Thursday, September 30, 2010


My in-laws are coming into town tomorrow, so we have to get the house clean so they don't know that we live like savages amidst towering piles of toys and laundry. Fortunately, our weekly house cleaner is coming in today to help out, which means I have to clean the house to get ready for her. Sigh.

Today is Thursday, which means one more day of therapy for Rowan this week. I guess it does me good to get out of the house, but I'm sure all that coffee I'm sucking down at Starbucks will probably stunt my growth. Although now I'm hearing that coffee might actually make you fat. Great, just what I need. Something else to make me fat...and keep me awake at the same time. Sigh.

Still haven't got much writing done. Little spurts here and there, but it's only three days into the strict GFCF diet so it hasn't been enough time for that to take effect even if that turns out to be the problem. I still have at least another week of that, or more, before it could have a chance to show if that's the cause of my recent writers block. Sigh.

On the bright side, I took a melatonin last night and managed to get a full ten hours of sleep. I tried for eleven but my body said "no more." For some reason I really wanted more sleep even though I wasn't sleepy. How does that work? What ever happened to waking up refreshed in the morning? That does happen, right? Anybody? Sigh.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adding to the Misery

So I went to bed early last night.

It was going to be good. I went to bed at seven thirty last night, intending to wake up at six thirty with a glorious eleven hours of sleep under my belt. Alas, it didn't happen. I woke up at twelve thirty, unable to get back to sleep. The whole reason I had gone to bed early was that I have been staying up late and only getting only four or five hours of sleep a night. Sigh, this little messup didn't help matters any.

Tonight, I'll try some melatonin. It's hard enough staying away from both the gluten and the casein without having to complicate life by being half dead from lack of sleep. I wonder if my caffeine consumption has something to do with that? Pretty much, if it's a liquid going down my has caffeine in it. I'm not sure if I could function without it...whether it is coffee, tea, or diet Dr. Pepper.

Dammit, a man has to have some vices! I have given all my others up, and caffeine is all I have left. I don't drink, I don't smoke...heck, I don't even ogle the pretty girls anymore. Without my caffeine...what's the point?

Sigh, day two of GFCF goes well so far. I've managed to strictly avoid all the bad stuff. Maybe a few more days of this and I'll feel a difference. Add a little sleep on top of that, and I'll be ahead once more. I'll be sure and pack a container of sugar in my laptop case for my visit to Starbucks today. When I just stand there tearing open one little packet of sugar after another, people start to stare. And it's a slow way to do things anyways.

Ah well, it's about time for the kids buses to come. Time to get moving.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scouting, Dieting, and Writing

Behold, our new Cub Scout. He's pretty proud, and I'm proud of him.

I think Cub Scouts will be good thing for Sheridan, even if it kills Karla and I...which it might considering all the things they want us to do. I swear, nobody told me that having kids meant having to keep up with so much paperwork and activities. Now suddenly we have teachers and scoutmasters and therapists making demands on our time and braincycles. Everybody wants parental involvement's not like the good old days where you payed your taxes and dumped your kid at the door of the nearest public school :P

I could have just stuck with cats, but noooooooo...

I seem to be fighting a bit of writer's block, so I'm taking an extreme measure. I'm going to go strict GFCF for a little while. I usually avoid the gluten, but I do cheat from time to time, and I haven't been sweating cross contamination at all. And since I didn't quite test a firm positive for casien intolerance, I've not really worried about milk products lately. Yet the fact remains it was when I went on a strict GFCF diet two and a half years ago that I suddenly started writing. I decided to test and see if I need to clean things out a little so I'm going to go back on it. Just for two or three weeks, to see if it makes a difference with the writing.

My first year I wrote one publishable novel and twelve publishable short stories. This year I have definitely fallen off that pace. I've got one half of a novel done, six short stories (well, in all fairness three are novelettes which equal 1 1/2 short stories), and a couple of flash fictions. Not so good. I need to figure out what's up with that. The main thing is that I haven't been productive at all lately.

Time to figure out why and get back to work.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Things We Talk About on Writer's Night Out.

My weekly Writers' Night out at Denny's with Cherri Galbiati ended up going on until three o'clock in the morning. We were simply so full of wit and wisdom (or ourselves) that we just couldn't stop talking. Much about our profession was discussed, as we tried to chart courses through the new and fast changing field of writing. I know it sounds like we talk about it a lot, and we do, but it's important because the things that were right for a writer to do just a year ago, no longer are.

And the same thing holds true for publishers. The field has changed and they need to adapt to the new forces at play...not just for survival but so they and their authors can continue to work together. For instance, lets take short stories as an example.

