Writing update

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Writer in editing mode

It has definitely been awhile since I updated the blog on the writing side of things. A few reasons. I really don’t like writing about writing.  I also discovered that I’m not really a fan of reading about writers expounding on writing. Bores me to tears.

When I took the plunge into actually publishing my work, I friended up quite a few authors and independently published writers in the social media world to get their take on things. Educational yep. Exciting and fun to read? Nope. So my blog has evolved to the things I DO find interesting to blabber about, namely my 8-legged cats and other hobbies.

That all said, I haven’t stopped writing, but it has slowed down this last twelve months. You’re probably asking yourself at this point, if this dude hates writing about writing so much, what is this for? The answer is that I have actual readers now who are waiting for the next book(s) in the series that began with “Princess”. Folks wanna’ know where things are at, and a few have asked politely how stuff is going, so here ya go.

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The lair at night.

The lair at night.

1. So it has been awhile since I posted up a “last bits”. I’ve been busy. So nyah! Anyway, let’s get to the points.

2. Writing has slacked off.

There is something that I’ve noticed about myself over the last several years. Sometime between late June and mid July until early to mid September…every single year…I slack off pounding the keys, and delve into other things that interest me. The stories are still there, the passion is still there…BUT…other things also interest me. As I write for ME, scratching an itch as it were, and not a deadline or for others, I have come to terms with this. At first, every time this happened I would feel guilty and TRY to continue the pattern that is my norm, and this irritated me every time. This year, when the waning of the key pounding started again, I consciously decided to just give into it and go with the flow…after all it is MY LIFE, and the things I want to do also interest me.

This year, those things have been hobbies. One of them a life long passion since childhood…and the other…hmmm…also a lifelong passion since childhood.

A reef under construction

A reef under construction

A. Salt water aquariums

(Some of you thought I’d say tarantulas first, huh? -heh.)

The actual reasoning behind the tank you see in the picture above actually DID have a lot to with tarantulas (which are a passion that is a subset of arachnids in general). Originally the thought was to have just a basic tank with some scaly dudes in it to increase the humidity in the bedroom-office FOR the tarantulas. (As well as me as I’ve been dealing with a dry skin condition for some time now that humidity seems to knock back down quite well).

The more I thought about it and researched, however, I discovered that the advances in the technology, lighting and things associated with salt water and reef keeping have advanced to a point where maintenance is nearly as easy as that of my 8-legged furry friends. So with that in mind, I started putting together a basic system to build a “nano-reef”, which is mostly live corals and a few fish/shrimp to keep things in balance.

Without going into a lot of detail, the end result is that I have had a lot of fun, not just in the building of the system, but in the research and learning involved. 🙂

The picture NASA doesn't want you to know about...the spiders of Mars! :-)

The picture NASA doesn’t want you to know about…the spiders of Mars! 🙂  This is my pride and joy. Tiphane, posing in red light. Beautiful G. porteri.

B. Tarantulas. Yep. As some of you have seen, I have been heavily involved in this hobby as well. The reason I took so long to get into this? First, I thought that they were truly “exotic” and just assumed would be a royal pain in the ass expense wise and care wise. Turns out once I started to actually do the research, neither are true. Second, I have shied away from “hobbies” for years due to life long patterns brought about by travel and strange houred jobs.

Set up is more time consuming, but if done properly this is mostly mechanical, and in this hobby, a LOT of the enjoyment is actually designing and building the enclosures for my 8-legged friends, as a tarantula (most of em, anyway) are NOT crazy-time-party-animals. They are slow in their day to day lives and other than insane bursts of speed come feeding time, ‘EXCITEMENT’ isn’t on the menu. –and that is okay by me.

3. So back we go to the writing situation. I’m not concerned about it. I have over 80,000 words in the current project down, and already feeling the urge to ramp back up and “get er’ done”. I love the world I’ve created, and the story intrigues me just as much as it always did, so back to the writing chair I go.

4. Driving has been going very well. Crazy busy the last four days with the labor day weekend. Happy that it is over, but also very pleased that I was able to take care of my customers.

5. So that about wraps it up for this last bits post. I hope all of you out there in reader-land have had a great weekend and that life is treating you all well!

Writing progress

Screenshot from 2015-07-16 06-28-24As you can see from the picture, I’m playing with progress meters on the site. Part of this is for you loyal readers who have been asking where I’m at with the second book in this series. The other part is a small prod for moi to kick things into higher gear. I am not as happy with the progress as I would like to be, and any “anti-cat-vacuuming” tool that I can think of to sit in chair and put words in the word processor is a good thing.

Now some of you might think that this in and of itself IS cat vacuuming, but for me, “seeing” where I’m at rather than staring at a page of text every now and again is a good thing. It is also teaching me more than I ever wanted to learn about CSS and HTML, and this is NOT a good thing, but hey.

I’m an “admin” bigot from the IT arena going all the way back to the days when I taught myself visual basic and clipper/foxpro thinking I’d make a go of a programming career.

Yeah, that didn’t fly.  😀  Coding sucks. heh.

