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Daily Update: Month in Review

Total words for Jan 2012 – 36176

Blog words – 18149

Fiction words – 18027

Did I write as much as I had hoped? No.

Did I walk as much as I had hoped? No.

I know I’m capable of more and I’m capable of better. I did get a couple good shorts off and submitted. I hope to get another submission off this month. I also published a couple free short stories. Kance Encounter has a minor issue that one I get fixed I will post. That will be later this week. If you’re looking for free fiction, check out Don’t Use the Phone to tide you over until Kance Encounter is out. Don’t Use the Phone does have a slight Christian tone, but don’t be afraid. It’s not heavy handed in any way.

As for walking, I’d chronicled that pretty well. My shins are feeling better, but I don’t think I’ll be running any time soon. If I do it’ll be on the track at my favorite daughter’s school. It’s one of those rubberized tracks and is real nice on the legs. I will, however, begin other cardio training as the complex we live in does have a gym on site. I’ve been doing light weight training in the interim.

As you noticed I have managed to blog daily. I’ll be keeping that up as it is helping when I do sit and write. I love to type so this is always good exercise. It also helps me keep everything clear in my head from day to day. I do need to start making note of when I have ideas for a given blog post. I’ve had some ideas, but they slip by and I don’t post them. February will see some more stories vs day-to-day issues.

The chronicle of Sputtery Truck is still on going. I hope to have it back today. It was supposed to be done yesterday, but replacing an engine isn’t a quick or easy process. I’m not surprised. What will surprise me? Getting my truck back in running order. This has had me very stressed in not having my vehicle and worrying about the money I’m putting into it. I know it’ll all work out, but I can’t help but worry. Look for a happy tweet later this afternoon.

I’m still waiting and waiting really sucks. It’s also got me on pins and needles. I have 6 books with a publisher. Hopefully something catches his eye. I know I need to be patient and publishers are busy, busy people. So I wait.

I’ve also got a couple of short stories out there. Anxious to hear about those as well. While I wait I think I’ll work on another short story and get back into my longer works. I need to write Second Kance for the end of this month. It’ll be a new story, but continue the threads built in Kance Encounter. Each will be self contained with an over arcing thread. Can’t wait to dig into the next story. It’s been in my head for years.

I also need to record my Action Pack story and get that ready for production as well as write the next 4000-5000 words. I also need to come up with a better title. I like Gold Rush, but the date of the story is after the Gold Rush so the title doesn’t make sense. Either way, it’s a fun story so far and I hope it continues to be.

There are a lot of things in the works. I need to get going on them so I don’t let myself get behind. If you set goals for January, how did you do? Are you on track? Are you falling behind? Do you need some motivation? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Climbing Poles

Yesterday I went to a training class. I had a wonderful time. I had attended this particular class three years ago. It’s all about safety. We learned about hard hats, gloves, safety belts and straps, ladders, and poles.

The course is supposed to be about climbing poles. I’ll get to that in a moment.

We did a lot of how to inspect each piece of gear. We discussed how to inspect telephone poles by hitting them with hammers, poking them with screw drivers, looking at the markings and the like. We inspected ladders and strapped ourselves in at the ground level.

Last time I took this course we climbed the ladders and secured ourselves to a strand. We also climbed a ladder against a pole. Finally we climbed a pole without a ladder. Apparently last time this training was done, a couple of people were lost. I feel bad about this, but at no time did our instructor force anyone to perform any task they did not want to. He asked each person “Do you feel safe? Are you prepared? If you run into any trouble, grab on and I’ll come and get you.” One person did require assistance. Three people opted out from performing the climbing. I’m not there to judge. They all had their reasons.

Now, I grew up in Minnesota. I’ve hung from the top of a tree by one hand just to see if I could. I’ve jumped from tree to tree like a freaking monkey. Heights excite me, but I’m not terrified of them. I know, for the most part, what I’m capable of now and then and I don’t mistake the two. I’m not 12 anymore. I have an appreciation for what can happen if I’m not paying attention.

Yesterday only one person bowed out from climbing the ladder against the pole. We only went up 10 feet over a sawdust bed. It was a safe environment to work in.We all had a good time, but I was really looking forward to climbing a pole. We were not permitted for our own safety. I understand why, but I was still disappointed.

I still had fun at the class. I’m crazy like that.

On to other news. I should be getting Sputtery Truck back this afternoon. I’ll  be calling shortly to see how it’s going. It’ll be nice to return the rental and get back my own vehicle. I like my big truck. I think this will also help clear a small mental block I’ve had in my head and help me get a good night’s sleep. Or so I hope. We’ll see.

I don’t think I’ve ever said this, but let me state this now as I’ve seen this happen on other blogs.

There are some things I will NOT talk about on this blog because of the volatile and personal nature of the topics. This list is subject to addition, but not exclusion.

Taxes, Religion, Politics, Doctors, Lawyers, Candle Stick Makers.