This is an area I'm more familiar with since I write a lot of them. A model that made perfect sense for a publisher and writer a couple of years ago was for the writer to grant a publisher exclusive rights to a short story for a five year period when they submitted it for publication in an anthology. Both sides entered into the contract in good faith, and nobody felt put at a disadvantage due to the arrangement. Now with the new market, it makes absolutely no sense for a writer to enter such an arrangement. It's not that the publisher just became a bad guy, they didn't, it's just that putting a short story into a multi-author anthology for five years and forfeiting all rights to it is pretty much the same as throwing it down a well. Unless you are a new author trying to get a few credits to your resume, it makes no sense.

Now there are already some signs of adaptation going on out there. I have seen some publishers start with the model of having exclusive rights to the story for only a year, while keeping the right to use it in their anthology longer. This is more of a win-win situation for both. Some publishers now merely ask that the writer doesn't market the story elsewhere until the anthology is out, and to be sure and include a blurb where the story was originally published. Even this has it's advantages as the story can now be out there acting as an advertisement for the anthology. I always include a note about the original anthology a story appeared in, whether required to or not. I think that's just good manners.

Publishers aren't the bad least not the ones I've dealt with...they just have their environment changing on them just like us writer's do. And they're trying to figure it out the best they can. Since they are human, they are responding in the various ways human's do. Some try to make the old models work because they are comfortable and they know their way around them, others decide to dip their toes into the new waters, and others go take a flying leap into the waves and try to miss the rocks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Follies

My good friend and fellow author, Cherri Galbiati now has her new novel available on It's called Impact for Murder and it's a convoluted tale of the beleaguered wife of a small town Police Chief who takes in boarders during a hurricane while also contending with disappearing women and bodies turning up where they shouldn't be. If you enjoy murder mystery "cozies," then this one is for you.

On another note, the Dallas Cowboys will be playing the Houston Texans today. This will give them a chance of some slight redemption, or really dig a hole for themselves and the rest of their season. I used to be unhappy that their bye came so early this season, but not now. They need to reboot their season in the worst way possible. They have been playing flat, uninspired football and it needs to stop.

I'm currently writing on a short story or novelette called The Mushroom Man. I'm honestly not sure where I'm going with it, or if I'll even finish it, but I needed to get back to writing something...anything.  Sometimes those ideas that seem so brilliant late at night in bed are kind of weak in the cold glare of daylight. It doesn't matter, I still need to get to writing. It's just with the girl going to therapy for half days three times a week, and now the boy in Cub Scouts, I'm running out of good, quality writing time. Mondays and Fridays are now the only two days I have six hours of uninterrupted time...and remember, I'm not a morning person and usually don't start doing any really decent writing till after ten.

Ugh. I'm a night owl who can't be a night owl anymore. That's my real problem.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday at the Scout Meetup

I took the kiddos to Sheridan's Cub Scout get together.

Rowan was initially very bored and threatened mutiny, but I found a novel way to entertain her. I handed her my little voice recorder that my wife got me for my writing. The little booger figured it out in about three seconds flat and the rest is history.

Sheridan had a blast. Keeping him focused was a challenge at times, but overall he did well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CMT and Self Esteem

It's Friday, the last weekday of Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness Week.

I figured I would finish off the week on the topic of self esteem, since that's something I can possibly help other CMT sufferers out with. Self esteem can be a major issue with a person who has this disease, even if they are as blessed with talent and looks as...well, my wife ain't known as The Luckiest Woman on The Planet for nothing. Anyways, I've had this thing or stuff for eight years now, and if there is one thing I have learned it's not to let it define you.

Having CMT is a condition, not an identity.

Yes, it will change your life. Yes, it will reduce your options. No, it isn't who you are. That is still up to you. You may have to work harder at it, and you may have to be more creative about it, but you can still define yourself and not just be "the guy with CMT." Thanks to Charcot Marie Tooth, I am now Nate the Author. (I'm not really Nate the Supermodel...I confess the above image may have been retouched a tad.) Thanks to Charcot Marie Tooth, I am now a far wiser man than I was before. Thanks to Charcot Marie Tooth, I can write characters with a lot more depth and understanding than I could have imagined before.

So CMT can be a condition that can affect your options, but it's not who you are. That is still up to you. If you have to make a compromise here or there to get there, that's just part of the journey. In the end, the destination is your own identity.

PS: That hat makes me look goooooooood!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Veil

Since this is Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness Week, I've been trying to make a post about it every day. Todays post is going to be about the absolute worst days. The worst of the worst.

