Friday, April 27, 2012

Nonfiction Friday

Yeah, switching it up on you today. This week has positively flown by, and I've been informed that they're sending me to El Paso next week for the Day Job. As such, I thought I'd relate a funny little anecdote. We'll call it "Great Moments in Matt's Day Job."

The scene: Mild mannered young professional, Matt, sits in a typical office cube. His walls display several certifications, but are otherwise barren. A corporate calendar is displayed prominently above the clunky Dell laptop, x's drawn through each of the days already spent in service.

Matt swivels to and fro in his chair, connecting complex-looking circuit boards to a fixture, and running a batch of software on his laptop. Cords snake across the desk, hazards for wandering fingers. Matt's head bobs in time to music delivered covertly through earbuds.

Boss enters, a middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair, close cropped. His collared shirt is neat, but - this being a business casual environment - there is no tie. Clean khakis round out the uniform.

Boss (sitting): So, we're going to go ahead and have the students do this programming from now on. Makes more sense for them to do it. Problem is, they claim to require a procedure for the task. You know, a step-by-step description of what to do. So, we'll, uh, we'll have to ask you to write that up.

Matt: Already done.

Boss (blinking): Really?

Uncomfortable pause.

Boss: Did someone, like, ask you to do that already?

Matt: Yes, sir. You did.

Boss (blinking): I did?

Matt: Yes, you did. Remember when you mentioned earlier this week that we may eventually be asked to train someone else to do this? You hinted that it might be a good idea to write up a - what did you call it? - procedure. Well, I went ahead and, you know, did it.

Boss: Oh, right. Well, you'll want to get that reviewed.

Matt: I've already given it to the lead engineer for review.

Boss (blinking).

Matt: I think he's been pretty busy, so if you'd like it done right away, you may want to go and, um, urge him to give it a higher priority or something.

Boss (standing): Yes... Yes, I should do that.

Matt: Yep

Uncomfortable pause.

Boss nods and exits the cube.

Matt puts his earbuds back in and immediately notes the conversation for later lulz.

I believe this is called "taking the initiative." Seems to be something of a lost art, these days.
Read more

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#ROW80 - No Rest For The Wordy

Last week was a great week. This week was more mundane. I've gotten back into the ritual of editing. I'm shooting to finish up my final editing run on Fates' Motif in 15 days. Probably not going to happen, but that's the stretch goal. Means two chapters a day, average. Let's take a step back and look at the overall goals:
  • Lesson Learned - I talked about writing freckles on Monday. The lesson here is that editing is (and probably always will be) a bit of an emotional gauntlet as well. I tend to jump between "this is terrible" and "hey, that wasn't half-bad" pretty consistently. I think this is normal, and non-indicative of the actual quality; I'm always going to be my own worst critic. The key is to not let that stop me from sharing, just keep learning, working hard, and doing my best.
  • WIP Progress - I think I officially started the last editing pass on Friday. Since then, I believe I've gotten through 6 chapters. 7 if you include the Prologue (which I guess I should). As I've had five days, this puts me about 3 behind where I'd wanted to be, but I think anything over 10 chapters a week is actually successful (if not ideal). I'm on pace for that. I'm not going to rush just for the sake of rushing.
  • Blogging - I continue to do well here. This makes 4/3 here, and I was 3/3 on the gaming blog. The personal post has been checked off for the month already. Good times.
  • Not A Goal - I'm sort of staying firm. My wife and I share an Audible account. She was in a hurry to start Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series. So, I've begun listening to that during my Day Job commute. The judges say that this does not discount not achieving not to read. In layman's terms, I think that means I'm still good on this goal. I mean, it's not like I could be doing anything else while driving.
Still in good shape. Kicking names and taking... wait, reverse that. You get the idea. I'll keep this short and end with the word count:
  • Since last check in: 3,017
  • New Fiction: 0 - Editing Mode
  • Round 2 Total: 10,571
Read more

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google Promotions

Oh, I didn't tell you guys? I got picked up by Google. They're doing my book promotions now. Hard hitting stuff. Like today, when they redid their entire website to help advertise my novelette. They really want me to succeed. I mean, look:

Now, Google claims that they're honoring Gideon Sundback, the inventor of the zipper. But if you read the article about it, it's hardly a clear-cut claim. No, we can read between the lines. This is Google starting to get into the publishing business. (Even though, you know, there's no link to my novelette anywhere. It's Google, they're tricky like that.)

