Monday, March 28, 2011

Well Folks, I Can't Do Anything About it Now

In the past week I've submitted a short story to writers of the future and as of today, sent a two page synopsis and first five chapters of my novel to the fine folks over at Angry Robot Books. They promise that they'll read it and get back to me within the next six months or so.

Great. Now what?

Actually, I've got several other things that await my attention. I won't be lacking for things to do. I think my bio says I've got a closet full of manuscripts. Well, I guess I'll try to get as many of those things cleaned up and ready  to go as I can. That should keep me busy for several months.

Lets see. What else? My son, has recently decided to become a footballer. Um, an American footballer to any non U.S. residents out there. He's decided his position will be wide receiver. I, of course, decided to go out there and toss the old pig skin around with him and within seconds managed to almost break his fingers. Oops. He may not be doing much of anything that requires the use of said fingers for the next week or two.

But the whole reason I was out there is that a foot injury that has plagued me for the past six months has finally showed signs of relief (thanks to drugs and all sorts of medical devices prescribed to me to alleviate that pain). So I was running and jumping out there. I felt, for a few minutes at least, like I was a young pup again.

My knees however, those still hurt. But whatever, at least the feet are feeling good.

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Holy Schnikies

It's funny how things can turn on a dime sometimes. Life is short. The missus had pretty icky automobile accident over the weekend. I'd like to complain about how cars just fall apart when they hit something, but I also know that they're designed to do that so the folks inside the vehicle are kept safe. So as it is, we are inconvenienced for being one vehicle down for awhile. But she's okay. When I got the call that she was in an accident I started to panic but again, modern safety standards kept the accident from being much worse than it could have been.

I had big plans for the weekend, as a result of the aforementioned incident they were put on hold. Synopsis still not quite ready to go. A critique I was supposed to do is still undone. But at least folks are all okay and things can commence more or less with only slight delays.

But it makes me think of a bigger question. At least for those of us that are using blogger, did you know you can just click a little ole switch in your settings to optimize your blog pages for mobile users? Reading blogs on my phone is frustrating because so few folks click that little switch. Please people, I'll love you all forever for doing it.

Cheers everyone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Crusader Challenge I Can Handle

Anyone who was paying attention noticed that I completely ignored the first Crusader challenge. Well, this time, I'm all over it. I mean, how hard can it be to write a hundred word flash fiction piece that starts with the phrase, "The goldfish bowl teetered". Please, half of my sentences in everyday life start with that phrase.

Ahem, just in case you need the official rules.

"The goldfish bowl teetered that it needs more food," Jane said.

I shook my head. "That doesn't make any sense at all. Are you sure?"

She shrugged. “Look.” She held  up her phone for me to inspect.

“Tweeted!” I shouted after looking at her phone.

“Whatever, it ‘tweeted’ it then.”

I stifled a grin, my Grandmother’s roommate was easily confused by technology. I struggled to find a way to break it to her. “I set your calendar to push a message to you today to remind you to pick up some fish food.”

“Yes dear,” she said, “You mean tweeted.”

And that's it folks. Hope everyone is having a good week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This Makes Me Sick

I'm a pretty sensitive kind of guy. I really am. So, when folks start talking about their kids incessantly I indulge as much as I can. I try, I really do. I have kids of my own, both biological and step. I get it, you're proud. I am too. Which of course is why I indulge, I'm guilty of the same thing. I talk too long, show pictures to people who don't care and can't stop myself. That's just part of having kids.

But then, some folks go and do the same thing about their pets. Oh god no.

I'm about to become one of those people too.

I have a dog, I love it. It's the probably the best dog in the world. It's a 110 pound Great Pyrenees. How good is this dog? Well, I can leave the trash out all day because I pulled it from the trash can on my way to work and then forgot to take it out to the trash can outside. It's full of pizza crust, leftover chicken, cookies, whatever. I come home nine hours later and she is patiently waiting for me. Trash untouched.

She has a bell hanging from the door to the backyard, she just goes and rings the bell when she wants out. When I tell her to come, she comes. When I tell her to leave something alone, she does. She does all sorts of tricks upon command. If I open the door to the backyard to bring her in she sits and waits for me to give her permission before entering. I think she would wipe her feet if I put a mat out for her.

Best. Dog. Ever.

Anyway, as much as I love my dog. As a rule, I don't like pets. They are just walking heartaches, determined to make you care more about them than you thought possible... then they'll go get run over by a car or die of old age after a mere decade or so. Not worth it.

So anyway, I show up at the house after work on Thursday and what is sitting in my living room?

Why is there a squirrel in my house?
There is this bony, neglected, pitiful creature shivering in the floor with the entire family huddled around it. Every one is just staring at it like it's baby Jesus. Sigh.

Actually, it looks just like Dobby from the Harry Potter movies.

We took it to the vet, we think it will live. The family almost started to cry together when I referred to it as "dog" instead of "Drake." Yikes, heartbreak here we come.

Of course I was worried about how our existing dog will react. I should have known. She seems to be as enamored as the rest of the family is. They took turns guarding the back of the house today.