Okay, maybe some day I’ll talk about Candle Stick Makers, but not in the foreseeable future. If you’d like to discuss one of these topics, I’d be more than happy to, just not on this blog. I’m here to entertain and on a rare occasion, educate (though this will more than likely be due to some mistake on my part rather than actual intent). I love the comments I get on a particular post, so please, keep them coming. I do read them all and will likely respond on the next Daily Update.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: Pumpkin Pie and Words

So I was hungry and old Father Hubbard went to the Cupboard and lo and behold the cupboard was bare. I did, however, find a frozen pumpkin pie in the freezer and it looked like something good to cook. I also found some noodles and some cheese and made some mac & cheese as well as a box of stove top stuffing.

*note: I did go to the store after the wife got home from work

So I cooked a mish-mash of different things. It was pretty cool having pumpkin pie even if it wasn’t fresh or all that good.I love me some pumpkin pie but we didn’t have whipped cream which I should have thought about getting when I went to the store. Perhaps later today.

So I wrote nearly 2000 words yesterday. I feel pretty good about that. I’m hoping for another 2000 word day again today. Tomorrow will be stressful as I need to drop off sputtery truck to get his guts replaced. Nervous about not only having to get it towed, but the process and the money. I’ll get over it.

Saturday my favorite daughter has another volleyball tournament but this one is in Temecula. That’s only an hour away so we won’t be sleeping over this time. That’s a good thing as Friday night they have practice from 7pm-9pm. I’d hate to drive up to LA after practice getting there super late and having to get up early to go to the tourney.

Speaking of my favorite daughter, I’ve been helping her at night practice her volleyball moves out in the parking lot. This hasn’t done good things for the pain in my lower legs. Although the pain is lessening during the day, when I have to chase after the ball it only takes about 30 minutes before I’m in pain and limping back into the house. Next week I’m going to start going up to the gym in the place where we’re renting and start working out again. I now know I cannot do any impact exercises until I strengthen my legs more and maybe not even then. <sigh>

So the picture I posted is of a small, pewter griffin. Yes, yes I know they’re mythical beasts. I bought this a long time ago and it always reminded me of my father. It reminds me of him because the logo for his company, Murdock Laboratory, is a griffin. It’s changed over the years and is more stylized now, but it’s still a griffin. I keep this little figure next to me when I write because it inspires me to write and it inspires me to think about the business of writing. My father always taught me you can never have too much on your plate when it comes to work. You’d rather have too much, than go hungry.

What does all this have to do with angry birds? Oh, wait. I didn’t mention angry birds yet. Anyway. I solved all the Angry Birds latest seasons levels in one sitting. I was sad, but I did. It got me to thinking of my dad in a weird sort of way. As I played the levels I thought they should build an angry birds level builder so people could make their own. I thought this would be so awesome. There would still be the official Angry Birds levels, but people who want to play more could find other people’s levels and those who want to join in the fun could build their own.

Awesome idea, right? Well, there was a game I love way back when called Lode Runner. The idea was to avoid the bad guys, collect the treasure, and a hidden ladder would appear that you’d need to take to the top. Simple 2D graphics. You could burn bricks (but not solid areas). There were hidden bricks that were really traps.

Anyway, the guys of Lode Runner built in a ‘build your own level’ area of the game. I solved all the Lode Runner levels in all versions of the game and played them over and over. I even got my dad addicted to the game. It was great fun. We’d have contests to see who could progress further in say 15 minutes. Things like that. When I discovered that I could build my own levels, it was game on! I’d build a level, my dad would solve it. I’d build a harder level. He’d solve it. I’d build a level with one solution. He’d solve it. I’d build a level with a trap, he’d get angry and say, “Hey! That’s not fair. Not traps on the next one.” I built somewhere around 70 levels and my dad solved them all.

It things like this that run through my head when I send those little birds screaming along to knock stuff over. It’s little things like the griffin that keep my dad in my memory. It’s inspiration like this that have me taking on as much as I can handle…and then asking for more.

Until Tomorrow!



Daily Update: Oscliations

So I’ve gone back and forth on a number of issues, but first.

I want to welcome all the new readers to the blog. I know you’re out there. I’ve seen the increase in traffic and thank you for the comments. I think you’re all awesome and I love each and every one of you. I mean, really, you’re great.

First issue that’s gone back and forth in my head is regarding sputtery truck. It’s pretty much dead at this point. Well, it’ll start, but only under duress. I’ve not turned it on for over a week and a half. The choice isn’t an easy one. Replace the head gasket and hope that nothing else has gone wrong that I’ll be replacing at a later time or replace the engine. Obviously one is more expensive than the other. After weighing all the options the wife and I decided that it’d be best to go ahead and spend the extra money to get a new engine. Head Gasket jobs cost around $1500. A good friend of mine found a person willing to do the entire engine job for $1900 (that includes the engine). With over 110,000 miles on the vehicle and overheating problems, it just seems like the best option at this time. It’ll hurt, but it’s needed.

