Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Progress on Aria

Well, how 'bout that? I'm about 90 pages into Avatar's Aria and feedback form the Sonata test readers continue to dribble in. Of course I was hoping they'd all read the book in a week and I've have this big pile of review all full of glowing praise and begging for the next book. Yeah, right. It hasn't been overly negative, but I still have some work. Regardless, I can see the end of the tunnel and hope the last of them finishes up so I can integrate the best of their comments and have this ready for the printers.

On an interesting sideline, I've been bantering around the idea of a stand alone book. A Libertarian 'tome' if you will, about the after effects of an socio/economic collapse of the USA, and a Libertarian enclave that sets about to rebuild the nation in the image the Founding Fathers created. If I can get around to it, it might be timely. The only problem is can I get it out before I have to excersise option #3 (for those of you that read my other blog, lol).



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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I finished the 3rd edit of Avatar's Sonata!!! Damn! What a beast. I managed to avoid a complete rewrite and I think it came together pretty good. The bad part if it puts Overture to bed as part of the series. Sonata will be pitched as the first book in the series.

So I just dropped $60 at Staples for three hard copies for my test readers. I have to buy at least two more (I think), but I'm putting it off for now. The final version ended up being just over 200,000 words. The test print is 191 pages (modified manuscript), the print version would be closer to 400 pages. By way of reference, Overture was 163,000 words. So this is about 20% bigger. There are other significant changes, but none of it is worth getting into.

About sixteen years ago I wrote my first 'novel' sized work. It was very influential to my development as a writer. To that point I'd believed that novel sized works were beyond me and only wrote short stories. Now, I've finished about ten novels, four of more than 100,000 words. It is a major realization that I have plenty to write about. It is a major disappointment that I lack the time and means to polish my skills through classes, and just the time to write much more.

So I'm deep into Avatar's Aria changing the beginning and altering the outline to reflect what I've done in finishing Sonata. I'm solidly convinced now this is a four book series, and that in itself is exciting. Can I keep it up for four books? I'm sure I can. Might take a decade to write it all, but what the hell.

In the mean time I'm starting a contemporary novel concerning a sociological collapse resulting in the creation of a Libertarian society, and the aftermath of that move. I only have a concept now, but I might dedicate some extra time to it because it feels very timely with our current government spending money like a drunken sailor.

"Writers write!" - R. A. Heinlein.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Almost Finished!

Been a while, been seriously busy! I'm like eight freaking pages from the first edit of Sonata (original volume two, now volume one). This has been real hard for me, both finishing a hard read through, and deciding the Avatars Overture will cease to be in the cannon, only to be known to the few who bought a copy, and through disjointed flashbacks in the new chronology. Just about everything that happens in Overture did happen, but I just realized it's mostly backstory, and best told in a few thousands words of the current books, mostly journal entries. I may introduce Mindy as a voice from the past (ghost like) character as my real protagonist (Minu Alma) moves through life.

Regardless, the edit should be done in about a week, and then the manuscript goes to Staples to print test copies, and I sit back to wait and hear what the test readers have to say. Eight lucky (brave) souls have volunteered to read and critique Avatars Sonata...I'm not going to wait for the results, but get right back to working on Avatars Aria that is about 1/3 done and was put on hold while I finished editing Sonata.

Well, back to work!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Waiting, and editing

Well, I had no idea I'd waited so long to post to my old blog. All I can claim is electoral dysfunction, it effects the higher brain functions.

When last we met my little microfarm had gotten a shipment of 18 cute little baby ducks! They grew up into even cuter young adult ducks, then the coyotes ate 14 of them. Yeah, frustrating. We've tried to ace a few of the bastards and they replied by eating two of our turkeys (we got five, still have three). We also got 26 chickens. Luckily or us, they're smart and fast enough we still have 24 of them. Mainly we need a big pond for the ducks, or lots of expensive fencing. Well, thus far its coyotes and feral cats 16, us 0. The only good side is its us 3, possum 0. Joy's ganked three of them so far, she's quite a dead eye.

Anyway the writing goes well. Avatar's Aria is about 50% finished, and likewise I'm halfway through editing Avatar's Sonata. I have 5 test readers set up and once the primary edit is finished I'll print up some copies and mail them out!

I've had a few new ideas, but just noting them down for now. As much as I'd like to tackle something unique, it wouldn't be smart just now. Avatar is too complicated an overarching plot. I'm struggling right now with a balance between number of characters and turning into a Jordan novel. Near the end of book two I have about 20 standing common characters, with twice that many notables. Too many? LOL!

I'll try to post some more soon. Hoping to be done with this Sonata edit by the end of the week, especially since I have a five day weekend coming!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ducks, Chickens, Isolation, and writing.

Well, our KCs are getting bigger by the day. At more than a month old now, they are well on their way to becoming adults. When I left for Nashville on Monday, they only had baby fluff on their necks and sides. Suprisingly, it looks like the wings are the last thing to develop? Go figure. Here they are so far.
On Arrival, a box of quack. Frighteningly cute baby quackers. 2 days old.

Here they are a few weeks older, moving outside and here chasing a green pepper. Funny stuff.

And here, almost all grown up. The one on the left is a drake, we think. The sites all say they have yellow legs, but since they're related to Mallards they should have green heads and beaks too. Not all the yellow legged guys have greenish beeks...hmm. Anyway, you can see their feathers are comming along great!

We built them an improvised pond last weekend. Some scrap wood, a few T Posts, some plastic (more on that), a lot of sweat, and bingo.
Of course they couldn't make heads or tails of it for a while, but they'd been fighting over and trying to swim in a bucket for two weeks, so it didn't take them long to realize this was WATER! They had a great time, for about 24hrs. As God is my witness, I didn't know ducks had adamantium claws. They shredded the 4mil plastic liner like wolverine on a pack of ninjas. One day later it was empty. Joy got a couple cheap hard side kiddie pools while we contemplate a heavy rubber liner.

Patrick and I did 100% of the primary construction, Joy pitched in finishing the chicken wire surround to avoid escapes. Here she is telling me to put the f*cking camera down and quit screwing around (Patrick looking confused and hot in the backgroung). She loves having her picture taken!

Meanwhile, our Amaurana chicks have shown up. Like the ducks (ordered 15, got 18), we got 26 instead of 25. I think they ship a couple extra for casualties. But (knock on wood), we have yet to loose a single chick or duckling. I give Joy 100% well deserving credit for that. One of the chicks got sick and she nursed it through.

Here they are.

And Natureboy checks them out. Having some livestock and a dog has helped him a lot in handling and dealing with animals. He's still scared of bugs, but we'll take it a step at a time.

The second picture is only a little over a week later. The chicks were a lot different than ducks. They get wing feathers first (sufvival bonus?), and learn to jump. We had escapes from the brooder at two weeks, something that never happened at all with the ducks. They're also faster, and a little more easily scared. I added a roost to one side, and they won't go near it for days.

Well, with all that excitement, the Patrick went off to camp for a week. He gets back tomorrow. Joy is fit to be tied missing/worrying about him. But I suspect we're both right in thinking he doesn't even remember he has parents. It's a Kentucky state wilderness camp, and looks like a lot of fun.
Here he and his best friend Hamilton are heading off to adventure. Can't wait to talk to him tomorrow afternoon! Sucks that I don't get home this weekend.

On the writing front, another coworker finished Overture and raved about it. He wants to screen Sonata for me. So I'm trying to finish Aria, that way I'm sure Sonata is safe to complete editing and give to my test readers (now numbering about 6). The writers group I joined here is proving interesting, as is the gaming group I am playing with. Once a week for the gaming, once a month for the writing. Sometimes wish it was the other way around, but the gamers are good guys, low on the drama, high on the ROLE playing. I can handle this for another 9 months...I hope.

Monday, June 30, 2008

More Quackers

Well, we spent a very energetic and not entirely fun weekend trying to work and in my part, learning just how painful something can be. I was in the car coming back from Nashville for all of an hour when a somewhat familiar pain started up in my lower left back. Captain Kidneystone was back, and this time he was pissed. By the time I got to Springfield I was almost doubled over with pain. I'd almost not gone home that weekend to save money, probably just as well that I did. After trying everything to aleviate the pain for several hours, I eventually succumbed the superior intelligence of my wife and just after midnight she hauled my sorry ass down to the local mini-hospital in Lebanon (see Jericho for reference, not much bigger). Well, the cat scanned me and dopped me up with morphine! Fun stuff that, I was so wasted apparently I said some things that Joy will be laughing about for years to come. Its partly my lack of resistance to that drug, and partly relief from the pain. The CAT confirmed, big ass stone in kidney and little one lodged in tube. Ouch! So I got a bottle of happy drugs and went home.

Saturday was kind of a loss, with me trying to recover and all. But Sunday we finally got out and went on our first scavenger run. We went around Springfield and tried to lay hands on every used skid that both wasn't nailed down, and was in a logical 'garbage' location. In the process we scored a couple dozen 5 gallon food grade buckets that will come in handy! Anyway, with those skids, some nails, and part of a huge tarp we had left from one of our many moves, we made an outdoor brooder. Our little quakers were starting to become little stinkers, and it was time for the move. Plus they're trying to forage real hard and we wanted to expose them to the out of doors soon. Here's a picture of our half day of back breaking effort.

Say hi to Joy in the picture; hot, sweaty, and annoyed as always in having her picture taken. You can see the gate to the duck paddock int he foreground. Between the paddock and the brooder, we spend maybe $75, and except for the $3.00 for nails, the brooder was free of from stuff we already had. The fence is about $16.00 a roll (36"x50') from Lowes, almost $12.00 cheaper than Tractor Supply (can't figure that one out). We used a few T polls, the green thing with the white top, at $4.00 each, and a few lighter yellow electric fence polls at about $1.00 each. The gate there is, you guess it, another pallet just covered in chickenwire. This is likely all temporary brooder space, so why spend any real money. The ducks live here for a few weeks while the chickens show up and take over the old (and much in need of cleaning) brooder. In a few weeks, we'll make another paddock and move the ducks into it, an the chicks will then move in here. We hope to get a few layers from ducks and chickens, so this might well be our permanent brooder half-way house. Who knows.

Here's another pic of the brooder, this one with wife and boy.

And here is the little quackers, now much bigger, checking out their new digs.

I always knew ducks were omnivorous, a lot like chickens, but I didn't know they were agressive insectavours. They actively chase and eat insects. We bought a couple little cups of meal worms, and they loved them. The area that this paddock was cut from used to be heavily overgrown with brush, and is likely swarming with bugs. They'll love it.
The funniest part (aside from me on morphine), was when Joy brought the quackers up from the garage. I didn't have my camera out but it was hilarious. She had them all (18 of them) in a ten gallon plastic tote. A bucket-o-duck. Needless to say they were compeltely freaking out and crapping all over the place. Damn, what a mess. Of course, being ducks, once the water was in there they proceeded to get it everywhere whilst they proceeded to give themselves baths. I think a small pond is going to be a must for these guys...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cool Site

Check this out, my honey found it...

You can make these awesome word clouds of stuff. Joy made this one...

I made this one...