Monday, March 31, 2008

Stormy weather

      A summer squall blew through my town this afternoon. We had torrential rain and a lot of hail from pea size to quarter size. Here's a photo of the storm as it went away. I tried to take some photos of the hail, but none of them turned out.

      I got my test results today. They were all good. Amazingly good. Well, amazingly good for a diabetic. So I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and try to do more. I need to exercise. Somehow I have to fit that in.
      I still don't have the prescription for the new diabetic drug. I'm hoping the doctor will call it in tomorrow. I'm a little worried about the side effects, but it will be less expensive and all the drugs seem to have side effects.
      Anyway, I'm going to call it a night. Hope things are going well for you. Night!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Three days

      A good day at work, although very busy for a couple of hours. In the evening, my roomie and I went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. Then I came home and slept all evening and all night. I hadn't realized I was that tired, but I was.
      I went grocery shopping, to the library, and to the gas station. After that, I came home and cleaned, filed, wrote, and then cleaned, filed, and wrote some more. That was my Saturday. I did buy a blackberry tea from a local drive-in. It was totally nasty.
      I slept too late to go to church so I watched the Easter service on the Net because I wanted to hear the music again, and then I watched the service on TV. I spent the afternoon at cleaning, filing, and writing. Are you getting a theme to my life lately?
      And that's all I have to tell you. I hope you had a good weekend. I hope you have a good week. Night!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Doctor day

      Everything went okay with the doctors. It was unpleasant at times -- I think doctors specialize in that -- but obviously I survived. I should get the results of the tests next week. I'm hoping we change my diabetes meds to a cheaper one. The present one is really straining budget to its limits.
      I basically spent whole day doing medical things so I don't really have much to report. I was able to get some writing done in the various waiting rooms, but not as much as I thought I might. It's hard to write at the doctor's. Lots of noise, people moving around, and then just being nervous at being there. I'm glad I'm done for a few more months.
      But in the productive column, I can add that I finished the March family newsletter. It's printing right now. I probably won't get it all printed tonight, but most of it will be. Then I can finish it tomorrow night and mail it Saturday. I'll be caught up for a couple days, and then it will be time to do the April issue.
      In distressing news, a friend of mine discovered an error in Murder by Dewey Decimal. Nothing totally major since no one had mentioned it before, but it sure enough is an error. Can't be corrected in the paperback version, but I can correct it in the hardcover version and will. If you have any errors that you noticed in the paperback version, let me know as soon as you can. I think when Murder by the Acre is published, I will put the hardcover version of MBDD out there, too, so I won't able to make any changes after that.
      And now I think I'm going to call it a night. I hope things are going well for you. Night!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nothing. No, really nothing.

      You probably thought I wasn't going to post today, but I am. Once again, I confound your expectations. Aren't you impressed? Well, probably not. Particularly when you realize that I have nothing to say.
      Yes, nothing.
      Move along.
      All I've done today is go to work and then come home and write on Murder by the Acre.
      So there's nothing to tell you.
      No, seriously.
      Well, I could make something up.
      Something exciting and filled with mystery and sex and explosions and beaches with white sand and ice cold drinks. Wouldn't that be nice?
      It would, wouldn't it?
      Maybe next time. I have some things to do before I go to bed.
      Hope your day went well. Night!

Monday, March 24, 2008

What I've been doin'

      What oh what has Tech been up to these past few days? You're probably asking that. Well, probably you're watching reality TV, but if you were reading my blog, that's what you'd ask. And why I have this fixation on Pamela Anderson when it's obvious we have no future.
      I've been being halfway productive. In the halfway productive section, I threw some more words at Murder by the Acre, did housework, ran errands, had my federal taxes done, worked on the February family newsletter, and a few other odds and ends. In the other non-productive section, I watched mindless TV (How many bad horror movies will Sci-Fi channel make?) and napped (Sleep, sweet blessed slumber) along with a bit of Net surfing.
      I think my recent passion of Sudoku falls in the non-productive area. Have I mentioned that I've been working/doing/solving Sudoku puzzles lately? I can't say I'm particularly good at it -- I'm still on 1-Star puzzles -- but I enjoy it. (1-Star puzzles are the easiest in the Sudoku book I have. It goes up to 5-Star puzzles, which require time on a supercomputer and a team of Vulcan physicists.)
      In the productive half, I'm glad to get the February family newsletter finished. I've got a good start on March and hope to have it done by the end of this week. Then I will do the April issue and be caught up.
      Thursday morning, I have to go to the doctor for some tests. Nothing too exciting. Just my regular diabetes checkup. They'll take plenty of bloods and subject me to as much pain as possible. Whee. I am NOT looking forward to it at all.
      Work today was busy, but not bad. I don't mind being busy. I don't enjoy angry customers, but I didn't have any of those today. A good day overall.
      I hope you had a good day and have a great night and tomorrow. Night!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Jelly beans & things

