Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life After the Dark Tower

Last night around 6, I finished my second full read of the Dark Tower saga.  I think the deaths were hard to take because I spent so much time reading and re-reading the first four books in ice age-long gap between the publishing of the fourth and fifth book.  I'll definitely be re-reading the series again but hopefully it won't take me seven years to start the journey again.

Once I finished and Roland returned to the beginning of his quest, I did some housework and shaved off the several days worth of stubble I'd accumulated.  I'm really excited about the book Stephen King has coming out that bridges the gap between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla.

I went a little out of control over the past couple of weeks and my unread pile is now at 30 books.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to knock them all out by the end of the year.  Speaking reading...

Re-Reading goals for 2012:
  1. The Big Sleep
  2. Red Harvest
  3. The Earthsea Trilogy
  4. All the P.G. Wodehouse Jeeves and Wooster Novels
  5. All of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

I always drag on Mondays but today has felt like an eternity.  I couldn't sleep last night due to a "15 minute nap" that turned into a 90 minute coma.  It threw off the rest of the evening and it took me forever to go to sleep.  My boss is on jury duty today so the project I'm working on hasn't gone anywhere.

As I've mentioned in the past, I've been re-reading the Dark Tower series the past six months.  The final volume was suppose to start September 1st but I started it Saturday.  People on Goodreads were reviewing Song of Susannah and I couldn't wait anymore.

When the last Dark Tower book was finally published in 2004, I took a Friday off work to make sure I'd have plenty of time to read that first weekend.  I don't remember how many days it took to read through the 800+ pages but I know I tore through it.  The re-read has almost been like a completely new book.  Except...

...Well, there's no real way to sugar coat this.  For people who haven't read the Dark Tower, I'm going to leave out the names but I cried at three deaths the first time through.  As of last night, I was halfway through.  Since I knew what was coming, you'd think I'd be able to brace myself for the deaths of two of my favorite characters.  Nope.  There were silent man tears.  I think it was actually worse this time since I knew what was going to happen.  I don't imagine the other death isn't going to have the same effect. 

So much has changed since 2004 when I last finished this book.  People have passed through my life and some have passed on altogether.  To the clearing at the end of the path, as Roland would say.  A lot happens in seven years.

I brought a different book to work today to read at lunch.  The official reason is because a big honkin' 800 page hardcover is too big to lug around. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Musical Nostalgia - Dandimite

The year was 1997, that golden time when ska shows were still plentiful in STL and many of my friends hadn't scattered to the four winds.  I didn't have any ambition or future plans and a lot of things still had a newness to them.  I remember first hearing about Dr. Ring-Ding on St. Louis's ska radio show, Ska's The Limit and liked whichever song it was they played.  Then my friend Steve proceeded to have Dandimite on the cd changer in his car every time I rode with him for the next four or five eternities.  After several listens, I was hooked.

There are certain difficulties involved in seeing a German ska/reggae/rocksteady singer and trombone player live, especially if you don't live in a city like New York or Los Angeles.  Years went by and Dr. Ring-Ding stayed on my radar and I finally made the pilgrimage to Chicago with Ska Greg in 2008.  Ring-Ding was a really nice guy and seemed genuinely touched that we drove all the way from St. Louis to see him with the intention of driving back the next day.  I said "It's not that big of a trip.  You came all the way from Germany."  I've had some interaction with him on MySpace and Facebook since, as recently as last Tuesday when I posted "How long does it take a cheap bottle of gin to get cool in the freezer?"  Dr. Ring-Ding responded shortly after I pressed enter with "About twenty minutes." 

Anyway, my favorite Dr. Ring-Ding CD is Dandimite.  It stands the test of time a lot better than other ska records from back in the day.

1. Phone Talk    
2. Dandimite    
3. Big Man    
4. Medley: Save Bread/Save a Toast
5. (What Me) Money Back
6. Bellevue Asylum    
7. What a Day    
8. Green Pepper    
9. Rudeboy Style    
10. Knocking on My Door    
11. Got My Boogaloo    
12. Gloria    
13. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer    
14. Latin Goes Ska    
15. Stay Out Late    
16. Free Spitrit    
17. Top Notch Version    
18. Man in the Street

Reggae legend Derrick Morgan does guest vocals on a couple tracks.  I'd try to name a track as my favorite but it would wind up being a five or six way tie.  I will say that his version of Latin Goes Ska is as good as the Skatellites' version and Man on the Street is better than the Skatellites' version.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Few Things I Don't Understand

