The Journal, Monday, 5/15

Hey Folks,

Back to writing sometime today. Maybe a short story, maybe a novel start (or both).

I also have in mind two good series characters. Each has a great name and a strong personality. One is male and one female. Not because I want to keep things equal, but because that’s who they are.

I also have some other pressing things to do, not the least of which is extending the roof of the carport to provide additional shade for my wife’s new car.

You can’t live in southeast Arizona and avoid exposure to a severe sun, but you can mitigate the effects. Or you can try.

Confidential to Robert: Thanks for the encouragment. It’s all good. (grin)

***

I realized this morning I no longer have a writing routine. The past two weeks has been more disruptive than I initially thought it would, beginning with re-doing my office and followed by a lot of little life rolls.

There was the office rebuild, then the broken axle, then Mona’s medical thing, then the new car search and the visit from the kids.

Routine is important to me. It’s how I do things. Not a schedule so much, but a routine. So I need to reestablish that. I’ll start working on that today.

I need to make writing a priority again. Not make “the writing” important, but make writing important.

***

Okay, to the list of stuff above beginning with the office rebuild, we can now add putting a new door on the Adobe Hovel. (grin)

Around 2:45 I stepped out of the Hovel to head up to the house for another break and the door of the Hovel was laying about ten feet away. Wind got it. I guess I was so deep in the current story I didn’t notice.

I had the door blocked open, so the air currents didn’t change when the door headed for Deming. Anyway, thus began the search for another door for the Hovel.

The landlord had a lot of 30″ doors, but they were all interior doors. So he’s going to try to glue the old one back together. (As if he didn’t have enough on his plate.)

In the meantime, I’ve been wanting to get reaccustomed to writing up at the house anyway with summer coming on. So maybe this will be a blessing in disguise.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4. I caught up on my sleep a bit last night after what was a very tiring and trying 10 days or so.

Around 10 I finished up the carport stuff I was doing, and around 11:30 I headed out to the Hovel to write.

12:30 a break up at the house to update this stuff and grab some lunch.

Another break around 1:30, then the final break of the day at 2:45. See above.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “One Time Branding Workshop” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-time-branding-workshop/.

Here’s to writing off into the dark. See “Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/your-brain-can-only-take-so-much-focus/.

And good ol’ California strikes again. See “California threatens to shut down book signings and therefore small booksellers” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/california-threatens-to-shut-down-book-signings-and-therefore-small-booksellers/.

Fiction Words: 2751
Nonfiction Words: 500 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3251

Writing of A Fresh Kill (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 2751 words. Total words to date…… 2751

Total fiction words for the month……… 18165
Total fiction words for the year………… 265759
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8030
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 82720

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 348479

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 537 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Sunday, 5/14

Hey Folks,

Yeah, this is pretty much another placeholder post to keep this Journal streak going.

I spent much of the early morning wrangling babies, shifting 4-legs from one room to another. Although the other two (cat and chihuahua) are fine around other 2-legs, my little girl gets hyper nervous.

That made for an interesting night and early morning. That baby has taught me more about patience in the past few years than I’ve learned from all sources (including experience) during the rest of my life.

Maybe that’s why I can write novels now. (grin) And maybe that’s why I can wait to write when I have to.

Mothers Day

Of course, today is Mothers Day. Yeah, it’s a commercial thing, but it’s much more than that.

For me this is a day to focus and reflect on moms and other women who have been or are significant to me.

I think of my wonderful wife who is a blessing to me. She’s human and I’m human, with all the attendant ups and downs. But at the end of the day we’re always there for each other, and I love seeing her laugh and smile.

I remember Mom, my stepmother, who passed five years ago and who gave me the kitten I talk about here so much, the one I call my youngest daughter.

I think of my estranged mother, the woman who gave me birth, and hope she is happy, by her own definition of that word, in her life.

I have two daughters who are moms in their own right. I have four “adopted” daughters — two married to two of my sons, one who is significant to my other son, and one who has left the family but whom I still consider a daughter and whose little girls I still count among my grandchildren. (Parents’ foibles are never the fault of the child.)

And my sisters and sister in law, aunts, cousins, and friends. I’m so very grateful for all of them.

This is a special day, in much the same way Veterans Day or Memorial Day or Independence Day or Thanksgiving are special days. An opportunity to reflect on other important (to me) people and events.

I hope it is as special for you, and for all the women in your life.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 again. My favorite time to get up.

Wrote the stuff above by around 6, and I’m posting it early so I won’t forget and so it will be there most of the day today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s place, “Open Driveway and Other Distractions” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/open-driveway-and-other-distractions/. Nothing spectacular, but he knocked out 1900 words on his novel yesterday and another 2100 last night. The guy continues to amaze me.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 450 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 450

Writing of

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

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… 1735 words. Total words to date…… 15414 (stalled)
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7530
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 82220

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 345228

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 536 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Saturday, 5/13

Hey Folks,

Wow, am I ever aware that half the month’s almost gone. (grin) Kind’a adds to that challenge of writing at least one novel per month, doesn’t it? But I’ll do it or my name isn’t Delbert McCrory. Or something.

And wow again, I almost forgot to post to the Journal today. Huh. It’s almost 10:30 as I write this, and I’m only now posting to it.

Anyway, taking time out for family stuff yesterday, today and maybe tomorrow. Hope all of you are honored with and/or enjoy and/or participate in a great Mother’s Day.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Routine stuff the first couple hours, then got busy with home and office things. Then the camera, off and on, and posting pics to Facebook.

Things are gonna get busy around here pretty soon, so I’m gonna post this early so I don’t forget.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Not much around that I could find.

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

Writing of

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

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… 1735 words. Total words to date…… 15414 (stalled)
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7080
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 81770

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 344778

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 535 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Friday, 5/12

Hey Folks,

Well, probably this will be another nonwriting day, and maybe a nonwriting weekend.

It’s early (7 a.m.) but I have to change oil in a car, pick up things in town, clean out the same car, then wash it and do a bunch of other stuff. All of this is to prepare for a visit from some of my children and grandchildren tomorrow morning. So life things.

Still, I won’t post this until this afternoon. So we’ll see.

***

I saw a thing in a newsletter this morning that is straight out of a horror novel… only it’s real life. For me as a human being who was raised when human life had real value, it was all but unbelievable.

For me as a writer of fiction, it was disheartening. Never has the old saw “Truth is stranger than fiction” been more clearly illustrated or had a greater impact on me. Wow.

Then again, there are several great story ideas in the article. (I guess that’s me speaking as a mercenary.)

In case you want to see the story I’m talking about, I’ve included the link in the second spot in “Of Interest” below. If you’d rather pass, just don’t click it.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 and started the day.

At 7 to Walmart to pick up an order, then to drop my wife off to get some labs. While she did that I waited and read.

Around 8:20, dropped her at work, dropped the car off to get an oil change, took a walk.

Around 9:15, found out the guy who changed the oil is a soon-to-retire Master Chief in the Navy, so he and I had a good chat.

It was good to share some common experience and language. Maybe I gave him a head start on some of the retirement stuff.

Back to the house to put stuff away, take care of email and FB, then to work on cleaning out the car, washing it, etc.

1:30, most of the stuff is done. Just have to ArmorAll the car and I’ll be done. (grin)

Also took and posted some new pics on Facebook.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, “A Catch-Up Day” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-catch-up-day/.

And a story you might not want to read, but here it is nonetheless: “Couples Are Turning Their Unwanted Embryos Into Jewelry” http://thefederalist.com/2017/05/12/couples-turning-unwanted-embryos-jewelry/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 380 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 380

Writing of

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

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… 1735 words. Total words to date…… 15414 (stalled)
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6920
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 81610

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 344618

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 534 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

Suction Cups

Disraeli Jones was in a bad way. He sat on the white marble floor in the lobby in the Hampton Arms.

His right leg was splayed at an angle out from his body. His left leg was the same way to the knee, but there it bent back toward his right. The sole of his left shoe pressed against the inside of the right leg of his trousers just above the knee.

His back was against the wall, his shoulders round and sagging. His arms, along with the lapels of his jacket, framed his bulging yellow shirt. His hands lay palms-up on his lap. His hat lay on the floor at his side, and his head was slumped to his chest.

The light from the lone chandelier glistened on his slick bald head. Short, wavy red hair formed a horseshoe from above one ear and around his head to the other.

He appeared to be asleep.

At this time of night, there was no one around to make a judgement. Any guests were long since asleep. If the desk clerk was at his station, he was being very discreet about it.

