Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Perfect Rainy Day

Today was a chilly 58 degrees with on & off rain. Not a beach forecast but great for writing. After a noon visit to my favorite local 'joint' The South Beach Grill where my favorite bartender Eddie, hooked me up with one of his superior Bloody Marys while I ordered lunch 'to go' (Blackened shrimp tacos & a Breakers Salad with Mahi), I finally settled in to do some serious work. I edited some later chapters of my 'completed' MS (it's always possible to find something to tweak) & then cranked out almost 2 chapters of my 2nd MS (1st draft) - another YA adventure. I have a general idea where book 2 will go but I've not written an outline. Many writers like to outline their story before starting on the first draft & try to stick with the plot & character plan. Maybe that works, I dunno. My preference is to let the story flow & work itself out as I go with a special emphasis on building the characters & scenes. It may require more severe edits & rewrites from the initial draft but I don't mind re-working. Comparing copies of draft files with the more polished versions is pretty cool since you get to see how the work improves from one draft to another. Time to call it a day (past midnight despite the blog clock). Kinda hopin' it rains again tomorrow - & Eddie's Bloody Marys are $2 off on Sunday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The House of The Seven Gables

I keep saying 2008 has to be better than '07. Really - it's gotta be. Well, the first 1/12th of the year is a week from ending & we've already had our share of "stuff" with my wife being so sick. She's better now, thankfully, so maybe we can start the new year over. Now I'm not superstitious (other than during the days when I coached HS baseball) but, I'm startin' to wonder. Our house was built in 2003 and we bought it in mid 2005. The original owners were very particular & did a great job with their planning & customized everything just about the way we would have. The original middle-aged owner passed away suddenly late in '04 & we bought the home from his wife (the day she put it on the market). Settlement was a happy/sad kind of experience with that history in mind. So tonight I'm walking from my mailbox at the end of the driveway, the moon is really bright, & I'm looking at the house &, for reasons unknown, started counting the gables. I even walked around to the back to complete the count. Yep, we've got 7 gables. Sheesh.......

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Agent Blogs

There are a handful of agent blogs that I check out daily & some other blogs (agents & writers) that I stop by to visit periodically. I can see where it could become an addiction & take up a ton of time - something I just don't have. Nathan Bransford is getting ready to start up another contest on his blog - poor bugger - & is looking for input on the contest type & prize. He must be a workaholic. His blog is terrific, always upbeat, usually funny & he always offers down to earth advice on publishing topics. (His taste in TV is a bit offbeat.) BookEnds is another daily stop. Jessica @ BE patiently deals with the wannabe crowd with advice that is truly helpful & has put quite an effort into offering pitch critiques (from a post a few months back). Not as funny as NB but very pleasant & personable, &, I understand, she has been granted sainthood. Pub Rants (Nelson Literary) is another good one. Kristen Nelson comments often on the submission process, deal making, & contract hurdles, using helpful samples & stats. I think agents like these (& there are others that I may mention in another post) guarantee their own success. If they're willing to take on extra work to help non clients, imagine the effort they put into representation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MS Titles

Still struggling with a title for my completed YA. I want something that will grab attention & describe the contents. I hate bait & switch or titles that focus on a relatively small part of a story. The main characters in my MS all surf & there are portions that describe times when they do (or kite board). I don't commit very many pages or words to it. It's semi important, not the main theme, and I don't want a misleading title. Last week I was finally excited about a title that literally covered all the bases. Short - Sorta Scary & To The Point. Boy am I a creative genius. Last night I 'heard my title' being played on TV. I'm not so creative after all. The song is from way back (southern rock) & one I always liked. I can't believe I didn't realize it was actually a song title when I 'dreamed it up.' So, the struggle will continue. Maybe I'll shelve it (again) & resume work on the newer project - which I will probably shelve when finished 'cause I won't figure out a decent title for that one either.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We Interrupt This Writing .......

I was having a blast writing for most of the day (while my wife continues to recuperate). I could hear the TV in the other room change from the normal programming to an interruption for a weather warning. My ears perked up. It sounded serious. I went in the other room & changed the channel to local programming. Big time tornado warning, & they're showing the track of the storm & warning that we will be hit within 10 minutes or less. The way they were describing the track, I was waiting to hear the TV dude announce my address!! Geez. This is a very well built home, but I don't want to take chances by not being prepared. Priority 1 - bring the cat in from the back porch #2 - grab my cigars & cell phone out of my truck #3 Pack up my laptop & throw it in the back seat of the Durango (which is always in the garage) #4 - Make a 1/2 a pot of coffee (in case the power goes out). My under the weather love of my life? - She changed clothes, fixed her hair (why?), grabbed the jewelry, her cameras, her laptop & purse, tossed everything in the backseat of the car & then.... we stood outside on the front porch & watched as the storm barreled over top of us. Turned out we didn't bear the brunt of anything serious despite what they were tracking on TV - It was worse a mile or so away, but no word of anything touching down, & everything's cool. Now, I need to get back to work, right after I let the cat out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Doctor Is In

Since the New Year started my wife has been sick with a capital 'ick'. This is unusual, she's a very healthy person. Our first visit to her, ahem, 'doctor' was on the 4th. She's told she has some kind of viral thing that I can't pronounce, let alone spell, which affects the soft tissue around the ribs - very painful. No remedy, just rest & mask the pain with meds. Within days, upper respiratory "stuff" set in - followed by strepp throat a day later. 3AM Saturday the 12th - we're in the ER ('til about 7AM). There's something about being awakened out of a dead sleep by someone that can't breathe that makes for a rough day - especially when that someone is your whole world. Got through that. Progress on recovery was barely noticeable so I made an appointment for her with Dr Butcher - a great guy & terrific Doc - for today at noon. The problem - I travel north each day 83 miles for the project that I'm doing. The Doctor is also north of here - about 50 miles. Rather than drive 260+ miles, I decided to work from home this morning & we left the house around 11. It took my regular doctor all of 15 minutes to completely change every script she'd been given. I had insisted on going into the exam room with her (my lovely wife doesn't like to sound like a complainer) 'cause I wanted all of the cards on the table. That's how guys are. She was surprised when the good doctor & the good husband carried on a very frank conversation that included (gasp) profanity. We also mixed in some good natured humor as well. It's what guys do. It's 8:50 PM here in Florida - me n' the doc musta cussed it out of her, she's startin' to feel better already.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I griped like crazy earlier in the week because it was so cold here - the high reached the low 50's but when I left for work early both days - it was only 27. Today, it's about 72 - we have roses blooming out front & giant red flowers on the hibiscus plants 'sticking their chests out' toward the sun on the westerly side of the front porch. I picked kumquats this morning, & wore shorts & flip flops while running various errands. My kids tell me it's been mostly wet & cold up north & that 50 degrees would be welcomed compared to the 20's & 30's they've been getting. I guess that makes the score here move up a notch to an 8 (see previous post). The cat (Nubber) is relieved. He spends every day in his designated chair on the back porch (which is screened & perfectly safe) where he can watch the critters in the nature preserve (deer, armadillos, racoons, wild hogs, & the usual common little furry creatures) behind the house. Good thing it wasn't cold last night - I forgot about him & left him out there all night & he let me know about it as soon as I walked past the door. Nothing like starting the day getting nagged by a cat.