Archive for December, 2012


Guess what — I’ve decided to make 2013 my final year of writing.  As in writing books.  Novels.  Stories.  Fiction.

Unless at least one of my novels becomes a bestseller this year, then that’s it.  I just can’t do this anymore.  And the funny thing is, I’m kinda happy about my decision.  Or maybe it just gives me a sense of peace.

This means The Compass Master or my two forthcoming Charity MacCay novels have gotta pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get out there and sell themselves,  or they’re headed for the dustbin of literature, which is a very  crowded, very bleak place.  They’ve got to do this because I myself suck like a Dyson vacuum at sales and marketing.

Besides, I’m not setting an unrealistic high bar here.  I’ve decided that if just one of my books makes a local bestseller list for one week, or, say, into the top 200 on Amazon, then I’ll be happy as a pig in clover and maybe (I wouldn’t swear to it) I’ll try my hand at writing for another year.  In the meantime, I’ll be spending 2013 editing and publishing my two Charity books, which will probably be enough to make me happy I’m swearing off my vile, destructive, unhealthy addiction to writing.

And what will I do if I don’t write?

Oh, I dunno — have a real LIFE maybe?  Get out again and DO stuff instead of writing about it?

Just so you know, this decision has been brewing in me for a while, but the tipping point came on Christmas Eve night when two family members (NOT my Mom, who’s very supportive), neither of whom has finished Compass or read the manuscripts to Charity, told me I shouldn’t be writing fiction, I should write non-fiction.  Which, I assume, they won’t read either.

Oddly enough, their opinion was the first thing I thought of hours later when I woke up with food poisoning (4:30 a.m. to be exact) and proceeded to bond with the porcelain in the bathroom.  And on Christmas night, as I lay curled up on on my mother’s sofa under a nice warm blanky and nibbling on a dried piece of toast (Gawd, I was such a pathetic sight), I decided Oh, to hell with it.  2013 ends and I call it quits.  Nice, how this gave me a feeling of closure.  I also vowed never again to combine too much wine with too many different foods.

Will I blog past this new year?  Most likely, given how mouthy and opinionated I am.  But this blog, like all things in life, will go through changes.

Meanwhile, I’ve found that I really enjoy visiting other writers’ blogs and saying hi and cheering them on.  I am SO impressed with the pals I’ve made here in cyberspace and their phenom talent.  You guys are great.

So here’s to 2013 and great success and happiness to you all.  And to me, in whatever form that might take.  Love ya.

First off today, do yourself a favor and swing over to Michael Offut’s blog at http://slckismet.blogspot.com/.  Michael is fabulous, funny, scary smart, multitalented, and opinionated (bless him, ’cause so am I), and starting this week he’s on a blog tour for his new book Oculus.  You’ll find the links for the tour over there.

For me his first novel Slipstream was an exciting scifi treat.  So if Oculus is half as good (it’s the second installment in his planned trilogy), then I’ll love it.  Hope you do too.

Second factoid on my list:  I failed to sign up too for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Alexfest.  Besides being a successful scifi novelist, Alex is an all around good guy and a great blogger — I mean, a truly great blogger who cheers on his fellow writers  and is an endless source of support and helpful info.  So here is my humble and belated salute to the great Ninja Alex.

Sigh.  Maybe in 2013 I’ll stop being always a day late and a dollar short.  But I will offer an excuse for the last couple weeks  in that a coworker has had to take several days off, which meant I’ve been doing double duty.   I am sooooo tired!

And now the funnies.

Considering the horrific news out of Connecticut, maybe there’s something very wrong about posting a couple lighthearted jokes here.  I’m still so horrified and furious and immensely saddened, and so unable even to look at the news (and this after what happened at the movie theater here in Colorado), that if I don’t share a laugh I’ll keep crying.

Here’s the first funny:  It’s the Colbert Report’s video of Downton Abbey mixed with Breaking Bad, and if you’re a Downton freak like me you’ll love it.  Be forewarned — this is the uncensored version, so there’s colorful meth-infused language.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/422221/december-13-2012/uncensored—breaking-abbey

Doesn’t this make you want to see Downton Abby meets The Walking Dead?

And this next funny thing — or else it’s just appalling — is something a friend pointed out to me.

Yes, that is a black dress you are looking at.  An incredibly ugly black dress from the expensive designer label Comme des Garcons, originally $1065 (THIS IS NOT A TYPO!) now marked down to a perfectly reasonable $348.  Polyester.  Dry Clean Only.

Then there’s the floral version.

It’s marked down from $1735.00.

