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Summer Habits

As happens in the summer, when I’m aching for a change of pace, I’ve created a new blog: The Taming of the Queue. The conceit: documenting my attempt to clean out my Netflix queue, with the occasional review. Now, I do not need another blog. I will probably can it within a year when I have better things to do.

Eric and I have talked about Luck for Hire. I’ll have a kinda-sorta goal-run-down RoW80 post some time later, probably Sunday. I’ve been working somewhat on Divine Fire. I mulled/procrastinated yesterday. Need to write today. Started using Duotrope on Monday. I had occasionally used it for market info, but I signed up for the tracking aspect since I’ve been subbing more short works lately.

No morning/lunch Freescale disc today, which makes me sad. ‘Course, my hands do feel like they belong to an 80-year-old today, so that might be for the best. Maybe we’ll go out to Intel disc tonight.

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Insane and rising in my own weird way…

I have a week to get back into the swing of things before round 3 of RoW80, and I’m feeling better than I have in a while.

I did some work on Divine Fire on Thursday and Friday. Not much, but it’s some momentum.

I also retrieved the rights to Lucinda at the Window. Its publication happened at a very bad time for the publisher, and I always felt that I was at the end of a very long queue. What attention was given to the project was always a little second rate. I’m not entirely faultless. I could have gotten out and pushed, but my dissatisfaction bred apathy. My sister, Tessa, is working on a new cover and after a revision/formatting, I’m going to re-release Lucinda as an ebook. There is work associated with this that will doubtlessly go at the end of a long queue, but at least it will be my long queue.

Over at Reading Notes, I’ve posted about Michael Lewis’ Moneyball and Joe Hill’s Horns as well as a wrap up of Spring Reading Thing. Amazingly, this means I finished reading four books in June and achieved my #ToBeReMo goal! Huzzah!

Posted in Male Author, Novel

Book #13

Horns by Joe Hill

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first, Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who had been raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once, the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed. But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. Nothing Ig can do or say matters. Everyone it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone that is, but the devil inside. . . .

Now Ig is possessed of a terrible new power—a macabre talent he intends to use to find the monster who killed Merrin and destroyed his life. It’s time for a little revenge . . . it’s time the devil had his due . . . (via Goodreads)

I picked up Horns due to its Stoker nominee status. It’s been a while since I’ve read any contemporary horror, and the premise of this book is related to the devil, a topic that is handled considerably less often than zombies and vampires. I remember trying to read Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box a few years back but it never caught with me. The beginning of Horns is a major hook. A man wakes up with horns. Where do we go from here?

The hook was enough to carry me through unsympathetic characters and a pile of bland back-story. There’s a very interesting tale of good, evil, love and forgiveness in this novel, but it’s stuffed into the last third of  the book. The other two-thirds are uncomfortable and boring. Mostly the  latter. The story of these characters before Merrin’s death is not that interesting and not that needed. I’ve heard that Hill is quite a good short story writer. If that’s so, I wish he would have condensed those annoyingly flat chapters. By the end of the novel, Hill does a fair job of fitting together the pieces of the plot, and there are some nice touches, but he goes through great lengths to tie everything up when it’s not needed either.

In all, it was an okay book, but not one I’d recommend.

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Women’s League 2011, Finals

Women’s league finals were last night. Sno-Balls, my team, was the considerable underdog, but the majority of our players showed up and played hard.

We traded points for a while, but the undefeated Lucky Charms took the lead and went up 6-2 or so*. Somewhere in there I threw a Callahan, effectively giving Charms a point. I cursed, cursed some more, removed myself from the game, offered some beer to sideline spectators, and by the time I reengaged, Sno-Balls had whittled the lead down to about 6-4. The points were long. We probably didn’t get started early, but at 6-4, it was already 9:20pm. The game was also pretty chippy. There were probably more foul calls in this game that there had been all season.

I believe we traded points, more or less, and Lucky Charms took half. When soft cap was called, the score was 8-6 Charms, game to 10 points. We rattled off a couple points and it was 8-8 when hard cap was called. Universe point! Pretty much the same situation as the first game of the season. We pulled to them, got a D and marched it down the field. Monika threw a score to Marnie…and there was a call about whether Marnie was in or not. Discussion ensued. It was decided that Marnie wasn’t in, no game-winning score. There were a couple more turn-overs, but eventually, Lucky Charms threw a clean score. Lucky Charms won, 9-8, taking the championship.

I had joked on the way to the fields that I didn’t want another 17 point game against Lucky Charms (referring to our 2-15 loss to them a few weeks back). Well, it was a 17 point game, a much better game, but the outcome was the same. We lost by one and, whatever the controversy regarding the last point,  I am kicking myself for throwing the Callahan. One point gave them the game.

