Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

Despite all my good intentions, I have once again been neglecting my blog. Shame on me. Lots of changes going on around Casa Church these days, although I have found time to squeeze in some writing amidst all the dust and confusion. I've penned nearly 8,000 words in Red Awakening over the last week, so the time hasn't been a total waste. I'm still shooting for a Halloween release date for this second  installment of the Erebus Files. My biggest challenge right now is expanding on a story that is, in essence, completely written, if a little sparse. To that end, I've created a couple of new characters and a subplot to throw a few twists and turns in the story. Ah, the joys of playing god.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting out of town

There's nothing like the prospect of an adventure to get the blood going. It all started last weekend when my sister-in-law and I were contemplating which paper I was going to use to decoupage the door of an old cabinet we had found at a yard sale. I had searched all the local shops that still carried interesting paper (the pickings are slim since Pearl--my long-time, go-to craft destination--closed shop a few years back), and resorted to looking online. That's when I found some imported papers at World Market. It was hard to tell what they actually looked like from the little swatches on their website, but I ordered a few anyway.

We looked through what they sent and decided none of them really had the look I was going for, so we pulled up their website to browse the rest.

"It's hard to get a good idea of colors on the screen," I said, especially since we were browsing on my tablet.

"You know," she said, "maybe we should just go there and look at them in person."

"Yeah, but there isn't one in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties."

We glanced at each other, grinning, and decided to look up the nearest store. Road Trip!

"There's one in Winter Garden," she said.

In other words, Orlando. Now, let me just say here, I know, for people who live there, that Orlando is a nice place. And I can respect that half the world sees it as the family vacation mecca. But for this girl, I have often said, I wouldn't go to Orlando to see God. See, for me to get there, I have to take I-4, or as I like to call it, Take-Your-Life-Into-Your-Hands Hell. Much of that is due to an endless stream of freight trucks, tour busses, and theme park enthusiasts heading to Disney/Sea World/Universal, etc. Ugh. Not a fan, am I.

"What else ya got?" I said, dismissing Option #1.

"Well, there's one in Ft. Myers."

Ft. Myers. Hmm...at least a two-hour drive, depending on traffic, but unlike land-locked Orlando, it's on the coast. Nice beaches...good restaurants. Still, a long way to go just to look at paper.

"You know," I said, "we've been talking about getting out of town for a weekend. Why not go down there and spend the night? Make a mini-vacation of it."

So that's what we decided to do. We made hotel reservations next to the biggest shopping center in the area (which includes, among dozens of other interesting stores, a World Market), got the cooler ready with a few bottles of wine (for after dinner sipping by the pool), and are heading out in the morning for a weekend adventure.

Spur of the moment adventures are always the best. Plus, it makes getting up early in the morning worthwhile.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Not enough hours...

Wow, where did this week go? When I woke up at 3am Monday morning with the entire subplot for Red Awakening in my head, I thought I'd be flying along and nearly finish the book by week's end.

That hasn't happened. In fact, I haven't touched it all week. Been too busy between the day job and working on client websites. I really do have every intention of getting this book at least completely written by the first of September. It probably won't get published until October because editing, beta reading, and formatting take time, and I like to give myself a couple of weeks breathing room between writing and editing so I can approach it with new eyes. That being said, I'm still looking to buy a good day stretcher.

In the meantime, I've gone back to reading again. I don't know if it helps or hinders the creative process. When I was on a roll finishing Return of the Light, I didn't read at all and figured maybe that was why I was writing so much. Who knows, I guess it's like an athlete who associates wearing a certain pair of underwear or not shaving with winning. We'll see. At any rate, I figured I'd at least stop by here and say hi.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where are all the superheroes in novels?

So, last night I'm watching a rerun of Castle, and the episode was about a vigilante super hero with a sword (majorly cool, btw). And it got me thinking...there are a metric ton of graphic novels and comic books about super heroes, but how many actual novels are there? I'm not talking paranormal characters with supernatural powers, but average guys in tights with secret identities. I've seen a few comedic treatments of the subject, where a guy wanted to be a superhero but was more a clumsy joke. However, try as I might, I couldn't come up with a serious novel on the subject, though admittedly, I didn't really research it. If anyone else is aware of any, please let me know.