He'll learn how to drool soon.
Wait. maybe it's a bat
So, whatever. I'm nothing if not adaptable. I have two dogs now. I think I can keep from turning this into a "guess what my dogs did today" blog. So everyone can relax. I just figured I'm obligated to welcome the newest member of the family.

Also, it gave me a great excuse to not work on my synopsis for my novel. I've written it too many times and I'm so sick of working on it.

I freaks me out that if it isn't good, my novel will be rejected without the first word being read. I'm going to have a heart attack.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Day

Another week is ripping on by at breakneck speed and I have little to show for it. But, I did send off my short story to Writers of the Future in high hopes of that $5k prize they promise. I would consider converting to Scientology if it will help me win.

Of course I took a quick peek at my story just after I hit the submit button and found several oopses that I can't believe I didn't see the first 27 times I read over manuscript. But you know, whatever.

So that one is gone, good riddance. Also have been trying to write a two page synopsis for my novel. I'm about to send it off and need that damned synopsis. I've spent more time trying to get that together than I spent on the stupid book in the first place.

But, the one part I think is fun is this thing I've heard that publisher's love. Summing up the novel in a single sentence. I heard a couple of interviews online in the past few weeks and it seems that you want to throw out no more that three popular references that anyone might now if they were to hear it.

So what do I say in my one sentence summary? It's Rendezvous with Rama meets Apollo 13 meets Psych.

I'm worried that Psych isn't popular enough though. I can't describe an unknown, unpublished, novel by referencing an obscure show. I did have an earlier version of my one sentence summary that replaced Psych with Clerks, but I think Psych is a much better descriptor of the novel. Oh the problem.

Makes me wonder though, if you are writing a novel, or already have, what would your one sentence description be if you have to use a mash-up of popular movies or novels to describe it?

Oh, and I heard today that the traditional color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. I can't wrap my head around that. It'll take a few more beers for me to make sense of that.

And I know I've got those blogger awards things hanging around my neck like a noose. I think I'm going to be working this weekend, at the office and at home. But I'll try to at least get something out there.

Drink safely

Sunday, March 13, 2011

There She Be!

Wow. I blinked and it's been a week. What happened? Looking at my belly indicates food was involved, the rest was a blur.

I'm not sure if I got home earlier than 9 o'clock even once during the past week, and I was running to and fro all weekend on top of it. I think it has served to make this the teeniest online presence I've had in many months. The week to come looks to be more of the same, ugh. I may need to take a day off to sit back and relax. That said, I have  few items to discuss, all of them random and meaningless.

1) I'm still tinkering with both my novel and my recent short story. I thought I put the short story to bed but discovered a flaw or two that required a small change, which of course led to another necessary change, added a character that wasn't in a scene as I originally conceived, which meant said scene had to be rewritten. And that meant that my story was going off the rails due to the new changes I'd made. Looks like I'm sitting on around 10k word count now. That story isn't so short anymore.

Ever wondered what awesome looks like? Now you know.
2) Feed, by Mira Grant is all sorts of awesome. Definitely the best book I read in 2011. I'll be picking up the sequel the day it's released.

3) Reading the book mentioned in point number 2 reminded me of how much a problem I have writing when I'm reading a really good book.  I seem to get all depressed about what I'm writing because it looks so crappy in comparison. I mean. what I'm writing may well be crappy, but I can't actually create something that I think is crappy while I'm creating. I don't work that way. While it's coming out of my fingertips I'm convinced it's the greatest thing a human has ever produced, up there with Relativity or the Sistine Chapel. To realize it's really crap too early screws with my mind, I can't know that until later.

4) I accidentally started reading another book too, after reading a couple of books over the past four or five months that I was very disappointed in, I forgot how great a great novel can be.

5) I was given some blog awards during the past week, and featured on J.C. Martin's blog as part of her Friday Follower feature. I do intend to discuss in a separate post. But I'm like that naughty uncle that shows up at the family Thanksgiving dinner drunk, tells dirty jokes during the prayer, farts throughout the meal, and finishes by vomiting on the table and passing out in the bathtub. Or, in other words, pleasantly eccentric. So forgive me if I'm slow in passing along the good tidings, I just suck at etiquette.

I think that's it. My thoughts go with those that suffered in the disaster in Japan this week. Horrible.

See you soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Day in the Life of an Editing Nube

Just for kicks, I thought I would have some fun showing how awesome I can manage my time. A confluence of events happened this week that, for the most part, kept me from working on my crappy novel. Now, I have completely written, it... twice in fact. So I'm not actually writing anything. At this point I'm going over it looking for inconsistencies, bad logic, stupid characters, plot holes, all that sort of stuff.

So, I print out my 303 pages of drivel, use all my ink and most of my paper and set to work with a red pencil. Said pencil goes from brand new to about three inches long by the time I'm done. The weight of my printed novel noticeably increased from all that pencil lead it gained during my run through. It's ugly. Now, I had a goal of having this done by Mar 1. I really wanted a pretty clean manuscript by then. I probably screwed up when I handed to my wife with a deadline that she had no interest in following. After a few weeks I took it back and did it myself.

