Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Untitled WIP Wednesday

I have been slowly working on a story, in between notes for other stories, that I can't quite place where it will go. Could go scary, could go noir. Haven't decided yet. It is centered around a man picking up a beaten up girl after her beaten up car calls it quits on her miles from town. It leads him into a dark driveway he has never before seen in a town he knows all to well. this is the last little bit that I have written in it.

She got out, her spirits brighter already. “Thank you,” she said and handed me my phone. In the low light I could see how pretty she had been. The shadows hid most of the bruising. “Can you come in for a moment?” There was a hint of an East Coast accent in her voice.

“I really can't, but if there is anything I can do for you, just give me a call.” I reached into my shirt pocket and handed her one of my business cards. They were cheap, but they did the job.

She took it and looked it over, flipping it in her fingers like she had my phone. “I will.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

*Cough, sniffle, sneeze*

This post has been going around like the flu and I thought I might share my take on it as well. It is fun, everyone should catch this.

1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?”

I would say mostly a pantser for my short stories. I like to see where the character will take a situation. For books I have to be a plotter, otherwise it becomes an unfinished book.

2. Detailed character sketches or “their character will be revealed to me as a I write”?

My characters usually reveal themselves to me as i write but i might know a few things about them before I start, usually academic and not personality.

3. Do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing?

I think this goes to question 2. I like to think I discover my character along the way.

4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?

I've may have them on my shelf, but I have ignored every single one.

5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

I procrastinate until I get the itch. Once a story gets into my head it is head down and fingers going until I have to come up for air.

6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

I can burst for about 10-15 minutes at a time, take a half hour break and then go it again.

8. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

*shhhh* Quiet, please. I'm writing.

9. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Notes get handwritten and then transferred to the computer before I can't read what I wrote anymore. Stories always get typed out.

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?

I have no clue where my short stories are going and if I don't know where a book is going I never finish it.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

Not really. I write what I like. I can't write were-beast stories but I can write a ghost story for example. I have never tried zombies (although I have a story coming out in a zombie antho later this year) and I really doubt if I could write a Nancy Drew Mystery but I might have good luck with the Hardy Boys.

12. Editing – love it or hate it?

It is nice to clean up a piece and make it presentable, but I really don't enjoy it as much as I probably should.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday :P

This weekend was good. I guess. I managed to finish my rough outline of my next YA book (I hope I can still call it that. I have to read Crank to see how that author handled some very sensitive subjects). Now I am working on sketching out my characters. In the meantime I want to start outlining my NaNo book (Or maybe it is the other way around and I have outlined that and am going to outline something else completely) I don't know.

I can't believe that the month will be over by the end of the week and the only things I have gotten done are outlines, query letters and edits. No new stories at all. Sadly, I am not planning on starting any anytime soon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Biblical proportions I tell you

I have had a brain surge yesterday and today. It felt good. It cost me most of a nights sleep, but it felt good. Still feels good. A welcome relief from the past month or so when I have had a collective word count of probably under 10K.

I didn't write much today, it was all notes, but it was words and a better part of a much longer story in now in outline form on my computer. I am ready to roll. I haven't decided if I am going to go back on my original NaNo story and use this one instead or start this one and then go into my NaNo idea. Either way, it feels good to have the brain working again. I think it was the large quantity of chocolate I inhaled yesterday at lunch.

I also managed to pound out 1500 words of a story I don't know how to finish (or if I ever will). I really like where I have taken it so far, with a very hardboiled feel to it, but I dont' know if I should continue it as a crime story (the way I originally intended) or take it into the realm of horror (which I could very well do the way I have set it up). Either way I need an appropriate monster, be it man or beast.

Oh, this feels good. I just hope it doesn't disturb my sleep for many more nights. Although if it propels my brain like it did last night I'll take it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ya, something like that

So after reading K.C.'s very nice book (Jack Of All Trades) I moved into the depths of my bookshelf for a collection. Someone I haven't read, at least that I know of. I figured this way if I was unimpressed with the writing it would be easy to put it down and move on to the next book. I picked a book from Apex Publications called The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley. So far I am 70 pages into it and from the first story (a little flash fiction piece called Attrition)it was like getting hit in the face with a ball pein hammer.