Each time Jones inhaled, it seemed an effort. The air came as if it were a rope, being pulled, inch by inch, past his lips and into his lungs. His chin quavered slightly with every breath, and he made a sound like a cat scratching on a post.

Each time he exhaled it was a quiet moan wrapped in a sigh, and his thick chest and abdomen trembled slightly.

He slowly raised his head, winced with the pain, and looked across the lobby at the double entrance doors.

There was no doorman either. That was better.

The doorman’s station, a dark mahogany pedestal to the left of the door, began to waver. Time was short.

Jones allowed his head to drop again, but this time under his control.

A few inches below his face, on top of his abdomen, fabric strained away in both directions from a shirt button. The button was brown.

He frowned.

Shouldn’t the buttons be yellow, like the shirt?

To the left and closer, another, larger brown spot. Small, frothy bubbles around the edge.

Lung shot. Probably a lung shot.

If he still smoked, he could cover it with the cellophane from the pack. That’s what they taught him in the army.

It was nonsense, of course. How would you patch the hole in the back?

After that lecture, back in the barracks, he joked with his buddies, “It’s silly. It just gives you somethin’ to think about while you’re dyin’.”

They all laughed.

In the lobby, leaning against the wall, he shook his head slightly.

Come on back to now.

He raised his head again, opened one eye.

He could make it to the door.

He drew another breath, then another, filling himself with air.

He grunted slightly, hunched and all at once leaned his shoulders forward, with force. He did it again, then again.

Each time his shoulders bumped the wall, he hunched them again, propelled himself forward.

Each time he leaned over a little farther, gaining momentum.

Finally he rocked across the fulcrum of his knee. The palms of his hands, fingers splayed, splatted against the marble floor.

Behind him on the wall was a large, bright red splotch. Alongside it in three steps, three more bright red marks.

He swung his right leg around, brought his right knee up, began crawling toward the door.

A third of the way across the lobby, he thought of his gun.

His holster was there. But it felt light.

Naked.

Probably they took it.

Probably they tugged it from his holster when they sat him down.

The guy who tugged it out would glance at it, slip it into his jacket pocket to toss it into the river later on.

But they wouldn’t drop that one in the river. That one wasn’t a throw-away.

The guy who did the deed would catch a glimpse. He’d say quietly, “Hey, whaddya got there?”

Jones’ mind swayed for a moment. He reached for the wavering floor with his left hand, kept moving forward.

It was like the captain said the first time he brought the pistol to the range. “Hey, whaddya got there, Dee?”

And Jones grinned. He dropped the magazine into his left palm, racked the slide and locked it back, and passed it to the captain over a grin. “Kimber .45.” He laughed. “‘Cause you know, they don’t make a .46.”

The captain took it, held it reverently in his right palm. He rolled it over, let the slide go home. He turned, aimed it downrange, tested the heft, the balance.

Then he racked the slide, locked it back, and handed it back to Jones. “Hey, ain’t that something? I always heard these were the thing, eh?”

Today, another guy would say, “Whaddya got there?”

And the guy who took it from his holster would stop just short of his pocket

He’d stop and he’d roll the pistol over in his hand. He’d lean his ugly, pinched, pockmarked face close to read the stamp on the slide. Then he’d look up and frown. “Kimber?” he’d say. “Is that even a thing?”

Jones was almost halfway across the floor when his right elbow quavered.

He looked up.

The single column in the room. It rose from the floor to the ceiling of the lobby.

Two stories, right?  Yeah, two stories.

The column was to his right front. Only a few feet away.

So he was only a few feet short of halfway across.

He stopped for a moment, supporting himself on his left hand and his knees. He lifted his right arm, flexed his elbow once.

He thought again of the hood, rolling his Kimber in his hand. Thought of him saying, “Is that even a thing?”

Yeah, genius. It’s a thing.

His left wrist went weak and something slapped him on the left side of his face.

Wakin’ me up. My friend, wakin’ me up.

He drew a heavy breath, focused all his attention on his right arm.

The right arm’s gimpy. The right elbow.

With the slap still pressing against the left side of his face, he focused on that right arm. He dragged his right hand forward, the back of his fingers sweeping across the floor.

But at the end of the reach, they flipped up from beneath his hand.

Just like they’re supposed to.

His palm made contact.

He focused. Focused on everything. Focused on doing what he had to do.

He shook his head, but he wasn’t sure it actually moved side to side. The slap was still stuck to the left side.

