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Posts Tagged ‘phd’

…and now I beg you to help me make sense of my life…

Haha. That’s what it feels like at the moment…chaos!

No, not really, but it’s a bit of a bumpy ride.

I was looking back on My Plans for 2018 post to see if I could get some perspective.

On the PhD front. I have finished the first draft of the PhD novel and it’s currently being read by writer friends before it goes to my supervisor. This certainly helps me sleep better. (TICK)

The data analysis is okay…sort of…we transferred the data in IBM SPSS, in layman’s terms, a program for social science related data. All was going well, but then something went wrong with a couple of questions. I’m still waiting on the person helping me to see what the problem is. This means the my presentation for the end of the month at the PCA in Indianapolis is not written yet. This has caused me to freak out a tad. I mean I still have all the data and I have Survey Monkey and I have looked at bits of it and to tell the truth I have started the presentation. Yet, I look at the date! Yikes and go into meltdown to freakout mode.

At the present time the Exegesis can go play with itself. I’ll think about it when I get back. My supervisor says I have plenty of time. (NO TICK)

The other thing is that I’ve taken on tutoring in two subjects at uni. This is positive excitement and stress. At first it was taking up the whole present mind thing. I’m a bit calmer about it now. I even did one better than I was expecting, I wrote and delivered a lecture on The Protean Career and I’ve written one more that I’m giving when I get back from the US. They were a lot of work. I’m talking days of work, but I am not sure but I think I feel good about the experience. (NO COMMENT)

My physical issues are better. My left foot went ow but now it has calmed down. I’ve had some treatment on my neck and back and I’m functional. I’m working on the diet. (OKAY)

On the Dragon Wine series side of things. I lost my editor. I mean I know where she is and all that…she just went back to full time work. Her timelines were so far out that you wouldn’t seen the last two books until early next year and that wasn’t acceptable. However, I have found another brilliant editor and things are back on track. Now, I have editor deadlines. I have to get Skyfire ready for the editor by the end of April! I’m about a third of the way through. Moonfall will follow after that. I think I must be craycray! I finished drafting Moonfall in January. (RIPPER TICK!)

Craft

I have started some new pieces for a quilt. I’m working on hand quilting the Japanese kimono pattern quilt. These last few weeks though I haven’t had the energy. (BLAH)

Reading and general stuff

Because I am tutoring in a literature studies course, I had a mad impulse to read the books so I have read

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence (Loved it)

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (The first part was difficult for me. Lots of triggers. But an amazing fantasy story and retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and a little sad)

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (The voice was annoying but I could see the beauty of this story).

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (traumatised but an amazing book)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood (so beautifully rendered)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Phillip K Dick (so different to the movie. Different stories but as always -thought provoking)

Currently nearing the end of American Psyco Brett Ellis (an amazing book but the violence is ‘look away’ extreme)

On Audible I listened to Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh. This took me a long time to get into. I also found it tense and hard but by the end I was a bit gobsmacked. A complex and emotionally draining and thrilling (I’ll admit) ride. I think the issues with refugees in the story is really topical in the world right now. The situation for them in this book was horrible. If you became a refugee in Cherryh’s world then you had nothing. I can’t begin to tell you how that affected me.

I’m currently listening to Uprooted by Naomi Novik and I can’t stop listening. I find it gripping. You know I looked at some reviews on Goodreads and wow, some people really get a thrill out of pulling people down and rubbishing their work. I mean the really rip them apart one star reviewers who have their own following and they all get together and feed off each other like frenzied fish. (ROCKING THE READING THING)

I saw this happen to another book I listed as read. I don’t think I’ve seen it that extreme before this. Maybe I’m just naive.