Some time soon, we're getting set up to honor the inventor of the sparkle. They don't actually tell me when they're going to promote me. It's sort of this new surprise promotion thing they're doing.
Read more

Monday, April 23, 2012

Writing Freckles

I'm face deep in the editing gauntlet right now. My goal is to knock out two chapters a day, and thus make it through the entire novel in two weeks. (Actually 15 days, but who's counting?) I started in earnest on Friday, so it probably won't be until the second week of May before we get Fates' Motif released. That's all right, though. Gives The Only Sparkle some time to air.

I wanted to write about a phenomenon I've noticed as recurrent on this, my third trip through the "official-I'm-really-going-to-share-this-with-the-world" gauntlet. As with most authors, I alternate between loving and hating my writing. There are days when I'm all "this rocks" and other days where my face needs to be scraped off the keyboard.

In general, though, I'd like to think that I'm fairly confident of my writing ability. I need only read a book by (insert celebrity here) to be reminded that, often, writing ability has very little to do with what sells. Sure, being a phenom with a pen (or keyboard) helps, but it is not the be-all, end-all of selling books. Most readers (myself included) will tolerate sub-deity writing if the story is solid and we feel properly entertained. I'm not trying to solve world hunger with my prose, just get you to maybe smile a bit. Keeping it in that perspective can help shut the old inner-critic up. When faced with bouts of doubt, I try to ask myself: "will someone, somewhere enjoy this?" Will it make someone smile (or sniffle, whatever the case may be)? That seems to me to be a more realistic expectation, though I still want to shoot for the moon (that would be guffaws or wracking sobs, if we're using the International Reader Emotional Response Scale).

Anyway, the recurrent issue here is what I'll call a "writing freckle." You see, we writers can be a vain bunch. Sometimes, when we're checking ourselves out in the metaphorical mirror like we think we're supermodels (you know you do it), we're pleased with all that tanned skin we've worked hard to keep tight and smooth. Expensive lotions and our personal cookie-swatter hover nearby, pleased with their contributions to our perfect literary beach bod.

And then, we see it. IT. The freckle. The tiny blemish in an otherwise flawless countenance. Tiny to the cameras maybe, but to us it's HUGE. Omigod, get it off. Getitoff!

Yeah, I have writing freckles. Maybe "mole" is a better term. Freckles can be cute. Has anyone ever accused a mole of being cute? I don't know, but I digress.

There are certain scenes that I'm just not fond of... but I can't, for the life of me, think of a better way to do them. Perhaps a lot of it is relative inexperience. I mean, I'm still new to this whole professional writing thing. Maybe the Steven Kings of the world really do have flawless skin. To the contrary, though, I suspect that I just don't possess a camera with enough magnification to spot their freckles. I'm sure if I sat down with any master storyteller, they'd be able to point out their own blemishes in a New York minute.

Maybe I'm wrong, though, hence the reason for writing this. Am I the only one with these writing freckles? Generally, my alphas, betas, and editors don't point out these discolored parts, so they can't be glaring. They're just bothersome to me, and maybe only to me. It's hard to say. I mean, what if they're just studiously avoiding staring at my butt for propriety's sake (and what a butt, or that fat thing... depending on the day, right?). It'll be covered by my swimsuit anyway.

At the end of the day, I've decided that I should accept my writerly complexion and move on. Perhaps the freckles give me a unique visage; maybe they're not all bad. What is glaring to me may be endearing to a reader.  Also, when it comes to the point of either sharing with freckles, or not sharing at all (since I can't seem to eradicate all of the little guys), I'd rather share. What good is a beautiful hermit?
Read more

Friday, April 20, 2012

FFF: Boys Will Be Boys

Continuing for Nadja... 


Icy blue eyes flitted toward the webcam.

"Something unbeliefable happened."

A raised eyebrow was the only reply. Not that the German had expected more. Michael had been reticent of late. Perhaps he and Kiara were experiencing difficulties.

Matthias pushed at his nose. "I vas hafing a snack..." He paused as the other vampire's glare deepened. "And... I did not even haff to kill her!"

