Happy Holidays, Ya Filthy Animals

Hey all–just wanted to pop by and wish my fervent fans (hi mom!) happy holidays. Whether you celebrate anything, or just enjoy some federally-mandated holidays (thank you socialism!), I hope you’re staying warm and well. For those who may be struggling right now, I feel you, I hear you, and I see you. While some celebrate, others suffer, and if you are one of the latter, please reach out to someone who can help. And if you are of the former, please take a moment to think of those in your life who may find the holidays to be a dark and stressful time, and reach out to them.

I hope 2023 treats us all a little bit better. That’s all for now, til next time my friends. Y’all stay safe out there.

Whoopsiedoodles

So, I am supposed to blog at least once a month. It has been brought to my attention* that I did not blog in November, which as I understand is a month in the calendar. My bad.
*Nobody actually brought it to my attention, I just happened to notice.

What’s the latest over here? Well, it’s not been a ton of writing, le sigh. It’s tough around this time of year when you’ve got a family and all to find the time. It seems like every week I’ve got two to three commitments, and while I do love it, I also find myself often worn thin and wishing that these two months didn’t fly so quickly by.

When I do squeeze in the time, my work has been focused on Psychlone, the oft-mentioned sequel in the Z.Z. Adams His Storm Blows Out the Light series. I’m elbow deep** into a serious re-drafting . Upon a deeper review between myself and the brain-meld that runs Z.Z. Adams, there was an agreement: it can be better, and we should strive for that.
**I’m halfway through Chapter 4, so I think the more honest way to say it would be “two knuckle-digits-deep”.

I’m incredibly appreciative of the fact that the team over at Z.Z. Adams wants the story to be the best it can. When it comes to self-publishing, some work off the idea of banging out as many passably-readable books as they can, rake up the clicks and reads, and just keep the whole thing churning. To be blunt, I hate that shit: both the process, and the results.

Now before I go on, let me be clear. No, not everyone who self-publishes does this. (Don’t spam troll me on Twitter.) That would be stupid to say. But for me the trend is noticeable. We can debate how prevalent it is, and mind you, I haven’t any real form of statistics on hand, so consider my stance to be anecdotal, and ergo absolutely something that can and should be scrutinized. Maybe its not as frequent as it seems to me. And due to that, this is an argument I’m absolutely willing to yield on, if presented with hard facts and figures that show reality is actually the opposite of what I’m seeing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the craft of writing. Even the less enjoyable parts like a deep re-write (soooo difficult for someone who’s brain is riddled with ADHD to take something already written and break parts of it down and start from scratch) give me a sense of fulfilment. When I write, I write with the goal of creating something that is the best result possible, with my admittedly questionable skills at least having been used to the fullest–damn the effort and time necessary.

The brain-meld at Z.Z. Adams is thankfully in agreement. There is the financial need behind it all; it better make some money, or else it’s a loss. Other hard-working people’s money will be wasted on my efforts. Not great, Bob. But the idea of ‘fire it away, keep going, get the clicks and reads and damn the actual value’ doesn’t work either. The fine line must be walked, and they–and I–are choosing to err on the side of quality.

So with that said, yes, it will be a bit longer before Psychlone is released (and it should go without saying that the planned sequel, and the short stories in the series, are similarly delayed). Hopefully the turn of the sundial from 2022 to 2023 will give me some more time to really get into this, and the delay won’t be too bad. I make no promises save this: I promise to give it my best effort.

That’s all for now, y’all be safe out there. Til next time my friends.

Completions and New Beginnings

I have a problem. (Ok, I have a lot of them.) For sure, one is the inability to stick within a genre and build a career writing within that. The other is that I have lots of ideas, and not enough time to work on them all.

Aside from my recent decision to, once started, work on a project every single day (even if just by a sentence) until completion, I’ve also decided to start tackling my copious amounts of notes and ideas and unfinished projects. It all began by organizing my laptop folder containing various Word docs and notepad… notes (yikes), and then organizing my Google Drive (YIKES), which led to me discovering the inkling of a story I a.) quite liked and b.) had forgotten I’d even created.

So I finished said story (it was a flash fiction piece so not super time-consuming) and with the help of a few intrepid writer friends who can stomach my first drafts, tidied it up and have it ready to submit as soon as my ideal first market is open. I then opened another short story first draft I’d completed 2 years ago and got to work re-drafting it, and just completed the second version.

I thought to myself, ‘self, we’re doing well catching up on old ideas and drafts here. Onto the next one. But oh gosh, what happens if I suddenly find myself in territory I’ve yet to experience–a realm where I’ve run out of ideas?’

