I write like
Jack London

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trusting Your Art

Artists of any stripe can be a insecure bunch, probably because they are often belittled.

In American culture, pursuing art is considered inconsequential. A waste of time. Criticism of this pursuit is often vocalized by artists' friends and families as helpful advice.

I mean, how often have all of us heard the following:

"Why are you wasting your time on that crap?"
"When are you going to get a real job?"
"No one can make a living writing/singing/painting/etc."

And even if we get past that bullshit, there's the people related to the type of art we wish pursue, i.e. the current professionals, the critics, the brokers, who again in the name of helping can hold us back. You know the type of well-meaning advice:

"Instead of writing Y, you should write X."
"This is crap. You need to change everything."
"If you have so-and-so doctor/edit/review your work, you'll make lots of money."

One  of the hardest parts for any artists on this crazy path is learning to trust themselves. There's going to be a lot of people who have opinions of your work.

And that's okay.

But it shouldn't matter to you either.

Why? Because if you present your work to the public, you can't stop them from having an opinion about that work. Nor can you control the life experience those other people bring along as baggage as they read/look at/listen to your work. And trust there's a lot of baggage those consumers drag along to the party.

For example, an editor for a publishing company (and no, I'm not naming names) stated that zombies are over.

And I laughed. Why? Because that same editor has been saying vampires are over for the last twenty years, and I still haven't seen bloodsuckers totally go away.

It doesn't matter what someone else says. If you want to write about vampires, or draw superhero comics, or create weird metal statues, then DO IT!

Trust yourself to fulfill your vision of your project. Only you can create things a certain way. A way like no other person can. And the world will be a poorer place without your vision.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Indie Drama Queens or Why I No Longer Have Many Writer Friends

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me, high school was horrible. It's one of my top three worst experiences in my life.

And the other two consist of DH's emergency surgery when we didn't know what the fuck was wrong and me nearly dying during my C-section when my blood pressure crashed for no apparent reason.

So yeah, high school was pretty fucking bad. So bad, I will never, ever go to a high school reunion. Why would I want to hang out with people who spread vicious rumors about me, threatened me, and generally treated me like shit?

Yet, I keep running into indie writers who desperately want to re-create that experience. The cliques. The bitchiness. The infighting and taking sides over some innocuous happenstance. In other words, the drama queens.

It all comes down to some variation of validation. You have X, but I don't. Or I have Y, and you don't. Where X and Y are considered certain factors that signify a "real" writing career.

I thought we got over that years ago when we decided to forego begging agents for a crumb of attention, following editors into bathroom stalls, or being ecstatic that a publisher granted us a measly 6% of the income from our books.

But no, we humans are insecure little fuckers. We devise new and better ways of trying to prove we are better than our peers. And we often succeed in making ourselves and others totally miserable.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm so fucking tired of that kind of bullshit. My path isn't yours and vice versa. Judge your success by making each book better than your last one.

Or go live out the rest of your lives in high school. That's okay because I'm going to be over here doing something entirely different and my teen self will be having a blast doing it!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Aftermath

The Mallet Hammer had a boulder and concrete land on it.
The frame was so twisted it was considered unsalvageable.
Last week, I accompanied Darling Husband to a business event at his employer's headquarters in Tampa. He can't fly anymore thanks to an anxiety issue. Part of the reason I went was because I worry about him driving alone for extended periods. The other part was we needed some alone time as a couple after the last few years of life insanity.

Also, we're at a point where Genius Kid is a capable young adult. He can drive. He can cook. He has his own bank accounts. He gets his ass up when his alarm clock goes off and heads for school without (much) prodding on our part. And he kept an eye on his grandfather while we were out of town.

We also planned for two days for travel, instead of trying to do the entire 1126 miles in one day. We left Sunday and spent the night at some friends' house in Nashville. We had a lovely time there.

Arriving late Monday night in Tampa, we immediately crashed. I don't even remember hearing DH get up and head to the office for his meetings. (The hotel and his company's office are in the same building. Yay!) Then I woke up about one p.m.

And therein lies part of my problem. I expected the exhaustion, having come down with a nasty cold the week before we left. What I didn't expect was the severe muscle and joint pain.

I've been immune-compromised since my pregnancy with GK. The doctors don't know why. My new doctor here in Ohio has taken my issues seriously. He's tested for lupus. The pain issue has been too inconsistent to be fibromyalgia. He's as thoroughly stumped as the doctors in Houston.

First, I downed a couple of acetominophen. I took my time with a shower and getting dressed. Then I headed to the Starbucks across the street for some breakfast and editing.

I didn't last very long on the hard wooden chairs. I went back to our hotel room. Propped on pillows, I continued to edit until DH came back to the room to drop off his work stuff. His boss insisted I join them for dinner.

Apparently, she was worried I would be bored. I laughed and listed off everything I brought with me to work on during the trip. She was suitably impressed. And we had a nice time.

Wednesday morning, I felt a lot better. I took Baby Blue (my travel laptop which is essentially a glorified tablet) to Panera, which was literally next door to Starbucks, for breakfast. I didn't stay long because it was pretty crowded, but I did get in 3K words by the time DH was done for the day. We had a lovely dinner, just the two of us.

We left a warm 80-degrees in Tampa on Thursday morning. Just north of the Florida-Georgia line, we hit rain and a 20-degree temperature drop. The rain slowed us down enough we reached Atlanta just in time for the beginning of rush hour. URGH!

By the time we reached our hotel in Nashville, we were both exhausted. We had a light dinner at the hotel bar and crashed once again.

