Monday, February 28, 2011

Ups and Downs



Well, it was a weekend of highs and lows. Pictured above is one of the highs.

Sheridan (third from this end) earned his Wolf rank in Cub Scouts and was rightfully proud. We had gotten a late start on some of his projects, but he's a sharp kid and managed to get them all done in time. Our main job as parents is keeping him focused. The banquet itself went on for a long time, and the kids were practically in rebellion by the time we left but I really couldn't blame them. Rowan especially had had enough. She was very, very good through the first two hours and forty five minutes, but we smelled a mutiny brewing from her direction towards the end and got out of there.

And Rowan really has been doing well lately. She has been more verbal, and starting to pick up on some things that we have been working on her with for a very long time. She's been having good days, and generally been in a good mood.

Then this happens.


Yep, that's a hurt little Stinkerbell who isn't sure what's going on but knows she doesn't like it. She fell off her computer stool and broke her elbow on the hard floor. I got an inkling it might be bad when she didn't stop saying ow after the first ow, then started crying.  She's usually tough as nails and shrugs off bumps and bruises as just everyday occurences. She kept looking at he elbow and saying "All gone! All gone", which is her way of saying "Make it stop" or "No more". She wanted me to kiss it and make it better, and I tried, but of course that didn't work either so Dad let her down as well. Karla bundled her off to the emergency room, where they spent the next four hours. The kiddo that returned home was not very happy.



She's now in a splint that she hates because it won't let her use her right hand, so she keeps trying to take it apart and get it off. Tomorrow we'll take her in to an orthopedic person and see if they want to put it in a cast. Poor girl, she's been getting good at taking care of certain things lately and I'm worried that this will set her back because she won't be able to do them anymore while she's one handed.

We also have to get Karla's car fixed because her taillights stay on when she turns the car off and runs down her battery. So we'll drop it off at the dealership tomorrow. We also have to get my new braces fitted, so that's another item we will have to squeeze in while trying to get Rowan to the next doctor.

Needless to say, I haven't done much more writing.

Oh well, it's a new week folks. So there's still plenty of time for things to get better.

Right?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Update (Sort of)

I slept in today, after staying up late and working on a scene from Argiope.

I had skipped ahead and decided to tackle the scene immediately AFTER the hero and heroine finally get together, and he is laying there feeling like the luckiest man alive but wondering if she has lost her mind. Yeah, he has a few self esteem issues....ones that aren't helped by the fact that he feels a bit like a third wheel when the bad guys try to kill him and the heroine sort of handles things herself. So I figured I would use the scene to give a glimpse of the lady protagonist's feelings about things since most of the time she is sort of a cypher.

Anyways, the scene is written and I think that after much labor, second guessing, and rewriting that it finally turned out decent.

Tonight is Sheridan's blue and gold banquet for cub scouts, so I'm attempting to bake a cake. I've baked many a cake in the past but this is a new GFCF cake mix that I don't have a lot of confidence in. We'll just have to see how it turns out as well. I hope it does, and I hope he has a good time. I know I went to one of these when I was a kid in scouts, but I don't remember it...probably because I was a hyperactive kid bored out of his skull and didn't pay a bit of attention to the proceedings. I have my doubts over how long Sheridan is going to remember this as well.

Not a lot else to report this weekend. I'm just kind of chillin and thinking about things. We'll see if I can keep doing that without spraining anything.

Enjoy the weekend, folks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

So Friday is Upon Us


So Friday is here, and the weekend looms...

I have managed to get some writing done, but it's "chaos" writing. It's parts of Argiope that may or not ever be used because I wrote ahead of the point I'm currently stalled at in the story itself. One of my proofreaders (Charlie) is of the opinion that I'm stalling out because I will soon be getting to the point where my protagonist finally works up the courage to make a move on the woman he's been mooning over, and I'm still not confident in my ability to handle that well. Who knows? Maybe she's right.

So far, the extra scenes I've written either take place before or immediately after that point. Now I HAVE actually figured out how I'm going to handle the all important scene, and I've even bounced it off a proofreader and my wife to see if it would garner the female seal of approval. They think I've found the right way to handle it, as it allows the scene to be handled completely from the male POV but it doesn't turn into a litany of Adam simply going down a checklist of Olivia's physical features and admiring them. It even has an element of humor, with a later injection of danger and action to go with it. So I think I've got it.

