Archive for February, 2009

Unexpected Cleaning

February 27, 2009

Have you ever discovered that the room/apartment/house/etc. that you told yourself you didn’t have time/energy/etc. to clean, can be made presentable in about an hour and half when you discover you have an unexpected guest coming by in two hours?

Funny how that works . . .

Feedback and Readership (Part 5)

February 26, 2009

Since my hands aren’t sore today, just tired, I’m back to work . . . though I AM taking it easy while I heal.   I’m also stepping up my precautions in the hopes of avoiding any injuries in the future because . . . well . . . you know . . . injury bad and pain hurts. 

Ironically enough, what I was GOING to say before I interrupted myself was that a friend of mine has been the first to officially ask me if I’m out of my freaking mind (not his exact words) for the schedule I’m putting myself under. 

Um . . . maybe?

Fortunately, sanity is in no way a prerequisite for being a writer. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to type VERY carefully and try and get some work done today.

Feedback and Readship (Interlude Continued)

February 25, 2009

Well . . . I’m not fully recovered today like I hoped, but it’s not bad.

It’s not GOOD either though.  

Mostly the pain is located in my pride . . . there’s just something about straining yourself from typing too much that, shall we say, lacks a certain sense of drama.  “There I was . . . in the third battle of Antietam, men were dying all around me, and I typed too fast and . . .   Hey!  Where are you going?”

Well . . . in a backhanded sort of way it’s better that I did this to myself sooner rather than later, gives me my best chance to learn my lesson NOW so I don’t hurt myself this way again.

DID I learn my lesson?

I really, REALLY hope so.

I’ll let you know though.

Feedback and Readership (Interlude)

February 24, 2009

Something of a unique opportunity for feedback presented itself to me today, and the good news is that I jumped on it.  (More about that another time.) 

The BAD news is that it involved a LOT more typing than is my norm, and I already do a LOT of typing in any given day.

So . . . the upshot is that my “good enough” precautions that I do to make sure I don’t do myself a mischief from too much repetitive motion from typing . . .  well . . . they weren’t good enough today.  (I knew I was running the line . . . it just took today to make it undeniable that I had pushed myself over the edge.)  So . . . tonight I heal and rethink my precautions, and hopefully I’ll be fully recovered by tomorrow.

I’ll let you know.

Feedback and Readership (Part 4)

February 23, 2009

So . . . all in all, not TOO bad for feedback I’ll admit to have been dreading a little.  In summation, I even got a “It was a worthy first effort.” out of the man.   That may not sound like much to you, but it’s high praise indeed coming from the most voracious and eclectic reader I know. 

The funny part (to me, at least) of all this is what I just found out about today . . . he’s ordering another copy of the book “for his personal copy.”  (Which I THINK means the copy he’ll thumb through from time to time, as opposed to the one he archives on his shelf (He’s also a book collector).  I didn’t get around to asking him to clarify for reasons that are about to become clear.) 

Now that in and of itself isn’t funny, it’s the contents of the rest of his order from a popular on-line source . . . his order ALSO includes several DVDs of the latest seasons The Girls Next Door (His wife is a fan . . . HONEST!), as well as season one of Secret Diary of a Call Girl (That one I don’t know which one of them is the fan . . . I’m guessing both).   There’s no real meaning behind the pairings, of course . . . that just happened to be what he was ordering at the time in addition to my book, but still it made me smile.

It’s like someone is saying my book ranks right up there next to DVDs featuring pretty girls.

A worthy first attempt INDEED!

Feedback and Readership (Part 3)

February 20, 2009

2.  He thought that I overused emphasizing words, and that I frequently broke with the traditional rules of writing in that regard.  Again he assured me this was a stylistic quibble at worst for him.

He may have a point on the first part, and he DEFINITELY has a point on the second.  (I know, I know . . . it looks like I’m making fun of him by emphasizing ‘definitely’ like that, but, trust me, I’m not.)

Either way, I’ll certainly cop to the fact that I use emphasis in my writing.  It’s a stylistic choice based in part on Internet writing conventions where you go a little further than traditional to convey tone and pacing . . . but mostly because that is HONESTLY the way I talk.  Prior to publication I asked a close friend if they thought I should tone the emphasis down, and the answer I got was “You tell stories on paper the way you tell them in person, so if you’d emphasize the word while speaking, emphasize it on paper so it’s clear where your meaning is.” 

