Thursday, September 4, 2014

Adding a plot thread...

Book 3 of 'Arlo and Jake', my 'SciFi series with a funny bone', is steaming along again after a month of slow progress. As I have said before, I'm really trying to make book 3 better than 1 or 2.

I'm pretty damn happy with the results, so far. I reread and rewrite every day, looking for stupid mistakes and places to add some zing or humor. It's amazing that I'm still finding typo's! ;-)

I'm having a blast adding 'meat' to bones of the story. More about Pixie, Captain Starla and some new characters you don't know about.

My last reading reminded me that I've left one of those new characters in limbo, so to speak. It's not necessary to the plot to do anything in depth with this character but I realized that another plot thread would add some great tension to the 'arc'.

Now, I purposefully keep my plot arcs simple and easy to follow. I write fun adventures, not epic sagas. I loves me a good Dan Brown 'Da Vinci Code' or Clive Cussler 'Dirk Pitt' yarn to read. But writing those kinds of twisty mind benders is not my thing, y'all.

But, while thinking about where I left this character, and some of his supporting entourage, it occurred to me that right here in the story would be a great place to visit him and see what he's been up to.

That lead me to a realization that his story could be expanded and woven into the main arc easily. It's a great chance to show you another corner of the Universe I'm creating, galaxy by galaxy. Cool!

Remember the first time you entered Jaba the Hutt's den of thieves? A whole new section of the Star Wars universe opened up. Who was this guy? What makes him so powerful and feared? How did he get that hot green skinned girl with tentacles on her head? And why on Earth would he drop her into a pit with... whoa, what is THAT monster!

It was awesome! New characters, new worlds, weird outfits, great sidekicks; it was just awesome. The Mos Eisley Cantina scene was another cool introduction into the weird and wonderful.

Introducing new creatures and environments was one of the best achievements in that movie series. You never knew what would pop up next and you couldn't wait to see what did.

I'm adding this plot thread to keep up the dear readers interest and keep him/her wondering where I'm leading them next.

What fun!

Be cool
Be happy
Be a great friend
Be the Bee!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let's try something else...

I just cancelled my subscription to an automated twitter posting service. I've been creating tweets and putting them out there almost everyday. It was my first time using a service to try to find and talk to newbie and experienced writers and artists.

Now, I kept changing when they were posted, adding new ones, modifying old ones and removing stale one. I didn't want to become a robot tweeter so that I became irrelevant in the writing community. But. Several writing friends have hinted that that was pretty much what is happening.

I was getting good response from new twitter friends but my existing twitter mates are getting tired of seeing the same tweets every day. It makes it look like I'm just using twitter to shout 'hey, buy my books, please!'. ;-)

Truthfully, at first, that was what I was doing. I saw lots of other people doing exactly that, so I thought it was OK. But the more I think about it, the more that's not what I'm trying to do.

I absolutely want people to buy my books. But more than that, I want to meet and talk to authors. I want to exchange ideas, tricks and lessons about the craft of writing. I want to use the amazing Internet to reach the minds of crazy people like myself. I want us to explore the awesome worlds of imagination together.

I don't apologize for turning down this cool avenue in the social media streets. It was fun. I did pick up a lot of great new friends and learned a ton about interacting in the twitterverse. I hope I can continue to find new pals and talk about life, love and of course writing.

I'm still on twitter, tweeting and listening. I hope to meet you there and have meatier discussions about the craft we love.

Be cool!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pie to the Face Challenge for Scleroderma!!

All charity challenges are for a good cause. They help to raise awareness of a disease or problem that is poorly known or unknown to the general public. They help raise badly needed funds for research and treatments.

video
My daughter has Scleroderma. You can read more about this incurable disease online at Scleroderma.org. It means 'hardening of the skin' and you may have seen the 1996 TV movie 'For Hope' about Bob Saget's sister, Gay.

We're hoping that presenting this new charity challenge 'Pie to the Face for Scleroderma' will do just that, bring awareness for the need of treatment and a cure.

I've added a video of silly me doing the challenge.

Thank you for any help you can provide.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Are we there yet???

Arlo and Jake, book #3, is at 32,000 words!

That's about 1/2 way home for my style of fun, adventure books in this series. I'm not going to write the story to fit 60,000, but I think 60K to 80K is the perfect length. Any less and it's more of a novelette like book #1. Any more and it's really hard to keep the story 'contained'. I'm really not a fan of mega-stories. I have the attention span of a gnat, as I have said many times before.

Book #1 was short, about 100 pages, on purpose. I wanted a quick, fun intro into my wacky new Universe of cool characters and Galactic chaos.

Book #2 is about 60K, or 200 pages, just the right size to dive in, have some fun with new heroes, new villains, more puns, more Galactic mayhem and a few side characters.

Book #3 introduces a lot more characters, a few twist in the Universe and, hopefully, more depth in the characters and their interaction with each other and the Universe. Meatier, for you literary snobs. ;-)

That is what is taking me so long. I decided to make #3 better than the first two. And that's hard.

I still want the fun, the adventure, the 'oh wow' moments, the sexy women in uniform, the bad ass heroes, the dastardly bad guys and, of course, the snarky dialog.

I also want it to stick to your ribs like a good steak and make you want to read the next one. And the next one. And maybe even interest you in my other books! (ahem, like 'Genome' ;-)

Plus I want to feel like I'm becoming a better writer. Storytelling is fun. Hard as hell, but fun.

So, my apologies for not delivering in May/June/July as I had promised. I truly want this book to be worth the few bucks it cost you.

Be cool.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Universe is NOT against me after all!! Whoo Hoo

At 3:33 AM, my Muse woke me from a pleasant dream and smacked me soundly on my thick noggin. "You putz," she said, "what did you do a month ago with 'Etchings'? Well?"

She was referring to my last post, where I reported the sad fact that I'd lost the ending chapters for my short story 'Etchings'. I could not understand how it happened since I'm a paranoid 'Save'/'Backup' writer.

"Well, dummy? Don't you remember deciding to switch to WordPad from NotePad to get better formatting?"

Well slap my face and call me Sally; that's it!

So, at 3:33 in the morning, I grabbed my ASUS notebook computer and opened the story in WordPad. Sure enough, I had left the default settings for 'Save' and the entire story was still there in my \Documents folder.

A quick copy/paste from that document into my new Word document and voila! I'm back on track with a full first draft! Yes!

Bear in mind that I've been writing software since 1980. A genuine software developer who knows how applications usually work. I just totally spaced out the default save locations for WordPad or any other Microsoft application.

Sigh.

And yes, I backed it up! ;-)

Have a great week, my friends.

Be cool
Be happy
Be the Bee

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Aaarrggghhhh! Where did it go????

I finally had one of those 'it will never happen to me' moments in my writing career. I lost the last chapters in a short story I thought I had finished!

I'm having my in-house editor trash my latest short story 'Etchings'. She's been brutal and honest. Damn. ;-) Hopefully, I'll learn how apostrophes work some day. Nah, probably not.

Anyway, we're at the end of the story and it's gone! The climax I worked on for days, while chomping on a salad at my favorite Gazebo Burger in Frisco, is GONE! What the hell!

It's my fault of course. I should have been backing up my work to a thumb drive. I have one my key chain just for this sort of thing. But hey, I hit 'Save' every few minutes while I'm working so why bother? Right.

I don't know what I did wrong. Maybe I hit the wrong buttons while I thought I was saving. Maybe I shut the lid on my new notebook Win8 and ran the battery down. I just don't know. It doesn't really matter, somehow I messed up.

The lesson here is to backup your work often. NOT 'save' often, you should do that of course. BACKUP often. To a thumb drive. To the cloud. To a CD. To a USB drive. Print it out. Whatever works for you. Just do it.

Now I have to hope I can recreate the excitement I had in that original finish. I think I can remember most of it, but frankly I'm not sure.

Sigh.

Don't let this happen to you.

BACKUP!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Goodbye my friend...

The passing of Robin Williams has tilted my world. It caught me completely off guard, though I knew he had depression problems for years.

I miss you already, Robin.

It's not my place to judge you, I have no idea what life was like for you. I can only say I truly miss you.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

'The Shoe Box' The first collection of short stories from UK based author James Smith.

The Shoe Box: A Collection of Short Stories

The Shoe Box is the first collection of short stories from UK based author James Smith. Five
contemporary stories examining the human ability to deal with adversity, maintain that special
spark and our obsession with competition and celebrity.

Filled with richly developed characters and punchy humour (ah the brits ;-), this collection of stories is ideal for the commute or the coffee break.

Available on Amazon.com here.  And Amazon UK here. Also available to borrow through the Amazon Prime scheme.