Katherine Hayton | BLOG
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About the 1st July (my birthday – why do I do these things to myself) I enthusiastically started writing the first draft of my latest novel. I was awesomely confident that I would have this finished by the end of July, or a few weeks after that at the latest.

After a few wrong turns and a lot of pauses to do things like design covers for the book I still haven’t written I’m pleased to announce that I’m almost pretty much nearly finished!

Wow. I thought this day would never almost very-close-to-being-here come.

A mere 10k to go-ish. Or 8-10 hours worth of full-on #1k1h sessions (which I always try to 1.2-1.5k because I’m competitive even when it’s just with me.) Unless something unexpected happens that elongates a few bits and pieces unexpectedly. Lord I hope that doesn’t happen, unless it’s in a sort of all enthusiastic get it all down before it disappears into the ether case of binge-writing. That’s okay because it takes about the same amount of time, give or take.

I’ve just got to get **** into the **** and cut off the **** so that the **** from **** can see the **** and make the connection with **** thereby tying up all the loose little strings into one large emotional **** of an ending.

Phew.

So that old saying about everyone has one novel in them but few have two might soon almost nearly not apply to me.

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09 Oct / Aliens and sweat

Today my copy of Alien: Isolation arrived. Lovely, dovely. There wasn’t quite the perfect set-up as there would’ve been if it had arrived – oh I don’t know – yesterday maybe. But I still managed to get a nice dose of ten minutes play-time. Well, not play-time because the vast majority of that was intro and cut-scene, but a good two minutes of play-time.

I haven’t actually found an alien yet. In fact the only activities I’ve performed so far are to get dressed and then have a shower. Yes you read that right. I don’t understand why I didn’t realise the button in the closet operated a shower-head either. For some reason it looked more like a door.

There’s a lovely old-style vibe to the game. It’s like playing on the Spectrum again, except the graphics are interactive and don’t take four minutes to load per page. You have to plug your hard-disk into an emergency wall slot in order to save. I’m not sure how well that’s going to play when I have alien(s) hunting me down, but I don’t have much choice.

There’s just one thing I’m a bit confused about.

Obviously I haven’t played through very much of the game yet, so it may be explained at some point down the track and if so I apologise Sega, but WHAT’S UP WITH THE SWEATING?

Yeah, okay. It may be HOT in space. What do I know? I’ve never been (although there’s a boarding pass with my name on it going out on Orion courtesy of NASA – thanks guys) and perhaps sweating is the norm.

And that’s all good. I don’t mind sweat. I even partake myself if the weather complies. But I wipe it off my forehead if it gets thick enough to form a drop and roll down my face. I don’t just let it pool on the surface of my skin without brushing an arm across so that it doesn’t start to drip off me.

You may be out in space people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise normal human standards.

Otherwise – all good. I’m looking forward to the weekend.

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08 Oct / Change of plan

Today I had a blog all planned. A rare thing indeed, but I’d actually thought ahead and intended to take a short break from playing Alien: Isolation for long enough to write up a quick note on how good/bad/no-opinion-yet it was.

It was the perfect set-up. My darling was going to be late home because he’s having some sort of snore torture device fitted (no longer will I need to poke him awake when his snoring becomes too loud – this thing will keep him awake long after I’ve dozed off) so I would be able to get in through the door, boot up the PS4, and search on the internet for the instructions on how to eject the CD that’s already in there because I always forget, and if I try to work it out intuitively I end up in downward spiral of turning it on and off, off and on.

That would give me a good twenty minutes playing time before he was due home. There’d be a pause while he listened to the end of the Panel, which meant I could have a bite to eat, and then I’d be able to take over the television again to my endless enjoyment until I grew tongue-tied with frustration at the failure of the PS4 controller to effectively transmit my intention to the game so some weird alien hell-bent on my destruction would succeed again and again and again, and the only cure would be to throw it against the wall and turn the system off to recover for a few hours.

As you do.

(and yes that is my idea of fun thank you very much for asking you non-game playing life-form)

You may’ve been able to work out by now that things haven’t quite gone to plan.

