Life Get’s in the Way

Been a busy week or so. Work, family, and generally life intervened to shut things down creatively. A little over a week ago the Fiancee lost a very good friend and she had to deal with a lot of personal things. This meant that I had to step up and ensure she was taken care of physically, mentally, and emotionally. What I have signed on for so no big deal.

Next, work. This was our busiest week in the department I am working in so extra hours and lots of baking was needed to be done. It’s a 24 hour store, except on holidays. And the days it’s opened people tend to go a little nuts. Of course there are a lot of family dinners over the Easter weekend and lots of bread products and sweets are also desired. I had a couple later half shifts where I showed up and was diving into the mixer and setting up product for the next open day and that shift.

There were a few days that I dragged my sorry ass home and dealt with the general day to day stuff like dinner and the Squire. As of Monday, things will return to that level of craziness that we call normal around here.

So, plans and stuff. I have a book to finish, and stories to get proofed and edited for publishing. I aim to start pumping out some of my shorter works to the distribution channel soon. If I can manage it maybe one story or two stories a month. I have no time line for the book that comes after “A Fall of Dust”, just that it’s almost completely written. Working title is “Drifts of Snow”. All I will say about it at the moment. All the characters are clamoring in my head for their share in the spot light.

I will be looking as well what I need to get it set up as a dead tree edition. That’s going to take more work. So, that’s where things stand and I hope to be out here more often. Enjoy your Sunday.

Educating…

Last night was date night. Typically me and the fiancee have one night every two weeks when the Squire is away with his mother where we just have us time. The past few months we were watching “Fear The Walking Dead” (which I am really disliking for numerous reasons). Last night though I figured I needed something different.

Well a week or so ago I saw a mention of a documentary that caught my attention. “In the Shadow of the Moon” about the race to and landings on our closest celestial neighbor. I bookmarked it on Amazon Prime for later viewing. And last night we sat down to watch it.

I just have to say, it was the best three hours I have spent watching the TV with her in my life. Yes, I know, it’s only an hour and a half long. I had to pause it a lot to stop and explain things or expand on stuff that I have read or learned in my years. You see, I lived and breathed space stuff. I have a copy of a a newspaper with the first space shuttle landing. It’s been kept in decent shape over the past 30+ years since I first bought it.

My fiancee is a bit uneducated about this aspect of modern history. Well compared to me that is. It was fun to stop and explain stuff about rockets, gravity, orbits and well, “Buck Rogers” dreams. It also helped listening to these astronauts and moon walkers describe their fantastic journey with wonder and awe. I mean it was beautiful listening to them describe small little details that you wouldn’t think of.

Anyway, it’s coming up on the 50th anniversary of the first landing. So there’s a lot of stuff to watch now and rediscover on my part with her. I went to Amazon and bought a bunch of DVD’s since my local Library doesn’t carry any of them. First will be “The Right Stuff”, and them the “Earth to the Moon” miniseries. After that? Well, I will think of something. Rediscovering the wonder of early space race is a thing that I can’t wait to share with my young son. I hope there are a ton of firsts that we will get to watch and share.

 

Rant Time

Sorry, have to vent my spleen a bit. Nothing serious and it’s all just my opinion here.

We have been watching “American Gods” on Amazon Prime. At the end of Season One we were looking forward to what would happen next in this screen adaption of the book by Neil Gaiman. I read it back when it first came out and enjoyed it immensely. Most things written my Mr. Gaiman intrigue me and I enjoy them. So I was looking forward to sitting down to see this.

The first season departed a fair bit from the book, which is to be expected I guess. It at least was fairly close in this season. Aside from making Mad Sweeney more of a character then a walk on role in the book. Then there was more focus on Laura Moon than in the book. I was willing to ignore those changes.

No in the second season I am getting angry with a lot of the sub text going on. It’s becoming less a journey of Shadow Moon and more a look at the injustices of American history and culture. A lot of the characters are angry and nasty. There’s very little enjoyable or whimsical like I found in the book.

Anansi almost seems like a vengeful good rather then the trickster god that he’s supposed to be. Perhaps I missed something in the original, and I will have to go back to read just to be sure (the first printing, NOT the enhanced version. If I can find it). Some of the other gods are just… I don’t know, they seem a little off.

Now another thing that irritates me is the gratuitious sex, nudity, and whatever else they throw in. It’s almost like they are trying to “improve” the story to the lowest common denominator.

One good thing, I guess, is the foreshadowing  about Shadow and his eventual role in the whole universe. Those that have read the book, will understand what I am talking about. On the other hand the show is being a little heavy handed in it. The Fiancee is enjoying it still, so we will be watching it a little longer. I just hope I don’t get frustrated and bail on her.

Why can’t Hollywood just do a faithful adaption of any books anymore? Well that’s my opinion for what it’s worth.

 

Goals

Oooooh Aaaaah, Wonderful

So, today is January first. Start of a new year. Last year was a roller coaster in regards to a lot of things. A lot of personal things happened, all ending on a good note at least. Writing though has suffered due to the personal stuff. Mind you that should have been expected.

So, I am setting goals for the new year. Things I need to accomplish and work on. First, I need to sit down and carve out writing time. Then plant my butt in a chair and hammer out words. What to write? Well, I will let my muse guide me. Second, finish the book I wrote last year (no, not the NaNoWriMo one, that one is going to have to wait), and get it out into the wild. It’s close to being finally finished, just a little spackle and it’s done. Third, work on my skills. That’s it. No timelines, no major “I want/need”, just get small stuff done. Of course, once I get the first book finished and released I have to get back to the second one, and then the third. So there we have it.

I need to do this or otherwise all the time I have invested is a waste. Stay tuned and I may share progress.

(note, picture is one of my own that I took a long time ago as in November 2011..)

Getting Back in the Saddle

This hasn’t been a good year for me for writing. Life intruded and other priorities have seemed to get in the way of things. I moved, had to deal with legal issues, and got back to work as a productive member of society. Needless to say writing took a back seat if at all.

Then there was the feedback on my short story challenge from the beginning of the year. Having your work critiqued brutally tends to put a dent in your ego. Let’s just say that I was making a lot of errors. Errors in formatting and errors in story telling. One thing I learned was that some story ideas and executions are off the table until I can learn how to do them properly.

I am lucky in one sense. I have a partner that is pushing and prodding and supporting my dream and goal. So I decided that I needed to step up and put some of the things I learned to good practice and use. I have entered into NaNoWriMo and see if I can punch out a new novel this month.

The month is still young and I have managed to get off to a good start. I am recycling an old story idea I had about a year and a half ago and ended up putting into the drawer. I realized that there were a lot of problems with the beginning and other things. I haven’t copied it exactly, just taking a couple premises and went from there. The idea is good and sound in my mind so it shouldn’t be a total waste. As well, I didn’t open it up and do any cut and paste. Just took two characters, reworked them and started totally fresh in the writing. There will be no comparison at all to the original manuscript.

So, if you are also participating, you can find me over on the NaNoWriMo site as paladinphil3000. Cheer me on and challenge me. The month is fresh and it’s a long way to the end.

Phil

The Lost Story

It’s gone, and probably will never be re-written or dragged out from the depths of my memory. A story I wrote years ago and in changing computers, floods, and other calamities it’s gone. Mind you, I do remember enough of it to resurrect it if needed. That’s not my focus currently and if needed it may return like a phoenix.

It began about eighteen years ago. Had a dream where a halfling was arguing with a bard and he was extolling his father’s virtues to her. I won’t go into details about that argument, let’s just say it stuck with me for a long while.

Finally I sat down at a keyboard and started writing. Not about the halfing, but about the bard and a warrior. I slaved over it and worked at it until it was done. Went back and edited for spelling and other formatting and figured it was done.

At the time I was seeing an English major and talked her into editing and reviewing my story. Bad mistake on all levels. She trashed it and told me that she had to stop marking it up because it was so bad and she didn’t know where to start or end. It didn’t help that I had referred to it as my “baby” and she understood what she was doing. She was very forthright and honest and I took it to heart. Partially.

You see, I had rubbed in my face all the mistakes I had made. I didn’t hate her for that, I took it as a learning experience. I put that manuscript aside and started looking at improving the story by exploring other aspects of the world I was trying to create.

The halfling became a northern barbarian, the bard was doing her own thing, and the old warrior? Well I know what he was looking for and I know what the whole purpose of his new quest was for. I had to stop writing that story for other reasons.

You see, I got part way through the barbarians introduction when I realized something. I was letting some of my biases get in the way of the story. Certain institutions weren’t even covered with a good coating of a veneer and I sat back and looked at what I was doing. I couldn’t with good conscience go on with that story at that time.

The purpose of writing is to tell a good story and not preach at your audience. I found that I was preaching and wasn’t ready to tell that story with the proper skill and art that it needed. The program was closed and the file saved only to disappear in the electronic ether never to be seen again.

