Sunday, July 31, 2011

Speaking of Projects in the Works

I just received the above cover art from Justyn Perry, an editor and cover artist who happens to be a friend of my wife. I have to confess it is a quantum leap...hell, several quantum leaps... over any cover I have ever made myself. I see I'm going to have to really step up my game if I ever intend to do another cover of my own. Until then, I might be better off leaving it to the pros.

This will be an anthology of eight stories, five of which were formerly sold as singles on, with three more added. The singles will soon be removed from sale. Since the anthology itself will likely be .99 cents, there isn't any reason to charge somebody that price for a single story. I am currently debating the eighth story, and once I have either selected or written that one I will take the next step of making a manuscript and finding a formatter who is proficient with kindle formatting. I am trying to up my standards, and once again, the idea of having it professionally done has it's merits. Of course, it will all depend on what it costs.

Still, if it's going to have my name on it then it behooves me to put the best product possible in front of the reader. When you're a writer, reputation matters....a lot.

So that's where things stand on that project. I'm hoping to have that out this fall, with Dead Stop out later in the winter... *crosses fingers, knocks on wood, and most likely spits in wind*

Anyways, Friday is when our annual family vacation to Galveston begins so I will once again be busy with all sorts of domestic chores that aren't writing. One would think that kids get more mobile as they get older, but the truth is just the opposite. The little bundle of joy that could once be toted along with a single bag and a stroller now requires a clothes duffel bag of his or her own and a veritable torrent of encouragement and threats to get moving. Sigh, I can't wait till they're teenagers so they can be reasoned with.

So it's a big week for me...preparing for the next big week for everybody else.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sometimes Things Evolve

When I finish working on the scene I'm writing tonight, Dead Stop will cross the fifty thousand word threshold. It wasn't originally envisioned that way.

Dead Stop was originally envisioned to be a quick forty to fifty thousand word zombie novella about one night at a truckstop when the dead decide to drop in for a bite. The premise was extremely simple, kill a bunch of people in bloody fashion and see if the others could get out alive. But of course with me, nothing ever works out that simple. 

First the characters came alive. Then certain questions arose like...what if some of the characters were related to these zombies? Or, what if some people were just badly injured and had to be cared for? Then this weird sense of intellectual honesty demanded I go and research corpses, decomposition, and embalming so that I could make the most authentic zombies possible. And since the story is told from several characters points of view, they had to each have their own personality and 'story' so they would stand out. I've even looked up a couple of native Spanish speakers in order to make one of the waitresses a tad more authentic.

So now I'm at fifty thousand words and approximately sixty five to seventy percent through the story that wasn't supposed to be this long in the first place. 

But it's a rocking story...and it's going to get finished. It's just going to be a full novel when it's done.

It's premise is still the same. The time it covers is still the night. It's just...


One day I will start a simple project and keep it that way. I will! Really! I hope...

And no, that isn't the final cover art. It's just a placeholder till I can either come up with something better or contract for it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Midweek Update


That is all....

Monday, July 25, 2011

As July Winds Down

So the summer goes on, and life along with it.

I picked up the boy from his cousins house, and after a week of quiet productivity things have now returned to their noisy normal around here. Writing has pretty much ground to a halt again, as the boy isn't just content telling me every achievement he as accomplished with his computer games or legos...he has to ask questions to make sure I'm listening.

But, it's good to have him back.

And it's good to know the muse is still out there...just waiting to get a chance to get back to work. Argiope is now at 88,000 words and Dead Stop is now at 48,000 words.

Maybe, just maybe, I might get two novels out by this Christmas. Now that would rock.

Friday, July 22, 2011

So I Lost My Wallet

Yep, it's gone.

So now the replacement process begins. The drivers license...which requires a birth certificate. Getting a birth certificate requires other ID i don't have, so the wife has to do that. Getting the new debit card, which they would prefer I had a driver's license to show them...but in this case I got lucky and got away with showing them the police report which had the license number on it. Still had to answer ten thousand questions though.

Then there will be the kiddos prescription card. And my medicare card. And my library card (Hey, I read you know!) And other assorted lesser cards and papers which I kept with me.

And while I go through this, it occurs to me that there is something wrong with a system that can leave you so incapacitated when you lose one item that is only slightly larger than a deck of cards. One item that you take with you everywhere you go...constantly taking it out of your pocket and putting it back in. It's ridiculous! There needs to be some way you can back up your information so when something like this happens it isn't so devastating to your normal functioning in the world.

For crying out loud, it's the 21st century!

Sigh, so that's where I am. I hope everybody else out there is doing better.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Late Post

The eight year old is spending the week at his cousins house, so it's just me and his sister. The sudden quiet that has enveloped the play has been sort of disorienting, and at first I didn't know what to do. Then it hit me...

"Hey! I know!" I exclaimed to absolutely nobody, "I'm a writer. Maybe I ought to write something!"

Impressed with my astonishing onset of logic, I decided to give it a try...and to my surprise I actually did some writing. As a matter of fact, I'm kind of pleased with the amount of writing I got done. I can't show any snippets, because as we all now know that has the effect of sabotaging my work. But I actually managed to slog through half an important scene in Dead Stop AND Argiope has now jumped from eighty thousand words to eighty eight thousand words. The latter is looking to be about a hundred and thirty thousand word novel though, so we'll see how that goes.


On the downer side, it appears I have lost my wallet. I'm going to check one last place it might be tomorrow morning, and then I guess I'll have to get a police report. Then it's the long slow process of replacing licenses, credit cards, debit cards, library cards, insurance cards, etc...


So thats my week. I hope everybody else is doing good.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Adaptations

I got new braces for my legs in May. I really liked them, but the left one kept making my left foot sore. I didn't worry to much about it, as I expected there to be a breaking in period. Well, after six or seven weeks it was still making my foot hurt, and then it got bad enough that I had to hobble home from a dinner date with my wife on Friday night. So I finally tried to figure out what was going on.

Wearing an extra sock on that foot had helped some, but it still gave me trouble from time to time. Then I resorted to wearing ace bandages on that foot, but it turned out further measures were still needed. Well, Friday night it got to the point that I dug out my old plastic braces and tried the left one on to see if that made a difference. Although my foot was already badly sore by now, I could tell immediately that the old brace wasn't hurting it.

So I took the old brace off and held it side by side to the new one. Sure enough, they were shaped different. The old one made allowances for a protruding bone in my foot, while the new ones were cut just below that so that when I put weight on my feet it forced that bone down on the edge of the brace. So now I'll have to figure out if they can take another mold of my foot and put a new footpiece on that brace without breaking the bank. Until then, I'm wearing one old brace and one new one.

At least I finally found the problem.

I've been kind of itching to write again. I don't have solid ideas yet, but I'm starting to feel just the barest tickle of my muse. It's been a while. The problem is that it's still most likely goimg to have to wait until the kids are back in school. But it's still heartening to know that feeling is there.

Oh well, onwards and upwards!

Friday, July 15, 2011


This summer is becoming something of a "summer of discovery" on the matter of writing and several other things. At the moment, I'm going to focus on the writing part.

One of the things I'm having the most difficulty with right now is my lack of perceived production. In 2009 and 2010 I wrote one novel and seventeen or eighteen short stories, not to mention maintained a daily blog at the time as well. My fingers seemed to be constantly flying over the keyboard, and the ideas and scenes fell like rain from heaven into my running imagination.

Now things are different. This summer I have both children home with me all day, and it is almost impossible to maintain a writing frame of mind for a few minutes before it is disrupted by a demand for food, entertainment, or some other form of attention. And of course, when you are trying to focus on something and it is constantly interrupted, the blood pressure begins to rise.

So I pretty much gave up for a while, in order to preserve my sanity. I still write a little here and there, and some progress has been made, but to a guy with the former pace of production I had it is pretty aggravating. I currently have one novel at 80,000 words and another at 40,000 words. I'm kind of jumping back and forth between them, to see if that will freshen the muse a little bit. It did result in me finding out how to integrate and keep one potention scene in Argiope. That scene is now in the book, and it works.

So things ARE getting done, but a lot of it is cerebral at the moment.

