End Of Deployment

It’s been a weird sort of day.

Earlier this afternoon, I shook hands with all the people I’ve worked with on the ship over the last six and a half months, grinned as an O-6 told me I did a great job for him, then walked off the brow for the last time.

I’ve departed ships before of course, but this was a bit different.  I’m not permanently assigned to this vessel; I was here on Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) orders as an Individual Augmentee (IA) in support of a specific Task Force.  On my other sea duty assignments, I was with the ship for 3+ years, and saw the crews change out almost entirely from when I first reported to when I left.  Not so with this one.  The same guys who were there when I first came aboard were the same guys I said goodbye to, and I was only aboard for 6 and a half months.

But hot damn, that was a fun six and a half months!

I’m flying home tomorrow on the first flight out of Guam.  And I’m happy to be doing so.  But part of me is a little sad, too.  Part of the reason for that is I know the ship’s schedule for the next half-year, and it is KICK-ASS!  Would have been nice to be aboard for the cool things in support of operations she’s going to be doing.  In fact, the Admiral at home and I had a cool plan worked out where I would extend a bit and she would meet me at one of the ports of call that she’d been wanting to go to for years.  But alas, my parent command raised the BS flag to that plan and ordered me back.

Oh well.  I’ll just have to bring the Admiral there (and to Singapore, which I think I mentioned before she really wanted to come out for but was unable to) at a later date.

The other reason I’m a little sad?  I guess because it’s just been seriously fun out here, and I feel like I’ve actually been contributing, something that I’ve not felt in a long time.  See, I’ve been in CONUS at training commands for a long time now, and even when I was deployed on my subs, the deployments were only tangentially related to the big business that had been going on.  So I’ve felt like a REMF (Rear Echelon Mother Fucker), which is not what I had intended to be.

Of course, the Admiral, and everyone else, tells me that’s BS.  And intellectually I know they’re right, because as a training guy I’ve indirectly helped the effort in lots of ways, ways that can probably never be measured.

It still sucks to not have contributed directly as much as I would have liked.

Which is part of why I volunteered for this IA deployment: it was a chance to directly do something again.  And it’s been a heck of a fun ride.  🙂

(The other reason I volunteered is that the Admiral complained on several occasions that she didn’t feel like a real Navy wife because she hadn’t experienced a deployment since we were married, and since we had kids.  So when this billet came open, I of course had to say, in my best Barney Stinson voice, “Challenge Accepted!”  And boy did she accept it.  She’s literally kicked ass on the home front while I’ve been out gallivanting around.)

So anyway, it’s time to go home.  It’s been a productive deployment.  Obviously, productive for the Navy and the Nation, but also productive personally and professionally.

Now.  Did I meet my previously-published deployment writing goals?  Yeah….not so much.

Just going by the first two months of the deployment, it looked as though I was going to be a shoo-in.  But then things got pretty darn busy.  So I didn’t meet the word count.  But I did finish one novel, get a good chunk of the way into a second, and finished several shorter works.  I have three novelettes on submission now, with a fourth story just about ready to go.  So while I didn’t exactly meet the word count goal, deployment was still a success.

It was successful physically, too.  Observe:

This was taken a few weeks before I left for deployment.

This was a couple weeks before I left for deployment.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

This was about 2 weeks ago.

Yeah, your eyes do not deceive you.  I got a freaking TAN!  Hot damn, I’ve never managed to do that before!

That’s what happens when you exercise on the aft deck of a ship pretty much every day, in the tropics, for six months.  Even if you indulge in way too much beer while ashore in liberty ports.  😉

I’ve also read a lot of books.  Over the last month, here’s what I’ve finished:

Audiobooks

  1. The Sam Gunn Omnibus – Ben Bova
  2. The Damnation Game – Clive Barker

Written Books

  1. Darkship Thieves – Sarah A Hoyt
  2. Running From The Night – R J Terrell
  3. Trigger Warning – Neil Gaiman
  4. Monster Hunter Vendetta – Larry Correia
  5. Veil Of Lies – Jeri Westerson

I’m currently in the middle of:

Audiobooks

  1. A Canticle For Liebowitz – Walter M Miller

Written Books

  1. Violence Of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War On Terror – Marty Skovlund, Jr and many others
  2. In Hero Years, I’m Dead – Michael A Stackpole
  3. Colonel Roosevelt – Edmund Morris (I’ve put this one on hold while I’ve focused on other books…for now)

With that, over the span of this deployment I’ve finished 19 Audiobooks and 25 written.  Not too bad.  Well above my average.  Probably above my total annual output for an average year, I think.  Though I could be wrong.

