Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I decided some time ago to eliminate the word 'bitch' from my every day vocabulary.

It's pejorative, diminutive and ugly. There are other words I can use. In every situation where I've used the word since 7th or 8th grade there are options.

There's no expectation of anyone else to drop it but for me it makes sense. I'm a reader and writer and  have a considerable vocabulary. I can complain and grouse or gripe. I don't need the word to make someone feel small or subordinate.

That doesn't mean it won't show up in some character's dialogue some time. Not all of my characters think or feel the same way I do. But in real life I've worked very hard to let this word go over the last four or five months.

I shared my decision with a couple of friends who convinced me to share it with the world. So, there it is. This seemed like a good time to announce it, to be held accountable for it.

If you feel the need to discuss it, let's be civil.

Friday, May 15, 2015

UPDATES UPDATED with more updates! (List 1 update 3)

Very cool cover by the great Phil Hester
Things I'm working on. I'm listing them here because I was inspired by an author's list of projects and it makes sense for me to put them up here to be held accountable. Plus I like having code names for things. Makes me feel cool. Which I'm definitely not.

"Projects" are work-related (read: day job) writing. In each case they are collaborations. Everything else is personal. Unless I name a publisher. But yeah, I'm writing for the love of writing.

So here's the latest and newsiest:

  • The writing part of the re-write on The Cold Distance is done. The draft clocks in just a shade over 74K words. It'll go up and down a little as I edit the last half for passivity and clarity. Next step is to get some feedback to make sure it's actually readable. Will have to figure out where to go after that. I have ideas, though, so stay tuned.
  • The Cold Distance is the first of a series titled Jugee and the Duchess. At least four books, maybe five. The cool thing is I've got them mostly written and just have to be able to put nose to grindstone to get them in something like publishable shape. So, here's hoping they all get to see the light of day.
  • Topping that big news is that the second book in the Evolver series from Actionopolis is released! It's called Cell Structure and here's the info:
  • Prey becomes predator when Jackson Savage rushes to save his friend from the clutches of a mad scientist determined to rule the world. His father’s experimental DNA is changing him and every time Jackson evolves he becomes less human. Working with the secret organization, OCTAVE, he is engaging in combat with mutant monsters but each conflict risks him losing control of his own body. Will he be able to stop an army of monsters without losing his humanity?
Do me a solid and spread the word will you? I understand a digital version is coming but I will definitely have copies to sell at Kansas City Comicon in August.
  • Project BLUE was a submission for a national award at work. Good news is that we won our division and we're in the running for the grand prize for our category. I'll know about this one at the end of July. It stays on the list until then.
  • JETPACK is waiting for an announcement before I can say anything else about it. 
  • MINER is still developing. It's been on the back burner while I finish TCD. It'll get some attention now that TCD is closer to done.
  • The short stories that have been on the list are off for now while I get things sorted out with TCD and the other things above. 
  • With Cell Structure out, I have to get the third book whipped into shape. It's in a zero draft so it shouldn't take too long to get it to the publisher. 
  • So I'm adding two new things to the list under the codename AZTEC. First priority is to assemble my notes on these two stories and then start hammering at some outlines. 
So there it is. It's shaping up to be something of a busy year for writing and publishing. Please buy a copy of the Evolver books at Amazon so I can afford to put gas in the car.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Projects Update (or List 1 Update 2)

Things I'm working on. I'm listing them here because I was inspired by an author's list of projects and it makes sense for me to put them up here to be held accountable. Plus I like having code names for things. Makes me feel cool. Which I'm definitely not.

"Projects" are work-related writing. In each case they are collaborations. Everything else is personal. None of it has a home yet, either. So yeah, I'm writing for the love of writing.

Anyway, here it is from January 18th with updates from today:

