #GivingTuesday. I wasn’t expecting it, but bUneke Magazine asked for all their volunteers to post on Instagram their #givingstory.  So I shared this picture to Instagram, Twitter, and my personal Facebook page (although the latter two weren’t flipped like Instagram’s was).  Once I was finished with that, I decided to keep working on some Sustainably North stuff.  For yesterday’s Sustainably North post, I wanted to recreate the paper wreath that I put up on my door this year (I included a picture of it with my November column in bUneke Magazine).  So I made a brand new wreath last Tuesday, and took a lot of pictures of all the steps for making it.  Then for next Monday I wanted to talk about the banana bread I also pictured in that column (it’s my grandmother’s recipe).  So on Wednesday I installed WP Ultimate Recipe to Sustainably North. I did a bit of research because I knew I wanted a professional looking recipe post on the blog – Shivar Web recommended WP Ultimate Recipe.  I installed it and tried it out; it seemed to work fine so I stuck with it.  I then baked some banana bread to take pictures of the entire process (although I barely used any pictures for the actual post, which will be on Sustainably North on the 10th), and later wrote and scheduled the post.

While taking the pictures of the banana bread, I was having a bit of trouble with my flash because I was getting a shadow from my camera.  I ended up trying out a flash diffuser my dad gave me some time ago and it worked like a charm! 🙂

freezer drawer full of bananas

This was my freezer door last Wednesday night!

Oh, and I also need to give a shout out to my friend who provided the walnuts for Wednesday’s banana bread baking!  I always forget that the recipe calls for walnuts (and is way better with walnuts) and I never seem to have any on hand (although I have a freezer door full of bananas).  When I texted her to ask if it was okay that the banana bread wasn’t going to have any (she was waiting to help me eat it), she said she had some “nut pieces,” which turned out to be walnuts!  🙂

After that, I started working on a draft of a book review to post on Sustainably North on December 17th.  Once that’s done, I’m going to talk about the article I wrote for the December issue of bUneke Magazine (I feel that it’s a perfect topic for Christmas Eve), then do another Article Roundup for December 31st.  And that will get me through until the new year!

I’ve been pushing to get all of these posts written for Sustainably North because I really want to reassess what my plan is for the next while.  Back in June I made a plan for the rest of 2018 on Sustainably North.  And then I proceeded to completely ignore that plan and kind of wing it.  I know that things did change a bit because I wasn’t expecting to be writing a monthly column in bUneke Magazine.  But now that I’m feeling rather on top of things again I think it’s time to stop running by the seat of my pants.

Wednesday was also when I started reading Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob.  While writing the banana bread recipe I realized that I had no idea how recipe writing was actually done….so I read a whole book on food writing.  Most of the book wasn’t very relevant to my needs, but I found it pretty interesting to read all the same.  Once I finished it on Saturday, I went back and edited the recipe on Sustainably North; I feel a lot more confident about how the post and recipe look now. 🙂

Saturday ended up a rather productive day because I also edited and scheduled the book review for December 17th for Sustainably North.  That means I’ve just got two posts left to write and schedule for 2018!

The new issue of bUneke Magazine came out on Saturday, so over the last few days I’ve been reading it over and scheduling Tweets about it for @SustaintheNorth as I do every month.  Once that is done, I’m going to take a break from Sustainably North to actually think through that City of the Dead worldbuilding stuff and hopefully get on with that story for the Make Your Way anthology.

Oh, and I almost forgot – I had a book review published in the Chronicle Journal on Sunday (republished on TBPL Off the Shelf yesterday) about Patricia Briggs‘ Cry Wolf.  I actually read Cry Wolf last year and have been hanging onto this book review as a spare.  Over the last few months I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction books that the library didn’t have, so I felt now was a good time to use this review.  Also regarding TBPL Off the Shelf, this month’s author interview is going to be a bit later than planned (thanks to me being off last week) – I’m hoping to get it posted tomorrow night, but it may have to wait until a bit later in the week.

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#WriteTuesday – Taking Some Me Time

This week I’m trying to slow life down a bit to get caught up with things that I’ve been putting off.  To that end, on Sunday I finally uploaded the pictures I took from the second day of ThunderCon to Flickr (they’re in this album), as well as all the pictures I’ve taken with my phone over the last few months.  You can find all of my pictures on my Flickr photostream. 🙂

While going through my pictures (specifically the ThunderCon ones), I was a bit sad that some of them really didn’t work out.  I’m hoping to be able to work on taking better pictures, specifically of people in low light settings, so if I’m taking pictures for them again next year my pictures will be better in the future.  That being said, I still got some fantastic shots (especially of the Fire Eater, but he was outside so I think that helped a lot!)

