Saturday, July 31, 2010

And So It Begins


Day One of "Vacation of Champions" began on a hot note. We went to Kemah Boardwalk, south of Houston, and it was toasty. That, and the absence of any shade worth mentioning made Nate a tired camper. The kids had fun though, and ran their little selves ragged.

They are now being given a bath by their Mom up in our room, while I'm using the wifi hotspot here at the resort snack bar. I don't anticipate any trouble getting them to bed.

Got a second opinion on my fantasy story, The Flight of the Coral Horn, and the reader made some good points for leaving it the way it is. It's actually a very grounded ending, and although a tad bleak, does have depth to it. It's also consistent in tone with other stories from the world of Nur. So we shall see. The title is still a problem though.

For now, I gotta go as the wife will not be pleased if I'm gone too long...that whole "parenthood is a shared responsibility" kind of thing. Ya'll know how it is.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Preliminary Things


So I finished the first draft of The Flight of the Coral Horn.

The thing about writing is, at this stage nothing is set in stone. I am not convinced I went the right direction with this story, and I'll be printing it out for proofing later. And while the title is nice, I'm not convinced it fits the story well, and that might change yet too. So other than the title and plot, things are static.

I guess since I use this blog to sort of "think out loud" as I go along, it kind of shows how projects can change and morph as they move towards completion. I'm not just writing, I'm planning titles and book covers as well. This means I do a lot of preliminary work that can be radically altered before the final product is submitted for publication.

You can kind of see that process going on in my other project, now currently titled "Shades." It was originally envisionede as a four story ghost anthology, that has now morphed into a series that will one day end in an anthology instead. That project is much more mature, and is in pretty much it's final form...at least the first story. There is still a chance the second may have a different ghost on it's cover if I can come up with something decent.

Well, that's it for now. I will try to update the blog from Galveston when I can over the next week. I don't know what kind of internet access I will have, or what kind of opportunity I will get to use it. We shall all just have to wait and see. That's just the way that both writing and life works. You never know what you're going to end up with until you have it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Countdown Has Begun


One more day...

Only one more day before I pack myself into a Toyota with two noisy kids and a dubious wife, then head out for two and a half hours on a Texas Interstate in August. Yep, vacation is upon me.

Seven glorious days of kids in the sun, kids at the boardwalk, kids on the Strand, kids at the water park, kids at Moody Gardens, kids in the resort room, and kids in the bed with me. It's almost more fun than any one man can take while sober.

somebody shoot me

And we shall have fun. Oh yes, we will. And I will bring my new high definition camcorder to record all the carnage.

But first we must pack. More fun. Packing makes me happy. I will enjoy packing. I will pack with enthusiasm. Hooray for packing!

I'm also closing in on finishing The Flight of the Coral Horn. There is a reasonable chance I will have a very rough draft done by tomorrow evening. It still needs a lot of work, and the name may change yet again, but getting that first draft done is always a good feeling. The funny thing is I'm not totally sold on my ending, and may write the story two different ways to see which I like better. Oh well, at least once I've got it finished once, any other version is a bonus.

It's all good :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's Going to be an Interesting Autumn

In the spirit of these, already coming out August and September...


I will also be having these...


Yep, I will be running two series of noveletts and short stories on the Kindle.

The Barrow Wolf will be republished with a new cover, an authors note, and a blurb at the end promoting The Ways of Khrem. The Flight of the Coral Horn is still being written but will hopefully be ready to publish by October, if not sooner. The Tales of Nur series will all be set in the world of Nur, the same world as The Ways of Khrem, and will feature monsters, charactors, or places mentioned in the novel.

The Barrow Wolf features a monster (the Barrow wolf) briefly mentioned in the prologue, and it takes place in a country (Issil) which is mentioned several times. The witch in the story, (magrit) is actually the witch mentioned in the last chapter header in the novel. She and her apprentice are scheduled to make an appearence in a later Khrem novel.

The Flight of the Coral Horn is much the same way, although it takes place out on the Cambriatic Sea and includes the Tagarr, and a creature that Cargill mentions in the novel as well.

Yep, I'm going to be really busy when I get back from vacation. If things go according to plan, I will have all four stories available on the Kindle early this fall. Then I can turn my full attentiont to writing the sequel to The Ways of Khrem.

Hopefully, I can do both series of stories justice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sometmes No News is Just No News

There has been little to nothing to report. I took some Nyquil and went to bed early last night, and Karla had to drag me out of bed this morning. Nothing going on other tthan being part of a strange dream of joining a line of a thousand authors, all wearing pullup diapers and marching in a circle around Walmart...while snapping our waistbands to the beat of Bolero.

Yeah.

Try turning THAT into a story.


So I'm just trying to get through the week, get Rowan to her therapists, and find a little bit of the house under this mess before we have to leave on our yearly vacation this friday. It will be our annual jaunt down to Galveston, to enjoy the fun and the sun....and who knows, maybe a hurricane and an oil spill for variety Actually, the weather looks okay so far, and the oil spill seems to have gone to Florida.  Besides, we probably won't go to the beach anyways. These days the water parks are the prime destinations.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Notes

Well, I took the boy to see Toy Story 3 yesterday. We had a good time, and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Pixar is just incapable of making a bad movie. Their batting average is pretty phenomenol. The only downer was I tripped and spilled about a third of our popcorn into the aisle. I would have been embarrassed but it was dark and nobody seemed to notice. Sheridan never even shut up, just continued his running monologue about whatever he was talking about while I pulled myself up on a chair. I guess he's used to seeing Dad hit the floor =P

On another note, I now have my fantasy story about the Coral Horn up to 7,100 words and there is still more story to go. So it will be a full novelette, just like The Barrow Wolf. That's good. I like to think my customers are getting their full ninety nine cents worth. I'm thinking of naming the series that will contain The Barrow Wolf and this one, "Tales of Nur." I will include a little authors note about what that means at the beginning or end of the story.

Oh well...I got this and the two Shades stories to get ready.

Busy, busy, busy!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Just Because



Rowan made me play it fifty thousand times, so I thought I would share.

Shades


So this is what I'm now considering; A series of novelettes and short stories titled "Shades."

The first in the series, "Shades: Death and White Satin" would be released in August, soon after I got back from vacation. "Shades: A Memory of Me" would be slated for a September release. They would be priced at .99 cents each on the Kindle.

While I would like to release one of these a month, quality control will be paramount and nothing will be published until it has been polished free of blemishes. Each title of "Shades" will also be in it's own shade... haha, I kill me... but the above colors are not necessarily the final ones. It occurs to me that "Death in White Satin" might be more appropriate in a white, or at least ivory, hue.

Well, that's the idea as it sits right now. I kind of like it, but I still have time to evolve it further.

I'll be going on vacation on Friday the 30th, so this weekend will probably be devoted to housework and other such stuff. Lots of laundry to do, and things to pack.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A New Idea


I was talking to a publisher on the kindle boards the other evening, and he pointed out that I ought to consider approaching my "4" project in a different way. Instead of writing four stories then releasing them in an anthology, why not release one story at a time under a series name...then make an anthology called by the series name when I've reached whatever desired number I was shooting for.

For instance, a "Shades" series with the first story released being "Death and White Satin." He said I could even use the same cover for each story in the series, just with a different title...although I'm not so sure on that idea. But it is worth considering. I could have Death and White Satin out by mid August...with Remember Me following in mid September or earlier.

I would also have a series for my fantasy stories. Since I set them all in the world of Khrem, I would  need a series name that identified them. Unfortunately, I've never officially named that world (it's actually called Nur, just like the river that flows through Khrem) so finding a unifying name for the series from the novel might be difficult. I would simply republish The Barrow Wolf as the first in that series...with Fate of the Coral Horn hopefully out by late September, early October.

The other nice thing is that I've been more productive than I thought this year. I forgot to include my christmas story in my completed short story count...so if I finish the first draft of Fate of the Coral Horn next week, then I'll have written six short stories in seven months. That's only one short of the pace I like to keep, and it doesn't include the three flash fictions I wrote, nor all the work I did on Argiope.

