Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Of Puppet Shows and Unicorn Tears

My baby girl went off to kindergarten today.

I've been looking forward to this day for a while, expecting to relish in the 40 hours a week - minus the occasional workday - I'd have to myself. I've long hoped to rekindle my stalled writing hobby. I've tried over the years since kids came along, only to fizzle away. My creative energy had been sucked dry, replaced with the demands of youngsters, insisting on playing unicorns; relishing in puppet shows and lightsaber duels. I would take my laptop on the road, spend days alone in hotels and never take the computer from its case. Great ideas - I thought - never meandered to the page. Thus, I decided, maybe I don't care about writing anymore. Maybe everything I ever had has already been used up. But with kids in school and time once more uncommitted, I looked forward to that lingering spark. All it needed was fuel. And time. But I would need to get into the mindset of a writer. When I wrote in the past I thought about it all day. I read blogs and writer's forums and researched agents and genres and went to conferences and critique groups and these things all made me a better writer and gave me things to look forward to. And then I was a dad and all those things began dropping from my life. And I realized as this day of freedom loomed that, to be a writer, I had to think again like a writer. I had to not only write, but read and join groups and research agents and go to conferences and do all those things that made me a writer and now that I had the time to do those things I couldn't wait to start doing them all again. And maybe this time it would be different.  Maybe I'll finish all my unfinished manuscripts. Maybe I'll never publish anything again. Maybe no one will ever read anything I write and maybe I won't care because I always enjoyed the writing so much more than the having-it-read and maybe without expectations it will be that much better and creativity will soar and I'll enjoy my days writing and my evenings dadding and I won't just sit around feeling like something's been lost.

And I walked home from the bus stop this morning to a house too quiet. No puppets were calling. No unicorns brayed. No one asked me to play. I'm just sitting around feeling like something's been lost.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two Years Later...

MC Howe has returned! In his absence, new stories developed amid the resurgence of older, long-thought-abandoned projects, certain to bring upheaval to the literary galaxy.

Now a captain, MC once again wades into the turbulent, yet predictable world of querying. With these new words, he hopes to bring newfound success to the stagnant career of the would-be author.

However, with the advent of e-books and self-publishing, Captain Howe faces his toughest opponent, an industry dominated by women, the social-media savvy and 10,000 writers vying for the same agent. To achieve his publishing dream, Captain Howe will stop at nothing, short of rejection by every literary agent on the planet...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back Up the Back-Up

So I started work on my Kindle Singles project and it was going quite well.  Feedback was positive and the story was coming together nicely in my head, if only a bit slower on paper, or rather, on file.  Therein lies the problem.  When I first started out writing I was fairly cognizant of not just saving my work, but where and how often.

I have my main computer at home, where I've historically done most of my writing.  I also have a back-up hard drive, to which I save everything in duplicate.  In addition, I also kept everything saved on a thumb drive I could take with me on the road and write in the hotel business center.  Then I bought a laptop so I wouldn't need a hotel business center and it eventually became my number one writing station.

So I was saving everything times four.  Except I pretty much got away from that, who knows how long ago.  Writing at home, with two kids under three doesn't happen.  So almost everything goes onto my laptop, and again the thumb drive I still keep with me at all times.  However, that little thumb drive fails to make itself known so often it becomes like that youngest child so used to not getting any attention its fine hanging out by itself until someone comes looking for it.

And then I did.  Because I can't stand clutter I have exactly one folder on the desktop of my laptop.  It contains my writing files, but stands out as a blemish on an otherwise flawless complexion.  I shall save it elsewhere, I thought, and copied the files to an undisclosed location.  (Disclosed to myself of course, because otherwise this little exercise might prove me foolish.)

With my files unobtrusive, I could lance that festering boil on my desktop, saving them first to my thumb drive, as I'd been bitten by this nasty bug before.  And so I did.  Testing the new location proved a success.  Everything was where it should be.  And nothing where it shouldn't.

Then I started writing my Kindle Singles project.  I had 6000, 8000 words.  Something like that.  Not a lot for some, but a decent start. 

And then it was gone.  All gone.  Everything. 

But I backed it up, right? 

It seems not.  There was nothing in my secret location, but a question mark on top of the folder.  My thumb drive had gone back to obscurity, knowing nothing of my new project.  All that is left is four pages I'd taken to read to my library writer's group.  The rest is in my head.  It will probably come out better, but what a pain my my arse.

So, don't forget to back up your work.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kindle Singles

I just realized I've made exactly three posts in one year.  Not so hot.  Can't promise I'll be better, but I have gotten more writing done of late.  While I fear I'm always going to have incomplete projects, I have turned my focus for the time being to short stories.

Have you heard of Kindle Singles?  This is Amazon's short collection of fiction, articles, essays and just about anything else that doesn't fit traditional genres.  I figure, what the heck? It's not self-publishing because they have their own criteria and editorial staff to select what they sell.

And, they sell it.  From between 99 cents to 3 or 4 dollars and from what little research I've done it looks like the author gets a say, if not complete control over price.

So I'm working on some short stories to supplement my growing list of published titles.  I've had a bit more success in the last year as well.  Check them out over there----------------------->

So what do you think?  Is Kindle Singles the way to go, or do you know a better way?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm So Out Of It

You'll notice it's almost June and I have all of one blog post for the year.  Not exactly stellar, but I certainly have my reasons.  I just feel so out of it.  Out of everything.  i haven't been writing.  Anything.  At all.  I haven't been reading any other blogs with any regularity.  I have not idea what's going on in the blog world or the writing world.  Are there still traditional publishers.  I haven't been going to any of my critique group meetings either.

What I have been is tired.  Mama Sarcasm found herself pregnant about eight months ago and it has been less than easy.  With almost an entire trimester of bedrest I have become Single Dad, Nursemaid, Housekeeper and I still occasionally have to go to work.

I don't have time for anything else, and I don't care about anything else, which makes me sad.  I liked this world, this blogging, writing, trying to get published world.  Now that I'm not blogging, or writing, I am, somehow getting published.  One short story a few months ago and another to be published later this year.  Go figure.

At any rate, there is less than a month until Number Two arrives and then I will have even less time for anything.


I suppose I can get back into it when Number Two starts Kindergarten.

See you in five years.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Free Glasses From Firmoo

Apparently I am an influential blogger.  This according to the fine people at Firmoo, who offered me, an influential blogger, free glasses if I would write about them on my influential blog.  Apparently they failed to mention my lack of blogging for all of 2013.  While this is certainly not how I planned to return to blogging, a deal is a deal.

So I ordered these glasses from a website, www.firmoo.com.  It's not easy trying on glasses over the internet.  The best I could do was see how they look on someone else's face.  Even that wasn't terribly helpful.  I've been wearing glasses half my life and seeing how they look and feel while actually on my face has always been a big help when selecting the frames I buy. 

From their I had to input all kinds of information I normally wouldn't have, or care to know.  A glasses prescription contains a variety of numbers -- scientific stuff you shouldn't have to care about.  However, among these is the distance between your eyeballs.  Apparently this is an important ingredient in getting your glasses just right.  I had to measure mine by holding a ruler up to my face in front of the mirror.

Then I was offered the chance to add things like UV protection, anti-glare, and whatever else normally goes into making glasses expensive.  Here's where I had trouble.  After making my selection, my free glasses suddenly had a price tag more than free.  Not knowing if this was a glitch or not, I tried to go back to change my order only to end up on the Firmoo homepage.  There was no way to get back into my order, so I had to start all over.  This caused further problems because the code I was given for being an influential blogger had already been used (by me.)  Now I had to contact the person who originally named me influential and get a new code.  This took a day.  I was told to ignore the price at the end, that I would get everything I wanted at no cost.

I did.  I expect someone actually buying glasses instead of getting them free would not have had these setbacks, but it really lessened the experience for me.

About two weeks later I had my glasses and I must say, I wasn't terribly impressed.  My choices of free frames were quite limited to begin with, but what I got was not what I would have paid for, even though price that showed up at checkout was less than $70.

They are lightweight, and feel like they could easily break if they fall into the wrong hands (read, my almost 2 year old.)  Beyond the cheap feel, My vision just wasn't right.  In the past, whenever I've gotten new glasses they've always needed little tweaks to make them fit right. This was done by experts at the optometrist office.  But I got these online, so I had to tweak them myself.  But even before I got to that, I wasn't sure I'd keep them.

The lenses are a lot larger than I'm used to and quite curved, causing my peripheral vision to be distorted.  It's quite disorienting, each time you move your head to see the world stretch.  It's not unlike seeing a TV show, not originally broadcast in high definition, stretched to fit an HD screen.  The edges seem to pull.  Same thing on my face.

Another problem is that these frames stick out pretty far on the sides of my head.  Every time I take off my t-shirt with the glasses on, they come off with it.

Alas, these glasses were free, and I just spent a buttload on new contact lenses that actually have me seeing right for the first time in years.  In reality, I only wear my glasses to watch TV in bed, so I'm keeping them, but only because they were free.

I do not recommend ordering eyeglasses over the internet.

Here are two pictures of me in glasses I would not have picked had I been able to see them on this face first.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The End Of The World

The Mayans predicted the end of the world on December 21, 2012 but few seem to be taking this latest apocalypse all that seriously.  A great many skeptics have pointed out that the Mayan's can not be taken seriously since they couldn't even predict the collapse of their own empire.  Consider, however, that they, in fact, did just that.

Suppose, back in the day of the Maya, there happened a fellow whose job it was to make the calendar.  It was his life's work.  In fact, he never did anything else.  He toiled away day after day, year after year, chiseling away on a stone tablet that would forever mark the days and nights.  He knew nothing else, never socialized and was really out of the loop on events of the day.

One day, he was in his workshop, surrounded by stone chippings and discarded calendars he'd messed up.  In walks an acquaintance with his head hung low.

"What's the matter Jose?" asks the calendar maker.

"You mean you haven't heard the news?" asks Jose.

"No I haven't heard the news.  When would I hear the news?  I'm in this workshop day after day.  I never meet anyone, so I never go out.  No one ever visits me and I don't have any friends.  I've spent my whole life working on this calendar and I'm almost up to 2013.  So just when do you expect I might have heard the news?"

"Sorry pal, but you might as well stop.  Word just came down our civilization is going to end.  We probably won't make it past 1300."

"You're kidding me.  That sucks."

"Yep.  Wanna get some tequila?"

And that was likely that.  So give the Maya some credit when the world doesn't end.  They did have their priorities straight.