Monday, September 16, 2013

Coffee is an excellent substitute for sleep, right?

So I've been very bad in terms of updating--both this blog and my personal vlogs and I've already apologized for that but as that theme is continuing this week, I wanted to at least keep you updated.

I take on too much at once--you have probably noticed this by now, yes?

It's something I'm working on.

No, really.

So I've been editing the audio I recorded for Blake Northcott's book, Arena Mode (if you haven't checked it out yet, it's on Amazon) and this has eaten up pretty much any semblance of spare time I've had--which if you know my work schedule wasn't much to begin with. I've been making sure to hit my Geek & Sundry deadlines so I haven't fallen entirely behind--and I did manage to get Alys out.

Speaking of Alys, if you haven't had Customer service manually push the update out to you, you will want to do that to get the correct draft. AND, additionally, if you can't make it to Rose City Comic Con (where I will have posters and 10 signed copies of Alys) you can buy the print version of Alys on Amazon. More on that later.

I'm a bit scattered--bear with me.

What was I talking about? Right, taking on too much. So I worked pretty much all weekend with the exception of celebrating the wedding of two friends of mine who are amazing and wonderful and just...

Guys, nerd weddings rock, okay? Can we just admit that?

It was all about having fun and actually celebrating the event. None of this stiff, "well this is proper" crap. The wedding party wore converse, I drafted my first Magic deck, Tara (the Geeky Hostess) made some of the most delicious cupcakes I have ever tasted--oh and we made a flipbook of Hamlet in 7 seconds. It was awesome. And a well-needed break from... well, my life.

----Serious Pie Warning----

I don't think I mentioned this--I was pretty quiet in general last week--but I do know I have mentioned before that my mother deals with a history of seizures. She's had them since I was a kid but until recently, the medication had kept them at bay. They don't know what causes them--they ruled out the benign brain tumor after her last couple CAT scans... They can't prove it isn't just her not taking enough medication so they keep upping the dosage. She had another one. While driving. She's fine--no one was hurt--but who knows about the car. She at least won't be driving for another 6 months... I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't absolutely terrified about what could have happened--or what may happen in the future if they don't figure out what's wrong.

Last week was also Suicide Prevention Week--and I wanted to write something--I started writing something--but every time I got a paragraph in, I just had to stop. I don't know if I was just emotionally beat but I couldn't bring myself to write anything substantial about the subject or my brother. I even thought about talking about the theme of suicide in Alys as a way to filter through some of the more intense feelings but it just felt too much like promoting the book rather than awareness.

It's stupid, because you think this far later it wouldn't feel so fresh... but it's September and I'm remembering what getting ready to go back to school was like--and Halloween is just on the horizon and I know that will not be an easy holiday to do without him. We were both suckers for costumes. And then of course once that's over we'll rush into Thanksgiving and Christmas... which I can't even fathom how different they will be this year. My throat gets tight just thinking about it. And then barely after Christmas, we'll be celebrating what would have been his 29th birthday. And then shortly after the first anniversary of his death. Time's a bitch. It's overwhelming.

----End of Serious Pie---

Honestly, I think that's why I end up taking on so much. I'm sleep deprived and stressed but I barely have a moment to spare on thinking about the bad things going on that I can't control. It's not a particularly healthy defense mechanism, I suppose...

But it's productive? And I definitely prefer it to the impulse of curling up in a ball and crying.

Crying sucks.

Well, no, sometimes it feels really good to just get things out. But when so many things can push that button? It just makes you feel crazy and unstable.

So I'm working on finishing up the MANY side projects I took on all at once so I can focus more on a less stressful way to deal with the chaos around me. Like... spending time with friends--weird, right?

I don't know--this weekend was very eye opening to me in just needing to make more time to just socialize and hang out with people I love--or to meet new amazing people.

All work and no play... makes you a freaking crazy person.

...but on the subject of me working too much--I will be at Rose City Comic Con this weekend with my amazing friend Ren Cummins. He is wonderful and awesome and one of my favorite people in the world. Also we never get to hang out lately so this will be fantastic.

I'll be chilling at his booth (J-01 in Artist Alley, Talaria Press) selling copies of Alys and posters (and I believe our Peter Pan Anthology). Alys posters (11x17) are free if you buy one of the hard copies (or if you can show me you already bought a print copy off of Amazon) OR by donation of $1 or more. Sadly printing things is pricey and I can always use a little bit more toward my student loans.

I really hope to see you, come by, get hugs (can always use hugs), tell your friends to do the same.

I will try to update between now and then but hoping to get this audio done before the weekend so I don't have to edit at my table. XD

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grumpy Author is Grumpy

So... guess who is still talking to Amazon because they only answer emails once every 24hrs? I feel bad for pestering them but this is really something that should have been fixed days ago.