Strange. Do slaps do that?

Who slapped me anyway?

But while his head was up, he glanced at the door.

Still a ways to go. Still a ways.

Back to business.

He focused. He focused on a knee, then the other hand. Then the other knee.

My right knee, right?

Then the other knee, and then his left.

He’d make it. He’d make it to the doors.

The car is there. Right there.

Parked outside. Along the curb.

The slap still stuck to his face, he glanced up to look at the door.

Didn’t I? Didn’t I look at the door?

Yeah I did.

He glanced at the door and it slid sideways.

Oops. That ain’t right.

It swung back into place.

He frowned.

Better focus.

He thought of his fingertips. He was pulling himself along on his fingertips, right?

Focus. Knee, fingertips. Other knee, fingertips.

Fingertips. Tips of the fingers.

Good design. The little mounds there. On the fingertips. They’re supposed to be for suction, right? Like holdovers from when we were amphibians? Somethin’ like that?

He’d heard that somewhere.

Then another thought hit him.

It felt like another slap. Almost. Only the first slap was still there. It was cool on his cheek.

Something about that was funny.

But it was a thought.

A thought slapped me. Where’s that thought? It was a thought, right? A thought.

He let his eyes close and looked at the door. He was over halfway. The column was behind him to his right, and he didn’t even remember moving past it. And he didn’t have to look to know it was there.

He’d make it to the doors. And his car was right outside. Right alongside the curb.

There’s the thought. It came again. The other thought like the one about the suction cups. The other thought. The one about cellophane.

He frowned.

They got somethin’ in common.

What is it? What they got in common?

What was the other thought?

There was the cellophane thought, whatever that was, and then—

Somethin’— somethin’ to do with suction cups, or somethin’.

Oh. Cellophane to stop a sucking chest wound.

He tried to grin, turned up the right corner of his mouth.

And then suction cups, so that’s like a suckin’ chest wound. Or somethin’. They both suck. That’s what they got in common. They both suck. One sucks air and one— One sucks stuff you’re grippin’.  That’s what— what they—

No. Nah, that ain’t it.

Just silly thoughts. They got nothin’ to do with anything.

“Just,” he said, barely above a whisper. “Just somethin’.”

The captain looked at his Kimber. “Whaddya got there, Dee? Well now ain’t that somethin’!”

“Just somethin’,” Jones said again.

Blood frothed on his lips.

The thought was slipping away. Both thoughts. Slipping away together.

Hold on.

Suction. Suction cups. Suckin’ chest wound. Suction cups.

“Ahh, that’s— that’s what they got— common.”

The corner of his mouth turned up again.

Suction cups an’ fingertips.

He looked up at the door again, his eyes still closed.

Hey, it didn’t waver this time.

And he was close. He was almost there.

Suction cups. Apply the suction cups on your fingertips. Get there, man!

His car was right there at the curb.

Sucked up against the curb.

He looked up at the door again. Almost there.

Suction cups on your fingers. Silly. Suckin’ chest wound. And cellophane. Somethin’ about—

Oh. Cellophane— to seal a suckin’ chest wound. Silly. How you gonna seal the back?

But that’s it. That’s what it is.

Suction cups on your fingertips. Cellophane on a suckin’ chest wound.

His army buddies faded in, grinning. They wavered.

“Yeah,” he said. He laughed, trying to get their attention. “See? Hey, see? Suction cups on your fingertips. Here. Right here.”

He stood and held up both hands, showing them the part he was talking about. “See? An’ then sealin’ a suckin’ chest wound with cellophane. See?”

He slapped his chest hard. “See? Right there. That’s where it’d go on me. Only it don’t work, see. That’s the joke. Just— just somethin’ to keep you entertained— while you’re dyin’.”

What a cool thought. And it slapped him on the left side of his face.

No, a cold thought. What a cold thought.

He wanted to look at the door again.

Open your eyes this time. Look with your eyes this time.

But his left eye didn’t want to open.

He opened his right eye.

It closed.

He opened it again. Opened it wide.

Frowned.

The column.

The column was just ahead of him a few feet.

Oh. Oh yeah.

Got it.

* * * * * * *

 

The Journal, Thursday, 5/11

Hey Folks,

Wow. A lot in today’s Journal and no fiction writing. Go figure.

