Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Novel Drafting, whee

Working on notebook paper is rather fun. August has been sort of another November in the sense that I am just writing for the sheer fun of it and getting all sorts of ideas on paper. They aren't good ideas, and really, I doubt most of what is going down here will ever see the light of day, but it is enjoyable nevertheless.

My current goal is to finish this draft before November. If I am lucky and work hard, I will be able to get what i want to keep transfered to the computer. I am already loading in character information to a program on the computer for when I do the transfer. Should be fun.

Nothing much going on that is unusual. Looking forward to the long weekend.

Off I go to torture some more characters. It should be great fun!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now I have done it...

In order to do more participation for NaNoWriMo this year, I have decided to do a few things...

First up, I am going to help out the MLs of my region as much as I can. (I foresee sneaking into the group of them and chewing on many ankles.) It should actually be a lot of fun.

Second, and the most major for now, is that I will be hosting a Writing Workshop in English in the Montreal area in mid October. There will be three or so subjects covered in what I hope will be a three hour session, with a question and answer session to follow. If you are in Montreal and want to attend, you can visit here on facebook and like the page. This will let you know more about the workshop as I learn more information for you. I am currently hoping to host the workshop at the grand library downtown, but I will not know if it is a possibility to do so at this point. I have a very, very small budget for the workshop, since it will be free of charge for anyone who wishes to attend. If there are any fees, it will be coming out of my own pocket.

Third, I will be making myself available to anyone participating in NaNoWriMo for morale support, regardless of whether or not a member of the Montreal region. That is something I love about Nano -- it is a world based community, not just local!

I hope to have a great deal of fun.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More of the Rentacoder Drama!

It gets better and better, I swear.

So, I have been firing emails back and forth with this individual from Rentacoder. I do not know their name, though I'm sure it might be buried in their signature somewhere among the various website links, fax numbers and phone numbers. In truth, I do not care that much.

What is making me laugh, and laugh a lot -- is that the fact I have been stating all along that the account they're associating with my account belongs to my husband. What does this woman do? Offers to give me access to that account.

Hello, privacy concerns! How are you today?

I don't know about you, but I am completely offended that someone who claims not to know if we are working together or not, offers to give me access to an account that I have repeatedly informed her was not mine. Would this, by any logic, seem like a good idea?

How does this help anything at all? Beyond making me feel like if I pursue business with this company any further, I will never know if someone will gain access to my account through the easy method of changing their name in the system to match my name and put in the same location as me. Addresses, after all, are fairly easy to acquire. I took several long paragraphs to point this out to her. If that is all it takes to gain access to an account, I am glad that this drama happened so I won't be taken advantage of by someone *other* than in the accounting department of this organization.

I wonder if she understood. I doubt it, seeing as her entire efforts have been to preserve the 40 or 50 or whatever dollars in fees that the company took from the account before transferring everything over.

At least, I think this person is a she. I will call her a she, seeing as I don't actually know her name.

To add insult to injury, when I informed her I would not be able to complete the contract seeing as they've rendered my account useless, she replied with something along the lines of "We will be forced to take a fee."

Do you know what I said to her?

I mentioned the 40 to 50 or whatever it was fee I was already charged, plus the loss of the funds in that account to an account that was not mine. I guess they can just claim interest on that. Or just take it, seeing as they have already done so.

I wish businesses realized that there are actually people behind things, not just little sources of money. At this point, I am convinced that this woman (or man?) views me as a convenient little source of additional revenue so that she might make some form of threshold so she keeps her job at said company.

This has gone beyond silly and into the realm of tiresome and a complete waste of my time. Keep the money, but seriously, learn to have better relationships with your customers. I don't even care if I'm right or wrong or whatever, but I think the original request of "just mail me a cheque and give me my money" was rather reasonable. Seeing as they are holding the money hostage, well... oh well. Obviously, they cannot tell if we are sharing the accounts. But, you would think, after stating the same thing over and over again like a broken record, just wanting access to the money I earned through them, they would have learned by now.

From how I have been talked down at, you would think I hacked an account or something, rather than just being married and living in the same household as someone who -- once upon a time -- used this site. You know, before he got a stable job that pays far, far more than this site could ever hope to render to one person in a year.

