Thursday, December 31, 2009

Musing a Year Expired

So a New Year is upon me, and I suppose it's time to take stock of the old.

I think 2009 is the year I will always remember as the year I became a writer. While I actually started writing in Nov 2008, it wasn't until 2009 that I finished my first manuscript, got my first rejection, got my first acceptance, and saw my first story in paperback. I also met my goal of writing twelve short stories that I felt were worthy of submission for publication. Ten of them proved me write, and one is still under consideration. The last is being tweaked for future webzine consideration somewhere. So I think I can confidently say that 2009 was a pretty big year for me.

The kids are another year older, and growing like weeks. The wife is another year younger and lovelier than ever. I, of course, am another year fatter and and desperately hunting fat authors to model myself after. A hat can only make you look so skinny. I suppose I'm going to have to make a new year's resolution about that or something. Maybe start wearing vertical stripes, and hope nobody confuses me for a pregnant zebra.

Oh well, I'll think of something.

All in all, 2009 was pretty good. Here's to making 2010 an even bigger and better year. I've got some thoughts on that for my next post.

See ya next year :)

Night At the Movies

Karla and I took a rare night out from staying home with kids (thanks to our good friend Cherri Galbiatti) and went to see Avatar on an Imax in 3D.

First of all, let me say this is the only way to see this movie and truly appreciate it. The effects are spectacular and you honestly forget you are watching CGI. It's just that good.

Now, the politics of the movie were a little overbearing for my tastes. Evil corporation looting the world and oppressing the noble savages type of thing. Not to mention the Navi were so obviously meant to represent Native Americans that one kind of got the whole Dances with Wolves vibe on top of it. It was just a little too ham handed in that regard. And that's really sad, because other than that it really was a good movie. A spectacular science fiction, and a truly interesting and alien world.

I do recommend it, but check your politics at the door.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Okay, I'm feeling a little better. I bought myself a new hat, which as any real man knows is the cure to many an ill. So fortified with my new hat, I face the world with a replenished sense of purpose and vigor. I'm sure it will also improve my writing, as science has proven that the hat is the repository for literary talent in the male of the species. It's true! I'm just waiting for all that new hat goodness to inspire me to new heights of greatness.

Go me!


Late update today, as I went to bed early last night feeling a little under the weather and slept sixteen hours straight through. I'm still not in top form, but the kiddos have places they have to go.

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to work I go!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Governance and Alloting Time

“The Jeweled Thrones of Khrem are a reference to the five noble families that govern the city. The head of the Peliantus family is said to sit upon the Ruby Throne, while the Emerald Throne is the seat of the Estradians. The Tourmaline Throne has been fought over for generations by different factions of the Calvurans, unlike the fearful internal discipline of the Vestrulians and their orderly successions of the Sapphire Throne. And it is amber that encrusts the high seat of the reclusive Morvani, whose number are few and falling.
It is by consensus of the Jeweled Thrones that the Lord Magistrate is chosen to administer those functions of the city that the Noble Houses have not reserved for themselves.” – School book for eight year olds in Haribbean orphanage.

Another potential info snippet from between chapters of the novel. Still looking over the book, and trying to figure out how to rewrite it. I'm even wondering if a glossary is a good idea. It's definitely do-able, I just want to approach it right. I think I'm on the right path, but I can't really focus and put much thought into it while the kids are home all day with me. Oh well, let them enjoy their time at home, because all too soon it will be back to school with them.

I woke up a little under the weather yesterday. Got a little housework done, sent a contract off to LL Dreamspell, and managed to feed the kids. That was probably the best that I could hope for under the circumstances. I mainly just sat on the couch and watched the kids.

The Bears beat the Vikings tonight, which means there is an outside chance that Dallas could actually end up being seeded higher in the playoffs if they manage to beat the Eagles next week. Wow. Lets see if they can pull this off.