I’ll give you a hint – it’s something to do with the thing I was going to put into the console. Something shiny and round and which if you hung it from the rafters outside would keep birds away from your verandah (in theory.)

My joyful gaming experience has been brought to a sudden and inhumane halt by the positioning of a certain game CD in a certain postal service depot awaiting a certain courier driver’s return to my certain address because a certain plane didn’t make it down from Auckland in a certain time-frame.

And a certain person doesn’t need a certain inability to get out of the way of certain death to be certainly hacked off right now.

On the bright side I did take delivery today of three loaves of joy-inducing pumpernickel bread from the wonderful Breadman of Christchurch. For those of you who live in other cities I pity you (or I add this to the existing list of things I pity you for) and for those of you in Christchurch you should look him up online and immediately order some today. Right now. It’s worth it. It tastes like a heavy sourdough bread that comes conveniently malted up so you don’t even need to worry about putting on the marmite. And for those of you who are looking at me funny right about now, that really is a description of a fine-tasting bread. Trust me.

Also note that the above message is a free public service announcement. I have never accepted money from anyone to advertise their products on this blog, and I never will would in a heartbeat.

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07 Oct / The wrong speed

I have been set on the wrong speed all day today. I woke up before 4.00am but convinced myself that if I stayed in bed I would surely fall asleep again. After all, I’m absolutely buggered exhausted. If I just lay there with my eyes tightly shut I would definitely get at least another hour’s snooze before I need even think of getting out of bed.

So after lying in bed not doing anything, and definitely not sleeping, for another half an hour I called it quits and got up to face the world. I had the joy of trawling across the web looking at my analytics while my mind went, you should have tried harder, you should have tried harder, and nothing made a lot of sense. I finally quit it and started to write instead, and then my darling decided to get out of bed early as well thus giving me the perfect excuse to immediately stop.

Usually I take a few hours to get revved up enough to even think of eating anything (unless there is ice cream around whereupon I am immediately hungry upon waking) but this morning I was starving by the time I sat down at my desk, so I ate my breakfast bar before 6.30 where I would usually eat at 8.30am.

I don’t mind a change in routine (I do, I do) but it left me with a slight problem at 8.30am when my stomach once again decided it was breakfast. No matter that I’d already eaten, breakfast was due and breakfast would be had.

It doesn’t help that my ulcers are back so if I don’t have something to eat not only am I hungry but I start to experience actual pain.

There was no help for it. Everything was stacked against me. I gave in and ate my morning tea for my second breakfast.

Well, that shut my stomach up. All good. I went back to my day.

All good until 10.30am which is – you guessed it – when I normally have morning tea. Morning tea already consumed, it was only sensible to move onto lunch.

I’m sad to say that my stomach didn’t even have the common decency to wait until lunchtime. I generally eat my lunch at 12.00pm during the week (the week-end is a structurally different day so doesn’t count) but I needed something to eat by 11.30am. Don’t be stupid, I told my intestines, it’s too early and you can easily wait another half an hour.

5 minutes later I was downstairs in the cafeteria buying lunch. Spag Boll since you ask. Very nice indeed.

I don’t usually require an afternoon tea, but today is just sailing off the horizon as far as normal goes. And then I also required an extra can of coke zero because they got out of sequence with my meals – or my meals got out of sequence with them? Who knows? I needed another one.

I started to walk home like a good girl, but then gave up and got on the bus because my stomach was growling like a monster and I needed to get myself home and next to a fridge and I couldn’t wait an extra 45 minutes just to get a bit of much needed exercise in.

And now it’s 7.30pm. I’ve had my evening cups of tea at 5.30pm so now have another one drawing in the pot. I’m also about to start on my second tea/dinner/supper of the evening, my first having been served at 4.25 and eaten by 4.30pm.

I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter, I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and everything will be back in sync or out the other way, but it’s not working. Worst of all I can hear the evil clothing elves stirring in the skirting boards again. I’d better hide the thread or they’ll be out in force tonight!

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Don’t tell me they don’t exist. I have proof of it.