Along with slowing down a bit, I’m also trying to take this week to kind of reset myself both mentally and physically.  Over the weekend I was eating a ton of pizza (as well as just way too much on Saturday night at a Christmas party).  So today I went to buy some mandarin oranges (they’re my favourite holiday treat!) and some ingredients I need for some no bake energy bites that are great to snack on.  If you follow me on Twitter you may have also seen a few Tweets I’ve sent to  – I signed up for her 30 Day Challenge, which sends you a 15 minute workout every day for 30 days.  I’ve felt super sedentary over the last few months, so I’m hoping to be a bit more active and healthier with her help.  So far her workouts have been pretty great!

On the writing side of things, this week has been rather quiet.  I went for coffee with my brother last Tuesday and mentioned the worldbuilding kinks I’ve been working through with City of the Dead.  As we were talking, he gave me some fantastic ideas, so now I need to see how well they actually work with the setting.  Unfortunately these ideas may have some far reaching consequences for both the setting and the specific story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology , so that’s set the story back a bit.  But hopefully I’ll be able to work through everything and be back to writing soon!

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Filed under #WriteTuesday, City of the Dead, Conferences, Photography, Worldbuilding, Writing

Overwhelmed!!!!

Last weekend was ThunderCon.  It also happened to be a weekend I booked off from work intending to do some writing and other stuff around the house; I booked it off before realizing it was ThunderCon.  It was also the weekend before Halloween, so I went to a few parties over the weekend, too.  By the time Monday rolled around, I was feeling rather overwhelmed by all the things I had intended to do and hadn’t had time for.

So earlier this week, I started trying to tackle what I could so I’d feel a bit less overwhelmed and a bit more in control of everything.  I tackled a whole bunch of emails (I’ll be honest, it was a lot of newsletters that I let pile up, mostly from Pinterest).  Later in the week I sat down and got some Sustainably North stuff organized, which also made me feel a whole lot better.  I edited and posted the blog post for Monday, and I finished editing the column for the December issue of bUneke.  For the bUneke article I had to find some pictures for it, too; I should have everything ready to submit by the end of the weekend.  The editor of bUneke had asked me to send her a few articles based off of Sustainably North blog posts to have as backups; she wants to use one for the January issue, so once I’ve submitted the article for their December issue I can start working on the one for the February issue!  I’m really glad to be a bit ahead on that. 🙂

And now that we’re at the end of the week, I made sure that this weekend is much more low key than last weekend was! Hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot more on top of things by Monday! 🙂

Ooh, and I should mention – the new issue of bUneke Magazine is out and it’s got an article I wrote about homemade gifts in it!  I’m hoping to read over the magazine this weekend. 🙂

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!  So sorry that I missed posting anything on Monday.  I had a really busy long weekend: I worked on Saturday, went picture taking and out for lunch with my dad (pictures still forthcoming on Flickr), went to see the Transformers cartoon movie from the 80’s with a friend, then had dinner. How was your weekend?  Were you celebrating Thanksgiving too (or are your celebrations happening in November?)

I know I said I was going to work on the Make Your Way story I started a few weeks ago, but that didn’t happen either.  What did happen was more work on Sustainably North. I finished reading Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, which I’ll be reviewing on there soon.  And I finished working on my four part blog series about Thunder Bay’s Transit (here’s a link to the final part if you’re interested). This week I wrote up a post about bUneke Magazine for Sustainably North but I’m not quite sure when to post it; I’m considering starting to post on every second Friday as well as every Monday, but I’m not quite sure if that’s a good idea or not (what do you think? I’m not sure if I can keep up with two posts on there every week right now or not). So while I consider that, I wrote up an article about plastic drinking straws that is scheduled for Oct 15.

So now that I’ve got a handle on Sustainably North for the immediate future, I will be working on the Make Your Way story over the next few days.  I hope you have a good weekend. 🙂

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#WriteMonday – First Column in bUneke Magazine!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was approached to write a magazine column about sustainable living in bUneke Magazine.  Well the first one appeared today in their October 2018 issue!  The theme for the month was “variety is the spice of life,” so I wrote about growing fresh herbs.  You can read it here. 🙂

Last week I spent all my writing time on Sustainably North.  I’ve been writing a multi-part series on transit in Thunder Bay (and my ideas to fix our system).  I had a really hard time writing the third part; it got super wordy, mainly from the extra notes I was writing to supplement the main post.  In the end I decided to acknowledge that this post was getting wordy and end it; I’m hoping to finish the series up next week with one last part (and hopefully no added notes!)

