Category Archives: Personal

There is a tide in the affairs of men, but it isn’t as predictable as real tides (#SFWApro)

So last Friday I mentioned that I had another possible paying gig. It’s a legal news service, providing freelance content to various legal papers around the country, and they liked my first story, so I’m in.

And then Wednesday of this week, my former clients at Demand Media (now Leaf) emailed me with an offer to work on one of their special projects.

And Thursday, someone for another website calls to ask me about doing some articles.

Which is very cool. I like people calling to ask me to do work . But why on Earth now, in particular? It’s something I’ve thought in the past when I suddenly sell two or three short stories in a relatively brief stretch of time: why didn’t it happen say, a year earlier? Or ten? Am I suddenly that much better? Is it all blind chance? Or what?

First world enigmas, I guess.

Of course it’s not like even if all these clients plus Screen Rant provide tons of work (I’ve had clients in the past who liked my stuff but didn’t generate much work) it would let TYG quit her job and live a life of ease. But it still feels good to have money coming in. How will all this work with the fiction I like doing best? Well, we’ll see.

As to actual accomplishments this week, my new Screen Rant column is out: 15 Heroes Who Quit and Never Came Back. This was surprisingly tough to write, as I kept finding characters (the Bronze Age White Tiger, the Patriot, the Earth-2 Batman) who quit for years — oops they got back into harness! Back to searching for someone new. Hellboy is top of the list.

And I got probably ten thousand words done on Southern Discomfort, though I’m unsettled by how much of it was new material (new scenes, radically rewritten old scenes). That means more polishing down the road, which takes more time, which could delay completion even more.

I had hoped to wrap up turning Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast into a hard copy via Createspace, but I ran into some log-in problems. Hopefully I can get it done next week, and then work on that book will be over.

Wish me luck.

(All rights to Hellboy cover remain with current holder)>

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Quiet birthdays (#SFWApro)

Mine was Saturday, and as usual, a quiet one. Which is not a complaint.

For a long time, due to the schedules of the people I hung with (and the fact one of them had a birthday two weeks earlier), I never actually celebrated on my birthday. It was always earlier. Over time, I’d grown to hate that. So being able to celebrate on the day, with my wife, is pretty cool for me. We snuggled, I chilled and read, chilled and watched a movie (we caught Logan Sunday) and went out to dinner at Sage, my favorite restaurant.

For my birthday gift, TYG got me exactly what I’d asked for: the test from ancestry.com to find out my genetic background. It just arrived in the mail, and I’m looking forward to it.

Next year, when I hit the big 6-0, I intend to do something bigger to mark the passage of time. But for 59? My birthday was good.

And while it has nothing to do with my birthday, here’s a cool book cover, based on the Westworld poster (all rights to image reside with current holder). The book isn’t a novel, just Crichton’s script for the film, which he wrote and directed.

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Why no, this was not a productive week, how did you guess? (#SFWApro)

Well, other than me mentioning it in this morning’s post of course. Plus getting back from Fort Walton Beach on Monday, so I had one day down to start with.

Having three dogs, all of whom want to sit either beside me or on my lap, made working on my computer difficult. And Lily seems to be even more eager for cuddles than when we’ve dog-sat her before. Even my backup plan — do some reference reading offline for Southern Discomforts — didn’t quite fly. Partly that’s because dog shenanigans in the bed Wednesday night left me utterly exhausted Thursday (and as noted, my holiday trip had hardly been a haven of sleep, so I had no reserves left).

On the plus side, waking up early Thursday enabled me to finish my next Screen Rant article early Thursday morning (Fifteen Super Heroes Who Quit and Never Returned). And I completed my interview with one news service that wants to use me as a reporter — it’ll be about 10 to 15 hours a week, I think. I’d prefer a little less, but as I’m getting faster and smoother at the Screen Rant articles, I think I can do it without stinting on the Southern Discomfort rewrite.

And that was it. Of course, I was prepared for this to happen — we’ve dog-sat Lily a couple of times — but it is a little frustrating to get so little done after a week of vacation. But no regrets, either. She’s a sweet dog and she’s much happier with us and getting to rough-house with Trixie than if she were in a kennel somewhere alone.

Next week, back into action!

 

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework

Enter the Lily (#SFWApro)

So once again we dog-sat for Trixie’s best friend Lily while her owners were away. Which meant lots of madcap dog-ninja grappling, some really tricky walkies (how the hell do professional dog-walkers manage so many at once?) and lots of dogs wanting to cuddle with me at once. So not a lot of work accomplished (I’ll discuss that in this afternoon’s post). And not a lot of sleep, either. I’m not sure what we’re doing differently, but fitting Lily onto the bed proved a very difficult endeavor. And sometime early Thursday morning she wound up waking me up with the “please can I climb up and cuddle with you?” look (no, unfortunately — TYG was sleeping so far on my side there was no space for a dog). Still, it’s cute having Lily over, and I know she enjoys it more than staying at a kennel. So we’re cool.

