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LIST-O-MANIA


Happy New Year!…wait, my wife just told me I didn’t sound excited enough, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This is of course the time of year everyone makes those fascinating lists of the “Top Ten (put subject matter here) of 2011.” We have everything from Albums to Movies, Tweets to Odd-ball stories and one of my personal favorites; Ridiculously obvious studies. (All those links lead back to Time Magazine but I am sure you could find the same lists on almost any website within the next few days.)

In keeping with the flow of flash-backitus here is my list:

The Top Five things myself and members of my family have learned about life in 2011.

5) Always be sure your credit card is secure in your wallet after making a purchase. This one is entirely on me. After making a purchase at a local store I thought I placed my card back into my pocket, but I missed and a person with no morals picked it up and went shopping—spending about $5000.00 in less than an hour.

4) Be careful where you place your fingers when closing a garage door. When our automatic garage door decided to become possessed—it would open and close by itself or not close at all—we disconnected it and began using the manual control, actually bending over and picking the door up. One early morning I wasn’t paying attention to where I was putting my hand and my finger tip got caught in the hinge. I would have screamed if it wasn’t 4:30 in the morning.

3) Never try to push a stalled car up a hill or never push a car period—you choose. When the kid’s car died during rush hour on a two lane road she attempted to move it off the road with the help of her friend. The car decided the only way it wanted to move was downhill and she ended up running over her own ankle. She’s a screamer.

2) When letting out the dogs make sure the gate that would release them into the world is secure. Enough said on this one, we were reunited within 24 hours at a cost of almost $300.00.

1) If you and your mate wish to spend more time together—make sure you get the kids their driver’s license as soon as they are eligible. Trust me, it works.

The Top Five things I figured out about writing in 2011.

5) Don’t rush it. This one is on me, when I published The Set’la last year there was a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me she was not ready. See number 4.

4) Don’t pay a lot of attention to negative reviews. I’m not saying don’t read them, but if you need your ego stroked read the positive ones. The negative ones usually point out some minor flaws in basic editing along with other more important issues like character development. Just fix them, and move on.

3) You can write a novel in a month. My little 31 days of writing did not fry my keyboard in November, but I did manage to put together a good story which still sits in a file on a computer somewhere and still needs a lot of work.

2) Write every day. I am really bad at this, but the more I try and the more I do the better my writing and typing becomes.

1) Try not to work on more than one project at a time. If you have any ideas floating around in your head—write them down and save them for later. At present I have three running projects plus a major edit (see number 5). If you keep your mind on one thing you have a better chance of actually finishing it. Priorities are important.

Mission Complete. What’s next?


To be honest I knew I could do it, it only takes the commitment to write, which I should do more of anyway.  The main issue, all the errors in it, I will tend to eventually but the important part now is to finish the actual novel.

It needs major editing and a little revising. When I became stuck I went off in a whole other direction. (Don’t you hate it when your characters don’t do what you tell them to do?)

But the important thing is I got past 50,000 words and I am close to an end.

I would like to thank my wife, who allowed me to take the time to write and did a lot of pushing to get me to finish—threating me with torture and other unspeakable acts does wonders for my incentive. Also my thanks to the kids for being quiet sometimes even if they looked at me like I was from a different planet when they were informed of Nanowrimo. Sure, they laughed when they saw me sitting in my office with my earplugs in—but they knew why.

I did attend three write-ins at the local iHop that went rather well—some of the group seemed a little distracting, but I managed. It did feel a little weird showing up there every Friday night with a gaming laptop.

During my down times I did get some very helpful advice from other bloggers, most of them were posted over on Kait Nolan’s site. She has a lot of great links that writers of all genres should check out.

Another one that is worth the visit is Emma Darwin and her blog, This Itch of Writing.

Now it is time to come to an ending on To Die A Slow death (It almost sounds like a Bond novel) and then the editing.

It was fun and kept me out of trouble. Now comes December, National Novel Editing Month, Na-No-Ed-Mo, and time to dust off my Chicago Manual Of Style.

