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

Monday, November 30, 2009

WIP! Back in the Saddle

Didn't give myself a rest, so 730 some odd words on Chapter 35 during lunch. Need to keep going at this clip.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Night, at Home With My Rejections and WIPs

Podcastle has already has already responded with a form rejection. I'll need to go back to duotrope and work out the next part of the list. As I remember I'm running out of markets with electronic submissions (that pay semi-pro and above).

In other news Chapter 34's crappy first draft is in the bag at 1760 words. Mostly exposition. Things are teed up for Chapter 35 and we're on track as far as word count goes.

Hopefully this week will be productive. Things are a bit torn up about the house and I need to rewire some decorations before I put them up. This coming weekend there's a good chance we'll take a trip to experience Christmas in Zoar VIllage. This year we'll need to find out when the organ recital is going to happen so we arrive earlier than the last five minutes.

And now, after four straight days of sleeping in, I'm mostly rested up. I'm now ready to go to Viable Paradise. Sigh. To bad I didn't do this before going to Marthas Vineyard. But now it's time to go turn off the lights and then warm up the bed. Most of the turkey is gone, although we have plenty of gravy left. Need to think of what to do with it tomorrow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Rejection and Submission

A Clockwork Phoenix 3 Anthology seems to have been sending out rejection notices this weekend and I scored one of my own. So off to PodCastle it goes. Good luck little story.

Spent most of the day decorating and relaxing and not writing. After working in the yard all day I'm feeling a little tired and sore and might head to bed early.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Avoidance

Yeah, absolutely, positively not going anywhere near a commercial outlet today. I might checkout some online deals, but until it's legal for me to carry my machete in the mall, not going to go there. Wednesday at Sams' Club was crazy enough.

Went out to continue decorating for the holidays, but it just started to snow as I went out, so not much got done. I did try rigging up the replacement effect box. So, the box is supposed to take three sets of light strings. All I had hooked up was three LED strings and three normal extension cords (okay, 15 foot extension cords, but only one string was plugged in on the other end). I was running into some kind of under voltage condition where only half the strings would light up (even when I took it down to one string by itself). So, what I'm thinking I need to do is my own box (probably won't happen) or rewire the strings extending the line with good copper wire.

Words hadn't been flowing for the past week since I finished Chapter 33. Yes, it's a good idea for me to start the next chapter before finishing the word outputage for the day. This morning in the shower, though, they started flowing again. Some of the crucial linkages made sense. I got them down before loosing them back into the void.

Now I need to start writing again. How are you spending the day?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Linkee-poos

For me it's a half-day at work (flex time) before the holiday, so a truncated linkee-poo for a truncated week.

Fellow VP XIII-er Sean Craven just made his first pro sale to no less a market than Tor.com. Congrats Sean, that's an excellent way to start. You go, dude.

Also, catching up on his other things to report, Catherine Schaff-Stump has a great short story up at Absent Willow Review called, The Love Song of Oliver Toddle.

In other new, Camille continues to blaze a path through the publishing world. Other friends continue on with their projects. And I'm sure I'm forgetting about a hundred other pieces of good news.

Under the topic of Things That Make Me Squee, the Astronomy Picture of the Day - Cassini Flyby Shows Enceladus Venting. (grokked from Jay Lake, who is going under the knife again today, see you on the other side of the anesthesia, Jay).

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Background Craziness of HGTV People

So one of the things I do when working or writing at home is having the TV, radio, or iTunes going for background noise. It keeps certain parts of my brain occupied so it doesn't interfere with what I'm working on (those of you who've met me in person know I fidget with my hands, it's the same thing, it keeps parts of my brian occupied). When I have the TV on I usually either have a movie I've seen a few hundred times on, or something that doesn't require any real attention. HGTV is the channel of choice for this.

They have a couple of shows that tend to be on in the evenings when I have it on. Shows like, "My First Place", "Property Virgins" and "House Hunters" or something else that's about the same concept, people looking to buy homes or are selling their home. There's a camera that follows people around while they're inspecting the homes and captures their comments. And I've come away with some general thoughts.

1) It's obvious that of the people who have real money to buy places, or revamp them, gay couples make up a disproportionate percentage of that population.

2) Where do these people work and what do they do that they can afford these houses. "Oh, we're looking for a first house and our top price is half a million dollars." WTF? Seriously, couples that have marriage issues (seriously, the kind of couples you start the office pool on when they're going to have their messy divorce, with the outlying date a yeah and a half out, and that's form the optimist club members), in their twenties, "just out of school" and they're buying houses over twice the value of the house I was able to buy when I was in my thirties (and with a lot of help) and that's their low end.

3) WTF do these people expect? Really. "Oh, I'm not wild about the color. What were they thinking. We won't look at the rest of the house." Hey, there's this thing called PAINT. It's amazing, really, you might want to look into it. (Okay, wallpaper I can understand, that's a bitch to take down, but it's still doable)

4) "The furniture (or art on walls) is really bad and doesn't make the space work." Um, you aren't buying the furniture or the artwork.

5) No, seriously, the gay couples appear to have the most stable relationships.

And then there's the whole financial part of it. Haven't these people been watching the news? Full cost financing? Really? And rolling in the closing costs? Um. Yeah.

Random Musings

This morning as I waited for a download I sketched out the end of the book. If my word counts hold, going to 73000 words will take me to Chapter 42, which induced a few moments of gleeful giggling. So I wrote out 34-42 and wrote next to each what I figured each chapter would feature, with one whole chapter devoted to the killing of the magician (chapter before is the fight to get to him). And it works out very well with two chapters of denouement (one to show the over all wrap up, final one for the personal wrap up). The last chapter will probably be the shortest in the book (my guess is less than 1500 words, probably half that), so the two chapters I don't think will be very bad.

The note next to Chapter 42 reads in its entirety (as of this moment) "Chop wood, carry water." I know at least one of you is smiling right now.

And on a writing advice note, I should have started Chapter 34 last night. Starting it today is like pulling hen's teeth. I think this goes with the "end the writing day mid-sentence/mid action/etc." I had been doing that for the past ten or twenty chapters, always getting in at least the first few sentences out before stopping. I found that helped a lot. I know what I want to say, just getting it into a textedit file is meeting much resistance.

Oh, and I've added a widget at the bottom which shows recent quotes. Until I'm able to ward off this recent rabble of spammers I'll be leaving it up there to help me keep track of them. Come this weekend I should have some spare time on my hands.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

WIP around the corner

Chapter 33 is in the bag. It weighed in at 1701 words, bringing our total to 59544 total. It's early, but I don't know if I'll start 34 tonight. We're on the downhill run (or at least I think so). In 34 some things that have been off screen will be made plain, the results of other things will be realized, and the beginning of the end will be glimpsed or at the least set into motion.