Now I just need to write it. Easier said than done...because it's still romance and the twelve year old inside me is still screaming "COOTIES!!!!!!!"

Sigh. It ain't easy being a guy.

On other fronts, I have actually got some things done this week and the house is better for it. Cabinets have been straightened out, laundry has been sorted, and the stuff that has been covering the floor of our walk in closet in a foot thick pile is now piled out in my bedroom, waiting to be sorted and put away or thrown away. So things are better. I have a repairman coming next week to fix an AC duct that the raccoon had tore up, so that's been dealt with as well.

All this crossing stuff off of checklists is getting scary. I'm not used to that.

Oh well...

Have a good Friday folks, and stay safe out there!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sweet Dreams =/




So I dreamed I was back in school last night. I was sitting in my desk, surrounded by people I might know better if I came to class more often, and listening to the teacher explain that the projects worth half our grade were due today. As I thought about it in doomed silence, I sort of remembered her mentioning this project at the beginning of the semester. So now I realized I had blown it yet again, and would soon be the only fifty year old high school student in America.

Then my teeth started falling out.

Yep, I sat there at my desk, and realized one of my teeth was loose. I gave it a brief wiggle and the thing came right out in my hand. As I stared at it in numbed bemusement, another fell out in my mouth and I spit it into my palm next to it's mate. I pulled two more free before the teacher asked me in a sharp tone what I was doing. I swiftly stuffed my liberated molars and cuspids into my pocket and mumbled, "Nothing."

She told me it was time to stand up and give my oral report in front of the class.

I wondered if I could possibly bullshit my way through this, but then realized I had no idea what the report was supposed to be about. Was it a book report? A report on government? History? I racked my brain as I stood and shuffled towards the front of the class...trying to remember what class this was anyways. I had been skipping it so much I had forgotten the subject. Not to mention I could feel my other teeth hanging loose in my gums, ready to fall loose when I started talking.

So I stood in front of a class full of young strangers, with a mouth full of loose teeth, and wondering what the hell I was supposed to say. Mercifully, that's when I woke up.

Yeah, my mental life is in great shape.

So, absent anything major to report other than a little more work that I may or may not keep done on Argiope, that's about it. Oh, and I did a bunch of laundry.

All this excitement is killing me.

Oh well, have a good Thursday folks. It feels like spring is upon us!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Different Approach


So I'm going to try a different approach to break my mental logjam on Argiope.

I'm going to skip ahead and write scenes that I know are going to occur, and worry about tying them back in later. That way work is getting done, and I will also have more time to figure a way forward between where I am and the scene that takes place later. I have never tried anything like this before, but I guess it can't hurt. It just doesn't come natural to me. I usually (okay, always) start a story at the beginning and work my way forward till I reach the point that I can slap "The End" on. (okay, I never actually write "The End" either)

I guess we'll just have to see how this works.

One reason for this is that I've been spending too much time lately brainstorming and not enough time putting my fingers to the keys. And the problem with brainstorming is that it can kind of take on a life of it's own and then you find out you haven't actually typed anything in a while. So one of the main goals here is to put my fingers to the keyboard and start producing verbage.  I'm just going to have to make myself put words on the Word processor program at least once a day...and for now those words are going to have to be part of Argiope.

So I'm going to jump ahead and start working on a scene between Adam, Olivia, and a young member of the enemy faction who finds himself forced to ally with them as they have do deal with a large arachnid that has joined them in a darkened movie theater. It's the scene I'm "seeing" at the moment, so why  not write it while it's fresh in my head?

Oh well, we'll see how this new fangled process works...even though doing new things makes me kind of grouchy.

Happy Humpday, folks!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Three Day Weekend Passes


I made it.

Without warning, some nutball decided we should have a school holiday in honor of our Presidents so I found myself on the receiving end of another three day weekend. Seriously...do these guys really need more honoring? They already got the job and the title. Nobody is going to call ME Mr. President for the rest of my life. I'm just going to get remembered as that grouchy old guy who keeps trying to get out of paying allowances.