Sure there have been a couple of times when I’ve returned from a holiday and thought, that’s fair. I ate a lot of ice-cream, of course my clothing will be a little bit tighter. I stuck to my fried foods only diet – to make sure that all the bugs died screaming in agony before I consumed their little dead carcasses – it’s a matter of safety. Yes, sometimes I’ve taken the blame and admitted that there’s been an expanding waistline in the picture somewhere.

But come on. This is going too far!

I order clothing a full size up when I returned from my holiday – I’m not the sort of girl to postpone happiness until I lose weight, or I would be naked by now. No – I buy clothes in the size that my body is. No false hope – no false promises – no crying jags.

Except the clothing doesn’t seem to be the size that my body is, at all. And it’s not like I gained a massive amount of weight. I expected a few spongy bits to be rolling out the tops of things, I like a nice muffin as much as the next girl, but really? To not be able to fit anything? That seems a tiny bit excessive.

Of course, there are those who tell you that the reason you don’t lose weight is because muscle weighs more than fat, and so you’re getting smaller by exercising while staying the same weight. If that works in reverse then I no longer have a shred of muscle left anywhere in my body. No – it’s all been converted into larger-sized-but-same-weight fat.

Not believable, is it? Either way you spin that sentence out you’re bound to see a rolling eye in your periphery.

So, I don’t weight much more but my body is bigger. Perhaps I’ve filled up with air? Come to think of it that may be a bit closer to the truth. Certainly when I tried to swim a length of the pool underwater I had quite a struggle to get down to the bottom. Is it conceivable that I’ve somehow managed to self-inflate?

Nah. First of all I don’t have any puncture marks, and second of all you may be able to inflate a stomach quite easily, maybe even the entire digestive tract, but how on earth would you inflate a thigh? Or a knee?

Yes, that’s right. You heard it here first. My knees are bigger.

Or, are they? Today at work as I unzipped my fly so that I could actually sit down, I came up with the only theory that logically covers everything and makes sense.

Clothing elves.

Evil little clothing elves.

The little buggers have been beavering (or elvering) away while I’ve been sunning myself on foreign beaches, all in order to have a good laugh when I come home and try to dress up in my work uniform.

I bet they’re having a great time. Rolling around on the floor, waving their nimble little evil-elf hands in glee.

They’ve probably made their homes in the skirting boards, and now I’ll never be able to get rid of them. They’ll come out whenever I’m away for a night or two, make themselves busy, and then scuttle back into their lairs to wait for my reaction.

Well I’m not falling for it Elf-Men! I survived teenage girls in high-school, I can survive you.

First thing on the weekend I’m donating all of my clothing to charity, and I’ll going to start to dress entirely in Lycra.

Then we’ll see who’s laughing.

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Today I hit the refresh button on my permanently pinned Amazon book page (which is next to my blog visits summary, my twitter analytics, my facebook insights, my google analytics and my tweetdeck – also all permanently pinned) and saw something wonderful.

Oh yeah – you read that right. #63 in Mystery – the second largest genre section on Amazon. Oh wait… I think I cropped that wrong. Just a moment, try this one!

You saw it here first. #63 out of how many, you ask? 38k or more. Oh yeah, alright, oh yeah, alright. Oh. Wait a moment, just a slight change…

Definitely right this time! (You can trust me)

Number #63 out of how many, you ask? (again)

I choose not to answer that question on the grounds that it may invalidate my victory.

And I also shouldn’t mention how the time elapsed since the last sale has already made inroads into my number placement. I’m afraid to look because the last time I was getting dangerously close to slipping into the 90s and that’s the Amazon equivalent of hitting your 40s – the edge of irrelevance.

So I’ll just leave these pictures here, and maybe when refresh gets the better of me later tonight I’ll visit my own blog (don’t judge – I bet you do it too) and see my immortalised victory.

Bestseller status. Forever.

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After three month’s exclusive contract with Amazon Kindle through KDP select I’ve decided to branch out to more electronic formats. Surely, rather than just having a print and one ebook option not selling, it’s better to have a print and multiple ebook versions not selling.

And what does it cost me anyway? Ebooks are free to publish, right?