More notes on things that will need to be not so much changed, but added in.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Work of various kinds

Well, the pay cuts finally caught up with me. I had been thinking about checking the costs of broadband here to the house (cheapest option this past summer was DSL at $45 a month) because we have a few more options now, but that's out while the pay cuts persist.

Yesterday was just a mad house. The morning started good. Well, good for certain values of good. There was a few mistakes made this week (after we had a speech about not making mistakes). There was plenty of blame to go around, fortunately for all involved. In the end it wasn't as bad as I thought, but we have two more hurdles to get past (including the billing justification). Also, it allowed us to change some things back to where I had them, but was forced off the point by the sales people (amazing how seeing it actually printed can change people's minds, and how knowing WTF you're doing helps).

Spent much of today outside putting up decorations. There's now enough things to put up that I can't do it all in one day. Took quite a bit of time to position some of them correctly. Also fried the device I was going to use to make a special effect. Turned them off for the time being. There's plenty of people who've put up their decorations and have the lit already. I'm not sure if I like that. At work we had a discussion about legislating against it, I'm definitely against that. I know some municipalities have laws about when you're supposed to take them down. I'm not sure I'm for that either.

Note to designers of decorations, "they'll just put it together with zip-ties" is not an acceptable construction technique.

And now on to other things of the weekend. Tomorrow is our twelfth wedding anniversary (and 23.5 years together, almost to the day), so my presence might be sparse around these here interwebbies.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Miracle WIP

Chapter 32 is down at 1386 words, which brings us to 57843 total. Movement happens but there's not a lot of action. Mostly tying up loose ends and exposing other parts happening off screen (they don't need to be on). Adding some tension back into a relationship that might have seen some of it leak out earlier.
"I thought you said you nixed the bastard," Mr. Hernandez boomed as he came in the room. "This shit was supposed to be over."

"Someone must not have gotten the memo," Santana whispered, his eyes staying closed.

"Be glad you're on the table," the Old Man said to him. "And you," he turned on me," I thought I told you to off this character. What the hell is taking you so long?"

It wasn't a real question. The Old Man needed to blow off the head of frustration he had poured himself. His daughter had been rescued, the culprit who had made our lives hell and disrupted business had been iced. And now we suffered too many casualties and his chief of security nearly became fertilizer. It made for a hell of a storm which took almost a half hour to blow itself out.

Moved on to chapter 33 with a few hundred words. Goal for tonight is to get to 500.

Feeling slightly brain dead at the moment. Work day didn't end very well and I'm not doing so well at home. On the plus side tomorrow is casual Friday. Schedules are being discarded by the road to ferment in the dust with the single sneakers and shredded retreads. I feel like I being caught looking in the wrong direction, listening to the wrong music. Thoughts sludge to rancid blossom all while I think I've forgotten something imperative, but don't even know where the thought would have been shelved. Know what I mean?

Writerly Linkee-poo

Jim Hines is starting up his holiday book drive to benefit a local domestic violence shelter. I full endorse this. Our local shelter is our main charity. Over the years we've given clothes (new as well as used), bedding, toys, household products, an Xmas tree, paper and office products, and money. If you have new books to give (this year Jim is cutting the used book portion, as he explains that the shelter's bookcases are bursting) I highly recommend this.

A Making Light post with a letter from the RWA (Romance Writers of America) concerning Harlequin's new business venture into vanity/subsidy press work with ASI Solutions. As Jim Macdonald says, "They really do take their role as author advocates seriously over there." Let me reiterate that RWA is an excellent organization. They don't do everything right, but they do the vast majority of things right. Back when we were all discussing SFWAs problems, RWA was the organization plenty of people pointed to as to how to structure and run a Genre Authors Advocacy Organization. RWA are good people. They care about what they're doing and, my God, do they give support and encouragement to new writers (I'm one).

SC Butler is musing about the future of brick and mortar bookstores. The more I learn about this business the more I learn just how screwed up the distribution model has become. Instead of "we sell you what you want" it's been turned around to "buy this crap everybody else is buying." What would be very good for bookstores is to have a new player in the distribution and big box store (who gets "local tastes" and understands cooperative cross marketing, ie. your sales don't have to be just in your store). Unfortunately the barrier to entry is exceedingly high, so I doubt that will happen, or than Ingram, B&N, and the other one (I forget what it's called) dump their idiotic MBA approved business plan and get back to the business of actually selling books. Because, yeah, if I need to order the damn book, I'm going to Amazon (they typically have a lower price, and their shipping policy is better).

The incomparable Justine Larbalestier and her equally incomparable married significant other Scott Westerfeld continue with the NaNoWriMo tips (which, BTW, aren't just for NaNoWriMo). I admit I've fallen behind in keeping up with them, but the ones I have read are good stuff (even if the advice doesn't work for me individually). Again, the generic "try it, if it works, keep it, if not, dump it" applies. And what works (or doesn't) for me might not work (or be fabulous) for you.

Now back to fixing Chapter 32 and maybe getting on to 33.

I don't want a pickle

Some of you know I love motorcycles. And for those of you who don't, well, I love motorcycles. I'm not in to all the extraneous crap (he who dies with the most chrome wins, the "bike bitch" culture, or the "I'm playing with death, here" philosophy), but put me on a bike and you'll see me smile. Unfortunately I don't own one currently (sold mine last year). And I really want one again. This is what my first major writing goal is, to make enough to afford a motorcycle.

And as I'm sure you all know, I'm a green proponent (again, not a fanatic, there are a few things I do that aren't the most helpful, but hopefully the rest balance me out - note to self, re-email neighbor on zoning board to find out what they're doing with regulation of windmills). I also like the resurgence of electric vehicles and always wondered why nobody made an electric motorcycle. After all, everything motorcyclists like can be better provided by an electric engine (other than engine noise, which I never understood the attraction, loud pipes just annoy the neighbors, they don't make you safer, in fact they reduce your safety by drowning out environmental sounds, like that honking horn). More instant torque, more durability, quicker time to full speed, ease of maintenance, all better with electric propulsion.

But hey, after catching a brief glimpse on the TV news last night, I did a new search and they're finally making them!

The Brammo Enertia (which after a quick look sounds the best)

The Zero Motorcycles S

Electric Motor Sports Electric GPR.

A DIY version (which I thought about before I sold my bike)

Another DYIer (cost about $1500 - cool).

Yamaha built an electric racer a few years ago for their team and the motorcycle was banned from the circuit. Why? Because it provided too great of an advantage over the gas powered bikes.

