Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food for thought...

Sherlock Holmes, the movie, is one of the reasons that I want to write. If, for some reason, publishers decide not to publish Defender of the Crown, I think I'll take another swing at mystery writing...but I already knew that :)

Anyway, Guy Ritchie, already a director whose work I admire (he directed Snatch, Revolver, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and L4yer Cake), has impressed me beyond measure!

Anyway, I thought you should all know that the movie is awesome, entertaining, and totally worth your time!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2 Years

I didn't post anything yesterday because, aside from several errands that I had to run, I spent the day with my wonderful wife, celebrating our second anniversary. Two years yesterday, I married the woman of my dreams, and I am so grateful for the time we've spent together so far, and I REALLY look forward to the years to come.

In sadder news, less than two hours ago, my grandfather, Harold Thomas Hash, died of thyroid cancer. We found out about it almost a year ago, and by the time the doctors caught it, he was too far gone to send it into remission. So the last eight months were spent fulfilling his bucket list (including a trip to Normandy), and those of us who are left behind were preparing ourselves for the loss.

I don't think it's really sunk in for me yet, but at the same time, I don't know how depressed I could get. Anyway, that's why I didn't post yesterday, and why my post today is rather short.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Is it good enough?

As I've been posting my query letter on message boards around the internet, I have been told several times that 81k words is quite long for a book that has as little plot as I describe in my letter. As I read the letter, I definitely agree, and since the book actually has three complete plots that intertwine with each other, I've been looking for ways to make the query letter show larger parts of the plot to justify my word count.

That's not what this post is about, though. That's merely what started a train of thought in my head. So, if you're one of the FANTASTIC author's who looked over my query letter in the forums, first of all, THANK YOU :), and second, this is not at all a criticism of your critiques (since, as I stated earlier, I agree with what you've said). No, my friends, this post is about Young Adult fiction. And while comments on my letter are what sparked my brain into motion, this has been building as I have continued to comb the internet for knowledge on the writing industry. What I have found, from both agents and publishers (well, employees at publishing companies) is that Young Adult books are expected to be short.

Granted, the agent that I'm currently thinking of was talking about books that were 180k words long and should have been cut down to AT LEAST 120k, if not below 100k. And the agent has a great point: debut authors, especially in the YA category, are going to have a lot of difficulty selling that book to a publisher even after they finally land an agent. That's a lot of paper they're selling, which represents a much larger investment in narrative content. There's a lot of room for failure if your story is flat in any way, and because this isn't Vegas, publishers often go for more engaging narratives that may have LESS actual content. Your tome may be one of the best novels ever written, but unless it's a real page-turner (like Harry Potter), you're more likely to get a rejection, especially if your sales pitch makes the book sound like every other book on the editor's slush pile.

But what about the shorter books? The ones that squeak through the 60k word mark? Or even the ones that are only 40k or 50k words long? For a point of reference, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is 77k words; The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a mere 38k, The Lightning Thief is 87k, and Twilight comes in at a massive 119k. Now, I've only read two of these books (though The Lightning Thief is on my list of ones to write), and I'm not here to praise or insult any of them except to say that these books get people to READ!

At last! The reason I'm writing this!

It's come to my attention lately (and it may have been the case for years and years, but I'm only now seeing it) that Young Adult fiction is plagued with mediocre writing. Sure the books I mentioned are YA, and they're popular beyond belief, but what about the hundreds, if not thousands of books that publishers throw out at our children that we've never heard of? I'm sure the same could be said of all genres for all age groups, but in my experience, YA and even Middle Grade writing seems to be filled with books that contain improper sentence structure, passive verb usage, constant "-ing" words, and so many other writing faux pas that you wonder how an editor even let that book go to the copy-editors.

And don't get me wrong. I'm not here to bash anyone. I just want to know, "why?" Why do we insist that, when we write for young adults, it's good enough?

This is something that I'm passionate about! As writers to young adults, we are essentially teachers, whether we like it or not. While I think the content of a book should teach the reader to be morally upright, I'll always leave that decision to the author. But I do believe that as writers we have a moral obligation to, at the very least, avoid teaching bad grammar, sentence structure, and writing techniques to children who are already struggling with one of the most difficult languages in the world.

My wife teaches sixth grade. She's constantly looking for more good books to give to her students. Not just on their reading level, but books that will help them become better, smarter students. If she comes across a book that doesn't do that on its own, she'll tell her kids flat out, "You're better than that book, and here's why..."

This isn't a call to arms to overhaul and revolutionize Young Adult fiction. It's simply a challenge to all of us (myself included) to do the best we can to TEACH our children through the words that we write. Don't cop out and "stoop" to the child's level. They're WAY smarter than we give them credit for. Do the best you can, learn to do a better job, and they'll see it. They may even apply it to their own lives. But even if they don't, would you rather have my wife say of your book, "You're better than that," or, "Here, you should read THIS,"?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Monday

Another work week has begun. I'm still editing my query letter, and I think I'm finally making real progress (and I know I've said that several times already). I'm not at all worried about getting the letter out because many agencies close up shop at the end of this week, and they won't start up business again until the new year. So rather than freaking out and trying to get a bunch of letter in the mail by Friday, I've decided to polish the letter and REALLY sit down and write that Flatiron City short story.

This week I also plan on ordering my new muffler so that when my vacation begins I can replace it, and then I get to take the car in to get the oil pan gasket replaced while my laptop goes in to get the optical drive repaired. Things will finally be working properly again :D

I'm not sure what to show you all for the next location preview, but I'm thinking the Archive from my book or possibly the Azure Serpent from Flatiron City. I'll mull it over for a while, though.

Alright, now I have to get back to that pesky query letter. One more sentence, a post on the forum for critique, and then I think it's finished.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


So, today I spent half of my morning re-writing my query letter. Not because I hate it, but because I read some advice that suggests taking a serious look at your letter after you've received around 10 rejections. So I posted it on the forums at Nathan Bransford's blog, got some AWESOME feedback, and started rewriting it to make it better!

Anyway, now that I've finished perusing the forums to try to help other writers, I have a question for you. How do you feel about outlines when you sit down to write a novel?