So now I need to write the (hopefully) final part of the transit series, as well as some more articles for bUneke (I think I have rough drafts written for both November and December, so hopefully those will just need some editing and pictures).  Then I need to turn back to the story I started for the Make Your Way anthology, which I haven’t touched in a couple of weeks (although my white board is currently living on my kitchen table, so it’s constantly on my mind!)

Oh also, no word from Monstrous Outlines yet about the story I submitted.

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Working on Samples

Over the last month or so, I’ve had a couple of different people ask me for game writing samples.  I directed them to my main website, shaunakosoris.com, so they could see what I had readily available.  Unfortunately in both cases, my available samples did not meet their needs (one person requested samples with romantic dialogue, while the other was looking for non-fantasy samples). Currently on my website, I have three samples: two are character biographies that were developed for different games, and the other is made up of actual scenes from a game (mainly dialogue with a bit of branching narrative).

I have written a couple of pieces over the years that I think would have better met what these people were looking for. Unfortunately I am unable to showcase them as samples.  So I decided to set to work remedying this.  Two nights ago I went looking for writing prompts to use as a starting point.  I was specifically looking for more of a real-world idea, but ended up finding a fun romantic dialogue prompt instead.  I was going to write the sample in Chat Mapper, with the intention of exporting it as a .rtf (I was really hoping to see what the output would look like with branching dialogue).  Unfortunately I don’t currently have access to that capability, so I had to use a different program instead.  Last night I played around with TyranoBuilder a bit, thinking I could build it there, but I don’t think there’s a way to export the dialogue (and I wasn’t planning on writing an entire Visual Novel, although that might be something to try in the future).  So I ended up writing the first draft of the sample in Word. I had a lot of fun writing it (it’s currently over 900 words!) I’m hoping to get it edited and up on the site over the weekend. 🙂

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What’s Happening…

*sigh* Every time I think I’m doing a good job keeping up on this blog, something seems to happen and I disappear again.

This time it’s Sasha.  She’s not doing very well.  She’s been living at my parents’ place for almost seventeen years (she just turned 17 last week! But we got her once she was a few months old so she hasn’t lived there quite that long).

Sasha and Me

Sasha and Me

Many years ago, my mom and I had a talk about where Sasha would live once I moved out.  We agreed that she would stay with them; she was probably around 10 already and had lived her whole life in their house.  So when I moved out I was able to adopt Merlin while Sasha stayed in her home.

We’ve long been joking that Sasha will live to be like 30.  She loves her people, but hates almost anyone who comes to visit the house (she actually will go to the door when visitors are leaving to make sure they go!)  She’s also pretty set in her ways and has no problems letting you know when you’re annoying her.  So of course she’d be the perfect candidate to make it to some ridiculous age.

Unfortunately that isn’t looking very likely now.  She stopped eating about a week ago.  My parents brought her to the vet (which is never a fun experience – apparently when the vet took Sasha into the back room to take some of her blood, you could hear her out front!)  We know that something is wrong with her liver but we’re not sure what; because of her age, everyone agreed not to put her through any invasive tests.  So now my parents have been doing their best to feed her and keep her comfortable.  Realistically though, it doesn’t look like she has long left.

So of course a lot of things are kind of on hold.  I’ve been going to their place as often as I can to visit with Sasha (while being sure not to neglect Merlin).

In terms of writing, I haven’t been doing a whole lot lately.  Unrelated to Sasha, I decided not to submit that story I was working on back in June; I’d asked over Facebook whether or not they would accept a shorter submissions.  I was willing to try making my story a bit longer, but they never replied to me, so I felt it wasn’t worth submitting to them.  I’ve got another market in mind to try submitting the story to though, so I will continue to work on it.  And thankfully the submission date is several months away so I’ve got some time in light of what’s happening.

On a positive note, I have been keeping up with Sustainably North.  My plan for the month completely fell apart because I’ve been reading a bunch of nonfiction books that I really wanted to talk about on there.  I considered starting to post twice a week, but right now I’m still just doing one.  Earlier in the month I was a bit ahead and felt like I had a lot I wanted to talk about, so two posts would be possible.  But I’m back to being just a week ahead right now (I just wrote the post for next week this afternoon); I’m going to keep it at one post a week for at least another month and then decide from there.

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