The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

The adorable, endless grind

The adorable, endless grind

I guess I’m going to get some funny looks for this post, but writing is an adorable, yet endless grind.  I’ve been arguing with people today about it today, but we grow, and we learn.  And writing is both pleasure and pain, or at least for me.  And I’m still stretching my muscles and wearing them in again.

I set myself a goal of 100,000 words this year, and I’m already a fifth of the way there, just blogging, doing and a tiny bit of fiction.  I want the fiction to be much more of an element in it, but seriously, it’s easy to write 100,000 words, just by blogging and doing  I may need a bigger goal!

In the interim though, I thought I’d introduce my new readers to a few things that they might have missed:

My main Facebook page.
My main G+ page.
My twitter
My writing Blog
My PR blog (which I share with Kriss Morton)
I’ll stop there – I’ve got pen names too, but y’know, it’d be great if you’re following the main stuff…it’ll cut down on your clutter too.

We (Kriss and I) are sorting out some other stuff to launch too – a horror blog and a couple of other things besides.

But yeah, that’s where we are right now.  I’m back to looking for a job, which is really fun, and really tiring. We’ve temporarily stopped trying for a baby, while I settle into everything.  We’re coming up with new and interesting ways to amuse the now not so kitten-sized kittens.  Life is as it is.

The adorable, endless grind

#Cybercamp – the personal stuff and an overview

Right.  First up.   If you’re really not interested in ‘the feels’ of things (sorry, bad internet slangy thing), this post probably isn’t for you and I’m totally ok with you skipping it.  This DOES NOT contain much about the actual cybercamp itself – more about the stuff I learned about me.  It’s most likely not useful to anyone, other than me, but because people were asking me why I was sad, day two, I thought I better get this written up.  I’m totally fine with you skipping this one and hitting Steampunkdragonfly (my new cyber/sec/policy blog – though, right this second it’s parked on another blog, just give it a few hours ;)) later today, when the less personal stuff goes up.  That’s going to take a good few posts to cover actually – I’ve got screeds and screeds and screeds of notes to get through.

Before I pick up my blog where I left off, HI.  Hi to all my new followers and all of my older followers and sorry I’ve been so quiet lately.  I think the last post explains my mindset sufficiently, still, but I still wish I’d picked my blog back up sooner.

Secondly.  If you’re based in the UK, go check out these guys:
The Cyber Security Challenge is one of the brilliant initiatives that I’m betting will lead the charge in plugging the gap between the experts we have and the expertise we need in Cyber Security.  And I do want to emphasize that it’s not just ‘techies’ that’ll get a lot out of this.  I’m a bit techie (though, not as much as the people I encountered at camp) but where I really apparently shone was policy.  So if you’re interested, in the slightest in showcasing or upping your cyber security skills, and networking with like-minded people, get your butts over to the site.  They’ve earned a permanent link from all of my blogs, and I’ll explain why in a second.  And in all seriousness, thank you.  I thought my life was quite nice before I went to the camp – and that I was doing the stuff I really wanted to.  That PR was just as good as policy, if you removed the tech, and that it was ok to feel like there was a little missing.  Thank you for showing me that, and being patient and kind and making sure I was ok, and paying attention to the little things.  Thank you for it being perfect, start to finish.  Thank you for bringing us all together.  Thank you to the sponsors.  Thank you to the staff.  Thank you, a million times.

And Third

I’ve been looking for a use for one of the new blogs I was going to start – two actually, but the main one I was struggling with was ‘Steampunkdragonfly’.  Originally it was going to be my amalgamation site, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I really should just be doing that on Dkaiwilsonviola.
And then this Wednesday hit and my world got shoved sidewards off a cliff, flipped upside down and well…from there…I dunno.  I’m still trying to process.

Let me explain….

