Thursday, December 12, 2013

Recentish updates

  1. I don't think I've mentioned it but I've made some money via photography in the last few weeks.  I took a family portrait for my cousin and sold three photos on Society6.  My invitation to the Millionaire's Club has not yet arrived in the mail, however.
  2. I interviewed my favorite living crime writer, Lawrence Block, on my book blog last month.  If I'd known how approachable he was, I would have attempted it years earlier.
  3. My new camera is pretty damn sweet.  60x optical zoom?  Just wait until I get my lens adaptor so I can slap my closeup lens on it.  If you thought my macros were frightening before...
  4. I'm done with winter.  Too bad more of it is going to shit all over the region starting tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 15 - Horse? What Horse?

Still haven't written anymore.  I'd say I was derailed last night by having to replace a door knob and unable to focus on much else besides Doctor Who after watching The Night of the Doctor but I'd be lying.  I just was not in the mood to work on what I've started.

I was talking it over with a friend and said that I think my problem with writing (and sometimes reading) fantasy is that I'm a pretty analytical person and a lot of fantasy requires suspension of disbelief and/or ignoring logical flaws.  For example, if Gandalf had a deal with the giant eagles, why was it necessary for the Hobbits to walk all the way to Mount Doom and throw the ring in when they could have flown?

So, I'm going to finish the opening episode of Steelgrave and then get back to writing crime.  I reread the Banker's Bride fragment I had on my computer yesterday and actually felt excited about getting back on it.  Also, I had some ideas I want to work into the next draft of Between Hell and a Hard Place.  I'm going to work in another suspect.

In other news, Mystic River was great and now I have to see the movie.  Until my last remaining unread Pelecanos book arrives, I'm reading The Insect Cookbook, a Netgalley find that I'm pretty excited about.  I may have to cook up a recipe and blog about it at some point.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 12 - Novel? What Novel?

So... How about that local sports team?  I haven't written much in the past few days.  Britt's working six nights in a row starting Thursday so I'll be attacking the work in progress with a vengeance.  I've ironed out some wrinkles and I'm just about ready to saddle up once again.

My "novel" will now be comprised of five (or seven) linked novellas.

In other news, I've read a couple ARCs and am only two books from reaching my goal of 130.  I'm currently reading Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and the 130th book will be What It Was by George Pelecanos, which is also the final book of George Pelecanos I need to read before I can add "Read the complete works of George Pelecanos in 2013" to my geek resume.

In other news, I interviewed Lawrence Block on my book blog today.  I'd say this is the crowning achievement as a book reviewer so far.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 7 - The Eureka Moment

For some reason, I had the idea to combine the ex-girlfriend and the bill collector characters earlier, which serves two purposes: to give Jonah a reason to return to Mayfair and also to fill him in on some of the happenings while he's been gone.  Things are back on track-ish.

I'm still planning on doing the linked short story thing and I should be able to recycle most of the material I've already written.  It also solves the "Why are you investigating some missing kids when your mother hasn't been seen in three months?" problem I was wrestling with earlier.

Day 7 - Circling The Drain

I woke up this morning knowing I would probably not do any writing today.  Even though I fixed the first chapter, it's still not working of me.  My main character still isn't active enough. I keep wanting to say "Your mother is missing, asshole!  Stop drinking with your best friend from high school."

Another thing that bothers me about the way it is now, Jonah's mother was grooming him to take her place before he ran off.  If that is the case, he should know more about his heritage and the weird goings on in town, not to mention the existence of the portal.

I'm thinking about structuring it into seven 10k chunks, like seven linked Doctor Who episodes.  It seems like his mother should pass him the torch fairly early on, not halfway through the damn book.

Anyway, I'll chew on this stuff today.  Considering I didn't start until the 11th last time I completed a NaNoWriMo event, I'm not too worried about it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I have broken one of the NaNoWriMo Commandments!

I'm not sure which number it is but today, I broke one of the NaNoWriMo Commandments: Thou Shalt Not Revise.

Since the first day, a couple things were bothering me about the first chapter and I figured it out on the commute home.  In the old setup, Jonah's high school sweetheart shows up and asks him to find her missing cousin and then casually mentions no one has seen his mother in weeks.  It just didn't ring true to me.  On the way home, I decided that a bill collector tracks him down because his mother hasn't paid her bills in three months.  When he gets to his home town, he learns about the missing girls.