      Have I mentioned I love jelly beans? I can eat them until I'm sick, and I still want to pop one more in my mouth. My favorite flavors this year are green apple, popcorn and grape. My least favorite is coconut. I like coconut, but the jelly bean coconut flavor is a bit bitter. It lingers in your mouth longer than it should. A girlfriend of mine long ago gave me a huge glass bowl filled with jelly beans as a gift once. I should have held on to her, but with my amazing talent in ruining relationships, I let jealousy run rampant and ran her off. She's happily married with two children now. At least I still enjoy jelly beans.
      Been a weird day. Lack of sleep kept me groggy all day. Last night I woke up at 3:30 a.m. experiencing an episode of diabetes neuropathy (nerve pain). It's rare for that to happen to me. It was concentrated in my feet. Very unpleasant. I took some Advil and walked around a bit and rubbed my feet with a warm washcloth. Eventually I was able to go back to bed around 5 a.m. Not much sleep. I was off this afternoon and had plenty to do, but after running errands and doing a bit of housework, I napped. I needed the sleep, but I need to be writing, too. Not enough hours in the day for all I need to do. Bet that sounds familiar to you. We all need more time.
      I changed the cover for Murder by the Acre a bit. The new one is below. I added the crossed shotguns. I thought it filled the cover better. What do you think?

      Other than working on the cover, I wasn't very productive today. I hope you were. Have a good night! Talk to you tomorrow. Here's a bit of music to end the night on.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008

Science Fiction Writer Arthur C. Clarke Dies at Age of 90
By Staff

Science fiction writer, inventor and futurist Arthur C. Clarke has died, leaving fans bereft at the loss of his brilliance and creativity.

Clarke died early Wednesday after suffering from breathing problems, the Associated Press reported. He was 90 years old. He suffered from post-polio syndrome and was confined to a wheelchair toward the end of his life.

Clarke wrote more than 100 sci-fi books, including "2001: A Space Odyssey." He is credited with coming up with the idea for the communications satellite and predicting space travel before rockets were even test fired.

Early Life

Clarke was born to a family of farmers in Minehead, a town in Somerset, England.

He fed an early interest in science fiction with Amazing Stories (the world's first science-fiction magazine; it fell out of publication in 2005).

In the 1930s, he joined the British Interplanetary Society, which he chaired for two terms, and was active in SF fandom, where his self-promotional efforts earned him the nickname "Ego."

During World War 2, he trained users of the Ground Operated Approach Radar, the military ancestor to today's air traffic control systems, then completed a college degree (with honors) in physics and mathematics at King's College, London.

The road of gold

Since 1956, Clarke resided in Sri Lanka as the island nation's sole honorary citizen, engaging in underwater exploration and participating in the management of a diving tour company, Underwater Safaris. However, he was most familiar to global audiences as a futurist and advocate of technology and interplanetary exploration.

With Walter Cronkite, who would become a lifelong friend, he co-anchored CBS television coverage of the launches of Apollo 11, 12 and 15. Continuing his career in television, Clarke hosted such investigative programs as "Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World", "World of Strange Powers" and "Mysterious Universe".

Among his many honors, Clarke was one of only 17 writers ever named a Science Fiction Grand Master. In addition, he received the UNESCO Kalinga Award for advancing interest in science, as well as nominations for both an Academy Award nomination, for 2001 (shared with Stanley Kubrick), and a Nobel Peace Prize, for laying the conceptual groundwork for the creation of orbital communications satellites.