Wednesday, I went to the Cyber Security Challenge at Shrivenham from Wednesday evening until Sunday. And I’ll be honest, I thought I’d be a bit of a spare part there – I’d learn some stuff but that no one would even notice me.  Got that one wrong!
I arrived, got my stuff dumped and was pretty much approached straight away by four lads, who wanted to know *everything* about me.  I had waited until they’d talked and then told them a tiny bit about myself.  I was gobsmacked at how interested everyone was in me.  Met two of the girls, confessed to being out of my depth (and in a freaking dress….I mean, that alone is like weddings only) and grabbed a drink.  We all went for food and then the ‘getting to know you’ session started.
It was hilarious.  I’ll be doing a proper write-up on the bits I can, and the stuff I personally got from it on said new blog, but I have to say something about the personal stuff that went on while I was there.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that I struggle with the ‘social’ aspect of the world outside.  I understand *everything* out there in theory, but in practice, I’m about three seconds away from bolting when I do something new.  And when you’re planning your escape in the next ten seconds, constantly, there really isn’t much room for anything else.  And it makes me very tense, and quite excitable, because that ‘bleeds’ through into my voice and then I say something stupid and everything just….yeah.
I’m not so much an introvert as someone that should live inside the space an introvert takes up when they’re really scared and need time to themselves.  you know, that tiny cupboard?  That’d be a good place for me.  I’m an introvert’s introvert.  Mostly because I have severe anxiety.
And it makes me *incredibly* lonely.  Which is the weird part.  Introverts aren’t meant to get lonely, right?  But I do.  I’m intensely lonely, to the point of making an idiot of myself cause I’m excited someone other than my other half or my very small circle of friends are talking to me in person/online.

Cybercamp – a bit like the best environment I could have designed….

What happens when you take 20 reasonably young people (*with a few notable exceptions, myself included), mix in a heaping spoonful of a really neat scenario (which was made public, so I can talk about that bit) where some tankers have struck something and they’re not sure of why etc. and it could be security related or coincidence.  And that’s where we were chucked in.
FOUR DAYS of intense, hands on fun later and I’m dizzy.  I learned about SQL injections, I learned about changing stuff browser side.  I learned why hidden HTML fields are going to get you reamed, if you’re not careful.
But I learned that actually, I’m quite level headed and can keep most of my anxiety under control.  I learned it’s ok to go off and have a cry, because I’m just not keeping up, but I didn’t need to make a fuss about it.  I learned it’s ok to be afraid because a lot of the others there too were too. What’s not ok was letting it win, cause I’d have been the one losing out.  And I can get up in front of people and do a presentation without having a panic attack afterwards.  I got top three on day three and I learned that I did that way out of my own expectations and I did it because the teams I was on – throughout the whole challenge (and we swapped teams throughout the stay) – were absolutely amazing.  I mean, top notch.  So it wasn’t really me that did it all – it was all of us.
And I made friends.  Lots of em.  Heaps of em.
Hi guys 😉

One of the things I did say that caused a bit of worry though was how disheartened I was after one of the challenges.  I’m going to specifically explain that one in a seperate post – but it was disheartened at how easily I fell into tunnel vision and looked only at tech rather than the hollistic whole.  And everything they flagged had been something I’d thought of and we’d missed it because I was so intent on ‘keeping up’ with the boys – not because it was a competition, but because I didn’t want to be their single point of failure.  In fact, I should have been the ‘failure’ there, so i could then drop into the bigger picture stuff.  That was my own fault for not communicating effectively and not taking the time to do the ‘personal’ bit that I ususally do.  I’m USUALLY the loon in most games that explores everything before moviung on – not because I’m indecisive but because RTFM or ‘TTFP’ (talk to fucking people!) is about the rule of thumb I have – I don’t go all on interrogate, but I didn’t pay attention to that and I disappointed myself.  But, I learned from that and we did stellarly in day 3.
Oh yeah, and I clearly have NO situational awareness.  I wasn’t aware that we were in a tent in the middle of the desert on an island for one challenge, though it was emphasized.  I just saw the back wall as a partition and darted around it, not considering what it actually meant.  For someone who’s supposed to be hyper aware of her surroundings, that was a bit of a fail – but on the other hand, it really highlighted how safe and how comfortable I was in the environment, and how much I trusted, not just the team members (who at one point had me sandwiched between them while messing with a server box (one on each side, really close quarters)) and though I was a bit aware and kept having to calmly say ‘please don’t touch me’ it was all good.  That’s something I need to work on – one lad that went to pull me over so I was closer and up on a chair next to him (tight skirt, very tired, not getting the hang of hopping up onto the barstool) looked genuinely offended when I said ‘don’t touch me’, and I very nearly dashed out of the room because I’d hurt his feelings.

