About Kathy

A science fiction/fantasy writer looking to get published.

AROW80 Round 2 Check-In for 4/11/18 plus WIPpet Wednesday

I’m working on typing up Chapter Eighteen of Omegas: Cake Walk! In fact, I’ve managed to type up what I’d written and now I’m trying to work on bridging the gap between the end of that and being able to pick up from some earlier stuff that I want to fold into this chapter.

*backing up a moment*

I write mostly by hand, since that’s easiest for me to do at work. Omegas: Cake Walk does already exist as a finished handwritten draft (encompassing three full 3-subject notebooks plus some other smaller note books). The draft I’m working on now is a typed-up version of the handwritten one — and as is the nature of drafts, there have been changes made. So, as I’m going along, I’m having to write new bits to bridge gaps, fix plot holes and generally just be better than what was originally written. That’s where I find myself now.

In a word? Blorp.

The good news is, today I have a lot of time to spend writing since it’s my day off. I’m currently sitting in the children’s section of my favorite branch of one of my local libraries using their computers. Surprisingly enough, the kids’ section can be a lot quieter than the adult section. It also feels more open and inviting. Plus, sometimes you get to hear/see little kids doing cute/adorable things, so that’s a plus.

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WIPpet Wednesday Snippet Math: April 11, 2018. I’m going the easy-peasy route and giving you page 11 of Omegas: Cake Walk, which is the last page of Chapter One.

What You Need to Know: Dr. Sarah Lawrence has gotten Dr. Josephus Zilsch out of the press conference before he behaved *too* badly (though he still managed to say something outrageous to a member of the press) and to a meeting about the upcoming conference. At the meeting, she’s introduced to Felix Valentine, leader of Magnum Team and his teammate, Torque, a genetically engineered enhanced human (known as an ECHO).  Sarah’s been receiving phone calls from an unknown number throughout the chapter and has been ignoring them up until now, when she finally answers with the hopes of telling the person off. Instead, she gets a message she wasn’t expecting which leads to….Page 11:

Sarah stared down at her phone’s screen for a moment, letting out a long, shuddering breath. “That was my daughter,” she said. “She needs my help.”

“That’s going to have to wait, then,” said Dr. Zilsch. “You’ve got more important things to be worrying about this week. Than dancing attendance on that ungrateful brat.”

“Yeah, she’s got an entirely different ungrateful brat to worry about,” Emma said. “What’s happening, Sarah?”

“My daughter is in trouble and she needs my help in getting away from the cult she’s been living in,” Sarah said. “Her father dragged her along with him when he remarried; I didn’t fight him as much as I could have – or even should have because Mackenzie seemed happy with him and – and I was busy with the expedition to Deep Mu, but now? She needs me to help her get away and I’m going to be helping her.”

Sarah looked up, taking in everyone at the table with her eyes blazing before focusing her rage on Zilsch. “I am getting my daughter away from those people or else.”

“Or – Or else what?” sputtered Zilsch.

“Or else you can find someone else to take your abuse,” Sarah said. “Good luck with that. You’re going to need it.”

“You can’t do that!” Zilsch yelped, slamming his fists down on the table. “I won’t let you! Damnit, Richards! Talk sense into this woman! I can’t be without an assistant! Especially not this week of all weeks!”

Dean Richards looked at Sarah with concern. He seemed more genuinely worried – or at least less self-involved than Zilsch. “Dr. Lawrence, I think perhaps we can handle this situation without resorting to such drastic measures, don’t you?”

“You damn well will handle this!” Zilsch said, his eyes rolling wildly. “I will not face this conference without Lawrence! I need her!”

“If I may?” Valentine’s voice was as calm as the surface of a still pond. “I believe my people can handle this. But, could I ask for a bit more information? What, exactly, is the issue at hand with Dr. Lawrence’s daughter?”

“She’s a damned Womackian cultist!” Zilsch said. “You heard the woman! That bratling is a dyed in the wool follower of that wannabe space princess!”

Valentine looked to Sarah, one eyebrow cocked up at a curious angle. “Ma’am?”

Sarah let out a long, shuddering sigh. “He’s right,” she said. “Mackenzie’s father joined the cult shortly after we divorced. She’s been part of it for the last four or five years now.”

“I see,” Valentine said. ‘And she wants out now, I take it?”

“Yes. I don’t know why and I honestly don’t care about why she wants out. I only care about the fact that she’s asking for my help,” Sarah said, clutching her hands into fists. “She’s – we’ve been estranged for a while now. This is the first time she’s called me in months. She just sounded so scared, so small. Mr. Valentine, I don’t know if you have children but well, I haven’t always been the best mother to Mackenzie but I can’t let her suffer like this. Can you help?”

“Ma’am, if it will help keep the conference running smoothly, I’ll be happy to put some of our people on it.” Valentine’s smile was straight out of a toothpaste commercial, all shiny, confident white teeth. “You have my word on it; they’ll get your little girl back. No worries.”

Sarah nodded, swallowing a lump in her throat. “Thank you,” she said. ‘Thank you so much. But I want her back before the opening ceremonies on Thursday. Otherwise, I will handle this myself and you can find another babysitter for Zilsch.”

“Dr. Lawrence,” Valentine said. ‘You have my word on it; she’ll be back safe and sound before you know it.”

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Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Round 2 Check-In for 4/8/18 (posted 4/10/18)

Ok, so this update is coming in a couple days late but it’s still coming in so that’s going to be counted as a win by me. Especially since I’m still getting back into the swing of things here.