Michael rubbed two fingers along his brow.

"Do you think Mo vill appreciate it?"

Michael frowned. "I wouldn't tell her, if I were you."

Mattias grinned. "Ah, I see. Do not kiss und tell, ja?"
Read more

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#ROW80 - Mondo Week

It has been a productive and exciting week. Yep, every now and then you'll have those, right? This past one saw me release my second-ever work for public consumption. In one literary stroke, I've doubled my portfolio. Exciting, to be sure.

Now, it was only a novelette. I always feel like I have to qualify that. Perhaps I shouldn't, but one of my biggest fears of releasing a shorter work is that a reader will pick it up and be all: "WHAT?! I THOUGHT THIS WAS A FULL NOVEL! /RAGEQUIT READING FOREVER!" Okay, so that's very unlikely, but I'm sure I'm not the only author that is obsessive about making their readers happy. (This isn't to say I believe I can make everyone happy... just that the ones I can, I want to knock that out of the park.)

Still, The Only Sparkle is on sale, links here. We've sent out a Newsletter with an unlimited free code in it. If you missed out, sign up for our newsletter and then shoot us an email letting us know you'd like the code. I'm more than happy to give it out. Or just pick on someone that did get the code. We've tried to be encouraging as far as sharing goes. I want to give you guys the "hook ups!"

This isn't promo-post, though. This is #ROW80 check-in post. Thus, we need to check on the goals:
  • Lesson Learned - I wrote a bit about titles yesterday. In the past week, I learned that apparently I contributed to a naming trend with The Binder's Daughter. The good news is that I'm the only one talking about Binders; it's the daughter part that's been hot lately. As fellow ROWer Nadja pointed out in the comments, following a trend can be a bit of a double-edged sword. You'd like to be original, but snagging the occasional lucky search hit isn't a terrible consequence. Basically what I learned here is more a reaffirmation of my titling process. It treads firmly in the middle ground that I'd like to reside in.
  • WIP Progress - The goal was to get TOS up. Nailed it. 'Nuff said here. I've also nearly completely my latest round of editing for Fates' Motif. I plan to enter the final round in this next week and have it out by the end of this month. A two release month! When it rains, it pours.
  • Blogging - 4/3 here. The extra release posting helps pad things. 3/3 on the gaming blog, and I knocked out a personal post. Go me.
  • The Not Goal - So far, I hath resisted the siren's call of reading (apart from my usual steady diet of blogs and news and such). It's been good, as I've been getting to bed early while getting things done. The problem with loving reading is that, even when my nights are full, I'll stay up an extra hour to get in that chapter. Not always a good thing. Taking a reading break has helped me focus on these releases.
All in all, like I said, a pretty stellar week. I'm mondo-excited (because mondo is unappreciated this days) about people reading TOS. I had a blast writing it and am hoping it's as hilarious for everyone else as it was for me to cook up. It's really my first foray into a less serious side of fantasy, but I think it turned out wonderful.

We'll end with the traditional look at the word counts:
  • Since last check in: 3,841
  • New Fiction: 0 - Editing Mode
  • Round 2 Total: 7,554
Read more

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How I Choose My Titles

Unrelated announcement first: my novelette, The Only Sparkle, looks to be live on all my vendors. I've updated its page with the cover, description, and direct links to each purchasing location. You can find all that here. Now we just need to put together that newsletter with the free code. Promise it'll be out by Friday at the very latest.

On topic: the title for the novelette is pretty simple to explain. I went with a longer (TOS is only the short form since, well, it's shorter), funny title mean to capture the essence of the story. I like using a longer title for a shorter work, as there has been some precedent for this with magazine articles and it differentiates from novels.

The real topic, though, stemmed from this link. It's an article talking about a recent naming trend for novels. A trend I participated in without realizing it. Apparently, The ___'s Daughter is popular right now. I had no idea when I named my first novel.

I suppose I should describe my naming process. Generally, at some point while I'm writing, I settle on a title that I like. Sometimes I have it in mind to begin with, other times it comes as part of the on-going world building. In the case of a series, I often have ideas for the next several titles.