Nanowrimo update


Just a quick note on my word count for National Novel Writing Month.  The distractions are still plaguing me. If the face it’s not 1 thing it’s another but I know these are just excuses I’ve been using on a regular basis. Lol. On the average I have managed about 10000 words a week and should hit 30,000 tonight with the write in at the local iHop.  Last week I got a little stuck so I shot my main character. Now I feel a little weird about doing thing like this because I never really wanted my characters to hate me. But there are surprisingly a lot of very helpful websites out there that give you great ideas on how to make your character hate you. Most of the ones I found came from links on Kait Nolans blog, which I will link in here later.
Im actually doing better at this than I thought I would do, but since I am nearing the end, I have to end it…somehow.
On a little side note, Scrivener for Windows was finally released last week, or the week before (I find it odd they did this just in time for Nanowrimo, but I went ahead and plopped down the not earned cash for it. It should help in the end. If you use Scrivener let me know what you think about it. I need to learn how to use it now.
Well I must get writing. I thought of some plot developments on my way into work this morning, so I have to remember then now.
Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for visiting.

Can you finish?


I have this annoying habit of starting things (home
projects, writing, exercising and the list goes on…) and not finishing them. I
actually have at least three blog entries I started and have not posted or
finished yet. Guess I get too distracted or I just need better drugs, who
knows?

This year, I
convinced myself to hit the NaNoWriMo circuit and attempt to finish a novel, no
less than 50,000 words, before the end of November. It sounded scary at first
because I knew two things – one – None of my published works, including the
critically slammed The Set’la , are over 50,000 words. The second thing I knew
– I have at least twenty unfinished stories hiding in a collection of external
drives, thumb drives and even one floppy disk that I can’t seem to read.
However, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.

The months of
September and October were spent thinking up a nice plot line, at first I was
thinking of doing a sequel to Journey of Tara, I even went so far as to getting
The Marcel hooked up with a twitter account so it would be easier for her to
contact me – I think she fell into a black hole cause I haven’t heard from her
for a while.

Then my mind thought ‘Hey – doo-fuss – do an autobiography,
at least you know how the story ends, so far anyway.’ This was a possibility –
but it would still be more fiction than non-fiction because my fifty-three
years hasn’t been the most exciting, and I did it once a long time ago and in a
universe far, far away.

A small little voice
in my head even thought about writing erotica, but my stuff isn’t nearly as
good as other authors out there like Tara Lain.

I also remembered a detective I created a long time ago –
from the same universe mentioned above, and thought about writing that one up.
I had about five little unfinished stories out there in my wasteland of ignored
external drives, but I had to start fresh.

When October 31st rolled around I asked my wife what she
thought I should do, “Mystery – we have seen too much Sci-Fi lately. Do a
mystery.”

Okay – I’ll give this
a shot.  Originally I was going to do him
in first person POV, which most of the mysteries I have read are in, but I
didn’t feel comfortable with using two POV’s. There is still time – I think.

So a mystery it is;
introducing, Nathan Whysmann.  This is
just the synopsis I threw in for NaNoWriMo, “Nathan Whysemann, an ex cop and
current Private Eye is swept up in the gruesome homicide of a local lawyer that
brings back more than memories of his dead wife. On a journey that will give
him more answers than he wants he concentrates all his efforts on solving it,
especially after a very close family member is attacked. Now it gets personal.”

My first week has
gone pretty steady;

Nov 1st: 1666 words.
I wrote most of these at work – but I wasn’t too happy with all the little red
squiggly lines.

Nov 2nd: 1667 words,
still more red lines – but I am controlling the urge..

Nov 3rd: 33 words,
everyone has an off day – but I fixed the red line problem.

Nov 4th: 1793 words,
a wordly record. (Sorry – couldn’t resist.)

Nov 5th: 3203
words.  The little writing spree we had
at the local iHop helped I am sure.

Nov 6th: 2067 words. This was my own little two and half
hour sprint.

