Friday, October 28, 2005

Where I'm At

I'm feeling good today, and not just 'cuz it's Friday (though that sure as hell helps!). I just feel . . . hopeful today. No particular reason that I can fathom, I just woke up this a.m. in a good mood with the feeling that life is moving on the right track. That's a rare and precious gift so I intend to enjoy the sensation for as long as I can. Sadly, the wife is definitely not feeling the same way. She's at home today, curled up in bed under a mountain of blankets, fighting off an absolutely miserable cold. She sounds like a bullfrog when she speaks and currently has a tendency to launch into unexpected fits of coughing that are accompanied by flying bits of spittle and other -nastier- bits of bodily type fluids.

It ain't pretty!

I've been trying to be the good hubby: did the laundry, cooked/cleaned up dinner, took the boy to school, etc. so she can rest. For once she's actually doing the smart thing and sleeping this off. Usually, she tries to be Wonder Woman and keep her crazy schedule and workload when she's sick. I can't seem to convince her that one day of rest will cut five days off the illness. (she does look really hot in the Wonder Woman oufit though, so I shouldn't complain!)

Writing. What to say about writing? I haven't done any in the last week but oddly, that's part of why I'm feeling so good. The break seems to have cleared the cobwebs of my twisted little mind a bit and I feel like I'm recharged and ready for NaNo. (Actually excited to get started with it, masochist that I am!) I've spent a lot of time this week just thinking about writing instead of actually doing it. Now, as a general rule, that's frowned upon but I think in this case it was warranted. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I need to do to become published. I'm starting to understand that I've been hiding behind the actual act of writing so that I didn't have to face the business side of this career. My attitude has been: "Oh, I'm too busy working on the next novel to work on getting the finished one published" Stupid, eh? (Einstein, I am not!) Write, and keep writing, is the code of the author but I need to devote time to developing a career too. Right now I have four completed novels sitting in my drawer and I'm about 1/3 of the way into number five (which will hopefully be done after NaNo!). I haven't actively marketed any of them, just sent out half a dozen agent queries with a synopsis of the one I think is most marketable right now. That is never going to get me to where I want to be. I am going to need to set time aside for pushing my career forward. It seems that I've (finally!) conquered the problems I had with writing every day, so now I need to add in "business every day". I need to be more strict on getting edits done, getting queries out to agents and publishers, and generally paying more attention to the market I'm trying to work in. I have to get past the fear of actually dealing with professionals. I still feel like a little kid at his first dance. I know how to dance, and I know I'm supposed to ask one of the girls over against the wall, but they all seem so . . . intimidating! They're all beautiful, smart, and mature, while I'm just a dork with a bad haircut and braces. I have to push past the nervousness if I ever want my chance out on the dance floor. (I'm working up to it! Don't push me, man!) :-)

Along with all that, I've actually had some time to go over "First" in my head. Forcing myself to add in extra description and emotion has been slowing me down. I write action. I do well (I think) with dialog and characters. I need to stop forcing the background details into the first draft and just let it flow. I can add that in during edits. If it doesn't jump from my fingertips onto the page, it will have to wait until the intellectual process of rewrite. For me, the first draft has to be an act of passion. I have to follow the parts of the stories that excite me and let the characters take me to places I didn't even know about. That means a lot more editing at the end of course, but that's what I have to do. As soon as I came to that realization, the stress I've been feeling over my work for the last month or so dropped away. I'm ready to jump back into it with a smile on my face. Now, that may not be the way other folks work, but I think it's right for me. it feels right. PBW has a great post about just that today. She inserts a tag like: [description here] that she fills in during edits. The timing of the post was perfect and I think there are a lot of brackets in my near future!

Oh, I forgot to tell you about the concert the other night!

It was wonderful. Gordon Lightfoot is a calm, quiet, charming guy who came out with four other guys and simply played his music. it was beautiful stuff. Even the boy loved it. It was a very different experience for him and he had a great time. He sat through most of the concert with his eyes closed, head swaying, feet tapping to the beat and just enjoying the sounds. I am a long time fan of Gordon Lightfoot and I was absolutely thrilled when he did "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". That is probably my favorite song of all time. The music is haunting and the lyrics wonderful. It was great to see him do it live! It's always good when we can expose the boy to new and different things. We spend a lot of time taking him to museums, listening to music (everything from Beethoven to Black Sabbath!) going to fine restaurants, and giving him quality books to read . . . just about anything we can think of to expose him to as much of the wonderful things in life as we can. Of course, we also take time for camping, video games, junk food, and I have a secret love of John Denver and Neil Diamond music (don't tell anyone!) so he gets a pretty eccelectic mix of what the world has to offer.