Is THAT fair?

Anyways, I survived this assault on my sanity and now look forward to a semi-peaceful day. It isn't a Monday or Friday, where I get the bulk of my writing done, but I'll take what I get. I might can find my kitchen this morning, and get a little writing done at Starbucks. I'm due a little peace and quiet.

I've got a couple new ideas for Argiope, and I'll see if I can make them work better. I'm thinking of combining two scenes...one a romance scene, and the other an attack by the main characters nemesis...and setting it in a darkened movie theater. It would make an interesting scene, and might even shorten a book that is already reaching it's 80,000 word mark. I need to get this thing done sometime, and I just don't write fast enough to crank out Stephen King sized tomes.

So things are progressing, even if it's in fits in starts.

Now I just need to eat all this snack food I have inadvertently stocked the house with over the weekend so I can go back on my diet. Sigh, the perils of trying to de-kingsize yourself. It ain't easy folks.

Have a Happy Tuesday out there, folks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Late Night Equals A Late Morning.


I stayed out till 2 AM on a Writer's Night Out with Cherri Galbiati and Diane Driver last night, and needless to say I didn't just bound out of bed in my usual wide eyed and bushy tailed manner. So my blog is late. Sorry about that.

Anyways, we had a great time and talked about our current projects and encouraged each other to keep our chins up and to carry on in the tough field of writing. We discussed book covers, titles, pricing and other things that we have learned all affect the success of a book. Much caffeine and many hot fudge sundaes were consumed, and a good time was had by all.

So this week my goal is to break the mental logjam I'm fighting on Argiope, and get to going forward with that at a better clip. As I explained last night,  I have the first sixty percent of the book written, and I know how the last part between eighty percent and a hundred percent is supposed to go. It's just getting through this valley between sixty percent and eighty percent thats giving me trouble. It's sort of a slow part of the book, and I'm bogging down in it. It's the part where lots of conversations are going on and lots of things are finally getting explained. And the main character finally has time to breath and try to figure out what he is going to do about the attractive female he's been thrown together with. Since I swore that I would tell any romance from the male point of view, he will naturally have to consider and dismiss the clubbing her on the head option.

Oh well, one other thought...

Has anybody written a superhero/ zombie book yet? Think Batman in the zombie apocalypse. Meh, now that I actually printed that out I can see what a dumb idea it is... Welcome to the life of a writer.

Have a good week, folks!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Zombified Weekend


So now I'm thinking zombies.

It doesn't mean I will actually break down and try to write a zombie story, but it increases the odds. Since talking about it earlier, all I've been thinking is zombie apocalypse scenarios. Now the funny thing here is that I've haven't really read any zombie genre literature, so I really have no idea what is expected by the readers of this genre. It might be worth a look though. I think I'll buy a couple of zombie kindle books for my laptop and just see what this genre is all about. I'll have to figure out what the popular titles are and see what's popular with the fans.

So far I'm picturing these three rednecks riding down the road in a couple of trucks and trying to make their way to some safe area they heard about on their CB radio. One of them has his recently zombified girlfriend duct taped in the back of his truck because he can't just bring himself to shoot her yet. I know, I know....its' stupid but that's just the way things work when I'm suddenly playing around with new ideas. I may never use any of them, but sometimes a good one that I can use will creep in there.

Oh well, I'm going to be busy all weekend, so this is it till Monday for the blog. I'll be gone to family get togethers and stuff...and thinking about zombies.

I might also buy a new BBQ grill this weekend as well. That would be kind of nice. I've felt kind of "unequipped" since I threw out my old grill. It's been a long time since I made smoked brisket.

Anyways, I hope everybody has a great weekend and I'll see you Monday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

So, I Slept In Again



It's Friday, which means I have the option of going right back to bed after packing Rowan's breakfast and lunch for school. This time I went ahead and did that. I figured a few extra hours of sleep wouldn't do me any lasting harm...especially after I had been so good all week. Now I just need to make sure it doesn't become a habit.

I've been slowly plodding away at Argiope...less than a thousand words a day...but I have made progress. All I can say is that I think there is a good story in there somewhere, but this manuscript is going to need some major revisions.

