Sunday, January 31, 2010


Here, we see Rowan being good at school. She has apparently been progressing nicely in her schoolwork and her learning.

This is not the Rowan who was home with me yesterday.

After a promising start that involved the "good mornings" mentioned in the earlier post, it turned out she was just biding her time until she only had the slow parent to contend with. In short order she unstuffed one of Sheridan's valued fish friends, then smeared Vicks vapor rub all over the carpet, and then capped the day off by finding an ungaurded pen and doing a little artwork on the walls. Fortunately Karla made it home in time to rescue her, or me, or whichever one of us it was that needed the rescuing.

I'm currently toying with a story idea, but I'm not sure if it's worth pursuing. It might fit in LL Dreamspells Revenge anthology, but it would be awful short for that. It might work in Pill Hills flash fiction anthology but I don't think I can condense it down to five hundred words. Oh well, at least I have an idea. I never pass those up without playing with them at least a little while.

I'm scheduled to meet Cherri Galbiati at Denny's tonight for a long overdue writer's night out. Oh lordy, just the idea of talking with another adult again is making me giddy. Or even having a meal with somebody I don't have to worry about getting mad and throwing bacon at me. I definitely look forward to it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh Noes!

It is Saturday, and Karla works this weekend which means I am alone with both of the kids all day! I am doomed! DOOMED! They are younger and faster than me, and I'm sure they're up to no good.

It's three in the morning, and I'm up because Rowan woke me up. I heard her giggling and laughing, and found her walking around in the living room with the lights out. She had fallen asleep early after getting home from school, and I made the mistake of letting her sleep. Now she is bright eyed and bushy tailed, and there ain't no way she will go back to bed. So I got up and made her breakfast, and now I sit here watching the kiddo.

I doubt I will get much accomplished today. Unless you count not letting the kids burn the house down as an accomplishment. That counts, right?

UPDATE: Rowan walked up to me a few minutes ago and said "Good morning, Daddy!" I made a huge fuss over her and she ran over to Karla and said "Good Morning, Mommy!" This elicited even more happiness, and she cheerfully took the suggestion to say good morning to Sheridan too. Now she's excited and running around with a huge grin on her face. It was totally spontainious on her part. She has really come on lately.

Friday, January 29, 2010


The short story/flash fiction "So It Begins", has been accepted by Pill Hill Press for their Pandora's Nightmare: Horror Unleashed anthology. Special thanks goes out to Jessica Weiss who provided some parameters and inspiration for the story.

I discovered that the nearby theatre has early movies on Friday. Perhaps I'll catch a matinee today. That would be nice. Of course I can't have any Coke or popcorn . . . that's not so nice. Sigh.

The kids are healthy and doing as well as could be expected at school. Both get high marks for being bright, although the boy has to be kept on task and the girl gets reports that include the word "stubborn" coming home with her everyday. Ah well, it's good enough.

I still haven't decided what my next project is going to be. Maybe I'll consider it over the weekend. I just don't know.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unintended Consequences

While my new diet and supplement regime has been showing some positive effects in regards to my weight and complexion, there have also been some other surprising effects as well.
The last couple of days I have resumed my long lost habit of pacing. I haven't done that in years, but it has come back in a big way. Been a little twitchy too. Karla is threatening mayhem if I don't cease and desist.
Anyways, I certainly feel better.
I've also got a jump on my next short project. I didn't really intend to start on it till late Friday or Saturday, but now I already have the first draft done. I started it, and it just plopped out on my keyboard in front of me. I wish more projects went like that. It still needs a lot of polish, but I'm pleased with the beginning. I'm confident I can shape this into something the publisher will like.
Then I'll have to decide if I want to try anymore short stories, or gird my loins and dive into Argiope again.
We shall see.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This morning, after a long night of editing and reworking, I have sent off the submission sample of "The Ways of Khrem" to Pill Hill Press.

Thank God! That was getting brutal. But the deed is done, and I will take a day or two off before turning to my next project. My entire head has a cramp.

I'll probably also go over the main manuscript from time to time, seeing if any other minor typos or goofs escaped my multiple sweeps.

But mainly we are now at the point where crossing fingers is all that can be done. I want to thank all the people who's input and help made this project possible. I couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Approaching the Finish Line

I have now moved my drafts of The Ways of Khrem to the main computer.
This is a big step because that means it is now in final editing shape. I will just be using the word search features in Word 2007 to squash some final irregulaties.
It should be ready to submit in the next day or two. (fingers crossed)




Low Carbs for Great Justice!

Project: Make Nate Less Fat is going better. I have now lost eleven pounds from my initial weight. Not to mention my complexion has improved immensely. I've been suspecting I have a systemic fungal infection, and have only been allowing myself meats and greens. Couple that with a supplement regime of Cod Liver Oil, Olive Leaf Extract, and Piracetam . . . and I have improved immensely. My only drink is tea sweetened with Stevia. If I do indeed have a systemic fungal infection, then I will need to stay on this regime for months.

Oh well. Lifes tough all over.

Progress on the novel proceeds. I hit a rough patch yesterday, with my creativity fizzling on me, but I did get some stuff done. Let's hope today goes better. I'll have less time because I have to pick Rowan up at noon and take her to her therapist. So maximizing my time is important.

Just a few more days to go, and a I can take a couple of days off before moving to my next project.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Riting Iz Hard Wurk

I am now officially plodding. My once agile brain is now taking forever to give me back even the simplest of ideas as I try to conclude the rewrite of my novel. I spend big chunks of time just staring at the screen, painfully aware that my time grows shorter.
But work is getting done.
I'm keeping my nose to that grind stone, and not letting myself wander. It may be plodding, but I'm still surprised how productive some of that plodding is.
I'm working on inserting quotes to head chapters in the last part of the book now. Then it's all about concentrating back on the first portion of the book, then writing the cover letter and synopsis.
I am getting there. Even if I'm lowering my I.Q. to do it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I am now on the last quote needed for The Cistern.
Then I will move to The Ghost of Candlewalk Lane, identify and number it's chapters, and come up with quotes to start those off with too.
Work! Work! Work!
Soon I'll have to figure out the formatting.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fleshing out the World

"Give me a girl on Candlewalk Lane, they're neither too coy nor outright profane,
Spare me the trollops with warts and big feet, the type you find on Silkwinder Street.
And I'll pass on the slatterns who carry the pox, who practice their trade on the Low Harbor Docks.
Some say Waterdancer Street is the thing, but those girls come at the price of a ring.
Oh give me a Candlewalk Girl, she's brassy and classy and neat.
Oh give me a Candlewalk Girl, she a sassy lassie but sweet.
Tis better to fondle an Issillian Boar Toad, than sleep with a tramp on Brindlefish Road.
I'd never lay with a lass in a Pick Street shack, I'd likely wake up with a knife in my back.
As for the shady tarts in the Royal Park trees, it would only be fair if they paid me.
No, give me a girl on Candlewalk Lane, who's neither to coy nor outright profane."
(repeat chorus)
-"Candlewalk Girl," a popular tavern song on Candlewalk Lane.

I intend to use more than just book quotes to open chapters. I'm also coming up with songs, chants, and childrens rhymes to give a sense of flavor to the book. Also, some of the quotes can be used for a little foreshadowing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Stage One: Complete

Okay, the first edit of The Ways of Khrem is done. I squashed a lot of problems, and improved the flow of the story.

Stage Two is about to begin.

I will be creating book quotes to act as headings for chapters, and will also be looking at possible insertions to round out certain areas. I will also be paying particular attention to the early part of the story, since I am very content with the ending.

I'm going back in. Wish me luck.

Closing In

I have about ten thousand words to go, and my first editing sweep of "The Ways of Khrem" will be done.
That does not mean my work will be done, far from it, but at least the big fixit part will be behind me. Then I will be working on making and inserting the improvements that will be necessary to take the story to the next level. So my schedule between now and the end of January is still very full. But at least there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
My six year old was asking about the book I'm writing. I decided to tell him it was about a little guy who runs away from monsters. He seeemed to think that made perfectly good sense, although he wondered why my character just didn't go out and buy a really big sword.
Life is so simple when you are six.
The diet seems to be going okay, and I've added Olive Leaf Extract to my regimen of Cod Liver Oil and Piracetam. We'll see how that works out. I do seem to be a little more productive lately.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Little Progress.

I didn't expect to get much done yesterday, seeing as it was a "short day" that I had to take Rowan to therapy, and I was operating on little sleep. To pep myself up, I tried one of those little bottles of "5 hour energy boost" drinks they sell near the check out line at Walmart. I actually got into a little creative spell and made some nice contributions to my story on a little scratch pad while waiting for Rowan in the waiting room.


Rowan is doing well, and all her teachers agree she is a bright little girl who would be doing even better if she weren't such a stinker. I don't know what to do about that.

Today I'm hoping to get some work done on Part III: The Ghost of Candlewalk Lane. After a read through yesterday, I agree it's the best of the three, but it can still use some improvement I need to tone down a few paragraphs where in my "writing infancy" I got a little "over prosey". Overall, I think I'm going to be pleased with the way this turns out.

Our weekly housekeeper visited yesterday, which means you can actually walk around in here for the next twenty four hours. I'll enjoy that while it lasts, too.

Oh, and apparently my scales were a little wonky because it turns out I have lost seven pounds. I thought my pants were fitting looser, but had decided it must be my imagination. So project, "Low Carbs for Great Justice" is so far a success.

Just all kinds of good news this morning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Main Charactor

When I started writing "The Ways of Khrem," I had a very particular charactor in mind that I was striving to create. I wanted somebody who was not essentially "heroic" as was commonly understood. And I wanted somebody who was not the usual alpha male that most fantasy males tend towards being. And while criminal charactors had been done before, even they tended towards the nerves of steel type.
So I came up with Cargill of Khrem.
A former theif par excellance, and all purpose criminal who decided to get out of the 'business," before it either killed him or cost him his mind. A man who now lives the quiet life of a book merchant, and has breakfast on his patio every morning so he can see the city below him, and remind himself that his former life is behind him. . . just so he can keep the nightmares away.
He isn't dashing, or bold, or big, or daring . He's short, slight, and just wants to forget the past. Unlike many fantasy protagonists, he has never wielded a sword in his life. Even his manservant tends to disrespect him at times.
But the catch in the story is that he gets put in a position where he has to deal with his past head on, when he is "recruited" by Captain Drayton to help him solve murders in Khrem. He doesn't want to, but one of the unemphasized plotlines of the novel is how he starts to come to grips with what happened in his life and who he is. From reliving an event in Part One that nearly cost him his life AND nearly broke his nerve, all the way to Part Three where he suddenly finds himself in a position to possibly find the murderer of his first true love, an event that changed the course of his life. And while he is actually an intensely intelligent man, many of his decisions and actions are made by that past before he is even aware of it.
But this plotline happens in the background, behind the conflicts with horrific beasts, vengeful gods, and murderous ghosts. And the ongoing conflict of minds and wills between Cargill and Captain Drayton as they try to get to the bottom of mysteries.
As much as he tries to escape it, Cargills past is always all around him. Many of his actions are reactions to that past. Even his act of heroism in the Part Two. So in the end he is a haunted man, not just by another person in particular, but by all the things he was, the things he did, and the the things he couldn't stop from happening. They are always with him.
That's not to say he's not capable. Far from it. He carries an intellect and a skill set that sets him far apart from his new nieghbors on the nicer end of Khrem. And he puts them to use at times to great effect. It's just that he would be the first to deny that that's his nature anymore.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Real World Interrupts

Not as much writing getting done today. Sadly, my devotion to the rewrite resulted in other areas getting neglected, and now I had to stop and try to catch up a little bit on the mess rising around me.

You wouldn't know it to look at it right now but I sorted several baskets of laundry and ran a load of dishes.


Tuesdays and Weds are my "short" days because I have to pick Rowan up at noon and take her to her therapists. But at least I have a very good start on my project, and already have two out the three novellas edited. So I'm still on track for my end of January deadline.

Now if I can just get the real world back in it's proper place in the background, everything will work just fine.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Update: Wildlife Alert

It seems I misdiagnosed the wildlife infestation in our attic.
Karla went out into the garage this morning, only to behold a raccoon making his way up the stairs and into our attic.
This is odd because I clearly saw an opossum in our garage earlier. I even took pictures of the thing.
On the other hand, maybe that explains all the screaming and squaling going on up there. Maybe we got coons and possums fighting in our attic.