Here's where I'm coming from, and since you're reading this blog, I'm assuming you care. I have read many MANY blog posts by (and had real-life conversations with) unpublished authors who all say the same thing: "I don't use outlines because they limit my creativity." I've read five or six articles by published authors who say that they USED to say the same thing, but they don't anymore (and some of the unpublished authors I follow on the interwebs say that they use outlines, but they didn't used to). As far as outlines go, my favorite author, Jim Butcher, STRONGLY recommends them, to the point where he suggests polishing them to perfection before even sitting down to write the novel itself...and this guy's sold OVER A DOZEN bestsellers.

On the other hand, I can't think of any successful writers who DON'T use outlines (but that's only because I've never read any articles on how to write by the authors who don't use them). Because of how many successful writers exist in the world, I'm sure there are PLENTY of them, and if you know who they are, let me know in the comments so I can check them out!

Now, like many of the unpublished authors I told you about, I USED to sit down and just write, letting the story tell itself, so to speak. But after that failed the first time (I had no cohesive plot), I changed my method. For me, the outline is one of the most exciting parts because I get to erase entire sections of plot and replace them with something else. I can copy and past and cut and drop things into different sections of the book without having take a week afterward to edit everything. The outline is my opportunity to experiment with the characters and ideas for the world the story takes place in. In fact, the section of outline that I wrote last Friday for The Goblin Incursion consisted of a complete paragraph that could make up the first chapter of the book, but when I sat down on Monday to move forward, I decided that I wanted to COMPLETELY change the opening scene, and what I came up with will give me plenty of opportunities to reintroduce characters, concepts of the world, and backstory WHILE the plot of this book moves forward. I could not have done that without giving myself the freedom to erase and move things whenever I want to at this early stage in the process.

One of the other great things I've found is that, even if you have a very specific direction you want to take with your story, once you sit down to write, you don't have to follow the outline if you don't want to! For me, it just provides a direction to head toward while I make sure that the plot is solid. While it can be a road map, using it as a compass gives me the freedom to remain creative as I flesh out the book.

Now, here's my question to you all: How do you write? Outline? No outline? And if you do use an outline, is it a slap-dash, mix-mash of ideas that you want to fit into the book somewhere, or is it very specific and detailed?

Monday, December 07, 2009

What a Weekend!

Okay, not really that exciting. But Emily and I got all of our Christmas and birthday shopping done for this month!

In slightly annoying news, I found out that, not only do I need to replace the muffler on my car (which I can do by myself), I also have a leaky oil pan which needs to be fixed or replaced. That thing just won't stop breaking.

I did get some cool stuff for my birthday, though! (I know, my birthday isn't until tomorrow.)

I don't have much else to talk about today. The querying thing is still moving ahead steadily, and I'm already working on the outline for my second book. Other than that, it's life as usual.

I know that's a bit disappointing, so I'll try to give you guys a couple more updates this week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

That story I promised

Okay. For those of you who don't know, Flatiron City was built just outside of Boulder, CO in mid 21st century. It's a giant city-in-a-building that with three towers that rise nearly a mile over the earth. Several platforms span between the three towers, as well as trams that allow for easy commutes to and from each building. Hanaka Nippon Tea Gallery is the first location that I actually created for this world, and it's been one of my favorite things to write about over the years.

This particular description is written from the point of view of Henry Slade, the protagonist of the Flatiron Mysteries that I plan to write when my YA series is sustainable. It's not a short story, even though there is a pseudo back-story at work. Enjoy:

Hanaka Nippon is an anomaly of Flatiron City because the kid who runs the joint happens own it. Not only does he own the building the shop occupies, he owns the property it sits on, too. And the property takes up prime real estate in the Skyview Courtyard of the west tower. I heard a rumor a few years ago that FC’s owners owed the kid’s dad a few favors which is why this store is the only property in the city that isn't leased. Although, I hear the proprietor owns a penthouse in Mountain View West.

The famous tea gallery that attracts students from CU Flatiron in the north tower is a squat building fashioned to look like an ancient Japanese-style teahouse. Little trees and patches of flowers surround the shop, and the paved walkway that winds through the park leads to the front doors from three directions. The curved, sloping roof is tiled in red clay, and the builders actually managed to make the plaster walls look like real paper. Red bamboo squares complete the exterior, and at first glance, I would have sworn the place was shipped in from Okinawa. Of course, that was before I caught sight of the swinging glass doors.

When I walked in to the warm building (it’s always a little cold on the upper levels of the city), the lanky Japanese kid behind the counter almost sneered at me. “Look,” he said in a thick British accent, “I keep telling you guys: I’m not selling. I’m still on good terms with the city’s owners, and I’m not giving up my shop.”

I looked myself over, decided there was no way I looked like an organized-crime thug, and then smiled cheerfully. “My name’s Henry Slade. I’m head of security for the city.” I held out my hand and waited for him to shake it.

The kid raised a skeptical eyebrow at me and then slapped his palm into mine, shaking it briskly. “Katsuro Hanaka,” he said at last. “Sorry ‘bout that. There’re some people who want me to sell my store, and they send someone at least once a week to try to get me to leave.”

“Don’t worry about,” I shrugged.

“I wasn’t planning on it,” he replied. “Is there something I can get for you?”

I glanced over his shoulder and tried to decipher the menu board, but three hours of sleep tend to make my brain forget what words look like. “I need something to wake me up,” I chuckled.

“Done!” He ducked beneath the counter and reappeared a second later with an armful of masonry jars. He set them all on the counter behind him, filled up an electric kettle, and then started mixing contents from the jars.

While he worked, I leaned on the counter and took a look around. Even though the outside of Hanaka Nippon looked like a traditional tea house, the only features of the interior that shared the theme were the faux-paper walls with their lotus and swan water-color scenes that invited guests to sit and enjoy themselves. The tables, on the other hand, looked like any other steel-legged slab of wood that restaurants and cafes have used for over a hundred years. Simple black and white tiles checkered the floor, and orange glass orbs glowed in the beams of the roof to provide light for Katsuro and his patrons. It was a simple design, but very comfortable.

A few minutes passed as I took in my surroundings, and the water behind me rumbled in its kettle. I turned around and saw Katsuro switch the kettle off as he deftly picked it up and emptied it into a single-serving teapot. When the near-boiling water washed over the concoction of teas, herbs and spices, a flowery aroma filled shop and took me right back to my first trip to Japan . “It’ll be ready in three minutes,” the proprietor announced. “It’ll keep you up for a few hours, and you shouldn’t crash when the caffeine wears off.”

