Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Author Follow Fest '14

By random chance, I stumbled upon "Follow Fest '14" earlier this week on Twitter.  Coordinated by Melissa Maygrove, it's a chance to connect with other writers during the week of Sep 22-26.  Feel free to join in yourself, the instructions are here, and if I've done this right, the "Blog Hop" is below.

My responses to the questions are as follows. Apologies in advance for kind of breaking them... I like to think I defy categorization.

Name: Gregory Taylor

Fiction or nonfiction?  Fiction.  (Though my math web serial involved actual math, and I also write a non-fiction education column for MuseHack.)

What genres do you write?  Urban Fantasy.  (aka, I take real life and mix in time travel. Or magic. Or whatever.)

Are you published? No. Nor actively seeking. (Passively, maybe.)

Do you do anything in addition to writing?
Editing for friends (and myself). I’ve also drawn for my own web serial. And I teach high school mathematics.

"I'm going to read your thoughts!"
Tell us a little about yourself:
Late thirties, married, no children yet. Live in Canada, my in-laws are in France. I roleplay. I have seen every episode of Star Trek, and I watch Doctor Who - time travel is cool. For 52 weeks, I posted #AMVFriday on Twitter, because anime. I hate beans, chilli makes me physically ill. I rewrite pop music songs to have mathematical lyrics, and I perform them in my classes. I’m a little weird.

What are you reading right now?
  Shadows Over Sheradan by Scott Barker

Which authors influenced you the most?
That’s a tough one. Going back to high school, I suppose Piers Anthony. Add Douglas Adams, with some Madeleine L’Engle. Then the mystery genre, so Agatha Christie, Eric Wilson, the pen name Franklin W. Dixon, and the like. 

Where can people connect with you?

Oh boy.  Okay...
Blog 1: Personified Math Serial
Blog 2: Choose-My-Own Adventure Serial
Blog 3: Everything else (you’re here now!)
Static Website: Writing Page here

Twitter: @mathtans
Facebook: Personified Math (permanent hiatus)
Goodreads: I have an account, keep meaning to use it.
Google+: Rarely use it, but check here.
LinkedIn: I lurk there.
Pinterest: No.
Tumblr: No.

Do you have a newsletter? No.  (Already busy enough.)

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

Owing to the day job, I’m a lot more active in the summer. The rest of the year, I tend to spontaneously show up in a forum/chat for a week, then vanish. Particularly around report card time. I'm not being dismissive; keep poking me.

I did once participate in a JulNoWriMo (November, hahahaha, no) and while I managed over 50,000 words, I found it not to my taste - I can’t stop myself from editing as I go. I'm better at serials, since once it's out there, I stop fiddling with it.

Speaking of, I am always looking for anyone who feels like voting in my current ongoing serial.  Thanks for reading to the end!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Summer's End 2014

Summer? What summer? Well, I did a wrapup for 2013, I might as well repeat the process this year. Once again, I failed to get to a bunch of stuff I wanted to - while simultaneously getting a bunch done too. Here's the record!


One of the first things I did was attend a tweet up at Mary Bourassa’s place, whereby I met Audrey McLaren in person for the first time! My parents and my aunt also came by for a visit. Beyond that though, the first couple of weeks of July were spent trying to do things I hadn’t had time for in the 5 months previous.  Namely: Edit Book 3 of my Time Travel story (which I managed by July 10th), fully read Mawi’s book “The 5 Powers of an Educator” (I blogged about him here), and catch up on my blog posting both for here and on MuseHack.

I blogged more in July 2014 than in any previous month.

Let's squeeze in a 5 minute break
I felt like I’d FINALLY caught up to the end of June around maybe the 14th of July. My wife took some time off work, we did some bicycling and took a day trip out to the beach. I tidied my office, started reading Steven Strogatz’s “The Joy of X”, and sketched out the back story of new characters for my Time Travel story sequel. (Taking place at University of Ottawa.) The plot itself, like all time travel plots, turned out to be one I’ll have to fully map out in advance. I also wrote a single song parody.

So that was maybe 4 days of summer.

