Category Archives: Uncategorized

Here’s a Deer Frolicking in Water with a Dog

The accompanying music isn’t the best, so maybe try muting it and playing something better. I went with “California Uber Alles”, which is conveniently included below in its own Youtube video.

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Hand-to-Fang Combat

Writing: There’s a chapter-sized hole in the plot of Book 2, and I can almost see what belongs there, but yeah no I still can’t see what belongs there.

Weather: Sleet like falling glass, as if the angels broke a cup and said, “Just sweep it off the edge and let them deal with it,” and then proceeded to do so, angelically cackling from on high.

Personal: Each morning I drop my son at school and return home to write. Our dog Bones doesn’t greet me at the door, because he’s already run to the back door, expecting me to join him on a yard adventure, which often means charging together at the tree in case of squirrels or witches. (One day in October, he looked disappointed that there weren’t any squirrels, so I pepped him up by saying, “Ssssh, listen… there are witches in the tree.” Ever since, the word “witches” means we must charge the tree immediately.)

After the squirrel/witch hunt, he trots inside and gets a treat. Then I sit to begin writing. Shortly after I sit, Bones appears at my side, chewing on his Nylabone and playfully growling. This will continue until he gets depressed that I’m not playing, which is too sad to witness, so play I must. Playing means attacking Dad’s hand. He never bites hard. It’s essentially hand wrestling, except Bones uses his jaws. But it hurts me a little, and yet I can’t not do it, because it’s a bonding thing and it makes us both happy.


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Back to Plotting

Writing: Scraping rust after a week away from the BELL WEATHER sequel. I’ve got the first third of the next novel’s plot nailed down, and would love to finish the second third by Christmas. The last third ought to been easier, since I know most of the major beats and a degree of inevitability sets into the closing crises and climaxes.

Weather: Warm gray

Personal: I stabilized an old piano stool and fixed some Christmas tree lights this afternoon. Reading Dune Messiah now.


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dune sandwormI’ve been meaning to read Frank Herbert’s DUNE almost my entire life; I used to be fascinated by the pulp paperback covers in our library when I was a kid. For some reason the time never seemed right — I’m weird about books that way — and then two weeks ago I pounced on it. I’ve had people tell me it’s a dense read, and this is somewhat true. There’s total world invention, many characters, a massive plot, a new vocabulary, and plenty of scientific-political-mystical complexity. And yet it’s extremely easy to read, and captivating start to finish. Halfway through, I knew I was hooked on the whole series, and I went out and bought Herbert’s five sequels. Onto #2.

Fun fact: DUNE was originally rejected by twenty publishers, and was finally released by Chilton Books, which was known for publishing auto repair manuals.

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Indies First!

YA author Eric Devine and I will be at Market Block Books in Troy, NY for the Indies First program on Small Business Saturday, November 29, adding writerly rum to the nog.

We’ll be greeting customers, helping holiday shoppers find good books, signing our own novels, and just pitching in. Please come see us and support a local bookstore this holiday season. I might remind you that you cannot meet dashing, early-middle-aged authors at an online megastore.


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Sleep Aches

FullSizeRenderWriting: I’ve figured out the high-level plot and done most of the essential research, so now I’m taking it chapter by chapter, conjuring all the major and minor beats, structures, and details. Working on chapter 6 today.

Weather: Slushworld

Personal: My middle-age aches — sore knee, shoulder blade prone to muscle seizure — in fact may have been caused by a lumpy fifteen-year-old mattress and a broken box spring. If scorpions had nested in the sheets, I would not have slept worse. Last week we got a Sleep Number bed, because it was affordable (and gloriously reviewed by Consumer Reports), and it’s been a very good three nights of sleep so far. No aches.

I won’t know for a few weeks if the old bed was truly causing the pain — though it’s suspicious that my aches were all on my left side — but I’m hopeful. I’ve wanted to exercise my legs to strengthen my weak knee, but couldn’t exercise my legs because of my bad knee. In sum, this bed could be a fountain of youth.

I’m still experimenting with the firmness setting. I’m a side-sleeper, so I’m supposed to go softer for proper support. My ideal number seems to be in the 55-65 range. It makes me feel wimpy, to be honest. I imagined myself to be a 100% firmness type of guy, as if I’d really prefer to sleep on corrugated iron.

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Attack of a Boar Hunting Hound

Circle of Paulus de Vos Flemish, 1700's Attack of a Boar Hunting Hound

Circle of Paulus de Vos Flemish, 1700’s Attack of a Boar Hunting Hound

Writing: I’m going to compress two years in my characters’ lives into one year to make the story more urgent.

Nature: Overcast, warm, yellow-leaved.

Personal: Attending last night’s WWE event with my son was a blast. Two cage matches, good times. Also my cold is getting better.

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