Nov 7th: 10419 is my total so far this month – will do more
when I get home, I have my ear plugs ready just in case.

However, I heard so much about this thing, and I know it is
a great exercise for getting used to typing that much. I still have questions
about it that I can’t even begin to formulate.

I did learn a few tricks to get my count up – When stuck –
write dialogue. I love writing dialogue. Another neat little trick is DO NOT USE
CONTRACTIONS. You can always go back and fix it after December 1st.

My personal favorite and maybe the most difficult one for
me; do not use the dreaded back space key. (Try telling that to someone that
has OCD – or CDO)

But-does it have to make sense. After I wrote the beginning
I came up with an alternate beginning. I didn’t delete the old, am keeping it
on the count – may put it somewhere else. I suppose it really doesn’t matter
what you write or how lousy it is – to some people. To me – I need to like what
I write; it has to sound good to me. That’s just the way I work. I like what I
have written so far, I have no idea where I am going or how it will end. I
don’t have a good solid motive for my killer. I suppose this is going to be a
very rough draft – but I will fix it…. Eventually.

My daily personal goal is 2000 WPD. (Just lock me in a
padded cell and give me good wi-fi reception so I can…ahhh…do research, yeah,
research.)

So, how many NaNoWriMo’s have you done? And if you have any
little tricks, dare to share?

Thanks for the visit.

Distractions….


I’ve had a few. (Why is Frank Sinatra running through my head?)

Distractions, as a writer your life is filled with them from the time you take your first sip of caffeine, or whatever beverage you are prone to drink, until your head hits the pillow when you finally go to sleep. Sometimes, they don’t even stop then.

Case in point, for the past four or five years I was distracted by a silly MMORPG called WoW. I had to pull myself away from this thing to write, which is what I love. Now I am suffering from an acute case of WoW withdrawl . I’m sure with the right medication I will be fine.

Monday I began a new blog entry that was originally supposed to be a five to six-hundred word essay on the new Fall TV season. I started at work and typed away until either the phone rang or I had to take care of other people’s issues. By 5pm it was up to 1667 words. That was perfect; I hope I do that well in November during the National keyboard replacement month. (Or would that be December?) We have to pound out 1667 words a day. All I needed to do when I got home was a little research on the net and a few more paragraphs, then figure out where to break it up and I would be fine. The plan was to finish it the minute I got home. After all, the step son would be in his room playing a game, and since the dinner was the step daughter’s responsibility this evening I had faith that I would be able to sit on the couch with my laptop and finish it up. As I turn the corner onto our nice peaceful little cul-de-sac I see not just one car in the driveway – but three. One belongs to a friend of the boy, the other to one of the girl’s friends. J, the step son, is pretty quiet unless one of his games gets him too excited and he starts screaming at his team mates. He is also a little deaf due to the whole portable music thing so the TV is going to be loud. L, the daughter, on the other hand is very hyperacctive and so are most of her friends. This was one of them.

‘Okay,’ I say to myself, breathing deep enough to inhale all the air in my van, ‘I can do this.’

One set of kids (young adults?) sit in the family room, TV blaring, watching old TV shows. Part of the other pair sits splayed out on the couch trying to beat a PS3 game while L is making noise in the kitchen.

Courageously I sit on the couch with my laptop and open up my newest word document. I should have gone up to my office, not realizing that the whenever the little horribly drawn cartoonish character on the TV died she would scream, and L would laugh. This wasn’t working. As much as I tried, my eyes would not stay on my monitor, they kept going to the TV. My mind thought it was a lot more interesting than the white rectangle on my desktop covered with black markings.

Before I realized what time it was, dinner was ready and I had to surrender my laptop so I could ingest protein. Once dinner was done, it was time for Terra Nova. Even though I do record it for later viewing L insists on watching it when it is on. Between the two of them I might have heard one or two lines of dialogue. I have never understood why people yell at the TV, it wasn’t the TV’s fault that the football player dropped the ball or the hero made a stupid wrong turn.  We all know there is someone on the other side of that door that he is about to go tthrough.