Goals for the Week:

  • Work on Omegas: Cake Walk (O:CW) Chapter 18 — mainly typing up what I have managed to write this week and hopefully finishing the chapter so I can move on to Chapter 19 and beyond.
  • Work on strategies for getting the most I can out of shorter timeframes within which to write — I used to be able to write during downtime at my job which occasionally meant nice, long stretches of being able to write in a more meandering fashion. Due to my accepting a promotion, my duties have changed at work and, hence, I’ll be having less downtime. So, I’m going to be working on using what time I do have to write effectively. One idea is that instead of writing an entire scene, just writing out a kind of rough outline/bullet point-style list of “What Should Happen” and then using that as a reference from which to type up the next bit on my days off.

Between work and other non-writing aspects of life, I haven’t had the chance to sit down and dedicate a lot of time to Omegas: Cake Walk, but I did have the chance to figure out what I wanted to happen in Chapter 18 and how best to use that to drive the story forward. Since I don’t want to go into a summary of what’s going on quite yet, suffice it to say that I am very happy that I hit upon a way to use a scene that is low on physical action to still convey important plot points and showcase some of the world-building for Omegas: Cake Walk.

Since O:CW and other Gem City stories take place in a world that is based around superhero comics, all kinds of weirdness can occur. There are characters who are genetically engineered super-soldiers, faeries, alchemists, super-scientists, deep-sea dwelling non-humanoid lifeforms that look like a cross between a seal and an octopus (and which are only one of several different underwater dwelling species), human-alien hybrids, and modern-day Neanderthals who are also the first women to play in Major League Baseball, plus all the other accouterments of the diversity that is humanity as we know it.  Needless to say, creating this world has been at one and the same time tremendously fun and tremendously frustrating in terms of “…wait, how would this work? This needs to make sense! Auugh, why don’t we have inter-dimensional Google capabilities?!”

Otherwise, things are going well. Looking forward to spending the day tomorrow typing things up and hopefully getting a goodly chunk of Chapter 18 finished. Will be back tomorrow to share how things go!

To everyone participating in this Round of AROW80, good luck and keep on trucking!

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AROW80 Round 2 Check In for 4/4/2018 & WIPpet Wednesday

First check of the round! Currently, I’m at my local library, typing up my WIP (Omegas: Cake Walk) and trying to make some headway on the chapter I’m working on (which is Chapter 18).  The major difficulty at the moment is that I’m writing technobabble and trying to make it seem plausible. Also doesn’t help that this is the chapter where Things Get Real and lead to the protagonists Learning The Truth about who the antagonist is, so if things here don’t make sense, what comes next won’t make sense and my ending will be nonsensical in a bad way.

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in a universe where superhero tropes are real. The action is set during a super-scientist convention and involves a group of private security contractors being tasked with rescuing and protecting a super-scientist’s daughter from a group of cultists.  The rescue goes off without a hitch, but keeping the girl safe is much more involved as shenanigans are afoot!

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in the same universe as my Gem City snippets that are available here.  It’s currently the longest and closest to complete work set in this universe (I’m still trying to finish the story that led to the creation of the Gem City universe…) and I’m having a lot of fun with it so far.

Note: if you read the older Gem City stuff that’s posted here, be aware that some of it may be retconned/altered by me in the near future.

Goals: So far, so good! Hoping to get out of the current spot I’m stuck in by the end of today so *fingers crossed* here goes nothing!

Ok, getting back to the writing! See you next update!

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WIPpet Wednesday Math: Today’s the 4th day of the 4th month, and 4 x 4 = 16. And this is the first WIPpet of the year (for me at least), so here are the first 16 paragraphs of Omegas: Cake Walk. I hope it gives a good flavor of the kind of universe we’re dealing with.

“And, based on my findings, it is blatantly obvious to anyone with sense that our universe was created at some point between late fall 1932 and June 1938,” Dr. Josephus Zilsch sounded perfectly sober, except for a slight slurring in ‘sense,’ ‘universe’ and ‘some.’ The sound echoed faintly in the rotunda of Grant Library and was almost lost in the startled murmur from the assembled crowd of reporters here for the opening press conference of the 2007 Centillion Society’s Polymathetics Association Meeting. Zilsch continued speaking as if there had been no reaction.

“The exact date is, of course, hard to pin down. Particularly since ‘beginnings’ in the cosmic scale owe more similarity to making the decision to leave a room rather than actually walking through a door. But, beyond a few fiddling details like that, my calculations are correct and they show without a shadow of a doubt and with a margin of error of only a few weeks’ time here or there that the creation of our universe lies somewhere within that period of time.”

Zilsch stopped speaking and peered at the audience with an owlish confidence. Ordinary speakers would have asked for questions, but Zilsch didn’t. He never did. Either his audience followed his reasoning – and therefore didn’t need to ask questions – or they hadn’t, in which case they wouldn’t know the right questions to ask. Or understand the answers. Better that they simply take Zilsch’s word for whatever he’d said being right since it was, as always, a foregone conclusion.

Dr. Sarah Lawrence stood off to one side of the speaker’s podium that Dr. Zilsch was currently leaning on as if it were his only friend in the universe. Her vantage point allowed her to keep a weather eye on him and on the collected reporters and be close enough to intervene when Zilsch said something truly outrageous, incendiary, or insulting.

Fortunately, for the moment, both sides seemed content to wait for the other side make the first move.

“He’s kidding, right?” Beside her, Katheryn Cleland, one of the university’s security people, nudged Sarah gently as she asked the question. “That’s…that’s not possible….”