For instance, with the Spirit Binder's series, I tentatively would like to use The Binder's Husband and The Binder's Destiny as subsequent titles. They fit with the roughly planned themes. It's all subject to change (or expand) as the story dictates, but there was a method to the madness.

With the Symphony of Two Keys series (of which Fates' Motif is forthcoming), I have three other tittles planned. A symphony typically consists of four movements, hence four parts. Each title then, is planned to have a link to a more-or-less famous classical movement that fits the planned theme. A little more in depth, but with Google, not as hard as you might think.

Incidentally, Fates' Motif is a nod to Beethoven's Fifth. You know, the popular ba-ba-ba-baaahm. The urban legend is that the popular theme was meant to represent Fate knocking at the door (though this intention has not been proven, and, in fact, is viewed somewhat skeptically by experts). The legend runs parallel to my own theme, so it resonated with me if nothing else. The other titles have been similarly named.

So basically, I settle on a name, and then I Google it to see if it has any, well, bad associations. I would hate to name a book and find out later that it is the exact same name as a something completely unrelated. I definitely don't want to match another book, but in today's digital age, I think you even have to be wary of other products and services as well. You simple want a search to turn up your book, and nothing else crazy.

There weren't any other Binder's Daughters, but I didn't check for "insert term here" Daugther stories. My searching isn't that intense. It's interesting to be part of a trend you weren't aware of. I don't think this is a bad thing, though I'm somewhat miffed (/sarcasm) that my book wasn't mentioned in the article.
Read more

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Only Sparkle: Released!

Finally, after much consternation and a lot of life-hurdles, we've released something new around here. granted, it is only a novelette, but it doubles my sales portfolio. Every little bit helps, and I'm really excited about this story. I guess I try to reign myself in because it was shorter, and therefore not as much work. Thus, I had a lot of fun doing it. And fun can't possibly be work, right? So I tend to hedge a bit.

I'm hoping the story will make you laugh out loud. At minimum, I expect a courtesy smile. If you find it silly, that's sort of the point. Though, I'm particularly proud of the explanation for vampires in this one. I think it's pretty clever (biased much?). It probably wouldn't work in a large scope, but for a short it's perfect and fun to play with.

Here's the final description for the novelette:
Mark’s claim to fame is as the manager of the local movie rental store. Sally is his beautiful, blonde employee with a penchant for vampires. It’s business as usual until Mark finds a note taped to a return. A note that claims inside knowledge about a vampire being behind a pair of recent murders. A note that explains the vampire’s weakness. A note addressed to Sally.

Is the information credible? Do vampires even exist? Is Sally intrepid enough to catch one? Will Mark be able keep to her safe? And, regardless of all that, can either of them find a way to get the killer to put on pants?

+ + +

The Only Sparkle On a Vampire Should Be the Zipper is a 12,000 word novelette. That’s about five chapters for those of you keeping track at home. It is urban fantasy with a humorous twist. Written based on a dare, the challenge was to create an engaging story where a vampire’s power revolves around wearing pants. Silly? You betcha! The Only Sparkle promises a short, fun read with an interesting hook.
It is already up on Smashwords, and should pop up on Amazon and B&N shortly (gotta work through the system). It's priced at $0.99, which is probably a steal. Even so, we're planning to offer a code so that you can get it for FREE through our newsletter. Just sign up (up there on the left of my sidebar, "Just the Important Stuff"), and we'll send it out with our "official" announcement in the next few days. The code will be good for unlimited downloads and active for a year. Feel encouraged to share it with friends. Especially "iffy" friends that may not be all that into reading. Who can turn away a free story, am I right?!

I hope to make a habit of putting up a shorter work right before releasing a larger novel. It has served as a good warm-up for us for Fates' Motif, reminding us of all the little self-pubbing intricacies that we may have forgotten since our last release. Plus, it was refreshing for me to write while I was waiting on edits. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
Read more

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cover Preview: The Only Sparkle

We fast-tracked my novelette, The Only Sparkle, so that we could get it out before Fates' Motif. Shorter works are easier to edit and prepare, so it just made sense. I'm still hacking away at FM, but TOS made quick work of TOS. My wife also cooked up a cover, and I wanted to share it today. I think she nailed it.
We're still shooting to get this story out by the end of this week, perhaps early next week. What do you think?
Read more

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#ROW80 - Eggciting Week

My use of egg-puns is eggregious, I know. It's been a crazy week point five. (The point five coming from the brevity of last week's check-in. I'm lumping those first few days in with this check-in for counting purposes.) I think I'm off to a good start. Or rather, I feel like I'm getting back on track. I find it a lot harder to feel like I'm progressing when I'm not actually writing on a project. Alas, editing is a vital part of the writing journey, so I cannot afford to give it short shrift. Instead, I find myself wallowing in the the red ink.