I've also been doing some research. If I am going to stay in the fantasy/action/horror field, then I realized I needed to at least be a little more aware of what's going on in the market out there. Vampires are big, but I don't think that is going to come as a surprise to anybody. On the other hand, zombies seem to be getting bigger too. I hadn't realized they were so  popular. It seems that many monsters have their own little genre nowadays, and I'm not really writing stories in those genres. I might ought to at least try one or two, just to see how that works.

Of course, I'm an old purist so my vampires would most likely be evil, blood sucking, ancients who view humanity as self corralled cattle. ... or maybe they'll just be ticks in expensive suits... whatever, it's not a genre I'm up to date on at all so any attempt I made in that genre might be doomed. Zombies on the other hand...

Hmm...the whole zombie apocalypse, or the threat thereof, is a scenario that offers a great breadth of possibilities and situations for stories. Hmmm.... I would still need to read some of what is currently popular to see what the tastes of zombie fans run to. Oh well, more research.

Happy Friday folks...only a few more  hours till liberation!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Old dogs, New Tricks, and Stuff


Objective Correlative.

Yeah, that's a word. It's a writing technique that I'm learning about, although I have mixed feelings over it. It's the use of setting, objects, or other things in the story to deepen the emotion. I am a novice when it comes to writing so I know if I'm ever going to be any good I still have to keep learning. That's why I take on projects like reading all of Hemingqay's short stories and stuff. I know that quality matters.

There are some parts of writing that come natural to me and some that don't. For instance, I picked up a quick feel for Hemingway's use of dialogue to carry the scene, and while I wouldn't presume to copy him I do try to implement my own variation of the same thing at times. I'm usually satisfied with the results. On the other hand, metaphors are something that don't come naturally to me at all. Like my son, I was always kind of literal minded as a kid and confused by things like metaphors, expressions, and such. Being aware of them has helped, but I need to work harder in that direction.

Also, I went and had breakfast with Sheridan yesterday. While I did get to spend some time with him, most of my time kind of got monopolized by a couple of teachers who wanted to talk. Still, I did get to watch Mr. Clueless get followed around the cafeteria by a little girl who shadowed his every step and sat by him whenever he changed tables. Sigh. Sometimes he would have been better off taking after his mother.

I'm slowly working my way forward with Argiope. Just  five to eight hundred words a day, but at least it's progress. I'm hoping to be able to get a flow going and pick that rate up.

Oh well, Happy Humpday Folks! And try to learn a new trick or two...it keeps you young.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Really, Miss Muse? Really?



If I ever catch my muse, I'm going to kick her dead in the butt.

After struggling for two months over a couple of issues that had me bogged down in Argiope, I had a neat little brainstorm come out of nowhere that neatly resolved all the problems and gave me a bonus action scene to boot....and it came to me right in the middle of my son's Cub Scout meeting where I was expected to be a dutiful parent and pay attention to my kid so he would stay on task. Aargh!! I could barely stay on task myself after that. The meeting kept going on and on, and I was dying to get home to my laptop! But it was all in a good cause and the boy was exposed to lots of scouty goodness. And I somehow made it through the meeting without having a stroke or some kind of breakdown.

But just barely.

Still, the good news is that I have a way forward with Argiope again. I need to do some plotting to figure out how to implement this idea the best way, but I already know it's going to work. Woohoo, I love it when things are working out. It makes me feel like I might actually be in the right line of work after all.

On another note, I'm going to go to Sheridan's school and have breakfast with him this morning. He's been asking me to do this for weeks, and I've just confirmed with the school it's okay. I think it's great and I intend to take advantage of that opportunity while he still wants me to be part of his world. I know someday that will likely change, so it's best to make the most of it while being the parent hasn't yet cast me as the Great Evil Oppressor. Sheesh, listen to me...I sound like I miss him already.

Oh well, now it's Tuesday and we're back to Starbucks day. Maybe I'll get some good writing done while I'm there. Have a Happy Tuesday, folks!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Monday!



So last night I slept without a varmint thundering around in the attic above my head.

