Saturday, July 13, 2013

Waist'n time on this story!

Alright! I’ve been out there. I’ve been writing. I’ve been having a great time.

All at once I’ve been doing more author work than I have been in a while. It seems wrong to say this, because I’m always working on one story or another. But I’ve just started working on another YA (Young Adult) idea. It popped into my head a few months ago. After weeks months of writing backstory I’ve come to the part where I actually start putting story to paper (Paper, ha. That reminds me I want an old cool typewriter. With spell check plz). I’m all super focused right now (lies, proven later). It’s refreshing.
I’m also super proud of my growing stack of manuscripts.
I always have topics that I want to talk about when next I blog… “That” is the mistake I always make though. I never learn. Because, if I’m not yet ready to write my next blog I don’t write the idea down and by the time I get to the keyboard I’ve forgotten what the hell was so interesting! Apparently it wasn’t that enthralling and I shouldn’t have blogged about it after all.  Perhaps?
I live within a foot of a computer at almost all times, you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard for me to simply rollover (half of my ideas come to me just as I’m trying to settle in for bed) and type up a quick outline of what I want to say. NOPE, I’ll remember… really, this time for sure.
Maybe one day I’ll remember that I don’t.
Wester-Con! It was in Sacramento and yes I went! I had a good time, met some great people, I bought some more art…
Here there be dragons!
Really it’s becoming a sickness. The need cover my walls in frames has become addicting. These two are by Sarah Clemens
People ask me how the con went and I don’t know what to say. I mean you really want hear about the panels I went to on how to make a realistic fight scene? We did lose power the first night, that was kind of funny. You’re in a room with a ton of authors drinking and then DARKNESS. The birth of the cellphone flashlight army. There is story in that.
Also I had a critique group with other authors. This went…badly. There are faults on both sides of the coin here.

1.       I’m starting to come to the realization that I don’t write true Sci-Fi. Well that’s not true. I knew I didn’t write mainstream Sci-Fi genre, what I do is write stories that dabble with Sci-Fi and technology aspects. I’m more about the human condition: interactions, relationships.
To give you an idea. Let’s say I fill one of my poor charters full of nanobots. Sci-Fi focus says: What do the nanobots do to him?  My thought is: How does a man trying to deal with becoming a nanobots host change compared to those around him? Of course both questions need to be answered in your story. But you can see were my focus would be.
So going to a Sci-Fi writers group and asking for feedback for my stuff may not be the best audience for it.

2.       I was given the super scary impression that most of the people at the critique group didn’t read my summited work and/or didn’t read my synopsis that answered most of their questions/problems. On the other hand, I had A LOT more story/plot than the 7500 word limit could cover for.  A good or true synopsis would have eaten my 7500 word count alone.

As you can see, two sides of a coin on many things here. But I AM saying “I don’t like it, and that’s all I have to say.” isn’t professional and after looking over YOUR work you need to prove to me you are really interested in this craft (not competed, and when I can  find problems in your grammar and spelling you got REAL work left to do. I didn’t pick the website for giggles. Okay, yes I did.).
Ahem, sorry.
It’s not to say I didn’t get some great stuff that I could work with. Already I’ve made some new scenes and changed removed some others. With the changes I made I’m going to come back it in a few months and see if I like it better.
Kraig Ferguson… You son of a bitch!
I’d just put the kid to bed and I was looking forward to a few hours of writing before I turned in myself. One online video later I couldn’t do anything but watch more, and more, and OH MY GOD it’s 4am and I didn’t write a single word. If you haven’t seen one of the many (there are tons, trust me) Kraig/Kristen Bell segments. Educate yourself!
It’s stuff like this that makes me want to become a talk show host. Man how much fun would that job be? I’m sure it’s craptasic parts when the camera isn’t rolling. After all, no one sees my neurotic side while I’m trying to write a story. 
A longer of a blog than you might be used to, but anything as a thin excuse to keep me from working on my book that I rather be writing. No really I rather be writing but I just think of all the things I ALSO haven’t done that I should. 
Till next time,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Use the webz for some good will ya?

The itch is back like a fever. In the last week I’ve spent a lot of time working on all kinds of story ideas and laying down a few plots. I’m working on one right now, but all I’ve really done is build pages and pages of backstory. This is a good thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not writing that’s going to be seen, at least not normally, so it doesn’t have the same gratification to me.
On the other hand, for those wondering…
I’ve pulled all my notes and the books to start work on Dinatech three. I haven’t got a working title for it yet, but it will come to me. It’s time hangout with Dan and Clara and see what they’ve been up to while I’ve been working on other projects like Devil n’ Jack and FBtA. Personally I think Clara is going to be a little sore at me for ignoring her this long. I’m currently plotting and should have first draft done in November.

If you too are looking for a few creative writing challenges, I’ve been watching this out of the corner of my eye. The program format of the Geek and Sundry channel has changed and I can’t say I’m a fan. But this vLog looks like it could be a lot of fun. Right now it seems to be sticking to smaller works, around 500 to 1000 words.
If some people would like to do this, I could be guilt tripped into joining you. :D

Wednesday my son had a fieldtrip out to a place called Biztown. It’s basically a small indoor city run by children. Every kid has a job, a checking account, and has the ability to earn a paycheck, pay their bills and use what’s left to invest or spend on small gifts. My son was made the director of AAA Safety and Maps. While I think he’s a champ when it comes to mapping, I’m not so sure about the safety part. But I couldn’t argue with the money, it was one of the highest playing jobs in Biztown at $9.00 a paycheck!
And I guess results speak for themselves, no one was hurt while Zack was on the job.

Part of my week has been spent sitting in revelation. I watched this YouTube video and it made me realize something. While we have this grand tool that allows us to be more connected, communicate faster and farther than ever before… well I think the video says it best.
Don’t get me wrong, the World Wide Web has done plenty of good as well. I mean, I can want, find, and have a book on my e-reader within minutes of discovering it even existed. Music? How much do I want to buy right now? Need a cheap way to get your own art out there? There wasn’t tools like this fifteen, maybe ten years ago.

Just remember kids, use this power for good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Role Models and Vinyl... No not like that.

A friend showed me an article on the internet (It’s this new thing, everyone’s doing it.) people are in an up roar over the Merida from Disney’s Brave.  Disney gave her a ‘makeover’ so she’d look sexier. People have started a petition and I guess won. Disney has since pulled the images.
They say it corrupts her as a role model.
Am I the only one that feels this is wrong? People want a character created by Disney/Pixar is a role model for their children… Ok, let’s start with this:
Merida isn’t real. (Duh, I know right)
Merida is created by a company that’s bottom line is to make money. (Sure companies can do nice things for community/country/world, but face it, if they aren’t making money. Their gone.) So of course they are going to do everything they can to make the next buck. \
She wasn't that great a role model people. In the attempt to get what she wants she almost destroyed her whole family. I know I’d be a little cross at my son if he did what she did.
I scratch my head.
I think I’d encourage better role models…
Real role models…
I try to be the person I’d want others to be.

A new addiction has started…
Years back I started getting into vinyl records, I’m talking like ten plus years ago. I’d picked up some when my god brother worked at Tower Records. He got me a discount! Of course had money to waist on things I couldn’t listen to if they were discounted! Later,  I was given a nice record player by family, it wasn’t an audiophile turntable by any means, but I was shocked at just how good it sounded. I mean the turntable was a Sony from the 70s. But one day it had jammed and so my record collection was left to sit again for almost another ten years.
Then I started seeing there was an option to get my new music on vinyl with a free download code for the digital copies. That worked for me. I wanted the sound of vinyl and the convenience my iPod. I really don’t use CDs, and for the most part they just get piled into boxes for when the FBI comes knocking wanting to know if I’d stolen all my music.
Now vinyl was really starting stack up, and I’d never played any of it. I thought it would be a great idea to get myself a record player. A really nice record player! Anyone that knows me, understands that I can’t just get a low end anything. So I started looking… I was quite shocked at just how much a record player can go for.  “Audiophile” record players start at about $400 and go all the way up to almost $100K. I spent a week in sticker shock, I’m not normally one to succumb to sticker shock.
This was one of the few times where I had to weigh what I wanted with what I could afford.
I settled on a Music Hall MMF-2.2
It’s a good starter record player with a great arm on it, but I’m thinking I want to move to a glass platter soon. When I wear this one out, I’m hoping to be in a position to get into something a bit grander. For now it’s a phenomenal player. Stuff I’d only heard on MP3/CD sound so much better. And I do mean better.  Phantoms by Fixx sounds better than the CD version. Like night and day. It goes from flat to alive. Talking to my cousin, it’s because the early techniques for transferring music from the masters to CDs where flawed and it hurt the end product in many cases.
Now that I have a way to play vinyl, I've watched my collection explode. Some of it comes from hitting second hand stores and finding old records at .99 all the way up to five dollars. The rest is Amazon’s fault! There ability to feed me vinyl is disturbing!
Now that I have a record player, I’m going to buy and write a story on an old ink typewriter. Mark my words…it’s going to happen.

Till next week,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Camp and other family adventures

As I’d said last week, 5th Grade camp adventures were on! I had a great time and so did Zack. 
The number one thing learned; my son is a boating NUT.
As an experiment I thought I’d use some of my “Grew up in Alaska I can do about every outdoors activity ever” power and I took Zack out in a canoe. My largest worry about putting him in a small canoe was balance. Sure let’s put my hyperactive son in a boat that requires you keep centered and then sit you have to sit apart so you can’t help him!
Let’s just say; I was prepared to go into the drink! 
We put him in the boat and he quickly found that if he moved so did the boat and he came to enjoy his bird’s eye view carefully while I paddled him about. During the session two other boats capsized and both times teachers and instructors were sure it was us and came running. Only to find we were the ones coming to help. It was kind of a proud moment. ;)
From then on, his goal was to get into another lifejacket and back out onto the water. During free time we had the opportunity to join up with others and take one of the larger boats. This also meant we got to go farther out into the inlet.
The quote of the trip goes like so: 
As we reached the deepest point of the inlet, the boating guide starts telling us about the area and how deep it was when Zack turns to the guild and declares.
“Let’s raise the Titanic!”
Everyone looked from him to one another and we decide that the best answer was: We were on the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic. Also, I wasn't sure I was ready to drag the Titanic back on paddle power alone.

"Titanic Explorer Zack, reporting!"
With camp coming to a close, I got back just in time to host family down from Alaska. We did some of my normal northwest things. Cruised Seattle, checked out the university stores, I picked up some sweet records for almost nothing. Then Sunday we headed to Portland to check out the largest bookstore on the area Powell’s. If you’d never been, it’s worth doing. I recommend taking the train down from Seattle.

It has been a long time since I hosted family and it was really nice catching up. It reminds me just how much I need to visit home and just see… everything. It’s been embarrassingly too long. I wonder if I could fly up and then take a nice slow boat home. It would be good to go up and then write about my experiences on my way home. If I flew home, I wouldn't have the time to really write about it.

And if my boat sank, I know Zack would come along and raise it for me.
Till next week

Friday, April 19, 2013

Getting on Track and Travel

Look at that, another week another blog!
I can’t say I’m complete back on track, but I’m getting there. Just a short one this week.
I’m currently still working on edits to Devil n’ Jack, while I have the first 25 pages well polished… Many, many pages still need a good scrubbing. I’d like to have scrubbed by November. Because, boys and girls. It’s time to start putting (digital) pen to (digital) paper and start book three of the Dinatech Series. I have been itching to create and not edit. I have a ton of stuff that want to be writing on right now. But there are only so many hours in the day. I must be good, I must edit!
Monday is my son’s 5th grade camp, you blink and he’s no longer the 4 year old that we dropped off for pre-school. 
Get this.
Not only will I be going along, but somehow I’ve also been put in charge of a whole cabin! I have enough trouble trying to keep myself out of trouble, now I’ve been given the chance influence a whole legion of trouble makers!  My friend was telling me about how his school was banned from camp indefinitely for crazy antics. I think will try and avoid going that far...
My camp was 6th grade, and I have to think really hard to remember that trip. Yeah getting old. I’m glad that I get to share this with him. I hope that he enjoys the trip. It sounds like a lot of people are putting a lot of work into this.

On a last note…
I DID IT! I finished all five books in the Ice and Fire series! It’s been six months of work and at times it really was a slog to get through. But, it’s done and now I can talk and be one of the cool kids. We can have great intellectual talks about the story and I don’t have to sit there, hoping beyond HOPE, they don’t say something that’s going to spoil it for me. I’m just SO happy to be finished!
But, the next morning. There was this moment when I looked over my books and thought “Isn’t there just a little more Ice and Fire I could read?” It’s like Stockholm syndrome! Then the second panic came; I’ve have such a MASSIVE backlog now I didn’t know what in the hell I should read next!
I settled on a Sarah Dessen book… of course.

Till next week!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Geeks and Authors!

Okay, okay!
I know I’ve been a little quieter than you might have liked these last few months. But I promise you, behind the parchment curtain there has been plenty of activity. I’ve been trying to keep my blogs to things that have been interesting and not just blogging to blog.
I have to blame Sarah Dessen for adding to this pressure though. She’s been keeping up on hers. Making me feel guilty!
I came across something that all but whipped my literary mind into action, a music video “For the Win” by Team Unicorn. It features Weird Al Yankovic, Aisha Tyler, and Grant Imahara.  It basically shows off four woman in half clothed medieval Cosplay fighting some kind of evil while talking about Magic the Gathering and Comic-Con.  “Hey we’re hawt and we play games!”

There is one other music video like this done by the guild team.

There seems to be this huge geek movement going on right now. It’s cool to be geek/nerd and I’m not sure that’s really what it should be all about. It fact it kind of goes against the definition of the word
I can’t put my finger on it fully, but it bothers me. WHY DOES IT BOTHER ME?

In other news… Norwescon 2013 has come, has happened, and has ended.
In the busy life I’m living I only got to go for one day. I’ll be making this up later in the year when I head to Sacramento for a 4 days and nights for Westercon.
I won’t say that my one 3/4th day at Norwescon wasn’t productive though. Of the few panels I went to. One of them was “Practice My Pitch” or as I lovingly called it. “PIMP MY BOOK!” basically a room full of people trying to become published authors. On the stage the panelists hold a nice juicy steak in the form of a fast track to an agent.
Thinking that I’d only have MAYBE thirty seconds to convince them MY story is the one they should pick. I was totally super prepped for this panel. It went something like this.

Day of; 12:30 At lunch with Del:
Del: “You know we have that pitch your story panel at three, have you got your pitch ready?”
Me: “Shit I totally forgot that we were doing that today!”

I cram the rest of my lunch down, headed to the hotel gift shop, and bought a pen and a pad (somehow I left the house that day thinking I wouldn’t need to take any notes). Then during the 1pm panel wrote and perfected the pitch I was going to give.

With my pitch ready and an hour to sweat, I decide I need a courage in the form of inebriation!
I downed a few beers I head off to give my pitch.
Getting there and getting settled into seats, it turns out it’s not a pitch at all. In fact it’s more like a four on one interview with authors and editors for places like “Daw”. So after letting someone else volunteer to be the test subject I finally had a grip on what to do and it had nothing to do with the pitch I wrote. Also I checked the clock and it was now 3:20… There are far more people than pitch time.  
It was time for Rob to be assertive!
After a few more pitches, I was picked! “You with the arm higher than anyone else’s.” Del later tells me, my arm found another six inches once she said that.
I walk up onto the stage. I settle into my seat. I give them my idea, why I think readers would enjoy it and making a few jokes about the story. The audience laughed at the right places, things seemed good. It ends I shake hands with the panelists and they grill a few more people after me. I really couldn’t tell you what happened for sure, I was off in jitters land.
After a small and what I’d say; heated debate.
I was picked as the winner!
I couldn’t tell you much of my day after that. I kind of floated about till Cask Beer Festival, then I drank myself stupid in celebration.
The next day I got up and it was on. One week to whip my first draft into something I could show another living person! I have to again thank Amie and Dell. Without them I’d have never gotten it all done and make it look like someone that knew ENGLISH was writing it!
My first 25 pages are currently sitting with an agent…who may or may not be laughing at me. :)

Enough for this week! I try and keep these to 500 words. I’m at 800!
I’ll try and be better about my blog, sorry to those of you who read this dribble, it should at least be on time.

Till next week!


Monday, January 7, 2013

And welcome to 2012, err 2013

A new year!
And the novel engine marches on.
I’m… maybe a week out from being finished with the first draft of my YA Romance book. Its sitting right about 108K. The manuscript scheduled to hit 120K by the time I type “The End”. I know the word count is far and above what most upstart YA writers do, but I’m expecting to cut about 20K out by the time I’ve edit it and another 20k will come out by the time it’s published. Talking with friends, they say larger books are becoming more expected in the YA genre. I hold on to the worry; I don’t believe a publisher would buy an oversized book of an unproven author. The cost of materials aren’t cheap. I keep going back and forth on it in my head.
Even as ‘Oil and Water’ goes onto a shelf to marinate, I have a stack of ideas that want to be written, and I need to start looking over the manuscript ‘Devil n’ Jack’. All these things fight for my writing time, I’m grumpy that I can’t give them all a slice! Ah well.

In other news I’ve started laying the groundwork for a podcast for AoA Publishing, I’ve got the first few hours of recordings done! Now I need to go through and review raw recording so I can edit it into a 30 minute file people would want to listen to. It should be ready for download in about a month.

The other day I got an itch to make a top 10 page of things l like. I wanted to have it done before writing my blog, but it’s been a lot of work so far.  Formatting and thinking through everything I’d ever seen/read/listen to take a lot more time than you’d think. Once I have a bit more done I’ll let others take a good look. 
I was walking by a box of bagels today, and while it might seem like the most news worthy thing in my life, I bring it up because of the logo on the side. It confused the hell out of me.

 Blazing Bagels
“Best Bagels East of New York”
When I saw it, the first thing I thought was; “What kind of company would say: ‘If you go here, you can find better bagels than us!’”
Company ideas that come to mind:

Second Best Pillow Company
We we’ll save your neck, but that shoulder is still going to hurt like hell.
Pittsburgh Cheesesteak
Not quite Philly, but it’s good!

Oh list goes on and becomes ever more inappropriate as I think about it. Maybe a post for my other blog. :)
Then a second thought came to me; I realized in that moment, I live on the West Coast… Now, I know we live in a global market. But this seems a little off, it’s a long way east for New York to Seattle. Do they only distribute east in an attempt to compete directly with New York for Bagel supremacy?
Ah well…

What I’m reading:
Started book three of Ice and Fire! Woo! It’s a damn thick book for sure!

Violence: A Writer’s Guide by Rory Miller – An author I’ve become friends with after a night of drinking with him.  That night, I learned I’m not worthy when it comes to wring violence. So after my editor (who was also there for drinks) bought me his first book I sat down and read it cover to cover in like 3 hours. And a few weeks later I’m reading it a second time sopping up all the information I can for Dinatech book 3.  The formatting of the book needs work. But the content is worth more than gold if you are looking to write violence in a story. I hope to help Rory with formatting for his next book.

What I’m listening to:
Cray Button by Family Force 5 – I’m getting into a lot of dance music. It might be time to breakout the polyester pants, big collared shirts, and platform shoes… and burn them on my way to the club. This was a song I hear over a year ago and didn’t really think much of it at the time. Now I’m all up in that. -_-

Express Yourself by Labrinth – Another dance song and part of the Windows 8 ads. I enjoyed it enough to buy it. What can say for myself? NOTHING sometimes I have no taste.
Last time I left you with a music video and I’m going to do that again.
 Personally, I’m in love with this video, I’d liked the song, but when put into context with what I’d call a short story, Taylor Swift may have made one of my favorite music videos.

Next time we talk, my manuscript will be done!