I think that's a good thing.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rockin' with Gordon!

Good Lord, this has got to be the slowest moving week in history! I swear, I thought it was Friday afternoon, yesterday at 9:00 a.m. !!!!

Aside from being tired, things are good. Yesterday was the wife's birthday (she's 29 of course!) we didn't have time to do anything other than give her a few cards and a small gift but we're heading out to dinner and a concert tonight (Gordon Lightfoot, dude!) The concert was actually her gift to me on MY birthday but we'll make a night of it together. I imagine we'll all be dragging ass in the morning but, such is life. You have to do the things you can, when you can, and worry about consequences later. (sometimes)

Got home last night to find that my house had walls once more! (2x4's anyway) It was a good sign of things to come. The wife was thrilled at the contractors progress (which means I was thrilled that she was thrilled!) We had our halloween party with the Scouts last night. It was a lot of fun. We did typical games like bobbing for apples (young kids do not fear this game. They smack their face, head, shoulders, and most of their upper torso into the icy water without a moments hesitation. They come up drenched and shaking off water like dogs but with a mouth full of apple!) I put together a Powerpoint presentation of one of our trips (complete with inappropriate though bubbles on all photos!) and the boys loved it. There wasn't a single person who didn't receive some small bit of abuse from me! The entire troop was there and all the kids and adults wore costumes. It was a great time.

I am sooooo looking forward to going out tonight. It's been craziness for too long and we need the break. Kicking back and litening to GL will be very cool. Cooler, even, because the boy is coming with and this is his first concert! We're seeing him in a small local theater that I love. It has fantastic acoustics so the show should be great.

I'm traveling tomorrow, so I may not get in a post but I'll try to let you know how things went.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What I Want

So, I was just over on the Forward Motion site, checking in with my Crit Circle, and Lee had put up an absolutely wonderful post for Mel and I. It concerned her visit last week to a writer's conference and what she'd learned there. She took the input she got from agents, editors, etc. and applied it to our work to give us a sort of vicarious feel of what the industry is looking for. It was well done and very much appreciated! Thanks, Lee!

I've never been to a writer's conference. I never even really gave serious thought to going before but after hearing about Lee's experience I may need to rethink that. She had opportunities to meet and talk to a number of pros in the industry and came away with a whole new perspective on what we're trying to accomplish. She talked to us about the problems of "writing blind" (without a clear idea of current markets, trends, and needs) which is what we've been doing so far. Some of the things she talked about may be the very issues that earned me those form rejections from the agents! Yup, I am definitely considering going to a convention. Have to find one local, that I can aford, of course. I'll let you know what I come up with.

I'm not even going to try writing this week. I'm waiting till Nov. 1st, then kicking into high gear with NaNo. Too much craziness going on right now and I can't seem to focus on the work at all. It's been a super-productive writing year so I'm no begrudging myself a short vacation. I wish I'd had more success with the publishing end of things, but I did have one short story accepted so it wasn't a complete bust. I really think I need to learn more about the business end of things. I think the work is professional quality (after proper editing!) but I have this feeling that I'm just making stupid mistakes and oversights on things like marketing and presentation. I need to study this more closely. I've always assumed that if I wrote well enough, the market would find me, ya' know? I am coming to realize that's not the case. I need to become more aware of what the industry is buying and actively pursue the career from a business standpoint more than an artistic pursuit.

I want to be published. Not because I intend to be famous or wealthy. I understand the industry well enough to know the odds against that! My reasons are much simpler: I want to be published because I want people to read my stories. A lot of people. I love books and I've learned most of the important lessons of my life from them. They've helped shape me into the person I am. I'd like to do that for someone else. I'd like to know there was a lonely teenager out there somewhere who read my book and for just one moment felt better about himself because someone out there "got it" besides him. A goodly number of authors did that for me and I'd like to pay a little of that back. That's why I'm here. That's why I do this. That's what I want.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Mild Monday

As far as Mondays go, this is a fairly mild one. It still sucks, but it's not doing so with the vehemence of an agitated Hoover super-vac!