When Katsuro handed me my paper cup of tea a few minutes later, I breathed in the scents of green and black teas with spearmint leaves, a hint of cinnamon, and several other flavors I couldn’t place. I frowned at him, unsure of how pleasant the mixture could possibly taste. I took a quick sip, decided it didn’t taste half bad, but if it didn’t wake me up, I probably wouldn’t get it again.

Edit 1:35 pm: Thanks to my mom for showing me some mistakes that I missed in the editing. It's been an exhausting week, so my brain isn't quite up to speed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It moves forward

I believe that by the end of next week I'll be able to start outlining my next book. While I am torn between writing a short story and the sequel to Defender of the Crown, I'm convinced that, for now at least, I need to get a full synopsis ready for the book so that when agents talk to me, I have more of a pitch than "well, I'm working on it, but I don't have anything concrete, yet."

Now, I do have two and a half complete plot arcs that I intend on squeezing into this book, and I have some great character development for the protagonist and his three friends, it's just not written down.

In other news, I'm not sure what direction I want to take my Flatiron City short story. You see, the Ellery Queen looks for mysteries that aren't necessarily who-done-it stories (which I don't quite understand, but am more than willing to learn about) and Fantasy and Science Fiction doesn't actually deal with least that's what their submission guidelines state. All stories must contain Sci-Fi elements to them. They don't have to be prevalent, but they must be in the background somewhere. That's not a direct quote, but it is a paraphrase. Anyway, that makes it all but impossible for me to publish short stories from my book series (which I would really like to do), but it DOES make it easier to get something for FC out there.

I'm rambling, I know.

Finally, this week I am going to sit down and give you that preview of FC that you all have been waiting for. As I said, I'm going to begin with the Hanaka Nippon Tea Gallery, and I'm going to start from scratch rather than pull pieces out of the other blog. I don't know how long it will be, but I am GOING to have it up before midnight MT on Saturday, even if I have to spend all day Saturday writing it.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm thankful for...

Sleep! And time off this week!

One of the reasons I moved to Portland was so that I wouldn't have to work shows anymore. I know it's part of my job, but it really makes me tired when I have to work a full day on my day off...especially when it runs late into the night.

Fortunately, they don't ask me to do shows very often, and when I do work them, I get paid pretty well!

Let's see, I'm also thankful for my wife, who I absolutely love!

I won't make this into a grocery list of the things I'm thankful for, though. Let's just say that I am extremely blessed, and of the things I could complain about, none of them are work mentioning.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

And remember, if you participated in NaNoWriMo, your time is almost up! I hope you get that first draft finished :)

Monday, November 23, 2009


I think I read somewhere that if writers kept all of the rejection letters that they get over the course of any publishing attempt, they could wallpaper their office with them... I saw a TV show once (actually, I own it on DVD) called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. In this show about a late-night comedy, sketch show (yes, a show within a show), the head-writer has a clock on his wall, but it's not just any clock. No, this thing counts down from 7...7 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes until the next show MUST be written and on the air.

And people think writing is an easy thing to do.

I decided late last week that I will graciously read every rejection letter I receive, and then throw them out. Not out of spite, not out of anger, not even because I don't want them to clutter up my inbox. It is simply because I know that if I hold on to them, eventually I'll snap! I don't know when I'll get that one, elusive "yes" from an agent, but the more "no's" I see in my email account, the crazier and more desperate I'll become. As you can imagine, this break in my sanity will not only cause my home-life to suffer, but my queries will turn into unprofessional pleas for help.

Okay, maybe not...

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone interested in writing. Don't let the pile up too high, it's how you get trapped in the wasteland of rejections. Throw out the "no's" and keep seeking the elusive "yes"!

Oh yeah, and this is pretty funny.

Edit Monday 8:15: I fixed the link.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anniversary: 5 years

Five years ago today, I opened up my web browser, found this small site on the internet that I could use to rant about my life, and began my blog. I posted a short history of my life (it's still there if you want to click on the archives in the sidebar), and after that, I basically turned into a journaler (I know it's not a word, but work with me, here).

Today, on my five year anniversary with blogger, I want to do a bit of a retrospective, followed by a change of direction in this blog. But where to begin?

Back in November of 2004, I worked at Borders in Lakewood, CO after a thirteen month stint in Portland. My first girlfriend had just broken up with me, and I felt like I needed a place to write. This is where I ended up.

I'm not going to bore anyone with a detailed list of what followed. Let's just remember that after a second girlfriend broke up with me, I decided to get back into my writing passion. Less than a year after starting this blog, I began a second site with my best friend. Flatiron City, the giant city in a building that sits just outside of Boulder, became an outlet for my desire to create stories and characters, and while I used that site to hone my abilities to craft good stories (don't read it lest I prove myself incapable of writing), I also sought an education at Red Rocks Community College.

After five semesters there, I dropped everything I was doing, except for my new job with my parents' company, to begin work on my third attempt at authorship. The mystery novel I'd thrown out after a very enjoyable vacation in London no longer weighed me down, and the process taught me how to create plots that would thrill readers for years to come. (Don't read too much into my words, I know I still have a long ways to go before I am a noteworthy author, I'm just detailing what I've learned for you.)

I'm married, now. I have a completed novel that I'm shopping around to one or two agents a day, though I refuse to have more than ten queries floating around at once (that means if I haven't heard back from any of them, then I'm waiting until I have received at least one response before sending out more queries).

There are a lot of things that have happened in the last five years, many of which I never thought would happen. Sure, I hoped to be published by now, and when I started this blog, I hadn't even met my wife, so I expected to marry someone else (and boy am I glad I met my wife! :D ). I'm definitely glad that I'm not working at Borders anymore, even though I miss working in a coffee shop.

As for the future, I'm still not sure of what this blog will be about. I plan on writing about my books, telling you about my passions, and commenting on random events in the world, but other than that, I don't know where we'll go.

One thing I know for sure: I refuse to let this site be my outlet for whining. It's called High Aspirations, and I aspire to great things. Therefore, if I do not reach the greatness I seek, I will, at the very least, aspire to inspire you, my readers, by sharing the lessons I learned from my experiences.

Onward we go, into the future!

Monday, November 16, 2009

No big post today

I know Monday is my big posting day, but I spent the entire morning trying to format my query letter correctly in my e-mail client. It took longer than I thought it would...and I only get to send one out today because of it.

