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To Taos

IMG_3940_sm I’m doing a thing.

I’m going to the top of a mountain to seek knowledge.

Well, in this case the mountain is a ski and golf resort in New Mexico.

I am referring to Taos Toolbox, a two week master class in Science Fiction, hosted by Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress. Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect. There will be instructors, lectures, and critiques, but the people I talk to who have been there treat it with a magical reverence. They speak of having post-Toolbox recovery epiphanies.

The aforementioned epiphanies are admittedly one of my main motivations for going as I am always looking to become a better writer, but I have to admit, some peer pressure from my friend Catherine, a Toobox alum, played a part in the decision.

Over the past couple weeks, I have been swamped with homework, doing many critiques for my fellow attendees and reading assignments for Williams and Kress. I’ve been feeling a bit stressed and tired. Now, I just have to plan for a two week trip in 2 days.

The Gender Swap

genderIn the interest of more gender representation, I decided to switch the gender of one of my characters in my Science Fiction book, Midpoint–not yet released. I really liked the results.

I chose a minor character who appears in some key scenes, Bud Cummings, an engineer who doesn’t care about his appearance or professionalism, but too good as his job to fire. And I turned him into Carla “Bud” Buddings, an engineer who doesn’t care about her appearance or professionalism, but too good at her job to fire.

Though the character hasn’t changed, as a man Bud seemed like a bit of a cliché. As a woman, she’s a bit more fun to write.

Experiments don’t always work out.

31Y49eBuo6LA while ago, I posted about my fasting experiment and all the good it had done me: weight loss and a much healthier liver. I have to admit, I haven’t been doing a great job at it this year, I was sick for most of it, but I’m getting back into the groove. Also, I just had my lab work done, and my slacking off has not hurt my numbers too much.

However, I’m here to talk about stuff that didn’t work out for me.  Let me start with my ears. You know that saying that you’re not supposed to put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear? Well, I am a compulsive ear cleaner–I have even purchased special ear cleaning devices.

Well, I read about this ENT who claimed that ears were self-cleaning and they’d be healthier if we just left them alone. So I tried it. The first thing I discovered is that “self-cleaning” ears tend to drop little bits of stuff at inopportune moments. The second think I learned was that when you get a pieces of wax as think as your pinky finger impacted in your ear canal, it is pretty much the same as going deaf until you can clear it out.

The next experiment I did involved hair washing. I read somewhere that Americans wash their hair too much, and by doing that they strip away essential oils which preserve the hair. So I started only washing my hair once a week. My hair actually got better, not as dry as it had been, easier to style, but I also got dandruff. Oh well.


So, this week I was about to start Act 3 of my latest rough draft, and I realized I could do a better job at writing it if I wrote a revision of another book which I’ve had in the to-do list.

It’s times like this that I’m glad this isn’t my day job.

Ghost Town

Well, there’s been nothing going on here for a while.

Actually, I’ve been sick on and off for the last couple months, nothing serious, just one of the nasty colds going around. Between my day job and keeping up a little on my writing, I haven’t been very motivated to blog about my life–or diet.

While I have been sick, some cool things are happening. I’m playing the part of Bruno Episcopo in the Unreliable Narrators production E’ville.  Also I have not one or two, but three novels out to beta readers. I’m sure they need more work, but 2016 might just be a productive year.

Non Commercial Enterprises

file564a0282145e2My Nano project is done, kind of. One of my writing mentors always like to remind me that a story is done when it is done. Well, my Manos novelization is more of a short-story-ization, Right now, it is weighing in at 14,500 words, that’s about 1/4 of the length of story I usually write.

Of course, I was never planning to “Win” Nano, so it’s not that I’m upset at not hitting 50k words, it’s just that I’m not sure where to go from here. Of course, the answer to this is always, put it on the shelf and see what comes to you.

This still leaves the question of how to finish out Nano.

NaNo Stage II

PrintSo far, I’m way behind in word count, due to day-job pressures and an ill-timed headache. However, I did finish state one of my NaNo plan, and that was finishing up the last of my work in progress.

Yes, I’m counting the words. And no, it’s not ready to publish yet. It’s going to need a couple good edits before it sees the light of day.

Now I am moving into Stage II of my NaNoing. It is perhaps a fools errand, and it’s probably not sellable, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. And no, I’m not ready to talk about it yet.


PrintIf you have been living under a rock, or if you don’t write, you may not have heard of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Basically, the premise is you take the month of November and try to write 1667 words a day, so you end up with a 50,000 word novel, short but nothing to sneeze at.

I first did NaNoWriMo in 2006, after finding out about it on day three or four of the month. My first novelizing effort was the protozoan version of FANGS FOR NOTHING. In the intervening years, I’ve done Nano two more times and finished it both times.

This year I’m doing it a little different. I’m stretching the rules. This is not without precedent, as I have several writer friends who do this. I’m not starting a new work, I’m just going to keep working on my work in progress. I’m even going to count my word count for this blog entry. And I have a very good reason for doing this. I’m not so concerned with the word count–I know I can write a 50,000 page book–as I am with the camaraderie and the fun of hanging out with other writers.

I guess you could argue that my novel will simply be a little less coherent than usual, but it will have the right word count.

There is a part of me that really wants to throw caution to the wind, dump everything I’m doing, and start a new piece by the seat of my pants, but I’m just don’t quite feel like doing that at the moment.