Download the serialized pdf ebook: chapters 13-15.
If you like geeky, technology news with a hefty dose of humour, you should be subscribed to Technorama.
Chuck and Kreg are a pair of great guys who work in the IT industry as well as being SF fans. Their podcast is a mix of news, funny stories, technical tips and interviews. It’s a good laugh and you might even learn something.
Here’s a taste of what you can expect: Technorama Teaser
As I get support and help in promoting Act of Will from the podcasting and writing communities, I’ll be publicly thanking folks along the way. So, if you’re promoting me, let me know (send me email at darusha [at] darusha [dot] ca) so I can return the favour!
The killer goes to work and Dex has a meeting with his boss.
Download the serialized pdf ebook: chapters 10-12.
For those of you who like to know what’s going on, here’s the plan:
The first five episodes will come out this week, to give you a nice earful or eyeful of story to start. Then it will be one episode a week until we’re done.
There will be fourteen episodes in total.
Folks (like me) love the free fiction available at podiobooks.com. They love it so much that the cost to host the site have climbed through the roof. If you want to help out, throw ‘em a few bucks.
We all want smooth sailing ahead!
PS. Originally I typoed “the costs to hose the site…” Freudian Fingerslip, indeed!
My good pal Dave had written a lot about why he thinks authors should give the two-fingered salute to traditional publishers, and here’s another salvo on that front.
He’s much more articulate on this issue than I am, so it’s a good read for those of you who wonder why I self-publish rather than fight to go the trad. publisher route.
As explained by snarky Dave:
The literary world wants you to know two facts: 1) If you open an independent, non-chain and non-corporate bookstore you should be supported. 2) If you publish your own work as an independent, non-chain and non-corporate publisher the book is clearly bad and should not be supported. It’s so obvious. Hustling to sell other peoples books == good. Hustling to sell your own books == bad – but only when you are making most of the money. If you hustle to earn 15% of retail price, then it is back to good again.
Now that I have successfully reached 50000 words this November, and another Nanowrimo win, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because I have to admit that trying to write a novel while undertaking one of the most challenging ocean passages of our trip might not have been the best idea.
Being underway seems like the perfect time to write. Most non-sailors don’t realize that most of the time underway is spent doing more or less nothing. Cruising boats are set up to drive themselves – on Scream we have two different tools for self-steering, a windvane and an electric autopilot, and we are almost always using one of these. On an ocean passage out jobs are mainly are just making sure that we are more or less on course and that everything is working correctly. You’d think that would leave lots of time for other activities, like writing.
The reality is that even though most of our time is spent just hanging out, it’s not that simple. It’s tough to hang on to a laptop in rolling seas, especially when we take the occasional unpredictable wave into the cockpit. And working down below, while it seems like the ideal solution, is a recipe for seasickness.
On our passage from Tonga to New Zealand, I was hoping to write 1500-2000 words a day. As it turned out, I managed the following on the ten day trip:
- Day 1: 0
- Day 2: 435
- Day 3: 1,964
- Day 4: 1,169
- Day 5: 1,878
- Day 6: 1,588
- Day 7: 0
- Day 8: 1,520
- Day 9: 2,046
- Day 10: 0
You can see pretty clearly the days when things were a little rough.
Happily, I’ve been getting lots of writing time in now that we are safely here in Opua, New Zealand. It’s nice to be able to relax, and now that I’ve got the win firmly under my belt, I can concentrate on finishing the story. And enjoying the land of plenty.
Comments? Talk to me via twitter, @darusha.
Living on the sea, water is the one constant in our lives. The oceans are so vast, it is almost impossible to describe day after day of seeing nothing but water in all directions. At times it feels as if the whole universe is made of water.
But, of course the need for water, fresh drinking water, is one that we feel in our lives much more acutely here than we ever did living on land. Not only are we away from city mains with treated water supplies, and reliant on our own water tanks for our supply, but we have been making landfall in parts of the world where reliable drinking water is not guaranteed. In the year we spent in Latin America, we spent only three months in a country where you can drink the tap water (Costa Rica). The people living in Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Ecuador have to purchase bottled water to drink and for cooking, and some of these are the poorest people we have met on our travels so far.
However, many of the places we visited where you can’t drink the water are not that poor: In Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador, the government is spending millions on a new bridge, when a fraction of that amount could be spent to treat the town’s water supply. Mexico is, compared to the other Latin American countries we visited, a wealthy nation and you can’t drink the water anywhere there.
Here in Polynesia, the water situation is much better. You can drink the water everywhere, and the large annual rainfall makes for a relative abundance of water most of the time. The people here don’t waste water, though, which is something we find we notice very easily now.
