Posted in Male Author, Novella, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Monday Miscellanea, 11/28/22

Read & Reading

Cover: The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard & Arthur Conan Doyle
Cover: Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright
Cover: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro

Finished The Greyhound of the Baskervilles by John Gaspard and Arthur Conan Doyle. This mystery asks, “What if Sherlock Holmes was a dog person?” It’s a retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but from the point of view of Septimus, Holmes’ pet greyhound. It’s a fine adaptation, a freebie I had picked up because I’ve read Gaspard’s Eli Marks mysteries. It’s book #22 for my Beat the Backlog goal.

After finishing Greyhound, I headed to the elibrary for a Yuletide Challenge pick and found Christmas by Accident by Camron Wright. I like the occasional fluffy holiday romance. And then two hours later another book came off hold: Aliens: Vasquez by V. Castro. I also like the occasional military sci-fi movie tie-in.


Season 1 (2022)

I’m not a fan of supernatural clique boarding school stories, but I am a fan of Tim Burton and The Addams Family (the TV show and the 90s movies especially). So, in the words of my husband on the subject of Wednesday, I’m a sucker. The mystery story is fine, but for me the plot is secondary to the morbid quips and puns. Jenna Ortega is well cast and Wednesday’s interactions with her pastels-and-glitter roommate (Emma Myers) are particularly fun. All of the cast is great, aside from Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia) and Luis Guzmán (Gomez). I actually had high-hopes for that pairing but the two have no chemistry. Guzmán seemed too restrained and Zeta-Jones isn’t vampish enough. Tim Burton’s aesthetic is toned down too, but that’s just fine. It actually works really well with Barry Sonnenfeld’s movies.

Writing Update

NaNoWriMo 2022 Banner

Well, it’s the 28th of November and I’ve only written just over 28,000 words. And I marvel at the use of the word “only” in that previous sentence. That’s 10K more than I wrote last NaNoWriMo when I was tinkering with an old project.

My problem with NaNoWriMo is that is gets messy. Not just the manuscript, but my world. I let chores go and put off things I want to do. Yes, that’s a product of doing more writing work than I normally would, but it also makes me a bit nuts. Part of what I wanted to do with NaNo was to get into a stronger work schedule. Time will tell if that worked, but I’m definitely okay with going back to a more balanced life.

And I also hit the wall on how much story I had planned. I’m not a good planner. I’m also not great at “seeing where the story will take me.” So, at around 25,000 words I really needed to take some time and figure out what I’m doing. I’ve clarified the conflicts and have an end target.

I plan on getting to 30K by the end of the month and maybe shooting for another 20K by the middle of December.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 10/24/22

Readathon Wrap-Up

Saturday was Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. I managed about 21.25 hours, heading to bed just after 2am my time. That is pretty much how readathon always goes for me, though I only took a short nap in the morning.

Square banner for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon

What did I read?

  • 44% of It Came from the Closet, edited by Joe Vallese
  • 41% of My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
  • 3 articles
  • 6 “episodes” of WHEREWOLF
  • 2 short stories

I probably would have been better off DNFing My Heart is a Chainsaw and moving on to something else. The book just wasn’t clicking with me. I kept expecting it to pick up, but it didn’t.

Ultimate Frisbee

Club nationals were this past weekend and I kept some of the games on in the background during readathon and semi-watched finals on Sunday. There are two things that are currently bothering me about club ultimate: vert stack and the amount of contact that is occurring.

My problem with vertical stack is a pet peeve. I find it boring to watch; even the best teams stagnate and cuts out of vert stack are prone to picks and other stoppages of play. As a player, regimented vertical stack is also difficult to run at a recreational level because it requires an amount of talent, athleticism, and organization that really doesn’t exist at a community league level. That hasn’t stopped many club-level league captains from trying unsuccessfully to get it to work.

Likewise, the concern over amount of contact occurring might be because I’m an aging player who doesn’t want to deal with younger players who find bidding into a cutter to be an acceptable thing, even if they “got to the disc first.” But I feel like there’s been some disregard for ultimate being a non-contact sport. Additionally, I was very surprised at how often foul calls were contested, even when the foul was pretty obvious. It feels like players are maybe being coached to contest instead of taking responsibility for a bad decision.

Writing Check-In

I’m reorganizing my blog with separate posts for movie-watching and reading, but I haven’t decided if I want a separate post for writing. I don’t regularly have much to say about my writing other than usually brief updates. So, my Writing Check-In will stay here for the moment.

Square banner for NaNoWriMo 2022

Writing went pretty well last week. I added 4000 words to “California Gothic.” I don’t know what I think of those words, but I need to remember that I can’t edit and polish a draft if I don’t *have* a draft. Today, I’m going to reread my notes and what I’ve written and outline the rest what I need to do for that story. I’d like to finish the draft over the next two or three days and take the rest of the week to riff on my NaNoWriMo project.

And, yes, fine. Here we go. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. Even though it starts on a Tuesday, so help me. View all my messy NaNo journeys.

One new rejection for “The Aeronaut’s Wife.”

Posted in History

The End of #NaNoWriMo 2018

The problem with falling behind, but having a make-up plan, is that if you fall behind on the make-up plan, you’re kind of screwed. And partially, that’s what happened to me. I tapped out of NaNoWriMo last week with 32,907 words written.

But also I was at a point where my plot had shifted around a bit. One or two things weren’t working and, instead of piling on more errors, I decided to call it a day on the 50K goal.

Since last week, I’ve smoothed out some plot things and some character things. I have an ending in mind, which is a good thing. I’m doing some research and I’m looking forward to starting a 2nd draft/rewrite.

