The Journal, Saturday, 12/31

Hey Folks,

THIS JUST IN FROM KRISTINE KATHRYN RUSCH: If you have ANY books with All Romance Ebooks/OmniLit, read Kris’ post here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/business-musings-7624150. This is an advance look at her post from next week.

Two other links that might help are these:

All Romance Ebooks Closing

All Romance Ebooks Suddenly Closing

I hope none of you have books with ARE/OmniLit. So now back to the normal post:

Happy new year’s eve. And I hope 2017 is the best year yet for all of us.

I will write for awhile today and I’ll watch some college ball because, well, it’s college ball.

I guess I can still say I’m a writer. (grin) Details below.

I wrote a bit, then carried a load of recycling stuff to the center, then back to write a bit more.

The Peach Bowl started a little after 1, so I’m off for the rest of the day.

Of Interest

Please see Dean’s Once More… For the New Year… Pulp Speed (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/once-more-for-the-new-year-pulp-speed/).

Also see his 12/30/16 Daily (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/123016-daily/). It’s worth the time.

Today’s Writing

I wrote a good opening for a really weird SF story, all writing into the dark.

A phrase popped into my head — “the day before the Sturgis Metal Run” — and I was off and typing.

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 1890
Nonfiction Words: 160 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2050

Writing of “Popper”

Day 1…… 1890 words. Total words to date…… 1890

Total fiction words for the month……… 23144
Total fiction words for the year………… 702838
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 273460

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 976298

The Journal, Friday, 12/30

Hey Folks,

December 30, 2016. Wow. And here I am, occasionally still wondering where 1978 went. I’m not sure why, but whenever I have to write a check, I still want to put 1978 in the Year block. I’m always shocked to realize (again) that isn’t only the wrong year, but the wrong century.

I watched Secondhand Lions again yesterday, this time with my grandson. What a great film. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it. Soon we’re going to gel all weekend and watch Lonesome Dove, the three prequels first, then the original three films. Because I like them. And because they contain gems of wisdom throughout.

In two days, the annual totals below will reset to zero.

More working with my new friend and charge today (my grandson) so no writing. Gonna dig through boxes, see whether I can find my old GED prep stuff I used when I was teaching GED prep classes, etc.

Wow. I almost ran out of time. I have to get this posted, so I’ll see you tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s today, My Beliefs [about writing and publishing] to Help New Year Perspective (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/my-beliefs-to-help-new-year-perspective/).

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 210 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 210

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 273300

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 974248

Ice Scream

Warning: This is a psychological-suspense horror story. It contains strong mental images.

Susan Jice-scream-180ordan jerked awake, naked and frantic and chilled. Her eyes were wide, her breath caught in her throat. But she was dizzy. Groggy. Like dreaming of being in a dream.

She found her breath, and in it, relief. A nightmare. It was a nightmare. Only a nightmare.

And it was vibrant. As she left the IGA, she looked over her shoulder. She smiled and said “I will” to Mrs. Johnson on Register 3.

There were only the two registers out front, but Mr. Minister, the new manager, called the paper-fed calculator in his office Register 1. An odd man, Mr. Minister, at least according to whispered gossip from Mrs. Johnson on Register 3.

“Transferred in three weeks ago,” she said, “from somewhere down south. Omaha maybe, or Oskalusa—something like that. I seem to be here all the time,” she said, and laughed. Then she said, “But I’ve seen him only once myself.” She shook her head. “Very odd.”

Mrs. Johnson was sweet, everybody’s mother. With her husband “lifted up by God” a year ago and her own kids grown and gone long before—a daughter to New York and a son to LA—she adopted everyone in town who was younger than she.

At the register, she scooped up the box of ice cream the way she scooped up everything and peered at it over her reading glasses. Then she looked at Susan. “Y’know, they say this stuff is bad for you, but I just don’t believe it. Anything this good for your soul has to be good for your body.” She laughed, rang it up and bagged it, then spun the carousel of plastic bags so Susan’s was right up front.

Susan smiled and nodded. To make conversation, she said, “That’s how I figure it.”

But it wasn’t how she figured it. Not really.

She was tired after a full day of work, and she was just a bit on the grouchy side. She only wanted to get home and put her feet up for awhile.

She’d been home once already. She put together a quick supper, then served Stanley in his usual position on the couch. But afterward, as she reached to mute one of the seemingly endless streams of “side effects” that contraindicated whatever drug they were selling on TV at the time, Stanley went into the kitchen.

A moment later the freezer door slammed. “Well damn,” he said and stomped back into the living room. “We don’t have any ice cream? Are we out?”

Susan didn’t bother saying yes. He had eaten the last of it two days earlier. He even put the container in the trash afterward instead of leaving it on the counter as usual.

She also didn’t bother asking why he hadn’t stopped at the IGA on his way home from work. He would mutter something about that being her responsibility. Only one thing mattered. He wanted ice cream, and they were out.

So Susan glanced at him as he slumped back into his place on the couch. She patted his thigh and said, “I’ll go.”

Then she got up, donned her warm slippers and her heavy coat and drove to the IGA. It was better than listening to his snide comments or putting up with his pouting and icy silences the rest of the evening.

But Mrs. Johnson liked to gossip, especially in the evening when few people came into the store. So after the ice cream passed Mrs. Johnson’s inspection and she bagged it, Susan turned away before she could get started.

Still, Mrs. Johnson always had a kind word for everyone, even if they didn’t hang around to chat. She watched silently as Susan quickly gathered her bag. But as she approached the door, Mrs. Johnson raised one hand. “Now you say hello to Stanley for me,” she said.

And Susan looked back, smiled and said, “I will,” then pushed the door open.