The weekend was crazy: had a surprise birthday party for my brother-in-law and another party for my wife's father. Lucky me, I have developed a reputation of being able to spout B.S. on the fly (I know: you're shocked, right?) so I was elected at the last second (and I do mean: second!) to give a toast for the B-In-Law in front of all his guests. What the hell, I'm never one to let a captive audience slip by so I gave it my best. Think I did alright, I got a couple of laughs and a good round of applause when done. I'm just not sure having a rep as a B.S. artist is necessarily a good thing though. . .

Because of the construction, we had to weather the weekend without heat in our house, which did not make wifey happy. And as we all know: if wifey ain't happy . . . !!!! Luckily, the temps weren't too bad, mid 50's all the way through but it was a convenient thing for my wife to focus her stress and frustration on, so I didn't hear the end of it. (nor will I, now that I was stupid enough to bring it up for public discourse!) The ruin that was once our home has her a bit freaked right now so I'm trying to be the patient, kind, understanding hubby (and failing miserably, by her lights!) I am hoping that she makes the connection between the stress levels of having the place torn apart for a few weeks and rebuilt by professionals and the months stress she would have had if I'd done this myself (as she wanted) Shall I hold my breath while waiting, do you think?

Writing has hit a complete standstill. The home office is a wreck that I can't work in and my laptop tanked again on Friday (hence: no post!) so I wasn't able to bring it home as I'd intended. This last week of October is gonna be crazed and November ain't looking wondrous either, but with NaNo hovering I'll have to make the work happen. I DO NOT intend to miss the mark, it got me kicked off right last year & I plan on doing it once again - successfully!

Here's a bizarre thing: remember I wrote a few weeks back that I dreamed about my first girlfriend and was freaking because I hadn't seen her in over 20 years? Get this: she contacted me the other day via e-mail to see if I was going to our 20 year reunion! How weird is that? It was nice to hear from her. She's doing well, and has 9 year old little girl of her own. Strangely, she's been working no more than three miles from my house for all these years and I had no idea. She's also been working with my wife's best friend, again: no idea! Strange world, huh? Not planning on going to the reunion, there's only two people I'd be interested in seeing there -of which she is one- and the other is a long time friend who I just need to pick up the phone and call at any point to get together (which I never do - I really suck at keeping in touch with people!) Maybe we'll get together for lunch or something as soon as the schedule lightens up a bit.

Ah well, I have a trainee in this week so I gotta run.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Sad Truth

So, he of many names (Mr. sryanhart!) saw deeper meaning behind my post of yesterday and in comments asked for an explanation of my angst. Ah, it would be nice if I could give some grand tale of tragedy overcome so you might be awed by my courage and fortitude in overcoming such extreme adversity!

Sadly, I was just whining because all my agent queries came back with form rejection letters.

(I know, pathetic ain't it?)

I started off writing about that yesterday (or I meant too!) but the post just got away from me and I wound up talking myself through my own little bout of petty depression while I was typing. Written words are cathartic to us overly-sensitive artistic types! :-)

Things are still hectic about the house now, so writing is suffering for it. The contractor has completely gutted everything at this point and is just starting in on the reconstruction. My wife is going to have a coronary if he doesn't finish soon. I don't know that she's going to make it another three weeks living out of boxes and surrounded by plaster dust. (between you and me, she's feeling a wee bit cranky about things right now but don't tell her I said so!) Work is gearing up into more insanity, but addressing it will mean setting aside all travel to other offices for the next few months, so I should be able to get back to doing regular daily writing on the lunch hour! That will be very cool. That is far and away my most productive time of day. Give me a tuna wrap, a rasberry Snapple, and my laptop and I'm a typing fool!! (as opposed to the regular fool I am at all other times!)

