2012-11-25

11-25-2012: I made the newspaper

This morning was a day I've been waiting for all week.  The local newspaper (The Ashtabula Star Beacon) decided to make me their feature in today's Neighborhood section.  I ran down to the local gas station to pick up some copies and received a very nice surprise - my picture was on the front page of the paper!  I did not expect that.  The newspaper has an online presence and here is a link to the article if you would like to read it:  http://tinyurl.com/c924oph

Peacekeeper is moving along quite well with over 47,000 words written.  I've passed through a lot of the hard stuff and all the rest is just waiting to be written.  It's getting late in the year and I don't think I will be able to have it done, edited, proofed, and ready to publish by the holidays as I had originally hoped.  I must, however, at least finish the first draft by March.  I am planning on attending Millencon in Cincinnati on March 15 and 16 (as a fan, not a writer).  On March 18 I begin working six days a week, 12 hours a day as the power plant I work at shuts down for refueling.  This will last for at least two months and I will not have any time to write, edit, or proof.  My writing gets put on hold.

I've been on vacation this week and I've managed to get a significant amount of writing done.  Thanksgiving is behind us but Christmas is looming ahead.  Lucky for me, my wife is a master at buying Christmas gifts all year long and most of our shopping was complete a long time ago.  Unfortunately, since I spend my time either working, writing, or spending time with family, I have not yet purchased a gift for my wife.  I really don't like malls especially this time of year but I will have to endure them to go on my quest for the perfect gift.  Wish me luck.

2012-11-19

11-19-2012: 42.5K Words and counting

Writer's block is extremely frustrating!  I sit at the keyboard knowing exactly where the story needs to be.  There are piles of words that are just waiting to hit the keyboard.  But those words can't happen until I get past the point I'm at now.  I write a sentence, pause, then delete it.  I stare at the screen then rapidly bang out 3 more sentences.  My fingers hover over the keyboard then those sentences hit the trash as well.  If I had been using a typewriter there would be a pile of wadded up paper on the floor next to me.  In situations like this, I've found it's best to just walk away and do something else.

This is what happened to me a few days ago.  I wrote many sentences and all of them ended up in the bit bucket.  Frustrated, I closed down Scrivener and fired up the latest Star Trek movie.  My wife was out and I had the house to myself which made the whole situation even more frustrating.  I had lots of time to write and I was spending it watching a movie.  Poor use of time.  But the movie was what I needed to allow my brain to work on the problem behind the scenes.  As the Enterprise sailed off with Kirk in command I had my answer.  Scrivener reappeared and the word gates opened.  By the time my wife came home I had written 3,200 words with plenty more ready to roll.  All in all, a great day's worth of writing.

Peacekeeper is moving along quite well now.  I have a clear vision of how it will progress from this point forward.  I have notes of things that need added earlier on as well as things I will have to revise but I'm not going back now to fix things.  I will press forward until the novel is finished.  Only then will I go back and fix what needs fixing.  After that, it's second pass editing time.

I do have one bit of exciting news to report.  Last week, I received an email from a reporter at a local newspaper, The Ashtabula Star Beacon.  Apparently, the paper wants me to be the feature story of the neighborhood section of this coming Sunday's edition.  I've already done the phone interview and sent some more details answers to the reporter via email.  A photographer will be showing up at the house today.  I'm quite excited, especially since I did not solicit this interview.  The paper contacted me.

One more piece of information and I will get back to writing.  Sales have been slowly slipping for months.  I do expect sales during the holiday season to drop as people focus on buying presents for their families.  It was the slow slide up to this point that had me concerned.  Well, not really concerned, they're not my primary source of income.  I've always been a bit skeptical of how much advertising affected sales - until now.  My wife sent off 250 cards using VistaPrint.  Two weeks later, there was a small, but statistically noticeable increase.  Was it the cards?  I think so.  Did I get a good return on investment?  Maybe.  Sometimes advertising works, sometimes not.  I'm still on the fence.

2012-11-11

11-11-12: Peacekeeper on a roll

Last week I was working 12 hour days and was unable to write even a single word.  But, that did not stop me from at least working on Peacekeeper.  During idle moments at work, while taking a shower before bed, and while trying to get to sleep, I was thinking about the book.  Consequently, I made significant progress this weekend.  I get my best writing done early in the morning.  As long as I can stay away from all the other things I could be doing in the morning I can get a lot of writing done.  Saturday and Sunday I was up at 0500 and made good progress on Peacekeeper.

Peacekeeper is turning out to be a very different sort of science fiction for me.  It is more of a mystery than a knock-down drag out space-warfare novel.  There will be battle scenes but there's a lot of stuff leading up to it.  I've been trying to develop my characters a bit more as well as explaining the cultures of some of the races who are members of the Alliance.  It's difficult to develop a whole new culture because we tend to always think that all alien cultures will be like our own.  But how can they?  They're aliens!

I have also mentioned a planet that could easily get me in trouble.  My coworkers have jokingly been trying to get me to write a book titled 'Porn Planet'.  Of course, they want it to be an adult XXX style novel with all sorts of imaginative futuristic ways for adults to have fun.  I have graciously declined.  But, the possibility of such a planet intrigues me and so I have mentioned it in Peacekeeper.  I've not yet decided if my main character will actually go there or not in this novel but it at least opens the door for a future adventure with a more adult theme - something I've tried to avoid.  Science fiction, however, can often be pretty racy and now I've opened the door a bit to let some of it appear in my writing.  Peacekeeper has a bit more adult situations in it than my other novels and might not be appropriate for the very young.

In more personal news, I am now back in touch with another of my best friends from high school.  This guy is totally off the grid.  He does not own a cell phone, does not use banks, and only drives trucks that are older than 1986 because they have distributors and no computers.  He lives in Washington State up in the mountains.  He was one of 3 best friends I had in high school.  The other one still lives in Minnesota and I video chat with him at least once a month.  The last was not doing so well last I heard and I haven't spoken to him in 6 years.