  1. Why do people call it a hot water heater?  It's a water heater.  The "heat" implies the "hot".  There's no such thing as a cold water heater.
  2. What's with people leaving five seconds on the microwave clock and walking away?  How hard is it to let the last five seconds tick away?  Or, if it's the beep at the end you're afraid of, clear the remaining time as a courtesy to the next user.
  3. Why do people feel the need to dog-ear the corners of pages of books that aren't their's?  Do they not have a piece of paper in their house?
  4. Peanut Butter in the fridge?  Completely unnecessary.
  5. Whenever I notice people playing with their phones during every spare moment, it gives me pause.  What did these people do to avoid their own thoughts before cellphones became so prevalent?

That's all I have at the moment.  I'm sure I'll run into a few other things I don't understand at some point in the future.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I've had a love/hate relationship with the epic fantasy genre for quite some time.  There are way too many million page rehashes of the Lord of the Rings are out there.  One time was enough!

Anyway, there are a few science fiction/fantasy epics that I like quite a bit.  Stephen King's Dark Tower is the first one that comes to mind.  I also like Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos, Roger Zelazny's Amber (the five Corwn books, anyway), Michael Moorcock's Elric, Jack Vance's Dying Earth, Gene Wolf's Book of the New Sun, and Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers.  And the one I'm about to mention.

I can't remember what made me subscribe to Planet Stories.  I must have been in a pulp phase at the time.  The Planet Stories volume that really gripped me was The Walrus and the Warwolf by Hugh Cook.

"Who's Hugh Cook?" you ask.  He's one of those fantasy writers that didn't get much attention while he was alive.  His primary work was The Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, a ten volume fantasy series.  It's not a very tightly linked series.  The first five books all happen concurrently and can be read in any order.  I'm on the eighth book right now and enjoying it tremendously.  There's a damn werehamster in The Werewolf and the Wormlord for God's sake!

The Chronicles mix fantasy, advanced technology that's misunderstood by the general populace, general weirdness, and British humor.  They feel as if they're written with my admittedly peculiar tastes in mind.  None of characters conform to the usual fantasy stereotypes.  Nothing is black and white.  Most of his lead characters are more like regular joes than fantasy heroes.  Drake Douay from The Walrus and the Warwolf is a scoundrel who's just trying to get laid.  Alfric Danbrog is a banker.  Togura is a teenager trying to lose his virginity.  Cheggory Guy is a rock gardener who also feeds a giant crab a bucket of fish guts every day.  See what I mean?

As I've said, I'm nearing the end of the eighth book now.  I'm a little hesitant about reading the last two.  Once they're gone, they're gone.

For more information on Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, consult the Chronicles of an Age of Darkness Wiki.

Monday, August 22, 2011

An interesting article

Lester Dent, aka Kenneth Robeson, the writer of over a hundred Doc Savage novels, used this formula for short stories.  I'm thinking about trying to use it just to see how things go.  I find parts of it unintentionally hilarious.

The Lester Dent Pulp Story Formula

He's very perceptive for a man who writes about magic marital aids

One of the many blogs I read on a regular basis is James Steele's.  I've mentioned his short story contest several times in the past month or so.  Today he has a great entry about working retail as he approaches 30.

I don't have a lot else to say except that I'm going to dust off The Pogonologist, a weird short story about a detective who solves mysteries by examining the facial hair of the suspects, and work on editing it.  I think it's pretty funny but still rough in places.  I'm growing to not hate short stories as much after writing The Pogonologist and Felix and the Sinster Cerberus, the story I did for James' contest.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Sluggish Sunday

Sundays are the worst days for me as far as productivity is concerned.  I had good intentions but I haven't gotten a whole lot done.  Let's examine the list, shall we?

  1. Slept two hours later than I intended
  2. Watched several episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus
  3. Finished reading Warrior Women of the Wasteland
  4. Took a twenty minute nap
  5. Sent my short story to Jim Steele.
It looks like more than it was.  I was planning on getting new shoes and finishing up the laundry.  Hell, I didn't manage to shower and get dressed until 11.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 21 - Escape from Camp!