  • Cold Distance re-write - progress to date tracked on the right side of the blog ->. Aiming for completion of this draft by mid-February, proofing for a week, then out to a couple of beta readers. Then I will decide for sure what I'm going to do with. I'm still very, very tempted to self-publish even though this is an all-new version that could probably make the rounds of agents. We'll see. UPDATE 4.8.15: Yeah, this is still going along but I didn't make my deadline. Or the second one. I may make the third if the end of April is kinda flexible.
  • Working on outlines for two sequels that don't get codenames yet. UPDATE 4.8.15: These are at the same stage as before. Not fallow but not moving right now. Next up after Cold Distance is done.
  • Project CONTEMPORARY - outline submitted, waiting for further instruction - mid-March deadline UPDATE 4.8.15: Delivered with time to spare and presented to good review. DONE.
  • Project BLUE - late March deadline. UPDATE 4.8.15: Turned in. Waiting for judgment. DONE.
  • Project DOC - late March deadline. UPDATE 4.8.15: Decided not to pursue this one in favor of BLUE. DEAD.
  • Project CARTE begins early April with end of July deadline. UPDATE 4.8.15: Will be starting later this month. Still have late July deadline, though.
  • LUNA has lain fallow for months. It won't take long but it needs to be done and submitted. UPDATE 4.8.15: No change but creeping up on my radar.
  • SWITCH is in the same boat as LUNA. UPDATE 4.8.15: SEE LUNA
  • Still waiting to hear about CELL. Will finish OUTGROWTH when CELL is a go. Won't take long. UPDATE 4.8.15: Still waiting. Haven't pushed and I could but there's no need right now. Patience, grasshopper.
  • Still researching and developing DOGHOUSE and LOOT. UPDATE 4.8.15: Bits and pieces. Will keep at it.
  • New thing JETPACK is yet to be announced. I have turned in an outline and work is in process. More to come. First of at least two collaborations.
  • New thing MINER is in development. Nothing to see here yet but adding it to the list is a step toward believing it will actually happen. Stay tuned on this one. Second collaboration.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Barreling Through (Annotated)

Updated March 29, 2015 9:30 AM

Suffice to say that overwhelming isn't a strong enough word. I've got to finish this novel and get it to beta readers, make revisions and turn it over to my editor. Every time I opened the file to work, I would get one, maybe two sentences in and know that I wasn't present enough to do this. I tried everything I could to shake it but nothing worked. I couldn't concentrate for more than ten minutes and the novel requires more than that.

Here's more information about what a Velocity Readout is. Planet Comicon was great for me. I was absolutely relaxed and into it while I was there. Coming out of it I went back to the reality of the stress I was able to leave behind for three days. It was a lot like a mini vacation and there was a lot of love for what I was doing there too.

Short stories, flash fictions, comics. That's all I could give my attention to. It hurt that I couldn't read two things that friends had given me to read. I tried, I really tried, but I wasn't able to give the attention I know was necessary. Even stuff at the day job had to be broken down into small enough bits that I could still get things accomplished.

Fortunately, this last week has resolved almost all the issues that had created the ultra high stress levels. And as bad as all this was for me, it was worse for the people I love so dearly that it was directly affecting. Even with my abilities, I can't imagine how difficult all this is for them.

The novel HAS to be done in the next two weeks. The window to self-publshing on the schedule I've set myself is closing. Even though it's a different kind of stress, it's also energizing. I know I can do this.

The new things that have popped up are a ways off, fortunately. They're not really part of the stress level though they will be once I get the novel done. I've never been a good juggler. My organizational skills (as they pertain to my writing) leave a lot to be desired too, but I'm coming up with a cunning plan that involves coffee and late nights. Maybe that's not so cunning...

Look, not writing is an excuse. Maybe you're blocked but most likely you're not. Maybe you're just telling yourself you are. Find a way to do the work you want to do. If you don't want to do it, find something else. I think it's really that simple. Really. Which led me to wind up with:

At some point tomorrow I will come back and annotate this to expand on a couple of things I didn't in the Tweets. As you can see it went on for a while. Anyway, collected here for the benefit of whoever could get some use out of it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Planet Comicon 2015

This show was a blast from start to finish. I arrived late enough on Friday morning that there was a bit of chasing around to gather up my Artists Alley badge. With the help of Volunteer Emma, I got my credentials and set up in time for the show start.

I love that Artists Alley was inside the entrance. There was a lot of traffic past both ends of the row so I had a good view of the cosplayers. Several Agent Carters and lots of John Constantines throughout the show. The Constantines (that's the name of my new band, btw) all looked too pressed and clean, too much like Agent Carter. Anyway, it's a small thing but one I noticed.

It would probably behoove me to mention everyone I got to talk to but there were so many and I didn't make it around to see everyone I wanted to. Anyway, the panels were great. All of them were lots of fun and we had great questions. The last one about prose writing had great attendance and terrific questions.

I have to thank everyone who stopped by the table and complimented my live writing. Most especially I am grateful to those of you who actually commissioned me to write a piece using your prompt. They included "Space Knight", "Panda", "Pandemonium Jabberwocky", "Werewolf Skeleton Dog", "Rapidly Moving Snail", and "Glitter Suplex". There were more but these stuck out. I loved writing each and every one of them.

Since this is now a week after the fact and I have to get on with things like finishing this novel, I'm going to leave it there.

Except to say that I will be back at Planet Comicon next year. If you didn't get a Velocity Readout at the show hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. I'll be glad to get 'em to you via mail.

All right, that's all. The show was great, I had a spectacular time and hope you did, too.