Friday, February 27, 2009

Yes, I Can (Dammit)

Are you a confident or delusional writer?

I was thinking about a friend-of-a-friend the other day; he is a successful entrepreneur and author. Very spiritual and centered (he's a Sikh, which helps) but in a stange balance, is full of himself. But it works for him, and he is a very likable, approachable person...albeit very driven, and very likely to bring himself and/or his business up in conversation. But, to the point of the above link: that's kind of what it takes to be a working writer, isn't it? The ability to be confident when the odds are pretty much stacked against you? I know personally that everything I write feels risky (i.e., how weird is it to sit around and make up other peoples lives, and to write in a flourished way that I don't speak aloud?), but if I lose confidence in what I'm doing, even for a minute, I'll give up and not try.
Good week of writing...I've been averaging close to 1k every day this week, and over 2k last night; I think I passed 10.5k on Aquarium last night, which made me happy-dance on the way to bed. I'd love to crack 15k this weekend...there are some parts coming up that I really want to see.
I was never a fan of the comic, but I am kind of excited to see Watchmen when it comes out next week. I think the flaws and humanity of superheroes (a la Spiderman, Wolverine) are really some of the best parts of the story.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Not much to discuss for writing news today...I had a couple of 1500 word days this week, and a couple of 300 word days, and a couple of 0 word days.
Cemetary Dance is making some changes, but it sounds like a lot of it is TBA...and a mea culpa of sorts from the chief. I don't know the full history, but it sounds like he may be a bit hard on himself for not bringing his A game the last couple of years.
Dog Oil Press is accepting dark humor up to 981 words. This is one of the few market-focused stories I might go for, just because it sounds like so much fun (although I was jettisoned by Dark Jesters last year...). At this point I feel strongly compelled to focus much more on finishing one of these damn novels than doing any more short stories, but writing short stories are like having a bag of lime n chile tortilla chips in the cupboard. One can only walk by that door so many times before it finds its way open somehow...
To further perpetuate the stereotype that writers are generally social misfits, I am publicly declaring (admitting?) that I haven't watched a football, baseball, or anything-ball game in probably fifteen years, but I religiously watch the Academy Awards ceremony every year. I don't know why I like it; I think the pomp and glamour is hokey, most of the participants are more hung up on themselves than any human should be, and the thought that there should be a first-past-the-post contest for art is crap. 

But I still watch; and every year I've watched, it made me want to sit down and write. Jealousy? Desire to stand on stage someday and win a little gold statue? To be accepted? I don't think so...a psychatrist may say differently, but I think I mostly enjoy it because it's a recognition and celebration of a bunch of people using their unconventional talents to make a living, and in the process making the world a more interesting place to live. It's not really that much different than what we do, I guess.
Lastly, a disturbing video my wife took last weekend: she took her parents to Lake Mead to feed the fish by the dock, and this is the footage she captured. I get a weird, primative chill when I watch this clip; anyone stuck for ideas for the Dead Bait antho may be inspired. She thinks they're catfish. I think they need a more sinister name, like Bonecleaners.

Monday, February 16, 2009



I just realized it's been over a week since my last post. I have been busy. No excuses. But that's why I've neither posted to G&S, nor have I read anyone else's blogs...I feel out of touch already. I need to stand in the corner of the internet until I promise to be more attentive.
As of sometime last week--Tuesday, I think--I have begun dieting again. I hate dieting. For most of the week, I didn't take in any more than 1100-1200 calories a day, and I was so grouchy that for a few days I didn't want to talk to anyone, much less type. Being that hungry is too distracting; I lost three pounds in as many days, but at the cost of reduced productivity. I have since raised my intake a bit.
Also, some time last week, I set up another blogspot to journal my Halloween garage haunt. Sick as I am, I've already started working on Halloween 2009. That probably deserves double-sentencing to the corner. My wife certainly thinks so.

In reading news, I finished Straub's Ghost Story; really fun read. Actually kind of got me spooked in the second half, although there was a point in there when they could name the evil they were facing and kind of figure it out, and at that point it ceased being scary. I think the unknown is way worse. Anyway, I remembered at some point that a movie was made out of it in the 80s, and pulled it up on Netflix Watch It Now. It sucked, and I'm sorry I remembered (except that it had Alice "Borg Queen" Krige in the lead role, which was cool...also liked her in Sleepwalkers). On Saturday we went to see Coraline, and it successfully washed Ghost Story out of my prefrontal cortex.

I just started Robinson's Gilead; the reviewer's consensus on this one seems to be "just friggin' read it", so I am. Also, I also just traded Getting to Yes, a business-drone user's guide, for No Country for Old Men on Paperbackswap. Fair trade, I think.
A couple of re-subs and re-writes on short stories, and started another longer piece: kind of a modern-day, condensed Grapes of Wrath. Seemed apropos for 2009.