The thing, though, is that these bikes seem very cool, and if I lived closer to work I would think more of them. But their range and speed are somewhat limited. Okay manufacturers, here's what I'd really like.

The bike needs to go up to speeds of 75mph for highway driving (being on a motorcycle, you do not want to be the one holding up traffic, or stuck in the middle of the pack, that's the danger zone). It needs to travel at least 90 miles (we'll get to that in a second). And it should cost less than $8000. Again, at this point, in the specs the Brammo gets closest. It still would mean I would have to arrange charging here at work.

But here's the thing. It doesn't need to be all or nothing. Look at the Volt technology. For a motorcycle a small gas engine for recharging would be a really small gas engine (like a lawn mower or smaller). It would add to weight and maintenance, but it would give you a virtually unlimited range. Some motorcyclists love to ride and range is everything to them. It would also mean a larger (heavier) frame and or batteries with more energy density, but I think those are solvable problems. For such a hybrid I could see the cost rising to $9-10000. It would be worth it.

Given that Honda already owns this technology (except the more energy dense batteries, but they're working on them), I'm surprised they haven't leveraged this into their motorcycle line yet.

Until then I'll still be looking at the Honda Shadow Series or the Yamaha V-Star Classic (or Custom) for my needs. Man, need to finish book to get agent, to get publisher, to get contract, to get published, to get millions, to get motorcycle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More links on the plate

A little analysis of the ABC/Washinton Post poll on healthcare from Talking Points Memo. Loads of interesting data in there. The money shot, though, "It's interesting to consider that (people who think insurance companies will go out of business if health care reform is passed), compared to the public being in favor of the public option -- mathematically, there is at least some overlap of people who think (that will happen), and that this would be a good thing." (their emphasis) Over all things are still practically 50/50, with the numbers being within the margin of error for each other. Except for the Public Option, which, when it has the limits that the House put on it (only available to those who don't have an option through employers or Medicare/Medicaid), has over 70% approval.

Hint to those who marched on Washington saying, "Can you hear us now," your voices are being drown out by the actual majority. I should say here, the majority is not always right, sometimes an elected official's duty is to do what is right, not what is popular. However, in this case, IMHO, they're the same thing.

Gallup did a poll on regardless of if you support or oppose the healthcare legislation, what are your concerns if it's passed into law. Top concern is costs (24%). Second is government involvement (18%). Third is "making sure everyone is covered" (12%). Fourth and fifth are Nothing (9%) and No Opinion (8%). Later in the article they give breakouts of those who support and those who oppose. (Poll was conducted before passage in the house)

Finished up the uber-secret holiday decoration project. All that's left is to see if I have enough of the right extension cords in the next few weeks. Also, it now comes clear to me that I didn't hire the nephew this summer to rewire my outdoor sockets onto their own breaker (I'm not all that bad, some people in Ohio have a separate breaker box and meter for their outdoor lights). But, in celebration, a completely wrong holiday decoration (from the fine folks at FailBlog).

Dan (and others) point me to a very cool site showing Mandelbrot sets rendered in 3D. That kind of stuff gets my geek on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I want to break free

The writing continues apace. Well, slow is a pace, isn't it? I'm trying various experiments to get more time. What I really need to do is be consistent with some systems. One thing I've been trying is setting a timer for my internet connection at night.

This has been the main drain of time. And last week I found myself looking at the same sites and mindlessly surfing instead of being focused and to the point (which I usually am on the internets). I think the best thing for me would be to limit my online time, use that effectively, and then get off and look at the blank page until the inertia to writing is overcome.

This morning on the way into work I attempted to give myself both a tough love and motivating talk. I realized that probably part of my resistance to writing this novel includes the facts that 1) I already know most of the story (so I've told it to myself) and 2) the fear of success and 3) general pessimistic outlook (part of the depression, which I'm wondering if the Wellbutrin is still working, each month I've thought of going off it and like a puppy to Pavlov I keep refilling the prescription).

Add on top of that all the other work, the day jobbery stressful fun (we let go people on Friday and other things I can't talk about here), the night job stress (have to schedule yearly reviews sometime soon), getting caught up with home maintenance things, and a decoration project I'm almost done with (3 three-foot tall stars that will be hung and lit in sequence like a chase effect).

I'm back to not sleeping well. I've never really recovered good sleeping habits since I broke my leg six years ago. There's two causes for this, first is an allergic reaction I've been having lately and second because of the cats. One is fairly good, although she wants attention before settling down to sleep. The other I keep waking to find she's curled up right behind my knee. This morning she lay over my foot and proceeded to squirm and purr. You may saw, "Aw, that's cute," but not at 4am.

And then there's the weight. I've been putting on pounds instead of losing them. Most of October and the first part of November I haven't eaten smartly (almost wrote "well," but maybe I've been eating too well) and not using the Wii. There also hasn't been much work out of doors. I need to build another wood crib and start splitting the larger logs we have (did that back in September, I had forgotten what a workout it was).

On top of all that has been the feeling of being overwhelmed. I now have almost 500 blog posts I haven't read yet and I haven't been writing many real blog posts lately (which is why there's been all the linkee-poo going on). Plus I'm not going to have time to go to the writers group this weekend and it's only six weeks until we have houseguests.

I don't know. Maybe the universe only has so many words to give and everybody NaNoWriMo-ing are sucking up all the supply. It might also be that it's dark by the time I leave work (not necessarily a new thing, but then I used to be working until 7 or 8 every night). I don't know, but hopefully I can break out of this and get back to writing. I can't reap in the big advances if I don't have an agent, I won't get an agent unless I have something to peddle, I won't have anything to peddle unless I finish the book.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tempting the Fates of Rejection and Submission

Well, as I said in the previous post, because I said it out loud, it would happen. Just checking email tonight before bedtime, and there's the rejection letter from John Joseph Adams (I said he was a quick reviewer).

So, it's off to Clockwork Phoenix 3, the other antho I found that it might work for. Good luck little story.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Long Awaited VP Posts - The Missing Post

I'm still processing much of what happened at VP. Some of it feels dream like at this point. I think it was a by product of being exhausted when I arrived. As I'm continuing the WIP I can feel what I learned there creeping in. I owe the "messed up" part of the story at this point to Uncle Jim and his plotting. I see myself making things clearer on the fly because of Teresa's party trick. I'm more energized by the writing. At some point in the last three chapters I heard each one of the instructors voices or felt their presence as I type in the words (Doyle, Lisa, Steve, Bear, Jim). Patrick's voice comes out when I'm looking at the markets with a clearer eye. And Scalzi's voice reminds me to not be stupid about the business side of writing.