As if in answer from the ADHD cosmos, whilst sitting on the toilet I had a new idea, complete with what I think will be a killer opening sequence and a thematic idea that’s close to my heart. It’ll sit on the shelf for a while (metaphorically speaking, as its actually in my Google Drive) as I continue to address other unfinished works and go through the ringer trying to get more polished pieces out to magazines and such, but it did give me hope for the inevitable: an eventual death with piles of unfinished works.

What, too dark? I mean, come on, gotta live in the world you live in and all.

Speaking of completions, the short story I was working on with the Z.Z. Adams team is finished! Got a killer cover and everything. We’ll see it released eventually, as chronologically Pscyhlone needs to come out first, which we’re banging away at. I’m super excited with the direction of this series on the whole.

Anyways, that’s my update for now. Y’all stay safe out there and what not, til next time.

Oh, Hello

You’re still here?

Why?

No, wait, please don’t leave. Not sure if I’m on schedule or behind schedule for blogging, but, uh, here we go regardless.

If I am behind, in my defense it wasn’t that long ago we thought a hurricane was coming to destroy the Tampa Bay area, and prepping for that was a bit of effort. While I’m grateful to say we locally felt nothing more than a strong tropical storm (not a big deal for a native Floridian), I’m also feeling lingering guilt that it *didn’t* hit us and instead destroyed lives in the Fort Myers area to our south. For those of us who have lived here for a few decades, this is a familiar feeling.

We are quite lucky in this area, having not faced a true direct hit in over 100 years. (Hurricane Irma did strike us about 5 years ago, but it was coming up the state rather than directly off the gulf, and the eye didn’t directly pass over us.) Local superstition holds that the Tocobaga Mounds in Safety Harbor are protecting us. If you’re not aware, the Tocobaga were the primary indigenous culture of the Tampa Bay area before the Europeans came. They ultimately faced the same fate as almost every other native nation in the Americas. (Happy belated Indigenous People’s Day, by the way.) Today, none remain.

This of course raises two questions regarding the rumored protective power of their mounds. One: that hurricane that hit us 100+ years ago? The eye made landfall in Safety Harbor, the town where these mounds reside. So, uh, what gives there? Secondly, there’s the whole question of: ‘why on earth would the people who were exterminated and their lands stolen turn around and bless the now occupied lands so that nature–which said occupiers have been destroying ever since–leaves it alone?’.

I’m thinking there’s another explanation for why Tampa Bay is typically spared.

On the writing front, I’m almost done with a final edit (from my end anyways) of one of my recent horror stories, a 25K novella. Going to try and add a little spice to the beginning, then wrestle with the perfect title. Normally titles come to me fairly easily, but this one is proving elusive. I think on a break from real-job stuff today I’ll take a notepad and jot some ideas down while playing with my sugar gliders.

Halloween is almost here. It’s my favorite time of year–extra horror movies on the streaming apps, fun for the kids, haunted houses, and the miserable heat is finally dying! (Never mind, I died of heatstroke while typing that.) We have just your basic in terms of special traditions here. I decorate the house inside-and-out on October 1st, read fun-spooky bedtime stories to the little one, we go trick-or-treating, all that. Oh, and I also forcefully… uh, force my family every year to sit down so we can all watch Ernest Scared Stupid, a cinematic masterpiece of unrivalled artistic prowess. What about y’all, any special Halloween traditions for you and/or your family?

Til next time, stay safe out there. As an aside, if you are one of the many donating to Hurricane Ian relief funds, as a Floridian I say thank you. Please, however, do not forget our people in Puerto Rico, many of whom are still without power from Hurricane Fiona, which hit almost a full ass month ago. I could go on a huge tirade about how the American government seemingly enjoys screwing over the territory and people there, particularly during storm season, but I’ll digress for now.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Phew buddy*, writing has been a challenge as of late.
* Buddy in the singular since only one person reads this**
** Hi Mom***
*** “Oh G-d he’s still on the obnoxious footnotes thing”

Time crunch is an issue to be sure, but the fact of the matter is I’m struggling with this WIP. As I mentioned before, its a story that’s had the start of a first draft exist in various stages over the years, and I’m damn determined to finish it this go-around.

Truth be told the themes, plot twists, likely plot holes, etc. are dogging me. All while I’m trying to make a horror story actually, ya know, horrifying. Writing is easy and fun!

I’m definitely at two stages with this story, neither of which are ideal: the ‘I know where I’m going but I don’t know how to get there’ stage, and the ‘I’m damn sick and tired of this WIP and I want to hurry up and finish it but then that means the ending will be rushed garbage’ stage.