But! It was a really fun season. Last night, we had a great group of spectators and plethora of drinks and food. It was Betsy’s last game in the Valley and I’m super glad that she and Sarah drafted me and the rest of team. Everyone on Sno-Balls played hard and had such great attitudes. That’s ultimate at its best.

*It should be noted that I have a terrible memory when it comes to ultimate (and many things). This is a rough approximation of what actually happened.

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#RoW80 Round 2 Wrap-Up

The plan was:
April: 10% cut edit on Divine Fire .
May: Finish an assortment of Divine Fire.
June: Moved back to working on Luck for Hire before the round ended.
With some leeway for our trip to Omaha.

Got through April with no problems. Got through the first week of May on schedule. Then I had to go to Omaha a week earlier than I planned and the wheels came off. Today is the end of the round and I haven’t even finished what I need to get done on Divine Fire.

I’ve managed to cross off a couple more things off my June list:

  • Market scene
  • Rewrite beginning of scene following market scene
  • Propagate changes
  • Balito lead-in
  • Danielle’s party
  • Send out 5 6 4 queries/submissions (by the end of this week)

Eric has pointed out a couple more changes that need to be done as well. I’m going to continue working on Divine Fire until the beginning of next round.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Spring Reading Thing Recap

I finished seven books during the Spring Reading Thing, and started a bunch more. I was helped  somewhat by two other overlapping events:  Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon and #ToBeReMo.

Did you finish reading all the books on your spring reading list? If not, why not? Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?

My initial list was hijacked by a trip to the library and a new reading/free writing plan, but that’s just fine. Any list I make is pretty malleable. 😉 Below is my original list. Completed books are crossed out.

  • Finish Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter (Women of Fantasy, Spec Fic)
  • The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Women of Science Fiction, Spec Fic)
  • Finish Jo’s Girls ed. by Christian McEwen
  • Finish Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle (Spec Fic)
  • Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff (Read Me Baby)
  • The Flight of the Eisenstein by James Swallow (Spec Fic)
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (Read Me Baby)
  • The Call of Stories by Robert Coles (Read Me Baby)

I actually did not finish Connie Willis’s The Doomsday Book. After reading half of it, I found that I did not care for it. I did start reading Coles’ The Call of Stories, but decided that I wanted to read I, Asimov instead. That’s enough writers writing about writing at once.

Additionally, I read short stories and novellas, Shutter Island, Wild Mind, Torn Wings and Faux Pas, and Moneyball. All my reading notes can be found under the “spring thing” tag.

What was your favorite book that you read this spring? Least favorite? Why?

Favorite? Peter Beagle’s Sleight of Hand. It’s a slightly uneven anthology, but the best stories are very, very good. I would expect to say that the Schmendrick story would be my favorite, but “The Rabbi’s Hobby” might rank as one of my favorite stories, ever.  Least favorite? I didn’t find either of the books that I read through the Women of Science Fiction to be very good. Willis’, I gave up on because it was very long winded and the technology wasn’t even at all. Prospero Lost wasn’t a really a whole story, but wasn’t compelling enough for me to want to read the next installment.

Did you discover a new author or genre this spring? Did you love them? Not love them?

Of the authors whose books I finished, Willis and Lamplighter were the authors I had not read previously. I didn’t care for either. I’m a pretty hard sell.

Did you learn something new because of Spring Reading Thing 2011 – something about reading, about yourself, or about a topic you read about?

I knew almost nothing about baseball before I read Moneyball. I also started using Goodreads during Spring Reading Thing and have realize how mush of a compulsive book starter I am. I’m currently reading five other books (and maybe two others…).

What was your favorite thing about the challenge?

I like to have reasons to list and keep track of things. It’s neat to look back at a chunk of time and see what progress has been made.

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RoW80 – June 19th Check In

My "to be done by the end of the round (Thursday)" list is becoming a "to be done by the beginning of the next round" list.

  • Market scene
  • Rewrite beginning of scene following market scene
  • Propagate changes
  • Balito lead-in
  • Danielle’s party
  • Send out 5 6 queries/submissions (by the end of this week)

Not doing much has not made me happy. One would think that that would be enough incentive to change.

Eric has threatened that, if I don’t show him two scenes by Wednesday, he’s going to require me to add a subplot to Divine Fire involving my favorite characters. The carrot: it would be fun to write about my favorite characters. The stick: adding a subplot would be a large amount of work. Don’t try to puzzle through this deal. It only makes peripheral sense to me. Sadly, as twisted as it is, it will probably work, thus reinforcing Eric’s screwy deal-making behavior. Plus, since he’s somewhat bored with what he should be doing, there’s a good chance that he’s going to come up with a devastatingly good subplot that I will really want to write. Such is the nature of our relationship.