In fact, with the last round of submissions, I was going to go one way, and then I heard our oath as VP Writers, and went the more career oriented path. I'm going to tempt the fates here and say since I haven't yet heard back from JJ Adams (he's a damn fast reviewer), I made the right choice (now watch his rejection email come tomorrow morning).

First was the process of getting there. Applications. I had wanted to apply for the past four years and just never got my butt in gear enough to do it. Last year (VPXII), when I heard John Scalzi and Elizabeth Bear were the invited instructors (Teresa and Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, Debra Doyle and Jim McDonnald, Laura Mixon and Steven Gould have been long time instructors there, the website has the same line up as this year) last year, I knew I had to go. Unfortunately I didn't have 8000 words ready that I wasn't going to end up finishing and sending out. So I was full of fail in 2008. Then, when they announced the same line up of instructors for this year, I knew the universe had given me a second chance and I better not blow it. Also, my friend Mer was lining up a novel workshop group. I knew it would take me at least half a year to write a novel (it's now looking like a full year), so I knew this was my chance. The current WIP at the time wouldn't work (it's in disjointed pieces). I knew that one of the things that was holding me back was the dual thoughts of "the first novel is a throw away" and the "OMG, a novel is so figgin' huge." So I switched gears and started the current WIP, Bladesman. It was an idea I had for a long time, but couldn't work out the story and it felt to big for a short.

I wrote as much as I could for Mer's workshop. And I surprised myself. The novel was coming out in order. And it was coming fast. I was also surprised to find I really like it. After all, this would be the throw away novel. I did the critiques with Mer and rewrote the first five chapters which brought me to 8000 words and sent it in.

At the time I really only gave myself a minor chance of getting in (not sure of the story, not time to polish, and I was sending it in very, very late). Our finances were all wonky because of the instability of the day job and even if I did get in, I might not be able to attend. When I received my acceptance I did two things. Danced like a maniac all while having a massive panic attack inside. I talked myself into and out of it several times in a half hour. Then I talked with Bette and she helped me make the decision that come hell or high water we would find a way to send me there.

The time from acceptance to going didn't help. The day job continued to spin out of control. The night job had two major set backs (one at the last minute). The story began coming slower. I was up, I was down. I reserved the room and paid for half up front (note to students who maybe going, reserve a townhouse unit and get roommates to share the cost, there's enough people going that this can happen). Then I worked out how to get there. The first time I looked at tickets to the island, they were over $500 (I think it was $780 actually). Slight panic. And then the sister-in-law concocted a scheme that she and Bette would go along as well. Major panic. But, then something happened. Part of my brain said I should. I hardly ever get to take Bette anywhere, and we really do want to travel. So I said yes. Fortunately VP is a very friendly group.

And then something else happened. Todd offered to give us a ride from Boston down to the ferry. I booked the flights from Akron to Boston. That's when I knew I was supposed to go. The total for the round trip flights from Akron to Boston was $500, for all three of us. I had hit it just right for multiple sales and discounts. With Todd giving us a lift we could afford a car on the island. Everything, except the writing, started falling into place.

And then the night job exploded. But the chiefs solved the issue and we're in a better situation. I didn't have the time to get things done at home. The day job went crazy. I was able to solve all of it with a lot of help, but it left me exhausted and not able to sleep. I couldn't find a whale watching cruise that Bette could go on (one of our "must do" things in life). What had turned around to looking so right, now started looking so wrong.

Then it rained all the day we arrived there in Boston. And not a little rain. Were talking localized flooding because the water couldn't drain fast enough kind of rain. We were soaked. And Todd was soaked because of us. I have to say our time at the sandwich shop, waiting for the ferry, I had given up on "the universe is pointing this way."


And then we were on the ferry. It rained as we left so we couldn't be on deck. But then the rain stopped. And I was able to go out on the deck as he headed out of Woods Hole. That's when I remembered how much I love to be on the water. The air tastes different, the light is more spectacular. Give me a tall ship and a star to steer her by. The ferry is large, but there was enough chop to feel it. A seagull rode our bow wave (the air around the ship) all the way out to the island.

We arrived the day before the workshop. Mostly because I didn't want to be rushing. Since the schedules required lots of points of contact, I didn't want to be rushing all over. So Sunday morning, before the meet and greet, that would be my vacation. I chose to go out to Aquinnah Cliffs. All the tour books said it was the place to see on the island. On the plus side, it also meant being on the ocean.


They were fabulous. We spent way too long there, but we enjoyed ourselves. And yes, I took off my shoes and walked in the ocean. The cliffs themselves are chaulky clay and are federal reserve (Indian) land, the beach is open though.


There was much shell and rock gathering (I have a very nice size quartz), walking in the sand, and generally being silly. Then we went on top of the cliffs to Gay Head just in time to see the last of the tourist buses and the fleecing of them by the little shops. We also caught a nice sandwich. By then the time I had alloted for sightseeing was halved. We started driving back, got a little lost, and found and interesting graveyard. Since I wouldn't have any other time to do this, I wanted to go see it.

It was magnificent. There were plenty of very interesting stones, some of the oldest I had ever scene. Some that were stories in and of themselves (a journalist who was eulogized by FDR) and some interesting decorations (include ceramic ducks, several of them). Then, since we were running out of time, we started out to be stopped by a grave right next to the entrance that looked strange. The stone and top engraving looked old but it was in excellent condition. So we had to stop and look.


John Belushi's gave. That's when I knew it was going to be all right. We had stumbled on John Belushi's grave. How cool is that (okay, I guess you have to be a certain age).

So we went back. I met my classmates, instructors, and staff. I worked my ass off, and then was given permission to have fun. So I had fun. I learned and listened and tried to stay awake. At the end of the week I didn't know up from down, but I think I hid it well. I got chuffed, and punctured. I saw the Milky Way (God I love looking at stars in a dark sky) and glowing jelly fish. I read excellent pieces from my classmates. I didn't get to do everything I wanted (sorry I missed the morning hikes, but I had only gone to bed 3 hours before then). Learned a metric butt load and had the connections made in front of me. Yes, the universe wanted me there.

The trip back was something different (that didn't have anything to do with VP or Todd, who was excellent). But that will be another post.

And finally, here's the promised photo for our Anonymous Cassie.

See, right before we left for VP, Cassie sent me a brown paper-bag with the inscription that I should use it to control my hyperventilating, or at least use it as a puppet Scalzi. Well, of course I had to take it with me. Who knew if I would need it there on the island. And, I took it to my one on one with John Scalzi.

The first time I ever met John Scalzi, it was at Confusion in Detroit (and excellent con, BTW). I was pretty much a regular on his blog at the time (I still am, although I don't find the time to comment much anymore, much to my chagrin). Some people have the impression from his blog that John can be a bit of a dick, it's not anywhere near the truth. Within five minutes of meeting him he had introduced me to most of the luminaries of the convention. He also kept me engaged in the conversation. That's a big debt I owe him.