As I write this, I just looked out my north-facing window and caught sight of a purple mountain peak. It’s about 20 miles distant (+/-) and currently lined here and there with pink from the sunrise.

Another beginning to another beautiful day.

I’ll accompany my bride at around 7:30 to a doctor appointment this morning, then to walmart for some things, then back here to begin the first day of the rest of my writing life.

Topic: On Specificity and Clarity in Writing

I was going to write a whole post on this topic, but really, that isn’t necessary. It’s a personal pet-peeve kind of thing. And far be it from me to foist my “beliefs” on anyone else.

What pet peeve?

Well, people who write things and then postulate—not even apologetically, but more apathetically and with a wag of the hand—that “The reader will know what I mean.”

Yeah. Those folks get on my nerves. Deep and hard.

But I have come to understand that such things don’t matter, by and large, to many people, writers and readers alike. Or at least it seems so to me.

For example, despite published writings that are replete with inappropriate instances of absolutes (all, never, always, everyone, nobody, etc.), apparently no writers actually write like that. Ever.

If you don’t believe me, ask them.

And despite published writings that are chock full of eyes wandering out of heads and doing things on their own (her eyes flew across the room and came to rest on a barrel of metal shavings), again, no writer put those words on a page. Again, ever.

And the same goes for other body parts: “her legs raced along the sidewalk” or “his nose smelled something strange” or “her ears listened closely” or “his finger dialed the telephone” or “his hand crept into his pocket to retrieve his revolver.”

No writers that I’ve been able to find write like that either. Ever.

But based on the hard evidence contained between the covers of some books, some do. Or maybe the publishers are sneaking that stuff in.

Anyway, if you mention those faux pas to the writers, they grin the grin of a thousand braying jackasses, wag that hand in the air as if you and they are old buddies and say something like, “Aah, you know, the readers know I didn’t mean it like that.”

And most often I smile and say something noncommittal, like “Hey, when you’re right, you’re right” or just “Ah.”

But the truth lurks in my mind: No, Sparky, they don’t.

Readers read for either or both of two purposes: entertainment and-or information. If you write “never,” they read “never.” They don’t automatically substitute “seldom” or “sometimes” or some other less-inclusive, less blanket-clad word.

If you write that “her legs raced down the road,” the reader sees disembodied legs racing down the road.

If you write that “her eyes came to rest on a barrel of metal shavings,” the reader will wince. Because face it, that had to hurt.

And it isn’t the reader’s fault that they take you at your word(s). It’s your fault.

After all, the reader has no choice but to accept what you put on the page, whether it’s in your novel, in your Essay On Some Topic Of Major Importance or on your Facebook page.

I’ve never known a reader who was hungry for a verbal repast to go looking for a soup sandwich. But that’s often what they get.

It is up to the purveyor of the repast to determine whether he or she is going to serve a nutrituous, delicately balanced meal or something that’s half-baked and barely slopped together.

Am I being nitpicky?

Yes. But only where my own sensibilities are concerned.

Hey, if you want to continue slopping grey, watery soup over stale bread in a bowl, go ahead. If you want to hit it with a dash of sea salt, proclaim it prime rib and hand it out to weary, gaunt-eyed travelers who are starved for sustenance, that’s your business.

I’m only giving you notice that I will not partake. Nor will I sidle up alongside you in the soup kitchen, grab a ladle and begin flinging greasy dumplings at the wall in the hope they will stick and “be something good.”

So anyway, I was gonna devote a whole post to this notion that writers, not readers, are responsible for the clarity or lack thereof in writing.

But it’s a personal thing, so I won’t.

I’ll just pass along a wish that your characters’ eyes will remain in their head. Unless it’s a horror novel and they get whacked really, really hard.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3. Took Mona for her doc visit at 8, then walmart for stuff, then home. Put stuff away, did some watering in the yard, and somehow it’s already 11.

Still, time for some writing today maybe.

So much for the plans of mice and guys like me. TONS of family stuff going on in seemingly cascading sheets. Some of it’s great, some is frightening, some is in between.

I won’t bore you with a lot of details, but three big things are going on today.

First the in-between. That was M’s doc appointment. It was for cause, but nothing too alarming and it’s all gonna work out fine. As a side deal, I picked up a new primary care person myself.

(Okay, that needs a little explanation. My PC doc recently left for a mission for his church and to work out some personal things in his life. He shifted me to a nurse practitioner. I went with M this morning to her appointment, hit it off with her NP, and switched before we left.)

