Monday, October 13, 2014

The Loop

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m stuck in a loop.
For the longest time, I’ve been writing and rewriting this one scene and it is driving me insane. It’s not particularly integral to the plot, but it’s become a challenge to overcome.
So far, I haven’t managed to overcome it.
Not yet.
Sometimes, I think I’m too stubborn for my own good.
I hate admitting defeat, especially re something like this.
I should be good enough, smart enough, creative enough to write through this scene and get on to the next.
I should be.
But, so far, I haven’t been.
Sometimes, I get so angry when I think about it that I want to throw dishes at a wall or just delete this entire book, throw up my hands and go off and become a ditch digger or something. Do something that doesn’t involve characters and plots or anything remotely connected to writing.
Sometimes, I just want to give up.
But I know that isn’t going to happen. Mainly, because I’m not the sort of person who gives up easily. Secondly, because I know it would be futile.
The damned words are in my blood, in my bones. Writing is like an addiction and I don’t really want to shake that old monkey off my back.
So I lean back, shut my eyes for a minute, and then try to tackle the damned scene again.
To write my way out of this damned loop.
I’ll do it, too.
One way or another, when I’m not even trying, something will come. Some arrangement of words that just feels right.
They’ll be like a key to a door.
All I have to do until then is endure.
I suppose, in a way, that’s a bit like life. It can get us down; it can throw curves at us that we never see coming, it can grind us down into the mud and the filth.
But we just have to hang on, to endure and we’ll get through it.
And that’s what I’m doing.
Getting through it.
Enduring.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take another stab at writing myself out of this loop.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Q & A!

Good day, gentle readers! Today, I’m going to answer some questions randomly submitted via the Internet. If you’d like to ask a question, feel free to do so in the comments below or send me a DM on my Twitter.

Ready?

Okay! Away we go!

Q: What is your writing process like?

A: For me, it’s a bit like taking a road trip. I have a beginning and a final destination in mind. There are multiple routes I could take to reach that final destination, as well as interesting diversion one must stop at along the way. Otherwise, what’s the point of taking the trip?

Before I had a regular job, I used to be a timed writer. Get up in the morning, shower and shave, power up the computer and be writing at ten. Keep writing until six. Stop somewhere in the day for lunch.

That’s how I wrote Dawnwind: Last Man Standing. To a lesser extent, it’s also how I wrote The Marvelous Land of Ap.

However, since getting a normal job, I’ve had less time and energy to devote to writing, so lately, it’s been a sort of catch-as-catch-can process.

My productivity may have suffered because of this, but I think the quality of the writing has improved.

Q: Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

A: No, not really. At least, I don’t think they’re strange. I usually write in bed with a box fan blowing on me to drown out background noise. I do write in the nude. Is that strange?

Q: What book do you wish you could have written?

A: The Bible, because I would have made it a helluva lot more readable.

Q: What authors have inspired you to write?

A: Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, John Varley, Mike Resnick, Neil Gaiman, Steven King, Clive Barker, etc. etc. etc.

Q: If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaption of The Marvelous Land of Ap, who would play your characters?

A: Honestly? I have no idea. It might be interesting to cast Daniel Radcliffe as Charlie, just because of what he’d bring to the role. Ella? Kaya Scodelario who was in Wuthering Heights, mainly because she looks the part. Thimble would have to be cast as an unknown because I can’t think of anybody who fits the part.

Q: How important are names to you in your books?

A: Names, to me, are ridiculously important. I’m very particular about what I name my characters because in my head their names define them. Not just their appearance and background but their personality traits. So names are very important to me.

Q: What do you consider your best accomplishment?

A: The fact that I am living my life as I want to, not as I have to.

Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I don’t know. I never plan that far ahead. As long as I’m happy I don’t think it really matters.

Q: Have you always liked to write?