Now, Scalzi's critique was to the point, and I would say was on the plus side of things. We talked about both the piece, writing in general, and careers. It was very nice and John's a great guy (but I already knew that). edited John did point out several things that were wrong, BTW. Things that I knew I would have to fix (mostly by pushing up some world building), and a few he was the first to point out. end edit

The puppet's critique, however, well, let's just say the ointment is working well and I'm almost healed. The mental scars though. The nightmares. Those will probably never go away.


(Just kidding, Cassie. John thought it was funny.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

HistoryFAIL

Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat its mistakes. Here's one reason why I believed the former president was a wanker when he created the Office of Religious Affairs and extended government charity grants to religious organizations.

What's the history? Well, here's the thing about church history. Most people "know" that with the conversion of Constantine lead to the acceptance of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire (or at least ended the practice of using them for sport in the circuses). What fewer people know is that this wasn't because of his seeing a mark on the sun before the battle of Milvian Bridge. See, Constantine's god was Apollo, a sun god, who's personal symbol (at that time) was close to an ankh. This was the sigil he had his troops paint on their shields. The revisionist history has changed this to a cross (although the cross was at one time Apollo's sign as well, although it was more like a plus sign) and that it was Christ who came to him in a dream.

But what I wanted to get at was at the time the Christians ran the hospitals and provided food for the poor and destitute, the widows, and the infirm. When Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople the early church saw it's meager influence about to be eclipsed. So they went to Constantine and gave him a choice, end the persecutions of the Christians or they would end their charity work. Constantine, new emperor of a nearly fallen state (the civil wars were continuing) looked at his coffers and realized if that happened he would either have to end his wars to reunite the empire, or face internal civil war and unrest. Ending the persecution of Christians was the much easier choice as it would only upset the Circus, and, well, there were plenty of wars to pad out the victim roles with captured and enslaved peoples.

See history repeating! Come to the circus!

Edited In comments Cassie asked for sources or as they say in wiki (citation needed).

Apollo as sun god (remember, Constantine was a Roman, not Greek, both have Apollo - by that name, one of the few - and they are roughly the same, but have differences)
:
UNRV list of major Roman Gods. "Apollo is the son of Jupiter and Leto, and the twin brother of Diana. He is the god of music, playing a golden lyre... The god of light... Apollo's more important daily tasks is to harness his chariot with four horses an drive the Sun across the sky."

About Go Greece entitled "Fast Facts on Apollo, Greek God of the Sun" (although he was not always associated with the Sun in Greek myth, he was at the end - my classics classes, I could probably find my text books and scan in that reference, Helios was the original sun god and was separate from Apollo, at the end of the Greek civilization they were equated)

FAQS.org "1. Apollo sun god; his chariot ride spanned morning to night. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 42]"

The Cross is a symbol of the tree of life, which is linked to Apollo. (the cross and the ankh, or "egyptian cross", are closely related symbols, sometimes used interchangeably, the ankh is also a symbol for tree of life).

symbols.com " Before the time of Jesus, represented, among other things, the staff of Apollo, the sun god, son of Zeus, and appeared for instance on ancient coins... Sometime during the first centuries... the Latin cross was adopted by the Christian ideology. Still being associated with heavenly, almighty lords, both and even more so, the sun god's staff."

Article on the Tree of Life from the Neil A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University "Greek literature is also replete with references to the sacred tree, or tree of life... the hero Odysseus speaks of seeing a palm growing by the altar of Apollo, different from any tree growing from the earth.12 In Homer's Hymn to Apollo, Apollo's mother grasps a palm tree during her son's birth." (Article then corrects that the tree was mistranslated and was actually an olive tree, which is also represented by a cross).

Sacredtexts.com"The list of the deathless mortals who suffered for man... Among those connected historically or allegorically with a crucifixion are Prometheus, Adonis, Apollo..."

Constantine and Apollo

Race and history.com article on the Arch of Constantine "Hadrianic Roundels: The second roundel depicts Constantine sacrificing to the god Apollo. Constantine was a follower of Apollo early in his career." While much of the arch was spoila (reused marbles, old monuments reused), "The arch was dedicated on the tenth anniversary of Constantine's rule on July 25, 315 AD." (Yeah, I know, but they had the picture. Google "Arch of Constantine" to show how they get it right).

Google Books, Constantine and the Christian Empire by Charles Matson Odahl
"... the emperor turned aside toward the most beautiful temple in the whole world - probably the temple of Apollo at Grand, and that he had experienced a revelation in this holy place. He proclaimed that Constantine saw Apollo, accompanied by Victory, offeringhim laurel wreaths indicating a life and reign of many years, and that in the likeness of Apollo he recognized himself as the saving figure."

AncientAssets.com article on Constantine coinage.
"From about 310 on, the reverse of Constantine coins show Apollo, often with the inscription, SOLO INVICTI COMITI - companion, the unconquered Sol... Other coins depict Constantine holding a shield on which Apollo is depicted guiding the sun chariot through the sky."

to be fair, they also say, "Many Constantine coins from that ear(a) also bear Christian symbols like the chi ro..."

But do I need to show the typographic lineage of "chi" (or "X") as the cross or will you accept that (the "T" was actually a different sigil)? Although "XR" is often used as shorthand for "Christ", it is also a mash of the two crosses (the plus and the ankh). It's getting late and doing more research on this (and finding "credible sources" instead of wiki's and "blogs") is running me down.

Early Christians and Charity During Constantine - Healthcare and taking care of the sick, not on the empire's payrolls.

Googlebooks, The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 7, C. Hebermann, KoC
"Like the other works of Christian charity, the care of the sick was from the beginning a sacred duty for each of the faithful... especially the case during the epidemics that raged in different parts of the Roman Empire, such as that at Carthage in 252... Another characteristic of Christian charity was the obligation and practice of hsopitality... but like hospitality was extended to the pagan... Clement of Rome praises the Corinthians for their hospitality... Dionysius of Corinth for the same reason gives credit to the Romans... The sick were also cared for in the valetudinaria of the wealthier Christians who in the spirit of charity extended hospitality to those who could not be accommodated in the bishop's house. There was thus from the earliest times a well organized system of providing for the various forms of suffering, but it was necessarily limited and dependent on private endeavor (because of the persecutions, he then uses an argument that because of the persecution a "institution of public character" was not possible - later he talks about the founding of the first hospital is in dispute, with some saying during Constantine, but before 361). It is certain that after the conversion of Constantine, the Christians profited by their larger liberty to provide for the sick by means of hospitals."

Christianity Today article on early Christian health care (debunking the "illness caused by demons" philosophy) (page 2) Christians developed a robust system for caring for the poor, the ill, widows and orphans, and other members of society in need of care... As early as A.D. 251, according to letters from the time, the church in Rome cared for 1,500 widows and those who were distressed. A hundred years later, Antioch supported 3,000 widows, virgins, sick, poor, and travelers...The churches in major cities had significant resources at their disposal, and though their care was not professional, it is likely to have saved lives and aided the growth of the church... When the plague of Cyprian struck in 250 and lasted for years, this volunteer corps became the only organization in Roman cities that cared for the dying and buried the dead...Finally, when Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity, these services were formalized in a number of institutions, including the first hospitals. "

There are many contradictory and "history through inference" ("well of course he's christian because he reflects the values of christianity" kinds of arguments) references to Constantine's christianity. A quick break down on his "conversion" by religionfacts.com which shows the conflicting historical thoughts. Some christian writers revere him (for ending the persecution) and others vilify him (for "paganizing" christianity). It's getting late and getting into the schisms of thought, heresy, and the economics of the Roman Empire in the fourth century really will take too long (too many non-authoritative sources clogging my google-fu). Probably if I say I've read academic books on he subject which show the link between his "letter of Milan" and a meeting with bishops and the timing of the conversion of his daughter (first), wife (second), and his "supposed death bed baptism" you won't believe me, or at least call into question my memory. I'll live with that. Most of the good googled sources on this are either non-credible sources, or behind the wall of pay services.

Have I shown enough proof that Constantine probably wasn't a Christian as he took the Empire (and late into his rule, if ever)? If his conversion took place before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and that he was an ardent christian afterwards (as proposed by many through the "christian histories") it certainly doesn't show in actions (murder, blood extortion, continuing pagan practices, etc). I've shown how the early church was heavily involved in the care of the old, infirm, and poor. And then how they profited by the ending of the persecutions. Have I cast enough doubt at the "accepted"version of history?


LogicFAIL for the day.

Catherine Shaff-Stump points me to something I had been wondering what all the twittering was about. Seems Galleycat did a little piece about if literary agents are still necessary. See Catherine's blog post for more (and better) rebuttals by other people (including the link to Tobias Buckell's survey results).

See, I guess Amazon had a big powwow with a bunch of Literary Agents to explain how they were not the Evil Empire. There's a bunch of concerns over the Kindle in the writing community, the least of which is the rise of ebooks (rights, subsidiary rights, out of print issues, tracking, and generally heinously fucking around with people, both authors and readers), many writers are quite ready for ebooks. But, hey, nothing a good lunch and inspirational speakers can't fix, right?

Now, Galleycat goes on from there and gets to this logic that because of this meeting, literary agents aren't really necessary anymore. You see, you can "sell" your book through the Kindle directly, or use any of the many epublishing sites out there. So you too can be a "published author." Ain't that great?

Except, uh, no, that isn't the goal (okay, for some people it is, and hey, you've got a quick route to get your fix on that way). Some people are exploring those options and working out the market (more power to them), but there's a vast army of people who "just want to be published." Those people wouldn't have agents to begin with.

Now, Amazon pulls in all these agents to talk to them and assuage their fears of what Amazon might be doing with the Kindle. That sounds to me like Amazon (the instigator in this) believes Agents (and their buy-in) is exceedingly important. No matter what people say, especially in this economy, businesses do not spend money flying people out to wine and dine them if they consider them superfluous. So, to go from that to saying, "I guess they aren't needed in this market because of this meeting," is to have serious LogicFAIL.

Imagine me looking at the Galleycat blog holding my fingers in an "L" on my forehead. As my friend S. Andrew Swann once said, "Logic, you're doing it wrong."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is not my large automobile... well, how did I get here

Last night I realized that I had more books from the library, taken out at different time, than I've had done since I was like 11. It's not the most I've taken out (once checked out six audio books). But one day I took out "Rough Guide to Fantasyland." Then on another day I checked out "The Novels of Dashiell Hammett" (It had "Red Harvest" which is what I wanted to read). Then last night I picked up "Tokyo Vice" for research (after hearing an interview with the author on Fresh Air and it seemed good research material for the WIP) and while I was there they had a Jim Butcher audiobook and I checked that out as well. And there are three other books on my hold list.

With the varied things going on, what I had down to less than 150 blog posts in the RSS folder, I'm now back near four hundred. I'm sorry I'm not commenting as often as I used to on all your blogs, but I am trying to read all your interesting thoughts. Also there have been plenty of very long discussions of the Ft. Hood shootings that I've spent too long going through.

And the house thing, this might be the last good weekend to do anything outdoors. I'm building a new Xmas display piece (more later). I have a new digital thermostat to install (oh, I've wanted one for years, nothing like getting cold, tapping the old mercury style thermostat and then hear the furnace kick on immediately). I also need to scrub the bathrooms (my poor long suffering wife, how does she put up with me).

And now to spend the last few minutes of lunch doing the WIP stuff.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIP it, WIP it good

Chapter 31 in the bag. Things are nice and screwed up. Some success in the previous chapter, major setback in this one. Although we now have a clue as to the solution. A big one. After all, what is a sword but a large spike of carbonized iron. New words, 1715, for a total of 54457.

Story Bones

"And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
John G. Magee - High Flight

There are many reasons for going into space. There's the whole "our world is gonna die, we gotta get off" theme. And there's the "next frontier" theme that is especially popular in the US right now (although it's the bad effects of "manifest destiny" that bother me about that). There's the "national pride" theme that is spurring China, Japan, and India (and to be fair, it's what drove us originally into space, we had to beat those damn Ruskies). And then there's the "scientific exploration" which is also big with the geek set (being one of them, I think I can vouch for it, after all, it's the whole premise Star Trek is set around).

All of these show up in SF at one time or another. Just like you can read the meta information of horror movies and re-engineer the zeitgeist of the society that created them (mostly American, the change of the "threat from without" and the "threat from within", how vampirism is now a viral disease instead of a moral state, the resurgence of zombies, etc). This doesn't mean they are the only reasons to go into space.

Lately there's also been an undercurrent of religiosity in SF writing (what is religion, how does it affect us, what does religion mean in a future society, etc).

So, how about an alien species making first contact with the Earth for a completely different reason. It's a gnostic philosophy that God is divorced from his creation. That he/she/it can't interact directly or interfere in the happenings of the beings they gave life to (which is also a Taoist philosophy). What if an alien species has gone into space looking for their god? The whole point of their exploration is to find him/her/it. How would that change our interaction with them, the sandbox conversations that must go on as they scrutinize us to see if we hold their God within us? And if they find that we don't hold the key (or do we), how does that change our interaction?

There are knee jerk reactions to all of those answers. You could play the current conflict (or, I should say, the oversimplification that some people like to make of it) as a template, the conquistadors, the crusaders, the Aryan (the real ones) invasion of India, the Greek state, the Mongol state, there's literally a few dozen of templates to use. But I think the deeper you think about it you'll come up with different answers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Elevenses

Do poppies grow still
in Flanders fields?
Do the crosses still stand straight,
row upon row?
Do the larks sing bravely now
to the silent guns below?

Do the dead still sleep uneasy
that the quarrels of the day are no more?
The foe is now our partner,
our love and loved ones are no longer buried
in Flanders fields.

The torch they threw, held on high
now rests in eternal flames.
Our quarrels are our own.
The faith was not broken.
Do their voices whisper still
through Flanders field?

Happy Happy

Happy birthday to Neil Gaiman. Isn't this like the fantasy writer's equivalent of a bankers holiday? What are we doing at work then?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Promises lit up the night like paper doves in flight

Somewhere in my Mom's home a splinter of concrete sleeps in a velvet bag. Probably it's now at the back of the closet resting in the history of dust and hiding with the other memories of youth and foolishness. A piece of The Wall, broken and crushed, now preserved for posterity, a reminder of man's inhumanity to their fellow man. Extracted from the hand of repression, a mouse and lion story of politics. A relic of the worst and best of us. When I looked at it I remembered the history of the airlift, of airmen stealing candy and dropping it from their planes after dipping their wings in signal to the walled in children. A few precious pounds of airlift capability sapped to provide comfort. Maybe a bag of salt left behind on the tarmac. And I remember the automatic machine gun nests and no mans land. The barbed wire greeting card. A wall designed to keep people in place, to guard a misguided philosophy.

And now they sell chotchkies at Checkpoint Charlie, wear costumes of the past, and children are born without knowing the mentality of denial. For those who don't dwell in those lands, the Cold War and Iron Curtain are nothing but historical remnants as key to their lives as knowing how to build a stepped pyramid. The memory dies hard in some of us. We may forgive ourselves, but we can never forget. The depth of cold went deep into the well of our souls and poisoned the source.

And now there are those who continue to play out the shadow drama of the past randomly substituting players without context, lost in their own paranoia. They can be forgiven, in the past we cultivated paranoia as one grows a victory garden and they haven't learned to sow that ground with salt, but instead allow the weeds to strangle and fester in the fallow field of their mind.

The world changed in a bacchanal of champaign, hammers and rock and roll. I'll still take this world over the old one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Night Rejection and Submission

Ms. Jaime Lee Moyer over at sends word they're not going to take "A History of Lightning." The rejection email was completely personal with her direct reason why she wasn't going to take it for publication. One of the major things she felt was wrong is the spec part of the story took to long to get to and there should have been more weirdness up front. Fair cop. And that was mostly intentional. I put all the clues in the front and tried to give the reader an feeling or normalcy. After all, the POV is intensely normal and grounded, but finds himself thrust into the weird. And much of what she comments about are things I tried doing with the story. It didn't work for her. Again, fair cop. She's the editor and she needs to purchase and publish stories that appeal to her readers. But personal rejection letter, it's obvious she read the whole story and gave it some good consideration. I put that in the win category.

So, before I let the story molder on the hard drive for another three weeks, I sent it off before going to bed. Back then John Joseph Adams announced his Way of the Wizard Anthology I thought that this story could work for that. Jedd is definitely a different kind of wizard. It was a hard choice between a few markets, some others which have closer deadlines. The final choice was I think the story would work for his antho, I've dealt with him before (and I believe he likes my stories), and his payment scheme was better. I also know him to be quick. So if he doesn't like it or doesn't feel it'll fit into his antho, I'll probably hear back before some of the other markets close.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Crazy Idea for the Week and Questions

What is it? I can't tell you, at least not yet. But I can tell you it was one of those ideas that put me on automatic on the drive home as my brain worked through the parameters. If I pulled this off it would be a lot of work, lots of contractual issues, and probably small margins. And I can tell you this, it involves t-shirts and other promotional materials.

Now you all may know that I love designing things and making cool things that go out into the public sphere (much of what I do is limited to very small audiences). I've always loved designing posters and t-shirts as well as other consumables. I've often toyed with creating my own lines of t-shirts. And now there are several services that handle this kind of low volume work:
CafePress
Zazzle
Skreened

A few friends have used all these services to create store or individual t-shirts for programs, etc. Has anybody used these stores to order products? And if so, what's you're impression of them (quality, durability, cost, customer satisfaction, etc)? They all have similar pricing schedules (although Zazzle seems to have slightly lower prices).

The next question is, how much would you be willing to pay for a graphic t-shirt? I'm a cheap bastard so I'm not a good judge. The last graphic t-shirt I bought at full price was $25. But I'm not sure what a good price really is.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to be able to do this thing. It would be a lot of work. However, I'm interested in your experiences.

Dear Representative Price and fellow Republicans

You are a tool. It's a demand for regular order. STFU and sit down. The delaying action is stupidly pointless.

The rules have been agreed to. They have been voted on. If you can behave like adults, you really shouldn't be given the responsibility you have been.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Burn him like a blazing star

Remember, remember the fifth of November
of gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

Happy Guy Fawkes day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Watching TV

Watching Dr. Bill Cosby receiving the Mark Twain Prize on PBS. Damn funny man. I'm sure I've mentioned how I studied stand-up comedians to learn timing and dialog. Bill is a master. He has timing and a drive that are excellent. When he has an audience going he doesn't let them go. You could do worse, if your doing a stage performance, than studying his performances. His style is difficult to translate to the page as his routine requires the technology and the visual of his face.

Writerly Linkee-poo

"Want a child-friendly way to introduce your little one to the traditions of the Old Cult?" So begins the Adventures of Lil' Cthulhu Had to watch this without sound, but what a friggin' excellent cartoon. Much laughing was had. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Scott Westerfield give some tips on writing for NaNoWriMo, Tip 1 Dialog Spine, and Tip 3 Dialog Spin Analysis. Justine Larbalestier wrote and hosts Tip 2 The Zen of First (Zero) Drafts and Tip 4 Word Count Is Not Everything. Lots of good stuff there. I've done the Dialog Spine thing for short stories (although I didn't know it had a name). As for the Draft Zero thing, yeah. It certainly helps. As to word count, I put my own up here as a personal whip to do more. It's also a way of saying, "Hey, I don't do 1500 words a day, but I am finishing my stuff and sending it out." If I can find time with two jobs and a freelance gig, most people can (the one thing I don't have is kids, they would take up a lot of that time).

Joshua Palmatier discusses the dread monster, exposition. He ties it into POV and a few other things. Exposition is one of those things I end up doing around the third draft, although I'm getting better and including some of it earlier. I know for my writing it leads to my first reader(s) going, "I don't get it." Take for example, the "cell" in my WIP. Yes, it is based around a cell phone, but that's not all it is. One of the commented I received in the first round of edits was, "This is supposed to be in the future, but I'm not seeing a lot of future tech" (well, that's the paraphrase). Well, in this world Silicon Valley never happened (California, mostly destroyed and economically crippled, remember?). So tech went a different way. The "cell" as I envision it is like an iPhone, but is a real computer. Making calls on it is the least of it's capability. When we encounter actual computer towers we call it "server porn" because most people, as they have personal computers now, use their cell. And I hope the flashback chapter worked well. People seemed to like it, although without italicizing the kata moves, it left some people a little confused.

A cartoon's humorous take on NaNoWritMo. Ha! I like NaNo, never been able to participate, but I think at heart it's a good idea. But, yeah, this is funny.

Post-Election Morning Hangover

Well, the nation election is one thing. But for our little burgh, we passed a new charter that will change our form of governance in two years. We're going from a weak mayor position to a village administrator, removing the water board, and reducing council to 5 from 7. Sure, it passed with 15 votes (4%), but it had everything going against it; fear of change, distrust of those proposing it, that an administrator “might not be one of us” (more than likely), and that the local elections board incorrectly listed the vote blocks as “for/against the levy.” So the good news is that in two years I expect to be out of a job (my seat is one of those being cut, as I expect one of the other two councilmen to run, and they consistently garner the most votes of any of us). Go us. Now the second half of the hard work begins.

We also didn't approve of a 1.55mils "Improvement" Levy for our new school (only 4 years old). This is the exact levy our school board said they would allow to expire since we approved the levy to build the new school (104 votes or 4.5%). I expect they'll float it again. They tried to do this one through stealth (absolutely no campaigning for the off year election). Next time might require actual campaigning against.

And while the state did some other things I disapproved of, we did finally pass a casino initiative. And hey, it only took a complete collapse of our economy and state revenues to do it. Unfortunately we had to do it through a Constitutional Amendment, but then our state constitution is weird that way.

Ah, the spam flies again like shit into a fan

Dear Anonymous Spammer (of whose posts were deleted permanently),

Please roll over and die. Oh, and really piss me off and you'll see what old style hacking was all about. I don't roll my own blog because I don't have the time to devote to its maintenance, nor do I wish to spend the money (yet). Don't give me a reason to devote more time and money to you.

Love and kisses,
The Administrator of this blog

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vote Again!

Oh crap. They made a misprint on our ballots. Damn it, that means a greater chance I'm going to have to run again in 2 years. I was so looking forward to putting down the second job (and I've made the promise to myself if I sell this book, I'm quitting the second job anyway).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vote!

Tomorrow is election day. If you're registered and able, go out and vote. Last years we saw the power of what happens when everybody gets involved. Here in Ohio we have plenty of things to vote for and against.

Go forth and do the democracy thing. Good luck to all concerned, but almost half of us will be disappointed.

All Soul's Day Hang-over Writerly Linkee-poo

Chapter 31 is going a bit weird, but then maybe it's a good weird. Another character might die (but I'm not sure he should, maybe badly injured). Still didn't take the time to flow in Chapter 30 so I haven't updated the counter.

Ever wanted to know what to call a bunch of ghosts? Wonder no longer. Wondermark with an excellent table of Supernatural Collective Nouns. Probably not gospel, but certainly good for a laugh. Although I personally like "a rage of orcs" and "a flurry of yeti." Although "an exigency of wendigoes" is growing on me. (Grokked from Jay Lake).

Writing Excuses releases their podcast on How to Write Without Twists. One of the things I had planned on with this book was a fairly straight plot. We may swerve from side to side, but it's a fairly straight "we start here, and end over there" concept. So, food for thought. I'm going for the "watch the interesting character grow/progress" and "watching people who are good at something doing it" (the satisfaction argument).

Mer Haskell talks about collaging here book. This is obviously a thing people do, not that I was aware of it. I don't know, to me (and it may be my degree talking here) it feels a little too much cat waxing (me, I'd do 500 thumbnail sketches, but that's me). But you know what, if it helps you (and it seems to have helped Mer) it's definitely worth it. I know people who create whole notebooks filled with images for their novel. They include images of the characters, pictures of what they'd wear (includes catalog descriptions), pictures of their ideal living space, where they've vacationed (or liked to), all sorts of things. That might have helped me, I don't know.

World Fantasy San Jose is over which means it's time to get my membership for World Fantasy Columbus. That's just down the road from us. Also, according to their website, registration goes up soon. An extra $25 will pay for some books, or at least a dinner out with friends. The year after that WF goes back to California. Hopefully I'll have a book to flog and can justify the expense. (Oh, and to the Columbus committee, hey, San Diego has their theme, would be nice if you posted yours already)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The gales of November coming early

The forecast has snow and rain for Thursday.

Spent the day taking care of business. Went up on the roof to sweep off the gutters. I had hoped that with the removal of the trees closest to the house that we wouldn't have as many leaves on the roof. However, I was wrong. One of these years I should get gutter guards or gutter helmet which are while gutter systems that rely on water tension to shed debris and channel the water down the gutter system. Right now I have plastic gutter tops which help keep the leaves out of the gutters, but they have the bad habit on holding leaves on top (the stems get caught in the openings, or sticks get lodged in them creating a leaf damn). I still go up on the roof and sweep off the gutters. At least I don't have to scoop out the gutters any more. Going to gutter helmets would be about a $1000+.

Then we took down the Halloween decorations and set up the Thanksgiving displays. In some cases this meant turning the jack o' lanterns around. We put away the rest of the stuff. This year we had a first, someone decided to take some of our stuff. It eventually showed up on someone else's lawn. They were good about it, telling me that the stuff just started showing up and they put it out by the street hoping someone would recognize it.

And then we raked up the leaves on the lawn. With our weird weather and with our decorations on the lawn we hadn't been able to rake yet. So this was like two of our normal raking periods.

I guess this is a long winded way of saying I'm tired, I hurt, the muscles don't want to work the same. This getting old sucks. Add in the time change and I'm really out of sorts.

Trying to get back in the swing of things writing wise. I have one novel I need to finish proofing soon and it's going very slowly. Some of the short stories are calling for attention (the deep-space and Somali Cthulhu stories). I'm working on breaking my distractions and procrastination habits.