The Cistern

Tonight I worked on part two of "The Ways of Khrem." It's titled "The Cistern."
This story is designed as a bit of a bridge between the novellas on each side of it. It gives a bit of Cargills history, and it also allows him demonstrate some the skill and knowledge he picked in his former life. It also allows him to grow as a charactor . . . as he realizes to his horror that he has a conscience after all.
Interestingly, this story gets the most mixed reviews, and they seem to be mostly (not totally) gender based.
Cargill goes into detail on how he is arranging a system of ropes and knots to lower himself into a subterranian room to rescue a child . . . a rescue that gets complicated by an unwelcome intruder.
A lot of my female proofreaders were put off by the explanations of the system he improvised with the ropes, while the males seem to think those explanations were absolutely necessary. I have wrestled with the matter of those ropes a lot, and have tried to simplify it as much as possible.
Anyways, I got another ten thousand word chunk of work done tonight and finished "The Cistern." If I have time later, I may come back and look at the rope thing yet again.
For now, it's time to move on to part three . . . "The Ghost of Candlewalk Lane." Almost everybody thinks this is the best of the three, but it can still use work. It's certainly the deepest of the three as it deals with loss, vengeance, and justice.
On another note, the Cowboys were creamed by the Vikings yesterday. The Vikes were simply the better team out there. Oh well, it shows the Cowboys have improved by simply making it that game, so they are heading in the right direction. Now they just need to get even better.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One Milestone Achieved

I have just finished the edit of the first novella, "The Reach of Talanturos," in my three part novel. I still need to write and insert the book quotes, but the main work on the first third of "The Ways of Khrem" is done.
I'm now now about thirty thousand words into the rewriting.
The next novella is the much shorter novella, "The Cistern." I want to pay careful attention to the tone of this story as I edit it, because I changed it in an earlier rewrite and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I might choose to lighten it up a bit more, just so it will be a counterpoint to the novella's it is sandwiched between.
On another note, the Cowboys play the Vikings today. Now we will see if Dallas has been playing over their heads, or if they are for real. I'll have my fingers crossed. I can't enjoy the game properly with chips and Dr. Pepper, due to my diet, so I'll have to settle for cheeses and sausages again.
I haven't lost much weight yet, but my complexion has cleared up dramatically. It's funny the things that are affected by what you eat.
Poor Rowan has a tummy ache. She woke up urping at about two in the morning. Fortunately I was awake doing this rewrite at the time, so I could get right to her. Karla and I sprang into action and within twenty minutes she had been bathed and all the sheets on her bed changed. She is now sleeping on her mom in the living room chair.
Not much else to report. I'm tempted to celebrate my writing accomplishment by going out to Denny's and having an omelette. The only problem is trusting myself to stay away from the fountain drinks. I'll think about it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eighteen Thousand Words In

It's amazing what you can do when you sit down for eight hours and do nothing but work steadily on your project. If I can string together a solid block of nights like I had last night, I will have an excellent chance of meeting my deadline. The story is editing well, and I like the way it is turning out.
I also have to work on the side project of coming up with book quotes to head the chapters of the novel with. But at the moment, it's the editing I'm focusing on.
The opossums are staging olympic events in our attic tonight. I believe I have heard a triathlan, a greco roman wrestling match, and a tumbling exercise above my head in the past four hours. Something needs to be done, but I can't climb ladders and I'm not about to send my poor wife up there. I'll have to send out an S.O.S to the family, I guess. Either that, or hire a pest control service.
On another front, the carb cravings are still with me. I tried to counter them today by cooking up a big pot of boiled cabbage. Naturally, I find myself eating alone as the wife and kids both turn up their noses at this dish. Sheesh! Everybody is a critic. They just don't know good food when they're looking at it. Let me tell you, it ain't easy living in this house full of philistines.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ten Thousand Words

The rewrite continues. I'm about ten thousand words into a seventy five thousand word novel. The good news is my style and prose improved as I wrote the novel, so I hopefully won't have to restructure as much as I move deeper into the project. I'm really working hard to get this done by my deadline.
I've been so busy that I've actually apologized to my friends for not being around lately. I've been working at night and sleeping while the kids are at school. That reduces the temptation from visiting certain forums and stuff I like to hang out at on the internet during the day. I also simply work and write better at night.
I've always been a night person. Always. Of course, being married with kids has forced me to adapt to a daytime schedule. Actually, just being married did that since many years ago, one of my new wifes first projects was to get me to give up my graveyard shift job and get a job being a meter reader, where I had to get up at six in the morning. Then the kids came along and cemented my new reality as a creature of the daytime.
But given the chance, my body almost automatically reverts to a nocturnal schedule. It's just more natural to me, and always has been.
I also get to listen to the opossums romping around in our attic. We're going to have to do something about those. They are fighting, running races, and having what sounds like a riot right above my head. Lord knows what they have done to the stuff we have stored up there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


One of the pacing issues with "The Ways of Khrem" was it had a bit of a slow beginning. While things pick up as the story goes along, I learned you need to get your hook in early as I grew as a writer. So one of my goals in the rewrite was to improve the stories greatest weakness . . . it's beginning.

I have taken a three prong approach to solve that problem. I've discarded the long descriptive paragraphs that the story opened with, and put some in little book quotes to begin chapters with. I've also worked on showing through dialogue instead of just giving rote recitations of the events in the beginning. And finally I'm adding a prologue, teasing the reader with the aftermath of an event that happens later in the story.

So far, I'm very pleased with the results. It's still the same story, but it reads quicker and easier.I've given myself a deadline to have this done by the 29th. So far, so good.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Some Days You Draw A Blank

There is nothing like rewriting a former piece and suddenly running out of ideas. You've been going along, updating and fixing awkward writing, and then . . . nothing. You just end up sitting there staring at old work, that you can tell needs improvement, but you can't for the life of you pull something better out of you head.
So you rewrite the same sentence about sixteen times different ways. And then you realize your last attempt doesn't even make sense. Finally you realize that you might as well give up and watch your six year old play Wall-e on his computer, like he's been yelling for you too. Which is just as well since the four year old has decided to take all her bathtub toys for a swim in the toilet. So after dutifully watching the six year olds computer exploits, and washing off the bathtub toys with bleach, you just give up.
Anyways, I'm still looking over the "Ways of Khrem" on a paragraph by paragraph basis, and also from an overall point of view. The thing is, the book is a Mystery/Fantasy which gives it a rather unusual pacing. While it does have some violence, it doesn't have the level of combat usually found in sword and sorceries. And while it is a fantasy, the main charactor is a far cry from a muscular, sword swinging hero. He is a former master thief who is haunted by the memories, and deep psychic trauma of his old life. It's an odd setup, which affects the pacing as Cargill (the main character) is a rather reflective individual and sometimes shifts his attention from the present to the past. So rewriting is a bit tricky, as I try not to mess up the pacing and tone of the story. But so far, I'm happy with the results.
Now if I can just keep the four year old from floating her rubber ducky in the john, I'll be doing fine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Rewrite Continues

Work proceeds on the rewrite of the "The Ways of Khrem". I've decided to go back to that name since I have a sequel in mind, tentatively titled "The Lords of Khrem." Anyways, thinks are humming along, and at this pace I think I can have the first novella in the book finished by sometime next week.

Anyways, reading the story anew makes me realize how odd it is compared to other fantasy novels. It is set entirely in a city, and the main character is not a great swordsman. He's pretty handy with a knife though, so that has to count for something.

On a different note, after a week of scrupulously sticking to my low carb diet, I have gained two pounds. Needless to say, this was not the desired result. I wonder what happened? This diet has worked for me before. Ah well, it's too early to give up yet, but that is really discouraging.

Oh well, I'm sure there are some famous fat writers out there who I can use as role models. Did Alfred Hitchcock ever write anything?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Getting Back To It . . .

Well, a weekend cheerfully ill spent . . . watching football and eating cheese . . . is now behind me. I slacked off. Now I need to get back in the saddle, so to speak, and get back to writing. It's too late for the "early to bed, early to rise" thing to apply so I'll probably settle for the "a stitch in time" saying instead. I'm not sure if it applies, but I'm going to get back to work and just pretend it does.
I want to have this rewrite done by the end of January, because I then want to turn my attention to Argiope. On the bright side, Argiope has also benefited by being shelved because I have come up with a couple of plot improvements that make a lot more sense. I prefer stories to adher to whatever internal logic it has set, and the whole reason I shelved Argiope in the first place was because I was just having problems with the scenarios I had set. Sometimes, letting things stew for a while makes things better.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

So, It Wasn't A Cold Front . . .

It turns out it was really just Hell freezing over. Dallas won a playoff game last night! Woohoo! The drought is at an end. They play the Vikes next week, and those guys are tough, but Favre isn't as mobile as McNabb and we got to McNabb a lot. So it's possible.
Oh well, didn't do anything but housework, watch football, and eat cheese and turkey ham today. Now I'm going to bed.
The week ended welll :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Something is Freezing Over

Another beautiful day in the balmy, semi-tropical city of Houston. If things get any more tropical around here, somebody is going to get frostbite. At least Sheridan was delighted by the icicles on the fountain today.
The war against this cold/flu seems to be going well, and I think I have this particular plague on the ropes. The diet is still driving me crazy though. Despite the fact that I know I've eaten plenty of calories, I still feel like I'm starving because my body wants that carb spike. I figure a few more days of crazy, then things get better. At least I'm planning this well.
Tonight, I will be snacking on sliced cheeses and sausages instead of my usual chips and popcorn during the Dallas game. Kind of a snooty way to watch football, but at least it's carb light. Lets just hope the Cowboys have been eating well this week and are in good shape for this playoff game. They haven't had a very good track record in the playoffs recently. Lets hope tonight is the game that changes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Moving Right Along

I'm currently signing contracts for my stories that will be appearing in LL Dreamspells Nightmares 2 anthology. That and addressing the envelopes has become a bit of a pain because the CMT has started getting into my hands more these days. One of these days I fear my publishers are going to get their contracts with nothing but a strange squiggle where a signature is supposed to be.

I can still type okay, but writing with a pen or pencil is becoming a very laborious process. And the result ain't pretty. I'm going to look into some possible solutions. I hear that fatter writing tools might be easier for me to use. I'll have to try it and see some time.

Other than that, just slowly going through the novel and seeing what needs fixing.

UPDATE: The contracts are mailed, and I even remembered to pick up the boy from school on the way back home. Go me!

Day 3-4 or Diet Wars: Part Duex

Well, the aggressive use of Cod Liver Oil and Oil of Oregano seems to be turning the tide against the Evil Plague of Mucousy Misery. While I'm still coughing from time to time, and may have murdered a tissue or two over the day, I have definitely improved. My brain no longer feels stuffed with cotton, and with effort I can even breathe through my nose. Hallelujah for homeopathy. Go me!

I'm also fiending for carbs in the worst way now. Currently, it would be unsafe to stand near me with a bowl of rice. It's that bad. Sigh. I know it will stop once my blood sugar finds it's new equilibrium.

I realized today as I went through the process of rewriting my novel that I needed to be very careful or I would be drastically changing the tone of it. That's something I want to limit, so I'm having to slow down and be very careful. Demonstrating things through dialogue has kind of pepped things up a bit, and I don't want to mess up the pacing of the story either. It can be done, but it wasn't until I was into the process of rewriting that I understood the danger. Mood is a delicate thing, and changing the way you deliver information can definitely alter the mood. Oh well, I know to watch for it now. Nothing like rereading your revisions to learn something new.

Oh well, back to the salt mine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Ye Olde
"Isn't it a bit early for roof hopping, sir?" Grabel nodded off towards the Weavers District.

Leaning forward, I spotted the dark figure against the light shingles of one of the wool warehouses. Someone running the roofs at this time of the morning? The runner raced down low on the roof that overhung Indigo Street, which told me he knew the Upperways enough to avoid the higher and weaker sections of that roof. But he also looked to be running much too fast, especially in the dark of the early morning. Just knowing the paths of the Upperways wasn’t enough, you had to also know the different surfaces you were going to encounter and where they were. While the shingles on the warehouse were wood, the ones on the Dyers Hall ahead of him were old slate shingles. Maybe he remembered that right before he made the short leap to the next building, because it appeared he might have been attempting to slow down before jumping, but it too late.

He landed awkwardly on the steeper slope of the roof on Dyers Hall, then his feet flew out from under him as the old shingles broke and slid. I knew with a sinking feeling in my gut that this wouldn’t end well. He seemed to be trying to roll away from the edge as he slid towards it but the effort turned out to be futile. With one flailing grab for a gutter that had never been there, he disappeared over the edge and into the darkness below. It was too far away for me to hear his scream.

Ye Newe
“Isn’t a bit early for roof hopping, sir?”
“What?” I recovered from my reverie, “Where?”
“Northeast, sir. The wool district, I believe.”
I squinted out over the moonlit spires and rooftops, waiting for a hint of motion to catch my eye. I didn’t have to wait long.
“I see him. Good eye, Grabel. That’s the roof to the wool warehouse on Indigo street. He’s not a complete amateur, he’s following the Upperways there.”
“I wouldn’t know, sir.”
Smug bastard.
“See how he’s running low along the roof, nearly at the edge? That’s because the higher part of that roof is rotten, and poorly maintained.”
“Yes, sir.”
I frowned at the runner in the distance.
“He’s going too fast though. If he knows the Upperways there, then he should know better than that.”
I leaned forward, gripping the rail of the patio. The runner sprinted along the edge of the roof at an insane pace. I couldn’t fathom what prompted such foolhardiness, but the distance between him and disaster narrowed rapidly.
“He’s about to have to make a short jump to the roof of Dyers Hall. That roof is at a steeper angle and has slate shingles. He needs to slow down now, or else . . .”
“Or else, sir?”
I held my breath as the runner reached the point of no return. It now came down to his skill, his luck, and whatever gods smiled upon him.
He didn’t make it.
He tried, and I think he realized his error at the last moment because it appeared he attempted to slow himself, but too late. The runner cleared the short expanse between the roofs, then hit the slate surface off balance while at full sprinting momentum. Shingles flew and the little silhouette tumbled out of control.
I watched in sick fascination, knowing what had to happen next. Arms and legs flailed as the figure skidded down the steep angle, seeking some form of purchase that simply was not there. One final twist as he rolled in hopes of catching a gutter that didn’t exist, then he disappeared over the edge.
It was too far away to hear the scream.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 2

Day 2 of the great carb starve out has begun, and it's pretty much like the day before. I'm still down with the cold/flu, full of mucus and swollen tissues. Another slug of cod liver oil is in the offing, but I need to at least try to do some more writing today. I'm falling behind of my schedule on that.

The kiddos seem to be recovering well, they're still fighting off the last lingering effects, while the wife and I are hacking, wheezing, spitting, and coughing our way through life. It ain't fair.

Also, my alone-time on the computer has been drastically reduced. Karla leaves much later for work now. I like having her home, but she punts me from the computer. Combine this with competing against the kids when they are home and my writing time has suffered. Oh well, I'll make it work somehowl.

Right now, I just need to focus on recovery.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And So It Begins . . .

Today I start my low carb diet, and my taking active measures to try and kick this lingering cold/flu out of my system. This morning I went back to bed after getting the kids lunches made, to get some extra sleep. Now I'm back up and starting my new routine.

I have started with a large dose of cod liver oil, and I'm now drinking tea with stevia. No more sugar, rice, potatoes, breading, starch, cereal, or any other high carb foods for Nate. Adios Dr. Pepper, as most fake sugars are out for me too. I can still have some non white carbs in moderation, and that's it.

I weighed myself this morning to get a starting spot, and it was pretty grisly. No, I'm not giving out the gory details, but at least I know where I'm coming from now. We'll see where I am in a week. Hopefully it will be in a place where my pants fit better.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oops, Now I Did It.

The six year old just finagled a promise out of me to quit Dr. Pepper tomorrow. So now I have to live up to it.

I guess it's really a matter of accepting what you already know you need to do, and getting down to doing it. I need to cut out the Dr. Pepper, and all the other carbs too. For whatever reason, I have always responded well to low carb diets, and I feel much better after being on them for a week or two. My skin clears up, I get sharper, I lose weight, and I just feel overall better.

The problem is that I start fiending for carbs in the worst way possible, and it's hell that first week or two. It's not a lot of fun.

But I guess a man's gotta do what a mans gotta do . . .



How To Avoid Murdering Your Kids

It's simple really. Don't ever try to write when they are home. Ever.

Because there is something about the sight of an adult trying to write that drives the six year old into clamoring for your attention every three and a half minutes. Pleading for them to play doesn't work, begging them to watch TV fails, putting them on a computer game only initiates a running monologue of their adventures on the computer at the top of their lungs, and threats of mayhem are only as effective as their attention spans allow . . . which isn't even long enough to get your blood pressure back down from their last interruption. Soon you find yourself too busy trying to calm yourself to actually be able to even attain a moderately creative frame of mind. And of course as a writer you are acutely aware of the time you could be writing, flitting away without accomplishing anything.

Gypsies don't buy kids anymore, do they?


Over ten years ago, there were five friends. Three were students and two were meter readers. Over time they went their different ways. Two left as couples and one went his own way. One went to Japan, two went to Finland, and two of us ended up in Houston.
Today we got together again for a few hours. A project manager, a veterinarian, a blacksmith, a teacher, and a writer. Not to mention, four of us were now parents. It was surreal. But it was amazing how easily we fell into conversation with each other again. We talked countries, kids, our health, our jobs, and our current lives. We watched our children play. And it was good. It was good knowing how everybody had turned out okay.
We probably won't see each other again for another couple of years. But I will sure look forward to it. I know I'm going to think of them out there in the world, and others who have gone other ways.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Little Polish and a Trip to Meet Friends

Been polishing the first chapter rewrite of The Ways of Khrem. It's going smoothly. It's amazing to see how much I can improve things after a year's experience writing. Learning how to show instead of tell being a big one in this story.
Today I'm going to go to College Station to meet up with some old friends. Rob and Jen, who I haven't seen in about a decade, will be meeting us at a park we used to meet at long ago. It's going to be weird because they have a six year old girl now, and we have our own pair of curtain climbers. John will be there as well, another friend from back then. The last time I saw them I was sixty pounds lighter and with long brown hair. Now I get confused for my own kids grandpa when I take them to the store.
It will be good to see them though. It sounds like they have done well for themselves.
Dallas plays a huge game on Sunday as well, but I'm willing to miss it to see these guys. Karla has figured out the wonders of Tivo, so hopefully I'll get to see it later tonight.
Now it's time to get a little sleep.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The New Year Begins Monday

I'm still recovering from the crud, and woolly headed as ever.

As far as resolutions go, I will start those on Monday. Time to lose a little weight, and focus more on writing. That's going to mean less carbs and less internet. Time to buckle down and focus. When I first started writing, my internet was down for almost a month. It was amazing how much I got done in that time.

My goal for 2010 is to get two novels ready to submit before the end of the year. I think I have a reasonable shot at this because the first one is already written. It needs to be rewritten, but the plot and story is already there. It's my first novel, "The Ways of Khrem." The second novel has already been started too, although I will go over the 12,ooo words I have written of it so far. It is called "Argiope."

Oh well, the fun starts Monday. Until then I'm just trying to get over this crud.

UPDATE: Ugh, just woke up with one of the worst sore throats I have had in years. This stinks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New *ack!* Year

While the family all suffers from a variety of different ailments, I have apparently taken it as my duty as head of the household to endure them all at once. Currently children are wailing, sneezing, urping, and having tantrums. Karla has assumed the mantle of Florence Nightingale, trying to see to the needs of her family while not feeling so great herself. Hopefully this is a short lived malady, and we recover before the end of the weekend.

As it is, being sick is a real motivator when it comes to making new year's resolutions. It's kind of like hugging that toilet bowl after that big party, and swearing mighty oaths never to do that to yourself again. So in the spirit of plague victims everywhere, I hereby resolve to get healthier, try to keep improving my writing, spend more quality time with the kids, and take the wife out more often. Sounds good. Nice and non specific thanks to my flu fogged brain. I will get more specific with my goals later.