Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 In Review

Since tomorrow night I will most likely be away from the computer, I thought that I would do the year in review thing tonight. First, a wee bit of background on myself.

I am 39 years of age, but I'm pushing 40 hard. I have always enjoyed writing fiction and can recall a story I crafted in the 4th grade titled The Haunted Mountain. It was about two campers encountering Bigfoot and was my first story written purely for fun. Similar projects in subsequent grades garnered me odd looks from classmates who thought I was batshit insane for willingly writing so much (and it wasn't even for school!). However it wasn't until the 8th grade (1983) that I realized that I wanted to be a full time writer when I grew up. Flash forward 13 years and I decided the time had come to start submitting stories to professional markets. Amazingly enough, I sold the very first thing I ever submitted and got paid a whopping 60 bucks. I had expected a tidal wave of rejections. Well after that first sale, I got them. I welcomed them because it meant I was a writer and was at least trying. Then some bad personal shit happened. I won't go into details, but my writing "career" was derailed. I stopped writing, partly because I believed that I hadn't lived and/or experienced enough of life in order to write about certain things.

Years went by. About four years ago I decided the time had come to make another stab at writing. I submitted a few things, got rejected and then got interested in another kind of writing (film reviewing) which took up the next four years. Finally, this past summer I decided it was time to get my ass into gear and get serious about writing fiction. I was approaching 40 and that sure as hell was old enough to have experienced life. Damn, but have I experienced some crazy shit. Anyway, after finishing up several other projects so as to not be distracted once I started, I began writing and submitting again in late October of 2008. So in essence, I'm like a newbie again. So with that long-winded spiel in mind, here are my end of year stats:

Submissions: 15
Rejections: 3
Acceptances: 2
Waiting to hear: 10

I'm sure the rejections will begin to pile up as the new year progresses, but that is just the name of the game. The only goal I have for 2009 at this point is to just write, submit and hopefully get accepted a time or twelve. The novels I have stewing in me can wait another year or two. I need to practice, learn and hone my craft first.

Finally, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Busy Night

So for the past four hours I have been busily polishing and submitting. First, The Faceless Ones was sent to The Devil's Food Anthology. I really have high hopes for that one, though if they don't accept it, I have an idea for a second piece.

I've also been busy putting the finishing touches of several micro pieces. The Anubis Appropriation, Order Up and Maximus Rising were all sent to Micro 100 while The Memory of Life went to MicroHorror. Sure, neither of them are paying markets, but I'm not worried about money at this point. Nor am I just trying to get stuff accepted. It's all about the work: writing, editing, revising and submitting. Everything may get rejected, but the important thing for me is that I keep at it, keep that momentum going. In time I'll get better (hopefully).

And now...I am exhausted. Zzzzz...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Night Blues

So today I revised The Faceless Ones and surprisingly, it was quite easy to prune it down to within the word limit. Now I let it sit for a day or two and turn my mind to other things. Then I'll revisit it, polish it one last time and send it off. At least, that is the plan at this point.

After putting that aside for the day, my mind was still in full on write mode, but I didn't want to begin something too big, so I ended up writing four small micro fiction pieces after finding THIS site. I'll probably try submitting something, but would like to find some additional places interested in such short formats.

It's back to work tomorrow after my four day weekend. Can't you just hear the joy and anticipation in my voice? At least driving around in my bomb-on-wheels will give me time to brainstorm ideas for the Dead Bait anthology. You know, not long back (last year I believe), a pair of humpback whales swam all the way up river from the San Fransisco bay and were lounging around the river and delta fishing areas near here (one spot was less than a mile from my house) for some time before being lured back to sea. I sense a story in that...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Keeping The Flame Alive

So after reading THIS post the other day on the blog of Joshua M. Reynolds, I got to thinking about my love for 50's horror/scifi cinema and began reminiscing. I was born in 1969 (69, dudes!), thus I was a wee lad in the early and mid 70's. During this time lots of films from earlier decades were aired on TV (not so much anymore, thank god for TCM). One channel featured an Abbott and Costello film every Saturday and I soon grew to love those. However, since I had always adored monsters, it was the horror and scifi films that really drew my attention. I saw so many monster flicks from the 40's and 50's that to this day, watching those films brings back pleasant memories of being a kid.

