Wow…

So, it took no time at all for me to get a month behind. That’s refreshing. πŸ™„

The DayJob, as should be expected by now, has been a relentless flurry of madness for the last week. Those of you that know me personally (or have followed my exploits online over the years) know this is a normal thing – it is the first week of the Fall semester and… well… F-A-L-L… that spells crazy.

(Yeah, I know that’s not the line… but it works)

In addition to the normal madness, we have returned to campus. Many classes have returned to campus. Delta has, thankfully, not decided to enroll at this time.

I continue to massage several projects – many of which are beginning to resemble the plans that originally erupted in my brain.

I continue to reluctantly pay attention to the news: particularly regarding the pandemic’s revival, the return of the Calinferno, and the unchecked aggression and unapologetic idiocy that plagues the central valley.

And I continue to hope people will do better.

Be better.

Until next time friends, do what’s right… do what’s decent… and above all, be kind.

One more thing…

My dear friend (and fellow masochist… er… author) S.J. McMillan and her family could use some prayers/positivity/good vibes etc. I’d appreciate it if you’d have the Universe send some her way πŸ’–

Summertime, summertime, sum… sum… summertime…

Here in California’s Central Valley, summer has well and truly arrived.

I know the first day of summer isn’t technically until Sunday, but the thermometer says otherwise. We’re forecasted to be 110+ (43.3+ c, for those more familiar with that format) all most of the weekend… but hey, there’s a cooling trend coming Sunday.

It’ll only be 108 (42c). πŸ™„

My plan is to hide.

Stay inside under the air.
Feed the dogs (and me) ice.
Pray to Anyone that will listen to keep the power on and the wildfires off.
(Oddly enough, just as this was posting, we lost power for three hours due to a nearby fire. All is well, but damn… really?!)
Read some more of the book I keep having to put down because of the need for silly things like driving, doing the DayJob, and sleeping.
…and write

Like I said… that’s the plan. I think we talked about plans a little while ago, though.

Until next time, friends… drink your water, hug your loved ones, smell the roses, and pet a dog.

The Elephant In The Room

Summer’s here. Again. We haven’t been hit with the break-out-the-stillsuits heat (yet) but it will come. It always does. At least, this year, it looks like we might be able to breathe recycled air someplace other than our own homes.

What the world will look like for “summer vacation” and beyond is still anybody’s guess… there are just too many variables.

Regardless of the fact that the Day Job is in the educational sector, I don’t really get a “summer vacation.” It’s okay, though… with so many other folks on summer vacation, I actually tend to get quite a bit done. And it looks like the Day Job will still be remote – at least through the summer – so I have that extra commute time to be home doing not-Day-Job things.

The plan, of course, is to get a decent amount of writing done.

And get in a couple trips to the zoo.

But what about the last year?

I know a lot of folks that participated in NaNoWriMo wrote the pandemic into their novel. I understand the need for catharsis for both writer and reader, and that those stories could offer that.

But my muse doesn’t work that way.

When the RealWorldβ„’ has gone to shit, my muse basically throws it out even more completely than she normally does. You won’t find mention of the pandemic or the shelter-in-place orders in my writing because, frankly, fiction – in general – should be a safe way to escape for both reader and writer.

I know. I can hear it now:
What about Scarred Sun? What about the social issues that creep in around the fantasy? What about that one character?

Think about an escape.

If you’re escaping from a person/place/situation, odds are pretty high that person/place/situation was bad for you. Odds are pretty high that, to some extent, you didn’t want to be there.

And you do escape. You get away. You’re free.

Except for the memories… the residual pain and fear… the trauma… those don’t all go away. Some of it’s not as bad. Some of it you can actually pack up and get rid of. But other stuff stays and the best you can do is learn to cope.

While the pandemic is a staggering thing and is more likely to have a place in the history books than more pressing issues (that’s another rant I don’t feel like ranting right now), it’s not that bad. With just over three million obvious exceptions*, the whole of it can be packed up and stuck on a shelf to be forgotten… but that’s just not true for a lot of other things that defined 2020.

No more grim social commentary today. Maybe tomorrow πŸ˜‰

Until next time, friends… drink some water, stop and smell the roses, pet the dogs (with permission, of course), and soak up the Vitamin D.

You need it.

We all do. 🌞

~+~

*3,128,962 confirmed deaths according to the World Health Organization at time of writing

Shakin Off The Rust

Actively writing.

Actively editing.

Actively formatting.

It’s almost like I might be getting my groove back.

Again. πŸ˜•

I’m trying to push out the irritating voice saying we’ll see how long it lasts, this time and just be content with the fact that it actually is happening.

For as long as it lasts.