It was dark outside already, and mid-November chilly. The smell of ice was on the air and the wind was just that cold. But no matter. She’d be home in fifteen minutes. Ten or twelve if she hit all the lights. And tomorrow was Saturday. Stanley would be up and off to the golf course early, and she could sleep in. Still, she relished the thought of sitting on the couch for a couple of hours, letting brain-dead sitcoms and forced laugh tracks wash away the day.

As she crossed the parking lot, she wasn’t paying attention.

She opened her car door and leaned in to set the bag in the passenger seat.

And something hit her from behind.

How she got home, through an evening of TV and into bed, she had no idea.

But here she was. Her mind was cloudy but otherwise she was fine. Too much ice cream, maybe. Sometimes it had that effect if she overdid it. Had she eaten ice cream?

She closed her eyes, opened them, tried to see. But everything was black.

She was still locked in the nightmare outside the store. It was dark in the parking lot. Something hit her from behind.

She closed her eyes, drew a long breath through her nose, tried to scream herself awake.

But only a muffled sound came out. Her lips were thick. Or something.

She instantly regretted making the noise. It might wake up Stanley.

She lay very still, waiting. But he didn’t wake up. The bed didn’t move.

Well, that proved it. It was only a nightmare. It had to be a nightmare.

Maybe she was dreaming of dreaming of waking up from a nightmare.

She rocked her head side to side, tried to wake herself up.

It didn’t work. Maybe she should wake up Stanley. Then he would wake her up. In her dream she grinned.

She tried to fling her mouth open, draw a breath, scream louder.

But something stretchy-sticky sealed her lips, muffled the sound again. She frowned. Something warm—snot? blood?—leaked from her nose and down across her lip.

As her nostrils flared, she found her nose was sore. When had that happened? And there was something crusty on her upper right cheek. Dried blood?

Was she in the hospital? Had she been in an accident or something? Maybe she was in the hospital and they’d put something in her mouth to help her breathe.

And both her hands were numb too. Somewhere. Like they were disconnected.

She tugged to find them and fire raced through her shoulders.

What was that?

Panic began to well up inside her.

But it’s a nightmare. It’s only a nightmare. Isn’t it? Or I’m in a hospital. Yes. A nightmare. It has to be a nightmare, and I’ll wake up any second. The clouds will clear and I’ll wake up. Probably it’s time to get up anyway.

She smirked. This is ridiculous.

She tried to sit up, reach for the edge of the bed. She would sit up and reach for the chest of drawers. That would steady her even if she was dizzy. She’d grab the chest of drawers and—

But where were her hands?

She was dizzier than she thought.

Her shoulders burned. But why?

She nudged hard right, tried to nudge Stanley. If she could touch him, wake him up—

But he wouldn’t be in her nightmare. Would he?

Okay. I have to find my hands. She followed her chest to her shoulders. They were aching. Check. Good. So she was waking up. Aches don’t happen in nightmares, do they?

She followed her arms down along her sides to where her elbows were bent. They were aching a bit too. Well good. Serves them right. Then along her forearms, wedged behind her back and—

Behind her back? Her hands were behind her back?

She checked. They were tingling. Her hands? Something was tingling. They were there, maybe, lumped behind her back. That would explain them being asleep.

But how are they behind my back? How in the world did I manage that?

She tried to move them, but something tugged, pulled at the fine hair above her wrists.

Taped. They were taped. Are they taped? That doesn’t make sense.

And my eyes. She shook her head. I thought my eyes were open but they must still be closed. Probably. Everything is black. There would be some light, at least, if I wasn’t still in the nightmare. But why are my wrists taped in the nightmare? Unless I’m in the hospital. Maybe they’re actually beside me. Maybe they had to restrain me.

Either way, it’s a nightmare.

Breathe. I have to breathe. Wherever I am, I have to wake up.

She closed her eyes, calmed herself with thoughts of waking up, and opened them.

Still nothing but black.

She wanted to reach up with her fingers, make sure her eyelids were open. But she couldn’t find them.

Okay. Okay. There has to be light here somewhere.

She took another breath, then another. Turned her head left. Still black.

Turned her head right. Still black. But closer? Stanley?

No. It didn’t feel like Stanley in her mind.

Maybe he already got up. A wall?

But the wall wasn’t that close in the bedroom. There was Stanley, then the wall. Not close enough to sense it in the dark. Wow. A really bizarre dream.

I need something real. She looked back to the left. The chest of drawers. Right over there. The light—moonlight, starlight—would show her the edges of the chest of drawers. She polished it only a few days ago.

But there was nothing.

Only black.

Her perfume. The bottle leaked a little around the spritzer. She hadn’t mentioned it to Stanley. He’d want to fix it or throw it out. She liked the smell of it when she first woke up. It set on the chest of drawers next to the eyeglass cleaner and the microfiber cloths.

She took another breath. The scent of the perfume would direct her. It would bring her out.

She breathed deeply.

Onions. Old onions.

What?

She took another breath, deep, searching for the perfume. It had to be there.

No perfume. Old onions. And damp-earth. Muggy.

She frowned. Where am I?

The basement? With onions? Why are there onions in my nightmare? What am I doing in a basement with onions?

Okay. Okay. Breathe.

She could turn. Roll onto her left side and turn. Put her feet on the cold tile floor. The cold tile would wake her up.

She twisted, tried to reach for the edge of the bed with her left ankle, but the right one came with it.

Her ankles were bound.

Panic rose again. No! That can’t be!

She calmed herself.

No. No, it’s only in the nightmare. I’ll wake up.

She reached again, this time with both feet together.

The sharp grating of the links of a chain fired fear up along her spine and cleared away some of the confusion in her mind.

She was awake. She was awake the whole time.

But she couldn’t be awake. What happened at the store. What happened in the parking lot. It’s a nightmare! It has to be a nightmare! I’m home in bed! Or I’m in the hospital. I have to be!