So, not a NaNoWriMo win, but 32K words that I didn’t have before and intentions to move forward. Still don’t have a title…

I used Mind Meister to put together my plot plan. It’s a work in progress.
Posted in History

Happy NaNoWriMo! Have a Free Book! 📚

Today is the first day of November. If you’re a writer, or you hang around writers, you also know that today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). World-wide (not just “nationally”), writers of every ilk will endeavor to write 50,000 words on a new novel by the end of the month.

But, does anything ever become of what’s written in November? The answer is: yes!

In fact, I just released The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress which has partial origins in NaNoWriMos of the past. I made a first stab at fiction featuring David P. Abbott back in 2012. It’s been a long road between that incarnation and the mystery novellas I’ve ultimately decided to write. As a celebration of NaNoWriMo, The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress is available for free from Amazon between now (Nov. 1st) and Monday, Nov. 5th! Just head over and download it to your Kindle or Kindle app.

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year with a whole new project, though there will still be a magician, a mystery, and probably several murders. No title yet. As of 11/1/18 2pm, I’m 2000 words in, only 48,000 more to go!

Posted in History, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

NaNoWriMo 2017 ~ Wrap-Up

My goal in November was to put aside Wicked Witch, Retired for a while get a grip on my One Ahead project. One Ahead is a series of short novella mysteries—what I’ve decided is probably the best form for the David Abbott stories I want to tell. My goal is to have three stories finished before I publish them. During November, I wanted to see just how much work I had left on this and actually, you know, do work.

Here’s what I did in November:

  • I reread the first story. It’s in pretty good shape. It still needs line editing.
  • Rewrote the second story. There are still a few things that need to be cleaned up and maybe a stronger bit of “B” plot to be added, but I think the bones are good.
  • Gathered bits I had written at other points in time and have added them to an incomplete plot framework for the third story. If that sounds particularly Frankensteiny, you’re not wrong. I didn’t get as far as I should have.

Word-count wise, not a strong month. I was taking 1/25 of word count for rereading, 1/5 of word count for rewriting, 1/1 of word count for writing new words and only managed a 9344 words. …That’s a long way from 50K. There was a lot of rewriting, something which I am very slow at doing, even if it’s actual word-for-word transcription. There are definitely weeks when I could have gotten more done.

I had planned to go back to WWR, but I have some momentum and renewed excitement about One Ahead. My reading schedule for the next month or more is pretty magic heavy as well.

Posted in Male Author, Nonfiction, Short Story

Post Hodgepodge – November 2017

When I don’t have much to say, but still want to post…

NaNoWriMo 2017 ~ Week 3 Update

Went through my previous NaNoWriMo attempts and pieced together about 2/3 of a story. I’m working my way through rewriting, but it hasn’t been without a few snags. (Mainly due to my dithering.)

Review ~ Salvation on Sand Mountain

Cover via Goodreads

Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington

For New York Times reporter Dennis Covington, what began as a journalistic assignment—covering the trial of an Alabama pastor convicted of attempting to murder his wife with poisonous snakes—would evolve into a headlong plunge into a bizarre, mysterious, and ultimately irresistible world of unshakable faith: the world of holiness snake handling. Set in the heart of Appalachia, Salvation on Sand Mountain is Covington’s unsurpassed and chillingly captivating exploration of the nature, power, and extremity of faith—an exploration that gradually turns inward, until Covington finds himself taking up the snakes. (via Goodreads)

This book was a random find from my neighborhood’s free little library. “Faith-based snake handling,” I thought. “There’s a topic I never knew I wanted to know about.” Unfortunately, though, Salvation on Snake Mountain has an identity crisis, one that Covington admits to in the 15th anniversary edition’s Afterword. What started out as a news item morphed into something personal for the author, but Covington tries to straddle the line between journalism and memoir, not committing to one or the other. I think that’s to the book’s detriment. Still, an interesting book about something I only knew about as a stereotype.

Publishing info, my copy: trade paperback, Da Capo Press, 1994 (2009)
Acquired: Neighborhood Free Little Library, 2/21/17
Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Deal Me In, Week 47

(What’s Deal Me In?)

“The Music of the Yellow Brass” by  Charles Beaumont

Card picked: 2 – Deuces are WILD!

Since I’m setting up my list for next year’s Deal Me In, I had no “loose” stories. Instead, through a convoluted wandering around the internet, I landed on an audio collection of Charles Beaumont’s stories and listened to the first one. I was vaguely familiar with Beaumont’s name. Turns out, he’s a golden age speculative fiction author, somewhat renowned for his work on The Twilight Zone TV show. And I ended up listening to a story with absolutely no speculative fiction aspects what-so-ever.

Jaunito is a skinny young man, a torero in training, who is miraculously given the chance at a fight with lots of money on the line for him and his mentor Enrique. It is all too good to be true. Sometimes, it’s not just the bull’s blood that the crowd wants to see.

I enjoyed Beaumont’s writing, providing a slice of bull-fighting life.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Week 2 Update

What Am I Doing? – Magical Rebellion 2017

Finished rewriting “The Horrid Haunting.” Man, that word count makes it feel like I haven’t done any work… (I’m taking 1/5 words for rewriting.)

5386 / 50000

But, I do feel like the story is pretty solid. It needs a couple of things cleaned up and it’s a little short. “The Horrid Haunting” could use a more solid B plot.

I am a little behind. I wanted to finish the rewrite by last weekend. Didn’t happen. Now, I have two weeks to write the third story. I’ve been going through my notes.