These are days where I way ten thousand pounds, and I'm so wiped out it's like there is a veil between me and the rest of the world. All I want to do is sleep, or sit stupidly in a chair and stare at nothing. The world has to make an effort to get through that veil to reach me...and vice versa, but I'm sapped of energy to make the effort. Even driving is a huge effort on my part.

Fortunately, these days don't come often....but they worry me when they do. Or more accurately, they worry me  after they do since I don't have the energy to worry about them at the time. It's not fair to the people who live with me...and it's not fair to me because I'm losing out of valuable time with them too. I think of my grandfather after days like those, and how unresponsive he became in his final years, and I wonder if that was what it was like for him.

 It's just not fair period...but nobody ever promised life to be fair. Sometimes it's best to simply lose that word from your vocabulary, because all it will do is make you miserable.

On another note, I have another book to mail to a reviewer. Let's see if I can do it this time without any wallets left at home and comedic looks of bewilderment while the line waits impatiently behind me. That would be nice.

I wish I had something else to write, but since I'm not actually writing much this week I don't really have much to write about. I need to get back to writing soon. Tomorrow, both kids spend all day at school so that will be a good time to start. It's time to crawl back on that horse...or bicycle....or pogo stick or whatever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Pratfall

Since this is Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness Month, I thought I might as well dedicate at least one post to contributing something to my fellow sufferers. I'm sure what I'm about to talk about is old hat to anybody out there who has had CMT for any length of time, but it's a topic we all have to deal with.

It regards thickening our skins.

Because part of having Charcot Marie Tooth is living with the reality that we are going to fall down. And sometimes it is going to be in public...and sometimes it is going to be spectacular. (for instance the time I took a tumble in Walmart and sent the three year old cruising down the aisle while sitting in the cart I had been pushing. She loved it). Then comes the part that my fellow CMT sufferers know so well.

The looks.

Most are concerned. Some are shocked. Some are amused. Then they see my braces while I'm struggling to get up and they almost all default to the look of "Oh, that poor man!" Then they look embarrassed, or embarrassed for me, or they simply look away. It's a process I've seen far too many times for comfort. But I know it will most likely happen again. And that's where thickening your skin comes in.

You can't blame people for not knowing how to properly react to a situation that they aren't familiar with. If you do you're just going to end up bitter at the world for not catering to your special disability. And that is going to hurt nobody but you. So you learn that with this disability comes the responsibility to educate, or at least make people feel more comfortable when something like that happens. My usual response after a tumble is to do an immediate assessment of whether or not I'm hurt, and if I'm not I try to laugh it off and put the people around me at ease. In the end, I'm just a guy and I fell down.

Everybody is different though, and they have to find their way to their own answers. I just hope mine have helped somebody out there.

On another note, my week off from writing continues. I think it might be working, as I'm starting to have ideas for stories bubbling up...especially when I wake up at night. I've had one idea that would make a good Tales of Nur story, and even obliquely involve a young Cargill on the Upperways of Khrem. Another that  could be either a Tales of Nur story or a Shades story, and perhaps one that could be just a pure Shades story. Who knows, I might actually throw another short story up in a months time.

But I also have novel work to do, as I have put that off long enough as well. I have started having a few inquiries about a sequel to The Ways of Khrem from a couple of readers, so I need to start plotting in that direction. There are just a lot of ways that novel can go. I already have one possible prologue done and one story started on it. Once I get a clearer idea of where I want to go with it, the progress will pick up. I wrote the first draft of the last one in two months time. It's just a matter of getting a sense of the overall story.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


So we took Sheridan to his first Cub Scout meeting last night. He recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the Boy Scout, and learned how to fold a flag. Keeping his attention focused where it was needed to be was a bit of a chore, but Karla did an admirable job of riding herd on him. We intend to get him a uniform on Wednesday. He will probably love wearing it.

I haven't written anything this week so far. I'm just letting my brain rest and trying to get things to come to me instead of forcing them. I've been forcing things too much lately. The problem is for me that it's not like always like building a structure, but more like going to a well. Throwing that bucket harder down the well doesn't make it fill with water. I've had a couple of snippets of ideas, but they would be more suited for the Shades series as opposed to either of the novels.

Today is Rowan's Learning Lane, so I will be doing my Starbucks thing. Maybe I'll think of something to write while I'm there.

It's still Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness Week, and today my post will be about the lethargy that comes with it.  In some ways it's the most aggravating part of this condition, because it effects other people as well as the sufferer, and it doesn't have any physically visible symptoms to prove it's real. Anytime I overdo, I end up paying for it by being wiped out for at least a day or two. When I went on vacation with my family, I ran out of steam after four days of being careful to try and not take it too hard, and ended up wiped out for nearly five days after that. It's ridiculous, but it's real. And what's even worse, is that it can happen if I get sick, get an allergy, and occasionally it just seems to happen for no reason whatsoever. But it's real...and it sucks.