On a side note, maybe dieting isn't necessary. I've noticed that all the male writers I've met seem to be on the lanky side. Perhaps getting enormously fat would help me buck the trend and make me fresh and original. Hmmm... it's worth considering.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Good Times

I'm baaa-aack!

I didn't have an opportunity to get to the internet the past few days, so I apologize for not updating the blog.

I spent the past few days with family, and a great deal of good food. I think I have put on ten pounds over the weekend. On the bright side, none of it had gluten in it and I can feel the stuff finally getting out of my system. I guess that leaves me fat and clear headed. Oh well, I suppose I can diet. At least everybody had a good time and a Merry Christmas. The kids had a ball.

On another positive, and somewhat surprising, note . . . the Cowboys beat the Redskins and ensured themselves of a playoff berth. All of this positive energy has definitely got me in the holiday spirit.

And yet another positive development is that my new found clear headedness has allowed me to start the rewrite of the Khrem story. I did a tentative rewrite of the first chapter, and while it still needs work, it is a definite improvement. So if I don't succumb to being enormously fat over the next few weeks, I think have a good chance of getting this story into shape. It needs a lot of work, but it can be done. Of course I still have the kids home with me all this coming week, so I probably won't get much done until school starts.

Ah well, things are looking up.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Setting the Stage

"Ancient and labyrinthine, the city of Khrem fills the peninsula that separates the Akartic and Cambriatic Seas. It flows back from the shores like a vast tide, up both sides of the river Nur, and swallows many of the hills at the peninsula's base. The Great Third Wall protects it's flanks from enemies that haven't shown themselves in generations. Towers from earlier walls, engulfed by the city long ago, still stand above much of the other buildings. Huge statues crown the hills, both inside and outside the outer wall, effigies of mighty kings of yore. And in the lower harbor the Autarch, the mightiest statue of them all, stands waist deep in the sea and watches over the ships of commerce as they come and go. From it's cavernous streets to its forest of rooftop spires and domes, Khrem is as much a marvel of man as the many wonders it contains" - Norothindor's "Geography for the Aspharite Pilgrim"
Above is one of the changes I will be bringing to my novel. Since Cargill of Khrem is now a seller of rare and valuable books, I've decided that a good way to set the stage without bogging down the action with long descriptions is to begin many of the chapters with excerpts from books that Cargill might sell. This will allow me to introduce information useful to the reader without bringing it through awkward asides or dialogue shoe horned in for that purpose. Also, books are an important part of a culture and can be used to add flavor and depth to the setting independent of the snippets in the text itself.
I'm looking forward to this, anticipating the improvements and bringing out the story that this novel can be.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rewriting Khrem

After Christmas, (and after the gluten clears my system) I will undertake my first project of 2010. It will be the targeted rewriting of my first novel, The Ways of Khrem. I'm very confident in the story itself, but since it was my first effort at writing, I had a lot to learn. Now I'm going to go back and take the lessons I have picked up and apply them to the novel. As stated earlier, I'm also going to rename it to "Spider's Pawn," and move the title "Ways of Khrem" to refer to the intended series.
Setting is crucial to this novel, and I intend to go to great lengths to preserve it. The city of Khrem is practically a charactor in the story itself, but in my first writing I think I bogged things down with too much descriptions. I now have a couple of ways to work that into the story better, improving the pace at the beginning, and yet preserving the charactor of the setting and atmosphere. I have a few other story decisions to make regarding this draft, so I'll print out a copy of the novel and take it with me to read over while I'm spending Christmas with my parents. That will help me re-immerse myself into the world of Cargill of Khrem.
Rewriting and editing are art forms in and of themselves, and while it can be a tedious process, it can also be very rewarding when you see something raw take shape and polish. I'm looking forward to this being one of those times.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glutenized but Feeling Fine

This is the aggravating part.

