Thursday, October 3, 2019

Can you feel it coming???

Fall. Autumn. The last gasp of a scorching summer. Whatever you want to call it, it's finally coming!

The weathermen are all a twitter with forecasts of 70 degree weather in the 'next few days'.

Being a weatherman in Texas is not that hard, really.

From May to October it's hot, hot, hot with a few days of hail storms and tornadoes.

From Mid October to Mid November SOME of the trees sport burnished gold and yellow leaves, SOME of which will fall to the ground. Mostly in my yard, even though the trees are all in my neighbors yards.

From Mid November to Mid April it's cool, cold or warm, depending on what's going on in the Gulf Coast to the south and the Rockies to north. Oh, and a few ice storms just to make life interesting. Yes, ice STORMS. Go to sleep with cool air outside. Wake up and the roads are covered with a half inch of clear ice as far as the eye can see, semi's jack knifed everywhere just to make driving a little more challenging. By the next day the sun has blasted the ice off and it's 70 degrees again. Or not.

Mid April to Mid May Spring time struggles to push the ice back up to Montana. Trees and plants push buds out to the tips of their limbs and withing days new leaves and blossom explode everywhere. The Bradford Pear trees pop with white or pink blossoms that last about a week. They are beautiful and brief.

That's it. That's Texas Weather in a nutshell.

Here's a few pix for you.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Great week of writing!

My Muse stuck around all week! Thank you, Missy! It started on Sunday and continued through the week, ideas flowing easily from Mind to Manuscript.

On an weird urge I wrote a quick 700 word story from my childhood and submitted it to a 'way back when' magazine. We'll see.

I've made good progress on 'Special Intel', book #5 of my SciFi series 'The Adventures of Arlo and Jake'. Major characters are in place, the plot is smoothing out and I've stumbled onto a few side plots and secondary characters! Love when the little guys peek around the corner of my imagination and say 'Me! Me! Pick me!'.

I had a great Wednesday with a cool group of guys I call the OFPC, the Old Farts Pinochle Club. We show up at a members house around 10:00 for some healthy snacks, like donuts, muffins and a fruit tray. The fruit tray is plastic so we concentrate on the real food. We joke around, pretending we know all about the politics and religious nonsense we spout.

Around 1 PM we tally up the scores, announce the winners and head off for lunch. More BS is spread generously around the table while we feed on more healthy food and drink. I love these guys. We don't agree on everything, but we do enjoy each other's company.

The rest of the week I've been writing a couple of hours a day. Feels good.

Here's a little humor for you.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

How do you classify your stories?

OK, I'm not googling anything here, so if there is a site that describes all this that's fine, but let's still discuss this. I sometimes think we use google so that we don't have to think for ourselves. That's just lazy and doesn't give your mind a chance to explore. If you don't exercise your mind, it will atrophy and fall off. It's a verified fact, just google it.

I'm writing a story that I've had on the TODO list for quite a while. I was trying to describe it to a friend and was having quite a bit of trouble giving her a quick description. Is it a 'literary novel'? A dramatic period piece? How about 'non-dystopian, historical, metaphysical journey of discovery with a dash of yuks'? (yeah, just made that last one up ;-)

It occurred to me that I've had this problem from the beginning as a writer. It's hard to give someone an 'elevator pitch' on one of my books. It's a problem because I need to be able to do this to gain a reader's interest enough to try a newbie writer, even if it's only 99 cents for the book. It's embarrassing when I can't describe my own story without stammering and having to search for the right words.

My solution is to not try. OK, that's being lazy on my part I guess, but I find it much more satisfying to engage the reader/friend/potential agent by diving into the guts of the story and dragging them along. ;-)

The real problem of course is that few of my books fit easily into the common books genres you see on Amazon. You know what I mean. That funky drop down box that categorizes books by 'genres'.

My SciFi series, Arlo and Jake, is a 'humorous, buddy story, Space Opera based partly on my time as a submariner in the US Navy, with great plot enablers, weird characters and wild action'.

'Genome' is a 'hi-tech, biotech mystery and love story with paranormal twists and Artificial Intelligence characters'.

'Walk with Me' is a 'paranormal romance exploring the worlds of dreams and pure love'.

'Etchings' is a 'pure ghost story set in a period of Colorado's mining expansion.'

I've used other phrases and summaries for these books. Each time I think I've nailed it I see some flaw in message and try again.

So, how do YOU deal with summarizing your stories?

Be Cool!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Lordy, lordy, lordy it's hot!

Yep, Texas summer has arrived!

96 degrees with 102 index! Dang! We had a 'nice' spring, outside the floods, hailstorms and tornadoes. In Texas you take your cool weather with a grain of golf ball sized hail...

So I've been plowing through my latest WIP, book 5 of the Arlo and Jake SciFi series, while I sip iced tea in my writing den or on the couch. It's going OK. Like most writers I want it to go faster, but I'm pleased at how it's coming out.

You'll get the back story of the GHA, the Galactic House of Aquinoxous, the villains in the series. I think I missed an opportunity to add a lot great content by skipping over these guys too much in the early books. I'm even thinking about going back to the first books and adding some more content that will make the story 'meatier'.

Of course I've still struggling with my Muse. She keeps throwing great story ideas in front of me, trying to sidetrack my progress on 'Galactic Special Intel'. But what the heck, I'm having a blast just writing! I have no commitments to an agent or publisher so I can write what I want when I want to!

I know that makes me an amateur writer. I'm OK with that. I am an amateur writer. Every time I sit down to write I try to get better, to tell the story a little better. If I ever get noticed by a publisher or agent who says I can be an author who can make a living with my stories, I might belly up to the bar and get serious. Or maybe not.

I'm not sure my stories would be better if I did buckle down and spend 10 hours a day and have schedules to meet. In fact I think they would suffer. That's not me.

Stay cool, my friends. Drink lots of iced tea and keep your beanie covered!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I propose a new season in Texas...

You know the 'normal' seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, right?

It just doesn't seem like enough definition to me, too vague.

So I'm adding 'Stormy' between Spring and Summer, specifically the month of May.

The temperature had been pretty nice here for the month of April, in the 70s, with rain for sure and a few storms.

But May! May has been one storm system after another, driving up from the south west and driving right across Ft Worth and through Dallas into Denton and all those towns north and north east of us.

We had to hide in our 'safe room' the other day for the first time in a few years, as the tornado sirens sounded and the TV weathermen were drooling over their maps of 'rotations' and 'sheer fronts'. I swear they are happiest when they can show the same radar maps over and over and over, spouting the same verbiage.

The 'Stormy' season will continue for a while longer and then Summer will hit. Yeah...

I grew up in Levelland, about 30 miles west of Lubbock, up in the Panhandle of Texas. The seasons up there are 1 week of Spring, Summer, 1 week of Fall, 2 months of Winter and them it's back to Spring. Weird.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy the Stormy season before we start to melt in the Summer heat! ;-)