I do, however, plan on making a big post this week, so look out for it on Wednesday (it may be late in the day, but I will have something up).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why am I writing this?

Because I hate writing synopses! It's one of the things I really DON'T miss about school. But why, you might ask, am I writing a synopsis? Because there are several agents who want to see the whole plot of my book one to three pages, rather than the entire 260. Understandable. And I dearly want to oblige them. After all, they already have a ton of authors sending stuff to them every day, so they don't have time to read through every book.

But still...I'd rather be playing video games, or writing my sequel, or a short story....or getting my teeth pulled.

Anyone want to write a synopsis for me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Tuesday

I actually managed to get some work done on my query letter this morning, despite forgetting to reset my alarm last night. I didn't wake up until my wife came in to kiss me goodbye, but I hopped out of bed (okay, I slumped out of bed), and I sat down at my computer to write. Fingers crossed, but I think I actually have ALL of the pertinent information about the plot on the page, now. That doesn't mean I'm finished tweaking it, but it's way better than what I had yesterday.

At this time I'd like to talk briefly about something that bothers me about some writers who I've seen posting on the internet in recent weeks. At many times, I've fit into this category, but now that I'm trying to get away from it, the mindset kind of bothers me... and that is people who refuse to do their research. Of course, none of us can know everything there is to know about a topic that we talk about, but if we intend to comment on a subject, I think it's important to know at least a little bit about it.

Again, this is directed at me as much as anyone who may be reading this, and its intent is purely encouragement to validate your point of view, rather than point a finger at a problem. You see, in my experience, when I say something that is totally and provably false, it discredits a lot of what I may intend to say in the future. I am by no means an expert in any field (yet), but I do know that in the writing industry, doing research is really important, especially at the stage I'm at in the process. That's right, I have to do research on the agents I want to query!

You see, if I send my query letter out to ten agents who don't even want to represent my genre, not only have I wasted their time and mine, I've also put myself in danger of getting a bad reputation. That doesn't mean that I'll be blacklisted from the industry, but if those ten agents tell their associates about, "this guy who just doesn't get it," it makes my job harder.

My point is, do research. Sometimes it's boring, but you learn a lot of really cool things, and if you intend to be a writer, regardless of what you want to write, you must MUST know what you're talking about, or else no one will take you seriously.

Monday, November 09, 2009

He would you look at that...

I actually got two paragraphs into my query letter. Is it complete? Not by any means. But it's a place to start! Now I think I'll post it to my google wave account to see what other people think about it.

What a week ahead

I have to make three trips all the way to the opposite side of town for work...and one of those trips is on Saturday. At the same time, I still need to figure out what the heck I'm going to say in my Query Letter, and I have to finish the final read through. I'm glad I'm taking Wednesday off!

It looks like it's going to be a two small update day, though I may get another small one up later this evening...but right now my mind is actually working, so I'm going to hit up my word processor and try to get this query started.

The Weekend: Origins

Oh wait, I'm still stuck in a video game.

Over the weekend, I didn't get the final read through FINISHED, but I did make progress! I AM going to finish it this week while I work on my query letter, a project I'm less than an hour into and I'm already thinking that it's waaaayyyyy harder than it should be.

I'll try to post a real update on my lunch break, but with a query letter to write, I can make no promises.

Friday, November 06, 2009

I did it!

I finished editing my first novel! I'm finishing up the final read through this weekend, and I will begin writing Query Letters first thing next week! As I stated before, I won't bore you with the repetitive updates of "I sent out another letter," and "I got another rejection," and "I got a 'partial' request." However, I SHALL let everyone know if I get a full manuscript request from an agent, and if/when I sign on with an agent.

In three weeks (maybe sooner depending on how the short story comes along) I'm going to begin work on the outline for the sequel to Defender of the Crown (which is the title of my first book unless the publisher insists on changing it). I don't know what I'll call book 2, yet, but I do have two and a half plot arcs that I intend on squeezing between the pages.

As for Dragon Age, I'm hooked, even though I haven't had a chance to actually sit down and play it for any real length of time. That makes it kind of hard to form an informed opinion about how good the game is...but, again, I am enjoying what I HAVE played!

Time to finish lunch.

Monday, November 02, 2009

On Schedule and Doing fine...

That is, until Dragon Age: Origins comes out tomorrow. I must shake my fist at BioWare for releasing an anticipated game on the week that I'm scheduled to finish editing my book. For those of you who don't know, BioWare is the company that made Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass that have, to this point, eaten a good 80-120 hours of my life (not a complaint :D) This game is supposed to be big, too, and the replay value should be high...which means that when I have free time (and believe me, my book will take precedence), I'll be enjoying the heck out of that game. I apologize in advance to my VERY patient and loving wife who will have to put up with the left side of my face and periodic kisses when I remember not to neglect, yeah.

As far as the book is the last several posts and you'll see that I'm still doing well. Nothing's changed on that front.

In other news, the Dresden Files RPG announced Saturday that they are PLANNING on taking pre-orders for the actual book at Origins (a big Role Playing convention) next year. They are hoping for a solid product to hand to fans by June 23-27, but, as they have said, if thing go according to schedule, they will at least have a PDF to hand people who pre-order the book. That's awesome, in my eyes, because I've been looking forward to this game since early 2007.

Along the same lines, Jim Butcher, the author of the Dresden Files is releasing the final book in his Codex Alera series this month! So I'm super stoked about that, and then the next Dresden Files book, Changes, comes out next...April? Anyway...he's going to follow up that novel with a collection of Dresden Short Stories, which I'm excited about as well.

Do I have anything else to talk about? OH YEAH! My grandparents on my mom's side are in town and I get to see them tonight for supper! I saw them yesterday, which was AWESOME, but I'm still stoked to see them again. This is the first time that they've visited since my wedding nearly two years ago!

Speaking of anniversaries, I need to figure out what to get my wife without breaking the bank... hmm... and she keeps bugging me (and rightfully so) to tell her what I want... I should go figure something out.

Alright, enjoy that update, it's the last one you'll get until I get behind the computer for another one :D (Remember: Dragon Age comes out this week, so I'll be rather occupied, but I'll try to post another update on Wednesday or Friday, or both.)


I don't have time to write a full post this morning, but I'll try to get something up on my lunch break. Stay tuned update.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One productive week

So, this week I managed to get FOUR chapters edited in my book. That leaves me with two more chapters, and then the final read-through. As I sit here, I've already completed chapters 1-9, and by the end of the weekend, I should have 10 and 11 ready for publication (or at least submission to the agents I'll be querying).