But grating? Chains wouldn’t grate against the soft edge of the mattress, would they? Her mind was making up the chains, that’s all. After all, chains wouldn’t grate against the covers and—

Only she was bare. There were no covers.

And there was no mattress beneath her.

No! She rolled her head hard left, pushed down, and her cheek contacted cold steel.

Hospital steel. A gurney? A gurney. I’m in a hospital. But with onions?

I must be in a hospital. That’s it. The icy roads. Black ice. I was in an accident and I’m on a gurney in a hospital. And they taped something to my mouth. Something to help me breathe or something. The onions are my mind playing tricks with scents.

But they put a mattress on a gurney, don’t they? Or some sort of a pad? Or a sheet? Or something.

She pushed her cheek against the surface again. Still cold. Still steel. But maybe a gurney.

She listened. The wheels would turn against the floor. They’d clack. And the nurses would talk, but quietly.

Listen. Listen closely.

But there was only the sound of empty black.

She closed her eyes again, hard, then opened them wide. Wake up!

Still black. Still black.

A sharp click, and light flooded over her.

She slapped her eyes closed against the light. Stanley playing a trick. She should have known. Her eyes still closed, she tried to sit up.

The chains grated.

A man’s voice, husky, jovial. “Ah, I see you’re awake. Welcome back.”

Not Stanley! She tensed, naked, no covers. She opened her eyes, tried to lean up to cover herself.

“No. Lie back.”

She lay back, closed her eyes, opened them. The light illuminated a dirt and timber ceiling.

In a hospital?

A face came into view above her face, but upside down. Probably the gas passer. She was in the OR. Had to be.

The face was round, almost a unibrow. Close-cropped hair. No white paper hat? Jowls, pink, smooth round cheeks.

She frowned. He shaved too close. But who is he?

Small black, close-set eyes, a pug nose, hair in his nostrils. A slight smile.

“I’m Jonah. It’s good to meet you. And you are—” He held her clutch purse up where she could see it. He took out a card. Her driver’s license. He looked at it, flipped it away and it slapped lightly to the floor. “Ah, Susan.” He drew out the first syllable as if it had three U’s in it. “Yes, Susan.” He clapped his hands lightly beneath his double chin and turned away. “Just relax, Susan, all right? And probably I’ll let you go.” He turned away, moved off toward the other side of the room.

She wanted to ask who he was, why she was there, but the thing was still on her mouth.

The nightmare continues. She frowned, rolled her head left, followed his progress.

A table. A bench. A stool. In front of a dirt wall. That can’t be right.

She strained her neck, pressed her cheek against the cold steel to bring her back to the hospital.

Up close, inches away, the raised rounded edge of a steel table. Farther, the dull silver of a concrete floor. A red onion net bag on the floor near the table. Onions!

She remembered what he said, frowned at his back. Let me go? Home? Is he a doctor? Maybe she’d already been through the surgery. Maybe he was talking about discharging her and—

Finally her mind released the nightmare defense.

Her eyes grew wide and she stared at him. Oh god. Oh god! It’s not a nightmare! I’m awake! And I’m naked! But it made no sense. Am I in hell? But what did I do? What did I do?

He turned around and smiled, a small half-moon blade in one hand at the end of a short silver handle. Calmly, he said, “You aren’t trained in medicine, are you?”

She frowned, trembled, and shook her head. Why would he ask me that?

He held the tool up near his smile. “This, my dear, is a scalpel. It’s good to learn new things, isn’t it? Of course it is.”

He started toward her, still smiling, his elbow bent, the scalpel raised to shoulder height. “For instance, I feel a particular bent to learn human anatomy.”

Again she frowned. Why is he telling me?

He gestured toward her with the scalpel. “Your anatomy, specifically. So I’m going to have to cut you a bit, you see.”

Her eyes wide, she rocked her head hard, side to side, tried to say No. But only the same muffled sound came out.

He stopped next to her. “I wish I had some sort of anesthesia. I used to be quite fond of whiskey, but the doctors finally convinced me it was bad for my health.” He laughed and shrugged. “And it’s difficult to get the real stuff without a license. The anesthesia, I mean. If I were you, I would prefer ropivacaine. But you know how the government is with their regulations.”

He leaned forward, looked at her closely. “But we’ll get along without it. We’re going to have a good time, you and I.”

Outside the IGA, she’d opened her car door and leaned in to put the bag with the ice cream in the passenger seat. And something hit her from behind.

He did it. He hit her from behind. He shoved her hard across the car. She hit her nose on the inside of the passenger door just below the window. Her eyes watered and she was dizzy.

He lifted her legs and dropped them in the passenger side floorboard. There were a few goat heads in the floorboard. Stanley never scraped his shoes on the driveway before he got into her car. And a few of them stuck in her left knee.

Then someone—this man—grabbed the back of her hair, tugged hard on her head and slammed her face against the door again. And everything went dark.

That’s what was wrong with her nose. That’s what was wrong.

It wasn’t a nightmare. It happened.

He studied her eyes, watched as the fear crept into them, and smiled. “Ah, you remember something. Was it good for you? I do hope it was good for you, Susan.”

She forgot about the tape on her mouth, tried to ask, “Where am I?” but again only the muffled sound came out.

He held up one hand, his index finger to his mouth. “Shh. Shh. I thought you might be a talker, you see.” He gestured toward her mouth with the scalpel. “Hence the tape.” His voice quieted to a sinister whisper. “Now then, let’s get down to business, shall we? The sooner we begin, and all that.”

He leaned forward and reached with the fingers of his left hand, smoothed some hair from her forehead and wrapped it behind her left ear, then looked at her eyes. “I only want to make one incision, Susan. Just one.” He held up his left index finger. Then he touched the base of the scalpel to the front of her left underarm. “I’ll start here, you see.” He traced the path as he said, “And I’ll draw a little red line back up over your shoulder.” He smiled again. “Okay?”

She shook her head vehemently.

“Tut tut, none of that. As we’ve already established, it’s important to learn new things. Now, if you don’t move during the procedure, we’ll call it done and I’ll let you go.  All right?”

She stared at him.

He frowned. “You aren’t being very polite, Susan. I said all right?”

A hesitation, then she nodded quickly.

“That’s better. There’s a good girl. It’s like a little game. You don’t move, you don’t attempt to say anything, and I’ll let you go. And you’ll have a nice scar from the bad man to show your grandchildren someday.”

Grandchildren? She didn’t even have children yet. Stanley hadn’t decided they were ready. And at 24, she still had plenty of time. At 24 she was still a young—

He pressed the tip of the scalpel into the soft flesh of her underarm.

“Mmmfff!”

He jerked the scalpel back. Straightened. Looked at her. His lips were pressed together in a tight, thin line.

After a moment, during which he took three long breaths and seemed to be trying to decide something, he said, “All right. Well, that was probably the first time you’ve been touched with a scalpel, eh Susan? So we’ll let that one go, all right? We won’t count that one.”

He wagged his left forefinger at her and canted his head. “But any more like that, young lady, and— Well, I might not be able to let you go.” He laughed lightly, then leaned over her again. “Now, are you ready?”

She nodded frantically and pressed her teeth and her eyelids tight together.

He inserted the tip of the scalpel again.

She remained rigid against the searing pain as it sliced upward through the muscle of her left shoulder.

But when he’d moved it a little less than an inch, she had a mental image of herself walking into a hospital with her left arm in her right hand. The image caused her to shudder.

Again he straightened, but quickly, angrily. His voice was controlled, but only barely. “You just don’t listen, do you, Susan? Like all the rest, you never—you never listen!”

“Mmmfff!” she said, her eyes pleading. In that sound she tried to transmit that she would be good. She wouldn’t move. She wouldn’t make a sound. She wouldn’t do anything. She swore she wouldn’t. Just please let her go. Please.

But he was beyond listening for intent. “Oh, I see. Talking is what’s important to you. More important than anything, eh Susan? You want to talk?” He quickly raised the scalpel as he yelled, “Here! Let me remove the tape!”

He slashed down with the scalpel from near her nose to her jawline on the left side, slicing cleanly through her cheek and the tape.

She jerked her head to one side, and as he slashed again the scalpel hit just below her right nostril and sliced cleanly through the tape and both lips on right side.

She screamed, and this time the sound came out through her left cheek and through her gashed lips. Blood flowed in two streams down past her ear on the left and her jawline on the right and onto the table.

“And now you want to scream? Susan, you are untenable! But if you don’t want to play fair, here! Scream!”

He raised the scalpel, brought it down, slashed her left breast from the top to the areola. “Scream, Susan!”

She screamed and arched her back against the agonizing pain. More blood spattered out from her cheek and lips. Blood from her left breast ran down over her abdomen and side.

He held the scalpel aloft. “Be still!”

But she screamed again, then twisted hard to the left.

He slashed her right breast. “I said be still!”

She screamed and struggled hard to the right.

He slashed at her chest below her breasts repeatedly, but missed as she moved, laying bare her rib cage with three or four gashes on either side. The flesh hung in quivering red strips. “Be still, Susan! You’re spoiling it! You’re spoiling it!”

He stopped for a moment, and she looked at him, her eyes wide, pleading. She shook her head hard side to side, then nodded. She tried her best to lie still beneath the fire running all over her body.

He sighed and leaned over her. He gazed closely into her eyes, then smiled. Without warning he brought the scalpel forward and plunged it hard into her abdomen, then twisted it and held it tightly as she squirmed. “Do you understand, Susan? I wanted you to lie still!”

Still looking at him, she tried to draw her legs up, but the chains tugged at her ankles. Blood gushed from the rips in her cheeks and lips and torso.

Could she still escape? Maybe she could still escape. Slowly, she released the muscles in her thighs, allowed her legs to settle gently to the table again.

He raised the scalpel and glared at her.

She lay still, staring at him. At his eyes. Hatred. Such hatred. What did I do?

Again without warning, the scalpel descended and he slashed wildly at her hips and her thighs.

But she didn’t move other than with the force of the blade.

She kept her eyes trained on him.

It was too late. It wasn’t a nightmare. It had never been a nightmare.

I’m going to die. I’m going to die. But what did I do? What did I do?

Something about the fetal position. Shouldn’t she be in the fetal position?

He stopped for a moment, the scalpel hanging at his side as if he was tired.

The fetal position. She tried to tense her muscles and they all screamed. She tried to roll onto her left side quietly, without upsetting him further.

But the chains tugged at her again.

Oh. Oh yes. The chains. He put the chains on me. They must be necessary. But what did I do?

She relaxed in her original position, stared up at him, her eyes glassed over with acceptance.

Quietly, he said, “I only wanted you to lie still, Susan. That’s all I wanted, you see.” He took a heavy breath, hesitated, then said, “So shall I end it?”

Her cheeks, her face, her breasts were on fire. Her hips, her thighs, her abdomen. I’m going to die. Please, no more. No more. Yes. Yes sir, you should end it. Please. Please end it.

But if she told him, if she even nodded, he would torture her further.

He raised his voice slightly. “I said should I end it, Susan? I think you have learned your lesson, so you may answer.”

She stared at him.

I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything.

Gently, she shook her head side to side. For added defiance, she risked a sound, tried to say No.

His face wrinkled into a rage. “Well it isn’t up to you, is it, Susan? It isn’t up to you! Understand?”

Behind the tape, she managed a slight smile.

In a single motion he stepped forward and plunged the scalpel between her ribs just to the left of her sternum.

Her body lurched. “Unh!”

He glared at the wound, the blood pumping out in a pulsing stream, then stabbed her again. Then again. Then again.