When we were in California, we installed a desalinator, which allows us to use electrical power and filters to make fresh water out of seawater. We have been very happy with it, filling up with “dock water” only twice since we left the USA. We did catch rain extensively in Central America, taking a cue from the locals who often have excellent raincatching facilities on their properties. The desalinator, along with our large 1000 litre tank, gives us a relatively large water budget on Scream. Many of our friends are not so lucky, their primary concern whenever they make landfall being “Where can I get water?”
Even with the comparatively large amount of water available to us, we have discovered that we use so much less water than we ever did on land, and we imagined ourselves to be conservationists then. We recently estimated that we average no more than 8 litres per day per person on Scream, and that seemed like a huge amount. Compare that to a single bathtub of water, which must be at least 200 litres!
We do our own laundry on board, and that 8L figure includes the year and a half when we did our laundry with a washing machine, which used about 50-60 litres per load. We shower regularly, even underway, but we can no longer imagine the days of standing under a running tap for five minutes. Even in the USA, when we used shore facilities, the dollar for three minutes showers would do both Steven and myself with time left over for luxuriating.
It has become obvious to us that the way we used water when we lived on land is incredibly wasteful compared to the the way so many people live around the world. Being at sea and having to actively manage our water usage and creation, I feel like I’ve learned a valuable lesson in not taking for granted a single drop that comes from our taps.
image by DoGoLaCa
I had an amazing dream the other night. I was walking through a fancy Safeway store, in the produce aisle. There were giant bins of vegetables – eggplants the size of your head, zucchinis galore. When I woke up, I had that feeling you get after incredible flying or sex dreams: wow, that was wonderful. But, how terrible, it’s not real.
I envy people with ready access to grocery stores. Where you can buy whatever you want whenever you want. I haven’t had that in over a year.
Envy is one of those emotions which gets a bad rap. You’re not supposed to be envious of others; you should be happy with your lot in life. And, certainly, I have no cause to complain about my life. I’m usually on the receiving end of envy, especially lately. As I write this, I”m at anchor in the unique and beautiful Galápagos islands, watching penguins, seals and blue-footed boobies hang around my boat. I know a lot people who wish they were here, and I can’t blame them.
The thing I’ve realized about envy is that it’s useful. Being envious of someone shows you what you want. I want hot and cold running fresh vegetables. Some people want a better job or an iPad or a supermodel’s body. Those things are all typical desires. The trouble is when we focus on these little envies instead of our real goals.
The key to envy is that you can use it to figure out the difference between what you’d have if you could have or do anything and what you really, truly want. In my experience, figuring out what you really, really want is one of the hardest things in life to do.
If I really wanted the Safeway store more than anything, I could have it. Sell my boat and move back to Victoria, where there were several fabulous grocery stores, plus a bunch of great weekend markets. It wouldn’t be all that hard to do, if I truly wanted it. But, of course, I don’t want grocery stores more than anything. I’m perfectly happy to give up easy shopping for my life on the sea. I have other envies where the decisions are less clear, but thinking about what I’d have to do to make them happen throws into sharp focus what I really want and what I don’t.
To go sailing I’ve had to give up on other desires, at least temporarily. My writing career has had to take a certain shape, and I’m not able to focus on it the same way I would be able to if I were a landlubber. And I’m often envious of my writer friends who are able to promote their work more than me, who are going to cons and working on a gazillion projects. But, like with the grocery stores, I know exactly what I would have to do to fulfil that desire. And so the choice becomes easy, and the envy doesn’t consume me, it helps me.
When I was a kid, I used to get into all kinds of trouble with my parents for saying inappropriate stuff. I was a bit of a motor-mouth at the time, and there was no disconnect switch between my brain and my tongue. If I thought it, I said it. It seems to me that the phrase I heard most in my young life was an exasperated, “Think before you speak!”
As a lesson, it was one that stuck. It’s why you don’t tend to find me in the middle of the latest online fracas. Lots of the folks I follow online tend to get involved in every controversy that crops up around their areas of interest, and it’s not that I’m any different from them. Many is the time I’ll find myself in the middle of typing out a tweet, comment or blog post about some egregious thing someone else has said, when I stop.
I stop and look at what I’ve written, and wonder – is this helping? Does pointing out how some argument is nonsense add to anyone’s understanding or will it just make me feel better? When someone snarkily tells me I’m wrong, my first reaction is usually to build up my original argument more, rather than to listen to their points. So why would my snark be any more productive?
There’s nothing wrong with debate, and certainly nothing wrong with posting opinions and ideas. In fact, that’s the whole point of discussion, whether it’s over dinner or over the internet. But I’ve noticed so many people lining up to take pot shots at folks on other sides of the debate. Is all the aggro worth it? Does it actually advance anything? I suspect that the answer, too often, is no.
It drove me nuts when I was a kid, but I have to admit that my folks were right. Sometimes that few seconds between thinking it and saying it (or typing it) make all the difference.
What do you think? Talk to me via twitter, @darusha.