Well it depends on how you count cost. Free of time – no. Free of energy – no. Free of learning opportunities – definitely no. And free of monetary output – surprisingly no.

It all went so well on the Kobo site that I started to think I’d imagined all the drama I’d had getting the Kindle version together. Half an hour and one file conversion and it was done. There are two chapter headings that hand a line lower than they should, but I was after readable and edited, not perfection, so I accepted that as okay.

Price it, spin it, set publish date and go! All ready for purchase by any willing members of the public interested in an intense, emotional and shocking [Readers’ Favorite] story you can go ahead and pre-order when you’re ready. Or when it finished being fully vetted by Kobo – whichever is soonest.

Now onto Nook. I like Barnes and Noble, not least because I only have to type bn.com to get to their website and I’m time starved so every little bit helps. I am a fan. Or, I was a fan. Apparently as I don’t live in the States, the UK or Belgium I don’t count as a person. Fine. Whatever. Racists.

Nevermind, I can always link up Bookbaby on the free version to take care of them. I’ll lose an extra 15% on sales (hah sales, remember them Katherine?) but at least they’ll be available. 15% of very little is still probably not going to meet a minimum threshold anyway so does it matter to me? No.

But I know there are people out there who seem to genuinely like and buy iBooks. Fair enough. I use Kindle on my iPad so I’m not one of them – I tend to think of it as my Kindle with backlight and The Walking Dead: Series 2 game but that could just be me – but if the people demand it the people shall have it!

Or shall they?

Turns out that it doesn’t matter what sort of book you’ve managed to cobble together – you require a Mac to upload a book. And when I say book I mean anything of more than 1000 words because there is an app for short books with pictures if you don’t mind typing the text into a page that won’t free-flow to the next. Not really an option when you’re looking at 200+ pages. Or 10+ for that matter.

Surely this can’t be the case? I must be missing something. I know that Apple likes its closed architecture but seriously guys – this is a shop. Are you really saying you can only drop off merchandise if you’re driving a Ford and not a Holden?

Turns out I was not mistaken.

Turns out that they really have become that distant from how real societies run that they believe this is a solid course of action to take. No wonder you can get a Kindle and Kobo app for iPad.

But I was not deterred. If I can use Winebox to run windows in linux then surely there must be something to run mac in windows. The world must be full of aspiring authors who aren’t Apple fanboys, right?

There were some instructions, but they required an ISO of Mountain Lion (hah!) and then a lot more hours than I was prepared to spend. I could always go back to Bookbaby, but it can take up to two weeks to get the books approved even when they’re text only and direct, so I didn’t really want to go through an aggregator to extend that by a week (and 15% of nothing.)

So i went hunting again and found a lovely service that lets you rent a virtual Mac so you can use your PC to run the little Apple club of programs.

It’s free for the first day, and then $20US per month for light usage. One month worth should do me because once I’ve got this set up I’m never touching it again. So, I’ll fork out my hard-earned money in order to load up an alien system inside my lovely speed-filled windows 8.1

And I was a bit curious. People who like Macs seem to really like Macs don’t they? There must be some reason.

Four hours later I think the reason is that they have to really, really pretend they like the stupid, crappy, nonsensically structured things because they’ve invested so much money in them it’s either that or look like the dickheads that they are for purchasing them in the first place.

Stupid, stupid. Slow, slow. Nonsensical. Idiotic. Yuck.

I gratefully exited when my work was done. I’m already postponing the inevitable re-entry required when my book hits the website for the first time and I start to notice all the little things that skim by my attention when I’m grappling with something larger, and stupider, than whether my punctuation is where it should be, or does my html format okay, or did I just load up a string of nonsense because it turns out that the text field was just a text field and some html formatting was NOT okay.

Why, why, why does anyone still buy such awful outdated architecture in this day and age? Why would you opt to spend more money investing in something so awful when they could get some nice hardware and put lovely compact Ubunto on it for free?

I understand the iPods. I understand the iPads. I even used to understand the iPhone until it became a choice between two identical things one of which you could change the battery on when it ran out or upgrade the memory size of when it was full, and one which you couldn’t.

I do not understand the Mac.