As for the future of this blog, when I start the querying process, I'll probably just stop talking about it. I expect to get a lot of rejections, if I hear back at all from the busy agents I'll be talking to, so I don't want to bore you with the repetitive declarations of "I got another rejection letter". I also want to avoid the temptation of insulting agents who don't want to represent me, and I REALLY don't want to ACCIDENTALLY insult them by saying something that can be misinterpreted as an insult.

I WILL, however, keep you all posted on progress with upcoming writing projects, and when I DO hear back from Agents who want to represent me, I'll definitely say something.

And, for those of you who want a preview of my locations, I will begin with the Hanaka Nippon Tea Gallery, which has already been featured in the Flatiron City blog. I'm not sure what I'll follow up with, but it may be the office of Henry Slade, the new protagonist for the setting. I will eventually tell you about the Azure Serpent, the Police Station, and even Level 1 in each tower. Keep your eyes open, because it will be coming....eventually.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I swear...

I'm formulating the sneak peak in my brain, I just don't have the time to sit down and write it. At the moment, I'm trying to hustle through to the end of my editing, and I may be done next week! YEAH!!! I actually got two chapters edited in two days, and that was with a full work day at my paying job. I still have the final read-through to finish, of course, but that will be done quickly, and then I get to start writing proposals...

And I've said all of that.

In other news, my grandfather is in the hospital. He came down with pneumonia, a situation that only gets more complicated because of his tumor. I guess he's doing alright, but as time wears on, I see more and more that there's little time left for him. Yeah, he's getting stronger right now, but my only hope at the moment is that when he dies, it will be with as little physical pain as possible. Sometimes I think about it and I get a little sad (like right now), but for the most part I'm at peace. I have a strong faith, and I know where he's going when he dies, so in the end, there's really nothing to be sad about. Yes, he'll be gone, but I'll be joining him some day.

On a happier note, it's snowing! If I'm really lucky, it will snow enough for me to get sent home early tomorrow or Thursday, which will give me time to spend with my wife and work on my book some more. :D

I think that's all I got...yep, nothing else.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Short one today.

So, I got chapter 14 edited in only one day! Which means I get to start on 15 tomorrow. Yay! If I push myself, and I plan on doing that, I may get three chapters edited this week!

Anyway, I had an early morning for the dayjob, so this post is going to be short. Just thought you'd all like to know how it's going.

Now off to cook supper as my wife heads home.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On second thought...

I don't know, yet, how best to show some previews of my worlds, but I'm trying to work that out. This week at work has been crazy, and finding energy to write has been a challenge. Even though my goal has been two chapters edited per week, my sickness over the weekend, combined with the fact that Chapter 13 proved to be especially challenging means I only got one chapter edited this week. It's alright, though, because I'm going to get two a week for the next three weeks...and then I'll be FINISHED! Then it's time to start writing that all important query letter, and then I send it to agents, and then I become rich and famous....right?...that's how it works, isn't it? You mean I have dues to pay, still? Oh, alright. No rich and famous right away (unless I win the lottery, so to speak), but I WILL rewrite the Flatiron mystery short story I've been working on, and then I'll start on the Sequel to book 1!

And now I need to figure out what to do for supper, and then time for work. :P

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I should be in bed.

But I'm not, so read on...if you want.

The optic drive died on my laptop today. It'll cost $300 and will take three to five days to get fixed if I take it to the apple store....but the good news is I should be able to take it to an independent, certified apple tech...which will cost less money. The only problem with that? I'll still be without my computer, the only tool that I can write with, for at least a day. Grr. Maybe I can hold off until I'm done with the book.

On to other thoughts.

Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent wrote a really good piece that he posted today on overly sensitive writers. One of the things I noticed in myself when I first picked up a pen was that I didn't want to hear anything negative about my work, but I always took the opportunity to LEARN from what I heard, whether I liked it or not. More than any other lesson I've learned in the last eleven and a half years (yes, I've been trying to do this for over a decade!), learning to take criticism well is probably the most important. It's not that I get insulted easily, which I do, it's more that I tend to give up easily when I get discouraged. And hearing negative things about my work tends to discourage me at times. But not nearly as much as it used to. :D Anyway, read the post.

In other thoughts, I've toyed with the idea of giving my readers (all four of you) a sneak peak at the worlds I've created. I want to jump back and fourth between Andere, where my current story takes place, and Flatiron City, the blog I created almost four years ago. I mentioned earlier that I was reviving that world, with a new protagonist and actual plots. To keep things interesting for me, I'm going to give you guys a look at some of my more favorite locations in these worlds, maybe even create some new ones that will show up in later works.

Anyway, I'm tired and the wife needs to be in bed, rather than on the couch. G'night, all!

Monday, October 19, 2009


So I got sick over the weekend. As a result, all of the reading that I intended to do didn't get done. It's kind of hard to proof-read your work when sitting up straight makes you dizzy. Yesterday morning I planned on calling in sick today, but by late afternoon, I decided that I should just go in today. I slept in, of course, just to make sure I got enough rest, but still no writing done.

Am I discouraged? No. Life happens, and I'm still on track to meet my goals. I know when things don't go as planned it's easy to just say, "Well, I give up." I'm not giving up, I'm not depressed, and there's NO WAY that I'm going to let a little fever ruin my book.

So, first thing tomorrow, I'm going to sit down and get back into the editing. Tonight I plan on reading through chapter eight, and then this weekend...who knows. But I'm still on track, and I feel...well, I don't feel like crap the way I did two days ago.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Schedule?

Sort of. I'm making great progress despite my body insisting that I go back to sleep every morning. About once a week I manage to get up at five, but lately it's been closer to five thirty or six. Nevertheless, I'm still hitting my target of two chapters a week for editing! Much better than four or one because I'm making steady progress and I'm not ruining the book by overworking myself.

I still need to read through chapters 8-12, but I'll start that on Saturday since Emily is going to spend the day at a friend's baby shower.

I want to update the blog more often, at least until I get my own real website (and who knows when that will be) but I don't really have that much to say beyond what I put up on twitter. I'm sure I can think of something, though, so I'll see you all on Monday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not so sleepy today

I actually slept last night!

