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Weekly Update: Where has Jay been?

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve been in here. I’ve got so much housework to do. I need to add a new book, get another prepared to go in here (two actually) and I need to give you an update as to what I’ve been doing. I’ve been lax as of late and I apologize for being absent. I’ve got reasons!

First off, I was having fun posting my dreams. I haven’t stopped having them, I just haven’t had the opportunity to sit and write them. For example, last night I was fishing in this wide fishing boat, alone. For some reason I was still tied to the dock. A HUGE fish, bigger than my boat, jumped out of the water and landed on the dock. It rocked my boat something fierce. The fish died as soon as it landed on the dock. I looked at it and had no idea what to do.

Then I woke up. Then I fell back asleep and had another dream that was…odd. I’ll leave it at that.

I will resume posting my dreams when things settle down.

So, My Teacher is a Vampire is live all over where books can be found. I’ll post links and cover art and all that just as soon as I’m able. I love the cover Dan Dan the Art Man did for this one. I’ll be pestering him again soon for My Teacher is a Witch. I hope to release that one come July.

Paradise Palms: A Murder Mystery in a Time-Traveling Trailer Park has been delayed. I’m getting more editing done on that one. I’m a bad, bad writer. Well, maybe not, but that one needed lots of cleaning and it’s being scoured. It may need a little re-writing in spots, but it will be coming this month.

Also this month I hope to drop Billy Barbarian: Sethopolis. This is a fun book and I can’t wait to get it out into the wild. This one was done as a podcast and before you ask, yes, I’m planning a sequel.

Next Month will see Of Gnomes and Dwarves: Chance Encounters. This is the first book I ever wrote and has been completely re-written. I’m super happy with the way this one came out. I added a lot, I took out a lot, I changed things around. Overall I made the book the best I could. I’m anxious to write the sequel for this one.

My giant robot story has stalled on me. I’m going to put it aside. After trashing 25,000 words and starting over I got 10,000 words in and I’m struggling with it at this point. I do plan on finishing it, but I’m not as excited as I was the first time through. I need to work on something else to find my writing mojo once more. I only knocked out 10,000 words last month and I don’t like that. Yes I was crazy busy with editing, work, helping friends with their webpages, and everything else life throws at me, but that’s no excuse for such a poor word count. I need to get back on track and I know just the book to do that for me. 🙂

Speaking of life throwing things at me, I found myself at Metal Jam over the weekend. This is a charity even for autism and I’d heard about it before, but my brain never made the connection. Turns out it’s founded by my high-school buddy that I haven’t seen in about 20 years. Yes, we’ve talked on the phone many times, but I haven’t been up to see him in a LONG time. He only lives two hours away, so what was my excuse? Life.

So I went up so see him. I had to. He has a son that’s 20 years old and severely autistic. Jeff started this event to raise money to help kids with autism and all the proceeds go to help the fight. The best moment of the day was when Jeff brought his son on stage and played Into the Void by Black Sabbath. For some reason his son really responds to this song. It was hard not to cry as you saw Jake on stage with his dad rocking out. It was a beautiful thing.

I also met Derek Riggs there. Derek is the artist responsible for all the Iron Maiden artwork over the years (well, a vast majority of it). He’s such a great guy and donated his time so sign anything people brought by. He also donated the artwork for the t-shirts (and hoodies and prints). I got much swag. I was astounded by just how much was donated. I mean, holy cow! There was so much that they had a hard time getting rid of it all.

What Metal Jam is, other than a fund raiser, is a place where musicians gather to jam together. Over 100 musicians showed up to play 25 songs. On the site there’s a posted song list and artists can sign up for one or many songs. The talent ranges from pros (The Iron Maidens, Electric Funeral, Dias, Just Like Priest) to people that sit in their room and jam on their guitar and know a few songs. This was a chance for those people to mix, mingle, and have a great time for a great cause. Me? I was just a spectator, but I so wanted to have a base in my hands and jam with them. Who knows, maybe I’ll start playing bass again so I can join in next year for a song or two.