Here's a new thing: I have become addicted to the Blues lately. (have I mentioned this already?) I have an Internet radio station that play nothing but Blues all day long on my system. Don't know where the sudden fascination comes from but the pure musical ability of these artists fascinates me. No flash, no glitz, no remix, just some people with a handful of instruments and ability. Amazing. There is one song in particular that grabs me: "Take yo' drunken ass home" by Big Al Carson that has to be one of the most entertaining pieces of music I've ever heard!


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Simple Truth

Sometimes in life, you have to take a look back at the things you've learned over the years and bring them to the front of your mind for a detailed review. It's very easy to overlook those lessons in the day to day craziness and even to forget them when they run contrary to your desires. What am I talking about? (You think I'm just rambling, don't ya?)

I'm talking about realizing that what you want to happen and the way you wish things would work don't always coincide with the way they really work.

Here's the most important thing I've learned in my 38 years on this giant ball of mud and stone we call Earth: everything happens for a reason. Don't misundersatnd me now, I'm not a spiritual man and I don't belong to any religion (I'm actually opposed to those on general principle!) but experience has taught me that every bad thing that happens to me eventually leads to better things. The worst experiences of my life have always paved the way for the best experiences. Now, is that fate -or God- at work? Or is it just part of a natural cycle wherein we learn to appreciate the benefits more after suffering the losses?

Don't know.

I do know this: fighting the flow of your life benefits you not at all. The things that come your way -good or bad- are merely things that come your way. They need to be dealt with, not ignored, but fighting such things only leads to grief. When bad things are happening, all you can do is weather the storm. When things are not going the way you wanted, the best thing to do is ride along and see where they take you. I've found that in each case I've wound up in better places than the ones I originally planned on. Make your plans, do your best to carry through on them, and never quit following dreams but realize that the path you've laid out to that dream is subject to change at the whim of the Universe. The road of life is often littered with debris and roadblocks; there is no MapQuest to your dreams. The best you can do is look for detours and keep moving forward.

Need an example? Alright, try to follow this story . . .

When I was thirteen, I had appendicitis. The appendix ruptured and led to secondary infection in my left knee that ate a 1/2" diameter hole in my kneecap and required major surgery to fix. I nearly died, and it was a testament to a brilliant surgeon that I did not have my leg amputated. I spent nearly two months in the hospital and fell far behind in my school work. I was left back in my freshman year of high school because of it, and was forbidden to play any type of sports ever again. I lost all my friends, my first love dumped me, I was thoroughly humiliated, learned to hate school, and the whole thing led to a bizzare chain of events wherein I quit school, left home at age fourteen, went to work full-time, and became completely dis-associated from my family.

Unhappy story, right? A recipe for personal disaster if ever there was one.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

The lessons I learned in that time changed me from the person I was becoming (which still frightens me when I look back on it!) into the person I am. I learned to be independent, learned compassion, learned that people are people no matter their place in this world. I discovered the world was a cold, dark, ugly place but I also learned that people were kind, warm, and helpful. I found my own beliefs -which didn't coincide with the ones I'd been taught- and decided the type of person I wanted to be (which was not at all like the person I had been) Those changes were the things that allowed me to meet and win the love of my wife, have my son, build the life that we share and to make me a person I can (usually) be proud of. There was a lot of pain and unhappiness during those years but I came out the other side a much better person for the turmoil. Bad times can lead to very good things. The key is to remember that when you're in the midst of them and be patient. That perspective can be applied to everything you do in life: large or small. I've had a fair share of hard times in my life and as bad as they got, it always led to better things.

I have learned to understand that it always will. Some call it faith in God, others call it Karma, some believe in fate and destiny. I don't think it matters one bit what you call it. It only matters that you stop fighting against it and trust that it will do right by you. It took me most of my life to learn that lesson. Now I just take life as it comes and deal with the problems on-by-one. Trying to force your life path down roads that are constantly blocked is only going to frustrate you. Don't lose sight of the goals you're heading towards but be ready to take alternate routes to get there.

Oh . . . and expect heavy traffic delays! ;-)


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Short Day

Got 2,000 more words done on "First". Good words too (I think) I like the voice that seems to be taking over my MC. He started off a little whiny but he's becoming more and more kick-ass as the book goes on, which is what I wanted actually, but I hadn't anticipated the change in his overall "voice". He's becoming harder and harder with each chapter. It's interesting.

