Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Dirty Diapers

Yeah, I've apparently found my main parental contribution to the whole baby thing. You're looking at the officially elected diaper changer for Seraphina Paige. I guess it could be worse. After all, she can only crap so many times in one day, so her capacity to soil diapers is limited. Right?

Right? :(

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Parenthood (Holy Crap!)

So on Thursday my daughter was finally born. She came in just before midnight, and was happy, healthy and ready to take on the world. Emily came through the whole process pretty much alright as well, and we are already home from the hospital and adjusting to the new changes in all our lives. For little Seraphina Paige, that means dealing with dirty diapers, the need to eat and other such stuff, and we are trying to accomodate her on that.

I have to admit, I have to have the loveliest little girl in the whole world. She has the most beautiful little personality and the greatest little expressions. I'm probably going to be gushing about that for the rest of the year, if I ever really stop. We are all a little sleep deprived and worn out, but we are recovering quickly, and are happy as a bunch of clams to have everyone home and safe.

Now all I have to worry about is how to keep going to work, working on writing and all the other worries I had before when I could just be dinking around with Sera instead. We'll see how that goes...

In any case, our little family wishes you all well, and we hope that we can see you soon. Until then!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts and Commentary: Driving in Houston

Warning, the following is the result of a bitter, antisocial young man driving an hour to work each day. These comments may be bitter, sarcastic, self-contradictory, and are generally unwholesome. You've been warned.

Ah, Houston. The one place where if you cut in front of somebody, it is tradition to immediately slam on the brakes.


Oh dear. An old guy. Going 30 in a 40. Good for him. In his day, real men didn't need those extra 10 miles an hour! They just worked with the 30 they had and made do! Not like these fancy kids these days with their iBerries and their Facechats. No need to hurry so much. No need at all.


You drunk douche. You're so boozed you don't know what's going on, do you? You're staring at the green arrow, trying to figure out what kind of mysterious message it's trying to tell you. You know it's important, you just can't figure out why. You're going to run over a teenager and regret it for the rest of your stupid stinking life.


No, driving five miles below the speed limit does not make talking on your cell phone safer when you drive.


Whoa, look at the old guy go! It's like they slipped laxatives in his prune juice or something.


Does the rest of Houston know something about overpasses that I don't? Everyone always drops their speed going under them. It's not like there's any possibility of ice here; it's like 80 degrees out. Are there trolls? Grues? Maybe a fuhubugath? I just wish I knew...


Nooooooooo! BUS!


Left for work five minutes early. Cue twenty minutes of unexpected bumper to bumper traffic due to the average driver's inability to merge. Welcome to Houston.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On Changing Projects

So with the end of the most recent edit of Wolfhound, I now will begin to pound away on the first draft of The True Adventures of Hector Kingsley again.

Unfortunately, since the two projects are rather different in terms of voice, setting, and plot, I am having some trouble making the transition. I guess the closest thing to describe this feeling is going from speaking one language to speaking another language. There is some sort of disconnect between the two where you pretty much just look around and say "Er, uh, what was that word again?"

Given my goal to finish the first draft within the next five or six weeks, however, I need to make that transition a bit more quickly. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 21, 2011

On Succeeding Anyway (Booyah)

I did it! Wolfhound was ready on time, and I actually like the draft! Mwahahahahaha!

So, yeah, it may win, it may not, but I feel like this project was incredibly motivating for me. I don't think I've gone on a writing marathon like that since freshman year at the Y. At the same time, it was wonderful to immerse myself in the story and just enjoy the whole thing. Even if the book goes down a complete failure, I feel like my experiences revising it for this contest have reaffirmed my decision to pursue writing as a career. It may be absolutely nuts, but I love every minute of it.

Now I will be shifting focus to other projects. Namely, Mr. Kingsley is in need of some attention. Time for some steampunk mystery adventure shenanigans. Again, in the most refined of manners, Mwaha.

Have a great week you guys, and I will see you later!

Friday, March 18, 2011

On Videogames

I, unfortunately, like videogames.

I always have. From the first NES to the Wii, I have played all sorts of games over the years. Typically I enjoy strategy games, RPGs or flight sims, but they are a challenge I've always kind of enjoyed.

Now that I have decided to try a writing career, however, I am faced with a difficult choice to make. Do I abandon videogames completely for the sake of working on my stories, or is it possible to enjoy this hobby while still producing enough work to make writing feasible?

On the one hand, the benefits of giving up videogames are obvious. More time available for writing means I will most likely get more writing done. I will need to focus and work hard in order to make this plan work. I've also heard multiple times from other authors or creators that they needed to leave videogames behind because they were a distraction they could no longer afford. Given how obsessed I can get with games that I enjoy, I can understand perfectly well how that would be necessary.

At the same time, I likely need some kind of hobby to blow off stream or reduce stress. If I don't play the occasional videogame, will I just waste the time watching TV on Hulu, or surfing something like TVTropes or Wikipedia? Would that really make me more productive, or just channel my wasted idle time in new, equally useless directions? If I can excercise self control with those options for my idle time, why shouldn't I be able to do so with videogames? Perhaps I am just coming up with reasons to not give them up, but the questions are still relevant to my internal debate.

So if you guys have any opinions on the issue, just let me know. I hope you are all doing well, and I will see you later!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Full Term

So as of yesterday our little baby has reached full term. That means at any point in the next four weeks, she could just decide to pop in and surprise us. As you might imagine, this is slightly worrisome for a first time father. If I seem like I'm a little shaken or off-key due to that, just wait til she gets here. I'm sure it gets worse.