Unless they rename Mountain Lion to Sick Cat so I can invest some money rewarding sarcasm I don’t think I ever will.

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03 Oct / TGIF!

Katherine had to put grumpalumps into the box today. Friday started off really well with an early morning start of 4.30am.

Yah!

Then I checked the Internet connection and found that both it and the phone weren’t working for the third day in a row.

Yah!

Then I checked my bank account to see that no royalties had been paid yet again, and then managed to track down a statement that said rather than the EFT that I’d signed up for I would instead be paid via wire transfer. Once my balance managed to hit the minimum threshold.

Needless to say the threshold hadn’t been reached. Still hasn’t. All payments are now forever in limbo.

Yah! There’s nothing like being so poor that people don’t even think it’s worth the trouble to pay you to make you feel like a success. At 6.20am in the morning.

And then there were the constant floods of emails for problems that had started, been discovered, recurred, been rediscovered, thought were fixed but turned out resolution was for a different problem than the one that was actually causing problems – you know, the one I’d been told to fix rather the thing that actually needed fixing.

Yah! 7.30am.

Well at least I could crawl my way through the randomly awful day and then go out to buy a nice lunch. A nice lunch that turned out to cost $4.00 more than the last time I’d been to the restaurant – two weeks ago!? – for a sandwich with a new filling. Not the filling they said it would be filled with, that would be humorous nonsense, but the filling they presumably had on hand.

And lovely french bread. Four inches of lovely crusty french bread. Lovely crusty french bread that had spend at least two hours in a moisture filled refrigerator so it was dense and chewy. Not the dense and chewy of a beautiful, rich, dark, pumperknickel loaf carefully hand-ground, crafted and slow-baked in an artisinal oven. No. The dense and chewy of something that’s meant to be light and crusty but dropped out of school early and started snorting meth.

I pulled the two mouthfuls of oil-covered plain chicken out, that’s PLAIN chicken not the SMOKED chicken that I’d paid for, and then threw the rest away. So I had to buy a second lunch from the downstairs cafe, which was half the price and twice the edibility, but unfortunately was purchased so late in my lunch half-hour that I had to wolf it down (yeah, okay, the gnawing hunger may have contributed somewhat to that scenario.)

My lunchtime ended with a phone-call from a communications engineer who was disgruntled that I had the temerity to be at work during the day when he’d responded to my urgent call for assistance with the complete lack of internet or phone at our home within a mere 72 hours of calling. He was further put out when I timidly suggested that I may be able to get home by five o’clock – because surely all mortals are aware that technicians finish work on the dot of four-thirty.

So with the promise of an hour’s overtime on Monday I skipped away from work early. There was a steady stream of traffic blocking our exit, and then when we finally pulled into the flow of traffic two trains decided to go past on the tracks while we sat staring at them in astonishment. Since when did the South Island have TWO trains?

But we forged ahead, to encounter a slow-mo traffic flow which we eventually crawled far enough along to realise was caused by the road-works (which we knew about) coinciding with a major set of traffic lights not working (which we didn’t.)

Then I arrived home to find that all that was in the mail was a bill, all that was in the cupboard was some sugar-free cookies past their expiration date, and all that was in my heart was despair.

And then the lovely repair technician turned up and got our internet working in about ten minutes, said they’d need to reblow the fibre from the gate but we didn’t need to be home for that and they’d do it early next week, and then my darling said he could put on a full packet of oven-fried chips and I could have half. Which I enjoyed with my favourite protein; tomato sauce and peri-peri mayonnaise. (Wot?)

And tomorrow it’s Saturday. And I don’t care that the weather is crap all weekend because I don’t like to go outside anyway.

Things are definitely improving around here.

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While I was sitting at my computer tonight I received the following email recommendation through from the Amazon marketing department.

Why, yes Amazon. That’s a fabulous suggestion. In fact, I think you should make that suggestion to hundreds of thousands of your other subscribers because I’m sure that they’d like it too.

Oddly enough, I actually already have a copy of this one. And I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Anyone reading this please follow Amazon’s kind suggestion and click on the following link:
!!!FOLLOWING LINK!!!

Awesome dudes.

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