200,000 Words of Cinnamon Frost

Milestones are coming. And the first of these is catching up on my wordcount for my Nanowrimo project this November, BOT NET!

Winning at Nano always feels like climbing a hill, but for me in particular it almost always feels like I start out sliding back down, Sisyphus-like, as I struggle to get a handle on the story.

But then there comes that magic point where I need to write 1,666 words in a  day and I. Got. Nothing.  Then I’m forced to be creative, and the real fun stuff happens, an event I call “going off the rails”. Hey, let’s try to embed a tweet!

So now things are back on track for the month, and I’m smack in the middle of where I normally am this time of Nano … Actually, it appears I’m ahead. Checking the stats … yep. At this point, I’m normally just shy of 6,000 words behind ( -5,984, though that estimate is numerically precise, it is not likely to be meaningfully accurate ) but today I am 169 words ahead of the Nano wordcount:

I’m one more thing too: 200,000 words into the Cinnamon Frost trilogy.

There are 3 published Dakota Frost novels: FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE, and three more finished rough drafts: SPECTRAL IRON, PHANTOM SILVER, and SPIRITUAL GOLD. By my count, I’ve written about 900,000 words about Dakota Frost, Skindancer, the woman who can bring her tattoos to life. But in one sense, that’s expected: I planned Dakota. I wanted to write a character that other people who can relate to.

Cinnamon Frost, as I’ve said before, is a character I never expected. She shoved her way into the Dakota Frost universe, in one of those “step off into space moments”, and she shows no signs of leaving.

Cinnamon might say 200,000 seems significant because of how humans process patterns – how we love all those zeroes – but it’s just a number: 2*10*10*10*10*10. But somehow, it feels right to take it this far, and I look forward to writing the next 100,000 to 150,000 words that will finish her trilogy and give her a chance to live her own literary life.

Time to get back to it.

-the Centaur

P. S. I said milestones are coming. If you’ve read closely in this post, you’ll realize another milestone is coming soon. Stay tuned …

10,000 words into Nano

So, the good news: I just crossed the 10,000 word mark in Nanowrimo 2017!

The bad news: I need to be at 13,333 words by today!

The good-bad news is, normally I’m closer to 4500 words behind at this point of Nano, so I am ahead of where I am normally behind:

What can I. say? “Don’t get cocky, kid.” Back to it …

-the Centaur

You Have a Story to Tell

Oh hey! I almost forgot! Thinking Ink Press, the small press of which I am a part, is doing a fundraiser to produce a book of essays by my good friend Keiko O’Leary, leader of the Write to the End writing group.

Keiko’s “we accept all writing” philosophy and no-drama writing sessions have inspired many writers over the years, and she’s written a lot about her philosophy on her own blog and on Write to the End.

This fundraiser, in addition to getting you a cool tote bag that will remind you that “You have a story to tell,” will help us put together a book of her essays and publish it through Thinking Ink Press!

Go check it out: http://www.thinkinginkpress.com/2017/11/tip/you-have-a-story-to-tell-tote-bag-sale/ or directly at https://www.customink.com/fundraising/writers-quote-tote-bag.

-the Centaur

Timeline 10(ab)”’

No progress on BOT NET for Nanowrimo yet today … yesterday I got my daily word count, but today I needed to core dump some ideas I’d been brewing about a Jeremiah Willstone novella, “Crypt of the Burning Scarab”.  I had a brain flash about how to make the plot work out, involving a twisty time travel paradox I haven’t seen before, and wanted to make sure I read up enough physics and math to make sure the idea made sense, then wrote it all down before I dove back into Cinnamon’s world of mathematical magic.

But you know your plot is complicated when you non-ironically need a timeline point 10(ab)”’ – that’s point 10, timelines A&B, variant 3 (prime prime prime).

Happy writing …

-the Centaur

Pictured: A few of the math/physics books I’ve been reading on this idea, plus the “GBC” (Goodfellow, Bengio and Courville) Deep Learning book which I’m (re)reading for work.