Also, I discovered a weak point of mine when it comes to writing and I'm now focusing on that as well. Unlike short stories and novellas, a novel tends to have a different form of pacing. It doesn't just stay at the same high pace a short story can. It eventually runs into a place where the pace slows down for a while and the characters regroup. I came to realize I was stalled at that spot in both stories. So now I'm going to do a little reading to see how other writers actually handle that, and then find a way to make that a strong point for me as well.

So that's where I am.

I also have several non writing projects going on this summer, and  they are taking some of my mental cpu cycles as well. I adopted them to help me maintain that sense of progress while still doing right by the kids, and it seems to be working.

Happy Weekend, folks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bah! Technology! It's Plotting Against Us!

So I had taken little fifteen second clips during the course of our weekend in Galveston in order to splice them together and make a youtube video. That was going to be the feature of my Weds blog, but it wasn't to be.

First, Windows Moviemaker doesn't like MP4's. Then I discovered that my old version of Corel Video Editor considers the format invalid as well. Then I discovered that since I had changed the names of the video files, that my video camera wouldn't splice them together itself. So it looks like everybody is going to get spared the horror of a mini-vacation movie for now.


Oh well, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

But just month we will go on a full vacation and by that time I will have figured out what went wrong and then...oh yes, and then...there will be vacation video goodness for the masses!



Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Tired

We did a trial run of our vacation this past weekend, and took the kids to Galveston and the Moody Gardens pyramids and water park. It was very informative and I will be sure and adapt what I learned so I will be ready come vacation in August.

I learned I will need to better pad my left foot so the new brace doesn't hurt it.
I learned that while Rowan has come a long way, letting her walk without holding her hand is just asking to see her disappear in the distance.
I learned that eating low carb and gluten free can be difficult at water parks.
I learned that Days Inn in Galveston has decent rooms but their bathtubs are going to kill somebody. (we won't be staying there during vacation though)
I learned I will need to bring my own Stevia and Zevia with me since I now consider aspartame to be evil.

I know I'm tired, and the kiddos will be up bright and early in the morning and expecting me to entertain them.

Sorry for the short post folks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rowan Makes New Friends

Rowan had no therapy scheduled at Learning Lane this week, so I thought it might be nice to let her go where Sheridan and I always go while she's in school. So I packed up some lunch and drinks and it was off to North Shore Park to meet the ducks.

Rowan was delighted.

She got a thrill out of tossing popcorn to the ducks.

But she felt the process was inefficient and decided to take matters into her own hands. Needless to say, the ducks were very impressed with her solution to the problem.

On another note, I have not given up on writing...but I am going very slow. I am just overwhelmed with the house and kids this summer, and can't devote much time or thought processes to it. I'm currently outlining my way forward on some projects. I'm really just creeping along, but stuff IS getting done.

And on that note, the dryer just buzzed and announced it's time to move all the different loads of laundry down to their next station. Sigh, my Man Card is as good as revoked.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day Fun

So we went to my patents house for the Fourth of July. Across the street from their house, there is a small park where they have a children's parade every year. My kids have been doing this since they were babies. So once again they made the circuit of the park, in the best red, white, and blue I could find for them on short notice. (Yes, I know. The fourth comes every year so I should be prepared, but it's still short notice for me)

There were also some cool old cars there, primarily Studebakers, and I was sure to get a good photo of each one in case I ever wrote another story set in those times. They could also be useful for cover art. 

About halfway through the parade, Rowan announced she had walked far enough. As far as she was concerned, her patriotism could best be demonstrated from the comforts of a chair.

Her brother and cousin made it through the parade, but wasted little time in getting back across the street to defend their country against the digital menaces that could be found in online computer games. So they were happy too.

All in all, it was a good time. I got to see the whole family together, and that made the whole thing worth it as far as I was concerned. Now I'm back home, and the second third of summer begins. Karla works six days this week, so the kids and I are left to their own devices. I wonder if they will ever get tired of hot dogs, chips, and microwave popcorn for lunch? So far, they seem to enthusiastically support Dad's lunch time skills.

Ah well, it's bedtime. Good night.