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#WeCreate NaNoWriMo Update and Ponies Galore!

Frankie Av

Hello everyone!

I completed my fifty-thousand word goal for NaNoWriMo a few days ago. I’m continuing to write as Emergence isn’t quite finished yet, but I am very happy with my progress.

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The injury to my hand appeared to get better with the heat and splinting. I felt it was in a good way so I took off my splint day before yesterday and managed to worsen the healing injury. As a result, typing is slower than usual! I’m finding even the most tiny of things difficult as the hand is such a complex joint, and you forget how much you use your hands–even your non-dominant one! But, I’m getting there!

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I’ve received most of the My Little Ponies for my collection which I ordered this past week and a half. Very pleased with all of them, and even included a few G2 and Equestria type, even though they are not my favourites. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I hate Equestria and think G2 ponies are ugly, but they came in a couple of bundles so I have them as part of a more fuller collection. (Though, I am getting to like the G2 a little XD) I’ve lost count of how many I have in my collection. It was over 700 last year, but I sold some so I need to do a recount of all the ponies. I bought the little houses and castles and nursery for display purposes. I have been collecting these for years and don’t have a single pony on display!

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As for drawing, I haven’t even attempted to draw a thing for a few weeks. I did buy a My Little Pony adult colouring in book, purely as a part of the collection you understand….and I coloured some of that in while I was unable to type! Colouring in is almost as relaxing as sticking stickers into my sticker albums XD

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My attempt at colouring in! I think I need better pens XD

That’s it for now! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend! I’m away to write for a while 😀 Bye for now!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

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Frankie and Sam are Winning NaNoWriMo!

Frankie Av

Hi all, Frankie here!
I know the blog has not been regularly updated as usual, but as you are aware, Sam and I are taking part in NaNoWriMo this month. It is always a busy time for us; writing for hours every day, trying to get the first drafts of our next books ready!
I’m pleased to say it will not take the entire month to do this. We are already at the forty-thousand word mark and both of us hope to crash through the fifty-thousand word barrier soon. This does not mean that either book will be finished at this point, but it does mean we are closer to completing our first drafts! At present, my NaNoWriMo word count is 40,359 words. I believe Sam is just over 45. With a full tally of approximately eighty-thousand words for Emergence, it is well over halfway written! I am managing to get at least a chapter a day written, and on good days I’m managing up to four!

Unfortunately, I had a fibromyalgia flare up a few days ago. For the first time in a few years it actually left me quite immobilized. I was unable to walk properly, or move easily and had to take a day or two away from writing. It also resulted in my left hand seizing up so I couldn’t write as much as I would have liked. Thankfully, the main symptoms have began to disappear so I am back on my feet and raring to go, but my left hand remains terribly painful and does not function well.

For the life of me I couldn’t remember injuring it at all, but today I remembered I caught my hand between trolleys in the supermarket at the end of last week. It jammed tight when someone pushed their trolley into the bay at the same time I did mine! I had to tug my hand free, but at the time it just smarted a little and didn’t cause me any problems so I thought no more on it. Well, it sure is causing me problems now! There is a possibility I strained dorsal carpometacarpal ligaments, which would account for the fact I am unable to move my hand in a normal range of motion, as well as the odd painful bumps on the back of my hand. I’m treating it with painkillers, heat/cold and splinting. Because of this I am still able to type a little. It’s a good job I’m right handed! I won’t let it stop me writing Emergence, that’s for sure!

Anyway, that’s where we are at the moment, and why there’s not been frequent updates! Hopefully our normal schedule will resume after November, but we will be in editing mode by then, so will still be busy. Massive thanks to everyone who is supporting us, we really appreciate it!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

#SamWIP: Facebook Purge & a Few Words

Sam av

Today is one of the too many days that I am disappointed in humans.

#FrankieWIP New Shifts, New Routine…All Mucked Up!

Frankie Av

A little update, a little apology and a little explanation…

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Continuing Cosmic Crap

Frankie Av

I have been no more lucky today than I was yesterday or the past week. An update of woe… XD I broke my Vape pipe, see picture below video. And I’ve managed to draw a doodle, also below video.

Music by Kevin McLeod at Incompetech

Broken Vape pipe

The Dolls and the Beasts

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Full Fibro Failure

Frankie Av

So I had to cut this twice as my dog kept barking! I apologize for not uploading yesterday, but the video explains why I couldn’t! And a little update on Malevolence print copy and Emergence manuscript.