The strange but pleasant situation I find myself in is that, because of the insanity of the first few months of this year, I'm but a stones throw away from not one, but two new releases. I've blabbered on about it for months here now, so I apologize for the broken record. I'm excited to triple my public offerings, though. I'm proud of the stories. I hope you all will find them enjoyable.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let's pay some mind to the goals:
  • Lesson Learned - Writing a short story of some sort while the last full length work is out with editors is a great idea. They end up stacking up at the end, but that actually makes the finishing touches a bit easier to do. You get out of the habit of formatting and copy-editing, so you there's always a little bit of re-learning each time you hit this road sign. Pushing two projects through (one a little shorter), provides for a sort of "warm-up" and then "main event." It's actually been nice.
  • WIP Progress - The Only Sparkle has been fully edited. It got a lighter touch, as it's a little more informal and silly than my usual novels. Still, I think the voice is consistent with what you might expect from me, and it makes for a good little read. All that's left now are the finishing touches. We're hoping to have it up by the end of the week, or early next week. *Cheer*
  • Blogging - I've been scrapping to try to keep up with this. After all, when in editing mode, blogging is the only writing practice I get. I've only made two posts on the gaming blog (gaming is sort of the first thing to go when life gets busy, and when I don't play, it makes it a lot harder to write about playing). This will make 3/3 on here, however (five if you include the half week), so I've not been completely fail. I need to do a personal post still, as well.
  • A Not Goal - I'm adding one, but it's like an anti-goal. That is, I've been reading way too much. Sounds odd, I know, but I've been sucked into the world of The Dresden Files. Great, great, great stories. I originally started them as first person viewpoint research, and I've just been scorching through them. Unfortunately, I need sleep, and I need to get things done. As any avid reader can attest, good books run directly contrary to those goals. So, my "Not Goal" is to pause in the midst of Jim Butcher's wonderful writing in order to get my own stuff out. Once I've nailed my releases, then we can get back to reading.
So yeah. Lot going on. I'm debating about pricing again, too. With the whole newsletter thing, I'm starting to feel the itch to raise prices again. The big thing I didn't want to do was penalize recurring readers. Rather, I wanted to reward those of you that have supported me, and keep the bar of entry to support low. The newsletter will let me throw codes out a lot more easily, so I can keep giving readers low prices. Then, with multiple titles out, I could play around with higher prices and sales and such and (hopefully) not annoy anyone.

Anyway, we'll see about that when I actually get these projects finished. Until then, we'll glance at the word count:
  • Since last check in: 3,713
  • New Fiction: 0 - Editing Mode
  • Round 2 Total: 3,713
Read more

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Belated Easter

I know, I'm like two days overdue here. I've been busy, promise. If you've signed up for our newsletter, you already know this. We sent out our first letter on Sunday! There weren't any special offers in it or exciting news; it was more of a test run with a bit of holiday fun. My wife is going to be enjoying herself with the newsletters. She is rather fond of silly photos. In this case, she started with a picture of our rabbit and made it, well, eggcellent.

The grass almost looks good enough to eat.
She'll probably send out more bun-themed artwork in the future, but we also will hopefully have some releases to announce in the near future. I'm planning to offer a "free" code for my short story when we get it done. My edits are in. We just need to clean up the formatting and create a cover. We're hoping to have it out by the end of the week. Then, the fantasy novel should follow shortly.

I'm sure I'll make posts on here, so if email is not your thing, feel free to ignore the newsletter. Really, I just was getting a lot of folks telling me "send me an email when you get it done," and it quickly became apparent that I would not be able to remember all those emails. I honestly started a hand-written list, and then decided to, you know, embrace technology. I mean, there's an app for that, right?