It was really kind of nice. Because while there was something entertaining at times listening to thumps and scurrying of my former raccoon nemesis, I also knew he was getting into stuff up there and tearing things up. So while our household is now a member shorter, I think it is a good thing in this case. I think the cats provide enough wildlife for my tastes.

And today marks another bright occasion. I will go in and get fitted for new braces today as well. Woohoo! Having a new set of orthopedic legwear will put my mind at ease because the ones I've got are getting really old and have been breaking down. So that will be another item taken care of. There has been a lot of that going on lately.

I've also got Argiope up above 77,000 words, so I seem to have gotten that started again. It's been a bit of a struggle to get those out, but at least the story is going forward again. Going slowly, but going. I'll take any progress at the moment.

On another note, I went and bought Valentines cards for my kids to give to their friends at their school party. I almost didn't find them because apparently what I was looking for doesn't exist anymore. It seems that Valentines Day cards for kids nowadays are tiny little things barely larger than tags. I couldn't believe my eyes, but two shopping moms nearby assured me that those were what I was hunting for. The things don't even come with envelopes.

So I bought them, and I just hope I haven't sent my poor kid to school with the wrong thing so that all his friends will hate him and his life will be ruined and he'll blame me and run off with gypsies.

Oh well, we will see.

Happy Monday folks, and enjoy this glorious start to a new week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bad Coon, Bad Coon, Whatcha Gonna Do....



Whatcha gonna do when they come for you...

I GOT HIM!

I got the little bugger thats been having wild parties in my attic and destroying everything. The same little bugger that sounds like he's having his own private Olympics above my head every night. I had caught his siblings many, many moons ago but he was clever and kept eluding capture. No matter how I baited the trap, he managed to fish out the bait without going inside himself and getting caught. It seemed like I was doomed to live with a critter doing gymnastics in the ceiling above me while I slept.

And then he blew it.

 Apparently he just got curious and went inside even though there was no bait in the thing. Maybe he just figured it didn't work anymore. Maybe he was feeling lucky. Or maybe he felt guilty for keeping me up nights while trashing my attic and decided to turn himself in. Who knows what goes in the little pointy head of a raccoon? But he had finally screwed up and he was MINE!

MUAAHAHAHAHAAA!

Of course, after indulging in glorious visions of coonskin cap style revenge, I decided to let him go. So the wife and I bundled the kids into the car, threw the raccoon in back, and headed to a nearby park. I sort of wondered if he would be able to make it in the semi-wild of a suburban park after living the high life in an attic and living off trashcans. Then I realized he would probably just head straight for the nearest houses to set up shop again. Fortunately there are a lot of houses between my house and that park, so he is somebody else's problem.

And of course, he had to be difficult even when I was trying to let him go. I would open the gate to the trap, but he was facing me and not the gate because he wanted to try and reach through the bars and grab my leg. Each time he would try that he would step on the pressure plate and close the trap again. But the third time was the charm (because I held the gate open) and the little feller headed to happier pastures...as seen below.



So tonight I sleep with a silent ceiling over my head for the first time in almost a year.

I wonder if I'll be able to fall asleep.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Starting the Weekend Right




Get oil change and front brake pads replaced. CHECK

Replace water filters under the sink. CHECK

Rearrange plastic and tupperware bowls in cabinet. CHECK

Make beef stew for dinner. CHECK

Get caught up on all the dishes. CHECK

Finish my book of short stories by Hemingway. CHECK

Write a little bit on Argiope: CHECK

Make some gluten free bread in the machine for me and Rowan. CHECK

Thats actually quite a bit done for me. I'm rather pleased with myself. Most days I don't have near the energy to accomplish all that, but Friday was just a good day. I both felt well, and felt focused. I could use more days like that.

I didn't actually get much written on Argiope, but I finally managed to start writing on it. That's important on two different levels. First of all, it breaks the paralysis even if only by a little bit. That makes it easier to pick up and keep working on it. Second of all, now that I have published The Mushroom Man, I've fallen into my post-publication dumps where I feel like that was the last good idea I'll ever have, that I'm washed up as a writer, and that it's all over. So getting a little done on Argiope improves my mood in regards to writing in general.

