Menu Goes to the Real World!

June 30, 2014 - Author: aelish

Returning to dormant blogs is… weird. To say the least.

It’s like returning to an old house. It’s comforting, maybe a little nostalgic, but you just can’t escape the sense of you don’t belong! Maybe it’s the archaeologist in me, but I often just want to preserve my past museum-style, rather than give it a modernized makeover and drag it, kicking and screaming, into the present. (I still have live journals preserved forever under a thick layer of digital dust!)

But expensive domain is expensive. And why give up a perfectly good piece of internet real estate?


An example of the Real World.

I will soon be headed back to the Real World: that messy, physical space where people show their faces and identify themselves with *gasp!* real names instead of handles. (…WUT?) Yes, it’s true. I’ve witnessed it for myself. It’s been a long time since I was there, but I’m pretty sure it goes against their social conventions to show up in bandana-face or a Guy Fawkes mask. And you can’t introduce yourself with an @ symbol.

*le sigh*

So, having already staked my claim to my real nym digital territory, I’m coming back to build a home for my Real World self here at

So who exactly is this Real World self?

Damned if I know.

No Comments - Categories: Uncategorized

The Writing Process

November 14, 2013 - Author: aelish

This is Paul Kohler’s version of the writing process.


**snip snip snip**

This is what I think it should look like:


Ok, so I don’t know how to make a Venn Diagram. My math education comes from Facebook! Leave me alone….. 

What does YOUR writing process look like?

No Comments - Categories: I Need A Hug..., Writing

Fear: NaNoWriMo Lessons Week 2

November 13, 2013 - Author: aelish

This is not what I wanted my NaNoWriMo graph to look like this week:


No, it’s not a horrible mess of shame. Yes, I’m ahead of the game. Yay!  But… just barely. I don’t have much breathing room. And, that’s not good. See, unlike people who work best under stress, when I don’t have breathing room, I just DON’T BREATHE. (Good thing this is a metaphor, huh.) I freeze up. My fight or flight reflex crashes and defaults to FREEZE. In other words, if I get far enough behind where I want to be, I’ll just give up.

And for the record? This was more like where I wanted to be:

NaNoStats 2

Well, technically, if I’m honest, I’d rather be here:

NaNoStats 3

But it turns out they’re not giving out the #1 Best Seller medals at the end of this NaNoWriMo. *shrug* Guess I’ll have to wait till next year.

Anywhoo….. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel like I’m failing. I know I’m doing okay. I’m doing fantastic. This is pretty much the closest EVER that I’ve come to being on-schedule. And that’s cool. So no, it’s not failing. But I’m a bit annoyed that I’m failing to exhaust my potential. And it’s the potential I’m way more concerned about.

I know I can do more. I can do better.

And the thing that really, really annoys me? I know EXACTLY what’s killing the potential.


Sorry, I couldn’t be more original. And yes, this is the same same paralyzing force that, from what I can tell, plagues ALL writers. See: Teri Brown’s The Doubts, or Carrie Rubin’s Mr. Nasty Pants. Sorry, I’m not great at thinking up names.

To me, it’s just FEAR.

What are you DOING? Fear says, horror dripping off its every syllable. That’s the stupidest thing ever, it says.  No one is going to read this. Or WORSE, (there is ALWAYS a “Worse” with Fear) they WILL read it and they will laugh. It’s that horrible, cheesy, and frankly, just incomprehensible! Incomprehensible, meaning no one is ever going to comprehend why you did this sad, tragic excuse for doing stuff, says Fear, always the first to rub your nose in it. Nope. People aren’t going to like that one bit, finishes Fear, always with a smug, satisfied gloat.

Yeah, I get it. You can shut up now. >`:

Fear usually lives quietly in the background. But sometimes, it pushes its way to the front (SUPER rude!) Sometimes, after the glimmer of inspiration wears off and before the pride and relief of finishing sets in, sometime right smack in the middle of Getting Things Done, Fear makes itself known, big and ugly, right there in your face, front and center.

Hello, Week 2!

Yup, Fear got very loud this week.

But, I think I’ve found its kryptonite. There’s one thing I can do that shuts Fear up: doing EXACTLY what I fear, before Fear can tell me not to.

I’m talking about writing those things that I can’t write. That I’m afraid to write. Sometimes, that’s the romance that totally sounds great in my head but can’t possibly translate to paper (hehe). Sometimes, that’s the character that is such an unlikeable jerk that I can’t possibly pull it off, and why even try? Sometimes it’s…… whatever.

It’s the things I can’t write.

Sometimes, I need to just go ahead and write them.

And I need to hurry. Fear is coming and I’ve got to keep ahead. Ciao!

2 Comments - Categories: NaNoWriMo

On Bathrobes and Writing In Shoes: NaNoWriMo Lessons, Week 1

November 8, 2013 - Author: aelish

As a kid, I didn’t stay up late on Christmas Eve. I slept, because the sooner I fell asleep, the sooner it would be tomorrow (Thanks for the lessons on time-space continuums, Mom.)

Confession: this wasn’t just when I was a kid.

It was last week. It was last year. It was… It was the night before my flight to Finland, and the eve of my move to China. It was the night before my last Christmas at home and it was the the day before starting an exciting new job.

It was October 31st, the day before NaNoWriMo.

Turns out, though, the fast forward effect wears off after a while.

I can no longer go to bed at 9PM, expecting to jump forward to 5AM and hit the ground running. Nope. While my Brain once deferred to Sleep in all matters, it now takes matters into its onw hands: Now see here, Brain demands, you’re going to stay awake till a NORMAL hour. 1 or 2, earliest. (It’s always pretty specific.) THEN you can sleep. By the time I’ve fought off Brain (usually in the wee hours – Brain knows what it’s talking about), I’m out till noon.

I used to read all those books and articles like The 10 Things Rich/Successful/Happy/Better-Than-You People Do! And they always made sense to me because they always had to do with Getting Things Done before the rest of the world even hits the snooze button. My kid self didn’t have a problem with that, and I tried for a long time to evolve kid self’s habits into adult habits.

Did not happen.

But it’s okay.  I think I’m going to forget about time now.

I think, when I don’t have to wake up at X-obscene-morning-hour, I’ll get up when I want. The day will start when I want. Work and fun and NaNoWriMo will start when I want. Because I think I’ve finally settled on what really gets me out of bed in the morning.

It’s not the hour on the clock.

It’s shoes.


These shoes mean Serious Business.
Try being LAZY with these on.

Ok, to be fair, it’s the routine — whether at 6AM or 1AM – that gets me to hit the ground running.

I get up.

I get up and I pick out an outfit that doesn’t resemble pajamas, gym wear, or laundry day. I put on makeup. Not a shitload. Just enough to make my just-opened eyes appear vaguely awake and give my too-pale skin a color that resembles human flesh.

I put on shoes.

And I feel ready. With shoes, I can conquer the day.

So it’s not just shoes. They’re just the final puzzle piece that holds everything together. Shoes say I’m going out to see the world today. Shoes say I don’t want to scare the world like a crazy person in slippers and broken toenails. Shoes say I’m Getting Things Done today! I don’t even have to open the front door. I can sit at my desk and feel like a productive, well-put-together human being.

And that’s when magical things happen:

become a productive, well-put-together human being

I may never be destined to be a successful writer, because I’m pretty sure that entails writing in bathrobes or in the bath or hunched over a pile of papers scratching a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow.

But it’s okay.

I’ve got my shoes on.

2 Comments - Categories: Fashion, NaNoWriMo

By the way… HI and Welcome!

November 1, 2013 - Author: aelish

Better late than never – this is the big HELLO post. That is, it’s the point where I say Hi, again! to all the people I’ve already met, and welcome to my new home. To everyone else, I just say Hey, and welcome. I’m super glad to have you here, whether I’ve known you for two years or two minutes.

As I said in my first, half-assed introduction, is now my place.

I want to make it clear that I am still blogging over at…………… um, let’s just call it The Library. I’m not abandoning my first home. This is just like the second house in the Hamptons.

I looked into one of those, but this was cheaper.

I thought really hard about the move.

I resisted for a long time – I bought this domain months ago. My problem? I thought that separating my work into two blogs would convey some sort of shame, like I’m hiding from my opinions or running away from the wonderful community that’s sheltered me for like three years or even shirking my responsibilities as a conscientious citizen to do nothing all day but try to solve world problems or……… Ok, I may have a guilt problem. But the point is, I didn’t want to walk away from anything.

And I’m not.

But this, here? This is my place.

Recently, my work became much more integrated with The Library and with the community. Yes, thats fantastic! But it has, at times, meant that my other projects got pushed to the side. I stop and doubt myself. Can I really post my latest story, I’d wonder, while Congress is voting on CISPA? or How can ask for advice on grad school when my friends are all downstate campaigning in REAL FUCKING ELECTIONS? I mean, REALLY. How do you say no when this guy shows up in your Inbox:

Member of The Internet Defense League

You don’t. That’s how.

And I won’t be. Not anytime soon. I do feel obligated to speak my mind loud and proud AND to stick around when the flame wars start raging.


My work, my writing felt so, so very small. In the face of everything else, anything else that I could be working on, the things that I truly wanted to do, the projects that were so close to my heart, seemed so inconsequential.

And maybe they are.

Scratch that, definitely they are.

But I want to be a writer. I can’t push my work to the side and second guess myself. And I can’t be a productive member of a community if I’m not first a productive individual in my own work and life.

So I have my own place.

second home, not just another home. I can have both.

And, ultimately, it’s not just about politics. It’s about the thing it needs to be about: the writing. My tastes diverge wildly: I love The Dispossessed and Harry Potter. I love Cory Doctorow and Amelia Atwater Rhodes. I read Cypherpunks in the same amount of marathon-like time as I read Divergent. Of course, variety is all well and good. But sometimes things need space to breathe. It’s hard to share sci-fi social commentaries in a YA romance crowd. It’s awkward to pitch your newest YA Fantasy to the ex-Occupy sphere. It’s difficult to slip in the shameless self-promotion after a good ol’ rant on the NSA.

Things need their own space.

I’ve spent three years making a space for my more serious (ok: ranty) writing. Now, I need to make a space for the softer words. I hope some of my Library friends will visit this place too – even just for a moment to see another side.

You are welcome here.

2 Comments - Categories: Hugs All Around!


October 31, 2013 - Author: aelish

REMINDER: November 1st IS a Holy Day of Obligation, so make sure to get your ass to church and…….. lol j/k. It’s NOVEMBER, and your ass belongs in front of a computer, writing like there’s no tomorrow. But of course, there is a tomorrow. 29 tomorrows, in fact. And in all of them you’ll be writing like there’ll never be another.

Yes, today is OFFICIALLY NaNoWriMo Eve.

(Yes, that is totally a thing.)

It’s October 31st and tomorrow begins the best month of the year, and it’s time to get your battlestations ready! I’m preparing my own noveling space, which you can see in the pic below, as a welcome alternative to handing out candy and a less-welcome alternative to breaking out the elf ears and crushed velvet.


Here’s the layout of my battlefield:

First Line of Defense: The computer

I’d hoped to have a keyboard that actually typed what I put into it, or a screen that didn’t randomly go black when I’m working on Chapter 4, but that’ll have to wait for next year. For now, I’m working with my old buddy here who’s had one too many high-velocity floor meetings to be totally reliable, not to mention his habit of getting a little too cozy with my coffee, tea, pear juice and other things that don’t mix well with an electronic circulatory system. At least he’s a Mac, so mostly functional and damn, he’ll keep plugging along even if he’s not!

Second Line of Defense: Notebook & pen

I like writing by hand. It’s totally inefficient, and specifically un-suited for NaNoWriMo. But writing – the physical kind with the ink and the dead trees – makes me happy. And when I’m happy I can write. So if my first line of defense gets cranky or fails to provide inspiration, a good long walk in the fallen leaves and a spot on a distant park bench and a soft, blank page that doesn’t glow glaringly white on a screen might do the trick.

Third line of defense: Coffee

Paper and pen may fail to force the words out, but caffeine won’t. After all, what else is there to do when you’ve downed 10 cups and cant sleep or hold a coherent conversation?

So that’s it for my battlestation!

Sorry it couldn’t be super exciting – like a private home office with eight monitors, a digital coffee maker that pours out fuel on a schedule, a kitten, and one of those fake water fall rock garden things that makes soothing water sounds all the time – like a really big one. Someday I’ll have one of those. Someday, I’ll have the whole super exciting home office (but I’ll have NINE monitors – HA!) But for now, it’s just a dinner table for me.

That’s why I added the bunny – he’d not a weapon or a coffee maker or a monitor, just something to make the picture less boring. One day, one day….

So, fello WriMo’s! Where will you be word smithing this November?

2 Comments - Categories: NaNoWriMo

Polyvore & Character Fashion: What’s YOUR Creation Wearing?

October 29, 2013 - Author: aelish

How do I not know about these things?

