Friday, December 31, 2010

Oh, 2010, We Hardly Knew Ye

Just a little over five hours left of 2010 here in Indiana.  It's been a good year, and I will miss it.  I didn't accomplish as much, writing-wise, as I wanted to, but I was able to get my head on straight and work on my priorities.

Welcome twenty-'leven.  My resolution is to fill my life with more love.  Not to sweat the little things.  Read more; write more.  Get off my butt and do something with the few gifts God gave me.

Happy New Year every one.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Just Don't Have the Words

"Self taught, no lessons, thank you very much, Pop!"

Ten points to the person that can name the movie this quote appears in, and another ten if you can name the actor.

The end of November is here, and I'm at a bit of a loss for a blog post. I've had an idea for a repeating post that I was thinking of implementing in the future. I think I'll try it out right now.

Now, as writers go, I'm not all that educated. I skipped out on college to take a good paying job (good for an 18 year old, anyway) and well, here I am. This post isn't really about that. What it is about is vocabulary. Mine is a bit on the light side. In an attempt to bulk up my word-muscles, I've been compiling a list of words from the books I read. When I run across one I've never seen, don't understand, or recognize but am not sure of the correct usage, then I write it down, look it up and try to burn it into my brain.

Here are a few words from that list.

Convivial : relating to, occupied with, or fond of feasting, drinking, and good company

Troika: 1. a Russian vehicle drawn by three horses abreast; also : a team for such a vehicle
2. a group of three; especially : an administrative or ruling body of three

: mysterious or specialized knowledge, language, or information accessible or possessed only by the initiate

: notably polite or polished in manner

: 1. disagreeably harsh
2. disorderly

I have a much longer list, with more difficult words. I realize some of these words are pretty common. Remember, I said some of them I was merely unsure of (he says, nursing his wounded ego), not completely ignorant of. If you must laugh, be gentle.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Haunted Indiana - Haunted Woods - (2 of 6)

Haunted Indiana - Skeleton Boy - (6 of 6)

Haunted Indiana - Burnt - (5 of 6)

Haunted Indiana - Campers - (4 of 6)

Haunted Indiana - Cable Line Monster - (3 of 6)

Haunted Indiana - Introduction - (1 of 6)

I Yam What I Yam

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. I love all things spooky. It's no wonder that I write stories filled with horror and the strange when I grew up watching things like Haunted Indiana and Sammy Terry. What are they? you ask. Haunted Indiana was a collection of local urban legends that were re-enacted, so to speak. The production values are terrible (they are 25 - 30 years old) but they are campy and fun. Sammy Terry was the local late night ghoul that appeared every Friday night, introducing young minds like myself to the fabulous world of Horror Films.

Like Popeye said, "I yam what I yam." I wanted to link the videos all in one post but I can't get it to work just right, so I'm going to make six more posts, each with a video of Haunted Indiana. If I can find one with Sammy Terry I'll post that one as well.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

That Was Fast

And then Summer was over.

Don't get me wrong, Fall is my favorite time of the year, but didn't Summer go just a bit too fast for all of you? I really am pushing it this time trying to get a September post in. I'm sorry. Soon I will try to make this blog more interesting. Less chatter about me will be a start.

So what's been going on? Unfortunately, not enough. The ideas are still flowing. The word counts continue to disappoint. But Halloween is on the way. I get all giddy just thinking about it. I can't help myself. I just love the spookiness of the season. If I ever become more financially comfortable, then you can just count on me opening a nice little haunted house out in my garage. I live to scare -- or is it scar? -- people.

I just applied for my first writing "job". Literally. Just now. I hit send for the email not more than two minutes ago. The Edge of Propinquity (which was nice enough to publish my story) has an opening for a Universe Author, which means a story appearing in each monthly issue for a year.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and if it doesn't work out then I already have my next novel outlined.

How's that for positive thinking!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jamie Eyberg: My Friend

The internet has made a small world even smaller. We meet and share our lives with people that 20 years ago we never would have met. We form digital friendships that are no less powerful than face-to-face friends.

Jamie Eyberg was my friend. No we never met. Never shared a meal. Never watched a movie together. And now to my great sadness, we never will.

Jamie was a good man. He always encouraged my writing. Always posted nice things on this blog. He enjoyed working with his hands, spending time with his wife and children, and dreaming of writing something people would find moving. In that we are brothers.

I don't pretend to understand. My heart hurts. My thoughts and prayers go out to his children, who lost not one parent, but both. There are a few people setting up donations for the children. You can read about them on Barry Napier's blog.

I will miss sharing Jamie's life via his blog. I will miss my friend.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Can't You Please Wait?

Man, ol' man. It never fails. I get an idea for a novel; get some research done; get my characters fleshed out; sit down for the long haul, and what happens? That's right, some new idea for a short story digs in and won't leave me alone.

Normally this isn't all that bad -- if I'm working on another short story. But when it's a novel then I have to worry that by the time I'm done the short story will leave me. Not the idea, but the desire to put it on paper.

Part of my job takes me through a couple of museums on a daily basis. I see lot of art that moves me, some I'll never understand, and some that, well, appeal to my dark scribbling nature.

So, though I probably shouldn't, I think I'll take a small break to write the short story.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say. I hope this one will be worth at least five times that. And yes, if you are wondering, that IS in fact a tattooed pig. Let your imaginations soar with this one.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Opened or Closed?

Wow, has it really been almost two months since my last post? Did our revolution around the sun get shorter somehow? Sure feels like it. I'm cutting it close to the wire. I almost missed my June post.

I've been plugging along on my YA novel, still feeling it out, not sure if it's going to end up whimsical or dark and gritty. The latter is what I suspect, but that's the great thing about writing -- if you do it right the story takes over and you are just as surprised at the ending as everyone else.

I've not been too happy with my word counts of late and I'm trying some new things. Stephen King discusses in his book On Writing about when to write with the door open and when to write with it closed. He suggests that when writing the first draft you should write in solitude with the door closed. Later on, when revising, write with the door open.

I agree with this method and I've done most of my writing this way. Problem is it's not always a feasible way to write. Now that my babies are becoming toddlers I'm facing some writing dilemmas. Either go into my room of solitude, shut the door and try to block out the knocking and calls for Daddy to come play. Or grab the laptop, shove my butt into the seat and write in small (sometimes VERY small) doses, working around the noise and distractions. There is one other option, but I don't seem very good at it. I could wait for the kids to go to sleep then write late at night. Not a bad option, but I get up very early for work, so I end up nodding off at the computer.

Oh how I dream of a professional writer's life. Get up, get the kids to the sitters, sit down and clack out about 2,000 words. Grab lunch. Get some editing done, surf blogs, a bit of self promotion. Then spend the rest of the day reading.

Okay, it's not realistic, but it's my dream so back off!


I'm afraid for the time being I'll have to do a bit of mix and matching with all of the above options. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. I'll be glad when they invent a machine that will transcribe the stories in a writer's brain while he sleeps. According to Back to the Future 2 we're only about five years away from flying cars, so my brain-transcriber should be along anytime now.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Spoke Too Soon

I often put the proverbial cart before the horse. In my last post I was discussing how I was waiting on an accepted story to be published in an anthology. I have been waiting a good long time to see this in print, and my faith that it would happen had started to waiver.

So, I posted my comment about it not looking too good. Then, in a moment of OCD writerly behavior, I decided to check the sites again. And there it was. The anthology was listed on both the publisher's website and on Amazon. I was elated. I was over the moon. I was . . . a little confused as to why my name and story title wasn't listed in the TOC.

In the beginning this was supposed to be a four-part anthology, with my story appearing in either the third or fourth. After the first anthology was published it was decided (as so often is the case) that the others would be shelved. But they had enough accepted stories that they elected to make number two the last. I was contacted and told my story would be published in the second and final of the series. When I didn't see my name in the TOC I panicked. What if I got bumped? There was not going to be a number three.

To make matters worse, on further searching, I discovered that the editor of the anthology (the only person I had any dealings with) had passed away a few days prior. I made contact with the head of the publishing company, John Betancourt, and after a bit of searching he confirmed that my story IS a part of the anthology.

If you like cats or you fear them; if you like stories of the strange; if you just want to buy a copy to make me feel better, then I encourage you to read Cat Tales 2 from Wildside Press, edited by the late George Scithers.


I want to take this space to say how thankful I am for the chance (however small it was) to work with George Scithers. After reading of all his accomplishments, and how largess he was with help and instruction to writers of all status, I feel humbled that he chose my story. It is a great loss to the writing world and a void not easily filled.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Territory

Hello all. I'm still here.

Sorry for all the short posts of late. I've been working, but I don't have much interesting to discuss.

I'm waiting to hear back about a submission I made to an anthology. Still waiting for a different anthology to get published so that I can see my story in print. At this point I'm not too optimistic. They have been putting it off for some time and I'm afraid it may have gotten the boot. I tried emailing the editor, but he has yet to respond to me.

I have ventured into new territory (as the title hints at). For the most part I write horror stories. Some are the good ol' fashion "blood'n'guts, chalked full of monsters" type. Others I would classify as just weird. They all are written for adults. But just when I get comfortable, what do I do? That's right, I go and try to write a Young Adult novel. I've never tried my hand at YA, and it's a chore to keep my overly dark style from permeating this story. Not that YA can't be dark, it's just that I can sometimes be "black hole" dark.

I'm not very far in and I have no idea where the story is heading. I'm a shoot-from-the-hip writer, but I usually have a good idea where the story is going before I write it. I have a little glimpse with this story, but not enough to feel comfortable. I hope it doesn't peter out on me, or doesn't come off as a cheap knockoff.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Than Gold

The work side and the writing side of my life have been at war for about a year now. As I mentioned before, I was in a job that I tolerated, maybe even liked (just a bit, though) and they came along and dissolved my position, moving me to another department.

This new job was hideous -- and I've had some bad jobs before. It wasn't my co-workers, it wasn't the environment . . . it wasn't even the work itself, if that makes sense. It was the constant irritation of micromanaging and unachievable expectations. It was the cortex zapping power that comes with daily having to relearn your job because the Higher-ups can't make up their minds how they want things to run.

Needless to say I've been stressed. That stress has led to, I won't say writer's block, but more of a drain on my creativity.

Now to the good news.

I'm leaving that job behind. After a year of searching I have accepted a position with a different company. The best part of the job is the hours. If everything goes right I should be able to get in some writing time every day after work instead of my once a week (if that). Plus, it should be less stressful. I can already feel my creativity returning. I've been capturing little thoughts left and right on post-it notes, napkins, the back of my hand.

If I can get back to writing, then I can get back to being happy. And that is worth more than gold.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's the last day of February. The year sure is going fast.

I've been invited to submit to another anthology, so that is what I've been working on. I have two possible stories that I could submit: one is done, the other is a WIP. I'm going to finish this one before making the decision on which to submit. It will most likely be the one I'm working on now, since I'll be able to direct it more toward the specific theme of the anthology. I still have a novel in me that is begging to get out, but I'm not sure when I'll start on it.

Normally I'm the healthiest person around. I rarely get sick. But there is just something about having small children in your home that weakens your immune system. I now seem to have a touch of bronchitis, which has stolen my voice. This is bad since I talk on the phone all day at work. Also, today I bent down to pick up my daughter and threw my back out. What a week, and it just started.

That's about it in a nut shell.

I hope the words are flowing fast and free for the rest of you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

When Life Floods In

I don't have too much to report but I didn't want all of January to go by without letting you all know I'm still here. Work continues to conspire against my writing. Lately I've had all the productivity of a snail on a salt-lick. But I will prevail.

Life has a way of rushing in like a flood. All we can do is wait for the waters to subside. With that in mind, I leave you with a video of a flood that happened at my own home. It's bit hard to tell, but the water is probably about seven or eight feet deep in the middle. Enjoy.