Olympic fever!

This week, we’ve been watching the Olympics — as I’m sure many are.  It’s a fun couple of weeks watching world-class athletes compete.  I can’t say I’ve watched everything as one does need to sleep and the day-job does need seeing to, but I’ve watched as much as I can.  A few random thoughts . . . not necessarily in any particular order . . .

1 — Why do the swimmers wear trunks, but the divers wear the skimpiest suits known to man?  I swear we almost had the full monty a time or two.  Naturally, my daughters were drooling over the physiques (looks down at the belly folding over the top of the pants) — f*** it.

2 — Steele Johnson?  REALLY??!!  Who names their kid STEEL F’N JOHNSON?!  There’s only one industry who loves names like that . . . guess which one?

3 — To be fair to Steele, he’s an excellent diver and both my girls want to date him.  Not sure how that’ll work out.

4 — Johnson and Bodia get the silver medal.  So awesome.  Those Chinese divers were too darn good.

5 — any one of the US women gymnasts can kick my tush and most of them are 1/3 of my age.  What the hell have I been doing with my life?

6 — Watching Aly Raisman’s parents watch her routines.  Mom’s about to have a heart attack — dad looks like he’s going to faint most of the time.  They are SO into their daughter’s success — good to see, but wow.  Just wow.

7 — Michael Phelps has still got it.  Most decorated Olympian and has earned every medal.  But the South African dude?  Do you know who you’re trying to psyche out?  Ain’t gonna happen, my friend.

8– getting ready for their heat and he’s STILL trying to play games with Phelps . . . WTF?!

9 — The diving pool is now green due to an algae bloom — someone’s getting fired . . .

10 — The thought did occur to me as I watch these athletes in the peak of physical conditioning that I’m sitting on my ever-expanding tush stuffing my pie hole with food while they are winning medals.  No, I do not want to compare body composition readings, thankyouverymuch.

I’ll be watching tonight too — hopefully NBC’s coverage will be better — but come on, guys — most people can’t watch all flippin’ night!  Thank goodness for the highlights on the website . . .

 

New Cover!

Just a quick update — The Missing Yesterdays is now available wherever ebooks are sold — with an exciting new cover! Find it on Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks among others!

I’m super excited about the new cover — let me know what you think!

Back Yard Battles

This past weekend I did battle with the Brambles in the backyard.Yes, THOSE brambles. You know the ones — the big thick vine-y kind with the inch long blood-thirsty thorns. Ya, those.

Little by little, out of my sight, they overtook that side of my house — I had ignored it way too long and let those buggers keep on growing. Oh, they looked pretty, distracting us with those little white flowers and sweet wild blackberries, but that only disguised their true intentions — to overtake the backyard and enslave mankind!

No, really! I suited up in my long sleeve sweatshirt, rugged jeans and sneakers, my clippers held firmly in hands well covered by garden gloves. I made sure to work in stages, so those vampire brambles never saw me coming. Little by little, I whittled away at those vines, pulling at some that were at least 20 feet long. Didn’t I tell you just a bit ago I had ignored this side of the house?
With each swipe of my clippers, more and more of the hidden landscape was no longer hidden. The dark recesses of the bramble vines were revealed. So, THAT’s where that old wheelbarrow went. I was bitten a few times by the vines that would whip around, the thorns trying to pull me into the gaping maw of darkness. Quick thinking and sharp clippers made sure I would live to see the new day. I did imagine I’d find the bones of small animals under there, but no. Whew.
Finally, the back fence was visible. The wild brambles had put up quite a fight, but I, being the supposed higher life-form, prevailed. The side of the house was free. Yeah, there’s some crap there that needs to be cleared out — an old dog carrier that I had forgotten I was “storing” there — some old lawn chairs and a beat up tarp — but hey, the thorny things are gone!
I will, of course, spray some roundup in there — I do NOT want to go through THAT again.

Oh, how goes the writing? It’s going. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the first draft of book two — when not at the day-job and not clearing away wild vampiric vegetation, I’m trying to get to the keyboard. It’s a process — one that I’m still trying to figure out, but it’s happening.

Today, though, marks the 26th anniversary of the day my wife said those two magic words: “I do”. I still can’t believe it’s been that many — I had to pull off my shoes so I could see my toes and still use a few of my wife’s appendages to count that high. It’s something I marvel at. I will always consider myself a very lucky man to have found someone that puts up with me — and to do it for this long and keep coming back for more? Priceless.

Well, that’s about all this week. My goal is to post once a week — let’s see if I can keep up! LOL. Now, about that day-job . . . .

I’ve got a hunch . . .

So there’s a new running joke around my house these days . . . we’ve been binge watching NCIS — after burning through all the CSI we can get our grubby eyes to watch, we started NCIS — and I have to say, the first season is rife with lazy writing.

Not the “magic solution” type of writing, but for a show about investigations, shouldn’t there be some investigating going on?  Most of the show (at least in the first season — I know there are at least another 11 to go — lord, I hope it gets better) revolves around the two nebbish investigators and their back-n-forth.  The “boss” (who gets called “boss” at least 30 times an episode — so annoying) seems to have it all figured out and leads the other two  by the nose until the climax.  Rarely do they seem to have any brains at all, let alone investigative instincts.  Hence the title of this post — it seems as if the “boss” has a “hunch” every episode that just happens to be spot on perfect.  Case closed.