The Spoonie theory mentioned in the vlog which Fibrolites and Lupus sufferers adopt can be read about here.

Music by Kevin McLeod at Incomputech.com

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Happy Dragon Emerges!

Frankie Av

Fixed Malevolence PDF for print and Emergence is definitely emerging! 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WhateverWednesday Scores of Scores

It has been a strange week so far. I haven’t even had my laptop on for two days, which is unheard of! It is usually on up to sixteen hours a day! Our heating system has finally been renewed and the workmen are gone, but now we have to decorate the house after ripping up carpets and floors. We also have to re-paper the walls after removal of old radiators, as well as get yet another workman in to quote us for new windows. So, it’s going to be a busy week.

Anyway, I know I gave Wolf’s Rain a right bashing the other day, and while I have not forgiven the awful ending, I have to say how much I love the OST. There is one song in particular which I have had on repeat since I heard it in one of the final episodes. I love it so much, it is now added to my Emergence playlist.
The composer is Yoko Kanno who is well known, respected and much loved in the anime industry for scores of beauty and heartache. Her talent is not wasted on Wolf’s Rain. It provided a score which underlined the harsh and dangerous journey the wolves took throughout the show. One song in particular, Shiro: Long tail’s is just a gorgeous composition.

Another of the songs is Heaven’s Not Enough with vocals by Steve Conte who also did the title song, Stray. Again, it is a haunting song and heartbreaking. This is the one I have placed in my Emergence playlist. It is so beautiful.

So in the end Wolf’s Rain wasn’t a complete loss.

I have so many original soundtracks, every one of them invoking different emotions and I find them so helpful when writing or drawing to enable me to concentrate while stirring my imagination. I couldn’t choose one favourite if I tried, but here are some of my favourite tracks which make it into many of my creative playlists.

1) Advent Children: Divinity I and II by composer Nobuo Uematsu. I use this one often when drawing or painting. It helps that this is from what is probably my most favourite film of all.

2) Caleb Leaves – Marco Beltrami score for the movie Knowing.
This one tears the heart out of me and I use it when I am writing a particularly sad scene. When watching the movie, this song always reduces me to tears as it lends to the scene so well. The slow build to a father’s grief is almost unbearable. It is a great writing song.

3) Flynn Lives – Daft Punk for the film Tron Legacy
This song is so powerful. It builds and builds into a gorgeous crescendo which makes my heart soar. I use this song and others from the OST for various things. Plus, it is one of my all time favourite films and soundtracks.

4) Oblivion – M8 with Susanne Sundfør on vocals, for the movie Oblivion.
I absolutely LOVE this song. I use it when painting and drawing and occasionally when editing. This is from another of my favourite films and soundtracks.

5) Baba Yetu, by Christopher Tin for the Civilization IV video game. I find this song so uplifting, so happy and just a perfect piece to use when creating and editing.

6) Che vuole questa musica stasera by Peppino Gagliardi, used in the movie The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This song is one of my very favourites. I think one reason is that during the scene in which this song is played, we get to see a nonchalant “Superman” eat a sandwich while his partner gets chased around a river XD No, seriously though, it is a beautiful piece of music and lends itself to many of my creative outlets.

Electric Romeo, and Serenata by Immediate Music. This is one of my favourite score orchestras. These guys are amazing and I have listened to them for years–as well as their lyrical band, Globus. Their songs are powerful, ranging from uplifting and joyous to sad and heart wrenching. I listen to their music during many projects.


This is only a tiny, tiny fraction of the music I use while writing and drawing. There is so much great music out there, from epic scores to silly ditties which can help bolster imagination and bring scenes to life in your mind. If I had the time, I would show you all my music faves, but that would take a very, very, very long time!
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WriteTip Screaming Frustration and Frankie Dragon Meltdown

Frankie Av

Apologies again for my lack of timely updates this week. The heating system renewal saga continues and finding a quiet few minutes to write is damn near impossible. Anyway, while the workmen carry on working installing our new boiler and replacing all the pipes, I decided to work on the Malevolence PDF for print edition. Sounds simple enough, fix the pdf and upload it to Blurb and that’s it! Yet, this simple decision has led to a Frankie Dragon meltdown of epic proportions which continues to plague me as I have yet to successfully upload any file to Blurb.