My reaction is of course…

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I mean, was the designer hallucinating?  Forgot to take his medication?  Was the buyer at Saks stoned out of his lopsided gourd?  And are there really, truly women out there stupid and blind enough to spend even two bucks on these absurdities?

Then again, I’d like to thank Comme des Garcons for pointing out to me the bright side of not being able to afford designer clothes.

Have a very good last week of work before the holidays.

 

There’s some really good news for us writers who are self-published – a.k.a. “indie authors.” It’s even the kind of news that just might make the Big 6 traditional publishers get very nervous.

The New York Times has reviewed a self-published book.

Did you hear me?  The freakin’ NEW YORK TIMES!  Not only that, its grande dame of reviewers, Michiko Kakutani herself, wrote the long review of The Revolution Was Televised, by blogger Alan Sepinwall, and called it “a terrific book.”

OMG. I mean, this really is a breakthrough.

Think I’m kidding? Forbes ran a piece under the headline, “New York Times Reviews Self-Published Book.”  And what, among other things, does the Forbes article say?  “The best of self-publishing can compete on equal terms with the best of traditional publishing, as Sepinwell so ably demonstrates.”

And that’s not all.

The Revolution has also been reviewed by the New Yorker (double OMG) and Time and The Hollywood Reporter.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are witnessing the dawn of a new age in publishing.  Slowly, very slowly but inevitably, some nourishing raindrops of respect are falling upon books that have not been approved by any gatekeeper but instead have been humbly self-published by the lowly author.

Of course there are important details to point out.  First off, the author WROTE “a terrific book.”  Then he tried to be as professional as possible with the publishing details, including hiring an editor and cover artist.  There’s an interview with Alan Sepinwall about his process here:

http://jimromenesko.com/2012/11/30/the-story-behind-alan-sepinwalls-book-and-james-gandolfinis-dent/

Kudos to him.  Oh, and what helped him promote his book was the platform for his popular blog and his “social media presence.”

Okay, so in this last respect I’m at the bottom end of the SMP feeding chain.  But I do like to think that at least I pulled off a professional job in the publishing details for my own Compass Master.  It’s just my promotion that sucks.

So for all my blogging friends – both the indie and the traditionally published – have a wonderful week.  I really do think things are looking up for us all.

My Poor Old Body

on December 2, 2012 in Misc 15 Comments »

You know what?  We writers sit way too much.  Especially when we also have day jobs where we sit all day at desks.

Too much sitting isn’t good for you.  It lowers your metabolism. It can lead to diabetes and other medical problems.  And in my case, it has shortened certain muscles that hurt like hell to stretch out again.

Remember my left leg and hip problem?

I told you a while back about how they were hurting.  Besides too much sedentary work, what hasn’t helped me is being a fencer, which means moving and lunging only on my right side.  Then there’s the very slight (3/8”) differential in my leg lengths.  So maybe it shouldn’t have been a big surprise last August when my left hip started giving me screaming aches and pains.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t screaming.  But I’m a writer and like to be dramatic.

Well, I ran through my insurance-allotted 12 physical therapy sessions pretty quickly, and some nutritional supplements also helped.  Now I’ve discovered that I only feel better not only when I keep up my therapy exercises but when I get into certain stretching positions and hold them … and hold them… and hold them….

Talk about a real pain.

See, the therapists were having me do a couple stretches that last 45 seconds, switch legs, then do again.  But for my body this is too wuss.  Instead I’ve found I should get into several different very uncomfortable positions and stay in them for three to six minutes each.  Then repeat that night.  And do other stretches during the day.

The funny thing is, I’ve always done stretches and have long considered myself to be fairly limber.  But it turns out I’ve only been taking care of this big muscles over here and that one over there, and meanwhile these little funky muscles I never knew about were shrinking like wool in hot water (aggravated by sitting and normal aging), and since everything in my body is connected, this shrinking muscle pulled on that one, which tightened up a tendon, which pulled another muscle out of whack… and so forth.

One small bonus:  I can only do these stretches while watching TV, and that gives me an excuse to watch some shows.  This is because I’m literally in a position where I can’t do much anything else because I’m on my floor mat in various pretzel positions and gripping certain body parts.

Anyway, I really am lucky.  I mean, it’s just aches and pains.  I know so many people – including teenagers – who’ve had knee replacements, or have blown out their knees skiing, or needed shoulder surgery, or elbow surgery, or their backs have hurt them for years.  One older guy in fencing has a bad back but he can still whup the tar out of me in every bout.

So let my sorry, sore body be a lesson to you.  As you sit at your computers and write your novels, get up frequently and MOVE and STRETCH and RUN AROUND THE HOUSE and whatever else feels good.  Your body will love you for it.