Dear other Camp NaNoWriMo Campers,

By the time you read this, I will have scaled the razor-wire topped fence, evaded a score of vicious attack dogs, and swam a deep moat full of piranhas, and escaped Camp NaNoWriMo.  I regret that I had to make such an escape but my stay had gone on for too long. It is my great hope that we will all be recaptured and reunited in November when NaNoWriMo kicks into high gear.  Until then, keep writing.

yours in shared suffering,
Dangerous Dan

PS - I may have stolen all the snacks so that I would have sustenance on the long hike back to civilization.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interesting Search Terms

Okay, I'm way too interested in the search terms people use to get to my blog.
  1. dangerous dan of medicine hat - I think Medicine Hat is a city somewhere in Canada
  2. the wizard of oz blogspot samurai slider - I'm guessing they were looking for info on Six String Samurai.  If they weren't, that's probably what they wound up reading about.
  3. joe vanringham - I had to search my own blog to find out who Joe Vanringham was.  He's a character in a P.G. Wodehouse novel I reviewed on my book blog.  I wouldn't say he's search-worthy, though.
  4. dans hot orgy - Since when do I have hot orgies?  Mine are usually barely on the passable side.
  5. basenji-schipperke mix - My dog is a basenji-schipperke mix and I've mentioned her a couple times.  I wonder how prevalent the mix is?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 17

I hate throwing in the towel but I am.  I'm leaving camp early and going home to lick my wounds and prepare for a ton of editing in September.  In the mean time, I'm going to read as much as I can and start figuring out what I'm writing in November.

This is blog post 499.  Not bad for two and a half years.  I'm going to try to come up with something special for 500.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMO - Day 16

You know the day is going to be long when you're pissed off less than fifteen minutes after getting to work.

I only wrote about 800 words last night but I also edited for an hour.  My story for James Steele's contest is nearly finished.  I'll probably let it simmer for an evening and do the final edit on Wednesday night.

While I hate to give up, I may have to throw in the towel on Camp NaNoWriMo and give my brain a rest.  I'd say 85k in a little over six weeks is pretty impressive.  I'm going to try to get The Long Green Goodbye rolling tonight but we'll see what happens.  My hermit-like lifestyle is wearing on me.

I had a dream Sunday night about trying to catch a scorpion in a jar.  There has to be some symbolism there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 15

The intertia of not writing is already threatening to take hold.  I think attempting two 50k months back to back is wearing me out.  I intend to turn things around this evening, however.

I've been looking over my notes for The Long Green Goodbye and it seems doable.  Now I just have to summon the will to work on it when I get home from work.

I did a marathon read of The Magician King yesterday.  It was really good but I didn't like it quite as much as The Magicians and it was obviously meant to be the middle book in a trilogy.  I was about fifty pages from the end and starting thinking "How the hell is he going to wrap this up?"  Turns out, he wasn't.  The waiting begins anew.

The next book I'm reading is The Wazir and the Witch, the seventh book in Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness.  If there was any justice in the world, Hugh Cook would have been a billionaire when he died a few years.  The Chronicles aren't like most fantasy series.  They can be read in any order without a problem and are peppered with dry British humor.

The first five book all take place around the same time and with the same events in the background, and can be read in any order.  The sixth and seventh books are written from the point of view of a historian and detail the politics of the island of Untunchilamon, an island with bizarre machinery in underground caverns and a godlike being known as The Hermit Crab living on an island in the harbor.  The Hermit Crab, while both a hermit and a gigantic crab, is not actually a gigantic hermit crab.  Just thought I'd point that out.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 14

Well, the second week of Camp NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close.  I didn't write anything yesterday and today's not looking like it's going to be productive either.  It's a really nice day outside and I keep alternating between walking my dog and reading The Magician King.

Yesterday wound up being fairly productive aside from the lack of writing.  I accomplished everything on my list of goals except for finishing my short story, which I fully intend on doing today.  Possibly after finishing The Magician King.  I've only got seventy pages left.

The past few weeks, I've been watching a little more TV, primarily to work on my DVD backlog, which is mercifully smaller than my book one.  For the next few weeks, I will be watching two episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus every night.  I've seen half of them before but it should be a fun time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 13: Is it extremely unmotivated in here or is it just me?

I think I'm taking today off after I finish my short story.  I'm feeling so unmotivated that I make sloths look energetic.  I was mulling over Spider Girls in Heat earlier and decided it's not developed enough to start working on yet.  I don't want to lose a day of writing but I really don't want to write something just to be writing either. 