The evil of the telephone...

Why must telephones always interrupt what I am doing?! Last night, dinner went to the verge of ruination from a poorly-timed phone call. Then, to add insult to injury, it just interrupted my writing. :( Phone, why do you hate me so? I am busy, and try so hard to get this stuff all done today. Please stop ringing and let me concentrate!

Thank you, Telephone.

Now that I am done talking to inanimate objects, back to work.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More of the Contract Work Drama

So. Back to this. I woke up this morning to a rather displeasing email from Rentacoder.

The individual representing the company managed to somehow give a lengthy reply without actually answering any of my questions, especially the most important one regarding giving my money back.

It makes me wonder if the company is going bankrupt, seeing as they are targeting and grabbing a small amount of $ in the grand scheme of things without a single care on how much they tarnish their business' reputation.

At this point, I am certain of one thing: My money is lost. My husband doesn't remember the email account associated with the rentacoder account, nor does he have any care to go look into the account issue when he no longer does any work on that website. I can't blame him, this is my problem, and he has enough stuff that he needs to worry about.

Part of me understands their concern relating to people in, say, Nigeria, that wish to take advantage of people who are less than intelligent or easily gullible. Seeing as I have never done any nefarious activities while doing business with them, well, this is a bit idiotic in my opinion.

This has boiled out to be a rather large waste of my time and money. I have to go through and inform all of the people that I had referred what has happened and suggest to them that they remove their funds from this site to ensure that they do not fall victim just like I have. This is also a rather large was of my time (that also wastes money...) seeing as I had referred quite a few friends and family members.

I'm sure the site feels the victor, taking their 50 dollars or so in fees, and running off with the rest of the 160 or so I was going to use on entertainment purposes this month. And for my birthday.

Thanks for the awesome birthday present, Rentacoder. You have *totally* made my month. No, really. Thanks a lot. I should have been taking that money and having a better time on my birthday than worrying about if I could get my money back.

And I bet, if anyone from said company were to stop by, they would flap their jaw about how they can't tell who is who on the internet so people in the same household can't have duplicate accounts... go ahead, rentacoder. I don't really care. Your policy hurts people trying to make a living and who are legitimate. But, if it makes you feel better, go for it. There is a little comment box right below this blog post.

Upset Rebecca is angry.

This is definitely a Monday. Despite being a holiday, I feel it in my bones. It exudes the presence of Monday.

In other news, I have finished Chapter 4 of my Ghosts of Atlantis project. I am hoping to get some work done on Chapter 5 today. At least, once I am no longer fuming over the email I have received from that company.

I haven't even had time for my cup of tea yet today. Grrr.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Some Companies Suck

I have had a working relationship with rentacoder. For a long time, in fact. They thanked me by taking my $, dumping it into an account that does not belong to me, and telling me that I couldn't have it back.

No, I will not provide a direct URL to the company. They also operate under the name of Exhedra, which is the parent company. They are planning on changing Rentacoders name to something else, but I do not know what the new name is offhand.

Sometimes, being a freelancer really, really sucks.

The problem with being a freelance writer on Rentacoder is three-fold.

First, the pay sucks. They want low paid writers to do relatively simple work. I had no quarrels with doing so, seeing as I could do a lot of these articles in a short period of time. That resulted in the pocket change I needed for the household.

The main problem with the pay relating to Rentacoder is simple: You are competing with the bottom of the barrel. These people are willing to work for cents just to ensure a contract. As such, the customers expect writers who will work for cents. I was choosy about which projects I would take, getting a higher average of pay than many of the other writers.

Unfortunately, there were many people who preferred quantity over quality, which made obtaining good contracts difficult.

Second, they discourage all outside communications. Unlike Elance, which will even provide email addresses for offsite work, Rentacoder does not. In fact, you can have your account removed if you talk to anyone off site if your contract is below a certain threshold. They just want their money.

Third, Their customer service, as I have just discovered, really sucks. They will not notify you if they discover any problems with your account. (This is what, apparently, has bit me in the ass.)

Talk about nice treatments of those who have put money in -their- pockets.