Happy President's Day, and have a good week...I'm off to read some of my much-neglected internet-friends blogs, then an hour of reading before beddy-bye.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fear, Vorpal Blades, and Scary Youtubes

The Sunday Rant, by Jeremy D Brooks
appx. xx words

This week has been plagued by self-doubt. I opened up the Mojave MS no fewer than a dozen times, and probably typed 500 words. My heroes are traipsing across the desert from scene 1 to scene 2, and they have some character development to do along the way, but it's re-a-a-ally dragging and I'm not enjoying writing this part. I keep getting the sick feeling that it's not a good story. But, as we've discussed ad infinitum: a successful author gives himself the freedom to suck at the first draft. I may pick up Seattle Pizza, my other full length attempt, and plug away at that. Contrary to what I've said, I'm beginning to think that bouncing between two big projects like this may work for me, maybe...putting each down for a month or so keeps me interested in them both, albeit one at a time.
I did, however, break new ground: I started an outline for a new horror story, and it had a kind of I built it out into a poem, did a couple of revisions, and sent it off to 42 Magazine. As I've mentioned, I don't know squat about poetry. Mostly, for me poetry sits in that weird space in the world along with Jackson Pollock and string theory: I kind of, sort of understand...but not really. Apparently, popular poetry doesn't rhyme and does weird stuff with the page layout. Mine didn't follow either of those non-rules, and probably reads like Jabberwocky and may be, therefore, unpublishable. But at least I can say I tried to publish a poem.
I'm usually a few years behind on music trends. I found the Dresden Dolls just this year, and their two members have long since split off into solo acts; same with Elysian Fields. I downloaded some Jonathan Coulton last year after seeing some clips of him performing "re: your brains" at PAX 2007. Here's another one of his called Creepy Doll...if you're into horror and haven't listened to re: your brains and Creepy Doll, then, well...then you haven't listened to them, I guess. But you're missing the fun.

Also, a new clip from Amanda Palmer called Oasis. I like Amanda Palmer for the same reasons l like Dresden Dolls: creepy, brooding, fun, off-center, really kind of emotionally stripped-down music. Amanda is one of the victims of the latest tiff between Youtube and Warner Brothers, whereas the two companies couldn't reach a revenue sharing agreement, and Warner pulled any official  video clips with their music from Youtube, and Youtube is muting the audio tracks on any videos that WB didn't pull, but might give WB some publicity that Youtube doesn't approve of--say, a baby dancing while a Madonna song plays on the television in the background. Petty. Anyway, there are still a few of Amanda's clips that survived, and here is one she just released, and may be pulled soon. 
WARNING: This clip is guaranteed to be offensive to many people; it was banned by almost every media outlet in the UK. If you are likely to read a T-Shirt printed by T-Shirt Hell and get so mad that you fire off an indignant email to their CEO, you won't enjoy this clip. The point of the song is to sacrasticly look at sensitive topics, so if that ain't your bag, don't click. Otherwise...I think it's brilliant vanguard sarcasm at it's finest.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Miss Alaini

Random stuff...

Amazon is doing their annual
writer's contest. Not sure what to think about it; the first comment on that blog is telling, though: 

"Quick question:What happened to LAST YEAR's winner of this stupid contest? Exactly..."

Article over at Nathan Bransford's pad with some links and blurbs on the industry. Random House's CEO is promoting a demand-based pricing model for ebooks; on the whole, the industry seems to continue to favor the Hollywood-style big-tent model.

I'm halfway through Ghost Story, and loving it. Just got Updike's Rabbit, Run in the mail today.

I'm dipping my toes back into Mojave, but it's slow going. I keep veering off into other story ideas, and have done nothing but notes and (wait for it:) a wad of story notes that turned into a half a poem. My notes just started rhyming, so I wrote it all out in a 1,1,2,3 pattern. Kind of fun, I never do poetry. I may try to incorporate it into the story that spawned it, if it ever gets written.

All of a sudden my fonts are wonky, and I'm too lazy to fix them. Must be time for bed.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Already?

Crap, I was just getting used to January. Now it's gone.

Last month held more writing than submitting for me, and definitely more rejecting than accepting.

Wrote a big chunk of D1 of Mojave, which currently sits in the experienced critical hands of Mari Adkins.

I took a week off of Mojave to knock out a couple of short stories and polish one that was rejected; by ten minutes before midnight last night (in between voyeur sessions of peering out the window watching my neighbor get dragged away for drunk driving by six patrol cars chock full-o Vegas' finest), I submitted a new story, Oilrag, and a redux of Filtered White Light, both to different semi-pro literary mags. My second new story may never see the light of day, unless I work it over for a flash market...just no ending for it yet. Tonight, back on Mojave after dinner.

50 Books in 2009: I finished the audiobook for American Gods, started Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, decided I was too impatient for Faulkner this month (I am commited to trying again, but I feel like my reading time is so limited right now that if I have to put that much work into understanding a book, I need to devote one big block of time to it), and put it aside to read Straub's Ghost Story, which I am enjoying very much.

And I'm 0 and 1 for the year, with five in the field.

Slashdot, the geek temple of the world, has an article today on the death of Realms of Fantasy, and Fantasy and Science Fiction moving from monthly to quarterly. I don't recall if either announcement is new information, but, keeping mind that Slashdot has millions of readers, many (or most) of whom are intellegent and literate and enjoy various forms of genre fiction: if you sub to scifi or fantasy markets, it may be of use to browse through the 183 comments to see if there is anything in that little impromptu focus group for you. Keep in mind, it is Slashdot, and, as such, the comments are a handful of insightful comments surrounded by offtopic musings and troll shit.