And I woke up to not only the same extreme pain of Tuesday, but a left knee swollen for no apparent reason. The rain was gone at least, and it was in the 30's. DH suggested the weather change might be responsible.

The 1,000,000th Corvette after its restoration!
We headed north once again. DH took Friday as a vacation day, so we stopped at one of our favorite places, the National Corvette Museum. We wanted to see the restored section where a sinkhole opened up beneath eight one-of-a-kind 'Vettes. It was pretty cool seeing the two restored cars, and a little sad seeing the five destroyed cars. The eighth is in another section of the museum, and you can watch as it's currently being restored. With the aches despite the painkillers and my swollen knee, I had to make frequent stops, but the visit was worth it.

We spent our final night in Cincinnati, and had dinner with one of DH's closest friends and the friend's significant other at the riverside Montgomery Inn. If you're ever in the city, I highly recommend the restaurant!

However, the relatively short drive between Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio, left me pretty much incapacitated. We all made jokes about getting older, but I didn't dare drink alcohol with all the painkillers and decongestant I'd taken. And getting up and down stairs was a slow, torturous process for me.

After one last night in a hotel, we got home Saturday afternoon. After unpacking and starting some laundry, I collapsed on my recliner. I managed to edit a chapter. But that was all I completed before I went to bed and slept twelve hours. I still wasn't even fifty percent when I got up Sunday morning, but I worked a little bit while watching Cleveland-Detroit game and then listening to the Texans.

DH trying out the fit of a 2018 'Vette.
Don't get me wrong. We had a great time on this trip, but DH and I had planned to do some traveling around the country once GK graduates. But this little trip has me concerned about whether I can handle it. I very obviously won't be flying any time soon. We stopped every two hours for stretch breaks driving our drive to and from Tampa. I couldn't handle not moving for an extended period on the tight seats of an airplane.

Just as obviously, we won't be making a trip in a 2018 Corvette. DH tried one out while we were at the National Corvette Museum. Can you name the problem?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

I'm Going Senile...

Holy Crap!

I totally forgot to tell y'all that Sword and Sorceress 32 came out last week! It contains my short story "Unexpected", a delightful tale of a damsel saving the dragon.

P.S. There's a lot of other cool writers in the anthology, too.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sun, Coffee and Words

As you read this, I'm in the lovely city of Tampa, which also happens to be the headquarters of DH's employer. He had to come down for a two-day management meeting, and as I've said before, he no longer flies. So we drove down.

Don't worry. I won't be spending my days on the beach. My lily-white skin can't handle the sun. Seriously, I have to wear SPF 50 on the nights of the full moon.

Nope, there's two Starbucks and a Panera within walking distance of the hotel, and I have my frequent buyer cards. So I have no fucking reason not to get some writing done. Right?

Though I may have to sneak in a viewing of Thor: Ragnarok or two. Because Hemsworth and Ruffalo? YUM! Did I mention there's also a mall with a theater across the street from our hotel?

P.S. If you want proof I'm working, check out Chapter 4 of A Modicum of Truth.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was another movie I had wanted to see last year, but did not have the time. I recorded it during an HBO free weekend this summer, and watched it during my recent  illness.

Because it's been out for over a year, you're not going to get the usual SPOILERS alert.

Normally, I love Tim Burton films, but this one starts a little slow. The peculiar children, other than our hero Jake, aren't particular well-fleshed out.

On the other hand, Burton's need for insanely goofy action scenes results in a hysterical battle between one of the movie's villains, the Hollows, and animated amusement park skeletons. It's reminiscent of Mars Attacks! Also, Jane Goldman's screenplay doesn't leave off on the cliffhanger that the novel does.

But despite the marquee-level cast (Come on! We've got Eva Green, Terrence Stamp, Dame Judi Dench, Allison Janney, and Samuel L. Jackson!), this film doesn't rise to level it should have. I wanted to love this movie, but it came out meh. If I wanted something  on TV for background noise, I would find something else.

Also, if you've read the book, they switched Emma and Olive's powers for no real reason I can understand.

Overall I give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 5 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017

Some Insights While I Play Catch-Up

I'm finally able to breath, and coughing is under control, though my ribs ache like the dickens.

While I try to catch up on my projects, I suggest new writers read an essay series by Hugh Howey, the author of Wool. And just because Hugh's thoughts are part of Amazon's Author Insights program doesn't make them any less valuable items to consider as you makes your plans. The link is to Part One, but Parts Two and Three are posted on the website.

I'll add one more thing. There is no one right way to write and publish. I've seen several third parties try to pit one professional writer against another because they give conflicting advice.

As I've said before, I've taken tips from a lot of pros over the years. Some suggestions work brilliantly for me. Some don't, but that doesn't mean those tips aren't valuable to someone else.

As for the people trying to start fights? I find it laughable that so many of them are authors who aren't as successful as the people they try to pit against each other. Maybe if they spent more time and energy on their own business, they would achieve the success they are so jealous of in others.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

National Novel Writing Month starts today!

I'd hoped to have A Modicum of Truth done by now. Not to mention, reviewed the previous 888-555-HERO novel, write the last two chapters of it, and put together a series bible. All of this in preparation for hitting the ground running this morning.

And as you read this, I'm probably still crashed on my recliner with this nasty little cold, alternating between green tea, cough syrup, and water.

Can I catch up? Of course, I can!

Once the room stops spinning from the severe sinus pressure. Otherwise, I'll be veging for another day or two.

To everyone else starting NaNo on time, break a leg!