I missed Mar 1, but I figure I may have something readable by the end of the week this week. But implementing my red marks into my digital file has proved challenging. I had managed to get the first 40 pages or so done early this week. But Saturday was my day to really get this thing done. My wife even agreed to go to work at the office today to give me uninterrupted time to work.

8:00 a.m. - I realize it's Saturday and didn't oversleep. Wife gets up and goes to work. I poke around the internet while she gets ready.

8:15 a.m. - Missus leaves, I have house all to myself. I put manuscript next to me in bed and laptop on my lap. I realize I need a real workspace. I'm tired of writing and editing in bed. I'm getting bed sores.

9:00 a.m.- I realize that I am still on the internet and it's raining outside. I remember the dog has been outside since the wife woke up an hour ago. I bring her in, feed her. Then hop back in bed and get ready for some serious editing.

9:14 a.m. - After reviewing changes already made, I see I have red mark on my printed copy that says "Insert scene here, something emotional, awesome, and bridges plot points." I did write said scene last night around midnight. I check it out this morning.

9:15 a.m. - After reading inserted scene I try to recall if I was drunk last night. I'm pretty sure I wrote a scene about a kid eavesdropping on his grandmother's private phone conversation. What I read this morning however, was scene about a kid who has an unnatural attraction to Crayola crayons.

9:30 a.m. - I decide to tweet about my what I've got to get done. Then start trying to fix broken scene.

10:00 a.m.  - Scene still sucks, but at least it is about kid eavesdropping on Grandma. I tweet again about how I haven't made any headway on editing. Still have 260 pages to go.

10:17 a.m. - after a bit of serious editing I come across a page with no red marks on it. None. I wonder if I skipped it in my first run through. I wonder if I am capable of producing an entire page of prose that is error free.

10:20 a.m.- I decide that I'm not capable. I go over said page with red pencil. Find errors.

10:36 a.m.- After getting ten pages of edits done I decide I'm pretty much home free. Decide to blog about experience. I sign onto blogger, see new blogs and recall how much I suck. I decide to read a few blogs and post some comments -  thoughtful ones, not crappy ones.

10:45 a.m. - post crappy comment on another's blog, then realize I actually double posted crappy comment. Decide to quite reading blogs and go back to editing.

11:02 a.m. - Start writing blog post, recounting day's events.

11:23 a.m. - realize it's 11:23 and that I've only done 10 pages so far today. Also realize I'm hungry. Make deal with self. Do 10 more pages then have oatmeal.

11:49 a.m. - I see puts their love it button right next to their hate it button. Which of course means I'm randomly telling them that I love songs I hate and hate songs I love. I'm too incompetent to figure out how to put the songs I love back into my playlist. So I just keep adding new stations instead.

12:03 p.m. - pop into twitter to let the world know my progress and instead find link to possible discovery of extraterrestrial microbes. I freak out (Just in case you're interested). End up not tweeting. *edit* total hoax btw - click here for more.

12:11 p.m. - am too hungry to continue. I see I've made it to page 66. Looks like more than 20 pages to me. Only took half a day. At least it's faster than writing it the first time. Oatmeal here I come.

12:56 p.m. - had oatmeal and read some of Mira Grant's Feed. Have epiphany of sorts. That no amount of editing will make my book anywhere near that good. Also noting that I'm not going to get finished today. I'm thinking of taking a nap.

1:15 p.m. - son comes upstairs and asks for food and a trip to the mall. I kick him out.

2:15 p.m. - took son to mall. Now on page 83.

3:25 p.m. - spend last hour taking son/nephew to mall and then had another lunch at Salsarita's, I eat there like, lets see, maybe five times a week. I order the same dish, sit in the same chair. I even know everyone's work schedules there. I'm so lame. Anyway. I also read more of the aforementioned book, Feed. I'm still of the opinion that it is much awesomer than I can really aspire to.

I think I'd like it if one day, someone picks up one of my novels in the bookstore and says, "How does this guy keep getting published, he sucks," then I've achieved all my goals in life. To be a unliked, unrespected, yet published author. Keep dreaming.

3: 45 p.m. - Just realized that I have to go back to the mall in under an hour to pick the boys back up. Looks like I'll shuttle them off to my sister's place, then get ready here and spend my evening out and about, trying to partake in as many adult beverages as I can handle. I will at the very least, get a hundred pages done before then.

3:59 p.m. - missus calls and says she's coming home from work. I'm still on page 83. She says we're leaving as soon as she gets here. I say I've to pick up kids from mall and take to my sister's. She says hurry. I realize I may be done for the day.

Total pages edited: 83
Pages edited today: 41
Pages remaining to edit: 221


Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Was I Going to do Today?

I've had a ridiculously busy week this week. Sorry for the lack of updates. I haven't been online much. And what little time I have been on the computer I've been working away at my crappy novel - I can't believe how poorly written some passages are - or my short story, which I swear is done, but I'm waiting on some validation on that... it may have a serious flaw or two that needs fixing before I feel comfortable putting that one out to the world.

So, I'm sure the world checks here hourly with baited breath to see when I'll post next. Please world, be patient. In the meantime. I spent my evening enjoying our glorious city.

Yes, it was blurry outside
I'll post something real soon.