Sheridan got a glowing weekly report from his teacher this week, and she even pinned a blue ribbon to his shirt for good behavior. I suppose another outing to a movie, or maybe some frito pies at Old Town Spring, is  in order. Actually, I'm glad for an excuse to do it...and it's good that he is enjoying school. I don't want him to ever learn to hate it like I did.

Anyways, I guess I'll see if I can pick off another thing or two this weekend that has been let slide for too long. Maybe I'll finally catch that damn raccoon.

Little Victories


So yesterday I bought a new pair of shoes. That doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize I wore the last ones down till they had holes in both soles and had worn the heels half off. I have to fit my AFO's down into whatever shoes I wear, so they tend to just get left in them and I put them and the shoe on at the same time in the morning. And since that means I have about three sixteenths of an inch of hard plastic between my half numb foot and the shoe, I'm not really aware of what's going on  with the shoe itself. But after finally breaking down and replacing them, I have found I actually walk better. So that's one small victory.

I also bought a couple of pair of blue jeans that fit me. I usually go through life in cargo shorts, with sweat pants added when it gets cold. During this last icy cold snap, I came to the conclusion it might not hurt to actually own a pair of pants. It seemed like just the thing as I was standing out on the porch yesterday morning so I could see Rowan's bus coming.

 "Pants," I thought to myself as my knees were turning blue. "Pants would be nice."

So when I take the car in this morning for it's oil change, it will be done in the comfort of pants. And that will be one more item off my checklist of things that I have been meaning to get around to but not doing. I'm sure my car will love me for it.

And who knows, if that goes well I might try doing other things in pants. The sky is the limit!

Happy Friday, Folks!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gettin'er Done


Yesterday, I got my braces repaired and had an appointment set for Monday to have new braces made. That is something I have been meaning to get around to doing for way too long. So it's nice to finally be able to put a checkmark next to that item on my list. And speaking of the list, I'll be getting myself some new shoes today (another think long overdue) and tomorrow I'll be getting an oil change. So this week has started to turn out to be about taking care of overdue chores.

I've been trying to get myself to thinking about Argiope again, but without much success. My brain seems to want to drift to another short story for some reason. What I might do is sit down and read what I have from the beginning and see if that gets me back into the Argiope frame of mind. I need to get that novel's first draft done.

I really don't have much to write about today.

I just don't lead an exciting enough life.

On another note, I read the other day that the reason that one in twelve women in the US will deal with breast cancer, and the reason only one in one hundred thousand Chinese women will face that same problem, is that we consume dairy products and the Chinese don't. Apparently the theory also holds that it causes a couple of types of cancer in men as well. It seems that people weren't evolved to eat dairy. All I can say is that when I was on that strict GFCF diet, I felt better and sharper than at any other point I can remember. It's just a tough diet to stay on.

The reason I bring this up, of course, is that I'm debating trying it again. Not that I'm fat or anything (oh no, nothing like that :P ) but I do need to eat better. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So I Got A Haircut


I was definitely beginning to get a little too frowzy and fuzzy, so I decided the time had come to get a haircut. The final straw was when I pushed my hat on and it popped back up off the top of my head. So off to the barber's I went.

It appears that my self image needed a little updating anyways.

The lady did a swift and competent job, but when I was finished I noticed something shocking. There was a pile of hair on the floor that I had a hard time accepting as mine. It was pale gray, and for a moment I wondered if they had shaved a granny before putting me in the same chair. No such luck. It appears I need to stop thinking of the other people with gray hair that I meet as "old people."

Sigh.

On the other hand, gray is kind of sexy when you think about it. Sean Connery makes it look rather good. I'll just have to wear it like he does. Yeah, I can do that. This might actually be a good thing. I'll just have to work out a classy but subtle way of fending off the chicks when the wife is around. Yeah.

It's not easy being me, but I do my best :)

Oh well, it's all good. Now I just have to decide whether to pick up Argiope or start work on this idea for a short story I suddenly got. Decisions, decisions.

So have a Happy Humpday out there, everybody!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New! From Your's Truly :)





Today, I'm happy to announce that The Mushroom Man is available for purchase at Amazon.com.

That's my big news for today, so everybody have a Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

So How About that Super Bowl?


That was a good game.