I feel fine. I feel normal. But I can't remember things. Karla is constantly reminding me of things she told me only minutes earlier sometimes. And I keep forgetting that I'm not remembering things. I'm guessing this is just going to be the way of it through Christmas, but I'll try and be more careful.

I hate this.

I love good food, and I feel fine. And I miss eating out at restaurants. And worst of all the consequences don't seem all that bad, because I really don't notice them. But I guess they are.


Tuesday blahs

Both kids are home. Sheridan is playing Spore, and filling the house with jungle sounds. . . while Rowan is strapped in her high chair and singing to her bowl of puffed rice. Minor morning bedlam.

I've decided I'm going to rename "The Ways of Khrem" to "Spider's Pawn," with the former name now being the name of the series I have planned, with Spider's Pawn being the first book in that series. If I buckle down and really work on it, I think I can get it done sometime in January. That will then let me turn my attention to Argiope with the balance of the year available.

Back to the kids.

I've got to take Rowan to see her speech therapist today, and I'll have Sheridan in tow. Yep, an hour with a bored six year old in a waiting room. Hoo boy, lucky me. At least I've got my mandatory Christmas shopping done. Anything I pick up now is just icing on the cake. This used to be so much more fun when I was a kid. I still enjoy it though.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick Analysis of Short Stories This Year

Here is a list of the the short stories I wrote this year, and the order they were written in, along with a few of their attributes.

Designated Driver: Ghost Story, Horror, First Person Perspective
Between Friends: Mystery, First Person Perspective
Dog Matters: Cat Story, Horror, Monster, First Person Perspective
Rite of Passage: Ghost Story, Horror, Third Person Perspective
Storm Chase: Ghost Story, Horror, Third Person Perspective
Picking Dewberries: Monster, Horror, Third Person Perspective
Closing Time: Ghost Story, Horror, Third Person Perspective
The Tragedy, "Man.": Ghost Story, Horror, Third Person Perspective
Rendered Verdict: Thriller, Third Person Perspective
The World in Strips: Monster Story, Horror, Third Person Perspective
Under a Racer's Moon: Ghost Story, Horror, Humor, First Person Perspective
Roadkill: Monster, Horror, Third Person Perspective.

As you can see, I started off writing in first person point of view. I understand that is common with new writers. Cherri Galbiati challenged me to move my style to third person, so I made that switch with my fourth story, "Rite of Passage." I'm now actually more comfortable in third person POV, I intend to occasionally write in first person to stay fluent in it.

Half of my stories are ghost stories. The interesting thing there is that of the six that aren't, four of them were written for specific anthologies that precluded ghosts. So it seems I tend to default to the ghost story when the option is available. Since ghost stories can be considered a sub genre of their own, I'm not sure if that can be considered a trend or simple a genre choice.

Another interesting item of note is that the ghost in five of the six ghost stories is of a different gender than the protagonist. And in the one that it isn't, "Designated Driver," happens to be the only one where the ghost isn't a hostile entity. Hmmmm....

Another interesting note, three out of four of my monsters were multi-legged, with the only exception being a werewolf in a story written expressly for a werewolf anthology. Apparently I tend towards more legs when trying to achieve ickyness. Might need to look into snakes or aliens for a change of pace.

Someone observed that I seemed to be leaning towards females in leading roles. A quick check of the list reveals that only four of my protagonists were females (unless you consider the cat, Minke, female). Half of them survived and the other two suffered grisly fates, so I can't say I played favorites with them. They were four of my better stories though, or at least some of my female proofreaders seem to think so. I do notice that my female character's show up in the later part of the list, so I started using them more often recently. On a related note, four of my six ghosts were female, and I think a couple of them were my most frightening. They certainly stand out more since Anna Krager (evil), Charlotte March (vengeful), and Betty Jo Bradford (threatening) are easily more interesting and memorable than the shambling remains of Bobby Caldwell. Either that or when I think of the attributes "evil", "vengeful", and "threatening", I just tend to plop them in a skirt.

Women just make better ghosts.

On a happy note, I don't seem to be getting too repetitive in plots and themes. Obviously there are going to be similarities when you stay within a genre, like ghost stories, but I think with a little effort I can keep them fresh. Gotta remember to keep my leg count on the monsters varied, and always remember that it's motivation and character that makes a story interesting, as much as the ghost or monster. A good story should have a point, even if it's buried deep.

Making Use of the Break

I had decided that I was going to take a break from writing for the rest of the year. I made my goal of twelve stories and felt a trifled burned out. So naturally a few days into enjoying my break from writing I suddenly find myself with an idea for a short story. And truthfully, it could be a pretty good one.
But. . .
I'm honestly not thrilled about it. I still want to take my break, and I want to look over the body of my work and think about things. I have noticed certain trends in my short stories, and although they also have their differences, I want to make sure I don't start just writing variations of the same story over and over again. I know I'm not doing that yet, but I think it is worthwhile to make the extra effort to avoid that. I think of it as quality control.
So I think what I'll do is work out the short story in my head, but do a little analysis of my work up to this date and see how it all breaks down. I'll do a little of that in my next post. Besides, I still have Christmas shopping to do and don't have a lot of time to write at the moment.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis the Season

It's that time of year when parents dress their kids up funny and put them on stage. The kids don't seem to mind, and it gives us parents great blackmail material for when they are teenagers. Afterwards, an exhausted "back stage mother" is taking herself a nap and I'm sort of holding down the fort. Oh well, feliz navidad.

I apologize for the camera shake in the following clip. The CMT is slowly getting worse in my hands, and someday I'm going to have to invest in a camera with a better picture stabilization system.

Why Nate Doesn't Eat Wheat.

Well, after my third pass through the house while hunting my keys, I found them. . . in the first place I looked. How I missed them, I don't know. And it would be funny if it hadn't have caused me to miss Rowan's party. Sadly, this is me on gluten. I don't feel absent minded and stupid anymore, but that just makes it easier to screw up and more frustrating when I do. As Cherri later called and pointed out, I could have just called and gotten a ride down to the school with her. Or I could have called Karla and she would have told me where the spare key was. Sigh.

Well, today is Sheridans recital so we will be gone all morning to go watch him dance and perform. At least I'll have Karla with me so there will be a functioning brain along. The only bad part is we have to show up an hour and a half early (my guess is for rehearsal) and I'm going to have Rowan all that time. I can imagine how long her patience is going to last. Oh well, we'll do the best we can do.

Then I can relax and watch the Cowboys play the undefeated New Orleans Saints this December evening. Oh boy. I'll try and practice a Zen exercise or something during the game, and not throw things at the screen. It's great being me right now :P

Friday, December 18, 2009


I was intending to go to Rowan's Christmas party at school today and take some pictures, but I ended up hunting the house for my car keys and never could find them. I still have a few more hours to look for them before picking up Sheridan this afternoon, but I really had wanted to go to that party. I hope Rowan had a good time.

Oh Noes!!!!

Today has snuck up on me, and I'm not ready for it. It's the kids last day of school, and I'm about to have them home with me for two whole weeks.
I'm outnumbered! It's two against one and they're both younger and faster than me. I'm doomed! Don't be fooled by their innocent little faces . . . it's amazing the amount of mischief and mess these two can create if left to their own devices. They have to be watched, closely and at all times, or disaster will rapidly strike. Thankfully they are now at an age where the odds of some foreign object plugging the toilet are slight, the imagination quails at what new deviltry they may cook up with two whole weeks on their hands.
Nope, I'm not going to be doing much writing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


My big discovery of the day . . . while Doritos Corn Chips are gluten free, Nacho Cheese Doritos are not. So after a second major ingestion of gluten in a weeks time, I can literally feel my I.Q. falling like a rock. Fortunately, I had reached my writing goal before screwing up. One of these day's I'm going to have to write a thriller where allergies feature in a big way.
I don't know if I'm going to do much writing over the next two weeks. I may find it more fruitful to spend the time free associating, and just taking care of the business of the holidays. Let the little grey cells rest, so to speak. Immerse myself in the spirit of the season, and the frantic activity of the malls. Perhaps that will give me a bit of an energy boost going into next years projects. Barring a major change of plans, those projects will be the fixing of the "The ways of Khrem" and the writing of "Argiope." I may still do the occasional short story. Just to keep my hand in. But I do need to try novels again.
But that is only going to work if I can stay out of the gluten and keep my I.Q. above double digits. We'll see how that works.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taking Weds Off (Wednesday Post)

This will have to count as Wednesday's post because I will be out of town tomorrow. I have to go to Scott and White in Temple and see my neurologist. I have Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) and after years of trying different ways to treat it, I now simply visit the doctor twice a year to keep tabs on it. This visit promises to be fairly non eventful since, other than my hands getting a little worse, nothing much has changed. As long as I can type, I'll be alright.

Stephanie (my sister in law and one of my proofreaders) pondered the significance of the fact that a healthy percentage of my stories feature female protagonists, with the male either being absent, dead, or in a weakened state. It was a pertinant point, and the best answer I could give her is that horror is a lot easier to write with a female protagonist. Put a male in her role and often your horror story turns immediately into an action/adventure story instead. It's all about vulnerability.

You can have a male protagonist, but you have to be careful to make him vulnerable somehow. It's usually best to remove the concept of combat of any form from the picture, or you're right back to that action/adventure again. It's funny how many people don't recognize that their protagonist does as much to set the atmosphere as the setting. With a woman protagonist, you have a lot more freedom in a horror story. She is freer to act in a lot of ways that does not change the nature of the story the same way if a male counterpart were to do the same thing. Not to mention, the reader has different expectations of her right from the onset.

Character's matter.

Goal Achieved!

"Roadkill" has been submitted to Pill Hill Press for their werewolf anthology. Now I can finally take a breather and celebrate. The twelfth short story of the year has been finished and submitted. I made it.


Now to get some sleep because the kids are going to be getting up soon and I have a busy day ahead of me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Minor Delay

The last of my proofreaders has been heard from and has let me know that her critique will be in tonight. Her lateness was football related, so I have to admit it's justified. And since she's my main syntax proofreader, I am more than willing to wait and see what she has found.

So I will hold off submitting until later tonight, after working her corrections into the story.

Tis the Season

You can tell that we are moving deeper into the month of December. The skies are getting greyer, the weather drizzlier, the Cowboys are losing football games, and the Christmas decorations are going up. Here we see Nonni and Daddo guide the kiddos through their first Christmas tree decorating. They did pretty good, and I've only had to run Rowan out of the thing a few times since then. It even still has most of it's ornaments.

I'm starting my last passes through Roadkill, and will wait and check to see if anymore suggestions from proofreaders are coming till this afternoon. Then I'll probably send it on to Pill Hill Press and post a teaser on their forums. I still have no plans after that. I'll be out of town on Tuesday night and all day Weds, so there are two days gone right there. Gotta go see the neurologist and tell him that not much has changed. Standard bi-yearly visit.

I also need to get some Christmas shopping done sometime soon. . . sigh . . .now that it's too late to order it all online. Procrastination is not my friend, merely my companion.

On a better note, the effect of the gluten seems to have passed, as it didn't bother me Sunday at all . . . and it's effects on Saturday were actually pretty minimal. Not that I intend to have anymore for a while.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Last night I went out to a dinner party with my wifes boss and coworkers. They turned out to be a really great bunch of people and I had a very good time. Not to mention, since this was Italian, there was nothing "Nate safe" in the way of being gluten free so I decided to take a break from my diet for a night and live a little. I had the most heavenly piece of lasagna I have ever tasted. It was good, cheesy, meaty, and fortified with all the extra flavor that a long period of denial can add to a dish. I was in a state of bliss.
Unfortunately that was soon followed, of course, by a state of fugue as the gluten did it's thing on me. It wasn't that bad though, and I think a year away from the stuff has kind of allowed my GI to heal and not absorb so much of the stuff when I do mess up and eat it. Regardless, I had a great time.
Today will also probably be Act II of the Cowboys In December Implosion Extravaganza, unless the football gods are really smiling on me today. I'll be sure there are no hard objects within reach that I might break down and throw at the TV screen. Sigh. Being a Dallas fan didn't use to be this hard.
Then I'll start doing my final go overs of "Roadkill" before submitting it to Pill Hill Press. It's shaping up well, and more kinks are being worked out. Once that's done I can take a day or two and make a final decision on the rest of this month.
The kids are happy because Nonni and Daddo (the grandparents) showed up yesterday and helped put up the Christmas tree. It's the kids first one, so they are thrilled. I guess Saturday was a good one for everybody. Sheridan picked out a lot of the tree decorations, and the star for the top. He did a good job too. I like our tree.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


No writing or editing scheduled today. My parents are coming to watch the kiddos while Karla and I go to an office party of hers. It's been a while since I've been out, and I look forward to meeting her new coworkers. I wonder if I can remember how to converse with adults after being locked up with kids for so long. I'll also try to remember to not eat with my fingers, since Karla seems to frown on that kind of thing. I probably should get out more.

Not much else to report. I hope the weather clears up.

UPDATE: Being confronted with a menu that contained nothing but gluten, I lost control and pigged out on the first lasagna I have had in over a year. Now I'm stoned stupid on gluten.

Yay me =P

Friday, December 11, 2009

Feeling Rested

I got the kids lunch packed and went back to bed today. Woke up feeling much better, and well rested. I'll do a little more editing later on tonight, and then I'll just wait to see what the last of my proofreaders point out. After that, I think this puppy is about ready to submit.

I got an email from Pill Hill letting me know that my contributers copies of The Bitter End were heading my way, and should be here next week. And LL Dreamspell just sent me the contract to fill out for "Rendered Verdict," the short story for their Dreamspell Revenge anthology. So I guess the business end of things is moving along too.

Soon it will be time to pick the kiddos up. I'm hoping that it warms up this weekend so I can take Sheridan out to Old Town Spring for our usual father/son frito pie fest. We haven't done that in a few weeks and I want to get back to it. And I'll try to do it around four oclock so all the Christmas lights will show up. That reminds me, I also need to take them out around the neighborhood and see the lights. And also talk to Karla about the idea of a tree for them this year.

Oh well, we'll see.

More Editing

Not a lot to report. Just squashing typos and overuse of certain words. I've put "Roadkill" through my "passive voice filter" and got that under control, and done a little cleaning up here and there. Nothing makes my attention deficit disorder kick in like editing. I have to remind myself to stay on task and get this done. Hopefully, I will get more feedback from my proofreaders soon and I can go ahead and submit this baby.

Then I can decide whether to attempt one more story or declare victory in my goal to get an even dozen stories out this year and take a break until January. I am going to have to get some Christmas shopping done soon. And there are some things that could be done around the house as well. I could also dig up more Christmas lights and put them up. Work, work, work. Maybe I better try and come up with another story.

We shall see. The funny thing is that every time I finish a story I particularly like, it feels like it was the last good story I had in me. Then I worry. I hate that.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And It Begins

I have sent the first rough draft of "Roadkill" out to my merry band of proofreaders, and the first corrections are already coming back in. Charlie points out that I have my protagonist lying in a red pool of light from a taillight of a truck who's battery went out earlier.

I just love it when I make dumb mistakes like that. I'll either have to have the radio, which was damaged, go out by other means or get rid of the red pool of light.

Woke up with a bit of a cough. I've only slept for eleven hours, so a few more may be in order :) I blame the cough syrup.

Right now, I'm sort of free associating just to see if I have another story idea floating around out there. Thirteen would be kind of cool. On the other hand, so would taking care of the Christmas shopping.

UPDATE: Dumb mistake is fixed. Some minor word corrections also made.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


"Under A Racer's Moon" has been accepted by LL Dreamspell for their Dreamspell Nightmare's Anthology. That makes my tenth short story accepted for publication this year.

I have cracked double digits!

And while I am hopefully on pace to achieve my goal of writing twelve short stories in a year this week, this particular milestone was just as important. It was all about making sure that those stories were of a quality worthy of being published.

This feels good folks.

On another note, since replacing Diet Dr. Pepper with regular Dr. Pepper, the shaking in my hands has noticeably subsided. So apparently I am doomed to be fat, but with steadier hands. Oh well.

Oh, and as far as the hat in the dishwasher experiment went . . . my hat is now clean, but somewhat "softer" and floppier than it used to be. I'm not sure a straw hat is supposed to be "soft."

UPDATE: And thus inspired, I finished up my first draft of "Roadkill" a little bit ago. It's still very raw, but I will soon have it ready to print out and send to my proofreaders. Story number 12 is now in the final stages towards being done. Who knows, I may be able to pull a thirteenth out of somewhere before this year is over.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I have now crossed the 4,000 word mark on "Roadkill." I figure this story to be around five thousand words so I'm about eighty percent there. With so much happening in the second half, I'm not only choosing words for pacing but for impact as well. Trying to keep things at a certain level for several pages takes judicious word use.

On another front, I've got the roast and veggies in the crockpot and cooking away. Supper has been made. Yay, me!

I've also thrown some stuff out of the refrigerator so even that is a slightly better place than I left it. I'm just impressing the heck out of myself this morning.

Oh well, back to work.

Update: I also put my filthy hat in the dishwasher and I'm currently running it. This was Karla's idea, so we'll see how this works out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Moving Slowly Along

As the pace of the story picks up, my writing slows down. This is always the most difficult part, because word selection is dictated as much by timing and pace, as it is for being descriptive. The purpose of the sentence becomes both to relate the events and to dictate the flow. That kind of double duty causes word choice to be a lot more delicate and really slows me down from time to time.

You would think with that kind of attention being paid to what I'm writing that editing would hardly be necessary, but alas, that's not the way it works. Editing is always necessary because the writing gods are cruel and take delight in our labors. They expect large sacrifices in the form of red ink and virtual whiteout. It's just their way.

On another note, I'm thinking about getting the kids a tree this Christmas. We've avoided that because of Rowan but I think she's old enough to learn to leave it alone. Walmart sells shatterproof ornaments, so it's a possibility. We'll see. I'll have to decide soon though.

Another Glorious Monday

Got two hours of sleep, and now I'm getting the kids lunches ready. Typical Monday. Karla and I have already growled our greetings at each other this morning . . . me because of my lack of sleep, and her because she's just a big meanie. I love her anyways though. I'll probably go back to bed after packing their meals and sleep a couple more hours. Then I'll finally be able to get back work on my short story, as I'll have the house to myself.

It's slowly progressing. I've reached the point where the action starts, the chase has begun, and I'm choosing my words carefully. It's always a delicate thing, changing the pace of the story. Now I have to choose the starting level of tension, and then work on not letting that flag. I'm at 3,193 words, and I figure around a couple thousand to go. Gotta get this right.

Homemade sausage for the kiddos this morning. It's been a while, so hopefully they'll enjoy it more. The range of things I make them is kind of limited due to allergies, and I know how things can get old after a while. Oh well, you do what you can. Time to get on with it and then maybe get some more shuteye.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yay December >:(

It's December in the NFL which means I get treated to watching my team implode against a team it should have beaten. The Cowboys just have some kind of psychological hangup about the month of December, and find ways to lose games that they are dominating. And now I get to watch them do it in glorious high definition. C'mon guys, you're killing me here.

I haven't had a chance to work on the short story because I'm doing it on the main computer, and I haven't been able to get to that today. Maybe later tonight. We'll see.

Oh, and I've had a crown pop off and now have to chew on side of my mouth.

Mood: Been Better

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ugh, Morning

Blech! Back to work.

2,700 words into the story and the werewolf makes his entrance. Karla seems to feel it's okay since there was a bunch of other stuff going on that needed to be dealt with first. Maybe she's right, but I might look back later with an eye towards a little more foreshadowing. Make it more of a presence before it's revealed.

The structural challenge is that once the creature is revealed, the story changes into a chase at that point. So I needed to "set the stage" so to speak. I think I managed to do that this time without taking "time out" and boring the reader. Now I have to make the transition in pacing, and make it work, as the story goes from an injured woman trying to sort things out in and get help in an auto accident to being threatened and pursued by a supernatural killer.

Are werewolves supernatural? I always think of the term applying to ghosts, vampires, and the "spirit world." Maybe they are hypernatural since they are a variation of a natural creature.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I am a Genius

When I am not writing, I sometimes allow my creativity to manifest itself in other areas of my life. Cooking is one discipline where art and imagination can sometimes combine to create a masterpiece.

Behold! I call it "sausage de la poo." While dubious at first, Sheridan now loves it and is heading to school with it in his lunchbox . . . in gleeful anticipation of eating it in front of the other kids. It just does my heart good to see my son so proud of his fathers creations.

While Karla also ate a piece, I'm disappointed to report that she did not shower me with the effusive praise I thought this effort deserved.


Making Progress

I am now two thousand words into "Roadkill." So far, so good. The action with the werewolf doesn't start till the second half of the story, but I'm hoping the tension of the main charactor being hurt and the only mobile person in a two car wreck on an empty nighttime road will keep the tension level up until the beast makes it's appearance. I've never written a werewolf story before so I don't know the standard "formulas" for one. Let's hope that works in my favor. I intend this to be about a five thousand word story, so things are about to pick up rapidly.
While I now have two computers to write on, I'm only going to use my main pc to write this story so I don't run into that formatting problem I had with the last one. I need to figure that out, but it might be a compatability issue between the two programs involved . . . which will limit the effective remedies drastically. I need to seriously look into getting a copy of Word 2007 for my laptop. That will solve that problem.
I'm also going to be sending a check out to Pill Hill Press today to get some authors copies of The Bitter End. One of these days I will need them for book signings.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good Morning

I've already got the girl packed and off to school, and I'm now working up the energy to get the boys lunch packed. I actually went to bed early last night, but I'm feeling a little drug out. Not a big deal though, and I imagine that as soon as I really get going that I will be in fine form.

I'll work more on the werewolf story today. I've already got it pretty much mapped out in my head, which is already more prep than I go into a lot of short stories with. I'm hoping to have it done in a week. Karla even read the first part of it, and approved once I explained the rest of the plot to her . . . and this isn't even one of the stories that I use a little humor in. It's one of those grim style stories. I may post a snippet later.

Ah well, the boy is hungry.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Humming Along

I'm a thousand words into a new story already. That's a bit of a surprise. I just started it yesterday. It's called "Roadkill," and it's a werewolf story. I have another story on the burner for Pill Hill's Pandora anthology as well.

I actually prefer to write one story at a time, so I will most likely choose one and go with it. My guess is the werewolf story at the moment, since it's fresh.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Now Available

The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror, by Pill Hill Press, is now available at

My story, "The World in Strips," appears in this anthology.

Woohoo! I'm published again!


Woke up with an upset stomach this morning, so I went back to bed after getting the kid's lunches packed. Woke up again at noon and took Rowan to see her therapist. Nothing else of note accomplished today.