“No, he’s not.” Sarah scanned the reporters, trying to judge which one would be the first to break the stalemate and ask a question. Based on her personal experience, she was betting it would be one of the video journalists – those who worked in print could afford to be patient, they could always paint a word-picture that played up the silence for dramatic effect. The video guys on the other hand, couldn’t do much with Zilsch just standing there, staring back at them like a mildly annoyed statue. “He’s as serious as a heart attack.”

“But…that’s impossible!” Katheryn made a distressed noise, as if the illogic of Zilsch’s theory were causing her actual physical pain – which, Sarah realized, it might be.  Zilsch had that kind of an effect on people.  “Isn’t it?”

“Yes, but so are a lot of things in this world, Katheryn.” Sarah turned back as a flurry of hand-waving set off the entire group of reporters. “Didn’t you tell me you’re going to Mars for New Year’s Eve? By any logical assessment, the FTL drive we use to go between planets doesn’t make sense either, but it still works.”

“Yeah, but – well, the FTL drive makes a hell of a lot more sense than what he just said!” Katheryn said.

Sarah was about to answer when Zilsch stabbed a finger at the mob of reporters. “You!” he said with the long-suffering tone of a parent who knows they’re going to be asked, yet again, to explain why the sky is blue.  

A reporter, who may or may not have been the ‘you’ indicated, stood up. He was a lanky man, with the faintly pinkish cast to his skin that indicated possible extraterrestrial ancestry – Sarah guessed from one of the Centauries, probably Proxima. “Garb Boffman, ZBC News,” he said and while Sarah couldn’t see his face, she could sense the plastic artificiality of his smile in the tone of his voice. “Dr. Zilsch, how exactly do you reconcile the creation of the universe in the 1930s with the fact that – well, with the fact that we have recorded history dating back thousands of years. Not to mention geological evidence dating back millions of years before that? The memories and personal experiences of several people in this room alone would seem to refute your theory. Can you explain the discrepancy?”

Dr. Zilsch frowned at the reporter, his lips puffing up into a pout and Sarah could see his irritation building like the pressure in the caldera under Yellowstone. “Time,” Zilsch said, his voice sharp and all trace of his earlier slurring gone for the moment. “Time is an illusion and not a good one either! It’s the sort of performance you have to suffer through when your girlfriend’s kid wants to show off the dime store trick he just learned and you have to make nice if you want a chance in hell of getting into her pants. Like it’s your fault her idiot ex forgot whose weekend it was supposed to be.” His scowl deepened. “Again. Next question! No, not you, idiot! Her! Mona Marks! She’s the only one of you worth my time anyway.”

Mona Marks, the Grand Dame of the Super-Science Adventurer beat and rumored to be about ninety percent of the reason why the Weekly Sun was still a going concern when so many other print newspapers were going under, stood up.  She was dressed in her trademark 1980s-style purple power-suit, complete with shoulder pads broad enough for her to play quarterback with the Shikagou Bruins, and her ruby-red sneakers. She faced Zilsch with the cool calm of a woman who’d faced more dangerous adversaries and still met her deadlines. She didn’t even so much as glance down at her notes as she considered her question.

“All right, I’ll bite,” she said. “How did you arrive at this conclusion, Josephus? And how does it relate to the Crazy Quilt Universe Theory that was announced back in February at the University of Lakota in Porcupine?”

Zilsch sighed at Mona, puffing out his cheeks, all pretenses of paternalism briefly gone. For a moment, he looked like a moody teenager – albeit one who was trapped in the body of a greying, sagging, pudgy-bellied adult. “You’re referring to the “Mosaic Multiverse Theory” not “Crazy Quilt,” he said. “I realize you can’t possibly hope to understand the science behind what I’m talking about, Marks, but is it so much to ask that you at least get the names right while you’re being wrong? The Mosaic Multiverse Theory isn’t even my work; it’s my assistant’s hobbyhorse.”

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Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts.

AROW80-2018 ROUND 2 Goals Post

It’s been a few years, but I’m ready to give this another go-round!  I’m going to keep my goal short and sweet: finish my current WIP’ s second draft, which is almost done!

One challenge, other than that I’m hitting the “Endings Are Hard!” Wall of Doom, is that I’ve started a new job (internal promotion at my current job), so there’s going to be some adjustments since I’m adapting to changes there. But, I’m confident I can succeed.

Looking forward to a productive round with everybody!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover

Edit to Add:  The project I’m currently working on is called Omegas: Cake Walk. It’s set in the Gem City universe I created a few years ago.  If you click on the Gem City tag, you can see some of my earlier musings on the universe in question — though some of that has/will fall to the forces of Retcon eventually.

Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

*Insert Cheesy ‘It’s Been A Long Time’ Joke here*

But, WOW has it ever been a long time since I posted here. A lot has changed since I last posted but a lot really hasn’t. Still working at the same job, still living in the same apartment, still with the same incredibly awesome girlfriend, still in Ohio and still writing.

What’s really new? I finished a complete first draft of a novel set in the U-46534 universe and am on my way toward finishing the second draft of that novel. Pretty well chuffed about that.

Other new things: started watching the CW’s Arrowverse shows after getting hooked on Legends of Tomorrow (pretty much entirely because Captain Cold and Heat Wave were on the show and Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are amazing together and also very easy on the eyes. *swoon*). This led to me watching the Flash, which led to Supergirl and Arrow and now Black Lightning (which isn’t set in the Arrowverse but which is an incredibly good show, especially if you like superheroes in the real world).

Saw Black Panther — loved it.

Tried Bolivian food — loved it.

Went to Ohio’s Amish Country — loved it. Want to go back. The pies…oh god, the pies…

I’m going to try getting back into blogging because I miss having a place where I can blather on about stuff. So, *fingers crossed*.

 

AROW80 Check-In for 1/14/2015

I’ve started doing some typing! And I’ve been reading up on writing short stories, focusing mainly on structuring shorter fiction since for the last few years I’ve been working on writing longer works.  And…I’m not sure if this is a revision to my goals or a logical continuation from them but, well, here goes:

In the course of my readings, I stumbled across an article at Karen Woodward’s blog: How To Publish 52 Short Stories And 10 Collections Per Year, which outlines a plan devised by  Dean Wesley Smith in a post at his blog, called The New World of Publishing: Helping Readers Find Your Work.  The plan is based on making your stories more visible by publishing one short story per week (approximately 5,000 words) to Amazon.com. Then, bundling five weeks’ worth of stories into a collection for a slightly higher price point. The idea being that then, you have 52 stories and 10 collections in a year. And, if all goes well, by having a goodly number of works out on the market, you’ll be earning a tidy sum and building name recognition.

Granted, there are some givens here — you need to be writing good stories, plus you need to be able to produce professional looking books that are properly described and keyworded, etc.

I’ve been mulling this article around and around in my head for the last few days, ever since I originally read the article and…I think I would like to try it. Not immediately, since I don’t have any stories ready for sale, but I think this is something I would like to work toward. But, it brings up a question that I would like to put forward to the group: would it be better for a first-time writer, such as myself, to attempt to go the self-publishing route or to try for traditional publishing or would a combination of the two be better?  

I realize, this question/these questions are of a highly subjective nature but any and all thoughts and advice would be appreciated.

If I do attempt self-publishing, particularly along the lines of Dean Wesley Smith, I want to start off with a backlog of stories (my magic number is at least 13 — i.e. a quarter of a year). Of course, this would probably *also* be a goodly number of stories to have for sending out to traditional markets too, And, writing 13 stories should be a good, concrete way to build up the writing habit.

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AROW80 First Quarter Check-In: 1/7/2015

I’m back for another round! I inadvertently took a posting break last round, though I have still been working on my writing (which I’m pretty proud of, since all too often I have a tendency to get all ramped up and go like gangbusters and then, once the energy fades, I stop working).

This time around, I’m starting off with one simple goal for the month of January: finish a short story. The good news is, I have three or four stories that I’ve started, all set in the same fictional universe. What I need to work on is a) typing up what I’ve got done (since I do most of my writing by hand, my drafts can end up chaotic with sticky notes and extra pages inserted for changes and such), and b) finishing a story completely. From beginning to end.

Of course, it doesn’t help that last night, having determined that today would be the day I would sit down and start typing, I managed to cut up one of my fingertips so now I have one bandaged finger that is somewhat slowing me down — but I think I’ll get used to it with some work (and it sure as heck beats the alternative!).

In the plus column, it helps that I have an idea of how I want the story to turn out — and I like writing in the universe it’s set in.

Goals for February and March are as yet to be determined — and are dependent on me meeting my goal this month.

Other goal for this week is staying warm as the weather outside is frickin’ cold and looks to be staying that way until next week.

Hope you’re all having a good first week of the first round!

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Final Check-In for Round 4 — December 24, 2015

I hope everybody is having a very happy holiday season! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Happy New Year!  And otherwise, just hope y’all are having a good end of the year.

I…have no idea how well I did on Nano this year. I didn’t keep track of how many words I wrote but I did write quite a bit. Mostly in the Gem City ‘verse. I started off with like, parts of two stories and I’m now sitting on parts of four or five stories! Plus, I’ve done some more work on fleshing out the world, which makes me happy.

I’ve also been doing a lot of research/brain stuffing in the form of reading comic books and comics-related science and philosophy books (Science of Superheroes and Science of Supervillains and Spider-Man and Philosophy, among others).   Which has been fun.

Also, for Christmas, the girlfriend and I got the complete 1960s Batman TV series from her mom. Oh, the cheese! The glorious, glorious, glorious cheese! It even came with a little toy Bat-mobile!

I’m going to keep writing during the break — eventually, I want to corral myself into typing up the stuff I have written, why I’m procrastinating about it, I do not know. Plans for next year are still forming in the back of my mind.

Again, hope you guys have a great holiday season and good luck in your endeavors!

PS: Saw Big Hero Six and it was the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.  Highly recommend. Made me cry (duh, Pixar movie); jealous of the storytelling.

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AROW80 Update for November 5, 2014 + WIPpet

It is cold and wet and rainy and very much November here. I haven’t been writing as much as I wanted to for the first few days of this month — combination of work and lack of oomph — but I got a bit written last night and I’m planning on working on some more tonight and hoping to get close to a goal of 10,0002 words by tonight.

I’m working on a short story set in my Gem City (aka Reverse Batman) universe. From my original post on the idea:

A story about a Reverse Batman-type character — his parents were supervillains in the 1960 who were killed by a rogue hero and because of this, he now works as a private detective doing things like keeping superheroes accountable and such.  He’s also the guy you call when you want to serve divorce papers on The Thing.

The plot is that Will Cartwright, private investigator and owner of QC Investigations, has been hired by his college friend Kylie (aka Wildheart) to help clear her father, the hero Howler, from a murder charge. This scene is Will arriving at the 247th precinct to talk to the detectives investigating the crime.

Detective Sergeant Luna Bastigan was at her desk when I arrived. She looked at me like I was the first plague rat off the boat. She was a short, stocky woman who looked like a cross between a bulldog and a fireplug. She’d come up through the ranks of the GCPD, making detective almost as soon as she was able. She shook her head and leaned back from her keyboard to study me.

 

“Should have known you’d be here sooner or later, Cartwright,” she said. “Let me guess, Howler’s girl hired you to clear her Daddy’s name?”

 

“Close; she calls him Pop-pop,” I said. “She’s pretty convinced that he’s innocent. She’s got a theory and I have to say, it’s got some merit to it.”

 

Bastigan snorted. “I’m sure it does,” she said. “Problem is, she’s not a witness and she’s got a vested interest in lying through her fake little fangs to protect her-“ she snorted. “Pop-pop. Whereas on the other side, I’ve got at least five witnesses willing to swear that Howler did it, was glad he did it and would have done it again if he could have.”

 

“And none of them have any vested interests?” I asked. “C’mon, Bastigan, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ remember?”

 

“Don’t try to school me, Cartwright,” she said. “I know my job. Problem is, the Third Coast Crusaders have a hell of a lot of pull in this town and Tyler Rose is the top of that particular heap. It’s more than just an investigation; it’s a political freaking nightmare.”

There’s more about the Gem City ‘verse here: The Semi-Quasi-Mostly Official Handbook to the Gem City Universe 

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AROW80 update for 10/29/2014 + Nanowrimo Plans and Schemes

I have finished typing up the last of what I’ve got written (so far) for Defcon: Fade Out and the grand total is 145,247 words. Which blows me away but would make me a lot happier if it was one solid cohesive story. Instead, I’m pretty sure what I’m looking at is actually two separate books — or at least two separate stories that are related by a common thread.  Since the inspiration for this series is cheesy men’s adventure novels from the 1980s and those books did sometimes do “doubles” (i.e. two books in one) I might have this book be one of those.  I have to ponder the plan for this a bit more, but I’m fairly confident I can make it work.  Once again, it comes down to a question of figuring out where the gaps are and writing the bits to fill in those gaps.

Nanowrimo Plans:

I’d originally planned to use Nanowrimo to help fill in the gaps. The original plan was to have things typed up and the inventory done by the first of November. This isn’t going to happen, mainly because I don’t want to half-ass the work trying to get it done over the next two days and I want to hit the ground running come November 1st.

And, to be blunt about it, I need a break from Defcon: Fade Out. I’ve been working on it more or less steadily for a few years now and it’s time for a vacation. So, I’m taking the month of November off and working on something else.

Once again, I’m taking the Nanowrimo Rebel approach to the month. In my case, I’m not going to be working on a novel, I’m going to be working on some short stories. So, call it NaShoStoWriMo instead. The idea is still to try and write 50,000 words but instead of them being one novel, I’m hoping to get at least three or four stories out of the endeavor. I’m using the following word count categories from the SFWA as my guidelines:

  • Short story: less than 7.500 words
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 – 17,500 words
  • Novella: 17,500 – 40,000 words

I’m hoping to keep things within the novelette category. The plan is to make myself work on writing shorter pieces with an eye toward improving my writing’s tightness and my writing speed.  Toward that end and in keeping with the whole Nano-Rebel thing, I’ve actually already started working on one story. It’s an expansion on an idea that I posted a snippet of back in December of last year (it’s the second one in this post).

I have three other story ideas that I want to work on. Another one is set in the Gem City superhero universe, one in the Defcon universe and one that takes place in the Butcher’s Bill vampire hunting universe.  Going with the 50,000 total word goal, that gives me an average of about 12,500 words per story but the ultimate word count would be whatever is needed to finish the story.

Part of the reason for this interest in short stories is to work on finishing a complete story and another reason is to work on trying to get some things ready to submit for publication. One of the things I want to work on for 2015 is submitting something for publication. Toward that end, I’ve picked up a copy of the 2015 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market as a way of encouraging/goading myself onward.

Come December, I’m going to start working on turning Defcon: Fade Out into that elusive goal: a finished piece. I’m also going to take another look at my old attempt at writing a Butcher’s Bill novel.

So, fingers crossed and here goes something!

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AROW80 Check-In for 10/15/2014 (posted on 10/16)

Current Word Count: 127,852 words (as of 10/16/2014 0102)

I signed up for Nanowrimo 2014. Once again, I’m planning on using it as a chance to fill in gaps and create a cohesive story. If y’all are looking for a writing buddy, I’m at dunmurderin.

Plans for the Week:  Just keep typing, just keep typing. I’ve got a dozen or so scenes that were written out on loose-leaf paper that I’m typing up so that I have everything in one spot and can organize from there. A goodly chunk is going to end up pared off and probably recycled into other stories set in this ‘verse.

Latest Movies Seen: On Monday, we went to see Gone Girl with the girlfriend’s mom and all I’m going to say about the movie is that it was AMAZING! Which is about all I can say about the movie for fear of spoiling. Ok, no, there’s one other thing I can say: the cat in the movie, is adorable. There’s just something about an orange marmalade cat.

Tuesday, we went and saw Dracula: Untold — and all I can say about that movie is if you want to see it, wait for it to go to the discount theaters or to show up at Redbox or on Netflix. Because while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t good either. On the other hand, if you like a good, cheesy movie, this is a good cheesy movie.