I am in awe of his very visual style of storytelling that doesn't hold back, even when he probably should. After reading K.C.'s book, which was a nice walk through the countryside (and English countryside at that), this book is a graphic depiction of the roller coasters in hell. He keeps this prose up and I not going to be able to sleep soundly for days. I might have to re-read Jack just to calm my nerves down.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another day

I can remember exactly what I was doing 7 years ago today. Mostly because it was the day my daughter came into the world. This morning as I sent her off to school (and she waited patiently for the bus, which was running late) I was reminded that because of her I am writing, again. If it wasn't for my children I would still be pounding nails, or working for a farmer, perhaps doing a factory job. I would probably not be doing any writing, even on days like today when the words struggle to make it to paper. Amazing how seemingly dissimilar events unfold to create the day that we have today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jack is in the house

So last night I finished Jack of All Trades by K.C. Shaw. I don't know, you may have heard of her, very nice gal. Anyway, I don't know when I have liked characters that well in a long time. I can say that because most of the books I read have characters that are hard cases. The world she set up was complete and vivid and - charming is the best word to describe it. I really wanted to know what Jack and his dragon, Pepper (love that name) would get into next. If you haven't bought it go to Ancient Tomes Press and purchase a copy (or you can go to Amazon if you are so inclined) and buy a copy.

Something tells me that whatever I read after that is going to be a little bit of a letdown, so I might have to turn to a short story collection I have been eying for awhile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nice Weekend, I think. . .

It is Monday, again, and as soon as I post this I am back on the wagon. I have words in my head that will spill onto the page, not unlike blood on a wall during the 1912 Ax massacre in Villisca, IA . (I was born in that small town of 1,000 people). You really should check out that link.

Anyway, I got no writing done this weekend, far to many other things to do, like change oil, clean, laundry, take daughter and friends to zoo (with the rest of family) for birthday celebration. It was packed. I managed to get a little reading done; only 30 pages left in Jack and I can't wait to finish (I am just a horridly slow reader).

With all of that useless information, I will leave you to go write. I think I can get in 1500 words before my boy wakes up.

Friday, September 18, 2009


By the way, the title of this post is a reference to the movie UP! If you haven't seen it you are missing out. Anyway, I feel like a squirrel getting ready for winter. I have been running around doing just about everything but writing. Sure I have done some edits and actually I wrote a query letter yesterday that (after countless drafts) I am proud to say is mine, but my word count on actual stories has been zilch lately. This morning, before the boy woke, I managed to pound out 600 words and felt pretty good about it.

The rest of my days have been spent running around, trying to potty train my boy, and working on the yard, trying to get it into decent shape before winter sets in. I figure the better it looks now the less work I have in the spring, when all of my good intentions turn into summer and then fall again.

In good news there is a really good book trailer going around the web today for Barry Napier's collection, DEBRIS. The book will be coming out sometime in the next month. Also, 52 Stitches is out on Amazon. I look forward to reading all of my favorite stories and reading a few I may have missed as the weeks seemed to fly by this year.

Hopefully it will be a productive weekend and this next week will get more words out that this week has. Until later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Green grass and all that jazz

So, the story that was rejected (but just barely) on Sunday night was one of those stories when I wrote it I thought, "Meh, it is technically a story. It gets thrown back I won't blame them." We have all written them. Not quite to the best of our ability. This one I hadn't even bothered to file in my 'hasn't yet found a publisher' binder that I keep on my office bookshelf.

I went ahead and read through it, for the first time in nine months, and much to my surprise it was pretty good. Actually, very good. It needed a little more polishing but I think it is a piece that I would be proud to say I wrote (I can't say that with everything I have written, can you?).

It is kind of nice to be surprised. When was the last time your writing surprised you and what became of it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

time to think

Nothing like running a chainsaw for an afternoon to give you time to think. I thought of new plot twists and turns in my current WIP and in some older stories that I still like, but haven't found a home. Still, I managed to get no new writing in and while I got a little reading in, it wasn't near as much as I wanted to get done.

Still, I managed to get rid of about six ton of old trees, junk lumber and old railroad ties. Now my wrist is killing me; the largest log weighed about 400 pounds if you go by the standard for a cubic foot of douglas fir of 40 pounds and it was ten feet long (at least it wasn't oak which is 54 pounds/cubic foot). I couldn't cut it because I didn't want to risk hitting some hidden iron and ruining a good chain saw blade. Still, it was a good job done and one less thing to do this fall.

Now, today I want to go over a manuscript that was rejected this weekend (I was told I just missed the antho. Damn!) and see if I can salvage it for a different market. Something is telling me no, but the theme is used in a lot of different antho's so I may just let it sit and wait. Something will come up.

So, what did you do this weekend?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In my grubby hands

I got an oversized envelope in the post yesterday that contained my contributor copy of Sand, Issue #5 with my story Play Date in it. I am the last story in the last regular issue of Sand (as they go to a yearly anthology series after this). Better get your order in as it will be a collectible in years to follow (and not for my story, but for the fantastic mark they are going to leave on the dark fantasy and horror world).

Now I get to sit back, do a little reading this morning until my old school (Iowa State University) goes up against their instate rival (the University of Iowa) and I am hoping I have it on my satellite TV package so I can watch it, otherwise I am going to be glued to my radio for about 3.5 hours today. Speaking of Football (sorry, American football for those of you outside of the states) Our local high school team clobbered their opponent last night 78-8 which means in the three games they have played they have managed to outscore their opponents 207-14. We are kicking some serious butt this year. Either that or the other guys really stink. Way to Go CRB (Coon Rapids-Bayard)!

Friday, September 11, 2009

maybe next week

This week has had limited success. I have written very few new words (probably less than 1K). Although I have made a lot of notes in my MG book, no words have been changed on my computer yet. I have done a little reading but nothing to brag about and when I get a free minute this afternoon (if my 2 yr old goes down for a nap) it will be spent mowing the yard. I am hoping to get more work done in between potty training the little guy (having no success at this point, but we will work through it and triumph!) I have faith in the knowledge that he will not go to kindergarten in diapers (I think).

So, like K.C. I need to reorganize my bookshelves, and not because I moved or anything but because I am a certifiable bibliophile. Currently they are organized in the following catagories: history, woodworking, YA, poetry, picture books, series books, Stephen King, hardcover horror, literary, autographed, friends books, reference, magazines, and paperback. I also have an antique section and a big little book section (you may remember them from the 30's. many of them if you flipped the pages they showed a cartoon) I need a better way to organize them as many of them spill over into multiple categories. any suggestions? Just to show you what I am up against here are a few of my bookcases.
The first one shows history, big-litle books, and a few paperbacks. It has actually become a catch-all for anything I can't put somewhere else. This has become my problem area. (note the double shelving of the paperbacks.)

this second one contains all of my autographed, friend, and antique books (and a few reference books) It was built by my dad as a graduation gift and has some stunning glass doors (unfortunately they reflected the flash to badly to show them)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I have to say I am making progress. It is slow but there. I am going through suggestions and ideas from one of my beta readers (I can't believe I made that many mistakes after going through it so many times) and as you will see below, I have a pond growing in my backyard. Okay, so it isn't in my backyard, literally, but you can get there from here.

And that picture is taken from the deck on my house just to let you know how close things are. You couldn't see it until this afternoon, when they took out all the trees that ran parallel to our fence.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not Monday, Tuesday

I have to keep telling myself that it is indeed Tuesday, and not Monday as my mind would have me believe. Federal holidays tend to do that to me.