As far as writing goes, I'm still keeping up with my modified schedule for editing...that's two chapters a week. It's going well, despite my body trying to get me sick. Now, the weekend reading isn't working for me, but I'll catch up on that soon enough :)

Just a short post today, I have to get back to work.

Life's okay, for now. I really want to write full time, but I'm grateful for a job that pays well.
That's all.

Monday, October 05, 2009

And life continues

I didn't sleep much last night. No reason, I just couldn't fall asleep until nearly 2. I still got up at 5:30, and I got a good deal of writing done before work. I should be able to get chapter 9 done today... which is really nice. That's one of the chapters I've put some extra effort into, so it makes progress easier to attain.

Right now I'm at lunch, listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on my iPhone. It explains any oddities in my post :)

Jeremy had a contact in Japan who he hoped to get a job with, but that fell through. As much as we would all miss him if he left, we really wanted him to get the job. It would have been one of the best things that could happen for his career. On the other hand, he's doing pretty well as a chef. I think we've finally convinced him to sign up for Hell's Kitchen, which I'm certain he would win. Again, it would suck if he left, but being a head chef is one of his dream jobs. It would be cool!

Now my wife's on the phone, so I'll post this and talk to her.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The work continues.

So, my original goal, two weeks ago, was to edit four chapters a week. I realized, as I suspected I might, that I can't edit that many chapters a week while trying to work a full time job. So, I'm down to two or three a week, depending on how difficult the chapter may be or how exhausted I get.

At the end of each group of four chapters, I'm still going to read through them to make sure they're ready to publish, but I definitely won't be done by the middle of October. November seems like the most reachable goal, now. That still fits into my End of December goal that I set last January!

To anyone who's ever wanted to write a book, here's my advise: do it! It's not easy, and at some point, you may want to throw it out, shave your head, and move to Tibet just to get away from the world, but if you fight through that frustration, eventually you'll get to the point where you love it! Writing is hard work, but with a great deal of dedication (it can't be done without that), you'll be able to accomplish least on the writing front.

Okay, that's all for now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's close!

So last week I read through the first four chapters of the book. I believe they are ready to be printed! My original weekly goal. now that I'm down to straight editing, was to get four chapters a week finished, but right now, three seems to be the magic number. I'd love to do four a week, but last night I found that if I tried, I would end up ruining the book rather than fixing it. So I'll take my time and be patient.

However, in three or four weeks, I should be ready to solicit for publication!

Edit, 7:40 am: I thought of some other, small, changes that I'll put into the chapters that were supposed to be completed, but they're important changes that make the protagonist stand out.

Also, I've already started creating a set of villains for the second book! That's right, I'm planning ahead. I even have three and a half plot lines that should all show up. Maybe even four and a half. (One and a half of the plot lines tie in together, but if you look at the entire thing as a whole, it's really only three plot lines on three different levels of character and world developement.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

A week of productivity

So, last week I finished the revision stage of my book. I have all of the plot points ironed out and in place, and now all that remains is editing. I have a long ways to go before I'm content with the state of the language, mostly because it still feels like I'm telling, not showing. That's coming along, though, and I'm already working on Chapter 4. Yeah! I got three chapters edited last week, too!

In other news, the Beatles Rock Band game is AWESOME! The reason I say that is because, unlike the other Rock Band games, ALL of the songs are GREAT! Rock Band 1 and 2 have, maybe, four songs each that are as great as anything done by the Beatles, and as a result, I don't get bored too easily. I mean, really, why would I want to play a song by the talentless Kirk Cobain when I can belt out Yellow Submarine with a room full of psychotic friends?

Anyway...I have a long ways to go on my book, still, but progress is being made...oh yeah, and I have an idea for a sequel!

Now I have to get ready for my paying job :P

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another mile-marker down

Today I finished another round of editing, and I began the first non-edit read through. I've put it together as a PDF, and over the next day or two (hopefully only one), I'm going to read the entire thing, just to see what really glares at me as needing work. I'll take brief notes to go back and work on later, but that's really all I'm going to do because I need to see how everything fits together when I don't have two or three months between page one and page two hundred forty seven.

In other news. The next step, while I read through the book, is to get some of my friends to read it as quickly, yet thoroughly, as possible to give me feedback, and if all goes well, my November ETC may get moved up to October!

I think that's all.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Slept in, played video games, got a haircut, and created Star Wars characters. Oh yeah, Jason came over and we watched Spaced and Kitchen Confidential. Awesome day.

In other news, my car's fine, now. Just had a couple of small parts that had to be replaced. $200 isn't bad when it could have cost a LOT more.

Now, it's time for bed.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I was going to go over to Jason's place tonight to play Dungeons and Dragons (first time in three weeks) and as I was on my way (literally a mile away from work), the pulley that runs my AC fell off. Now, I had planned on taking my car into the garage for some work because of a clicking noise that's been bothering me for two weeks, and it turns out the pulley that fell of was the cause of the noise. It's not that big of a deal, I guess...though it could cost more than I was hoping. Anyway, I'm eating supper with my wife now.

I don't know what I'm going to do tonight...but I may take the time to work on the pre-genned characters for Star Wars on monday....yeah, that's a good idea.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another update?

Yeah...that's right, I have news!

Since yesterday, I have found several blogs with lots of help, and encouraging, ideas on where to go with my writing (thanks Sarah!! :D)

As I look at the process as described by these people, the end-of-December deadline should DEFINITELY be reached, no problem!'s the cool part... I might, MIGHT, be able to start querying agents as soon as....wait for it.........NOVEMBER!

Anyway, once I finish this round of edits, I'll do a read-through to look for any more changes that need to be made, and then the next difficult step begins; finding a test audience. I've had a couple of people read through the book, and they've given me great feedback, but I need four or five people who can blast through the book in a week or two, and then get back to me with ideas for improvement. I don't know where to find writer's groups (and I tried googling it, it's all a bunch of ads for guaranteed ways to sell your book), so I'm hoping for more suggestions.

My lunch break is over, so I'm getting back to work, but I'll post more of what I need (if any of you are willing and able to help) at a later date.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The writing continues...

In one week I will be taking an unpaid "vacation" during which I shall spend as much time as possible AWAY from the apartment, writing. I want to get through this phase of editing and begin the proof reading as soon as possible. I believe that if I can move to the proofs, I'll be able to reach my deadline of "ready to send to agents" by the end of December.