Second, the frightening. I found out later in the day that I have a daughter in the hospital after she ODd on her regular meds. Everything is under control there. Awaiting updates, of course.

Third, the great thing. I’m working a back-door deal with two of my wonderful kids to get my wife a new-ish car. (She knows, so I’m not really giving anything away here. But she only knows it’s happening. She doesn’t know what she’s gonna get or any of that.)

So all of that’s taking up a lot of time and using a little of my stress quota.

On the good side, I’m also cooking two big pots of beans, blackeyed peas and taters (mixed…it’s a long story that involves me alone with the pantry) along with red onion, green chiles, tomatoes, etc. Gonna be good. I’m tempted to toss a little ground beef and cumin in one pot to make chili, but probably not on this go-around.

I did finally think about writing at around 2 p.m. But with only a couple hours left in the day, I decided to pass and pulled out my camera instead.

I’ll write tomorrow, given no earthquakes, lightning strikes or planes landing on my house.

But hey, at least you got a topic out of it, amaright?

See you then.

Of Interest

Just a little daily update at Dean’s, “Movie and Dinner” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/movie-and-dinner/.

An interesting insight for anyone who’s locked into Amazon exclusively from The Passive Voice: “Amazon’s Latest Move: Far From Profitability” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/05/amazons-latest-move-far-from-profitability/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1180 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1180

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 6540
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 81230

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 344238

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 533 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Wednesday, 5/10

Hey Folks,

Today I worked on various things around the house, mailed out two packages of books.

One was a collection, the full set of The Formalist, a twice-monthly poetry magazine, to my eldest granddaughter.

The Formalist was a very nice, perfect-bound journal that lasted ten or twelve years. I was fortunate to have some of my poetry appear in it alongside some big-name poets.

The other mailing was a full set of the Wes Crowley series. It will be auctioned off in a silent auction at my high school reunion next month. (Yeah, mailing that one was fun.)

If anyone out there is interested, you can now get the full set of the Wes Crowley novels in paper. But if you are interested, write me for details. The full set (in paper) if bought anywhere else would run you just under $150. If you get them direct from StoneThread Publishing, I provide a substantial discount.

***

Everybody has good days and bad days. I’ve had a string of the latter lately. I’m not complaining, just explaining. No worries. I’ll come out the other side.

Even Robert Heinlein himself said he’d broken his own rules several times. I just keep telling myself this is a transition month and it’s all right.

I added a little over 1700 words to The Storm today. But honestly, the thing just feels stalled.

Unless lightning strikes today or tonight, I’m going to set it aside and move on to something else.

In the meantime, I’m taking the rest of today off. Hoping all this life-roll stuff settles out soon.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30. Took care of all the stuff above, then started writing on The Storm at around 10:30. Why? Heinlein’s Rule #2.

In fact, I was so busy with all that other stuff that I didn’t even think to check Dean’s site or update this Journal until a break at around 12:30.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

At Dean’s, “Ticking Clocks,” on various offers that will expire soon. If you’re interested, take a look at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/ticking-clocks/. Otherwise, skip it. Not even a daily update today.

Fiction Words: 1735
Nonfiction Words: 360 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 360

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… 1735 words. Total words to date…… 15414 (stalled)

Total fiction words for the month……… 15414
Total fiction words for the year………… 263008
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5360
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 80050

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 343058

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 532 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

The Journal, Tuesday, 5/9

Hey Folks,

Today should be the last day of settling into my office. I think the more difficult task will be getting used to writing in here. I almost look forward to winter, short as it is, so I can move my writing back to the Hovel. I put a lot of stuff through my writing ‘puter out there.

Speaking of the writing ‘puter, it’s back. (grin) I had nothing to lose so I plugged in an AC power (chosen at random from among three) and set it aside yesterday.

A little while ago, strictly out of curiosity I opened it and turned it on and voila! It’s back.

Topic: Epiphanies and Stuff

I set myself a personal challenge. For the month of June, I want to write a new short story every day. That’s tough enough.

But in addition to that, I want to write those stories truly “in public.” I want the public to be able to watch virtually as the stories grow, scene to scene.

To that end, in the original challenge, I was going to paste each scene to a Facebook page I set up just for that purpose.

Then a couple days ago, my conscious mind wheedled its way in and I lost control. I decided maybe it would be better to post the whole story (albeit still once a day) to the Facebook page.