I’ve also been seeing a side WIP. I know, I’m such a dog. The short story I wrote for the His Storm Blows Out the Light series got some great feedback from the Z.Z. Adams team, and I’ve either been actively applying it, or coming up with ways to apply it. That’s about all I will say on that dalliance, because a gentleman doesn’t edit and tell (I’ll have some better updates likely by the next post).

Regardless of all this, I have been dedicating myself to working on the horror story once a day. Whether that means a single sentence, five pages, or going through a series of ideas to break out of the latest block I’ve got on it, it’s an exercise in discipline I’m dedicated to uphold until this draft is done. It’ll require quite a bit of work afterwards, but I’ll address that later. You can edit bad writing but you can’t edit a blank page, and all that. Considering how long I’ve sat on this story, and yet through the years always finding myself coming back to it, it deserves to at least get a completed first draft this time around.

I do find this 24-7-365 ‘touch the story no matter what’ plan helps keep me in the story, even if I sometimes still stare at my screen and yearn for literally anything else to do. Going forward, as I work on future pieces, it’s an idea I plan on always implementing.

Anyways, that’s the latest from my end. How’s you guys? Let me know either in the comments or HMU**** on Twitter.
**** Do the kids still say ‘hit me up’?*****
***** And if they do, do they still abbreviate it ‘HMU’?

Till next time my friends, everyone stay safe out there.

AMBUSH BLOG POST

So, back in the days* of my youthful** ambition*** I intended to keep a schedule of bi-weekly blog posts, and I still have a calendar reminder in my phone as of such. It went off today, and despite having scaled back to monthly**** posts, I decided why not.
*it’s only been, like, a year or so
**I was already old then
***’Ambition’ is a strong word
****So is ‘monthly’

I’ve been struggling with my latest WIP. It’s actually a story I first conceived of and started at least a decade ago, and have re-started a few times. The concept has always struck me as interesting so I keep coming back to it, and this time I’m determined***** to actually finish a full draft.
*****As determined as I am to stop putting in footnotes in this post.

It’s another horror story, BTW. Not sure why I’m on a horror kick? As some of you know from reading my ‘About Me’ section******, I have a real problem with bouncing around genres, which surely dooms my attempts at a full-time writing career*******. Maybe it’s because I’m so thoroughly sick and tired of this miserable Florida summer (which will be the coldest for the rest of my life!) that I’m full-on yearning for Fall to come already, and with it, my favoritest of all holidays. (Yeah, you sweat your ass off in Florida on Halloween too, but we try to pretend we’re dying a little less that day.)********
******None of you have read my ‘About Me’ section, and none of you will.
*******That’s just one of a great many reasons my full-time writing career is doomed.
********I apparently wasn’t that determined to stop the footnotes.

Re-writing a story started so long ago, using scraps and starts of drafts and notes, is a real process. A slog, to be more accurate. I’m curious to see if this actually helps hone my editing skills when I’m working on other drafts. Either way, this time’s the charm–hell or high water, it’ll get done. Whether it ever sees the light of day or not is a different story.

What about you guys, anyone else feeling the urge to hurry up with summer and get to fall already? Or is that an exclusively Florida thing? Feel free to yell at me if you’d rather change places and live in G-d’s swampy taint while I have to shovel snow for six months out of the year.

Oh, quick His Storm Blows Out the Light update. Last I blogged, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure the theme/tone/content of the latest short story I drafted would fly through the ZZ Adams radar. Lo and behold, so far so good! Edits are underway on it now but the big news is there’s agreement it fits the general storyline thus far.

Anyways, that’ll do it for this ambush blog post. Til next time.*********
*********And stay safe, y’all.

Another Blog Post

Not sure how to start this, so I’m going to type ‘not sure how to start this’ and then move along.

I’ve been fairly productive in the writing department recently, despite a myriad of distractions. I finished the edits on the horror novella I discussed in the last post and it’s currently being reviewed in my writing group The Inkubator. Of course, for a story I meticulously edited, a few plot holes–including a rather gaping one–have been found. Le sigh. (Easy fixes, fortunately.) And that’s all I’m going to say about that story. You’ll have to wait to read it should it find publication.

I also completed work on a short story set in the His Storm Blows Out the Light series, regarding a character I’ve found quite interesting and set between the upcoming Psychlone and the planned third in the trilogy, Supercell. HOWEVER! I don’t know that this story will see the light of day. Why, you ask? Well–the series is a YA one. And while dark themes and moral quandaries are a (rightfully so) mainstay of that genre, this story ended up quite… dark. So I shall be trusting the mind-meld that is Z.Z. Adams to make the call on this one. We shall see! I won’t be upset if at least the current version is a tad ‘too much’; in fact, I won’t even be upset if the whole concept is scrapped altogether. Sometimes that’s just the way of it.