Nanowrimo 2017 in Process

“Okay, so … um, hi! I’m Cinnamon Frost, and I’m here to tell you that my biographer, Anthony Francis, is busy as fuck writing my next adventure, BOT NET, for National Novel Writing Month!  He’s real behind, so as soon as he finishes this post, he’s, like, seriously, getting back to creatin’ my universe!”

Thanks, Cinnamon! Sounds about right! I am now 1170 words in and 3830 words behind according to my spreadsheet. Time to get cracking!

I’ve got a laptop, a table and two and a half hours in the coffeehouse before it closes – GO!

-the Centaur

Happy (Belated) World Vegan Day!

Okay, I couldn’t leave “vegetables are what food eats” up long and still feel like me, so here, enjoy some tasty and delicious vegan food from November 1, World Vegan Day! Above are very delicious vegan desserts; below, what I normally see described as pumpkin steak and cauliflower steak

… though technically speaking neither are steak, and Millennium‘s menu only described the pumpkin above as “steak,” just referring to the below as “roasted cauliflower”…

… but either way, all of it was highly delicious!

-the Centaur

 

Vegetables are What Food Eats

So my wife and I were talking about restaurants, and since I’m a foodie, two of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area happen to be fine dining:  Alexander’s in Cupertino – steakhouse – and Millennium in Oakland – vegan. Both are a bit pricey, but, as a vegan, my wife has experience with only one of these.

For a carnivore married to a vegan, it’s quite useful to acquire a love of vegan food, so we go to vegan restaurants like Millennium and Happy Hooligans a lot. But by the time the two of us have done drinks, alcohol, three apps, a dinner entree and their dessert assortment, Millennium is, um, pricey, and my wife wondered whether it was the most expensive place that I ate at.

“Um, no,” I admitted. “Alexander’s is way pricier.” (And it is. Some entrees at Alexander’s, like the Alexander’s Trio of different kinds of Wagyu beef, are more expensive than our entire meal for two at Millennium).

After a beat, my wife said, “Well, it had better be that expensive, because the animals you eat at Alexander’s get fed the kind of food we eat at Millennium.”

After a moment, we laughed and agreed that this was probably true – and that we should call up an old carnivorous friend who once told the story of one of his friends who refused to eat vegetables because “that’s what food eats.”

-the Centaur

Pictured: Appetizers, entree and dessert trio at Millennium, teh yums; Alexander’s Trio and a mother-bleeping four-and-a-half-pound wagyu tomahawk chop, which is the largest steak I’ve heard of at Alexander’s, the  second largest steak I’ve ever heard of and a full third bigger than the biggest steak I’ve ever eaten (and at least twice as big as the largest steak I’ve eaten without regret). 72 ounces? Even I can’t eat that much … and anyway, I prefer the savory taste of regular beef over the super-richness of wagyu. Actually, just after even writing that, I feel like posting more vegan food to balance it out … here’s a vegan burger and vegan fish and chips at Happy Hooligans:

You’re welcome.

Daily Sketchworks: Andrew Loomis

Daily Sketchworks: trying to reproduce the cover of Andrew Loomis’s Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth, available as a gorgeous book from Titan Books (recommended) or a PDF via Goodreads. I’m not going to show a full-on scan of my drawing, because it’s a copy, but you can see some of the coolness of some of his drawings by looking at the following screencaps:

To be wholly frank, I’ll use whatever tools I have to to make me do more drawing.

-the Centaur

Everything was on fire until earlier today

Not literally; we were far south of the literal fires, which just barely missed the homes of our friends. But so many other things have been going wrong that it felt like things were on fire … so no posts for a while, sorry.

But tonight, I got to the last chapter of Dakota Frost #6, SPIRITUAL GOLD.

I will likely finish this chapter Saturday.

That makes today a good day.

Time for some cake.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a cat break with Loki. Not how things look right now, but how I feel.

Yeah. That happened.

What you see above is the precise moment Irma touched Greenville, South Carolina, just prior to my supposed flight back to the Bay Area two days later.

That flight was canceled three times, finally being rescheduled to the next day.

Yeah, it was time to get the heck out of Dodge …

-the Centaur