My next blog post, coming in about two hours (A bit of housekeeping) is to answer some of the questions I’ve been asked lately about ‘where do you write, where are your books, how do I follow you).  Skip that one too if you want.
Otherwise, Day (x) blow by blow will appear on Steampunkdragonfly in the next 24 hours or so, starting with Day 0.

The adorable, endless grind

Of bright lights and disappointments…

We are, to all intents and purposes, one month after ‘the Watershed

And there’s a couple of things that have changed since then – some for the better, some in a different way and with no impact.  One for the worse.

As the last post explained, I finally graduated.  What the last post barely touches on is why it’s taken so long to get to that point.  And, y’know, I wish I could point at everything I’ve been up to recently and say ‘see, good reason’, but the truth is,  the reason, though, probably, a valid one, isn’t a ‘good’ one by any stretch of the imagination.  Focusing on the positive though – I graduated.  I’m delighted that I graduated.  I’m trying to decide if I want to go to the ceremony where our degrees are officially conferred – right now it’s looking at least an option.

Other improvements include taking on better paying work, in some cases.  I *love* copywriting – but what I don’t love is the fact that I’m basically at the mercy of clients.  Most are darlings – but some leave a lot to be desired.  And when I’m having to be draconian about billing practices, I know something has gone wrong.  And that’s the problem – there’s no give in my billing.  And for those that know why, don’t even say it in public – it’s not necessary.  I’ve taken steps to remedy that, in the form of 🙂  I’m now officially and formally an editor as well as a copywriter, using my experience as a writer and graduate to support indie writers in creating a product that works for them – and the market.  It’s good, and in the last few days, I’ve already managed to book clients till our holiday in October, which is just stellar.

Other than that, I’m working on finishing up my websites and setting up regular spots for blogging, fixing my timetable to balance stuff (though, I’m slowly coming to the realisation I can either have a quiet life OR work really hard – there’s no doubling up and earning both) and slowly resolving everything that needs to be resolved.

The negative?  other than a couple of outlines, I’m still not writing.  And that sucks.  But I think  I have a solution to that too – one, that if I can keep up with the editing client bookings, will give me the best of all worlds and allow me to be the last piece of the puzzle that is me.  I have to find my way back to fiction writing, or there’s no point in freelancing the way I do.  I could, instead use my degree on something else, and let go of the idea of being an author – and to be honest, that all or nothing decision makes me more worried than any other choice I could ever make.

I guess the last thing I need to talk about is ‘what’s next’?  I already miss university desperately – I’ve never felt more at ease in an establishment in my life, and I want to go back to that at some point.  So, realistically, some of the money I make editing and writing is going back into ‘me’, and in turn, making me a better writer and editor, via my MA plans.  Ideally, I’d like to do linguistics of some kind, rather than a wholly creative project, but ultimately, I guess I’ll need to see what is available to me, and how long it’ll take me to save for it.  For now, all of my energy is going into clearing up the last of the server costs I was left with, sorting out new hosting for that secondary account, and building a buffer of savings for my family.  Editing and copywriting together are a good combination, especially if I can keep streamlining my time and using it to the best effect.

Now though?  Work beacons.  Laters 😉

The new schedule

The new schedule

Nov 22 059So, yeah, I’m still on writing burnout, at least for fiction.  I’m a bit concerned about that actually –  there’s no ideas, no flashes of ‘oooh, I wanna write *that*’… nothing.

But, there is the niggling nagging feeling that I should at least get my life back into a ‘productive’ space instead of sitting on the couch for days and thinking ‘why me’.  I guess the ‘why me’ isn’t the right question.  ‘What can I do to fix it’ is the real question.

In all of this drive, I’ve lost most of my passions.  The blogs that I’m most passionate about?  Fallen to the wayside as I keep my head above water.  Finished my dissertation, and all that seemed to fill it?  Moping.

The new schedule

When I say ‘schedule’, I’m, for now, not looking at the list on my plate, and then slotting stuff in.  I’m also not going to say ‘I’m using these blogs to ‘warm up’ in the morning.  In fact, I’m going to do my level best to get a bit ahead with the evergreen stuff and pick up the information that’s not evergreen and post it as and when required.  I’ve got special plugins that do stuff with queued content and works with what I’m doing.