So this has actually been a productive weekend. Not writing wise, but otherwise. My spare guest room is now officially done, so if any of my blog-roll people are ever in the area, and you need a place to crash, let me know. I will see what I can do for you. (BT, I am now ready for your world tour.) I am now ready to start on the last unfinished space in the house and move my pool table in there. I don't think it will take long to put that together; just a couple of walls, some drywall, paint and trim and blammo- instant room.

The pond activity beside my house is still going strong. I am unsure how big this is going to be, I hope it will allow for some good fishing in a couple of years.

At least I know my inbox works. I received a rejection from a pro market. It was expected. I got no writing done this weekend. I did manage to start reading on K.C.'s book and I have to say I am really enjoying it. I think I may forgo the writing again today to continue on Jack's adventure.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Talk at you later.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday at last

It has been an interesting week. Really. Sometime soon I expect to have a pond by my house. The neighbor had the slew in between our houses surveyed about three years ago and this week I saw the heavy equipment to move some dirt around. Now I am hearing the distinct rumble of a diesel engine and the back-up signal from big trucks just outside of my house. I believe if they are moving dirt I will be getting the boy and some lawnchairs out and go watch when it gets a little warmer,and the boy wakes up. In a couple of years I expect to be able to walk 50 yards and go fishing. I knew we bought this house for a reason.

I have just finished Tom Piccirilli's book The Coldest Mile last night. This is a continuation of Edgar nominated book The Cold Spot, and it was every bit as good, although I was a bit miffed at the cliffhanger ending. Guess I will have to buy another book from him when it comes out.

Today I am going to start on K.C.'s book Jack of All Trades (for which I received a very cool bookmark and stickers for yesterday). I have heard good things about it so far and I can't wait to get to it.

Also in the post yesterday I received my contributer copy of Night to Dawn with my story Coffin Nails in it. It is actually a very good layout and the artwork was very nice and nasty. I am considering getting a subscription for the next year to read Natalie and B.T.'s stories which come out in it next year, spring and fall respectively. You can look it up on lulu as well. It is issue #16. (they have electronic issues for sale as well.)

enough pimping, time to get back to work, my current WIP is standing at 7K since last week and I think I can add another 1K to it today. I am going more for time involved in the project and so far I have managed to put about 45 minutes every time I sit down to it. I haven't worked on it every day and I know I won't get anything done on it this weekend.

Have a good weekend, it is a long one here in the states and I have nothing pressing going on with the house for once. ah- relaxation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August is come and gone, already. It seems like summer was just starting last week and now it is already within sight of over. Damn. I must have wasted my time because it doesn't feel like I got anything done. Let us review what did get done.

For the month of August I had one acceptance to Feathertale magazine for a short story, My Birthday Present.

I had two rejections. One from Shimmer and another from The First Line (which I shared with you). It was an encouraging rejection from Shimmer so I reworked a little bit of it and sent it back out to the Mo-Con Antho. Maurice has had it for 29 days now. We will see how that turns out.

Other than that, I finished my edits on Big Chief's Gold (mg book) and sent it off to my beta readers (thanks guys). I am currently working on the query letter for it. It is one of the most difficult things I have ever written. This may call for the Query Ninja.

I have also started a new book last week. It is a thriller, with a little science-fiction thrown in for good measure. I am 30 pages into it and enjoying it so far. We will see how long that lasts.

I read 3 books this month and Cate's Chapbook (does that make 4?) I can't remember what one of them was. I think I am getting old.

I am currently down to 10 submissions that are out. I queried 3 of them last week and heard back from 2 of them. One was the acceptance mentioned earlier, and the other said I had a very good chance of making it in. He was making final decisions and would let me know this week. I don't think I am ever going to hear back from the other editor.

Just too let every one know how slow my inbox has been lately I counted up the rejections V Acceptances I have had since May 1 and it breaks down like this (these are actual numbers, don't attempt to adjust your monitor, your results may vary) Acceptances: 5 Rejections: 7. That is a lot of downtime in the ol' inbox.

Here is hoping September is productive.