Maybe I'll dust off my notes for The Long Green Goodbye and start on that.  That story is pretty much etched in stone.  I keep hesitating to pull the trigger on it because I've never written anything in the first person that I've been happy with before.

In other news, I took a shitload of pictures this morning.  I'll be posting some of them once they finish uploading.  It's mostly butterflies but I got a couple finches and another bee killer as well.

I guess my revised agenda for the day looks like this:
  1. Get supplies
  2. Go to the used bookstore
  3. read more of The Magician King
  4. Finish my short story
  5. finish watching Sarah Silverman season 2b.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 13

Last night was pretty productive.  I finished Darwin's Blade, watched a couple episodes of the Sarah Silverman Program, drank a few beers, and wrote 3k of my short story for James Steele's contest.  I've probably only got another four or five hundred words to go.  I don't know if it'll win the contest but it makes me laugh.

Belle going to get her exercise in a bit, once I drink my coffee and take a shower.  Other than that, no plans for the day other than getting a jump on Spider Girls in Heat.  I'd better get a handle on their personalities before I start writing.  I figure one is way more sympathetic toward humans than the other and that'll fuel most of their dialogue.  Still need to figure out what's in the briefcase.

Wait, I lied.  My other plan for the day is to start reading The Magician King.  I've only been waiting for it since The Magicians.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 12: The Real Friday!

Real Friday's are awesome.  Not like that fake Friday yesterday morning that nearly broke my heart.

I did some outlining last night but not as much as I wanted to.  I did email James Steele about the Felix contest.  I figured it would be easier to find out if Felix had a landlord from James than skim the book myself.  I've got that one pretty clear in my mind.  I think I'm going to try to bust it out in one whack tonight.  It can be from 400-4000 words and I'm leaning toward the upper part of the range.

Spider Girls in Heat is also ready to roll.  The spider girls names are Loretta and Naomi, the screwup hoodlum's name is Richie Westlake, and the hitman they send out after Richie loses the briefcase is named Johnny Piranha.  He's a cannibal with a grill like Jaws from the James Bond movies.  I may borrow the small town cops from the discarded portion of MLM at some point in the proceedings, as well as throw in a Yakuza element that's also after the briefcase.  It's pretty much going to be a game of "Who has the briefcase?" with a lot of gunplay and car crashes.

Work is still hectic but the light at the end of the tunnel may be in sight.  Let's hope that light isn't on the front a train...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 11: I've got Good News and Bad News

Good News:
I remembered I made a haircut appointment and got my haircut.  I feel pretty streamlined at the moment.

Bad News:
I'm shelving Murder Lake Massacre for the moment.  It's just not working the way it is.  See the next Good News for details.

Good News:
I've decided that my killing off of Sister Mary Severa in Sweating Bullets was a mistake.  I'll fix that during September's editing.  When I resume work on Murder Lake Massacre, it will be with the good nun/bad nun dynamic I enjoyed so much in Sweating Bullets.

Bad News:
I suppose that means I won't be doing back to back 50k drafts.

Good News:
I'm still counting the 20k I've done so far.  Tonight, I'm taking a break from actual writing.  I'm going to outline the short story for Jim Steele's contest and write down all the notes I can think of for Spider Girls in Heat.  Tomorrow I'll begin writing anew.  I'm fairly confident I'll still hit 50k by the end of the month, legality of my work be damned.

That's about all I have.  I'm going to walk my hound and make with the outlining.  The sooner I get done, the sooner I can start reading Darwin's Blade.  Why the hell did I tell Kemper I'd wait for him to start reading The Magician King?

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 11

It seems that it's my time of the month again, the time where I doubt every aspect of the story I'm working on.  Luckily, I know this is natural and happens to everyone.

The writing went fairly smoothly last night, though it was difficult to resist the lure of 80 degree temperatures after more than a month in the nineties and beyond.  Tonight's writing will be another nun chapter, unless I miss my guess. 

I'm starting to think I might not have enough material to get to 50k with MLM after all.  I'm going to do a rough outline of what I have left today, if I have time.  Work's been too busy to think much about writing. 

When August is over, I will definitely be taking a short break from writing.  I feel myself getting crabby due to not doing enough non-writing activities.

Don't you hate it when you think it's Friday when you wake up, only to find out it's not?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Am I crazy enough to attempt this?

3-Day Novel Contest

Three day novel?  Anyone?  I don't think I'm crazy enough to attempt this after two Camp NaNoWriMo months in a row.  So far, anyway...