Well, two hours later and I'm back on track.  Due to writing some new material and recycling as much of the old material as I could, I only lost about two hundred words.  I'm feeling good despite spending this evenings writing time mending the space time continuum to accomodate these changes.

Back in the day, I used to post my in progress NaNoWriMo projects in the writing section of my Goodreads page.  I'm thinking about doing that again and taking them down in December.  The extra encouragement gives me a little more incentive to write.

Later on Day 6

I'm up 2700 words for the day and have a tremendous headache.  I intend on writing a bit when I get home but this isn't going to be one of those nights where I write from 5:30 until bedtime.  I'm in the stretch of the story where I'm writing the things that need to be written so I can get to the parts I'm dying to write in a couple days.

I'm still gunning for 25k by the 10, which seems doable, but I'm no longer aching to write all 80k this month.  As long as I make it to 50k, I'll be good.

Plus I really need to do some reading.  I need words coming in or it's hard to have words coming out.

Day 6 - Slowing down

Last night was not a banner night for me.  I got home two hours later than usual and the whole routine was shot, not just for me but for the dogs as well.  I wrote a whopping 300 words before giving up and going to bed.  I did iron out some of the bumps in the first chapter, though, so at least something got accomplished.

However, I'm up 1100 words already today and plan on doing some serious writing thoughout the rest of the day and evening.  I have a rough outline I keep refining as I go.  I still have my doubts about how long Steelgrave is going to go but we'll see.

The concept has morphed quite a bit since I first conceived it.  It started out like Justified with magic but now it feels more like a redneck version of Doctor Who.  One thing I'm struggling with is which characters I want to kill off and which I want to stick around for future stories.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Fifth Morning

I finished up last night just a gnat's wing shy of 13k.  After checking my records, I had over 18k on Day 4 in 2011 so it isn't a NaNo record.

This morning, I've written down a rough outline of what needs to happen on which day. I'm going to start doing the Michael Moorcock Five Days to Save the World thing pretty soon.  So far, I'm feeling really good about the story.

I'm a little uneasy about not having enough juice to make it past 50k, though.  I'm thinking about doing some chapters from other character's viewpoints to mix things up.  Since I want to use the main character again, I'm going to throw in some hooks for future tales.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day 3 Closing Thoughts

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo is quickly drawing to a close.  I'm at 9897 words, which is way ahead of where I need to be but not quite as far as I would like.  I'm feeling pretty good about things but I'm wondering if I have enough juice to make it to the end.  I'm not sure I have enough characters and twists to make it to my 80k goal.  On the other hand, everything is taking longer than I thought so I might just make it.

Tomorrow's writing will be Jonah visiting with his bestie Doyle Reed, making his first attempt to check out the Blood Oak House, and taking a look at the books he found in his mother's house.  He's got some dowsing to do but I'm not sure if I'll get to that tomorrow.

Time to read some Christine.

Day 3 - 6596

Top of the morning!  I didn't get any more writing done yesterday but I'm back on the horse this morning and plugging right along.  I just wrapped up the second chapter and I'll start on the third once I take a shower.  Britt's working nights the next four days so I should be in good shape for a while as far as finding time to write is concerned. Jonah's meeting one of the main bad guys for the first time in chapter three and then investigating his mother's house before going to a BBQ at his childhood best friend's place.

In other news, I mentioned having a Lawrence Block ARC on its way to me.  However, when I opened the package, there were two ARCS inside. Borderline by Lawrence Block and The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins.  Also, I read Mr. Majestyk and am chewing away at Christine by Stephen King so the list of remaining books until I hit 130 for the year looks like this:

  1. Borderline by Lawrence Block
  2. The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins
  3. The Long Walk by Stephen King
  4. The Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann
  5. The Burglar Who Quoted Kipling by Lawrence Block
  6. One of the Kindle books I've gotten from  Freekbooksy is interesting.  You fill in your email address and preferred genres and every day they send you a list of ebooks you can get for free for that day only.
I'm thinking about pausing Christine and blowing through #1 and #2 on the list.

Time to take a shower and get back on the horse.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNoNews and some recentish pics

I finished yesterday with close to 3200 words and I already have 1800 words for today.  After running some errands, I'm hoping to jump back on the horse later and get another thousand or so words on paper.

And now, some recentish pictures.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 1 - 2442 so far

It didn't take me long to get back on the writing horse.  Chapter 1 is in the can.  I'm pretty sure I remembered everything I wanted to include.  Here's my favorite sentence so far.

He glanced around the office, seeing all the employees pecking away on their computers or talking on the phone, and smiled. Twenty-first Century Insurance ran like Swiss watch and, at the rate he was going, he'd be the one doing the winding in a few years.

Tomorrow, Jonah has to drive back to his home town.  I'm wondering how much chapter 2 the car ride is going to take.  I have ran into a slight hiccup already though.  Jonah's currently going by an alias, Joe James, so all the dialogue in the first chapter is attributed to Joe.  I think once he gets back to Mayfair, everyone will be calling him Jonah and I'll have to start sticking "Jonah said" at the end of his dialogue.  I'm wondering if I've ever read anything where the main character's name changes at some point.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Four hours of freedom

Midnight will be here in four hours and some change.  This isn't the least prepared I've ever been for a National Novel Writing Month but it's close.  I plan on throwing some things in early on in case I get stuck later.  Like some mysterious spider creature in the woods everyone calls The Red Widow and cannibal mole people living beneath the hills.

Still, I feel fairly confident.  I know my main character pretty well and I can't wait to write some stuff featuring his childhood best friend, trailer park resident and hunting enthusiast Doyle Reed.  The bad guys still need some work but I probably don't need them until Sunday or Monday so I still have some time.

In other news, Fall has reached the maximum color level so there will be some picture taking this weekend.  In other other news, I'll have to change my reading goals again since I have another Lawrence Block ARC coming my way sometime soon.  It occurs to me that I should figure out how to get paid for reviews instead of just giving it away like a common strumpet.

Shit, I still need to come up with the name of my main town.  I'd better go...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Week From Tomorrow...

I'm slowly hammering out the battle plan for Steelgrave, this year's NaNoWriMo project

Things I'm pretty sure of:

  1. Jonah Steelgrave, 
  2. his childhood best friend Doyle Reed
  3. the relationship between our world and the world beyond the portal
    1. The world beyond the portal's time flows differently.  A minute in our world equals an hour on the other side of the portal.  Consequently, sixty years pass on the other side for every one of ours.
    2. There may be more than one portal
  4. the magic system (a combination of The Magicians by Lev Grossman and the Granny Weatherwax books by Terry Pratchett)
  5. the setup
  6. the whereabouts of Jonah's missing mother at the beginning of the novel
  7. the ending

Things yet to be done:

  1. coming up with credible villains
  2. the names of Jonah's childhood sweetheart and her husband
  3. Jonah's father figure and his role in the proceedings
  4. enough plot twists to keep everything going
  5. the name of the town
  6. the master "if I get stuck" list

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Looks like I'm doing this

With a little over two weeks left, I'm officially tossing my writing hat through the NaNoWriMo ring.  I'm attempting a Rural Fantasy novel this year.  It makes more sense to me that nasty creatures would be lurking on the fringes of society rather than in booming metropolises.  Here's the teaser:

Jonah Steelgrave has been running from his eldritch destiny for almost a decade, fleeing his former country life for the big city.  When an ex-girlfriend asks him for help locating her missing sister and tells him his mother hasn't been seen in town for over a month, destiny finally wraps its bony fingers around his throat... 

Things to do:
- come up with character names other than Jonah and his mother.
- make the emergency list

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cicada Invasion!

Last night, I was reading in bed and my eyelids seemed to be made of concrete so I decided to take Belle out one last time and hang it up for the night.  She peed and we came back in, only we weren't alone...

A cicada flew in behind us, attracted by the kitchen light.  It chirped obnoxiously and flew circles around the chandelier.  Felix lept up from the floor and staked out the kitchen table, swiping at the cicada when it came into range.  Meanwhile, Belle's also got her eye on the hissing vermin and trotting around the kitchen table, not taking her eyes off it.

Felix managed to bring the cicada down but didn't do anything with it after that, to my dismay.  It wobbled back into the air and continued chirping and crashing into the light.  I grabbed a broom and hit the cicada out of the hair like it was a tennis ball and I was one of today's current tennis players, not Pete Sampras like I originally planned on writing.

