May 24, 2023

May Newsletter

Wow. Are we halfway through the month again? That didn’t feel like it took long. Well, okay, the last one was kind of late, wasn’t it?

Anyway… let’s get to it.

The past few weeks have sucked. There’s been roadwork all around my house and actually right in front of my house. Like, the little jackhammer-Bobcat was fifteen feet from my office window. Ripping up all the landscaping in the parking strip I spent the past year or two working on. And the sidewalk. And the curb. And parts of the street. And the sidewalk across the street. That went on for, ha ha ha, well, it’s been two weeks and technically it’s still going on, it’s just moved far enough up the street that I can almost blot out the sound by cranking up my earbuds.

Plus, the neighbors on one side are getting a new roof, so those guys have had an air compressor running between our two houses. And on the other side, two houses down, we think someone’s flipping the house and they’ve got a whole crew in there doing stuff. Loud stuff.

And on top of all that… there’s a neighborhood cat we’ve been calling Vincent (one of his ears is kind of mangled) who decided our place might make a good full time home. Which we weren’t against (he’s a cool and handsome man-about-town), but he kept getting beat up really bad by another cat (the Orange Whip) who passes through once or twice a day. So then he was slashed up. And lost a lot of fur. And a lot of weight. And injured one of his legs bad enough he was just dragging it behind him. We kept trying to help and cater to him, but last week we realized he’d hit the point where he wasn’t going to recover from any of this. So, with great regret and a lot of tears, we made sure he didn’t suffer any more.

TL;DR—the first weeks of May have not been very productive. There’s a fair argument to be made they’ve been a bit damaging on the sleep/ stress/ mental health fronts. Actually, no argument. The past few weeks have sucked hard.

With all that in mind…

As I type this I’m 212 pages into the rewrites/edits of GJD. A little more than halfway in this single-spaced draft. My early readers caught a lot of things that I definitely need to tweak, and offered a few comments that made me want to adjust a few more. Fortunately, it’s almost all the kind of thing that once you see the problem, you know how to fix the problem. I think there’s a good chance I can still have this done by the end of the month, when I promised it to my agent.

Which means it’s still on schedule to get to you.

On the flip side, that last short story I owed an anthology did not get done during these weeks, and I’m probably going to be getting that one to the editor right under the wire. An unfortunate but necessary reshuffling of priorities.

That’s one aspect of this whole professional writing thing I don’t see folks talk about that often. Sometimes… life happens. You end up moving a little slow because of stuff at home. Maybe you need to take a personal day or three. And when you do, hopefully your boss is one of those cool, progressive bosses who doesn’t glorify working yourself to death or berate you for missing a day or needing time off. Hopefully they understand there’s more to life than work and sometimes… work needs to be flexible.

This is especially true if your boss is you. Yeah, there’s always going to be deadlines or something that just can’t move. But if there’s a ton going on in your life… don’t make things worse for yourself if you don’t have to. Be that understanding boss you always wish you had.


Cool Stuff I’ve Been WatchingBarry (only the first season, no spoilers!!), The Why Files, still enjoying Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Cool Stuff I’ve Been ReadingWalking the Dusk by Mike Robinson

Cool New Toys – We’re closing in on my birthday, so I’m not allowed to get myself anything. Well, I try to restrain myself, anyway. But I still picked up a T’Challa Starlord (from What If… ) on eBay because it was a fantastic price. Also another Talos/ Skrull I found at a local used toy store. And Morphonauts sent me a few of their beautiful resin ExTerminator figures.

May 10, 2023

April Newsletter

Of course, just as I decided to relaunch and combine all this stuff, my life turned into pure chaos and stress…

Anyway, here’s the April newsletter. In May. The goal (moving forward, ha ha ha) is to put it up on Substack, then put it up here a week later. And maybe at some point, ehhhh… maybe I’ll just phase out Substack. I think a lot of us are already getting newletter fatigue. Let’s be honest–how many of the one you’re subscribed to do you actually open?

But for now, newsletter goes out on the middleish-of-the-month Monday, gets reposted here on the following Monday (without this introductory explanation), and Thursdays will be normal ranty writing blog stuff. Sound good?

All that said…

* * * *

Oh, hey, there.

Wait, there’s even more of you? How did that happen? No, no, never mind. We’ll make it work somehow.

Let’s just get to it, shall we?

You may remember from last time, I’d sent one project. GJD, off to a few beta readers. At this point, I’ve heard back from most of them, so May will be the month of notes and editing and probably sushi. Which means—if all goes well—my agent will be shopping that book around this summer.

I’m a little over 31K into the new book, the one after GJD. I think we’re calling this one TOS. And I just realized if you follow me on the social media you may have figured those initials out by now. Anyway, not a ton since last month, I know, but the horrible truth is, I’m a self-taught typist and I’m kind of awful. Seriously, I’m maybe three steps above hunting-and-pecking. My handwriting’s awful, too. So yeah… transcribing a full legal pad can take some time. As I mentioned last time, though, this also serves as an early light editing pass.

Oh, and I’m working on an updated version of the FAQ—also on the website—to get a lot of answers out there.

And there’s a few small projects that are still small and not quite worth talking about yet. But maybe soon. Relatively speaking.

Other news…

Some of you from the Twitterverse may have watched the end of Saturday Geekery this past weekend. If you didn’t know, it was just me live-tweeting B-movies and pointing out what I saw as frustratingly bad storytelling/filmmaking issues (and giving credit when I stumbled across a little gem of a movie). I’d been doing it for seven years, but to be honest… it wasn’t as much fun as of late. There were times it was, sure. And there were times I got something out of it myself (like the core idea for a book).

But more often than not, for the past year or so, the thing that was supposed to be my day-off relaxation activity just left me feeling… tired. On a few levels. Sometimes even stressed out. It had become more of a self-imposed obligation than an enjoyable activity. Add on the general chaos of Twitter lately—reach being throttled, algorithms manipulated in foolish ways, never being sure which features will work at any given point—and it was just time to end it. And by sheer luck it ended almost exactly seven years to the day from the first time I did it. So I look like I was smart and had a plan.

Forget that whole thing I just said about sheer luck. Very smart, absolutely had a plan.

I mean, this isn’t saying I’ll never, ever live tweet a movie again (or whatever it’ll be called on whichever social media platform we all end up on—live toot? Live shout? Live barf?). But if I do, they’ll be movies I love and enjoy, ones where I can name names. Maybe toss out random fun facts I happen to know. ComicCon weekend’s always a good time for a watch-along, right?

Hey, speaking of movies and TV shows I really enjoy…

Cool Stuff I’ve Been WatchingLockwood & Co, Star Trek: Picard, The Mandalorian, finally saw Encanto

Cool Stuff I’ve Been Reading— The Murderbot books by Martha Wells. Something new from Scott Sigler I don’t think I can talk about quite yet. Also just got the last Silvers novel from Daniel Price. Really, I’ve been working my way through a big pile of books-to-blurb.

Cool New Toys – The new Nebula and Rocket for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. I also got a few of the new Disney wave collectible minifigs from LEGO (626-Stitch, Mulan, and Doctor Faciler)