So here I sit, mourning a lost story. One day, when I get everything else back under control it will rise up and I will finally do it the justice it deserves. The Dragon’s Teeth are waiting across the far deserts for those who dare, and need to, scale it’s deadly peaks….

Just a Little Something

Smile!  It Snowed

So, January has been off to a roaring start. 30 short stories in two months or three and a third stories a week need to be written. As of this past weekend I have managed to complete eight of the beasts. Unfortunately, I have hit a problem. I have four stories that I have started and I can’t think of how to complete each one.

Trouble is that story number seven was ripped screaming from my soul. I doubt I will be sharing that one in public. Too painful on too many levels. Had to be done though since it was almost physically blocking everything else mentally. Since then I had to struggle to complete the eighth one and now I can’t complete stories.

I talked to the girlfriend this weekend. Two epic duration phone calls. Yes, we are back in communication again as she got the new phone and we are both happy about that resolution of communication breakdown. During the calls I went over some of the stories that I am working on and used her as a sounding board. Great starts she thinks (“It was raining whisky again….”), and is rooting for me to get this done. I was moaning that I get so far and don’t know where to go after. She asked if I had been doing any reading lately and I haven’t. So, she told me to take a break.

Step away from the word processor for a day or so, and try not to think on anything. Just relax and do what else that needs doing and that’s it. Makes sense really, There’s a small blockage from the muse to the keyboard and until it’s wiggled out of the way there’s no need to stress or fight what’s not happening.

So my plans for the day are just laundry, cleaning, and reading. The Squire will be home this afternoon after spending time with his mom. So there’s that to look forward too. Maybe a nap if I can squeeze things in. I will have to check my Kindle for books that I haven’t read that aren’t research. Think I have some, if not I have a gift card I can tap into for a book or two. Things are going to be quiet.Have fun, it's winter

The Agony

Things have been busy here at home. Taking care of the Squire and pushing my limits. Took on a two month thirty short stories challenge. Working out so far and I am punching them out left right and center. That’s not what this is about though.

I share each days word count with my girl friend. It’s a long distance relationship so we have been relying on text messages and phone calls to keep connected. So, Monday, disaster strikes. Her phone died in the middle of a conversation before work. Now I didn’t think much of it when it happened since I knew she was heading to work shortly. So five minutes before her shift starts, I get a phone call from an unrecognized number.

One the other end of the line is my girl friend giving me the horrible news. Her phone is dead and she doesn’t know what to do. As well she doesn’t have internet at home, long story, it’s infuriating. I leap into action and ask a few questions knowing what her needs are and offer up a few options. She picks one and I do the ordering for her and have the new device shipped her way. Trouble is that it’s going to be days before she gets it. Days.

So yesterday was tough. Got a phone call at the end of her shift and that was it. Today, was…difficult… No “good morning” text, no random text messages through out the day when she gets breaks, nothing. I have been feeling a little lost. I don’t have that line to someone that understands what I am going through.

I did get a brief call today when she was done work. I took the opportunity to give her a quick update on the shipment and the day (story six done, thinking about seven, Squire is being a toddler). Tomorrow she has an off day and no access to a phone she can use for long distance. I’m jonesing here. I need to text my lady love and there’s nothing we can do!

Might have to recruit someone to help me out. I have other friends in the area. Wonder if they would be willing to go over to her place and let us borrow their phone. Will keep that idea in mind if things get desperate. I mean really desperate.

Gotta go. Mind is starting to wander again, and I have to catch it.

I Hate Winter

God I hate winter these days. Didn’t used to be the case. A few years ago it just rose to a mild case of “loathe”. Now though it’s risen, or fallen, to the level of downright rage inducing hatred. Oh the winters aren’t worse then before. Weather is still the same. It gets cold, snow falls, temperatures rise, temperatures fall. More snow, maybe some freezing drizzle, the usual. So what has changed?

It’s not because I have gotten older, although sometimes the cold just bites deeper then when I was younger. I can deal with that. What has changed is that I am now dealing with winter and a toddler. Yes parenting is a whole other animal when dealing with little ones. It’s not because the toddler is being abnormal it’s just an entire production just to go out for groceries. Heaven help you if you have run out of the most favorite must have snack. So the production begins.

First you have to track down the socks, then the foot wear. Check the weather forecast to find out the temperature. Grab the snow pants. What the hell did I do with his hat and mitts again? Next stage is chasing down the little running terror and trying to get them to cooperate while you put on said snow pants. Done, next the boots. Come on, work with me here kid, left foot goes in the left boot. No not the right foot the left foot. Okay, boots on. Next if you haven’t done so you have to get yourself prepared for the outdoors.