He served as a fellow at alma mater King's College.

He received both the Order of the British Empire (promoted to Commander of the British Empire in 1998) and the Vidya Jyothi, the highest honor bestowed by the Sri Lankan government.

He was most likely the only person to both appear on two Sri Lankan stamps -- commemorating the 50th anniversary of telecommunications in that country -- and to have an asteroid named in his honor.

On a more personal level, luminaries ranging from Carl Sagan, Alexei Leonov and Willy Ley to Wernher von Braun, Rupert Murdoch and Isaac Asimov called Clarke friend.

Service to science

With such an impressive resume, it would be easy to forget that Clarke's greatest significance was as one of the 20th century's great popularizers of scientific thought, especially through the medium of science fiction.

Combining a genuine optimism for humanity's future with visionary insight and an almost equally uncanny ability to explain difficult points of science, Clarke's body of genre work was likely one of the most significant in the 20th century.

As a futurist, he enjoyed such a level of success that he attributed the failure of humanity to build lunar colonies or send piloted missions to Jupiter to shortcomings on our part, not his.

Happily, many of his other significant predictions came true, although the prophecy may have worked at least partially to fulfill itself. In Rendezvous with Rama (1973), he created "Project Spaceguard," an organization dedicated to tracking asteroids likely to intersect with the Earth. When the real world caught up with him in 1996, its founders named it "Spaceguard" in homage.

Meanwhile, his science advocacy continued through such organizations as The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, which promotes the ideas and concerns of his life and work (especially space exploration, future studies and ocean conservation), the Arthur C. Clarke Institute For Modern Technologies at University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, given annually to outstanding British science fiction novels.

The Three Laws

Writer and critic George Zebrowski, a good friend of Clarke and a recognized expert on his work, once stated that Clarke's Three Laws are central to appreciating the man's work.

Not only are these aphorisms fundamental elements of Clarke's literary legacy, but some would argue that they comprise a valuable contribution to 20th-Century popular thought. They are:

1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. Corollary: When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2) The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to venture beyond them into the impossible.

3) Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The Third Law is widely quoted and appears in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

The global village

Clarke so relentlessly promoted the exploration of space, while celebrating cultural and geographic differences here on Earth, that he was called "our solar system's first regionalist."

Thanks to his deep love for his adopted Sri Lanka and its people, Clarke became a true citizen of the global village he helped to create. The international popularity of his work transcended political boundaries, allowing him to bridge the chasm between the U.S. space program, the Russians and his native United Kingdom throughout the Cold War era. How many men of the 20th century could count both Alexei Leonov and Walter Cronkite as friends?

Clarke's outspoken criticism of individual countries' tendency to nationalize the exploration of space showed that he still felt that the leap to other worlds was far too important -- if not too vast -- an undertaking to be constrained by concepts so transient as "nation-states."

He often seemed disappointed with us, but his fiction showed that he never wavered in his belief that the future would be a time of wonders, and that humanity, given time and common sense, would inevitably transcend the limits of gravity.


In 2007, Clarke celebrated his 90th birthday.

"Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered," Clarke said at the celebration. "I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer."

He listed three wishes on his birthday: for the world to embrace cleaner energy resources, for a lasting peace in his adopted home, Sri Lanka, and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings.

"I have always believed that we are not alone in this universe," Clarke said.

Humans are waiting until extraterrestrial beings "call us or give us a sign," he said. "We have no way of guessing when this might happen. I hope sooner rather than later."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Clumsy Monday

      Today I slipped off my diet and bought a cheeseburger and a full order of fries. As I was handing the money to the lady at the drive-in window, I dropped the bag and spilled all the fries into the floorboard. I was able to save the burger, though, so I still fell off my diet despite my clumsiness.
      When I got home, I picked up my floor mat and dumped the fries in the trash. Grease and bits of potato were still on the mat so I washed it off. My car smelled like French fries, so I found an air freshener and hung it up in my car, hoping that would disguise the odor. But it didn't. Instead, the air hangs heavy with the delicate scent of perfume and French fries. My car smells like a lady of the evening who works out of McDonalds. I drove to work with all my windows open.
      And that's about how my day went. I was always behind a beat or ahead a beat, but off nonetheless. Fortunately the day ended without me burning down the office or breaking a leg or anything other disaster. And this evening, I added another thousand words to Murder by the Acre. So the day ended well.
      How was your day? Anything exciting going on in your world? I'm sure enjoying the warmer weather and the sunlight. I'm also enjoying the John Adams mini-series on HBO. Worth watching.
      And now I'm going to call it a night. Take care.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Halfway & speeding to the end