Rehearsals started up for Pygmalion at school by the 17th (weekdays only, weekends free). To say there were some complications from parents would be an understatement. In the midst of it, I skipped out to “Twitter Math Camp” in Jenks, Oklahoma from July 23rd to 27th (and I blogged about that too, starting here). I actually hadn’t been sure about “live blogging” again, but effectively the day before, I decided to make it a point form “facts game”, as my motivation. I even managed to finish “Joy of X” on the plane ride back.

Upon my return to town, “Pygmalion” rehearsals were going on in earnest, so I was at school nearly every day (for less than 6 hours?), doing what I could. I also wrote some post-TMC blog posts; weekends were still free, but the last day of July was a Thursday.

Thus... 5 days of nothing-to-do summer by this point? I’m counting weekends here, because I’m usually working on the weekends during school. Granted, I suppose it’s less days if you consider needing to tend my lawn. My wife helped me clip the hedges.


Not that kind of archive dive
We can make the total 8 days by August 5th (long weekend), if we ignore me randomly worrying about things. During that time, I finally got to reading Andrea Milne’s “Short Story Project”, started an archive dive on the (x, why?) webcomic by @mrburkemath, and watched a wee bit of the anime “Suite Pretty Cure”. Following that weekend, I wrote this post to bow out of the “MTBoS”, because I hated that I hadn’t been doing more fiction writing myself. Speaking of, with most of the planning for my Time Travel sequel done at that point, I DID write a good 3 pages or so. Also remembered to celebrate my anniversary.

Then, August 9th, off to Scotland for two weeks with 23 teenagers and 4 other chaperones. (Have I mentioned I’ve never even taken a school trip out of the city before?) That actually went pretty well, the students didn’t have major medical emergencies and Mrs. Schrum (lead chaperone) didn’t go completely crazy (that might have left me in charge). I even saw some great sites/sights, and I then managed to finish reading a third book (which I’d started late July): “A Strange Wilderness: Lives of the Great Mathematicians”. (Completed on the plane ride back.) Only managed a couple pages of writing though, unless you count the daily journal.

Got back August 22nd. Not counting the trip with students, I can now add more onto my 9 days of summer!

Logged some Napier in Edinburgh
Finalized this TV Tropes webpage for (x, why?) - FYI, I now have two at that site, the first was the “Being Erica” page. (I’m not counting the partial page I made for my own web serial because it’s pathetic.) Saw the new Dr Who, and blogged about that. Got my MuseHack post done. Bought a new watch strap (it broke in Scotland) and dropped by University of Ottawa to get a better sense of my story setting. FINALLY started reading “Shadows over Sheradan”, a book I bought last October, written by a local teacher. Updated my personal webpage. Completed editing on Book 4 of my Time Travel Story, which means the whole thing is now converted. I THINK that on August 26th, I did nothing but edits. PRETTY sure that's as close to a nothing day as I had.

At 14 days of summer, I had to return to school... well, I suppose I didn’t HAVE to, no one was paying me, but it was August 28th, I wanted to reorganize my classroom, and I’d already received an email from a parent regarding an IEP (Individual Education Plan). As I write this, I realize I never bought caulking for something I needed to take care of at the house. Darn it.


SO... productive summer? I guess... but I’d also wanted to catch up on Scott Delahunt’s blog, spend time on the Web Fiction Guide Forums, and generally get a better sense of serial writing. There was sewing I didn’t get to, and home improvement (the kitchen faucet still behaves funny, and I need to clean the vents). I didn’t make any new videos, and only managed one song parody. I wanted to actually watch an anime series I’ve had in my possession for a while, and one I don’t.

A teacher colleague of mine says they were able to cross off everything on their “To Do” list this summer. I literally have NO idea what that’s like - is that even possible? Has that ever happened in my life?? (Genuinely curious, is ALWAYS having something else that needs doing just a “me” thing?)

Read, man!
However, I feel like I redeemed my lack of writing a wee bit with an initiative that coalesced in my head on August 31st. I have a lot of characters. If “Guardians of the Galaxy” can pull together a working team from different backgrounds, how about I do something like that? Based on reader suggestions! It’s serial writing without a buffer, you can follow it over at my new (third) blog: Numbers Game Index.

I hope it goes well. Writing is one of the few things that still invigorates me after a week of exhaustion. Time will tell. Coming in some future post: Actual Goals going forwards.