Anytime the game comes down to the final minute, the fans win. And this time we had rather evenly matched teams where I do feel the better team won. That doesn't always happen, you know. Not to mention that as a Dallas Cowboys fan I could hardly be expected to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Super Bowl. So the right team won, lots of chips and queso was consumed, and a good time was had by all.  Alls well that ends well.

Alas, this also means that we begin that long dark night which is the part of the year where there is no football. It is that awful, prolonged time when my wife lives in the smug assurance that the TV is hers on Sunday. It's a time that tries a man's soul, and an ordeal that all real men must endure until the glorious return of autumn. But it is a trial that we have faced many times before. and we all find our own ways to make it through this most difficult of times.

I will survive.

I also had a Writer's Night Out with Cherri Galbiati the night before. We decided to move it to Saturday night this week so we could enjoy the Super Bowl. Since I was closing in on getting The Mushroom Man ready to publish, I celebrated with a Chicken Fried Steak...gluten be damned. Sometimes it doesn't hit me that hard, but this time it had me yawning at poor Cherri half the night. She took it gracefully though, and did one final proofread of The Mushroom Man for me. She was very helpful and gave some great last minute pointers that added that perfect last minute polish to the story.

I also want to thank my other two proofreaders, Stephanie Hilliard and Charlie Paul. You guys help bring the diamond in the rough into a polished gem.

Speaking of The Mushroom Man, I intend to upload it to Amazon.com after I finish working on it's blurb sometime today. With a little luck, it will be available for sale by Wednesday or Thursday on the kindle. I consider hitting that "publish" button to be a great way to start any week. And this will be the first time I do it in 2011 so... Woohoo! My year as a writer has finally begun.

Anyways, Happy Monday, folks!

UPDATE: I hit the publish button at 1:18 AM...and wouldn't you know it, I screwed up. I put "The Mushroom Man" as the title instead of "Shades: The Mushroom Man." Sigh. It's not a huge deal since I can fix it later, but I'll have to wait until it's been published. It's always something.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Catastrophic Houstonian Winter Storm Edition


Somebody up there does not want me to finish The Mushroom Man.

I got my feedback from both proofreaders now, and I was anticipating having all day Friday to integrate the suggestions and fixes they had suggested. That's because Friday is both a school day, and a day I don't have to pick up Rowan to take to her therapists. Friday is my most productive day of the week. Friday was what I had pinned my hopes on when it came to finally getting this story polished and published this weekend.

Last Friday, I didn't get anything done because I had kiddo's home with the plague. This Friday looked more promising, especially since both kids are now healthy...but that was before MOTHER NATURE DECIDED SHE HATED ME AND CHOSE TO ENTOMB THE CITY OF HOUSTON IN A COATING OF ICE.

It is one oclock in the morning, and there is a fine misting rain coming down that is freezing to surfaces on contact. My car is already becoming encased in ice. Needless to say, schools are cancelled and the kids will be demanding my undivided attention tomorrow...AGAIN. Needless to say, I won't be putting my Friday to the purposes of writing...AGAIN.


So there's that.

I will find something to do with the kiddos...the first of which will hopefully be sleeping in. After all, on school days we have to almost get a tow truck to pull them out of bed. Surely they will be just as sleepy on a day they could build up great karma by letting their poor old Dad get some well deserved shut-eye. Right?

I've asked Karla to help corral the kids on Sunday, in a desperate attempt to get a few hours to actually get some work done and finish this story so I can hit that publish button. She said, "We'll see." That's not exactly the most encouraging response I could have gotten, but it sure beats hysterical laughter.

So now there isn't a lot to write about...just me and the kids slowly becoming encased in ice in the sub-tropical city of Houston. I hope we don't have to eat the cats.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Freaking Cold!





Okay, that's enough winter for me...thank you very much. The fountain at the front of our sub-division is not supposed to look like that.

Fer Pete's sake, this is Houston, Texas! One of the alleged upsides to living in Houston was that I could be a delicate, if rather manly, hothouse flower and not have to put up with any more water that is white and hard, unless it's in my glass of Dr. Pepper...and often not even then.