      A couple of people asked me why the halfway mark on Murder by the Acre was so significant to me, besides the obvious.
      Yeah, it was big deal to me. I finally felt that I would actually complete the book. Yes, I know I've talked about nothing other than writing the thing, but I had my doubts. Having to lose nearly 40,000 words made me sick. I honestly felt dizzy for a couple of days after I made that decision. Of course, the new rewritten material was much better than the old discarded material, but still I had doubts that the story would finally come together. Then I was truly sick most of January with the flu and lost days and days of writing time.
      But when I reached the halfway point, I could see the story to the end. I knew where it was going and (mostly) how we were going to get there. The characters and the story stepped up and began to fill my mind with new scenes with sharper dialogue and clearer action. So it was big deal when I crossed the halfway point on Friday.
      I gave myself Saturday off. No writing, no computing. Chores, errands, and getting out in the glorious sunshine filled my day. As I walked around my neighborhood or drove to Staples, my mind worked out new scenes. I found myself speaking lines of dialogue at the stoplight and acting out scenes while washing the dishes. Ryton was reaching out to me all the way to the real world.
      Anyway, it was a very good feeling. And I appreciate that I had my readers and friends on this blog to share it with. I confess that I miss getting to talk and share with other writers. Other than Jean, most other writers -- including my professional friends -- don't have much to say to me about my self-publishing efforts. They disapprove, of course. And the fact I'm making money off the first one and going to publish a second book seems to only increase their disdain.
      To paraphrase one of them: By devoting my time to self-publishing, I am stealing time from writing a book that a "real" publisher might buy. I tried to explain that 1) I haven't given up on traditional publishing and have two books (Darkness, Oklahoma and Dragons Gather) that will be finished and sent off to agents and publishers; 2) my self-publishing is making me money now, and now is when I need it; and 3) after all these long years of submitting and getting close and watching lesser writers make it because of luck and connections, I'm finally getting validation of my writing by readers. Murder by Dewey Decimal continues to sell online even though I have mostly stopped my publicity for it. It's received decent unsolicited reviews and sold to people as far away as Germany. No, it's not supporting me, and I've yet to make the money that most authors receive from their advances from traditional publishers, but I'm not complaining. Money is money, and the MBDD checks have helped pay for my diabetes medicine for several months.
      Even if it hadn't made money -- and thank the Good Lord, it has -- I learned a lot about publicity and what works and what doesn't. And the thrill of holding the book in my hands ranks right up there in my list of great moments.
      In June, there will be a second book in the series. Bernard's and Lisa's story will continue in Murder by the Acre. With this book, they've grown funnier and smarter, more like people I'd want to hang out with. Ryton itself wants its story -- its conflicts and successes, its quirky people with all their faults, feuds, and follies -- told. And I'm going to tell those stories for a while.
      Anyway, that's where I'm at now. Hope things are going well for you. Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, March 14, 2008


34,270 words

on Murder by the Acre.
Halfway to 68,500.
I am excited, pleased, and proud.
It's all downhill from here.
Sometime in June, folks,
there's going to be a book.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Life as it is

"I have lived nearly fifty years, and I have seen life as it is. Pain, misery, hunger ... cruelty beyond belief. I have heard the singing from taverns and the moans from bundles of filth on the streets. I have been a soldier and seen my comrades fall in battle ... or die more slowly under the lash in Africa. I have held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no gallant last words ... only their eyes filled with confusion, whimpering the question, 'Why?' I do not think they asked why they were dying, but why they had lived. When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams -- this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness, And maddest of all, to see life as it is, and not as it should be!"