In other news, I actually finished version 6 of Wolfhound. Now I will settle in and rip through it one last time before I send it in to this contest. Maybe that way it can get set up for submission to publishers/e-publishing in the near future. Wish me luck; I'm sure I'll need it.

In any case, I'll see you around!

Monday, March 14, 2011

On Failure

For some reason or other I dislike failing at things.

Seems kind of obvious right? It's not as if anybody particularly likes it when things go sideways, but I don't know if every body takes it quite as hard as I seem to. Perhaps it is because I have a bit of a perfectionist in me; I want everything I do to turn out exactly how I want it, and when it doesn't I'm devastated. Perhaps I just have a melodramatic personality, something that I could easily believe. Or maybe, perhaps, I just set my own expectations a little high when I try to plan out my life. In any case, it just goes crappy.

I'm not referring to the times when I do my best and its not good enough, by the way. I am talking more about the times when I let myself down, where I fail because I haven't been able to meet my own expectations, whether that be turning into the world's greatest doctor or rewriting a 100,000 word book in three weeks while holding down a full time job. In case you missed it, that was a reference to how well my rewrite of Wolfhound is currently going. I'm not really sure that I will be able to make the March 18th deadline I set for myself, or that the book will be ready when I am finished. There just seems to be more to do each time I sit down, and I don't seem to have enough time in the day.

But perhaps this failure is simply an opportunity to learn how to fail correctly. Perhaps I'll learn to pick myself up and continue working hard instead of growing fed up with myself. Or maybe I'll just fail at that too. :)

This post brought by the Cheerfulness Committee of Happiness and Light. Hope all goes well for you guys, and I will see you around!

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Singing Characters

Characters and I have issues.

I say this because in nearly every story I have written, my critiquers and readers have turned to me and said "The plot is great and all, but the main character sucks" or "I'm not interested at all in the development of this character". Given that most fiction, or good fiction at least, tends to be at least in part character driven, that becomes quite discouraging.

I do have a secret weapon for character development, however. At least, for when it goes right. When I have a character I want to turn out especially well, I find them a song, and build a personality from it. To put it in mildly hippie-ish, new agey terms, I let the song act as the character's soul and I just sing them into life on the page. It's actually extremely satisfying, and when it works I end up with a great character.

My first example of this trick was a villain that I placed in my first book. I heard a song at the time of one of the rewrites and immediately knew it fit the character. After a few instances of heavy editing, I was extremely satisfied with the result. The only issue was, the villain became far and away more sympathetic and interesting than the main character/hero, which was kind of an unbalanced arrangement that messed up the book.

More recently, I've used the technique to work on both Wolfhound and Kingsley. Since Wolfhound's main issue involved character problems, I spent some time searching for songs to fit their story. It seems to have worked for the most part, at least to the extent that the characters have become as interesting to me as the plot. Kingsley's an interesting case as the entire world the story takes place in (Hectorworld?) in part arose from a song I was listening to. Both Hector and Patricia have songs as well, and some of their villains will have truly nafarious music to power them along.

So do you guys have any tricks like this to help your characters come to life? Let me know! I'll see you later, and hope all the best for you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On Future Plans

I've been thinking about my future projects once I am finished revising Wolfhound for this last time. I think once I am done, I will turn my attention to Kingsley's book and try to get the first draft done the whole way through.

After that, though, I don't know which way to go with my writing. I don't know if it would be too soon to do a rewrite of Kingsley, or if it would be better to just start in on it right away. I don't want to burn out my interest in the project, but at the same time I need more good stories ready to submit.

I do know what my next novel will be though. I want to go back and start on Pioneer again with some new twists. This time, though, I want to change the title to Iron Angels. Seems to fit the story better, and it just plan sounds better. :)

So that's the update on my plans. Hope you all are doing well, and I'll see you around.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Discipline

One of the more difficult problems that I have been facing lately has been how to hammer myself into writing on a specific schedule.

As it is right now, my time is kind of consumed by quite a few things. I have an hour long commute that cuts into my day, and the job that I have in the ER, while it pays nice and has wonderful coworkers, has not exactly given me the chance to write consistently there. Since both my wife and I work, chores take another chunk of time as well, and the desperate need for sleep and some form of relaxation takes up a lot of the rest. Convincing myself to sit down for one or two hours a day and focus on something is quite difficult to say the least.

My current plan does not seem to working very well. What I try to do is come home, sit down around twelve at night and bang out a few hundred words before I collapse into bed. Not only does it seem to be producing lesser quality work, it is harder to fight the need to go up and sleep than it probably would if I shifted my writing time to a different part of the day.

Something I might start to try would be to put myself on a timer. Set an alarm for a specific time each day and say that at that time, I shut down Hulu or whatever else I am doing and get to work on a story for at least a little while. Setting a specific and consistent time in the mornings before I head out might give me more success. What do you think? How have you guys been able to get around this problem, and what would you suggest? Hope all is well, and if you are coming to the writing meeting today, I'll see you then!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Promotion

So one of the longtime friends (or at the least, adversaries) from the writing group has started up her own webcomic. I like it, and if you haven't already seen it, go check it out. The web address is

Her webcomic is actually only one of a few I read, though. Girl Genius, Schlock Mercenary, Goblins, Order of the Stick and quite a few others are among the ones I check regularly. Do any of you guys read comics on the web, or am I the only nerd here that does? If you do, make sure to recommend your favorites. See ya!