My problem is now finding a new source of income, and quickly. While my Ghosts of Atlantis project, my Tower of the Rising Sun project, and all of my other novels, are indeed great fun, they do not put food on the table. They do not pay for the computer that recently fried. They do not help pay my mortgage or my car payment.

I am giving Elance a try to see if I can find a contract there. I won't pay for the services until I see a contract go through start to finish, but I will see if I can find work there. Perhaps it will make a suitable replacement for Rentacoder. If anyone knows of any other reliable sources of contract income, I would greatly appreciate any links that you could send me.

This is extremely stressful. In the grand scheme, it was not a significant amount of money. But, it was my money, and it was taken from me. This violation has me completely off balance.

I do not wish to try to monetize Ghosts of Atlantis. It is a project that I mean to share with the world for free. Stories were meant to be shared. I have projects that I want to try for the commercial market, but this is NOT one of them. Perhaps I will use LuLu in the future for offering fans a copy of the book, but only if it is asked for.

Oh well, tomorrow will be a better day. It is not the end of the world, although it feels like it should be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Start of a Day

It is 9:26 in the morning. The condo is somewhat quiet, for the herd of stomping elephants that is my husband has left the region. Today, his herd stampeded, but he managed to get out of the door with reasonable haste.

I fear the alarm clock may have been a casualty, however. I guess my blackberry will have to be set just to make sure it still works tomorrow.

I have a lot I have to do today. First, I need to make a cup of tea. I drink a lot of tea. I have a little bit of a tea collection going. I guess it really does count as a collection when I own some fifteen different blends and varieties of green tea.

While I could talk for hours on the qualities and deliciousness of green tea, I will avoid making myself look too silly.

With luck, I will get the second section of my Ghosts of Atlantis project posted to the internet. I am worried if chapter three is perhaps too over the top for the YA crowd, so I am going to whip chapter two into shape and post it online. That will give me two weeks to flush out the kinks. Then, Lilith gets to come out and join you in the wonder world of the internet.

Most of my attention will be on contract writing and Tower of the Rising Sun. Canada post has informed me that my new digital pad is out for delivery, so once that arrives, I fear my hyperactivity will reach new highs. It will be very hard to get anything done because I will have a new toy.

Curious? Come, look at my new toy. Yes, you know you want to look at it.

That said, I really, really hate when dreams parallel reality. I dreamed I had woken my husband up and he went to work. Then, I was buying new fish for my new aquarium. It was at that time I realized I was dreaming, shot upright in a fit of "oh my dear god I slept in." and realized I was actually up half an hour early.

The little part of shopping for new fish with -explosives- might have tipped me off that it was a dream. I mean, really. I suppose if I wanted fish tar-tar in my aquarium, I would use high explosives as a part of it.

I blame Mythbusters. Only Mythbusters could influence someone to dream about fishing with high explosives.

Off to work with me now. See you on twitter!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I realized that I have a blog for a book and I have a blog about writing books, but I did not have a blog about the writer behind the blogs about books. Talk about a little bit backwards and a little bit strange.

While some people may be aware of my writing blog, I typically keep personal matters out of the blog. It isn't for what is happening to me, but the things I encounter and struggle with as I write my novels. Don't worry, I do not have any plans on abandoning that blog. I will still write my posts there as infrequently as I already do. In other news, I am working on a new post, but it requires a lot of research material. It will get done as I am done collaborating with some individuals.

This blog will also not influence Ghosts of Atlantis, though I may post my progress about that novel here. If I end up posting any other projects, I will add details on them here as well.

Enough about my writing projects and a little on to me.

I just turned 27 on May 16, 2010. I have been informed that this puts me in the 'old' category, though I prefer to consider myself youth-challenged. I don't feel old. In fact, I feel quite like I did when I was 26. A little tired, a little stressed and in great need of a vacation I won't get for a few more years!

I do not know how frequently I will post, but I hope it is often. I will keep you notified on my twitter when I do post. You can find me at http://twitter.com/rebeccablain

You can also find me on Facebook. Just do a search for Rebecca J. Blain and look up the chick who was formerly a Sprouse.

Now, I have a date with some dishes and a lot of work to do on cleaning the condo before my mother arrives from the US on friday.