From the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One post with paragraphs & photo

      One should post on one's blog occasionally if only to keep other ones' interested in one's blog, mustn't one? One must. And two should, too. But let's don't talk about three.
      I've been writing. Not always on Murder by the Acre, sorry to say, but writing nonetheless. And MBTA is getting words, too. It's just that Darkness, Oklahoma and Grave Tidings are giving me snippets of scenes so I've been jotting them down. I'm not developing those scenes yet because I have to keep focused on MBTA -- June's not that far away -- but I don't want to lose those scenes, either.
      Hey, another photo. The sky was wonderful today. So blue. But what we're looking at in this photo is the leaf buds on the tree. Spring is coming. The trees know it. I'm ready.

      Sunday I went to church, wrote, did housework, and napped. Monday was a terrible day at work. One of the worse ones I've ever had. Today was better. Of course, after yesterday, it would have had to work really hard to be worst. I try to use bad days to work to motivate me to write more and do more since I believe my writing is one way to eventually escape, but it's hard because I get so emotionally beat down that when I come home, I want to eat dinner and go to bed. Gotta try to do better than that.
      It's late now so I'm going to close. I hope things are going well for you. Night!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday sky & MBTA excerpt

      Look at that blue sky. Isn't it incredible?

      Notice the red bird in this photo? I wish I had a camera with a telephoto lens.

      Not much to tell you about my Saturday. I spent it in housework, writing, errands, and so on. I'm about to start my diet AGAIN. I've got to lose this weight, that's all there is to it. More on that as I make my decisions about how to approach that.
      So I guess I'll close. Here's an excerpt from Murder by the Acre. In it, the wife of one of the victims confronts her husband's mistress. It was a surprise to both the characters and me.

      Excerpt from Chapter Four of Murder by the Acre. This is in raw form and hasn't been edited and might not appear in the book. Copyright 2008. No copying in any form permitted.

       "How can you parade yourself in public like this?" Melissa Nelson said, her voice low and angry as she approached their table. Gill Armstrong hurried behind her. "My husband is dead, and it's your fault!"
      Janice stared at Melissa in horror.
      "I'm so sorry," she said.
      "Melissa, don't do this," Gill Armstrong said, trying to take her arm. She shook him off.
      "Danny and I had our problems," Melissa said. "But he was still the father of our son. And he deserved better, you slut!"
      "I didn't kill --"
      "Even if you didn't, he wouldn't have been out there if he hadn't been meeting you!" Melissa's voice rose.
      The waiters and the other restaurant patrons were staring at the scene. Lisa looked at Bernard who looked as shocked as she was.
      "And don't think you're going to get any of his money!" Melissa said. "Everything he has belongs to my son now, and don't you ever try to get any of it!"
      Bernard rose. Gill Armstrong glanced at him.
      "Mrs. Nelson, this isn't good," Bernard said. "Why don't you go back to your table? We're about to leave."
      Melissa ignored him. "So just get yourself a lawyer. See what good it'll do you!"
      "Janice doesn't want any money," Lisa spoke up. "She had already broke it off with your husband."
      The older woman glared at Lisa. "Really? That whore was supposed to meet him at that house. Gill heard him talking to her."
      "Janice?" Lisa looked at Janice who didn't meet her eyes.
      "She also called my lawyer and told him that Danny had promised to leave me and that Danny was paying her rent on her office," Melissa said. "She said they had an 'oral' contract. She threatened to sue the estate." She turned to Janice. "Let me tell you this: I'll kill you before you get a red cent! Do you hear me? I'll kill you!"

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. No copying of any form without express written permission.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Gary Gygax 1938 - 2008

MILWAUKEE - Gary Gygax, who co-created the game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday, March 4, at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson developed the fantasy role-playing game in 1974. It became one of the best-selling games ever and influenced video games, books and movies.

Gygax's wife said he always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans about how Dungeons & Dragons influenced their lives. Many would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, which is about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, she said.

"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters for themselves and describe their adventures with the help of complicated rules and unusually shaped dice.

The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that are still growing in popularity.

Gygax had been in declining health for several years but as recently as January he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons at their home, Gail Gygax said.