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 10: It felt like a good day until I got to work

The morning started well.  I leaped out of bed, got ready in record time, and took my dog outside before work.  She was more cooperative than usual.  I got to the gas station and gas was only $3.17.  Sad that I think this is a good price now.  As I was leaving, I found a dime on the ground.

Then I got to work.  My badge wasn't in my car and I have no idea where it is.  The only thing I can think of is that I took it inside with me when I got home from work last night.  I managed to coax enough juice out of my dying cell phone to call someone and have them come down and let me in.  I'm thinking about getting a new badge today since the picture on my current one is eight years old.

I guess it isn't all that bad.  I'll just have to pay attention to what I'm doing when I come back from lunch.  Maybe I'll cave in and get a new badge before then.

In writing news, I'm a day behind where I want to be but still 2 days ahead of the minimum I need to hit 50k by the end of the month.  After some thought last night, I think my story is in better shape.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 9: I think I missed a chapter

Well, I did it.  I banged out the longest chapter yet of Murder Lake Massacre.  Who knew Frank Marder was such a douchebag?

In the process of tweaking an older chapter to sow some seeds for later on in the story, I inadvertently necessitated the need for chapter 6.5.  On the plus side, it will inject some much needed humor into the boo when Sister Mary Hatchet and Sister Mary Hildegard are cleaning church and discussing the evil that sleeps beneath the waters of Marder Lake.

I hesitate to mention this since I'll be the only one who knows what I'm talking about but I figured out who the big bag is.  Now I have to "frame" the priest for it.

Well, I'm done early.  I guess I'll read some of Darwin's Blade.  The hookup is coming fast.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 9

I'm regretting not staying up late to write last night.  There, I said it.  I woke up about midnight and got a drink, all the while thinking "I should have been writing about the mayor strong-arming the cops into covering up the second double murder."  I won't be making that same mistake tonight.  Once I do the crime scene, I'll have to think of some way to inject some much needed humor into the story via the nuns.  Also, seeds need to be sown and red herrings need to be hatched(?).

I've decided that I'll be primarily editing in September, but I'll be writing Spider Girl in Heat in my spare time.  Not sure what October will bring but I'm planning on writing the third Sisters of the Most Precious Chainsaw book in November.  It's tentatively called The Lizard Riding Nuns of the Apocalyspe.  I'm swiping the ending of Evil Dead II and sending some of the survivors of Murder Lake Massacre into a dystopian future where the earth has been made a wasteland and the Sisters of the Most Precious Chainsaw are something of a police force/hit squad for whomever is in charge.

Darwin's Blade by Dan Simmons is pretty good so far.  There's a fair amount of humor in the dialog and I'm about a fourth of the way through and have no idea where the story is going, always a plus with me.  It's about an insurance investigator who's suddenly been targeted by the Russian mob.  The only think I'm not thrilled about is the very predictable hookup between Darwin and Sydney that I saw coming as soon as she appeared.  Thrillers always do this.  Just because there are a male and a female in close proximity doesn't necessarily mean they're definitely going to have sex!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - The Evening of Day 8

Well, I finished mowing but it seems a little late to start anything since I'll have to go to bed shortly.  Monday nights are one night that's hard for me to stay up late, after the whole Sunday sleep schedule screw up.  I hate to miss a day but my brain is already winding down as it is.

I'm about five hundred words into Chapter 8 and have a pretty good idea where it's going.  That's where I'll pick up tomorrow evening.  I figure Frank Marder, the mayor of Burnfield, will show up after the coroner leaves and while Horace and Jason are still investigating the scene.  I'm still not sure how the nuns are going to get more involved in the investigation since the cops are being hush-hush about it.  Maybe Jason will have a guilty conscience and start drinking, then go to church to confess or something.

I'd better get ready for bed.  My eyelids seem to be getting heavy.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Week 2 Begins

Well, yestereve was pretty unproductive for all parties concerned.  In an effort to get ahead, I'd written maybe 100 words in chapter 8 when the phone rang.  It was my mom.  She said they were BBQing despite the heat and wanted to know if I was interested.

After giving the situation some thought for all of ten seconds, I said I'd be over shortly.  I wound up throwing back a few beers with my dad and only got home around bedtime.  Needless to say, I didn't feel like writing then.