Anyway, the newsletter will be our way of saying happy holidays to our readers, thank you all for your support, and pass along some exclusive deals. Also, you get to see our giant rabbit who, incidentally, is the final judge on any and all products we produce. In that picture, you can see he is judging Easter as... adequate. (We didn't tell him we were photoshopping the eggs in.)

So thanks for reading. New stuff soon. Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Also, feel free to email us back with any newsletter suggestions or problems. Contact info is on the About the Author page.
Read more

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Louder Than 10 Questions

I was tagged. Apparently, this meme is called "11 Questions." The rules are pretty simple:

1. You must post the rules.
1.5 You don't talk about fight club.
2. Answer the questions on your blog. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Okay, I added 1.5. Also, I will probably ignore everything after that except for the answering part. I know it makes me sound like a sour puss, but I'm just generally too lazy to tag people. I adopt more of the "if you'd like to do it, consider yourself tagged" approach. This isn't to say I dislike being tagged. Nay, I find these meme-tastic prompts quite refreshing on occasion. Still, there do tend to be a preponderance of them; I feel like I should add a Bob Barker-ish: Remember to always spay and neuter your memes. Fortunately, I've not done one like this in a while, so it was good timing.

Anyway, here we go:
  • More like mom or dad? Is this good or bad? (Be Honest!!) 
    • According to my mother... all of my good qualities came from her. All of my stubbornness is firmly blamed on my father.
  • You have unlimited funds and architects are designing a new home for you. You have total say in one room of the house. It will be exactly as you dream it. Describe your dream room. 
    • Easy... old-timey library. Walls of leather-bound books. Comfy leather recliner. A side table with a snifter of whiskey sweating onto a stone coaster. Perhaps a pipe. 
  • City or country? What’s the draw? 
    • Suburbia? I like being near the city, but not "in" it. 
  • What is your favorite time of year? 
    • Summer. The transition seasons wreak havoc on my allergies and winter is just plain cold.
  • You have won a two week vacation for two to any place in the world. Everything is paid, travel expenses, hotel and you have an open ended line of credit that will be paid by your benefactor. Where do you go, see, do? 
    • Europe, to see ALL THE THINGS. I've never hopped the pond, and that saddens me. We're eyeing a European river cruise for when said benefactor shows up.
  • Your hero is coming to dinner. What’s on the menu? 
    • Ice cream. Everything's better with ice cream.
  • What works best to shake off your blues? A good book? A favorite movie? Visiting with friends? Comfort food? Shopping therapy? 
    • Book, of course. I'm an escapist.
  • What is your favorite board game? 
    • Risk. I have a world-domination complex. (In the writing arena, we call it a "world building" complex. Much better, no?)
  • The best lesson you learned from your grandparents? 
    • If you're going through hell, the best thing to do is keep going. 
  • What is your biggest pet peeve? 
    • In writing - homophones. Especially when I screw them up. In life - wasting time. I have an overdeveloped sense of the brevity of existence.
  • What are the best qualities in your best friend?
    • She said "of course" when I asked from a knee. So, you know, acquiescence under extreme duress.
Okay, I lied. I'm going to tag two people. I frequently lurk around their sites and they've passed me blog awards before. (Which means you've inadvertently gotten a lifetime subscription to random stuff I want to link you on. Congrats.) Plus, I've not seen them linked yet, though maybe I'm just a poor reader. They can use the same questions, or substitute their own (yes, I'm being lazy).

Nadja and Elizabeth, if you read this, then you're tagged. Otherwise, you may be excused. Go to your room and finish your homework. No dessert. 

No desert, either. Her Sandy Baron just doesn't have the same ring. Does it?
Read more

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#ROW80 - A Short Throw

There's a party going on. I was invited, but I'm stuck at work. It's a throwback party. I'm not sure I have a whole lot to throwback to. The only things I was kicking "back in the day" (which was a Tuesday, by the way) were uterine walls. I'll pause a moment for that to settle in. (Yeah, I went there.)

Since I was born in the 80's, I suppose I take a certain amount of pride in the decade. Not that I have any meaningful recollections of the "good old days." (Incidentally, my first memory is falling out of a pine tree. I think I was like six. What's yours?)