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AROW80 4th Quarter Check-In: 10/8/2014

Goals for this Round – which are some of my goals from last time around, rewritten and/or adapted for continued use:

  1. Finish typing up DEFCON: FADE OUT: I’ve been working on this and have managed to type up everything I had in both of my notebooks. Now, I’m working on the extra scenes that I’ve written over the last month or so. I’m expecting to finish off with a grand total of around 137,000 words (more or less).
  2. Create a cohesive manuscript:Last round, I figured I had about 3/4th of a story set down for Defcon: Fade Out. I’m still fairly confident that this is the case. The problem is, I don’t have an ending and I’m not really sure about my beginning. The middle feels fairly strong – or at least complete. I also keep running plots and motives through my head and have been jumping from idea to idea to idea to idea.

At its heart, the plot of Defcon: Fade Out focuses on a murder and I’ve been trying to figure out a good, solid motive for the murder. It’s less a question of not having an idea versus being spoiled for choice. So, once everything is typed up and printed out, my plan is to go through the extra bits of the manuscript and start trimming bits away to get to the heart of the story I want to tell. Then, it’s going to be time to outline a nice, tight outline.

One of my goals for November is to use Nanowrimo to write the missing and/or necessary scenes to fill out the manuscript and make it into a cohesive whole. It’s still going to need editing after that but at least this will put me closer to having something that is editable and not just a collection of scenes still needing to be linked together.

  1. As a secondary goal, I want to try and come up with ideas for shorter stories. Ok, this goal is more or less unchanged from last round and amounts to this: This is a blatant attempt on my part to try and produce some potentially marketable fiction with an aim toward making some money. Not a lot, just enough for me to be able to say “I wrote this and I got paid for it!”

The good news is, I’ve got an idea for a shorter piece to set in the Defcon ‘Verse and I’ve been noodling around with ideas for stories set in other story ‘verses.

  1. Be better about checking in with folks. Back at the beginning of Round Three, I lamented the fact that I let checking in with other folks fall by the wayside and intended on checking in with others with more regularity. By the end of Round Three, I’d more or less stopped checking in with my own blog so, yeah, that was one ball that was well and truly dropped. I’m going to work on being better about keeping hold of it this time around.

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Achievement Unlocked: 100,000 words!

With the secondary achievement of ‘tired and sore arms’ also reached!

Goal Achieved: 100,000 words typed as of 10/01/2014 on Defcon: Fade Out manuscript

Typing Goal of 100,000 words for Defcon: Fade Out achieved!

Seriously, I managed to make it to 100,000 words today but it was a bit of a slog. My hands were/are like, “Aren’t we there *yet*”

I’ve still got about 25-30,000 words left to type up, plus some untold number left to write to fill in the gaps but for now, I have hit a goal and I am happy!

So, about the typing…

Today was my day off and I had to get up early to get some stuff done (early for me being around 930 in the morning) and ended up staying up and figuring “Hey, why not get an early start on the typing?” So, I did just that.

I started off at 88,228 words and I have ended the day at 96,667 words for a grand total of 8,439 words typed over the course of the day.

Suffice to say, I’m in a good position to get everything typed up by the end of October. So, YAY!

AROW80 Final Check-In for Third Round — September 24, 2014

Final Report for Round Three:

*blows dust off the blog* Eh-heh, I haven’t posted for a while.  BUT, I have actually been being productive. Which is kind of a big deal for me, since I’ve been afraid for a long time that if I didn’t keep up with the blog, I’d let my writing slide too.

Good news: I didn’t let the writing slide! Much! Ok, for a while, yeah but then I got serious and I’ve stayed serious!  Last time I posted, I was at 29,674 words — as of about five minutes ago, I just hit 75,000+ words for a pretty awesome total of 45,394 words typed in the last 34 days!

OK, my goal was to have everything I’ve written over the last few rounds typed up by now but I got side tracked by real life and got behind. But, I’m pretty happy with having reached 75,000+ words.

I also started writing a bit more — which is kinda/sorta slowing the typing thing down since I managed to add about 20,000 words of manuscript. Eh-heh.

Goals for Next Round:

  • Finish typing things up – hope to have this done by mid-October (cheating a bit since I’ll be working on this during the interim).  I’ve got about another 50K worth of words to go, depending on how much I write in the meantime.
  • Once everything is typed up, print out what I have and start looking for where there are gaps that need to be filled. — Hope to have this done by October 31st.
  • For Nanowrimo, fill in those gaps. — November 1st-30th.
  • For December: Start the typing thing all over again.

In Other News:

My girlfriend has a new job! It’s a work at home position which solves our transportation problems (not that we really had many when she was at her last job, but we have zip-zero-none now!). So, yay!

Part of the reason I’ve been able to get as much typing done as I have is that while my girlfriend is in training at one end of our couch, I’m sitting quietly on my end of the couch, typing away and listening to videos online (with headphones). I’ve gone from typing maybe once or twice a week in marathon sessions on my days off to typing a bit almost every day. And on my days off, I’m putting in the marathon sessions since she’s at work for about seven and a half hours a day.

That we are once again a dual income household after about nine months of being a single income household is also a huge plus. She’s happy, I’m happy because she’s happy and life is good.  Hope you are all having good luck and great success. Looking forward to Round Four! Onward to October 6th!

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AROW80 Check-In for August 21, 2014

I’ve got Good News and I’ve got Bad News (the bad news goes on for a bit, but the good news IS there!)…

Bad News First: I’ve, uh, missed a couple posts and I wish I could say it was because I was just sooooo busy typing that I couldn’t spare a moment to post but, uh…ohhh, no, that is not the case. That is sooo not the case. Light from what the case should be would take about a hundred years to reach the case as it stands right now.