The other thing I’ve been going back and forth with is getting back to walking. The pain in my lower legs has gone from annoying to excruciating. I’ve felt good one day, can’t walk down the stairs the next. It’s highly distracting. Suffice to say, I’ve not walked and the good thing is it’s bothering me not to walk. I know once this pain is gone (likely with the rain) I’ll be back out there, just slower. I’ve been doing weight workouts, but I know I need to do some cardio as well.

Writing has been going well. I’m still ahead of schedule with my word count for the year. That makes me happy. I should be ready to toss out the first short story in the Of Gnomes and Dwarves universe by the end of the week. I’m really excited about that. Dan Dan sent me the cover image. I’m SUPER excited about that, but you’ll have to wait a few more days before you get to see it. It’s awesome!

I keep listening to my music for the Action Pack podcast. I still love it. It’ll fit perfectly with the tone of the story.

Speaking of story, I’ve been going back and forth writing on To Fall From the Sky and Gold Rush (still a tentative title). I’m having a blast writing each.

Speaking of writing, tonight I meet with Mike Plested (and maybe Scott Roche) to talk Jack Kane (edits and sequel) and the Action Pack. Life is busy, exciting, and awesome! It takes a lot to get me down. I’ve been a little down, but watch out once I get this sputtery truck issue behind me.

Until tomorrow!


Daily Update: Progress is progressing

WOO! I have updates today.

1) I have music for my piece of the Action Pack podcast. It’s not what I was looking for. It’s BETTER!

2) I have a cover going for Of Gnomes and Dwarves. It’s looking great! Freaking love it also

This means I really need to get my rear in gear and this week I need to have the first short ready to go for the end of this month. I’ll get on that tonight/tomorrow and start assembly so I’ll have everything ready to go for this weekend. The story will go up on and be free for the frist 30 days where I’ll post it up on the kindle and nook for .99 and change the smashwords price to .99 as well. At the same time I’ll be releasing the second story up for free 🙂

That’s also the same time that the first Action Pack Podcast will drop. A whole lot of excitement going on around here. I LOVE it. All of this going on has me really excited. I mean, I mean, I mean…

Sputtery truck will go into the shop this week. After much deliberation and discussion the wife and I came to the conclusion that it’s better to fix it and hope for the best rather than drop back ten and punt (buy a new vehicle). It’ll cost. It’ll hurt. But in the long run will be better. Just means we’ll be eating top ramen for a couple of weeks.

My favorite daughter has another volleyball tournament this weekend (Saturday this time) and we’ll be heading back up to L.A. The night before it’s a late practice. 7pm-9pm so we’re torn over heading up late or driving up early. We still don’t have a time for when they’ll start play. My assumption is that it’ll be 8am like the last one, but I’ve been known to be wrong from time to time.

Even though I was up early today, I still feel better. I got a lot of rest over the weekend. The house is clean. I knocked out a few thousand words on To Fall From the Sky. This week is going to be a GREAT week. It’s only Monday and already great things are happening. I’m off to go make sure it stays awesome.

Until Tomorrow!


Daily Update: In a Funk

I haven’t posted anything about sputtery truck lately so I’ll try to be brief.

Life happens. People die, events happen, vehicles break down. This is just the way life goes.

Currently I’m looking at my truck. It struggles to turn over (usually doesn’t the first few times but then will) and once it does I get a gout of white smoke. I don’t mean a little bit, I mean HOLY SMOKE SCREEN BATMAN! white smoke. This is a bad thing. Very very bad thing.

There are two potential issues. One would be I have a blown head gasket. The other would be warped or cracked heads. I thought, yeah, okay, so it’s a gasket. How hard can that be to replace? So I got a hold of my friend who groaned and said “Maybe it’s time to trade in the truck” and laughed. I knew I was in trouble.

So I started looking online last night at how difficult it is to replace a head gasket. It looks like it’s a royal pain in the guzunkus. No, really. It’s not a one day type of job. It’s a two, three, eight day job. Though the cost isn’t that much, the amount of labor is horrific and complicated. Now I’m not afraid of a challenge, but I don’t think I’m up for this and my friend didn’t seem like  it was something we’d want to tackle in his front yard.

So I’m currently looking for a shop that can replace the head(s) and gasket(s). I’m not 100% sure if it’s one head or two being that I have an 8 cylinder engine. I’ve looked at the costs online and it ranges from $700-$1500 which includes the cost of the parts.

After a great call with Mike Plested and Scott Roche on different projects I was on a high and hit a terrible low. I really don’t have money like that to throw into a repair and without doing the repair, I’m without a vehicle. I would drive it, but from what I can tell, coolant is seeping into the engine until it runs out of coolant to dump into the engine and then it runs hot. I’m guessing that the issue with it starting is due to coolant in the cylinder(s) gumming up the works and getting into the oil.

So today I’ll be calling and getting estimates. I’m not looking forward to the answers, but I’ll have to bite the bullet and take care of business.

Writing didn’t happen yesterday, but walking did. I’ll post more on that tomorrow. I don’t mean to be a downer today, but life does have a way of happening to you whether you want it to or not. I’ll be happier tomorrow. Promise 🙂

Until Tomorrow!