As I mentioned, there’s been lots going on in the peripheries. While I’ve been able to overcome that recently, it’s probably going to slow down the writing in the near future. Started a new job, got some sugar glider drama I’m dealing with, a new goldfish has entered the chat… and then all the other crazy bouts of distractions that always exist. I’ll do my best to post here again next month, even if that post is just “…” and nothing else.

Till next time my friends, stay safe.

Am I Pretty Yet

Ok! Phew. Cleaned up some of the website. Still gotta work on the whole ‘Published Here‘ area, but I’ll get to that later. (Not like my attempts to promote that have worked anyways, so what’s the rush?) Also, yes, this website looks like an amateur did it for free, because, well… plot twist! An amateur (me) did it for free.

I also have news! As of Friday I completed the second draft of Psychlone, the second book in the YA Sci-Fi trilogy His Storm Blows Out the Light, a partnership with the Z.Z. Adams brain-meld. I’m also working on a pair of short stories in that series, and have drafted the outline for the third installment, Supercell. (The outline got pretty beefy, there is a chance it could end up being a 2 parter, but that will be clearer once I’ve actually written the first draft.) I’m quite pleased with this second iteration of Psychlone and am excited to see where Z.Z. Adams takes it in the editing process.

After I complete a first draft of one of the short stories in the HSBOtL series, I’ll probably get to work on editing a horror novella I drafted a few months ago. Breathers between projects, where I focus on something different, seems to keep my mind fresh. (It’s probably the ADHD.) We’ll see how that draft ends up.

Otherwise, not a whole lot new here. It’s hot, very hot, here in Florida. But at least the Tampa Bay area has finally begun to get some rain. Not sure where the myth that Florida is constantly getting drenched comes from; there’s lots of areas, especially along the coast, that have practically desert-like droughts for significant periods of time. It can be quite fun going from six or more weeks of no rain and blistering heat to getting 2-3 inches of rain a week. Very frustrating when you’re an avid gardener like myself (split tomatoes everywhere). And the water bills in those dry spells don’t help, considering the already exorbitant power bills (A/C’s run 24-7 during these months).

Anyhoo, that’ll do for now. Stay safe my friends, ’til next time.

It’s A Mess

So, I’ve officially shut down the paid version of this website, and it’s been technically re-launched for free. Just a quick blurb–in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a mess.

I’ll be cleaning it up here soon. Unfortunately wifey and I have been running through a second bout of COVID. And while overly trusting in anecdotal evidence over empirical evidence is one of the reasons that Donald Trump became more of a renowned medical expert than, say, actual medical experts for a significant portion of the US; my anecdotal evidence is that those saying these latter strains are less severe than the first ones are full of shit.

Anyhoo. As if my juggling of full plates wasn’t comical enough, I do intend to put cleaning this clownshow of a website up near the top of the list. Hopefully next week it’ll be less of a garbage compactor. Still amateur as hell, but, you know.

That’s all for now. Stay sanitary, my friends, til next time. *cough*

The Ads Are Coming Back

We’re near yet another anniversary of this blog, and alas, I cannot afford to continue paying for it to not have popups and such. I sincerely apologize to my faithful readers (hi Mom!).

It’s been a few years for me on this writing journey. Sometimes I get a bit down when thinking about it, how there really hasn’t been a ton of success. It can be frustrating, having put a lot of work in, as well as more than a few dollars here and there. While it’s good to try and remain positive, and focus on the good news–and there has been some!–I also give myself the occasional permission to sit and mope.

Even when moping, I’ll still come back to the daydream of being a professional author. As in, it’s my job, my only job; my primary responsibility (aside from familial duties of course) being to sit and craft and create, to suffer through re-writes and edits, to pitch and deal with the annoying side of it all.

It’s a dream for sure, in the sense that it’s nice to have it and dwell on it for a minute, but it’s one afforded to very few. There’s no small amount of renowned authors who also have full-time jobs, and out of necessity rather than want. So I come back and ground myself, and remember that I do still get to sit and craft and create, I do suffer through the re-writes and edits, and I occasionally even pitch.

And that’s good enough.

I’ve got a few shorts out to magazines, I’m going through a first edit of Psychlone, and I’ve begun pitching my sci-fi novella Appizer Cares!. I recently finished a first draft of a horror novella. There’s countless shorts and novellas that require editing eventually, and a partially completed novella that I should return to soon. Not to mention the pile of story ideas and outlines that I simply hope to live long enough to work on.

So who knows, maybe that elusive happy blog post will be coming soon. But it’ll have popups on it. Sorry again.

Til next time my friends. Y’all stay safe out there.