So it’s been a good deployment.  Now I’m slumming it at the Hilton in Tumon, Guam.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel.  It sucks to be me.

This is the view from the tiki bar at my hotel. It sucks to be me.

As I said, my flight home is first thing tomorrow morning.  Cool thing about that is I’ll get back to San Diego late in the morning of the same day I left Guam.  So I’ll get to surprise the kids by being there to pick them up from school.  🙂  I have the feeling they’ll like that.

No doubt there will be some serious adjustments to make when I’m back home, both for me and for the Admiral and the youngsters (they all will have to get used to being spanked again ;P  Just kidding.  Maybe.).  It’ll be a cool and fun several weeks getting back into the swing of things.  Fortunately, I’ll be taking some leave immediately upon my return, and then again once school gets out.  That should help things immensely.

Well, that’s about it from here.  In fact, as I look at my watch I realize it’s now beer o’clock.

I’d best be getting on that.

Talk to y’all later.

Deployment Goals

A couple weeks back, I mentioned I was going on deployment, and that I’d talk more about that later.  Well, now is later.  😛  I am no longer in San Diego.  Shoot, I haven’t been in San Diego for two weeks.

As those of you who have read the “About Michael” tab above, or who have gotten to know me through other means, know, I am an active duty officer in the US Navy.  About four months ago, word came down about a need for a guy to fill a job in a task force in the Westpac.  Now, as a submarine officer I’ve worked with SOF (Special Operations Forces; spoken SEALs) guys before.  I recall they were a lot of fun, and this particular job involves doing things that support them.  Since that sounded wicked cool, and since it’s been a while since I’ve been on a real deployment, and since the Admiral at home keeps saying she doesn’t feel like a real Navy wife because we haven’t done a deployment since we’ve been married, I raised my hand and said, “I’ll go!”

And they looked at the list of volunteers and said, “Sure, come on over.”

Consequently, the Admiral at home said, “Cool, get the f*(k out of here, you slacker.”

So two weeks ago, I left San Diego.

First stop was Hawaii, for a week.  Good thing about that was 1) it’s Hawaii and 2) I had enough frequent flyer miles on Southwest to fly the Admiral’s parents out to San Diego (so they could watch the kids) and enough frequent flyers miles on American (from flying to Japan all the time for the Navy) to fly her to Hawaii with me.  🙂  She’s been wanting to go to Hawaii for a while; in fact one of our West Coast bucket list items was to get out to the islands again (I say again because my first Navy assignment – before I met her – after my initial training was on a submarine based out of Pearl Harbor.).

Promise fulfilled!   🙂

It was a great week.  For reference, here’s the view from one of my favorite bars on Oahu, Duke’s.

IMG_3442

Doesn’t suck.   🙂

I checked in at the command on Oahu and did some in-briefing stuff, but not too much.  The rest of the time, I showed the Admiral around the island, and a good time was had by all.  But alas, as with all things, that good time came to an end, and she flew home while I flew to Guam, where I currently am.

Again for reference, this is the view out of my hotel room window.

IMG_3527

Also doesn’t suck.  🙂

I’ve been here for a week, doing some training with the unit here on Guam, learning things I need to know so I can do my job properly when I get out west.  Some parts have been pretty grueling, though.  For instance, the other day I had to endure small boat handling training.

Small Boats

IMG_3568

It truly sucked, as you can see.  🙂

But that’s all done now (thank God! <snark>) and pretty soon I’m going to push further west to do things in support of operations.  I hope that’s vague enough for you, because that’s all you’re going to get from me about that.  ;P

But I know what you’re thinking.  What does that have to do with writing, Kingswood?

Not a damn thing, except for this.  I’ll be deployed on a ship out west for six months, not to exceed 180 days.  I’ll have operations to do, admin to keep track of, and PT to exercise.  But I’ll also have time to do other things.  So I figured I’d set some writing goals for my time out there.