And other than the above, I’ve done zilch on the Indie publishing front other than sending a newsletter, apply for a Bookbub once a month for Argenterra (and get rejected) and try to get Beneath the Floating City into print. I keep finding little typos. It’s so annoying really. I’ve been meaning to lower the price of Argenterra and I probably will for a short time. (MINUS TICK)

And this morning I have finally booked some accommodation in Indianapolis. My trip to Chicago is a bit up in the air for after the conference so I’m looking at doing something local. (HALF TICK)

 

 

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I’ve been trying to get Beneath the Floating City into print. With generous help from friends I have lodged the files with Createspace. However, Createspace threw a spanner in the works and I haven’t been able to proof the file until I can prove I own the copyright of my stories. I understand the precautions, I really do. But I was kinda in hurry because post takes ages from the USA when you can’t afford express international etc. So the odds of the book being here in time for the awards is fast disappearing. Oh well.

I received my first pay from tutoring. A small amount this pay, but it paid me back for the uni fees I had to pay out last week. Next pay I have probably already spent too. Just a whiff of money and I go cray cray!

My draft of Sihe continues. I was going to say apace but nah that’s not true. Although I hope to get the MS to 60,000 words today. I’ve skipped ahead and am writing the ending without having written the crisis. It seemed like a good idea because the ending was pushing against my mind and so on.

Today I have to work on the analysis of my surveys. We have transferred the responses to the Uni’s IBM SPSS program. That means a lot of manual stuff from me to get the files ready for showing me stuff. So I’ll do that today. I had to wait to get the program installed on this Mac and the Mac randomly freezes still. I have no idea but I’m over it. It’s been so unreliable. Different things get blamed. The updates. The Endnote. I have PC native files. Or something else goes bang. Picture me rolling my eyes and being very unimpressed.

I’ve been reading up for one of the tutorials I’m doing. So far in the last few weeks I’ve read, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick (very different from Blade Runner). I’ve also started on American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I have more books to read, but I feel a lot calmer now about teaching. None of this reading is for my PhD, just for teaching.

Teaching is a bit distracting. I hope I calm down a bit. Lots of little things to do and being across things. You get paid like an hour to prepare which is nice but it takes a lot more. I’m also delivering a lecture next week and that took ages, like 6-8 hours to prepare. Although money is good to have, it will all get spent. Hopefully I will do something useful with the money like pay for the cat run.

I have stockpiled book earnings to pay for edits of Skyfire and Moonfall.

I saw Black Panther last night and had nice cosy dreams about Chadwick Boseman. I have no idea what they were but  they were pleasant. The movie didn’t finish until after midnight so no time to wind down. I loved so many things about that movie. I wished that Wakanda was a true place. It’s a really lovely fantasy. I also liked the Africaness of the place and the movie was so owned by African -descent peoples. I also loved the women. Proud, strong, capable women. All of them were my favourites. Just awesome. Michael B Jordan was really something to see as the villain, great performance and well as Winston Duke-totally cool. Well done Ryan Coogler. Awesome movie. I hope to see many more like this. I’m also hanging out big time for Avengers Infinity Wars that I hope Matthew takes me to see for my birthday in the premium lounge (hint! hint!)

In other Dweebish news, Star Trek Discovery kept me thrilled to the end. Some great performances and favourite roles and great writing in places. I loved that I was shocked and awed and kept on the seat of my pants. My youngest daughter checked online and apparently we will see more of Lorca and  Ash Tyler in the next series which doesn’t drop until 2019!

I’ve also started on Altered Carbon. It helped that I finished the audio book. There’s a lot of action in the second half of the novel that will probably be better visually. It’s the second time I’ve seen Purefoy’s member and I was equally stunned and impressed as I was when he played Mark Anthony in Rome.

The Good Place is really a good mood lifter and I started on IT Crowd which I had heard of but had never binged watched before.

I’ve run out of detective series (not really) but I binged watched Wallander-loved it. Finished Shetland (first two seasons), watch River twice. Finished Whitechapel ages ago. I found Luther excellent but way too intense for me. I may go back to it. I had tapped out the Hinterland series on Netflix but I’m hoping for more. With the second season of The Crown consumed and Victoria I need more recommends.

Anyway, back to the novel. I’ve been procrastinating enough.

 

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We can call them goals for want of a better word but goals seem like a things that make you feel down if you don’t meet them. Whereas, plans are things that can change and can be added to and things can be taken away. I think plans are more strategic.

First and foremost is my Ph.D.This is my last full year run at things. I have to analyse my data and do that soon, because I’m delivering a paper on my analysis in March in Indiana,USA.