I spent an hour attempting to fix the file yesterday morning, tweaked the format, and fixed the errors created a few months ago with a “search and replace” malfunction. Once I had this lovely new file I started uploading to Blurb. The first attempt failed, giving no indication as to why it failed. It said there was an error, but could give me no more details. While grinding my teeth in frustration, I tried over and over again–with no success. After the tenth attempt, I began to lose it. How hard can it be to upload a simple PDF file?

Back in May, I encountered the exact same problem and ended up allowing Sam one-time access to my account in order to upload the file. She managed to upload the same file I had problems with–within a few minutes!

After the tenth attempt yesterday, I tried a different browser. Three in fact. I turned off firewalls, ad-blockers; every browser add-on I could find was switched off. I dug out my other laptop which runs on Lubuntu, uploaded the file from there. I even tried uploading onto both the dot-com and dot-co-dot-uk Blurb addresses. Nada, error and failure. By this time my teeth were being ground down to pegs, my hair was fraying with all the tugging and my throat was in tatters with all the curse-filled ranting.

I then tested the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and found there was an irreparable problem with the PDF file itself. I fixed the issue and made a brand new, lovely file and thought this would fix the problem. I eagerly uploaded the file with the expectation of the issue being fixed, only to find that the file failed again. As I stared at the screen I could almost feel the blood vessels in my brain pulsing on the verge of bursting…

In the end–after several hours of trying–I contacted Blurb customer support. I received a timely response from Jessica requesting more information as well as providing a few suggestions of things to try. Unfortunately, these were solutions I had already exhausted. After a few emails, Jessica spoke to her tech team about the issue. Their response was this was a highly unusual issue, and that perhaps it was a connection problem at my end. This would explain why I can’t upload the exact same file that Sam can upload. So I turned off my wi-fi and connected my laptop to my mobile phone internet. Different connection should work, right?

The file upload failed again. My laptop nearly went careening through the window at this point, thrown across the room in disgust. My husband was wary, afraid to make another suggestion while the dog kept her distance. I must have been exuding a dark cloud of ominous fury which they both obviously sensed. Perhaps the sulfurous smell was not coming from the construction bricks the workmen were drilling, but from my frustrated hellish anger!

Later, I went to bed in an absolute howler of a mood with the hopes of getting up today and have it all miraculously fixed, perhaps even a message from Jessica with a reason and solution to my ongoing problem. So far I have received no more replies from customer support, but I expected this given that it is the weekend. Also, customer support is in America so works on a different time-zone from me.

First thing I tried was a test upload which failed. One single upload failure came back with an internal error flag. This might mean it has nothing to do with me at all, that the issue in fact lies with the Blurb servers. I also decided to look into PDF file formats and such, wondering if there was a problem there. I discovered that Blurb uses PDF-X3 files. As I was unsure whether my file was of this type, I researched how to create such a file and made yet another shiny, new, larger and more perfect file. I was sure I had it right this time. This had to be the reason for the file failing. I smiled as I set the file to upload. Watched the progress bar with anticipation and hope. Nearly screamed when the processing bar froze and upload failed yet again. In sheer frustration and with the bloody-minded determination of a fool, I tried over and over, sure that one file would slip through and somehow dance around the Blurb servers with glee.

The last file failed about fifteen minutes ago and I am now at the end of my tether. My nerves are frayed, my temper short. My teeth are sore, my head is aching, my family present me with wary grimaces when I look at them. The workmen have gone quiet as they install the new copper pipes below the house. And I sit here, fuming and defeated at last as I shake with cold and wish there was some bloody heat in this house.

This should not be so difficult! There should be an explanation for the failures, but none are given so I am at a loss as to why I can not upload!

I am currently waiting on Sam coming online, to ask her to try uploading my file like she did before. I am 100% sure she will get it uploaded within minutes again, while I have spent over a day trying to do the same thing. I should not have to wait on my friend in America coming online just so I can upload a PDF file.

If you take into consideration all the times I have tried to do this, it equates to four months of fruitless attempts. I know it will likely end up being something very simple to fix, a stupid mistake somewhere which is preventing me from uploading. But, at this moment in time, this does not help me and I sit here ranting as my temper breaks again for the fifth time today alone.

Perhaps Malevolence is destined to remain in ebook format only…I will let you know…

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#FrankieWIP Noise, Laughs and Writing!

Frankie Av

Apologies for no update yesterday. As you will hear in this video, we are getting a lot of work done in the house and it is too noisy to vlog. Even though the house is in a state of upheaval, I’ve managed to get a few things done this week 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fiMALEVOLENCE