Caribbean, here ahh come!


St. Thomas, USVI

Oh hell yeah. I have been thinking about a tropical “Veg-cation” for quite awhile, and yesterday I finally pulled the trigger after doing a little travel package research. Turns out, if you plan just a wee bit ahead, the prices drop like crazy.

And NO, I’m not talking about the hurricane season…I’ll be taking my trip over a month before that even starts. :-)

So this post is getting filed and once I take the trip, I’ll journal it here.  For now, though, it is starting to sink in that I’m going to the Caribbean. -ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy!-  heh.

Where, you might ask? Well, I’m going to the U.S. Virgin islands, specifically to a quiet little nub just off of St. Thomas called “Water Island”.

77 degrees (F) at night, 85 degrees (F) during the day… all the time.

The when will be in early May for seven days of tropical awesome.

I AM planning on spending a lot of time at the cottage writing, but I will spend a couple of full days sight seeing, touring and sampling the local cuisine in St. Thomas and St. John. Although it is about 40 miles south, I might have to take a day in St. Croix as well.  Captain Morgan and Cruzan rum are produced there. heh. We’ll see.

After five years of hotels/airports in my former life as an IT guy, this trip would NEVER have happened if it had just been a “hotel” at the other end. I found a place where I have my own little bungalow on a secluded (relatively) island in the tropics. The reviews have been uniformly outstanding for the place as well as the service by those running it.

VI Campgrounds website.

Jazzed doesn’t even begin to cover this.  :-)

Anyway, here are some pictures of the “where”.


The view from the VI Campgrounds on Water Island.


Honeymoon Beach, Water Island, USVI


Honeymoon Beach, Water Island, USVI


Stereotypical Beach Bar. Yeah. I’m there. :-)


My upcoming residence for a week. :-)

Characters in my head


There is an old joke about schizophrenia where in there aren’t actually any with the affliction. Every time you see the crazy person on the street corner standing there talking to no one, there is another crazy person three or four blocks away listening.

I think we writers (some, not all) have a bit of this affliction that pops up from time to time, and almost always under certain circumstances during the writing process.

For me, this happens when I toss three or four characters in a “room” and let em’ have at it.

They blabber and yammer and argue and talk to each other, and there are times I am literally “that fly on the wall” dictating as fast as I can, while hoping I don’t have to go to the restroom any time soon.

A lot of this stuff ends up chopped later in the editing process, but oh man it is wicked fun while it is going on.

When I’m done with the writing session, I realize that the old question about “where do you get your ideas?” sometimes doesn’t need a real answer, as that would get a lot of us a nice comfy room with extra cushioning on the walls.

Yeah, we’re a little nuts…but in a good way.  :-)

What I learned on Social Media today

the thinker

1. Bars and Strip clubs are open and have lots of beautiful women ready to empty your wallet.

2. Vineyards in Texas are a thing.

3. Some writers apparently like other people to futz about with their blog posts.

4. Writing groups are some of the flakiest angst ridden places in the social-sphere…outside of political groups.

5. Vaping is EVIL(tm). Vaping is GOOD(tm).
(I lean FAR to the good, but if you are in the state of California-loony-bin-land, you are probably getting deluged with “the bad”.)

6. Direct Twitter automated spam messages are a thing. (From the 9th level of hell, but hey.)

7. Greece is absolutely beautiful from space.

8. New software exists! (really!)

9. Lawsuits.

10. Politics.

———————– more, but variations on the themes above.———————

Last Bits 14


1. Writers, by the very nature of what we do….are boring creatures. I do not mean that we BORE people…far from it. I mean that we don’t “do” a lot of exciting stuff. (Unless the name is Ernest Hemingway, and I bet that when he was writing, he wasn’t Mr. Thrillsville-guy either.)

We sit in front of a keyboard/monitor/pen/paper and we put one word after the other in place in order to NOT BORE people.

1b. I write that because when coming up with blog stuff, it occurred to me that if I just mentioned my normal routine…I’d be bored.  :-D So with that, on to point two!  heh heh.

2. Slow driving night tonight. NOT COMPLAINING. Tuesday evenings are supposed to be slow.

3. Writing going well.  Just passed 42,000 words in the current manuscript.  Only about a 150,000’ish of the lil’ buggers left to go.


4. Gripe Mode On— Sometimes I see writers saying “marketing” things as if they have CHANGED THE UNIVERSE!(tm). This annoys me. They have not. They may have figured out a way to put grease on the wheel in a new and fascinating manner, but they are, in point of fact, still publishing books, and people are/are not still reading them. —Gripe Mode Off.

The Novel Process of making a Book, Indy style

Is it done yet? Are we there yet?
I’ve been asked about this a few times, so here is kinda’ sorta’ how things will go before the next book shows up for your viewing pleasure. (hopefully.)
At the ongoing rate of keyboard poundage, my current ETA based on the outline will be about 3 months until the 1st draft gets a “The End” typed.
That estimate is based on an outline roughly equaling about 225k words for the manuscript. One that is done, ye old hack and slash time occurs (killing mah childrens as it were).
I follow Stephen King’s mantra of:
1st draft – 10% = 2nd draft.
Once that is done, the brick goes to my 1st reader who will do a pass and then give feed back. Then, I’ll do another pass, slashing and burning and adjusting based on said feedback. THEN (deep breath)…
3rd draft goes to my editor….who will red pen the shit out of it…and I’ll get it back to scrub and wash some more.

Right about this time is when my brain starts to whine that it no longer wishes to see the words anymore. It wants to do cool funzy ™ things, like, ya know, WRITING STORIES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN WRITTEN YET!!!

That becomes 4th draft which then gets line edited (by moi) for silly issues. —this is where I run it through an automated grammar checker to find the niggling bits that tend to get overlooked by human eyes.
THEN the 5th draft goes to the proof editor who will hunt for stupid stuff and mis-mangled left overs from all of the above.
At this point (6th draft), I’ll pass a few copies out to “beta readers” for feedback.
Corrections/fixes adjustments and such happen to make it the 7th draft…and if all goes well here, this is what gets pushed off to “press”, as it were.
At this point, I sit back, drink many beers, yell and shout to the heavens that the process is complete…and THEN…type “Chapter 1″ on the next one and start the deal all over again.
This entire process will be smoother than with the first book. I was learning the whole shebang with indy publishing, editing, printing, (paper and ebooks) with that first title, and got it to a few folks in an “earlier state” than I probably should have. Their feedback was positive, (go me!) and I used this time to make corrections and move on.
My saving grace regarding all of that was the decision early on NOT to really push the marketing side until the 3rd book is in the channel. This sentence could have its own blog post, and I’ll probably ruminate on the ick that is “marketing” at some point, but right now, I’m sipping a fine IPA and do not wish to harsh my mellow.  :-D

First cup of coffee thoughts

AA0334611. Another St. Patty’s Day weekend in the books for the private hire driving. The hastag #wasbusy pretty much nails it. Lotta miles, great customers. Off tonight for a concert in town by the funk band “Mlima” at the Bluebird.  I’m really looking forward to it.

2. Writing continues…in fact once I’m done with THIS writing, I’ll be doing THAT writing.

2b. For years I’ve had a tale stirring in my brain. A Space Opera, grand in scope, but centered on one family trying to make a new start. I blame Peter F. Hamilton for this situation. He had something like this in a side story in his magnificent “Night’s Dawn” Trilogy that just grabbed hold of me and to this day hasn’t let go.

That whole plot could be a “sideline” because the gargantuan set of books (3 in total) had to be broken up into two parts for each volume in paperback. Massive is as good a word as any…and I go back to that world about once a year.

This is also the “raison d’etre” for the biggest disaster I’ve ever had in the writing process. I decided to “pants” *  this story, knowing full well how big a project it was…and wrote myself off a non-returnable plot cliff…400 pages into the narrative. It nearly wrecked me, as the story had occupied my mind like the siren call of a deadly mermaid for a couple years.

Rather than completely freak out, I sat aside the brick of paper and moved on to other things for a time.

I WILL write this story. Working through the epic tale of Julian Deltolle in the After the Burning series, I have learned more than I ever thought I wanted to about writing a large sprawling tale. The difference between the current work and this space saga is P.O.V….Julian’s tale is a limited 3rd person point of view taking you on one person’s journey. The space saga is…multi-pov…with a huge cast of colorful characters that I’ve already had the chance to meet, and who occasionally pop up in my thoughts asking me when their tale will finally get told.

Now that I am using Scrivener, keeping track of this tale will be a lot easier.

3. Mild political observation: It now appears that “email-gate” with a certain “shoe-in” for el-presidente’-status, is in fact some dirty pool being played by the current administration in true high-school dirty tricks fashion. Gotta love Chicago political machinations. Color me completely not surprised.  I think that if the country I live in ever got leadership that wasn’t corrupt to its bones, the universe would probably explode in a fit of shock. le’sigh.

4. Off to fill up the coffee cup and throw ice-water on the muse who I think is hiding in the closet.

*  “pants” = “Seat of the pants” in writerly parlance. In other words write the thing as it comes into your head with no net (i.e.: OUTLINE) involved.

Writers ARE Immortal…if we continue to read them.


Screenshot from 2015-03-12 13:24:04

I woke up a bit ago to the news that Terry Pratchett passed. While not surprising, as he had been suffering with a VERY bad form of Alzheimer’s, it always hits one in the gut that there won’t be anything “new” forthcoming. That the talented and humorous voice has moved on. And yes, there are a few tears happening here at Casa du Casey.

As long as we readers continue to be readers though, the writer has achieved a bit of immortality. They get to continue to put thoughts and images into our minds long after shucking the ol’ mortal coil.

I’m having a bit of a time getting my mind into the writing game today as this news has really bopped me in the head, and so I dropped in over here to unload a bit. Clearing the jets as it were.

Life is short. Tomorrow sometimes doesn’t come. Live your life to the fullest. Pursue YOUR dreams.

I’ll stick this picture here, as it is humorous, and from everything I’ve read about the man, spot-on to his character as a human being.

Pratchett in a nutshell