Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Please donate

Yesterday I had one of those days where I was just so tired I couldn't concentrate on my writing. That didn't stop me from being productive, it just made my morning difficult in the motivation department. Since I stayed up late last night with my wife (we were watching home movies from my childhood) I'm having a similar morning, only this time I can barely think of something to blog about.

I am excited to help some friends move tomorrow. I just need to finish inventory at work. Retail inventory, not production equipment inventory. Other than that, I have very little to say.

On that note, I'll leave you with one last request to go to Feed the Children and donate to help send food to a starving child in your neighborhood. $10 dollars helps get food to 50 children (I believe that covers a good portion of the shipping costs for them). So please donate :).

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Update

Despite getting up earlier today, I still didn't get as much done as I wanted to. But that's okay because I got another query out. With so little free time, it's difficult for me to get queries out, which makes me wonder why I would even consider re-writing the query for Defender of the Crown. But I think I'm going to start sending that one out when I finish the first draft my my WiP.

In other news, I had a busy weekend, I've broken the 11k mark in my WiP, and I'm exhausted.

Once again, I ask that you all head over to Feed the Children and donate. As I said at the beginning of the month, each charity I feature will receive a donation from me. I wouldn't ask you to do something that I'm unwilling to do :).

Have a great week, I'll see you on Wednesday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

(No Subject)

So here's a tip for those of you out house-hunting. Find a way to get twice the amount of cash for any house you might want, look at the listings of homes online, and then go build a place on vacant land. No mortgages, no interruptions of your schedule, just the perfect home built the way you want it.

House hunting IS fun, don't get me wrong. And it helps to work with an agent who's friendly and hardworking. But it consumes so much time. I only managed to get 1.5k written this week, and I don't know how much I'll be able to do today or tomorrow (though I'm hoping for at least another 1.5k). I know it'll be worth it in the end because we won't be renting anymore. And if we get the right place, we'll have enough extra income that we'll be able to pay down Emily's school debts and start putting together a retirement account.

Anyhoo, life's great, looking for homes is fun, though time-consuming and kinda stressful because of thoughts like, "Am I going to like the place I look at, will it be within range of my budget, is it in a good neighborhood, oh yeah, I have to get back to work," and so on.

But on that note, I want to remind everyone that, even in this country, we have little children who are starving every day. This month I've talked about Feed the Children quite a bit, and I don't know if any of you have been able to donate to them, but if you have even $10 to spare, go donate now. Ten dollars isn't much, but that could make all the difference to a little boy or girl who doesn't know where their next meal is coming from. They also have a Japan relief fund if you're looking for a place to give to the victims of that earthquake.

Next week is the last I'll mention Feed the Children, at least for a little while. I'll give you some links and more information, and then on Friday, we'll have a new Charity of the Month. If you have a charity that you'd like me to talk about, let me know. I'm always looking for places that do great things for their communities and the world at large.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Life

This is definitely going to be a long week. It's already BEEN a long week. We're meeting with a realtor again tonight, and then if all goes well, we're meeting with her tomorrow to put an offer on a place. Finding a place within our budget is turning into a challenge, especially when we consider raising a family. Sure, we're hoping to get a bigger place when we have kids, but by that time, we'll have equity and we'll have paid down the mortgage quite a bit. But if we can't move into a bigger home, we need to be prepared to raise at least one child.

I've gotten a good deal of writing done this week, which is a surprise to me considering how little free time I have. I plan on breaking the 11k mark by the end of the week, even with all of the work I have to do and the two evenings that are dedicated to house-hunting.

This is especially interesting to me because only last week I thought to myself, "Sometimes I wonder if I really am an adult. It seems like I'm just a kid playing house, and any moment now someone with real maturity will step up and start making the decisions for me again." Not that I want that to happen. It just seems like sometimes it will, no matter how much I want to be the adult.

Well, this week I definitely feel like the adult. I'm juggling several projects at once, cooking, making plans and long-term financial commitments, and the only thing to remind me that I'm not a member of an older generation is my video-game console.

Maybe some day I'll look back on this and think, "I didn't really grow up that much. Just enough to be the man I needed to be." Because that's what I want on that porch swing in my twilight years. The knowledge that I'm still a kid inside.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gettin' a New Home... Maybe.

So as I said on Friday, my wife and I started making a big life-decision this weekend. And no, we're not having a baby. We decided to start looking for a new place to live. And this time we're buying.

We're both pretty tired of renting a place, and it looks like the place that we want to buy will be less per month than anywhere we could try to rent. It just gets old having to pay someone as much money as we do for a one-bedroom apartment when we really can afford a two-bedroom place. We're pretty excited, but even though we haven't committed to anything yet, it's already consuming a lot of our time. Writing may suffer this week. And every week until we're moved in (if we get this place).

I'm concerned about space, though. The floor-plan is a little weird. I'm used to squares. You know, hard corners that accept hard corners. All of which are at right angles. But this place has one long wall that runs at an angle from the master bedroom all the way to the entry way. Then there's a fireplace on the opposite wall which is at a right angle from the kitchen. And the chimney is made of stone rather than covered in drywall. This will make it hard for us to put up our TV. I have some ideas, and since the mantle is made of wood, I may bolt the TV into the mantle with a swiveling wall-bracket.