I still need to step it up though. I want to start working on the sequel to The Ways of Khrem sometime this autumn.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alas, Poor Mouse. I Knew Him, Horatio.


I come here today, not to bury Mouse...but to praise him.

He was a loyal companion to my trusty laptop, guiding my cursor with dependable precision. I could always count on my mouse.

But he is no more. Lost somewhere back at a distant Starbucks, he now exists in a latte bedecked limbo where all mice left behind in coffee shops spend eternity.

Goodbye friend Mouse. I will remember you fondly.

Now I must bond with a new companion...a fair young electronic rodent with the brassy name of Logitech emblazoned on her rump. She's a bit of an ergonomic tart, coming after the stolid and comforting lump of her predecessor, but I'm sure she will grow on me as well.

Rest in peace, dear Mouse. You served me well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Brief, Shining Moment of Sanity


Sheridan is at his camp. Rowan is at her school.

I am sitting at a Starbucks inside a Barnes and Noble, sipping a cafe mocha and eathing a spinach and artichoke quiche.

It is quiet, and I do not need eyes in the back of my head to track any errant four year olds.

All is well.

Just Being Dad


So my job today is going to be taking Rowan to her different therapies. She has one from nine to twelve thirty at Learning Lane, the two consecutive one that go from one fifteen till three oclock at Children's hospital. So I'll be gone all day. I'll take my laptop just to take advantage of what time I can get in at Starbucks...where I pay way too much for a cup of coffee just so I can sit down and use their internet. Oh well, it's not quite a deal with the devil.

I did a writer's night out with Cherri Galbiati last night, so I'll probably be a little bleary eyed and in need of that caffeine anyways. We stayed out till midnight, talking about writing and the directions that the field is going. I realized I had actually written more this summer than I realized, but that I had felt I was behind because I used so much of my time earlier this year working on editing my novel. I had been sort of fretting because I wasn't on last year's pace of a short story a month.

I've actually gotten more production than I realized. I've edited one novel and got it published. I've got Argiope to forty five thousand words. And I've written one and a half short stories for the Pandora anthology. Then there is the Barrow Wolf, which is at eight thousand words. Death and White Satin which is eight thousand words. Rewritten the Tragedy Man into a six thousand word story. And hopefully I will finish Fate of the Coral Horn next week...which is going to be at least seven thousand words. That's actually not bad with it only being July.

On another note, I need to buy a new hat. No, the one in the picture isn't mine (I wish it was though). I tried washing mine and the results weren't good. Oh well, with vacation coming up it's time to get a new hat anyways. A guy has got to have his hat.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Morning


Well, I'm up early after going to bed at 8:30 last night.

I had done an interview with Dungeon Crawler's Radio and I think I did a pretty terrible job of it, to be honest. I got sidetracked, and I came off as pretty lame.  The interview only lasted about thirteen minutes, and I think I managed to talk about everything but my book. I knew I had blown it when I hung up the phone, so I popped a meletonin in disgust and went to bed.

Sigh!

I've started a new project, which is writing down dreams in the morning when I can remember them. I only dream in little snippets, as opposed to entire "stories" that some people report dreaming in, but there might be an idea or two worth pulling up in those snippits. Who knows? One of my best stories, "Rite of Passage" comes from a nightmare I had, so it could be well worth doing.

While the two snippets I had last night were weird in an unremarkable sort of way, I do remember laying there in bed afterwards with the oddest thought in my head....

We are all just tiny little lives in this vast sparkling river of history, and the things we create cause us to shine a little brighter.

I lay there in the dark and I could see it. It was like this immense river of stars coming out of the darkness and flowing towards infinity, with billions of tiny lives making each point of light. It flowed to some grand higher purpose against a majestic celestial music I could sense but not really hear.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to watch that melatonin. I think I was still half asleep when that came to me.

I like that thought, though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Moment of Summer.