I was late to work today (No, I did NOT oversleep!) I had to go to the town offices to handle the paperwork for all the permits I need for the renovations. Man, it is amazing how much paperwork beaureaucrats can require for such trivial crap. The demo is proceeding quickly, I now have a gaping hole staring down into my basement where my hall closet and stairs used to be. (With luck, I'll be able to keep the boy from using it as the Bat Cave!)

Anyway, very late in the day & I have Scouts tonight so I gotta run.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Le' Crazy!

My friggin' head is spinning.

The weekend was a unique form of crazy that defies description. There is something horrifically wonderful about having complete strangers come into your home and rip it apart. An emptiness of heart combined with a pulse-thumping anticipation of good things to come. Intermixed of course with the omnipresent fear that one is about to be royaly hosed by said strangers.

In other words: my kitchen and basement have now been completely (and I mean complete in the sense of: nothing left but the block walls!) gutted by the contractor. No turning back now. There is much happiness in the fact that I was not the one who had to rip out and haul away that much plaster and lathe. There is also much nervousness in that I have never befoe hired a contractor to do any work on my house and I am not sure what to expect. So far (three days in) it seems to be going well but part of me is waiting for that inevitable moment of contractor hell. You know . . . the moment when he tells me he found steel lined footings, that will require explosives to remove, right in the path of my new water line and that will be a 15 gagillion dollar upcharge?

Yea, that moment.

When I do this stuff myself, it's frustrating and time consuming but at least I'm sure I'm not screwing me. (unlesss of course I've been at the Killian's, then all bets are off!) Let's just say that renovations are very stressful. Our fridge, microwave, plates, and food are all scattered about my living room at the moment and I prepared lst nights dinner on a small cutting board on the coffee table. Yay! I can see many trips to fast food places in my immediate future. Writing is going to be sparse over the next few weeks as I get all this done. I'm running home at lunch to see how the contractor's doing and answer any questions/problems that come up and writing at home . . . hell, you'd have to see the wreck that was once my office to believe it.

Good news is that once this is all done, I will have my very own PRIVATE office in the basement (fully finished, too!) and won't have to share space with the guest bedroom/library/storage room/all-around dumping ground for the family that I've been doing to date. It'll be small, but it'll be just for me so that will be a very cool thing. It will be nice to have a room where I can spread out books, maps, outlines, sketches, manuscripts, etc. and not have to worry about them being lost or damaged. (Or getting yelled at for being a slob by the wife!)

So as you can see, I have a bad case of the crazies right now but hopefully I'll come through it in one piece. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, I HAVE to get through it by then or I'll never make it this year! Doubt the house will be finished by Nov. 1st but I'll just have to make due, eh?

Oh . . . and lest I dissapoint: MONDAYS SUCK!!!!


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Quick, Like a Bunny!

Traveling for work again, so just a quick post today.

Got a few hundred words done on "First" yesterday. Not nearly as much as I wanted but life (and the pain in my back!) are seriously interfering. Good news on the home renovation front: the contractor starts work TOMORROW!! (WooHoo!) it's only taken three months to get someone to actually come out, give us a price, and get started!

Back to work with the Crit Circle over on FM. Mel and Lee were both kind enough to crit the opening chapter of "First" for me. They both agreed: I let my description get away from me and wound up with a lot of chatter and very little action. (damn, and I thought I was being careful about that!) They both seemed to think the characters worked, and thought the setting was interesting, so I have some stuff to build on. I'll just have to think about where/when the story starts.

PBW has a great post on her site today about writing with speed. I learned this lesson doing NaNoWriMo and it's an important one to remember for all writers. Off to work now.

BTW: I'll be at home with the contractor tomorrow, so I don't know if I'll have a chance to post.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

On the Move Again!

Ahhh . . . .

A 1300 word writing day. Not my best by any means, but I'll take it. I was beginning to worry with the 500 word clips! I think the problem was doing intro scenes for secondary plot lines. There were three short scenes from completely different POV's and on opposite sides of my world, so it took a little shifting of gears to get the voices just right for each. Now I'm moving back into my MC's viewpoint so I think it will flow more smothly again. I'm liking the scope that "First" is starting to take on. I'm looking at several solid sub-plots and a whole bunch of hidden schemes that are going to coincide in some very uncomfortable ways for my characters.