I hate ice. I hate driving on it. I hate falling on it. I hate it falling on me. I hate it's temperature. I hate the way it pops water pipes. I hate scraping it off windshields. I just hate it. There is a reason that slippery and icy are words with negative connotations when used to describe a person. It's because ice is evil and was put on this planet by Satan so it could be used in excess by fast food chains to water down your soft drinks and make them more money.

Ice is bad.

And speaking of bad...Texan's driving on ice is just a whole new level of bad. And while it may be hilariously bad if you aren't out on the road with them...if you ARE then you're in for a real treat in white knuckled terror as Betty Sue goes sliding by your car sideways at sixty miles an hour in her SUV while stomping on her brake and screaming into her cell phone. The last thing I want to see out my drivers side window on I-45 is the word "Chevy" on a front grill about three feet away as it glides past. It does bad things to my digestion...on the spot.

I mean...THIS IS THE SUB-TROPICS FER CRYIN OUT LOUD!!! WINTER IS SUPPOSED TO BE SOMETHING WE READ ABOUT! IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO CANADIANS, NOT US! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE AND I WANT TO COMPLAIN TO THE MANAGEMENT. I'M FREAKING COLD!

I would now like to return to my regularly scheduled seventy degree winters please.

Thanks.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Le Sigh




So two things of note happened yesterday.

First of all I decided to weigh in and see how my diet worked out in January. So with great trepidation I stepped on my new digital scales to see the score. After it finished screaming in pain, it reported I had gained four pounds. Yeah...four pounds...in the wrong column. I might need to rethink my dieting strategies. The "tub o' Cool Whip" diet apparently has it's shortcomings. So there's that.

The other thing I managed to do was somehow leave my headlights on while parking my car at Starbucks and draining my battery dry. The real odd part here is that it was one o'clock in the afternoon on a bright sunny day, so I'm trying to remember why I would turn my headlights on in the first place. I haven't a clue. Oh yeah, my early onset of Alzheimer's is coming along great  So there's that, too.

Apparently, my goal of getting skinnier and sharper by the end of the year needs to be replaced by a new, more realistic goal.... transforming into a giant, brainless blob of goo. I can do this! I have the aptitude! Go me!

On another front, I'm starting to get feedback back on The Mushroom Man. So far it's both positive and useful. Lots of corrections need to be implemented (thanks Steph!) but story wise it seems to be getting a good reception. Hooray! I kind of like this story too. I may spend an extra day or two working on it. There are a couple of paragraphs that I think could read smoother, and I want to make sure I have my characterizations just right. I want it to be nice and polished, so it may not go up till next week now.

Anyways, that was my Tuesday, so lets hope my Weds goes a little better. As long as I stay away from bathroom scales and don't drive in broad daylight with my high beams on, I think I got it covered.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hey! Somebody Out There Likes Me!





Heather, over at Bewitched Bookworms just did a review of The Ways of Khrem. It appears she liked it...which is always a relief for me. Be sure and visit the site to get other reviews for books you guys out there might be interested in.

I'm sort of in that intermediate limbo where I'm finishing up the tweaking on a story, waiting for proofreader suggestions to come in, and then hitting the publish button so I can move on to the next project...more than likely Argiope. I'm also kind of brainstorming for new short story ideas, but haven't hit on anything strong yet.

The only thing I've got so far is a mental image of a young boy in Transylvania like situation. His mom has gone on a trip to the next village but is now knocking on the door of their cottage at night and asking to be let in...even though she has left strict instructions that he is never to open the door after dark to anybody. It's pretty clich├ęd so I'm not too thrilled with it.

Oh well, I still have till this summer to come up with enough short stories for my Shades: The Collection title. And it's not just about the number of short stories, but the word count too. "Death and White Satin" and "The Mushroom Man" both weigh in at over ten thousand words, so there is twenty thousand words just in those two stories alone. "A Memory of Me" is also at 7,500 words so if you put those three stories together you are already almost a third of the way to a hundred thousand word anthology. I've got a couple of five thousand word stories also slated for it, so that's good too. Still need more stories though. I would like to have at least ten.

Oh well, that's enough for now. I need to get some sleep so I can get up and get the kiddos off to school. Today is Starbucks day. Maybe I'll get some more editing done there.

Happy Tuesday, folks!