Too late to start writing again once it is over, and we head to bed. My mind shuts off and the next thing I know, it is Tuesday morning and I have to be at work in a few hours. Tuesday‘s are not too bad, slow and quiet. If possible I may get something written done, but still the distractions occur. Work does take precedence even over my writing. I don’t know why – but it does.

I was looking forward to the afternoon though – the kids would be working until 2pm and I would be blessed with at least three hours of quiet when I got home.

Once I had Star Trek: TNG up and running, sitting comfortably in my office with my computer slowly coming to life – the dogs decided they wanted some attention or a visit outside. They settled for the visit outside and it didn’t take long for them to start barking at something. I surrendered to fate and spotted the tiny icon on my desktop, a bronze colored circle with a big gold “W” in the middle. My mouse was pulled to the dot – calling at me from afar – one right click and the screen blazed to life with the music and design of World of Warcraft – and a small webpage opened up saying “I’m sorry, your account is expired. Would you like to sign up again?”

That stopped me and I came to my senses and quickly closed it – opening up my word document again. But that wasn’t the end, my cell phone went off with a custom ringtone, music and then the voice of Billy Currington singing, “God is great, beer is good…and people are crazy.”

“Yes mom?” I calmly answered…

Three hours later I hung up the phone and now it is time for dinner, TV, and then bed. The day goes so quick!

Now it is Wednesday, I haven’t touched that blog entry since 4:30pm on Monday. But I did manage to type 1034 words in less than ten hours
while I worked had some spare time on my hands (between the distractions).

I’ll get through November, with the distractions and I’ll do it my way. Or someone else’s way –

(Oh a Bunny!!!)

Life in the fast lane?


MOVIE: We had two movies on our list to watch this weekend, Friday was Little Fockers. To be honest, I was playing Civilization V and didn’t even watch the movie. The wife said it was cute. I always loved Robert Di Niro when he plays tough serious guys, and the humor he does in those roles makes me laugh, but I thought the first one was stupid and I knew this one would probably be worse. I find it hard to believe they made three of these movies. I never could get the humor of Ben Stiller and I simply hated Zoolander. I know sometimes a silly stupid comedy is what you need. I suppose this is something I never really got into. I have always gone by the theory that if a movie doesn’t make me laugh in the first ten minutes I won’t like it. Maybe I should change that to thirty. I bought Civilization two nights before just so I would be ready.

LIFE: Saturday morning, as I was trying to conquer the world instead of writing, my mom called and said she wasn’t feeling good so I took her to the ER, alone. To make a long story even shorter than it needs to be, she was admitted and is currently having a large amount of tests done to figure out why. The thing about Medicare is that since she doesn’t have to pay for it the hospital insists that they run every test they can, she doesn’t pay for it but they get their money either way. And they wonder why Medicare is having financial problems. She has improved since she has been in. This isn’t the first time she had heart issues that the hospitals never seem to find anything when she goes in. I was there from 10 AM until 5 PM, and I needed to be. When I got home – the wife couldn’t come because she was playing taxi service – we settled down and watched another flick:

MOVIE: Unstoppable (2010) is the tale of a runaway train speeding through Pennsylvania. (This is based on the true story of engine 8888 from the CXS stables which ran away in May of 2001. It traveled from Walbridge, Ohio to a town about 55 miles north of Columbus reaching speeds of up to 47 MPH.) This had enough nail biting suspense I had to stop playing my game and actually watch it. Chris Pine and Denzel Washington star as the two heroic engineers, actually Washington was the Engineer and Pine was the Conductor. (Is that type casting from Star Trek?) They ended up stopping the train and saving a city from almost total destruction. Type casting again? This is a great movie with enough action and suspense to keep your heart racing and your toes tingling. Writers did take advantage of a few plot twists I am sure, like making it go faster and carrying more than just two cars of dangerous chemicals, not to mention a steep curve they had to negotiate. I’ll have to dig a little deeper to find out more and wonder if my favorite line in the movie was real dialogue:

“How’s Will (Pine)?” Connie asked when he made it back into the cab.