The back is feeling better today, though I am still avoiding bending at the waist as much as possible. At least I can sit for more than five minutes at a time without being in agony. The workout routine is definitely on hold until I can touch my toes without crying like a baby!

The Yankees lost last night. That's very depressing. I'm not a baseball fanatic but I do like it when the Yanks move into the post season. The wife and I like to sit and watch the games together. It's really the only time I'll sit and actually watch baseball anymore (when I was a kid that was all that was ever on the TV at my house!) I'll usually just flick past, catch the score and watch a half inning or so before cruising on but I do like post-season play when the Yankees are in it. I just can't get excited watching the Angels/White Sox, ya' know? Now Boston and the Bombers . . . That's worth watching!

Oh well, at least there's football! Lucky for me the wife is a big football fan too. (even though she is a Dallas fan, which is rather embarrasing, but what's a guy to do?) This Sunday will be great: Giants vs. Dallas!!! ALWAYS great days in my house! The boy and I razz, heckle, and generally abuse my wife for daring to cheer for anyone other than Big Blue. (whether we win or not!) It's a good family day, though I do get a bit testy if the Giants lose (which they never have, according to MY memory!)


Monday, October 10, 2005

It Hurts!

Despica-frigga-ble day!

It's Monday and I am in much pain. I blew out the back this weekend while emptying all the crap out of my basement. Funny thing is, I had lifted all the heavy crap upstairs with no problem, then I picked up a box that was damn near empty and felt this horrid tearing in the small of my back. I dropped the box and went to one kneee, swearing like a drunken sailor (and them loaded squids gots some mouth on 'em!) I treated my boy to a round of colorful invectives that made his eyes go all wide and round. I'm pretty sure I saw him mouthing some of them later as he consigned them to memory for repetition at the most inopportune moment for his parent's comfort.

Fund raiser for Scouts went well, but I was running like mad all weekend. (when not laying on the couch, with a heating pad on my back, whimpering like a beaten puppy!) Oh yea, I'm the big tough man! Didn't write a word, nor did I have a chance today at lunch. I was late getting in because of the back so I worked straight through today without a break.

Fun thing is: I still have to finish cleaning out the basement, back pain or no. It has to be done by Friday so the contractor can start. OY! Luckily, the wife was a doll and did as much of it as she could while I was out over the weekend. Just a few more things that need to go (don't know where to put 'em; but go they must!) and then we'll work on cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and the upstairs closets that are being renovated. Me and the wife working together, under a deadline, with me in pain?

Oh yea, one of us is going to the morgue!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I WILL get some writing done tonight (though sitting in a chair hurts like hell right now!) I'll do it after I get some more of the basement done.

Oh, BTW: I stopped in Waldenbooks on Friday night while the wife was shopping at some store or another in the mall. The SF/Fantasy section has been reduced down to two small shelves in the back of the store! Know how many different authors there were in that section (I was bored, so I counted . . .) THIRTEEN! Yup, that's it. Only thirteen names, all of which were big-time, famous, BSA's. There wasn't a mid-list or unknown writer to be found. Worse: one of those two shelves was completely devoted to Star Wars/Star Trek/D&D fiction. Do you have any idea how depressing that is to a wannabe Fantasy author like myself? Is this entire genre dying out? Man, I hope not! Gotta tell you though, it doesn't look good when all you see are re-works of the same damn novel by guys like Eddings and Brooks, or Jordan's ninety-third WOT novel. (I like the WOT books, but come on man! Is the story ever gonna end???)

Damn! Now I'm depressed and sore.


Friday, October 07, 2005

A Sample of My Genius!