This is getting rather nerve wracking at the moment, partly because I'm excited and eager to move forward, but because I'm pretty clueless about several parts of the process. I know the theory, and how one is supposed to go about it, and I know the general rules that one must follow, like formatting, querying, and so one...but HOW to do all of that...I just don't know.

Be that as it may, I have a potential contact who's already been published with scholastic (thanks, dearest mother-in-law :D), and hopefully the gentleman will have the time to offer some advice.

For now, I'll continue to move forward...and back to work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where have I been?

Busy, that's where. We've had about a month of CRAZY at the shop. But it hasn't kept me from my book! I'm still making progress, and I just got approval to take the week of Labor day off... which means an all day Star Wars campaign on Labor day, and then four days straight of just writing while my wife is at work.

Life in general is getting...interesting. The lives of my friends are changing, some for the better, others' for the worse. Jason's back in school to get his master's degree, Austin's pretty much fully active in the Army, David's about to graduate from Navy basic training, and Gabe's getting married (oldish news, but still good and coming up).

There are some bad things going on as well, but I won't speak of them, partly because I don't want this blog to be depressing or whiny, but mostly because I don't want to disrespect the people involved by displaying their private lives to the world. A lot of things happened that shouldn't have, and the fallout is going to suck. That's all I will say.

Now, my wife is off of the phone (she was at work late for Back to School Night, and she just got home, but she was talking to her mom). I'm going to spend some time with her. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fun times...

I've been putting together a collection of Star Wars RPG books, and a buddy of mine is moving back to town just in time for me to use them in his game :D. I've been collecting the books, though, because on Labor Day, I plan to run a game in the Knights of the Old Republic era. I've been having a serious blast putting together ideas, and I'm really looking forward to playing in both games!

The Serenity game is...well, it gets delayed almost every week. We really only play once a month anymore because we have to keep rescheduling for one reason or another. Hopefully peoples' schedules will normalize enough for us to get a regular game going again, though, because I'm really liking the way the players are getting along, and the story is intriguing (to me, anyway).

When the Dresden Files RPG is finally released, I think I'm going to mod the rules a little and create a campaign that takes place in the universe that my novel is written in, and then use that story line as back-story for the founding of the capitol and the country in my book. (sorry if that doesn't make a lot of sense) All in all, life is fun!

Monday, July 06, 2009

I've been making more changes to the book! I think it's going along nicely, right now, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow to get up and work some more!

I'd keep it up, but I need to get ready for my day job. It's been really slow lately, though, so I may get sent home early, especially if the only other option is to send my brother home early. He's been losing a lot of hours at work due to his openly stated desire to become a part-time employee and our lack of need around the shop, so when he has a day where he'll actually get hours, I think I'll let him work, earn some cash, and get myself some time to work on the book some more. (whew, I don't usually run on like that.)

Emily's mom and sister are coming up from Fountain on Wednesday to stay with us for a couple of days (that is, Molly is staying here, and my mother-in-law is staying with my parents), and we're all going to celebrate Molly's birthday. They're coming up on Wednesday, though, because my grandparents are going to be in town on their trip to visit all of their friends before my grandpa dies from his cancer.

I'd say more, but I really need to go shave :-0

Friday, June 19, 2009

The process continues

Well, I've gotten through the first chapter that the beta readers sent to me, and I split it into two chapters. I think things are going really well, right now, and I'm looking forward to chapter 3 (what was chapter 2). I just have to wait for my readers to get back to me with their feedback.

In other news, the Flatiron City story is sort of coming's in first-person, and I don't have much experience writing in that POV, but I'm really enjoying it. I'm still trying to figure out what needs to be revealed to the reader about the world and the plot, and since it's a short story, it's not quite up my alley. I'm going to finish it, though, and I plan on sending it to magazines until it gets published.

As for the other short story I wrote for school, if that one doesn't get published by the magazine I just sent it to, then I won't send it out to anyone else. I don't think it's a bad story, but I don't really want it associated with the rest of the fantasy world that I've created. It's what we might call "non-canon".

I think Flatiron City and some back-story shorts for the current project will be the best option for me to get my name out there as a writer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A non-twitter update!

I've gotten a lot done on this revision of my book. I've made the actual plot spread out into the entire book, rather than being secluded to three or four chapters. At the same time, I've kept the character development and side stories present, and I've added some scenery descriptions. I've nearly reached the 60k word mark (although I may have passed it), and I'm almost ready to collect Beta readers. I have a couple of family members who really want to read my work, and I'm going to go through a process to get several more when I'm ready to send it out.

From there, after I've gotten my feedback, I hope to go through the revision stage only twice more, and this time without having to go chapter by chapter...I think I'll be able to jump to troubled areas as I see them...and then do the micro-edits and line-by-line clean-up. December looks like the goal for sending it out to agents, and if things keep going smoothly, it may be earlier than that. I was hoping for June, but there's no way that'll happen.

Oh well. Time to head off to work.

Friday, May 08, 2009

To Anyone Planning to Take Their Own Life...

Please, it's not worth it. If you've ever considered taking your life, please tell someone. If you need reasons, listen to the lyrics:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This week...

So, I got back from a weekend in Texas with my family (basically to say goodbye to my terminally ill grandfather). The weekend was fantastic. We didn't dwell too much on the fact that my grandpa is dying, we focused on the memories that we have with him, and we made new memories. It was at a lake house about an hour and a half from Dallas..I don't know exactly where. Anyway, we had fun.

Then I got back, and I got sick. I slept in on Monday so that I wouldn't be over tired for work, so I didn't get any writing done. On Tuesday, I got up at 5, like I normally do, and I wrote, but I coughed all day, and by the end of the day, I had some serious sinus pressure built up. Wednesday I should have called in sick, but I left an hour and fifteen minutes early since it was slow enough and I felt like crap. Oh yeah, I slept in on Wednesday to see if that would help me feel well enough to work. It didn't, but I worked anyway. On Thursday, I called in sick and slept all day. And on Friday, I slept in and worked all day.

In all, I haven't gotten enough writing done this week, and it's quite discouraging. I'm making real progress, and it's going really well for me. I see this project working out well, and I have ideas for another book series to start once this one is up and running (so that would be two series of books going at once). Ahhh! I hate being sick, and I just want this week to be over.

There's just too much going on right now, and I want it be done or complete (whether it's bad or good, respectively). *sigh*

Saturday, March 28, 2009


No game tonight, Justin had to work. I'm thinking of ways to get into other games, like using video chatting to play with other people from around the world, but I don't know what's going to happen with that.

