Category: kvetch

Well, a lot. First, I lost my account credentials for this account, and couldn’t log in. But a lot of really… really… let me sum up.

Okay, so I was elected President of Katsucon Entertainment, Inc. Then elected again. I got to travel and work at their tables, so I did a lot of Anime cons. I think I went to 8 in 2013 alone, including New York Comic con, where I hung out with Yaya Han of “Heroes of Cosplay.” It was our convention’s 20th anniversary, so there was a lot that needed done and a lot that needed changed. I hired some new staff.

I did more stuff with the DC Rollergirls, including being in the DC 4th of July Parade.

I got some part time contract gigs.

Then I got a new job which sent me to exotic places like Washington DC and Las Vegas. 😀

For HR people. D:

I got a large dog.

Of course, then there was Katsucon 20 itself, which was a big party.

But the biggest news, and the worst, really, was my wife of 25 years, Christine Larson, who encouraged my writing the entire time we were married, passed away from ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) in March. She had been very sick, and I was taking care of her a lot. She had sarcoidosis, which is where her lungs were being attacked by her immune system, and she had already lost a third of her lungs to it. She had to take immunosuppressants to slow the growth, which made her susceptible to pneumonia, which she got in October, and had until early February. Just as she was recovering from that, she got the H1N1 strain of influenza, and died.

At least she got to see her fruits of labor, the JCI, take root at Katsucon.

So after some fenagling and searching through lost emails, I got my credentials back for WordPress. How my next book is going in the next post.

Beta Readers prepare red pens!

The confirmation letter to beta readers of my book, “Trolley,” has been sent out. If you requested a copy, and have not gotten the letter, let me know ASAP.

Man, my spelling! Sheesh! I will never make fun of Chance or Scarlet’s FB posts again. Talk about humbling. I ran my novel through a spellchecker, but I know it’s not perfect. One of the things I have found writing so vigorously is that I have started “muscle memory” while typing words, so I did a lot of “if” when I meant “of” and used other words that I meant to say differently, like:

What I wanted to say:
She was interested in finding a new teacher in her quest for knowledge.

What I might have typed:
The was interested in finding a new teaching in her quest from knowledge.

So embarrassing… And I can’t tell you how many times I had to fix the word “borken.” As I always say, “Spill Czech hers oar knot purr fact.” This is where my dyspraxia and dyslexia REALLY become evident.

So much for NaNoWriMo

A multitude of things happened that shot this bird before it got to steady flight.

  • Work. After all, that’s what they pay me for.
  • Katsucon. They don’t pay me, but I work for them anyway. There were two major cons, Nekocon and AnimeUSA. I worked at AnimeUSA, which unclogged a lot of stuff I was waiting on for my own staff (Main Events). This started a floodgate release of backlogged work, and I couldn’t exactly go, “Sorry, writing a novel for an entire month…” There have also been many Skype and hotel meetings as well.
  • I had to plan for two birthday parties at my house and a Thanksgiving, which involves a lot of housework, cooking, and cleaning.
  • I got sick (just a bad cold, fever that won’t go away) and lost a filling
  • Three episodes of major life suckage (so far) I won’t go into in public where essentially, I was forced to be “the bad guy.” I lost at least once.
  • Other writing priorities, like the Balticon Podcast.
  • I had to help out a good friend in a major crisis. Essentially, her whole life was falling apart, and I am helping her through it.
  • I am editing Trolley, which takes up everything else

I’m not dead.

So, Rogue and I went down to the Mall and we tried so hard to find BSR, but the crowds were too massive. So we went back to her studio and made a podcast about it.

Hear our witty banter!

As FAR AS I KNOW there was no actual BSR podcast. Their site never had a link, and I still haven’t heard from everyone, but communications are down in DC due to network traffic, so I may not hear from anyone until tomorrow.

I might have crossed 50k last night, but I had to do a lot of cutting. I had some scenes that were superfluous, or didn’t really go anywhere or add anything to the plot or imagery. One of the things I have to be careful of is not to overdraw my world like I am some Game Master boring his players. Last thing my readers want to see was a paragraph or two about how delicately quilted a stagecoach seat is. I also did lot of this:

Chapter 5: I need to finally explain about this group of famous people that play heavily in the story.
Chapter 2: You already did.
Chapter 5: Oh, I had forgotten. I am now several paragraphs shorter.
Chapter 2: And lost about half an hour of writing time making a redundant premise.
Chapter 5: Shut up.

According to Wikipedia, I cease becoming a novella at around 50k words. I’d say that this will be done at about 100-150k, and I feel like I am about a third of the way through.

Also, I got to hear the Balticon Podcast I am in (episode 44.95, up any day now). Paul did a really good job making me sound better and more professional. I can hear some of my mistakes; I need to stop being so intense and relax. You can hear I have recent asthma issues. I have written the stuff for 44.96 (with Paulo Bacigalupi), and I will get the interview for 44.97 tonight. Hopefully, Paul and I can get the podcast back on a 2-week cycle. He’s got like 50-60 hours worth of interviews in the can spanning back to Balticon 41, which is about 4 years at this point. He’s also gotten an offer of assistance from two other Podcasters, so it won’t just be me and him.

I have to say, some of these interviews are really, really good. Not only does Paul (Fischer) ask some useful questions, but some of the writers he interviews have excellent advice and anecdotes. They are very helpful for anyone aspiring to be an author.

I have to add, though, I hope he doesn’t interview another person named Paul for a while. Last week, it was Paul Melko, this week Paulo Bacigalupi. I hate having to say which Paul I am talking about in a post.

My promise to you, the readers…

… I may not be the BEST author, but I am not THIS bad.

Sodomy to the eyes

I have been told by my wife this comes from, “Moon People” by Dale M. Courtney. Dale? Pick up the red courtesy phone. There is a call from a bunch of editors who need to vent.

“This is a monster of a book,” says one reviewer. “A horrible grammatical concoction of a random storyline, written by an author who can’t distinguish his keyboard or typewriter from a punching bag. This might as well be a random sample from the output of a neurological computer simulation. It’s so bad, Microsoft Word’s grammar check would become self aware and commit suicide.”

Okay, so imagine this line, where the left bracket indicates the beginning of a story:


Now imagine this line like this:

[__________ _    — —]

The dash and the underscores indicate the problem I had with this story: I knew where it was going to end; where it HAD to end.  And I knew most of the beginning and middle and about half the end.  And they didn’t match up quite right.  Kind of like two railroad track layers who realize the are off center as they approach one another.  And you can’t just make some huge leap of faith from one track to another.  Readers won’t like that; it gives them headaches.  For instance:

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess.  She was so beautiful that her stepmother was jealous.  Under the advice of a magic mirror, she decided to ditch her stepdaughter into the woods to be eaten by wolves.  But instead of being eaten by wolves, the stepdaughter met seven dwarfs and lived with them. Then one day, a prince came by and saw her in the glass coffin because she was killed by a poisonous apple that her stepmother gave her when she dressed like a witch.  Her kissed her, she came to, and they lived happily ever after. The end.”

Yeah, you’d be pretty confused.  “Wait, what happened with the coffin and the apple?  Dressed like a witch? Huh?”  Stories have to have a certain flow, and even though Kurt Vonnegut violated it most of the time, at least he alerted you of it right off the bat.  But in that example above, the story kind of backed up in an unwanted way like a sewer pipe.  And so did my “Between the Lines” story.  Or it would have, had I attempted to just write past it.  I really had to think about how to make the end justify the beginning without going, “Oh yeah, she died because her stepmom dressed as a witch and poisoned her.”  What?  I always hated an author who pulled deus ex machina on me, which is why I stopped reading Arthur C. Clarke.  “Oh yeah, the monolith has these God-like powers.  Turned Dave Bowman into a giant bubble baby.  The end.”

So, on a scale of 1 to 100, I had 1-70 fleshed out, with small gaps from 70-80, then a gap to about 90, and then 95-100 was the end.  90-100 was already bridged, but 80-90 was a huge gap where the two story lines had no middle ground without a serious, mind-jarring bend.  And there it sat for two years.

Today, while my workplace duty was just sitting around waiting for crap to be installed and nothing was going on, I managed to restructure the story so now I have 1-85, and 90-100 where 85 and 90 point to a middle that just has to be filled in.  And it works.  This means that my alpha draft is finished.  The beta draft will be a complete combing of the story, filling in smoother dialog and references, and then a second beta will smooth it down for real editing.

Even better?  “We Three Gatekeepers” (the second in the series) is in final beta, awaiting editing.  So if book 1 sells, book 2 is raring to go.

Intervention is my friend Onezumi’s convention (I am so PROUD of her, squeeeee!).  It’s a primarily webcomics con, and I am not a web comic, so I am not a guest.  I am a paying attendee!  They can’t make me do ANYTHING!  Mwah ha ha… but I will be hanging out in my usual spots.  I mean, I could have had a table or been on some panels, but I didn’t ask, and she didn’t solicit.  I don’t have anything new to promote anyway.

This promises to be one helluva party.  I don’t have a room there, so I may not be able to be out late. because the Metro shuts down at midnight and turns back into a pumpkin or something.  I wonder if Onezumi knows what she’s in for, the underground rumblings are hinting this will be a huge blowout.  I plan to drink a lot of caffinated products, so WATCH OUT!  I will be bringing my tentacle, laptop, and who knows what else.

“Trolley” is going strong, “Mothership” is half done, and yes, I have a lot to do.