Now, let’s be honest.  I set goals for 2014 way back in January.  I haven’t talked much about them in a while.  That’s because I’ve totally screwed the pooch this year.  Completely.  I know, I know.  I suck at life, I should be drawn and quartered, blah blah blah.  *shrug* Whatever.  I just didn’t git ‘r done. No big deal.  But it seems to me this is the prime time to reset and refocus so I can get fully back into the writing game.

So here’s the deal.  180 days.  2,000 words/day (that’s about 1.33 hrs/day at my typical writing speed).  360,000 words.  That’ll do two things: get me back into the rhythm of writing consistently, which I haven’t done lately, and get me over the mythical 1,000,000 word mark.

So that’s the goal.

To break it down, that comes out to about 12,800 words/week if you count all the weeks between now and my expected return date.  Seems totally doable.

So what projects shall I work on?

First, I’m going to finish the novelette I’ve been (ridiculously slowly) chugging away on since…June?…that I intend to submit to Writers of the Future.  Then, back to novels.  The novel goals for this deployment:

1) Finish Dawn of Enlightenment 2

2) Finish Glimmer Vale 4

3) Get going on The Penitent – that’s a project I got inspired to do about 3 years ago, got about 8,000 words written on, and have since done nothing with.  It’ll be wicked awesome if I ever hunker down and finish it.  Looks like now’s the time.

4) If there’s time (depending on how big The Penitent gets…I think it’ll be pretty big) get started on and/or finish Glimmer Vale 5

And of course, I will get back into the habit of “penning” short stories and;or novelettes for Wotf and general dissemination.

I also have some non-writing goals

1) Get below 200 lbs, as talked about before

2) Work up to doing 20 pull-ups in a row

3) Finish Insanity.  This will take a reset, because between drinking all the time on Oahu with the Admiral last week, more traveling between then and here, generally screwing off here, and more travel to come between here and Westpac to come, I’ve not kept up with Insanity well.  In fact, I got one day done last week.  In response, this week I decided to re-do Week 7.  And got three days done.  So, next week I’m going to re-do Week 7 again, and proceed on to the finish from there.  Then, I think I’ll go back to the Week 5 recovery week and then re-do month 2 again, because consistency and continual improvement.  And masochism.  Or something.  😉  After that, the Admiral suggested I mail her back the Insanity discs so she can to them, and she’ll mail me the P90X discs.  I’m down, but we’ll see how that works out.  Not sure how long it’ll take mail to get between here and there on a routine basis.

So that’s the deal.  I’ve set up my usual project and goal-tracking spreadsheets to monitor my progress.  Time to make a go of it.  Who wants to back me up, nag me on, and keep me honest about it?

Wish me luck!

Goals and Results

Hello friends.

I meant to discuss how 2013 went and my goals for 2014 a while ago.  But, you know…life.  Pesky life intruded, and I did not.  Now it almost feels too late to talk about it, seeing as the year has already begun to move on.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

In 2013, I set a goal of writing 300,000 words.  Included in those words would be finishing The Pericles Conspiracy, Glimmer Vale 2, and Dawn of Enlightenment 2.  I was also going to submit to Writers of the Future every quarter.  So…how’d it go?

Meh.

Final 2013 TallyI didn’t hit the word count goal – 196,000 words total on the year, or about 2/3s of the way there.  Which isn’t too bad.  But still not what I wanted.  This brings my total word count since I started being serious about this to 569,000 words (since 2011).  Just over 1/2 way through the mythical 1,000,000 words of crap.  Of course, I think I got through several of the million words earlier, before I began tracking and being serious.  But I’ve no idea how far, and it could be I’m deceiving myself as to my level of suckitude.  Time will tell, I guess.  🙂

So that’s word count.  Novel output?  Much better.  Pericles and Out-Dweller are done and out there.  Glimmer Vale 3 is about 80% done.  I didn’t make any more progress on Dawn of Enlightenment 2; it still sits at about 8,000 words or so.  So overall not too bad.