I have to finish my Ph.D. novel, Sihe. By finish I mean finish the draft, have it beta read by people, revise it and polish it, get my supervisor to read it and take up my supervisor’s comments and polish it again, again.

I also have to draft my exegesis. This relies mainly on the analysis of the two surveys that I undertook of readers and writers of romance fiction. That kind of sounds easy and kind of doesn’t. Time will tell. I’ve done my literature review but I have to keep it current until I submit. The literature review is like a chapter of my exegesis.

I am also delivering two to three papers at academic conferences in 2018. I haven’t written them yet. I also need to get a couple of academic journal articles written and published.

There are things that I can do if my plans don’t go well. I can switch to part-time study. But that means I won’t finish for another two years or year and a half. I’m not sure I want to keep on doing this. Because just as soon as I started my Ph.D. I wanted you to do other things as well. And even though I don’t have any other job besides the Ph.D. and writing there is only many so many hours in a day. And there’s just not enough hours for me to do everything I want to do. Also, I have a growing list of physical issues that impact on my ability to work (see previous post).

On the personal side, I really want to manage my physical issues better so that I can maximise what I can do without incapacitating myself. At the moment, I’m waiting on a bunch of results from blood tests to make sure that I don’t have some horrible autoimmune disease. Fingers crossed!

I’d like to do some tutoring at University this year. I was offered some opportunities in the second semester in 2017 but because I was in Europe for two months of the semester I couldn’t do it. My trip to Indiana in March is short and in a semester break so if I do get any tutoring I’ll be able to take up the opportunity.

Writing/publishing

My plan is to finish the draft of Moonfall as soon as possible in January. I’m nearly at 35,000 words today and if I keep working at this pace I might achieve that. The first cut of Moonfall should be 80,000 words, maybe a little bit less. I tend to increase my word count when I’m doing my revisions and polishing before sending to beta readers because there are scenes that I have not fully explored  and/or atmosphere settings that I’ve missed out. It’s where I really start crafting the story. My aim when drafting is to get the story down and make sure the plot works. This means that in 2018 I will have both Skyfire and Moonfall to revise and edit and publish. I aim to do this in the first half of the year and work around my Ph.D. at the same time. I think it’s doable.

All other new work  has to take a back seat to the Ph.D. I’ve got some ideas and I have some previously drafted work that I could revise and polish on the backburner so that there might be new work later in the year. I have a sci-fi romance drafted. I have a Regency romance drafted and I have a two steampunk series that are close. And I have a lot of ideas for more stories in the Silverlands world, the Dragon wine world and in the space pirate world as well a completely new stories and some old stuff that I started but never completed. That all might need to wait until 2019.

Craft

I’d also like to do some craft projects. I’ve got some lots of unfinished craft projects but I’d really like to make a quilt as well is finish off some of those unfinished projects. I’m attending the Jane Austen Festival in April and usually make something for that. I’m almost finished making my Regency corset. And I’ve got a bonnet workshop in January.

Reading and general

I’d also like to get a lot more reading done. Not only romance but in other genres and the academic reading. I’d also like to create time. Ha ha!

I would also like to keep up my social activities and enjoy time with my friends and family. My son is going to pay for me to go to China to visit him in Shanghai. I just have to find an appropriate date.

On the indie publishing side of things I would like to learn more about marketing and book formatting and the industry in general but as said above I can’t really commit to a lot of new work until the Ph.D. is done. Yet a think providing the last two instalments of the Dragon wine series will please fans of that series and that’s very important to me.

House projects include developing a cat run so that Gin, the cat, can get outside. Generally, I’d like to see that we keep our garden in better order. We’ve hired cleaners once a fortnight for inside the house and that has helped a lot and I hope to continue that. We have to be tidier to get the full benefit of the cleaner but I can’t see anything wrong with that. However, Matthew likes a bit of chaos around the house.

Most of all I hope I am resilient enough to cope with what life throws my way this year.

I wish you well in your 2018 endeavours.

