Time Flies!: August 2015

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Welcome to the latest edition of Time Flies! It’s my version of a monthly update, where I recap the past month’s accomplishments and articles, share news and random things from my offline life, and hint at what may be coming in the month ahead.

Well, that was a crazier month than I’d expected. Not a bad kind of crazy, but attending the Writer’s Digest Conference and writing a trio of articles to cover the event for DIY MFA on top of everything I normally do in a month’s time brought the phrase “insanely busy” to a higher level.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so, SO grateful for going to WDC this year, and for everything I learned and experienced while I was there. I just happened to load too much on my plate once again. It’s a bad habit I need to learn to kick… someday. 😉

But I got through it. I managed to stay on top of my priorities, though it did mean postponing other bloggish things (tea reviews, the blogoversary giveaway, an upcoming guest post, etc.) I’d been meaning to work on.  So, I still have some catching up to do, but that’s OK. It means that September should be a fun month here! Make sure you keep an eye out on your inbox or check back here during the month so you don’t miss out on anything.

In the meantime, here’s your chance to catch up on August’s posts:

This Month’s Posts

Interviews, Guest Blogs, and Columns

Site Updates

Two new worksheets are available for free download at Worksheets for Writers:

  • Themes in Dialogue Worksheet
  • “Self-Edit Saver” Revision Checklist

Offline Happenings

Hmmmm… What did I do in August that wasn’t related to Writer’s Digest Conference or writing in general? Not much. It was one of those weird periods where a lot was going on, but then again not a lot was happening. I laid low for a while after coming home from NYC and focused on whatever my priorities were at the time. And revisions for Draft #2 of The Keeper’s Curse, of course. I’m 37% along (Page 152 out of 418) as of yesterday, and may hit 40% over my four-day Labor Day weekend. Which is awesome, but it also means I’ll have to postpone the next Chronicling The Craft until I hit 50%. It’s too difficult to squeeze in that post right now because of other blogging priorities I have right now.

A side view of Godfrey Windmill in Chatham, MA

A side view of Godfrey Windmill in Chatham, MA

I did squeeze in a day trip to Cape Cod, though. I hadn’t been there since my May vacation – which is waaaaaaaaaaay too long of a gap between visits. This time, I got my annual fix of breakfast at Bonatt’s Bakery in Harwich and a leisurely stroll through downtown Chatham. Between the good food, the warm and sunny (albeit muggy) weather, and the chance to enjoy the sights and other things I’ve grown to love about this part of the Cape, it brought a much-needed chance to relax and feel at peace.

An unexpected highlight that day was a tour of Chatham’s Godfrey Windmill. This historic grist mill was built by Colonel Benjamin Godfrey (who fought in the Revolutionary War) in 1797; and it still operates two or three times a year, grinding corn into cornmeal. I’d never been inside the windmill before, so this was a neat opportunity to learn about its history, construction, and how it works.

An angled front view of Godfrey Windmill in Chatham, MA

An angled front view of Godfrey Windmill in Chatham, MA

Family-wise, my dad retired from work a couple weeks ago. He worked at the same engineering firm for 41 years; and while he loved the work, the commute was a killer – especially during the past couple years, when traffic only seemed to get worse. Now he doesn’t have to worry about spending 2+ hours in the car every day. I know he doesn’t miss that! My dad is also the subject of a guest post I’m working on for Eli Pacheco’s blog Coach Daddy (should be up in late September).

That’s about it. Unless you count the new mattress I bought – which probably isn’t so interesting. XD

Which Computer Game Series Inspired the Idea for my Freestyle Writing Challenge Prompt?

No one correctly guessed it here, so I promised to reveal the inspiration today! And it is…

myst-header-1

I played several computer games as a teenager, and Myst is the only series that has stuck with me through adulthood. This best-selling fantasy / adventure / strategy franchise centers on Atrus, who has the ability to write books that serve as portals to the worlds (known as Ages) described in those books. Players must help Atrus save his Ages and the craft he treasures from various threats, including Atrus’ own family. To do this, players much travel to various Ages and do some detective work, all the while marveling at each world’s beauty, complexities, and dangers – and solving a host of challenging puzzles.