I reasoned that (1) apparently there weren’t many folks all that interested and (2) those who were interested would still see the end product each day, follow my progress on the challenge, etc.

But then Robert J. Sadler, a dear friend in Texas, pointed out to me in an email that, frankly, I was chickening out. (grin)

And he was right. (Friends respect each other enough to tell each other the truth. In my world, that’s the main qualifier to earn the title.)

In part of his note to me, he wrote

“…I can understand if the prospect of no story-starved pedestrians standing outside the window seems a reasonable reason for not implementing your challenge.

“That said, you made a point that this was your challenge and not issued to anyone other than yourself. So with that perspective in mind, whether the tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, the tree still falls. …

“So … if you wanna write-in-public, as you suggest, then knock yourself out… even if there is no public to witness it.”

Or as Yoda put it, “There is no try. Do or do not.”

And the epiphany?

Writing scenes has always been easy for me. Scenes pop into my head all the time, complete with characters, setting, dialogue and so on. So I can write scenes all day.

But with my conscious mind creeping in as I thought about the challenge, I allowed myself to “hope” the scenes would connect well and the characters would lead me through to the end.

And that’s what I was doing wrong without realizing it. That whole “hope” thing.

Once I replaced “hope” with “trust” (thanks to my friend’s email), everything else fell into place.

So the challenge is back on, in its original form.

Beginning on June 1, I will write one short story per day for the month. Each time I finish a scene, I’ll paste it “live” to Facebook so whoever wants to can see it.

But my friend was right. It’s my challenge. I’m not challenging others to do something similar, though if they do, it’s all right by me. I’m not even challenging others to watch. I’m challenging myself to give others something to watch.

If they watch and enjoy, wonderful. If they don’t, it will still be one hell of an experience. (grin)

If you want to follow along on that madness, visit https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStanbroughWritingInPublic/. Some preliminary stuff is already there. The challenge begins on 1 June.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 4 a.m. Did little the first few hours. Went to the grocery early, around 8, to get that out of the way.

Back here I did some household chores and basically wasted the morning. Along the way I wrote this stuff and cross-posted a version of the topic to the big blog. It will post there next Tuesday.

I also read over most of The Storm and touched it a bit here and there, but I’m not counting today as a writing day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you enjoy great photography and great fiction, stop by Robert J. Sadler’s website at http://robertjsadler.com/ and browse. You won’t be disappointed.

See “The Elements of Style: ’50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice'” at http://boingboing.net/2017/05/08/the-elements-of-style-50-ye.html.

See “How to determine your price point when self-publishing” at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2017/04/how-to-determine-your-price-point-when.html.

At Dean’s place, “No Writing Tonight” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/no-writing-tonight/. Not particularly helpful, except to me at the moment after the last few days. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 790 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 790

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 13679
Total fiction words for the year………… 261273
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5000
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 79690

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 340963

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 531 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167

Getting in My Own Way

Hi Folks,

Sometimes, probably more often than not, my own biggest problem is Me.

Today I knocked out something over 2000 words before I went walking. Didn’t walk all that long. I didn’t even need a shower, really, although I took one because that’s what you do.

After that, I was fired up to leap back into writing another scene in The Marshal of Agua Perlado.

And I did.

Then I got stuck.

I wasn’t stuck like writers usually complain about being stuck though. I was stuck because I really, really liked the scene I had just written. And I wanted folks to see it early.

So I excerpted it, then adapted it (changed a few words here and there, added a bit of info to clarify names that readers of the novel would have known but that seem orphaned in the short story, things like that.

Okay, good. The short story of the week for next Monday (5/25) is done early, ready to go. (I wrote it after 9 a.m. this morning, so it’s legit for the new week.)

Only now I have to create a promo document for it.

The promo document is just a Notepad document that contains the story title, name of the publisher, the story description and Internet search tags so I can copy and paste them into Smashwords and Amazon instead of rewriting them every time.

And a cover. I have to find a suitable cover photo, select the right font(s) and create a cover for it. Well, and then I have to publish it to Smashwords and Amazon and my free story website and HarveyStanbrough.com.

Okay. All of that’s done so now I can get back to the novel. Three and a half hours later. (groan)

That’s okay. Breathe. Fortunately, I had typed well over 2500 words (my daily goal is 3000, remember?) before I started all the insanity, so I have to type only one more session and I can call it a day.