"From the content of your email I understand that you have updated the content of the book "Alys" but you are unable to view the updated content even after redownloading the content. Please know that currently, publishers who have purchased a Kindle book cannot automatically download the revised content. Our technical team is aware of this issue, and are working towards automating this process.

In the meantime, we can manually send the updated content to your device. Before we send it, you should be aware that once the new content is received, features such as Highlights, Last Page Read and Bookmarks will be removed and the locations of notes may not match in the updated copy of your book."

Was their last message to me.

If I'm understanding that--it sounds like they're saying that only MY copy wasn't being updated because I was the publisher? I emailed back politely explaining that this reasoning made no sense--especially since I had checked with three other people now who have all said they're still seeing the old version. Alys has been downloaded upwards of 1700 since I uploaded--which is awesome but that means 1700+ of my readers have the wrong draft--which is horrifying.

I'm... really frustrated, I'm not going to lie. I have always had a really wonderful experience with Amazon--this is in no way an example of how I've seen things handled in the past, so I don't understand what's going on now.

I did notice that the version on the "Look Inside" appears to be the new version. You can tell because the last line in the prologue says "had" whereas there was a typo in the original version that said "hand".
 So at least if you're just now purchasing a copy--it should be the right one with the full ending.

You can attempt to redownload the file, but I have a feeling there is something borked they can't publicly say. I'm hoping it will be fixed soon--it does sound like they are working on it. I understand the poor customer service reps aren't responsible and I don't blame them--I've been there--but this whole thing has been a bit of a nightmare.

On the upside, however, I'll be done prepping the print version soon?

UPDATE from NeoLadyCasa:
Good News and Bad News!
Good News: you can get the new version by contacting tech support and asking for the update. I e-chatted with the Kindle tech support (I talked to Mr. Manoj), and he was able to deliver the new version. I checked on the cloud reader and my android - both versions are correct!
Bad News:

It looks like just deleting is going to pull from the archive they have (which is the wrong copy), and I can't find a way to manually download the new version - so you may need to contact tech support to get it (for the moment).

Friday, September 6, 2013

30 Day Shred and an update on Alys

What? What? A Lara Project post? But these have been missing for a while!

I know, I'm sorry--this is what happens when the craziness gets away from me a little.

So! Today, at the reccommendation of a friend, I started the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred workout.

Because I wanted to get serious about making sure I workout again and I really need something that's going to target what's left in my stretch goals.

Holy crap, guys. I admit I'm still recovering from being sick but that thing kicked my ass and it's only Day 1. Less than 30 minutes every morning before shower--it's less time than I was spending on the elliptical and I can already feel it working in muscle groups I don't normally get a chance to work.

3 Cycles of strength, cardio and abs.

Ouch.

But in a good way.

If you want to give it a look for yourself, it's actually available on iTunes, I played it directly from my iPad. This is just my initial assessment, mind you, we'll see how I'm feeling about it a week from now/what changes I'm seeing/feeling.

Another blogger reviewed it that I found super helpful: http://t.co/DHv7eEvBhA

Start of shred stats (in inches)

Bicep: 11 1/2
Bust: 34 1/2
Under Bust: 29
Waist: 26 1/2
Hips: 38 1/2
Thigh: 22
Calves: 15

I'm not sure if I'll ever get my calf under a 15--I've heard it's a hard place to turn into lean muscle and most of it is hard freaking muscle. I'd like to though--at least an inch... because boot-makers are stupid. Oh well, I have my lace-ups at least, right?

Okay.

ALYS UPDATE: So I have uploaded the renewed file 3 times now and it still isn't updating. I've contacted Amazon and they'll be getting back to me in 24hrs.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Well... this is awkward.

So... Sometimes we make mistakes. Like... big ones.

But thankfully sometimes even the big mistakes are ones we can fix REALLY easily.

A friend who'd just finished reading Alys was talking to me about it and mentioned something about the end that made me pause and ask to see their copy.

They handed me their kindle and I was able to verify what I was really hoping not to see--I had published something other than the final draft. ...This is what happens when you're up very late doing your formatting. You format the wrong file.

On the bright side, it's a file that's not much different from the final one other than a few changes to one of the last chapters. AND this was a mistake that I caught before anything went to print. Still, I feel like an idiot.

But... aren't we all?

So what does this mean for you if you have a copy already?

Simple. You own the license to that copy--it's attached to your Amazon account regardless if you purchased it or if you downloaded it for free.

So once the new file is approved (I will let you know once I get the email) all you have to do is delete and re-download.

Edit: Apparently Amazon also has a "Auto-Update" feature that you can turn on (it's automatically off) and from there the book will automatically update when the author updates the edition. Your Account > Manage Devices > Automatic Book Update

I cannot tell you how absolutely embarrassed I am about this, but I feel being open and honest with you about my blunder is the best thing for everyone. Keep an eye on this blog and my twitter, I'll let everyone know the moment it's up. Again, I'm so sorry. I cannot believe I made this mistake.