Friday, December 28, 2007

Yer End

Last Book Read: Dune by Frank Herbert

This month has delivered an abundance of introspection, analysis, and navel gazing. More than the usual calendrical summation, I've pondered the greater effort of writing these past couple years. As someone said to me in an e-mail: "What's the point of all this?"

In terms of goals, I've done well for the last quarter. The disappointments were not getting an earlier novel, Chasing Midnight into a marketable length, and not getting the new novel done during NaNoWriMo. But, I kept short stories in submission, and organized a great book launch. Really, nothing to be disappointed about.

The whole year has been good to me: writing friends found, stories published, and time to write. Nothing to complain about.

So, to get off the maudlin roller coaster, some cold, hard facts about the writing effort. Over the past 18 months, for all the goals set, I have a 50% success ratio. Not bad, but doesn't say much for my planning abilities.

For 2007, I tracked the amount of time I spent in writing related activities. I didn't capture each and every moment, but figure I missed recording every category at about the same rate. Total hours tracked climbed up over 400.

I was surprised that blogging came to only 8% of the whole. Enlightening was the fact that editing made up 33% while writing, new words on the page, was 23%. I'd like to flip that one in the future.

And writing/editing only comprised 56% of total effort. Maybe this is okay given the other activities (event planning, research, etc.) but it seems short. And given the 8,760 hours available in a year, spending just a hair over 4% of all my time on writing seems inadequate.

Especially given how little sleep I get.

Blogging is an easy target for redress. I've spent almost an hour on this post alone (and given the length, I'm sure you feel the same). Going back through all the posts, I discovered that four people who have made comments over the year plus have gone on hiatus or given up on their own blogs. And noteworthy for a blog on writing, the two posts that have gotten the most comments were about soccer and cartoons. So, what's the point of this?

It's fun. So blogging stays, maybe back to once a week. As for additional goals for the new year, I'm still thinking.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Jeer

I have come across two MySpace pages that don't look like the internet threw up in my browser.

The first one is the Liars' League, a non-paying online zine with a twist. Each month features a theme for which stories are solicited. If selected, the story is posted in the blog and read before a live audience by an actor.

The theme for December is 'Santa and Satan'. I seem to have hit a groove with twisted holiday stories. Last year I had a couple accepted, and now "Sour Notes" has been performed by the Liars' League.

[EDIT: The full text is up, click here to read it. ]
The full text story is not up yet. The brilliant performance by actor Steven Wedd can be heard at Liars' League Listen. If that link goes away later, the mp3 file can also be downloaded from my website.

The second MySpace page I like is by a group called The Slighted out in Los Angeles. I could be biased on that one since my sister plays drums for the band.

Best wishes for the holidays and a wonderful new year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Follow The Leader

Getting in the conga-meme line behind fellow writer Steve Buchheit to post my weekday schedule. Why? I'm still working on that one.

6:00am ~ Alarm clock goes off in the form of a cat walking on my head. Attempts to reprogram this alarm clock over the years have failed.

6 - 7:30am ~ Drink coffee, check e-mail, pay obeisance to the To-Do list, and generally try to get into a positive frame of mind to greet the day.

7:30 - 9:30am ~ Clock in on JOB #1, stay-at-home parent. Get the other household members up and moving and ready for their respective days. Pack their lunches and send them off into that cold, cold world. Really, it's 21 degrees outside as I write this.

9:30 - 12ish ~ JOB #2, writer, gets a chance. Writing, editing, blogging, event planning, researching, and more writing.

12ish - 3:00pm ~ Things get tricky as demands pile up. Various household chores for JOB #1 come into play. JOB #3, web consultant, is starting to require more time. I try to keep focused on JOB #2 but discipline wavers at this point.

3:00 - 8:00pm ~ JOB #1 all the way, some tasks varying depending on the day (groceries, library, bill paying, etc.) with dinner prep taking an hour plus (what can I say, I work slow).

8:00pm - 1:00am ~ Spend three nights a week at JOB #4, arranging foodstuffs on shelves so that customers can mess it all up the following day (I try to have a Zen mindset, doing the work well for the sake of doing it well, otherwise I feel like Sisyphus). The other four nights JOB #3 gets some attention, but I also try to relax, spend time with family, catch up with the internet.

That is, for the most part, the weekday schedule. Weekends, all bets are off. Writing time is pretty limited. Other To-Do lists come into play.

Again, why post this? Part of it is rationalization, as if to say "Hey, I'm damn busy here!"

It does help me to analyze how I spend my time. I'm very, very, very fortunate to have that 9:30 - 3:00 block. With a bit more discipline, JOB #2 could get more attention. Publishing this publicly will keep me aware of how lucky I am and maybe keep me more focused.

The trick is making JOB #2 a better paying gig.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nostalgia For Sale

I am of a generation which grew up watching a lot of television. As early as elementary school I can remember connecting with other kids based on the shows we watched in common. Water bubbler talk, if you will.

Many of the shows had a SF/F bent, and I have a fond, if vague recollection of them. It doesn't surprise me how well Hollywood has exploited this nostalgia, pushing emotional buttons to extract cash for a chance to re-live those days, if only in the form of bad movies.

However, I can't think of any cartoon that has been successfully revived. The ones that come to mind, Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Inspector Gadget, Rocky and Bullwinkle, just looked horrible. At least in the trailers. I haven't seen any of those movies. What do you think? Have I missed a good one? Any cartoons you'd love, or dread, to see on the big screen?

Perhaps part of the problem is the transition to live action. I don't know why someone doesn't just make a new feature length animation. I guess it doesn't work that way.

The first one to even spark an interest in me was Underdog. Last summer I was driving with a friend when I saw the billboard advertisement along the highway.

ME: Oh man, look! A movie version of Underdog! That's going to be so-


ME: But, but, but, it's Underdog! It'll be so-

FRIEND: No, it won't. It's live action, with animals. TALKING ANIMALS.

ME: D'oh!

Remember: Friends don't let friends see bad movies.

Unfortunately, another attempt is coming to a theater near you and me. I'm afraid Hollywood has got my number this time.

Speed Racer.

I know I'm way behind the curve. It's been in development for quite a while. My first reaction upon seeing the news yesterday was "Oh man, look! A movie version of Speed Racer! That is going to be so cool!"

One point in its favor is it's being made by the Wachowski brothers. I mean, if they are involved, it just has to be cool, doesn't it? Maybe?

A trailer has been released:
Hi-res, slow loading version.
Lower-res, faster loading YouTube version.

Watching the trailer, Speed shooting down a candy colored race track, I started having flash backs to Tron. Which is to say I started having doubts. Maybe even the Wachowski's can't pull this off. Watching, wavering, the thought occurred to me: if this trailer shows Racer X, I'm toast. Wait, wait for it, and ... Racer X.

I am so going to see this movie next year.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Thank goodness it's over. Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic East Coast Book Launch Party, that is.

Actually, it's been over for a few days. Today brought closure as final details were taken care of. The party was a success. People showed up, authors read, everyone cheered. Even better, after all the readings everyone stayed, ate food, talked, laughed and had a good time. At that point, I think I was finally able to relax.

Photos are up over on the event blog. I'll be embedding video there as well, soon as everyone decides if they like what is posted.

Many, many, many thanks to Karen A. Romanko for supporting the whole idea of a East coast launch, Pandemonium Books for hosting the event, all the authors, Paul L. Bates, Alex Dally MacFarlane, E. C. Myers, Adam Nakama, and Stephen D. Rogers (and his writing partner), and most of all to the audience members who came out to hear our stories.

For your enjoyment, or just a few laughs, my reading: