Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Spent a good day with family and had a nice meal topped off by my wife's pumpkin cheesecake. Crossed the 100-page mark on the latest novel. At the current rate of production, I'll probably be able to have a draft done every 3-4 months. One of the keys to success in the new world of indie publishing is having a number of quality titles available for sale.

Maybe it's because we're binge-watching Game of Thrones, but I have an urge to write an epic fantasy novel. It might be something I take a stab at under a pen name.

Saw Edge of Tomorrow on pay-per-view and enjoyed it.

Currently reading: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey.

I've taken a break from King's 11/22/63. It's one of his more meandering novels. Sometimes he can write a 1,000 page novel and it reads like 300. Other times it's like wading through quicksand. I'm hoping the book picks up. I'll come back to it eventually.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Six Hours of Snow Removal

Yesterday I wrote around 500 words. We spend around six hours digging out of the 90 inches of snow that fell in a few days.

Started what will be a binge-watching of Game of Thrones. My wife and I watched the first two episodes of Season One on HBO Go. I'm guessing we'll get up to speed with the series over the next few weeks.

Rattled off 1,000 words today on the Gray Men. Where the Dead Go should be up for sale in the next few weeks. Just waiting for my first reader to have a look. After that, I'll make some corrections and light edits. Will probably start designing the cover this week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Storm Continues

I'm sitting in our office in my writer's uniform (hoodie, sweats, and a robe) working on a scene in The Gray Men. It's day three of the storm being dubbed "Snowmageddon" and "SNowvember." Outside, a foot of the stuff has already piled up in the driveway. This is after clearing the nearly three feet that was in the driveway yesterday. Our town has been under a travel ban for days, and the street is quiet, save for the occasional wind gust.

The New York State Thruway and Route 400 (which I take to get to the Thruway) are still shut down, and this is the third day I haven't been able to get to work.

We've gotten around 4 feet of snow all together, and this is light in comparison to other towns around Buffalo. One of my friends suggested that there's a great idea for a horror novel buried somewhere in this storm, and I might have to visit that idea some time.

My wife and kids have been home the whole time, as well. For that I'm thankful. We've been able to ride out the storm by watching movies, reading, and taking the occasional dip in the hot tub. We have food, heat, and power. For that I am also grateful.

For now, I'll keep writing. The storm is supposed to die down tonight. Hoping everyone in Buffalo is keeping warm and safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekend Writing

Mandatory overtime is on hiatus at my day job, which will free up my Saturday mornings for family and writing time. Despite the extra hours at the job, I've managed to get 20,000 words done on The Gray Men over the past month.

They Gray Men has a large cast, and I expect it will be my longer than most of the books I've done since I went independent in 2010.

Last night my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with a nice steak dinner. We're planning on going away in the spring. Someone asked me if it has gone fast, and it has. Time feels like it has accelerated as I've gotten older. It makes me realize I have a lot left to do at what could be the midpoint of my life. Best write faster.

The sequence I'm writing at the moment involves a prison riot. I did some research and based part of one of the bad guy's backstory on The Ohio Penitentiary fire.  Seems my fictional badass may have been present at the 1930 fire and has a history of inciting violence. More to come. Maybe I'll post an excerpt soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Research and How to Write Faster

Doing research for a sequence in The Gray Men involving a prison riot. One of the characters has a back story involving a prison fire. I researched prison fires and came up with an article about the 1930 fire at the Ohio Penitentiary. It was quite gruesome, as 322 people died. Many of the inmates burned or died of smoke inhalation while locked in their cells. There were also stories of selflessness and heroism, as guards and convicts saved each other from the flames.

The new draft stands at 15,000 words. I've been averaging about 5,000 words of fiction per week. This is while working 6 days a week at my full-time job. If I had to give advice on how to write more, I'd say:

1. Know what you are going to write. Have a rough idea of the scene or chapter. For this novel, I'm writing some general "signposts" where the story needs to go, as opposed to an outline. Signposts are scenes or events that are key to the novel.  My previous two books were written without any outline.

2. Keep writing materials handy. Grab 15 minutes and write if you have it. Lunch breaks and waiting rooms are perfect for this.

3. Don't obsess about perfection in your first draft. Write hot and get the story down.

4. Plan multiple writing sessions per day. Maybe a half hour before work, twenty minutes on lunch, and another half hour in the evening. You'll be surprised how fast the words pile up.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Led Zeppelin, Aging, and Acceptance

I'm a huge Led Zeppelin fan. I discovered them in high school and was hooked. This was around 1989. The Fay's drug store near my house used to sell cassette tapes. I'm dating myself by admitting this. I also used to have to avoid getting eaten by a saber-toothed tiger on the way to school as a kid. I think the first Zeppelin album I bought was Houses of the Holy. They were the reason I talked my parents into buying me a crappy, sixty-dollar Les Paul copy from a pawn shop. I wanted to rock like Jimmy Page.

I saw Page/Plant in 1995 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. They put on a great show. Robert Plant sounded amazing. The crowd went ballistic when Jimmy Page played the unaccompanied "Heartbreaker" solo. Best concert I ever went to.

I wasn't really surprised or disappointed when Robert Plant turned down a boatload of money to reunite the band. He's balked at reuniting Zep in the past, and I don't think it's a bad thing that he turned it down. Maybe Plant is content, and he mentioned in the article above that he didn't want to go back to the past. Or maybe he realizes it just wouldn't be the same given the years that have gone by. The voice is not the same at age 66 as it was at 25, or even 45, as it was when they played Buffalo in '95. Whatever his reasoning, it took a ton of guts to turn down the money Sir Richard Branson was offering him. Some will think him crazy, while others will applaud his integrity.

We all age. Time steals abilities we had when we were young. Maybe we can't go back and it's foolish to try. Regardless, I'll remain content to remember that night in 1995 when Page/Plant lit up the Aud and be thankful I got to see them live.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Friday Stuff

Got 1,000 words done on the new novel today. Just passed the 50 page mark.

My current stack of books (Kindle and paper) that I'm reading is growing. Right now I'm reading:

11/22/63 - Stephen King

The Drop - Dennis Lehane

The Chill - Jason Starr

Also finishing up Under the Dome, which I've been reading off and on for a while. 20th wedding anniversary is coming up, and I'll likely ask for an Amazon gift card. Always more books to be had.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The Gray Men/Sunday Wrtiting

Added 2,100 words to the new novel. This one's a thriller with a slight supernatural element. Working title is The Gray Men but that might change, as it brings to mind visions of little gray guys in flying saucers. And it has nothing to do with aliens.

Sunday mornings are a great time to write. The house is quiet until the rest of the family stirs around ten a.m. I've always been an early riser, so it works out good for getting some words down. 

Took the boys yesterday to a comics/pop culture convention in my town. It was a small event, but the artists and dealers were very warm and friendly. I had a chance to meet Graham Nolan, the creator of Bane and artist for the Batman comics. Turns out he lives right around the corner from us. He was very gracious to fans, taking the time to chat and sign prints. I also picked up a great print from Matt "Monster Matt" Patterson of a mummy painting he did. My sons got some comics and graphic novels, as well. 

Saw A Quiet Place II This Weekend

Jenn and I went for lunch yesterday, then saw A Quiet Place II at the Aurora Theater. The Aurora is a great little theater. One screen, and...