If it's not unbearably hot today, I'm going to mow the lawn when I get home.  This could lead to me losing the entire evening but it has to be done.  If I start right away, I could be done in time to do some writing before bed. We'll have to see what happens.

In other news, The Magician King by Lev Grossman shipped this morning and I should have it Thursday-ish.  I hope I'm finished with Darwin's Blade by then.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 7 - Later

Some days, I'm so unproductive that I think I might as well have a government job.  Other days, like today, I imagine this picture of me is next to the word productivity in the dictionary.

I sat down about noon and just finished up a 2355 word chapter.  I've got much of the afternoon still ahead of me.  I'm torn between wanting to get more writing done and wanting to slack off and read for a few hours.

The next chapter is the town's two cops investigating the most recent murder and the mayor getting into their face about it.  Should be a fun one to write.  I'm hoping I come up with a way for Sister Mary Hatchet to meet the mayor pretty soon.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 7

It's been almost a week already?  It hasn't felt that long.

I did not, in fact, write another chapter last night.  I read what I had left in Grant Morrison's The Filth, then read most of New X-Men Omnibus volume 3, also by Grant Morrison.

So far today, I haven't done much other than finish up X-Men and get groceries.  I'm in the middle of cleaning now and hope to start writing sometime in the11-12 hour. It would be nice to knock out a chapter and have plenty of time for other things before bed.

I may change my tune later, but I'm thinking about pushing the madness even further and busting out 50k in September...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 6: Sit down and write!

Well, it turns out disconnecting from the internet increases productivity.  Two hours later and I'm up to 13346 words.  There was some much needed humor.  I'm liking the dynamic between the four nuns already.  Too bad one of them is a murderer...

I can't believe I didn't think Murder Lake Massacre was going to go 50,000 words.  I'm fairly certain it's going to go 60,000 with the things I keep thinking of to throw in.

Time to eat something.  I might write more later but I'm thinking about doing some reading instead.  I haven't been doing much of that lately.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 5: Lots of Setup, Needs Another Murder

Another day of writing is nearing an end.  I'm at 11100-ish words and Murder Lake Massacre is going fairly well, although so far I think there is a little too much setup.  I'm planning another murder in the next couple chapters.

Tomorrow's writing is going to be Sister Mary Hatchet meeting the other nuns living in Burnfield's small convent, as well as Father Johnson and probably a few of the campers.  I got her to the convent today but it took a LOT longer than I wanted it to. 

I had her drive around Marder Lake and check it out first, where she met the nosey cops.  She also found the ruins of some burned buildings that have mostly fallen down since the mysterious evens of twenty years ago that I hadn't known about when I started writing.

I don't have much else to say except that I wanted to gush a bit.   Without further adieu... The Million Dollar Idea I had on the way home:

I had intended for Sister Mary Hatchet to stay in Burnfield with one other nun, Sister Patricia Marie, who's demeanor is similar to Sister Mary Severa, Hatchet's now deceased friend from the first book.  They'd hunt down Sister Mary Slaughterhouse, who's murderous rampage actually has a noble purpose...

Instead, there are three nuns living in the convent.  The aforementioned Patricia Marie, an older, mean nun named Mary Hildegard, and a rebellious young nun of fifteen named Mary Agnes, who's currently calling herself Sister Ariel Nightshade.  Instead of the old good nun/bad nun dynamic, this will give me a lot more to play with.  Also, Sister Mary Slaughterhouse might not really be the killer, one of the nuns isn't as she seems, and someone from the first book survived and is targeting Hatchet for revenge...

Yes, going to Catholic school for twelve years is finally paying off.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 5: The Slide Toward Hermit Status Continues

I had plans to go out and do all the stuff I've been neglecting this week tonight but I had what I'm referring to as "The Million Dollar Idea" for Murder Lake Massacre on the way home from work.  I was wondering how I was going to get to the ending from where I was now and I figured it out between the bank and my house, and also the setting of the next story featuring these characters.  I'll have to tweak last night's chapter a bit and then it's off to the races.  Needless to say, the chores are going to be left undone until tomorrow or Sunday.

In other news, the backlash against my negative review of the latest Jim Butcher book hasn't been as harsh as I thought.  Either more people feel the same way I do or no one is bothering to comment.

I'd better shove some food down my gullet and get cracking.  These chainsaw victims aren't going to murder themselves.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 4: Just About Bedtime

Just finished today's writing.  Getting Hatchet out of the convent and on the road took all chapter so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get her to Marder Lake.  I decided she'll be staying with the prim and proper young nun in town while she snoops around.  That should give her someone to interact with besides the cops. 