But there’s a certain… need to actually say ‘well, this is what I’m doing’.

The blogs  (this one) –  which, bar the information posts, is going to restart.  Literary Forensics is a bit of editing, a bit of language, a bit about etymology, and a lot about the ‘language’ of crime.  It’ll feature crime and thriller writer interviews too, alongside a non fiction book sometime early in the new year. -it’s probably not particularly well in the communities I’m involved with right now, but I write a mental health blog.  I’m not very good at writing on a schedule though, and that’s something I’d like to change.  Again, there’s a book associated with this blog.  –  it’s a bit about editing, a bit about writing.

and finally – –  which actually encompasses something like six mini blogs, but still…

Other projects

I’ve got a couple of other projects to deal with, including setting up some sites for some projects, and writing content to achieve that.  One of them is ‘indieauthoraide’, a site designed to support indie authors in accessing everything they need.  But it’s quite a big…if not one of the biggest projects I’ve undertaken, and actually needs planned. Needs to ask people to come help too.  But that’s the underlying structure.

30 hours of copywriting, with the company I work for, and those blogs.  I think it’s a good underlying structure to go for.


things you probably don’t know about me – 25 at a time

things you probably don’t know about me – 25 at a time

Barred Owl (Strix varia) – Whitby, Ontario (Ca...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the things I’ve realised is that many people don’t actually *know* me, some of that’s deliberate, but that if I don’t start really connecting with people, all of the advice I give people about working with their community is going to be pretty hollow.

So, here’s how this one’s going to work.
For this first set of 25, I’m going to tag five people and then for the next set, I’m going to use people that have commented on the post.  Once a week on a Sunday, I’ll post em and we can see if we can’t all get to know one another – y’never know whom you might meet 😉