Another brief moment with Sheridan. Time never stops, and as much as I treasure these you would think I would work harder to allow for more of them. He will only be this age once.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So I Went to the Movies


I went and saw the late show of "Inception" last night. It was a good science fiction, although it takes a little patience as the movie doesn't coddle the audience and it takes a few minutes to get up to speed on what's going on. In this case that's okay because it results in the a very intelligent movie that doesn't dumb itself down for the audience.

But alas my adventure didn't end at the rolling of the credits.

I tottered out to the parking lot, sometime after midnight, to head home for the evening. Then I stood there by my car, fishing in pocket after pocket for my keys. It became evident pretty quick they were gone. So there I was, alone in a Houston parking lot sometime after midnight.

Yeah.

So I hobbled as fast as I could back to the theater, and managed to squeeze back in the exit before it closed after the last departing couple. I stood there in the empty lobby, watching that last couple head for their car, then turned to head back the theater where my movie had been showing. I called a few times for help as I went, but got no answer. Then, reaching the theater where my movie had been, I wobbled my way back down the aisle to the area where I had been sitting.

I was right in the middle of crawling around, looking for my keys, when the lights went out. So I stopped there, on my hands and knees in complete blackness. My only choice then was to feel my way back to the lobby.

The lobby was now gloomy as well, and still deserted. I stood there for the next five minutes, calling for help at the top of my lungs. Due to the acoustics, my shouts seemed to carry no distance at all but just fade off in the shadows.  No answer, but the sound of muted bleeps, gunfire, and engine noises from the distant row of coin op video games.  I started to wonder if the place was simply automated to shut down when the last customers left, and somebody came in and cleaned up in the morning. Which meant I would be wandering around in a deserted theater, and possibly trespassing.

Crap.

It was either leave the theater, or find the employee area and search for help. I found the door after another search, and discovered how hard it is to overcome that conditioning to stay out of forbidden areas. I reminded myself that I needed assistence, and that common sense dictated somebody had to be there. So I opened the door, yelled at the top of my lungs, and recieveing no answer I headed up the stairs.

I found myself in a long, bright hallway that zig zagged out of sight. I stopped and listened, and then I heard voices in the distance. Somewhere in a room down the hall and around a far corner, a couple of voices were murmering and giggling. Not wanting to bust in on anything like that, I chose a different strategy. I figured if I was now close enough to here them, the opposite was true. So I stood at the end of the hall and shouted for help.

Pretty soon a guy and gal showed up, eager to assist me in finding my keys and getting me out of there. They were very helpful. The keys were found, and I was ushered out to the parking lot. Apparently they had a lot of work to do, and it was time to get me out of there so they could get on with it.

Adventure over.

Oh well, it was enough excitement for me. And let me tell you...even modern cineplexes are creepy places when you're all alone in them.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just Wondering


As a writer...

...when I'm sitting here, staring stupidly at the screen without being able to come up with one solitary word to put on it...and I'm not accomplishing a single blasted thing...

...does that count as taking a break?

.

Halfway There


I have now finished the first drafts to "Death and White Satin," and "Remember Me." The first is 8,100 words long, and the second contains 6,500.  Those actually count as short stories, but definitely of the beefier variety. I'm pretty happy with both of them, although I'm not to sure about the title "Remember Me." That could still be changed.

Now it's time to hunt new inspiration.

I was originally going to put in a story I had already written, and got the rights back for, called "Storm Chase." It sort of fits the theme I wanted for "4," in that it features a female ghost. I decided not to because it weighs in at only four thousand words, and has a completely different pacing than these two stories. I'll keep it in the bullpen, so to speak, just in case I do need it...but I'm seriously considering submitting it to a free ezine in the hopes of getting it out there about the same time as "4" becomes available. I think it would make good advertising.

Anyways, despite my doom and gloom of yesterday (breaking a tooth can do that to you) I have a small sense of accomplishment in reaching the halfway point in my anthology. Now to come up with two more of the same quality. I want this thing to be scary...kind of like the expression on "miss kitty's" face in the following video.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On A Brighter Note...


