2013 in retrospective

Writing:

Published with Musa Publishing:

For a Few Gold Pieces More Collection:

#4 – Hunters in Darkness
#5 – The Black School
#6 – Pearls of Water
#7 – Ripples in the Pool

“Terra Incognito” columns #13-17 for Penumbra Magazine

Published with Pro Se Press

“Notes in the Fog” – Charles Boeckman Presents: Johnny Nickle

Published with Eggplant Literary

“The Wisp Hunter” – Spellbound Magazine Fall ‘13 issue

Published by Starwarp Concepts

Troubleshooters Incorporated Graphic Novel and e-comic

Chronicles of the Sea Dragon e-comic

To be published in 2014

Chasing Danger – The Case Files of Theron Chase #1  – Pro Se Press
Unannounced novella #1 – Pro Se Press
Unannounced novella #2 – Pro Se Press
Unannounced novella #3 – Pro Se Press
On Wings of Steel – The Darkside Codex – Musa Publishing
For a Few Gold Pieces More Collection – Musa Publishing
#8 – Wings of Fire
#9 – Skin the Cat
#10 – Fool’s Cup

Conventions attended as a panelist:

Farpoint – Baltimore
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Author Gala – Columbia, MD
American Society of Journalists and Authors annual convention – NYC
Balticon – Baltimore
Shore Leave – Baltimore
Baltimore Comic Con – Baltimore
Baltimore Book Fair – Baltimore

Also did a presentation for the Maryland Writers’ Association for Writer Beware

Miscellany:

Completed 12 hours of graduate work at Bowie State University toward my Master of Arts in English

Got promoted at work

Came through 2013 in generally better health than 2012, so that’s a good sign too.

Pushing forward . . .

I really wasn’t feeling up to writing today. I’m not sure if I was trying to fight off a bug or if I was just a little burnt out today. It took a bit to get motivated after I got home from work, but once I finally sat down and started writing, it was well worth the effort. I added 2020 words to On Wings of Fire and 1150 words to Skin the Cat. That brings today’s total to 3170, which is not a bad day’s work.

I am looking forward to getting these assignments done. Not only because I’m behind schedule, *yikes*, but I’m really wanting to dive into my “to be read pile” of books. I’ve been so busy reading college texts and such that I haven’t had time to really just read for fun and I think I owe myself some serious reading sessions in the near future. Especially before I immerse myself in my thesis work, which will certainly require a lot of reading.

So, as soon as I clear some time on my schedule, it will be X time reading, Y time writing in the evenings for a while. Plus, as soon as it warms up this spring, it’ll be time to move the writing desk back out onto the porch, where I can read and write in the evening air

December Writer Walkabout

It was a fun day today. I did a writer’s walkabout. After spending the morning having a nice time with the family, I packed up the computer and hit the road to work on Skin the Cat.

I started out at a Mexican restaurant in Ellicott City, La Palapa, where I had a very enjoyable lunch as well as knocking out about 1500 words. The staff was very accommodating to my desire to eat and work on my story and got me a table off by itself so I could work without disturbing their lunch traffic. Thanks!

Lunch at La Palapa_Ellicott City

Visual Proof of the well-fed author

After that, I hit the local Barnes and Noble where I added another 1500 words. I probably should have gotten more writing done there, but I admit, I was a little sleepy after all that food at lunch.

After coming home and enjoying a couple of movies, (Jason and the Argonauts and The Petrified Forest), I picked up the story again and added another 1000 words for a total of 4011 words. Makes me wonder what I could accomplish if I could type faster. I’m starting to get a little fuzzy, so I figure here’s a good place to stop.

I’ll try to get more writing done before and after the Chiefs game tomorrow.

Total for the week: 21525 words. Now I have a goal to beat for next week.

Recharging the batteries

Slow night this evening. Decided to relax a bit and then hit the work hard tomorrow.  I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle when I sat down and for a while nothing came to mind. It’s not writer’s block as much as writer’s burn. So, tonight, I did some research, played an on-line game for a bit, visited with the family, visited with the cats, and in general just relaxed.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll probably slip out of the house for a bit and visit one of my writing hang-outs. Drink coffee, eat bagels, and write without distractions. That’s usually conducive to getting mass amount of words on pages.

I know, I hear people going, “How can you write out in public? The noise would drive me nuts.” While a valid issue, I have learned how to tune out 90% of the background noise when I am writing at a B&N, or Bagels & Grinds, or Riverside Coffee or wherever I seem to wind up. How can I do that?

It’s simple.

90% of the noise is not something I have to deal with. If there’s an odd noise at home, odds are my cats have gotten into something they shouldn’t have, the dehumidifier is beeping to be dumped, the phone is ringing for one of us, and so on. If there’s noise at one of these stores, unless it’s my phone or a waiter asking if I need a refill of coffee, all the ambient noises are the store’s responsibility to deal with. To me, it’s all white noise.

Still, it wasn’t a completely unproductive day. I added 1200+ words to On Wings of Steel. Looking forward to writing this next scene. It’ll be challenging, writing about a fight/flight scene in pitch blackness while dodging around buildings, walkways and the occasional gargoyle. (Animated or stone? Haven’t decided yet.)

It was nice to have a relaxing day. Now, the big push toward the end of the year. Huzzah!

“Comfort Level Zero”

That was an interesting passage I just wrote for Skin the Cat. As I mentioned a few blog posts ago,  Cat is a variant of the Cinderella story. However, it’s not the evil stepmother that Cat has to worry about.