2021 is already off to a great start – Urban Wardens: Crash & Burn released the end of February, Blood in the Water drops May 1, and there are two more books (new installments for The Rio Crew and The Heroes of Vadim) making their way to you before this year flips over into the next.

And more projects are in-progress and on track for 2022… but you’ll have to wait a little while to find out more about them.

Until next time, friends… if you can’t dance like no one’s watching, turn on your filter and do it anyway πŸ’

Summer Kick-Off

I spent last summer stuck in my house: between breaking an ankle in late May and the ever-changing status of the COVID-induced stay-at-home orders, there really wasn’t much else to do.

You’d think I’d have had a lot of time to write… or do anything, really… but it didn’t work out that way. It probably could have… but it didn’t. Like I said in my last post – 2020 was a major glitch.

Even NaNoWriMo felt glitched. The first week of November was full of travel and celebration. It was well worth the trip, mind you… and I knew I’d make up the writing time somehow.

There were days I was confident and days I definitely wasn’t, but I was too wrapped up in this particular story not to finish it.

I couldn’t tell you why when I was writing it and I still can’t… but what I can tell you is that I actually really like the way it turned out.

And, as you know, that’s not always the way of things.

I was so happy with it, in fact, that I moved it up the release time-table.

Blood in the Water will be have its own page here in the next few days and will be available on Amazon May 1.

The Kindle version is available for pre-order now and will be included in the Kindle Unlimited library.

(If this book were a TV show, it would be rated TV-14 DL — strong language & suggestive comments.)

Until next time, friends… Heart get vaccinated so we can hug next time we’re in the same place!

Well, that was pleasant…

2020 is thankfully well in the rearview. While there are always some bright spots in horrific disasters (in 2020’s case, it was officially gaining a second son), it’s hard to argue that the year – in general – was one huge glitch in everyone’s life.

I didn’t forget about you, though, and I didn’t sit idly by while the world turned upside down.

I did, in fact, get some stuff done.

So… without further ado…

The long-awaited (at least by some) sequel to Urban Wardens: Alpha to Oblivion is now available!

Urban Wardens Crash and Burn cover

That’s right!

You can grab Urban Wardens: Crash and Burn on Amazon now!

All the book pages here will be updated soon.

I don’t know what the rest of this year has in store for us but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be alright.

Until next time, friends…

Be kind. You never know the power your smile may have.

Brace Yourselves: November is Coming

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worldsβ€”on and off the page.

nanowrimo.org Mission Statement

As NaNoWriMo enters its 20th year (and I prepare for my 12th year of participation), it seemed the perfect time to dig a little deeper into what NaNoWriMo means not only for authors (a topic I’ve addressed fairly regularly), but also what it means for the people around them.

Without further ado:

Here Comes November

A Guide To The Care & Feeding of Your NaNoWriMo Author

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to the NaNoWriMo.org website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Why do authors do it?

Every author who participates has a different reason for becoming a WriMo. For some, it’s an exercise in discipline. For others, an excuse to shut out the real world in favor of creating their own. For some, like me, it’s a matter of proving to yourself that you can finish the draft.

How do authors approach the challenge?

There’s no single way to approach NaNoWriMo and nothing will ever work for everyone: but there are three basic classes of WriMo you should be familiar with:

Planner:

This is the type of author your Language Arts teacher says you’re supposed to be. Planners have detailed outlines, character sketches, and new languages and creatures already fleshed out long before November 1 comes around. They plan. They are prepared.

Pantser:

Pretty much the opposite of the Planner, a Pantser tends to look at a blank page the morning of November 1 and finally get around to deciding what to write. A pantser’s mind if full of half-baked ideas, numerous plot bunnies, and a couple killer one-liners that someone is going to use this year no matter what!

Plantser:

A newly identified class who, for many years, been confused by Planners as Pantsers and Pantsers as Planners. A Plantser typically greets November with an idea, maybe a few character sketches in skeletal format, and a collection of notes that roughly resmeble an outline.

Your Role As The Keeper of a WriMo

Regardless what class your WriMo falls into, there are certain things that you can do to help make November run just a little more smoothly.

Encourage

November can be overwhelming for your WriMo. Let’s face it: November’s not exactly a quiet month anyway. Tons of holidays are closing in, usually followed by family members & social events. Weather tends to be meh – either cold and gloomy, hot and miserable, or some other combination of factors that basically make you want to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a couple months. Adding the average daily wordcount of 1,667 to the mix is crazy-making.

And yet, WriMos do it… year after year.

There are many ways to encourage your WriMo and help them through the insanity that is November.

Take on additional chores so they don’t have to worry about them.

Screen social engagement requests to help maximize writing time.

Listen when they share their ideas. You are important enough for them to not write while they talk to you – make sure they realize they are equally important and that you appreciate the fact that you are THAT high on their list.

Nourish

Many WriMos, particularly when they are in the zone, forget to address their own basic needs. As the keeper of a WriMo, you should always take care to make sure your WriMo has adequate water in addition to any other beverage of choice they may ingest while working.

Make sure to feed your WriMo regularly, too. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to actually feed your WriMo but placing a meal or snack in easy reach will ensure they are able to maintain their strength without the danger of losing their momentum to go find and/or prepare something to eat.

Get Acquainted With Their Muse

Every WriMo has a muse and repeat WriMos tend to be familiar enough with their muse to be able to introduce you. Getting to know your WriMo’s muse may well be your single most important task as the keeper of a WriMo.

Just as every WriMo is different, every muse is different. Learning about your WriMo’s muse will prepare you to help your WriMo seduce the muse back to the story when she wanders.

To Be Continued…

It’s been a crazy couple months:
My mentor & dear friend retired from the DayJob in June and I have been going slightly mad (just very slightly mad) learning all the things I didn’t know about her job now that it’s my job.

New side projects. Plot bunnies running amok. Human sacrifice. Dogs & cats living together… wait. That’s not it.

Bear with me, folks. I’m still here… at least until November πŸ˜‰

Until next time…

Take a minute to breathe… to remember… to love.
Smell the roses, pet the dogs, and hug the people who have a place in your heart.

Hmmm…

I promised a writing update, didn’t I?

In the midst of all the other craziness life has in store, I am pretty much always writing something.

My muse, in case you were unaware, is a tad bit mercurial.

She feeds on coffee, chocolate, and booze (and chili-cheese Fritos for fight scenes) and sometimes goes silent for extended periods of time. Those periods, however, seldom coincide with the times Real Life and the Day Job need me the most. Go figure.

Bonus: my self portrait from my photography class.

True to form – since I really have no time – she’s pounding on my skull with alarming variety and frequency. So, with all the changes to the Day Job, my college courses (yes, I am skipping summer vacation in favor of education), and the normal everyday stuff… she has me working on four different projects.

Yes.

Four.

So… maybe mercurial wasn’t a strong enough word πŸ˜‰

One: Urban Wardens III

No, you didn’t miss Urban Wardens II. Editing is a slow process right now – can’t imagine why πŸ˜‰ I had quite a bit of this one done but didn’t care for one of the subplots, so I had to go back and make some adjustments.

Two: The Bridesmaids Had Pockets

Not my normal sort of project, but one that’s turning out to be a lot of fun.

When I first started helping Eldest Spawn & The Boy plan their big day we had no time and less money to work with… so, with the insanity of it all still fresh in my mind (along with the Hold My Beer attitude fed by all the Plan Your Wedding in 6 Months for under $6K articles), I started a tongue-in-cheek how-to guide for wedding planning.

And yes, Eldest Spawn’s bridesmaids did, in fact, have pockets.

Three: Title Keeps Changing

Catchy, huh? Seriously, though… I’ve gone through a half dozen working titles and none of them actually work, so… hopefully I figure it out before the book’s done.

If you follow the Facebook page at all, excerpts from this one pop up on occasion: first-person, bad attitude, monster hunter. The one that parties with trolls.

Four: Untitled


This one is still very much in its infancy. It’s one of those projects where someone said something (commented on a photo, actually) and the muse wouldn’t shut up about it.

Here’s the picture.

There’s only a little groundwork on this one, so far, so I’m not going to give much here… but if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little familiar with my style so I’ll let you chew on the possibilities for a while.

There’s your update, friends. Pardon me while I go figure out how to mainline Black Silk.

Until next time:

Never give up. Never surrender.

No, seriously. Never give up.

Fans or Fame

Book Heart

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to just say thank you.

You see… I’ve been on this particular journey for about a decade now and odds are pretty high that, if you’re reading this, you’ve been with me every step of the way. There have been times – though you may not have known it – that I couldn’t have kept going without you.

Dreams of being a famous author are just that… dreams.

Will I keep reaching for them? Sure.

But it’s far more important that you precious few who have been here all along know that your support is far more valuable.

Even when you curse my name.

Even when you grumble about my cruelty.

Even when you stop reading long enough to glare in my general direction no matter where you are.

Still, you keep reading.

You keep asking for more.

And I know I’m doing my job.

Thank you, my friends.

Drop Point Disaster

Yes.

It’s true.

Heroes of Vadim Episode II – Drop Point Disaster is now available!

Just when you thought it was safe to pull out your dicebag…

Lauren and her friends are doing what they love: continuing to live their ultra-geeky lives to the fullest.

The others had managed to put their adventure in Vadim behind them: coming up with every excuse in the book – and making up a few- to convince themselves it didn’t really happen…

Except that it did…