In addition to his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The last two

      I finished the last of my library books last night. Time to go back and reload. And today is my library's used book sale. I usually find some goodies there.
      Pontoon by Garrison Keillor was excellent, although I have noticed that his writing gets sadder and darker each book. But it's still lyrical and wise with just the right amount of physical comedy.
      I don't what to say about The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. It's a dark, horrific fantasy that reads like a fable for adults or maybe the Brothers Grimm before they were cleaned up. It's the story about a young boy whose mother passes away. Soon the books in his room are whispering to him, and he is having "fits" where he falls unconscious and sees glimpses of another world. Lured by the voice of his dead mother, he enters that world that is more nightmare than fantasy.
      It's definitely not a children's book even though our hero is a child. You meet a Snow White who is so horrible that the Seven Dwarfs try to poison her; a noble, tragic, gay knight who meets a terrible death on his quest to find his missing lover; wolf-men who like the taste of human flesh and intend to rule the world; insect-like Beasts who like the taste of any flesh; trees that weep blood and flowers that scream; a beautiful huntress in the woods who likes to make children into half-animal/half-human blends and then hunt them, kill them, and mount their heads on her walls; a villain who preys upon the weak with relish and has a terrible fate planned for your young hero; and so on.
      But the book also has moments of true heroism and courage. Our hero learns terrible and beautiful lessons about the pain and glory of life. It ends well, although it's not a happily ever after ending, but how life goes on even after world changing events. I do recommend it.
      And now I'll close. I still have writing of my own to do. Night!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


      I am incredibly grumpy tonight. Tired of cold weather, my job, my life, the world. The usual list of whines and complaints. I'm tired of them, too.
      By the way, if I have to read one more essay, blog, article comparing Obama to Lincoln, I'm going to go ballistic. He isn't Lincoln. Clinton isn't Lincoln, either. Lincoln was the only Lincoln. Deal with it.
      I need a massage. Or time in a hot tub. Both. And time to not think. To disappear into Ryton without the real world intruding. Maybe to just disappear.
      Another aside, I'm tired to the point of violence of pseudo-intellectuals attempting to impress me with their knowledge of obscure Biblical facts or historical trivia or academic minutiae. If I'm eating lunch alone, it might be because I can't stand hearing about your dissertation one more freaking time. A dissertation that is so boring and dry that it could break the will of political prisoners.
      As I read this over, I realize it’s too grumpy. So I’m going to close and not subject you to any more of my bile. Have a good day tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Reading & writing

      Besides writing, I've done a lot of reading these past couple of weeks. I've read: Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde; Black Wind by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler; Tumbling Blocks by Earlene Fowler; The Sea of Trolls and The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer; The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs; Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda; and How I Got Published edited by Ray White and Duane Lindsey. I have started Pontoon by Garrison Keillor and should finish it tonight or tomorrow. Then I'm going to read The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. All of these books are from my local library.
      I know it might seem strange to be reading so many books while writing as much as I am, but I find that I thirst for reading when I'm writing intensively. I can hardly bear to watch TV when I'm writing. Don't know why. I do, for the most part, avoid the genre I'm writing in. There's only one mystery in that group, and I was already familiar with Earlene Fowler's books and knew that I wouldn't pick up any of her style by reading it.
      Classics for Pleasure made me jealous of Michael Dirda -- he apparently has plenty of time to read hundreds of classics. I'd like that life. The book is a collection of essays in which he discusses many lesser known authors and writings that he thinks everyone should read. I added several of his suggestions to my future reading list.
      I also enjoyed both books by Nancy Farmer. She's a multiple Newbery Honor recipient and deservedly so. A good reading list would be all the Newbery Honor and Newbery Award books over the years. You will find many books that, even though they were written for children, hold wit and wisdom to astonish and delight any reader irregardless of age.
      I don't what to think about the Thursday Next book. This is the fifth book in the series, and I mostly enjoyed it. Enough that I'm going seek out the first four and read them in order. I think I might have enjoyed it more if I had done so.
      How I Got Published was full of inspiration and short of advice, other than to write and never give up. Still, I enjoyed the short essays by published authors detailing how they finally cracked the publishing code. Black Wind was enjoyable. One of the nice things about a Cussler book is that you get exactly what you expected to get. That's not a bad thing with an established author.
      Anyway, there wasn't a bad book among the lot so you might want to add them to your list. They all worth a read.
      Have a good night and great tomorrow. Talk to you then.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Real writing