Plus, given the fact I’m turning a few of these folktales on their heads, I wasn’t really comfortable writing this self-assured woman and then having her goal being to get married so she could be protected. I’ve set her up as a confident, talented woman who can hang toe to toe with my protagonist. To have her meekly find a husband to protect her seemed worse than anti-climatic.

However, the protagonist has just made a promise that may be beyond his ability to fulfill. Well, he can ensure it comes true, but it’s not an option he wants to consider.

Final tally for tonight’s writing was 2186, bringing Skin the Cat to just shy of 7000 words. Hey, anything under 15000 words is a short story for me. *grin* I’m thinking this story should be done by this weekend.

*crosses fingers*

On a lighter note,  I added 250 more songs to my iTunes library tonight. And as usual, my tastes are as eclectic as always (Soundtracks – Das Letzte Einhorn, Pacific Rim, Frozen; the Phantom of the Opera original cast recording; Billy Joel Complete Hits Collection). That brings me up to just over 4,000 songs on my iTunes, not counting podcasts, Old Time Radio shows, and audio books.

It always weirds people out when they’re riding with me in the car and I’ve got my player on shuffle songs. They’ll get everything from AC/DC to Anime Soundtracks to Bach to Herbie Hancock to Lacuna Coil and about everything in-between.

Course, I blame part of my current music selections on a friend of mine, April MacDicken, who created one of the characters for my comic Chronicles of the Sea Dragon.  We started working on a YA novel concept a few years ago, so I started listening to goth/darkwave/techno to get into the main character’s head. Yeah, it tends to turn a few heads at work when they see Deadmau5 or The Birthday Massacre or Collide or the three Underworld soundtracks next to my cd player at work.

Making progress on multiple fronts

You know, I could get used to this writing full-time.

I took today off from work to write and I’m pretty pleased with my efforts. Even with taking my daughter out for breakfast and going out for lunch with my wife after she got off work and some last minute Christmas shopping, I still added nearly 5000 words to The Pearls of Darkness Affair.

I know some people like to start a project and drive on it through the end, but I catch myself getting bored if I work on a specific project for two long. So, between editing the one short story, starting the second one and expanding on this novella, I hope to get all three of them done soon. Then I can concentrate on the novel I’m working on too and have everything done before the start of the next semester.

Wow, it’s a good feeling to make progress after such a fallow fall.

Has our hero finally met his match . . .?

While editing Wings of Fire, I started working on my other late short story, hoping to wrap it up soon also. I can now say I’m 4,713 words into the first draft for Skin the Cat. While Wings of Fire is my take on the legend of the Firebird, Skin the Cat is my take on the folktale of Catskin, which is a Cinderella variant.

I had my wife read through the first section and she agrees, the female protagonist in this story is easily as snarky as my main character and so far, she’s made him blush twice. This is turning into one of my most favorite stories in the “For a Few Gold Pieces More” collection.

I’m taking tomorrow off from work and planning on spending the majority of Christmas Eve writing (and wrapping those last few presents I’m still waiting for UPS to deliver). However, first thing tomorrow, I’m taking the daughter-unit out for breakfast and some father-daughter visiting time.

Man, it feels good to be making progress again.

One down, too many to go.

Sometimes, the issue with being an author is not writer block. It’s having too many ideas and too many projects. You sit down to start working on one and three other ideas pop into your head and all of them start demanding time on your writing schedule.

However, it’s still a good feeling when you just put your head down and plow through until you complete one of the projects. That takes a little of the pressure off and hopefully you can open up the spigot a bit more and get more work done on the remaining projects.

I don’t think I’ll ever “not” have a project, but I do hope I can avoid running this many into the same writing season as I did this last few months.

I added another 4415 words to Wings of Fire, the eighth story in the “For a Few Gold Pieces More” collection. And with that last word, I finally hit “The End”.

The plan is to give it a good scrubbing tomorrow and then hopefully get it off to the editor tomorrow evening.

Then onto the next project.

And the next . . .

And so on.

A Black Wolf and a Brown Hawk

It has been a fairly decent couple of days on the writing front. I’ve taken advantage of writing at lunch as well after work. Over the past three days, I added 2700 words to one story, 1900 on a second story and an additional 2100 on yet another another. At this rate, my editors should be less aggravated with me.

I’m enjoying being a Master’s student, but I also had more writing opportunities in 2013 than I’ve ever had. Juggling work, family, school, and writing has become quite “entertaining”. *yipes*

I did take a short break this evening to enjoy one of my most favorite movies, Ladyhawke. As my friend Michael Jan Friedman pointed out, “the ultimate star-crossed lovers”.

Enthusiasm + Energy =Progress

I have to admit, it’s not often one has a college class in an Olive Garden. However, that’s where we met last night at a restaurant near the college to present our final papers.  Obviously I won’t be certain of my grades for a couple of weeks, but at least the presentation went well and our professor is planning on submitting our papers for both publication in a scholarly magazine as well as having us present at a local symposium. We’ll see if the second comes about.

Now back on the writing trail. I have two short stories, a novella, and a novel due sooner than later. So, while I was editing one of the projects, I got started on my second short story this afternoon, when an idea hit me how I wanted to open the story.  2700 words later, I think I may be onto something.

Tomorrow, I am going to be editing the other short story and then trying to finish it up so I can kick it off to my editor.  Then it’ll be time to really hammer on the two big projects that are coming due. I’ll be dedicating this weekend to working on those two projects as well as taking hard copy into work to edit and then making the revisions during the week as we go.

All of the projects are well on their way to being finished. This semester just took time and, more importantly, energy away from me. Now, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I really do not want to go to bed because I’m primed and ready to write. Unfortunately, the day job sorta would like me to show up on occasion, so no writing until 4am during the week, at least.

Still, it feels good to want to write again.