When he finally looked up, Susan Jordan’s eyes were vacant.

A broad grin burst across his lips and he began swinging the scalpel side to side, in rhythm, as if conducting an unseen choir. Quietly, as if taking care not to wake his victim, he sang, “And on into the ground we go, as into the town we go.”

He dropped the scalpel on the table next to her left calf, turned and walked toward the exit.

* * * * * * *

Note: This story is also the first chapter of my new psychological suspense crime thriller novel, Jonah.

The Journal, Thursday, 12/29

Hey Folks,

Rolled out a little before 3. I checked email and played on Facebook for about a half-hour, during which I was able to rouse considerable ire with a personal request of the person currently occupying the White House.

Then, coffee in hand, cigar clenched firmly between teeth, I started working on the edit. I finished it around 8:45, then ran a final spell check in the track-changes version. Then I save it with another file name, incorporated all the changes and deleted all the comments, and sent both copies to the client. Woohoo!

I know I won’t have anymore edits coming for awhile, so it’s back to the writing and full steam ahead.

For now, my grandson and I are headed to the store as soon as he gets back from his walk. As for the rest of today, who knows.

Well, about a half-hour after we got back from the store and got things put away, I caught a chill and started shivering like a wild dog passing razorblades.

I’m sure it’s nothing but a result of doing roughly 110 mph for the past week or so in a 10 mph body. (grin) So I’m off for the rest of the day.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, What’s the Point? A Deadly Saying (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/whats-the-point-a-deadly-saying/).

The comments on Failure Must Be An Option (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/failure-must-be-an-option/#comments) are must-read excellent.

ALSO see his New Coast Workshops Announced (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/new-coast-workshops-announced/). If you’re interested, read the full descriptions under the Coast Workshops tab on his website. MAN I wish I could do the SF workshop in April! But other commitments at the moment.

Check out Kris Rusch’s Business Musings: The First (?) 2017 Process Blog (http://kriswrites.com/2016/12/28/business-musings-the-first-2017-process-blog/).

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 280 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 280

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15190
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 273090

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 974038

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)
Day 13… 00 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+12)
Day 14… 60 pages. Total to date…… 527 (+37)
Day 15… 71 pages. Total to date…… 598 (+73)
Day 16… 69 pages. Total to date…… 667 (+107)
Day 17… 47 pages. Total to date…… 714 (Done!)

Dare To Be Bad Revisited For 2017

Hi folks,

Because Dean Wesley Smith gave me permission to post this, I rushed it but failed to add the category. But because I want you to see it now, before the new year, I’m reposting it on Wednesday morning.

This is a guest post by professional long-term fiction writer Dean Wesley Smith. I encourage you to visit his website regularly at http://DeanWesleySmith.com. You will find a gold mine of information there. In the alternative, subscribe to my Daily Journal, whence I will also refer you to Dean’s site when he’s posted something juicy.

* * *

Kevin J. Anderson credits me with coming up with the phrase “Dare to be Bad,” but it was a catch phrase that Nina Kiriki Hoffman and I used in our early years of our short-story-per-week challenge. I think Nina might have said it first, but it was our chant. And I have repeated it over and over during the last few decades. Both to myself and to other writers.

Now in this new world of publishing, it still applies, maybe even more.

Back in my early years, in the challenge with Nina, I’m not 100% sure how it helped her. You would have to ask her, but for me it got me out of the rewriting mode. And it helped me get the courage to send my stories out for editors and readers to read.

The base of the phrase for me is this:

It takes a lot more courage to write and mail something than it does to not write, or write and not mail.

And by putting out your work to editors, and/or readers, you are risking the chance that readers and editors might not like it, that it might be bad.

So you are daring to be bad.

Where I have used this phrase over the years is to try to help writers who are stuck in rewriting whirlpools, never thinking anything was good enough to mail, so thus never making any real progress toward selling their work. At some point, if you write first draft or ten drafts, you have to take a chance and release your work if you want readers to read it.

At that point you must “Dare to be Bad.”

Of course, there are no real repercussions of publishing a story that fails. No reader buys or reads anything that doesn’t work. And no editor will remember your name if your story doesn’t work.

If the story sucks, if your sample is bad, or your cover sucks, or your blurb wouldn’t draw flys, no one will read it or buy it or remember you. No real risk to you. Sure, no sales, but no real risk either.

But alas, new writers (and I was no exception) are all afraid of putting our work out for readers to read.

Sadly, the reality is that no one notices a bad story, which I suppose for some people is worse. But there are no real risks.

So I used the “Dare to be Bad” saying as a way to jump my brain over the made-up fear that kept me from mailing and kept me rewriting things to death. I wrote one draft and then instead of tinkering with it, I had a first reader find the typos and the mistakes, fixed those, took a deep breath, and mailed the story while repeating over and over, “Dare to be Bad.”

I was convinced that every one of those stories I mailed sucked beyond words, that they all needed to be rewritten just as I had been doing without any success for seven years.

But I still mailed them.

During those early years I would also turn every story into a workshop after I had mailed it to an editor. The workshop, of course, would back up my fear that the story sucked beyond words and I needed to fix a hundred different things about it. Then I would sell the story and be very, very glad I hadn’t listened to the workshop or my own fear.

In those early years, with “Dare to be Bad” I never fixed a one of the stories I wrote unless an editor asked me to. In hindsight, when the stories started selling, somehow I managed to hold the fear under control and not go back and touch any story. In fact, in those early years, I became so militant about not touching a story (because I had to in order to climb over the fear) that I got angry when some editor wanted me to rewrite or touch-up a story. I usually did it, but because I was so intense about the “Dare to be Bad” I got angry every time in those early sales. (I never let the editor know I was upset, but my poor friends around me sure knew. (grin))

When I look back at it, I can’t believe I actually managed to swim so hard upstream against so many myths. Knowing that Heinlein and Ellison and Bradbury and others did it the same way helped me, but mostly it was the “Dare to be Bad” chant that pushed me week after week after week.