Writers of the Future?  Fugetaboutit.  I dropped the ball on WotF completely, after the second quarter of last year.  It’s now been…two?  Three?…quarters since I submitted to them.  Why?  Well frankly I haven’t wrote any short fiction in a while; I’ve been concentrating on longer works.  I need to get back on the horse there, I think.

So as far as goals go, 2013 was a mixed bag, but more good than bad.  What about business metrics?

Well, I accrued more royalties in 2013 than I did in 2011 and 2012 combined, so that’s good.  If that trend continues in 2014 (and I expect it shall, with what I’ve got planned), it promises to be quite a nice year.  I also got some books into a local bookstore, which is great.  They seemed pleased with how that worked out, so I expect I’ll be invited back again.  Which is also great.

So things are going pretty well.

That said, I feel the need to kick things up a notch.  So I’ve set the following goals for 2014:

1) Write 500,000 words – because I want to hurry up and get past that 1,000,000 words written milestone.  Broken down as I did last year, assuming a 40 week writing year I need to write 12,500 words/week.  I did better than that several weeks last year; I just have to be consistent about it this year.  Now…is this doable?  If you look at my first three years’ output (229,000, 144,000, and 196,000) you might say it’s not likely.  And you might have a point.  But it’s totally doable if I focus, and you know what?  Even if I don’t make it I’ll write more than I would have without the goal.  So it’s all good.

2) Publish Glimmer Vale 3 by the end of March.

3) Finish Dawn of Enlightenment 2 and 3, and publish in the summer and fall, respectively.

4) Write that crime novel, 30 Hours, that’s been percolating in my brain for 2 years now.

5) Get going on The Penitent, which has also been percolating for a couple years.  It’s going to be a long one, so I’m sure I won’t get it finished, not with everything else I want to do this year.  But it’s going to rock, so I want to get going on it.

6) Submit to Writers of the Future each quarter.

Whatcha think?  Is that enough?  I hope so because  that’s what I’ve got.

Last year, I fell away from revealing my weekly word counts, like I’d planned on doing at the beginning.  That was bad; it removed accountability.  So I’m going to get back to doing that reporting here this year.

So that’s it.  The plan for the year.  It’s going to be fun!

🙂

 

2013 Writing Goal Catch-Up

Hi all.

I fell off the wagon a few weeks ago, and have not updated all y’all on my writing progress for the year.  This happened for a number of reasons, partly because I was really really busy.  Partly because in early May I decided just to take a couple weeks off from writing because…well, because.  I had just finished a novel and felt like taking a break.  Sue me.  😉

I finished up Pericles at the end of Week 17.  So let’s catch up with the last several weeks:

Week 18 – 0 words

Week 19 – 0 words

See?  Two weeks with no new writing.  Moving forward:

Week 20 – 1,568 words

Week 21 – 2,393 words

Week 22 – 3128 words

And that takes us through the month of May.  Total words for May = 7,089 words.  Total words this year as of end of May ~ 102,000 words.  Not my worst month of the year, but really lacking compared with the last couple, and compared with what I need to do to meet my goal.  Of course, again, my weekly goal is based on three entire months of NO writing at all.  That said, I am below the glideslope to meet my goal for the year, so I do need to step it up.

Ok, so the month of June.  Week 23, last week – 4,227 words.

Week 23

Again, not up to my stated weekly goal, but if you follow my progress it’s on a steady glideslope upwards.  So far this week I have 3,248 words down.  I expect to fully meet my weekly goal for the week, and likely surpass it.

So life is good.

Ok, different topic.

I thought I was done with The Pericles Conspiracy as of the end of April.  Well…not quite.  I got some feedback from beta readers saying the ending blows.  Completely, and totally.  It was bad.

I’d like to say that stung, but I’m not some emo bitch and have no desire to pretend to be one in order to somehow conform with some dumbass stereotype of what a writer should be.  I have received far worse professional feedback in the past, let me tell you, and not-so professional feedback too, for that matter.  I’ve learned how to take criticism.  Rule 1 of being a submariner = show no weakness.  Which means get used to forceful backup if you’re screwed up, because if your shipmates don’t speak up when they know you’re wrong, everyone on the boat could die.  It’s that serious.

Which is why I see writers getting all whiney about a review, or fretting over a rejection, and I want to reach through the computer screen and choke the life out of their candy asses.  Seriously, grow up folks.  Sheesh.

Anyway, the feedback was correct.  Looking at the MS for Pericles, I realized I had tried to be a little bit too cute.  I went for an ambiguous ending that leaves people thinking, but instead cut off the story without any resolution to speak of.  Bad, bad, bad!  Bad writer!  Of course, I had clearly in mind what comes after the last scene I wrote.  I just opted not to write it.  Well that’s silly.  So last night, I cranked out a 2,300 word epilogue that resolves things quite nicely, I think.  I’ve gotten good feedback on it so far, so I think it was a good addition.  We’ll see what the rest of the beta readers think.

So that’s what’s going on here.  Continuing to write and make progress.  Training for another triathlon at the end of the month.  Playing with the kids.  Having fun with the better half.  You know, the usual.

Ok, time to hit the rack.  Have a good one, y’all.

2013 Writing Goal – Week 17

Hey all.

I’m feeling pretty good.  As I mentioned the other day, I finally finished The Pericles Conspiracy on Saturday, while flying back from Japan.

Well, it’s time to tally up week 17 as a whole.  So without further ado…the graph:

Week 17

Crushed it again!  11,753 words.  Cha-CHING!

Given that this was the last week of April, for all intents and purposes, that brings my April total to a bit over 32,000 words.  That’s pretty decent, and above the monthly requirement to meet or surpass my goal.

That said, we’re now 1/3 of the way through the year, and I’ve written…90,777 words.  33.33% through the year and 30.26% to the goal.  So I’m still a bit behind.  But that’s ok because I only need to keep meeting my weekly goal, or occasionally completely blowing it out, to get to the annual one.  So I’m still not worried.  And of course, even if I miss the annual goal, I still will have produced a bunch of good new stories, so it’ll be a win regardless.

However, I’m not going to write much beyond this post for the first half of this week, because I promised my friend Mark Fassett I would beta read his new book and the due date is Wednesday.  So I’m hunkering down to finish it tonight and tomorrow.  But once that’s done, I’ll be back to writing again.

 

Right.  Carry on, then.  🙂

2013 Writing Goal – Weeks 15 and 16

Yeah…I forgot to post my progress last week.  Silly me.

So, week 15.  Didn’t meet the goal.  5,016 words total:

Week 15

No real excuse for missing the goal.  I just…missed it.  One thing I’ll note about the last few weeks, where I haven’t made my goal: I’ve been doing very little at the beginning of the week, leaving me to play catch-up later on.  Clearly that’s not a winning strategy.

Which brings me to Week 16.

Week 16

Crushed it!  11,482 words!  Who’s your daddy?!

That brings my total for April to just over 22,000 words, and for the year to 79,400 words.  Not too shabby.  A little below the glide slope for my overall goal, but not too shabby, all the same.

That said, a couple notes about last week.  First, I did the same thing as the last several – almost nothing early in the week, necessitating a lot at the end.  Second, and the key to my success this time, was I did a little time travel.  By that, I mean I flew to Japan on Saturday, the 20th.

The neat thing about flying west across the Date line is you get there a day after you left.  Conversely, flying east you get there the day before you left (depending on when you left).  To put it more precisely, my flight to Narita left LAX at 12:30 on Saturday and landed at 15:30 on Sunday, even though it was only an 11 hour flight.  So when you see the Saturday and Sunday numbers from Week 16, they really, from my perspective, happened on the same day.  I just split them up between writing on the ground in California (Saturday) and writing in the plane or here in Yokosuka after I arrived (Sunday).

I made excellent use of the time on the plane.  Consequently, Sunday was the best writing day in my writing history: 7,082 words.  Pretty sweet.

And yes, I’m aware it’s still Sunday back home.  Well it’s Monday here in Japan.  So chill.  🙂

So.  How am I going to maintain this success, if an 11 hour flight was the key to it?  Great question.  This week will be relatively easy, I think.  I’m here in Japan for an exercise, just me and my coworkers.  Since money is a little tight this time, I don’t intend to go out in town much at all.  In fact, I went by the Navy Exchange just now and got a bunch of Ramen noodles and such for my meals this week.  So I think if I’m not working the exercise, I’ll be in my room, writing.  And then on Saturday, I’ve got a 9-ish hour flight back home.  I think I ought to be able to equal last week’s word count fairly easily.

