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Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I hath a cold

Yes, it's the holiday season, and I'm sick as a dog. My sides ache from coughing and sneezing. I've even taken naps (which I almost never do). Hope you all feel better. May this year be better than the last.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Do You Hear What I Read

Hope you all had a great Xmas. Mine was very busy. I'm back at work today to take a rest. Spent a lot of family face time, talking and playing with the nieces and nephews. I'll be doing more of that tomorrow as we go bowling and then have a big dinner together. Bette and I were finally able to have or Xmas together last night.

Bette gave me a bunch of books (there grows the guilt pile); John Scalzi's The Androids Dream, Neil Gaimen's Fragile Things, and Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. All good. She also had several pieces of my past framed; my Cub Scout bandana, a sweatshirt from my grade school (Gibbsboro, NJ - "Go Tojans!"), and some punch cards that had an old program on them.

Still not ready to post about what happened before Christmas that put a pall on everything else (photo isn't ready, yet). Hopefully soon.

On Christmas Eve I read Jeffrey Ford's "The Boatman's Holiday" in The Years Best (eds. Datlow, Link, and Grant). OMG, get a copy of this and read it. This is one of the best stories, it sets the mind on fire, it tosses the gauntlet down, it gets all the juices flowing. There's another pole I need to vault. Damn, I want to be able to write like that. Some people talk about that as they turning into writers there is a moment where they say, "I can do better than that." While I've had those moments, I'm blessed and jazzed by saying, "I want to be as good as that."

I hope in the New Year we all continue to find such inspiration.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ti-i-i-ime is on my side. Yes it is (NOT).

Okay, I've admitted that I'm a freak. Here's some more math done for fun. Everybody who wants to be writer eventually makes the same complaint, "How do you find the time?" You make time. Really. So here's my week for your edification and enjoyment.

Five days, 24 hours a day, total of 120 hours. Sleep, I'm one of those people that needs eight hours, so there's 40 hours gone just sleeping. That leaves us 80 hours to get everything done. Everybody strapped in the toboggan?

55 hours, typical workweek (40 plus 15 overtime)
10 hours, commute (1 hour each way, bad weather add some more)
3 hours, shower, brush teeth, get dress, etc (about 45 minutes each day)
5-15 hours Village Council stuff (that's the second job, $200 a month)
3 hours, errands (getting milk, etc)
3 hours, design work (third job, this is highly variable)
3 hours, email, blogs, friends and contacts (like what I'm doing now)
5 hours, 1 hour each day to have dinner and be with my wife
3-5 hours, minimum reading and writing time (usually reading before bed)
2 hours, chores (cleaning, etc)
3 hours, every other week at a writing group.

Total 90 to 104 hours. So, as you can see, the sleep part of the equation is already compromised by 10 to 24 hours.

So that leaves the weekend to get the major projects done (yard work, carpentry, reorganizing, etc). Plus catching up on sleep. Sleeping late on weekends is practically necessary. This is after quitting Ruritans (a service organization like Rotarians). And you'll notice there is no TV, entertainment (other than reading), or gaming time in there.

And I still get the words out. I expect you could too.

Bah. Humbug.

Well, at least I know the answer about the Writers of the Future Contest. I didn't make even a finalist (at least that's how I read the letter). Ah well. It looks like there's a personal note to "Send more soon!" But I think it's printed, not actually written on the page (one of the problems being in the printing business, it's hard to fool me). I know "War Stories" was a stretch for them, being a Cthulhu story and all. We’ll see how some markets feel about it.

This holiday season so far, 50/50

So before I bum you all out (or after you have already read those later posts), here is some good news. Tobias Buckell just made a three book deal! Go and congratulate him. It's really frickin' awesome, Tobias. Great job!

Tobias is a cool guy. He really deserved this (for his writing and he really is working damn hard in the community). You should all get to know him.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Steve is just this guy, you know.

Well, I changed my profile to show my real name. Hi, I'm Steve and I'm a writer (Hi, Steve). I usually get a few hundred words a week...

That's how I always feel when I introduce myself in a writers group, like I'm in AA or something.

Anyway. I think I'm making more of an arse, I mean, a name for myself and it's time to be proud of that name. Well, for writing I always was proud of my name. By the happy chance of it I'll be shelved next to Steven Brust if I ever get a book out. And that is just way too cool for me.

So here I am. I almost have my decade chip. Someday I'll be paid to publish my writing. On that note, I still haven't heard from the Writer's of the Future Contest about "My Favorite War Stories." So I figure I'll either be a finalist (always a bridesmaid, never a bride, boo hoo), or I might have crossed the barrier. Yesterday I was inexplicably happy. Maybe that was it.

Wait. I was going to make expresso.

Peter Boyle is dead. My first memory of his acting was his portrayal of the monster in Young Frankenstein. I could never watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" without thinking of that movie.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The first one is free

Tobias Buckell, who is a really great guy, is running a poll. He's asking how many books did you write before having your first sale. The link is here.(link updated 12-14 10:55pm) Go and vote if you've sold a book (it doesn't mater what genre). Especially if you sold your first book, go and vote, because I need the moral support (read the comments in the tread if you want to know why).

So, prepare for unabashed fanniness. I mean, being fannish. Tobias is a cool guy. You should buy his book, "Crystal Rain" and the anthologies that have his short stories. You'll want to know his name. You'll want to meet him. You'll want to have his puppies. Or cats. Tobias is one of those few that make their money from writing. He has great advice for beginning writers. He's an advocate. He's just damn cool, okay.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dis, dat, and da udder ding

It's been some time since I talked about writing. Things are progressing slowly. The day job is getting slower which means less overtime. Council stuff rose up and ate all that extra time there for a bit. I have been writing, just not anything coherent. I have more pieces parts than I have full stories.

The other night I got the opening to one story that had been banging around the back of my head. It's about Shamanism, and how confusing for the initiate it can be. I get to show a lot more of the town of Windswept with it. I also have the main villain of that piece, and it's a biggie.

The next night I got the opener to another story I had been thinking about, tentatively titled, "Butterflies Last All Summer." It's about growing up with fairies.

I've also been getting pieces of the pirate story and I think I have enough to add it to the sidebar. I have to complete that one. There are now two potential markets to send it to. I hope it turns out, I think it'll be a neat run.

I'm almost done with another red-line edit of "Wild Hunt", now titled "Running of the Deer." I've been getting a lot of info for this one. Plus it was the first story I had critiqued by my new writers group. If you remember the photo with the other redline edit, I think I'll have to take a photo of this one. There is more red ink on the pages. But it's all good.

An absence of Richardness

Last night I didn't need to play the dick. That was a relief. I was also able to play the Santa (although another councilman actually wore the hat) and hire a new worker for our Streets Department. Merry Xmas, Chad. Now get to work.

My Santa offering is tempered with a slight detour down Scrooge Alley. Because we didn't get the quotes and lease papers ready, I'm going to need to force my fellow councilmen to have another meeting before the end of the year to get leases on new trucks. In case you're wondering why this December has been so warm and not filled with snow, I'm praying my hardest to make it that way. Now, once we get our trucks, you all are on your own.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Comments

When I upgraded to the new beta blogger, my comment settings went wacky which cause a delay for those who did comment. Sorry about that. With the correct application of C4 in the appropriate area, the comments were juggled loose. They should show up quickly now.

Story Bone

If you're in Iraq and see militiamen or insurgents wearing a white cloth on their shoulders, it indicates their willingness to die in battle. I didn't know one had the choice, but there it is.

"Say, mind wearing this pocket protector with a target printed on it? That's a good man." Or "Bummer of a birthmark, Hal," from the Far Side.

At this time I don't know how they keep the cloth there (that's what the epaulets are for!). I heard this in one of NPRs "voices from Iraq" segments. I wonder how you can tell this from waving a white flag.

"I don't know, Jim. Either they're surrendering or they want us to shoot them."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Well, spank my behind and call me Richard

Sometimes being a coucilman is great. I get to help people, I get to make sure we aren't overspending, I have fun making sure things are done. Then there are the other times when you feel like you're shoveling crap from a sitting position. And the least fun is when you're forced to be a dick. I had to be a dick last week. I had to be a dick today. Tomorrow has a high chance of dickiness. And the rest of the week could sprout random dickiness. I hate it when I'm forced to be this way.

Friday, December 8, 2006

What Day Is It

It's Friday! Yippie skippie. Although that means I need to have one more person threaten a law suit for my village council stuff and I'll have made a new personal weekly record (3 in case anybody cares). Since Thanksgiving the world has spun down in some kind of spiral that ends with "splat." The good news is that the OT is getting less. I was getting some energy back. And then all this other stuff came crashing down. Life.

Well, here's to a Good Weekend(tm). Hope you have one too.