(A clash of titans! Very small titans).

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Far away from home, but close to fun, not so close to sleep (#SFWApro)

So last week I headed down to my former hometown of Fort Walton Beach to catch up with my friends and particularly my parents. Regrettably TYG had to stay at home due to work.

Mum is doing okay, all things considered, which is not the same as “doing okay.” One reason I make sure to come down and hang at least once a year. I visited her every day, except when I was in Pensacola with Dad. She finds it tougher to communicate than she used to, but she does know who I am, that I’m there, etc., so it’s worth going. I do wish I could understand her better.

Dad is still living on his home, and he’s going to be 89 this year. I’m hopeful that’s a good sign for me. I spent Wednesday night with him, and went to dinner with some of his friends.

Like last year, I stayed with my sister and our mutual best friend Cindy. Whose forty pound chow-mix Meggie Sue is absolutely adorable and sweet. Here she graciously allows me to rub her belly.

Here she shows off her toy. It’s not an invitation to play with the toy, just to admire it.

The view from Cindy’s back yard is pretty cool, too. And of course staying there means I get to hang with Tracy and Cindy (and accompany Cindy on Meggie’s morning walkies).

And I did manage to hit the beach briefly. I even left before getting sunburned.

Our sand is very white in Okaloosa County.

My beloved drama teacher Jo Yeager has self-published a children’s book, Jimmy’s Journey. I had lunch with Jo, and  I also caught up with multiple different friends, visited my old comic-book store, drove around the neighborhood. And of course, just relaxed: no work, no pups. It’s funny, last year I felt very strongly that the town was no longer my home, but this year it feels much more familiar. Not home, but familiar in a different way. I liked it.

And that is one pretty back yard!

About the one drawback was that I was constantly sleeping on living room couches it was rarely quiet enough to get a full night’s sleep (and after the Eastern-to-Central time change, I’d have been “off” anyway). But it was worth it.

TYG had a slight refrigerator problem while I was away (she got it fixed) and then work on the fridge dislodged a pill that had rolled under there some time back. Fortunately Plushie didn’t care for the taste and spat it out.

It was a great week, and long enough that I heartily missed TYG and the pups when it was time to come home. Hey, who wouldn’t miss this face?

Photos are all mine, please give credit if you use.

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Perfect Balance? (#SFWApro)

Last weekend was surprisingly good.

connery007

I got a lot of little errands done, including buying replacement light bulbs, refilling prescriptions, buying replacement batteries. And I fixed the errors I found in Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. But I also managed to spend a lot of time relaxing, reading and watching movies. I keep trying to organize my weekends to be all laid back, but it often doesn’t work. It actually felt a little weird during the down-time stretches — shouldn’t I be doing something productive? I thought I’d gotten over feeling like that, but it stuck back up on me again.

There will be no week-in-review post today, due to a crazy day ahead. Book and movie review posts for the weekend will proceed as usual.

All rights to Connery-as-Bond image reside with current owner.

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Regaining some balance, losing some face, facing some weather (#SFWApro)

The weather was freaky this week. When I took this photo Wednesday, I was out bicycling in shorts, even though the sky looked ominous (the photo doesn’t capture it as well as I’d hoped). Today I wore a sweater to walk the dogs, and it was cold.  Overall it’s been much warmer than last year, when we had icicles hanging from the bird feeder in late February.

img_1128Now, as to the balance — specifically between fiction and non-fiction as I discussed this morning. I didn’t really get the balance right this week, but I can see it improving. The tractor article is done. Screen Rant articles (I finished another this week though it’s not up yet) are getting easier as I stop fretting about their requirements and just write. I passed my trial period so now I can select images directly from SR’s library. It’s much simpler, to my surprise, than emailing the editors with a list of what I want.

I devoted today to finishing the Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast index, and I’m very glad I did. As with Now and Then We Time Travel indexing turned up eight or nine errors, several quite substantial. If I go this way for another nonfiction book (and I’m thinking about it for Undead Sexist Cliches: The Book), I’ll definitely index before publication. I feel really, really embarrassed to have released something inaccurate, hence the losing-face reference in the post title. I guess it shows why so many self-published writers recommend hiring an editor … but then again, the issue isn’t style or spelling but facts. So would it have helped? At least I did find them — I’m in the process of getting the ebook changed now (and pulled it from my sidebar and Nonfiction By Me pages until it is). Meanwhile I’ll add the index to my text to create a second PDF and see if the pagination is accurate. If it is, I submit to create space to get hard copies. If not, I submit without an index — I’ve had requests for hard copy and I’d like one myself.

And that was pretty much my week. It would have been more productive if I hadn’t forgotten most of the photoshopping techniques for Screen Rant that I’d figured out last week. I did get some more work done on Southern Discomforts but not as much as I’d wanted. Hopefully that will change as we move forward in March.

Have a great weekend. For the record, while the weather is cold today, the sky is much more inviting than these photos (art by me, please credit should you choose to use).

img_1129

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing