Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WFC 2007 or bust

I made the hotel reservations for WFC today. The check for my membership will hit the mailbox on Friday. I'm stoked. It's what, four months away? I can't wait. Until then I have Gen Con Indy and NasFic to distract me. I'm giving a reading at Gen Con; I'm starting to get nervous. I see practice sessions in my future. NasFic is the weekend after Gen Con, and as of today I have to work, but I'm hoping to switch weekends with one of my kind-hearted co-workers in the next day or two. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


It's amazing what a "holy shit, it's due when?" deadline will do for ya. Last night I finished my first draft of my ghost story. 5400 words. The guideline is 4K-6K, so I feel downright prolific. I'll start the edits tomorrow to give it time to digest a bit.

This progress has made me decide that when I'm actively working on a project, I won't read. Basically, I'd like to try writing in big chunks and reading in slightly smaller chunks. Once fall T.V. starts I'll watch T.V. only on the weekends. We'll see how it goes.

Stormy Weather is still out with beta readers, so in the meantime I have a few deadlines for myself:
August 8: Submit Ghost Story (I really need a title.)
August 14: Blurb of SW completed
August 21: Synopsis and cover letter completed
August 28: List of 20 agents to query
September 15: Final draft of SW complete and queries out the door

After SW is done, I'd like to tear apart my trilogy and rebuild it as a stand-alone before tackling the AI/autism outline. Lots of research and reading to do for the AI business; my tentative goal is to have an outline by December 31st. We shall see.

Today I got a rejection for a story that said basically, "Hey, I liked this story all the way until the end." I wonder if I should query that editor with a "Hey, if I re-write the story, would you be interested in giving it another look?" My head says "no, too forward" while my gut says "you never know, give it a shot." I have a few more markets to send the story to before I give up on it, though, so I have some time to think about it. This editor send one of my other stories on to the big-wig editors, so she might go for it ... I dunno.

Friday, July 27, 2007


You know what? I didn't really like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows all that much. Sure, the last three hundred pages were awesome. The chapter near the end where Harry goes to the forest is argueably the best chapter in the series. The first half of the book, however? Meh. I loved the overall story of the series, and I've made peace with the ending, but Goblet of Fire is still my favorite.

As you were.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Shout Out

I want to take this opportunity to say "Howdy" to all of you lurkers out there. I suspect most of my readers don't make themselves known in the comments; I want you guys and gals to know that I appreciate your visits. You da best!

Ghost Story

I'm about 3/4 of the way done with a first draft of The Fun Ghost Story, a.k.a. as the Newly Disturbing Ghost Story. I set out to write a fun, charming, light ghost story with a ten-year-old protagonist and it's become a darker, creepier story with twelve-year-old protagonist. Funny how that works out, huh? Usually it's best to get out of a story's way. I'm hoping to finish the first draft today. Next up: title.

I bought three new CD's for my most recent rejections: Guns-N-Roses Greatest Hits, Velvet Revolver Contraband, and Plain White T's All That We Needed. I'm listening to GNR now; there's just something about that music that brings out the angry teen in me. It's definite "turn up" music, you know, you hear it and you just have to crank it loud and sing at the top of your lungs.

Saying that makes me think of one of my friends in high school. He defined his music in two catagories: "turn up" music or "leave the fuckin' knob alone" music. He would get on me because he felt I was too liberal with the "turn up" distinction. I'd turn up Billy Joel, REO Speedwagon, Nirvana, and the Police; he'd say leave the fuckin' knob alone. He turned up Pearl Jam. I think he'd approve of cranking GNR. I wonder what he's doing now.

I cleaned out my filing cabinet last night and found another rejection from ... I dunno ... 2005? I actually got a little nostalgic.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And so it ends ...

Ken and I bought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at around 1 a.m. this morning. I read three chapters and then fell asleep. I woke up, and with the exception of about an 1-1/2 break for dinner, read for 13 hours straight. I'm groggy, disoriented, and a little dehydrated (crying will do that).


I won't spoil the book for anyone--I don't want to make enemies. But I will tell you I have two gut reactions: the reader one and the writer one. The reader in me liked it alot. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked. The reader in me has a few complaints but that falls into the spoiler catergory, so I'll save that discussion for the weeks and months to come. The writer in me felt that the story was bloated in places. I also feel that this story arc can be broken in two: the first four books and then the last three. I believe she had a firm idea about where the story was heading and what the major plot points concerning Harry/Voldemort were all along. However, I also feel that Rowling used the three years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix for some major plotting/construction/backstory work that maybe wasn't strictly part of her original plan.

Mind you, I'm not saying that bad. It's necessary, in fact, when you're writing a long series, I think. My opinion is that she found uses for some of the characters later in the series that she hadn't planned on when she started out.

I'll probably read the whole series again, start to finish, but probably not for another year or so. I need time to digest. I also need some time to come down from the whole Harry Potter OCD business.

My confidence in my own writing is intact, and for that I'm grateful. It's a big step for me; I used to read awesome stories and say "Why can't I do that? Why do I suck? I'm never going to make it." Now, I go, "Hey, she did that really well. I'd have done X differently ... but this is her story. I enjoyed it."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stormy Weather, part deux.

I have an official second draft of Stormy Weather completed. Well, sort of. I still want to mess with the first chapter a bit, but otherwise ... yeah. Note the word count ... still need around 12,000 words but there are bits that probably need fleshing out that I'm sure my beta readers will point out for me. Tonight I'm happy with it. I'm going to forget about it for a week while I work on my ghost story. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Today Ken and I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Good movie, awesome special effects. The movie cut out a lot of the book, but all the major plot points were there. You'd be completely lost, though, if you hadn't read the books. Also, this movie is a good illustration of the magic of books; nothing on screen can be as scary, emotional, or real as stuff we read. Did I dislike the onscreen Professor Umbridge? Sure. Did I hate her? No. Did I enjoy the Weasley twins' "screw you" scene? Yeah. But did I want to stand up and cheer and almost cry because they're so frickin' cool? Nope. Was the death at the end sad? You bet. But did I cry and bemoan how horrible life has been for Harry? Nope. You get the idea.

Another rejection. Note the Reject-o-meter.

Ken has been in the process of tearing out our deck. We're going to rip out the concrete patio, put in a stone paver patio, build a new deck, put in a fence, and build a brick outdoor-kitchen type deal. All before then end of September. Anyway, today Ken discovered the remains of long-dead furry little animal. At least, that's what he thought it was. I gave it a close inspection and found the vertebrae, and about a foot away, a little skull. It's been dead a looooong time, a year or two at least. It looks like it may have been a bunny. Poor bunny.

Working on the climax of Stormy Weather. I'd like to get through that tomorrow. I'm getting dangerously close to having a bona fide second draft. Ken and I bounced around ideas for my ghost story and I think I've got a fun idea going. Both of my previous published works (!!!) have been a little dark, so I wanted to go light and fun with this. We'll see how it goes. I'd like to have a first draft done of that by the end of this week. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

new addition

Today I performed the masochistic task of counting all my rejections. All of them, dating back to early 2004, and including agent, trilogy, and short story rejections. The grand total is 50. That's it! 50! Granted, 25 of those have been from the last year or so, but still. I've not been working hard enough. It's possible, too, that I've not kept them all.

Note the new, nifty "Reject-O-Meter" progress bar at left. It was Ken's idea. I figure when I reach 100 I'd like to do nice, big, reward. Like apply to Clarion Writing Workshop or go on the Maui Writer's Conference cruise or something fantabulous like that. Coincidentally, Ken and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next year ... mayhap we could wrap the two trips into one.

I suspect, though, that I'll reach 100 way before that. Because, you know, I'll be querying like 100 agents in about two months.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


So I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Before, I was 100% sure that Harry was the last Horcrux and that he'd have to die in order for Voldemort to be killed. There's reasoning behind my theory, and if you want to hear it, I'll be happy to debate it in the comments. It's just that, after a fresh reading, I'm only about 90% sure. Basically, it comes down to this, I think: as readers, how much faith should we put into what the characters believe? Should we assume that Dumbledore is infallible because everyone else has? And just how do we know Voldemort tried the killing curse on Harry? Sure, sure, everyone says that's what Voldemort did, and even Voldemort himself says that's what happened, but ... if that happened, someone had to have seen it happen. Who was that someone? And do we trust that someone to tell us the truth? And if Voldemort indeed made Harry the last Horcrux, would he blab that information to even his closest followers?

Ah, hell. Next week we'll know.

Happily, I was able to read Half-Blood Prince without line-editing it. Did I think about how I would have done X, Y, and Z differently? Sure. But I still enjoyed the book, and for that I'm grateful.

In other news, today I got a rejection from Jim Baen's Universe for "Last Man Standing." Five-day turn-around on that baby. Though, the rejection did say "Please feel free to send us anything else you'd like," which I took as a good sign. And I have six weeks or something to write a ghost story. And a second draft of Stormy Weather to finish. Ah! Pressure! It's actually enough to make me stop obsessing about HP.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Okay. So, today I spent the first day of my 5-day vacation doing almost nothing productive. I worked a little on Stormy Weather, took a nap, had lunch with Ken, and spent a few hours at the pool. While lounging by the deep end, I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I got through the first eighty pages or so before I started skimming. Why did I skim, you ask? I found myself line-editing the damn book. This is nothing new--ever since I've started writing seriously, I tend to read books as a writer and not as a reader. (You know, that whole "can't enjoy the scenery while reading the map" business.) However, I've not had that experience yet while reading HP. I have to tell you, the fifth time I changed a passive sentence to an active one in my head, J.K. Rowling became human for me. I'm not saying her writing is bad or anything--her world-building is cool, the long story-arc is nicely intertwined and well-executed, and the characters are awesome--I'm just saying, I don't feel as inadequate as I once did. I feel like I've taken one big step forward with my confidence level. Having said all that, I think I'll skip rereading most of the other books. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll still watch the 5th movie in the first few days it comes out, re-read the sixth book, and wait in line like a schmuck and buy the 7th book at midnight. But I think I can skip most of the obsessive-compulsive business this time around.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

my talented friend

Actually this post isn't about a writer but an artist. He's a good friend of mine that's in a visual-art school in L.A. Some of his work is featured in the school brochure. check out pdf pages 4 (head), 24 (building), and 25 (watch face). Be aware that these do not correspond to the actual brochure pages. He's going to be snapped up by a studio soon and we can all say we knew him when. Keep livin' the dream, dude.