Of course, I don’t count the words in the short story in my word count since they’re virtually the same as the words in the novel. There are maybe twenty words in the short story that are not in the novel. Not worth the time to figure it out. So I show the word count for the short story, but those words are not duplicated in the totals at the end.

So that’s what I mean about getting in my own way.

It’s like I ran out in front of myself, stuck out my leg, and tripped me, making me stumble for almost four hours during which I should have been writing or cursing or drinking or something. I don’t know. I’m only one guy here.

Usually.

Happy writing,

Harvey

The Journal, Monday, 5/8

Hey Folks,

Well, nobody has perfect days all the time. This has been a rough weekend. And apparently, it continues. I’m out of sorts this morning and a bit frustrated.

I don’t like starting the day this way, but I’ll work through it. After all the moving stuff and then breaking an axle on my Tacoma and paying to have that fixed, last night my writing ‘puter flashed a message:

Battery almost depleted. Plug in soon.

The thing is, it WAS plugged in.

So I tried two other AC converters, but it wouldn’t charge. So now it’s down for awhile. All I can figure is either the battery is shot or the power supply is kaput.

So on top of everything else, now my newer computer has to serve also as my writing computer. Which means I have to get used to the slightly different keyboard. Which, honestly, is the main reason I had a separate writing computer in the first place.

But yes, I can hear my own voice. I’m very much aware that all of that stuff — a computer, much less two computers — is luxury. And it’ll all work out.

In fact, something like this could happen as easily in June during my short story challenge. What would I do then? Simply give up and stop the challenge?

Uhh, no. I’d find a way to make it all work.

So part of today will be devoted to getting used to this new keyboard (so writing) and part to making a few major tweaks to my office. I’m okay with this keyboard when I’m editing, etc. but writing is a different flow. You know what I mean.

I was thinking of reading over The Storm today to try to see why/where it’s trying to commit suicide. But I think I’ll wait another day or two for that. I need to write.

Oh, and when Bryan called Job Corps this morning, they said to call back in two weeks. Seriously? That’s the third “call back in two weeks” he’s gotten.

That’s frustrating too, for all of us. The kid’s life is on hold, two weeks at a time, until some unelected bureaucrat decides it’s time to get off his coffee break and start work.

Update on the Challenge

I’ve been over this thing until my brain is beginning to bleed, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to post a scene at a time.

Why?

Other than the break it will cost me to stop writing and post the scene to Facebook, I honestly don’t think many folks are gonna be all that interested.

I mean would even Harlan Ellison keep standing up and taping pages to the storefront window if the only witness was an empty sidewalk?

So we’ll see (as with all things recently), but I might just post the new short stories there once a day as I finish them.

Or maybe I’ll post them on that website I was thinking of building and then pointing people to it from Facebook. Shrug. Something.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 and didn’t do a lot other than email, Facebook, and working around the office for the first few hours.

Now it’s late in the day. I wrote a little bit, just playing around, but I’m not even gonna count it. I worked (hard) in my office all day, straightening it up, arranging desk, table, bookshelves, etc.

I might still have a little to do tonight and tomorrow, but I should be back to writing tomorrow. In the meantime, I hope you’re all having great writing days.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Visit Dean’s site today at http://deanwesleysmith.com. Two posts there, one general and one about his new lecture series and an offer to save money with a subscription.

I recommend subscribing to the newsletter from The Digital Reader at https://the-digital-reader.com/.

From Mad Genius Club (via The Digital Reader), “The ergonomics of writing” at https://madgeniusclub.com/2017/05/07/the-ergonomics-of-writing/. And there were other things.

If any of you write with Google Docs (I don’t), see “Fourteen Amazing Google Docs Hacks” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/05/05/fourteen-amazing-google-docs-hacks-make-writing-next-novel-easier/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 630 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 630

Writing of The Storm (tentative title, novel)

Day 1…… 3227 words. Total words to date…… 3227
Day 2…… 3366 words. Total words to date…… 6593
Day 3…… 2893 words. Total words to date…… 9486
Day 4…… 3172 words. Total words to date…… 12658
Day 5…… 1021 words. Total words to date…… 13679
Day 6…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 13679
Total fiction words for the year………… 261273
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4210
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 78900

Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 340173

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 530 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 4 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 24
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 167