Thanks to the Redhead Fashionista (discovered via NaNoWriMo – and there’s the #1 reason for participating: ALL the awesome writers come out of the woodwork) I just discovered Polyvore. After looking around for a bit, I realize I am exactly the last person to have heard of it. It’s been around since before there was a –teen in the year. But in my defense, I’m kind of a closet fashionista. I grew up in a bubble where people who liked clothes and hair and sparkly things were considered… less. As if somehow what you liked to put on your head had anything whatsoever to do with what was inside it.

Untitled #1


Anyway, I’m past it, which is great because I can now discover stuff like this: amazing, totally not-new social sites for sharing outfits and whatnot online. Of course, Polyvore pulls pieces from the WHOLE range of price points and most of these pieces are way out of reach for a lowly sometimes-writer. BUT I found another use for them anyway:

Character creation.

With only a few days till the start of NaNoWriMo, I’m getting in the mood by dressing up my characters. Normally, I’m a pantser – I just put digital pen to paper and start writing. Characters, settings, themes and all those things that form, you know, the entire point of the novel can come later. I don’t plan. But this year is different. This year, I’m writing a novel based on a short story (but am neither rewriting it nor using any prose from it (YES, I am following the rules!)) This year, I’ve already got a good handle on the entire point. Themes. Settings. Characters.

And character’s outfits.

I’m not a visually-oriented person. At all. But sitting down to write a story, I always have at least some picture of the characters in my head. And unless I start writing for kids (hint: not gonna happen), my challenge is to convey the picture without a picture – all the while avoiding info dumps and purple descriptions that hold up the pace of the story. And without a publisher’s budget, I’m lucky if I can even get a basic professional cover, let alone pay someone to painstakingly depict what’s in my head.

But the picture is there.

So in the last few days before November, while my fingers are itching to write, while my outlines are getting messier and messier, and my brain is flailing around for something, anything, to do that’s not just sitting down and writing the damn book, I’m having fun with pulling the picture out of my head and onto the digital paper.

YOUR turn, WriMo’s: What’s your character wearing?

4 Comments - Categories: Fashion, NaNoWriMo


October 26, 2013 - Author: aelish

Why, why, WHY does October have to have 31 days?

Anyone else in favor of petitioning the Calendar Governing  Body to swap February in for October? Let the pre-November month fly by in 28 days! I can deal with an occasional 29th. But this! This is ridiculous. 31 days. smh…. Who thought of that?

NaNoWriMo kicks off in less than a week, and my fingers are getting twitchy.

They want to WRITE!

Ok, they are writing. But they need to be flying over the keyboard, sprinting all out, running for their lives towards this year’s big adventure: The Novel.

Confession: I’m a recovering  NaNoWriMo Rebel.

The last few Novembers saw me working on novels I’d already begun or short story collections (and even some of those were already started – I was a rebel twice over!) I kept the spirit of NaNo – filling my pages with 50,000 new and fiction-shaped words – but I didn’t keep to the rules. November was just an incidental party stop, never the main event.

Not this year.

This year, it’s on.

This year, the novel is waiting. The new novel. The new story. The totally-following-the-rules-this-time project. It’s just sitting there. Waiting. Twitching at the starting line, itching for the race to begin.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo before. I know it’s hard.

But… DAMN!

This is the real hard part!

No Comments - Categories: NaNoWriMo

Hi. I’m Aelish. Who are you?

October 18, 2013 - Author: aelish

Hi there!

I’m Aelish. is my new home in the digitalverse.

And yes. I will humbly accept this “Winner of the Internet” award for that domain. I’d like to thank my parents for avoiding common names and common TLD components, like AeliCOM or AeliNET or AeliORG. That was nice of them.

So here I am in my own little eponymous internet home.

By day, I’m a blogger. I keep the official blog for……………… a, um, library. I write about the world of reading, writing, and publishing online, often reporting first hand on the experiences, experiments, and general all-purpose trouble making in publishing platforms like Kindle, Smashwords, and CreateSpace.

I love what I do, and I’m not quitting the day job.

But I also love new projects.

New challenges, new places, new people… New is fun. New is how we evolve. New keep our work fresh.

So is my new place.

It’s my new home to strike out with my new projects in a new direction. And I’ll be glad to take you along for the ride.

No Comments - Categories: Uncategorized

Hi there

October 11, 2013 - Author: aelish

One more fantasy

writer on the internet.

Hi, this is my place.




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