The 25 things

  1.  My real name isn’t Kai.  My real name doesn’t even contain, legally, Kai, and though I’ve been threatening for years to change that, I’ve never gotten round to it.  My name is very girly, and I never felt it suited me, so I changed it, post breakup from the father of my kids.  I have a whole circle of friends that get very confused when people use my ‘real’ name (though, I’m not interested in sharing it in public ;))
  2.  I am 32, and I’m a Scorpio.   I’m a very typical Scorpio too.   whether that’s an aspect of the fact that I’ve got a strong personality, or whether it’s because of something else, I’m not sure.
  3. I don’t actually buy into a lot of the ‘hippy’ stuff that we call ‘New Age’.  I used to, and then realized most of it was probably my positive mindset.  I still wear stones and colors that I like, but because I like them, not because they ‘vibrate and heal my aura’.
  4. I own two limited companies in the UK.
  5. I love birds of prey.  Especially owls and falcons.
  6. I hate writing right now.  Just hate it.  I’m tired and burned out and sick of my dissertation, and want it over with, and that’s sad.
  7. I’ve been in Uni for a year extra than most of the peers I started with.  That last year was a bit hit and miss really.
  8. I am a closet linguistics geek.  My main interest is a field called ‘Forensic Linguistics‘ and I had a paper accepted for publication on it recently, but declined because I realized I could make the findings better.  They liked that idea.
  9. I own 220 domains – 98% of which are mine.  I hold some for other people, but not many.
  10. My natural coloring is red hair, hazel eyes and very pale skin – but in the last few years I’ve started going a very pale honey brown after living in a part of the country.  I dye my hair more vivid red because people seem to ask less questions about how ‘natural’ it is.
  11. My favorite books aren’t probably publishable as a list because they make me look *really* bad.  In that number are several books that are, or have been banned in the past.  Transgressive literature isn’t so much something I like as something that I learn from.
  12. Socially speaking, I’m a bit of an idiot – I don’t get a lot of the social stuff that goes on around me, and am very direct when people piss me off or put me in a poor situation.  I also get very annoyed when people use others for their own gain, and often see it long before others do – while I’ve been told in some cases it’s just how it is.  But socially, I’m horrible at new situations, and even worse at understanding why something doesn’t work.
  13. I love to code.  But I’m not very good at it, and do a lot of what I do from trial and error.  I know the very basics of PHP but most of what I’ve learned isn’t from reading books on coding, it’s from reading code.  Again, back to the linguistics aspect of my mind, but I get on very well with code once I understand it.
  14. I have several pen names – one of which, including my back catalog is up for sale to another writer.  He’s more passionate about it than me and just as good a writer, so….
  15. I sleep on my stomach because I’m scared that I’ll be choked to death.
  16. I love sci fi.  I used to call it my guilty pleasure but now I just call it my pleasure.  But I don’t get on with shows like ‘Andromeda’.
  17. I can be very closed minded when I want to be – then realize what I’m doing and fix it.  Sometimes years after the fact.  Most of the time, once you’re in my bad books, that’s it.  You never get back into my good books.
    Conversely, if you’re my friend, you can get away with just about anything once.
  18. I really don’t get on with people that believe they are the font of all knowledge.  I hate it when people think that’s what I am too.
  19. I knit.  I don’t do it often, but I do knit.  I also cross stitch like a pro.
  20. I am currently playing a rogue trader in my beloved’s 40K tabletop game.  Maeda is a bitch and she’s keeping it pretty well covered so far.
  21.  I dislike cooking with a passion.  If I could live without food, I think I would.  But I love to make meals for friends.  Just don’t like cooking for myself much.
  22. I was on Seroquel from May or so of last year until 2 weeks ago.  There’s a very good reason that I’ve stopped, but we’ve not gotten there yet, so I can’t talk about it ;).  I am an outspoken mental health advocate on my ‘award winning‘ site.
  23. I dislike, intensely, being the centre of attention, though, time and again, I put myself ‘out there’.
  24. I feel like I’m a fraud….oh, most of the time.
  25. I am bipolar, have a touch or at least aspects of aspergers, and have an unspecified personality disorder to do with self esteem.
And my five ‘tags’
I tag –
  1. Keith Foreman (who is one of my best friends in the whole world)
  2. Mary-Ann Peden-Covellio – Mary-Ann is an incredible writer and another very good (best) friend.
  3. Valerie Douglas – amazing writer whom I’ve been honored to get to know lately.
  4. Rae Gould – fantasy writer extraordinaire and my co-mod on tonnes of projects.
  5. Stephen King – another amazing writer – I seem to be surrounded with them – who keeps a very good blog on writing.

And that’s it.  The five I’ve tagged *could* do 25 points of their own, or you could just go check out five really good blogs.

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The adorable, endless grind

Going to war redux

Well done to those that got the ‘Dr Who’ reference 😉

The last week has seen some chances in how I view the community – I’m beginning to see that one of the major problems is that there are some people in the community that castigate people with one breath and then, scarily, endorse them in another.  It seems, basically, that there are some in the community more interested in choosing to play their own interests off against lying.  And I’m not sure how to address that other than, possibly, ignore them for all but the most important stuff.

War is going to be waged on several fronts.  I’ve got a script to finish sorting out, and some other various and sundry things to take care of over the next few days and weeks, but the most important thing – my dissertation – is top of the pile.  It goes back for the second round of feedback tomorrow, and then, hopefully, I can submit it and am done with Uni.  I’m really going to miss it, but one of the bigger problems I have right now is the board doesn’t confirm my results now until September, which means I’m not going to know what my degree *is* until then.  I’m not sure if I get to see provisional marks or if I just have to wait, so that’s something I’m going to ask Martin/Rebecca when I submit it.  If that is the case, we’ve got a big month in September – Teeniboi starts high school, and something else should have begun to resolve by then, not to mention that the plan we’re trying to put into motion right now should be well under way.  Glass Block should be out (end of August!), and most of all, I should be in a position to actually see the wood from the trees.  Taxes and all that crap should be worked out for the company, and I’ll have our first year’s turnover report available to me.  It’s all very exciting and scary all at once.

I’ve still not finished condensing down sites, though I have parked lots of stuff on here already.  Got an amazing plugin that should help me – and others – get onto WordPress all the easier, but I gotta test it first.  All in all, it might make designing author sites easier and allow me to move my beloved books site (which is html) onto my favorite system.  I’ll keep you posted 😉