This weekend I’ll be back in Long Beach for a volleyball tournament. Might meet up with Jeff and his girlfriend again for dinner. Then when we get back on Saturday I hope to head out to the Gaslamp Gathering and meet Jay Lake. Unless things change, this will be my only opportunity to meet him. That saddens me and I need to get out there to say ‘hello’.

So things won’t slow down any time soon, but hey, that’s life. I can do all this and write as well.

Speaking of writing, I’d better get doing something.

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

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Daily Update: How’d that happen?

Before I get started, I’d like to ask one thing of you. I’m attempting to win a couple books from Jay Lake. There is a caption contest here. If you like my caption, please vote it up. If you don’t, I understand. And Thank you for your support 🙂

A little bit about Jay Lake, he’s got cancer (again) and is going through a rough patch. If you have a little time, check out his site, see if his work interests you,and pick up a book if you’re able.

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This morning I was taking my favorite daughter to school. As I turned the corner to the main road I saw an ambulance way back behind us. I joked that I’m going to outrun the ambulance and make the turn to school. Being that it was so far behind this, it wasn’t something that would be difficult but I wasn’t trying to do anything stupid. I made the turn to the road her school is on and joked again that we beat it! Then we were stuck at the end of a very long line of cars. I saw the ambulance turn the corner and promptly got to the side of the road and the entire line followed suit. Color me impressed.

People dropping their kids off at her school can sometimes be…frustrating. With unsignaled turns, illegal u-turns, kids jaywalking, people pulling out without looking, drastic stops and starts, it’s an accident just waiting to happen. My first thought was that I hoped no one had gotten hurt.

As we got closer to the school, they were waving people away from the first drop off point, Freshman Circle. I only ever went in there once and it was so difficult to get back out that I vowed never to try that again. My Favorite Daughter made it to school on time, but I spent the better part of the morning trying to get back out. Looking into the circle we could see a firetruck and the ambulance. Then I saw the car.

*Note: We were stopped. I do my best to keep traffic flowing and not rubber neck.

The car had hopped the curb and crashed into one of the many concrete barricades. The car was in bad shape. The concrete looked unconcerned. All I could think at that point was “I hope everyone is alright.” Well, that and “How’d they managed do do THAT?”

Freshman circle isn’t that big. There are usually a lot of other cars, buses, foot traffic. So get enough speed to do that much damage couldn’t have been easy. My guess is that will be the talk of the school this morning. I’ll post an update tomorrow once I know what happened. Again, my hope is that no one was seriously injured.

On the Writing Front: I got 1500 words knocked out yesterday. I hope to have a repeat performance again today. There are many things to do so it may or may not happen. We will just have to wait and see how it goes. I’m getting to the really exciting parts of Of Gnomes and Dwarves so the writing should start to go faster. I don’t want to rush it and skip over details. I did a little editing last night as I was going due to the fact that I had to go back and check some facts and better understand what I had laid out.

I’m starting to plot out V&A Shipping II. Yes, I’m finally going to write the sequel. I already have the first line in my head and I’ll re-write this when I start NaNoWriMo: “Kid, it’s kind of hard to lose a planet.” At least that what I think I want the first line to be. Just like with the first V&A Shipping, we’re dumped right into the action. It’ll be another roller coaster ride and I’m going to have a lot of fun in November revisiting Vic, Argman, Joey, June, and Dexter. I’ll, of course, have to add a new android and some other new shipmates. I have plans, I have characters in mind, and I know you’ve waited far too long for a follow-up book. I don’t know, at this time, if I’ll be podcasting it. I don’t know if B.T. Justice and Junior will return, but I’m certain they’ll play a role in there somewhere. Like I said, still in the plotting stages at this point.

The first book was a mash up of Smokey and the Bandit and Star Wars (an intergalatic beer run) but book II will not be like Smokey and the Bandit II. Hopefully my sequel will have a little more substance. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see. No matter what happens, it’ll be fun. Trust me on that one.

Okay, before I can do any of that, I need to get through the work day.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: More words than you can shake a stick at.

Had another great writing day yesterday. I’m hopeful for another repeat performance again today, but I’m not sure if it’ll happen or not. Why?

My favorite daughter had volley ball practice (two 2 hour sessions).

I’ll be doing an interview.

I have a major release for work tonight.

I need to get things ready for camping this weekend.

If I can squeeze in a little writing time, I’ll be happy. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Who knows. I do need to get a new Unorthodox Writing Tips written and up. I had written five weeks worth some time back and those have run out. I need to take a fiction break and write a few more so I don’t have to stress about those. I need to get a couple book reviews out. Speaking of reviews…

Recently I had listened to Rendezvous with Rama. It’s a great concept, but he story is told with large data dumps and paper cut-outs of characters. The only real substance is the actual concept. So I’m onto Rama II. I remember reading this book when I was younger (I think 15 or 16) and I had liked it at the time. I’m listening to it on audio now. I’m a couple hours in an… nothing has happened yet. When I say nothing I mean there was a nearly 45 minute data dump on the Earth’s history to get us to that point in the story. Based on my experience this is most likely what Clarke added to the story. He’s great at data dumps and huge amounts of ‘telling’ a story. So far I don’t like any of the characters. There seems to be a great attempt to make them more than what they are. I’m bored with it. Seriously bored. To the point where I most likely won’t finish the story and I doubt I’ll continue on into books 3 and 4.

If you’ve made it through Rama II and the subsequent books, am I giving up too soon? Should I skip ahead? Will the books get any better? I hate books that dump information and drag the story on. So far 100% of what I’ve gotten through so far has added nothing to the story so I feel I’ve wasted my time. This book is suffering from bloat.

Sorry, just had to rant there for a moment. I think I’ll move on to another book before this one lulls my brain to sleep and starts to affect my writing.

Little tangent there. Sorry about that.

Oh, some curious news. I saw I had gotten a couple of hits when I mentioned Jay Lake in a post. My post about censorship. To his post today over at (http://www.jlake.com/blog/) he mentions a post he might not put up or will be censoring. This after I noticed someone came to my page after searching on Jay Lake. Curiouser and curiouser. Did Mr. Lake find my post? The world may never know.

HEY! Quick maintenance question. I have everything set up so if you are subscribed to the blog via email and reply to the email you get it should be adding a comment to the blog. That doesn’t not seem to be happening. If you’re getting these posts via email and have replied, I’ve never seen it and it didn’t post a comment to the blog. If you know how to fix this, please get a hold of me and let me know. I’ve already looked online and everything suggested to have checked in the options I’ve done. So color me confused.

I’ve got work to do and duck pictures to download.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: Censorship

There comes a time when people need to learn about censorship. I’m not talking about networks bleeping out the naughty words on The Soup. I’m talking about people who “put it all out there” and will rant and rave ad nauseum. I know I have a tendency to ramble from time to time, but I’m not going into TMI mode and telling you about my bodily functions, the weird lump I found on my leg, or any number of ailments I might be suffering from. Sure I’ll tell you when I’ve a headache from my sinuses filling due to foul weather, but I’m not going to go on and on about what’s happening to me physically. That’s not where you’re here for.

You’re here for the ducks and I know it. (soon enough)

When I write, there are certain topics I won’t touch just because I’m not comfortable writing about those topics. That’s just how I’m wired. I might talk about these things with my friends, I might read about them, I might watch youtube videos about comedians talking about those topics, but it’s like roller coasters. Just because I enjoy them doesn’t mean I’m going to go and build one. I enjoy a lot of the media I take in, but when it comes to the work I produce I have an internal censor that won’t let me write certain things.

Why?

Am I afraid my mom would be embarrassed if her son wrote erotica? If you read my mother’s day post you know my mom can make sailors blush so no, that’s not a reason.

Am I shy? No, not really. If you’ve ever met me you know I’m not shy about going up and talking to almost anyone. That certainly isn’t my problem.

Am I a prude? Oh, if you saw my reading shelf you’d find Rigor Amortis on there. No, I’m not a prude. (I will review this book one day soon)

Am I just too weak to write about those topics? Heavens no. I don’t look at avoidance of a topic as being weak.

I think it boils down to having a different vision for my work as a whole and though some topics might entertain some people, I just have no desire to write them. When I’m done with a story I look at where it went and it tells the story I want to tell. It doesn’t plumb the depths of what I choose to avoid. My mind censors itself and only the story comes out. It’s nothing that I consciously avoid, it just doesn’t happen in my stories. I don’t have sex, I don’t have swearing. Those things, for me, just have no place in the stories I’m telling. If ever I felt a story I was working on needed something like that, I don’t know if I’d tell that story at all. Like I said, I do see a place for that, but not in my work.

When I write a story I like to think that anyone could read it and get something different from it. I try to add layers in there and when you read there’s more than just what you’re looking at on the top of it all. So if you’re a younger reader, you can enjoy the tale as told. If you’re an older reader and follow along with the many plot lines you’ll see certain threads that will lead you down a path and make you wonder where I’m going with all of this.

When it comes to what you read on these pages or in one of my short stories or even in my novels, my internal censor is busy at work making sure that I don’t produce something that can’t be consumed by anyone. V&A Shipping is about an inter-galactic beer run, yet has been calling “mini-van safe”. That’s just how I roll. I want you to be able to come here and be confident that I’m not going to suddenly have this rant that will make you wonder why you came here in the first place.

I had a point to all of this (and not just the on the top of my head). I guess I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts lately and some of them delve into topics I just wouldn’t delve into and others take on topics of controversy that I don’t feel I need on this site. John Skalzi did this with a post and eventually had to turn off the comments to his blog post because of all the internet trolls posting comments that he got tired of removing. Sure this brought in a lot of traffic to his site, but at what cost? Did he gain a new reader from all of that? To that end, had Jay Lake gained new readers with his in depth chronicling of his cancer?

I don’t know.

Will I gain new readers and followers when I don’t post topics that are overly personal or extreme in the controversy they could cause?

I don’t know.

Time will tell.

That is not to say that I won’t have a thought provoking post from time to time. I mean, ducks can really get the wheels turning.

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!

Daily Update: Well that was interesting.

Yesterday a couple of interesting things happened. If you’ve been on the web or follow those that I follow you’ll have seen the Tu-Pac holographic performance with Snoop Dogg. Now I’m not into Rap, hip-hop, Gangsta or anything like that, but seeing the video of Tu-Pac on stage years after his death fascinated me.

Then this morning Jay Lake put out his daily post talking about writing and comparing writing to learning to drive. I was going to be typing up an Unorthodox Writing Tip doing just that same. Great minds think alike I guess. I will still write up that UWT, but I will have a slightly different take on it.

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday. We’ll be heading over there and then off to my favorite daughter’s volleyball practice. Getting in my word count today will be a challenge. But it’ll be a great time. We used to live around the corner from them. Now it’s about a 20 minutes drive. It used to be that 20 minute drive to my favorite daughter’s school. Now we’re around the corner from her school, but further away from the in-laws. We’re saving a lot on gas, but there is less time at the in-laws’. My favorite daughter used to go over there every Wednesday after school to spend time with her Abuelos and her cousins.

Speaking of writing goals, I did hit my goal yesterday. I shifted my focus on my daily word count. Now my daily blog posts no longer count to my daily word goal. They will count toward my annual word count, but not the daily word count. For that I’m only going to count my fiction words. Yesterday I got in my 1200+ words and it felt great. I had been slacking on the word count numbers because I would see that I’d hit my goal and stop for the day. Last night I hit my goal and for the day I had over 2200 words, but that’s because I had a very long blog post.

I’m going to keep the word count spread sheet like this for the time being and see how it goes. This should help me focus more on fiction rather than these blog posts. I can type these up on auto drive. They’re easy to do, but I need to write more fiction. A lot more fiction. So expect to see many more words and works from me in the coming months. If I can help it, I’ll be even more productive than before.

I still have edits to do on Jack Kane, and I will be getting those hammered out as soon as I’m able. I have a couple pieces to finish and then I’ll get back into those. I’ve let them sit. Shame on me. That story needs to get cleaned up and sent out. I think it’ll do well once it gets into the real world.

Speaking of the real world…

Until Tomorrow!

WOO WOO!