It bounced off the wall and landed on the floor, right in the gab between the floor and where the trip used to be.  I swept it out of the crack  and it chirped on the floor.  After Belle had her sniff, I swept it outside, preventing my house from being infested by insectoid vermin while I slept.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kinda sucked

So, right after we watched a Season 3 episode of Breaking Bad, Brittany prepared to leave for work and I prepared to take the dogs for a walk on what was probably the hottest day of the year.  We passed a house with a man working on the roof and I thought, "Man, it would suck to be working out in this heat."

The dogs performed admirably on the walk, due to the intense heat and humidity and also that they were still recovering from a Saturday romp at my parents'.  We returned to the house and the garage door was closed.  I thought "It would suck if Brittany locked us out."

Yadda yadda yadda, she did.  After checking the basement door, I walked to the one neighbor whom I thought might still have my back door key from the days when my parents owned the house.  She wasn't home.  I walked around the house, panting dogs in tow, and checked all the windows.  All locked.  And my cell phone was on the kitchen table, right next to my keys.

As I cursed and tried to decide which neighbor I'd impose on to call my dad.  Then I remembered I felt a draft next to one of the basement windows a couple days before.  I walked up to the unattached garage and it was blessedly unlocked.  I procured a screwdriver and walked back to the basement window, dogs still in tow.

After some amateur breaking and entering, I popped the screen out and slid the window open.  Daisy, still leery of me after living in my house for almost three months and knowing me for about a year, was surprisingly understanding.  I said "I know you're not going to like this but I'm going to pick you up now.  She didn't struggle and let me carry her into the darkness of the basement.

Belle, my faithful hound of nearly 13 years, was almost as understanding.  She stood at the open window and looked at me.  "Belle, this is our house.  I'm going to pick you up now."  She yielded but wasn't happy about it.  Soon, we were all navigating the Stygian darkness of the basement.  I don't think Belle quite understood where we were until we reached the basement steps.  Soon, we were again in the welcoming light of the main floor of the house and all was well with the world.  I gave the dogs treats and they were soon napping in front of the air conditioning vents on the living room floor.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bands I've seen live

Bands I've seen live (This is a very ska-heavy list)

  1. The Toasters
  2. The Secretaries
  3. Isaac Green and the Skalars
  4. Skavoovie and the Epitones
  5. Let's Go Bowling
  6. Unsteady
  7. The Skatalites
  8. The Slackers
  9. Chris Murray
  10. The Suicide Machines
  11. AFI
  12. Avail
  13. Apocalypse Hoboken
  14. Assorted Jelly Beans
  15. The Weaker Thans
  16. The Specials
  17. They Might Be Giants
  18. The Reverend Horton Heat
  19. Los Straitjackets
  20. Southern Culture on the Skids
  21. Deke Dickerson
  22. Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys
  23. Eastern Standard Time
  24. The Green Room Rockers
  25. The Aggrolites
  26. Mr. T-Bone
  27. Dr. Ring-Ding
  28. Monkey
  29. Toots and the Maytals
  30. Flogging Molly
  31. The Pinstripes
  32. Deals Gone Bad
  33. The Pietasters
  34. Split Lip Rayfield
  35. Bonerama
  36. The Gadjits
  37. Mephaskapheles
  38. Red Stripe Allstars
  39. Murder City Players
  40. The Pinstripes
  41. Dan Pothast
  42. MU-330
  43. Lawrence Arms
  44. Alkaline Trio
  45. Dale Watson
  46. Spring-Heeled Jack
  47. Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
Huh, I guess I haven't seen that many bands live.  It felt like more than this but there are a lot of multiples on the list.  I've seen the Slackers 20 times and a few of the other bands four or five times.  There are some smaller bands whose names I either don't remember or don't care to mention.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Writing Bug

The writing bug has been gnawing at my brainstem for the past couple weeks.

I have a character I want to use and the world he inhabits but I can't decide what story to tell with him.  I love the idea of a world resembling Edwardian England, complete with British Empire, but with magic.  And an air force of magically enhanced aerostats.

I'm also long overdue to start revising Between Hell and a Hard Place.  Too bad reading is way easier than writing.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The World is Mine! 3 properties I'd like to see licensed for Kindle Worlds

With Amazon's announcement of Kindle Worlds, their licensed fan fiction platform, I couldn't help but think of several properties I'd like to write for if the author licensed his creations.