“He’s ahh…He’s different. Over” Frank (Washington) replied perfectly straight.

Guess you will have to watch it. I did find this new clip from the real incident:

And this trailer:

TELEVISON: Sunday was a little different too. This time the wife was gone all day and I was stuck at home. You would think I would get more writing done wouldn’t you? I watched my Star Trek marathon; I’m just now finishing up the second season since the kids have an issue with Sci-fi, as I continued conquering the world on Civilization V. I think I have three more nations to kill before I manage it.

WRITING: As I might have mentioned in a previous post, I signed up for the NaNoWriMo, the grueling month of November when the only thing I will be doing is writing. I have three plot lines in mind:

1)      A sequel to Journey of Tara where Dirk and Tara search for someone behind the killing of thousands of people.

2)      A Sci-Fi story that involves time travel and dimensional shifts.

3)      A Fantasy that sends a Prince on a journey to find the murderer of a King that leads him into a land of dark black magic (maybe – I think this has been done before.)

One thing I have been trying to do is type at least 1667 words per day, that is what you need for 50,000 a month, and I got close Friday on a small piece I was working on, 1250 words. Need to do better.

As a side note, I would like to thank everyone that downloaded my books last week – it was a record breaking week for me and that always makes me feel good, as do positive reviews. (Hint) {If there are any negative reviews please send them to me so I can add comments as needed and I will return them.

Just kidding…

Really…

It was a joke. }

Answer me this;

Are you signed up for NaNoWriMo? I’m looking forward to it myself, just need to do it!

It All Seems So Familiar


This weekend was a movie triple header. The first up was “The Kings Speech.” When this movie came out it really didn’t come out and say “Watch me!” In fact, I really had no intention of seeing at all. And of course when it won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a lead role and Best writer/screenplay, I could most definitely say I did not want to see it. When my boss came in one day and said she saw it and it was really good I was beginning to drift a little closer to the thought of watching it. One night as we were surfing through Netflix my wife saw it and asked me to put it in the que. All I got from the trailer was this movie was about a king that needed a speech therapist. I think that is what turned me off to it because I immediately thought of “My Fair Lady.”

I stand corrected, this movie was very good. Colin Furth plays Prince Albert, the Duke of York and tells the true story of his unfortunate stammering, a very serious speech impediment, especially if you do a lot of public speaking. His very first speech, which his father, King George V insisted he do, was a complete disaster. After seeing specialist after specialist he gave up and said never again. His wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Helena Bonham-Carter – nominated for best supporting actress by Oscar), found one anyway. Lionel Lobe, played by Jeffery Rush did an excellent job and should have gotten the Oscar for his nomination of best supporting actor – but I guess Oscar figured four was enough. One of my favorite scenes was when Bertie heard his voice for the first time. One reason I felt good about this movie could have been the fact that I sort of felt for King George the VI because I also had a speech impediment – it wasn’t stammering, but I hated not being understood and having to go to therapy to learn how to talk. I think even since this was based off fact what really kept the movie interesting were the actors. As good as it was I couldn’t help but notice all the Harry Potter actors that were in it. It was almost a Hogsworth reunion. Here is another favorite scene;

No String Attached was another movie I was skeptical about, maybe because of the appearance of Ashton Kutcher as Adam, (for some reason I never really liked his style of comedy), a screenwriter for a TV show that combines musical numbers and high school. Hmm, sounds familiar. This also stars Natalie Portman as Emma (I wonder if the writers toyed with the idea of naming her character Eve), a medical resident in LA. The two first meet in summer camp and become friends –through the years they meet again a few times until they find out they both live in the same city. They start as friends but end up as friends with benefits. Guess the question here if there is a question, is can a man and women have a NSA relationship without love getting in the way? Unfortunately we know what happens in this movie and how it ends, I suppose what made it interesting and a little humorous in spots was getting to that point. This also stared Kevin Kline as Adam’s father – a successful TV star that is now seeing Adam’s ex-girlfriend, and Ludacris as one of Adam’s best friends and confidants. (Some people should stick with one profession and go with it.) And as an afterthought, I usually have a little bit of an issue with too much sex in a movie, but I suppose in this one it is needed. It was a cute movie, but I am glad I didn’t waste money to see this in a theatre.

Our third movie was a little chick flick called You again. The story of a girl named Marnie, played by Kristen Bell, and life in high school and after. Seems she was teased a lot by the school bully Joanna, played by Odette Annable (Never heard of her, but she was in a Transformers movie). After high school Marnie becomes very successful in a PR company and also becomes very hot! [When I first met my wife and we were watching a lot of TV and movies, every time a famous actress or even a hot one came on the screen she would ask me if I would do them. At first I was afraid to answer but I finally figured out a way to make it good. The answer is almost always a “Yes – but I would rather do you.” That was how I answered when she asked about Kristen Bell.] Marnie never forgot about high school and the torture she experienced at the hands of Joanna – something she should really work on. It all comes to a head when she is invited back home, to her home town, to attend her brother’s wedding. If you guessed he was marring Joanna, you would be right. Less than an hour into the film we discover that Marnie’s and Joanna’s mom have history also, played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver. Victor Garber also has a role as Marnie’s Dad which he plays very well. Betty Davis has the best lines as Marnie’s grandma and near the end we even see Cloris Leachman in a very small cameo, but worth it. Marnie’s goal in this movie seems to be proving Joanna to be the mean person she really is instead of the one she is playing – all sugar and spice, and very nice. The ending wasn’t too much of a surprise to me but it was a cute movie. I gave it 3 stars on Netflix and it was the worse movie I saw this weekend, so in honor of that, the blooper reel. Enjoy.

 

As I was typing this out I realized that I had something in common with all of these movies. How about you?

Oh, by the way, next month is my Birthday month so watch for some special offers on my books, yes – even the one that I am trying to get my editor to look at. She seems to be stalling and that isn’t a good sign. And I also signed up for my very first Nanowrimo. The hardest part will be to ignore my editing and spelling mistakes as I pound away at the keyboard at 17 wpm. (Yeah, I’m practicing; however typing with a broken finger is a challenge.)

Hello, been a while – too long in fact.


My day started off fine, normal 3:15 wakeup call on the alarm, and then I spent a few hours flying around Azeroth with a snot nosed kid following me around. It is Orphan Week in Stormwind and I volunteered to take the little turd to Westfall and then to Ironforge. I couldn’t believe they opened up Old Ironforge to show off the frozen king beneath the throne. But the kid thought it was cool. After that a boat to Darnassus and then back to Stormwind for a kite and more fattening stuff. It’s bad enough I can’t stay away from it at home, but now it finds me out here as well. I can’t really say I was volunteering, since I got paid in good gold. If I have another chance, I need to get back to Shatterath City for the Darkmoon festival too. Last time I was there someone one was dancing around with a sword and almost split me open. Speaking of sword dances, I found a nice little trinket as I passed through the Badlands, a golden mug. When I rubbed it I saw an image, four dwarfs dancing around waving swords. It looked oddly familiar.

I took a second as I flew to glance around the real world. I noticed that one of my books got a review on Smashwords. It is about time! Thank you mystery reviewer for your honesty and reading my book. I never heard of John Norman or his Gor series of books until I looked him up on Wikapedia this morning, they look interesting, but honestly with all I have to do in Azeroth this week – I really don’t see me having the time to check them out.

Science Fiction is a strange genre to be sure, that is one reason it is called fiction. I’m sure you can compare every single book out there to someone else’s and to be honest I am flattered when my writing is compared to someone else’s. And one more thing, if you have seen as much horror and sci-fi as I have, something is bound to over flow. Trust me, if I would have read a canon of books (26 now I think) I would have remembered it.

Let me spend a few more hours in Azeroth….