      Murder by the Acre is shaping up nicely. The words are flowing again. Ryton is a little world, and I'm walking around in it and recording what's happening. I know that sounds weird, but that's how it feels, despite the fact I'm actually creating that little world.
      For instance tonight, I wrote other thousand words. I didn't expect to, but this new scene came along and kept my interest. I wanted to see what happened. This scene isn't in the outline I use or was anything I had thought about before other than a vague thought that Lisa and Bernard should have dinner with one of the suspects, the mistress of the murdered man. That's all I thought was going to happen, but then into the restaurant stepped the murdered man's wife and her maybe boyfriend, both suspects, too. Naturally the wife hates the mistress. An explosive combination. The scene isn't over, but I'm very curious about what's going to happen. When this happens -- when I feel like a reporter watching real events taking place -- I feel like a "real" writer.
      I realize that writing and MBTA seem to be only topics on my blog lately. Sorry, but that's what's occupying my attention. And will continue to for the time being, but I'll try to find a few things to keep the attention of those not writerly inclined.
      By the way, yesterday we had tornadoes in Oklahoma, then torrential rains, and today snow. If an earthquake happens tomorrow, I'm leaving the state.
      Anyway, I'm going to bed now. I had a bad day at work today, one of those days that motivate me to work on my writing so that someday it will let me leave there. Anyway, I'm going to call it a night and go to bed with a good book. Hope you have a great day tomorrow!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunny Sunday

      A very busy Sunday, which is odd for me. Well, odder. I was productive to a frightening degree. I got a lot of tasks done, including more words. We are now at 30,005 words on Murder by the Acre, officially 4,250 words behind where I wanted to be at the end of February. Not bad at all for losing all those weeks in January. MBTA should be ready to go to the proofers in May. We're still on track for the book to be published by the end of June.
      Of course, I have to polish it like crazy in May, particularly the first chapter, which I allowed a couple of friends to read. Apparently they weren't impressed as I haven't heard from them one way or another. Sigh. That's okay. I knew it wasn't ready, but I needed some strokes. That'll teach me.
      It's supposed to snow here tomorrow. I can't believe it. Two to four inches. It's raining and storming now, and Oklahoma experienced its first tornado of the season today. Weird weather, that's Oklahoma. When the wind comes sweeping down the plain, we really do mean it sweeps things along.
      Power just went out for a moment, so I think I'll close. Take care and have a great -- snow free -- day tomorrow. Night!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Normal Saturday

      Since I didn't really write today, I have no reason not to blog, other than the fact that I didn't do much. Well, nothing interesting. After you've fought off a pack of howling killer clowns a few times, you realize that people get tired of hearing you talk about it: "Blah blah blah killer clowns blah blah blah." Since I don't want to subject you to that, I'm trying to figure out something interesting to tell you.
      Let's see. Hmm. Well, I have a new neighbor. She's a vampire, but nice. A bit pale and there's a general sense of doom and decay around her, but as Mrs. Simmons said, we already have a bank officer on our block so we can surely stand a vampire as long as we remember to eat our garlic and never invite her into our houses, which is going to be a problem for block parties, but it can't be helped.
      And I'm being kind to the Mormon missionaries who wander by our street. When I see them, I think of FF, my roomie, Randal, and the other Mormons I have known. Despite that, I don't release the hounds anymore. They're nice young men and so brave to visit here again after that unfortunate incident with the tuba, goat, and Widow Jacobsen.
      The weather was really nice today. Sunshine, warm temperatures, a few white clouds in the sky with only the occasional alien visitation. I took a brief walk around the neighborhood and spoke with a few neighbors or poked them with sharp pointed sticks, depending on what they enjoy. It's days like these that make you glad you're alive or undead or a car salesman as the case may be.
      I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, typing a few words on Murder by the Acre, a bit of housework, washing my car, thwarting a few terrorists plots, napping, reading, filing, etc. The usual. I hope you had a good Saturday, and I hope to see you tomorrow here -- unless, of course, I write a whole bunch or win a lot of money or both. Night!