  1. Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers:  PJF's universe lends itself to all kinds of adventure possibilities.  Even apart from the World of Tiers itself, all of the pocket universes created by the Thoans would be fair game.  Jadawin and Kickaha have had lots of adventures not chronicled in the series' six books (I'm not counting Red Orc's Rage) and PJF liked telling stories using other people's creations.  I think he'd be down for this if he were still among the living.
  2. Spelljammer - This extinct Dungeons and Dragons setting has long captured my imagination.  I'd love to write a story of magic-powered wooden sailing ships flying in the space between worlds encountering all manner of strangeness.  Also, It's been too long since Giant Space Hamsters gnawed there way through pages of rollicking adventure!
  3. The Dark Tower - First off, the Dark Tower is my favorite epic of all time.  So why would I want anyone, even me, dipping their big toe in the waters?  Simple: Roland has been through countless iterations of his quest, each one ending in failure.  This gives the setting the ultimate get out of jail free card in regard to continuity.  Roland missing a leg?  That was a different iteration of the quest.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I am now on the Twitter.  My handle is @DanSchwent.  Dantastic and everything else I tried was taken.

  1. For most of June, I'm interviewing the Forbes 25 reviewers from Goodreads (or reasonable substitutes.)  Check it out at Shelf Inflicted.
  2. I've discovered I'm a book hoarder rather than a book collector so I'm cleaning house!  I got rid of over 100 books yesterday and I'll be doing the same thing again in a couple weeks.
  3. The phrase "Kill the boy so the man might live" from Game of Thrones keeps resonating in my brain.  Consequently, I'm trimming the fat as far as possessions go.  My gf and I will be living together fairly soon and I need to clear the way before I roll out the red carpet.
On a parting note, here are some recent pictures:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

When did I get so old?

Yesterday, I did quite a bit of yardwork at my lovely girlfriend's house.  I put a rock wall I tore apart last week back together, mowed, and then tore down a ton of honeysuckle.  Today, I woke up and felt about 90 years old.  My office job has softened me up like veal. 

How did I let this happen?  I used to lift weights every day.  I've been slacking the last few weeks but that shouldn't make me less resilient than the average kindergartener.  After lounging around most of the day, I feel like I'm about 60.  Hopefully I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This is post 898 so I'm rapidly getting close to as many entries as my old MySpace blog had on it before I torched it.  Brittany and I are going to the Lincoln Museum over the weekend so the chronicle of that will likely be the 900th post.

In other Milestoney news, I just hit 600 posts on my book blog, a pretty cool interview with self-published author S.A. Hunt.  He's a cool guy so feel free to give him the contents of your wallets.

In still more Milestoney news, Shelf Inflicted will hit 100 posts in the next couple days.  Not bad for a month!  Still waiting on the merchandising bonanza to take off on that one.

These Milestones are partially my way of distracting people from noticing I have written nothing more in Camp NaNoWriMo.  My shame weighs heavily on me.  However, I did get some agenty feedback on Bullets Don't Blink.  Long story short, there are some logic problems in the story that need to be addressed but the writing is good and the dialogue is excellent.  She invited me to submit other things so I'm counting it as a partial win.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 10

So yeah, Camp NaNoWriMo has been pushed to the wayside in favor of Shelf Inflicted, the new collaborative book blog I've started with some Goodreads friends.  We're getting a ton of hits and I saw some of our Cafe Press merch in an ad widget on yesterday.

I haven't totally given up on the writing, though.  Now that Shelf Inflicted is up and running, I can let it simmer a bit and get down to business.  Also, I have a new pulp fantasy character named Brand The Black that I'm dying to write a short story about.

That was a strange one

So last night, I dreamed I was lounging in my back yard when some shape-shifting creature came out of the woods.  At first, it looks like a black fox with ten pairs of legs.  Then it looked like some kind of eight-legged snake.  It was then it disappeared and I kept hearing news reports of an eight-legged creature killing all the dogs and livestock in the neighborhood.  Then I drove over to my grandparents' house with my dog and a ton of my relatives were there with deer rifles, ready to take the thing on.  However, they wanted to use my dog as bait for the creature.

I eventually agreed to leave Belle chained to a tree close to the house  but wasn't thrilled about it.  When the creature finally showed up, it was a humanoid tiger with two extra arms.  It escaped but not without being caught in a hail of gunfire.

As far as I know, it is still at large.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Thong? Really?

