Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slamming the Brakes

Today I want to quit. Throw my hands up in frustration and give in to the nagging voices and lack of or outright negative reviews.

There are times I want to stop being a writer in my spare time and find something else to do. Something I'm better at, something that means a little more to more people. Maybe I should just focus on my day job which I'm a helluva lot better at.

I keep this quote from Harlan Ellison prominently displayed in my office at home:

"You can either seek the approbation of the monkeys or you can continue to produce your art at the level at which you do it best." 

Sometimes it helps me through the bad days. Not always - but sometimes.

What it does is remind me that I have to write for myself first, not what little audience I do have. Do I level up from time to time? I sure as hell hope so. The more practice I get the better I should be.

And though it feels like writing in a vacuum, I know I have a lot of support. I've been with my writer's group for seven years or so and they're a terrific bunch. They keep me honest. I've got friends who've been behind me for fifteen years while I've gone from making mini comics to trying to be a prose writer.

I'd like to think I've grown as a storyteller.

But that gnawing doubt works on me around the edges taking little bites here and there. So much that today I want to quit. Again.

I'm not going to. No way. But I'm staying realistic about this. I'm writing for myself first. If you dig what I write, thank you so much. I'd love to hear from you. If you don't dig it, well, I understand. There are a lot of things I don't get into, too. I'd ask you to give me another shot on something else that intrigues you but if you don't I understand. There's so little time nowadays for things we don't like. So thanks for trying my stuff out. I appreciate it. Very much.

The likelihood of me being a best-selling author is pretty slim. One day I'd be grateful to make enough money to support going to shows to do my live writing. That'd be awesome. Or even enough money to fix the major things around the house that need doing. Here's a favorite, if out of context, quote from The Upside of Anger:
"It's a tall order for a patient motherfucker."
But that's me. I'm a patient motherfucker. I'll get close to what I want if I keep at it. So I'm not giving up, I'm not quitting even though I really want to. The writing will get better. I'm grateful you're along for the ride. I hope someday to write something you really like.

I'll leave you with this from Ursula Le Guin:

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Updates: List 1 Update 4

It may be time for a new list.

Anyway, here's what's going on:

COLD DISTANCE is still in revision. Every time I get to a new stage with it I find things that can and should be improved. The draft is done, I'm almost done with the passive/clarity search and seizure. And then I read the first chapter and see all kinds of ways it can be better. I have to admit the possibility that I'm looking for things to keep it from being set free but I don't think so. I really do want it out there so I can start on the sequel but I want it to be the best it can be.

Sigh. I need a break, I think. Maybe just a week off from agonizing over it.

So that makes book three of the EVOLVER series (you can buy books one and two here and here) jump up top now. It's in Zero Draft, which means a p/c search and seizure (see above) and a read through for logic. Been a while since I've looked at it but it shouldn't really take any time at all to get it in shape to send off.

And right behind that is AZTEC. More on that soon.

Perhaps a short story for the Confabulator Cafe next month. I have an idea, just need to start typing.

Then back to COLD DISTANCE. And hopefully the short stories I've had laying around waiting to be handled.

Meanwhile, notes keep piling up for other things.

So yeah, I guess we're on to list 2 once I get Evolver out the door. How are you doing? Everything all right in your world?

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.