Most times that proposition is a little easier. Then you have to track down your green re-usable grocery bags. Keys, did I remember my keys? Oh right, already in the pocket. *Smack* Palm to forehead. WALLET! Need the wallet to pay for groceries. Right dressed and ready and stroller good to go. Chase down the little escape artist and try to get him to put on his jacket. Here’s where I wish I had mastered the lariat and hog tie technique in my youth. Finally, got the coat on him. Next hat. Hat on, no not off, on. It’s cold outside little one. Trust me you will thank me when we get there. Now into the stroller and out the door. Checking for the umpteenth time that you have keys and wallet. Get to the apartment foyer and pause to put the mittens on the little pain in the neck. If you are lucky he still has his hat on. If not, reapply. Now out into the snowy blowing wilderness to fetch items from the grocery store.

Great it’s snowed outside. Amazing how an inch of snow feels like six feet snow drifts when you are pushing a stroller down the sidewalk. Seriously, the amount of effort to get any forward momentum is akin to Sisyphus and his boulder. Bright side to this, unlike Sisyphus’s boulder the stroller doesn’t roll back when you let go. So that whole trek to the grocery store. You know the one? Yeah the one that’s ONLY a block away that you can march to and back in less then five minutes. Now? Fifteen minutes just one way. Then there’s the dodging of the crowds (i.e. more than five people, give me a break. I am not a people person anymore), grabbing the items and of course since you are here, more than you needed originally. Because god help you, you are not going back out into this horrible blizzard that sprung up on your walk to the store (Blizzard: modern definition, light fluffy flakes falling gently onto the road and sidewalk which would have been at one time a wonderful time for a lovely walk).

So you make it back and you are holding on to your sanity with one trembling hand. Why one hand? Because you need the other hand to deal with the groceries, stroller, and hyperactive toddler (It was just one candy! How can one small piece of chocolate cause so much destruction? **insert tears here**). You maneauver up the walk way to the foyer, fish keys out of your pocket, man handle the door open and make the way through the building sweating like it’s the middle of summer out. Yes it’s a lot of effort and Yes it’s a light winter coat (down filled of course, purchased on sale years ago and it’s still holding up thank god.)

Now comes the dance once again. In the door, leaving the stroller in the hallway for the slush to melt off the wheels before putting it away. Proceed to undress the little hell spawn that you swear to yourself that can’t be the charming little toddler that woke up that very morning. Finally coat off, boots off, snow pants off, and there he goes..rummaging through the grocery bags. You can’t stop him because if you don’t get your winter gear off you are going to be puddle on the floor. And you can’t do a damned thing if you are just a small little puddle right?

Finally! Clothes away, groceries rescued from curious little hands and that hungry, hungry maw, (Seriously! Where does he put that food?) Groceries away and time to check the weather again to see what you just survived.

Current temperature? Minus two degrees Celsius wind from the WNW at ten kilometers per hour. Light snow fall.

God I hate winter. And this is just the middle of December. There’s a whole four more months of the worst yet to come. I need a drink, or a straight jacket. Maybe I will flip a coin.

That Damned Muse

 

I was struck by a muse I guess last March. A story seemed to come to me out of the blue and screamed in my ear (figuratively speaking) to be written. So, I sat down and spent a week writing it when I got the free time to do it. I may attempt to get it published one of these days. Thinking about it seriously.

Anyway, that was the start. That muse has been riding my back now for quite a few months. I have a few orphaned projects currently, I will attempt to get back to them in the new year. Once the muse stops riding me about my current works in progress (WIP for short). It’s weird really, I will be sitting there minding my own business and then I get a mental prod about “What if,” or “How about this,” and even “Won’t this be fun?” Then off I go down a rabbit hole of furiously typing words on the page or looking up information or, asking friends odd and strange questions, or… Well you get the idea.

I have a lovely first reader that’s not really judging my output which is nice. I think I will keep her. She has aided and abetted my muse by throwing random thoughts my way or encouraging me to keep going. So there’s my muse in the background chortling away and prodding me from time to time.

Unfortunately there are times when she does go on vacation. Can’t blame her for that as I do miss having a proper vacation. When she does get back to me, it’s back to that merry sleigh ride. Of course when she isn’t helping me I am trying to get things down still. Just because I don’t have the inspiration doesn’t mean I can’t keep practicing.

So there we go, a random musing for the morning before I go and try to hammer out words between the necessary chores today.