So why my beef?  It’s just damned lazy.  For my novella, (available on Amazon, do buy it, will you?) I tried so hard not to be lazy — to not have a simple solution — to make things just a little bit difficult for my protagonists.  I’m working on the next book now, and I’m encountering the same issues — to not be lazy.  So, to see people who are professionals – getting paid lots more than I am — being what I’m trying so hard not to be, makes me angry.   I can’t change the way the show is written, but what I CAN do is make sure whatever I write isn’t lazy.

Now, don’t get me wrong — this isn’t a totally bad show and I get that they only have 44 minutes to tell some sort of story — that’s not a small issue.  Any TV show has similar constraints.  I just wish they’d be a little more intelligent about it, that’s all.  Am I going to keep on watching it?  Probably.  I’ll at least skip ahead to see if things get any better.  If not, I’ll find something else to binge watch (love that Hulu) . . .

 

Discovery writing vs Outlining

I’ve been a discovery writer all my life — even the crap I wrote as a kid, whether for my own enjoyment or for school, was all by the seat of my pants.  It wasn’t until recently (well, in the past couple of years) that I read about outlining your work to help you stay organized.  I fully embrace anything to keep me organized — as a creative person, I’m pretty much not-organized.  Well, for my day-job, I have to be, so maybe that’s forced a little of that back into my writing — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So — my book, recently published, was a total seat-of-my-pants sort of thing.  I had written myself into a corner, I set it aside, life got in the way for a long time, then when I finally sat back down to keep writing, I couldn’t remember where I wanted to go.  So, discovery sometimes sucks. I basically ended up re-writing the story from the beginning.  Which wasn’t a bad thing when all was said and done as I think it became a stronger story.

This weekend I had the chance to catch up with my brother, who also writes, but has yet to publish anything.  He’s a total discovery writer and we debated the merits of outlining versus seat-of-the-pants.  He contends he’d get bored if he outlined everything.  I see his point, but then again, I think there has to be a road-map — so you don’t get lost, if I can stretch the analogy a bit further.

I’ve come to the conclusion I may be a tweener — I like to see where things take me, but I do want to have a map telling me where I want to go. I’m going to try my road map in my next project and see how that works.

I’d love to hear how others do this — total outlining, total discovery or some place in between?  Let me know in the comments.

Post publish blues

What do you do after meeting a goal?  The smart answer is setting another goal, isn’t it?  I have a new goal, write the second Adventure of Tremain and Christopher, but I’m not ready to start it yet.  Start the planning and writing, that is.  I’ve already started imagining scenes and dialog.  I think I have the beginning and the ending figured out.  But actually sitting down and writing this out?  Nope.  Not yet.

Part of this is I really want to see how well book #1 does.  It’s only been a week since I hit the “go live” button on Amazon — For those that have already purchased and read it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  For those who haven’t heard of it (or me, for that matter) yet, I’m trying to reach you!  The marketing of this is stymieing me.  I can see why some opt for the piles of rejection letters from agents or publishers.  They won’t have to deal with marketing themselves.  I don’t have any “platform” yet — I haven’t built an audience.  Hopefully, this blog and the mailing list attached to it will help in this.  It’s just getting myself to a point where people notice me and my book(s).

I know I have to get more work out there to get noticed.  Intellectually, I’m well aware of that fact.  Emotionally, I’m still letting go of my first book, it’s been an education for me to do something that I’ve always wanted to do — and now I’ve experienced the challenges and the fun involved.  Yes, there is fun involved.

The fun is friends asking if I would sign their books.  Really!  I’m thinking I’m still just a poser here, I’ve written one book, why would you want me to sign it?  Still, it’s fun to be asked.  It’s cool.

I keep fighting the urge to check and see how well (or not) it’s selling.  I’m not always successful in that.  I do check it and am pleasantly surprised that I have sold some copies in just the few days it’s been out.  I’m not going to be quitting my day job just yet, but it’s nice to see someone has bought it.

I’m going to drive myself nuts doing that — but until I feel more comfortable with the process, I guess nuts is what I’ll be.  This audience building thing is like walking up a hill made of loose sand.  It’s hard work. Everyone will tell you it’s hard work, and I’m sitting here quietly thinking to myself “really, I just wrote something everyone is going to love, how hard can it be?”  Let me tell you — It’s not easy.  But then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.

I’ll figure this thing out.  I’ll keep writing.  I’ll keep publishing.  I’ll slowly build my “empire”.  Let’s see where we can go.

The Book is out!

So I finally finished the book, worked with my editor, hired the cover artist and published the darned thing!  It’s available now on Amazon!  To say I’m excited about it is an understatement . . . http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Tremain-Christopher-Missing-Yesterdays/dp/1530729874/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460490333&sr=8-1&keywords=marchion

If you read it, please leave me a review — or comment here — let me know what you think — there’s more coming!!!