Fortunately, there is the Internet. A quick search turns up this gem. I never owned any of that, except... yes! Fingerless gloves! Got a pair of those. Grew my hair out, threw on a black leather jacket, and some tight jeans with holes in them. Strapped on the Strat. Went as a rock star for Halloween once. I'm sure a picture exists somewhere, but I don't have it handy. I like to think it looks a lot like this:

But, you know, I wasn't performing. (And I'm no John Rzeznik).

The Dolls were more 90's and age-appropriate for me. I originally went looking for Bon Jovi pictures from back before he decided he was "country." You know what I'm talking about. The Dolls opening for Bon Jovi was my first concert ever. Pretty awesome if you ask me. I harbor a deep-seated love for classic rock (AC/DC on the earbuds right now. Just another selection from my "Journey" channel on Pandora.)

I suppose I should give my goals some thought. This is a check-in after all:

  • Lesson Learned - I'm not a rock star (yet).
  • WIP Progress - There's been some editing. My short story edits are in the mail. I'm in good shape. I'll be more specific once I've had a full week.
  • Blogging - See above specificity clause. I did knock out a pair of post early this week. Good times.
That's about all the time I have. Need to get back to work. The vultures are hovering.

My requests to the DJ - Give me Livin' on a Prayer for the 80's and Iris for the 90's.
Read more

Monday, April 2, 2012

#ROW80 - Round 2 Goals

I think I'm a day behind. Today is the official start day, but I think people started putting up the goals yesterday. Whatever. I'm here. (Great start to the round already. /sarcasm).

Seriously, where did March go? I dealt with a lot last round, and while this looks better, it doesn't promise to be hurdle-free. Then again, what randomly selected bunch of 80 days is ever going to be hurdle-free? Life issues are no excuse to not make goals. Simply tailor the goals to what you think you can swing. Thus, the beauty of ROW80.

Mine aren't going to be all that different from the usual. Here's the list:
  • Lesson Learned - The foundation of all my goals... to keep learning. I believe strongly that no venture is truly "failed" so long as you learn from it. The number one focus on this writing adventure is to learn and improve.
  • WIP Progress Reports - This goal fluctuates based on what point of my writing process I'm in. Currently it looks like we're in editing-ville. This means I'm going to shoot for two chapters per day for five days a week (10 chapters a week... yay math!). 
  • Blogging - I want to continue to hit three posts per week here and three on my gaming blog. I will also commit to one post per month on my personal blog.
This is all standard fare, and what I typically will report on every Wednesday. Which brings me to the reporting goal. I'm a Wednesday to Wednesday kind of guy. That means you probably won't see updates from me on Sundays. Such is my journey.

I also do try to be social and supportive (a big part of this ROW group!). I don't set a tangible goal for this, because it simply varies too much week to week. Typically, what I've been doing is this. I stop by certain folks that I've developed a rapport with for sure each week. I may not always comment, but I lurk. Then, I will also click on the two people that checked-in immediately before and after me on the linky. This helps me to try and find new folks. Again, I may not always comment, but I'm certainly adding to traffic numbers (if you're watching), and I try to skim at the very least. I don't always have something to say, but when I do, rest assured I'll say it. It will probably be silly. My goal is to make you smile and feel encouraged.

Speaking of encouragement, I love the recent article from Lee Child over at The Big Thrill. I agree wholeheartedly with his attitudes on writing and sharing and such. A good read to kick off this round, me'thinks. In particularly, this:
Child closed by saying that our “takeaway” should be this:  “It’s a long game. It will look bad on plenty of days, but hang in there, keep showing up and see where you are in 10 years.”  Given his inspirational story of turning a potential life-shattering event into a chance to reinvent himself and live a writer’s dream, that’s advice worth following — for writers and everyone else.
Anyway, after some writerly discussion (such as the above), I like to end with word counts. Not that any of my goals are word count dependent, they just tend to be the litmus test for a lot of other challenges. My point in sharing them is as proof that this sort of mini-goal setting, one-size-fits-you challenge can also work. The words get written to the same tune (and maybe more) than other challenges. To end this post, I'll list my final counts from previous rounds:
  • Round 1 2012 Total: 47,287
  • Round 4 2011 Total: 61,097
  • Round 3 2011 Total: 69,375
  • ROW80 Words Written: 177,759 in 240 days, for a 740 words/day average.

Read more