And when I say wiped out, I mean it's now an effort of strength just to stand. Staying focused is hard, and trying to give the people around me the proper attention is difficult. It ain't easy. But it's something many of us just have to adapt to. And we do.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writer's Night Out

I went out with Cherri Galbiati for our weekly writer's night out, last night. For some reason, writing just didn't come up as a topic very much. I guess we just weren't in the mood for it.. Then we were joined by Matt, a friend of our waitress (or is it server nowadays?), Lauren. We ended up talking about lots of things then, especially after Lauren got off her shift and joined us.

Let me take a pause here to give a shout out to Lois, Lauren, Sarah, Ashley, John, Kim, and the rest of the Denny's crew who makes our weekly get together's work so well. You guys are great, and very understanding of a couple of old geezers who want to come in and hog the same booth every week with their laptops. Thanks a bunch, guys!

Anyways, we stayed out way too late and I actually woke up slightly ill this morning when it was time to get the kids off to school. Thankfully, Karla stepped up like a champ and saw that everything that needed to get done...did. Thanks, Karla.

Finally, since this is Charcot Marie Tooth awareness week, I thought I would mention one of the issues I face as a writer with CMT. My problem is that over time the condition/disease has spread into my hands...and not evenly. My left hand is more affected than my right. Naturally, I'm left handed. This means that writing with a pen or pencil has started to get very difficult for me. When I'm having a bad day, it's impossible. Sometimes I worry about this, because hands are kinda important to writer. Fortunately, the spread is very, very slow and I can still type.

But it always kinda sits in the back of my mind that I need to get my writing done while I can. So that's one way CMT affects writing.

On a more positive note, it also gives me a worldview that I was simply incapable of writing from before. Ten years ago, any fantasy hero I would have attempted to write would have been some knockoff of Conan the Barbarian. Now, due to the perspective and insight I've gained from living with this condition, character's like Cargill of Khrem are possible...even though he doesn't have a physical handicap himself, he understands that the world is a lot bigger than him, and has to be dealt with from that standpoint. It makes for a different type of fantasy character.

Oh well, that's it for today. I've got a cub scout meeting for tonight and a whole lot to do before it's time to leave. Bye.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


It is Sunday, and the glories of the NFL are once more upon us. Today the Dallas Cowboys play the Chicago Bears, a team they should beat...just like they should have beaten the Redskins last week. So nothing is for certain in Dallas right now, as we don't know if the good Cowboys or the bad Cowboys are going to show up to play. On another front, the Texans now get their crack at the Redskins and should hopefully bring them back down to earth.

I didn't do any writing today, and I'm becoming just a little concerned I might be pushing too hard. I've had more and more trouble coming up with words, and I fear I might be drifting into writer's block. I'm very tempted to just take a mental vacation for a week and not worry about it. I haven't decided yet. After pushing out those four novelettes over the summer, and then adding ten thousand words to Argiope, it's just not coming natural right now.

I also did an interview with Lenka for her Lenkaland blog. This time we talked almost exclusively about CMT. I seldom mention my condition...except for the past couple of days because it's been giving me real trouble...and I'm trying to decide if that's a good thing or not. I try not to dwell on it except when it's making it's presence felt, and it's kind of like a suit of clothes I've slipped into and gotten used to.

But today starts Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness week, so for this week I will probably bring it up more often. It does matter, and it's something I have to keep adapting to all the time to deal with...even if I tend to deal with it by promptly trying not to think on it once I've adapted. For instance, it is now in my hands pretty good and I have a very difficult time using a pen or pencil. Some days, it's completely impossible. I can still type, but not as fast as I used to. Sometimes it's not as easy to forget about as others.

But that's for posts later this week. For now, it is time to pull out the chips and drinks, and get ready for some football!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Remember This Guy?