Anyway, all of that is to say that I fell behind on my writing this weekend. And it's almost time for me to head in to work. There's no game-night tonight, though, so I'll spend time working on my novel after dinner. I may have a few days off this week, too, which would give me a nice opportunity to get more writing done. On the other hand, if I'm buying a place, I could use the money...

See you Wednesday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

News, Progress, and a request for Japan

So in less than one week I managed to put together more than 6000 words for my new novel. This is definitely a challenge for me, though, because I'm having to spend a lot of time world-building for the reader. My previous books didn't require as much work because of various phrases I could use to lay assumptions in the readers' minds that would let them fill in most of the blanks.

As a sci-fi novel, though, that takes place only 89 years in the future, there's a lot of background that must make it in to the narrative. I'm enjoying it, and so far I haven't info-dumped, I'm just worried that I'll create a slow-opening novel, a sure-fire way to kill my chance at publishing this book. I don't want to hit page 100 only to discover that nothing's really happened yet. Of course the story opened with a murder, but that's just a teaser for the drama that's to come. I'm still excited, and I get to work on this book for a little while before the day job drags me in.

I'm also excited because I'm going to take the time to send out another query today. I haven't sent one out in a week, but I think it's time to shoot another one into the atmosphere to see what kind of response I get.

Also, as you're well aware by now, Feed The Children is our charity of the month. They have a disaster relief fund set up specifically for Japan. Please tell your friends about it, and please donate to get relief to families who may not be able to get food in the aftermath of this tragic act of God. You can direct your donation to the relief fund here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I get to write a book!!

So I have a few days off from the day job. That's exciting because I have some cleaning to do around the apartment, but I also get to start writing my new book! I'm not giving up on WYRM FIEND yet, and I'm strongly considering re-writing the query for DEFENDER OF THE CROWN, but that won't come until I've finished this new book. And in case you're wondering, I decided to go the sci-fi/mystery-thriller route.

I have a lot to do today, and not much to say, so please go donate to the charity of the month, Feed The Children, and help out a child who might otherwise starve.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Nothing Like a Little Pressure

There's nothing like pressure to create a bit of productivity. I'm actually in line with my goal to finish my outline by tomorrow. It's not as detailed of an outline as I'm used to, but I'm taking a different approach this time around. I'm only outlining the major plot points and background information (the stuff that the readers never see but still affects the outcome of the story). All of the "fluff" like character building and setting description will be worked in as I go.

And speaking of the outline, I must get back to it. I overslept a bit, and I have a lot to do before I go to work this morning.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Friday Update with Substance

I just checked my list this morning, and I realized I have several unanswered queries. That means I'm going to wait a little bit before I sent out more letters. I just want to get a feel for my responses to see if I need to perform another re-write.

In the meantime, I'm writing another book! I started the outline on Wednesday, and I hope to have an edited, second draft by the beginning of June. I decided not to go with the steampunk idea because with the Flatiron City setting, characters and setting are already created. This way all I need to do is outline the vague story idea I have, and then move forward with writing.

I like where the story is going so far, I just need to figure out what my main character is truly afraid of. And I need to try to reign in any political undertones. And by reign in, I mean I need to make sure that it doesn't get waaaayyyy out of control. I don't have a problem putting politics in my books (though that's not my goal, it just happens sometimes), I just want to make sure that it's done in a way that doesn't insult/alienate half of my potential audience. Even if they will disagree with what some of my characters believe.

That's about all I have for today. I need to get to my outline. I want it finished by Tuesday.

Please check out the Charity of the Month. Please donate and provide food for children in need.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Charity of the Month: Feed the Children

Every month, on the first blog-day (Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) I am going to introduce you, my readers, to a charity. I believe very strongly in charitable giving, and I want to share that passion with all of you. I'm committing to giving to each charity that I present to you, and I ask that those of you who read this please consider doing the same. If, for some reason, you don't like the charity that I select, feel free to pick one of your own. But I believe that the more people give back to their community, the better off our world will be.

Feed the Children is one such organization. I first heard about them two years ago just before Thanksgiving. I was listening to the radio, and the network that syndicates the show I was listening to held a month-long campaign to raise money for Thanksgiving dinners for families in need. I don't remember how much money they raised, but I do remember their passion for what they do. And as a result of their efforts, hundreds of families were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Even though Feed the Children sends food to kids around the world, they are focused on giving food to kids in YOUR community. They call it Americans Feeding Americans (I don't think that's the name of their program, they just use that as the tag line for their fund-raising). As an American who has struggled to get by, I appreciate groups like this one who provide food for the people in their neighborhood.

Again, I encourage you to give to these folks. People are suffering, and Feed the Children is providing relief to families that may otherwise starve. You can read more about Feed the Children here. If you want to donate (even as little as $10), please click here.