The New World of Publishing

It takes a huge amount of courage for a new writer to put their work out into the real world. It takes one hundred times more courage to put out a story that you are convinced can be “fixed” and “polished.”

But for seven years my fixing and polishing had gotten few stories written and finished and no sales. Mailing unfixed stories got me a career. “Daring to be Bad” got me a career, such as it is. “Daring to be Bad” has paid the bills for over two decades.

But now in this new world, the bad stories will sink without a trace, the good stuff will find readers and get some word-of-mouth and sales.

There are always fears of one sort of another, fears that turn into excuses, to not put your work in front of readers. So let me list a few “excuses” here just for fun that “Dare to be Bad” chant might help you with in getting your stories out to readers in this coming year.

And note: Let me just take these excuses right down Heinlein’s Rules. If you don’t know Heinlein’s Rules, google them. If you want an extensive lecture on them, go to http://wmg-publishing-workshops-and-lectures.teachable.com

1… I don’t have anything to write about, and I have trouble thinking of any idea. Maybe the fear of writing is stopping you and you just need to sit down at the computer and dare to be bad. Writing something is better than not writing. (Heinlein Rule 1: You must write.)

2… I can’t seem to find the time to write. Yup, we all had that problem starting out with day jobs and family. But if there are no major emergencies going on in your life, maybe you really don’t want to be a writer if you can’t find the time to write, or maybe you are just afraid of what you might write. Bluntly put, you need to just sit down and dare to be bad. (Heinlein Rule 1: You must write.)

3… I write, but I can never finish anything. Yup, I know all about these excuses. You can’t figure out the ending, or you get bored and jump to another project, or the project just feels awful about halfway through. If this is happening to you (happens to me all the time), you really need to dare to be bad. It takes courage to finish a project even when you think it sucks. Far more courage than it does walking away from it and quitting. (Heinlein Rule 2: You must finish what you write.)

4… Story isn’t good enough, it needs another polish. If this fear has a bunch of your stories sitting in files not mailed, maybe you might want to think of not doing that final polish and daring to be bad and mailing the thing. (Heinlein Rule 3: You must not rewrite unless to editorial demand.)

5… I write and finish stories, but I can’t seem to find the time to learn how to put them up electronically myself. Here is where the real rubber hits the road, the real fears I talked about above hit each of us. Dare to be bad. It takes a vast amount of courage to get your stuff to readers, even though there are no real threats coming back at you. No one notices if something is honestly bad. And maybe that’s the biggest worry of all, that no one will notice. And if that’s the case, run from this business now. Your ego is way, way too big to survive as a writer. (Heinlein Rule 4: You must mail your work to someone who will buy it. (Modern addition, put it up so readers can buy it.))

6… I mailed the story, got five or so rejections on it, so it must stink. Wow, again, if you give up after only a few rejections, you might again think about another career. But now, even if you do give up after a few rejections from editors, your story can still find readers. All you have to do is learn to do a cover and format your manuscript correctly and get it up on Amazon and other places. There is no reason to ever retire a story these days. Again, no one will notice if it sucks and if it doesn’t suck, it will find readers. But to get to those readers, you must dare to be bad. (Heinlein’s Rule #5: You must keep your story in the mail until someone buys it. (Modern addition, get your story for sale directly to readers and give them a chance to buy it.))

Courage

The phrase “Dare to be Bad” is a phrase that allows you to gain courage. Sometimes you just have to let go and dare to suck.

Someone pointed out to me once that Babe Ruth not only held the home run title for decades, but also the most strike-out title. Luckily for him he had no fear of being bad. He just stood up there and swung at the ball. That’s what I did every time I mailed a new story. I just stood up there, swallowed the fear, and took a swing.

Every writer, without exception, has mental issues with courage. Long term professional writers have figured out ways over and around or through the fears. For me, putting my work out there is always a challenge because so many of my stories have personal themes, personal fears. I still use “Dare to be Bad” as a chant to get me to put up stories electronically, to even write the new novel or the next short story.

It takes a lot more courage to try and fail than it does to not try at all.

Go ahead, dare to be bad and see what happens. Put up a story up on Amazon on your own without rewriting it to death. Try new things, experiment, take chances. You really have nothing to lose.

Step up to the plate, take a deep breath, and swing.

And who knows, just as I was, you might be very surprised at the positive results.

* * *

Thanks, and I hope this was helpful to you. Until next time, happy writing!

Harvey

The Journal, Wednesday, 12/28

Hey Folks,

Ahh, first, thanks to those who responded re yesterday’s Journal entry. I didn’t mean to sound as if I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m thrilled at my current situation. I think my point was simply that it’s all right to “roll” with life rolls and keep on writing.

In other news, I am constantly amazed by the level of ignorance on display these days. And the humor it spawns within my twisted soul. (grin)

At the moment there’s a massive flap (pun intended) going on about removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. In the current flap, the current pledge, minus the words “under God,” is printed on a photo of the US flag. The subtext read “Perhaps it’s time to return our country to its original founding father’s vision.” [punctuation is original… apparently we had only one founding father]

After I commented that I saw nothing wrong with “under God” being in the pledge, a man wrote “Not if you want to change the founding fathers’ intent.” (Umm, the founding fathers had nothing to do with the pledge of allegiance.) And some woman, apparently the current General Manager of the Universe, dropped in to say “That’s because you believe there is a God and you think it’s all right to shove it down other people’s throats.”

Wow. So one guy believes the founding fathers wrote the thing. And one woman believes she knows anything at all about me. Amazing.

Well, that got my attention. I suppose I’m as easily enthralled as I am bored.