But thinking about it made me want to write a superhero story. Maybe not a novel, but a novella, for a start (I'd say short story, but I'm too long-winded). The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. And then I started wondering of I could approach it from a different angle. Not the typical guy loses parents or suffers chemical reaction and develops super powers and becomes a vigilante formula, but something a little more unique.

I haven't quite figured out the angle, but it's percolating up there now. Watching that episode, when the sword slashes out of the darkness in the alley and the costumed character runs up the wall, flips over his pursuer, and jumps on his bike and speeds away got my adrenaline going. Who doesn't love superheroes?

Naturally, this will have to go in my Yet To Be Written pile, which currently includes books 2 and 3 of the Erebus Files, books 2 and 3 of The 'Ru Lexicon, and two other standalone, as-yet unfinished novels. I think I need a clone.

On a another note, pretty stoked about going to see the midnight movie showing of Sharknado at Park Place Cinema tonight. Just being in the theater with a bunch of other cheesy horror flick junkies sounds like a blast.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stress and the Mental Bottleneck

First of all, I don't know why I'm stressed. As day jobs go, my current one is a breeze. Contract technical writing for a company that is still developing its product is pretty much a hurry up and wait affair. I have entire stretches of days where I have absolutely nothing work-related to do, leaving me free to do whatever I want as long as my butt is planted in the seat they've assigned me (read: I work on the current WIP).

So we can rule that out. Of course, there is some minor stress attached to the fact that said day job, because it is a contract gig, goes away in seven weeks and right now I have nothing lined up to replace it. I'm working on it, though, and trying not to let it bother me.

It is summer in central Florida, which is never fun, no matter what the travel geeks say. It's hot, it's humid, it's monsooning one minute and endless, mind-searingly bright, muggy heat the next, it's mosquito all-you-can-eat banquet time, and, oh, did I mention it's hot? But that's old news for any native or long-time resident. We have two seasons in central Florida--summer and not-summer. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, though you can usually tell not-summer because the humidity occasionally dips below 50%, meaning you have a rare good hair day. But like I said, we're used to that.

No, I think, when I start drilling down on this, it all comes back to the commute. Okay, for some people, a 35 minute morning, 45 minute (baring accidents) afternoon commute isn't too bad. I personally know a lot of people who drive twice that, but I still hate it, especially since my last job was ten minutes from my house. Throw having to use one of the infamous bridges to cross the Bay in there, and it's just not a winning scenario.

Yeah, I have a super fast car that's a blast to drive, but it's only a blast to drive recreationally. For one thing, it's a manual, which means my left leg often feels like it's going to rupture by the time I get to where I'm going. Sitting in traffic, dodging zombie drivers, white-knuckling the wheel waiting for someone on their cell phone or yelling at their kids or daydreaming to suddenly decide they missed their turn or need to be in the space you're occupying right now regardless of the laws of physics--not so much fun. There are days when I pull into my driveway and thank the powers that be for getting me home in one piece.

Maybe it's a sign of age, but I hate commuting. I hate the pressure of having to be somewhere at a certain time. When I'm not working, I travel around when most of the people who are working are at work. I avoid the the main roads, preferring to use shortcuts I've collected over the years. They may not get me where I'm going any faster, but at least I don't feel like choking someone when I arrive. I've started to notice whenever I get in the car to either go to work or head back home, I start to tense up and develop all manner of nervous, Tourettes-like twitches and ticks, not to mention a near-constant headache.

Life in our ever-shrinking world is already stressful enough. We're constantly under siege from an endless barrage of stimuli, all demanding our undivided attention. It's getting harder and harder to find a few quiet moments to ourselves. And as a writer, that's almost a necessity. For instance, I had planned to work through a pivotal scene I have to write for Red Awakening on my way to work this morning, but alas, that was not to be. The zombie drivers made sure my mind stayed firmly on the road around me.

So, yeah, I think it's the commute causing my current stress. But I still have to get this scene written.