Ten Years Earlier

I had led them to their deaths, and their screams echoed back up the tunnel to me.
They weren’t evil people, or even particularly bad ones…just immensely stupid, and wealthy enough to hire me to be stupid with them. Unfortunately for them, the chthonic monstrosity that rose out of the pit back up the tunnel wasn’t impressed with either their status or wealth. Judging from their cries, it was more interested in eating them alive.
They were just going to have to get eaten without me, since my price for being stupid had suddenly inflated when the monster attacked.
Besides, at the moment I had problems of my own.
I couldn’t see a thing in the blackness, and fumbled in frantic desperation for the little bottle of Alchemists Fire that I kept on a string around my neck for just such an emergency. It threatened to slip out of my hand due to all the blood running down from my shoulder. I had picked this passage because I remembered the map saying it ended in a dead end, which meant the odds of encountering something nasty in it would be lower and I would only have to face a threat from one direction. Just my luck, the odds in this case didn’t play out the way I had hoped.
The thing that had come out of that hole in the wall and bit my shoulder, causing me to lose my lantern, still squirmed under my boot. I hadn’t got much of a look at it—just enough to know I had stumbled across my own man-eating beast to contend with.
I needed to get some light fast, before it managed to free itself.
Even injured, the nasty thing was strong and I knew I could only keep it pinned a few more seconds. And if I didn’t have a light to fight by when it did…
“Mr. Noble!” I yelled back down the tunnel, trying to be heard over the screams of the dying. “If you’re still alive, and not too busy, I could use a hand here!” I didn’t have time to say more as the thing jerked free from under my boot, just as I managed to put the droplets from my little belt flask into the bottle.
Yep. Time to move.
I leaped forward into the darkness, curling around the bottle and flask to protect them as the two reagents mixed, and rolled on the stone floor. Red light flared under my chin, the reaction of the ingredients mixing…and when I came to my feet against the back wall, it was with a glowing flare of brilliance hanging from around my neck. The fact it was so bright meant I used too much stuff from the flask, and that the light wouldn’t last as long, but I had bigger worries in front of me.
The reptilian horror extended from a large hole in the wall that was situated near the tunnel floor. It featured a whitish crocodilian head situated on the end of a body like an armored albino snake. Whether that was really its body, or a very long neck, was impossible to tell with the rest of thing inside the hole. But enough shared the room with me for it to actually rear higher than my own head, its jaws agape in the crimson glow. My dagger protruded from the creature’s side, about a foot down from its head, where I had driven it when it first came out of the wall and bit me.
It didn’t look very happy with me about that.
“Oh Mr. Nooooobllllee!” I pulled the smaller backup dagger I kept in my sleeve. I had nowhere to retreat, being cut off from the way I came by the serpentine beast. 

Slept In

Sorry folks. The boy stayed home sick so I decided to go back to sleep after getting the girl's lunch packed for school. Now we're both just sitting around the house half dressed.

Just not much to report right now. I might post one of the projects I'm working on later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nate's Trip to the Post Office

So yesterday I needed to mail a book.

A fairly straightforward proposition when you think about it. Take book to post office. Get book in proper container. Pay money. Send book to destination. Can't screw that up....


So I waited in a line that would do any Dept of Moter Vehicles proud, shuffling along as the word "next" would occasionally get called. My turn finally comes, and I approach book in hand. Problem number one, immediately presents itself. I'm having a bad day with my CMT and my hands are shaking so hard I can't write. I explain this to the lady, who kindly offers to fill out the forms for me. Then, while she starts to do that, I reach into my pocket and discover that my case of the "stupids" that was going along with this bad CMT day had made me leave my wallet at home. So there I stood, with a long line of people behind me, staring helplessly at the teller who was looking askance at me. I felt very "special."

So I had to go home and get my wallet.

The lady let me hobble back to the front of the line when I returned...which came with it's own form of embarrassment...but I was willing to endure it to get my book mailed and get out of there.


On a brighter note, Dark Fire webzine has also agreed to do a review of my novel...possible in January. I hope they like it. Let me tell you, finding people to review your books is hard. But after wasting a bunch of money on ads, I'm coming to the conclusion that reviewers are the only way to get your books in front of readers. We shall see.

At least I don't feel so dumb today...but then I don't have anything to mail.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Onwards and Upwards

Last night we took Sheridan to a Cub Scout recruitment. He was almost vibrating with excitement and I thought I was going to have to sit on the boy during the meeting. And of course with my CMT acting up, I barely had the energy to sit upright. Anyways, we signed him up and a lot more of my precious time is about to disappear. Soon, there will be meetings, camp outs, activities, and all sorts of other things involving those two dreaded words...parental involvement. Yep, apparently there is more to having kids than sprinkling a little water on them and then watching them grow up to take care of you in your old age.

Finding time to write is going to get harder.

On the writing front, on online webzine named Dark Fire has agreed to include my story "Storm Chase" in their fiftieth issue...which will be published in early March. It's a great chance to get one of my stories out there in front of people for free. "Storm Chase" was originally published in "The Middle of Nowhere," a horror anthology by Pill Hill Press. It was actually my first story to ever see print, and now it will be my first story to be in a webzine. Not bad for a little story that was originally written as an experiment in one-scene story telling.

Oh well, now I need to go figure out how to mail a book. I promised a signed copy to a blog reader who runs a library. Now lets hope my hands are functioning good enough to sign the thing in at least a semi-legible form. This has been one of the odder phenomenons as the CMT has moved into my hands...I'm losing the ability to write with a pen or pencil, although I still have the ability to type. Different muscles involved, I guess. Oh well, as long as I'm still typing, it's all good.

Not much else to report. I gotta pick up Rowan again today and go do the Starbucks thing. The lady who cleans our house is showing up today, and the place isn't even a wreck. So I guess overall... It's all cool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Physically, I've been next to useless for the past two days.

My CMT has been acting up, and I've also been flattened with this crushing bout of lethargy. It's all I can do at times to get out of my chair. I'm not sure what has causes this, since I've been careful and I'm sure I haven't eaten any gluten lately. Sometimes, I guess Charcot Marie Tooth doesn't need a "trigger" to act up. I suspect it's the CMT because not only have I been extremely lethargic, but my hands have been trembling to the point it's very difficult to type.

And we certainly want me to keep typing.

Not only have I added ten thousand words to Argiope since I've dusted it off and unshelved it, but last night I had inspiration for my next "Shades" story while I lay there in bed trying to go back to sleep. Think young junior high ne'er-do-well getting crosswise with a hatchet toting Victorian farm wife type of tale. I've already got several scenes of this story fully realized in my head, I just need to string them together into a good yarn.

But I also need to get a move on and shake this lethargy off.

I have Rowan's therapy today, and I have to pick her up from school at twelve thirty to take her there. Fortunately, they have a Starbucks practically next door so I can caffienate myself into a vibrating frenzy while she is there. I also have to take Sheridan to a Cub Scout recruitment tonight, so I have to find the energy for that. But theres even more. The kids snacked on chips yesterday and took advantage of the fact I haven't had the energy to keep up with them.. So the carpet is sprinkled with chips and the house is scattered with debris of wild children run amok. And since my friend Cheri Galbiati is coming over to watch Rowan tonight while I take Sheridan for his Cub Scout encounter, I need to find the energy to muck the place out so Rowan won't be able to hide under all the mess.

I'm too old for this!!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

On Electronics and Writers Night Out.

The wizards at Geed Squad called to let me know that my +3 Laptop of Tale Creation had been healed and was ready for retrieval yesterday. I wasted no time in getting down there and fetching My machine and I'm now happily tapping on it's ebony keys again. I have also decided to try the Chrome web browser since I've been told it's a more secure browser.

It was very weird being without it. I went on a Writer's Night Out and I felt almost unbalanced without it's weight hanging from my shoulder. Cherri Galbiati was kind enough to lend me her kindle for the evening so I would at least have the reassuring feeling of having something electronic to hold while we talked. As it was, I didn't even bother with fries but went straight to the hot fudge sundae to drown my sorrows in.

Thus fortified with Vitamin Fudge and ice cream, I felt a renewed sense of hope and managed to at least hold up my end of the conversation for the evening. As always, we compared notes on our current projects and debated future trends. A lot of the same old stuff, but with new data to chew over as more news on the writing field comes out.

Rowan's therapy starts this week, so my tuesdays, wednesdays, and thursdays will be cut in half as I have to pick her up at 12:30 and take her over to her new therapists.  I will leave her there for two hours, while I languish at the Starbucks right down the block. At least my laptop will be back to help me make it through the wait. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Oh well, back to writing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sick Computer

My laptop that I do all my writing on, including updating my blog, has come down with a virus. I'm not sure how it happened, but it doesn't matter now. I'll be taking it to geek squad in the hopes they can fix it. Among it's other problems, it has lost the ability to connect to the internet, so that's going to make doing online diagnostics difficult. Websweeper tried to deal with it, but couldn't do the job.

Here's hoping everything turns out okay.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Edition

Happy Friday folks!

It's another glorious end to another glorious week!  The sun is shining! (well, not yet) The birds are singing! (nope, not yet either) and the roaches driven in by all the rain are having race rallies across our floor! (Alas, this seems to be true.) I think an exterminator may be in our near future.

I went to Rowans open house last night and met her teacher. Mrs. Ruiz has been fantastic with our little monster, and done a great job of both educating and civilizing the little beastie. She still has her work cut out for her, but the progress has been fantastic. It was cool sitting there and seeing where Rowan spends her day, and briefly being part of the world she spends so much time in.

Meanwhile, Sheridan had a playdate with the neighbors kids, and so far I haven't heard any complaints from that direction. Since that went well, it bodes well for future visitation rights.