So I did a little research. It took me all of five minutes to discover the ACTUAL original Pledge of Allegiance was penned by Colonel George Balch in 1887 (roughly 111 years after the founding fathers did their thing). The original pledge read, in total, “We give our heads and hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one flag!” (The exclamation point isn’t mine.)

Five years later, in August of 1892, a guy named Francis Bellamy wrote a pledge that read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This is at least closer to the “original” pledge these folks are all up in arms wanting to “restore.”

From WikiPedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance) “‘Bellamy noted that, “In later years the words ‘my flag’ were changed to ‘the flag of the United States of America’ because of the large number of foreign children in the schools.” Bellamy disliked the change, as “it did injure the rhythmic balance of the original composition.”‘

How about them apples? (grin)

In case you’re wondering, ‘”The United States Congress officially recognized the Pledge for the first time, in the following form, on June 22, 1942: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This is the one all those folks want to “restore” as the “original” Pledge (and, erroneously by about 166 years) they believe was put forth by the founding fathers. It was finally amended by Congress to read “under God” in 1954.

And that’s what has all these folks so upset. Sigh.

Well, that was an interesting diversion. And much ado about literally Nothing.

* * *

I’m gonna edit again today, though the fiction bug is pushing. I woke up a little after 2 with a story idea in mind. Good to know those things are still rattling around in there.

An unscheduled 3-hour trip to Sierra Vista, then back to editing. I finished another 69 pages. I’ll finish it tomorrow.

* * *

Yesterday I talked about Life Events. In Dean’s post for today (see below) he wrote “Maybe for a month or six months or a year you won’t find the time [to write] as life beats on you with something special. But if you don’t really have this fear [finishing what you write], you will come back to writing when life gets off your back and you will finish your work.”

How cool is that?

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, check out Failure Must Be An Option (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/failure-must-be-an-option/). This is a great post.

Some great comments on Blast From The Past To Help With the Future (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/blast-from-the-past-to-help-with-the-future/#comments).

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 690 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 690

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14910
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 272810

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 973758

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)
Day 13… 00 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+12)
Day 14… 60 pages. Total to date…… 527 (+37)
Day 15… 71 pages. Total to date…… 598 (+73)
Day 16… 69 pages. Total to date…… 667 (+107)

The Journal, Tuesday, 12/27

Hey Folks,

Rolled out a little before 3 this morning, checked email and Facebook, coffee in hand. I also spent some time in thought.

I wrote most of the stuff below between about 3:30 and 7, then worked on a friend’s website to create a new page. Then I made a horribly unhealthy (but delicious) breakfast for myself and my grandson, then came back to finish writing the stuff below.

Now, at 10 a.m., I’m moving to the edit.

* * *

I recently experienced a major epiphany, actually as a result of something I read while editing a very long memoir.

Some background…

Speaking very generally, as a child I didn’t have a positive male role model. In fact, I had a very strong negative role model. He was so strong in that regard that my stepmother, who was a very good woman, was rendered ineffective as a mother. I had a roof over my head (one of the standards of my day) but the price I paid for it was dear.

My father was a man who never worked-through many of the bad experiences to which he was subjected as a child, and as a result he passed along a lot of that to me. (I was the eldest of six siblings.) I’m happy to report that the two youngest had a much different father than I had, and I’m glad for that.

But the upshot is, I learned nothing positive about being a man from him except through negative lessons (i.e., he acts like this, so I will act differently). Possibly the most evident example is my own hyperactive sense of compassion. Another is my selfishness. (The excuse was “If I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t take care of others.”) On one hand, that is an invaluable lesson and something of a truism. On the other, taken to extremes it becomes an excuse for being self-absorbed.

When I was 12 years old, I read a filler in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (a newspaper) that read, “Live your life so that when you’re all alone, you’re in good company.” I haven’t always lived up to that, but I’ve never forgotten it.

My first positive male role models were my drill instructors in Marine Corps basic training (SSgt Abraham, Sgt Salgado, Sgt McGrew). They at least set me on a path, and I learned everything else I know regarding manhood in bits and pieces from other men I encountered through my life. Most of them were (and some still are) friends who aren’t even aware of the impact they had.

Move to present day…

Over the years I strived to help others, human or otherwise. But even with all that, I never quite got the hang of being the best husband and father; the best “head of the family.” And that leads me to my recent huge epiphany.

I won’t go into detail about that epiphany here, partly because it doesn’t matter outside of myself, and partly because it has nothing to do with my self as a writer.

I will say that it has a great deal to do with beginning a master’s course in being the head of my family. The undergraduate courses consisted of taking care of the Marines who came under my watch and even some things I learned from that little cat I often talk about here.

The final exam was (and is) my grandson coming to live with me. And my “cheat sheet” is what I realized while editing the current project.

But if you’re still reading, you’re wondering (rightly) what all of this has to do with writing. Here it is.

Topic: Life Events and Life Rolls

I’ve always felt more alive when I’m involved in a challenge.

It just struck me this morning that what’s going on in my life as a writer right now is what Dean often refers to as a “life roll” or “life event.” A definite challenge.

First, these are two distinct areas of focus.

The life event is a major bump or dip in the road. Sometimes the life event is all-inclusive (e.g., the anticipated death of an elderly loved one) and is over within a few days. Not the mourning, of course, but the immediate disruption.

Other times, the life event (e.g., a family emergency with which you can help) leads to a life roll. It might last a week or a month or several years.

Recently I realized someone in my extended family needed help that either only I could provide or that I could provide more easily than anyone else; that combined with the decision to act on that relization comprised the life event. It was over in one fairly long day.

The life roll is everything that comes afterward. Yesterday I realized that life roll probably will last from a few to several years. Still, this is not a sentence but an opportunity.

Dean often talks about life events and life rolls as situations that practically require a writer to set writing aside until the life event/life roll has ended. He’s never stated that outright as far as I know, but every example he’s provided seems to point in that direction.