I have just finished the first draft of "Remember Me," currently slated to be the second story in my next digital ghost story anthology. Nothing like a little progress to make me feel better.

Deterioration


I broke a crown today. That's the second one. I suppose I'm going to need to see a dentist about that sometime. I guess I'll just add it to the other things I've been putting off, lettng slide, or ignoring.

There has been a lot of that lately. But sometimes life just doesn't let you do much about it.

Chewing just became more of an adventure, but bridges are expensive and I'm going to need extensive bridgework to fix this mouth.  Walking is a bit more of an adventure too, and someday I'm going to have to get these worn out dropfoot braces replaced, before the prescription runs out....which will be a problem since I missed my last appointment with my neurologist and don't have another scheduled. Our floors need to be replaced in the worst way, but our central air conditoner went kablooey and had to be fixed first, so that got put on hold. The yard...well, I don't want to talk about the yard.

Sometimes life piles up. It gets ahead and catching up ain't easy...and I don't move that fast in the first place.

I'll figure something out.

I'm Now Digital



The Ways of Khrem is now available on the Kindle for the price of five dollars.

Pill Hill Press and I worked together to get the formatting right on this, and let me tell you...it was a chore. I understand it is available in other digital formats, but I can not make any claims about the formatting on those. I can assure you that the Kindle version is in good shape, and that is the version I strongly recommend. I have a lot to learn about digital publishing, but it is the way of the future so it behooves me to do so.

Today I will try to finish the first draft of "Remember Me" for my next digital compilation, "4." That will make the second story, and leave me two more to go. I want to try and have the first draft of "4" done sometime in Sept. Then I'm tempted to start work on the sequel to The Ways of Khrem. Right now I'm still at the stage now where I'm taking hints from people on what direction or area they would like to see me explore in the sequel, although I make no promises.

Ah well, today it will be me and the Beastie at home all day. Good times.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tonight, I Write

It's time to put my time to better use.

I've got the kiddos fed...stuffed full of french fries and deep fried fish...and soon we'll be putting them to bed. Then there will be the inevitible skirmishes as each will try one excuse or another to get up and spend a few more precious seconds out in the living room or hallway before getting tossed back into bed. Then there will be complaints and calls for somebody to come lay down with them. And then finally they will be out.

At that point I'm going to sit down and write.

I'm going to pick up one of the two short stories I'm working on and put a few hours of uninterrupted work into it. Who knows, I might even finish a first draft.

Weirder things have happened.

The Road to Recovery


Well, I'm not as deathly ill as I was before, so I shall take that as a sign that there is hope. My head still feels like a balloon stuffed up into a fishbowl, and I really didn't want to get up this morning, but I don't seem to be feverish and the body aches are gone. I feel well enough to take Rowan to her therapy today, which is a huge improvement. If this trend continues, I think everything is going to be alright.

And now that I'm no longer in the throes of mortal pestilence, I've decided to shelve my efforts in HTML and get back to other projects. I have two short stories sitting unfinished that could use a little attention...and running a load of socks might be in my self interest as well. The housework has kind of piled up on me in my infirmity, and I'm hoping that maybe by tomorrow I'll feel good enough to tackle that too. Who knows, I might even be up to some yardwork by this weekend...

...if I can just get my head out of this damn fishbowl.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dear Microsoft...

Dear Microsoft,

As one of the thousands of independent writers or small prublishers who use your Office products, I would take it as a real favor if you guys would update your Word program so it would save documents in the kindle format. That would really be swell.

Thank you,

D. Nathan Hilliard.

PS: I would even pay for a product like that if you didn't want to make it a patch.

Sick


I wasn't feeling well yesterday afternoon, so we canceled the trip to the resort. Instead, I took Sheridan to the movies to make it up to him. I figured sitting in an air conditioned theatre was more my speed anyways. As it turns out, I broke out in a fever while in there and alternated between shivering and sweating my way through the movie.

Sheridan enjoyed the show, and chirped about the movie as I stumbled my way out into the parking lot...trying to dredge up the strength to drive home. I managed to make the drive, and shambled along behind Sheridan into the house. I then went immediately to bed, at about 4:30, and didn't wake up until Karla had to go to work this morning.

I still feel like the wrong end of a car accident, so there won't be much happening today. My job for now is trying to see if I can get to feeling well enough to take Rowan to therapy at noon. We'll see. Till then, I'm going to lay on the couch and try to recover.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Update


Well, after burning the midnight oil and cramming my poor brain full of HTML, I successfully figured out how to fix the problem with my project. Unfortunately the implementation of that fix is going to require me to go through a book length document and manually insert HTML tags. Oh well, nobody ever said a writers life was all fun and game.

But I think I'll avoid writing science fiction because I might have to teach myself rocket science one evening.

The worst part is I now have a miserable head cold and I'm looking out at the world through a fishbowl. We cancelled the kids swimming trip to the resort and I'll just take the boy to see a movie instead...as I think I might be able to handle sitting in an air conditioned theatre...maybe.

Weekend Stuff


I went and saw "Predators" at the theatre tonight. I was all prepared to hate it, since I felt they pretty much ran that franchise into the ground, but it turned out to be okay. I would rate it right behind the original...better than the second one...and much better than the Alien vs Predator garbage that came along later. It even had a bit of the feel of the first one. So I recommend it to any Predator fans who are on the fence about this one.

On another note, my formatting project was a partial success but I think I can do better. I think I know where the problems with my project came from, but now I've got to fix it.  I've located some online HTML tutorials and I'm going to cram on that for a day or two then try again. I want to be able to upload things for publishing on the kindle with confidence. All I have to do is learn a programming language in a day or two. No big deal.

Whats going to make it more of a challenge is that I'm going to be going out with the family tomorrow. We're taking the kids swimming at a resort in Conroe, so I'm not going to have access to a computer for most of the day. Oh well, I'll be sure and take pictures. All work and no play makes Nate something something.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

From The Princess Bride to Hemingway


I spent the better part of the day with "Storybook Love," the theme to The Princess Bride, playing in the background. After seeing that movie the other day, it stuck in my mind like it always does. I started to wonder what it was about that movie that made it work so well.

While it did have a cast of actors who would turn out to be good, they were mostly nobodies at the time...with the exception of a few TV actors. The film didn't have much in the way of a budget either. I realized while thinking about it, how simple and elegent of a story it really was. The charactors were all painted in broad strokes, yet the movie respected itself despite it's silly aspects and had a real heart at it's core. And it was all done with minimal sets or complexity, and a straightforward clarity.

Which brings me to Hemingway.

I've read some of Ernest Hemingway's works before, and have always admired his ability to sum up a moment with that same simple minimalism. And since I've now got a kindle reader on my laptop, I thought it time to use it to good effect. So I bought the complete set of Hemingways short stories.

 They will provide both good reading and a great example of good writing to inspire myself with. It's always good to see what the other guy has done, and why not go ahead and get the best. I used to be a voracious reader when I was young, and I need to start reading more again. And Hemingway is simply the best author I could think of to start with.

Ah well, I need to get to bed because all to soon it will be me for whom the alarm tolls.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sigh

I watched The Princess Bride with my son last night, and it put me in a really odd and rather meloncholy mood. Honestly, I think it's one of the best movies ever made, and the musical score is a soulful favorite of mine. I only see it every few years, but it's always like visiting an old friend.

But this time it really drove home how time has flown by. It was twenty three years ago when I first watched Inigo Montoya finally catch the six fingered man, and The Dread Pirate Roberts rescue his princess Buttercup. It seems like the movie comes from a completely different world now.

How the hell did I get so old?

Oh well, I finished my formatting project so I'm getting ready for the next project. I've just migrated The Tragedy Man over to my laptop/writing computer for rewriting. I'll post a snippet of it later today. I mainly just need to rewrite the ending, and tweak a few things...like renaming it. Anyways, it will be the second story in "4."

