Daily Update: I Met an Author
Yesterday was a fun day. I got to head over to the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore and buy a new book. What book? So glad you asked.
I picked up Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell.
I don’t frequent book stores as much as I would like. I was never really a fan of the big chains for a couple of reasons. Mainly they sold a lot of books I wasn’t interested in and when I had a question or would look for a suggestion the staff had other interests in books I wanted to purchase. They also sold coffee and being that I don’t like coffee and really don’t care for the smell of coffee, it made my shopping experience less than desirable.
That being said, I love Mysterious Galaxy. I’ve been there a few times and each time the staff is pleasant, funny, and they make the entire experience enjoyable for me. They know their way around speculative fiction and have an amazing selection of book. I even saw a copy of Scott Sigler’s The All Pro on a shelf where I sat. If you live in San Diego, or Redondo Beach then Mysterious Galaxy is where you want to shop. Heck, even go online and you can pick up some signed editions. I’m sure Tobias left a few of Arctic Rising there.
On to Tobias. I’ve seen his picture online. I follow him on facebook, twitter, his blog (I’m not stalking him, really). So I had an idea what he looked like and when I got into the store he was wearing a hat and I didn’t recognize him. I would have greeted him straightaway if I had. I felt a little silly, but hats throw me off.
Tobias filled us in on his writing endeavors and spoke about his health issues setting him back and having trouble getting anything out over the past three years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. I loved his first three books (Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose) so I was anxious for a new book from him. Hearing he was going in a new direction was fine with me as I enjoy his writing. He mentioned the Executioness a couple of times. I have this on my tablet, but have not read it yet.
His new book, Arctic Rising is being sold as an Eco Thriller. He talked about how he had been doing research and keeping notes and saving articles to use in a book and when his agent (he talked extensively about his relationship with his agent and the direction of his career) asked if he’d like to try something new, he looked at his research and jumped at the opportunity.
Sadly he got started and his health took a turn. In those three years, much of what he’d been writing about with the book was coming to be. When he was writing the book it was considered New Future Sci Fi. He was pleased in some ways to be right, and leery at the same time. Made me anxious to jump into the book.
I bought the hard cover so I’ll be reading the book at home and I will post a review once I’m done with it. Just in hearing him talk about the book and reading the excerpt, I’m sure I’ll be happy once I dive in.
Enough about Tobias. This is a blog about me, right?
Even though I went to his signing I was still able to hit my word count for yesterday. I’ve made it a personal goal to try and get caught up and average 2000 words during Lent not just hit 2000 words per day. It’ll be a challenge, but I’m finding that I’m good with a challenge. I’m only 3000 words behind that actual goal (probably less) and I’m already seven days ahead of my annual goal (I can take a vacation now WOO WOO)
But in all seriousness, I’m hitting a writing flow these days. I’ve been writing daily since the 1st of January. I haven’t missed a day. It was a bumpy start, but I’ve stuck to blogging daily which has really helped when it comes to sitting down and writing fiction. I just sit, start typing, and in a couple of minutes I’m typing again. It’s also helping me keep up with my typing skills.
I mean, I can touch type, sure. I have a bad habit of looking at my fingers as they’re typing out the words instead of looking at the screen to see what I’m actually typing. A few minutes every day of typing and bang. I’m back to touch typing again. It’s only take two months and it’s like I’ve rediscovered writing.
If you’re a writer, or you want to be a writer, I put this challenge to you. Write every day for two months. No excuse. No requirements. Set a word goal (200,500,1000) something low and obtainable. Don’t overreach. This is like working out. You can’t expect to be running after a couple of days. Build up and keep it going.
Speaking of running, I need to get walking again. My favorite daughter is even bugging me about that. But first, the day job.
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.
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.
Daily Update: Oh, I might as well.
Yesterday I wasn’t going to walk/jog. Yesterday I wasn’t going to blog or write. I wasn’t going to blog today either, but I am. Why?
I had my fastest time on my circuit yesterday. I jogged more than I walked. It hurt a little, but overall it felt great to get out there. I can tell my fitness level is improving because I’m moving quicker. It’s easier to go up and down the stairs (the first few days of walking were torture). My legs don’t stay sore as long after walking either. Overall it’s making me happier.
So yesterday I wasn’t going to blog either. Again I’m glad I did. I had a ghost story that I shared from my Navy days it even though it’s a ‘told’ story, it was still fun to write it down. It made me remember a lot about those days in the Navy when I did security duty. I had a lot of “I wonder what happened to so-and-so” moments.
I’ll give you a behind the scenes to the ghost story. Even though I cannot tell you what passed over the Blazer, I can tell you this. There was a fire, and it was put out. Long after I’d left the base I found out that one of the people I worked with had been setting fires all over the base. Usually small fires. Even though he’d been accounted for, it was over radio. He’d left the base when it was his 6 hours off and had walked out into the field in question and set the fire. He was the shadow I saw running around the fire. He was lucky to put it out in time before we got there. After the incident he had to take a few days off due to illness that I later found out was smoke inhalation. He was eventually caught and court-marshaled when he burned down a building that contained many of the base’s shipping and receiving records.
So even though the whole incident still gives me the creeps, I do know most of what happened that night. He was able to get part of the fire out, the rest burned into on open area with no fuel to keep it going. I only know this because we did talk many years after. Once he got out of jail that is. But that’s a story for another day.
At any rate, I’m glad I wrote yesterday. Why? It was one of the busiest days on the blog. I had a lot of people stop by to read the story and that made me really happy. How happy? Happy enough that I got up off my duff, got a haircut and went for my walk. When I finished I had intend to write, but dinner appeared, I wanted a TV show, got interrupted many times, but finally got about 100o words cranked out.
Despite it all, I had a productive day. I hope to have a repeat performance this evening.
Until next time!
Daily Update: I actually ran!
No, really. I walked up the hill, then ran on the flat and downhill parts. Okay, okay. I walked up the hill and started a light jog, but I was still moving much faster than walking. I didn’t think I was going to start, but as I walked, I just had this urge to start going faster than a brisk walking pace.
A funny thing happened.
Now let me explain something. As I’ve been saying, shin splints have haunted me and my walking. It has for years. I was working out on an elliptical which was nice because it was non-impact training. The new shoes and a shorter stride have helped alleviate the pain of shin splints. But when I run I don’t run heel-toe, heel-toe. My cross-country/track coach in high school had us run on our toes.
So I’ve been told that I look a little funny when I run. I’ve also been told I have Barney Rubble legs (short and stumpy). But hey, when I start jogging, I’m running on my toes and not heel-toe so the pain in my shins is lessened greatly. This was almost as awesome as doing 12 minute miles yesterday. Down from 17 minute miles just a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll be jogging/walking/jogging/walking from now on. I’m going to try and extend my jogging periods and shorten my walking periods. When I can get below 10 minute miles, I’ll reverse my direction. Wait, what? See, currently I go up one big hill, then a LONG, slow downhill. Once I get into better shape I’ll do the LONG uphill with a short, steep downhill. Just to mix things up. There are even different routes I can take that’ll provide more hills, again, just to mix things up.
On the writing front:
I mentioned the Action Pack yesterday. Well I also spoke with Dan Dan the Art Man and he had already agreed to do my cover for my Action Pack story. I’ve now convinced him through my magical ways to do the cover art for both Mike Plested and Scott Roche as well as providing us with a banner and logo for the Action Pack! I mean, how cool is that? Dan is filled with awesome and every time I see him produce something I’m amazed. Dan, if you’re reading this, we promise not to abuse you. Too much.
Yesterday My Favorite Daughter had a late volleyball practice (her first tournament is Sunday). It went until 9PM. Didn’t get into a sitting position until 10PM to start writing and banged out exactly 800 words. It’s always strange to end on a specific number. No practice for her tonight or tomorrow so I should be able to bang out a couple thousand a day. I hope. I’m really enjoying the direction To Fall From the Sky is taking. I had something bad happen to the protagonist, and I used the antagonist’s POV to explain what had gone wrong. I’m not even a third of the way through and I can already see where this is going. I’m going to have a blast once I get into the final parts of this book. Heck, I’m having fun now just thinking about it.
I’ll be posting more updates tomorrow and keep you apprised of what is happening with the Action Pack. We’re currently shooting for the first episode to drop at the end of February, so keep your eyes peeled. Oh, and I also have my first short getting itself ready for release at the end of this month. Dan Dan the Art Man is also doing the cover for that. It’s going to be amazing!
I’m rambling, aren’t I? Ok. Get out of here. I’ve got words to write.
Daily Update: Good Things are in the Works
I’m a fan of dessert. My motto: Life is short, eat dessert first.
So when I took my daughter to 7-11 the other day, I looked up at the Rancho Bakery and Deli next door and decided to walk in. Why? Hey, I’m curious. It’s what I do. I see a new place, I need to go see what’s inside.
Side note: There is a sweet shop next door to the bakery (Pistachio Sweets) that hasn’t opened yet. It’s been months and it’s driving me nuts.
Back to the story. So I dragged my daughter into the bakery. They had fresh produce, some great looking cheeses (I also love cheese) and lots of dairy goods and meats. Then there was the baklava section. Now, I’ve seen baklava before. I’ve eaten it many times. I really like it. This didn’t look like baklava.
I introduced myself to the store owner.
He gave me a sample.
Oh! I mean. Oh! Yes Yes OH GOD YES!
So I bought a small container to take home. I wanted to buy a lot more, but I also didn’t want it to go bad. Apparently the bakery is a middle-eastern bakery. He explained to me the history of baklava and that in the middle-east there are over 150 different kinds of baklava. The display they had there had a couple dozen (I’ll take a picture of that when I go back.) It all looked great!
We got three different varieties. All of them were delicious. It was only $5 so I know I’ll be going back. I’ll also be posting the experience as an Unorthodox Writing Tip this weekend with more details.
On the walking front. Took the day off yesterday. Will resume today. The Kid (she wants me to start calling her My Favorite Daughter) has Volleyball practice tonight. I’ll be cheering her and her team on. WOO!
On the writing front. I got a lot written yesterday. Currently I have my short story completed for the end of this month. I have my story ready for the Action Pack (I’ll explain about that in a moment). Although it’s going up slowly, the yearly word count meter is creeping up. I’ve written over 15000 words so far this month. I’ll be writing a lot more. 2012 is shaping up to be great year. I’m so excited.
So the Action Pack. Last night Scott Roche, Mike Plested, and I all sat down to discuss the jokingly named Action Pack Podcast. The name was thrown out based on an 80s TV show. Our concept: 3 stories in one podcast. Each month will bring a piece of each story continuing on throughout the year and concluding a storyline at the end of the year. That would be one season and if all goes well, we’d do a second season.
We talked about artwork, music, content, the blog, the url. The Action Pack Podcast grew on us quickly and we’ll be getting a blog out there soon. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll join us. I’ll be posting more on this as time goes by leading up to the release of the first episode. Like I said, I’m pretty excited.
I need to go make use of that excitement.
Just me, and my shadow.
Hey! Look! It’s the Third and this is my third daily post. I know, I know. Hold you applause.
But seriously, I know many people blog multiple times per day. What I’m doing is just trying to get into that habit of writing a quick blog post each and every day. I’m only a couple of days in, but I’m on track. That’s what matters, right?
So yesterday, after lots of eating over the holidays, I decided to work on one of my unpublished goals. This one is simple; to have less of me around. Ever since we moved last year I’ve been sitting on my duff and getting little done. Adding on somewhere between fifteen to twenty pounds has done wonders with lowering my energy and lowering my motivation.
I was writing yesterday and decided, HEY! I can go for a walk. So I did. Perhaps it wasn’t the brightest decision to go walking for nearly an hour in flip flops during the hottest part of the day (it got up to 75 yesterday) but I did it anyway. Why? Because I need to. I know to have more energy I need to get some exercise. I need a good pair of walking shoes as my old nemesis from my running days, shinsplints, came back to haunt me. I puffed and wheezed more than once. All in all it was a terrible experience.
But I’m going to keep at it. I know the only way to get back into shape is to do something as often as possible. So I’ll be walking and tracking my progress. Yes, I walked for nearly an hour yesterday, but I have no idea how far I walked. I asked on twitter for a walking app for my Atrix and got the recommendation for RunKeeper. It tracks your time and distance using GPS. I love technology and this will be an awesome way to tack my time, distance, and progress. From what I can tell it remembers for you. At some point I’ll get a scale and start weighing myself, but not anytime soon. I want to worry more about my fitness level instead of my weight. With this little app I’ll be able to post weekly distance and times. Just another thing to keep me honest. Maybe I’ll do one of those maps to show how far I walk in a month or year. That’ll be fun.
As for writing, yes, I wrote a nearly 3000 words yesterday. I’ll be writing more today. I plan on writing tomorrow. I don’t want to lose my momentum. I’ll post my weekly word count (and walking distance) every Sunday. I also put a word count meter on the main site to keep track of where I’m at with hitting my yearly goal. It’s painful to see that I’m still at 0%, but it won’t move much on a daily basis unless I really crank out some words.
Speaking of writing, today is my first day back to work after a couple of weeks off. That will bite into my writing time I was enjoying over the holidays, but I still have the evenings. Words will happen. Speaking of words, I need to get back to work. During lunch…