I started a Cafe Press shop over the weekend for the new book blog, Shelf Inflicted.  It wasn't as easy as I hoped since their interface isn't the most intuitive.  I was looking at products with the Shelf Inflicted logo on them and found this.

Sure, I'd like to make back the month I spent to register the domain for five years but I'm not sure how I feel about people wearing a thong with the website's logo on it.  However, Mother's Day is coming up...

In other news, I have yet to do my taxes so I'll likely not have much time for writing tonight.  Camp NaNoWriMo has been pushed aside in favor of setting up the new blog.  Still, I did 50k in twenty days last June so surely I can manage 20k in what's left of the month.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Special Report: The Contingency Plan is Being Constructed

I'm forming a collaborative blog with some of the heavy hitters on Goodreads in the event we have to pile into an escape pod somewhere down the road.  We're calling it Shelf Inflicted.  I'm not abandoning Goodreads or my book blog at this time, though.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Letter from Camp NaNoWriMo

Dear Mom and Dad,
Camp NaNoWriMo is great so far.  I'm glad I came back this year.  I'm halfway through my first pass of editing Between Hell and a Hard Place and I've already decided on a few changes.  The Mantis character was my least favorite part of the initial draft so I'm splitting him into two characters, one for the hacking and gunrunning and one to be Jack's Bad Ass Friend.  I think this will make things run more smoothly.  I'm going to mention Gregory Brissette being an Alderman with state senate aspirations since now he's just a generic businessman of some type.  Also, although I haven't gotten there yet, I'm going to rewrite big chunks of the ending.

In other news, the Councillors are so friendly this year.  Councillor Joey is always making sure my pants look right.  Yesterday afternoon, he had me rub sun tan lotion on his back and chest and asked me if I needed any rubbed on me, which was weird since it was really cloudy outside.  Tomorrow, he's going to show me his secret place and said I could take all the pictures I want.  Sure sounds like fun!

I'd better get back to my writing.  This book isn't going to edit itself!

your son,
Dangerous Dan

PS - Please send a package of nutter butters.  And a jar of honey for Councillor Joey.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Special Report: Amazon buys Goodreads?

Goodreads has been a pretty big part of my spare time in the last few years.  You don't get to be the #6 reviewer of all time in America by just dabbling here and there.  Anyway, it was a pretty big jolt when it was announced yesterday that Amazon was buying Goodreads.

I'm not sure what to think at this time.  It could be good for Goodreads but how often does a corporation buy something and then not make sweeping changes?  I'm not jumping ship yet but it never hurts to have several escape plans in place.  I might start using Bookish as a backup.  It's run by Simon & Shuster, Penguin, and Hatchette so it might be a good way to get free stuff.

I'm trying to be optimistic but Amazon buying Goodreads is a lot like that Spider-Man story where Doctor Octopus got engaged to Aunt May. You knew something bad was on the horizon but at least Aunt May got to be happy for a little while.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Going Camping?

The April session of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up fast.  I'm taking full advantage of the new variable word count feature to set the bar pretty low at 20,000 words.  I have several reasons for doing this:

  1. I have several fantasy short story ideas I can't seem to get out of my head, one of which I will attempt using Lester Dent's formula.
  2. Ticket to the Grave isn't quite ready to start yet since I haven't made any changes Between Hell and a Hard Place yet.  I probably have 20k of changes to make, which I'll be doing once I write the short stories mentioned in #1.
  3. The time factor.  I know of two concerts I want to go to plus spending time with my lovely girlfriend is a lot more pleasurable than wrestling out a novel in 30 days.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March already?

One of these days, I'll write another blog post that isn't bullet points:

  1. My lovely girlfriend is out of town this weekend visiting relatives so I'll be giving Between Hell and a Hard Place a much needed round of editing.
  2. Camp NaNoWriMo part 1 starts April 1st.  I still have no idea what I'm writing.
  3. I read this article about Michael Moorcock writing a lot of his early books in 3-10 days using a specific formula.  His prep works sounds a lot like my NaNoWriMo preparations.  I'm toying with trying the method to write a pulp fantasy novel at some point.
  4. I'm thinking I need to read a few westerns in order to read outside my comfort zone.  While I've read a number of weird westerns, I don't think I've read more than a couple straight westerns.
  5. I'm reading my first Joe Abercrombie novel and enjoying it quite a bit.  People always mention how gritty they are and how the characters don't fall into the standard good or evil mold.  What people never mention is all the dry humor.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Winter is drawing to a close