This weekend I intend to spend time with Sheridan so there won't be a lot of writing accomplished. That's okay, I need more Sheridan time. It's good for both of us.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Formatting for Great Justice


I'll be working on my kindle formatting skills all day today. Thankfully, I'll be home for the entire day, so I finally have time to settle in and work. I've got the boy off to camp, and the girl parked in front of a computer of her own. Now lets see if I can get something done.

An indie writer can't get too much practice at this...and I would rate this as a top three survival skill necessary to be an independent writer...the other two skills being the ability to write well, and the ability to convince your wife that your not an irresponsible bum who is taking her for a ride.

I'm still messing with that ghost in the photograph idea. I may change it's concept since "The Tragedy Man" already features a graveyard from a vanished town, and I don't want to repeat the same idea in an anthology. That's okay, I think I've got a better and more suspensefiul angle anyways. What if you started getting pictures from the cell phone of somebody you murdured? Hmmm...

Oh well, time to crank up the AC, and get to formatting. Might even do a little housework on the side.

Go me!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Few Items


"Death and White Satin" is getting good to great reviews from my proofreaders and will likely be the opening story in the "4" anthology. I'm really trying to step up my game with these stories, and I want this anthology to make a strong impression.

Came home to a clean house, which is always nice. It takes a little mental pressure off since I had been letting things slip while writing and working on other projects, and the mess was really beginning to crowd me mentally.

I  stopped at the Kebab House in the Woodlands and had a Donner Kebab. It was excellent and I recommend it to all my Houston readers.

My monopod/walking stick arrived in the mail today. Hopefully this will lead to videos that don't look they were taken by a drunk in the throes of the DTs. That would be nice. Since I'm going to be responsible for cover art/interior photos in my self published stuff in the future, I will need lots of photographic material to work with.

I thought I had evaded the cold that had my wife so miserable last week, but I woke up this morning with a sore throat. Rowan is coughing as well, so it looks like Karla got us after all. Drat!

Blogging from Starbucks


I'm blogging from Starbucks this morning, sipping from my cafe mocha as I type. I'm not sure if that makes me snooty,  faux snooty, pretentious, a yuppie (no, I'm too old to be a yuppie), or what. It's a Starbucks in a Barnes and Noble if that helps.

I just dropped Rowan off at her new therapist in the Woodlands, and I'm stuck out here for pretty much the rest of the day as I have to pick her up later and take her to different therapists. That cuts into my writing and editing time pretty severely...but kiddos have to come first. Any serious progress in writing or editing is now becoming a Thursday or Friday affair anyways...and lets remember I still have Rowan home even on those days. I won't really be able to bear down and concentrate until school starts again.

Anyways, I'm currently doing an editing and formatting project...dry stuff...and then I'll pick up "Fate of the Coral Horn" again. That's just a placeholder name, but I do sort of like it.

Oh well, I'll go back to sipping my mocha and being something something now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Idle Thought


I confess that like all authors, the hope of making money at writing was one of the motivators when I initially got into the field. My plan went something like this....

1. Write Book.
2. Harper Collins sends bikini clad supermodels waving fistfuls of cash to my front door.
3. Live happily ever after in fame and glory.

I gotta say, I'm very disappointed in Harper Collins right now. They really dropped the ball on this one.

Oh well, back to work.

Oh Noes!


Look! A giant spider is crashing the Hindenburg!

Yeah. I got nuthin.

There just isn't anything to report today. I'm busy on an editing project that came up, and I'll be doing that for a few days, so nothing is going on on the writing front. And it's the same old thing with the kids...Sheridan is off to "camp" and Rowan goes to therapy at noon. I'm bereft of deep thoughts to blog about, and the cats aren't doing anything interesting. Even the last raccoon has apparently abandoned our attic...probably out of boredom.

Maybe I'll have something later.

I sure wish football season would start.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Exiting the Parade

Happy 4th of July


Here are the kiddos, and adult support staff, returning from the childrens parade yesterday. They had a good time, and I want to thank my brother and sister for walking (and pushing in the case of my son) with the kids along the route. (my son's battery on his tractor died and my brother ended up pushing him along the route).

On the writing front, I'm trying to make a couple of decisions. The initial monster I was going to use in Fate of the Coral Horn would actually make an interesting monster for a story in the sequel to The Ways of Khrem. I do have a backup critter in mind if I choose to make that switch, but I need to think about it as it will change the whole charactor and complexion of the story. I'm also toying with the beginnings of an idea for the next ghost story for "4". What if a person was photographed at a cemetary, and it was later noticed there was a person sitting on a tombstone in the background of the picture that neither person saw while they were there....and what if that figure in the background started showing up in later pictures that weren't taken at the graveyard.

Hnmnnn....

It's got potential. I'll have to rough draft it and see what I think.

Oh well. Today I need to find a fireworks display for tonight, so the kids can see their Fourth of July fireworks. Busy, busy, busy.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day...and Nate Falls Down A Lot


They celebrated Independence Day a day early in the park across from Nonni's house, and the kids were delighted to take part in the annual kids parade. I was there, ready and rarin' to go with my new HD2000 camera as well.

Things started off well, with me getting a few shots from across the street before crossing over to the park to get ready to film the kids. That's when disaster struck. I stepped in a muddy patch on the incline near the street, and in the next second found myself trying to do the Can Can in my braces. Needless to say, I did a very poor rendition of the Can Can and ended up on my butt. I also managed to twist my ankle and my knee in the process.

I then limped back over to the house to do the filming from the security of a chair in my mothers side yard. I guess I got some decent shots, but they could have been better. Then, to add insult to injury, I went in the house and managed to fall again while in the kitchen. This time it was because I was trying to pivot on my previously wounded leg and it just said, "Nope. You're on your own," and collapsed. This time I went down with a crash, taking two kitchen stools with me. That added a wounded hip to my list of boo boos, not to mention a terminal blow to my dignity...as nothing says "spazoid" like having your sister in law finding you flopping around on the floor of the kitchen.

Sigh. One day they will find a cure for Charcot Marie Tooth...and that will be my Independence Day. Until then I will just keep a sense of humor about the whole thing and hope they develop a brace for wounded dignities.

Off to Grandmothers House We Go....


The kids and I have gone to Bryan to spend Saturday at Nonni and Daddo's house. Pictured above, Rowan is delighted for any chance to visit her grandparents. Rowan and Sheridan will be in the little kids parade they have every year. I'll be sure and get pictures.

Oh well, for now it's off to bed.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sigh!

...and of course, as soon as I get the first draft printed out and sent to one of my proofreaders, I discover a cringeworthy screwup that pulls the reader right out of the story. It's easily fixable, but it's the kind of thing I should have caught before. Argh!

Progress


The first draft of "Death and White Satin" has been finished. This will likely be the first story in the horror anthology pictured above. I'm rather pleased with it, as it has struck the right tones and I think it has achieved the effect I was striving for. It is a little over eight thousand words long, but that will fluctuate with rewrites and editing. It still needs editing, and I will edit it thoroughly because I'm really trying to craft the stories for this book the best I can.

After a cursory edit for passive voice, I'll print it out and send it to proofreaders. Then I'll consider my next move. One possibility is to pull up an old story of mine called "The Tragedy Man" and see what I can do with it. It was written for a particular anthology that it never made it in, and had a theme shoehorned into it that never really fit the story well. A revision of that story could result in a product well worthy of this anthology. It's a good story...it just needs to be recrafted, have a couple of awkward elements removed, and expanded in a couple other areas. It will also need to be retitled since I would be removing the part that the title comes from.

I had considered putting "Storm Chase" in this anthology since I had the rights back for it too, but decided against it. That would make two stories involving wedding dresses, since Charlotte March was buried in hers, and I didn't want to take anything away from "Death and White Satin." Besides, it's only four thousand words long, and I wanted the stories for "4" to be a little longer.  Instead, I think I might try submitting "Storm Chase" to an ezine. That way it could be advertising for both me and "Middle of Nowhere."

Oh well...work, work, work!