I'm enjoying the game I'm playing on sunday nights, and the saturday game is a lot of fun, too. It's really cool to interact with people through this medium, and I enjoy it better than most board or card games that I've played. I just wish I could play a little bit more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm wondering

What shall I do on my vacation? Emily and I are planning on going up to Estes Park, and we'll visit the zoo, and I plan on editing my book some more...but what else should I do? It's less than a week away, and I have some ideas:

I want to pull a video-gaming for, like, 24 hours, but I don't have any games that would hold my interest for that long.

I'd like to hang out with some friends, but I don't know who's available to hang out (or what MY schedule will be). That one's a really easy "fix"; I'll just call my friends and see what they're up to.

I want to see a movie or....ten....and I want to drink coffee!

What else?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coffee and a Kitty

The cat is lying next to me on the couch as I finish my morning coffee. I've started supper in the crock pot, eaten breakfast, and I wrote...again! I've been adding scenes to the story, and even though they've been short, I'm making serious changes to the overall plot. When I've finished with this round of drafting, the story is going to be more 3d than it had been in the past. I'm excited because I can see progress, and even though I still have work to do to make it readable, it's coming along nicely...and better than I could have hoped for. I look forward to the day when I get to do this for a living.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The book and progress

I've just completed the second draft. Does that mean I'm on the home stretch? I don't think so. If I'm right, I'm guessing that I have at least two more drafts to go. Tomorrow I'll begin draft #3, but that will entail adding at least one chapter, stuff that will be required to help add tension to the overall story.

I'm beyond the 50k word mark, which was one of the goals (the first time I've ever done that with a writing project!). My goal, right now, is to have the book ready to shop around to agents by June...and that seems doable. My original goal was December, and I'm shooting for that as a secondary goal. Either way, I want this project ready to go to agents by the end of the year, if not in the hands of publishers.

It's a process, and the new lifestyle is really helping. I'm tired quite a bit, but I've gotten so much done in two months...stuff I wouldn't have been able to do if I just made time after work. Speaking of work, it's time to get ready for the job that still pays me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Long time no post

I've been a writing fool! I'm almost at the 50k word mark, but I have a lot of revision to go, and I need to add more scenes to create a fleshed out plot with real conflict.

In other news, I woke up this morning to the maintenance guy at my complex pounding on the door because our hot water heater was leaking into the apartment below us. So we have no hot water until monday or tuesday when the new heater shows up.

I'm running another Serenity campaign, this one is at my house on Saturday nights. Last session was kind of fun, but I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be, and the players didn't do what I expected them to do, so overall it wasn't one of the better games I've seen. Tonight, though I have a lot of stuff planned that should make the evening a lot of fun. I went and devised some conflict that should make them really think and should make their characters interact a bit more with each other.

It'll be a fun weekend, I hope.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It keeps going

So, I've gotten through four chapters in my book and I'm working on chapter five. I've been splitting the book into chapters at this point to figure out where the real additions need to be made, and I'm making a lot of hardcore revisions while I go. Since I started doing this part of the story, I think I've added nearly 4,000 words....if not more!

I'm so excited to be making real, tangible progress!

I have two cousins who are 13 years old, and I've asked them both to begin reading through my chapters so that I can get advice from people in my target audience. Emily is going to start reading, too, and when I get more work done, I'll start including more of my family in the "preview/revision" phase. I'm keeping it simple for now so that I don't get overwhelmed with well-intentioned feedback.

Gabe is also looking through the book, and I've gone through one of his pieces because we are both trying to get published, so we've started a little roundtable group to edit each-others' work.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A quick update...

I just found out that the second magazine that I sent my story to will put out its final issue in April (that's only two more issues, Feb. and's every other month). So, I probably won't get published in that one (it's highly likely that they already have everything that they need for those two issues).

Back to the Magazine Listings.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hoo, boy.

What a couple of weeks this has been. 16 days, I managed to read through and edit (mildly) the first draft of my book. I'm currently adding scenes to increase tension and dimension, and after that I'll break up the story into chapters for serious micro-editing.

I'm hoping to have the book ready to send to agents by the end of this year, and I want to be negotiating with publishers by June of 2010...if not sooner!

I haven't heard back from the second magazine that I sent my short story to, but it could be the end of march before that happens. I haven't worked on any other short stories, but Gabe and I are going over each-others' work a little bit at a time to get us both in the swing of writing and getting things published.

Works still a pain (long story and I have to get ready to head there now, so I may update on it later), but I'm surviving. I'm actually AWAKE when I get up at 5 in the mornings, now, and I've been making a lot of progress on the book (obviously). Maybe I'll be done with it sooner than I thought.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Writing, writing, writing.

So, I've been getting up at 5 in the morning every weekday for the past two weeks so that I can write before work and I don't feel guilty about doing nothing after work. I'm tired. I'm making progress, though. I'm actually quite surprised that I've been able to get as much accomplished as I have in only two weeks.

I got a rejection from one of the magazines I sent my short story to, but I kind of expected it from this place. I knew that if they published my work it would be stretching their style a bit (even though their title makes you think my story would be perfect for them, but nevermind). I don't hold any grudges, I'm not torn up, I have hundreds, if not thousands of rejections to look forward to in the future, it's simply the nature of this business. I'm not irritated with the magazine, I even plan on submitting more work to them when I take the time to write more short stories.

Anyway, I'm tired, I have work to do, I just figured I'd write an update, since it's been a while.

I'm gonna make cheap supper tonight (grocery shopping will happen this weekend).

I'm ready to write full time.

Friday, January 09, 2009

My Chili Recipe...

This is what I stuck in my crockpot for supper:

2 cans of Tomato Sauce
1 can of Kidney Beans
1 can of Chili Beans
1 lb of Hamburger meat
Aprox. 1 tsp. chili powder
2 cloves of Garlic, sliced
1/2 of an onion
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce
A dash of pepper (optional)

Brown the hamburger, add a dash of chili powder (optional), mix tomato sauce, kidney beans, chili beans, chili powder, garlic, and barbecue sauce in crock pot and stir. Allow to warm then add hamburger. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Dice the onion, caramelize (optional), add to crock pot, continue cooking chili for 30 min-1 hour.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for changes, or if you try this recipe, let me know how you like it (I winged it).