I wrote a scene of Hatchet at Severa's grave site that made me tear up a little while I was writing it.  Am I tough or what?

My grand total is 9050.  I'm quite sure this is behind last month's day 4 total but I'm not concerned.

I finally got my cabin assignment at Camp NaNoWriMo.  Not sure what I'm supposed to do now, exactly.

If you'll all excuse me, I'm going to retire for a bit of reading before I go to bed.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 4: Photos

I took some photos of writerly things when I got home.  And here they are.  I'd describe them as organized chaos.

This is my five year old laptop, sitting on my fifty year old desk. 

Notice the NaNoWriMo All-Star sticker.

Here is the drawer of post-its past, remnants of stories I may or may not have finished.

Here's a closeup.  The sketch at the bottom is of The Falconer, the hero of a 30,000 word novella I wrote a few years ago.  I had big plans for The Falconer until I realized his story was a fantasy version of the Clint Eastwood western, Hang 'Em High.

Here's the Office notebook I used in NaNoWriMo's 2009 and 2010.

Here's the tiny notebook I used for July's Camp NaNoWriMo.  Isn't it cute?  I got four for a buck at the Dollar Tree.

Inside July's notebook.

Here's the notebook I'm using for August's Camp.

Notebook interior:

My Camp NaNoWriMo care package arrived today.

Here's what was inside.  I doubt I'll use the pen and notebook.  They are mostly for keepsakes.

I suppose I should eat dinner and do some actual writing now.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 4

I don't want to brag but I got the best night sleep last night I've had in almost three months.  My dog didn't wake me up to investigate nocturnal shenanigans in the back yard and I woke up exactly once, just long enough to glance at the clock.  It was delightful.

This morning on the way to work, I decided that I'll use Sister Mary Hatchet arriving at Marder Lake to introduce other campers.  It seems like the least ham-fisted way to bring in more characters.  So, I have until I sit down in front of the computer tonight to come up with some.  Don't tell anyone but I may be swiping them from fragments I have lying around.  There's an inquisitive five year old name Brian that I used to work into all my stuff years ago.  No idea why he'd still be five after seven years but whatever.  He probably won't get chainsawed but you never know.

As I've mentioned before, I write down my word goals on my calendar at work, both what I would need to hit 50k by the end of the month and 75k, if I'm feeling ambitious.  In order to save time, I did both months at the same time, both to get it done and to guilt myself into doing August if my resolve waivered.  Apparently I messed up my numbers at some point when calculating in July because I copied the mistake into August.  I knew something was wrong when I noticed the 4200 word jump between days 3 and 4.

One of the blogs I read on a regular basis,  Published in a Year, has been doing entries on organization and notebooks and similar writerly tools lately.  I'm tempted to take a picture of my writing area at home, including my chaotic drawer full of cryptic notes written on post-its, my bulletin board that's had the same notes on it for years, and my various writing notepads and notebooks.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 3: Lesson Learned

The evening's writing has concluded.  I'm at just shy of 7000 words.  Not bad for the end of the third day.

If there's one thing my experiences at Camp NaNoWriMo have taught me, it's that I enjoy writing a lot more when I don't outline the hell out of things before hand and leave myself plenty of wiggle room. 

I'd planned to follow that sentence up with some profound words of wisdom regarding creativity and trusting yourself to come up with good ideas on the fly but I'm just too tired at the moment.  I did figure out what's sleeping beneath the surface of Lake Marder and what went down twenty years ago that has the locals looking over their shoulders to this day.

Tomorrow's writing should be the introduction of Sister Mary Hatchet.  Friday's will likely be the introduction of some campers so I'll have some lives to put into jeopardy later.

That's it for me.  Let's see if I can go to bed at a reasonable hour for a change.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 3: Getting Started

I don't know about everyone else but getting started is always the hardest part for me.  It's hard to sit down and focus on writing when everything else in the world is easier.  Anyway, I've been at it for fifteen minutes and it hasn't killed me yet.  In fact, I wrote something that entertained me that I want to share.

"How the hell do you identify a corpse when the head is missing?" Horace asked as he followed the coroner's van back to Burnfield.

"I think it's Rick Stone. He was a friend of the Cox girl and the height and weight seem about right to me," Jason said, staring out the window.