Once I get back?  One word sums up what I need to continue being successful – discipline.  And so discipline I shall employ.

So there’ve been a few words written lately.  How goes the novel, you ask?

Well.  The Pericles Conspiracy is now up to just over 107,000 words.  And it’s not done.  It’s got somewhere between 5 and 10,000 words to go, if I had to hazard a guess.  Of course, every part I put in ends up being longer than I thought it would, so who knows.  But seriously, it is really really close.  In fact I’ve got the end just about all the way written.  There’s just this part in the middle that I need to finish.  It’s a fairly important/epic/tricky/fun couple of chapters, but I skipped them to finish up the ending because…well, because.  That’s all.  Just because.  🙂  But if all goes well I should have it done this week.  If all goes well.  🙂

I also started another, shorter work that was inspired by Imagine Dragons‘ song, Radioactive.  Even though the song is not about a post-Apocalyptic world (no really, it’s not.  The guy who wrote the song was quick specific about that in several interviews on the subject), this story is about the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war.  Lots of fun.  Must be I’m getting psyched for Wasteland 2, or something.

Right.  That’s about all I’ve got.  Until next time, Go Redskins!

🙂

2013 Writing Goal – Week 14

Came close this week.  Observe:

Week 14

Of course, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.  But in this case I got 5,520 word written instead of 7,500.  That’s still pretty decent.  You’ll note from the graph that I didn’t really do much of anything until Friday, so the fact that I got that much down is actually quite encouraging.

So 14 weeks down, and I got to a bit over 62,000 words on the year.  Not too shabby.  But that means I’m 1/4 of the way through the year and about 1/5 of the way to my goal.  So I’m definitely behind.  🙁

On the bright side, I’m now past 90,000 words on The Pericles Conspiracy.  So close to being done, and yet so far.  These last few chapters feel like they’re dragging, partly because I want to be done so badly and every instant I’m not done feels like a year, and partly because I know exactly where I want to go but how to get there is rather fleeting.  This always happens, but it’s still annoying.  🙁  Nothing to do but push through it, right?  And so I shall.

On another bright side, I started an online workshop with Dean last week: Pitches and Blurbs.  I had planned to go up to Oregon in July for his and Kris‘ new Masters class, but budget and schedule (my wife’s best friend is getting married around the same time as the workshop) are conspiring against me, so I had to bow out.  Instead I’m doing two online workshops: this one and one on Openings, starting next month.  So far it’s going pretty well, and I’m learning some good stuff.  It’s not as cool as actually being there in Lincoln City, but it’s still good.  So I’ll take it.  🙂

Right.  That’s about it for this update.  Hope all y’all in internet-land are doing well.  Until next time!

 

2013 Writing Goal – Week 13

The picture speaks for itself:

Week 13

Didn’t meet the goal.  But that’s ok; I had lots of family fun instead.

Oh, and I published a short story, under my mystery pen name.

Across The Line Cover

Across the Line is a 4,300 word short story about a hostage negotiator who finds out that his son is mixed up in his latest case.  I rather like it, so all y’all need to check it out asap.

🙂

That’s all for this post.  Off to write, so I can make the goal this week.

 

 

2013 Writing Goal – Week 12

 

Another week down.  Another success.  Observe:

Week 127,617 words for the week.  Met the goal.

🙂

But that’s not all.  I also decided to work on some covers.

I think I mentioned I finished my demon vampire bunny rabbit story a few weeks ago.  Well it’s more than a story, it’s a novella – 25,500 words.  I like it, as does one of my beta readers.  I’m waiting to hear back from a couple more, but I expect I’ll be releasing it within the month.  I had all kinds of trouble figuring out a title for it, though.  Well, on Friday I had a bit of free time because it was a day off at work, so in addition to writing 2,400 words I decided to try to make a cover for it.  In the process, I discovered an awesome title: What Lurks Between.  And over the course of the day, with advice from some friends and the good folks at Kindleboards, I came up with what I think is a great cover.  I have only used comp images yet, so it’ll be covered with watermarks, but here it is, for your enjoyment:

What Lurks Between Test Cover 4

Pretty good, eh?