A: No. I’ve always loved stories, but I never really started writing until middle school. I had a teacher, Mrs. King, who was very enthusiastic about some things I wrote and she sort of put the idea in my head that I could be a writer.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

A: Be true to yourself. Don’t compromise for the almighty dollar, for an editor, or for your readers. Tell your story the way you want to tell it and if the world doesn’t like it? Screw ‘em. To paraphrase George R.R. Martin, "Don’t be anybody’s bitch."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Autumn

Gentle readers, I have managed to do bugger all this week en regards to writing. So, with that in mind, today I present to you: AUTUMN.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Microwaving/Cooking with Moi!

Good afternoon, gentle readers!
A while back, I made a joke about how my next book would be a cook book, a sort of bachelor's guide to eating for one.
It was a joke, but I was surprised at the amount of positive feedback I got from people.
So, with that in mind, I've decided to take a wild leap and share a recipe with the world.
Ready?
Alright then. Away we go!
* * * * *
CHEESY TUNA 2-FOR-1

What you'll need:
1 15 oz. can of Old El Paso Cheese Sauce (I like to use the zesty flavor!)
2 12 oz. cans of water-packed tuna (Any brand that you like.)
1 can opener
1 microwave safe bowl (Preferably ceramic because they're so much easier to clean than plastic.)
1 spoon
1 microwave (Yes, this is me padding the hell out of this list.)

What to do:
Open and drain your cans of tuna.
Layer one can of tuna in your bowl.
Add a little less than half of your Cheese Sauce.
Mix with spoon.
Microwave for 45 seconds (longer if you're microwave wattage is lower than 1100).
Remove from microwave and stir the mixture.
Add the second can of tuna to the mixture and the rest of your Cheesy Sauce.
Stir.
Microwave an additional 45 seconds.
Remove and stir again.
Add additional seasoning to taste.

Here you have your 2-for-1 options.

Option 1: Eat what you've prepared as a kind of tuna cheese soup. This goes down a real treat with cut green beans on the side and a garlic roll.

Option 2: Use your concoction as a tuna cheesy sandwich spread. Serve it on thickish bread with pickle and Optional Tomato. (In my kitchen, all tomatoes are Optional Tomatoes because raw tomatoes are disgusting.)

If you choose option 2, you don't even really need to heat it up in the microwave, although, personally, I find if you heat it up it does a better job of blending the flavors.

Enjoy.

Have ice cream afterward or a nice bit of fruit cocktail.

* * * * *

And there you have it. My first published foray into the dog-eat-dog world of cookery. The above will usually satisfy one Bachelor or two Diet Nazis.  It will not satisfy anyone who wants to eat Healthy.

What next?

Desert!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Forest

Don’t go down to the forest today,
stay where the sun is bright.
Don’t go down to the forest today,
unless you want a fright.
Dark things move in the woods today,
mischievous things at bloody play.
So don’t go down to the forest today.
stay in the good Lord’s light.

Don’t go down to the forest today,
stay in the yard, my dear.
Don’t go down to the forest today,
can’t you feel the fear?
It’s rising and roiling, bubbling and boiling,
a sinister witches brew!
So don’t go down to the forest today,
or you could go missing too.

Mary went down to the forest today,
and Jack and Johnny too.
They went down to the forest today,
what’s their poor mother to do?
They laughed at their poor mother’s fears,
by now they’re probably dead, my dears.
So don’t go down to the forest today,
or it will all end in tears.

You want to go down to the forest today,
I see it in your eyes.
You say you won’t go to the forest today,
but I can hear your lies.
How can I keep you out of harm’s way?
Safe and sound for the rest of the day?
You want to go down to the forest today,
and when you do you’ll die.

You won’t go down to the forest today,
I’ll keep you here at home.
You won’t go down to the forest again,
never away will you roam.
Your bones I’ll bury in the garden’s earth,
your soul I’ll save, for what it’s worth.
No. You won’t go down to the forest today,
or ever again, my dear.

Author's note:  This is actually a song, creepily inspired by a melody from 'The Teddy Bears' Picnic.'