I bought Karla a new keyboard yesterday, since the boy had an oopsie with a cup of juice and many of her keys simply ceased to function. I got her a new wireless model with backlit keys and an lcd number pad. It's a real upgrade over the predecessor...which it ought to be since the juicified one was six or seven years old.

Now it's my turn. There is a laptop case at Best Buy that I'm lusting after. My current case is more of a laptop sleeve...which my laptop can barely squeeze into, and only if it isn't storing anything else. This other case would store such luxuries as power cables, dvds, pens, etc. Oh yesss, I want preciousssss!

I'm at 52,000 words on Argiope and currently plodding through a charactor exposition scene. It needs to be done for later developments to have impact, and it involves the first attempts of the main charactor to try and understand a certain female lead in the story. Sigh, I'm a lot better when my charactors are just getting eaten by monsters. This icky romance stuff is hard. Although I'm sticking to my guns and doing it from a male POV.

Anyways, it seems the NFL kicked off their regular season last night with New Orleans beating the Vikes. Sigh, I had picked the Vikes for our little writer's pool on the kindle boards. Oh well, the week ain't over yet. As long as the Cowboys win on Sunday...all is well.

As a sign of how tired I was yesterday, I went straight to bed after dinner and didn't stay up to watch the game. All that writing, school visiting, shopping, and doing a load of laundry had wiped me out. Let's hope today goes well too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Big Five Oh....

...not me. Not yet. I still have another year before hitting that landmark of despair. What I'm referring to is hitting the fifty thousand word mark with Argiope. There were times I wondered if I would ever get close to this far with that story. I would get blocked on it, shelve it, get an idea, unshelve it, get blocked, shelve it, etc. Now I have a couple of ways to go forward, and I'm being slowed down by options as opposed to blockage...yeah, that didn't sound right to me either.

Anyways. since Argiope would be yet a third genre I would be writing in, I'm thinking of publishing it under a psuedonym. I've already published both fantasy and ghost stories under my own name, and have discovered that fans of one don't necessarily like the other. I don't think I want to confuse things further by adding another genre under the same name. Hmmmm... What could it be?

Nathaniel Hill? Daniel Crowe? Hobo Harry? Rufus the Wonder Dog?

Decisions, decisions. They all have their good points. At least I have some time, although it just occured to me I might need more than one, since I have a Christmas story unpublished and also might want to write general fiction one that steamboat story. Oh well, that's a problem for another day. For now, I just need to finish the projects before me.

Work, work, work!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Early Midweek

The Labor Day weekend has thrown my schedule off, and Weds has snuck up on me. I still feel like it should be Tuesday. I guess I'm getting set in my ways because stuff like this makes me sort of grumpy in my old age. It should be Tuesday, darn it.

So, much to my surprise, Karla will be home today...I'm surprised because she gets every other Weds off and it's supposed to be Tuesday...and will be visiting the boy for lunch at school. This is for the best, because we have discovered he can request extras in the cafeteria, and we want to be sure what it is that he is requesting. The little turkey just might be having a junk food pig-out going on right under out noses...which would certainly explain one reason for his enthusiasm for  public school. On the other hand, he does hate the fact he has to wear his shoes all day. The little private school he went to before had them leave their shoes in baskets, and they only put them on to go outside.

I'm currently writing on Argiope at the moment, since I've found a way to go forward on that. I'm still thinking about the Khrem sequel though, and considering the novel idea of working on two projects at once. On the other hand, I have a history of putting about twenty thousand words to Argiope then getting blocked, so it might not even be an issue. We shall see.

I'm still trying to figure out ways to promote. On the one hand, I think I spend too much time thinking about it since I'm doing that and not writing. On the other hand, books don't sell without it. Last month, my short stories easily outsold my novel, so I'm trying to figure out what is to be made of that. I've made a few adjustments and we shall see if that changes things. But I really need to start focusing more on writing.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

School and Writing and Stuff

So today begins week three of the kids being back in school. So far, it's been pretty good...but this has been the warm-up period. Now the newness has worn off and we shall see how things go. I hear that Sheridan actually starts getting homework in week three. I'll be keeping a sharp eye out for that, and make sure he does it. Rowan doesn't get homework, but I'm still glad she seems happy to see that bus coming. It makes me feel good that she's happy with where it takes her.

On another front, I'm looking at getting into novel writing again. I've dusted off Argiope and currently my wife is giving what I've got a read through. I had written myself into a box, but now I've figured out a way forward. I'm still debating whether I need to back up and rewrite some of the last things I've got. And then there is the sequel to The Ways of Khrem. I need to start getting it up and going. I've already written one prologue candidate, but that's a far cry from actually writing a story. I've been spending too much time lately trying to plot promoting and book covers, and not enough time writing, and now I've fallen out of the habit. It's time to crawl back on that horse, or bicycle, or whatever it is.

I also need to be really careful with the gluten and casien. Lately I've been having a real problem with typos. Bad ones. I'm gonna have to work on that.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Argiope Artwork - Metamorphosis

First I have to take this...

Then turn it into this...

This is a little concept piece my niece created for me for Argiope. I think it's really good, and it's about the right size for Molly...maybe a shade bigger than Molly, but very close. I'll just play with it a little and see if I can bring the spider out better.

Hows that?
Or, how about this?

Hmmm...if nothing else, it makes good poster art. It needs a tall, angry-looking blonde with a long braid and huge gun standing next to it though.

Yeah, this has possibilities

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Writer's Night Out - Fried

Cherri Galbiati and I had our weekly writer's night out last night.

Since we had both published a story, we felt we were entitled to celebrate. Therefore I broke my gluten free diet and had a cheeseburger, and Cherri broke her diabetic diet and had a hot fudge sundae. Fortunately, the effect on me was just made me a little sleepy...but Cherri had herself a great time. Pretty soon she was laughing, having a high old time...and attempting to fix our poor waitress up with whoever happened to be sitting in the booth next to us. As luck would have it, the girl actually knew the guy and he was a really cool guy. But the whole thing was pretty hilarious.

Stay off the sugar, Cherri! :D

Other than that, we sort of rambled on writing (as usual), pondered on publishing (as usual), grumbled about editing (as usual) and postulated on marketing (you get usual). Great thoughts were cogitated, and portentious sayings uttered. All in all, a good time was had by all.

Anyways, my new story...Shades: A Memory of now available on the kindle. It's another foray of mine into the art of the ghost story...this time including graveyards, nightmares, and a very dangerous nighttime visitation. I hope everybody enjoys it.

And with that, the last of my summer projects, out of the way...I can start looking towards my autumn chores. It's time to think novels. If I have a short story idea just jump out at me, I'll still do it, but I will not spend any more time or effort on one this autumn unless it appears to me in the form of inspiration.

Time to work on the big projects.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fun on Several Fronts

My good friend, and fellow author, Cherri Galbiati just published her first short story direct to this week. It is a small Christmas story called "Halo and Holly," and can be purchased on the kindle here. Way to go, Cherri!

On another front, I just hit publish on "A Memory of Me" a while back and I'll probably be showing it off tomorrow or the next day. Of course, everybody has already seen the cover since I can't keep anything a secret when it comes to my own writing, and I'm driven to rush out and show everybody as soon as I have anything. So things are getting done.

On yet another front, I managed to resolve a bit of a mental block I had where I had written myself into a corner with a story. Oddly enough, that story is my shelved novel Argiope which I wasn't even working one.

I have given up trying to figure out what rhyme or reason my mind works by, and now I just accept it when it decides to do something helpful for me...even when that help is on a completely unrelated project. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to pull Argiope off the shelf, not unless I get a clearer idea how I'm going forward, but now at least I know going forward is  possible again. So, we'll see. That novel with big spiders, secret organizations, and killer amazons with huge guns might still see the light of day yet. Heck, I'm already forty-five thousand words into it, so it's almost half written.

Anyways, it's time to move boldly forward into the month of September, and see what we shall see.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tweaking, September style.

I had sat down today, with the intention to get back to writing but I found myself doing a lot of tweaking on other projects instead.

I've worked more on Shades: A Memory of Me, and it is now up on Kindle DTP waiting for me to push the publish button. I'm pretty happy with it now, after playing around with a beginning that I've always thought was a bit awkward. It turned out to be easily fixed, merely by moving one sentence forward and splitting another off from the paragraph it was in. It's amazing how the small things can immeasurably improve the flow of a story. It took me a couple of hours to get those small things right though. Sigh.

Then I had to ask for help in how to fit more book cover link-images into my kindle boards signature. Another kind author gave me the gist of how it was done, and I spent a couple of more hours fiddling with that until I got it totally figured out. Now I will be able to fit an image for my next story into my signature with the rest. Another small but important victory that took quite a bit of time to get right. Those signature images have probably accounted for at least half my sales this past month.

Now I'm simply waiting to hear from blogs to see if they will be willing to review my novel. I will be showing up in one blog soon, but it will be a review your own book situation. Naturally I found the novel to be a work of genius, destined to take it's place among the great luminaries of literature. Truthfully, I was squirming with discomfort while writing it, but it got written. Go me.

I still need to get back to writing though. It's now September!