I maybe should have gone ahead and bought the art, but on Saturday morning, I got to thinking about The Pericles Conspiracy.  I tried a while back to figure out a cover for it, and came up with this (again, all comp images):

Pericles Conspiracy Test Cover 2

Bleah, right?

Based on that utter failure, and having no clue how to do better, I sought out a cover artist and made an appointment for us to work on the cover this week.  Well, on Saturday I was feeling a little saucy, and figured I’d give it one last try considering I’ve upped my GIMP skills a lot over the last several months.  So I set about redoing the cover, knowing I wanted a starfield, or something with space in it, for the background and Josephine, the main character and ship’s captain, somewhere in the image as well.  I tried a few different ideas.  Again with help from the Kindleboards folks, I developed a design that absolutely rocks!  Rocks, I tell you!  So I actually spent the $17 to purchase rights to the art I found and made the cover, then cancelled the appointment with the cover artist.  Because, well, look what I did:

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Yeah.  Now THAT is good, isn’t it?

So.  In addition to meeting my writing goal for the week, I also designed a couple awesome covers.  🙂  I just need to buy the rights to the art for What Lurks Between to finish it.  That’ll be my project for this week, after I meet my writing goal.

So I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now.  In the writing sense, anyway.  I’ve got about 84,000 words written on Pericles now – I’m closing in on the ending very quickly, and I gotta say I’ll be happy to have it done.  Not just because I love the story and want to see it out there for all to see, but also because I’m frankly getting tired of not having it finished.  It’s literally been almost two years since I wrote the first scene for this book and I just want it done.  Now.

Seriously.

So I need to write up a storm the next week or two, and just finish it already.

Which is what I’m going to do.

Hope all is well with all y’all out there.  Until next time!  🙂

2013 Writing Goal – Week 11

Another week ended the other night.  Time to tell you guys how I did.

In a word, meh.  Observe:

Week 11Just 4,402 words.

But that’s ok.  I ran a freaking Triathlon last week!  Suck it, beeotches!  😛

Or something like that.

But seriously, not so good.  I didn’t hit the goal.  But I’m over 77,000 words on The Pericles Conspiracy now, and the end is in (close) sight.  I feel good about that.

On another down side, I heard back from Ellery Queen about my new Cop story: they don’t want it.  And I heard back from Writers of the Future about my first quarter entry: straight up reject.  That brings me to 5 rejects and 3 Honorable Mentions.  Not a horrible ratio but still, this whole R/HM trend is getting old.  How about a Semi- or Finalist or winner, Dave?  🙂

The story in question from WotF is called The Beast and the God-Woman, and runs at 16,500 words.  Given its length, most of the short fiction markets are out, but I decided to try one I’ve not gone to before: GigaNotoSaurus.  It’s a monthly web-zine that pays, but not at pro rates.  But they’ve pub’d some good folks, so what the heck?  We’ll see what happens.

And in the meantime, I’m working to finish up Pericles.  I’m actually to the point where I’m getting sick of it, so it’s a good thing I’m almost done.  Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great story and I love it.  I’m just tired of writing it, want to move on to the next thing.  And I’m eager to see what other people will think of it once it’s (finally – and I mean really finally; I only wrote the first scene in May 2011, for Christ’s sake) finished.

Wow, the last couple paragraphs were rather depressing to read.  But no worries, I am not upset, angry, hurt, depressed or what have you.  My ego and feelings are far tougher than all of that.  It comes from the submarine life; you learn quickly how to focus on the mission and how to fend off being made fun of.  Making fun of each other is how we entertain ourselves underway, after all.  No room for emo wimps on a submarine, let me tell you.  So the idea of getting freaked out or all “Oh woe is me” over a rejection or two is just, frankly, stupid to me.  Every time I read some writer opining about how rejections are so hard, I have to stop myself from leaving a comment saying something along the lines of, “Seriously?  Grow a pair will you?  Stop being such a fucking crybaby wimp.  You are not the center of the universe, you know!”

So yeah.  Rejections don’t bother me.  It’s just business, and I can always post them myself.

That said, I guess I’ll get back to writing something.  Cheers, y’all!