Moving slow on the current section of "First". I've only been getting in about 500 or so words at a clip. Definitely below par for me but it's progress and I'll take it. The good thing is I like the words I've been getting. I like the feel of them somehow; they resonate for me. I've been making an effort to be more tactile in my writing. I have a tendency to push right through to action sequences and gloss over details and surroundings. I'm worried that might be making the work seem a bit 2-D. It's a strange balancing act; I don't want flat characters, etc. but neither do I want to bore the hell out of readers with paragraph after paragraph of prose about the color of the trees. (I tend to skip that crap when I read). I'm trying to add a bit more description in the regular work and maybe interspercing a few paragraphs here and there that are just setting. Here's a paragraph from "First" that I wrote at lunch today:

Kras Dhun -Roof of the World- a forgotten place in the midst of an unforgiving land. It was a place of ice; of coldness so deep and unyielding that the very earth itself had forgotten the warm touch of sun on its surface. Ice, covered by snow, covered by more ice was the entirety of the terrain. The great peaks of Kras Dhun towered above the insignificant lands below, their tops piercing so deeply into the painfully blue skies that one had to look down to see the tops of the misty white clouds that flowed like river water along the frigid currents of air that danced between mountains. Here, the warm blood of the earth did not flow. Here, the ice grew like a living beast, in shades of pink and steel blue so deep they defied description in human tongue. The warmest of days were so cold a man could perish in moments upon the frozen slopes, bitter winds robbing the precious warmth of his body and freezing the very blood within him. The nights, which could last for cycles of the moon, were worse. No living creature stirred upon Kras Dhun in the darkness. Even the shaggy, long horned, Hava huddled tightly together in deep grottos beneath the ice when night came to Kras Dhun. Night was a time of certain death, a time of winds that carried the coldness of the void in their teeth

It's rough, first draft, stuff of course but I like it. There's a decent amount of description without getting overly verbose (I hope!). It needs polishing (obviously) but it's the sort of balance I'm trying to hit. Actually, reading back over it, the whole "defied description in human tongue" thing is an annoying and cheesy dump out on my part but, I'll leave it in for your amusement . . .

I was watching a movie the other night (City of Angels) and they were discussing Hemingway's writing. Nick Cage points out that old Ernest never failed to describe how things tasted, smelled, and felt. That struck me as particularly important and I realized that it's something I have not been doing in my own writing. The five senses are all we truly know in this world. It strikes me as a particularly stupid thing on my part (no real surprise there, eh?) that I've been avoiding those senses when I write. Live and learn, right?

Gonna be a crazy weekend. The wife and I are running a fundraiser for the boy's Scout troop and I also have to start emptying the basement so the contractor can start next weekend (we hope!). I have no idea where I'm gonna put all of it but I'll figure something out. With a little luck, I'll get time in there for some more writing and maybe I'll find the nerve to jump back on the "Clans" editing! Just to keep you up to speed on the Agent queries: I'm starting a lovely collection of polite form rejections. (sigh) Still have two more outstanding but I imagine the results will be the same. I'm thinking the synopsis is not good enough to grab their attention. I'm positive the book is publishable but this is my first try at a synopsis. I'll take it back to the drawing board and try a second round of submittals. After that . . . I have no clue.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wives Rock!

Running, running, running!

On the way out the door at work, so just a quick post here.

Had an amazing thing happen the last two days: both nights I was sitting on the couch (late night) and just vegetating after a crazy day and evening of running about and the wife just walked up, turned off the TV (that I wasn't really watching) and suggested I go write for a bit. How cool is that? It was all the boost I needed and I managed to get a good thousand words in each time, on nights that would have otherwise been a complete bust. I think it's from reading this blog . . . she is starting to understand what i'm trying to do and why. Having a little bit of help from her means more than I could ever tell you. (thanks, babe!)

So, there is writing being done, and daily exercise, despite the fact that I'm stretched thin and feeling punk. October is going to be the worst month of the year from a scheduling standpoint. I have a tone of Scout stuff, the contractor starting on the house, work is rabidly busy, and life in general is loaded to the gills with family commitments. I'll keep writing though . . .

The wife will see to it! :-)


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Big Fun and Whining

Nothin' but fun at work today!

The hard drive on my goddam laptop went belly up, eating everything I had on it. I don't leave much there, but I DO keep my writing stuff in a Temp directory. I always send a copy of what I do at lunch home, so I didn't actually lose anything, but I had nothing to work on at lunch today. What a pain in the ass! You don't realize how accustomed you become to a system until it dies on you. The laptop I'm on right now sucks turtle eggs - it doesn't even have a sound card! ARRRGGHH!!!

Hopefully, I'll get my regular system back soon. The I.T. guys are trying to reload the OS in hopes of giving me a chance at getting off the few files I had on it before replacing the drive.

On the renovation front: WE HAVE A CONTRACTOR! (WooHoo!) He came by last night and we signed the contract. He should be starting in about 1-1/2 weeks and thinks he can get it all done in 3-4 weeks of work. I truly hope so! It will be a major load of the wife and I to not worry about the house. It's been an albatross on our necks for years and it will be fantastic to just forget abobut it for a while. Tonight is Scouts, so limited on the writing front (though I will be e-mailing myself my latest stuff to work on the new system with)

I'm a little annoyed with myself right now. I don't like that I've been letting the writing routine slip over the last week or so. I was sick, sure: but there is the little voice inside that's telling me I'm wasting my time writing anyway. It wants to know why I'm knocking myself out writing hundreds of thousands of words that no one will ever read? That voice is certain (and I mean 100%, no doubts whatever certain!) that I will never make it as a professional writer. It keeps telling me to lay it aside now, when I can still tell people I chose a different life path and not have my complete failure become public knowledge. Sad, ain't it? I know better than to listen to it but it's a persistent little son-of-a-bitch. I know everyone out there who follows this stupid dream hears the same voice and I know I'll keep going no matter how many times it screams at me to stop but it's depressing as hell. There is a large part of me that believes that voice. A part of me that knows I'll keep writing till the day I die and never once know the satisfaction of seeing my name on the cover of a novel. The only part of me that thinks I can do it, sounds suspisciously like the same voice that tells me to play the lottery . . .

See? Pathetic.

So I'm annoyed at myself because I can't seem to keep the faith. Guess I'll just have to push my way through on pure stubborness. I know how to do that . . . it's how I've made 38 without winding up in a straight-jacket. Stubborn is the one thing I can do with a vengeance. Don't believe me? Just ask the wife! Her tales of my bull-headedness are many and legend!

Enough whining for now. Gotta run.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Accursed Moon!


The very word means the day dedicated to the lunar celestial body, or: "Moon Day". (translation of Latin lūnae diēs, day of the moon) Note the connection to the word "Luna" which is also the Latin base for the word "Lunatic" (Middle English lunatik, from Old French lunatique, from Latin lūnāticus, from lūna, moon).

In short: you have to be a friggin' whack-job to enjoy this day!

At work. It's crazy. I'm tired. Problems galore. No one is happy to be here today.

It's truly a Monday.

How'd the weekend go, folks? Mine was good. Got done all that I needed to, though I felt like crap doing it. I got back to exercising this a.m. (took the last few days off because of the illness) and the body was not happy with me. The joints and back still ache a touch and the sinuses are mildly stuffed so it wasn't a lot of fun but I had to do it. Illness is almost always the death of my exercise programs and I wasn't letting this one die the slow death of indifference. So I was back at it first thing out of bed today. It hurt, but I felt better afterward.

Got some writing done today on "First" (1,300 words or so) over lunch. Not a wonderful day but I'll take it just the same. It's the first writing I've gotten done in a full week. No editing on "Clans" yet. I tried looking at it on Saturday night but it seemed too horrid to work on. I'm hoping that was because I felt like such crap at the time and not because it really is crap. Of course, now I'm afraid to go back and look at it fear it truly is the latter. (I know, I know . . . I promise I'll get back to it! Sheesh, you're so pushy!)

Can you believe it's October already? Man, this year flew by! NaNoWriMo is just around the corner (yup, I'll be doing it once again!) and the holidays are hovering in the background.

Strange thing I noticed today. . . Seems like a lot of the blogs on my sidebar were sparsely updated the last two weeks. Either we are all living frighteningly similar lives, or the other blogs are all just imaginary projections of fragments from my own tattered psyche that update themselves only when I conentrate on them. Hmmm . . . which do you think it is?

So, Mel & Lee (from my FM Crit Circle) dropped some comments here last week about getting back into our round-robin editing work. I asked them to hold off until today, so I think I'll swing by and see if they've gotten anything going yet. I think I'm going to post "First" there for them to start picking at. I'm hoping that getting feedback as I'm working the first draft may help me avoid some pitfalls and -who knows?- maybe even prompt some new plot twists. This week should be a little less chaotic than the last two so I'm hoping to get a good bit of work done. I'll keep you posted.