Sounded reasonable enough to me, so . . . so that’s why I left the emphasis in.   So long as it remains no more than a stylistic quibble for most people, I’ll likely keep doing it, but it’s not a style I feel strongly about.  I feel the emphasizing adds clarity, but if general consensus agrees that isn’t the case . . . then I’ll stop doing it, simple as that.

I know, I know . . . I’ll never make it as a tortured, misunderstood “artiste” with THAT attitude, but that’s O.K.

On the other hand, I DO look pretty good in black.


Feedback and Readership (Part 2)

February 19, 2009

The first of his two main points was:

1.  The book was a bit longer than he usually reads for casual enjoyment, though he assured me this was a quibble and not a deal breaker on him enjoying the book.

I’ll cop to that.  The book is written in a casual STYLE, and no one has yet to tell me it’s a difficult read, but it DOES weigh in at 412 pages. 

What can I say?  I had a lot of story to tell, and because of that I broke it up into three discrete sections, each largely self contained but interrelated.  Think of it like three smaller books making up a trilogy without you having to wait a year (or more) for the next book to come out.

Or if that explanation doesn’t work for you, DO keep in mind that as written it makes a MUCH better self defense tool than a book half it’s size, now doesn’t it?

Truth be told, the final length of the book surprised me too.  In the end though, the final length of the book turned out to be PRECISELY the number of pages I needed to tell the story I wanted to tell.

So . . . while I promise to watch the length on the next book, honestly I’ll probably end up taking the same “As many pages as I need, no more or less” approach as I did with the first one. 

Provided, of course, that I continue to get consistent feedback that the length is a quibble at worst.

. . .

There’s a joke there somewhere, but I’m not going to be the one to make it.

Feedback and Readership (Part 1)

February 18, 2009

While I’m in no current danger of breaking any readership numbers, be it for the book or this blog, I AM starting to get enough feedback from people to start seeing some patterns, and for that I am truly grateful.  The latest feedback I’ve received was from a man who’s heard me go on and on about the book I was writing for years, and not ONCE did he ask me when I was going to finish the damn thing.  This is a man from whom books (among many, MANY other things) are a way of life for him (I still have several of his second hand books on my book shelves because he needed space on his own for one reason or another), so his feedback is heavily, HEAVILY weighted for me.

And now I have it.

No pressure.

But is it worth it?

February 17, 2009

I said it was the end of the maudlin . . . I said NOTHING about being fully done with the topic of love, now did I?

But that really is the question, isn’t it?  “Is it worth it?”

Unfortunately, I have no way to fully and satisfactorily answer that particular question. 

The best and most honest answer I’ve got is “Sometimes yes . . . sometimes no, and sometimes over time you realize the yeses can become noes, and the noes can become yeses.”   Like any other risk really, love is great when it pays off, and painful when it doesn’t, and when it’s over it’s a VERY subjective and personal call on if it was worth or not.  There are relationships I would have acted differently in (or avoided all together!) if I knew then what I know now, but the flip side of that is that I know it NOW because I learned it THEN!  (Catch-22, a game the whole world can play!) 

But was it all worth it . . . all of the times I tried and failed at love . . . was it all worth it to ME?

THAT’S a question I can answer!  It might change over time, but right now, at least, here is my answer:

Yes.  Once, twice, a thousand times . . . yes.

NOW I’m done with the topic.




At least until Valentines Day starts creeping up on us again, that is.

Post Valentines Day thoughts

February 16, 2009

I sure shut up pretty quickly last week, didn’t I?  If it looked like to you that I struck a nerve with my last reminiscence. . . well . . . you’d be right.

I suppose that’s the real dark side of Valentines Day, love and romance in general.  Even when it’s bad, it still hurts when it goes away for good . . . even when it’s good that it goes away.    Yes . . . the heart can grow stronger from the experience, the soul richer, but when someone leaves we all know deep down that no one else will ever FULLY replace the void they leave behind.  Other relationships may await us in the future . . . likely even BETTER ones . . . but that unique person that once made your life more joyous will no longer be a part of it. 

But at least they were for a while.

And on THAT note, I officially end the maudlin. 

For real this time.