2014 Shore Leave Schedule

Looks like it’s going to be a quiet Shore Leave for me this year.

Friday 10pm – 12am Meet the Pros
Saturday 11am – 12pm Historical Writing Workshop
12pm – 1pm Writer Beware!
Sunday 12pm – 1pm Historical Settings in Fiction (moderator)

I had hoped to be on the Godzilla panel, but there was a scheduling conflict that couldn’t be overcome. Given the choice of helping Howie Weinstein with the Writing Workshop or being the sixth member of a panel, well, I figure helping Howie made more sense.

Which is too bad in a way. I already had my Japanese Beanie Baby versions of Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghihdra ready to bring along, plus my Best of Godzilla soundtrack with the monster’s roar and the “March of the Monsters” cut from “Destroy all Monsters”.

Perhaps, next convention.

“There is only Zuul”

Now this has been a reasonably productive weekend.

Contacted one publisher to discuss covers for a couple of stories coming out later this year. Contacted the artist doing the cover for a different book to coordinate our ideas before submitting it to the publisher. Spent part of yesterday talking with an upcoming convention to ensure we’re all on the same page.

And on the geeky technology side of writing, I picked up a new projection screen. I had bought a mini-projector which came in handy at Origins. Now, with the 30″ projection screen, when I have a table at a conference, I can project a slide show of my book covers for the visitors.

I also received my final birthday present. I am the new owner of a Livescribe 3 smart pen. This will allow me to write in longhand and it will appear on my iPad mini thanks to the app. Then I simply save what I’ve written as a file and upload it into my laptop. This will be good on those nights I don’t feel like sitting at the computer, but still want to get some writing done. I have to thank my friend Jane Smith for the idea.  This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Oh yeah, and then I went on one of my writing pilgrimages to a local eating establishment and wrote. 4200+ words later and I’m hitting the home stretch on The Pearls of Darkness Affair. A couple of good evening writing and hopefully I’ll be in editing mode come this weekend.

Now, see here’s where my new smart pen could come in handy. Instead of having to haul the laptop to the restaurant, I could simply take a pad of paper, my mini and the pen. Unlike some of my other writer friends who are typing fiends, I’m a notoriously slow typist. I actually write faster than I can type, which is frightening if you think about it. So, this could wind up being the best of both worlds.

And to top it off, I watched Ghostbusters this evening.

“Ray, the next time someone asks if you’re a god, say YES!”

And now, it’s off to get ready for work tomorrow. *bleah*

The Joys of a Busy Schedule

It appears I will not be attending the Baltimore Book Festival in 2014. I received my invitation on 13 July, but looking at the dates, it’s falling the same weekend as FenCon in Dallas. I contacted them back in March about doing programming and a Writer Beware workshop/panel, so that has to take  precedence.

I mean, I love going to conventions where I can sleep in my own bed and just drive to the show or take the Light Rail/Metro in the morning (hello conventions in Baltimore/DC). My second favorite shows are the ones in NYC, because it gives me a good excuse to visit with my writing sensei, Steve Roman of StarWarp Concepts – and then take the subway in to the show in the morning from his place.  (Are we noticing a trend here?) I don’t mind paying for a hotel, but if I can minimize expenses then that’s definitely an added bonus.

I’m running into the same issue in 2015. I have a choice between doing Awesome Con and BEA/BookCon since they’re both going to be the same weekend. At Awesome Con, I’ll have a dealer table, while at BEA, I’d just be helping out at the SFWA booth and then the StarWarp Concepts booth. And as much as I like helping my friends out, making some money toward going to other conventions/expenses is the better idea at this time.

I hate missing shows, especially shows I enjoy, but scheduling conflicts happen and sometimes, you just have to follow your gut.

Finally back in the saddle

For the first time since the start of July, I really felt like writing again. It’s a little slow because I’m having to re-read a lot of what I had been working on to hunt down things like character’s last names and so on, but there was movement and progress was made.

First off, I’ve made my hotel reservations for FenCon and sent them an updated bio/picture for their web site. I swore I thought I had done that earlier this year, but apparently it wound up in the bit bucket. Also contacted Archon to verify my attendance before I start booking hotels/flights. So, that’s out of the way.

Also, I re-verified that Kashi Tan and April MacDee still wanted to attend Awesome Con. So, I’ll need to contact them soonest to get my table in Artist’s Alley for 2015.

Then, we actually got to writing. I added 1014 words to Crossed Swords in the Moonlight, my musketeer-inspired story, and about 1000 words to The Pearls of Darkness Affair. I say about because I rewrote a big chunk of the scene I had added right before my father’s illness.

So, it looks like I did about 2,014 words for the first day back in the saddle. Tomorrow I need to answer some correspondence I haven’t gotten to, reformat a few documents to pass to an edtior re: Terra Incognito, and then get back to writing.

After all, I am a writer. It’s what I do and I think it’s what Dad would want me to do.

And for something completely different

I’ve started participating in the “Ask the Author” function on Goodreads. So far, it’s only questions generated by the Goodreads staff, but it’s open for anyone. I’ve responded to three of the questions and will update as I get a chance.

It’s not writing writing, but it’s a good warm-up for me getting back into the groove.

Hopefully, I’ll get something put together this evening.


Darkness and Light

This has been a rough last couple of weeks. I apologize for going dark, but some things take precedence at times and this was one of them.

My father passed away on 29 June. He was always a large part of my life and I am who I am today because of him. We didn’t always see eye to eye but I knew he had my back no matter what path I decided to take. I was able to get there in time for his 83rd birthday on the 28th and then spent the morning of the 29th with him while he was in the hospice. We didn’t do a lot of talking, but he knew I was there and we were just there for each other. Somehow, that made all the difference.

The rest of last week was devoted to helping my mother and putting together Dad’s memorial service. My wife and I helped put together a slide show of pictures of Dad at different points in his life, from early baby pictures when he was probably four months old, through his high school, Army, college days, early marriage, then pictures of Mom and Dad growing older together. Joni found some great music to accompany the slide show and she got a number of compliments on the show at the service.

We just got back into town last Monday. I took today off to get stuff done around the house that needed doing after our long absence and I start back to work tomorrow. Hopefully, there won’t be too much catch-up there.

So, as you can imagine, it’s taking me a bit to get back on the ol’ writing horse. I’m sorta easing into it. I talked to two of my publishers in the last couple of days to coordinate stuff I still owe, plus I’ve talked to a third publisher about putting my old magazine column into book form for the 2015 convention season. I’m going through the columns and trying to get them ready to make the transition from magazine to book form and trying to decide what stays in, what needs to come out, and what can stay if it’s rewritten. Also, I’ve been sending out some email I’ve owed since Origins, so hopefully, I’ll get some feedback on some leads I got there.

Additionally, I started sketching out a plot to a new story. Well, not new to me, but new to prose form. We’ll see if anything comes out of it, but it felt good to finally feel creative again.

It’s never going to be better, but it can be liveable.