An example of a linking book from Myst

An example of a linking book from Myst

Myst and its sequels continue to fascinate me for many reasons: the gorgeous graphics, evocative music, and sheer amount of creativity and ingenuity that went into creating each Age… I think I played the first game when I was 11 years old (and needed the strategy guide in order to finish it!), which was well before I started reading speculative fiction. That means Myst, not J.R.R. Tolkien, was my true gateway to fantasy. 😉 I’ve been playing Myst IV: Revelations off and on for the past couple months – and right now, I don’t which is stronger: my admiration for this series after almost 20 years, or the fact that the 10-year-old game works on Windows 8.1!

Song of the Month: “Pure Imagination” by Josh Groban

This is more of a reflection of what I’ll be listening to A LOT in September as opposed to what I listened to in August – because in 4 weeks, I’m going to see Josh Groban in concert! This will be my fourth Josh Groban show, and the past three have been so much fun. Not only is his voice as incredible live as it is on CD, but Josh is also quite the musician and stand-up comic. 🙂 I’m hoping to post an Ode to Josh Groban article on the day of the show. In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite tracks from his latest album, “Stages,” which pays tribute to Josh’s favorite musicals and Broadway shows. Remember which movie this song comes from?

How Quickly Does Time Fly?

The next Time Flies will post on Wednesday, September 30th. Until then, have a lovely month!

25 thoughts on “Time Flies!: August 2015

  1. My mother in law lives in Cape Cod, I love visiting her because the area is so beautiful and I enjoy the breezy ocean views 🙂 And Myst! I was enthralled by that game when I was younger, back then I thought the graphics were so gorgeous. Looking back at screenshots of the game now, it’s like yikes! 😛

    And I can’t believe August is over already, this summer went by so quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hasn’t it? It’s crazy how fast this past month went.

      “I love visiting her because the area is so beautiful and I enjoy the breezy ocean views.”

      😀 Cape Cod also has such a different vibe from mainland Massachusetts. It’s like as soon as you cross over the Sagamore or Bourne Bridges, it’s a different world. More relaxing and comfortable, almost magical.

      Ha ha, yeah, Myst’s original graphics aren’t too impressive when you look at them now. Apparently the gamemakers upped the quality for the 10th and 20th anniversary editions (I’ve never played either, but I’ve seen stills from them). The graphics of later games (especially Myst IV: Revelations) are also a vast improvement over the original.

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  2. Oh an, Myst…. that was a game I never personally played, but spent quite a bit of time watching my brothers play. It was such a novel (har de har!) experience. Super fun and cool. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 It was an awesome game. Granted that I was too young to figure out the puzzles on my own, but I loved the graphics and secondary worlds. The later games were improvements in many ways, especially because they involved more interaction with characters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is! I think the gamemakers reissued an updated version of Myst for its 20th anniversary in 2013. I still haven’t run into any issues with Myst IV on Windows 8.1, either, so you could try that one, too. (You don’t need to have played the earlier Myst games in order to know what’s going on.)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never been to Cape Cod but I have family there now so I really have no excuse, haha. I’ve heard so many things about Myst but have never played it for myself because I thought it had really retro graphics, I see that isn’t the case at all! It looks so cool, awesome that it was a point of inspiration for you as well. Have a great September!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alise! I hope you have a good September, too. 🙂

      Ha ha, so now you’ll have to visit the Cape more often. 😀 It really is beautiful there. Anywhere between late spring and early-to-mid fall is a good time to visit, though some of the more tourist-driven shops and attractions tend to close after Columbus Day.

      Definitely try the Myst series if you haven’t yet. The older games might not work on current operating systems, but like I’d said I haven’t had any issues with Myst IV (10 years old now) on Windows 8.1. I think they issued a 20th anniversary edition of the original game a couple years ago, too…?

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      • Thanks!

        Aha, I really do need to get down there someday and see some people. Good to know! I’ll definitely keep that in mind as I would like to go when most things are still open to see.

        Do they build off each other, like you need to play the first one? I’d love to try one but I’m also wondering if they would run on Windows 8. I’ll look into it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Do they build off each other, like you need to play the first one?”