Some quick news items:
  • I finished A Dance with Dragons a couple nights ago, hence the title.  I'm off to join the tent city on George R.R. Martin's front lawn to pester him about the next book.
  • I'm about to embark on another Subterranean expedition.  They were doing grab bags again earlier this week and I couldn't help myself.  I'm hoping for Lansdale and Scalzi books, as always.  
  • The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett is my current read.  I'm gulping it down pretty quickly as it's a much easier read than the Song of Ice and Fire.
  • The current reading plan is to read The Red Country, the Fractal Prince, and the new Babylon Steel book before resuming my regular detective reading.
  • It's about time to think about writing again.  Camp NaNoWriMo part 1 is coming up fast!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Thought About Author Behavior

Since the dawn of time, debate has raged on Goodreads about appropriate author behavior.  I read this blog entry that sums up my thoughts pretty well.

However, there's a flame war going on in the feedback group centering on an author who seems to think people who aren't authors shouldn't criticize author behavior.  Allow me to retort.

Saying people who aren't authors shouldn't criticize author behavior is like saying I can't complain if I find a pubic hair in my chile colorado at my favorite Mexican restaurant because I've never made it at home!  Furthermore, no good can ever come from an author coming down from his holy author mountain to put a reader in his place.

That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Man With a Keyhole For a Face

My nephew's 1st birthday was yesterday so Brittany and I made the pilgrimage to Holiday Shores.  Jack was in fine form as he amused everyone and demolished his birthday cake.  We got back to her house around dinner time and spend the evening watching such intellectual television shows as Honey Boo-Boo and Gypsy Sisters.  I got home around 11 and fell fast asleep.

This morning, I was thinking about how I didn't even remember getting undressed and didn't move until the alarm went off.  However, my phone still had the notepad app open when I took it from the charger just before leaving the house.  A cryptic note reading The Man With a Keyhole For a Face was on it.

As I drove to work, I started piecing the dream back together.  I was at some kind of creepy dinner party and at the end, a Victorian-era three-piece suit came into the room.  He took off his top hat and I saw that instead of a face, he had a eight-inch keyhole.

There was other creepiness going on but apparently the keyhole for a face was the only thing my dream-addled brain saw fit to typing before I went back to sleep.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter is still coming

I've spent much of my spare time in the last two and a half days gorging myself on Clash of Kings.  I'm going to have to alternate Song of Ice and Fire books with other books to put off the wailing and gnashing of teeth once I finally get caught up.

Spacing them out will also give me a chance to read books like The Red Country, The Fractal Prince, and The Daylight War.  I've been waiting a couple years for the Daylight War to finally see print.

On the news, they keep talking about the winter storm that's going to hit the east coast.  I keep thinking about snows forty feet deep and getting disappointed when they say 1-3 feet.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Mustache You a Question

Just a few quick items:
  1. So I was having serious issues with my beard trimmer this morning.  One thing lead to another and now I have a goatee.
  2. I noticed I haven't posted any pictures in while.  I'll try to do that tonight.  Most of my recent pictures are of ice, though.
  3. They're doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July this year, and hopefully so am I.  I just have to figure out what I'm writing before then.  The two month break in between makes it very tempting to try to do both.  With a little luck, my workload will be light and writing won't cut into my Brittany time.
  4. Clash of Kings arrives in my mailbox tomorrow and I can't wait to tear into it.
  5. I'm already thinking about rereading the Dark Tower books again in 2014.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter is Coming

After watching the first season of Game of Thrones over the weekend, I caved in and picked up the first book.  It's safe to say that I'm hooked.  I finished reading A Game of Thrones at lunch and am hard at work composing the review in my head.  Even after watching the first season of the show, it still gripped me pretty hard.

It reminded me more of Pillars of the Earth more than a typical doorstop fantasy novel.  I read an interview where GRRM said he was a big fan of historical fiction.  That's what Game of Thrones felt like.  Only the history was fictitious.

Martin thanks Roger Zelazny in the acknowledgments.  I already knew he and Zelazny were close.  Now I'm wondering if the machinations in Game of Thrones were in any way inspired by the ones of the family in Amber.

Another reason I entitled this post Winter is Coming?  It's supposed to be 8 degrees tonight!

