Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pre-Year End Evaluation

Today is the last day of November. Tomorrow is December 1st.  In a mere 31 days, not only will December be gone, but also the year 2011.  Where did it go?

Rather than focus on the "where" of the year, let's focus on the "what" of the year. 

WHAT did you accomplish?

There are 365 days in a year and in my working days (retired now) I would say that each new day was a whole new chance to screw up.  Sort of a lame excuse to face a new day, wouldn't you say?

I'm retired and each day I now realize that I'm moving closer to my final reward but until that day, I want to make the days actually mean something.  So again, there are 365 days and how did I use them?

In November I used 30 days to write a whole new novel.  Yes, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and wrote 50 thousand words in 30 days.  Well, actually I wrote over 53k words and have at my fingertips a great story with absolutely crappy writing.  I will let it rest until after the New Year and then decide to address the poor grammar, spelling, plot, etc. and edit the project.

Only 335 days more to cover.  I can't be accurate since I didn't timecard myself during the year but I know I spent time editing a book to publish and got "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold" done in both paperback and ebook format.  Between edits and learning curve on Amazon's Kindle and CreateSpace, I figure I spent at least 4 to 5 months on that.  I also did some editing on another novel which I hope to release after the first of the year -- "The Legend of Pangea" which took another 2 months.

There!  That is definitely a half year squandered.  Only another 155 days left to go.

All work and no play makes for a boring life.  I mowed the yard, worked a garden, weeded flower beds, traveled to Texas for Mardi Gras, went camping a couple of weeks, did some days of gambling at the casinos and visited with family.

And during that time, three anthologies that I'd submitted to got published -- "Shadow Street," "Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels," and "Mother Goose Is Dead."  

Oh, wow, I forgot I also e-published a short story in book format entitled "Coleen" which is a little ditty about how Ayrold and Queen Arienne met and introduces some of the main characters from my novel "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold."  That endeavor took about a month.

I also wrote stories for other anthologies which weren't released this year (yet) and might be coming out right after the first of the year -- a zombie anthology, a forsaken anthology, and a how-to-write horror book.

There, the year wasn't wasted and I think it had a pretty good return. So, overall, I'd say it was a pretty good year and seems to have the beginnings of a new year already being processed.

In case you didn't realize it yet - I love writing.

Until next I blog...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo and How History Works

First I apologize to all my readers for skipping out last week.  To be quite honest, last week was NOT a good week: too much chaos, not enough quiet.

On the NaNoWriMo front -- November means NaNo -- things aren't looking good there.  Because of last week, my count is waaaaay down.  I am hoping by forcing myself to more than double my 1700 daily word count, I will be caught back up in a week.  It really shouldn't be too difficult.  When a writer is creating a new piece, s/he must mentally get the image or thought clearly before putting it to words.  For me this is an easy thing since much of it is already imprinted there from my youth.  I'm not saying this is a real story but there are truths being woven into the fiction.  As such, very little imagination usage.  This year the parts that make me stop and think are the Amish aspects.  I remember a lot of the civil rights issues, Vietnam War and I most certainly remember my high school days.  BUT, how does an Amish person cope with the realities of high school.  A friend said just to write it and don't sweat the Amish aspect too much.  Huh?  Exactly how many Amish boys have you seen running around in white t-shirts and shorts for phys-ed, not to mention a jock strap?  That was a slow down point.  And God forbid... shirts and no-shirts football.

Yes, I remember the Civil Rights of the early 60s but having attended and living in a rural all-white area, it was a distant issue.  Not until 1965 when I joined the military did I actually get into and see the pulse of the movement.

Do you remember the language of the period?  What was a slang of 1961?  Everybody remembers the 60s as the era of the hippies BUT they really didn't come into the spotlight until the latter half of the 60s.  Everyone remembers "Laugh-In" with Rowan and Martin but they forget that wasn't until the very late 60s.  The early 60s -- 1961 through 1965 -- were the quieter, less hippified years.  There was some turmoil but it was played down.  Even the Beatles didn't really hit the scene until 1963 and in 1964 they made their Ed Sullivan debut.  Until then, rock was very sublime with Ray Orbison's "Only the Lonely" (1960) and "Pretty Woman" (1964).  OK, we still had the renegade Elvis in the early 60s but by then we were pretty much jaded by the hip shaking. In fact, the kids were doing all sorts of strange dances like The Twist.  The 1965 calm ended with The Righteous Brothers singing "Unchained Melody" which was in major contrast to "What's New Pussycat" by Tom Jones which I heard for the first time while in boot camp getting my 'summer' haircut.  Thank God they made me wear a hat when outside or I'd have burned straight down to the brain.  (And yes, the verdict is still out on that!)

Anyway, it is amazing how some things are blurred and remembered. An intriguing aspect is how we seem to romanticize our memories.  I was forced into mess hall duty for 3 whole months.  It was the pits and I wanted to just crawl away and hide I was so miserable.  Today, a few years later (about 40+) it all seems to quaint and I remember the fun things about it.  Of course, at the moment I was experiencing that 'fun' it really didn't seem such.  Even bad moments in a life can get a little bling or silver lining added.

So, if you're doing NaNoWriMo, how are you hanging in there?  According to my calendar, today is Tuesday, November 15 and right off hand I'd say that is obviously the half-way mark so you should have at least 25k, or if using my cheat-sheet I offered, 25.5k, before midnight tonight.

I am still working on interviewing.  I have a couple of authors and one publisher lined up.  Just need to get the interview done.  My fault if anyone is into finger pointing.

For the readers in my group -- my book (yes, the feely-touchy kind) is available at Amazon now.  Go buy your copy of "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold" ... and while you're out there, check out "Shadow Street" and "The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels: Vol 1" which were also released in book form in the last week to 10 days.
Until next I blog...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Are you in or just watching the panic from a safe distance?

Me?  I'm in.  Today is day one of the thirty day marathon.  I have participated ... counting this time ... a total of 11 yrs.  I did it the 2nd year of existence on a lark with a friend and there was 8 of us in the group.  Since there was only something like 140 people participating that year -- that makes us more than 5% of the participants.  Wow.  Our group was basically me, in Ohio and them in parts of Oregon and California.

Unfortunately I didn't complete it that year due to my father passing away in October.  I thought it would be a good thing to help me think about other stuff but my mom was in need of help.  PLUS, of all the things to attempt to write -- a cookbook?  Really?  I got so wrapped up with formatting recipes and making sure it looked right and well...  Okay, I got over 35k written on my pecan cookbook and it has languished in cyberspace ever since.  Really should pull that puppy out -- it has some super great recipes.  Something to consider in 2012...

Anyway, I skipped  2001 and then was sucked back into it in 2002 with a totally different friend who was local.  Needless to say, I completed the marathon and had a complete, but rough, novel.  I've been doing it every year since, always saying I won't do it again and yet finding a story screaming inside my head and wanting to be free.  So I relent and jump on the chaotic merry-go-round of National Novel Writing Month.  I'm really psyched about this year's story.  You can read the first chapter and what my novel is about at

So, how many of you are attempting it?  Share with me your anguish, your sorrow, your fears, your joy, your tears and anything you think will help all of us finish this craziness we've joined.

Hmm?  Wonder if I can count this as part of my 50k?  Probably not, so I'll keep it short.

Be sure to share and by all means, let me know if you cross the finish line with 50k whether you're done with the novel or not.  My one buddy usually does upwards of 100k... I think last year he did even more.  He's such an overachiever. LOL.

Until next I ramble on...