It saddens me to think that there are people out there that won't even given a black and white film the time of day. Talk about closed minded. That's like saying because The Bard wrote all his stuff centuries ago, it has no meaning for modern folks. Bah! There are times when I'm in the mood to watch something and it must be in black and white in order for me to feel properly relaxed and entertained. Not only can't I imagine those films in any other way, but I'd hate to contemplate a world without B & W movies at all. They are a significant part of our history and I will always love them. These days I feel sad because so many people who worked on those films or starred in them are slowly but surely passing away. I feel like the keeper of some mystic flame and that by maintaining my love for those films, I am ensuring that the memory of them won't fade away. At least, not until I'm gone, too.

On the home front, today I finished my project for the Devil's Food anthology, a little tale I call The Faceless Ones. I really like how it all came together in the end, although at this point, the story is almost 400 words longer than the anthology's limit, so tomorrow will be my time to edit and tighten things up. In conjunction with the earlier part of this post, I played three older movies in the background while I worked today: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), The Beginning of the End (1957) and the original The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Say Goodnight Jameson

So today was another one of those [sarcasm] wonderful [/sarcasm] 11+ hour work days. I am pooped. I'm sitting here working on The Faceless Ones and realizing that the same problem from the other night is afflicting me: Exhaustion Induced Restricted Vocabulary Syndrome. Sure, I can write the story, but I'm doing so with all the style, grace and finesse of Godzilla storming Tokyo Bay. I just can't think of any decent way to phrase things other than the most blunt, basic way of doing so. So it looks like it's another night this story will be stewing internally while I get much needed rest. I really do want to finish it, but then again, I don't want it to totally suck. Perhaps tomorrow or some time over the long holiday weekend I can find both the time and the clarity of mind to complete this thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Steps Foward, One Step Back

So by the time I went to bed Sunday night, The Faceless Ones was up to 4,700 words. The limit for the Devil's Food anthology is 7,500 and I was worried that I wasn't going to have room to finish the story without rushing things. Today at work while driving around my gigantic bomb of a truck (I drive a fuel tanker) I was mulling things over and hit upon a way to not only speed the action along, but do it within the word limit. This required a minor rewrite of a few scenes and the total deletion of about 700 words, but I am happy with the result. The tale now stands at just over 4,000 words. Being zonked, I'm going to let it rest for the evening, but tomorrow I hope to get cracking on the last third of the story, which of course is where things get nasty and owing to the theme of the anthology, people get gobbled.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I have decided to keep the working title The Faceless Ones. Yes it is also the name of a Patrick Troughton Doctor Who story, but the more I think about it, the more I realize the title works on two different levels for my own piece. Thus, it stays.

Living The Dream

So for the past couple of weekends (as well as this coming one) The Other Half has been attending classes, preparing for the onslaught of tax season. She pretty much leaves the house at 8:30 each morning and returns around 5:30 in the evening. This leaves me alone all day. Well, it's me and the two dogs. I've been using these days to pretend that I have reached the point where I can write for a living. I wake up, write some, play with the dogs, eat, nap, write some more, snack, watch TV and what not. If I remember (my memory is getting really bad these days) I do some chores. It's just like staying at home, writing for a living! Only without the big advances, royalty checks, scores of fans and the luxury of seeing my work on Amazon. Oh well...some day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sucky Customer Service

So earlier tonight The Other Half and I went out to dinner with her parents. They convinced me to once again try the local Baker's Square restaurant, which I had sworn to never again patronize due to some overwhelmingly sucky customer service last year. I had ordered a side of mayonnaise with my burger that did not arrive with the burger. When I asked for it again, rather than get it, the waitress spent ten minutes talking with some other guests she knew. I couldn't eat my burger without the mayo and the food was rapidly cooling while my temper was rapidly heating up. When she finally noticed me fuming at my table, she had a different server bring me the mayo. Needless to say, she got no tip and until today, I did not set foot in there again.

Well, after tonight, not only will it be a cold day in hell before I go back, but even The Other Half has sworn to boycott the place. Tonight we go in, but it was just the two of us at first. Her parents were running a little late and we told the waiter this when we got our table. As we were waiting for her parents, another couple took the big corner booth behind us and informed the waiter that they also were expecting others to join them - four more, to be exact. Soon, The Other Half's parents arrive and sit with us. The waiter ignores us. He walks past a time or two but says nothing. Then the four additional people arrive at the other table. The waiter heads over and takes their drink orders as they sit down. I figure that he'll get our food order as soon as he gets their drink order. WRONG. He rushes off to the kitchen and returns a moment later with their drinks. OK, now I figure he'll get our food order after he's given them their drinks. WRONG. Now he asks them if they are ready and starts taking their food order. What the fuck?! The rest of their group arrives well after us, yet he ignores us in favor of them? Oh, hell no. We all got up at that point and left. I walked straight out, but The Other Half made sure to inform the manager of the crappy service. In the end, we ate at Denny's. I don't think we'll be going back to Baker's Square again...ever. The whole story may sound a little petty, but I was already biased against the place and after all day in class, both The Other Half and her dad (her dad teaches the class) were exhausted and in no mood for morons.

Well, now that I have vented, today was the day, as mentioned above, The Other Half spends in class, so I was alone all day. This gave me the chance to write, though I got so absorbed in it (and my midday nap) that I forgot to do my chores. Was I in big trouble when she got home! I did manage to get "The Faceless Ones" up to 1,750 words. It's coming along nicely. Tomorrow is another class day, so I'll be home alone (well, with two great dogs) again and will work on it some more, though I really do need to get those chores done this time.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's How Late?

Wow, it's after 11:00 PM on a Friday night and I am still awake! It seems I usually pass out around 8:30 on this day of the week. Kind of a bummer, since I often end up missing Stargate Atlantis. Here I am up this late and the show wasn't a new one this week. Grrr.

I worked on "The Faceless Ones" some, but I won't really be able to commit my full mental faculties (what little is left, that is) until tomorrow when The Other Half is in class. Right now my mind is mushy from an eleven hour work day. I can easily type out words that make sense and convey the ideas I have for the story, but they just seem so...rough. It's as if my mind, being so tired, has shut down parts of itself, most notably the parts where extended vocabulary is stored. Right now it seems I can only access the most basic of words. Maybe tomorrow after some rest, things will be a little easier.

I also noticed that the TOC for the Dark Jesters anthology was announced a few days ago. Alas, my name is not there. I had high hopes for the story I submitted, "Pruritus Maximus," and I think they even liked it to an extent, but it was a no go. So that story is now in someone else's inbox, awaiting consideration.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am really tired tonight. The bone-chilling cold weather and the uneven pace at work today have conspired to render me into a babbling idiot. Of course, there are plenty of people out there who will claim that such is my normal state of mind.

After much brainstorming, I think I have finally hit upon a story idea for The Devil's Food anthology. Right now I am calling it "The Faceless Ones" but may need to think of a new title since that is also the name of an old Doctor Who story. I pounded out the first bits of that a few minutes ago, along with some notes for consulting later, but right now I am off to bed. As I get older, I've noticed that as the work week progresses, I hit the hay earlier and earlier. Mondays I'm up til midnight, but come Friday night I'm lucky to make to 8:30. Boy, getting old sucks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Off and Away

I got "The Madness in Their Eyes" trimmed down and sent off to my market of choice. That makes a total of five stories I currently have out submitted to various places. All I can do now is wait...and get started on my next piece. I actually hauled out something I wrote earlier this year that I titled "Download" and tried working on it. I really like the central idea behind it, but I just cannot make the story work due to technological issues. Try as I might, current computer tech prohibits the ideas I have from working. Oh, well. I think I need to tackle it from a different angle. Alas, it will have to wait until tomorrow as it is after 11:00 PM and I am zonked. I'm off to go take the PK (puppy kids) twins outside so they can pee, then it's bedtime for yours truly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


OK, so it doesn't get nearly as cold in these parts as it does in many other places around the country, but today I felt like I was becoming some sort of strange Human/Popsicle hybrid. For this area, it was COLD. On that note, I'd like to take this time to send a brief message to my in-laws: you people have no business whatsoever owning a dog. Are you really that stupid, that you believe keeping the dog outside all night long in freezing weather is a good thing? To imagine that that poor little doggie has to rely on you losers for its well being just makes my blood boil.

Tonight I'm working on a story called "The Madness in their Eyes." I have a market in mind for it, but the final product was about 250 words beyond their limit. An editorial pass last night trimmed that down to a mere 90 words over the limit. Most of that was achieved by tightening things up here and there and losing superfluous text. Now I'm gonna have to get brutal and start chopping out stuff in order to meet that limit.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Blog

Yep, a new blog. Still working out the kinks and configuring things. At this point I am basically blogging to myself.