"By God, Fink, how did you figure that out? More of that criminology you're always yapping about?"

"Partly criminology but mostly the wallet I found in the pocket of his shorts while you and Ernie were busy talking about how to keep things quiet."

Horace looked at Jason and shook his head. "Nobody likes a smart ass, Fink."

Back to it.  The Burnfield PD sure isn't going to crack this case without me.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 3

Today's been pretty busy but I managed to jot down some notes for tonight's writing.  I remembered I forgot to have the cops pick up the bloody clothes last night but I figure I can gloss over that tonight or make a quick change to chapter 2.  I decided to have a priest talk to Horace after speaking with Lightning.  The unassuming nun with him will be the one who calls the Sisters of the Most Precious Chainsaw and gets Sister Mary Hatchet into the mix.  I like when the story tells itself to me as I write.

No one else ate lunch in the cafeteria so I was able to finish the book I've been reading, Dirty Money by Richard Stark.  It's the last Parker book Stark wrote before he died a couple years ago.  After 24 books, there's going to be something of a void on my crime fiction shelf.  I guess I'll resume my progress on Andrew Vachss's Burke series and Robert Crais's Elvis Cole series until something else comes along to fill the hole.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 2: Confession Time

As you may have divined from the title, I have a confession to make.  On the way home from work, I contemplated chucking Murder Lake Massacre and starting Spider Girls in Heat.  I had no urge whatsoever to work on MLM and questioned my sanity at choosing it for my primary August book.

Fast forward a couple hours.  Fate seemed to be conspiring against me.  My brother called as soon as I sat down to write and talked for half an hour.  It was almost seven when I reluctantly started writing.

It's now 8:17 and I've just finished the second chapter of Murder Lake Massacre.  2369 words in less than an hour and a half and I'm actually fairly proud of it.  I came up with Sheriff Horace Nelson and Deputy Jason "Fink" Finkel on the way home and they practically wrote themselves while investigating the gruesome murder from chapter 1. 

Tomorrow's writing should be Ernie the Coroner telling the sheriff of his findings and letting him know he called the Gateway City PD for assistance, which will bring in Detective Pope from the last book, who will bring in Sister Mary Hatchet.  I'm beginning to get excited about Murder Lake Massacre after all.

Time to walk the dog and do some reading before bed.  I may be slightly over-caffeinated.

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 2

Nothing like not having time to do some stealthy writing at work to make you want to rush home and do some writing.  I'm hoping I can wrap up this project in the next few days so I could possibly get some writing done in my slow times at work.

I've determined that the sheriff's deputy that Sister Mary Hatchet gets stuck with is a pulp magazine collector and a tremendous geek.  That should give me an interesting character to interact with Hatchet while they search for Sister Mary Slaughterhouse and try to figure out while she's mowing down campers, seemingly at random.  I haven't quite figured out who has the Macronomicon yet and what they're trying to do with it.  I do think something's sleeping at the bottom of Marder Lake.  That's why the Marder family bought up all the land around it in the 1920's.

I've toyed with bringing back Webcap from Sweating Bullets to be the bad guy.  After all, Hatchet did cut his junk off and leave him for dead.  If he somehow lived, he's certainly not happy with her.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo - Day 1: Maybe August isn't going to suck as much as I thought

I sat down around 6:30 and busted out 2k in less than 90 minutes.  I'm feeling better about back to back NaNoWriMos now.  Murder Lake Massacre is up and running.

The opening scene went pretty well.  I think I'll continue the practice of outlining the night's writing while I'm taking a break at work. 

I'm still not sure if MLM is going to go 50k.  It's going to take a bit to get Sister Mary Hatchet to Marder Lake to investigate.  After that, I guess it just depends on how many campers Sister Mary Slaughterhouse is able to kill and how long it takes Hatchet to figure out what's going on.

Tomorrow, I'll have to figure out the names of the hick sheriff and the douchebag resort owner, as well as figure out who's going to be Hatchet's counterpart in the investigation.  Should be fun.

Time to get some reading in before bed.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 1 - Didn't I just do this?

Here we are again, campers.  Whose bright idea was it for me to go to camp in both July and August anyway?

That week off from psychotically frantic writing wasn't long enough but I'm getting back on the horse tonight regardless.  I'll likely be too busy at work to steal a few moments for writing but I should definitely be able to find the time for a quick outline of the first chapter or two.  Once I shake off the morning fog, that is.