Believe me, the easiest decision I could have made in response my own recent life event/roll would be to suspend my writing until all of this is over. Unfortunately, in my case that would almost certainly mean stopping writing altogether.

But that’s silly. So I had a conscious decision to make.

There are, and will be, adjustments. But I’ll continue doing my “job,” sitting alone in a room making stuff up.

I don’t “have” to suspend doing what I love. I just have to be patient and work with my schedule.

So yes, there has been a major life event, and yes, I am now in the midst of a major life roll. But wrapped as it is in a challenge, I find the whole situation invigorating.

For me this happens at a very opportune time. Witness,

I’ve been distracted from my writing by the edit I’m working on.

Which in turn provided me with the impetus for an epiphany.

Which in turn enabled me to clearly see that I needed to take on this life roll/challenge.

Which in turn means I’ll have to made adjustments to my fiction writing time. But in making those adjustments

I’m abetted by the approaching end of the edit itself and by the approaching New Year, both of which will happen almost simultaneously.

So on January 1, the edit will be behind me and my first-ever million-words year of fiction writing ahead. And it’s all gift-wrapped in the colorful paper of the life roll. What could be better?

Goals for 2017

My own fiction goals for 2017 (2017? Whatever happened to 1978?) are as follows:

3000 words of publishable fiction per day
1 novel per month, 12 on the year
1 short story per week

* * *

At this point, I’m over two days ahead on the edit. That feels good.

Of Interest

From Dean, a Blast From The Past To Help With the Future (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/blast-from-the-past-to-help-with-the-future/).

And another great bit of reading in his Dare To Be Bad Revisited For 2017 (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/dare-to-be-bad-revisited-for-2017/). (An excerpt: “For seven years my fixing and polishing had gotten few stories written and finished and no sales. Mailing unfixed stories got me a career.)

Ever get confused when attempting to conjugate a verb? Check out Verbix at http://www.verbix.com/languages/. It’s also now in the left sidebar of my website along with roughly half a ton of other useful links under Writers’ Resources.

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1240

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14220
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 272120

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 973068

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)
Day 13… 00 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+12)
Day 14… 60 pages. Total to date…… 527 (+37)
Day 15… 71 pages. Total to date…… 598 (+73)

The Journal, Monday, 12/26

Hey Folks,

Well, probably another nonwriting day. I’ll get at least some editing done, but we’re still making adjustments due to the recent 1/3 increase in size to our family. (grin) Switching around some furniture and so on. Making everything as close to “normal” as we can for ourselves (Bryan, Mona, me) and for the kits and the pup.

Indeed, another nonwriting day. But today I had stirrings of a story within me. It (the fiction writing) will burst forth soon, maybe even before this edit is finished. The edit is a blessing in a way. In addition to providing a little more income, it also is enabling me to look forward to the next calendar year of writing fiction.

In the meantime, those of you who were dismayed at times by my numbers (which I display here to show what is possible, not as some sort of bar to be fretted over and surpassed) should be flying past me with your writing like I’m stapled to a tree. (grin) And I hope it is so.

Of Interest

A lot of good stuff at Dean’s place today:

Pulp Speed Writers (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pulp-speed-writers/) is a great post.

Step One of Getting Ready for a New Year (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/step-one-of-getting-ready-for-a-new-year/).

And 12/25/16 Daily (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/122516-daily/).

And Free Fiction Monday at Kris Rusch’s site: Disaster Relief (http://kriswrites.com/2016/12/26/free-fiction-monday-disaster-relief/)

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 180 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 180

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12980
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 270880

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 971828

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)
Day 13… 00 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+12)
Day 14… 60 pages. Total to date…… 527 (+37)

The Journal, Sunday, 12/25

Hey Folks,

Merry Christmas, everyone, and whatever you believe Him to be, God’s blessings on all of you.

Topic: Blessings

(in part, copied from a friend’s post on the Internet)

I am thankful for my blessings:

For the wife who says it’s hot dogs tonight,
because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.

For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes
because it means she is at home, not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay
because it means I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party
because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snugly
because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work
because it means I am out in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing
because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining I hear about the government
because it means we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot
because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill
because it means I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church who sings off key
because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing
because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day
because it means I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
because it means I am alive.

And finally, for too many e-mails
because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.

And from me, personally, I am thankful for those who serve and enable all of the above, and for all of you, my friends and acquaintances. I am blessed by your presence.

Of Interest

A brief Christmas wish at Dean’s at 12/24/16 Daily (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/122416-daily/).

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 360 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 360

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 270700

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 971648

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)
Day 13… 00 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+12)

The Journal, Saturday, 12/24

Hey Folks,

Well, I now have a grandson living with me. He needs a little help, and I suspect it will help me as much as it helps him. I mention this only because my schedule will inevitably change.

I will continue to write (and for now, edit), of course. And I will try to remember to post this Jounal each day. If I happen to miss a day now and then, just know I’ll be back a day later.

Today it will be all editing. I began the day -5 pages, so in the hole. To pull even, I need to edit 40 pages today. If I can do enough over that, I won’t have to edit in the morning, save in the very early morning when everyone else is still asleep. (grin)

I hope you all have a wonderful, very merry Christmas.

Of Interest

At Dean’s 12/23/16 Daily (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/122316-daily/) is interesting.

I also recommend you click http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/122116-daily/#comments and scroll to read the third comment and Dean’s response below it. Gems to be had there.

Today’s Writing

Nothing today. Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 190 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 190

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12440
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 270340

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 971288

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… 00 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)
Day 9…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 343 (+28)
Day 10… 37 pages. Total to date…… 380 (+30)
Day 11… 00 pages. Total to date…… 380 (-5)
Day 12… 87 pages. Total to date…… 467 (+47)