Anyway, while I am not as happy with the progress, I will admit that if I were running a race with G.R.R. Martin, I would have probably won it a couple of years ago.

Also, while I had the “bones” of book 2 going as far back as last June, I didn’t really buckle down until after Book 1: Princess was finally up and finished in print form on Createspace in early December of last year.

So, all things said and done, I guess I shouldn’t really be complaining. 70,000 words isn’t just a sneeze in the short story bucket.

Lastly, the target number you see of “145,000” is just a place holder at the moment. At a guess this word count may go as high as 200,000 in the first draft. BUT, based on the outline itself at this point, 145k is doable.

Now, off of this writing platform and back to scrivener.

Why authors should never comment on negative reviews of their own books

Loved LOVED LOVED this. I haven’t had a bad review…yet, but I will drag this out when it inevitably happens, laugh, and then move on. Great advice well told! 🙂

Thought Scratchings

You’ve written a book. It’s been published. Your agent told you that he/she has never read a book like it. Your publisher has told you that your voice is entirely unique. The quotes from celebrities on the front cover of your book reinforce this sense of untouchable brilliance. The first fifty amazon reviews have flooded in from industry people who are encouraged to display kindness. Traction begins…but all of these opinions are inherently biased.

Then comes the first negative review from Jeremy, from Hounslow. Your brain immediately reacts by telling you that Jeremy must be mentally ill. Then you decide he must be a troll. (Because you’ve convinced yourself that you are so special, that there are people alive who spend their free time attacking your books, hoping you say something, because that’s how you think they think they will get famous. Even though nobody read your last novel.) So…

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Sad Puppies, GRRM…and the whole HUGO Awards mess

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A response to George R. R. Martin from the author who started Sad Puppies | Monster Hunter Nation.

…AND an excellent response to this whole Sad Puppies Hugo Award mess from the guy who started the whole ball rolling. As a mostly libertarian (objectivist) type person, you probably can guess which side I’m on. I still think the awards are buggered up…but not BECAUSE of the Sad Puppy movement, rather they have been a mess for quite a long time, for reasons that the blog post author enumerates far more eloquently than I could have done (or would want to).

Also, GRRM is a god in my eyes as far as writing goes, but I have never thought 2cents about the guy’s politics…and actually told him that in a response to a post he made several years ago…the comment of which he deleted.  😀

The Hugo awards shouldn’t BE about politics, or which way a writer puts on his/her pants/dress or votes, or believes in Xenu or not or golden tablets or Vishnu…it SHOULD be about the writing and the stories…and sadly it hasn’t been THAT for ages.

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The battle for Shantai1. This picture is at last FIRMLY(!) in the outline of After the Burning: Outlaw, and not just in a vague one sentence note jotted down as: “sea battle goes here” as it has been until recently. It isn’t even the climax of the book…gods I LOVE writing. No film budgets to sweat. heh heh.  While the ships in “After the Burning” don’t look like these specifically, the spirit of this picture nails what is coming.

While I love writing just about every facet of this story, I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to writing this section of the narrative.  (I could be freakin’ nuts as well, but hey. heh.)

1b. Milestone writing goal just achieved. 50,000+ words in the 1st draft ‘can’ at this point.  I’m still looking at between 150k to 200k more before typing ‘the end’, but things are rolling along.

2. Good start to the driving week. Not so much for the club scene, but I have had a lot of work calls, which makes things a little more steady on slower nights.

3. One of my dancer customers was griping last night about the weather as it seriously impacted bar traffic all over the place, and I realized that she was spot on:

“It is damned odd, ya know? When it blizzards, people come crawling out from all over like it’s a challenge or something, but a little rain and they all run and hide.”  –Yep, Lucky, you are 100% right on that one, girl. 🙂

4. Counting down the days to Caribbean Dreaming. Yep. Yep. Yep.  😀

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1. I hate April 1st. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Yes it is hah-hah-funny to a whole lotta folks. To me the whole thing is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I tend to stay the hell away from almost all social media on this day. You like it, cool. But it’s over now. 😀

2. Good writing day. Strange writing day. One of those days where I think we creative types are actually tapping into some parallel universe to be no more than scribes writing things down that are going on.

2b. I say that because I’m pounding away, characters are yammering at one another, problems are cropping up…cool scene if I do say so myself…when out of the blue one of the characters does something I wasn’t planning for, outlined or even suspected. She (not the main character) stopped the proceedings and asked another character a question. A question that seemed completely out of left field. So much so that I stopped, yanked my hands away from the keyboard, looked up and asked, “Why the hell did you ask that?”

I figured I’d have to back up and re-write, but I went into the kitchen to get some water, and as clear as a bell, the character replied in my head, “Because I had to. I’m not cardboard you know.” Almost as if she’d actually been in the room.

And I stopped drinking the water and looked at the wall and realized…damn….she would ask that. And then more of the scene started dropping in place, I went back to the keyboard and yep….she needed to ask that.

2c. I love the craft. Sometimes it’s damned spooky, but hey, I’ll take spooky. Beats the hell out of the 1st of April.  Heh.