As of August 6th, I’d written 25,188 words.  As of tonight, I’ve written 27,232 words. I am soooo far behind at this point that I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch up before the end of this Round. I’m still going to try because miracles can happen and even if I don’t reach 100,000 words I can at least get as close to it as I can, right?

The reason the typing has fallen off is because I’ve fallen into a slump and it worries me. More to the point, it scares me because I know how easy it is to just keep sliding into the slump and to let NOT doing things come easier and easier — especially because the work is becoming harder and harder. The more I type things up, the more I find that I’m not happy with what I have, that I’m afraid the ideas don’t make sense and that I just don’t have the skills necessary to pay the bills on this particular idea.

It also doesn’t help that there’s some non-writing related stuff going on that’s likewise sapping my will to write and making it hard for me to put my butt in the seat and do the damned typing. Which needs to be done so I can get to the work of making things make sense. The little obnoxious voice that keeps telling me that I’m spinning my wheels and wasting my time and kidding myself is getting louder and harder to ignore and shout down.

Tie that into the fact that, as I’ve stated before, I’m writing the LAST book in a series so even once I finish this one, I have four other books to write before I can really do anything with this work because — as it stands right now — I don’t want to try and put the series out in reverse and remove all the suspense.

But even those worries pale in comparison to the problem I’m having in writing THIS book. Problems which I think I might actually have an inkling of a handle on — namely that I need to tell two interlocking stories (actually, it’s going to be three with a short interlude piece in between).

Ok, now for the Good News:

I finally got Chapter Five typed up and I figured out what to do with a scene that I didn’t want to leave stranded in Notebook Limbo (i.e. not typed up) but that no longer fit with the ideas I have for the chapter it was originally part of: I creased a Miscellaneous Scenes section in my current Scrivener binder!  I typed the scene up, labeled and color-coded it accordingly and now I can move on.

also sat down and worked out some of the structural problems that I’ve been having with Defcon: Fade Out.  Namely, I realized that the story I’ve been working on is only half of the novel.  Some of the stuff I’ve already written feels like it would better suit an earlier part of the story that leads into the main chunk that I have plotted out in my head. So, I’m going to tell that story.  The structure I’ve got in my mind now is as follows:

  • Book One: Takes place in July 2022, introduces characters and their world, sets up events, etc.
  • Interlude: a short novella/novelette that will be linked to the first and second halves of the story and will serve as a palette cleanser.
  • Book Two: Takes place in October/November 2022, follows characters/events set up in first book and interlude to their conclusions.

The good news is, Book Two is largely written and bits of Book One and the Interlude are also written. The bad news…well, a lot of the entire thing ISN’T but still, once the bits that exist are typed up, I’m hoping the holes will become easier to see. So far, so good.

I’m scared and I’m nervous but, well, I have a place where I can come and talk about being scared and nervous. And I have a girlfriend who loves me and listens to me when I ramble about being nervous and scared (and puts up with my being an insecure blob sometimes).  So, I am ever so grateful to you guys and to her.

(Amy, if you’re reading this, I love you! You are awesome! You are the Groot to my Rocket!)

Miscellaneous Musings on the TV I’ve Been Watching:

To go off on a silly note.

Dear Vampire Hunters on The Strain: For the love of Bela Lugosi, would you guys PLEASE start wearing face masks when you go out and kill vampires? You’ve set up the conceit that vampirism is spread by a parasite  that just has to land on you and one of you is a big-shot epidemiologist for the CDC. Plus, you can get face masks at CVS.  Gloves would also be a wise idea. Ok, so you can’t inconspicuously run around in biohazard suits but, dudes, bare hands and faces just are dumb.

Also, stop ending the show just as things get good! That’s just mean!

Dear Rizzoli & Isles:  A belated thank you for writing a braniac character (Dr. Isles) who doesn’t annoy the hell out of me. Double points for making them female and all the points and a chocolate croissant for making her socially awkward, super smart, female and still a believable human being.

Also, kudos for handling a couple of seriously touchy subjects in ways that were true to the show, true to the characters and (at least IMO) respectful to the feelings of real people.

Dear Amazon Prime: Thank you for making it possible for me to watch all of the Cadfael mysteries as well as the seasons of Red vs. Blue that I’ve missed. Also for making it possible for me to find out that there was/is a TENTH season of Red Dwarf! OMG! Oh, and the 2006 Robin Hood which is just goofy, cheesy fun.

Cool Links:

A Guide to Naming and Naming Practices — a guide to names and naming practices in around 30 different countries/regions worldwide. Not just a list of names, this guide provides information about how names are structured in different cultures and countries.

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AROW80 Check-In: 8/6/2014

It’s been a slow week as far as writing/typing goes. I am still mired down in Chapter Four, though I’m closer to the end than I was and I’m hoping to have the blasted thing done by the time I go to bed tonight.

Probably doesn’t help that I took part of the night off last night to go see Guardians of the Galaxy with the girlfriend, but it was soooooo-oooo-oooo worth it.  It was one of those things that just hit all my yummy buttons and is the kind of science fiction that has humor and energy and good characters and really wild things that I want to write.

It’s also not helping that I’m in a part of the story that needs some serious rewriting and that is making it slower going — though I am proud of the fact that I did actually sit down and write out some changes.  I’m likely going to have to do the same thing in the next chapter too, but I’m hoping it will go more quickly.