        Not necessarily. There’s an ongoing family dispute that catalyzed the original plot and continues threading through the later games. But anyone’s ability to play the later Myst games isn’t dependent on having prior knowledge of what happened between Atrus and his sons and father. If you start with Myst IV, for example, the blanks are filled in as you solve the puzzles, do your “detective work,” and read the characters’ journals. That might be a good place to start (especially since it works on my Windows 8.1).

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  4. I’m not a gamer at all, but Myst was the one computer game I really got into. But it was so dang hard, I could never get off the island (I think it was something like that, LOL!) But I loved the sense of solving a mystery. Wow, I’d give anything to live in your part of the country right now. I’ve never been to Cape Cod but it sounds lovely. Here in California it’s dry and everything is dying. We’re headed toward a real dystopian esperience:-( Have a wonderful month, Sara!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me neither, though I played a lot of educational computer games when I was younger. Myst was my favorite (non-educational) game – and yes, it’s wickedly hard!

      😦 I’ve heard about the drought you’ve had out there in California. I can’t imagine it… Is there any rain in the short-term forecast, to bring a teeny bit of relief?

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  5. 🙂 Looking forward to the “Ode to Josh Groban.” Which album is your favorite? “Stages” is delightful.
    Sadly, I’ve never seen him in concert (I’m not really much of a concert person – crowds, you know?) I’ve also never been to Cape Cod (or MA in general, it’s on my list). That windmill photo is gorgeous though!
    I know what you mean about taking on too much! I have waaaaay too many things going (and a huge workload), so I’m hoping September will be a little calmer than August was. And blogging aside, it sounds like you had a fruitful and productive August, so there’s that.
    Happy September!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Awake” is my favorite. I just love that collection of songs; that CD alone features 4 or 5 of my all-time favorites of his. I won’t give away what they are yet, though. 😉 “Stages” is also lovely. He needs to headline Broadway someday!

      Ohhhhhhh, Josh is WONDERFUL live. His voice is always in top shape, and he’s so goofy in between songs. *lol*

      Thanks! I don’t consider myself a strong photographer, but I’m pleased with how those photos came out. 🙂

      September is still on the crazy side. I’ve gotten a late start on my next regular DIY MFA post, so I’m going to log off shortly to get back on that. I hope things calm down for you soon, too!

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  6. Wow! It seems like you had a great month. ^ ^ I’ve been to a grist mill before but now one with a windmill. So cool! I have not heard of Myst, but it looks really cool. 🙂 It’s cool someone else has a childhood PC game. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  7. Myst! We are finally given the answer! 😀 I’ve never played it, but I like the sound and idea of it. Those old retro games are fun.
    Love the windmill photos. I’d love to visit Cape Cod again someday. My parents used to go there when I was a child, but I don’t remember it.
    Am looking forward to your Coach Daddy post, and more WIP progress reports too. 🙂 Glad the WIP draft 2 is going good so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a fascinating game, for sure. I’ve really enjoyed playing Myst IV so far, too, so it’s been nice to “revisit” that realm. (Each game features different worlds / Ages, so technically you’re revisiting places you’ve been to in previous games… But you know what I mean, right?)

      The Coach Daddy post should be up during the last week of September. I’ve finished proofing it; just need to round up some images to go with it.

      I didn’t quite hit 40% this weekend with TKC – but I’m really happy with the scenes I revised over the long weekend. They’re much more on point now. 😀 How is your editing coming along?

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      • Once I get more gaming time I’ll have to try Myst out. 🙂
        40% is really good! Wow, you’re almost half way through TKC!!
        My editing is slowly combing through chap. 1 again. I wasn’t satisfied with previous edits, and I’m glad I’ve gone over it again. As you said, it’s much more on point. Another thing: I changed the font body text, and it’s helped me edit more. I think my eyes were too used to the previous text, but changing it up has helped me look at it anew and catch mistakes. 😀

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      • Thanks. Sometimes it feels like I’m climbing Mt Everest… But good things usually don’t come when you rush.

        That’s a neat idea, changing the font type to refresh your perspective on the story. I’ve never thought of that before!

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