Oh, and I almost forgot.  I saw the hawk again today so I'm bringing my camera to work with me tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Hawk

I was taking a post-lunch stroll around the parking lot when I saw something near the base of one of the light poles around the perimeter.  I thought it was trash at first.  It wasn't.

It was a downed hawk!  I inched closer and closer, all the while wishing I had my camera with me.  I got about ten feet away and the hawk looked me right in the eye.  For a few seconds, we just looked at one another.  I turned and walked away, remembering the scene in the Gunslinger where Roland uses the hawk David to shred Cort's face.  I looked over my shoulder and watched the hawk fly to a nearby low-hanging tree branch.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Has it already been a fortnight?

Wow, two weeks goes by fast.

So around two weeks ago, I came down with a cold and took some Sudafed.  Apparently, this was not a great idea.  My nose got really dried out and I had a gusher nosebleed last Monday morning that took ten minutes to stop.

Tuesday saw three or four more gushers, which led to me going home from work early.  I had another gusher at my girlfriend's house that evening, which led to a trip to the urgent care.  Long story short, I'm sleeping with a humidifier next to my bed and periodically putting vaseline inside my nostrils to keep my nose moist.

Not much else going on except that Brittany and I watched season 1 of The Game of Thrones over the weekend.  It was awesome and now I'm wanting to read the books.

I've got some pictures I want to post when I get the time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Damn Monday

My lovely ladyfriend was out of town for the weekend so I had a lot of time by myself.  Here's what I "accomplished.":

  1. Read the last 300 pages of Pillars of the Earth.  My favorable review is getting a lot of votes on Goodreads but so is my friend Amanda's hate-filled review of it that I linked to.
  2. Fixed my girlfriend's problematic door and fed her cats
  3. Edged into the number 6 of all time spot on Goodreads by four votes.  I have a feeling the Huntress and I are going to be trading that spot a few times before all the shouting is over.
  4. Found Looking for Rachel Wallace at a used bookstore when I had to kill some time.  My dremmel was deader than shit when I needed it to fix the door so I needed something to read.
  5. Read the first 120 pages of Looking for Rachel Wallace while I was waiting for my dremmel to charge.
  6. Watched almost an entire season of Justified.  I have only the final episode of Justified season 3 left.
  7. Threw a roast in the crock pot before Sunday's events started so Britt and I would have something to eat for dinner.
  8. Visited my nephew and those two people he lives with.  Jack's a shade over 11 months and cuter than a box of kittens.  He can walk about ten feet by himself and enjoys having his six teeth brushed.  He'll probably be able to walk unassisted by the time his birthday rolls around next month.
I did a lot of relaxing but I was really glad when Brittany got home last night.  So were her cats.  I stayed at her house a little too late watching Dexter but it was worth it.  I'll take out my lack of sleep on my co-workers.  FYI, the roast turned out very well.

Today marks the sixth working day in a row that I've worked out before work.  My belly button doesn't seem so cavernous and the workouts have already become noticeably easier.  I probably should have weighed myself at the start as a way of tracking progress.

Interesting search terms that have brought people to my blog recently:
  • I  could pee on that
  • Squirrel with a beard
  • All females have an inner bimbo
  • beard progress pictures
  • trucker fags in denial
  • orange soda

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 4

It's Thursday and I've lifted weights every morning this week.  So far, all I notice is being more awake when I leave for work and being hungrier than usual all damn day.  Still, it does feel good to have already worked out when I get home from work and don't feel like doing much.

Bullets went into the mail yesterday around lunch time, several minutes before I ate a delicious Philly Cheese Steak at Scotti's Deli, thereby nullifying the week's workouts so far.

I'm closing in on the 600 page mark of Pillars of the Earth.  It's all downhill from here.  Lots of rape in the 1100's.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013: The Story So Far

  1. Looks like I'm going through with my plan to work out before work.  I got up twenty minutes early this morning and lifted weights.  It was rough but I should adjust after a few days of this.
  2. I'm sending out a hard copy of Bullets Don't Blink in the next day or so.  Wish me luck!
  3. It's supposed to be freakishly warm this weekend so I'm planning on one or more hiking expeditions.
  4. My girlfriend gave me Pillars of the Earth to read.  It's pretty good so far but I've been falling asleep too early to do some serious stretches of reading on it as of yet.