 

 

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I’ve been back from Europe just over two weeks now. I’m over the jetlag, I think. I went back to uni and started working on things. I sent out newsletters and I even have a Bookbub sale on the 17th for Shatterwing, which is amazing.

My grandson turns 8 today! Happy birthday Alex! I feel old. He’s the youngest grandson and a joy to be around.

I’ve even done my tax return and my BAS. Before I swallow my halo I have to say my ‘to do’ list a mile long and the house looks seriously in need of a clean and a great big sorting out of stuff.  Then there is the garden. Eep!

I look outside and the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Except for a serious attack of sciatica and back pain, I’m doing great.

I try not to think how close Christmas is because that’s insane. It’s too close. With the back pain keeping me subdued I have to let things slide. I really wanted to finish the first draft of my PhD novel. But I can’t sit down for long so I won’t be able to do that. But I guess better quality beats speed in this case. I hit a technical snag and I have to think my way around it. PhD novels are meant to be hard right?

Anyway, this is just a quick check in.

I have read some fabulous books of late so next post I’ll talk about them.

 

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I am back on campus after sick leave. I was AWOL for over a month but all good now. This has put back my PhD project timetable unfortunately.

I thought I’d provide an update on the romance survey. It is still running but I will close it off at the end of May as that is when I am scheduled to deliver my confirmation seminar and be confirmed in my PhD. It’s a formality I have to go through. Then I’ll be starting the interviews. So if you are interested in completing the survey you still have time as a reader or a writer. Links below.

Looking at Survey Monkey today I have received 682 responses from romance readers. That is absolutely fantastic. It’s an international survey and I’ve received responses from Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK etc. Brilliant. I’m so thrilled.

The number of skips. Skip are where respondents abandon a survey or skip questions or miss questions. I haven’t done the analysis yet on which questions were skipped so I’m only giving total numbers here. The skips for readers vary from 14 to over two hundred and some questions it’s about 184 skips. From a quick scan a lot of the responses that required the reader to type a response had the highest number of skips. Overall I don’t have a problem with the skipping. Romance readers have been very generous with their answers and there’s very little abandoning the survey before finishing it.

However, if you are a respondent on the reader survey and would like to send me your thoughts on the survey and any issues you had then they would be most welcome. Overall, it’s an amazing response. Either reply or send me an email through the contact page or use Twitter or Facebook.

Survey responses from writers so far are 377, which is also amazing and I’m very grateful for these. Also international and that’s been mind blowing really. Writers though appear to have difficulty with the survey with a very high number of skips and people leaving the survey.

From what I can see about 136 people just stopped the survey just after the start and I don’t know why. The rate of skips is fairly consistent so the real response rate is closer to 241.

Early reports from respondents indicated that they had tried to use the survey on the phone and had technical issues. Some of those skipping have come back in and completed the survey but as I’m no tech guru I don’t know.

If there was a reason you as a romance writer dropped out of the survey please let me know if you can. It will help me to understand what issues there were and if I can answer your questions then you still have time to participate if you want. The survey can be completed anonymously. I only ask for contact details if you want to be included in follow up interviews. I will not be interviewing that many people so I can’t say who will be interviewed as yet.

The first part of the survey contains the compulsory questions I must include as this is an authorised survey through the University of Canberra, complete with ethics approval. You need to agree to me using the data you provide or you will be exited from the survey at the beginning. All data will be kept in accordance with the University of Canberra’s data retention and privacy requirements. I will not be using any email addresses or contact details other than contacting those volunteering to be interviewed. The only info I see is the IP address, which I’m no guru so I wouldn’t know how to identify you. No unselling or stuff like that. This is entirely aboveboard. There is even a complaints process outlined in the information materials.

So help out if you can.

Let’s see if we can get the overall response over 1000! Come on. We can do it!

Romance READER survey  link to Survey Monkey. Here.

Romance WRITER survey link to Survey Monkey. Here.

 

Couple Love Beach Romance Togetherness Concept

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I was trying to come up with a nifty way to encourage romance readers to respond to my survey for my Phd. So I’m putting this here so I can test it. Smile!

survey ad readers

 

So here is the one for writers.

writers of romance fiction

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