On the reading front, I read The Strain trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (because the TV show is not moving fast enough for me; though I’m glad to see that the series is departing from the books enough that I’m probably not going to know what’s going to happen next). The books were good, but part of me likes the series better.

Also I discovered the Save The Cat series of books on screenwriting by the late Blake Snyder. I’ve read a lot of books and articles on writing and laying out of scenes, but Mr. Snyder’s books make things that I’ve read other places feel a lot clearer and easier to follow. Highly recommended.

Typing Goals: I’m still working my way through Chapter Four and am at 23.478 words right now. It’s a slow slog, but it is a slog I am still slogging away at.  Not even going to think about how far behind I am because that will change and I know it will go up as I get to areas that I’m happier with and that will be easier to charge through.

Final Edit of the Night: Chapter Four is DONE! Word count is now 25,188 words! I’m going to bed! WHOO!

Goals for this Week: Finish typing up Chapter Four before I go to bed. Start on Chapter Five, ASAP and get my word count back up to more respectable levels.

Edited to add: Found this article over at io9.com: Charles Yu’s Insanely Helpful Advice On “Getting Stuck” While Writing

[When I get stuck and start telling myself “You suck”] sometimes I will read to myself something that I have liked that I wrote, to remind myself, “Once in a while, you do it.” Like, it’s usually a paragraph or two, that I’m like, “I remember how I did that.”

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Negotiations…

Why NOT cookie Rocket?

Why NOT cookie Rocket?

Based on a conversation me and the girlfriend had after leaving Guardians of the Galaxy last night. 

The sources of the images in this gif are at the following links: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Rocket Raccoon.  

Non-spoiler review of Guardians of the Galaxy: OHMYGOD! GO SEE THIS MOVIE NOW! Or as soon as you most conveniently can because this movie is just…this movie is Sensawunder science fiction at its finest.  It’s funny, it’s clever, and I don’t care what the guy behind me at the theatre says, the stinger at the end was totally worth sitting through the credits for. And I REALLY had to pee so, y’know…yeah. 

AROW80 Check-In: 7/30/2014

Writing-wise, I didn’t get much done this last week because I was out of town for my uncle Bob’s funeral. I did however get a chance to visit with my family and shared some good memories of my uncle.  It was good to go home for a few days and see old, familiar places and people.

Typing Goals: I’m still working my way through Chapter Four and am at 22,317 words right now (and will probably add a bit more before I go to bed).  Right now, the typing is going slow because I’m making changes to the scene I’m working on but I’m happy with what I’m doing so that’s a plus.

Goals for this Week: Finish typing up Chapter Four and work on getting back on goal as far as my word count goes.

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AROW80 Check-In: 7/23/2014

Not much of a post this week. My uncle Bob passed away Monday morning. It was…not entirely unexpected, since his health hasn’t been the best for the last few years but it was a surprise and a shock. I’m going to miss him; he was a good man and I wish he’d had more time to do…hell, everything.

My girlfriend and I are heading up to my home town for the funeral tomorrow and I’ll be out of town for the next few days. I hope everybody has a wonderful week and I wish everybody good luck with their goals.

Goals for this Week:  I’m not setting any writing goals for the rest of this week. Otherwise, I’m going to go home and say good bye to my uncle and hug my aunts and cousins.

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AROW80 Check-In: 7/20/2014

Typing Goals: Chapter Three is typed up and I am on to Chapter Four, with a grand total of 17,285 words.  Which puts me on track for 100,000 words by the end of this round!

Goals for this Week: Finish Chapter Four and reach a minimum of 21,250 words by Wednesday July 23rd.

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AROW80 Check-In: 7/16/2014

Typing Goals: As of 11:51 pm Dayton, Ohio time, I am at 11,005 words and am on Chapter Three, Scene Five. I’m hoping to get in at least a couple more scenes tonight (Chapter Three is a ridiculously long one).

Edited to add:  As of 0214 am 7/17/14 — 13,157 words and just finished Scene Six!

The outlining is going well; it’s now around 4 pages long and growing. Part of me is kind of worried about  whether I should be working on revising as I go but I’m afraid if I do that, I’m going to end up spinning my wheels and endlessly rewriting the first three chapters. So, for now, I’m going to continue on typing away and making notes. And maybe revising things here and there as I go without making it a huge commitment.

One big problem I’ve been having with this project is the fact that I am working on what is supposed to be the LAST book in a series so even once I finish it, I still have to write four other books before I can consider trying to sell this one.  I’ve got ideas for a few short stories in this universe, but I’m also wanting to try and get a novel done that I can send out. So, thinking ahead to Round Four, I’m planning on working on a different novel, one that isn’t part of a series (or if it is, will be the first book of a series).   But that is for the future. For now, there is typing!

And, on the plus side, I’m learning things about writing a novel with this project that will, hopefully, we very helpful come the next book.

Goals for this Week: Finish typing up Chapter Three and move on to Chapter Four.  Continue to combat the insecurity monster that rides on the back of my head and tries to tell me that I’m wasting my time and all the other usual hogwash.

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AROW80 Check-In: 7/13/2014

Typing Goals: Chapters One and Two are typed up for a grand total of 6,376 worlds. I didn’t get as far as I wanted to this week, but blame that on having gone to see a Planet of the Apes double feature, which was AWESOME!

I’ve noticed some plot holes in what I’ve done so far, but I’m keeping a separate Word document for taking notes of what I want to fix, which is very good for keeping me focused on my goal of getting things typed up.

Goals for this Week: Get Chapter Three typed up; make a stab at better organizing Chapters One and Two.

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